Plant-based diet increasingly pegged as chosen lifestyle of future generations

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For centuries, the human body has gotten much – if not all – of its protein and energy from meat consumption. While this diet and lifestyle has increasingly come under fire over the years, it is one that millions of people continue to live by it, citing it as the most healthy whole dietary approach. It is human nature to stick to what we know, and what we [seemingly] know is that, if we eat meat, we can get a significant amount of our daily necessary dietary input. To be fair, meat consumption does give us plenty of energy, protein, and iron (among other benefits), but the reality of how that meat is made available is both disturbing and unsustainable for the planet. Over recent years especially, we have become more aware than ever before about the impact that our dietary choices have not only on our own bodies, but on the environment and the planet. The up and coming generations are growing up in this world of increasingly self-aware ideologies, and if recent projections are anything to go by, the core of the lifestyle of the future is going to be the plant-based diet.

The shocking thing about so many people’s viewpoint on their diet’s impact on their whole health is that they are almost never (if at all) willing to admit that they do not necessarily have to eat meat at all. Simply put, the food system has been shattered by the millions of human beings that maintain unhealthy, unsustainable, and inhumane lifestyles – including their diets. We are so stubborn in the dietary choices that we are comfortable with that we are unwilling or unable to conceive of the mere idea that there could be a diet that gives us everything we need, without unnecessarily taking from other living beings on Earth. Think of it this way: there are roughly 300,000 edible plant species in the United States alone, and only three of them make up almost 60% of American calories (rice, wheat, and corn). It is entirely within our power to fix the way that we obtain our food, and doing so will not only benefit our individual bodies, but the global healthcare system.

From diabetes to obesity, eliminating meat and other common dietary means such as processed sugars and unhealthy fats will have an incredible effect on the healthcare system. The problem is that we do not exactly realise how unhealthy the staples in most modern kitchens are. In modern-day grocery stores, for example, most of the food that surrounds people is not necessarily good for the human body. Even as we browse through the aisles or walk into the shopping centre with a detailed shopping list, some of the foods that are “good for us” are not necessarily healthy. Avoiding meat and dairy can feel like an extreme step to a lot of people who are so used to having these things in their weekly – even daily – diet, but realistically it not only has a significant positive impact on the planet, but it is incredibly beneficial for our bodies as well.

The statistics of the current meat trade are distressing, to say the least. The meat trade is not only unsettling, but it is also unbelievably unsustainable. It takes eight times more land to produce one kilo of protein for meat, as it does for plants. Further, it takes four times as much water to do the same thing. The majority of the land in the US – and around the globe, for that matter – is begging to come to the realisation that, in order to have a more sustainable food system, there must be a stronger emphasis on plant-based diets. The enormous undertaking required to produce livestock is disgusting – providing just 18% of calories, the livestock needed to make up the meat trade takes up 83% of farmland. It is just not sustainable. So, that then begs the question: has it ever really been sustainable in the first place? How far back does the damage go? A whole article could explore that question.

But, in short, for centuries, human beings have obtained a lot of their protein and energy (among other dietary intake necessities) through the consumption of meat.

This is something that people have been – mostly – at peace with, but in the last twenty or so years the relatively small percentage of the human population that is more and more people are turning towards an herbal life and choosing greens on Grasscity over chemicals and today there seems to be more individuals practicing a holistic lifestyle, more than ever – and more of a drive to go plant-based than ever before. When it comes down to it, the shift is really due to the shift in mindset of the current generations. We are realising the impact of our dietary choices and our chosen lifestyles affect more than just us – they affect the environment and the planet. This increasingly common shift in mindset is causing a gravitational shift that, if current projections are anything to go by, is going to result in the lifestyle of the future being centred around plant-based diets. And really, is that really such a bad thing? Is it not more than our turn to instil positive impact for the planet?

Acupuncture, Massages and Alternative Options for Weight Loss

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The way we typically approach weight loss is flawed. The focus is primarily on changing your diet and incorporating exercise. Although this is important, it does not address the root cause for why we overeat. It’s all a temporary solution, not one with long lasting effects. In fact, many people who lose weight go back to the same eating habits once they reach their goal. Unfortunately, some go on to gain even more weight than they lost. This cycle is taxing on the body and also psychologically. There are some other options that address the behavioral component of why we overeat.

It’s important to answer the question of why you struggle with your weight. Do you eat when you are bored, stressed, when you are not feeling good about yourself, it is an escape? Do you associate food with love? Were you told as a child to eat everything on your plate?  If you have tried traditional methods with limited success it might be time to consider alternatives.

Meditation

Meditation is a healthier way to deal with the stress that comes along with life challenges. When we are upset, sometimes we reach for food to comfort us. We wouldn’t characterize most of those “comfort food” choices as healthy. Meditation helps you to breathe, redirect that energy and calms the body and mind. It can help with resisting the temptation of food. It’s a highly effective alternative to releasing that stress. French research during a public health study showed meditation helped cut the risk of obesity by 50% when practiced regularly. Whether it’s for 15 minutes or longer, there are apps available to use on your own, you can take classes, or you can learn about a number of different options for meditation within the privacy of your home.

Hypnotherapy for Weight Loss

Hypnosis can be an effective option in meeting your weight loss goals. Hypnosis focuses on identifying the root cause of why we overeat. It works at the subconscious level to address the negative thought processes that leads to overeating. It helps determine what triggers your overeating and focuses on replacing those habits with more positive behaviors. Once you determine the root cause, the hypnotherapist can reframe how your mind interprets it and provide suggestions which you are more susceptible to while under hypnosis. It’s remarkable to change the way you have looked at food your whole life.

Diet and exercise don’t address your relationship with food and what triggers you. After struggling with weight for 2 years after giving birth, one of my clients lost 32 lbs. in 10 weeks through hypnosis. Another one of my clients stated “It was completely not what I expected, I was fully awake. By my 2nd session, I haven’t touched anything that would harm my body. I started to exercise. I stopped caring about if anyone was judging me anymore. I’m very comfortable with myself.”

Another client talking about his experience with hypnosis stated “I tried many things with some success and ultimate failure. I was hoping for lasting results. I get into a deep relaxed clear-headed state. The hypnosis through you alleviated all these strong urges I had. I was very obsessed with food. Now I eat sensible bites, I don’t have to have food to socialize. We hosted Thanksgiving at my house this year. Believe it or not, I did not touch carbs, it was not a desire. I was thrilled. As of today, I lost 52 lbs. in 5 months.”

Acupuncture

Although acupuncture alone is not a solution for weight loss, it can complement another weight loss method to help you stay balanced. Acupuncture has been part of Chinese medicine for a very long time. There has been some success in strategically placing tiny needles in areas that help with reducing cravings and control hunger.

Lymphatic System Massage Techniques

A lymphatic drainage massage uses a machine that focuses on the lymphatic system to help eliminate waste, enhance circulation and breaks down fat within the body. The thinking is that these lymphatic system massages may in conjunction with diet and exercise help facilitate and speed up the process.

So many people struggle with their weight. There are many different diet plans out there; it’s difficult to determine what will work. Some people try different diets their entire life with limited success. There are alternative methods that are becoming more popular. Hypnosis has become more mainstream for people that are looking to address the emotional and behavioral components associated with their weight problem. It’s important that whatever method you choose, it helps you get to the root cause of the problem. This helps you can break these unhealthy habits. Making lifestyle changes that refocus our energy with ongoing healthier life choices is key to losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight going forward.

Sleep becoming an exceedingly fruitful business

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Sleep is something that is vital to our very survival. This is a fundamental fact of life. The healthier our sleeping habits, the happier and more functional we are throughout the days and into the nights before the next night’s sleep reaches us. Another fact of modern life is that we are the busiest we have ever been, and so we are sleeping less and doing more throughout the day. This has obviously created an imbalance that many people struggle to right once it has taken hold. Alas, the entire world is trying to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, sleep is one of the leading topics of research in recent years. With so much focus on sleep (focus that, even now when we are busier than ever, continues to expand), it is little wonder that the mattress industry is going through something of a high run right now. The mattress industry is worth a staggering $30 billion US dollars currently, and is expected to balloon even further in coming years, reaching a projected $42 billion US by the year 2023.

If these figures hold any weight, this mattress boom is far from over. In fact, it is just beginning. But let’s look at exactly why this boom has hit us so hard. Sleep literally makes us more productive. Recent studies show that 90% of executives wake up before six in the morning. 50% of self-made millionaires wake up at least three hours before they get to work for the day. These are facts, tried and tested, time and again. It speaks volumes of the issue with sleep the world over that despite us all being busier than any past generation, and thus more exhausted at the end of the day, we are struggling to get a good night’s sleep. And surprisingly, many people do not even attempt to go through simple searches to find solutions. It can be much easier than many thing to change sleeping patterns. Of course, this is not always the case, but it is for millions of people, every year. So, how has the mattress industry becoming such a booming success?

Well, the increase of people purchasing new mattresses in the pursuit of a better night’s sleep, of course. People today are busier than ever, and they understand the importance of having a mattress that does the job perfectly. The rise in consumer interest has led to a consequential rise in mattress reviews online. Consumers today value word-of-mouth recommendations just as much as they do the impressions they get from the companies they are potentially buying their mattresses from. These reviews for mattresses speak volumes for the improvements that have been made to the industry across the board. Sleep Junkie reviews are infinitely more positive than those that were online five years ago. The mattress industry the world over has moved leaps and bounds in the right direction, paying more attention to the finer details that make all the difference for its consumers.

Given that we spend a third of our lives sleeping, it makes perfect sense that we should be investing as much effort, time, and money into selecting the perfect mattress as we would a new car or a new house. The fact of the matter is that sleep and performance go hand in hand. This is something that has been backed up time and again in various studies and research surveys. This is not just blind assumption gaining attention. This is scientific fact and consumer awareness working collaboratively and gaining [much-needed] traction in the right direction. As in any industry, the customer is always right, and the mattress industry has used this ideal to their distinct advantage, earning more respect and longevity in an ever-changing economy in the process. The mattress industry today is a glowing evolution of the mattress industry in years past, and it is near impossible to know just how it will look in another twenty years. Odds are, though, it will be positively thriving.

When it comes to booming industries, the mattress industry is one that quietly makes its billions in the background, doing its thing and helping people the world over have a better relationship with their sleeping patterns. Worth $30 billion globally right now, the mattress industry is only set to expand even more. With the population continuing to grow, and the increased awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep, the projected value of the mattress industry worldwide is expected to hit an astronomical $42 billion by 2023. This is an incredible feat, and one that brilliantly showcases just how instrumental this industry is to our health and performance. This is where we are at, and millions of people all over the world are buying into the increasingly lucrative industry that is giving them the rest they deserve and need. This is only the beginning for the blooming mattress industry.

Effective communication skills can improve the career of a medical professional

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Humans always have the opportunity to improve in every area of their life. From teachers to lawyers and even medical professionals, there are unlimited personal growth opportunities if we learn to seize the moment. For medical professionals, it may seem like all of their knowledge is at capacity. They went to undergraduate school, aced their med school entrance exams, went to medical school and completed a residency. Some when to nursing school, passed their exams and started their professional career. All medical professionals have to have some type of formal training or PALS certification before embarking on a rewarding and selfless career. After that education, one may wonder how they can improve as a medical professional. Aside from annual training, gaining extra education may seem redundant or useless. Switching jobs is not always the answer either. One of the best ways to overall be a better medical professional is to improve communication skills.

Communication skills can truly be the difference in positive or negative patient experience. For some careers, interacting with other humans isn’t required. However, for the medical field, those professionals are seemingly always interacting with patients or colleagues. Communications is key to success in the medical industry. Knowing all of the terminologies and being an expert in diagnosing someone is not enough. Learning how to understand patients through communication is crucial to the success of someone’s medical career. Communication is so nuanced, that learning basic communication theories is not enough when it comes to talking with patients.

As a medical professional, it is their job to be a listener. Theoretically, communication involves a sender and receiver. The sender decodes a message that is then sent to the receiver to encode and provide feedback. That streamline of theory seems simple and easy enough, but if even one step of that is interpreted incorrectly by either party, it faces massive negative implications. For example, when the sender decodes a verbal message, his or her nonverbal message may throw off how the receiver encodes it. Relating to medical interactions, if a physician is listening to a patient explaining their health issues, and when the doctor asks certain questions, the patient looks away when answering, the doctor may assume that the patient is lying and therefore, may have received mixed signals of communication. It is up to the patient and the doctor to both have good, open and honest communication with one another.

A communication study showed that the possibility a physician would be sued for malpractice is heavily reliant on their communication skills. When it came down to the number of physicians that were involved with malpractice suits, the common factors were not the actual medical procedures themselves, but the communication that the physicians had with their patients. Doctors who had higher amounts of malpractice suits were frequently reported as not having good listening skills when it came to their patients. They were either reported as being uninterested or essentially acting as if the patient didn’t know anything. Doctors who took the time to ask patients questions and who also asked patients if they had any questions had lower amounts of malpractice suits. Some of the malpractice suits were after doctors had referred patients to someone else because they still felt if the doctor had not listened to their concerns. Communication is crucial when it comes to physicians finding solutions to their patient’s problems.

To better enhance their communication skills, physicians can take time to learn better listening skills. This can seem like an oblivious thing, but for many, effective communication skills are learned. Not everyone is a natural and charismatic communicator. People with outstanding communication skills are able to listen and ask the right questions. The questions they do ask when listening aren’t superficial or for their own personal gain, they are to truly better understand the details of what someone is talking about. Often, good communicators ask questions that keep the conversation flowing without changing the subject. Another key element that a communicator has is letting other people ask questions if needed. This is especially important in the case of physicians. Allowing patients the opportunity to ask questions at the end of an exam or visit shows that the doctor cares. Excellent communicators show empathy through their actions. They let the person know that they actually care and are interested in what they are talking about. They make that person feel valued and worth their time. A good communicator will make a person have reduced uncertainty which will alleviate any worries or anxieties they may have previously come into the visit with. Especially in the field of medicine, making a patient and their families feel worry-free can be very important for the outcome of a situation. Great medical communicators make every patient feel as though they are the only patient that matters at that moment and that their problems will have a logical and attainable solution.

The impact of dreaming on sleep and our health

 

When it comes to investing in sleep-related products and services like beds, best rated mattress, essential oils, and even sleep therapies, individuals are continuously finding themselves more consciously aware of the importance of having these types of sleep-related products and services around them. The power of a good night’s sleep cannot be overestimated, and having items that we know helps to increase the success and longevity of our sleep is invaluable. We all know that a healthy sleeping pattern (or lack thereof) has significant impact on our physical health and our mental health, but it is intriguing to note and to explore the realisation that dreams also have an impact on our dreams. When we are in a deep sleep, we are in what many call a dream state. This is when we have the most vivid dreams, because our bodies are the most relaxed and vulnerable. Some people unfortunately experience what is known as sleep paralysis, or lucid dreaming, but for most of us we experience standard dreams. The question is not if we dream (we all dream, we just do not always remember our dreams), but how and why dreaming impacts our health.

Studies and research have consistently shown that dreams are important to the brain as it sleeps. In fact, dreams are increasingly being related to memory function. The better we sleep, the more beneficial for the brain’s chemistry to level itself out. When we sleep, the brain does its work to enhance the memory by rejuvenating the brain’s energy sources. We are more inclined to dream when the brain is clean and has cleared out all the gunk that builds up over the day. This is why healthy sleeping patterns are linked to less risk of memory diseases and inclinations such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The brain creates images in our minds when we are sleeping that help to solidify fragments of our memory, and the more soundly we sleep, the broader and more vivid these fragments are. We all want to get the most out of our sleep, and the body going into a deep sleep is the best and most reliable way to ensure that we do get this very thing.

Getting adequate sleep consistently every night has been proven time and again to have substantial impact on the physical body and the mentality of an individual. But how does it impact our dreams? Well, we have all heard the saying that ‘time heals all wounds’, but in fact it may be sleep that heals all wounds. When we are sleep, our brains get the chance to do damage control when we are “offline”, so to speak. When we get a good night’s sleep and we can and do switch the mind off and give our bodies the chance to recharge overnight, we incite positive changes in our approach to our sleeping patterns. Not only do our bodies get a chance to power up during our sleeping time, but our brain gets a chance to run wild after doing its nightly recharge and wire up. When this happens, we enter a deep sleep, and we start to dream. While many of us are of the opinion that dreams do have a meaning of some kind, there are not many of us that believe or are aware of the fact that dreams actually improve brain function and increase our healthy mindset.

When we go into a deep sleep, we call it a dream state. This is because when we are deeply asleep, this is when we tend to have the most vivid dreams. When we are in this deep state of sleep, this is the only time that our brains are completely shut off from the anxiety-triggering molecule called noradrenaline. This is perhaps also why we look the most peaceful when we are asleep. Getting a good night’s sleep in and going into a deep sleep kick-starts the dreaming phase, and we experience the crazy avenue of dream making. It seems that even as we sleep, our brains are working to create something crazy and exhilarating for us to play through as we are in our subconscious. This is perhaps also why many people believe that dreaming also unleashes the creative energy in us all, helping the brain to thrive on its own function even more so. Dreams are the body’s way of creating memorable events in the mind that are wired from fragments of real life and shards of our own creative mindsets.

The impact of dreaming on the human body and our overall health is something that is consistently underestimated. We all want to believe that we are our healthiest, but recent and ongoing studies and research suggests that we are not. However, our dreams impact our bodies in healthy ways, including (but not limited to) the time that we are in deep sleep being the only time that the brain does not engage with the anxiety-triggering molecule known as noradrenaline. Our bodies experience the most peace when we are in a deep sleep, and so it stands to reason that being in a deep sleep and having the capacity and inherent ability to dream results in overwhelmingly positive effects on the body. As for our health, when the body experiences this innate sense of peace, it obviously also experiences a deep sense of positivity. And we all know that a positive vibe is a positive life. So, the verdict is in: dreams inject positivity into our bodies (for the most part).

New study finds lack of sleep linked to heart disease

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When it comes to our health, one thing we tend to overlook is the impact that our sleeping pattern can have on our physical health. Not only does getting a good night’s sleep make you feel better, but it also enhances your creativity, productivity, memory, and alertness. And now, thanks to the results of a new study released just days ago, we know that sleeping less than 6 hours a night is linked to heart disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association of actigraphy-measured sleep parameters, in an asymptomatic middle-aged population.

The study was carried out on 3,974 healthy men and women, aged around 46 years old. The duration and quality of their sleep was measured over seven nights. All individuals part of the study underwent physical examinations, as well as three-dimensional ultrasounds (“an imaging system that evaluates blood flow through the blood vessels”). The researchers controlled fasting glucose, cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes (among other things). The results of the study found that individuals who slept less than 6 hours a night were up to 27% more likely to be in the top third for the amount of plaque in their arteries.

The paper was published after it went through medical editing. The study also discovered that inflammation in the blood was higher in the individuals who got less sleep than their counterparts in the study. Additionally, those who moved the most during their sleep had higher amounts of plaque than the individuals who had a comfortable, sound sleep. Up until now, this kind of early disease detection in healthy people has only been carried out through autopsy. Lesser sleeping times and fragmented sleeping patterns are both now officially associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

This study comes at a time where we have more chaotic sleeping patterns than ever. We lead increasingly busy lives, and sometimes getting a good night’s sleep can be immensely difficult. Getting a good night’s sleep has never been so important, but sometimes it is also easier said than done. So, what can be done to help with inconsistent or unhealthy sleeping patterns? Thankfully, there is an answer (in fact, there are many, and all should be explored if necessary and possible).

The power of our senses – especially scent – can play a significant role in our mood levels and our bodies’ relationship with things like anxiety, stress, and even blood pressure. Researchers have found that using essential oils blends featuring hints of lavender, for example, provide proven relief for a restless sleeping pattern. In fact, multiple studies have indicated that a blend of relaxing, sleep-focused essential oils can and does have more of a positive effect on fractured sleep and quality of life than acupressure does.

Seemingly a simple scent, essential oils are so much more than an appealing scent to have throughout a living space or common area. Essential oils have a definitive impact on our bodies, and can help us to relax and drift into peaceful sleep at night, helping with bridging that gap between a good night’s sleep and higher cardiovascular disease risk, closing that gap, and helping one to instil a healthier sleeping pattern.

Postnatal Work Blues? Governments And Corporations Can Play A Crucial Role In Mitigating This

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For decades, maternity coaching in the private sector has been at a prominent space. The industry is crucial to help mothers’ transition to their new role, both at home and at work. Giving birth brings with it a myriad of emotions and can be one of the biggest transitions for a mother in a world that’s changing by the day. It marks a new identity for both the parents and oftentimes, new parents seek services from maids, nannies, babysitters, if they do not have family member available to help out. The arrival of a new child demands ample support and planning to help the new parents feel comfortable when returning to the workplace.

This transition birthed the idea of maternity coaching. An increasing number of MNCs and global firms started relying on maternity programs to support working mothers and retain great talent. These programs addressed issues surrounding individual performance support, balancing family and work, providing day care facilities, feeding rooms, and overall support to aid the transition.

However, over time, this narrative has started to fade. With increasing competition and stricter budgets, organizational support is declining for working mothers who return to work after maternity leave. In a recent survey, it was revealed that the lack of organizational support was taking a toll on their physical and mental well-being, with nearly 37 percent of the respondents contemplated resigning from the organization.

The numbers aren’t all that rosy, either. Just under a fifth felt happy and confident returning to work, and a large number saw many of them unsupported and isolated. In today’s corporate space, maternity leave is seen more as a problem than a benefit provided to expectant mothers.

Motherhood can be a tricky phase, especially when wading through a career, while still managing to invest the time and energy to juggle duties at home and at the workplace. One might think there’s ample support built in to the system, however data states otherwise. Nearly 77 percent of mothers faced discriminatory issues while at work, during their pregnancy, while at maternity leave or after kick-starting work post their break. What’s alarming is recruiting agencies also carry some amount of bias when hiring pregnant women.

Oftentimes, maternity leave is seen as a downside to hiring – but what many fail to see is the opportunity to tap into talent that can churn massive growth and huge long-term benefits to the company.

With increasing competition in the market, another downside for to-be-mothers is the growing concern of an active job profile when returning to work. Reports highlight that in Australia, over 32 percent of mothers experience discrimination, and some reported that their managers had informed them that their jobs were no longer available.

The furloughed staff remarked that firms that undergo restructuring bank on those on maternity leave to be removed from the organization first. The discrimination did not stall with redundant jobs or restructuring of companies, mothers were dismissed, or their contracts were not renewed due to their maternity break. Many were subjected to discrimination related to their job role, income and work flexibility. It can take a variety of forms – sometimes by not enabling the staff to tap into the right growth opportunities or options for promotion.

Despite societal pressures that imply a newborn is best looked after by the mother, paternal leave is also crucial to maintaining a solid work-life balance for the couple. Although the idea of paternal or parental shared leave was effective for years, many companies shy away from normalizing it.

For many employees, the leave policies on shared or paternal leave, if there exists one, is simply too complex or bureaucratic. Lack of awareness or communication by the employer also discourages employees from availing these benefits.

With shifting growth strategies and business environments, corporations should recognize the importance of taking care of expectant parents. This commitment can go a long way in increasing the employee’s performance, attitude and commitment to work. Governments can play a key role in driving companies to provide ample support to parents, through means of legislations or incentives.

One of the best examples for a successful uptake in parental leave is Sweden, where parents are entitled to sixteen months of paid leave with just one catch – the leave must be shared by the parents. To erase the social stigma of shared leave, bigger industries need to pave the way from smaller companies to follow suit. Silicon Valley’s top tech players, Facebook and Google, have enabled just that. To build an employee culture that fosters empathy and employee support, liberal leave policies were provided by the firms. The perks were plenty – consulting firm Accenture saw its employee attrition rate almost halve and they thrived in their roles after returning to work.

Providing the right flexibility to employees and embracing changes, while still encouraging employees to grow, can greatly improve talent retention, boost staff morale and enhance leadership and innovation.

Fashion industry finally becoming body-inclusive

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The fashion industry has an unfortunate reputation for being exclusive in ways that are not always overwhelmingly positive. Over time, there have been multiple instances where the fashion industry has come under fire for its current trends or decisions. Some previous missteps include the fur era, casting strictly Caucasian, tall, and tiny models in all shows, and recently the evolution of leather becoming a less desirable material. But the most recent and perhaps even most important evolution in the fashion world has been the fact that the so-called plus size market has been grossly marginalised and underrepresented by most fashion brands. It has taken a while, but the fashion world is finally becoming more wholly inclusive. Further, consumers are taking notice and driving their business towards brands that have a focus on accepting and catering to individuals of all sizes.

It is about time that fashion recognised that they need to be aware and supportive of individuals that are different to their traditionally-held (ridiculous) standards. Anything else in this day and age is irresponsible and, more to the point, should not be acceptable. It is time that the industry realises that their “one size fits all” mentality is not healthy or realistic in this modern era. While the fashion world has been busy parading their latest looks on runways during fashion weeks and peak seasons, a significantly large percentage of consumers have been left feeling lost at sea and excluded from the excitement. Fashion should be about fun, complete inclusivity, and being bold. The traditional fashion industry depicts none of these ideals, but the modern mentalities arising as new generations begin to become the fashion industry’s target demographic are [finally] beginning to take hold.

The “plus size” mentality that has historically run deep in the fashion world is damaging not only to the hard-working models who have been taught and shown time and again that their body type is “too much” for traditional fashion, but also the young consumers buying these fashions and the brands making and selling them. The average woman in the United States is a size 14 to 16. When such a large percentage of the target demographic fits into the same size that is being campaigned so heavily as “plus size”, the term plus size does not make sense. In short, these sizes are just the same as all the others – sizes. Nothing more, nothing less. Brands have begun to either stock all sizes in the same fashions, doing away with “plus size” ranges altogether, or marketing the fashions differently (and, frankly, less offensively).

The shift in the attitude in the fashion industry towards larger sizes has been promising (to say the least) but there is still a long way to go. It seems that every time the fire dampens around the explosive conversation of larger sizes and models being used in fashion branding, the war ignites again. Even when the issue is put to bed, there is unrest surrounding the morality of it all. fortunately, more and more big name brands are leading the charge to eliminating the stigma surrounding larger sizes in fashion, but even so, there is a tidal wave of change necessary before the change is lasting. There are still some high end, globally recognisable brands that have yet to embrace the inclusion of plus-size models, as well as transgender models.

Victoria’s Secret is one of those companies. A titan of industry in the lingerie world, Victoria’s Secret is a fashion house that has built its empire by having only the most traditionally beautiful women walk. These women also happen to be tall and quite slim. This attitude and conscious decision on behalf of the brand has created an exclusive brand that, more and more often, buyers are becoming uncomfortable with. Certain fashions should not be exclusively available to certain sized individuals, and every shape and size of the human body should be celebrated – especially in high fashion. The fashion industry is one that has been through countless evolutions in its time. One of the oldest industries in the world, the fashion sector has had its fair share of ups and downs.

Having to fight tooth and nail to overcome the pitfalls caused by its own internal errors, the fashion world has been a consistently prominent industry around the world. the most recent (and perhaps the most disturbing) blunder has come as multiple fashion houses have refused to modernise and cater to individuals who wear larger sizes. We are thankfully seeing the beginnings of a tide that is shifting towards positive resolution, but there is still a long way to go. While some fashion houses are too emboldened in their own ways and thus will likely never change, the majority that are ready and willing to change are the ones who are becoming more popular among modern consumers. One size does not fit all, and it is about time that the fashion sector realised this and took conscious steps to include fashions of all sizes.

Healthy Sleep and Well Being: Scientific Explanations for Key Concepts

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A good and productive day requires a reasonable amount of rest and the correlation between human health and sleep cannot be ignored for those seeking maximum well-being and productivity. The market for goods and products aimed at helping those with a dire need for good sleeping habits is also quite vivid, showcasing anything and everything from anti-aging pillows to the best orthopedic mattresses , from electric beds to personalized blankets. The more people learn about the importance of sleep for a healthy life, the more the market will grow. It is up to the consumer to understand the important mechanisms at play and make the right decision regarding their purchases. It is always a good idea to keep track of novelties and news in the given market to stay in touch with the dominant trends, access the right products for the right purpose, and improve on their sleeping habits to get more out of life during the day.

Although there are various theories regarding the functions and reasons of sleep for human beings, studies show that one to three adults go through symptoms of insomnia today, and one out of ten such individuals are likely to develop insomnia as a chronic disorder. Other studies show that drivers who get less than six hours of sleep a night have 33% higher risk of causing an accident compared to others who sleep for seven to eight hours a night. The prevalent theory regarding the function of sleep for human beings is that sleep strengthens synapses and therefore enables the person to learn and remember better. In conjunction with this hypothesis, a research team at the University of Texas Southwestern discovered the existence of ‘Sleep-Need-Index-Phosphoproteins (SNIPPPS) which are activated by a ‘kinase protein’ SIK3, as the responsible actors in the sleep function for mice. Such proteins have also been found to regulate synaptic plasticity in the mice’s brain functions, creating a molecular link between synaptic plasticity and sleep regulation, bridging the thinking and sleeping processes. The phosphate molecules accumulating on such proteins therefore determine the length and quality of sleep in the test subjects, leading the researchers to conclude that research into such molecules and their interactions in human brain will be utile in understanding the most important determinants of sleeping for human beings as well.

Along with such functions and reasons, little is known regarding the actual experiences of a person while sleeping, leading one to question whether if human beings are conscious during dreamless sleep or not.  The current established view is that people are not conscious during sleep until they start dreaming which only occurs during the REM phase. In a recent study published in ‘Trends in Cognitive Sciences’, the authors Jennifer Windt, Tore Nielsen, and Evan Thompson are opposing this current view, believing that lumping all the experiences under a single heading is wrong, while asserting that “storylike, immersive, hallucinatory episodes” during one’s sleep can also be considered as conscious non-dream experiences. The researchers claim that sleepwalkers are a good example, as they experience “isolated visual, auditory or kinesthetic imagery” during, along with insomniacs who claim that they are not sleeping when indeed they have been sleeping without being aware of it. The researchers infer that by observing sleepers through neural and physiological measures, they discovered the existence of “a state of deep, dreamless sleep in which a bare form of conscious awareness remains present.” They also conclude that the absence of “the subject-object structure of ordinary experience and the phenomenology of being a cognitive agent” makes it impossible for people to understand the given phenomenon. The philosophical interpretations of the given issue dictate that human beings do indeed experience and observe during sleeping phases, necessitating a new definition of experience and observation to understand the given issue.

Teen behavior has been an issue of concern for psychiatrists and behavioral scientists alike lately, and as revealed in a study published in the ‘JAMA Pediatrics’ journal, there exist strong associations between mood and sleep for teenagers. Sleeping less than six hours per night resulted in participants to consider, plan or attempt a suicide more frequently while those who slept for eight or more hours reported far less such ideas, plans or attempts. Unfortunately, according to the data provided by the Youth Risk Behavior Survey between the years 2007 and 2015, 70% of high school students are currently getting less than eight hours of sleep per night. Such inadequate sleeping habits lead to increased risks of adverse self-behaviors as well as risk taking behaviors, validating the common notion that a good night’s sleep is indeed the path to personal satisfaction and fulfillment. However, the researchers also point out that there exists no direct correlation between low quality/duration sleep and higher risk behaviors but there exists such correlation with adverse self-behaviors. As teens become more susceptible to damaging themselves due to low quality/duration sleep, their social cognition changes in an unacceptable manner. In the following step, such individuals become more likely to take risky actions, as their perception of social distances, norms and limits get blurred out in the process. In such a scenario, the teens find it easier and more acceptable to initially hurt themselves and eventually others around them, creating an intriguing source of socio- psychological trouble.

Sleep is serious business and several scientists have managed to challenge the relationship between sleep and human health in numerous fields of study, including genetics. A recent study by scientists at the University of Surrey focused on “the influence of sleep on gene functions” to understand the effects of sleep on human biological functions such as stress, immunity, inflammation, metabolism and circadian rhythms, finding out that sleep was responsible for altering the activities of more than 700 genes. The 26 participants were led to sleep for less than six hours per night for a week and then were let to sleep for 8.5 hours the following week to be able to understand the effects of differing sleep durations as reflected on their blood samples. Results revealed that low durations of sleep altered the activities of 711 genes in total, and following a week of sleep deprivation, there was a seven times increase in the total number of genes influenced by sleeping. With respect to the circadian rhythms, insufficient sleep for one week led to a reduction of the number of genes that work coordinately with circadian rhythms from 1,855 to 1,481. This is an alarming reality because circadian functions are associated with psychiatric disorders, dementia, metabolic disorder and cancer. Due to incurred changes in the person’s metabolism, low quality/duration sleep has also been linked to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, while such poor sleeping habits have also been associated with problems within the immune system, creating disruptions and stress during the day for the person.

Nutrition is an extremely important concept in human health and its connections with the circadian rhythms in human body have a direct impact on sleeping quality, patterns and duration for humans. The body clocks in every metabolism are connected to every cell in the human body and therefore influence all sorts of human activity by regulating blood pressure, body temperature, and hormone levels. Chrono-nutrition is the field of study that focuses on such relationships and research has proven that wrong types or quantities of food being consumed might easily lead to out-of-sync metabolic processes that hamper sleep quality and duration. As human beings become less capable of processing food in the evening, having a late dinner might easily lead to disruptions in one’s sleep. The body uses extra energy that was originally allocated to the sleeping process, making it harder for the individual to sleep or sleep less than demanded. In the long run, such disruptions lead to larger problems such as obesity, as unhealthy and untimely eating patterns alter the natural rhythms for eating and sleeping in an individual’s system without them noticing it. To avoid such complications, people should focus on not just what they eat but also when they eat to improve their sleeping health. Considering that 20% of all people in the workforce are shift workers, having large numbers of out-of-sync people will surely create large-scale problems for the society as a whole. Such individuals over time will become more aggressive, impotent and impulsive during the day, bringing down their productivity and increasing the risk of confrontations with others.

America’s Opioid Epidemic in 2018

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The current opioid crisis is unlike anything we’ve seen in the United States before. It’s dangerous, deadly, and it seems to be getting worse every month. The question is: What is being done to stop it… and is it enough?

The opioid crisis is dark, harrowing, and devastating. It torments millions of Americans and their loved ones, for whom there often feels like no escape.

According to this infographic which represent less than 5 percent of the world’s total population, consume 75 percent of all prescription drugs manufactured around the world. During the course of any given month, an estimated 6 million Americans use prescription drugs illegitimately.

Opioids like codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine are the most commonly abused drugs. Despite having received increased coverage in the media, the opioid crisis continues to spiral out of control.

According to data gathered by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):

  • Somewhere between 21 and 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. Approximately 8 to 12 percent develop an opioid abuse disorder.
  • Perhaps most shocking is the fact that 4 to 6 percent of those who misuse prescription opioids eventually transition to heroin. (Viewed from the other side, 80 percent of people using heroin first misused prescription opioids.)
  • Opioid overdoses in large cities increased by 54 percent from July 2016 to September 2017. The Midwestern region saw a sharp increase of 70 percent.

When you study the alarming rise of the opioid epidemic in the U.S., you’ll see that it’s fundamentally tied to two primary issues. “The first issue was the significant rise in opioid analgesic prescriptions that began in the mid-to-late 1990s,” NIDA explains.

“Not only did the volume of opioids prescribed increase, but well-intentioned healthcare providers began to prescribe opioids to treat pain in ways that we now know are high-risk and have been associated with opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose, such as prescribing at high doses and for longer durations.”

The second substantial issue has been the healthcare system’s inability to identify and treat addicted individuals with evidence-based opioid addiction treatment plans. As a result, addicts have been left to suffer alone … which often forced them to turn to other drugs, including heroin.

As the opioid problem continues to expand into a serious national health crisis, many have wondered what’s being done to combat the problem. Though plenty remains to be done, here’s a look at some of the current initiatives, strategies, and action steps:

  1. HHS Framework

In April 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services developed and published a five-point Opioid Strategy that it hoped will lay the framework for multiple solutions. The comprehensive, evidence-based approach seeks to:

  • Improve the access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services so individuals have a better chance of achieving long-term recovery.
  • Target the availability and distribution channels of overdose-reversing drugs to ensure that addicts have greater access to them (with a specific focus on high-risk populations).
  • Improve public health data reporting and collection so more data are available in real time (which will help the public understand the severity of the epidemic as it continues to evolve).
  • Support state-of-the-art research that advances understanding of pain and addiction. This should lead to the development of new treatments.
  • Advance the practice of pain management so opioids become less of a default and people may recover from health issues without the need for high doses of prescription medication.

While this framework is still relatively new — and it by no means represents an exhaustive list of what HHS is doing — small wins are already occurring on this front.

  1. AMA Opioid Task Force Progress

The AMA Opioid Task Force has been one of the leading voices in the fight against the opioid epidemic. The goals of the task force are to register and use state prescription drug monitoring programs; enhance education and training; support comprehensive treatment for pain and substance use disorders; help end the stigma associated with opioid addiction; co-prescribe naloxone to patients who face a high risk of overdose; and encourage safe storage and disposal of opioids and other medications.

According to a recent report released by the AMA, the approach seems to be working. Prescriptions of opioids have fallen by 22.2 percent between 2013 and 2017, and there’s been a 121-percent increase in the number of times physicians accessed state databases for prescription drug monitoring programs.

  1. Stiffer Penalties and Repercussions for Prescription Drug Dealers

Although not everyone agrees with this approach, the Trump Administration has given a lot of attention to the opioid crisis. In particular, the president and his cabinet have called on Congress to pass legislation that lowers the amount of drugs needed to trigger mandatory minimum sentences for dealers who knowingly distribute illicit drugs.

President Trump has also declared the nation’s opioid epidemic a public health emergency, which creates new opportunities for action on a governmental level.

“With the public health emergency declaration,” report Kaitlyn Schallhorn says,
“officials are able to more easily deploy state and federal workers, secure grants for the unemployed and shift funding from certain programs — such as HIV or AIDs programs — to provide substance abuse treatment for certain individuals.”

President Trump has also been clear about his expectation to see the number of opioid prescriptions cut by a third within three years: an aggressive yet necessary goal.

  1. Greater Public Awareness

At the heart of almost every strategy for fighting the opioid crisis is some sort of boost in public awareness. That’s because little progress can be made until more people see the matter as a serious epidemic.

In June of 2018, the White House announced a new multimillion-dollar public awareness advertisement campaign that seeks to curb the appeal of opioid addiction for young people. The campaign consists of four ads: Each tells a rueful tale that illustrates the lengths to which young adults have gone to get hold of drugs such as Oxycodone and Vicodin.

“We hope these ads will spark conversation to educate teens and young adults to talk to their doctors about alternatives to opioids; that pain management may not always mean extended pain medication use; safe disposal practices for leftover, unused prescription; and also, to arm them with specific yet very simple knowledge about opioids,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters following the announcement.

There’s still much to be done in the fight against the opioid epidemic, but there’s no shortage of attention and energy directed toward it… both within the medical community and in Washington. And though it’ll take time, the hope is that victory is not far around the corner.