Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Keeping It Together While Celebrating

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah (Chanukah), Christmas, Kwanzaa or just going with the flow of the holiday season - be sure to keep it together. What do I mean by keeping it together?

While getting together with friends for drinks after work could be fun, the holiday season seems to be one of the most merriest yet deadliest seasons for many. Keep the drinking to a minimum so that you may be alert and aware. Drinking although it is emphasized for those who drive, also applies to those who rely on public transportation or even those who may hook up with a random guy they meet at a bar/club. Drinking alters your ability to be in control. It is easy to think that you can control your drinking, taking public transportation can also put you at risk to a predator who sees an opportunity to take advantage of you. This applies to men and women, you place yourself in a vulnerable position where you can be mugged, raped or both. Travel with friends although it wont be effective if you are all inebriated.

No need to get high on any form of drugs either - there's nothing groovy or cool in that. Truth be told, and I don't mind telling you - your behavior can be annoying or a disruption to others who are trying to have a real good time without drugs. In fact, as your high levels return to your normal state, you may be quite embarrassed or unaware of the things that took place during your fleeting moment of having a good time. Of course the consequences to your health is no party at all!

As I celebrate Christmas with my family, I want to wish you a joyous holiday season. Make each moment a memorable one - one that you will be proud of ;-)Eat and exercise, drink in moderation and be merry!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Things I Love About Apples

As a child, I loved apples. My father the healthy eating commissioner of our household,made sure that our home was always stocked with fruits, 100% juices and vegetables. It was a way of life for us and as a parent, I made sure that my children developed a love for the healthy foods. Well, getting back to the love of apples, it began with the colors. It helped that my favorite color was red and I enjoyed the crunch of the apple. Apples as you know have a variety of colors and are tasty from sweet to tart or just plain. The saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away actually has some truth to it.

According to the United States Drug and Food Administration funded study, apples have been found to benefit in the following areas:
* lowers (LDL) bad cholesterol
* increases (HDL) the good cholesterol
* good source of fiber pectin
* good source of antioxidants
* contains small amounts of potassium
* aids in weight loss

Further research studies have indicated that there is a correlation between apples and reducing/preventing some cancers, brain health (Alzheimer's disease), heart diseases, lung diseases and strokes.

One of my favorite apple treats as a child was the candy apple. Of course, I had it on a few occasions. It was the treat I ate at an amusement park, circus or a day at the museum. Unlike today with it's fancy dressings, my candy apple was simply coated with lots of sugar. As I promote the great benefits of apples, I would love to say that candy coated apples are exempt from the above references as its trimmings can cause quite a bit of health complications - especially if it is consumed often.

My love for apples took on a whole new turn as I had my first taste of apple pie as an adult. My father in-law made the most delicious pies ever. He would make his pies using the apples from his apple tree and they were so delicious, I wish I could have shared it with you. As the holidays approaches, and as we continue to enjoy the delicious treats of apples, from hot apple ciders to apple pies - keep in mind that everything must be enjoyed in moderation. Go out to the local farmers market or your produce stand and purchase some apples - get to improving on your health and wellness.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yoga - Try It You May Like It

Yoga it does a body, mind and spirit real good. It involves stretching of the muscles which is great as it releases the lactic acid that builds up with muscle use and causes Fatigue, pain, stiffness and tension. It also improves your posture and upper body strength.

Yoga is used to treat clinical depression and heart disease. Studies have indicated that other benefits can be found in improving chronic medical conditions, as it has relieved symptoms of asthma, arthritis and back pain. The National Institutes of Health is interested in the benefits of yoga and has funded clinical trials on yoga and its health benefits for insomnia and multiple sclerosis.

There are many forms of yoga. Asanas, ashtanga and power yoga are among the different forms of yoga and varies in their levels of activity. If you have never tried yoga because you think it's to difficult or you just never gave it any thought - why not give it a try, before you know it you may be a pro :-) The benefits are worth it and you can begin by checking out the video below. Go on and give it a shot.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It is Good to Give Thanks - Happy Thanksgiving!

There is something special about the holidays, at least for me. Thanksgiving and Christmas has always been my favorite holidays as it is a time when the family gets together and the room is filled with joy and laughter. The excitement of seeing your loved ones who travel from near and far makes for a wonderful reunion. It is also a time to share, inviting friends who may not have a family to celebrate thanksgiving. My friends would always fit right in and become a part of the family.

Thanksgiving is also a time that reminds us of our loved ones who are no longer joining us at the table. I miss my father, he was a great cook and I really wish he was still here. I also miss my father in-law, we would laugh and talk about any and everything. I loved his pies, they were the best pies ever made. However, there are those of us who have loved ones in the hospitals, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Take a trip to visit your loved ones and if possible, see if you can arrange for them to be released for the day. Sharing the holidays not only lifts the spirits of your loved ones, but it also sends a subtle yet profound signal to the staff. Family involvement is extremely important.

Whether you are watching the parade, the football games, your favorite marathon movies, reality shows or sitcoms, talking and laughing loudly - remember to cherish the moments. Give thanks not only for the food and family but give thanks for being able to share with others. With that said, make a plate and take it to someone who may live alone and are unable to get around. Enjoy and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Healthy Eats, Treats and More............

Yesterday evening while I was working and watching my favorite Health & Wellness channel Veria, I saw some really great recipes that I am planning to try this week. I will let you know how it all worked out as soon as I do. Well, let me tell you about The Sweet Truth with the host Kelly Keough. Kelly is known as the sugar free chef who shares the healthiest sweet treats that looks and sounds so yummy. I could not wait to try them out myself. In fact, I found myself wishing that I was in the kitchen with her. Here are a few videos but you can find more at Veria ON TV


And here's s more Balancing Your Diet: How To Be Healthy featuring Dr. Len Lopez

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Cannot Afford My Prescription Drugs!

Every now and then you need to hear some good news, especially when you're having treatment for a disease that can be quite costly. Well, here's the great news!!!

There are resources out there to assist those of you who are having a difficult time paying for your prescriptions. Now before I begin, I need you to promise that you will share this information with everyone you know. Who knows? They may need this information or know someone who could use this as well......
These resources may be able to help you in the following areas:

*Assistance with applying for help
*Assistance with your insurance reimbursement
*Free or discounts for patients who may not qualify for other services
*Referrals to co-pay relief programs

Let's begin with the Partnership for Prescription Assistance. The PPA has a list of pharmaceutical programs and other resources for financial assistance on their website. You can also call them at 1(888) 477-2669.

But wait, there's more...

CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation

Chronic Disease Fund

Healthwell Foundation

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Co-Pay Assistance Program

National Organization for Rare Disorders
1-800-999-6673 (Voicemail only)

Patient Access Network Foundation

Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program

Patient Services Incorporated

Now don't forget to share this with everyone you know. Use the options here on the blog or copy and paste the link.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Extra!! Extra!! Read All About This

I have found something so awesome that I have to share it with you. Now this post is filled with great information, you must promise me that you will share this with everyone - someone you know may need to know about this. What's the big deal? Well, it's a cancer center that I have envisioned now available in the greatest city of the whole wide world - New York. The Farber Center for Radiation Oncology is an excellent patient focused cancer facility in New York City. The moment you walk in, you are greeted warmly and what's even more amazing is that you feel more like you have entered into an oasis. You are definitely not in your typical cancer clinic or treatment facility where you wait for a long period of time to be seen by your doctor. Of course there may be a delay but that is not the norm as you will see for yourself that the waiting room area is not crowded. I can go on and on as I have visited this cancer center and I love it but I have to allow you to experience it for yourself.

What sets the Farber Center apart from the other facilities is not only their top of the line spa like environment but they have the state of the art technology which is a sought after treatment, by the rich and famous who travel to Europe to get the best - and you deserve the best. It gets better, they have partnered with Urben Zen to provide Integrative therapy to all of their patients on treatment which includes specific yoga therapies, Reiki therapy, and Oil therapy that deal with different aspects of the symptoms of all diseases. Urben Zen has designed the following yoga therapies to assit with the symptoms of pain, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, constipation and exhaustion. These therapies will now be provided at The Farber Center for Radiation Oncology and I am so excited!

Here's a direct snatch from their blog - once your cancer treatment is over The Farber Center for Radiation Oncology has joined forces with Urban Zen’s integrative therapy program (UZIT) and created OHE (optimal healing environment) classes to create a place/space where you can explore the issues that brought you treatment and to do what you can to prevent you or your loved ones from going through it again.

The 4-week integrative program is targeted to EMPOWER the cancer patent to get the best treatment of mind, body and sprit.

Initial consultation: with one of our physicians to review the overall scope of the program, the concept of functional medicine, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, “knowing your numbers,” and introduction of “Daily Health Log.” There are no out of pocket expenses for Farber Center patients.

Week 1: Nutrition/Zen*
Discuss various dietary options and specific guidelines for CA patients, esp related to preventing recurrences. Dieting,Supplements, Juicing, Fiber, etc.

Week 2: Movement/Zen*
Explore physical activity with emphasis on yoga

Week 3: Mind/Body/Zen*
Tools for stress reduction and empowerment

Week 4: Guest Lectures/Zen*
Nutrition, Stress Reduction, Adrenal Fatigue,Inflammation, Immunity,

*Zen: each week will include guided meditation and yoga practice with therapist from the Urban Zen integrative therapy program. The UZIT program is a 12 month program that includes training in yoga therapy, essential oil therapy, Reiki, nutrition, and contemplative care giving to addresses the key patient symptoms of PANIC- pain, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, constipation, and exhaustion.

To find out more about the program please contact The Farber Center at (212) 300-0663

The Farber Center Blog

Now here's a beautiful ending to this great news - they accept almost all insurances (call them and ask) (212) 300-0663

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Remove the Mask of Domestic Violence


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Dr. Maiysha Clairborne of Mind Body Spirit Wellness is taking a stand to further expose this issue that has held so many captive with the embarrassment and secrecy - enduring domestic violence. Dr. Clairborne is hosting an event that will benefit the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

As a survivor, I have spoken out on many occasions of the effects of being abused by someone you have entrusted with your life and love. I removed the mask many years ago in a public forum when I spoke at an event with Dr. Jane Goldman in New York. Since that time, I have spoken to women and teenagers from homeless shelters to those who are on the welfare to work programs; I have spoken to college students and professionals and I can tell you that domestic violence has no boundaries – it can happen to anyone.

As fate would have it, I worked on a research project with Dr. Delores Gayle Thompson who at the time was the Chief of Pediatrics at Harlem Hospital. I was a student intern and no one knew anything of my own connection to domestic abuse (relationship). Dr. Thompson was doing a research project - Domestic Abuse and the effects on the Growth and Development of Children. I took on the assignment and began to conduct surveys, spoke with parents, children, interviewed social workers, police officers, District Attorneys, clergy, collected statistic data and submitted my findings/report to Dr. Thompson and the New York State Department of Health. By the end of this assignment, I received an award from the New York State Department of Health – I had removed the mask and explored the issues of domestic violence.

Dr. Clairborne is  promoting prevention, education, advocacy, cooperation, and empowerment to the various health care and advocacy communities. The event will connect health care providers & community advocates with the GCADV, an organization that can provide the resources and intervention strategies that will help end and even prevent domestic violence in homes and families.

Are you a survivor? I am :-)

More on this event - REMOVING THE MASK

Monday, October 24, 2011

Do It Your Way?

We all have choices to make and I would love to make a few suggestions as you work to improve on your health and wellness.

I take great pride in making the declaration that I dance to the beat of my own drum and I really do. I consider myself to be one who loves life, enjoys being a mother even though it has some turbulent moments which we always manage to sustain. I love being a wife and a friend to my King that's what I call my husband :-) I have raised my children to be respectful, love life and to be a positive source with their time here on earth. I am what my parents would call their wild child. I was raised in a house with strict rules, we never missed a church service and could not wear pants. Somehow, I managed to be the rebel with my own cause getting spankings along the way and not one to be disrespectful, I just could not help myself - I had to be me. Now that I am a parent, I have a greater appreciation for my own parents yet I also understand my children as I see myself reflected through them (times 100). Don't smile, I can handle it.

There is joy in living life with an understanding of your own self. Take time to enjoy life. Be patient with your children, think of the child that you were and if by chance you were perfect, then forgive your children for their imperfections. Be a guide, express your concern. Let them know that you want to see them succeed. It's in no way easy watching them make the wrong choices but never let them feel that they are alone. Be the balance. Do not condone or make excuses for their bad behavior - call them out on it. You will be better off as it keeps you out of the denial/enabler category. Your child may not want to go to college, encourage them to become the best in whatever interests them (except for the illegal forms of making quick money which leads them to prison/grave). My relationship with my King works not only because we love and respect each other but also because we work out our disagreements without the intervention of others and we make time to do things that we love together and maintain our own individual activities.

You will be over the moon with a love of life once you are able to balance your life. Keep in touch with your friends or make new friends if your friends have moved or you have grown apart, it happens. Get a hobby or join a new club. Be active and make time to exercise. You do not have to join a gym, turn on the tv and work it out. Watch your portion size. You should see me working out frantically to shed these excess pounds before the holidays, they just don't belong on this frame of mine besides I have far too many cute items hanging in my closet waiting to make their grand return. If you have access to Veria TV you should check it out, it is a great resource of all things health and wellness. You will find great cooking recipes and programs to work out and at your own level.

Now with all that said on how you should do it your way, I would like to admit that as a child who did not like being in church every time the doors opened, I appreciate the teachings as they have kept me grounded. I am a better person for the lessons I have learned from my parents. I am often praying and meditating on the teachings of the bible. I believe that we have all been assigned to live and while we are here, we need to make the best of it. We are all here to fulfill a purpose and cannot do that if we try to be a duplication of someone else and you will know that because it wont feel right. Be still and ask for guidance, you will know it as it will come to you. I hope that you will make the best of it for years to come. Go ahead and do it your way!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Losing A Huge Part of the Family - Your Family Pet

Recently I wrote about death and the post How Do You Handle Death? covered the loss of a family or friend. Many have read and shared this post with others. I have even received emails of condolences. In the last two weeks, I attended two wakes and one funeral. Death as we all know is such a difficult transition for everyone.

It was just a little over a week ago that my husband Butch had to take Zoe to the veterinarian. Zoe a Presa Canario was a gorgeous, loving dog who was the joy of the family. She was a large muscular dog who weighed about 145 lbs. and had a look that would scare the beejesus out of anyone. She was a protective member of the family. She would put everyone on alert whether it is for the family to know that someone is approaching the house or to let the visitor know that the house is under her protection.

On the other hand, Zoe in all of her regal stature, loved to play and wag her heavy tail with excitement which could feel like a whipping when all is said and done. It was clear that Zoe loved her family as much as she was loved. It was noticeable that something was not quite right as she seemed to slow down. Butch took her to the veterinarian on Thursday and waited for word on her diagnosis. On Friday, he was told that they would run some tests on Zoe and get back to him. By Saturday morning, the call came in that Zoe was not doing well and she would not make it through the day. The family got together and headed over to the Veterinarian's to say good bye. Zoe died minutes before the family arrived. It was a very sad moment.

Losing a pet is also a major loss, there is no replacing your pet. It leaves a void in the family as they mourn the loss. The best way to cope with losing your pet is to keep the memories going. Remember the time when she/he did something quite funny or unusual that made you laugh. While some may think you can always buy another dog, which is true yet nothing takes the place of the pet who shared so many moments of your life. Each dog has it's own personality and Zoe had something that everyone can share their own personal connection to her. The memories of Zoe and all of her Marmaduke like moments will forever be a part of my memories of her. She was simply the best!

Zoe: 3/19/02 - 10/8/11

Saturday, October 8, 2011

“Oral Healthcare Can’t Wait™” Part II

Keeping up with the National Oral Hygiene Awareness Month

A special word from Dr. Catrise Austin of VIP Smiles on why you should care about your smile and not put off that much needed dental appointment not 1 more day!

If you are in New York, here's your chance to catch her at Hue-Man Bookstore this Monday Oct 10th at 6 pm for FREE dental advice, giveaways, and a copy her book "5 Steps to a Hollywood A-List Smile" :) You don't want to miss this!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

“Oral Healthcare Can’t Wait™”

We have explored many areas of health and wellness and with all the focus on Breast Cancer Awareness, we have a very important health awareness topic that is often overlooked although it is extremely essential to our health and wellness - the care of our teeth. Our guest blogger, Dr. Catrise Austin is known as the celebrity dentist and what's even more impressive is her great personality and her amazing smile.

October Kick’s off National Dental Hygiene Month: Dr. Catrise Austin says
“Oral Healthcare Can’t Wait™”

There’s no denying that the last 3 years have been tough financially for many Americans nationwide. As a result, the current economic climate is causing many people to either postpone their much needed dental treatment recommended by their dentists, or to put off their dental visits altogether. But here’s what you really need to know, a healthy mouth can not only save you money in future dental bills, but can keep you in good overall health. There are serious long-term health risks associated with postponing oral care which is the reason why I’ve joined a new campaign stressing the fact that “Oral Healthcare Can’t Wait™”!

The #1 concern that I’m hearing is “I can’t afford dentistry right now”. Well folks my response to that is you can’t afford NOT to go to the dentist! Some of the risks to ignoring those dental check-up reminder calls and postcards from your dental team and skipping your next dental visit include the following:

* Tooth decay is a progressive disease. Postponing treatment can lead to more complex, more traumatic, and more expensive treatment, such as root canals or extractions.

* Tooth decay is a communicable disease. Your untreated cavities can be spread to your loved ones.

* There are 120 diseases, including early signs of HIV infection, oral herpes virus, and oral cancer that can be detected while sitting in the dental chair. Some of these diseases can be asymptomatic. Postponing your checkup could prevent the opportunity for early detection and treatment.

* Recent studies have linked undiagnosed and untreated gum disease with a negative impact on patients’ heart health, diabetes, pregnancy, and other systemic health conditions.

* Chronic bad breath is usually due to conditions that may be easily prevented by regular oral hygiene appointments and consultation.

If more people realized this, I believe they would prioritize their discretionary spending accordingly. Choosing between undergoing gum disease or cavity treatment versus buying a new cell phone, wireless computer pad, weekly professional hair and nail grooming, or taking expensive vacations would become a no-brainer. I’m going to let you in on a little a secret…..It doesn’t take a million bucks to have a great smile! It’s true. With modern dentistry, today we have more options than ever to care for our smiles. Just stroll down the toothpaste isle of your local grocery store or pharmacy and you’ll be amazed with the tools and products available to give you what I’ve coined as an “A-List” Smile. In my private practice in New York City, I offer affordable options to costly veneers, braces, implants, and 1 hour teeth whitening. I’m encouraging everyone to take charge of their dental health and make it a priority. It’s simple. All you have to do is follow a few simple rules and you’ll be able to boast a smile that will radiate as bright as the stars!

Here are my top 5 tips that can give you a great smile throughout the year:

1. Follow this smile workout at least twice daily:
Brush, Floss, Rinse, and Scrape (or Brush) your tongue to keep your gums and teeth healthy and your breath fresh.
2. Drink fluoridated tap water or use a fluoride mouthwash to fight cavities
3. Read the nutritional facts on packaged food/beverage labels:
Pay special attention to the hidden sugar in your food and drinks to avoid cavities.
4. Need to rejuvenate your dull smile? Try teeth whitening!
Consider refreshing your look using the Crest 3D White Collection (less than $100)! Brush for 2 minutes daily with the Oral B 3D Pulsar Toothbrush and Crest 3D White Vivid Toothpaste, then rinse daily with the Crest 3D White Multicare Whitening Mouthrinse,
then add that dazzle and by using the Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips (the most effective of all Crest Whitestrips) once daily for 30 minutes (for 3-7 days). If you want to quickly whiten your smile try Crest 3D White 2 Hour Express Whitestrips
($54.99, 4 whitening strips) deliver a noticeably whiter smile in just 2 hours. Apply once for 2 hours and get noticeable results that last for three months. Each kit contains 4 treatments so you can keep your smile bright for a whole year.
5. Never say to yourself, “My teeth don’t hurt. I don’t need to see a dentist.”
You can’t have a great smile without the help of your dental team. Although there are many tools available to maintain your smile in
the comforts of your own home, nothing replaces visiting your dental team every 6 months for your gum evaluation, professional
cleaning, and cavity check.

Mother Teresa once said “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” I agree, your smile is indeed your gift and having great teeth has more benefits than you could ever imagine. A recent study revealed that people who have beautiful smiles are perceived as more successful, intelligent, interesting, wealthy, attractive and popular with the opposite sex. So, if you've been guilty of putting off your next dental exam and professional cleaning, Remember “Oral Healthcare Can’t Wait™” and it’s never too late to take charge of your dental health!

For more smile tips and your VIP pass to dental resources, pick up my new book “5 Steps to the Hollywood A-List Smile: How the stars get that perfect smile and how you can too!” today.

About Dr. Catrise Austin

As the first private practice dentist in the nation certified to offer HIV testing to patients while in the dental chair, Dr. Catrise Lynette Austin is a trailblazing expert in the field of dentistry. She is an author, professional speaker, entrepreneur, and founder of VIP Smiles-a modern dental practice in New York City. Notable celebrities such as X-Factor Judge Paula Abdul; Dancing With The Stars dancers Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy; Apprentice Diva Omarosa; HBO’s Entourage Actor Rex Lee; Songstress Toni Braxton; TV talk show host Wendy Williams; Food Network Chef Sunny Anderson; Dallas Cowboy tight end Martellus Bennett, 2010 Olympic gold medalist Ashleigh McIvor, and Grammy Award-winning rapper/actor/author Common (to name a few) have all placed their teeth in her capable hands. Austin is an award-winning dentist and columnist who has solidified her reputation in her field with national radio as well as national TV appearances on The Discovery Health Channel, Today Show, and Good Morning America, among others. Dr. Austin is available for local and national interviews, as well as speaking engagements on dental health, HIV testing in the dental office, entrepreneurship, careers in dentistry, and improving your image with your smile. For more information contact Dr. Catrise Austin at 212-262-6054 or visit

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Drug Deal Gone Bad

The death of Michael Jackson in 2009 was shocking. What was even more incredible, was that he was under the care of a private physician. Michael Jackson was preparing for his final concert tour to be held in London and hired Dr. Conrad Murray as his personal physician.

Dr. Conrad Murray a cardiologist had no business administering Propofol to Michael Jackson. It is unethical. As a doctor who takes the Hippocratic Oath - First Do No Harm, was probably overshadowed by First Get PAID Big Bucks. According to the opening statements by District D.A. David Walgren, Conrad Murray was paid the sum of $150,000 per month. Now, I want to be clear, there is nothing wrong about being a private physician. However, what's wrong is practicing medicine in an unethical manner. Dr. Murray thought that he could practice medicine by minimizing the dosage here and there while giving various drugs to Michael Jackson and at this point he knew that there was a drug dependence issue with Michael Jackson. Dr. Murray was no longer practicing medicine, he was in essence an in house, high paid drug dealer.

Dr. Murray's defense attorney, Ed Chernoff told jurors in his opening argument that Michael Jackson, of his own accord, swallowed several lorazepam pills on the morning of his death and that was enough to put people to sleep. This statement confirms that Dr. Murray was fully aware that his client was having difficulty with the various drugs administered to him. Dr. Murray lost his judgement and wanting to please his client, he knowingly gave Michael Jackson propofol while lorazepem was still active in his system. As all drugs have a warning to Keep Out Of The Reach Of Children, Dr. Murray was responsible for any drugs that were available to Michael Jackson, whenever Dr. Murray left the room, it was his duty to secure all drugs so that they were out of the reach of everyone.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How Do You Handle Death?

One of the most awful experiences is watching your loved one slowly transition on to death. Some may say that it gives one time to adjust to the reality that death is on the way as you will no longer be able to share your lives together. However, for some it really doesn't matter whether you have time to adjust or whether you get the news that your loved one has just died suddenly - without any warning. The pain of losing a loved one cannot be measured by the time you have or have not had to prepare for this loss.

I know how it is to lose a loved one with time to say good bye, make amends, adjust, etc. and I also know what it's like to get the phone call that your loved one has just died suddenly when all seemed perfectly normal and neither forewarning or sudden death feels different to me. It all hurts! It really feels like the world has a lot of nerve moving forward while your world has just suffered a severe blow.

The next step is to digest the reality that it will never be the same and although you hear some people say that they know that their loved one is with them, it's still not the same. Holidays, birthdays, family reunions, weddings, graduations, births, etc. will serve as a reminder that your loved one is gone forever.

Then comes the awkward period, the time when you hear from those who want to express their condolences. Be prepared to hear some thoughtful, encouraging, well meaning sentiments and also some outrageous comments. Yes, somehow some people who really mean well will say some things that can be quite insensitive.

Here are some words that are quite inconsiderate:

* Well, he/she lived a long life (and who are you? the timekeeper? Living a long life does not mean much when you are mourning the loss of someone you've shared your life with)

* Oh, you're still young you can have another baby? (why would anyone say this??!! - Please keep this one to yourself)

* Thank goodness you still have the other children (that's just outright ridiculous! A loss of a child with siblings is a huge loss, a void which will impact the family unit)

* Don't cry, he/she would want you to be happy (crying is fine how can you be happy at a time like this?)

* God knows how much you can bare and he knows best (at that moment, that's good for God but right now, I cannot bare this loss and I don't want to hear it)

* Well, he/she is not suffering anymore and they are now at peace (you may have a point, but that point needs not to be made during the mourning process. Let the mourner come to terms with that on their own time)

A loss of a loved one is an emotional time even for the mother whose child was a menace to society. The best advice that I can suggest is to give your condolences by simply saying - "I'm sorry for your loss."

Here are a few suggestions to consider:

* Stop by and drop off something nice - a pie, a cake, flowers, cupcakes, fruit basket, something nice.

* Don't linger on too long, make it a quick visit. If your friend is lonely, you may want to stay close by just in case they need you. However, give them space even if you are staying with him/her.

* Let your knowledge of your relationship be your guide - a friend knows when to hug, not hug, say something, not say anything but just be there when needed.

* Allow the mourner to cry, do not try to stop them from crying. You're not helping, you are being annoying. If you are uncomfortable and unsure of what you should do, simply remain calm and quiet.

* Family members are usually tolerated for their behaviors, you know they are usually well known for their antics. Death usually brings out the worst in those who are nasty and mean spirited. The drunk family member will be sure to act out. The greed and discussions of who gets what can be an issue even before the funeral arrangements have been made. Fighting on the arrangements, how it should be done and all of the other details can also be an issue of contention.

Overall, death is such an incredible part of life. We are all affected by death and while everyone has his or her own way of dealing with a loss, think of how you would want to be treated - keep in mind it's an incredibly difficult form of saying goodbye.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Have You Heard the Good News?

The word on the health scene is that there is a health product that has the potential to burn fat, lower cholesteral, prevents diabetes and stroke, fights cancer, heart disease and staves off dementia - do you know what it is?


If your answer was green tea, then you are correct. It seems as though green tea has burst on the tea scene lately with much fan fare within the health and wellness community. Well, based on the benefits that are linked with green tea, how could you not want get in on it?

Although there are few human studies were conducted, the impressive outcomes indicates studies that drinking at least two cups of green tea daily inhibits cancer growth. Furthermore, the studies conducted in China shows that the consumption of green tea has reduced the risk of developing colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and stomach cancer.

In a study that involved 500 Japanese men and women, researchers found that drinking at least four cups of green tea every day may be related to the reduced severity of coronary heart disease among the male participants.

A Dutch study of more than 3,000 men and women found that the more green tea consumed, the less severe the clogging of the heart's blood vessels, more so in women.

Health experts all agree that green tea has important antioxidants and compounds that help in maintaining good health. Green tea's antioxidants are dilators because they improve the flexibility of blood vessels and make them less vulnerable to clogging. Clogging is not good as it complicates the circulatory process and prevents the proper flow/functioning of the internal mechanics.

Green tea and its extract have been shown to fight obesity and lower LDL which is the "bad" cholesterol. Obesity and high cholesterol are risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. Studies in both the Dutch and Japanese shows that those who drank green tea had positive weight loss outcomes. Case in point, there was a study with 240 Japanese men and women who were given varying amounts of green tea extracts and those who got the highest amount lost both fat and weight, it also had lowered their blood pressure and LDL.

Now here's the great news!! Delta Labs has taken to the lab and formulated the Green Tea Plus. They have used natural herbs, a safe method that speeds up your metabolism and also helps you to lose weight. Exciting isn't it? Well, you can have a chance to win your very own bottle of Green Tea + by sending an email to Tell us how you are working to improve on your health and wellness.

If you are under the care of a physician with specific chronic/health issues, please discuss with your health care team before using any products. Even though we may promote something as being good for you, it may not be GOOD for YOU as it relates to your current health status.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Do you remember where you were when you heard about the terrorist attacks on Tuesday September 9th, 2001? Oh boy do I remember it as if it was yesterday. I was in a total state of shock. I was at work and could not believe the reports. Communication through cell phones were off making it impossible to get in touch with my family and friends. The rumors quickly spread to imply that there were sleeper cells who may be walking around the city to create further destruction. I became extremely concerned and all I thought of is leaving the job immediately and getting my children. I needed to get to my children and huddle to a safe zone - our home.
Once we were all accounted for, I made phone calls to my family and friends from the land line (home phone) to check in and let them know that we were okay. I was glued to the television, clicking through the channels to get everyone's view. It was an emotionally intense period. I cried every time I saw a replay of the towers being hit by the planes; each time a family or friend held up a picture of their loved one and spoke of the search for them; the first responders driving to the ground zero site with the West Side Highway lined with people clapping and cheering for them; the volunteers from near and far coming out to assist in providing support where needed; the gathering of the religious leaders of all faiths/religions at Yankee Stadium was a profound moment; the support of entertainers coming together to raise funds for the families and share in our grief and so many more scenarios - the tears could not stop flowing. However, the sound of the fighter jets flying over the house every 20-30 minutes was definitely the moment where I felt completely different about life. It was all surreal, as if I was on the movie set of in the middle of a war scene. I wondered if this would be the way we would live from now on. I even considered moving to the Caribbean to escape the chaos. I just could not imagine living in New York. Life would not be the same, how could it? I cannot tell you how many times I avoided the Metro North to the city if I spotted someone who I considered a possible terrorist, it was crazy. I prayed like a monk whenever I had to travel pleading with God not to allow any terrorists on the plane. Believe you me, I was borderline insane :-)
With all that I experienced, I could not imagine the impact that this had on those who worked, attended school, had a business or even more importantly, lived in the area. My husband and I participated in the Museum Mile Race in October 2001 which was at the upper West Side of Manhattan and we found ourselves coughing. I immediately noticed that we were not alone. There were others coughing but no one spoke openly. I pointed it out to my husband and we both acknowledged that it could be due to 9/11. Needless to say, those who worked in the area daily were exposed to the toxins and their health would be compromised greatly. We now see the growth of those with respiratory related illnesses and cancer are remarkably high with the first responders.

Furthermore, according to the studies reported by Dr. Thomas Farley Commissioner of the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, post traumatic stress symptoms are the most common health effect of 9/11. Almost one in five (19%) adults enrolled in the Health Department's World Trade Center Health Registry reported post-traumatic stress symptoms 5 to 6 years after 9/11, roughly 4 times the rate typically found in the general population.
Ten years later, I still love my city but things have not yet felt quite the same to pre-9/11. Although I have traveled internationally and domestically since then, I still get a bit concerned whenever the orange alert announcements repeatedly announced at the airport. What am I supposed to do? Call my family in advance and tell them that there is an orange alert and I may not make it home? I just want them to find the terrorist/s and take them away quietly. Making the announcement will not intimidate the terrorist, keep in mind, they are willing to die and they are volunteering us to go with them.
However, with all the reflecting, I think of the families left behind to raise their children without a parent - some who never even had a chance to meet. I think of the first responders and volunteers who rushed to the site to assist with the search and rescue, to help provide food and clothing and all other supplies to the workers, without thinking for a moment that they too may endanger their lives. They just wanted to be there - selflessly.

On Saturday September 10th, I attended a back to school Health Fair where I spoke with some firemen who were a part of 9/11. Listening to their recounts of that time was extremely moving. They also shared that they were not invited to attend the ceremony to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I found it to be impossible to understand. How could these men and women who responded to a call that risked their lives not be invited to attend the ceremony? Some of these men and women are now fighting to survive. It is my opinion that all first responders should be on the priority list of attending the ceremonies even before the politicians and other invited dignitaries. With all due respect, the ones who made the difference are those who rescued, searched and worked tirelessly at ground zero have more rights to attend than those who watched and were briefed from the safety of their homes/offices.

I salute all of you who responded to the site at ground zero - NYPD, FDNY, Volunteers, Health Care Professionals, etc. I hope that you will receive all the financial support and mental services with your health and wellness concerns. As you reflect on the 9/11 anniversary, what comes to mind?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Simple Boost to Your Health & Wellness

When someone says Thank You it does something to you, come on admit it - you feel appreciated. However, I have found something even more special, much more uplifting. It's giving thanks. Perhaps I am taking it a bit too far but every now and again I look at the things that have worked in my favor and I say openly Thanks! Sometimes, I may post on my Facebook/Twitter that - I give thanks or It is good to give thanks. Guess what, it is so true. I'm thankful for a wonderful family. When I say thank you to my children, they take it and try to be even more consistent and thoughtful. In business, I'm thankful for my ability to serve others through health and wellness. In nature, I'm thankful for the sunshine. I give thanks for the rain, the trees, the ocean and I could go on and on.

I would like to challenge you to take a moment to give thanks. Perhaps you can begin today and write down the things that worked well each day and you will see how many good moments come your way. You do not have to be a religious person, you just have to be open and willing to appreciate the things that occur in your life. Here are a few suggestions:

* Your postal carrier
* Your baker and their staff
* Your waiter/waitress/hostess
* Your bus driver/taxi driver
* Your teacher/child's teacher
* Your Clergyman/woman
* Your health care practitioner (doctor, nurse, and all others who serve you)
* Your boss/office assistant/secretary

You get the idea, you give thanks and they receive the message. Your thanks may be the fuel that inspires them to be even better :-)

Is there someone you can think of who you can call or send a note to just say Thank You? If you can think of someone who may have helped you through a challenging period of your life, someone who cheered you up, someone who spoke an encouraging word to you, someone who listened to you share your concerns, someone who covered for you when you could not complete your shift, etc. Give them a call or send a card or note, it will not only brighten your mood but it will surely boost the spirit of the person who hears from you.

By the way, I want to say a very big THANK YOU!! to all of you who subscribe, share the blog with others, post your comments and also to those who just read it from time to time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene was Here

Hurricane Irene made her way to the east coast states from North Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware,New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts wreaking havoc and taking lives.

As a New Yorker and one who loves and adores the city, I was concerned about the impact of Hurricane Irene. I thought about the damage that could occur and wondered how the billboards and enormous screens would handle the pounding that was on it's way. I thought of the homeless and prayed that they would find a place to stay. I thought of those who live in high rise buildings and prayed that they would not suffer from the wind and pounding rain. I thought of the stray animals and hoped that they too would make it through. All this worrying was even more intense as we watched CNN from our hotel suite in Indianapolis and kept in touch with our family - it was a nail biting experience.

Mayor Bloomberg made the necessary steps to ensure that the residents and businesses would be safe. Hospitals and Nursing home facilities moved their patients to other facilities where they would be away from what could be considered the danger zone. Area airports cancelled flights and closed the terminals. The entire transit system was out of service until further notice - now what more can I say?

Businesses took heed to the warnings and prepared accordingly - even Bloomingdales boarded up and alerted their customers that they would be closed via FaceBook & Twitter.

Hurricane Irene came to New York and although the city took a beating, it was not as severe as anticipated. However, in other areas of New York, Irene proved to have left quite an impression on her visit.

Watching Mayors and Governors from different states issue warnings and mandatory evacuations made it quite clear that this was serious. Unfortunately, there are those who defied the warnings and chose to stay to protect their homes, while others waited anxiously and excitedly to watch the storm. These people may have made it through Irene but their actions prove to be rather selfish and inconsiderate. While none of us can predict the severity of a hurricane or a storm, once a warning is issued, it would make sense to follow the orders. Not only are you endangering your life but you are now endangering the lives of the first responders (Emergency On Call Staff).

So while many may have thought that the efforts were overrated, there are those right here in New York who have felt the wrath of Irene.

As with all disasters, there will be a need for assistance. Find out how you can help.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Choice Is Yours...... Part 4

Dr. Maiysha Clairborne also known as Dr. Life is an American Board Certified Family Physician. who also specializes on matters of wellness. As the founder of The Mind Body Spirit Wellness, Inc., Dr. Clairborne offers a variety of programs to assist her clients with their physical, emotional and spiritual well being. What an incredible advantage to have when your wellness coach is also a physician. I know, it's priceless!

Just when you think you've hit the jackpot with all this information, I have added another bonus. Dr. Clairborne is also the author of the book Eat Your Disease Away. You can order your copy at Amazon via the link below.

Perhaps you have seen Dr. Clairborne on Sacramento & Co., Fox Focus or one of the morning shows in your city. Listen to Dr. Clairborne as she discusses her book on NBC's Health Update with Robin Stoloff. First, Dr. Clairborne shares her tip of the day with eating your fiber and your fruits.

The Choice Is Yours.... Part quarte

Mind Body Spirit Wellness Inc.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Choice Is Yours........ Part 3

What about the children? As you know by now, I carry a bull horn about childhood obesity and the responsibility that begins and ends with the parent. Yes I said it and I will not apologize for saying it even if I decide to run for President. Childhood obesity has become such a problem that children are now diagnosed with diseases that were once considered for adults (almost seniors). This is a serious matter that requires urgent intervention.

Thankfully, all is not lost. If you or someone you know has a child who is overweight, there is something that can be done. All you have to do is take charge, make the necessary changes as your child's health and wellness depends on you.

Dr. Sherri Sandifer of Texas Children's Hospital shares some healthy tips in packing food for your child/children. Then there is the issue on heart healthy children. Did you know that heart diseases begins during childhood? Well, you need to take a gander.

Finally, remember when Jessica Seinfeld came out with a cookbook filled with ways to feed your children nutritious meals without them knowing? Ms. Seinfeld discusses her sneaky tips and you can see the children eating and enjoying their meals. My children did not have the sneak attack not that I knew it was possible. The vegetables were visibly on their plates where they were able to get familiar with them, understand that they were a healthy part of their meal and eat them up or else - no desert. Now that they are older, they not only eat their vegetables and salads, they don't feel that their meals are complete without them. In any case, for those of you who may need help you can also find the links to Jessica Seinfeld's books below. I find her ideas to be quite clever and complete fun, sort of like pulling a prank on your kids for every meal :-)

The Choice Is Yours... Part trois