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Kindness: Good for your Health and Good for the World

If you listen to the news, it’s easy to see our country and our world is rife with conflict and divisiveness. It can be hard to remain positive and hopeful. One thing we can do in response to this sometimes-overwhelming feeling is to simply turn off the news for a while. This strategy is officially called a news fast. The other thing we can do is to actively work to make our own personal world a better place; this can have far-reaching effects— particularly on our own health. The Health Benefits of Kindness There have been a large number of studies conducted by The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. (Yes, this is an actual institution. Learn more at: http://unlimitedloveinstitute.org.) Headed by Stephen G. Post, PhD, bioethics professor...

When It Comes to Weight Loss, Timing Is Everything

There is an age-old argument about whether eating breakfast is important. I have so many patients who tell me how hard it is for them to think about eating anything in the morning. Unfortunately, the majority of these people are overweight; they crave sugar and are totally pooped out by the end of the day. The connection between their lack of sustenance in the morning, their carbohydrate cravings, their low energy level throughout the day and overall weight problem has not dawned on them. There’s a proverb that advises, "Eat your breakfast alone, share your lunch with a friend, and give your dinner to your enemy." In other words, eat a big breakfast, a middle-sized lunch, and a light dinner. It turns out this proverb is right...

Got Stress? Deal with it.

Stress is inevitable in our lives. It is something that causes us to react with a fight or flight response. This response is something that has protected us through the ages. When confronted with a perceived dangerous situation, a chemical reaction in the body takes place that can improve alertness and our ability to move quickly. This allows us to flee the danger. If stress continues without relief, it can have a negative, wearing effect long term. The acute symptoms of stress are a rapid heart rate, dry mouth, clenched jaw, muscle tension; possible upset stomach and loss of appetite. Long-term symptoms include depression, eating disorders, skin and hair problems, and chronic fatigue. In the US, forty-three percent of all adults suffer from adverse health effects. Three...

Connection: The True Path to Health and Happiness?

In the movie City Slickers one of the main characters is Curly, a crusty guy who teaches the citified folks a thing or two about being real cowboys. There is a pivotal scene where Curly asks the main character Mitch, played by Billy Crystal, the ultimate question: Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [holds up one finger] This. Mitch: Your finger? Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean s***. Mitch: But, what is the "one thing?" Curly: That's what you have to find out. We contend the one thing is connection. Connection in this sense means social relationships: family, friends or groups. There is growing evidence to support that relationships are essential for our health and happiness. Want to live longer? Multiple studies...

Processed Foods: Death by Affection

I admit it. I love a good sweet now and then. OK. I love them all the time, but I control myself. About two months ago I had a craving for oatmeal cookies. I bought a box from a local grocery store chain. I could only eat a couple of them, and then I gave Dave two of them (when they were fresh) and I saved the rest. Today, I was going through my cabinets and found the cookies. They were still moist and ready to eat, just like they were two months ago. That got me thinking. How good could processed foods with preservatives be good for us? The answer, they are NOT. What are processed foods? When we refer to processed foods we are talking about...