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TBT: Keep on the Sunny Side

The science on striking a healthy balance between absorbing sunshine and avoiding sunshine remains confusing. Before re-posting my old opinion below from ye olde turn-of-the-century, I had to remove all the links to my sources because they're all dead by now. Last year, I read some interesting articles on this issue called " Is Sunscreen the New Margarine? " and " No, Sunscreen is NOT the New Margarine ." Neither of them can provide a clear answer to how much sun a person should get, and I suspect that the answer is both individualized and complicated. I've given up on asking doctors about this in person. When I've asked for their personal opinions on the controversy, most of them have given me a blank stare, followed by a mumbling of, "Current guidelines are..." I even started seeing a dermatologist for annual skin cancer screenings, as recommended by every popular women's magazine I've ever seen in a medical waiting room. My dermato

$Monday: Skip the Supplements (Unless Medically Advised)

Dietary supplements cost more and do less for your health than nutritious food . Popping a pill is not a good financial or health choice unless you have a specific condition that is truly treatable with a supplement AND it is not possible to consume enough of the nutrient you need in real food AND your supplement is not a fake. Otherwise you are literally flushing money (and possibly your health) down the toilet . It's tempting to buy into the fantasy of a pill that can fix something or even provide an "insurance policy" without doing any harm. The truth is more complex. Sometimes vitamins and herbal supplements can help, but the poorly regulated supplement industry is filled with fake news, false claims, and literal sawdust posing as active ingredients--or worse. If a nutrient is good for you in a whole food, it might not be good for you when processed into a pill or tablet or gummy or whatever. If something is good for you in a precise amount, more is not bet

TBT: Get a Second Opinion

Ouch! The story in the throwback post below was a painful lesson for me to learn as a young woman. I'm better off now, with a family practice I trust and more experience in effective self-care . The problems with our national health care situation have... let's say, not resolved since I wrote this, so it's still on us citizens to keep on advocating for federal change and also for ourselves as patients at the same time. Godspeed, fellow humans. Take care.   Get a Second Opinion Poor and fabulous friends, take care of yourselves! You can't completely trust our corrupt health care and insurance systems to do it. Health care providers are human beings just like everyone else. Most of them are people who entered the field of health care because they wanted to take care of others. Most of them, I'm sure, are good people. But even good people are... well, people. People who can be influenced by profit margins and unconscious prejudices that could be harmful to u

$Monday: Defund Mindless Consumption and Invest in What's Good

Most people and systems don't change until they are forced. This pandemic has forced a lot on us and keeps ramping up, so now is make-or-break time to defund our worst patterns, from the global to the individual, and reinvest in our future. If you have been in a mental fog since March, or if you have been using harmful coping mechanisms to get by, there's no shame in your automatic responses or in your survival strategies. At the same time, we each have the agency and the urgency to shift to sustainable ways of living through hard times that have no quick fix. Each one of us can and must use the current pandemic and the winds of social change to redesign our ways of life from the ground up, in the unfortunate absence of national leadership. It's sink or swim time, for you and for me and for the whole of our society. And it isn't just a matter of surviving so that we can get back to normal--this is our chance to truly heal some old wounds and to build a new normal t

TBT: Sweet Corn and Fire (Campfire Corn Recipe)

Thanks and blessings upon the original inhabitants of this hemisphere we call America, who developed sweet corn and the delicious practice of roasting it on hot coals. Sweet corn isn't ripe in Michigan yet, but the time is coming soon! This is one of my family's favorite summer dinners. Below is a picture of campfire corn from last year, when we were entertaining guests. This year, we'll have to eat it all ourselves! Below that is a vintage memory of fire-roasted sweet corn, from back when we had a cellar dweller roommate instead of a child. Sweet Corn and Fire Sweet corn season has begun! Last night, we feasted on simple, delicious grilled corn. The ears in my garden aren't ready yet, but I found some gorgeous, fresh, juicy ears of corn at my local grocery store for 25 cents an ear. Can't beat that price! New roommate Mr. C and I rode our bikes to the supermarket to pick them up. Mr. C towed the baby trailer that Mr. G bought for us to haul groceries

$Monday: Foods for Beauty

For skin-deep beauty, the foods we stuff in our faces are more important than the products we slap on our faces. I started college as a bony, anemic teenager with flaky skin, brittle nails, frizzy hair, and terrible acne. After a couple months of near-constant access to an all-you-can-eat cafeteria serving a wide variety of foods, I became the proud owner of breasts and a nice booty, smoother skin, strong and shiny nails, and thick hair that felt good to brush. I also noticed that I didn't get bad breath as often, and I had more energy, a sharper mind, and better moods. All of these effects not only made me feel better inside but made me undeniably more attractive on the outside. In hot weather, I still have a problem with lower appetite, and I constantly struggle with anemia, but my teen years were the worst. My adulthood has never been as busy and demanding as high school except when my daughter was a baby. In high school, my schedule was so busy that I did not have adequate ti