Sex & Relationships

Sticking Together

By | @ | 6 days ago

sitcking-together

My best childhood friend was doing her residency in radiology while she was pregnant.

Her boss, another female doctor, made it very clear that she was not to expect any concession for her condition, and in fact, was harder on her than any of the other doctors.

Really, sister? Was that necessary?

Michele is one of the smartest and hardest-working women I know, who does way more than is expected of her every time. It upsets me still that some women seem to delight in taking other women down. I am definitely not a flag-waving feminist, but don’t we have enough to deal with, considering glass-ceilings and pay inequality? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you have guaranteed support from your home team?

We’re not in high-school any more, Dorothy.

Tearing someone down does not build you up. Some men and women alike don’t deserve your support, but undermining another woman out of jealousy or spitefulness does not look good on you.

I personally pinch myself every day when I think of the team I was blessed with throughout my time in practice: three smart, accomplished, and beautiful (ahem) female doctors, supported by equally smart, accomplished and beautiful support team members. Although we don’t work together now, we love each other dearly, worked like a well-oiled machine, and still support one another to this day.

So, just be kind to your own kind. There is a whole lot more to gain in building each other up, than there is in tearing someone down.

You feel me, ladies?

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Lifestyle Wellness

The Benefits of Swimming

By | @ | 7 days ago

the-benefits-of-swimming

One of my goals this summer was to start swimming again.  

Prior to 2008, my relationship with pools and oceans could best be described as “drown-proof”. I liked being in the water, but had never done a lap, or swam for exercise. Then I had the bright idea to become the most Unlikely Triathlete. It was time to learn how to really swim, instead of just splashing around.

And guess what? I loved it!

For a few years I incorporated swimming into my fitness regime, alternating it with running, biking and weight lifting. Since then, my body has let me know that it needs more gentle exercise, so I learned to lean more heavily on yoga. But somewhere along the way, swimming fell to the wayside. And boy have I missed it.

And I didn’t know how much, until I got in the pool again a few weeks ago. Something about being in the water is so liberating! Part of me feels like a mermaid; the other part has such clarity of thought it’s almost frightening.

swimming-quoteOnce I get into the rhythm of my strokes, the laps are like moving meditation and stress management. All I can hear are the sounds of my breathing, regular and deep. I start by counting my strokes between each breath – 1, 2, 3, breathe, 1, 2, 3, breathe. The water sluicing over my skin feels surprisingly sensuous and therapeutic. I can feel my abs tighten with every long stroke.

Who knew you could get great abs from swimming? You can!

kickboard-swimmingThe benefits of swimming include the fact that it is an incredible full-body workout, while putting near zero stress on joints (read: fewer injuries!) in the process.

Even if you can’t swim, use a kick board to help with flotation or even just walk in the water as an effective way to exercise that’s so gentle to your body. In fact, I go r-e-a-l-l-y slowly, and still get a great workout.

What are you waiting for?! Jump in; the water’s great!

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Health

Ice, Ice Baby

By | @ | 8 days ago

iceicebaby

Of the patients who come into our office suffering with back pain, 9 out of 10 will report that they have been using hot packs to feel better.

STOP with the heat already!!!

Here’s why: If you had a big, fat, swollen, purple sprained ankle, the vast majority of you would put ice on it, wouldn’t you? Ice controls the swelling and helps to manage the pain. What do you think would happen if you put heat on that ankle? It would get more swollen and more painful, wouldn’t it? So why do most of you put heat on your back instead of ice?? I think it’s because the joints in your back are small, deep and behind you.

I’m here to tell you, ice is where it’s at.

If you use ice inappropriately, there will be no untoward side effects. However, if you use heat inappropriately, you can actually lengthen healing time significantly. One emergency room study demonstrated that the use of heat after whiplash injuries doubled healing time! Average healing time for whiplash is 10-12 weeks, minimum, and that’s if you had no pre-existing conditions to begin with. Could you imagine recovering for up to 6 months? I couldn’t.

Keep a few ice packs on hand for the bumps, bruises, sprains and strains that are inevitable in most households. Gel-packs work really well and are inexpensive, but a bag of frozen peas works just as well. For those knobby wrists and ankles, I like to use an ice bath – submerse the limb in a pitcher or bucket of cold water, then add a bunch of ice cubes. icepack

The only risk is that of frostbite, but a few packs of ice will warm up long before that can happen – so please use common sense.

Happy healing!

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Health Lifestyle Wellness

Fed Up – The Movie

By | @ | 9 days ago

fed-up-the-moviedivider2Bless you, Katie Couric, for doing the work and having the guts to say out loud what needs to be said:  Sugar sucks.

But really, did anyone honestly think that it didn’t?!!

Even I, being the self-proclaimed president of the SHCA, aka the ‘Sugar Haters Club of America’, learned a thing or three while watching her new documentary entitled, ‘Fed Up’.  If you haven’t heard about it, watch the trailer below.


sugar-rda-labelSome of the things that this movie uncovers are straight mind-boggling. For instance, did you know that there were major lobbying dollars spent to eliminate the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) on food labels for sugar? Take a look at the label shown here.

Not that having a number there would prompt consumers to step away from the High Fructose Corn Syrup, but if a certain food or drink provided, say 300% of the RDA for sugar in one serving, I would like to think that most of you would at least go, “Hmmmmm.”  

Would YOU? If not, why not? Do you need more reasons to stay away from sugar? I’m happy to serve them up:

  1. Sugar raises insulin levels: Unless you are ‘Delusional About Diabetes‘, this is not a good thing.
  1. Sugar promotes inflammation: Did you know that the ‘itis’ in arthritis, colitis, and other diseases literally means, “forming names of inflammatory diseases”? Which means, for many diseases, the ‘itis’ signifies the inflammatory component. Ingestion of sugar and sugar-like compounds makes inflammation worse for all of the itis’ and more.
  1. Your immune system takes a beating from sugar. Want to have less resistance to disease? Then have at the sweets. But, if you want to be less prone to colds, the flu and much worse, cut it out.

Katie and Company – bravo!

fedupFed Up the movie was nicely done. Even our teenage daughter learned a thing or 25; she was overheard recapping the whole movie to a bunch of friends soon afterwards, and passed on the soda at our next dinner out.

The one message I did not agree with, however, was the argument that weight gain is due to “calories in” exceeding “calories burned”. There are many factors that contribute to obesity – the number of calories and the types of foods being consumed are just two. But that’s a topic for another day. If you have an interest in making healthier choices, check out Fed Up. It’s out for rent and DVD on September 9th, so mark your calendars and invite your families.


Pass the popcorn! But, please – skip the soda!

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Wellness

The Dirty Dozen

By | @ | 13 days ago

dirtydozendivider2Every time I’m in the grocery store, my hand wavers between the organic strawberries and conventionally grown (a.k.a. full of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers = poison).

I know we’ve all been reminded a million+one times that organic is better, but all this talk about organic can stress a frugal girl out! I’ll try to make it easy for you. If your budget only allows for certain things, try to buy these “dirty dozen” foods organically, and then do the best that you can with the rest. These “dirty dozen” produce items are found to have the highest levels of harmful chemicals and should be avoided if not purchased organically.

These “dirty dozen” produce items are found to have the highest levels of harmful chemicals and should be avoided if not purchased organically.First and foremost – in my house, the happy medium for produce not purchased organically, is what I grow in my garden. Growing your own produce is by far the cheapest source of organic dirty dozen foods. If you’re in an apartment or don’t have land, there’s always container-gardening. You typically won’t have as big of a garden as if you planted one in your back yard, but it will do the trick. My advice is to choose a few things you will eat a lot of, i.e. tomatoes, spinach, and cucumbers – and focus on those. This will help keep your back deck from turning into an Amazonia.

Second, there are co-ops where you can “rent” land for a small fee to plant your own garden. These can be difficult to locate, so search online and ask around in your local community.

Third, you can stake out local farmers markets. These usually happen once or twice a week, so stock up on your favorites, clean, and freeze if need be.

Fourth, there is something called Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA). With a CSA, individuals can invest upfront in local farms and farmers, and in return, they get a box of fruits/veggies every week. It’s a great way to try produce that you wouldn’t normally try because it shows up on your doorstep (and most of the time, it comes with recipes!). Depending on the CSA you join, there are ¼ share, ½ share, or whole share options (each varying by investment cost).

Lastly, but certainly not least, there are good frozen options out there. Certain brands are better than others, but typically, the produce is ‘fresh frozen’. This option is great in the non-growing season so you don’t have to go without your favorite foods if you don’t want to. Plus, frozen organic is really reasonably priced.

Good luck to you all in your journey to stay ‘clean’!

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Lifestyle Wellness

Old MacDonald Has a Farm

By | @ | 15 days ago

old-macdonald-has-a-farmdivider2E-I-E-I-Yum!

One of the things I love best about summer are all of the farm stands and markets that abound. As people say, ‘farmers markets are a bunch of healthy people buying healthy food from happy farmers who care for the earth.’

It’s just a big farm-love-fest, right?

Even though most every veggie or fruit is available year-round, there is nothing quite like eating locally grown produce that’s in-season, and supporting the local farms that make this possible. That tomato that is imported from Chile in the winter? It might work in a recipe, but it truly pales in comparison to a locally vine-ripened, deep red piece of fruit.

And yeah, I said fruit.

There are several ways to distinguish fruits from veggies, but my favorite is that veggies can be eaten no matter how small they are, and fruits need to ripen. But getting back to the produce… a fruit that has to be transported across the country (or even the world!) often has to be picked while still unripe. The produce doesn’t get to benefit from those last few days or weeks of nutrients that are delivered when it gets to ripen on the vine.

That’s where Ol’ Mr. MacDonald (the farm owner) comes in.

piggyA surefire way to get your kids (or husband!) excited about vegetables is to bring them to the Farmer’s market. Somehow meeting the farmer, getting to know him/her, and seeing the piles of veggies in all their colorful glory makes them much more appetizing than if they just show up on their dinner plates. If you’re not sure where your closest farmer’s market is, or what hours it’s open, check out localharvest.org. I’ll typically ask the farmer how to prepare what they are selling. Their recommendations are often simple, yet the most delicious – no recipe required! But if you are interested in some great market fresh recipes – see this list on eatingwell.com where everything looks divine.

Happy summer cooking and eating, my friends.

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Health Lifestyle

3 Reason to Ditch Your Shoes

By | @ | 16 days ago

ditch-shoesdivider2Did you know that I don’t own any shoes?

There are a few pair of sandals in my closet, but once the temps stay above freezing for a week or so, I go straight from boots to flip-flops.

After that, 90% of my time is spent in flips. Or barefoot for that matter.

My puppies were not meant to be crammed inside of shoes (even if they are really, really cute ones!), and yours weren’t either. I wear flips simply for the fact that if I didn’t, I would be thrown out of public places. While we’re talking about flip-flops… bypass the ‘cheapies’ that have zero arch support, or you’ll end up with {{plantar fasciitis}}. I suggest investing in a decent pair or two like {{Olukai}}, {{Reef}} or even {{Crocs}}. Trust me when I say, you’ll be glad you did.

If I had my ‘druthers, I’d actually be barefoot all the time. How about you?

divider2Here are three really good reasons to ditch your shoes:

  • The 26 bones, 33 joints and 100 muscles in each of your feet were meant to move. In a rigid shoe, those bones, joints and muscles get really stiff. This throws off your gait, and creates an unstable foundation for the rest of your body.
  • There is something very spiritual about connecting – literally – to the earth. Walking on grass or sand is particularly grounding. Pavement? Not so much. The next time you’re having a warm-weather outdoor gathering, take off your shoes and stay [with your feet in the grass] a while.
  • Walking on an unstable foundation like sand stimulates {{proprioception}}, which is the ability of our body to know where it is in space. Translation? You have better balance and stability. It’s also great rehab after a foot or ankle injury for the same reason. Not to mention, sand is a great exfoliator. Adios, callouses!

divider2Bonus:  It’s a great reason to get a gel pedicure so you don’t get {{Yoga Toes}} like me.

Be free, tootsies.footprints

XO!

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Thumb-sucking, nose-hooking behavior can be a sign of #birthtrauma to the baby. #pregnancy #childbirth #intervention http://t.co/mTeDR3gLWd