Sunday, February 21, 2010


In this day and age of slathering sunscreen on and avoiding the sun all together it is time to rethink our thinking about what we think we know about the sun and its harm versus benefits.  How do we balance between the 70’s bronze goddess, Farrah Fawcett and the 21’st century pale pop queen, Madonna. The question is…is it still cool to be pasty? Or is there some truth to “a healthy tan”?
Researchers are suggesting that because people have become frightened of getting skin cancer they are avoiding the sunshine altogether.  However, sunshine offers the only source of activating vitamin D, which protects the body from a number of diseases.  Estimates are that about 30 – 45% of all adults are vitamin D deficient.  If you are unsure about your vitamin D levels, a simple blood test from your primary care physician can be requested.  According to scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory for cancer research, health benefits from some sun exposure are far larger than the skin cancer risk.
Recent studies have shown that taking calcium, vitamin C and particularly vitamin D can retard the progression of arthritis and perhaps even prevent it.  These studies found that those who had high levels of vitamin D in their bodies had less joint deterioration and fewer of the painful bone spurs and growths that can accompany arthritis as it worsens. 
Vitamin D does double duty by helping to prevent aging of not only the skeletal system but also the immune system. Vitamin D helps you defend yourself and also helps prevent cancers such as colon, lung, breast, and prostate cancer. 
Good food sources of vitamin D are cod liver oil, tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel, oysters, herring, and milk.  Recommendations for supplementing vitamin D for people under seventy are 400 IU a day and 600 IU if over seventy.  In addition to the supplement it is recommended a person get ten to twenty minutes of sunshine a day without sunscreen.  This enables our bodies to convert the consumed vitamin D to Vitamin D3, which is the active form that our bodies can use.  If you are going to have sun exposure over twenty minutes, sunscreen is recommended.  Please be aware that a SPF 8 sunscreen reduces your vitamin D production by 95% and SPF 30 cuts it to 0%.  The risk of skin cancer from a little sunlight is less than the benefits you gain from having healthy vitamin D levels.
Another important benefit of sunshine is that it helps avoid a form of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  This occurs in relation to the seasons, most commonly beginning in winter. The cause of SAD is not known but the decrease in sunlight is thought to be one of the causes.
So the facts are in : As in everything in life, moderation is the key. A balance between the bronze goddess and the pale pop Queen is the ideal. A healthy glow really is healthy and the look you should strive for.  Sunshine on your shoulders really does make you happy, so don’t be afraid of the sun.  Let the sun shine in!
May you be empowered to be the author of your own health.

Annette and Audrey © 

We welcome any health questions or comments

Sunday, January 17, 2010


With the winter season still in full swing we thought a few common and alternative tips to avoid the common cold and flu could come in handy.  By following these simple suggestions you might be able to avoid any kind of nasty little mutating virus that decides to use your body for their winter retreat.  Some of these tips are common knowledge and some may be new to you. There are many, many more ways to avoid colds and flu’s, but these are just a few.

  1. Drink eight, eight ounce glasses of water every single day.  We know that this is a no brainer, but it works…really! To help you get your eight glasses in, start with two glasses first thing upon rising, two at lunch, two at dinner and two in the evening (try not to drink before bed, as this will keep you up at night going to the bathroom and defeat tip #5).
  2. With a Q-tip, swab your ears out with peroxide every morning.  The peroxide travels down the Eustachian tubes and kills any harboring germs plus you get the added benefit of cleaning out earwax (which can also harbor germs).
  3. With a Q-tip, swab your nasal passages with warm water, then follow with olive or safflower oil every morning.  The dry air causes small fissures in your nasal canal. These membrane fissures are like the Grand Canyon to a virus, and can be like rolling out a welcome mat right into your blood stream.
  4. Wash your hands frequently. Remember, don’t forget your thumbs. One way to know that you are washing your hands properly is to soap up and sing Yankee Doodle Dandy (the length of this song is the appropriate amount of time for proper hand washing). This may provoke strange looks in public restrooms so remember to smile while doing so.  Smiles are contagious too; you’ll be spreading happiness not germs.
  5. Make sure you are getting enough (non-medicated) sleep.  Generally, eight hours is suggested.  Sleep is your body’s chief source of defense and most vital process of renewal (we know, another no brainer).   To set the stage for a good night’s sleep you might try some of these ideas.  They may help to relax you before bedtime.  Drink a nice, warm cup of chamomile tea or read a relaxing, inspirational book.  You might also try a magnesium or low dose melatonin supplement.  These are found at your local pharmacy in the vitamin section.
  6. Last but not least, EXERCISE. We cannot stress the importance of this tip enough.  We personally like exercise that exerts you physically; like running, walking or biking.  The idea is to break a sweat.  Sweat helps flush the impurities out of your system.  The next day, compliment your exercise routine with one that stretches your mind and body, such as yoga, tai chi or simple stretches.  We find this to be a ‘balance’ for the body.  One form of exercise if not followed by an opposite form tends to create imbalance (like everything else in life).
Even if you follow these tips you may still catch the cold or flu by coming into direct contact from a cough or sneeze of an infected person.  If you become infected, your body’s natural first line of defense is to run a fever.  Virus’s cannot live very long in a higher than normal body temperature.  Don’t grab the Tylenol too quickly.  By allowing the fever to run it’s course you could ward off the cold or flu more quickly.  Give yourself adequate time for rest and renewal.  This is a natural process for your body to cleanse itself from its intruders.  Allow yourself to go through a healing period.  Treat fevers above 100.1°F.  If you experience cold or flu symptoms beyond a week, or anytime your fever is above 102°F contact your primary care physician.

In short, the whole purpose of these tips is to not let the little rascals in your body in the first place. By following these tips, this may help you and your family have a healthy and happy winter season.
May you be empowered to be the author of your own health.

Annette and Audrey © 

We welcome any health questions or comments

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Allow us to introduce ourselves.  We are identical twins with over twenty years combined nursing experience.  Annette’s experience includes Long Term Care Administrator, Managed Care Business owner, Geriatric Foot Care Business Owner, RN Case Manager in a Long Term Acute Care Hospital. Audrey’s experience is working as an RN in an intensive care unit at a long term acute care hospital and received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Southwest Baptist University.
Our intentions for writing these articles are two fold. First, we hope to empower you, the reader, through education. Second, to give an alternative view, enabling you to make more informed personal healthcare decisions. Our information is in no way to be used against your physician’s advice.  We encourage you to further research our topics of discussion to ensure that you have all the information to make accurate, personal healthcare decisions.
As you begin your new year you may have made New Years Resolutions.  Statistics show that 90% fail within the first few months.  Instead of setting yourself up for statistical failure why not make a resolution to change your attitude?  As nurses, we come across this dilemma everyday.  Negative attitudes = Negative Outcomes.  With negative thinking failure is inevitable. A positive attitude fosters and nurtures a healing environment.  Don’t be tempted to ask, ‘Why is this happening to me’, ask yourself ‘what can I do to get better’.  There is a learning process in what you are going through.  Remember, you are never defined by your illness, unless you want to be. As nurses, we have seen amazing miracles, all of which was a direct result of a positive attitude. We have never seen a person with a negative attitude improve to optimal health. 
A great testament as to how far a positive attitude will get you is the story of Cliff Young.  In 1983 Cliff Young set a new world record for the 600 km (372 mile) foot race in his native country of Australia.  He not only broke the world record, he shattered it by 36 hours.  What makes this feat even more amazing is that he was 61 years old when he did it.  And Cliff Young was not a world class athlete.  He was a local farmer who did not realize he was doing what was impossible.  The proper way to train for an ultramarathon is to run 18 hours and rest 6 until the race is completed.  The only problem was that no one told that to Cliff Young.  He thought you were supposed to run the race straight through.  He ran it nonstop from start to finish and demolished the world record by 36 hours.  This is proof that we are only limited by what we think is possible.
 So you ask yourself, ‘what does an old man running an ultramarathon have anything to do with me’?  Glad you asked.  Life is a marathon.  Just as in running, you have highs and lows.  Barriers that seem impossible. You hit the wall.  You can give up or you can go the distance.  It’s all up to you and your attitude.
Your attitudes not only affects your physical health, they affect your mental health and your relationships as well.  If you want a healthy, well-balanced life then stop and think about what you are thinking, is it positive, or is it negative? Your thinking at the subconscious level creates comfort zones that ultimately affect your well- being and often imposes self limitations.  By transforming your personal belief system you can activate a positive outcome.
So what are your New Years Resolutions?  Have you joined a gym? Thrown your cigarettes in the trash? Started that weight loss program? Incorporating a positive attitude will ensure your success in any resolution you may have chosen.  Warning : Side effects may include other health benefits as well including happiness and a sense of well being. You can take control of your health.  It all starts with a positive attitude.
May you be empowered to be the author of your own health.

Annette and Audrey ©

We welcome any health questions or comments to: or you can visit our website at
(Cliff Young story taken from ‘The Greatest Secret’ by Ron McIntosh)