| PUBLISHER’S COLUMN
MSD & YOU Greetings readers and subscribers.
trust that your health and wellness in 2018 are off to a good start and that you are finding the content of H.U.G.E. Magazine of value to you and your family. We created this publication because we care about your health, wellness, and safety. The healthier you are, the more you can enjoy life and better serve our country. With that in mind, I’m proud to announce that H.U.G.E. Magazine is the National Media Partner of the Federal Employees Occupational Health Initiative. This initiative is sponsored by www.FreePhysical.org, an awareness campaign that is committed to increasing awareness about Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) such as pain, soreness, swelling, or other physical discomforts while performing daily work duties. The initiative is designed to allow eligible federal employees to get a free physical exam from an OWCP doctor without co-pays or deductibles of any kind. So please accept my personal invitation and challenge to you, our valued readers, to join in the effort to raise awareness about MSDs among federal employees. If you or a fellow federal employee is suffering from pain or discomfort, please encourage them to participate in this campaign and get a free physical exam. Someone else who cares greatly for your health, wellness, and safety (and everything else in your world) is National AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka who is this issue’s Cover Honoree. What a truly remarkable individual! We feel privileged in getting to know him and learning about his very humble beginnings as a third generation coal miner from a coal mining family. I know that you are going to enjoy his story! In this issue, we also shine the spotlight on another champion of unions,Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas’s 18th District United States Congress who believes in labor unions and supports our federal employees. Congresswoman Jackson Lee is as hard working and as passionate a Congresswoman as you will ever find at Capitol Hill!
It’s time to let you get started with this special issue. Good Reading and Good Health, Steve Levine
HEALTH UNDER GOVERNMENT EMP LOYMENT
Phone: 832-419-2814 Steve.Levine@HUGEMag.net Or Write: HUGE MAGAZINE P.O. Box 31186 Houston, TX 77231 See us on the web at www.HUGEMag.net
Executive Publisher Steve Levine Associate Publisher/ Editor/Creative Director Barbara Davis-Levine Graphic Design Lavinia Menchaca Malka Levy Photographers Gwen Juarez
Contributing Writers Mark Gardner J. David Cox Publisher’s Editorial Advisory Board Kennith Beasley/APWU Dena Briscoe/APWU Clifton Buchanan/AFGE-CPL J. David Cox/AFGE Dr. Jack Jensen
HEALTH UNDER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT (H.U.G.E.) MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED QUARTERLY BY SANAA PUBLISHING, LLC. THE MAILING ADDRESS IS P.O. BOX 31186, HOUSTON, TX 77231. THE WEB ADDRESS IS WWW.HUGEMAG.NET. THE DIRECT LINE FOR EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER, STEVE LEVINE IS 832-419-2814 AND HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS STEVE.LEVINE@HUGEMAG.NET. ADVERTISING RATES ARE ON REQUEST. BULK THIRD CLASS MAIL PAID IN HOUSTON, TX. POSTMASTER: PLEASE SEND NOTICES ON FORM 3579 TO P.O. BOX 31186, HOUSTON, TX 77231. ALTHOUGH EVERY PRECAUTION IS TAKEN TO ENSURE THE ACCURACY OF PUBLISHED MATERIALS, HEALTH UNDER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT (H.U.G.E.) MAGAZINE CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR OPINIONS EXPESSED OR FACTS SUPPLIED BY ITS AUTHORS. COPYRIGHT 2016, SANAA PUBLISHING, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED.
HEALTH UNDER GOVERNMENT EMP LOYMENT
On The Cover Richard Trumka
President of the AFL-CIO
26 Healthy Substitution Options for Your Next Meal
Richard Trumka President of the AFL-CIO
Sheila Jackson Lee – U.S. Congresswoman
Which Way to the Best Income from Here?
What Are MSDs?
Is the Federal Workforce Understaffed?
5 Ways to Rejuvenate Energy Naturally
Recipe of the Month: Black Bean Breakfast Bowl
Can Pets Benefit Your Health?
How Does Alcohol Affect Your Health?
Maintaining Good Bone Health
Nutrition Spotlight: Apples
Positive Mentality = Positive Health
| Cover Story
Richard Trumka President of the AFL-CIO A Champion of the Underdog, Always Finishing What He Starts
By Barbara R. Davis
rowing up in the little company town of Nemacolin, Pennsylvania, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka came from very humble beginnings…a family of extremely poor coal miners. Located in southwestern Pennsylvania, Nemacolin was a mining town that was built and owned by the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company. “Nemacolin was a mining town that was very much cast in us and them,” stated Trumka. “The miners lived in small houses in one area of town and the foreman, the president of the company, the mine accountant, and the superintendent lived in another area of town in much bigger houses that denoted the division between us and them.” Despite his lack of monetary wealth, Richard grew up rich in family values. The strong relationship he had forged as a youth with his father would have a strong impact on the man he would grow up to become…someone who would champion the underdog, someone who always finishes what he starts. Trumka recalled, “Both of my grandfathers were miners. My dad and his two brothers were miners, several of my cousins were miners, and I was a miner. When I was growing up, the mines were working five days a month; not a week but a month. And they would work you Monday one week, Tuesday the next, Wednesday the next, Thursday the next, and Friday the next. That was so you could never get a partial unemployment check. As a result, I grew up very, very poor. Even though the downside was that we were poor financially, the upside was that my dad was around a lot. I was able to spend a lot of time with him doing things together like gardening, walking in the woods, hunting, and fishing. Fortunately, I was able to really get the benefit of his learning, his wisdom, and different things over the years.”
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Following in his dad’s and grandfathers’ footsteps, Richard went into the mines when he became 18. “My dad was a union officer, and I got involved in the union right away. Very, very quickly I was elected Chairman of the Safety Committee. After that, I was elected to other local offices and became active in a group called Miners for Democracy (MFD). Our union back then, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), was quite autocratic,” reflected Trumka. “We had a guy who was president, Tony Boyle, and he was very, very autocratic. They would not give us copies of the constitution. They would not give us copies of the contract. We were told, ‘We will tell you when you have a grievance or when the constitution is violated.’” Richard continued, “A guy by the name of Jock Yoblonski started the Miners for Democracy, and we started saying we wanted to democratize the union. We wanted to elect the people who represented us, none of whom were elected at that time. We had an election in 1969, and we lost. Then on New Year’s Eve, 1969, Jock Yoblonski, his wife, and his daughter were murdered in their home in southwestern Pennsylvania in Washington County, a few miles from where I lived. It was ultimately proven that Boyle, the president of UMWA, had ordered those murders and was sentenced to three consecutive terms of life in prison. He eventually died while he was in prison.” The Department of Labor (DOL) filed suit in federal court in 1971 to overturn the 1969 UMWA election because of the unfair conduct and irregularities by the Boyle people. So, on May 1, 1972, Judge William Bryant threw out the results of the 1969 UMWA international union elections and he scheduled a new election to be held over the first eight days of December 1972. Additionally, Bryant agreed that the DOL should oversee the election, to ensure fairness. Over the weekend of May 26 to May 28, 1972, MFD delegates gathered including Trumka nominated, Arnold Miller, a former miner and leader of a black-lung organization, as their candidate for the presidency of UMWA. On December 22, 1972, the Labor Department certified Miller as UMWA’s
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka behind the podium at AFL-CIO 2017 Convention. Photo courtesy of the AFL-CIO
next president. The vote was 70,373 for Miller and 56,334 for Boyle. Miller was the first candidate to defeat an incumbent president in UMWA history, and the first native West Virginian to lead the union. Richard recalled, “After we elected Arnold Miller to be president, we democratized the union. It literally became the most democratic union in the United States, probably in the world at that point. In addition, the union saw something in me, perhaps, that I didn’t see in myself and they helped me go to college, Pennsylvania State University, where I got a Bachelor of Science degree in 1971 from Smeal College of Business. Then the union helped me go to law school.” After getting a law degree from Villanova University in1974, Trumka went to work for UMWA and served on their legal staff. He did just about everything he could possibly do from negotiating contracts, trying cases, and representing miners. In addition, he did products liability cases against corporations to make products safer, wrote regulations, and wrote laws. Trumka recalled, “I was like a troubleshooter. Any place there was a problem, that’s where I got sent to try to fix it or solve it.” A while later, Richard had a philosophical disagreement with the president that he had helped elect and returned to the coal mines. Once back at work in the mining community, Trumka rose quickly through the ranks, first serving as chair of UMWA Local 6290’s
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safety committee and, later, on the union’s International Executive Board, which is the highest ruling body. Then, his fellow board members began urging him to run for president of the International Executive Board, which he ultimately did, and was elected president in 1982. “When I ran for the Executive Board,” reflected Trumka, “I beat the president’s hand-picked candidate. I think I beat him 12-to-1. I got 12 times more votes than he got, and when I ran for president, I beat the incumbent 3-to-1, three times more votes. Then Richard began rebuilding and re-democratizing the union. Trumka’s popularity continued to rise and he was elected to three consecutive four-year-terms as president of UMRA. “Back then, the working people were under attack,” expressed Trumka, “and everybody was giving back, and giving back, and giving back. I drew a line and said, ‘We will not do any takeaway contracts.’ So, the first contract I negotiated, not only did we not give in, we actually made gains. This led to things turning around. Then the next time we had to strike it was against a company called Pittston. They were trying to take healthcare away from our members, our pensioners. Our credo in UMRA was that we took care of our members from cradle to grave and family thereafter.” “This meant”, continued Trumka, “that when our people retired, their spouse was
| Cover Story
In 2013, delegates to the 27th AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention re-elected Richard Trumka as President, Elizabeth Shuler as Secretary-Treasurer, and elected Tefere Gebre as Executive Vice President. These three executive officers continue the tradition of labor leaders by working tirelessly for the rights of working people, and by advancing social and economic justice causes. Photo courtesy of AFL-CIO
taken care of for his or her life time. But they were trying to take that healthcare away from the retirees. So, we struck for about 12 months and ultimately prevailed.” With Trumka’s leadership, they won the right for their pensioners to keep their healthcare. They also got the national contract plus a few other things on top of it. It was a complete success as they were able to turn it around. Most of the strike was in the state of Virginia. Amazingly, when they ended that strike, over 90 percent of the people in the Commonwealth of Virginia supported them and supported the cause that they were fighting for… healthcare for their retirees and their widows. “We were supporting about 350,000 pensioners and widows with healthcare,” reflected Richard. “If we had lost that strike, all of them would have lost their healthcare, and they would have been without. When I was elected president of the Mine Workers, we weren’t affiliated with the AFL-CIO. But I brought the Mine Workers back into the AFL-CIO along with the Auto Workers and the Teamsters. We all came back together, and I got placed on the Executive Board.
While Trumka was leading the fight against Pittston, they were also leading the fight against Apartheid in South Africa and did a Shell boycott. Even though the Mine Workers weren’t affiliated with the AFLCIO, Lane Kirkland, who was the president of the AFL-CIO at that time, named Trumka to head up the Shell boycott. They boycotted Shell to put pressure on them, and ultimately, they helped in causing Apartheid to fall. Richard personally went down and was a witness to the elections. He helped them draft their Constitution and things of that sort. Later, when the Mine Workers affiliated with the AFL-CIO, Trumka was named to the Executive Council which is the highest ruling body of the AFL-CIO. But the president then, Lane Kirkland, was totally focused on international things and the AFL-CIO was being attacked by just about everyone including those in the United States. Finally, a group of leaders affiliated with the AFL-CIO, including Richard, went to Kirkland and said, “You need to focus a little bit more on home. We’re not telling you not to do interna-
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tional things, because they’re important. But we are saying that you also need to focus on the workers here at home, your affiliates and their members.” Even after being confronted, Kirkland still didn’t redirect his focus. After trying to get him to change for probably a year or so, a group of union presidents that included Gerald “Jerry” McEntee from American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME}, George Becker from the United Steel Workers (USW), Owen Bieber from the United Auto Workers (UAW), and several others said, “We’re going to run somebody against him.” After the slate was drafted, John Sweeney from the Services Employees International Union (SEIU) was proposed for president and they wanted Richard to be the secretary-treasurer. Richard recalled, “I really didn’t want to. I was happy where I was. I was happy being president of the Mine Workers. I loved my job. I called my dad and talked to him and said, ‘Dad, they want me to be the secretary-treasurer on this slate.’ And my dad was very, very matter-of-fact.
44 years as a coal miner underground; spent 52 months in battle in World War II in the Pacific. He was just matter-of-fact, and he said, ‘Well boy, you started something, you got to finish it.’ That sort of made my decision. I replied, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ And I accepted the position. We ultimately ran, and we defeated the incumbent there as well and were elected in 1995. I continued to serve with John until 2009. In 2009, I ran for president, was elected, and I’ve been reelected twice since then. Even though Trumka is proud that they have more solidarity among unions and working people than they’ve had in decades, he aspires is to grow that solidarity even more. He has a clear vision about what he wants to accomplish. “I have some very defined goals. I want to give more people a voice on the job, to give every worker out there the right to collective bargaining, and to change the rules of the economy so that they don’t just work for the one percent, but they work for everybody, and everybody has an equal opportunity. It’s a good job for everyone in America who wants to work. And that means the freedom to bargain with your employer; that means a $15 an hour minimum wage; and that means economic policies that support full employment.” More of Trumka’s goals include healthcare and labor standards. “We believe healthcare should be a right, starting with ending the attacks on workers’ health plans, and expanding Medicare to cover everyone over 55,” shared Trumka. “We believe that there should be retirement security for everyone, beginning with expanding social security. We believe in investing in a future of good jobs with a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure program that has labor standards, prevailing wage. Back in the Depression, there was a bill passed called Davis-Bacon. Davis was a Republican, Bacon was a Republican, and Herbert Hoover who signed the bill was a Republican. But here’s what it did. They were using government money before that to come into a community and drive down wages. So, they were using tax dollars to lower citizens’ wages. Davis-Bacon said, ‘The government should
never use your dollars to lower your wages. They should pay the rate that is prevailing in that area or above so that they elevate the standard of living for workers and America, not be responsible for lowering it.’ That was a bipartisan support that did that. It was a good law then and it’s a good law now. When we talk about an infrastructure program, we want to make sure that Davis-Bacon or prevailing wage is there with the labor standards.” The final goals that Trumka would like to accomplish deals with immigrant workers. He stated, “There needs to be an end to terrorizing immigrant workers. That means restoring TPS and DACA protections in a comprehensive reform with a pathway to citizenship. It means a fair tax system, and that starts off with ending all tax breaks for offshoring jobs. And we want trade that works for working people, starting with ending the special corporate courts, and making labor rights enforceable. For example: Our economy is 72 percent driven by consumer spending. If you put money in the pockets of workers, they spend. When they spend, they create demand, when they create demand, they create jobs.” Trumka added, “We must do the same exact thing with the workers from Central America so that they can become consumers of our products. And we eliminate the wage differential, though the companies don’t move to Mexico and other Central America countries to get a wage difference. If they move there, it’s for other reasons. But we eliminate wages as the source of that. That’s good for their economy; that’s good for our economy. We want trade that does that. And we want the same thing that most American workers want...a fair shot at it, a good job, healthcare, security, to be able to send our kids to school, maybe buy a house, and sit back when we retire with a little bit of security.” “It’s not too much to ask,” states Trumka, “because we’re the richest nation on the face of the Earth, at our richest point in time. It’s not that we can’t afford good jobs, or healthcare, or retirement security. We can. We’re making decisions not to do it.
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This is an important point. They’ve tried for years to tell us that the economy is like the weather; there’s nothing you can do about it. But the economy isn’t like the weather; the economy is nothing but a set of rules. Those rules are made by the men and women who we elect, and those rules decide the winners and the losers. For three or four decades, the rules have been against us, against workers. We can change those rules and make an economy that really does work for everybody. We can do that, and we’re starting to see it happen now. Workers are coming together to do that exact thing.” One of the accomplishments that Richard is most proud of is the restoration of the solidarity of the labor movement. “We are more solidified than we’ve ever been,” states Trumka. “I instituted an economics program called Common Sense Economics that we’ve given to millions of workers so that they understand how the economy works. I’m very, very, very proud of that and all it’s accomplished.” Most appreciative of our nation’s government employees, Trumka had this to say, “Government workers are really the backbone of our country. From city halls, to state legislatures, to Washington, D.C., it’s their hard work that keeps this country moving forward. They wake the country up in the morning; they make it run all day; they put it to sleep at night; and they defend the country when it needs defending. Rather than being maligned, we should be thanking them for their public service and what they do to make our country effective, efficient, and better.” Richard Trumka has always been true to his values. He started off as a trade unionist and he will die a trade unionist. He is still fighting for the same ideals that his father and grandfathers fought for, the same ideals that his mother and grandmothers fought for. Trumka is a champion of the underdog, always finishing what he starts! Making a difference is ingrained in his DNA. There is no doubt that he will leave this place better than he found it. That’s all anyone can ask for, right?
Sheila Jackson Lee – U.S. Congresswoman
A Defender of Democracy and Champion of the Unions
By Barbara R. Davis
large portion of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s life has been dedicated to public service. From the time she began her career as an attorney, she worked with Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire and participated in almost every civic activity that she possibly could. Her reputation as a defender of democracy began after her appointment as a City of Houston Municipal Court Judge, then later becoming a Houston City Council member, to heading up very important City of Houston committees, and then finally her election to Texas’s 18th District United States Congress. As a teenager, after working in the post office, she developed her affinity for unions and as a Congresswoman, she has been a strong champion of them. Congresswoman Jackson Lee believes that more people should read the history of unions and understand the vital role they have played in improving the quality of people’s lives. Growing up in Queens, New York, Congresswoman Jackson Lee had a wonderful family life. Her parents and paternal grandparents were born in Jamaica and Panama. “I strongly support immigrants because my grandparents went to Panama and worked on the Panama Canal first, and then came to the United States and ended up living in Brooklyn, New York. My mother is a Floridian. I’ve had the privilege of spending a good amount of time with my
Photo provided by the office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
grandmother and big mother, which is my great-grandmother, in and around the St. Petersburg area. I am a child of wonderful inspirational parents and grandparents,” expressed Jackson Lee. “I had a unique opportunity to go to Yale University as part of the first class of women. Then I went on to law school and spent time in Washington, DC. After spending some time there, my husband and I moved to Texas where he is from. Not only is my husband, Dr. Elwyn Lee, a native Texan but my children were born in Texas, too. I’ve probably lived in Texas longer than I’ve ever lived any place else, so I consider myself a Texan.” After moving to Houston, Congresswoman Jackson Lee was uncertain how she and her family would be treated, but to her surprise, the reception couldn’t have been any warmer. “I think it’s important in this world to take pride in your heritage. Even more celebration is to be able to come from somewhere else then become part of an expanded community where you are welcomed,” explained Jackson Lee. “The litmus test, regardless where you’re born, is whether you’ve contributed, whether you’ve come to love the community, and whether the community comes to love you. I truly believe that is what I have gained
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from the wonderful people of Houston and Texas, that there’s more love than there is contempt or dislike. We certainly have divides, but there’s far more love.” Wanting to show her appreciation for the community’s inclusiveness and welcoming attitude, Congresswoman Jackson Lee became a powerhouse in community participation including almost every civic activity she could as a young lawyer, from United Way to the NAACP, to Black Women Lawyers, to the Houston Lawyers Association, to Texas State Bar, and to the Texas Young Lawyers. She was the first African-American on a Texas State Bar Board. If that wasn’t enough, she was also on the Board of United Way and the Houston Grand Opera. Congresswoman Jackson Lee’s community involvement became even more encompassing when she began working with Mayor Whitmire. Her reputation as a defender of democracy began after becoming a Municipal Judge, then later becoming a Houston City Council member, to heading up very important city committees, and then finally being elected to Texas’s 18th District United States Congress. She happens to be the first locally elected Houston official who went from the City Council to the United States Congress.
“I’m very grateful for the love, affection, and connectedness that we have in this community. I feel blessed by how they’ve treated my children. When I went on to the United States Congress, it was quite unique at the time as a wife and a mother, because it meant that I was away from them during the week,” reflected Congresswoman Jackson Lee. “I had to rely upon their wonderful father, my husband who is an academic and a leader at the University of Houston. So many friends, who I consider extended family members, contributed to my children’s growth and were so gracious to us. This reinforced my strong commitment to public service and being able to make a difference in people’s lives.” Dr. Elwyn Lee is a perfect match to Congresswoman Lee. Just like his wife, Dr. Lee is someone to be reckoned with. He is a Jurist Doctor and tenured at the University of Houston Law Center. He became the first African-American tenured law professor in l984. It was an interesting, challenging time. Even though he faced the uniqueness of being an African-American, he was determined not to be overcome by race. After becoming a tenured law school professor, he rose up to be Vice Chancellor for the system. Now he deals with institutional work as the Vice President for Community Relations and Institutional Access at U of H. Certainly, he’s an institution at the University of Houston. Congresswoman Jackson Lee’s Houston offices are in the Mickey Leland Federal Building. The late Mickey Leland was one of the first African-Americans to be elected as a Texas State Representative since Reconstruction. Later, he was elected as U.S. Congressman from Texas’s 18th District, the position now held by Congresswoman Jackson Lee. Besides being a great advocate on hunger and public health issues, he was also a member of the Postal Committee. Later, as the U.S. Congresswoman from Texas’s 18th District and successor to Congressman Mickey Leland, it was a nor-
mal fit for Congresswoman Jackson Lee to also celebrate and support the letter carriers and postal workers. Jackson Lee stated, “We’ve become great friends, and I want to thank them for their service. People sometimes forget the great history of postal workers. They were one of the first federal workers historically and they’re still going. I think it’s important to reflect that the postal workers’ unions have really made it better for the people who do the hard work in the postal system even before it became automated. As a teenager, I worked in the post office, so I have a close friendship with them. I’m so excited about the legislative work we did to save one of the last remaining operating post offices within the Houston community called the Southmore Street Post Office, off Almeda. I was able to pass legislation to name that post office after Mickey Leland. We’ve not yet had the ceremony. We’ve not yet had the name up. We’re going to get it done. I’m excited about that.” “I am a champion and believer in unions. I believe more people should read the history of unions and understand the vital role that they played in increasing and improving the quality of people’s lives. There’s a long litany of protections that were secured by unions from family leave, to decent hourly wages, to weekends, to paid vacation, to paid sick leave, to safety on the job, to rights to organize, and many others,” stated Jackson Lee. “There are about 34 elements of the workplace that have been decidedly improved because of unions. Unions advocate for OSHA, which has certainly heightened the ability for safe work places. It saddens me to see the conflict between unions and the business community because unions create happy employees, safe employees, employees who desire to come to work, employees who can send their children to college or trade school, employees who can pay to go on vacation, employees who can buy a home, and employees who can legitimately provide for their families.”
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Jackson Lee continued, “Unions provide space for civic participation and understanding of one’s government. Unions are supportive during times of tragedy and during times of disaster. Those who fought to rescue individuals during 9/11 in New York, we see them as firefighters and police officers, but they were members of the police union, the fire union. Not only did they fight to rescue, they fought to recover. They also fought to save their brothers who had been lost in this heinous tragedy. Unions are persistent and strong. In the instances that I’ve interacted with them, they believe in a great country and a good government. They believe in what’s good for all people, not just for themselves. I think unions have been badly misconstrued and defined poorly for those who don’t know. For example, the Teachers’ Union is not undermining education. What they want to do is to make sure that teachers are strong, happy, and compensated. Sadly, in some of our school districts, they’re talking about class sizes of 40 and 44 children, which is an impossible turnaround from what we had when we were insisting on 25 or 30 students in a classroom so that the children can learn. Unions are important to try and fix that. Part of it, of course, is not the school system’s problem or fault, it is because we have sorely underfunded schools. The advocates for schools have always been the teachers. When the teachers walk out, it’s because they’re not being compensated for the supplies they buy for the children’s enrichment, or they’re not compensated for the hours that they expend helping the children.” Congresswoman Jackson Lee believes that the same picture can be painted for federal unions. She is a big supporter of federal unions especially after she became a member of the Homeland Security Committee. She helped create the Homeland Security Department and the Homeland Security Committee. Following the Ranking Member, Congresswoman Jackson Lee is the most senior Democrat on the Homeland
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is a strong, outspoken advocate for all of our federal employees. Photo provided by the office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
Security Committee. All the jurisdiction that was given to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Homeland Security House Committee, and the Senate Committee, everybody was a federal worker. There were newly created positions. Jackson Lee stated, “We oversee the Secret Service, the ICE, the Customs and Border Protection, and the Transportation Security Administration. We have oversight over fire issues, chemical issues, and other first responder issues. Everybody who is involved in the oversight of security, we have jurisdiction over. We deal with airline pilots, flight attendants, the coming and going of airplanes, airports, and security at airports. A lot of that is impacted by government workers and, particularly, government workers in the backdrop of the 9/11 Terrorist Act and the enhancement of security for this nation. We have oversight over border patrol agents. Those are all federal workers. Certainly, I have concern about the rights and benefits of these individuals.” In the space of Homeland Security, Congresswoman Jackson Lee has a strong working relationship with the department and its personnel. She is the Ranking Member of the Transportation Security Subcommittee which has oversight over the Transportation Security Administration. She’s worked very closely with them. Congresswoman Jackson Lee thinks there is a need
to recognize the great work and diligence of the Transportation Security Officers. She explained that TSA Officers attended law enforcement training school in Georgia in 2015, but she believes that it’s important to extend their training and improve their professional development. She also thinks it’s important, since many of the new employees were children or babies when 9/11 occurred, that their mission must always be seen through the prism of understanding the terrible tragedy of 9/11. Jackson Lee stated, “They need to understand that they are standing as the sole protector from such a terrorist act happening again. When people understand their mission, when that’s part of their training, they become more committed and, certainly, more responsive to the importance of their work. If they understand the importance of their work, that helps them greatly.” Congresswoman Jackson Lee works a lot with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). Whenever its workers are in need, she is greatly supportive of them. She’s worked with the previous National President and current National President, J. David Cox. She’s had good relationships with their vice presidents as well. When they come for an issue, she is there to stand with them on that issue. Again, on TSA or TSOs, Congresswoman Jackson Lee meets with the heads of the
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agencies and talks about her chief advocacy, professional development and more staffing. She meets with TSOs across the nation when she flies into the different airports. “I want to publicly say to them that they have been extremely gracious and professional. When I see their needs that deal with training, I think it’s my obligation to do so. In addition, I try to be someone who takes on issues that others do not,” explains Jackson Lee. “In one instance, there was a suggestion by the Knife Association that a certain type knife be allowed on the plane. As I fly a lot, and I realize the close quarters of flying and the responsibilities of flight attendants and the pilots, I just thought a weapon that would be accessible inside the cabin was not the best idea, no matter what size it could be.” Jackson Lee elaborated, “I was probably the first and only member of Congress who took that issue on. I did not take it on with anger. I took it on with a concern for the employees, the TSOs, who would have to stand there and measure whether or not this was the size knife that one could take on. Frankly, I knew that they would be under siege. Once people heard that they could take a knife on, they would get there and invariably the knife would not be the correct size. I know that it would be a great concern. It wouldn’t be the fault of the policymakers who meant well, but the imple-
mentation seemed like a nightmare. I had the first press conference standing with the workers at Bush Intercontinental Airport and simply said, ‘Not on my watch.’ To my great appreciation, ultimately, others in Congress recognized that this was not a good idea and it went away. I was glad to know that. To bring knives on a plane was not really a good idea. It didn’t seem logical.” With respect to federal workers, the Congresswoman has supported issues dealing with their right to organize and petition and their right to have a union setting. She maintains that, although it is a different structure in the federal system, their importance should not be diminished because they speak for employees who cannot speak for themselves. In one voice, they can speak collectively about all the work conditions. Also, she recognizes the uniqueness of federal employees who don’t have the right to strike, per se, because they are considered essential. Congresswoman Jackson Lee thinks it is crucial that they have a voice and a representative, and
that representative should be respected. She believes they should have the right to discuss issues that are relevant and important to these workers. Congresswoman Jackson Lee believes in the Constitution in its purity and that everyone should have the right to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of access, and freedom of movement which the First Amendment provides. She believes in the entire list of the Bill of Rights, and that it is a sacred document of due process both in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. With that in mind, Congresswoman Jackson Lee thinks that unions represent the expansion of democracy to federal workers and reassures them that they have the rights, even as they are employed, to be heard and to have these protections so that the federal government doesn’t have the right to precipitously fire them. In addition, she believes that in non-federal settings, the private sector shouldn’t have the right to precipitously fire someone either, nor should one be subjected to punishing, grueling work where they’re injured at work
because they have no protections against long hours or poor equipment. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee believes that democracy does not thrive on its own. It must be constantly guarded, nurtured, and invested in. She believes that the idea of unions in the federal government is another contributing factor to democracy. “Democracy is participation. Unions believe in participation. They believe in equality. The federal workers through the AFGE are truly instruments of democracy by the role that the AFGE plays to ensure a process of freedom and democracy for federal workers,” remarked Jackson Lee. She believes that federal workers should not be bound by any restrictions that any other citizens would not be bound by. As a champion of the unions and a defender of democracy, Jackson Lee proudly stated, “Our nation remains great because of our institutional structure. Despite our early history of how so many of us were treated, whether it’s women or me as an African-American, the institutional structure has stood the test of time. I believe in this great country.”
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee often commits to attending several functions in a day and evening. She is seen here with Swapnil Agarwal of Nitya Capital and Karya Property Management, along with Barbara Davis-Levine & Steve Levine, Publishers of H.U.G.E. and Small Business Today Magazines, at an event honoring Swapnil’s accomplishments as an entrepreneur and contributor to the community. Photo by Genera Media.
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Which Way to the Best
Income from Here? People today are living into their 90s and 100s. Social Security was set up for people whose life expectancy was no more than the mid 60s. By Mark S. Gardner
The Social Security Act of 1935 was set up to provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits, to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health, and the administration of their unemployment compensation laws; to establish a Social Security Board; to raise revenue. For most Americans this accounts for most of their retirement income While every retirement is unique, we also believe many of today’s Pre & Post Retirees face the same concerns: preserving money, maintaining a lifestyle they enjoy and securing a lifelong income. Guaranteed Income: No Days off in Retirement Abe Lemmons, the outspoken college basketball coach, once quipped,” The trouble with retirement is you never get a day off.” This is perhaps more poignant now than ever. Today’s retirees are living longer and facing lengthier retirements. More than half (51 percent) of Americans retire between the ages of 61 and 65: meanwhile the life expectancy of a 65-year-old today is 85. That means, on average, people are looking at 20 to 24 years of retirement with many living much longer the number of Americans living 100 years or more is up 44% from 2000. Within the next five years, 11,000 Americans a day will reach retirement the expansion of defined contribution plans and declined of defined benefit plans/pensions (often featuring lifelong benefits) over the
past 20 years means that many of these people are looking for reliable retirement vehicles. As a result, the 2025 retirement market will top 25 trillion. While this community grows, so does the demand for products that provide the benefits unique to fixed annuities, such as guaranteed income. The general retiring public remains unfamiliar with these products, or how they perform. According to the American College’s financial literacy surveys, nothing about annuities is clear to consumers. While most pre-and post-retirees may understand the need for retirement income, they also want to understand how they can generate income. Five Fixed Index Annuity Benefits Guaranteed Income To help lead the discussion about benefits of these products, we outline five basic benefits of a fixed index annuity and how they produce guaranteed income. 1. Guarantee Protection- When one purchases an annuity, their premiums are guaranteed 100% protection from index volatility. This is especially important for risk adverse clients who are looking for reliable protection. 2. Index Crediting Options- In addition to the guaranteed fixed interest rate, the investor also may choose an index creating strategy that determines how interest is credited to the contract. Each year, clients can select a strategy based on their individual preferences and financial goals. Due to the annuity design, the contract is guaranteed to never lose value due to index volatility.
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3. Locked in Interest- any interest earned in the contract year is credited to the contract value and cannot be lost due to index volatility. 4. Tax-Deferred Growth- one also earns money without paying taxes on it unlike taxable investments, taxes are not paid until withdrawals are taken or income received. This allows the contract value to grow quickly while affording clients an opportunity earn interest on both the interest and premium over time. 5. Guaranteed Payments- Depending on the individual contract, clients have many income payment options, ranging from a lump sum to a lifetime of paychecks. Day In and Day Out Pre-and Post-retirees face a litany of questions. Retirement specialist are tasked with assisting and addressing the concerns and helping determine what solutions are in the best financial interest of you the client. One of the keys to determining this is helping them understand how retirement vehicles like fixed index annuities can work for them day in and day out retirement. Mark S. Gardner is a Managing Partner for RetireWellDallas. He has spent over four decades helping families with tax-advantaged strategies whether it is money management, annuities, life insurance or Social Security claiming strategies. Certified in Social Security Claiming Strategies (CSSCS) designation. “Your Money Matters” Check my episode out here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yehcEoE_hLI Mark S. Gardner 5307 E. Mockingbird Lane. Suite 900, Dallas, Texas 75206 Mobile: 214-762-2327 , MarkGardner@RetireWellDallas.com
Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and this adage also holds true for workplace injuries. Ensuring that there is a proper work procedure for preventing injuries not only saves money but lives as well.
onsistently among all workplaces, ergonomic hazards such as Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are a threat. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that one-third of workplace injuries are MSD related. Workers in all occupations and industries across the board can be exposed to on-the-job risks, including heavy lifting, repetitive bending, overhead reaching, pushing and pulling excessive weight, working in unnatural positions and odd postures, and performing the same tasks over and over. Exposure to known MSD risk factors increases a worker’s likelihood of injury. MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS Before we can begin preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders, it is important to know and understand the symptoms. MSDs are disorders, as the name suggests, that affect blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Some ergonomic hazards that can cause this disorder are: • Performing the same motions or tasks repeatedly • working in awkward positions • reaching overhead often • lifting, pulling or pushing heavy items
• These types of actions can lead to: • Tendinitis • Shoulder/Rotator Cuff Injuries • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome • Trigger Finger • Muscle Strains • Lower Back Injuries MSDs represent a common cause of absence from occupational jobs. Musculoskeletal disorders can rack up monumental costs for the public health system. Specific ailments may take a toll on different regions of the body and directly impact occupational work function. For instance, lower back disorders are often correlated to heavy lifting and carrying hefty loads to the point of muscle failure. Upper limb MSDs (disorders related to the fingers, wrists, hands, arms, elbows, neck, shoulders) tend to develop from long-lasting or repetitive static force exertion or can be intensified by these activities. The severity of these ailments may range from occasional aches and pains to a diagnosed disease. The frequency, severity, and duration of pain may be the result of acute overloading, a reversible condition, or you it may be an early sign of a serious health threat. ELIMINATING THE HAZARDS There are many small steps that can be taken in a workplace to make it safer.
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Start by identifying hazards and create a work policy that can eliminate them. If materials are stored on a higher shelf, consider moving them to a more easily accessible shelf. For moving heavy objects, make sure carts, and hand trucks are available to eliminate strain. Analyze the risks that all employees face and train them on better methods. Administrative controls are the next step in preventing injuries and eliminating hazards. These are essentially management decisions that are made to ensure the well-being of all employees. Scheduling plays a huge part because not having enough employees will put a strain on those that are working. Rotating workers between different assignments can aid in eliminating repetitive movements and avoiding overtime can help prevent fatigue. A further administrative control that should be put into place is to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all employees. PPE safety equipment includes knee pads, shoulder pads, gloves and back bels. Safe lifting techniques should be taught to all employees to prevent chronic back pain.
Is the Federal Workforce
In a recent report issued in advance of an expected White House budget proposal, long-term cuts to the federal workforce are to be expected. For a whopping 59% of those in danger of being cut, understaffing is one of the reasons for their lack of success. Understaffing & Budget Constraints It is an unfortunate fact that understaffing issues can lead to a program being viewed as inefficient and not worthy of being included in future budgets. These workforce shortages are a common issue among many public services and give an unfair view of the effectiveness of the program. Understaffing can lead to many issues: • Lack of training of new employees • Those hired often lack the necessary skills • Prevent the growth of employees • Hampering achievements of the department • Employees working too much, becoming overstressed and not effective The services being provided by these agencies greatly protects and benefits U.S. citizens, but the programs can incorrectly be viewed as ineffective due to understaffing. Important services greatly affected by understaffing includes healthcare, veteran’s benefits, law enforcement and public safety. The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) states that understaffing is
most often the result of budget constraints. Additional factors include high turnover rates and difficulty filling vacant positions. To combat the issues that these departments are facing, some agencies acquired funding to use targeted hiring initiatives and worked to improve the current processes. Contractors and freelancers were also used to fill in some positions, but it did not take care of all of the issues. Along with the gaps in the workforce, there are also many issues surrounding who to hire and exactly how to retain the workers that are a good fit for their position. The skills that seem hardest to find are: • IT related skills • Analytics • Acquisition • Engineering • Management Specialized Training A huge aspect of keeping the correct employees in positions they are suited for includes specialized training for positions that require it. Also, the process for passing on knowledge to new hires as well as holes in the current curriculums of positions also requires a lot of attention. However, tight budget constraints will often prevent these types of specialized training from being conducted efficiently. What are the important aspects to focus on in order to maintain employees and help
them grow? The United States Office of Personnel Management found several factors that positively contributed to an employee’s good work performance: • Senior Level employees producing higher levels of commitment and motivation • Workers receive acknowledgment for contributing high-quality products and services • Managers and Supervisors promoting internal communication So what do all these findings reveal? The bottom line is that a department or agency that is understaffed is much more likely not to achieve its desired results and be placed on the chopping block. Unfortunately, while it would make sense to invest more in an understaffed department, so it can flourish, the opposite seems to be happening. How is an agency or department supposed to stay afloat when it does not have enough employees and cannot get the help it needs? It is a vicious cycle that can be hard to break. The OPM’s findings show that traditional management methods can actually help and have shown a positive difference in an employee’s performance. Oftentimes, employees can achieve better results by being acknowledged for their good work by a superior, seeing that their higher up supervisors actually have a passion and commitment, and by being encouraged to internally communicate properly. As the Trump administration calls for government employers to assess their workers and realign their teams for maximum employee performance, the simple method of properly managing and motivating your employees may become more helpful than anything else.
5 Ways to Rejuvenate Energy Naturally
With each passing year, many people will notice a gradual decline in their energy levels. Natural energy seems like it is without end when we are young, but as we age, we find ourselves looking for an energy boost of some kind.
or many, caffeine becomes their new source of fuel. As we keep aging and get busier and more overcommitted at work and stress levels increase, the early morning caffeine fueling is sometimes not enough. Soon, we are looking for more coffee later on in the day or sweet treats and snacks to give us temporary boosts. Even with enough sleep, healthy habits and using energy supplements, we can find ourselves still feeling tired and worn down.
Instead of chemical-filled energy drinks and addictive caffeine pills, it helps to look to more natural methods when trying to boost our energy. • Stay Hydrated – It is such a simple task, but way too many people simply do not consume enough water. When we do not drink enough water, our body will get dehydrated. This leads to feeling sluggish, lethargic and sometimes even faint. When we drink water, it not only restores necessary fluid levels, it provides a natural energy boost as a way of your body thanking you for taking care of it. For those that drink multiple cups of coffee a day, try alternating cups of water. It will help you stay alert, and the additional intake of water can help you cut down on your coffee consumption. • Eat an Apple a Day – As far as a midday snack goes, apples are far more beneficial than the quick doughnut or chocolate bar. Apples contain essential vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, which all work together to nourish and energize your body. Scientists also highly recommend skipping the first cup of coffee of the day and having an apple instead. The way it can help your body focus and feel revitalized can have lasting effects throughout the day. • Deep Breathing – Focused and guided deep
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breathing can greatly help to prevent energy levels from dropping during our long workdays. These breathing exercises are very easy to do. Simply take in a long and deep breath while counting to six. Hold the breath for three seconds and then slowly exhale as you count to six again. Pause for a few seconds and then repeat. It is remarkable how this quick exercise and blast of oxygen is so effective in improving your alertness. • Walk Away – More and more, we are seeing scientific research showing the dangers of staying seated for too long. Spending hour after hour seated at a desk is a huge part of why a person’s energy level is low. Stand up frequently, at least every half hour, and walk around a bit to get the blood pumping. This will restore the natural energy and help to take pressure off your lower spine. The screen time that we often experience while at the desk can also interfere with proper brain function, so taking a computer screen break is yet another reason to break away from the desk for a bit. To maximize the benefits, set a time for 30 minutes and then use that time to stretch your legs, get the blood flowing, break from screens and get a glass of water. • Eat Organic Honey – This gift from nature is one of the best all natural methods for boosting your energy. One delicious spoonful contains 60 calories and can give an amazing energy boost. The unrefined sugars accompany a wonderful combination of essential nutrients.
Recipe of the Month:
Black Bean Breakfast Bowl It is an old saying, but is still incredibly relevant: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”
tarting your day off with a healthy and satisfying meal can make or break the rest of the day. By fueling up your body early, it is prepared for the mental and physical stress that the day may bring. Incorporating very healthy ingredients into your breakfast is the best way to put high-quality fuel in your tank. One of the healthiest options for breakfast is a hearty homemade breakfast bowl with eggs and beans. It not only provides a long list of health benefits, but it is also super easy to make since it is all prepared in just one pan and served in one bowl. Fewer dishes to clean? Yes, please! Too many breakfast choices, like a bagel, are not filling and leave a person hungry in just an hour after they eat. Hearty components like beans and avocado will certainly help keep you full longer and not reaching for a mid-morning snack. Even if you still eat healthy breakfasts like hearty oatmeal and fruit, this recipe is delicious and helps to add variety to your meals.
Breakfast Bowl Recipe This easy to make recipe takes about 15 minutes to make and is incredibly simple. Each recipe makes two Breakfast Bowls, and each will have about 625 calories. Ingredients 2 T olive oil 4 beaten eggs 1 can black beans, 15 oz. drained and rinsed 1 avocado, peeled and sliced ¼ C salsa ground black pepper, to taste Directions Heat a small pan over medium heat and add olive oil to coat the pan. Beat the eggs thoroughly and stir until they are set, usually about 3 to 5 minutes. Grab a microwave-safe bowl and pour in the black beans. Pop them in the microwave and heat on high for about a minute, or until they are sufficiently warmed up. Once the beans are heated, divide them between two serving bowls. Layer each of your bowls with the scrambled eggs, slices of avocado, and salsa. Season with salt and black pepper.
Health Benefits •Avocados are incredibly nutritious. They contain Vitamins K, C, B5, B6, and E, as well as more potassium than a banana. While there are 9 grams of carbs per avocado, 7 of those are fiber, which makes avocados a low carb option. They also do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat. Their high fiber content also makes them wonderful for ensuring the optimal function of our bodies. • Black Beans contain many bone healthy components, such as iron, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium, all of which help your body to have stronger bones and maintaining the strength of our joints gets more and more crucial as we get older. The low sodium content and high fiber content of black beans make them perfect for keeping the blood pressure down as well as managing type 1 diabetes. Additionally, many components of black beans help to ward off heart disease as well as prevent cancer. •Eggs are the most popular and inexpensive ways to incorporate protein into our diets. Along with protein in the egg whites, you can also find selenium, Vitamin D, B6, B12, Zinc, Iron, and Copper. Eggs are regarded as a complete source of protein since they contain all nine of the essential amino acids, some must be obtained from our diet and cannot be synthesized by our own bodies. • Spicy Foods are, surprisingly, helpful in many ways as well. They can assist in jacking up your metabolism if you are looking to lose weight and capsaicin (a component found in spicy peppers) fights inflammation and has been shown to prevent cancer.
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Healthy Substitution Options for Your Next Meal
Many people incorrectly assume that maintaining a healthy diet means that they won’t be able to enjoy the foods they like and all the foods they eat will taste bland and boring. Luckily, there are large amounts of low-fat foods and healthy alternatives that came quickly and easily be incorporated into your everyday recipes. Taking your favorite recipes and swapping out unhealthy ingredients for healthier options is actually one of the most successful methods of dieting. It helps the person dieting feel like they are still eating their favorite foods while becoming healthier and losing weight. Some of the substitutions may seem odd at first, but if you stay committed to making these changes, your pallet will adjust and learn to love the slight changes in texture and flavor that the substitutions will bring.
Healthy Alternatives The following foods are low fat and heart healthy alternatives that are definitely worth trying: • Whole wheat flour – Swapping out processed white flour for whole wheat products for your baking needs is the quickest and easiest way to incorporate healthier ingredients into your cooking. Whole wheat flour is not refined and processed like white flour, so it contains the entire grain. In addition, it is more fibrous, which aids in keeping you fuller longer
than foods made with processed white flour such as pasta, bread, and other baked goods. • Unsweetened applesauce – Unsweetened applesauce is a perfect substitution for butter in your baking recipes. You can also consider using any fruit purée or half purée and half canola oil to substitute for butter and reduce the fat in a recipe. • Ground turkey – There are many recipes where ground turkey can be substituted for ground beef including burgers, pasta sauces, and chili. Reducing your consumption of red meat can help reduce your risk for heart disease. This is an ideal way to take an unhealthy dish. For example, instead of pasta with meat sauce, prepare whole grain pasta and incorporate ground turkey into your sauce. If the transition to ground turkey is overwhelming after years of eating red meat, you can slowly transition to ground Turkey by adding a bit of ground turkey to your beef and change the ratios little by little until you get used to the flavor and texture of ground turkey. • Extra-virgin olive oil – For optimal heart health extra-virgin olive oil should be your go to. You can
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use extra-virgin olive oil for cooking, sautéing, salads, and sauces. Extra-virgin olive oil is a flavorful and smart healthy alternative to butter or artificial margarine. • Dark leafy greens – Instead of using watery greens like iceberg lettuce or Romain lettuce, switch out for nutrient-rich options like arugula, spinach, kale, or watercress. For some, the taste of dark leafy greens can be overwhelming. Just like we did with the ground turkey, you can slowly incorporate dark leafy greens into your salad’s along with the lettuce and greens that you’re already familiar with. • Skim milk – For those that rely on dairy products as part of their daily diet, substituting skim milk for whole fat can make a huge difference. For baking purposes, skim milk can also be used in place of heavy cream or whole milk. Even better, consider switching to non-dairy health alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, or cashew milk. Incorporating more plant-based items into your diet and producing animal products can be beneficial. • Egg whites – While certain recipes may vary, the general rule of thumb is that you can replace one whole egg with the egg whites of two eggs. While this may take some trial and error for certain recipes, this substitution will work for the majority of recipes and make them healthier.
Benefit Your Health?
When the blues hit you, one of the best mood boosters available is pet therapy. Ask any pet owner, and they will tell you that there is nothing quite like the amazing sound of hearing furry footsteps running to greet you after you come home from a long and exhausting day.
our fur babies immediately make you smile and offer unconditional love. They seem to be intuitive as to when you need extra love and find the perfect moment to lean up against you or nudge you to help you get out of your gloom.
Pets and Mental Health Any kind of pet offers animal therapy and can help a person restore your spirit, body, and mind. While a dog or cat is more common, a fish tank, exotic bird or even snake can be very calming for the right person. There are so many benefits that come from owning a pet. Here are just a few of the many ways a pet can improve your life: • Pets Get You Outside – Many dog owners will admit that they often begrudgingly take their dogs for walks, but admit that they are glad they are forced to do so. The bright sunshine and brisk air of the outdoors is a natural way to elevate your mood, and the warm rays of sunlight provide you with your daily Vitamin D boost. Vitamin D is actually crucial in fighting conditions like cancer, obesity, depression and even heart attacks. And, when you are walking your pet, put the phone down! Look at their love of the world around them and embrace that as well! Rustling trees, calming breezes, the warmth of the sun— embrace it and let it improve your day. • Animals Get You Mobile – Playing with your pet is a fantastic way to release tension and feel revitalized. Simple activities like throwing the ball around, playing with a frisbee, or even using a mouse chaser for a house cat all work to get your blood pumping and help strengthen yourself. Animal owners have lower cholesterol levels
and healthier blood pressure consistently. For older pet owners, their pet is a saving grace since it keeps them active and increases their physical fitness as well as their mental health. • Furry Pets Actually Reduce Allergies and Asthma – It might seem like it does not make sense, but kids that are raised with furry pets in the home are actually less likely to develop allergies later on in life. Research shows that children that grew up with furry animals from infancy were less than half as likely to develop animal, grass, dust, or ragweed allergies. In addition, a reduction in risk of asthma was also observed. Respiratory allergies can have a huge impact on a person and often interfere with a person’s sleep schedule and therefore makes the sufferer more susceptible to depression. • Petting Decreases Stress – Grooming and petting your animal may seem like it is just a reward for them, but we actually get so much more from it than we realize. Connecting with your pet in this way releases oxytocin, an anti-anxiety hormone that helps lower blood pressure and levels of cortisol. It is incredibly hard to pet your animal and not have the world around you melt away. The stresses of the day seem miniscule now! • Pets Give Love Freely – While we have busy lives outside of our home, our pets are enthusiastically focused on the moment you get home. Did you mess up that report? You didn’t do well on a test? Your pet doesn’t care! They don’t judge; they conditionally love you even when you had a bad day. You are their whole world, and they can’t wait to make you feel better!
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HOW DOES ALCOHOL Affect Your Health?
Alcohol can affect many people in very different ways depending on a number of factors such as body weight, medications taken, food in the system and tolerance, but there are consistent effects that all people share. For example, a single swig of any alcohol— beer, whiskey, wine—will linger in your system for about two hours. It will enter the bloodstream quickly and through the bloodstream will make contact with nearly every single organ in your body. The liver is the organ most responsible for breaking down the toxins associated with alcohol, so this vital organ ends up bearing a huge brunt of the effects of drinking. Even without drinking to the point of developing late-stage liver disease, cirrhosis, too many nights drinking and indulging can be extremely harmful to your health.
Drinking Alcohol The vast majority of alcohol drinkers do so wisely. Unless you cannot control your intake or it is getting in the way of elements of your life, there is no reason to cut alcoholic beverages out of your life entirely. Imbibing wisely by not consuming more than two drinks a day can actually help you achieve valuable health benefits like a reduced risk for diabetes. The main point to remember is not to overdo it, and you can avoid the negative effects. When you consume too much alcohol, there are a lot of negative impacts on your body. • Vital Functions are Neglected – When your body is tasked with processing alcohol, it puts all of its focus and attention on this task, which can take away from other important functions. From the first sip, your body wants to metabolize that toxin asap. Unlike proteins, fats, and carbs, your body cannot store
alcohol, so it has to process it to get it out of your system. This is why the liver is impacted so much; it oversees the process of ridding blood of alcohol and helping to detox the body. • Harmful Bacteria Overgrowth – The bad bacteria in your gut that is normally being processed has a chance to flourish in your gut due to your body’s focus on other tasks. This can allow the bacteria to grow, multiply and migrate to the liver and cause further damage. • Heart Health – Alcohol can affect your heart by weakening the muscle which causes an irregular heartbeat. You expose yourself to an increased risk of alcoholic cardiomyopathy and hypertension. For those with preexisting heart conditions, drinking can be very risky. • Pancreatitis – Prolonged drinking sessions can result in pancreatitis. This is a progressive disorder that causes irreversible damage to the pancreas as well as inflammation of the organ. • Increased Risk of Certain Cancers – There are many cancers that are associated with the consumption of alcohol to excess. Oral cancer, breast cancer, esophagus cancer, throat cancer and liver cancer are just a few examples.
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• Weakened Immune System – With your body’s focus on expelling the alcohol, it puts your body at an increased risk of getting sick. People that consume alcohol daily are much more likely to catch a cold from those around them. You can also be more susceptible to the flu and other illnesses that non-drinkers tend to be able to avoid since their body fights back against it. Imbibing alcohol can be a fun and social activity, but it is crucial that it is enjoyed in moderation. The potential for abuse and addiction should never be ignored, just like the disastrous effects alcohol can have on your body if it not consumed wisely. If you are worried about your alcohol consumption and its effects on your health, speak to a trained professional.
Bone Health Bones play a very important role in our bodies. While they obviously give our bodies structure, they also protect the organs from outside trauma as well as anchor muscles and even store calcium for our bodies.
aintaining the health of our bones is incredibly important because they will change and adjust as we get older. Instead of ignoring that fact, it is vital to focus more on the health of your bones as you get older. When we are young, our bone mass actually grows over time, and our body is capable of easily creating new bones if any of ours break. Once you get to be over 30 years old, however, true bone mass actually peaks and then can begin to deteriorate consistently from that point forward if bone health is not focused on. Osteoporosis becomes more and more common for people as they get older. While science has not yet handed us a method for re-growing bones, we can make efforts to prevent the decreases from occurring in large amounts and help to reduce your risk for osteoporosis. Increasing Calcium Intake A lack of calcium in a personâ€™s diet can greatly reduce their bone density. This can contribute to eventual bone loss and fractures. It is recommended to incorporate 1,000 milligrams of calcium into our diet per day. To do so, look to foods high in calcium such as dairy products, soy products, kale, broccoli and
many others. If you are concerned that your calcium intake is still low, calcium supplements can help incorporate more calcium and make sure you are getting enough in your diet. Calcium Chews are a popular method for incorporating calcium into your diet. They are small candy-like chews that come in a variety of flavors and help to increase your calcium intake. Keep a bowl of calcium chews by your front door with your keys. When you grab your keys to head to work each day, grab a calcium chew as well. Increase Vitamin D Intake To help make calcium even more effective, it is best to incorporate vitamin D as well. Your body does not absorb calcium well without vitamin D. To incorporate vitamin D into your diet, look for foods such as tuna sardines egg yolks and milk. The best bet for incorporating vitamin D into your life? Sunlight! As long as you expose yourself to sunlight for at least 10 to 15 minutes a few times per week, you will incorporate enough vitamin D into your system to assist with the absorption of calcium. Sunlight is also proven to combat ailments like depression and seasonal affective disorder. Exercise More While many people look to exercise to help their heart, their muscles, and to lose weight, exercise is also
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extremely helpful for the health of your bones as well. Incorporate exercises that involve full weight body movements, such as Stairclimbing, jogging and walking. Donâ€™t Smoke & Avoid Drinking Excessively Loss of bone mineral density has been associated with tobacco use and excessive consumption of alcohol according to many studies. If you are a cigarette smoker and concerned about the health of your bones, investigate a program to help you quit. If you drink, stick to no more than one drink a day to ensure that you do not negatively impact your bone health. Be Proactive Since we know that after the age of 30 our bone health will decrease, it is our responsibility to proactively discuss options with our doctor to help ensure the long-term health of our bones. To get a quick and painless snapshot of bone health, consider a simple x-ray test that can measure the bone mineral density and determine if there is a risk of osteoporosis and potential fractures. In particular, it is highly recommended for women to get tested for osteoporosis within two years of menopause. For both men and women with certain diseases or that are taking medications that can increase the risk of osteoporosis, earlier tests are recommended.
In the pursuit of getting healthier, many people spend exorbitant amounts of money on dietary supplements, meal plans, and shakes, but are often unaware of a much simpler solution. Achieving better health can be achieved by simply reaching for the fruit bowl when you want a nutritious snack. Health Benefits of Apples Ever since we are kids, we are told that an apple a day will keep the doctor away, but how accurate is that old saying? Are apples actually nutritious at all and if so, what are the health benefits? There are many reasons to continue following this old mantra and grab an apple a day, including the following: • Whiter and Healthier Teeth: While eating an apple a day cannot replace daily tooth brushing and flossing, the act of consuming an apple helps to stimulate saliva production, which helps fight mouth bacteria and works to reduce the risk of decay to your teeth. • Asthma Aid: Research has shown that asthmatic children who drink apple juice every single day ended up experiencing less wheezing and lung problems than the kids who only drank apple juice once a month. A further study showed that children born to mothers who consumed a lot of apples during pregnancy also had lower rates of asthma than those with mother’s who ate fewer. • Prevent ALS: A recent study conducted by Cornell University discovered that
quercetin - a plant polyphenol contained in apples - may shield brain cells against the free radical damage that is shown to cause Alzheimer’s disease. • Strengthening Your Immune System: The quercetin in apples is also instrumental in helping to combat common viruses and bacteria, especially in times of stress. When we are in situations when our bodies are under a lot of strain, the immune system is forced to work overtime which makes it harder to protect our bodies from health threats. By adding at least one apple a day, to your regular diet, you are making great strides to safeguard your health. • Lower Cholesterol: By consuming two apples a day, you may lower LDL by up to 16 percent since apple pectin lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. • Fights All Types of Cancer: Scientists agree that you can reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by as much as 23 percent by consuming the flavanols in apples. Cornell researchers have worked hard to find potent anti-growth compounds skin of the apple that helps stop cancer cells in the breast, liver, and colon, from flourishing. Additional studies found that whole apple extracts also
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work to reduce the size and number of mammary tumors in lab rats. • Manage Diabetes: To fight diabetes, insulin must be managed. Apple pectin is a good source of galacturonic acid, which lowers the need for insulin. In addition, apples may actually help to prevent Type 2 Diabetes. It was also shown that women who eat apples have a 28 % lower risk of developing diabetes. The soluble fibers in apple are ideal for battling sugar swings and by consuming these fibers, you can regulate sugar levels, which in turn can reduce the possibility of developing the disease. Apples have been a popular fruit around the world for many centuries. Production of apples and their imports are a booming industry in many countries. Apples are very affordable and offer a bevy of health benefits from aiding in weight loss, boosting your immune system, and helping to have a healthy diet. Considering all of the helpful benefits, it makes apples taste even more delicious. Next time you consider buying an expensive supplement, check to see how many benefits can actually be accomplished by simply eating an apple instead.
Positive Mentality = Positive Health While it can be easy to forget when we are stressed out, the power of positivity can greatly help our overall health. Managing our thoughts with care and maintaining an optimistic outlook on life can do wonders to improve our overall health and wellbeing. Just like positive thoughts help to fuel healthy lives, negative thoughts and thinking can increase your risk for illnesses and impact your life negatively in many ways. Positive thoughts and emotions are far more important than many people realize and can help us in many ways, including: Fight Depression Studies done by psychologists have shown a definite connection between chronic negative thoughts and depression. For many people, taking the time to focus on the positive elements of life can drastically combat the symptoms of depression. While it may feel hard, consistently switching from pessimistic to positive thoughts for a few days can start to have a huge impact in your life. A positive attitude is a huge part of depression therapy.
Longer Life For those with life-threatening ailments like diabetes, heart attack survivors, or stroke survivors, a positive mindset can help to keep them alive longer. While it can be hard to quantify these results in specific studies, most doctors agree that those with a positive mindset are much more likely to survive than a person who dwells on the negative. Reduce Stress Living with too much stress is also proven to cause health problems. Reacting to stress with positive emotions instead of more anger or stress can help to make everyday stressful situations more bearable. In life, there will be many punches thrown, but finding a way to roll with the punches that work for you is priceless. Handle Illness Better When a disease takes hold or when surgery is needed, positive thoughts actually do wonders to speed up the recovery process. Thinking positive can help you cope better with whatever is thrown at you. Boost Immune System When you keep a positive attitude, it helps to ward off many health threats. If you are a constant pessimist, chances are you catch a cold a lot. Why? Negative energy actually signals the brain to ease off on your normal immune response.
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Research has shown that pessimistic and negative thoughts produce more electrical activity in the brain that controls our bodyâ€™s immunity. Coping with Difficult Times Life will always throw situations at people that simply must be endured. Most peopleâ€™s lives are not fairy tales completely free of stress and bad moments. The strongest coping tool at your disposal is a positive attitude. Keeping a good head on your shoulders can help you to get through hardships easier and with less stress. Remaining consistent is important so that you can keep the power of positivity in the forefront. Incorporating positivity can be hard for some people and may take some effort. It is helpful to take a step back and notice where negativity strikes you the most and set up traps for yourself to keep yourself positive. A common place for negativity to start is looking in the mirror while getting ready and not liking what you see. Decorate your mirror with things that make you happy including positive mantras, pictures of family and friends or anything else to make you feel amazing about yourself. At work, give yourself reminders of how to remain positive. A simple message taped to the bottom of your computer monitor is a great focal point for when you start to feel stressed. Acknowledge the stress and then take the necessary steps to rid yourself of it completely.
I trust that your health and wellness in 2018 are off to a good start and that you are finding the content of H.U.G.E. Magazine of value to...
Published on Apr 1, 2018
I trust that your health and wellness in 2018 are off to a good start and that you are finding the content of H.U.G.E. Magazine of value to...