Grandma: "I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like Read more
Never in the last two decades of my career as a physician would I have imagined that we would be using the same mask to see patients all day and then sterilizing/recycling them at the end of the day. Read more
Have you ever wondered what the paste is applied to the bride and groom's faces and arms in Indian weddings? It's actually the spice turmeric. Turmeric is the ingredient in curry that gives it a vibrant yellow color. Actually, Read more
With the scare of COVID here in the USA now, I wanted to post a little info about boosting immunity to prevent contracting the virus. Here are some important facts about Covid-19
It is spread by contact with Read more
This cold and flu season is still upon us and unfortunately, many patients are still being plagued by these nasty viral symptoms. Here are a few tips to try if you feel like you are coming down with something.
Of Read more
Sherry has a great story. She has been diabetic for years and she has made some massive changes!
"I have been on a lifestyle change. It has been a year following a ketogenic food plan. When I started this journey Read more
Many of you may know Erin-- the fabulous Pharm D that worked in our office a few years back. Erin is a phenomenal gal and we embarked on the journey into natural medicine around the same time. As we both Read more
I had to do this post because I was determined to find out why I was wasting time playing a stupid game on my phone and burning precious time! Apparently I am suffering from an addiction no different from sugar, drugs, porn etc. See there is a biochemical reason that we get hooked on these ridiculous games–they are engineered to suck us in and aren’t really any different from the WHEAT and SUGAR that activates our opioid receptors in our brain. Let’s just pray that Candy Crush isn’t my gateway drug to something more!!!!
Here is why we get so hooked!
1. The colors and graphics activate our brain’s reward system. Creating patterns of three and being rewarded with zings and popping sounds encourages us to keep playing
2. They create the opening rounds really easy and this triggers your brain to release mini-shots of dopamine (the feel good hormone).
3. Once we get sucked into craving dopamine –we start the anticipation of wondering if we can get to the next level. This stimulates our problem solving, memory and spatial recognition.
4. Here is where they get us—-we are desperate to get to the next level and actually consider paying 99 cents for extra lives. They also encourage us to continue on by allowing us to share lives with friends on social media.
The real point is that we all have addictions that aren’t really our fault. These games, foods, drinks, and practices are all based on activating our “feel good” hormones in our brains. That being said, I am working on focusing on finding ways to calm my mind with a more productive passion. Exercise, Diet, Meditation, Love, Compassion—all can produce the same effects—Baby Steps!
Ok–I’m going to admit a deep dark secret now that I have finally kicked the habit. Up until about 5 months ago, I was drinking up to four diet mountain dews a day!! I popped one first thing in the am. I then cracked another for my 45 minute commute into work. Of course, when I got to work, I needed something to sip on and help me get started. And last but not least, lunchtime required another hit of the vice because I would be starting to drag. I wasn’t worried about the sugar because it was DIET. What I didn’t realize was that the artificial sweeteners + aspartame + caffeine was even worse for me. I watched the documentary “Hungry for Change” and was flabbergasted that what I had been doing was so incredibly toxic to my body. No wonder I felt like crap! I can honestly say that it took some time and effort to wean the habit. I started by telling myself that I could have 20 cans a day as long as I drank a glass of water between doses of my chemical romance. That helped me wean down to 1-2 a day. After months of affirmations in my mirror, (I am not an addict. I am healthy and alive) replaced the drug with unsweetened iced tea. I only have one glass (maybe two on a particularly busy day) of tea that I make at home without any artificial ingredients. I have to admit–I really don’t miss the stuff. If I can do it–you can too. I wish I could get a five month sober medal just to represent my strength!! Maybe I’ll start a DEW-Aholic group!! Watch this cute little animated video that highlights some of the dangers of this addictive drug.
Trick or treating time is here and it poses a difficult decision for parents. How much nasty sugary candy do we actually allow them to eat? I remember back in my childhood days of trick or treating that it was not uncommon to be invited into a neighbor’s house for popcorn and apple cider. These days we scan for razors, fear arsenic laden homemade treats, and dread “that house” that passes out the healthy stuff. Heck, I even think I went haunting without my parents well after dark and actually survived to tell about it. That was a different time and we live in a much different world. The reality of Halloween is that nothing fresh is safe, we trust the packaged brand name candy, and want our children to just be happy. Therefore, we allow the high fructose corn syrup laden candy and attempt to ration it with validation of good parenting. The truth is—-we might as well be injecting heroin or allowing our kids to sniff bath salts for all that good validating happiness on one evening. Have you ever really looked at the candy labels? I hadn’t until I started trying to be more conscious. The all too tasty Mounds and Almond Joy contain hydrolyzed milk protein which is a pseudoname for MSG. Snickers (satisfying) contains partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Reese’s has a preservative in it that is closely related to butane. Mars and M&M’s are laden with artificial coloring as well as those Hershey’s products which are made with partially hydrogenated oil (major artery clogging stuff). It makes me want pass on rolling that Rolo to my pal! I’m no drug dealer!
Hence— a solution to our parenting woes—
“A few years ago, Michael and his 13 year old son Nicky got into an argument over Halloween candy. Nicky came home with his bag of loot, went to bed, and woke up the next morning to find that his dad had confiscated most of it. It played out the way these fights normally do, with the candy gone and Nicky going to his room.
Later, Nicky did some research online (to prove to his dad that candy isn’t so bad). He discovered that his dad was right (for once).
It’s not that Nicky thought candy was healthy. It’s that he didn’t know how bad it really was. What Nicky learned was that the worst parts of candy (like hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives) aren’t there to make it taste good. They’re there to make it cheaper to produce.
Nicky had a hunch that without the junk, candy could taste better. With the help of his older brother Kris, and his dad, they set out to prove it.”
From that ingenious question stemmed a great corporation called “Unreal”. Unreal candy values not using HFCS or any artificial colors/flavors. Unreal products can be found at major retailers such as Kroger and Target. So thanks Nicky for being proactive and helping raise awareness that will benefit many generations of trick or treating yet to come.
There is no controversy over the fact that childhood obesity is a huge problem in the United States. More than enough data and research has been done to prove that 1 in 5 American children will be obese by 2020 if the current trends continue. These are the facts, but what can we do to change things? There are many possible actions but it all starts at the home level. We can be more successful as parents by leading by example. For instance, making my girls watch “Forks Over Knives” and “Hungry For Change” was a real battle; they did however get some subliminal messages from watching those two documentaries. I noticed they replaced the traditional peanut butter cracker after school snack with fruit. They get more messages from me as they see me painfully wean my diet mtn dew consumption. Changing a lifestyle and years of bad habits isn’t easy. My theory is that if I change myself gradually, they will also. Research shows that replacing sugar-sweetened beverages in schools could reduce obesity by 12 kcal/day, as long as children didn’t consume any extra sugary drinks outside of school. So that is my call to action, I have to eliminate the sugar at home first. There aren’t any distinct answers in how to change the diet of the country and healthcare on average. But, it starts with us! Let’s do this Marines. Let’s work to educate ourselves on whole foods and nutrition. Lead by example.
T. Colin Campbell does a nice 18min presentation that you can watch here:
Reference: Wang YC, et al “Reaching the Healthy People goals for reducing childhood obesity: closing the energy gap” A, K Prev Med 2012