How To Discover A Food Allergy

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One important part of living a healthy life is knowing what your body needs and what it should avoid. Although there are many diets that claim to have the secret, the truth is, we all have different genetics and environments that determine what our body can and cannot digest properly. Before you commit to a diet, whether for general health or weight loss, it may be beneficial to determine whether or not you have any food allergies or intolerances.

Step 1: Keep a Food Journal

Before you do anything else, you should keep a food journal for at least one week without making any changes to your diet. Write down not only what you eat, but also how much of it (roughly), and how you feel physically and emotionally throughout the day. This will give you a baseline to work off of.

Step 2: Identify Problems

Do you feel sluggish or nauseous an hour after eating at McDonald’s? That’s an easy enough problem to solve. However, what can be much more difficult is pinpointing problems that occur at home. For example, you could have spaghetti and meatballs with a large salad that has tons of toppings and dressing. If you start to feel bloated after eating, there are many ingredients that could be the culprit. Try to see if there are any patterns, where you eat a particular food and then feel bad afterward. If you cannot find a particular pattern, your problem may not lie with one particular food, but with a buildup from the foods that you eat throughout the day.

Step 3: Elimination Diet

Once you have an idea of the foods that could cause you problems, you can eliminate them from your diet, while still maintaining your food journal. See if you notice more energy or less stomach problems. When you do this, you should keep in mind that you may lose essential vitamins and minerals. Try to replace them with another food, or take a supplement if needed.

Step 4: Consult a Doctor

Although this step is not necessary, as avoiding certain foods is easy enough, it can give you some peace of mind to take an allergy test. Whether the results come back positive or negative for the foods you’ve identified, you can still avoid foods that make you feel bad. There are many digestive conditions that are triggered by certain foods, and not all are considered allergies. Still, if you are concerned about your overall health in relation to your diet, contacting a doctor is a good idea.

Food allergies and intolerances are extremely common, but many do not know they have them. Before trying out a new diet, take some time to evaluate which foods your body really needs.



We Need Digital Medical Records

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It’s 2018 and everything is going digital. Conversations, books, and paperwork are all making the transition. It’s natural, then, that people in the medical field are wondering when medical records will be available digitally. Although most health networks use digital records for their own purposes, patients are often not allowed access to these. This is a problem that should be fixed, and these are the biggest reasons why.

Second Opinions

No doctor is perfect. People with chronic or severe conditions, such as cancer, may want a second opinion on their condition and treatment options. Having records would make it easier for the patient to see where both doctors are coming from and compare notes. It would also save the trouble of having to get records transferred, if they are even handed over at all.

Treatment Plans

People with lifestyle-changing illnesses are going to have a treatment plan. Usually, a doctor will write down or print out the plan, and the patient may lose a vital piece of information due to the hard copies. Instead, it would be useful to have a digital copy of the treatment plan directly on the patient’s computer. The doctor could include notes on what the effects of each step are, and the patient could have a portal that allows them to keep track of their progress and symptoms as time goes on. The biggest change between current treatment plans and digital ones would be the coordination between the doctor and patient, outside of the office.

More Accountability

Have you ever had a doctor question whether you are being honest about symptoms? Some doctors are skeptical around patients and may assume health before sickness. This can cause serious problems, and could lead to complications or death. Having access to your doctor’s notes will keep them accountable for taking you seriously. On the patient side, doctors will be able to hold patients accountable for making progress toward healthy behaviors. In my previous point, I mentioned that patients could have digital treatment plans. This would make patients responsible for implementing good habits and decreasing negative ones, which could take some pressure off of doctors for curing someone who does not want to help.

Digital records do come with some downsides. Security would be a problem, primarily on the patient’s end. Doctors could also have more work to do to upload their notes and treatment plans to the system. However, even with these negative points, digital records have the potential to bring positivity to the healthcare system.


Can We Reverse Aging For Good?

By a young age, most people know or have heard of the “fountain of youth.” We dream of leaving on a daring adventure that leads us to the most beautiful waterfall, and after a few sips of its water, we are forever transformed into the youthful, energized self we all long to be. Within years, the constant reminders of fairytales and falsehoods tell us that those dreams are nothing but fiction.

As we age, we recognize the fountain’s unfeasible results, yet we still long for youthful days, or the chance to live longer. We hope for these outcomes so much so that skin creams and facial peels have become part of a $250 billion industry. Anti-aging products have remained the next best thing– until now.

Earlier this year, a study was released that was wildly successful in creating a “fountain of youth” effect on mice. This study followed a previous attempt at finding supplements or other compounds that could reverse the signs of aging. Dr. Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, Ph.D., first looked at a natural compound in the body for his longevity studies. The compound used in his first study was NAD or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. As people age, the amount of NAD produced by the body decreases; as NAD levels drop, inflammation of the body increases. Therefore, Dr. Imai hypothesized that more NAD and less inflammation could be the answer to reverse aging. However, this first study of supplementing NAD into the body failed.

Despite the previous failure, Dr. Imai and his colleagues pressed on looking at the issue from different angles. Instead of giving NAD supplements, the second study looked at what would happen if they used supplements that the body naturally converts to NAD. This new supplement, NMN or nicotinamide mononucleotide, is a naturally occurring compound that stimulates the production of NAD. As previously stated, this longevity study was very successful.

The results show that NMN suppresses age-associated body weight gain and enhances energy metabolism; improves insulin sensitivity, eye function, and other features with no toxicity; prevents age-associated gene expression changes in a tissue-specific manner; and is a useful anti-aging intervention that could be translated to humans.

The results of NMN supplements leads scientists to believe that improved blood flow could be crucial in helping aging tissues and organs, speedy healing of wounds, and improved circulation.

We’ve got a long way to go before we understand what this means for the human body and aging, but the results so far are promising enough to encourage more scientists to research this and possibly other health extending compounds.


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Nutrition Tips For Seniors

Over the course of a lifespan, what consists of a healthy diet changes multiple times. As an infant, breast milk is needed for healthy brain development. As a toddler, protein, iron, and calcium are essential for growth and development. The amount of food you need generally increases until you are a full-grown adult. However, our diets continue to evolve. Once in your forties, calcium is needed for bone strength and vitamin A is required to maintain decent eyesight. Our metabolism slows, and we have to readjust the way we ingest our nutrients.

While we tend to have plenty of advice and knowledge on staying healthy throughout the first 60 years of life, there seems to be a lack of information on senior diets. As the body continues to change, new types of nutrients are needed, and old types are not. Here are some tips for staying healthy as a senior.

Liquids. Did you know that your sense of thirst lessens as you age? While you may not feel thirsty, you may still be in need of hydration. If you are just not interested in drinking more water, drink 100-percent juice or fat-free milk as second options.

Variety. The best way to ensure you are maintaining a healthy diet is by incorporating a variety of foods. Try taking a trip to your local market for inexpensive fruits and vegetables you can experiment with. According to the National Council on Aging, a healthy meal includes a lean protein, fruits and veggies, whole grains and low-fat dairy.

Minimize. Some foods that were okay before become bad at a certain age. One of those top no-nos, as you age, is sodium. Since taste also declines as you age, the chances of over salting increase which can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. If you can’t cut it out of your diet, make sure to measure your intake for no more than 2,300 milligrams daily. Also work to minimize your intake of sugar-sweetened drinks and desserts, foods with butter or shortening, and white bread, rice, and other refined grains.

Read. Whole foods are the best foods. While whole foods are the best option, it is naive to believe that everything you eat will be completely whole. When purchasing packaged foods, read the labels to find choices that are low in fat, added sugars, and sodium.

Supplements. To ensure you are receiving the proper amount of vitamins and minerals, consider taking daily or weekly supplements. However, before deciding, discuss options with your doctor to ensure benefits work for your overall health.


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Best Low-Carb Snacks

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Every time I go to the grocery store I find myself in the same situation. I am always tempted to buy snack foods that are loaded with empty calories and high carb content. Many people struggle with this scenario, so I decided to do some research and find the best low-carb snack foods you can buy. Next time you go to the store, try searching for these items instead of chips or pretzels.


Nuts are a great source of healthy fats, but if you aren’t careful, they can also come packed full of carbs. Pecans are a common nut that have a small amount of carbs, while cashews rank as the most carb-dense nut you’ll find. If you’re on a high-fat diet, you can always make exceptions for nuts with slightly higher carb counts, but as a general rule of thumb, pecans, macadamia nuts, peanuts, and walnuts are the best low-carb nuts available.

Cheese Crisps

Most people love cheese, and most people love chips. This is why Cheez-its are one of the most prominent snack foods for children. This awesome combination has also created a great substitute to carb-heavy chips: the cheese crisp. These chip-like snacks are similar to chips in texture, but have the delicious flavor of cheese, and come with no carbs. If you want something that tastes like a chip, try picking up a box of these to satisfy your craving.


As you may know, produce is a type of carb. This may lead you to wonder why I’ve included smoothies, since they’re packed full of fruit and veggies. However, Wicked Stuffed has a list of smoothies that all have less than 5g carbs. When you’re tempted to buy a chocolate bar next time you shop, look up one of these recipes and buy the ingredients instead.

Eggs and Tabasco

Do you need something with a kick? Eggs are widely known as great low-carb snacks, since they only contain 1g of carbs. Tabasco sauce contains less than 1g of carbs in a 10-drop serving, making it the perfect addition to a hard-boiled egg. Since eggs are so versatile, you can also add Tabasco to scrambled eggs, an omelet, or any other egg-based meal. Hot sauces may be off-limits to a low-carb dieter, but Tabasco is the best replacement you can find, and soon enough, you’ll wonder why you never tried it earlier.

Whether you’re on the Keto diet, the Paleo diet, or any other kind of low-carb diet, you will need to have healthy snacks on-hand to curb your cravings. Before you splurge on chips and chocolate, try one of these options and you’ll forget that other snacks ever existed.

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TabSafe: Making Medication Easy

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Having a parent who takes medication is stressful for anyone. However, imagine trying to manage a parent who has severe memory loss and can’t remember when they last took their medication. Adults all over the world struggle with making sure their parents stick to the plans their doctors set, and it can be incredibly difficult if their parents live far away. Luckily for these individuals, TabSafe is an easy way to help parents stay on track with their medication.

What is TabSafe?

TabSafe is an innovative medication dispenser that helps older adults keep track of their pills. With physical and audible cues, TabSafe has a more focused way to alert people that it is time to take their medicine. Comparatively, weekly pill cases do not have alerts, while many alarms are placed far from living areas and may not be heard. The TabSafe eliminates these problems completely.

How does it work?

TabSafe has three components: the pill trays, the machine, and the website. Each machine can hold 4 pill trays at a time, with nearly 20 sections per tray. Simply portion the medication, place the trays into the machine, and hook it up to a phone line. The machine must then be programmed to distribute pills at the correct times, which the user can do on the website. At the programmed times, the TabSafe will blink a green light and beep. The user can opt to set a PIN code, which must be entered before pills are released; otherwise, they only need to press a button. The pills are released on a small tray in a cup. The user can take the cup out, take their pills, put the cup back and push the drawer shut. It’s simple!

Should you buy it?

Although TabSafe is a great addition to many people’s homes, it is not right for everyone. The manufacturer has limitations on amount of pills, pill size, and suggests not using the machine for halved medication. If your loved one must frequently take many pills, large pills, or split pills, I would suggest speaking with the company about your options. If you do not have these problems, however, TabSafe may be a good choice. I would definitely suggest looking into it if your parent lives far away, or if you are not able to keep up with reminder phone calls.

TabSafe is a fantastic innovation to the medication marketplace. Although its design is simple, it has potential to save many lives and improve quality of life for individuals who consistently forget their medicine. Although every good option comes with downsides, such as cost and insurance acceptance, TabSafe is worth looking into. Next time you make that 4pm phone call to remind Mom to take her pills, add on a conversation about TabSafe as well.

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Media Does Not Portray Reality

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The media is constantly blamed for just about any problem: violence, addiction, and mental health. However, one area the media certainly does have influence over is body image. Many young men and women struggle with their appearance and social media, TV, and movies don’t help. I know people who have attempted to match the “healthy” and “naturally beautiful” models they see in magazines or on their screens, and it never seems to work. Here are some things to keep in mind about trying to look like people you see in media.

Healthy is different for everyone.

Some people are born skinny and have a hard time keeping on weight. Others have more muscle mass and may look bigger. There are so many aspects that can go into weight, and diet and exercise are just two of them. Genetics play a big role, as do many (if not most) health conditions. People can end up in unhealthy weight ranges for many reasons, which is why even BMI is not an accurate indicator of health. So whether you are comparing yourself to your friends of a celebrity, remind yourself that your health story is not the same as theirs.

Photoshop looks very real.

Although there are a few companies determined to show real people in their campaigns, most advertisers will use Photoshop to add or subtract weight and definition from even the most in-shape models. In fact, photographers have caught fire for changing people’s skin color to meet an “ideal”. In a world where the image counts more than the negative consequences, these practices are unlikely to ever go away fully, so we should always keep this in the back of our mind.

Plastic surgery and makeup affects perception.

Both plastic surgery and makeup are not new concepts, but they have been significantly refined over the years. People get surgery to slightly alter themselves, but it can make a big difference. Makeup can also change how someone looks — just search through social media for an hour and you’ll see. Neither of these tools is limited to just women, so men should keep this in mind when comparing ourselves to others as well.

You only see the best of the best.

The reality of life is that many of us have an average appearance. Most models, celebrities, and influencers have an above-average appearance, or get work done to appear that way. They also have dedicated times of the day where they essentially get paid to work out and follow strict diets that may not even be healthy. Still beyond that, we only ever see the best of their photos, while the 174 bad ones are deleted. It can take hours to perfect an Instagram post, so don’t be upset when you try to recreate them and fall short.

Although I typically talk about physical health, mental health is important as well and can cause us to drastically change our physical habits. Instead of focusing on achieving others’ goals, why not set healthy goals for ourselves? Managing health conditions, eating the right diet for you, and exercising often should be our standard. Join me in taking back control over our lives and our health.

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