Category Archives: health

Hate Puts a Damper on My Hawaiian Vacation

I’m back home in tropical paradise this week.  The weather is absolutely gorgeous and I’m eating some wonderful

I'm not really a fan of you, either.

fresh local food.  I’m here for a friend’s wedding, which is reminding me about the beauty of love, and how amazing it is to truly find “the one.”

All of this groovy-ness was kind of bummed out when I read some crazy news of the last couple of days.  Several teens from different areas of the country took their own lives after being bullied for being gay.  These boys- Justin Aaberg, Tyler Clementi,Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Seth Walsh- were just starting their lives.  They were, by accounts, bright, artistic young men with everything to live for.  But some people in their communities felt that these young men were somehow less-than because they were gay.

Take the case of Tyler Clementi, a college freshman who jumped off a bridge after his roommate secretly taped him during an encounter with another male- then broadcast it online.  There are definite criminal charges that can be filed, but  for most other victims there is no legal retribution.  Police have said in the past that there is usually not a strong enough link between the bullies’ actions and the victims’ death.  Taunting and name-calling is a part of growing up, and most kids survive without harming themselves.

But a lot of kids don’t.  I was bullied in elementary school.  So much that I had to ultimately change schools.  I know how hard it is to feel worthwhile when everyone around you is telling you you’re worthless.  It’s hard for an adult to survive, let alone a child questioning his or her sexuality.  I was, amazingly, able to get passed that time and enjoy the rest of my school days.  As a result of that experience I am much more empathetic than I probably would have been.

As usual, I have a lot of thoughts on this particular story, but I’ll just share one for the sake of this post.  It really saddens me as a member of an industry with so many GLBT members.  Just imagine where we’d be if some of our most creative minds had been driven to end their lives because of crazy bullies.  I mean, maybe I’m looking at this selfishly, but who knows what Tyler Clementi (who was in college to study violin) could have accomplished someday?  More than any other, attacks on the GLBT men and women is harmful to the artist community.

Hopefully our community will speak out and work with law enforcement and organizations to stop this insanity.  There’s no reason for young folks to end their lives when they’re just starting to live them.  There’s a project on YouTube, called “It Gets Better” that was created so that gay adults can share their own stories with at-risk teens.  Check it out here.

I think Ellen DeGeneres summed it up well on her blog:

Things will get easier,   People’s minds will change, and you should be alive to see it.

Feel free to share your thoughts below!


5 Benefits of Kissing

According to MSN and SELF Magazine, there are 5 additional benefits to kissing (besides the. . . uh. . . kissing).  Think about this next time you’re going full throttle:

1.  It boosts immunity.  You share a kiss, you share germs.  Help stave off cold and flu season by building up your tolerance to the little critters now!

2.  It busts stress.  Kissing makes your body release oxytocin, endorphins, and dopamine- your body’s most powerful calming, mood boosting, and bonding chemicals.  That def explains why you feel super duper after a good makeout, even if your boss is pulling a Miranda Priestly.

3. It may ease allergies.  Major bonus, esp. if you are me.  Apparently, 30 minutes of face time slows down your histamine production.  (And if after 30 minutes of face sucking you’re still thinking about your allergies, you have bigger problems.)

4. It’s good for your teeth.  You make more saliva (why they call it swapin’ spit), which neutralizes cavity-causing acid and removes food particles (oh! you had lasagna for lunch? yum)

5.  It counts as a workout (sort of).  You burn 6 calories kissing.  So smooch away.  Then have that second cookie you’ve been pining over.  It’s fine.

I Don’t Cook All That Often.

But when I do, it’s pretty fun!  The boyfriend is a really good cook, so when we’re together I usually let him to that.  As I stare on in amazement.  While we’re separated, however, I have to fend for myself.  For a long time that meant eating out and lots and lots of sandwiches. (Hey, I had, like, six jobs for minute there.  What’s a girl to do?)

Boyfriend in the kitchen about to cook something amazing.

I found out that I have acid reflux a little while ago, which has really impacted my diet.  As of right now I can’t eat:

Spicy Foods
Chocolate (yeah right.  I’m failing at this miserably)
Fried Foods

The dairy thing I’m used to- singers shouldn’t do too much dairy, and I’m lactose intolerant- but I’ve tried to totally cut it out.  No more lactose-free substitutes.  I’ve discovered a whole bunch of really yummy non-dairy ice creams.  My faves right now are Tofutti Vanilla Almond Bark and Turtle Mountain’s Purely Decadent Cookie Dough.  They are like crack.  You’ve been warned.

Now that I’ve been able to slow it down a bit and say “No,” I’ve actually had time to cook.  The past couple of nights I’ve been having lots of fun in the kitchen.  Tuesday night I made this:

Lemon butter salmon with sauteed ‘shrooms over pesto linguine

with soy butter, which was amahzing.  And last night I had a bit of this bacon peppercorn chicken from my local Publix with a bucket salad and sweet corn on the cob.  The. Chicken. Was. So. Freaking. Good.  I bought a whole one, so I’ll be eating that for a while, and loving every second of it. 

Bucket salad:  whatever is in my fridge that day, including soy cheese!

I feel so great since making the changes to my diet.  Reflux is getting better slowly, but mostly I just have way more energy.  I’ve even lost a couple pounds (soy ice cream isn’t as fattening as regular- thank GOD.  I’m tearing that stuff up!).  I can’t to share what new recipes I come up with!

What are some of your favorite meals to cook?

Diamond Head Cove Health Bar

I’m in Hawaii!  Mostly to visit my family and friends, but also to gorge on some of my favorite food from my favorite places.  If you’re ever on O’ahu, check out Diamond Head Cove Health Bar.  It’s a little cafe right outside of Waikiki, specializing in healthy and local fare. 

My favorite thing to get there is their original Acai bowl.  It’s so refreshing with granola, blueberries, strawberries, banana, and honey.  Yum.  They also make a good fish wrap and are famous for their Kava- a traditional Hawaiian drink.

                    Acai Bowl and Minty Fresh smoothie

Kinda Freaky, but Cool!

OK, singers-  I know that most of you have already seen plenty of photos of the vocal chords, larynx, etc.  But, aside from those of us lucky enough to be on a first name basis with an ENT, have any of you non-singers seen your chords in action?  Check it out!

How Much Do You Drink?

I’m currently in rehearsals for a show that takes place outside, in the Florida heat. The show is high-energy and I’m definitely sweating a lot. This has made me even more obsessive than normal about my water consumption. Am I getting enough? How do I know? I did a little research, and here’s what I’ve found:

1. Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine, etc.

2. The more you exercise, the more fluid you need. An extra 1.5-2.5 cups is ideal for short bouts of exercise.

3. Some medical conditions, like fever, require that you increase fluid intake. However, some conditions like heart failure or kidney disease may require you to limit your water intake.

So, how do you know how much to chug? According to the Institute of Medicine, men should consume about 3 liters of fluid a day, while women should have around 2.2 liters. According to the Mayo Clinic, feeling thirst rarely is also a good indicator of proper hydration.

So, there you have it! My little tidbit for the day. Keep in mind that even as it gets cooler we still need to watch our fluid intake- especially singers! Getting enough water ensures that you are thinning any mucous that builds over the vocal chords!

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