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The heat is on: Another reason to eat your veggies

People who live an active, healthy lifestyle naturally tend to care about the planet. The two go hand in hand. Show me a person who cycles, and I’ll show you someone who recycles.

So here’s a little factoid to blow your body-mind: Eating meat is worse for the environment than driving. Yes! Want to do something bold and beautiful to stop global warming? Eat veggie!

“Switching to a plant-based diet does more to curb global warming than switching from an S.U.V. to a Camry,” Paul Shapiro recently told New York Times columnist Claudia Deutsch. Shapiro is the senior director of the Humane Society of the United States, one of many activist groups in the country trying to spread the chilling news about global warming that was first reported last November in a United Nations study. That research showed that the business of raising livestock (and getting it to market) generates more planet-warming gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined.

“Environmentalists are still pointing their fingers at Hummers and SUVs when they should be pointing at the dinner plate,” said Matt Prescott of PETA, the animal rights group that is currently running billboards that skewer Al Gore with the message: “Too Chicken to go Vegetarian? Meat is the No. 1 Cause of Global Warming.”

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Your meat meals are also likely to be filled with unwanted hormones and antibiotics. If all vegan, all the time seems a bit radical, start small. Meatless Mondays? Toxin-free Tuesdays? For more distressing news about the link between eating meat and global warming, check out www.chooseveg.com.

Napercize: The dreamy way to fight heart disease.

Allowing yourself a little snooze in the middle of the day can do wonders for your heart. That’s the wakeup call from a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers looked at nearly 24,000 Greek men and women (ages 20 to 86) and found that those who napped for a half-hour or more at least three times a week had a significant 37 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who didn’t nap at all. Even a shorter nap helps keep the heart healthier, research shows.

What’s the reason? Sleep knits up the raveled sleeve of care, Shakespeare told us hundreds of years ago. Translation: When you nap, your body lets go of stress, and stress is a major factor in all kinds of health problems, including damaged hearts.

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Q & A: Should I buy an exerciser?

Dear Marilynn: I hate all the flab around my belly. I want to shape up, and last night I took the first step. I ordered an Ab Exercise machine that I saw advertised on TV. It comes with instructions, but I wanted to check with you to see if you had some ideas about what to do with it. - via e-mail from E.H.

A: Here’s my best idea: Return it! It won’t do what you want it to do, and what it might do is injure you. I don’t know the specific ab exerciser you bought, but many of them - most of them - put too much stress on the average deconditioned spine. In other words, using one can really screw up your lower back. The effectiveness of the device itself is also suspect.

The other thing you don’t want to hear is that you can’t spot reduce. You can do 1000 crunches a day, but if you don’t lose body fat and build muscle, you won’t get the abs you want. What do you want? That’s the real question. If you want to get in shape, you can. But it will take effort, not gimmicks. Commit to a balanced program of exercising more and eating smart. Ho-hum, blah-blah, but it’s true. Good luck. Make it fun. Keep me posted.

Marilynn Preston is a fitness expert, personal trainer and speaker on healthy lifestyle issues. She welcomes reader questions, which can be sent to MyEnergyExpress@aol.com.


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