Blogging

Blogging styles must be adapted to suit the client and the client’s audience. Here are several examples from the various blogs I write .

For Refine Medical Spa

Gut health, Supplements and Probiotics

The Importance of Food for Maintaining Good Health

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said, ‘Let food be they medicine and medicine be thy food.’ In modern times, we have paraphrased this aphorism as You are what you eat.

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However, since the era of the Madmen in advertising, we have allowed ourselves to be fooled into thinking that prepackaged, fast, or otherwise adulterated food is actually good for us. Nothing can be further from the truth. While improvements in hygiene and waste disposal, along with powerful antibiotics, have contributed to lengthening our collective lifespans, we are entering old age more debilitated than our counterparts did in previous eras.

Partly due to our sedentary lifestyles, or indulgence in excessive sports, we are ever more reliant on technologies and surgeries to help us retain mobility. Some of us resort to hair color, plastic surgeries, or injections to look younger. We go on diets to remain slim and sexy, following every fad from low fat to low gluten.

However, we rarely think about the impact our actions have on our long-term health. True, most of the health conscious have stopped smoking, but have replaced that indulgence by guzzling supersized glasses of wine, focusing on the heart healthy benefits of Resveratrol while ignoring the effects of carbohydrates and sugars on their bodies. Additionally we indulge in so-called whole grains and healthy carbs, while wondering why our waistlines never seem to shrink.

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Some people, on the other hand, believe our cave ancestors ate nothing but meat, which could not be further from the truth, and err on the other side of dietary spectrum. Others follow the Okinawa diet or the Mediterranean diet ignoring that the less stressful lifestyles and general contentment of those populations relative to our own culture might be the real clue to their good health.

Organic Food, Soil Depletion and Supplements

Now you might say, that’s not me, I eat an organic and balanced diet. The only trouble with that is that the organic label doesn’t always mean food is entirely raised or initially sourced organically. Even grass fed cows spend the last portions of their lives in feedlots, thus undoing most of the benefits beef eaters hope to derive from consuming ‘organic’ meat.

The most disturbing aspect about agriculture in the United States is that our soils have been leeched of vital nutrients and minerals and poisoned by pesticides and petrochemical fertilizers for decades. We think we are getting the fuel and vitamins we need to maintain a healthy body, but we are not.

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We then resort to supplements. However, we might not realize that not all vitamin and mineral formulas are of the same quality. Those on sale at our local drugstores, or even in stores that specialize in vitamins, have been found to be full of additives, fillers and contaminants.

If you are going to supplement, it is advisable to purchase physician/pharmaceutical grade supplements available from holistic health practitioners. These supplements will be the ones most able to deliver benefits without any additional fillers or contaminants.

While we carry a wide range of supplements manufactured by Metagenics and Xymogen, Dr. Vulich recommends that almost everyone can begin to improve overall health by taking probiotics. As Hippocrates also said, Health begins in the gut.

Gut Bacteria and Well-being

What do we actually mean by the gut? The gastrointestinal system, also referred to as the gastrointestinal tract, digestive system, digestive tract, or gut, is a group of organs that includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum.

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What then is gut bacteria?  There are three to five hundred different kinds of bacteria within the digestive tract. Along with other tiny organisms like viruses and fungi, they make up the unique microbiota that is different in each human being. One’s microbiota is determined by the mother’s microbiota, the environment that the body is exposed to at birth, and from diet and lifestyle.

Bacteria lives in the entire body, but the bacteria in the gut may have the biggest impact on well-being. Though they line the entire digestive system, the majority live in the intestines and colon.

Chronic stress, antibiotics, poor overall health, C-section births, and environmental toxins can all deplete the beneficial flora found in the gut. Symptoms can present as heartburn, constipation, bloating and excess gas while having far-reaching and damaging consequences for overall health.

Chronic inflammation can cause the body to seek to protect itself, launching an immune response and damaging its own tissues and organs in the process.  Studies indicate that poor gut health may be responsible for depression, headaches, fatigue, fibromyalgia, autism, Parkinson’s Disease, Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, dermatitis, obesity and diabetes.

We also have to consider the fact that our entire system works symbiotically and that the metabolism and thyroid cannot function properly without good gut health. Some physicians suggest that those with subnormal thyroid function need to improve their gut health in order for thyroid medications to be completely utilized by the body.

Certainly, gut health can be improved by eating fermented foods, such as sauerkraut or Kimchee, consuming bone broth, oinions and garlic, while avoiding sugars and limiting gluten or processed carbohydrates. However, supplementation can help the body get a jump-start in creating good gut fauna and eliminating a host of underlying health problems.

Dr. Bonnie Vulich will be happy to discuss your symptoms and goals with you and suggest a nutritional program along with the proper supplementation to improve your overall health. Please call today 312.867-0600.

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For Homes by Nely

Staging a Home for Sale –Part X

The Kitchen

There are a variety of socio-economic reasons to account for the fact that the kitchen has gone from a secluded place at the back of the house to the focal point of American homes over the last few decades.

As we have gotten to be more food conscious and appreciative of cooking and entertaining, kitchen design and appliances have gotten more and more elaborate and desirable. Suffice it to say, the kitchen is the status room in the American house and the one investment that will bring homeowners the greatest return.

So what are buyers looking for in a kitchen? Simplicity, neutral color schemes, and natural materials are as important as utility. By utility, I mean great layouts and  functionality,  such as hidden storage drawers that pull out for easy access, built-in storage racks and center islands as well as mini, moveable islands. Buyers also desire an eat -in kitchen, whether it’s at a table, a booth, or stools placed around the center island.

Hidden hi-end appliances, Wi-Fi connections, stereo systems, enormous sinks, beautiful countertops and  hardware, efficient and attractive lighting are also popular. Above all, buyers are looking for space.

What should you do if you have an outdated kitchen?

The first thing, of course, is to clean everything and get all signs of life off the countertops, refrigerator door, and tops of shelves. Don’t hesitate to leave a few new, attractive appliances on show.

Now comes the part that you or your handyman can do to transform the kitchen.

  • Paint the cabinets white, off white, pale grey or pale grey green
  • Add modern glass tiles for back splash
  • Exchange the old fashioned pulls for sleeker Euro-pulls
  • Add attractive hardware at the sink.
  • Possibly add crown molding

You can purchase all these materials at Home Depot inexpensively. Additionally you can:

  • Add some beautiful artwork or oversize black and white photos
  • Add green plants
  • If you can afford it, and don’t have them already, add stainless appliances.

How you can  create the illusion of space if you don’t possess it.

Exchange cabinetry for open shelves or add a few carefully placed glass fronted cabinet doors to lighten the look of the kitchen. If opening a wall to the family room, or dining room, is an option, try that as well.

Never forget to thin out the pantry, under sink areas and cabinets, keeping only your most attractive pots and dishes on show. You want to create the illusion of spaciousness and cleanliness.

However the thing to remember is, you are making cosmetic changes to help the visual appeal of your home as it goes on the market. Don’t overdo it, don’t overspend, and remember buyers might prefer their own taste over yours and be willing to change things around.

If you can’t afford to do anything but clean and paint, your Realtor will adjust the price of your home accordingly, relative to the comparable properties currently on sale.

Last but not least, there are people who eschew trends and go for what they love. Your kitchen may fit their particular taste.

When I sold my first condo in 2003, it was to an older couple who preferred my eighties ‘pink’ oak, Portuguese tiles and Provencal ceramic pulls to the sleek super modern kitchens in the same tier  I was competing against.

My current kitchen was one of the biggest selling points when I bought my current vintage condo. Decorated in 2003, it has sleek blue, aqua and camel cabinets, incredible storage features and top of the line stainless appliances, which knock on wood, are still going strong today. It’s not everybody’s idea of a gorgeous kitchen, but one look at it and all my friends commented: ‘It’s you!’ I love color and it makes me happy each time I walk through or spend time in it. It is well laid out with multiple work spaces, but I’ve cooked sit-down dinners for thirty in a tiny galley kitchen without issues. Truly, its the aesthetics of a place and the way it makes us feel that has the most impact on our choices.

Buyers, remember dont make a decision based on re-sale value alone. Buy and live with the things you love, because trends and tastes will change by the time you are ready to move.

Next time we will look at the features buyers are searching for and those which may or may not add value to your home.

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For Proselesstraveled

Jean Rhys

Jean Rhys: The Complete Novels (Paperback)

In her forward to The Complete Novels, Diana Athill stated that Rhys was always preoccupied by getting it right : invoking the truth as much as possible. And yet no matter how precise the language, evocative the mood, authentic the speech,  Rhys fails at truth since she fails to develop a most important characteristic in her neurasthenic heroines, which were all based on herself. And that truth is – writing was her saving grace. Rhys lived a writer’s life, inasmuch as it was alcohol fueled and tawdry, and that in itself didn’t make her quite the hopeless, helpless, pathetic creature she depicts in these short novels.

Taken from first to last:

Voyage in the Dark

Anna leaves the Caribbean, becomes a chorine, then the mistress of a older man who she doesn’t particularly like, though she certainly likes the security and allowance he provides. After she commits the inexcusable faux pas of embarrassing him in front of his friends, he dumps her.

Afterward, she fails to do anything to uplift herself, going from one meaningless sexual encounter to another. This was Rhys’ first work, although the manuscript was put away for years before she returned to it. The language is gorgeous, the insights into humanity and hypocrisy, and even the highly unpleasant aspects of her own character, are remarkable.

Quartet

A lightly veiled account of Rhys’ affair with Ford Maddox Ford, in which she comes off as badly as he does. This is the weakest of the five books, and though the heroine is supposed to be the victim of the callous man in question and his malevolent wife (she appears to be one of those poor, poor victims to whom everyone is soooo nasty) in reality she creates havoc wherever she goes.

After Leaving Mr. McKenzie

Penniless Julia, after leaving the boorish Mr McKenzie goes back to London in search of another protector. Here the heroine is older and the story is more insightful. There are some wonderful passages between Julia and her sister who has sacrificed her youth to look after their ailing mother while Julia lived in Paris.

Good Morning, Midnight

The best of the four first novels. There’s no pity here. She is what she is – and finally we get a glimpse of the fact that she did work, that her marriage failed and her child died, that she did not rely exclusively on men (whom she barely liked) to supply her with money in exchange for sexual favors, and that jobs went terribly badly for her quite often because she is sensed to be an outsider, a weakling, one to whom bad things can happen and often do.

Back in Paris, Sasha, after a stint of trying to drink herself to death in London, recalls the sad and horrible events in her life that have brought her so low while dallying with a young man who is in as a precarious potion as she.

The Wide Sargasso Sea:

A masterpiece. I have read it many times since I discovered it in 1993 following release of the eponymous film. It is the tale of the first Mrs. Rochester, the mad woman in the attic in Jane Eyre. It’s all here: the neurasthenia that developed of neglect and poverty in childhood, the blighted family and racial history of the island, the unloving mother, the relatives that seek to fob off the heroine by marrying her to a stanger, the cold unloving Englishman who shatters her and brings her so low.

This time, the heroine, Antoinette, is not so helpless, though she is certainly mad, and exacts her revenge in time, as we all know. Stunning language, evocative settings, and an honest depiction of race relations are wrapped in a beautiful, mysterious, otherworldly text that always leaves me wondering why the Englishman couldn’t, or wouldn’t, accept Antoinette’s open physical love. Instead, he turned his back on her and the Edenic garden she offered, which was then lost to him forever. If I have a quibble here it is very minor, and that is Rochester’s voice is a bit too poetic for such a one as he. I bought this book for $1.99 and it is in great shape – easily the best bargain on Amazon.com. Additionally the five books in one are a marvelous way to view the development of this writer.

Blog Posts for Prose Less Traveled