women 4 hope

Dedicated to addressing women’s issues.

Archive for May, 2009

Vitamin D: Are You Getting Enough?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on May 30, 2009

Are you getting enough vitamin D? Would you know if you weren’t? Apparently, most of us are deficient in vitamin D, and that is putting us at greater risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, some types of cancer, diabetes, and possibly other chronic medical problems (like asthma, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis).

You might be surprised to learn how important vitamin D is to your overall health, and how easy it is to make sure you’re getting enough.

From BlogHer joyofnutritionVitamin D May Make You Brighter

A study published this past week indicates that increasing your levels of vitamin D may help older people stay mentally sharp. Your body can produce vitamin D by exposing your skin to the sun as well as through the diet. Sources of vitamin D include oily fish, liver, mushrooms and fortified products, such as orange juice.

From Women to WomenSymptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency may be characterized by muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression and mood swings, and sleep irregularities. Women with renal problems or intestinal concerns (such as IBS or Crohn’s disease) may be vitamin D deficient because they can neither absorb nor adequately convert the nutrient.

From BlogHer HeartStrong

A recent study (The Framingham Offspring Study) published earlier this year reported an increased risk for heart disease in people whose Vitamin D levels were low. People with high blood pressure were at an even higher risk than people with normal blood pressure.

From The National Women’s Health Network – Basking in the Benefits of Vitamin D

Although we have known for ages that Vitamin D is a crucial for healthy bodies, it has received extra attention in the media lately that may have left you wondering what all the fuss is about. If you’re as skeptical about hyped up new health trends and dietary supplements as I am, then you probably haven’t gone out and bought every bottle of Vitamin D pills at your local health food store. However, the more I read and understand about it, the more inclined I am to soak up the sun and drink a tall glass of fortified soymilk.

From BlogHer eapgourmetVitamin D and Heart Health

Studies conducted by the American Heart Association indicate that low levels of vitamin D may be associated with an increased risk for PAD, which occurs when the arteries in a person’s legs narrow or become clogged with fat. The association estimates that 8 million Americans are affected by PAD.

From BlogHer Fighting FatigueVitamin Deficiency Dangers

I never realized until I was diagnosed with a serious Vitamin D deficiency what all problems this could cause. My doctor was very concerned because my levels were dangerously low and he immediately put me on a high dose Vitamin D supplement. Some other health problems my doctor told me Vitamin D deficiency could cause include heart disease, chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, hypertension, arthritis, depression, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, PMS, Crohns Disease, cancer, MS and other autoimmune diseases.

From Naturally Knocked UpBoost Your Fertility With Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and exists in several forms. Some of these are basically inactive in the body and have limited ability to function.

Why is it important for fertility? Well, you need it in order for your body to produce sex hormones. And without the right amount of hormones in your system, you can suffer from pcos, PMS, and infertility. Vitamin D is also key in regulating cell growth and deciding how those cells grow.

In the news from PR-USA

Pregnant women with low levels of vitamin D may be more likely to suffer from bacterial vaginosis (BV) – a common vaginal infection that increases a woman’s risk for preterm delivery, according to a University of Pittsburgh study. Available online and published in the June issue of The Journal of Nutrition, the studymay explain why African-American women, who often lack adequate vitamin D, are three times more likely than white women to develop BV.

The Sun Screen How-To

I’m reading that sunscreens block Vitamin D absorption — should I be worried about that?

No, and you definitely should absolutely not skip the sunscreen in order to get some Vitamin D. If you’re wearing sunscreen daily on your face (which I wholeheartedly recommend) then you are getting enough incidental exposure during your normal day to boost your Vitamin D intake. But for a day when you know you will be out in the sun for a long time, especially around water, please lotion up. The damage that even a mild sunburn does to your skin is not balanced out, in any way, by the Vitamin D you will get from being sunscreen free.

Take this quick vitamin D quiz at Fit Sugar.

Also See:

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
at Catherine-Morgan.com and Women4Hope

Posted in awareness, blogging, BlogHer, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic illness, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, nutrition, self-help, Women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Is Your Family Affected By Food Allergies?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on May 23, 2009

Is Your Family Affected By Food Allergies?

Do you have children that suffer with food allergies?  It seems like food allergies are becoming more and more prevalent.  Why is that?  My personal opinion, is that it has something to do with how germ and bacteria free we’ve become as a society.

Last week was food allergy awareness week, so I thought I would use this post to look at food allergies and how some parents are coping.

What are food allergies?  From The Mayo Clinic

Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Food allergy affects an estimated 6 to 8 percent of children under age 3, and about 4 percent of adults. While there’s no cure, some children outgrow their food allergy as they get older.

Here is an informative video on food allergies

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Announces New Food Initiative Advocacy Committee

WASHINGTON, DC, May 14, 2009 – Today, as we continue to mark Food Allergy Awareness Week, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., member of the Board of Directors of the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI), announced the formation of FAI’s Advocacy Steering Committee. The committee’s objectives are to help build a strong nationwide presence for the food allergy community in the public policy arena; and to actively seek to increase federal funding of food allergy research, as scientists believe that with proper funding, a cure can be found in less than a decade.

The new steering committee comprises 16 leading parent advocates nationwide who confront the daily dangers of raising children with severe food allergies.

There is a lot of discussion about how schools are dealing with food allergies

From No Whey, MamaA Food Allergy is a Food Allergy

I don’t mean to get all Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, and I certainly am not trying to get into a “my child’s allergy is more severe than yours” discussion. It’s inappropriate, and it doesn’t matter. The school system should treat all food allergies as if they equally severe. It’s just safer that way. Besides, you never know which reaction is going to be the anaphylactic one, so it’s best just to avoid reactions altogether.

From Pink Preppy Party Girl:  Child Food Allergy Etiquette

My children go to a “Nut Free” school which has changed to a “Nut Aware” school since the school cannot guarantee that it is “nut free”. So, more or less, no peanut butter sandwiches allowed–no vital protein (that doesn’t spoil) at lunch. There have been stories about lunch ladies taking Skittles away from children because they are made in factory that also makes M&M’s. We call the lunch ladies Peanut Nazis because they embarrassed and humiliate the children who bring in the Skittles too.

How does your school deal with food allergies?  Are they doing enough?  Could they be doing more?

As with everything in life, sometimes bad things can lead to something good…

How A Debilitating Food Allergy Led To Launching A Baking Company

Beth George’s story touched me and I think you will feel inspired too. Beth was unwilling to accept the host of diagnoses and psychotropic drugs doctors recommended to deal with her son’s unpredictable behavior. Instead, she was determined to figure out the cause. After years of struggling, she discovered that her son was allergic to a common wheat and certain artificial food additives. Once she removed these ingredients from her son’s diet, miraculously his symptoms disappeared. This inspired her to start a baking company, Spelt Right® Baking, that only uses organic, all natural materials with no artificial ingredients of any kind in their products.

Research

From The Nut-Free Mom BlogFood Allergy Awareness Week Research News

I just received a press release from FAAN that made me smile! The organization has donated 1.1 million to food allergy research, including peanut allergy therapies and vaccines. I have high hopes for vaccines–more so than I do for immunotherapy studies like the small one just published from Duke University. This study has received a lot of media buzz but is still in its very early and experimental stages and has caused severe allergic reactions in human subjects. In fact, this experimental therapy isn’t currently recommended for those who have high IgE levels (that is, patients whose blood tests indicate they are at high risk of anaphylaxis) or who have ever had a severe reaction to peanut or tree nut. That leaves many of us out! Now, if this therapy has helped you personally, great. I’m just saying that for many it’s not even an option. That doesn’t sound like a “cure” to me.

Also See:

From Food Allergy Buzz:  Food Alergy Grocery Shopping

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis NetworkSee the Food Allergy Quick Reference at

Food Allergy Initiative

What are your experiences with food allergies?  Do you have advice for other parents?  Let us know in comments.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
at Catherine-Morgan.com and Women4Hope

Posted in BlogHer, children, chronic illness, cooking, family, food, Health, kids, life, mom's, motherhood, nutrition, opinion, parenting, school, Women, women blogging, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chronic Illness: Claims Of Cures Are Often Scams.

Posted by Catherine Morgan on May 18, 2009

Chronic Illness:  Claims Of Cures Are Often Scams.

Do you suffer from a chronic illness with no known cure?  Like Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?   If so, you probably wish every day that you could find a cure and finally be healthy and well.

Why is it that just about every illness without a medically proven cure, has loads of people “claiming” to know the cure?  Not only is it disingenuous to promote cures to desperate people suffering with chronic illness, but it also minimizes the seriousness of these conditions.

For instance, I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and many people believe the cure for this condition is as simple as getting more sleep (and oddly enough, more exercise).  Guess what?  CFS has nothing to do with how much sleep someone gets, and exercise often exacerbates Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  There is no cure for what I have, but the Internet is full of sites that claim to have “sell” the cure.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there are many alternative modalities of  healing that can benefit the symptoms of this disease, but they should not be mistaken for (or touted as) cures.

From Pamela Rice Hahn – It’s All In Your Head

Anyone who copes with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Fibromyalgia (FM) knows there are people out there with all sorts of theories about what’s wrong with them. We’ve heard it all: You’re just depressed. If you’d exercise more, you’d feel better. The insulting “it’s all in your head.” And on and on.

The worst insult is probably: Everybody gets tired.

We know that! Before we got sick, we just got tired, too.

I’m not the only women suffering with chronic illness that is frustrated by false claims of cures.

Here is a quick video of what it is like to live with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome…

From MSMazeMultiple Sclerosis & Mutual Support

Apparently, I’m the voice of doom because I caution my fellow MSers to be wary of scams touting “cures“ for MS. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been offered the cure for MS, I could retire. Unfortunately, these scams are intended to make a buck off our hope. I don’t mean to rob anyone of hope. In fact, I’m filled with hope at recent medical breakthroughs. I stand by my advice… be wary of cures that land in your email inbox and always perform due diligence.

Kristie from X-Out MS – MS and My Diet

There is a LOT of information floating around the internet on miracle diet cures – and amazing detoxification methods that will supposedly ‘cure’ multiple sclerosis.

While it may be somewhat exciting and offer some much needed hope for people that live with this disease – I have to be honest and say that some of the things these people are touting are really quite scary and offers a very false sense of hope and expectation. I can assure you that if any one of the people actually had a true and viable cure for this disease – it would have a whole lot more attention than an occasional blip on an internet search engine! Additionally, they would be shouting their findings from the mountain top – eager to share it with everyone they could find – and not charge $29.95 for the ‘e-book’!

Quite honestly (if you can’t tell already) most of these people completely disgust me.

From Stacy Stone at Chronic Illness 101 – Lessons in Chronic Illness

If someone proclaims they have the cure, they would be famous and everyone would be cured. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

So…How do you protect yourself from false claims of medical cures?  You can start by knowing the signs of false health claims

To avoid becoming a victim of health fraud, consumers should learn how to evaluate health-related claims.

First, watch out for websites that offer quick and dramatic cures for serious diseases.

Consumers should be wary of statements that the product is a quick and effective cure-all or a diagnostic tool for a wide variety of ailments. For example, “Beneficial in treating cancer, ulcers, prostate problems, hepatitis, heart trouble and more…”

To be safe, avoid products that suggest the product can treat or cure diseases. “Shrinks tumors, cures impotency…”

Question promotions that use words like “scientific breakthrough,” “miraculous cure,” “secret ingredient” and “ancient remedy.”

–read full article at Haleakala Times

Also See:

From Fraud Files Blog – MLM Scheme, Mannatech Pays Millions For False Claims of Cures.

From The Daily WD – Daily Dose: Cheerios  and Cholesterol

One Lesson From A Decade of Fighting Chronic Illness

Don’t Be Fooled By Produces Claiming To Cure Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Posted in about me, BlogHer, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic illness, depression, Health, life, my life, opinion, thoughts, Women, women's health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tips For Eating Green and Why You Should

Posted by Catherine Morgan on May 12, 2009

Have you ever wondered how the foods we choose to eat each day effects our carbon footprint?  You might be surprised to find out just how much it does.

But, do we all have to start growing our own food and become vegetarians to save our planet?

No.  Even if we just make one or two changes in our eating and purchasing habits, we can each begin to make a positive impact on our environment.   So…I’m going to give you several tips on little things we can all do to help us get on the path to greener eating.

Before we do that, lets take some time to address how our food choices are affecting our carbon footprint.  Here is an interesting tool to help you calculate the carbon footprint of your diet…

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Posted in awareness, BlogHer, cooking, dieting, family, food, Health, life, lifestyle, nutrition, opinion, thoughts, weight loss, Women, women's health, YouTube | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Stalker Nutritionist Ambushes Women For Reality TV Show

Posted by Catherine Morgan on May 11, 2009

Stalker Diet Detective Ambushes Overweight Women For Reality TV Show

Yes, you heard right.  There is a new show on We-TV that has many women (including myself) up in arms – It’s called I Want To Save Your Life.  But what could be so bad about a show that wants to save lives?  Well, it gives the impression it is a kind of “intervention” type show…but it’s really an attack on women who are overweight.

This show is wrong on so many levels that I barely know where to start.  Below is a promo clip of this pathetic excuse for reality tv.

I did happen to see this show last week, and it was quite shocking.   I think the worst part about it is how family members (in the case I saw it was the husband), basically “rat out” the women and allow this guy to stalk them and then confront them about their weight and diet on reality tv.   I don’t know who is worse, the stalker nutritionist or the husband who rats out his wife?

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Posted in BlogHer, body image, coaching, dieting, family, feminism, food, friends, happiness, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, media, opinion, thoughts, weight loss, Women, women blogging, women's health, women's issues, YouTube | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Kirstie Alley on Oprah Talking About Her Weight Gain

Posted by Catherine Morgan on May 5, 2009

Kirstie Alley on Oprah Talking About Her Weight Gain

Did you see Kirstie Alley on Oprah?  She was on to talk about her weight gain, and her desire to develop her own weight loss program.   The interview wasn’t at all what I expected.  She talked to Oprah about spending this past year researching weight loss (for her soon to be announced weight loss program), while gaining even more weight than she had lost on Jenny Craig.  It was a bit odd.

One of the biggest questions I got from my post on Valerie Bertinelli’s recent weight loss, was about whether or not she will be able to keep it off once she stops the Jenny Craig diet.  It seems that if Kirstie Alley is any example, the answer might be no.

What do you think?

I’ve known for a while now that Kirstie Alley had gained back all of the weight she lost on the Jenny Craig diet, and I have no judgment of her about that.   After all, most of us spend a good portion of our lives gaining, losing, and gaining again.  I’m no exception.  I just don’t understand why she didn’t seem to make any attempt at all to maintain her weight loss?  Even moving all of her high-end exercise equipment to her garage.  Why?   She obviously had the means to hire people to cook healthy meals for her, or trainers to work-out with her.  Why didn’t she?  I think I could understand a little better if she wasn’t also claiming to be developing her own weight loss program.  I just don’t get it.

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Posted in BlogHer, body image, depression, dieting, food, happiness, Health, life, lifestyle, nutrition, thoughts, weight loss, Women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »