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body. mind. spirit. november/december 2013

Get Some

‘Me’ Time During the


Are You a

Nag? How to stop and still get what you want


Foods Your Dentist Doesn’t Eat


•D  on’t make these beauty mistakes •D  emystifying the new health care law •T  he power of networking •a  nd MORE!

Reasons You Need a

Flu Shot

Varicose Veins Are A Medical Condition, Not Cosmetic.

Left untreated, varicose veins can lead to major complications. Trust Dr. Alex Afshar to turn your swollen, aching varicose veins and unsightly spider veins into healthy, beautiful legs. “I was very pleased. I had trouble for years with cramping while sleeping but as soon as I started treatment, the cramping went away. I noticed it in the second treatment.” – A.J. Dr. Alex Afshar, Connecticut’s most respected vein expert, focuses exclusively on superior vein care and now is the perfect time to have your veins treated. That’s why Vein Institute of Connecticut offers: • FREE vein consultations – registration is required. • State-of-the-art laser and radiofrequency technology. • In-office procedures. • Minimal to no downtime. • Bring/wear shorts or a skirt. • Most procedures are covered by insurance. • At the forefront of the latest solutions in vein treatment.

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CHEF ROBERT IRVINE “Dinner: Impossible” LIVE Sunday, November 17

Partially Underwritten by Albano Appliance, 109 Cheese & Wine, Whole Foods Market in Danbury Are you ready to experience the Impossible? Don’t miss this multi-media event with tons of audience participation!


Tony Kushner

Thursday, November 14


An Evening of Converation with Pulitzer Prize-winnning Playwright, Oscar nominated Screenwriter and Author of Angels in America and Caroline, or Change.

Contributing Writers Kristi Barlette, Beth Cooney, Melissa Fiorenza, Valerie Foster, Jayne Keedle, Traci Neal, Linda Tuccio-Koonz, Melinda McGarty Webb

Friday, November 22

Don’t miss one of country music’s biggest stars live! Best known for her hits such as “Can’t Fight the Moonlight,” “How Do I Live?” and “Life Goes On.”

Contributing Photographers Krista Hicks Benson, Colleen Ingerto

Gala tickets include Open Bar, Dinner-by-the-bite, Silent & Live Auctions!

Circulation Bill Mason, Circulation Director

Linda Eder's Holiday Show

Business Ray Koupal, Chief Financial Officer

Sunday, December 8

Delighting audiences with an unforgettable concert of popular standards and holiday favorites!

John Tesh Big Band Christmas

Saturday, December 21

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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If you are interested in receiving free home delivery of HealthyLife magazine, sign up online at or call (203)-330-6465. 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

This twelve piece big band takes your audience on a journey through big band classics and John Tesh signature songs for a full evening of entertainment.

CLANNAD February 6

Editorial Janet Reynolds, Group Executive Editor Rebecca Haynes, Editor Brianna Snyder, Associate Editor Design Tony Pallone, Design Director Colleen Ingerto, Emily Jahn, Tyswan Stewart, Designers Krista Hicks Benson, Contributing Designer

LeAnn Rimes - The Playhouse Gala

ARRIVAL January 26

Publisher Michelle McAbee


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


gentler hands make your diagnosis a calming experience.

Every phase of your cardiac treatment is important. Which is why the gentle hands at St. Vincent’s Regional Heart and Vascular Center take careful care of you from the beginning. After all, for many of us, the diagnosis and fear of the unknown can be the most nerve-wracking part. That’s why we take extra steps to comfort you and to help you understand what happens next. And while our hands treat you gently, our minds are working overtime to provide the clearest, safest and most precise answer.

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To find a cardiologist call (877) 255-7847 / / Bridgeport, CT

/ sharper minds

November/December ’13




20 Fit for the Mountain

48 Affordable Care?

26 East Meets West

52 Just Say No

30 A Hairy Situation

54 Nag, Nag, Nag!

These exercises will have you ready for ski season Combining traditional medicine with ‘alternative’ approaches What’s normal when it comes to body hair?

34 Food à Deux

One pan, two meals!

38 Open Wide

10 foods dentists avoid

43 The Flu Vaccine

It’s not just about protecting yourself

How the federal health insurance mandate will affect you Why you shouldn’t overindulge your child Get the results you want without the drama


ESTAbLiSHEd 1914


We’ve come a long way...

58 Me Time

And how to get it during the hectic holidays

60 Stiletto Networks

For women, it’s about relationships

62 Beauty Mistakes

Are you making those our experts say are most common?

celebrating 100 years of exceptional care! Registered Nurses • Physical Therapists • Occupational & Speech Therapists •


Home Health Aides • Homemakers • Live-ins & Companions Transitional Care Services Lifeline Medical Alert Quality Living at Home RVNA Care Solutions


body. mind. spirit. cember 2013


cember 2013

Are You a

Get Some


‘Me’ e Tim g the

and How to stop t still get wha you want



body. mind. HealthyLife |  spirit.


every issue

Maternal Child Health


Flu & Shingles Vaccine

contributors’ page

11 what’s on the web 13 editor’s note

Well Child Clinics HPV Vaccine Travel Vaccines

• • • • • • • • • •

Whether you are returning home from the hospital, traveling to a foreign country or needing to update your vaccinations, you can receive comprehensive care with RVNA’s extraordinary and professional staff. One call will provide all the support you need. Your time is valuable. RVNA’s care is remarkable. For nearly a century, our exceptional home and community health care services have been available throughout Western Connecticut.

14 news and views 25 did you know?


Your Dentist

Doesn’t Eat

✽ plus www.healthyl

e these • Don’t mak takes beauty mis g the • Demystifyin care law new health of networking • The power • and MORE

66 cover model Q&A Need a Reasons You

Flu Shot

Up close with Melinda Pecora


Cover credits: Clothing provided by Lester’s, Rye, N.Y. Hair and makeup by the Christopher Noland Salon & Beauty Spa, Greenwich. Photograph taken in the Bendel Mansion at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. Photo by Krista HIcks Benson.

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

talk back

The story behind the story from our contributors Fit for the Mountain? Melinda McGarty Webb  This is the year my family and I plan to take up skiing. So I was interested in finding out what types of exercises we should be doing in preparation to reduce our risk of injury and have the most fun possible without being sore the next day. Now I can just tweak my exercise regimen based on the recommendations of the experts I interviewed. Wish me luck! Read Melinda’s story on page 20.

The Flu Shot Conundrum

“Frankly, I’ve been hit or miss over the years about getting my flu shot.” Beth Cooney  I tend to get one if a routine doctor’s visit coincides with flu season, but this year I’m planning on getting one despite the fact I’m not due for a physical until next year. I’ve come to realize when you protect yourself against the flu you are also protecting others. Read Beth’s story on page 43.

East Meets West Valerie Foster  Western medicine is the new kid on the block, which is why so many people turn to alternative modalities — often centuries old — to find relief. How about a traditional M.D. not only embracing, but using some alternative medicine to heal patients? Progress! Thankfully, we don’t have to travel very far to find these enlightened doctors. Read Valerie’s story on page 26.

join the conversation!

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Nag, Nag, Nag! Kristi Barlette  While nagging may feel natural, it’s a sign of a lack of communication in a relationship. Before you get to the point nagging feels necessary, explain to your partner why what you’re asking him or her to do is important to you. Read Kristi’s story on page 54.



Brianna Snyder  More women have facial hair problems than you think, which is only a slight consolation if you’re someone who battles a mustache with bleach and tweezers. The good news is you’re not alone, but you might want to see a doctor if you’re losing the battle. It could be an indication something is out of whack. Read Brianna’s story on page 30.

Common Beauty Mistakes Melissa Fiorenza  Think natural ingredients in skincare products are safe for your skin? Until reporting this story, I assumed any product that touted “all natural” or listed ingredients like citrus and lavender were just as good — if not better — than products made with synthetic ingredients. Not so! See what other beauty mistakes you might be making. Read Melissa’s story on page 62.

We asked, you answered!  What’s your go-to method of curbing your cravings? Carie: Grab the carrot sticks as quickly as you can Betty: Chocolate soy milk for my chocolate cravings … it’s delicious Susan: Brush my teeth!


Dealing with Unwanted Hair

Loretta: For that craving of chocolate ice cream I make a healthy smoothie — skim or almond milk, a teaspoon of almond butter, two teaspoons

cocoa and a banana for sweetness. So good!!

 Reading any good books right now? Ellie: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. So far it’s so so so good. Kathryn: The new Stephen King seems to be popular

 If you could share just one bit of parenting advice, what would it be? Donna: Always try to eat dinner together

 Fill in the blank: my favorite tea is _______? Kathleen: Long island ice

Emma: I’m re-reading East of Eden for the billionth time. One of my all-time faves

Mary Beth: Barry’s breakfast tea, hot, with milk (and scones)

Lynda: Read “of human bondage” excellent

Donna: Harney and sons

Nancy: Licorice


Check out the ife lthyL ea H

 K O   LIPB O 


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GLOW! this holidays

TO BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT Tel: 1 (203) 990-0209 1081EastPutnam Ave. Riverside, CT 06878 OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK














on the web Behind the Scenes HealthyLife took November/ December cover model, Greenwich resident Melinda Pecora, to the Bendel Mansion at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center to take pictures. What a treasure that entire facility is for the community! But before we could start, we had to get Melinda camera-ready. That was handled by the talented folks at the Christopher Noland Salon & Beauty Spa in Greenwich. And we can’t forget Lester’s in Rye, N.Y., which provided the clothes Melinda wore. Find lots more photos and a story about the day at

Got a Fitbit or another version of a digital fitness tracker on your holiday gift list? Research before you buy. Read our online story that compares gadgets and offers recommendations on what to buy depending on your needs (or the needs of the person you’re buying for!). Find our story at

Everything you need to know about how this important organ works, signs to look for if something is amiss and how to keep it healthy. Read about it on our website.

Zuzana does Melinda’s makeup at the Christopher Noland Salon.

Photos: Cover model behind scenes, Rebecca Haynes.

➺ Fitness Trackers

➺ Your Bladder

ries on Melin da t t outfits a potential . .Y in Rye, N L ester’s


read these … only on our website!


Healthy Tips

Midlife Mom

Freelance writer and health/exercise 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 navigating the teen years and beyond.

and more!

➺ Holiday Greetings!

Are you a lover or a hater of those family letters that often come in holiday cards? Check out our online essay on the topic, and our writer’s tips for making a ho-hum year look stellar!


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editor’s note

Here Come the Holidays!


ave you started your holiday shopping yet? Notice how I said started? That’s because it drives me batty when people ask — at this time of the year — if I’ve finished said shopping. That answer would be a resounding “No!” I used to try to be better organized and buy Christmas gifts throughout the year (which also had the added benefit of rescuing the November and December family budgets from the red). But I found that come the holidays, I’d forget what I had already bought (or where I put it) and would have to go out and shop again! Of course, that’s likely a condemnation of my lack of home organizational skills, but needless to say, that tactic didn’t work for me. I was always afraid the kids would find the master list, so I never made one. The holidays are a time when many of us feel stressed to get everything

done we’re “supposed” to get done during the season of giving. That’s why we decided to include a story in this issue about why setting aside some “me” time is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Check it out on page 58. Are you a parent who overindulges your child’s whims? The holidays can be a dangerous time for you! That’s why you’ll also find a story about how overindulgence can have serious detriments down the road. Read about it on page 52. I also want to give you a fantastic update. Remember Lydia Heilmann, our September cover model from Fairfield? Well, when we went to press for our October issue, Lydia was in London to compete in the International Triathlon Union World Championships. I’m happy to report that Lydia placed 4th among her USA teammates and 19th in the world in her age category (35-39) in the sprint triathlon. Yes, I said the world!!

She competed in a field with nearly 90 participants. Way to go Lydia! We wish all of you a very happy holiday season and hope your “me” time will include visiting us on Facebook! We look forward to a prosperous New Year and want to thank you for your support … most especially for reading!  HL

news and views

Sobering Thoughts FEMALE PROBLEM DRINKERS tend to recognize their dependence on alcohol much sooner than men, leading them to seek intervention years before their male alcoholic counterparts, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Florida who conducted the research that involved chronic male and female drinkers noted that both genders tended to notice the escalation of their drinking into the problem zone (often reporting it became more serious in their 20s), but women tended to seek

help an average of four to five years sooner than their male peers. The psychiatric researchers noted this is especially good news as there is a growing body of research that suggests alcoholism tends to wreak more physical and personal havoc in the lives of female sufferers. While the research did not delve into why women seek help sooner, researchers speculate it may be that females are more comfortable discussing their problems and more willing to seek medical help and counseling.

Veggie Tales

The study was published recently in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Source:

FOR ALL THOSE PARENTS who fret that their good counsel on healthy eating is an exercise in futility, a new study out of Stanford University suggests that teaching kids about good nutrition from an early age can make a difference in what they eat. The Stanford researchers found that when preschoolers were read positive, engaging books that touched on nutritional themes before their meals they ate more fruits and veggies. Kids in the study, who didn’t hear the readings, ate fewer of these healthy foods. The study, which involved 4- and 5-year-olds, suggests that even preschoolers can be taught to grasp nutritional concepts and develop a complex understanding of how the foods they eat can affect their bodies in good and bad ways, researchers say. The study was published recently in the journal Psychological Science. Source: hl13kidseating



Photos: GettyImages. Sobering Thoughts, Lew Robertson; Veggie Tales, Medioimages/Photodisc; Facing Dimensia, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Plastic Makes Fat, James And James.

compiled by beth cooney

Is Plastic Making Your Child Fat?


Dementia IT’S SOMEWHAT NATURAL that memories get fuzzier with age, but when are such lapses something to worry about? One warning sign may be the inability to recognize the faces of such famous historical and pop culture figures as Oprah Winfrey, Albert Einstein, Elvis and more. Researchers at the UniDo you know who this is? versity of Chicago say the inability to recognize faces of the very famous may be a sign of primary progressive aphasia, a form of memory loss that tends to strike men and women between the ages of 40 and 65. In their study, researchers showed about 20 black and white photographs of widely recognizable historical and celebrity faces such as Lucille Ball, Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy to healthy adults and those diagnosed with aphasia. They then used MRI scans to assess the brain patterns in the two groups to map brain irregularities. They found that more than 93 percent of the icons were recognized by the healthy group, while the aphasia group only had about 46 percent success. Ultimately, researchers said, this kind of recognition test might be a helpful diagnostic tool. The research was reported recently in the journal Neurology.

AS SCIENTISTS CONTINUE TO DIG into the causes of childhood obesity, researchers are homing in on another culprit in the battle of the bulge among youngsters: Plastic food wraps and containers. Two studies that recently appeared in the journal Pediatrics make the case that substances in plastic, which have been associated with a host of other health issues, are playing a role in childhood obesity. One study associated the presence of a chemical known as phthalates, common in some plastics, with increased insulin resistance in children. Insulin resistance issues are known to play a role in childhood diabetes and obesity. The other study found an increase in the compound BPA in the urine of obese children. Researchers speculate it’s possible that the food sources of obese children, such as fast food containers, may play a role in the increased BPA levels and cautioned their findings don’t necessarily establish a cause and effect relationship between the substance and obesity. Still, researchers suggested avoiding using plastic containers containing the recycling numbers 3, 6 and 7, which are associated with phthalates and BPA, when buying food or snacks for your kids. Source:


Lotta Java, Less Life? DOES INDULGING A HEAVY MORNING (OR ALL-DAY) COFFEE HABIT lead to a shorter life? Maybe, according to researchers at the University of South Carolina, who have found that people who drink coffee heavily (think four or more cups a day) seem to have higher premature death rates than their more moderate coffee-sipping counterparts. The association between coffee con-

sumption and early mortality seemed to be especially prevalent in study subjects younger than 55 who drank more than 28 cups of coffee a week. The study, reported in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, looked at the coffee-drinking habits and mortality rates of more than 40,000 subjects. Researchers speculate it’s not coffee, per se, causing the premature deaths, but a constellation of factors, ranging

from stress to poor lifestyle habits. Also noteworthy: A growing body of research has associated more moderate coffee consumption with positive health benefits including the prevention of dementia and Parkinson’s Disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain skin cancers. So a daily wake-up cup is probably a sip to your health. Source:


news and views



Health Nuts IF GENES HAVE PUT YOU or your loved ones at increased risk of diabetes-related stroke you may want to start splashing olive oil onto your salads and snacking on nuts. Researchers have found that following Mediterranean diets that are specifically rich in these two foods seem to have a lower risk of suffering a stroke than people who simply ate a low-fat diet. Researchers at Tufts University’s USDA Human Nutrition Research Institute on Aging found that even when study participants had a genetic mutation that put them at risk of diabetes (and related strokes) those who ate heart-healthy nuts and olive oil had a stroke risk comparable to healthy study participants without the mutation. The study was reported recently in the journal Diabetes Care. Source:

The Hot

Chocolate Fix

WOMEN WHO ENGAGE IN SHOPPING AS RETAIL THERAPY have often been stereotyped as an unhappy, compulsive lot who use their purchases to fill emotional voids. New research suggests that while that’s sometimes the case for men and women, some power shoppers actually do derive pure joy from their retail forays. These women researchers called “happy hedonists” tend to be women who engage in buying expeditions for what researchers described as “material mirth” — or the thrill of the hunt — rather than in obtaining possessions as a form of social competition. Interestingly, researchers found single female shoppers tended to feel lonelier and isolated after shopping with their married shopping peers. And it was men who were more likely to view purchases as “material medicine” while women tended to have more joyful impulses when spending up a storm. The study, which was recently published online in the Journal of Consumer Research, involved more than 2,500 shoppers studied over a period of six years.

COULD A HOT COCOA or two a day help older adults with declining memories? It would be sweet news if true, but researchers say their findings that steaming mugs of cocoa seem to improve brain power are encouraging, but only preliminary. A study at Harvard University, which looked at adults in their 70s and older, found that drinking a mug or two of hot cocoa on a daily basis helped improve blood flow to the brains of seniors. And while the research suggests that chocolate has some healthful properties, researchers and The American Alzheimer’s Association (which put out its own cautionary statement in response to the study) cautioned it’s too soon to start chugging hot chocolate by the gallon. For starters, the researchers, who published their study in the journal Neurology, cautioned that a mug or two a day of hot chocolate could contribute to obesity, which has been proven to be detrimental to brain and memory function. So for now anyway, better to limit that cocoa to an occasional sweet winter treat that’s part of an overall healthy diet.





Photos: GettyImages. Happy Hedonists, Peter Dazeley; Study Results Surprising, Stockbyte; Hot Chocolate, Lew Robertson; Psoriasis, Petek ARICI.

Study Results

Surprising THINK PLASTIC SURGERY may help you zap decades off your face? Maybe not, according to a study that suggests some surgery may only erase a few years off a profile. The study, published recently in JAMA Plastic Facial Surgery, suggests that plastic surgery may not be the answer if your goal is to appear more beautiful. Participants were asked to look at pictures of recent plastic surgery patients who had face-lifts, eyelifts and brow lifts, then assess the ages of the post-surgical patients and also rate their attractiveness. In a result that stunned even the plastic surgeons involved, evaluators guessed the ages of the patients as being, on average, only 3.1 years younger than they actually were. And when asked to rate the patients’ attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10, the average patient was rated between a 4 and 6; lower than expected. Some plastic surgeons have publicly criticized the findings, saying that the results might have been different if participants had looked at “before” and “after” surgery photos. The study only included an assessment of “after” pictures. Source:

Psoriasis-Disease Connection THE RED, FLAKY SKIN PATCHES that are the hallmarks of an often embarrassing skin condition known as psoriasis may be more than irritating to its sufferers. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have established a startling correlation between the severity of psoriasis cases with the on-

set of other health problems including heart and lung diseases, mild liver disease, kidney disease, peptic ulcers, vascular illnesses and rheumatological disorders, they reported recently in the journal JAMA Dermatology. While the research did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship between psoriasis and other conditions, the findings indicating that psoriasis sufferers seem to develop other problems when their cases are serious may be helpful to them and their doctors to monitor their overall health, researchers said. Source:


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Get Fit for Ski Season 20  Did You Know? 25  East Meets West 26 A Hairy Situation 30  Cooking for Two 34  Foods Your Dentist Avoids 38  Any Reason Not to Get a Flu Shot? 43


Are You

Fit for

the Mountain?

these exercises will get you ready for the slopes


ki season is right around the corner, and how you fare your first few times on the slopes may hinge on what kind of shape you’re in. But don’t worry. Even if you haven’t kept yourself in tip-top condition, a little focused, pre-season training may help you get more out of the experience. Whether you’re a black diamond skier or more comfortable snowplowing down the bunny slope, you’ll reap the benefits of time spent training beforehand. If your muscles are strong and your joints flexible, not only will you be able to catch more runs each day without tiring, but your time on the trails will be safer and more enjoyable.



“I hope people are doing some sort of conditioning or strength exercises throughout the year — whether they’re getting to the gym, walking, running, or riding a bike — just for overall health. Then, once ski season rolls around, I want to see people doing a conditioning program a good eight weeks before they plan to actually go skiing,” says Chalon LeFebvre, clinical manager of Physical Therapy at Orthopaedic & Neurosurgery Specialists (ONS) in Greenwich. “I recommend a lot of body weight exercises — exercises like squats, lunges, planks, one-footed squats, dead-lifts and step-down exercises.” (LeFebvre says she’s not a proponent of leg extensions, hamstrings curls or leg presses, because

Photo: Scott Markewitz/GettyImages.

by melinda mcgarty webb   |   exercise photos by krista hicks benson

there’s no functionality in the exercises: in other words, no carry over into skiing.) Many experts agree that the best exercises to do in preparation for skiing are ones that mimic its motions. In the absence of an actual ski training machine, (on which users slide their feet back and forth in a lateral motion, simulating a skier’s movements down the slope,) simple body-weight exercises like those LeFebvre mentioned can be effective, inexpensive solutions. Squats and lunges, for example, are dynamic movements that help strengthen your quadriceps. But for those with bad knees, however, that repeated deepknee flexion can prove both painful and harmful. For that reason, Dr. Timothy Greene, an orthopedic surgeon at ONS and former associate team physician for the U.S. Ski Team, recommends squats and lunges that are held for an extended period of time. “A less repetitive load is better on knees that may already have underlying issues,” he says. “A squat and hold is a little easier on the knee than repetitive squatting. So it’s not up and down. It’s down AND HOLD. They can start with wall sits, where they back up against the wall, squat down and hold it. First, they can try to get 30 seconds, then 40, then work up to a minute.” Squats are particularly effective, he says, because that’s es-

sentially what you’re doing while skiing down a hill — squatting for a prolonged period of time. It requires quadricep strength and endurance to maintain that position for the 60 or 90 seconds or even two minutes it takes to complete a run. While skiing can be excellent exercise, some physicians caution against trying to “ski yourself into shape.” In other words, if you’ve been sedentary, don’t head out to the slopes and ski furiously in an effort to whip yourself into better condition. Without preparing beforehand, you may risk a host of injuries — including those common in ski accidents, such as MCL (medial collateral ligament) and ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears and fractures. On the other hand, the ideal solution is also not to frantically exercise for the six weeks prior to ski season and then slack off the rest of the year. The real key is to maintain an adequate level of fitness year-round, so you’ll be prepared for any sport in which you choose to engage, and then supplement that routine with ski-specific exercises, such as those pictured here. “People think they can get out there and in the first couple of times going skiing, they’re going to get into shape,” says Greene. “I understand people are busy and find it hard to make the time to exercise, but I think as a start, getting your

Prevent Ski Injuries with These Exercises Want to make sure you’re ready to hit the slopes? Start by exercising regularly to ensure proper conditioning. Chalon LeFebvre heads the physical therapy department at ONS, a large orthopedic and neurosurgery practice in Greenwich, and offers the following exercises to improve ski conditioning and avoid injury.


Exercises provided by ONS Physical Therapy, Greenwich.

a. SQUAT OVER STEP  • With your feet on the floor and the step, perform a squat. • Bend at the knees and lower your entire body. • Your butt should be squatted toward the ground, as if preparing to sit. • Keep upper body as upright and erect as possible. • Slight torso bend permitted, but don’t let back become rounded. • Variations: Speed, height of step, jumping, raising opposite leg.



cardiovascular tolerance up is important — whether it’s running or using an elliptical bike.” Joanne Smart of Brookfield, who has been skiing on and off for about 30 years, makes an effort to stay in shape yearround — a practice she says benefits her when ski season rolls around. Between running and biking — outdoors in the warmer months; indoors in the winter — and yoga in the colder months, she maintains her cardiovascular endurance, leg and core strength, balance and flexibility. “For a recreational skier like myself, if I just keep in shape generally, I don’t have a problem. I’m definitely tired at the end of a ski day. My muscles will be sore and I’ll be grateful for the hot tub, but I can get up and ski the next day,” she says. “How your legs are going to feel at the end of the day depends on how many runs you’ve gotten in — if there are long lines, you’re going to have more rest in between — and on snow conditions. There are definitely types of snow that are harder to ski on. When the snow is really deep or soft, it’s actually physically a little harder to ski through it. When it’s fast snow, I don’t have to use my quads as much.” Greene, who worked with the U.S. Ski Team while completing his fellowship training at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo., is well-versed in how different types of snow affect people’s skiing experience and chances of injury. “When I was in Vail, we could predict the kind of injuries

that would come in based on the weather. When it’s really powdery, people’s ski tips dive into the snow and they catch and twist. If it was a really cold day, with no fresh snow and it was icy out, we would see a lot of breaks. People would skid out and not catch themselves and fall, and we’d see fractures on the upper extremities and that sort of thing,” he recalls. He says there were also noticeable spikes in the number of injuries at two times of the day — one around lunchtime, and a bigger jump between 3 and 4 p.m. The reason? People are tired and hungry at those times. “I think of it as the three T’s of injuries — timing, tiredness and terrain,” he says. “Pay attention to the timing of when you’re skiing. You don’t really want to ski those late runs. People are fatigued, conditions change, it can become more icy, and the light isn’t as good … And the last thing is terrain. You really have to pay attention to the conditions you’re skiing in. What we see is when advanced skiers ski on advanced terrain, there’s a relatively low injury rate. But when the conditions change and it’s no longer perfect snow, when it becomes more icy, it inherently becomes more expert terrain, and we see advanced skiers skiing on expert terrain. That’s when we see injuries. So when the weather conditions are not good, ski down a level. It’s a more predictable skiing experience.” HL

Prevent Ski Injuries with These Exercises (cont.)

PIDGEON STRETCH  • Place your front lower leg crossways on the floor. • Stretch your other leg as far behind you as possible. • Lean forward to increase the stretch in your glute muscle. • Repeat, pushing your shoulders back and hold. Hold for 30 seconds, then swap sides.

 ONE-FOOTED DEAD-LIFT • Stand holding weights (skip the weights for an easier version) in front of thighs and place left leg out behind you with the toe lightly touching the floor (or lift completely off the floor for greater challenge). • Keeping the shoulders back, abs in, and back straight, tip forward from hips and lower the weights toward the floor. • Lower as far as your flexibility allows. You may bend knee slightly if necessary. • Push into the heel to go back to starting position.



 PIRIFORMIS AND GLUTE STRETCH • Lie on your back and lift leg toward your chest. • Grasp lower leg with your opposite hand. • Gently pull knee toward opposite shoulder, keeping your hips on the floor.



  ONE-FOOTED SQUAT • Balance on one foot.


• Visualize a clock below your feet with the 12:00 in front of you. • Bend knee to 45 degrees and reach with opposite foot to 12:00. • Return to start position.


• Repeat sequence and reach toward 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00.

• Place hands at either sides of chest as you would for a pushup, elbows tucked at your sides. • Keeping the back perfectly flat, push up onto toes and forearms so that the body is off the floor. • Keep abdominals pulled in by visualizing your navel pulled into your spine. • Maintain normal breathing pattern and hold for 10-60 seconds. • Repeat as tolerated.



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fast facts

did you know?

compiled by brianna snyder

Photos: GettyImages. Pregnant, Olivier Lantzendorffer; Grapes, melhi; Muscle, Stock Shop Photography LLC.


Teen pregnancy is at an all-time low, with just 29.4 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19. In the 1950s, that rate was three times as high. Experts chalk it up to better information about and access to birth control. Source:

600 The average number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine. Source:

630 An adult between 110 and 200 pounds can burn between 250 and 630 calories per hour snowboarding! Source:

19% Don’t believe your treadmill! Calculators that tell you how many calories you’ve burned have been found to overestimate the number by an average of 19 percent, and as high as 42 percent. Source:

40% … of your total body weight is muscle. Source:


your health

EAST meets combining traditional and alternative health care


eronica Vawter of Danbury was frustrated. Overweight, she suffered from panic attacks and night sweats and was taking synthetic hormones to replenish those she stopped producing following a hysterectomy in 2005. After attending a seminar on weight loss given by Kenneth Hoffman at Sophia Natural Health Center in Brookfield, she decided to give him a try. Now, after a year of treatments, she says she’s a totally different person. “Ken was able to get my hormones in balance, teach me ways to handle my stress, and as a result I lost 20 pounds,” Vawter says. Her night sweats, instead of being constant, are now sporadic and diminished. And she’s done with hormone replacement therapy. When stress comes calling — a fact of her life — instead of blowing up or shutting down, she’s able to discuss the issue. For Hoffman, Vawter’s results are typical. He practices Integrative Chinese Medicine, what he calls a natural and powerful system to achieve optimal health. “Our goal is to restore health naturally, without drugs and without surgery, to achieve high function in the body before disease occurs,” Hoffman explains. He graduated from



Photos: GettyImages. Doctor, uniquely india; Globes, Servet GArbAz.

by valerie foster


Ronald A. Ripps, M.D.

WEST the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York City, a school based in Chinese medicine, where he learned the principles practiced in the Orient for 5,000 years, and became a licensed acupuncturist. His arsenal of tools are atypical of conventional medicine: acupuncture; thermal imaging to see the root of conditions such as headaches, carotid artery disease and breast cancer; metabolic profiling; salivary testing; and NAET for allergy elimination, a non-invasive, natural solution to alleviate allergies. Instead of looking for a diagnosis, Hoffman searches for biomarkers that can be managed before they become problematic, another way to say he’s all about prevention. Which is why Dr. Tamara Sachs has no problem sending her patients to Hoffman. “We often work tough cases together,” she says. “We do things differently, but we work well together.” Sachs was an ER doctor and internist, but today practices functional medicine and integrative care, which is a science-based approach that assesses and treats the underlying causes of illness. She focuses on a patient’s genetic, biochemical and environmental uniqueness. “Many doctors come to alternative medicine either because of their own health issues or health issues of a family member that are not resolved properly with conventional medicine,” Sachs says. “There are great things about allopathic medicine [a term commonly used by homeopaths


Be B sure tto al always carry ry a list of le you are your medications while hospitalized. Include all your allergies. Pin it to your gown.


If you have an advance directive, bring a copy of that. If you don’t, get one.


Always ask the nurse what meds she is bringing you when she is dispensing meds. Make sure you understand what each one is for, and if you don’t, don’t take it and call your doctor.




Tell people not to send flowers or candy. The flowers brighten the room up, but can introduce bugs and pollens you may react to. Candy is meant to entertain visitors, but there are healthier alternatives. When handing out treats, keep a hand sanitizer handy. Inquire about any tests for which you are being sent. If the doctor didn’t discuss it with you ahead of time, don’t go. If you are diabetic, bring your own glucometer and trust no other. Sign your surgical site clearly and simply with an indelible marker. No cute phrases like “this side, not the other” which may confuse OR personnel.

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Anticipat your needs Anticipate ds (bring a padd and pencil) so that when the nurse does make her rounds, you can economize with respect to what you have to ask of her. She may not be available for call backs.


Make sure your mobile phone is always charged and close by (may need an extension cord):


Have numbers for your doctor, the hospital clergyman, and the hospital’s patient advocate on speed dial. If the nurse can’t respond, they are your best bet in a crisis.

10) Be sure to have a family member or friend with you as long as possible. 11) Your companion needs to know where the nurse’s station, the kitchen, and the bed pan are located. 12) He(she) should be familiar with the alarms on the IV dispensers, the monitoring machines, and other gadgets you may hooked to so he(she) can intelligently and calmly notify the nurse when one goes off.


A community service providing Orthopedic care without delay for the treatment of acute orthopedic injury. Walk in. No appointment necessary. Weekdays: 8:30 am - 9:00 pm Saturday: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm.



your health

Dr. Tamara Sachs says that the data proves that lifestyle

to describe “mainstream medicine”]. But there are so many patients that just don’t feel well, and their doctors cannot tell them why. Often, patients are told there is nothing wrong with them “Food, diet, exercise and the doctors begin questioning them. They are often told they are depressed or it’s in their are head. The doctors blame patients when they can’t make a diagnosis.” as what we do Sachs says many of her patients come to her medically.” as a last resort. Most have chronic conditions: They’re overweight, have stress, cancer, digestive issues such as ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. She has created a detailed questionnaire that every new patient must fill out before the first appointment. It’s so comprehensive that some people not willing to commit to change actually cancel their appointments. “It’s also a way for people to start reframing their conceptions of their health,” she says. The first appointment takes a few hours, with Sachs acting as the detective trying to uncover the root cause of medical issues. “We engage in a journey together,” Sachs says. “But they are driving the car. I guide them and show them alternative ways but they are in control.” And there is one more thing she does, which she says her patients tell her is so important. “I listen to them,” she says. “I value their interpretation of their health. Most people have some level of understanding about their bodies. I who are sent to a six-week spa to learn proper diet and nunever discount a patient’s thought process, even if they tell trition and the importance of exercise and weight loss to me it’s weird or strange. I always listen to that.” treat their condition. Only after they learn what they need to do when they go home do they receive drugs. “Here, palastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Anke Ott Young tients are told to lose weight and given medicine,” she says. works at the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Cancer Center “But they never learn what they need to do to get better, in Fairfield and understands the importance alternahow to lose weight, and the importance of exercise and how tive medicine plays in the health of a patient. At the Pfriem to start doing it.” Center, the first line of defense is conventional medicine: Dr. Henri Roca is medical director of Greenwich Hospital’s surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and other approved conIntegrative Medicine Program and is a family physician dediventional methods such as counseling and physical therapy. cated to the principles of holistic medicine. “In my practice I “But then we have cherry-picked proven alternative methhave the advantage of being not only a conventional physiods to help our patients,” Ott Young explains. “I can make cian, using everything conventional, but I also use acupunca new breast that comes out beautiful, but if the patient is ture, hypnotherapy and biofeedback. My preference is to obese and hypertensive, just targeting one organ will not work on healing the body naturally with nutrition, vitamins, give the patient a healthy life.” Pfriem offers various alternaminerals and botanicals.” tive therapies, each scientifically based and performed by What is so interesting about Roca is that he started as a fully licensed and certified practitioners including naturomassage therapist and mind-body practitioner, working with pathic medicine, reiki, acupuncture, yoga, diet and nutrition herbs, vitamins and supplements to bring optimum health to counseling, exercise plans and herbal blends. clients before attending medical school. “I decided I needed Ott Young was trained in Germany, where traditional medto understand conventional medicine,” he says. “Now I am icine treats the whole body, not just one organ. There, if a able to bring both worlds together. Medicine should not be patient experiences nausea from chemotherapy, the nurse about matching the medication to the symptoms. The mediwill first make a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea, folcine I practice empowers me to identify a person’s dysfunclowed by aromatherapy. If this does not work, drugs are tion and bring it into balance.” then administered. Or consider newly diagnosed diabetics, Every integrative specialist we spoke with talked about the

medicine works. as impactful



Photo: IMAGEMORE Co, Ltd./GettyImages.


passion they have for their work and how empowering it is for their patients to take control of their health and make changes. But there lies the problem: As Americans we are prewired to visit our doctors when we are sick and to take a pill or two to make us better. Integrative medicine practitioners want you to see your doctor before you get sick. Dr. Jared Skowron, ND, founder of the Pediatric & Autism Clinic at the University of Alternative therapies Bridgeport and vice president that can augment of the Pediatric Association of traditional medicine or Naturopathic Physicians adds be preventative: that in many cases, people are afraid to admit they are seek Acupuncture ing alternatives because they  Diet and nutrition don’t want to seem weird. “But counseling the word is getting out, and it is  Exercise plans becoming socially acceptable to seek alternatives,” he says.  Herbal blends “Natural medicine is not a dirty  Meditation little secret anymore.”  Naturopathic Roca says his patients are dimedicine vided into four groups:  Reiki 1. Those who are healthy and want to stay that way. 2. People with terminal conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s, who have been told there is nothing more that can be done for them. 3. Those who have been told that they are fine but they know they are not fine, that there is something wrong. 4. Those with multiple ailments who are searching for the underlying reason why they have conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or gout. His first prescription for everyone, which he writes on a prescription pad, is to include a yoga practice. Sachs says that the data proves that lifestyle medicine works. “Food, diet, exercise are as impactful as what we do medically,” she adds. Ott Young says that most of her patients have no issue combining alternative therapies with conventional treatments because a cancer diagnosis is all the motivation they need to change their lives. “If only people would just start looking at their health and seeking treatment before they get sick, before they get a cancer diagnosis, everyone would benefit. “Preventative medicine saves so much anguish, because we can fix the medical problem before it happens,” she adds. “It also saves money. Money spent upfront is so much less than money spent fixing medical issues.”  HL

Try this!

For ideas on how to feel your best without popping pills, visit

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y r i a H


some facial hair is normal, but too much can signal a bigger problem by brianna snyder



about four years before her hormones flared up in her 20s and the hair started growing back. In a phone interview with HealthyLife, Gregor says she’s received lots of support from readers and other women who suffer from hair overgrowth. “I was really bowled over by how many people commented or tweeted me and were like, ‘I thought I was the only one who’s going through this,’” she says. “[Women feel like] it’s such a shameful thing.” After she gave birth via Caesarean she had to stay in the hospital for a few days, so she’d get up early every morning to shave before anyone could see her.


e all have hair on our bodies. And it covers every inch of us except for our palms and the soles of our feet. But medical conditions, hormones, genetics, ethnicity and even stress can cause hairs to go from “vellus” (short, fine, blondish) to “terminal” (long, coarse, black). Wainer says Italian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean women are more likely to have dark hair on their upper lips and chins than women of, for example, Asian descent. So if you’ve got black hairs poking through and you’re wondering if it’s normal or if it’s hirsutism, you have to consider a variety of those factors. Age is pertinent too: After menopause, your estrogen levels plummet and your testosterone begins taking over. Voila! Chin hair. Karen Kolenda is an electrologist in Fairfield who studied at the Kree Institute of Electrology in New York City. She’s been licensed in electrology for 25 years and serves on the board of directors for the American Electrology Association and is president of the Connecticut State Electrology Association. She says she consults with women individually to

Photo: Emma Innocenti/GettyImages.


any of us have them — wiry, dark hairs that sneak out of places on our bodies we don’t want them. We pluck vigorously. We wax. We bleach. But some of us have to take more extreme steps, turning to razors, lasers and electrolysis. Dr. Bruce Wainer, senior attending physician and endocrinologist at Bridgeport Hospital, says about 5 to 10 percent of women suffer from hirsutism, a condition that causes abnormal male-pattern growth of dark hairs on the chin, face, chest or navel. Women with hirsutism may choose to shave daily or undergo expensive treatments such as electrolysis and/or laser hair removal. And if that isn’t enough, for about 75 to 80 percent of those of us who have it, the condition is caused by polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS (symptoms also include irregular periods, trouble with fertility, obesity and ovarian cysts). Despite the fact that so many women struggle with this issue, Wainer says many of us don’t seek medical treatment. “Usually it’s a cosmetic issue,” he says. Women who pluck, wax and shave don’t feel a need to talk to a doctor, but others find they can’t control it or the growth is getting worse. “Everyone has their threshold.” That’s what happened to Britta Gregor, who wrote about her struggle with hirsutism for the website XOJane. “Since I was 16, I’ve … grown dark, thick hair along my jawline and chin,” she writes. “I currently shave my face at least once a day, first thing in the morning. If I have something important to do in the late afternoon or evening, I bring my kit with me to shave and re-apply my makeup at work.” Gregor, who is married and has a young son, says she’s never let her husband touch her face “below the cheekbones.” And her parents once helped fund laser treatment, which worked for

Where to get support 

A support forum run by a woman who deals with hirsutism personally.

Got a friend with extra hair? Got extra hair yourself? Time to make a pact: I’ll pluck you in times of need, if you’ll shave me in times of need.

A site for women with PCOS and hirsutism. groups/Hirsutism/155842

A place for women to share their hairy stories, help boost one another’s self-esteem and come to terms with the hair we wear.

discuss their history, health, genetic makeup and typical hair growth to determine whether excessive hair is a result of a medical condition (PCOS) or something else (age, stress, etc.). Excess hair can be removed a couple of different ways. Electrolysis destroys hair follicles one by one using direct electric current, while laser treatments take on larger patches of hair, using pulses of laser light, which stop hair growth but don’t kill the follicle entirely. The hair can grow back after a few years (Kolenda calls the procedure “permanent hair reduction.”) As for at-home hair-removal strategies, Kolenda says shaving is the preferred approach to plucking or waxing. That’s because when you regularly rip a hair out of your follicle with tweezers or wax, that hair starts to grow back in an L shape or some other contortion instead of straight out. “The hair will twist and turn and go back into the skin and that’s why people get ingrown hairs,” she says. “The body tries to anchor the hair in.” That’s why chronic pluckers struggle with redness, scarring and ingrown hairs. When you shave the hair, the follicle doesn’t react in the same defensive way. That being said, if you’re in a position like Gregor’s, where you’re considering using a razor, you should probably consult with your doctor. Wainer says patients with hirsutism have success with laser and electrolysis as long as they combine those treatments with a steady course of hormone-balancing drugs. Otherwise, he warns, those hairs will just grow back. And hirsutism patients need to be patient — it can take six months to a year to start seeing results.  HL

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Food à Deux

one pan, two meals — what could be better!

by janet reynolds   |   photos by jody horton/chronicle books


hen the kids live at home, the cook — usually the mother, let’s face it — feels a certain responsibility to put something on the table for dinner that’s nutritious and healthy. The basic food groups and all that. But when the nest empties — usually after a decade-plus of cooking for a not-always-appreciative crowd — cooking often loses its luster. Your partner already knows how to eat



healthily. Let him do it on his own time. Let’s just open a box of cereal or order takeout and call it a day. But to do that is to lose an opportunity to reconnect with your spousal unit and have something tasty — all without spending a ton of time in the kitchen. Enter One Pan, Two Plates, a cookbook by Carla Snyder that focuses on creating good food with a minimum of fuss and clean-up. The book is divided into various food groups

The Glenholme School One Pan, Two Plates, More Than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals for Two, by Carla Snyder, photographs by Jody Horton, Chronicle Books, 208 pages, $24.95

— carbohydrates such as pastas, grains and hot sandwiches, and meat, fish and poultry options. Snyder tells how much time it will take to create and cook each meal, and includes a helpful box for each recipe on ways to make the meal a little bigger if you’re really hungry, as well as the best wine to sip with the meal. Snyder started cooking in the ’70s with Gourmet magazine. “I used to make an enormous mess in the kitchen,” she says. “I got sick and tired of that crazy cooking. I wanted to go to something simpler but it still had to be delicious.” In her career as a caterer, cooking school teacher, artisan baker and food writer, Snyder has had one consistent theme: trying to find something that will get people cooking and out of restaurants and away from processed foods. “If I can make it easy enough and make cleanup less of a big deal,” she says, “then maybe more people will cook.” “I really feel America needs help cooking and getting healthy fresh food on the table,” she says, “and all of us who cook … owe it to our friends to help them.” Snyder started playing around with the idea of creating one-pan meals. After all, what could be easier than that? “Sauces build up flavor in a pan,” she says of her experimenting. “I started thinking why can’t I just build flavor in the pan by just adding other ingredients?” Snyder also wanted the meals to be fast. “If you’re walking in the door at 6 or 6:30, you don’t want to be sitting down to dinner at 8:30 or 9 o’clock,” she says. “Everything is under an hour but most are 30 minutes.” Snyder didn’t grow up in a household where cooking was revered. “Good food was around me,” she says. “At my house Mom was not that into cooking. She made dinner because she had to feed you. She was into gardening.” It was her junior year abroad in Spain where Snyder’s food epiphany occurred. She’s been exploring that love ever since. “[I realized] a lot of people eat for enjoyment,” she says. “It’s not just something you do so you don’t die.”  HL For a recipe from the book, turn to page 36 

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cookbook: recipe

continued from page 35

One-Pan Roast Deviled Chicken with carrots, turnips and parsnips Serves 2 Start-to-finish time: 45 minutes Hands-on time: 25 minutes Ingredients 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves salt and freshly ground pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more if needed 1 small yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges 2 new potatoes, scrubbed and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges 2 carrots, cut in half lengthwise and then into 8 pieces about 2 inches long 2 parsnips, cut in half lengthwise and then into 8 pieces about 2 inches long 1 turnip, cut into 8 pieces about 2 inches long 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1 /3 cup beer, chicken broth or water 2 teaspoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley method Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Heat a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over mediumhigh heat and add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken skin-side down, and brown it for about 4 minutes. Don’t try to turn the chicken if it’s stuck to the bottom of the pan. It will release once it is sufficiently browned, Turn the chicken with tongs and brown the other side for about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. (It won’t be fully cooked but the skin should be nicely browned.) If the pan seems dry, add a little more olive oil. Add the onion, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnip, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a sprinkling of pepper to the hot pan and sauté, stirring every now and then, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Spread the skin side of



the chicken pieces with the mustard and lay them on top of the vegetables, mustard-side up. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Pour the beer into the pan and roast everything until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender and browned, about 10 minutes longer. Pierce the chicken with a fork to check for tenderness and check the thick part of the breast with an instant-read thermometer. It should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide the chicken and vegetables between two warmed plates, sprinkle with parsley and serve hot. Find the recipes for Hungarian Beef Goulash with paprika and dumplings, plus Lamb Kabobs with harissa, chickpeas and summer squash online at

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

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oral health  MILK

Open Wide 10 foods dentists want you to know about by traci neal


e all know soda and candy are bad for our teeth, but milk? Juice? Sometimes it’s the most innocuous foods that can cause tooth damage and decay. “I had a patient come in after fracturing a tooth while eating a bagel,” says Dr. Michael M. Maksymiuk, from MaxDental in Wilton. “It wasn’t the bagel that caused the tooth to fracture. It was the damage done before they ever ate the bagel.” HealthyLife asked some area dentists for a list of foods you and your family likely eat often, but should watch more carefully for optimum tooth health.



The American Dental Association recommends milk as part of a nutritious diet. However, because it contains natural sugars that cling to teeth long after it’s consumed, milk should be brushed or rinsed off teeth. “If your child drinks milk before going to bed, and then skips brushing their teeth, the milk can interact with the plaque always present on teeth, causing cavities to form,” says Dr. James T. Aris of Wilton Family Dentistry. “This is true even for infants who breast-feed or bottle-feed. It’s important to wipe their gums and teeth after feeding, before they fall asleep.” For the same reason, doctors also advise against giving babies a bottle or sippy cup of milk to drink at their leisure or when falling asleep.

DRIED FRUITS  “Dried fruits are healthy, but sticky,” says Dr. Tania Barton, a Stamford dentist. “And anything sticky, even if it’s healthy, acts like a caramel and can pull a brand new filling out because the connection, the suction as we chew, is so strong.” Aris adds: “A lunchtime snack potentially won’t be brushed off until after dinner, so avoid sticky foods, especially if you won’t be able to floss.” “Parents think things like fruit roll-ups are good because they’re labeled as all-natural, but those things have sugars that stick to your teeth,” says Dr. Scott Bialik, a Brookfield dentist. “Anything you have to use your fingernails to get off your teeth is going to create decay.”

 ICE “If you chew on one piece of ice, for the most part, it’s unlikely you’ll cause any damage,” says Maksymiuk. “But what will happen if you do it a lot is that over time you’ll create multiple fractures you don’t even know exist.” Over time, says Barton, the tooth structure is weakened until the tooth breaks and “there’s a need to have major restoration done. It’s just one unintended consequence from basically innocuous actions. We don’t expect it and then there’s a major fracture or a broken tooth.”

Photos: GettyImages. Mouth, William King; Milk, craftvision; Dried Fruit, Sally Williams Photography; Ice, Selahattin BAYRAM; Energy Drink, P_Wei; Popcorn, John E. Kelly; Carbs, Photolibrary; Tortilla Chips, Philip Wilkins; Sports Drink, Tony Cordoza. Gum photo by Colleen Ingerto.

  ENERGY DRINKS OR VITAMIN WATER “[Some of these drinks] have twice the sugar and twice the caffeine as soda,” says Dr. Donald B. Zalucky, a Wilton dentist. “I tell people, ‘If you drink it, chug it. Don’t nurse it,’ because sipping it all day can cause decay. I see patients who say, ‘I don’t understand. I don’t eat any candy or donuts or sweets.’ Then I find out they sip on energy drinks all day long. All they’re doing is feeding the bacteria that live between their teeth.”

Four out of five dentists surveyed To help prevent tooth decay, the American Dental Association actually recommends chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals to increase saliva flow and help wash out food and neutralize acid. The ADA has given its Seal of Acceptance to five sugarfree gums. They are: Dentyne Ice, Stride, Trident, Wrigley’s Extra and Wrigley’s Orbit sugar-free gums.



“Popcorn is a nice, easy, healthy snack but it can play havoc on your teeth sometimes,” Bialik says. “Everybody’s had the experience of eating popcorn and biting down on a hard kernel. It’s really a problem because it can crack a tooth and really cause damage. Sometimes the skin of the kernel gets stuck between the tooth and gums and can cause an abscess. I recommend if you’re going to eat popcorn, take it one by one as opposed to taking a handful and shoving it in your mouth.”

Tortilla chips break up in the mouth like tiny sharp knives, cutting the sensitive tissue on our gums and palates. “I’ve been a victim of the tortilla-chip gum cut,” says Barton. “I think it’s because they come to a point and they break up like shards. And if you get a cut, the acid in the salsa can cause a little bit of havoc too.”

  SPORTS DRINKS  BREAD, PASTA, POTATOES Foods with carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, stick to teeth and nestle in the spaces between teeth or in cavities already present, and break down into sugars, says Zalucky. “Once you chew it up, the problem is the fact that the sugars and carbs become food for the bacteria in your mouth.” Brushing and rinsing after meals helps, he says.

“People don’t like the concept of drinking water all the time, but when you’re thirsty or you’ve had a hard workout, [sports drinks] don’t do anything that water can’t do,” says Maksymiuk. “You end up paying all that money and drinking in all the added dyes and sugars. If you take two weeks and drink nothing but water, you’ll find you can’t drink soda or sports drinks anymore. Once you get yourself into the habit of drinking water you’ll stick with it.” Aris recalls a young man who came to his office with several cavities, who “proudly told me he was an athlete.” Then the cause of his tooth decay became clear. “Sports drinks, energy drinks, and vitamin waters all tend to contain sugar and carbohydrates,” he says. “They also contain acids that weaken tooth enamel. These components, as well as the fact that they are usually consumed when the mouth is dry from exercise, means that the athlete’s mouth has a perfect environment for cavities to form.” continued on page 41 


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oral health continued from page 39

Photos: Gettyimages. Almonds, Claes Torstensson; Fruit Juice Box, kieran wills.



“One of the main reasons we do crown and bridge work is because of damage caused by hard nuts like almonds,” says Barton. “Any hard nut, for the most part, will have the same effect and it’s usually the back teeth. If a crown is loose or you already have microfractures, the amount of crushing force that you put between your teeth can cause big problems. … But if you visit your dentist every six months they’ll check for microfractures. It’s better to take care of those proactively when we have the ability to schedule a visit rather than having to come in as the result of an emergency.”

FDA Toothpaste Warnings The Food and Drug Administration, since around 2007, has been warning consumers about imported toothpastes that may contain toxic chemicals or fail to meet FDA regulations. These toothpastes are typically sold at bargain retail stores and may be packaged to look like mainstream American brands. The FDA advises avoiding imported toothpastes, especially those from China; checking ingredient lists and FDA “Drug Facts” labels; and purchasing toothpaste from reputable stores. Visit for more information.

Even though fruit juice is often loaded with sugar, dentists say the problem isn’t necessarily that one glass of juice with a meal. It’s the juice that parents often put in a sippy cup or baby bottle and allow their child to carry around all day. “If a child goes to sleep with a sippy cup or a bottle, if it’s got sugar, it can form decay,” says Bialik. “Whether it’s milk, mother’s milk, juices or whatever, it’s going to allow the bacteria in your mouth to decay your teeth to pieces.” Aris explains: “Eating and drinking causes the pH balance of the mouth to become slightly acidic, which creates an environment in which decay can develop. The longer or more frequent the exposure to food or drink, the longer the mouth is in an acidic state. Long exposure means a greater risk of decay.” The same, incidentally, goes for adults who sip coffee all day at their desks — it’s like giving your teeth an all-day sugar and acid bath, according to the American Dental Association.  HL

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staying healthy


Flu Vaccine

it’s not just about protecting yourself by beth cooney

Photo: RTimages/GettyImages.


obody wants the flu. It’s an achy, feverish knock-out punch that leaves most of its sufferers weak, shivering, hacking and dragging for days. Yet the federal Centers for Disease Control estimates that this year, like so many others before it, only about a third of Americans will actually get a flu shot or its alternative, a nasal spray that also helps prevents contracting the virus. If you forgot to get a flu vaccine or you’re still debating whether you really need one, it’s not too late to take action. Flu season, in some years, can last until May and you really should consider protecting yourself unless you are part of a small subset (mostly vulnerable newborns) who are not good candidates for the vaccination, medical experts say. “In the broadest sense, almost everyone should get a flu shot every year,” says Dr. Michael Parry, director of infectious disease and microbiology at Stamford Hospital. “Yet every year, we have a hard time convincing people that they really need to take the precaution.” Case in point are pregnant women, whom Parry notes are at the top of almost any infectious disease expert’s list of people who really should get a flu vaccine, but sometimes protest despite the heartfelt recommendation of health experts everywhere. “They tend to worry it will somehow harm the baby when really they are protecting themselves at a critical time because pregnancy creates an immunesuppressed state and they are extremely vulnerable to the virus,” he explains. Bottom line: If you are pregnant or considering conception you should get the flu vaccine. And of course, those sub-groups aren’t the only people who should consider getting protected. Women, in particular, who play the role of caregivers to especially vulnerable young children or their elderly relatives are prime candidates for vaccination, says Parry. Getting the vaccine doesn’t just protect you from days spent in a sick bed or the economic hardships of lost work, it’s also an insurance policy for the people you care about, explains Dr. Thomas Brown, medical director at Doctor’s Express, a Danbury-based urgent care center that offers flu vaccines. “It’s not a rhino virus or what we sometimes refer to as the common cold,” says Brown. “[The flu] can be a traumatic and devastating


staying healthy

Here’s a primer on beating the odds this flu season:

Who Should Avoid Them?  Children younger than six months.  Anyone with an egg allergy (as the vaccines are cultured in eggs).  Anyone who has had a severe anaphylactic-type reaction to a prior flu shot. (Brown says this type of serious reaction should not be confused with feeling a little “under the weather” or having some minor flu symptoms after prior vaccination.)

Who Should Get Vaccinated? While doctors say most people should be vaccinated against the flu, certain groups really should take the precautionary step. They include:  Pregnant women who are considered especially vulnerable to the flu’s wrath because pregnancy is an immunosuppressant condition. (Interestingly, experts say pregnant women often balk at

getting flu vaccines, worried they may harm their babies.) The truth, says Parry, “is that getting the flu while pregnant is the real threat to an expectant mother.”  Really young children (between the ages of six months and five years) who have not been exposed to a lot of flu virus and therefore, “don’t have the natural immunities some of us build up over time,” explains Parry.  Anyone with chronic conditions such as diabetes, lung disease or some other illnesses that makes them otherwise frail and vulnerable to contagious diseases.  Anyone age 65 and up, although Parry notes there is an increasing impetus to encourage adults beyond the age of 50 to make vaccination a regular practice.  Anyone who works in a setting and/or cares for young children or the sick or elderly or spends a great deal of time with an elderly relative (such as a parent or grandparent), particularly one who is sick or has a chronic health condition.

event and leave you incapacitated. And you could make the argument that it’s bad for society not to protect yourself.” Still, Brown says he’ll often hear patients protest the suggestion of a flu vaccine because they’ve received them in the past and perhaps “not felt great” after getting one. And indeed, sometimes getting the flu vaccine, which contains strains of three to four flu viruses anticipated to be prevalent for that particular season, can give its recipients some minor flu symptoms. (Often, what’s commonly reported are low-grade fevers and feelings of general achiness.) But those temporary symptoms “are a sign the vaccine is actually doing its job and working really well,” says Brown. And, he adds, those post-vaccine symptoms are just a fraction of what you might experience with a full-blown case of influenza. “So many things in medicine really come down to a benefit/risk analysis,” he says. “And when it comes to the flu, the odds are really on the side of people who get the vaccine.” Not protecting yourself against influenza is bad personal health care policy because the flu is highly contagious and spreads easily through liquid particles (such as the kind that come from a sneeze) that can contaminate surfaces and



even the air you breathe. At its worst Brown notes the flu can become a pandemic (as it did when a particularly virulent strain wiped out as much as five percent of the world’s population in 1918) or it can be a nasty, prevalent season (as it was last year) but there is always a certain amount of guessing involved in how bad any given year will be and how effective any given flu vaccine will be in protecting against it. “But since it’s a bit of a guessing game it’s kind of better to be safe than sorry,” says Brown, who admits that the one time he got the flu, “I was wiped out for a week. I don’t think I was really prepared for how sick you can actually get.” At press time, the CDC’s estimates were that more than 168 million doses of flu vaccine would be available this year, a number that Parry described, as “plenty for the number of people we estimate will want it.” GOT FLU? If for some reason you catch the flu (as in you skipped the vaccine and got zapped) and want to feel better fast, time is of the essence, experts say.

Photo: ADAM GAULT/SPL/GettyImages.

Flu Vaccines

That’s because the anti-viral medications sold under brand names such as Tamiflu, Relenza and Flumadine can only be helpful if they are taken within the first 24 to 48 hours of exhibiting flu symptoms. So that requires taking the initiative to get to a doctor and get tested. “Unfortunately, you’ll still be sick, but it will reduce the length of the symptomatic period and you may feel a little bit better than you would have for the duration of your illness,” explains Brown. Taking the medicine will also diminish some of the viral shedding associated with the flu, meaning, “If you are lucky enough to get it treated in that period, you may end up feeling a little better and getting back to work a little sooner,” says Parry. If, however, you delay treatment or just think you’ve got a bad cold when in reality it’s the flu, you will be out of luck if you miss that critical 48-hour period. “In that case, the most effective treatments can include pain relievers and decongestants [to relieve pain and stuffy noses] and lots of rest,” says Parry. As for natural options, doctors HealthyLife queried say not a lot of clinical evidence suggests that they do much good. “If you are talking about evidenced-based medicine, I’m not aware of any so-called alternative therapies that have been clinically proven to help,” says Brown. That said, there may be something to the old wives tales about hot beverages and chicken soup in terms of providing a feeling of relief. “They may be soothing and provide some comfort in that respect and, of course, the hydration can be beneficial,” says Parry. So if someone brings you a steaming bowl of soup as you convalesce, sip away. HL

How to Prevent Flu  Get a shot each year as soon as they become available.  Stay home from work or school or community settings if you are sick (to prevent the spread to others).  Wash hands thoroughly and often. “It’s the single most effective strategy for preventing its spread,” says Parry. Also avoid touching your hands to your face. Contracting the flu “can be as simple as touching your hand to your nose or wiping your mouth,” says Parry.

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 Be cognizant of risky social practices, such as handshaking, and step up your hand-washing after such contact.  If a flu season is particularly bad, stay out of places where you are likely to be coughed on, such as theaters, gyms, public transportation, etc.

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How Will the New Health Insurance Mandate Affect You? 48 Why Overindulging Your Kids Can be Dangerous 52  Are You a Nag? 54


Affordable Care Act how the federal health insurance mandates will affect you


few months ago, Aetna informed me that my highdeductible health insurance plan would no longer be available come Jan. 1, the day the Affordable Care Act kicks in. So I called them to ask what type of coverage they could offer me. Call back on Oct. 1, they told me, the day they — and every other insurer offering plans in Connecticut — began rolling them out. I was hoping the transformation to health insurance under the ACA was going to be seamless. I was wrong. I am still trying to figure out what plan will work best for me. But one thing I know for sure: Whether you hate, love or are indifferent toward the ACA, it’s time to wake up. It’s not going away, and your No. 1 New Year’s Eve resolution should be to have health insurance. If you don’t, you’ll face fines. So now — in the height of the busiest season of all — we all need to roll up our sleeves and get to work finding the “perfect” medical plan, at a cost that hopefully won’t break your monthly budget. “Everyone needs to take more responsibility for the type of health insurance they will carry,” says Larry Cass, president of Alliance Benefit Solutions in Shelton. “The key is to talk to a benefit professional, looking at all the different options available. The days of your employer taking care of you are over.” Not exactly what most of us are yearning to hear. “Something had to be done to curb health care costs in our country,” says Kathleen Tallarita, government affairs and outreach manager for Access Health CT, aka our state’s Exchange. “So many people cannot afford health insurance. Sometimes those who have health insurance cannot afford the extra costs of seeing a doctor, so they don’t. And then there are the people who use hospitals for primary care — ear infections, temperatures, the things you go see your primary care physician for — that have been driving our health care costs up. It had to change.”



Photos: GettyImages. Stetroscope on US Paper Currency, hudiemm; Doctor’s office check up, Heath Korvola.

by valerie foster

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY So will our out-of-pocket expenses for health care go up? “They may or may not,” says Connecticut’s Healthcare Advocate Victoria Veltri. “Right now, whether you realize it or not, you are paying for the uninsured with your premiums. It is putting a financial strain on our resources and health care costs. Under the Affordable Care Act everyone will have health insurance and will be paying for their health care.” The theory: More money into the pot, costs will go down. She explains that although many of the newly insured will have medical issues, many more will be healthy. And under the ACA, a whole myriad of medical procedures, including annual physicals and diagnostic tests such as mammograms and colonoscopies, will be covered 100 percent, which means that more people will be getting the preventive medicine they have ignored in the past, keeping Americans healthier than ever before. WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? The ACA — commonly known as Obamacare — requires that beginning in 2014 everyone has to have health insurance, which you can obtain three ways if you don’t already have health benefits through your employer:  Through Medicaid or Medicare  By buying insurance through Connecticut’s Exchange marketplace  By buying private insurance from a health insurer offering plans in Connecticut

Just Around the Corner … Jan. 1, 2014 — the day the Affordable Care Act becomes law — is just around the corner. So what’s a consumer to do?

 No. 1, get insurance. The 2014 penalty is $95 or 1 percent of your income, whichever is greater. (There is no penalty if you have no health insurance for less than three months.)

 Make a list of your providers since those HMO, PPO and POS plans we have all come to love are still here.

 Visit if you are computer savvy. It’s a one-stop shopping source for individuals or small businesses looking for health insurance.

 If computers scare you, call our state’s Office of the Healthcare Advocate, (866) 466-4446. They can answer your questions and point you to the proper people to get you information and enrolled.

 If the concept of the Exchange scares you, call a private health insurance broker.

According to Veltri, every soon-to-be offered plan in our state — either on the Exchange or privately obtained — must offer Essential Health Benefits that include, at a minimum:       

   

ambulatory patient services emergency services hospitalization maternity and newborn care mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment prescription drugs rehabilitative and habilitative (helps people acquire, maintain or improve skills and functioning for daily living) services and devices laboratory services preventive and wellness services chronic disease management pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

Equally important, come Jan. 1:  No one can be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.  Gender rating will be prohibited (often women of child-bearing age pay higher premiums than men of the same age).  Better rates for older adults who are now subject to a higher premium rate adjustment for age.  High-deductible plans are gone. The highest deductible will be $2,000.

Covered Under Medicare? No worries. You do nothing. But according to our state Office of the Healthcare Advocate, there are some perks coming your way:

 You may save a bit of cash over the year, since the Affordable Care Act offers coverage for an annual wellness visit and removes cost-sharing for preventive services.

 Medicare Part D’s “donut hole” for prescription

drugs will be closed, eventually. But there is a bit of relief, since in 2014 Connecticut residents will receive more than $53 million in help with their prescription drug costs under the ACA.

 There is also federal funding to provide more coordinated care and to change the way providers are reimbursed to focus on the quality of care, not volume.

continued on page 51 


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insurance continued from page 49

And one more thing: You’ll be hearing a lot about bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels of coverage, which signify how much of every medical procedure you will pay and how much the insurance company will absorb. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, bronze plans pay 60 percent of medical costs; silver, 70 percent; gold, 80 percent; and platinum, 90 percent. Notice that no plan is paying 100 percent of costs. ACA ACTION PLAN You always have the option to seek out an insurance broker, such as Cass. However, Tallarita is hoping the first place people will turn is Access Health CT, which was created by the Connecticut Legislature in 2011 as a one-stop online shopping source for individuals and small businesses looking for health insurance. It will help you determine if you qualify for premium discounts, Medicaid or other state health insurance programs; compare health insurance plans that meet our state’s requirement; and enroll in a plan. “It’s important for everyone to understand that they don’t have to purchase health insurance through the Exchange, but if you are entitled to federal help, you can only get insurance through the Exchange,” Tallarita explains. “It is our hope that costs will be lower through the Exchange, and the more people that sign up — whether they are eligible for aid

or not — the lower costs will be. Our goal is to bring health care costs down for everyone.” Even if you have health insurance offered by your employer, experts suggest checking out the Exchange and everything that’s available. You might get a better deal. However, premiums for the Exchange plans are based on income, so if you are at a higher income level, your monthly payments will either not be subsidized, or subsidized at a lower rate. Veltri adds that if you are computer savvy, AccessHealthCT. com is a wonderful tool. You could also contact her office and they can direct you to the proper channels for help, including the Navigator and Assister Outreach Program, a partnership between Access Health CT and the Office of the Healthcare Advocate. There are six Navigator organizations in Connecticut; in Fairfield County it’s the Southwestern Area Health Education Center in Bridgeport. Over the past year, more than 300 assisters have been certified to engage, explain and enroll people in health insurance. In addition, many private insurance brokers have gone through the certification process to better serve their clients. “The first year will be rocky and confusing for a lot of people,” Cass says. “But it has to go forward. And five years from now there will be more efficiency in the marketplace. My optimistic side is saying ‘I hope so.’”  HL

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! NO why overindulging your child can have devastating, lifelong effects by traci neal


uying your teen everything she wants. Doing your middleschooler’s homework for him. Confronting the T-ball coach when your first-grader is benched. Overindulgence takes many forms. Whether it’s an attempt to buy love or happiness, help your child fit in, fight his battles, or simply keep her from throwing a tantrum, constantly saying yes can be far more damaging than saying no. “I think a lot of parents are doing it from a good place,” says Carol Passmore, a licensed practical counselor and director of Care to Connect, a family educational and therapeutic practice in Fairfield. “They don’t mean to hurt their kids.” In fact, most experts agree, it’s just the opposite. “As parents, we want to give them what the other kids have,” says Tim Van Deusen, an adult and child psychiatrist in Fairfield and assistant professor in the Yale University Department of Psychology. “We want to see our kids smile. When they’re happy, we’re happy.” Elaine Levy Cooper, Ph.D., a parent-child specialist and psychoanalyst in Westport, adds, “It’s a very child-centered universe right now and in some ways we want to see our kids empowered and being able to advocate for themselves. But there’s a fine line between that and going over the boundary of the too-empowered child who thinks they have the right to every toy they point to.”



But for most parents — and actually for the kids too — it isn’t really even about the toy. “Television commercials often show the parent and the child playing with the toy together,” says Laura Markham, Ph.D., a Brooklyn-based author of Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting. “Often that’s the message the child gets: ‘If I get this toy, Mom and Dad will play with me.’ What kids really want is us.” We all have cravings for things, Markham says. “And our brains react when we ‘chase’ something and then get or ‘capture’ it. It feels good. And as a result, many of us have gotten into a habit, and have taught our children, that we can get what we want when we want it.” But at what cost? Researchers in the 1980s studied self-described overindulged children and identified what they called “spoiled child syndrome” to describe kids whose parents

Photos: GettyImages. Girl, Fuse; Bucket, Steve Wisbauer.

gave in to their every whim. In addition to excess buying, an overindulgent parent might allow the child to repeatedly skip school or cheat on homework, avoid chores altogether, stay out later than is appropriate for their age, even rule and dominate the family. “Overindulgence can manifest itself as disrespect toward authority figures,” says Sheryl Silverstein, Ph.D., who has practices in Westport and Stamford and is on the faculty at Yale University’s Department of Psychology. “They walk into a room with an attitude that says rules aren’t meant for them.” Spoiled children, the study found (though most of us probably don’t need a study to confirm it), display a lack of consideration for others, demand to have their own way, and are prone to temper tantrums. Because we’re meeting their every need, says Amanda Harmon, a licensed clinical social worker in Fairfield and Westport, they’re not learning how to cope with no. “The world at large isn’t going to give them everything they want,” she says. When they grow up, overindulged kids can become entitled young adults, says Van Deusen. “They find it hard to get into relationships because they have this sense of grandiosity,” he says. “Nobody is ever going to be smart enough or good-looking enough.” Silverstein agrees. “Overindulgence can interfere with their social relationships with their peers, their teachers, and as they get older, their bosses,” she says. And it doesn’t end once the children leave the nest. “A lot of parents are still saying yes,

even after the child is grown,” says Passmore. “Parents are paying for their adult child’s rent, car insurance and other expenses, and their overindulged kids don’t feel good about themselves because they need to be independent but haven’t learned the skills.” It’s not all doomed, though. There are ways to break the habit. “They should tell their child, ‘We did something in a way I don’t think is positive for your future,’” says Passmore. “You can’t just flip a kid. It’s always good for a parent to have the discussion with their child, ‘This is what we realize and we want to make changes in our family.’” Then, she says, ask for your child’s input. “Ask them to come up with a needs and wants list. It may turn out to be different from what you think they need and want, but it starts the conversation.” The earlier we can help our children set limits and learn to make decisions and balance things, the better, says Harmon. “We do that by teaching kids that rewards are earned. Setting up charts or a token system. It’s helping them to understand you can’t just walk into a store and say ‘I don’t have any money but I want’” whatever the object of their desire is that day. “Is that one more piece of clothing really going to make your child happy?” asks Cooper, who runs a support group in Westport called Parenting the TooEmpowered Child. “Parents need to look a little more inward and ask themselves what all the needing and wanting is about,” Cooper says. “Ask themselves, ‘What does my child really want?’” HL

A Little Gratitude Help kids learn gratitude by talking about things that matter to them beyond “stuff.” Here are some conversation starters from Laura Markham, Ph.D., an author and founder of the Aha Parenting website,  What do you think is most important for happiness — being rich or something else? What else?  Do you think if someone works hard enough, they can get very rich?  Do you think it’s OK to cheat or lie to make money?  What do you think makes a person popular? Are wealthier kids more popular? Are you popular? Why or why not? Would you like to be?  Do adults automatically deserve respect? What about kids? How do you earn respect?

Chores Most parents agree that children should do chores, but enforcing them can sometimes be more work for parents than just doing the chores themselves. My Job Chart ( is a free online tool that helps parents and kids track chores, get rewards (either points or money,

depending on your family’s philosophy), and hold each other accountable. “So contributing to the family becomes a conversation, not just a one-way battle with the parent telling the child, ‘You need to do more!’” says Adam Bruss, president and chairman of My Job Chart.


making a change

Nag, Nag,


tips for getting the results you want a different way

by kristi barlette



Photos: GettyImages. Left, Soubrette; right, Stock Shop Photography LLC.


ou are such a nag.” It’s one of those statements that can make a woman feel as offended as hearing a “yes” to the age-old question of “do I look fat in this fill-in-the-blank?” We don’t want to nag, really we don’t, but sometimes it seems as if there’s just no other way to get the people in our life to do what we need or want them to do. Our kids are more interested in playing video games than in doing homework. Asking doesn’t work, but nagging may. The same is true of that fifth (or so) request for our husband to take off his muddy shoes when coming in from doing yard work. Nor does nagging just happen with spouses and kids. The constant “how’s that assignment coming along?” greeting someone may give their colleague each morning can quickly turn from being perceived as curiosity or concern to flat-out nagging. Do it often enough and, ironically, the very people you’re trying to influence may begin to listen to you even less. “Nagging is about having expectations,” says Scott Wetzler, a psychologist and vice chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Montefiore Medical Center in New York and author of Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man. “You nag because you don’t feel they’re meeting your expectations.” Some naggers don’t even realize they’re doing it, experts say. In fact, the offenders will say they’re just asking a question — admittedly repeated-

Are You a Nag? Here are some signs you may be:

 People you respect say you tend to nag.  You annoy yourself by constantly asking someone to do something.  You believe everything “needs” to be done according to your timetable.  You feel frustrated that you regularly don’t get what you want — or feel you need — from another person.  You start sentences with, “not to be a nag, but …” Sources: Lindsey Laszewski, associate pastor of care at Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel; Lisa Ryan, a Westport-based marriage counselor and infidelity specialist; Scott Wetzler, a psychologist and vice chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Montefiore Medical Center in New York and author of Living with the PassiveAggressive Man.

ly. But the purest definition of nagging is just that: requesting something over and over and over again because you aren’t getting the desired results. “Nagging is constantly pestering or annoying someone in hopes that they do or remember to do what you’ve asked,” says Lindsey Laszewski, associate pastor of care at Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel. Sometimes recognizing you’re a nag is as simple as your partner saying so, says Lisa Ryan, a Westport-based marriage counselor and infidelity specialist. About 30 percent of her clients say nagging is a problem in their relationship. The issue is that when one person calls another out on their nagging, it becomes name-calling and an accusation, and then both people — the “asker” and the one accused of nagging — are likely to shut down. “Nagging causes people to tune you out,” says Laszewski. “They recognize that you keep pestering over the same issue and so eventually your mouth is moving, but they simply don’t hear your words.” So just how do you get your point across about a particular project or behavior if the person you need to work with you isn’t budging? You have a few options, and the responsibility lies with both parties, experts say. Ryan suggests saying “I don’t want to repeat myself, so tell me what time you can get this done so I know what to expect.” That approach isn’t a reminder and does not sound accusatory, she says, but it does make the person who typically feels as if he’s being nagged accountable for listening

and for summarizing what he heard (since the statement requires a response). Or, she says, lean forward and speak in a lower tone when making your request. Yelling, or even raising your voice a bit, causes people to go on the defense and makes them less willing to work with you. Wetzler favors looking at the problem and trying to understand why the person you’re in conflict with over a specific issue (typically a partner or spouse, but sometimes one of your children or a colleague) is resistant. “Get away from nagging and get into problem-solving,” he says. This can be tough, but typically starts with trying to accept the reason the supposed offending parties, for instance, don’t want to do their homework or take off their shoes, and then resolve their concerns. “People need to examine their expectations when they’re not getting what they want,” Wetzler says. “They then need to ask themselves ‘what is a realistic or reasonable thing to expect?’ Frequently we think there is only a single person who can give us what we want. Sometimes the best way to not be a nagger is to realize there is someone else who can do it for you.” And, if that doesn’t work (sometimes there really is only one person who can give us what we want or need) the answer may be as disheartening, but realistic, as reexamining your relationship. “In really good, healthy relationships people don’t have to ask for what they want,” Wetzler says. “Their partner or spouse knows what they want and knows how to give it to them.”  HL


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The more I do now, ➺ the less I do later. Don’t

procrastinate, it’s worth the effort! — HealthyLife Cover Model, Melinda Pecora

spirit Fitting ‘Me’ Time Into the Holidays 58

The Power of (Women) Networking 60  Avoid These Beauty Mistakes 62  Cover Model Q&A 66 

stress control

Me Time! by beth cooney


ast year, Andrea Hanson tweaked her normally frenetic holiday routine. It wasn’t a major rewrite of her typical seasonal schedule — just a careful edit. She baked fewer cookies, said no to some invitations, cut her holiday card mailing list and spent a little less time on elaborate present-wrapping. And she started the season off on a perfectly chill note in early December, spending an evening meditating with her girlfriends. “We were trying to set the stage to just have a calmer holiday,” says Hanson, a Norwalk resident. The result was a little less Christmas and a much happier and relaxed Andrea. “I felt like my holiday was better because I felt like I didn’t get so lost in the process,” she says. Hanson, in partnership with her close friend Tracy McCarthy, is co-founder of the Fairfield County-based social networking enterprise My Time for Me, which plans innovative events structured around the concept of getting women out and about for fun and adventure while focused (at least for a few hours) on some personal recharging time. Since Hanson’s business has made a mission of working “me



time” into the lives of women, she’s an expert on finding ways to set aside time for personal needs and interests. But like many women living busy Fairfield County lives, finding that time is often easier said than done around the holidays. “I feel like everyone tries to do everything and go everywhere and be there for everyone more this time of year than any other. And most of us end up enjoying the season less because of it.” Indeed, the notion of “personal time” at the holidays is really an oxymoron, says Maud Purcell, a practicing psychotherapist and founder of the Darien-based Life Solutions Center. “If you put ‘me time’ and holidays in the same sentence it almost doesn’t sound right, does it?” says Purcell, who notes that many of her clients actually dread the season simply because of the way their personal needs are overwhelmed by seasonal obligations. “Women, by their very nature, have a hard time making time for their own needs anyway. Add in the holidays and for some people, it becomes next to impossible.” On top of that, cultural pressure counters the idea of selfindulgence around the holidays. “The whole spirit of the sea-

Photo: GettyImages. Young Woman, Steve Debenport; Cookie, shunichi.

and how to get it, even during hectic holidays

son is supposed to be about giving of oneself to others,” says Purcell, who adds, “It’s a nice and wonderful sentiment that has real value in our lives and society.” But take the selfless spirit to the extreme and you can feel downright guilty about getting your nails done, taking your regular yoga class or doing anything that helps you recharge your personal batteries. Linda Gottlieb, a Milford-based personal trainer, says even though it’s actually more essential to focus on fitness come the holidays, it’s often hard for her clients to find time for even a streamlined routine. “If your schedule is so crammed you’re baking cookies at 9 o’clock at night, it’s hard to find time just to do even the most basic things for yourself,” she says, adding the phenomenon is really a sign of the times. “You may be taking care of kids and an elderly relative and be a businesswoman to boot. Even if you are doing just one of those things and you add in holiday obligations, the things you need to do for yourself can go on the back burner.”


Celebrate You Some tips and ideas for finding “me time” during the holidays.  Stay fit by practicing MELT, Gottlieb’s acronym for “More Exercise in Less Time.” Try Tabata-style workouts that involve intense bursts of cardio (think jogging in place or jump rope drills) followed by strength training.  Organize a “party” focused on de-stressing. Last year, Hanson’s My Time for Me clients enjoyed an evening of meditation, chocolate sampling and Tarot card reading at Norwalk’s TLC Center.  Make shopping an invigorating experience. Gottlieb suggests power walking the mall a few times before invading stores. “The window shopping while you walk is a good way to get some ideas and also squeeze in some fitness.”  Opt out. If you are feeling extremely stressed, it’s OK to take a year off from family events and holiday dinners. But explain your reasons to your family and let them know you don’t intend to make this change permanent, says Purcell.

et taking time for yourself at the holidays doesn’t necessarily mean canceling all your plans and booking a flight to a tropical island, although one year Purcell  Cut all your to-do lists in half. Buy fewer gifts. Use and her family did jet off in search of a break from their norgift bags. Bake a “dozen or two” fewer cookies. Edit mal routine. Practically speaking, Purcell suggests just being your card list down to a manageable, important few. cognizant that the holidays can be overwhelming and set Simplify your holiday parties. Plan a “wine night,” a ting some reasonable limits is really the best place to start chocolate- or cheese-tasting or a cookie swap. when trying to carve out self-time.  “Shut off your phone,” says Hanson. “You’ll feel Even if your house is packed with guests come the holiinstantly less stressed and breathe easier. It’s the days, Purcell suggests ways to create personally fulfilling ultimate me time.” moments. “One thing I encourage people to do is be very upfront about their needs so that there are not any surprises,” she says. That could mean telling your house guests that you every cookie and wrap every present perfectly to have a like to spend an hour each day quietly reading in your room, great holiday,” she says. so no one will feel offended when you slip away. “And of Connie Cusick, a marketing consultant from Fairfield, course,” she says, “it’s a wonderful way to set an example for thrives on repeating the tradition set by her grandmother your kids (and your guests) about the importance of taking and mother by hosting an annual “girls only” pre-holiday care of yourself and not being a martyr during the season.” party. And while party planning may sound like the antithSpeaking of martyrdom, the holidays are a wonderful esis of me time, Cusick says the soiree is exactly that betime to embark on the practice of sharing when it comes to cause she gets to enjoy the company of her eclectic colchores and celebrations, too. While you may be a hostess lection of cherished girlfriends — plus it’s her gift to who thrives on creating parties ripped from the pages her girlfriends. That said, she plans the party by of Martha Stewart Living, dialing back your cellimiting her menu to wine or champagne, ebrations — even a bit — may leave a little some good cheese and chocolate and “a extra room for more downtime. “It is few appetizers or treats that people ofperfectly OK to divide up chores, ask fer to bring.” She also hosts the event people to pitch in and contribute early in December on a weeknight, to the planning and preparation, If your schedule is so so her guests can come after their particularly in a family,” Purcell crammed you’re baking cookies husbands get home from work says. or their kids are done with their Hanson says that when she at 9 o’clock at night, it’s hard homework. “Sometimes what’s took stock of some of her own to find time just to do even the tough about the holidays is when holiday traditions, she was able things become a chore,” she says. to curtail her sense of obligamost basic things for yourself. “That’s when you really feel like tion by reordering her priori— Linda Gottlieb, a Milford-based personal trainer you are losing yourself.”  HL ties. “You don’t need to make




Power of


for women, it’s about developing relationships


ey, ladies, want to hear the latest advice on how to get ahead in business? Be a SLUT! Pamela Ryckman’s recently released book, The Stiletto Network, has made women’s professional networks with sassy names such as Successful Ladies Under Tremendous Stress (SLUTS) the talk of the town. Here’s why. When these women meet at wine bars for a networking session, they’re not coming from the corner store; they’re coming from the corner office. The book is subtitled, Inside the Women’s Power Circles That Are Changing the Face of Business. And when they do meet, they don’t just talk shop, give elevator pitches, and pass out business cards. They’re also — wait for it — actually friends! That members of the Stiletto Network support each other, not just professionally but on a personal level too, is being hailed as if it were some kind of revelation. But while the Jimmy Choos may be new, it’s hardly news that women do this. Anne Garland, author of the book Making Connections



Count, organizes networking events for women all over Connecticut and observes this mingling of the personal and professional on a regular basis. What’s more, after working at a mostly male-dominated Fortune 100 company, she says she believes it’s what makes women better at networking. “Women are emotional beings. Women also are nurturers, so when they network they are more looking for that feeling of connecting,” says Garland. “Men just do things differently — give me your 10-second elevator pitch and how can you help me? We women are full of heart. We really do band together.” BAND OF SISTERS Women’s networking organizations are hardly a new phenomenon. “Women historically have always been networking,” says Garland. “It goes all the way back to the quilting bee.” One of the first women’s business networks, The Woman’s Exchange, was launched to help women turn those very

Photo: Blend Images/John Lund /GettyImages.

by jayne keedle

same quilts into cash. The network of charity consignment shops began in 1832 with the Philadelphia Ladies’ Depository, which was created to give genteel ladies a way to make “pin money” selling items they made at home. Although times have changed, the mission of the Woman’s Exchange remains essentially the same and it continues to be a way to help women help themselves. “We have a vast network of home-based businesses of moms ranging from their 20s to their 80s all over the country,” says Elise Bates, president of the 51-year-old Fairfield Woman’s Exchange. “We’ve got someone from the hills of North Carolina who sends us knitted hats and we have a stay at-home mom in Fairfield County who paints furniture.” By the way, that woman from North Carolina, whose handknitted wares are very much in demand, makes $70,000 a year through the Woman’s Exchange — and that’s not exactly pin money. After paying the artists, crafters and artisans their 70 percent, and paying the bills to keep the store open, the Woman’s Exchange then donates all proceeds to charities that serve women and children. This is a prime example of women joining forces to help each other and for the volunteers who staff the store it’s a social network too. Bates, who is a stay-at-home mom, says she joined as a volunteer shortly after moving to Connecticut as a way to make friends and get out of the house once in a while. “The relationships that I have with the other volunteers are just invaluable to me. They’re so supportive of me. It’s a working environment and it’s a really special community of women of all ages who wouldn’t necessarily come together otherwise,” says Bates. For women, networking comes naturally and their professional and personal lives are often intertwined. Perhaps because women are still more likely than men to be trying to strike a balance between advancing their careers and raising a family, it’s hardly surprising that they’d turn to each other for support and advice on the home front, too. At a women’s business networking session, a conversation about the real estate market might easily lead to a reference for a good plumber or a reliable babysitter. The one thing it doesn’t lead to, however, is a proposition and, for many women, that’s another great reason to join a womenonly organization. MAKING PERSONAL CONNECTIONS When Thelma Gregory moved to Wilton knowing no one and looking for a job, she wanted to join a professional network for two reasons: to make business connections and to make friends. The 35-year-old Wisconsin native says she test-drove a few other networking organizations before joining the Fairfield Network of Executive Women. She opted for a women-only organization, frankly, because married men kept hitting on her at the other “networking” events.

Gregory says members of the Fairfield women’s organization made her feel right at home from the get-go. “You walk in blind and you’re welcomed immediately. They want to know your name, your whole story,” says Gregory. “I know now, if I get stuck on a problem, personal or professional, I have this brain trust of women I can turn to.”  HL

Power in Numbers Investment banker-turned-aspiring-journalist Pamela Ryckman found herself struggling to get a leg up in a new industry. With young kids and a desire for a better work experience, Ryckman found herself striking out again and again with editors and other journalists, who never returned calls or e-mail. But then she discovered what she calls “stiletto networks.” “It all started at a women’s conference,” writes Ryckman in the intro to her book Stiletto Network. She met a woman senior executive who introduced her to other women executives, smart ladies in powerful positions who “didn’t carp about ‘balance’ or lament not ‘having it all.’” Ryckman stumbled on collectives of successful women, many of whom opened doors for her that she’d never have opened on her own. The Stiletto Network chronicles anecdotes of success and networking within these groups, who call themselves names such as Harpies (a group whose members have included Nora Ephron and Barbara Walters), Power Bitches, Babes in Boyland and S.L.U.T.S. (Successful Ladies Under Tremendous Stress). One woman who benefited from stiletto networks tells Ryckman, “This is not just a financial relationship. It’s one of passion, true loyalty, care, and concern for our mission. These incredible women have rolled up their sleeves and been involved in the nitty-gritty of building my business.” Stiletto Network: Inside the World’s Power Circles That Are Changing the Face of Business, by Pamela Ryckman, Amacom Publishing, 258 pages, $22.95 — Brianna Snyder



beauty mistakes women often make

get the skinny on what you might be doing wrong — and learn what to do instead



by melissa fiorenza


ot your daily beauty routine down pat? Think your go-to products are amazing? Hang tight. Before your next primping session, take a moment to look at the following list of common beauty blunders. When it comes to skincare, hair and makeup, we asked the pros to give it to us straight: Where might we be messing up? Read on for some surprising changes you may want to make. (Not only will you look even more beautiful, but you’ll save some money, too.)

Photo: John Lund/Sam Diephuis/GettyImages.

looking good

BEAUTY MISTAKE: Purchasing anti-aging products that are packaged in jars (especially when they’re expensive). “Despite the fact that lots of consumers love jar packaging, the ingredients most beneficial for skin are not stable when repeatedly exposed to light and air, which is exactly what happens when you take the lid off a jar each day,” explains Bryan Barron, coauthor of Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me ( That means that as soon as you open it for the first time, the formula begins to break down. Plus, Barron adds, there’s a hygiene issue. “Dipping your fingers into a jar transfers bacteria from your hands into the product, and that causes the important ingredients to further deteriorate.”

 CHANGE IT UP: Opt for a tube of cream or one that you pump. And that’s especially true if the product contains anti-aging ingredients such as peptides, vitamin C or retinol, says Barron. BEAUTY MISTAKE: Thinking natural ingredients are always better or safer for your skin. Always feel better when the product has “NATURAL” splashed across it? Get this: Not all natural ingredients are good for your body — just as not all synthetic ingredients are bad. “Just because a product touts natural ingredients is no guarantee it’s effective, better, or safer for skin than a product that contains a mix of natural and synthetic ingredients,” says Barron. “Fragrant natural ingredients can cause a number of issues for skin, including free-radical damage and inflammation that keeps skin from being able to repair itself as well as it normally would.”

 CHANGE IT UP: “Generally speaking, watch out for any that are fragrant, including all forms of mint, citrus, lavender, and flowers like geranium, rose, and ylang-ylang.” To learn more, check out the Ingredient Dictionary at BEAUTY MISTAKE: Shampooing all your hair at once. When shampooing longer hair, there’s a tendency to gather all the wet hair up and begin shampooing. But John Stefanick, lead stylist at Noelle Spa for Beauty & Wellness in Stamford, says that can dry out alreadycompromised lengths of hair. “After all that exhausting scrubbing, the length is released and conditioner is plopped right on the top scalp area, resulting in flattened, over-conditioned hair that doesn’t really need it.”

 CHANGE IT UP: Concentrate on cleansing the scalp and conditioning the lengths, Stefanick says, for a healthier, balanced wash. continued on page 64 

COOKIE MONSTER™ & ©, KERMIT™ & © 2013 Sesame Workshop; CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG™ & © Norman Bridwell. All rights reserved; PADDINGTON BEAR ™ © 2013 Paddington & Co. Ltd.; POPEYE © 2013 King Features Syndicate, Inc., THE LORAX™&© 1937-2013 Dr. Seuss Properties

looking good continued from page 63

ďƒ¨ CHANGE IT UP: Toss your combo product. And when you purchase a shampoo, buy the matching conditioner. “They are formulated to work together, balancing each other,â€? Stefanick says. “Otherwise you might end up with over or under benefits that you’re looking for.â€? This often leads to the belief that the products don’t really work, he adds. BEAUTY MISTAKE: Shaving every day. Whether it’s your legs, bikini area or underarms, shaving sensitive skin over and over is actually a big no-no. “This seems like a quick fix for stubbly hair, but shaving only removes hair at skin level, so it reappears in one to four days, and over time the skin itself becomes course,â€? says Noemi Grupenmager, founder & CEO of Uni K Wax Centers ( “Also, by continually cutting the hair, you are, in fact, stimulating its growth, encouraging the hair to grow back faster, thicker, coarser and fuller, resulting in more hair growing from

A Very

Special Place

each pore.� Even worse, she adds, the daily risk of nicks, cuts, ingrown hair and razor burn further aggravates the skin.

ďƒ¨ CHANGE IT UP: See a specialist who uses all-natural elastic wax. It removes hair below skin level, so hair grows back slower and sparser over time. “It’s applied at body temperature, and left to rest on the skin to both nourish and open the pores,â€? says Grupenmager. Another plus: Waxing lasts 3-6 weeks and is less expensive than shaving daily. BEAUTY MISTAKE: Shaving upward on your legs. Let’s say you really do need to shave before you can get to your next waxing appointment. Take a moment to picture how you actually do it. If you’re like a lot of women, you shave upward here and there — not a great idea. Dr. Craig Kraffert, president of Amarte and a board certified dermatologist ( tells us: “Upward shaving strokes on the legs greatly increase the risk of pimple-like ingrown hairs.â€? And who wants that?

ďƒ¨ CHANGE IT UP: “Going with the grain is a much better approach,â€? says Kraffert. Remember this next time you hop in the shower with your razor: On legs, shaving with the grain translates to downward strokes. On the underarms, that means upward strokes.

Acupuncture “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed� (Isaiah 53: 5)

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Candlewood Valley Health and Rehab is a 148 bed skilled nursing facility offering Short Term Rehab, Respite Care, Long Term Care and Specialized Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care. We are a nationally ranked 5 star facility. U.S. News and World Report has ranked us 5th on their list of the Best Nursing Homes in Connecticut. Residents are treated with state of the art modalities including Short Wave Diathermy, Electrical Stimulation, Ultrasound and Omnicycle to address pain and increase strength. We provide our residents with 24 hour individualized nursing care with a staff dedicated to treating each person with respect and dignity. Please come for a tour to see what a special place Candlewood Valley Health and Rehab is. Call us at 860-355-0971 to schedule a tour today.

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Photo: Marc Vuillermoz/GettyImages.

BEAUTY MISTAKE: Using a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner product. “There is no way a 2-in-1 knows when to be cleaning and when to be conditioning,� says Stefanick. Shampooing helps remove dirt and oils from the hair and scalp, and conditioning is meant to put back the moisture — which leads to more shine and a better style.

Yan Ting (MA, MS), Licensed Acupuncturist The Acupuncturist with Christian Faith and Chinese Skills Danbury


203-558-6169 •

Don’t commit the mistake of skipping the base coat.

BEAUTY MISTAKE: Not using moisturizer. The key to looking beautiful is having good, healthy skin, according to Tina Barbato, independent makeup consultant ( — and you achieve that by washing and moisturizing, she says. “A lot of women do not moisturize their skin because they think it’ll make them greasy, but that’s not the case.” And if you have dry skin, she adds, it’ll flake when you put makeup on.

 CHANGE IT UP: No matter if you’re in your 30s or older, find an oil-free moisturizer or whatever fits your skin type, and get into a routine of applying it daily, along with a mild cleanser. “Keep the skin moisturized, and you will have less wrinkles and fine lines.” Not sure what’s best for you? Barbato says go ahead and e-mail her at BEAUTY MISTAKE: Skipping the base coat on your DIY home manicure. As tempting it is to rush through a manicure and paint on your nail lacquer first thing, it’s not good for your nails. “Because nails are porous, they can become stained,” says

Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI co-founder and artistic director. “To avoid yellowing, take the extra step and apply base coat to keep nails from absorbing polish pigments.”

 CHANGE IT UP: Add a base coat to your home manicure stash pronto. BEAUTY MISTAKE: Covering up acne with heavy foundations and concealers. Mirabella Beauty Creative Director Amber Bowen calls this is a big beauty mistake, “as these products can actually exacerbate problem areas.” In other words, you could be making your trouble zone a lot worse by hiding it. Skin needs to breathe so it can heal properly, she says.

 CHANGE IT UP: “Instead, women should use a lightweight foundation that’s flexible,” she says. “Lightweight products can still hide redness, but they won’t build up around pimples and scabs.” 


For bonus beauty tips, visit

A Rental Community for Successful Aging Spring Meadows Trumbull is an active senior living community that offers Independent Living and Assisted Living in one beautiful and gracious building. A Capital Senior Living Community.



Spacious one and twobedroom apartments Full kitchens and washer/dryer Breakfast daily, Sunday brunch and 20 additional meals Utilities (except telephone & cable) Weekly housekeeping 24-Hour staffing And much more!

Studio and one-bedroom apartments Three nutritious meals daily Assistance with personal care Utilities (except telephone & cable) Housekeeping and linen service 24-Hour staffing And much more!

Call today to schedule your complimentary lunch and tour 6949 MAIN ST. (RTE. 25 N) • TRUMBULL, CT 06611 • 203-261-0006

cover model

up close with …

Melinda Pecora by rebecca haynes   |   photo by krista hicks benson


can’t. I’m going to the gym.” These are words HealthyLife’s November/December cover model, Greenwich resident Melinda Pecora, never thought she’d utter. Wife (she and husband Joseph celebrated their 20th anniversary in June) and mom to three teens (Joseph, 19, Lindsay, 16, and Lauren, 13), she’s spent the past decade like many women — taking care of her family and putting herself last on the list. But having studied health and wellness in college and worked in the fitness field, she decided after the birth of her third child (as her weight crept closer to 200 pounds) it was time to get serious and focus on her own health. “I really felt like I was hiding inside another body,” she says. “Everybody knows where they’d like to be. But most people, especially women who’ve gone through childbirth and their body has changed so drastically, don’t have the confidence to attempt it. … It’s not a selfish thing, because you’re taking care of yourself, and when you take care of yourself and you feel healthy mentally and physically then you are a better mother, wife and friend. It’s easier to own it that way!” What’s your favorite way to exercise? I realized when I first

got back into it that I wasn’t as self-motivated as I intended to be. It’s very easy to make excuses! So I needed to be in a fitness class, where I’d go and stay until it was over. One of the first classes I tried was Zumba and it was really fun. … As I got back into shape I started doing more classes — boot camp, boxing, kickboxing. I get bored easily so I like to try different things. What does your family find when they open the refrigerator? I

always have fruits and vegetables and I try to keep them cut up so they’ll go for that instead of the bag of chips that you’ll also find in my cabinet. But I love to cook and my husband is from a huge Italian family, so we love our pasta and meatballs. … [F]or the most part I like to buy fresh ingredients and make what we eat. I don’t buy a ton of pre-packaged food.



Do you focus on being a role model for your kids when it comes to a healthy lifestyle? I do think my kids kind of get a kick

out of watching me come back in the house dripping with sweat after I’ve exercised! I hope that I’m being a good role model for them and [fitness] is something they think is a normal part of life. … We’ll see as time goes on what they’ve absorbed and how they want to run their lives. I think sometimes they think I’m a little crazy, like when I bought my boxing gloves. But I bought pink ones! I love it when my daughters will sometimes come with me to exercise class. What’s your favorite thing to do for the holidays? I enjoy look-

ing for balance because sometimes it gets a little crazy. This will be our first year home in four years, since we’ve usually gone to North Carolina where my parents live. But both my husband and I lost a parent in the last eight months, so it’ll be a different Christmas, but it’ll be nice to find a new routine and see what our new traditions will be.  HL Clothing provided by Lester’s, 1037 Boston Post Road, Rye, N.Y., (914) 908-5688, Hair and makeup by the Christopher Noland Salon & Beauty Spa, 124 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich, (203) 622-4247,; Quinn Carroll, stylist; Zuzana Mizerova, makeup. Cover and inside model photographs taken at the Bendel Mansion at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center, 39 Scofieldtown Road, (203) 322-1646, To read a longer version of our interview with Melinda, visit

Alice always enjoyed Main Street. She still does.

The Village at Waveny is a unique assisted living residence designed to stimulate and engage

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

HealthyLife November/December 2013