Before You Ever Let Someone Stick Their Tongue Down Your Throat Ever Again

tongue guide

Tongue colors & shapes. A guide to help you. Photo courtesy of  Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine

People, you need to take your tongues seriously. I don’t mean like the way Miley Cyrus does. I mean she was recently sued for nearly killing someone with it according to a report by Rolling Stones.

What I am talking about is even more serious.  Did you know that you could see how fit or healthy you are just by examining your tongue?

Traver H, Bloem of explains: “TCM believes the tongue is a microcosm of the entire body and will reflect its excesses and deficiencies. Being directly related to the stomach by proximity and availability, the tongue acts as a very good reflection of our digestive systems. If your tongue’s neighbor the stomach is having problems, it’s most likely going to spill over into your tongue’s life.” Continue reading

3 Steps to Successful Stress Management


Stressed woman

You can cope with stress if you have the right tools. Image by africa

Previously I talked about “The Crippling Effect of Stress on Your Organs”. We discussed the negative physical effects caused by stress ranging from heart problems to multiple sclerosis (MS).

Managing stress is all about taking charge of your life and your attitude towards dealing with problems.

Today we are going to look at the 3 steps that will help you manage and even overcome stress so that you don’t have to worry about the damage that stress can do to your body.

Step 1: Identify Source of Stress

Young woman pondering

The first step is successfully identifying the source of your stress.
photo by stock images

Let’s face it; identifying the source of stress in our lives is easier said than done. We can easily overlook our own negative behaviour such as stress-inducing thoughts and negative attitudes. Continue reading

2 Alcohol Health Benefit Myths Busted!

glass of red wine on carpet

The evidence about the possible health benefits of alcohol has always been uncertain .
Photo by Grant Cochrane

According to popular belief moderate alcohol consumption may provide the following health benefits:

  1. Reduce the risk of developing and succumbing to heart disease
  2. Possibly reduce the risk of ischemic stroke

The evidence about the possible health benefits of alcohol has always been uncertain and alcohol may not benefit everyone who drinks it. Continue reading

drunk alchoholic

5 Common Issues Children of Alcoholics Face as Adults

It is a club most never ask to join, but there is a solidarity among members that is hard to find anywhere else. Given a choice, most who belong wouldn’t have chosen the path that brought them there. Not only do they still carry the emotional, and sometimes physical, scars of that journey but some have been cursed to repeat the journey in their own lives.

drunkenAdult children of alcoholics (ACOA) spend most of their childhoods struggling to make sense of the insanity that is alcoholism, only to find out as adults that they still don’t have all the answers. Even more frustrating is the awareness that for all the promises that they were *never* going to be like *them* when they grew up, they often find themselves back in the vicious cycle of addiction.

One in four children under the age of 18 are exposed to alcoholism in their family, and those children are four times more likely to face their own addictions as adults. They are also more likely to marry someone dealing with alcoholism, either their own or with a similar family history. For some it can be a double-edged sword because they will either become the alcoholic, or marry one. Even if they escape the addictive personality, they are sometimes drawn to partners who will treat the as badly as they saw their parents treating each other.

Copycat Behaviors

Parents model many of the behaviors that children learn from, and that includes how to treat other people. If, for example, a son grows up seeing his alcoholic father or mother berate and belittle the other parent, he learns from their example how to 1) berate and belittle others; 2) what constitutes “acceptable” behavior in a relationship, especially if the other parent never stands up for themselves. It can create conflicting emotions as an adult because they will either look for someone they can bully, or try to find someone who will bully them.

Controlling Walls


As children, they saw or experienced painful behaviors from the alcoholic and so as adults, the walls they build are comprised of rigid routines, inflexible predictability, “no one will ever treat me like that,” and “I will never do that.” It is their way of controlling what they couldn’t control as children, and it helps to make them feel safe again.

When someone breaks one of their boundary rules, changes plans, or they feel  out of control in other ways, there can be a sudden reaction of anger and anxiety. Relationships can be swiftly and uncompromisingly ended. It is often “all or nothing” or “my way or the highway.”

Role Reversals

In some single parent homes where the parent is the alcoholic, children may roles reverse and it is the child that takes care of the parent. Often if there are multiple children in the home, the oldest child becomes the parent for all of them, because there were no other options. As an adult, an ACOA may become overly responsible, taking responsibility for things that are out of their control such as problems they didn’t cause or other people’s feelings.

Isolation as a Wall

alcoholicWith a childhood that was often filled with neglect, abuse, rejection, or feeling unloved, unwanted, and alone, ACOAs can have a hard time trusting others, making it hard to develop lasting relationships because they can’t bring themselves to open up to others in an effort to protect themselves from getting hurt again. They may not even know how to trust themselves, or honestly know who they are. They may have hidden their own emotions for so long, going along with what others wanted just to keep people from knowing them.

Approval Seekers

ACOAs want to be liked, loved, accepted and approved after childhoods filled with everything but those needs. They want to avoid conflict, and so they do whatever is necessary to make everyone happen, even at the sacrifice of their own desires. Hand in hand with people pleasing, ACOAs can also be perfectionists. In another effort to avoid conflict and criticism as a child, they sometimes had unattainable goals of perfection which may carry into adulthood.

A Brighter Future

While these are just a few of the traits that Adult Children of Alcoholics may have learned as coping mechanisms, there is hope for change. Counseling, or (free) groups like Al-Anon and ACOA, can provide help, direction, support, materials, and just the knowledge that you are not alone in your struggles. Sometimes the road to recovery begins with a  welcoming hug.

Jennifer Landis is a tea-drinking, yoga loving, clean eating blogger, writer, wife, and mother. You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama.

Medical Procedure Estimate Tool

No Surprise Medical Bills – Medical Procedure Estimate Tools

You deserve to know the cost of caring for your health.

Amino @AminoHealth recently launched new health care cost estimate tools that you will be interested in.

See cost estimates for ~50 medical procedures and services nationwide (USA) across dermatology, diagnostics, men’s health, orthopedics, preventative care, surgeries, and women’s health.

Amino tools now let you:

  • Compare cost differences in your region based on your insurance.

  • Calculate what you might pay from your own bank account with an out-of-pocket cost calculator.

  • View and compare cost estimates for individual doctors–and book an appointment with the doctor of your choice for free through Amino.

As part of their  launch campaign, they created an exclusive infographic that will walk you through the complexities of estimating health care costs.


Launch the health procedure cost estimate tool

vaping is stupid

Why Vaping Is as Dumb as Smoking

There’s a lion enclosure at your local zoo. The lions have a well-documented history of attacking people on sight. The lions have not yet been fed that day. Given the data at hand, deciding to jump into that enclosure would be pretty stupid, wouldn’t it?

Say there’s a different lion enclosure at another zoo. The lions are new to captivity. There’s no data regarding their reactions to humans. They’ve been fed.

Which enclosure would it be safer to jump into?

The second, obviously. The lions have at least been fed, so a human leaping in doesn’t look like a magically appearing meal. There’s no proof they’ve attacked before, so there’s at least a chance they won’t attack now. But is it safe to jump into that enclosure?

The answer, of course, is an emphatic no. Just because an activity is safer than, it doesn’t make it safe, especially when the data needed to make that decision is incomplete.

Vaping: Safer Than

vaping teenagerVaping delivers a nicotine fix without the tobacco, sating an addiction without the known carcinogenic and other medical dangers of tobacco. As such, it’s touted as a safe, satisfying alternative to smoking. It’s marketed as a fun hobby and an effective way to quit smoking cigarettes. Fact: neither of those marketing claims is facts.

Not enough studies and tests have been completed to support sweeping statements regarding the safety of e-cigarettes and vaping. There is no conclusive evidence that these alternatives are effective tools for kicking a tobacco habit.

Where’s the Data?

Over the last decade, the e-cigarette and vaping industry have exploded, resulting in a largely unregulated $3 billion global industry.

The data has, simply put, not had the time to catch up to the market. Policymakers and lawmakers are struggling to decide if and how to regulate e-cigarette use. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), World Health Organization (WHO), and other guardian entities of health and public safety are scrambling to find the footholds they need to even begin studying the effects of vaping on the human body.

In other words, there isn’t enough data to show that vaping is a definite health threat, but there also isn’t enough data to prove that it’s safe.

Emerging Health Concerns

A lack of definitive answers does not equal a complete lack of data or concerns.

Health organizations like the American Lung Association are beginning to compile and investigate a growing list of concerns including, but not limited to:

  • Manufacturers have not revealed the chemicals used in their products
  • Early tests have already found significant cancer-causing chemicals
  • A child has already died from accidentally ingesting liquid nicotine from e-cigarettes
  • Preliminary studies also raise concerns over the risks of secondhand emissions

Frightening Setbacks

Thanks to diligent research and effective communication, the population of cigarette smokers in the United States has dropped to between 12 and 28%, depending on the state.

But while Big Tobacco’s control and influence are waning in traditional cigarette sales, they are starting to make up for it through vaping. In the case of youth sales, vaping has allowed them easy, unchecked access to a new market.

As of 2013, “over a quarter of a million youth who had never smoked a cigarette used e-cigarettes.” That’s triple the amount from 2011. Imagine what that figure would be today.

Between flavoring options and marketing, it is clear that the vaping industry is taking advantage of the lack of oversight and regulations to create an addicted consumer base among youth and children.

Pro-Profit, Anti-Truth

Whether it’s Big Tobacco at the helm or new vaping manufacturers, the end-goal is clear: profit. If the decades of runarounds, cover-ups, and deceptions from the tobacco industry have proven anything, it’s that the manufacturer of the goods has no incentive to reveal the dangers and risks their goods pose to consumer health and safety.

Does that sound too cynical to be true? For some light reading, read WHO’s information revealing just how much the tobacco industry was willing to lie, deny, and cover up in the name of profit.

With vaping profits on the rise, consumers need to ask: why should we believe an addiction-for-profit based industry’s word now?

Why Is Vaping as Dumb as Smoking?

vaping outside schoolIt’s like jumping into that second den of lions because the lions told you: “Come on in – I already ate.” 

Jennifer Landis is a tea-drinking, yoga loving, clean eating blogger, writer, wife, and mother. You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama.

Superbug- The End of Antibiotics

Superbug: The End of Antibiotics? Are We All Going to Die?

What on Earth is a superbug?

Imagine having an incurable bacterial infection that doctors can’t stop from spreading. How long have you got to live? You are asking yourself, how this can be possible in the 21st century. The era of the superbug has dawned upon us. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 2 million people get sick from a superbug every year, out of which 23,000 die.

How super is a superbug?

The term ‘superbug’ is a sensational one that has been coined by the media because it resonates by creating fear. We all know how the media loves a little bit of drama right? Brian K. Coombes, PhD, of McMaster University in Ontario explains:

Brian K. Coombes, PhD, of McMaster UniversityDoctors often use phrases like “multidrug-resistant bacteria.” That’s because a superbug isn’t necessarily resistant to all antibiotics. It refers to bacteria that can’t be treated using two or more.

And yes, on the 27th of May the case of a 49 year old woman with a superbug that beat even the last-resort antibiotic was all over the news:

CNN Superbug

However as the article on CNN’s website shows, it all ended well:

Cnn Superbug cure

So no big deal right?

Wrong! Let’s not even think of belittling the situation. The threat is real, and 23,000 deaths a year is no joke. Besides, antibiotics are the backbone of modern medicine.  Here is more from Brian K. Coombes:

Cancer chemotherapy, organ transplants, surgeries, and childbirth all rely on antibiotics to prevent infections. If you can’t treat those, then we lose the medical advances we have made in the last 50 years.

How do I protect myself from a superbug?

1. Avoid antibiotic misuse

Do not misuse antibiotics by taking them when you don’t need them or by not finishing all of your medicine. According to the CDC, this is the “single leading factor” contributing to this problem. Also know that the more antibiotics you’ve taken, the higher your risk of catching a superbug.

2. Stay alert in hospitals

The hospital is also a high-risk place to be. The more visits you to the hospital setting, the more you risk catching a superbug. In the hospital environment, you may catch a superbug through what experts call ‘healthcare-associated infections’ (HAIs).  According to the CDC,” Many of the most urgent and serious antibiotic-resistant bacteria threaten patients while they are being treated in healthcare facilities for other conditions, and may lead to sepsis or death.” So make sure the doctors and nurses are following the right protocol to avoid infections.

Please see the CDC infographic below:

Superbug antibiotic-resistance


3. Avoid antibiotic-tainted meat

The use of antibiotics in farm animals leads to an increased risk of antibiotic resistant infections in humans. Get your meat from your local farmers, it may be more expensive but it tastes better and is much safer.


What can science do to fight antibiotic resistance?

Anya Vanecek put this question out on Quora and we found the best answer for you. Mary Bushman who does research on resistance in malaria had the best answer. I have put it down word for word:

There are multiple ways we can manage antibiotic resistance. The following is a mix of current, well-accepted methods, as well as some ideas that are still being explored/tested.

1. Preserve the effectiveness of the drugs that still work

(a) Limit use of antibiotics (agricultural use and inappropriate prescribing, as well as over-the-counter availability in many countries) and encourage correct use (finishing the course of treatment).

(b) Prevent resistant bugs from infecting others (infection control in clinical settings, plus regular public health interventions to reduce transmission).

(c) Combination therapy – treating with multiple drugs simultaneously. Using two or more drugs makes it harder for resistance to emerge, since the bug would have to develop resistance to both drugs.

(d) Vary the selection pressure. The more consistently a drug is used, the more advantage there is in being resistant. Using a variety of drugs (by giving different drugs to different people or switching the “drug of choice” every few years) may help prevent or reduce resistance.

2. Develop new drugs

(a) Find drugs with mechanisms of action (ways of killing) that don’t overlap with current drugs. When drugs share a mechanism, resistance to one will often mean resistance to the other. Finding drugs that work in different ways helps avoid this, and also works better for combination therapy.

(b) Search for drugs that are hard to develop resistance to. As we learn more about how different drugs kill, and how resistance works, drug development can be smarter and more targeted (as opposed to random screening of thousands of compounds for antibiotic activity).

(c) Unfortunately, developing new drugs is expensive, and pharmaceutical companies weigh the cost of development against a new drug’s money-making potential. We badly need new drugs for malaria and tuberculosis, but since these are mainly diseases of “poor people” who can’t afford expensive new drugs, pharm companies consider it a bad investment.

3. Try to reverse existing resistance

(a) In some cases, when a drug stops being used because of resistance, the resistance will actually start to go back down. This is because of a “cost” of resistance, meaning when the drug is not there, the resistant types don’t do very well. An example is that chloroquine-resistant malaria is present in many places, but in a number of places where chloroquine is no longer used, the resistance has decreased. If we can control drug use enough to make this happen, we may be able to “save” some drugs that are losing their effectiveness.

(b) In some cases, there can be a “trade-off” with resistance to different drugs. You can be resistant to drug A, or to drug B, but not both. If resistance to drug A is very common, and you start treating everyone with drug B, the bug might evolve resistance to B, but would have to lose the resistance to A. So, you might be able to start using A again in the future. This won’t happen in every case, or even very often, but when it does happen it can be a neat solution.

See the original answers to”How do we solve antibiotic resistance?”


So we can conclude that antibiotic resistance is not the end of antibiotics. The superbug that just came to the U.S. is still treatable as I explained. We have been creating more and more resistant strains by misusing antibiotics, be it through direct consumption or through farm animals. Perhaps someday all bacteria will be resistant to all types of current antibiotics, but that just means we will have to discover a new type of cure.


Superbugs: What They Are and How You Get Them
Superbugs threaten hospital patients
A dreaded superbug found for the first time in a U.S. woman
New CDC report links factory farms to antibiotic resistance
Brian K. Coombes Profile