Knowing is Half the Battle
Ever wonder what's in the make-up you're wearing on your face each day? Or your shaving cream or toothpaste? A watchdog consumer site maintains an enormous online database so you find out exactly how safe your brand of skin/hair/nail care products are.
- story by LB Kovac
Propylparaben on its own isn’t particularly hazardous, especially in the amounts found in lotion, and it isn’t going to make you grow an extra limb. In 2010, the European Union Scientific Committee of Consumer found propylparaben to be “safe to the consumer, as long as their individual concentrations does not exceed 0.19%.” At these levels, the committee argues, not enough of the propylparaben can be absorbed through your skin to give you more than a statistically negligible chance of contracting cancer.
Still, if the fact that there are trace amounts of potentially cancer-causing chemicals in your face lotion gives you pause, it would seem you have a couple of options. You could spend the rest of your life standing in the fluorescent lights of the personal care aisle, poring over the labels of lotions, cosmetics, and sun blocks and Googling the ingredients, one-by-one, to see if things like “dimethicone” are as scary as they sound.
Or, you could rely on a company like Environmental Working Group to decode those labels for you.
Environmental Working Group, or EWG, is a two-decades-old environmental organization that seeks to hold companies accountable for the products they make and services they offer. Founded by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles, the company lobbies on the local and national levels for more transparency in business and labeling practices.
EWG rose to prominence a few years ago in 2006 when the organization went head-to-head with soda manufacturers for knowingly including what EWG deemed as unsafe levels of benzene in sodas. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the benzene molecule is carcinogenic in nature but allows quantities smaller than 5 parts-per-billion.
EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database website now serves as a resource for those wishing to pull the curtain back on confusing labels.
EWG has reviewed more than 70,000 personal care products, from big brands like Curel, Maybelline, CoverGirl, and Old Spice. EWG says that each product is evaluated by their team of scientists and given an individual score from 1-10, with 1 being the best score and 9 being the worst.
Products that receive a 1-3 are deemed “safe.” These products follow EWG’s guidelines for ethical sourcing and testing, and use ingredients that are natural and non-toxic. The best of these products, which adhere to EWG’s most rigorous standards, get EWG’s seal of approval.
Wal-Mart is just one of the companies to show support for EWG. Last year, it made headlines for encouraging all companies that sell personal care products in its stores to get the EWG seal. Other retailers, like Target, have expanded their offerings to include EWG-approved products.
Products on the other end of the spectrum, 6-10, are the ones EWG claims are unsafe. Propylparaben is just one of the ingredients that can tank one of these products’ scores; “recorcinol,” “methylisothiazolinone,” and “amylcinnamaldehyde,” known immunotoxins, are flagged by EWG’s researchers.
Even if you’re not overly concerned with the health risks involved with using your favorite foundation (and not afraid of the occasional tongue-twister), you still might be served by EWG’s website. Because it labels and flags potential allergens in all of its reviewed products, the site is a great resource for allergy-sufferers. And animal lovers can revel in the fact that EWG won’t give out their seal if a company’s product is known to be tested on animals.
So, the next time you’re staring at the bottle and can’t decide what “coumarin” is, look it up.
An App for Sound Sleep?
There's an app for everything, and sometimes lots of them! Karen Fineran takes a comprehensive look at some of the most popular apps available to help you get a good night's sleep!
Experts explain that, as we sleep, we naturally flow between phases of deep sleep and light sleep, and our movements vary with each sleep phase. The idea behind Sleep Cycle is that interrupting the "wrong" sleep cycle stage, such as slow-wave ("deep") sleep or REM (rapid eye movement, when dreaming occurs), results in grogginess upon awakening.
Sleep Cycle works by using either the microphone inside your iPhone to detect noises, or the accelerometer inside your iPhone (the part that knows when you turn it sideways) to detect your movements as you sleep.
To use Sleep Cycle, you set an alarm for the absolute latest you want to wake up, plug in your smartphone and place it under your pillow or on the nightstand before you go to bed. Sleep Cycle will try to trigger the alarm during your lightest sleep cycle within 30 minutes before the time you set to be woken up.
During this phase, Sleep Cycle will monitor signals from your body to wake you softly, when you are in the lightest possible sleep state. For example, if you opt for a 30 minute wake up phase and set your alarm for 8:00 am, if Sleep Cycle feels strong movement as you turn at 7:42 a.m. (indicating you’re experiencing light sleep), it will wake you at your most restless point, resulting in your possibly feeling more refreshed than if you’d been woken at 8:00 a.m. in the middle of a deep sleep.
When you’ve woken, you can check your phone and see that Sleep Cycle has generated a sleep graph that allows you to see when you were sleeping the lightest and when you were in your deepest phases.
On this daily graph, you will also see small sound waves under the graph if it detects snoring, along with an option to listen to a 15-second sample of the session in the stats on the same page. (Snore detection is available in the free version, but playing back the snore recordings is a feature of the premium package.)
The free version of Sleep Cycle includes: the intelligent wake-up alarm; sleep analysis with a nightly sleep graph; different choice of alarm melodies; snooze (by shaking or double-tapping the phone lightly); snore detection with “patented sound technology” (but not snore playback); Apple Health integration (exchanges sleep analysis and heart rate), and the export of sleep data to Excel for detailed analysis. After five nights of sleep, Sleep Cycle will calculate the quality of sleep compared to your other nights.
For $30, the Premium version of Sleep Cycle includes everything found in the free version, with the addition of online backup; long-term trends so that you can “compare your sleep with the world;” historical snore trends data; sleep aids to help you fall asleep faster; the ability to take sleep notes (such as whether you drank coffee and how it affected you or what time you ate); your self-reported “wake-up mood;” a wake-up weather report; heart rate tracking (measures your resting heart rate every morning using the built-in camera); Philips Hue light bulb integration (simulates a natural sunrise to give a softer wake-up); and snoring recording playback and export.
In my opinion, the free option gives more than enough options to not upgrade. You can change the sound of your alarm, whether or not you want to add vibration, the type of snooze, the range of wake up phase, if you want to turn the alarm function off on the weekend, and the type of motion detection.
For me, the most interesting premium feature (which alone almost made me shell out the $30) was the snoring snippet playback. How tempting to listen in on the changes in my snore rhythms (or my partner’s) at various phases of the night!
Does the app work? Is there hard science behind it? How accurate is it? Could it even be a “fake” app? I had read a couple of reviews speculating that the app could be bogus, based on claims that the person had set the app up and then left their iPhone out on a table or on the floor, instead of at their bedside. The next morning, supposedly, the phone displayed a sleep graph as if their phone had been beside their pillow all night. Sleuth that I am, I tried it out on the carpeted floor of the spare room in my mother’s house, and no graph was created except for the smallest of vibrations.
Sleep Cycle claims that, with its highly technical microphone motion detection, it even works well for two persons sharing a bed. “Sound decays exponentially with distance, this means that sounds generated by your partner will have a much lower volume than sounds generated by you. And when you are linked over WiFi, Sleep Cycle will be able to locate from where the sound originates, providing a much more accurate sleep analysis.”
My personal experience is in line with the claims. Each bed partner generates his or her different individual graph, but the graphs tend to be rather similar. If one partner gets up at 4 a.m. to relieve himself in the bathroom, or he stirs or rolls in his sleep enough to affect your own movements, or if that Catahoula hound or that cat jumps on or off the shared bed, both of your graphs will register the “sleep disruption” as if it were your own.
In addition, if you have a television in your bedroom and watch TV before bed while lying still (a habit that is not recommended), it will register on the graph as sleep. It can be disconcerting when your sleep graph indicates that you have been lying in bed sleeping for twelve hours, even if you know that you were binging on Game of Thrones.
For people with apnea or other serious sleeping issues, Sleep Cycle is no substitute for clinical sleep analysis and it should not be considered to be pinpoint accurate. In the clinic, sleep researchers use “polysomnography” to strategically place a series of electrodes (EEG) that measure cortical brain activity across particular areas of neurons. These voltage fluctuations appear like waves on the researcher’s computer monitor. In addition to the EEG, various sensors are also placed on the body to detect breathing and movement throughout the night.
Sleep Cycle’s accuracy cannot compare. For one thing, a night's sleep is peppered with brief awakenings and arousals, especially in individuals with apnea, insomnia, or restless legs. Most people find it easy to fall back to sleep after these disturbances, but your phone's motion sensor doesn't know how long you might have been lying motionless while trying to coax yourself back to sleep.
For another, sleep latency (the time between lights-out and when you actually fall asleep) changes every night. While it has been said that the average person takes fourteen minutes to fall asleep, it actually varies every night depending on various factors – such as stomach upset, or stress over an upcoming exam in the morning.
In my experience, the Sleep Cycle app helped me get a better night’s sleep because of its intelligent alarm feature. I believe that I may have less brain fog and feel more alert throughout the day. It also seemed easier for me to wake up, which is something I sometimes struggle with. The only criticism I have is that Sleep Cycle will not automatically set your alarm clock for you (and that you have to pay $30 if you wish to listen to your own snoring).
Given Sleep Cycle’s price (free, if you already own a smartphone!) and the basic sleep tracking features it offers, it’s difficult not to recommend at least giving it a try.
Other Sleep Apps
If this kind of thing interests you, there are plenty of other options on the app market, and you could try and compare as many as you like. Some are free and some aren’t, but most are inexpensive.
I tried an app called Pillow (iOS only; free, with a $4.99 upgrade), but I found it so similar to Sleep Cycle, with so many of the exact same features and a very similar look and feel, that I don’t think it bears much discussion. But, if you’re interested in Sleep Cycle’s premium app features, such as detailed sleep statistics that track over time, this is surely a cheaper route than Sleep Cycle’s $30 premium version.
Sleep Better is an app for both Android and iOS, and its free tier includes the sleep monitor that uses your phone accelerometer to record your sleep quality. It also comes with some extras like a caffeine log, moon phase tracker, and dream diary. But, only a premium upgrade adds the smart alarm clock to the mix, giving you the ability to choose your optimum wake-up window. So, this does not seem to be a better deal than Sleep Cycle’s free version.
Good Morning Alarm Clock is free and ad-supported for Android, and $4.99 for an iOS premium version. Like Sleep Cycle, it also intelligently wakes you based on your sleep activity and targeted wake-up time, with customizable alarm tunes and helpful statistics tracking. In addition, this app comes with a white noise generator to provide you relaxing sounds to help you fall asleep.
Blue light from bright backlit smartphone and tablet displays and televisions is said to interfere with your body clock and sleep cycle. Twilight (free on Android) reduces blue light on your phone’s display, automatically adjusting the colors based on the time of day, gently toning down the blue and introducing a red filter as evening approaches. This results in a softer display that is easier on the eyes and less likely to mess with your sleep cycle.
Sleep Cycle Power Nap ($1.99 on iOS) is a spinoff app from Sleep Cycle that focuses on helping users get short, comfortable naps. Users can set the app for a Power Nap (20 minutes), Recovery Nap (45 minutes), or a full sleep cycle (90 minutes), settle down somewhere comfortable, and let the app use your phone accelerometer to determine when you've fallen asleep, setting your alarm automatically to wake you. The app comes with 17 different alarm melodies and a soothing sound generator to help lull you to sleep.
If you’re looking mostly for customizable soothing sounds to help lull you to sleep, you may want to give Sleep (iOS, $1.99) a try. The app comes with pre-made mixes of soothing sounds and pictures that you can use with no fuss, but the real fun is in the app's soundboard of more than 100 different soothing sounds, pieces of relaxing music, white noise, lullabies, and binaural beats. Users can mix up their favorite soothing sounds, and can save these custom combinations to create their own themed ambient noise combos. The app comes with a sleep timer and a gentle wakeup timer to slowly wake you up with gentle sound.
On the same theme, Pzizz (free on Android or iOS) helps users slip gently into sleep using a combination of music, words, sound effects and binaural beats to help you de-stress and re-energize. Once users set a listening duration (10 minutes to 10 hours), Pzizz generates a unique sleeping soundtrack each time, from its library of built-in media.
Users can adjust the volume levels of music, sound effects and vocal tracks, to achieve the desired effects. This app claims that there are more than 10 billion possible combinations of audio elements, so that you will never have to fall asleep to the same soundtrack twice.
Another free app designed to help users drift to sleep is Surf City's Sleep Well Hypnosis app. Its hook is that it provides users with guided meditations, read by a certified hypnotherapist. It also comes with soothing background noises, and a volume mixer for the voice and background audio.
Snore Report is a free app available on iOS devices that monitors snoring. Users are provided with an audio playback and a Snore Score, an index of snoring intensity. A higher Snore Score suggests greater snoring severity.
Snore Lab is another free app that allows you to record, measure, and track your snoring. The full version is $6.99 and offers more recordings, no ads, unlimited usage, comparison charts, and a full history compared to the three-night history the free version offers. This snoring app also offers nature sounds to help you sleep.
Another app called Snore Control, also offering a free version, records snoring and talking at night, and activates a “stop snoring” function which, on the iPhone, tries to quiet you down with a sound or vibration to disrupt your deep sleep snoring. The free version has limitations on the “stop snoring” function, ability to play back recordings, and full-screen charts; the full version costs $2.99.
The one free sleep app that I am most interested to try is called Lucid Dreamer. It claims to help sleepers achieve a lucid dreaming state by triggering an audio and visual cue onscreen that trains sleepers to make a “reality check” – a common trick that lucid dreaming enthusiasts like myself use to trigger lucid dreaming.
A built-in dream log allows users to jot down their dreams and store them, or share with the app's community. A paid upgrade offers additional features such as options for custom music, sounds such as binaural beats, and pre-sleep visuals and cues to help sculpt your own “dreamscape.”
Sleep tracking apps can’t possibly have pinpoint accuracy, so any information you glean should not be viewed as rigorous science. It should be viewed as an aid to learning about your sleep patterns so that you can know how certain factors affect your sleep, snoring, and dreams (such as how much screen time you engage in before bed, the amount of caffeine you’re consuming, and what time you ate dinner and how much you ate).
So, while sleep-tracking apps are certainly not the most accurate way to assess your sleep, the upside is that people are becoming more attuned to their own circadian rhythms and the effect of sleep (or lack thereof) on their bodies. This is great news, as sleep is one of the most important health factors that can be altered.
It sounds impossible, but it's been proven in research. A four-minute high intensity routine can offer more benefits than a 60-minute jog. Read on to learn more about Tabata.
- by Lionel Haynes, Jr.
Tabata is named after Japanese coach and researcher, Dr. Izumi Tabata, now dean of the Sports and Health Science graduate program at Ritsumeikan University. In a-first-of-its-kind study, Dr. Tabata pitted high intensity interval training (H.I.I.T) against 60-minute “steady-state” aerobic exercises.
Researchers were surprised to discover that the high intensity regimen – exercising vigorously for twenty seconds on and ten seconds off during a four-minute session (for eight rounds total) - produced results that far outpaced traditional routines.
In fact, Tabata’s short intense sessions are equal to a sixty-minute jog, burning an average of ten to fifteen calories a minute and working around the clock to burn even more.
Still in disbelief?
Take it from local fitness guru Helene Loiacano of Fit First.
“Lots of my clients are into Tabata now,” Helene says. “It’s especially popular with really busy business people.”
Helene says that part of Tabata’s appeal is that it can be done in different ways, incorporating anything from strength training, to running, to weight exercises. To get the best results, any exercise should be done at maximum effort for twenty seconds, alternating with ten seconds of rest, for a total of eight “rounds” over four minutes.
“In that four-minute session, you can do a single exercise or eight different exercises," says Loiacano. “You can mix lower and upper body exercises too.”
Tabata doesn't discriminate either, according to Helene. It's for everybody, from exercise novices determined to carry out a New Year's resolution to the extreme cross-fit expert.
Helene explains. “The beauty of Tabata is that it’s right for everybody, even someone who's so deconditioned that they can barely walk to their mailbox.”
Helene gives a few examples of beginning exercises: throwing and catching a moderate-sized medicine ball against a wall; jogging on a treadmill (moving your feet to the side using the safety bars to get that ten-second break); and leaping on/off jumping blocks.
Mixing routines up also helps ward off boredom. And it’s not so much how you get there as arriving at your ultimate goal. Helene quotes her fitness professional father, J.E. Loiacano, who “taught me everything.”
“He always says that workouts have to be fun. If you want to go to California, it doesn’t matter if you drive a Volkswagen or take a 747 - as long as you enjoy the trip."
For instance, if you walk five days a week, you can still meet your fitness goal, it just takes longer, says Helene. “Tabata’s more like taking the 747,” she says, smiling.
Helene advises people to check with their physician before diving into Tabata (or any new fitness routine), even if you were once a star athlete in your school days. Over time, our bodies gradually change.
“But I want people to understand that anyone can do Tabata,” she says. “It’s not complicated. And it only takes 14 minutes a day, including the ten-minute warm-up. It’s simple and it’s fun.”
If Tabata-style sounds like a good fit to achieve your New Year’s resolution, go for it. You may start seeing noticeable results after two weeks.
Four weeks after that, you could be coasting past that resolution. With Tabata’s natural boosts to the human growth hormones (HGH) production, all that uninvited fat should be blasted off your body long before bikini and speedo season.
Find Helene on Facebook under "Fit First - Helene Loiacano Johnson"
There are lots of beginning or low-impact Tabata routines on Youtube. Try them out until you find one that seems to fit your style. Below are two that we enjoyed:
The Halloween Hustle
Beach to Bayou - Oct/Nov 2017
A light-hearted series of races along the Bay St. Louis coastline has built a monster following over the past three years.
- story by Ellis Anderson, photos courtesy Wendy Kennedy
Visiting for the race? Check out the Shoofly Magazine's guides to Bay-Waveland!
Duathlons are races that start off with a two-mile run, followed by 11 miles of biking and finishing with a two-mile run. Participants can also choose to enter a simple four-mile run.
Graham says that the series is now three years old, although it’s the fourth year for the HH. Most of the races now sell out – meaning they reach the maximum number of participants who can register, around 300.
“About 70 percent of our participants now are repeaters,” says Graham. “More than 50 percent come from either Alabama or Louisiana, but we get lots from Jackson and Hattiesburg too.”
Graham has her masters in Exercise Science whose business, Hurricane Multisport, offer race day planning and hosting services. However, the QuadBurner Event Series is a volunteer project.
Graham guesses the race series is growing in popularity because the focus is more on staying in shape and having fun than being seriously competitive. The races offer some prizes (several for costumes in the Halloween Hustle), but forego the traditional age-group categories.
“It’s less about who wins the race and more about getting people moving,” she says. “These races are designed to give people something to keep training for year-round, to encourage a lifetime of fitness and good health.”
The unique approach and the support of several corporate sponsors – including FEB Distributing and Run & Tri - allows Quadburners to spend more money on the race participants “swag” (freebies, like visors, warm-up jackets, etc.) and the after-race celebration that feature a DJ, beer and food from the popular coast caterer Savory Roots.
The remaining funds are donated to the non-profit Hancock County Canine Operation unit of the Sheriff's Department. Last year, Quadburners gave more than $4,000 to the unit, which enabled the department to purchase a new specially trained dog. They're on track to double that amount in 2017. Officer Jeremy Skinner spearheaded the effort to form the not-for-profit and many officers volunteer their time for the events.
Quadburners races follow the same course each time, beginning and ending at the Washington Street pier pavilion in Bay St. Louis. Veteran runners are learning to appreciate both the town and the course, making for a relaxing experience all the way around.
Graham notes that local spectators are always welcome and encouraged. She says that several residents who live near the course now pay attention to when races are scheduled. On race mornings, they bring lawn chairs down to the beach to watch the fun (registration starts at 7am, the race starts at 8am).
“And it’s great fun,” Graham says. “I’m always impressed with the costumes with the Halloween Hustle. We had some folks dressed as champagne bottles once. I’m still not sure how they rode bikes in those costumes.”
Link to register and info for QuadBurners Event Series:
Who to Believe?
I recently went shopping with friends to a number of our favorite thrift shops and found a long linen coat, a sweater, two shirts and three dresses. All of the items fit and I bought them.
For non-thrift store afficianados, the first piece of advice I have for you is to avoid shopping by size. You may miss some great buys that way.
The coat I bought was a size 6, the sweater was a medium; one shirt was an XS, and the other a large. The first dress I bought was a 6, the second was a 2, and the third was a 0. Really? A zero? That is absurd.
This is Deena Shoemaker. She is a teen counselor and a frustrated buyer of women’s clothing. These are the photos she posted on her Facebook page to illustrate a point. Clothing sizes make no sense. Her travails were written up the in Business Insider.
Mind, Body, Spirit
How did we get in this predicament?
Before ready-to-wear, there was made-to-measure. Measurements were made, patterns cut and sewn, and clothing fitted. Who knew or cared what “size” they were? In 1939, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began a yearlong study titled “Women’s Measurements for Garment and Pattern Construction.”
Working with the Bureau of Home Economics under a federal grant, they studied the weight and 58 body measurements of 14,698 women across seven states in the U.S. Once the final data was collated, statisticians analyzed the results and determined that five measurements were sufficient to determine the size and shape of a woman: weight, height, bust girth, waist girth and hip girth.
Weight was quickly dismissed as a measurement, analysts reasoning that “retail stores and homes frequently do not have scales and it is conceivable that women would object to telling their weights more than to giving, say, their bust measurements.”
Just a few of the biases included limiting the USDA study to white women, and the suggestion, after all the work was done, to recommend that mass manufacturers only produce every second clothing size. The study was completed in 1953 and published as “Commercial Standard (CS) 215-58.”
In 1970 the commercial standards were updated, partially in recognition that few women actually had an hourglass shape. In 1939 it was estimated that many women fit this mold, maybe due to restrictive undergarments, and now the percentage is about 8 percent. The new standards were voluntary for manufacturers.
With no real restrictions, retailers were limited only by their imaginations, and garments started to be labeled with smaller sizes. By 1983 the voluntary standards were gone, and all that is left is size numbers.
Mind, Body, Spirit - June 2017
- by Christina Richardson, PhD.
This morning while getting the paper I sneezed not once, not twice, but three times. I always sneeze three times. It felt good to let the sneezes out. In the house I have to hold the sneezes in.
It does not matter where I am or where Robbie (fellow journalist and Shetland sheepdog) is when I do a full sneeze. He comes at me like a runaway freight train, barking, leaping and shoving. I wonder what he thinks I am saying.
My doctor told me that holding a sneeze in is not a good idea. She told me that blood vessels in my eyes can break, my eardrum could rupture, or blood vessels in my brain could be affected. From now on I will run for it and sneeze away.
Body, Mind, Spirit
- We sneeze to reset the environment in our nasal passages. Little cilia, which are tiny hairs, beat faster and cause the sneezing.
- Many things cause us to sneeze, like bright light, pepper, colds, allergies, and even temperature changes.
- It is normal to sneeze in multiples to push the irritants out.
- Your eyes close when you sneeze, in an involuntary reflex.
- Your heart does not skip a beat when you sneeze, although it may slow just a little due to the deep breath taken before the sneeze.
- Sneezes can travel up to 100 miles an hour and germs can be spread out as far as 30 feet away. So cover your nose when you belt out a sneeze.
Click here for additional sneeze factoids.
The video below explains the science behind the sneezing mechanism.
The NICE, or sensitive, sneezer: These people are warm and friendly and their most important priority is their relationship with others. They tend to have a single “achoo” and turn their heads away when they sneeze.
BE RIGHT sneezers are careful and accurate. They take their time, play by the rules and wish others would do so. They are the most likely to cover their noses when sneezing.
GET IT DONE sneezers are fast, decisive and to the point. They are leaders and get things done. These folks often hold in a sneeze but when they let go it is a loud one.
THE ENTHUSIASTIC sneezer is charismatic, imaginative and open to people. When they sneeze it is usually big or multiple.
In the study of 547 people Ms. Wood found that sneezing matched personalities. Some of the respondents added their own type of sneezers: the big bad wolf, the tease, spray gun, freeze tag, hand as handkerchief, the how high can you count sneeze, the cartoon sneeze, the coughing sneeze, and others. The article goes in to traditions, why we say “bless you,” and some celebrity sneezers.
Sneezing is one of those automatic things we do and don’t do much thinking about. Maybe now you will.
Mind, Body, Spirit - May 2017
D.I.E.T.: Change Your Outlook For Optimum Health
- by Christina Richardson, PhD
There are literally thousands of dieting books, programs, supplements and plans for the dieting consumer to choose from. All of these are part of the $60 billion-dollar diet industry. If there are so many plans and gurus and ideas being presented why are more than a third of us so fluffy? I prefer the word fluffy to obese. Obese sounds judgmental and insurmountable.
Food is the reason for the fluffiness not related to a health issue. We have to eat; we love to eat. We are bombarded with advertising and encouraged to eat. Eating is social, cultural and what keeps us going. It is the overdoing and making the wrong choices or eating too much of a good thing that does us in.
Mind, Body, Spirit
2. Eat less than you do in the winter — you need less fuel to keep your body temperature in balance. Graze throughout the day. Make your regular three meals a day six smaller ones. Think about what your body needs today. Savor what you eat and do not give up what you love. Eat a few French fries, not an entire serving. Deprivation just makes you want something more.
3. Move more by parking your car further away from your destination. Take a morning walk. Avoid exercising in the middle of the day. Do a class with friends in yoga or at the gym. Enjoy!
4. Enlist your friends to help you stay on track. Ask them to join you in eating close to natural, eating less and moving more. No matter what task we set out for ourselves, we accomplish more with a little help from our friends. Some years ago I read the transcript of a sermon given by Dr. Robert McNeish, pastor of the Northminster Presbyterian Church in Resistertown, Maryland. In 1972 He used the example of geese flying in formation to show how people can work together.
My favorite line is, “The geese flying in formation make loud honking noises, called contact calls, to help them stay together.” Pastor McNeish’s lesson was that we need to make sure that our honking is encouraging, supportive and that it brings out our best. Here is a video based on McNeish’s sermon.
5. Remember that tomorrow is another day. Every day is a day to begin again. Stay away from the weight scales. Every day jot down how your body feels. Diets do not work. Lifestyle changes do.
Mind, Body, Spirit - February 2017
Boosting Your Immune System
- by Christina Richardson, PhD
Mind, Body, Spirit - January 2017
New Year, New You
- by LB Kovac
Mind, Body, Spirit - December 2016
The Power of Posing
- story by L.B. Kovac
Mind, Body, Spirit - June 2016
The Worry Hour
story by Christina Richardson, PhD.
Mind, Body, Spirit - May 2016
Make Your Bed
- story by Christina Richardson, PhD.
Mind, Body, Spirit - April 2016
Tai Chi on the Beach
- story by Christina Richardson
Mind, Body, Spirit - January 2016
3-D Printers Changing Lives
- by Dr. Christina Richardson, photos courtesy of Enabling the Future.
Leon McCarthy was born without a left hand. His father had been searching for a low-cost prosthetic solution for his son when he found an instructional video online that showed a prosthetic hand that could be printed on a 3-D printer.
The instructions came from Ivan Owen, an inventor in Washington state and his partner Richard Van As in South Africa. They created a prosthetic hand with the intention of getting it to as many people as possible.
Mind, Body, Spirit
Enabling The Future is an organization connecting people who are in need and the 3-D printing hobbyists who volunteer to design, print, and fit the devices. A Google+ community was created for makers to collaborate, innovate and improve the open source designs.
Just like printing a document, you press print and the 3-D printer builds the object designed on the screen by putting down tiny layers of plastic to make it. A prosthetic arm — a fancy one — costs about $40,000, too much to spend on a child who would outgrow it in a year.
One in 2,000 children are born with some kind of an arm- or hand abnormality. They can’t pick things up, write, draw, or play ball with that hand. With a 3-D printer you can make a device with $20 worth of plastic. If it breaks, is outgrown, or the technology improves, just make a new arm or finger or make it another color. The devices hold up well and help kids be just like their friends, but with a cool robo-arm they may have helped design themselves.
Schull said, “You know, disability is a funny word. Disability means you can’t do something. A person has a disability if he’s in a world where he can’t do something. The technology of eyeglasses turned nearsightedness and farsightedness in to a nuisance, when it used to be a disability. New technology is going to turn things like you’re missing a hand or you can’t move your body or you have brain damage into a nuisance, rather than a disability.”
Amazing what we humans are capable of. If you have or get a 3-D printer, consider getting into the hand-making business — you will change a disability into a nuisance.
Sponsor Spotlight - December 2015
Fifty-five years and counting. That’s how long Mississippi Coast residents have been relying on Hancock Medical Center. With modest beginnings, the high-tech facility on Highway 90 is managed by the world-renowned Oschner Health System. Working with area physicians, Hancock Medical offers state-of-the-art health care with a caring, local staff.
In the first half of the 20th century, area health care in Hancock County was offered by Kings Daughters & Sons Hospital, located in a historic frame building in downtown Bay St. Louis. Hancock Medical, county-owned since 1960, started out on Carroll Avenue before moving to a new facility opened on Dunbar Avenue, offering more rooms and updated equipment. Established under the name of Hancock General Hospital, the organization thrived as the community grew.
Although the hospital suffered $26 million in damages during Hurricane Katrina, a heroic group of employees and physicians remained and helped put lives, homes, and the hospital back together. Like any fine hospital, expansion and programs to update procedures and equipment are ongoing, with each technological advance in health care.
For instance, consider the new Telestroke System. When a patient arrives at the emergency department at Hancock Medical with the symptoms of a stroke, a computer with an advanced webcam will be brought to the bedside where the clinical team will connect with a vascular neurologist on call at Ochsner’s mother-ship hospital in New Orleans. The neurologist, patient and clinical team at Hancock Medical can see and speak to each other throughout the consult. The physician examines the patient and reviews the CT scan of the patient’s head, providing guidance on advanced treatments within minutes.
Bay St. Louis resident Roy Herron was the beneficiary of the new system. One morning Mr. Herron could not hold a cup of coffee in his right hand and started feeling a numbness on his right side. Concerned, he drove himself to the hospital.
In many cases, Telestroke consultation will allow patients to stay at Hancock Medical. In more complicated cases, like this one involving Mr. Herron, the patient is transferred to Ochsner in New Orleans for more specialized treatment. Telestroke helps save more lives even with advanced cases because the neurologist will have already met and started treating the patient.
Herron believes that the new system – and the staff – saved his life. “I wouldn’t be here today if not for the efficiency of Hancock Medical and the coordination with Ochsner,” he said.
His emergency room physician at Hancock Medical that day, Dr. Laurie Patterson, believes that this case is one of many each week that prove how local hospitals help save lives. “In the case of Mr. Herron,” she said, “he got here quickly, got the meds he needed here in our Emergency Department and then was transferred to Ochsner in a timely manner.”
The very active foundation makes many things like these possible for Hancock Medical:
- Telestroke Program in the Emergency Department
- Fetal Monitoring System for health of mom and baby
- Mobile Ultrasound in ER
- Mammography Assistance for uninsured in Hancock County
- Endoscope Reprocessor for the Surgery Department
- Baby Isolette for OB Department
- Healthstream Employee Education
- Patient Room Televisions
- Joseph R. Lee, M.D. Operating Room Suite
The Hancock Medical Foundation Board includes Myron Labat (President), Ellis Cuevas, Theresa Bourgeois, Herb Dubuisson Sr., Suzi Lee, Bob McBee, Hank Wheeler, Jeanie Moran, Marilyn Sefton and Ron Hyman.
They work closely with the Board of Trustees and hospital administration members – like Virginia Kenny. Currently Chief Nursing Officer, she’s served in many nursing roles in the hospital since 1982.
Hodges says that he’s excited to help lead Hancock Medical into the future as it delivers quality health care to the residents of Hancock County.
“Our core mission is to be the health resource for Hancock County and it speaks well of our facility that 80 percent of all of our inpatients and outpatients live right here in Hancock County,” Hodges says.
“I’m proud of how friendly and dedicated our staff is to our patients and our community, and I’m proud of the quality health care that we’re providing.”
That quality has been most recently recognized with Hancock Medical named one of eight hospitals in the state to be rewarded with an increase in Medicare reimbursement, a direct correlation to the quality of health care services it is providing patients.
And in 2015, County Health Rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program rank Hancock County 7th for health outcomes among the 82 counties in the state. This study reflects the success of Hancock Medical and Hancock County in providing resources toward the overall health of its citizens.
According to Hodges, the Hancock Medical and Oschner team add up to two things: Hometown heart and world-class care.
Mind, Body, Spirit - December 2015
Surviving the Holidays in Good Spirits!
- by Dr. Christina Richardson
Mind, Body, Spirit - October 2015
Helping Children Cope With Tragic Events in the News
- by Christina Richardson
Mind, Body, Spirit - September 2015
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- by Christina Richardson, Ph.D.
Do a search online for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and you will get over six million hits. There will be some valuable information on some of the pages but, oh! My! Some will just make you shake your head.
The National Institutes of Health has been doing research on (CAM) since 1999. In 2007 the National Health Interview Survey found that 38% of adults and 12% of children had used some form of CAM in the past year, at a cost of $33.9 billion out-of- pocket on CAM practices and products.
Mind, Body, Spirit
- If a non-mainstream practice is used together with conventional medicine, it is considered “complementary.”
- If a non-mainstream practice in used in place of conventional medicine, it’s considered “alternative.”
If you are a regular reader, you know I would not pass up the complementary medical benefits of pet therapy. In hospice and nursing home settings, stress levels are lower, depression is lessened, and mental stimulation is improved just by holding or being close to an animal.
So, listen to your doctor and if you get a go ahead, add yoga, tai-chi, massage, or some of the other complementary practices to your routine.
Download this fact sheet from the National Institutes of Health for your further consideration.
Beach to Bayou - September 2015
Walking the Beachfront
- story and photography by Lisa Monti
I’ve been taking walks along the beach for so long, I can’t even pin a year on it, other than it was before Katrina. The walks started out as an occasional distraction for the dog, but they were also helping me to organize cluttered thoughts and burn off stress. On a good walk, I could write a whole column in my head and even do a little editing.
It’s gotten to where skipping a walk isn’t an option, and weather is no excuse. If it’s hot, I go early. If it’s cold, layer up. If it’s terribly cold, I’ll reverse the route and walk the interior blocks of the neighborhood, away from the beach’s north wind. The only complication is rain, which actually is rare. And when your schedule is flexible, as mine is, waiting for a break in the weather isn’t a problem.
Beach to Bayou
The only thing I take along is my iPhone for its camera and the fitness app that keeps me honest. The iRunner app, which I downloaded for free and can highly recommend records where, when, how far and fast you walk and how many calories are burned up. When the info is locked in and synced, the route is mapped and a little walking figure populates the day on a calendar. There also are action figures for running, biking and other activities, and a Siri-like voice that offers congratulations. (“Workout complete. You rock!”)
The more little figures that lined up across the calendar, the more committed I felt to add days. A month later, I’d look at the parade of walkers in full stride and put on my walking shoes whether I felt like it or not. Soon it was a year of walks, then two years, and now I’m headed toward recording the end of my third year without missing a day.
Fortunately, walking the same route just about every day hasn’t turned routine. Even if you’ve been around the beach all your life like I have, there’s something different every day. The clouds, sky, the sand, the water and the wind, everything changes from one day to the next, and from morning to evening. The water can be crystal clear at times or churned up like chocolate milk at others. I imagine clouds are like snowflakes, no two are the same, and it’s not unusual for some awesome formation to stop me in my tracks.
Aside from the scenery, there’s plenty of opportunity to socialize on beach walks. Walkers not on the clock are happy to stop and chat. Most dog owners are enjoy making small talk while the respective dogs get acquainted. Casual bike riders can hold a modest conversation without losing momentum or having to circling back to finish a thought.
Walking restores my appreciation for our beach and makes me aware of how much work goes into taking care of this wonderful asset. Beach cleanup crews do, in fact, rock.
If you haven’t been walking along the beach in a while—or ever—I would recommend it. You don’t need a dog or an app, and you don’t have to walk all the way to Waveland. But it’s really not that far.
For a mile-by-mile description of the entire beachfront roadway in Hancock County,see our July 2015 Beach to Bayou column by P. Chris Christofferson
The Shoofly - June 2015
The Hancock County Senior Center
- by Gus Duda
If you are 60 years of age or have someone in your family who is, and you are a resident of Hancock County you need to know about the Hancock County Senior Center.
My name is Gus Duda and I am most assuredly a senior citizen, 95 years young to be exact. We moved to Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi from Alexandria, Virginia and I have loved almost everything about the Bay.
I was not happy to find that public transportation is not what I was used to. In Alexandria I could hop on a bus and go to the store or pharmacy or library. In Bay Saint Louis I am dependent on others for transportation.
Those who have errands to do or appointments to keep get a ride on the bus. Jimmy my usual driver is an employee of Coastal Transportation Service and a tremendous asset to the center. Always patient, caring and fun to be around Jimmy knows how to make everyone feel welcome. After we have lunch we get a ride home on the bus.
I did some research on the center because I was not here from the beginning and I like knowing the history of things. The Center is located at the corner of Old Spanish Trail and Bookter Street in Bay Saint Louis. It was established in 1972 by May Beyer, grandmother of Chuck Benvenutti. Eve McDonald served as the Center’s director from 1972 to 1992. The Center was located in a small classroom in the Valencia C. Jones School. I heard that she had to beg around for tables and chairs and later as the Center grew they were given more space.
Arlene was hired in 1985 to do arts and crafts and did such a fantastic job and was so loved by the seniors that she was given the director’s job in 2001 after Rosine died. After Hurricane Katrina I heard, the Center served as an emergency shelter in Bay Saint Louis. For about three months they provided food, clothes and shelter for more than 175 people. The building did get damaged during the storm. Repairs were made thanks to insurance proceeds and FEMA. Through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, the Center was able to expand, adding a dining area, an indoor walking track, and additional storage.
Today, the Center provides nutritious hot food for lunches, a place for the expression of art and companionship. We are about 40 people of various backgrounds sharing a meal, laughter and stories. We are taken good care of by Arlene, Trish, Jimmy and Michael, our chef and all the volunteers. It is nice to be out during the day and to have something to talk about when I get home.
If you are 60+ and would like to join us, we would love to have you. Just call the Center at 228.467.9292 or pop in at 601 Bookter to sign up. I’ll see you there.
Across The Bridge
At Home In The Bay
Beach To Bayou
BSL Council Updates
Casting My Net
Coast Lines Column
Friends Of The Animal Shelter
Growing Up Downtown
House And Garden
Legends And Legacies
Mother Of Pearl
Murphy's Musical Notes
Old Town Merchants
On The Shoofly
Shore Thing Fishing Report
Talk Of The Town
The Eyes Have It