How NOT To Overstress & Overeat This Holiday Season

Family All Together At holiday Dinner

(BlackDoctor.org) — Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone and the shopping rush has begun, I’m sure the stress and tension of buying gifts for loved ones will be ratcheted up several notches this holiday season.

Stress levels are always high during this time of year. It can be overbearing and even exhausting to some people who don’t have the money to buy gifts and, in some cases, food. But those who can afford to buy food don’t always buy the most nutritious food to eat.

When it comes to your health, you have to take charge. It would behoove food producers to consider the health of consumers. What if food regulators, for example, would put labels on food packages to warn of the dangers of saturated fats and other fat laden foods? They warn us about the dangers of cigarettes and alcohol. They can do the same thing with food.

There is madness in the health care world and it’s getting out of control. People are getting fatter and fatter. Who should we blame? Ourselves. We have become gluttons, eating any and everything that tastes good. If we’re not careful, most of us will become obese. It’s an American tragedy — an epidemic. I’ve written a lot about diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer and a host of other health related issues, but obesity is a problem that should not be taken for granted.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every three adults is obese and one out of every six children is obese. Obesity leads to major health related issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. There is no simple solution. People just have to make better choices when preparing their meals.

Obesity costs $150 billion a year, which equates to about one out of every dollar that’s spent on healthcare. I believe the problem is with fast food restaurants. There seems to be one on every corner. I’m sure it’s the convenience of getting a meal served in less than 4 minutes that keeps us coming back. The only problem is most fast food is unhealthy.

There is a high incidence of diabetes in the African-American community — about 13 percent. But then one out of 13 Americans is diabetic according to the World Health Organization. The problem is growing exponentially. You should ask yourself: What can I do to achieve a healthy lifestyle and reduce, or reverse, those grim statistics?

Educating people about healthy foods is the first step. Just because you’re grappling with a minuscule budget doesn’t mean you can’t buy good, wholesome, quality food that’s beneficial to your overall health. It wouldn’t even hurt to ask your neighborhood grocer or market proprietor to bring in fresh fruit and vegetables. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables, of course, can control obesity.

I understand economics, but it’s a shame that neighborhood grocery stores and markets would rather put profits before health and nutrition. There is nothing wrong with making money — but at the expense of consumers who are already grappling with obesity? It’s preposterous.

The U.S. Diabetes Prevention Program, a major multicenter clinical research study nearly a decade ago, has shown that with a lifestyle change and modest weight reduction, a person with pre-diabetes can prevent or even delay the onset of diabetes by 58 percent. But those who are prone to diabetes will have to consume more fruit and vegetables and switch from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet in order to stop the onslaught of full diabetes.

Buying and cooking the right kind of food sometimes depends on which side of the track you live on. But that’s the society we live in. In my opinion, the poorer the neighborhood, the poorer the food choices. Better food is often found, not in the inner city, but in many cases in ritzier neighborhoods.

If you’d stop, observe and think about what you’re buying and putting in your mouth, you’ll be much better for it. You don’t have to be a glutton this holiday season to be happy. And, by all means, don’t stress out and over eat. Be mindful that obesity is on the rise.

 (Dr. Timothy Moore teaches nutrition, heart disease and diabetes reversal through a plant-based lifestyle. He is a professional speaker, wellness coach and personal plant-based chef. He can be reached by email at [email protected]  or visit him on the Web sites at www.cheftimothymoore.com or www.twitter.com/cheftimmoore.)

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Beauty Concerns For Expectant Mothers

close up of pregnant womans belly

(BlackDoctor.org) — When women think of pregnancy and they think of beauty, most prepare for two bundles of joy. In addition to the thrill of having a baby grow within, many women expect longer, thicker hair, beautiful nails, and of course that renowned glow. To avoid shock or unnecessary stress, be forewarned that  pregnancy sometimes involves effects that you may not find so pretty.

Skin Problems

Sometimes it is described almost in fairy tale terms– the way that women glow when they are pregnant. You may have heard stories of women whose beauty upgrade preceded and even alluded to the baby bump to follow. In reality, a lot of women experience acne and dermatitis when they are pregnant, resulting from hormonal changes.

A small number also experience PUPPP (pruritic uticarial pupules and plaques of pregnancy). This is a condition involving an itchy rash that that appears on the stomach usually during the third trimester. The cause is unknown. These problems normally dissipate after delivery. Meanwhile, products such as hydrocortisone or topical steroids may be recommended as a management tools.

Another and more common skin problem is melasma, known as mask of pregnancy. This condition, characterized by darkening in the T-zone, is also believed to be a result of hormonal changes. The cheeks, lips, and forehead  are areas where the dark spots tend to appear. Women are generally advised to avoid excessive sun exposure and to apply sun protection and hydrocortisone products throughout their pregnancy to help control the problem.

Melasma, unfortunately, may not immediately disappear on its own once even after giving birth. The spots can linger for months or years. Hydroquinone, Retin-A and chemical peels are some of the commonly recommended post postpartum solutions. Laser treatment may also be suggested but this option can be tricky for people of color.

As your body expands, the skin in several areas will do a significant amount of stretching and where it stretches it will become thinner. You will likely notice stretch marks appearing on areas such as your thighs, butt, stomach and breasts. Though women have tried for ages, there is no proven way to prevent these signs of motherhood. Once you have the baby, these marks will likely get lighter, and though your hopes may be built up by creative marketing, there is no known way to eliminate them.

Linea Nigra is a bit different. This is a condition where a dark line appears, running from the pubic area up to the breasts. It will remain dark while you are pregnant and though it may not completely disappear once you have the baby, it will fade drastically.

Circulatory Changes

The changes in a pregnant woman’s body include her circulatory system. Instead of just mama, it must also carry fluids for the baby, resulting in an increase of blood volume and blood pressure. As a result, you may suffer from varicose veins or spider veins.

These are also issues that may not just disappear. Sclerotherapy, a process where the troubled veins are injected with a solution, is a treatment commonly used to address such problems.

Some expecting mothers also experience red palms.  If you are one of them, be aware that the color may intensify as you approach your due date. This is another result of circulatory changes, but this issue is one that is quickly and naturally resolved after delivery.

Existing Conditions

Existing conditions are often aggravated by pregnancy. For example, many women find that have episodes of eczema or cold sores more frequently and severely. Warts may grow and moles may get bigger and darker. If you have skin tags, they may multiply.

Problems that get worse when you are pregnant, often return to normal after you deliver. Others may be   easily dealt with even before the baby comes. Moles will likely go back to their normal appearance, skin tags can be snipped and eczema can often be managed immediately with emollients or topical steroids.

If you were expecting all beauty blessings, don’t be too disappointed about issues you may face. Remember there is still a bundle of joy that can’t be overshadowed.