This Happened: Johns Hopkins brainiacs determined that we have considerably less control over preventing cancer than was previously thought. Up to two-thirds of cancers are the result of random gene mutations, and can’t be blocked by any wellness routine, no matter how stellar.
LOLI’s Take: Don’t park yourself on the couch with a huge bag of Lay’s just yet; this new finding doesn’t apply to all types of cancer. Two biggies – lung and skin – are in the one-third of cancers we can help to thwart. So stop smoking, stat, and slather on some mineral sunscreen the next time you step outside.
Cancer Prevention Diet, Macrobiotics, Michio Kushi
This Happened: Michio Kushi, the Japanese health guru who mainstreamed macrobiotics, passed away last month at the ripe old age of 88. A powerhouse, he founded the natural foods brand Erewhon, created the East-West Foundation, and wrote several books, including The Macrobiotic Path to Total Health and The Cancer Prevention Diet.
LOLI’s Take: Though there’s a lot of mystery and misunderstanding around macrobiotics – what exactly is a nightshade vegetable? wait, eggs are bad? – the core tenets are incredibly healthy. In a nutshell (nuts are okay, btw), it’s heavy in organically grown whole grains and vegetables, seaweed, beans and fish. The No-Nos: Dairy, poultry, refined sugars and anything processed. If you have a sweet tooth or are a cheese addict, it may be worth your while to look into going macro, at least part-time.
De-Stress, Happiness, Healing, Hugs, Social Support
This Happened: Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University released a study supporting what we’ve long believed: Frequent hugging keeps you healthy – especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed. As a key component of “social support,” embraces were found to reduce susceptibility to stress-triggered illness, and reduce symptoms if you’re already sick.
LOLI’s Take: Don’t have a Significant Other? So not a problem! Hug your buddies, your nieces and nephews, the UPS Guy! (Hmmm….maybe ask first about that last one!) Although animals-as-hug-recipients weren’t factored into the study, we think cuddly pets also count – your own or someone else’s. The point is to touch. Touch is healing.
This Happened: The FDA just approved a gadget for weight loss for the first time since 2007. Dubbed the “Maestro Rechargeable System,” it was developed by St. Paul, Minnesota-based EnteroMedics and is categorized as a “pacemaker for the appetite.” It’s implanted in the abdomen and works by connecting the brain to the stomach via the vagus nerve, which regulates the digestive system. Essentially, “VBloc therapy” tricks the brain into thinking the stomach is full, thereby suppressing the urge to overeat. It’s targeted to obese patients – those with a BMI between 30 and 40 – who’ve had zero luck with other approaches to slimming down. And while it hasn’t been priced yet, the device is expected to cost at least $10k and may not be covered by insurance.
LOLI’s Take: Excess weight wreaks havoc on your health, so we’re all for adding another tool to your get-trim toolbox. (Alongside a healthy diet, a well-rounded fitness routine, and tons of quality sleep, of course.) But we also advocate digging deep, spiritually, to uncover possible root causes for overeating.
50+-Hour Work Week, Alcohol, Aromatherapy, Meditation, Relaxation, Sleep, Tippling
This Happened: According to a recent study, 50+-hour work weeks were found to lead to an increased incidence of “risky” booze intake, which is defined as > 21 drinks per week for men and > 14 for women. The specific health risks of drinking that much, as determined by a group of researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, include liver and heart disease, as well as mental disorders.
LOLI’s Take: You might have to wiggle into your yoga pants or lace up your running shoes, but there are soooooo many better ways of relieving work-related stress than cracking open a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Don’t have the get-up-and-go to get out the door for a little exercise? Take a piping hot aromatherapy bath, or listen to a guided meditation CD. Then hit the hay early; deep sleep is one of the best stress-busters around.
This Happened: Under Obamacare, the number of companies fiscally penalizing employees who don’t sign up for firm-funded wellness programs is on the uptick. By opting out of “outcome-based” plans to lose weight, reduce cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar – and especially stop smoking – employees could be subject to fines.
LOLI’s Take: Yes, it’s a bit Big Brother-ish for employers to pretty much demand that the rank and file take better care of themselves. (Not to mention self-serving; fewer sick days = more output.) But forget all that. Someone else is picking up the tab! What are you waiting for?
This Happened: With the release of a study by biologists at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany confirming that scent receptors live in the skin as well as the nose, aromatherapy just took a huge leap forward. Two examples: Exposing one of these olfactory receptors to a synthetic sandalwood “set off a cascade of molecular signals that appears to induce healing in injured tissue,” reported The New York Times. The same fake sandalwood – dubbed Sandalore – triggered a 30% faster recovery rate in skin abrasions.
LOLI’s Take: The health implications are immense, from both the skin-trauma and anti-aging perspectives. As firm believers in the powers of aromatherapy to heal both mind and body, we’re turning cartwheels.
This Happened: It was discovered that wolfing down cookies first thing in the morning can actually be a good thing. But let’s be clear: We’re not talking dodgy supermarket DoubleStufs; these food-blogger “breakfast cookie” recipes are healthy – and get you out the door in record time.
LOLI’s Take: Since sugar is such a skin bummer (seriously…over time, it triggers lines, wrinkles and sagging), we heart the recipes here that go the extra mile, bypassing ingredients like peanut butter chips and maple syrup without sacrificing taste. One of our super-clean, sugar-free faves: Lemon And Basil’s Raw Lemon Poppy Seed Bites.
This Happened: Sun–drenched yoga studios were outed as a potential source of skin aging – if you park your mat by the window, that is. UVA rays, the kind responsible for crows’ feet and brown spots, can easily penetrate glass.
LOLI’s Take: Yoga offers so many bennies, we’re guessing you’ll still come out on top, healthwise, even you insist on downward dogging at high noon. But maybe slather on a little mineral-based sunblock first?
This Happened: The foremost rock stars of integrative medicine – Frank Lipman, Mark Hyman and Joel Kahn – gathered to debate the merits of meat vs. plant-based diets.
LOLI’s Take: There was so much great intel shared during this recent Mind Body Green “Revitalize” panel that it’s well worth bonding with your iPad for 30 minutes to watch. One surprising takeaway: All three of these über-docs consider sugar a drug. Kahn, a staunch vegan, lumps cheese into the drug category, too.
SUBJECT: VOLUME 1: WHISPERING IS A FLU-FIGHTING NO-NO
Flu-Fighting, Healthy Habits, Whispering
This Happened: Besides washing your hands umpteen times per day, another easy-to-implement anti-flu fix has surfaced: standing at a safe distance when speaking with others. If you avoid chatting at close range, and, no matter how juicy the gossip, resist the urge to whisper in your BFF’s ear, you’re less likely to come in contact with airborne germs.
LOLI’s Take: Flu can be deadly, and new strains surface every year. So if you’re the shot type, go for it. If not, make sure you get tons of immunity-boosting sleep this winter. With a shot and / or Q time in the sack, close-talking will be a non-issue.