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Health & Fitness

Nourishment of the mind and body go hand in hand on the journey. Keeping the body healthy and fit is an important means of supporting and aiding that nourishment.  In this section you will find information to  contribute to women’s health, the growth and well-being of the mind, body and spirit. As you know,Asheville and Western North Carolina have much to offer.  Your topic and contributor ideas are welcomed.
Our Voice Rape Crisis     Helpmate Asheville Online     Medscape Women’s Health News    Breast Cancer Coalition     Our Bodies Ourselves     N C Domestic Violence Crisis And Support Resources       Violence Against Women     Environmental Health Trust    

Trim, Toned and Tranquil: Nutrition, Exercise and Relaxation Experts at Baylor Offer Summertime Strategies

Trim, Toned and Tranquil: Nutrition, Exercise and Relaxation Experts at Baylor Offer Summertime Strategies.


Heard about the 10-day fast allowing only cayenne, lemon and maple syrup? Close your ears.Such celebrity “detox diets,” touted to shed the body of toxins while helping you get svelte, are questionable, unnecessary and even unhealthy.So says dietitian Suzy Weems, Ph.D., chair of Baylor University’s family and consumer sciences and a former chair of the legislative and public policy committee for the American Dietetic Association.“There’s very little toxin that exists in the body unless it’s a high enough dose to make you sick. And if so, that’s likely to happen no matter what,” she said.


Be advised that “your body is an extraordinarily effective mechanism,” Weems said. “There’s protective bacteria in the mouth. The stomach is highly acidic. The liver is a really good organ that’s incredibly protective, and the kidneys work as a filter.”Yes, there are “virtually no calories in lemons, and cayenne will make you sweat. Maple syrup gives you glucose, so that might help you maintain energy while you’re not eating anything,” Weems said.But while such diets may cut the appetite or speed up the system, any shed weight will be pretty much water. “Water weighs a pound a pint. But when you rehydrate, it’s not a loss,” Weems said. She suggests more moderate food choices instead.“Switch to lots of fresh fruit and vegetables,” she said. “This is the time of year when fresh food is reasonably priced.



”The Truth About Sweat“

The nice thing about summer is that many people become more active, whether they work in the yard, take part in sports with their children or get more involved in their own exercise programs,” said Darryn Willoughby, Ph.D., director of Baylor’s Exercise and Biochemical Nutrition Laboratory and an associate professor of health, human performance and recreation.But the flip side is that summer heat brings the risk of dehydration — especially since the body’s temperature regulation is more like a furnace than an air conditioner, Willoughby said.“Our bodies are always producing heat as a result of all the cells in our body that have to make energy to survive,” he said. “Since our body is always producing heat, it must be able to lose heat as well.”The body can lose heat by air or water moving across the skin, but during exercise, most of the heat is lost through sweat evaporating, Willoughby said.“When we sweat, our bodies also lose electrolytes — sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium — as well as water.  During heavy, long-duration exercise, we can lose approximately 1/4 gallon of water through sweating,” depending on temperature, humidity, type of clothing worn, intensity of exercise and fitness level.“If we become thirsty, then we are already somewhat dehydrated,” Willoughby said. “We should not wait until thirsty to drink fluids.  . . If we don’t drink enough water, we can get dehydrated and suffer from light-headedness, nausea and dark-colored urine. If not recognized, dehydration can even result in kidney failure and or, in extreme cases, death.”He offered these guidelines for exercising during the heat:



  • Avoid exercising from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the hottest part of the day
  • Wear loose, light-colored clothes. Lighter color helps reflect heat; cotton clothes will help sweat evaporate.
  • About 24 hours before exercise, consume fluids and foods to promote hydration, such as fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates. Two hours before exercise, drink 16 ounces (two cups). During exercise of less than an hour, drink water every 15 minutes; if the exercise lasts more than an hour, drink a carbohydrate/electrolyte drink (a “sport drink”) every 15 minutes.
  • After exercise, drink a carbohydrate/electrolyte “sport” drink.
  • Before and after exercise, avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can cause water loss.


Cures for the Summertime BluesWhen temperatures are simmering, it’s easy to get cranky, anxious and weary.Loeen Irons, a lecturer in Baylor’s health, human performance and recreation department, has some ideas for de-stressing and re-energizing.Unlike early humans, “your body is not in the wilds of Africa running away from lions,” Irons said. “Our bodies are outdated. The things that raise our stress levels are generally things that we can’t punch or run away from, so ‘fight or flight’ doesn’t work for us. But the body doesn’t know that.”Exercise – especially aerobic exercise – helps burn off stress hormones, said Irons, an aerobics instructor.“Stretching, breathing, body awareness, nature — those are good things to turn your focus away from your cell phone and computer,” Irons said. “You need some kind of quiet time for 10 or 15 minutes now and then, whether it’s prayer or meditation or just being unplugged.”Another de-stresser is playing or snuggling with a furry friend. “There’s something really freeing about tending to your pet,” Irons said. “It takes you to a different place.”“And of course, get a great night’s sleep. It’s like the old chicken or the egg question: Are you tranquil because you slept well, or did you sleep well because you’re tranquil? It doesn’t matter. Either way is good.”Some yoga tips to beat the heat come from Baylor alum Amy Tarter, a yoga instructor in Baylor’s rest and relaxation class in the health, human performance and recreation department.To get a leg up on keeping cool, calm and energized, she suggests the “Legs Up the Wall” yoga pose for starters:


  • Lie on your back with your bottom close to the wall. Extend your legs up the wall and rest your arms out to the sides, palms up. (Place a thick blanket under your back to make it more comfortable, if needed). Keep the legs firm up the wall, but feel yourself ‘let go’ and relax the rest of your body. This pose relieves fatigue in the legs and feet, prevents edema and varicose veins, soothes the nervous system, and increases circulation, as well as some mental benefits.


Other yoga aids:

  • “Child’s Pose.” Fold your legs underneath you and sit on the heels with your shoulders above your hips. Now bow forward and place your chest on your thighs and bottom on the top of your heels.  You can bring your arms forward, stretching them out long in front of you or wrap them around you toward your feet. This alleviates head, neck and chest pain; stretches ankles, knees and hips; opens the upper back; and helps calm the mind and lesson fatigue.  
  • “Corpse Pose.” Lie flat on your back, relaxing your legs to a slight “V” opening and allowing your toes to roll out toward either side of the body. Place your arms away a foot away from the body with palms facing up and the back of the hands resting on the floor. Soften completely into the floor, making sure to close your eyes. To help your facial muscles relax, put a towel over your eyes or face.  
  • Deep breathing. Lie on your back. Place the right hand on the upper chest and left hand right around the belly button.  Notice your natural breath and how your hands rise and fall. Now take deeper inhalations which will make the left hand, the one on the lower belly, rise. Then send the inhalation to the right hand and completely exhale.  Continue this pattern for a few minutes to lower blood pressure, massage your organs and release “stale” air from your lungs.


FDA OKs Genentech Breast Cancer Drug


FDA OKs Genentech Breast Cancer Drug



A drug antibody conjugate called ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) received FDA approval Friday for HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer.

The new therapy is intended for use in patients who have already undergone unsuccessful treatment with trastuzumab (Herceptin) and a taxane. The trastuzumab portion of the conjugate — called T-DM1 during clinical development — targets HER2-positive cells, at which point the attached chemotherapeutic molecule — DM1 — attacks the cancer cells.  Click here to read the entire article

Introduction to Breast Health Series

Introduction to Breast Health Series


The incidence of breast cancer in women in 2010 (American Cancer Society, Inc.) was estimated to be 209,000 new cases (this does not include estimated cancer occurrence prior to 2010) with an estimated 40,230 deaths from breast cancer in 2010. Of all the cancers, breast cancer is estimated to be the highest cause of death in women, second only to heart attacks. The science and technology of identifying cancer of all kinds has improved greatly so when one uses these technologies, cancer can be identified early on and treatment initiated promptly so that the consequences of cancer are considerably reduced if not avoided altogether.


Perhaps the best of all worlds is that of preventing breast cancer or, at the very least once cancer has been identified, minimizing its impact through reducing its rate of growth. The ways in which this can be done is much the same as with any other potential for disease—develop and sustain healthy tissue which does not nurture or support the growth of cancer cells or for that matter any type of harmful process or condition.


So what processes and procedures develop and sustain healthy body tissue? The good news is that there are actually many options. However, there has been little research to assess the viability of many of these alternatives. Common sense and clinical experience suggest processes and procedures that are likely feasible treatment modalities in the battle of cancer prevention or reduction of cancerous growths. The array of choices encompasses both western and eastern medical and health options.
In this series, SheVille will provide information that can help us lead more healthful lives and sustain healthier body tissues to avoid or reduce disease processes. To that end, we are offering this series of papers by local practitioners from both western and eastern practice that might provide valuable information for wellness and disease prevention. This series is not offering alternative treatments to cancer; the oncological treatments that have been and continue to be researched and examined remain the best choices for good outcomes in the elimination of cancerous growths.
Va Boyle, Ph.D. General and Clinical Psychologist


Addressing the Prevalence of Eating Disorders through Fiction

Before I Disappear, by Barb Herding, chronicles the story of Lauren Stafford, a 16 year old girl whose self-esteem has been crushed by rejection from everyone in her life.  Lauren develops a skewed perception of her body as a result of the rejection that she experiences, which turns into an eating disorder.

When her eating disorder spirals out of control and she is rushed to the hospital, Lauren meets other teens who are suffering from the same problems, and she sees that she is not alone and just how many different types of people are affected by the same affliction. As she is introduced to both males and females, she learns about teenagers from all walks of life who are internalizing different types of pressure.  In group therapy, she meets Bridget, a ballerina who collapsed during her solo in The Nutcracker, Paul who should be fighting in his first championship wrestling match, and Vivian, a model who never made it to her first real photo shoot.  Then there is Jenny, who does not want to tell her story to the group, as her eating disorder and near fatal episode result from a dark secret rooted in her childhood.

According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, approximately one percent of adolescent girls develop anorexia nervosa and another two to three percent develop bulimia nervosa.  Alarmingly, one out of every ten anorexia cases is fatal, resulting from starvation, cardiac arrest, suicide, or other related medical complications.

Herding’s story provides an important message about eating disorders, their potential consequences, and the road to recovery, addressing an issue that is prevalent in our society through fiction.  Before I Disappear is a heart-rending story that is certain to tug at the emotions of its readers, provide teens with an important message about eating disorders, and help parents to understand their teenagers who suffer from eating disorders.
Contact: Emily –

Healing and Feeling: Stress, Support and Breast Cancer

They Teach It at Stanford

“I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection – the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker from the department of psychiatry said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Study: IUDs Offer Safe Contraception Option for Teens But Rarely Prescribed

Study: IUDs Offer Safe Contraception Option for Teens But Rarely Prescribed

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are a fairly safe, long-acting form of contraception, but many myths about the devices persist. For example, it’s somewhat common to hear that women who haven’t already had a baby, and especially teenagers, are not good candidates for IUDs; neither of these is true. Click here to read the entire article

Questions Remain about Osteoporosis Drugs and Unusual Fractures

Questions Remain about Osteoporosis Drugs and Unusual Fractures


Bisphosphonates, a category of drugs that includes Fosamax and Boniva, are commonly prescribed to treat and prevent osteoporosis. Unfortunately, concerns have been raised about possible adverse effects of these drugs when used for longer than 3 – 5 years.

There are many unanswered questions about the long-term use of bisphosphonates. A 2012 New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece notes that it is unclear how long most people should take the drugs, whether certain groups of patients are more likely to benefit from longer term use of the drugs, how long benefits of the drugs last after stopping them, and whether there are reliable measures to help make that decision in individual patients.   Click here to read the entire article

Big Boys Don’t Cry, But Maybe They Should….Men and Mental Illness

Big Boys Don’t Cry, But Maybe They Should….Men and Mental Illness


Every time I see a commercial with a bumbling man child being supervised by a grown up woman, I cringe. Sure, it’s just a joke, but it’s so pervasive.  .  . “How many children do you have?” “Three, including my husband.”

Jokes are good. I love jokes. If there’s one thing I think the world could have more of, it’s laughter.

However, men with mental illness are much less likely to be diagnosed and treated, and they’re also more likely to take out their frustration and anger on someone else. There’s nothing funny about that. Men are also conditioned to avoid crying in public, so their problems are easier to overlook. It’s not just crying – if I’m angry I’m very likely to cry, because that’s just the way I am. This is true for many women, and as a result mental health professionals can see how upset we are, and that something is definitely wrong.

Contrast that with a likely male scenario: Man goes to doctor, keeps his emotions in check as he’s supposed to, because he’s a man. Doctor asks how he is. Man says he’s fine, maintaining his stoic expression. Doctor moves on. Patient thinks, “Can’t anyone see how much stress I’m under? How much anger I have?”

We expect men to be strong and invincible, even now in 2012, when we should realize that no one is, and that everyone is equally susceptible to mental illness.

The days when hysteria, once used in force when diagnosing women with mental illness-like symptoms, was the province of women are gone. Sure, some of us are still hysterical now and then, but it’s just likely that it doesn’t matter what gender we are. What does matter is how likely we are to take it out on someone else. As a woman, I’m more likely to internalize my pain, but a man is more likely to strike out at others.

And what does that have to do with bumbling men child? We have typically two extremes in our entertainment portrayals of men: the macho guy who can defeat any obstacle, or the bumbling man child. In real life, I know of no man who fits either one of those stereotypes. Perhaps that’s because in real life men are just people.

“Big boys don’t cry.” Maybe they should.

I have watched someone descend into schizophrenia and psychosis, and at a time when he had all of that on his mind there was also this, as he said, “But I’m the man! I should be taking care of you!” Many women feel that we should be taking care of things too, but many men feel an additional weight of being responsible for supporting themselves and their family, and the thought of being unable to work because of an illness can be overwhelming. What would people think if they didn’t do what was expected of them? Better to push those negative feelings down where no one can see them and hope they go away.

They don’t go away though. It’s not a useful strategy in the long run.

Who hasn’t heard anecdotes about men not wanting to admit they feel pain? Who doesn’t know a man who refuses to go to the doctor? To seek help would indicate weakness, and no one wants to be seen as weak, especially men, who may have their sense of self wrapped up in being seen as strong and tough. So instead they tough it out when they’re depressed, or angry, or even homicidal, or when they have no control of their emotions, and even when they know their own mind is lying to them.

Mental illness doesn’t necessarily explain mass murder, according to Melissa Thompson, sociologist and author of Race, Gender, and Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System. Research shows that not all mass murderers are mentally ill, and mentally ill people are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. In fact, it’s more likely someone with a mental illness will be the victim of a crime, not the perpetrator.

But men are under-served when it comes to mental illness treatment, and men are more likely to become violent. Whether the perpetrators or the victim of crime, they deserve better. We all do.

Monique Colver, Air Force veteran and military wife, is the author of An Uncommon Friendship: A Memoir of Love, Mental Illness and Friendship. She can be contacted at:

Diabetes – by Melissa Hicks M.D. of MAHEC Family Health Center

Diabetes has gotten lots more press lately, as it relates to health in general, and the increasing issue of other health related developments, such as obesity. For the purpose of this writing, Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus will refer to the “Adult onset” or commonly known “Type II” Diabetes, usually diagnosed in adulthood (also more and more young adult/teens, too). 


Diabetes and Chinese Medicine

Diabetes is one of the few diseases in western medicine that was discussed in ancient Chinese medical literature. Over the last 2000 years, many Chinese herbs and acupuncture points have been identified for its treatment, and it is fairly common for diabetic patients in China to use Chinese medicine alone with satisfactory results. In the West, diabetes is seldom the main reason for a visit to the Chinese medical practitioner, who from time to time may see people with secondary manifestations of the disease such as limb numbness and pain. In most cases, diabetes is only mentioned in passing in the patient’s health profile.

Healing and Feeling: Stress, Support and Breast Cancer

They Teach It at Stanford

“I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection – the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker from the department of psychiatry said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriend. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.


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