All Articles Tagged "wellness"
Remember the time of old-fashioned home cleanings in bleach, slicking back our ponytails in Ampro Pro Style gel and cooking our grandma’s best recipes in Crisco? When Earth Day, recycling, or buying more eco-friendly products never crossed our minds (or our neighborhood stores)? In 2013, there are various ways to help out your environment with a plethora of products that could help the Earth and possibly your health.
In celebration of Earth Day (check out the special Google Doodle for today), MN Biz rounds up ten eco-friendly products we love on our heads, in our homes, and on our plates. Enjoy!
Most of us feel off track without our cell phones constantly connected to us, so it only makes sense to keep healthy living apps on your mobile device to keep you on track with your wellness goals. There are countless health and wellness apps — many of them free– for you to choose from whether you have an iPhone, Android, etc. With so little time on your schedule, it’s a lifesaver to be able to access apps for a quick workout or to log your food intake for the day. So check this app list below to see which you should download next to make your life simpler.
It makes sense. If your employees are in good health, then corporate health care costs go down. According to a new study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), workplace health promotion programs have the potential to reduce average worker health costs by 18 percent — and even more for older workers,
But wellness programs only succeed if the employees participate, says elite personal trainer Michael Levy, president of Online Rewards, who has created wellness and behavior change programs for clients including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Lend Lease, State Farm, and a number of public agencies. Wellness programs encourage healthy living.
According to Levy, 79 percent of large U.S. companies now offer wellness programs. “Fidelity Investments released February 27 the results of new survey research showing that U.S. employers have doubled their spending on wellness incentives in the last four years. They plan to spend an average of $521 per employee on wellness-based incentives,” Levy tells us.
But there are things businesses—including small businesses—can do to increase participation. “With the right incentives, participation in health reimbursement arrangements and biometric screenings can be as high as 80 percent,” explains Levy. “Gift cards, travel vouchers, electronics and other prizes can be more powerful motivators than a premium contribution notation on a pay stub.”
“Women have a much higher propensity than men to participate in activities associated with employee incentive and recognition programs, in some cases a 60-40 ratio,” Levy added.
Some programs work better than others. “To achieve the best results, programs must feature three key components,” Levy explained to us. “First and foremost, they must be incentive-based. Second, the programs must be based on achievable, frequently reached objectives, accompanied by frequently delivered rewards. Third, the programs must include an experiential web site, an online component that enables the employer to articulate goals, keep people engaged and track progress.”
According to Levy, the best way to entice employee participation is by offering fun and tangible. “Rewards should be distributed on a monthly, not an annual basis. Wellness programs encourage healthy living on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It’s not an annual strategy,” Levy points out. “The incentive program website enables employees to celebrate success. It also facilitates the [mechanics] of healthy living objectives. Together, these elements foster greater engagement and lead to the ultimate goal — positively changing behavior.”
According to the ACOEM study,total medical care expenses per person for all working age adults would be reduced by about $650, or approximately 18 percent. The possible savings increased with age: up to 28 percent for older working adults and retirees. And of course, healthy living is its own reward. Corporate wellness programs are a win-win for everyone.
Before living “green” was the trendy thing to do, Robin Wilson was working to create living spaces where customers’ wellness and environmental impact were top priorities. Suffering from childhood allergies and asthma while growing up in the eco-friendly town of Austin, TX made healthy living a passion of hers from an early age.
In 2000, she walked away from a successful corporate career to become president of her own interior design firm, Robin Wilson Home, focused on eco-friendly and hypoallergenic products.
Her success as an entrepreneur has exceeded her own dreams. In 2004, her design of the Harlem office of President Bill Clinton was profiled in O magazine. She’s gone on to launch her own textile line, and build a full-fledged lifestyle brand.
I asked Robin about what it takes to have the vision to stay ahead of trends and build a brand that stays true to her mission of wellness.
Madame Noire: Can you describe Robin Wilson Home for those unfamiliar with your brand? What differentiates you from your competitors?
Robin Wilson: Robin Wilson Home is a lifestyle brand with two business areas: interior design and brand licensing. We have worked with some amazing clients across the U.S. to design eco-friendly homes and commercial spaces. Plus, we are the first brand to license our name to eco-friendly kitchen cabinetry sold by over 500 dealers nationwide — and made in the USA by Holiday Kitchens. We also have a line of textiles sold on Bed Bath & Beyond’s website and they will be coming soon to select retail stores.
MN: You had a successful career dealing with environmental issues before you started your firm. Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?
RW: I began my career at the Lower Colorado River Authority, a hydroelectric utility in Austin, and then worked at both a San Francisco and Boston-based consulting firms in their energy groups. These firms taught me best practices for corporate governance — but I also recognized that the founders of these firms were passionate visionaries. Since my family has a history of entrepreneurs, it was easy for me to understand the focus and charisma of those individuals. I made a goal on my bucket list to be an entrepreneur by the time I was 30… and was fortunate to see it come true for the past 13 years.
MN: What did the early days of Robin Wilson Home look like? How did you get your business off the ground?
RW: We had the wonderful opportunity to be self-funded due to a windfall received when the firm I was working for went public due to an IPO. I was the only employee and worked as a project manager and designer. The early days were amazing due to freedom from a desk, the chance to be casual everyday, and new projects through word-of-mouth.
MN: Did you know green living would take off the way that it has?
RW: It was never “green” to me… and I actually refer to our practices as eco-friendly (to your living space and the environment) and wellness-oriented. However, when the articles started to refer to us as in the “green” space, I had to accept the moniker as a way to describe our business. But I remain committed to telling people that the bottom line is “wellness” for you and your lifestyle.
MN: What gave you the courage to pursue a specialty that wasn’t mainstream at the time?
Robin: I live by the motto “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” So my focus has never been about what is mainstream but very much about what I believe is good for my friends and family.
It’s been 18 months since The Oprah Winfrey Show left the air. Ms. Winfrey has kept herself busy managing a magazine, an XM radio channel, a television channel, and an online presence that includes a content channel on The Huffington Post. Despite all of this, the New York Times recently questioned whether the era of Oprah has come to an end.
The absence of daily face time with her millions of fans has impacted Winfrey’s brand in ways even she didn’t anticipate. Her magazine and website experienced a decline in revenue and sales. Her television network’s rough start is well documented.
If anyone else’s name were attached to these projects they would still be deemed a success. But high expectations are a common side effect of greatness. Lady O doesn’t seem to be checking for her critics’ opinions anymore. Instead she is setting her sights on expanding her audience to include a younger demographic.
Can Oprah Be Hip?
Oprah is influential, but she stopped being cool in the 90s. The median age for an O magazine reader is 49. But Ms. Winfrey thinks she has something to offer younger generations. At her magazine’s annual conference, she said she would like to attract women “in their 30s or perhaps their 20s, to be able to reach people when they are looking to fulfill their destiny.” She added, “By the time you’re 40, 42, you should have kind of figured it out already.”
Oprah has made it clear that she won’t stray from her message of “living your best life.” Rightfully so, it is clearly her passion and has become a primary part of her brand along with interviewing the most noteworthy names in pop culture. Oprah seems to be hitting her stride in adapting the latter to new platforms. Appearances by gossip blog favorites Evelyn Lozada and Maia Campbell on self-help guru Iyanla Vanzant’s show, Fix My Life, hint that she is working out how to use one of her trademarks to boost the popularity of the other.
Spirituality For a New Age
Oprah was originally criticized for her New Age spirituality that didn’t identify with a set religion. But the inclusive nature of her faith is the perfect fit for younger audiences. A recent study found that 72 percent of millennials, the generation between 18 and 30 years old, say they are more spiritual than religious.
Despite not identifying with a religion, or maybe because of it, young people crave spiritual direction. Holistic lifestyle topics like wellness, spirituality, and healthy living are becoming increasingly mainstream. Oprah was already covering these topics on her show. She continues to use platforms like OWN to bring spiritual advisors of all kinds to a mass audience. Now is the perfect time for Winfrey to lead this conversation for a new generation.
An Army For Oprah
At 58, Oprah can’t speak the language of millennials, but she can empower people who do. I want Oprah to be satisfied with hanging out with Tyler Perry on the weekends and leave him out of her business. His 12-hour block on TBS is more than sufficient. OWN and her bevy of multimedia channels needs to empower a new generation of spiritual ambassadors that promote her message.
An army of young, diverse men and women empowering other young people to live their best life is a powerful image. In exchange for Oprah’s stamp of approval, this band of brand ambassadors will bring a much-needed hipness to the Oprah brand and bring fresh content and followings to her other platforms. This strategy is nothing new to Oprah. She’s producing most of daytime television (Dr. Phil, Rachel Ray, and Dr. Oz) using the same formula.
Taking shots at Oprah has become a popular pastime but it’s silly to bet against her at this stage in the game. Her public journey to reshape her career shows us all how success happens. Most of the time you’re not a hit straight out the gate. Greatness requires a never-ending process of trial and error that constantly reevaluates and recalibrates your efforts.
The woman credited with getting Middle America to vote for our nation’s first Black president does not have the option of sitting around twiddling her thumbs. It would be irresponsible for her and her influence to sit at home and count coins. Dreams are easier than ever to achieve, and we need someone to remind us of this. If anyone is up for the job, it’s Ms. Winfrey.
Dr. Benita Stephens, MD is a Board Certified obstetrician and gynecologist with extensive training in bariatric medicine. She has degrees from the University of Georgia in education and exercise and sports science and got her Doctor of Medicine from Morehouse School of Medicine. As a practitioner, Dr. Stephens sees firsthand the devastating effects of being overweight and the detrimental health outcomes associated with obesity. She launched the Ciao Bella Center for Weight Loss in 2012, which provides one-on-one counseling, meals and injections and other treatments. Clients of this startup have gone on to lose an average 20 to 25 pounds while under Dr. Stephens’ care.
MN: Did you always know that you would start your own medical center?
BS: I really did go the traditional route. I work as an ob/gyn delivering babies. After years in the medical industry, seeing people develop illnesses and diseases that were related to their body mass, I realized that people need help with weight loss issues. Every day as a physician I saw women struggling with issues like irregular bleeding and missing cycles all which were due to being overweight. Clients also began contacting me and asking me for help. I opened the Ciao Bella Center for Weight Loss to fill a need that has reached such alarming proportions that it’s become a major national issue.
MN: How much did you initially invest in Ciao Bella Center for Weight Loss?
BS: My start-up resources included my personal funds and bank loans. I started Ciao Bella Center for Weight Loss with about $40,000. I used this money to build out the facility, pay for support staff, vitamins [and other necessities].
MN: What’s involved in a body composition analysis?
BS: Body composition analysis is measured when a client comes in and we place them on a scale. Composition is based on a person’s height, weight and resistance (resistance is measured as a client grips bars along the side of the scale). During the analysis, we can tell how much muscle, water and fat a person has. We use this information to tell how much weight a person can lose over six to 12 weeks. The average weight loss our clients enjoy is between 20 to 25 pounds. And, yes, people do keep the weight off. The biggest thing about losing weight is that people have to change their lifestyle and incorporate healthy foods and exercise into their routine. It’s good to have a healthy body image but it’s important to have a healthy body mass index.
Did you know that having a big booty can be beneficial for your health? No, we’re not suggesting that you go out and get butt implants. We’re talking about naturally big assets or the pear shape figure as some might call it. In other words, it’s about those women who may be fortunate enough to genetically store their junk in their trunk. Studies have shown that women who have a naturally large buttocks and thicker thighs will benefit from more than just having a beautiful figure. There are reports that also say that many health benefits come with it. Here are some healthy reasons why you should embrace your naturally large booty:
Protection Against Type 2 Diabetes
A study from Harvard Medical School has suggested that women with larger backsides and a smaller stomach have less risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is because the type of fat that is stored in a woman’s behind has a type of hormone that improves weight loss in other areas of the body. It also helps the body to make better use of its insulin. Unfortunately, this does not include women who have a large stomach AND a large booty though. Sorry ladies…
Less risk of heart Disease
Women with a pear shape figure are also less likely to develop heart disease, as opposed to women with an apple shape who store weight around their stomach. According to the same study done at Harvard Medical School, the reason for this is not because of the amount of fat in these areas, but rather because the type of fat stored in the stomach area differs from the type of fat stored in the buttocks. In other words, there are good fats and there are bad fats. The good fats have hormones that improve the body’s health, and the bad fats can clog up your arteries.
I love my Father. I feel so blessed to have landed such a great one. The best chef, a wizard with words and a craftsman who has built houses with his bare hands. I owe a lot to him. He prepared me for so much in life.
However, there’s one thing he never prepared me for. As I approach my late twenties I’m struggling with watching my Father age. It’s like it happened over night. My Father was in his early thirties when I was born and other than his weight fluctuating he hadn’t aged much once he hit 40 years old. Since I moved out at 18, I’ve seen my father in 3-6 months intervals ever since. But it’s been these last two years where each visit it’s like I’m seeing a new person. And I’m terrified. Every visit I’m being reminded that there will be a day when I have to say a final good bye, a day where I will miss him and I can’t hop on the train to see him or pick up the phone and call him. Just the thought brings me to tears and now I have a visual reminder that it is the reality of me getting older, my parents are too. However what separates my Mother from my Father in the aging process, are factors that affect most men, especially the Baby Boomers of color. Mental health.
The Black community has long skirted the issue of mental health, curtly brushing it under the rug. Smacking it down as some repugnant trait of those with less melanin. Even as we have watched some of our biggest celebrities grapple with the complexities of poor mental health, D’angelo, Junior Seau, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Our community has ignored the gravity that mental health has on our over well-being and quality of life. This is especially true for Black men who often are taught to define their masculinity by their ability to hold in their emotions. Never cry, never break down…you must always pick your self up and keep it moving. My Father has been threw two divorces, a failed engagement and a recession that wiped out his 401k and hopes of retiring anytime soon. He was trained to pick it up and keep it moving, never letting on to any emotional turmoil. He grinned and bared it all. My Mother was hit exceptionally hard just as my Father, with the ending of her marriage, another failed relationship, the complete burglary and then loss of her home. She too grinned and bared it, right to the therapist and gym. For women, though we still have a long way to go, the push towards understanding our mental health has been a lot more rampant and vocal. My Mother has had a chance to hear that discussion.
As a twenty something, watching the recession help make my college degree close to worthless, fighting to stay a float in the biggest rat race known as New York City and the myriad of other struggles that have left me not wanting to get out of bed, the biggest mental note savior has been that I can’t give up because I still have so much life to live. At 60 years old, the same mental note doesn’t carry much weight. The aging I’ve seen my Dad undergo, seems to be a clear sign of his beginning to give up. He’s going through the motions of life and it’s as if I’m watching him dig his own premature grave.
Father’s Day is Sunday, and the biggest gift you can give to your Father is that of happiness and health. There’s a myriad of statistics to back up my personal tale, even Soledad O’brien touched on it on Black in America. But it’s not numbers that need to move you. Rather your heart that makes you sit down and have that careful conversation with your father. No one wants to see their Dad die from a sudden heart attack, stroke or any other stress induced condition. We can’t ignore how our Father’s eating, sleeping and personal hygiene habits are indicative of their mental health. If any of those habits are faltering it is a clear connection to their mental health.
Put out some thoughtful suggestions even if he shoots them down, just ask that he think about them on his own. Then offer to do your part to help him get better. It can be as simple as calling every day to pray with him, offering to make his bed, buy him new pillows (good sleep is important!), whatever simple task cater it to your father’s needs and being.
I implore all of you for Father’s Day to make that start too. Find your angle and have that talk with your father.
I did and in one sentence I burst into tears and finished out an hour long conversation in between sobs.
Dad, I love you and I need you to live long(er)…
When one hears the term “low self-esteem” their minds frequently take them to the extreme images of a woman who walks around with her head held down or the woman with a eating disorder. Our minds rarely go to the well-dressed woman sitting across from us on the subway or the no non-sense businesswoman we see gallivanting around the office. These false assumptions are where our society has failed us in some ways. The truth of the matter is that low self-esteem knows no race, social class, or age group, nor does it hit a specific kind of woman. Even the woman who looks like she has it all on the outside could be doubting herself a great deal on the inside.
It does however, seem to be familiar with gender because it appears to impact women at a higher percentage than men. Studies show that 90 percent of all women want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance. But, why? The blame for poor self image among women in the United States can be blamed on a variety of different factors from pressures from the media to sexual objectification to internalized negative comments, and the list goes on. However, the true question should be: What is being done about it?
One thing that we should not overlook is that low self-esteem rarely just shows up during adulthood, but is something that is deeply rooted within many of us from childhood. According to a study conducted at the New York University Child Study Center, Dr. Robin F. Goodman writes, “Girls’ self-esteem peaks when they are nine years old, then takes a nose dive.” Studies show that 75 percent of eight and nine year olds like their looks; however, that figure drops to 56 percent once girls reach ages 12 and 13.
What happens between the ages of nine and twelve to make these numbers drop so drastically probably varies by case, but what we do know are the high-risk behaviors commonly associated with low self-esteem. These behaviors include but are not limited to drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, eating disorders and the list goes on. But what can be done to protect our girls? How can we somehow intervene and somehow rescue our girls from bearing the same burdens and battling the same demons that many of us have battled for large portions of our lives? While building up a child’s self-esteem by letting them know how important, smart, and beautiful they are is important, it is also imperative to communicate. Don’t just tell your child what you think of them, but also find out what they think of themselves and why. If you are able to uncover what the culprit is early on, chances are you can reverse its effects. Often times children are impacted by low self-esteem before they are old enough to even grasp the concept.
I was about 20 years old when it finally dawned on me that I had some self-esteem issues. Sadly, these were issues that I had been grappling with since I was about four years old. My mother whom I always shared just about everything with was shocked when I shared this revelation with her. She and my father had always been sure to share with me how important and beautiful I was, yet, somehow low self-esteem still crept in. There are many credited groups and organizations that are dedicated to the building up and empowerment of girls, but the truth is that the war on poor self-esteem begins at home. According to Crosswalk.com, “Girls are craving better communication with adult figures as they struggle with challenges in their lives. The top wish among girls is for their parents to communicate better with them, including more frequent and more open conversations, as well as discussions about what is happening in her life.” So, the next time you look at that special little girl in your life and think about how great she is be sure to share that with her, but don’t hesitate to get in her head and find out how she feels about herself. Start asking the right questions such as what she likes about herself, what she doesn’t like about herself, what she believes others think about her, etc. and listen closely. The first step to solving a problem is uncovering that there is one.
More on Madame Noire!
- Where Are They Now? Kids From a Few of Our Favorite Black TV Shows
- Jealous? Why You Should Be At Peace With Yourself Before Entering A Relationship
- Build-Up Ain’t Cute: 5 Things You Should Know About Dandruff
- Celibacy Is The New Black: 8 Celebs Who Publicly Swore Off Sex
- Against The Odds: How This Orphan From Sierra Leone Became A Famous Ballerina
- MN Exclusive: Kesha Nichols Dishes on Tami’s Apology, Dating a Show Producer, and How Editing Works on Reality TV
- Where Are They Now? Kids From a Few of Our Favorite Black TV Shows
Taking care of your hair goes beyond just treating your hair follicles. There are a million and one sayings to reiterate the importance of building a good foundation and for your hair that foundation would be your scalp. Dry scalp and product build-up can be treacherous to your scalp and the health of your hair. Here’s a few quick tips on taking care of your scalp.
Real dandruff is fungal build-up.
First, a dry flaky scalp is not always dandruff. Dandruff is actually a common scalp disorder that is caused by excessive build up of dead skin cells and accompanied with an itchy scalp. According to WebMD, some believe that the fungus, malassezia is the cause of the fungus. Malassezia exists on all humans, however some immune systems overreact to the fungus, therefore causing dandruff. True dandruff can be treated with specialized shampoos.
The big myth is that as women of color, it’s okay for us to wash our hair infrequently, like once or twice a month. A clean scalp promotes hair growth. If you are focusing on growing your hair, it is helpful to wash or co-wash frequently. At the minimum, you should aim to wash your hair once a week. Use sulfate-free shampoos, regardless of your hair texture or process. You can find a bevy of sulfate-free shampoos at any major retailers, like Wal-Mart and Target, as most brands are branching out and producing this type of cleanser.
Co-washing is a great for highly texturized hair types. However you don’t want to over-condition your hair, which can result in product build-up and leave you with oily flakes in on your scalp. When you do condition, THOROUGHLY rinse out your hair. If a product’s instructions say to “rinse out” after a certain time period, then rinse it out. Don’t leave a product in your hair that is meant to be rinsed out in 30 minutes in your hour for over an hour. You will be left with a flaky residue that you might not notice immediately.
Product Junkie Anonymous
Don’t be that person that gunks every product under the sun into their hair. Just as conditioner will lead to product build-up, any product that you put on your hair can cause a residue that leads to white flakes as well. Always apply product in small amounts and add more as needed. Especially when using gels! You want to decrease the potential for flakes, but use as little as possible to get the desired affects. Start with a dime size of the product and work up from there.
Doctor Knows Best
If you have noticed an excessive amount of white flakes or possible dandruff build-up that you just can’t get rid of, visit your dermatologist to find out if the real root of your problem isn’t a medical condition. Psoriasis and Seborrheic Dermatitis are both skin diseases that include dandruff as a symptom. Per the National Library of Medicince, “most people with psoriasis have thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches.” Seborrheic Dermatitis features yellow/white flakes on the scalp. Definitely check with your doctor who can help with more severe cases of dandruff.