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Archive for the ‘lifestyle’ Category

It’s Time To Quit Smoking: Are e-cigarettes that answer?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on October 1, 2010

A few weeks ago my daughter and I were at the mall doing some back-to-school shopping and walked by a kiosk selling what looked like cigarettes.  We both thought it was odd, but we assumed it must be some type of “quit smoking” devise.  But, on the way out we actually saw a man demonstrating this product which looked exactly like a cigarette (including the smoke).  I have to admit, it was very strange seeing someone smoke in a mall, you just don’t see that anymore (except for right outside the mall).  As we walked by I noticed a sign that claimed it was a “clean” way to smoke.  At the time we just rolled our eyes at the ridiculousness of it all, and wondered why anyone would want to pay money for something that looked like a cigarette but wasn’t?

Fast forward to a few days ago when I was asked to write a post about the controversy surrounding the e-cigarette.  I hadn’t heard of an e-cigarette, but after researching it, I realized it was the same thing we saw being sold at the mall.

After reading more about e-cigarettes, I have mixed feelings about their benefits.  On one hand, the manufacturers of the e-cigarettes are claiming they only want to give smokers an easier way to quit smoking.  But on the other hand, they are marketing the product by glamorizing a new “cleaner” way to smoke.  So what is it?  It’s clear the real motivation (as always) is in making money, not so much the health or best interest of the consumer.  And that’s why I’m happy to hear that the FDA is cracking down on these “questionable” products.

From Reuters – FDA Cracks Down on 5 Makers of e-cigarettes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent warnings to five makers of electronic cigarettes for marketing them illegally as stop-smoking aids and said on Thursday it intends to regulate the products as drugs.

The move is the latest attempt by the FDA to assert its jurisdiction over electronic or e-cigarettes, battery-powered devices that allow users to inhale a vaporized liquid nicotine solution instead of tobacco smoke.

I think if it’s determined that this product is a safe way to help smokers quit, it might be a better idea to make it available by prescription only (rather than the local mall and internet).

This is an interesting video on e-cigarettes from ABC News…

This is from the American Cancer Society

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals, according to a new analysis by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One sample even included diethylene glycol, a toxic ingredient found in antifreeze.

E-cigarettes are often sold as a way to quit smoking or to get nicotine in places where smoking isn’t allowed, but they aren’t currently regulated by the FDA.

. . .

While these products have been billed as tools to help smokers quit, they have not been submitted to the FDA for that purpose.

In addition to the possible risks associated with these e-cigarettes, I also worry about whether more people could actually become addicted to nicotine because they are being told it’s a safe alternative to cigarettes.  Will people who would have never thought to try smoking be loured into a false sense of security and end up addicted to nicotine and e-cigarettes?

There is also a pretty big concern that e-cigarettes could become a trend among teens

The e-cigarettes have been made readily available on internet with tobacco, strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla flavors and are made accessibly legal for the minors as well.

But teenagers of New Hampshire are opposing the technological cigarette smoking as they think that e-smoking is bound to become popular among youth of their age, making them addict to the nicotine intake offered by the same.

What do you think?  Is this the first you’re hearing of e-cigarettes?  Do you think they have a place in our society?  Would it be weird seeing people smoking in restaurants and hospitals again?  I would love to know what you think in comments.

Here are some reasons Why You Should Quit Smoking from the American Cancer Society…

  • Health concerns usually top the list of reasons people give for quitting smoking. This is a very real concern: Half of all smokers who keep smoking will end up dying from a smoking-related illness. In the US alone, smoking is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths, and about 8.6 million people suffer from smoking-related lung and heart diseases.
  • Nearly everyone knows that smoking can cause lung cancer, but few people realize it is also a risk factor for many other kinds of cancer too, including cancer of the mouth, voice box (larynx), throat (pharynx), esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix, stomach, and some leukemias.
  • Smokers are twice as likely to die from heart attacks as are non-smokers. And smoking is a major risk factor for peripheral vascular disease, a narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood to the leg and arm muscles. Smoking also affects the walls of the vessels that carry blood to the brain (carotid arteries), which can cause strokes. Men who smoke are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction (impotence) because of blood vessel disease.

Also see my post from last week Why Are So Many People Still Smoking?

Posted in BlogHer, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, news, thoughts, Women, women's health, YouTube | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Are We Sitting Ourselves To Death?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on September 3, 2010

What are you doing right now?  Aside from reading this post, you are most likely sitting somewhere.  On your couch?  At your desk?  In a chair?  Wherever you find yourself sitting, I’m sure that it won’t come as a surprise to you, that sitting isn’t good for your health.  But did you know that it is so bad for your health that it could be taking years off of your life?

It’s true.

Unfortunately, I can’t even say that I’m setting a good example for any of you by doing something other than sitting on the couch with my laptop myself.  However, this new study did get me thinking about ways I might be able to do less sitting, and I think I am going to give a few of them a try (tomorrow).

From WebMD – Are We Sitting Ourselves To Death

After adjusting for smoking, height/weight, and other factors, Patel’s team found that compared to sitting less than three hours a day, sitting six or more hours a day:

  • Increased the death rate by about 40% in women
  • Increased the death rate by about 20% in men
  • Increased the death rate by 94% in the least active women
  • Increased the death rate by 48% in the least active men

It wasn’t just that they weren’t getting exercise. Patel and colleagues found that sitting itself was detrimental to health.  Sitting increased risk of cancer death, but the main death risk linked to sitting was heart disease.

That’s scary stuff.  I’m sure that I’m sitting more than six hours of the day, and up until very recently I was getting little to no exercise.

So, how many hours a day do you spend sitting?  Could you be sitting your way to an early grave? What about your kids?

In the age of couch potatoes, it’s not surprising that a lack of activity has become a serious health risk.  The question is — What are you ready to do about it?

Are you ready to take steps to be more active and less sedentary?  If so, now is a great time to start.  The best part is, the study doesn’t suggest that you have to replace hours of sitting with hours of activity.   It seems that even just breaking up your sitting time with a bit of active non-sitting time can be beneficial.

Here are some tips for increasing your life expectancy by decreasing the amount of time you sit. Remember, these are just ideas, use these ideas as guidelines for developing a personal plan that works best for you.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in awareness, BlogHer, cancer, chronic illness, family, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, self-help, Women, women's health | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tips For Increasing Your Dieting & Weight Loss Willpower

Posted by Catherine Morgan on June 12, 2010

How important is willpower when it comes to our ability to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle?  Is it possible to change poor eating habits to healthy ones if you don’t have a lot of willpower?

My answer:  The more willpower you have the easier it will be, but perfection isn’t necessary.

No one wants to admit that they lack willpower or self-control, but the truth is, none of us has an unlimited supply.  Some days we may have less self control than others, but that makes us normal, not imperfect.

When it comes to healthy living, a healthy dose of willpower is helpful.  The good thing is, once you’ve had the willpower to resist certain unhealthy choices and adapt healthy ones, willpower is needed less and less because your new choices become habit.

If you have unhealthy habits, it is possible to change them into healthy habits.  They say it takes about three weeks for something to become a habit (or to unlearn a habit), so those first three weeks are when willpower is most needed.  And there are things we can do to help maintain are willpower during these critical times.  Here are a few tips…

1.  Have a plan for dealing with times of low willpower. Making the plan before you’ve lost your willpower is key.  Think of all the possible problems that could arise, and then come up with some ways to help you overcome them.

For example:  If eating healthy is your goal, make sure you have a lot of healthy alternatives available for the days you’re feeling you must eat something that you know you shouldn’t.  If you don’t think that will work, then go ahead and eat what you’re craving, just limit yourself to one serving of it (rather than the whole box).  If you think it will help, write down your solutions to the possible problems in a journal or on a post-it note, and review them frequently.

The most important thing is to be prepared.  Because it’s not a matter of  will you have a moment of weakened self-control, it’s a matter of when.

2.  Find ways to reduce the stress in your life.  Emotions definitely play a role in the amount of willpower we have on any given day.  If you’re an emotional eater, you know what I’m talking about.  Do what ever you can to reduce stress in your life.  Here are a few ideas…

Do what ever you can do to reduce the stress in your life.  This isn’t just a way to help your willpower, this is a necessary component of healthy living.

3.  Have a glass of orange juice. Studies show that glucose is a key ingredient that your brain needs to help maintain an effective level of self-control (willpower).

4.  Exercise the willpower muscle.  Don’t wait for something huge to come along and challenge your willpower.  Instead, make an effort to challenge your willpower on a smaller scale more frequently.  Doing this actually builds up your ability for having greater willpower at the times you really need it.

These are a few tips that can help you develop stronger willpower.  But it’s important to know that we will all have times we falter, there is no such thing as having complete self-control, and that is perfectly okay.

What are your willpower issues?  Do you have any tips you can share about ways to maintain willpower for healthy living and healthy eating?

Posted in BlogHer, body image, dieting, food, Health, life, lifestyle, nutrition, self-help, weight loss, Women, women's health | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Dieting, Weight Loss, and a Choose You Giveaway.

Posted by Catherine Morgan on May 26, 2010

An Update and a Giveaway…My very first give away.

I’m happy to report that even with additional temptations this weekend [It was my mother’s birthday and we got her an ice-cream cake, chocolate volcano cake, and cheese cake.] I was still successful in my goal to not eat sugar.  It actually wasn’t hard at all to resist, I think because it’s been over two weeks, I’m just not craving the sugar the way I normally do.  So that’s a plus!

Do you want to see the Birthday Dance of my mother that I made with the American Cancer Society’s new dance application?  Here’s the link – Frances Ellen Disco Dancing (Feel free to tease her about it in comments, she loves all the attention).

OK, back to my post.

Since I was so successful with my first (two week) commitment, I decided to make a longer and more difficult commitment next.  For the next six weeks I will be continuing to avoid sugar, but I will also eliminate high fat/calorie snacks and junk food, and lose 5 pounds.

That’s a lot…But you think I can do it, right?

So that’s my new commitment.  Now for the giveaway.

Since I know my Choose You Commitment is going to get more and more difficult to stick with, I wanted to do something to increase my online support.  It may sound silly, but I love getting comments of support and tips from my readers.  And the more feedback I get, the more encouraged I get.  So I asked the folks at the American Cancer Society if I could do a giveaway.  Not only did they say yes, but they agreed to donate a Choose You Stainless Water Bottle and a Choose You Lapel Pin.

All you have to do is go to MY CHOOSE YOU BLOG POST and leave a comment on the post and you will be entered to win (I’ll announce the winner when I post next Tuesday).  Any comment will do, but like I said in my first post I could use all the support I can get from you.

Also See:

Catherine is the mother of two teenagers, she writes about health & wellness at BlogHer and catherine-morgan.com.

*cross posted at Choose You

Posted in about me, blog, body image, cancer, dieting, family, food, Health, life, lifestyle, nutrition, self-help, weight loss, Women, women blogging, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Win a $100 Visa Gift Card by Playing BlogHer’s Scavenger Hunt.

Posted by Catherine Morgan on April 14, 2010

Find out what BlogHer was a guest on Oprah, who played cards with Brad Pitt, and who had their first kiss with Scott Baio.    HINT:  One of them was me.

In the spirit of their newly launched Fun and Games section, BlogHer has cooked up a Scavenger Hunt using some of your jaw-dropping profile facts. Playing is fun and easy, and we’re giving away cash prizes, natch.

Here’s how it works:

  • Read (and marvel!) at each fun fact about a BlogHer.
  • Tell us which amazing BlogHer the fact belongs to. We make it easy by giving you just two links to BlogHer profiles. Follow each link, read both surprising facts and then answer (links will open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place on the entry form).

If you score 100 percent correct answers, you’ll be entered in a random drawing to win one of ten $100 Visa gift cards. Late to the game? No worries, we’re leaving this open until Tuesday, April 20th, at 5 p.m. Pacific. Read the official rules here.

Go here to playScavenger Hunt:  Scott Baio Was My First Kiss Edition

Posted in about me, bloggers, BlogHer, life, lifestyle, my life, personal, Women, women blogging | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Politics: How is the healthcare crisis related to the high cost of healthy foods?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 18, 2010

Are healthcare, politics, and the high cost of healthy foods related?

Yes.

Let me start by saying…I am so sick of politics I could throw-up. But that said, this is about much more than politics. It’s about the warped reality we are all living in, from the White House to our local supermarket and fast food joint.

About two weeks ago I read an article comparing the cost of health care to the cost of food. It suggests that the best way to solve the healthcare crisis, is for all consumers to be forced to pay more for healthcare – Because then people would think about the cost before “choosing” certain tests and treatments. What a shocking revelation…Who would have thought (other than the CATO Institute) that the people who can’t afford expensive health care services would “choose” not to have them? Although, I wouldn’t really consider that a choice.

*Read full post at catherine.morgan.com

Posted in family, food, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, news, nutrition, opinion, political, Politics, universal healthcare, Women, women's health | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Secret To Good Health: Red Wine & Dark Chocolate

Posted by Catherine Morgan on February 14, 2010

By now most of us have heard that there are many health benefits to red wine and dark chocolate.  But what is it about these two (seemingly not so healthy) foods that make them good for us?  And…Is it possible to get too much of a good thing?

In this post we’ll take a look at these two foods and their surprising health benefits.

Let’s start with my personal favorite – dark chocolate.

Today you can buy just about every type of chocolate candy (from M&Ms to Kit-Kats) in dark chocolate.  But, it’s not just any chocolate that’s good for you…It must be dark chocolate with a high percentage (70%) of cocoa, to get more of the health-enhancing antioxidants.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in chronic illness, dark chocolate, food, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, nutrition, Women, women's health | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Study Finds Weight Bias In Healthcare

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 23, 2010

I came across a pretty disturbing article today…It suggests that doctors are bias against overweight women, to the extent of jeopardizing their health and well-being.  It’s no secret that overweight people are discriminated against in many ways.  But recent studies have found that overweight women are actually being discriminated by their own doctors and health care professionals.  With two out of every three Americans considered to be overweight or obese, this bias could be putting many people at risk.  Could you be one of them?

How serious is the problem?

It begins with the availability of  quality health care.  If you are overweight, you may have a harder time getting health insurance, or be made to pay higher premiums than your thinner counterparts.  And it doesn’t stop there.  You may be paying more, but getting less.  For instance, an overweight woman is more likely to be misdiagnosed or prescribed the wrong dosage of medications.  There is also a greater risk of not detecting cancer early enough for effective treatment.  And, overweight women are also less likely to find a fertility doctor to help them have a child.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in blood pressure, body image, chronic illness, Health, life, lifestyle, news, opinion, weight loss, Women, women blogging, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What is your eating style? Do you follow one of the popular diet plans?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 21, 2010

What is your eating style?  Do you follow one of the popular diet plans?

If you’re looking to eat healthy or lose weight in the new year, there are a lot of diet plans out there to choose from.  But how do you know which plan is best for you?  I’m not a fan of fad diets – Even when they work, they are often an unhealthy choice and any weight lost is usually quickly gained back.  But there are diet plans geared towards healthy eating and healthy weight loss.  Maybe you’re already following one.

In this post I thought we could take a look at some of the diet plans that also focus on healthy eating.  Because, in the long run, changing unhealthy eating habits to healthy ones is the only way to lose weight and keep it off.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BlogHer, body image, cooking, dieting, food, Health, life, lifestyle, nutrition, weight loss, Women, women blogging, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Quit Smoking for the Great American Smokeout

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 17, 2009

The Great American Smokeout happens every year on the third Thursday in November, and it has been going on each year since 1977.  This is a day that smokers all across the country are encouraged to not smoke, or at least cut back on their smoking for one day.  Each year millions of smokers participate in the smokeout in the hope that this one step will be the catalyst to their quitting permanently.

On the American Cancer Society‘s website you can find a lot of great information to help you with this challenge…

You can also read about the history of The Great American Smokeout here.

From Suite 101

The American Cancer Society uses this yearly event to not only draw attention to the health issues and dangers that accompany smoking, but also to point smokers who struggle with quitting towards the many resources and tools available to them.

It has been proven that success in quitting smoking is greatly increased when smokers have support. This support can come in a number of ways. The ACS recommends that smokers eager to kick the habit employ one or more of these resources:

  • nicotine replacement products (such as the patch or gum);
  • counseling;
  • prescription medication to lessen nicotine cravings;
  • joining a stop smoking support group;
  • using telephone smoking cessation hotlines;
  • guide books;

Are you a smoker?  Will you be abstaining from smoking for the Great American Smoke Out?

Here’s a look at some of what other women are blogging about quitting smoking…

READ THE FULL POST AT catherine-morgan.com

Posted in awareness, BlogHer, cancer, chronic illness, Health, life, lifestyle, self-help, teens | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Lose Weight, Boost Immune System, and Increase Energy with Isagenix

Posted by Catherine Morgan on September 24, 2009

I recently posted this on my Living With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome blog, but I thought it would be good here too.

I don’t normally recommend products on my blogs, but as a person suffering with chronic illness I know how important it is to share information that could benefit others. I started using these products about a year ago, in the hope of boosting my immune system, and increasing my energy. I believe it has done both of these things and more, I just feel so much better on the days that I use this product than on the days I don’t.

This product has the potential of benefiting your health in so many ways…And for anyone looking to generate an income, the company also offers a very simple way to do that too.

These products have really increased my quality of life.

It’s by a company called Isagenix. They have many products but I’ve been using three.

The first one is a nutritional shake. They come in Vanilla and Chocolate (and they actually taste good). Even though it is “technically” a meal replacement, I often use it as a supplement between healthy meals.

isagenix-isalean-shake

The shake contains 23 grams of the highest quality New Zealand whey and casein protein from grass-fed cows with no added hormones or antibiotics, as well as filling fiber, calcium and vitamins to support the body’s vital functions.

This perfectly balanced shake also contains Ionic Alfalfa™, our proprietary blend of 70 super-charged minerals, trace minerals and alfalfa juice. Active enzymes in each serving helps maximize the absorption of key nutrients.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in about me, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic illness, dieting, food, Health, life, lifestyle, my life, nutrition, personal, self-help, weight loss, Women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Catherine’s Top 3 Tips For Healthy Living

Posted by Catherine Morgan on September 20, 2009

appleHere are three easy tips that can help anyone become a healthier version of themselves.

via Catherine’s Top 3 Tips For Healthy Living.

Posted in body image, children, chronic illness, Health, heart disease, kids, life, lifestyle, nutrition, self-help, thoughts, weight loss, Women, women's health | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Is It Ever Too Late To Follow Our Dreams?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on September 15, 2009

freedoms

via Is It Ever Too Late To Follow Our Dreams?.

Posted in awareness, children, coaching, empowerment, faith, family, happiness, inspirational, life, lifestyle, marriage, opinion, personal, self-help, success, thoughts, Women, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The High Cost of Cheap Food

Posted by Catherine Morgan on September 1, 2009

There was an interesting article this week in TIME magazine – Getting Real About The High Cost of Cheap Food.  The article goes into detail about the harmful effects of cheap food on our environment, our finances, and ourselves.

Have you read the article?

From Choosing Raw – Nutrition in the News:  The High Price of Cheap Food

Hope you’re enjoying your start to the week. I just wanted to draw everyone’s attention to Time Magazine’s very excellent cover article this week. It details the true cost–economic, medical, cultural, environmental–of mass-produced and processed food, and it’s worth reading and sending to your loved ones A.S.A.P. The article probably won’t tell you anything you didn’t learn from Food, Inc. or The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but it’s powerful, succinct, and uncompromising. Most importantly, it’s a huge sign of progress that major newsweeklies are spreading word about the true cost of cheaply produced, high-protein diets.

*Read full post at catherine-morgan.com

Posted in cooking, food, Health, life, lifestyle, news, nutrition, opinion, political | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

7 Lifestyle Tips For Reducing Blood Pressure

Posted by Catherine Morgan on July 12, 2009

Did you know that one in every three adults has high blood pressure?  Are you one of them?

I had some good news the other day.  It seems that all of my hard work trying to eat healthy and lose weight is finally paying off.  For the first time in years my blood pressure is actually normal.  Yaaay! This is just the kind of validation I was looking for when I began my journey of weight loss and healthy living.

If you have high blood pressure or know someone who does, here are some tips that can help lower blood pressure naturally.

Tip #1 – Lose 10 Pounds

Did you know that most Americans are overweight (66% are overweight or obese)?  It’s true.  It’s also true that losing as little as ten pounds can help reduce high blood pressure.

Read full post 7 Tips For Reducing Blood Pressure at catherine-morgan.com

Posted in awareness, blood pressure, chronic illness, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, news, nutrition, self-help, weight loss, Women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Royal Pains and Concierge Medicine

Posted by Catherine Morgan on June 26, 2009

Royal Pains: Can Concierge Medicine Coexist With Obama’s Healthcare Plan?

Have you seen the new show Royal Pains?  If so, you are probably now familiar with what a concierge doctor is.  It’s not a bad show, but is concierge (or boutique) healthcare bad for patients?

This is from an episode of The Doctors

Have you ever wished you had your own personal doctor at your beck and call? Now you can. Concierge doctors are gaining popularity, but can the average person afford them? President of Elite Personal Physician Services, Dr. Cheryl BryantBruce, explains that her clients have 24/ 7 direct access to her.

“Whether you get the $100,000 package or the $10,000 package, you will get the same medical care,” Dr. BryantBruce assures. “We have a Hippocratic oath that tells us that is what we are supposed to do.”

It seems to me that if you can afford it, it’s a great way to go.  The trouble is, most people probably can’t afford it.

From Womanist Musings – The Terrible Nightmare of Single Payer Healthcare

The United States has some of the world’s best hospitals, yet millions of U.S. citizens are unable to access their services, making their existence meaningless to large sections of the population. Many die each year due to a lack of insurance and the greatest cause of bankruptcy is unpaid medical bills. Looking from the outside, it is clear that the American Health care system is about profit, whereas the value of a single human life is priceless.

From Doc Gurley

For those of us who don’t live in the rarefied world of “concierge” anything, here’s how a concierge doc works: you, as a doc, sign up people for a fixed monthly amount, then you offer them hand-held service for that monthly payment. Also part of the arrangement is a (sometimes explicit, sometimes assumed) limit on the total number of patients the doc will see – say, 600 people total.

But it’s not just about more and more physicians turning to concierge medicine, it’s about why?

From Chelsey Ledue at Healthcare Finance News

To adapt to market pressures, some physicians are moving to full concierge practices. The model works well for physicians – and for patients who can afford it – but it often disenfranchises those patients who can’t afford or don’t want to move to such a model.

“The way the market is moving we may well create a system where millions of Americans no longer have access to primary care physicians,” said Lipton. “This creates a bit of a paradox as the administration and healthcare leaders are publicly highlighting what an important role PCPs play in providing and coordinating care for Americans.”

From Jennifer Erickson of The Laguna Beach Independent

Some opponents of concierge medicine view the business model as an extra level of bureaucracy atop managed care medical insurance. Dr. Bill Anderson, who runs the Sleepy Hollow urgent care facility downtown, wrote recently in a weekly ad, “if you have a real doctor in a private practice and not a managed care medical plan, you get the same service, minus the frills. Your doctor or an associate is available by phone 24/7 and they coordinate emergency and hospital care when you need it. So what’s the big deal?”

Will concierge medicine help or hurt the millions of uninsured and under-insured in our country?

From Josie Brown at Single Minded Woman – Support Single Payer Healthcare

Last week I got a notice from our insurance carrier that our family policy rate was going up — almost 35% (!!!) — oh, and yeah, it’s time for my college age daughter to get a plan of her own: another $159 above and beyond the increase.

Few kids in college can afford to cover their own health insurance policy. Of course Martin and I will do so until she’s making an income that will do so (forget about a plan from an employer: those are becoming as rare as Ugg boots).

Adding to our cost concerns, our deductible is being raised again, and some benefits (I use that term lightly) are no longer included.

How will this new form of healthcare integrate itself into the Obama healthcare plan?  Does it even want to?

From Mommy Life – Obama and ABC Merge

On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care — a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!

Highlights on the agenda:

ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special — ‘Prescription for America’ — originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.

Have you checked out the new show Royal Pains?

From Megan’s Minute – The “Royal Pains” of the Hamptons

Did you know there were such things as concierge doctors?

Medical professionals who hang out at ritzy resorts waiting for party-goers to overdose, or slip on the dance floor or crack-up their cars? That’s when a discreet doctor is literally worth his weight in gold.

So…What do you think about concierge medicine?  Will it help or hurt our chances of getting quality and affordable healthcare for everyone?  If you had the money would you prefer to have a concierge doctor?  Let me know your thoughts in comments.

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

Posted in Health, life, lifestyle, medicine, Women, women blogging, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Losing Weight and Getting In Shape For The Summer

Posted by Catherine Morgan on June 22, 2009

Sunday marks the first day of summer…How are you feeling about getting into your bathing suit?  Personally, I was hoping to be in a little better shape by now.  Even though I’ve been successful at getting closer to my ideal weight, I’ve been playing one step forward and two steps back for the last several weeks.

Since I know I’m not the only mom out there struggling to eat healthy and lose weight, I’m not going to give up.  I’m determined to have my Valerie Bertinelli moment, and it would be great if I could get to it sometime this summer.  And yes, I do have a plan.  It involves a few of the things that have already worked for me, and a couple of new (somewhat unconventional) ideas too.

Here’s an unconventional idea from izzimomBest Weight Loss Tip Ever

I’m not implying that any of YOU need to lose weight but if you ever need some inspiration to keep your eye on the ball and your ass in gear, just put on your bathing suit and look in the mirror. This is especially important if you’re putting on your bathing suit for the first time since it got warm. The impact will be much greater. But possibly more depressing, too. Consider yourself warned.

Then? Repeat EVERY SINGLE DAY so you never, ever become complacent or forget that you have NOT reached your goal…mostly because you sit in front of your computer all day. Ahem.

Check out some of the comments here.

I don’t know about you, but I can totally relate to This Mama

From This Mama Cooks! On A Diet – My Weight Loss, Slower Than A Herd Of Turtles

Most weight loss and diet bloggers do a lot of weekly update posts. I haven’t since going back to Weight Watchers earlier this year and starting on their Momentum Plan. You know why? Because reading that I’ve lost 1 pound here, or gained a few pounds back there, is boring.

Well, it’s beyond boring to me that is. In fact, it’s downright maddening.

I know I’m going to need to shake things up a bit if I’m going to get back in the swing of things.  So, here is my plan…

First, something new – I’m going to take the advice of Violette DeSantis from Type-A Mom and try eating a Horned Melon (hopefully they aren’t too expensive)…

If we are not eating right our efforts at dieting and exercise are complemented with fatigue. Truth is we are more apt to work at eating right and continuing on a course of fitness when we have energy and less frustration. One remedy to fight fatigue is iron and a favorite source for most of us is melon. What usually comes to mind is our summer favorite, watermelon but let’s discover a new melon that packs a wallop of iron, the horned melon.

Yes, it looks scary; a puffer fish on a vine. I promise it won’t bite back.

Second, something old – I’m going to get more exercise to try to increase my metabolism, as suggested by Workout Mommy – Simple Ways To Lose Weight

Instead of spending your free time on the couch, walk around and get a few household chores done as you keep an eye and an ear on the television. Instead of taking the elevator, use the stairs. Park at the end of the lot so that you need to walk longer to get to the office or your home. And get down to enjoy some rambunctious fun with your kids. These are small things, they’re certainly not what we would call exercise, but they do increase your metabolism and help you lose weight.

And third, something unconventional – I’m going to try a subliminal weight loss program that I received a few months ago.  I listened to it a few times, but never committed to using it every day.  But starting tonight, I’m going to give it a real try.

I’m hoping these subliminal messages will help keep me motivated to make healthy food choices and say “no” to the empty calories and angry whoppers.  I’ll keep a journal for the next month so I can report back to everyone on whether it actually worked or not.

So that’s my plan, and I’m going to try really hard to stick to it.  Do you have any plans for staying healthy or losing weight this summer?  Will you be trying any unconventional weight loss methods?  Does the thought of being seen in a bathing suit affect your desire to get into better shape?  Let me know in comments.

Posted in body image, dieting, Health, life, lifestyle, nutrition, self-help, thoughts, weight loss, Women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Is It Possible To Eat Healthy on a Budget?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on June 6, 2009

Could The Recession Be Making More Americans Fat?  Is it possible to eat healthy on a budget?

There seems to be evidence that the poor economy is taking its toll on American families and their ability to make healthy food choices.  For some it may be that stress is contributing to an increase in emotional eating, and for others it may be the cost of eating healthy.  For what ever reason, the recession appears to be having a negative affect on obesity in America.  And since there is no sign of economic recovery in the near future, we need to all find ways to get ourselves (and our families) through these hard times without forfeiting our health.

Back in October I wrote a post on saving money while still eating healthy, and now more than ever, I think we need to take another look at how we can do that.

Today Newsweek had an article about how the recession is contributing to an increase of overweight Americans.

Is The Recession Making Americans Fatter?

Could the plummeting economy be contributing to expanding waistlines? Something is: new data released exclusively to NEWSWEEK from Gallup-Healthways shows that in the past year, the number of Americans considered obese has jumped by 1.7 percent—or almost 5.5 million people—and that the obese report a much lower quality of life than those who are at healthier weights.

. . .

The stress of worrying about keeping or finding a job, paying bills and keeping a stable home does take a negative toll on one’s health, including weight. “There’s a clear link between stress and weight gain,” says Leslie Heinberg, director of behavioral services for the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at Cleveland Clinic. “People may be more likely to eat comfort foods or eat things that are higher in fat and calories,” she explains. And, this kind of weight gain can be especially unhealthy: “There’s good evidence that stress hormones may play important role in holding onto fat, especially the much more deleterious visceral fat.”  And a tight budget doesn’t just mean stress eating, it also means we’re more likely to choose foods that are cheaper, which are typically foods that are higher in fat and calories.

Let’s take a look at what other women are blogging about eating healthy on a budget.

Read full post on Eating Healthy on a Budget at catherine-morgan.com

Posted in dieting, family, food, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, news, nutrition, Women, women blogging, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

What You Need To Know Before You Fill Out An Online Questionnaire

Posted by Catherine Morgan on June 1, 2009

How private do you think your personal medical information is?  You may be surprised (or angry) to find out the truth.

Could you be unknowingly giving away your private information to unscrupulous marketers?  Well, if you’re one of the 27 million people that have taken an online questionnaire to determine your real age, that may be exactly what has already happened.

From Stephanie Clifford at The New York Times

While few people would fill out a detailed questionnaire about their health and hand it over to a drug company looking for suggestions for new medications, that is essentially what RealAge is doing.

RealAge allows drug companies to send e-mail messages based on those test results. It acts as a clearinghouse for drug companies, including Pfizer, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, allowing them to use almost any combination of answers from the test to find people to market to, including whether someone is taking antidepressants, how sexually active they are and even if their marriage is happy.

From The Great Fitness Experiment — Is Your Real Age Accurate?

At first I will admit I was thrilled with my results. See? That healthy living obsession is paying off in the form of high-kicking organs and a mind that could battle wits against a Sicillian and win (although not in a land war in Asia.) But then the doubt started to creep in. I fussed around with my results and discovered something interesting: the test puts an immense, some might say disproportionate, emphasis on certain supplements. Especially confusing to me was the pro vitamin E stance, considering all the recent research about its harmful effects. A supplement that reportedly causes a 15% increase in early death actually added years to my life according to the quiz. Are they just operating off of old research? After all, Vitamin E used to be the wonder supplement before Vitamin D threw it off the bridge with cement shoes. Or, is something more nefarious going on?

. . .

In addition, The Real Age test, backed by Oprah’s Dr. Mehmet Oz, has branched out into a full online community with mailing lists, chat rooms and even recipes. Boasting a membership of over 27 million, they’ve got a lot of eyeballs. So not only is the test assigning an arbitrary number based on dubious health principles but they’re also creating one of the largest online drug marketing databases in the world.

This is from Cranky Fitness — Find Your “Real” Real Age

Have you taken the “Real Age” test? It’s that site where you sign up and answer a bunch of family history and lifestyle questions. Then the site figures your health risks and tells you how old you “really” are.

Twenty seven million people have taken it so far. And it’s energetically pushed by Oprah’s pal, Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Jodie Andrefski wrote Those Fun Online Quizzes May Be More Than You Bargained For

Then, you have sites like RealAge. Oh, this one is nifty. This one is popular for telling you what your biological age is based on your answers to a detailed quiz about health habits and family history. Are you depressed? How often do you have sex? Now, the answers to these rather personal questions aren’t just to figure out your “Real Age” by the way. Ahhhh….no. Your information is then used to market you based on your answers. Depressed? Having problems in that area and Viagra is starting to look good? Well, let us (RealAge) help. We will allow partners to sponsor messages that we will then send to you. Aren’t we ever so helpful? *cough, cough*

“These [types of sites] are data-mining havens where users willingly opt in from the very beginning,” says Ryan Jacobson, an attorney and co-chairman of the Entertainment Media and Privacy Law Group at the law firm SmithAmundsen in Chicago. “I’m afraid that the average user fails to recognize or take the time to understand what privacy rights he or she is actually giving up by responding.”

What do you think about the way this RealAge site is using our basic desire to stay young and healthy, just to turn around and sell us out to pharmaceutical companies?  Is it dishonest?  Or a shrude business plan?  Have you taken the questionair?  Is so…How does it make you feel knowing your personal information  is being used to send you pharmaceutical spam?  Let us know in comments.

Posted in blog, bloggers, blogging, BlogHer, body image, chronic illness, food, Health, life, lifestyle, media, medicine, nutrition, opinion, self-help, Women, women blogging, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »