For all you “foodies” out there, this may be hard to believe, but I have never watched the Food Network. I can’t tell you where to find the Cooking Channel either.
I realize it’s my loss. It seems everyone I know loves to watch and learn from cooking shows. And while I could certainly use a little help in the kitchen (just ask my long-suffering husband!), I’ve just never found slicing and dicing or simmering and sautéing all that interesting to watch.
Until I met Melissa d’Arabian!
Left: Melissa d'Arabian (3rd from left) with emcee, Pat Brown (left), yours truly and friend, Vicki Hesterman.
The New York Times best-selling cookbook author, host of “Ten Dollar Dinners,” and winner of the “Next Food Network Star” recently wowed a crowd of 400 as the keynote speaker at my church’s (First United Methodist Church, San Diego) annual “Spring Fling” women’s luncheon.
Melissa may be a pretty face, a celebrity chef, and an engaging TV host, but as she shared her compelling life story, it became clear she also possesses an inner beauty and depth of character not often seen in the celebrity world.
Early in her work life, d’Arabian found success in corporate America. She received her MBA from Georgetown University and was enjoying a career in corporate finance when she met her now husband, Philippe, in Paris.
When the two returned to the States and started their family in Coronado, d’Arabian made a career shift to stay-at-home mom. And with four daughters close in age, her work schedule was packed full.
One challenge was figuring out how to feed four young children on a sustainable budget, but with her love of cooking and financial savvy, d’Arabian discovered how to kill two birds with one stone. She began making her own baby food and yogurt at home. “I was saving $125 to $150 a month on yogurt alone!” she says.
The idea became so popular among her friends and family, she began self-recording home yogurt-making tutorials on her cell phone to share with even more moms.
The concept of combining delicious recipes and money-saving techniques spread quickly leading to her victory on season five of Food Network’s “The Next Food Network Star.”
That was five years ago and the TV competition was true to its name. Melissa is now well known as the star of Food Network’s “Ten Dollar Dinners.” She has a best-selling cookbook of the same name and her second book is due out soon. She is also featured in numerous publications.
But Melissa’s successes are just part of her story. The gifted, bright-eyed beauty is also a down-to-earth, passionate woman of faith…a faith that has carried her through life’s trials, including her mother’s suicide when Melissa was only 19 years old.
As Melissa shared, it became clear that success and celebrity are not what’s most important in her life. Her main focus is to be on the path God wants her to be on, which affects her daily decisions as a woman, wife, mother and professional. “I focus on staying in a place where I’m grateful for everything I have. Faith is what gets me through.”
Melissa has even turned the pain of her mother’s loss into an opportunity to help others as she champions the cause of suicide prevention through a variety of organizations. She is an active Girl Scout leader for her daughters and was recently honored by the organization as one of San Diego’s “Cool Women.”
I have to agree with the Girl Scouts. In fact, Melissa d’Arabian is not only “cool,” she’s a breath of fresh air. And now that I’m one of her fans, I plan to DVR her show, if for no other reason than to get a little boost from her million-dollar smile.
Who knows, I may even learn how to separate an egg in the process!
(I recommend her Salad Nicoise. It’s yummy and so easy, even I can make it!)
Imagine sadness so profound, despair so deep, that it seems the only way out is suicide. Tragically, that scene plays out for hundreds of San Diegans every year.
In 2012, 413 men, women and, yes, even children, died at their own hands – a record number of suicides in San Diego. Sadly, the number of self-inflicted deaths continues to rise, with no end in sight.
Perhaps that explains the huge turnout recently for the annual “Save a Life” Walk sponsored by Survivors of Suicide Loss. A record crowd of 2,000 gathered for the annual 3.1-mile trek around Balboa Park, with most walking in memory of loved ones lost to suicide. (Learn more www.soslsd.org).
Despite the disturbing theme, as a survivor (I lost my mother to suicide) and participant, I assure you the “Save a Life” Walk is neither depressing nor somber, but full of love, laughter and hope – due, in part, to the presence of Pastor Joe Davis.
As we gathered together before the 5K begins, emotions run raw for many. But Joe’s uplifting invocation never fails to include a perfect prayer to comfort those who have survived the loss of a loved one to suicide.
You might say Joe’s the perfect guy for the job! Every day, as chaplain for the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office, Joe ministers to grieving families dealing with all kinds of traumatic death, including suicide.
Every time he speaks at the annual Walk, Joe says he can count on someone coming up to him, reminding him about the time he came to their home, “with the news that their son, or wife, or father had died at their own hands.”
It’s an emotionally taxing job, but the affable and easy-going Joe believes he’s been called to comfort families and friends of loved ones who have died. He deals with death of every description. “What makes suicide different,” says the chaplain, “is that other deaths can usually be explained.” So Joe says his job is to be there for distraught loved ones “trying to make sense out of something that never makes sense.”
He admits, dealing daily with death and human anguish hasn’t been easy. Several years ago, plagued by emotional stress and stomach problems, Joe turned to prayer asking, “If I’m supposed to be doing this, why is it so hard?”
He believes God’s answer was loud and clear, “If you’re going to get that involved, you’re no good to the families and you’re no good to me.”
“Now, instead of being part of the storm,” explains Joe, “I’m the calm in the midst of the storm.”
But last year, in a tragic irony, the “storm” came to Joe personally when he got the call that rocked his world. Following years of depression, his own father had taken his life. “It was the most painful, horrible training I’ve ever had,” Joe told me, tears welling up.
As he deals with his own lingering pain, Joe believes his experience has helped him better help others. “Now I can honestly say, ‘I know what you’re going through.’”
And so Joe continues his unpaid job, as the only full-time chaplain for a medical examiner in the US, with his faith and signature sense of humor to carry him through the next crisis.
“I don’t know the shelf life of a coroner’s chaplain,” quips Davis. “I’m just being obedient to where I’m supposed to be.”
Thank you for making a difference, Joe.
Q&A with Badalin Helvink, M.D.
According to Badalin Helvink, M.D., medical director of the Psychiatry Program at the Palomar Center for Behavioral Health, suicide is our nation’s top public health issue. Here she explains how we all play a role in saving lives.
Carol: Why is the suicide rate rising?
Dr. Helvink: Violence, economic stress, substance abuse, depression and anxiety, family history of mental illness, access to guns, lack of access to health care … take your pick!
Carol: How do we get a handle on the problem?
Dr. Helvink: First, by talking about it. Sadly, a stigma still exists when it comes to mental illness.
Carol: Why can’t we get past the stigma?
Dr. Helvink: Unfortunately, the barriers are still there. Families don’t want to talk about it. Patients don’t want to be on medication.
Carol: What about the media?
Dr. Helvink: Sensationalized celebrity suicides can actually cause a copycat effect. Cyberbullying through social media causes severe pressure on kids. Nearly 16 percent of kids admit thinking about suicide.
Carol: Sounds like an issue for everyone.
Dr. Helvink It takes a village—a collaborative effort of family, friends, community and providers.
Carol: How can I help prevent a suicide?
Dr. Helvink: If you know someone who’s struggling – isolating, consumed with sadness or morbidly preoccupied – don’t wait for them to “snap out of it.” Reach out.
Carol: How do you know when it’s serious?
Dr. Helvink In my practice, if I hear, “I’m a burden” or “I can’t live like this anymore,” or when a teen hears her friend say she “wishes she were dead.” If they voice it, take it seriously.
Carol: Some say suicide is an act of cowardice.
Dr. Helvink: I invite them to have compassion about something that’s tragic, and for many, a result of major depressive disorder.
Carol: Can there be a happy ending?
Dr. Helvink: I had a patient who took a serious overdose. After successful treatment for her depression, she told me she never knew she could actually feel good again.
Carol: What do you want people to know?
Dr. Helvink Depression is a very treatable condition. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. There is help.
See our full story on Behavioral Health in The HealthSource.
Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month which is a good time to be extra vigilant with friends and loved ones dealing with extreme sadness or a sense of hopelessness.
Warning signs that someone may be thinking about or planning to commit suicide include:
• Always talking or thinking about death
• Clinical depression – deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating that gets worse
• Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights
• Losing interest in things one used to care about
• Making comments about being hopeless, helpless or worthless
• Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
• Saying things like "it would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
• Sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
• Talking about suicide or killing one's self
• Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
Be especially concerned if a person is exhibiting any of these warning signs and has attempted suicide in the past. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, between 20 and 50 percent of people who commit suicide have had a previous attempt.
Sixty. I turned 60 this month! I’ve been practicing saying it for months. But now that it’s here, it seems surreal!
Sixty. Yikes! It sounds so old, and yet, I have to admit, I’m glad I’ve lived long enough to say those words and celebrate their meaning. I’m alive happy, healthy and surrounded by family and friends who care about me. Those are blessings…at any age.
Not only that, I’m in good company! Did you know Oprah just turned 60? She’s still going strong and feeling pretty positive about the milestone. In a recent magazine interview, the superstar shared a few thoughts…echoing my feelings about the benefits of aging up!
“I’m turning 60,” says Oprah, “and – please don’t take offense, but I no longer have to be concerned what anyone thinks of me! (You know, the old, am I doing it right? Am I saying it right? Am I being what or who I’m “supposed” to be?) I’m turning 60, and I’ve earned the right to be just as I am.”
You go, girl!
I may have lost my once firm behind, but, like Oprah and many of you 60-plus gals out there, I’m more secure in being myself than I’ve ever been. My skin may be saggy in spots, but at least I’m more comfortable in it!
I also happen to know some really “hot chicks” that recently turned 60. “Peeps,” the beloved marshmallow candy,” is celebrating six decades of success and longevity. More popular than ever, the iconic Easter candy is constantly reinventing itself…proving that 60 may just be the new 30!
So, I’m not going to let a couple of gray hairs get me down. I was 20 once. Now it’s someone else’s turn. It’s the cycle of life. And rather than waste time and energy whining about it, I’m going to give myself a birthday gift…a piece of age-old inspiration from one of my feminist heroes…award-winning newspaper columnist, Erma Bombeck.
Check out her hilarious “At Wit’s End” column from 1992 in which the gifted humorist took aim at the problem of aging.
“Aging Gracefully is Going out of Style”
by Erma Bombeck
One of the bonuses of growing old used to be that you could shrivel and no one cared. My grandmother shriveled. She also sagged, shifted, slouched and slumped. It was as if the floor was the center point of gravity, and with glacier-like movement all of my grandmother’s parts eventually came to rest there.
No one gave her permission for her body to go from a solid to a jelly state. It was her rite of passage.
Had she lived today, she might not have been so lucky. We live in times of the youthmeisters. There’s the grandmother from West Melbourne, Fla., who wrote that she slipped into a pair of jeans one afternoon and buttoned a plain white blouse over it. When she saw her 6-year-old granddaughter, Katie, taking it all in, she wiggled her hips and asked, “Does this blouse look OK with the jeans?”
Katie circled her critically and said, “Yes, Grandma, the blouse looks OK, but if you’re ever gonna be a stripper, you’re gonna have to lose those thighs.”
There’s nothing wrong with hanging onto youth, but we have gone to war with aging. Thirty year-olds are “doing their eyes” and having skin peels. Why? It’s like having a car serviced with only 200 miles on it.
My mother said to me last Sunday, “I’m going to lose this stomach if it’s the last thing I do.” She is in her 80’s.
Think about what you’re doing,” I said. “Think about all those women on the Titanic who looked at the dessert cart and said, “No thanks, my waistband is getting a little tight.”
You could lose a few pounds yourself,” she retorted. “I’ll bet you couldn’t even fit in your wedding dress anymore.”
“I get so few calls for it,” I said dryly.
But the pressure is there and will remain there for the rest of our lives. When I’m 90, I will sit in front of my TV set listening to, “Give us a week – we’ll take off the weight” and shouting at it, “I don’t HAVE a week!”
I looked through an old photo album and found a picture of my grandmother just before she died. She had great skin and the best pair of legs this side of the Ohio River. But she was shaped like an eggplant. It didn’t matter. She was beautiful, and she was supposed to look that way.”
Some things never change.
The trails at Torrey Pines may be beautiful, but after a nearly two-hour trek up and down the scenic paths recently, I needed a nap! Disappointed in my apparent lack of physical prowess, I crawled into my car and drove home only to find an encouraging e-mail from Janine that clearly explained why Torrey Pines had totally wiped me out.
Turns out, my walking partner and “techie” friend had been wearing her “Fitbit” as we trekked the trails that morning. The tiny tracking device on her wrist had recorded our every step…and more… synching wirelessly with her computer and smart phone.
The “Fitbit” computer readout justified my exhaustion. Distracted as we hiked, gabbed and enjoyed the scenery, Janine and I took nearly 19,000 steps, covering 7.71 miles – the equivalent of climbing 86 floors during 115 active minutes. (Does the Fitbit really know when we took photos and potty breaks??!!)
Actually, the tracker uses a three-dimensional accelerometer similar to that found in the Wii Remote, to sense user movement. Simply stated, the device measures steps taken, and combines it with user data to calculate distance walked, calories burned etc.
Speaking of calories, the trendy tracker claims we burned 2,372 calories that morning! (I find that hard to believe…but it sure sounds good!) No wonder I found myself later that day crashed on the couch eating spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar!
These beefed up pedometers are making getting in shape as addictive as checking Facebook and Twitter. Janine wears her Fitbit “Force” all the time. She shoots for 10,000 steps a day, but with an added 4-mile run or “walk and talk” with a friend, can easily reach 20,000 steps.
“It keeps me motivated to get out there and get active on days I’m at my desk on the computer,” says Janine. “When I check my Fitbit and realize how few steps I’ve taken, I make it a point to get moving!”
I’m always late to the party when it comes to embracing new technology…but this is just too fun to pass up. Plus, these new-fangled trackers even allow you to compete with your friends.
Waddaya say, Janine?
Note: The Fitbit “Force” used by Janine has recently been recalled, not for any defect in the device, but because a few users have experienced contact dermatitis (skin rashes) where the tracker comes in contact with their wrists possibly from the nickel used in the band. Fitbit is replacing the device with one minus the nickel and offering a full refund to their customers.
After 34 years working the night shift, I wondered whether I’d be able to adapt to a normal sleeping schedule when I retired from the TV news business.
Not only have I adapted, I haven’t even seen the 11 p.m. news in more than four years! No offense to Kimberly or my other news pals, but these days I’m lucky to make it past nine before drifting into dreamland. My body clearly loves the change. I sleep soundly and wake up refreshed and ready to face the day.
Not only that, within a year on my new schedule – completely unintentionally, I’d lost nearly 10 pounds. What a surprise… until I looked at the facts.
For years I think I was always just a little bit sleep deprived…getting by on about seven hours, when my body craved closer to nine in the sack. And, if I’m honest, I’d developed some pretty unhealthy eating habits working those weird hours.
On a busy night at work, I’d miss dinner altogether, then exhausted and wired after the late news, I’d come home, turn on Conan and fix myself a plate of cheese and crackers and wash it down with a glass (or two!) of wine… to unwind, you understand.
Bad plan. A fat and calorie-laden snack combined with sugar in the alcohol often made for light, interrupted sleep. When I finally adopted my husband’s routine an early dinner with only a light snack before bed, I began sleeping like a baby and reaping the health benefits.
Adequate slumber (7-9 hours is the sweet spot for most of us!) does more than make you feel good. An abundance of sleep research has found a well-rested engine is essential for controlling your weight and sharpening your memory.
What you eat can play a major role in the quality of your rest. My best snooze advice?
1. Warm milk can help you sleep better. Milk contains tryptophan, which your body uses to make serotonin, a brain chemical that promotes sleepiness. Because tryptophan needs carbohydrates to work its sedating magic in your brain, milk is a natural choice since it has the drowsy duo. (While warming it up adds to the soothing sensation, I still prefer my milk cold.)
2. Avoid eating a late meal, then going straight to bed. Consuming a heavy dinner or even a super-size bedtime snack can make you feel uncomfortably full when you lie down. Even worse, you may develop heartburn or gas… which makes falling asleep extra-challenging. For a peaceful slumber, aim to eat dinner at least three hours before you hit the sack. (When that’s not possible, enjoy a lighter meal –
less than 400 calories.) If you need a late-night nibble, keep it at 200 calories or less.
Three smart pre-sleep snacks that work for me:
*1 cup fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt topped with some crunchy, low-sugar cereal
*3 cups low fat popcorn topped with grated Parmesan
* Rice cake topped with hummus and a slice of turkey breast or (my fave) peanut butter
3. Talk to you doctor about sleep aids. One of the most popular options is melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles. You can even increase your intake of foods that naturally contain melatonin…like tart cherries, walnuts or some special sleepy-time teas. (Nights when it’s difficult to fall asleep or when I travel, my doctor prescribes Ambien but only occasionally…and ONLY with my doctor’s okay.)
Don’t minimize the importance of sleep. It’s crucial for good health and wellbeing.
I used to think personal trainers were for someone else. Not me. I’m motivated to work out on my own, thank you. I don’t need some guy with six-pack abs watching my every bicep curl.
Well, last year that all changed when I realized I needed help. Following multiple surgeries, I had developed aches, pains and muscle weaknesses that only seemed to get worse the harder I pushed on my own at the gym. Even swimming left me with a stiff neck and knot in my back.
Frustrated, I asked for advice from one of my fit friends. His recommendation? You guessed it – a personal fitness trainer. Desperate, I took his advice and called Bret Smith a credentialed instructor and the owner of the “Move Strong Studio” in San Diego.
Bret quickly assessed my situation and gave me simple, corrective exercises I could do at home. After several sessions with “my” personal trainer, I began to feel better, stronger and happier as my aches and pains subsided. Because of Brett’s personal attention and expertise, I’m grateful to be back hiking, biking and swimming strong.
As I’ve gotten to know Brett, it’s clear he’s more than a fitness trainer. Not only is he knowledgeable on all facets of health and fitness, he’s a wonderful (but gentle!) motivator! (Go check out his website at www.movestrongstudio.com
So, as we begin a new and (hopefully!) healthier new year, I asked Brett to share some of the tips he gives his clients to help them start and stick with a fitness program.
Here are Brett’s Top 10 Tips for looking good and feeling great in 2014:
1. Just Get Moving! Starting a new fitness program can be daunting with all the "have to's" and all that information can lead to overload. The simple and best way to start is to just get moving and increase your general activity level throughout the day.Taking a walk after lunch or dinner; taking the stairs instead of an elevator; standing while on the phone or when someone walks into your office; parking a little farther than your destination – little things that can add up and make a big difference in helping you move and feel better.
2. Have an Accountability Buddy. This will help you stick with a plan. You and your workout buddy both promise to not let the other skip a workout. This buddy may be a friend with similar goals to yours, a family member, co- worker or even a fitness professional who will motivate you to stay on track.
3. Choose Activities You Enjoy. And do them! Again and again! Nothing will short- circuit your workout plan faster than a boring, non-eventful activity. Even if it's completely new, but sounds interesting, you're more likely to stick with something you enjoy. Don't be afraid of trying a bunch of things to see what connects with you.
4. Pick the Pro especially if you're just getting started, unsure or just unaccustomed to having regular activity in your life. Investing in a Certified Fitness Professional can get you off on the right foot helping you build a solid foundation, focus on your goals and prevent injury. Word-of-mouth and referrals from trusted family and friends is best way to find the best pro for you.
5. Set Your Goals! Write these ideas down and be specific. How many pounds? Dress size? Body fat percentage? Whatever it is, get it down on paper. Then post the goals, completion date and workouts completed to date in places you see regularly. Consistent reinforcement is key to your success.
6. Be Relentless in your dedication to succeeding. Set your schedule. Stick with it. No excuses. Make your workouts as important as showing up for work, being with your family or having fun.
7. No 4-Letter Words! Banish the CAN’T’s, DONT's and WONT's from your vocabulary. It may take some self-talk and gentle reminders but focus on what you CAN, WILL and WANT to do. One step at a time.
8. Prepare For the Journey. Consider your new undertaking as the journey of a lifetime. As you and your journey grow, you'll explore new and exciting ways to stay happy, healthy and fit along the way. One of the highest rates of success in sticking with a fitness and wellness plan is sharing it with a group, partner, friend or spouse. Be part of a team and see how everyone benefits.
9. Make it Social. We are social creatures and one of the highest rates of success in sticking with a fitness and wellness plan is sharing it with a group, partner, friend or spouse. Make them part of Your Team and see how everyone benefits.
10. Ignore the Hype. If you are easily influenced by the hype of a fad diet or latest fitness gadget, stop and ask two simple questions. For whom? For what? These programs and equipment promise you success with little time or effort. The truth is, it takes time, work, dedication and determination. No diet or a trendy gadget will change that. There are no shortcuts to success...only detours and u-turns if you fall prey to the hype.
My sweet kitty, Bing, is getting over a little infection. The vet said it was no big deal. All I had to do was give her a tiny pill twice a day for a week.
Bing is young…an adolescent, really…and not very cooperative (to say the least) when it’s time for her pill. Anyone with a cat can identify with my dilemma. Talking with my step-Mom, Kaye about battling with Bing and her pills, we had a good laugh about “herding cats” and the like.
Two days later, a note from Kaye arrived “snail mail.” Inside was a copy of an old Ann Landers column from 1999 which included a piece called “How to Give Your Cat a Pill,” by Bob Story.
It’s hilarious. In fact, I haven’t laughed that hard in years – no decades! That laughing jag made me feel so good; I’ve decided to pass it along. And please, no complaints from cat lovers. (I love cats more than anyone, believe me!) It’s just a piece of humor. I hope it gives you a chuckle.
How to Give Your Cat a Pill
By Bob Story
Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as though holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat’s mouth and gently apply pressure to his cheeks. When cat opens up, pop pill into mouth. Cat will then close mouth and swallow.
Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Repeat the process.
Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw soggy pill away.
Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, immobilizing front and rear paws. Ask assistant to hold cat’s head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into cat’s throat. Flick pill down ruler with forefinger and rub cat’s throat vigorously.
Retrieve cat from living room valance.
Carefully sweep shattered figurines from hearth and set aside for later gluing. Remove next pill from foil wrap.
Wrap cat in beach towel and ask assistant to lie prone on cat with cat’s head visible under assistant’s armpit. Put pill in end of paper tube you’ve made for this purpose. Then force cat’s mouth open with pencil and blow.
Check label to make sure pill is not lethal to humans. Sip water to take away taste. Apply bandage to assistant’s forearm and remove blood from carpet with soap and cold water.
Call 911, ask fire department to retrieve cat from eucalyptus tree. Remove remaining pill from foil wrap. Tie cat’s front paws to rear paws with garden twine and securely tie to leg of dining table. Put on heavy-duty pruning gloves. Force cat’s mouth open with tire iron. Drop pill, previously hidden in one ounce of raw hamburger, into cat’s mouth. Hold head vertically with nose pointed to ceiling and pour one-half pint of water down cat’s throats and two jiggers of whiskey down your own.
Ask assistant to drive you to emergency room. Sit quietly while doctor administers anesthetic, stitches forearm and removes pill remnants from eye. Drop off cat, along with a generous donation, at animal shelter and adopt a goldfish.
There you have it. And now it’s time to give Bing her next pill. This is gonna be fun!
I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to my lip balm! I’m not thrilled about this. But at least I’m not the only one constantly reaching for that next lip fix.
‘Tis the season, after all – the sunny, hot and extremely dry season, that is. With temperatures rising and high pressure building, they just don’t make enough Chapstick to keep my miserably dry, cracked lips moist!
The spectacular autumn sun may be shining brightly, but with dry Santa Ana winds and humidity dropping below 10 percent, many of us look for relief from constantly re-applying our favorite lip balm. (Bee’s for me!)
Annoying and uncomfortable at best, chapped lips can become dry, cracked and sore interfering with daily activities such as smiling, eating, talking, singing and kissing. Even worse, cracked tissue can be painful and lead to infection.
So Cal’s “devil winds” aren’t the only reason our kissers become cracked and chapped. Yes, over exposure to wind, sun, cold and dry air are the main culprits, but people who breathe through their mouths (for a variety of reasons) can develop chapped lips. Certain medications or allergies to cosmetics or skin care products may also be the cause.
When lips are exposed to moisture, they absorb water and plump up. No surprise there, but conversely, when dehydrated they can dry out. As we age, it’s hard for skin to retain moisture and dryness tends to increase in the winter.
So, what’s a person to do?
Check out these timely tips to help you keep those luscious lips soft and moist…
*Avoid lip smacking or licking your lips.
When you do, you provide a drop of moisture which evaporates quickly, leaving the lips drier than before. Saliva contains digestive enzymes that can break down the protective barrier on the lips.
Drink plenty of fluids to moisturize from the inside out. Set up a humidifier in your home or office.
*Be sure your lip balm contains sunscreen.
According to researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, “sun damage to the lips can cause dryness and scaliness…the same way it damages the rest of the skin.”
*Ladies, wear lipstick!
A creamy lipstick (non-matte) can soothe chapped lips and opaque lipstick filters out harmful light. This may be why women seldom get lip cancer.
*Apply lip balm.
Look for hydrating ingredients such as beeswax and petroleum. Beware of camphor and menthol…camphor-based medicated lip balm may be irritating.
*It’s OK to reapply often.
Apply it before you go out…several times while you are out and after you eat or drink.
Apply a thick layer of balm at bedtime to lessen chapping. Many of us sleep with our mouths open, which leads to dry lips. (Since I began slathering on a generous layer of Aquaphor at night, no more painful cracks in the corners of my lips!)
Oh, and don’t be concerned about actually becoming “addicted” to your lip balm. There are no physically addictive ingredients in balms. A psychological habit? Maybe. But it’s safe…so grab another tube!
I didn’t believe she could do it.
And I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t think Diana Nyad should have even attempted the grueling ocean swim that recently catapulted the 64-year-old into the record books.
After all, Nyad had already tried to swim from Cuba to Florida four times since her first attempt in 1978…all unsuccessfully. And for good reason. Sharks, jellyfish, chronic nausea and exhaustion who could blame her? I remember talking to my TV as I watched Nyad’s fourth attempt come to a disastrous and disappointing end. “Enough already, Diana. Let it go.”
Besides, you’re too old, Diana. Face it. At 64, it’s too late to attempt something so physically taxing. You’ve already accomplished so much as a swimmer, author, motivational speaker and reporter. Rest on your laurels. Leave crossing the Florida straits to the youngsters.
Clearly, I had no idea what a woman with a dream and the iron will of Diana Nyad was capable of. As Nyad emerged victorious from the Atlantic Ocean after completing her historic swim, I was eating crow.
You’d think I’d have been her biggest cheerleader. After all, almost 60 myself, I’m also an open water swimmer. In fact, I had the great experience of being a “buddy swimmer” for my friend, Becky Jackman, as she successfully crossed the English Channel some years ago.
Honestly, it was sometimes difficult to watch as Becky pushed beyond her limits…spending12 hours in the choppy, bone-chilling waters of the Channel fighting exhaustion and the powerful current…literally crawling onto the beach at Calais…completely spent, swollen and delirious. But as Becky moved from delirium to euphoria, there wasn’t a dry eye on the boat. Our friend was glowing with the joy of achieving her lifelong goal.
Emerging from the Atlantic Ocean in Florida, that’s exactly what Nyad experienced – overwhelmed with emotion as she fell into the arms of her coach. All I can say is shame on me and everyone else who didn’t believe in Diana Nyad. Fortunately, she didn’t listen to us. She listened to her heart.
“I think it was her belief in herself that she could do this,” says Kathryn Olson, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “That’s what makes her different. She worked through the pain. She had such a strong belief in herself and her ability to do this.”
The fifth time was the charm for the determined Nyad. Her open-water swim encompassed roughly 110 miles and 53 hours. Her superhuman feat makes Nyad the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage fulfilling a dream that began 35 years ago.
Diana Nyad’s incredible feat has inspired millions to dream big and go for it. And the remarkable endurance swimmer has some pretty sage advice for anyone with doubts (or doubters!) about on pursuing their dream.
As she walked triumphantly from the water in Key West…deliriously jubilant…Diana Nyad smiled and told a mob of spectators, “We should never give up. You’re never too old to chase your dream.”
What’s Pickleball?! It’s the fastest-growing new sport in the nation and it has nothing to do with pickles!
At a recent family reunion, I learned my husband’s sweet, petite cousin, Carolyn, is also quite the athlete. I had no idea, but cousin Carolyn and her husband, Dale, are the reigning New York state double’s champions… in pickleball!
“Wow! That’s awesome,” I said…fake smile masking the fact I had absolutely no idea what Tom’s cousins were into. Pickleball? I’d never even heard of the game with the funny name. Turns out, Dale and Carolyn are on the cutting edge of a sports trend that’s exploding in popularity especially among older adults.
Unfortunately, I was still in a pickle about pickleball! So, I talked to Carolyn and got the “scoop.” First off, the game often described as a mixture of tennis and ping -pong has nothing to do with pickles!
Here’s the deal. If you take a game of tennis and slow it down, use a smaller court, slower racket and harder-to-hit ball…you get pickleball!
The sport is played with a wooden paddle and a plastic ball on a short, square court. The net is hung at 34 inches in the middle (it’s 36 inches for tennis.) There is a non-volley zone on both sides of the net to prevent high-speed spikes as dictated by the U.S.A. Pickleball Association rulebook. Players score when the other side can’t return a shot. The first side to reach 11 points with a two-point lead wins.
Pickleball’s popularity has made it the first sport to be added for competition in the National Senior Games (NSGA) in 20 years. The pickleball movement is averaging a thousand new players a year. There are now more than 100,000 players in the United States and the number of pickleball courts has doubled to more than 5,600…just since 2010.
“It’s good exercise,” says cousin Carolyn. “In my first six months of playing pickleball, my cholesterol dropped 40 points!” But she also loves the social aspect of the game. “It’s fun. It’s something Dale and I can do together and we meet so many wonderful people.”
Interestingly, the popularity among seniors is creating a trickle-down effect, with pickleball becoming more popular with school PE programs and at recreational camps nationwide.
And that includes the San Diego area. If you’d like to try your hand at pickleball, you can find teams and leagues from Oceanside to Alpine, La Jolla to Lakeside. Check out San Diego Parks and Recreation for more information and become part of the fastest growing sport in America!
In fact, San Diego boasts a gold medal-winning pickleballer. Pat Carroll took the gold in the 70-74 age division at the National Senior Games last month in Cleveland! (Where, if I may brag just a bit, Dale and Carolyn placed fourth in the doubles division. Way to go, Cousins!)
As more folks become sweet on pickleball, maybe it’s time to give it a try. “This is a game that has a lot of participation from people who have never been an athlete in their life,” says Tom Burkhart, pickleball competition director for the NSGA. “They can still acclimate and become a decent player.”
Need a little incentive to try your hand at pickleball? According to a report on San Diego’s KPBS, “Pickleball is really a great game with a silly name. It’s addictive and might just lead you on the path of health, happiness and a heck of a lot of fun!”