5 Common Health Beliefs Busted as Myths


Have you ever believed some health claim over the years and thought it was true because everyone repeats it? Did you ever question – really, where did you read that?  Or, how do you know that’s true?


It may be common knowledge, but it doesn’t mean it’s true.  Let the believer beware: next time your workout buddy tells you your exercise routine stinks because you didn’t break out a sweat, ask where he learned that from.

Debunked: 5 common health beliefs busted as myths

  • You must drink 64 oz of water a day to stay healthy or lose weight

Fact: you should gauge your fluid intake based on your thirst and the color of your urine. Clear non-yellow hues is what you are “aiming” for. Dark yellow, amber, cloudy indicates your fluid intake is inadequate.  And no, your fluid doesn’t just have to come from plain water –  liquid beverages and the water in foods all help hydrate. However, if you drink calories, you are setting yourself up for weight gain.

  • You’ll get sick if you go out in the rain or cold without a jacket.

Fact: You’ll feel colder but you won’t catch a cold.  We do lose heat through our heads, so  wearing a hat or drying your hair makes sense if you want to feel warmer.

  • Don’t swallow your gum: It will never digest.

Fact: It will digest just fine and will come out your other end in about two days.

  • You should take a daily multi-vitamin.

Fact: Studies have shown multi-vitamins don’t improve your health.  What does? Eating a colorful, balanced diet.  What you would spend on vitamins spend on real, non-processed food.

  • Never read in dim light or you will hurt your eyes.

Fact: Your eyes may get tired but you won’t damage your eyes or permanently affect your vision.

For tons more medical myth busting, visit UAMS or email them your question: medicalmyths@uams.edu

Mencken quote

Back Pain: Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes


Two days ago my dog spied his adversary chippy the chipmunk and pleaded for me to let him out. Since his discovery of the fawn nesting in our neighbor’s bushes, I’ve grounded him from all independent runs in our wooded back yard.  I put his leash on him and opened the door thinking the two of us would carefully walk down the back steps, he would do his business, and we would say hi to Chippy as we happily went back inside.

What was wrong with my brain?  Was it sleep deprivation? Perhaps my preoccupation with the days responsibilities? Whatever caused my sudden lapse in judgement is irrelevant now. I opened the door, and my dog bolted while I was holding tight to his retractable leash.


After one step down I knew I was in trouble so I let go. Thanks to the laws of motion, I flew over the remaining 3 steps and hit the ground with a thump.  I was sure I broke bones and would be forced to lay there helpless, at the mercy of our evil garter snakes and my dog’s sloppy wet kisses.  It was 7:15 am – my husband out of town and my three teen boys lay sound asleep two stories up, door shut, fan on, and a good chance noise canceling headphones were still attached to their ears.


If I couldn’t move I was doomed.

Surprisingly the only injury I seemed to suffer was wounded pride and a knee abrasion.  That was then. It took a day for my body to reveal the extent of the damage. Now, I write to you from my couch where I lie supine,  ice on my lower back and pillows strategically placed for optimal comfort.  It was not just my pride and knee that were hurt, but I messed up my back as well.  Back pain  sucks, but it is as common as vanilla ice cream. 85% of us will experience it at some time.  The problem with back pain is if it isn’t handled properly when it happens, it can result in over treatment, unnecessary diagnostic testing/referrals/surgeries, and can begin a spiral down into crippling disability and even opiate addiction.

The Don’ts of Back Pain:

  • Don’t ignore it – Pain is a warning sign that something is wrong.  Most back pain is mechanical, meaning it is from injuries such as the one I described, or its the result of poor body mechanics with lifting.  It is always a good idea to see your provider to have your back pain evaluated and so you can receive proper instruction on how to mend. Your provider will also assess for red flags.
  • Don’t baby it – The worst thing for back pain is bed rest. Give yourself 48 hours of limited motion, applications of ice, and Over-the-Counter pain relief, and then start rehabilitating through careful positioning, movements, and strengthening exercises. Avoid heat as it may feel good at first but can delay healing.
  • Don’t overmedicate it: No you don’t need narcotics.  I have many people in the addiction clinic that started on Oxycodone for their back pain.  Back pain can be adequately managed with Ibuprofen or other NSAIDs, and tylenol.  Use creative pain relief interventions such as trigger point massage, cold packs, gentle whirlpools, and distraction. According to U.S. Pharmacist.com:

The use of opioids for managing low back pain remains controversial. Opioids are the agents of choice for managing severe acute pain and chronic pain associated with cancer.


  • Don’t underestimate the importance of prevention: Prevention is the key to all back pain.  Practice proper lifting techniques.   Strengthen your core muscles.  Recognize potential fall hazards and avoid them.

  • Don’t remain ignorant: learn the latest treatment and diagnostic guidelines for back pain management.  You are doing yourself potential harm if you don’t know the difference between good care vs quack care.  Millions of dollars are spent on unneeded surgeries and overzealous practitioners who take advantage of your mechanical back pain and pad their pockets with your money.

An ounce of prevention is worth way more than a pound of cure when it comes to your back.  So stand up straight, be smart (don’t use retractable leashes), and be safe.  If you treat your back right, you’ll be waltzing on your 95th birthday.

Here’s to healthy backs! P1020954

Prediction: The ADHD Fad Is About to Fade

allenfrances quote

Is ADHD really a fad diagnosis? Have you been told by your child’s teacher that your child, who is likely to be a elementary aged boy, is distracted, disorganized, forgetful? If you took away the requirement to be between the ages of 6-16, those traits could describe any of us.

My Prediction: The ADHD Fad Is About to Fade | Psychiatric Times

In the above article, Dr. Frances shares his research and makes a credible observation:

The tripling of ADHD rates in the last 20 years and skyrocketing use of stimulants are sure signs of a fad.

Dr. Frances also references to an eye opening piece written by Alan Schwartz of the NY Times. Mr. Schwartz exposes some rock solid evidence to support the inappropriate diagnosis of ADHD and the misuse of stimulants to boys to appease teachers who don’t have the time to deal with a kid who learns differently. How freakin’ sad is that?

Parents: Get enlightened.  This is your boy.  Fight for him.  Don’t cave in to the pressure to put your spirited, beautiful boy on meds unless he absolutely has the disorder and is suffering because of it.


Providers: Shame on you for giving out stimulants like they are some magic beans that will make all the kid’s problems go away.  How about looking at the evidence and do a let’s try these things first approach before you give the exhausted parent a quick script for Adderral.

Teachers: You are the reason I homeschool my three boys. No doubt you would have called me into a big old meeting and told me my son was not keeping up with the rest of his peers and had all the behaviors that pointed to classic ADHD.  Your expert psychologist would back you up with mumbo jumbo literature and intimidate me into making an appointment with my pediatrician and getting my son on medicine as soon as possible because after all, YOU are the expert. Not. You are so fortunate not to have had my sons in your classroom.

I am relentless when I need to be, which makes me good at what I do.

Adult dragons are,astute,powerful,and sure of their strength. Ciruelo Cabral
Adult dragons are astute, powerful, and sure of their strength.
Ciruelo Cabral

Are the drugs used to treat ADHD truly  “nuclear bombs, warranted only under extreme circumstances?” 

It’s tough being a parent. It’s tough being a kid in a public school system.  It’s tough to be a teacher in an overcrowded ‘teach to the test’ public school system. And, it is hard being the provider who has only fifteen minutes to listen, exam, and evaluate.

That’s why we all need to take a step back and look at the evidence.  Let’s not be quick to assume the problem is ADHD.  It could be. But it’s probably not.

If it’s my kid, I will try anything and everything before I resort to medications. If he is however, one of the 5% of kids who has true ADHD, then I will gladly take the prescription and once again thank God for modern medicine.


Could Your Bad Headache Be Meningitis?


Headaches are common, often caused by tension in the muscles, lack of sleep, allergies,   prolonged hunger, or other non life threatening triggers.  When is a headache more than just a nuisance but a sign of something dangerously wrong?

Any headache that is different than what you are used to, occurs in the very young or old, is accompanied by other symptoms such as light sensitivity, a stiff, painful neck, nausea/vomiting, or comes on like a thunder clap, needs immediate attention.

Get thyself to thy doctor or emergency room stat!

when in doubt

Let’s consider meningitis, an inflammation of the brain that can cause sudden onset of headache, fever, stiff neck, and nausea/vomiting. All kids/teens are immunized against the most serious bacterial meningitis with Menactra, but there are some people who can become infected with a different pathogen and become gravely ill.

Any new headache is potentially worrisome. Add on other symptoms and there is no question their is a need for prompt, further investigation: emergency room visit.

Hey, this doc is worth watching! He will give you a one minute run down on meningitis.

Stay informed, stay healthy.

Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America


Having grown up in Upstate NY and now living in Western NY, snow is no big deal. Winters here sometimes last six months. Unless you are a skier, you get sick of snow soon after Christmas, but you learn to cope with it.P1040252

Only a handful of times can I remember experiencing a true blizzard, the kind that closes shopping malls, grocery stores, work, and schools. In this riveting book, Blizzard! Jim Murphy tells of the infamous blizzard of 1888, where not only towns came to a standstill, but also more than six hundred people died. Some people died in their own backyards. This storm was a monster, and he describes it with vivid details and historic accuracy. To give you and idea of how bad the storm was, check out this part where a boy sets off for school anticipating the storm to be a daring adventure.

At first, Sam liked the experience of being outside in a wild storm, fighting his way through belt-high snow and fending off the wind. His aunt and uncle had instilled in him a strong sense of self-reliance and duty. He had been told to go to the store and then to school, so he was going to do both, no matter what the consequences. Several blocks later, Sam came face-to-face with the violence of the blizzard. As he was crossing an intersection, the wind was on him like a wild animal. It picked him up and tossed him into a deep snowdrift. Sam struggled and clawed to get free of the snow, but he was in over his head. The more he moved, the more snow fell on top of him. He shrieked for help, but no one heard him above the wind’s mighty roar. His boyish romp had turned into a frightening trap in just seconds. 

P1110928This was one of the most incredible disasters in our nations history. I read with fascination and literally gripped the book as if the storm was in my living room. Thankfully with our modern day snow cleanup crews and weather satellites, we can prepare for snowstorms and stay safe. If you can’t get enough of the snow this is  a good book to read while safely tucked inside your warm houses with a toasty fire and a cup of hot tea.


The Secret to Successfully Breaking A Bad Habit

astro neil

Ever tried to give up smoking, lose weight, exercise regularly, stop swearing, or quit yelling? Things seem to go well for awhile, then BAM! You start messing up and soon you are back where you started. Do you give up and give in to your doubts? I can’t change, it’s too hard, I’m too old, I’m under too much stress, I can’t deal with another failure…. 

Don’t listen to the negative voice inside!  The only right thing to try when you fail is again.

In medicine, especially treating addictions, I have seen unbelievable transformations. Yes, change is possible, and there is absolutely hope for you. You can be successful, even if you’ve failed multiple times before.

Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.

If you want to change something in your life, start small. Try one thing. Right now, write it down. Then through reading, research, or counseling/coaching make your escape plan.  You can’t wing it. Bad habits are as deeply embedded in your brain like a well trodden path. You have to forge a new trail. The secret to successfully breaking a bad habit is replacing the bad habit with a new, good one.

Drink water instead of a soda. Brush your teeth when you want to smoke.  Say freakonomics instead of the other f word. Install a filter on your computer. Recite Shakespeare when you feel angry. Take a cold shower. Run around the block. Count to ten.  Eat on a smaller plate. Do jumping jacks. Schedule exercise in your day planner. Surround yourself with positive influences. Change your environment. Enlist the help of others.

Are you the person you really want to be?  If not, do something about it. You can break that bad habit.  You can change.  Replace bad with good.

Don't forget to breathe.
Don’t forget to breathe.

Read more on habits here—>The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

power of habit

Why You Should Say Yes to Immunizations

 By getting your immunizations you have protected not just yourself, but also the vulnerable members of the population.  If 84% of your community gets vaccinated against a specific contagious disease, then the odds of protecting the unvaccinated or immunocompromised, especially the elderly and young children, are favorable. This is herd immunity.

Why is it called herd immunity?  Think of it as safety in numbers, or a hedge of protection.  Surround yourself with armed mercenaries or a wall of people, and it will be pretty hard for an enemy to attack you.

Here’s a visual demonstration on how it works:

I am an advocate for immunizations.  I’ve kept my family up to date on their vaccinations, and I will always encourage my patients to get theirs.  Those who don’t get their shots have us to thank for keeping a host of diseases  like measles, small pox, polio, and mumps at bay.
On the fence about vaccinations? Take a look at the
10 worse epidemics in history.
We can protect ourselves against future communicable medical disasters through immunizations.
Me? Thankful for the advances in medicine, and proud to be a member of the herd.
herd member
Current vaccination schedules for adults and children here:

Flu Shot vs Death – Why Take the Risk?

flu shot

Which one: take your chances and risk getting the flu or get the flu shot? Getting sick with the flu is like getting hit by a truck, and you risk hospitalization or death, even if you are a healthy person. Getting vaccinated as insurance for protection from influenza is a no-brainer.

Unless you are in the rare exception group, everyone older than 6 months is recommended for flu vaccination.

Best time to get your shot in early fall so your immune system is ready by peak flu season.
Best time to get your shot in early fall so your immune system is ready by peak flu season.

No – you can’t get the flu from the vaccine: the viruses that make up the flu shot are inactivated (killed), therefore they cannot cause infection. 

The flu kills between 3,000 and 49,000 people every year.
The flu kills between 3,000 and 49,000 people every year.

The worst thing you get from the flu shot is a slightly sore arm.  There  is a 0.00001 % chance of experiencing a life threatening reaction to the vaccine.  I did the math for you.

Get your flu shot.

What the flu feels like.


Are you Dominant, Influencing, Steady or Conscientious?


Learn or you’ll be made to learn.  That’s old school.  New school: unlock your potential.  Determine your strengths, discover your learning style, and unleash your talents.


PeopleKeys, a company specializing in behavior analysis, offers instant access to a variety of behavioral profile assessments.  I had my twelve-year-old son take their online Student Strength’s Report. In less than thirty minutes he had fill out the eDISC assessment, and I had a thirty-four paged report that interpreted his answers. It detailed not only his primary learning style, but also offered tips on how to maximize his learning by focusing on his strengths.

The report assessed these areas:

  • Personality style: Are you Dominant, Influencing, Steady or Conscientious
  • Cognitive thinking: Which one are you? Literal, Intuitive, Theoretical, or Experiential
  • Perceptual learning:  How do you learn best? Auditory, Visual or Kinesthetic

Check out PeopleKeys for potential business hires, to assess your student, or to learn about yourself.

Maximize Strengths; Minimize Weaknesses..It’s that simple. If you know where your thinking excels, you can capitalize on those aspects, use your mind to do what it enjoys doing most. Know Yourself.

To know yourself sometimes requires that you stand outside of yourself and observe, objectively in a critical way. Your report has indicated that you prefer one thinking style. It is up to you to decide if it is “like” you or it is “not like you”. From our PeopleKeys Student Strengths Report


Read the rest of my post here at Homeschoolbuzz.com.

Enjoy a very quick personality quiz on Blogthings.

Which one are you?
Which one are you?

What Did Ever Happen to Penny Candy?

not penny candy

If you are a baby boomer like me, do you remember walking to the corner store by yourself  and getting a ton of candy for just fifty cents? Bottle-caps, candy buttons, bubble gum cigars, sugar daddy’s, and waxy big lips. Fun.  Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?  I have no idea.



But Uncle Eric (Richard Mayberry) does, and he tells us in his classic book on economics .

Don’t worry about financial babble, the author uses straightforward talk and clear metaphors to explain things like:

  • The origin of money
  • Inflation
  • Recession
  • Depression
  • Wage/price spiral

This is a great, short (159 pages) read for kids, moms, dads, teachers, entrepreneurs, business-minded students, grandma, and grandpa. Yes, this is one of those rare books that both young and old will learn from.

So before you jump into your next lucrative business adventure, read a little of Uncle Eric’s advice first.