You can find us now at our new and improved website http://www.HungerFor Health.com. See you there !
In Good Health,
Rex and Lisa Hamaker
Lisa Says: While I genuinely don’t think there’s a conspiracy to promote using medications to treat illness versus promoting lifestyle changes to restore health (for what it’s worth), practically speaking, greed is out there and does drive a fair amount of our society.
However, I was shocked watching this story unfold on CBS national news about how “the government accused AstraZeneca of widely promoting Seroquel for off-label uses such as other psychiatric conditions and insomnia. It was in part due to this widespread off-label use that Seroquel became AstraZeneca’s second best-selling drug last year, bringing in $4.9 billion. While doctors are legally allowed to prescribe drugs for off-label use, drug companies are only supposed to market their medicine for FDA-approved uses.”
The TV report also referenced financial rewards physicians received for prescribing the drug.
AGAIN, it is a reminder that we are our responsible for our own health and need to choose responsible health care providers who will work with us in a ‘team’ approach in order for us to make the best decisions for ourselves. Without misinformation or greed clouding decisions.
Enjoy the article
Lisa’s Chicken/Penicillin Soup
1-3# organic chicken parts (depends on how much meat you like in your soup)
4 chopped onions
1 entire bulb of organic garlic minced (I use my Pampered Chef Garlic Press)
Kosher Salt to taste – I start with 3 tablespoons
2-3 Bay Leaves
Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste
Place above ingredients in 8-10 quart Dutch Oven pot and cover with water. Low boil until chicken is falling off the bone (about an hour?). Take chicken out and debone it putting meat back in. THEN ADD:
A handful of crushed, dried sage (I sound like my grandmother). About 2 tablespoons
A handful of crushed, dried rosemary. About 2 tablespoons
1 bunch of organic celery (leaves and all) chopped
1 small bag organic, ready to eat baby carrots
Simmer till carrots are tender letting it cook down some. Add additional herbs as needed.
Add anything else that sounds good !
Corned Beef and Kale
3# corned beef brisket
1 large onion chopped
1 bulb garlic (yup, the whole thing) peeled
3-4 bay leaves
In a spice ball, add together:
1/3 cup of pickling spice
1 tsp celery seed (optional)
1 TBLS black peppercorns
Rinse corned beef and cut off any excess fat. Boil beef in a 8 qt. pot with onion, garlic, cloves, bay leaves and spice ball till ‘pull apart’ tender, about 3 hours. Take out corned beef to cool a bit before cutting and boil potatoes and carrots in spices and juice from beef. Add kale the last 5 minutes and serve all with a nice irish soda bread (no raisins).
Lisa Says: I came across this interesting study published in the New England Journal of Medicine about the use of Niacin (vitamin B3) vs. Zetia in addressing cholesterol imbalance. If I had this issue, it would be great information to discuss with my health care provider to make a more informed decision.
November 16, 2009 12:37 PM Sacramento Nutrition Examiner Anne Hart
Latest studies have reviewed the data and the effects, and found that the simplest solution, natural niacin is still the best way to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol that signifies calcification, and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol that removes the (bad) cholesterol before it calcifies your arteries and organs.
One example would be Niacin-Time, among other brands of niacin, with cholesterol lowering abilities. You can buy niacin over the counter in either the non-flush form or the regular. But some doctors warn their patients not to take the time-release form of niacin, as past studies showed it might damage the liver or cause fatalities. How do consumers make informed decisions about what to do when the LDL cholesterol is judged too high by healthcare professionals and the HDL cholesterol is too low?
The newest study was intended to examine the potential benefits of adding a second drug — either Zetia or niacin — to the treatment regime of people already taking a statin. See the Nov. 16, 2009 article, “New Study Compares the Effectiveness of Cholesterol Controlling Drugs.”
That small study published in The New England Journal of Medicine compared the effectiveness of two drugs used in combination with a statin (Simvastatin or Atorvastatin) to control cholesterol levels. Also see the NY Times article, Nov. 16, 2009, “Study Raises Question About Cholesterol Drug’s Benefit.” The results of the study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, were presented Sunday night, November 15, 2009 at an annual meeting of the American Heart Association.
In the latest study, participants were randomly assigned into two groups, one group took Abbott Laboratories extended-release niacin, the other was given Merck and Schering-Plough’s ezetimibe (Zetia). Niacin can increase HDL cholesterol, known as good cholesterol because it is believed to scavenge bad cholesterol and remove it from the body. Researchers measured the differences in changes to arterial wall thickness in the two groups.
Would you rather take an over-the-counter vitamin (niacin–vitamin B3) or a prescription drug? If you still want a prescription, should you ask your doctor to prescribe Niaspan because then your doctor would be managing and testing how the Niaspan is working, how it’s treating your liver, for example? Niaspan, the prescription form of Niacin is listed in the Physician’s Desk Reference book of drugs.
Numerous studies compared Niaspan to a brand of lovastatin with extended release niacin. Also studies compared the special matrix of Niacin Time. For example a study showed Niacin-Time got into the bloodstream in a more convenient way.
On the other hand, you’ll hear niacin has been linked to abnormal liver enzymes such as elevated alkaline phosphatase. That’s why you’ll want your doctor to check your levels of liver enzymes. Here’s a question for your doctor: Did the possible liver abnormality that caused the high cholesterol in the first place also cause the liver enzyme elevations? Or was it the niacin? People on placebos also may have elevated liver enzymes. So that’s a problem your doctor will have to figure out through testing.
In the meantime, vitamin B3 (niacin) works well along with most of the other nutrients you need. You can’t use one vitamin as a drug alone by itself. It works when combined with the complex of all the other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you take in daily.
Ask your doctor this second question: When taking the prescription form of niacin called Niaspan, is there a raised chance or isn’t there a raised chance of liver toxicity because the dosage is so high? On the other hand, if you ask your doctor if your body is healthy enough to take over-the-counter niacin such as Niacin-Time, what is the best way to combine Niacin Time with other nutrients and/or supplements or foods that make it possible to get good cholesterol results from a lower dose of niacin?
Also ask your health care professional whether niacin is better because studies have confirmed its superior ability to get into the bloodstream better, to be better absorbed? That way a lower dose works just as well. And ask your doctor does that mean that a lower dose of niacin is a safer dose? For example, does a lower dose mean less chance of liver trouble caused by too high a dose or too fast a dose of niacin?
So the main question you want to ask your health care professional is what’s the benefits of Niacin-time compared to niacin over the counter, compared to Niaspan? You want to weigh benefits against risks and find out what your liver enzymes are doing with a simple blood test.
Other tests you’ll want to have done is to find out whether you have high fibrinogen. That protein shows you have an inflammation that might cause blood clots. And you want to find out whether you have a low HDL. You want to raise your HDL if it’s too low. A low HDL is worse than a high LDL as long as your HDL is high. For the HDL, the higher the better, regardless of how high your LDL is.
You also want to find out whether you have elevated lipoprotein A, called Lp(a). So get tested. It’s a simple blood test to find out all these answers. How niacin comes into this picture is that niacin decreases “cholesterol synthesis” in a safer way than most prescription drugs. You see, niacin, according to studies, works better than the statins in lowering fibrinogen, raising HDL, and lowering Lp(a).
Simply put, niacin is safer, but get tests anyone. You never know when you’re the one who can or can’t take niacin. If you look at niacin, it’s Vitamin B3. Take a look at the studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association from recent studies as well as past studies. The research in one study showed that niacin raised the good cholesterol (HDL) 29 percent, and lowered trigylcerides 28 percent.
In that same study, the statin drug tested then, did not do the same job. In another study, niacin reversed cholesterol transport. In another study, niacin reversed artery disease. Some doctors talk about Niacin-Time benefits. Other doctors warn you to test your liver enzymes so you won’t have a fatality from too quick and too high a dose of niacin. That’s why it’s important to talk to several health care professionals and get a liver enzyme test to find out how your liver responds to changes.
If you turn to red yeast rice, it’s a form of a statin, but some brands might contain citrinin, a mold toxin that might damage your kidneys. That’s why you want a product without citrinin. One safe brand is Wakunaga’s Kyolic Formula 107 Red Yeast Rice. It doesn’t have citrinin, according to the book The Cholesterol Hoax, page 49, in the section, “Not All Red Yeast Preparations are Safe or Even Effective,” by Sherry A. Rogers, M.D.
Vitamin C also is good for cholesterol when you lool up studies dating back to the 1950s. Some studies in the past have noted that a vitamin C deficiency causes high cholesterol, according to the book, The Cholesterol Hoax, by Sherry A. Rogers, M.D., page 55.
If you’re deficient in vitamin C, naturally your bile acids are going to be reduced because vitamin C is required to change cholesterol into bile. You need bile because it helps you absorb fat-soluble acids, vitamins, and other nutrients from food. All these nutrients are supposed to balance your cholesterol. What consumers need to know, as they talk to health care professionals, is to compare studies of the past with the present.
A generation ago researchers tested vitamins. Currently scientists compare prescription drugs. It’s news when vitamins are actually compared to drugs and perform better at lowering LDL and raising HDL cholesterol, which is what the goal is for health. Here is a resource list below of articles on the latest studies comparing niacin, that is vitamin B3 against prescription drugs. It’s news when vitamins perform better at lowering the bad and raising the good cholesterol.
What’s the verdict on niacin going to be? On one hand the latest study was small, but on the other side, most consumers would rather use vitamins and nutrients as long as what is used is safer, works well, and does a better job of normalizing cholesterol.
The idea of using a vitamin you can buy over the counter at a health food store or supermarket sounds great in the face of rapidly rising drug prices. In the past year, the big pharmaceutical industry has raised the wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs by around 9 percent, according to industry analysts.
Health food stores selling vitamins look at the more than $300 billion nation’s drug bill. By raising the wholesale prices of prescription drugs by 9 percent, another $10 billion is addded to the nation’s drug bill.
Niacin, a vitamin, if it continues to prove that it works well to lower the “bad” cholesterol and raise the “good” cholesterol over the long run, might look good to consumers considering the effects of the highest annual rate of inflation for prescription drubs since 1992. For further information on rising drug prices, see the New York Times article published in the Sacramento Bee on November 16, 2009, “Drug prices rise at rapid pace: industry has vowed to make cuts in future,” by Duff Wilson, New York Times. Also see, “Prescription Drugs: High Costs, Tough Choices.”
What The Latest Studies Report on Niacin Compared to Prescription Statins and other Drugs
Niacin shrinks artery plaque; Merck’s Zetia does not and may carry risks, new study finds
Niaspan has been gaining but lags far behind the prescription statins — 5.8 million prescriptions in 2008, up 11 percent from 2007.
Niacin beats Zetia in the ARBITER 6-HALTS trial
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, boosting HDL cholesterol with extended-release niacin (Niaspan) is a more effective way of slowing atherosclerosis in high-risk patients on long-term statin therapy than seeking additional LDL cholesterol reductions by adding ezetimibe.
In patients with elevated cholesterol levels, statin therapy reduces the incidence of cardiovascular events by 25 to 45%. Despite the administration of a statin, many patients require additional lipid-lowering therapy because their target lipid-level goals are not reached or they have a cardiovascular event. Treatment can be intensified through further reductions in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or attempts to raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.
New Study Raises New Questions About Cholesterol Drug Zetia.
This new study reported November 15, 2009 raised more questions about ezetimibe (Zetia), a drug used by millions of Americans in tandem with statins to lower LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol.
According to the article, ARBITER-6 HALTS clinical trial had been stopped early in June after it was discovered that LDL-cholesterol-lowering Zetia was less effective than extended-release niacin (Niaspan), which raises HDL, or “good,” cholesterol levels, in reducing plaque build-up in the arteries.
Why are clinical trials terminated early? The answer is safety issues rather than a finding of success, which could be temporary or permanent. But the niacin combination also reduced the number of heart attacks and deaths. For more information on this study and to read the entire article on the ARBITER-6 HALTS clinical trial that was stopped early in June, check out the drugs.com website for the latest medical news.
A New Cholesterol Study Puts Focus on Merck Drugs New York Times – Nov 12, 2009. According to this New York Times article, niacin can increase HDL cholesterol, known as good cholesterol because it is believed to scavenge bad cholesterol and remove it from the body.
New Study Compares Effectiveness of Cholesterol Controlling Drugs
Study Raises Question About Cholesterol Drug’s Benefit
Lisa Says: It was hard to find info 50 years ago on auto immune diseases, so with their rapid rise , it seems common sense that life style and/or environmental factors are playing a key role. Here is information from USA Today about a recent study linking auto immune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis to home insecticides.
Study raises red flag over home insecticides,
USA TODAY Posted 10/22/2009 7:15 PM
New research suggests a link between women’s
exposure to household insecticides — including
roach and mosquito killers — and the autoimmune
disorders rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
The scientist did not find a direct cause-and-effect
relationship between insecticide exposure and the
illnesses, and it’s possible that the women have
something else in common that accounts for their
higher risk. But epidemiologist Christine Parks, lead
investigator of the study, said the findings do raise
a red flag.
“It’s hard to envision what other factors might
explain this association,” said Parks, an
epidemiologist with the National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences who was to present
the study over the weekend at the American College
of Rheumatology annual meeting in Philadelphia.
Previous research has linked agricultural pesticides
to higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, two
diseases in which the immune system goes haywire
and begins to attack the body. Farmers, among
others, appear to be vulnerable.
Parks and her colleagues wanted to find out whether
smaller doses of insecticides, such as those people
might encounter at home from either personal or
commercial residential use, might have a similar
The researchers examined data from a previous
study of almost 77,000 postmenopausal women
aged 50 to 79. Their findings were to be released M
onday at the American College of Rheumatology’s
annual scientific meeting in Philadelphia.
For now, she said, the findings indicate the need for
“more research on environmental risk factors and
better understanding of what factors might explain
these findings, what chemicals might be associated
with these risks.”
She declined to speculate on how insecticides might
cause problems in the body.
“I would recommend that people read the labels and
take precautions to minimize their personal
exposure” to insecticides, she said. “This is the case
regardless of whether these results are implicating a chemical that’s on the market now or was before.”
Women who reported applying insecticides or
mixing them — about half — had a higher risk of
developing the two autoimmune disorders than
women who reported no insecticide use. This was
the case whether or not they had lived on a farm.
Those who used or mixed the insecticides the most
— judged by frequency or duration — had double
Even so, the risk of developing the diseases
remained very low. Overall, Parks said, about 2% of
older adults develop the conditions.
Parks said the insecticides that the women used
included insect killers, such as those designed to
eradicate ants, wasps, termites, mosquitoes and
roaches. They didn’t include insect repellents.
There are some caveats to the research. For one, it’s
not clear exactly what products the women used or
when. “Over time, there have been major changes in
what products were available for home use,” Parks
And while researchers tried to take into account the
influence of factors like age that may boost a
woman’s risk of getting autoimmune diseases, it’s
possible they missed something that boosted the
risk of illness.
Could gardening, which often entails insecticide
use, be a contributing factor? That’s possible. But
Parks said a lot of insecticide use takes place inside
the home, not outside in the garden.
Lisa Says: great info on just a few on the movers and the shakers helping us learn a new and better ways of thinking, eating, and THRIVING.
Rex Says: This article has certainly stirred up a debate about as hot as Healthcare Reform, and certainly hits close to home for me. Dr. Robert Ablin who originally invented the PSA test is raising serious concerns about its use and effectiveness.
*Am I glad I had a PSA at 44 which ultimately led to my cancer diagnosis? YES. *Do the limitations of the PSA test lead to unnecessary biopsies and treatment? International studies are stating just that. *Is America further researching clinical studies like Dr. Dean Ornish who has shown lifestyle changes can reverse prostate cancer without radiation or surgery (exactly like I did)? I don’t see that on the front pages. *Will I ever have another PSA to help verify I’m still cancer free? For me – most likely I will continue to use the new PCA3 test http://www.prostate-cancer.org/education/preclin/Torres_PCA3.html which is designed to discriminate between non-cancerous prostate conditions and prostate cancer, and further between non-significant or significant prostate cancers. *This will always be a personal choice for any man but we need to make certain that men are being advised of all the choices available in screening and treatments to make a truly informed decision.
The New York Times
March 10, 2010
The Great Prostate Mistake
By RICHARD J. ABLIN
EACH year some 30 million American men undergo testing for prostate-specific antigen, an enzyme made by the prostate. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1994, the P.S.A. test is the most commonly used tool for detecting prostate cancer.
The test’s popularity has led to a hugely expensive public health disaster. It’s an issue I am painfully familiar with — I discovered P.S.A. in 1970. As Congress searches for ways to cut costs in our health care system, a significant savings could come from changing the way the antigen is used to screen for prostate cancer.
Americans spend an enormous amount testing for prostate cancer. The annual bill for P.S.A. screening is at least $3 billion, with much of it paid for by Medicare and the Veterans Administration.
Prostate cancer may get a lot of press, but consider the numbers: American men have a 16 percent lifetime chance of receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer, but only a 3 percent chance of dying from it. That’s because the majority of prostate cancers grow slowly. In other words, men lucky enough to reach old age are much more likely to die with prostate cancer than to die of it.
Even then, the test is hardly more effective than a coin toss. As I’ve been trying to make clear for many years now, P.S.A. testing can’t detect prostate cancer and, more important, it can’t distinguish between the two types of prostate cancer — the one that will kill you and the one that won’t.
Instead, the test simply reveals how much of the prostate antigen a man has in his blood. Infections, over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen, and benign swelling of the prostate can all elevate a man’s P.S.A. levels, but none of these factors signals cancer. Men with low readings might still harbor dangerous cancers, while those with high readings might be completely healthy.
In approving the procedure, the Food and Drug Administration relied heavily on a study that showed testing could detect 3.8 percent of prostate cancers, which was a better rate than the standard method, a digital rectal exam.
Still, 3.8 percent is a small number. Nevertheless, especially in the early days of screening, men with a reading over four nanograms per milliliter were sent for painful prostate biopsies. If the biopsy showed any signs of cancer, the patient was almost always pushed into surgery, intensive radiation or other damaging treatments.
The medical community is slowly turning against P.S.A. screening. Last year, The New England Journal of Medicine published results from the two largest studies of the screening procedure, one in Europe and one in the United States. The results from the American study show that over a period of 7 to 10 years, screening did not reduce the death rate in men 55 and over.
The European study showed a small decline in death rates, but also found that 48 men would need to be treated to save one life. That’s 47 men who, in all likelihood, can no longer function sexually or stay out of the bathroom for long.
Numerous early screening proponents, including Thomas Stamey, a well-known Stanford University urologist, have come out against routine testing; last month, the American Cancer Society urged more caution in using the test. The American College of Preventive Medicine also concluded that there was insufficient evidence to recommend routine screening.
So why is it still used? Because drug companies continue peddling the tests and advocacy groups push “prostate cancer awareness” by encouraging men to get screened. Shamefully, the American Urological Association still recommends screening, while the National Cancer Institute is vague on the issue, stating that the evidence is unclear.
The federal panel empowered to evaluate cancer screening tests, the Preventive Services Task Force, recently recommended against P.S.A. screening for men aged 75 or older. But the group has still not made a recommendation either way for younger men.
Prostate-specific antigen testing does have a place. After treatment for prostate cancer, for instance, a rapidly rising score indicates a return of the disease. And men with a family history of prostate cancer should probably get tested regularly. If their score starts skyrocketing, it could mean cancer.
But these uses are limited. Testing should absolutely not be deployed to screen the entire population of men over the age of 50, the outcome pushed by those who stand to profit.
I never dreamed that my discovery four decades ago would lead to such a profit-driven public health disaster. The medical community must confront reality and stop the inappropriate use of P.S.A. screening. Doing so would save billions of dollars and rescue millions of men from unnecessary, debilitating treatments.
Richard J. Ablin is a research professor of immunobiology and pathology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and the president of the Robert Benjamin Ablin Foundation for Cancer Research.
Lisa Says: This is a great example of “skinny” does not necessarily equal “healthy”. In America’s concern over the obesity explosion and subsequent chronic diseases, we need to understand that the opposite extreme is exactly that – extreme. Look to balance the body and your health. Here is the article from the Washington Post.
Big in Japan? Fat chance for nation’s young women, obsessed with being skinny
By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, March 7, 2010
TOKYO — As women in the United States and across the industrialized world get fatter, most Japanese women are getting skinnier.
Still, many view themselves as overweight.
“I am quite fat, actually,” said Michie Takagi, a 70-year-old grandmother and retired clothing store executive. She has a body mass index (BMI) of 19.9, which is at the thin end of normal. While the average American woman has gained about 25 pounds over the past 30 years, Takagi has gained 4.5 pounds, typical for her age cohort in Japan, according to U.S. and Japanese government figures.
Skinnier still are Japanese women younger than 60, who were thin by international standards three decades ago and who, taken as a group, have since been steadily losing weight.
The trend is most pronounced among women in their 20s. A quarter-century ago, they were twice as likely to be thin as overweight; now they are four times more likely to be thin. For U.S. women of all ages, obesity rates have about doubled since 1980, rising from 17 percent to 35 percent.
Social pressure — women looking critically at other women — is the most important reason female skinniness is ascendant in Japan, according to Hisako Watanabe, a child psychiatrist and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo.
“Japanese women are outstandingly tense and critical of each other,” said Watanabe, who has spent 34 years treating women with eating disorders. “There is a pervasive habit among women to monitor each other with a serious sharp eye to see what kind of slimness they have.”
Public health experts say that younger Japanese women, as a group, have probably become too skinny for their own good. Restricted calorie consumption is slowing down their metabolisms, the average birth weight of their babies is declining, and their risk of death in case of serious illness is rising.
“I would advise these women to eat when they are hungry,” said Satoshi Sasaki, a professor of preventive epidemiology at the University of Tokyo School of Public Health. “They should be satisfied with a normal body.”
Fatter men and children
Japan has long been the slimmest industrialized nation, thanks, in part, to a diet that emphasizes fish, vegetables and small servings. But what makes people fat around the world — sedentary workplaces, processed food and lack of exercise — is also making many Japanese fat.
Adult men and children of both sexes are gaining weight at a pace that worries the government. A quarter-century ago, 20 percent of men in their 50s were overweight; now, 32 percent are.
Attempting to head off heart disease and other obesity-related illnesses, the government imposed waistline standards in 2007, requiring girth measurements at work-funded physical examinations and encouraging the rotund to diet and exercise.
Doctors say that for men, who are gaining weight in all age groups, the program makes considerable sense but that for adult women, it sends exactly the wrong signals. “The issue of skinny ladies is being overshadowed,” said Sasaki. “Middle-aged women have the mistaken view that they are all getting fat.”
Sakiko Ohno, a cosmetics wholesaler in Tokyo, is one of those worried women. She is 40 and has a BMI of 19.5 — low, but still in the normal range.
“I think I am very fat,” Ohno said repeatedly during an interview. “If I have a Starbucks muffin, that night I will skip rice and have vegetables.”
‘The critical eye’
Ohno, who is single, said women pay attention to their weight because Japanese men prefer petite women and because fashionable clothes are sized for thin women. “But the real reason why women want to be thin is so they can look at themselves in the mirror and compare themselves to other women,” she said.
Researchers have found that Japanese women in urban areas are significantly thinner than those in rural areas. In their first year of college, the weight of young Japanese women falls, unlike that of American women, which increases.
“When population density is high, women are busy checking out body weight,” Watanabe said. “They want other people to be fatter than themselves. It is complicated, competitive and so subtle. The critical eye is ubiquitous.”
Japanese government data show that since 1984, all age categories of women from 20 to 59 have become more thin (BMI of less than 18.5). The percentage of those women who are overweight (BMI over 25) has declined, as well. Women in their 60s have neither gained nor lost weight. The only group of women that has become slightly more overweight is those 70 and older, and that increase is about 2 percent.
Studies in Japan have found little evidence that rates of serious eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia, are higher in Japan than in the United States or Europe. But government-funded research studies have shown that many women of child-bearing age have a misconception of what it means to be overweight, with up to 40 percent saying that a normal BMI measurement of 20 or 21 looked fat to them.
Those studies have also found that daily calorie consumption among young women was often two-thirds of the average adult’s actual energy intake. Smoking rates among women in their 20s nearly doubled in the 1990s, jumping from 10 to 20 percent.
As in the United States and elsewhere, Japanese women are bombarded by media images of gorgeous, very thin women — and public health experts say they believe those images have played a substantial role in increasing pressure on Japanese women to be skinny.
The American response to such media images puzzles many people in Japan.
“In the United States, you see all these beautiful skinny people on television, and yet Americans keep getting fatter anyway,” said Sasaki, the public health expert at Tokyo University. “Why is that?”
Special correspondent Akiko Yamamoto contributed to this report.
Lisa Says: The Virginian Pilot printed my letter to the Editor today (copied below) in response to the front page article that ran 2/25 on “America’s ‘queen of coupons'”.
Virginian Pilot 12 March 2010 | 5:00 AM
No shortcuts to health
Re ‘Grocery coupon queen,’ front page, Feb. 25: The report shows the disconnect in understanding what gets us ‘sick’ and how to save real money.
Americans need to choose between saving pennies at the grocery store and promoting chronic disease or saving thousands in medical care and enjoying robust health.
The article lists items clinically shown to promote such issues as diabetes, obesity and cancer, and shortsightedly promotes using these products and lowering your food budget, while medical costs are bankrupting you.
But you can eat healthy foods you enjoy and save money at both the grocery store and the doctor’s office. With a little research, you can learn to stretch your food dollar with healthier choices.
Lisa G Hamaker, Co-Director, Hunger For Health
Here’s the original article that ran. ‘Nuff said.
America’s ‘Coupon Queen’ shares her supermarket savvy
By Carolyn Shapiro
© February 25, 2010
Susan Samtur stands in the cereal aisle and calculates.
A box of MultiGrain Cheerios normally costs $3.69. Harris Teeter supermarket has them on sale: two boxes for $5, or $2.50 each. Samtur has a coupon for 75 cents off, which the store will double, for a savings of $1.50. Her final price is $1.
The self-described “Coupon Queen,” who has written books on her grocery-shopping strategies, stopped Wednesday in Hampton Roads to demonstrate her skills at the Harris Teeter in north Suffolk. Up and down the aisles, she consults her coupon filing system, which her mother helped her make decades ago, as well as her shopping list and the store’s latest advertising flyer.
“This is another good one,” she says, heading toward the crackers. “They have the Ritz on sale for $2.99.”
Her coupon will take an additional $2 off the crackers with a purchase of any Coca-Cola product, so her cost for the Ritz comes to 99 cents. “I’ll always use Ritz crackers,” she explains. “I use them for crust when I’m baking.”
Her Harris Teeter visit is on Samtur’s East Coast supermarket tour. While preaching her gospel of grocery savings, she hopes to promote her fourth book, due this fall. On her Web site, she sells subscriptions to her quarterly magazine, Refundle Bundle, and a DVD called “Supershopping with the Coupon Queen,” which comes with an envelope of coupons worth $25 for the shipping price of $6.95, to cover costs, she says.
Samtur, 65, is a petite purchasing powerhouse, standing well under 5 feet. She has big eyes and a bigger Bronx accent, from her childhood in the New York City borough. A resident of Scarsdale, N.Y., her supermarket of choice at home is A&P.
Coupon competency requires preparation. Before shopping, Samtur says, she spends a half hour preparing a list, studying the store’s weekly flyer and comparing it against her pile of coupons to find the steepest discounts. For Harris Teeter, she also checked the chain’s Web site and other sources of online coupons. Some supermarkets don’t accept those, but Harris Teeter does.
Good coupon shoppers, Samtur says, must dispense with brand loyalty. They must forgo favorites for the best deal. In certain categories, such as laundry detergent, she has coupons for as many as 10 brands “because I don’t know what’s going to be on sale.”
In the dairy case, she gets six of Dannon’s Light & Fit yogurt cups Wednesday for 15 cents each. Harris Teeter had marked them down to 10 for $4, or 40 cents each. Samtur had a coupon for 75 cents off six, and Harris Teeter doubles coupons up to 99 cents. So that’s $2.40 in yogurt cups, less $1.50 with her coupon, for six for 90 cents.
Samtur grows excited about a can of Edge shaving gel on sale for $1.99. She has a 75-cent coupon, doubled for a savings of $1.50. “For 49 cents, where are you going to get a brand-name shaving cream?” she says.
She talks a mile a minute, scanning the shelves for sale prices and deals. Her keen eye catches freebies and value-added pitches that most shoppers would ignore.
She notices packages that say “20 percent more!” of a product for the same price as the usual size. She spots “free DVD” on a box of cereal – for five box “tokens,” the shopper can choose from a number of movies. She points out instant coupons attached to product packages, an offer of “free bananas” on a box of Nilla Wafers cookies, and a Tropicana orange juice carton that pitches “up to $15 savings.”
Samtur takes advantage of most of these deals. “Sometimes there are offers where you send away a part of your package and you get coupons back.”
Many of those coupons are for free items – no strings attached or other purchase required. Samtur’s file includes several of these. At Harris Teeter, she gets a $5.19 box of Cascade dish detergent and a $7.49 container of Folgers coffee – each for the price of a 44-cent stamp.
When Samtur reaches the cash register at Harris Teeter, she has a cartful of items culled from her list and a pile of coupons to match. While on tour, Samtur doesn’t actually buy the groceries. The store, which approves her visit ahead of time, returns items to the shelves and gives back her coupons.
The cashier rings her up at $156.93, including the savings from her VIC (Very Important Customer) frequent-shopper card, which gives her the in-store discounts. Then the store manager scans her coupons.
Her final total: $35.82. She saved 77 percent.
“The longer you do it, the better you get at it,” Samtur says, promising that any consumer can excel at coupon use. “It’s not like I have some special or unique gift.”