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Why Tuesday?

The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shower me with Wisdom

Here’s my observation for the week… who we are in life is who we are in the shower. Allow me to explain.

There are those of us (you know who you are) who take easily twenty minutes to shower. They climb in… wash up… and then…. They… just stand there and contemplate life. These are the same people who easily take a week to make a decision. They weigh all options contemplate each scenario and then make a decision that they will invariably regret at some point. These people are what I like to refer to as the Water Worriers. They try and sort out their life’s issues with the water beating down on them.

No judgment here (okay… judgment- it’s who I am) but REALLY? Get in the shower and get out. You want to contemplate life… take a bath. It is far more environmentally friendly.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are those individuals who really are the Splash Seekers so to speak. They take 5 minutes to “lather, rinse, and repeat” and are out of a shower without a thought in their head.

My beloved fall s into the former category. He really is a fabulous man… however; his carbon footprint really exists based on the length of his “shower time”. Dude spends a week in there. He sorts his day, aligns his life’s beliefs and emerges with the world’s ponderings solved and his hair washed.

As for me? My inability to “sit/stand still” knows no bounds. You want my attention? Put food in front of me. Otherwise- I’m a woman that cannot be chained. This of course translates into the idea that a shower is a place to get clean. Hell I hate washing my hair more than three times a week because it takes too long. I get in the shower- and start the clock… it’s called speed bathing and I am master class.

So here’s my thought… who we are in life is who we are in the shower. Those of us who make snap decisions and learn to live with them will bathe without a thought and “Splash and Dash” as if it were sport.

Those of us who peruse through life with a sense of intense deliberation and contemplation are the very same people who tend to use up a tank of hot water on the way to self actualization.

Remember that “Jetson’s” episode where Judy Jetson walked into this machine in her pajamas and immerged seconds later “fluffed and folded”? She was instantly perfect- bathed and polished? I remember thinking…”that lucky bitch”…. When technology evolves well beyond what we have right now, I will not be spending my money on moon landings or an extra organ- hell I am getting me one of those turbo shower machines that get me ready in a Judy Jetson minute.

Research on “shower details” has been done by the Shower Power campaign in association with Waterwise- an environmental organization in the UK aimed at reducing water consumption. Women only spend a mere 39 seconds longer in the shower than men. If you think about this girlfriends, we are pretty fast. Our hair is usually longer AND we most often shave our legs and other bits…. 39 extra seconds for all of that? I’d say that speaks to efficiency BIG TIME.
According to the Showerwise survey, the majority of women (71%) take showers of 10 minutes or less. More than a quarter (26%) take showers less than 5 minutes. As for men? 75% take showers of less than 10 minutes and 30% take showers of less than 5 minutes.

There are also intriguing differences on age, with time spent in the shower decreasing with increasing age. The 55s and over (mean shower time: 8 mins, 41 seconds) are five minutes faster than people aged 18 to 24 (mean shower time: 13 mins 26 seconds) with well over a third (39%) of people aged 55 or over even managing to shower in five minutes or less.
The older you are the less time you spend in the shower….

As for baths? A typical bath uses around 80 litres of water whereas the average shower sprays out about six litres a minute. So you'd have to be soaping yourself vigorously for over 13 minutes to use the same amount of water as that bath.
As for the length of a shower- no real randomized trials exist but some cushy research journals suggest that longer showers dry out the skin by cleaning of the body’s natural oils… Personally I think that’s what lotion is for…. And I’m a swimmer so I really don’t care.

SO there you have it dear girlfriends… something to think about the next time you are lathering up and letting that conditioner settle in….

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And Now a Word from My Sponsor...

Have you noticed dear girlfriends that lately we are BOMBARDED with marketing mayhem? I mean really how could you not notice. I don’t mean the billboards in TIME SQUARE kind of marketing or the commercials between your favorite television series… I mean the fact that advertising has now found its way into places it had otherwise never been- or never should have been.

Let’s examine the evidence.

Yesterday on a flight from Calgary to Vancouver I was hollered at not one, not two, but three times in the airport by three different women asking me to sign up for a credit card.

Make no mistake- I am a fan of credit… hell I may not believe in a lot of things… but I do believe in credit. The problem that I have is not with the card, nor with the undoubtedly lovely women who are pedaling them…. It’s the concept.

Isn’t an airport the one place in the world where people stare blankly at each other without any concern for another human being personal interest? Isn’t the airport the final sanctuary where we all just march on like drones towards a destination?
Does this last vestige of isolation really need to be invaded by someone trying to sell me something…? To my face?

And while I have your attention on this rant… what happened to going to the movies and just seeing the credits before the movie? Why do I have to sit through a Lexus commercial before I can watch what next cinema disaster Jennifer Aniston has gotten herself into or the preview for a Disney movie sequel that is coming out in 3 years time?

The final straw came when after reaching my seat on the plane bound to Vancouver that I was instructed to watch the television screen in front of me for a security and safety briefing. After being instructed on how to fasten my seatbelt and put on my life vest (in the event of an emergency landing over water) I was then subject to a TELUS commercial. Although the Jingle “when the beat stops, that’s when we rock” was not unpleasant, I resent those bastards for capturing my attention with a lifesaving skill review only to hold it captive with a promise for better cell phone reception.

Look- I don’t begrudge the free market for trying to make its way in the world. Hell I am a strong supporter of a good economy – check my closet if you do not believe me. What I do resent is having certain marketing and advertising shoved into my consciousness under false pretenses.

I came to board a plane and was accosted with a credit card sign up. I came to watch the movie and was faced with 2012 car of the year. All I wanted to do was to ensure that my seatback and tray were in the upright and locked position and I had to endure a dancing parrot and the promise of free texting features.

Is there not a place in this world where we are not trying to sell or buy something? Is this what it has all come down to? Where in the world is it still sacred? Hell, even in my own medical office there is a television set with advertisements flashing across the screen…. Not my doing dear girlfriends, I just rent the space. But really… do people need to be faced with the latest and greatest in life insurance and face creams while waiting for their Pap smear?

I can’t help but wonder where do we draw the line?

A study published in 2009 in the European Journal of public health showed that limiting a child’s access to television food commercials could help out a dent in the Obesity crisis.

Studies have shown that it is estimated that an individual is exposed to approximately 400 add per day in one form of another.

The researchers constructed a mathematical simulation model to estimate the potential effects of reducing the exposure of 6- to 12-year-old US children to TV advertising for food on the prevalence of overweight and obesity. The model was based on BMI or body mass index.

The study looked at rates of television add exposure and body size on children between ages 6-12. .

Based on literature findings, the model predicts that reducing the exposure to zero would decrease the average BMI by 0.38 kg/m2 and lower the prevalence of obesity from 17.8 to 15.2% for boys and from 15.9% to 13.5% for girls.

Now this was only television based advertisements but one can only imagine what would happen if we minimized other forms of advertising.

There you have it some evidence to suggest that even restricting some add exposure could help disease prevention.

I realize I a being biased. I often read magazine JUST for the ads. This is perhaps my way of using science to defend my life choices. Yes, I do love the free market but I suspect there will be more scientific evidence further supporting me putting the unwanted commercial down and stepping away from the insanity.

For now- I ignore the pleas of the woman at the airport wanting me to get yet another credit card. I tune out the TELUS commercials on the plane rides home and I come later to movies so as to miss the obligatory Lexus commercial before the credits. I’m learning, dear girlfriends that as with undergarments and the hunt for the perfect day clutch…. You really must pick your battles.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Put the Mat down and No One Gets Hurt

Dear girlfriends, I know you've spent many a Tuesday listening to me bitch.... so you are used to it. Here we go again. I AM TIRED. I mean really tired. I mean I spent much of Monday in my underwear in bed tired. Too much information perhaps... but if a girl can't share her personal beliefs with the Internet, who can she share them with. After all to paraphrase a great line from a great movie, isn't blogging just graffiti with punctuation?

Back to me and my fatigue. I supposed it should be expected. What with me pretending I was a superhero on a bike and all... that is what you get for wearing spandex for almost a month straight. But man oh man... my fatigue surpasses all espresso and I have resorted to... napping.

Yes, I am napping throughout the day. Fortunately I had this weekend off and so the napping at work was not necessary but come today it is back to the grind and they do frown upon napping at work don't they?

Whatever happened to those golden days of kindergarten when at around 2 pm we all lay down with our blankets in the play room for a nap? I know most kids hated that period of time when they had to lay there and sit still and just stare at the ceiling. Ironically those same children are now adults who pay hundreds of dollars in yoga memberships to lay on a similar floor somewhere ina dim room and have a similar type of nap.

But I digress....

I was one of those kids who just love the nap time. In fact I brought my own blanket and pillow from home to my kindergarten class to keep in my cubby hole just for this very occasion.

Amazing how who we are in life is often who we were in preschool... Hmmmm.

Turns out my naps have merit. According to a Study in Sleep Medicine in 2003, 30 minute naps in shift workers decreased daytime sleepiness relative to those who did not nap.

Studies at the Henry Ford Hospital's Sleep Disorders and Research Center in Detroit further confirms what is well established in the medical literature. Napping is even beneficial to someone who is a normal sleeper but who is getting insufficient sleep at night. Dr. Timothy Roehrs, Ph.D who is director of the institute commented that "We don't understand the underlying neurobiology, but sleep time is cumulative."

Roehrs says his group compared the alertness of people who slept eight hours a night to that of people who slept less but took a nap during the day. Both groups were equivalent, he says.

His group has also found benefits in the "prophylactic" nap for people who have to stay up late. "It protected them from sleepiness," he says. "A two-hour or a four-hour nap, before they have to be up all night, does provide additional alertness the next day." Research conducted by NASA produced similar results.

So here I am letting my body "catch up" on some rest with a 60-90 minute nap for the last few days and all the science in the world to back me up. How's that for a reason to buy some more silk pajamas?

You may judge and call me lazy... you may judge and call me a big baby.... hell you may just judge. But, my dear girlfriends as with all things on Tuesday I recommend we rely on the science of the universe... and if that does not sit well with you, perhaps lie down for a quick one and sleep on it... you'd be amazed what a little afternoon shut eye can do for a girl.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

End of Days

Ahh girlfriends. It has only been a week but it seems as though a lifetime has gone by. It is that time of the year when we return to the fall of it all.

Yes, my cybersisters I trust we all had a wonderful summer but its time to put the white away and labour once more…

With the sadness of the passing of summer’s free spirited times comes the fabulous of the fall lines (and aren’t they).

This year, my summer holidays were spent cycling across Canada. Yes, my girlfriends I did make it across safe and sound and even had a little extra time off in Toronto to stock up on fall’s promises.

And now, it’s time to change gears (literally) and change out my closet in acknowledgement of the passing of time.

Here I sit on a plane from Halifax to Vancouver reveling in the fact that it took me 23 days to get here on a bike and will only take 7 hours to fly home. There is no skipping the passage of time.

When I was a little girl I remember wishing days gone by. We had one of those large calenders that you get from the bank every September hung on the wall in our kitchen. It was usually blue and white and had the usual mainstream holidays on it like Canadian thanksgiving and Valentine day. It even had a little circle or crescent marked in the right hand corner on certain days symbolizing the moon in order to tell you when in the month would be a full or new moon.

Every morning I would get up and walk to the kitchen in my pajamas and grab a black marker to make an “X” on the square that marked the previous day. It was my way to put the day past and move forward.

Gone is the calendar. I no longer cross out days gone by. Instead I put a mark on the previous day by looking ahead to tomorrow. I put out my clothes for the next day and put yesterday on a closet shelf. I look forward to the new pretty another season will bring.

Here we are now counting down calendars and the passage of time. According to the Internet… which appears to be a new religion, the world will end on December 21, 2012.

The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. This will apparently cause a polar shift in planet earth making it change its axis of spinning. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012. This was linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 and to the date of December 21, 2012.

According to NASA- good news. This is bullshit. Nibiru does not exist. No planet plummeting to earth, no change in earth’s polarity. Furthermore…. guess what, it is apparently impossible for the earth to change its polarity.

So the countdown to countdowns ends. An “X” on the calendar is just that…. A end to the day and nothing more. As for me, I am terribly sentimental this week…. My summer holiday to end all holidays has just ended and I am back to work tomorrow….

Good news, dear girlfriends… I have some fabulous new outfits to last me a while…