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For the Love of Summer

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Make the most of the warm-weather months with these ideas for discovering more summer joy:

GENERAL

  • “8 Ways to Channel Your Inner Child This Summer”
  • “10 Tips for Your Best Fourth of July”
  • “50 Ways to Make the Most of Summer”
  • “The Green Hour”
  • “17 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life”
  • “A Safer Splash”
  • “The Living Experiment: Summer”
  •  Entertaining and educational podcasts at Life Time Talks

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

  • “21 Books to Read Over a Long Weekend”
  • “Escapist Reading”
  • “4 Ways to Find a Hobby”
  • “7 Tips to Awaken Your Inner Sherlock”
  • “10 Podcasts to Listen to While Sheltering in Place”

WELLNESS

  • “5 Tips for Healthy Sun Exposure”
  • “The Benefits of Forest Bathing”
  • “5 Wellness Trends to Embrace This Summer”
  • “Which Sunscreen Is Right for You?”
  • “Find a Better Way to Treat Allergies”
  • “Want to Feel More Body Positive? Get Out in Nature”

HOME AND ENVIRONMENT

  • “How to Create a Low Mosquito Garden”
  • “An Herb Garden for Beginners”
  • “The Keeping-It-Real Garden”
  • “How to Start Composting”
  • “7 Ways to Green Your Yard With Less Water”

FOOD

  • “5 No-Cook Summer Meals”
  • “Summer Sipping”
  • “Summer Vegetable Pickles”
  • “How to Eat Well When You’re Camping”
  • “The Case for Seasonal Eating”
  • “How to Quick-Preserve Tomatoes”
  • “Old Flavors, New Soul”
  • “A Better BBQ”
  • “How to Cook With Summer Berries”
  • “A Taste of the Earth”

FITNESS

  • “Your Seasonal Fitness Guide”
  • “16 Ways to Move More”
  • “50 Tips for Taking Your Fitness Outside”
  • “Outside Options”

EXPLORATION

  • “Going It Alone”
  • “Find Nature Near You”
  • “Homeward Bound: Staycation”

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Health & Fitness

Small Shifts to the USDA Dietary Guidelines

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The recent updates to the USDA nutrition guidelines recommend lowering sugar and alcohol intake and opting for breastfeeding over infant formula.

Every five years, a government-appointed committee draws up a national healthy-eating menu. Since the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans was issued in 1980, this nutritional advice has been broadly focused on our health, but it also affects food-stamp policies and school-lunch menus.

It influences processed-food formulations for the food-manufacturing industry, as well — and this is where politics and big business enter in.

More than half of the members of the panel formulating the 2020–2025 guide have food-industry ties. And those involved in adding first-ever advice for pregnant mothers and toddlers are all connected to baby-food makers.

“My concern is that these guidelines, heavily influenced by the food and beverage industry, will dictate what kinds of food are offered at schools and set the eating habits of children, particularly Black and brown children, for the rest of their lives,” says pediatrician Yolandra Hancock, MD, an obesity expert at George Washington University’s Milken Institute of Public Health.

Despite her own reservations, Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, has been pleasantly relieved by this panel’s work. “I was concerned about this when the committee was first appointed because so many of the members had worked with companies making products high in sugar, salt, and fat. But the committee surprised me. It stuck to the science and came out with recommendations quite consistent with previous recommendations, but even more restrictive.”

Among the new guidelines:

  • The committee reduced the recommended limit for alcoholic drinks from two to one daily.
  • The panel advised lowering daily consumption of added sugars by 40 percent, cutting intake from 12.5 to 7.5 teaspoons, or a maximum of 120 calories or 30 grams.
  • For the first time, the guidelines recommended breastfeeding versus infant formulas, stating that being breastfed “may reduce” the risk of obesity, type 1 diabetes, and asthma.

For her part, Nestle — who served on the 1995 committee — recommends the dietary guidelines be taken with a grain of salt compared with our own intuitive common sense.

“I always have concerns about the guidelines’ increasing complexity — it’s now 835 pages,” she says. “From my standpoint, [journalist] Michael Pollan’s seven-word mini-haiku takes care of things quite nicely: ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’”

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