Category: Health

Defying Gravity

Posted on Aug 1, 2014 by No Comments

If you are a woman of a certain age who has breastfed, you know that gravity is a cruel mistress.  Breasts start to show signs of sagging starting in the early thirties.

Breast involution is not a nice thing.  All the genetics and perkiness in the world are no match for the moment your milk producing glands begin to shrivel up and leave your breasts looking like deflated birthday balloons.  But what can you do but wait for it to happen?

I refuse to go silently into boob sagging oblivion; I want to spend my 40’s and 50’s defying gravity. While we can’t stop nature from taking it’s course, we can slow down the process with a few precautions.

Keep your weight stable and when working out, choose sport bras with two separate cups to prevent ligament-straining bouncing. Maintain a steady weight by eating a sensible balanced diet and exercising.

That means all those years you spent yo-yo dieting and gaining and losing weight has probably caused your breasts to change quite a bit in appearance from when they were in their 20’s. Gaining weight causes your breasts to enlarge, and the skin to stretch. When you lose that weight, the breast skin will look stretched and saggy.

Eat vegetables, lean protein and whole grains and stay away from junk food to maintain your health and keep your boobs looking great. Exercising 3 times a week will help keep your metabolism up and your weight steady.

To make breasts appear perkier, strengthen your upper-back muscles with dumbbell rows. Chest muscles make you look saggier because it draws your shoulders forward while strong back muscles draw back your shoulder blades and give the illusion of a lift.

Pay attention to your posture. Poor posture causes breasts to droop, while good posture lifts the breasts up. Look at your breasts in a mirror while you stand with poor posture and again while you stand with good posture and notice how much higher your breasts sit when you’re standing straight.

Make sure your back is straight, your shoulders are back, and your head is level. If it’s uncomfortable to stand and sit with your back straight, work on improving your posture by strengthening your core muscles. Crunches and plank poses can help target your core muscles.

Keep your skin healthy. Drink plenty of fluids to keep the connective tissue and skin healthy to slow down the signs of breast sagging. Water hydrates the skin and connective tissue, so drink at least 64 oz. of water a day.

Push up bras can help the cause by creating the illusion of perkier breasts but once you remove the bra, breasts return to their natural state of resting south.

If all else fails, you can always have a breast lift. It’s more invasive than the other options but it also has the most immediate and dramatic results.

I know many women who have been left feeling less than sexy as age and breastfeeding have left them with unrecognizable breasts. Saggy or not saggy, it is up to each individual woman to decide what makes her feel best about herself and in her skin.

What lengths would you go to recapture your youthful appearance?

Photo Source: CRZ

Man Flu May Be Real

Posted on Jul 31, 2014 by No Comments

Almost every woman I know has, at one time or another, complained about how much more sick her significant other gets than she does. I can remember my mom saying in disgusted tones, “I can have a cold and still get dinner but when he has a cold he’s in bed for a week!”

It’s true. It seems to be part of the whatever you can do, I can do better mentality that some men have. At least I always thought that was it. We all know men are babies when they get sick, right?

Well, maybe not. A story in the Vancouver Sun suggests that men really are more uncomfortable when they are ill. Not only that but they tend to get sick more often than women.

Blame it on their testosterone. It seems that higher levels of testosterone weaken the body’s immune response. Men with lower levels of testosterone had a better immune response than men with higher levels. In fact, their body’s ability to fight off illness was basically equivalent to that of women, who have a stronger antibody response to the flu vaccine.

Researchers found that female mice have twice the number of leukocytes than male mice do, proving that Mickey is susceptible to man-flu, too.

The leukocytes in the female mice were more aware of the infections and better at isolating and attacking them. So, not only do women, at least women mice, have more of these bacteria kicking cells, the ones they have are more efficient. One more interesting point — when the cells attacked bacteria in the men’s system, a chemical that makes one feel tired and sick was released. When the same thing happened in women, that chemical wasn’t released.

There are so many really funny comments that could be made about this study. I mean, does it really surprise you that the female leukocytes find things more easily than the male leukocytes?  Is it really so amazing that the female cells are more efficient at cleaning up the bacteria mess? See what I mean?

It makes sense I suppose. Women grow babies inside their bodies and would need to be able to remain healthy to protect their unborn children. Men tend to think they are invincible so maybe God or evolution, depending on which theory you claim, provided a way to force them to rest.

Women push themselves but I think we get to a point where we realize it’s time for a day off. Maybe men have to get sick to get to that point.

So, the next time that the husband is flat on his back for three days moaning about how horrible he feels because of the flu — the same flu that you had a week ago while you were working on a deadline, taking your daughter’s Girl Scout troop camping, and whipping up a surprise birthday party for his mother — be sympathetic. It isn’t his fault, it’s his testosterone.

Do you buy into the study or do you think it’s just the way men are?

photo credit: Urban Hippie Love via photopin cc

Shut Eye Strategies for Sleep Deprived Moms

Posted on Jul 30, 2014 by No Comments

What’s a mom to do when she wants needs to sleep? I know moms are superheroes but even Wonder Woman sleeps sometimes. We need sleep to stay healthy and perform at optimum level just like our children.

Whether we are spending our days taking care of toddlers or going out into the office and seeing clients all day, we need to be able to stay awake and think clearly because if not, it could be dangerous to us and those we spend our days with. So what’s an exhausted mom supposed to do?

I am a bonafide insomniac and I have tried every trick in the book to illicit sleep; desperate measures for desperate times. A few immediate tricks in my arsenal are:

1. Keep the bedroom dark; invest in room darkening blinds and a sleep mask.

2. Get yourself some white noise. I can’t sleep without a fan. If you are light sleeper or have a spouse who is a snorer, get yourself some earplugs.

3. Ban the television, computers and clocks. No tech in the bedroom at bedtime or it will signal your brain to stay up long after your body has decided it is desperate for sleep. This is so much easier said than done considering I work up until the moment I pass out from exhaustion.

4. Skip sugary foods that can cause wakefulness and caffeinated drinks in the hours before sleep. Try calming chamomile tea instead of coffee or coke.

But what about when the dreaded lists appears, deadlines are looming and the kids need you to wipe their butts and kiss their booboos? Here are a few ideas to squash the stresses that keep you lying awake in bed at night.

1. Keep lists because even though they generally make matters worse, they can also be helpful. Keep a list of things you are worried about forgetting and get as much as you can done. Whatever you can’t finish, you can just leave on your worry list and know that it will still be there tomorrow.

2. Embrace the calm by cuing your body, mind and soul that it is bedtime. Have a bedtime ritual; not like sacrificing chickens or anything but take a warm bath, put on some lavender lotion and some comfy jammies. Get into bed and relax, maybe read a couple pages of a book. Reading tuckers me right out at bedtime.

3. Melatonin, Melatonin, Melatonin..Mela..to..nin! Like I said, I am a real insomniac and I used to have to depend on sleeping pills to get any sleep at all, but that left me feeling awful if I didn’t get at least 8 hours. It also rendered me useless in the middle of the night if a child had a nightmare of fever so I could only use them on the weekends.

But alas, I am not a sleep camel and cannot stock up on sleep for the entire week so it was pointless. Melatonin is natural and a lot gentler. It eases me into slumber and I wake feeling rested after.

4. Hormones are not always so natural. Certain times of the month are a little more challenging in the sleep department than others. I personally suffer from insomnia most nights of the month but the week of menstruation, I experience extreme insomnia and sleep is damn near impossible. A low-dose hormone birth control pill can help temper hormonal fluctuations.

5. Go to sleep when you start to feel sleepy. This is the worst mistake an insomniac can make. When I get that initial sleepy feeling, I push through it and get my second wind, only my second wind usually lasts until 3 in the morning. So my best advice for anyone who’s having trouble sleeping is to go to sleep as soon as you feel sleepy, if that is an option.

What is your best sleep strategy?

photo credit: mark sebastian via photopin cc

Luxury New York Pharmacy Offers Alternative Remedies

Posted on Jul 29, 2014 by No Comments

Stanley’s Pharmacy in New York takes a unique approach when serving customers. Owner Stanley George can fill your prescription at his brand new luxury pharmacy in New York City’s lower east side, but he can do more than that with his knowledge of Eastern and Western medicine.

Stanley’s Pharmacy carries prescription drugs and medicines like any other pharmacy, but he also features a wellness bar that serves a blend of herbal teas, a soda fountain that serves kombucha, and he even customizes drinks based on how customers are feeling. For instance, he can make a turmeric tea designed to help reduce inflammation for those who need it.

Stanley George comes from a traditional Indian family and has been a pharmacist for 15 years, and it was his goal to integrate natural medicine into his one-of-a-kind pharmacy. That’s what he has done with Stanley’s Pharmacy where he offers his unique blend of knowledge to help his customers feel their best.

Instead of hitting a Starbucks for a cup of Joe, Stanley’s customers can belly up to his wellness bar and get served a unique tea blend. Customers can choose hot drinks from the menu for things including sore throats, hangovers, tummy aches, detox, even a PMS Rx, and more.

Stanley’s approach is to try natural remedies in conjunction with traditional medications. His pharmacy is a “throwback to the old school pharmacy and soda fountain with a modern look and a wellness twist.” Along with helping his customers feel their best, he hopes to re-establish a neighborhood feel where people know their pharmacist by name.

He’s well on his way to accomplishing his goal. For those who don’t live in the New York area, Stanley’s teas can be purchased online.

Photo credits: Stanley’s Pharmacy

Link Round-up: Essential Oil Crafts, Recipes, Clothes Shopping Online, and More

Posted on Jul 24, 2014 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has recipes, essential oil crafts, a guide to buying clothes online, and more.

Upstate Ramblings shared a recipe for a chimichurri burger.

The Chicago Jogger shared a little coffee and cardio motivation to get you moving.

Confessions of an Overworked Mom gathered up eight easy essential oil craft ideas.

link ru tomato and goat cheese crostata

The Suburban Soapbox shared a recipe for a tomato and goat cheese crostata.

Songbirds and Buttons gave us a guide to buying clothes online.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make faux fur chair covers and cushions.

The Partiologist showed us how to make tie-dye donuts.

Photo credit: Upstate Rambling and The Suburban Soapbox

Skinny Girl Bethenny Frankel Poses in 4-Year Old Daughter’s PJs

Posted on Jul 23, 2014 by 1 Comment

Former Real Housewife of New York reality star, Bethenny Frankel, has reinvented herself with her own line of “Skinny Girl” beverages and books, but her Skinny Girl lifestyle came under fire this week when she posted a picture of herself on Instagram wearing her 4-year-old daughter’s Hello Kitty pajamas…which fit.

Frankel is 43 and is thin enough to squeeze into her 4-year-old daughter’s pajamas. She posted the pic with the caption, “This is my daughter’s nightgown and PJ shorts. Think we’re ready to start sharing clothes yet?”

If the idea was to stir up a hornet’s nest of controversy, she achieved her goal! Some viewers had no problem with it such as user opinionsnotvalid who said, “Anybody who has a problem with this apparently doesn’t have kids or their kids are depressed because their parents have no sense of humor. Either that or you’re not happy with your self image. Pull the stick out you’re a**es and lighten up.”

Some think it was meant as a joke and others suggest that she has an unhealthy obsession with body image and dieting. Some of the back and forth on Instagram grew kind of heavy and sometimes a bit mean-spirited. While the picture itself isn’t offensive, it’s the various interpretations of what the picture means to individuals that is raising ire.

The concern for me is that Frankel confessed that she used to starve and binge back in 2011. I just don’t want to see her falling back into that pattern to fit into her daughter’s clothes. It could have been a joke, it could have been a PR stunt to promote her line of “Skinny Girl” beverages and books. Either way the controversy has gone viral and she is getting attention.

What do think of her posting this pic wearing her daughter’s PJs? Should we be laughing, concerned, or angry?

Photo credits: instagram

Why Jillian Michaels Is Leaving the Biggest Loser

Posted on Jul 22, 2014 by No Comments

Fans of The Biggest Loser were shocked to hear fitness expert Jillian Michaels is leaving the hit NBC show for the second time. She first announced she was leaving the show in 2010, and left after its 11th season because it was all consuming and she wanted to start a family.

At the time she said she was grateful for everything The Biggest Loser had done for her career, but said it was time to move on. Then she returned to the show in 2013 for season 14 to work with overweight youth.

Michaels talked with People magazine about leaving the show this time, and once again expressed her gratitude to the show and that she was “sad to leave.” However, she also admitted there were “some fundamental differences [with the producers] that have existed for a while.”

Her main complaint deals with how she was being portrayed in a negative light in the recent seasons. According to Michaels, “In the beginning of the show, it was tough love. You saw the tough, and you saw the love.” While in recent episodes, “you saw none of the relationships, none of the bonds that I build with my clients.” In her words, the show portrayed her as being “more harsh.”

While this makes for good reality TV, let’s face it, from Michaels’ perspective, it’s not the kind of reputation you’d want to have as a personal trainer, and that’s her concern. She says, “Millions of people have this warped negative perception of me.”

But that’s only part of it. Last year she was accused of cheating by the producers because she let her team take caffeine pills without the show’s permission. That’s hard enough to deal with, but the controversy hit home when her four-year-old daughter was confronted by another child who said, “I know who your mom is – she is a cheater. I saw it on TV.”

On top of all this, last year’s winner came under criticism for being too skinny when Rachel Fredrickson lost 155 pounds and weighed in at 105 pounds. Michael’s said, “I had to take a hard look at my work […]. I came to the conclusion that moving forward, I need to be able to have an impact on the outcome of what I do.”

And so that’s exactly what she hopes to do. Move on and have an impact on the outcome.

Photo credits: Entertainment Tonight

Smooth Skin May Equal a Longer Life

Posted on Jul 21, 2014 by 1 Comment

When I was 20, I couldn’t imagine what I would look like with laugh lines. At 53 I know all too well but so far so good, the rest of my face seems to be holding up well. People usually think I am younger than I am.

According to an interesting study carried out by researchers from Unilever in collaboration with Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, the younger you look the greater your potential for a long life.

They studied 260 women separated into two groups. One was a group that had a high risk of heart disease while the other group had a low risk. Then they assessed the youthfulness of the women’s skin, both on her face and her upper arm.

The women who looked more youthful had a lower blood pressure and a lower risk of heart disease. To ensure that the study wasn’t skewed, they then studied a group of men the same way. They got the same results. The youthfulness was not from cosmetics or medical intervention. The scientists say they will need to study more to figure out why.

On the one hand, good DNA could be at the core. I think it is reasonable to expect that someone who has a family history of high blood pressure and heart problems might also have signs of aging in her skin. Then you have to wonder if it’s that the people with good skin take better care of themselves so that their whole body benefits.

I guess it’s the old which came first, the chicken or the egg question all over again. I will be interested to see what they come up with. Do you have a theory?

photo credit: ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevisser via photopin cc

Study Shows Smelling Farts Good for Your Health

Posted on Jul 17, 2014 by No Comments

We’ve all been there. You’re riding down the road and suddenly the smell of one of those “silent but deadly” farts creeps like an invisible shroud throughout the car. Windows unroll and if relationships of those in the car are close someone will dare to ask, “Who farted?”

A new study shows that maybe we should be saying “Thank you,” and breathe deeply of the…essence.

When I saw that the University of Exeter did a study on the benefit of smelling farts, all I could think was it must have been some guy’s idea of a joke. But the study is real and according to the findings, “Hydrogen sulfide is naturally produced in the body and could have significant implications for future therapies for a variety of diseases.”

The fart study was published in the Medicinal Chemistry Communications journal, and reports that flatulence could be a key factor in treating diseases including stroke, heart failure, diabetes and arthritis, dementia and ageing.

And according to a statement made by Dr. Mark Wood, a professor at the University of Exeter, “the pungent, foul-smelling gas in rotten eggs and flatulence…could in fact be a healthcare hero with significant implications for future therapies for a variety of diseases.”

While this sounds rather bizarre, according to the research small amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas preserves the body’s mitochondria – the “powerhouse” of cells that urge energy production in blood vessels. Mitochondria determine whether cells live or die and regulate inflammation.

According to Dr. Matt Whitman, another University of Exeter professor who worked on this study, researchers are replicating the natural gas to reap its health benefits. That’s right, manufactured fart-smelling gas that will turn into a product we would eventually be able to buy.

This new compound is thought to prevent or reverse mitochondrial damage by delivering very small amounts of the substance to key places inside cells.

Photo credits: wikimedia