Thursday, June 30, 2011

How to get Coupons for fresh fruits & vegetables

Hello guys,
NYC Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene
My internship with the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene requires that I work (with a team of course) to increase the consumption of fresh fruits & vegetables in low-income communities throughout the 5 boroughs in NYC.

The Health Bucks Program (as it is called) provides $2 coupons (Health Bucks) for every $5 that Food Stamp holders or SNAP holders spend. These $2 Health Bucks coupons can ONLY be spent on fresh fruits and vegetables at local Farmers' Markets...NOT flowers, NOT bread, NOT cookies NOT drinks....Just Fresh Fruits and Vegetables at a Farmers' Market.

Personally, I love this program and what it aims to do: to reduce the number of chronically & unhealthy communities; thereby, closing the health disparity gap.

Spread the news, refer a friend tell someone whom you know has food stamps. The coupons are a great  incentive!! Think about it: you get MORE purchasing power... More money to eat healthier.

Now if you  DO NOT have food stamps and you would like to know how you can be eligible to get HEALTH BUCKS, just comment on this blog :o) If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Spread the word!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fitnesss Classes for Free...YES FREE

 Hello guys

For those of you who are NYC residents, there are dozens of fitness classes for free, which are brought to you by Shape up NYC across the 5 boroughs. Here is a description of this free program from the site:

Shape Up NYC offers free fitness classes every week at dozens of locations across the five boroughs. Shape Up NYC classes are taught by expert fitness instructors who know how to make fitness fun. Class offerings are varied and include aerobics, yoga, pilates and zumba. Shape Up NYC is a FREE program. You do not need to be a member of a recreation center in order to attend a class.
Use this link to find out what's going on in your borough!
This is a excellent program for those of us who are looking to participate in physical activity. You can try out certain classes such as pilates and realize that this isn't for you without paying a penny or try out zumba and fall in love, for FREE.

If you participate in this excellent program, let me know what you liked/disliked about it.

Hope this helps,
Take care.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why are beauty products targeted towards women of color TOXIC?

 I received the book, Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry by Stacy Malkan, from a friend of mine as a present. A few days ago, I read the book in its entirety and was disturbed by some of the information revealed in this book. So, I thought that I should share. :o) Of course, this book is one-sided, in the sense that it geared towards highlighting some the unhealthy and sickening ingredients (literally), which make up some of the cosmetic products that we love and swear by. However, one-sided or not the truth needs to be REVEALED

Malkan states, “Of all the products in Skin Deep, those that change the shape and color of hair, such as relaxers, perms & dyes- along with nail products and skin lighteners- have the most toxic ingredients” (p.69). As we all know, all these products are highly targeted towards people of African decent, especially in the United States. For example, Malkan mentions conditioners that are marketed towards African Americans or black women, which contain Placenta. Placenta supposedly makes the hair stronger and more manageable, but at a cost. Placenta containing products contain estrogenic hormones that are linked to breast cancer. 
African Americans have a greater rate of invasive breast cancer than white women. Even more shockingly, Malkan (2009) states that, African Americans under 40 years of age are more likely to die of breast cancer than white women and are more likely to die of this disease at any age. WHAT A DISPARITY!

Now unto the topic of Skin Lighteners!
In addition, skin whitening products are HIGHLY targeted towards Asians (Malkan, 2009). Much of this skin whitening agents hydroquinone, which works as a skin lightener by decreasing/preventing the production of melanin in skin. Hydroquinone also helps to fade acne scars and dark spots. However, hydroquinone is a carcinogen (cancer-causing). Therefore, it is very toxic to the skin, brain, immune system and reproductive system. Surprisingly, hydroquinone is banned in the European Union, but it is allowed in the United States, which begs the question: Why is it that Europe is taking precaution, but the United States isn't?

 A Great Tip: Please visit or
On this website you can type the shampoos,conditioners, hair sprays, lotions, nail polish or any other cosmetic or beauty product in the search box. Upon which, the website will determine the toxicity level of your product. The website will also give you any information to any none cancer(s) associated with your product, any warnings etc. I highly recommend this site.We should know the ingredients that are in our products. 

Cosmetic companies are concerned about selling products to make money. If we want to be smart consumers, I think we should pay very close attention to the ingredient list in these products. If you are looking for a book to read, I highly recommend this book.

I hope this post was helpful!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Scary & 'Deadly' Cigarette Warning Labels Revealed
In a bold move by the Food & Drug Administration, cigarette makers will now have to show graphic, negative health effects of smoking on advertisements and cigarette packs.

The new warning labels are a result of the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act signed by President Barack Obama in 2009.

Starting in September 2012, cigarette buyer will be presented with new warning labels that depict the negative health effects of tobacco use. These depictions include rotting teeth, diseased lungs, and a corpse among other graphic images. The new law will vividly represent 9 new smoking warning labels to increase the public's awareness of the negative effects of smoking.
 By law, at least half of the cigarette packages must be covered with the warning label, including the back & front of the packages. The Act also requires that the warning labels be included in cigarette advertisements and must occupy at least 20% of the ads.
The warning labels will include facts such as:
  • Cigarettes are addictive
  • Tobacco smoke can harm your children
  • Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease
  • Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby
  • Quitting smoking NOW greatly reduces serious risk to your health.
Although, I am not a fan of using fear tactics to bring about desired change, these images may help to decrease tobacco use in the United States.

Please tell me what you think. Do you think that the presence of these graphic images will deter new tobacco users and help existing smokers to quit?

 More information can be found here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Food Pyramid has been replaced by a Plate!

Remember this food pyramid:
Well it is no more. It has been replaced by a plate. Yes a plate and it looks like this:
 Pros of the MyPlate
  • Easier to read & understand
  • Provides a great visual to children & adults alike
  • Makes nutritious eating less complicated
  • It is clear that one's plate should be 50% of fruits & veggies
  • Allows for great portion control
In my opinion, NONE.

Now the important question remains: Will this new & Improved plate improve our eating & our health. Only time will tell.
More information on this can be found here

**One more thing: I think its important that WE know that our typical diet should be representative of this plate and not our daily meals. Come on now, we live hectic lives and so we may not have the perfect plate. However, most of our meals should be representative of this neatly arranged plate.

Suggestions, Comments & Questions are welcome.

Stay well,