Here’s How 8 Different Countries Officially Define What ‘Healthy Eating’ Is


To help Americans make healthier food choices, we have MyPlate: a simple graphic that explains how much of each food group to eat at every meal. The illustration, which replaced the MyPyramid graphic in 2011, is simple, easy to understand and endlessly customizable. 


But other countries have different ways to explain what makes a healthy meal. Have you ever heard of the food guideline seashell from Qatar, or the healthy eating pagoda from China


What’s fascinating about these illustrations is that despite the fact that they reflect unique historical and culinary traditions, they’re actually more alike than not, says Christopher Gardner, a nutrition scientist at Stanford Prevention Research Center.


“They are more similar than different in terms of which food groups fall into which proportions,” Gardner wrote in an e-mail to HuffPost. “Grains, veggies and fruits always fall into the largest categories.”


It sounds a lot like the pithy, and oft-repeated healthy eating mantra from food author and journalist Michael Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”


As you scroll through the different guides, ask yourself: Am I eating enough plant-based foods? How often am I really eating foods high in sugar, salt and fat (junk foods that are not even pictured in most food guideline illustrations)? And am I overlooking any foods from my culinary heritage that could fit into a pattern of healthy eating? 


Do you want to be more mindful about eating healthy foods that’ll keep your mind and body at their best? Sign up for our newsletter and join our Eat Well, Feel Great challenge to learn how to fuel your body in the healthiest way possible. We’ll deliver tips, challenges and advice to your inbox every day. 


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What Lab-Grown Human Hearts Could Mean For The Donor Crisis


Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have taken a big first step toward growing human hearts in a lab, which could possibly put an end to the national organ donation crisis.


The scientists stripped donor hearts of any cells that might cause recipients to reject them and then used stem cells to rebuild the tissue.


A study detailing the process sheds light on several key elements of bioengineering human heart muscle, said Dr. Harald C. Ott. He is an assistant professor in surgery at the hospital and a senior author of the study, which was published in the journal Circulation Research in the fall. 


“While limited in force, these were the first (tiny) beats of a newly formed, human stem cell derived heart,” Ott wrote last week in an email to The Huffington Post.


Scientists still have a ways to go until they can bioengineer whole functional hearts for patients, he added. Ideally, however, they one day might be able to grow an entire organ using the donee’s own cells and tissue.


“As with many developments, time is a factor determined by funding, man and brain power,” Ott said. “Our study shows that it is in theory possible, but much work remains to be done. As a first step, I do believe that parts of human hearts will become available sooner than whole heart grafts, and we are actively pursuing this option.”


Having that option would be life-saving, as there are 4,153 people across the U.S. who need a heart transplant — and last year, about 402 people died while on the waiting list for one, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.


Sometime in the future we will be able to grow hearts, or at least heart tissue to offset the bottleneck.”


Biologist Dr. Young-sup Yoon


The study involved 73 human hearts that had been donated through the New England Organ Bank. They weren’t suitable for transplantation but could be used for research purposes. The scientists used a detergent solution to strip away the hearts’ incompatible cells, leaving behind cardiac “scaffolds.”


Next, they turned adult skin cells into pluripotent stem cells, which can be transformed into any other cell found in the human body. The researchers induced the pluripotent cells to become cardiac muscle cells and then repopulated the remaining “scaffolds” with the new cells.


They mounted the hearts in an automated bioreactor system (see photo above) that added nutrients to the organs and applied certain stressors to them — conditions similar to those experienced by a real, living heart. After 14 days, the hearts resembled normal, immature organs and even responded to electrical stimulation.


Dr. Jacques Guyette, a postdoctoral research fellow at the hospital and lead author of the study, said in a statement that the researchers are planning to improve their methods even more.


“Regenerating a whole heart is most certainly a long-term goal that is several years away, so we are currently working on engineering a functional myocardial patch that could replace cardiac tissue damaged due [to] a heart attack or heart failure,” he said.


This technique is one of several being studied in hopes of someday providing patients with transplants that won’t be rejected, Fast Company reported. It also validates the feasibility of using human pluripotent stem cells in the future, said Dr. Young-sup Yoon, director of stem cell biology at the Emory University School of Medicine. 


“Most definitely, sometime in the future we will be able to grow hearts, or at least heart tissue to offset the bottleneck,” Yoon, who was not involved in the study, told HuffPost. “This study certainly provides a direction which may lead to such a future. … From this, we can identify that developing newer biomaterials would greatly enhance the viability of the approach, and needs further investigation.”


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Surviving the Insanity of Grad School as a Single Mom

It’s 1:00 A.M. and it’s finally quiet. By quiet I mean the baby, sorry, my 4-year-old is very loudly sawing logs next to me in the bed as I work on a tedious research paper. The screen brightness on my laptop is turned to almost nothing, which I’m sure really helps with my overall loss of night vision. My son usually isn’t in my bed, but tonight he is sick. Being a mom and a nurse is not a great combo in this scenario. Yes, it’s true, nurses don’t take their children to see the doctor unless its pretty emergent. I am no exception to this rule. However, we’ve seen so much that my sick children get direct eyes on them viewing, just in case. Tomorrow is a workday. Meaning, I rise at 5, and have my youngest out the door and on his way to daycare by 6:15 A.M. Silver lining, due to his persistent fever, he will be home, which means I will be home, which means no work for me. Tomorrow.


I have now, for the time being, classified my life into two categories. I know you’re thinking “before being married” and “after being divorced”. Very true. Those two could be spot-on for some single moms. But I am in grad school. So it is now, pre-grad school and during grad school.


Pre-grad school


I went to work and easily completed my few shifts a week. Sometimes I even picked up extra shifts. Don’t ask me why, but in my head I think of rainbows and butterflies and well just everything was a little calmer. Yes, I was still a single mom working, living solo, raising my three busy children all but every other weekend. So of course, there was still stress. However, if I had the time to go out with, a girlfriend for lunch, or even an occasional date I went. There was no, “Mommy has to study, dear,” or “No, I can’t bury cars in the dirt right now.” Or, “Yes, honey, I know I said we would look at Pinterest to learn how to paint a Fourth of July flag on your toenails, but I haven’t had time.” Or my absolute favorite — because you know kids are just awesome — “Mom, you mean you were too busy to notice that when you ordered me those shoes as a surprise, you accidentally hit the REGULAR SHIPPING versus PRIME SHIPPING BUTTON???” So that basically means it’s gonna be about six extra days right?” AND… Door slams. Isn’t that precious? And I wanted four kids. That’s cute.


During grad school.


There are zero days of non studying. There is always an assignment coming up or due. While managing my own homework, I’m also managing my two teens’ homework. Coupled with playing with my 4-year-old, usually during dinnertime. So that’s fun. Thankfully, it’s a two-year program and I’m starting to see the light. Things still get by me though. Like for instance, getting a $150 lunch balance notice from my daughter’s school. “Honey, you mean to tell me that you’ve never turned in any of the checks I’ve given you for school, like ever?” Of course, she loses them on the way to school. Perfect. So meanwhile her gracious school hasn’t called me one time and have basically been letting my daughter eat with an IOU stamped across her forehead. At this point, maybe they’ve even signed her up for a free lunch program. Who knows? I sometimes drop my kids off at school and appear homeless due to exhaustion and or paper writing. There’s no confusion on who is the diva mom with heels on and who is not. You get my point. This requires an extremely high-level of multi-tasking during this stressful time.


Here are my best tips thus far:


1. If you can, enter this grad school journey with another person. I have been lucky enough to start my program with a friend/coworker. I honestly don’t know if I would be able to do it if I didn’t have her to vent with. I am the only person who understands her rapid-fire email to the teacher about her 99.5/100 grade. That’s because I know exactly how long (13 hours) and hard she worked on that assignment, and if she’s going to miss half a point, there better be a damn good reason behind it.


2. Ask for help and hire out. This is the time to call Joe the yard guy and Felicia the cleaning lady for extra help. It’s also OK to let grandma come get the kids for an evening and not feel guilty if all you end up doing is sleeping.


3. Also let go of the guilt about only meeting your minimum work requirements. That’s right. Your extra shift a week has now turned into one extra shift every six weeks if that. Again, completely OK.


4. You will not make it without support. I will repeat that again. You will not make it without support. You don’t have the same support system at home as some of your other classmates do. This is a great time to fine-tune your village, or if you will, your people. While some will roll their eyes as you literally come running into the cafeteria just in time to catch the last 20 minutes of your son’s school play, don’t let it get to you. Your people will see the effort and send a smile and a wave over because they’ve saved you a seat.


5. It is hard. Very, very, hard. My school partner in crime always reminds me to keep my eye on the prize. If it was easy everyone could do it. Shockingly, there’s not a ton of statistical information on getting through grad school as a single mom. That’s because it’s hard as balls.


6. Lastly, remember why you’re doing it. Whether its more pay or a better outlook for your children. Perhaps you just want to add more letters to your title. Whatever the reason, whatever the case, I often find myself subconsciously and silently chanting my long time mantra of DOWIT. Do what it takes!


Which brings me back to the beginning. My 30-plus page paper did get completed that week, despite the six-day deadline. The best part, when I looked at my grade and it was a 97.5 I didn’t even flinch. I’ll take it.

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The Two “Other” Reasons Millennial Women Are Burning Out

Fast Company published an insightful article this week by Kelly Clay entitled “Why Millennial Women Are Burning Out.” The subhead referred to the fact that it wasn’t because they were becoming mothers. Shocking! In this time of endless conversations about work-life balance, that’s what we’re conditioned to assume. So why are these young women burning out?


Clay wrote that it’s mainly because of high expectations — both self-imposed as well as from their employers who demand 24/7 connectivity.


And there’s research behind the numbers. As Clay reports:


The trend of young women burning out by the age of 30 is very real and unfortunately common. A study by McKinsey shows that women account for 53% of corporate entry-level jobs, but women only hold 37% of mid-management roles. That number drops to 26% for vice presidents and senior managers, indicating a major gender disparity higher up the corporate ladder. As only 11% of women choose to leave the workplace permanently to have children, the other reason for this gap can be traced to high expectations that companies place on their employees in always-connected work environments.


This isn’t really news to anyone who’s been paying attention. And it certainly isn’t news to millennial women who are experiencing it first hand. And while I don’t doubt that the expectations from corporate America and its global counterparts are overwhelming for young women, I would argue that there are additional culprits worth mentioning.


Millennial women had to deal with two things growing up that my generation did not, which thrust these young women into adulthood and forced them to deal with a unique form of stress that started the burn-out process before they even set foot in those cool open-plan loft offices they all get to work in:


1. Transformation of high school from “the end of childhood” to “the beginning of adulthood.”


When I was in high school in the 80s, we were still kids. It is well-documented (and there are countless articles about it in The Huffington Post) that kids today are having an entirely different high school experience due to the unprecedented pressure they feel to make everything they do “college worthy.” And to figure out how the hell their college education will be paid for and what kind of suffocating debt they’re going to graduate with. The game has changed drastically, and because the rules — at least the ones that are clear — favor the extreme overachievers who consider down-time a waste of time, the result is stress levels that my peers and I could only imagine when all we really had to worry about was being “well-rounded” and making sure we didn’t skip our Princeton Review class to get stoned or go to our jobs at the record store. Sure, my peers and I wanted to get into college. And sure, we worked hard in school and collected extracurriculars like so many Benetton sweaters. But, please, don’t argue about it. It was different.


2. Proliferation of and obsession with social media.


True, there are a lot of wonderful things about social media. In fact, as soon as this article is published you can bet your mother’s BlackBerry I’m going to share it on Facebook (yes, I’m old), Twitter, and Instagram. But the downside of the Snapchat culture is clear. The constant social pressure to share, like, be liked, be validated, be followed, and create a life worth sharing is exhausting. Sure, it’s how Millennials grew up. It’s how they breathe. But still, it’s exhausting.


So now you have a young woman in her 20s. She has busted her ass to be the perfect college candidate/do well in college/get a good job. Throughout, she’s been dealing with the societal pressures of creating a social media presence among countless platforms/of keeping up with the Kardashians/of styling her dinner plate, all the time being socialized with the ideas (ideals?) that not only does she have to be a “good” mother (if she chooses to become a mother, and if she doesn’t she better come up with a good reason to tell the countless nosies who will ask), but she also has to “lean in” and have work-life balance and find a partner who will share the load and make sure she has enough “me” time so she doesn’t burn out.




It’s too late. She’s already burned out. When your path to burnout begins around the same time you get your period, do you ever really have a chance of hanging in for the long run? Until we rein in the pressure that’s going on in high school and until we rein in the pressure going on in those blinking/beeping/buzzing squares of joy/misery in our pockets, our young female workplace is screwed.


No wonder they’re leaving the workplace. But isn’t there the chance that by doing so they’ll create a new work culture? That their exodus doesn’t necessarily have to be described as shocking or disappointing because of the void it leaves in our unsustainable corporate framework? That perhaps it could be described as exciting and welcome because of the new normal it could lead to?


Just as long as that doesn’t put more pressure on them.


Susie Orman Schnall is a writer and author who lives in New York with her husband and three young boys. Her award-winning debut novel On Grace (SparkPress 2014) is about fidelity, friendship, and finding yourself at 40. Her second novel, The Balance Project: A Novel (SparkPress 2015), is about work-life balance and is inspired by her popular interview series The Balance Project. Visit Susie’s website for more information.

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Supreme Court Steps In To Keep Louisiana Abortion Clinics Open


The Supreme Court on Friday blocked a Louisiana law that threatened to close all but one of the state’s abortion providers, mere days after hearing a major abortion rights case from another state.


In a short order, the nation’s highest court effectively halted a state law that required all doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the clinic.


That provision is nearly identical to one the justices considered Wednesday, when they heard oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case from Texas that could determine the fate of similar abortion regulations in a number of conservative states. 


The court’s action Friday coincided with the justices’ scheduled private conference, in which they preliminarily cast their votes in the cases heard during the week. A decision in Whole Woman’s Health is not expected until June.


The court did not indicate which justices agreed to keep the Louisiana law on hold. Only one justice, Clarence Thomas, noted his dissent and would have allowed the admitting privileges requirement to be enforced.


Still, it is likely the justices’ deliberations in the Texas case informed what to do in the Louisiana one, which is still going through the appeals process.


In January and following a six-day trial, a federal judge ruled that the Louisiana law, signed by former Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) in 2014, unduly burdened the right to choose of “a large fraction of Louisiana women of reproductive age seeking an abortion” and prevented the law from taking effect. 


But an appeals court last week allowed the law to move forward, sending local clinics into crisis mode, since many of their doctors had trouble obtaining the required admitting privileges or were still in the process of obtaining them.


The Supreme Court’s reprieve on Friday appears to have given them a sigh of relief. The court’s action keeps clinics open at least until the formal appeal moves through the lower court. 


“Our Constitution, along with nearly half a century of legal rulings, is clear that women have the right to make critical decisions about their life and health without interference from politicians,” Nancy Northup said in a statement. Northrup is the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is litigating the case.

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Distracted Drivers Are Even More Dangerous Than You Thought


You probably know that texting while driving isn’t safe. But you may not be aware that distracted driving in its many forms is one of the greatest threats to driver safety, according to public health experts. 


New Virginia Tech research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that when drivers engaged in distracting activities — including crying, reaching for objects and interacting with others in the car — they more than doubled their risk of crashing. 


“These findings are important because we see a younger population of drivers, particularly teens, who are more prone to engaging in distracting activities while driving,” Tom Dingus, lead author of the study and director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, told The Huffington Post in an email. “Our analysis shows that, if we take no steps in the near future to limit the number of distracting activities in a vehicle, those who represent the next generation of drivers will only continue to be at greater risk of a crash.”


For the study, the researchers used the Transportation Institute’s naturalistic driving method, which uses technology — including radars, sensors and cameras — that is put in vehicles to collect real-world data and analyze drivers performance on the road. 


The researchers examined data from 3,500 drivers over a three-year period, pulled from across six collection sites in the U.S. They documented 1,600 crashes, including 905 more high-severity crashes, during that time. Using the naturalistic driving technique, they were also able to document the factors that led to the crashes. 


Aside from using a cell phone while driving, here are some of the other distractions that were found to greatly increase crash risk: 


      Reading or writing


      Reaching for an object other than a phone


      Using a touchscreen on a GPS or other vehicle technology 


      Driving while angry, sad, crying or highly emotional




      Interacting with an adult or teen passenger 


The researchers compared the crash rates of distracted drivers and model drivers (those who were determined to be “alert, attentive and sober”) to determine the increased crash risk. Based on analysis of six seconds of pre-crash video examined they found that 68 percent of the more than 900 severe crashes involved some type of observable distraction.


“We found in this analysis that, next to impairment, distraction is the greatest detriment to driver safety,” Dingus told HuffPost. “Distractions that take the driver’s eyes away from the roadway the longest — such as visual-manual tasks — greatly increase a driver’s crash risk.”


Surprisingly, the researchers found that applying makeup and following a vehicle too closely — factors which have previously been associated with an increased rate of accidents — were not found to significantly factor into crashes. They also found that drivers who had a child in the car were actually less likely to have an accident.


“It is our hope that our conclusions will better inform policymakers, driver educators, law enforcement agencies, vehicle designers, and the general public about the risks of various sources of impairment, error, and distraction,” Dingus said, “so that appropriate actions can be taken to help reduce such risks.” 


Also on HuffPost: 


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Chrissy Teigen Defends Choice To Have A Daughter Against Twitter Backlash


Chrissy Teigen is so ready for John Legend to become a dad to their baby girl. 


The 30-year-old, who has been busy promoting her cookbook Cravings, told People magazine that she picked out the embryo when trying to get pregnant using in vitro fertilization.  


“I think I was most excited and allured by the fact that John would be the best father to a little girl. That excited me,” she said. “It excited me to see … just the thought of seeing him with a little girl. I think he deserves a little girl. I think he deserves that bond. A boy will come along. We’ll get there too, so it’s not like we really have to pick.”


This is the first child for Teigen and Legend, who met in 2007 and married in 2013. The two dealt with fertility struggles and Teigen has been vocal about being respectful of women by not asking an invasive question like “When are the kids coming?” 


But after opening up about her choice, she received some backlash on Twitter. 












Sigh, Internet. Sigh.  




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