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Workplace Harassment IN 2016: HAS ANYTHING CHANGED?

737 Main Street, Suite 100 Buffalo, NY 14203 (716) 883-1833 (855) 836-2676 www.milestoneseventh.com

A Letter fro m th e Fir m

Dear Friends, Once again, we are proud to bring you another issue of Living Safer Magazine. This issue focuses on Workplace Harassment. It is truly unnerving to know that this sort of behavior continues to take place within all levels of work environments.


EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Andre sandre@livingsafer.com

Workplace harassment does not always mean sexual harassment. Inappropriate verbal or physical communication; offensive images, emails, or actions; vulgar gestures or sounds; over monitoring or criticizing someone’s work; shouting; or purposely setting someone up to fail are just a few examples of behaviors that create a hostile workplace.

Art Director Eva Talley etalley@livingsafer.com Associate Editor Brittany Monbarren bmonbarren@livingsafer.com

In the following pages you will find information on how to protect yourself and your coworkers, as well as what your rights are regarding Workplace Harassment. Additionally, you will find information on what has changed in this area of the law. Remember to keep us in mind as a comprehensive planning and management firm. We believe that injured plaintiffs and their families deserve strategies designed to ensure a lifetime of financial security. Please share this important issue of Living Safer with your colleagues, friends, and family members. Sincerely,

John T. Bair Founder/Member Milestone Consulting, LLC Toll Free: 855.836.2676 www.milestonesventh.com

i n l i f e , t h e r e c om e s a t i m e t o mov e forwa r d t o t h e n e x t m i l e s t on e

Inside This Issue ON THE COVER












Workplace Harassment in 2016: Has Anything Changed?

This past April, HBO debuted its new film, “Confirmation.” On the 25-year anniversary of the Clarence Thomas hearings, this docudrama touched on the controversy sparked by Anita Hill—the former colleague of the Supreme Court nominee who was called before a congressional hearing to comment on allegations of workplace harassment. But even now, a quarter-century later—have we evolved?





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Business Travel is Changing As technology evolves (see Gadgets, next page), business travelers wants, needs and everything in between change with it. Professional Travel recently looked at some of the newer business travel trends—including something called “bleisure,” the mix of business and leisure trips. Following are some of the greater trends seen in the business world.

Mobile is the new black Plain and simple, business travelers are looking for tools that make their travels easier and more convenient. From apps that help you manage every aspect of your trip to apps that allow you to arrange transportation with just the click of a button, business travelers are turning to their phones and tablets more and more. With more searches being conducted on phones than desktop computers, hotels, restaurants, travel management companies and tour companies are feeling the pressure to cater to business travelers with mobile-optimized websites. Related, digital wallets, which allow users to pay with their mobile devices, are becoming increasingly popular and will soon become the preferred method of payment for most business travelers. Look to hotels, restaurants and airlines to quickly adapt to this new technology.

Free is better Even on the company’s dime, travelers remain hesitant to purchase amenities, such as WiFi, unless absolutely necessary. Realizing that efficiency is key to the business traveler, hotels are becoming more

competitive by offering complimentary amenities, such as business centers, WiFi and charging stations that were previously only offered for a fee.

Traveling for business or pleasure? Both! These days, six out of 10 business travelers are more likely to take bleisure trips than they were five years ago. The fine line between “work” and “play” is becoming blurred. We’ve mentioned bleisure travel (business + leisure) a couple times before and that’s because it’s here to stay. Long gone are the days where business travelers made their trip as short as possible. Travelers are looking to business trips to provide productivity, opportunity and a little bit of fun. They are putting more time aside to immerse themselves in the culture and lifestyle at their destination. Some even go as far as extending their trip, often bringing family along, tacking a couple vacation days on to the front or back end. According to The Bleisure Report, 83% of business travelers use time on business trips to explore the city they are visiting and 78% of travelers agree that adding leisure days to business trips adds value to work assignments.

Safety is key With increased attention on traveler safety, companies have a larger focus on their duty of care responsibilities, their obligation to proactively communicate any issues that could affect the well-being of their travelers. Look for companies to put more risk management and traveler-tracking procedures into place, especially for those traveling abroad. @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 5

Technology for the Trendy

Business Traveler

From bracelets that measure your sun exposure to smart luggage that can follow you around, this issues tech section focuses on the busy business traveler. Whether you’re in the office or traveling to your next meeting, we’ve provided some of the latest gadgets to help make your life a little easier.

by Brittany Monbarren

JUNE by Netatmo We all remember to apply SPF when we’re at the beach or if we’re outside all day on a sunny day, but what about when we’re in the city or on a cloudy day? With JUNE, you can better protect your skin all the time. June, the first wearable tech dedicated to your beauty, is a bracelet that measures sun exposure at all times, as well as the total sunlight received by skin during the day. The JUNE app helps to improve your daily sun protection routine, will alert you if you’ve hit your daily sun dosage, indicate the most appropriate SPF cream for your skin type and the current UV levels, and much more.

Oombrella Forgetting something like your umbrella may not be the worst thing in the world, but when it starts raining before you have to leave for your lunch meeting, that little mistake can make for a huge problem. The Oombrella is a beautiful smart connected umbrella that alerts you before it rains and sends you a notification if you leave it behind! It might not be the most necessary thing in the world, but it's pretty impressive and will save you on a “rainy day.”

HeyDo Cup Never miss another cup of water when your body needs it. The HeyDo Smart Cup is one of the world’s most intelligent cups. It is Bluetooth enabled and is equipped with an advanced PPM meter to ensure your every sip is consuming non-contaminated water. The HeyDo Smart Cup can track your daily water intake and will send you notifications to remind you to stay hydrated throughout the day. It also comes with communication technologies so you can chat, share and be connected with other HeyDo users around the world.



NUA Robotics Smart Suitcase Gone are the days of sore, achy shoulders or raw palms from dragging your luggage everywhere. The NUA Robotics Suitcase connects via Bluetooth through a smartphone app and has a built-in camera sensor so it can follow you. It can also charge your mobile devices and is equipped with an anti-theft alarm, plus, you can always see it’s location and the weight on your phone. While this smart suitcase is not yet available, NUA Robotics hopes to “roll it out” to consumers within a year.

The Egg This is one egg you’ll want to carry everywhere. The Egg from Eggcyte is a personal cloud storage device that makes it easier than ever to privately share, store and stream your personal files and other media at home or on the go. With The Egg you can stay connected with family and friends, manage projects, share documents with clients, save and share videos and images, and it can fit in your pocket! Plus, you can use The Egg app and access your files from anywhere.

FIDO U2F Security Key Are you worried about losing your account information by password theft, phishing or hacking? Worry no more! You can now use a key to unlock and lock your computer. The FIDO U2F Security Key is a specially designed key to keep your information private and out of the hands of someone else. This USB key works with any website that supports the FIDO U2F protocol, such as Google’s Gmail, Google Apps, Dropbox and much more.

Brunton Power Knife This is one knife TSA won’t take away from you. The Brunton Power Knife may be an unusual travel accessory but it could prove quite handy. This pocket knifeshaped device has combining adapter ends from some of the most widely used devices. Two of the adaptors are for an iPhone or an iPad, one is for Android and one is a USB cable that connects to your laptop or a wall charger. The Burton Power Knife will keep you powered up and help you reduce all that cable clutter.



Losing Weight is Hard, Keeping it Off is Harder by Richard Bradley As it turns out, reality television can be bad for your health. Well not exactly. According to a study by the venerated health journal Obesity, a study of contestants from the hit NBC reality show The Biggest Loser, has essentially shown that when it comes to losing weight--and keeping it off, we are in many ways “victims to our bodies.” The study focused on the contestants of the show’s eighth season back in 2009. This conclusion is not new to doctors in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, but still the reaction to the results of the study are still amazing the medical community. During the process of weight gain, this in many cases can take years, a person’s biology changes. It is well-known that these changes have negative effects on the body from added stress to the heart and joints, to the emergence of Type-2 Diabetes and other serious conditions. Despite the devastating impact that weight gain has on the body, most individuals that are significantly overweight actually maintain a metabolism that is commensurate with that of an individual with a normal weight. Thus, the weight gain experienced by many individuals is the result of simply consuming more calories than are burned off, and does not actually impact metabolism. Our bodies learn during the weight gain period to be comfortable with the weight and consider it the “new normal” and hence will resist a change such as weight loss. The prominent finding in the obesity study is that during extreme weight loss, for instance during the time period of the filming of the reality show, the contestants from Season 8 of The Biggest Loser actually experienced a decrease in metabolism. This decrease in metabolism continues in the period after the initial weight loss period and into the maintenance period. While this phenomenon was not unexpected, the severity of the drop in metabolic rate was. With a lower metabolism, the contestants that took part in the Study had an increasingly difficult time keeping the weight off and in most cases gained it

back. Gaining back weight, however, is not just tied to willpower and lack of exercise as many people believe—it is keyed closely to metabolism. Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this complex biochemical process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function, according to the Mayo Clinic. The calories that are not converted to energy are stored as fat. The speed at which your body “burns” calories and converts them into energy is known as the metabolic rate. It follows that the higher the metabolic rate, the faster the body uses calories, and the less weight is stored as fat on the body. The study is important because the scientific community is still struggling to fully understand obesity. In particular, Scientists are grappling with the horrific impact that excess fat (even a little bit) can have on the body. At this point, what we know is that fat, in essence, poisons the body causing diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions. What is perplexing tis that those individuals who undergo bariatric surgery have much better long term success rates than do those who simply lose weight by diet and exercise. The struggle to answer this question leads to metabolism and has launched a billion-dollar weight loss industry. So what is the takeaway from this study? Simple, commit to doing everything in your power before you gain weight to avoid it, and if you are overweight or obese, adopt a consistent and progressive weight loss routine that avoids sudden metabolic changes that can shock the body. Weight gain is gradual, and so is weight loss. Until the medical community address the problems that are associated with the post weight loss or maintenance period, the surest weight to stay healthy and trim, or to lose weight is consistence healthy diet and exercise. Through routine, we can control the body’s metabolic changes and avoid the weight loss roller coaster.



Magnesium and Testosterone: Get The Facts by Benita Lee


nternet rumors suggest that magnesium is an impressive testosterone booster, especially for body-builders, but do research findings hold up to the hype? Studies show that supplementing with magnesium may not be all that effective aside from treating a magnesium deficiency.

tosterone levels. For athletes who depend on muscle growth and maintenance, testosterone’s effects are highly coveted. However, long-term studies have shown that anabolic steroid use can lead to cardiovascular, reproductive, liver, and brain damage over time.

Magnesium and Testosterone Testosterone’s Effects on Muscle We know from extensive research that testosterone is an anabolic hormone, namely, one that helps maintain muscle integrity instead of breaking it down. On a molecular level, testosterone activates satellite cells, which eventually turn into myoblast cells that generate muscle fibers. It also seems to inhibit fat synthesis. In studies on adult men who had low testosterone levels, subjects showed significantly reduced lean body mass compared to subjects with normal tes-

Current marketing claims have tagged magnesium as a “natural” way of reaping the benefits of high testosterone without the concomitant risks of steroid abuse. While “natural” does not necessarily equate to “safe”, in this case, magnesium may not have significant effects on testosterone at all.

Molecular Interactions Some research seems to show that magnesium may affect testosterone production and help free up testosterone so it can function. A @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 11

study on rat testes found that moderate and high doses of magnesium enhanced the activity of two enzymes involved in making testosterone. Magnesium at high concentrations was also found to block testosterone from binding to SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin), a transport molecule that binds and inhibits testosterone’s functionality, thereby increasing free, bioavailable testosterone.

Magnesium’s Effects on Testosterone Levels In terms of measureable increases in testosterone, supporting studies are few. So far, available studies show that if magnesium increases testosterone, it’s only minimally. An often-cited study on young athletes who took 10 mg/kg of magnesium sulfate 5 times a week for four weeks during training noted an increase in free testosterone after exhaustion compared to placebo. However, it’s unclear in the study whether the difference between the two groups could possibly be explained by a difference in testosterone levels at baseline. In a study on magnesium-deficient subjects, normalizing magnesium levels increased testosterone slightly, but the increase was not statistically significant.

Magnesium’s Effects on Athletic Performance Research on whether magnesium’s minor effects on testosterone improve athletic performance is also limited and conflicting. One study shows that a supplement consisting of 30 mg of zinc monomethionine aspartate, 450 mg magnesium aspartate, and 10.5 mg vitamin B6 combined with intense physical activity increased testosterone levels compared to placebo. The subjects given the supplements also showed increased muscle strength compared to placebo. However, a similar supplement formulation was used in another study that failed to find any benefits on testosterone status or performance. Some researchers seem to think that differences in study findings are due to unstandardized methods for measuring testosterone. Essentially, researchers don’t agree on what form of testosterone is the best indicator for overall testosterone activity. Even if we remove testosterone from the equation, though, and just look at magnesium and athletic performance, research is still inconsistent. In a review of 12 different studies, five showed no positive effects of magnesium on performance, even with doses of up to 500 mg of magnesium per day for three weeks. A study of 24 young swimmers with what the researchers deemed were adequate magnesium levels showed no change in 100 m and 400 m freestyle times after three months of 486 mg of magnesium per day. In contrast, another study on swimmers suggested that there was a direct relationship between magnesium intake and 100m freestyle times. To add to the confusion, those studies showing positive results tended to involve subjects who were magnesium-deficient, but this was not always the case. Magnesium research suffers similar limitations to testosterone research. In the review of 12 studies, six did not account for initial magnesium status of the subjects before the studies began and the other 6 measured “total serum magnesium”. Magnesium is mostly stored inside our bones and soft tissue cells, so serum magnesium measurements may not be a reliable indicator of our total magnesium load. In some cases, studies did not measure initial magnesium status at all. This means that from these studies,


we can’t know if magnesium is really adding any benefits or if magnesium supplementation is simply correcting a deficiency.

Magnesium Deficiency in Athletes With all this talk about inconclusive research, we do know that magnesium deficiency is common in athletes and can affect muscle strength. In this sense, magnesium supplementation might be a good option for improving athletic performance in a significant number of athletes. Surveys seem to show that magnesium intake in physically active individuals can be low. Established values for recommended magnesium intake include the daily RDA (recommended dietary allowance)—350 mg for men and 280 mg for women—and DRI (dietary reference intake)—400 mg for men and 310 mg for women. Young adults who engage in exercise have been found to have an average magnesium intake of 71% of the RDA. In a study on male and female collegiate athletes, magnesium intake was 70% of the DRI on average. One study found that athletes competing in sports requiring weight classifications found that magnesium consumption could be as low at 30% of the RDA. On top of inadequate magnesium intake, exercise can affect serum magnesium levels. Intense and long-term exercise has been shown to reduce serum magnesium levels, leading to quicker fatigue and decreased endurance. Magnesium itself is required to sustain exercise and participates in mechanisms that lead to muscle contraction. Magnesium can be a limiting factor in athletic performance, and low levels can lead to inefficient oxygen use, muscle weakness, and spasms. Magnesium supplementation in magnesium-deficient individuals can have profound effects on aerobic and anaerobic abilities. Just 25 days of 390 mg of magnesium per day was able to significantly improve oxygen uptake and work output in a study of magnesium-deficient male athletes. In collegiate athletes, magnesium supplementation was able to improve endurance performance. And young men taking more than 250 mg of magnesium per day during a seven-week strength-training program improved muscle strength and power. At a physiological level, magnesium supplementation can cause reductions in heart rate, ventilation, oxygen uptake, and carbon dioxide production during exercise, all factors indicative of increased work efficiency. Note: 350 mg per day for adults is the established Tolerable Upper Intake Limit for magnesium supplements before adverse effects like nausea and vomiting begin. Very high doses can induce severe effects like difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, arrhythmias, and cardiac arrest.

The Bottom Line Although research does not support the use of magnesium supplements to increase testosterone levels as a means of improving athletic performance, adequate magnesium levels are required for optimal muscle activity. Since magnesium deficiency is common and exercise tends to deplete the body of magnesium stores, athletes should consider investigating whether low magnesium levels are limiting their exercise results. This article was reprinted with permission from labdoor.com.

10 SIGNS of

Magnesium Deficiency by Florence Murray everal years ago, I lost a very dear 44-year-old friend and co-worker to a heart attack due to magnesium and potassium deficiencies. Losing a friend or loved one to a medical problem that should have been prevented is heart breaking. Had these deficiencies been identified sooner and properly treated, her death may have been prevented. It is in this vein that I encourage you to share this article with friends, co-workers and loved ones. Every organ in the body, especially the heart, muscles and kidneys need magnesium. It affects everything from your heartbeat to your hormones. Magnesium activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate levels of calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other vital nutrients in the body. Magnesium levels can be lowered by our normal activities of daily living – heavy menstrual periods, excessive sweating and prolonged stress can all alter the balance of magnesium in the body. Getting enough magnesium may even help in the preventative treatment of several health conditions including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, migraines and osteoporosis. While proper levels of magnesium are essential for the body to function, a deficiency is hard to diagnose because several early symptoms of magnesium deficiency may also be side effects of other health conditions.


Loss of appetite, nausea, and/or vomiting


Fatigue and weakness


Agitation and anxiety


Restless leg syndrome

Poor nail growth

Low blood pressure

Sleep disorders and/or insomnia However, the top signs of a magnesium deficiency include: As the deficiency worsens, it may cause noticeable problems with muscle and nerve function including: »» Numbness and tingling

»» Seizures

»» Muscle contractions and cramps (such as eye twitching)

»» Personality changes »» Abnormal heart rhythms »» Coronary spasms

If you recognize these symptoms, and particularly these muscle and nerve problems, in yourself or a loved one, consult your doctor immediately. Severe magnesium deficiency can cause hypocalcemia (low serum calcium) and hypokalemia (low potassium levels). It is important to note that it is rare to actually be deficient in magnesium, but certain medical conditions and even taking certain medications can alter the balance of magnesium in the body. Health

conditions that can lead to a magnesium deficiency include: »» Intestinal viruses that cause vomiting or diarrhea »» Gastrointestinal diseases – irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis »» Diabetes

»» Pancreatitis »» Hyperthyroidism (high thyroid levels) »» Kidney disease »» Taking diuretics »» Chronic alcoholism

How to Get Enough Magnesium? Because magnesium is found in many foods, it is very easy to get enough magnesium. However, most people do not get as much magnesium as they should from their diet. Whole grains, spinach, legumes, tofu, soymilk, nuts and green vegetables are all foods rich in magnesium. Leafy green vegetables are particularly good sources of magnesium. Foods such as avocado, brown rice, oatmeal, bran cereals, salmon, milk, chocolate and bananas are all good sources of magnesium. Magnesium can even be found in several herbs and spices such as coriander, sage, dried mustard, basil, cumin seed and poppy seed. As easy as it is to eat a diet full of magnesium rich foods, it is also easy to sabotage your body from benefitting from your healthy food choices. You may be unknowingly putting yourself at risk for decreased magnesium levels because of the other foods you eat. Eating too much sodium and drinking too much coffee, soda or alcohol can interfere with magnesium absorption. That means that even if you eat leafy green veggies with your meal, if you choose to wash it down with a soda, you may be blocking your body from absorbing the natural magnesium in the food.

Are Supplements the Answer? If you think you might be magnesium deficient, focus on getting more magnesium rich foods into your regular diet. Because the body absorbs magnesium from foods differently than it absorbs magnesium from supplements, you should not take magnesium supplements unless you are directed to by a doctor. It is possible to overdose from magnesium supplements. The recommended daily allowances for magnesium depend on age, sex and whether or not a female is pregnant or breastfeeding. Magnesium deficiency is difficult to diagnose with a blood test because only 1% of magnesium is found in your blood. Most magnesium is in your bones and organs. If you are concerned about your risk for magnesium deficiency, or recognize the signs and symptoms in yourself or a loved one, consult a health care professional.


6 of the Most Dangerous Ways to Try and Lose Weight by Benita Lee It’s surprising how many common diet trends can cause serious harm. If you’re tempted to quickly drop some pounds in time for summer beach season, here are six diets to avoid:


Unverified Weight Loss Pills


The Grapefruit Diet


The Cotton Ball Diet (warning; extremely dangerous)

Diet pills have gained popularity since the 1800s despite being notorious for toxicity and accidental deaths.



Risks: Some of these pills have caused stroke, liver injury, kidney failure, heart palpitations, seizures, and even death.


Risks: Malnutrition, photosensitivity, medication interactions. Grapefruit interacts with about 43% of all meds, causing severe effects like arrhythmias, kidney damage, and gastrointestinal bleeding.


Risks: Choking, malnutrition, increased risk for eating disorders, life-threatening intestinal obstruction.


Risks: Stomach ulcers, accelerated bone loss, arrhythmias, muscle tremors, cardiac arrest.


Risks: Mood swings, nausea, lean muscle loss, suppressed immunity, heart palpitations, and low blood pressure.


Risks: Stomach ulcers, accelerated bone loss, arrhythmias, muscle tremors, cardiac arrest.

Created in the 1930s with the misleading claim that grapefruit enzymes boost fat burning.

Popularized in the YouTube videos and proanorexia websites around 2013, in which cotton balls are consumed in an effort to stop hunger.



The Caffeine Diet Made popular through marketing hype and celebrity endorsements of caffeine-related supplements like green tea extract. 2 cups of coffee may help you burn about 14,000 calories/ hour, but this doesn’t work on people used to caffeine, no matter how large the dose.

The Master Cleanse Originally developed in the 1940s by Stanley Burroughs, and recently made popular by celebrities like Beyoncé. Salt water, laxative tea, and “lemonade” made of lemon juice, maple syrup, and cyan pepper are taken. No evidence supports that lenses lead to long-term weight loss.

The Cabbage Soup Diet First appeared as a diet in the early 1900s and reappeared in the 1990s in trending fax and email messages. Limit of 1,000 calories per day as cabbage soup, mainly causing water weight loss.

The Takeaway There is no quick fix for long-term weight loss. It takes a minimum of lifestyle changes that include healthy nutrition and regular exercise.


This story was republished with permission by labdoor.com.

COCONUT OIL So Hot Right Now by Mark Bello


ccording to the Coconut Research Center, adding coconut oil to your diet and your body could be one of the easiest ways to improve your health, well-being, and appearance. In fact, published studies show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits. Here are eight reasons why you should start adding coconut, especially oil, into your daily routine.


When applied to infected areas, coconut oil can protect against fungi and yeast that cause ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, and diaper rash.

Diabetes – Coconut oil helps control blood sugar and improves the secretion of insulin. Substituting coconut oil for sugary foods and drinks makes it a great substitute when you need a quick burst of energy, while preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes.

Hair and Skin Health – Coconut oil is an excellent conditioner that helps keep hair healthy and gives it a shiny quality. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair. Massaging your head with coconut oil keeps your scalp free of dandruff. Studies have shown that coconut oil can also improve the moisture and lipid content of the skin, prevent dryness and flaking, and delay the appearance of wrinkles and sagging associated with aging. It can also help treat various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.

Hypothyroidism – Research has shown that coconut oil helps boost metabolism and raise body temperatures. This can stimulate the thyroid gland, causing it to become more active and produce more thyroid hormone.

Heart Diseases – For years, people believed that coconut oil was not good for heart health because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. In reality, because it is rich in lauric acid, coconut oil protects your heart by controlling high blood pressure, reducing total cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.

Bone and Dental Health – Coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which strengthens bones and deters osteoporosis. Experts say that because coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in developing strong teeth and preventing tooth decay. Oil pulling (swishing) has even become a growing trend to help fight against gingivitis, plaque, and microorganisms that cause bad breath.

Weight Loss – Obesity is not just a matter of calories; the source of those calories are crucial too. Even though it is a fat, coconut oil can help you burn fat and lose weight because the medium-chain fatty acids present in coconut oil boosts metabolism, is easier to digest and is easily converted into energy. It appears that it is especially effective in reducing abdominal fat. Studies have shown that consuming one to two tablespoons of coconut oil straight from the jar as a snack can boost your energy and reduce your hunger.

Fight Infection and Boost Immunity – Coconut oil is nature’s richest source of lauric acid, which has a long history of use in supporting the immune system and combating pathogens. It has been proven to kill viruses that cause influenza, measles, pneumonia, and other serious health risks. It also helps to improve the digestive system, preventing various stomach and digestion-related problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and urinary tract infections.


Alzheimer’s Disease – In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain. Recent studies have shown that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.

How much coconut oil should be added into your diet a day to reap its benefits? According to researchers, an average adult should consume two to four tablespoons daily, whether cooking with it, baking with it, or adding it to smoothies or even your morning cup of coffee. If the taste or texture is unappealing, swallowing a coconut oil capsule can produce the same benefits. Coconut oil can be purchased mainly in health food stores and online, although some supermarkets are now stocking it. The cost varies because of its many form and uses. The average price in cooking form is approximately $0.80 to $1 per ounce. Coconut oil used for beauty, such as the hair and skin, can cost $0.50 to $1.50 per ounce. Note that each form of coconut oil is formulated for a specific use. For example, the oil that is used for cosmetics should not be used in the kitchen. Regardless of how you use it, coconut oil can be a promising addition to your daily life and keep everything more youthful and healthy.

My Experience with the Pancreatic Multi-Disciplinary Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital by Zachary Mandell


is an unexplainable feeling of sadness to be told that a loved one has cancer. The only thing potentially worse is to be told that your loved one likely has pancreatic cancer. The title of this magazine is “Living Safer.” If you or a loved one is ever diagnosed or suspected of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I believe that your life will be safer if you contact and seek treatment from the Pancreatic MultiDisciplinary Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.


What is pancreatic cancer? The pancreas is a gland found behind the stomach that produces fluids to help break down food. The pancreas also produces hormones to help regulate other bodily functions. Pancreatic cancer is known to be one of the deadliest forms of cancer. There are two types of pancreatic cancer: exocrine and neuroendocrine. Exocrine pancreatic cancer tumors start in the exocrine cells that produce pancreatic enzymes to help with digestion. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors develop from the abnormal growth of endocrine (hormone-producing) cells in the pancreas. More than 95% of all pancreatic cancers are of exocrine origin. (cancer.org). One reliable source has stated the five-year survival rates for people diagnosed with exocrine pancreatic cancer are as follows: »» Stage IA: 14% »» Stage IB: 12% »» Stage IIA: 7% »» Stage IIB: 5% »» Stage III: 3% »» Stage IV: 1% Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers, according to the Hirschberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Reseach; 94% of pancreatic cancer patients will die within five years of diagnosis. The primary reason for such poor survival rates is the fact that more than 80% of pancreatic cancers are discovered after they have spread to other areas of the body. The biology of pancreatic cancer is also incredibly aggressive.

Is it possible to catch pancreatic cancer early? Pancreatic cancer often does not produce any signs or symptoms until it has progressed and spread throughout the body. There are some pancreatic tumors, however, that based on their location in the pancreas produce recognizable signs and symptoms. Pancreatic tumors that start in the “head” of the pancreas are often very close to the common bile duct. If the tumor blocks the common bile duct, the bile in a person’s body is unable to pass through the common bile duct and reach the intestines. This causes two distinct symptoms: dark urine and jaundice (a yellowing appearance of the skin, tissues and eyes). If you experience these symptoms, it is critically important that you seek medical treatment right away. It may be the only chance to catch pancreatic cancer before it spreads to other areas of your body. You will likely have to undergo a CT Scan or MRI to help better define the cause of your symptoms.


Where to go for treatment? I would highly recommend calling the medical professionals at the Pancreatic Multi-Disciplinary Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The pancreatic clinic at Johns Hopkins meets two times a week and brings together leading Johns Hopkins clinicians in the fields of oncology, radiation oncology, surgery, radiology, pathology, gastroenterology, and pain and palliative care, as well as nurses, nutritionists, social workers and genetic counselors. The clinic allows patients to be seen by all of these top rated professionals in one day. The telephone number for the Multi-disciplinary Clinic is 410-933-7262. According to Cancer.gov, the only known way to fully cure Pancreatic cancer is to surgically remove the pancreas. The main surgical procedure is known as the “Whipple Procedure.” The surgeons at the Pancreatic Clinic at Johns Hopkins have performed over 5,000 Whipple procedures, more than any other institution in the world. High volume pancreatic cancer centers have been defined in the literature as performing approximately 16 Whipple procedures a year. In 2015, the surgeons at Johns Hopkins performed 299 Whipple procedures. Studies have shown that the mortality rate for Whipple procedures at low-volume cancer centers can be as high as 16%. The mortality rate for Whipple procedures at Johns Hopkins is less than 1%.

Why Johns Hopkins? As a lawyer who specializes in litigation involving all types of medicine, I have seen first-hand the spectrum of medical care throughout this country. I have never in my life seen a more competent, compassionate and caring group of medical providers. The burden and anxiety that accompanies the process of having a loved one being told they likely have pancreatic cancer is enormous. Although it is impossible to lift that burden from anyone, the medical providers at Johns Hopkins provide confidence, comfort and hope in a situation that very rarely is associated with those attributes.

Common Signs of

Zinc Deficiency by Benita Lee inc is an essential trace mineral that is intricately involved in hundreds of activities inside our cells. At the moment, research estimates that 100 to 300 different enzymes require zinc to accomplish their tasks. In many cases, zinc acts as a catalytic component for those enzymes, aiding the biochemical processes that help cells function regularly. Enzymes, and even hormones, hormone receptors, and other proteins, also need zinc as a building block in their own chemical structures.


Zinc helps enzymes and other molecules carry out cellular processes like DNA synthesis, cell division, gene expression, cell death, and cell metabolism, making it vital to our normal growth and development and overall health. Not only does zinc help grow our bodies; it also helps protect it by supporting our immune cells, augmenting antioxidant activity, and facilitating healing of open wounds. In recent years, research has also found possible associations between zinc and normal learning and emotional functioning in our brains.

What are Signs of Zinc Deficiency? Zinc’s specific roles in healthy bodies explain many of the symptoms that arise when zinc is deficient.

Stunted Development A major result of zinc deficiency is slowed growth. Some signs are a loss of appetite and/or weight loss. Without zinc to support DNA synthesis and cell division, there is, in some sense, a lacking ability to sustain the cellular processes that ultimately lead to a growing body. Zinc deficiency is even felt in the brain, altering central nervous system development and less-tangible traits like behavior. Overall mental slowness can result. Also related to development: a severe absence of zinc for normal sex hormone production can lead to delayed sexual maturity in both males and females, seen as delayed menstruation in females and a lack of reproductive organ development and low sperm count in males.

Impaired Immune Function In research on children from developing countries, a strong association is found between low zinc status and increased susceptibility to pneumonia and infections that cause diarrhea. One theory for this link is that, like most cells, immune cells need zinc to undergo cell division and propagate. Zinc deficiency may result in a smaller pool of first-line-of-defense immune cells that can attack infectious viruses and bacteria. Secondly, research has found zinc deficiency decreases the activity of macrophages, a specific subset of immune cells that activates other immune cells and can engulf and dispose of cellular waste, bacteria, or like in the picture below, even cancer cells.

Delayed Wound Healing Zinc is involved in numerous processes that enhance skin cell migration and the removal of old skin cells during wound repair. It also has some antioxidant activity when combined with the enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD), which can help fight against bacterial toxins and prevent tissue damage from inflammation. In individuals with low zinc levels, wounds take longer to heal and the risk for tissue cell death is increased.

Effects on Prostate, Eyes, Taste, and Smell Some researchers caution that zinc deficiency can initiate prostate enlargement or even prostate cancer because zinc is unavailable for normal DNA synthesis and cell division. In eyes, zinc plays a very important role in delivering vitamin A from the liver to the retina so that melanin, a protective pigment, can be produced. Without adequate zinc, the risk for poor night vision and cataracts can increase. Even an enzyme involved in our ability to taste and smell relies on zinc to be active. A loss of smell is a common first sign of chronic zinc deficiency.

High-Risk Groups With all the research surrounding zinc deficiencies, studies have also shown that symptoms can be corrected in part by zinc supplementation. Some reasons for zinc deficiencies in the US are not so obvious, and even though you might consider your diet to be well-balanced, you could still be at risk for consuming too little zinc. Here are some groups who are at higher risk:

Vegetarians Even though zinc is present in non-meat sources like beans, grains, and seeds, zinc concentrations are comparatively lower than in meats. In addition, phytates—present in whole-grain breads, cereals, and legumes—bind zinc and inhibit its intestinal absorption. Soaking beans, grains, and seeds in water for several hours before cooking may make their zinc more available. Research also shows that leavening seems to break down phytates, so leavened grain products like bread may be a better zinc source than unleavened products like crackers.

Older Adults As we age, our diets tend to become less diverse, which limits


a portion of the nutrients we take in. Meat, with its more bioavailable zinc, is frequently left out of meals. A national health study found that 35-45% of adults aged 60 years or older do not consume enough zinc in their diets. 25% of the subjects were still zinc deficient even after zinc supplements were taken into account.

Pregnant Women Because fetuses require high levels of zinc for rapid growth and development, pregnant women may be more susceptible to zinc deficiency. Also, prenatal vitamins tend to include iron and folate in their formulations, which can significantly decrease the bioavailability of zinc. Zinc deficiency in pregnant women increases the risks for maternal morbidity, preterm delivery, and babies who are smaller than normal for their gestational age.

Exclusively Breastfed Infants Breastfeeding tends to decrease zinc stores for mothers, but also, the zinc levels in breast milk are not high enough for infants past a certain age. Breast milk provides about 2 mg of zinc per day, enough for babies only in the first 4-6 months of life. Once the baby reaches 7-12 months, they will require 3 mg of zinc per day, at which time, age-appropriate foods and/or formulas are recommended.

How Much Zinc Do You Need? Human zinc stores need to be partially replenished daily. These are Institute of Medicine’s established Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) per day for the average healthy individual: »» 0-6 months: 2 mg »» 7-12 months & 1-3 years: 3 mg »» 4-8 years: 5 mg »» 9-13 years: 8 mg »» 14-18 years: 11 mg (males), 9 mg (females), 12 mg (pregnancy), 13 mg (lactation) »» 19+ years: 11 mg (males), 8 mg (females), 11 mg (pregnancy), 12 mg (lactation)

Zinc Food Sources According to USDA National Nutrient Database listing zinc content for specific foods, oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food. However, red meat and poultry are also great sources and provide the majority of zinc in the American diet. If you’re looking for nonmeat foods that are high in zinc, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains and oats, and fortified cereals are some good options. As mentioned previously, though, these sources have slightly limited zinc bioavailability compared to meats. For some unconventional natural sources of zinc, you can also try crab, wild rice, and soybeans. The USDA’s comprehensive list of zinc food sources is available here.


They’re Just Kids: Today’s Youth Sports Parents by Nathaniel Fick




hen the topic of children’s team sports arises, conventional wisdom suggests that these activities yield a bushel of lasting benefits. They build the child’s stamina and physical fitness level, provide health and strengthen his or her ability to work with others toward a common cause. Parents of children who participate in elite teams often see sports as a golden road, leading to a meaningful future payoff in financial aid or professional income. These benefits are valid to varying degrees, but they are increasingly being outweighed by the pressure and damage inflicted on children by over-invested parents. Here’s a look at what happens when parents lose sight of the fact that, after all, they’re just kids.

Elite sports take momentum away from neighborhood leagues A growing segregation in sports between the haves and have-nots matches wider trends in society. Elite leagues are multiplying, while kids who have fewer resources or more garden-variety talent levels are left behind with the message they don’t measure up. The elite traveling teams get the best coaches, the best venues, and all the publicity, while the rest of the neighborhood gets what’s left. “The rec leagues become much less sustainable,” said Tom Farrey, a sportswriter quoted in the Memphis article. “These kids kind of know they are second class, and they check out quickly. The quality of coaching isn’t as good. The kids fall behind. They become a compounding defect.”

Who’s competing, anyway? Every parent of a child in team sports is familiar with this appalling spectacle: parents standing on the sidelines, shouting criticism at the coach and yelling instructions at their children. These are the same parents who constantly talk to their children only about winning, attend every practice, as well as every game, and (the biggest red flag) uses the royal “we”, as in, “We had a great game today.” These are elements of the syndrome that University of Washington researcher Frank Stoll labels the “reverse dependency trap.”

“Every year more than 3.5 million children under 15 require medical treatment for sports injuries, nearly half of which are the result of simple overuse.” – Mark Hyman

Children need ownership of their activities in order to stay motivated. That ownership can be confusing to sort out when parents are the ones doing the driving, making the snacks, paying the (often substantial) bills, and dealing with the adrenaline rush. As a matter of fact, research demonstrates that watching sports causes a change in men’s endocrine hormones, with testosterone increasing for those whose team won and decreasing for fans of losing teams. This research study didn’t specifically address watching one’s offspring perform, but judging from the emotions displayed by even well-behaved parents, being in the stands at your children’s sports event is obviously an intense experience.

Over-involved parents contribute to decreasing sports participation Does this sound contradictory? A story in the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports some surprising statistics: Public health advocates are worried because team sports participation was down by 4 percent in 2014, compared with 2009, and overall sports participation had dropped by 10 percent in that same time. These falling participation numbers hold true across baseball, basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, and football. Furthermore, the same report shows that seventy percent of kids stopped playing sports by the time they reached 13 years old.

High pressure sports hurt kids’ health Pressure to make their parents feel like winners causes physical damage to the kids who keep pushing forward in the elite levels of team sports. In his 2010 book Until it Hurt, Mark Hyman notes that “Every year more than 3.5 million children under 15 require medical treatment for sports injuries, nearly half of which are the result of simple overuse.” His book quotes a physician who is disturbed by the number of tendon transplant surgeries performed on 15-and 16-year old baseball players to treat severe stress injuries of the elbow and allowed to continue playing. A sports surgeon profiled in the NY Times stated in 2010 that he was seeing “four times as many overuse injuries in team sports as he did just five years ago.” To underline this dismaying trend, a New Jersey business journal notes that the healthcare field of pediatric sports medicine is “a growing business.” This medical specialty is a response to a problem that didn’t previously exist. A physician in this emerging field is quoted in the article as saying, “We see more overuse injuries because kids are not resting between seasons.”

Not all the damage is physical Bearing the burden of responsibility for their parents’ happiness is a heavy weight for children to carry. Psychology Today warns that you can erode children’s interest in sports by “overmatching” them, or pushing them to competitive levels that they’re not ready for. Parents’ egos may not allow them to recognize the true level of their child’s competence. Burnout can occur from a combination of too much physical training stress coupled with too much emotional stress over competing, traveling, and other pressure points of a sportscentered lifestyle. Some kids are more sensitive than others, and it’s important to pick up on individual cues. Another Psychology Today article points out that 5 to 10 percent of young athletes experience excessive stress, while research shows that other kids generally manage youth sports fairly well. The article warns that parents should watch for signs of excessive stress, which include the following: »» Loss of appetite. »» Disturbed sleep patterns. »» Physical maladies like headaches, upset stomach, or skin problems.


»» Consistent inability to perform as well in competition as during practices. »» Desire to avoid the sport situation or to quit.

Children start out with healthy motivations It’s when parents enter the picture that it can become profoundly distorted. “The adults have won,” Hyman states. “If we wiped the slate clean and reinvented youth sports from scratch by putting the physical and emotional needs of kids first, how different would it look? Nothing would be recognizable.” The kids on (say) a weekend soccer trip, left to themselves, will naturally just have fun with the overnight trip, the travel, the pizza and the entire experience; winning is good but it’s not the whole story unless the parent makes it be the whole story. A study published in The Washington Post surveyed kids on both recreational and travel sports teams about 81 factors that contribute to their well-being. Winning came in 48th on the list. What the kids said they liked most was “a positive team dynamic, learning new things, trying hard, and a good relationship with their coach.” But when the researcher presented her findings to both parents and coaches, “There was pushback; ‘They don’t want to believe it.’”

A healthy approach to kids’ sports The Washington Post article notes that some aspects of team sports are genuinely valuable, including the chance to learn “teamwork, respect for the coach, being part of something bigger than yourself, and practice making perfect.” They note that the Aspen Institute recommends “sports sampling,” in which kids are encouraged to try out any type of activity that catches their interest. Revitalizing rec leagues and paying more attention to what kids really want is also a key factor in bringing the joy back to youth sports.


What the kids said they liked most was “a positive team dynamic, learning new things, trying hard, and a good relationship with their coach.” The National College Athletic Association, which has to find methods for older adolescents to cope with sports burnout, notes: “There is no mystery about the prescription for treating burnout: rest, rest and more rest. Other potential interventions may include setting short-term goals to bolster motivation, incorporating fun activities into the rigors of training, and practicing stress-reduction techniques like meditation and visualization.” Even for kids who are independently enthusiastic about team sports, their parents and teachers have to establish limits to protect the child’s health. The Pediatrics Council recommends that young people through adolescence play on only one team each season, and take a two to three month break from each individual sport. In a thoughtful essay on this topic in The Atlantic, one parent who managed to reform her own sports-obsessed parenting style comes to this conclusion: “Wanting to win is human, it always feels better than losing. But ... we are charged with taking the long-term view and teaching our children what is important rather than what is expedient. It is our job to teach them that they can only control their own effort, preparation and focus and not the outcome. And that is surely enough.”

Why Are We

Driving Drunk in 2016? by Matt Devoti



ifty years ago, many Americans possessed a more

and proper vehicle registration simply don’t stop unlicensed

relaxed attitude about drinking and driving than many

motorists from driving. In sum, folks who drive without a license

of us do today. Americans didn’t condone driving under

or mandatory liability insurance coverage, have little difficulty

the influence of booze. But, people and law enforcement tended

making other bad decisions, including repeatedly driving drunk.

to look the over way. There was no uniform national blood alcohol content (BAC) laws and the consequences of getting caught might amount to a slap on the wrist, at best, in some States. Missouri,for example, the General Assembly didn’t define “driving with excessive blood alcohol content” as operating a motor vehicle with a BAC equal to or greater than 0.08 until 2001. The legislature then acted only because of Congressional legislation threatening the loss of millions of dollars of federal highway funds. American society has become more socially responsible over the last five decades. Grassroots campaigns like ‘Don’t Drink and Drive, Arrive Alive’ were launched. Mothers across the country united into ‘Mothers Against Drunk Drivers’, which shed light on the epidemic of drinking and driving. Even our largest brewery, Anheuser-Busch joined the chorus with its ‘Designated Driver’ and ‘Drink Responsibly’ campaigns. Slowly, the social conscience of the American population shifted, making drinking and driving unacceptable. The effects resulting from federal legislation coupled with the

Mandatory ignition interlock devices Research suggests that ignition interlock devices would deter drunk driving since the car won’t work unless the ignition switch is unlocked—and that operation requires the driver to have a BAC under the prescribed limit. Twenty five states currently have mandatory ignition interlock provisions for all levels of intoxicated driving offenses. Organizations like MADD urge citizens to lobby their state lawmakers and encourage them to enact ignition interlock provisions for all offenders or, at a minimum, for repeat offenders.

Increased enforcement, checkpoints and saturation patrols More officers patrolling and performing checkpoints would definitely serve to decrease the number of offenders and fatalities. But, the reality is that most police departments are stretched to the limit with budget constraints and inefficient manpower to increase checkpoints and saturation patrols. Adding patrols and

efforts of the grassroots organizations were tremendous. In the

checkpoints without the influx of additional funding takes existing

1980s and 1990s, half of all traffic fatalities were caused by drunk

officers away from other duties and public safety responsibilities,

drivers. By 2014, that number had dropped to 31 percent or about

limiting the practicality and effectiveness of these programs.

10,000 deaths nationwide. Unfortunately, however, the number of traffic fatalities caused by drunk drivers has hovered around 30 percent for several years. Why are we still dealing with this problem in 2016? No simple answer exists.

Over-serving of patrons and introduction of craft beers Every consumer of food products knows that craft beer production has exploded in recent years. Craft beers typically

The number of traffic fatalities caused by drunk drivers has hovered around 30 percent for several years.

have a greater alcohol content by volume than mass-produced domestic beers. While the standard domestic beer has five percent alcohol content, many craft beers contain seven to ten percent alcohol content. A regular consumer of a mass-produced beer—Bud Light, for instance—might believe that she can safely consume two beers during a given period and remain in the legal BAC limit to drive her automobile. But, if that same person consumes two craft beers with nearly twice the alcohol content, she might not realize that she’s no longer within the legal limit to drive her vehicle. Couple the mass availability of craft beers with the age-old problem of over-serving of patrons and drivers operating vehicles with increased BAC become more prevalent. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average BAC for a

24/7 sobriety program Some states have enacted a 24/7 Sobriety Program for people convicted of drug and alcohol offenses, including drunk driving. These programs require offenders to do mandatory breath tests twice per day; immediate jail time may result if the offender fails a test. States introducing these pilot programs have witnessed a drop in offenses due to the behavioral changes foisted upon the drunk driving offenders.

Stiffer penalties for repeat offenders Court systems across the country are already backlogged with cases. So, to move cases through the judicial process and

motorist caught driving under the influence has increased over

clear dockets, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges play

the last five years.

‘let’s make a deal’ with many offenders. Folks in every major metropolitan area are all too aware of cases in which a repeat

License revocation does not work

offender causes terrible harm despite a history of multiple arrests,

The majority of states using license revocation as the main

prosecutions and plea deals.

deterrent to drunk driving have seen their numbers remain

The only way to effectively decrease the number of drunk driving

the same. Repeat offenders can easily work around a license

fatalities is to push lawmakers for reform. All of our voices must be

revocation by simply driving without the license. Laws on the

heard. Call, email or write your state and federal legislators and

books prohibiting driving without a license, liability insurance

make your opinions be heard. @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 27

Are You Addicted to Working Out? by Jon Lewis

verything in moderation. That’s what my grandmother always said. She never used margarine, drank a glass of scotch every night and lived until she was 93. I also never recall seeing her exercise, but she was not overweight. In fact she would’ve fit right in with the images of healthy active people on TV. When it comes to exercising, many of us assume there’s no such thing as too much. Fitness centers are everywhere, you can find a 5K or Tough Mudder every weekend, and the media is filled with images of healthy people being active. Add that to the statistics of the number of Americans not getting the recommended amount of exercise and it’s easy to arrive at the conclusion that we all ought to be hitting the weights more. But there is such a thing as too much exercise, and that is when exercise not only consumes one’s life, but when it also starts to adversely affect the person’s well-being and even their relationships. Exercise addiction, or “healthy mania” is a psychological condition also known as Anorexia Athletica characterized by being obsessive about workout routines and letting other areas of life slip. Just as those addicted to drugs or alcohol need that substance, a person addicted to exercise has to have his/her fix as well—it’s just in the form of working out.


So, how do you know if you or someone else has a problem? »» Prioritizing exercise before everything else and neglecting other areas of life. 28 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 8 ED 2

»» Becoming anxious, depressed or agitated when a workout is missed, to the point where insomnia and restlessness occur. »» Exercising even when injured, tired or unwell. »» Pushing through workouts despite pain, headaches and dizziness. »» Feeling like exercise is the only thing that is under control and losing relationships as a result. Addictions are compulsive, but they can also be signs of other issues. Someone with an exercise addiction typically has poor selfesteem and defines happiness through their level of exercise. This analysis should not be confused with those who love to exercise or have a passion for their athletic activity. Those who are healthy exercisers usually exercise for fitness, relaxation, time alone and social enjoyment. Whereas, those who are addicted typically exercise to express an emotion and relieve stress. The effects of exercising too much or too hard are detrimental to the body because it actually causes a breakdown of muscle fibers. It’s really hard on organs and the immune system and exercising when injured may cause permanent damage to joints and bones. Exercise is great, but there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ formula for a safe amount. When it crosses over to a compulsive and obsessive part of one’s day, it’s time to consider a visit to a counselor who can help offer guidance toward a healthier exercise routine.

The Pros, Cons, Whys and Hows

of Reverse Mortgages by Lily Grace As more and more Baby Boomers officially venture into retirement, financial concerns abound. Among the fiscal options for this overwhelmingly large generation to consider is the idea of a reverse mortgage. But before you walk this path, it’s important to know the ins and outs so that you’ll be able to make the most educated choice possible for yourself and your family. Consider these points from LendingTree.

The basics In order to even consider this option, it’s important to note the basics: »» Reverse mortgages are loans »» At least one of the borrowers needs to be age 62 or above »» Those who take a reverse mortgage are borrowing against their home equity »» Reverse mortgages do not need to be repaid as long as one of the borrowers lives in the house »» Reverse mortgages usually eliminate any other ongoing mortgage payments »» Borrowers can choose to receive a monthly payment, lump sum, or line of credit to use against the house (or even a combination thereof)

»» Do you need financial independence? »» Are you planning on staying in your home for the long term? »» Your desire to maximize the estate you leave to heirs Additionally, if you do decide to start looking into loans, LendingTree recommends people secure multiple offers, then evaluate each of them along fairly typical lines: »» What is the interest rate being quoted? (the lower the better obviously) »» How much total money is the lender offering and over what time period? »» Are there any upfront fees or other charges? »» Have you maximized your chances of getting the best deal by evaluating multiple offers?

Why a reverse mortgage? People have numerous reasons why they may consider a reverse mortgage. These include: »» Stop paying their existing mortgage payment for the rest of the time they or their spouse lives in their home

»» Reverse mortgages can be a welcome source of financial independence

.. Receive a supplemental income stream in the form of a monthly income distribution

»» It’s essential to comparison shop multiple lenders as offers can vary widely

.. Guarantee that their current mortgage will never cause them to be foreclosed on or forced from their home.

As the name implies, a reverse mortgage is very much like a traditional mortgage, just in reverse. In a traditional mortgage, the bank hands over a large sum of money upfront so that the borrower can use it to buy a house. That borrower then pays it down over time with fixed monthly payments. By contrast, with the most common forms of reverse mortgage, the borrower already has a house, which is usually all or mostly paid off. If they choose the monthly payment option, they receive fixed monthly payments from the bank that they can use on anything they like, and the amount owed to the bank grows over time as the borrower receives their monthly checks. The amount borrowed is only repaid in the event the borrower and their co-borrower (spouse) moves out of the home. This is a critical, and often misunderstood feature of these loans.

How to determine if a reverse mortgage is right for you? Like all financial products, reverse mortgages have pros and cons. Additionally, those who educate themselves can ensure that they maximize the pros while minimizing potential downsides. Here are some of the factors folks should consider: »» What is your need for supplemental income? »» Do you need to eliminate your current mortgage payment?

Disadvantages of reverse mortgages Like any substantial financial decision, LendingTree advises those considering a reverse mortgage to evaluate every angle, especially potential drawbacks. The most important things to consider are: »» The Mortgage Accumulates Interest: While those who take out a reverse mortgage are not required to make any payments on the loan while they live in their home, interest does accrue on the balance as it builds. Eventually this interest will be paid back once the borrowers leave the home. Sometimes this occurs as a simple repayment from other funds, but often the home is sold once it is no longer being used in order to repay the loan and the interest. »» The Loan Amount Offered Is Less Than Expected: The loan amount offered by a bank is determined by many factors, including the appraised value of your home, the amount of money, if any, you may owe on an existing mortgage, your age, the bank’s profit margin and the current interest rate environment. At the end of the day, the only way to really determine if a reverse mortgage sis right for you is to get into the details of specific offers and to understand the available options. Even if it’s just to arm yourself with more information, or to know what you could get should you ever need it, having the offers in your back-pocket can be a great source of financial peace. @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 29

Driverless Cars

Wave of the Future or Major Road Hazard? by Florence Murray We all know that distracted driving is dangerous, but it is an all-too-frequent reality. Everyday, you can look at drivers on the road around you and see them texting, talking, eating, looking for the right song and many other activities that take their minds off the task of driving. (See great materials regarding statistics and studies available through End Distracted Driving at enddd.org). What if you could take the driving part out of that equation? Google and similar technology-focused companies have been working on just that, by developing driverless cars for several years now so we can continue multi-tasking while we’re en route to our destinations. Test versions of these vehicles actually exist and drive on private roadways all the time. Technology companies and car manufacturers project that by 2020—four years from now—nearly 10 million driverless cars will be on the roads. You can’t argue with the recent advances in technology that have made cars safer to drive. Lane detection sensors, crash prevention radar, autonomous braking and cars that park themselves, have all helped to reduce the hazards of distracted driving. If the driver is not paying close enough attention, the car will react for them and prevent collisions. However, technology is neither perfect nor infallible. Anyone who has ever used a computer, tablet, or smartphone has experienced a sudden, unexplained system failure or frozen screen. Newton’s first law of motion tells us that objects in motion tend to stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force. If a driverless car experiences a sudden system failure or frozen controls, what happens? Does it simply shut down, or continue to move until it runs out of gas or hits something? With a driverless 30 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 8 ED 2

car, the answer to these questions and the response time is unknown. We also know that virtually any piece of technology can be hacked or broken into. Until we know it is impossible to hack into the systems that control driverless cars, we may decide it is too great a risk for these vehicles to be on public roadways. If someone with nefarious intentions were to hack a guidance system that controls driverless cars, it is not unimaginable to think that they would not just gain control over one vehicle, but they would have control over every vehicle that runs on that guidance system. In essence, if a guidance system was hacked, someone could turn every driverless vehicle on the road into a weapon. Tech companies are also working on driverless commercial trucks for our future and are already testing them on U.S. roads in the form of tandem driving. The goal behind driverless trucking technology is that at some point a long-haul truck driver will be able to take a nap or take a break for the next 500 miles while the truck drives itself for several hours or is controlled by a lead truck. The computer system that drives the truck will tell the driver when it is safe to remove himself from responsibility of the massive and extremely heavy vehicle that he is driving. Imagine driving down the road, glancing into the cab of the massive cargo truck gliding along next to you, and seeing it empty. Yikes! The future may provide ways for us to get more done or increase our social interactions while we commute from place to place through driverless technology, but there is no replacement for responsible and focused driving while you’re behind the wheel now.

Lawyer-Turned-Author Finds Niche Audience with a Focus on Safety by Bryan Silver hese days, if lawyer James T. Crouse isn’t in the courtroom, he’s in front of his computer—typing out the next chapter in a series of novels that draw from his experience as an attorney. “Since I can remember, injustice has inspired me to take action, often via pen, typewriter or computer.” states Crouse, “My decision to become a lawyer was fueled by this same motivation.” Safety became a prime concern for Crouse when he first began practicing aviation and product liability law after completing his law degree at Duke University School of Law in 1980. Through the representation of individuals injured in aviation disasters and other accidents, he is able to tell the stories of people harmed by the negligence and intentional acts of individuals, corporations and governments—often acting with impunity and a disregard for the safety of others. It is this same desire to tell the stories of those who are wronged by the oversight of others that has led to Crouse’s latest book, “Broken Eagle”—a novel that follows Raleigh attorney Jake Baird as he tries to help a young widow named Lisa Thorpe determine what really happened in the death of her husband, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot on a seemingly routine test flight. Crouse admits that much of the inspiration for writing comes from his time in the military, life growing up in a North Carolina small town, and some of the many of the legal cases he’s been involved in during his career. The author and lawyer points out that in aviation accident litigation, it’s not just about the accident—it’s about the failure to ensure safety. “The questions I always ask are, ‘Was this preventable?’ and, if so, ‘Why wasn’t it prevented?’” That is how you determine liability. That is how you build a case.” Crouse believes that no group seeking redress faces more of an uphill battle than our military men and women. “They have far fewer rights to recover for their injuries than their civilian neighbors,” states Crouse. “They face a phalanx of laws, rules and court decisions that greatly narrow their paths to recovery. “The military needs to have the best products,”he continues, “yet we must ensure that when something is defectively designed or manufactured and service people are injured—they should have the same rights to be made whole as the people whom they protect.” Crouse admits that he doesn’t outline his stories before sitting down to write. “My process begins with a story nugget—the one thought or situation that I find compelling and around which I see that a multi-faceted story can be created. When I find that central idea, the characters and the story twists start coming to mind, and this process continues until the end.”



With a new book in the works, that story nugget involves today’s airline industry and some of the practices and pitfalls of government regulation. While the airline industry in the U.S. is one of the safest forms of intercity travel and transports nearly 2 million people daily, most people are oblivious to the level of self-regulation entrusted to aircraft manufacturers. “The public is unaware of just how spotty and loose the aircraft certification process is,” states Crouse. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration has a program called Delegation Option Authorization (DOA) that permits aircraft manufacturers to simply submit a letter stating that an aircraft was built to certain standards and complies with all FAA regulations. That aircraft is now certified—no tests, reviews or reports required. The shortcomings of such logistics are addressed in Crouse’s upcoming novel entitled, Airliner. When asked about the joys of writing, Crouse elaborates on the things that come to light while he’s immersed in the creative process. “I am still amazed at how some character just ‘appear’ when they weren’t in the original plan,” says Crouse. “Other times, characters that were part of the plan will develop attributes and flaws that they did not have to begin with. It is fun discovering the story as I go along.” James Crouse’s first novel, “Broken Eagle”, is available now at local bookstores, smashwords.com/books/view/641689 or createspace.com/5538903.

James T. Crouse A retired U.S. helicopter test pilot who flew over 1,500 hours in his 26-year active and reserve career, Crouse retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel. As a lawyer, he has investigated more than 300 aviation disasters and was lead liability counsel in the world’s largest civilian helicopter crash. Additionally, Crouse has taught aviation law at Duke Law School, The George Washington University School of Law and at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas. He is a frequent speaker at aviation and legal symposia and has had numerous articles published in legal periodicals. He is married, has three children, and lives in Raleigh, N.C.


Workplace Harassment in 2016: Has Anything Changed? by Bryan Silver


his past April, HBO debuted its new film, “Confirmation.” On the 25-year anniversary of the Clarence Thomas hearings, this docudrama touched on the controversy sparked by Anita Hill—the former colleague of the Supreme Court nominee who was called before a congressional hearing to comment on allegations of workplace harassment. While the movie certainly functions on some basic level as a historical reference, what it does best is illustrate how such a situation could quickly snowball from a seemingly innocuous grain of sand into a proverbial boulder. It became a hurtling juggernaut that not only threatened Thomas’ chance of an appointment to the nation’s highest court, but also bashed the prevailing attitudes toward what was acceptable in the workplace—breaking down barriers in ways that, at the time, many thought were a sign of things to come. Case in point, the movie’s closing credits point out that more women were elected to public office in 1992 than in any previous period, official sexual harassment complaints doubled, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991—an important piece of workplace discrimination legislature that has shaped how we now view harassment—was passed into law. So the question is, 25 years after the public airing of some extremely dirty laundry, has America found a way to come clean? Are we in an era of workplace non-aggression and mutual respect or have our new laws become just more lip service on a subject on which few are willing to talk about what goes on behind cubicle walls? To know the answer, We must first ask ourselves the question; “In 2016, has anything really changed when it comes to workplace harassment?”



Today’s Definition of Harassment There’s no denying that unwelcomed harassment still crosses the thresholds of our workplaces, but has anything changed in 25 years? Certainly one thing that’s different is the terminology. We’ve gone from an era in which people rarely talked openly about such situations to now having a specific vocabulary for defining harassment. Most people today have heard the term “hostile work environment,” but how about “quid pro quo harassment?” “Workplace bullying?” “Mobbing in the workplace?” Each term has a specific usage, defined parameters and prescribed resolution. The first thing to understand is that there are numerous types of harassment. While the general definition of harassment is “a verbal or physical behavior, which is severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive work environment,” there are a number of clearly defined types of harassment as they relate to discrimination laws (see sidebar). Of course, the limitations of these laws are constantly being defined by the courts. One such example would be where a court in Florida ruled that “fat jokes” made at the expense of an overweight employee violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and constituted workplace harassment.

The Latest: ‘Mobbing’ in the Workplace Whether it’s called mobbing or group bullying, it all refers to a disturbing new group dynamic that’s popping up in offices everywhere. A behavior that’s more typically seen with schoolage children, mobbing involves a group of individuals rather than a single bully, all working together to harass and torment a single individual. Mobbing often strikes out at vulnerable individuals through: »» Gossip »» Isolation »» Public discrediting »» Ridicule »» Relentless emotional abuse What’s troublesome about the current rise in workplace mobbing incidents is that little is understood as to why it’s happening. Just as children under the strains of adolescence often resort to bullying in an effort to cope, some believe that this workplace variety is also a byproduct of stress—either a toxic work environment, financial pressures or simply the complications of living in a more complex world.


Do You Know Your Lingo? There are many federal, state and local laws protecting against such discrimination. The following are some of the more notable types one might encounter.

Race, Religion, Sex, and National Origin These types of harassment are prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Age Harassment on the basis of age is unlawful under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Disability The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits harassment on the basis of disability.

Status as a Veteran This type of harassment is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Sexual Orientation and Marital Status A type of harassment that is prohibited in many state and local statutes.

Gender Identification The city of New Orleans is one example of a jurisdiction that has expanded sexual orientation discrimination to include gender identification, crossdressing and transsexualism

Political Beliefs Discrimination on the basis of political ideology is illegal in many areas, including the city of Seattle.

Criminal History Jurisdictions such as Wisconsin and New York, as well as some private employers and institutions, prohibit discrimination and protect against harassment on the basis of arrest or conviction records.

Smokers and Nonsmokers A number of states have laws prohibiting discrimination or harassment on the basis of being either a smoker or nonsmoker.


Sexual Harassment in the New Millennium Compared to 25 years ago, today’s perception of workplace harassment differs greatly. Unlike the era in which Anita Hill aired her struggles, there is a higher level of awareness and continual training by employers in an attempt to prevent such behavior. There is also a better understanding of what constitutes sexual harassment and how one might best deal with these issues—yet, it’s still a pervasive problem within the workplace. To understand where things have possibly gone wrong, we need to take a closer look at the harassment cases that make today’s news.

The Struggle of Female Sportscasters In March of this year, a jury of seven women and five men awarded sports reporter Erin Andrews $55 million in a settlement with a Nashville hotel. Andrews, an ESPN reporter at the time, was in Nashville covering a Vanderbilt University football game when she was unknowingly filmed nude in her hotel room— footage that has found its way onto the Internet time and time again during the eight years since the incident took place. The jury found that, while the stalker who created the video was 51% at fault, the hotel was 49% responsible for compromising Andrews’ identity and her room number by openly conveying the information to the perpetrator. While this might sound like a unique incident, Inside Edition did a story on the subject both in 2009 following the Nashville occurrence and again this year to demonstrate how one can stalk a personality with the help of hotel staff. The results were shockingly easy. But it’s not just harassment of a sexual nature that these women reporters have to contend with. In December 2015, veteran sports reporter Colleen Dominguez filed suit against her employer—Fox Sports 1—claiming age discrimination with regard to a continually diminishing role that has been accompanied by commentary about how she “looks” on camera. No stranger to such controversy, it was Fox Sports that bumped veteran female sportscaster Pam Oliver in 2014—her final year of 20 with the network—for the younger Andrews. While Oliver handled the demotion with professionalism, there was much speculation as to what role her then-age—53—played in the decision.

Harassment Hits Home with America’s National Pastime Before you think that modern workplace harassment still centers around female employees, you need only look to baseball’s locker rooms for more fodder. Tyler Dunnington, a minor league pitcher for the Cardinals’ organization, says that he eventually had to quit the game at the end of the 2014 season because he could not deal with the level of anti-gay sentiments overheard in the locker room and off the field. Of course, Dunnington did not discuss his sexualty at the time; it was not until 2015 that David Denson became the first openly gay active player affiliated with a Major League Baseball team that he spoke out. In retrospect, Dunnington regrets his choice to quit as well as his inaction to speak up when he was in a position to change things. “Quitting isn’t the way to handle adversity,” he admitted. “I admire the other athletes acting as trailblazers.”


Tackling Sexual Harassment through Social Media Jordan Gleason, co-owner of the Brewpub Black Acre in Irvington, Ind., made a strong statement against workplace harassment this past April. It started earlier in 2016 with an older patron making derogatory remarks to the female wait staff. The man was asked to leave and not come back. After a second attempt at trying to enter the establishment at a later date, the former customer asked to see a manager. Gleason stepped in and spoke with the man. While the conversation was civil, the customer’s attitude toward the employees angered Gleason—and his response was taken to Facebook in the form of a lengthy and cathartic post. The 1,025-word entry not only condemned the man's actions, but spoke out about sexual harassment in the service industry as a whole. An emotional outpouring for Gleason, it also struck a chord with many Facebook followers— the blogpost has since gone viral and been shared online over 39,000 times. Gleason ends the post by pleading for us all to try and make things better for female service industry workers everywhere. He points out that this can’t be played off as an isolated occurrence, that it’s a widespread and endemic issue within our culture.

"Even though 98% of all organizations have a sexual harassment policy, harassment continues in the workplace and poses serious problems." — Debbie Dougherty, associate dean of research and professor of organizational communication, University of Missouri


It ’s possible that we’ve created an environment of “hyperawareness” that is only further exacerbated by miscommunication and misinterpretation.

Do We Know Too Much When It Comes to Workplace Harassment? So things have definitely changed over the years when it comes to workplace harassment, but has it been for the better? The answer, again, lies in the fact that people today are far more aware of the types, the warning signs and potential resolutions to such situations than ever before. Also, today’s woman has a more secure place in the modern workforce—offering a larger degree of confidence when it comes to dealing with such incidents. But does being better equipped than the previous generation truly equate to an improvement in how we handle workplace harassment? New research from the University of Missouri points out that while we’re advancing forward on the subject, it might be in the wrong direction. Whether it’s the employees at fault or the employers failing to properly educate, many workplaces have become a hotbed of misinformation when it comes to individual rights, consequences of harassment and what is actually the law. Debbie Dougherty, associate dean of research and professor of organizational communication, University of Missouri, set out to determine the effectiveness of current sexual harassment policies by evaluating how male and female coworkers for a large U.S. government organization interpreted the guidelines that were in place. “Although the policy statement specified the importance of building a culture of dignity and respect, the participants in the study reinterpreted the policy in such a way that they believed it actually created a culture of fear.” stated Dougherty. “This inhibits the camaraderie participants believed was produced by normalized sexual banter, behavior and jokes.” Whether it was concern that friendly behavior would be misinterpreted, or that an overly sensitive employee would be offended, employees became hyper aware that others could use these policies against them—to the point that men refrained from speaking with women, bosses were cautious when it came to interacting with subordinates, employees in general kept to themselves. Of course, there was nothing in the policies that specifically encouraged this fear; the employees just inferred these dangers on their own.


Moving Forward on Common Ground There’s no denying that the current landscape of workplace harassment policies would seem very foreign to those who trudged over similar ground in decades prior. It is more complex, more open and gives far more options in the way of resolution. But is it better? That’s hard to answer. Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars organizations spend each year on training and prevention, little effort has gone into evaluating the efficacy and repercussions of the training. Too often, our organizations are focused on limiting legal liability rather than actually creating an environment where women and men can work together without the threat of bullying or unwanted harassment. Ultimately, it is up to all of us within the workforce to make sure that current policies serve our best interests as a whole—this includes men and women, employee and employer, government and private enterprise. Not to say that we need to focus on creating new or revised policies, but that we need to better utilize the tools we now have at our disposal. We should view the level of awareness that we have achieved as quite an accomplishment—it has been a long road since Hill dragged the issue out from behind company’s closed doors and dropped it into our laps as we watched television in our living rooms. But real success will require more than awareness, it demands positive action to progress. In the past, there was a chasm between predominant attitudes and potential solutions that few dared to leap over. We now stand at the edge with the tools and knowledge to take action, to build that bridge— allowing individuals to cross without further threat or danger. We have definitely come a long way in 2016, but the journey is not over.


Author, Activist, Lawyer, Educator: Anita Hill While many know Anita Hill for her testimony before a Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, few know of her accomplishments and achievements beyond this time in the spotlight. What unfolded in the hearings and on public television was more than a review of Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court, it was an uncovering of something that had been looming in the shadows for years—something that needed to be brought to light. Unfortunately, Hill paid a price and had her reputation tarnished in the eyes of many at the time. Yet, she persevered through the adversity and has continued to add to her life accomplishments.

THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF ANITA HILL »» Grew up the youngest of 13 children in rural Oklahoma »» Graduated from Yale Law School »» Worked at the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission »» Wrote the books “Speaking Truth to Power and Reimagining Equality;” “Stories of Gender, Race” and “Finding Home” »» Currently a professor at Brandeis University



Smart Science-Based Vegan Diets Protect Family Health by Wayne Parsons


lant based vegan diets have gained popularity as people search for scientifically proven ways to improved health and lose weight. Diets based on meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products and processed foods are increasingly connected with poor health, as opposed to diets that include legumes (peas, beans and lentils), fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which provide the human body with the resources it needs to be healthy, energetic and satisfied.

slow the process. Furthermore, Type 2 diabetes results when insulin cannot deliver adequate glucose to the fat-clogged cells. Scientific studies have demonstrated that Type 2 diabetes can actually be reversed by implementing a plant-based diet. Fat of both kinds, saturated and unsaturated, is needed by the human body to remain healthy, however most dieticians recommend that most of our daily intake of fat should come from unsaturated fats because they are thought to promote good

Science Lesson

cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease. Lean chicken, beef or pork are nearly equal in saturated fat at around 30%. And while eating fish is supposedly more healthy because fish oil has omega-3, that percent is low and 15% to 30%. Fish also contains mercury from their diet of other small fish. Even olive oil, touted as healthy, has 13% saturated fat. Another consideration to cutting out animal proteins from your diet is the toll they take on your kidneys. Animal protein is harder for the kidneys to process than plant based protein, deteriorating kidney function. The small amounts of natural oils in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts provide all the oil that is needed for a healthy body and cooking with oil can easily be replaced by other techniques including adding water to sautĂŠ vegetables and other items.

Glucose is a natural sugar from bread, potatoes, rice, beans, pasta and fruits. Digestion puts glucose into the bloodstream and the hormone insulin opens the cell wall muscle tissue and pushes glucose into the cell where it is converted to energy. Metabolism is the process of turning glucose into energy inside the cell and is greatly determined by genetics, but it can be changed by the food people eat. In a study conducted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), subjects on a plant based diet increased calorie burning speed at the cellular level after a meal and also increased the intensity of the burn. Basically, the plant-based diet reprogrammed their cells to take sugar out of the blood more quickly and convert it to energy more efficiently. In other words, the metabolism was increased. Fat inside a cell blocks insulin from moving glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cell wall. High-fat diets result in more fat inside a cell and diets with meat, chicken, fish and dairy

The stomach senses the volume and weight of the food that is being consumed. A small piece of fatty meat or chicken does not weigh much nor does it take up much volume, so the stomach sends a message to the brain for more food. The same is true @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 41

for a piece of cheese, high in fat, but small in volume and weight. On the other hand, fiber retains water and the stomach senses it as high in weight and volume. Legumes, fruit and vegetables are nutritious, provide excellent protein, are often high in fiber and are low in fat. The stomach senses both a satisfying volume and weight of food intake, and hunger decreases when these plant based foods are consumed. American diets have changed drastically over the past 125 years according to Neal B. Barnard M.D., a leading authority on diet and health. In his article, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, he found that between 1909 and 2007, meat intake rose from 124 pounds to more than 200 pounds per person per year. That’s more than 75 pounds of extra meat for every person every year. Cheese consumption went from 4 pounds to over 30 pounds. What has not changed is the fat content of a bean, which is naturally fixed at what a bean needs to propagate. It is always the same. A bean is not “fat” or “lean” like there are fat chickens or cows. Humans don’t need animal protein or dairy products to be healthy according to a large number of scientific studies. The composition of an egg is perfect for producing a new chicken, but adds a significant amount of cholesterol to the bloodstream. One egg has the same amount of cholesterol as a Big Mac and can increase cardiovascular disease by 19%, colon cancer by 5 times, diabetes by 68% and lethal prostate cancer by 81% according to PCRM. Studies such as those by Dr. Dean Ornish, and at the Cleveland Clinic by Dr. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, have shown that eating a low-fat plant-based diet reduces cholesterol to the same degree as cholesterollowering medications, and has un-clogged arteries over time. The plant-based diets also help prevent cancer by adding powerful antioxidants, reduce weight to improve survival in some cancers and lower hormone levels that are known to support cancer cells. Implementing a vegan diet even just a few days a week, can make significant improvements in a person’s health. Consult your doctor or a nutritionist if you want more information on how to do this because there are certain daily vitamins that might need to be added, such as B-12, to supplement the other healthy gains from this lifestyle change. 42 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 8 ED 2

Easy Tricks for Getting Kids to

Eat Healthy Snacks by Tatum O’Brien

ven if you believe that manipulating kids into eating healthy snacks is something only other moms have to do, there may be (and likely will come) a time when your child, who used to love everything green and was willing to try just about any food, will just stop—without warning.


Nutrition experts say that it takes between 15 to 20 tries before a child will actually eat—and even like—a new food, although lost affinities for certain foods will often return when a child is older. Getting your child to eat healthy snacks requires persistence, and a few tricks won’t hurt either:

Be a Good Role Model Research shows that kids tend to model the eating habits of their parents. If you’re scarfing down chips while insisting that they eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, your child will likely object. If you don’t necessarily have a love for healthy foods, just know that adults have the ability to retrain their taste buds, according to dietician Cynthia Sass.

No Bribing, Please Negative tactics like threatening, bribing, and punishment can lead to negative associations with food, but negotiation can produce positive results. Tell your child he can’t have any more dried fruit until he or she eats a certain number of bites of his veggies tends to encourage them to eat more of the healthy stuff without even realizing it.

Give Them Options Children like to feel like they’re in control (don’t we all?) so give them lots of healthy choices and let them pick what they like best. Apples or carrots? Greek yogurt or a stick of cheese? Sounds like a win-win.

Sneak Them In If your child refuses to drink milk, blend yogurt into his or her smoothie. If he or she doesn’t like vegetables, puree them into his or her spaghetti sauce or macaroni and cheese.

Get Them Involved Kids might be more likely to eat vegetables if they pick them out with you at the farmer’s market, or help you pick them from the garden. Being involved in the process will likely pique your child’s interest in eating fresh, whole foods as well as satisfy your need to feed them nutritious snacks.


Green Tea Supplements vs. Drinking Green Tea by Benita Lee

reen tea is one of those rare herbal products growing in consumer popularity mainly because scientific research has validated its health benefits. Indeed, a macrotrend in today’s dietary supplement market is veering towards prevention, self-care, and holistic approaches to wellness backed by credible claims. And with green tea linked in research to benefits like preventing diabetes, hyperlipidemia, cancer, and other chronic diseases, along with no notable evidence of severe adverse risks



even at fairly high dosages (1,600 mg of green tea catechins or about 6-7 cups of tea per day), the impetus for consuming green tea and its healthful components is strong. So, in the spirit of harnessing and maximizing green tea’s benefits, consumers are asking on internet forum after forum: Which is better, green tea in supplement/capsule form or drinking brewed green tea? This article is an attempt to clarify this debate, drawing from sources of scientific objectivity whenever available.

Popularity As far as industry trends go, green tea supplements are gaining traction more quickly than traditional tea leaves, but the tea leaf industry still dominates in terms of market value. According to market analysis reports, the global market value for extracts of tea polyphenols, the active components of green tea concentrated in supplement capsules, was about $209.3 million in 2012 with a growth rate of 7.4%. North America accounted for 27% of this total market volume. In contrast, retail sales of bagged and loose teas of all types, with the exception of ready-to-drink teas, reached billions in 2013. In 2013’s US market alone, sales increased 5.9% to $1.75 billion. Green tea sales comprise about 20% of this estimate.

Components Popularity aside, the real answer to our question about which form of green tea is better lies in how each differs in its process of extracting green tea’s beneficial components. Green tea extract can contain the following compounds: »» Polyphenols: catechins, phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonols (kaempferol, quercetin, myricitin, and rutin) »» Xanthines: caffeine and caffeine-related stimulants (theobromine and theophylline) »» Vitamins: vitamin C and B vitamins

for obvious reasons. Water temperature, time of steeping, amount of tea leaves, and brand of tea leaves all affect the tea’s final flavor and thus, the quantities of compounds present in the tea itself. But as far as research goes, there have been efforts to quantify the components of green tea extracted after steeping tea leaves in boiling water for five minutes. In one study, resulting brewed tea contained 87-106 mg of polyphenols per gram of green tea dry matter, of which 52-84 mg were catechins. Per gram of green tea dry matter, 11-20 mg of caffeine was also extracted. Keeping in mind that the tea extract is not filtered once brewed, the tea drink will also contain a mixture of other tea components listed above. Considering a proportion of 3 g of dry tea leaves per cup of green tea, the study proposed that an estimated 405 g of catechins could be consumed per day within 2 cups of green tea. Many tea drinkers also add milk and/or lemon to their teas, and a common related question is whether they change the composition of the extract and the efficacy of tea catechins. In one study of white tea, the addition of lemon juice seems to enhance extraction of polyphenols from tea leaves. On the other hand, lemon juice has been shown to increase aluminum absorption in our bodies too. According to a study on green and black tea consumption with and without milk, milk did not affect catechin bioavailability or blood catechin levels after consumption.

»» Amino acids: L-theanine »» Microelements: aluminum, fluorides, manganese


»» Essential oils

As already hinted above, green tea supplements are often made with concentrated polyphenol or catechin extracts. Green tea leaves are pulverized and then subjected to organic solvents to isolate green tea polyphenols from the leaves. According to research observations, compared to boiling water, tea polyphenols are much more soluble in organic solvents—usually a mixture of ethanol and water—so more polyphenols are obtained per gram of dry tea. This process also tends to leave much, but not all, of the caffeine component behind. Then, ideally, the extract is purified to remove non-essential and harmful ingredients like aluminum and heavy metals, and occasionally, the product is decaffeinated. The most rigorous supplements are even standardized to ensure that the supplement itself contains a certain percentage of polyphenols in a specified amount of capsulized green tea extract.

The main active ingredients in green tea include caffeine and caffeine-related stimulants, specific flavonols (which act as antioxidants), and the highly researched class of green tea catechins. Primary green tea catechins consist of epicatechin (EC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin (EGC), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG, the most potent in this group, is responsible for most of green tea’s antioxidant, antiinflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties, and is often extracted and then concentrated in supplement capsules for this reason. Note that some of green tea’s elements also come with risks. For example, the FDA cites 400 mg as the safe threshold for daily caffeine consumption. Above 400 mg, health risks include gastrointestinal upset, muscle tremors, and palpitations. Tea leaves also tend to accumulate aluminum from soil, and chronic high aluminum exposure (more than 20 mg per day for a 150 lb. person) has been found to cause Alzheimer’s disease. Though that’s a fair warning, research suggests that one cup of brewed black tea has a little less than 1 mg of aluminum and most of it is not absorbed by our bodies because it remains bound to L-theanine, another component found in tea.

Drink Making green tea by brewing tea leaves is not a consistent activity

Based on research findings alone, catechins in green tea supplements seem to have the same (if not, higher) efficacy compared to catechins in brewed green tea. It’s also possible to achieve functionally equivalent amounts of catechins from brewed and capsule sources in one day. However, advantages and disadvantages for both forms no doubt exist as issues like taste preferences, standardization of active ingredients, label accuracy, auxiliary ingredients, and concomitant tea components like caffeine come into play.



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How to Tell the Kids You’re Getting Divorced by Tracey Goyette Cote



ivorce is a process of reconfiguring the family and making a transition from your roles as husband and wife to your roles as partners in raising your children without being a couple. Telling the children about the divorce is an early opportunity to practice keeping your focus on the children’s needs and perspectives, rather than your own, as you begin the task of parenting in a post-divorce landscape. In the first conversation about your divorce with the children, you and your spouse have an opportunity to reassure them that you will continue to love them and work together to be their parents even though you are no longer a couple.

Tell them together. Experts agree that the first rule of telling the children is to do it together. If both parents actively participate in the discussion, and the decision can be presented as a mutual one, the children will benefit.

Remember that in keeping the intimate details confidential between you and your spouse, you are protecting your children’s ability to have a positive relationship with both parents.

Timing: keep it to yourself until you’re sure. Most experts recommend that you wait to tell the children until you know the decision is final, and something about your children’s lives is about to change, such as parents separating their households. Children may become confused, anxious, and preoccupied if parents say they are divorcing, but nothing changes for a prolonged period of time. When you do tell the children, choose a time when there are no significant other life events occurring such as birthdays, holidays, family celebrations, exams, competitions, or graduations, and make sure the children will have adequate opportunity to process the information and their emotional reactions. For example, it is generally better to tell the children on a Saturday morning than on the Sunday night before the return to school the next morning.

Give the children permission to love both parents. Children want and need to have a healthy relationship with both parents. Blaming your spouse, remaining silent while your spouse assumes the burden of telling the children, and becoming overly emotional during the discussion are all invitations to the children to take sides in the divorce. Be respectful of their right to have a positive relationship with the other parent by staying calm and using neutral language.

Blaming your spouse, remaining silent while your spouse assumes the burden of telling the children, and becoming overly emotional during the discussion are all invitations to the children to take sides in the divorce.

Keep calm and carry on. Children will do better when parents are strong, healthy, and reassuring. Some genuine sadness is appropriate, and will give children permission to have their own emotional response, but don’t overwhelm them with your emotions, and don’t show anger. Make sure that you are emotionally ready to support your children and be attuned to their response. If you’re not certain whether you can manage your emotions during the initial conversation with the children, practice what you will say with your spouse, friends, family, or a counselor until you know you will be able to remain reasonably calm when you sit down with the children and your spouse.

Steer clear of inappropriate adult information. Children should not be exposed to the marital dynamics that led to the breakdown of the couple relationship. Teenage children may be persistent in asking why the marriage broke down. In responding, it’s important not to lie, but to tell children that the information that is personal and private between the other parent and you, and that you will not share it.


Be open to a wide variety of reactions. Depending on their ages and temperaments, children may have a broad range of reactions. Many children will have specific questions about the immediate impact on their life, such as where they will live, whether they will continue to play on their sports teams, and where their things will be kept. Teenagers may rush to tell their friends, rather than discussing the divorce with you. Don’t try to force a conversation that your children don’t want to have, and be prepared to have individual discussions with each of your children as they process the information you have given them.

A Lesson in Emojis & Teens An important article for all parents by Stephanie Andre Editor’s note: Read with caution as the topic of this article is sensitive in nature.

Other emojis used for penis:

It starts the minute they get mobile. It doesn’t even have to be a phone. They can start texting in some way—be it on an iPad or other digital device. And as soon as that happens, as a parent, it’s a constant battle to keep up with the latest lingo, apps and now emojis to make sure you keep up with the conversation. In this issue of “what is happening with my tween/teen,” we are going to discuss the latter. So what are emojis? They’re symbols, or ideograms, that depict an idea or object rather than using words when texting. They allow an individual to say something without actually having to say it. When we look at it that way, it’s no surprise that today we are seeing more and more people—especially young people—use emojis when sexting (sexually explicit messaging). Emojis came on the scene around 2000 when users were able to download or copy various symbols from smileydictionary.com to use on their cellphones. Then as smartphones emerged, apps were available to download and add the symbols directly to the device’s keyboard. When the popularity for the applications soared, both Apple and Android made them part of the standard keyboards available on all devices. Below is a picture dictionary of the most common emojis used for sexting. Read on with caution as some of the images you are about to see might be offensive. Finding something like this on your child’s phone or in their online messages can be shocking. But, as parents, we need to know not only how our children are communicating, but also what they are communicating.

Genitalia: Other emojis used for vagina:

Most commonly used emojis for male and female respectively. The Peach can also be interchanged for a butt (homosexual). Important to take note with whom the exchange is taking place to determine what is what. @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 49


Other emojis used for intercourse: Most commonly used for intercourse. Also used for manual stimulation (female). ▶

Manual stimulation (male):

Oral sex:

69 sexual position: ◀O  ften when chatting with a stranger, through an app or otherwise, this is used to verify the person’s age.

Male orgasm

Orgasm, both for male and female interchangeably. ▶








Six Essential Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Cleaning Company by Leto Copeley


»» Insurance against theft is sometimes known as a fidelity bond, and protects the cleaning company against a claim you may make for theft of money or valuables. Of course, don’t leave your valuables out, no matter who is visiting your home! Potential thieves rarely open drawers or cabinets, but they may be tempted by a necklace left out on a counter.

ongratulations! You have finally arrived at the point in life where you are ready to hire someone to clean your house. You have worked long and hard to get here. Just as you have taken yourself seriously to earn the money to hire someone, you should take your search for a housekeeper seriously as well. Here are the questions to answer before hiring anyone.


Should you hire a professional service or a “trusted” employee of a friend?

It is tempting to consider hiring the woman who cleans the home of your cousin Marie. After all, Marie is satisfied with her, knows her, and it seems the easy choice. But is it the wisest choice? You only know what Marie knows about this person, and whether the person is well-mannered and cleans thoroughly is only part of the inquiry. Unless you run a service business yourself, you are likely an amateur at conducting background checks. And if Marie’s housekeeper gets sick, she won’t be able to make it, whereas a professional service can provide a replacement. For safety and reliability, a business is often the better choice. Assuming that you will be hiring a cleaning business, rather than an individual, here are some other questions to ask:


»» Workers’ compensation. This insurance covers a worker who is injured on the job. Laws vary by state, but you want to make sure that the employees are covered. A protected employee is a more satisfied employee and you don’t want someone disgruntled in your home.

Does the business run criminal background checks on all its employees?

You should ask whether the company does this, and whether they repeat the checks periodically. Which background service do they use? This is important to protect both your property and YOU. You don’t want to be alone in your house with someone who has a criminal history of assault.


Who is going to be in your home?


Do they carry insurance?

Will it be the same people each time? You may not be comfortable with a new group of people entering your home every week. If it will be the same crew, will the company let you know if there will be a change in the makeup of the crew? Check their policy on letting you know.

A reputable and responsible company will carry several types of insurance. »» Property Damage insurance will protect the company against a claim you may make if, for example, your antique vase is broken when the cleaning service employee backs up to a shelf while vacuuming.


What do others say about them?

You should check with business review sites such as Angie’s List, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau. Do a Google search for “complaints about ____________.” To be fair, keep in mind that not all complaints are legitimate. Also disgruntled people tend to write reviews more often than satisfied people, so don’t automatically dismiss a service just because they received a negative review. It’s how the company responded to the review, or whether it responded at all, that is just as important. Look out for the company’s reputation for taking responsibility if they break or damage something. Mistakes happen, even when people are trying to be careful, but the question is, do they own up to it and deal the problem?


Is the price too good to be true?

No one likes to spend money if they don’t have to. You may think, this is a cleaning service, it’s not a nanny, so you want a bargain. But think about it. How hard did you have to work to afford your furniture, your appliances? If your kitchen floor is ruined, how much money and effort will it take to get it fixed, even if the cleaning service acknowledges that they made a mistake? What about the dining room table that your grandmother gave you when you were just starting out? The wrong furniture polish, or a careless scratch caused by a dropped candlestick can cause a scar that will be difficult to fix. Often a company is cheap because it pays its workers peanuts and drives them to work as fast as possible so they can move on to the next job. Employees have little commitment to the employer or the work, and turnover is high. That is NOT the formula to get loving care for your precious home and objects. So, do your research, make the hire, and enjoy your new-found freedom from mopping and dusting!


Babyproofing 101 by Maureen May abyproofing your home can be an overwhelming process. After all, anyone who has spent a single afternoon with a crawling and adventurous child knows first-hand that they climb, pull and chew on everything. But take the time to do it. It is so important to give young children safe environments in which to explore the world. Starting small, without gadgets or devices, may help baby-proofing feel more manageable. To begin, sit, kneel or crawl through your living spaces—it will give you a sense of your child’s perspective. Then look for all the potential hazards and make the necessary changes to the environment and your habits.


»» Move breakables and sharp objects out of reach »» Tie window blind cords out of reach, or use cord anchors or cleats to secure them »» Tuck electrical cords behind or underneath furniture »» Start noticing and collecting small items on the floor like paper clips, coins, kibble and toys »» Use a toilet paper roll to gauge object size—if the object


fits inside the roll, it is a choking hazard »» Push in chairs at the table to discourage climbing (and falling) »» Close the lid to your toilet »» Open windows from the top rather than the bottom (screens are designed to keep bugs not, not children in) »» Unplug small appliances like toasters and paper shredders when not in use »» Set your home water heater to 120 degrees so the water coming out of your faucets cannot scald your child »» Remove or secure elevated objects, including televisions, bookends, and lamps, that could crush or injure your child Babyproofing devices, such as baby gates, outlet covers and cabinet ties are inexpensive and very effective. Buy and use them. Open stairs, electrical outlets, poisonous substances, and food beyond what a young child can safely consume pose real danger to babies and toddlers when they are accessible. And remember: no babyproofing gadget or device replaces competent adult supervision.

Enjoy Pools,

SAFELY! by Bret Hanna

ummer is here! Pools are open and ready for all the frolicking and fun, along with all the potential for dangerous situations. The leading cause of injury-related deaths for 1-to 4 year-olds is drowning, and drowning is the third leading cause of injury-related death among those 19 and under. But drowning isn’t the only danger. Water-induced oxygen deprivation can lead to anoxic brain injury short of death, and diving induced broken necks and other spinal cord injuries can result in severe permanent injury, including paraplegia, for people of all ages. As such, it is always helpful to revisit pool safety issues for both residential and community pools, that can help us all stay safe while enjoying them.


Backyard Pool Safety »» Install alarms at access points to the pool so the presence of someone around or in the pool is made known to those inside the house.

while using a pool, so emergency responders can be contacted immediately if need be. »» Take swimming lessons if necessary, and teach children how to swim so everyone can enjoy pools in as safe a way as possible. »» Share safety rules with all of those who may use your pool. Although many of the safety recommendations that apply to residential pools also apply to commercial pools, there are some things that are unique to community pools for patrons to consider:

Community Pool Safety »» Ask questions of those running the pool to determine if the pool is in compliance with applicable safety regulations and codes. »» Check to make sure life-saving equipment, like safety rings, is available and in good condition.

»» Make sure you have code-compliant drain covers and recirculation systems to avoid injury and death that can result from being trapped by them under water.

»» Check to see if there appears to be sufficient staffing of lifeguards to monitor the use of the pool given the number of patrons.

»» Install fencing around pools that is 4 feet high or higher, and install self-closing and self-latching gates at access points.

»» Make sure you directly supervise young children’s use of pools at all times; don’t rely solely on lifeguards. Work with lifeguards to keep young children safe in the water.

»» Use a pool cover that is in in good condition and working order when the pool is not in use to prevent falls into the water. »» Consider purchasing a surface wave or underwater disturbance alarm that can alert you to a child, pet or object in the water. »» Don’t leave young children unsupervised in a pool, even for a minute. »» Have a portable phone and/or cell phone with you at all times

There are also things that are universal to all settings that can save lives including getting certified or recertified in CPR and first aid, learning the Heimlich maneuver and being able to identify strokes and other life threatening situations. This might seem like a lot to take in, but being prepared and knowing your risks can make all the difference this summer while you’re having lots of sun and fun!


Social Media

Dos & Don’ts for Job Seekers ­­­by Brittany Monbarren


Do remember that employers, school/university administrators and others often check social media for information posted online.

Do be selective about who is accepted as a “friend” or “follower” on a social media account.

Do assume that status updates, photos and videos posted on social networks are permanent.

Do check—and be sure you completely understand—privacy settings.

Do use social media to showcase your knowledge in your field and expand your network.

Do follow companies in your industry, and "like" them.



Don’t post anything online that would cause problems if made public.

Don’t neglect to proofread your social media posts as carefully as you would your resume.

Don’t click on links that may appear to be unusual or suspicious.

Don’t post any inappropriate content— photos, videos or language.

Don’t forget that others can see your friends and their content, unless you’ve made your friend list private.

Don’t turn off email notifications of tagged posts, photos or videos being posted by others.

Medicare Set-Asides by John T. Bair

What is Medicare Set-Aside? A Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) is a fund created for the settlement of a Workers’ Compensation or liability case. It is established from a portion of the settlement amount and is used to pay for future injury-related or illnessrelated medical expenses that would otherwise be payable by Medicare. Funds must be established under an insured account and may be managed by the injured plaintiff or administered through a custodial account. Milestone coordinates the administration and set-up of your MSA through a third party to ensure that you are not over-funding the account.

Are MSAs Necessary? The Medicare Secondary Payer Act established that Medicare is the secondary benefit payer behind the responsible parties for Workers’ Compensation and liability claims. While current federal regulations do not require the use of MSAs, individuals involved in Workers’ Compensation and liability settlements are still required to adequately consider Medicare’s interests. If future illness-related or injury-related medical care will be needed, then a MSA is the preferred vehicle for protecting Medicare’s interests. Failure to do so can result in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) refusing Medicare coverage of all future medical treatments for the injured party. By establishing an

About the Firm

appropriately funded MSA, all parties to a settlement are protecting Medicare’s interest and are in compliance with the Medicare Secondary Payer Act.

How are MSAs Funded? MSAs can be funded in one of two ways: with a lump sum or with a structured arrangement, such as a structured settlement or a single premium immediate annuity (SPIA).

Should I Fund with a Lump Sum or a Structured Arrangement? Utilizing a structured arrangement can provide considerable savings over a lump sum. If a lump sum is used to fund the MSA, the entire amount must be exhausted before Medicare becomes the primary payer. Using a structured arrangement, on the other hand, requires an initial deposit in an amount equal to the first surgical procedure or replacement and two years of annual payments. After that initial deposit is made, the structure is designed to allocate regular deposits over a designated period of time. Once the funds are exhausted within a given period, Medicare will pay primary for further injury-related expenses during that period. Milestone will assist all parties in assessing the different funding options to find the most cost-effective solution.

Milestone Consulting, LLC is a comprehensive settlement planning and management firm. We believe that injured plaintiffs and their families deserve strategies designed to ensure a lifetime of financial security. Our consultants are licensed in all fifty states to provide guidance on settlementrelated issues including government benefits preservation, trust planning, Medicare Set-Asides, wealth preservation and annuities. We also provide mediation support to assist the plaintiff in reaching a settlement that will meet their present and future medical and financial needs.

737 Main Street, Suite 100 Buffalo, NY 14203 (716) 883-1833 (855) 836-2676 www.milestoneseventh.com

In addition to our work with plaintiffs and trial attorneys, we actively support a number of civil justice organizations, including The Injury Board, the American Association for Justice, the Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group, and statewide associations in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit our website at www.milestoneseventh.com.

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Milestone Consulting's Living Safer - Vol. 8, Ed. 2  

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