Why We Eat Junk Food

While we may presume that we are eating junk food because of the delicious taste, new research undertaken at the University of Southern California, has disputed this theory. Indeed, scientists have found that we’re indulging in these snacks because of their yumminess but rather because of how we associate these foods. For example, since we often eat popcorn at the movie theater, that’s a fun, positive association so we will continue to eat it as it becomes a comfort food. So we’re not eating it for the taste.

The Research

The research was undertaken by giving movie-theater-goers fresh and stale popcorn. The ones who were accused to eating popcorn at the movies ended up eating around the same amount of popcorn, whether it was fresh or stale. Those who didn’t really eat much popcorn at the movies consumed way less of the stale type than the fresh due to the taste. For them, taste was much more important. And for the others – the ones who were accustomed to movie snacking, they didn’t care so much about the taste.

USC researcher Wendy Wood explained, “people believe their eating behavior is largely activated by how food tastes. Nobody likes cold, spongy, week-old popcorn. But once we’ve formed an eating habit, we no longer care whether the food tastes good. We’ll eat exactly the same amount, whether it’s fresh or stale.”

The study was published in this month’s Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Teaching Meditation to Four-Year Olds

It seems that meditative skills can be taught to children as young as four. And more than that, it seems that right now in the UK, one of these schools will be receiving state funding. And this is not going to be the only one either. It is one of 24 of the new schools that is being privately run but will be receiving Government support.

What else is interesting is that despite the fact that these schools are receiving state funding, they will not be forced to follow the country’s national curriculum. Indeed, one of the schools is going to be run along the teachings of Maharishi Yogi, an Indian-born guru.

The school will begin and end with sessions of transcendental meditation. Education watchdogs have rated this school as “outstanding.” Apparently these meditative sessions are relaxing the students and making it easier for them to learn.

The only problem seems to be, is the money. The critics are claiming such schools should not be receiving state funding at this point. According to Lisa Nandy, a Labour Member of Parliament, “people will be shocked that their taxes are going on teaching transcendental meditation. The money would be better spent on improving existing schools.”

“Two” Cute for Words

This really has got to be too cute for words. Which is why it is only the video that can express it properly. If you have been a twin, raised twins or just been interested in their development then you will simply this video that recently went viral. Enjoy!

Find a Mate Online? Is Nothing Left to the Real World?

How can it be that these days, pretty much everything is left to the Internet.  I mean of course there are incredible benefits to doing things online and we are living in very much a virtual world, but does dating need to be too?  Well, these days, given that so much of our lives is conducted on a keyboard, it seems like it’s actually a really good way of at least “meeting” someone.  And it looks like it works too.  But since there are so many online dating sites out there, how does one work out which one to use?

A recent study discussed this matter and found that what was important to many people was protection and privacy policies and according to eHarmony, that is exactly what their clients will get.  As well, it commits to “supplying greatest policy for a lady when dating so that they can block individuals with whom they do not desire to talk any longer.”

In my firm opinion, it seems that there really is nothing wrong with online dating as long as it is just used for the initial introduction.  Also, one should be careful about it.  For women, do not give out any personal information:  just a first name and then arrange a meeting place.  Do not tell them where you live or give out your number before the initial meeting.

At the end of the day one of the most important things to realize about online dating is that it is just that – it’s online.  So use it to find an introduction but after that either create a real relationship or ditch the person; do not try to attempt to establish a relationship on line.  Be careful about finding out about the site’s policy on privacy and thereafter make sure you take the necessary actions to avoid giving out too much information.  If you do all of that then it really is pretty similar to regular dating; just use a bit of common sense.

A Mommy Makeover

A common phenomenon that occurs in married women, and especially moms, is the gradual loss of any sense of fashion. Of course, this is usually completely unintentional, it’s just that, well, life gets in the way. It tends to start slowly, creeping up behind you without your noticing as you rush out of the house in a sweatshirt specked with baby drool, and then grows with you- your old pair of jeans are still your everyday attire, but they are unrecognizable; they’re stretched out and faded and pull and sag in all the wrong places. While this sad turn of events is natural, you don’t have to sit back and let it happen. Here are a few practical ideas for updating your look in an easy, affordable way:

1.       Ditch the knapsack. Yes, they are incredibly convenient for new moms, as they have enough space to store a small nursery, but there are other, more fashionable ways to carry your diapers, change of clothes, bottles, snacks, cellphones etc. Why not try a big side bag, or even a stylish diaper bag?

2.       Aging, giving birth and just being a mom can all have an effect on your body. Often, women are too stressed or to helpless to do anything about the changes to their physical appearance. Exercise is a must-have in every mother’s life- it alleviates stress, boosts your health and physical look as well. It is a known fact that exercise also releases “happy” hormones, so get on that treadmill, join a gym, jump rope, go for a swim- choose whatever activity you can stick with.

3.       The clothes you wear ARE important. Old work pants, old aerobic shoes, floppy, oversized sweatshirts- these are not flattering articles of clothing! If you get lazy about your clothes, and stop caring about how you look, so will others. Sometimes women feel like this is easier, but if you are being honest with yourself, of course you still want your husband to find you attractive, and to tell you so, as well. If your jeans are worn out and saggy- it’s time to get new ones. Sizes change throughout a lifetime; accept it, and you’ll look and feel much better. Are you still wearing those old sneakers? Treat yourself to one or two new pairs of shoes. Stop wearing your husband’s sweatshirt every day. Occasionally it can be cute, but not all the time. If you do go on a shopping spree, maybe surprise your husband with an after-work date to show off those new heels!

4.       Lastly, it is extremely important to indulge in guilty pleasures every so often. Not only will your nails, feet, eyebrows, hair or face look healthier, your husband will be happier, and so will you. The goings-on of everyday life can be very stressful, especially for a mom, and often there is no time to spend on yourself. Your sleep pattern gets rearranged on a nightly basis, your main food source becomes pretzels that are grabbed while you run out the door for carpool…basically, your life is one big hectic race. Set a date each month for your personal sanity, and for at least a few hours, do something that you’ve been meaning to do. Go to a movie, go for a manicure… If you have no time to go to a beauty salon, there are plenty of do-it-yourself products available in drug stores- maybe buy a hair mask and turn that stringy, shapeless ponytail into a glossy new mane. It will make your week, you’ll see.

Baby Boomers’ Physical Activity is Booming

The Baby Boomer generation is putting a new face on the idea of getting older.  Their active lifestyle doesn’t just vanish as they reach retirement age; rather, more seniors today than ever before are participating in physical activities and showing an active lifestyle.  This is according to research from the National Sporting Goods Association.

The Association found that, in the last 10 years, participation from seniors in physical activities has increased.  Whether it’s golf, weight lifting, swimming or running, the older generation is getting out there and making their mark.

This is, hopefully, good news for the insurance industry, as exercise and leading an active lifestyle certainly offer physical benefits.  Dr. O. Kenrick Duru, assistant professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, explains that active seniors are less likely to end up in convalescent homes and are less likely to have Alzheimer’s, among other ailments.  Of course, he also points out that seniors should know their physical limitations and should take precautions so that they don’t get hurt while engaging in these activities.