Thoughts To Live By…

Archive for March 2010

Jesse James is the latest celebrity to check into “sex rehab” after
apparently having affairs during his marriage to actress Sandra Bullock. (File)

Mar 31, 2010 7:11 pm US/Eastern

By KATHRYN BROWN, CBS 2 HD News
NEW YORK (CBS) ―

Sex rehab seems to be the latest craze among celebrities who have been caught cheating. Now, Sandra Bullock’s husband, Jesse James, is said to be in a “treatment facility.”

His reported stint in rehab has people wondering: is sex addiction real or just an excuse invented by people to rationalize their bad behavior?

James checked himself into sex rehab after being linked to raunchy sex-capades with at least four women during his marriage to Bullock.

“It’s the perfect thing they can do for their public image. It shows that they really want to improve what the public perception is of them,” said US Weekly Senior Editor Lindsay Powers.

But the medical community is sharply divided on whether sex addiction – as it’s called – even exists.

Dr. Anne-Renee Testa, a psychologist specializing in relationship issues, said no one is born with a destructive addiction to sex, but that it can develop over time.

“These guys though have a kind of underlying anxiety that makes them do it, that just makes them continue doing it and if they could do it again 24/7 they would,” she said.

Recovering sex addict and psychologist Tim Lee can sympathize firsthand with his patients. He doesn’t doubt the validity of a sex addiction, but he does worry that celebrities scandalized by multiple affairs use the illness as a crutch and trivialize real problems.

“I’m sure some men are just going through the motions to please their spouses, but I think any professional can kind of smell that out,” he said.

The public seemed divided on the issue as well.

“I think its just an excuse,” said midtown Manhattan resident Mary Beth Miles. “I don’t buy it at all.”

“I don’t think it’s a fake disease, I just think he needs to own up to what he’s done,” said Sunnyside resident Denise Patrick.

Sex addiction is not currently listed in the manual of mental disorders, but it is being considered for inclusion in the next edition set to be released in 2012.

The proposed definition stops short of calling it an addiction and would refer to it as “hypersexual disorder” instead.

A recent CBS News/Vanity Fair poll found 33 percent of people surveyed said they do not believe in sex addiction, and 30 percent of those responding said celebrities are simply lying about suffering from the addiction.

For more information on sexual addiction, use the following resources:

Click for Medicine Net.com
Click for Women Today Magazine
Click for Psych Central.com___

http://wcbstv.com/local/sex.addiction.jesse.2.1603754.html


By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein, Ap Science Writer – Wed Mar 31, 3:39 pm ET

WASHINGTON – So a scientist walks into a shopping mall to watch people laugh. There’s no punchline. Laughter is a serious scientific subject, one that researchers are still trying to figure out.

Laughing is primal, our first way of communicating. Apes laugh. So do dogs and rats. Babies laugh long before they speak. No one teaches you how to laugh. You just do. And often you laugh involuntarily, in a specific rhythm and in certain spots in conversation.

You may laugh at a prank on April Fools’ Day. But surprisingly, only 10 to 15 percent of laughter is the result of someone making a joke, said Baltimore neuroscientist Robert Provine, who has studied laughter for decades. Laughter is mostly about social responses rather than reaction to a joke.

“Laughter above all else is a social thing,” Provine said. “The requirement for laughter is another person.”

Over the years, Provine, a professor with the University of Maryland Baltimore County, has boiled laughter down to its basics.

“All language groups laugh `ha-ha-ha’ basically the same way,” he said. “Whether you speak Mandarin, French or English, everyone will understand laughter. … There’s a pattern generator in our brain that produces this sound.”

Each “ha” is about one-15th of a second, repeated every fifth of a second, he said. Laugh faster or slower than that and it sounds more like panting or something else.

Deaf people laugh without hearing, and people on cell phones laugh without seeing, illustrating that laughter isn’t dependent on a single sense but on social interactions, said Provine, author of the book “Laughter: A Scientific Investigation.”

“It’s joy, it’s positive engagement with life,” said Jaak Panksepp, a Bowling Green University psychology professor. “It’s deeply social.”

And it’s not just a people thing either. Chimps tickle each other and even laugh when another chimp pretends to tickle them.

“That’s my candidate for the most ancient joke,” Provine said. “It’s a feigned tickle. That’s primal humor.”

Panksepp studies rats that laugh when he tickles them. Sound silly? It’s on YouTube and in scientific journals, a funny pairing of proofs when you think about.

It turns out rats love to be tickled. They return again and again to the hands of researchers tickling them, Panksepp’s video shows.

By studying rats, Panksepp and other scientists can figure out what’s going on in the brain during laughter. And it holds promise for human ills.

Northwestern University biomedical engineering professor Jeffrey Burgdorf has found that laughter in rats produces an insulin-like growth factor chemical that acts as an antidepressant and anxiety-reducer. He thinks the same thing probably happens in humans, too. This would give doctors a new chemical target in the brain in their effort to develop drugs that fight depression and anxiety in people.

Even so, laughter itself hasn’t been proven to be the best medicine, experts said.

Dr. Margaret Stuber, a psychiatry professor at University of California Los Angeles Medical School, studied whether laughter helped patients. She found that distraction and mood improvement helped, but she could not find a benefit for laughter alone.

“No study has shown that laughter produces a direct health benefit,” Provine said, largely because it’s hard to separate laughter from just good feelings. But he thinks it doesn’t really matter: “Isn’t the fact that laughter feels good when you do it, isn’t that enough?”

While studying laughter is serious work to researchers, it apparently sounds like a silly topic when they’re seeking research grants. For that reason, Northwestern’s Burgdorf avoids the word “laughter.” He calls it “positive emotional response.”

Panksepp understands, saying: “There’s no funding in fun research.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100331/ap_on_sc/us_sci_science_of_laughter


by Sarah McColl, Shine staff, on Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:52am PST

As compelling as it may be to only buy free-range beef and fair trade coffee, who can afford it? You want to do the right thing for your health and the planet, but your budget begs otherwise. In terms of long-term costs to your health, though, there are some fruits and veggies that are always worth the organic splurge. The dirty dozen below have the highest levels of pesticides when grown conventionally. The thin skins on many of them make it easy for pesticides to penetrate to the food and impossible for us to wash away the chemicals. Opt for USDA certified organics of these foods and you’re ensuring your salad wasn’t raised using man-made chemical pesticides, fossil fuel- or sewage-based fertilizers or genetically-modified seeds.

  1. apples
  2. sweet bell peppers
  3. carrots
  4. celery
  5. cherries
  6. grapes (imported)
  7. kale
  8. lettuce
  9. nectarines
  10. peaches
  11. pears
  12. strawberries

Let’s say you’re looking at this list feeling totally daunted because these are the only fruits and vegetables you buy. A good compromise is to hit up your local farmer’s market where the prices are often lower than the grocery store, and the farmers raise their crops using organic methods but don’t opt to go through the costly and lengthy organic certification process. Ask them how they raise their apples. No spray? Then ask for their best apple pie recipe.

And whether you buy organic or not, always remember to give your food a good wash before eating or cooking with it!

http://shine.yahoo.com/event/makeover/12-foods-that-are-worth-the-organic-splurge-706366/

by Holly Robinson Peete, Shine staff, on Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:31am PST

Eating right on a budget can be a challenge, but it’s certainly not impossible. Consider this your cheat sheet to the 5 inexpensive foods you should eat everyday for optimum health.

#1 Leafy greens
Medical experts call them one of nature’s miracle foods. Leafy greens like Swiss chard and kale are high in nutrients like folate and vitamins A and C that can lower your risk of cancer. Just one cup of dark, leafy greens a day could also prevent diabetes and high blood pressure.

#2 Nuts
Many nutritionists recommend nuts like almonds, cashews and walnuts because they’re high in natural fiber. Fiber slows your digestive process, keeping hunger and unhealthy mid-afternoon snacks at bay. Goodbye vending machine runs!

#3 Onions
Studies show that consuming onions on a regular basis may reduce symptoms of asthma and the risk of developing stomach cancer. Add them to soups and stir-fry, and just remember — the stronger the onion, the greater the health benefit.

#4 Whole grains
Refined grains, like white rice and pasta, have lost 90% of their nutritional value through the refining process. As if that weren’t reason enough to choose whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and whole oats, a recent study showed that a diet rich in whole grains actually flattens your belly by reducing fat storage in your lower abdominal region.

#5 Yogurt
Making yogurt part of your daily eating routine can improve your digestion — if you’re buying the right stuff. Check that the label lists “active cultures” to make sure you’re getting healthy probiotics, and pick a yogurt rich in vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis.

Thanks for watching Real-Life Makeover! Tune in next week with more simple solutions to enrich your life.

http://shine.yahoo.com/event/makeover/the-5-foods-you-should-eat-every-day-710199/

Overfed or undernourished, manage weight through balanced meals

By ROWENA BAUTISTA-ALCARAZ

March 22, 2010, 4:55pm

“Over 98 percent of dieters will regain their weight and usually more,” said corporate pharmacist Jenny Blasurca.  She was quoting Dr. Ray Strand from his book ‘Releasing Fat’.  “How then do we manage our weight?  More importantly, how do we do it the healthy way?” she asks.

In an intimate gathering, Blasurca of USANA Health Sciences discussed the several mechanisms in existence to aide weight management.  According to her, there are the so-called ‘extremes’ where people either cut down on food or they eat whatever they want but use ‘magic’ pills, tea or creams.

“The problem with cutting down on your food intake is you may lose the nutrients that your body need.  On the other hand, using slimming tea, pills, or cream often interfere with the body’s normal functions because many of them work by eliminating water, by blocking or binding, or more frequently burning fat,” she explains.

She further adds, “A lot of people do this but why are they still fat?  The country has a growing number of obese cases.  What these patients don’t probably know yet is that their cells actually cling on the fat deposits.  These fat deposits actually cause self cell-destruction.”

There are also those who abide by the rules of reducing their fat intake thereby purchasing products only those with the ‘Non Fat’ or Low Fat’ labels.  And then there is the very popular ‘No Carb’ diet which prohibits individuals from eating rice or bread – staple components of a typical Filipino meal.

“There is a lot of health risks involved in the no carb diet.  It runs the risk of finding an alternative for what is lacking, like meat for protein.  If you over-eat meat, scientifically, you release nitrogen which becomes ammonia which is bad for the kidney.  These types are quick-fixes that are unsustainable and unhealthy,” Blasurca relates.

Proper nutrition is the key

According to Blasura, what the body needs is homeostasis or balance to avoid the ‘rebound’ effect where nature strikes back by putting back the weight that was lost.  That balance is needed by the body organs to function completely.  “We don’t need to cut down on anything but we need to make good choices because according to the food pyramid we should really eat fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber in right amounts.  Water should be sufficient as well for it is the foundation of the food pyramid.”

In addition, Blasurca gave emphasis on minding the glycemic index (GI) of every food. GI is a measure of the ability of a food to raise blood sugar levels after it is eaten.  When a person’s blood sugar rises, insulin is produced to counteract it.  However, high levels of blood sugar and insulin can lead to problems like weight gain, insulin-resistance, hypoglycemia, and heart disease.

Relatively, USANA introduces Nutrimeal, a low-glycemic meal replacement drink that includes quality protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and other micronutrients.  Available in two flavors, Dutch Chocolate and Wild Strawberry, Nutrimeal has 257 calories per serving.

“We recommend it as a program in three phases.  Phase I is called Reset where the individual replaces all meal for five days.  It accustoms the body to the amount of sugar that it should consume and the amount of four necessary micronutrients that it should get.  What you set is what you get!.”

Blasurca adds, “It is advised for that duration because the most bio-available form of protein is meat and we would like to teach the body to eat in moderation the amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and fiber.  It’s also a way of cleansing because the food that we’ve consumed is removed from our system.”

The second phase is Transform where the drink replaces two meals for two days.  “It works best by eating a lot of fruits and vegetables that has low GI component,” reminds Blasurca.  Lastly, Maintain which is the third phase of the program, replaces one meal a day for three months. “Based on the research and developing team, it is best taken in the evening because when the body is at rest, the fiber can get into the colon resulting to a good evacuation process in the morning.”

In conclusion, Blasurca asserts, “Regular exercise is still recommended.  The basic way to do to lose weight is to eat less calories based on your desired body weight.  That is established by clinical nutritionist, pharmacists, and doctors.  Energy in should be the energy out.”

http://mb.com.ph/articles/249066/overfed-or-undernourished-manage-weight-through-balanced-meals


by Dana Dratch
Friday, March 19, 2010

Debit cards have different protections and uses. Sometimes they’re not the best choice.

Sometimes reaching for your wallet is like a multiple choice test: How do you really want to pay?

While credit cards and debit cards may look almost identical, not all plastic is the same.

“It’s important that consumers understand the difference between a debit card and a credit card,” says John Breyault, director of the Fraud Center for the National Consumers League, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group. “There’s a difference in how the transactions are processed and the protections offered to consumers when they use them.”

While debit cards and credit cards each have advantages, each is also better suited to certain situations. And since a debit card is a direct line to your bank account, there are places where it can be wise to avoid handing it over — if for no other reason than complete peace of mind.

Here are 10 places and situations where it can pay to leave that debit card in your wallet:

1. Online

“You don’t use a debit card online,” says Susan Tiffany, director of consumer periodicals for the Credit Union National Association. Since the debit card links directly to a checking account, “you have potential vulnerability there,” she says.

Her reasoning: If you have problems with a purchase or the card number gets hijacked, a debit card is “vulnerable because it happens to be linked to an account,” says Linda Foley, founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center. She also includes phone orders in this category.

The Federal Reserve’s Regulation E  (commonly dubbed Reg E), covers debit card transfers. It sets a consumer’s liability for fraudulent purchases at $50, provided they notify the bank within two days of discovering that their card or card number has been stolen.

Most banks have additional voluntary policies that set their own customers’ liability with debit cards at $0, says Nessa Feddis, vice president and senior counsel for the American Bankers Association.

But the protections don’t relieve consumers of hassle: The prospect of trying to get money put back into their bank account, and the problems that a lower-than-expected balance can cause in terms of fees and refused checks or payments, make some online shoppers reach first for credit cards.

2. Big-Ticket Items

With a big ticket item, a credit card is safer, says Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. A credit card offers dispute rights if something goes wrong with the merchandise or the purchase, she says.

“With a debit card, you have fewer protections,” she says.

In addition, some cards will also offer extended warrantees. And in some situations, such as buying electronics or renting a car, some credit cards also offer additional property insurance to cover the item.

Two caveats, says Wu. Don’t carry a balance. Otherwise, you also risk paying some high-ticket interest. And “avoid store cards with deferred interest,” Wu advises.

3. Deposit Required

When Peter Garuccio recently rented some home improvement equipment at a big-box store, it required a sizable deposit. “This is where you want to use a credit card instead of a debit,” says Garuccio, spokesman for the national trade group American Bankers Association.

That way, the store has its security deposit, and you still have access to all of the money in your bank account. With any luck, you’ll never actually have to part with a dollar.

4. Restaurants

“To me, it’s dangerous,” says Gary Foreman, editor of the frugality minded Web site The Dollar Stretcher. “You have so many people around.”

Foreman bases his conclusions on what he hears from readers. “Anecdotally, the cases that I’m hearing of credit or debit information being stolen, as often as not, it’s in a restaurant,” he says.

The danger: Restaurants are one of the few places where you have to let cards leave your sight when you use them. But others think that avoiding such situations is not workable.

The “conventional advice of ‘don’t let the card out of your sight’ — that’s just not practical,” says Tiffany.

The other problem with using a debit card at restaurants: Some establishments will approve the card for more than your purchase amount because, presumably, you intend to leave a tip. So the amount of money frozen for the transaction could be quite a bit more than the amount of your tab. And it could be a few days before you get the cash back in your account.

5. You’re a New Customer

Online or in the real world, if you’re a first-time customer in a store, skip the debit card the first couple of times you buy, says Breyault.

That way, you get a feel for how the business is run, how you’re treated and the quality of the merchandise before you hand over a card that links to your checking account.

6. Buy Now, Take Delivery Later

Buying now but taking delivery days or weeks from now? A credit card offers dispute rights that a debit card typically does not.

“It may be an outfit you’re familiar with and trust, but something might go wrong,” says Breyault, “and you need protection.”

But be aware that some cards will limit the protection to a specific time period, says Feddis. So settle any problems as soon as possible.

7. Recurring Payments

We’ve all heard the urban legend about the gym that won’t stop billing an ex-member’s credit card. Now imagine the charges aren’t going onto your card, but instead coming right out of your bank account.

Another reason not to use the debit card for recurring charges: your own memory and math skills. Forget to deduct that automatic bill payment from your checkbook one month, and you could either face fees or embarrassment (depending on whether you’ve opted to allow overdrafting or not). So if you don’t keep a cash buffer in your account, “to protect yourself from over-limit fees, you may want to think about using a credit card” for recurring payments, says Breyault.

8. Future Travel

Book your travel with a check card, and “they debit it immediately,” says Foley. So if you’re buying travel that you won’t use for six months or making a reservation for a few weeks from now, you’ll be out the money immediately.

Another factor that bothers Foley: Hotels aren’t immune to hackers and data breaches, and several name-brand establishments have suffered the problem recently. Do you want your debit card information “to sit in a system for four months, waiting for you to arrive?” she asks. “I would not.”

9. Gas Stations and Hotels

This one depends on the individual business. Some gas stations and hotels will place holds to cover customers who may leave without settling the entire bill. That means that even though you only bought $10 in gas, you could have a temporary bank hold for $50 to $100, says Tiffany.

Ditto hotels, where there are sometimes holds or deposits in the hundreds to make sure you don’t run up a long distance bill, empty the mini bar or trash the room. The practice is almost unnoticeable if you’re using credit, but can be problematic if you’re using a debit card and have just enough in the account to cover what you need.

At hotels, ask about deposits and holds before you present your card, says Feddis. At the pump, select the pin-number option, she says, which should debit only the amount you’ve actually spent.

10.  Checkouts or ATMs That Look ‘Off’

Criminals are getting better with skimmers and planting them in places you’d never suspect — like ATM machines on bank property, says Foley.

So take a good look at the machine or card reader the next time you use an ATM or self-check lane, she advises. Does the machine fit together well or does something look off, different or like it doesn’t quite belong? Says Foley, “Make sure it doesn’t look like it’s been tampered with.”

http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/109125/10-places-not-to-use-your-debit-card?mod=bb-checking_savings

Everyone has a boss. Even if you “work for yourself,” you’re still an employee to your client.

A big part of maintaining the boss-employee relationship is to never allow a boss to think you dislike your work, are incapable of doing it, or–worse–consider it beneath you.

These sound like no-brainers, but many statements heard commonly around the workplace violate these basic rules. Looking for an example? Here are seven heard in workplaces all the time. They may seem ordinary, even harmless. But try reading these from your boss’s point of view. You’ll see right away why it’s smart to never allow these seven sentences to pass your lips:

“That’s not my job.” You know what? A lot of bosses are simple souls who think your job is to do what’s asked of you. So even if you’re assigned a task that is, indeed, not your job, refrain from saying so. Instead, try to find out why your boss is assigning you this task–there may be a valid reason. If you believe that doing the task is a bad idea (as in, bad for the company) you can try explaining why and suggesting how it could be better done by someone else. This may work, depending on the boss. In any case, remember that doing what’s asked of you, even tasks outside your job description, is good karma.

“It’s not my problem.” When people say something is not their problem it makes them look like they don’t care. This does not endear them to anybody, especially the boss. If a problem is brewing and you have nothing constructive to say, it’s better to say nothing at all. Even better is to pitch in and try to help. Because, ultimately, a problem in the workplace is everyone’s problem. We’re all in it together.

“It’s not my fault.” Yet another four words to be avoided. Human nature is weird. Claiming that something is not our fault often has the result of making people suspect it is. Besides, what’s the real issue here? It’s that something went wrong and needs to be fixed. That’s what people should be thinking about–not who is to blame.

“I can only do one thing at a time.” News flash: Complaining you are overworked will not make your boss feel sorry for you or go easier on you. Instead, a boss will think: (1) you resent your job, and/or (2) you aren’t up to your job. Everybody, especially nowadays, feels pressured and overworked. If you’re trying to be funny, please note that some sarcasm is funny and lightens the mood. Some just ticks people off.

“I am way overqualified for this job.” Hey, maybe you are. But the fact is, this is the job you have. You agreed to take it on and, while you may now regret that decision, it’s still your job. Complaining that it’s beneath you only makes you look bad. Plus, coworkers doing similar jobs may resent and dislike you. And guess what? Bosses will not think, “Oh, this is a superior person whom I need to promote.” Nope, they’ll think, “What a jerk.”

“This job is easy! Anyone could do it!” Maybe what you’re trying to convey here is that you’re so brilliant your work is easy. Unfortunately, it comes off sounding more like, “This work is stupid.” Bosses don’t like hearing that any work is stupid. Nor do they really like hearing that a job is easy peasy. It belittles the whole enterprise. If a task is simple, be glad and do it as quickly as you can. Even “stupid” work needs to get done.

“It can’t be done.” Saying something can’t be done is like waving a red flag in a boss’s eyes. Even if the thing being suggested truly is impossible, saying it is can make you look ineffectual or incapable. Better to play detective. Why is the boss asking you to do whatever it is? What’s the problem that needs to be solved? What’s the goal? Search for doable ways of solving that problem or reaching that goal. That’s what bosses really want. Most of them do not expect the impossible.

Last words: When in doubt, remember that silence really is golden.

Karen Burns is the author of the illustrated career advice book The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, recently released by Running Press. She blogs at http://www.karenburnsworkinggirl.com.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/7-Things-Never-to-Say-to-Your-usnews-226352592.html?x=0


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