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body. mind. spirit. july/august 2013

Smile! It Makes You Happy

Baking… on the

grill?

E-MAIL

Etiquette

Open-water

Swimming

LOVE

Hurts!  The physiology of a broken heart

✽ PLUS

•G  lam up that summer ponytail •T  rain your brain with biofeedback •M  edicine cabinet must-haves •a  nd MORE!

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To know more call or visit

www.healthylifect.com Publisher Michelle McAbee

IS YOUR CHILD IN NEED OF A PHYSICAL EXAM FOR SUMMER CAMP, SPORTS ACTIVITY, OR SCHOOL ASAP?

Urgent Care of Connecticut to the Rescue! For a limited time, camp and school-required physicals are offered at just $100 – a $40 savings! and Urgent Care of Connecticut will make a $30 donation to your child’s camp or school PTA No Appointment Necessary Simply Walk In Open Every Day!

Editorial Janet Reynolds, Group Executive Editor Rebecca Haynes, Editor Brianna Snyder, Associate Editor Design Krista Hicks Benson, Design Director Tony Pallone, NY Division Design Director Colleen Ingerto, Emily Jahn, NY Division Designers Contributing Writers Beth Cooney, Stacy Davis, Laurie Lynn Fischer, Valerie Foster, Anna Zernone Giorgi, Elizabeth Keyser, Carin Lane, Jennifer Parris, Cari Scribner, Emma Tennant, Linda Tuccio-Koonz, Melinda McGarty Webb, Megan Willis Circulation Bill Mason, Circulation Director Business Ray Koupal, Chief Financial Officer If you’d like to receive free home delivery of HealthyLife magazine, sign up online at www.healthylifect.com or call (203) 330-6435. For advertising information, call (203) 964-2435. Reach the editorial office at (203) 731-3360. HealthyLife is published by HEARST Media Services, 333 Main St., Danbury, CT 06810 The entire contents of this magazine are copyright 2013 by HEARST Media Services. No portion may be reproduced in any means without written permission of the publisher.

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HEARST Media Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hearst Corporation.

www.ucofconnecticut.com BROOKFIELD . GLASTONBURY NORWALK . RIDGEFIELD SOUTHBURY

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Your body is an incredible machine.

Our integrated approach can keep it well oiled. From dedicated primary care doctors to world-class specialists, St. Vincent’s MultiSpecialty Group provides patients with exceptional, integrated care. This approach – supported by a full range of lab, diagnostic and therapeutic services – allows us to be there for you in illness and health throughout your adult lifetime. To put the healing power of our team behind you and find a location near you, call 1-855-314-5066. Or visit StVincents.org/MultiSpecialtyGroup.

july/august ’13

23 body

mind

23 The Great Wide Open

57 Biofeedback:

Water, that is

28 Too Hot to Bake?

Never fear, the grill is near

32 More Than a Soupçon

125 soup recipes from the famed soupbox restaurant

38 It’s Your Choice

Is your birth control right for your age and lifestyle?

42 Medicine Cabinet Must-Haves Make sure yours has these items

47 Love Hurts

The physiology of heartbreak

50 Pretty Up Your Ponytail

Take your hair from boring to beautiful with these tips

A different kind of personal training

60 E-mail Etiquette

The dos and don’ts of successful communication

spirit 66 A Closet Full of Clothes

And stories…and memories

68 Put on a Happy Face!

Even a fake smile can help boost your mood

68

request the quality you deserve... ask for us by name ~ RVNA!

60

Registered Nurses • Physical Therapists • Occupational & • Speech Therapists

42

Home Health Aides • Homemakers • Live-ins & Companions • Transitional Care Services • Lifeline Medical Alert •

32

Quality Living at Home • RVNA Care Solutions • Maternal Child Health • Well Child Clinics • Flu & Shingles Vaccine •

70

HPV Vaccine •

every issue 8 contributors’ page 10 what’s on the web

Travel Vaccines •

RVNA ranks better than local, state, and federal agencies in many critical measures including: ~ reduced re-admissions to the hospital ~ effective treatment of pain ~ care initiated in a timely manner Home Health Compare Outcomes October 2011- September 2012 Released January 2013

We are proud to announce RVNA’s most recent achievements: ~ Homecare Elite 2012 Award ~ Hearst Top Workplace 2012 Award ~ VNANE Innovators Award For nearly a century, our exceptional home and community health care services are available throughout Western Connecticut.

12 editor’s note 14 news and views 18 fit and fab 27 did you know? 45 your body: an owner’s manual The Uterus

Cover credits: Clothing and accessories provided by Saks Fifth Avenue, Stamford Town Center. Hair and makeup by the Christopher Noland Salon & Beauty Spa, Greenwich. Cover and inside model photographs taken at Stamford’s Harbor Point and Harbor Point Marina, aboard the Kialoa V. Photo by Krista Hicks Benson.

55 ask emma

Stop and Smell the Roses

65 my word essay Alone At Last!

70 cover model Q&A

Up Close with Robyn Blosio Bova

90 East Ridge | Ridgefield, Connecticut 203.438.5555 | ridgefieldvna.org Staff Drop-in Site 250 Main Street South | Southbury, Connecticut 203.264.3250 Follow us on Twitter | Like Us on Facebook

talk back

The story behind the story from our contributors Birth Control Options

Broken Hearts Are Real Elizabeth Keyser  Interviewing medical doctors and therapists about the physiology of heartbreak taught me that a broken heart is true mental and physical pain. If I meet someone suffering from heartbreak, I’ll take it seriously and urge them to get help working through it to restore their sense of self and purpose. To read Elizabeth’s story, go to page 47.

Braving the Open Waters? Melinda McGarty Webb  Writing my story about open water swimming, I was very interested in finding out how people stay safe while in the water. (Personally, the thought of swimming out into the ocean has always terrified me, and I wanted to see if I could get over that fear.) Given what I learned, I think I may now be a lot more comfortable trying an open water swim. But I’m not making any promises! Find Melinda’s story on page 23.

You CAN bake … on the grill!

“Silly me. I thought the only thing to bake on the grill was pizza.” Valerie Foster  But then I spoke to three experts, who have all assured me that pizza is just the tip of the baking-on-the-grill iceberg! Chocolate chip cookies. Pound cake. Peach cobbler. Treats for dogs. They’ve done them all. It’s not as easy as grilling a burger or frank, but if you’re a bit adventurous and like a challenge, the sweet side of grilling might be for you. Find Valerie’s story on page 28.

Smile, It’s Good For Your Health Cari Scribner  I actually tried smiling my way through a workout on the treadmill at the Y. Felt silly, but I realized I don’t smile enough on a regular basis — my facial muscles ached afterwards! See page 68 for Cari’s story.

Anna Zernone Giorgi  Birth control methods that range from short-term, reversible coverage to permanent, surgeryfree sterilization offer women effective options for every stage of their lives. With the availabiliy of so many safe and convenient methods, it was surprising to learn that almost half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. To read Anna’s story, turn to page 38.

Using Mind-Control Laurie Lynn Fischer  I’d heard of biofeedback, but didn’t really know what it was before writing about it. It struck me as a non-intrusive, drug-free alternative that helps people gain control over their own bodies. It’s used to address everything from insomnia to Attention Deficit Disorder. Laurie’s story is on page 57.

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 If you could have lunch with any celebrity — alive or dead — who would it be? What would you ask? Loredana: Einstein. I would ask what is the most important lesson he learned through his life experience Kim: Coco Chanel. My absolute favorite designer!!! Susan: Marcel Proust. I’d want to converse with him about Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, the Golden Age of Netherlandish Painting, French Impressionism, European and Russian literature, classical music (particularly Beethoven’s late quartets),

fashion (Fortuny and Poiret), the efficacy of cork-panelled rooms, medieval and gothic church architecture, and the perfume house of Guerlain, for starters.

 What’s one exciting summer thing you’re going to do this year? Kim: Moving! Loredana: Go to Romania and Italy with my husband and my best friend and her family Merci: cramming in as much time as possible ON THE BEACH! Robyn: I’m moving too! (staying in town)

 Do you have clothes you keep for sentimental reasons? Your prom gown? Your first race t-shirt? A sweater that was a gift? Clothes really can be much more than just something to cover our bodies. Pina: I have a sweater from my father in law who passed away two weeks after I got engaged. He went out and bought it for me for Christmas that year(on his own) and gave it to me. He passed away two weeks later and I still have it 27 years later because it’s special to me. : )

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on the web

Behind the Scenes

read these... only on our website!

HealthyLife’s July/August cover was photographed aboard the Kialoa V, docked at Stamford’s Harbor Point Marina. It was a beautiful day on a spectacular yacht! But we couldn’t have done it without the folks at Saks Fifth Avenue in Stamford, who helped us select cover model Robyn Blosia Bova’s clothes. We loved this dress, but it didn’t make the final cut. Our other behind-the-scenes supporter is Greenwich’s Christopher Noland Salon & Beauty Spa, whose staff did Robyn’s hair and makeup. Below, stylist Zuzana Mizerova works on Robyn’s eyes.

clothes Tryin g on a t S a ks! Make-up time at Christopher Noland Salon

➺ M aking concessions

If it can be sugared, battered, deep fried, and/or drizzled in chocolate or cheese sauce, you can bet it’s available at many of the region’s summer festivals and fairs. Learn how to eat healthier at these events by reading our story online.

Exercise Your ➺ Way to Happiness Exercise helps you to lose weight, lower your body mass index, and can increase your overall energy and stamina. But beyond toning your tummy, exercise has emotional and psychological bonuses that might outweigh the physical.

HEALTHYLIFE

➺ BAKE ON YOUR GRILL! Find additional recipes for cake, a dutch oven cobbler and dog treats, all made on your grill!

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BLOGS

Healthy Tips

Midlife Mom

Freelance writer and good-health enthusiast Beth Cooney scans the web to bring you the latest info and tips for healthy living.

Rebecca Haynes, editor of HealthyLife, offers her perspective on life and motherhood while she navigates the teen years and beyond.

and more!

Photos: Cover model at Saks, Krista Hicks Benson; Cover model at salon, Rebecca Haynes; Funnel Cake, Cicinelli/GettyImages; Grill, Oleksiy Maksymenko/GettyImages.

www.healthylifect.com

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editor’s note

Making Memories W

hen I look around my house (and not focus on what needs to be cleaned!), I can easily let memories from great trips or loved ones departed flood my head — and make me smile. There’s the piece of reproduction pottery depicting Dionysus lounging on a covered boat, and a beautiful small wooden bouzouki that hang in the living room, both purchased during a wonderful trip to Greece. Then there’s the framed print from a modernistic painting of wine bottles, bought while on a memory-making “girls” trip to Napa with my sister-in-law. And at Christmastime, we hang a framed collection of Santa Claus postcards — a piece that makes me think of my late Aunt Sally, who assembled the collection, had it framed and hung it in her beautiful home during the holidays. There’s more, but the memories don’t stop at home décor. I often try to buy something personal (and inexpensive)

when I’m on a trip: a ring from Israel, earrings from Italy, moccasins from Canada’s Muskoka region. Then there’s the coin charm bracelet my grandmother had made for me. The coins came from a collection I acquired as a little girl when my now-late grandfather would give me his pocket change after returning from an overseas business trip. When I wear any of these things, I’m reminded of the people and places connected with them. So I was interested to explore our emotional connection with clothes and how what we wear can affect the way we feel and carry ourselves. Read our story on the topic on page 67. And I hope you bring back your own special mementos from whatever wonderful vacations you take with your family this summer — pieces that will remind you of the fun you had every time you see them (or wear them). Want to share one of our articles with

a friend or relative who doesn’t get the magazine? Send them to our online flipbook, where they can literally flip through the pages of HealthyLife on any device with an Internet connection. You’ll find the link to the flipbook on our homepage, healthylifect.com. Thanks for reading!

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news and views — compiled by beth cooney

NOT SO SWEET

Puppy Treats MEDICAL NEWS has been chock full of studies correlating the heart healthy benefits of certain properties in certain varieties of chocolate. But when it comes to man’s best friend, the risks of snacking on chocolate far outweigh the brief enjoyment of the sweet treat. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine recently issued an advisory reminding dog owners and lovers that chocolate is just plain bad for Fido and company. Here’s why: Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance in the same family as caffeine that can cause neu-

rological, digestive and heart-related issues in dogs ranging from rapid heart rates to frequent urination, vomiting and diarrhea. In worst-case scenarios, ingesting too much of the substance can cause death. Interestingly, certain pure or dark chocolate varieties (such as baker’s chocolate) tend to contain more theobromine than milk chocolate varieties. The FDA advises that pet owners never feed their dogs chocolate of any kind. Link here: tinyurl.com/ hl13pets

Sweep Away Those

HOT Flashes

WOMEN SUFFERING from annoying menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats may want to take a mop to their kitchen floors! Research suggests that women who get busy with domestic chores during the day seem to experience fewer of these sometimes debilitating menopausal symptoms and sleep better. Researchers who studied a sampling of women ages 54 to 63 found that those who engaged in the most vigorous domestic activities during the day — ranging from housecleaning to caregiving — reported the best night’s sleep. Since the study seems to mirror research that suggests vigorous exercise also curbs these symptoms, the researchers noted this is important information for women who can’t make

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the time during the day for gym workouts, long walks or other recreational exercise because of their responsibilities. There was one caveat in these findings, however: White women of normal weight seemed to derive the most benefit from housework in relation to their menopausal symptom, whereas the connection was far less impressive in black or obese women. Researchers weren’t sure why these other groups did not derive the same benefit. Researchers at the Pittsburgh site of the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (or SWAN) plan to report their findings on the housework-menopause connection in the September 2013 issue of the journal Menopause. Link here: tinyurl.com/hl13menopause

No Tweeting! IT’S TEMPTING for medical professionals to cross the boundaries of patient-doctor relationships into the social media zone. But new guidelines issued by the American College of Physicians advise doctors and medical students to use extreme caution and consider medical ethics and patient privacy when exploring this slippery virtual slope. To that end the ACOP recently issued some guidelines for navigating social media for their member doctors. They include:  Not texting medical advice or important information to patients  Not making friend requests of patients or their families on Facebook  Urging medical trainees to exhibit caution in what they post online in order to protect their professional integrity and careers.  Not engaging in medical dialogue or diagnosis via e-mail with patients with whom they’ve had no prior physical contact. These recommendations were part of a larger policy paper recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Photos: GettyImages; Dog, Tim Ridley; Teen Texting, Bart Sadowski; Skin check, Peter Dazeley; Woman sweeping, © Adam Borkowski/Dreamstime.com; Stethoscope, Dreamstime.com.

Link here: tinyurl.com/hl13ethics

More Than Skin Deep SINCE SUMMER is the season when we’re more likely to soak up dangerous sun exposure, it’s also a good time of year to get your skin checked for all forms of skin cancer. But here’s another reason to make an annual skin check part of your routine health care: New research out of Harvard University and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s’ Hospital suggests that people diagnosed with the two most curable skin cancers, squamous and basal cell carcinomas, tend to have higher rates of other kinds of cancer. Specifically, researchers found higher

rates of breast and lung cancer in women who had these conditions and higher rates of melanoma in men and women diagnosed with these other skin cancers. While the doctors say more research is necessary into the causeand-effect relationship, they also concluded that diagnosis with these more treatable skin cancers should make men and women more vigilant about their health and cancer prevention. The research was recently reported in the journal Plos Medicine. Source: tinyurl.com/hl13skincancer

TEEN TEXTING

Off Course

THE TYPICAL AMERICAN TEENAGER gets hundreds of text messages

a day. It’s the most important message, however, that still seems to elude them: don’t text and drive! The typical teen is texting and driving to their peril (and those of their passengers and other drivers), according to a study recently announced by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Researchers say that in a survey of American teens some 43 percent reported texting and driving during the 30-day period that preceded the questionnaire. The results were gleaned by the Centers for Disease Control’s 2011 survey of more than 7,830 teens as part of its biannual Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The AAP called the texting-while-driving phenomenon a “national epidemic” and noted in a related survey presented at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies that parents are not setting a very good example in this department. Some 9 out of 10 parents reported they were distracted drivers — routinely chatting on their cell phones, grooming and focusing on other tasks while behind the wheel. The AAP notes that teens increase their risk of causing an accident by some 23 percent when texting and driving. That’s a statistic that should have parents and kids alike focused on what’s ahead of them. Link here: tinyurl.com/hl13texting continued on page 16

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news and views continued from page 15

A Few Sips Too Many THINK TOSSING BACK A SWEET SODA

drink here and there is OK as long as it’s not your constant beverage of choice? Well, even occasional soda drinkers may gulp when they hear about new research that suggests that just 12 ounces of soda a day — the equivalent of a single can — has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. With diabetes and obesity rates now reaching epidemic proportions, researchers in Europe studied the soda habits of more than 28,000 citizens in Germany, France, Denmark, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The study, recently reported in the journal Diabetologia, did not establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between soda consumption, but still, researchers found that having just one soda a day could increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 22 percent. The study did not include artificially sweetened beverages. Link here: tinyurl.com/hl13sodastudy

Sleep Your Way Thin

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ONCE AGAIN, science is telling us that one weapon in the battle of the bulge may be as simple as getting a good night’s sleep. Researchers at the University of Colorado have found that when they deprived men and women of sleep (cutting them back to as little as five hours a night) those tired subjects tended to feed their fatigue with too much food. The overeating was particu-

larly pronounced in men who participated in the study, but the women also ate more when given unlimited access to food and were deliberately sleep-deprived. Interestingly, researchers found that the exhausted subjects ate far more than the calories needed to function during the extra hours they were awake, adding to the growing body of research that correlates sleep depriva-

tion with obesity. “I don’t think extra sleep by itself is going to lead to weight loss,” Kenneth Wright, director of the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the University of Colorado, Boulder, says in a university news release. “Problems with weight gain and obesity are much more complex than that. But I think it could help.” source: tinyurl.com/hl13obesity

Delaying Delivery Matters Photos: Cans, © iStockphoto.com/NoDerog; Bed, © Dearisara/Dreamstime.com; Newborn, Victoria Penafiel/ GettyImages; Half-eaten food, © Sergey Kochmaryov/Dreamstime.com; Church, AtomA/GettyImages.

WHEN IT COMES TO NEWBORNS, experts know that the closer

a baby’s birth coincides with its actual due date, the more likely that infant will have a healthy start. So it’s interesting that a new study demonstrates that when hospitals make a concerted effort to discourage elective births, those institutions can make impressive strides in reducing unnecessary Caesarean sections and inductions. In a multi-state study partially funded by the March of Dimes, researchers found that rates of these types of often-unnecessary deliveries were reduced by a whopping 83 percent at the 25 hospitals that committed to the effort to eliminate such elective deliveries. The research, according to the March of Dimes, is good news because it suggests that quality-control programs and education can affect how and when babies are delivered. And of course, it bodes well for babies as multiple studies have shown babies born at full term, at 39-40 gestational weeks, have fewer health problems and less mortality in the first year of life. Meanwhile, the experts remind expectant women who may be anxious to deliver their babies for a variety of reasons that when a pregnancy is otherwise healthy, it is always best for labor to begin naturally. The study was published recently in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. Source: tinyurl.com/hl13births

Clean-Your-Plate Perils DESPITE INCREASING EVIDENCE that a growing number of

trol. Interestingly, researchers found this pressure was most often directed by fathers toward boys, possibly American teenagers are overweight, because of concerns some parents are still about athletic prowputting pressure on Fathers are ess and bulk associated their kids to clean their especially guilty of with it. plates, according to a pushing their kids The researchers, who new study. to eat all the food recently reported their Researchers at the on their plate. findings in the jourUniversity of Minnenal Pediatrics, suggest sota say this message their data shows that parents and doesn’t seem to dissipate once early adolescents alike need more educachildhood ends, with some parents tion on appropriate portion size and — especially fathers — still insisting weights for teens. They noted it’s acthat their teens eat all the food that tually metabolically normal for teens is set before them, even when their to be lean and gangly. child might actually benefit from calorie restriction and portion conSource: tinyurl.com/hl13plate

Keeping FEELING

DOWN?

Have some faith. Believing in God may help patients recover from psychiatric illness, according to a new study conducted by the team at Mclean Hospital, one of the nation’s top mental health facilities. Researchers at the Harvard University-affiliated hospital studied 159 patients receiving treatment for a variety of mental illnesses and found that those who relied and on and were

the Faith actively engaged in faith-based practices, and described themselves as moderately to highly religious, recovered more quickly and reported a greater sense of well-being during treatment, regardless of religious affiliation. The researchers say their study suggests that there really is a psychic benefit to leading some kind of spiritual life, which is good news for the 90 percent of Americans who identify themselves as having some kind of relationship with a higher power. Source: tinyurl.com/hl13god

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fit & fab ◀ More Than Sunglasses Oakley may best be known for sunglasses, but its new Nadi Printed Shorts come in five designs with shirts to match. Made of Hydrolix fabric to keep you sweat-free, the inner liner and stretch fabric keeps you cozy as you work out or hang out. Bonus? A hidden zip pocket to store your valuables. $48. Available at Olympia Sports or visit oakley.com.

▼ Tank You The Women’s Active by Old Navy Mesh-Bubble Tank comes in eight bright colors. The bubble hem and side tie keep it dressy while the racerback, scoop neckline, all-over mesh and moisture-wicking fabric keep you cool and free to move about. The tank sits slightly below the hips and fits true to size. $9.99-11.99. Available at Old Navy stores or visit oldnavy.com.

latest e s e h T s b find a F & FIt nable o i h s a f are as y are e h t s a nal. o i t c n fu in by car

lane

You can follow Carin on twitter @tiredorinspired and Pinterest at pinterest.com/carinlane. Have a new product you’d like to share? E-mail Carin at clane@timesunion.com.

▲ Comfort in a Bag The Chilly Jilly Lounge Pant and Duelette come in a drawstring pouch that fits into your purse or gym bag. Soft and flowy through the legs, the pants feature a foldover waistband to keep them in place while flattering every waist size. Too long? Take advantage of the no-fray fabric and cut them down to size. Plus, be ready for anything with the adjustable Duelette that functions as a bracelet and hair band. Purchase several and combine them for different looks, or give them away as gifts for all ages. Lounge pant, $45; Duelette, $15. Visit chillyjilly.com.

▼ Show Us Some G-love Lifting weights is a great way to get lean and mean. G-Loves Lift & Love are made with lightweight, sweatwicking neoprene to provide a comfortable no-slip grip, and prevent calluses and hand fatigue. Available in fun colors to fit your style or match your outfits, they’re even machine-washable. $45. Visit g-loves.com.

▲ Olympic Inspiration Designed with Olympic swimmer Dara Torres, KOSS FitBuds guarantee great sound and fit. Roughly 6 mm wide, or 33 percent smaller than traditional earbuds, they’ll stay in place regardless of your activity. Match them with the Nite Ize Action Armband for a terrific workout twosome. Nite Ize comes in two sizes to accommodate iPhone, iPod or Android, and includes an inside pocket for valuables, a key clip, a reflective strip for safety and a Curvyman Cord Supervisor to keep the cord out of your way. $29.99 each. Visit KOSS.com and niteize.com.

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Sweet potatoes are an even healthier alternative to white potatoes. They are loaded with antioxidants and high in beta carotene, which helps build hearthealthy vitamin A in the body. And they help keep you feeling full longer.

body The Great Wide Open 23 Cookbook 32 Your Uterus 45

Did You Know? 27

Birth Control Choices 38 Love Hurts 47

Bake on the Grill! 28

Medicine Cabinet Must-Haves 42

Pretty Up Your Ponytail 50

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fitness

The Great

Wide Open water, that is

by melinda mcgarty webb

P

icture this. The sun is shining brightly. You can feel its warmth on your bare arms as they cut through the water. You relax into the rhythm of your strokes and when you look up, open water stretches before you. For some, there’s nothing quite like the experience of open-water swimming. “It’s not confining like a pool,” says Greenwich resident Jon Harnett, race director of the Greenwich Swim Committee and a member of the Greenwich YMCA Masters Swim Team. “I like the temperature of the water; I like the fresh air. And it’s fun to compete. “And with swimming,” he adds, “you can be at peace with yourself.” Unlike his other sports of choice, such as biking, swimming is low-stress — both in psychological and physical terms. There are no cars with which to contend, and only minimal impact on your joints. “There are the mental benefits of swimming and the physical,” explains Caitlin McVarish, coach of the Greenwich YMCA Masters Swim Team. Masters teams are open to swimmers 18 years and older. “The physical is that it’s a very good non-weight-bearing cardio activity, and it’s a full-body exercise. But it’s a different kind of cardio than running or cycling because there’s a lot of breath control involved. So an additional health benefit from swimming is that you get extra lung capacity.” From a mental perspective, the process can become almost meditative. “You’re focusing on your stroke count. ... So there’s a meditative benefit, but it’s

Wetsuits aren’t a necessity when open water swimming, but they will help keep you warm in cooler temperatures and cold water. Plus, they have the added benefit of making you more buoyant.

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fitness different than running or yoga. On the days I swim, I have a very clear mind. And this happens regardless of how good you are technically — it’s because of the rhythmic aspect of swimming.” While many people racing in open water swim freestyle, which works both the upper and lower body, different strokes work slightly different muscles. You’ll get more of a shoulder and upper chest workout swimming the butterfly, for example, than the backstroke. People racing in open water often swim head-up freestyle, meaning they either keep their heads out of the water or look forward periodically to ensure they’re not veering off-course. This is important to do anytime you’re swimming in open water, and is referred to as “sighting.” “Sighting means you pick a point of reference. For example, at Greenwich Point, there’s a big tree at the end of the point you can use to sight on,” explains Harnett, who has been doing open-water swims for more than 25 years and swimming competitively since the age of 5. “Basically, you watch a point of reference so you’re not zig-zagging all over the place.” Harnett often practices at Greenwich Point, and says Compo Beach in Westport is also an ideal location. “Generally, you try to look for somewhere with a cove, meaning there are two bodies of land sticking out, so the water’s not too choppy. Both Compo Beach and Greenwich Point are somewhat protected.”

Aquatic exercise benefits

Circulatory System  increased muscle contraction and aerobic activity causes the heart to work more effectively and lower blood pressure. Cardio-respiratory System  increased lung capacity with deeper ventilation. Vigorous aquatic exercise also increases blood supply to the muscles and increas-

es the efficiency of the cardiovascular system. Musculoskeletal System  exercise is low-impact and improves flexibility, muscle strength and endurance. Skeletal System  helps in bone calcium intake, resulting in the ability to help maintain stronger bones.

 

— Courtesy of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ishof.org

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nother option is swimming in fresh water, where the only waves are created by boats. Cathy Petz of Danbury has been swimming in Candlewood Lake since 2006. Each Monday evening from May through early October, a group of three to nine people meet at the private beach in Petz’s neighborhood and swim to a point about a quarter mile away. They do this once, twice, or even three times, depending on how far the group wants to go. Once a year, they swim across the lake, which takes them through a major boat route. But they wait until September to do this, when boat traffic is slower, and they always have motor boat and kayak escorts. Safety is a priority in every swim. “Anyone that comes to swim in the group must wear a bright-colored swim cap, and the majority of us also all wear wetsuits,” Petz says. “While the group is made up of different levels of swimmers, we usually try to stay together. When we reach the point, we all wait until everyone gets there, then we start back to the docks en masse. We are very careful to watch for boats and jet skis. If a boat gets too close, we will stop swimming until they acknowledge our presence. Sometimes, too, we will have someone accompany us by kayak. We are all very mindful of boating activity.” Petz says she likes doing open-water swims in part because there’s no chlorine, and also because it best simulates the conditions of the triathlons for which she trains. “Swimming at a pool, while wonderful to maintain conditioning throughout the winter, does not simulate open swimming where the water might be unclear and choppy,” she says. And Petz, Harnett and McVarish all advise against swimming alone, particularly if no lifeguards are present. “It’s a good idea to train with a partner, especially if you’re doing it early in the morning or later in the evening,” says Harnett. “You can swim on your own if it’s a crowded day at the beach, and the lifeguards are there.” Although competitors wearing wetsuits are often not eligible for medals in racing because the suits make you faster,

Can you picture McVarish suggests wearing them when just beginning to swim in the ocean — particularly if the water’s cold. Not only can they make you feel more comfortable, but if you need a break, you can roll over and float because the suit will make you more buoyant.

Photos: Woman in wetsuit, Erik Isakson/GettyImages, Woman swimming, © Dmitry Maslov/ Dreamstime.com.

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earning to breathe bilaterally is also important in openwater swimming. You’re more likely to stay the course if you’re alternating the sides on which you breathe. While the number of strokes a swimmer takes in between breaths varies, McVarish says she generally prefers to breathe every three strokes. If she’s really pushing and trying to go as quickly as possible, she sometimes breathes every two strokes to provide her body with more oxygen. “Beginners sometimes hyperventilate. They have a mini panic attack,” she says. “I tell people to waste a couple of seconds and calm down. Adjust your cap, adjust your goggles, and try to collect yourself. Then start going again, at your own pace. It should be about having a good experience.” For land exercises that will help you prepare for a water race, she suggests core work — particularly planking — and push-ups. The right equipment is also imperative. Brightly colored or fluorescent caps are best because they show up well in the water — both to lifeguards and boaters. Tinted goggles, either smoke-colored or blue, prevent you from being unable to see on a sunny day. “And sunscreen!” McVarish says. “That, and a comfortable suit that allows you to move.” If you’re racing, “Like with any physical activity, it’s important to have the right balance of carbs and protein beforehand. And pre-hydrate. Drink lots of water, and after the race is done, replenish within an hour.” If you’re racing somewhere for the first time, Harnett suggests scoping out the location beforehand. “Get an understanding of what you’re going to be doing. ... The first time anybody does an open-water race, the chaos at the start can be overwhelming. In most races, you’ve got a mass start… Psychologically, it can be pretty scary, and you’re getting kicked in the face and head and all over.” He says the secret is to calm yourself down. “Take deep breaths before the race,” he says. “Also, we encourage novices to start in the outer pack. In other words, if there’s a long line of people getting ready to start, put yourself at the end of it, so you’re not getting kicked when people all start converging.” The Greenwich races, he says, which take place this year on July 20 and August 3 and measure one and two miles respectively, are some of the safest in the country. Boaters protect the course and the U.S. Coast Guard is on alert. Police boats also patrol the water and EMS and the Red Cross wait on land should they be needed.  HL U.S. Masters Swimming groups are open to swimmers 18 and older and operate in many towns in Connecticut. Go to usms. org to find the one nearest you. Workout times and contact information are listed, as well as local race information.

yourself on the cover of healthylife? Corrinn Gutierrez could, and she was our May cover model!

And you could too!

Look for details in next month’s issue of healthylife magazine or online at healthylifect.com for details on how to enter our 2014 cover model search. You could be chosen as one of our 10 cover models for next year’s issues!

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fast facts

did you know?

compiled by brianna snyder

100 calories

25 percent

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To burn a quick 100 calories, do 40 jumping jacks, 30 crunches, 20 squats and 10 pushups. Not bad, right?

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July 4

The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence didn’t sign at the same time, nor did they sign on July 4, 1776. The official event was on Aug. 2, 1776, when 50 men signed it. And the first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804.

1.4 million

There may have been barbecue before conversation. And the first barbecuers may have been cavemen. Anthropologists say our distant ancestors may have started roasting meat some 1.4 million years ago, while language development didn’t occur until 200,000 B.C. or later. source: tinyurl.com/hl13bbq

source: tinyurl.com/hl13july4

4

The elephant is the only animal with 4 knees. source: tinyurl.com/ hl13elephant

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summer cookin’

Too to Bake? never fear, the grill is near by valerie foster

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Illustration: © Timbrk/Dreamstime.com; Grill, © Donna Kilday/Dreamstime.com.

A

h, the lengths some people will go to keep their homes cool in the summer! But baking on the grill? Now we’ve heard everything. Chris Grove has another take: “Why did we ever stop baking on the grill?” Grove, writer of the popular blog Nibble Me This, says man cooked everything on stone over embers back in 4000 B.C., and that included baked goods. But enter electricity, and everything once cooked outdoors came into the home. So are there other reasons we should consider baking on the grill besides keeping our homes cool? “The real reason is that everything just tastes better when it is cooked on a grill,” Grove says. He and his wife, Alexis, are such grill aficionados they grill year-round, everything from main courses to breads and desserts. And although the savory side of baking is scrumptious, today’s focus is on sweets. But beware: Baking on the grill is not for the faint-hearted, those lacking patience, or the unadventurous. Michael Mahaffey’s blog, Yeah, You Can Grill That, is filled with treats he makes on his grill, everything from chocolate-chip cookies, a pound cake and peach cobbler to peanut butter, apple and oatmeal cookies for Mollie, his 7-year-old mixed boxer/Rhodesian Ridgeback. “The premise of my blog is that I will find a way to grill anything,” Mahaffey says. “My readers challenge me to grill the most outrageous things, and I do! I have to admit that I have come up with some pretty cool things to cook on the grill.” And then there’s Susan Reid, editor of the King Arthur Flour publication, The Baking Sheet, who spends her days testing and writing about food. She understands the lure of the grill, especially when it comes to baking. Her favorite grilled baked goodies pair fruit with pastry dough. “I think there is something to be said about the caramelization that happens to the fruit when it is grilled,” Reid says. “People are really attracted to it. It contains a little smoke, a little bit of sweetness.” The greatest challenge for all our experts is controlling the heat, which they have all mastered through trial and error. Their tips will get you heading into your yard, creating sweet endings to your meals. Mahaffey remembers his first baking challenge from a reader: “Bet you can’t make a cake.” He got out an old pound cake recipe, made a few little adjustments and dove in. He admits that in his first few attempts, the cake was unevenly baked. “Undercooked middles and burnt edges,” he remembers. But eventually he perfected his technique, figuring out that if he cooked it 10 minutes over direct heat, then 10 minutes on the right side of the grill, and finally 10 minutes on the left side of the grill the result was stellar. He says most importantly, you have to have some fun. “Experimenting is fun, For tips and recipes and you have to be resigned to that fact turn to that not everything is going to be a winpage 30. ner,” he says. “I live by trial and error.”

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summer cookin’

Helpful tips when

baking on the grill When baking, Chris Grove, writer of the blog, Nibble Me This, and his wife Alexis, turn to their Big Green Egg, at left. “It’s a ceramic cooker that retains heat very well because it is domed,” he says. But don’t despair: If you don’t have one, try these seven tips:

5

1

 2 4

6  Use stoneware when baking on the grill, which keeps cooking temperature steadier and yields a better crust. Chris Grove admits he is not picky, and uses all different brands of loaf pans, pie pans and muffin tins. He calls pizza stones “cookie sheets for the grill.” He uses them for everything: calzones, cookies, drop biscuits, and, of course, pizza!

 Be sure to calibrate your cooking thermometer frequently. In an indoor oven, a temperature change of 10 degrees is not as critical as it is cooking on a grill. And don’t rely on the thermometer that comes with your grill. Grove says it’s worth the extra cost to invest in a quality thermometer.

 Add some extra cooking time. “I guarantee that baked goods always

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take five or 10 minutes longer on a grill,” he says.

 Use a cake tester to test for doneness.

 Test using frozen dough. Then you won’t feel horrid if your first few attempts end in disaster!

 Buy a Weber stainless steel grill pan, which blogger Michael Mahaffey uses for cookies and his dog Mollie’s favorite treat.

 This last step is the hardest: Detect your grill’s temperature center. Consider oven baking: If you bake at the top of the oven, the top burns. Bake at the bottom of the oven, and the bottom burns. The same holds true for grills. Grove says the temperature center is usually in the middle, but again,

you have to test with a thermometer. Food tester and writer Susan Reid says if you are using a charcoal grill, it should be a large-size kettle grill. But whether she is using a gas or charcoal grill, she says the ultimate goal is to recreate what used to happen in oldtime village stone ovens. “The most foolproof way to replicate baking on an outdoor grill is to put your pizza stone to one side of the grill as it is heating,” she says. “Once the grill is hot, keep the flame mostly on the side away from the stone, usually at medium high.” You put your baked good on the hot stone, close the grill’s lid, and let the baking begin. “You’ll have to peek once in a while — although not for the first 20 minutes — to see how things are going,” she adds.

Photos: Big Green Egg, Contributed: Thermometer, © Jo De Vulder/Dreamstime.com Stoneware, © Warren Price/Dreamstime.com; Bread dough, James And James/GettyImages; Grill pan and plate of cookies, Courtesy of Michael Mahaffey; Peach Tart, Courtesy of The Baking Sheet.

 The greatest challenge for all our experts is controlling the grill heat, which they have all mastered through trial and error.

Rustic Peach Tart makes 8 servings crust ingredients 1 1/4 cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon buttermilk powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup cold butter 1/4 cup vegetable shortening 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water filling ingredients 4 to 5 large ripe peaches, peeled and sliced; or 2 pounds frozen sliced peaches, partially thawed (about 5 to 6 cups) 1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons instant Clear Jel 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid; optional, for added flavor and to preserve color 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg pinch of salt 1/2 cup fresh raspberries method To make the crust: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, buttermilk powder and salt. Mix in the cold butter and shortening until the dough is crumbly. Sprinkle ice water over the mixture 1 tablespoon at a time while tossing with a fork. After adding 3 tablespoons of water, gather the dough together into a ball. Add more water if it crumbles and won’t hold together.

Flatten into a disk, wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer. Whisk together the sugar, ClearJel, ascorbic acid, nutmeg, and salt. Add the peaches and a few of the raspberries, tossing to combine. Set aside. Ready grill: Place pizza stone to one side of the grill. Turn on grill and warm until it reaches 450 degrees. Turn burners off under pizza stone. Cover grill. Roll the chilled dough on a well-floured work surface or silicone rolling mat into a 14-inch circle. Use a knife or pizza wheel to trim the edges in a scalloped design. Fill the center with the peach mixture. Fold the edges of the crust up over the peaches, leaving the center uncovered. Move the crust to the heated pizza stone; a giant spatula works well here. Bake the tart for 40-45 minutes, until the crust is golden. You’ll have to peek once occasionally — although not for the first 20 minutes — to see how things are going. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with the remaining fresh raspberries. Serve warm, with whipped cream or ice cream. — From King Arthur Flour

Grilled Chocolate Chip Cookies! makes at least 5 dozen cookies ingredients* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 large eggs 1 12-ounce package Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels 1 cup chopped nuts * The ingredients are from the Nestle Tollhouse recipe, but the method for grilling is different.

method Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased grilling pan. (Mahaffey’s favorite is Weber’s stainless-steel grill pan pictured on page 30.) The smaller the cookie, the better for grilling; otherwise, you get a charred bottom and an undercooked top. In order to cook them over indirect heat, he puts the grilling pan on the ends of the grilling grate. You’ll only be able to cook about eight small cookies at a time this way, so to complete the above recipe, you’ll need to cook these in several batches. Cook on grill, over indirect heat, for about 20 minutes (or until they reach your desired level of doneness — Mahaffey likes them on the softer side). — From Yeah, You Can Grill That For additional grilling recipes go to healthylifect.com

healthylifect.com

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cookbook

More Than a

Soupçon

For the recipe for this cool cucumber soup with mint, visit www.healthylifect.com.

125 soup recipes from the famed soupbox restaurant by janet reynolds  |  photos courtesy race point publishing

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ucky Chicagoans. They can visit the Soupbox restaurant — voted “best soup in Chicago” on citysearch.com and featured on Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels — anytime they want. The rest of us have to settle for the new Soupbox cookbook. Not that the cookbook is really settling. Filled with soups of every possible mixture — 125 in all — the cookbook features recipes for all seasons. Hearty win-

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ter soups (and some stews too)? Check. No-cook cold soups for summer’s dog days? Check. And they are all illustrated with lovely photos and foolproof recipes even the most basic of cooks can follow. The Soupbox restaurant is the brainchild of Jamie Taerbaum, who started it in 1995, and Dru Melton, a trained chef who has been everything from busboy to head chef at the restaurant. Melton says the ideas for soup can come from

The Soupbox Cookbook: Sensational Soups for Healthy Living, by Jamie Taerbaum and Dru Melton. Race Point Publishing, 256 pages, $27.

just about anything. “Cooking is an inspired art and I am a voracious reader so I’m always reading trade publications and watching online and TV [for new ideas,]” he says. “I also pay attention to customer feedback and what seems to be quote-unquote hot.” The popularity of Latin and Tex-Mex foods in recent years, for instance, is represented by authentic Mexican tortilla soup and Tex-Mex turkey and tomato soup in the restaurant and in the book. A few years ago, when low-fat and low-sodium were high on the customer needs list, Melton retinkered the restaurant’s recipes to lower their salt and fat content. Right now, Melton says, gluten-free and Paleo-friendly eating are in, so he’s developing some new soups to satisfy those dietary needs. “I try to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s hot and what customers are saying,” he says. Melton’s interest in good soups and chilis began as a child. Both his grandmother and his great-grandmother Pearl lived with his family, and his favorites are a toss-up between his grandmother’s split pea soup and his great-grandmother’s chili. “They were always in the kitchen,” he says. “It was a focal point in our house.” “My first [cooking] memory is making spaetzle dumplings with them,” he says. “They were of the make-everythingfrom-scratch generation. I was very lucky in that regard.” Which does not mean Melton is one of those soup purists who insists only on homemade stock. “For our application I’m a nazi about that,” he says channeling Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi as he discusses the absolute requirement for homemade stock in the restaurant’s soups. Canned or boxed stock can be too salty and loaded with MSG. But Melton is a realist Top tips for as well — especially on the homefront. “I’m also a parent,” he says. “The  Good ingredients. canned stock and the “This is the 2 + 2 = 4 bullion cubes have been for any cooking,” says used in our home and will Melton. “Even with leftbe again.” One word of overs you have to have caution if you used storegood ingredients.” bought stock? Use the  Take your time and low-sodium variety. taste soup. “Soup is very Indeed, over-salting forgiving. It’s good for a and overcooking are two long period of time and of the top soup mistakes there are things you can people make, Melton do while cooking to fix says. This is especially the taste.” true with summer soups

Sometimes circles just make sense. The Get Around Knee system is designed to replace the knee’s naturally circular motion. Other knee systems follow an oval motion. Don’t just replace your knee. Replace the way your knee moves. To learn more or to find an orthopaedic surgeon near you, visit getaroundknee.com or call 1- 888-Get -Around.

great soup

filled with vegetables. “If it’s not going to be pureed it should have a little bit of tooth.”  HL Get recipes on page 34

 Too salty? Peel a potato and add it into the soup. When it’s fork tender, the potato will have leached out a good portion of the salt from the soup. Take it out.

Total knee replacement is intended for use in individuals with joint disease resulting from degenerative, rheumatoid, and post-traumatic arthritis, and for moderate deformity of the knee. As with any surgery, knee replacement surgery has serious risks which include, but are not limited to, blood clots, stroke, heart attack, and death. Implant related risks which may lead to a revision include dislocation, loosening, fracture, nerve damage, heterotopic bone formation (abnormal bone growth in tissue), wear of the implant, metal sensitivity, soft tissue imbalance, osteolysis (localized progressive bone loss), and reaction to particle debris. The information presented is for educational purposes only. Knee implants may not provide the same feel or performance characteristics experienced with a normal healthy joint.

Speak to your doctor to decide if joint replacement surgery is appropriate for you. Individual results vary and not all patients will return to the same activity level. The lifetime of any device is limited and depends on several factors like weight and activity level. Your doctor will help counsel you about strategies to potentially prolong the lifetime of the device, including avoiding high-impact activities, such as running, as well as maintaining a healthy weight. Ask your doctor if the GetAroundKnee is right for you. Stryker Corporation or its divisions or other corporate affiliated entities own, use or have applied for the following trademarks or service marks: GetAroundKnee, Stryker. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners or holders.

NL12-AD-BS-387

cookbook: recipes

continued from page 33

New England Clam Chowder ingredients 5 pounds fresh sea clams or 2 pounds clam meat, chopped. Allow the clams to sit in fresh water for 20 minutes to get the sand out 1 medium onion, diced 2 stalks celery, diced 4 ounces salt pork, medium diced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 sprig fresh thyme 1 bay leaf 1 /4 cup white wine 24 ounces clam broth (chicken or fish stock can be substituted) 3 medium potatoes, diced 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water 1 cup heavy cream salt and pepper to taste method Steam fresh clams until just opened, about 4 minutes. Shuck the clams and then chop and set aside. Be careful to reserve any liquid from the clams. (Note: If using precooked or canned clams skip to the next step.) Saute the salt pork in a large stockpot over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook for another 8 minutes until translucent. Add the fresh thyme and bay leaf and cook for another 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce the liquid for 3 minutes. Add the clam broth and bring the chowder to a simmer. Add the potatoes and cook for another 15 minutes until they are fork tender. Add the cornstarch and allow the chowder to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove the thyme and the bay leaf, and add the clams and heavy cream. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper as needed.

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New England Clam Chowder

Classic Gazpacho ingredients 2 slices stale bread, crusts removed 1 cup tomato juice 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and choppsed 1 medium red onion, chopped 1 red pepper, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 /2 teaspoon salt 1 /4 teaspoon cumin 1 /4 teaspoon cayenne 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons clover honey salt and cayenne pepper to taste 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1-2 cups cold water as needed fresh parsley, chopped for garnish method Soak the bread slices in the tomato

juice. Place the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and bread slices with tomato juice in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour out into a large bowl and add the red pepper, garlic, salt, cumin, cayenne, vinegar and honey. Cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour and up to overnight. Remove from refrigerator and adjust seasonings as necessary with salt and a little more cayenne if needed. Drizzle in the olive oil. Add water if the soup is too thick. It should be smooth and thick but level in the bowl and pourable. Ladle into serving bowls and top with fresh parsley.

ď ś

TIP: To peel a tomato, cut a cross

on the bottom with a sharp knife and dunk them in boiling water for a minute. Then dunk in cold water. The skin should easily peel back.

carries Gluten Free  Low Sodium  Reduced Sodium  Organic  Natural  Low Fat  Fat Free  No Sugar Added  Sugar Free 

Your Wellness Resource Helping you to enhance the health and lifestyle of you and your family

When it comes to your well being, you know there is no "one size fits all" approach. Wellness means different things to different people and your personal preferences play a part in what foods you select to fit your lifestyle. As a part of our LiveRight with ShopRite® program you will find color coded shelf labels throughout the store to identify product choices in several categories: Gluten Free, Low Sodium, Reduced Sodium, Organic, Natural, Low Fat Free, No Sugar Added, and Sugar Free.

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reproductive health

It’s Your

Choice

is your birth control right for your age and lifestyle? by anna zernone giorgi

D

espite the availability, convenience and effectiveness of women’s birth control options, almost half of U.S. pregnancies are unplanned, according to the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. Surprisingly, half of these pregnancies occurred in women who were using birth control at the time of conception, though probably inconsistently or incorrectly. If you are a woman who wants to avoid an unintended pregnancy, it’s likely that you will have to use birth control for about three decades of your life, ACOG reports. However, only con-

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sistent and correct usage will give you optimum effectiveness. “A patient needs to discuss with her health care provider her lifestyle and how good she is with being compliant with medication, and try to discuss those options, because with any medication or any birth control, number one, you need to be compliant. If you’re not compliant, the efficacy of that particular product is going to go down significantly,” says Dr. Robert Goldberg, an obstetrician/gynecologist with the Avery Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology in Westport, Norwalk, Fairfield and New Canaan.

In addition, to help maintain effectiveness it’s important for patients to contact their health care provider about issues related to side effects or interruptions in usage, such as a missed birth control pill, Goldberg says. “They really should call their health care provider immediately to discuss what’s normal, what’s not normal, or how they should proceed for different scenarios.” Understanding the available options and how they work can help you team with your health care provider to find the best option for each stage of your life. Here’s a breakdown on different types.

  Sterilization  Tubal Ligation WHAT IT IS: The fallopian tubes are cut

and tied with thread, sealed with an electric current, or blocked with bands or clips. HOW IT WORKS: When the tubes are

sealed, an egg can’t travel down to the uterus and the sperm can’t reach the egg. HOW IT’S ADMINISTERED: It’s typi-

cally done with a laparoscope, through small incisions in the abdomen. BENEFITS: The effects are immediate

and permanent. DOWNSIDE: Tubal ligation is consid-

ered irreversible so you must be sure of your choice. There is a slight increased risk for ectopic pregnancy. WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IT: This

99 percent effective, hormone-free solution is permanent.

 Transcervical sterilization WHAT IT IS: A small device is inserted

into each fallopian tube. HOW IT WORKS: Scar tissue forms

around the implanted devices and blocks the fallopian tubes.

Photos: Main, Beauty Photo Studio/GettyImages; Pill Pack, Raymond Forbes/gettyImages; Depro-vera Ciell/Creative Commons.

HOW IT’S ADMINISTERED: A special in-

strument, inserted through the vagina and up into the uterus, allows access to the fallopian tubes and proper placement of the devices. No surgical incisions are necessary, so recovery time is minimal, with a low risk of infection and bleeding. BENEFITS:

DOWNSIDE: Because it takes three

months for the scar tissue to form, you must use a backup form of contraception until your health care provider confirms sterilization. WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IT: The

non-surgical, hormone-free technique is permanent and 99 percent effective. NOTEWORTHY: There is buzz about

potential lawsuits surrounding some of the devices used, so have a long talk with your doctor and make sure to get all of the facts. Also, the fact that sterilization is irreversible must be understood. “There’s a bit of a misconcep-

tion about the idea of tubal ligation in that, though it is reversible, it’s not always successfully reversed; it’s generally not covered by insurance; and it’s extremely expensive to reverse,” says Dr. Russell Turk, an obstetrician/ gynecologist with Riverside Obstetrics and Gynecology in Riverside. “For anybody who brings up the idea that this is reversible, we [gynecologists] drill it into their head that, if you’re even thinking about the possibility of reversing it, then you shouldn’t really be considering this procedure because it should be considered permanent.”

  HormoneBased Options

the same time every day. 21-day combination pills are taken for 21 days, followed by 7 days off. Other options are taken every day for 28 days, including 7 inactive pills. Extended-cycle pills are taken for three months before inactive pills are added. Continuous-dose pills are taken every day for one year. BENEFITS: Birth control pills help

to regulate and minimize menstrual bleeding. They may be helpful in treating other medical conditions, including painful periods, fibroids, endometriosis, and even acne and unwanted hair growth. DOWNSIDE: You must remember to

take a pill at the same time every day. Break-through bleeding is common when starting and may continue. Combination pills can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.

The hormone progestin is a key ingredient in hormone-based birth WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IT: The control. Options that contain propill is 91 to 99 percent effective, free of gestin thicken the mucus of the cerdevices and can be discontinued easily vix and thin the lining of the uterus. for a return to fertility. These effects work to keep sperm NOTEWORTHY: There is no validity to from joining the egg. Progestin-oncommon misconceptions that the pill ly pills and systems can be useful if will cause cancer or weight gain, Turk you can’t tolerate the side effects of says. “The biggest misconception is estrogen or are limited by medical that it’s cancer-causing, which for the concerns, such as breastfeeding. most part, even when they [researchCombination pills and systems ers] really manipulate the data in many that contain progestin and estrogen different ways, it’s pretty hard to say also work to prevent your ovaries that the pill causes breast cancer,” he from releasing an egg. They usually says. “The other misconception about require one week off, when bleedthe pill is the long history that it causes ing occurs. Some formulations of the weight gain. When they look at 1,000 combination pill allow you to reduce the number of periods you The Pill and injections are have in one year.

 Oral Contraceptive

two common hormonebased contraceptives.

WHAT IT IS: Oral contracep-

tives are prescription pills that contain hormones. HOW IT WORKS: Combination

pills contain estrogen and progestin; the mini-pill contains only progestin. Continuousdose or extended-cycle pills allow you to have fewer periods. On days when you don’t take a pill or take a placebo, you will have your period. HOW IT’S ADMINISTERED: A pill is taken at

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reproductive health serted deep in the vagina. HOW IT WORKS: It releases a steady

dose of estrogen and progestin. IT’S ADMINISTERED: Though a prescription is required, you won’t need to be fitted. You insert the ring, similar to inserting a tampon, and leave it in place for 21 days. Then, you remove it for seven days, and bleeding occurs. HOW

The vaginal ring at left, IUD, above, and patch, below, are all hormone-based contraceptives.

BENEFITS: It provides a steady dose of

hormones which, when discontinued, allow for fertility to resume relatively quickly. DOWNSIDE: You must be comfortable

with inserting it in place. women who are on the pill and 1,000 women who are off, they both gain weight in the same amounts.”

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IT: The

 Injection (Depo-Provera)

NOTEWORTHY: “We’re fortunate in the

vaginal ring is 91 to 99 percent effective, latex-free, and requires maintenance only monthly. last five to 10 years that there are a lot of good forms of birth control on the market that are more technically aimed at not failing because the user doesn’t use them right,” Turk says. “That would include hormonal options such as the NuvaRing, where, instead of having to remember to take a pill each night, you just put the ring in your vagina and you leave it there for three weeks.”

WHAT IT IS: There are two types of

injections: one is given deep into your muscle; a newer version is administered just below the skin. HOW IT WORKS: The injection contains

progestin. HOW IT’S ADMINISTERED: It is given by

your health care provider once every three months. You don’t have to worry about contraception for three months. BENEFITS:

DOWNSIDE: You can’t use the injection

for more than two consecutive years because it can cause a temporary loss of bone density. WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IT: The

injection is 94 to 99 percent effective. It is a very low-maintenance, reversible option that is estrogen-free.

 Subdermal Implant (Implanon or Nexplanon) WHAT IT IS: The implant is a flexible,

plastic rod that is inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It’s about the size of a matchstick and usually can’t be seen when in place. HOW IT WORKS: It releases a steady

dose of progestin. HOW IT’S ADMINISTERED: It must be

inserted and removed by a health care provider. Insertion takes about one

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minute. Removal requires a local anesthetic and a small incision, and takes about five minutes. BENEFITS: The hormone supply lasts

for up to three years. Then, the rod must be removed. If it is not replaced immediately, you can regain fertility relatively quickly. DOWNSIDES: The implant may cause

irregular bleeding, resulting in periods that are heavier and/or longer, or periods that are lighter and/or less frequent. WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IT: The

implant is a long-term, 99-percent effective option that’s easily reversible and estrogen-free.

 Vaginal Ring (NuvaRing)

 Transdermal Patch (Ortho Evra) WHAT IT IS: The patch is an adhesive,

about 1.75 square inches in area, that is affixed to your upper body, outer arm, lower abdomen or buttocks. HOW IT WORKS: It releases a steady

dose of estrogen and progestin. HOW IT’S ADMINISTERED: It requires a prescription, but is self-administered on a four-week cycle. You use a new patch once a week for three consecutive weeks. You don’t apply the patch on the fourth week, which causes menstruation to occur. BENEFITS: The patch doesn’t require

daily maintenance. When discontinued, it allows for a quick return to fertility. DOWNSIDES: You are exposed to a

WHAT IT IS: The vaginal ring is a flex-

higher level of estrogen than with combination birth control pills.

ible, transparent plastic ring that is in-

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IT: The

patch is 91 to 99 percent effective, regulates ovulation, and is easily selfadministered.

 Intrauterine Device (IUD) WHAT IT IS: An IUD is a form of long-

term birth control. It is a T-shaped plastic frame that is about 1 1/4 inches long. It has a string on the end so you can check that it is in place.

thing that is safe-use and will not affect their future ability to have a family when they’re ready to have a family,” Goldberg says. “For someone that’s looking for longer-term contraception and looking for something easy to use, it’s a great new form of birth control.”

  Barrier Methods

After sterilization and birth control pills, barrier methods are the most gestin; ParaGard releases copper. common forms of contraception. It’s Both work to prevent the sperm from important to note that, of all methods reaching and fertilizing an egg. They of contraception, only the male latex0. also prevent a fertilized egg from succondom is proven to help protect you cessfully implanting in the lining of the from the spread of HIV uterus. and sexually transmitHOW IT’S ADMINISted diseases. The feAn interactive online TERED: Both types of male condom also may tool, accessible on IUDs require insertion offer some protection. the Association in the uterus and reof Reproductive Health WHAT IT IS: Barrier moval by a health care Professionals’ website, methods, which incan help you find the right provider. clude diaphragms, contraceptive options to BENEFITS: Mirena can cervical caps, spongfit your lifestyle and usage remain in your uterus preferences. Visit arhp. es, male and female org/MethodMatch. for up to five years. It condoms, and spermireleases progestin dicides, prevent sperm rectly into your uterus, from passing through so your entire body isn’t exposed to the cervix to fertilize an egg. hormonal effects. ParaGard can reHOW IT WORKS: Diaphragms, cervical main in your uterus for up to 10 years. caps, and sponges cover the openAfter IUD removal, you typically can ing of the cervix and are used in return to fertility quickly. conjunction with spermicide.

Photos: NuvaRing,Courtesy Nuva Ring; IUD, Dorling Kindersley/GettyImages; Woman with patch, Ruth Jenkinson/GettyImages; Condom, GÉnay Mutlu; Contraceptive sponge, Peter Ardito/GettyImages.

HOW IT WORKS: Mirena releases pro-

DOWNSIDE: If you do get pregnant un-

intentionally, you are at a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy when using an IUD. WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IT: The

IUD is a very long-term, 99-percent effective, reversible option. ParaGard offers these benefits without hormones. Pending lawsuits claiming some types of IUDs are defective or dangerous should prompt a frank discussion with your doctor if you’re considering this form of birth control. A new form of IUD, called Skyla, was made available to patients earlier this year. Though smaller in size, the device works similarly to Mirena, offering an IUD that releases progestin, though only for three years. “It’s great that there is now an IUD that is actually smaller and easier to insert in younger women and women that have never had any babies before. It’s someNOTEWORTHY:

when used correctly and consistently. The male and female condoms can prevent the spread of STDs. NOTEWORTHY: For patients who are at risk for STDs, having protection from infection shouldn’t get forgotten in the need to have protection from unplanned pregnancy. By ignoring the need to use a condom, regardless of your using another form of birth control, you may be risking your future fertility. STDs like HPV, gonorrhea and chlamydia, can have long-term consequences that can lead to infertility, Goldberg says. “I always stress to my patients that you can’t tell by looking at someone whether or not they have an STD… so you always need to protect yourself from STDs,” he says. “[Another birth control option] will protect you from getting pregnant, and it’s great as a backup form just in case a condom were to break if there’s a problem, but it really shouldn’t lead to where you are comfortable not using condoms.”  HL Barrier methods include condoms and contraceptive sponges.

Condoms form a physical barrier against the sperm. HOW IT’S ADMINISTERED: Diaphragms and

cervical caps must be prescribed and fitted by a health care provider, though you insert them yourself before intercourse. The sponge, spermicides, and female and male condoms are available without prescriptions. BENEFITS: These options are free of

hormones and used only before intercourse. Effectiveness can be unpredictable, though incorrect and inconsistent usage often contributes to failure. DOWNSIDE:

WHY

YOU

SHOULD

CONSIDER

IT:

These hormone-free options range from 80 to 98 percent effectiveness

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family health

Medicine Cabinet

Must-Haves make sure yours has these items by stacy davis and rebecca haynes | photo by krista hicks benson

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A

properly stocked medicine cabinet can get most of us through life’s little emergencies as well as help us feel better when the flu or sniffles strike. But with so many products on store shelves, how do you make sure you’ve got what you need to be prepared? We spoke with several area physicians about what they keep in their medicine cabinets and they shared their expert advice. “I’ve got three kids under the age of 7 so I’m thinking about what I’ve needed recently,” says Dr. Chris Davison, medical director of the emergency department at Greenwich Hospital and a specialist in emergency medicine. “Definitely Band-Aids — maybe even those little steri-strips you can get over the counter these days. That’s a definite.” Another definite, he says, are fevercontrol medications. “That would be Tylenol and/or Motrin, and definitely a thermometer.” Digital thermometers that take readings from the ear, forehead or temple are OK if you can’t tolerate something under the tongue, he says.

“Personally, I like the good old-fashioned oral thermometers and certainly if you have a young child you might want to have a rectal thermometer on hand. Both are straightforward, easy to use and get the job done.” Davison also recommends a list of emergency phone numbers taped somewhere inside the medicine cabinet. “Sometimes, when you’re anxious and trying to deal with whatever’s happening, you don’t want to be scrambling around trying to find the doctor’s number,” he says. “So I’d recommend maybe taping on the inside of the [cabinet] door your pediatrician’s number and the number for your primary care physician. Also poison control. That could be very helpful.” Want the go-to list of what should be in your medicine cabinet? Read on for the top 10 items recommended by Davison as well as the other experts who spoke to HealthyLife: Dr. Michael Schwartz of Soundview Medical Associates in Darien, Dr. Pamela Randolph of the Norwalk Medical Group, and Dr. Donald Sampson, clinical director of the Samaritan Health Center in Danbury.

 An antibiotic cream,

 Imodium, for relief

of diarrhea, which can cause dehydration.

 Thermometer!

Davison recommends the old-fashioned, under-the-tongue type.

such as Bacitracin or Neosporin, which reduces the chance of infection in a cut or scrape. Although these types of wounds often heal better when they’re dry, Davison says, it’s a good thing to use these antibiotic creams for the first 24 hours.

 Tweezers, a must-have, especially

 Fever reducer, including acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

here in the Northeast, Davison says. He recommends having two types: the typical slanted-tip as well as a fine tip. “You need them for splinters, but in this geographic area, more so for ticks. You definitely want something with a fine tip that enables you to grasp either.”

 Antacids such as

Tums or Prevacid.  Adhesive

bandages — a must-have!

 Robitussin

and Mucinex, or similar medicines to relieve coughs and loosen the mucus that causes chest and nasal congestion.

 Benadryl, an antihistamine, can lessen symptoms of allergic reaction, such as hives, Davison says. And for more acute reactions, it can buy time needed to get to the hospital, adds Schwartz.

 Itch-relief products. Cortisone creams and a

bottle of calamine lotion or aloe vera are great to have, advises Davison, who says both can offer relief from insect bites and poison ivy or oak.

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owner’s manual

Your uterus

— a primer

fallopian tubes

uterus ovary

ovary

compiled by linda tuccio-koonz cervix

T

he uterus, or womb, is hollow and pear-shaped and is one of the few organs that makes us uniquely female. Its main purpose is to protect and nourish a developing fetus, and then go through a series of contractions to push the baby out when it’s time to be born. Its narrow, lower portion is the cervix and the broad upper area is made of three layers of tissue.

Photo: Woman, rubberball/GettyImages; Illustration: © Madartists/Dreamstime.com.

The uterus’ middle layer (myometrium) is muscular tissue that expands during pregnancy to hold the fetus and contracts during labor to deliver the child. The outer layer (parametrium) also expands and contracts. The inner layer (endometrium) thickens each month to receive a fertilized egg, but sheds through menstruation if that doesn’t happen.

The uterus is found in a woman’s lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum.

The first sign of uterine disease is often bleeding between periods or after sex.

Endometriosis is a painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of it. It most commonly involves the ovaries, bowel or tissue lining the pelvis, and can affect fertility.

Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecological cancer in the U.S. It originates in the uterus’ inner lining and is found in its earliest stages by women who see their

doctors at the first sign of abnormal vaginal bleeding. Other symptoms can include postmenopausal bleeding, difficult or painful urination, or pain during intercourse.

Uterine fibroids are relatively common noncancerous growths and are usually discovered during a pelvic exam or ultrasound. They seldom need attention, but can require emergency treatment if they cause sudden, sharp pelvic pain or heavy menstrual bleeding.

Uterine prolapse happens when the pelvic floor muscles stretch and weaken, causing the uterus to drop down into the vagina, and in some severe cases, outside the vagina.

For uterine health, eat a balanced diet and exercise; walking is great. Diet should include high-fiber foods and plenty of fluids to avoid constipation. Reduce fat intake by choosing lean cuts of meat, and limit use of added fats such as butter and oils.  HL

For additional information on the uterus go to

www.healthylifect.com

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heartbreak

the physiology of heartbreak by elizabeth keyser

Hurts H

e told me it was over at lunch. We were sitting on the grass in the park, eating sandwiches. Thirty years later I don’t remember his words, but I’ll never forget the pain. Heart pounding, stomach clenched, nerves a jangle, vision blurry with tears, I made my way back through the crowded sidewalks. I rode up the elevator to my office on the 25th floor. “I’m sick,” I said, “I have to go home now.” The emotions of that breakup stayed with me for a long time. I felt cast out of a life of possibilities and alone in a cold, dead world. Nothing could make me feel happy again. I couldn’t sleep or eat. I fell into a depression. Thirty years later (and happily married for 15 of them), when I think about that rejection, my heart still tightens, temples constrict, eyes mist. Most of us have been through it — the broken state that is the very opposite of the dream of love. But heartbreak isn’t just a torment of the mind. It physically hurts and can even kill, say doctors. “It can be a significant trauma,” says Dr. Henry Roca, director of Integrative Medicine at Greenwich Hospital. Roca uses the Native American concept of soul loss to describe the

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heartbreak

Mending a Broken Heart Dr. Henri Roca, director of Integrative Medicine at Greenwich Hospital, offers the following tips to help mend a broken heart:  Look inside yourself to see what underlying belief structures the breakup triggered.  Get the stress out of the body. Go from internal to external — exercise will help dilate your blood vessels.  Seek other therapies used to treat Post-Trau-

matic Stress Disorder, which also can be useful here.  Check for any B vitamins and mineral deficiencies, as well as any inflammation or an imbalance of mood, all of which can reduce brain plasticity, which will make it more difficult to recover from heartbreak.

perception of the heartbroken that they have “lost the foundation of their world view.” The experience can be so intense, “it can solidify itself and affect brain plasticity.” Heartbreak can reinforce every bad thing we think about ourselves and our place in the world. And whenever we think about the breakup, we evoke those thoughts. “It’s quite a complicated thing,” he says. By definition, the heartbroken person is the one who didn’t want and wasn’t prepared for the breakup. The one who didn’t have a choice. Sarah La Saulle, a marriage and family therapist who cowrote Healing a Broken Heart: A Guided Journal Through Four Seasons of Relationship Recovery, says people who have had losses or trauma earlier in life will have a harder time recovering from heartbreak. “Their nervous system remembers,” she says. “It gets very activated, overwhelmed.” When I got dumped, my body had what a doctor might call an immediate adrenal stress response — my adrenal gland released adrenaline and cortisol. My heart rate and blood pressure rose. Cultures the world over use words such as “pain” and “hurt” to express both physical pain and social rejection, notes a recent study that showed that the brain associates physical and emotional pain. The same parts of the brain (the secondary somatosensory cortex and the dorsal posterior insula) lit up when a hot probe was placed on subjects’ forearms and when they looked at a photo of and thought about a person who broke up with them and by whom they

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felt intensely rejected. The March 2011 report by Ethan Koss, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, found “a neural overlap between physical pain and the emotional pain of intense social rejection.” In fact, as strange as it might sound, Tylenol or acetaminophen can provide a temporary relief from heartache. It fools the brain, experts say.

A

nd you’ve heard the saying that someone died of a broken heart. Well, it’s not just an old wives’ tale. Doctors have discovered a new disease some call brokenheart syndrome. Symptoms mimic a heart attack, with chest pain and shortness of breath that sends you to the hospital. The heart muscle is weakened and the sufferer (90 percent of whom are women) can become very ill. “You can be on death’s doorstep,” says Dr. Harvey Kramer, director of Cardiac Disease Prevention at Danbury Hospital, “but it’s like a miracle. The overwhelming majority fully recover, within a month or two.” Broken-heart syndrome, called takotsubo by many doctors, is named after the flared flasks used by the Japanese, who first identified the disease in 1990, to trap octopus. It differs from a heart attack in that the arteries are not blocked and a different part of the heart is damaged — the mid-portion and corner of the heart, which balloons into a shape of takotsubo. Takotsubo disease represents just one to two percent of cases of what appear to be typical heart attacks. But Kram-

The Glenholme School

er says he and his colleagues are seeing more of it at Danbury Hospital — probably because they know what it is. It wasn’t until around 1995 that doctors in the United States started to recognize and label it, he says. Takotsubo is similar to stress-induced cardiomyopathy, which is caused by major stress such as the death of a loved one, financial problems, a car accident or major illness. How does stress lead to heart-attack-like conditions? Doctors don’t know for sure, but “people studying it posit that it might have to do with adrenaline, what we call catecholamines,” says Kramer. “When the body discharges a ton of them, it causes the blood vessels to constrict.” People suffering from takotsubo disease have two to three times higher catecholamine levels than those having a real major heart attack. “Adrenaline is what makes the heart be stunned and feel pain,” says Roca. “People truDoctors have ly feel a pain in their heart.” Heartbreak doesn’t send discovered a most people to the hospital. Yet recovery can be a slow process. We often take comfort in friends and family, but some call they can grow impatient. “After a while, people don’t want to hear it,” says La Saulle, “They say, ‘It’s been 3 months, oh, get over it.’” Healing a Broken Heart is designed to “help comfort people, to ease the suffering” by helping them process the loss, she says. “The reason Sharon Kagan and I wrote it like a journal is that people get into an obsessive state and can get into a repetitive way of thinking. This is a way to process it without going into those patterns.” Roca uses biofeedback to help patients see the connection between their hearts and minds. “I look to find other experiences to replace or dampen down” those unhealthy thought patterns, he says. “People get stuck in a pattern of hyper-arousal. They have trouble sleeping. Their minds continue to wander and perseverate.” (Perseverate means repeating or prolonging something that was done, thought or said long after the prompting stimulus ends.) The largest challenge is that the broken-hearted continue to perceive things that cause stress as life-threatening. Roca urges his patients to “check in for a reality check.” Where are these feelings coming from? What is, in fact, actually happening? Usually, the stressor is not lifethreatening. It’s not easy to change, but “Over time, one learns to do it,” Roca says. We have to. A broken heart is life-threatening. But, notes La Saulle: “You can get over it.”  HL

Photo: Hearts, PhotoAlto/Ale Ventura/GettyImages; Sad woman, Jamie Grill/GettyImages.

new disease

broken-heart syndrome.

The Glenholme School combines a traditional boarding school experience and a therapeutic atmosphere complemented by a positive motivational program, devoted to young people who struggle with Asperger’s, depression, anxiety, and various learning differences. The school offers challenging extracurricular courses to instruct students to achieve competence, socially and academically. With an education based in strong character values, the graduates of Glenholme matriculate to colleges and universities and go on to meaningful careers. Enrollment is open for Glenholme’s middle school and high school, and post-secondary and summer programs. Contact the Glenholme Admissions Office Phone: (860) 868-7377 • Fax: (860) 868-7413 admissions@theglenholmeschool.org 81 Sabbaday Lane, Washington, CT 06793 www.theglenholmeschool.org Devereux Connecticut

summer hair

Pretty Up Your

Ponytail take your hair from boring to beautiful with these tips by jennifer parris

T

he ponytail is the busy woman’s best (hair) friend. Scooping your hair up and tying it back is by far the fastest way to style it, especially if you’re rushing out the door to do the AM drop-off, dashing off to the gym, or heading into work for an early morning meeting. But it’s super easy to glam up your ponytail beyond the boring pullback-and-tie. “The ponytail is still by far one of the most popular hairstyles,” says Quinn Carroll, a stylist at the Christopher Noland Salon & Beauty Spa in Greenwich. “It’s very versatile with lots of options to dress it up.” The major trend with ponytails is to keep them looking soft and natural. “Even if it took you 15 minutes, the idea is that the ponytail should look effortlessly delicate,” says Carroll. One of the best ways to wear your ponytail is to the side, which is more stylish than its traditional sister style of pulled back and to the center. By adding extra hair around the side of the face and neck, “the side pony makes for a loose, casual look,” Carroll says, adding it also can be worn high or low, depending on your personal style and length of your hair. Jennifer Devine Pirozzoli, owner of Devine Beauty in Bridgeport, loves the look of a well-styled ponytail. “I’ll first pull the hair into a ponytail and then use hot rollers to give the back more volume,” says Devine Pirozzoli. “A great time-saving tip for moms in the morning is to put the rollers in while they get their kids ready for school.” Once heated, remove the curlers and either leave the hair full of finished curls or tease them for a messy but pretty ponytail look. If you’re looking to perfect your ponytail, you should also

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healthylife

  Star ponys

 

consider giving it some poof. Section off the hair around your crown into one-inch pieces. Taking a fine-tooth comb, tease each section, then gently brush it up and back into a ponytail. “It will add some volume, which looks good on everyone,” says Carroll. Or leave the teased section out, softly brushing the hair back and securing it with bobby pins for added height. But that doesn’t mean you should slick it all back. “Slicking your hair into a tight ponytail is not flattering for most faces,” says Devine Pirozzoli. “You need some volume in the front and on the top.” If you do opt to keep the ponyThe major tail flat to your head, use some styling with ponytails is to product to avoid flyaways and frizzies from popping up. And be sure to part keep them looking your hair to the side — not down the middle — to avoid a severe line framing your face.

trend

Nicole Kidman

soft and natural.

I

f you’re rocking bangs and think that you can’t wear a ponytail for fear of looking like you’re a 12-year-old, think again. Simply slick your bangs to the side and clip with a bobby pin for a cute look. Or tease up your bangs (instead of the hair around your crown) and spray to add body to your look. When tying your hair back, opt for elastic bands that don’t contain metal. If you have fine hair you should use a thinner elastic; a thicker one if your hair is fuller. “The elastic has to be tight enough to keep your hair in place,” says Carroll. “Otherwise, your ponytail will keep falling or just come out completely.” But never, ever use a rubber band to tie your hair back. A rubber band can break, or worse, get snarled in your hair. You’ll wind up having to cut it out — along with some of the tangled hair. To avoid having the elastic show — and make your ponytail look nicer — hairstylists recommend using your own hair to cover the band. To achieve this, take a small section of your hair out from the ponytail and wrap it around the elastic for a more finished look. If you don’t have a lot of hair but love the ponytail look, you can always add a clip-in ponytail or bun from popular hair product lines such as Hair U Wear or HairDo from Ken Paves. “It helps give you added length to make for a more glam ponytail,” says Carroll. Ponytails can be accessorized in lots of versatile ways. If you’re a glitzy gal, you can always add a cute clip, rhinestones or a flower for an added wow factor. Some stylists, like Pirozzoli, add crystals to the hair, which lasts for several shampoos. Or you can even braid your hair into an inverted French braid on one side to add volume. Ponytails are limited only by your imagination. How you wear one — and where you choose to take it — is totally up to you.  HL

Update your look by wearing a side ponytail and sweeping the bangs to the side.

Jennif

er Anis to

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Poofing the front with back-combing before putting it up makes the ponytail look less se vere.

Jennifer Morrison

Use y own hour wrap air to and c around the h over up airban d

Amy Ad ams

flair Add a clip with

Jennifer

Garner

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ask emma

Stop and Smell the

Roses

slowing down is easier said than done by emma tennant

Photo: © iStockphoto.com; Lise Gagne.

I

can be a terrible hypocrite. I have a client I’ll call Alexandra, who is a workaholic if I’ve ever met one. Her day begins at 5 a.m. with a run, which she hates but feels she must do to stay slim. She is at the office by 7:30 and leaves 12 hours later, staying up until midnight reviewing files. On the weekends she gardens — a garden that by her description would rival the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens in scope and expense. Her complaint: “I have no life.” “So, what if you just did a little less?” I ask. The anxiety on Alexandra’s face is palpable. I can’t, I’ll lose my job. I can’t, I’ll get fat and never get a boyfriend. I can’t, my garden means everything to me. So, I relax into my chair and say things like, “You know, nobody is going to remember that you were so busy all the time. Nobody will thank you for working 80 hours a week.” I understand that for Alexandra being busy means being wanted, and it absolves her from an underlying feeling of guilt about being unworthy. She believes that if she works hard — relentlessly — and does all the right things, plants the right flowers, gives to the right charities, either the right man will come along and reward her with love, or the parents that she wished she had had will suddenly change their characters and say, “Alexandra, you’ve done enough. You’ve won our love. You can rest now.” She works now in the hope

...for Alexandra being busy means being wanted... of buying peace in the future. I can see that so plainly. But I am also up at 6:30 in the morning, for a commute to my office where I see patients until as late as 11 p.m.; I am on the board of nonprofits so ridiculous they should disband at once; I agree to write press releases for a friend who can’t pay me; I walk my ex-boyfriend’s dogs when he is away; I check my iPhone for e-mails roughly every 3 minutes. I, too, have no life.

I

do think in part that our lives — smartphones being the biggest culprit — have turned us into 24-hour productivity generators. There is no reason not to reply to a patient immediately with an e-mail. There is no escape from doing, and the willpower it would take to say “Oh, maybe I’ll get to it later” is so counter-cultural that it would be like standing in the middle of the interstate, expecting the traffic to turn around and go the other way. And there is in me, too, the hope that someday I will do enough, work enough, write enough, be a good enough friend, that I will feel OK about myself— completely free of the nagging, persistent sense of incompleteness that I believe is in fact our exis-

tential inheritance and can never fully be satisfied. What troubles me is that I think it is all catching up with me, as it is with Alexandra. The wheels are turning faster, not slower. It’s harder for me to say no. I’m beginning to forget what it is I want from life. So I’m forcing myself — yes it seems that slowing down will also be another job I need to do. The difference is that it may be an essential job. There is a little bird sanctuary near my office — a small pond, a path that goes around it with a small, roofed pagoda that extends over the pond. I make myself go. I hate it for the first five minutes. I walk. I itch to read my e-mail. I worry that I’m missing a call. Then I see a heron suddenly burst out of the brush at my feet and fly in slow motion over the pond with a frog in its beak. At the pagoda, as I lean on the rail, the wood ducks glide over to see if I’ll feed them, and then glide away. The painted turtles come out and sun themselves on a log. There’s the shrill chipping of a woodpecker. Once, I saw a young hawk swoop down and take a squirrel in front of me. I sit. I breathe. I remember who I am — that I’m limited, basically human, never perfect, but for that minute or two, I’m OK, I think. HL E-mail your questions to askemma@ healthylifect.com and check out her blog at www.healthylifect.com.

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brain power

Biofeedback: A Different Kind of Personal Training by laurie lynn fischer

J

oanne Mortimer suffered for years from migraine headaches. Then, she took a psychology elective in biofeedback during her senior year at Drew University. “I went through the training and never had another migraine,” the Greenwich resident says. Now a licensed mental health counselor, Mortimer has been using biofeedback professionally since 1983 with everyone from 6-year-olds to senior citizens. During biofeedback training, your physiological reactivity is monitored and fed back to you, Mortimer explains. “When you monitor a body response and see it in an objective display on a computer, you, with the help of a therapist, can learn how to alter your responses,” she says. “As you continue to learn and practice, the old ways of reacting are replaced with new, healthier responses that become conditioned and natural. The feedback assists learning so you can recognize body signals without the instruments and self-regulate in daily life.” Feedback could take the form of anything from a line or bar graph to a computer animation, such as making a flower bloom, navigating a castle passageway,

healthylifect.com

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brain power opening doors, filling a ravine with water or launching a hot air balloon, Mortimer says. The feedback option depends on the activity and what will resonate best with the patient. “The feedback guides you to generating the positive response,” she says. “Biofeedback is far-reaching in the skills that can be learned.” For instance, biofeedback can be used for optimizing performance and addressing medical conditions, Mortimer says. It has been used to enhance focus, reduce anxiety, lower athletes’ heart and respiration rates and rehabilitate stroke victims, she says. The military has employed it to teach selfcontrol during battle and address post-traumatic stress, she says. Biofeedback is also highly effective in helping people manage anger and extreme feelings, Mortimer says. “When emotion is being repressed or is out of control, it can lead to behavior or physical problems and increased pain,” she says. “Learning to calm yourself improves the way you feel and function and may diminish the need for medications.”

P

hysical therapist Pamela Mongillo uses biofeedback to help incontinent patients at Bridgeport Hospital’s Ahlbin Rehabilitation Center. “It’s extremely conservative and completely safe,” she says. “I have some patients who

are trying to avoid surgery. Some people don’t like the side effects of medication.” She teaches pelvic floor muscle contractions. Patients practice and try it while wired to the machine. “The biofeedback gives them a cue when they’re contracting their muscle,” Mongillo says. “They can either hear an audio tone or see a visual display on the computer screen. Some patients find it helpful to see the visual display on the screen as they’re squeezing their muscle. It gives them positive reinforcement. It helps them know when they’re doing it correctly.” Patients come for an average of eight weekly 30- to 60-minute sessions, she says. By the time they’re through, they have enough training to continue on their own. They tend to be very happy and grateful, she says. “This is a really distressing, embarrassing issue that people do not want to talk about,” she says. “They are reluctant to make commitments to bring their grandchildren to events because they don’t know where the bathroom will be or they don’t want to leave the house because they don’t want to be embarrassed about wetting their pants. By learning what to do, they feel empowered. They gain control and confidence that they can make it to the store and back without having an issue.”

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Kate Krumwiede, a stay-at-home mother from Weston, grappled with multiple symptoms for three years before trying biofeedback. “I could barely function,” Krumwiede says. “I’m going through menopause. I was having digestive problems, sleep issues, sinus issues, spinal problems and neck problems. I lost 48 pounds. All I could eat was plain food. I had to force myself to get out of bed. No doctor could diagnose anything that was wrong with me. I spent a year and a half getting tests done — endoscopies and colonoscopies. My gynecologist wanted me to go on hormone replacement drugs, but I don’t really like to take pills. The doctor was trying to get me to take anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs. I was allergic to them.” Her health turned around after her acupuncturist introduced her to Indigo, a biofeedback system invented by a NASA engineer. Krumwiede began with sessions three times a week at the Healing Center. She still goes for monthly follow ups. With offices in Fairfield, Bethel and Wilton, the center charges $125 an hour. Sessions generally last an hour or two. “You have a wire around your head, your wrists and your ankles,” Krumwiede explains. “It basically reads everything that is internally off in your body. What happens is your body eventually remembers. It has to be retrained. It’s absolutely amazing. I have had such success from it. My health has improved tremendously. Now I’m 99.9 percent back to normalcy.”  HL

Feedback is what you hear when you point an electric guitar at its amplifier. Biofeedback is a selftraining conditioned response process. Both involve electronics. Here are some of the best-known biofeedback devices:

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cyber tips

E-mail Etiquette by valerie foster

T

o the sages who say that death and taxes are the only certainties in life, I propose a third — never-ending e-mails. Love it or hate it, e-mail in some form is here to stay — a way for us to quickly communicate with friends and associates around the world. HealthyLife has come up with 10 e-mail etiquette tips guaranteed to make you a star. Hopefully, your business associates and friends will notice a difference and start using you as a role model.

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healthylife

Keep message short. Most people just 1.

don’t read long e-mails, says Heinz Tschabitscher, e-mail specialist for About. com. They skim them, he says, with important points getting lost in a sea of words. Fran Pastore, CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council in Stamford, agrees: “People are overwhelmed by what’s in their inbox.” But she also recognizes that sometimes e-mails must be long, for example, to recap a meeting or reconfirm a conversation. Start these messages by thanking the recipient for their time, then add “here’s what we discussed.” Keep points concise, clear and straightforward, using simple-tounderstand words.

2. The all-important

bullets.

Pastore says if you have a few points to make, using bullet points gives the recipient something to focus on. Tschabitscher says bullet points are just one tool for identifying the main points you’re trying to make. Bullet points or not, he says

the dos and don’ts of successful communication

the important point should be at the top of the e-mail, on its own. And if you have numerous points to make, Pastore says to send a few e-mails to address each topic.

3. Reply-all — or not? Tschabitscher says to only use reply-all when all of the original message’s recipients profit from your answer. If you do use it, he likes to add a comment for each recipient explaining why your answer is relevant to them. In other words: Think before replying-all. Pastore tells her staff to be judicious. She favors forwarding, which makes you think about who should be receiving the message.

4. E-mail take-backs! Hit send, and your e-mail is gone. Usually that’s fine, but then there are those times when you said something horrid about someone on the distribution list. Fairfield therapist Andrea Goodman suggests different ways to handle this. If it’s a work colleague you could see her face-to-face and tell her how sorry you

are. If she’s not close by, you could write an e-mail to apologize, or pick up the phone. “They might tell you they have been embarrassed, that your e-mail was hurtful and mean-spirited, and request that you put your apology out publically,” she says. “Then it comes back to you, whether you agree to do that or not.” Tschabitscher adds: “Apologize … and then grovel!” And Pastore says it’s important to remember that no one is perfect, and we all do things we wish we hadn’t.

5. Setting the tone.

“The most important thing for us all to understand is that there is a consequence for our words and tone, and that an e-mail is a document that can potentially hurt us,” Goodman says. “We all need to think thoughtfully about the impact of our words.” If you are writing a difficult e-mail, Pastore suggests writing it all down and saving it in the drafts folder. Wait a few hours, or even sleep on it. “Sometimes, we all need to get things

Tidy up that

INBOX!

With a little determination, you don’t have to drown in your e-mails. Here are PC Magazine’s suggestions for turning your email into a file cabinet.

company, says sometimes she expects one-word answers. For example if she asks an employee to do something, she wants an answer back saying the task will be done. But like any conversation, you know when you have accomplished your goal, and it is time to end the e-mail exchange.

9. Forward thinking.

off our chests, but if we wait a few hours we realize that we really do not want to send these words,” Pastore says.

Photos: GettyImages; Laptop, Richard Boll; Arrow, Jamie Farrant; Woman at laptop, Tim Denison.

6. Re-read? All three

say yes. Tschabitscher often resorts to the old trick of reading from the end of the e-mail to the beginning to catch the oddities he might have missed. Pastore always uses spell check, especially when she is working with Apple’s auto-correct, which types words it thinks you mean. And also reread the distribution list. Pastore sent a love note to another man, thinking she was sending it to her husband. “I got a response that said, ‘Fran, I am sorry I can’t make dinner tonight,’ with a line saying he thought I sent this to the wrong person. Thankfully he was a friend and we could laugh about it.”

7. The subject line? Tschabitscher says the subject line can be crucial,

especially if you are writing to someone who does not recognize your name or address. And it’s OK to write a boring subject line. Summarize the meat of the e-mail in three to seven words — no longer. It’s also OK to use a subject line over and over again. Pastore says she’s a stickler for subject lines that tell the story of the e-mail, which is why she often breaks up her multi-subject emails into numerous ones. It’s not only easier for the person receiving the email to read, she says, it also makes it easier to find information in your e-mail folders and to delete or archive old messages.

8. The last word. Some

people cannot help responding to every e-mail, even when no response is needed. Tschabitscher’s rule of thumb: “If it moves the conversation forward, then send one word.” Pastore, as the head of a

Before you forward any message, Tschabitscher says to clean up the body of the e-mail, removing extraneous texts, names and e-mail addresses. “Since few do this, it is an easy way to shine,” he says. And again, be careful with the distribution list, forwarding only to those people who need to see the information. “And please tell the person why you are forwarding the e-mail to them,” Pastore says. “If there is an action you want them to take on the e-mail, be sure to include that in your forward.”

Chains. Pastore never opens chain e-mails. Tschabitscher does, but says if you feel compelled to forward them to friends, they may start to overlook your personal messages. Also, if someone asks not to be included in a chain letter, take them off your list. And if it’s something you can check out, he suggests verifying that the information in the letter is correct.  HL 10.

Junk it! Each morning delete all junk mail without opening. If you realize later that you need that message, grab it from the trash. Reduce, reuse... If you write the same message over and over, recycle it. Just strip off the “Re” in the subject line and update the e-mail. Create a folder to store these messages; do the same with subject lines. Group mentality Create groups if you e-mail the same people repeatedly. For example, your team at work or your book club. Purge plan E-mails get away from everybody. If you have to delete, start by sorting your sent messages by file size or attachment. Delete what you don’t need from the top two tiers. Often, you’ve saved the attachments to your desktop and don’t need them in your e-mail. Tone it down Turn off alerts to new messages unless your job demands it. It’s distracting and unproductive. Unplug When you need to focus, turn your e-mail off. You’ll be amazed how much you will accomplish. Automate If you’re concerned that someone will be insulted if you don’t immediately reply, use auto-reply, explaining that you’re away from your e-mail for X amount of time. File, file, file Create folders in which to fil important e-mails. This makes them easier to find. Take out the trash Make a date to empty your trash — either daily (at day’s end) or once a week. Some e-mail applications have an auto daily trash dump that you can turn on.

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Showing ➺ consideration, even with the smallest gesture or act of kindness, can truly make a difference in the life of someone else.

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— HealthyLife Cover Model, Robyn Blosio Bova

spirit My Word 65

Clothes and Memories 66

Smile! It’s Good for You 68

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my word

Alone at Last! by megan willis

T

Photo: Rolf Bruderer/GettyImages.

here were no iPhones back then. The last time my husband and I went away without the kids, W was entering his second year in office and I was eight months pregnant. It was the fall of 2002. I know. The in-laws watched our 18-month-old for what would be our last weekend away for a long time. We found a hotel made of stone on the river in Montreal’s old city. It was the Auberge Vieux-Port. We walked to a fabulous dinner, where we hobnobbed with a bevy of bon vivants and, in the morning, we walked those cobblestone streets until I thought my uterus would fall out. We saw as much as we could possibly see of this beautiful city and on our last night we ordered in cheeseburgers and celebrated our good fortune and the miracle in my big-mama belly who was preparing for her coming-out party. In the morning we ventured down the boulevards and shops one last time and I became hypnotized by a store with brightly colored paper Moroccan lamps hanging from the ceiling. I wanted them all. I looked at my husband and our faces said the same thing: There will be no lanterns today. There will soon be diapers and onesies and baby Willis number two and that is good. ELEVEN YEARS, TWO TWEENS, AND ABOUT TIME Février 2013 (that’s “February” en français, Américains). We are way, way, WAY overdue for a trip away. Our babysitting options have all moved away and otherwise dwindled. Then, out of nowhere, we have an epiphany at Christmas brunch that results in making our nephew and his girlfriend an offer they can’t refuse. They are busy with a new baby and work, and live an hour away but “desperate” trumps “subtle,” and we pop the question. “We know it’s a lot to ask but would you guys ever consider coming up for a weekend to watch the …?” “Of course,” they amazingly reply. “Just tell us when.” Cue the excitement. After fantasizing about leaving the country we conclude that we just need to leave the neighborhood and decide on a destination: Saratoga. Close, fun, walkable and grown up. The week before departure, the weather forecasters begin catastrophizing an epic 20-year winter storm, the low

pressure of which launches a migraine epicentered in my left eye. The pain gains intensity all week, along with the frenzied predictions of snowpocalypse. Thursday’s forecast? Bad. Trains are shutting down and the city is reporting “waffle-sized snow.” Kübler-Ross grief stages set in: bargaining, anger, depression, denial, acceptance. “Maybe it won’t be so bad. Maybe we can still go Saturday. Let’s just wait until morning.” Friday. Despite widespread office and school closings, we once again dodge the bullet, even though the storm is sucking other portions of the Northeast into its vast snow hole. Call mission control; resume the countdown. We pack bags and cell phones and breathe sighs of relief. On arrival in Saratoga, our hotel room is promptly upgraded to a suite and we thank all known deities before heading to Max London’s for a big-girl, big-boy date. My migraine is peaking and I have to push on my left eye to counter the pressure, but I’d be out with my husband even if I had to carry my eyeball in my handbag. After eating, we tramp about in the beautiful snowfall that has begun and on the way back to the hotel we find the perfect dive bar stocked with both pool tables and a killer old-school jukebox. Despite grand plans of snowshoeing and ice skating, for the next 24 hours food is the only thing enticing enough to make us leave our hotel room. We rack up $100 in payper-view movies charges and laugh like idiots as we do. We order in filet mignon that we eat with plastic utensils, and it is good. MORAL OF THE STORY There are several. First of all, we have to do this way more often. Second, snow holes happen but we can’t let them suck our joy into their vortex. What could have cancelled our weekend wound up providing a George Bailey-like backdrop and, somewhere, an angel got its wings. Last and least expectedly, in an age where not being overscheduled leaves me bored and confused, I reaffirmed that sometimes doing absolutely nothing with my husband is the greatest thing in the world.  HL Want to see your essay here? Submit your ideas to editor Rebecca Haynes at rhaynes@hearstmediact.com.

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page header clothing tales

A Closet Full of

Clothes

and stories … and memories

by valerie foster

W

hen Chris Giordano of Fairfield puts on her Land’s End fleece jacket, she thinks of her mom. It was one of the last birthday gifts Giordano gave her, before her mom’s death six years ago. And although it’s a bit big for Giordano, she wears it with pride. “My mom was my sounding board, biggest supporter and fan,” she says. “When I wear the fleece, I feel like she’s giving me a big hug and telling me, ‘it’ll be OK,’ ‘that’s wonderful’ or ‘I’m so proud of you.’” Giordano’s feelings would not surprise Siobhan “Bunny” McDonough, who is so passionate about the memory/clothes connection she has written a book about it, My Mother’s Dressing Room. “My clothing and jewelry collection embodies my favorite memories, people and places,” she writes in

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her book. “Each piece comes from an experience, a period in my life that can be revisited when I put it on — creating memories of my own.” In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers coined the term “enclothed cognition,” referring to the influence clothes have on our psychological processes. They concluded that two factors influence us: the symbolic meaning we attribute to our clothes and our experiences when we wear them. Neither of which surprises McDonough. “I am passionate about my mother’s and my connection with clothes, and I love sharing that connection with her,” she says in a phone interview from her home in Vero Beach, Fla. “This is not a fashion book. It is more about how things can make us feel,

Photo: Getty Images. Woman with dress, Ralf Nau; Items on lawn, Nikki Bidgood.

how life can be enhanced through something like clothing. And when you think about it, clothes are the closest thing that touches our skin. We should feel passionate about the clothes we put on.” Growing up in Alexandria, Va., McDonough was a tomboy, the youngest child with three big brothers. But it was the hours she spent in her mother’s dressing room, first watching her get dressed, later having discussions about clothes and style, that formed her clothes consciousness. She describes the room as cozy yet sophisticated, a place for her mother to retreat from the commotion of raising four children. It was here that her mom would open her mail, read fashion magazines, and sip a late-afternoon cup of tea while soaking her feet in Epsom salts. “It was a safe haven for us,” she says. What makes McDonough’s book so fascinating is that while most of us have a closet full of clothes, how often do any of us think about the stories behind the clothes? Do you remember when you bought the piece? If it was a gift, do you remember who gave it to you? If it’s a hand-medown, do you think of the donor? McDonough knows the history of every piece of clothing she owns. Take her rabbit coat from the ’60s, which she bought for $29 in an antiques store in Maine, a purchase she is so proud of that she keeps the price ticket in the jacket’s pocket. Or the vintage moccasins with extensive beading she bought while working for the Associated Press in Carson City, Nev.

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nd she has other treasures, such as her white summer dress that her mom wore when she married McDonough’s dad in 1961. With a little tailoring, it has been transformed into one of her most revered pieces of clothing. Her nana provided some cherished milestonemarking pieces, including a signet ring in eighth grade, an add-a-bead necklace in high school, and her first string of pearls when she graduated high school. McDonough wrote the book not only to share her passion for clothes but to help people understand that clothes really can be much more than just something to cover our bodies. For example, when she travels, she steps out of the touristy areas, searching the local consignment, antique and specialty shops for something to buy that will remind her of the spot. Ann Clark of Fairfield takes this approach on her frequent travels. “I try to buy a pin every time I go away,” says Clark. “In fact, they are usually costume jewelry that don’t cost very much, but every time I wear them at home, I remember where I was when I bought it. And when people ask about them, it’s fun to talk about the special meaning.” Clark’s search for pins is exactly what McDonough advises people should do. “If you buy something that speaks to you, it will become a treasure. And that’s what shopping should be: a treasure hunt.”  HL

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your spirits

y p p a H ! e c a F

a n o Put

even a fake smile can help boost your mood by cari scribner

“You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.” — Charlie Chaplin

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e’ve all heard the old saw that when we smile the world smiles with us, but apparently there’s another reason to turn that frown upside down. Even if you use your fingers to prop up the sides of your mouth into a pseudo-smile, you’ll help banish those blues. Scientists have documented the physical release that happens when these facial muscles, along with the thin bones of the face, are moved. They found that smiling releases dopamine and serotonin in the brain, sparking a feeling of happiness. In other words, we can improve our physiological and psychological states by deliberately changing our facial expressions. “I believe in smiling, absolutely,” says Dr. Melissa Bonasera, a private practice psychiatrist in Westport and Newtown. “I take a holistic approach in my practice, and I highly endorse more smiling as a way to boost your mood.” In a recently released study by the University of Kansas, people were given stressful tasks while holding actual chopsticks on their mouths to form a smile. Another group of participants were asked to maintain a smile while completing the same stressful activity. (None of the subjects were told the true objective of the study.) When physiological responses were compared with the third control group doing the same stressful task, both genu-

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“If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it.”

ine and chopstickinduced smilers had lower heart rates and faster cardiovascular stress recovery than the non-smiling con— Andy Rooney trols. What can we take away from these study results? “Fake it till you make it” appears true when it comes to smiling. Dr. Vanessa Reda is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Stamford. She has conducted “smile therapy” sessions in which participants use smiling as the modality to improve mood. “I have people smile for a minute and a half, [and] then reflect on their experience,” Reda says. “People overwhelmingly report a more positive mood through the experience. There’s a tremendous body/mind connection, making smiling an excellent coping and self-soothing technique.” Being unable to frown — a variation on the smiling research — also affects mood. Researchers at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people whose ability to frown is compromised by cosmetic Botox injections are happier, on average, than people who have the physical ability to frown. The researchers administered a questionnaire about anxiety and emotional state of mind to 25 women. Half were able to frown while completing the survey; half had received frown-inhibiting Botox injections. The surprising results? Botox recipients reported feeling happier and less anxious in general, which scientists speculate could be connected with their inhibited ability to scowl. So, the next time you are feeling stressed, have a difficult task, or just wake up on the wrong side of the bed, smile for a while “The world and see how your mood can always looks change for the better. Geraldine Mills of Bethel brighter knows this works firsthand. behind a “I was born smiling and I’ve been smiling all my life,” Mills smile.” says. “When you smile, it lifts — Mark Twain your heart up.”  HL

No Bones About It!

LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE

Ronald A. Ripps, M.D.

D

elighted by the broad response we got from our grab bars ar ticle, I am compelled to publicize the most impor tant safety feature one can install in the home: light. In 2003, falls in people over 65 accounted for 12,900 deaths, 1.8 million emergency room visits, and 421,000 hospitalizations (the Centers for Disease Control). Elderly folks, especially those with failing vision (1 out of ever y 28 Americans over the age of 40), can become easily disoriented in the dark, which is when most of these falls occur. Night lights either come incandescent or LED. LEDs have a number of advantages over the older incandescents: they use 10% as much energy, they are brighter, they last 25 times longer, and, most impor tantly, they are cool to touch and won’t burn little fingers. (US Consumer Product Safety Commission repor ts about 10 cases a year

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of fires possibly having been star ted by incandescent night lights). Night lights should be installed in the bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, and the kitchen. In stairwells the night light benefit can be enhanced by putting a reflective strip on the edge of the steps. Illuminated toggle switches on the walls help night walkers find the light switch, and some night lights come with a batter y so they continue to work through power outages. Most night lights today come with a photo sensor, but they also make some with motion sensors that turn the lights on and off automatically. The night light should only be so bright that one can discern the general layout of the room - to identify obstacles or stairs - and not to interfere with sleep. And just enough to allay childrens’ fears about all those “things that go bump in the night.”

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cover model

up close with...

Robyn Blosio Bova R

by rebecca haynes  |  photo by krista hicks benson

obyn Blosio Bova doesn’t come across as someone who likes to toot her own horn. In fact, you’ll see her biggest smiles when she’s talking about her family and friends, or the people she’s gotten to know through her real estate career, her many years as a dance teacher, her love of fitness and helping others attain it, and the volunteering she does for Backyard Humanitarian. A Stamford native, she and husband Paul are celebrating their 20th anniversary this July and have three kids, a boy and two girls ranging in age from 14 to 18. Their oldest, Paul Jr., has enlisted in the Navy, which gives our July/August cover model another title she wears with pride — Military Mom. At 42, Bova stays fit by changing up her exercise routines and focusing on a healthy diet. “Monday through Friday afternoon I’m very careful about what I eat — a lot of protein, healthy carbs and a lot of fruits and vegetables. I drink a lot of water — no coffee, no juices, no sodas.” But on the weekends, she eats what she likes, including their family’s Sunday Italian dinners. “My husband loves to cook, so if I want some of his homemade bread or a piece of cake or a bowl of pasta with his bolognese, I’ll have it.” Have you always been physically active? I grew up with three brothers and sports were a big thing. My parents put me in all kinds of girly things [dance, gymnastics and figure skating], but I played street sports in the neighborhood. And I started dancing at 2 1/2… [at the Dancer’s Loft in Stamford, where she eventually taught and became part owner before the school closed a few years ago]. You’ve also been a personal trainer? I was training while I had the dance school. I’m a certified kettlebell trainer and a fitness kickboxing instructor. I always had people coming to me for advice on how to stay fit. I would train some of my girlfriends and

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I did tons of reading and research. It was my love of helping people that prompted me to start [training others]. How did you get into kettlebells? My husband originally brought them to my attention… But I quickly realized everybody should be using them… They burn a lot of calories and actually incorporate cardio, weight training and flexibility all at the same time… After years of Paul and I training with them … we went and got certified and then decided we wanted to create a simple booklet to help people train without getting injured… our booklet and video [Body Strong: Kettlebell Blitz] still sell worldwide. So what are your favorite ways to exercise? It’s always a combination… My husband and I get up at 5 a.m. and go to Underground Fitness in Stamford where we do free weights. Or we’ll stay home and do kettlebells and sandbags, circuit training, and running or walking. And we still do some kickboxing [at home]. But after a few months we’ll change it up. Clothing and accessories provided by Saks Fifth Avenue, Stamford Town Center, 140 Atlantic St., (203) 323-3100, saksfifthavenue.com. Hair and makeup by the Christopher Noland Salon & Beauty Spa, 124 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich, (203) 622-4247, christophernoland.com; Ewa Marcinczyk, stylist; Zuzana Mizerova, makeup. Cover and inside model photographs taken at Stamford’s Harbor Point and Harbor Point Marina, aboard the Kialoa V.

(closer)

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Alice always enjoyed Main Street. She still does.

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memory impaired seniors. The familiar, comforting environment of small town Main Street is a site for interaction among residents and with staff. This community dynamic, along with specialized therapeutic programs, enriches and enhances the quality of life for older adults. The Village is located in New Canaan,Connecticut, where seniors from all areas are welcome for trial, short respite stays or long-term care. Find out more by calling Ginny Carroll at 203.594.5331 or visiting www.waveny.org.


HealthyLife CT July/August 2013