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Are you one of the millions of Americans who will resolve to exercise more in the New Year?  If so, take advice from the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) and take it slowly.  Too much activity too quickly can cause a multitude of foot and ankle problems including stress fractures, ruptured tendons, or plantar fasciitis.

The best way to avoid these foot and ankle injuries is to know your limits and to follow a sensible program when exercising.  Preventative measures include:

  • Select the proper footwear for the specific type of exercise
  • Start out slowly when beginning an exercise program following a layoff period
  • Walk and stretch to warm up gradually before running or walking
  • Focus on stretching and strengthening the muscles in the calf
  • Increase running or walking distance and speed gradually, in increments no greater than 10% per week
  • Avoid unaccustomed strenuous sprinting
  • Take the time to cool down properly after exercise

Keith L. Wapner, MD, clinical professor of orthopaedic surgery at Pennsylvania Hospital and President-Elect of the AOFAS, sees many patients with overuse injuries and he offers the following advice, “Plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and stress fractures are the most common overuse injuries.  These can be avoided by remembering to include a stretching protocol prior to your workout and following the “rule of tens” by not increasing your exercise amount by more than ten percent per week.”

By adhering to these simple measures you may avoid painful overuse ankle injuries and achieve success with your New Year’s resolution.  For more information on overuse injuries as well as resources on foot and ankle care go to the AOFAS website  The site also features a surgeon referral service that makes it easy for patients to find a local orthopaedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle care.

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infant mortatlity rate highDid you know it’s riskier to have a baby in the U.S. than in Cuba or the Czech Republic?!

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 7 of every 1,000 babies born in the United States will die before their first birthday, and the rates among African American, Hispanic and Native American populations are even higher. Premature births occurring before 37 weeks and low-weight babies (less than 5 pounds) account for the highest number of these deaths.
Since September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month, Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway—a board-certified ob-gyn, an advocate for quality healthcare and patient safety and author of The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy—offers these SMART tips to help pregnant women improve their chances of having a healthy baby.
S =   Seek prenatal care early. Tests for potential chromosome problems, including mental retardation and spina bifida (a condition that causes paralysis) can be conducted only in the first and second trimesters. A first trimester ultrasound is also the most accurate in terms of determining a due date.
M =  Mention all risk factors such as a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, Rh negative blood, premature labor, bleeding problems or genetic conditions to your healthcare professional as soon as possible. Do not omit information such as smoking or using “recreational” drugs because such activities can affect your baby.
A =   Ask to have your cervix measured during your ultrasound if you have a history of premature contractions or delivery. A cervical length of 2.5 centimeters or less is a risk factor for preterm labor. If you are at risk for delivering before 37 weeks, ask your healthcare provider about receiving steroids to help your baby’s lungs develop.
R =  Research your hospital and prospective physician or midwife carefully. Is the physician or midwife skilled in managing high-risk conditions? Will your care continue if you lose your insurance? Has the newborn nursery had any recent outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant infections? Is the hospital a level-three facility?
T =   Test for potential problems such as gestational diabetes, sickle cell trait and cystic fibrosis, and check for appropriate fetal growth with an ultrasound.
The United States is one of the most industrialized countries in the world, yet The World Factbook indicates that we rank below Cuba, Taiwan, Greece, Ireland, Canada, England, Czech Republic, South Korea and other countries in national infant mortality rate. Being aware of your risk and following these SMART tips will help you to have a healthy baby.

cheat proof your marriage 2Your one-and-only isn’t behaving his one-and-only self lately. He’s distracted, spends more time at work, on the Internet, everywhere but with you. “The thought hits you–he must be having an affair!” says Dr. Noelle Nelson, relationship expert and author of Your Man is Wonderful.

“You’ve tried your best to stay in shape, but with kids, work, and day-today living there’s nothing you can do about the years going by even after gobbing on Oil of Olay or L’Oreal,” says Nelson. “Plus, how can you compete with all those ready, willing and available fresh-faced, pert-breasted, short skirted girls out there?”

The truth is, says Nelson, is you can’t compete. “It isn’t your skin tone, sexy lingerie or trim waistline that cheat-proofs your marriage, it’s the friendship you have with your spouse.”

Studies show that fully 70 percent of men’s satisfaction in the marriage comes from the quality of the couple’s friendship – not from the sex, romance or passion in the marriage. “Of course, sex, romance and passion are important, but the foundation of it all is the friendship – and that’s what we tend to overlook when we fear our men have strayed,” says Nelson.

“Why do you think so often a guy gets involved with someone at his work?” asks Nelson. “It’s not as if there aren’t lots of cuties who cross his path every day outside of work. The cutie at work openly expresses her appreciation for who your guy is and does, and–importantly–she’s someone he can talk about his work who doesn’t cut him off with ‘That’s nice dear, could you fix the toilet please’ just as he really gets going.”

What’s the fix? “Friendship with your spouse is different from that of your girlfriends or mother–where you pour out your emotional guts at every turn,” says Nelson. Instead, she suggests the following.

Look at your man with fresh eyes. Notice how lovable, generous, handsome, sexy or helpful he is, and tell him about it. Thank him for anything and everything he does that pleases you.

Be interested in and supportive of what is important to him. Listen to him talk about his work; remember names, situations or events that are relevant to him. Don’t discount his hobbies or friends – they matter to him, they should matter to you.

“The truth is, nothing can guarantee a cheat-proof marriage,” says Nelson, “but keeping the friendship aspect of your relationship front and center can go a long way towards ensuring a happily-ever-after relationship.”

For more marriage tips, go to Nelson’s blog, or follow her on Twitter,

Photo by lusi

Photo by lusi

Boredom is a like a stealth bomb–destroying the passion, the engagement and the closeness that makes for true happiness in a marriage–and it creeps up on you without you hardly noticing, says Dr. Noelle Nelson, author of Your Man is Wonderful.

A recent Psychological Science study published on April 6, 2009 followed 123 married couples seven years into their marriage, again at nine years and then at 16 years. It showed that boredom reduces closeness between the spouses, and this reduced satisfaction with the relationship.

“A lot of married couples begin to wonder if marriage is just one long series of chores, errands and kids to be picked up with work sandwiched somewhere in the middle,” says Nelson, a California relationship author and speaker. “Oh sure, you have some laughs and nice times together, but what happened to the excitement and the passion? It’s that kind of feeling that can make spouses drift to thoughts about other more ‘exciting’ people in their lives and the chances of an affair increase.”

How do you alleviate boredom? Nelson says by exploring new things together and by deliberately exploring each other–much as you did during courtship. Nelson offers five simple suggestions:

1. Turn “date night” into more than dinner and a movie – Just because you are married or in a long-term relationship doesn’t mean you should stop dating. “Many couples know how to make one night of the week a ‘date night,’ but they should take it one step further so it doesn’t become routine,” says Nelson. “Be innovative. Take turns surprising each other with where you go or what you do on your date. Deliberately come up with ideas that let you explore a new experience together: anything from learning about the night sky at a local observatory to hitting the state fair to trying foods from exotic lands.”

2. Take up a hobby together – Find something new you would like to do together. It could be attending cooking classes, taking up tennis or golf or learning a new dance step. “Make regular time every week to do your new hobby together,” explains Nelson. “Be excited and passionate about it, talk about it, look forward to it.”

3. Get a question book – You may think you know everything there is to know about your sweetheart after a few years. “Not true,” says Nelson. “People grow and change throughout their lives. When you lose interest in finding out what makes him or her tick, they may lose interest in you. Pick up a book filled with lists of questions from the bookstore and start asking your mate. Some questions are thought provoking, some silly, some just plain fun, but it’s a good way to discover what your spouse is really thinking.”

4. Play games together – Watching TV together is fun, but it isn’t exactly couple-interactive. “Make an effort to shut off the tube and dive into a word/board game, just the two of you,” suggests Nelson. “It could be scrabble, a computer game or putting a puzzle together. Playing together keeps your love young.”

5. Volunteer together – Volunteering has wonderful benefits. It gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment, and studies show it’s actually good for your health. “When you work side by side for the benefit of your community, church, neighborhood or favorite cause, you share that sense of purpose and accomplishment,” says Nelson. “It brings you closer.

“These five simple suggestions can banish boredom from marriage without a fatal plunge into an affair or other diversion (gambling, alcohol, excessive shopping) that are detrimental to your relationship. They garner the closeness that fulfillment is all about,” says Nelson.

For more on the subject, visit

FuzziBunz Diaper - Dasies Lavender

FuzziBunz Diaper - Dasies Lavender

It’s about to get hot and steamy as the summer months quickly approach, which can only mean one thing for your baby – a diaper that is constantly damp from sweat. A wet diaper is not only uncomfortable; it also creates a breeding ground for bacteria and transfers chemicals from the diaper to your baby’s bottom. This can cause babies to have serious and chronic diaper rash.

The solution?  FuzziBunz!   These stylish diapers are reusable, chemical-free and made of microfleece, which pulls moisture away from the skin to keep your baby dry. 

The diapers are about $19 each and the removable inserts are three for $15.  To find a retailers in your area, click here.

Photo by blazys
Photo by blazys

If you’re an expecting mother, you may want to incorporate more beets into your diet.  Packed with Folic Acid, which is essential for normal tissue growth, beets can lower the risk of spinal bifida and neural tube defects in your newborn. 

Here’s a yummy summer recipe using beets:
Grate Beet and Apple Salad by VeganMania
2 fresh beets
2 medium apples
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp sweetener
2 tbsp light oil
toasted sunflower seeds
Grate both the beets and apples coarsely.  Toss in the lemon juice, oil and sugar.  Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
Serves 2.
Photo by Zela

Photo by Zela

Your morning coffee or tea can help reduce your risk of skin cancer, according to recent research. Caffeine increases the skin’s ability to kill off sun damaged cells before they turn cancerous (Journal of Investigative Dermatology).

A study of more than 93,000 women showed that every additional cup of coffee consumed decreased their risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer by as much as five percent (Cutaneous Biology Research Centre in Massachusettes). Although it is not advised to drink excessive amounts of coffee, scientists are using these findings to create a topical application of caffeine.

In the meantime, there’s Alba’s Kona Coffee After-Sun Lotion.   This lotion has uses Kona coffee (with caffeine) to neutralize free radicals caused by sun exposure.

Maybe all this pro-caffeine talk will boost coffee and tea production revenue, which is growing by a marginal 2.6 percent this year.  Just think of the marketing campaigns to come!

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