Blog Posts by SHAPE magazine

  • Is Coconut Butter the New Coconut Oil?

    by Mike Roussell, Ph.D., SHAPE Diet Doctor

    Is coconut butter the new coconut oil?Is coconut butter the new coconut oil?

    Coconut oil is currently a very popular oil for cooking and arguably the go-to fat source for Paleo diet devotees. Coconut oil spinoffs have also gained popularity, with the most prominent being coconut butter.

    However, there are some differences, both nutritionally and culinary, between the butter and oil versions that you should know before digging in.

    Coconut oil is pure fat. And despite the name, it will usually be solid and opaque-not liquid-in your cupboard. This is because it's made up of more than 90 percent saturated fats, which solidify at room temperature. It's also different than other oils in that less than 60 percent of the fats in coconut oil are medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), compared to longer-chain fatty acids in olive oil or fish oil. MCTs are unique, as they are passively absorbed in your digestive tract (unlike other fats which requires special transport/absorption) and thus are readily used as energy. These

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  • The Other Woman: Why Female Friendships Matter

    by Kristen Aldridge for Shape.com

    Why your female friendships are so valuableThe Other Woman, in theaters Friday, tells the story of three very different women-Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton-who think they've found the love of their lives.

    Unfortunately, that guy is the same for all three of them. In the film, the trio forms an unlikely alliance to take down the lying, cheating SOB that three-timed them. The script is hilarious, features Hollywood hunks like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Taylor Kinney, but above all else, it's a film about friendship.

    "We're trying to put it out there that women can be there for one another," says Diaz. "Women don't have to hate other women. You can celebrate other women's beauty. We should be there for one another when we need it, and we can help each other through things, especially tough times-even when it's the same man that all three just broke up with!" In fact, in quite fitting fashion, the on-screen camaraderie between the leading ladies carried over off-screen too. "We justRead More »from The Other Woman: Why Female Friendships Matter
  • Is Caffeine Turning You into a Monster?

    by Cristina Goyanes for Shape.com

    Is your daily Starbucks run turning you into a caffeine-fueled rage monster?Is your daily Starbucks run turning you into a caffeine-fueled rage monster?

    Whenever you need to bring your A-game at work or in life, you may reach for your not-so-secret weapon at your fave coffee house. In a Shape.com poll of 755 readers, nearly half of you admitted to drinking more coffee than usual (up to two cups) when you need to stay alert, focused, and productive.

    And while the caffeine boost may seem to help combat stress at first, it may also push you to move too fast and too furious (seriously, why are you mad?), which can ultimately sabotage your performance.

    When you're feeling lots of pressure to perform mentally or physically, your body begins to produce cortisol, the primary stress hormone. That sounds bad, but cortisol isn't the enemy. We need it to function, especially at times when it's imperative to act quick and be resourceful, which explains why so many Americans may be addicted to being stressed. This probably seems insane, but stress often helps you power through the hardest days at work. Add

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  • Is Self-Confidence at an All-Time Low?

    by Alanna Nuñez for Shape.com

    Easy ways to boost your self-confidenceEasy ways to boost your self-confidence

    Research has shown that seeing idealized images of thin, flawless-looking supermodels and celebritiescan make women feel bad about themselves. But a new survey from German beauty company Braun suggests that women feel judged every day, regardless of the situation.

    Some of the instances in which women don't feel they "measure up"? Dropping their kids off at school, giving a presentation at work, and shopping. Yikes!

    Everyone has a down day once in a while, but in a world where women are arguably enjoying more success than ever, why do so many feel so bad about themselves?

    To start, we live in a culture that perpetuates judgment based on looks and weight, says Jennifer Lombardi, executive director of the Sacremento-based Eating Recovery Center of California. It starts early, with children as young as five learning that being "thin" or "skinny" is good and being "fat" is bad, she says.

    Then add that we live in the golden age of the 24-hour news

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  • You've Been Breathing Wrong Your Entire Life

    by Locke Hughes for Shape.com

    How to breathe your way to a better body, mind, and lifeHow to breathe your way to a better body, mind, and life

    Although you've been breathing since the moment you were born, you've probably been doing it all wrong. "We're all born knowing how to inhale and exhale correctly, but with today's technology, hurried schedules, and everyday stress, most of us have lost that ability," says Belisa Vranich, Psy.D., author of the new book, Breathe: 14 Days to Oxygenating, Recharging, and Fueling Your Body & Brain. "As a result, most of us 'under-breathe' in a dysfunctional way." And this dysfunctional breathing can make you feel winded during CrossFit or after climbing a few flights of stairs, no matter how fit you are. Oxygen is fuel, and part of feeling fatigued during exercise has to do with not fueling our cells well enough through our breath. "You can have the heart and cardiovascular system of an elite athlete but the lungs and breathing muscles of a total couch potato," Vranich says. Fortunately re-learning the right way to breathe is easy. The first step is Read More »from You've Been Breathing Wrong Your Entire Life
  • How Stress Can Increase Your Risk of Infertility

    by Charlotte Hilton Andersen for SHAPE.com

    Can't get pregnant? Don't stress out!Can't get pregnant? Don't stress out!

    If you want to have a baby but are having a hard time conceiving, don't stress out-doing so may only make it even harder to grow a bun in the oven, new research says. According to a study published today in the journal Human Reproduction, the higher a woman's levels of alpha-amylase-an enzyme in saliva that indicates stress-the lower her chances of conceiving. In fact, the most stressed-out ladies had double the risk of having unexplained infertility, defined as having unprotected sex for 12 months and still not becoming pregnant.

    Stay calm, though: The scientists emphasize that this study is about giving infertile couples more information and more options to try. "Eliminating stressors before trying to become pregnant might shorten the time couples need to become pregnant in comparison to ignoring stress," says Germaine Buck Louis, the study's principal researcher.

    RELATED: The Fertility Facts You Must Know

    This is exactly why Read More »from How Stress Can Increase Your Risk of Infertility
  • 5 Weird Remedies for Neck and Back Pain

    by Rachel Sturtz for Shape.com

    These remedies for neck and back pain really work!These remedies for neck and back pain really work!

    Talk about a pain in the neck: Two-thirds of Americans 18 to 34 years old have had chronic pain, or know someone who has, in the past year alone, according to an American Osteopathic Association survey, and neck pain was third on the list of trouble spots. Neck and upper-back pain is mostly caused by stress and ergonomics (how we sleep, sit, and work), says Manhattan-based massage therapist John Ellsworth. Which means the torment is treatable.

    And since more than half of the people surveyed confessed they might not seek professional help for discomfort, here are five DIY ways to say sayonara to soreness.


    1. Sleep in a scarf: "More than 80 percent of your body heat comes from muscular contraction. When you're cold, your muscles tighten slightly to generate heat," Ellsworth says. Your neck is uniquely exposed at night, especially when you're covered in blankets, robbing your neck muscles of the chance to rest, recover, and heal like the rest of your Read More »from 5 Weird Remedies for Neck and Back Pain
  • Everyone's Clamoring for Lollipop Kale

    by Keri Gans for SHAPE.com

    Lollipop kale is now a thing!Lollipop kale is now a thing!

    What do you get when you cross kale and Brussels sprouts together? A lollipop. And no, this isn't your typical sugary lollipop but rather a small bundle of joy. A writer for Grub Street reported about lollipop kale yesterday, and I just had to investigate. I love Brussels sprouts but am not a fan of kale (I know, shocking for a nutritionist to confess) and have many patients who love kale and not Brussels. For all of us, this could be a brand new opportunity to expand our vegetable horizon. The lollipop, also known as kale sprouts, belongs to the same plant species (Brassica oleracea) as other popular veggies. They were created under the brand Salad Savoy and trademarked in 2012. Presently they are starting to pop up in restaurants in the U.S., though rather slowly. Supposedly they aren't the easiest veggie to grow and because the cost is a little high to purchase.

    RELATED: 10 New Ways to Eat Kale

    According to the article, they taste great and are just as

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  • 6 Texts You Should Never Send Him

    by Markham Heid for SHAPE.com

    6 texts you should NEVER send a guy6 texts you should NEVER send a guy When it comes to text messages, it's horrifyingly easy to send your man the wrong message-literally and figuratively. And considering texting has only been around for a decade or so, the art of the perfect SMS has yet to be mastered. And while you probably know that important conversations-whether you're pissed at him or ready to talk about your future-should never happen via text, there are other iMessages you should never send his way. 1. "Looking forward to more nights with you like that."Alluding to a shared future-however benign your comment may seem-is a serious no-no at the start of a new relationship, says Laurie Davis, founder of eFlirtexpert.com and author of Love at First Click. Sometimes women get ahead of themselves and build up elaborate fantasies involving a future with their new man, but guys usually aren't so quick to move that way, she explains. And any hints of serious commitment could frighten him-or anyone: Wouldn't you be wary if a Read More »from 6 Texts You Should Never Send Him
  • Why Everything You Know About Sports Nutrition is Wrong

    by Rachel Sturtz for SHAPE.com

    How to refuel the proper wayHow to refuel the proper way

    There are usually a few days out of the month when you feel like hell. You run slower, feel achier, and are more likely to skip a workout. "A lot of women finish a hard day and end up flat-on-their-back exhausted," says Stacy Sims, Ph.D., exercise physiologist, nutrition scientist, and co-founder of the performance nutrition company Osmo Nutrition. "And your menstrual cycle has a lot to do with it."

    For decades, women-athletes and gym rats alike-have written off these PMS training days as a sacrifice to the fertility gods, but it turns out we have just been eating and refueling the wrong way: We've been doing it like men. And our performance has suffered.

    The problem is that the recommendations for pre-, during, and post-exercise fueling are based on studies that use 18- to 22-year-old guys. Unlike men, we have high and low hormone phases throughout the month, during which estrogen and progesterone fluctuate, causing slight changes to metabolism,

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