This time of year many people are excited to see the sun, and we agree wholeheartedly that it does something for a persons disposition. We would like to give some guidance though on the dangers of tanning.

Sunset, Evening, Romantic, Sun


Unfortunately, despite warnings, too many people continue to tan.  Many still believe that having a tan makes them look healthy, but it is actually the opposite.


A tan indicates that your skin is trying to protect itself when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.  This UV radiation is what contributes to premature aging such as wrinkles, cataracts in the eyes, skin cancers, and altered immune systems.


What kinds of UV radiation exist?

Sun, Heat, Planet, Solar System, Space


There is UVA, UVB, and UVC radiation.  UVA is the longest wavelength, and UVC is the shortest wavelength.  UVC is not a concern when it comes to tans and sunburns, as most of it gets absorbed by the ozone layer before getting to the earth.


What does UV radiation do exactly that it causes so much damage?


The UV radiation penetrates the skin, which can damage and cause mutations in the cells of the skin.


UVA penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB, but both are dangerous for the cells of your skin.  Studies have shown that both types of rays are responsible for contributing to the aging in people’s skin and eyes, as well as resulting in skin cancers.


UVA rays are now known to be even more dangerous than originally thought, even though UVA has been known as the one associated with tans, and UVB with getting sunburns.


What do tanning beds use?   


Tanning beds often emit high levels of UVA, even higher than the sun emits.  Despite tanning salons telling their patrons that tanning this way is safer, it actually is not.


In particular, children and teens need you to teach them these dangers as they are at even more risk.  Because their bodies are still growing, it puts their cells in even more danger of mutations.


But what about Vitamin D?


Vitamin D is produced in your body when you are exposed to the sun’s rays.


It is especially important in preventing osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones), but it is also important in improving your immune system functioning.  Those living in northern climates are more at risk of Vitamin D deficiencies.  You can get Vitamin D from some food sources, as well as supplements.


However, many people still believe, and many salons will try to convince you that tanning is a healthy way to get your Vitamin D.


Fortunately, a study done at St. John’s Institute of Dermatology, King’s College London, has shown that you can still get adequate levels of Vitamin D by slathering on sunscreen with an SPF 15.  Some (but not all – that is why it is still recommended you use sunscreen) of the UVB rays pass through the sunscreen, thus allowing your body to produce Vitamin D.

Beach, Umbrella, Vacation, Sun, Travel


In summary, tanned skin does not represent health.  It is the body’s way of trying to protect itself from UV radiation.  Whether you use the sun to tan or use tanning beds, you are putting your body at risk.  If you want to ensure you get adequate Vitamin D levels, it is healthier to take supplements.

As you age, it is natural that your going to experience some memory loss as your mind is not going to be as effective as it used to be.  If you have children, you might notice how well their memory functions.  However, as you move further into adulthood, you may find that your memory has decreased.  In fact, it is known that most people experience a reduction in their ability to learn new things and keep them in mind as they age.

Pieces Of The Puzzle, Mix, Hands, Puzzle


Part of these changes in memory can be related to lack of attention as your focus is divided in so many different areas.  For example, if you are a working parent or guardian, sometimes it can be overwhelming to remember the schedules for the whole family.  You need to know who needs to go where and when.  That is why using a calendar becomes especially important.  This would be considered normal memory problems.


Another reason for the increased difficulty in remembering things as you age is also biological.  The brain changes, and those areas related to memory are also affected with mild impairments developing in memory.  The ability to process information and to react to it slows down, as does the ability to multi-task.  However, with a little more effort to learn and remember new things as you age, it is still possible.

Key, Tag, Security, Label, Symbol


However, it is important to note that the cognitive and biological changes seen in normal aging are not the same as those seen in abnormal cognitive changes that occur due to dementias such as Alzheimer’s, for example.


Here are some ways to recognize normal forgetfulness from abnormal forgetfulness:


  1. The passage of time –


The passing of time is often to blame for decreased memory in normal aging.  In other words, if you do not think about particular memories frequently, there is a greater chance of forgetting them.  If perhaps the event was not of huge importance to you, there’s also a greater chance of forgetting the details surrounding the event.  This is normal.  The memories that you call upon more often will be retained more easily.  Nevertheless, if you don’t use those memories, you lose them.


Unnatural forgetfulness, on the other hand, is when you cannot recall recent events such as what you ate for lunch or who visited you that day.


  1. Stressful situations –


If you are asked to recall incidents from a time of stress in your life, and you can’t, it is likely due to normal memory lapses.  During times of stress, your brain has a hard time storing information.

Headache, Image, Man, Stress


  1. Repetition –


If this is the second time that you tell your child the same story in a couple weeks, this is more likely due to normal forgetfulness.  However, if you tell your child the same story during a visit lasting one hour, that is not normal.


  1. Date –


Normal forgetfulness includes not remembering the exact date, but having a general idea of the time of the month, and the problem solving ability to look the date up on the most recent edition of newspaper you received that morning.  Someone with abnormal memory will not even know what year it is.

Pins, Calendar, Time, Work, Office, 3D


  1. Self-care abilities –


If you experience some forgetfulness, but are still able to remember to bathe and dress yourself, to eat, to go to the supermarket, to take your prescriptions (you actually may need to use a pill box as a personal reminder), your memory is likely still within normal ranges for your age.


On the other hand, if you do not remember how to do these tasks or even that they need to be done, then that is abnormal.


  1. Familiarity –


It is normal to get lost in unfamiliar locations, such as when you are visiting a new area of your city.  However, it is not normal to get lost and not remember familiar locations such as your own neighborhood or who your family members are.


  1. Frustration levels –


Someone with normal forgetfulness, is not likely to get irritated or upset when reminded about something.  People with abnormal forgetfulness will often display denial, anger, or defensiveness when reminded or when confronted with questions that test their memory for dates, places, and more.  They may even accuse you of stealing something that they lost and cannot locate.

We hope these 7 steps have helped you to determine whether you or someone you love is having a normal or abnormal reaction to the aging process.

It’s that time of year again, as they say. But the holiday season often brings increased stress, fatigue, and anxiety.

“The hustle and bustle of the holidays has psychological consequences for some respondents. More people are inclined to feel that their stress increases, rather than decreases, around the holidays (38 percent increase versus 8 percent decrease).” – American Psychological Association


“The holiday season often brings unwelcome guests — stress and depression. And it’s no wonder. The holidays present a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few.” – Mayo Clinic

So what are some natural ways to reduce or effectively manage your stress during this holiday season and all through the year?

dr-rec-stress11. Acknowledge & Share your feelings.  Find a way to release your emotional anxiety in a healthy, calm way whether that be through a professional outlet, or a friend or loved one, or even a journal. By talking through you issues, you not only release some of that bottled up emotional stress, you will receive comfort and support by a trusted friend or companion.  Often, talking it out in a calm, comfortable setting can also initiate positive and constructive solutions

2. Get Sufficient Sleep.  deepsleep_front_1The recommended eight hours of sleep is essential to a healthy mind and body. During more stressful times, you may need more sleep to combat the additional mental energy you’re exerting.  Some find sleep evades them if they’re mind is continually running through their issues and to-do lists, so if you need a sleep aid, choose wisely!  Some sleep aids can increase symptoms of depression.  Try Doctor Recommended’s Deep Sleep Support!  For more information.

3. Exercise. Regular, moderate exercise can ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.  How? Exercise “releases feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids)” – Mayo Clinic.  It doesn’t have to be a rigorous or high-endurance workout to receive benefit.  Make some time dr-rec-stress3for yourself and take a leisurely but steady walk. In addition, spending just 15-30 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do.

4. Healthy Eating Habits.  A diet rich in processed, high sugar, high sodium and fatty foods will weigh you down on the scale and in life.  By reducing sugar and high-caloric processed treats and increasing fruits, nuts, vegetables and whole grains, you will feel lighter and have more energy to focus on the challenges ahead.  Need help getting your greens?  Try Doctor Recommended’s Greens Powder – a complete and natural whole food nutritional supplement, with organic fruits, vegetables, plus probiotics and digestive enzymes.  For more information.

dr-rec-stress25. Set the Stage for Relaxation. There are many things you can control in your environment (home or office) to calm your nerves.

  • Relaxing, calm meditation music playing on a low volume in the background.
  • Essential oils like Frankincense, Lavender, Rose, Chamomile, and Vanilla whether applied on the skin or enjoyed in a diffuser.
  • Massage, Acupuncture or EFT Tapping Technique. EFT is a form of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over five thousand years, but without the invasiveness of needles [Watch Video Tutorial].
  • Breathing Techniques for anxiety. Comfortable, deep breathing and belly breathing  are keys to relaxation.

krill-oil16. Natural Supplements can enhance emotional health. Some natural supplements that may help include B Complex, Vitamin D and Omega 3 in fish oil.  Try Doctor Recommended’s Krill Oil.  Several studies are bringing to light the positive effects omega-3 fatty acids have on depressive symptoms. A new up and comer in omega-3 supplementation is krill oil. For more information.

We wish you a happy and healthy 2016!


Holiday Dinner

It is a common phenomenon for people to gain 5 lbs. (or more) during the holiday season.  Who can resist turkey and all the trimmings, baked ham, pie, cake, candy, cookies, and, of course, the inevitable eggnog. Clearly, most dishes associated with the holidays, while delightfully delicious, are full of empty calories, sugar, and tons of saturated fat.   This makes it extremely difficult for many of us to enjoy partaking of these delights while at the same time maintaining a commitment to clean eating.  Read More →


Over 60 million Americans suffer everyday with digestive disorders, such as abdominal pain and bloating, irritable bowel and constipation.  Such triggers can be as simple as food sensitivities, stress, reactions to medications or viral infections, but often its more difficult to diagnose and treat.  Stomach pain, bloating and irritable bowel symptoms do not have to become a way of life.  What are some common digestive disorders and what are some natural remedies to help relieve the discomfort? Read More →

Pants too Big

When you hear the word ‘diet’, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?  Starvation? Deprivation?   Can you almost feel hunger pangs just hearing the word?

It was good news to me when I learned through my nutrition studies that diets don’t work.  Why not?  Read More →


Apostle Paul:  “Do not drink water any longer, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent cases of sickness.” (1 Timothy 5:23)

Benjamin Franklin: “Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”

Oscar Wilde: “Now and then it’s good to have one’s table red with wine and roses.”

All sage advice on one of life’s luxuries, a glass of fine red wine, but it was often used an early health remedy to several ailments:  stomach upset or bloating, anxiety, an antiseptic for treating wounds, a digestive aid and as a cure for a wide range of ailments including lethargy, diarrhea and pain from child birth.  Read More →


The Important Question Men Need to Ask

I am not a man, so I cannot speak on this topic from personal experience.  However, I am married to one and have been around enough of them to notice that men have the tendency to avoid getting medical checkups on regular basis.  According to a 2001 CDC report, women are 33% more likely than men to visit a doctor, although the gap narrows with increasing age. Why are men in general so resistant to preventative health care?  Is it some form of machismo or fear? Are men hard-wired to reject concern over their health?  Or do they perhaps feel uncomfortable in the mostly female environment of doctors’ offices?  I can’t say for sure, however, one thing we all know….premature death in men and women can be prevented by early detection and treatment. Read More →


This time of year has many of us are thinking of cozy sweaters, pumpkin patches and lattes, apple picking, vibrant fall leaves, campfires and hot cocoa.  What is another thing that fall is great for? Fall can also be a great time to start a new fitness program. Whether that is, training for a marathon, triathlon, starting a new intense bodybuilding program or just starting an exercise routine in general. Read More →


breast-cancer-1 I will never forget the day my mom told me she had breast cancer.  My visit to her house started like any other day.  Being a woman of Italian-American descent and of an age where offering food was how you showed love, she busily started preparing a lunch of chicken parmesan upon my arrival.  As I helped her in the kitchen, I noticed she was unusually quiet, but I did not expect to hear what she told me as we sat down to eat. “I need to have one of my breasts removed”.  In that one sentence my whole world turned upside down.

My mom was an 83 year old dynamo at the time.  Other than her reaction to a severe allergy to mushrooms, in all my life I had never seen my mom sick.   I often wonder if it was because of her energetic good health that she never saw the need to get screening mammograms.  It wasn’t until she felt a lump that she finally went, and received the devastating news.

Mine is just one of many stories of being touched by breast cancer.  And while it affects many women (and some men as well), we are not completely powerless.  There are things we can do to try to prevent, to the best of our ability, the worst of outcomes from this dreaded disease.  My mom’s mastectomy was a success and she did not need follow-up treatment.  It was a relief, but as a family of girls, myself and two sisters, it underscored the need for us to be vigilant in taking care of our bodies, doing breast self-exams, and getting yearly mammograms.

Early Detection is Key

When breast cancer is detected early, the survival rate significantly goes up.  Doing a breast self-exam is easy, quick, and free.

Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.

Here’s what you should look for:

  • Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
  • Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling

If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:

  • Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
  • A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
  • Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling

Breast Self-Exam — Step 1

Step 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.

Step 3: While you’re at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).


Breast Self-Exam — Steps 2 and 3

Step 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.

Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.

Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.


Breast Self-Exam — Step 4

Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4. bse-4

Breast Self-Exam — Step 5

Even though this is so important to do, for many of us with busy lives, we simply forget.  Here is an easy solution: subscribe to a monthly reminder.   Sign up here to receive an email reminder every month on the date you indicate so that you never again forget to do this life-saving procedure.

Medical Detection and Preventive Measures

breast-cancer3For early breast cancer detection, the American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older, without breast symptoms, should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.  In addition, women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) done by a health professional every 3 years. Starting at age 40, women should have a CBE by a health professional every year.

Lower Your Risk

It will come as no surprise that the #1 thing you can do to lower your risk of breast cancer is to stop smoking!  In addition, you should also follow this advice from

  • Get regular, intentional physical activity.
  • Reduce your lifetime weight gain by limiting your calories and getting regular physical activity.
  • Avoid or limit your alcohol intake.

breast-cancer2As far as nutrition, no food or diet can prevent you from getting breast cancer. But some foods can make your body the healthiest it can be, boost your immune system, and help keep your risk for breast cancer as low as possible. Research has shown that countries with a plant-based diet low in polyunsaturated and saturated fats have a lower incidence of breast cancer than the U.S.  Eating a diet full of a variety of fruits, vegetables, and legumes, as well as foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and walnuts, will improve your overall health and well-being, which can help keep breast cancer at bay.

Most, if not all, of us have a breast cancer story.  Some, unfortunately, do not have a happy ending.  But those endings are not inevitable.  By taking action now, you may never have a personal breast cancer story, or if you do, it can be a triumphant one.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.

Bonnie Peterson, owner of Personal Journey Wellness has been a Certified Health Coach for 4 years.  She received her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school.