Friday, June 10, 2011

Is Your Food Nutritious and Toxins Free

The food and water we consume, and the air we breathe are the basic elements that determine our health. Our efforts to ensure they are of the highest quality, unfortunately, has not been successful.

Compared to the early 1900's, current soil under cultivation has lost about 85% of the minerals, trace mineral and micronutrients that give farm produce the nutrients and vitamins we need to build healthy and strong bodies. Beyond this, the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides have introduce several toxins into our food supply.


Antibiotics, sulfa drugs and hormones given to farm animals to make them more marketable have introduced chemicals into our meat, pork, poultry and fish supply that are making us sick and overweight. 


We cannot go back to farming as it was done in the early 1900's. Mechanized farming that depletes the soil's minerals, and puts pesticides and herbicides on our foods, and feed farm animals with antibiotics and hormones is here to stay if we are to adequately provide food for the increasing population of the world.


It's depressing to know we can do nothing, at least in the near future, to stop the loss of minerals and trace minerals in the soil, and the introduction of toxins into our food supply, but everything is not lost. 


We can compensate for the loss of nutrients in our foods with dietary supplements, and detox our bodies with natural substances that cleanse the body of toxins to allow our internal organs to do the job they are meant to do to keep us healthy and strong.



For best results choose dietary products that help with weight management and cleanse your body of toxins, while at the same time replenishing your body with essential nutrients and hydration.

For more detail on the effects of the toxins in our nutritionally bankrupt foods and things you can do to protect your family, read these articles: Toxins In Food, and Does Food influence Your Immune System, and also Proper Nutrition.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How Belly Fat Can Affect Your Health

A common feature seen in most people in the West is a bulging stomach caused by increasing belly fat. Although information is out that this is no funny matter, those affected seem helpless to do much about it.


Put simply, we are taking in more calories through the foods and drinks we consume than we are burning with normal physical activities. By the end of the day, the unburned calories are converted to belly fat which forms the stomach bulge in 70% of people in western countries.

A waist circumference of 40 inches and above for men, and 35 inches and above for women is a general indication of excess belly fat. Difficulty with putting on your sock, a feeling that your clothes don't fit well on you, and suddenly requiring too much effort to do simple routine tasks are some of the problems from a bulging stomach.


More problematic are the health problems caused by belly fat, which include heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure and others. 


Along with increasing belly fat within the populace is the awareness that there will not be enough money to meet belly fat related health problems in the decades ahead. Hence the increasing emphasis on diet and fitness programs to reduce belly fat, keep people healthy and from the doctor's office.


For what you can do to reduce belly fat and maintain good health, read these articles: How to Lose Belly Fat, and Belly Fat in Men, and also Lose Belly Fat.  

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When Health Care Becomes Unaffordable

We can already see the effects of the high cost of health care starring in our faces. If present trends continue, health care will be expensive and unaffordable for all but the rich. Presently it costs $14,000.00 to remove an appendix; imagine how much it will cost for a heart or liver transplant, or a coronary bypass surgery in 10 years. 


Insurance premiums will go through the roof and become unaffordable with the result that the average American will be forced to choose between preventing getting sick, and enduring a slow and painful death for lack of adequate health care. 

Nobody or institution will deliberately deny the sick adequate health care, there will simply be not enough money, in the foreseeable future, to provide adequate health care for all who need it. 

Those who are heeding the warning for the future are already preparing for the days when health care becomes unaffordable for average Americans. They are doing this by acknowledging that we are healthy or sick depending on what we eat, drink and the environmental toxins to which we are exposed.

Consequently, health conscious individuals are changing what they eat and drink by avoiding high fat, high cholesterol diets. They are detoxing, replenishing and nourishing their bodies with dietary supplements, and engaging in regular physical exercise. That is the future, and the early you get on board, the better your chances are to live to 100 healthy and strong.

For more information on unaffordable health care, and some ideas on how to solve it, read these articles: Health care Unaffordable for Many Women, and Health Care: The Price Isn't Right, and also What Will Happen to the Obama's Health Care Plan in 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Can Protein be Harmful to Your Health

You need protein to build and repair tissues and muscles in your body, to make enzymes and hormones, as well as building blocks for cartilage, bones, blood and more. But the type and quantity of protein you eat determines whether or not you are eating for good health.

Usually when people talk about protein what comes to mind is protein from animal sources like steak, fish, poultry, milk, cheese, pork and eggs. These are great sources of protein alright, but eating too much of them have been shown to cause heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, hypertension and other major illnesses.

On the other hand, protein from plant sources including tofu, beans, nuts and seeds, whole grain, and some vegetables and fruits are also great sources of protein. The difference with plant protein is that it does not increase the levels of cholesterol in the body as animal sourced protein does.


This has been the argument for those who have chosen vegetarian diets. However, it is generally recommended to choose a diet that includes proteins from both animal and plant sources. How much animal protein versus plant protein you eat is a matter you should consult your doctor about, as only he or she can tell you what combination is good for your health.


For more information on the type and quantity of protein you should eat for good health, read these articles: The Benefits of Protein, and Protein: What Should You Eat?, and also Nutrition for Everyone: Basics of Protein.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Misconception About Diet and Physical Exercise

There is a misconception that only those who are overweight need be concerned with diet and regular physical exercise. The truth is everyone has visceral fat: the fat found in the inner layers of the abdomen. For this reason everyone should be concerned with diet and regular physical exercise to prevent excess visceral fat.

Visceral fat is not visible, but it is the most dangerous because it is often found next to vital organs in the body. Overtime, viscera fat secrets toxin into the organs next to it precipitating heart disease, stroke, diabetes and hypertension in people with excess visceral fat.

For detail on visceral fat and how to reduce it read these articles: Belly Fat in Women, and Exercise Keeps Dangerous Visceral Fat Away.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Is the Weight Gain Epidemic Real

We don't hear much about this on the evening news, but we are facing a weight gain epidemic in many countries around the world caused by the abundance of foods and drinks of all kinds; particularly foods and drinks high in fats and sugar.

The weight gain epidemic has not gone unnoticed though. People in America and Europe are trying hard to curb weight gain, unfortunately they are doing so mostly with diet which has failed to end the weight gain epidemic.

Statistics show weight loss achieved with diet alone is regained when the strict diet regimen ends. For this reason it is recommended that a sensible normal diet along with regular physical exercise is the right approach to losing weight and keeping it off. 

It is also recommended to get off a diet that keeps you hungry all the time. Rather, choose a diet that provides all the essential nutrients, mineral salt and fibers your body needs for good health; while doing regular physical exercise to burn off excess fat.

On physical exercise, consult your doctor for advice on the type of physical exercise suited to your age and health condition. You may want to start your physical exercise gradually by walking 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

For more information on the weight gain epidemic, and what you can do to avoid becoming a victim of the weight gain epidemic read these articles: Obesity and Weight Gain Epidemic, and Excess Weight and Obesity - A Growing Epidemic, and also Reversing the Obesity Epidemic.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How to Lose Weight with a Healthy Digestive System


As a hedge against starvation your body takes in more calories than are required for its daily use, leading to the accumulation of fat in your body. You can burn off accumulated fat and lose weight with physical exercise. 

If you cannot do physical exercise, the next best thing you can do to reduce fat accumulation in your body is to invest some time in maintaining a healthy digestive system that speeds up the movement of food in your body to cut down the amount of calories your body extracts from it.

Other health and weight loss benefits from a healthy digestive system include, increasing your metabolism, reducing toxicity and blood acidity, increasing nutrient absorption into your cells, and increasing your energy level.

For more helpful ideas on how to maintain a healthy digestive system and lose weight, read these articles. But before using any advertised weight loss product, consult your doctor, as some of these products may have adverse side effects.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight

Every overweight person wants to lose weight, especially when you pull out your favorite jeans, dress, shirt or suit and find you can no longer fit in them. 

When you have problem putting on your sock, or engaging in physical activities you could do without difficulty only a year ago, you will need nothing more to motivate you to lose weight.

The problem many face is how to maintain the motivation to do what it takes to lose weight and keep it off. Find some helpful ideas from these articles: How to Stay Motivated on Your Diet, and How to Stay on a Diet.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Effects of Alcohol on Weight Loss

Alcohol has negative effects on weight loss. It gives the body nothing except empty calories; not to mention the diseases alcohol causes to the liver, kidney, the digestive system and to the heart.

Calories from alcohol are absorbed into the blood first before those from carbohydrates, fat and protein are absorbed. When consumed on an empty stomach calories from alcohol are almost entirely absorb immediately into the blood stream. Only when there is food in the stomach will some alcohol calories be absorbed in the stomach and the rest absorbed through the intestine.

Not only are calories from alcohol absorbed first, they are also the first to be burned as energy by the body. This means the more alcohol that is consumed, the longer it will take for your body to burn calories from carbohydrates, fat and protein.

As a result, calories from carbohydrates, fat and protein are converted to body fat slowing down the weight loss process. Alcohol increases your appetite for foods high in salt and fat. It also induces sleep taking you away from doing physical exercise to burn off your body fat.

For more information on the effects of alcohol on weight loss read these articles: Alcohol and Weight Loss, and How Alcohol Affects Weight Lose, and also Alcohol and Nutrition Facts.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to Increase Your Metabolism to Lose Weight

Metabolism is how your body burns calories from foods and drinks for energy to function. Increasing your metabolic rate will increase the amount of calories burned, resulting in a decrease in calories that are converted to body fat and eventual weight gain.

Increasing your metabolism happens in several ways including, eating a high protein and fiber diet that require more energy to digest; eating more often say, every 2 to 3 hours to prevent your body from slowing down metabolism; weight bearing exercise that causes minor tear in the muscles requiring energy to repair.

During these activities your body burns more calories leaving fewer calories that can be converted to body fat. And needless to say, when fat accumulates at a slower rate in your body you will begin to lose weight.

For more tips on how to increase your metabolism to lose weight and keep it off read these articles: How to Increase Your Metabolism and Start Losing Fat, and How to Increase Metabolism, and also Ways to Increase Metabolism Naturally.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Do Liquid Diets Work

The first question you want answered though is, are liquid diets safe? Yes liquid diets are safe when consumed for a short period of time, say for a week or two to quickly lose excess weight under the supervision of your doctor or dietitian.

Once you get to your desired weight, you could then slowly return to eating solid foods that maintain your recommended daily calorie intake. You can get this information from a daily calorie intake calculator.

Liquid diets come in various forms including only liquids, a combination of liquid and soft food, or liquid and solid food depending on whether they are needed for medical reasons, or only to lose excess weight.

Since the purpose of a liquid diet is to lose excess weight quickly by burning more calories than you consume daily, it is likely your internal organs will not get all the nutrients they need to carry out their vital functions, which is why you should consult your doctor or dietitian before getting on a liquid diet.

For more information on liquid diets read these articles: What Are Liquid Diets, and Clear Liquid Diet, and also Liquid Diet Recipes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How to Motivate Someone to Lose Weight

It's a delicate undertaking trying to motivate a loved one or a friend to lose weight. If handled wrongly, or too aggressively, you will bring to the mind of the one you wish to motivate all the stereotyped views on overweight persons.

In some cases, all you need do is raise the issue of weight loss, and your loved one or friend would feel you think they are lazy, weak-minded, ugly, sluggish and dirty, and not fun to be with. It won't matter if these thoughts are the farthest from your mind.

Some overweight persons are motivated to lose weight by the fear that they would lose a loved one or friends if they don't lose weight. Others are motivated when their doctors tell them if they don't lose weight they will get a deadly disease, or die in 3 months or so. 

Still others are motivated to lose weight by learning what they would gain from doing so, in contrast to what they are losing carrying around everywhere they go excess weight that neither improves their health, nor brings them happiness.

For more helpful ideas on how to motivate a loved one or friend to lose weight read these articles: 10 Ways to Help a Loved One to Lose Weight, and How to Get Motivation to Lose Weight, and also How to Encourage Someone to Lose Weight

Monday, April 11, 2011

Is Compulsive Overeating a Disease

Compulsive overeating or binge eating leads to weight gain and obesity. But those who are overweight would caution us not to be too quick in accusing them of being lazy because compulsive overeating is a disease that has to be cured before weight loss can begin.

Research has shown that brain chemicals play a major role in compulsive eating, particularly in foods with high fats, salt and sugar content. These foods stimulate the brain chemical called endorphins that conveys to us the pleasure we have eating them.

Consequently, whenever we smell the scent of these foods, or see them on advertisements, or even think about them, our brains secrete the chemical dopamine that causes us to crave the pleasure foods high in fats, salt and sugar bring us.

For this reason the argument is made that until the effects of endorphins and dopamine are inhibited, a compulsive overeater will remain helpless to avoid overeating and weight gain.

Whether compulsive overeating is a disease or an indulgence, you will find helpful information on the topic here: Compulsive OvereatingBinge Eating Disorder and Binge Eating Disorders Treatment.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tips on Preventing Diabetes

About 95 percent of diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes, so the tips you will be reading are geared mostly toward preventing type 2 diabetes; but there are also type 1 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is preventable by eating a healthy diet, physical exercise to lose excess weight, quit smoking, lowering your blood cholesterol and lowering your blood pressure.

However, you may get type 2 diabetes from causes other than those mentioned here. Age and family history are unpreventable risk factors for type 2 diabetes. With unpreventable diabetes, the goal of treatment is to prolong life, reduce symptoms and prevent diabetes related diseases such as blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and amputation of limbs.

Read more tips on preventing diabetes here: Type 2 Diabetes, and National Diabetes Information ClearingHouse.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tips on Preventing Heart Attack


Because of our modern diets, almost everybody is a walking time-bomb for a heart attack. Can we do something about it? Sure we can. It's within our power to prevent premature death from heart attack. The obstacle for many is, it requires consistent efforts to do so.

The first step to prevent a heart attack is to live a heart healthy lifestyle, which involves eating a healthy diet that include a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans and fat-free or low-fat milk products are also part of a heart healthy diet. To reduce your blood cholesterol choose a diet low in saturated and trans fats. Reduced salt and sugars are also helpful to a heart healthy diet.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Physical Exercise: Its Benefits and What You May Have Overlooked

About 250,000 deaths a year in the U.S. are attributable to lack of physical exercise, according to estimates from the American Heart Association. More alarming are reports from several studies that at 25 in men, and after puberty in women, the muscles begin to deteriorate.

With this steady deterioration in our muscles, how are we able to maintain our upright pasture, walk, pull, push and lift objects well into our seventies? For one, normal muscle deterioration happens very slowly over our lifetime. For another, normal activities at home and at work ensure that we are using our muscles to slow down the rate of deterioration.

However, alone, normal activities are not enough to strengthen the muscles and reduce body fat to desired levels; otherwise heart disease and stroke would not be among the leading causes of death in the U.S. We need to do regular physical exercise to remain healthy and strong into our seventies and eighties.

Yet over 50% of people in the U.S. don't like doing physical exercise: the activity we need the most to boost good cholesterol (HDL) levels, blood circulation, lower blood pressure, and lower blood fat including cholesterol and triglycerides, in order to reduce our risk of stroke and heart attack.

Not only does physical exercise strengthens the heart muscles to more freely pump blood to all parts of the body, it also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure, low good cholesterol (HDL), high triglycerides and high blood sugar.

Several studies have shown that physical exercise also reduces the risk of colon and breast cancer. Other benefits include reduced risk of cancer to the lining of the uterus, lung and prostate.

Added to building muscle mass to displace fat, and keeping the body in a trimmed shape, physical exercise also regulates the body metabolism from slowing down when you are on a diet. This means you don't need to choose a starvation diet program to lose weight. With regular physical exercise, you can choose a normal sensible diet, and still lose weight safely.

Physical exercise allows you to take in deep breath to bring more oxygen into your lungs than normal breathing does. In this way, the lung muscles get a workout helping to clear the arteries that bring nutrients and oxygen to the lungs cells, to maintain proper functioning of the lungs to supply your body with adequate oxygen.

Regular physical exercise also slows down the loss of bone density as we age. This is especially important to the elderly who are more likely to suffer from hip fracture. But, the key to getting all the benefits of physical exercise without hurting yourself is to do regular  age-appropriate physical exercise, and that means consulting your doctor before starting any physical exercise program. 


Research has also shown that physical exercise increases the levels of the brain chemicals called norepinephrine and dopamine that can boost your mood, and help you retain memories of facts and events. It is no wonder why those who do regular physical exercise have a feeling of exhilaration and wellness, and a ready to take on the world attitude.

With the benefits of physical exercise before our eyes, why doesn't everybody get on with doing physical exercise daily; especially when the evidence shows we have nothing to lose. The reason many people don't is that for the past 50 years, we have trained our bodies to accept a lifestyle forced upon us by the requirements of making a living in a modern world.

Most of our jobs involves sitting for long hours behind desks talking on the phone, or staring at computer screens. Modern appliances and equipments have also ensured that we do less walking and less physical movements when doing our tasks at home and at work. The reduction in physical activities means using our muscles less, and the less the muscles are used, the higher the rate of deterioration.

In the end, difficult as it may seem, you will have to make the choice to start doing regular age-appropriate physical exercise, after talking with your doctor, to tone and strengthen your muscles including your heart and lung muscles, if you want to remain healthy and strong into your eighties and nineties.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How To Maintain Good Health With A Diet For Your Cells

Do you eat to feed your body or your cells? And is there a difference between the two worth thinking about anyway?

Some argue, as I do, that the body and cells are technically not the same thing. Although the body is made up of cells, there are trillions of cells in the body. With each internal organ and tissue having specialized cells performing unique functions, it is obvious that each group of cells will need a unique diet.

Consequently, making a difference between the body and cells will focus our resources on designing diets that met the specific needs of individual groups of cells to boost their performance levels. Additionally, since cells are the end users of the foods and drinks we consume, it is only fitting that we give them nutrients they can use.

And here your digestive system has an important role. It extract nutrients from foods and drinks, deposit them in the bloodstream, and together with oxygen from the lungs are carried to the trillions of cells to repair and rebuild tissues, and perform chemical and electrical processes through out the body.

So, when we talk about optimizing the performance of the body, we are not been specific enough, but when we talk about optimizing the cells of the heart, the cells of the kidneys, or the cells of the pancreas, we are able to design diets that cater to the specific needs of the cells that maintain the health of those internal organs.

For example, if you are concerned about preventing heart attack or stroke, you will want to include bananas in your diet. As a great source of potassium bananas provide about 396 milligrams of potassium in each fruit. Bananas lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke by helping to prevent plaque from sticking to the walls of the artery.

To reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, you will also want to include flavonoids in your daily diet. They are found in large quantities in apples, cranberries, grapes, green and black teas, broccoli, onions, endive and red wines.

Flavonoids are not only effective antioxidants that keep the bad cholesterol LDL from oxidizing and forming plaque in the artery, they also keep blood platelets from clumping together in the bloodstream and forming clots to prevent heart attack and stroke.

If you are concerned about a curable kidney disease like lupus, a condition where the immune system attacks healthy kidney cells; you will want to include flaxseed in your daily diet. The lignans and omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed reduce inflammation in the tiny and delicate arteries that supply blood to the kidneys, which prevents artery clogging and damage to the kidneys.

Foods and drinks rich in potassium like dried apricots, baked potatoes, fruits and vegetables and orange juice; magnesium rich foods like fish, long grain rice, avocados and broccoli, as well as high fiber foods have also been found to dissolve kidney stones.

If your concern is about diabetes, your diet will include avocados a good source of the monounsaturated fat oleic acid that lowers the bad cholesterol (LDL), lowers triglycerides, and increases the good cholesterol (HDL). Beans for complex carbohydrates that release sugar slowly into the blood, and soluble fiber that helps muscle and liver cells to produce more insulin receptor sites. Bulgur and buckwheat are also rich sources of complex carbohydrates.

If you are concerned about preventing cancer, you will want to include foods and drinks loaded with antioxidants in your daily diet. Antioxidants prevent unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals from attacking your healthy cells by offering electrons to free radicals to render them harmless to the body.

Without antioxidants, free radicals will oxidize the bad cholesterol (LDL) forming plaque that stick to the artery walls leading to hardening of the arteries, heart disease and stroke. Left to roam freely in the body, free radicals will also damage the DNA inside the cells resulting in the mutation of the cells and cancer.

Foods and drinks loaded with vitamin C like tropical and citrus fruits, broccoli and red bell peppers; vitamin E rich foods like sunflower seed, wheat germ and vegetable cooking oils; and beta-carotene rich fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, are good sources of antioxidants.

With fruits, vegetables and herbs buy organic whenever possible to avoid pesticide residues that might be found on inorganic produce. But where their prices are too high, or they are not available, inorganic produce are better than nothing. Just be sure to thoroughly wash both organic and inorganic produce before juicing or cooking them.

While it is important to go see your doctor if you have heart disease, stroke, kidney problem, diabetes or cancer, after you are medically cured, getting on a diet that included all the named fruits, vegetables and herbs will boost the health of the cells of your internal organs toward maintaining your overall good health.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Understanding Your Pain To Avoid Painkiller Addiction

Pain is the main reason most people in the U.S. go to see their doctors. The onset of pain indicates two conditions: something has gone wrong in the body that needs correcting, or something is harmful to the body that needs to be avoided or removed. 

From very early childhood we know that fire burns and hurts, so we avoid putting our fingers in fire. We know that hitting our knees against a piece of furniture hurts, so we are careful when walking in the livingroom or office to avoid running into furniture.

So far so good for the one type of pain. The other type that is not fully understood by many people is pain from a medical condition. This pain may be mild or intense, but necessary for your survival. It is an early warning of a harmful condition in the body, if left uncorrected could lead to severe danger to your life.

In ordinary language, pain is a sensation that hurts. It can be steady and constant, throbbing or pulsating, or a pitching or a stabbing sensation. Acute pain is intense resulting from injury, and lasts for a short time. It ends with the healing of the injury.

On the other hand, chronic pain lasts for a longer period of time and may be mild or intense. Pain from surgery, sickle-cell and cancer are chronic pains that are often relieved only by painkillers.  You may be wondering how people managed their pain centuries ago when the powerful painkillers we have today were not available.

Well, medieval university-trained doctors are believed to have used opiates to relieve their patients pain. However, the extent to which opiates were used has not been fully established. The most likely pain remedies available to medieval patients would have been ice for local pain, bloodletting, laxatives, purgatives, astrological seals and the monitoring of food, drink and sleep; aimed at restoring the humoral balance, or what is today called homeostasis.

This would have meant medieval patients endured extended periods of pain before getting relief, if it came at all. Merely thinking about this will make you and I cringe, knowing how tormenting and disruptive intense pain is to the mind, and normal functioning of the body.

More than any other human experience, pain can literally drive a person crazy to where he or she is willing to do anything for a relief. In this regard, resigned acceptance of pain is a false remedy, because when experiencing an intense acute or chronic pain, the ability to remain steadfast in accepting pain will fall apart.

Consequently, understanding what pain is, and taking effective action to relieve it is the option of choice for today's men and women.

Pain may be classified as nociceptive, which comprises somatic and visceral pains, while non-nociceptive comprises of neuropathic and sympathetic pains.

Pain felt on the skin, joints, bones, muscles and ligaments are somatic pains. Somatic pain receptors are sensitive to temperature, vibration, stretch in muscles, and inflammation caused by cuts and sprain that damage tissue. Somatic pain is intense, localized and painful to touch and movement.

Pain felt in internal organs including the lungs, heart, bowels, spleen, liver, kidneys, ovaries, bladder and the womb are visceral pains. Visceral pain receptors are sensitive to inflammation, stretch and ischemic muscle cramps caused by lack of oxygen to the affected area. Visceral pain is vague deep aches, difficult to localize, as in upper and lower back pain, pelvic and abdominal pain.

Nerve or neuropathic pain is non-nociceptive. It originates from within the nervous system with no specific pain receptors. Pinched nerve or trapped nerve are neuropathic pain which comes from nerves between the tissue and spinal cord, or peripheral nervous system; and nerves between the spinal cord and the brain, or central nervous system.

Neuropathic pain is caused by nerve degeneration as in a stroke, multiple-sclerosis and oxygen deprived tissue. A torn or slipped disc resulting in nerve inflammation, or nerve infection like shingles can cause neuropathic pain.

Inflamed or infected nerves becomes unstable. They send muddled signals to the brain which interprets them as pain signals, and produces sensations such as numbness, tingling, and hypersensitivity to touch, temperature and vibration.

The other type of non-nociceptor pain is sympathetic pain. A fracture or soft tissue injury will cause sympathetic pain. The damaged nerves in the affected area will become unstable, and send random and abnormal signals to the brain which will interpret them as pain. Sympathetic pain can become extremely intense that the patient may not use the injured arm or leg resulting in muscle wasting, joints stiffness or osteoporosis.

As you have already noticed, we will feel no pain if we did not have pain receptors. These are free nerve endings through out the body that warn us of excessive pressure or temperature in the environment. The terminal ends of these pain receptors consist of unmyelinated nerve fibers mostly found in the epidermis and epithelial covering of mucous membrane.

Unlike pain receptors in the skin and mucous membrane epithelial covering, stimulation of pain receptors in the organs, the joints, the skeletal muscles and connective tissue requires extreme pressure and chemical changes in the body.

When pain receptors are stimulated, they release neurotransmitters that send a message about the stimulus through the nerves to the spinal cord and the brain.

The substance that stimulates pain receptors are called second messengers. The main second messengers are bradykinin, prostaglandins, histamine, serotonin, leukotrienes, and potassium. Painkillers that inhibit the release of second messengers will prevent the stimulation of pain receptors, and consequently provide effective pain relief.

Since pain may vary from mild to intense, the medical establishment has guidelines to measure pain levels to assist doctors prescribe the right pain medications for their patients. These guidelines include pain identification, location, intensity and radiation; aggravating and relieve factors of the pain; effect of the pain on patient's function and others.

For patients who cannot verbalize the intensity and location of their pain, as in the case of an infant, or a patient with dementia, dyslexia or autism, the doctor will find clues of the pain from observing the degree of the patient's restlessness, grimacing, moaning, groaning, crying, resistance to care, reduced social interactions, not eating and not sleeping.

When the intensity and location of pain have been determined, the next step is to provide a relief. Doctors are careful when prescribing painkillers for their patients, as these are powerful drugs with serious side effects. A misuse of painkillers can increase a patient's pain level, and in extreme cases be hazardous to the patient's life.

Effective over the counter painkillers on the market include: combination of aspirin and acetaminophen for head and muscle ache; ibuprofen for fever and muscle ache; naproxen sodium for arthritis, rheumatism, musculo-skeletal aches; and ketoprofen for arthritis.

With prescription painkillers the strongest include fentanyl for gunshot and fragmentation wounds; morphine sulfate believed to be the second strongest pain medication; as well as hydromorphone, hydrocloride, or dihydromorphinone; and oxymorphone.

As I have said before these over the counter and prescription painkillers are powerful drugs with serious side effects. They should be handled with care, and taken only under the supervision of your doctor. Not only do they cause serious health hazards when misused, they can also be addictive.

Talking about painkiller addiction, 2 million Americans use prescription opioid painkillers every year, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA 2002). The problem with this is that medical practitioners have found that patients on prescription painkillers beginning at pain levels 2-3 after one year have seen their pain levels rise to 8-9.

In effect, the condition of patients on opioid painkillers gets worse the longer they remain on the medication. The explanation for this is opioid-induced hyperalgesia, a condition where the patient becomes increasingly sensitive to pain stimulus with increasing doses of painkillers. The natural reaction is to reduce the doses, but when this is done, the patient may suffer a withdrawal, with sensitivity to pain still remaining high.

At this point the patient is said to be addicted to opioid painkillers. Going forward, he or she will have two choices, either to seek pain relief from a more powerful painkiller, or search for an alternative to opioid painkillers.

An effective alternative to opioid painkillers may well be homemade juices from fruits, vegetables and herbs. Working with a dietitian, or a holistic physician, you could experiment with various combination of fruits, vegetables and herbs to find which one your pain responds to. It may take a while to find what works for you, but what do you care; homemade juices, especially from organic produce, taste delicious and wholesome.

If given a choice to relieve my pain, I will prefer to become addicted to homemade juices with no side effects than to opioid painkillers, and I think you would too, once you start juicing for good health.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ending Your Fear Of Diabetes

These are the two arms of diabetes. If you are having symptoms of one or the other, call your doctor or 911 immediately, or ask someone to do so for you.

Ketoacidosis is when your body is using fat instead of glucose as fuel, leading to a build up of acids called ketones in your blood and urine.

This occurs when your body has very little or no insulin to allow it use glucose as fuel. In response, the liver secretes glucose to correct the problem, but since there is no insulin in the body glucose is left unused, precipitating hyperglycemia, or abnormally high blood glucose level.

The symptoms of ketoacidosis include abdominal pain, deep and rapid breathing, increased thirst and urination, sweet-smelling or fruity breath, loss of consciousness and nausea. Ketoacidosis usually affect people with type 1 diabetes.

The other arm of diabetes is hypoglycemic coma which causes you to lose consciousness because blood glucose level in the body is abnormally low. Normally the body gets its glucose supply from carbohydrates. A drastic cut in carbohydrates intake, loss of appetite, or the lack of food could precipitate a hypoglycemic coma, as the body seeks to prevent damage to its vital organs.

The symptoms of hypoglycemic coma include confusion, dizziness, headache, double vision, lack of coordination, convulsion or unconsciousness.

When reference is made to diabetes, most people think about type 2 diabetes as 90 to 95 percent of diabetes cases are type 2. But there is also type 1 diabetes which is usually diagnosed in childhood. It occurs when the body produces very little or no insulin; suspected causes are genetics, viruses and autoimmune problems.

There is also gestational diabetes where high blood glucose occurs during pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes, which may be cause by giving birth to a baby more than 9 pounds, have a higher risk of contracting cardiovascular disease, or type 2 diabetes later in life.

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is usually diagnosed in adulthood. In this type, the pancreas secretes enough insulin, but the muscles, fat and liver cells do not respond to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance. People affected with type 2 diabetes are usually overweight. Family history and genetics, poor diet and low physical activity are other causes of type 2 diabetes.

Testing for diabetes may be done in four ways. Urine analysis is use to find glucose and ketones in the blood and urine. Alone it cannot diagnose diabetes, it should be used with other tests.

Fasting blood glucose level test is performed after the patient has not eaten for at least 8 hours. Blood glucose level higher than 126 mg/dL on two occasions shows diabetes is diagnosed. Between 100 to 126 mg/dL is called prediabetes, or impaired fasting glucose.

Oral glucose tolerance test is usually used to diagnose diabetes during pregnancy. A series of blood glucose measurements are taken after giving the patient a sweet liquid containing glucose. Blood glucose level higher than 126 mg/dL indicates the presence of diabetes.

Random blood sugar test is a non-fasting test, and may be performed regardless of when the patient ate. Several random measurements may be taken during the day. When the measurements vary widely is an indication of the presence of diabetes, as healthy blood glucose levels do not vary widely through out the day.

When diabetes is diagnosed it has to do with the secretion and use of insulin in the body. The digestive system extracts glucose from the carbohydrate foods you eat. Glucose enters the blood stream to be transported by insulin into muscles, fat and liver cells where it is used as fuel for repairing, rebuilding, chemical and electrical processes in the body.

The body's insulin supplier is the pancreas. It is a gland organ located in the abdomen, within the digestive and endocrine systems. The pancreas is both an endocrine gland that secretes insulin, glucagon and somatostatin; and an exocrine gland that secretes pancreatic juices containing digestive enzymes into the small intestine to break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

The endocrine section of the pancreas is made up of about a million cells cluster called islets of Langerhans. These are classified by their secretions.

The glucagon cells secrete glucagon hormone to increase blood glucose level, whereas insulin cells secrete insulin that moves glucose into the muscles, fat and liver cells to decrease glucose level in the blood.

The somatostatin cells secrete somatostatin hormone to regulate or stop glucagon and insulin secretion; while the PP cells secrete pancreatic polypetide to self-regulate pancreas secretion activities.

As you can see, these four cell types ensure that the pancreas does not overproduce insulin in the body, as this could lead to insulin resistance; or produce less insulin as this could lead to an abnormally high blood glucose level. Both events could precipitate type 1 or 2 diabetes.

Although the pancreas internal mechanisms keep it preforming well under normal conditions, like other organs of the body, the pancreas is sometimes attacked by diseases. Among these is pancreatic cancer, particularly cancer of the exocrine cells which has a high mortality rate.

Diabetes mellitus type 1 is another deadly pancreatic disease. It is a chronic autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system attacks the insulin secreting cells in the pancreas. Once these cells are disabled insulin secretion is reduced, or cut off leading to diabetes.

Since there is no cure for diabetes, it is like an unwanted lifetime companion. The goal of treatment, therefore, should seek to prolong life, reduce symptoms and prevent diabetes related diseases such as blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and amputation of limbs.

You can accomplish these objectives by blood pressure and cholesterol control, careful self-testing for blood glucose levels, physical exercise, foot care, medication and insulin use, as well as meal and weight control.

Your doctor may tell you to regularly check your blood glucose level at home. Using the right device, you need only a drop of blood to do so. Information gathered from self-testing will help your doctor prevent diabetes related complications, and indicate how well diet, medication and physical exercise are helping to control your diabetes.

When thinking about your health in relation to diabetes, the focus should be on maintaining a  healthy diet and body weight. You will find that more than any other cause, overweight and obesity are the main causes of diabetes.

Overweight and obesity are conditions where the body has more calories and fat than the cells can immediately process. A specialized membrane in the cell called endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which synthesizes proteins and processes fats will signals the insulin receptors to stop responding to insulin to allow it time to process the fat it already has. The unused insulin increases the body's blood sugar level which may lead to a type 2 diabetes.

While diabetes is usually diagnosed in patients over 40, it is now increasingly being diagnosed in overweight and obese children. This is sounding an alarm in the medical establishment, because obesity in American children has doubled since 1968, and it is just a matter of time when diabetes in children will also double.

A teenager or an adult who argues that he or she can do nothing about overweight or obesity has less information than is needed to make such life changing decision. For more information read my article titled, "Is Obesity A Disease or A Choice".

No matter how obese you are, you can reduce your weight. In doing so, you will be helping to reduce the $174 billion in direct medical and indirect costs spent in the U.S. a year on diabetes, while freeing yourself of carrying every where you go the excess weight you don't need, and begin enjoying the richness of your life in full.

Friday, January 14, 2011

How To Combat Sleep Deprivation and Insomnia

If you could remain awake for 72 hours, you would have a lot of work done, but at the end of that time, you would become irritable, unfocused, your reaction time would be slow, and your motivation and energy levels would fall.

If these reactions did not stop you to take a break and sleep, your body would by giving you fever to keep you in bed for a few days. This is the extent sleep is very important to the health and proper functioning of your body that it will force you to sleep, if you didn't do so willingly .

Not getting enough sleep occurs in two ways. Not allowing yourself enough hours to sleep is called sleep deprivation. Having enough hours to sleep, but unable to sleep is insomnia. The end result of both is the same: you are not getting enough sleep. Although, the solution to each will be different.

Solving sleep deprivation can be done easily by changing your lifestyle, your work schedule, or getting proper medical treatment for sleep deprivation related diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and depression.

Insomnia is more difficult to solve. Its symptoms includes, difficulty falling asleep, unable to stay asleep during the night, difficulty returning to sleep, waking up too early in the morning, and feeling tired and drained.

Your first line of defense against insomnia is to check if you are being stressed out by physical discomfort, emotional problems, or an uncomfortable sleeping environment. In many cases, when you find solutions to these problems, your insomnia should go away.

When your insomnia does not go away, the reason may be an underlying disease like obstructive sleep apnea, which makes you stop breathing temporarily and forces you to wake up. This occurs when your tonsils or adenoids located in the passage that connects your nose to your throat becomes enlarge because of overweight or obesity.

Other underlying diseases may include, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) where the stomach acid moves up into the esophagus producing heart burn. GERD symptoms are worse when lying down, and can interfere with the sleep cycle. Nightmares, narcolepsy and sleep walking can also interfere with the sleep cycle.

Your sleep cycle is the various stages of sleep your body goes through during the sleep-wake period. There is no fixed pattern to the amount of time spent in each stage. 


Stage 1 is the transition to sleep. It lasts for 5 minutes during which the eyes move slowly under the eye lids, muscles activity slows down, and you are easily awakened.

Stage 2 is the first stage of true sleep. It last for 10 to 25 minutes when the eyes movement stops, the heart rate slows down and the body temperature decreases. 


Stage 3 is deep sleep when it is difficult to be awakened, and when awakened you will feel groggy and disorientated for several minutes.

Stage 4 is intense deep sleep. Your brain waves are very slow, blood flow is directed away from your brain and toward the muscles to repair muscles and restore energy depleted during the day. These four sleep stages are called Non-REM sleep, because during these your eyes do not move rapidly under your eye lids.

The REM sleep stage begins about 70 to 90 minutes after falling asleep when dreaming occurs. The eyes move rapidly under the eye lids, breathing is shallow, the heart rate and blood pressure increase, and the arms and legs become still.

The importance of these sleep stages is that if you cannot get past stages 1 and 2 because of a noisy or uncomfortable sleep environment, you will not get to states 3 and 4 where deep and intense deep sleep occurs, when the body does its repair work: building muscles and tissues, secreting growth hormones for growth in children and repairing and growing tissues in adults.

It has been found that sleep deprivation and insomnia lead to deficiencies in the immune system  making the body less able to defend itself against invading microorganisms, and probably the reason you will get fever if you stayed awake, or don't get enough sleep for several days.

According to the National Institute of Health, an average adult needs 7.5 to 9 hours sleep a night to fully restore the mental and physical energies depleted during the day from thinking, creating, walking, lifting and moving things.

Even so, many people believe all they need are 6 hours of sleep a night to have their energies restored for the next day's activities. But, with time they find that their mental sharpness, creativity, productivity, emotional balance and physical vitality begin to fall, as the body struggles to deal with daytime sleeping, reduced concentration, irritability and slow reaction time.

If you are experiencing any of these sleep related problems, you now know why. Increasing the number of sleep hours you get at night will begin to solve these problems. Yet, as I have said, you can increase the number of sleep hours, and still not be able to actually sleep the same number of hours, if you have insomnia.

If you have insomnia, you need to do more than simply increasing the number of  sleep hours. Your sleep environment is an important determinant whether you are able to get past stages 1 and 2 of your sleep cycle, as these stages are when you are sleeping lightly, and easily awakened.

Avoid noises and bright lights. Turning off the television and radio, and removing all physical discomfort will prevent things from happening in your sleep environment that will start you thinking, or require you to get up to find out what is going on.

It commonly known that an effective way to fall asleep is to empty your mind of all thoughts. The problem is even as you struggle to empty your mind of all thoughts, you will be worrying if you are succeeding in doing so. 


However, if you succeed in keeping all thoughts from your mind for at lest 10 to 15 minutes you are more likely to fall asleep, because when the mind is empty it will have nothing to do, and so fall asleep.

Avoid talking about unpaid bills and controversial issues when you are nearing your bed time. By doing this, you will prevent your mind from continuing the discussion while you are attempting to sleep. And when your mind is actively finding solutions to these problems, you cannot sleep

It has been suggested that to get a better night sleep, it is necessary to get in sync with your circadian rhythm, or your natural sleep-wake cycle. This requires that you maintain a regular sleep schedule, meaning going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. While this is possible for some people to do, for others it is not because of their work schedule, or some other demands on their lifestyle.

Forty to 60 minutes of regular physical exercise is very helpful for a good night sleep. You could do this any time during the day, but be sure it is 3 to 4 hours before your bed time.

I will say this about sleeping pills: they should be taken only for short periods. If used for a long period of time, you will have side effects like drug tolerance, drug interactions, drug dependence, your insomnia will get worse when you stop taking them, withdrawal symptoms, and they may mask an underlying disease.

Without sleeping pills, a good night sleep is most likely when you have your spouse or significant other lying beside you, as you go past stages 1 and 2 into deep sleep stages 3 and 4 of your sleep cycle. You will find, however, that merely having someone lying beside you is not a panacea in itself. The quality of the relationship you have with your spouse or significant other is what matters the most.

Yes, I know you didn't expect to find that a good night sleep had something to do with the quality of the relationship with your spouse or significant other. It does, in the sense that if you are in a bitter power struggle with your spouse or significant other, as you lie on the same bed, you are projecting negative thoughts toward each other. This will occur even if you are sleeping in different beds and in different rooms.

When these negative thoughts collide, they create a sleep environment that produces many disturbing questions that demand answers. The effect of this is that you and your spouse or significant other will spend most of the night, if not all of it, finding answers to these disturbing questions, while unable to sleep.

How you solve this problem turns on the adage, "Don't let the sun set on your anger". When you allow the sun to set on your anger, you give your anger enough time to develop roots, and by the next day it would have borne poisonous fruits.

You can avoid producing these poisonous fruits by agreeing with your spouse or significant other to perform a little ritual whenever there is a power struggle crisis. Before you go to sleep, you will tell your spouse or significant other that you have forgiven him or her for any known or unknown things said or done to offend you, and are now putting them in an imaginary manila envelop, and will think about them no more.

Your spouse or significant other will also tell you those same words. When done, the two of you will seal the imaginary manila envelop with a kiss, or some other romantic act and throw the imaginary manila envelop in an imaginary garbage can. 


To make the ritual more real, you may want to have an actual manila envelop, and go through the motion of emptying your minds of all the negative things said and done into it, then seal it and throw it into an actual garbage can.

If the ritual is done honestly, as you lie side by side on your bed, you will be projecting positive thoughts toward each other. And when positive thoughts collide, they create a sleep environment that produces genuine feeling of forgiveness, kindness and love for your spouse or significant other.

If you cannot fall into deep sleep in this comfortable and romantic sleep environment, your sleep problem may have behind it an underlying pathology, and you need to see your doctor immediately.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

From Welfare To Workfare

Those on welfare would tell you they don't like being there. In fact, I would venture to say the majority of them don't want to be there, because a welfare check comes with a social stigma.

Welfare recipients are constantly reminded by the accusatory expression on the faces of tax payers who see them as freeloaders, as people who get money for not working.

Some have argued that the welfare system should be abolished, without a clue as to how the problems that would arise would be solved. If welfare is ended, we will return to the world of Oliver Twist where children went hungry, and mothers knowing there was a demand, sold their bodies for money to feed their children.

This is not to suggest that the welfare system, as it is today is the best we can have. It solves one set of problems, but inadvertently creates another. While children do not go hungry, and mothers are not forced into prostitution; getting money without working has debilitating effects on the minds and bodies of welfare recipients, and their children.

When a person stays home all day, seven days a week watching television, and not engaged in activities that challenge the mind, few neurons synapses are created in the brain. But, when the mind is engaged in challenging activities; in confronting these challenges, more neurons synapses are created in the brain. As more neurons synapses are created, the brain's capacity to learn increases, enhancing its agility, and its ability to solve problems quickly.

Again, when a person stays home all day watching television, he or she has very little motivation to do physical exercise. The result is the body becomes overweight, and gradually becomes obese. Overweight and obesity are known sources of stroke, heart diseases, diabetes, and a myriad of other diseases. The more that overweight and obesity become a problem, the more difficult it will be, owing to limited resources, for the national health system to provide adequate health services to all who need them.

When the children of welfare recipients see their fathers and mothers home all day, yet able to get money to buy food, pay rent and buy clothes, they will be misled into thinking that staying home all day without working is a normal way of life. They will be trapped into emulating their parents, and end up on the welfare system as their parents before them.

Consequently, the aim of the welfare system, which is to prevent children from going hungry, and mothers from becoming prostitutes will be turned on its head. The welfare system  will become a breeding ground for generation upon generation of young men and women expecting to be paid for doing nothing.

In fiscal year 2008 the federal government spent $522 billion, and state governments spent $192 billion on providing assistance to welfare recipients, a total of $714 billion. The figures for 2010 will be slightly higher. However, when you add the cost of administering the welfare system the total amount spent both by federal and states governments rises beyond a trillion dollars a year.

When talking about the welfare system, the program that comes to mind is the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) because it is the one that comes up in most welfare discussions. But there are other programs under the welfare umbrella including, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Supplementary Security Income (SSI), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Head Start, Work Study, Medicare and Social Security.

In 1996 President Clinton with the help of a Republican majority in Congress signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act; otherwise known as the Welfare Reform Act. This legislation devolved administration of the welfare system from the federal government to the states.

Among other provisions, the welfare Reform Act stated that all welfare recipients who began receiving assistance from the date of the legislation shall find jobs within a period of two years, after which welfare assistance will be cut off.

It also stated that current welfare recipients shall find jobs with a period of five years, after which welfare assistance will be cut off.

Another provision stated that all mothers receiving welfare assistance shall receive no increase in cash assistance if they had another child. For example, a mother currently on welfare with two children will get no additional assistance for her third child, unless the state legislature decided differently.

If these welfare reform provisions appear draconian, they are the voices in Congress of hard working and tax paying Americans who see the increasing tax burden upon them taking away their ability to provide opportunities for their own children, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is our choice to pursue a planned change in the welfare system, or wait for a blind instrument to cut across the welfare system with no regard for who goes hungry, who loses health care, or who becomes homeless.

The five years period when mothers already on the welfare system should have found jobs ends in 2011. With the unemployment rate hovering around 10%, it is not likely that welfare mothers who have received assistance for five years will have found jobs in 2011. Experts at the highest levels in the federal and state governments are thinking seriously about how to solve this problem which is already at our doors.
 

I have provided detail of a planned change to the welfare system that gradually moves recipients from the welfare system to a workfare system. Following the change those on the workfare system will get paid only when they work. Although, there will be some who will get paid without working, and these are about 50% of welfare recipients comprising mostly of the disabled and elderly.

The workfare system will work as following. The geographical and political area of operation will be the county. It is small enough to be effectively managed, yet large enough to have a critical mass of welfare recipients to make the workfare system work. Every building that is connected with providing welfare services and checks to recipients will be renamed a workfare building.

A short and simple form will be created and given to all current welfare recipients asking them to tell the workfare system what they can do best. Someone might say he is good at mowing a lawn. Another person might say she is a good painter. Yet another person might say she is a good baby sitter, or a good bricklayer.

The workfare system will collect all the filled in forms bearing the names, addresses and job proficiencies of those who filled them. The workfare system will group the various job proficiencies into job training programs. So that the person who said he is a good lawn mower will be given a mowing machine to demonstrate his proficiency.

When the job is done, the trainer will analyze the mowed lawn, and depending on his or her assessment, determine what level of training this trainee will need to qualify him as a certified lawn mower. The job training period will not exceed four weeks.

At the end of the job training, the trainee will receive a certification card the size of a credit card. The certification card will tell all companies he is assigned to work that he is a certified lawn mower. The same will go for trainees in other job training categories.

When job training and certification have gone on for some time, the workfare system will have available a large number of certified and skilled men and women ready to work.

As this will be a high priority operation, top officials of the workfare system will invite private companies to register for the service categories for which there are trained workfare workers. The private companies will show evidence that they have the financial resources, qualified management staff, and are doing business legally in the county where they are registered.

Next, top officials of the workfare system will through advertisement invite all private companies and individuals in the county to post onto a dedicated workfare website the services they want provided for their companies and homes.

The work assignments, as we shall called them, will be posted to the workfare website the day before. They will be sorted out and put into work assignment categories by the workfare staff. The next morning, the categorized work assignments will be posted onto the workfare website.

The private companies registered with the workfare system will look through the categorized work assignments, choosing those work assignments for which they have the technical skills and experience to perform. As each work assignment is taken, it is removed from the list.

Each private company will be allowed to take only a certain number of work assignments expressed in money value, and could come back during the day to take more work assignments after the ones previously taken have been done. This will prevent private companies from taking more work assignments than they can satisfactorily complete within the agreed period.

Once the private companies have taken their work assignments, they will within one hour, contact the companies or individuals who posted them on the workfare website, for the purpose of agreeing on a price, and completion time of the work assignment.

Where there is agreement, the owner of the work assignment will post onto the workfare website the agreed price, and when the work assignment is to be completed. The private company that will perform the service will also post onto the workfare website the agreed price and completion time of the work assignment.

The workfare staff will compare the two documents from the owner of the work assignment and the private company to determine the number of workfare workers the company will need to perform the work assignment.

There will be a tug of war going on between the private company and the workfare staff as to the number of workers needed to perform a particular work assignment, as the private company seeks to reduce its labor costs with few workers, and the workfare system seeks to prevent the private company from overworking the workfare workers.

When an agreement is reached, the workfare system will select the number of workers with the required skills the private company needs to perform its work assignments for the day. In effect, the workers will be employees of the workfare system hired out to the private company for the day. The hourly rate paid shall not be different from what the private company is paying non-workfare workers doing the same job.

The private company will keep accurate and updated records for all the workfare workers who worked for it in each pay period not exceeding one week. It will make unemployment, retirement, health insurance and disability contributions on behalf of those workers. At the end of each pay period, the private company will write one check with an attached detail for the wages and benefits of all workfare workers who have worked for it.

At the workfare payroll department, the check from the private company along with the attached detail would be allocated to the individual workfare worker's payroll account to determine his or her pay for that week. The workfare system will issue individual payroll checks to the workfare workers after taking into account all deductions including taxes and benefits.

In this way the private company can focus on doing its business, as long as it is able to issue the aggregate weekly checks for work done for it by the workfare workers. What is exciting about the workfare system is that the money paid to the workfare workers will come from private companies and not from the county government, as able body welfare recipients will no longer get paid for doing nothing.

The argument that the workfare system, in soliciting work assignments from private companies and private individuals amounts to unfair competition with private entrepreneurs is mute, because all work assignments received by the workfare system will be done by private companies. The workfare system will perform no work assignments.

Unfortunately, such smoothly run operation seldom happen without some problems. We can foresee a situation in which a workfare worker assigned to a company for a day's work gets angry for whatever reason, and decides not to work, or refuses to take instruction from his supervisor.
 

Private companies have neither the time nor resources to deal with the problems of a workfare worker who does not want to follow instruction or work. They should not be compelled to deal with such problems. Private companies will have the right to call the workfare office and ask for another worker who is not angry, and willing to take instruction and work.

Highly skilled and experienced psychiatrists and psychologists, employed by the workfare system, who know the human mind and how to influence it in one direction or another will get on the phone with the agitated workfare worker with a plan to remove him from the environment that is agitating him.

He is agitated, and needs not to be told what he's doing is wrong. He needs someone to complain to about how he is being unfairly treated. The psychiatrist or psychologist will say, "Alright Mr. Winters", to choose an arbitrary name, "tell me what happened. I will make a report, and whoever is bothering you will be dealt with according to the law".

Later, depending on the decision of a judge, things might turn out differently for Mr. Winters, especially where there was violence against persons or property. But for now he needs to be convinced that the law is on his side.

During the course of Mr. Winters' statement, the psychiatrist or psychologist will ask at an appropriate time, "Mr. Winters have you had breakfast or lunch yet?" Most likely he will say he has not had lunch.

In response the psychiatrist will say, "Mr. Winters in 15 minutes I will have lunch waiting here for you with your name on it. I need you to be here as quickly as possible because you wouldn't want to eat a cold lunch". The psychiatrist will proceed to describe what the lunch is made of. If the lunch is vividly described, Mr. Winters will start salivating though he has not seen the lunch yet. He will leave the work site, jump into a bus, walk briskly, or sprint to the workfare office as fast as he can.

At the workfare office a hot lunch will be waiting for him. The lunch should be flawless. If he finds the least flaw with the lunch he will think he's being punished for what happened at the work site. It should be a lunch fit to be eaten by the psychiatrist or psychologist.

When Mr. Winters is done his lunch, the psychiatrist and psychologist will talk to him. Where no violence against persons or property was involved, the experts will find out whether he didn't want to work with that particular supervisor, or he simply didn't like the type of work he is doing.

If he didn't want to work with the supervisor, he could be reassigned to a different company under a different supervisor. Now, if he didn't like the job for which he has been trained, he may express this by saying,
 "I don't like the job", or "I don't like to work".

If he didn't like the job, the psychiatrist would say, "Alright Mr. Winters I have another job for you. Take this sheet of paper. I will take you to a very important building. You will stand at a particular spot. Every car that comes through that spot, make a check mark in one of the boxes on the sheet." Other recommended jobs may be a street crossing guard, or a doorman. The point here is to get Mr. Winters into a job where he will need limited supervision to do his work.

Most likely the efforts of the experts will alleviate Mr. Winters agitation, and place him in another work environment where he is less likely to be agitated. This is only one example of problems that may arise under the workfare system.

In handling this and other workfare related problems, the psychiatrist or psychologist should be the first to talk with the agitated workfare worker. Only when there is violence should the police be called in. Even then the police should not come in with handcuffs and guns. They should seek to stabilize the situation, and quickly allow the experts to steer the agitated person in a different direction.

When workers go to the workfare office and clock in, they expect to be assigned jobs for the day. No clocked in workfare worker should wait more than one hour to get a job assignment. Where there are not enough day jobs for the workfare workers, the county government should create city beautification work assignments for the private companies, which in turn will hire workfare workers to do them.

In fact, one may go as far as to suggest that in an extreme case, the county government should pursue a job creation policy that may involve nothing more than digging a hole only to refill it. On the face of it, it may sound absurd, but when we consider the effects of such endeavor, including the opportunity for workfare workers to put their minds and bodies to work, and the setting of good example for the children, it will more than compensate for merely digging a hole only to refill it.

Up to this point, the workfare system will work flawlessly if only men were involved in it, but as it is obvious that women will form a significant proportion of the workfare labor force, it is necessary to add a childcare department to the workfare system.

If workfare mothers are to go out and work hard, they need to be convince beyond a doubt that their children are in a safe and clean environment; that they are interacting with care givers who have been screened, trained and have the right temperament to thoughtfully and gracefully handle the problems of children from all backgrounds.

This is possible only when the administrators of the childcare system race to the top, rather than  to the bottom in terms of the standard of care given to the children. The workfare system should take an in depth look at the range of childcare standards; from the poorest neighborhoods to the wealthiest neighborhoods.

The purpose of this exercise is to find what standard works. Obviously, the standard of childcare in the wealthiest neighborhoods will be the standard to race up to. But while mothers in the wealthiest neighborhoods are paying $300.00 a week for childcare, mothers in the workfare system may have to pay $53.00 a week, depending on their income, for the same standard of childcare.

The workfare system will pay the difference between the $300.00 and $53.00 per week. In other words, the workfare system will subsidized the childcare services provided to workfare mothers. Money that would have gone to pay welfare checks to mothers who got money for doing nothing, will now go to pay highly screened and trained staff with the right temperament to provide top notch childcare services to the children of workfare mothers.

Because these children will be receiving the best childcare money can provide, all children regardless of where they live, their color, ethnic or religious background will have equal opportunity to succeed.

Under this childcare system, when a staff sees a child, she will not see a color or an ethnic background, she will see a child wanting to be loved, cared for, and taught the wonders of the world he or she is only beginning to know.

And no group will be fooled into believing that equal opportunity is a zero sum game where the gain of one group is the loss of another, as we wise up to what President John F. Kennedy said, "a rising tide lifts all boats."

Under this childcare system what will matter the most will be the content of a child's character, to quote our beloved brother Martin Luther King Jr., and how that character could be molded to reach the highest achievement the child is capable of.

And here on God's earth, no child shall be born condemned to a life of perpetual welfare, but all children under the workfare system shall be born to look up, and reach for the stars.