Skin is the largest organ of the human body. It is the first line of protection against outside invaders. That includes the skin of the scalp which is covered with hair. Pediatricians, social workers, teachers, family members, and even complete strangers will notice and judge how a child is being cared for based on the health of their skin and hair.
The hair and skin of children with African Ancestry can often present special challenges to their physical and emotional well being. Dealing with these challenges is no longer the sole responsibility of the mother. The fathers of children of African descent (at least some of them) have been stepping up to share the responsibility for this important area of HEALTH CARE. And as a health educator, health always comes first with me.
If you are person of either sex who is responsible for the care and well being of a child with African ancestry: Read, Watch, and then DO.
Hair and Skin Care for African American and Biracial Children. Written and Created by Nicole M. Hewitt, MSW for the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training Program.
Remember that skin color is not a skin type. In order to give your children the best skin care you will need to learn what skin type they have. One of the most common problems that I see results from believing that all dark skin is oily. It results in the needs of dark skinned children with dry skin going unmet and their skin being damaged by cleaning regimens that are much to harsh.
When Alexis Ohanian tried to join closed Black Hair Groups created for women, they turned him away. They empathized with his desire to learn how to care for his daughter’s hair. They pointed out that he did not need to join a group created for women to learn. They told him to go to YouTube. This is a brief compilation from 2018.
Dad’s are helping their daughters have healthy hair and boosting their self esteem.
If the fathers in the compilation are above your skill level, don’t despair. Everyone had a first time.
Step Up Dads! Real men care for the total wellbeing of their children, including skin and hair. This is not vanity, this is HEALTH.
We need to identify the foods to which we have a negative reaction, allergy or intolerance (1), and eliminate them from our diet while making sure that we are still providing our bodies (and our families) with adequate nutrition. Elimination diets are an important tool in this process. I have a few food allergies and I am intolerant of many. The elimination diet (2) that works best for me is the autoimmune protocol (AIP).
Getting Help with the AIP
For a long list of reasons, I NEED A FULL AIP RESET. Changing from any dietary lifestyle to another requires planning. Even though I am not an AIP newbie (3), I decided to use the work of Jaime Hartman, a nutritional therapy practitioner, to help with the planning. (4)
I am using Hartman’s meal prep method to organize my own AIP compliant recipes and meal plans. However, I have accelerated my move into the AIP by using Hartman’s “AIP Done-For-You Prep Plan.” The recipes in this plan are compliant with a the full elimination phase of the AIP. The recipes are free of all major allergens. They are also free of legumes, nuts, seeds, and nightshades.
While it is commonplace for people to focus on what foods elimination diets require them to relinquish, I have found it useful to look at what I am allowed to eat during the full elimination phase. I shopped, using Hartman’s list. I prepped using her method. Then I cooked and enjoyed the fruits and vegetables pictured, as well as chicken, turkey, beef, and tuna.
I never once felt deprived. Through the shopping, the washing, chopping, slicing, and dicing, I felt as though I was providing myself with the type of self care that I deserve. My only regret is that I did not treat myself this well decades ago. Thank goodness it is never too late to love yourself more.
To live with a food allergy is to live with the fear that the accidental ingestion of the wrong food could lead to immediate death. To live ignoring food intolerances is to live a potentially long life feeling miserable from of any of a long list of chronic inflammatory diseases. I sometimes refer to this as, “the I been eating this my entire life syndrome,” as in, maybe you would be better off if you had not. But habits are a nutrition educators worse enemy and best friend. It’s about changing one habit for another.
“Some of the symptoms of food intolerance and food allergy are similar, but the differences between the two are very important. Eating a food you are intolerant to can leave you feeling miserable. However, if you have a true food allergy, your body’s reaction to this food could be life-threatening.
2. Recently, I experienced some digestive symptoms after eating the small triangles of mass produced bread used to create cucumber sandwiches (I adore cucumber sandwiches). Some members of an online support group to which I belong to suggested that I needed to try a “Low FODMAP” Diet.
My sincere condolences to those who loved Kelly Mason.
You need to lose some weight.
After a polite Texas greeting, Dr. Nowzaradan gets straight to the point.
Tell me about your eating habits.
Dr. Nowzaradan’s patients are seldom able to describe their eating habits with specificity. They are unable to accurately report what they eat, how much they eat, and when they eat. During their first meeting with Dr. Nowzaradan, they tend to talk about why they overeat. I keep waiting for someone on the program to mention food journals.
Nutrition consultants usually ask their clients to log meals. Keeping a food diary allows eating habits to be described in terms of what foods are eaten, when they are eaten, and how much of them are eaten. They can also help track the “why” of overeating.
Food journals are powerful tools in the attempt to change eating habits. Don’t reject the idea without trying.
There are so many ways of logging meals that I need to discuss the “how to” in a separate post. If someone can commit to logging meals for a specified period of time, there is a method for them.
The Diet Plans
Dr. Nowzaradan does not offer a singular diet plan. At the first office visit Dr. Nowzaradan provides his patients with customized dietary plans based on their current eating habits, weight, how much they need to lose, age, and gender.
Some patients return for their second visit claiming that they followed Dr. Nowzaradan’s diet instructions yet did not lose weight. He adopts an empirical approach that relies on the scale. He calls these patients liars. He tells them how many calories per day they must be eating in order to achieve their current weight. Sometimes they are eating 6000-7000 calories per day.
This is the type of information that I must look up. I use the calorie calculator at calculator.net.
I empathize with Dr. Nowzaradan’s patients because they cannot weigh themselves. Weighing on a more frequent basis would help them stay on track. I think these patients, like other overweight people including me, would benefit from keeping a food journal. They would benefit from measuring their food intake. Then they would know how far their eating habits are from Dr. Nowzaradan’s prescription.
When I see one of the patients using food measuring tools, I applaud. When dealing with a surgeon you too must adopt an empirical empirical.
That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.” – Karl Pearson.
You are delusional!
Some of Dr. Nowzaradan’s patients suggest that their dietary intake has little to do with their weight. He refers to these patients as delusional. The television program has featured people who appeared to be out of touch with reality.
These patients are also the most likely to question Dr. Nowzaradan’s recommendations and conclusions. They say, “It’s just his opinion.” That always makes me laugh. Professionals get paid for their opinions.
Other patients seem to engage in common forms of distorted thinking. I am sharing a list of cognitive distortions from a website devoted to eating disorders.
I want to emphasize that you don’t have to weigh more than 600-lbs or have an eating disorder in order to engage in distorted thinking about food. Human beings use distorted thinking to get through the day. Help is available.
Making longterm changes in lifestyle is a complex and difficult process. The person who wants to be healthier is the person who must put in the effort. The surgeon, the therapist, the nutrition educator do not have a magic weight loss wand. These professionals make recommendations and offer their opinions. Then they wait for the person hiring their services to put in some work.
Every professional has protocols and processes. Sometimes the people they serve must step out on the belief that the professional really does have the required expertise. Patients leave Dr. Nowzaradan’s office the first time swearing that the weight loss goal he gave them is impossible. Those who take his instruction are pleasantly surprised with the results. Sometimes patients refuse to take the advise that Dr. Nowzaradan offers and they must be dismissed from the program.
I think that calling patients liars and saying that they are delusional is confrontational. I tend to believe that Dr. Now uses these confrontational tactics because the extreme morbid obesity of his patients is an imminent threat to their lives.
It definitely makes for dramatic television. It also provides a learning opportunity for those who are watching even if they are not as overweight as the participants on My 600-lb Life. Don’t waste a professional’s time. Take their advise or stop talking to them about the problem.
Dr. Nowzaradan has started to introduce the need for therapy earlier in his relationship with patients. I applaud that decision. People who come to him benefit when he explains, early in the game, that they need both therapy and surgery. They need to know that he does surgery and not therapy.
Many people who want to lose weight, even if they are not as heavy as Dr. Nowzaradan’s patients, might also benefit from psychological intervention. This does not mean that they are “crazy.” It simply means that there are psychological skills that can help them achieve their health and wellness goals. They can be taught, for example, to counter disordered thinking. They can learn strategies for coping with stress that don’t cause weight gain.
The idea that anyone can benefit from coaching, group support, increased clarity of thought, and improved coping skills lead me to Noom. I am currently engaged in the two week trial of the app. I recommend that others give it chance. If Noom seems expensive consider the general pricing structure of one on one health coaching.
One on One Coaching Pricing Structure
Most coaches offer two sessions per month, and the session time ranges from 45 – 60 minutes.
New coaches that are just starting out charge around $50 – $75 per session.
More experienced coaches charge $100 – $200 per session.
There are also coaches that charge by the package ($1,200 – $2,400) so there is quite a range.
The more concierge services you require, the greater the cost.
As 2018 came to an end, I realized that I needed to become more physically active. So, I took an online class. Yes, I see the irony in that decision. I need to move, so I sat and read and took exams. Yet, when the course was over I had reviewed the recommendations for physical activity, set a few SMART goals, and purchased a very simple step counter (1).
During January of 2019, I counted steps and I counted calories. I also made the arrangements for the trial of a spinal cord stimulator (scs). A psychiatrist completed the psychological evaluation required before the trial. My pain management specialist agreed to conduct the trial and we set a date. Everything was going along smoothly. Then a set of new but familiar symptoms flipped my script.
On January 30, 2019 these symptoms sent me to Patient First, an urgent care facility. Laboratory tests indicated that I had a urinary tract infection. The need for antibiotics required that my spinal cord stimulator trial be postponed. The infection was a reminder of a kidney birth defect, another surgery, and a very dark period in my life. I felt deflated. When I returned home, I climbed into bed and went to sleep.
I awoke to a voice describing a life of full body pain and limited mobility. I immediately identified with the speaker and continued to listen. When I opened my eyes, I had a very up-close-and-personal view of a human being who was obese in the extreme. The auto-play function of Hulu had taken me to My 600-lb Life – https://g.co/kgs/YxKGV. When the scene shifted to Dr. Nowzaradan’s consulting room, I knew that this could be a meaningful viewing experience.
“How Y’all Doing?’
Watching Dr. Nowzaradan and his patients reinforced my commitment to resist the barriers to physical activity. I needed this reinforcement because my brain and my mind hold two very dissonant cognitions about movement. My brain is constantly receiving the message that movement is both painful AND dangerous. This is not a message that I can ignore because it is true. I have the falls, the fractures, the concussions, and the surgical scars to prove that this is the reality in which I live. The pain signals that reach my brain are not delusions.
The compression of nerve roots in my lumbar spine produces pain, weakness, and numbness in my lower back, buttocks, thighs, legs and feet. Since my last surgery, my right leg no longer collapses unexpectedly. However, it has not fully recovered and my brain, wisely, does not trust it. I cannot walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. Every step, every foot placement requires the active participation of a brain that has been traumatized on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, the brain, my brain, now insists that the proper course of action is to find a comfortable position and stay in it. My brain is a strong advocate for a sedentary lifestyle.
I am not naïve enough to consider being sedentary as a long term solution. I have 62 years of personal experience in coping with chronic pain. I know that my brain can exaggerate and sometimes lie to me. I have a master’s degree in health and nutrition education. I am a lifelong learner and continuing education is something about which I am passionate. I also have a mind that tends toward the rational. That mind, my mind, knows that physical activity is essential to life. At this point, my logical mind believed that if I did not move more, I would become sicker and die sooner than expected. I needed a specific type of push to break free of the uncomfortable dissonance produced by the contradictory cognitions held by my brain and my mind.
Dr. Nowzaradan and his patients provided the inspiration that I needed. Dr. Nowzaradan encourages movement using a rational approach that resonates with me. When his patients explain that movement causes pain, Dr. Nowzaradan’s response is “So what?” I have been adopting that approach to negotiate an amicable agreement between my brain and my mind.
When I first bought my step counter I was taking between 200 and 1200 steps per day. Two weeks of binge watching My 600-lb Life and my average was up to 3000 steps per day. Occasionally, I reach 6000-7000 steps in a day. This is acceptable progress for a 72 year old woman coping with multiple autoimmune diseases, lumbar radiculopathy, and a problematic kidney.
The bargaining starts every time that I stand up. My brain is uncertain that my legs will support me. It anticipates a fall with every step. My mind fights the prediction of catastrophe. I can only reach about 2000 steps before the peace talks between my brain and my mind break down. At that point I must sit and recover before moving again or the brain will make its prophecy self fulfilling. If you don’t understand how that works, I can’t help you.
Taking steps then resting several times throughout the day, requires a commitment to time and planning. It also requires that I give up some of those activities that promote a sedentary lifestyle. I just don’t have time for them.
I have an appointment for a CT Scan and a consultation with my kidney surgeon in late March. In the weeks leading up to that appointment, I need to move. As a 72 year old adult with chronic illnesses, I need to be as physically active as my abilities and conditions allow. I have definitely been inspired by Dr. Nowzaradan and his patients.
Over the past 6 months I have become increasingly sedentary. I was also gaining weight. Stopping this weight gain became my first priority. The simplest approach to stopping weight gain is reducing caloric intake. I knew that if I cut daily caloric intake to no more than 1200 calories I would lose weight. This is true for most women. I tried preparing three meals per day that were each under 400 calories. I soon discovered, however, that I don’t have enough stamina for that much washing up.
In order to reduce both caloric and kitchen cleaning loads, I needed to cook fewer meals. I examined the potential of frozen meals labeled as “healthy” choices to meet my needs. I found some that met the calorie count requirement and which were relatively tasty. Some even had a relatively decent micronutrient profile, EXCEPT for an excessive amount of sodium. I keep one or two of these in my freezer for unexpected situations, but they are not suitable for daily consumption.
Because I am trying to manage my weight, improve my health, and simplify my lifestyle, I switched to the two meal per day version of intermittent fasting (IF). I generally have lunch at noon and supper at six, then fast for the next 18 hours. In order to limit clean up, I find it helpful to cook both meals at the same time. Some days I find one meal sufficient.
I deeply appreciate the opportunity to eat a variety of foods. When I eat just a few foods day after day, I soon find myself overeating. I think of it as “palate fatigue.” In addition to keeping the palate alert, eating a wide variety of foods is good for nutrition. I relish “eating the rainbow.”
Recently I decided to try a meal preparation kit. I went with Home Chef because of a great offer through Groupon. I received the ingredients required to prepare three meals for two people, which translates to six meals for me, at a cost of $24. I enjoyed the three recipes tremendously.
Since I used the Home Chef offer, other companies have been pursuing my business aggressively. I have substantially discounted meals lined up for the next five weeks (Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Green Chef). I am pleased that I get to cook a variety of new dishes, at a discount, without a trip to the supermarket. When I am only eating one meal per day not relying on my standard recipes increases the pleasure of the meal.
My neurologist/pain management physician suggested that I combine Keto with IF. I have not experienced ketosis since I tried the Atkins diet after the birth of my second child some decades ago. I plan to conduct a trial using meal preparation kits that support ketosis.
The participants in this reality series inspired me as a person, a sociologist, and a health and nutrition educator. I plan to share some of things that I learned or relearned while watching this program. These things can have import for anyone struggling to maintain a health weight.
As I eagerly await the as yet unannounced Netflix premiere of season 5 of Luther, I have watched the official trailer, read reviews of the opening episode on British television, and read interviews with the star, Idris Elba, and the writer, Neil Cross.
I am fascinated by the character. Luther is a big man who brings his big walk, and gale force passions into the world of psychopaths and serial killers. Cross gives a nod to Columbo and explains that Luther is not a “Who done it” but rather a “How to Catch Them.” This characteristic is also shared with Law and Order: Criminal Intent. I definitely compare DCI John Luther’s intelligence with that of Lt. Columbo and Detective Robert Goren.
Cross compares Luther’s tendency to “cross the line” and frenetic need to be in more than one place at a time to the Vic Mackey character from The Shield. Luther is definitely not the quiet sensitive serial killer detecting empath, Will Graham, portrayed by William Petersen in the 1986 film Manhunter. (My favorite adaptation of The Red Dragon by Thomas Harris which continues to be my favorite novel in this genre.)
Like millions of other readers and viewers around the world, I enjoy peeking into the darkness as I read novels by Harris and Cross and watch movies and television programs based on their work. This is why Amazon Prime video suggested that I might want to watch Taboo. I could not look away from the darkness and unashamedly binge watched the entire season.
If you are concerned that this focus on the dark will scar my psyche, well you should have been around when I was nine years old. That was the year I read Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The next year it was Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Shelley’s Frankenstein. Were these works not on your high school and college reading lists?
Aspects of Taboo that annoyed critics tended to amuse me. For example, James Keziah Delany was delusional. Many of the fictional characters that I have enjoyed over the past 68 years have been delusional. By today’s standards a number of important historical figures were delusional. Important historical events resulted from mass hysteria or delusions. Who decides when another person’s supranatural belief system is delusional.
And could James, a severely traumatized man, sometimes be experiencing flashbacks instead of delusions? According to his servant his mother did try to drown him when he was an infant. According to the storyline, he did play an important role in sending a hole full of enslaved Africans to a frightening death. I could go on and on.
However, the most important thing about Taboo for me is that it forced me to look more closely at some historical questions. I now have a better understanding of who ruled England during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. I definitely know more about the East India Company, the conflict with Spain over the Northwest passage to China, and the treaty establishing the border separating Canada from the US.
I have a better idea of what life was like in the British Isles during this time period. I sidestepped into some fictionalized accounts of the settling of Australia as a penal colony. I watched both the controversial Banished and The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant.
AFTER MARY BRYANT it was time to switch back to a more romantic view of Cornwall. I accomplished this by using my Masterpiece Theater subscription to finish season 4 of Poldark. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU NEVER HEARD OF POLDARK? WE LIVE IN ALTERNATE REALITIES.
After getting my Scifi fix, I jumped back in time to watch season two of Jamestown. It hit a little closer to home. For more than 30 years, I attempted to explain to students that the integrationist versus the separatist orientations among African Americans did not start with Dubois and Garvey. I loved seeing them played out on screen between Maria and Pedro.
After months of reading about Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812 from the US perspective, I am enjoying the view of the War of 1812 from the English side presented in the FX program Taboo. I am binge watching it on HULU. This is not Masterpiece Theater.
I have been enjoying the fictional presentation of the Hudson Bay Company in the Canadian made television series Frontier. Until I started watching the FX based Taboo, I had no image of the East India Company in Canada. Now I am comparing the fictional accounts presented in the television series to what historians present as more factual.
I am especially interested in the role of the two English companies in the genocide of the indigenous people of North America and the enslavement of Africans. The television programs are very unlike those of my youth, in which Native Americans were presented as savages deserving of death and Africans as savages deserving of enslavement.
Both television programs are gut wrenchingly violent. With the English being presented as the most violent. Both shows portray the importance of class and nationality in England. The poor were very poor and the Irish were generally poor and oppressed. I have recently watched several movies with these same themes.
Ever since I was a child fascinated by the historical fiction of Canadian author Thomas B. Costain, I have not been able to resist comparing how novelists and historians present the same time period or historical incidents.
So, in addition to comparing the two television shows to historical works, I am off and running on the Underground Railroad.
I started attending school in 1950, when I was four years old. I stopped teaching school, probably for good, in 2016. That amounts to 66 years of reading books because they were required by classes in which I was a student or classes in which I was the teacher. My own choices had to be snuck in on the side.
I am 72 years old. My eyesight is failing and I can’t read as rapidly as in the past. I am also coping with constant back pain and autoimmune flares. I am very comfortable coping with these by reading and watching what I select for myself. I tend to ignore recommendations that are not on topics of current interest as politely as possible.
Of course, I am interested in recommendations for fictional (video or written) and historical (video or written) works on English history during the colonization of North America and the enslavement of Africans, as well as those that deal with the so called Underground Railroad.