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Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Living an Illusion

Social media’s presence in our everyday lives has done nothing but grow. Whether one prefers Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter, blogs, or vlogs, it is almost guaranteed that each and every person who has access to a smartphone or computer checks in with their online “friends” dozens of times a day. At first thought it would seem that this is good for our mental health — we are more connected, right? — but in actuality it can be very detrimental.

Take Instagram model Essena O’Neill, for example. In a very public announcement, O’Neill left Instagram — abandoning her thousands of followers. Even though she was earning up to $1,400 per sponsored post, she said the money wasn’t worth the negative effects endured from a daily addiction to comparison. Seeing others’ “perfect lives” does cause one to compare and contrast our own struggles and realities, and it can be hard to remember that what we see is only what someone else WANTS us to see. The reality can be very, very different!

Self-worth should not be measured in “likes,” and our value as a person does not equal how “pretty” or “handsome” we are. O’Neill edited her photo captions to reflect the amount of time she spent on perfecting her appearance, and many people were very surprised that her “morning look” only came about after hours of preparation.

Keeping our online identity close to our true identity is of the utmost importance, researchers say. If we stray too far from our true selves, then there is a much higher risk of social anxiety. Staying in the present moment is necessary as well, and it definitely wouldn’t hurt to put a cap on the amount of times you click over to FaceBook and Instagram! Remember that a picture can be worth a thousand words, but those words were written by someone who wanted to write a very specific book — and you don’t get the whole tale from just a page (or, should we say a photo!).

So… what IS good?

Everywhere you turn, you hear a new “truth.” Whether you are searching for answers about beauty, diet, or nutrition doesn’t matter — regardless, it is almost impossible to navigate the vast number of health “experts” and their personal opinions. Why is this? Perhaps it is because the definition of “truth” has morphed from that of hard, scientific fact to personal viewpoint: What was once only fact by science is now, in fact, truth by personal science.

However, this poses a problem in the world of supplements. Whereas many consumer products claim to work or have proven results, they do not have the scientific facts to back up these claims. Although personal truths are not necessarily bad, it really depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are searching for hard, visible results, science and/or data-driven research is the only way to find what you need.

Dr. Yagoda’s patented and PROVEN nutritional beauty supplement, BeautyScoop, is one such product backed by scientific truthIts results were not founded by scouring the shelves of other supplements to see what people wanted (or thought they needed) but are based on results provided by double-blind and placebo-controlled trials. This assures users that what they are taking does work — no matter which way you look at it.

When searching the shelves of supplements, skip over ones that have been molded to fit the current, socially-constructed truths that pass in and out of fashion. Long-term consumer results are born out of long-term testing and experimental results!

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The 36 Questions to Love!

Can love be accelerated?

Possibly! Arthur Aron, a famed psychologist, composed three sets of 12 questions designed to provoke intimate feelings between potential partners. The intent of the study is to create intimacy through mutual vulnerability: A key aspect of lasting relationships is reciprocity and being able to connect with each other on a deep level.

The sets of questions go deeper as you go through them, and the questions cover a wide range of topics. Want to give it a shot? We have the questions here:

Set I

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Set III

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “
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Continue reading the main story

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

Get Warm to Block Colds!

Your mom’s advice was right: Put on a sweater. New research indicates that, yes, being warm helps protect against getting a cold. The body does not utilize its immune system as well at lower temperatures according to early studies. This research, being done at Yale on mice, indicates that low temperatures suppress cells’ ability to detect oncoming viruses as well as their ability to warn the immune system. This gives viruses more freedom to replicate — making you sicker!

For the mice kept at a normal, human-body temperature, they were able to fight off the virus easier than those in the cooler temps. Essentially turning the alarm signal of the body off, the virus grew until it became what we know as “the common cold.” Time to bundle up!

A Diet to Live Longer

A Diet to Live Longer?

Maybe! According to research being done at Harvard University, the “Mediterranean diet” has received even more accolades. Having already been linked to a decreased risk of chronic disease and cancer, this diet is now being associated with longer “telomeres,” – biomarkers of aging.

Telomere-shortening is linked to shorter lives. Shortening is accelerated by stress and inflammation, and the Mediterranean diet has been proven to reduce inflammation, thus possibly lengthening telomeres.

Although all healthy eating helped lengthen telomeres, the Mediterranean diet showed the best results. It is a simple diet based off of healthy oils, fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Considering it tastes good as well, why not give it a shot?

Gluten Sensitivity: Celiac or Fodmaps?

It is no secret that the gluten-free food industry has seen tremendous growth over the past year. Expected to reach $15 billion in sales by 2016, the gluten-free trend is not only found in supermarkets, but restaurant chefs are catering to those who are gluten-free or gluten-sensitive with special dishes as well.

People following the trend are torn: Is this just another health fad hitting its peak, or is it a real issue? Scientists now show that non-celiac gluten sensitivity – or NCGS – is in fact a problem in a growing amount of people. Those with NCGS experience bloating, gas, fatigue, and other IBS-like symptoms after consuming gluten. However, even after going gluten-free, some symptoms usually persist.

Researchers decided to test their findings by putting 37 patients on a diet low in certain carbohydrates. This diet, called Fodmaps, is an acronym for the various types of sugars that have been found to trigger abdominal symptoms in certain people. Including fructans (soluble fiber in bananas), lactose (dairy), fructose (found in many fruits, some vegetables, and products with high-fructose corn syrup), galactans (soybeans and soymilk), and polyols (artificial sweeteners), following the Fodmaps diet is not easy at first. However, using the process of elimination, it is possible to pinpoint exactly which groups (or foods) cause unwanted symptoms. Those that do not bother the individual are simply added back into their diet.

The Fodmaps diet is worth trying if you think you fall into the NCGS category. If you are definitely not celiac – determined using blood tests and biopsies – then an elimination diet will help determine if you are only gluten-intolerant, or if it is something more. Who knows, maybe gluten isn’t the worst abdominal pain “trigger” that it has been made out to be: Some participants of the Fodmaps plan safely added wheat back into their diets.

E-Cigarettes: For Better or Worse?

Smoking: We all know it is bad for us, but almost 20% of the world’s population over 18 still smoke. E-cigarettes, the “new form of smoking,” is a technology gaining in popularity, but there are still risks to keep in mind. Is it any better than cigarettes?

First, it is important to realize that while the FDA regulates both traditional cigarettes and tobacco for “roll-your-own” cigarettes, it does not regulate the e-cigarette industry. That means that you have no way of knowing how much nicotine or other harmful chemicals you may be inhaling. While it is true that e-cigarettes don’t contain traditional tobacco, they may not be nicotine free! In fact, most contain liquid nicotine. There’s a mechanism that heats up the liquid nicotine and turns it into a vapor that smokers inhale. No one knows the risks posed by this mechanism nor whether it is better or worse than traditional cigarettes.

Second, it can be difficult to differentiate between “real” e-cigarettes and “mods.” The real e-cigarettes generally come from “reputable” companies; however, “mods” are part of a dangerous subculture: Unlike regulated e-cigarettes, these modified (and cheaper) versions have very little oversight and safety testing.

Although some believe that e-cigarettes can simulate the pleasure of smoking, it may not be any safer than actual cigarettes. More research needs to be done on its effects. The use of e-cigarettes to aid in smoking cessation has not been endorsed by important safety and health institutions, and most caution users to engage at their own risk. If you or someone you know needs a push to quit smoking altogether, see Dr. Michelle Yagoda. Her integrative approach to health, wellness and beauty has helped hundreds of smokers successfully stop smoking. Let her help you be next! Did you know that after you stop smoking for two years your risk from smoking begins to drop? In fact, when you have stopped smoking for ten years, your risk becomes that of a non-smoker. What are you waiting for? How often in life do you get a second chance on your health? You will see and feel the difference as your skin reflects a healthier lifestyle and a more beautiful you!

To Trust or Not to Trust. That is the (Gut-Wrenching) Question.

Is the doctor really always right?  Is it okay to question the expert?  If you have worried that something was wrong even though the doc reassured you that it wasn’t, you are not alone.  Dr. Michelle Yagoda, expert facial plastic surgeon, and voice care specialist, has had thousands of different patients come through her doors over the last twenty years. With these patients come stories! A recurring story line is one that has a very important lesson in it: Trust your gut.

Each of us is a patient, and most of us have learned to trust our doctors because of their expertise and knowledge of medicine. However, this does not mean that your opinion as a patient doesn’t matter.  Here’s an example of when you should trust your intuition:  As a person with sensitive skin, a young man worried that the recurring scabbing on his skin might be cancer. The doctor told him it was “nothing”, but he wasn’t comfortable and chose to get a second opinion. The second doctor prescribed a topical exfoliant.  He used it despite his concerns, but the abrasion did not go away. It was only with the patient’s insistence that it was biopsied, but he never received follow-up results. Rather than believing his friends and family’s suggestion that “no news is good news,” he eventually gave in to the nagging feeling plaguing him and called the doctor’s office. The answer? Skin cancer. Luckily, it was caught early and was successfully removed.

Dr. Yagoda believes that one can never be too cautions. You know your body and skin, and your opinion counts. Skincare and sun protection are of the utmost importance. Check your skin often.  If you believe something is wrong, see a specialist who has the level of knowledge you’d expect, and never underestimate the power of reviews.  Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion! And, as Dr. Yagoda is frequently heard saying,  “No news is no news.  That’s it.  Plain and simple.”  If you don’t get a call about the results of a test or biopsy, call the office to follow-up.  And, most importantly, trust your gut. No one knows you better than you!

It’s That Time of Year!

When you hear that phrase you probably think of the holidays, right? Well, accompanying the happy holiday season is winter and, unfortunately, dry skin! Not only does the cold cause skin lines and wrinkles to become more pronounced, but the “winter itch” plagues many. Fortunately, Dr. Yagoda is a skincare expert and facial plastic surgeon who has twenty years experience treating various skin ailments, and she has some tips to help combat cracked and dry skin.

Cold temperatures, low humidity, and the use of drying central heat all compound to pull moisture from skin. Since the skin is the body’s biggest organ, it is very important to keep it healthy! Dr. Yagoda believes skin health and overall well-being are linked; what you put in your body influences how you look on the outside. Eating a diet rich in protein and biologically important oils — as well as consuming plenty of liquids — will help hydrate the skin and keep it glowing. Additionally, supplements (like BeautyScoop) that contain peptides, lipids, collagen, hyaluronic acid, and anti-oxidant vitamins are an excellent addition to your daily topical skincare routine.

Topical skin care products can moisturize the outer layers of the skin and seal the skin’s natural protective barrier.  In addition, they can help speed up healthy cell turnover leaving you looking and feeling refreshed. Of course, sun protection is important all year round!  Although the sun might not seem as bright in winter as it is in summer, damaging UV  rays continue to penetrate your skin even when you are indoors. Wearing sun protection daily will help prevent wrinkles and the “leathery” texture that becomes more pronounced in the dry air of winter. If you would like to remove damage sustained by the sun, peels and IPL treatments help restore skin’s softer texture.

Those with eczema and other genetic skin conditions often suffer the most from the “winter itch.” Although no one can change genetics, Dr. Yagoda can help you choose hydrating and nourishing products and help you avoid those with ingredients that might dry the skin (i.e., many acne creams reduce the moisture in skin). By eating well, staying hydrated, using skin moisturizers and sun protection — as well as indulging yourself in a few skin optimizing treatments like fillers and Botox — you will have beautiful, youthful, glowing skin even in winter!

Can’t Sleep? Try a Sleep Buddy!

Couple’s Feet in Bed — Image by © Radius Images/Corbis

Having trouble sleeping? You aren’t alone! More than a third of US adults do not get enough sleep. Insufficient rest doesn’t just make you tired – it has many other associated health risks. If you are looking to improve your quality of life and sleep, then try resting both your mind AND body!

Getting enough sleep is an important component of reducing stress and tackling the day’s challenges. If you are sharing your bed with a companion, chances are you may think his or her presence can be disruptive to your “beauty sleep.” Worry not! As long as it isn’t snoring or sleep apnea waking you up, then sharing your bed is actually beneficial! Of course, if it is sleep apnea (a disruption of breathing) you should seek treatment. Those with allergies, deviated septums, enlarged turbinates or chronic sinus disease can all benefit from a doctor’s attention.  Whether through traditional or endoscopic surgery, fixing sleep apnea and snoring problems will ensure a more peaceful slumber.

However, if you find yourself waking up often — or just do not feel energized in the morning! — consider getting a sleeping buddy! Research shows that the “love hormone,” oxytocin, is released in greater quantities when your nighttime habits include cuddling. Oxytocin not only has physical benefits – it reduces stress, decreases blood pressure, and promotes healing – but it increases our feelings of affection for healthy relationships.

Why is this? Well, we are social creatures! Having a “protector” nearby increases sleep neurotransmitters, and it is these chemical signals that help foster a good night’s rest. So, to be the most outwardly beautiful and healthy person you can be (heaven forbid you have the face of sleep deprivation!), start with ensuring long-term health through good sleeping habits. Just don’t let your sleeping buddy hog the sheets!