Monday, September 28, 2015


How many times have you heard the saying "Men Are From Mars and Women Are From Venus"? Translated this statement explores  how men and women differ in certain areas of life. One difference is how each react to stress. The major factor that accounts for the difference is hormones; cortisol, epinephrine and oxytocin being the main players. During stress these hormones raise the blood pressure, lower circulating blood sugar levels and lower the effectiveness of the immune system.Though both women and men have these hormones their body's responses are different.

According to an article in the Time Magazine stress is a catalyst for mindless eating and unfortunately in women, burning fewer calories. When stressed women tend to reach for high fat/high sugar/high caloric foods. Perhaps you've been there...eating out the 1/2 gallon container of ice cream or consuming the whole bag of family sized potato chips.  This can translate to an additional 11 extra pounds per year just due to stress.

Knowing what you are doing and why, along with the impact it has on your health is half your battle. To win you need to learn strategies to change those things which are not beneficial. One strategy is mindful eating. Mindful eating is more than just slowing down how fast you is learning to eat with intention.

Read more about mindful eating and the next time you bring that fork towards your mouth...ask I hungry and why am I eating what I am eating. Please be sure to share some feedback on some changes you are making to mindfully eat...until next time...NAMASTE

Monday, September 21, 2015

Living in the Land of Too Much

As consumers of health care far too often we are mislead to believe that more is better. We live in the era of too much. Too much testing, too much medication, too much hospitalization, etc. All this leads a significant financial strain on the system. According to a 2012 article in the JAMA, too much resulted in $158 - $226 billion wasteful spending in 2011. 

 More and more, providers are recognizing the importance of having a system where less is done to patients and more done for them. The Right Care Alliance Network is such a group working towards achieving this goal. In October providers will launch what is known as the Right Care Action Week (October 18-24) where they will collective pledge to act so health care dysfunction is highlighted and they work to devise strategies to take corrective action to prevent it.  
However, the burden for change is not on providers alone. As consumers of health it is our job to take action as well. When a test is ordered question what information will be gained and how it will be used to improve your well being. When medications are prescribed, ask why and if there is any other actions that could be taken first, such as lifestyle change. When a procedure is suggested know what outcome to expect and if it will make a significant change in your quality of life.  
How to Stop the Overconsumption of Health Care will require teamwork between consumers of health and providers of care. Each has a significant part to play in order to bring about a shift in old behaviors.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Throw Back Those Sheets

You throw back those covers, jump out the bed and go about your day...never. If your upbringing was anything similar to was almost a cardinal sin to leave the bedroom in the morning without making the bed. Making the bed was a ritual that signified neatness and discipline in my home. Now finally I have a legitimate argument against making the bed when I first get out...DUST MITES...yes           ...dust mites.
Dust mites are microscopic relatives of the spider that thrive on flakes of dead skin. Along with the dead skin we shed daily, our mattress with its warm and moist environment is a playground for them. Now unfortunately, no matter how clean the home is, dust mites cannot be totally eradicated. We can however take steps to reduce their numbers.Leaving the bed unmade, at least to allow the dampness to dry out is a big one.
Other helpful strategies:

  • Use a dehumidifier or air condition in bedroom..relative humidity below 50% is best
  • Use mattress and pillow encasements 
  • Use synthetic vs. feathered or wool covers
  • Use hot water to wash sheets and blankets weekly, once a month place pillows and non-washable in freezer overnight
  • If possible refrain from having wall to wall carpeting in the bedroom...if you do have carpeting always use a vacuum with HEPATITIS filter
  • Use damp clothes when dustingn
You can also make a mite repellent spray using essential oils . The scent of eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, rosemary and lemongrass are offensive to them. Mix a few drops of oil I. A spray bottle with distilled water and spray your sheets and pillows. Always air dry after spraying. If you can allow the natural rays of the sun to shine in that is also helpful.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


At some point in life all of us will experience some type of pain which for most is short lived and easily controlled. However, sadly there are a number of people who have what is known as chronic pain that impacts their life on a daily basis. Living with chronic pain can be life altering and debilitating, both physically and mentally. Chronic pain can take a grip of a person's world and instead of the individual being in control of it, pain becomes the center of their life and controls them.
Finding effective pain management is an art and unfortunate for most, they never stumble across the right practitioner or therapy that can work for them. We all know such people, they are our loved ones that we wonder how did their life end up the way it has. These are the once highly functioning successful people who get caught in the trap of addiction. Narcotics for them are the only solution for the management of their pain. At this point, most are unwilling to consider some of the successful alternative therapies.
September is Pain Awareness Month. I hope you will take some time and visit the American Chronic Pain Management's site to discover some very helpful information that can help guide you through the maze of effective pain management.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Let's speak up to stop the silent killer - Depression

September is National Suicide Awareness Month...during this month take some time to have candid conversations with those you love...young and old...about a topic that leads to deaths that can be prevented. To change this tragedy we must be willing to talk about it. 

Let's speak up to stop the silent killer - Depression

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Beating the Sweet Addiction

I would be totally dishonest with you and myself if I ever said I plan to give up sweets. Like many of you, I love sweets. Sweets for me were a deeply ingrained habit. I remembered going down the hill of the apartment complex where I lived as a child to the big white truck full of all kinds of delightful treats (dots, candy necklace, squirrel nuts, etc.). I was raised in a home that a meal was not complete without dessert. Before I made the decision to make healthier choices, I was much happier in the morning to have a "slab" of cake as opposed to a veggie omelet or some other nutritious food. My change began when I decided to make sweets a once a week reward and substitute the craving with food that had substance and not just empty calories. Read more about beating sugar addition....

How I Beat My Sugar

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Unwanted Cold & Flu Season

As the warmth of the summer fades and the falling leaves usher in the crisp air of autumn just around the corner, something less welcoming is fast approaching, COLD & FLU SEASON. Though most of us won't avert a few days of at least a cough or sniffle, making a cold/flu survival kit ahead of time will make life more tolerable.
I think since my aging mom lives some distance from me, I have made it a habit to seasonally do an over the counter medication inventory. I do my best to keep what I call the staples stocked and up to date. These include things like something for an upset stomach, anti-diarrhea medication, fever reducer, cough suppressant/expectorant, throat lozenges (mom prefers horehounds), and a nasal decongestant. I also check her prescribed medication for the nebulizer medication and the distilled water for the humidifier to be sure neither are outdated as well. I will also be sure there is a good supply of tissue, anti-bacterial wipes and spray. I personally shun away from antibacterial hand sanitizers, opting for good hand-washing technique.
Because getting to the store is another challenge for mom, and if you think of it, is the last thing you desire to do when you come down with a cold/flu, a well stocked pantry/freezer is also a good idea. My go to staple is always chicken soup. I prefer homemade so I try to keep a couple containers of it in the freezer. I also have on hand a few low sodium cans of chicken noodle soup as a backup. Tea is another kitchen staple to have on hand. I feel in love with Yogi Cold Season tea a couple years ago. Because it is a blended herbal tea, if you are under a doctor's care or take prescription medication it is advisable to check with your practitioner before using. A supply of alkaline water and ginger ale is also good tool in your survival kit.
Remember medications only aid in helping you FEEL less miserable. What is required if you do catch a cold or flu is plenty of rest and keeping hydrated. If you suspect you do have a cold or flu...STAY HOME. I realize misery loves company but it is not fair to needlessly share germs.
Colds can last for up to 14 days but you should be feeling somewhat better after 7 days. If you have any chronic illness, your symptoms persist beyond 14 days or you are experiencing any of the following that over the counter medications do not seem to improve it is best to seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.
  • fever of 101°F or higher for more than 24 hours
  • fever accompanied by a rash, severe headaches, confusion, severe back or abdominal pain, or painful urination
  • coughing or sneezing mucus that is green, brown, or bloody
  • tender and painful sinuses
  • white or yellow spots in your throat
  • severe headaches with blurred vision, dizziness, and/or nausea or vomiting
  • pain or discharge from your ears
  • persistent pain in the abdomen
  • profuse sweating, shaking, or chills
If you have a primary physician try to get in to see them since they know your medical history. Please resist going to an emergency room; urgent care centers are a good an alternative for care when your primary physician .

If you experience shortness of breath, chest pain, wheezing or difficulty swallowing...I would suggest calling 911 for immediate assistance.
Colds will come and go but being prepared when they occur will make the course much easier. And always, if you are a senior, have any chronic health challenges, work in the healthcare environment or if recommended by your physician, get your annual flu shot. The shot may not prevent you 100% from getting the flu but the course is less severe. The way I see it, even if the shot is 30% effective that makes the odds better than having no protection at all.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Vitamin D and Your Heart

Milk does the body good but to maintain a healthy Vitamin D level you would need more milk than most people would every drink. Vitamin D deficiency is very prevalent for a variety of reason. Read why it is important to know your Vitamin D level and what to do if it is low. 

 Vitamin D and the Heart: Johns Hopkins Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center