Category: Health

Unhappy Marriages Are Heartbreaking

Posted on Oct 31, 2014 by 1 Comment

Unhappy marriages are heartbreaking in more ways than one, according to a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh. They found that people in unhappy marriages have thicker carotid arteries and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Specifically, they may have up to an eight percent higher risk of heart attack or stroke.

In a report published in Psychosomatic Medicine researchers disclosed their findings. The quality of social relationships are seemingly linked with a variety of health issues. In a society where divorce is rampant the most alarming finding was that daily stress from an unhappy relationship can create serious changes in your heart health, as well as  your overall health.

Isn’t it funny that we always point to the heart as being the storage area for love even though we know our emotions pretty much begin and end in our brains?

Ancient Chinese doctors, and other people who practiced the healing arts from all over the world have linked certain emotions with health problems in various parts of our bodies. Finally, modern science is giving a nod to the truth that our bodies and emotions can’t be treated as separate entities. One does have an effect on the other.

I know so many people who lost weight, were able to discontinue medications, and became healthier once they were out of an unhappy marriage. Commitment is important but there comes a point in time when your health is important, too.

Studies like this should make you think twice about staying in a relationship for the kid’s sake.

photo credit: James Palinsad

Don’t Put Life on Hold, Set Detailed Goals

Posted on Oct 30, 2014 by No Comments

I often have the feeling that I am waiting for something to happen before I relax and enjoy my life. I remember thinking that when I was 16 I would be happy, then it was 18, then 21. I spent much of the first 30 years of adulthood thinking that when we were making more money things would be better.

The thing is that now, divorced and remarried with a comfortable income, I find myself thinking that when the house is clean, or when we move, or when I have even more money, or (fill in the blank) happens then I will feel fulfilled, successful, and proud of myself.

I grew up wanting to have my paintings in art galleries but when I finally did sell paintings through galleries it didn’t feel the way I thought it would. I dreamed about publishing a book but when I saw my first book on the shelves at the local Barnes and Noble it didn’t feel like a big deal. It didn’t make me feel successful.

I’ve lost 30 pounds since my divorce. I gained 10 back on vacation (cruise food!) but I’ve been in the gym and eating low-carb and it’s coming off. I keep thinking when I lose all the weight I want to, at least another 20 pounds, then things will be different, I will feel beautiful, and life will be good.

Do you see a pattern?

My life is good, so so so very good, right now. Realistically there is nothing to wait for. It’s all here. I am 54 years old and if I keep waiting for things to happen before allowing myself to live then I will not only miss out on my life but I will never be happy nor content. I’ll be one of those people who dies never achieving that goal of feeling successful or happy.

At least I have realized it now and I am taking steps to change this part of my thinking.

I’m Making Smaller, More Detailed Goals

A goal of “Be Happy” is pretty general. Rather than having some obscure goal I am setting definite, detailed goals that I will be able to reach, and more importantly, I will know when I reach them.

Rather than having a goal of making more money I am asking myself what I would do if I was making more money. Then the goal goes from make more money to –

  • Spend a week in France.
  • New furniture for the parlor.
  • Renovate the bathroom.
  • Homeschool again.

Those are definite things that I can know when they happen and celebrate. I think I will be happier and my life will be richer. Maybe I will even feel successful at some point.

Think about it. What if a developer went to an architect and said, “Yep, I want a building at 4 Main Street. A big building.”

What would the architect create? How would he know if he’d gotten it right?

If you are like me, and I bet a lot of you are, take some time today to create two or three detailed, short term goals. Don’t forget to celebrate when you get there.

photo credit: James Willamor via photopin cc

Designer Babies Coming to a Syringe Near You

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 by 1 Comment

I am pretty conservative in the way I think. Although I am all kinds of supportive of technology that makes our lives healthier, more fun, or more productive, I have to admit that I am not supportive of science messing around with DNA.

I don’t like GMOs, I think Monsanto is the devil, and some of the new things researchers are doing with human conception is downright creepy.

For example, a British scientific panel is backing a new three way (yes, I said it, THREE WAY) fertility treatment that will allow genetically modified embryos to be implanted in potential moms.

This three parent IVF technique is meant to help families with genetic problems avoid passing on diseases and other issues to their children. The technique, Mitochondrial replacement, involve removing problematic DNA during fertilization and replacing it with healthy DNA from a female donor.

Some of the health issues that doctors feel that they could help families avoid are:

  • Blindness
  • Brain disorders
  • Heart problems
  • Liver failure
  • Muscular Dystrophy

Mitochondrial replacement is still in the very early stages and has not been done on a human.

In Great Britain it is illegal, although legislation has been drawn up to allow researchers go ahead. In the United States, the FDA has created an expert committee to decide whether ethical and safety concerns are minimal enough to allow clinical trials.

So, what’s the downside of all of this? After all, we all want healthy babies, right?

Well, it’s one more Pandora’s box situation. Once the lid is off where does it stop?

The same mitochondrial replacement technique that allows scientists to replace defective DNA would also allow them to create designer babies. You could order your child with your preferred eye, skin, and hair color. You could choose a height, a bone structure, and who knows what else.

Pretty soon we have world of perfect people who all look, think, and act the same.

It’s the potential for a Sci-Fi horror flick.

What do you think? Good idea or really creepy?

photo credit: Libertinus via photopin cc

Are Those Fruits and Veggies Making You Fat?

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 by No Comments

Eating fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy diet, right? We’ve been told this for years, and it is true. They are chock full of phytonutrients that are good for us.

However, a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that if we eat more fruits and vegetables without reducing the number of calories we’re taking in from other foods, then we may gain weight or be unable to shed those unwanted pounds.

While this makes logical sense, it also shines a light on how many of us think we can eat as much of a food as we want when it is deemed healthy.

For this study, researchers took a closer look at data on more than 1,200 people based on earlier research on weight loss and increased fruit and vegetable intake.

According to the study’s author, Kathryn Kaiser, an instructor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, “Across the board, all studies we reviewed showed a near-zero effect on weight loss.”

The bottom line is that while fruits and vegetables offer many benefits, we need to remember they also provide calories. If we aren’t careful, a fruit smoothie may taste great, but can easily provide as many calories as a milk shake. So even though the smoothie is a healthier option, it is not necessarily a good choice for weight loss unless we plan to cut that amount of calories elsewhere in our diet for the day.

Fruits and vegetables do include fiber and macronutrients which are beneficial for health. So we can’t blame them for stagnant weight loss. The real problem is the amount of food we eat, so it goes back to portion control. We know we shouldn’t overeat, but I think the real problem is that we don’t recognize what that means.

Photo credits: wikimedia

Boost Your Metabolism in 12 Minutes a Day

Posted on Oct 24, 2014 by No Comments

When I stepped on the scale and it was stuck after I’d done all the right things, it got to be a bit discouraging. I was even walking hilly terrain for an hour 5 days a week, and in six months my weight just bounced back and forth a pound or two.

I had heard about how we lose muscle mass as we age, and that’s why weight loss and maintenance can be more of a challenge with each decade. I needed to get back to building muscle, plus work on flexibility, and aerobic exercise.

It started to feel like I would have to exercise 8 hours a day, but then I remembered the Royal Canadian Air Force Exercises I use to do 20 years ago. One of the reasons I liked them was that they worked my entire body and only took 12 minutes.

The plan includes 10 exercises and a couple more optional exercises and features charts that offer 12 levels that include stretching, toning, and modified pushups which I count as my weight-bearing exercise. It finishes up with some aerobic running in place and then a couple of stretching exercises as you cool down.

When you can do a level in 12 minutes or less you can move up to the next level the following day. The difficulty and number of exercises increased with your fitness level, and you know when it is time to move to the next level when you can meet the 12 minute challenge. It’s not complicated, and at first it is very easy.

Last month I decided to add this routine back into my day. After all, if you can’t find 12 minutes there is something wrong. Of course, I couldn’t find my copy of the book, and it is now out of print, but the exercise plan is now online.

I’ve been back at it for 2 weeks, and already feel a difference in my energy level. I took my measurements and weighed in so I can really track my progress. As I build and tone muscle, it will boost my metabolism and that should make a difference in my weight. I’m continuing to walk at least 30 minutes 5 days a week, too.

If you’re looking for an exercise routine that works and you don’t have much time, check it out. Of course, be sure to talk with your doctor before you get started.

Photo credits: Helga Weber

Link Round-up: How to Start Exercising, Keep Your Rhinestone Jewelry in Good Shape, and More

Posted on Oct 23, 2014 by 2 Comments

Today’s link round-up has steps for getting started exercising, a mug cake, how to keep your rhinestone jewelry in good shape, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared a delicious mug cake recipe.

Mind Body Green has six basic steps to get started exercising.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make a collapsible play house.

link ru jack o lantern crafts

Kenarry shared a Halloween jack-o-lantern craft.

Hungry Happenings showed us how to make three cheese calzone pumpkins.

Creative Khadija taught us how to keep our rhinestone jewelry in good shape with Mod Podge.

Life a Little Brighter talked about a lesson that was hard to learn.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Kenarry

Anorexia to Obesity – We’re Still Focused on the Wrong Thing

Posted on Oct 22, 2014 by No Comments

Twenty-five years ago or so people began to really focus on the whole thin is beautiful thing. I was a teenager in the 1970′s and I don’t remember that much pressure to have a perfect body — certainly not many people obsessed over it. There were a few overweight teenagers but nothing like today.

Girls wanted to look good in jeans and muscles didn’t matter. Anyway, so sometime in the 1980′s we all stopped eating real food and began eating low-fat. We began obsessing about going to the gym and developing long, lean muscles and rippling abs. There was media pressure to be thin and beautiful.

Fine.

Fast forward twenty-five years. Now there is an increasing amount of pressure to accept any size as beautiful. I saw an image of a 400 pound woman in a bikini with the argument that she was beautiful and it was perfectly acceptable for her to wear what she liked. My first though was, how in the hell did they find a bikini in that size?

Obesity is not healthy. A medical issue may add 20 or 30 pounds but it’s an eating issue that put you 100 or 200 pounds over your healthy weight. Anorexia is an eating issue, too. Both issues seem to say, I am OK with myself at this size and you have to be, too.

Either way, the focus is still off the person and on the person’s body. We are not going to have a mentally healthy view of our bodies until everyone stops pushing an agenda whether it’s a skinny agenda or a fat one.

Do what you want with your weight — you don’t need anyone else’s approval. If you do need their approval it’s a sign that you aren’t OK with it yourself.

photo credit: Cleavers

Robotic Sperm May Be in Your Future

Posted on Oct 20, 2014 by No Comments

Crazy science fascinates me. I hope it fascinates you too because this was too weird not to share.

You know that researchers have been working on tiny robots, right? I mean they’ve invented a flying robot the size of a fly that they eventually hope will help in search and rescue missions.

Well, there’s a new robot on the block and it may turn medical science and biology upside down. Tiny bots, that researchers have lovingly named “MagnetoSperm” may soon be fertilizing human eggs.

No, we’re not talking about some kind of mating that creates a Sci-Fi Cyborg but I am guessing that the robots would have the DNA on board. They were inspired by sperm cells and have tails that flap and allow the little Spermbot to swim anywhere with “incredible accuracy”.

They are controlled by some combination of metal paint and a magnetic field — that’s about all I can tell you about the technical side of it. The robots could be used for more than just their sex appeal — at some point they may be helpful to the medical community for other things like unclogging arteries, administering drugs, etc.

So, I get the cool possibilities involved here but I have to wonder if we have become a civilization that does things just because we can. There’s just something creepy about metal sperm that are magnetically controlled. I keep picturing that game where you gave the guy a beard and hair by moving a magnet across the top of the plastic box.

What do you think? Does science just need to chill or should they keep creating everything they thing of?

photo credit: Okko Pyykkö via photopin cc

Would You Get Surgery to Fit in Your Heels Better?

Posted on Oct 15, 2014 by No Comments

I am relatively short. Actually, that isn’t entirely true — I am probably average at 5’4″ but my kids are all rather tall. In any case I am not a stranger to high heels. I get teased a lot because I wear heels almost all the time unless I am home and barefoot.

Because I wear heels so much, I know how feet feel after about four hours on six inch heels. You know what I am talking about. The smile is pasted on the face but the feet are are screaming for relief.

There are few things that feel as good at getting in the car and pulling off your shoes. What if you could wear your heels and be comfortable and all it would take is a little surgery?

Apparently there are a few Los Angeles and New York City based podiatrists who perform surgeries specifically designed to help women to be more comfortable when they are skipping around in their Pradas.

Toe shortening, adding fat to the pads of your feet for more comfort, and even toe lengthening procedures are all designed to make your feet fit your shoes more comfortably. One of the doctors calls it Cinderella surgery.

I am not sure that, as much as I love shoes, I would consider a foot surgery in order to wear a pair of cute ones.  It seems like we are a society that increasingly looks to science and medicine to recreate ourselves into our idea of perfection.

What do you think? Would you have surgery so you could wear heels more easily?

Source: New York Times

photo credit: FaceMePLS via photopin cc