Friday, February 28, 2014


California Slaughterhouse Allegedly Sold Meat From Cows With Cancer


The nearly 9 million pounds of beef recalled from a California slaughterhouse this month may have come from cows sick with cancer, inside sources are now claiming.
Rancho Feeding Corp., currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after inspectors demanded the processing plant recall a year’s worth of beef, was allegedly purchasing dairy cows sick with eye cancer, decapitating them to hide the disease from inspectors and illegally selling the beef, an anonymous source told the San Francisco Chronicle.
"Rancho, we're told, was slaughtering them, somehow after hours or in other ways where the inspector didn't know about it," the source revealed. "Because the carcass looked good, (Rancho) mixed it back in with other beef that it sold under its label."
USDA officials do not comment on ongoing investigations, and Rancho’s lawyers have forbidden employees from speaking to the media.
Bill Niman, the former owner of Niman Ranch who is widely considered a pioneer of humane and sustainable livestock farming, processed his cattle at Rancho and subsequently had his entire 2013 output recalled, even though he says his product was totally separate from the tainted meat in question. Based on conversations he had with USDA officials and others in the ranching community, he also speculates the plant may have been processing cows with eye cancer, noting that it is one of the only facilities that slaughters retired dairy cows, which are often in poor health.
"A farmer sends a cow in with cancer, and he knows it has cancer-eye -- it's a growth on the eye, this is not a microbial situation," he told the Village Voice. "The inspectors, they know it has cancer-eye. So the farmer shouldn't have sent it, and the inspector should have caught it."
An unnamed federal food inspector at the plant also cited a breakdown in responsibility, alleging that the supervising USDA veterinarian ignored her warnings against slaughtering some cows during a five-month period last year.
“She would tag animals for the PHV (public health veterinarian) and what she thought sometimes were cancerous, the vet would pass … And she can't question the vet,” Paul Carney, president of the federal meat inspectors union, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
But amid all of this, no one has reported getting sick from the meat, and experts say cows with eye cancer are not necessarily dangerous to eat unless the cancer has spread to other organs.
"If I'm out on top of Mount Everest and have a cow (with eye cancer) and I'm hungry, I'm going to cook her well and deal with getting down the mountain," James Cullor, professor of population health and reproduction at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, told the Chronicle. "But if I'm here in this country, I will choose to not consume the animal. I wouldn't feed the animal to my grandchildren."

10 Strategies for Fat Loss and Healthy Eating on a Budget

The last question completely threw me off guard. A frustrated middle-aged woman, sitting in a back row, stood up just as the moderator told my audience, "One more question."
Her initial sigh signaled hesitancy. "I work two jobs and raise three kids pretty much by myself," she began. "My husband is unemployed, but he spends most days looking for work. I come home most days after 6 p.m. drained. How can you expect me to not only get a healthy meal on the table every night, but also buy these expensive foods?"
She pointed to the nearby meat counter at the store where I was promoting my shakes.
I had a thought-out speech well-rehearsed for such questions: How healthy food becomes inexpensive health care, how a value meal isn't such a great value when you factor in sick days and other obstacles, and how that grass-fed steak might cost $15.99 a pound but being lean and healthy is priceless.
Yet as I saw her frustration, I forgot my reasoning and simply sympathized.

You see, I'm a single mom juggling two businesses and raising two teenage boys. I get it: Folks can't always afford $3.99-a-pound organic broccoli. They don't have time to scout out arcane ingredients for healthy meals. And after a particularly brutal day, I understand how backseat begging can override even the most determined insistence on a healthy meal.
Does Eating Healthy Really Cost More?
When readers tell me they can't afford to eat healthy, I ask them to tally up their bills. While grass-fed beef or wild-caught salmon might seem pricy, overall folks discover they save money eating healthier and bypassing overpriced processed and convenience foods. I had one woman who dropped nearly seven dollars every weekday morning on a coffee-shop latte and low-fat muffin.
Studies prove eating healthy ultimately saves money. One found "convenient sources are less healthy and more expensive than a well-planned menu from budget foods available from large supermarket chains."
In her book What to Eat, Dr. Marion Nestle said the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) determined you could get your full day's allotment of three fruits and four vegetables for just 64 cents in 1999 dollars.
Nestle didn't believe eating healthy could be so inexpensive, so she tried it herself and discovered a serving of green vegetables -- in this case, green beans -- cost a measly 11 cents per serving.
You might be surprised too how you can stretch your food dollar. Here are 10 ways.
1. Buy locally and in season. Buying in season means fresher, more delicious, nutrient-denser, probably local, and most likely less expensive foods. Asparagus peaks in spring, while blueberries are ripest in summer. Learn which foods match with the season to boost your health, support local growers, and save a few bucks in the bargain.
2. Buy frozen and stock up. I simply forgot about it: I bought several heads of organic cauliflower, had a change in dinner plans, and the poor things just wilted in my fridge crisper drawer. Darn it: Seven bucks down the drain! Frozen foods eliminate that problem and save you money. You can buy weeks' -- months' -- worth of frozen kale, raspberries, and other favorites to store in your freezer, so you always have essentials for soups, shakes, stews and side dishes.
3. Skip convenience foods. Knowing you're short on time, supermarkets cash in on pre-sliced veggies, trimmed-and-cleaned chicken breasts, and pre-cooked -- well, just about everything. Once I realized pre-prepped broccoli florets cost twice as much as organic broccoli heads and I could buy a whole bird for the same cost as four tiny chicken breasts, I decided saving a little time wasn't worth spending a lot more money. What making foods from scratch demands in time often saves you in money.
4. Less meat, more plant-based foods. Loaded with nutrients, high-quality protein and essential fatty acids, grass-fed beef and wild-caught salmon are among your best food bargains. They often aren't cheap, especially if you're trying to feed a family of four or more. Stretch your food dollar by loading more of your plate with inexpensive, filling leafy and cruciferous veggies, good fats like avocado, and slow-release high-fiber carbs like quinoa and legumes.
5. Start your day with a protein shake. Time and lack of appetite are two excuses people sometimes use to either skip breakfast or order a cheese Danish with their gargantuan dark roast. One meta-analysis of six studies found a nutrient-fortified meal replacement shake could "safely and effectively produce significant sustainable weight loss and improve weight-related risk factors of disease." For less than a designer coffee, you can create a filling, fat-burning non-soy plant-based shake with frozen raspberries, freshly ground flaxseed, kale or other leafy greens in unsweetened coconut or almond milk.
6. Join a farmers collective or co-op. More cities now have food co-ops where you volunteer your time for reduced-cost produce as well as other locally grown and raised foods. Maybe you have no extra time or co-ops aren't really for you. Farmers collectives provide similar opportunities with grass-fed beef and other pasture-raised foods. Your city probably has a farmers market during the warmer months. Palm Springs (where I live) and other warmer climates have farmers markets nearly year round, although some cities now conveniently have indoor farmers markets during colder seasons.
7. Load your plate with high-fiber foods. My number one nutrient for eating less: fiber, which delays gastric emptying, balances blood sugar, curbs cravings and makes you full faster. What's not to love? Aim for two or three inexpensive, high-fiber foods at every meal. Excellent choices include avocado, legumes, nuts, seeds and leafy greens. My secret weapon to bypass seconds and reduce your dessert hankering: Stir a scoop of freshly ground flaxseed or a fiber-blend supplement powder into a tall glass of water 30 to 60 minutes before meals.
8. Prepare ahead of time. You know the saying: Fail to plan, plan to fail. Whether your goal is fast fat loss or getting a healthy meal on the table for your family, thinking ahead can save you time, money, and effort. If you know you'll be stuck late at work tomorrow, prep dinner ingredients and you'll be far less tempted to spike your credit card bill ordering in or grabbing take-out. Many clients make Sunday "prep day" for the week ahead.
9. Learn the dirty dozen. In a perfect world, every food would be organic. Realistically, sometimes it becomes hard to justify spending three times for organic produce. That's why you want to know the Dirty Dozen: you always want to buy these 12 most-contaminated foods organic. The "Clean 15" are your least contaminated foods, with few or no contaminants. If you're going to buy non-organic, these are your best bets.
10. Brew your own. Coffee and tea, that is! (Although come to think of it, you could also save big money making your own pinot noir or gluten-free beer.) Like my client who unknowingly spent $35 a week on sugary lattes and stale pastries, your caffeine habit can take its toll on your pocketbook and even your waistline. Become your own barista and brew a cup of organic coffee or green tea for far less than what you'd spend at a coffee shop.
Remember to Look at the Big, Big Picture:
While I wrote this blog with your budget in mind, I want you to also think beyond money. I love a good bargain as much as anyone, and know the euphoric rush of getting a great deal on something you love.
Here's the thing: You can always earn more money, but you can't put a price on your health. You can't put a price on setting a healthy example for your kids. Look at spending those extra dollars on locally grown, organic produce or grass-fed beef as an investment in your long-term health and future generations.
During my nearly three decades as a nutrition and fitness expert, I've had folks share interesting ways they save money choosing inexpensive, nutrient-rich foods. What are your strategies to stay lean and healthy on a budget?

10 Common Mistakes That Prevent You From Being Happy and Healthy Today, Backed by Science

I'm fascinated by the link between the way we live our daily lives and the health and happiness we enjoy.
There are choices that you make every day, some of which seem completely unrelated to your health and happiness, that dramatically impact the way you feel mentally and physically.
With that said, here are 10 common mistakes that can prevent you from being happy and healthy, and the science to back them up.
1. Avoiding deep and meaningful connections (like marriage, close friendships, and staying in touch with family)
Ultimately, the human experience is about connecting with other people. Connection is what provides value and meaning to our lives. We're wired for it, and research proves just that.
For example, people with strong social ties were found to be healthier and have a lower risk of death. Additionally, it was found that as age increases, the people with stronger social ties tend to live longer. And it seems that friendships can even help you fight cancer.
The benefits of deep relationships extend to marriage as well. Being in a long-term relationship decreases the risk of depression, suicide, and substance abuse. And one study of almost 6,000 people found that marriage led to increased longevity while never marrying was the strongest predictor of premature death.
Finally, multiple studies (herehere, and here) show that strong family ties are one of the primary reasons the people of Okinawa, Japan have incredible longevity despite being one of the poorest prefectures in the country.
What do all of these different studies tell us?
Connection and belonging are essential for a healthy and happy life. Whether it's friendship, marriage, or family, humans need close connections to be healthy.
For more about the connection between loneliness and health, I suggest reading the New York Times best-seller Mind Over Medicine, which was written by my friend Dr. Lissa Rankin.
2. Sitting all day
You might want to stand up for this. The Internet has gone crazy over this infographic that describes the harmful effects of sitting all day.
The short version is that "recreational sitting" like sitting in front of a TV screen increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and death, regardless of your physical activity. Obviously, sitting at a desk for work isn't too good either.
This troubling data doesn't come from small sample sizes, either. These trends held true in one study with 4,500 peopleanother with 8,800 people, and a final one with over 240,000 participants. If you're looking for more details on the health risks of sitting, this New York Times article covers some of the basics.
3. Never stopping to just breathe
A few years ago, I was speaking with a yoga instructor who told me, "I think people love my class because it's the only time in their entire day when they just sit and breathe."
That provides some interesting food for thought. From the time you wake up until the time you go to bed, do you ever take 15 minutes to just sit and breathe? I rarely do. And that's a shame because the benefits of mindfulness and meditation are huge. Meditation reduces stress and anxiety. Meditation improves your quality of life and boost your immune system. Meditation has been shown to decrease anger and improve sleep, even among prison inmates.
4. Not joining a religion -- or otherwise becoming part of a community
There is an interesting and growing body of medical research that has discovered the positive health effects of religion and spirituality. The science doesn't necessarily say that there is anything inherently healthy about religion, but it's all the by-products that come from practicing religion that can make a big difference.
For example, people with strong faith often release control of their struggles and worries to a higher power, which can help to relieve anxiety and stress. Religious groups also offer a strong source of community and friendships, which is critical for health and happiness. In many cases, the strength of friendships formed with fellow believers can last for decades, and those strong personal ties are crucial for long-term health.
If you don't consider yourself to be a religious person, then the lesson to takeaway from this body of research is that we all need a sense of belonging and community in our lives. It's important to share your beliefs (whatever they happen to be about) with a community of people. People who have a community like that to lean on find themselves happier and healthier than those who lack that type of support.
As a starting point, you can read studies on the religion-health connection herehere, andhere.
5. Ignoring your creative abilities
Expressing yourself creatively reduces the risk of disease and illness while simultaneously strengthening your health and wellness. For example, this study from the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that art helps to reduce stress and anxiety, increase positive emotions, and reduce the likelihood of depression, along with many other benefits.
Another study, which was published in the Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, discovered that creative writing improved the immune system response of HIV patients. For more ideas on why creating art is healthy, read this: "The Health Benefits of Creativity."
6. Spending all day indoors
Exploring the world around you -- whether that means traveling to faraway lands or hiking through the woods in your area -- provides a wide range of mental and physical benefits. For starters, the benefits of sunlight (and the negative effects of artificial light) are well-documented in research.
Additionally, researchers have begun to discover that wilderness excursions -- known as "adventure therapy" -- can promote weight lossimprove the self-esteem of people with mental illness, and even reduce the rearrest rates of sex offenders.
The central theme that runs through all of these studies is that exploring the outdoors and spending time in nature can increase the confidence you have in yourself and improve your ability to interact with others.
7. Spending your time consuming instead of contributing
When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die. -- Eleanor Roosevelt
Contribution is an essential part of living a life that is happy, healthy, and meaningful. Too often we spend our lives consuming the world around us instead of creating it. We overdose on low quality information. We live sedentary lives and passively eat, watch, and soak up information rather than creating, contributing, and building our own things.
As I wrote in this article...
You can't control the amount of time you spend on this planet, but you can control what you contribute while you're here. These contributions don't have to be major endeavors. Cook a meal instead of buying one. Play a game instead of watching one. Write a paragraph instead of reading one. You don't have to create big contributions, you just need to live out small ones each day.
8. Working in a job that you don't love
As you might expect, it's dangerous to work too much. In Japan, the overtime and workplace stress has become so bad that they actually have a label for the people who die because of it: karoshi, which literally means "death by overwork."
Basically any way in which your job makes you feel stressed is bad for your health -- unpredictable commutes, tension and disagreement with your boss or coworkers, feeling undervalued or unappreciated. Even working overtime increases the risk for coronary heart disease, independent of outside factors.
What can you do about it? No one strategy will work for everyone, of course, but the principles in The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor offer a great place to start.
9. Eating alone
Brian Wansink, a Cornell professor and author of Mindless Eating, has written that when people eat alone they are more likely to have a large binge feeding. Additionally, diets suffer when people eat alone. Lonely diners tend to eat fewer vegetables and less healthy meals. It seems that we make less of an effort to eat well when we are by ourselves than when someone else is involved.
Given that an estimated one out of three people eat lunch at their desk, it's easy to see how these little choices add up to big health problems over the long-term.
10. Believing that you are unworthy of health, happiness, and love
Brene Brown is a researcher at the University of Houston and she has spent 10 years studying vulnerability. In recent years, her work has exploded with popularity as she delivered one of the most popular TED Talks of all time and has written multiple best-selling books including Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection.
As Brown studied fear, uncertainty, and vulnerability, she discovered one key insight...

5 Common Health Issues In The World

The health sector has been gaining a lot of attention lately. More and more concerns are coming into surface each year and there are still many that experts are finding solutions to. There are many health problems from different parts of the world that when combined, form big issues that everyone must be aware of. The following are some of these issues.


1. Lack of Proper Sanitation and Hygiene Practices
Most diseases especially bacterial are due to the fact that many areas do not observe proper sanitation and hygiene practices. This can be attributed to their lack of clean water and their way of living. Contaminated water containing chemicals, bacteria and viruses causes skin infection, irritations, respiratory problems, and other medical conditions among people. Both adults and children also do not practice hand washing which is one of the reasons why they acquire certain diseases.
2. High Rate of Children Mortality
There is an increasing rate of children drying before they reach the age of five. In some countries such as Mexico, infant and children mortality are already alarming. Most causes are different kinds of diseases afflicting children and pregnancy complications. Family planning and improved data collection are some of the solutions which health organizations from all over the globe are adopting.
3. More Deaths due to Fatal Diseases
Each year, more and more people are dying from fatal diseases. One of these is AIDS which experts still have not found a cure for and yet, a large number of people are infected with the HIV virus because of unprotected sexual intercourse. There is also malaria and other diseases which are brought to people by insect bites which resulted from unclean surroundings. Different kinds of cancer, heart diseases, stroke, etc. are some of the most common illnesses that cause more deaths every year.
4. Increased Rate of Substance Abuse
Drugs and alcohol abuse are a common health problem. Both have resulted to the development of diseases such as kidney and lung cancers among users of these substances. A huge part of the world population is addicted to smoking or drinking alcoholic liquor and this has greatly affected their way of living and their health.
5. Lack of Health Workers, Facilities and Technologies
There is a need for more health workers, facilities and technologies to answer the health needs of people all over the world. Many areas still do not have hospitals or clinics wherein their sick people can be treated. Trained workers to cater to certain health needs and conditions are lacking in number. Necessary technologies to make services easier and faster have also not been developed which slows down the process of giving health services.
These are the common health issues that we must be aware of so that we can help in finding solutions and un making a healthier world for the coming generations.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


6 Places You’re Most Likely to Get Sick

If you've been thinking about taking a cruise, consider this: Two cruise ships recently cut their trips short due to illness outbreaks onboard. It's not entirely a shock. Cruise ships are floating petri dishes and it takes very few particles of the norovirus--a.k.a. the stomach flu--to make you heave, says Lola Stamm, M.D., an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But if you plan on staying ashore, what are some of the germiest hotspots you encounter in your daily life? Here, six common culprits and what you can do to avoid sickness.
Here, six common culprits and what you can do to avoid sickness.

Culprit #1: Your Desk
Office desks harbor hundreds of times more bacteria per square inch than do the toilet seats in those same buildings, according to University of Arizona research. Wipe down your phone, keyboard, monitor, and desk with disinfectant wipes at least once a day, Dr. Stamm says. And avoiding eating in front of your computer--food particles contribute to germs.
Culprit #2: The Break Room's Refrigerator Door
Even more disgusting than your co-worker's stinky lunch are the germs hanging out on the refrigerator door. In a study by the American Dietetic Association, 44 percent of office refrigerators are cleaned on a monthly basis--22 percent are cleaned just once a year. "Anything that leaks or spills can become a breeding ground for bacteria," Dr. Stamm says. In a study published last year, half of the most commonly touched surfaces in an office--like the fridge--can become infected with a sick person's germs by lunchtime. As if you needed another reminder to wash your mitts before eating. (Did you know that harmful bacteria can easily migrate from the bathroom to your hand to cutting board to your mouth? Use these smart antimicrobial strategies to eliminate germs in your house.)
Culprit #1: Sinks
Your worst fears have been confirmed: A University of Colorado study identified 19 groups of bacteria, including staphylococcus aureus--the bug linked with antibiotic-resistant infections--in public restrooms. The sink may be the most germ-ridden surface of them all, according to a study by the non-profit NSF International, since the dampness allows microorganisms to survive.
Culprit #2: Hand Dryers
Rubbing your hands under a traditional dryer can boost the number of bacteria on your skin by up to 45 percent, a study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found. Use paper towels to dry--and to open the door as you leave. (We have some high-priority pathogens we'd like you to meet--and, with our help, defeat: How to Beat 6 Everyday Infection Spreaders.)
Culprit #1: ATM's
Considering that 95 percent of people wash their hands improperly, according to Michigan State University researchers, ATM users may deposit something else besides a few checks. One study found that each key on an ATM harbors an average of 1,200 germs, including E.coli and cold and flu viruses, University of Arizona researchers report.
Culprit #2: Cold, Hard Cash
Cash may carry some unexpected cling-ons: Each bill contains an average of 26,000 bacteria, according to Oxford University scientists. Stash hand sanitizer in your car and scrub off as soon as you leave the bank. (Can You Be Too Clean?Discover if our war on germs is backfiring and making us not only sicker but fatter.)
Culprit #1: Carts
You might want to wipe the handle down with sanitizing wipes--many stores offer them at the entrance. Why? Perhaps because "in addition to germs from other shoppers and kids, raw meat may leak on the cart," Dr. Stamm says. Wrap meat packages in a plastic bag before putting them in your cart, too.
Culprit #2: Reusable Shopping Bags
They're better for the environment, sure, but you could be lugging bacteria back and forth to the store, too. Ninety percent of shoppers don't wash these bags regularly, according to another University of Arizona study. Researchers found coliform bacteria--from raw meat--and E.coli in nearly every reusable bag they sampled. Machine- or hand-wash your bags between uses, and use separate bags for meat and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination. (Did you know that tiny arachnids are living on your eyelashes? Find out the five other gross things crawling on your body right now.)
Culprit #1: TV Clickers and Light Switches
A University of Houston study found these two things to be the most contaminated items in hotel rooms. Pack your own wipes to clean off the surfaces you touch every day.
Culprit #2: Maid's Cleaning Cart
They're packed with bacteria, meaning there's a high risk of transferring those germs from one room to another. If you're there for less than a few days, hang the Do Not Disturb sign to prevent acquiring bugs from other rooms during your stay. (Click here to learn even more about the germs hiding in your hotel.)
Culprit #1: Gym Weight Equipment
One study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine found cold-causing viruses on 63 percent of the gym equipment. Researchers also discovered that weight equipment was contaminated significantly more often than aerobic equipment--73 percent versus 51 percent. Even worse: Disinfecting twice a day didn't do anything to lower the virus count since plenty of people still use them between wipe-downs. Your move: Pack your own hand sanitizer to use between sets.
Culprit #2: Weight-lifting Gloves
Japanese researchers found that staph bacteria found on weights and machines bind to polyester, the material used in many gloves. When you power through a set, lower the weight, and wipe your eyes, nose, or mouth during your rest, you could become infected. Ditch the gloves--not only will you avoid some of the germs, you'll strengthen your grip and forearms when you lift without them. Remember to be extra careful about keeping your fingers off of your face during your workout--wipe sweat with your forearm or clean towel.

Monday, February 17, 2014


10 Ways You're Ruining Your Eyes

Sure, mom used to scold you about sitting too close to the TV, but that's not the only thing that could be hurting your eyes.
1. Not wearing sunglasses
Remember when Anderson Cooper wore that eye patch? He sunburned his eyes while jet skiing in Portugal on a "60 Minutes" assignment, and while he didn't technically lose his sight, he wore it to protect his eye while it healed. If you don't want that to happen to you, always wear a broad-brimmed hat and shades, making sure they protect against ultraviolet rays (look for a special sticker that says, "100 percent UV blocking"). Exposure to UV rays damages the retina and increases your risk of cloudiness on your eye, also known as cataracts. It also makes you more likely to get skin cancer on your eyelids, says Vinay Aakalu, M.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology and ocular facial plastic surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Overexposure to the sun's rays can also lead to ultraviolet keratitis -- sunburn on the epithelium of the cornea (the clear outer part of the eye) -- which you can get when skiing or even in a tanning booth, if you skip the protective goggles. Like sunburn, it can sneak up on you: Pain, blurry vision, and tearing can start hours later.
2. Overusing eye drops
Drops that take the red out make your eyes look better because they temporarily constrict blood vessels, but the inflammation can come back. "After a few hours, they stop working, and the blood vessels dilate, making the eyes often appear redder than they were to start," says Stephanie Marioneaux, M.D., an ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
3. Improperly treating dry eyes
About 3.5 million women and 1.5 million men in the U.S. suffer from moderate to severe ocular dryness (a.k.a. "dry eyes"). Lubricating drops usually come in bottles with preservatives and using them too many times can actually irritate your eyes. It's more costly, but better, to get individual blister packs of artificial tears if you're going to use them more than four times a day. If you're treating itchy eyes, keep your drops in the refrigerator. "The coolness helps to take away that itchy sensation," says Artis Montague, M.D., an ophthalmologist who is clinic director of Stanford's Byers Eye Institute. Also, avoid rubbing your dry eyes, and use a humidifier to increase moisture in your home.
4. Staring too long at a screen
Blinking helps distribute fluid throughout your eyes. But when you focus on a computer, you blink less often than usual. "You should be blinking 12 to 15 times per minute, so staring at the computer generally means you are not blinking enough," says Marioneaux. "Your tears evaporate, your vision becomes smeary, and your eyes may burn and water. Blink!" Reading very small print for prolonged periods of time causes your eyes to work too hard, so be sure to look up from your screen and look at something far away every so often. One more reason to decrease screen time: New data suggests that looking at small print on mobile devices may stimulate the gene for nearsightedness.
5. Being careless with your contact lenses
Use fresh cleaning solution daily and never put them in your mouth or rinse them in water, says Marioneaux. Many ophthalmologists recommend daily disposables. And never wear contact lenses in the shower, hot tubs, swimming pools, or the ocean. To ensure your eyes get enough oxygen, don't sleep in your contacts. Also, don't just order lenses without seeing an eye doctor to get them fit properly. Otherwise, you increase your risk of getting infections. "If the contact lens fits like a suction cup, then removing it may cause a small scratch on the cornea, which becomes an entry for bad bacteria that may cause serious eye infections," says Marioneaux.
6. Using old makeup -- and sleeping in it
To avoid exposure to infection-causing bacteria, toss cosmetics after three months, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. And always, always remove your makeup before bed.
7. Not wearing goggles
Don't just save your goggles for swimming. If you're mowing the lawn, using a weed whacker, or doing home repairs, put some on to protect yourself from any flying debris, which can cause abrasions in the cornea. Make sure anyone nearby, especially children, also have protective eyewear on.
8. Smoking
You shouldn't be smoking for a lot of reasons, but here's another one: It increases the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration (the progressive deterioration of part of the retina). "It impairs the ability of your body to provide adequate nutrition and oxygenation to tissues, and that includes the tissues in your eye," says Ian Conner, M.D., an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
9. Skipping regular eye exams
Visit the ophthalmologist -- especially if you have eye-affecting conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to blindness, warns Montague.
10. Ignoring symptoms
Don't assume that flashing lights, pain, fuzzy vision, redness, or light sensitivity will vanish automatically, says Anne Sumers, M.D., an ophthalmologist who is a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "To me, the five most dangerous words in the English language are, 'Maybe it will go away.'" If you see things floating around and then turning fuzzy, it could mean your retina is coming off, she says. Get to the ophthalmologist quickly: "A delay in diagnosis can mean much more complex surgery and a more guarded prognosis for recovery of vision."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


A Detox Soup That Won't Remind You of the Cabbage Soup Diet


The cabbage soup diet isn’t the original crash diet—that distinction goes to William the Conquerer, who, too heavy for his horse, resorted to an all-liquor “cleanse” in 1087—but it is one of the most famous. And surely the most malodorous. Eat as much cabbage soup as you like, along with random foods in pairings that defy logic, for seven days. You will be a slip of a thing in a week! You’ll also be starving, the worst sort of meal companion, and a verifiable grump. 

Enter a fresh, modern update for days when you just feel, shall we say, a little more puffy than usual. This soup is the kitchen work of Angela Liddon, the blogger behind Oh She Glows and author of the forthcoming cookbook of the same name. It’s a bit of a miracle worker, and one that Liddon told us she likes to eat after a period of over-indulgence. 
"[After a bowl] I always feel more balanced, healthy, and energized." It’s brimming with every culinary cure-all under the sun—garlic, mushrooms, ginger, turmeric, and kale—then dressed with a squeeze of lemon and a smattering of nori. (Thrill-seekers might like to shake a bit of cayenne on there, too).
After a winter weekend of bloody marys and bottomless bowls of ragu, this is just what the doctor ordered. 
Eat Your Greens Detox Soup
from The Oh She Glows Cookbook
Serves 3
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil or olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups sliced cremini or white button mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 to 3 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 cups vegetable broth
2 large nori seaweed sheets, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) strips (optional)
2 cups (500 mL) torn kale leaves
Fresh lemon juice, for serving (optional)
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli and stir to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes more.
Stir in the ginger, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add the broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 20 minutes.
Just before serving, stir in the nori (if using) and kale and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, if desired.
Reprinted by arrangement with AVERY, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © GLO BAKERY CORPORATION, 2014.
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Thursday, February 6, 2014


Health reform will free many from “job lock”

A report this week from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office contains a section that mentions how health-care reform offers many people relief from “job lock.”

That’s a reference to those who stick with a job simply to maintain their employer-based health insurance. Until the Affordable Care Act, they had no other option. Now, many people – perhaps 2 million or more – will be able to take advantage of new subsidies for health insurance and the new marketplaces for individual policies.

Simply put, many people have options for health insurance that no longer depend on a job. They’ll be able to retire earlier, adjust their work life with home life, work fewer hours, start a business or pursue other vocations. It’s their choice.

Those are good things, right? But opponents of the Affordable Care Act have trotted out the usual histrionics, shouting about “job killing” and destruction of the economy, accusations that have no factual basis. Some even call it “willful stupidity.”

The deceptive rhetoric ties in with the detractors' stated desire to return to the good old days of allowing insurance companies to reject health care to individuals because of a previous illness. They’d also create more havoc for consumers by allowing health policies to be sold across state lines, which would weaken protections and hurt in-state firms.

The caution and suggestion here is to dig a little deeper below the headlines. But don’t take just our word on this. Check out what a professor of pediatrics from the Midwest had to say about the newest criticism of the Affordable Care Act.

And see how health reform is already helping and will further assist Washington citizens in our updated report on the uninsured in our state.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Limitations periods for claims of negligent supervision allowing sexual assaults to occur


Choc v. Hudbay Minerals Inc., [2013] O.J. No. 3375 (S.C.J.) is a case that may be of interest to institutional defendants of sexual assault claims.

In this action the plaintiffs, who are indigenous Mayan Q’eqchi’ from Guatemala, brought three related actions against the Canadian mining company, Hudbay Minerals and its subsidiaries.  The plaintiffs allege that security personnel working for Hudbay’s subsidiaries committed a number of abuses including a shooting, a killing and gang rapes during the forced removal of the plaintiffs from areas claimed as ancestral homelands.    

This decision is in respect of motions brought by the defendants, Hudbay Minerals, HMI Nickel and CGN with respect to three related actions by the plaintiffs.  One motion sought the dismissal of one of the actions on the basis that it was statute-barred by the Limitations Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, c. 24, Sched. B [“Limitations Act”].  The action sought to be dismissed was brought by 11 women who asserted they were each gang-raped by mining company security personnel during their forced removal on January 17, 2007.  The action was not commenced until March 28, 2011, more than 4 years later.

The defendants argue that the basic limitation period, of two years after the day on which the claim is discovered, pursuant to section 4 of the Limitations Act, is applicable.  The defendants contend that the plaintiffs’ claim is not based on assault or sexual assault but is framed in negligence based on the alleged failure of Hudbay to supervise employees and agents of its subsidiaries.  They argue there is no issue of discoverability and the plaintiffs knew of the alleged claims as of January 17, 2007.   

The plaintiffs argue that section 10 of the Limitations Act which provides an exception to the two year limitation period for claims based on an assault or sexual assault is applicable.  If the claim falls within the scope of section 10, then the limitation period will not have started running because the plaintiffs will be presumed to have been incapable of commencing the proceeding, unless the contrary is proven. 

The motions judge held that section 10 was applicable in the circumstances of the case as the claim is based on alleged sexual assaults.  Although the claim was based in negligence for the defendants’ failure to properly supervise and train their personnel, ultimately, without the sexual assault there would not have been a claim.  The sexual assault was “the main ingredient of the cause of action of negligence”.  As such the claim properly fell within the scope of s. 10 of the Limitations Act.

Counsel should be aware that even if a claim is framed in negligence, the standard two year limitation period may not apply.  Rather, the offence giving rise to the action may put the claim into one of the exceptions.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Affordable Care Act in Washington: helping consumers, stimulating job diversity

The Washington state Legislature today held a hearing on Senate Bill 6464, which would allow Washington consumers to purchase catastrophic plans from states outside of Washington. In November, Insurance Commissioner Kreidler said allowing catastrophic plans is not “a good deal for Washington state.” Furthermore, allowing consumers to purchase out-of-state plans opens the door for health insurers to skirt Washington’s regulations that protect consumers.

Washington citizens have been covered by health insurance through the Washington Healthplanfinder for a little more than a month now. Let’s take a look at the numbers so far:

  • We recently published a report on uninsured and underinsured people in Washington for 2012. Approximately 14.5 percent of Washington citizens were uninsured before 2014, exceeding 990,000 people.
  • More than 325,000 people have purchased health insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder.
  • 33.1 percent of eligible Washingtonians have purchased health insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder, leading the country alongside Vermont, with 33.4 percent, in percentage of people insured, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • Washington expanded Medicaid, now called Apple Health, to cover more than 516,000 people who qualify for free health insurance. Washington will eventually expand its coverage to more than 800,000 people who qualify.
  • Other benefits under the Affordable Care Act are no out-of-pocket costs to consumers for preventive care; people with chronic medical conditions like multiple sclerosis, heart disease or cancer no longer can be denied coverage; and health insurers can no longer hold consumers to an annual or lifetime maximum limit on what they will pay for.

Today, the U.S. Congressional Budget Office released a report projecting the Affordable Care Act will allow people to leave traditional full-time jobs—the ones that historically have provided medical insurance—because they now can sign up through a state or federal Health Benefit Exchange. The side of that story the media isn’t telling, however, is that people who’ve historically been locked into those jobs can pursue other types of work – starting a small business, working as an independent contractor from home, pursuing a career as an artisan or writer, or many other options that will still benefit the economy. The ACA allows them to pursue whatever line of work they wish to, because they are not beholden to an 8-to-5 office or government job in order to have health insurance.

In fact, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Urban Institute and Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute in 2013 reported that the number of self-employed Americans is projected to increase by 1.5 million people this year—11 percent-- as a direct result of their ability to get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Read more in the New York Times Economix blog. In Washington state, that number is projected to increase by 30,000, or 8.7 percent.