Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Abortions, sterilizations rise in uncertain economic times

Can you even imagine having to decide that an abortion of a wanted pregnancy is the answer if you or your partner lost your job and you no longer have health insurance/

This may sound like an unbelievable choice, but it is one that at least one woman had to make, according to this CBC article, U.S. abortion, vasectomy rates rise as economy falters. How heartbreaking.

I'm not taking sides on whether abortion should be available or not, but I am trying to understand the desperation of someone just to even *think* about such a decision. I like the United States. I love my US friends. But I just really don't understand the issue that makes so many Americans want their medical system stay the way it is, user pay, because it's working for them. It's not working for many, that's for sure.

Vasectomies are also up in times of uncertain economies, but that may have something to do with getting it done before health insurance runs out after a lay off rather than preventing the costly parenting route.

There's no doubt about it. Raising children is expensive. Since the US posted a higher than average baby rate for 2007 (the last year the number are available), I wonder what 2009 and 2010 are going to look like. Babies born early in the year will probably remain unchanged because they may have been conceived before the economic downturn. We'll see.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Jade Goody dies at 27 from cervical cancer

With all that's in the news about the HPV vaccine Gardasil and the information that cervical cancer has a very high cure rate if caught early, to read of a young woman's death from cervical cancer is very, very sad.

For those who don't know, Jade Goody was a 27-year-old celebrity in the UK as a result of her appearance on their version of Big Brother, and some ill-chosen words and actions that got her thrown off the show. Ms Goody cashed in on her celebrity and when she found out that her cancer was terminal, she used her status to earn as much money as she could. She did this by selling the rights to her wedding and, ultimately, her death, from what I understand.

Many people were highly critical of Ms Goody's actions, but I have to admit. If I had two young children, as Ms Goody did, and I knew I was dying, I think I may have done anything and everything I could to ensure that there would at least be enough money to support them after my death. I can't fault her for that. Not at all.

If any good comes out of this, and people do try hard to find good things coming out of tragedy, is that Ms Goody's public illness has put a face on cervical cancer. She put a face and a name to the disease. People now know that it does really happen and it could be to anyone, even someone you love. Now, it's been reported that the cervical cancer screening tests, Pap smears, have increased significantly across the UK. Women heard and saw what Ms Goody had to say.

The HPV vaccine is another option for women. If you're not going to have the vaccine or you are against it, you can be as effective by going for regular Pap smears, which can detect cells at their precancerous stages, before they become cancer.

Don't let a preventable cancer, in many cases, take another life. Learn from Ms Goody's life and death. Please.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I may have to take eat my words when it comes to the cookie diet

Sorry for the pun, I couldn't resist.

A little more than two weeks ago, I decided to try the cookie diet for the fun of it. A rep from Dr. Seigal's cookies offered me a week's supply, so to be fair, I thought I'd get a couple of weeks of the Smart for Life cookies too. When I started, I weighed 162 lbs on a 5'5.5" frame. My ideal weight appears to be in the high 130s, but I was only going to aim for 140.

Well, the Dr. Seigal cookies never arrived, so I never got a chance to compare, but I did start doing the Smart for Life diet. The cynic in me has had to eat crow here.

First, I have to tell you that I still think that a cookie diet is not the ideal way to lose weight. It takes us a good bit of time to put the weight on, it only makes sense that it would take a while to take it off. So, the search for quick loss methods really does seem to be like a search for the fountain of eternal youth: impossible. I also am still a huge believer and proponent for weight management methods like Weight Watchers. They not only encourage healthy eating, especially with their points system, they encourage exercise and feeling better about yourself.

Now, that being said, back to my thoughts on the cookie diet. It does work and it's not so bad. Not even those "blueberry" cookies that I hated the first day.

So far, I've dropped from 162 to 154.6, in slightly more than 2 weeks. That's almost half my goal. And that's with some cheating. The other day, I took my son out for lunch and I had pad thai (mmmmm). Normally, I would have made do with a salad for supper, but I had planned a nice roast beef dinner for the family, so I ate that too. If I decide that I really want to eat something, like the other day I wanted some rice pudding, I eat it. I don't believe in depriving yourself of small treats because that's when you're setting yourself up to fail.

Will the weight stay off? Only time will tell. But this is my plan. Because I have them, I'll do this for one more week and see what my final 3-week loss is. Then, I'll switch back to either the WW loss plan or the WW maintenance plan.  Would I do this again? I highly doubt it unless I had a fabulous dress that I was a few pounds too much for and I needed to fit in it in a week or two.

The products: I do like the Smart for Life salad dressings. They are gluten-free which, if you have celiac disease, is a great find. They're really not bad and I would consider using them regularly. The cookies? I don't think they're gross any more, but I won't ever say they taste good. They're tolerable.

Benefits: Because you eat healthy meal in the evening, I've been eating better then than I usually do at supper time. I've eaten many more vegetables than I usually eat and I am eating more fish (tilapia and tuna) than I usually do. I've been alternating between eating chicken, tuna, crab, and tilapia). There's also something in the cookies that make me more regular, so to speak.

What I don't like: I don't like not being able to grab a banana if I'm hungry. I mean, yes, I would if I really wanted to, but I'd feel guilty because it's a no-no on their list. I don't like how much fluid I'm supposed to drink. BUT, that's not the diet's fault. I don't feel thirsty usually so I rarely drink throughout the day. Everytime I get on a kick about drinking more water or healthy fluid, I do really well for a few days, and then go back into my regular pattern of ignoring the water bottle on my desk.

I also don't like that I can't have wine. At least on WW, you can. :-) And I do love my wine. A lot.

So, that's the two-week report on the cookie diet and what I think about it. I don't think it's a horrible way to lose weight if that's what someone wants to do. I'm just reserving judgment on if it's too easy to gain it back.