Tag Archive | Health

Repost: 11 Things Truly Successful People Never Do

This morning I found this article from Inc. about success.  The information is so good I have to share!

the universe will remove

“1. Successful people refuse to fit in a box.

“Thinking outside the box” is a business cliché writ large. But truly successful people do more than that–they live outside the box.

They don’t let other people define them, whether those other people are malicious or well-meaning. They don’t listen to the jealous boss who tells them that they’ll never be a leader. Perhaps more important, they don’t hedge their ambitions because a parent or a teacher told them that–for example–they’re “good with numbers” but not creative, or an excellent team player but not a leader. They don’t just develop their strengths. They define their strengths.

Challenge: What external expectation do you need to let go of?

2. Successful people don’t bear grudges.

It takes a lot of effort to win a battle. But when you bear grudges, it’s like you’re fighting a war that only one side even knows about.

Sure, if we bothered, most of us could probably dig deep into our pasts and find a time when we were wronged–almost unforgivably wronged. Even thinking about it, however, hands another victory to whoever wronged you. Direct your energy at something else–the things you truly care about.

Challenge: We all hold on to some things too long. What transgression do you need to forgive?

3. Successful people refuse to argue over “nothings.”

Again: wasted energy.

You’re not going to convince that diehard Trump/Hillary/Bernie supporter on Facebook to change his or her mind. Truly successful people spend their energy on things they can truly affect.

Challenge: What deeply held conviction holds you back? Are you prepared to let it go?

4. Successful people refuse to quit.

Successful people are often more successful simply because they work harder. And they work harder in part because the work they do doesn’t feel like work–at least, it doesn’t feel like drudgery. Their work is the kind of thing they’d do even if they weren’t paid for it (and sometimes, they aren’t!).

However, whether it’s rewarding or not, they don’t ignore the important work that needs to be done.

Challenge: You don’t have to say it aloud, but when was the last time you blew off something important and covered it with excuses? Are you planning to do it again anytime soon?

5. Successful people never betray their values.

At the end of everything, what else do you have besides your deeply held values?

Maybe you have a deep religious faith. Maybe you think it’s wrong to eat meat. Maybe you’d never root for an American League baseball team because you think the designated hitter ruined the sport. These are your values, not mine, my friend–and I’m sure they’re tested all the time. Truly successful people don’t have a lot of non-negotiables, but the ones they do have are sacrosanct.

Challenge: Can you articulate your core values? Even more important, are they obvious to others?

6. Successful people never betray friends or family.

Of course, this doesn’t mean letting yourself be rolled over. You have to stick up for yourself. However, truly successful people know that if your close family and true friends can’t trust you, why would anyone else?

Challenge: Um, when was the last time you called your folks?

7. Successful people never lose sight of their goals.

Identifying and pursuing your goals means the difference between spinning your wheels and actually getting somewhere. You’ll put in the same effort regardless of how well you focus on objectives, but if your aim is deficient, chances are that you’ll just be helping someone else achieve his or her goals.

Challenge: Can you articulate your three most important goals? What have you done today to make them come true?

8. Successful people combat self-doubt in all its forms.

Fear is normal, even healthy–but defeatism is a disease. I’m not sure where it comes from, but we all face it. Successful people refuse to give in, but what’s more, they make it part of their mission to help other people overcome self-doubt, too.

The easiest way to do that? Demonstrate respect for others in all that you do.

Challenge: Have you built up someone else’s ego today? If not, is it because you’re afraid that doing so will tear down your own self-worth? (Overcome that!)

9. Successful people refuse to betray their health.

Another non-negotiable. None of us lives forever, yet the temptation is always there to trade fitness, or sleep, or well-being for a pauper’s price–a few extra bucks, a little bit of esteem in a boss’s eyes. Truly successful people have no room for that in their lives. Their health is one of their top priorities.

Challenge: What’s the one thing you should do differently to ensure you have a better chance at living a long time–and well?

10. Successful people refuse to be dominated by others.

We all face bullies in our lives. Truly successful people don’t put up with them. They find ways to prevail. They don’t necessarily fight the other guy on his turf, but they find a way to win.

Beware that you don’t contradict the rule about not holding grudges with this one, but successful people find that standing up for themselves often means standing up to someone else.

Challenge: Who are the bullies you know? What have you done to offset their impact on others?

11. Successful people never give in to competition.

This is a multifaceted element. Successful people never run from competition–but they don’t let themselves be suckered into being measured by somebody else’s rules. They understand the wisdom of the reverse of that old lottery slogan: “You can’t lose if you refuse to play.”

At the same time, when they win, they can take a compliment. Truly successful people don’t gloat, but they also don’t minimize their contributions when other people are eager to offer them praise.

Challenge: What competitions are you engaging in that aren’t truly worthwhile?”

Myopia Epidemic: Get Outside and Play

This morning twitter gifted me with a fascinating study published this year in Nature magazine entitled, “The myopia boom: Short-sightedness is reaching epidemic proportions. Some scientists think they have found a reason why.”

Myopia2The study reports alarming and very dramatic increases in myopia (the scientific term for near-sightedness/short-sightedness) worldwide with Asian myopia rates now well over 90% compared to 10-20% just sixty years ago.

Intriguing in the analysis is the finding that time spent outside correlates with myopia with the highest risk for developing myopia among children and adolescents spending the greatest amount of time indoors and the lowest risk experienced by those spending the most time out of doors.  Activity level was surprisingly not a factor, but light exposure is.

Our eyes need light, especially unfiltered, natural sunlight in order to be healthy.  We need to get out of doors and play.  And on nice days we need to move our classrooms out of doors, something I am pleased to say my teachers did from time to time, especially in springtime.

So get outside — even when the weather is a less than ideal — and help preserve and protect your sight.  You deserve nothing less than healthy eyes.

The fine print: why the Rite Aid brand helps my skin better than Aveeno

Hives are painful.  Hives are common.  Though sometimes they have a clear cause, often the real cause of hives cannot be tracked, even by painful allergy tests.

Since August of this year I’ve been daily attacked by hives, especially at night when dozens of welts erupt all over my body.  At first I did nothing.  Then I tried cream after ointment after cream before going the classic route and picking up a bottle of plain calamine lotion from Rite Aid.  But that lotion is very runny and without anyone available to apply it to my back, I’ve been suffering.  That is when a friend suggested I try Aveeno’s Anti-Itch concentrated lotion which is creamy and easy to apply.


This lotion costs around $12 for only 4 ounces — per ounce more than double the cost of the store brand calamine.  So I had high expectations for it.

To my shock however it does not work — at least not compared to the calamine lotion from the drug store.  This despite the known benefits to the skin of its oat complex and the excellent reputation of the Aveno problem.

A look at the fine print however is revealing.  Because when you strip aside the brand image and look only at active ingredients the answer becomes obvious:  it only contains 3% calamine and 1% pramoxine.  That means the lotion relies mostly on the oat complex the brand is famous for instead of the calamine solution that families have used for decades to successfully address skin diseases and conditions.

By contrast the Rite-Aid calamine lotion contains 8% calamine and 8% zinc oxide, both of them tried and true ingredients for healing and soothing the skin.  Though runny and a bit inconvenient to use, the lotion works — reducing pain and deterring scratching so the skin can heal.

And when that fails another very simple remedy helps me with the pain and swelling:  ICE PACK.



Repost: Birds diversified in “big bang” after dinosaurs died out

Birds diversified in big bang after dinosaurs died out.

Reposted from World Science.

A ma­jor new study sheds new light on how and when birds evolved and ac­quired fea­tures such as feath­ers, flight and song, sci­en­tists say.

The study charts a burst of ev­o­lu­tion that took place af­ter the di­no­saurs sud­denly died out, about 66 mil­lion years ago. Sci­en­tists say this burst oc­curr­ed as new forms exploited op­port­uni­ties left open by the absence of the din­o­saurs, some of which were the an­cest­ors of these same birds. With­in 10 mil­lion years, re­search­ers found, the avian ex­plos­ion created rep­re­sen­ta­tives of nearly all the ma­jor bird lin­eages with us to­day.

The four-year proj­ect de­cod­ed and com­pared the en­tire ge­net­ic fin­ger­print of 48 bird spe­cies to rep­re­sent all these lin­eages—in­clud­ing the wood­peck­er, owl, pen­guin, hum­ming­bird and fla­min­go.

Re­search­ers al­so com­pared these genomes with those of three oth­er rep­tile spe­cies and hu­mans.

They found that bird­song evolved se­pa­rate­ly at least twice. Par­rots and song­birds gained the abil­ity to learn and mim­ic vo­cal ac­ti­vity in­de­pend­ently of hum­ming­birds, de­spite shar­ing many of the same genes.

The find­ings are con­sid­ered im­por­tant be­cause some of brain pro­cesses that are in­volved in bird sing­ing are al­so as­so­ci­at­ed with hu­man speech.

Birds are the most ge­o­graph­ic­ally di­verse group of land an­i­mals. They help sci­en­tists in­ves­t­i­gate fun­da­men­tal ques­tions in bi­ol­o­gy and ecol­o­gy and they are al­so a ma­jor glob­al food re­source, pro­vid­ing meat and eggs.

More than 200 sci­en­tists con­tri­but­ed to the Avi­an Phy­loge­nomics Proj­ect, which was led by BGI in Shen­zhen, Chi­na, the Uni­vers­ity of Co­pen­ha­gen, Duke Uni­vers­ity in North Car­o­li­na, the How­ard Hughes Med­i­cal In­sti­tute based in Chevy Chase, Md., and the Nat­u­ral His­to­ry Mu­se­um of Den­mark. The find­ings are pub­lished in 23 sci­en­tif­ic pa­pers, in­clud­ing eight in the jour­nal Sci­ence.

Build­ing on this re­search, sci­en­tists at the Na­t­ional Avi­an Re­search Facil­ity in Ed­in­burgh have cre­at­ed 48 da­tabases to share and ex­pand on the in­forma­t­ion as­so­ci­at­ed with the birds’ genomes. They hope that re­search­ers from around the world will con­tin­ue to up­load their own da­ta, of­fer­ing fur­ther in­sights to the ge­net­ics of mod­ern birds.

Such in­forma­t­ion is ex­pected to be use­ful for help­ing sci­en­tists to un­der­stand why in­fec­tious dis­eases, such as bird flu, af­fect some spe­cies but not oth­ers.

“This is just the be­gin­ning. We hope that giv­ing peo­ple the tools to ex­plore this wealth of bird gene in­forma­t­ion in one place will stim­u­late fur­ther re­search,” said Da­vid Burt, act­ing di­rec­tor of the Na­t­ional Avi­an Re­search Facil­ity at the Uni­vers­ity of Ed­in­burgh’s Roslin In­sti­tute.

“Ul­ti­mately, we hope the re­search will br­ing im­por­tant in­sights to help im­prove the health and wel­fare of wild and farmed birds.”

Repost: 5 Simple Ways to Say No

Women/ValidationA few days ago I received this fantastic article in my email about how to say “no” to people.  As women, most of us are trained to NOT say “no” no matter how badly we need to say it.  We are told we are selfish, arrogant, and so forth.  But “no” is the most important word any woman can say.


Here is Dharma Rose’s Advice on the matter:

“Do you find it hard to say “no”?

If so, you’re not alone.

Many people find themselves saying “yes” to things they don’t really want to agree to out of fear they’ll appear selfish or rude… or in an effort to avoid conflict or hurting another person’s feelings.

Saying “no” isn’t always easy, but it IS vital to your own self care.

You see, healthy people have healthy boundaries, and part of being healthy is occasionally saying no to requests, situations or people that you can’t or don’t want to accommodate.

Here are 5 simple ways that you can say no with ease, power and grace:

Tactic #1: The Full Plate

If you’re way too busy to accommodate the person’s request, let them know you’re slammed and that you simply have no time to fit what they’re asking you to do into your schedule.

“I’m sorry, I’d love to help you, but my schedule is crazy today/this week/this month and there’s no way I can fit this in.”

Tactic #2: The Think-About-It

If you’re not sure if you can fit the person’s request in, or if you’re dealing with someone who is super pushy, consider buying yourself a little time to think about what they’re asking of you and to get back to them on your own terms.

“Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.”

Tactic #3: The Boomerang

Are you super busy? Or in the middle of something else? You can ask the person to come back to you later on when you have more time to listen to and consider their request.

“I’m in the middle of juggling a few things right now. Can you please ask me again in a couple of hours/days/weeks? I’ll have a bit more headspace then to consider what you’re asking.”

Tactic #4: The Counter Offer

If you can’t or don’t want to agree to the person’s request for whatever reason, but you’d still really like to help them out, consider making a counter offer for a lesser commitment that works better for you.

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you move on Saturday. But I CAN come by for a few hours to help you pack on Friday evening. Does that work?”

Tactic #5: The Firm No

The simplest way to say no is to simply… say no! You can be direct and let the person know that what they’re asking of you just doesn’t work for you, and you’ll be surprised how often people will respect a firm, direct no.

“No, I’m sorry, I can’t.”

As you practice declining requests that don’t align with your schedule, values or needs, you’ll find that saying no becomes easier and easier…

And that you’ll have more time for yourself, the commitments you already have and the things that are most important to you.

Rock your day!

Dharma Rose
Abundant Entrepreneur

Reblog: All Ailments Resolve Themselves

Today’s message from Abraham Hicks looks at health and healing.


“All Ailments Resolve Themselves. 

All things do resolve themselves, if allowed. All things do. 

ALL things do resolve themselves — if allowed.

You say, “Some things resolve themselves,” and you believe that. 

And when we say all things resolve themselves, you don’t really believe that. 

You want to, but you don’t have personal proof about it.

There’s the belief that says, 

“Well, I really don’t believe all things resolve themselves,” 

and as you activate that vibration, all kinds of people start showing up with un-resolved things. 

But that’s not the evidence you’re wanting to attract. 

You’re wanting evidence that says, “All things can resolve themselves.”

Bridge your locked off statement by saying, 

“Well, I don’t know how I’ve been disallowing it. 

I’ve been doing it without knowing I’m doing it. 

But now I am aware that negative emotion means I’m doing it, 

and I’m going to start watching for those moments when I’m not allowing it.”

If we were standing in your physical shoes, 

we’d lie in bed every night and talk to the cells of our body, 

and expect the recovery, and we would feel the sensation of it. 

We would put ourselves in as much comfort as we could, as often as we could — for about a week — 

aligning Energy, relaxing into the discomfort, talking to the cells, 

knowing that they are summoning and that Source Energy is answering, 

knowing that we are receiving and allowing; and acknowledging, 

“In this moment, I’m not doing anything that’s causing any discomfort in my body. 

I feel perfectly comfortable. 

I feel such appreciation in this perfectly comfortable moment. 

In this mode of distraction, or in this mode of focused comfort, 

I’m in this place of appreciation — I’m in this place of allowing.” 

(Our attitude would be, “Let me see my physical progress.”)

Just allow yourself to receive what the Universe is offering. 

Before you know it, your body will be back in alignment.

Every bit of allowing is going to bring you greater and greater results. 

Give the cells of your body an opportunity to make their request; 

give yourself the opportunity to receive what the Universal Forces are offering — 

and before you know it, your body will be back into alignment.

So many people are convinced that their physical bodies are in a state 

— once you reach a certain stage of life — of steady decline. 

It is amazing the amount of expectation that is wrapped around that. 

And it is absolutely opposite of what you’ve intended,

of what your cells know how to do — 

and of what Source Energy is supplying.

You do not need to decline. 

It is only your negative expectation — or your worrying about this and that, and the other — 

that pinches off the Energy. 

You don’t decline because your body wears out. 

You decline because you disallow more of the resources that keep you feeling good. 

That’s all. Every single time. There are no exceptions to that.

Abraham Hicks

Chamomile and Ginger: Two Herbs You Need to Consume More Of

Originally posted May 15th, 2012, this is a short introduction to chamomile and ginger, two herbs that are very powerful for healing and for coping with allergies in particular.


Chamomile and Ginger: Two Herbs You Need to Consume More Of

We all have herbs and spices in our cupboards. Whether it’s to season a favorite dish or to brew as our favorite tea, herbs and spices make our lives better.

Two of the most common herbs in our pantries are also the most useful-particularly for digestive problems: ginger and chamomile.

Ginger. Used extensively in Asian cuisine and Chinese medicine, ginger is a natural anti-histamine, particularly for food allergies-without the side effects of other antihistamines. Especially good for stomach issues like nausea, ginger is also one of your best lines of defense against colds and flues. Best yet, ginger does not put you to sleep like many OTC anti-histamines.

Two of the best ways to take ginger are 1) slice fresh ginger root thinly and float in a clear soda like sprite or ginger-ale and 2) eat candied ginger. Candied ginger is widely available in Asian grocery stores and Asian herbal stores or you can make it at home. A good recipe is athttp://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/candied-ginger-recipe/index.html.Nuts.com also has a good candied ginger at http://nuts.com/driedfruit/crystallized-ginger/premium.html?gclid=CJPT_cmw7q8CFUdN4AodpRB51A.

Chamomile. Most of us have enjoyed a cup of chamomile tea to help us fall asleep. But chamomile is much more than just a sleep aid. It helps with a wide range of digestive issues like indigestion, stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. I’ve found chamomile to be helpful in relieving the extreme pain I experience from food allergies. It won’t stop the anaphylaxis, but it absolutely mitigates much of the discomfort while you wait for the allergen to pass out of your system, making it a powerful partner for ginger in helping with food allergies. A noted sleep aid, chamomile is one of your best and most natural remedies for insomnia. Read these and more uses athttp://www.gardensablaze.com/HerbChamomileMed.htm.

Want a great tea? Try mixing chamomile with green tea or with English (culinary) lavender for a double dose of health. With single cup infusers (my favorite infuser is the Smart Tea Maker from Enjoying Tea http://www.enjoyingtea.com/smartteamaker.html) mix 1 tsp loose green tea with 1 tsp loose chamomile and 1 tsp English lavender, add hot water, and brew for 4 ½ to 5 minutes. The lavender will add to chamomile’s headache relief so be sure to add it if you suffer from migraines for natural relief.

Natural and Common Sense Treatments for Carpal Tunnel and Repetitive Stress Syndrome

April 30th, 2012


I spend a lot of time at the computer. Odds are really good so do you. So it should not be shocking when the repetitive motions of clicking, typing, and texting takes a toll on our fingers, hands, wrists, arms, and backs. All of these are connected. We’ve been told for years that surgery is the only real way to correct the damage done by so much repetitive motion-but as I learned from a neighbor who has carpal tunnel surgery, such surgeries do not provide the promised permanent relief. As I fight against my latest and rather severe flare-up of carpal tunnel syndrome (hence forth abbreviated CTS), I’ve been learning how the best medicine is far simpler than you think.

Proper nutrition. Vitamin B6 and other B Vitamin Deficiencies are linked to CTS. (See Cathy Wong’s http://altmedicine.about.com/od/carpaltunnelsyndrome/a/carpal_tunnel.htm) Angela Smyth elaborates on this in her medical guide “The Complete Home Healer” that our ability to absorb B6 is often hindered by prescription medicines, creating hidden deficiencies. Smyth advises no less than 100 milligrams of B6 daily to prevent and treat CTS.

Stretching. This seems common sense, but it’s easy to overlook. Our bodies stiffen when we don’t move around enough-such as spending 8 hours per day in an office. When you do not stretch, you build up tension in your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, making them more vulnerable to injury and inflammation. Our hands and wrists in particular tend to inflame when we don’t sufficiently vary our movements. Slowly extend each arm over and around your head. Rotate your wrists and fingers into circular motions (this will hurt if your carpal tunnel is currently inflamed). Clench and unclench your fists. Want more? Try these http://www.eatonhand.com/hw/ctexercise.htm from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Remember that stretching, along with using proper hand and arm positions while using the computer, are your best prevention for developing CTS in the first place! Stretch at least once per 30 minutes! And don’t forget: remove any wrist watches–on an inflamed wrist, the extra pressure created by the band makes your injury worse!

Anti-inflamatory first aid. In CTS, your tendons and nerves in your wrist are inflamed and swollen. This swelling can be helped through old fashioned cold therapy and anti-inflammatory OTC medications such as Advil or Tylenol.http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/rehab/a/heatorcold.htm details how to properly use cold for acute injuries. Avoid over-medicating on CTS; I take a couple Advil only at bed time. Sleep is, ultimately, the best healer of your injury! Sleep as much as possible.

Screening Optometry: Five Questions to Ask Before You Schedule Your Routine Eye Appointment

Written May 7th, 2012 after a rushed eye appointment led to an incorrect prescription for my eye glasses, this article is designed to help you get the most out of your next eye exam.


Screening Optometry: Five Questions to Ask Before You Schedule Your Routine Eye Appointment

How to Ensure You Receive a Quality Eye Exam


Optometry is big business! Every year, the optical industry generates $14 billion (http://www.ibisworld.com/industry/default.aspx?indid=1560). That’s a lot of eye doctor appointments, glasses, contacts, and other accessories! So it should not be a surprise that profit motivates both small providers and large optical chains-everyone wants to make the most money out of consumers.

While perhaps we have been taught that profit is the holy grail of industry, when it comes to health care-which optical services and products are-quality needs to trump quantity. Of our five primary senses, we all depend the most on our sight; errors made in the name of corporate profit can have horrible, sometimes permanent consequences to our lives!

In March, 2012 I discovered just how wrong things can go when I made an appointment with a local optical chain, expecting top quality in the examination room and high quality glasses. I received neither. In the process of getting the problem fixed (requiring four visits to their office), I learned key questions everyone should ask before scheduling an appointment with any eye care provider you have used (in that location) for less than five years.

  1. How long is the typical appointment? This question gives you a baseline for comparison. Typically a properly done eye appointment should take between 15 and 30 minutes-longer with ophthalmologists or if you checking for a specific ocular issue beyond myopia (near-sightedness) or hyperopia (far sightedness). If the answer is less than 15 minutes-GO ELSEWHERE. A proper eye exam needs a full 15 minutes to check for everything and to confirm prescription accuracy.
  2. What is your policy on walk-in eye exams? You want to get as much information as possible here. The stores love walk in business and will take quality-diminishing short cuts to put as many people into the doctor’s chair as possible with as short a wait as possible for the walk-ins. If you do need a walk-in appointment, ASK if the doctor is busy or free before you agree to be seen. Remember: if the doctor is cutting short a pre-arranged appointment to see you, odds are both of you will receive less time with the doctor than you need for an accurate exam.
  3. Do you ever double-book appointments? Any optical store may not be honest with you on this subject, but asking will probably cost you nothing. If you do get a “yes” to it, ask for more information-when and how often?
  4. Are your doctors independent of your dispensary? Independent doctors are paid by you-not the eye wear dispensary. That makes them less sales-focused and more patient-focused. Whenever possible, patronize the independent doctors.
  5. What guarantees do you offer regarding eye wear accuracy? In case there is a mistake, know the procedure and any additional costs to you to fix a problem before you schedule your appointment.

Third-Hand Smoke: The Hidden Danger to Apartment Living

This article I wrote after becoming very ill from my west end Johnstown neighbor’s smoke which filtered into my apartment.  As I researched, a learned a great deal about how second and third hand smoke makes non smokers sick.


Third-Hand Smoke: The Hidden Danger to Apartment Living

Neighbors Smoking Tobacco, Drugs Literally Makes You Sick

 August 28th, 2013
Monday August 19th. An odd putrescence fills my bathroom and home office through the walls and ventilation system of my apartment. The smell is semi-sweet, but also nauseating, an intense grassy stench. My heart starts pounding out of my chest. I lose all ability to concentrate. I feel light headed and generally sick.I do not take drugs — not even Advil — my system does not tolerate anything stronger than homeopathy — like the Feverfew and vitamins my migraine specialist prescribed for me after years of prescription Topomax sickened me without alleviating my severe and crippling chronic daily migraine caused by the head injury that took my eyesight. Even simple antibiotics and over the counter cold medicines make me intensely sick. I do not smoke. I consume fewer than 10 drinks of alcohol in an entire year and do not like the effects of alcohol when I do take that occasional glass of wine or champagne with my dinner or during the holidays. In short, my own body’s intolerance means I live a very clean life.As the odd chemicals from my neighbor’s apartment seep into my home, my body starts to experience terrifying symptoms. It feels like I’m having a medical emergency. What on earth could be creating these sudden symptoms?

In search for the answer, I remember my college days when I very briefly experimented with tobacco under peer influence. I know what tobacco does to me; none of my symptoms overlap with that.

Continuing my quest to understand this sudden illness accompanying the stench, I come across an August 11th article by Aaron Brachfeld on something called “third hand smoke.”

Third hand smoke is smoke you neither take in directly nor inhale from close physical proximity such as being in the same room as the smoker. This includes any air you may share — including and especially the air in apartment buildings, townhouses, condominiums, co-ops, and other residential communities.

The effects of third-hand smoke depends on exactly which drug or drugs are in the smoke and how much exposure is required to physically affect you, your family, and your companion animals (companion birds, then human infants and pre-natal humans being the most intensely affected at the lowest levels of exposure). With regards to third hand exposure to marijuana, Colorado-based journalist Aaron Bachfeld cites,

” 3rd and 2nd hand exposure is potent. 3rd hand exposure usually results in something in the neighborhood of 1/100 of the dose received by 2nd hand exposure. 3rd hand is accomplished by inhalation, ingestion and osmosis: particulates bind to dust or dirt or clothing or whatever, and are consumed as well as breathed. This dust also allows it to enter the blood through the skin. Furthermore, the effect increases as more particles are ingested and inhaled, creating an increasing effect. The particles, even when not ingested, inhaled or touched, result in exposure: off gassing by the dust created by the use or storage of aerosols creates gasses which are then inhaled – even without dust as a carrier. (Third-hand smoking: indoor measurements of concentration and sizes of cigarette smoke particles after resuspension, M H Becquemin, et al. Tob Control 2010;19:347-348 doi:10.1136/tc.2009.034694, and Indoor Air Pollution: Problems and Priorities, edited by G. B. Leslie, F. W. Lunau, 1992, etc.).”

On September 2nd, 2012, in the midst of Colorado’s consideration of legalizing marijuana, Mr. Bachfeld cautioned,

“Marijuana has been and remains a valuable tool against disease for many doctors, and the public should never prevent the use of medicine. Yet the abuse of marijuana is prevalent, and preventing that abuse is impossible except by a path of limited tolerance.

There are numerous dangers to marijuana, and not just to the user who exposes themselves to higher cancer rates (even if it is not smoked), diabetes, psychological disorders (depression, anxiety and schizophrenia are inevitable with long-term use of marijuana due to permanent changes to the brain caused by the drug), heart disease and other disease. The high cost of legally grown marijuana makes it difficult to afford, leading to demand for illegally grown marijuana.

With this in mind, there is an urgency to regulate through governmental control the growth of marijuana. And when even proponents of legalization admit that legalization will not likely reduce illegal grow operations, but increase them (just because stronger and safer marijuana is grown in legal labs does not mean that people will stop buying inferior marijuana if it is cheaper), we must admit that the dangers and responsibilities of marijuana use belong to all Americans, and it is right that that regulation should be placed wholly in the hands of the public.”

While marijuana was likely (though wholly untested and unproven) the culprit of my illness on Monday, smoking any drug — including tobacco — holds dangers to those who breathe it. Since we cannot control the distribution or concentrations of airborne chemicals, all smoke from all substances create numerous and wide-spread hazards to the health and well-being of everyone within a certain chemical proximity of the smoker.

Or, put another way, there is no such thing as “safe” smoke — to the user or anyone else. All smoking of all substances holds health risks extending well beyond the person who lights up. Second and third hand smoke kill. Who will be next to die?

For more information, please consult:

Having symptoms*? Don’t ignore them; seek out professional medical help for evaluation and treatment options for you, your family, and your companion animals.

*If you are exposed to second or third hand smoke, consuming a high fiber diet may help your body eliminate some of the toxins from your body. High fiber parrot foods include sunflower seeds, almonds, and other nuts. If your bird suddenly starts craving high quantities of these, she could be instinctively trying to eliminate smoke toxins from her body, much as her wild cousins use clay licks to counteract toxins found in their diets.

A Reality Check on Weight, Clothing Size and Self Esteem

May 16th, 2012

Heavily anorexic from prescription migraine therapy, this photo of me at Coney Island shows how unhealthy the American concept of beauty is.

Heavily anorexic from prescription migraine therapy, this photo of me from September 11th, 2010 at Coney Island shows how unhealthy the American concept of beauty is.

Summer is coming and with it, our thoughts turn to warmer days, picnics, and especially time by the pool or at the beach. Probably more than any other time of the year, women start measuring themselves, getting on the scales, and worrying about their weight, dress size, and measurements. It can be no wonder that one of the largest growing industries today involves health and weight loss. In fact, you are hard pressed to turn on the television for any length of time without seeing advertisements for one weight loss product or service or another, television programs advising us how to lose weight and inches, or other messages that resonate “you are not good enough as you are; you need to change your body.” Some of these messages even veil themselves with the language of health. Everyone buys into these images-female and male-believing that if we are not a size 2 we must be fat. The reality is quite to the contrary as I learned when discontinuing years of prescription Topomax for my migraine. On Topomax, my weight plummeted to just 85 to 88 lbs on a 5’3″ frame. The combination of Topomax with my existing brain injury meant I had never developed physically; the accident hit at the start of puberty. I was so thin I could not climb stairs to the subway, exercise, or even sit without pain. Yet I was the “right” size according to countless people, an ideal! My body was frozen to age 14, at least on the surface. Upon switching treatments in 2011, my body quickly righted itself to 128 lbs and a size 12. Yet I feel fat for my increase in dress size. But the problem is not with my numbers. It is with society’s concept of what a proper and healthy body looks like. Adult women are not supposed to have pre-pubescent bodies! We are supposed to weigh more, have larger dimensions. That is what it means to be fully grown! Celebrities look the way they do because they do horribly unhealthy things to their body. They starve themselves. They exercise many more hours than a normal person can. They surgically alter themselves. They endanger their health for short-term gains. Does that mean that some people do not eat to excess or eat poorly? Of course not. But our focus needs to return to the balanced diet we all learned as children. As long as we pursue balance and eat whole, healthy, fresh foods in moderation, we are healthy! The number on the scale or our dress size is far less important! It is time to abandon Hollywood’s idea of who we should be and start enjoying who we are.

An intimate look at my life as a low vision author

This is one of the few pictures of me with a white cane taken in July 2010.  I'm only a size 2 in this picture following three years at the time of taking a very strong prescription migraine medicine that nearly killed me (I weighed just 83 lbs at the time).

This is one of the few pictures of me with a white cane taken in July 2010. I’m only a size 2 in this picture following three years at the time of taking a very strong prescription migraine medicine that nearly killed me (I weighed just 83 lbs at the time).

My dear friend Alexandra Butcher interviewed me this weekend regarding the special challenges I face as a low vision author.  Since I don’t want to be typecast into people’s stereotypes of the differently-abled, I usually don’t talk about my sight loss and my books at the same time.

This is one of the most intimate portraits ever of my life.