reFresh/reCharge reNew

In a sound-byte era, this is a long title for a new magazine. I'd recommend it reVamp -- at least where monikers are concerns. On first glance, I thought it was selling eye drops and batteries. Certainly, the hyper-charged cover girl is artificially jazzed. Few of us get that happy without the help of Mr. Pfizer and Dr. Feelgood. However, for those who see 2008 as the impetus to a healthier lifestyle -- and you deserve Stephen Colbert's "Tip of the Hat" -- you could do worse than reFresh/reCharge reNew.

However, you could also do better.

Most health-oriented magazines mean well. The tips here are sensible -- out with belly fat and expired medications -- but obvious. reFresh also suggest eliminating hostility. If only Karl Rove and Ann Coulter had listened. Attack dogs without choke collars, they built hateful, though lucrative careers on the pit bull's approach to life. Say what you will about anger, but when properly directed by sane people -- think Mothers Against Drunk Driving -- it can also be highly effective.

The editor's letter promises: "The best, most-up-to-date, most-useful health and wellness information..." Trust me, you've read it all before. Usually in women's magazines that specialize in the "well, duh!" variety of hints, such as: Don't put your hand on a hot stove while breastfeeding. Here's one from RFRCRN: If you want to make your eyelashes look fuller, mascara aside, double-line your eyelids. Aside from looking like a demented hooker, what's the upside? The same page holds another brain-buster: If you feel happy, you'll want to have sex. If you have sex, you may feel happier. Who knew!

Now, I'm all for anything that extends the quality of our lives - many people are so overworked, tired and stressed that the smallest indulgence or useful aid is welcomed. The catch: the quarterly's co-publisher is Rodale, which is known for its smart health mags, such as Prevention and Men's Health. Frankly, one expects more from them. When the "Look Younger Now" story adds this gem: "bow down to Botox, a purified protein ... which is injected in very small doses to inhibit muscle movement" I'm dubious. Admittedly, some people use it to great effect, but have you seen the Mr. Freeze look? Ice queens, plan to come every three to six months.

RFRCRN's specialty is the short, colorful health tip. Good posture on bikes, honey on skin for firmness and a sampling of active getaways. Though the Web site has universal application, the print version clearly targets the upscale New Yorker. It functions as an excuse to run ads for local New York City businesses, like laser treatments, hospitals and cosmetic surgery. The new frontier is apparently "lipodissolve," a zippy trademark that means you go under the needle rather than under the knife to fight fat. The ad's model doesn't need these procedures; she's much more likely to get a movie contract.

On the plus side, RFRCRN did supply a few good tips. Like this one: indulge in cheese. A Swedish study found that women who eat two servings of full-fat dairy products have a 13% to 34% lower risk of colon cancer. I don't know what that does to your cholesterol count, but hey, life is all about tradeoffs. So I'm ordering the cheese platter and a full-bodied merlot to match it. Also, if you want to fight colds and flu, walk 45-minutes a day. You'll be 66% less likely to catch a cold. Then reward yourself with a cheese Danish.


Published by: Idearc Media Corp. and Rodale, Inc.

Frequency: Quarterly

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