Former Bikini Bodybuilder Bianca Taylor Shares About Eating Disorder Struggles in New Switch4Good Video

In a video from Switch4Good launched August 8, famous former bikini bodybuilder and fitness coach Bianca Taylor reveals that that while competing, she struggled with the eating disorder anorexia athletica, “which is fairly common in female athletes,” she says.

Bianca Taylor

Bianca Taylor

She explains that she became a “very malnourished version of myself.”

Taylor chose to recover on a fully plant-based diet. “I put on muscle, I gained back the thirty pounds that I’d lost, and I did it completely plant-based,” shares the athlete.

“After I stopped drinking dairy, my athletic performance improved so much, mainly because my digestion was so much better that I was able to recover faster,” she says. “I was able to have a lot more energy and just get through my workouts quicker and recover a lot faster.”

Switch4Good is a nonprofit led by Olympic silver medalist cyclist Dotsie Bausch that works to educate the general public and professional athletes about the health and planetary implications of consuming dairy. Bausch is co-host of Switch4Good’s compelling podcast, that addresses eating disorder recovery from a vegan perspective.

Please follow this link to preview Bianca Taylor’s video at https://youtu.be/MEsI5MGn4oc.

Get the Most Out of Your Benefits Enrollment

A lackadaisical approach to benefits enrollment could leave you short on coverage or end up costing you more than it should. Gathering information and making time to thoroughly consider your options and needs can help ensure you’re getting the best value from your employer’s benefits package.

Approach this year’s open enrollment with these tips from the experts at Colonial Life in mind:

Take life changes into account. A major event like a birth or marriage makes you eligible to adjust your benefits between enrollment periods, but there are many other factors that may affect your coverage needs. For example, you may not bother with dental coverage for a newborn, but once that child has some teeth and is mobile, it’s a good idea to add coverage in the event a fall damages a tooth.

Be conscious of changes. It’s quite common to allow your benefits to renew automatically when the enrollment period rolls around. This can create problems as plans and coverages often change from year to year. Deductible amounts, office visit co-pays and even categories of coverage can shift from one year to the next. Even if there aren’t changes to the coverage, there may be a new pricing structure or additions to coverage that could benefit you.

Dedicate some time. When signing up for benefits for the first time, most people spend at least a little time reviewing each plan option. If you have your premiums deducted from your paycheck automatically, you probably don’t give a lot of thought to your benefits, especially if you’re relatively healthy. Open enrollment is the time to give them more than a passing thought.

A survey by Colonial Life showed 69% of employees spend less than 60 minutes learning about their benefits choices, but that limited time commitment can ultimately affect overall job satisfaction.

“This can be a huge problem for both employees and their employers, because a lack of engagement with the benefits program leads to lower morale and higher turnover,” said Steven Johnson, vice president of enrollment solutions at Colonial Life.

Instead of a cursory flip through the materials, dedicate some time to thoroughly review all the information and make notes about areas you have questions.

Discuss your options. Benefits can be complicated, and there are a lot of terms and jargon in the insurance world that can make it hard to understand exactly what your benefits will cover. That’s why it’s a good idea to sit down with a knowledgeable benefits counselor to discuss your family and personal financial situation.

Technology may be king for many aspects of life, but the survey found just 11% of employees name the internet as the place they turn to learn about benefits during enrollment each year. However, 76% of employees turn to humans including HR professionals, coworkers, family and friends.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for benefits, but a one-on-one counseling session can help simplify the entire benefits process. A private consultation may help you understand how each benefit election impacts your paycheck, as well as simplifying complex benefit concepts, answering your questions and walking you through the enrollment process.

Learn more about how to maximize your benefits at ColonialLife.com.

Benefits Glossary

To gain a better understanding of your benefits, these definitions from HealthCare.gov can help you identify and recognize some common terms.

Benefits: The health care items or services covered under a health insurance plan.

Coinsurance: The percentage of costs of a covered health care service you pay (20%, for example) after you’ve paid your deductible.

Copayment: A fixed amount ($20, for example) you pay for a covered health care service after you’ve paid your deductible.

Deductible: The amount you pay for covered health care services before your insurance plan starts to pay.

Flexible Spending Account: An arrangement through your employer that lets you pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses with tax-free dollars.

Health Savings Account: A type of savings account that lets you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses.

Network: The facilities, providers and suppliers your health insurer or plan has contracted with to provide health care services. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Colonial Life

How To Stay Hydrated in the Summer

Written by Nicole Glenn, Editor of Teen InFluential

Ethnic - Group of Teens Having Fun

With the summer heat rising, it’s not surprising you may find yourself parched. Not only is it uncomfortable to feel thirsty, it can also be dangerous. If left unattended, by not keeping up your water intake, it can lead to dehydration, heat stroke, and potentially other life-threatening situations.

Dehydration is defined by Hopkins Medicine as a serious heat-related disease that typically occurs if an individual is overexposed to the sun and not drinking enough water. When the body loses water content and essential body salts, such as sodium and potassium, it can no longer maintain its strength. Although symptoms are different in everyone, some common signs to look for are thirst, dry skin, fatigue, light-headedness, dizziness, confusion, less-frequent urination, dry mouth and mucous membranes, increased heart rate and breathing.

Heat stroke is one of the most severe cases of heat-related diseases and may need emergency medical attention. If working or partaking in activities in hot areas, you want to focus on staying hydrated. If a person becomes dehydrated and cannot sweat enough to cool his or her body, their internal temperature may rise to dangerously high levels. Although some symptoms are like dehydration, heat stroke can also lead to disorientation, agitation, sluggishness, seizures, hot, dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty, a high body temperature, loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat, and even hallucinations.

So how can you and your family avoid a trip to the ER because of dehydration and heat stroke this summer? First and foremost, be aware of the symptoms and be on the lookout. If you or anyone around you begin to show symptoms, have them rest in a shaded area and have them drink water or liquids with electrolytes such as Gatorade. Put cool water on the skin and fan them in order to stimulate sweat. In the case of heat stroke, have them lie on their backs with their feet slightly elevated.

In order to help prevent dehydration and heat stroke make sure to drink plenty of hydrating fluids such as water and sports drinks. Especially on hot and humid days, avoid liquids known to cause dehydration such as sodas and alcohol. Try to avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day and aim for your outdoor activities to be in the morning or late evening when it is cooler. Dress for the heat by wearing lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothing and by wearing a hat and sunglasses. If you want to spend more time outdoors this summer, you can also build your tolerance by gradually increasing your time outdoors to get your body used to the heat.

Don’t let the heat limit your summer fun.

Drink plenty of water, take a break as needed, and you can stay hydrated all summer long.

Health Care Solutions for Rural Americans

Heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke. These top five causes of death in the United States all have a higher incidence of death among rural residents and research points to lack of access to health care as a culprit.

Today, rural hospitals are closing at a rapid pace, expanding an already vast health care desert (defined as inhabited areas more than 60 minutes away from an acute care hospital) across the country.

According to the University of North Carolina’s Rural Health Research Program, since 2010, more than 105 of America’s 1,700 rural hospitals have closed. Additionally, a Navigant report found that 21% of rural hospitals are at high risk of closing unless their financial situations improve.

Every day, rural Americans find themselves farther from medical care.

Practical challenges facing patients

Fatal injuries and illnesses aside, rural residents face other practical concerns related to the health care in their communities.

  • Doctors are more concentrated in urban areas, while there are shortages in rural communities. A shortage of doctors can mean less availability for appointments, difficulty capturing enough attention from a busy provider, longer distances to reach a physician and limited access to specialists.
  • Statistically, rural residents tend to be older and need more frequent visits to their primary doctors and other specialists.
  • Pregnant women have to travel even farther to deliver a baby, leading to an increased risk of complications at birth. Similarly, pre-natal and post-natal care are harder to access.
  • Rural residents often enjoy more outdoor activities (such as hunting, hiking and riding ATVs) than urban residents and therefore are at a greater risk of injury that requires treatment at a trauma center.

Airborne answer

One solution to fill the gap in rural health care is air medical services, which transport patients to critical care facilities in minutes. With nearly 90% of patients transported living in rural areas, air ambulance services are an essential part of health care access in these communities.

However, just like rural hospitals, air ambulances are threatened as well. Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates have remained steady for decades, while operational costs required for air medical services have increased, creating a financially unsustainable situation. Some private insurers also refuse to cover air medical services or pay minimal costs, requiring patients to assume the balance.

How to take action

The challenges facing rural health care access may be significant, but rural residents can take individual actions to make a difference for themselves, their families and even their communities.

  • Express support to elected officials. Rural residents can call or write letters to their senators and representatives and demand they keep local hospitals open and protect access to air medical services. Reaching members of Congress at their local offices may be more effective than contacting their federal offices.
  • Support efforts to secure grants. Some universities have been given grants from the Health Resources & Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to create or expand community health initiatives and facilities in rural areas.
  • Explore alternative sources of care. Many rural areas have community health workers who complete home visits to assist people with chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Although their training is limited compared to that of a doctor or nurse, their service increases health care access and they’re able to spend more time with patients.
  • Get educated about your care. One role of community health workers is teaching patients about how to manage their own medical needs. This education helps residents be proactive and preventative in their health care, which can reduce the need for hospitalizations in certain cases, such as learning how to properly manage diabetes.
  • Make an emergency plan. For families who reside in a rural community, it’s a smart idea to have a plan in place for how to respond in the event a medical emergency. The plan should include information about the location of the closest hospital, emergency contact information in the community and other details necessary to gain emergency care.
  • Consider remote access care. Another option for both rural and urban residents alike is telemedicine, which allows patients to connect with a doctor or nurse virtually using technology and without having to travel. The two-way communication can facilitate evaluation and treatment for minor conditions. The service is offered as a cost-saving incentive through some insurance plans, as well as private providers.

Protecting Patients Against the Unexpected

With increasing frequency, insurance companies are not covering the full cost of medical emergencies, leaving families with out-of-pocket expenses they didn’t expect.

If you need medical transport and a physician or first responder determines air evacuation is the best – or only – option to get you to care, you shouldn’t have to worry about the bill you’ll receive afterward. Many emergency service providers have support efforts in place to help you focus on recovery, not finances.

For example, many air medical companies provide patients access to their patient advocates, who work with the patient’s insurance provider to properly cover air medical transport, taking the patient out of the middle. This process can result in significantly lower costs for the patient, often amounting to just the usual copay and deductible.

Visit globalmedicalresponse.com/protect-patients to learn more about these services in your area. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Global Medical Response

The Undiscussed Medical Error

7 questions that could save your life

While you may routinely hear about medical errors, it’s less common to hear about a misdiagnosis.

Inaccurate or delayed medical diagnosis is a medical error many people rarely talk about. Yet research released by the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) shows it remains the most common, costly and catastrophic of all medical errors.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and CRICO Strategies found that 34% of malpractice cases resulting in death or permanent disability stem from an inaccurate or delayed diagnosis, making it the No. 1 cause of serious harm among medical errors.

This happens, in large part, because making and communicating a medical diagnosis is a complex and imperfect science. There are more than 10,000 known diseases and more than 5,000 laboratory tests, but only a limited number of symptoms to provide the clues necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.

However, there is a new sense of momentum in the healthcare community to raise awareness and reduce inaccurate and delayed diagnoses, including more funding from the federal government.

Even as researchers and experts continue to explore how best to address this costly, dangerous and sometimes deadly issue, it is important for patients to be aware of it. Everyone has a role to play in improving the diagnostic process, including physicians, nurses, radiologists, laboratory scientists, health system leaders and, perhaps most especially, patients.

It’s critically important that patients share information with their medical providers and know the right questions to ask in order to decrease the likelihood of misdiagnosis.

To help patients have conversations with their physicians about their diagnoses, SIDM’s patient toolkit offers a questions checklist, including these seven questions to ask:

  • What is my diagnosis? What else could it be?
  • Why do you think this is my diagnosis? From test results? From my physical exam?
  • Can you give me written information about my diagnosis? A pamphlet? A website?
  • Can you explain the test or treatment you want me to have?
  • What are the risks to the test or treatment you want me to have? What happens if I do nothing?
  • When do I need to follow up with you?
  • What should I do if my symptoms worsen or change, or if I don’t respond to treatment?

In addition to these questions, always ask when test results will be ready. Get a copy for your records and call your doctor’s office if you do not receive your test results.

For more information and steps you can take to avoid misdiagnosis, download the Patient’s Toolkit for Diagnosis and share your personal story of inaccurate or delayed diagnosis at ImproveDiagnosis.org. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine

Summer Sweat Sessions

3 tips for surviving workouts in the heat

During warm-weather months, fitness enthusiasts often take their exercise routines to the great outdoors. The spike in summer temperatures can make those tough workouts even more challenging.

As you gear up for your summer workout routine, take care of your body with these tips from sports dietitian and marathon runner Natalie Rizzo.

1. Replenish What You Lose in Sweat

After a strenuous sweat session in the summer heat, you need to replenish what’s lost if you want to rebuild and refuel muscles.

“Water is great for straight hydration, but your body needs more after a tough workout, and proper recovery can make a difference in how well you can perform during your next one,” Rizzo said. “A tall glass of chocolate milk is one of my favorite ways to recover post-workout. It may not be the first thing you think to reach for after a long run, but the nutrients in low-fat chocolate milk are ideal for post-exercise recovery to ensure you get the most out of your fitness routine, and it tastes great.”

Rizzo’s recommendation not only aligns with many elite athletes’ go-to recovery drink, it’s also backed by science. Research shows drinking milk after exercise could restore and maintain hydration better than other popular post-exercise beverages, including typical sports drinks, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Plus, in addition to naturally occurring electrolytes, chocolate milk has a 3-to-1 carb-to-protein ratio proven to refuel muscles quickly.

2. Be Mindful of High Temperatures

High temperatures don’t have to get in the way of your workout plan, but it’s important to consider the heat index and time of day when exercising outside. Temperatures typically peak during the middle of the day, so aim to work out in the morning or evening. Also consider wearing a hat and staying in the shade as much as possible to keep cool.

The high temperature causes your body to sweat more, leading to increased loss of important nutrients through the sweat. Learn your sweat rate by weighing yourself with minimal clothing before and after one hour of sweaty exercise. One pound of sweat loss equals 16 ounces of fluid loss. This can guide your fluid intake during your recovery and your next workout.

3. Shield Yourself from the Sun’s Rays

Just because your fitness routine includes strenuous laps in a pool or a run through shady trails doesn’t mean you are protected from the sun. Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to your body before exercising outdoors, paying special attention to your face, neck and ears. If you’re going back out for another round of laps in the pool or around the track, reapply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before getting back to work.

While summer weather provides many opportunities for fresh air and fitness, it’s important to combat the heat and recover effectively so you can continue to crush it all season long. Find more information on recovery and hydration at builtwithchocolatemilk.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
MilkPEP

Young Athlete Recovery

How chocolate milk can aid in replenishing nutrients for teen athletes

Between sports practices, training, games and tournaments, teen athletes endure a lot of stress on their bodies. While some parents know real dairy milk is a nutritious option for growing kids, many don’t realize that chocolate milk has nutritional benefits, too – especially when it comes to exercise recovery.

According to a first-of-its-kind study from the University of Texas at Austin, recovering with low-fat chocolate milk as part of a tough training routine could help teen athletes get stronger. The study included more than 100 high school athletes entering grades 9-12 who were enrolled in a five-week training program involving training four days a week. Some students recovered with chocolate milk and others recovered with a sports drink with the same amount of carbohydrates but no protein.

Researchers found that students who recovered with chocolate milk had greater strength gains compared to those who recovered with sports drinks. In fact, the chocolate milk group bench-pressed an average of 3.5% more at the end of the program than at the beginning, whereas teens who recovered with sports drinks actually decreased their bench-press weight by close to the same amount, around 3.2%. Additionally, those who recovered with chocolate milk improved in squat strength by nearly twice as much as those who consumed sports drinks for post-workout recovery, lifting an average of 15% more weight (compared to about 8% more weight) by the program’s end.

On top of high-quality protein to help build muscle, each 8-ounce glass of chocolate milk has carbohydrates to help bodies refuel; fluids and electrolytes to help rehydrate; calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus to build and maintain strong bones; vitamin A to support a healthy immune system and B vitamins to help bodies convert food into energy.

Top all that off with the taste kids love, and chocolate milk is an easy way for teens to get the nutrition they need to be their best, in athletics and beyond.

To learn more about the science supporting the benefits of chocolate milk for recovery, visit BuiltWithChocolateMilk.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
MilkPEP

How To Keep Summer Activities From Wrecking Your Back

Summer’s arrival brings family gatherings, outdoor sports, outings with friends, vacations and sprucing up the yard.

But summer fun can also bring a higher risk of back injuries.

Dr. Bradford Butler

Dr. Bradford Butler

“Too often we start the summer with enthusiasm, only to be sidetracked by back pain,” says Dr. Bradford Butler, a chiropractor and author of The Blueprint for Back Pain Relief: The Essential Guide to Nonsurgical Solutions(www.drbradfordbutler.com). “There are important prevention steps you can take to avoid back pain associated with summer activities and help you enjoy the summer as you should.”

Butler looks at five summer activities that cause back injuries and offers ways to prevent them:

  • Travel. Sitting for long periods on car rides or in cramped plane seats can do a number on your spine. “My advice is to bring extra support, such as a folded blanket or inflatable pillow for your lower back and neck,” Butler says.Wear comfortable shoes that have lots of arch and ankle support. Take driving breaks to move your body during a long trip, and adjust your seat so you’re close to the steering wheel.”
  • Amusement parks. “People love to experience the rush of riding a rollercoaster, but sadly, their spines pay the price,” Butler says. “All those jerky, jolting movements can injure the neck and back, causing it to become misaligned. I’d advise anyone who already suffers from back or neck pain to steer clear of rollercoasters. If you decide to ride, make sure to follow all safety precautions and see your chiropractor for an adjustment after your trip.”
  • Gardening and yard work. “Yard work involves a lot of bending, stooping, twisting, squatting, and lifting,” Butler says. “Combine all of those, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a sore back and a misaligned spine. Warm up before an afternoon in the yard. Yoga, or any kind of stretching, and brisk walking are great ways to loosen up. When lifting, utilize your leg muscles, and hold objects close to the body. When mowing, avoid leaning far forward and take breaks.”
  • Golf. When swinging a golf club, the lumbar spine undergoes a twisting motion, which can lead to disc herniation or chronic back pain. Butler says there are several ways to reduce the risk of lower back injury: proper stretching, core strengthening, and proper swing technique. “Also, it’s best not to carry your golf bag, which can weigh up to 30 or more pounds,” he says. “Use a pull-cart.”
  • “Weekend warrior” pursuits. After being glued to an office chair for five days without any physical activity, Butler says it’s unwise on the weekend to engage in high-intensity sports or hard workouts. “Rather than risking back pain from a weekend of overexertion, he says, “get in 30 minutes of moderate exercise or more every day so you’re stronger and better conditioned.”

“A good rule of thumb is to ease into any physical activity you aren’t used to doing — especially after a long winter,” Butler says. “Listen to your body; if you feel pain or weakness, that’s your body telling you that it’s time to take a break. A healthy spine makes for a fun, pain-free summer.”

About Dr. Bradford Butler

Dr. Bradford Butler, a chiropractor and author of The Blueprint for Back Pain Relief: The Essential Guide to Nonsurgical Solutions (www.drbradfordbutler.com), is the owner and director of Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy, which has three locations in northern New Jersey. Dr. Butler, a graduate of the New York Chiropractic College, has twice been named one of America’s top chiropractors by Consumer Research Council of America, and his offices have received the exclusive NJ TopDoc Award for eight consecutive years.

 

A Guide to Food Reactivity As You Age

Written by Dr. Chad Larson, NMD, DC, CCN, CSCS, Advisor and Consultant on Clinical Consulting Team for Cyrex Laboratories

Ahhh…the joys of aging. We work so hard on the way up the proverbial hill, but the ride down isn’t necessarily any easier. There are some bumps along the road that we all anticipate as we age, such as graying hair, decreased energy, wrinkles on our face and arthritis in our joints, to name a few. But there’s not much discussion about the digestion changes that can occur as we reach our “golden” years.

For instance, a decrease in lactase (an essential enzyme for breaking down lactose in products like milk and butter) production is very common for aging adults. In fact, about 65 percent of the global population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Slowing or weakening of contractions in the large intestine, bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine and slower emptying of the stomach are among other common symptoms associated with changes in digestive function that come with age. Medications and age-related illnesses might also trigger such symptoms.

You might find that foods that were once a guilty pleasure eventually become a great threat for discomfort. So what does this mean? How do you pinpoint what foods your body is not reacting well to and what should you do about it? Because the different causes of digestive track issues can produce many of the same symptoms, it can be tricky to get to the root of the problem.

Although an aging digestive system may have a harder time breaking down certain foods due to slower enzyme production, it is possible to develop food intolerances, sensitivities and allergies later in adulthood. More than 20 percent of the population in industrialized countries suffer from food intolerance or food allergy. Although many of the symptoms mirror each other, food intolerances and allergies are two different things:

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakes a food ingredient as a foreign invader and therefore attacks it, producing high levels of the antibody immunoglobulin E and releasing histamines. The reaction can be life threatening and presents itself through hives, swelling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, inflammation irregular heartbeat or restricted breathing. An allergic reaction often requires medical attention. The most common food allergens include milk, wheat, tree nuts, soy, peanuts and shellfish.

Food intolerance is a digestive issue. Although not life threatening, intolerance may result in some of the same symptoms, including bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea, nausea and joint inflammation and pain. Other symptoms might include headache, brain fog, nervousness and irritability. Intolerance to a food is usually due to a lack of the enzyme needed to break down the particular food. For example, those with a lactose or dairy intolerance don’t produce the enzyme lactase. Those with gluten sensitivity have difficulty digesting the gluten protein. While each individual can lack different enzymes to break down the relative food, some of the more common food intolerances are to dairy, gluten, eggs, caffeine, peanuts and corn.

Food intolerances and sensitivities can be as problematic as an allergy. If you suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned above, or suspect that you may have a food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity, the following suggestions are recommended:

  1. Allergy testing – If you are experiencing more serious reactions such as those identified above as being associated with allergies, please see your primary care doctor or an allergist immediately. Skin and blood tests can help detect allergies, which could potentially save your life.
  2. Reduce serving portions – Overeating can cause feelings of discomfort, bloat, nausea and even acid indigestion. As our stomachs empty out more slowly and our elasticity weakens with age, we should reduce our portions accordingly to avoid becoming too full and provoking these symptoms.
  3. Get tested for food intolerance or sensitivities – The elimination diet, eliminating foods and slowly reintroducing them back into your diet one at a time, although helpful, can be a long, grueling process that doesn’t always lead to clear results. Cyrex Laboratories, a clinical laboratory specializing in functional immunology and autoimmunity, offers advanced, innovative tests designed to detect and monitor autoimmune reactivities and their possible triggers. The Array 2 – Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen – measures intestinal permeability to large molecules, which trigger the immune system. This is a fast and easy way to determine if you have developed an immune sensitivity to specific foods.
  4. Rule out disease – Because of the crossover in symptoms, digestive system issues can be mistaken for more serious conditions. For example, what seems like lactose intolerance can actually be celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Inflammation and joint pain, which are common symptoms of food allergies and sensitivity, could also be caused by arthritis. Cyrex also offers The Array 8 – Joint Autoimmune Reactivity Screen – which assists in the early detection of connective tissue disorders, and in monitoring the effectiveness of related treatment protocols. It is best to see a doctor who can take the initial, necessary steps of testing for more serious conditions.

Identifying or diagnosing the cause of your digestive-discomfort symptoms is important. While allergies and disease are more serious causes, food sensitivities can be managed by simply decreasing or eliminating the amounts consumed; it doesn’t always require total elimination. Either way, staying in tune with your body and being proactive with self-care and good health are the first steps to keeping your older years golden.

Dr. Chad Larson, NMD, DC, CCN, CSCS, Advisor and Consultant on Clinical Consulting Team for Cyrex Laboratories. Dr. Larson holds a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Southern California University of Health Sciences. He is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He particularly pursues advanced developments in the fields of endocrinology, orthopedics, sports medicine, and environmentally-induced chronic disease.

Co-Parenting Tips Every Divorcing Couple Needs to Know

Reena B. Patel, a licensed educational psychologist and author, offers helpful tips for co-parenting couples

It’s well known that nearly half of all marriages in the country end in divorce. The rate is even higher for subsequent marriages. What many people are not as focused on are the children involved and how to best go about co-parenting in a way that will help them grow into well adjusted adults. July is National Child-Centered Divorce Month, making it an ideal time to place the focus of divorce on the children, and what can be done to help ensure they come out of the situation in healthy manner.

“Divorce may seem like it’s something between the adults, but it is really something impacts the whole family,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author, who offer virtual workshops. “Children need parents who will commit to working together for the health and development of their child.”

In a study published in the journal called The Linacre Quarterly, researchers shared their findings of reviewing three decades worth of research regarding the impact of divorce on the health of children. Their research found that divorce has been shown to diminish a child’s future competence in all areas of life, including family relationships, education, emotional well-being, and future earning power. Parents can help to counter the negative impact that divorce has on the children by focusing on effective co-parenting that will help ensure their success throughout life.

Children who see their parents continuing to work together are more likely to learn how to effectively and peacefully solve problems themselves. They will also have a healthy example to follow. It’s important for parents to remember that their feelings about their ex does not, and should not, dictate their behavior. It’s better to focus on being a positive example, putting your child’s well being in the spotlight.

Patel offers some tips that will help with ensuring co-parenting success:

  • Commit to making co-parenting an open dialogue with your ex. Arrange to do this through email, texting, voicemail, letters, or face-to-face conversations. In the beginning, it may be hard to have a civil dialogue with your ex. There are even websites where you can upload schedules, share information and communicate so you and your ex don’t have to directly touch base. 
  • The key is consistency. Rules don’t have to be exactly the same between the two households, but you and your ex should establish generally consistent guidelines. They should be mutually agreed upon for both households. For example, meal time, bed time, and completing homework need to consistent. This helps create a sense of belonging and creates a sense of security and predictability for children. Discuss and come to an agreement about each of these issues.
  • Don’t give in to guilt and try and outdo your ex by gifting you child with things, instead agree on discipline. This includes things like behavioral guidelines, rewards, and consequences, so there is consistency in their lives, regardless of which parent they’re with at any given time. Research shows that children in homes with a unified parenting approach have greater well-being.
  • Keep in mind that children will frequently test boundaries and rules, especially if there’s a chance to get something they may not ordinarily be able to obtain. This is why a united front in co-parenting is recommended. 
  • Be flexible and update often. If there are changes at home, in your life, it is important that your child is never the primary source of information.
  • Speak in positive language about your ex. Remember, often times, the marriage is what was the issue, not the parenting style. Each of you has valuable strengths as a parent. Remember to recognize the different traits you and your ex have – and reinforce this awareness with your children.
  • Children exposed to conflict between co-parents are more likely to develop issues such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD. Keeping this in mind, strive to keep conflict around them to a minimal or none at all.
  • Keep the conversations child-focused. This will leave out problems that you and your ex have with each other. The focus now needs to be on the children.

“Effective and healthy co-parenting may be difficult at first and it make time some time to work everything out,” added Patel. “But getting this part right in the long run is going to have a huge positive impact on your children, so it’s worth it. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help to put a plan together or determine how to best put co-parenting into action.”

Patel has a new debut radio show on Dash Radio, North America’s first mainstream South Asian radio station, which premiered in April 2019. The station was founded by Rukus Avenue Music Group, and can be heard 24-7 on the Dash Radio app, as well as on the on the Dash Radio platform at DashRadio.com. 

Patel is the founder of AutiZm& More. As a licensed educational psychologist and guidance counselor, she helps children and their families with the use of positive behavior support strategies across home, school, and community settings. She does workshops around California, and virtual workshops globally where she provides this information to health professionals, families, and educators. She also offers concierge parenting services, helping families to reach specific goals, such as focusing on college admission. She is also the author of a book that helps children with anxiety coping strategies called “Winnie & Her Worries,” and author of a book about autism awareness and acceptance, called “My Friend Max: A Story about a Friend with Autism.” Both of her books are available on Amazon. To learn more about her services, visit the website at www.reenabpatel.com