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Bon Voyage to Muscle Aches & Pains:
Expert Tips for Pain-free Travel

According to a new national survey, almost half of all frequent travelers assume that discomfort and pain are an unavoidable part of their travel experience. That's not surprising since 1 out of 3 travelers report having stiff or sore muscles almost every time they travel. But there's good news: we've polled more than 1,000 frequent travelers to compile their tried and tested tips on how they keep muscle aches and pains from getting in the way of where they need to go.

  • KEEP ON MOVING! Sitting in the same position for long periods of time can cramp muscles and make joints sore. Whether taking a trip to the restroom or taking a stroll along the aisles of the plane, keeping your joints and muscles in motion every 1-2 hours will reduce the likelihood of cramping and soreness once you once arrive. When on the road, take advantage of frequent snack and bathroom breaks at rest stops to stretch the muscles of your legs and back.
  • TURN UP THE HEAT! Frequent travelers rated heat wraps as one of their favorite ways to cope with travel pain. Before you settle in for the long flight or car ride, put on a portable, air-activated heat wrap like Thermacare on your pain-prone regions. The wraps stay warm for up to eight hours for soothing pain relief. ThermaCare comes in different sizes for the neck, arms, back and knees – so you can find the wrap that works best for your pain. Studies suggest that heat increases blood flow, which helps to decrease stiffness, relax sore muscles and provide soothing comfort.
  • HANG LOOSE! Airline seats and car seats are cramped enough, so you don't need stiff jeans or tight constricting shirts to make it worse! When possible, wear comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothes made of breathable fabrics (100% cotton is the best) when taking long trips. If you have a meeting or work event to attend immediately after arrival, it may be worth the extra comfort to hop into a restroom for a quick wardrobe change after you reach your destination.
  • QUENCH YOUR THIRST! Almost 60% of frequent travelers recommend drinking water to relieve stiffness or soreness while traveling. Stuffy, dry and re-circulated air on planes can leave your body dehydrated and make you prone to headaches and muscle aches. Keep a bottle of water or juice handy and drink frequently.
  • GET YOUR ZZZ'S! Most frequent travelers (57%) complain that pain and discomfort prevents them for sleeping while traveling. Their advice? Bring your own pillow! There's no quicker way to a stiff neck than sleeping upright without neck support or worse, with those flat, foamy airline pillows. Carry-on travel neck pillows can provide much-needed neck support on cramped flights. On the road, drivers should try a lumbar (lower back) support pillow to avoid back strain, while passengers can re-create their own bedroom experience by bringing along their standard-sized pillow from home.
  • KEEP TO A TWO DRINK MINIMUM! Complimentary alcoholic beverages may be tempting, especially for long flights, but too much alcohol can leave you with headaches and dehydration. That's why the frequent travelers we surveyed report limiting alcohol consumption as one of the ways to help relieve travel-related aches and pains.


Downloadable Exercise Tips to Perform In-flight Help Prevent Blood Clots

High travel season is upon us and with that comes increased health risks to travelers from colds and flus to the risk of developing a blood clot known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. To help minimize the risks for the more than 2 million Americans who will travel on or around the Thanksgiving holiday, and all throughout the year, Ames Walker.com has developed a podcast of upper body and leg exercises to help prevent blood clots from forming during extended air travel.

The MP3 podcast, as well as other helpful tips on how to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), is available at www.economyclasssyndrome.net.

A DVT is a blood clot (thrombosis) that forms in the deep vein system of the lower leg – usually between the ankle and the upper calf – and can form from sitting for extended periods of time. The condition is serious, potentially fatal, and very difficult to diagnose by external examination. Symptoms, if they occur, might include muscle tension in the lower leg, a dull ache or sudden painful tear, or a cramp in the calf with swelling and elevated body temperature.

"The myth about DVT is that it is more likely to strike the elderly or those with poor health," said Paul Amatangelo, co-owner and executive vice president, marketing and sales for Ames Walker International. "While those suffering with poor circulation either independently or related to diabetes or other ailments are very much at risk – recent science is indicating that those in better than average health, for instance, marathon runners are at great risk. By downloading the podcast, and performing the stretching exercises in-flight, travelers can reduce their risk of developing a blood clot."

The podcast can also be found at iTunes and podcast.net, and is available for placement on travel and health related media sites, as a public service from Ames Walker.com.

For more information, visit www.economyclasssyndrome.net or www.ameswalker.com.


Robeks celebrated the opening of their 100th store, in Los Angeles, on November 9, 2006. Seen here cutting the ceremonial "straw" are Robeks' founder David Robertson; franchisee Moe Nariman; CEO Sheri Miksa; Presidential Master Chef Talli Counsel; Field Deputy to the Speaker of the California Assembly David Meza; and from the office of Mayor Villaraigosa, Carlos Santini. The newest store is located at 3742 S. Figueroa Street, across from the USC campus.

Award-winning trade show embraces
tasty global foods market

Healthy Ethnic Foods Pavilion to debut at Natural Products Expo West 2007

From tacos to pad thai, dhal to capers, shoppers and chefs nationwide are exploring the marketplace for new ethnic tastes to satisfy their “frequent-flier” palettes. This unabated interest in ethnic food is driving grocery stores and foodservice establishments to diversify their offerings and provide a more global approach. Filling the gap for retailers will be the new Healthy Ethnic Foods pavilion at Natural Products Expo West 2007.

The flavorful intersection of authentic ethnic food and health & wellness, the Healthy Ethnic Foods pavilion will offer companies at the nation’s largest natural and organic products trade show, Natural Products Expo West, the opportunity to meet buyers and do business in an area focused on the diversity of offerings now available in ethnic foods. Natural Products Expo West, produced by New Hope Natural Media, runs March 9-11, 2007, in Anaheim, Calif.

“Nearly $1 of every $7 spent on food groceries in this country goes to ethnic foods,” said Alan Peterson, senior vice president of New Hope Natural Media’s Trade Show Group. “Ethnic foods aren’t just a passing trend. They are a way of life for most consumers today. New Hope is proud to play a role in launching new healthy ethnic food products and connecting long-time producers with new sales opportunities.”

The U.S. ethnic foods market is estimated at $75 billion in annual sales, and healthy, natural and organic foods play a growing role in that market.

A recent study by the Hartman Group, a market research firm, shows that Asian-American and Latino consumers are more likely to buy organics than Caucasian shoppers. Although the greatest number of organic shoppers are white, when considered proportional to population size, the study finds that Latino customers are actually more likely to purchase organic items.

“Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, so their interest in organics represents a huge marketing opportunity for not only traditional natural products retailers but also companies that make new, healthier versions of more familiar products,” says Peterson. “And then there are Italian, Cajun, Middle Eastern and foods. We’ll bring all of these ethnic specialties together under one roof.”

Vendors exhibiting in the Healthy Ethnic Foods Pavilion will reach more than 10,000 qualified buyers, including mass market stores, specialty stores, natural products retailers, restaurants, independent grocers and brokers.

Natural Products Expos have led the natural and organic products industry for over 25 years. Ranked among the top 100 U.S. trade shows by Tradeshow Week for several years running, Natural Products Expo West continues to grow at a rate of 18 percent, attracting some 43,000 attendees from more than 80 countries around the globe.

For more information about Natural Products Expo West and the Healthy Ethnic Foods pavilion, visit www.expowest.com or call (303) 390-1776.

by Bonnie Carroll

I am always interested in new organic foods that hit the market, and some are quite good, but others have been a disappointment, however, these new dishes by Fairfield Farm Kitchens are simply outstanding!!! The organic options include deliciously prepared recipes of organic chicken and beef, with rice, vegetables and pasta accompaniments. Do yourself a favor and go to www.fairfieldfarmkitchens.com to find a store near you who carries these great new health food meals that go nicely from freezer to microwave. Bon Appetit!!

Frozen Meal

From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: The marketing of soda to school kids was a big item in the news this past year. What’s so bad about soda and where can I find healthier alternatives that still have the “fizz?”
-- Chase Abromovitch, via e-mail

Soft drinks can be found most anywhere in the world, but nowhere are they as ubiquitous as in the United States, where 450 different types are sold and more than 2.5 million vending machines dispense them around the clock, including in our schools. The American Beverage Association says that, in 2004, 28 percent of all beverages consumed in the U.S. were carbonated soft drinks.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises a 2,000 calorie-a-day limit as part of a healthy lifestyle, and no more than 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar. However, between 1994 and 1996 Americans were averaging about 20.5 teaspoons a day, or 68.5 pounds of sugar a year. Over the past 16 years, the amount of sugar in American diets has increased by 28 percent, with about a third of it coming from soft drinks. A single 12-ounce can of soda has around 13 teaspoons of sugar, usually in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.

Some nutritionists say that consuming high-fructose corn syrup causes weight gain by interfering with the body’s natural ability to suppress hunger feelings. Currently, 64.5 percent of adults over the age of 20 are overweight, 30.5 percent are obese and 4.7 percent are severely obese. According to Dr. Sonia Caprio, a Yale University professor of pediatric endocrinology, “The reality is that there is epidemiological work done in children as well as adults that links obesity and Type 2 diabetes with the consumption of sodas.”

In response to such concerns, the nation’s largest beverage makers -- including Cadbury Schweppes, Coke and Pepsi -- agreed in May 2006 to halt nearly all soda sales in public schools. Beginning in 2009, elementary and middle schools will sell only water and juice (with no added sweeteners), plus fat-free and low-fat milk. High schools will sell water, juice, sports drinks and diet soda. Diet sodas use artificial sweeteners, which add little or no calories, though some, such as aspartame, have been embroiled in controversy for years over their questionable health benefits and even possible links to cancer.

Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, lauded the move in a an appearance on The Early Show: “Soft drink companies have been marketing what we call liquid candy in high schools and some middle schools for many years now. It will be great to get rid of them.”

For those who can't do without their soda pop, natural varieties are growing in popularity and can be found at most health food markets. Many use cane juice to sweeten, because it is less processed but has many of the nutrients found in sugar cane. Others add no sweetener and instead let the real fruit ingredients do the job. Popular brands include: Steaz, a less carbonated but flavorful drink available in eight flavors; R.W. Knudsen fruit spritzers, which contain only sparkling water and natural flavors and juices and come in 16 flavors; Santa Cruz Organic sodas, which taste like fresh fruit juice with light carbonation and are made with organic ingredients in 10 flavors; Izze, which offers seven flavors that contain 100 percent pure fruit juice and sparkling water; and WaNu beverages, which taste like slightly less carbonated mainstream sodas.

CONTACTS: American Beverage Association, www.ameribev.org; Center for Science in the Public Interest; www.cspinet.org/new/200605031.html.

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.

© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved