6 ways to lessen the gut-busting effects of your Thanksgiving binge

ThinkstockPhotos-76730742Thanksgiving is a holiday of gratitude and family, indulgence and indigestion. Embrace the former while ditching the latter with these actionable ways to limit your belly-bulging binge at this month’s high-calorie celebration of appreciation and appetite.

1. Stop training yourself to overeat at holiday meals. Yes, Thanksgiving food is awesome. Especially if you have a mom or grandma (or whoever the cooking guru is in your family) who blows out that spread like fireworks at a Katy Perry concert. But remember that it’s not the last meal you’ll ever have, and it shouldn’t be the first one of the day, either. Start the holiday by having a sensible, healthy and filling breakfast — like an egg white-and-spinach omelette with turkey sausage and mixed berries — so you’re not apt to snack all afternoon then dive into a piled-high plate of smorgasbord staples like you just got out of prison. Little piggies belong in a pen, not face-first in the pumpkin pie.

M2. Drink water to trick yourself into feeling full. Just like you do (or at least should do) at restaurants when you’re in danger of overeating, drink water before taking your seat for the main event. Baltimore-based certified strength and conditioning specialist Roy Pumphrey recommends “downing a giant glass of H2O about 30 minutes before the meal begins to help quell the hunger pangs for a fuller feeling.”

3. Choose protein and freens over heavy carbs. Unless you’re running a post-Thanksgiving marathon (or partaking in Dallas’ Turkey Trot), there’s no reason to stuff your face like Wilson Kipsang gunning for another medal. Fill your plate with the healthy proteins and greens available at your family’s fete and limit the space on your plate for waist-widening comfort foods like mac-and-cheese and creamy mashed potatoes.

“Many of a food binge’s adverse effects come from carbohydrate overloading and the subsequent ‘carb crash’ that occurs due to spikes in our insulin levels,” says Dr. Linda Anegawa, founder and medical director of OSR Weight Management. “I always advise my patients on Thanksgiving to go for lean white-meat turkey, green beans and salad, and avoid marshmallow-laden sweet potatoes, simple-carb dinner rolls and sweets.”

Adds Pumphrey, “The protein will fill you more and be more satiating than stuffing or bread. Plus you’ll feel less bloated and awful later.”

ThinkstockPhotos-865251894. Stay active. You exercise on ordinary days when your food intake is normal, so it only makes sense that you should fit in a workout before you settle in for this cornucopius supper.

“It is a busy time, but schedule into your calendar one hour of some type of physical activity daily,” Anegawa advises. “This won’t offset a giant food binge but it will help keep metabolism and appetite somewhat in check, and chances are you may not be as tempted to binge if you know you’ve put in the effort to exercise.”

5. Mind your alcohol and choose drinks wisely. For some, alcohol at holiday time is a special treat; for others, it’s a necessary coping mechanism to prevent a brutal bloodbath at the family manse. For whatever reason you partake in libations, choose your drinks smartly and set a limit on how much you’ll consume.

“If you must drink alcohol, enjoy a low-sugar, low-carb concoction,” says Anegawa. “Steer clear of cocktails with loads of simple syrup, such as premade mixes, and instead enjoy a vodka tonic made with Stevia-sweetened tonic or a glass of dry chardonnay.”

Red wine also is low(er) in calories compared to other types of booze, and packed with beneficial antioxidants when enjoyed in moderation. Two glasses is the sweet spot; any more than that and you’re entering iffy territory. As a general life rule, drink one glass of water — flat or carbonated — between alcoholic drinks to prevent from getting sloppy and waking up with a killer hangover.

6. Plan a post-binge fast to burn fat. After you’ve had your fill and finished the meal, it’s time to do damage control. As an alternative to exercise — because who wants to do that on a gluttonous gut? — prepare to fast for at least half a day.

“When you’ve just downed a big meal, making sure you fast for 16 hours right afterward is a good way to kick your body into fat-burning mode,” according to certified personal trainer Rui Li. “The simplest way is to skip breakfast so that half of your time fasting is during sleep.”

In other words, your body will start eating itself, which — let’s be honest, ye of expanding pants size — is a welcomed change of pace.

— Mikey Rox

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Five New Year’s resolutions you can still make — and achieve

New Year'S ResolutionsMade your New Year’s resolutions yet? Or perhaps you’ve already broken a few. No worries — making New Year’s resolutions is a tradition in which many of us partake but very few follow through. The reason for that annual abandonment of our would-be positive pursuits? We’re setting lofty, hard-to-obtain goals without any real plan of action. This year, think long and hard about your resolutions and how to reasonably achieve them — then chart out your plan of attack. Here are few ideas on what to concentrate on for resolution success in 2015, and a few common goals that aren’t worth your time or energy.

Save X dollars by X date. Instead of this year saying that you’re going to “save more money,” choose an actual dollar amount and make a list of real ways you can reach it. Perhaps you can cut a few non-essential expenses from your budget, have a portion of your paycheck direct deposited to your savings account, or take on a few side gigs or a part-time job if you have the extra time. It’ll also help to assign that savings goal to a specific intention, like paying off debt, making an investment, or going on vacation. By having a well-mapped outline of how you intend to stick to this resolution (with obtainable deadlines to meet), you’re much likelier to stay on track than if you broadly decide to simply “increase your savings.”

Read X books you’ve always meant to. Because I’m at my computer or on my phone all day, I get all of my news and other content online — and I’m sure plenty of you do, too. But while quick clips and snippets of current events are convenient, the Internet doesn’t compare to having a real book in your hands. Last year, instead of saying that I wanted to “read more books,” I set a goal of reading three new books from January to December. That may seem like a low number, but that’s what I decided I could reasonably handle (especially considering that I read zero books the year before). Because I had an actual figure in my head (with start dates for each book), I completed that resolution successfully. If you need more reasons to adopt this resolution and keep it, consider the fact that reading books has several scientifically proven health benefits, like stress reduction, memory improvement, and improved focus and concentration. You won’t hear anybody say that about spending the majority of your time surfing the web.

Set a specific fitness goal. Like the two resolutions above, generalizing your fitness-inspired declaration as “exercise more” is setting you up for failure. When will you start the new regimen? Do you have a workout partner? Why do you want to work on your fitness? Do you even have a gym membership? You can work all these questions out on your own, but the most important part of your resolution to get fit is to have a purpose and a plan for it. For instance, let’s say you want to participate in a 10K this year. If the race isn’t until May, you have five months to get your body ready for the 6.2-mile run.

To prepare, schedule the dates and times you plan to run (and treat it like any other appointment!) with a mini-goal of how many miles to reach each week. If you’re not in the greatest shape, start with one mile three times a week for a couple weeks, and gradually push yourself farther week after week until you’ve conditioned yourself to run a 10K.

Pick a bad habit to concentrate on curbing. Is there something you do that you don’t like about yourself? Perhaps it’s biting your fingernails, only brushing your teeth once a day, or maybe it’s drinking a bit too much. I was a longtime smoker who only quit last year, so I know how difficult it is to keep this resolution intact for a week, let alone an entire year. No matter the difficulty, however, if you want to change something about yourself, you first have to be conscious of it and then make a concerted effort to curb it. They say it only takes about three weeks to form a new habit, so if you can make your new habit not doing the old one before the end of January, you’re off to a great start.

Repair a relationship that’s broken. We’ve all hurt somebody’s feelings to the point that the relationship has been severely damaged (OK, maybe not all of us; I’m sure there are a few people left in the world who aren’t assholes), and most of us have been hurt badly enough that we’ve decided to steer clear of someone. It’s all part of real life. But if you want to repair a broken relationship, it’s possible — considering the other person feels the same way.

The first step is to consider the circumstances. Were you the offender or the offended? If you were the former, it’s your responsibility to reach out with your _genuine_ apology, only after you’ve accepted what you’ve done and are committed to keeping your apology free of “but”s. And what I mean by that is that it’s not a valid apology if you haven’t fully accepted the blame.

On the flip side, if you’ve been offended and you want someone to say they’re sorry to you, it’s OK to make it known that you’ve been hurt, but don’t expect the outcome for which you’re hoping. The other person’s apology is not up to you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. If they want to be part of your life, they will. If they don’t, good riddance.

— Mikey Rox

—  admin

‘Perform or provide’

DADT repeal gives progressive chaplains a chance to counter evangelical clergy in the military


CATCH-ALL CHAPLAIN | Chaplain Chris Antal (Lt.) attended the meeting of the Forum on Military Chaplaincy at Cathedral of Hope in October. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
When a soldier recently came to Chaplain Chris Antal, a lieutenant in the Army National Guard in New York and a Unitarian Universalist minister, and asked if he’d pray with her even though she was a pagan, he said he replied, “Of course I will, but you’ll have to show me how.”

Several weeks later, when he saw her again, she told him that the day she had come to visit him, she had hit rock bottom. He had, she told him, saved her life that day.

But Antal said he was only doing his job — helping any soldier who comes to him.

“I’ve earned the nickname, the Catch-all Chaplain,” he said, explaining that it means he takes everyone the other chaplains don’t want to deal with.


Capt. Tom Carpenter (ret.) and Col. Paul Dodd (ret.)

Being there to help a soldier in need is what it’s all about for a military chaplain, said Col. Paul Dodd, a retired chaplain who now lives in Austin.

“The duty of a military chaplain is to perform or provide,” said Dodd, adding that he once sponsored an Islamic conference.

Dodd said that no chaplain can perform every service needed by every member of the military. But if a chaplain can’t perform the service requested, he or she must provide that soldier with a referral to someone else who can.

Antal said that chaplains who enlisted knew what they were getting into — to some extent. But none of them really expected the repeal of the military’s anti-gay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. And for many, that repeal was a game changer.

In October, a group of active and retired chaplains and military personnel and other people of faith, such as the Rev. Steve Sprinkle from Brite Divinity

School in Fort Worth, met at the Interfaith Peace Chapel at Cathedral of Hope to begin looking at ways of addressing the issues that arose for military chaplains around DADT repeal.

Dave Guy Gainer said The Forum on Military Chaplaincy is not exactly new. It formed in 2005 as a project of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and worked under the radar until DADT was repealed.

Sprinkle said people in the Pentagon, up through Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, knew about their work and considered their statements throughout the DADT repeal process.

And now, with repeal complete, the group met to “come out.” At their meeting in Dallas, forum members considered ways to become an independent organization helping to ensure newly out service members receive the pastoral care they need while serving in the military.

Susan Gore, principle of The Mentor Group and editor of the book Coming Out In Faith, moderated the Dallas conference. She said the group started with several retired military officers “who wanted to push back against the far-right skew.”

Sprinkle has been part of the forum for four years and said he was recruited to participate because of his work on hate crimes.
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Sprinkle said, more and more members of the Chaplain Corps have come from just one school — Liberty

University, founded by far-right evangelical Jerry Falwell. Today, Sprinkle estimated, one-third of military chaplains come from Liberty University.

“They instituted a program that barely meets minimum requirements,” he said of the evangelical school. “It’s an online course.”

And, Sprinkle said, Liberty University’s goal is to take control of the Chaplain Corps and use the military as a pool for religious recruits.

“This is fertile ground to bring people to Jesus at taxpayer expense,” said Tom Carpenter, a retired Marine captain and one of the forum’s founders.

“I’ve heard stories of them holding the hand of someone who’s dying and trying to bring them to Jesus.”

And although such actions contradict military policy, no one in the corps has been disciplined or dismissed for it.

“They give chaplains a lot of leeway,” Carpenter said.

Gainer said the military is looking for well-rounded ministers who bring experience with them to the military.

According to the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School in Fort Jackson, S.C., candidates must be endorsed by their denomination or faith group and be “sensitive to religious pluralism and able to provide for the free exercise of religion by all military personnel, their family members and civilians who work for the Army.”

But Sprinkle said that Liberty University is transparent about its goals, and those goals do not line up.

“They’re not committed to pluralism or serving all the troops,” he said.

Gainer said that the greatest opposition to repealing DADT came from the Chaplain Corps because military chaplains answer to two groups — the military and their denomination. Those chaplains that didn’t adhere to a strict stance of maintaining the ban on gays and lesbians were threatened with losing their accreditation from their endorsing religious body — and with it their livelihood and their pensions.

But that contradicts the stated goals of the Chaplain Corps.

“Someone has to say, ‘Either you comply and serve all the troops all the time or get out,’” Sprinkle said.

Gore said that one of the goals of the newly public forum is to “rebalance the Chaplain Corps by bringing in more mainstream faiths.” She said that for many who come from more liberal traditions, questions of what’s a just war make it hard to serve in the military. Antal, for example, is one of just four Unitarian Universalists in the Chaplain Corps.

During its push for repeal of DADT, members
said, the forum had several successes working behind the scenes.

Despite the assumption of confidentiality between parishioner and clergy, that wasn’t always the case between gay soldier and chaplain. Dodd said that a number of discharges under DADT occurred after a soldier talked to a chaplain and the chaplain turned them in.

In fact, he wrote a white paper on the practice. After he submitted it, the military tightened up on chaplain confidentiality, Dodd said.

Carpenter, an attorney, wrote an amicus brief for the Log Cabin Republicans’ lawsuit against DADT. The court found in favor of declaring DADT unconstitutional, but Congress repealed the law before the decision could be enforced.

Carpenter said that the repeal allows gays and lesbians to serve with no protection. The legal decision, had it not been vacated upon repeal, would have allowed gays and lesbians to serve equally.

Now that DADT is gone, the forum is examining how to ensure LGB personnel receive the same services as other troops from chaplains.

Dodd said that right-wing chaplains charge that allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military will force them to act in ways that go against their beliefs. Some have said they would be required to perform same-sex weddings.

Dodd called that ridiculous. Chaplains are never asked to perform duties that go against their religious beliefs, he said.

“I turned down weddings,” he said. “An officer came to me who wasn’t divorced.”

He said the officer tried to pull strings and force the issue, but Dodd wasn’t going to discuss marrying someone who was still married to someone else.

“But we’re insisting chaplains have the authority, if it’s in keeping with their faith, to marry same-sex couples,” he said.

Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, the repeal provides no family benefits. For some issues, Dodd and Carpenter suggested work-arounds.

Issuing ID cards would be extremely helpful, especially to same-sex couples with children, Carpenter said, noting that “That way either parent could get on base to get a child to the hospital.”

In another example, joint assignments can be offered at the discretion of a commanding officer, and married couples are often assigned together when they both qualify for positions that are available at the same base. Same-sex couples could be given the same priority.

As the forum looks ahead, rebalancing the Chaplain Corps with members from a more diverse background to reflect the membership of the military is a priority.

“And we need to take care of our trans brothers and sisters,” Carpenter said.

The repeal of DADT did not address any transgender issues and does not allow transgender men or women to serve in the military.

Gainer believes representatives of the forum need to sit down with far-right members of the Chaplain Corps and agree to disagree. He said that before the repeal of DADT, they talked to people at Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. While both groups testified against the repeal, they met with some success.

“The president of the VFW in Pflugerville said it was the right thing to do,” Gainer said.

That dialogue, he believed, would help chaplains perform or at least provide a useful referral, rather than doing more damage to a soldier seeking help.

Gore thought that the focus of discussion should be with the majority of chaplains “who want to do a good job and are part of the moveable middle.”

“We have to convince administrators and educators in divinity schools to encourage some of their best and brightest to serve,” Sprinkle said. “So many schools dropped what they were doing during the Vietnam era.”

Antal thinks that gays and lesbians will gain more acceptance as they tell their stories in non-confrontational settings and others see “their identity as professional service members is primary.”

While the work of the forum will concentrate on helping LGB military personnel, creating a more diverse Chaplain Corps may help a majority of service members. Recent polls show that a majority of troops find the chaplaincy irrelevant.

Sprinkle called the work of the forum a gift from the LGBT community to the nation.

“You wouldn’t think we’d be the ones opening the doors so that all troops will be served with dignity, integrity and respect,” he said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.


—  Kevin Thomas

Dynamic duo

New partners Curtis Cook and Shane Friesenhahn shake their booty … camp

There’s the nursery rhyme that begins, “Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean… .” But apparently if Jack Sprat were in a same-sex relationship, it would be a fat-free household all the way around. Such is the case with this month’s fitness profile: Curtis Cook and Shane Friesenhahn. The lads have been together for just three months, but the real number that caught our eye was their collective body fat: 19 percent and shrinking by the day. How do they do it? Diet, exercise and rewarding a great workout with a sexy new swimsuit rather than a hot fudge sundae.

— Jef Tingley


Names and ages: Curtis James Cook, 24, and Shane Friesenhahn, 37.

Occupations: Cook: HAMP processor at Nationstar Mortgage; Friesenhahn: owner of Silk Sculptures, a floral design studio.

Length of relationship: Three months

Sports and activities: Pool volleyball and Dr. Peay’s Booty Camp

Exercise regime: Cook: I attend Dr. Peay’s Booty Camp two days a week and go to L.A. Fitness a couple times a week. When I go to the gym, I always do abs first, then either upper body or legs followed by 15 to 20 minutes of cardio. My workout usually totals around an hour to an hour and a half.  My goal is to go to the gym on my days off of [boot camp], but it doesn’t always happen.

Friesenhahn:  [Boot camp] five days a week, which consists of cardio, Plyometrics and light resistance training.

Upcoming fitness goals: Cook: I’m lean, but I want to be toned. My goal is a slightly bigger chest and defined mid section. I also want my body fat around 8 percent; as of the beginning of July it was 12 percent. I think my goal of toning up will automatically help me reach my body fat percentage goal.

Friesenhahn: I’m currently right below 8 percent body fat, but my new goal is to boast a “lean and mean” 6.5 percent — a little bones showing never looked so good! I will say that making better nutritional choices, mostly organic, really helps.

Best “eat this, not that” tip: Friesenhahn: Well, instead of Krispy Kreme donuts or a starchy cereal, I replace it with whole fruits such as blueberries, a Pink Lady apple or grapefruit. As for my sweet tooth, I am in love with organic crunchy peanut butter with a banana or a piece of gluten free bread that has live sprouted grains. I am also an avid believer in supplements including as astaxanthin, fish oil and many others.

Workout preference: mornings or evenings? Cook: I like both. I would like to work out in the mornings more, but it is just so hard to get up that early.

Friesenhahn: Evenings mostly, but just to mix it up I do like to attend the “crack of dawn” morning workouts as well.

How do you survive an outdoor workout in the Texas heat? Friesenhahn:  My exercise group works out in the shade, unless we are running the typical mile required. Everyone brings the essentials like water and Gatorade. Sometimes [our trainer] brings ice when it’s really hot. The main thing is to read your own body and take mini breaks to regroup. Other than that, I really enjoy sweating and releasing toxins.

Favorite spot in North Texas to exercise indoors: Cook: The L.A. Fitness by my work in Lewisville, because I don’t feel like I’m being cruised the entire time.

If you could become an Olympian in any sport, what would it be and why: Cook: I’ve always wanted to do gymnastics. The parallel bars and tumbling are my favorite. I even took tumbling private [lessons] for a month when I was 20 and learned a back handspring in only four sessions.

Friesenhahn: Ice figure skating. The blend of artistry and athleticism is super challenging. I used to roller skate my long drive as a kid and pretend I was practicing for the next Olympics!

How do you reward yourself for a great work out: Friesenhahn:  Two ways. First is a trip to Yumilicious. Then on to find an even more “skimpy” swimsuit to wear at the next pool get together.

Cook: I definitely don’t eat badly afterwards because then I feel guilty and it’s as if I just negated the entire work out. I reward myself by maybe buying something a little smaller and more fitting because I know I will look good in it. I also like to go lay out in my Speedo after a good week of working out because I feel confident with my body.  Basically I reward myself by showing it off.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Transgender goats and genetic manipulation

Intersex ‘goys’ created in New Zealand lab

Today I saw a headline online that immediately caught my attention: “Scientists create lady goats trapped in male bodies”.

My first question was, how do the scientists know the goats are trans? (The writer uses the term “transgender” in describing them.) How could the goats tell them?

I never claimed to be an expert on terminology involving gender variance and have recently discovered that I actually know far less than I thought did. But still, doesn’t being trans involve having a physical gender that does not match up with the individual’s mental, emotional and/or spiritual gender? And if that is at all accurate, how would a scientist know what a goat is thinking or feeling and be able to determine the animal is trans?

Then I read the article and realized that what they are really talking about are goats that have been genetically manipulated to be intersex. They have male genitalia, but are sterile and are otherwise female. The whole point to this scientific exercise, taking place at a genetic research institute in New Zealand, is to see if the genetically altered goats, called “goys,” are able to produce milk closer in makeup to human breast milk.

After reading the article — which is more of an opinion piece, by Stephen Messenger at TreeHugger.com, than a news story — I have to say I share some of Mr. Messenger’s concerns over this kind of “toying with nature.” I do understand the nature of science and experimentation and the need for new discoveries and inventions. But these “goys” are living, breathing, feeling creatures, and I don’t think that we have the right to manipulate their very beings that way.

(I had a bit of a problem with some of Mr. Messenger’s language, too. I wasn’t sure if he was horrified that these goats had been genetically altered for science, or if he was horrified at the thought of them being transgender/intersex.)

But I was interested in the questions this experiment raises in terms of the “nature or nurture” argument. It isn’t the same exact thing, of course, because these goats are intersex and trans (not gay or bi). Still, it is an example, once again, that gender isn’t as simple as some people want to believe it is.

—  admin

Body & Fitness • February 2009

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Body & Fitness Magazine • February 2009

—  Dallasvoice