Sunday, July 19, 2015

Feel Young Again this Summer

Just because you are aging, does not mean you can’t be young at heart. With a willing spirit, there are an unlimited number of ways a person can feel young again. Here are ten great ways for you to feel young again.

1. Volunteer in Your Community
What better way to feel good than by volunteering in your community? Offering your time and talents help uplift your spirits. It's actually been shown that by focusing on others, your own challenges seem smaller. Not to mention, you’ll learn new skills and meet new people.
2. Join a Club
Join a club so you can socialize with people who have similar interests. As times goes on, we don’t always keep up with old friends. So joining a club of a particular interest or new interest puts us right in the center of a crowd. You’ll be socializing like a butterfly in no time.
3. Take a Class
You’re never too old to learn something new. Go back to college and get your business degree, take a social media course offering at the library, or stay at home to learn a new language right on your PC via 
If you have a wealth of knowledge on a particular subject, become an instructor! There are many ways to teach, be it at a local college/university, community center, or online learning environment.
4. Start a New Hobby
If you’ve already mastered sculpting or restoring cars, challenge yourself by taking it up a notch. Are you tired of your son going to the golf course every morning? Ask if you can tag along and learn to play. If your daughters are going to play tennis before your afternoon tea, pick up a tennis racket and start practicing. Just try it! You never know what you'll grow to truly enjoy.
5. Pamper Yourself
You can feel young again by pampering yourself in any way. You don’t necessarily need to take yourself to the spa or get your hair done. Do something for yourself that you enjoy. Sleep in on a Monday, take yourself out for ice-cream, order yourself some flowers, or buy a new outfit. Sometimes it only takes something new or tasty to put an extra spring in your step.
6. Start an Exercise Program
Exercising is very rejuvenating and will help you look and feel young. Exercise helps reduce stress, so you can look forward to fewer lines and wrinkles. Your circulation will improve, and blood pressure will regulate. You don’t even need to hit the gym 5 days a week. Most specialists will suggest a light routine of exercising 3 days a week. Short walks, water aerobics, and bicycling are all excellent light exercise routines several times during the day or all at once. The more active you become, the younger you’ll feel.
7. Enjoy Your Grandchildren
There is no better way to feel younger again than spending time with the younger crowd. Make time for your grandchildren whenever possible. Younger kids usually want to go to the park and play on the swings and jungle gyms or play video games or boardgames. If you peek their interest, they may also be up for a nature walk or fishing. These are ways to create great memories and be a cool grandparent.
8. Go Travel
You’ve worked hard all your life, now it’s time to enjoy the world. If you’re not keen on being away too far from home, start off local for a "stay-cation". There are plenty of beautiful and intriguing historical landmarks in your state, many of which offer bed and breakfast stays. This can make for an exciting or relaxing weekend away that you and your loved ones need. Make sure to use your AARP or other senior discount option for an economical trip. If you don’t have friends and family to travel with, consider joining up with a senior travel tour group. They have local and overseas destinations already planned and waiting for you to join.
9. Add a Touch of Romance to Your Life
Do you remember that glow you had while dating in high school or the jitters you felt before asking a girl out on a date? Relive those moments again and ask that special someone out. Romance keeps us young no matter if it’s new, seasoned, or a rekindled flame.
A few ways you can add a touch of romance to your life include:
• Write your loved one a love letter
• Have a candlelight dinner
• Visit your first-kiss location again
• Attend a drive-in movie or movie in-the-park
• Give a handmade gift or custom handmade gift on
• Slow dance to your song
10. Have Fun
Finally, don’t take everything in life too seriously. Laughter is the best medicine, after all. Get silly and do things you normally wouldn’t engage in. Have a snowball fight, resolve disputes via rock-paper-scissors, play hide-and-seek, or beat the grandkids in their favorite video game.
There are so many ways to make yourself feel young again. Most of them require little effort on your part. Doing one or two a week will certainly show off the new and improved you!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Social Security Benefits: Why retirement looks better after age 66

Social Security is a complicated program, yet you can’t afford to NOT know about your benefits. Many thanks to the Motley Fool’s Financial Planning Team who were kind enough to offer their five essential, but little known facts, about the Social Security Program to keep you and I in the know. 

#5: Social Security is Massive
In 2014, over 59 million Americans will receive Social Security. Among them are:
·       38 million retired workers
·       9 million survivors and dependents
·       11 million disabled workers and dependents

#4: This Program Helps Support Many Retirees
Many retired Americans heavily rely on Social Security as their major source of income. In fact, 9 out of 10 people age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits. Even more shocking, half of married couples and three quarters of singles receive at least half their retirement income from Social Security.

#3: The Workforce is Shrinking
The numbers are not in our favor as fewer workers support more retirees. In 1950 there were 16 workers per Social Security recipient. In 1960 there were 5 workers per recipient. By the year 2033, only 2.1 workers will support one retiree’s Social Security.

#2: The Numbers Just Don’t Add Up
Social Security relies on its trust fund paid for by working citizens in order to cover shortfalls between taxes paid and benefits paid. The rumors you have have already heart are true: the trust fund is projected to run out of money in 2033. Once that happens, there are plans for retirees to receive about 75% of the benefits they would have received.

#1: The Number One Way to Increase Your Benefits
The most little known fact about Social Security: every year you wait to claim your benefits until age 70, you will boost your annual payouts by 8%. In other words, waiting until you're 70 will give you 32% more in benefits than if you took them at age 66 and you can receive 76% more than taking them at age 62. If you can afford to delay benefits until age 70 and if you live past age 82, you will receive more in lifetime income from Social Security than if you had waited until full retirement age.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Misdiagnosed: 10 diseases doctors often get wrong

When you experience strange pains, mysterious indigestion, or other seemingly disconnected symptoms, your first hope is that a trip to the doctor will solve your health woes. However, doctors are human, and humans make mistakes.

"A lot of symptoms are nonspecific and variable, depending on the person," says Dr. David Fleming, president of the American College of Physicians and a professor of medicine at the University of Missouri. "On top of that, many diagnostic tests are expensive and aren't done routinely, and even then they don't always give us a black and white answer."

The following 10 conditions are notoriously difficult to pin down according to

1. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Some conditions, like IBS, don’t have any sort of real test to prove their existence; rather, they require a "diagnosis of elimination," says Fleming, as doctors rule out all other possibilities. IBS is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine and causes abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation. According to diagnostic criteria, IBS can’t be taken into consideration unless symptoms persist for at least six months. Discomfort should typically be present at least three days a month before being diagnosed with IBS.

2. Celiac disease
There is a lot of confusion around celiac disease -- an immune reaction to gluten that triggers inflammation in the small intestine. It can take an average patient 6 to 10 years to be properly diagnosed. Those with celiac would have digestive problems when eating gluten-containing foods like diarrhea, cramping indigestion, weight loss, itchy skin, headaches, joint pain, and acid reflux or heartburn. All of the above symptoms can also be attributed to something else. The good news: a blood test can diagnose celiac disease regardless of what symptoms are present, and an endoscopy can determine any damage that's been done to the small intestine.

3. Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, involves "medically unexplained symptoms" -- a term doctors use to describe persistent complaints that don't appear to have an obvious cause. When doctors can't find a root cause for a patient's chronic pain and fatigue, they often end on this diagnosis. This may involve seeing a variety of specialists to rule out other diseases, says Dr. Eugene Shapiro, deputy director of the Investigative Medicine Program at Yale University. "There are studies that show that people with certain symptoms who show up at a rheumatologist will be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but if the same patients show up at a gastroenterologist they'll be diagnosed as having irritable bowel syndrome."

4. Multiple sclerosis (MS)
This autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system attacks the body's own nerve cells and disrupts communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Some of the first symptoms of MS are often numbness, weakness, or tingling in one or more extremity, but that's not always the case.
"Multiple sclerosis can be episodic; the disease waxes and wanes," says Shapiro.
Depending on the number and location of lesions in the brain, signs and symptoms may be more or less severe. Once a doctor does suspect MS, however, a sample of spinal fluid or MRI imaging can help confirm the diagnosis.

5. Endometriosis
Like appendicitis, vague stomach pain can go unnoticed. However, women with endometriosis (in which uterine tissue grows outside the uterus) often report pelvic pain, cramping, and heavy bleeding that are far worse than usual. A red flag: this bleeding gets worse over time. A pelvic exam can sometimes detect endometrial tissue or cysts that have been caused by it. In other cases, an ultrasound or laparoscopy is required for a definite diagnosis.

6. Appendicitis
Typical appendicitis symptoms include nausea, pain and tenderness in the abdomen, and possibly a low-grade fever. These symptoms are vague, and especially easily to go ignored in females.
"Some people have an appendix that points backward instead of forward in the body, so the symptoms present in a different location," says Shapiro. "And sometimes people do have pain, but then the appendix ruptures and the pain is relieved so they think they're fine." In this case, he says, intestinal fluids can leak into the entire abdomen and cause a potentially life-threatening infection -- but it can take days or even weeks before these symptoms appear.

7. Lyme disease
You probably know to look out for tick bites and the characteristic rash that can form if a person is infected with Lyme disease. However, not everyone develops this rash and tick bites can be hard to spot. Lyme disease's other symptoms of fatigue, headaches, joint pain, and flu-like symptoms can also easily be confused for other conditions.
A blood test can check for Lyme disease, but the test usually doesn’t show positive until a few weeks after infection when more antibodies are present in the blood. If you do find a tick and/or tick bite on yourself or a loved on, it's important to remove the tick immediately and see a doctor right away. Quickly removing a tick can possibly prevent the transfer of dangerous bacteria. Moreover, antibiotics for Lyme disease are most effective when given immediately.

8. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
There are primarily two types of IBD: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Both cause inflammation of the digestive tract, as well as pain, diarrhea, and possibly even malnutrition. There's no one test for IBD, and again it can appear as vague stomach pain.
"If a patient comes in with severe abdominal pain, we might first think it's their gallbladder," says Shapiro. "If he comes in with loose stools, we might think it's an infection. So we go through a litany of tests -- imaging, blood tests, assessments -- and sometimes we finally come down to the fact that we've ruled out every other possibility, so this is what we're going to treat you for and we'll see if it works."

9. Cluster headaches
A rare headache disorder that's often extremely painful and extremely misunderstood—cluster headaches currently affect less than 1 million Americans. Cluster headaches tend to occur close together and last on average 30 minutes to three hours. Scientists aren't sure why, but cluster headaches tend to occur when seasons change or during periods of high stress.

10. Diabetes
Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes may be diagnosed later in life. If left untreated, it can cause life-threatening damage to major organs. Before signs of diabetes develop, says Fleming, adults can have diabetes for years without knowing it.
"There are a lot of people out there with elevated blood sugar levels who aren't getting to the doctor regularly, so they aren't getting checked for it," he says. "They won't realize it until it gets severe enough that they start developing side effects, like problems with their vision or numbness in their feet or hands."
Watch for earlier symptoms like increased thirst, frequent urination (particularly at odd hours of the night), sudden weight loss, and fatigue.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sleep better: Tips for getting a good night’s rest

Being healthy is more than just having a disease-free body. It also includes feeling rested and energized and enjoying a state of well-being. The center of this, is quality sleep.

Tossing and turning. Long, sleepless nights. They're draining, frustrating, and, well, exhausting—physically and mentally. Sometimes these problems can be triggers by life events or stress. Regardless, minor lifestyle and deity tweaks can make a radical difference. "The majority of people with day-to-day insomnia could be sleeping like puppies if they made just a few changes," says Jacob Teitelbaum, medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, which are located nationwide, and author of From Fatigued to Fantastic. "And if you know how to eat right? You're going to be way ahead of the game."

Replenish and Restore

Many people understand that there is a connection between fruits and vegetables and their ability to positively impact how the mind and body function. For example, the advantages of eating vitamin-rich spinach and antioxidant-filled blueberries have been widely acclaimed and accepted. But there is also hundreds of herbs and plants that may help replenish the mind and body and restore balance in multitude of ways.

The Sunny Side

Protein: High-protein foods promote sleep, and also fight acid reflux, Teitelbaum says. That's important, since heartburn often flares up at night, interrupting your Zzzz’s. Smart picks for a pre-bedtime snack: two slices of lean meat or cheese, a hardboiled egg, or some cottage cheese mixed with fresh fruit.
Almonds: They're full of protein and also provide a solid dose of magnesium, which promotes sleep, muscle relaxation, and bowel function. Chow down on a handful before bed, or spread some almond butter on toast.
Milk: Sipping on a warm glass isn’t just an old fib. Donald Hensrud, chair of the division of preventive medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota adds, “It's full of tryptophan, so it will have a sedative effect. Plus, it's a good source of calcium, which helps regulate the production of melatonin.”  So if you can't fall asleep or if you're woken up in the middle of the night, have some milk.
Cherries: They're one of the only natural sources of melatonin, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Botany in 2011. Have a handful an hour before bedtime; if they aren't in season, a good substitute is cherry juice or the dried variety.
Tea: Not just any, but decaf.  Herbal and mild flavors are soothing, Green tea in particular contains theanine, which helps promote sleep.
Oatmeal: A single bowl provides plenty of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, and potassium—all sleep-promoting nutrients. Go light on the sweeteners though, as too much sugar could sabotage shut-eye.
Deal Breakers
While loading up on sleep-promoting foods is important, so is steering clear of those that'll have the opposite effect:
High-fat meals: Initially, that greasy burger and fries will make you feel tired by cutting off some of the oxygen headed to your brain. However, research suggests people who have heavy, fatty meals in the evening clock fewer hours of total quality sleep than those who don't. Be particularly cautious if you suffer from acid reflux. These high fat and high calorie meals can worsen indigestion and heartburn. If a heavy meal is on the menu, make sure it's at least three hours before bedtime.
Caffeine: Go easy on caffeine, especially if it’s in the late afternoon. It's often the culprit lurking behind troublesome sleep. It’s my personal rule to avoid caffeine after 3:00 pm. Watch out for less-obvious sources, like chocolate, gum, and certain medications. Still, not everyone finds it problematic. "We metabolize caffeine differently—there's a genetic basis," Hensrud says. "If I have caffeine even in late afternoon, I'll be up all night, while my wife can have a cup of coffee and go right to bed."

Spicy meals: Especially for those facing acid reflux, spicy foods will lead to a long night of tossing and turning. Avoid laying down after a spicy meal for at least two hours. 

Newell, S. (2014, August). Make the most of each day- and night. U.S. Airways,126-128 
Walker, R., Battistelli, A., Moscatello, S., Chen, Z., Leegood, R., Famiani, F. (2011). Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase in cherry (Prunus avium L.) fruit during development. J. Exp. Bot. 137 (4): 215-220. doi: 10.1093/jxb/err189 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Volunteering in Retirement

In the last two years, I have seen several of my work colleagues enter retirement. Most of them were healthy, active and in good health. The most common question asked of them was what they intended to do next? Well, many began to volunteer. One delivers meals to the elderly; another makes quilts to for hospitalized veterans; and a third traveled to Africa on a medical mission.

The number of volunteers over the age of 65 has steadily increased over the past three decades. In 2008, approximately 23% of this age group engaged in volunteer activities. Retirees today are in good health, living longer and staying active. Many have found volunteering to be the perfect next step. Studies have found that volunteering can help to increase physical function, maintain cognitive function and decrease depressive symptoms of retirees. Many who volunteer report an improved sense of well-being and enhanced life satisfaction.

Senior volunteers are motivated by a desire to help others and create or maintain social relationships, whereas younger volunteers are more likely to volunteer for professional and personal development opportunities. Volunteer organizations, for their part, benefit from the professional expertise, life experience and enthusiasm of these retirees.

But how do you decide which volunteer activity is right for you? The options are endless but can be narrowed down by asking the right questions. What are your passions and interests? Illiteracy, homelessness or the environment? Is there a specific population that interests you? Young children, elderly, or animals? Is there an activity or past-time you have always wanted to do but work and everyday life prevented you from pursuing? Visiting museums, traveling, or gardening. How often and how much time do you want to commit? Weekly, monthly or periodically? Where would you like to volunteer? Local, regional or internationally? When I retire, for instance, I would like to travel to Thailand to work at an elephant sanctuary. The answers to all of these questions will help guide and narrow your search.

If you are still having trouble deciding, there are several organizations that match people with volunteer opportunities. Here is a short list of the several resources:

1) Senior Corps at was created during John F. Kennedy’s presidential term, connects seniors with a variety of service opportunities;

2) Volunteer Match at will determine your volunteer preferences then produce a list of possible organizations that might interest you.

3) AARP at offers a site to assist in choosing volunteer opportunities.

Of course, if there is an organization you already have in mind, feel free contact them directly.

Volunteering can be personally fulfilling and fun. Committing your precious time to others is also a responsibility. The St. Vincent Pallotti Center and Catholic Volunteer Network created a “Questions to Ask Yourself” pamphlet which will help guide you in choosing the perfect volunteer opportunity click here to access the questionnaire.

Deciding to volunteer can be rewarding and, improve health and well-being. It requires some research and commitment to determine the option that is right for you but the best advice I can offer about volunteering is to enjoy yourself!

Barron, J. S., Tan, E. J., Yu, Q., Song, M., McGill, S., & Fried, L. P. (2009). Potential for intensive volunteering to promote health of older adults in fair health. The Journal of Urban Health, 86(4), 641-653. doi: 10.007/s11524-009-9353-8

Greenfield, E.A., Marks, N. F. (2004). Formal volunteering as a protective factor for older adults' psychological well-being. The Journals of Gerontology, 59(5), 258-264. Retrieved from

Konrath, S., Fuhrel-Forbis, A., Lou, A., Brown, S. (2012). Motivs for volunteering are associated with mortality risk in older adults. Health Psychology, 31(1), 97-96. doi: 10.1037/a0025226

Martinson, M., Minkler, M. (2006). Civic engagement and older adults: A critical perspective. The Gerontologist, 46(3), 318-324. doi:10.1093/geront/46.3.318

Tang, F., Choi, E., Morrow-Howell, N. (2010). Organizational support and volunteering benefits for older adults. The Gerontologist, 50(5), 603-612. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnq020

Author: Susan Polka RN, BSN, CCRN, is a registered nurse with over twenty years experience in health care. She has worked in long term care, community health, and acute care settings. She currently works as a clinical educator and assistant director of an inpatient nursing unit.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Aging Well: Are You the Next Six Million Dollar Men or Bionic Women?

In the 1970s, Americans were introduced to two new superheroes-- the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. Beginning with ABC's "The Six Million Dollar Man" and spinning off "The Bionic Woman," there two series chronicled the lives of a former astronaut and his romantic interest, who after receiving bionic implants, became operatives for a fictional government known as the Office of Scientific Intelligence.

While the Bionic Man, played by Lee Majors, had bionic enhancements that included telescopic vision, his female counterpart was given amplified hearing and super-human strength in one arm and both legs. The story behind the scenes tells quite a different tale however. The actress who gave life to the Bionic Woman, Lindsay Wagner, was blessed with an enhanced vision from an early age. It was a vision that gave her the acute perception and understanding that, by making the right lifestyle choices one can accomplish exceptional achievements.

"I had a serious case of ulcers, gallbladder problems and was in need of surgery when I was just 19," says Wagner, who is now 64 years in age. This experience opened her eyes to the world of healthy living. "I approach life from a different viewpoint."

Today, with four marriages behind her, the mother of two boys says that when not conducting seminars and worships or teaching acting and directing classes at San Bernardino Valley College, she enjoys spending time amid the nature of her mountain home.

Wagner often speaks about the subject of aging. "I really don't see it as getting older as much as I see it as shifting our perspective - the way in which we see and perceive and address life," she says. "As a culture, baby boomers especially need to look at their perspective when it comes to aging Today so many people are desperately trying to hold on to who they were and how the world was. That is a losing proposition. Everything changes, whether we like it or not. If we try to rigidly hold on to a perspective that does not accept change and our own evolution into the different stages of our lives, we will never be able to accept who we are, what getting older is about, and how we can remain vital. I don't think of aging as getting older but rather growing older."

Wagner is an adamant believer that one must never accept the concept that their value has been diminished or is gone just because of their age. Truth be told, baby boomers are in a unique position to take the pendulum, that over the past 40 years has swung to the belief that vitality can only be found in young, and change the perception. Just think, an entire generation of Six Million Dollar Men and Bionic Women.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Choosing a Healthy Breakfast Cereal

Diet advice is everywhere and bold claims like “reduced sugar” or “all natural” catch your eye on food packages everywhere. However, before you take hold of a box of that "New and Improved" breakfast cereal, take a look at these tips to help you pick a healthy cereal for you.

Experts from The American Dietetic Association reviewed the leading cereals, including these reduced sugar versions, only to discover that the calorie amount was equal to the regular high-sugar variety. In fact the only one that had somewhat fewer calories was General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch—and it only dropped by 10 calories in each serving.

"How can this be?!"

Well, the manufacturers replaced the sugar with other forms of refined carbohydrates. So the manufacturers are legal in their marketing of “reduced sugar”, but the calorie amount is virtually the same. Check out the nutrition labels the next time you are in the grocery store. 
So place the box back on the shelf as quickly as you grabbed it, and select a breakfast cereal based on the following Healthy Now and Later tips:

  • For a fiber-rich cereal reach for oatmeal, Cheerios, Wheaties, shredded wheat, raisin bran or Kashi.
  • Add sweetness with fruit, honey, or agave nectar. Give sliced bananas, frozen blueberries, or fresh strawberries a try.
  • Top it all off with some low-fat milk, soymilk, or almond milk. I’ve even added Greek yogurt to create a parfait-like treat. 
  • If you or your loved ones are screaming for the sweeter stuff, first try to go half-and-half. For example, half chocolate puffs mixed with half Cheerios. The amount of sugar and flavorings is more than ample to sweeten the contents in the entire bowl. 

Above all, ignore those catchy claims on the front of the box. Go straight to the nutrition facts label. Here's what to look for:

  • Remember the "Rule of Fives": Choose cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving, and less than 5 grams of sugar.
  • Look for each serving to contain at least 3 grams of protein.
  • Read the ingredients list. Avoid cereals that list hydrogenated oils, artificial dyes or colors, and chemical preservatives.
Schwartz, M., Vartianian, L., Wharton, C., Brownell, K. (2008). Examining the nutritional quality of breakfast cereals marketed to children. Journal of The American Dietetics Association. 108(4), 702-705. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Phone Books vs More Kitchen Space

What’s one thing you'll never see your grandkids or kids use...a phone book! 

The phone book is right up there now with cassette players, VHS tapes, and rotary phones. So how can this information be found outside of the phone book? Here are some places for finding local information online:

· - just like the paper-based version, but better! You can quickly search for businesses or people with a click of a button. The listings also include maps, directions and even consumer reviews of businesses.

· Google Local is another great way to find contact information, maps, directions or reviews. Search tip: You can also get local information from the Google search page by including your zip code after your search term (i.e. Restaurants 90403).

Those are just a few ways. Are you ready to really impress your family and friends? Start using your cell phone to get local information when you're on the go. You don't even need a fancy smartphone, just basic text messaging capabilities. (Standard text message rates apply.)

The service is called Google SMS. SMS stands for Short Message Service which is just another name for Text Message. The service is simple - you send your query in a text message to Google and then you immediately get a text message back from Google with the answer.

· Send your text message to 466453 (GOOGLE).

· To get a business listing, enter the business name or category you want to find and include the city and state or zip code (i.e. “Grocery Chicago, IL” or “Taxi Cab 19333”).

Try to be as specific as possible with your search. For example, you probably don't want to type something as generic as, "Pizza, New York" because you'd end up getting a lot of listings and potentially tons of text messages. Fear not! If you accidentally search something too broad, simply text back the word "Stop" and the search will cease.

More Info: Click here to find out more about Google SMS, including an interactive demo. You can also learn about the other types of queries that you can do like weather, movie times, stock quotes, flight status, and more.

Tip: I suggest adding Google to your contacts list in your phone and 466453 as Google's phone number.

So say goodbye to your bulky yellow phone books and hello to endless information at your fingertips (and an extra drawer in your kitchen). 
Give these alternatives a try and let me know how they go! You may be opting for that free kitchen space after all.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Natural Remedies for Constipation

This French ad from 1919, although a little odd, shows just how long constipation has been something of concern. Although it hasn’t gotten much easier to speak about in public, according to the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons approximately 80% of Americans suffer from constipation in their life.

Constipation can be the result of insufficient fiber and water in your diet. Lack of exercise also complicates this condition, as does some types of prescription medication. In fact, walking at least thirty minutes a day is as good for colon function as it is protective for your heart. That’s like getting a bonus for putting in the same amount of effort.

Moreover, drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day. Don’t just say you do – measure! Set aside a small pitcher or water container with that exact amount. The colon is actually where a majority of water is absorbed into the body, so if there’s not enough water to begin with things are most likely to get “dry” and ultimately stuck.

It may seem like a lot but if you space it over the day it will become routine and natural. Note that sugary sodas and caffeine beverages are not a substitute for the water. Things like soup or smoothies however may be.

Change your diet to colon friendly foods. Back in the day when people ate more fresh produce and worked hard in the field or factory, constipation was less of a problem. We eat too much of the wrong kind of foods and get too little of the right kind of exercise.

Both of those things need to change if you want to get rid of constipation. Eat more root vegetables and fruits that are high in fiber. That’s a big change from fast foods that tend to be loaded with flour, fat and sugar. You’d probably get more fiber by eating the wrapper than what you get from the fast food itself!

Regardless of how the constipation came about – and until you get on the right track for foods and exercise – you need relief now. Herbal remedies may be the best solution. Herbal laxatives work in one of two ways: to either add bulk or stimulate the bowels to eliminate.

As with any laxative, don’t overuse or use for too many days at a time. You can become dependent – even on herbal laxatives. Excess laxative use is treating the symptom, not the problem and can cause dehydration, potassium depletion and irritation of the muscles in the colon.

Add dried plums or prunes to your diet for their natural ability to promote healthy bowel movement. Black cherry juice may also have the same effect for some people. Dandelion root tea can bring ease to constipation as can eating marshmallows. These have substances that are soothing and lubricating to the colon.

Prevention is the best approach for constipation. Use a combination of these suggestions to get your body in better shape and you can throw the over the counter laxatives out with the trash!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Aging: What's Your "Age of Potential"?

There have been many revaluations over the last century, however none as significant as the Longevity Revolution. This past week was my birthday, which got me reflecting on that thing called, life.

In America, we are living on average 38 years longer than our great grandfathers*. That’s an entire second adult lifetime, added on to our lifespan. Yet, our culture has not yet come to let go of stereotypical slangs like, “blue hair”, “geezer” or “BOOF”. We’re still living with the old perspective of age as an arch; you’re born, you peak at midlife, then you decline into decrepitation.  This view stems from the notion that age is merely pathology.

The Longevity Revolution however, has shed light on these last three added decades, some calling it the “third act of life”. Slowly scientists, doctors, and researchers are coming to the realization that this is actually a developmental stage of life with its own significance. As different as midlife is to adolescence, and adolescence to childhood. So what about the average person? What about you?

We should all be asking, how do we make good use of three more decades of life?  How do we live the third act successfully?

As you may know one of the fundamental laws of the world is the second Law of Thermodynamics; entropy. Entropy means that everything in the world is in a constant state of decline and decay. There’s only exception to this universal law and that is the human spirit. Take instances of joy: the fall of the Berlin wall, Armstrong walking on the moon, Jackie Robinson joining the major leagues. Now take instances of sorrow: Nine-eleven, fall solders from the invasion of Iraq, the Vietnam War. Both bear stories of heroism, growth, and unity.   

Likewise, your spirit can continue to evolve with age into wholeness, authenticity, and wisdom.

So I propose a slight twist in the way we view age. Instead of thinking, “I’ve lived so many years”, look at how many years you have left to make a difference, learn a new skill, or contribute to your community. A 75-years-old female now has 16 more years to do great things. A 60-year-old male now has 24 more years to do great things. Age then turns from pathology, into potential.

What is your "Age of Potential"? You may just have an entire lifetime ahead of you to do and be great.

*Average life expectancy according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
In 2013: 86 female, 84 males
In 1900: 46 female, 48 males