Category Archives: Health

Best food for your teeth

Taking care of your teeth is important, especially if you lie to your dentist about flossing. Which everyone does… except me. I floss all the time, I swear!

That’s why my longtime dentist Juli Powell was kind enough to share her expertise on which foods are the worst for your teeth. It’s obvious that candy isn’t great for you, and also that eating it in moderation won’t call forth the cavity monster (especially if you brush afterwards). But did you know that sour foods are worse than sugary ones? Read on to learn which 10 foods do the most damage, and why. Your dentist will thank you.

1. Processed carbohydrates (e.g. white bread)

“Carbs are really sugars. Your saliva has an enzyme called salivary amylase that can start the digestion process in your mouth, turning complex carbohydrates into sugar. If you’re snacking on crackers all day, you’re constantly keeping sugar in your mouth.

But the only reason sugar is bad is because the bacteria you have in your mouth eats the sugar and creates acid. If you had absolutely no plaque (which is impossible!), then there wouldn’t be anything to break down sugars to create acids and cause decay.

2. Alcohol

“Saliva is one of your first defenses to dilute plaque and acids. It also has anti-bacterial properties. Anything that’s drying your mouth is bad, and people who drink a lot of alcohol have very dry mouths. A little bit isn’t bad, but if you already suffer from dry mouth, a drink or two is going to make it worse.”

3. Ice

“Chewing ice is not a good idea. Ice is so hard! We do a crown once or twice a year for someone who bit into ice. It’s like biting into a rock. If you have large, old fillings, you could easily break a tooth. The coldness can also make your teeth slightly more brittle. It’s just a physics thing. Your mouth is warm. If you put this cold, rigid thing in there and bite on it, it’s bad for your teeth.”

4. Dried fruit

“We like dried fruit! We’re not saying throw it all out, but it has the same amount of sugar as fruit that hasn’t been dried, plus it’s sticky and staying on your teeth. If you’re eating it all day and not brushing, you could see some serious decay.”

5. Sticky, sour candy

“Sour candy is worse than sweet candy, because sour candy has just as much sugar, plus they’ve usually added citric acid. It’s also harder on teeth because it stays on there longer. Sour, sticky, and candy are the trifecta of bad stuff for your teeth.

6. Sports and energy drinks

“These are really tough on teeth. They do more acid damage than soda. Sports drinks first, energy drinks second, soda third. It depends on the type of sports drink; some have more citric acid than others. The tests I’ve seen are on the lemon-lime ones.

Plus, they also have a high amount of sugar. Water is still the most awesome thing on the planet, especially straight out of the tap, due to the fluoride.”

Back Sleeper Need To Know

Do you wake up every morning flat on your back with legs outstretched and arms at your side? Congratulations, you’re doing the whole sleep thing right. You’re already sleeping in the healthiest position, but here are a few tips to get even more out of it.


When you sleep on your back, your head should be slightly elevated, which prevents pain and discomfort caused by acid reflux. That way, your stomach is below your esophagus, meaning food and acid can’t creep back up toward your throat.



While sleeping on your back does reduce acid reflux, indulging in heavy, fatty or acidic foods too close to bedtime is a bad idea regardless of how you’re sleeping. Try to leave two hours between the time you finish your last meal and when your head hits the pillow.



When you sleep on your back, it’s important that each of your body’s pressure points is supported equally. A mattress with random lumps or soft spots will cause aches and pains. Look for a model that’s firm all over. Or, if a brand-new mattress isn’t in the cards, a solid mattress topper (which you can buy for about $65) will more than suffice.



Despite its benefits, sleeping on your back can put stress on your spine and lower back. Put a pillow under your legs to reduce the pressure and wake up rested and pain-free.

The reson if you can not stop eating

Hunger is your body telling you it needs sustenance so it can operate efficiently. Yet sometimes, it can feel like all our hunger is a little…excessive.

We’re talking about those days when just 20 minutes after lunch (after you ate a meal big enough for two) you’re already starving again. Maybe it happens every day—you find yourself jonesing for another snack before you can even lick all the white cheddar popcorn off your fingers. Either way, you’re always. so. damn. hungry. But why?

“It is normal to experience an increase in appetite after going hard in the gym or during your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or breastfeeding,” Amanda Foti, M.S., R.D., a senior dietitian at Selvera Wellness, tells SELF. “But if you feel like a bottomless pit, something might be up.”

Luckily, tweaking some of your daily habits can help keep your appetite in check so you’ll keep all that eating to when you’re truly, really, actually hungry.

1. You’re not eating often enough.

It might sound counter-intuitive if you’re trying to curb your eating, but spacing out your meals too far can make you constantly hungry. “When your stomach is empty for too long, your body will release more ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone, leaving you feeling famished,” Foti says. Which over time, leads to overeating. Try eating a meal or snack every three to four hours. Foti also recommends keeping an emergency snack on you, like a piece of fruit, for when you’re tight on time.

2. You’re not getting the right balance of nutrients.

“Satisfying snacks have three components: fiber, protein, and a little healthy fat,” explains Caroline Kaufman, R.D. All three can help slow digestion, which keeps blood sugar stable and keeps you full for longer. Some of her suggestions: a serving of plain popcorn (fiber) with roasted almonds (protein and healthy fat); vegetable sticks (fiber) with hummus (protein and healthy fat); or cherry tomatoes (fiber), avocado (healthy fat) and part-skim cottage cheese (protein).

3. You’re eating too many simple carbs and sugars.

On the other hand, eating lots of simple carbohydrates (think: white bread, pasta, bagels, pastries) and sugar will make it impossible to feel satisfied. “Your glucose will rise at first giving you a burst of energy, and then crash rapidly causing your body to crave more fuel,” Foti explains. This can become a vicious cycle, where you never feel satisfied no matter how much you keep eating.

4. You’re dehydrated and confusing thirst for hunger.

Our thirst and hunger cues both come from the same part of the brain, the hypothalamus, making it difficult for our bodies to know the difference, Foti explains. Keep a water bottle at your desk so you remember to sip throughout the day. “You’ll know you’re drinking enough water when yourpee is light yellow or clear,” Kaufman adds.

5. You’re stressed.

Simply put, stress increases the body’s production of the hormone cortisol, which boosts appetite, since your body thinks it needs to prepare to fight. “According to the Harvard School of Public Health, many studies have found that stress can increase cravings for sugary, fatty foods,” Kaufman explains. “These foods may actually comfort you on a physiological level—they seem to inhibit parts of your brain that produce stress emotions.” This may make you feel better temporarily, but it ends up increasing snack cravings. (Trying to manage your stress? Here are six easy ways to feel less stressed in under five minutes.)

6. You’re not paying attention to what you’re eating.

Eating mindfully—that means actually paying attention to what you’re eating instead of shoveling it in your mouth as you’re running off to do something else—is important for your body to register when it’s hungry or not. When you don’t fully experience a meal, you may still feel hungry even when your body is full, because you essentially forget you already ate.

“In addition to sensing when you’re hungry and full, mindful eating can help you decide if food is even satisfying,” Kaufman explains, or if your hunger is something else entirely, like dehydration or stress. “Maybe you think you’re hungry, but when you start eating your yogurt, you realize you’re not hungry at all. The yogurt isn’t satisfying that feeling.” If you weren’t paying attention to the eating process, you’d just down the yogurt and still feel hungry.

7. You’re not getting enough sleep.

Sleep is very closely linked with two hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin. Leptin reduces appetite, and ghrelin stimulates it. “When you’re sleep-deprived, leptin levels drop and ghrelin soars—no wonder you’re hungry!” Kaufman says. Plus, when you’re exhausted, your body craves a quick fuel source, glucose, which gets you reaching for those sugar-laden foods. “These ‘comfort carbs’ set you off on a hunger rollercoaster, since they give you a quick (but fleeting) energy boost, followed by a sugar crash that makes you crave more.”

8. You have an underlying medical condition that’s messing with your appetite.

If you’ve checked all the other potential causes, and you’re still eating nonstop, it may be worth seeing a doctor to rule out any real health concerns. Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, depression, and anxiety (along with some medications) can all amp up your appetite.

Do You Feel Tired After A Good Night Sleep

On several occasions, I’ve woken up from a “good” night’s sleep and still felt surprisingly tired and lethargic. What gives? Why can’t I seem to get going after giving my body the uninterrupted rest I know it needs?

The answer: While there are several possible explanations for this unappreciated feeling of cloudiness, Michael Decker, Ph.D., a sleep specialist and associate professor at Case Western School of Nursing, first suggests that something called sleep inertia may be to blame.

“As we sleep, our brain rotates through several stages known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM), slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep,” Decker told The Huffington Post. “Although asleep, our brain is metabolically very active in REM sleep, and fairly active in NREM sleep. In the morning, we typically awaken from NREM sleep. As our brain is already metabolically active, the leap to consciousness is very short.”

However, when we are still in SWS, the brain reduces metabolic activity, which significantly limits our conscious awareness and responsiveness, according to Decker. If we happen to be in SWS when the alarm clock goes off, the leap to consciousness is a more disruptive one than experienced from NREM or REM sleep.

“The term ‘sleep inertia’ describes that period of time in which our brain is struggling to engage its wake-maintaining areas, its cognitive and decision making areas, as well as motor function areas,” said Decker. This transition can take as little as one hour — and as long as four hours — to occur.

Beyond the science of sleep inertia, this morning sluggishness could also be attributed to a variety of sleep disorders, said Decker. From sleep apnea to periodic limb movement disorder, people may struggle with a sleep disorder and not necessarily realize it. These conditions disrupt the continuity and quality of sleep, further exacerbating those feelings of sleepiness even after logging eight hours of shut-eye.

One final culprit could be the furry friend curled up at the foot of the bed, Decker said. We know you love them, but your pets’ mid-night movements can disrupt your sleep, and their 5 a.m. wake-up calls for a bathroom break are surely less than helpful. The more they wake you up during the night, the more you should expect that groggy feeling to linger throughout the morning.

Have a question for Healthy Living? Get in touch here and we’ll do our best to ask the experts and get back to you.

“Ask Healthy Living” is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult a qualified health care professional for personalized medical advice.


Also on HuffPost:

  • 1 E-readers
    As if there weren’t enough things keeping you tossing and turning each night, here’s a new one: Using short-wave, blue light-emitting e-readers, like the iPad, iPhone, Nook Color, Kindle and Kindle Fire, before bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep, according to a December 2014 study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

    “When blue light hits the optic nerve, it tells the brain to stop producing melatonin,” which is “the key that starts the engine for sleep,” says Michael Breus, Ph.D., diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “This is especially problematic, since as you get older, the ability to produce melatonin becomes even more compromised.”

    Fixes: Open up a real book instead. (Remember those?) If giving up your e-reader is impossible, look for screens and glasses that can block the sleep-stealing blue light on websites like

  • 2 Being overweight
    Carry extra pounds, especially in the neck and trunk section, and it’s more likely you’ll suffer from sleep apnea, which causes your airway to become blocked or obstructed during sleep, robbing you of quality deep sleep. The condition affects 90 percent of obese men, though it’s not purely a man’s disease. The Cleveland Clinic reports that after menopause, it’s just as likely to affect women. Even more disturbing, it goes undiagnosed in as many as 80 percent of those who get a lousy night’s sleep.

    “Sleep apnea can mask itself as fatigue, trouble with concentration, dry mouth or even depression,” states Dr. Breus. Unfortunately, sleep apnea and obesity is a bit of a chicken-egg scenario. Do sufferers have problems because they’re obese, or is their obesity stoked by their compromised sleep? No one knows for sure, but what’s known is this: Poor sleep makes people less motivated to increase physical activity, which can lead to more weight gain. Additionally, reduced sleep is associated with elevated levels of the hormone leptin, which helps regulate appetite.

    Fixes: Among the various treatments for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which delivers air pressure via a mask that sits over your nose or mouth while you sleep. Other treatment options include losing weight, oral appliances (that resemble mouthguards), and Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation (USA) therapy, a new FDA-approved implantable device.

  • 3 Medications
    Many popular over-the-counter pain medications, like Excedrin and Bayer Back and Body, may contain caffeine, which helps the medication get absorbed more quickly, but can cut into your sleep, according to Dr. Breus (who suggests always checking the label first). If you’re feeling under the weather, beware of nasal decongestants and daytime cold or flu medicines, as well, which can contain pseudoephedrine; you’ll feel jittery instead of tired. Instead, The National Sleep Foundation suggests choosing a medication specifically for nighttime use, like Benadryl, NyQuil or Zyrtec, which usually contain antihistamines that promote drowsiness instead.

    Diuretics, water pills for heart disease and high blood pressure, and ADD medications like Adderall and Ritalin can also disrupt sleep, says Hrayr Attarian, M.D., a neurologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Other culprits include steroids and some medications for depression or asthma. “As with any new medication, always check with your doctor first,” says Dr. Attarian.

    Fixes: If your meds are causing sleep problems, “First, I’d suggest talking to your physician to see if your medication can be changed or the dose adjusted,” says Dr. Attarian. “If that doesn’t work, you can go to a sleep clinic to discuss treatment options that may or may not include sleep aids. Taking a sleeping pill is not always the right thing right away especially if you are taking other medications to manage health conditions.”

Healthy fruit on summer tips

unduhan-27There’s nothing that screams “summer” more than sinking your teeth into a perfectly juicy slice of watermelon, giving us one more reason to seek out the very best of seasonal summer produce. Farmer’s markets abound and it’s locally grown, organic fare galore. According to a PBS article and CUESA, Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, there’s a wide range of fruits and veggies that are fresh for the taking, so you’ll want to get your hands on them before it’s too late. And what’s more? We’ve narrowed down a list of 4 specific fruits and veggies that also boast some serious health benefits.

1. Green peppers

Although all peppers are rich in antioxidants, green peppers in particular boast the highest water content, not to mention they’re a great addition to any summer salad. As mentioned in this SF Gate article, green peppers contain zeaxanthin, which keeps eyes healthy and may reduce the risk of age-related eye disorders. Vitamins C and E, which are found in this crunchy snack, help keep the body from developing infections, protect your cells from damage, and support a strong immune system. The SF Gate article also noted that one cup of green bell peppers contains 2.5 grams of fiber — daily recommendation for women is 21 to 25 grams, and for men is 30 to 38 grams — which will help the digestive system work more efficiently.

2. Watermelon

Like I said, there’s nothing better than sinking your teeth into a juicy slice of freshly cut watermelon on a hot summer’s day. And for that reason, of course, watermelon has made the list. As Allison Krupp of Fresh Thyme Farmers Market told us, “Watermelon contains 91.5% water. While it’s rich in vitamin-C, it has many cancer fighting properties, as being linked with a decreased risk of prostate cancer.” And how can we be sure? Watermelon is among the richest sources of lycopene, which is a cancer-fighting antioxidant that’s found in red fruits and veggies. In addition to helping heart health and soothing sore muscles, National Geographic even claims that this juicy treat could act as a natural Viagra! However, it should be noted that you’d have to eat a large amount before seeing the effects of improved circulation that could benefit more than just the heart.

How to treat the cancer

The statistics are staggering: 1 in 2 women and 1 in 3 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. This means that cancer will very likely affect each and every one of us at some point in our lives — whether it is through our own personal diagnosis or through that of someone we love. In light of this, I’d like share eight things that we as survivors and potential targets of this disease need to know.

8. We’ve come a long way baby.

The idea that cancer is a modern disease is a common misconception. The first known case of cancer actually dates back to 1600BC. Although cancer claims the lives of millions of people each year, researchers are making progress against this disease. We now have cures or effective treatments for some forms of cancer and people are living longer than ever before despite having a cancer diagnosis.

7. Prevention is critical. Let’s face it, if you don’t get cancer you don’t have to worry about treatment.

According to the World Health Organization, one-third of cancers are preventable through lifestyle choices. We should eat lots of fruits and veggies, exercise often and maintain a healthy weight. We should protect ourselves from the sun, limit our intake of alcohol and red meat and never smoke.

Although these measures can help keep some cancers at bay, it’s important to also remember that vegans who exercise often can get cancer. People who have never smoked a day in their life can get cancer- even lung cancer. Those who have undergone a mastectomy can still have a breast cancer recurrence in the tissue that lines the chest wall or in the skin. When it comes to cancer, there are no guarantees… but making lifestyle choices can significantly reduce the risks of certain cancers.

By the way, there is now a vaccine that helps prevent HPV-related cancers (All three of my children have been vaccinated for this already) and there are lots more cancer-preventing vaccines in development.

6. Screening catches cancer at earlier stages when it’s most treatable.

Screenings are simple to get done but lots of people don’t do them because they don’t like the procedures or they can’t seem to find the time. But screening absolutely, positively saves lives.

Take colon cancer for instance — today, colonoscopies help catch the cancer before it starts, or help to catch the cancer early when the five-year survival ratecan be as high as 90 percent. Other simple screenings include skin checks, self breast exams, mammograms, PAP Smears, and HPV DNA Tests to name a few.

New and simple screening tests coming down the pike. Keep an eye out for abreath test that could be used to both diagnose stomach cancer and predict which individuals are at high risk for the disease.

5. Cancer is not just one disease.

Cancer is not just one disease. It’s a family of 400+ different diseases – and is characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. We also now know that just as no two people are exactly alike, no two cancers are exactly alike. This is why standard treatments don’t always work the same for everybody.

4. Precision medicine is transforming the way some cancers are treated TODAY.

Precision medicine matches treatments to the genetic makeup of the patient and his or her tumor. There are several personalized medicines that are becoming standard in cancer treatment today. For instance, oncologists can now prescribe targeted therapies to lung cancer patients whose tumors have certain mutations and to melanoma patients with the BRAF mutation. As a result, patients are experiencing better outcomes with fewer adverse effects compared to standard chemotherapy.

The bottomline: Knowing your cancer’s genetic makeup can help your doctor find best treatment for you right now. To learn about personalizing your cancer treatments, visit

3. Immunotherapy is just beginning to change the way cancer is treated.

Precision medicine is the driving force behind this movement. One study at Duke University is targeting cancer with a genetically engineered polio virus. Another aspect of immunotherapy called checkpoint inhibitors, drugs that pull off cancer’s invisibility cloak by blocking the switch that turns it on, also shows great promise.

To learn more about how immunotherapy works and why it offers such tremendous hope, read and listen to this NPR article “Harnessing the Power of Immunotherapy“. In fact, immunotherapy offers such great promise that one day we may have a new kind of doctor called immuno-oncologists.

2. If your physician isn’t up-to-date on the most recent advances in cancer, find a new doctor.

While many doctors are knowledgeable about the latest advances in treating cancer, there are those oncologists who are not. Has your oncologist explained to you that no two cancers are alike? Has your doctor spoken to you about molecular profiling and tumor testing? If you’ve been diagnosed with melanoma, has your doctor spoken to you about a recent FDA-approved immunotherapy regimen?

With each passing day, researchers learn more about cancer and how to better fight this disease. If your oncologist is not up-to-date on the latest and greatest advances in cancer care and or precision medicine, then make the switch to a new oncologist.

1. HOPE is the most powerful weapon we have against cancer today.

Cancer is a thief- it tries to steal away our hope, our dreams and our lives- but we cannot let it. Today in 2015, we have a really good template to cure some cancers and prolong life in other cancers. We are gaining ground every day. Although I do not think we will ever see a day where cancer ceases to exist, turning this disease into more of a manageable condition rather than a potential death sentence gives me tremendous hope.

What is The Healthy People Do

Our alarm goes off and we hit the snooze button. That happens a few more times. Then with no time to waste, we leap out of bed, dash into the shower, fly out of the house wearing a wrinkled shirt and grab a quick coffee on our way to work. Basically, we live every morning as if it were “Groundhog Day,” always promising ourselves we’ll do it differently tomorrow.

Though this kind of morning routine affords a couple of extra blinks of sleep, many in the medical field insist that beginning the day under such stress is just not healthy. It sets a chaotic tone, inviting further stress as the hours progress, and completely undermines any good the extra rest may have provided.

But there are a number of things we can learn from those of us who have our stuff together to rewrite our morning routine almost entirely. We partnered with Tropicana to bring you the healthy person’s guide to starting the day right.

1. They set a sleep schedule and stick to it

Eradicate some of the chaos by setting a bedtime and sticking to it. It may seem like a funny thing for adults, but it’s incredibly important. Our bodies get out of whack if we go to sleep at 10 p.m. one night and midnight another. It’s an energy-drainer, so set a bedtime and do your best to stick with it. It’s surprising how quickly a new routine will stick.

2. They wake up early — as early as 6 a.m.
Provide yourself with enough time to accomplish your morning goals and this will change the entire rhythm of your day. And knocking out a few small, easy things in the morning — like making your bed as soon as you get up — helps to build your momentum to accomplish things throughout the day.

3. They drink a lot of water

You haven’t had anything to drink since last night, so it’s good to rehydrate yourself. The water fires up your metabolism.

“You never want your pee to be dark yellow,” says personal trainer and marathon runner Angie Knudson, 34. “That means you’re dehydrated. Water helps to regulate sodium levels in the body.”

4. They exercise before the day gets going
Morning exercise will provide a reliable boost of energy, and even a light workout delivers a sense of accomplishment. “Things accumulate,” says Alfred Gallegos, 28, a personal trainer based in California In the morning, there’s no excuses, and you don’t have the same energy level for exercise at the end of the day.”

5. They eat a hearty, balanced breakfast
Give your body the energy it needs to get through an active day. “I eat eight egg whites with spinach, kale, tomato and avocado,” says Michael Dreishpoon, 50, who hits the gym six days a week. “There’s tons of protein in that, and good fats in the avocado.” Later, Dreishpoon will turn to a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries and grapes for carbohydrates and natural sugars.

6. They meditate
There are various forms of meditation, but the morning — just after waking up or exercising — is the ideal time for it. Stephen Sullivan, 37, an actor in Los Angeles, engages in transcendental meditation for 20 minutes each morning. “It helps ground me, and center my emotions,” he says. “I feel a greater sense of gratitude for the day and my life in general.”

Healthy Eating Tips

unduhan-26Eight years ago, I nearly died. In fact, at the time, no doctor understood how I hadn’t. My body was so emaciated that my heart rate had slowed to 36 beats a minute, about half of what’s considered normal. I was in constant pain, all bones, barely even able to sit. I never wanted to be that thin, so nothing about my body was attractive to me. I’d always wanted to be She-Ra. Or Beyoncé—who, to me, has the ideal body. I’d look in the mirror and ask myself, How did I get here? This was not supposed to be my story.

I’ve always been a perfectionist. When I went to the University of Vermont as a premed, my goal was not just to graduate with honors and become a doctor but eventually to cure some major disease. I worked hard. When I wasn’t putting in time at the library or in class, I was dealing with all the ordinary stresses every student faces. I drank too much and ate whatever—pizza, wings. Food wasn’t good or bad; it was just food.

During my junior year, I studied abroad in Australia, where the sunny beach culture inspired me to get outside. I started running 3 to 5 miles a few times a week. It cleared my mind, and I loved the endorphin high. As I lost a little weight from my 5-foot-11 frame, I also attracted more attention. I remember a guy at a bar said, “I’m in love with your body. You’re so strong and lean.” I was, like, Yay, strength!

A New Obsession

After about six months, however, something in me changed. My running had become less of a joy and more of an obligation. I ran through it all—torrential­ downpours, injury, exhaustion—with no exceptions or excuses, because it was less painful to endure the hard workouts than the hell I’d give myself if I skipped them. If I slacked off, my inner dialogue turned hateful: You’re lazy. You’ve failed yourself. Exercising made me feel like I had control over my life. Putting in 5 miles before anyone was even awake made me feel secretly superior.

That’s when the food changes started, too. I had to make sure every bite I put into my mouth was super healthy: lowfat yogurt and cereal for breakfast (carbs were OK as long as they weren’t white), a smoothie for lunch and brown rice with veggies for dinner. I had an ironclad policy: always the same meals, same time, same chair, same utensils. This rigidity annoyed my friends. “Why can’t you just eat with us?” they’d ask, to which I’d respond, “I like eating this way.” It was a lie. But when you’re obsessed, you’ll say whatever you can to end a conversation.

When I moved back to Vermont for my senior year, people knew I’d changed. I was 20 pounds lighter and I was no longer my happy, social self. I stopped hanging out with friends because I never wanted to be challenged on my new lifestyle. And I stopped going to parties for fear that if I stayed up late, I’d be too tired to work out the next morning. I was lean, strong, in control—and also totally alone. For comfort, I relied heavily on my obsessions, which masked my anxieties like a Band-Aid I knew how to apply just right.

A Near-Death Experience

At the end of the year, I graduated from college with a 4.0 GPA (and 0.0 quality of life). I joined AmeriCorps and moved to Santa Rosa, California, to teach at-risk youths—a perfect prelude to my career in pediatrics, I thought. Really, though, I was just happy to get far away from everyone I knew. I felt horrible about lying to my friends and family all the time. I’d promised them that my weight loss was just from the stress of graduating, though I knew that wasn’t true. I was terrified of myself and the way I looked. I remember worrying, When is this going to stop? Never. It never will!

Alone and with zero accountability, I became my sickest. I’d get up every day at 5 a.m. to put in two hours at the gym. Nothing could keep me away. Once, I was so feverish with the flu, I felt like I might pass out on the treadmill. But rather than quit, I staggered over to the recumbent bike and started pedaling. I thought, At least I’ll be seated if I faint. After the gym, I’d come home to eat half a nonfat yogurt before going to work, then sip organic chicken stock for lunch. Now I avoided anything that wasn’t 100 percent natural, which included pesticides and processed food. I never drank anything other than water or coffee, and certainly not alcohol, which I considered toxic. I still ate alone, but when I couldn’t avoid joining friends at a restaurant, I’d look up the menu in advance to find something safe.

Weekends were always hardest, with no fixed schedule. I’d stay busy to avoid anything I didn’t want to do, like going out for drinks. Instead, I’d drive to the local Safeway, where I’d wander the aisles for hours, just browsing. It was like window-shopping on Rodeo Drive—the food was all so beautiful, but I couldn’t “afford” any of it. I’d stare at bags of Chex Mix or boxes of Lucky Charms and recall all the good childhood memories I had of eating that food. Just being around it reconnected me with all I’d lost, and I’d fantasize about a happy, carefree life I no longer had.

By winter, my parents, frightened by my weight loss, insisted I start therapy. It didn’t help. My BMI eventually fell to 12.5, a full six points below the official “underweight” classification. My hair was falling out, and my body was covered in lanugo, fuzz to help me conserve heat. At night, I’d routinely have heart arrhythmias and run to the kitchen to crisis-eat an apple with peanut butter to get me through until morning.

A Desperate Intervention

My increasingly worried friends eventually contacted my mom, a nurse. We’d always been close, and she was flying out from Vermont to visit me every four weeks. For her, it was probably like watching someone you love slowly jump off a bridge. I remember waking up in the middle of one night to find her fingers pressed against my neck, taking my pulse. When I asked her what she was doing, she told me she was worried I was going to die if I didn’t stop eating this way.

One day in May, while I was standing in front of my class of 5-year-olds, my heart suddenly started racing. Panicked, I called 911, and a friend drove me to the hospital. They ran labs, but other than being emaciated and having electrolytes out of balance, I seemed fine. Not long after I was discharged, my mom flew out again and asked me to walk with her near a creek by my house. She pulled out her cell phone and said, “Rachel, I have our lawyer’s number on this phone. You’ve become a danger to yourself. So, you can either go to a treatment center, where you’ll get help and be respected, or I’ll put an involuntary hold on you right now, and you’ll go to a psych ward and get a feeding tube. Which would you prefer?”

You always hear that when you hit rock bottom, you’re going to want to change, but I didn’t. Instead, I felt angry. But I also had a moment of clarity: My masquerade was over. That thought seized me with a fear so debilitating that for a split second, I thought about just running. But when I saw the look in my mom’s eyes and how deeply my disease was affecting her, I stayed. Filled with a deeper sadness than I’d ever known for the loss of my meticulously curated lifestyle, I chose the treatment center.

A Plan for Recovery

Two days later, I checked in to the Center for Hope of the Sierras, in Reno, Nevada. There are no locks on the doors, but leaving without permission will trigger a police alert. I learned I was suffering from severe orthorexia, which is an obsession with healthy or “correct” eating. At first, you might be able to live with your healthy addictions and even appear to be strong and vibrant. But in reality, you’re constantly battling your own thoughts, and your behavior becomes overly restrictive. Though orthorexia is not yet classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, some experts think it’s related to obsessive-­compulsive disorder, because you become fixated on controlling every little aspect of your eating. Others think it should be classified as a new eating disorder, alongside anorexia. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with both. Here’s how I picture the disorders: Orthorexia is my left hand, anorexia my right. Once one clasps the other, everything gets intertwined and it becomes difficult to know which behavior stems from which disorder.

Grains to Add to Your Diet

1.All about grains

According to the Whole Grains Council, a whole grain “contains all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions.” The Whole Grain Council notes that whole grains can be processed but still have the same balance of nutrients.

Some whole grains are already familiar to you, but you may find many more you haven’t tried yet, including some that will work on gluten-free diets. Intrigued? Take a look at these 17 healthy whole grains.

2 Amaranth

Amaranth is native to Peru and was a major food crop of the ancient Aztecs. It’s not technically a cereal grain like wheat, oats and barley, so it’s called a ‘pseudo-cereal.’ It gets included in the whole grain group because it’s had a long history of being used like a grain. Amaranth is high in protein and several minerals. It’s naturally gluten-free so it can be used in gluten-free cooking because it doesn’t contain gluten.

3 Black Rice

Black rice isn’t as well known as white or brown rice, but it can be found in specialty whole foods stores. The pigment that gives the rice its rich purplish-black hue is rich in antioxidants and since it’s not refined, it qualifies as a fiber-rich whole grain.

4 Barley

Barley is another grain that’s been around for ages. It’s probably best known as one of the main ingredients in beer, but it’s also used as a typical grain. Regular barley has a super tough hull, so you’re probably going to find ‘pearled barley’ in your grocery store. Pearled barley is partly refined, but even though part of the hull is removed, it’s still better than an entirely refined grain.

5 Brown Rice

Brown rice is really just white rice in it’s natural state. It still has the brownish colored bran covering, so it’s a bit higher in fiber and more nutritious than white rice. It takes a bit longer to cook and has a chewier texture, but it cam be used in most recipes that call for regular rice. And just like white rice, brown rice is available in several varieties, including long- medium- and short- grain rice.

6 Buckwheat

Buckwheat isn’t a form of wheat or even a grain — it’s related to rhubarb and is another of the pseudo-cereal. Buckwheat is used to make soba noodles and kasha. It’s high in fiber, which is good, but it can be a little difficult to cook and can become too mushy. Buckwheat is also gluten-free.

7 Corn

Corn surprises some people because they think of it as a vegetable. But corn on the cob, cornmeal and popcorn are excellent whole grains that are gluten-free. Corn is really quite nutritious and has gotten a bad rap because it’s high in starch. It’s also high in fiber and one of our favorite gluten-free whole grains.

8 Emmer

Emmer is a type of wheat, so it’s not gluten free. In fact, it’s one of the oldest forms of wheat. Sometime’s it’s referred to as farro. Be sure to look for whole emmer or whole farrow — pearled emmer is a refined version.

The Advantages to Eat Avocado

You’ve probably seen the video if you’ve spent any time on Facebook in the past couple of weeks.

Blogger Sophie with Nourish Me Whole posted a video on why we should be eating the seeds of the avocado — you know, those brown pits that we stab with a knife and throw away before scooping out the good stuff. Her reasons: It contains almost as many antioxidants as the whole avocado, along with plenty of fiber and skin-boosting collagen.

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“Its extremely bitter taste probably has a lot to do with that,” she wrote of why we don’t eat the seeds now, “but there’s so much benefit to be had by eating it, so it’s worth investigating how we might go about it.”

The best way to eat it is in powder form, which she explains how to do in the post.

The video has gone viral with over 26 million views, prompting us to wonder if eating avocado seeds is wise. Spoiler alert: Probably not.

The problem? She offers no research on her claims — and science hasn’t fully studied the consumption of seeds to determine their health and safety.

“I’m a huge avocado fan. I eat them daily, and recommend them to my clients, but I have reservations about eating the seeds,” Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD., told “While there is some research about beneficial compounds in the seed, the safety of ingesting it hasn’t been established, so the risks versus benefits aren’t fully known.”

More: 10 unhealthy things you’re adding to your salad

The California Avocado Commission even warns against it, writing on its website that “the seed of an avocado contains elements that are not intended for human consumption.”

Sophie seems confident in her original post — and video — that there’s a whole bunch of nutritional value in those seeds. However, she backs away from the claims with an “I’m an amateur!” addendum to her post.

“I’d like to formally clarify that I’m NOT a professional nutritionist, chef or biologist. I am someone who is intensely passionate about natural health, and whenever I read about a food/idea/recipe that makes sense to me and inspires me, I share it,” she wrote.

“There is a range of research around whether or not the avocado seed should be consumed. Please ensure you read a few articles from both sides before making your decision whether or not to try it (and if you do, start slowly).”

In other words, just stick to the part of the avocado that’s proven to be healthy: the delicious green meat. And then use the seeds to grow even more delicious avocados.