When do kids know they are transgender?

March 15, 2017

All the attention on gender identity has been a long time coming since people who don’t fit into the male or female category have always existed—under the radar.

Transgender people are biologically one gender and feel like they are the other, and they often know this when they are small children. Now, without historical precedent, parents are under pressure to decide whether to help their child transition or wait until the child is older to make that decision.

Check out two inspiring stories about how parents helped their kids express their true selves on Katie Couric’s National Geographic special.


What’s Your Feel-Great Formula?

May 21, 2015

You could read articles all day long on how much to eat and exercise–or how to still eat what you want– and stay slim. But the real question is: what is your body’s formula to look and feel your best?

Everyone’s body has a set point, your body’s most comfortable weight. It’s possible to change the set point, but not by dieting. In fact, when we diet, we put the body into a starving state and then when we go back to eating how we did before, the bodys set point is now higher which is why people gain the weight back and more.

The way to change your set point is to pick an eating/exercise combo that you can do forever. The most healthy food you can eat + the treats that you can’t live without + exercising a few times a week doing something that gets your heartrate up and down. And then you can stop thinking about it, and get on to more important things, like finding your life’s purpose:)


Docs shilling soda? Only in America!

May 14, 2015

The movie FED UP received lots of attention because Katie Couric’s familiar voice narrates it–and because its message is shocking. Mainly, that the food industry is poisoning us with addictive sugar and chemicals and denying that their processed food is damaging to the human body. Worse, these companies are so powerful that nobody will stand up to them.
Not even the American Academy of Family Physicians. They partnered with Coca-Cola on a study announcing that soda does NOT factor into increasing obesity rates in America. Dr. William Walker and over 19 other docs left the organization in protest. Enough said.


The 10-Day Sugar Challenge

May 7, 2015

Can you go without sugar for 10 days? Okay, so your favorite desserts will go on vacay for awhile. But did you know sugar is in most tomato sauces? If you do an experiment and look at the labels of everything you eat, you are going to be blown away by how much sugar is hiding in plain sight. Other words for sugar in disguise are: Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice …the list goes on.
So after you figure out what you’ll be giving up, I dare you to Take the 10-Day Sugar Challenge.


LGTBQI stories from down under

April 30, 2015

Since so many LGBTQI people speak of isolation, the fact that we can watch a video of an Australian woman talking about growing up intersex and see 14 other videos about the challenges of LGTBI life is amazing.


Malta pioneers intersex and transgender rights bill

April 3, 2015

Kudos to Malta! A group of islands in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and North Africa passed a groundbreaking law making it illegal for parents and doctors to make intersex infants undergo unnecessary surgery just to make them look more “normal.” Intersex people are not biologically one gender; their conditions involve different variations of genes, chromosomes, hormones and male and female parts on the outside and inside. The law also applies to transgender people who are biologically one gender and identify as the other gender, so that they can easily change their gender identity from the one they were assigned at birth by simply filing an affidavit with a notary, which won’t take more than 30 days.
Let’s hope the U.S. and rest of the world follows.


Is cell phone addiction good or bad?

January 29, 2015

Your parents always seem to be telling you to get off your phone, shut down your laptop or iPad and do your homework. Or actually have a conversation in person.

Well, research shows that they may be wrong…or right.

First, check out a study that says they’re wrong.

A Ph.D student from the University of Missouri School of Journalism (along with two others) recruited 40 iPhone users and told them they were going to test the reliability of a new wireless blood pressure cuff. (They didn’t say they were studying cell phone use). The participants kept their phones with them during their heart rate and blood pressure measurement. Then they did a word search puzzle. Researchers measured their heart rate and blood pressure again and asked participants how anxious they felt during the puzzle and whether they felt pleasant or unpleasant.

Then they had the 40 people place their phones further away but where they could still see them and take another word search test.

During the second puzzle, researchers called the participants’ phones and let them ring. After that, they measured their heart rate and blood pressure and asked how anxious and unpleasant they felt. Not surprisingly, the participants had a lot more anxiety and higher heart rate and blood pressure levels–and performed a lot worse on the puzzle. Yet the researchers concluded that the participants tested poorly on the puzzle and had more anxiety because they were separated from their phones which had become an extension of themselves. More likely, their poor performance was caused by the distraction of the ringing phones. If the researchers turned the ringers off or placed the phones where the participants could not see or hear them, the results would certainly have been better. Still, the researchers said their findings suggest that iPhone users should keep their phones on them during situations where they need to pay close attention, like taking a test or participating at a conference or meeting, since they might not do as well.

Now let’s compare those findings to research done by high school senior Michelle Abi Hackman, who won second place in the Intel Science Talent Search back in 2011 for a study involving teens separated from their cell phones. She had read that people couldn’t separate from their phones because they got anxious. So she recruited 150 students in her high school to sit in a room alone, one by one. Some had their phones and some didn’t. Each student was attached to a galvanic skin-response monitor used to measure their anxiety levels.

Since she’s blind, Michelle used computer software and recruited 10 student assistants to read aloud the printouts to her. Her research suggested that “teens relieved of their cell phones might feel more listless”. She explained on NPR that the teens had addictive tendencies and went through what seemed like withdrawal symptoms when they were away from the stimulation of their phones. They basically didn’t know how to entertain themselves. Or feel calm when they weren’t tapped into what was happening every second.

So…the high school student studied more participants (150 vs. 40) and proved your parents right as compared to weaker research done by Ph.D. students that proves your parents wrong. See what your parents think about these studies and regardless of what you decide, try turning your phone off and figuring out some other cool things to do. You’ll at least prove to yourself that you can survive and even thrive unplugged.


Agender vs Transgender

January 22, 2015

Check out this fascinating yet tragic NY Times Magazine cover story about a purported hate crime against Sasha, a white boy from Oakland CA who identifies as agender–neither male nor female– also known as genderqueer. In November, 2013, Sasha was wearing a skirt on a bus and a male teenager from the other side of town flicked a lighter and set the skirt on fire while Sasha was sleeping. Sasha had second and third-degree burns and the boy who did it said it was an accident unrelated to homophobia. Sasha is a white boy from one side of town and Richard is black and from the other side of town. Richard was sentenced to seven years in prison. Do you think that’s fair? And what do you think of Sasha wearing a skirt?

Sasha is glad this incident started a national conversation on gender. Yet the first challenge quickly becomes clear. How do you talk about someone without using a gender-specific pronoun? Instead of “he”, “she”, “him” or “her”, Sasha prefers the agender pronouns “they”, “it” and an invented gender-neutral pronoun “ze”.

While transgender people who are biologically one sex yet feel like the other gender are featured on the TV show Transparent and in the news, agender people who are also biologically one sex yet do not identify with either gender are now on the radar. As we receive more evidence that gender is much more complicated than biology, hopefully more people will feel safe to be honest and open about their unique experiences. This can only benefit us all.


Addicted to texting?

August 20, 2010

Staying connected is the norm these days, but you may be reprogramming your brain. Researchers are finding that people who are constantly multi-tasking (checking email, talking on the phone, watching a video) are unable to stop and focus – even when they want to. This constant stress can lead to short-term memory loss. Are you tech overloaded?


Texting into oblivion

August 18, 2010

A plastic surgeon to celebrities like Heidi Montag lost his life in an accident after driving off a cliff last night in Malibu…he’d been texting about his dog. Even if you’re not driving, you could be in danger of a technology-induced free-fall. Do you know where you drawn the line…digitally? Take the quiz and get help if you need it!