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Borreltijd Is the Next Continental Tradition You'll Obsess Over

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Borreltijd Is the Next Continental Tradition You'll Obsess Over

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This article originally appeared on TravelAndLeisure.com.

If you’re traveling to the Netherlands this year, chances are you’re not really in it for the food. As writer Emily Wight explains, Dutch cuisine doesn’t have the best reputation. To put it bluntly, “people think it’s a lot of boiled mushes.” (Those people have something of a point, though — stamppot, essentially a chunky stew of boiled, mashed vegetables, is considered the national dish.)

Savvier Amsterdam-bound travelers may have read up on stroopwafels, the waffle cookies that fill airport gift shops across the country, or the famous fluffy, round poffertjes and sweet crepe-like pannekoeken. Still, for many, the list of must-try foods is short and sweet.

But Wight, author of new cookbook Dutch Feast, knows better. This is a robust cuisine with quirks and subgenres that every epicurean traveler should know. “The Dutch are quite good with sturdy, strong pastries that go well with black coffee,” says Wight, “and they do a nice job with comfort food — soups with a fantastic, hearty slice of rye bread and Dutch butter.” The influences of Dutch colonialism abound, too, with a national love of Caribbean food and Indonesian-fusion specialties like the elaborate, colorful rijstaffel.

One of the most important culinary rituals is borrels, widely described as “Dutch tapas” — a happy hour tradition of tipples and drinking foods that is woven into the social life of Dutch cuisine. “Everything about it is satisfying,” says Wight — “the type of thing you just want to eat.” Visitors to Amsterdam and the Netherlands’ up-and-coming second cities, like Rotterdam and Utrecht, shouldn’t miss the chance to take part.

What is a borrel?

Technically, the word borrel refers to a modest pour of alcohol, and is etymologically related, according to Wight, to the word for a small drinking glass for traditional spirits like genever (a botanical ancestor of gin). It’s also used interchangeably to mean a social gathering of people going out for drinks, and the crunchy, fatty, salty snacks that inevitably come alongside.

Borrels, for Wight, embody “the whole idea of setting aside some time in the evening before you go on with your night.” Everyone does borrels in their own way—as a picnic, at a dive bar, in bed while watching TV. “What’s really cool about the idea of borrels,” she says, “is that you can pick up little snacks from the grocery store after work, call some friends over, get little packaged cheeses and meats and bar snacks to heat up at home.” Borrels is what you want it to be.

This drinking tradition has its own terminology. Borrelhapjes refers specifically to the snacks involved. One very important category of borrelhapjes: borrelnootjes, or “borrel nuts.” These are consumed around the borreltafel (“borrel table”) at borreltijd — literally, “drinking time.” Those wanting a sober night might limit themselves to the diminutive een borreltje.

To do it right, says Wight, “sit down with a little snack, and a little drink, and take a moment for yourself or some time off to socialize. Making space for leisure time and socializing is an important part of Dutch culture.” It's a tradition that's now as far-reaching as the former Dutch empire, with borreltijd still honored in Aruba and other former colonies.

What should you eat?

“It’s a lot of deep fried foods,” says Wight. “Things that are sort of moreish and salty and go well with alcohol.” Common crispy options include bitterballen — “like a croquette but smaller, little round balls meant to be paired with beer,” kibbeling (fried cod), kaassoufflé (fried cheese), bamischijf (deep fried bami, or Indonesian noodles) — “even deep fried nuts! You can literally deep fry anything.”

Chilled snacks are also popular, including marinated herring, ossenworst (raw sausage), and garlic shrimp. And, since the Dutch love their cheese, a cheese plate is usually in the mix. “If you wanted to do a sampling of Dutch cheese,” says Wight, “I would do a double-cream Gouda, a goat gouda, and an aged Amsterdam — a variety of Gouda that’s firmer, almost like an Asiago. My favorite is a Friese cheese that tastes like a Gouda with caraway seeds.”

One borrelhapje of note is kipsalon, literally translated as “hairdresser fries.” The dish, a common offering at most fast-food places, “is kind of like Dutch nachos,” says Wight, “with cheese and french fries and hot sauce — and shawarma meat on top.” The recipe, available with many others in the pages of Dutch Feast, is a perfect exemplar of the changing face of Dutch cuisine, mixing European and Middle Eastern elements for a near-perfect pile of drinking food.

What should you drink?

“Anything, really,” says Wight, but to keep it local, go for genever. This juniper-laced predecessor to modern gin typically comes in two varieties: jonge (“young,” made in the modern style, lighter and more neutral in taste) and oude (“old,” the more traditional style, which is maltier and smoother). Also worth trying is advocaat, a custardy, golden dessert alcohol made with vanilla and egg yolks.

The Netherlands produces a number of fine gins, vodkas, and brandies, and beer is also fair game — there’s always Heineken or Grolsch, but also look out for smaller labels or brews from the country’s remaining Trappist producers. And the craft cocktail scene is making waves, especially in Amsterdam and other large cities.

Where should you go?

To get great borrels in the Netherlands, says Wight, “you can pretty much walk into any bar.” Breweries are also a good bet, or a traditional brown café — a typical Dutch pub so-named for the dark, cozy atmosphere and the patinaed wood and wallpaper that come from centuries of serving the locals.

Wight’s pick for Amsterdam? “I really liked Mossel & Gin,” she says. “They do a lobster kroket and a shrimp bitterbal, which is super cool. Usually they’re made of veal or chicken.” She also suggests the Market Hall in Rotterdam, with “a fantastic selection of cheeses, not just regular Goudas and Edams” — look out for other Dutch favorites like Limburger and Maasdam.

The best rule of thumb, according to Wight, is to go where the locals go. “Get out of the center of city proper. Venturing outside the touristy places that are all about pancakes and tostis, you’ll find what real people are snacking on." She suggests exploring towns surrounding Amsterdam, like Haarlem or Amstelveen.

If you’re tight on time or on a budget, locals also love to pick up borrels at the grocery store. “It can be nice to poke around,” says Wight. “If you find an Albert Heijn, go check out the borrels case. Look at all the different bread toppings. Get a couple drinks. Get a sense of the culture by seeing how people live every day.”

How to celebrate borreltijd at home:

Beemster Classic

A nutty cheese that has been produced in the municipality of the same name since 1612, when a series of dikes was completed to drain the town's swamps for agricultural use. amazon.com, $21

Skansen Soused Herring

This Finnish brand makes a reliable marinated herring — maatjesharing in the Netherlands, where this type of preserved fish is a common drinking snack. amazon.com, $25

Bols Genever

Founded in 1575, Bols is one of the most important distilleries in the Netherlands and claims to be the world's oldest producer of genever. drizly.com, $50

Verpoorten Advocaat Chocolates

Verpoorten, a famous brand of advocaat, also makes candy filled with their signature eggy-yellow liqueur. amazon.com, $25

Stroopies Stroopwafels

While not technically a borreltijd food, these classic Dutch sweets conjure images of tulip fields and windmills. mouth.com, $12.25

Dutch Feast by Emily Wight

This new cookbook includes recipes for bitterballen, kibbeling, and more Dutch treats. amazon.com, $27

Why You Seriously Don't Need to Worry About All the Calories on Thanksgiving

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Why You Seriously Don't Need to Worry About All the Calories on Thanksgiving

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During the week leading up to Thanksgiving, it's easy to get wrapped up in healthy side dish recipes, tips for avoiding holiday weight gain, and pre-turkey workouts that make room for an extra slice of pie. But for some people, all that strategizing sucks the joy right out of a day that's supposed to be about celebrating gratitude with loved ones over lots of delicious food.

"I tell people all the time, if you're looking forward to Thanksgiving, or any special occasion dining experience, go all out. Eat what you want. Then get back up on the horse again," says Liz Weinandy, RD, a nutritionist with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "But for a lot of people, this is easier said than done because they worry one meal makes or breaks everything."

How much does one meal really matter?

One single indulgent meal—even one whole day of high-calorie eating—is "absolutely not going to destroy anyone's metabolism, cause them to gain some tremendous amount of weight, or ruin longer-term goals," says Weinandy. To gain a notable amount of weight, you'd need to continuously consume more calories than your body can burn over the course of several days.

"Let's take a person who consumes 2,000 calories daily and maintains her weight," Weinandy says. "Say she eats 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving. Her body is going to have to store 3,000 extra calories because it can't burn them." But she won't even gain a whole pound. (One pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories.) The amount of weight she'll put on is simply not worth agonizing over, especially at the expense of enjoying the holiday, says Weinandy. Plus, she'll burn all those calories off in the days to come, by returning to her regular eating habits and workout routine.

Craig Primack, MD, an obesity medicine specialist at the Scottsdale Weight Loss Center in Arizona, agrees that one big meal isn't enough to cause a noticeable physical difference or weight fluctuation. Might you feel the effects of a fatty, sugary holiday dinner in other ways? Sure. "You'll probably feel bloated, slightly dehydrated if you're consuming alcoholic beverages, and potentially uncomfortably full," says Dr. Primack. "But people know this going in."

What really matters, says Dr. Primack, is how Thanksgiving influences your behavior in the following days. "It's worth keeping in mind that you're going into a four-day weekend full of leftovers," he says. "And four days of eating off track can definitely have consequences, like weight gain or un-programming all of your great healthy habits. It's about the bigger picture, not the one meal."

RELATED: 9 Ways Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Fitter, and Richer

How to enjoy Thanksgiving to the fullest—and then hit the reset button

"Swapping grandma's famous creamy, buttery mashed potatoes for cauliflower mash sounds like a fantastic idea!" says no one. So instead of making culinary sacrifices this year, try this less restrictive, more balanced approach:

Step one: Make a conscious decision to hit pause on your health-focused ways to actually enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, and then press play again once the night is over. "It might sound totally silly, but you can even say this to yourself out loud, or say it in your head leading up to the holiday," Weinandy says.

In the hours before the main event, eat normally, starting with a high-protein breakfast when you wake up. "I don't like it when people have the mindset of, 'oh, I should hold out for the big dinner later and not eat all day,'" Weinandy says. "In doing that, you're already playing mind games with yourself and putting an unhealthy focus on food and calories."

Throughout your gathering, eat mindfully and savor each bite. Give yourself permission to soak up the moment, the people, the food, the flavors. "If you don't eat mindfully and feel the pleasure of it, you're missing the point," Weinandy says. "And when you eat mindfully, you often times don't even eat nearly as much as you'd expect yourself to."

Later on, use your food coma to your advantage. "My number one piece of advice for getting back on track the next day would be to get a good night's sleep," says Dr. Primack. "A bad night of sleep can increase appetite, make it tougher for you to register when you feel full, and slow your metabolism. And you feel lethargic and less motivated to get up and do some physical activity." So pass out early on Thanksgiving night, to make it easier for you to get back on your healthy A-game on Friday.

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Weinandy also recommends drinking a large glass of water or two when you wake up the next morning to aid digestion, rehydrate your body, and kickstart your metabolism. "And do not skip breakfast the morning after either," she says. "You should never feel like you have to make up for those extra calories by eliminating them at another time."

You may also want to consider preventing a week-long food binge by getting rid of leftovers. "I tell my patients to buy disposable food containers so you can send leftovers home with guests," Dr. Primack says. (Try these leakproof, plastic containers from DuraHome.)

And schedule some of your favorite workouts for the week after Thanksgiving, so you have an exercise game plan in mind and on the calendar, he adds. You'll be back in the saddle in no time.

Why Having More Quickies Will Improve Your Sex Life

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Why Having More Quickies Will Improve Your Sex Life

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Despite what Hollywood would have you believe, great sex doesn’t require mood lighting, a carefully curated playlist, or even extensive foreplay. In fact, if you wait for all those things to fall into place, you might never get it on at all.

“I often ask my clients, do you want to have some sex or do you want to have no sex?” says Holly Richmond, PhD, a sex therapist in Southern California. “Some people think the scene has to be set perfectly. They need to be showered, the sheets need to be clean, and the kids have to be with a babysitter.” 

WATCH THE VIDEO: 7 Simple Ways to Boost Your Sex Drive 

But the stars don't have to align in order for you and your partner to have mind-blowing sex. In fact, an unplanned, I-have-to-have-you-now quickie can be even hotter than a drawn-out session between the sheets. “Quickies are fantastic because they are spontaneous and build excitement, two things people in long-term relationships crave,” says Richmond. Intrigued? Let us make the case for why you need to add more quickies to your life.

Quickies are perfect for busy partners

Since most of us feel pressed for time all the time, a quickie is one of the best ways to make sure you still get between the sheets—even if only for a few minutes. Richmond believes we're all bound to benefit, especially parents of young children. “The reality of having a great sex life filled with sensual lovemaking sessions when you have a child under the age of four in the house is really hard to pull off,” she says. But stealing away five or 10 minutes during nap time? Totally doable.

Spontaneous sex is an energy booster

You know how something unexpected and surprising can really give you a jolt? It's the same with sex: An unscheduled, lightning-fast hookup can be super energizing. You’ll get back to your day-to-day routine with a smile on your face while thinking, "Wow, I’ve already had this fantastic moment—and it literally might’ve just been a moment—with my partner,” says Richmond.

RELATED: Real Women Share Their Go-To Masturbation Techniques 

You'll both feel wanted and desired

Even when you're still in love with and attracted to your partner, the routine of work and home life can prevent you from feeling that crazy-hot desire that drew you to each other in the first place. It's natural for couples in long-term relationships to see those fireworks fade, but quickies can bring them back. Knowing that your spouse suddenly needs you and feels desire for you will remind you of the early days of your relationship, when you probably couldn't keep your hands off each other.

How to get in the quickie habit 

The next time you and your SO settle into bed with your tablets—or you have 10 minutes before friends are coming over for game night, or as you stumble into the shower in the a.m. to get ready for the workday—suggest fooling around instead, advises Richmond. “It can be as simple as saying, ‘Hey, wanna have a quickie?’ or ‘How about we have five minutes of connection right now?’” 

To get our best sexual health tips delivered to you inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

Of course, this isn't to say that quickies should replace your candlelit late-night sex sessions, especially since it takes most women about 20 minutes to reach orgasm when they’re having sex with their partner, says Richmond. The reality of the quickie, then, is that most women probably won’t experience an orgasm every time. But that’s also not always the point, says Richmond. 

“Do you want connection or do you want an orgasm?” asks Richmond. “Usually people want both, but they can get an orgasm by themselves. It’s that connection, novelty, and sense of fun and adventure that they crave, and that’s what a quickie can really deliver.”

This YouTube Star Gave Her Husband the Silent Treatment for 2 Weeks to Save Their Marriage

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This YouTube Star Gave Her Husband the Silent Treatment for 2 Weeks to Save Their Marriage

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Good communication is considered the hallmark of a strong relationship. But can the exact opposite—going silent to prove a point—also tighten the bond between you and your partner?

That's what Nikki Phillippi, a YouTube star with 1.3 million subscribers, says she did to make her marriage better. In a video titled "Why I Didn't Speak to My Husband for 2 Weeks," Phillippi explains that she gave her spouse, Dan, the silent treatment to build their emotional connection. 

"I had a realization that I didn't know my husband the way I wanted to know my husband," Phillippi says in the video, filmed a year after she went silent. Through most of their 10-year marriage, Dan would mainly talk to her about factual things, and she wanted to understand him on a deeper level and know how he "felt about something, thought about something."

RELATED: 30 Signs You're in a Toxic Relationship

In the past, when Phillippi would ask him to voice his thoughts and feelings, Dan would agree to make an effort—but he never followed through. Phillippi's therapist had suggested that instead of broaching the topic again, she should just stop talking. "If you kind of go quiet basically," Phillippi clarifies in the video, "and you decide not to talk until the issues are settled, he will start to settle them."

The day Phillippi went quiet, Dan quickly figured out why. Two weeks later, he reached his breaking point; he began to cry, apologized for his actions, and vowed to change. At that moment, Phillippi began talking to him again. She now says that their marriage and connection are better than ever.

Phillippi's silent treatment seems like an extreme way to solve a relationship issue. Of the more than 1,000 comments the video racked up, about half threw shade on her silence strategy, while the other half applauded it. So we reached out to two relationship therapists to find out if silence is a smart tool for resolving relationship conflicts.

Turns out the experts put their support behind Phillippi. The silent treatment—when one person refuses to communicate with another—can be done as a punishment or an anger response, and that's not healthy. However, it can also be used as a tool for building relationships and isn't always the mean-spirited move people commonly assume, the therapists say.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Improve Your Relationship Instantly

"Often when I counsel couples, I observe that one partner (not always the woman) is way more verbal than the other," Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working It Out Together in Southern California, tells Health via email. "This doesn’t give the slower communicator enough time to gather thoughts and put them together."

Silence can give the less verbal partner time to sort issues out and decide how to express themselves. (Phillippi admitted that she likes to process arguments verbally.)

The experts also supported Phillippi because they felt that she and Dan already had many prior conversations about Phillippi's need for a more emotional connection. "They talked and talked and [Phillippi's] therapist said, 'you're doing all the talking' and suggested she give him a chance to respond," Elaine Rodino, PhD, a therapist in State College, Pennsylvania, tells Health. "There was a lot of work done before she went quiet."

Still, Tessina believes Phillippi should have used the silence to reflect on her own shortcomings. Her strong need for conversation may have overwhelmed Dan with words, so he never had the chance to try to be more verbal about his emotions.

"Talking to him about wanting him to be more open was not the same thing as giving him the space to be open," says Tessina. "She should learn to use this tool of silence in a less dramatic way, and learn to pause on occasion and wait quietly for him to respond."

RELATED: 12 Ways Your Relationship Can Hurt Your Health

Before you decide to give your partner the silent treatment in an effort to boost your connection, Rodino suggests explaining your plan prior to officially shutting your mouth. Otherwise your partner may misinterpret your intentions, and your strategy for repairing the relationship could make matters worse.

If you plan to go silent because you're angry with your partner and want him to cave to your demands, stop right there. "It doesn’t resolve anything and the other person resents it," says Rodino. A smarter tactic? Rodino says humans respond better to rewards, so telling your partner, "I love how you shared your feelings on that topic because it makes me feel more connected to you," will be more successful than shutting down.

3 Common Issues Couples Experience Around the Holidays—and How to Handle Each

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3 Common Issues Couples Experience Around the Holidays—and How to Handle Each

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It may be the most wonderful time of the year. But the holiday season actually takes a toll on most of us—and our love lives aren't immune to the stress. “The holidays can bring up intense emotions for many people,” explains Rachel Needle, PsyD, psychologist at the Center for Marital and Sexual Health of South Florida.

While the stress you're already dealing with in your day-to-day life can affect your bond with your partner, you also have to contend with the stress that arises when you navigate the season as a twosome. Maybe you didn't hit it off with your partner's family, yet he wants you to spend the holidays at their dinner table. Or you can't agree when it comes to how much to spend on presents for each other.

RELATED: 10 Holiday Headache Triggers

To help you get the through the season with your relationship unscathed, borrow these expert tips concerning three of the trickiest holiday couple challenges. 

You can’t agree on where to celebrate

Deciding where to spend the holidays is a huge issue for even the tightest couples, says Needle. “When family members live far apart, this can become an even bigger challenge,” she adds.

There are a few ways to work out which family you'll ultimately feast with. “One idea is to rotate the holiday you spend with each of your families each year,” says Needle. In other words, go to his family home for the December holidays, then head to yours during spring break. Next year, switch it around. It's all about compromise.

Another option: Start your own tradition by inviting both your families to your home for a celebration. Or take off on a couples road trip or vacation. With this approach, you're putting your relationship first, and neither family is getting short shrift.

No matter what you decide, Needle advises not putting off this conversation. The more time you have to work out a plan that you both feel is fair, the better it'll be for your connection—and the fewer resentments the other person will have if they feel like they've been forced into going along with their partner's plan.

RELATED: 5 Things Every Couple Needs to Do Before They Get Married

Your partner doesn’t get along with your family (or vice versa)

When your spouse and your extended family don't see eye to eye, you can feel like you're being pulled in two directions. The key to making it a relatively happy holiday is to tackle this situation as teammates.

If your family and your partner rub each other the wrong way because they disagree on politics, for example, vow ahead of time that neither of you will drift into political conversations or take the bait and argue about an issue. Come up with topics that everyone should be able to weigh in on without conflict—like how adorable the newest baby in the family is or the promotion you're up for. Same goes for you if you're not exactly besties with your partner's family. 

When you're at his family home or he's with your clan, have frequent check-ins so you know you have each other's backs. “Commit to being each other’s emotional support systems during this time,” says Marissa Nelson, a Washington, DC–based relationship therapist. “The occasional hug if your partner looks stressed or a How can I help you babe? timeout goes a long way toward tackling family time as a team.” You may never convince your family to fall in love with your spouse, but if you can get through the season without conflict, that's a victory.

RELATED: 9 Products to Transform Your Bedroom Into a Sexy Sanctuary

A word of caution: Try not to knock back too much booze during the festivities. Alcohol loosens inhibitions and ignites emotions, and a buzz can make you more likely to get vocal or create unnecessary drama, warns Nelson. Nothing jolly about that.

You're not on the same page when it comes to gift giving

Maybe your idea of the ultimate holiday gift is to fork over a wad of cash for an item you know your partner will love. But his perfect present for you might be something a lot less costly, or maybe it's an experience or gift card rather than a physical item. Society makes us think the holidays are all about joy, love, and the exchanging of thoughtful gifts, and for some they might be. But gift disappointment is often the reality.

People tend to have high expectations for their partners around gift giving, says Needle, so it’s important to communicate ahead of time and discuss what you actually want or need. “Rather than hoping they can read your mind, setting them up for failure and then harboring resentment towards them, verbalize what you want,” she suggests.

WATCH THE VIDEO: 5 Ways to Ease Holiday Stress in 5 Minutes or Less

If that takes all the fun out of it, at least agree to set a few ground rules. First, decide on a budget range you'll both stick to, whether it's $20 or $2000. Then help each other along by writing down categories or taking screen shots of different items you want. If you can pick something from a list, then you can't go wrong—and neither can your partner. 

Ultimately, the secret to surviving the season is by compromising and letting go of the idea of having a flawless festive season. “Unrealistic expectations of the holidays or each other are another common source of disagreement,” says Nelson. To keep that from putting a dent in your relationship, she suggests that you "let go of the feeling that everything about the holidays has to be perfect—including your spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend," she says.

This Model Has Embraced Her Belly Rolls in the Most Playful Way

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This Model Has Embraced Her Belly Rolls in the Most Playful Way

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Who says belly rolls are something to cover up? Certainly not KhrystyAna. The model recently took to Instagram, where she has over 70,000 followers, to make a powerful statement about body positivity.

Last week, KhrystyAna posted a photo that embraced her stomach rolls—with a twist on the Chamillionaire song "Ridin' Dirty". The model changed the lyrics to put a positive spin on the body part she says used to bother her: "They see me rollin' they lovin'," KhrystyAna wrote on her belly. The image has since gone viral, with more than 4,000 likes and countless comments praising the model for her inspiring statement of self-love.

In an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle, the model explained that she has had a "roller coaster" relationship with her stomach. "My belly was the very last part of my body that I had to learn to love again," she told the website. "Because even in the plus-size fashion industry, a perfectly curvy hourglass-shaped model with a leaner stomach is usually preferred."

Now, KhrystyAna uses her position to advocate for more realistic images of women in media. "When I shoot with a photographer I always make sure to ask them, 'Don't Photoshop my 'pride and joy,' please," she tells Yahoo.

A follow-up photo, the model posted an image of her smiling face with the caption, "Rolls are so high fashion! You know it."

 

In an earlier post, the model also embraces her stretch marks, calling them "marks of stretched out love."

 

"It took me a while to start liking my rolls because the industry opinion shaped my own negative opinion of myself," the model says. "[U]ntil the day I️ said, ‘Screw it! Dear Tummy, you are here whether people like you or not! We’re in this together and we’re gonna make it work! Who said a belly isn’t cool and sexy? Nope, not us, not any more!'”

We see you rollin', KhrystyAna, and we like what we see!

4 Signs You Should See Another Doctor for a Second Opinion

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4 Signs You Should See Another Doctor for a Second Opinion

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You leave your doctor’s office with a gnawing doubt. She’s the one with the MD, of course. But something’s not right. Should you get a second opinion? Yes, say experts, and don’t think twice. A fresh perspective can make all the difference for your health. Here, a few good reasons to schedule another appointment.

1. There’s been no mention of a specific diagnosis. Even before your doc IDs your ailment, she should be able to tell you what’s likely going on—or at least the range of possibilities, says Leana Wen, MD, author of When Doctors Don’t Listen ($13; amazon.com). “If she doesn’t, that’s a big red flag,” she says.

2. Your own research doesn’t match up. Once you have a diagnosis—and you’ve Googled the heck out of it—don’t be afraid to question your doc’s conclusion. "Does it really explain how you’re feeling?" says Dr. Wen. Do your symptoms align with the descriptions on reputable health sites? "If not, talk to your doc— and if you still have concerns, see someone else."

3. You’re hearing about only one possible treatment. "In nearly every case, there is more than one treatment option," says Dr. Wen. "And sometimes a viable option is watchful waiting." Your provider should present multiple alternatives, along with their pros and cons, so you can decide what’s best for you.

4. You just don’t trust your doctor. If you don’t think she’s taking you seriously, or if you have any doubts about her competence, find a different expert, says Health medical editor Roshini Rajapaksa, MD. “It’s your body, so follow your instincts,” she says. "It never hurts to get a second opinion."

How to Feel Less Bloated After a Huge Thanksgiving Meal

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How to Feel Less Bloated After a Huge Thanksgiving Meal

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Thanksgiving dinner, your house: After downing a couple of helpings of turkey and stuffing, your stomach gives a firm nuh-uh to that slice of pumpkin pie. A voice in your head has another idea, replying, "but today’s a holiday, you have to eat it.” After you consume the last delicious bite, your stomach gets revenge in the worst way: with a monster food baby spilling over your jeans.

Belly bloat is your body’s way of saying, "you stuffed me," Keri Gans, RD, a New York City nutritionist, tells Health. This can be hard to avoid during holidays, when stuffing yourself is expected. Bloating can also be triggered by eating something your stomach doesn’t agree with, chowing down too quickly, and fasting all day and then indulging in a huge meal, all of which are encouraged on Turkey Day, says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health’s contributing nutrition editor.

RELATED: Bloated All the Time? 11 Reasons Why

The bloat can last up to 24 hours, totally putting a damper on your Black Friday plans. It’s best to try to prevent bloating before it happens, but if the damage is already done and you don’t want to be asked when your due date is, these easy tips will help you recover fast.

Drink water

Many Thanksgiving dishes (you know who you are, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie) are loaded with sodium, which makes your body hang onto excess water and leaves your entire body, not just your middle, feeling distended. Downing lots of H20 after the meal will help flush out the sodium and help shrink your stomach, says Sass.

Get off the couch

If you and your muffin top just want to sink into the sofa after dinner, we hear you. Though it may be the last thing you feel like doing after a long day of eating, getting up and burning off some of those calories could help take the pressure off your tummy and stimulate your digestive system. Gans recommends going for a walk Thanksgiving evening—even 15 minutes will help—or doing a yoga or spin class the next day. 

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Eat breakfast the next morning

“If you overate on Thanksgiving and feel terrible, the best thing you can do is resume healthy eating the following day,” Gans says. “Make sure you have a nutritious and well-balanced breakfast as opposed to having a poor-choice breakfast.” Gans suggests filling, energizing dishes high in protein and complex carbs, like scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast or oatmeal and almond butter. 

Snack on a banana or avocado slices

If drinking lots of water doesn't seem to be getting rid of the beached whale feeling, try foods rich in potassium—a mineral that prompts excess fluids to exit your system, says Sass. Bananas, oranges, pistachios, avocados, and a holiday staple, sweet potatoes, are super options. 

Sip hot tea

Drinking a cup of hot tea can relax the muscles in your GI tract and alleviate the gas that could be causing you to feel puffed up and crampy. Sass recommends mint-flavored tea, which can also help if your Thanksgiving feast has left you feeling nauseous.

Go with high-fiber foods

If you want that belly bulge to work its way out of your body, look to fiber-packed foods, which get your digestive tract moving. Whole grain breads and cereals, fruits, and vegetables are the way to go. Just don't overdo it; Gans says that eating fiber can have a reverse effect and cause even more bloating if you consume too much.

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Give your stomach a break

It can be tempting to keep eating if you are surrounded by lots of leftovers—and lots of pushy relatives egging you to chow down for a second round. But if you're not actually hungry, this is the worse possible thing to do when you’re feeling backed up.

“If you have a huge Thanksgiving dinner, don’t find yourself grabbing a midnight snack; be done with it,” Gans says. Remind yourself that the leftover pie will still be in the fridge the next day, and promise yourself you'll enjoy a slice in the afternoon when your stomach is back to its normal size.

You Asked: Should I Eat Collagen Powder?

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You Asked: Should I Eat Collagen Powder?

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This article originally appeared on Time.com.

The word “collagen” comes from the Greek word for glue, and that’s a helpful way to think about the role collagen plays in your physical health. In your skeleton, tendons, muscles, skin and even your teeth, collagen is a structural protein that binds cells and tissues together while helping them maintain shape and integrity.

But your body produces less and less collagen as you age. And some supplement- and food-makers are marketing collagen products as a way to boost your body’s levels of it.

“Collagen is basically the sale of amino acids,” says Dr. Mark Moyad, director of preventative and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan, and author of The Supplement Handbook. Amino acids are protein’s building blocks, and supplements and foods that have collagen contain chains of collagen-derived protein amino acids—or sometimes just the amino acids themselves, separated from their bonds, Moyad says. There are different types of collagen; some are derived from animal bones or skin, and others from animal cartilage.

It makes sense that consuming extra animal-sourced collagen—whether as a supplement powder or in a food like bone broth—could help the body replenish its stores of diminished collagen. And some research supports this idea. “There are many preliminary trials showing potential benefits for everything from osteoarthritis to skin improvement,” Moyad says.

One 2008 study from Penn State University found that athletes who, for six months, took a hydrolyzed collagen supplement—basically collagen proteins that have been broken down into easily digestible amino acids—experienced less joint pain during activity and at rest. Similar studies have linked collagen supplements to lower rates of back pain or reduced knee pain among people with osteoarthritis.

Meanwhile, research has also linked collagen supplements to improved skin elasticity and skin moisture.

But Moyad emphasizes that all of this research is preliminary. “The studies are weak in general,” he says—meaning small in scope, short in duration or not yet replicated by follow-up experiments.

Also, it’s not at all clear that eating collagen increases your body’s levels of it. As nutrition researchers have shown over and over again when it comes to dietary fat, just because a food contains something doesn’t mean your body will absorb or produce more of it.

Moyad says he also worries about contaminants in collagen supplements and foods. “Since this stuff comes primarily from ground-up animal parts, I would want to know the heavy metal content of these supplements, and also the creatinine content,” he says. Harmful heavy metals like copper and arsenic have turned up in meat products, and creatinine is a toxic breakdown product that comes from muscle tissue.

“I do not want heavy metals or creatinine in my body,” Moyad says. He adds that he’s also seen collagen supplements linked to side effects like nausea, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues.

It isn’t yet clear how much collagen, or exactly which type, is most effective. Moyad says that cheap grocery store gelatin—which is derived from animal collagen—may be just as good for your joints and skin as pricey supplement powders. “But no one’s done the studies, so we don’t know,” he says.

He says he doesn’t see any major risks in someone trying a collagen supplement for a couple months to see whether it works for them. But stop if you experience any side effects or have any GI issues.

If you’re going to give collagen a go, Moyad says he’d also want you to consider the lifestyle choices that damage collagen as you age. These include smoking, high blood sugar, sun exposure, a sedentary lifestyle and weight gain.

“If you are taking these [collagen] supplements but not making lifestyle changes, that’s kind of like putting premium gas in your car but not changing the engine oil or doing anything else to maintain it,” he says.

David Cassidy Died of Liver and Kidney Failure. Here’s What You Should Know

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David Cassidy Died of Liver and Kidney Failure. Here’s What You Should Know

Partridge Family actor and “I Think I Love You” singer David Cassidy died Tuesday from organ failure at age 67 in Florida. “David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years,” his family said in a statement to People.

Cassidy had been hospitalized the previous week for liver and kidney failure and was in need of a liver transplant. He had previously spoken publicly about his struggle with alcoholism, and, more recently, had revealed he was battling dementia too. Very few details have been released about Cassidy's death, and it's not known what role alcohol may have played, if any. 

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So what causes liver failure? It depends on which type a person has. A person can have acute liver failure, which develops suddenly after, say, ingesting toxic substances or contracting an aggressive virus, says Scott Friedman, MD, chief of liver diseases at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. Or they can have chronic liver failure, which is the result of a long-term injury or illness like hepatitis B or C, metabolic diseases like iron overload, or alcohol abuse, Dr. Friedman says.

Someone with acute liver failure may make a full recovery, but “in chronic liver failure, there’s no chance for spontaneous improvement, so really the only option is liver transplantation,” he explains. 

It takes time to reach that state, however; inflammation leads to progressive scarring of the liver. “At the time of liver failure from chronic injury, the biggest problem becomes the large amount of scarring, which chokes the blood flow to the liver, accelerating the loss of function," says Dr. Friedman.

Many people might not know they have damage to their liver until it’s quite extensive. As scarring worsens, symptoms might include swelling in the legs, bruising and bleeding easily, and gallstones, according to the American Liver Foundation (ALF). Once the liver begins failing, a person is unable to clear waste products. They may experience a buildup of ammonia in their body, fluid in the abdomen, or ruptured blood vessels in the esophagus, Dr. Friedman explains. “Those are three major hallmarks of liver failure,” he says, and they signal the need for a liver transplant.

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Without a transplant, liver failure can lead to the destruction of other organs, typically starting with the kidneys, says Dr. Friedman. Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys are damaged and not working properly, which contributes to a buildup of waste products in the body that the kidneys would typically remove, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Some people with kidney failure can be treated with dialysis, a process that filters waste products for the kidneys. Others may need a kidney transplant, which replaces one or both diseased kidneys with healthy ones. The damage can also extend to other organs. “In very sick patients, ultimately, liver failure can lead to multi-organ failure,” says Dr. Friedman, and the more organs that fail, the poorer the prognosis becomes, he explains.

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Though Dr. Friedman did not treat the singer and actor, he says that alcohol abuse can also contribute to memory problems. Before revealing his dementia diagnosis, Cassidy struggled to remember the lyrics to some of his most famous songs on stage. His grandfather and mother both lived with dementia at the end of their lives, Cassidy told People in February 2017. “I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming,” he said of his own experience with the condition.