Living Lite

Vaccines are Safe!

March 10, 2019

"The current measles outbreaks in the United States and elsewhere are being fueled by misinformation about the safety of vaccines," according to warnings issued recently from the Presidents of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. 

To help counter such misinformation, the Academies created a website that provides clear, concise, and evidence-based answers to questions about vaccine safety and other commonly asked questions about health and science as identified through our partnership with Google. 

The evidence base includes a number of our studies examining vaccine access, safety, scheduling, and possible side effects.  Our work has validated that the science is clear – vaccines are extremely safe, the Academies Presidents continued in their warning statement.

Given our shared congressional mandate to advise the nation, we are compelled to draw attention to these facts in order to inform better decision-making at a time when it is urgently needed to protect the health of communities in our country and around the world.  Furthermore, we call on our professional colleagues everywhere to share these facts as widely as possible, they added.  


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To Curb Cravings, Eat a Sweet at Every Meal

March 3, 2019

My client, Debbie, said sweet cravings were destroying her health and her weight loss attempts. She was "eating practically a box of chocolates every day" and couldn't stop. And while chocolate fits into a healthy diet - I prescribe daily chocolate for my clients who need to gain weight - the amount she was eating was not helping her high cholesterol, her fatty liver, and was causing her weight to soar higher and higher.

What seemed like an impossible problem was a cinch to fix. All we did was add sweet foods to her routine. You see, your body craves a variety of flavors, textures, colors and shapes, preferably in each meal, to feel satisfied. If one of those flavors, such as sweet, is missing from your meal, you are less likely to feel satisfied and you will crave that missing flavor. Pay attention to your next large savory meal. Even if you are no longer hungry, you will probably crave sweets afterwards. If, on the other hand, you include fruit as a part of your meal, you will crave fewer sweets, which is something I advise in my book, Diet Simple.

Evolution created our drive for food variety, as it gave us more nutrients, allowing us to survive. Sweets were particularly important because they provided more calories to withstand frequent famines.

Simply make fruit a part of every meal and snack. You may be surprised at how your sweet cravings become more manageable. This technique works for my clients with excess sweet cravings, even for a recovering alcoholic who lived on sweets. 

Will fruit take the place of chocolate? Well... No! At least not all the time. But will it reduce your cravings and allow you to be satisfied with a more reasonable and healthy amount? My experience says: Yes! Give it a try yourself. The mandarine oranges I recently purchased from Trader Joe's really hit the spot for me, and allow me to enjoy a little chocolate, too.

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A Simple & Proven Method for Becoming Happier

February 25, 2019

Can you live a happier life, with a heightened sense of well-being? Yes! And science proves it. Start with this simple exercise.

You can change from being a pessimistic person to an optimistic person, says Martin Seligman, professor of positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. You can become happier, more likely to achieve your life's goals.

The Dalai Lama is well-known for his joyfulness, despite being banished from his own country (Photo by: The Dalai Lama is well-known for his joyfulness, despite being banished from his own country

Decades of studies have found being more positive improves your feelings of well-being, your chances for success in life - personally and professionally, and even increases longevity. I know that feeling optimistic may seem impossible if you're going through a tough time, feel depressed or anxious, or have health concerns. But there is hope. The well-being of those who do this simple exercise is better, and can last months, in fact, the rest of your life.

After years of placebo-controlled testing, the gold standard of scientific study, Seligman suggests this simple assignment to start with:

"Every night for the next week, write down three things that went well today and why they went well."

"... Turns out, six months later, if you start to do that, you statistically have less depression, less anxiety and higher life satisfaction. And importantly, it's addicting. People like doing positive psychology exercises, and they are self-reinforcing," said Seligman in a lecture on positive psychology.

You may have heard about this technique before; I admit it seems simplistic and corny. I never took it seriously until I learned how strong the scientific evidence is. The exercise is basically a form of cognitive therapy, which states that thoughts, feelings and behavior are all connected, and that individuals can move toward overcoming difficulties and meeting their goals by identifying and changing unhelpful or inaccurate thinking, problematic behavior, and distressing emotional responses.

Psychoanalysis can go just so far... Once you've unearthed your demons, ultimately, cognitive/behavioral therapy needs to take over so you can make real changes in your life. It's brave and open-minded to be willing to let go of your skepticism and try to change your thinking, emotions, and behavior. And it may not always be easy... But it works! Please give it a try.

I'd love it if you would contact me and let me know how you feel after one week of doing this exercise. I will be sharing more about the science of becoming happier in my upcoming series of articles ...

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