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body. mind. spirit. october 2013

Release Your

Inner Psychic Do You

Exercise at the

Right Time?

Genetics and Cancer



Paleo The payoffs of a cavewoman diet

 special insert!

Hospital Handbook Tips for a positive stay

HealthyHOME •H  ousehold Mold? What to do

•D  IY Repair Tips (and when you should always hire a professional)

Doctor Lupo

gave me

a new


at Life



Two years ago I was involved in a serious car accident which left me with severe physical and mouth injuries that required massive dental intervention which included 22 veneers,1 implant, crowns & more! After searching a 90 mile area I found Main St. Advanced Cosmetics right here in Danbury with world renowned experience. Dr. Lupo and his Staff of professionals gave me back a healthy natural smile and healthy function. I want to thank this group for giving me back my confidence. A life changing experience.

George Vafidis George Vafidis

We now offer the most complete 3-D imaging system for quicker and more comprehensive accurate diagnostic treatment planning.

SPECIALIZING IN IMPLANT & COSMETIC DENTISTRY AND MUCH MORE! Professional photo studio on premises to help with accuracy when creating the most natural looking smile

Dr. Lupo Villega Manhattan Quality Cosmetic Dentist in our Area.

“Function, Function a healthy smile begins with Function”

For an Evaluation Call Dr. Lupo


Main Street Advanced Dental & Cosmetics

209 Main Street


(203) 730-2917

BrEast caNcEr isN’t tHE oNLy disEasE tHat tHrEatENs your BrEast HEaLtH. HEaLtH

At Norwalk Hospital, our Benign Breast Disease Program offers comprehensive support for women who don’t have breast cancer but have a breast concern that needs attention. We perform 20,000 mammograms each year and have a cohesive breast health team to guide you on a clear path to optimal breast health. That’s good to know.

To schedule a mammogram or to learn more about your breast health, call (866) NHB+WELL KNOW your breast health at



Wednesday, October 16

One of the most abundantly gifted of a new breed of singer and songwriter. Your Love, My Home, his debut CD, introduces not only an accomplished singer with experience in every musical genre from opera to rock.

Editorial Janet Reynolds, Group Executive Editor Rebecca Haynes, Editor Brianna Snyder, Associate Editor

Anna Raimondi Psychic Medium

Thursday, October 17

Internationally acclaimed clairvoyant medium, spiritual counselor, teacher and healer.

Design Tony Pallone, Design Director Colleen Ingerto, Emily Jahn, Tyswan Stewart, Designers Krista Hicks Benson, Contributing Designer

A Whole New You Series

Giancarlo Esposito: RAW Saturday, November 9

Drug Abuse, America, Our Children and You A co-production between The Ridgefield Playhouse, The Ridgefield Prevention Council, and Family University

Best known for his portrayal of Gus Fring on “Breaking Bad.” The award-winning actor talks about his experiences growing up with drugs and alcohol in his family, and how it affected his life. Meet him at the Q&A after the discussion!

Chef Robert Irvine “Dinner: Impossible” LIVE

Sunday, November 17


Friday, November 22

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

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.




JOHN JOHN TESH TESH December21 21 December

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

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, Melinda McGarty Webb

Business Ray Koupal, Chief Financial Officer

LeAnn Rimes - The Playhouse Gala

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


80 East Ridge, Ridgefield, CT • (203) 438-5795


Contributing Writers Beth Cooney, Rachel Fiske, Lisa Pierce Flores, Valerie Foster, Sandra Diamond Fox, Anna Zernone Giorgi, Elizabeth Keyser, Linda Tuccio-Koonz, Cari Scribner, Emma Tennant, Melinda McGarty Webb

Circulation Bill Mason, Circulation Director

Partially Underwritten by Albano Appliance, 109 Cheese & Wine, Whole Foods Market in Danbury Who better to give cooking tips for a crowd just in time for all that holiday cooking than Food Network star Robert Irvine who makes any dinner “possible”!

LINDA EDER December 8

Publisher Michelle McAbee

@RPlayhouse healthylifectmagazine


October ’13 body 23 Exercise Science

Does time of day matter?

28 The Buzz About BRCA And what it means for your cancer risk

32 Heal Thyself

Eating your way to a healthier life

36 Paleo — The Perfect Nutrition? Why some are eating like cavemen

42 Patient Power

10 tips for your best hospital stay

28  special insert 



What to do if you find it in your home

home healthy

54 Do It Yourself

10 easy fixes/repairs

Octobe r 2013

 Mold: Wh at to do if you fi nd it in your hou se

You Can Do It!

mages .

10 easy DI Y projects — plus tips on whe n to call a pro

e Doyle/GettyI

Shop Smart, Shop Local for ecofriendly goods for your home

52 Mold!


Photo: Georg

50 Window Shopping


RVNA 2013

Family Flu and Pneumonia Clinic Schedule

60 Easing the Journey How to tackle difficult topics with your aging parents

64 What’s Your Worth?

And how to ask for it at work

66 College Blues

Tips to help if your child has a difficult transition

Tuesday October 1st Thursday October 3rd

Newtown Pharmacy and Surgical 20 Church Hill Road, Newtown | 4pm - 6pm

Friday October 4th

Founder’s Hall 193 Danbury Road, Ridgefield | 11am - 1pm

Tuesday October 8th

spirit 72 Release Your Inner Psychic

Friday October 11th

New Fairfield Senior Center 33 Connecticut 37, New Fairfield | 1pm - 3pm

Friday October 11th

Candlewood Drug 11 State Route 37, New Fairfield | 4pm - 6pm

Tuesday October 15th

Ancona’s Market 720 Branchville Road, Ridgefield | 12pm - 2pm

75 Lessons of Divorce

Tuesday October 15th

Branchville Elementary School 40 Florida Road, Ridgefield | 4pm - 6pm

Are there takeaways to help a happily married couple stay that way?

every issue 8

contributors’ page

10 what’s on the web 12 editor’s note 14 news and views 18 fit and fab 27 did you know?

Cover credits: Clothing/ accessories provided by L’Armoire, New Canaan. Hair and makeup by Escape Salon & Spa, Bethel; Robin Miller, owner/stylist; Sandra Yupangui, aesthetician. Photo by Krista Hicks Benson.

Yanity Gym 60 Prospect Street, Ridgefield | 11am - 1pm

Learn to harness your intuition



Georgetown Fire House 6 Portland Avenue, Redding | 10:30am - 1pm

47 your body: an owner’s manual The appendix

59 ask emma

Keeping secrets

Thursday October 17th

Veterans Park Elementary School 8 Governor Street, Ridgefield | 4:30pm - 6pm

Friday October 18th

Wilton YMCA 404 Danbury Road, Wilton | 10am - 12pm

Friday October 18th

Scotland Elementary School 111 Barlow Mountain Road, Ridgefield | 4pm - 6pm

Tuesday October 22nd

Ridgefield High School 700 North Salem Road, Ridgefield | 4:30pm - 6pm

Thursday October 24th

Farmingville Elementary School 324 Farmingville Road, Ridgefield | 4:30pm - 6pm

Monday October 28th

Ridgebury Elementary School 112 Bennetts Farm Road, Ridgefield | 4pm - 6pm

Tuesday October 29th

Barlow Mountain Elementary School 115 Barlow Mountain Road, Ridgefield | 4:30pm - 6pm Wellness Wednesdays Walk-in Flu and Pneumonia Clinics | September - November Every Wednesday Starting September 25th Adult Clinic at Bissell Pharmacy 23 Governor Street, Ridgefield | 10am - 11:30pm Every Wednesday Starting September 11th Family Clinic at RVNA Office { Appointment suggested } 90 East Ridge Road, Ridgefield | 4pm - 6pm

71 my word essay

For more information, or if you’re interested in having a flu clinic at your business or organization, please contact RVNA at 203.438.5555

78 cover model Q&A

Follow us on Facebook for additional clinics or visit us online at

Running in place Up close with Cindy Palmer Dean

talk back

The story behind the story from our contributors Mold Management Sandra Diamond Fox  While writing the story on household mold, I learned that I’d better get my own basement checked as soon as possible, since we’ve had water damage many times over the years, and this is what causes mold to grow. See Sandra’s story on page 52.

Be a Power Patient Anna Zernone Giorgi  No matter where you’re hospitalized or why, you can contribute toward a positive outcome by speaking up, asking questions and having a relative or friend remain with you. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to take an active role in your own care, or ask someone to do it for you, since you’ll have to live with the results if things don’t go as they should. Read Anna’s story on page 42.

join the conversation!

LIKE us on

facebook healthylifectmagazine




College Blues

The Buzz About BRCA

“I learned so much more than I could fit into any one article.” Lisa Pierce Flores  It was encouraging to hear that if genetic research continues to progress at its current pace, there’s a good chance that by the time a girl who’s now 12 or 13 approaches her 30s, medical science may be able to turn off the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations that would place her at a higher cancer risk. Read Lisa’s story on page 28.

Release Your Inner Psychic Valerie Foster  My great aunt Mame had it. So did my mom. And truth be told so do I, but I’ve spent decades blocking it out because it scared me silly. Since reporting the article on intuition I’ve been following the experts’ advice, trying to connect with my inner voice and listening to what she has to tell me. It’s been lifechanging. See Valerie’s story on page 72.

Cari Scribner  As a mom sending a son to college this fall, I feel lucky he’s attending a community college for the first two years. I hope he (and I) will be better prepared for the transition from home to campus in two years! See Cari’s story on page 66.

Eating Like a Cavewoman Beth Cooney  I long believed Paleo eaters were fitness buffs who valued the diet as part of their efforts to cultivate a long, lean look. While some Paleo eaters certainly fit that profile, I didn’t realize that many folks use the dietary principles of eating caveperson-style to address diseases and conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid conditions and psoriasis. Read Beth’s story on page 36.

We asked, you answered!  What’s your favorite way to exercise? Melinda: with friends! Vanessa: While sleeping.

 What’s your go-to quick breakfast recipe? Sheilah: Rice cakes w/almond butter and cinnamon (and sometimes w/banana). Alicia: Avocado mashed on whole wheat toast!

 If you were to write your memoir, what would you title it? Penny: I Got This! Lora: ”More Than A Conqueror”

 What’s your favorite thing about fall? Danielle: the food!

Amy: Taking my kids to fairs Michael: The kids are back in school. Charlotte: Watching people obsess over pumpkinflavored everything …

 What’s your guiltypleasure food?

Victoria: Halloween, apple picking, pumpkin picking, cozy sweaters!!!!!!

Kathleen: Oreos dipped in hot fudge

Jennie: The leaves — can’t wait to head up to Mass in a few weeks to see them!

Donna: Crunchy chocolate chip cookies!! Homemade, of course!!

Corri: cheesecake

on the web

Behind the Scenes HealthyLife enjoyed time spent with October issue cover model Cindy Palmer Dean of Redding. Her modeling experience got under way at New Canaan’s L’Armoire, where owner Diane Roth and her crew helped us put together some great looks for the camera. The day of the cover shoot began at Bethel’s Escape Salon & Spa where owner/stylist Robin Miller got Cindy started with a relaxing hair wash, definitely reflecting the philosophy of the artwork on the wall above her. Find lots more photos and a story about the day at

ps Cin d y Robin pre g w ith a for stylin . air wash relaxin g h


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! 10


➺ Battling

Fibromyalgia This painful condition affects 5 million people in the U.S. alone — mostly women in the prime of motherhood and/ or careers. Read our online story at

➺ Keep

Score, It’ll Make You Happy Most of us focus on the things we do wrong or that we wish we’d done better. But focusing on the things you do successfully every day will help you stay happier. Check out our online story.

Cindy and Diane are all smiles at L’Armoire.


read these … only on our website!

➺ More Recipes!

Check out Well Fed author Melissa Joulwan’s recipe for Chocolate Chili (and more), and you may just want to follow a Paleo diet.

Photos: Cover model behind scenes, Rebecca Haynes; Chocolate chili recipe, David Humphreys/Smudge Publishing, LLC.

Your Legs Take You Everywhere.

Trust Dr. Alex Afshar to Turn Your Swollen, Aching Varicose Veins and Unsightly Spider Veins Into Healthy, Beautiful Legs. “Thank you so much for doing an awesome job on my legs! I am so excited to no longer have that uncomfortable pain! I want to thank you all again for my new beach legs!â€? – J.M. Dr. Alex Afshar, Connecticut’s most respected vein expert, focuses exclusively on superior vein care and fall is the perfect time to have your veins treated. That’s why Vein Institute of Connecticut offers:  FREE vein screenings – registration is required.  State-of-the-art laser technology     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.

OfďŹ ce hours are Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Most insurance plans accepted.

CALL TODAY 203-364-5504 Schedule your complimentary vein evaluation. 33 Church Hill Rd. Newtown, CT 06470           

Healthy Never Looked So Good.

editor’s note

Hug a Cancer Survivor D

o you know someone who’s had breast cancer? I’m betting that like me, you’ve seen at least one person close to you go through this ordeal. October is breast cancer awareness month and in honor of that — and all of the strong women out there who have battled and continue to battle the disease — we chose a breast cancer survivor as our October cover model, Redding’s Cindy Palmer Dean. We also have an article in this issue about genetic testing for cancer risk and the difficult choices that sometimes come from it, like the prophylactic mastectomies many women, including high profile celebrities like Angelina Jolie, are choosing as a result. We hope Cindy, who underwent reconstructive surgery after her double mastectomy, and her story (read her Q&A with HealthyLife on page 78) will serve as an inspiration. And if breast cancer is part of your life, we hope

you’re finding all of the medical expertise and support you need to successfully wage your own battle. So what else do we have for you this month? At press deadline, our cover model contest for 2014 was about to begin. And when this issue of HealthyLife arrives at your home, we’ll be well on our way to choosing our 10 models for next year. Stay tuned! It’s now been a month since many of us sent a kid off to college. Thankfully, most adjust to the rigors and challenges of the collegiate experience and living away from home. But some have trouble. As a parent, how do you tell the difference between run-of-the-mill homesickness and a larger adjustment problem that needs to be addressed? And when and how do you step in if need be? Read our story on page 66 for some great advice. The October issue of HealthyLife also features a new installment of

HealthyHome. If you’ve ever battled household mold or needed to fix toilets, unclog drains or complete any other simple household repair, check out the stories that begin on page 49. We hope you’re visiting HealthyLife on Facebook and also checking what’s new at Thanks for reading! HL

Stop In For A Tour Of Fairfield County’s Newest Rehabilitation Center, Featuring The Passport Rehabilitation Program. Kindness. Compa Compassion. Service. Excellence. They are the same principles you have come to expect from Ludlowe Center for Health & Rehabilitation Center for many years now. We’ve completely re-modeled and updated our center from top down including a 20,500 square foot addition for our patient and resident rooms, now totaling 36 private rooms.We’ve created a new therapy gymnasium for our signature Passport Rehabilitation Program with physical, occupational and speech therapies and much more.... But we’re still the same Ludlowe Center...just newer. Specializing in long-term, skilled nursing care and short-term rehabilitation through our unique Passport Rehabilitation Program, Ludlowe Center is Fairfield County’s newest rehabilitation and nursing center. • Orthopedic Rehabilitation • Cardiac Recovery Program, Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Program, Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Cardiologist on Staff • Respiratory Therapy • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) • IV Therapies • Stroke Rehabilitation • Respite Care for Vacationing Care-Givers • Hospice Care • Dedicated, Secure Alzheimer’s and Dementia Program For more information on how you or someone you love can become a resident or receive complete rehabilitation services, please call us!

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of Plimpton & Hills Corporation of Plimpton & Hills Corporation Kitchen & Bath Designer Showroom Kitchen & Bath Designer Showroom

Waterware of Fairfield 146 Kings Highway East 203.332.4273

Waterware Showroom Waterware of Danbury 30 Federal Road 203.743.9221

Waterware of Stamford 92 Research Drive 203.965.5959

news and views compiled by beth cooney

Phone Potatoes? raising a generation of couch potatoes hooked on reality television and video games comes a new sedentary lifestyle concern: smartphone addictions. Researchers at Ohio’s Kent State University have linked compulsive cell phone use by college students to reduced fitness levels in a study described as the first of its kind to look at the correlation between such hand-held technology and health profiles. Researchers studied the cardiorespiratory fitness levels of about 300 Midwestern college students and found that the healthiest of the bunch were the group who spent 90 minutes or less on their phones each day. The unhealthiest bunch were the heaviest hand-held technology users — young adults who logged as many as 14 hours a day using their phones. Researchers noted that while smartphones have made technology constantly accessible, many of us may be paying a price for that ease of access with our health. The study appeared recently online in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Health. source:

Flexing the Virtual


showing that there are brain-flexing steps aging adults can take to prevent some of the cognitive decline associated with aging. The latest, from the University of California at Los Angeles, found that when seniors performed certain computer games intended to train their brains, they showed significant improvement in memory function and language skills. The study involved cognitively healthy seniors as old as 82, who were asked to play certain mind-challenging computer games for a period of about six months. At the end of the study the seniors who were most active — playing at least 40 times for 20 to 25 minutes during the study period — showed improvements in critical thinking skills related to short- and long-term memory. Researchers say their study has implications in the efforts to help halt the mental declines associated with the epidemic of Alzheimer’s and dementia. source:



Hot Flash Therapy FINALLY! MENOPAUSAL WOMEN craving relief from annoying hot flashes but who want to avoid hormone therapy have a possible medical alternative. The FDA has approved a non-hormonal patch that’s been proven in two randomized clinical trials to provide relief from hot flashes, a classic symptom associated with the transition into menopause. The patch, sold under the brand name Brisdelle, does not contain either estrogen or progesterone, the two hormones commonly contained in traditional treatments. While this may be an appealing alternative for some women, the FDA noted Brisdelle is not side-effect free, with headache, fatigue, nausea and vomiting being reported in the clinical trials. source:

Photos: GettyImages. Phone Potatoes, Sian Kennedy; Virtual Brain, exdez; Connections, sturti; Fatty Fish, Ray Kachatorian.

FOR ALL THOSE PARENTS worried that they’ve been

Lasting Virtual Connections MORE THAN ONE-THIRD of contemporary marriages begin with an online spark and, interestingly, Cupid’s arrow may be a little more effective when it strikes virtually, according to new research. A new study, funded by the online dating site eHarmony, was published recently in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers found that of 20,000 Americans who got married between 2005 and 2012, some 35 percent met on-

line. Interestingly, while 8 percent of the couples who met offline got separated or divorced, just six percent of the online-connecting couples did. The researchers also found higher rates of marital satisfaction reported amongst couples who met online than they did among couples who met in more traditional, expected places such as bars or at college or through professional contact. While the difference in marriage survival rates may not be

large enough to impress skeptics, the takeaway here may be that online dating, despite some of its pitfalls, may not be a bad way to make a meaningful, lasting connection. source:

Fatty Fish: Your Breast Protection WANT TO CURB YOUR RISK of breast cancer? Feast on fatty fish. Researchers in China, who’ve been studying the correlation between the healthful fats in fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines, say eating them twice a week can curb your risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 15 percent. The findings, recently reported in the journal BMJ, looked at research involving more than 800,000 women from several countries and continents who participated in 26 different studies. Their conclusion was that the fatty acids in the fish, known as AHA, DPA, EPA and DHA, seem to have breast protective properties. Since these fish oils have been associated with other healthful benefits, including aiding in the prevention of heart disease and dementia-related disorders, this research adds another reason to make these fish species part of an overall healthy diet. source:



Healthy Start

to the men and women who engage in hypersexual behavior and the people in their lives victimized by it. But the psychiatric community remains divided on the subject of whether it’s officially “sick.” Although it has ruined relationships, toppled the careers of politicians and celebrities and even been blamed for its so-called sufferers’ economic ruin, a team of researchers at UCLA have found little evidence there’s any difference in the brain activity of people identified as hypersexual. For this research the study subjects — adults over 18 who identified themselves as being troubled by sexual compulsion — were shown a series of erotic and non-erotic images and their brain waves were then studied using EEG. The researchers found little difference in their brain waves after seeing sexual images, including those of malefemale intercourse, than they did looking at more benignly pleasant images. Other research has shown a difference in the brain activity of other types of addicts and those suffering from certain compulsive disorders. But the debate on whether sex addiction is an illness is by no means over. Interestingly, a rival 2012 UCLA study (by a different researcher) supported the inclusion of sexual addiction in the DSM-5, considered the bible of psychiatric disorders by clinicians throughout the world.

WANT TO HELP YOUR FAVORITE GUY live a long, healthy


life? Share a healthy breakfast with him. Researchers says that men who don’t eat breakfast are far more likely to suffer from heart disease, according to new research out of Harvard Medical School and its School of Public Health. Researchers found male breakfast-skippers to be an especially unhealthy cohort — more likely to smoke, drink excessively and make poor lifestyle choices. What’s interesting is researchers in this study weren’t even interested in what kind of breakfast men ate, implying that even the sausage-egg-and-cheese crowd has an edge on breakfast abstainers. The researchers claimed breakfastskipping guys have a 55 percent higher chance of having a coronary-related episode in their lifetime. The research was reported recently in the journal Circulation. source:



Photos: GettyImages. Sex Addiction, Debbi Smirnoff; Hair Straighten, Amanda Rohde; Risky Heights, DRB Images, LLC. HealthyStart photo ©

news and views

Straighten at Your Own Risk THE FRIZZ-BUSTING BRAZILIAN BLOWOUT has the ability to tame unruly locks for weeks on end, but its stinky effective ingredient (formaldehyde) is taking the heat again. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have concluded that without proper ventilation both clients and hairdressers could have short-term exposure to dangerous formaldehyde from the treatments at levels above acceptable health limits. They warned that the dangers may be heightened for stylists who spend long hours working with clients and for small salons, where there may not be room (or a budget) for essential ventilation systems. The study was performed using the Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Hair Smoothing System. It did not involve other brands that claim to be toxin-free. The study was reported recently in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. source:

Bad Night


FULL MOONS CAN BE BREATHTAKING, but they also can mess with your circadian rhythms. A new study suggests that not only are humans cued and responsive to the rising and setting suns, they are also profoundly influenced by lunar cycles. And full moons, in particular, seem to get in the way of a good night’s sleep. (See, you’re not just imagining it.) Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland and the Montefiore Medical Center in New York who conducted the study, say that during the days closest to the full moon their sleep subjects slept, on average, about 20 minutes less. Intriguingly, researchers also reported dips in the important sleep hormone melatonin as well as a disturbance in the most restful “deep” sleep around full moons. The study was published recently in the journal Current Biology.


Heights THE TYPICAL SHORT WOMAN may be too slight to strut the fashion catwalk or model for Vogue, but when it comes to assessing cancer risk, researchers say petite ladies may have the big advantage. After menopause, researchers have found that taller women seem to face much higher odds of developing certain cancers. The comprehensive study, which looked at more than 21,000 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 70, found that for every four inches of added height, a woman’s risk of developing certain types of cancer increased between 14 and a staggering 29 percent. The risk factors related to increased height were highest for kidney, rectum, thyroid and certain blood cancers. Researchers affiliated with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City say their findings don’t explain why height seems to be a factor in elevating cancer risk, but one theory they’ve considered is that it may be attributable to overall body mass, including larger organ size in taller women. source:



fit and fab  Boxed Treats:

 Vitamin Sprinkles: Getting all the vitamins and minerals you need from food can be a challenge. AlternaVites provide 23 nutrients and contain no sugar or artificial additives such as aspartame and high fructose corn syrup. Packaged in portable daily doses, they’re also perfect for those who don’t do well with pills. Just open the packet and sprinkle on your tongue. Available in mixed berry flavor. $19.95 Also available for kids 4 & up. $29.95 pack of 30. Visit

 Hot Pants: Clouds Hot Pants from Teeki are made from over 25 recycled water bottles. The bottles are stripped, then turned into flakes that are made into a fiber that is processed into fabric. The elasticfree waistband keeps your tummy in place and the breathable fabric won’t ride up while doing the most challenging yoga, Pilates, dance or barre positions. Available in capris and a variety of patterns, they are “made with love in the U.S.A.” $66. Visit



Regular afternoon runs to the vending machine can help you pack on 10-15 pounds a year. So NatureBox has created a variety of tasty nutritious treats that are delivered right to your door every month (you can pause or cancel your subscription any time). And with the holidays approaching, these snacks might help you avoid overindulging in seasonal goodies. $19.95 a month. Visit

by carin lane

FIt and Fab finds to help you get healthy and look good inside and out.

You can visit Carin Lane on facebook at carinlane.healthylife or follow her on twitter @tiredorinspired and Pinterest at Have a new product you’d like to share? E-mail Carin at

 Sleep Tight: These sci-fi looking glasses are designed to improve your sleep and reduce tiredness. Wearing the 100 percent UV ray-free glasses 30-50 minutes a day should give your body needed light to maintain proper sleep-wake rhythm that can fade during the winter months or by working long hours indoors. They’re also helpful for reducing jet lag and increasing energy levels, and fit over regular glasses, fold for traveling and have a 4-hour battery life and a USB charging cord. $299 delivered. Visit

 Tan


You can look tan and toned year-round with Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs Glow Leg makeup with Vitamin K. It also hides imperfections or spider veins. Doesn’t matter if you are Casper white or dark, the company has a shade for you. They advise choosing a lighter shade then you think you need to avoid looking too dark. $10-$12. Available at Walmart, Target and other superstores.

cancer’s dna is now

clearer. and that means

we’re closer.

Today, we know more about cancer than we could have imagined even a few short years ago. We’ve mapped the DNA of dozens of cancer causing genes. In the not too distant future, we will map thousands. That knowledge helps us pinpoint cancer’s causes more precisely. And treat your cancer more effectively. This is the future of personalized medicine. The results are remarkable.

Ask the thousands of survivors who are living proof that the world is closer to free.

Eat breakfast! ➺ It will get your

Photo: Sam Edwards/GettyImages.

metabolism going for the day and keep it more active. Add fiber to that breakfast to help you feel more energetic into the afternoon — and avoid that vending machine!

body Best Time for Exercise 23  What the BRCA Gene Means for You 28 Healing Yourself With Food 32  Eat Like a Cavewoman 36 Tips for Your Best Hospital Stay 42  

COMING SOON TO BETHEL, CT Professional Advice • Expert Craftsman Craftsmanship

845-278-0070 s ou th e a s tk i tc he na n d ba t h. c o m so ut he a s tk i t c he n @ a o l . c o m FRO M C O N C EP T



SHOWROOMS: 19 Old Doansburg Road BREWSTER 594 Route 6 MAHOPAC 3 East Main Street PAWLING


Exercise Science does time of day matter when it comes to your workout? by beth cooney

Photo: Aurora Creative/GettyImages.


ecause he‘s worked closely with one of America’s most famous doctors, Donovan Green is well-versed in fitness studies. Sure, he’s heard about research that suggests peak performance is best achieved with a mid- to late-day workout routine. Of course, he knows some experts maintain early morning fitness routines are best for consistency. The impeccably fit Green, who happens to be personal trainer to the popular syndicated talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, pays no mind to any of that journal science. Indeed, he practically calls it mumbo jumbo. When reminded there’s research out there that suggests anyone looking to beat the competition should stick with afternoon workouts, Green, a former martial arts competitor, waves it off with one of his bulging biceps. “Honestly, I don’t care about any of it,” says Green, whose Shock workout studio is based in Fairfield, and is a regular contributor to Oz’s website and show. As far as he’s concerned there is one correct answer to the question, “when is the best time to work out?” “That answer is when you will work out and when you will do it consistently.” Still, science is flexing its intellectual muscles to suggest that some times of day are truly better than others to hit the gym (or do whatever it is you do to stay fit). Consider the following:  The American Council of Exercise notes that there is an expanding body of research that suggests early a.m. exercisers have an edge losing weight and maintaining weight loss than the sleep-in crowd because of their consistency.  Those ACE experts also note that there is another body



 And then there’s the study reported in the December 2012 issue of the journal Physiology, in which researchers affiliated with the University of California, who looked at mice, found that vigorous exercise mid-day seemed to make the creatures’ body clocks more efficient. But the fitness experts HealthyLife polled suggest that’s helpful news for, ahem, fitness-minded rodents. When it comes to people, for many of them a midday workout is simply impractical and the idea of hitting the pavement for a pre-dawn jog might make them want to hit the snooze button in protest. “The biggest obstacle we face with our clients is that they have a hard time fitting in fitness at all,” says Jinger Berry, director of the Health & Fitness Institute at Stamford Hospital’s Tully Center. “So while there are definitely some times of day that research suggests are probably optimal to maximize performance, more important to us is that they are finding the time to make fitness part of their life.” American Heart Association expert Dr. Russell Pate, a professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina, maintains the most important consideration with workouts is not when you exercise, but for how long. The AHA recommends 150 minutes (2 hours, 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity exercise a week or 75 minutes (one hour 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise a week. Indeed, Pate suggests in an AHA briefing he prepared on the subject that the “best time” of day to work out is really better based on a much broader constellation of factors including your personal schedule, the setting of your work-



outs, the social situation and your workout style. “Try to stack as many cards on your side of the table by doing what’s going to work for you,” says Pate. “The converse is, don’t make it as hard as it doesn’t have to be.” That said, Berry says there are some better times to work out if you have the flexibility. She suggests early a.m. “fasting” workouts as a way to tap into fat stores. “If your primary goal is weight loss I would try to exercise first thing when your body hasn’t been fueled (with meals) yet and you are going to access the fat reserve for the energy you need,” says Berry.


f your goal is to beat the competition and get fitter and stronger in the fitness discipline of your choice, “you may want to consider working out later in the day if you can,” says Berry. “The research is showing for things where peak performance and endurance are factors, you do a little better later in the day when your body is warmer. It makes sense; the muscles are limber because they’ve been moving around a bit and you can push everything a little harder.” Still, Rore Middleton, a Fairfield-based trainer (and former HealthyLife cover model) who is Donovan’s colleague, say the person who has complete flexibility to set their schedule to take advantage of the latest research on optimal workout timing is few and far between. For several years Middleton, the mother of three teenage girls and a former corporate attorney, made it an almost daily habit to hit the gym before her daughters were awake so she could get her fitness in before the demands of her work day became a distraction. But after the December 2012 school shooting tragedy in Newtown, a reflective Middleton decided she wanted to see her girls off in the morning. “I started working out more at night because I was reordering my priorities, which is something people have to do sometimes for lots of different reasons,” she says. But Middleton, like many people, found the time change challenging. “I got to the gym, but it was a little harder to motivate myself to get

Photo: Comstock Images/GettyImages.

of scientific data that suggests peak athletic performance is tied to the relationship between our body clocks, or circadian rhythms. By working out when the body is warmest (usually between 2 and 4 p.m. for most people) research suggests exercisers are better able to elevate their heart rates and tap into muscles making them fitter and stronger than their early rising or evening exercising peers.

There are some better times to work out if you have the flexibility, but most people don’t have that.

there,” she says. “In a perfect world, it’s easiest for me to do it first thing in the morning.” Now that she’s switched careers and become a fitness trainer herself, she says her own experience was insightful. “I’m very respectful of the idea that you have to find what works for them,” she says. “I would never tell my clients what time to work out. I’m much more interested in what they’re doing and helping them develop a routine that works for them, their goals, their priorities and their bodies.” All things being equal, our experts suggest the earlier you can squeeze your workout into your day, the more likely you are to get it done. “But that could be a completely different time for someone who works the night shift than a new mom with a baby,” says Berry. Also, experts say it’s really important to recognize whether you’re an early bird or a night person. “A 5 a.m. exerciser is going to have a very hard time getting the same workout at 5 p.m. and a night owl will probably struggle getting it done in the morning,” says Berry. When working with a client, “I’m most interested in finding out about their routine. A stay-at-home mom might be able to get a workout before the kids get up if there’s someone else to watch them, but she may have to wait until later in the day if that’s the only way she can free time.” Berry says some people also may have to adjust their routines to accommodate lifestyle changes. “If 4 p.m. becomes the only time of day you can work out, you may have a different energy level than you do in the morning,” she says. “A lot of this is about your body clock.” And while there’s also a body of research that suggests too much physical activity too close to bedtime can be akin to downing a fully caffeinated Starbucks venti, that physical jolt of late-day exercise is also not a one-sizefits-all insomnia-inducing syndrome. “For some people, exercise can and does keep them up all night,” says Berry. “If evening is their only option they may be better off doing something less vigorous,” such as yoga, tai chi or Pilates. If evenings are your only option, “You kind of have to figure out if exercise has that caffeine effect on you. For some people, they might adjust. It can be so personal.” Indeed Green, who confesses that he prefers an early a.m. workout so he can devote the rest of his day to clients and family, says even he has to be flexible in his own disciplined life to squeeze in fitness. “I’m no different than anybody else. I have to do it when I can. Sometimes it’s a half-hour here, 15 minutes there. Sometimes it’s morning, sometimes it’s at night,” he says. “And I always tell my clients the best time is the time that’s going to get them off that couch.”  HL

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fast facts

did you know?

compiled by brianna snyder

5 million There are approximately 5 million hair follicles on your body. source:

1,000 One in every 1,000 babies is born with a tooth.

Photos: GettyImages. Headphones, Fuse; Baby, Nina Shannon; Bullying, Leanne Temme.

source: hl13tooth


According to a survey, 14Â percent of young people 12-17 say they blog.

15 percent You can improve your performance by up to 15 percent if you listen to music while you exercise. source:


37 seconds

The average bullying episode lasts 37 seconds. Teachers notice or intervene in only one in 25 incidents. source:


your health

The Buzz About

BRCA and what it means for your cancer risk by lisa pierce flores


y the time Christie Jones of Fairfield was in her mid-30s, she’d already had a benign lump removed from her breast. By the time she was in her early 40s, she’d had so many anomalies during her annual breast exams that her doctor began asking about her family’s history of breast and ovarian cancer. There is none, she told her doctor with confidence, at least not on her mother’s side. But the questions kept coming. Q: What about her father’s side? Were her father’s siblings still living? If not, what had they died of? A: None of her father’s four siblings were still living, she realized, and all of them had died at relatively young ages of cancers (prostate, Did pancreatic) that her doctor informed her are you associated with genetic risk for breast cancer. know? Common ancestry makes Ashkenazi Jews more likely Q: What was her father’s ethnic background? to carry the types of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations that A: Ashkenazi Jew. can lead to BRCA-spectrum cancers — as much as five Q: What had his mother died of? times the occurrence of these gene mutations than is found A: Breast cancer. in the general population. However, these mutations still are By now Jones was beginning to worry. It was time, her carried by a small percentage of Ashkenazi Jews and testing doctor said, to consider getting tested for mutations in the for BRCA mutations isn’t recommended simply because a perBRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that can indicate a higher risk for son is of this heritage; they must also show other risk factors. breast and ovarian cancer. THE STATISTICS Over the course of her lifetime, the average American woman has a 12.4 percent chance of developing breast cancer, with her risk increasing after age 65, according to the National Cancer Institute. Women with mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes — genes that help to regulate cell



growth — are at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer, are more likely to contract these illnesses at a younger age, and more likely to suffer from the most aggressive variants of breast cancer, says breast surgeon Dr. Sunny Mitchell, a clinical instructor of surgery at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

Photo: ArtBox Images RM/GettyImages.

“Genetic counseling and genetic testing gives women at high risk for these cancers more tools and more information about how to make a decision about how to handle their health,” says Mitchell, who has practiced at Tully Health Center in Stamford and currently practices in White Plains, N.Y. But genetic testing is not indicated for all patients, cautions Danielle Bonadies, assistant director of Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Cancer Genetic Counseling Program. “Genetics is a family affair,” Bonadies says. “So we start with a very detailed family history, evaluating very specific risk factors to see if they’re a good candidate for testing.” Jones’ risk factors made her a good candidate. But because most of the risk was on her father’s side, she saw the test as a precaution, something to cross off her to-do list. “I would get a negative result and be done with it,” she says. “I was not at all nervous because I was so sure it would be negative.” THE TEST Most testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations is done at a doctor’s office or medical lab via a blood test or by swabbing the inside of the cheek. The test can cost up to $4,000, but is often covered by insurance, particularly for women with a family history of early onset bilateral breast cancer or ovarian cancer, early onset of menstruation and Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. Jones paid about $400 out of pocket when she was tested, she says. In addition to determining if testing is warranted, genetic counselors help clients make sense of their results. “The results can have a devastating outcome if you aren’t prepared,” says Bonadies. They can also be confusing since results include a detailed analysis of the patient’s calibrated future risk by age. Says Jones: “You get a whole report that gives you all these staggering numbers, which puts it in scary blackand-white terms.” Jones’ test results put her risk of getting breast cancer by the time she is 50 at 50 percent, and her risk for ovarian cancer by the same age at 27 percent. “I’m 42, so 50 is right around the corner,” she says. Further, her results assessed her risk of contracting breast cancer by age 70 at 87 percent and her risk for ovarian cancer by age 70 at 44 percent. These are not numbers Jones felt she could live with, particularly her risk for ovarian cancer, which is harder to detect than breast cancer and more likely to be fatal. For Jones the report seemed to tell her that cancer was in her future: “It was just a matter of when,” she says. One common misconception is that if a mutation is not detected during testing then the patient is in the clear. “Just because the test was not able to detect a mutation

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your health Did you know?

Until recently, genetic testing for BRCA mutations was controlled by Myriad Genetics of Salt Lake City. Because it held a patent on the gene sequencing, it was the only company legally permitted to test for BRCA mutations and all samples were sent here. But in June the Supreme Court ruled that gene sequences are naturally occurring phenomena and not eligible for patent. So dozens of labs

have begun offering their own version of the BRCA test, some for far less money (the test can cost up to $4,000). Patent law expert Jonathan L. Schuchardt, a partner with Dilworth IP of Stamford, says it’s unclear whether other aspects of Myriad’s process are patentable and more legal challenges are likely to follow in the wake of a decision that he estimates could affect more than 2,600 other patents.

doesn’t mean that no mutation exists,” Bonadies says, noting that the medical community is still discovering new variants of mutations related to breast cancer. In some cases, if the family history reveals an extremely high risk for hereditary breast cancer, patients who test negative for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation may be encouraged to take additional precautions or to get additional genetic testing. In addition, since the test has continued to evolve and be made more accurate, some women with high occurrence of early-onset BRCA spectrum cancers in their families should consider retesting even if they tested negative four or five years ago. Once a patient has tested positive for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, she will likely be presented with three options (see sidebar): 1) frequent breast and ovarian cancer screening; 2) chemopreventive therapy with estrogen blockers such as Tamoxifen 3) prophylactic surgery. MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL After going over her options with her genetic counselor, Jones says it took her less than an hour to opt for prophylactic surgery, including a full hysterectomy. “I have three kids that I want to be alive for,” she says. “I couldn’t imagine waiting around to see what might happen.” Her husband agreed. “He told me, ‘You have to have the surgery. I need you alive,’” Jones says. As is standard prior to prophylactic bilateral mastectomy, Jones’ doctors performed MRIs on both breasts and found multiple areas of concern. This resulted in biopsies being conducted on more than one site on each breast. Though the results of the biopsies were all negative, the experience cemented her resolve to go ahead with the bilateral mastectomy and hysterectomy. “For me that was it,” she says. “I just thought, ‘No way am I going to be picked at for the rest of my life.’” Her November 2012 hysterectomy was followed by a double mastectomy in January 2013, with a lengthy, multi-step reconstructive breast procedure that followed over the next

several months. The hardest part was the three weeks she couldn’t drive after the breast surgery. With two daughters ages 13 and 8, and a 10-year-old son, “all I do as a mom is drive,” Jones says, laughing. In addition to not driving she had to refrain from showering for three weeks. “It’s like having a baby,” she says, noting that the skin of her breasts was thin and prone to tearing. “No one tells you about the gross parts, no one talks about not showering for three weeks. It’s not glamorous.” Thanks to her team of surgeons, Jones is happy with her figure, her body image is as healthy as ever, and, more importantly, so is she. HL

Now What? So you’ve gone through genetic counseling and determined that your family history and other risk factors make you a good candidate for genetic testing. You’ve gotten the results back and you are positive for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation that increases your chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer. Breast surgeons and genetic counselors who spoke to HealthyLife agree you have three basic options: 1. Frequent breast and ovarian cancer screening, including an MRI every six months starting as young as 25, or in some cases even younger. This option may make sense if you have not yet had children or plan to have more. 2. Chemopreventive therapy using estrogen blockers such as Tamoxifen. When taken for up to 5 years, such medications have been shown to cut breast cancer risk by as much as 50 percent. 3. Prophylactic surgery. This will most likely include bilateral mastectomy and removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes. Undergoing these surgeries can reduce your risk by as much as 95-98 percent. Full hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) generally is not necessary unless other cancer risk factors are involved, since uterine cancer is not among the cancers indicated in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 cancer spectrums.

For a list of resources that can provide more information about BRCA testing and how to interpret results, visit





eating your way to a healthier life

by janet reynolds   |   photos courtesy dk books


f not doing harm — the opening salvo in the Hippocratic oath — works for the medical field, why can’t it work for cooking in your kitchen? That’s the basic premise of a new book called Healing Foods. Authored by a naturopath, journalist and medicinal herbalist, the book is part food encyclopedia, part recipe collection. It provides information on more than 175 healing foods, from apples to wheatgrass, as well as more than 150 recipes. It’s the kind of book that you can turn to for a solid dinner idea and thumb through in your leisure time when you just want to learn more about how what you put into your mouth can help you feel better. Healing Foods opens with specific information about the power of food. The authors discuss the protective power of various foods, the importance of varying your diet, and the pros and cons of supplements, among other concepts. From there the book looks at each food and outlines how it can specifically help heal or support your bodily functions. Each page also outlines the best way to eat it to maximize the food’s benefits. Apricots, for instance, can help promote clean skin, pro-



tect eye health, promote bowel regularity and protect against free-radical damage. (Excessive free radicals, the uncharged molecules that are created during metabolism, are increasingly thought to be damaging as we age.) Handy icons for various health concerns/options top each page and are echoed on each recipe to make it simple to see at a glance how a particular recipe can address your health concern. Healing Foods also has sections that can help you pick an entire day of eating healthily for specific issues. A Day of Heart Health, for instance, features a plan for a cholesterolbusting breakfast, omega-rich lunch, and heart-protective dinner. The book also has two indexes, one categorized by health area and one set up by foods. We chatted by e-mail with Susan Curtis, the naturopath based in England. Here’s what she had to say. What do you say to people who are skeptical that food can help heal? There is so much evidence now that changes to diet can improve certain areas of health, such as the work of Dr. Ornish


C F ORTHOPEDICS on heart health and the control of type 2 diabetes with diet that the benefits of a healthy diet have become obvious to all. For people who want to take a step in this direction of eating in more healing ways but who may feel overwhelmed, what are a couple of tips you can give as good first steps? Probably the biggest difference you can make is to increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables you eat. The government’s recommendation of five portions a day is really an absolute minimum and many countries recommend eight or more portions a day (Canada, France, etc.). Secondly, I would say that having increased in one area to cut down the amount of real “baddies” would be good — so less sugar and white processed cereals. It doesn’t matter if you have a little as “treats,” but don’t base your everyday eating habits on them. Can eating just some of these healing foods help or do you have to go all the way, so to speak, i.e. only eat from these foods to have the health benefits? I’m a believer of the 80/20 rule: that if you eat 80-90 percent of good, healthy foods, then 10-20 percent of less ideal foods shouldn’t be a big problem. “Healthy foods” are actually an enormous range of foods, and in fact variety is very important, so it really shouldn’t be too hard. Are you literally saying eating a strong dose of foods relating, for example, to urinary health, could cure a urinary infection? Or are you saying with this book that eating this way could help stave off urinary issues down the road? Or both? If you have a disease condition then you will need to see a nutritional therapist to treat it, but by knowing what foods have a benefit in which area then you can learn how to manage health problems and hopefully prevent them from getting worse. If for example you have a tendency to urinary infections then why not eat more of those foods that are known to have beneficial nutrients in that area. continued on page 34 

Healing Foods, Eat Your Way to a Healthier Life, by Susan Curtis, Pat Thomas and Dragana Vilinac, DK Books, 352 pages, $25



Ronald A. Ripps, M.D.

lips and falls are the most common cause of bone fractures, and fortunately most of these are preventable. The National Floor Studies Institute conducted studies that show that 55% of slip and falls are caused by a hazardous surface and 25% by improper footwear. In the work place slip and falls account for nearly 20% of all workers’ compensation expenses, or about 36 billion dollars a year in premiums and lost productivity.


lthough OSHA only requires our floors to be clean and dry, we have to do better than that. There are a number of floor treatments- such as brushed concrete for outdoors, abrasive vinyl or epoxy with surface aggregate indoors- that are slip resistant. Adhesive strips and chemical etching are also available. Non slip finishes can be applied to marble, terrazzo, and other hard surfaces. Fix crumbling walkways, repair cracks, and replace missing tiles. In the

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afety shoes are generally stiff,ugly and uncomfortable. But, if the steel toe and shank are not necessary, there is a large selection of fashionable and comfortable shoes that are skid resistant (see At home, although the most slippery foot is the wet bare foot, most of the orthopedic slip and fall injuries we see are in people running in their stocking feet. The safest shoes are light weight with a low heel and a skid resistant heel and sole. Women should use shoes with straps, men shoes with laces- and, of course, they must keep the straps buckled and the laces tied (I didn’t have to tell you that, did I?). If the tread is bare over an area greater than two pennies, replace the sole.


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cookbook: recipe continued from page 33

What changes have you noticed in your own health since adopting this kind of eating style? I’ve pretty much always had an interest in a healthy diet and nutrition since my late teens anyway, and it seems to work for me so far — I stay pretty healthy and don’t have too many weight issues or other indications of major problems — and I have done my best to pass on good habits to my family. I have to say the most dramatic changes are seen in people who haven’t had a good diet and then go for a much healthier lifestyle. Then the improvements in their health and well-being can be huge — which is always really exciting to see.  HL

63% More Calcium

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Mediterranean Vegetable Medley Serves 4 Helps strengthen the immune system, helps improve circulation, helps remove toxins from the body.

Why Choose Organic? For optimal health, eat fresh organic seasonal vegetables and fruits. Organic produce contains higher percentages of many nutrients, as shown here.

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Find the recipe for swiss chard and sweet potato online at

Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil 4 shallots, minced salt and pepper to taste a pinch of oregano or marjoram 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped 2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and chopped 1 medium eggplant, chopped 1 medium zucchini, chopped 4 tomatoes, skinned (optional) 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves, plus leaves to garnish method Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt, and stir until the shallots begin to turn translucent. Add a dash of water to bring the temperature down and to add moisture to the pan. After 2-3 minutes, add the oregano or marjoram and the peppers. Cook until the peppers have softened. Add the eggplant and the zucchini and when the liquid in the pan has reduced, add the tomatoes. Let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes over low heat, taking care not to let the vegetables stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Add the garlic, and a little more olive oil for added flavor and cook for a further 15 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a bed of browned basmati rice with some parsley scattered on top.



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smart eating

Paleo — the Perfect Nutrition?

why some people are eating like our caveman ancestors


oss the beer and cheese pizza. Stop breakfasting with milk and granola. And just forget about tucking into Nona’s Sunday pasta dinners. Cavemen and women didn’t eat that stuff. And if you want to partake in the Paleo diet trend, it’s going to require thinking completely outside the processed macaroni and cheese box to eat the way your cave clan ancestors did way back in the day. The premise of the Paleo diet is simple; eat things that freely roamed, swam or grew on Mother Earth before there was agribusiness (or food factories) and you will be a leaner, meaner, healthier version of yourself. Think for a minute about what a cave family could easily hunt or fish, pluck from a tree or pull from the ground with their bare hands and you get the basic idea of what’s allowed and what’s verboten when you go Paleo. (See sidebar.) Besides all processed food, also not consistent with a Paleo lifestyle are cultivated food stuffs — such as wheats, grains, rices and legumes (that includes peanuts) — or milked things (such as dairy products) that wouldn’t have been part of the typical cave cupboard. Go Paleo and you’re also supposed to stick with meats, fish and poultry that are fed what they normally consume in nature. So eating cattle that’s been force-fed corn (when a roaming beast would



chow on grass) you go Paleo-astray. So if you convert to a Paleo diet or adopt a semi-Paleo lifestyle, as Teresa Kerrigan of Fairfield and her family first did about two years ago, you might eat their typical menu of sautéed organic cage-free eggs and veggies for breakfast, lunches of salads topped with lean fish, meat or poultry, and dine on grass-fed beef and vegetables while snacking on nuts. In fitness circles, Paleo eating can seem like a bona fide trend. Go to any Crossfit gym — home of a hot workout modality that involves intense weight training and calisthenic moves — and you’ll often find a room full of Paleo eaters who swear that their diet (along with their intense workouts) has helped them cultivate their lean look. “But it’s not a fad. It’s the way that humans have been eating for 99.9 percent of their existence,” explains Dr. David Brady, director of the Human Nutrition Institute at the University of Bridgeport, who often lectures on the benefits of eating the Paleo way. Although Brady tends to follow a more Mediterranean diet, which allows for the consumption

Photos: GettyImages. Raw Meat, Vincent Besnault; Groceries, Image Studios.

by beth cooney

of modest amounts of dairy and whole grains, he says the principles of Paleo eating are in line with the way we were genetically hardwired to digest food. Take, for example, grain-based foods: “It’s only been in the last 2,000 years that we had mass agriculture. And only in the last 50 years that we’ve had modified agriculture and only in the last 10 or so years that we’ve had genetically modified foods,” Brady explains. “It’s not how we evolved and not something our bodies are really meant to be eating.” The Paleo diet was introduced into mainstream diet culture about a decade ago when Dr. Loren Cordain, a professor at Colorado State University, first advocated cavemanstyle eating as a way of optimizing health and fitness. Brady notes that Cordain “is a serious academic who is well-regarded for his credentials and research.” Yet, Brady adds the Paleo diet is sometimes unfairly written off as faddish quackery “because [Cordain] is bucking a lot of special interests. The food industry, in particular, doesn’t like what he has to say.”


ndeed, Paleo eaters — who are attracted to the diet for reasons that range from addressing specific health concerns to optimizing their fitness — say the diet has changed their well-being, sometimes drastically. “You find people drawn to it for a variety of reasons because it has health benefits for everyone,” says Melissa Joulwan, a Texas-based author of the popular cookbook Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat and a related blog, The Clothes Make the Girl. While Joulwan was first drawn to Paleo while working out at a Crossfit gym, she stuck with the dietary approach after she moved onto to other fitness disciplines because it helped her manage her weight and her health following the removal of her thyroid for a tumor disorder. “Because of its anti-inflammatory nature, my body really has to eat this way in order to be healthy. But it’s also important to say I was chubby all my life and I stopped being so chubby when I started eating this way.” Joulwan, who also wrote Living Paleo for Dummies, says the reason Paleo eating has such broad appeal with fitnessminded individuals is because of its relatively low simple-carbohydrate load. “When

you eat Paleo, you go from being a sugar burner to a fat burner. It gets results for people who are serious about cultivating that lean look.” That said, the list of items a Paleo eater is supposed to shun to achieve those results can seem discouragingly long — especially if you’ve got a daily hankering for ice cream or doughy, cheesy stuff. “The no-pizza part is hard,” says Kerrigan, who says her family now makes it a tradition of keeping strictly Paleo during the holy season of Lent, when a 40-day period of sacrifice is encouraged by some Christian faiths. After Easter, her family loosens their Paleo restrictions a bit and pies from a favorite Fairfield pizzeria return as occasional treats in their meal repertoire. Also, “my kids may go back to eating cereal and milk for breakfast, but we try to stick with [Paleo] as much as we reasonably can. I’m not a crazy Paleo person and I don’t view it as a religion, but we do feel better when we eat this way as much as possible.” Joulwan says as much as she values the diet for her own health and fitness, eating Paleo “100 percent of the time” is especially challenging for families on a budget. And it can be equally daunting for moms and dads raising picky eaters. “It’s a diet that requires a great deal of thought and commitment and it can be very expensive to eat this way,” she says, noting it’s hard to trim the expenses associated with eating,

Eat Like a Cavewoman: Paleo Diet Basics JUST SAY YES TO …


• Protein (the consumption of grassfed meats, free-range poultry and wildcaught seafood are encouraged)

• Cereals and Grains (this includes highfiber, whole-grain breads and pastas, rice, couscous and quinoa)

• Fruits and Veggies (organic is strongly preferred)

• Dairy

• Nuts and Seeds (but not peanuts, as they are actually a legume) • Healthful Oils (try olive, flaxseed, walnut, macadamia and coconut oils) • Wine and Tequila (because they are made from fermented grapes and cactus)

• Refined Sugar (some Paleo eaters allow honey) • Processed Foods • Potatoes (except for sweet potatoes, which are OK) • Legumes • Salt • Beer and other grain-based alcoholic beverages — source:


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grass-fed meats or organic fruits and veggies. “I don’t have children, so it’s pretty easy for my husband and I to eat this way. I can go out for a burger with my friends after a day of shopping and just not eat the bun. I can have a glass of wine instead of a beer. It’s not that difficult, but I realize how this could be tough for a family trying to keep their grocery bill under control or for someone who has a child who only wants to eat mac and cheese.” Kerrigan says her grocery bill has been higher since she switched to mostly Paleo eating, but adds, “I know we are eating better-quality food and the way I look at it, being healthy is priceless.” Still, Paleo’s limitations are one reason why Dr. Joseph Feuerstein, director of Integrative Medicine at Stamford Hospital, says the diet isn’t for everyone. “There are some things about it that I like very much,” says Feuerstein, who finds Paleo’s avoidance of processed foods and emphasis on grass-fed meats and organic vegetables especially appealing. “But the one thing that bothers me is the exclusivity. I think we’ve evolved enough to get away with a little grain now and then.” The limitations on the diets of the extremely active also concern him. “I find it kind of interesting that the very people who can probably get away with eating more carbohydrates — people who exercise intensely — are most drawn to this.” Indeed, the doctor says he worked with one such patient who followed the diet so strictly, “she spiraled into anorexia.” Some other critics have said the diet fails to take into consideration clinical research that has associated certain foods, such as whole grains, low-fat dairy and legumes, with specific health benefits including increased longevity, bone health and lower cancer risks. (See sidebar on the Paleo diet’s take on calcium.) Brady would prefer that the diet include legumes. While legumes are a food source unfamiliar to our cave ancestors, they are an excellent low-fat, vegetarian source of protein, he says. That said, he says he often recommends a Paleo approach to anyone suffering from an auto-immune or inflammation-

related disorder such as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. “Some of the foods that are excluded from the Paleo diet are known to cause inflammation and just wreak havoc with the immune system, so this is really the way to go if you want to address these disorders nutritionally. For this population, eating this way can be life-changing.” As for the challenges of eating Paleo, its proponents say even ditching things such as beer (it’s made from grains!) and pizza are worth it. When HL spoke with Joulwan she I’m not a crazy had just ended a weekend she went off her Paleo Paleo person and where diet and splurged on a little French bread and organic I don’t view it as ice cream and “today I have a religion, but two pimples.” While that may we do feel better sound like a small, occasional price to pay for a good dish when we eat this of homemade ice cream, she explains when she first way as much as switched to her Paleo diet possible. “my skin cleared up.” Still, Joulwan doesn’t preach Pa— Teresa Kerrigan, Fairfield mom leo purity but says that eating like a caveperson “as much as you can as well as you can will make just about anyone look and feel better.” And, don’t bet the cave on the notion that eating Paleo is sheer misery: Joulwan promises if you try one of her mouthwatering recipes for foods that include cookies (made with coconut oil and almond flour) and a delicious entrée, “You may even believe that eating this way isn’t a sacrifice, but a delicious, healthy, completely attainable way to live.” HL

For online paleo recipes Chocolate Chili, Coconut-Almond Green Beans and Peach Almond Crisp, visit

Photo: © Irusta.

What About Calcium?


f the dairy-free premise of the Paleo diet has you worrying about your bone health there’s good cause. The brittle-bone disorders osteoporosis and its precursor condition, osteopenia, are serious concerns for women as they advance into the postmenopausal years. Here’s what the Paleo diet’s founder, Dr. Loren Cordain, had to say about dairy-free Paleo on the diet’s official website: “In the U.S., calcium intake is one of the highest in the world. Yet paradoxically, we also have one of the highest rates of bone demineralization (osteoporosis). Bone mineral content is dependent not just upon calcium intake, but upon net calcium balance (calcium intake minus calcium excretion). Most

nutritionists focus upon the calcium intake side of the calcium balance equation; however few realize that the calcium excretion side of the equation is just as important. He explains that, “Because the average American diet is overloaded with grains, cheeses, salted processed foods, and fatty meats at the expense of fruits and vegetables, it produces a net acid load and promotes bone demineralization. By replacing hard cheeses, cereal grains and processed foods with plenty of green vegetables and fruits, the body comes back into acid/base balance which brings us also back into calcium balance.” — source: The


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Patient Power

10 tips for a better hospital stay


nticipating a trip to the hospital doesn’t have to mean increased anxiety on top of whatever’s ailing you. Taking an active role in your care can help to ensure a positive hospital experience. With some smart preparation, you can feel confident that you’ve done your best to create a situation that will lead to a speedy and healthy recovery. Read on for 10 steps to make that happen.


Do Your Homework

Before you pursue treatment for a medical condition, consider what hospital your potential health-care provider uses. You’ll be at a loss if you develop a trusted relationship with a physician who is not on staff at your hospital of choice. “If you know that procedures and surgeries are going to be in your future, choose the hospital that has the lowest number of infections and the highest patient satisfaction scores,” advises Trisha Torrey, Every Patient’s Advocate, au-



thor, speaker and guide to patient empowerment at About. com. “First, choose the hospital, then find out what doctors have admitting privileges there and make sure your insurance covers the physician and the hospital.” You can investigate comprehensive performance data on websites such as the Connecticut Hospital Association’s Hospital Quality Reporting Website and Hospital Compare. You also can use the sites to review outcomes and treatment data for specific procedures and patient satisfaction surveys. “Look at patient satisfaction scores, how accommodating, caring and compassionate are their staff,” says Renee Mauriello, vice president and chief nursing officer at Norwalk Hospital.


Plan Your Itinerary

When your physician recommends a hospital treatment or procedure, you’ll be more comfortable if you know as much as possible about where you’re going and what will happen when you get there. “If a patient is proactive, it is wise to spend time when they

Photo: Halfdark/Gettyimages.

by anna zernone giorgi

“Staffing of the hospital is based on 24 hours, seven days a week and we must maintain the same standard of care day/night, weekend or holiday.”

are not ill on their hospital’s website, To ensure that your companion can adtheir insurer’s website [many patients vocate for you, you’ll have to complete are unaware of their policy terms and an Appointment of Health Care Repretheir financial obligation] and if they are sentative form. In Connecticut, assigning inclined, government websites that post a health care representative means that comparative hospital data in terms of cliniyou give that person the right to make your — Renee Mauriello cal outcomes and patient satisfaction data,” health care decisions if you are unable to do says Linda McGrory, director of patient relaso yourself. tions and service excellence at Danbury Hospital. You can assign anyone to be your health care Before you go, pack photo identification, insurance representative. If a family member or friend can’t accards and copies of advance directives. But leave your valucompany you, you may want to consider the services of a ables at home. Worrying about them will be a distraction. professional patient advocate. You also can change and Your choices on when to have your procedure or treatreassign your representative at any time. The health care ment may be limited by your medical needs, the availability representative’s authority is only applicable in situations in of the equipment and personnel needed for your procedure, which you’re unable to make decisions for yourself. and the specific days on which your surgeon schedules time A health care representative form is not a living will. A livat the hospital. But if possible, consider your own schedule ing will allows you to give instructions regarding health-care and the time you’ll need for hospitalization and recuperaand end-of-life choices in writing. Your representative can tion. Having major surgery on a Friday or the day before a carry out the wishes of your living will. However, you must holiday may mean that your surgeon and other specialists use a separate form to name your health care representawill be available only on call. If this is a concern, clarify your tive. A combined form is available online from the Office of continuity of care ahead of time. the State Attorney General of Connecticut (http://tinyurl. However, it’s important to know that hospitals can’t opercom/hl13forms). ate on the assumption of downtime. “Staffing of the hospi“I can’t believe the people that don’t think about this betal is based on 24 hours, seven days a week and we must fore they have major surgery. We could all be in a car accimaintain the same standard of care day/night, weekend or dent and in a hospital tomorrow, or even today,” says Jean holiday,” Mauriello says. Rexford, executive director of the Connecticut Center for If you’ll be using a teaching hospital, part of your daily care Patient Safety, a nonprofit organization that works to prolikely will include in-house medical residents. Typically, a new mote patient safety, improve the quality of health care, and class of medical residents starts in early July. “Residents are protect the rights of patients. “People need to be thoughtvery cautious, seek advice often, and get more supervision ful on what their end-of-life care is and who their medical than at any other time in their careers,” says MaryEllen Hope power of attorney is.” Kosturko, a registered nurse and senior vice president of paMake sure each of your health partners has access to your tient care operations and School of Nursing/chief nursing offimedical condition and needs, even though only one will be cer at Bridgeport Hospital/Yale New Haven Health System. “As your health care representative. This likely will require that a teaching hospital, we have a well-thought-out and planned every companion is listed on your HIPAA (Health Insurance approach to resident education … All patients have a responPortability and Accountability Act) Form. sible attending physician supervising their care at all times.” Keep a Journal If this concerns you, talk with your surgeon about schedulOne of the most important ways to control your hosing options. Know that you have the right to select a time pital stay is to maintain a journal containing contact that’s comfortable for you and to “Just say, ‘No,’” Torrey says. information on the doctors you’re seeing, the mediAppoint a Health Care Representative cations you’re taking and procedures performed. Begin One of the most important ways to manage your hoskeeping this journal at your doctor visits and pre-admission pital experience is to appoint a health partner, who can appointments. serve as another set of eyes, ears and hands to look out Your journal should include the names and titles of evfor and help with any problems. “Have someone at your side at eryone who comes in your room to treat you, along with a all times, 24/7. You may have to go to the bathroom 24/7. You description of the procedures that are done. “All the health can fall if you get out of bed 24/7,” Torrey says. care personnel are supposed to identify themselves,” Rex“Patients and their families should be aware that the health ford says. “Keeping a journal is important. If a patient is concare organizations accredited by The Joint Commission now fused about something, they can write down the question allow for one member of the family to be at the bedside so that before they leave the hospital, they can get things 24/7,” Kosturko says. straightened out.”



continued on page 44 


health care

continued from page 43

The journal also can be helpful if you have more than one health partner. As they “change shifts,” each one can be updated on your care. Hospitals, like any other institution or workplace, are subject to human error. Some of the most common mistakes occur during the medication process. Errors can happen at the time of prescribing, dispensing and administering. In a 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine, the group reported that, “When all types of errors are taken into account, a hospital patient can expect on average to be subjected to more than one medication error each day.” While it’s important to note that the statistic is an average and errors vary widely among different facilities, you and your health partner should work to prevent mistakes that could jeopardize your care and prolong your stay. Carefully check that the information on your wristband is accurate. Always double check any medication that is administered, including those in intravenous lines or topically. It’s important to note the prescribing physician as well as the medication’s name, dosage, purpose and potential side effects. To avoid unlikely wrong-site surgery, insist that the correct site is marked clearly. Before you receive sedation or anesthesia, you and your health partner should confirm that the appropriate site is indicated with a marker by your surgeon.


Protect Against Infection

While you’re a patient, be vigilant about protecting yourself against health-care-associated infections (HAIs). HAIs can make you sicker than when you arrived at the hospital, add days to your hospital stay, cause long-term complications and, in extreme cases, be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one out of every 20 patients will contract an HAI while in the hospital. You and your health partner can minimize the presence of germs. Diligent hand washing, using the antibacterial soap provided by the hospital, is the first place to start. “Patients can remind their expected visitors to exercise good judgment and plan to visit only when well, practice hand hygiene when in the hospital, and be empowered as a patient to speak up and ask someone to wash their hands if needed,” McGrory says. Since germs can live on any type of surfaces, wipe down the remote and the door handle when someone new comes in, Torrey advises. Cover your cough with a fresh tissue and monitor places where germs can enter your body. Tell your nurse if your dressings are loose or the area appears red, has increased tenderness, or shows signs of infection. If you’re having surgery, find out what precautions you can take to decrease your risk for infection. “They should stop smoking well in advance of their surgery; should choose a



surgeon with low infection rates; in certain circumstances (like some joint replacements) ask their surgeon if they should be tested for MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus); ask their physician if their type of surgical procedure requires an antibiotic one hour prior to their surgical incision and if so ask the staff if you’ve received it; and if the patient should require a urinary catheter, ask it be removed as soon as possible post-operatively; just to mention a few,” Kosturko says.


Manage Your Care

Typically, you’ll have a variety of specialists, other physicians and nurses that will change during the course of your care. Once you identify the coordinating physician, you should have the opportunity to discuss any decision regarding your care with that person. “Knowing who is in charge of the patient is critical,” Rexford says. “If two or three different people have said different things to you and you need a clear answer, then you have to know who to contact.” Make sure your hospital team is aware of any current prescriptions and past drug reactions. This information is critical to avoiding reactions and interactions with new prescriptions, IV medications and anesthesia. “It is vitally important for patients to have up-to-date medication lists, which should include the name of the medication, dosage and frequency of administration, in addition to the names of physicians who ordered them and a brief recent medical history and advance directives,” McGrory says. Find out if the hospital has an electronic medical records system on which your care is documented for future reference. “… Ask how continuity of care is achieved and ask how and if their primary care physician will be informed regarding their hospitalization and care provided,” McGrory says.


Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up

No matter how well-prepared you may be, problems can arise. When they do, it’s your right and responsibility to notify your medical team. If you’re unable to communicate an issue, it’s up to your companions or health care representative. “No one knows your loved one better than you and if something doesn’t seem right in their behavior/health sta-

Photo: Marcus LindstrAm/Gettyimages.


Help Minimize Mistakes

tus, then say something to the health-care team right away,” Kosturko says. If you don’t feel you’re getting resolution from your medical team, contact your hospital’s patient representative or patient advocate, whose name should be included in your hospital information packet. Rexford recommends asking before admission how the hospital resolves issues that may come up. When cases remain unresolved or to file a complaint, contact the Connecticut Department of Health in Hartford (


Follow Through with Follow-up

When you’re ready to be discharged, get your instructions in writing. Your health partner should be with you to help clarify any possible confusion. Find out the signs and symptoms that indicate you are getting better or worse, and whom to contact if you have a problem or questions. “Going home from the hospital is where you have to have someone else’s help. It’s a very confusing time. You could be taking pain medication. You need some else’s eyes and ears to help, and everything has to be written down,” Rexford says. It’s also important to alert your discharge planner about any physical or financial issues that could prevent you from following through with the recommended course of treatment. “The goal [of discharge] is to gather as much information as possible in regards to what the patient will need to continue healing at home; if their home is a safe environment, physically, for them to return to; whether or not they have an individual at home capable of assisting them with their ongoing recovery, etc.” Kosturko says. Your discharge also is the time for you and your health partner to review your complete medication schedule, including new prescriptions or discontinued ones that need to be restarted. If possible, fill needed prescriptions on your way home from the hospital to avoid a lapse in dosage. Discuss the logistics of setting and getting to physician’s ap-

RESOURCES Connecticut Hospital Association’s Hospital Quality Reporting Website Connecticut Center for Patient Safety

pointments with your health partner. Make note of the physicians’ contact information and appointments scheduled.


In Case of Emergency

If your visit to the hospital is unplanned, your experience may depend on variables over which you have no control. The very nature of emergency care may mean you are suddenly immobilized or unconscious. Pre-plan by having a signed health care proxy and living will, so that others can intervene on your behalf and ensure that your health care representative has copies of these documents, your identification and insurance information. “You should always carry in your wallet a list of the names of medications that you take, the dose, and times you take them. A list of allergies and a list of your medical history (current and past medical conditions, surgeries, etc.), and an emergency contact name/number,” Kosturko says. If you’re awake and aware, understand that emergency treatment is based on the triage system. “Triage always treats the most dire emergency first,” Torrey says. “If there are a lot of people there, and the hospital is short-staffed, you’re going to keep moving down the list if you go there with something that really isn’t dire.” It’s important to have a health partner when you visit the emergency room. If you go there alone, ask a companion to meet you there if your health care agent isn’t available. Since your care may take longer than expected, make sure you understand the reason for delay. If you are neither released nor admitted after receiving treatment, ask about your status. You may be assigned “observation status.” “If a patient is assigned ‘observation status,’ then he is considered to be an ‘outpatient,’ meaning he is not admitted to the hospital,” Torrey says. “Some insurances, including Medicare, don’t consider observation status as an admission and, therefore, don’t cover the cost.” And keep a journal of your emergency room experience so you can follow up with your own physicians and settle any insurance conflicts that may arise after your visit.  HL

Hospital Compare Patient Empowerment Website Your Rights to Make Health Care Decisions: A Summary of Connecticut Health Care Law Office of the Attorney General of Connecticut healthcaredecisions2011version.pdf


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owner’s manual

Your Appendix — a primer

large intestine


compiled by linda tuccio-koonz


OUR APPENDIX IS A NARROW, FINGER-LIKE POUCH OF TISSUE found near the junction of the small and large intestines and extending into the lower right side of your abdomen. It measures about 2-4 inches long, is about a quarter-inch in diameter and looks a bit worm-like. Although it’s not a vital organ, it’s part of your digestive tract and believed to produce and protect “good” bacteria for your gut. Astoundingly, the appendix is still somewhat of a mystery to medical experts, who theorize that it’s the remnant of a previously larger cecum (pouch where the large intestine begins), which may have been used by our vegetarian ancestors to help break down stubborn plant tissue.

 Photos: GettyImages. Woman, laflor; Appendix, PIXOLOGICSTUDIO.

You can survive without your appendix but some researchers say removing it is akin to losing part of your immune system.

When your appendix becomes inflamed, it’s called appendicitis. If it’s not removed, it can burst and spread bacteria, a serious medical emergency that can lead to a fatal infection.

An inflamed appendix can burst 24-72 hours after symptoms begin, so quick diagnosis is important.

waste, hard pieces of stool, inflammation of lymph nodes in the intestines, or even parasites.

An inflamed appendix can burst 24-72 hours after symptoms begin, so quick diagnosis is important.

An inflamed appendix is typically caused by blockage such as food

Symptoms of appendicitis include: pain and tenderness near the navel that typically increases over 12 to 18 hours and spreads to the lower right side of the abdomen; nausea; vomiting; constipation; loss of appetite; and fever. Appendix tissue is useful for reconstructive surgery of the bladder and also as a substitute ureter (the tube that carries urine from kidney to bladder). HL

For additional information on the appendix, go to


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 Mold: What to do if you find it in your house

October 2013

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Photo: George Doyle/GettyImages.

10 easy DIY projects — plus tips on when to call a pro

window shopping

by melinda mcgarty webb

Window Shopping highlights eco-friendly furnishings, décor and seasonal items available in stores in and around Fairfield County. Have a favorite store we’ve missed? Send an e-mail to rhaynes@hearstmediact. com. We’d love to hear from you!

Increase your water intake — deliciously — with this Aqua Zinger flavor-infusing stainlesssteel bottle. Just place your favorite fruits in the bottom grinder, fill the double-walled, wide-mouthed bottle with water, shake and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Choose berries, peaches, mint, citrus or any fruit or vegetable combination you wish. It’s safe for hot or cold liquids, and all plastic parts are BPAfree. $25.99 at Brookstone. Stamford Town Center, 100 Greyrock Place, (203) 3568900; Trumbull Mall, 5065 Main St., (203) 372-4500.

Creative Composting Do your part to help the environment (and your garden) with this EcoCrock compost bin from Chef’n. The white ceramic composter is designed to stay right on the counter, where you’re less likely to overlook it on your way to the garbage can. Its vented lid holds a charcoal filter to absorb odors and the removable inner bucket makes for easy disposal. $40, JCPenney. Connecticut Post Mall, 1201 Boston Post Road, Milford, (203) 877-6177; Trumbull Mall, 5065 Main St., (203) 374-7612; Danbury Fair Mall, 7 Backus Ave., (203) 748-7790.

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house health

what to do if you find it growing in your home by sandra diamond fox


ast winter, says Maggie Brightwell, her son Sam kept getting sick. “He kept coming down with a cold. It would then go to his chest and he wouldn’t be able to get rid of it,” says the Norwalk resident. “Everyone said he was getting sick because he had just started preschool, but I had a feeling something else was going on.” Brightwell’s motherly intuition was correct — Sam’s symptoms were a reaction to the mold growing in their basement. Because they live near the beach, water problems are common. But a few summers ago, that problem was exacerbated by a home improvement project. “During the construction, we had to move out because the electricity and air conditioning had to be shut off. So, the sump pump didn’t work,” she says. Heavy storms hit and lots of water made its way into their basement. “It’s what we were later told caused our mold problem.” Mold species found in Brightwell’s home included Aspergillus/Penicillium, Stachybotrys and Ascospores, all of which are considered potentially harmful to our health. “No mold in a home at an excessive level is good,” says Gary Stone, president of Homeguard Environmental Services in Stamford. “Mold — whether it’s dead or alive — can be a respiratory irritant like pollen or cat dander. Mold spores in large quantities can cause coughing, sneezing and wheezing.” Mark Pierne, owner of Chase Environmental in Norwalk, says mold spores often become noticeable in the spring and summer months. “We get about 30 calls per month during this time of year,” Pierne says.



Thousands of types of mold grow in homes, but the most common species is Aspergillus/Penicillium, says Steve DiNapoli, environmental professional at Big East Environmental in Norwalk. “They tend to colonize in building materials such as wallboard and fabrics, as well as in house dust,” DiNapoli says, adding it’s one of the molds most commonly attributed to allergies and other illnesses. Another type is Cladosporium, frequently found indoors growing on wallboard, DiNapoli says. Chaetomium, yet another species of mold, is considered a water indicator and potentially toxigenic. Some molds can be identified by appearance, although many need laboratory analysis to determine the species. “Mold can look fuzzy, come in different colors, and appear in circles or blotches,” Stone says. “Typical household dust, to compare, is fairly uniform looking.” He points out, though, that just because an area has a smell to it doesn’t automatically mean it has mold. “Sometimes you can have smells that are from animals nesting, such as squirrels, mice or rats,” he adds. “A professional can tell the difference.” Most common household molds have a light color — from a soft green to white, according to DiNapoli. When mold is very dark, it’s usually a toxigenic mold. One such type is Stachybotrys, also known as black mold. “Black mold is associated with heavy water damage like a flood that was not tended to for days or a leaky pipe that went unnoticed for months or years,” he says. “Stachybotrys is easily identified by its black color.” “The more severe reaction to mold would be associated with breathing problems,” DiNapoli says. “People with immunodeficiency problems, infants and elderly are most at risk.” Mold is typically found in a place that has been damp and smells stale. It can grow on sheetrock, carpeting, wood framing and plywood, and even on clothing, cardboard or leather. Anything that’s porous and absorbs water can get mold.

Photos: GettyImages. Mold lettering, Shaun Lowe; Baseboards, Charles Mann.


Practices for cleaning mold are typically the same and under the stairs within the storage closet and also in our involve sectioning off the areas in a home where the mold workout room, which are both in the basement. It looked spores are growing. The next step is to clean the home’s air almost like charcoal on canvas, but it was certainly not art,” by using a negative air filtration unit. Removing mold in a Wolfe says. “It had an extremely strong mildewy smell. I sufhome typically takes one day, but can vary depending on fer from numerous allergens, so I easily get congested and the size of the job, Pierne explains. sneeze. I could hardly let myself stay in that area for long. It “If you find mold, my recommendation is not to touch it was moisture gone wrong, for sure.” yourself. Assume all mold is dangerous,” Pierne adds. “You To get rid of the mold, Wolfe added new, non-carpeted should have the area inspected by a licensed industrial hyflooring, knocked down the walls that were affected by the giene company.” mold, and hired a drywaller to replace them. “We mopped To prevent mold from growing in the first place, be aware of and cleaned, and now occasionally use a dehumidifier and any water intrusion or leaks. “Mold cannot survive without waair conditioning to keep a check on moisture,” she says. ter. The heavier the water damage, the worse the mold probOnce Brightwell learned she had mold, she felt validated. lem will be. High humidity can supply enough water for mold “Sam is a healthy child. He takes vitamins and eats well,” she to grow as well,” DiNapoli says. “Keep your says. “That was why I knew something home dry and ventilated. Even in winter it else was making him sick.” is a good idea to bring fresh air into your Brightwell had a full remediation of “The more severe home and flush out the old air.” her basement. “They put air scrubbers Practicing good housekeeping is also in, which took out the contaminated air reaction to important to avoid mold. “You want to and put the clean air back in. They briskeep a clean basement. Don’t store emptle-brushed everything, and used moldmold would be ty corrugated boxes such as the ones resistant paint,” she says. “They cleaned that came with your TV or computer,” everything we wanted to save with speassociated with Stone says. “They absorb moisture and cial cleaning agents designed to get rid breathing problems. are potential breeding areas for mold.” of mold spores. They even sealed all the Stone also recommends installing comcracks in the walls where moisture could People with mercial-quality dehumidifiers in crawl get in.” To prevent mold from returning, spaces and basements. Dehumidifiers pull Brightwell purchased a sump pump that immunodeficiency excess moisture out of the air and keep contains a battery back-up. the air dry. “If you have to empty your de“Getting rid of the mold in our home problems, infants and humidifier every few hours, it’s not doing made such a huge difference in Sam’s elderly are enough,” Stone says. “You will need a dehealth. He had literally missed a solid humidifier with an automatic pump-out, two months of school due to being sick most at risk.” or one that directs the water to a drain in from the mold. Ever since the remediathe floor to get it out of the house.” tion, he hasn’t missed one day,” she says. — Steve DiNapoli, Kristin Wolfe of Danbury found mold “Now my kids can play in our basement environmental professional about a year after being in her new all they want.”  HL at Big East Environmental house, after several downpours. “It was in Norwalk

basic home repairs

Do-It-Yourself by elizabeth keyser   |   illustrations by emily jahn


elplessness is expensive. Many of us lack skills to fix basic things around the house. The good news is that even if we’ve never been taught, online instructional videos make it easy to learn. Here are 10 easy fixes suggested by the repair experts who spoke to HealthyLife (see list of sources on next

top 10 easy household fixes

page). All will give you a sense of accomplishment and empowerment — and help you save a few bucks. It just takes a little common sense and patience — take your time and pay attention when taking things apart. But be forewarned. Even the easiest job can present unexpected twists. So be ready to improvise — or get help!

3 Fix a running toilet

The kit to replace the toilet fill valve runs around $23, requires pliers and a wrench, and takes 10 to 30 minutes to do, depending on experience. Plenty of videos on YouTube show you how. Compare that to the cost of calling a plumber.


Unscrew a broken light bulb

Men and women get freaked out by this conundrum, say our experts. But there’s an inexpensive tool that makes it easy to remove these bulbs from the socket. A broken light bulb extractor costs around $10. (Sounds like a great stocking stuffer!) Just remember to shut off the circuit breaker and cut power to the socket before replacing the bulb.

a light bulb 2 Changing on a vaulted ceiling

Handymen are often called in for a job anyone can easily do with an overhead light bulb changer, an extendable pole with attachments.



Don’t Try This at Home! When to Call a Professional Getting more confident? Before you leap into a big project, take a breath. Certain home repairs are too dangerous for inexperienced DIY-ers. Repair experts caution that fixing your mistake could cost you up to three times as much as it would have cost to hire a professional to do the project in the first place.

 Don’t mess around with

electricity. Other than switching circuits on and off, stay out of the circuit breaker panel. It’s high voltage and dangerous.

 Clogged toilet? Never use

commercial drain cleaners or similar chemicals in a toilet. The acids will crack the toilet. To unclog a toilet, use a plunger. If that doesn’t work, call a plumber.

 Never remove asbestos.

A trained professional is required to deal with this hazardous material.

 Don’t attempt to work on gas lines. You don’t want to risk explosion or leaking gas.

 Don’t try to install a ceiling

fan by yourself. It’s too heavy and awkward — especially for one person, making it dangerous.

4 Change a doorknob

Loose, sticking, hard to close or lock, or just outdated, doorknobs are easily replaced with a Phillips-head screwdriver and a new doorknob kit.

exterior door 5 Replace deadbolts

a room or 7 Painting painting furniture

Sanding and painting are jobs almost anyone can do. It requires prep work, patience, a drop cloth and damp rags to wipe up any errant drips and drops. Great bang for the buck, too.

One of the fastest repairs of all. All you need is a screwdriver to remove four screws, and install the new kit in minutes.

6 Fixing a squeaky door

Apply WD-40 to the door hinges. If that doesn’t work, your best bet is to call a professional, since there are so many things that could be causing that squeak — misaligned hinges or walls that aren’t plumb, for instance.

8 Unclog a kitchen sink

Put a bucket underneath the trap (the U-shaped tube beneath the sink) and unscrew the top and bottom (using your hands or a wrench), dump water and trapped debris into bucket. Screw the u-shaped tube tightly back into place.

a slow-draining a bathroom 9 Unclog bathroom sink 10 Unclog shower or tub drain Hair and gunk get trapped in the drain stopper. Watch an instructional video, then look under your sink. Once you’ve disconnected the bar that moves the pop-up stopper up and down, lift the stopper out of the sink drain. A lot of gross stuff will probably come out with it.

If you have a mechanical lever operating the pop-up stopper, unscrew it from the wall of the tub and then carefully pull it out. You’ll probably find lots of hair and gunk attached to it. HL

Sources: Edward Caceres at Mr. C’s Fix-Up Shop, 221 Hope St., Stamford, (203) 357-1241, Eric Clamage, One Stop Home Repairs, Norwalk, (203) 526-2487 James Little, Personal Touch Handyman Services, Bridgeport, (203) 243-7870 John Marmolejo, owner, Castle Care, Milford (203) 375-2912 David Marshall, Winthrop Construction, Westport (203) 981-6029


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mind Ask Emma 59  Avoid Pitfalls With Aging Parents 60

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ask emma

The Private Place the secret chamber where we keep our feelings can become a prison by emma tennant

Photo: © Gagne.


nnie was 16 and about as charming and attractive a young woman as you’d be likely to meet. She came to see me, she said brightly, because she wanted to commit suicide. “I get these blank moments where I don’t know where I am or what has happened to me.” “OK,” I said. “Oh yeah, and also I wake up in the middle of the night and I feel that there is someone in the room with me and I’m terrified.” “Anything else?” I said. Annie seemed to search around in her head — frankly, I had the distinct impression that she was trying to find a symptom to shock me. “I’m losing weight. I’m not an anorexic, I just don’t like food very much, but everyone is really worried about me.” Annie beamed at me, a radiant intelligence. Her family were immigrants from Russia and she was the oldest daughter. Her mother, she said, was cold and indifferent and couldn’t even use a microwave. “I’m more mature than her.” Her father was the typical ogre — although I knew he was worried about her. The kids at school were “not worth it, immature, boring.” “Did I tell you that I have a fear of vegetables,” she added in a lull. “What is that called? Can you fix that?” Look, you can never be sure of your instincts, but sometimes that’s all you have to go on. What was clear was that Annie wanted to worry me. She wanted to overwhelm me with a bizarre cluster of behaviors and phobias, none of which seemed connected to any particular feeling, state or anxiety. So she wanted me to know that she was in trouble, she wanted to “be in therapy,” but she didn’t want to talk about what was really bothering her, instead trying to bog me down in chasing shadows. So I ignored the great and terrible symptoms for a few sessions and focused in on when she had first felt depressed. Had something happened? What welled up over the next three or four sessions was a heartbreaking story. Annie had fallen in love with a guy we’ll call Trevor. But she felt she couldn’t say anything to him about it. So then Trevor started to go out with another girl in her class. “I really loved him,” she said, and I didn’t doubt it. Worse still, there had been a moment — in a park at night — when Trevor had kissed Annie and asked her to be his girlfriend.

“I can’t,” she had said. “I can’t trust you.” So that had ended things with Trevor. She had not been rejected. Instead, she had pushed her love away. What continued to emerge was that the real issue in Annie’s life was that she could not, and would not, let anyone inside her emotional life. To some extent, cultural pressures were at work. She wanted to be a normal American teenager, but she had a more focused and contained traditional parenting structure and a father who was a prominent academic. In short, her family was never going to accept Trevor, with all his chaos and teen behaviors, into their world. So Annie was in a kind of box. She had an overwhelming emotional experience — a profound loss — that ran smack into a fierce determination to be in control, to be a closed system, to never share her inner life with anyone. Unfortunately, the more she spoke to me about what she felt, the more she came to feel that she was shaming herself. No reassurance on my part seemed to make much difference. The terrible truth of her failed attempt at love had to be put back in the box. But at the same time, her deep protest against these constraints meant that she continued to starve herself — finally, she told her general physician about her eating habits and she became officially “anorexic.” Now, everyone could worry about her “anorexia.” It was a win-win in some ways. Her symptoms were tangible. A physician could monitor her weight and calorie intake. Her parents would be made aware of her suffering as, I assume, would her classmates, and probably even Trevor would get wind of it. Best of all, her feelings could remain within the safe confines of the walls she had built to preserve and contain her emotional world. Nobody would ever know how she felt. It’s not uncommon to learn that people have literally created secret rooms in their minds, where all their secrets are stored or where they retreat when faced with conflict. Sure, we do have to maintain some control over our emotions, but mature control arrives when we are at peace with our feelings, able to tolerate our ambivalence, free to feel fear, love, anger, envy, without judging ourselves. Free to talk about it, joke about, cry about it. That’s what it means to be alive. HL Emma Tennant (not her real name) is a practicing psychotherapist. All advice offered here is simply that. If you have a pressing concern, you should see a specialist in person. If you have a question you’d like addressed or a comment for Emma, send it to askemma@healthylifect. com. Inquiries will be treated with confidentiality.


family care

Easing the


how to tackle difficult topics with your aging parents


indy Newman often counts her blessings when it comes to her parents’ aging experiences. Her mom and dad have thrived well past their 80th birthdays with their faculties, good health and independence still remarkably intact. At 93, her father still drives (although not at night) and her mother, 88, is a dynamic regular on the golf, bridge and volunteer set. “We realize most people don’t have parents who do this well, for this long and we are very grateful,” Newman says. Yet as she and her three siblings considered the prospect of the next 10 years — how their parents’ lives might change if they were blessed to make it to the century mark — they felt it was time for a realistic talk. Her parents had been thinking, too, and they agreed they should give up their stately twostory colonial and move to an upscale assisted living community; one that offered amenities from light housekeeping to gourmet meals. They headed to a favorite tropical island and let the kids (who range in age from 50 to 60) pack the house for sale.



It was when they returned home that things got complicated. “They saw the house cleared of their packed belongings and they lost it,” says Cindy, a Fairfield County resident who asked HealthyLife to use a fictitious last name to protect her parents’ identities. “I think they felt like they were being erased.” Her parents took their home off the market and decided to stay put. And, more recently, things have gotten more challenging. “My mother seems to be forgetting things and my father is protective and in a bit of denial,” says Newman. “My parents have gone from being open to discussing the inevitability that they need to make adjustments for their age to being stubborn.” Newman and her siblings are unsure of how to press their case. “My parents now treat every conversation about their house and their circumstances like a fight,” says Newman. Talking to elderly parents about the transitions and losses that are an inevitable part of aging, can be a challenge rife with emotional minefields for even the most sensitive adult children. Whether it’s confronting deteriorating driving hab-

Photo: Kristian Sekulic/GettyImages.

by beth cooney

its, worrisome physical changes or expressing the nagging sense that a senior parent simply needs to consider some lifestyle adaptations, the conversations can strain even the healthiest parent-child dynamics.


ut experts say the conversations are essential. “It’s a rite of passage that comes for [adult children] that few of us want to confront, but most of us can’t escape,” says Roni Lang, a licensed clinical social worker on the staff of the Center for Healthy Aging at Greenwich Hospital. The need for these heart-to-hearts are “a thing that can creep up slowly for some families or, in the worst cases, be necessitated by a serious, unexpected situation; there’s a stroke, a heart attack, a broken hip. You have a crisis or a chronic disability and suddenly you need to have a very serious conversation and it can be so difficult for both generations.” A new health-care field has even emerged to help families deal with these conversations and issues: geriatric care management. It combines the expertise of nursing, social work, counseling, mediation and gerontology, with a focus of helping families locate and select appropriate services for their aging loved ones so they can function at home. Waveny Care Network based in New Canaan maintains such a team, whose managers work with attorneys, physicians and social service providers to put together an appropriate plan for each client. “We do as much or as little as is needed to make the situation work and the individual and family to feel comfortable,” says Joan Merrill, a registered nurse and one of Waveny’s professional care managers. “We make sure that everything we do is something they want us to do. Our work with a family can be as minimal as a one-hour consultation or as intensive as ongoing care management.” Mediation can be an important tool for a geriatric care manager, says Melissa Mayernik, another member of Waveny’s care management team. “We sometimes work with families that have a number of siblings or parties involved and each person may have a different approach to their loved one’s care,” she says. “We discuss shortand long-term planning so that all involved can feel comfortable with the decisions made and the entire planning process as a whole.” As the adviser and principal of Senior Living Options, a Stamford-based consultancy that helps seniors and their families identify a variety of transitional options ranging from assisted living communities to home-based care, Ann Jamison, a Fairfield resident, often witnesses difficult conversations between seniors and their adult children. The best and most productive dialogues, she says, are conducted with respect as the operative word. continued on page 62 


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family care continued from page 61

“Children are still children and parents are still parents,” she says. “Speaking to people with the dignity and respect they deserve is a good place to start.”


ut it’s not unusual to get some pushback even when you have the best of intentions, says Jamison. “Typically, what you hear first is, ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry. I’m fine.’ But the job of the child or family member is to point out, as gently as possible, that maybe they aren’t fine.” What constitutes not fine? While a medical crisis such as a diagnosis of cancer, dementia or some other chronic disease often necessitates some kind of familial plan of action, says Eloise Barron, director of community health and wellness for the Ridgefield Visiting Nurses Association, sometimes the changes that warrant a family meeting or one-onone chat are more subtle. She often sees these situations in her role leading the RVNA’s Aging in Place program, which works with seniors who still have the desire and capacity to live independently, but may need some support. Often, she says, caring and concerned children will have an internal alarm that sets off. “You can just have that nagging sense that something’s not right,” says Barron, who notes those warning signs can range from a normally well-groomed parent looking untidy to a mishap like a fall or a minor car accident. “You might

notice they are forgetting things, like birthdays they always remembered or that there is a big pile of mail unopened or an unexplained dent in the car.” (See our online sidebar for more signs that signal the need for a conversation.) Particularly difficult are conversations that revolve around driving. “A car is often someone’s line of independence,” explains Lang. “And yet, if you see dents or there’s a pattern of accidents there really is a need to intervene because they are putting others at risk, too.” How to delicately broach the subject that Mom or Dad might need to make some changes or have a little help in their daily life? Start, Jamison suggests, by making some astute observations. “It can be something like ‘I’ve noticed the mail is piling up, would you like me to assist you?’ Or, you may see that there isn’t food in the fridge and you can offer to go shopping.” By framing questions in a helpful tone, “they seem less accusatory,” and therefore the conversation may naturally take on a more productive tone, Jamison says. Jamison and the other experts note it’s sometimes helpful to make the conversation about your fears and concerns, rather than your parents’ lifestyles. “A parent is inclined to want to still be there for your child, so if you say ‘It will make me feel better if you have some help’ or ‘I will be less anxious about going to work and taking care of my kids if I know someone is coming to help you,’ that can sometimes


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impress a parent enough to realize they should at least give something a try,” says Jamison. Sometimes there are situations that require a more insistent tone. A parent who’s racked up multiple motor vehicle infractions or has become so frail they’re vulnerable to injury demands intervention. “There are some situations where the children have to take action and there isn’t a whole lot of room for negotiation,” says Barron, who says she admires adult children who realize “there are times when you do have to make some tough calls, as difficult as that may seem.” Recently, a member of my own extended family had to have this kind of conversation with her father, who at 87, was showing some signs of cognitive decline. It started with a phone call from his friends, who brought to her attention he’d missed their regularly scheduled breakfast for several weeks without so much as a phone call. Meanwhile, he had stopped going to her boys’ tennis matches, “completely out of the blue.” When she paid him an impromptu visit and opened his fridge, it was empty. “But when I tried to talk to him about seeing someone, he just yelled at me that doctors kill people,” says my relative, a nurse, who finally persuaded a social worker friend to make an informal house call. While her dad continues to protest that he’s fine, his daughter is working with her siblings to set up some interim interventions. “For the short term, we just have a plan to check in on

him on a daily basis,” she says. “But we know at some point soon, it may require more than that and we’re dreading it because he’s so insistent that he’s fine.” Lang, Jamison, Barron and Merrill all note there are times when conversations with parents can be so challenging that it’s helpful to have a third party involved. Accompanying a parent to a doctor can be one approach. “That generation tends to have great respect for a doctor’s credentials and may be more compliant with their suggestions,” notes Barron. Another option is to sit down with a geriatric social worker or independent third party, including any number of plentiful resources here in Fairfield County. In addition to the sources found in this article, a few others include Greenwich Woods, The Nathaniel Witherell, The Osborn, The Greens at Greenwich and at Cannondale, and Angelic Healthcare. “Sometimes the presence of an objective voice can really make a difference,” says Jamison, who sometimes plays that intermediary role with her clients. “It creates a little emotional distance.” “The idea,” says Lang, “is to always approach this in the spirit that we’re a family and that we are in this together and we’ll find a way to make it work together.”  HL Want tips on how to start the dialogue with your aging loved ones? Visit online at

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and how to ask for it at your workplace by sandra diamond fox



Photos: GettyImages. I want a Raise, Blend Images/Ariel Skelley; Money, carl swahn.


ne day in 2008, Danbury resident Patty Lennon opened up her bonus check and was very disappointed. “It was $15,000 lower than what I expected,” says Lennon, who worked as a vice president in the global banking industry at the time. “I knew my previous year’s bonus had been based on the fact that I was out on maternity leave for six months. I learned the current bonuses were based upon our previous year’s bonus. So, I felt I deserved more money. Yet, my co-workers told me there was no way I was going to get it. In the banking industry, once the bonus pool is set, it’s fixed.” Lennon was in a predicament to which many people can relate. She felt she wasn’t being paid what she was worth. Yet she knew it would be very difficult — if not impossible — to resolve the situation. How can you assess how much you’re worth at your job? And once you figure it out, how can you ensure you’re paid it? According to Jean Stetz-Puchalski, a certified leadership coach and managing principal at Individual Differences at Work in Fairfield, assessing your job worth starts with knowing yourself and your contributions — your knowledge, your skills, your leadership competencies, and even your blind spots. “To learn this, get feedback from everyone you come into contact with at all levels of your organization. From all these contacts, you’ll get a good idea as to how you’re seen throughout your firm,” Stetz-Puchalski says. “It’s about building your own narrative and learning what is unique to you as an individual contributor.” Once you’re armed with enough feedback, set up a meeting with your boss. “Get your boss’ temperature on how he or she views you as an employee. Be proactive by asking him or her if you are meeting and exceeding expectations,” says Mary Ann Gontin, managing partner of OI Partners — Cunis & Gontin Inc., a human resources consulting services business in Stamford and Danbury. “If you learn you’re doing a great job, now is the time to negotiate a salary increase if you think you deserve one.” Stetz-Puchalski says when negotiating a raise, women tend not to be as assertive as men — but should be. “When women talk about their contributions, they say ‘I work very hard;

therefore, I should be well compensated’ whereas men are straightforward about all their accomplishments,” she says. “It’s an expectation that you should work hard at your company. Women need to lean in and be strong and direct about their accomplishments.” Lennon took a direct approach when asking for what she felt was due to her — and got the results she wanted. “I walked right into my boss’s office and said, ‘There has been a mistake and it needs to be rectified.’ After listening to me, she said, ‘I don’t know where we will get the money, but we will try.’ Three days later she told me, ‘You should see the money within the next two pay cycles.’ I’ve always been a high-performance contributor. In my gut, I knew the company could find the money to pay me what I was worth,” says Lennon, who now works as a business coach for Mom Gets a Business.


f while meeting with your boss you’re told you’re not exceeding expectations, your very next question should be “What are some things I should be working on or doing differently that would make me be viewed as a stellar employee?’” Gontin says. “Then, check back with your boss in three months. It takes three months to demonstrate behavior change.” What should you do if you find out your company is not giving raises right now? “If this happens, find ways to grow within the company and learn new skills,” Gontin says. “While you may be stuck right now, once the economy turns around you’ll have more to offer and a greater chance of getting paid what you deserve — either at the company you’re in now or someplace else.” There are always opportunities to learn more at any job you’re in — through self-education. “Ask to sit in on meetings with your boss and get a better idea of how your company works. Take advantage of classes your job offers in your field,” Gontin says. “Ask co-workers and your supervisor if any vendors or consultants they work with offer free webinars for professional development.”

Sometimes, if you’ve worked at one firm for a long time, you might be told you’ve reached your maximum earnings potential for your position. “If this happens, it’s important to continue to do everything you can to increase your value to your company. If your firm should downsize, you want to avoid getting replaced by someone who will work for less money,” Gontin says. She explains that by demonstrating you are a strong contributor, your boss may give you a promotion, which can eventually lead to a pay increase. When considering how much you’re worth to your job, it’s also important to consider how much your job is worth to you. Take stock of what qualities in a job you value most. If, financially, you need to be paid more and your company isn’t willing or able to do this, then it may be a good time to start looking elsewhere, Gontin explains. However, salary doesn’t always have to be the deciding factor in determining if you stay at your job. Other factors — the type of work you do, the location of the job, or who you work with — may be much more important. Sherman resident Wendi O’Donnell worked for four years as a medical biller and coder at an area hospital before being laid off. “They were doing a lot of layoffs. I only got 3 percent raises every year, and I knew I was worth more. Yet, I figured with the economy being what it was, I had to be thankful I still had a job,” says O’Donnell, who now works as a medical claims processor for a large area dental practice. “Also, I loved my job, my co-workers and supervisors, and the work I was doing. The job was close to where I lived at the time, and it was what I had gone to school for. So, I decided to stay there.” Gontin says when evaluating your job value, keep in mind salary is always based on what you can offer your company. “Women tend to get emotional and feel they’re owed the money. Companies don’t pay on emotion or personal need, or even on whether they like you as a person,” she says. “They pay on what skills they need and whether you can provide those skills. The company will like you and reward you if you’re helping your boss meet his or her goals.”  HL

Helpful Resources To get an idea of how your salary compares with others who are in similar jobs, websites to visit include, and Reference guides that provide similar information include The American Almanac of Jobs and Salaries and The Salary Guide and Job Outlook. Both can be found at your local library.





how to help if your child has a difficult transition


he transition from high school to college can be overwhelming and exhilarating. And most kids do experience some bumps in the road, whether it’s homesickness, roommate issues or time-management problems. But what do you do if your child doesn’t seem to be adjusting, but instead is floundering? How can you tell the difference between run-of-the-mill homesickness and despair? We asked some area experts, and spoke to one local mom whose son struggled with the transition. Patty, who asked HealthyLife not to use her real name to protect her son’s privacy, lives in Stamford and says her son Tom’s less-than-stellar college experience began before he even moved on campus. “There’s so much hype and pressure starting in high school when they’re only 16 years old,” Patty says. “Tom kept saying he would be happy living at home and taking classes locally until he figured out what to do with his life. But he went with the flow and applied to a state college.” As he was preparing to leave for school, Tom’s relation-



ship with his girlfriend ended, which put him in a bad place emotionally. “When I dropped him off [at college] I knew it was really bothering him, but he was rooming with a friend from Connecticut, so I thought they might talk and support each other,” Patty says. Instead, Tom confided primarily in his mom, who began sleeping with her cell phone in case her son called in the middle of the night needing help. “I was up all night, worrying if he was drinking, or what would happen if he made bad decisions.” Tom didn’t do anything foolish or dangerous. But he did struggle. He got average grades, and had to drop classes because the workload was overwhelming. “I was concerned about depression,” Patty says. “My husband was in the frame of mind of, ‘just let him get used to it.’ He was always a social kid; he put up a front with friends on campus. He asked to come home but in the end he stuck it out for a year.” Tom is now living at home, working for a TV studio and taking classes toward his bachelor’s degree.

Photos: GettyImages. Woman, Robert Churchill; Feet, LeoGrand.

by cari scribner

Patty says it’s difficult to tell whether your child will be able to adjust to the big changes that living on campus brings. “My daughter went to the same college and even traveled abroad,” Patty says. “It wasn’t always easy; she struggled at times, but she worked through it all.” Melissa H. Lopez is director of student health services at the University of Bridgeport. She advises parents to help prepare their child to make the break from their home before they leave for college. “Talking to your student about what he or she might experience ahead of time and reminding her of the support systems that she will find on campus is important,” Lopez say. “Give your student more responsibilities and foster independence, so that she is prepared to take on new challenges by herself. Allow your student to pack for herself, fill out college forms herself, negotiate what to bring into her new room with her new roommate herself.”


nce your child has made the move to campus it can be tough for parents to discern what’s run-of-the-mill homesickness and what’s crossed the line to higherlevel anxiety. “Parents know their child, so if a parent has a bad feeling something is wrong, they should take that seriously,” Lopez says. “Look for anxiety that interferes with activities of everyday living — sleeping too much, not being as social as he usually is, sudden weight gain or weight loss, failing grades, excessive crying, strong extremes in emotion, or decrease in energy that is unusual.” If you begin to notice any of these cues, what should you do? Do you follow through on your urge to drive immediately to campus, pick up your child, and bring him home? Or call his school and find someone to help? There are plenty of ways to support your child, Lopez says. “If there is a larger concern that it is something more than homesickness, parents can remind their student to check in

Go to the Pros Most college campuses offer resources to help your son or daughter deal with issues of homesickness and to identify symptoms of generalized anxiety, including constant worry and fear, feeling anxious all the time without being able to pinpoint exactly why, and having physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, sweats, nausea and fatigue. Many of these services are found in student counseling centers, which are entirely confidential. UConn Storrs offers an interactive guide

with the residential life staff such as the student’s resident adviser, dean of students, counseling or health services,” Lopez says. “If a parent is still concerned, they can call the university officials directly and let them know their concern so that the university can look out for any red flags.” Betsy Cracco, director of mental health services at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, says parents should keep in mind that what they’re hearing from their child when they call to unload about college pressure is what happens after the child reaches the boiling point. “Parents are the safe release point for their child; they store up their apprehension and problems and unload on them,” Cracco says. “I’m an adult, and I still do that with my own mother. Sadness is to be expected, because it’s a huge transition.” In the event of the absolute worst-case scenario, at Storrs, staff members and resident assistants receive training on how to identify suicide potential and how to intervene. But parents should also avoid the urge to become overly involved in their child’s first weeks on campus. “There are parents who call students after every class to see how they’re doing,” Cracco says. “You’re going to be uncomfortable with them gone, too, but give them some independence.” Cracco says some kids just aren’t ready to move away from home and onto campus, and it would be best to delay the step. “If there’s a total derailment in functioning, we do need parents to step in,” Cracco says. In cases of garden-variety low-level homesickness, however, Cracco says it usually cures itself in a short time. “I find that the first semester is an adjustment, and by the second semester, students who are invested cannot wait to come back to school for the spring semester,” Cracco says. “The most difficult time for students in my experience is the first month, so it is important for parents to check in with their student by phone or e-mail during that time frame to offer support, non-judgmental listening and gentle guidance if needed.” HL

for students with helpful suggestions and calming advice, including:  Stay physically active to reduce stress.  Keep a reasonable attitude and don’t assume responsibility for what you can’t control.  Reduce or eliminate activities that aren’t helpful.  Cut back on sugar, caffeine and alcohol.  Develop coping skills, including the ability to slow down.  Realize they have many people who care about them — including family members back home.


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my word

Running in Place by rachel fiske

Photo: retrorocket/GettyImages.


am in between right now. My company is folding in November. We moved away from the city where we spent a decade. We are staying with my partner’s parents while we hunt for our next home, living two hours from the city in which we intend to land. We are waiting to put down roots and form new friendships and find new jobs. We are in the middle of the monkey bars, just hanging there, waiting to make our next move. This is not my kind of space. Some people — my partner for instance — hang out in limbo quite well. John remembers where we’re going, remembers that the space between moments of landing is just as legitimate as those seemingly sturdier moments. He finds the benefit in the unusual looseness of our lives. With my company winding down, there is time to sign off from work early and take a walk. With the grandparents in-house, we can go for dinner together without scheduling a babysitter a month in advance. If many hands make light work, then this work of figuring out our next steps is facilitated by all of the help we’re afforded by this stopover at his parents’ house. John knows we’ll return to city life soon and remembers all the summer nights I longed for fresh country air from our smoggy city stoop. Now that I’m breathing it in, though, I feel anxious. The days are going by, marked by the end of raspberry season in the backyard and the height of corn as we wind through the neighborhood, and I can’t see that we’re getting anywhere. Instead of loose, I feel stuck in the middle. Historically averse to exercise, in my adult life I’ve found myself happily hiking or practicing yoga. I’ve felt proud of this shift, but also fiercely devoted to exercise that encourages the taking of breaks. With hiking there is always something to stop and marvel at — a view, a mushroom, the light. In yoga, it’s always OK to return to child’s pose or downward dog, to

seek stillness and reconnect with your breath. The idea of continuously breathing heavily by choice has always seemed like an indicator of low-grade insanity. To this end, I have proudly hung out in the camp of people who only run when they’re being chased. Until recently.


rustration has been growing in my body as we dangle in between. We can look for a new house and we can apply for new jobs, but when those two things actually come together is largely out of our hands. I realized I needed to force motion into my days or risk forgetting that we are actually moving toward something. I felt a pressing need to make and mark progress, to pound the building tension from my body. And so I did the unthinkable: I went for a run. It was awful. My glasses slid from my nose and my T-shirt rode up my back. My legs felt like lead. I stopped to walk three times. When I finally returned to the house, panting and blotchy-cheeked, I laughed when I realized the entirety of this horrible experience had lasted only 15 minutes. I don’t think I even made it a mile. I started to feel pathetic, but stopped myself, instead deciding to go again the next day. I would do better. I would know I did better. I would see myself getting somewhere. As I write this, it’s been a few weeks since I took my first running step. Now I run every other day. I am not going to tell you I like it. I am going to tell you, though, that I’m getting better at it. I no longer walk. I catch my second wind quicker and the boost that comes afterward sustains me longer. Every few days I increase my distance and every time I set out, I last a little longer. When I finish my body is loose, my brain is quiet. I know I am getting — indeed I already am — somewhere, and I am peaceful in my knowledge that patience is hard work.  HL


go with your gut

Release Your

learn to harness your intuition by valerie foster


ut feeling. Little voice in your head. A tiny tingle. Whatever you call it, it’s your intuition at work, which, according to Psychology Today, is not a magical phenomenon, but something that is formed out of our past experiences and knowledge. My mother was very intuitive, and worked hard to fine-tune it throughout her life. About a year before she died she passed her annual physical with flying colors, but Mom’s “gut” — her word for intuition — was telling her something was wrong. So she got a second opinion. And then a third. And finally she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. After her diagnosis I remember her saying that she knew something was wrong, and although we were all telling her how wonderful and healthy she looked, she didn’t believe us. Mom, as usual, was unfortunately right. “Intuition is an innate part of us,” says Jan Toomer, a doctor of metaphysics who has been teaching the subject for more than 20 years. “It goes back to our caveman days. They relied on their intuition for survival, so they didn’t get eaten or attacked.” Toomer runs Realty Undefined from her home in Las Cruces, N.M., and offers online classes to help people tune into their intuition. “Although we all have intuition, we tend to listen to others, not ourselves, so we lose the ability to trust ourselves,” says Toomer. “Society has beaten this ability out of us, and we really fear our intuition.” My mother started each day praying and meditating, a practice she learned from her aunt, whose dreams frequently



became reality. She also kept a pad and pencil by her bed, and every morning would record her dreams. Those she could not interpret, she would seek help from a trusted dream interpreter. Mom never shared these facts with anyone, because she feared people would call her weird. I knew about it because most of her dreams concerned me, her only child, and she loved telling me what her gut was telling her about me. Mela Rispoli, owner of Soul Focus in Bethel would approve of my mother’s actions. “If you are truly connected to your intuition, you can put it to use for your benefit and for the benefit of others,” she says. Rispoli is a fourth-generation medium with a terrific sense of humor. “I know that people look at me in town and whisper, ‘She’s the one that sees dead people,’ and that’s OK,” she says. “But if anyone chooses to open up and listen to their inner guides they can find their intuition.” Both Toomer and Rispoli rely on spiritual guides to help them through life. Both have many and think of them as their team, some of whom have been with them from birth, others who come and go as they need them. Toomer says her guides drive her intuition. CHANNELING YOUR POWER Although Toomer and Rispoli say we all have guides, if you haven’t met yours, don’t despair! There are other ways to listen to your inner voice. Ed O’Malley is a minister, shaman, Ph.D. in neuroscience and clinically trained in sleep medicine. He says the key to harnessing our intuition is to pay attention to everything that happens to us. He is co-founder of Your Optimal Nature, does private consulting in Sheffield, Mass., and at ARC Sacred Center in

Photo: © Kheng Guan Toh/

Inner Psychic

Monroe, in addition to consultations worldwide via Skype. “Eastern practitioners are trained to listen to their inner wisdom,” he says. “But we all can cultivate awareness, which will lead to many answers to life’s questions. Awareness happens when we take the time to attend to the present moment. We keep ourselves too busy, never allowing for any quiet time. Awareness has difficulty emerging. We need to all slow down and take a breath.” All experts agree that the best way to do this is through meditation. Rispoli says that those new to meditation should consider a guided meditation with a medium. She offers three meditations each week: Monday nights for everyone; Thursday mornings for moms; and Thursday evenings for teens. “It’s important to find a medium to open you up, especially because you will be dealing with chakras [the body’s energy centers],” she explains. “You want to harness your energy, to pull it in, and then you want somebody to interpret the signs and symbols you are given.” O’Malley, on the other hand, encourages all of his patients to meditate by themselves at least two times each day. He suggests starting slowly. Set a timer — he uses the one on his phone — for three minutes. Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, and just breathe deeply. “Be sure you bring the breath way down deep into your belly, hold it there for a few beats, and then slowly release the breath,” he instructs. “I promise that after three of four breaths, you will begin to feel calmer.” Schedule your two breathing sessions into your daily calendar. Gradually increase the amount of time you breathe during each session, ultimately reaching 15 to 20 minutes, twice a day. And be sure you schedule these breaks on your days off, even though you might be relaxing. The key to success is two sessions each day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, he says. “Two things will begin happening,” he says. “You will notice the millions of thoughts that take up most of your time. You will also begin to realize that you feel different. You become more aware of your surroundings and what is going on within you. It will make you more refreshed. And if you do this in the middle of the day, you will return to whatever you were doing with more enthusiasm and energy.” If you say you can’t fit deep breaths into your daily routine, O’Malley suggests looking at this as an investment in you, a way to love and take care of yourself so you can love and take care of your family. The calming effect can also help salve anxiety, worries and stress, which will in turn make you a healthier person. And there’s one more benefit: You will sleep better. “If you take these breaks, your stress levels will be much lower …,” he says. “You won’t be carrying as much baggage to bed with you. If you sleep better you will function better the next day, be more active, less reactive or explosive, and more responsible. Your performance will improve. You will become a happier person.”  HL

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

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


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Lessons of Divorce

are there takeaways to help a happily married couple stay that way? by rebecca haynes


ou’re happily married.

But admit it — sometimes you actually envy your divorced friend. Not the hell she went through during the split or the financial and emotional repercussions, of course, but part of the end result. Her parenting role seems clearly defined, she has autonomy in most of her daily decision-making, and she’s able to plan guilt-free “me” time when her ex has the kids. So even though you’re committed to your partner and relationship, you sometimes want what your friend has.

And you wonder, can I incorporate any of her post-divorce parenting or communication strategies into my marriage? Can acting divorced (in some situations) make my marriage better? “If a couple knows they’ve got a strong marriage, but maybe they have some issues specifically related to how to deal with the kids or divvying up responsibility, then this could be a very useful paradigm from which to view the whole topic,” says Maud Purcell,

psychotherapist, consultant and director of the Life Solution Center of Darien. “Whenever we keep looking


relationships It’s all about communication HealthyLife asked our experts whether certain elements of divorce and its process might help couples who are married to stay that way. Following are some of their recommended communication strategies:

 Know yourself first. What is it that you want? If you don’t know, you can’t clearly articulate your needs or self-advocate.  Open a dialogue that doesn’t put your partner on the defensive. Speak from the “I” position: “I feel this way when that happens.”  Pretend you’re in a corporate setting and remove blame and emotion from the discussion.  Have regular meetings with your spouse/partner and regular family meetings. It’s important to discuss issues that may seem mundane before they become larger.  Set up clear parenting responsibilities and make sure the kids know them and stick to them. If Monday and Tuesday are “Dad” days, then Dad gets the phone calls, texts and makes any necessary decisions.  There are lots of ways to parent. Unless it’s a matter of safety, let your spouse do it their way — even if it’s different from yours.

at the same problem from the same perspective, it’s no surprise that we can’t solve it. So it’s better to look at it from a different vantage point.” Manhattan writer Rachel Zucker did just that. She and her husband are committed to their marriage (and three children), but they broke down some of the day-to-day experiences of divorced parents to see whether certain strategies might benefit their own relationship. Then they began a month-long experiment, incorporating select “divorce” behaviors into their lives — such as scheduling time away by themselves, clearly defining parental (and household) responsibilities, and not bothering each other with decisions they’d make on their own if they were, in fact, divorced. Zucker then wrote about the experience for Good Housekeeping. It was challenging, of course, but also a valuable learning experience. “For us, it was resonant because we come from divorced homes and we have friends who are divorced,” Zucker says. “There was something about it that was very concrete and maybe a little bit scary, but a little bit enticing and so, for us, it was very clarifying.” Think about it. Have you ever been frustrated that the kids always call you — no matter how busy you might be at work — when there’s an issue? So Zucker and her husband dealt with this like a custody arrangement, setting up a schedule and making it clear to the kids which parent was in charge on which days. “It’s not a good scenario for me to always be the gobetween between my kids and my husband,” Zucker says.



“It’s sometimes hard to give up that power and control, and trust your partner. That’s something I’m continuing to work on, and that’s really important.”


his issue of control is a big one, Purcell says, particularly for moms. “Very often we make the mistake of believing that we have a corner on the market of good parenting,” she says. “But we end up shooting ourselves in the foot because we’ve set ourselves up as experts. We put ourselves in a situation where our partners don’t even want to try to get [parenting] right because they think they’re bad at it.” Instead, try to recognize that it’s OK if our partners parent differently. Unless it’s a matter of safety, let it go and let them do it their way. “If you allow the other parent to do the job, you get to the point where, by and large, both parents feel in control,” Purcell says. “Then the parent who’s not taking care of the kids can totally get a break because they know the other parent is doing a good job and is responsible. If you allow your partner to be an equal partner in parenting, then you’ve already cleared up a lot of the communication problems.” And once you’ve agreed that a particular parent is in charge on a particular day, don’t second-guess their decisions, says Jamie Goodman, a licensed clinical social worker with a practice in Fairfield. “Whoever is on duty is the final decision-maker and the other one needs to relinquish. If you can’t, then you need to understand why and take a look at yourself.”

Acupuncture And remember, your divorced friend’s carefully planned schedule didn’t magically appear. It most likely was drawn up in an agonizing process and then approved by the legal system. Still, what’s stopping us from putting together our own map of expectations or schedule of duties and free time? Anyone can set up a system that works for their family, Purcell suggests. Even draw up your own contract if you like, but meet regularly with your partner to review it and discuss how it’s going. Too often, families operate under the assumption that all of the mundane, daily tasks and issues that come up will automatically work themselves out. “Have a regular family meeting session,” Purcell says. “Get together and talk about who is responsible for what. Families can operate that way and you can make those same Simulating kinds of agreements and do it in an unemotional way.” a Goodman says being able to talk openly and honestly with your partner about your needs comes down to knowmay help each ing yourself. “When couples parent build are faced with divorce, they are set on a journey to learn about themselves that’s precipitated by the trauma of divorce,” she says. “But couples who have a healthy relationwith their ship and basically good comchildren and munication skills don’t need to go through all that pain with each to be introspective and start learning about themselves. other. They can be proactive instead of reactive.” So if you’re envying certain parts of your divorced friend’s life, think about why. What is it that you need? “Before we even get to the communication skills, we need to know ourselves and the things that get in the way of us self-advocating,” Goodman says, adding that if you’re in a healthy marriage, what’s stopping you from telling your spouse or partner that you need some “me” time. Purcell says it comes down to both partners wanting to meet the needs of the other. “Both people have to come to the table more interested in how they can help their partner, rather than getting their own needs met,” she says. Zucker says the “divorce” experiment was a good one for her family and she’s glad that she and her husband are in a place where they’re able to work on fine-tuning certain aspects of their relationship. “It’s been really interesting for me to see that now we’re working on other kinds of issues. We’re not afraid of trying something new or different. And we were very clear that this was not an experiment in which we wanted to get divorced at the end.”  HL

“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)

Photos: GettyImages; Family, Pedro Castellano; Frame, Creative Crop; Bride and groom, Jamie Grill.

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


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up close with …

Cindy Palmer Dean by rebecca haynes   |   photo by krista hicks benson


iving life with no regrets is the philosophy that works for HealthyLife’s October cover model, Cindy Palmer Dean of Redding. “I always say if I die tomorrow I’d die one of the happiest, most fulfilled women on this planet.” The petite 53-year-old is co-owner and creative director at Palmer’s Market in Darien, a family business started by her grandfather more than 90 years ago. Not only did she treasure working with her grandfather and her father — both are deceased — she now enjoys sharing her workdays with daughter Megan Rivera, executive chef in the store’s kitchen. And she’s eagerly awaiting the birth of her first grandchild [Megan is due in March]. Dean’s smile gets bigger when she talks about her family, including son Travis, a goldsmith living in Colorado. She met husband Brian Dean on a blind date and, coincidentally, this month (October) they celebrate their 30th anniversary. A few years ago, however, Dean was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy and thought everything was fine. But it wasn’t, and she made the decision to have both breasts removed, followed up with reconstructive surgery. Now she feels great and is fit and happy. Was there a part of your journey through breast cancer that was the most difficult? Waiting on test results, which is why I decided to have the [double] mastectomy. It’s the unknown. That’s the worst part of getting treated for cancer. What stage is it? Am I going to live or am I going to die? How important was the fact that you’d stayed physically fit in your recovery? I think when you’re generally fit and healthy you bounce back so much faster. My surgeon could not believe how quickly I healed. … Maybe living healthy and eating healthy didn’t stop me from getting cancer, but it certainly helped my recovery.



What’s your favorite type of exercise? I love going down to the barn in the morning and at night and mucking the stalls, hauling the water bucket and shoveling manure. And I live right next to the Maple Grove Christmas tree farm, so I love to hike in the morning. Every day is different. And at work, that’s great exercise because I must run up and down the stairs 800 times a day. Life is an exercise for me! If you could offer advice to someone who just received a cancer diagnosis, what would it be? … Get informed. Research your doctors, research your disease, research your options … There’s just so much information out there and you need to get more than one opinion. Also, always make sure you have someone else with you who has a clear set of ears to hear what’s going on. … When you get a cancer diagnosis, you’re so anxious to get this out of your body that you’ll do whatever anybody tells you. But take the time to research because it could make a huge difference in the outcome.  HL Clothing and accessories provided by L’Armoire, 102 Park St., New Canaan, (203) 966-1764,; hair and makeup provided by Escape Salon and Spa, 232 Greenwood Ave., Bethel, (203) 798-9882,; Robin Miller, owner/stylist; Sandra Yupangui, aesthetician. To read a longer version of our interview with Cindy, visit

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HealthyLife October 2013  

HealthyLife magazine brings you a wide range of original content geared at living a balanced life to nourish your mind, body, and spirit.

HealthyLife October 2013  

HealthyLife magazine brings you a wide range of original content geared at living a balanced life to nourish your mind, body, and spirit.