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Posts tagged ‘health’

by Logan

Are You Taking Fake Medications?

Have you ever picked up a medication tablet or capsule, looked at it, and wondered what in the world you were really taking. Luckily for you, the FDA governs medications very closely. Pharmacies are held to a very high standard when they are getting their medication that they in turn dispensing them to you and me, their customers.

But, as health insurance prices are climbing higher and fewer employers are offering insurance, people are looking at different avenues to get their prescription medications.

I have been approached by several people about my opinion of getting medications through the internet. Of course, this is often without a prescription.

Their argument is that they have been on the medication for years. Why do they need to see a Doctor, just to be written for another prescription that they have already been taking.

On one hand, I understand their dilemma. Doctor visits are expensive, especially if you don’t have health insurance.  But, they need to be followed and evaluated for improvement on the medication or lack of improvement despite the medication.  So, for me this argument doesn’t hold water.

But regardless, more and more people are looking to Canada,  Mexico, China, and other countries for their medications

The problem is that they can no way verify that what they are actually taking is what is being sold.

Absorption of a Medication

Every time you take a medication, whether it is Acetaminophen or a Depression medication, a portion of the medication will be lost in the digestive process.

What does this mean?  

For arguments sake, lets say that 50% of the medication is lost from the moment in enters your mouth, until it is absorbed in the stomach.  As the process of digestion begins, the medication usually is intended to be digested through the stomach. As this happens, the medication is actually broken down and absorbed. Sooner or later it enters your blood stream.

This is why dosing is very important. A larger does may mean more absorption. This will help treat you more effectively.  Though there is a saturation point, where more medication doesn’t mean a better effectiveness. A balance is needed to be found.

Counterfeit Medication

This is also called fake medication. Often the medication cannot be verified.  This means you could be taking IBU instead of that expensive muscle relaxer that you are trying to find.   Even if they work to make the medication look like what you are used to taking, you just never know.

Then we are back to dosing. Even if you are taking the right medication, how do you know the dosing is right. This is the real problem. Maybe you are over or under medicating. It is hard to tell, unless you are a pharmaceutical and analysis genius to know if you are taking what you need to be taking.

Some medications, even off by a small amount will drastically change the effectiveness of the medication.

I’ve brought this argument up with my friends, and they think that even some medication is better than no medication. It is hard to sway them differently. But, I hope that they at least know the risk that they are taking.

The WHO or World Health Organization has also looked into this large problem.  They are identifying several areas where fake medications are being used and abused.

They are following several cases where treatment failure and death have resulted because of fake medications.   They tend to call fake medications SFFC medicines.  SFFC means Spurious – Falsely labeled – Falsified – Counterfeit (SFFC) medicines.

The WHO also came up with some of the fake medications.  In 2012 in the US, a counterfeit medication for cancer was found. Avastin was the medication name and it lacked the active ingredient in the medication.

For the last several years Viagra and Cialis have been counterfeited.  This medication is for erectile dysfunction and is a common “underground” medication.

Other medications that have been targeted are HIV medications, Weight loss medications, depression medications, high blood pressure medications, and more.

Overall, the risk of fake medications far outweighs the benefits they could provide. You must think that whoever is creating these medications is doing so for a profit. They will cut corners, even if they are well intended. There is a reason medications are so closely controlled. It is a very difficult and important area and we need to make sure we are doing it right.

by Logan

Health Tip – How often should you see the Eye Doctor?

Our schedules are so busy and so many things are going on that I bet it has been ages since you’ve seen the eye doctor.

The exceptions, of course, are those who have serious eye changes. But I bet, even the majority of you have waited too long to set up an appointment with your Optometrist.

The eyes are very complex organ system and can be the first signs that a serious medical issue is happening. If you’ve experience a loss of vision, change in vision, double vision, eye pain, serious eye redness, and a host of other eye related symptoms. It is probably time that you bite the bullet and schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

Diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes, Multiple sclerosis, retinal detachment, and several other diseases can be seen as changes in the eye.

Factors that Determine how often you should see an Eye Doctor

1.)     Symptoms that alarm you or your family

2.)     Age – the older you get, the more often you need to be seen

3.)     Eye Health – If you are often getting infections, vision changes, or a change to your prescription – you should be seen more often.

4.)     Family history – If your family has a history of some of the more serious eye medical issues or diabetes – you should be seen more often.

When should Children see the Eye Doctor?

Children should have some sort of eye exam early in their lives. This will often be done by your primary care physician. They may be looking at a wall evaluation piece with shapes and such. If obvious vision changes are noted – then a referral to an eye doctor may be in order.

Beginning at age 3 – children should be checked every one to two years by their pediatricians.

If younger, school aged children start to develop eye changes – they need to be seen quickly. Development  and educational advancement is lost quickly when a child is unable to see the board quickly.

I first went to the Eye doctor in 1st grade and got my first pair of glasses. I had complained about not seeing things on the board. It happened x 3 weeks in and it took me another 3 months to catch up with the rest of the students.


They should be seen every two years unless they wear glasses or contacts or if an Eye Doctor specifically wants to see them sooner.

Many eye injuries occur at this age. Even if the symptoms improve – it may, in some cases, be helpful to visit the eye doctor after serious eye injuries.

Adults – Ages 20 to 40

If you wear eyeglass or contact lenses – you need to be seen yearly.

If normal vision continues with an adult who doesn’t wear corrective lenses – they can usually wait two to three years in-between visits.

If a change occurs to the vision, an appointment should be made quickly following the change.

If you have normal vision but have diabetes – you should be checked yearly.  This may also be the case for other medical issues.

Adults – Over the age of 40

At age 40 – most adults should have a eye screening. Things such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and many other eye conditions should be evaluated. Age causes several eye changes and/or damage.

If you have no corrective lenses and a normal Age 40 check. You can be seen every two years.

If there are problems or you wear corrective lenses – you still must be checked yearly.

Another age check should be done around age 60-65.  From that point – depending on what is already been happening for the last several decades, specialized or specific guidelines will be given.

It is safe to say that yearly checks are recommended for some.


Eye examinations are vital and important to maintaining a good eye health and really a good overall health. Losing your eyesight when it could have been preventable is a devastating problem. Simple eye examinations can really be beneficial.

Don’t lose sight of the need to be checked for something, even if you are healthy. A slight modification early can really prevent a serious problem down the road.

by Logan

Want a Healthy Morning, Choose Orange Juice

If it is early in the morning and you are searching through your fridge, what is the most likely drink that you will pull out. Many drink chocolate milk, a soda, milk.  But the most common fruit juice that will be consumed in the morning is Orange Juice.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. The chance are that within the last week, you’ve had a few servings of orange juice. I know that I have.   On average, a consumer, drink 3 times more orange juice than the next closest juice – apple juice.

But, you might be asking yourself, besides the great taste, is their any health value to orange juice.

Compared to soda this is an easy yes. But you’d be surprised on how much of a health benefit there really is.  Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits that can be seen.

Improved Blood Pressure

A study that was published last year, indicated that a daily glass of orange juice could have improved effects in diastolic blood pressure.   The exact method is very scientific. In essences it illustrates that orange juices has many vitamins and minerals. One such, affects the small blood vessels and could improve the blood pressure.

Orange juice has also been linked to decreasing the risk of a patient in having a cardiovascular event.

Decrease of Bad Cholesterol

Bad cholesterol can be overproduced by the body or consumed through our eating habits. Orange juice is believed to help combat high cholesterol.

By doing so, the bad cholesterol can not subsequently attach to our arteries. In essence, we are helping to protect our heart from excess cholesterol.

Prevention of Neural Tube Defects

This condition is a serious condition where problems in the spinal cord and brain are seen in a new born. Folate or Folic Acid is the vitamin that when missing, causes Neural Tube Defect also refereed to as  a congenital defect because it happens before birth.  A daily dose of orange juice can provide a portion of the necessary daily dose of Folate.

Great Source of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an important a vitamin to prevent and protect against sickness, aging tissue, early aging, and tissue damage, among others.  Vitamin C can not be produced in the body. Therefore, it must be added to the body through external means. Consumption of Orange juice is a great source of this essential vitamin.

Protection against excess Inflammation

Additional studies have looked at the results of inflammatory responses within the body. This doesn’t look at or mean from injury, like a twisted ankle. But inflammatory responses means injury and in certain cases, inflammation can cause ill effects in the body.

Orange juice can prevent or control a measure of the inflammation. This again points to some of the minerals and vitamins inside orange juice.

Protection against Kidney Stones

It has been looked at as a prevention method, though not completely, against reforming certain kidney stones. This appears to be a preventative measure and it can not help current kidney stones. Those who drink orange juice, more than any other citrus juices are at less of a risk for kidney stones.

Remember to Drink in Moderation

More isn’t always better, especially when it come to orange juice.  Drinking 5 cups of orange juice or more, won’t necessarily mean better health. Moderation is the key. 1-2 cups of orange juice a day is quite satisfactory for maximal health benefit.

In addition, excess drinking can lead to diarrhea, weight gain, and other problems.

Teeth or dental issues can result. Acidity in the orange juice can cause cavities and teeth decay.

With or Without Pulp

This is an interesting question that relates more to a heartburn issues. There are many people who can not drink pulp due to burning in stomach. IT is also being debated whether pulp is better for your health. So far, nothing indicates one is better than the other, outside of prevention of heartburn.

Overall, remember Orange Juice appears to be a healthy choice.

by Logan

It’s Spring, time to go for a run. You will feel healthier.

Exercise has been studied and the jury is not out on its importance to our health. Running is a great way to improve our overall body’s health, emotional and physical.  Are you a runner?   What pushes you to Run?  If you aren’t a runner, what stops you from running?

How to run?

This is a basic question that is lost in the shuffle.  The key to this is to start slow.  Start by walking for a few weeks and work your way into a more consistent running process.

Don’t try to hit a home run with a toothpick. 

This simply means that you don’t try to do too much too quickly.  If you have run for a few months or a few years, don’t try to go run a marathon.  Two thing will happen.  One – you won’t finish.  And Two – you may never run again, not because you got injured. But because you will hate it.

Mix running with walking until you can run what your goal is.  If you choose to go 3 miles during your exercise.  You could start running, then walk, then return to running. This could go on and on until you finish.

Or, you could run a mile and then walk the next two.  The next time, try running a little further.

Some days are Better than Others

You will be amazed at how different your body feels some days rather than others. There will be times that you could run all day.  Then others, where you’ll struggle during the entire run.  Don’t give up, but don’t hurt yourself.  There is always tomorrow.

Cardiac and Health Benefits from running

As you run, your blood is being pumped. This will improve your cholesterol level and your hearts ability. As the heart beats, it gets stronger and more oxygen is given to your body.  You will loose weight and feel better by running.  Add in a good diet and good sleep, you may be feeling better than you have in a long time.

It has been shown that depression and anxiety decrease greatly when you are running constantly.  This is a lost treatment for depression and anxiety.

Running is About Time

Fortunately or Unfortunately, running is about time. You can’t skip it, change it or even dream it differently. If you want  to become more healthy and feel better, you have to put in the time. And time, is usually the thing that we don’t have.

This is where you need to become creative. Run during lunch or on the way home after work, before the kids get up for school or late at night. I’m sure there are better times to run than others, at least you will probably read about it being better to run in the morning than late at night. But really, who cares. Unless you are a professional runner, just go get it done.

Get the Good Stuff

Nothing worse than getting into shape and something gets injured. This may happen, be aware of it. But if it is happening because you don’t have good socks, a good treadmill, and especially good shoes. Than shame on you. Get good stuff.  This is important and will really shine and improve your workouts. In this case, you really get what you pay for.

Running is Boring

Sometimes this is true.  It is bad but good too. If there aren’t other times in your life that are equally as boring, you must be a rockstar. For me, driving home is extremely boring. So, I got a better radio station and went to the library and got some books to read.

Running is no different. Go to the gym and watch a TV show. Find some music to run to and especially create a play list of your favorite running music. You will be surprised that your normal car music, just doesn’t hold a candle to your running music.

In running, you may need to switch between outside running and gym running. You may need to change from sprints to long distances. You may even need to throw in a bike race or swimming.

The End

Running is exactly what you make of it. And that goes for your health too.

by Logan

What is COBRA?

Well, besides a snake, a decent book, and some last names of some famous individuals.  COBRA is a health insurance plan that can protect you.  It is an interesting  fall back plan of health insurance and it is something every individual should know more about.

When you’ve lost your job, besides the loss in income, one of the first roadblocks considered is insurance, especially health insurance. But Job loss isn’t the only thing that causes this worry. What if, your spouse was the one with insurance and you weren’t. A messy divorce may have you worried about insurance. COBRA is a solution for both cases.

COBRA stands for The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985.  This law requires many large and small employers to offer employees to continue their group health coverage.  In most cases, this health care coverage can last anywhere from eighteen months to thirty-six, depending on the situation. They will take into account disability, dependents, and spouses.

The COBRA plan would cover anyone who was covered under the plan in the first place.  Even a new child, born while under COBRA qualifies as long as they are added within 30 days of birth or adoption.

 Why would you need COBRA?

1.)     You were terminated from your employment.

2.)    You quit your employment

3.)    You lost the necessary hours for the employer to offer benefits

4.)    The divorce or legal separation of a covered employee from their spouse.

5.)    Others

Choosing to start COBRA can be a difficult position. For whatever reason arises that this must be considered, you must remember that you must approve COBRA coverage. It is not automatic. A 60 day time period is given where you may choose to begin coverage. After 60 days, additional discussion must be made with someone involved in your insurance coverage.

Payment must be made within the first month or two after initiating coverage. If the initial payment is not received, within the first 6 weeks of coverage. The insurance may be denied, revoked, or reviewed.

The interesting aspect is that COBRA is not endorsed by any insurance plans. Because it is a law, it is a provision to protect an employee and and employer to allow medical coverage even after something has happened, such as a family change or termination from employment.

The big drawl back from COBRA is price. Typically, because the employer is no longer paying a portion of your health insurance, the cost skyrockets. This has been a real turn off to many number of people. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or ARRA has provided some breathing room in the area of cost.

This act substantially reduces the premium offered for COBRA policies. This was largely put into affect a few years ago. It was primarily for those who were terminated. Continued decreases in premiums could go for fifteen months. The deadline was May 31st 2010 and for those who took advantage – additional fifteen months of decreased premiums have been seen.

Overall, health insurance nightmares have largely been avoided, but at a steep price. But for many, this is a good bridge to be used until another source of health insurance could be found. If used for a month, or ten, insurance didn’t lapse and the result of good health coverage and relief can not be measured. Learning about COBRA in any circumstance is helpful, you never know what will happen in the future.

by Christel Swasey

How Does Magnesium Affect My Health?

Swedish scientists just finished up a study that began back in 1998 and included over 240,000 people.  They were comparing the magnesium intake of those who had strokes and those who did not, following each person for 8-15 years.  What they found was that keeping magnesium levels in the body high can help prevent every kind of stroke.  (A stroke is a “brain attack,” which happens when a blood clot blocks an artery, causing brain cell loss, and paralysis, loss of movement, loss of memory, or death.)

The study discovered that ischemic stroke, the most common kind of stroke in older people, was reduced by 9% for each additional 100 milligrams of magnesium an individual consumed daily.  Regularly eating magnesium-rich foods helped reduce the chances of having any type of stroke.   For every 100 additional milligrams of magnesium daily, individuals cut their risk of all types of strokes by 8%.

So, what is magnesium and why are many people lacking this stroke-preventing miracle substance?

Magnesium is a mineral found in many foods.  It activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate levels of calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other important  nutrients.  Foods that supply close to 100 milligrams of magnesium a day include an ounce of almonds or cashews, a cup of beans or brown rice, 3/4 cup of cooked spinach, or a cup of cooked oat bran cereal.  Sadly, most people in the United States  do not get as much magnesium as they should, probably because of the refining of so many of our foods.

Because the refining process takes magnesium and other vital nutrients (and fiber) out of naturally rich foods, avoid white rice, white flour, wheat flour that is not labeled 100% whole wheat, and most boxed breakfast cereals which are refined, and are low in magnesium.

But foods rich  in magnesium include whole grains, nuts, beans, and green vegetables. Green leafy  vegetables are good sources of magnesium, as well.
Read more:

If you have magnesium deficiency, you may experience agitation and anxiety, restless leg  syndrome, sleep disorders, irritability, nausea, abnormal  heart rhythms, low blood pressure, confusion, muscle spasms or weakness,  hyperventilation, poor nail growth, or seizures.  Although few people are truly deficient in magnesium, most people don’t get the recommended daily dose.  And, taking too much coffee, soda, salt, or alcohol, as well as having very heavy menstrual periods,  excessively sweating, or experiencing prolonged stress can lower a person’s magnesium level.

The top 5 sources of magnesium suggested by the Institute of Health are: wheat bran, almonds, spinach, raisin bran, and cashews.  A smallish serving of each of these will provide about 20% of your daily required magnesium intake.   (For example, an ounce of cashews, or a cup of raisin bran).

Foods that have moderate amounts of magnesium:   an ounce of dry roasted peanuts ( 50 mg, which is 13% of your daily amount needed), or a baked potato with the skin on (48 mg. and 12% of your daily need).   A half cup of black-eyed peas has about the same amount of magnesium as that skin-on baked potato.

But for the really impressive numbers, look at this website:  You’ll learn that a teaspoon of dried coriander contains 14 mg. per tablespoon, but more intriguingly, a typical chocolate bar provides 63mg of magnesium (16% of your RDA!)  Maybe this is why so many people crave chocolate.  Maybe getting adequate magnesium and other minerals would alleviate those chocolate cravings.

Well, how much magnesium should you take per day?  It depends who you are.  The range starts at 40 – 80 mg daily for children ages 1 to 3, jumps to 310 for female adults, to 360 for pregnant or breastfeeding females, and up to 420 mg daily for males over age 31.  For a detailed chart on magnesium needs according to gender and age, see:

One doctor, Carolyn Dean, MD, who believes magnesium is a miracle cure for many things, suggests that the best way to tell if you are getting enough magnesium is the “bowel test”. You have too much magnesium when your stools become loose. This may be a good thing for people with constipation, which is one of the many ways magnesium deficiency manifests.  (Other people get Charlie horses or heart palpitations when they don’t have enough magnesium.)

So, when you’re trying to decide whether you should buy the 100% whole grain bread or the fluffy white stuff, remember what the Swedes found out: for every extra 100 milligrams of magnesium individuals consumed daily,  they cut the risks of having all types of strokes by 8% .


* But remember not to overdo it:  magnesium competes with calcium for absorption and it can cause a calcium  deficiency if your calcium levels are already low.


by Christel Swasey

Teenage Health Eating Disorders

As a mother, I would never say in front of my daughters or my sons, even if I was thinking it, that I thought that today I am looking fat.  Never.  Why?

Because studies have shown that it’s much more likely to have a child develop an eating disorder if a parent in the home already has one.  And parental attitudes are not only adopted but often magnified in children.  It’s important to model self confidence, self love and good mental health, as well as it’s important to model physical health.

Other factors that increase the risk of a teen developing an eating disorder include participation in a sport (or a job) that stresses body size, like ballet, gymnastics, wrestling, or modeling; being a worry wart/perfectionist; or dealing with stressful events that make someone feel helpless, such as divorce in the family, moving, or dealing with the death of a loved one.

Anorexia and other food-related disorders usually start in the teen years and are more common in females than in males.  Although early treatment can be very effective, not treating eating disorders early enough can create very difficult, lifelong problems.  A small disorder can lead to dental problems, bone thinning, kidney damage, malnutrition, heart problems, starvation –and death.

People who have an eating disorder strongly deny that they have a problem in most cases.  They don’t believe that they are thinking incorrevtly. It’s up to a loved one to get help for the sufferer.  As a friend or family member, you can look for certain signs.

These signs can include the following:  The weight of your loved one may be much less than is healthy or normal.  Your loved one may be afraid of gaining any weight and may fear staying at a normal weight.  She or he may feel overweight even when very thin.  The lives of those who have eating disorders become focused on food and controlling their weight. They may obsess about food or dieting.

They may feel uncomfortable eating in public.  They may strictly limit how much they eat, and may over exercise, or exercise even when they are sick.  They may vomit or use laxatives or diuretics to avoid any weight gain. They may look up to and almost worship certain, extremely thin celebrities.  They may cease valuing complimentary labels like “kind,” “smart,” “helpful,” or “ambitious,” and only value being complimented on being called “thin.”

Because I have been aware of these facts for decades, I’ve deliberately focused my compliments to my kids, neices, nephews, and the neighborhood young people, on things other than their appearances.  I don’t want kids to feel they are more valuable by being good-looking or skinny-looking, than by being imaginative, tidy, funny, clever, kind, brave, or helpful.

Our media-society’s obsession with looks does not have to be our own family’s, or our own neighborhood’s, obsession.  We can do our part to help prevent an atmosphere where eating disorders can take root.

Health insurance is a big part of protecting your family. The best rates come from the best health insurance company. You can compare rates. It is in fact very simple. Just go to the top of the page and click “get quotes now”.

by Christel Swasey

Teen Health Issues With Alcohol

According to the CDC, alcohol consumption is associated with about 75,000 deaths per year.   Every year.  Probably every future year, too.

Since 1988, every state in the U.S. prohibits the purchase of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21. However,  current alcohol use among high school students remained pretty steady, and the 2009 statistics state that 24% of high school students report episodic binge drinking.

Alcohol is a factor in 41% of deaths from car crashes.  Alcohol is being used by more teens in the United States than tobacco or illicit drugs are used.  Among youth, the use of alcohol and other drugs is linked to injuries, fights, academic problems, and all kinds of illegal behavior.

Scary enough.

But wait, there’s more: long-term alcohol misuse causes liver disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological damage, not to mention a myriad of social and psychiatric problems. Alcohol and drug use by teen parents contribute to infants’ deaths.  And alcohol often links users to drugs, which contributes directly (and indirectly) to the HIV epidemic.

As the mother or stepmother of three teenagers, I worry about statistics like this.   Even though we teach our children to abstain from alcohol completely, there are risks.  Our teens could choose to use alcohol or drugs despite our counsel, and our teens’ peers can use alcohol or drugs, and then drive —with our kids in their cars.

One of my professors in college did a study that shocked him.  He studied teens’ observing anti-alcohol and anti-drug advertisements, and he learned that most of the teens did not notice the anti-part of the ad.  They just noticed that kids were modeling smoking and drinking.  And they took it as a sort of subtle permission to try it, too.

Sometimes we think that by saying, “Don’t do this” we are teaching our kids well, but be careful!  Sometimes “don’t do this” is like saying, “Don’t think about a pink giraffe tapdancing on a green pillow.”  How are teens not going to picture it, or think it’s okay to consider it, when someone says it– even if it’s preceded by the word “Don’t”?

When my friend’s father told her his drinking story, (when my friend was a teenager) it had the exact opposite effect from what he had hoped.  Her father warned her never to start drinking.  He told her that when he was her age, he’d experimented with alcohol and ended up becoming a problem drinker.  It took a lot of hard falls and run-ins with the law to turn him around.  But do you think my friend listened?

When she was offered alcohol by peers, not long after the father’s warning, she drank it.  She actually used his warning as permission, feeling that if her father could experiment and still turn out all right, so could she.  She took his example as a kind of permission to try it out.  Now, with her own kids, she never tells them a word about her high school experimentation with alcohol.  And she has sworn her old high school friends to secrecy.

She’s scared that her own teen daughters will follow the unhappy example that she and her father forged.  So she keeps it quiet.  I think she’s smart.

I never drank as a teenager, and I will tell my kids that good news.  I am hoping they’ll take it as permission to be courageous and  not to drink, when their peers invite them to imbibe.

So, before you tell your kids, “Don’t do this; I did it and it wasn’t good,” think again.  Will you really, truly be helping them by sharing your story, or are you just trying to confess your guilt?  Is it good or necessary to shove our worst stories in front of our kids?  Why do we do that as parents?

It’s worth thinking about.

Protect your family and kids by getting health insurance. You can use the form at the top of this page to compare quotes and find a policy from the best health insurance company.

by Christel Swasey

Learning To Love The Healthy Lifestyles That Love You Back

Getting healthy is not about measuring, weighing, or counting all of the grams, calories, carbs or proteins of the same unhealthy foods that have made you look and feel unhealthy.  And getting healthy is not about letting other people analyze the wrong stuff for you either, so you can hopefully ingest it, but a little bit less of it.


Getting healthy is starting fresh, thinking differently, and taking in new ideas without fear.

It’s a a bit like breaking up with the guy (or the girl) you’ve known deep inside for a long, long time is just not good for you.  (No matter how it sparkles, if it’s not gold, it’s not gold.)  No matter how great your favorite unhealthy food tastes, it will never make you feel as good as the feeling of strength, energy and vivaciousness that healthy exercise and fresh, wholesome foods can make you feel.  Why don’t we do it more readily?  I think it’s just habit.

Our parents, grandparents, teachers, friends, and society in general have passed down exercise and nutrition habits and traditions to us.   Some of them are okay; some of them are insane and will eventually kill us.  (I’m thinking about lazy-backed, deep-fried sentimentality on a platter; you know what I mean.)

Additionally, some of our relatives and society have neglected to pass down certain healthy traditions that we actually do need– maybe they neglected to teach us because they never discovered the best stuff for themselves.

It’s up to us to break the chain.  Learn what the good, healthy lifestyles are, and then teach those to our kids –and to ourselves.

If, for example, your family only ate white flour bread, you probably balk at 100% whole grain bread.  It may even give you digestive problems in large amounts, because your body’s not used to it.

But after you study the incredible robbery of nutrition and life that white flour (taken to the exclusive extreme) can inflict, you will not want it any more.  You will want to want the good stuff.

If, for example, you have never even tasted (like many white-bread Americans have not) a simple mango, or a rutabaga, or kale, or collard, or wheat germ, or red-cabbage-vinegar-salad, or hot cauliflower casserole, garlic wheat pitas, or poppy seed lentil loaf—   then you will not likely give them for your kids.

We have to get out of our boxes, mentally and traditionally, to explore better ideas, and to pass healthier lifestyles to our posterity.

One good way is to get on the bandwagon of some other people’s email lists.  Many wonderful resources are free, and exist not solely for the purpose of making money from your health ignorance, but may even offer free advice, recipes, medical tips and shortcuts.  I sign up for them all the time:  check out the wonderful ideas available on , , , , ,, and .

If you sign up to receive their daily or weekly tips and reminders, you will be diligently programming your mind to think in healthier ways.  You’ll first tolerate, and then learn to love those healthy lifestyles that actually love you back, rather than biting you back.

Cheap health insurance is just as important as living healthy. Find health insurance quotes now by using the form on this page.

by Christel Swasey

The Dangerous Health Side of Yoga

Yoga is incredibly popular;  the number of practicing yoga enthusiasts in the U.S. is estimated to have risen from 4 million to 20 million, in just ten years.

Yet there is controversy in the peaceful world of yoga.

What’s the issue?

Well.  Apparently yoga can hurt people.  While the stats on yoga injuries aren’t quite as scary as those on football and rugby, many people have been injured while practicing this peaceful sport.

Some critics –and even some yoga experts– now say that yoga should not be offered as a class for the general public, but should be reserved for people who are already in good physical condition.  Spine and joint injuries happen when yoga students try poses that are not appropriate for their bodies’ current abilities.

Some yoga teachers justify knowing about the dangers of yoga and keep teaching it but make sure not to take a one-size-fits-all attitude about  teaching.  Still,  it is hard for any teacher to be aware of each new students’ physical abilities and limitations.  Also, sometimes yoga students may feel embarrassed about inflexibility or weakness, and will push themselves to fit in with other students in the class.  These factors contribute to the number of yogis who suffer injuries.

In a recent New York Times article, yoga teacher Glenn Black said that you cannot teach a class of people with many problems, saying ahead of time that these are the set sequences of poses they will do.

Some people blame yoga’s problems on the new and improved form of yoga called hot yoga.  In hot yoga, you do the same poses in a room heated to about 105 degrees.  Many first timers throw up, or feel as if they need to throw up, in hot yoga, and the main benefit (besides sweating, if you like to sweat) is that warmer muscles tend to stretch further.

Some hot yoga classes will warm up the room to 120 degrees.  In such heat, muscles relax much more quickly than they normally would, but this can lead to students going much deeper into postures that they may not be prepared to try, and it leads to injury. In Bikram classes (done in 110 to 120 degree temperatures) many injuries occur.

If you are going to try yoga for the first time, keep the following in mind:

1.  Don’t eat for at least two hours before you  yoga, to minimize the likelihood of vomiting.

2.  Drink water before, during and after you yoga.

3.  If you feel lightheaded or nauseated, rest.

4.  Do not go further than you would normally in a yoga pose.

5. Move slowly and gradually to increase the depth of the yoga poses.

6. Practice yoga with a very experienced teacher.

7.  Get medical clearance if you have any medical issues.

8. Try regular yoga before moving into the more stressful hot yoga.

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