The Benefits of Light Therapy

Using Light Therapy to Treat SAD

As we are past daylight savings times, the days are getting shorter every single day. Our time with precious sunlight gets shorter and shorter every day. Not to mention the classic New England weather that we can soon expect; the regular cold air and darkness takes a serious toll on our emotional wellbeing year after year. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is very common. Up to 3 million people will experience some degree of SAD each year. It is especially common in more northern regions such as New England. Fortunately, SAD is very treatable. One of the most common recommendations for the treatment of SAD is to get sunlight (or artificial sunlight)!

The reason that sunlight is recommended to treat SAD is because sunlight helps our body activate and use Vitamin D. Research has also shown that there is a link between low levels of Vitamin D in the body and risk of depression. Meaning that the lower levels of Vitamin D you have, the more likely you are to experience SAD or other depressive symptoms. So, if you get enough regular sunlight, your levels of Vitamin D remain high, and symptoms of depression and SAD are decreased. Yes, it’s that simple.

Now if you are anything like me, fair skinned with light hair color and eye color; getting sunlight may seem like a good idea, but only if you load up with SPF 50 first! And if you find yourself living in an area that just doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, or you have a work schedule that prevents you from ever seeing the sun – like working full time night shifts; worry not. Using artificial sunlight through Light Therapy can mimic sitting in the sun and help to treat your SAD. Even better, there are no harmful UVA or UVB rays so there is no need for SPF!

UNH students, faculty and staff have access to free Light Therapy through Health & Wellness. The light therapy appointments last 20 minutes and you can sit in a private room in front of the light box. I have utilized this service countless times to get through the cold and dark winters in Durham, NH. I can definitely say that this helped me ease some of my seasonal depression symptoms. Even if you feel as though you might not need Light Therapy for SAD, there is something that is just so relaxing about sitting in the light in the winter. If you are interested in trying Light Therapy, make an appointment through Health & Wellness here. Email us to let us know what you think at!

Virtual Group Class at the Hamel Recreation Center

Virtual Fitness at UNH

This semester, the Hamel Rec. Center (HRC) here at UNH was able to create an environment where UNH community members can continue to engage in physical activity throughout the pandemic. There are many new policies in place, but they are in efforts to help patrons feel safe and relaxed in the gym and in group fitness classes. Unfortunately, UNH community members who have not been participating in the COVID-19 testing were unable to go to their favorite gym and group fitness classes. But that is no longer the case! Recently, the HRC has launched a schedule of various group fitness classes that are conducted virtually. To “attend” the classes, registration for the classes is required and opens 24 hours before the start time, and they can be done from any location!

Virtual group fitness classes include: POUND, Pilates, Core & More, Vinyasa Yoga, Cardio Kickboxing, and Cycling! A full schedule can be here. UNH community members can register for classes here. To register, simply click on the class of your choosing and go through the registration process. All registrations open 24 hours before the start time of the class. Once it is time to “attend” the class, return to the original class page, and a link to attend the class should appear.

To make the virtual class even more fun, invite your close contacts or roommates to do the class with you online! Even though a lot of things have changed since the start of the pandemic, it is still important to incorporate some type of body movements throughout the day to keep both your mind and body healthy. Additionally, participating in regular body movements or physical activity can help keep our spirits lifted through the release of endorphins (the happy hormone). If group fitness is not really “your thing” and you haven’t attended the HRC yet this semester but still have questions about safety protocols; check out our department highlight blog from the HRC.

If you decide to participate in the group fitness at the HRC, or have any tips for UNH community members who do not have access to the HRC; email us at!

Best Ways to Boost Your Immune System

With the Corona virus shutting down many countries in 2020, individuals with health challenges have chosen to limit social contacts and shutter in. Health organizations have focused prevention on social distancing, hand washing and face mask wearing.

We have an immune system which has successfully fought off illnesses throughout history. The famous germ theory versus terrain debate is what divides integrative medicine from more conventionally practiced medicine. Those in the terrain health camp know the immune system is the key to fighting all viruses and illness, including the most recent covid-19 virus.

While washing hands, limiting contact with sick individuals and quarantine of ill persons has been successfully used historically, what also makes sense is building one’s immune system. There are many steps one can take to do so. These include sunbathing, outdoors activity, exercise, good sleep, earthing, positive outlooks, healthy diets, and taking targeted nutritional supplements, vitamins and herbs.

By increasing one’s self care protocol, you can take charge of your health and feel safer when venturing out during the current pandemic. There are also steps one can take if symptoms of illness arise like sore throats, runny nose and coughing for extra boosting and healing.

Benefits of Sun

The benefits of sunshine to health are well established. Only recently have individuals been warned to limit sun exposure. Sun is now well known to help create vitamin D, but natural light has many more health benefits, including increasing immune function, improving eye sight, increasing mitochondria and creating healing. Sunbathing for a minimum of 20 minutes daily is recommended during warmer months, but exposure of eyes and skin throughout the year is beneficial.


Excersing is another way to boost one’s immune system and mood. Exercise is a well established activity that improves sleep, mood, heart and lung health. Every organ of one’s body benefits from movement.  Both cardiovascular and strength training activities are beneficial. Interval training exercise for just 12 minutes daily create tremendous health benefits.  Dr. Al Sears has done tremendous research documenting the health benefits of interval training exercise for 12 minutes.

Walking and spending time outdoors

Walking outdoors is a safe activity most can engage in to help with mood and overall health. During these times of limited social activity, it is especially important to get outdoors and enjoy the healing benefits of sunshine, fresh air and the sounds of nature. Walking outdoors barefoot, with one’s feet touching the ground, is even healthier, because the earth’s electrons are anti-inflammatory and healing. Spending time in nature is also known to be calming and beneficial to health.


While sleeping our bodies heal and rejuvenate. Seven to nine hours is recommended and earlier is better if possible. Listening to your body and getting adequate sleep is essential for good health. Natural supplements which can help with sleep include GABA and L-tryptophan. If needed CBD oil is another safe supplement which can enhance sleep. Epsom salt baths, minimizing blue light exposure in the evening and developing  good sleep hygiene habits are important steps toward improving and maintaining good sleep.

Positive Attitude

Fear damages one’s immune system. The power of a positive attitude is well established to promote healing and boost one’s immune system. Using cognitive therapy strategies can help improve one’s thinking. David Burns MD has many excellent books and resources on the easy use of cognitive therapy strategies to improve one’s outlook.


The Weston Price Foundation is a powerhouse of information detailing nutrient dense foods that can boost the immune system. Dr. Weston Price studied endemic cultures for 10 years in the early 1930’s discovering that these people enjoyed superior mental, physical and dental health by eating unprocessed foods available to them, including raw foods and healthy animal fats. These cultures consumed 4 to 10 times more water and fat soluble vitamins compared to the average American diet at that time. They enjoyed a natural immunity to tuberculosis which was common then. They also had perfect teeth, with no cavities or need for orthodontia.

An easy way to remember these dietary principles is to eat foods the way your great grandparents ate them, before the advent of fake, highly processed and unhealthy non foods. Every culture has traditional, healthy and delicious foods for both daily eating and special occasions.

Eating sunny side up pastured eggs with true sourdough bread toast with raw butter for breakfast, along with some fruit is nutrient dense. Old fashioned chicken soup, made from simmering pastured chicken or chicken bones with added vegetables, is full of vitamins. Organic fruits and vegetables, raw whole organic milk, pastured butter, wild salmon, oat porridge, soaked grains and legumes, and pastured beef, chicken and liver are traditional health foods. Preparation can be easy. My site Holistic Health to Go has many easy, delicious and healthy recipes.

Best Supplements

A good multi vitamin is essential now because our soils are very depleted of nutrients. Cod liver oil and K2 are important immune boosters. Cod liver oil contains vitamins  A and D in a perfect ratio. For virus prevention, vitamin C is a true superpower. Liposomal vitamin C is best absorbed and 1-10 grams can be taken daily. Tremendous research shows vitamin D is essential for our health and protective for Covid. Zinc combined with quercetin are also good for viral protection. B complex vitamins help mood and immunity. Omega 3 fish oil is a good overall supplement. Iodine, magnesium, glutathione, berberine, goldenseal, echinacea, Reishi mushrooms, colloidal silver, Kaolic garlic, ginger and selenium are other immune boosters.

Important supplements to treat a viral infection

Vitamin C is magical and high dosages can greatly help the immune system fight the cytokine storm resulting from a viral infection. Zinc and Quercetin can also greatly reduce a viral load associated with an infection. Increasing or maintaining other immune boosters is also beneficial when fighting any type of viral infection. Taking up to 100mg zinc daily along with upwards of 1,000 mg quercetin daily are considered safe dosages. Elderberry is considered beneficial for treatment of viruses, along with colloidal silver and raw Manuka honey.

Take Charge of Your Health

Taking responsibility for one’s health is an empowering step.  We have always had an immune system which fights disease. At the end of the day, it is only our bodies’ immune systems which are capable of healing of any kind. For viral illnesses, along with other contagious diseases boosting our immune system with the above strategies will help empower us to face the world with less fear.

Disclaimer: If one it taking medications of any kind or has any special health considerations, it is recommended to consult a physician prior to taking any supplementation. The information in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Please consult your personal healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions for yourself.

Sources for this article and further research:

Curing the Incurable by Thomas Levy, MD

Mood Cure by Julia Ross

The Immune Summit, 2020

Michelle Goldstein

Michelle is a mental health therapist who incorporates holistic principles into her full time counseling practice. She is passionate about holistic nutrition, natural healing and food/ medical health freedoms. After immersing herself into alternative medicine, seeking answers to a family health crisis, she discovered that conventional healthcare recommendations often contribute to illness. She has written for Natural News, Vac Truth and other health news sites, beginning in February 2013. All of her articles and recipes to date can be found at her site Holistic Health to Go,


About the Author

Michelle is a mental health therapist who incorporates holistic principles into her full time counseling practice. She is passionate about holistic nutrition, natural healing and food/ medical health freedoms. After immersing herself into alternative medicine, seeking answers to a family health crisis, she discovered that conventional healthcare recommendations often contribute to illness. She has written for Natural News, Vac Truth and other health news sites, beginning in February 2013. All of her articles and recipes to date can be found at her site Holistic Health to Go,


Deli Meat: Maybe cut out the cold cuts


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By everybodysfit

Posted Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 01:23pm EST

Keywords: bologne, carcinogen, cold cut, deli, deli meat, preservatives, processed meats, sandwich, turkey breast

Meat: Maybe cut out the cold cut

nice heart cold cut, lunch meat, whichever type of deli meat you favor, reading
the labels of these pre-packed proteins is very important. There are so many
types of deli meats from bologna to turkey breast, making a selection available
for every taste bud. However, this “meat”, really isn’t just meat, rather, it’s
a concoction of different by-products filled with chemicals. The fat and sodium
in excess increase the health risks increase for developing Type 2 diabetes and
high blood pressure, while chances of heart attack and stroke also rise.

Processed meats contain plenty of preservatives, hence their shelf life in your
refrigerator. These particular preservatives are nitrates or nitrites. These
are a potential carcinogen. All of the added flavors, smoking, salting, and
curing the meat, have been linked to cancer. The World Health Organization
(WHO) considers processed meat, which is deli meat, to be a Group 1 carcinogen.
Other additional ingredients include like
butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Those don’t
sound like they are meant to visit the digestive system.  It seems like a
couple slices of bread with lettuce and tomato with whichever meat, would be a
healthy lunch choice. So easy to make must mean too good to be true. Some meat
labels say they have no artificial sweeteners or are uncured, but the label
needs to say nitrates or nitrites free. We are easily lured by the words
“natural” or “organic”, but further investigation needs to be done. Eating
ingredients that we are unable to pronounce should probably be avoided. Bologna
is basically a mix of sausage, pork, chemicals, and preservatives. In other
words, avoid.

This doesn’t mean
that you have to completely cut deli meat out of the picture. As is with most
eating, making the meal with these meats yourself is probably healthier.
Ordering a sandwich at the local shop reveals the shelf life and the added
taste from the preservatives. That’s not to say that eating a greasy pizza
slice or juicy hamburger would be justified or a better option. However,
looking for low sodium options is important. One slice of typical deli meat can
contain over 200 mg of sodium, and most sandwiches are layered with meat. It is
interesting that the World Health Organization has found that eating just 50
grams of deli meat or any processed meat daily increases the risk for
colorectal cancer by 18%. Anything packed and preserved has been transformed
from its original taste for us to have easy access to and for manufactures to
prey on our pursuit of convenience. Choosing a deli counter versus a packaged
is also a better option. A person can also roast their own meat and slice it
themselves. The more far removed you know where something has come from, the
more you should remove it from your diet. In the end, hold the mayo and cheese,
and tell the person crafting your sandwich that you will pass on the nitrates
too. Clean eating typically means not eating foods that come in a
box or package and this may include deli meat as well.


Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY’s Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she’s an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She’s also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.


About the Author

Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY’s Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she’s an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She’s also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.


Let’s take spirituality up a notch

When I was a kid, if I were told that I’d be writing a book about diet and nutrition when I was older, let alone having been doing a health related radio show for over 36 years, I would’ve thought that whoever told me that was out of their mind. Living in Newark, New Jersey, my parents and I consumed anything and everything that had a face or a mother except for dead, rotting, pig bodies, although we did eat bacon (as if all the other decomposing flesh bodies were somehow miraculously clean). Going through high school and college it was no different. In fact, my dietary change did not come until I was in my 30’s.

Just to put things in perspective, after I graduated from Weequahic High School and before going to Seton Hall University, I had a part-time job working for a butcher. I was the delivery guy and occasionally had to go to the slaughterhouse to pick up products for the store. Needless to say, I had no consciousness nor awareness, as change never came then despite the horrors I witnessed on an almost daily basis.

After graduating with a degree in accounting from Seton Hall, I eventually got married and moved to a town called Livingston. Livingston was basically a yuppie community where everyone was judged by the neighborhood they lived in and their income. To say it was a “plastic” community would be an understatement.

Livingston and the shallowness finally got to me. I told my wife I was fed up and wanted to move. She made it clear she had to be near her friends and New York City. I finally got my act together and split for Colorado.

I was living with a lady in Aspen at the end of 1974, when one day she said, ” let’s become vegetarians”. I have no idea what possessed me to say it, but I said, “okay”! At that point I went to the freezer and took out about $100 worth of frozen, dead body parts and gave them to a welfare mother who lived behind us. Well, everything was great for about a week or so, and then the chick split with another guy.

So here I was, a vegetarian for a couple weeks, not really knowing what to do, how to cook, or basically how to prepare anything. For about a month, I was getting by on carrot sticks, celery sticks, and yogurt. Fortunately, when I went vegan in 1990, it was a simple and natural progression. Anyway, as I walked around Aspen town, I noticed a little vegetarian restaurant called, “The Little Kitchen”.

Let me back up just a little bit. It was April of 1975, the snow was melting and the runoff of Ajax Mountain filled the streets full of knee-deep mud. Now, Aspen was great to ski in, but was a bummer to walk in when the snow was melting.

I was ready to call it quits and I needed a warmer place. I’ll elaborate on that in a minute.

But right now, back to “The Little Kitchen”. Knowing that I was going to leave Aspen and basically a new vegetarian, I needed help. So, I cruised into the restaurant and told them my plight and asked them if they would teach me how to cook. I told them in return I would wash dishes and empty their trash. They then asked me what I did for a living and I told them I was an accountant.

The owner said to me, “Let’s make a deal. You do our tax return and we’ll feed you as well”. So for the next couple of weeks I was doing their tax return, washing their dishes, emptying the trash, and learning as much as I could.

But, like I said, the mud was getting to me. So I picked up a travel book written by a guy named Foder. The name of the book was, “Hawaii”. Looking through the book I noticed that in Lahaina, on Maui, there was a little vegetarian restaurant called,” Mr. Natural’s”. I decided right then and there that I would go to Lahaina and work at “Mr. Natural’s.” To make a long story short, that’s exactly what happened.

So, I’m working at “Mr. Natural’s” and learning everything I can about my new dietary lifestyle – it was great. Every afternoon we would close for lunch at about 1 PM and go to the Sheraton Hotel in Ka’anapali and play volleyball, while somebody stayed behind to prepare dinner.

Since I was the new guy, and didn’t really know how to cook, I never thought that I would be asked to stay behind to cook dinner. Well, one afternoon, that’s exactly what happened; it was my turn. That posed a problem for me because I was at the point where I finally knew how to boil water.

I was desperate, clueless and basically up the creek without a paddle. Fortunately, there was a friend of mine sitting in the gazebo at the restaurant and I asked him if he knew how to cook. He said the only thing he knew how to cook was enchiladas. He said that his enchiladas were bean-less and dairy-less. I told him that I had no idea what an enchilada was or what he was talking about, but I needed him to show me because it was my turn to do the evening meal.

Well, the guys came back from playing volleyball and I’m asked what was for dinner. I told them enchiladas; the owner wasn’t thrilled. I told him that mine were bean-less and dairy-less. When he tried the enchilada he said it was incredible. Being the humble guy that I was, I smiled and said, “You expected anything less”? It apparently was so good that it was the only item on the menu that we served twice a week. In fact, after about a week, we were selling five dozen every night we had them on the menu and people would walk around Lahaina broadcasting, ‘enchilada’s at “Natural’s” tonight’. I never had to cook anything else.

A year later the restaurant closed, and somehow I gravitated to a little health food store in Wailuku. I never told anyone I was an accountant and basically relegated myself to being the truck driver. The guys who were running the health food store had friends in similar businesses and farms on many of the islands. I told them that if they could organize and form one company they could probably lock in the State. That’s when they found out I was an accountant and “Down to Earth” was born. “Down to Earth” became the largest natural food store chain in the islands, and I was their Chief Financial Officer and co-manager of their biggest store for 13 years.

In 1981, I started to do a weekly radio show to try and expose people to a vegetarian diet and get them away from killing innocent creatures. I still do that show today. I pay for my own airtime and have no sponsors to not compromise my honesty. One bit of a hassle was the fact that I was forced to get a Masters Degree in Nutrition to shut up all the MD’s that would call in asking for my credentials.

My doing this radio show enabled me, through endless research, to see the corruption that existed within the big food industries, the big pharmaceutical companies, the biotech industries and the government agencies. This information, unconscionable as it is, enabled me to realize how broken our health system is. This will be covered more in depth in the Introduction and throughout the book and when you finish the book you will see this clearly and it will hopefully inspire you to make changes.

I left Down to Earth in 1989, got nationally certified as a sports injury massage therapist and started traveling the world with a bunch of guys that were making a martial arts movie. After doing that for about four years I finally made it back to Honolulu and got a job as a massage therapist at the Honolulu Club, one of Hawaii’s premier fitness clubs. It was there I met the love of my life who I have been with since 1998. She made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. She said,” If you want to be with me you’ve got to stop working on naked women”. So, I went back into accounting and was the Chief Financial Officer of a large construction company for many years.

Going back to my Newark days when I was an infant, I had no idea what a “chicken” or “egg” or “fish” or “pig” or “cow” was. My dietary blueprint was thrust upon me by my parents as theirs was thrust upon them by their parents. It was by the grace of God that I was able to put things in their proper perspective and improve my health and elevate my consciousness.

The road that I started walking down in 1975 has finally led me to the point of writing my book, “A Sane Diet For An Insane World”. Hopefully, the information contained herein will be enlightening, motivating, and inspiring to encourage you to make different choices. Doing what we do out of conditioning is not always the best course to follow. I am hoping that by the grace of the many friends and personalities I have encountered along my path, you will have a better perspective of what road is the best road for you to travel on, not only for your health but your consciousness as well.

Last but not least: after being vaccinated as a kid I developed asthma, which plagued me all of my life. In 2007 I got exposed to the organic sulfur crystals, which got rid of my asthma in 3 days and has not come back in over 10 years. That, being the tip of the iceberg, has helped people reverse stage 4 cancers, autism, joint pain, blood pressure problems, migraine headaches, erectile dysfunction, gingivitis, and more. Also, because of the detoxification effects by the release of oxygen that permeates and heals all the cells in the body, it removes parasites, radiation, fluoride, free radicals, and all the other crap that is thrust upon us in the environment by Big Business.

For more, please view and


Small and Simple Stress Management

Box Breathing

If you’ve ever looked into stress management techniques or exercises; I’m sure you have come across some pretty involved things. Things such as restorative yoga, coloring and listening to music, going for a walk in nature, the list could go on. And not that there is anything particularly “wrong” with these things. They can just be a little bit time consuming – especially for those with busy or constantly changing schedules. Additionally, these are all activities that involve dropping what you are doing and shifting your focus to a new task.

Today, I will be introducing Box Breathing! This is a stress management technique that can be done almost anywhere at any time, and no one will know that you are doing it. Box Breathing is a simple deep-breathing exercise that is best used to calm the mind and reduce high energy negative emotions. It is a common exercise that is used by athletes, nurses, police officers, and even Navy Seals. This is because the exercise will only calm the mind, not the body. It won’t make you feel sleepy or groggy after; it just calms racing thoughts and can help you think more clearly and stay focused in high stress situations.

To do the exercise, follow these steps:

  1. Try to slow any racing thoughts
  2. Expel all of the air in your chest as best as you can
  3. Inhale deeply and slowly for 4 counts
  4. Hold for 4 counts at the top of your breath
  5. Exhale deeply and slowly for 4 counts
  6. Hold for 4 counts at the bottom of your breath
  7. Repeat this cycle until you start to feel calm and focused

This exercise may be difficult for some at first as it is hard to stay focused. Some also may experience mild light-headedness; if you do, stop the exercise and sit down for a few moments. Like all things, continuously practicing this will make it easier to do. Next time you are in a high stress moment at work, at school, or even before an exam; remember Box Breathing! Give it a try and let us know what you think by emailing us at!

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans Follows ‘Special’ Diet

By Serena Gordon HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) — No doubt you’ve heard friends lament they couldn’t eat bread because they were on the Keto diet, or maybe it was Paleo, or a low-carb plan or perhaps they were forgoing gluten. It’s hard to keep track.

That’s because lots of Americans are following a special diet. On any given day, about one in six Americans reports eating a “special” diet, a new U.S. government study finds.

A special diet may be a diet to lose weight or one aimed at improving health, such as a lower-carbohydrate diet for someone with diabetes, or avoiding gluten for someone who has Celiac disease.

“About one-half of U.S. adults have diet-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes. Special diets are one way that many adults prevent, treat and manage such diseases,” wrote the research team led by Dr. Bryan Stierman. He’s from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

But if you’re healthy and don’t have a chronic illness, you probably don’t need a special diet, said registered dietitian Liz Weinandy. She works at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

Even if you need to lose weight — as many Americans do — “dieting, in general, doesn’t work,” Weinandy said. “Diets usually do not lead to success in the long term because they don’t produce behavior changes. It’s better to look at your overall eating patterns: Are you eating a lot of highly processed foods? Do you eat lots of fruits and vegetables? And then try to develop healthier patterns,” she advised.

“That’s probably not the answer most people want to hear. It may seem too general to say follow a healthy pattern, eating mostly fruits, vegetables and whole grains while not eating too many processed foods. People may be looking for more specific rules and guidelines to follow. And the multibillion-dollar diet industry provides them,” Weinandy said.

The study found that more than 9% of Americans aged 20 and older were on a weight-loss or low-calorie diet. Just over 2% said they were following a diabetes diet, and another 2% said they were eating low-carb. Nearly 2% reported eating a low-fat or low-cholesterol diet.


Overall, 17% of Americans said they were following a special diet on any given day during 2017 to 2018. That’s up from about 14% in 2007 to 2008.

During 2015 to 2018, women were slightly more likely than men to say they were following a special diet.

White people were the most likely racial or ethnic group to follow a special diet (18%). Around 16% of Hispanics said they had followed a special diet, followed closely by about 15% of Black and Asian adults.

Registered dietitian Katrina Hartog is clinical nutrition manager at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She said, “While the data and information presented in the report can be useful in noting that adults are making attempts to follow special diets that can ultimately modify their risk for chronic disease, there is still more information needed to draw any major conclusions.”

Hartog said the word diet typically refers to a “temporary and restrictive program of eating in order to lose weight.”

Like Weinandy, Hartog also said diets tend to offer short-term benefits only.

“Very low-calorie or fad diets are hard to maintain and often people regain the weight. Consider losing the diet mindset and focusing on lifestyle changes. Lifestyle change consisting of adopting healthy overall habits that promote long-term weight control and health,” Hartog noted.

Not everyone following a special diet is doing so to lose weight, though. Weinandy said there are people who do need to follow more restrictive diets for their health. She said ketogenic diets can be helpful for people with epilepsy. People with Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance need to avoid the wheat protein. People who are allergic to certain foods need to avoid eating them, and people with irritable bowel syndrome often benefit from removing some foods from their diet.

Weinandy said it’s best to work with a dietitian to make sure you don’t cut important nutrients out of your diet entirely.

The study was published Nov. 3 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s NCHS Data Brief.


More information

The American Heart Association offers advice on how to eat well without dieting.

SOURCES: Liz Weinandy, RD, MPH, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus; Katrina Hartog, RD, clinical nutrition manager, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; NCHS Data Brief, Nov. 3, 2020, online

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

6 Signs Of An Unhealthy Relationship With Exercise

Aren’t we all pioneers of unhealthy relationships? Oops, sorry we didn’t mean to attack anyone like that. Juicy topic apart, we are going to talk about unhealthy relationships with fitness today! Now, this article is for someone who is in absolute love with their gym, like an obsessive lover, and never realized where to draw the line. Hey, hold on, if you’re not a workout-o-holic you don’t need to press the back button yet, give it a read (you won’t regret) and share it with your workout obsessed buddy. We all know one, right?

Your unhealthy fitness practices can burn you out, cause injuries, and even result in a messed up social and personal life. Fitness is meant to make your life better and not to exhaust you, neither cripple your mind with sadness or regret which many of us end up doing without even realizing it.

Following are the reasons why you need to really think about your fitness practices:

1. FOMW (Fear Of Missing Workout)

Yes, you’re right we just invented this term but isn’t it pretty legit? Most of us start feeling terrible for missing a workout even for a day. Do absurd thoughts start crossing your mind like what if I gain weight? What if I lose my muscles? What if I feel lethargic? We want you to calm your mind. Taking a break or missing out on your workout won’t be the end of the world (we promise) and besides, mental and social life is also as important as your physical health. Give yourself a break, healthy one! But ensure that you are consistent enough to get back the next day.

2. Overdoing Or Pushing The Limit

We all come across quotes on Instagram and gym walls that say “push your limit” or “darr ke aage jeet hai”. Well it comes with its own set of conditions that only an expert can tell. (That’s why we are here!) Over-doing any form of exercise won’t help you but only cause fatigue. For example, forcing yourself to do leg workout when you have a knee injury/issues is only going to worsen the situation. An unhealthy approach to exercise will make you more prone to an injury. So doing a couple of extra reps is totally alright and healthy but don’t pu(ni)sh yourself through pain and blood, it’s not fruitful. You can trust us.

3. Workout > Social life

The gym fanatics will agree that they prefer spending more time in the gym than with their friends or family. Well, we do agree that most people are a big-time disappointment and you often end up in a situation that makes you realize that working out was a better option. You need to balance your workout and social lifestyle in order to sustain more things in your life that bring joy. After all, you need people around you to appreciate your physique, don’t you?

4. Being Super Anti-calories

People often talk like burning calories is the only aim in their life and to be honest isn’t it annoying at times? Like we get it Karen, but can you stop talking about calories already and enjoy your birthday cake? Having a healthy lifestyle with sustainable habits are more important than  stopping yourself from enjoying little joys of life. Limit yourself, have a bite, shed it off on a treadmill and while you’re at it don’t shame someone else who enjoys calorie indulgence more than you.

5. Measuring Your Self-worth Only On Weighing Scales

Social media has over-hyped perfect sculpted bodies so much that it has become a measuring scale to judge a person’s beauty quotient. Yes, a sculpted body is always the result of hard work and dedication but things that define a person as a whole, is much more than merely a sculpted body. If you’re working out only to look better than someone else, get more likes on social media, or to be sure that your partner keeps on finding you attractive, let us give you a very important piece of advice – it’s time you care for your worth and your self more than these fragile appreciations, you are worthy the way you are.

6. Binge Eating Shed Off

In contrast to what we mentioned above in ‘anti-calories’, these people are slightly different but are equally in unhealthy relationships with the workout. Binge eating delicious junk food for dinner and working out frantically the next morning in a hope to shed it just not the right direction to get healthy. Sadly, you can call this a millennial trend – this entire cycle only leads to fatigue because your body doesn’t get enough nutrition from the junk binge and above that you overexert your body with over workout. Charge your relationship with food and maintain a sustainable habit that lasts. We don’t suggest you roll your eyes every time you see french fries or a dollop of desserts – instead, enjoy in moderation so that you don’t have to regret the next moment and punish yourself later.

Staying healthy and fit is not about a size zero body – it’s more about building sustainable eating habits, workout routine and enjoying the journey without a speck of regret while you are at it. If you are in an unhealthy relationship with fitness, you are facing issues with unsustainability with your eating and fitness habits. What is more important that brings you results you want is a flexible approach towards fitness, establishing sustainable healthy habits, and indulging in occasional binging too – you need to take the right way but you should know what’s the right way. So, if you are this person, now is the time to realize and put things in order. Or if you know someone who’s going through any of these symptoms, share this article with them, talk to them and let’s make fitness more fun and efficient. Until next time, stay strong! 

9th Annual WEGO Health Awards | How it Works

The WEGO Health Awards were created to embody the mission of WEGO Health: to empower patient leaders.

Considering the WEGO Health Patient Leader Network is centered around these healthcare transformers, we knew it was up to us to celebrate their accomplishments. From this need to celebrate the leaders who make a difference, the WEGO Health Awards were born.
Since its inception in 2011, the WEGO Health Awards have proven to be one of the best ways to honor, recognize, and celebrate the work of patient advocates, influencers and healthcare collaborators who are helping others and transforming healthcare – often without any formal recognition.
With 16 different award categories, it is the only program to recognize patient leaders across all condition areas and platforms; whether running an online support group, speaking at conferences or sharing their health journey on Instagram, there is truly an award category to recognize every patient leader out there.
The program is split into four different phases:
1. Nominations | June – July
2. Endorsements | July
3. Judging | August – September
4. Celebration | October
Last year, we received over 6k nominations and over 130k endorsements. From there, our judging panels narrowed 6k nominations to 75 finalists and later to just 15 winners. In partnership with HLTH, we had our biggest WEGO Health Awards celebration ever! HLTH sponsored our 15 winners, covering admission and travel expenses, to attend the HLTH event and be honored on healthcare’s biggest stage for their advocacy achievements.
Learn more about how the WEGO Health Awards work:

Open June 9th-July 31st
Think of nominations as a way to recognize your favorite patient leaders for the work they are doing. With 16 award categories, it’s easy to show your appreciation for all the patient advocates in your life. To start nominating, simply visit click here.
🏆 Tip for Nominees: Share out your WEGO Health profile and ask your community to recognize you for the WEGO Health Awards. Don’t be afraid to post to social, reach out to foundations, and include in any email correspondence. Your work deserves to be recognized! Once you’re nominated, you’ll receive a Nominee Media Kit for easy sharing.
Who should be nominated? Who can win a WEGO Health Award?
Anyone who is an active and leading member of an online community, and making a difference in healthcare, is eligible to be nominated. He or she should provide the community with valuable information and support to make a difference for other patients and caregivers. Nominees for an individual social channel award must have a presence on that particular social channel, of course.
Think about the advocates and influencers you see leading Facebook groups, blogging about their health journey, speaking up and giving insights to healthcare companies, presenting on national stages, and running Twitter chats. Patient Leaders have started non-profits, published podcast episodes, and authored books–there is no shortage of Patient Leaders’ contributions to the world, so let’s recognize as many of them as we can for their talents, contributions, and commitment.
How did you come up with the categories? Can I only use those to nominate someone?
The WEGO Health Awards were created based on Patient Leader feedback and the same is true of the categories we use. They might change a bit each year, but they’re created with you and your community in mind. We’ll only be selecting winners for the categories listed in our nomination form, but we’re always open to suggestions.
How do I nominate someone?
Go to our WEGO Health Awards nominations page to get started. Tell us who you want to recognize, where you follow them online, and the WEGO Health Award you think they should win. Once you’re finished nominating your favorite patient leader, feel free to share that nomination with your community or send a tweet with the hashtag #WEGOHealthAwards. And be sure to nominate early and often; we want to recognize as many patient leaders as possible.
Can I nominate myself?
Of course. We hope you’ll reach out to your community and ask them to nominate their favorite members of the online health world – and that includes you! However, you’re more than welcome to nominate yourself as part of the process. Be sure to take a moment and recognize any of the great leaders that help you on a daily basis as well.
How will I know if I am nominated?
Each nominee will be notified via email and social media (as applicable) and will be given the chance to complete/update a WEGO Health profile with additional information about themselves and their advocacy. Please note, notifications can take 24-72 hours from the time of the nomination submission

Open July 1st – Jul 31st
This period provides a community-choice aspect of the program. Endorsements are a way to give nominees a visual show of support for a specific nomination, think of it like “liking” a post or photo on social media. For instance, if a nominee is nominated for Best in Show: Twitter, and you believe they deserve this recognition, your endorsement is the perfect way to show your support.
The three nominees with the most endorsements in each of the 16 categories will automatically become finalists.
🏆 Tip for Nominees: Grab Your Endorsement Badge | Once endorsements open (in July!), navigate to the ‘Awards’ tab, of your WEGO Health profile. Here you will be able to download images and badges to put on your sites to gain endorsements. We invite you to keep your badge up once endorsements are closed to proudly display your accomplishment.
What happens when I endorse a nominee? Is it the same as voting?
Endorsements were created to give network members a chance to participate in the WEGO Health Awards. Think of it as a way to give a shout-out or virtual hug to your favorite Patient Leaders.
In response to feedback from the community, the endorsement process helps select top patient leaders to move on to the finalist round. The three most endorsed nominees in each WEGO Health Award category will automatically become a finalist. There are six finalists within each category and the final award winner is selected by our panel of distinguished judges.
So, if you are nominated for an award, make sure you ask your friends, family, and community members to take a moment to endorse your efforts.
Can I endorse more than one person?
While you can only endorse a nominee once per award category they are nominated for, you can endorse as many people as you like. If you want to spread the love and endorse others, feel free to do so.
Do likes/tweets count as endorsements?
While showing your support through Facebook likes or tweets is appreciated by the nominees, we will not be counting that form of social media support towards endorsements.
Can I still become a finalist if I do not get a high number of endorsements?
Yes. While the three nominees with the highest endorsement numbers in each category will automatically become finalists, the additional three finalists will be determined by our judging panelists through numerous additional factors aside from endorsements.

August – September
We host multiple rounds of judging, after all, we receive thousands of nominations! Judges will be using the information provided in the nominee’s WEGO Health profile to review and score.
Determining Finalists
In the past, there were a total of five finalists, however, given community feedback, we will now be celebrating six finalists in each award category. To ensure the integrity of the program, half of the finalists will be determined through endorsement count and half will be selected through our judging process. Finalists are selected in two ways:
1. The top three endorsed nominees within a WEGO Health Award category automatically move on as finalists.
2. The subsequent three finalists in each category are selected by our network judging panelists. Finalists will be selected based on their relevance to that particular award and the information provided in a nominee’s profile. The finalist judging panels are comprised of past award winners, foundations, and organizations.
Once the top six finalists in each WEGO Health Award category have been selected, we’ll announce the finalists on our blog and then move into the final round of judging.
Selecting the Winners
Top industry experts and sponsors convene to review the six finalists in each category based on their use of social media, their fit for the award for which they’ve been nominated, and how effectively they engage their online community. Judges score individually, and then WEGO Health tallies these scores to identify the winners. No one knows the winners until we make the announcement at our annual WEGO Health Awards Virtual Ceremony.
Note: A nominee’s community size (number of fans, followers, readers, members, etc.) will not be considered. The nominee is judged based on their content and fit for the award category.
🏆 Tip for Nominees: Update Your Profile | Having a completed WEGO Health profile allows judges to gain a comprehensive understanding of your mission.
I want to be a judge for the WEGO Health Awards. How can I do that?
If you’re interested in participating, please email us at with the subject line ‘Be a Judge’ for additional details.
Can judges be nominees or WEGO Health Award winners?
We do allow those who were nominated to participate in the network judging process. However, if a judge is nominated for a certain award, they are not allowed to judge that category. We also give the judge the option to either remove themselves from the running or give up their judge’s spot.
How do you pick your judges?
We have many patient leaders, patients, caregivers, industry leaders, previous winners, finalists and Patient Leader Network members who connect with us throughout the year. Many of them express interest in being involved with the WEGO Health Awards. The WEGO Health team compiles a list of those enthusiasts throughout the year and connects with each before our WEGO Health Awards season. We then chat about the details, time commitment, and what is expected of the judges. Once they confirm they would like to officially participate, they are in.
How do you score the nominees? What criteria do judges use when selecting semi-finalists, finalists, and winners?
Judges score nominees on the following criteria:
• Fit for the Award | How well does this person fit the category they are nominated for? For example: if they are nominated for Rookie of the Year, have they only recently started their advocacy journey?
• Use of Social Media | How well does this Patient Leader use social media for their activism? Are they active, engaged, and responsive on their networks? Are they a power user of social media and active on multiple profiles?
• Focus on sharing of information and overall engagement | How well does this Patient Leader balance sharing of their own content with the sharing of others’ content and information?

The health of our community members is of utmost importance during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Though we’d love to celebrate in person, after much discussion and feedback from our Patient Leader Advisory board, we have decided to make the celebration strictly virtual to ensure all of our WEGO Health Award winners are safe and included.
Going virtual doesn’t mean the celebration stops though! We’re partnering with HLTH to bring patient leaders to the forefront of this industry celebration. Winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony during the HLTH event in early October 2020.
This year, winners will receive:
• $500 cash prize to be used towards advocacy efforts or travel
• Compensated WEGO Health 2021 Patient Leader Advisory Board Seat (estimated cash value $1500)
• Feature as a worlds’ top patient expert in HLTH’s patient-centered webinar series, as well as industry exposure opportunities throughout the year*
*Winners will have priority for speaking engagement and industry exposure events throughout 2021, depending on the state of COVID-19.
We are so eager for another season of celebrating patient leaders. There are so many tremendous patient advocates, influencers, and collaborators out there doing powerful work – we look forward to shining a much-deserved spotlight on them!
We encourage you to view all of the current WEGO Health Awards nominees in the nominee directory
Click here to view the nominees.

More questions? Please feel free to refer to the WEGO Health Awards FAQ Page.

Written by WEGO Health
WEGO Health is a mission-driven company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills and insights of patient leaders. We are the world’s largest network of patient leaders, working across virtually all health conditions and topics.

DIY Hair Color Like a Pro

The thought of dying your own hair might seem intimidating — after all, it is permanent or semi-permanent — but the pros say it’s possible to have salon-quality results at home if you stick to some guidelines. Of course, stylists want you to come see them in a perfect world, but many acknowledge box color has its place.

“At-home color is good for people who have a lot of gray or those who can’t get to the salon easily,” says Doug Macintosh, color director at Kieran McKenna Salon in New York City. “Coming into a salon isn’t always convenient or affordable and that’s when a box color is helpful.”

Here are top salon colorists’ advice for making the most of DIY permanent color so you have the best results at home.

Know When You Have to Go to the Salon

There are some color jobs that require a pro. “The further away you want to go from your natural color, the bigger reason you need to go to a professional,” says Colin Lively, a colorist at Eddy’s on Coventry in Cleveland, OH. Macintosh says that going more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural color sets you up for unpredictable results.

Bleaching or lightening your hair can also be a challenging job for an amateur. “Without knowledge of how color lifts, the density of hair and hair texture, it’s hard to gauge how long to leave on bleach to get the result you’re looking for,” says Nicole Brumley, owner of Kiiro Hair Lab in Springfield, MO. “I’ve had to fix quite a few mistakes with DIY bleaching, so I wouldn’t do home lightening.”

Select the Right Shade

To match your color, standing under the store’s lights won’t help much. “It’s essential to go outside to see the true color and take a close-up picture of your hair,” says Jet Rhys, president of Jet Rhys Hair Salon in Solana Beach, CA. Having that image of your shade in daylight will be helpful to match with the picture on the box, she explains.


Brumley also says your eye color can be a good guide. She says blue eyes often pair well with cooler hair color shades that have ash or a word that implies blue in the description. For hazel or brown eyes, warmer chestnuts and golden colors are a good complement.

“When in doubt, opt for the lighter shade,” Macintosh says. “If the color comes out too dark, you can’t lighten it at home but you can always darken it.”

Do a Patch Test

The boxes all suggest performing a patch test before applying the color to your entire head. Macintosh says this is essential. “You want to make sure you’re not allergic to the color because you could have a reaction,” he says. His advice is to mix a small amount of the kit, apply it to your skin behind your ear or near your elbow, and wait at least 24 hours to see if you get a rash or any irritation just to be safe.

You Might Need More Than One Box

Your hair length and texture will impact how many boxes of dye you need to completely color your hair. “For a first-time application you will likely need more than one box because they are designed for touch-ups or regrowth,” Lively explains. “If your hair is past your shoulder, buy two boxes to be safe.”

Macintosh advises buying more than one box at a time to be prepared. Mix one box and you have the second box handy if you need more color or, worst case, you have a box ready for the next time you need to color.

Prep to Avoid Stains

Staining around the hairline is a telltale sign of at-home color. Rhys suggests using Vaseline as a barrier around the hairline and the tops of ears to prevent the dye from adhering to the skin in these areas. Brumley is also an advocate of this technique, but she warns to be very careful to keep the Vaseline away from your hair because it will also block the pigments from getting into your hair.


Upgrade Your Tools

While the box kits usually come with gloves, the experts suggest an upgrade for a better experience. “I advise getting gloves from the drugstore because the gloves in the box are thin, flimsy, and tend to tear,” Lively says. “They’re not really ideal for dye application.”

Some kits contain brushes, but investing in a tint applicator brush from a beauty supply store can also help ensure for a seamless application, Rhys says. The brush helps to evenly spread the color on the hair rather than the unpredictable blob that can come out of a bottle nozzle.

Apply Like a Pro

Don’t try to cover your entire head at once. Section your hair into quadrants, Brumley says. Part your hair from forehead to nape and from ear to ear and clip each of the four separate sections. Then you want to apply the color as close to the scalp as possible. Macintosh says you might want to consider enlisting the help of a close friend who can see where the dye is going. He also advises starting with the back sections because they are darker and more resistant to color, so you’ll want to leave the dye on a bit longer to process.

“When applying the color, make sure you firmly press the color on the root area with the brush,” Rhys says. “You want to feel the color on the scalp. You’re not going to get good results if you’re feathering or lightly pressing on the roots.”

Follow the Directions

“Box color is a progressive tint,” Macintosh explains. “So the longer you leave it on the longer it develops.” You should follow the directions on the box and monitor your hair to see how it’s reacting to the dye. And Brumley says you should follow with the conditioner included in the kit. “The conditioners drop the pH of the hair to close the cuticle so the color will last longer, so you should always use them.”

Call for Help

If you don’t like the results, it’s probably best to seek the advice of a professional rather than try to troubleshoot on your own. Macintosh says you can try the 800 number on the box to seek the manufacturer’s recommendations. “The best advice might be to come into a salon and see a professional because you don’t want to make it worse,” Macintosh says. “If you start doing too much on your own, you risk causing too much damage or putting too much pigment into it so there’s not much that can be done to repair the results.”

Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of WebMD Magazine .

WebMD Magazine – Feature Reviewed by Mohiba Tareen, MD on March 04, 2020



Doug Macintosh, color director at Kieran McKenna Salon, New York City

Colin Livey, colorist at Eddy’s on Coventry, Cleveland, OH

Nicole Brumley, owner of Kiiro Hair Lab, Springfield, MO

Jet Rhys, president of Jet Rhys Salon, Solana Beach, CA

Schwarzkopf Professional website

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