Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The JAMA(Journal of the American Medical Association)Report

The JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) released a new report finding that most heart attack and stroke survivors do not adapt healthier lifestyles. More than 600 people from urban and rural countries were apart of a recent study that looked at people recovering from Cardiovascular Disease. The study aimed to see whether participates would make lifestyle improvements. Sadly,  only 2/5th of people improved made improvements. The low income countries were less likely to improve their diets to meet these demands of the body; however, higher income earning countries did not do much better. Only 4% of all participants in all countries were able to follow all 3 areas of recommendation, which include quitting smoking, improved diet and increased exercise.

From a behavioral point of view it is easy to understand that individuals that have held these negative patterns for so many years will have a very hard time changing these deadly patterns. The health field's biggest challenge will be finding new ways to encourage people that diet and exercise will not only save their life, but are actually fun. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dental Hygiene

After a recent visit to the dentist I realized that I know so little about alternative dental practices. As I was confronted with doing a deep cleaning, I was wondering how did this happen, and was there a cheaper way to solve this problem? I have found all of these helpful, but have not tried the oil pulling yet. I would love to hear if anyone else have found them useful. 

Here are 6 ways to maintain oral hygiene:
Oil pullingThis simple process involves rinsing your mouth with a tablespoon of coconut oil for approximately 15 minutes, and then spitting out the oil.  The reason it is called “oil pulling” is because the antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal components of coconut oil literally pull out any unhealthy microbes that may be hiding in your teeth and gums. This leaves your teeth looking whiter, feeling cleaner, and having decreased oral inflammation. It can even improve your sinus congestion! Just make sure not to swallow the toxin-filled oil when you’re done rinsing.
Tongue cleaningIf you’ve never heard of this apparatus, it is basically a U-shaped wire with rubber grips that is used to scrape the surface of the tongue to remove any unfriendly residue. Along with brushing, this will help to remove any toxins that may be lingering in the mouth. If you consistently have a white coating on your tongue, consider taking probiotics to control internal yeast.
Salt water rinseRinsing the mouth with a combination of warm water and pure quality sea salt (such as Himalayan sea salt) is a great way to lower inflammation after a dental procedure because it helps to soothe the soft membranes of your gums. It also has the effect of alkalizing your oral pH balance, which deters the proliferation of unwanted microbes.
FlossingBrushing alone can’t always remove the tiny food pieces that get caught in the crevices of your teeth, so flossing is a daily must in order to prevent cavities, remove plaque, and promote clean healthy gums.
Remove any mercury fillingsIf you have any silver fillings in your mouth, they are likely made of mercury, an unsafe metal which has the potential to cause a wide range of illness symptoms in the human body. Find aspecially-trained holistic dentist who is qualified and equipped to remove the mercury safely, then follow with a gentle cleanse that includes natural detoxifying foods, like cilantro!
Get regular check-upsSeeing your dentist twice a year for cleanings is one of the best ways to catch the symptoms of an unhealthy mouth early, and keep your pearly whites looking and feeling their best.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Women in Health and Sciences

Did you know that today nearly half of all medical student graduates are women? Last month the National Institute of Health celebrated Women's History Month by recognizing 50 women that have lead the way in health and sciences. Check out the great slide presentation at the address below.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sugar Cravings

I struggle with sugar cravings, so I'm always looking for ways to beat them. I came across an extensive list recently that I thought was worth sharing. Some of these suggestions I have tried, and they work great, while others are completely new to me. Let me know if you find anything that works for you.


1. Eat regularly. Eat three meals and two snacks or five small meals a day. For many people, if they don’t eat regularly, their blood sugar levels drop, they feel hungry and are more likely to crave sweet sugary snacks.
2. Choose whole foods. The closer a food is to its original form, the less processed sugar it will contain. Food in its natural form, including fruits and vegetables, usually presents no metabolic problems for a normal body, especially when consumed in variety.
3. Have a breakfast of protein, fat and phytonutrients to start your day off rightBreakfast smoothiesare ideal for this. The typical breakfast full of carbs and sugary or starchy foods is the worst option since you’ll have cravings all day. Eating  a good breakfast is essential to prevent sugar cravings
4. Try incorporate protein and/or fat with each meal. This helps control blood sugar levels. Make sure they are healthy sources of each.
5. Add spices. Coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and reduce cravings.
6. Take a good quality multivitamin and mineral supplementomega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D3.Nutrient deficiencies can make cravings worse and the fewer nutrient deficiencies, the fewer cravings. Certain nutrients seem to improve blood sugar control including chromium, vitamin B3 and magnesium
7. Move your body.  Exercise, dance or do some yoga. Whatever movement you enjoy will help reduce tension, boost your energy and decrease your need for a sugar lift.
8. Get enough sleepWhen we are tired we often use sugar for energy to counteract the exhaustion.
9. Do a detox. My experience has been that when people do a detox, not only does it reset their appetites but it often decreases their sugar cravings. After the initial sugar cravings, which can be overwhelming, our bodies adjust and we won’t even want the sugar anymore and the desire will disappear.
10. Be open to explore the emotional issues around your sugar addiction. Many times our craving for sugar is more for an emotional need that isn’t being met.
11. Keep sugary snacks out of your house and office. It’s difficult to snack on things that aren’t there!
12. Don’t substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar.  This will do little to alter your desire for sweets. If you do need a sweetener, try Stevia, it’s the healthiest.
13. Learn to read labels. Although I would encourage you to eat as few foods as possible that have labels, educate yourself about what you’re putting into your body. The longer the list of ingredients, the more likely sugar is going to be included on that list. So check the grams of sugar, and choose products with the least sugar per serving (I teaspoon of sugar is roughly equivalent to about 4 grams). Become familiar with sugar terminology and recognize that all of these are sweeteners: agave, corn syrup, corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, honey, cane sugar, cane crystals, fruit juice concentrates, molasses, turbinado sugar and brown sugar.
14. Sugar in disguise. Remember that most of the “complex” carbohydrates we consume like bread (including whole wheat), bagels and pasta aren’t really complex at all. They are usually highly refined or act just like sugars in the body and are to be avoided.
15. Scare yourself straight. While I won’t say our national love affair with sugar is all in the mind – there is a strong physical component to sugar addiction – one way to kick off your sugar-free journey is to re-frame the way you think about sugar. Treat it like an illicit drug, a kind of legal form of heroin, a dark force to be avoided, and a substance whose use leads to physical ruin. Next, take a look at CBS’s 60 Minutes “Is Sugar Toxic?” story – it’s a potentially life-changing report for anyone who needs just a bit more inspiration to help them kick sugar.

And if you have acute sugar cravings, try these:

16. Take L-Glutamine, 1000-2000 mg every couple of hours as necessary. It often relieves sugar cravings as the brain uses it for fuel.
17. Take a “breathing break”.  Find a quiet spot, get comfortable and sit for a few minutes and focus on your breath. After a few minutes of this, the craving will pass.
18. Distract yourself.  Go for a walk, if possible, in nature. Cravings usually last for 10-20 minutes maximum. If you can distract yourself with something else, it often passes. The more you do this, the easier it gets and the cravings get easier to deal with.
19. Drink lots of water. Sometimes drinking water or seltzer water can help with the sugar cravings. Also sometimes what we perceive as a food craving is really thirst.
20. Have a piece of fruit. If you give in to your cravings, have a piece of fruit, it should satisfy a sweet craving and is much healthier.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Nolan the Colon and Public Health Initiatives

Upon reading some recently released CDC essays, I came across a very inspiring one that my inner artist could relate to. The article is entitled, "Giant Inflatable Colon and Community Knowledge, Intention, and Social Support for Colorectal Cancer Screening."

Over the last 3 years of incorporating Public Health components into my art practice I was really interested in this idea of a 3-dimensional forms being used as an educational tool. Even more encouraging was the conclusion of the essay, which determined that: "Interactive exhibits can improve public knowledge and interest in CRC (Colorectal Cancer) screening, which may lead to increased CRC screening rates and decreased CRC incidence and deaths."

This conclusion is implying that interactive installations can be preventive health tools. We can educate our community to live healthier lives by engaging their senses, and making learning fun. It was reported that, "Community member interaction with the colon model led to significant increases in all 3 domains: knowledge, screening intention, and social support."

Interested to know more about the methodology? You can find this article at:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April is STD Prevention Month

Did you know that every April is STD Prevention month? Every year there are 20 million people that become infected by STD's. This costs us all collectively 16 billion dollars each year! Since half of all new STD's are among youth, make sure to talk to the young people in your life, or mention it to their parents as an important topic that should be addressed. 

Below is a great infographic from the CDC about the statistics about STD's. Learn something new, and then share with people in your community. Prevention is a great way to stay healthy!


Monday, April 8, 2013

CDC and Healthy Weddings

Who knew that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (commonly known as the CDC) was interested in your wedding day? I guess that just goes to show you how dangerous marriage can be! All jokes aside, there are some great, simple tips that the CDC recommends:

Wedding Checklist: 10 Tips for Physical and Mental Health

  1. Get at least 2½ hours of physical activity a week. The more you do, the greater the health benefits and the better you'll feel—not only for the wedding, but beyond.
  2. Do more physical activity if you want to lose weight. Physical activity increases the number of calories your body uses for energy—that is, how many calories your body burns off.
  3. Plan your workouts. It may be tempting to cram in workouts to drop weight quickly right before the wedding day, but this can lead to unwanted stress and injury.
  4. Love yourself and others with heart-healthy eating that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and foods low in sugar, salt, and saturated fat. Avoid crash diets. Check out heart-healthy menus for the wedding, reception, and other celebrations.
  5. If you smoke, quit now. It's a perfect gift to yourself and loved ones.
  6. Learn ways to manage stress, including finding support and asking for help, connecting socially, maintaining a normal routine, setting limits, and relaxing. Talk with others about your feelings and take care of yourself by sticking to your normal routine.
  7. Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation, which is defined as no more than 1 drink per day for women, and up to 2 drinks per day for men. Choose not to drink and drive.
  8. Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
  9. If you're going abroad for your honeymoon, get travel health information for your location. Know what vaccinations you will need for the trip.
  10. Get your check-up. Don't put off exams and health screenings.

Preparing for Your Honeymoon

  • Research ways to stay safe and healthy during your honeymoon. Keep up with latest travel information and safety tips from the U.S Department of State.External Web Site Icon
  • Stay healthy on a cruise. Cruise ship outbreaks of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, primarily caused by norovirus, have been reported. The best way to prevent illness is frequent handwashing with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) is a good second choice. You will see hand sanitizer dispensers throughout your cruise ship—use them.
  • Check the health scores for cruise ships. Vessel sanitation programs give information on everything from the cleanliness of cutting boards to food inspection reports.
  • Whether you're going abroad or staying close to home, pack and use sunscreen, insect repellent, and appropriate safety gear for activities (such as helmets, life jackets, and knee pads). These steps may lower your risk for illness and injury.

Being True to Yourself

Photo: Bride and groomAsk yourself a few questions. Does your partner seem overbearing or controlling? Is there any abuse or violence in your relationship? Often, intimate partner violence starts with emotional abuse. This behavior can progress to physical or sexual assault.
  • Pay attention to anything interfering with your ability to be safe and healthy or increasing your risk for disease or injury.
  • Schedule an appointment to see your health provider, a counselor, or others for help if you are feeling depressed or anxious.