Joan Raymond

Stories by Joan Raymond

  • Up Close & Edible: Licorice

    A weekly look at the nutritional value, or lack thereof, of some of our favorite foods.
  • Filling Up With Less

    Jill O'Nan used to eat just one meal a day. But, as the joke goes, that meal began in the morning and didn't end until she went to sleep at night. As a freelance writer, O'Nan had no set meal schedule. "If McDonald's delivered, I probably wouldn't have left my house," says O'Nan, 45, who has battled the bulge since she was a child.With her supersize appetite, O'Nan's weight spiraled to 360 pounds. She tried dieting, but nothing worked. O'Nan did some research and stumbled across a little-known book called "Volumetrics" (harpercollins.com), which promised that she could manage her weight by choosing foods that the program calls "low in energy density," foods that make you feel satiated, or full, but that are also low in calories. She swapped her serving of fast-food fries for an even larger portion of boiled redskin potatoes in a garlic-dill sauce.She rediscovered her pressure cooker and started to make homemade meals, including soups and chili seasoned with dark chocolate. In four...
  • Up Close and Edible: Garlic

    A weekly look at the nutritional value, or lack thereof, of some of our favorite foods.
  • Up Close and Edible: Yogurt

    A weekly look at the nutritional value, or lack thereof, of some of our favorite foods.
  • Health: I Screen, You Screen

    Hank Furman prides himself on wringing the last cent out of a dollar. But when it comes to good health, "no amount of money is too much," says Furman, a 73-year-old retired machinist from Euclid, Ohio. That's why he recently took advantage of a vascular ultrasound screening program advertised in his local newspaper. Furman paid $129 for a battery of tests, none of which was covered by his insurance. The final report: "Everything was perfect," he says. "It gave me peace of mind; that's worth every cent."But not all doctors agree. The package of screens, offered by several U.S. companies ($129; see lifelinescreening.com), include carotid-artery, abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and osteoporosis screens. The good news is these imaging tests can detect abnormalities that could lead to stroke, heart disease and ruptured aneurysms. "We provide a much needed service," says Eric Greenberg, Life Line Screening's vice president of marketing, adding that ...
  • Up Close & Edible: Walnuts

    A weekly look at the nutritional value, or lack thereof, of some of our favorite foods.
  • Money: Paying For Less

    If your credit-card bills are putting a damper on your new year, it may be time to transfer your balances to one of the low-rate offers in your mailbox. But keep in mind that balance transfers can hurt your credit. Just how big the ding will be varies based on the formula used to concoct your credit score. That includes the number of new accounts you've opened and your credit-utilization rate--the amount of money you owe as a percentage of all available credit, which should be about 35 percent. If your credit is good, the temporary nose dive won't hurt you. In fact, it might help your score, since opening a new account temporarily increases the amount of credit you have available. But if you're already on shaky ground (a credit score below 559), the dip in scoring could get you further in the hole. The good news is, the credit-score dip will last only a few months, especially if you make payments on time. For more info go to bankrate.com , creditcard assist.com or cardweb.com . And...
  • Environment: Easy to Be Green

    You don't have to ditch leather or sell your car to help the environment. We've gathered 10 simple tips for living greener in 2007. Hey, it's a lot easier than losing those 15 pounds.1 Feed The Bees Pesticides, pollution and habitat destruction are taking a toll on the birds and insects that pollinate about 80 percent of the world's food supply (or about one out of every three bites of food we eat), says Rose Getch of the National Gardening Association. To lend a helping hand, plant a pollinator garden. Yellow, blue and purple flowers will attract bees, while red and orange will attract hummingbirds. For more information, go to kidsgardening.com .2 Clean Up, Naturally Household chemicals contribute to both in-door and outdoor pollution. This year, use more natural cleaners like the Greening the Cleaning line at imusranchfoods.com . Or make your own using vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. For some great tips on green cleaning, go to eartheasy.com .3 Ditch Your Junk Not only is...
  • Health: Something To Sneeze At

    This month, Tracy Oerter begins her annual battle with hay fever. Since she's allergic to trees, grass and weeds, there's no escape. Her throat tickles, her nose trickles. She rubs her itchy eyes. The 35-year-old hospital administrator from Milwaukee saw a doctor who prescribed a medication. But Oerter still spends most mornings fighting off sneezing fits. "Sometimes," she says, "I want to rip off my face. "Across the nation, 40 million other drippy noses are suffering from allergies. Most are caused by pollens in the air, along with indoor mold, mites, dust, roaches, pet dander and even ladybugs. An overactive immune system thinks they're dangerous and fights with gobs of chemicals called histamines and the antibody IgE. Until now, doctors battled back mostly with drugs. But 90 percent of patients say they are dissatisfied because their medications aren't effective or have side effects, according to a study last month titled "Allergies in America" endorsed by the American College...
  • Let's Make Out In 2006!

    Come Dec. 31, Americans will resolve to lose 20 pounds, quit smoking and save the environment--only to slip back into old habits before the snow melts. To forestall resolution failure, tip sheet asked experts in various fields for simple advice on New Year's resolutions that you might actually keep. ...
  • MAKING CHEMO EASIER TO TAKE

    James Bond usually gets a laugh when people hear his name. But the 56-year-old accountant from Shaker Heights, Ohio, figured it might be a good sign that he was assigned the patient number of 007 when he entered an experimental-drug trial at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He needed all the help he could get in his fight against multiple myeloma, a cancer in which white blood cells called plasma cells invade the bone marrow. Bond says that when he was diagnosed in 1992, an X-ray of his skull "looked like Swiss cheese," and he had broken several ribs simply by sneezing. Over the next decade, he tried a number of treatments, including three stem-cell transplants, that put the cancer in remission. But by 2002, Bond had reached what he and his wife, Kathleen, thought was the end of the road. "It was clear I was in trouble and needed something," he says. The couple started to look at the possibility of entering a clinical trial and found that Bond was a candidate for a drug that...
  • IN THE NEWS: DRINKING PROBLEM

    For years, athletes have been told to gulp lots of water to avoid dehydration. But a new study in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that some long-distance runners are overdoing it. Researchers found that 13 percent of 488 competitors at the 2002 Boston Marathon drank so much fluid they developed hyponatremia, a life-threatening condition in which blood salt levels plummet. But with warmer weather on the horizon, weekend warriors who don't have the luxury of organized water stops still need to worry about dehydration, which can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. According to the American Council on Exercise (acefitness.org), drinking plain H2O is usually preferable to sports drinks. For moderate exercise of 60 minutes or less: drink about eight ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes prior to working out; four to eight ounces every 10 to 15 minutes during exercise, and eight ounces more within 30 minutes of finishing.
  • EASE YOUR SNEEZING

    April is the cruelest month. Especially if you're one of the 35 million Americans dealing with the drippy nose and itchy eyes of seasonal allergic rhinitis, a.k.a. hay fever. Dr. Sandra Gawchik of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, suggests a few things you can do now to ease your symptoms later. Take a nonsedating antihistamine daily, beginning one week before allergy season kicks off in your area (see pollen.com for forecasts and aaaai.org/nab for daily pollen counts). If you're really miserable, talk to your doctor about combining the antihistamine with nasal steroids and decongestants. If drugs aren't doing the trick, consider immunotherapy, a series of shots that decrease your sensitivity to certain allergens. And though you'll be a fashion victim, consider wearing a filter mask when doing yardwork. Better yet, hire a gardener.
  • MEDICINE: IT CUTS BOTH WAYS

    As if you don't have enough to worry about when you're going under the knife, hospitals are getting a failing grade in infection control. According to a new study in the Archives of Surgery, nearly 44 percent of some 34,000 surgical patients across the country did not receive antibiotics within 60 minutes of surgery. That one-hour target is considered a gold standard in the prevention of surgical-site infections, or SSIs, which affect 300,000 of the estimated 2 million Americans who pick up hospital-acquired infections each year. Though most patients received antibiotics, the drugs were given "too late or too early," says lead author Dr. Dale Bratzler of the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality. Such errors can lead to staph infections, which then result in prolonged hospital stays, cost increases and higher mortality rates. No one is suggesting self-medication. But if you're scheduled for surgery, your best bet in germ warfare is to talk to your doctor about whether your...
  • HEALTH: READING THE SIGNS

    In medicine, early detection rules. That's why the nation's top endocrinology associations last week urged doctors to screen for type 2 diabetes as early as age 30 for people at risk. If diagnosed, the new guidelines encourage doctors to treat the disease aggressively with combination drug therapy, like insulin and oral medication, along with lifestyle changes. "Early intervention will save lives," says Dr. Carlos Hamilton, president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, which, along with the American College of Endocrinology, is promoting the new recommendations. Ignoring symptoms like increased urination or excessive thirst can lead to a later diagnosis and complications like heart or vascular disease. If you've hit your 30th birthday, talk to your doctor about risk factors like obesity, inactivity, cardiovascular disease and family history. At risk? Get screened and ask about a glucose-tolerance test. It may be the best present you give yourself.
  • A NEGLECTED NUTRIENT

    Of all the medical orthodoxies of recent years, few were as ironclad as the prohibition against sunbathing. In a triumph of public education, the notion of a "healthy tan" was turned on its head, as conditions ranging from wrinkles to cataracts, immune-system problems and skin cancers, including deadly malignant melanoma, were linked to ultraviolet exposure. But in the last decade or so researchers have begun asking whether something was lost in the process: the often-overlooked substance that occurs naturally in some foods, especially fish, but is most efficiently produced in the body by exposure to sunlight--vitamin D.It is best known as an essential nutrient for calcium uptake; rickets, a childhood disease that deforms bones, was largely vanquished decades ago by adding vitamin D to milk. But vitamin D may be just as important at the other end of life, where a deficiency has been associated with osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and certain cancers. And studies show that even...
  • NUTRITION: MORE IS LESS

    If you want to lose weight, eat more. In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association this month, Penn State researchers found that adding a large, low-cal salad before your entree actually reduces overall calorie intake. Study participants who were served three cups of salad totaling 100 calories before their pasta lunch ate 12 percent fewer calories overall, compared with when they were served no salad. Study author Barbara J. Rolls says the raw veggies require extra chewing time, which leads people to believe they've eaten more than they have. The key is to keep your salad to between 100 and 150 calories, which includes low-fat dressing to help absorb nutrients. To make it more satisfying, choose interesting greens like arugula and add peppers, mushrooms and fresh herbs. This simple strategy can lead to a 10-pound weight loss in a year--definitely a net gain.
  • Health: Scratch No More

    Chickenpox is one rite of passage your kids may never know. Since 1995 about three quarters of children in the United States have received the varicella vaccine to avoid symptoms like red, itchy bumps, headaches and fevers. The verdict so far? "The vaccine has totally exceeded expectations," says Dr. Matthew Davis of the University of Michigan, author of a new study in Pediatrics that says the vaccine has reduced hospitalizations by 75 percent and saved more than $100 million a year in related costs for rare complications like pneumonia. But doctors are still debating timing (current recommendations: first shot at 12 to 18 months) and whether a booster is necessary. Still, organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (aap.org), the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and the Immunization Action Coalition (immunize.org) are itching to get word of its success to parents.
  • HEALTH: THE LIPO LETDOWN

    Liposuction can slim your waistline. But according to a new study in The New England Journal of Medicine, the procedure doesn't provide any of the health benefits associated with diet and exercise. Researchers suspect that's because lipo doesn't shrink fat cells or get rid of fat throughout the body. After three months, 15 liposuction patients who each had 22 pounds of fat removed saw no improvement in insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, cholesterol levels or other heart-disease risk factors. "The message isn't only how much weight you lose, but how you lose it," says principal investigator Dr. Samuel Klein of Washington University. The upshot: hit the gym--and use liposuction only for those impossible trouble spots.
  • Gray Market For Gadgets

    For a guy who knows the software guts of a Tomahawk missile, programming a hand-held should be a no-brainer. But Don Patterson, a 30-year-old former Navy lieutenant and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington, has spent months using a Palm PDA with a wireless connection and a Global Positioning System that records his daily routine of walking to the bus stop, the campus, the gym and his Seattle home. Patterson is trying to train the gadget, an Activity Compass, to learn his daily routine and point him in the right direction if he appears confused.It may not sound like the sexiest software. But considering that every seven seconds another of the nation's 75 million baby boomers turns 50, there's clearly gold in helping the old. So developing tech solutions that enhance independence and keep people in their homes longer may be the hottest software gig of the next decade.Patterson's applications and others like it use artificial intelligence to enable devices to make...
  • THE JAWS OF VICTORY

    Mark Anderson, a 40-year-old bank senior vice president in Los Angeles, feared that a merger would eliminate his job. So, last year, he started to troll his Rolodex. Over the course of two months he got some leads, but no job that fit. So he tried what he figured was a long shot--he checked out Internet job boards. He found one called 6figures.com, which caters to executives, posted his r??sum?? and landed a job at Pitney-Bowes, with a 10 percent bump over his old salary. "Looking for a job really can't get any better than this," he says.To the surprise of skeptics who expected job boards to go the way of the Web grocery, the online recruiting market has grown to behemoth proportions. Monster.com serves more than 93,000 companies, including what it says is all of the Fortune 500. Monster had more than $100 million in revenue last quarter and said it was profitable. HotJobs.com, recently acquired by Yahoo, has roughly 7,000 member companies, including 40 of the country's 50 largest....
  • A Kinder, Gentler Face For The Irs

    For years Don Otto, a tough 66-year-old warehouse supervisor, lived in fear of one thing: a fat, white envelope from the IRS. "I hated getting mail," says Otto, who owed $650,000 in taxes and penalties dating to the mid-'80s, when he owned a small foundry. "I would get this horrible stomachache every time I got a letter from them." Now, as this year's tax-filing deadline approaches, he's pain-free. That's because, in a surprising show of leniency, the IRS recently let him pay off his bill for a mere $58,000, less than dimes on the dollar. Says Otto: "I never thought I'd say this, but those IRS guys are OK." ...