Jan 29

Is Earth Really That Healthy For Us?

Earth, Health, ExplorationEarlier in January, astronomers discovered a star system with at least five Earth-sized planets. The discovery rekindled the conversation about the existence of habitable, Earth-like worlds outside our solar system, and possibly, life.

In order to make a planet habitable for us, or life similar to us, the planet has to be situated in the “goldilocks zone,” a distance away from its star that is far enough away not to boil away water, and close enough not to freeze it solid. Over the last few years, scientists have found over 20 extrasolar planets that fit that description.

That got us thinking… is home planet really our ideal environment, or could there be planets out there that are even better or healthier for us, humans, to live on?

Location

Earth is, of course, located in the goldilocks zone, but it is actually pretty close to the inner edge, scraping by on the edge of uninhabitability. An ideal planet for us would be situated in the middle of the goldilocks zone.

Temperature

Since Earth is on the inner edge of the goldilocks zone, the side facing the sun it is constantly baked in radiation. Our atmosphere does a lot to offset the temperature differences, but realistically, Earth’s temperatures differences are pretty extreme. Even though we are highly-adaptable species who can live in tropical heat as well as frozen tundra, only a fraction of Earth is comfortable for us to live in. Imagine a planet with warm, 70s temperatures all around the globe, with only mild variations in seasons… it may be possible on a planet with a weaker sun, and more in the middle of the goldilocks zone. Also, a planet without big landmasses like our continents would be less likely to develop desert regions.

Weather

The aforementioned theoretical planet without extreme temperature differences would also not have the extreme weather we get here on Earth. A planet without hurricanes, tornadoes or severe thunderstorms would be much more ideal for us.

UV Rays

Most of us can’t spend a full day outside in the sun without getting burned here, on Earth. A weaker sun, and/or being away from the inner edge of the goldilocks zone would solve that problem for us

Natural Resources

Our current periodic table is incomplete. There are many heavy elements that are yet to be discovered, or have not been observed in nature because we are limited by what we can mine or discover here on Earth. Imagine a planet with a wide array of new elements for us to discover, and what it will do for our science, medicine and overall well-being as a species!

Although a more ideal planet than Earth is theoretically possible, currently, there is no way to know for sure. It would take 200,000 years for us to get to the closest of those potentially habitable worlds with current propulsion technologies, so for the near future, Earth is the ideal, and only place for us.

Jan 27

How to Eat Right and Maintain Proper Nutrition on a Budget

bell-pepper-569070_1280Getting the right nutrition is extremely important for not only feeling good physically and mentally, but for preventing disease and illness. The problem is that some of the cheapest foods (e.g. fast food and processed food) has the least nutritional value. And on the other hand, healthier foods like organic, non-GMO, all-natural tend to be more expensive. Fortunately, you can still eat right and get proper nutrition on a budget by following these guidelines.

 

Do Your Own Cooking

One of the quickest ways to overspend is by constantly eating out or buying prepackaged meals that you heat up in the microwave or oven. This can quickly rack up your food costs and often lacks nutritional value. The solution is to buy whole foods and cook them yourself. Although it may require a bit more time, it’s often more satisfying and you can eat better without exorbitant costs.

 

Purchase Frozen Fruits and Veggies

If you’re not sure how long it will take you to eat perishable foods like fruits and veggies, it’s smart to buy them frozen. Rather than only having a few days before they go bad, you can easily have several weeks or even months. On top of this, frozen fruits and veggies should be rich in nutrients if they were frozen right, and you can often find them at discount prices.

 

Shop for Local Foods That Are In Season

Buying foods that are locally grown and farmed saves money because sellers don’t have to cover the cost of long distance transportation. When it comes to fruits and veggies, try to stick with the ones that are in season in your area and you can save money while boosting your health. An added benefit of local foods is that they’re practically guaranteed to be fresh and you’re putting money back into your community.

 

Join a Co-op

If you are feeling a bit Marxist lately, a final option involves joining a local co-op where members contribute to food production and distribution or volunteer in exchange for reduced costs on food. If you’ve got some extra time and want to have access to healthy food at an affordable cost, then this is something to look into. Just search for co-ops in your area and see what is out there.

Jan 22

CPH & Associates Employee Spotlight – Sean Soristo

Thankful, Thursday, Employee, SpotlightThroughout 2014, we featured during our monthly “Thankful Thursdays” CPH employees and their experiences working at CPH & Associates. Customer Service Representative Sean Soristo has the honor of being the first employee spotlight of 2015! Let’s see what Sean had to share:

 

Why did you choose, and how long have you worked with CPH?

I have been working at CPH for a little over 2 years. My wife had been working here and informed me an open position. I was employee of another insurance agency at the time, so had a similar skill set.

 

What is your role at CPH?

Officially, I am a Customer Service Representative. Unofficially, Jack of all Trades: Helping customers, fixing staplers, setting up computers, you need it done I can probably figure it out.
Why would customers need to interact with you?

I am here to educate the customer about their policy. Insurance is something that everyone needs, but not necessarily understands.

How would you describe the company culture?

It is a wonderful workplace. We are professional, but not to the point of being stuffy. Fun is definitely part of our everyday.

 

What do you like most about working for CPH?

The people I work with are all amazing, and the company actually cares about its customers and employees (a rare thing in this age).

 

Thank you for your dedication and work ethic, Sean. Keep it up!

Jan 20

Awareness During Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma, January, Awareness, EyeGlaucoma is an eye disorder that leads to optic nerve damage and often blindness. It’s a serious problem, and according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, “Over 2.7 million Americans, and over 60 million people worldwide, have glaucoma.” January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month and the perfect time to educate people on this disease and on the importance of routine eye examinations. Here’s what you can do to help raise awareness.

 

Send People to the Website

For starters, you can get others up to speed on glaucoma and provide them with a wealth of information by directing them to Glaucoma.org. This comprehensive site contains pretty much everything a person needs to know about the disease including how it adversely affects sight, the diagnosis process, how it’s treated and statistics. There are links to contact information including an email address where people can send any specific questions they may have. There is also a place where individuals can make donations to fund research and make progress in treating this disease.

 

Get a Free Booklet

The Glaucoma Research Foundation offers a free booklet that you can order here. Inside, it contains a wealth of information on understanding glaucoma and how to live with it. This is the definitive resource that you can share with others to raise awareness and have a positive impact. There is also the option of downloading the PDF file if you live outside the United States or Canada or simply want to view the booklet digitally.

 

Utilize Additional Resources

 Besides the website and booklet, there are several other resources that you can use to educate people on glaucoma. Visiting this link from the National Eye Institute will give you access to a variety of materials that should help. For instance, you can find sample social media posts with links that you can place on your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest profile. There is a great infographic that contains plenty of statistics to give people a better sense of who is most at risk and other facts about the disease. There are also web buttons and an email signature that you can post to point others to helpful glaucoma resources.

Jan 15

The Positive Impact of Mentoring a Young Person

national mentor monthJanuary is National Mentoring Month, and a time when many volunteers choose to give their time to help young people in need of guidance. Besides the immediate benefits of being a role model, there is often a positive long-term impact. Here are some specific advantages associated with mentoring a young person.

Better Grades

Studies have shown that there is a correlation between a mentor spending time with a youth and better performance at school. According to Children Uniting Nations, “59% of mentored teens get better grades.” They are also less likely to skip school and tend to have a better attitude toward school in general. This can be especially beneficial for at risk youth who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The time a mentor puts in can have a profound effect on a young person’s life for years to come. It can also increase the likelihood that they will attend college and pursue a higher education.

Lower Risk of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

One problem that plagues many teenagers is getting caught up in the negative cycle of drug and alcohol abuse. It’s an age where peer pressure can takes its toll and young people begin to experiment with harmful substances. However, with the positive influence of a mentor, the odds of a young person going down this path are reduced considerably. In fact, studies have shown that “53% of students credit mentors with improving their ability to avoid drugs, and 27% of mentored youth are less likely to begin using alcohol.”

Overall Improved Behavior

When a person is at a vulnerable age, they may end up getting caught up in the wrong crowd or making poor decisions. Without a solid role model to intervene, these patterns can persist and lead to even more problems down the road. Fortunately, mentoring can go a long way in improving a young person’s behavior because they are provided with support and learn the skills to cope with life’s challenges. There is also a trend of mentees becoming more confident in themselves so that they don’t give in to peer pressure and are more likely to maintain positive relationships.

Even though the time spent mentoring is minimal, it can have a major impact on a mentee’s life. That’s why participating in National Mentor Month is a great decision to make.

Jan 13

National Mentoring Month – How to Get Involved

Mentor, Mentoring, National Mentoring MonthHistory

Since 2002, January has been officially designated as National Mentoring Month. It is a time when individuals from across the country offer to devote their time to young people in their community and make a positive difference. Whether it’s a short-term commitment or long-term where the relationship lasts over a year, the time you spend with a young person can have a lasting impact. If you’re interested in becoming a mentor in your area, here’s how you can get involved.

See What’s Available

The easiest way to find volunteering options is to use the zip code search on the Mentor.org website. This allows you to quickly tell what’s available in your region including the program type, age of youth served, and specific location. You will also be provided with a link to learn more about each program. This way you can see what you’re most interested in and if any mentoring programs match your unique abilities and skill set. If you don’t have the time to participate, you can also make a donation through the link provided. It’s easy to do and starts with increments of $25, but can go all the way up to $1,000 or more.

Search for Specific Programs or Locations

In the event that you have a specific type of program or location in mind, you can search via the Volunteer Referral Service (VRS) to see what’s available. This allows you to narrow your search down by several criteria like zip code, distance, location, program type and age of youth served. From there, you will get in depth information and see what’s out there. If you can’t find something that matches your criteria exactly, there’s a good chance that you’ll find something similar.

Check Out the Toolkit and Digital Materials

After this, it’s a good idea to get more acquainted with the program and see what it’s all about. You can find everything you need through www.mentoring.org, where you can download the 2015 National Mentoring Month Campaign Kit. This contains a wealth of information and will get you up to speed on the history of the campaign, its goals and important dates. You can also get digital materials like a Facebook cover photo for your profile, a web badge, web banners and images.

Jan 08

Does Eating Organic Really Make a Difference?

red-417106_1280The debate has raged for years about whether or not eating organic food really made any difference in your nutritional or health needs. Study after study left researchers on the fence about the benefits of going organic. The only information that could not be denied was that organic food contained almost no pesticide residue, the sustainable practices used to grow organic food did not harm or deplete the soil, and less fossil fuels were used in its manufacture.

Of course, not ingesting pesticides into your system was always the main reason to eat organic. Even though the pesticides used were USDA Certified safe for human consumption, the reality is that no pesticide is safe to ingest for any living creature, no matter how certified it is… after all, why would any chemical designed to kill living creatures be safe for others? For years, that single fact has always been the deciding factor about whether or not to eat organic foods.

The Newcastle University Study 

In September of 2014, a new study was done at Newcastle University, which attempted to determine unequivocally whether or not organic food was better for you nutritionally than conventional crops. This study was co-authored by Dr. Charles Benbrook, professor at Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources. The team he was on found out that …

  • On average, organic food crops contained up to 17% more antioxidants than conventionally grown food crops. Some organic fruits, vegetables and grains had as much as a 60% increase in antioxidants. This is huge because antioxidants have the capability to block free radical damage to other cells, including the damage to cells that may cause cancer.
  • A 69% higher average of Flavanones, an enzyme compound that has been associated with a lower stroke risk, was recorded when compared to conventional crops. Although eating fruits and vegetables have always been linked to a lower stroke risk, the higher amount of Flavanones in organic foods, and the connection between stroke prevention, cannot be denied.

The Bottom Line

The Newcastle University study finally put to rest the argument between conventionally grown crops and organically grown crops. For better health and nutrition, you can ask yourself this: Does eating organic food really make a difference? The answer to that question is a resounding “Yes!”

 

Jan 06

What’s Cooking in 2015?

2015, Food, Nutrition, HealthWith the excess of the holidays over, the New Year is a time when many people are trying to get their nutrition back on track. Let’s now take a look at what the biggest trends in nutrition are likely to be in 2015.

 

Kale Continues 

Of all the leafy vegetables, kale has been one of the top choices of health conscious consumers. In past years, it’s earned the title “Queen of Greens,” and experts project that it’s going to maintain its status in 2015. With a plethora of nutrients, ability to lower cholesterol and reduce certain types of cancer, it’s easy to see why kale is expected to be bigger than ever this year.

 

Ancient Grains Make a Comeback

Perhaps a more surprising trend is a resurgence of grains that were popular thousands of years ago among ancient peoples. For instance, it’s predicted that amaranth; a grain cultivated for over 8,000 years by nations like the Aztecs will grow in popularity. Quinoa, which has been consumed by people in South America for 4,000 years, should also be making its way into households. Both of these ancient grains are jam-packed full of vitamins, and quinoa in particular contains a lot of fiber.

 

Eating Local

Consuming foods that are grown locally not only saves money and stimulates the local economy, but it can produce some outstanding culinary delights. While regionally grown fruits and vegetables have already been popular among consumers for some time, the demand for locally sourced grains is expected to rise in 2015 as well.

 

Japanese Matcha

The Japanese are renowned for their healthy diets and for integrating ancient traditions into modern times. One prediction for this year is that matcha will become more mainstream. This is a bright green tea that’s been used in Japanese tea ceremonies for over 1,000 years and is known for being extremely healthy and high in antioxidants.

Unlike regular green tea, matcha contains less caffeine. Because the entire tea leaf is ground up into a very fine powder, you get the maximum amount of nutrients from it. Besides simply using it for tea, matcha can also be infused into shakes, lattes, ice drinks and even cake.

Although one can never say for sure what the New Year will bring, these 2015 nutrition trends are expected to be big and can offer some serious health benefits.

 

Jan 02

2015 & Health Care: What We’re Excited About!

Health Care 20152015 marks a big hallmark in US medicine. It’s been a full year of affordable healthcare in action. We can’t believe we made it. It’s exciting to see the United States government recognizing a need for healthcare for all citizens – and this positive step towards a secure future for all Americans is just one strong step towards a healthy future.

On the timeline, 2015 may not seem as important as 2014 was, but honestly the more changes to come this year are truly geared towards the consumer. 2015 is about quality and cost – protecting the consumer and ensuring that value stays the main goal of nationwide practices. However, the healthcare climate is not the only area of interest.

Affordable Healthcare 2015: Year of the Patient

Paying Physicians Based on Value Not Volume. A new provision will tie physician payments to the quality of care they provide. Physicians will see their payments modified so that those who provide higher value care will receive higher payments than those who provide lower quality care. (Source: Hhs.gov)

What does this mean?

For physicians, this means that they will get better pay if they provide higher levels of care. This is a step towards physician quality control. No longer will be the standard for physicians to recommend a “second opinion”.

For consumers, this may actually result in lower premiums. It’s yet to be determined whether or not out-of-pocket expenses will increase. It’s guaranteed that those without insurance will see health care costs rise – and hospitals are also predicted to increase their fee (source: TheSimpleDollar.com). The advantages you get out of your benefits will require research – the type of medical consumer you are will still very much affect the amount you spend on health care outside of your premium.

Finally, for employers, 2015 brings on the healthcare mandate. All full-time workers at large firms must have access to health benefits.

Wearable Tech: Health of the Future

According to HRI Clinician Workforce Survey, over half of US physicians and consumers agree that mobile apps and devices are suitable to assist in monitoring vital signs. Mobile apps will become a major part of healthcare this year.

HIPAA and Data Security Risks on the Rise

Privacy is going to be a HUGE issue as wearable tech and mobile apps for physicians rise from trending to essential.

Genetics Play a Role in Health Recommendations

Genomic information is at about a 50% approval rate – meaning that highly tailored medications are on the way to production.

2015 looks to be a year of advancement and even science fiction! We’re glad to be here. Good luck and Happy New Year!

 

 

Dec 30

2014 – a Medical Review

iceAs we are counting down days, then hours, then minutes to the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, the inevitable urge to review the year’s events, accomplishments, milestones and notable happenings takes over, as we yearn to close the book on the old year and usher in the new.

Without a doubt, 2014’s biggest accomplishment goes to Ford for finally ditching the iconic Mustang’s live rear axle in favor of a modern independent rear suspension. Although the following undoubtedly pales in comparison, 2014 also saw incredible breakthroughs in stem cell research and female infertility treatments, including the world’s first baby born after a womb transplant. Stem cell breakthroughs lead to a previously paralyzed man’s ability to move his legs through an intricate spinal shock treatment and regeneration procedures. Unprecedented advances in brainwave mapping lead to a successful experiment in which a lab monkey was able to control artificial limbs using only its brain.

2014’s Nobel Prize was awarded to scientists who successfully discovered our brain’s location center — a part of our brain we use to navigate, position and figure out spatial directions.

HIV research took a hit when a Mississippi baby previously believed to have been one of the first cases of cured HIV was once again diagnosed with the autoimmune decease, sending those working for an HIV cure back to the drawing board.

While both an example of a horrible virus and an example of human kind’s propensity towards altruistic behavior and helping one another, 2014 marked the year of the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded human history. The outbreak crippled three African nations with thousands of recorded cases and thousands of deaths. Aid workers and deadly disease specialists from the world over rushed to aid in the outbreak. Although several cases were reported in Europe and the United States, mostly among aid workers who travelled back home after their work in Africa, the outbreak was largely held in check in the western world. In addition to successfully containing the virus, the CDC has also developed a vaccine and is as of this date ready for human trials.

The ALS Ice Bucket challenge swept the nation as hundreds of thousands including actors, famous athletes and even former president George W. Bush took to social media to douse themselves with a bucket of ice-cold water and challenge their friends, co-workers and even archenemies (Bush challenged Clinton) to do the same in support of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s Decease.

All in all, 2014 was a year of monumental events and great achievement — we wish you the best in 2015! By the way, of course we were kidding about the Mustang.

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