Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

What Do You Think: Will Health Coaches Shape the Future of Health Care

In career, Uncategorized, weight on August 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Posted on August 28, 2012

It’s not unusual for me to hear those questions “So what do you do?” or “How can you help me?

Health Coaches are sometimes referred to as “change agents,” because we’ll help you implement transformation in your life. Here’s an example: I always ask every new client what they’re “wake up” problem is–you know, that thing that eats at you, whether you’re tossing and turning at 2:00 AM or rising at 7:00 AM.

My client said she was unhappy and frustrated that she had gained over 65 pounds in a relatively short time and, no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn’t lose it. So we took baby steps, first getting her blood sugar balanced, teaching her how to eat healthfully even with little or no time, showing her the most effective way–for her body–to exercise at the gym. She didn’t know how to read food labels, so off we went on field trips to the supermarket and health food emporium.

After about seven sessions, however, what we uncovered was her ROOT problem, a severe time management problem. That problem affected every single thing in her life, from how she ate to how she managed her career. Needless to say, there was no such thing as a work/life balance in her life.

I ran into her recently and she was glowing. Everything changed instantly, she said, once we figured out what the real problem was. To quote the old cliche, “knowledge is power.” Once she understood her problem, she knew how to handle it–and then rid herself of it once and for all.

What health coaches DON’T do is:

•Send you away with a list of so-called good and bad foods. Everyone reacts differently to a food, so what could be a good food for you for could be poison to ME.

•Leave our program open-ended with no end in sight. Starting with day #1, we’ll write down and discuss your goals and challenges. Midway through your program, I review them to see if you’re on track–or if we need to reset in order to reach them within your timeframe.

•Mask issues-we get to the root of the problem, so you can get rid of it once and for all.

Many feel that health coaches will transform the health care system. One is Dr. Mark Hyman, who’s also a guest lecturer at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (where I graduated from).

Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a certified nutrition and health coach who helps people get off that diet roller coaster and live a lifetime of health, wellness, energy and passion.. To learn more, please visit her website:


What Women MUST Know About Heart Attack

In heart health, Uncategorized, wellness, women on August 15, 2012 at 2:34 am

When my friend Linda was in her 30s she experienced fatigue, anxiety and sleeplessness. She shrugged it off, though, because in the span of four weeks, she got married, moved to a different part of the country and changed jobs–all at the same time.  Who wouldn’t be tired and anxious, she thought. She was also a little short of breath, but  she was pretty adamant about keeping up her exercise routine, usually working out at least once a day–so she shrugged that off, too.

On top of that, this Registered Nurse at a busy university hospital also had a ten-year-old son whom she raised alone for most of his life, and she also took care of her mother and sister.

About a month later, she was rushed into the operating room for open heart surgery.

The bottom-line:  If she hadn’t ignored the warnings, treatment might possibly have begin earlier–and the heart attack might have been averted.

Chest pressure, pain going down the arms or in the shoulders and jaw, sweating, fainting and nausea are all hallmarks of a heart attack—but they are aren’t necessarily YOUR symptoms.  More often than not, the warnings of women are different from men–and somewhat unpredictable.

As much as a month before the heart attack, women could start to see some warnings. That’s not unusual, says The National Institutes of Health (NIH), who says these missed signs lead to delayed treatment, critical to preventing the disease.

Sadly, Linda’s story is pretty common.

The physical, mental and emotional systems of the body are taxed, leading to health problems so a symptom of an impending heart attack can be easily mistaken for something else. They often work full-time, maintain households and care for children and/or elderly parents; physical, mental and emotional systems of the body are taxed, leading to exhaustion, stress and anxiety, while eating well, relaxing and sleeping are commonly left behind. “Certainly not to say that men can’t get them, but I do see a lot of migraine headaches and fibromyalgia in women,” said naturopathic physician Laurie Brodsky, ND.

As much as a month before the heart attack you might feel:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion
  • Anxiety

How do you know when indigestion isn’t really indigestion?  “If you’re taking any kind of treatment, there should be some improvement with two days,” says naturopathic physician Dr. Donielle (Doni) Wilson.  Also president and executive director of the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians (NYANP), she continued: “If you’re not seeing any improvement at all, or if symptoms get worse, it needs to be investigated right away.

During the heart attack you’ll feel:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Cold sweat
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

So women, if you’re experiencing any of this, please discuss it with your health professional.


What Men MUST Know About Osteoporosis

In men, osteoporosis, Uncategorized, wellness on August 15, 2012 at 2:30 am

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation:

  • 1-in-4 men over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis
  • 2 million American men already have osteoporosis, with 12 million more at risk
  • Approximately 80,000 men break a hip per year
  • More men than women die one year after a hip replacement because of problems associated with that bone break

While it’s usually associated with women, osteoporosis can affect the male population. Risk factors include: family history; smoking; drinking more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day; lack of exercise; low testosterone and estrogen levels (yes, men can be low in estogen); medications; chronic medical (such as kidney, rheumatoid arthitis or gastrointestinal) problems.

How can you help prevent it?

  • Maintain adequate Vitamin D levels, especially since Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, a building block of the bone.

Check with your health professional about the amount to take.  “Men often have different requirements than women,” said Naturopathic Physician,Dr. Donielle (Doni) Wilson, ND, president and executive director of the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians (NYANP).

Foods rich in Vitamin D include salmon; sardines; wild-caught fish (much higher in Vitamin D than the non-organic farmed fish); goat’s milk; shitake mushrooms; eggs.

Some good sources of calcium include greens (especially collards, mustard and turnip); spinach; kale, cinnamon; green  beans; organges; asparagus; mushrooms; rosemary; scallops; kelp (a sea vegetable); romaine letttuce; celery; yogurt; basil; cow and goat milk.

  • If you smoke, quit. Keep drinking to a minimum.
  • Do regular weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises, sich as lifting, jogging, walking.

“Many of the men I see have diseases that are the result of lifestyle factors, so healthy living is critical,” said Naturopathic Physician Dr. Laurie Brodsky, ND.

  • Get a bone density test–your doctor will advise the best time for you to do this.

Is Your Nutrition Prepared for a Storm?

In heatlhy eating, Hurricane, nutrition, Uncategorized, wellness on August 7, 2012 at 12:23 am

I was just watching the news and, on the weather report, there was a discussion of the build-up of Hurricane Ernesto.

Now, I live in the New York City area where hurricanes rarely happen, but we did experience Hurricane Irene last year–and was that ever an eye opener.  When the supermarket was finally re-opened, I noticed that sugary, highly processed foods–like certain peanut butters, canned spaghetti and salty soups–were completely sold out.  The freshly-baked breads weren’t touched, and got stale from sitting around–but those packaged breads, with a list of ingredients we can’t even pronounce, were gone.

I really smile everytime I think of this:  My friend, Pete, probably won the prize for the unhealthiest weekend fare–he told me he lived on those $2 convenience-store burritos all that weekend.

Then, of course, we had that infamous Halloween Weekend snow storm.

So let’s try to be a little better prepared this time.  Your cabinets and freezer should have:

  • Beans. Can be either dried or canned but, if canned, please rinse thoroughly.
  • Brown rice, Quinoa, Buckwheat or some other grain.
  • Frozen veggies. Of course, fresh is best, but that may not be possible–if you’re confined or stranded for days, they’ll only wilt and spoil. Case in point:  When I was able to visit the store last year after Hurricane Irene, all the produce was brown and wilted.  Yuk!  And where is the nutrition in that?  Just check the label to be sure you’re only getting vegetables and water, and you should be okay.  If possible, try to get “flash frozen” because that means it’s frozen the minute it’s picked.
  • Frozen fruit. You can find good organic varieties at Trader Joes and in Whole Foods and even some supermarkets.
  • Nut butters.  The healthy varieties, please!  You can always have it with some sliced apples or celery for a nutritious snack.
  • Dark chocolate.  Yes, you read correctly.  Dark chocolate, as long as it has 60%-80% cocoa, is a Super Food; if it contains another Super Food, the gogi berry, well, you’ll probably never taste anything so good.  It should be a very small piece, like the size of a candy kiss–but it will probably also satisfy your need for some comfort food.
  • Yogurt:  All yogurt is considered a Super Food, but I like Greek, because the thick and creamy texture makes me think I’m eating ice cream. Mix it with another Super Food, pumpkin, and you have a powerful, nutrient-dense snack.  You can find 100% pure pumpkin (not the pie filling!) in most supermarkets.
  • Olive oil.
  • Pasta (In a pinch, you can make a pasta topping of broccoli, sauteed in olive oil and garlic.


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP, is a certified nutrition and health coach who helps people instantly double their energy so they avoid that mid-morning or afternoon slump, get more done in less time and balance their lives.  She is author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life.

For more information on Irene, and to sign up for her newsletter (and get her free e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story), please visit:

The Link Between Pets, Humans, Health–and Breed-Specific Legislation

In animals, ASPCA, Humane Society, Uncategorized, veterinary, wellness on August 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm

A couple of years ago, I took one of those real age tests–you know, the one created by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Mike Roizen.  While the results indicated a pretty long life span, the test did pick up on one potential negative.  I was currently without a pet, so I was reminded about the potential health benefits of having an animal around.

We all know how much animals do for us.  In fact, there was a recent survey (hyperlink) indicating that children who were around dogs and cats early in life might have increased immunity.

Animals communicate differently, but they do converse with us.  And just as with humans, they need good, healthy nutrition and lifestyle to survive.  They get many of the same illnesses we do, including colds, flu, bronchitis, arthritis, cancer and more.  They have their “off” days, too, sometimes needing some extra attention or care.

Humans aren’t the only ones with rapidly-expanding waistlines; in fact, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (hyperlink) now indicates that 54 percent of all US dogs—and 55 percent of all US cats, are now overweight or obese.

Given all that, one has to wonder about the efficacy—and fairness–of breed-specific legislation (BSL), a blanket term for laws that either regulate or ban certain breeds completely in the hopes of reducing dog attacks. Some of the targeted breeds include American Pit Bull Terriers; Rottweilers; Doberman Pinchers; German Shepherds; Dalmatians; Chow Chows; English Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers.  The most well-known case is Lennox, a Pit Bull, who sparked global outrage; Lennox’ only “crime” was that he looked like a “dangerous” breed and, based on that fact alone, he was put to death.

Let’s be clear: Dogs that attack people or other animals are certainly real and often serious problems in communities across the country, but the question of how best to address this issue is a complex–and emotional–one.  While New York State, Texas and Illinois prohibits BSL, one county in Maryland spends over $250,000 annually to enforce their ban on Pit Bulls, despite that county’s surveys indicating that the community is no safer.

I have a few thoughts on this matter—but, first, I need to introduce you to Logan, a Pit Bull mix who’s one of the most wonderful, friendly, loyal dogs around.  Logan seems to only have one mood: Joyful, and he recently put himself in grave danger to protect his family. They (the mother and two young kids) were all out in the yard and this very big, very scary black bear came out of the woods––standing upright on his hind legs. Logan, who was in the house, spotted the bear and toore out of the house, barking frantically.  While Lizz still didn’t know what was going on, Logan opened the door (yes, he knows how to do that!) and chased the bear back into the woods. Moments later, he returned, unscathed.

So here’s what I’m wondering:

  • Should the owner be held responsible and, if so, how much?  After all, many let their dogs roam unsupervised and off the leash—even when the owner knows there could be a problem.
  • Should more attention be given to animal abuse?  I’m happy to see that more and more judges are paying closer attention to this matter, but much more needs to be done.  If beaten and tortured long enough, any animal (or human, for that matter) will become fearful, mistrustful and very aggressive.  Case in point: Several years ago I was walking up Third Avenue in New York City to witness someone beating his puppy with a cleated shoe and chains.  When I confronted this person, he shouted a long chain of profanities at me and went right back to beating his puppy.  While animal abuse is reprehensible on all levels and for all breeds, this puppy was one that’s specifically targeted for ban by some municipalities and governments–the Pit Bull.  If the dog became aggressive, wouldn’t that be caused by the owner?
  • Let’s remember that this problem doesn’t pertain only to dogs. Here’s another personal example: A deli on my block had a mouse problem so they harbored a cat. A hungry cat would be a more effective hunter, they thought, so they never fed it. Needless to say, the cat was out of its mind and once, when I was walking my dog, it shot out of the deli to get my dog. I lifted my dog over my head to protect it and, as a result, I was severely clawed and bitten, with the cat even climbing up my back; since the cat owner refused to release any information on the cat’s health, the CDC strongly recommended that I start on a series of rabies vaccines.  Oh-and by the way, the deli workers just stood by and watched.

What do you think about this?


How Do You Push Back the Clock?

In anti-aging, entrepreneur, health, Uncategorized, wellness on August 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the 79 million baby boomers in this country–of if you’re in your 20s.  We all want to find ways to prevent and reverse the signs of aging.

While scientists may have found a possible link to aging–the telomere (for more on this, go to:, there are five very critical points that everyone, without fail, should keep in mind when trying to reverse the aging process.

  • Nutrition: Everyone should consume plenty of fruits and vegetables; they contain not only vitamins and minerals, but antioxidants—the substances that destroy free radicals.

The most important thing is to start your day off right with a healthy breakfast, to maintain your energy, regulate your blood sugars, and continue to make wiser choices throughout the day.

“I begin my day with a healthy, whole grain breakfast of oatmeal and fresh fruit,” says Faith Hope Consolo, renowned real estate broker and “Queen of Retail” who favors high-quality, fresh ingredients. “Thereafter, it’s pretty much vegetables and lean protein, including a lot of fish.” .

“I stay away from complex carbohydrates that are not whole grain, said Linda Alexander, president of Alexander Marketing, a full-service public relations firm. She explained that, although her diet is largely plant-based, she will sometimes eat organic meat and wild-caught fish.

  • Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel better and can reduce stress. Everyone has their own particular favorite, whether Pilates or Zumba or Inten-Sati –and there’s been a lot of media attention lately about the anti-aging effects of yoga. Joschi Schwarz, Creative Director and Co-Owner of the Joschi Yoga Institute in New York City, says “Yoga keeps your muscles and joints flexible, and gives you a fit body and an active mind. A regular yoga practice, including breath work (Pranayama) , increases blood circulation and the amount of oxygen throughout your body and your brain, therefore helping to delay the signs of aging.

Schwartz continues: “Especially the inverted yoga postures have an anti-aging effect and reverse the effect of gravity, firming our facial muscles, giving you a natural face-lift and glowing skin.”

  • Supplements: They should never be used as a substitute for good nutrition but, rather, to fill in the gap, since today’s soils are usually depleted and foods often contain hormones, chemicals and artificial ingredients, it’s vital to fill in the gaps with good supplementation. Make sure you look at delivery systems—some create easier absorption by the body than others—and be sure it’s approved by an independent, third-party auditor.
  • Skin care: “The latest research shows that skin actually ages itself,” said anti-aging specialist Dr. SteveTsoutsouras. “All skin contains an enzyme called Arnox that produces free radicals; everyone has it. The skin aging process actually begins in our 20’s and, as we get older, cells don’t turnover as fast, elasticity and moisture lessens, and the skin takes longer to heal itself. So when we don’t take care of our skin—whether it’s smoking, drinking to excess, or being less-than-thoughtful about skin care products, it accelerates the aging process even more.

New York City Acupuncturist Sandy Root., Sandy Root, L.Ac., MSTOM, says her firm, Root-Acupuncture, specializes in facial rejuvenation—a natural, painless and effective way to eliminate fine lines and diminish larger wrinkles, reduce double chins and drooping eyelids and improve muscle tone.

“It’s not just superficial treatment, because it balances the internal body. In fact, studies have been done showing it increases collagen and skin elasticity,” Root says.

  • Self-care: Research shows the positive effects of massage and meditation. Everything feeds us whether or not it’s on our plate; the connection between mind-body-spirit is undeniable.

Gladys Murphy is a NYC-area Resonance Repatterning™ Certified Practioner who says, “ Resonance Repatterning is a system that allows us to lose weight so to speak. We identify and transform unconscious patterns, limiting beliefs and old negative feelings that show up as the challenges that we experience in our daily lives. The patterns live in our cells, and in every aspect of our physical, mental, and emotional beings.” Murphy explains that the patterns hold energy and, once released, the person experiences a shift, feeling more energetic and calmer.

New York City real estate sales associate Sandra Manley, summed it up perfectly: “If I were talking to a co-worker, friend or whatever, what is the one piece of advice I’d give them to help turn back the clock? I would tell them to have fun, wherever and whenever possible – laugh, play, spend time with people who make you happy, travel, learn new things, and enjoy life at every opportunity.”

Want to hear a guided meditation from Deepak Chopra?  Click here:


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a certified nutrition and health coach who works with people to help them instantly double their energy so they avoid that mid-morning or afternoon slump, get more done in less time and balance their lives.

Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day: Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, she sees people on an individual or group basis. While she will see people on a face-to-face basis, she finds that most clients prefer phone or Skype because: 1) They can do it in the convenience of their own home, office or wherever–no commuting! 2) Sometimes it’s easier for them to be more open if they know there’s not a set of eyes on them.

To sign up for Irene’s FREE twice-monthly newsletter, click here.

Irene also designs employee wellness programs; have your HR executive e-mail Irene at to schedule a complimentary 45-minute employee health workshop.


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