Mosquitoes; does anyone love them? No. They rank right up there with ticks, skunks, and moles. Not an attractive insect, but when it visits you, it leaves a visible, physical response in its quest to love you. No, we don’t love them, but do we need to eradicate them? Should we be changing its future? I am referencing a CNN article, Australian experiment wipes out over 80% of disease-carrying mosquitoes, By Jessie Yeung, CNN, that is speaking about experiments done in Australia. While I personally detest mosquitoes, I am unclear how I feel about the impact this might have on our eco-system. I only know it doesn’t feel right to me. I understand it will reduce disease in our species but what about the species who feed on the mosquitoes that have been genetically modified for our comfort and safety? I am concerned we are redirecting and changing the order of nature. Maybe we don’t care if mosquitoes become endangered. Maybe we pick and choose what gets to live because we are bigger and more evolved. Survival of the strongest and craftiest, or fittest? The article states this “shouldn’t” be a huge hit to the eco-system, because it’s only in one place now. All good until you realize that nothing attractive to others stays in that original place. We are rampantly spraying back yards with harsh chemicals to control the mosquitos in this country right now, with a full-on marketing campaign to support it. People truly detest mosquito bites. Therefore, it stands to reason when this genetic modification is shown to stop them, even where mosquito-borne diseases are minimal, there will be a bandwagon-style rush to reproduce it. We are currently contaminating our grass, trees, and the rest of the eco-system with chemicals to make mosquitoes only fly as close as your neighbor’s yard, so, hey, why not eradicate them? We aren’t worried about any impact 5, 10, or 50 years down the road anyway, are we? Where does it stop?
(Originally Published in Exposure Magazine).
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Is happiness a choice? It is according to Dr. Tylisha Johnson. Dr. Johnson is the Founder, CEO and Chief Strategist of Transcending Horizons Enterprises Business Strategy Agency. She utilizes her excellent competencies in education and diverse corporate, nonprofit, entrepreneurial, administrative, and supervisory and life experiences to help people “Soar Beyond the Limits” in business and life. Dr. Johnson’s A.I.M.is to effect change as she Activates, Inspires, and Motivates others to Aspire Higher by speaking at a variety of events for youth, women and entrepreneurs.
Tylisha is truly a ray of sunshine, and clearly practices what she preaches. Since she is helping people in so many ways, we narrowed down what she should share with Exposure Magazine readers. Considering all the press surrounding the recent suicides, we chose to discuss being happy. Dr. Johnson chooses to be happy. Yes, she does believe it is a choice and that there is a true path to finding that happiness. When happiness becomes a choice, one must understand it will require an exchange. Choice involves letting something go. You must choose to let go of sadness, despair, disappointment or negativity to allow the exchange for happiness. These are sometimes hard choices, but they do have to be made consciously. One must CHOOSE to be happy.
Tylisha has formed an acronym for the word happy to describe how one gets to that happy space.
(Originally published in May 2018 Exposure Magazine)
Migraines are a common occurrence for many people. Women suffer them at a higher rate than men. According to the Food and Drug Administration, migraines are three times more common in women than in men and affects more than 10 percent of people worldwide. Drug therapies are super common and are very effective for some people. There are many options for treating migraines; however, drugs are the most common. There is a new drug, recently FDA approved, that has shown very promising results in several early clinical trials. It is considered a preventive drug rather than the traditional treatment drug. It is called Aimovig. This drug has been approved by the FDA for two types of migraine sufferers. It can be prescribed for episodic events, which are occurrences of zero to 14 days per month, and chronic events, which are 15 or more days per month. This drug focuses on preventing the migraine. There are quite a few other drugs in testing in this family of drugs for prevention as well, since the early studies are showing great success. This is great news for people who have migraines regularly. The only two side effects shown in the clinical trials were soreness at the injection site and constipation. This is probably a small price to pay for relief. Keep in mind that other common causes such as stress, sleep, specific foods in your diet, bright lights, etc. should be monitored and managed as well. Obviously, serious consideration should be given to controlling the factors that could be contributing along with any drug therapies. For more information on Aimovig, other therapies, and the clinical trials etc., visit FDA.gov.
(Originally Published in Exposure Magazine 2018.)
Protein bars are great for people on the go. Are they good for you? This is a common question. With contradictory opinions on every food, diet, lifestyle etc., we encounter, the noise is deafening. Unfortunately, it leaves us in position of feeling confused, rather than confident.
Perhaps a better question to ask is “why” we are eating them. Ae we using them for a meal substitute, or as a better option than a candy bar, or as a boost after a hard work out? Deciding what your needs are will help you better decide which bars are right for you. For most people, the top concerns are calories and sugar. When choosing a bar that fits your needs, think about what your purpose is. If it’s to cut calories and sugar, be aware that the ones that taste better to you may not serve that need. Be aware that certain elements of protein bars can cause uncomfortable digestive issues as well. Once again, asking why one wants to ingest them is a valid question.
Marketers work to lure you with names that remind you of things we already love but are diet wreckers. Stick to reading ingredients and look for natural ingredients that are as whole as possible. You can easily avoid all chemicals and artificial ingredients by going to the internet and making your own protein balls, bites, and granola bars. You can control the sugar and the ingredients. You don’t have to make the bars to last for weeks on a shelf by using preservatives. There are many reviews on line; you can weed through them, and then taste test them for yourself.
I encourage you to take control of this particular type of food in your diet and create one you love with whole ingredients that serves your needs, your body, and your lifestyle. Be your own chef; it may save you dollars, your stomach comfort, and your health!
(Appeared In May online edition of Exposure Magazine).
Today, we struggle to understand the language surrounding our health and beauty products. GMO, toxic, nontoxic, and chemical free are among many confusing words that plague us. It is nice to know that there are a few companies that are transparent, upfront, and honest about ingredients, sourcing, and manufacturing. One of those companies is Poofy Organics. When Kristina Gagliardi-Wilson’s mother, Nella Gagliardi, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, they began to research chemical free alternative products. They decided to create their own products when they discovered very few options. They have been creating delightful healthy product since. The company, with its unusual name, is named after Kristina’s daughter Mariah, affectionately referred to as Poofy. The very popular Baby Poof line was created for her son Nicolas. It is truly a family affair, and all members help in the business. This New Jersey based business creates all the product themselves by hand, in small batches, and use only organic ingredients, including therapeutic essential oils and extracts. Poofy Organics does have the USDA certified organic stamp of approval.
Through the company’s distribution channel of Independent Guides, I had the pleasure of meeting Chelsea Allen. She had been using the products for three full years before joining as a representative. She was in search of some chemical free products for her two children. Her search led to this small New Jersey company. She has created an entirely free toxin zone at home with Poofy Organics products. She has become passionate about helping other create that same life. One might be surprised at the number and types of products this company has. Some of the categories are: skin, hair, and body care products, deodorant, toothpaste, and an entire household lines of cleaners. All are organic and toxin free. They even have cosmetics, nail polish, and nail polish remover; of course, these are also organic. Surprisingly, they even have nontoxic wax melts for your warmers. Chelsea was very kind to share some samples of the products with me. The most amazing thing is that, contrary to what you might think, these products smell amazing. The bottom line is that your favorite products are available, they smell amazing, and you CAN detoxify your house safely. If you are a parent looking to create a safer home with less toxins, Poofy Organics is a great place to start. You can celebrate Earth Day with Chelsea Allen by visiting CrunchyChelc - Poofy Organics and detoxify your home just like she did for herself and her family.
(Originally published in the online Exposure Magazine).
I completely understand the need for medical marijuana. This editorial is not to debate the benefits of it being used as such. I am very clear that, in many cases, it is very effective in medical treatments. Webmd.com states that medical cannabis or cannabinoids are used commonly by people with chronic pain, cancer treatment patients, those with seizure disorders, Crohns disease, etc. However, as I was strolling through Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and could smell it very strongly, I was pretty sure not everyone was suffering from a medical condition. I travel a lot, and recently I have noticed that in big cities, I can smell waves of it wafting across the sidewalks and radiating off people who are in front of me in checkout lines. Are there really this many people falling into the categories listed above? It can be quite the profitable business to be in to be retailing it for medical usage, not to mention the profit gained from illegal sales. Yes, it is legal in a few states, but are we still faced with impaired drivers and other problems that come with being in an altered state of mind across the nation. I read an article that stated that some companies were still doing drug testing as a prerequisite for hiring but were not disqualifying people if they only had a dirty drug test because of marijuana. They simply are overlooking it because some employers, factories especially, cited they cannot find enough workers if they disqualify applicants based on that. I don’t think this is the best trend to ever occur in the United States. Who wants the liability of an impaired factory worker? Do you want the stoned forklift driver coming at you, your spouse, or your child? When you are driving down the highway at 70 miles per hour, do you consider who in the traffic around you is driving high? I think it’s a legitimate question. Perhaps we as citizens need to consider what the long-term impact can be and the message we are sending to our next generations. I believe that we need to focus on reaching higher, not getting high.
(Originally published in the March 28, 2018 Exposure Magazine.)
“Fall down seven times, rise up eight.”
The Japanese proverb, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight” has created an amazing movement. This movement was put in motion by music multimedia artist and entrepreneur Michael Nova. It has been a movement born of pain, scraped knees, perseverance, and the ability to not only stand up, but rise above the challenges in life, and find yourself and your center during adversity and succeed anyway. It started for Michael as a young boy, and that seed of an idea that was planted of falling and rising again grew. He has used his own experience of feeling different, and repeatedly being knocked down, to inspire and help people in their journey toward rising again. Nothing about his journey has been easy. Between health challenges, starting new businesses, almost facing bankruptcy, and maintaining and growing his musical career, he found a true purpose and passion. He used his own experiences to fuel his passion to overcome and succeed when no one believed in him or his dream. He founded the not for profit Rise up Eight to create a platform to share people’s stories of falling and persevering, rising again and stepping into their greatness. He has written a free downloadable e-book called Overcoming Adversity: 8 Ways to take Back Control of Your Life…Now! This e-book can be found on the riseupeight.org website. Michael chuckles when he describes what a labor of love this project is, and notes that it is completely self-funded. He described himself as a Do It Yourself – DIY guy. While this may have not been the easiest or fastest route, he is exceptionally happy and proud of each step and connection he has made along the way. You can read many stories and listen to interviews with some incredible people that Rise up eight has connected him to. Michael is continually in search of new connections and inspiring stories of people who have overcome adversity and went on to create success anyway. He continues to touch lives through his Rise up eight mission, as well as through his music, which is called X: THC (The Human Condition). Michael has found tremendous peace and acceptance through his music as well as using it to express himself. As a person who describes himself as an outsider who didn’t quite feel like he fit in, he is refreshingly honest and kind. His ability to easily connect with others is proof that he has lots of amazing company outside the norm. One of the most inspiring gifts Michael has is his voice. His voice exudes trust, kindness, acceptance and love. If you are that person who is struggling and has just fallen down… and needs a hand up- Michael Nova has created a beautiful space for you to be inspired, connect and heal at riseupeight.org.
To connect with Michael Nova you can visit riseupeight.org
(Originally published in the March 26th Exposure Magazine.)
What does a young single mom who was raising her son alone do when she struggles to find resources to connect to? She creates her own Not-for Profit faith-based organization called Tigerlili Resources. She felt an overwhelming push from God to create this entity to help women succeed when they felt most vulnerable and alone. Tigerlili Resources originated in Florida and has continued to grow in its outreach and various ministries. What started as a simple organization to empower single moms in the St. Louis Area, like it had in Florida- has become so much more. While they are still very involved in connecting moms to services, clothes, and coaching for job interviews, etc., another mission became important. Through connecting with law enforcement agencies and social services, Meredith became aware of the need for aid in helping young women out of the sex trafficking trade (Yes- it is not just somewhere else- it is in your city, too). The Tigerlili Resources outreach program The Scarlet Line- The Road to Redemption was formed from this need. You can watch Meredith tell her story of “Invisible Amy”, and how powerful this motivator was in the creation of the House of Rehab, and even why this became an important outreach for Tigerlili Resources. She is actively working to fund raise for The House of Rahab to come to fruition. A Black-Tie Gala ball is scheduled for May 11th in St Louis. Meredith, true to form, has become a warrior fighting to save every girl that finds herself in this position. One might not understand how this happens. I was shocked to learn just how easy it is for these young girls to fall prey to this type of victimization. Most have no money, limited family involvement, they struggle in school, and don’t have many people paying close attention to their behavior and movements. These girls are easy prey for the traffickers because they are often lured in slowly, given gifts, shoes, clothes, makeup, and jewelry they couldn’t otherwise afford. Meredith works closely with the law enforcement and is often called down to intercede when these girls are arrested or found cowering in a closet or hiding somewhere. Part of the difficulty in working with these young women is that the pull of having all the things that make her feel special often override rational judgement. Differentiating right or wrong becomes distorted. Purchasing a prostitute that is 15-17 years old is only a class A misdemeanor. The penalty doesn’t match the crime. Fortunately, Meredith doesn’t discriminate in the helping. Her heart is so big. She is also working on a 12-step rehabilitative sex addiction program for the people who are soliciting the girls. This is a full-service program designed to end trafficking and for those who solicit. For more information please go to www.tigerliliresources.org and click on the Scarlet Line tab. If you wish to further this mission please visit http://www.tigerlilipb.org/give-now.html. You will not find a more compassionate child of God than Meredith Seithel Mittlestadt, who literally puts her faith in action every single day!
(Originally Published in Exposure Magazine February 27, 2018).
Experiences shape who you are, but they don’t dictate who you become.
Imagine being 15 years old and giving birth. Your world has turned upside down. Myesha Collins found herself in this position and had to make hard choices. Incredibly, she stayed in school, parented, and graduated high school right on schedule. Even after moving with her parents to a new state where everything was new, she pressed on. After high school, she enlisted in the military, and found herself in a situation where she was sexually assaulted. The incident was essentially brushed aside. The inner turmoil that resulted and began to manifest wasn’t pretty. Myesha became very wary and introverted over time. She went into therapy after leaving the military, and with the help of a spiritual advisor, was able to sort through some of the emotional trauma that came from the physical assault. She was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from sexual trauma. Ironically, Myesha seem to draw other wounded women to her, who she truly enjoyed helping, but she was still stuck herself. She started to heal as she shared more of her own personal story and journey with others. From pain came great personal growth. She became very passionate about helping other women stand in their personal power by being more transparent. From this space, Blue Girls Turned Gold was born. She founded this Not for Profit to empower women. Her mission became to share her story to help other women move from the place of feeling less than and broken-Blue, to a place of personal power, strength and courage- Gold. Myesha Collins could have been a statistic. Instead, she rose up from her challenges and has become an advocate for women. Helping them to feel strong, empowered, and to have a voice is just part of her mission. You can read about her journey in a collaborative effort co-authored with Andrea A. Moore. The book is entitled Blue Girl Turned Gold and can be found on Amazon. Myesha Collins is a strong, capable, and resilient young woman with so many things to accomplish yet in this world. To learn more about how you can support Blue Girls Turned Gold or volunteer or donate please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the community on her Facebook page, @Bluegirlsturnedgoldtm.
These are my older blog posts, which originally appeared in my Exposure Magazine Column, "Healthy Living."