Health - Archives

It’s the Oats

January 3, 2018 | Risë Rafferty, RDN

Holidays are over. The time to excuse our excess is behind us. Now, with a few extra pounds and a sense of guilt, we are on to making enthusiastic compensatory resolutions. It’s reported that the majority of resolutions pertain to weight and health. The sad part is only 8 percent of these resolutions succeed, while 80 percent fail in a couple months.1 Trying to lose weight has become a cyclical affair, at least for those who haven’t given up.

Resolving to change, failing, gaining more weight, and starting the process again at New Year’s is so common that the National Institute of Health has given it a term: the false hope syndrome.

I admire people who don’t give up. However, it’s a law of our nature that if what we’re working towards becomes seemingly impossible to attain, we’ll eventually quit trying. With the false hope syndrome, “people appear to behave paradoxically, by persisting in repeated self-change attempts despite previous failures. It is argued, though, that self-change attempts provide some initial …
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Risë Rafferty, RDN

Health Educator
Light Bearers

Trumping Fear

December 6, 2017 | Risë Rafferty, RDN

Grasping in the dark for my phone, my terrified mind sought to force my trembling fingers to dial 911. It took hours to calm my nerves even after the police arrived. Fear is not a foreign emotion. I have often felt fear in the form of butterflies and a pounding heart just before public speaking. I felt fear when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. Standing in line to ride a roller coaster, a fearful dread has come over me. I was afraid as a child when my mother ran off in the dark parking lot of the LA fair, chasing two young men who had just stolen her purse. Fear comes in various shapes and sizes in response to real or imaginary situations, present and future events.

Sudden fear, like the fear I experienced while dialing 911, has the potential to cause one to freeze or jump over a six-foot fence. There are subacute, underlying, chronic fears that guide behaviors, generate insecurities, and influence our reactions to others. There …
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Risë Rafferty, RDN

Health Educator
Light Bearers

Skinny Fat: The Dangerous Oxymoron by Risë Rafferty

Skinny Fat: The Dangerous Oxymoron

November 1, 2017 | Risë Rafferty, RDN

Pretty ugly, deafeningly quiet, make haste slowly, and vegetarian meatballs are great examples of oxymorons that make you smile when you think about what the words by themselves mean in contrast to what is conveyed by the phrase. There is one oxymoron however that is pretty serious in nature and that is skinny fat.

Skinny fat describes fat tissue, found in individuals whose BMI would not sound off any alarms or raise red flags in a doctor’s office. On the scale, the numbers look decent. But when diagnoses of type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or fatty liver are given to skinny people the first question is usually, “Why? How’d that happen to me?” Our society tends to emphasize metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, type-2 diabetes, and fatty liver with being overweight or obese. Graphs show that as weight increases so do these conditions. Correspondingly, as weight is lost there is a decreased prevalence of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Interestingly enough though, not all excess weight is the same. Those who are …
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Risë Rafferty, RDN

Health Educator
Light Bearers

Salt in Circulation by Risë Rafferty

Salt in Circulation

September 27, 2017 | Risë Rafferty, RDN

From dead seas to living ones, embedded in white veins in the depths of the earth to its surface, salt is one of the world’s most precious commodities. At one time, salt was traded ounce for ounce with gold. Salt coins were used as money. Salt was even used as part of a soldier’s salary. Caravans traversed salt routes that extended from Morocco, through the Sahara Desert, to Timbuktu. Trade ships exchanged salt for spices and valuable products of the time. Salt was regarded as having the ability to repel evil and sustain life.

There are some foods that are edible and even delicious without salt, such as vine ripe tomatoes and watermelon. You may put salt on these foods, but it’s not really a necessity, right? Then there are foods that, at least to my palate, are inedible and tasteless without salt, such as potatoes, beans, tofu, and bread. If we think about it just for a second, we come to realize that while salt is no longer as …
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Risë Rafferty, RDN

Health Educator
Light Bearers

An Effort of Nature by Risë Rafferty

An Effort of Nature

August 30, 2017 | Risë Rafferty, RDN

Throughout much of the 20th century, atherosclerosis was thought of as a disease of the inside space of arteries, the lumen. Most of us considered this hardening and thickening of the arteries to be the result of excess lipids in the bloodstream. Fat build up resulted in clogged arteries and clogged arteries don’t make for free-flowing blood to the brain and heart. As a result, fat-free was the way to be. Low-fat became the health slogan emboldened on plastic packaging in an attempt to ease fat-conscious consumers seeking to avoid the #1 killer: cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, consuming all of those low-fat, processed foods didn’t make much of a dent in our ever-escalating disease and death rate.

Yes, elevated blood lipids (fat-like compounds) contribute to heart disease in a big way.  LDL cholesterol especially is strongly associated with atherosclerosis, and reducing saturated fat in the diet does lower LDL. In fact, current knowledge is that the higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk of developing heart disease or having …
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Risë Rafferty, RDN

Health Educator
Light Bearers

Interconnected by Risë Rafferty

Interconnected

June 28, 2017 | Risë Rafferty, RDN

Suffering from pain, debility, loss of quality of life, destruction and/or malfunction of bodily processes and tissue characterizes disease. Medical science has devoted itself to the study of disease and in so doing has specialized in categorizing the human body so that we can see the correct specialist for the defined problem. It seems neat and tidy that way, at least in our current medical system. Unfortunately, there is not a facet of our physiology that has escaped illness.

We tend to think that if we have pain in the knee we have a joint problem. If we have pain or malfunction of the intestines we must have a gastrointestinal problem. If my heart beats irregularly, I must have a heart problem. If we have elevated blood sugar levels we must be eating too many carbs, etc. In reality, it can be a lot more complex than that. The more I study, the more amazed I am that when God designed the human body, He was less concerned about compartmentalizing …
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Risë Rafferty, RDN

Health Educator
Light Bearers

Sweet Sleep by Risë Rafferty

Sweet Sleep

May 31, 2017 | Risë Rafferty, RDN

Time is central to planet Earth. Every facet of this globe is regulated to some degree or other with time. Creation was based on time segments. Separate and unique accomplishments were designed in each sequential day. Heavenly bodies were assigned to direct seasons and periods. Time is valued as it relates to the possibilities it contains and therefore is extremely precious. Most of us receive monetary remuneration of our work in the context of time. Our level of education is largely quantified in relation to how much time we spent in study. We typically assess projects and chores on how much time they require. Even the level of intimacy in our relationships is largely based on time spent with each other.

Rarely do we seem to have enough time. We keep track of days, hours, minutes, and even seconds to maximize time. Our attempts at accomplishing, experiencing, and enjoying everything we need or want often results in time being sacrificed from another aspect of our lives. Sleep is one of …
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Risë Rafferty, RDN

Health Educator
Light Bearers