Archive for the ‘Health & Wellness’ Category

Buying Eye Glasses

Where to Shop for Eye Glasses

I have to admit, that I over spend when it comes to my eyewear concerns, buying from my local optical office.

I was recently reading an article published Consumer’s Report outlining the 8 ways to save on eyewear.

  1. Do you own research, understand what your options are.
    2. Have a discussion with your eye professional (eye doctor)
    3. Explore your frames, first at your doctor’s office writing down brand, model and cost.
    4. Compare your options – use your computer to do a bit of comparison shopping.
    5. Negotiate -see if any store you might be considering whether they will match your best deal.
    6. Split-up your purchase – Get your exam one place and buy your frames and lens elsewhere.
    7. Buy a second pair
    8. Add-ons – research whether you really need those extra add-ons they try to sell you like eye lens coatings, etc.

Based on several readings, a good place to shop is both Sam’s Club and Costco for competitive pricing.

It is advised to resist buying frames you cannot try on, have your eyes examined at least every 12 months.

If your prescriptions is older than 12 months you will need a new exam in order to buy new eyewear, that being online or any retail establishment.


Guidelines for Back Pain

Back Pain

I found this information recently on how to treat back pain without medication in a weekly newsletter I receive. I have no medical training, however I thought you might find this information helpful.

Instead of using medication to over treat your lower-back pain… instead try finding relief through simple stretching, massage, and exercise.
The new guideline states that any patient with lower-back pain should first receive a non-medication treatment. This includes things like:

  • Massage
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Heat treatment

Massage– Massage worked best for people suffering from chronic lower-back pain, and it does even better when combined with other therapies.

Exercise -Exercise keeps us moving and stretching. By working your core muscles especially, exercise can stabilize your spines and help relieve pain.

Mediation – Meditation is one of my favorite therapies. It’s simple, effective, and anyone can do it. It helps lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and alleviate back pain.

I have numerous audio clips to assist in mediation, some I found online for free and others I paid a reasonable price.

Heat treatment– Heat wraps can help relieve lower-back pain, at least in the short term and for more acute pain.

Below is a 20 minute video that works you through a series of exercises to alieve back pain.

Hope this helps….


Buying a Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot

Pressure Cookers

While a slow cooker may be great at cooking that casserole while you’re at work all day, the pressure cooker wins at making healthy, hearty meals in little time.

The high pressure cooking technique doesn’t permit air or liquid to escape and also mixes the cooking liquid and the moisture from the food to cook quickly.

This technique helps tenderize tough cuts of meat that would normally take over three to four hours if you braised them in the oven.

Cooking under the pressure created by a pressure cooker means that you can cook stove top dishes more quickly.

A pressure cooker is great for cooking beans, stews, chicken soup, lamb shank, beef cheeks, pot roast, bacon ribs, pork ribs, and corn beef and cabbage.

There are numerous brands, styles and features to choose from; we purchased an “Instant Pot” brand just one of several available for purchase.

If you are new to pressure cookers, trial and error is recommended along with a cook book especially written for pressure cookers.

You can find recipes online along with thousands of users with their comments and techniques.

Word of caution.

When you use a pressure cooker, you’re dealing with contents under pressure. That fact alone means you must handle the appliance with as much care as possible so you don’t risk hurting yourself. ‘Make sure you always follow the manufacturer’s instructions because pressure cookers can be dangerous.


How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Good Night’s Sleep

Forget sleeping pills, not good for you especially long-term.

Proper Sleep Hygiene.

This includes things like…

Keep your room dark and cool.
Don’t have electronics in the bedroom and shut off screens one hour before bed.
Make the bedroom a place only for sex and sleep.
Skip the nighttime snacking.
Cut back on caffeine.
Stick to a sleep schedule.


In addition to the above, try using sound to get some sleep. Try a fan to help establish a bit of white noise while sleeping or use white noise machine.

You can download an app for your smartphone to create white noise, often for free. There are a variety of apps to choose from and different sounds like rain, thunder, etc.

Sleep tight………..


Blood-Pressure Screening

Ways to Stay Healthy

If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, then you have high blood pressure. The problem is, you can’t detect high blood pressure without screening.

Your pressure can slowly rise over time, doing damage to your internal organs, including your brain… completely unnoticed.

This makes screening for high blood pressure essential.

But, if you find you do have high blood pressure, know that there are plenty of ways to take control of it without immediately going on medications. However, it is advisable to consult with a health professional.

Keep track of your blood pressure. Start a log of your blood-pressure readings. Write your test results down at the doctor’s office. If you get a high-pressure reading, wait a few days and try it again.
There are apps available for your smartphone or tablet that you can use to record your readings.

Make sure you follow healthy lifestyle guidelines. Exercise regularly – at least 30 minutes, five days a week. I like to take a 30-minute walk every day to get my exercise in.

Don’t forget to do a bit of mediating or practice relaxation exercises.

Cut the caffeine. Along with stress, caffeine can raise your blood pressure. Remember not to have that morning coffee before going to the doctor for a test or before taking one at your local drugstore. You might also consider cutting multiple cups down to just one or two a day.

Don’t forget that if you drink sodas, that has caffeine as well unless you buy caffeine-free sodas.




Medicare – Open Enrollment

Medicare – Open Enrollment

medicare-open-enrollmentMedicare’s enrollment period is coming to an end soon, just a month away. You must make any changes you want between the dates of October 15 and December 7, 2016.

You should review your coverages annually to insure you are not paying too much. Case in point is myself; Medicare Part D coverage was to increase to $32.90 with my current provider for 2017. However, I switched provider and lowered my cost to just $17 monthly.

It is a mistake to assume that the options that were best for you in the past are still best for you in the coming year (2017). Do shop and review several insurance companies to keep your costs in check along with specific coverages in mind.

When shopping for coverages for Medicap (supplemental) , the letter code (10 versions) you choose is required to offer the same coverage within your state regardless of which insurance company you buy from.

If you shop supplemental coverage (Medicap) beware that you might not be approved for a different provider if you wish to switch from your current provider. Insurance companies are required to sell these plans at their standard rates only during the first six months that you are eligible. Premiums could be significantly higher if you switch.

Medicare Advantage plans which can also include drugs (Part D), dental, hearing and vision can be extremely cost effective with some state plans charging no monthly premiums. However, you will not have much flexibility when it comes to your choice of doctors or hospitals.

Coverage can be extremely limited if you travel often, live in multiple states or travel overseas.

Bottom line – do your homework, comparison shop and carefully review what is covered and what is not. If you cannot find the time annually to shop policies, do so at least once every two or three years.

You should shop not only Medicare, but your homeowners and automobile insurance periodically.


Is Your Cell Phone hazardous to Your Health?

Cell Phone Hazards

Cell PhoneI remember reading something about cell phones and health issues over the years, so reading this past week’s article from BottomLine Personal newsletter didn’t surprise me though new studies show the radiation from cell phones even more worrisome.

Besides the risks of cancer, you can add sleep problems, people who use cell phones and other wireless devices in the hours before bedtime have more trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

It’s not only cell phones we need to be concerned about, but other electronics as well. These devices include, Wi-Fi Routers, cordless phones, laptops, tablets and even wireless fitness bands.

So how should we protect our self’s from harmful radiation?

  1. Turn the device off – putting your cell phone in “airplane” mode stops radiation. Turn off “Blue tooth” devices as well.
  2. Keep your distance – the further away you are the better. Use the speakerphone feature of your cell phone. Never put the phone next to your head. Blue tooth connection in a car though is fine as it reduces radiation to the user.
  3. Avoid certain surroundings – using your cell phone in an airplane, train or elevator creates hotspots that increase your exposure to radiation.
  4. Landline – If your landline phone provides this feature; forward your cell phone to your landline phone whenever you are home.

Be Safe…..



Bad habits that can do damage to your teeth.

How not to Damage Your Teeth

July’s issue of Bottom Line Personal feature an article about bad habits that can do damage to your teeth.

Snacking – especially sweets can create more bacteria which in turn converts to an acid which can damage your teeth as well as your gums.  Brushing will remove some of the sugar and bacterial acids after eating.

Chewing ice cubes – ice is harder than candy and it can cause cracks in your tooth enamel, which increases the risk for tooth decay.

Hard brushing – this is my personal bad habit, hard brushing abrades tooth enamel along with gums. Use only a soft brush and don’t bear down when brushing. Tip (buy an electric toothbrush).

Nail-biting – constant nibbling on your teeth can fracture your tooth enamel over time. Stress often is the cause for nail-biting so try to relieve that stress as much as possible.

Using teeth as a tool – such as opening bags, removing tags with your teeth and so on. Instead that the time to find your scissors or dig through your toolbox for the proper tool.

Grinding and clenching Your Teeth at Night – try a relaxation program; grinding almost always increases during times of stress. If you have a tendency to grind while sleeping, speak with your dentist about possible solutions to that habit.

Quote – “Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance.”

Have a great week – Dan

Why Crash Diets Always Make You Even Fatter

Why Crash Diets Always Make You Even Fatter

When you diet so severely your body—thinking it is being starved—resets a chemical in the brain that affects your metabolism. Specifically, the hormone leptin takes a huge and long-lasting dip, and this correlates with a marked decrease in your “resting metabolic rate”—the energy your body normally consumes.

The result is your body will burn fewer calories and store more fat. If, for example, your average calorie burn was 2,000 before a diet, it could be 1,500 afterward. Thus, you could eat less than you were before but still gain weight.

What does this all mean?

• Some diets work better than others. Low carb, Paleo-style diets are superior to low-fat

diets because they reduce blood sugar spikes from grains. Not only that, a 2004 study found

that high blood triglyceride levels stop leptin from crossing the blood-brain barrier. And high

triglycerides are driven by carbohydrates.

(Lowcarb diets have also been shown to burn almost

40% more fat.)

• Spend more time in the daylight, or replace your fluorescent bulbs with “full-spectrum” lights

that simulate natural daylight. Researchers in Manchester found that the light you’re exposed to

has a huge impact on your hormone synthesis.

• Don’t jog for long hours–sprint instead.

Doing low-impact exercises for hours at a time will burn calories, but it also negatively affects

your hormone levels. High-intensity interval training has been shown to be just as effective

for fat loss but doesn’t wreak havoc on your hormones.

The bottom line is that the conventional wisdom about fat people being mentally weak is flat-out


The new science of weight loss proves that body weight has less to do with what you put in your

mouth… and more to do with what’s going on in your brain.

Quote – “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire world, deserve your love and affection”


Lose Stress in 5 Minutes

Controlling Stress

I read this numerous month ago in one of my magazines, thought I believe the publication is no longer being published.

  1. EAT A SQUARE OF DARK CHOCOLATE – Not only is it rich in healthy flavonols, but cocoa also causes the brain to release endorphins, the same feel-good hormones you get after a run.
  2. EMBRACE THE RUSH – Short-term stress can actually help memory and brain function. So use that initial burst of energy to make the deadline, then learn to just let it go.
  3. GIVE A BEAR HUG – A nice, big squeeze triggers the release of the warm and fuzzy love hormone oxytocin. No hug- worthy friends close by? Shaking hands works, too.
  4. TAKE A YOUTUBE – BREAK Just be sure to watch something funny (such as a pet video). A good belly laugh relaxes muscles, lowers blood pressure and releases natural painkillers.
  5. FIND A GREEN SPACE – Walking in nature relieves tension, decreases frustration and increases calm feelings. No time to get to a park? Even five minutes outside lifts mood.

The above techniques along with meditation or relax exercises will go a long way in improving your stress levels.

I hope this helps…. Dan