July 3, 2012 at 11:07 am , by Amelia Harnish
Looks like there are only two possibilities for this year’s Fourth of July forecast: hot or hotter. The record heat wave continues, with many states under a heat advisory and temperatures in the 90s and up across the country, according to the National Weather Service. Yikes.
But all sweat aside, a day off is a day off, and I’ll bet you’re forging ahead with your barbecue, beach day or other fun-in-the-sun plans. I know I am! So we’ve put together a few safety reminders for you—before you head outside.
Keep the Water Flowing
Sweat much? On a normal day, a 150-pound woman has to drink around 65 ounces of water to replace what’s lost through sweating, peeing and breathing. In heat like this, you need even more. Water is your best bet. Sugary liquid calories in sodas or sweet tea add up fast. Most people don’t need sports drinks, but if it’s really hot and the danger of dehydration is high, it wouldn’t hurt to pack some Gatorade in your cooler. Alcohol and caffeine can act as a diuretic and make you even more dehydrated, so limit those in the heat. Kids and the elderly are especially prone to dehydration, so if you’re heading to the beach or fireworks, pack plenty of bottled water for the whole family—and remind them to drink it.
Shield Yourself From the Sun
If you don’t wear sunscreen, you’re probably going to get burned, and that can lead to scary skin cancers. Dermatologists recommend sunscreens that have broad-spectrum protection with at least an SPF 30. No matter how high the SPF, you’ve got to really slather it on and re-apply every two hours—even if it’s cloudy. Make sure the kids do, too. And no sunscreen can protect you all day, so plan ahead and bring a tent or sun umbrellas and a wide-brimmed hat.
Watch Out For Heat Exhaustion
If it’s too hot and humid out, your body’s natural cooling system may have trouble keeping up. One way to stave off heat-related illnesses like heat rash, heat exhaustion and the more-serious heat stroke is to stay well hydrated. If you’re feeling overheated, stay in the shade whenever possible, and lay off the beach volleyball. Look out for symptoms like a racing heart rate, muscle cramps, confusion, weakness or headaches.
Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!
Photo via Shutterstock
June 6, 2012 at 11:37 am , by Amelia Harnish
Here at the LHJ office, all it takes to get the entire staff assembled immediately in our mini-kitchen is an e-mail with a one-word subject line. Even the Health Ladies can’t resist one of those “TREATS!” messages. And why should we? There’s really no reason to resist, as long as you don’t go overboard. That’s why we would never, ever recommend you skip some of the best things about summer and possibly, the world: ice pops, frozen yogurt and ice cream!
Instead, we put together a list of delicious choices for healthier frozen desserts with the help of Rachel Berman, R.D., the director of nutrition at CalorieCount.com. In general, you want to look for a product that has fewer than 250 calories, 20 grams of sugar and 5 grams of saturated fat per ½ cup serving, she says. Here are some that fit the bill.
Edy's Whole Fruit Bars
Categories: Health, Ladies' Lounge | Tags: Adonia Greek Frozen Yogurt Bars, Arctic Zero Frozen Desserts, Breyer's All-Natural Vanilla Ice Cream, diet-friendly desserts, Edy's Whole Fruit Bars, frozen desserts, fruit bars, fudge bars, ice cream, Jala Frozen Yogurt Fudge Bars, Jala Ice Cream Sandwiches, popsicles, So Delicious Almond Milk Dessert, So Delicious Coconut Milk Dessert | 13 Comments
May 30, 2012 at 11:08 am , by Amelia Harnish
I hate to admit it, but I have a lot more in common with Tanning Bed Mom and Snooki than you might guess. They say confession is good for the soul, so I’ll just be honest: I am a recovering tanning addict.
When I was a teenager in Tampa, Florida, my friends and I tanned pretty much year round. We’d “lay out” at the first hint of summer, usually in March or earlier, and we devoted way too much time to tanning well into October and November. The Florida heat and humidity were stifling, but we would sweat through it—all in the pursuit of the perfect shade of golden brown. Of course, we got burned a lot, too.
Then tanning salons started popping up everywhere, promising the deepest tan in a lot less time, and we were hooked. Everyone did it. There weren’t any age restrictions yet, and it was a lot harder to burn in 20 minutes under the bulbs than it was in a few hours in the sun. We had no idea that those fake UVA rays from the beds were putting us at serious risk for skin cancer.
All these tan-obsessed memories came rushing back when I heard the news that melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—is on the rise, with women under 40 being the hardest hit. Between 1979 and 2009, melanoma incidence increased eightfold among young women. Many experts are attributing the increase to the popularity of tanning salons.
Thankfully, I’ve let go of my need to tan—the risks just aren’t worth it. Plus, summer is a lot more fun now that a) I don’t waste it just frying on a towel (boring!) and b) I don’t get awful burns anymore. As the long, sunny days of summer loom, here’s your essential guide to sun safety:
The Base Tan Myth
There is no such thing as a healthy tan, even for people who never burn. Besides causing wrinkles and age spots, about 65 percent of melanomas and 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with sun exposure, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation.
What Happens During a Skin Check
If you’re like me, you’ve probably already done a little damage to your skin. Almost all of us have, which is why skin checks are so important. Check out the video of our health director Julie Bain getting a skin check with her dermatologist to see what it’s like, then schedule your own appointment every year.
Get the Most Out of Your Sunscreen
Grabbing a bottle of SPF 30 isn’t enough. To really protect yourself from sun damage, you need to know what’s in a product and how to apply it.
What It’s Like to Have Skin Cancer
Our health director Julie Bain knows a thing or two about skin cancer—she got her first one in her 20s and she’s had seven more removed since then. Yes, seven! Read her story here.
What Really Happens During Mohs Surgery
I used to think that if I ever got skin cancer, it’d be easy to just have it lopped off like a mole. Find out what really goes on during skin cancer surgery in our slideshow. It’s no piece of cake.
Great Sunless Tanning Products
Still craving a sun-kissed glow? Check out our roundup of the best sunless tanners.
Categories: Health, Ladies' Lounge | Tags: Julie Bain, melanoma, nonmelanoma skin cancers, Patricia Krentcil, skin cancer, sunless tanners, tanning, tanning bed mom, The Skin Cancer Foundation | 5 Comments
May 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm , by Amelia Harnish
“It’s in the reach of my arms, the span of my hips, the stride of my step, the curl of my lips…” If you recognize those lines, you know Dr. Maya Angelou literally wrote the book on being a phenomenal woman. Now, at 84, the legendary poet and author is asking women to take control of their health.
I had the honor of speaking with Dr. Angelou on the phone this week. There’s something about her booming voice and metered way of speaking that commands attention. From the moment she said hello, I felt like I was talking to my all-knowing grandmother, and I had better listen.
She told me she learned early on that putting yourself first is the best thing you can do for those around you. “It seems on the face of it that it’s selfish, but it’s the opposite,” she says. And she’s right: How can you take care of children and aging parents if you don’t take care of yourself first? In honor of National Women’s Health Week, Dr. Angelou is asking us all to take a good look at ourselves: What can we do better?
“Look in the mirror. You’ll know what to do,” she says, without any doubt.
Almost two-thirds of American women are overweight or obese, and nearly 20 percent still smoke cigarettes. Both are major risk factors for heart disease, the number one killer of women in the United States. For African-American women, the stats are even scarier: four out of five are overweight or obese and they have the highest rate of death from heart disease, according to the CDC.
But it’s important not to focus just on getting down to a certain size, she says. Also listen to your body: “Sometimes women feel like they’re in competition with other women. They’ll never look like the model in the magazine, so they give up. The truth is you’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with bad health,” she says. “I encourage women to be present. Our bodies tell us when we’re well, and when we’re not well. Don’t be in denial.”
In honor of the opening of the Maya Angelou Center for Women’s Health and Wellness in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Dr. Angelou wants to know: What inspires you to be healthy? Share your story on the Maya Angelou Center for Women’s Health and Wellness Facebook page. A passage from the winning healthy inspirations submission will be featured inside the center, and runners-up will receive an autographed copy of Phenomenal Woman.
May 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm , by Amelia Harnish
Emma Stone is one busy woman. Between wowing in red at the Met Gala this week and promoting her upcoming role in this summer’s The Amazing Spiderman, Stone found time to rally for a cause she cares about deeply: support for cancer survivors.
Just in time for Mother’s Day, Stone served as host at the annual benefit luncheon for Gilda’s Club in New York, and she brought her mom Krista, a breast-cancer survivor, with her. Named after comedian Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989, Gilda’s Club opened in New York City in 1995 as a support and resource center for people living with cancer.
Who could forget Radner’s unforgettable characters from her days as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live, such as Roseanne Roseannadanna? Stone definitely hasn’t: her mom introduced her to Radner’s work years ago, including her memoir It’s Always Something, and Stone’s been a fan ever since. In fact, when Stone hosted SNL last November, she paid homage to Radner in a much-talked-about bumper that ran near the end of the show. “Gilda is my biggest hero. Doing that photo shoot was so amazing for me,” she says.
It all came full-circle for Stone when her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and joined a Gilda’s Club support group in Phoenix. “You can’t underestimate the power of finding people who are empathetic instead of just sympathetic,” Stone says. “It was so helpful to her. I wanted to be involved.”
Three and a half years later, her mom is doing well. But Stone continues to lend her celebrity for causes in her honor. She’s also been involved with the organization Stand Up 2 Cancer, and last Saturday she participated in NYC’s EIF Revlon Run/Walk, a fundraiser for women’s cancers, with pal Olivia Wilde. “I’ll be beating this drum forever,” Stone says.
There are now 20 Gilda’s Club centers across the country, with many more in development. To find a support group or make a donation, contact your local Gilda’s Club via this directory.
Happy Mother’s Day from the LHJ Health Ladies!
Photo by Paul Frogatt / PR Photos
Categories: Health, Ladies' Lounge | Tags: Breast Cancer, cancer support, EIF Revlon Run/Walk, Emma Stone, Gilda Radner, Gilda's Club, ovarian cancer, Roseanna Roseannadanna, Saturday Night Live, Stand Up 2 Cancer | No Comments
April 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm , by Amelia Harnish
I am a lost cause without my phone. It’s my second brain: It stores all my important phone numbers, addresses, account passwords, my calendar and my to-do and shopping lists. It’s helpful, sure, but could there be a downside to not having to remember anything on my own?
Definitely. Your brain’s capabilities depend on how much you practice certain things, says neurologist Majid Fotuhi, M.D., a member of the Journal’s Medical Advisory Board. Dr. Fotuhi stopped by our offices last week with two-time USA Memory Champion Nelson Dellis to share some tips for staying sharp. (That’s Dellis, far right, teaching me how to memorize a stack of cards. Dr. Fotuhi sat next to me for encouragement. It was hard, but I did it!)
I’ll be honest: At first I wondered, why should I work to improve my memory when my Blackberry is already more reliable? But Dr. Fotuhi reminded me that when you’re exercising your memory, what you’re actually doing is growing your hippocampus. (That’s the part of the brain responsible for short-term memory.) And people who have a bigger hippocampus have a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease. “Use it or lose it applies to your brain, even more so than to your muscles,” he says.
The trick is to take information you want to memorize and convert it into something you can actually see in your mind’s eye, explains Dellis. It sounds a little like hocus-pocus or at least more work than just writing it down, but the more you practice, the quicker you’ll be. And it’s sort of fun.
Here’s how to do it: Picture the thing you want to remember, maybe someone’s name at a party, and assign a funky image to it. The most memorable images are funny, bizarre, sexual or gross. So if you’re trying to remember my name, you might think of a million dollars (Amelia, a million, sort of similar?), and then picture me attached to a harness (Harnish) trying to pull a giant cart of money.
When you want to remember a list of things, like your grocery list, it gets a little harder. It’s based on the same principle, but instead of one image, you’ll build a series of images into a story.
First, pick your “memory palace.”
Think of a place you know well and can actually see in your mind. Maybe it is a room in your house or maybe it’s the route you take to work. All that matters is that you can picture it.
Pick distinctive places in the room or space you’re visualizing.
So if it’s your bedroom you might use different pieces of furniture. If it’s the street you grew up on, it might be each of the houses or storefronts.
Now, take items on your list and associate them with the place.
This is the fun part. It reminds me of the story you get when you play Mad Libs—or a nightmare, depending on what kinds of things you find memorable. Here is a part of my grocery list from my last trip.
- Cake mix 2. Bread 3. Lunch meat 4. Frozen chicken breast 5. Razors 6. Hummus
And this is how I might remember it, using the Journal offices as my palace.
- Journal Food Guru Tara Bench is buried in her cube under boxes of Funfetti cake mix. She’s trying to get out, but there’s so many boxes it’s like quicksand and she keeps getting sucked back in.
- Then, there’s a trail of sliced turkey and ham leading to Health Director Julie Bain’s office, where instead of working, she’s slicing whole-grain bread.
- Across from that scene is my cubicle, which I can’t walk into because everything is frozen and all of my office supplies are now made out of chicken, kind of like Lady Gaga’s meat dress but even more startling. I start trying to shave the ice with my razors so I can get back to work.
- On the other side of me is an open cubicle, which is filled to the brim like a giant bowl of hummus, my favorite food. So I decide to take a break from shaving the ice off my chicken-phone and head over there for a quick snack.
This was only a part of my list, but I could go on forever, using my co-workers’ offices and the items on my list to create a story that’s hard to forget.
Ready to give it a try? Create your own story the next time you head to the grocery store. Don’t write it down; just visualize it as you’re making the list and see how well you remember the items when you’re cruising the aisles. When five or six items becomes too easy, start working your way toward 10, 20, 50 and more. “There’s really no upper limit because the more you practice, the better you’ll be,” Dr. Fotuhi says.
It may seem silly at first, but you might surprise yourself with just how much you can do. Plus, as Dr. Fotuhi reminds us, you’ll be doing your brain a huge favor.
March 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm , by Amelia Harnish
By now you’ve probably seen the Kony 2012 video that blew up this month. It reached more than 100 million views within a week, making it the fastest-spreading viral video ever (faster even than Lady Gaga’s video for “Bad Romance”). When I watched the video, I could see why it touched so many people: Who could be against a call-to-action to stop Joseph Kony, the leader of a rebel group famous for abducting children and turning them into soldiers and sex slaves?
But there have also been a lot of questions about the accuracy of the video and goals of Invisible Children, the organization that produced it. And earlier this week, the film’s creator was brought to a mental hospital after running around the streets of San Diego naked. Reports are blaming a psychotic break caused by all the scrutiny.
In other words, it’s turned into quite a circus. So when Health Director Julie Bain heard that an old friend, Conrad Mandsager, head of ChildVoice International, was going to be in town for a meeting at the United Nations, we invited him to stop by. While he was here, he talked to us about what’s going on in Uganda now, what ChildVoice is doing to help the most vulnerable victims recover, and how you (yes, another call-to-action!) can help.
LHJ: Why do you think Kony 2012 is causing such a stir?
CM: Raising awareness is great, and Invisible Children has certainly succeeded at that. But to really understand this conflict, you’ve got to go back in Uganda’s history more than 50 years. It’s very complicated. So it’s my sense that even if we took out Kony, which seems to be what Invisible Children wants, the problems would still be there.
Part of it is also that people in Africa are incensed that a group of Westerners would come in and oversimplify this. I just read an article by a teacher in Uganda who said, “I’ve got former child soldiers in my class and they wonder, Why is America making a hero out of Kony?” And that’s what Invisible Children’s approach is: Let’s make him a celebrity so everyone in the world knows who he is. But if you’ve been traumatized by this guy, you don’t respond well to that. Read more