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Friday, June 4, 2010
GET SMART Keith Bohanna manages his diabetes through an interactive iPhone app: 8,9
Balance your hormones with tailor-made treatment: 4,5
GET READY, SET
Countdown to the Cork City marathon: 11
Your favourite coffee put to the health test: 12
Photograph by: Dylan Vaughan
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If you snore, it’s a major problem for you — and your partner. Arlene Harris reports on how to get a good night’s sleep Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON DIABETES PROGRAMME: A free education programme for people with type 2 diabetes will take place in Carrigaline, Co Cork, in July. The award-winning X-PERT Programme aims to inform people about their diabetes enabling them better look after themselves and their condition. If you are interested in attending the programme in Carrigaline, or would like more information, please contact the HSE South Community Dieticians on 021-4921641 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday). BLOOM 2010: Sustainability, local food and grow your own, are central themes to this year’s Bloom Festival which will be held in the Phoenix Park this weekend. GIY Ireland will be showing visitors just how much can be grown in a suburban garden and there will be more than 40 artisan food producers at the market. Children can enter the festival free of charge and there will be a variety of workshops for them. Tickets are on sale on www.bloominthepark.com or by calling 0818 300 260. HEART CLINIC: The Irish Heart Foundation will hold a free blood pressure and cholesterol testing clinic at the Community Centre, Ballinlough, on Wednesday June 9 from 10.30am to 12pm. For more details call their Cork office on 021-4505822 or if you have questions about stroke or heart disease you can also contact the Helpline 1890 432787. CARERS WORKSHOP: Acquired Brian Injury Ireland (ABI Ireland) is holding a stress management workshop for family carers of people with acquired brain injury (ABI) as part of National Carers Week (June 14 to 20). This workshop will be held on Tuesday, June 15 (10am to 2pm) at The Sanctuary, Stanhope Street, Dublin 7. Attendance is free but numbers are limited, so those interested in attending should register their interest with ABI Ireland early to avoid disappointment. If you would like further information, please contact Una Kinane project coordinator, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland at 01-2804 164 ext.207 or email@example.com. OPEN DAY: The Inner Awakening Open Day aims to bring the workshops, therapies etc that take place at Dervish in Cornmarket St Cork, to a wider audience. The two-day event includes a series of free seminars on a variety of therapies at The Bodega. Each free talk begins on the hour between 11am and 5pm and all are welcome. To find out more contact 021-4278 243 or log on to www.dervishtrade.com. ■ Items for inclusion in this column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Put it to bed
ORE than 400,000 Irish people have admitted to snoring while in a deep sleep. And although this figure may not seem excessive, it can be a huge issue for the snorer and more importantly their partner. Lying awake night after night listening to the repetitive sound of an incessant snore can cause serious discord for couples with sleep deprivation building up to irritation, resentment and health problems for both parties. “When people snore, the soft palate of the throat gets floppy and vibrates while breathing which causes the snoring sound,” says Dr Paul Heslin, a family GP in Dundrum, Dublin. “If the palate is longer, thicker or more relaxed than usual, the air going back and forth will generate a snoring sound.” “But this in itself is not actually a health issue — in fact the most dangerous side effect is a strain on the relationship caused by one partner keeping the other awake at night.” More 20% of men and 10% of women in Ireland are estimated to snore regularly and the impact of this condition can cause huge marital problems. “Partners of snorers should be given a DROWNED OUT: Incessant snoring can gold medal and early sainthood for what cause serious disharmony between couples. they have to put up with on a regular baPicture: Getty Images sis,” says Dr Heslin. “Broken sleep can be
very wearing and as well as causing health issues such as exhaustion and stress, it can also lead to animosity, irritability and anger. “In the interest of their relationship, I would advise all snorers to seek help. They may need to see their doctor as in some cases, a more serious condition such as obesity or sleep apnoea (holding breath while sleeping) could be the cause.” CUT OUT SNORING: ■ Reduce alcohol intake and alternate alcoholic drinks with water. ■ Minimise use of sleeping tablets. ■ Lose weight — fatty deposits around the neck can induce snoring. ■ Stop smoking. ■ Raise head during sleeping by tilting the top of the bed. ■ If suffering from allergies, use nasal spray or saline solution. ■ Avoid sleeping on your back. ■ Seek medical advice as there may be a more serious underlying problem. ■ “If you are sleeping with a snorer, try using ear plugs or even de-camping to another room,” advises Dr Heslin. “But make sure you encourage them to get the problem sorted.” ■ Silence — a new anti-snoring throat spray is available in pharmacies of F12.99, for a 50ml 30-day supply. For more information visit www.snoring.ie
HEALTH NOTES EATING out doesn’t mean you have to throw the serviette at healthy eating. By dining at one of the eateries signed up to the Happy Heart Eat Out campaign this month, you can pick and chose from a range of healthy options on the menu or simply ask for a small portion. The Irish Heart Foundation, Safefood and the HSE have joined together for this year’s campaign, which encourages caterers to offer healthy options, and encourages customers to “think small” when it comes to portion sizes. A full list of participating catering establishments is available on the Irish Heart Foundation website www.irishheart.ie. A day-long conference for parents of children with speech and language difficulties will be held on Saturday June 12 at the Cluas Centre, Exchange Hall and RUA Red Art Centre, both off Belgard Square North, Tallaght from 10am to 4.30pm. Keynote speaker is international expert Nellie Torres. For further information and to book a place, contact the Cluas Centre on 01-4940210, visit www.cluas.ie or email: email@example.com.
A dip in a swimming pool is a terrific way to cool down during summer. And although pools are safer than the beach, they still come with a safety warning. Parents need to be on their guard and be quick to respond to prevent a drowning. www.irishexaminer.com www.irishexaminer.com
DAIRY BOOST: Saadan Khan, Kayleigh Smylie and Elijah Abosede pupils from St Edwards National School, Sligo, promoting the national dairy council school programme.
Picture: Colin Gillen
Look for a swimming pool with a White Flag — a quality award which measures standards in swimming pools, gyms, spas and indoor leisure facilities in Ireland. Before using any swimming pool, make sure a qualified lifeguard is in attendance. To reduce the risk of injury, the Irish Water Safety in partnership with Swim Ireland and ILAM has produced swimming guidelines for aquatic facilities and swimming pools. For more information log onto: www.whiteflag.ie To help children reach their daily nutritional needs, the National Dairy Council is calling on more schools and parents to join its
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School Milk and Dairy Programme. A significant number of Irish children aged five-12 years and Irish teenagers have inadequate intake of nutrients such as calcium, vitamins A and D. And a worrying 42% of teenage girls and 23% of teenage boys have inadequate calcium intakes. The EU-subsidised School Milk Programme is a cost effective and easy way for parents to help children to respond to this nutritional gap — milk and dairy products are a natural source of calcium, vitamins B12 and B2 and iodine and protein. For more information log on to www.thefreshmilkclub.ie, or www.ndc.ie or call the NDC for a free information pack on 01-616 9726.
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THE SHAPE I'M IN
FTER a turbulent spring which saw her have a public row with ex-partner Johnny Ronan and fall out with model Rosanna Davison, life seems to be on the up for Xposé presenter Glenda Gilson. The 29-year-old was voted Ireland’s Most Glamorous TV Star at the 2010 TV Now Awards held last month. In March, she took the Best Dressed on the Night prize at the Peter Marks VIP Style Awards. “I was thrilled about that. You doll yourself up and it’s nice to get something at the end of it all,” says the woman who lives with parents Aileen and Noel in Castleknock, Dublin. Her brother, Damien, who is five years older, works as a car dealer. What shape are you in? I could be in better shape — running around the city trying to make appointments and flights can take its toll. I go twice a week to the gym and I’ve got a personal trainer. Do you have any health concerns? I’ve never been in hospital, apart from getting my tonsils out when I was five or six. I’ve got no allergies and — as far as I’m aware — nothing worrying runs in our family. What are your healthiest eating habits? Dinner is certainly my healthiest meal, simply because I still live at home and my mom is a great cook. I come in to a good healthy dinner, which always includes three veg.
What trait do you least like in others? Nosiness — I hate nosey people — also jealousy and I don’t like people who generally aren’t in good form.
A UNIQUE GIFT
A PERSONALISED IRISH EXAMINER FRONT PAGE
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What trait do you least like in yourself? Loads of things — I don’t know where to start. I wish I could sing. Do you pray? Yes, I do — absolutely. I wouldn’t pray every day but I’m not afraid of praying — and not just when I’m looking for something. What would cheer up your day? A stranger being nice, giving you a smile, a wink or holding a door open for you. Helen O’Callaghan
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What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Chocolate — I adore it. I probably have it every day. What would keep you awake at night? I’m a big-time worrier. If there’s anything on my mind that’s worth worrying about, I won’t sleep. It’s never really work stuff, but if I have to catch a flight I’d be awake all night thinking about it. Also I get upset if I’m arguing with people or if I think I might have upset somebody. How do you relax? Hanging out with my mother, watching a movie, sitting on the couch. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? Jack Nicholson would be top of the list — he’d be great craic. I’d also invite Barack Obama and Meryl Streep.
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When did you last cry? Probably only a few days ago. God only knows over what, but I’m a worrier and I let things affect me big-time. What’s your favourite smell? I like strong smells. I like the smell of permanent marker and petrol, also how clothes smell when they come out of the dryer. What would you change about your appearance? I wish my hair was longer. It’s curly and I keep blow-drying it straight so I’m going against the natural way of it.
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FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 2010
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A London-based doctor is using bio-identical hormones to individually treat women for
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debilitating menopause symptoms and other health issues. Áilín Quinlan reports
This could turn your life around N
Not only did Dr Gluck resolve my menopausal symptoms but she discovered the existence of this tumour which the consultant reckoned I’d had for about two years
Picture: POSED BY MODEL: Getty Images
OT so long ago, Mary* was in the throes of a menopause at its worst. The mother-of-three was weepy and lacking in energy, suffering from night sweats, hot flushes and fatigue, regularly experiencing memory loss and constantly felt off-form. Her doctor put it down to a busy lifestyle — she works from an office in her home near Drogheda, Co Louth — and the stresses involved in looking after three adolescents. One night, Mary, then in her late 40s, sat down to watch an Oprah Winfrey item about the menopause and bio-identical hormones — and her life changed. “I thought it sounded good — all the symptoms mentioned seemed familiar to me: emotional sensitivity, weakness, lack of energy, feeling off form, memory loss, fatigue, night sweats, hot flushes. At the time I was going to the doctor and he was saying I was just overtired.” However, despite her doctor’s reassurances, Mary, who had opted not to go down the route of conventional hormone replacement therapy, felt there was more to her problem than simply the stresses and strains of being a working mother with adolescent children. She decided to investigate bio-identical hormones and a quick internet search brought mention of Dr Marion Gluck, a London-based GP specialising in women’s health who is internationally known as a pioneer in their use. Mary made an appointment to see Dr Gluck at her clinic. “Dr Gluck took blood tests which showed some of my hormones were out of balance. She prescribed progesterone and oestrogen which I got in a cream form.” The results were almost immediate, says Mary, who is now 50 and now travels to London twice a year for a face-to-face consultation on top of regular telephone consultations with Dr Gluck. “Within a few days I noticed a difference — my mood improved. I wasn’t as tired and my overall well-being improved. The night sweats stopped after about two weeks and the hot flushes subsided and eventually disappeared.” There was another, unexpected, benefit to her trip: “Dr Gluck also discovered very high levels of calcium in my blood which indicated the existence of a parathyroid tumour. After I returned to Ireland her diagnosis was confirmed and I had an operation. “Not only did she resolve my menopausal symptoms but she discovered the existence of this tumour which the consultant reckoned I’d had for about two years.” Mary is one of about 100 Irish patients a year who trickle through the doors of Gluck’s clinic in London seeking bio-identical hormone treatment. Gluck is a former emergency room doctor — she changed course after becoming disillusioned with the way hospital patients were treated — and is now considering running a workshop and follow-up mobile clinic in Ireland. So how does it work? Bio-identical replacement hormone therapy (BHRT) is the use of supplemental doses of hormones that
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Everyone is unique and everyone needs a custom-made solution to their hormone problems. You should not have a one-size-fits-all treatment
Getting to the key issue
BIO-IDENTICAL hormones can hold the key to better health for patients with problems such as endometriosis, PMT, period-related headaches and fatigue, according to holistic GP Dr Patrick McGovern, pictured right. He regularly sees people with such problems — and all of them need to have their hormones measured. “If, for example, a woman has a problem which consistently appears in relation to a particular phase of her monthly cycle, then, until proven otherwise, you have most likely a hormone-related problem,” says the Dublin-based doctor. “To care for this woman properly one ought to investigate her oestrogen and progesterone levels at the different phases of her menstrual cycle to see exactly what is happening at the point where she is experiencing symptoms. ” Armed with the relevant information about the patient’s oestrogen and pro-
— Dr Marion Gluck
have a chemical structure identical to the hormones the body naturally produces. It can be taken via a cream, a suppository, orally or injected. Some bio-identical hormones are made by drug companies, approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and are sold in standard doses. Other bio-identical hormone preparations are made at special pharmacies called compounding pharmacies, which make the preparations on a case-by-case basis for each patient. These custom-made preparations aren’t approved by the FDA. “A lot of GPs are not very knowledgeable about bio-identical hormones, and the treatment is not readily available from GPs,” explains Dr Gluck. She says the big advantage of bio-identical hormones — which Gluck uses to treat everything from menopause to fertility issues, bone density problems, aches and pains, headaches and depression — is that they’re tailored to the needs of the individual patient. “Everyone is unique and everyone needs a custom-made solution to their hormone problems. You should not have a one-size-fits-all treatment. “Hormones regulate every function in our bodies so we all need individual solutions. Not everyone who has diabetes needs the same amount of insulin. The amount of insulin prescribed is tailored to the needs of each diabetes patient. “We should apply this concept to women seeking hormone replacement therapy.” BHRT and bio-identical hormones in general, she says, tend to have less side-effects and elicit more patient compliance. “The problem with a lot of medication is people don’t continue to take it because of the side effects. With bio-identical hormones, compliance is high because people feel better after taking it. “Many women on conventional HRT, for
gesterone levels, he says, it is possible to intervene therapeutically and re-dress the hormone imbalance with bio-identical hormone treatment such as an oestradial patch. He believes more serious consideration should be given to the possible benefits of bio-identical hormone treatment generally: “The medical profession as a whole tends to be wary of HRT because of the reported links with cancer, but it is important to remember that these studies were mostly concerned with using oestrogens which were not bio-identical. “I feel the medical profession could give the concept of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy more consideration. When you give a synthetic hormone you are giving a hormone made from mare’s urine — but bio-identical hormones try to exactly mimic the missing hormone in the woman’s body. ” I would view bio-identical hormones as part of the holistic medical approach and I believe they justify more consideration – I think we need to re-think our blanket ban on hormone replacement therapy after menopause. Perhaps bio-identical hormone replacement therapy could be considered in this context — and it may be safer.” ■ www.drummartinclinic.ie
Know your hormones NEW TREATMENT: Dr Marion Gluck is an advocate of the use of bio-identical hormones. Picture: Fotoware
example, put on weight, get breast tenderness and there is the risk of breast cancer.” Once the hormones are prescribed in the correct dose there is little risk to the patient, she says. Furthermore, because they are usually applied in a cream they are not processed in the liver and will not cause liver damage. Regular three-monthly follow-ups are an essential part of the treatment to fine-tune the hormones as the patients’ needs change, she warns. Maintaining a good hormone balance is extremely beneficial to a person’s overall well being, says Gluck, who, along with nutritionist Vicki Edgson, has just published a book, It Must Be My Hormones. According to Gluck, the treatment improves your energy levels, your mood, your memory and your muscle tone. She says it can also prevent osteoporosis and make you more motivated. Diet is important too, she warns. Hence the input from Edgson, who warns in the
book that nutrition can have a profound impact on a person’s health. However, she says a DIY approach is not advisable. “I would be totally against anyone trying to source these hormones over the internet. You don’t know where these hormones are sourced and there is no certification of quality so you don’t know what you’re getting. “Hormones should also only be prescribed by doctors — they are extremely powerful substances and you need to treat them with respect and knowledge,” she warns. Gluck says she knows of people who have bought natural thyroid medication over the internet, which if used incorrectly can catapult the thyroid into an over-active state and eventually result in heart failure.
■ Oestradial: This is the principal oestrogen found during the productive years. Effective for the relief of hot flushes, incontinence, vaginal dryness, osteoporosis and psychological wellbeing. ■ Estriol: The oestrogen needed in large quantities during pregnancy. It has potential protective properties against the production of cancerous cells. ■ Progesterone: The ‘pro-gestation’
■ * Not her real name ■ It Must Be My Hormones by Dr Marion Gluck and Vicki Edgson, F17, is published this week by Penguin
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hormone whose most important function is in the female reproductive cycle. Progesterone imbalances are associated with a variety of female problems such as infertility, post-natal depression and pre-menstrual tension. ■ Testosterone: Plays a very important role in the overall health and wellbeing of women and men. It is very important in the development of strong muscles, bones and ligaments as well as increasing energy and relieving depression.
BABY BOOST: Oestrogen is needed in large quantities in pregnancy, and may help protect against cancer. Picture: iStock
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A new film aims to banish the secrecy around menstruation, says Arlene Harris
That time of the month F OR years it has been something of a taboo subject — the hushed tone, the knowing glance and the secret solidarity surrounding ‘that time of the month’ which has been called everything from ‘women’s troubles’ to The Curse. But times are changing and while many women still don’t like to reveal all about their menstrual cycle, they no longer feel ashamed about it either. On Wednesday June 9, a pioneering documentary will be screened in Dublin — Moon Inside You highlights the physical and emotional changes that take part in every female body throughout their menstrual cycle. Coinciding with the film, a menstrual health workshop will also be taking place and experts, Alexandra Pope, pictured left, and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer will be addressing issues surrounding every aspect of the topic. Pope has written numerous books on female health including The Fertile Body Method and The Pill, Are You Sure It’s For You? and says the combined film and workshop is a groundbreaking event. “This is the first time a film has been made for the big screen that deals with menstruation as a whole,” she says. “It is not just an educational film and it deals with the fact that we are talking about a normal event and not a sickness. “It highlights the director’s journey to make sense of her own experience of menstruation and also talks to people from around the world canvassing opinions that range from those who see it as something to be repressed and others who find it empowering.” Pope is mystified as to why there is such a taboo surrounding the menstrual cycle and believes that because it is a female issue, it is not seen in a positive light. “Why is something that is a normal, healthy process portrayed as making women unclean, weak, dangerous or just plain difficult?” she asks. “This is surely connected to the status of women and I believe the more empowered we are, the more menstruation will be viewed in the same light.” The English author says if more women pay attention to their menstrual health, we are less likely to suffer from issues related to the monthly cycle. “Menstrual problems aren’t normal, or something you have to put up with, they are signals of health problems,” she explains. “The menstrual cycle is a stress-sensitive system in women; responding to who you are on the inside and what’s happening on the outside — all the time giving you feedback on how you’re getting on. “So if you experience a lot of problems around menstruation such as extreme fatigue, emotional swings or pain, it’s your body telling you that you’ve been overdoing it and it’s time to put more effort into taking care of yourself.” Menstrual health issues include:
■ PMS ■ Heavy bleeding ■ Pain
Picture: Getty Images
■ Fibroids ■ Endometriosis The aim of the menstrual health workshop is to teach women how to overcome any problems relating to their cycle and reproductive system. “At the workshop we will teach self-care strategies for healing menstrual problems,” says Pope. “In particular we teach women
how to work with the rhythm of their own cycle — to notice the changing pattern of energy and mood and work with it rather than expect themselves to be the same all of the time. “Most women feel that once they cooperate with their own rhythmic pattern, they get more done and feel kinder to themselves — it’s so simple,” she adds.
■ Moon Inside You — A Secret Too Well Kept will be screened next Wednesday at Oscailt, Pembroke Road, Dublin 4. The film will start at 6.45pm and again at 9pm. Following the viewing, menstrual health discussions will take place. Tickets cost F5. ■ For more information visit www.thefertilebody.com, www.mooninsideyou.com and www.wildgenie.com
Peak menstrual health affects fertilility ALEXANDRA POPE recommends the following tips for boosting menstrual health: ■ Allow yourself to rest during your period ■ Make sure you have a healthy diet ■ Exercise regularly — making time for specific techniques for menstrual problems. ■ Avoid tampons if suffering from period pain ■ Reduce toxic overload from beauty products and make-up ■ Minimise alcohol, sugar and caffeine intake ■ Stop smoking
Colleague and fertility specialist Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer says good menstrual health is vital for fertility. “All the things that build optimal menstrual wellbeing are the same as those that build optimal fertility,” she says. “Also a woman in touch with the physical changes of her cycle, charting her temperature and mucus, will be much more aware of when she’s ovulating and conversely know if ovulation isn’t happening.” Wurlitzer says it is important to get to know your body in order to maximise your fertility.
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“Regard your fertility as being more than just a physical thing,” she advises. “Your mental and emotional state can directly impact on or enhance your fertility so it is important to make changes that will help you to be in a healthy state, physically and emotionally too. “Learn and develop skills to manage stress and include regular deep relaxation in your daily life. Relaxation helps the body to work optimally,” she adds.
BODY BOOST: It is advised you cut alcohol intake for menstrual health and avoid using tampons, left, if you have pain.
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While up to 70% of people have affairs, only 2% admit it, which is a lost opportunity for growth
After the affair
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HAVE little doubt that John Terry, Tiger Woods and Ronan Keating will long remember the affair that shattered their privacy. I am not comfortable writing about other people’s private lives, primarily because I believe it is grossly invasive, but also because I do not know enough about the sources of their distress to make any mature comment. In any case, only the person concerned knows (either consciously or unconsciously) his or her own story and what it is that lead to acting in ways that occasioned considerable conflict. I can only imagine how threatening it may be for any married man or woman when the discovered affair results in his or her partner wanting to end the marriage — probably just as threatening as it is for the partner who discovers the affair. But does an affair always have to lead to the end of a marriage or a long-term couple relationship? Why somebody embarks on an affair is only something only he or she can answer. Some 60% to 70% of individuals in long-term relationships have an affair, rarely, if ever, with the intention of leaving their partners. However, only about 2% of adults admit to such liaisons. Unless we acknowledge that affairs are a common phenomenon then it becomes impossible to explore and understand what the driving forces behind such relationships are. But then being real (talking about reality — what is true) and authentic, can be a risky business and when it is, secrets become the order of the day rather than openness. There is no suggestion here that I am advocating affairs but there is an urgent need to examine the whys and wherefores of this phenomenon. Certainly, when it comes to children, the fallout from marital breakdown can be devastating, particularly when the marital relationship ends in conflict and when that conflict continues after separation. There is also the very real pain experienced by the woman or man whose partner has had the affair to be compassionately considered. It is frequently the case that an affair is a way of having unmet needs in the couple relationship addressed and not just sexual needs. But the power of the sexual drive must be recognised and that power does not diminish when a person commits to a couple relationship. There is also the reality that it is in our nature to be attracted to others and that, again, that attraction does not disappear when you marry. There is also the very limited definition of what constitutes an affair — “Did you sleep with him (or her)?” I have encountered many individuals who have had long-term affairs that were purely and powerfully of an emotional nature, without which their respective marriages might not have survived. It would be far more mature for these persons to have spoken openly about their unmet emotional needs to their partner, but, somehow, they were
The Picture: Collins, Dublin, Colin Keegan
I believe that a discovered affair offers immense possibilities for a marriage relationship to deepen or, at least, for a mature parting not in secure enough places to do so. When individual maturity is low or when it is highly risky — physically and emotionally — to speak the truth, then what often results is triangulation. Triangulation is where the unhappy partner finds a lover to have unmet sexual or intellectual or emotional needs met and when the unsuspecting partner discovers the affair, it is often the lover who becomes the target to be shot at. I believe that a discovered affair offers immense possibilities for a marriage relationship to deepen or, at least, for a mature parting of the ways to emerge. The Chinese word for crisis means problem plus opportunity. Critically, the partner who is traumatised, angry and deeply hurt requires immediate holding and support — this is not a time for rash decisions, but neither is it a time for in-depth discussions about what has transpired. When the partner who feels betrayed is ready, then the opportunity to finally bring truth and openness into the relationship exists and it has been my experience that some couples get to know each other more deeply for the first time. As a result of their enforced authenticity, they begin to appreciate the depth and importance of their relationship with one another and to recognise how, somehow, each lost sight of self and the other. When what has been unspoken becomes spoken, there are immeasurable opportunities for the deepening of intimacy. It’s crucial the truth brings about resolution of conflict — and that may mean staying together, in a more real way, or separating, in a mature way. ■ Dr Tony Humphreys is a clinical psychologist and author of several books including Myself/My Partner.
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A DIFFERENT VIEW ON LIFESTYLE
Your guide to fitness, health, happiness and lifestyle. Great writers and mentors. Where you come first.
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Ailin Quinlan says portable technology can be an invaluable information source for people with health concerns but is no substitute for a GP visit
T consultant, Keith Bohanna, has had diabetes since he was a teenager, so he’s used to monitoring his insulin levels — he did it for years with pen and paper. But that’s all changed. Keith has type one diabetes: his body doesn’t produce the insulin needed to metabolise his carbohydrate intake. “The key requirement is to balance your insulin intake with your carbohydrate intake,” says Bohanna, who is in his mid-40s and an accountant. For decades, the Kilkenny man conscientiously recorded his daily insulin, carbohydrate, and activity levels in little booklets, but he kept losing the booklets. Eighteen months ago, Keith ditched the booklets, instead using the internet as a health resource. Keith bought an iPhone app, UTS Diabetes, a downloadable tool that can be used to diagnose symptoms, track calorie intake, monitor sleep and mood swings, identify allergies or help you quit smoking — all via the touch screen in your back pocket. (An estimated 300,000 iPhones have been sold to date.) Keith’s diabetes app is a self-contained phone software: “It synchronises with an online store of information that I input. It provides me with tables and graphs, which enable me to effectively analyse the relationship between my activity and my insulin and carb intake,” he says. “This means I can manage my diabetes effectively. I inject four times a day and the app enables me to monitor, analyse, and assess what I need at a particular point of the day.” Keith first heard about the app via a blog: “It only cost about F2 or F3. I got it from the App Store, run by Apple — the store contains more than 100,000 apps on everything from health to entertainment. For me, one of the key advantages of the app is that it is on my phone, which is not as easily mislaid. It also gives you a variety of ways to analyse data. And the app keeps information in both table and graph form, which makes it very easy to analyse at a glance and spot recurring patterns or trends,” he says. Dr Anna Clarke, health promotion and research manager of the Diabetes Federation of Ireland
is positive about the use of apps for self-regulation. But she warns users to be careful when it comes to choosing software. “With software programmes coming from the States the measure of blood sugar is different from Ireland. This needs to be calculated or else the software reset,” she says, adding that it’s important to back up all recorded data. The popularity of apps is increasing, says Damien Mulley, IT consultant and MD of Mulley Communications. “There’s a huge variety of apps available on the market,” he says. He is particularly taken, for instance, by a new app that monitors the sleep cycle. Others can take your temperature, or even help you track the cause of a recurring headache: “There is an app that can record your sleeping cycle, which means you put your phone on your bed and it records the movement of your body during the night,” says Mulley. “It can determine when you’re in REM sleep or deep sleep, or about to wake up, and indicate whether you’re getting a good sleep or not.” But whether it’s pedometers, calorie counters or gadgets for checking your BMI index, apps just make it easier to keep track, says Jack Murray, managing director of Media Contacts.ie. “The app is there in your phone, it can analyse what you do and give you feedback about your diet or activity, depending on the app,” he says. Murray attributes the increasing popularity of the app to the fact that people are increasingly health conscious, but more
CLOSE WATCH: Keith Bohanna monitors his diabetes via his iPhone app. Picture: Dylan Vaughan
time-poor — and apps help them keep track of what they’re doing in a time-effective way: “If you go for a run, you can download a pedometer, which keeps track of your steps and lets you know exactly how much you’ve done,” he says. Even more sophisticated technologies are available for the health-conscious — joggers can avail of the Garmin Forerunner, for instance, which monitors your heart rate and tells you not only how fast you went, but what
parts of the run were the most beneficial. “It charts your heart rate over the run and gives you back data on your workout. It also shows what part of the exercise was most beneficial,” says Murray, who recently used a similar gadget when training for a long-distance cycle. “It told me my heart rate, my speed, etc, and you could see the level of fitness. It told me how much aerobic exercise I was actually doing.
“Basically, rather than going out blind and just doing it, you have this well of information that shows how you’re performing,” he says. “It’s scientific, but it’s easy to understand and accessible,” says Murray, adding that, essentially, the new technology simply helps people learn more about how their bodies work. “It helps log information in a clever way that they can see at the click of a button.” Alas, it’s no substitute for the hard work: “Apps are an intelligent way of doing the same thing — but you still have to bust a gut and perspire,” he says. Mulley says apps and internet health websites may be helpful for men who are reluctant to visit a doctor: “Men can be shy about declaring their problem to a doctor — but they might possibly type symptoms into Google and get information back.” Murray says the internet should not be the sole basis of a diagnosis. There’s a reason why people go to college and study medicine for seven years, or more, before working their way up through a challenging health system. He says: “A web page is not going to encompass all that knowledge and experience. It is a resource and should not be viewed as the be all and end all. What you need is curated information — and then to see your doctor. You cannot fully trust a piece of technology, you have to get a second opinion,” he says. Galway GP, John Morris, says: “Over
— GP Dr John Morris
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“I research medical issues myself and I have come across extremely up-to-date and reliable information — equally, I have found sub-standard websites that are selling products or ideas rather than trying to help patients.” Dr Morris uses apps in his day-to-day work. “There are a few good medical apps, such as Medscape, which is a medical search engine, which accesses recent research on a variety of different topics and up to 3,500 research papers — that’s on my iPhone, at the moment,” he says. A popular app with doctors is Medical Calc, which provides guidelines and medical formulae of different sorts, including everything from calculating an insulin regime for a diabetic or estimating the date of delivery of a baby. “They are very useful tools,” says Morris, who also advises patients to ensure that the information on an app is reliable and up to date. “The medical profession cannot monitor or police all the apps that are available. It’s when people are using technology, of any sort, as a substitute for sound medical judgement that problems can arise,” he says. If you decide to use an app to calculate your insulin intake, for example, and already know how to calculate this daily insulin requirement yourself, then you will know whether the app you purchase is reliable. However, if you’re not experienced, you need to ensure that any app you download is based on correct formulae. “Apps are no more than an extension of the internet and no app out there is a substitute for sound medical advice and medical judgement, at the end of the day,” says Dr Morris. “If you’re using an app for a medical condition of any kind, make sure your GP knows what you are doing, or get them to verify that what the app is doing is correct.”
HEALTH TIPS 1000 Contains a collection of more than 1,000 useful health tips — concisely written for quick and easy review. iWORKOUT LITE Described as “a personal trainer in your pocket”, this light version of the ultimate fitness and exercise guide includes exercise videos, trainer tips, and metronomes to time your reps. WEB MD WebMD gives you medical information on demand including symptom identification and basic first aid. The Symptom Checker allows you select the part of the body that is troubling you to learn about potential conditions or issues. GYM BUDDY Tired of trying to keep track of your workout sessions on that sweaty notebook you often forget? Gym Buddy is a customisable journal allowing you record every single workout you do as well as allowing you setup a training schedule. CPR & CHOKING Developed as a public service by the University of Washington, this application provides instant information on properly performing CPR and how to aid a choking victim. CLOSE CALL Close Call is a simple way to make your phone more secure and useful. The app allows you to put in your phone number, a short message, and an image to create a custom health alert. Along with a photo and a message, it allows you to customise the message of your iPhone wallpaper. SHAPEUP CLUB CALORIE TRACKER Set your own personal weight goals from food database containing more than 125,000 items. Add your own food, meals or exercises, while tracking calories, nutrition and water intake. Monitor weight, waist, body fat, and see your progress in weekly charts. RUNNING LOG Record your workouts and rest days, and see your history and trends on the visual calendar and summary. Allows you input distance, duration, effort level and type of run. Good for pro or a casual runners. ■ Note: All apps are available on iTunes and can also be used on PCs. — John Daly
There is an app that can record your sleeping cycle. It can determine when you’re in REM sleep or deep sleep and whether you’re getting a good sleep or not
The medical profession cannot monitor or police all the apps that are available. It’s when people are using technology of any sort as a substitute for sound medical judgement that problems can arise Picture:Andrew Downes
the last 10 years, there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of patients presenting to GPs, or at hospitals, with an idea as to what’s wrong with them, because they’ve researched it on the internet.” In one sense, it’s beneficial, he says, because Googling their symptoms can convince some people to take much-needed action — but they must ensure that the source is credible, up to date and relevant. The trouble with using Google as a diagnostic tool for researching a set of symptoms, he says, is that the ‘most accessed’ or most popular site may not always be the most medically reliable one. “Patients need to be able to trust the information they are getting,” he says. Because a lot of websites will err on the side of caution and list the most serious illnesses first, there is the possibility that patients may be taken aback, assuming they are a ‘worse case’ scenario. Another problem is that if a person Googles a symptom and finds nothing relevant, they may make the mistake of dismissing it as a thing of no importance. “What you need is to be able to interpret the information that you get, and you can’t do that without having studied medicine,” Morris says. “You could be at risk of underestimating the implications of a particular illness, or of over-estimating it or even dismissing it.”
FREE TO DOWNLOAD
— IT consultant Damien Mulley
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Dr Niamh Houston
Dr Niamh Houston is a GP with a special interest in integrative medicine. If you have a question about your child’s health email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork
I AM six months pregnant and have thrush. Will this harm the baby? Are there any natural treatments I can try?
PROTECT YOURSELF: Live natural yoghurt is thought to provide a natural anti-infective against thrush.
A. During pregnancy the vagina is rich in a sugar called glycogen which helps thrush thrive. It won’t affect your baby who is safely sealed inside your uterus. You may find thrush comes and goes while you’re pregnant. Although it may take a while to clear up and be a bit of a nuisance, it isn’t anything to worry about. You may already have used anti-fungal pessaries and creams that are suitable for your stage of pregnancy. Don’t take medicines that you have to swallow to treat thrush as they may not be safe. If you think you have thrush, tell your doctor. She may take a look at the area around your vagina to establish if it is thrush. She may also take a vaginal swab and send to the lab for testing to make sure it is not a strain of thrush resistant to standard treatment. And she may want to test you for diabetes if thrush continues to be a problem. General self-care includes wearing loose cotton not nylon underwear. Don’t lie for too long in a hot bath as this provides the perfect warm, moist environment for thrush. Avoid perfumed bubble baths also. Watch your diet. As glycogen is a sugar, reduce your consumption of sugar and sugary foods. Eat whole fungi-busting foods such as garlic and onions. Live natural yoghurt contains probiotic cultures and is thought to provide a natural anti-infective substance. Inserting yoghurt into the vagina during pregnancy and straight after birth is not recommended. You could also try taking lactobacillus acidophilus as a supplement. Calendula cream can help ease the itching. Tea tree essential oil one to two drops with 10 drops of calendula tincture added to the bath may help. Q. I have always had irregular periods, and am having trouble getting pregnant. My doctor thinks I may have a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome. I am due to start taking the medication Clomid. Is there anything else that can help treat this? A. It’s not known why some women develop this syndrome, but this imbalance in female hormones can result in irregular or no menstruation, excess hair growth and obesity. In PCOS, your body produces an excess of the male androgen hormones. Ovulation occurs less frequently than normal or the ovaries don’t release eggs at all, resulting in an irregular or absent menstrual cycle. Some, but not all, women with PCOS have enlarged ovaries with multiple cysts, however this can also be found in women who do not have this condition. PCOS is
the main cause of infertility in women. Clomid is an anti-oestrogen medication taken in the first part of your cycle to trigger ovulation. About 80% of women are able to conceive using Clomid. Sometimes another medication used to regulate insulin levels — metformin can be used . If you don’t become pregnant using Clomid and metformin, your doctor may recommend using gonadotrophins — specific hormone injections. The ability to use insulin effectively is reduced in PCOS and this can result in high blood sugar levels and diabetes. Women with PCOS are also more likely to develop high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Early diagnosis and treatment of this condition is important to help reduce the risk of long-term complications, which include diabetes and heart disease.
Improving diet and a weight management programme is also essential in the management of PCOS. Include complex carbohydrates, which are high in fibre in your diet. The more fibre in a food, the more slowly it’s digested and the more slowly your blood sugar levels rise. High fibre-carbohydrates include whole-grain breads and cereals, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice and beans. Limit less healthy, simple carbohydrates such as biscuits, cakes, processed foods and fizzy drinks. Reducing calorie intake and increasing daily physical activity will help in weight loss and lower blood sugar levels. Acupuncture may also help — this has been shown in some studies to help women achieve regular ovulation and may help in conception also. It is best to attend an acupuncturist with expertise in this area. Avoid taking herbal remedies with Clomid and tell your doctor if you are receiving any complementary health treatments.
NOTE: The information contained in Dr Houston’s column is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor first
Catherine Shanahan MUM’S WORLD Feelgood
HERE are certain games children play that test our mettle far more than white stair carpet or a bowl of painstakingly prepared dinner turned upside down. Take Red Rover, where two rows of hand-holding kids start 30 feet apart and challenge each other to barrel at speed through their linked-limb defences. The danger with this is “clotheslining”, where those who play dirty raise their joined hands to catch the runner on the neck. Another playground favourite is Butcher, where a gang of kids kick their victim like a blown up pig’s bladder ’til he or she cries out in desperation “Butcher”, the byword to deliverance. Hide-and-seek seems harmless by comparison but not in a child with the traits of the Jackal. Lughaidh hides without ever announcing that the game is underway. This creates a Titanic-size panic for the parent unaware that
the child has vanished voluntarily and is curled up quietly in some hidey-hole waiting for the seeker to appear. I left Lughaidh playing in the back garden while I changed Dearbhail’s nappy upstairs. When I came down, he was nowhere to be found: I scoured the house and garden in vain. He failed to respond to my frantic cries, and did not answer to his name. Desperation brewing, I ran to the garage and threw back the half open door. There, sitting on an office chair was Teeny Houdini, escapologist extraordinaire. Later that evening I filled in his father on the main event of the day. Without shifting his gaze from a Magner’s League fixture, he tut-tutted at his son’s errant ways, before boosting the volume and settling down with some tinnies to watch his favourite team play. The following day I travelled to Dublin,
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handing over the reins of care. Lughaidh’s Dad was on duty, equipped with a fixtures list, outlining how, when and where to feed, change and water his charges and find them some clothes to wear. In the midst of it all, Lughaidh went AWOL, much to his father’s dismay. Having searched unsuccessfully, he roped in the neighbours, trying to keep panic at bay. Eventually he found him, crouched in the garage, at the end of a stressful day. The moral of this story is no woman can compete with the lure of the oval ball or that men can feign interest at the drop of a hat if it means the TV can stay on. Had Lughaidh’s Dad listened to where I had found him he would have known the first place to look but there was too much at stake in the Magner’s League game and he’d much rather listen to Hook.
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For participants, the Cork marathon will be the last of many hard runs, says John Daly
With less than 24 hours to go, marathon runners will have tapered down their long training runs and are preparing themselves for the challenge ahead. Run through your checklist to ensure that the small details are covered. ■ Start with your toenails, trim them properly — better do it a day in advance and not so close that they bleed. ■ Arrange your clothing paying particular attention to the weather — decide on the best combination for the climatic conditions you will encounter. ■ Your shoes are the most important item — clean the soles and be
sure the laces are sound, a broken lace during the race can be a hazard. ■ Hydrate well — this varies depending, but drink enough the night before to possibly necessitate a nocturnal visit to the loo. ■ Eat your usual running breakfast — toast, bagels, non-acidic fruit like bananas are popular, avoid the unfamiliar. Again, drink plenty of water. ■ Make sure you have safety pins to attach your running number. ■ As soon as you arrive at the start point, make straight for the toilets and avoid the last-minute rush. ■ Be calm, know that this marathon is just another step in your ongoing learning curve. Enjoy the moment.
10 TOP TIPS
F YOU are in Cork city this weekend, the where you can run five miles should be a buzz of the marathon will be inescapable. process spread over six months. Ease into it, The popular sporting event attracts more don’t push yourself too hard in those first runners every year, as people of all ages take to weeks, and enjoy it. Once you develop the the roads to challenge their determination and habit of running, it becomes a wonderful part endurance. of your life. I’m still running regularly and With this year’s course altered to remove the plan to keep going for as long as I can,” says hills that were so difficult last year, the scene is Treacy, who is 53 today. set for a day of drama, courage and joyous “Running is for everybody,” says James achievement for the 10,000 participants. As, per- Cosgrove, of the Riverside chiropractor clinhaps, the ultimate sporting test, whether you run ic, echoing the sentiments of John Treacy. a relay section or the 26.2 miles, marathon par“Over the recent months, it’s been great to ticipation requires attention to safety, preparation see so many people out on the and a steady build-up to the big day. streets of the city and suburbs John Treacy, one of the country’s most training for this year’s Cork city recognised sporting figures, who represented marathon. And while the Ireland at four Olympic Games, and won marathon won’t have the huge the silver medal in the marathon at the Los numbers of participants as LonAngeles Olympics, in 1984, says a visit to don, New York or Berlin, it your doctor is the first stop for aspiring does have a unique selling point: marathoners. a marathon relay event that en“Getting a health check should be part of ables mass participation of people the preparation for anyone taking up the who just want to run five or six sport, a routine visit with your GP to miles, as opposed to the full ensure you are ready,” he says. “Af26.2 mile event,” he says. ter that, your running shoes will As the enthusiasm for be the most important thing you the sport increases, so, ever buy — very good shoes are too, do the associated inan absolute essential over any juries. “In the clinic, we other item in your bag. Get adhave seen the gradual vice and be comfortable with increase in the number your footwear, it’s the only of running-related inthing between you and those juries over these past unforgiving surfaces you’ll few months,” Cosrun on.” grove says. Formulating a schedule “Most of these should also rank high on were simply the reany beginner’s list: “Write sult of overloading out a running plan for the joints by doing the first week — decide MARATHON MAN: John Treacy won silver in too much, too soon. the 1984 Olympics marathon in Los Angeles. : The slow, steady apto run, or walk, about two miles by the end of Picture:John Walshe proach to training is seven or ten days. People definitely better than who are starting from scratch should plan to mix the more aggressive approach, which can lead walking and jogging, basically trying to build up to injury. If you are sore after runs, try to over time to a constant run. Running should be avoid consecutive days’ training, and make very gradual, in terms of how you approach the sure you are drinking plenty of water, before actual exercise and the goals that you set yourself and after your training sessions. — it is very much about easing your body and “For those doing the full race, you should mind into the process and what it requires,” he be aiming for runs of between 16 and 20 says. miles. For the final three weeks before the As a sport accessible to all, equal measures of race, you should reduce your long runs and enthusiasm and good sense are the requirements your overall mileage, to allow the body to refor an activity that can last a lifetime. “For a per- cover fully before the start of the race on son of average fitness, getting up to a point bank holiday Monday,” he says.
Picture: Getty Images
1. Running is for all ages — Regular exercise makes you more healthy and increases your overall feelgood factor.
6. Be realistic— Doing too much too soon will result in injuries and dampened optimism.
2. See Your GP — Schedule a checkup.
7. Eat smart — Good diet will help your running and metabolism.
3. Get the family behind you — Let the household know this is a serious thing for mum or dad.
4. Plan a programme — Make it a gradual immersion, and walk before you run. 5. Two is better than one — Find a like-minded running friend to help you set goals and move from the sofa on wet evenings.
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8. Little and often — Try to run two or three times a week rather than one long run in the beginning. 9. Heed your body — If you feel dizzy or uncomfortable, slow down or stop. 10. Warm up and cool down — Prepare the body with workout stretches and proper hydration.
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KNOW, I know — nothing is sacred. We can’t even have a cup of coffee without feeling the guilt, the calories, the hips bulking, the water retention, the stimulation, the highs, the lows. There are plenty of health pluses and minuses to coffee and the conclusion I have come to is that a few cups of coffee a day will do little harm and even some good. However, those of us who like our coffee with lots of frothy milk and a dash of chocolate have to watch quantities. One milky coffee a day is the limit, and we should consider it part of our calorie calculations, making up the greater part of lunch, for example. A chunky coffee could provide hundreds of calories — a fair whack of our full daily allowance. By cutting out our daily cappuccino especially if it’s a large one, we could lose a stone in a year. But what about all the fun we would miss? We would also miss our cup of calcium, so it is perhaps better to have smaller cups, or our favourite coffee less often. There are always alternatives, with new
CAPPUCCINO Cappuccino, known in France, as café crème, has one-third espresso, one-third hot milk, topped with one-third of foam, usually in a heavy cup. It can be sprinkled with unsweetened cocoa powder or cinnamon. Verdict: A 300ml cappuccino has about 120 calories, a large more than 200. Less fat than lattés as there is less milk. With cinnamon on top for less calories than chocolate. Score: 7
DECAF SOYA LATTÉ WITH CHOCOLATE Soya milk has more calories than full milk, but less fat. Decaffeinated coffee goes through more chemical processes than regular coffee, so perhaps best avoided except at night. Verdict: Calorie-wise there is no difference between decaf and regular black coffee. Chocolate adds calories to the soya, so keep it small. Estimate: 170 or more calories. Score: 5
drinks coming to the fore every week, including the latest big craze in the US, coconut water, which I will look at next week. There is also plenty of nutritional information on your individual favourite available on the web. Check health or coffee brand websites. Today we are not looking at brands, but at the calorie content of coffees I made in my own kitchen. Quantity is the key, and if you are trying to lose weight, try using a smaller cup. It’s essential to avoid extras such as marshmallows and white or milk chocolate — pure cocoa isn’t bad. Made from a few forms of sugar, a handful of marshmallows could add anything from 100 to 200 calories and at least double your calorie intake. Chai lattés are not coffees but spiced teas, often made with soya milk, sometimes iced, and made with skimmed or whole milk. Their calorific content is similar to coffee variations. We can save up to 120 calories by opting for low-fat milk and cutting out the cream and chocolate.
DRINK UP: Roz Crowley calorie-tests a coffee at home for her research. Picture: Des Barry
This has one or two shots of espresso and about three times the amount of foamed milk. It has more milk than a cappuccino and tastes milkier and weaker. . Verdict: A 300ml skinny latté made with skimmed milk comes to less than 100 calories, while a whole milk latté has 150 calories. However, a large latte contains almost one-third of the daily recommended fat intake for women. Calories for a 300ml wholemilk latté clock in at 150. Score: 6
MOCHA is one-third espresso, one-third strong unsweetened hot chocolate, with one-third steamed milk added last. Verdict: If the cocoa is unsweetened the drink has the same calorie count of a latté, but it’s often offered with a squirt of whipped cream on top. Some cafés use sugar and a milk substitute which has nasty hydrogenated fats. For mocha with cream, marshmallows, chocolate syrup and a sprinkling of chocolate, allow for at least 350 calories. Score: 2
ICED COFFEE WITH ICE CREAM THE amount of sugary ice-cream in this makes a huge difference to the calorie count, and the amount of fat can be high. On top of that, we are offered piped cream and sprinkles of grated chocolate which are all delicious but can have as many calories as a burger and chips. Verdict: This should not be enjoyed as part of a meal but instead of one, and as a special treat. We are often tempted by these in the heat, but in fact they cause a thirst more than quench it, as the sugar and salt in the ice cream is dehydrating, as well as the coffee. Calorie count: anything up to 1,000. Score: 1
The original frappe from Greece is often made with instant coffee, usually iced and topped with light foam or on crushed ice. Frappuccino is a term trademarked by Starbucks and is a creamy drink, laden with sugar, syrup, cream and coffee. If you are tempted, check their website at www.starbucks.com for calorie count. Verdict: Frappés sometimes have added syrups, so add an average of 40 calories per spoon. Frappes made with coffee and crushed ice and a little foam can have as little as 120 calories. Score: 8
This is a half cup, or even smaller, of espresso with a little dab of hot, foamy milk on top. It packs a good flavour punch and is a satisfying finish to a meal for those who don’t like straight black coffee. Verdict: Small cups mean a low 25 calories. Just enough milky foam to avoid depletion of calcium, and low in fat. Can be deceptively strong, so watch caffeine intake. Score: 8
Black coffee has just five calories. An Americano is two to three espresso shots topped with water, with a little milk if requested. Some research has shown that black coffee depletes calcium, but adding milk counterbalances it. Verdict: The ideal coffee for low calories and good health is a small black one with a little milk. However, this is not a licence to have as many as you like. Research varies as to the safest amount, but to play safe, keep consumption down to no more than three cups a day. Score: 7
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A thin line for men’s hair A
CCORDING to a recent survey by hair product manufacturer Viviscal, 89% of Irish men have suffered from thinning hair. Of these men, 35% stated stress, 47% work and 23% money worries as being the cause of their thinning hair. Thinning hair cannot be dismissed as a minor problem, because there are damaging consequences for many people with very real and devastating effects on many aspects of their lives, including relationships. In the Viviscal Healthy Hair Survey, 31% of men said they felt less attractive and 40% less confident because of their thinning hair and 42% said they felt older. Viviscal says one in five of the men surveyed stated that thick glossy hair was the key to youthful looks and more important than a slim physique, white teeth, full lips, a pert bum or even bright eyes. “Thinning hair is both an emotional and physical problem and is much more common than people may think,” said Dr Chris Steele, who works with Viviscal. “There are many reasons why men and women may suffer from thinning hair, including our lifestyle habits. “If you notice your hair thinning or falling out, you should always consult your GP to find out the cause and discuss suitable treatments.” At the very least, look at the stress levels in
Deirdre O'Flynn MOSTLY MEN
your life. When going through a period of stress, the chemicals in the body transmit messages to the hair follicles forcing them in to a resting phase. During this period, hair will shed as normal but new hair will not continue to grow. Once the stressful period has passed, hair will stay in the resting phase for the next few months, leading to overall thinning hair. Eventually, the follicles will restore themselves and hair will start to grow again. Furthermore, throughout periods of stress we can often eat badly which can also damage hair health, leading to thinning hair. Viviscal has a promotional leaflet dealing with the issue of thinning hair available in pharmacies and healthstores, or from the company’s website www.managethinninghair.ie, or by calling 1890-601801, or by emailing email@example.com.
Get up to speed on driving safety at work THE Health and Safety Authority and the Road Safety Authority are running free seminars in June to highlight the importance of safe driving for work. Attendees will hear practical and easy to implement solutions that can help employers identify the risks in relation to work-related driving and reduce the potential for collisions. Driving for work poses risks not only for the driver, but also for fellow workers and the public. Employers must, by law, manage the risks that employees face and
create when they drive for work. The seminars will be in the Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny, on June 9; in the Silver Springs Moran Hotel, Cork, on June 10; in the Davenport Hotel, Dublin on June 16 and in the Sligo Southern Hotel on June 17. All run from 9am-1pm. To register for a seminar, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org indicating which seminar you would like to attend along with your name (and the names of any other attendees), your organisation and telephone number.
COOL SHOES: Fitflops caused a stir in the summer footwear market when they were launched three years ago and this year they have developed a children’s range with their patented Microwobbleboard™ technology, which is designed to closely recreate the biomechanics of barefoot walking. The new children’s sandals start from size nine in boys’ and girls’ styles, while the Fitflops come in a range of styles and colours, size 13 to 5, including the sparkly sequin-covered Electra, F39.95. Each pair has a flexible midsole, which encourages the bones in young feet to move freely. For stockists and more details log onto www.fitflop.ie.
All-Ireland mountain DId you know... climb in memory of dad Working three or
MARK HEVERIN, from Castlebar, Co Mayo, is attempting to climb to the highest point in each of the 32 counties and cycle the 1,900km between them to raise funds for Cancer Research Ireland. He set off on May 28 and aims to complete this challenge within 24 days. Mark’s idea for the trip came from the death of his father, Michael, who died last August from a cancer of the bile ducts. “This trip was
with Kate O’Reilly
MODEL APPROACH: Former tennis player and TV presenter Pat Cash at a promotional launch for Viviscal last year in Dublin, with models Sarah Kavanagh (left) and Sarah Morrissey. Picture: Robbie Reynolds
LITTLE HEROES: Nelson’s Arnicare and Dublin Zoo have joined forces to run a ‘Brave Little Heroes’ competition in pharmacies nationwide, starting tomorrow, June 5. There are eight Dublin Zoo family memberships to give away (this annual pass includes unlimited entry to Fota Wildlife Park). Pick up an entry form at your local pharmacy to be in with a chance to win. Lightly-tinted green, and formulated for children’s delicate skin, Nelson’s Arnicare Arnica kids’ stick, F7.99, is a handy size to pop into your pocket or bag, when out with children during the summer. Arnica is an effective bruise treatment, with natural, anti-inflammatory properties that aid healing.
dreamt up by dad and me in his last weeks as he was always hugely interested in madcap ideas,” says Mark. “I had hoped at the time that he would be around for the realisation of the trip but now every climbed metre and cycled mile will be dedicated to his memory. I know I can’t bring my dad back, but it is my aim to raise funds for cancer research in Ireland to help refine and improve cancer detection and treatment.” More info at www.pedaltopeaks.ie.
more hours overtime, daily, leads to a 60% greater chance of a heart attack, or signs of coronary heart disease
SOURCE: Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and University College London.
Summer essentials for kids
NIGHT NIGHT: The new Magic Blackout Blind developed by British Dragon’s Den winner Neil Westwood, is simple and quick to use. Just tear a sheet off the roll and stick it to just about any surface. There are 10 sheets in each roll and they can be cut to size or doubled up depending on the size of the offending light source. Each sheet can be used over and over again. The Magic Blackout roll costs F39.99 from nursery stores nationwide including Tony Kealys in Dublin and Cork (www.tonykealys.com). For more information, see www.cleverclogs.ie.
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TRAVEL BOTTLE: Useful for days out and travelling, the new Vital Baby Nurture™ disposable feeding bottles can be used to feed your baby expressed breast milk, prepared formula milk or cooled boiled water, just about anywhere. Made from BPA Free, recyclable materials the pre-sterilised single-use bottles are available with medium flow or fast flow teats in packs of four, costing F4.99. The bottle collapses as baby feeds so no air can get into the milk or water. For further information visit www.oceanhealthcare.ie or www.vitalbaby.com.
Less is more as we bronze up and bare more to match those sunny days
DECIDED that 2010 was going to be my summer of no fake tan. Finally I would be freed from the tyranny of stinky old-boots skin, weird patchy bits and constant exfoliation. And I’ve been rocking the pale look with enviable confidence — going for a Daisy Lowe rock chick porcelain rather than a Paris Hilton Malibu tan. After all, pale is seriously cool this summer. But I’m going on holiday in the next few days and nothing can convince me that standing on a bright Euro beach with day-glo skin that’s been attacked by a swarm of freckles is going to make me feel in the least bit good about myself. So, I’ve caved in. As we speak, I am sitting in a haze of questionable sniffs, having applied Clinique’s Body Daily Moisturiser, F24, on my legs and Model Co’s Body Meringue Bronze Glow, F35, on my arms. Do I smell? I certainly do, but I am also turning a lovely shade of light bronze before my colleague’s very eyes. Whether you’re a fake tan pro or a nervous novice, the important thing to remember for this summer is a very light tan — a faux sunkissed healthy glow — is the way to go. This is not the summer of Donatella Versace dark bronze: even die-hard tanner Victoria Beckham has lightened things up, leaving the deep tan to Katie Price and Kerry Katona. Of course, the best way to get this kind of gentle glow is with a gradual tanner. Graduals also give a more natural look and are less high maintenance than high-grade fake tans. And they’re a great choice for anyone heading off on holiday, as you can start gradually tanning around a few days before heading off, which does away with the panic of trying to tan yourself the night before you go. There’s more: gradual tanners are more ac-
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The news on ...
The squeeze is on
AMBER LE BON Georgina Jagger may be the celeb model of the moment, but Amber le Bon, right, is proving a tough competitor, with a new role as ambassador of Pantene Pro-V’s Volume and Body collection. She’s rocking a look for Pantene that is pure ‘80s, with hair piled high as possible on the head — big it up.
TAKE THREE KIDS’ SUN CREAMS TRYING to get sun creams on kids is not a pleasant experience, but it’s a vital one throughout the summer. Go for a sun cream that rubs in easily, and lasts the pace in a water-proof and sweat-proof formula. Nivea Swim & Play kids’ sun lotion, F9.31. This sun cream has quite a delicate texture that smoothes into the skin very easily, and it’s boosted with an ingredient called dexpanthenol, which helps prevent moisture loss while children are in the water. The only problem with it is the lid — it can get quite messy, and our three-year-old had it ripped off before we knew what was happening.
cessible price-wise, with good products from the likes of Dove and Johnson’s. I’m a bit partial to posh graduals, too, so if you’ve got a little spare cash then St Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan Spray, F29.80, is a good bet. What’s really important fake tan-wise is the prep. It’s just not okay to come back from a night at the pub and decide to give yourself a good going over with a bottle of tanner. You need to have your wits about you and you need to have your skin prepared. Kick off with regular bouts of exfoliating and moisturising, especially on areas of particular dryness, such as ankles, heels, toes, knees and elbows. If you’re moisturising directly before you tan (and it’s always a good idea to put some on dry areas), then make sure it’s absorbed before you apply the tanner, or it can lead to streaking. Invest in a good pair of latex gloves, too. It does feel a little weirdly medical, but
tanners with instant tints (such as St Tropez’s mousse) can be a nightmare to get off your palms (although if you’re in a bind, a little toothpaste mixed with soap, or a dedicated tan remover can help). After doing your body, remove the gloves and tan the back of your hands with a cotton wool pad, taking care to ensure there is no tan between your fingers or soaked into your knuckles. The best time to tan is at night: it means you don’t have to stink out the office/home/ bus and it also gives your tan a chance to develop without rubbing against clothing or footwear. If you’re having a big night out and you haven’t planned in advance, then don’t hope for the best by slapping on a bit of tan before hitting the town. It’s best to go for a wash-off tint such as St Tropez’s new Instant Glow Body Lotion, F17.50. It’s a great little number, with an excellent tone and a no-streak formula.
Vichy Capital Soleil, F19.50. At last, a big and practical sun cream that can be used by the whole family. This is a great product — it cuts down on waste, it’s effective, and it’s perfect for getting you through a summer of warm, sunny days — we hope.
pleasant, thanks to a combination of jasmine and narcissus flower, coconut oil and fruit extract. The colour develops evenly and well, and it doesn’t give off any nasty whiff. The only downside is that the bottle seems small. Would it be enough to get you through a two-week holiday? Probably not.
Model Co Body Meringue Bronze Glow, F35. In two minds about this: it gives a fabulous, instant tint that is flattering and shimmery without being glitzy, but, after the initial fresh scent, it developed into something very strong and quite unpleasant. Mind you, by the end of the day, the smell had worn off and the colour that had developed was flattering and glowing.
The colour, too, developed well, without any streaks, but it doesn’t have an instant tint, which is what we liked so much about Delicious.
Soltan kids’ green-coloured suncare spray, SPF 30, F16.42. This one goes down really well with the kids, especially with my little boy, who decided it was “dragon’s sun cream.” The green colour seems to disappear on application, which means that your little ones aren’t running around looking like leprechauns, and the spray means you can apply it really easily.
STUFF WE LIKE St Tropez Everyday Perfect Legs, F45. Sometimes, your legs need a different tanning lotion from the rest of your body — because the skin there is different. This dual-effect product has two pumps — one with a gradual tanner, the other with an instant bronze. Is it fiddly? Just a little, but I like the fact that it allows you to choose what you want. Another good product from a company that’s surely the king of self-tan. Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Golden Perfection Self-Tanning Spray for Body, F28. This is unexpectedly nice. It goes on well — with a clear sheen that smells very
Clinique Self-Sun Body Daily Moisturiser Light — Medium, F24. I love the texture of this one, it’s velvety and luxurious and has no instant tint to it. It feels more like a moisturiser than a tan and it gives a lovely, subtle glow without any dodgy streaks. It did give off a smell after a few hours, though, but most of them do.
Clarins Delectable Self-Tanning Mousse, F34. Last year, my favourite self-tanner was Clarins’s Delicious, so this was going to be a tough follow-up. The whipped texture of this one is lovely and it feels gorgeously indulgent on the skin.
FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 2010
Ambre Solaire Self-Tan Velvety Gel, F15.49. This transparent gel glides on easily, but it does feel a bit sticky after a couple of minutes and isn’t great if you’ve to get dressed before heading out. The colour is really nice, and it develops without any streaks — it doesn’t smell half bad, either.
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Q Megan Sheppard Do you have a question for Megan Sheppard? Email it to email@example.com or send a letter to Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork
MY son, aged two, has a permanent runny nose. We have tried homeopathy, been to a naturopath, and he is not allergic to dairy. We try to keep the house dust free (it’s impossible) and have no pets. We gave him Zyrtec for a week and it seemed to work, but as soon as we stopped the symptoms returned. We know this is not a long-term solution. I’ve read blackcurrant oil might help. Do you have any other suggestions?
A. A lot depends on your child’s general wellbeing: do you feel that he is a healthy child despite the runny nose, or does he appear to be quite run down? Both grains and dairy can be a part of the problem, as you are obviously aware, but at any rate his immune system could no doubt use some support. In situations such as this it is likely that his immune system is over-reacting rather than this being an allergic response. A wonderful, yet simple, herbal remedy to help soothe, calm, and strengthen the immune system is to combine equal parts of astragalus and marshmallow root. You should be able to find these herbs in a health store or through a local herbalist. This blend tastes quite pleasant and has a soothing mouth-feel, but if you have any trouble getting your little one to take it, then you could add some local honey to sweeten the brew or have a herbalist make a vegetable glycerine based tincture — a very effective way to get herbs into children of all ages. Chickweed, watercress, parsley, garlic, and rosemary are all wonderful plant remedies which can be found THE NOSE KNOWS: A constant runny nose could be a almost anywhere — ensuring you in- sign of an immune system in need of help. clude one or more of these in your Picture: Picture: Getty Images food will definitely help with a running nose and to ward off infection. Blackcurrant oil is a great choice, in that it will help treat the symptoms, reduce any and toxins) since their function is to regulate swelling of the mucous membranes, and body temperature through the evaporation of strengthen his immune system. sweat and to eliminate waste via the skin. Sage is a wonderful kitchen remedy for Q. Do you have a remedy for sweaty any type of sweating, which is why it is the feet? I get “burning feet” especially in remedy of choice for night sweats and hot warm weather and my socks become flushes. Menosan from A. Vogel is one of the saturated. best sage tinctures due to it being organic and freshly prepared through a unique proA. The eccrine sweat glands are simple, cess that preserves the delicate constituents. coiled tubular glands which are distributed The formulation contains 100% pure sage, throughout the skin. They produce a waand is also available as tincture tablets. If you tery secretion (mostly water, mineral salts,
Megan puts the spotlight on:
HETA healing is a recent phenomenon, developed by Vianna Stibal during the 1990s. Stibal is a US-based scientist who believes she was cured from cancer and heart disease by changing her theta brain wave patterns. With a growing interest in the ways in which the mind can influence the body, it is no wonder that theta healing is becoming increasingly popular. Stibal says: “Theta teaches how to use our natural intuition, relying upon the unconditional love of Creator of All That Is to do the actual work. We believe that by changing your brain wave cycle to include the theta state you can… create physical and emotional healing.” Theta looks into the subconscious beliefs which form our reality based on the experiences we had when we were growing up. Once these subconscious
blockages have been uncovered, theta healing works by freeing us to change our own reality. By shifting beliefs, behaviours, and attitudes that may be stopping you from achieving your potential, you are then able to move towards your goals with clarity and energy. A Theta healing therapist is able to work either in person or by telephone. They will typically ask you to pinpoint a time when a particular emotional or physical problem appeared, and then he/she accesses the theta brainwaves by going into a meditative state. Theta brainwaves vibrate at four to seven cycles per second and are the level that the brain operates at just before we fall asleep. Once in a theta state, the practitioner can communicate with you on a different energy level, guiding you towards
choose the tincture, then take 15-20 drops in a little water three times daily; for the tablets, just take one tablet twice daily. The tincture costs £7.99 (F9.58) for 50ml and the tablets are £8.99 (F10.60) for 60 tablets, available from health stores or online at www.avogel.ie. You can also make your own sage tea fresh from the garden or using dried herbs. And you can place sage leaves (fresh or dried) inside your socks since the soles of the feet are very efficient for the absorption of topical remedies. When it comes to sweating issues, often blood pressure is one of the underlying causes — however, when it is sweating of the feet only this may not be the case. Instead, I would look more closely at the elimination side of things. Often it is the intestine and colon which need to cleanse if the feet are very sweaty, or if you are a “hot sleeper”. There are many effective methods of cleansing the body, even cumulative measures (such as healthy diet and lifestyle combined with the juice of half a lemon in water, followed by a tablespoon of psyllium in a glass of water each morning upon rising) will go a long way towards ensuring a clean colon. In your case, I would be tempted to investigate methods which have a more immediate effect — juice cleansing, salt water flushes, herbal colon cleanses — all of these (and there are many more) are effective remedies which assist the body in removing builtup waste and toxins, thus enabling the organs to function more effectively. Be sure to consult with your health practitioner if you have any other issues or are on medication. Q. I’ve read that candida problems may be caused by fat intake. I have always been told that it is sugar I should avoid. Which one is right, or should I avoid both? A. Both the fats and the sugars that are responsible for the overgrowth of candida. Eating too much fat in the diet leads to excess fat in the bloodstream, which then reduces the rate at which sugar is carried to the cells, leading to an accumulation of sugars in the bloodstream. This sugar then feeds the candida naturally present, causing it to multiply out of control in order to accommodate the increase in sugar supply. So consuming less natural fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, etc), being mindful not to eat fruits along with fats, and avoiding processed fats, fried foods, and refined sugars will go a long way towards addressing the root cause of candida overgrowth.
Theta healing the subconscious blockages and asking you to release or change these beliefs. I will admit to being a sceptic when I first came across theta healing five years ago, but after having just one session was astonished by the complete shift in my internal thinking and feeling. ■ For information contact: Margaret O’Leary, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Niamh Mester 091-556667, email: email@example.com.
WAVE POWER: Theta brainwaves vibrate at the level that the brain operates at just before we fall asleep.
FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 2010
Picture: Getty Images
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FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 2010