Facebook – Friend or Foe Posted on December 31st, 2010
Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook has been named the Time Magazine 2010 “Person of The Year.” Do you have a Facebook presence? If so, you are one in twelve people around the world who do. There are 2,915,000 in Russia, 8,176,820 in Brazil and 145,331,660 users in the US. That’s a big deal – for good and bad. For some, Facebook is an inordinate time waster, for others it’s an important way to connect. The seduction of social networking allows people to leave the real world behind, offering the anonymity to reveal their real selves – not always their best selves. Privacy is a big issue and Facebook almost forces one to share too willingly and too compulsively thus violating one’s own privacy. Relationships on Facebook have a seductive, addictive quality that can erode real-life relationships. Friendships multiply at lightning speed and just like a giant pyramid scheme, the amount of energy invested is returned in spades but the outcome is often “empty” and meaningless. In the wake of a Facebook addiction, people have lost jobs, relationships and valuable time. The publication “European Psychiatry” suggests that a Facebook addiction could actually be a diagnosable ailment. Since the year 2000, Americans have scored higher and higher on psychological tests to detect narcissism (abnormal self-involved behavior) which suggests a link to social networking. According to the Society of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81% of its members have seen a rise in the numbers of divorce cases involving social networking. And Facebook is cited by 66% of these lawyers as the primary source of online divorce evidence. Facebook is a painfully blunt instrument for doing the work required in a human relationship. One of my client’s husbands got so caught up in Facebook that he made plans to meet a woman in another state. When he arrived at her home, after a few cocktails, she tied him to the bed and threatened to kill him unless he stayed with her. Another client’s wife carried on with a male Facebook friend for 7 months before announcing to her husband that she wanted a divorce. She found out that the grass was decidedly not green on the other side. According to Edward Pearson M.D., founder of New Medicine Foundation, and an expert in hormone balancing for men and women, addictions of all kinds have their root in hormone imbalance. Testosterone for men, like progesterone for women, can be calming and relaxing. It will be interesting to see how social networking plays out over time. If your family members have Facebook accounts, I suggest you take a look at what they are posting.
Are You Adopted? Posted on December 24th, 2010
If you are adopted, you should know about Betty Jean Lifton who died last month at the age of 84. Ms Lifton was a writer, adoption reform advocate and avid proponent of “open adoption.” She was most known for several books on adoption. Her first book “Twice Born: Memory of an Adopted Daughter (McGraw Hill, 1975) recounts her adult search for her birth mother. At the time, there were very few books on the subject. Adoptions were viewed as a veiled and a taboo subject. Adoptees rarely knew their given names, birth parents identities or the circumstances of their adoptions. Betty Jean Lifton worked to change all that. The publication of “First Born” gave momentum to the emerging adoption reform movement, prompting an out-pouring of mail from people in similar circumstances. In 1926, Ms Lifton was born Blanche Rosenblatt to a 17-year-old mother and a bootlegger father. She was placed in a foster home. Then, at the age of 2 ½ her adoptive parents named her Betty Jean. Years later, haunted by her opaque past, she contacted the agency that had handled her adoption. She learned that her parents were probably still alive and began souring the records for traces of them. Piece-by-piece, the information she found, led her to her birth mother – a story she recounts in “Twice Born.” Betty Jean Lifton was past president of the American Adoption Congress and to date only 9 states out of 50 offer adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates.
Weight Watchers Unveils New Plan Posted on December 17th, 2010
Well halleluiah, finally Weight Watchers, diet behemoth has joined the 21st century! They’ve unveiled a plan that “allows” fruits and vegetables on their new “Points Plus” program. As a health educator and weight loss coach, I never could figure out the logic in the original “points plan” that gave people the choice between a piece of chocolate cake or a whole wheat muffin. Poor choices! Both will spike insulin, leave the body feeling hungry and wanting “more.” Now with the new system, fruits and vegetables are “points free.” People can eat an unlimited amount of fruits and vegetables, helping them to be healthier and stay full longer. The new formula is based on the amount of protein, fiber, carbohydrate and fat found in foods – a formula which takes into account that protein and fiber are important for that “feel full” feeling, thus warding off hunger.
Well, I could have told you that. I’ve been running successful weight loss programs for years. What makes a dieter fail? Deprivation, stringent rules, calorie counting (sorry – it doesn’t work) and constant insulin spikes which initiate a craving response. If you want to help people to lose weight, keep them full. Hunger is a natural body response. If you’re hungry you won’t adhere to a weight loss plan – pure and simple.
Bill Nye Science Guy Faints Posted on December 13th, 2010
Have you ever had low blood sugar? Have you ever been so exhausted that you felt like you were spinning out of control? Well, that’s what happened to Bill Nye the Science Guy when he spoke at USC a few days ago. What happened? According to Nye, he was exhausted and “didn’t eat well” prior to his talk. Bill Nye, according to my “system type profile” is a Central Nervous System type. I write about specific system types in all my “Body Knows” books. Characteristically, a CNS type often has blood sugar handling issues and needs to eat consistent protein throughout the day. This regimen guards against hypoglycemia or that tippy, light-headed feeling when blood sugars get too low. As a professional speaker, I always have a protein snack before giving a speech and immediately following I am ravenously hungry and can eat almost everything in sight! Often high-profile people, who travel frequently and are adjusting to time changes, temperature, and various unforeseen conditions, can suffer from adrenal exhaustion. Adrenal burnout can be handled with rest, healthy foods and taking adrenal support such as glandular supplements or adrenal herbs. Blood sugar handling supplements such as chromium or glucose tolerance factors can also be helpful. If Bill Nye had eaten a small steak or a few bites of protein before his talk, he would have held it together just fine. Bill Nye is a go-go guy. Someone like him should never go on the stage without support systems in place.
Fat is a Miracle Posted on December 10th, 2010
When New York Times author Fred Vogelstein’s son Sam suffered more than 100 epileptic seizures a day, the situation called for desperate measures. Who would have thought that a low-carb, high-fat diet would be the prayed-for answer? Who knew that bacon could be good for you? Vogelstein’s research led him to Elizabeth Theile, Head of the Pediatric Epilepsy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. The regimen that 9-year-old Sam follows, known as the ketogenic diet is offered in more than 100 hospitals in the US, Canada and other countries. Following this diet consisting of high fat, high protein foods, Sam’s seizures have dropped dramatically where anti-seizure drugs offered little help. Imagine a diet of eggs, heavy cream, bacon, macadamia nuts, butter and coconut oil? Keeping the body in a state of ketosis has an antiepileptic effect. The diet is complex to administer and must be calculated with the help of a dietician to determine the correct caloric intake plus a variety of adjunct supplements. The ketogenic diet is not new. It was popularized by Dr. Atkins and has been useful in treating heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s disease and cancer. Keeping carbs low has many benefits and now it is being used to help Sam, whose seizures have dropped from 100 daily to just 6. The short video clip below shows a compelling speech given by epileptic patient Charlie Abrams. Charlie’s success on the ketogenic diet was documented in a film starring Meryl Streep.
Pope Condones Condoms Posted on December 6th, 2010
Condoms in one form or another have been around since the dark ages. Early condoms were made from a sheep’s stomach lining, tied off at one end, coupled with a lot of hope and prayer attached to the other. Condoms over the years have either passed or failed. Can you imagine an elderly, celibate man finally condoning the use of condoms in “certain situations?” Here-ye, hear-ye; folks this is the latest word from the Vatican. In my opinion this is a dark-ages view of a simple method of preventing an unwanted pregnancy, an STD, or worse still – the contraction of a life-threatening disease. Where does the current pontiff get off dictating to millions of sexually-active people around the world who are interested in enjoying one of nature’s few “free” pastimes without a downside? Go figure.
According to comments in a new book, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times, Pope Benedict XVI departs from the Catholic Church’s zero-tolerance policy toward condoms and suggests that they may be justified in some instances, such as for male prostitutes to prevent the spread of HIV, where contraception is not a concern. Pope Benedict called it “a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more humane way of living-sexuality.”
Humm …… On a personal note, my father who was a medical doctor, spent many years of his adult professional life, as an advisor to the governments of developing nations, notably India, Africa and Turkey. He assisted them in curbing their burgeoning populations and sexually transmitted disease rates. Bottom line – use a condom. Each person’s sexual mores and practices are their own business. We should be wary of “leaders of the faith” dictating to us about certain mores and practices when their own, of late, have been called into question.
Sea Salt Finding Favor in New Foods Posted on December 3rd, 2010
Imagine Wendy’s – the fast food, fatten your waistline chain, introducing “sea salt” to its natural cut fries? Sea salt has invaded the nations’ pantries. It’s salty, crunchy and “give me more” addictive. According to research giant Mintel, 1,300 new products containing sea salt have been introduced this year – that’s up 8% from 2006. Sea salt is a big deal and a big hype. Salt is salt – that’s the bottom line. Just because it comes out of the sea instead of out of the ground does not make it any better. Sea salt granules are bigger than table salt granules and they have an unmistakable crunch. With fast food giants, it is all about taste and if they have to copy Whole Foods to find out what the current crop of “health foodies” want, then so be it. The sea salt added to the new “Natural-Cut Wendy’s Fries” has more sodium – 270 mg per small order that’s up from 180. If you’re worried about blood pressure, reduce your stress and curb your sodium intake – from the sea or otherwise.