Author Archives: Lussy James

The One Way To Know If Your Dry Skin Is Actually Eczema

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Often dry or itchy patches of skin can be confused for eczema — also known as dermatitis — if you don’t know how to tell the two conditions apart. So, what’s the one way to tell the difference between dry skin and eczema? It all comes down to one thing — genetics. The main difference is that eczema is a genetic condition that manifests itself in many different forms with differing symptoms, while dry skin is just, well, skin that is depleted of moisture and that needs to be rehydrated.

According to the National Eczema Association, there are nine different known types of dermatitis, though the symptoms presented vary from person to person. The National Eczema Association also states that if you have eczema, your skin is usually less able to retain moisture and may have a more difficult time producing fats and oils. Generally, in mild cases, the skin is dry, scaly, red, and itchy. It’s important to figure out if you have dry skin verses eczema so that you can go about treating your symptoms the right way.

Dr. Jessica Weiser of the NY Dermatology group explains to me over email that, “There is typically a genetic predisposition to developing atopic dermatitis and is often associated with asthma and allergies. It is possible to develop eczema-like skin rashes as a result of irritation or contact allergies to a variety of chemicals and other substances.” She further notes that “Dry skin, however, is an acquired condition where moisture in the skin surface is depleted as a result of cold weather, dry indoor heat, poor hydration” et cetera. There is quite a difference between the two.” If you’re wondering whether you have eczema, look into your family history.

As far as treatment goes, the NEA recommends taking warm baths and using moisturizer to sooth eczema. However, make sure not to agitate the skin or you could worsen your condition.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, $30,

Whether you have eczema or just plain old dry skin, a super hydrating moisturizer like this one from First Aid Beauty is a must-have. Just remember that it’s important to get a formal diagnosis if you suspect you have eczema so you can go about treating it the proper way with the help of a dermatologist.


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While it’s become a central plot point on the latest season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, it’s important to remember that Yolanda Foster is still dealing with her Lyme disease diagnosis, searching tirelessly for a cure to end her pain and suffering. Much has been made of her illness on this season, with several cast members calling into doubt not only that she has Lyme disease, but that she’s as sick as she says, and whether her two children Anwar and Bella Hadid also actually have it. Despite the doubts cast by her fellow Housewives, Foster has made it her mission to speak on behalf of other Lyme sufferers, so how did she actually get Lyme disease in the first place?

While the most commonly known (and widely accepted) medical view is that Lyme disease is contracted via deer tick bite, that’s where the simplicity with this disease ends. For starters, early symptoms of Lyme disease are not absolute. Some people remember being bitten by a tick because they removed the tick themselves, or receive the telltale “bull’s-eye” rash at the site of the bite. Others simply don’t get the rash or never realize they were bitten by a tiny tick. Things only get more complex from there for many Lyme sufferers.

Foster has been an advocate for those struggling with the same disease for nearly three years, as evidenced by her social media accounts.

?Lyme awareness Day in LA with my fellow Lymies #wemustfindacure
A photo posted by YOLANDA (@yolandahfoster) on May 10, 2013 at 2:01pm PDT

Of course, this photo featuring a lime green-clad, beaming Foster surrounded by fellow advocates is a stark reality to the Foster we see today, often bedridden and appearing less-than-healthy:

❤️Just because some ppl are done with your journey, doesn’t mean your journey is done…….. #AnotherWastedSaturday #LifeFromTheSideLines #Spoonie #LymeDiseaseAwereness #DeterminedToFindACure #AffordableForAll PS: Bad Selfie Day
A photo posted by YOLANDA (@yolandahfoster) on Jan 16, 2016 at 9:11pm PST
As time has gone on from her initial diagnosis in late 2012, Foster has opened up a flood of conversation surrounding Lyme disease: how it’s contracted, how it’s often misdiagnosed, and how complicated treating it can be. It’s unclear if Foster was actually bitten by a tick, but she told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live! in early 2013 that she realized she was ill when shooting RHOBH and her brain functioning was impaired.

She has since publicly chronicled her efforts to find the best treatment for her, all the while sharing her ups and downs on her journey for a cure. Though people question exactly how Foster and her children could contract the disease, Foster explains on her Bravo blog: “The children and I lived on a horse ranch in Santa Barbara for 10 years and spent the majority of our time outside in nature.” Fans will remember that Foster, in healthier days, spent a lot of time gardening, and the family has always loved to ride horses. This time spent outside naturally ups the chances for getting a hard-to-notice tick bite, thus furthering the chances for the Lyme disease she’s still struggling with all these years later.

As someone who watched my mom struggle with the exact same search for a diagnosis and a cure for Lyme disease that Foster and her family are still dealing with, I especially wish them all the best. It goes to show that money and fame don’t make someone immune to serious illness, and that there is a long way to go for Foster and others struggling with the painful reality of Lyme disease.

Crohn’s Disease by the Numbers: Facts, Statistics & You Read Now

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Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in which an abnormal immune system response causes chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. Crohn’s is often confused with ulcerative colitis, a similar IBD that only affects the large intestine.

According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, about 1.4 million Americans have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Of those, about 700,000 have Crohn’s. In the years between 1992 and 2004, there was a 74 percent increase in doctor’s office visits due to Crohn’s disease. In 2004, Crohn’s disease was the cause of 57,000 hospitalizations.

Who Gets Crohn’s Disease

crohns incidencecrohns geographical location

Anyone can develop Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. However, IBDs are usually diagnosed in young adults between the ages of 15 and 30. Children are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Crohn’s as ulcerative colitis. Boys develop IBDs at a slightly higher rate than girls.

In the United States, males and females get Crohn’s at about the same rate. Caucasians and Ashkenazi Jews develop Crohn’s at a higher rate than other ethnicities. The highest rates occur in Canada. In general, people who live in higher latitudes are more likely to develop Crohn’s than those in lower latitudes. When relocating from a low-latitude to a high-latitude region, the risk of developing Crohn’s matches that of the high-latitude region within a single generation.


In Crohn’s disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy bacteria in the GI tract. Chronic inflammation causes thickening of the intestinal wall, which triggers the symptoms. The exact reason this occurs is not clear, but there is a hereditary factor. According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, between 5 and 20 percent of people who have an IBD have a first-degree relative with one. The risk is higher in Crohn’s than ulcerative colitis, and higher when both parents are affected.

There may also be an environmental element. Rates of Crohn’s are higher in developed countries, urban areas, and northern climates. Stress and diet may worsen Crohn’s, but neither is thought to cause the disease. It’s likely that Crohn’s is caused by a combination of factors.


Symptoms of the disease vary from person to person, depending on the type of Crohn’s. The most widespread form is called ileocolitis, which affects the end of the small intestine (ileum) and the large intestine. Symptoms include pain in the lower or middle part of the abdomen. Diarrhea and weight loss are common. Ileitis affects only the ileum, but causes the same symptoms.

Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease manifests in the beginning of the small intestine (duodenum) and the stomach. The main symptoms are loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting, which can result in loss of weight. Jejunoileitis causes areas of inflammation in the upper part of the small intestine (jejunum). It can cause severe abdominal pain and cramping, especially after eating. Another symptom is diarrhea.

When Crohn’s affects only the colon, it is called Crohn’s granulomatous colitis. This type of Crohn’s causes diarrhea and rectal bleeding. Patients may develop abscesses and ulcers in the area of the anus. Other symptoms include joint pain and skin lesions.

Other general symptoms of Crohn’s include fatigue, fever, and night sweats. Some patients experience an urgent need to move their bowels. Constipation can also be a problem. Women may have an interruption in their menstrual cycle. Young children may have delayed development.

Most Crohn’s patients have episodes of disease activity followed by remissions. The stress of a flare-up can lead to anxiety and social withdrawal.

Diagnosis and Treatment

There’s no single test that can positively diagnose Crohn’s disease. If you have symptoms, your doctor will probably run a series of tests to rule out other conditions. Diagnostic testing may include:

  • blood tests to look for infection or anemia (not enough red blood cells)
  • fecal tests to see if there is blood in your stool
  • capsule endoscopy or double-balloon endoscopy, two procedures that allow a better view of the small bowel
  • flexible sigmoidoscopy, a procedure that helps your doctor view the last section of colon
  • colonoscopy to enable doctors to get a good look at the entire length of your colon and to remove samples for analysis (biopsy). The presence of inflammatory cells can help diagnose Crohn’s.
  • imaging tests such as computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to get detailed pictures of the abdominal area and intestinal tract

There’s no cure for Crohn’s. Treatment usually involves a combination approach. Immune suppressants can help control your immune system’s inflammatory response. Various medications can be used to treat individual symptoms. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America estimates that about 70 percent of Crohn’s patients eventually need surgery to repair damage or remove an obstruction. Sometimes, a portion of the bowel must be removed. About 30 percent of surgical patients will have a flare-up within three years, and 60 percent will have one within 10 years.

Good nutritional decisions are crucial for people with Crohn’s. A well-chosen diet can help reduce symptoms and help you heal. You may find that certain foods trigger symptoms, but it may take some trial and error to isolate which ones. Loss of appetite and diarrhea can make it hard to absorb the nutrients you need. Ask your doctor or nutritionist to advise you about dietary supplements.


Crohn’s can lead to fissures, or tears, in the lining of the anus. This can cause bleeding and pain. A common and serious complication is when inflammation and scar tissue block the intestines. Crohn’s can cause ulcers within the intestines. Another serious complication is the formation of fistulas, abnormal spaces that connect organs within the body. Crohn’s disease may also increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

Living with Crohn’s disease also takes an emotional toll. Embarrassment over bathroom issues can interfere with your social life and your career. You may find it helpful to seek counseling or join a support group for people with IBD.


crohns direct medical costscrohns us medical costs

Crohn’s is an expensive disease. In a 2008 study, direct medical costs were $18,022 to $18,932 per patient per year in the United States. About 53 to 67 percent of those costs were from hospitalizations. Costs were higher for patients with more severe disease activity. Patients in the top 25 percent averaged $60,582 per year. Those in the top two percent averaged more than $300,000 per year.

Scientists Define the 6 Criteria of Well-Being Read Now

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Professor Carol Ryff studied well-being before it was cool. Twenty years before we all start talking about well-being and thriving, Ryff was already quietly working on the problem at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


She ended up creating one of the first systematic models of psychological well-being, and her model remain one of the most scientifically verified and empirically rigorous today. 1

Carol Ryff was motivated by two things: Firstly,well-being should not be restricted to medical or biological descriptions — instead it is a philosophical question about the meaning of a good life. 2Secondly, current psychological theories of well-being at that time lacked empirical rigor — they had not been and could not be tested.

To construct a theory that joins philosophical questions with scientific empiricism, Ryff mined for building blocks in a diverse selection of well-being theories and research, from Aristotle to John Stuart Mill, from Abraham Maslow to Carl Jung. She identified the recurrence and convergence across these diverse theories, and these intersections gave her the foundation for her new model of well-being.

Carol Ryff’s model of psychological well-being differs from past models in one important way: Well-being is multidimensional and not merely about happiness or positive emotions. A good life is balanced and whole, engaging each of the different aspects of well-being, instead of being narrowly focused. Ryff roots this principle in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, where the goal of life isn’t feeling good but is instead about living virtuously.

Carol Ryff’s six categories of well-being are: 2

1) Self-Acceptance

High Self Acceptance: You possess a positive attitude toward yourself; acknowledge and accept multiple aspects of yourself including both good and bad qualities; and feel positive about your past life.

Low Self Acceptance: You feel dissatisfied with yourself; are disappointed with what has occurred in your past life; are troubled about certain personal qualities; and wish to be different than what you are.

2) Personal Growth

Strong Personal Growth: You have a feeling of continued development; see yourself as growing and expanding; are open to new experiences; have the sense of realizing your potential; see improvement in yourself and behavior over time; are changing in ways that reflect more self-knowledge and effectiveness.

Weak Personal Growth: You have a sense of personal stagnation; lack the sense of improvement or expansion over time; feel bored and uninterested with life; and feel unable to develop new attitudes or behaviors.

3) Purpose in Life

Strong Purpose in Life: You have goals in life and a sense of directedness; feel there is meaning to your present and past life; hold beliefs that give life purpose; and have aims and objectives for living.

Weak Purpose in Life: You lack a sense of meaning in life; have few goals or aims, lack a sense of direction; do not see purpose of your past life; and have no outlook or beliefs that give life meaning.

4) Positive Relations With Others

Strong Positive Relations: You have warm, satisfying, trusting relationships with others; are concerned about the welfare of others; are capable of strong empathy, affection, and intimacy; and understand the give and take of human relationships.

Weak Relations: You have few close, trusting relationships with others; find it difficult to be warm, open, and concerned about others; are isolated and frustrated in interpersonal relationships; and are not willing to make compromises to sustain important ties with others.

5) Environmental Mastery

High Environmental Mastery: You have a sense of mastery and competence in managing the environment; control complex array of external activities; make effective use of surrounding opportunities; and are able to choose or create contexts suitable to your personal needs and values.

Low Environmental Mastery: You have difficulty managing everyday affairs; feel unable to change or improve surrounding contexts; are unaware of surrounding opportunities; and lack a sense of control over the external world.

6) Autonomy

High Autonomy: You are self-determining and independent; are able to resist social pressures to think and act in certain ways; regulate behavior from within; and evaluate yourself by personal standards.

Low Autonomy: You are concerned about the expectations and evaluations of others; rely on judgments of others to make important decisions; and conform to social pressures to think and act in certain ways.

How You Can Eat to Beat Back Pain Read Now

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Next time chronic pain is dragging you down, consider trying a more natural route to relief. And, because pain is individual, ask your doctor for specifics about these treatments, such as doses and time to continue trying them.


1. Exercise. “People who exercise and maintain a good aerobic condition will improve most pain conditions,” says Charles Kim, MD, assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine and anesthesiology and a certified medical acupuncturist at Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center.

When we work out, he says, the body produces its own version of painkillers, such as endorphins, hormones that actually increase your pain threshold. Endorphins interact with brain receptors and can change our perception of pain.

When patients tell Dr. Kim they are in too much pain to exercise, he suggests they start slowly, and do even a little burst of walking or other activity — then build up.

In one review of non-pharmacologic treatments for chronic pain, researchers concluded that exercise was moderately effective.

2. Fish Oil. Fish oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation plays a large role in pain, says Michael Cronin, ND, a naturopathic physician in Scottsdale, Az., and immediate past president of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

In one study, researchers instructed patients with neck or back pain to take 1200 milligrams a day of fish oil supplements with eicosapentaenoic and decosahexanoic acid. After 75 days on fish oil, more than half of the 125 patients who reported back said they had stopped their prescription painkillers.

3. Turmeric. Also called Curcuma longa, turmeric is basically a root, Kim says. “It’s often found in spicy foods, very much in Indian cooking. Studies have shown it has definite anti-inflammatory properties.”

Researchers who tested a combination of turmeric with two other substances, Devil’s claw and bromelain, on patients with pain from osteoarthritis found the mixture gave noticeable pain relief. Patients took two 650-milligram capsules either two or three times a day.

4. Resveratrol. Found in red wine, grapes and berries, resveratrol is known to have many beneficial effects, including anti-cancer, brain protective and even life-prolonging benefits.

Recently, researchers reported that the substance works on a cellular level for pain regulation.

5. Heat Therapy. Using heat as well as cold therapy are time-honored ways to quell pain, Dr. Cronin and Kim agree.

“Hot Epsom salt baths relax the mind and change the nervous input from the body to the brain,” Cronin says. “Using ice is a well-accepted modality that decreases inflammation locally.”

The key is to know when to use which.

“When you have an acute injury, put ice on it right away,” Kim says. For instance, you twist your ankle and it’s painful and swollen. Using heat in this situation will increase blood flow and increase the swelling, he says.

“If you have lingering back spasms, heat would be the best for that,” Kim says. He suggests taking a warm shower and massaging your neck or back (or whatever body part hurts) under the warm water.

6. Meditation. Meditation can quell pain, Kim says. While some people get anxious, thinking they have to do meditation a certain way, Kim tells them it’s just not true.

“Meditation is not scripted,” he says. While you can get instruction, you can also look up approaches and follow instructions, such as this information on the approach known as mindfulness meditation.

Researchers who assigned 109 patients with chronic pain to either a mindfulness meditation program or a wait list found that those who did the meditation reported more pain relief, as well as lower anxiety and depression and a better mental quality of life, than those who did not.

7 Facts About Drugs That Will Make You Question Everything You Know

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There’s no subject in our culture where the conversation is dominated by myths and misconceptions so much as drugs. We are frightened to talk about it. We are tempted to fall back on stock-phrases and mental spasms — Just Say No, and all its more modern twists.

I have always been sympathetic to more compassionate drug policies, and I thought of myself as pretty enlightened. But when I spent over three years researching my book Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, I was startled to discover — time and again — that I too had fallen for a shelf-load of myths.

Here are seven facts I learned along the way that startled me — and I think force us to think differently about the drug war we have been waging now for one hundred and one years.

Fact One: 85 percent to 90 percent of people who use even heroin, crack or meth don’t become addicted.

If you go into a crowded bar tonight and look around you, you might see some alcoholics (who need our love and support) — but we all know they’re a small minority.

But this isn’t true of most other drugs, is it? We all know that most people who use heroin or crack or meth become addicts.

This question has been carefully studied by leading social scientists — and it turns out this belief is a myth. As I learned fromProfessor Carl Hart at Columbia University, it turns out 85-90 percent of people who use any drug do not become addicted.

Even the UN Office of Drug Control — the main drug war body in the world — admitted that 90 percent of all currently banned drug use doesn’t harm the user — although they’ve pulled the link from their site.

crack cocaine

Fact Two: Portugal decriminalized all drugs — and injecting drug use fell by 50 percent.

By the year 2000, Portugal had a massive drug crisis, with 1 percent of the population addicted to heroin. They set up a panel of scientists to look at the evidence. They came back and said — decriminalize all drugs, and transfer all the money they used to spend on making addicts’ lives worse, to making their lives better.

They set up a huge program of job creation for addicts, and extensive wrap-around care.

The result? Injecting drug use fell by 50 percent; overdose deaths fell significantly; and very few people in Portugal want to go back.

Fact Three: Switzerland legalized heroin for addicts over a decade ago. Nobody has ever died on an overdose there on legal heroin.

Switzerland also had a huge heroin crisis. Under a visionary president — Ruth Dreifus — they decided to try an experiment. If you are a heroin addict, you are assigned to a clinic, and you are given your heroin there, for free, where you use it supervised by a doctor or nurse. You are given support to turn your life around, and find a job, and housing.

The result? Nobody has died of an overdose on legal heroin —literally nobody. Street crime fell significantly. The heroin epidemic ended. Most legal heroin users choose to reduce their dose and come off the program over time, because as they find work, and no longer feel stigmatized, they want to be present in their lives again.

Fact Four: A Harvard Professor calculates the murder rate would fall by at least 25 percent after legalization.

When you ban drugs, they don’t vanish. They are transferred from legal businesses to criminals. If you try to steal from a legal business, they can go to the police. If you try to steal from a criminal gang, they can’t go to the police. Illegal businesses can only survive through violence and the threat of violence. As the writer Charles Bowden said, the war on drugs creates a war for drugs. The Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman calculated this dynamic kills 10,000 people every year in the US.

Professor Jeffrey Miron has carefully studied the very significant fall in the murder rate following the end of alcohol prohibition. Using these figures, he has calculated that when the war on drugs ends, there will be a fall in the murder rate of between 25 percent and 75 percent as the war for drugs ends. Under prohibition, everyone feared Al Capone; nobody fears the head of Corr’s.

Fact Five: Kids find it much easier to get hold of illegal drugs than legal drugs.

In a major survey, American kids said it was easier to get hold of cannabis than to get hold of beer or cigarettes. In fact, kids were more than twice as likely to say they could easily get cannabis than beer.

Why? Drug dealers don’t check ID. A legal, licensed trade has a lot to lose if they sell to teens. An illegal trade has nothing to lose — a 13-year-old is as good a customer as a 35-year-old. Most legalization campaigners see it as a way to restrict access from younger people, who we all agree need to be protected.

Fact Six: Addiction is not caused primarily by the drug you take; it’s caused by distress.

If 85-90 percent of people who use drugs don’t become addicted, what’s happening with the 10-15 percent who do? We now know it’s not primarily the drug. Think about gambling addicts. They’re just as addicted as any alcoholic or heroin addict you’ll meet — but nobody thinks you inject a roulette wheel, or drink a pack of cards.

Fact Seven: When people see drug reform in practice, few want to go back.

When people first hear about the idea of decriminalizing or legalizing drugs, they understandably think it sounds really risky. But everywhere it has been tried, support went up significantly.

For example, a year after marijuana was put on sale in licensed stores in Colorado, 58 percent supported the legalization, and only 38 percent opposed it. When Switzerland — a really conservative country — was asked to vote on whether to reverse the legalization of heroin for addicts, 70 percent of citizens voted to keep it legal — because they had seen such remarkable results.

When it comes to drugs, we can continue to live in a fantasy-world if we want — and we will keep getting the results we’ve got: a catastrophic heroin addiction epidemic across the U.S., spiraling overdose deaths, and teens finding it easier than ever to get the drug.

Good News: Scientists Discover New Bacteria Responsible For Lyme Disease

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Researchers have discovered a new bacteria that causes Lyme disease in humans, a U.S. health agency said Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working with the Mayo Clinic and health officials from Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, discovered the new bacteria, called Borrelia mayonii, the CDC said in a statement.

Previously, only one bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, was believed to cause human Lyme disease, which is transmitted through bites from by the blacklegged “deer” tick, the CDC statement said.

The new bacteria has so far only been detected in the upper Midwest region of the United States, the CDC said.

Researchers discovered Borrelia mayonii after studying blood samples of patients in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota who were suspected of having Lyme disease from 2012-2014, the CDC said. Samples from six out of 9,000 patients showed “unusual results” and prompted further study, the health agency said.

The newly discovered bacteria is similar to Borrelia burgdorferi in that it initially causes fever, headache, rash, and neck pain and later arthritis associated with Lyme disease, according to the CDC.

But Borrelia mayonii adds nausea, vomiting and widespread rash, and causes a higher concentration of bacteria in the blood, the CDC said.

There are an estimated 300,000 cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. annually, according to the CDC. The disease is rarely fatal, and most patients recover after a few weeks of oral antibiotics, the agency said.

The patients infected with the new bacteria were treated successfully with the same antibiotics used for those with Borrelia burgdorferi, the CDC said.

It is too early to say whether the newly discovered bacteria will be more or less dangerous than Borrelia burgdorferi, said Jeannine Petersen, a CDC microbiologist.

“We have fairly limited information in that our study described six patients,” she told Reuters. “We need more patients in order to capture the full spectrum of those who might have less severe symptoms and those who might have more severe ones.”

It is likely that the bacteria is a “recently emerged” organism since it did not appear in previous, extensive testing of blood samples of patients suspected of having Lyme disease, Peterson added.

8 Things I Learned Years After My Dad’s Suicide

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It’s been four years since my dad took his life without warning. Some days, it feels as fresh and raw as when I first learned of his death. On others, it seems like a lifetime ago. I still shake my head in disbelief when I think about my dad — my dad — making the decision to die this way. We were two peas in a pod, how could I not see this coming?

I remember sitting in my first few survivor of suicide support group meetings listening to moderators who were five or ten years out from their loved one’s passing thinking, “You have no idea how I feel right now, your loved one died years ago! How can you relate?” Now that I am inching into their shoes, I can appreciate that the passage of time really makes no difference when a suicide is involved. It leaves an imprint on your soul that even years cannot rinse away.

I now find myself reflecting on the lessons that have surfaced in the years since. I think it’s safe to say that whether it’s been 10 days or 10 years (or more), the effects of living through a loved one’s suicide will continue to evolve and impact survivors in various ways. As a new survivor, I hated when I heard people say “time heals.” I didn’t believe it and I didn’t want to hear it. However, I can say that time has molded my grief away from the sick, punched-in-the-gut feeling, into what I would equate to a backpack or dark cloud that I carry or pull along with me in the background.

And here’s what I’ve learned…

I eventually smiled and laughed again. This is something that initially seemed impossible. In the early days, I felt like I was seated on a roller coaster with enormous drops. I couldn’t shake the physically ill, nauseating sensations that took over my entire body. From there, I moved into a dense fog. I existed but simply went through the motions required each day just to get by. Many months down the line, I surprised myself by smiling and laughing again. It may be too early to believe that now, but just know it will eventually happen.

There came a night and a morning where my loss wasn’t the last or first thought of the day. This, too, took quite some time. I remember waking up with my alarm clock hoping that each new day would reveal this was all a nightmare. And, at night, hoping I didn’t have a nightmare about it. I still think about it pretty much every day, but it’s not the only thing that enters my mind. Similarly, his date of death always felt like this looming thing on my calendar. I checked out some books at the library this week and noted on the receipt that the date due was the same day and it stopped there. Only 10 minutes later on my way home did the coincidence register. I actually look at this as a good thing. I don’t think any of our loved ones would want us hanging our hats on their last day.

I eventually regained motivation. I stopped working out, spending time with friends and pursuing my favorite hobbies for a while after my dad died. I remember asking a grief counselor if I could ever expect to get back to my usual self. While I still make other excuses for working out, I was able to shake the continual mantra that had been running through my mind at the time, “I can’t do this because my dad just died.”

Time helps, but nothing fully “healed” the loss of my dad to suicide. I learned to lower my expectations for grief recovery. I remember wanting a magic answer to how long it would take to get over my dad’s death. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one. But now I know not to ever expect it to “go away.”

There’s now life “before” and “after” the suicide. That said, many survivors, including me, now look at life pre- and post- suicide. There was life the way it “used to be” and life now in the new normal. “After” and “new-normal” doesn’t necessarily mean bad or worse off. Suicide loss is just such a traumatic thing that it becomes a tear in the page of your favorite book.

I realized I may never have closure. I still don’t know what fully drove my dad to do this, or why he did it in the spot he chose or the method he selected, etc. I will never have those answers and as much as it pains me to not have that closure, I understand that it’s part of this ugly thing called suicide.

No one else will understand — except fellow survivors.Friends and even extended family members who were so eager to help and provide support in the early days have now all but forgotten what I’m still dealing with. I’m shocked when I hear insensitive comments about mental illness or suicide innuendos and remind myself that unfortunately, no one else will “get it” unless they’ve experienced what I have.

I need to look out for me. I am very mindful of how I’m feeling at all times and don’t hesitate to seek help, in traditional or alternative forms, to make sure that I am feeling the best I can. At this point, I’ve dabbled into everything.


I know these are just a few of the lessons I will continue to learn as I progress forward as a survivor. I’m so thankful that support groups for survivors exist and the wonderful survivor friends I have made over the years who have helped reveal some of these teachings to me. Being a survivor of suicide is a title I never expected I’d bear, but I’m finding my way through this grief journey little by little.

Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian

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For centuries people have decided to embrace vegetarianism for several different reasons. Some people decide to become vegetarians because they feel it is more ethical, some do it in accordance with their religion, and others do it for health reasons. Even though a person decides to not include animal protein in their diet, it would not create any health issues with the right vitamins and minerals supplementing their daily intake.

You may have heard some people consider themselves “vegan.” While there are similarities, difference between vegan and vegetarian also exist. A vegetarian lifestyle could include a few different diets but being a vegan could exclude any type of animal products of any kind in their lives.

About Vegan

One of the main differences between a vegan and a vegetarian is in not only what they eat but in what they will not eat. A vegan will not eat anything to do with animals, which includes meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, honey or gelatin. Their diet consists solely of beans, grains, fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables. It may appear that this style of eating is a far cry from a standard American diet, or SAD, but it is much more than just eating a salad. There are many delicious gourmet meals that a vegan can enjoy.


About Vegetarian

A vegetarian is a person who will not eat meat for whatever reasons he chooses – his health, animals protection, or for the environment. A lacto-ovo vegetarian is a vegetarian who does include eggs and dairy into their diet.

To be considered a vegetarian, you would not eat meat of any kind. The vegetarian way of eating is often called a meat-free or meatless diet. Anyone who does not eat meat but eats fish is considered a pesco-vegetarian; if they eat fish they are considered a pollo-vegetarian; and someone who eats a vegetarian diet sometimes is considered to be a flexitarian. None of these specialty groups are considered vegetarians.


Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian

The main difference between being a vegan and being a vegetarian is that being vegetarian is mostly limited to what a person eats while being a vegan is a lifestyle. A vegan does not eat meal, they also do not have anything to do with animal products in their lives. A vegan does not have household items, clothing of any kind, or cosmetics that have anything to do with animals. Many vegans begin as vegetarians and slowly migrate to eliminating anything to do with animals.

Many people become vegans because of their health (dietary vegans) and others embrace it because of political or moral issues (ethical vegans). A vegan has very strong feelings that animals were not put here to be taken advantage of and commercialized for the good of man. They respect all aspects of life including those of animals.

People who become vegetarian may begin this type of diet because of health issues; some are concerned about the safety of the meats and poultry we get from the grocery stores. Religious reasons could also be the basis for someone becoming a vegetarian. Some Christian religions call for a period of a meatless diet during Lent; other religions like Jainism and Hinduism are geared towards a vegetarian diet.

Famous Vegetarians and Vegans


Ellen DeGeneres

Talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres has been a vegan since 2008. She has encouraged others to follow her lead through her website “Going Vegan with Ellen.” Ellen used to love cheeseburgers but was influenced by the book Skinny Bitch and a documentary called Earthlings.


Russell Brand

Comedian Russell Brand has been a vegetarian since he was just 14. In 2011 he was named the “Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity” by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Brand feels that “You shouldn’t eat animals, it’s mean to them.”


Carrie Underwood

Not only is Carrie Underwood a major country music entertainer, she is an affirmed vegetarian. She has eliminated all animal products from her regime and is a complete vegan. She became a vegetarian at 13 while on her family’s farm and found out what happened to the animals.


Anne Hathaway

Actress Anne Hathaway has struggled with her commitment to vegetarianism. She began eliminating meat on and off since she was 12. After an epiphany while filming a movie in England, she committed to being a vegan swearing off fish as well as meat.


Christina Applegate

Even though she is known for her comedic talent, Applegate takes being a vegetarian seriously. It all began when she was eating her lunch while on the Married with Children sit-com. The plate she was served had blood on it. She has since gone on to encourage people to not buy fur coats through PETA.


Bob Harper

Harper is the fitness trainer on the weight loss show The Biggest Loser. The 44-year old health fanatic started out as a vegetarian but has since turned vegan. He feels “clear headed and strong” since eliminating meat from his diet.

3 Changes to your diet that will help cure your Vitiligo Read Now

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Eating right has always been, and will always be the cornerstone of a healthy body. If you are putting the wrong foods in your body, it can have disastrous effects on your health.

Eating right has always been, and will always be the cornerstone of a healthy body. If you are putting the wrong foods in your body, it can have disastrous effects on your health.

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and this means it is even more dependent on a healthy diet.

The good news is that by making some changes to your diet, you can go a long way in getting back your beautiful skin.

Make sure you are eating the right foods

Plenty has been written on which specific types of foods are good for you. Same for foods that are bad. But not alot has been written on which combinations of food work well together, and which does not.

If you are eating the wrong combination of foods, your liver, kidney and bowel can become overloaded. Your organs can’t flush out the bad stuff, and this means that it has to be flushed out in other ways – like through your skin.

This can lead to all sorts of different skin conditions, one of which is Vitiligo.

vitiligo diet

Some of the food groups that are vitally important in your quest to beating Vitiligo:

  • Meat is the main source of protein, but it is important to balance your intake with other proteins such as soy beans, bananas, watermelon, leafy lettuce and sunflower sprouts.
  • Don’t listen to all those nay-sayers when it comes to oils and fats. Consuming the right oils and fats can boost your cardiovascular system, as well as your immune system.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential part of the anti Vitiligo diet. These essential fatty acids offer a number of health benefits, including better circulation levels, prevention of inflammation and boosting your immune system. Some sources of Omega 3 include salmon, walnuts and avocado.
  • When selecting fruits and vegetables to include in your diet, make sure to go as colourful as possible. Opt for beetroots, spinach, dark green leafy vegetables and carrots.
  • Drink plenty of water, at least 2 litres a day.

Avoid the bad stuff

The foods mentioned above will help greatly in your fight against Vitiligo, but they can only do so much. While including as many of the above in your diet, you also need to avoid certain foods that will make your symptoms worse.

Some of the foods that have been linked to Vitiligo are:

  • Some people are allergic to Gluten without ever knowing it. You might be suffering from infammation because of this, while not experiencing any outer signs of this allergy. This can cause havock on your immune system.
  • Acidic foods, such as lemons, can increase the acid levels in your stomach. This imbalance can worsen your symptoms.
  • There are certain vegetables, called Nightshades, that cause inflammation, and have been known to cause Vitiligo. Some of these nightshades that you should avoid is: tomatoes, white eggplant, paprika, potatoes and tobacco.
  • Processed foods should be avoided as much as possible. These are high in unhealthy preservatives, which has a negative impact on your immune system.
  • Fast foods and soft drinks can be found around every corner, but they are some the biggest culprits in your diet. These are very bad for your skin, and those sugary soft drinks will slow down your metabolism.

Speaking of a slow metabolism, brings me to the third change you should be making to your diet.

Boosting your metabolism

When your metabolism is on the slow side, your body won’t be digesting proteins and carbohydrates properly. Your cells will also not be absorbing enough nutrients. This can lead to a number of health issues, one of which could be Vitiligo.

It is quite simple to give your metabolism a healthy boost. Try the following methods:

  • Eating a healthy breakfast gives your metabolism a nice kickstart, and ensures that it starts working early in the day.
  • Have a cup of tea, and increase your metabolism with as much as 12%. Make sure to not overdo it though, as too much caffeine is known to increase Vitiligo symptoms.
  • Follow a detox plan to rid your body of all those nasty toxins that have built up over the last couple of months.
  • Eat foods rich in iron. This will give you plenty of energy, which in turn will lead to a healthy metabolism.
  • Getting some exercise will also give your metabolism a nice lift.

Increasing your metabolism will ensure that your body functions properly, and this will ensure that your body can do everything in its power to fight off the Vitiligo symptoms.