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Actress Amber Valletta: I’ve Been an Addict Since I Was 8 Years Old

Actress Amber Valletta: I’ve Been an Addict Since I Was 8 Years Old

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Hitch star and former model Amber Valletta, 40, has decided to open up about her bouts with alcohol and drug addiction.She spoke with an audience for MindBodyGreen for a piece called “How I Live with Addiction Every Day: Amber Valletta” and revealed her battle with addiction has been ongoing since she was 8 years old.”I’m coming out to you today,” Valletta told the audience. “I coming out to you today as an addict. … I’ve had it for as long as I can remember.””My hope is that someone, somewhere in this room, out of this room will hear something that will help them and perhaps get them out of the shadows and the darkness of addiction and bring them into the light,” she said of why she decided to reveal this addiction.Valletta said she started with drugs and alcohol because she was “predisposed for it” and that it’s genetic.”Once you kind of feed the monster, there’s a switch and it takes hold,” she said, saying that at 8 years old, she started trying to get outside herself. “I sniffed markers, I sniffed glue, fingernail polish, anything that could give me a buzz … then I found drugs that were around the culture of my family.”The actress added that she had been high from marijuana by age 10, but that she only blames herself.”I’m not a victim, I do not blame my parents,” she said. “I’m uncomfortable, I’m uncomfortable being a human being.”By the time Valletta was 18, she moved to Europe “and I found cocaine and alcohol and I was good to go.”Valletta added that she’s from Oklahoma and as a full-time model she said she was socially inept and “I couldn’t manage my feelings, so I had to take something to manage my feelings.”She explained how she could have lost everything at 22 years old, at the top of her game and a big-time model.”I had a multi-million [dollar] deal and I showed up the first day to shoot this campaign high and drunk,” she revealed. “Addiction takes you to the worst places. I showed up to my uncle’s bedside and he was dying and I was still high, still drunk and looking for a place to go do another line.”Valletta said she got sober at 25, because “I didn’t want to die.”Valletta stressed that addiction doesn’t discriminate and that you can’t just “buck up” and not drink that beer or do drugs.”It doesn’t allow you to stop on sheer will power,” she said.Valletta has sought out programs, support, along with being “humble” and praying to stay sober 15 years later. She’s also helped other people recover from addiction.”I had to be willing to lift the veil off the shame and say, ‘I’m addict, I can’t do this alone, I don’t want to do this alone, I don’t feel comfortable, can you help me?’” she said, breaking down a bit. “I needed help from other people, so that’s the way I stay sober.”
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Colorado Dog Battles Cancer to Live ‘Happily Every Day’

Colorado Dog Battles Cancer to Live ‘Happily Every Day’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Colorado owner of a rescued shelter dog battling cancer refuses to believe her dog has only six months left and will make sure the American bulldog mix “lives happily every day.”Judy Jaros first noticed 5-year-old Marsha at the Humane Society of the South Platte Valley in July 2013. Jaros was a volunteer dog walker at the facility and Marsha had been living in the shelter for a while.“Our shelter is a low-kill shelter. We don’t put down animals just because they can’t find homes,” Jaros said. “When you know dogs for that long, you bond with them.”Among all the dogs at the Littleton center, Marsha’s energy first caught Jaros’ attention, and then won her heart. Jaros decided to give Marsha a permanent home.
“I noticed that she had some lumps on her sides,” Jaros told ABC News. “So I took her to the vet.”The veterinarian did a check on Marsha and confirmed that she had cancer.“I thought to myself, ‘This could be a very expensive adoption,’” Jaros said. “But if we don’t adopt her, she will never have good medical care.”Love conquered Jaros’ fear, and Marsha was brought back to Jaros’ home this January.“She had a surgery in March, and the vet said the prognosis was not great,” Jaros said. “They estimated that she has about six months left.”Jaros said she doesn’t believe that estimation. The cancer cells have moved to Marsha’s lymph nodes, but Jaros said she is not seeing any discomfort in Marsha.Before the adoption, Marsha was at the shelter, recovering from a former life that had left her battered and nearly broken.“She had so many problems when she came in. She had an infection, she had a broken toe, she had a bullet in her elbow,” Jaros said.But with the love and care from the Jaros family, Marsha is recovering well and embracing her new life.“She is the happiest dog you will ever meet,” Jaros said. “We take her walking, hiking, camping and fishing. She has play dates with her favorite dog friends.”“Her whole body wags, not just her tail,” Jaros said. “She will be so happy to see you even if you were just gone for 10 minutes.”Jaros said catching mice and lizards in fields with tall grasses is Marsha’s favorite thing to do.“My husband and I have looked into ways to boost her immune system,” Jaros said. “We give her supplements made for slowing cancer growth.”
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49ers Stadium Will Be Most Vegan Friendly in America

49ers Stadium Will Be Most Vegan Friendly in America

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — “Get your hot dog, your vegan-friendly hot dog.”That’s the chant that vendors at Levi’s Stadium, home to the San Francisco 49ers, might be yelling to customers this fall as the stadium overhauls its menu to become the most vegan-friendly arena in America.The stadium’s catering company, Centerplate, unveiled the new menu this month and showed off some of the vegan options, including the vegan frank and an Asian-inspired Portobello mushroom steamed bun, according to ABC News station KGO.“We are going to be the most vegan-friendly stadium in the entire sports industry,” Zach Hensely, manager of Centerplate, told the San Francisco Chronicle, which reported that there would be more than 30 vegan options at the stadium, including one at every permanent stand.The stadium is also going to source 85 percent of its ingredients from California, many from an even smaller radius around Santa Clara, according to the Chronicle.Other features include more than 1,000 beer taps and wood-fired ovens for pizzas, according to KGO.
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Warm Weather Stirs Up Brain-Eating Amoeba Warning

Warm Weather Stirs Up Brain-Eating Amoeba Warning

iStock/Thinkstock(JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan.) — Kansas health officials are urging swimmers to take extra care in warm freshwater, which could be home to millions of microscopic killers.A 9-year-old Johnson County girl is the latest victim of Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba that lurks in warm, standing water. The girl died July 9 from primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, an extremely rare but almost invariably fatal brain infection.“We are very saddened to learn of this unfortunate circumstance, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends during this difficult time,” state health officer Dr. Robert Moser said in a statement. “It is important for the public to know that infections like these are extremely rare and there are precautions one can take to lower their risk — such as nose plugs.”Naegleria fowleri enters the body through the nose, causing a severe frontal headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Early symptoms give way to seizures, confusion and hallucinations as the amoeba migrates through the nasal cavity to the brain.“After the start of symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death within about five days,” the CDC website reads.Of 132 people infected with Naegleria fowleri in the United States between 1962 and 2013, only three have survived, according to the CDC. One survivor, a 12-year-old girl infected in 2013, was diagnosed early and treated with “therapeutic hypothermia” and the experimental drug miltefosine.“Her recovery has been attributed to early diagnosis and treatment,” the CDC website reads.But spotting the signs of the infection is tricky, because tests to detect the rare infection are available in only a few laboratories in the United States.
“Because of the rarity of the infection and difficulty in initial detection, about 75 percent of diagnoses are made after the death of the patient,” the agency adds.The infection is most common in 15 southern-tier states, “with more than half of all infections occurring in Texas and Florida,” officials say. Three-quarters of all U.S. cases have been linked to swimming in freshwater lakes and rivers, but infections have also been associated with slip-n-slides, bathtubs and neti pots. The infection is not contagious and can’t be contracted from a properly chlorinated pool or saltwater. The CDC recommends the following tips for summer swimmers:

Avoid getting water up your nose by holding your nose shut, using nose clips or keeping your head above water when swimming or splashing in warm freshwater.
Avoid submerging your head in hot springs and other untreated thermal waters.
Avoid stirring up sediment in shallow, warm freshwater areas.

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Stress Eating Linked to 11 Extra Pounds a Year for Women

Stress Eating Linked to 11 Extra Pounds a Year for Women

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Turning to food for comfort is a familiar habit for many, but a recent study shows that stress eating can lead to extra pounds and fewer calories burned. Women who reported at least one stressor before eating a high-fat meal lost 104 fewer calories compared to those who weren’t stressed, according to a report in the journal Biological Psychiatry. The same participants also had higher levels of insulin, which contributes to fat storage, researchers said. “When we’re stressed we tend to reach for the comfort foods and so it really is kind of a double-whammy,” said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, lead author and psychology professor at Ohio State College of Medicine. “Those are the foods we reach for and those are the very foods that with stress are more likely to slow metabolism.”The body burns calories more slowly after a stressful event, and combined with high-fat meals, it can add up to as many as 11 extra pounds annually. The study out of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center looked at 58 healthy women who ate meals that included 930 calories and 60 grams of fat — comparable to fast food options like Burger King’s Double Whopper with cheese. Still, some experts take a more holistic approach to the data, saying people should be careful of what they eat, particularly when it comes to processed foods. “They’re high in fat, they’re high in sugar, they’re high in calories. That’s probably not a shock. What we now know conclusively is that they activate the reward centers in the brain that are the same centers that are activated when people use drugs,” said ABC News Senior Medical Contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton. “And you know, we can’t avoid stress, so it’s all a matter of coping.  Meditation is a great way to do it.”So if you’re looking to binge on some Oreos after a difficult day, have a glass of water first to balance it out, Ashton adds.
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Kristen Johnston Reveals Severity of Lupus, Grateful for Improvement

Kristen Johnston Reveals Severity of Lupus, Grateful for Improvement

Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Lupus LA(NEW YORK) — Actress Kristen Johnston is sharing details about her battle with lupus, saying the condition was so debilitating for her that she felt she was “swimming in molasses.”Johnston, who starred on the hit sitcom 3rd Rock From the Sun and now appears in TV Lands’ sitcom The Exes, said in an interview with People magazine that she realized something was wrong last summer when she had trouble climbing the stairs.It took visits to 17 doctors before Johnston, 46, had the correct diagnosis: lupus myelitis, a rare form of the disease that affects the spinal cord.The actress was treated with chemo and steroids and was in remission six months later, she told People.The illness affected her so badly she couldn’t lift her neck without a brace. “If I had to live like that forever, I would have killed myself,” she told People.Johnston’s doctor, rheumatologist Daniel J. Wallace, said the actress would have ended up a quadriplegic had treatment been delayed much longer.Now, she’s grateful for her health turnaround. “Every single day is a gift, and I don’t take one second of it for granted,” she said.In December the actress posted on her Facebook page to let her fans know that she would miss two episodes of the show because of the illness.Johnston has acknowledged having struggled for years with alcohol and drug addictions. In a video on People magazine’s website, Johnston said sobriety was one of the hardest things anyone could do.”Everything was always masked by drugs and alcohol, so to go through this terrible experience it’s — I don’t know, I’m just a really happy human being. I’m just very grateful, very grateful,” she said.
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Elderly Americans More Comfortable with Their Appearance

Elderly Americans More Comfortable with Their Appearance

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Getting older can be a source of dread for many, but one poll suggests the elderly seem to be a lot more comfortable with their looks compared to younger groups. Gallup asked 85,000 adults if they “agree” or “strongly agree” about always feeling good about their appearance, and 66 percent of those 65 or older chose one of those options.Meanwhile, only 54 percent in the 35-64 age group said they “agree” or “strongly agree” with feeling happy about their looks, while 61 percent of those 18-to-34 concurred with the statement.As for gender, men were more confident about their appearance than women until much later in life, while African Americans and Hispanic Americans liked the way they looked more so than either Asian Americans or whites.
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Colbie Caillat’s New Video Takes on Beauty Ideals

Colbie Caillat’s New Video Takes on Beauty Ideals

Republic Records(NEW YORK) — Singer Colbie Caillat’s new video is sending a powerful message to women about their appearance and society’s expectations of beauty.In the song “Try,” Caillat — a pop singer/songwriter whose hits include “Lucky” and “Bub…

Framing Exercise as Fun May Hold Key to Losing Weight, Study Says

Framing Exercise as Fun May Hold Key to Losing Weight, Study Says

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A study undertaken by researchers from Cornell University found that the more fun you have during a workout, the less you’ll eat afterwards.The study, published in the journal Marketing Letters, involved two experiments in which researchers tested how much adults ate following a period of exercise. In the first experiment, 56 adults were led on a 1.4 mile walk. The walk was alternately called either an “exercise walk” or a “scenic walk,” and afterwards, those who believed it was an “exercise walk” ate 35 percent more chocolate pudding for dessert than those who believed they had been on a “scenic walk.”In the second experiment, under similar parameters, those who were told they had been on an exercise walk ate 124 percent more calories of candy provided to them than those who were told they were on a scenic walk.Researchers believe their findings show that one of the reasons people involved in exercise programs may gain weight is because they reward themselves with food after working out.The key, researchers say, is to make exercise enjoyable. Among other suggestions, they note that individuals planning to begin an exercise routing to help them lose weight should try listening to music during a run, making phone calls during a walk, or watching a video during a treadmill routine.
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Study: Reducing Alcohol Consumption Could Improve Heart Health

Study: Reducing Alcohol Consumption Could Improve Heart Health

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study conducted by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that a reduction in alcohol consumption could lead to improved heart health.The study, published in the journal BMJ, looked at data from 50 previous studies that included information on over 260,000 individuals. Among those individuals who have a specific genetic variant linked to lower alcohol consumption, researchers found improved cardiovascular health. The study’s authors say that their findings suggests that reducing alcohol consumption — even for light to moderate drinkers — may be beneficial for heart health.Alcohol is among the leading risk factors for death and disability. Individuals who drink less alcohol had about a 10 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease. They also typically had lower blood pressure and a lower body mass index. The genetic variant that researchers used as a benchmark in their study typically break down alcohol more slowly, causing “unpleasant symptoms,” which previous studies have shown is linked to diminished alcohol consumption.
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National Blood Drive Protests Ban on Gay Donors

National Blood Drive Protests Ban on Gay Donors

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For the second year in a row, groups held a national blood drive to protest the ban against gay and bisexual men donating blood. Grassroots organizations collaborated Friday to draw attention to the policy and call for change. While the American Medical Association says the policy is no longer necessary with improved HIV blood screening, federal officials have indicated that they’re willing to change the rules only if research shows no risk to recipients.
In Portland, Maine, allies donated blood in the names of men banned. “I’m at as much risk if I were being promiscuous or living in a different kind of lifestyle as anyone,” said participant Karen Ball. “…Pretty shocking to find out that most gay people can’t donate blood and I just thought that was horrible.”The campaign is pushing for at least 100,000 signatures to amend the policy. Some experts agree with the call for change, explaining that the ban is outdated. “HIV carries with it a lot of stigma with it no matter what and on top of that, in some parts of the country, being gay still carries stigma with it although that has gotten better,” said University of Alabama Birmingham professor Dr. Michael Saag. “…The tests are much, much better and we don’t need that discrimination anymore.”
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Government Shutdown Baby Boom: Real or Coincidence?

Government Shutdown Baby Boom: Real or Coincidence?

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — It’s been nine months since the government shutdown, and some D.C. area hospitals are reporting a surprising development: Babies. Lots of them.Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., has seen an additional three births per day in July, according to spokesman Gary Stephenson.“We’re at near-capacity right now,” said Stephenson, joking that some furloughed workers “apparently found ways to amuse themselves.”Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington delivered 99 more babies in April, May and June than they did in the same stretch last year, according to spokeswoman Maryanne Boster.Both hospitals stopped short of crediting the two-week shutdown in October 2013 for the spike in births, stressing that the apparent link was purely anecdotal. But it’s not the first time a local baby boom has been blamed — albeit anecdotally — on an event nine months prior.“It’s just so appealing to think, ‘Oh, it’s a full moon,’ or ‘it’s nine months after a blackout or Hurricane Sandy,’” said Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. “But there’s a lot of natural fluctuation.”Some days Greenfield has 20 women in labor, she said. Other days, there are four.“There are so many things that play into whether someone gets pregnant,” she said, explaining that a small proportion of furloughed couples would be fertile — not to mention eager to conceive — during the two-week shutdown.“It’s such a sexy topic,” she said of the big event-baby boom link. “It just doesn’t appear to be real.”But other OBs say they not only see an uptick in births nine months after unusual events like blizzards and blackouts, their patients say those events are why they got pregnant.“I can say that I’ve definitely seen spikes after things like hurricanes, blackouts and blizzards,” said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ senior medical contributor and a practicing OB/GYN. “I’m not aware of any hard data on this, but anecdotally, many obstetricians will ask their patients about the events nine months prior, and many women will say ‘Yes, we conceived during the blackout.’”Ashton said it’s definitely possible that the link is coincidental, and said there tend to be seasonal fluctuations in birth rates as well.Boster of Virginia Hospital Center said they expect to see the baby boom continue through the summer months “after the long, snowy winter.”
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Oldest Case of Down Syndrome Discovered in 1,500-Year-Old Skeleton

Oldest Case of Down Syndrome Discovered in 1,500-Year-Old Skeleton

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A 1,500-year-old skeleton has shed new light on how ancient civilizations viewed those with genetic disorders. French researchers have found the oldest confirmed case of Down syndrome after uncovering the skeleton of a child with the genetic disorder.A case study published in the International Journal of Pathology showed pictures of the skeleton buried near a church in Chalon-sur-Saône in eastern France. The skeleton featured a broad skull with flattened base and thinner skull bones, all telltale signs of Down syndrome.Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition that is associated with intellectual disability, a characteristic facial appearance, and mild to moderate cognitive delays.The researchers also noted that in spite of the evident genetic disorder the child did not appear to be stigmatized by the community, at least in its burial.“This Down syndrome child was not treated differently at death than others in the community,” wrote lead author Maite Rivollat. “We interpret this as meaning that the child was maybe not stigmatized during life, the first time a Down syndrome individual has been so viewed in the context of the ancient community.”
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Girl Mauled by Raccoon Gets Man-Made Ear

Girl Mauled by Raccoon Gets Man-Made Ear

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SPRING LAKE, Mich.) — An 11-year-old girl mauled by raccoon as a baby is recovering from surgery to attach a makeshift ear that was grown on her arm.Charlotte Ponce of Spring Lake, Michigan, lost her right ear, nose and part of her lip in the 2002 attack.“The raccoon pretty much ate the right side of her face, all the way back to the ear,” Charlotte’s adoptive mom, Sharon Ponce, told ABC News in an earlier interview. “Now, all she wants is to wear two earrings.”In April, Charlotte underwent a seven-hour surgery to embed an ear-shaped scaffold carefully crafted from her own rib cartilage and embedded under the skin of her right her arm.Doctors at Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak transplanted the man-made ear to Charlotte’s head Thursday, according to the hospital.Dr. Kongkrit Chiayasate, the plastic surgeon who performed the operation, said Charlotte was doing well and recovering in the hospital’s intensive care unit, where blood flow to her new ear is being monitored.“First time we met her, she never made any eye contact, did not talk at all,” Chiayasate said of Charlotte’s growing confidence. “In the past two years, she’s transformed. She’s got more confidence.”Charlotte has undergone at least 10 operations since 2012 and might need revision surgery as her face grows, Chiayasate said.“If you look at her face, she’s beautiful,” said Chiayasate of seeing Charlotte’s transformation. “It’s just like your own child seeing them grow up.”As for earrings, Chiayasate said Charlotte would be able to wear them as soon as she recovers and they no longer pose and infection risk.
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CDC Holds Teleconference to Discuss Trio of Recent Scares

CDC Holds Teleconference to Discuss Trio of Recent Scares

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control held a Friday teleconference to discuss three separate incidents involving CDC and National Institute of Health laboratories in recent weeks.”Fundamentally what [these incidents] reveal is totally unacceptable behavior,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said. “These events should never have happened.”In the first incident, the CDC said that a scientist working in one of the CDC’s bioterror labs, which supplied other, less secure labs, used a process that they thought would kill anthrax bacteria, but may not have. Still, the CDC says that the likelihood of people at other labs being exposed is “very, very unlikely.” CDC tests say that it is “not impossible but extremely unlikely” that the active infectious anthrax bacteria ever left the CDC lab. Still, “that doesn’t excuse in any way what happened,” Frieden said.Frieden called a second incident involving the inadvertent cross-contamination of a less dangerous form of animal influenza with the H5N1 avian influenza strain, “the most distressing [of the incidents].” The incident, which just came to light on Friday, took place about six weeks ago, the CDC said. The specimen, later sent to a United State Department of Agriculture lab, was determined to be behaving in unexpected ways before researchers identified the issue. In response, the CDC is issuing a moratorium on biologic material leaving biosafety level three and four facilities, a director of lab safety was appointed and further investigation will be launched. The third incident was the most recent, which involved the discovery of smallpox virus at an unapproved lab. All samples will be genetically sequenced and then destroyed, Frieden said. Frieden cited ongoing health concerns involving MERS, Ebola and chikungunya in saying that the CDC has been “very busy,” saying that being busy is not an excuse. “When something like this happens here, I am deeply concerned about it.”
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“Pawn Stars’” Corey Harrison Loses 192 Pounds

“Pawn Stars’” Corey Harrison Loses 192 Pounds

Photodisc/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — “Big Hoss” as they call Corey Harrison on Pawn Stars isn’t so big anymore as he’s dropped almost 200 pounds.Harrison said that at his highest he weighed more than 400 pounds, but that after a doctor put him on pre…

Should You Be Sipping Aloe Vera Juice this Summer?

Should You Be Sipping Aloe Vera Juice this Summer?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Those prone to sunburn are no strangers to the healing properties of aloe vera. After all, the soothing succulent has been used to treat inflamed complexions for over 6,000 years.But some enthusiasts have begun to incorporate the plant into not only their beauty routines, but also their diets. Katharine L’Heureux, who founded cult skincare line Kahina Giving Beauty in 2008, happily admits she’s drunk the “Kool-Aid.””We all know [aloe vera] heals sunburns, so it obviously has therapeutic properties,” she said.”In terms of cosmetic use, it’s great,” L’Heureux said. “It’s lightly moisturizing without being greasy.”The plant’s restorative potential so convinced L’Heureux that she based two Kahina products on it. Aloe vera leaf juice is listed as a lead ingredient in both Kahina Toning Mist and Kahina Night Cream. But while she had long used it “on its own” as a cooling treatment, L’Heureux had never sipped the hallowed stuff until a few weeks ago.Last month, celebrated French facialist Kristina Holey prescribed L’Heureux the aloe-based elixir and guaranteed her a perceptible difference in the clarity of her skin.L’Heureux confirmed that the practice, which is said to support good digestion, has had the promised effect: “It’s a holistic approach to skincare,” she said. “I just love it.”Sabrina DeSousa, co-owner of health-conscious eatery Dimes in New York, is a believer as well.”I take an ounce of aloe juice in the morning with apple cider vinegar,” said DeSousa, who blends aloe juice into the shop’s signature rose-water spray. “It’s not something I necessarily do every day for long periods of time. But I’ve been doing it on and off for about two years now.”Rattling off the health benefits most often associated with the vitamin-rich juice and touted by L’Heureux and DeSousa, Real Nutrition founder Amy Shapiro, a registered dietician, told ABC News that she recommends a shot of it to dull-skinned patients seeking brighter complexions.”It’s a great source of vitamin B-12 — especially for vegetarians and vegans, because that tends to be a vitamin that they’re lacking,” she said. The wonder plant, which is available at specialty stores and trendy outfits such as The Juice Press and Liqueteria, is also rich in antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, which are thought to combat free radicals.”It’s 99 percent water, but it contains healing properties that act as an anti-inflammatory in the body,” said Lauren Felts, founder of The Holy Kale. Felts noted that the glycoproteins and polysaccharides that occur in aloe vera can help reduce swelling, calm intestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and even stabilize blood sugar.Just don’t expect the tincture to go down easy.”The flavor can be a little much for some people,” Shapiro said, which is why she advises that first-time imbibers mix it into a green juice or dissolve it in lemon water.”The outside of the leaf can have a laxative effect, so start slowly,” Shapiro cautioned.Converts claim the payoff is worth it. Shapiro emphasizes to clients that digestive health and radiant skin “go hand in hand.” Felts reminds them that many are more dehydrated than they realize.Aloe vera “is extremely hydrating,” she said. It holds off thirst that can cause symptoms of exhaustion, fatigue and hunger. According to Felts, “an improvement in digestion” is the first benefit that those who drink it are going to enjoy.”Eighty percent of your immunity lives in your gut,” DeSousa noted. “It’s just one of the things that you should definitely take care of. This is one good way to do it.”
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Plus-Size Blogger’s Bikini Pic Goes Viral

Plus-Size Blogger’s Bikini Pic Goes Viral

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When author and blogger Jenny Trout made her New Year’s resolution in January to wear a two-piece bikini, her goal was not to lose weight.Instead, Trout, a 33-year-old mother from Delton, Michigan, told followers of her blog, Trout Nation, that “this isn’t a weight loss goal because I don’t intend to lose weight to achieve it.”Trout held true to her resolution, posing last month in a floral two-piece bikini on the shores of Michigan’s Lake Superior.“I thought that this would be a good way to show people that it is not as scary as it sounds,” Trout told ABC News. “Look, if I could do it, you could too.”“Doing this was a really big leap for me,” she said.Trout wrote about the experience on her own blog and for Huffington Post in a post that has now gone viral.“The reason these people do not want to see a fat body in a bikini is because traditionally, that garment is something a woman earns by proving herself attractive enough to exist,” Trout wrote.The blog received over 300,000 likes on Facebook and comments like, “She’s beautiful,” “She looks fantastic” and “Good for her.”The post also had its critics, with one commenter writing, “Fat isn’t just a look…it’s unhealthy.”Body-image expert and the founder of “Break Free Beauty” Sarah Maria says the conflicting viewpoints are not surprising.“We live in a culture that is very judgmental about the size of your body,” Maria told ABC News. “When someone like Jenny says, ‘I can wear a bikini if I want to regardless of what people think,’ it sparks a lot of debate.”Trout says she hopes her bikini experience is inspiring. “If I could help someone push the limit, that would be the best thing in the world,” she said.
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Cheryl Burke Condemns Body Bullies, Plastic Surgery Rumors

Cheryl Burke Condemns Body Bullies, Plastic Surgery Rumors

ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) — Like many stars do, when dancer Cheryl Burke was on vacation in Cabo, Mexico, she decided to share a few photos with fans via her Facebook page.She did not expect the bullying comments that would follow. While some attacked her figure, saying she has lost too much weight, others accused her of getting plastic surgery on her face.”It’s one thing to see negative comments about yourself in the press, it’s another to be criticized by individual people on your own social media pages,” Burke told ABC News. “It’s much more personal. It hurts.”The Dancing With the Stars pro, 30, is no stranger to controversy and even defended her 15-pound weight loss in May. But this latest round of insults caught her by surprise.”I’ve been lucky enough to have a great group of fans who have always posted incredibly kind things on my pages. I was actually looking forward to posting vacation photos since I’ve been eating healthy and feeling so good,” she said. “I totally let my guard down and wasn’t expecting people to start hurling insults, especially things about me having fake lips and plastic surgery? That’s literally crazy. There are other photos where my lips look like that. I started thinking about re-posting those photos and then I realized I had to take a step back.”What really shocked her were the people who made the mean comments. Burke noted that many of the commenters are adults, judging by their photos. Some of them even have children in their profile pictures.”I’ve had some time to think about it all and I’ve found strength in just letting it go. I can’t let myself get hurt by it. I also can’t shut down and not post anything online,” she said. “There are all different types of people out there who are going to say all kinds of things, online and in real life. The important thing is to know which ones to listen to.”
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Study: Sex Addiction and Porn Addiction Trigger Similar Brain Activity

Study: Sex Addiction and Porn Addiction Trigger Similar Brain Activity

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study found that pornography triggers the same brain activity in individuals with so-called “sex addicts” as drugs do in the brains of drug addicts.The study, published in the journal PLOS One, was led by researchers at the University of Cambridge and used functional MRIs to get a glimpse into the brain of 19 men affected by compulsive sexual behavior. Those scans were then compared to the same number of healthy volunteers.Researchers found that three regions of the brain were more active in the sex addicts — the ventral striatum, the dorsal anterior cingulate and the amygdala. Those three regions of the brain are also activated in drug addicts who are shown drug-related stimuli. Researchers say the brain regions are linked to reward, motivation and cravings, as well as processing the significance of emotions and events.Researchers also say that the patients with sex addiction began their exposure to pornography at an earlier age, on average, than the control group.
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