What a headache!

I don’t know about for you, but spring fever can bring along with it some major headaches.  Pollen in the air leads to stuffy noses and sinus pressure.

What else can cause headaches?  And, what can you do to combat them?

1. Your Weight.  The risk of headaches can increase with the size of your waist.  Getting below a BMI of 30 can decrease your risk of headache by 35%.

2. Your Personality.  Being an anxious and inflexible person can lead you to have a greater number of headaches.  Try yoga or meditation to boost your mood.

3.  Your Weekend.  Sleeping in and lounging about sounds like fun on days Monday through Friday, but it can mean a heck of a headache come Saturday and Sunday.  Try to stick to your regular bed routine and try to get outside the house on weekends.

4.  Your Fluid Intake.  Dehydration can lead to really, really bad headaches.  Make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as these are the foods that have the highest water content.  You don’t need to drown in glass after glass of H20 — just choose to eat the right foods.

5.  Your Sleep.  Sleeping an average of six hours a night can lead to more headaches than sleeping an average of 8 hours a night.  Catch your Zzzz’s!

6. Your Food Intake.  Skipping meals can make you irritable and headache prone.  Best foods to prevent headaches: Spinach, tofu, oat bran, barley, fish oil, olive oil, white beans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

7. Your Position Relative to Sea Level.  High altitudes and flying can lead to headaches due to pressure changes.  A recent study  shows that taking 600mg of Ibuprofen prior to the altitude change can help!  (On an aside, whenever I fly, I take 4 to 8 Ibuprofen prior to boarding the plane.  I used to get killer migraines when flying and haven’t *knock on wood* since I started this routine!)

Any of you out there get frequent headaches?  What have you found works?

 

Ability Profile: Allergies

 Achoo!

No, I’m not actually sneezing.  It’s morel like this:

ZZzzzZZzZZZzZzzzzzz.

Today and every day for the past two weeks I could be asleep all day long.

Allergies: You’re no friend of mine.

I’ve tried sleeping for longer, but that only makes me want to sleep even longer!  This morning my wife had to get me out of bed with threats and even then I was still struggling just to lift my feet out of bed.

What are my options?

  • Over the counter allergy medications:  They work quite well, but can cause pretty serious headaches in some.  They can also rev you up and make it difficult to sleep (isn’t sleep what I’m craving right now!?).
  • “Natural” remedies.  I’ve tried putting LOCAL bee pollen in smoothies and on salads before.  They say that the LOCAL variety contains some anti-allergy-magic that can help.
  • Allergy shots.  Ouch.
  • Nasal sprays.  I’ve tried these before and feel like they never actually do much.  Many of them also have the risk of addiction and loss of smell.  Yikes!
What have you all done that you’ve found effective and relatively side-effect free?  I want to feel awake like I did just a few weeks ago.  Help save me from allergy sleepiness!

 

Yoga for Everyone…Really?

Let’s put  yoga contests, yoga scandals and the multi-billion dollar yoga industry aside for now.  Those are distractions and diversions.  I believe that yoga truly is for everyone.  It may be that the kind of  yoga that’s best for you isn’t proffered on the major news outlets and on the magazine rack at the market checkout.  Rest assured, there is a yoga practice that can bring unimagined grace and flexibility into your life, whomever you are.

You may insist that you wouldn’t be caught dead in those skin tight butt-crack-hugging leotard-looking faux jeans and you don’t fancy being crammed into a sauna-like room attempting slippery contortions inches away from a sweaty stranger.  On the other hand, you might love that.  I did (well not the tight pants part) and still love a vigorous workout.  But that’s not yoga; at least for most of the human population.

The practice of yoga has been around for thousands of years.  Though it may often be taught with references to Hindu dieties, it’s not a religion.  It’s not a creed.  It doesn’t come ladden with dogma or riddled with social clicks; at least it shouldn’t.  Again, those things are the attachments and diversions of us humans who are struggling to deal with our own peculiar kind of suffering.

There are many styles of yoga listed by various organizations (here’s one).  Some styles, like bhakti yoga involve very little focus on physical work and instead practice primarily meditation and acts of devotion and service.  New styles are “born” in the west every year.  Many of these styles fall under the hatha yoga umbrella and will fade as they are really business and marketing ventures; a slightly new take on the ubiquitous  vinyasa flow practice. There are yoga styles, like Viniyoga, that are geared towards individual practice and recent studies are proving their therapeutic benefit.

This is all to say, in the words of the UUA’s beloved yoga teacher Jovielle Gers, that if you desire a practice that will help you be a calmer, more compassionate, more joyful human being, yoga can “set you on your way.”  And while you’re at it you’ll be giving your body some lovely stretching and strengthening as well.

Give it a shot.  The best part is that you can start right now!  The UUA offers twice weekly yoga classes taught by Jovielle in the chapel at 25 Beacon St.  Get in touch with Hilary Gray or myself for more info.  There’s no obligation if you reach out to one of us with questions.

The Many Benefits of White Bread

Just kidding :)

I grew up on white bread, as did many of us.  I went on my first diet in fourth grade at the urging of my pediatrician.  I immediately started to get familiar with calorie counts and total fat — though I ignored most of the other facts in the nutrition facts and didn’t go any deeper.  Based on the nutrition labels below, which bread would I have chosen?

White Bread Nutrition:                      Whole-Wheat (WW) Bread Nutrition:

from quitehealthy.com
from quitehealthy.com

 

For someone who didn’t want to waste precious calories on bread, 60 versus 70 would have been plenty to convince me of the wonderfulness of white bread!

When I was younger, I put an even bigger emphasis on fat than I did calories – trying always to stick to my limit of 60 grams/day.  This extra .45g would have also convinced me that the white bread was the obviously healthy choice.  The amount of calcium and iron in the WW option would have felt negligible.

But, is white bread wonderful for my body?  Is it wonderful for yours? (more…)

Behind the Music: Thera-BAND

A ch1 (Choose Health 1 — get it, like vh1 …) correspondent sat down this week with the extraordinary popular Thera-Band.  Thera-Band is a leader in its field of “progressive exercise”.  Let’s hear what happened at the interview!

 

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today, Thera-Band.  I know you are constantly performing all over the country.  What is your performance  schedule like anyway?

 

I am thrilled to be here, too, though I am very busy this time of year.  Just this morning I was performing at a rehabilitation hospital in Boston, MA.  I’ve been working with a patient who had knee surgery roughly a month ago.   This afternoon I have a performance scheduled in Las Vegas, NV.  A woman, who works as an office assistant at a nearby casino, and I are going to get her back muscles PUMPED UP! (more…)

Pain in the office?

Work Ergonomics

Do you know what hurts sometimes?

Sitting.  Yep.  Sitting.

Our bodies were not created to sit for 8 hours a day, especially not 8 consecutive hours.  Our postural muscles are designed to hold us up during movement and they really don’t like having to be constantly flexed or extended.  This is why we hunch over while typing and we often laze in our chairs.

Our back and neck muscles are overstretched.  So what?  The muscles that work opposite our back and neck muscles have become too tight.  Our pectorals are super tight and they bring our shoulders forward, which further complicates the issue and makes desk related pain more painful.

The solution: (more…)

Did your jaws drop, too?

 

This video series is all in black and white — they mean business.  I was looking around online this morning, finding blog fodder, and came across an article about this campaign to target Georgia’s childhood obesity issues.  The ad states that 75% of parents whose children are obese in Georgia do not know it.  Jaw dropping.  This commercial about Tamika really shows how it makes a lot of sense that parents might not realize their children are in trouble: (more…)

Ability Profile: Adult ADHD: A Vacation from my Problems

~By AAA (Ability: Adult ADHD)

Back again, hope everyone is having a good holiday season!

I am having a trying vacation season.  Sustained attention in a crowd is not, shall we say, my forte.  I struggle with it and the holidays often require it.  The whole family is gathered together — people talking over one another, dishes rattling, emotions flaring, aliens sitting at the children’s table.  It can be chaotic at times.
(more…)

Kill One to Save Five? “The Trolley Dilemma”

The old psychological dilemma has been put to the test again: if you were driving the train, would you switch tracks to kills only one person or would you say on the same track and kill five people?  The question was whether the participant would switch tracks to actively kill one person or let nature take it’s course and kill the five men on the track.  Prior to this experiment, the test wasn’t visual, so participants never had to see the men they chose (or didn’t choose) to kill.

The results: 90% chose to kill the 1 over the five.

The interesting part of the study?   (more…)