WELLNESS - For Ruth Martin, the fight for paid leave is both professional and personal.
COVID WATCH - In California and across the country, the effort to contain COVID-19’s lethal spread has relied upon two cornerstones: accessibility and affordability of the tools to combat the virus.
The Laurel Foundation has been providing mental health and social support programs free of charge to transgender/gender diverse youth and youth affected by HIV/AIDS for over 29 years, changing the lives of thousands of youth.
ENVIRONMENT - People living in underserved communities, especially those with higher Black or Latino populations, likely run a greater collective risk of chronic illness from contaminated drinking water than people in other communities, a newly updated national tap-water database shows.
WELLNESS - It is flu season, and medical professionals in governments and private medical practices are recommending we get our shot.
WELLNESS - It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it. ~ Upton Sinclair
WELLNESS-Some people are having a hard time balancing their private life and work obligations.
WELLNESS - Over 100 Democratic lawmakers last week introduced legislation to lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60. There is one small problem that needs fixing, though: so-called "Medicare Advantage."
VOICES - The COVID-19 vaccines have turned an already-divisive America into a ramped-up battle of blame, shame, hatred, distrust, skepticism, and partisan name-calling.
HEALTH CARE - When Betzabel Estudillo got word last month that the Good Samaritan Hospital Child Care Center in L.A.’s Westlake neighborhood was closing for good, the news “devastated” her.
FEELING GOOD--The pandemic has altered most people's relationships with consumer goods. One of the most interesting and notable trends that took place over the past year is how people treat fashion, especially with the shift to the e-commerce landscape.
PANDEMIC PETS - Trend towards MORE pet adoptions is good news for those fighting depression.
MENTAL HEALTH - For decades, they were told to shake it off or toughen up — to set aside the doubt, or the demons, and focus on the task at hand: winning. Dominating. Getting it done.
ALPERN AT LARGE--Human nature can be a funny and peculiar thing, in that it brings out both the goodness and stupidity in each and every one of us (myself included). California, particularly Southern California, is so overcrowded in large part because of the sunny weather and the presumed "beauty" that abounds with, and is associated with the sun.
People often say to me “wow you must work so hard to stay fit and keep your life balanced!” My answer is always the same; “actually I don’t really work hard but I AM consistent.”
There is a VERY big difference between working hard and being consistent.
When we work hard at anything, there will always come a time soon afterwards when we crash. Either we have reached our established goal, or we have finished the intended project and now it’s time to relax. After all, working hard for extended periods of time is exhausting! Nobody can keep up strenuous efforts forever.
When we work consistently however, it means that we put in regular, steady efforts over a long period of time. When it comes to our health, wellness, emotions, and overall lifestyle, consistency wins over hard work every time!
This is a great example of why diets don’t work. People go in with a specific goal; i.e. to lose 15 pounds. Once the weight is lost, the dieter eventually goes back to their old ways and the weight comes back quickly. This is because following a strict eating regimen is hard work and counting our calories or writing in a food journal is unnatural.
When my clients want to put on muscle mass, I let them know that it’s better to choose moderate workouts for the long term rather than big bursts of heavy weights for a couple of months. For one thing, the body appreciates a nice, consistent effort where it gets accustomed to regularity. Having short-term goals of putting on muscle is fine, but unless you can make exercise habitual, usually you will reach your goal and begin slacking afterwards.
Perhaps it’s time for all of us to re-think our health and wellness strategy. With the New Year approaching, why not choose a different path? Why not make consistency your number one priority? Try taking the word “work” out of your vocabulary altogether because it has negative connotations and denotes stress. Make 2016 about the commitment to small, yet consistent steps towards a total life makeover.
Instead of making gigantic and unreachable New Year’s resolutions, why not take baby steps? When it comes to your body, mind and spirit, here are some simple actions to follow for the upcoming year. I call it The Lucky 11.
1) Exercise – Get your body to a gym at least 3 days per week. Even if you are comatose and have no energy, commit. If all you do is some simple stretching, you will feel a sense of pride that at least you arrived. Just like brushing your teeth, you have made it a part of your day and for that, bravo. Getting yourself there is more than most people ever do. To take it further, make this year the one where you find a workout partner or hire a trainer so that you have somebody to be accountable to.
2) Drink more water – Buy yourself a 24 oz. stainless steel or non-BPA plastic water bottle and make it a plan to fill it with filtered water three times per day. DO NOT go to bed until you have consumed 3 bottles of fresh water. Do your best to drink it earlier in the day to avoid late night trips to the bathroom. By drinking more water, you’ll look and feel better from the inside out.
3) Take a Multivitamin – Go to your health food store and ask for a quality, potent antioxidant multivitamin with minerals. Commit and get into the habit of taking it daily NO MATTER WHAT. They will change your life! You may not always feel a major difference but the long-term benefits are countless. Choose a vitamin that is derived from whole foods and without fillers or additives. My favorite is Dr. Mercola multivitamin with minerals.
4) Take quiet time each day – Carve out at least 20 minutes per day where you take quiet time to reflect, journal, meditate, and pray. Putting yourself first inspires others to do the same and you will see dramatic changes in the way your day unfolds. Focus on your breathing and spend time reflecting on the life you dream of. Experience it in your mind and emotions as if it has already manifested and get ready for a miraculous year!
5) Conquer bad habits – Make this year the one where you finally lessen or even eliminate bad habits. We all have them. Addictions, depression, anger, and the list goes on. Do something about it. Join a self-help group. Go to therapy, hypnosis or an energy healer. Hire a coach or fitness trainer and trust that with the right intentions, you can and will get over anything that holds you back. Don’t let the past fool you into thinking that change is impossible.
6) Sleep – Sleep is the most important aspect of your life. Without it, we age faster and are less healthy, efficient, and productive. Look into changing your environment to create a peaceful sanctuary. Clear your bedroom of electronic devices and disturbances. Read about hormones, in particular melatonin, and good sleep habits. Let go of the guilt around taking a brief afternoon siesta. Feeling rested not only adds years to your life but also life to your years.
7) Forgive - Make the upcoming year ALL about letting go and forgiving. If you hold any resentment or animosity towards another, let it go. Work on doing a forgiveness meditation. Investigate EFT (emotional freedom technique) or try writing a letter to the person you need to forgive and then burn it as a symbol of letting go. Holding onto unresolved, toxic emotions will only cause dis-ease within our body. Release it.
8) Laugh – Most of us take our life WAY too seriously. I for one have forgotten how to play. As adults, we have so many responsibilities and commitments that having fun takes less priority than paying our bills. Make plans each month to do something playful with a friend. Discover new activities or dust off an old one. Laughter literally raises our energetic vibration and transforms our body, mind, and spirit.
9) Change it up – While consistency is vital, it can be easy to fall into a boring, habitual routine. Make 2016 ALL about changing it up when things become monotonous. Stick with consistent actions but do something different within those tasks. Redecorate your favorite room, paint your wall bright orange, try a new workout routine, get a cool haircut or buy yourself some hip, fashionable clothes. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone a bit and do something out of the ordinary. Shaking things up energizes us and helps to spark new life within us.
10) Raw superfood powder – Most of us do our best to eat well but getting enough vitamins and nutrient-rich foods can be challenging. The best choice that you can make is to take one scoop of raw, superfood powder every single day. This is your insurance policy. It ensures that you are receiving live energy which will ignite your cells and super-charge your entire body. My favorite is called Perfect Food Raw by Garden of Life.
11) Put yourself first – Focus on loving yourself. Nothing is more vital than that we put ourselves first and work on nurturing, accepting, and forgiving ourselves. Many of us have done a pretty good job of beating ourselves up. Turn it around. Being your own best support system isn’t selfish; it’s just the opposite. By taking care of yourself and putting your needs first, you set a great example to those around you. When you begin doing this, you’ll see amazing shifts in ALL areas of your life!
The beginning of each New Year is always exciting. It is filled with infinite possibilities. Make 2016 your best year ever! Commit to making consistent efforts to shift and balance your body, mind, and spirit. Decide to put yourself first and eliminate the word “work” from your vocabulary. Not only will you look and feel better but you will also experience a sense of self-empowerment that nobody can take away!
Jay Bradley is an Anti-Aging, Wellness, and Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles.
He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!
WELLNESS--Fasting has been around since the beginning of time. Three meals a day is a modern day luxury, and before food was readily available humans fasted whether they wanted to or not. Finding food by hunting and gathering meant eating when they found nutrition, but very often they would skip a day or days on end.
New research is putting fasting back on the mainstream map. Before we go any further, it is important to note that fasting, whether it be intermittent or a longer episode should only be done under the guidance of a health care provider. It can be dangerous if not done right, and if you are on medications it is even more important to receive guidance by a professional.
Intermittent fasting is when people cut calories partially or completely on certain days of the week. Some people do one day a week where they only eat between 400 and 600 calories and others pick two days a week that are not consecutive. There are many options as to how to go about this and some people will eat no food at all for 1 to 3 non-consecutive days and others will simply cut calories to around 500 every other day a couple days a week until desired goals are reached. Another way to fast is to simply shift your eating schedule to an 8 hour period meaning you only eat during 8 hours a day. For example, someone might only eat food between 8am and 4pm each day and then not eat again until the next day. This can also be done every other day 2 or 3 days a week. There are many books available on the topic of fasting.
The body and brain benefits of fasting are becoming clearer through recent research. When we eat food the body has quick access to glycogen to use as energy. This glycogen is burned away relatively quickly in certain parts of the body, but it takes about 10 hours to deplete all the glycogen that is stored in the liver specifically. If someone exercises the glycogen stores can also be burned up faster in the liver. By depleting the glycogen stores in the liver, the body creates ketone bodies, which are proving to be very beneficial to the brain. Fasting can also increase the mitochondria in your cells that are used to give you energy, and repair DNA.
Research is showing that by fasting our brains are actually stimulated. This is due to the fact that the brain knows the body needs food and by not feeding the body, the brain becomes more alert and active. This process stimulates neuronal activity and ultimately leads to better brain health, lowering the risk of brain degenerative diseases in old age. Many people already know that the best way to stay in shape is to constantly change your workout. This idea of mixing it up and almost confusing the body to stay fit also works for the brain. The 3 meals a day every day over and over strategy allows the brain to expect nothing new and slowly start to weaken. Advocates of fasting or vigorous exercise speculate that brain death can be avoided.
During both fasting and exercise the brain produces proteins specific to promoting the growth of dendrites and strengthening synapses in the brain and ultimately helping to stave off or prevent degenerative brain disease all together.
Vol 13 Issue 103
Pub: Dec 22, 2015
WELLNESS-Dryer sheets seem to be at the bottom of our priority list when it comes to health and wellness. After all, how could such a bright colored pretty box contain anything unhealthy or dangerous, right?
The list of chemicals that are in the dryer sheets vary slightly from brand to brand, but if you’re not making efforts to purchase the less common and safer chemical free brands, the following chemicals are probably in your dryer sheets; 1.4 Dioxane, Alpha-Terpineol, Benzyl Alcohol, Camphor, Chloroform, Ethyl Acetate, Linalool, and Pentane.
These chemicals cause a variety of different issues in the human body including but not limited to central nervous system disorders, loss of muscular coordination, central nervous system depression, headache, vomiting, dizziness, depression, nausea and drowsiness, and of course cancer.
Part of the danger of these products is that when they are put in the dryer and warmed up some of that air is escaping the into the air we breathe. It is important to have your dryer properly vented so the air does not come back into the garage or home. The materials on the dryer sheets also get onto clothes and enter the body through the skin. The best way to avoid these dangerous chemicals is to buy laundry detergents and dryer sheets that are free of dangerous chemicals.
People will often say the natural products don’t work as well, but this is not always the case. We are so used to exaggerated sweet smells and over-sudsing of soaps due to chemicals that when we don’t see that reaction in our cleaning products we don’t think they are working. Companies like Melaleuca have been making “green” products since before “green” was all the rage.
Even more mainstream companies are being strong-armed into making their products safer. Take the “free and clear” line by Proctor & Gamble. It actually contained more cancer causing 1.4 dioxine than their regular formulation. It wasn’t until health advocacy group called As You Sow filed a lawsuit that the supreme court forced Proctor & Gamble to remove the carcinogenic compound from the misleading “free and clear” formulation.
These compounds can also be found in dishwashing detergent and most other cleaning supplies. It is no wonder 1 in 4 Americans are now ending up with some type of cancer in their lifetimes. With a little more effort on our parts as consumers, we can “vote” more carefully with the dollars we spend and buy products that are free of these dangerous chemicals forcing companies to stop filling household cleaners with unnecessary compounds.
Vol 13 Issue 99
Pub: Dec 8, 2015
WELLNESS--A recent salmonella scare has put raw milk back in the spotlight. Last week the New York farm Jerry Dell Farm Inc. was found to have salmonella in their raw milk. The milk affected no one, but it did send out a wave of worry for the raw milk community. This recent coverage in the news over the contested issue of raw milk brings the arguments and laws for and against back to the frontline.
At the moment there are 11 states where it is legal to sell raw milk on a retail level, and 17 where it is illegal. The other states fall into the licensed or unlicensed “on farm” sales meaning people can often buy directly from the farmers or have raw milk delivered to their homes directly from the farmers.
Those in favor of raw milk tout the benefits that the raw unpasteurized milk is healthier due to a variety of reasons. First, the cows that supply the raw milk are fed a grass only diet. Since cows are herbivores and were never meant to eat grain like they do in confinement dairy operations, the grass fed cows put out healthier more nutritious milk. Fans of unpasteurized raw milk tell us that the milk they drink has higher levels essential fatty acids and vitamins. Milk is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Milk also contains small amounts of niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and folate, and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
There are many thousands of people that claim that in drinking the raw milk and consuming dairy that has not been pasteurized, they no longer experience lactose intolerance. The evidence is unclear, but many people make note that it is much easier to digest than pasteurized milk and dairy. Others go as far as to say that they have experienced healing diseases from consuming raw milk and dairy.
Those against raw milk claim that there is a danger in not treating the milk with heat known as pasteurization. When Salmonella scares are introduced this seems to drive the point home even further. The statistics of just how dangerous raw milk is are hard to find, but most sources put the numbers of people hurt or made ill by raw milk very low.
The most likely reason more people are not usually made ill by raw milk is because the farms that put this milk out are very careful with what they feed their cows and how the milk is handled and packaged. In spite of that, the federal government reminds us that raw milk; cheeses and yogurts can cause serious infections, such as Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli.
There isn’t much more information about the dangers of raw milk and dairy on the governments food safety page, so if you’re thinking about switching to raw milk, your best bet is to dig deep and do your research. Talk to farmers at the farmers market and other people that have made the switch to raw milk.
Vol 13 Issue 97
Pub: Dec 1, 2015
WELLNESS--A recent study by East China Normal University in Shanghai has proven that there are micro-particulates of plastic occurring in table salt in more than 15 different salt brands sold in China. The salts contained different amounts of plastics with the highest rate being 275 plastic particles per pound. These particles, about .2 millimeters each, are small enough to go unnoticed in salt shakers; there would be no way of knowing if one is consuming them.
Most of this plastic is coming from common sources we use regularly such as plastic bottles, plastic wrap, and plastic bags. Reports show that the waters near china tend to be more polluted than in other areas of the world which may explain why these plastics are showing up there first.
One of the biggest culprits is the plastic bag. While there are those who say that, with proper reuse and recycling, plastic bags may still be an environmentally healthy way to transport goods, the evidence shows otherwise. For example, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch still exists. By some estimates, this area in the Pacific Ocean, where massive amounts of plastics contaminate the water and ocean wildlife, is larger than Texas.
The newest findings showing plastics in sea salt and shellfish means there is no question that plastics are rapidly encroaching on our food and water supply. It may be just a matter of time before researchers start finding clear evidence of plastics in the food supply in the Americas and Europe as well as in Asia.
What we do know is that these micro-plastics are already being consumed by ocean wildlife. If the fish are eating plastics and we are eating the fish, there is a good chance humans are already consuming plastics.
While we still don’t know just how dangerous eating plastics can be, we do know that plastic tends to absorb certain toxic chemicals like a sponge. It may not be only the plastics one is eating, but also the chemicals they have previously absorbed. Regardless of the severity of the health-damaging effects, it’s safe to assume that no one wants to consume plastic.
(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.
Vol 13 Issue 95
Pub: Nov 24, 2015