Wzup with all the hoarding????

Hmm. Ever noticed how common this issue is for us?  To varying degrees that is.  I have my theories about it. Let’s take a closer look.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NswmcKqsl3U Poet, Lamont Steptoe, takes you through his cluttered apartment. He explains why he holds onto so many things.

What is Compulsive Hoarding?

OCD hoarding is considered a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This behavior, also called “pathological collecting,” involves acquiring and saving many objects that may seem useless or of no value. It is not uncommon for people with OCD hoarding to completely fill their homes with clutter so that the living space is unusable. Early psychoanalysts considered hoarding a sign of “anal” character traits because of the withholding nature of the behavior.

Hoarding can be a symptom of problems other than OCD, including mental decline in the elderly, mental retardation, schizophrenia, or even eating disorders (hoarding food). However, hoarding appears to be most common in the context of OCD, and it is found in about a quarter of the people diagnosed with the disorder. OCD hoarding is a compulsion that results from excessive concerns that certain objects cannot be discarded because they might be needed later. It may also involve excessive acquiring, such as compulsive shopping, extreme collecting, or acquisition of free things (e.g., free newspapers, pens, junk mail). Hoarding can be a result of severe indecisiveness over what items should be kept versus discarded; the hoarder simply cannot decide, so decision is avoided and all is kept. Hoarders also have difficulty figuring out how to best organize those items which are kept; as a result, the hoarder amasses piles of disorganized objects.

OCD Hoarding Can Be a Serious Problem

Hoarders may be called “pack rats” by others. The hoarder’s social life may suffer because of fears and embarrassment concerning the state of the hoarder’s living space. Hoarding behavior may extend to the person’s office or vehicle. In some cases, OCD hoarding may not be brought to the attention of mental health professionals until the local fire marshall has declared the hoarder’s home a health hazard. In at least one situation, a hoarder rented a second apartment to live in because his own apartment was too full to belongings to function as a living space.

Special Problems for Hoarders

Hoarders seem to have a unique set of difficulties compared to others. They tend to be more perfectionistic and indecisive. They have more severe levels of OCD symptoms and more additional psychiatric disorders. Hoarders may be more likely to have saving and symmetry obsessions. The compulsions involve not only hoarding, but possibly ordering, counting, and repeating compulsions. Hoarders are more likely to have personality disorders, especially obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and avoidant personality disorder, a condition similar to social phobia. Not surprisingly, they are more likely to remain single. In addition, more hoarders have close relatives whom they also describe as pack rats.

OCD hoarding seems to be more common in males than females. Hoarders typically have an earlier age of onset of OCD symptoms, and the symptoms are more severe. Hoarders also have more abnormal grooming behaviors, such as skin picking, nail biting, and trichotillomania (compulsive hair-pulling). There has been some discussion among researchers that perhaps hoarding is not actually a form of OCD, but rather a clinically distinct syndrome that is part of the OC spectrum of disorders.

OCD Hoarding Treatment is Not Easy

One particularly challenging aspect of compulsive hoarding is that hoarders often do not recognize they are impaired. Most cases of hoarding that result in professional attention occur at the request of concerned family members, landlords, or even the legal system. Hoarders have surprisingly little insight into the potentially dangerous nature of their hoarding behavior. They may even experience their hoarding as sensible and beneficial.

It does seem that patients with hoarding symptoms are less responsive to conventional treatments for OCD, such as medication and cognitive-behavior therapy. Compared to people with other forms of OCD, hoarders tend to experience more anxiety and depression and experience greater social dysfunction. It could be that treatment of OCD patients with hoarding symptoms is complicated by the fact that the OCD is more severe and the presence of co-occurring disorders. Nevertheless, improvement is possible using a flexible approach, with treatment carefully tailored to the patient’s specific symptoms.


Go vegan!

57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan

Vegans are frequently misunderstood as fringe eaters with an unnatural passion for animal rights. While many vegans do feel passionately about animals, its time for others to see that a vegan diet and lifestyle go way beyond animal rights. Following a healthy, balanced vegan diet ensures a host of health benefits as well as prevention of some of the major diseases striking people everywhere.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugBuFkSrTHc   “Why I am a Black vegetarian” clip

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyWeSTQzbAQ   “Black vegetarians & vegans: Why vegan?” clip


All of the following nutritional benefits come from a vegan diet full of foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and soy products.

  1. Reduced saturated fats. Dairy products and meats contain a large amount of saturated fats. By reducing the amount of saturated fats from your diet, you’ll improve your health tremendously, especially when it comes to cardiovascular health.
  2. Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy for your body. When you don’t have enough carbohydrates, your body will burn muscle tissue.
  3. Fiber. A diet high in fiber (as vegan eating usually is) leads to healthier bowel movements. High fiber diets help fight against colon cancer.
  4. Magnesium. Aiding in the absorption of calcium, magnesium is an often overlooked vitamin in importance to a healthy diet. Nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens are an excellent source of magnesium.
  5. Potassium. Potassium balances water and acidity in your body and stimulates the kidneys to eliminate toxins. Diets high in potassium have shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
  6. Folate. This B vitamin is an important part of a healthy diet. Folate helps with cell repair, generating red and white blood cells, and metabolizing amino acids.
  7. Antioxidants. For protection against cell damage, antioxidants are one of the best ways to help your body. Many researchers also believe that antioxidants help protect your body against forming some types of cancer.
  8. Vitamin C. Besides boosting your immune system, Vitamin C also helps keep your gums healthy and helps your bruises heal faster. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant.
  9. Vitamin E. This powerful vitamin has benefits for your heart, skin, eyes, brain, and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. A diet high in grains, nuts, and dark leafy greens is full of Vitamin E.
  10. Phytochemicals. Plant-based foods provide phytochemicals, which help to prevent and heal the body from cancer, boost protective enzymes, and work with antioxidants in the body.
  11. Protein. That protein is good for your body is no surprise. It may be a surprise to learn that most Americans eat too much protein and in forms such as red meat that are not healthy ways of getting protein. Beans, nuts, peas, lentils, and soy products are all great ways to get the right amount of protein in a vegan diet.

Disease Prevention

Eating a healthy vegan diet has shown to prevent a number of diseases. Find out from the list below what you could potentially avoid just by switching to a healthy, balanced vegan way of eating.

  1. Cardiovascular disease. Eating nuts and whole grains, while eliminating dairy products and meat, will improve your cardiovascular health. A British study indicates that a vegan diet reduces the risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Vegan diets go far in preventing heart attack and stroke.
  2. Cholesterol. Eliminating any food that comes from an animal and you will eliminate all dietary cholesterol from your diet. Your heart will thank you for that.
  3. Blood pressure. A diet rich in whole grains is beneficial to your health in many ways, including lowering high blood pressure.
  4. Type 2 diabetes. Not only is a vegan diet a weapon against Type 2 diabetes, it is also “easier to follow than the standard diet recommended by the American Diabetic Association.” Read more about it here.
  5. Prostate cancer. A major study showed that men in the early stages of prostate cancer who switched to a vegan diet either stopped the progress of the cancer or may have even reversed the illness.
  6. Colon cancer. Eating a diet consisting of whole grains, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, can greatly reduce your chances of colon cancer.
  7. Breast cancer. Countries where women eat very little meat and animal products have a much lower rate of breast cancer than do the women in countries that consume more animal products.
  8. Macular degeneration. Diets with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, can help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration.
  9. Cataracts. Much the same way macular degeneration is headed off by a vegan diet, cataracts are also thought to be prevented through the intake of the same fruits and vegetables. Produce high in antioxidants are also believed to help prevent cataracts.
  10. Arthritis. Eliminating dairy consumption has long been connected with alleviating arthritis symptoms, but a new study indicates that a combination of gluten-free and vegan diet is very promising for improving the health of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
  11. Osteoporosis. Bone health depends on a balance of neither too much or too little protein, adequate calcium intake, high potassium, and low sodium. With a healthy vegan diet, all four of these points set a perfect scenario for preventing osteoporosis.

Physical Benefits

In addition to good nutrition and disease prevention, eating vegan also provides many physical benefits. Find out how a vegan diet makes your body stronger, more attractive, and more energetic.

  1. Body Mass Index. Several population studies show that a diet without meat leads to lower BMIs–usually an indicator of a healthy weight and lack of fat on the body.
  2. Weight loss. A healthy weight loss is a typical result of a smart vegan diet. Eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues. Read more about weight loss and a vegan diet here.
  3. Energy. When following a healthy vegan diet, you will find your energy is much higher. This blog post in Happy Healthy Long Life describes how NFL tight-end Tony Gonzalez started eating vegan and gained energy–while playing football.
  4. Healthy skin. The nuts and vitamins A and E from vegetables play a big role in healthy skin, so vegans will usually have good skin health. Many people who switch to a vegan diet will notice a remarkable reduction in blemishes as well.
  5. Longer life. Several studies indicate that those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle live an average of three to six years longer than those who do not.
  6. Body odor. Eliminating dairy and red meat from the diet significantly reduces body odor. Going vegan means smelling better.
  7. Bad breath. Vegans frequently experience a reduction in bad breath. Imagine waking up in the morning and not having morning breath.
  8. Hair. Many who follow vegan diets report that their hair becomes stronger, has more body, and looks healthier.
  9. Nails. Healthy vegan diets are also responsible for much stronger, healthier nails. Nail health is said to be an indicator of overall health.
  10. PMS. When switching to a vegan diet, many women tell how PMS symptoms become much less intense or disappear altogether. The elimination of dairy is thought to help with those suffering with PMS.
  11. Migraines. Migraine suffers who go on vegan diets frequently discover relief from their migraines. Read more about the food-migraine connection in this article.
  12. Allergies. Reduction in dairy, meat, and eggs is often tied to alleviation of allergy symptoms. Many vegans report much fewer runny noses and congestion problems.

Too Much in the American Diet

The typical American diet not only consists of too much food, it also relies on too much of unnecessary food products or toxins. The following list explains how a vegan diet can eliminate these problems.

  1. Animal proteins. The average American eats twice as much protein as necessary for a healthy diet and much of that is from red meat. Getting protein from beans and grains is much healthier and reduces the risk for osteoporosis (see above).
  2. Cow’s milk dairy. The human body is not designed to digest cow milk and cow milk dairy products, yet the idea of milk being healthy is pushed through advertising. As many as 75% of people in the world may be lactose intolerant and many people suffer from undiagnosed milk allergies or sensitivities. By eliminating cow’s milk from your diet, you are improving your overall health.
  3. Eggs. Many nutritionists believe that the number of eggs in the American diet is too high. While sometimes disputed, it has been shown that eggs can raise cholesterol levels.
  4. Mercury. Most of the fish and shellfish consumed has mercury in it. While some fish have less than others, it is almost impossible not to be putting mercury in your body when you eat fish.
  5. Sugar. Most people have heard that Americans consume way too much sugar. Relying on other sweeteners that are not synthetic, processed, or derived from animal products is a healthier way to eat. Many vegans do not eat processed sugar due to the fact that most of the cane sugar is refined through activated charcoal, most of which comes from animal bones.

Other Benefits

In addition to the health benefits above, following a vegan lifestyle and diet also provides these benefits as well. From helping the environment to avoiding serious bacterial infections, learn other benefits to eating the vegan way below.

  1. Animals. Many people begin a vegan diet out of concern for animals. Whether opposed to the conditions of animals intended for food or eating animals in general, going vegan will help your conscience rest easily.
  2. Environment. Growing plants takes much fewer resources than growing animals. By eating vegan, you can help reduce the toll on the environment.
  3. E. coli. E. coli comes from eating contaminated red meat and is the leading cause of bloody diarrhea. Young children, those with compromised immune systems, and elderly people can become extremely ill or die from E. coli. Eating vegan means completely avoiding the risk of E. coli infection.
  4. Salmonella. Another gastrointestinal illness from animal products, salmonella food poisoning is closely related to E. coli. The most frequent way people contract salmonella food poisoning is through contact with raw eggs or raw chicken meat from chickens infected with salmonella. Again, going vegan means eliminating this risk altogether.
  5. Mad cow disease. It’s safe to say that most people would want to avoid contracting a fatal, non-treatable disease. One way to ensure you don’t get Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is by not eating animals infected with mad cow disease. While the incidence of mad cow disease is not reportedly so high in North America, it does exist.
  6. Global food supply. Feeding grain to animals meant as food sources reduces the amount of food that is available to underdeveloped nations. Many people will go hungry while that same food they could be eating is given to animals raised for slaughter. Eating vegan ensures that you have removed yourself from the participation of this imbalance.
  7. Hormone consumption. Eating animals that have been given hormones to speed growth (a common practice in the meat industry) means those hormones go into your body. Not only can this disrupt the natural balance of your hormones, but some of the hormones given to animals have shown to cause tumor growth in humans.
  8. Antibiotics. Antibiotics are frequently given to feed animals, which can lead to bacterial resistance. Many of the antibiotics used to treat human infections are also used in feed animals.

Healthy Eating

A vegan diet can be a much healthier way to eat. Find out how to combine the vegan diet with other ways of eating for an even more healthy way to go or discover ways to keep your vegan diet healthy but more convenient with the resources below.

  1. Raw. A raw diet lends itself to veganism by the very nature of its design. Find out how to combine live and vegan diets with Raw Inspirations.
  2. Organic. Eating organic and vegan is super easy to do. Use some of the recipes from this blog for help with meal ideas. The posts have slowed, but you can always search the archives for some great ideas on how to live and eat organic and vegan.
  3. Fat-free. Vegan eating is typically pretty low in fats anyway, but the FatFree Vegan Kitchen shows you how to make some delicious vegan food that is always fat free.
  4. Gluten-free. Due to allergies, Celiac’s Disease, or whatever your reason you avoid gluten, find out how to combine the best of gluten-free with vegan cooking in the Gluten-Free Vegan blog.
  5. Eating out. Eating out isn’t usually associated with eating healthy, but a vegan diet ensures there will be a lot less of the bad things in the food you choose. Find eating out options around the world for vegans here.
  6. Lunch. Maintaining a vegan diet means you are likely to take your lunch more often than most people. Vegan Lunch Box offers recipes, tools, and ideas for carrying great vegan lunches every day.
  7. Dinner. Coming up with new dinner ideas is challenging for everyone–regardless of what type of diet you follow. Check out this amazing selection of vegan dinner recipes accompanied with mouth-watering photos of each preparation on Dinner with Dilip.
  8. Dessert. While not all the recipes on My Sweet Vegan are for dessert, you will find a large selection of sweet vegan recipes with the most delicious-looking photos.
  9. Wine. Pairing vegan food with wine may be challenging for those who rely on the old standard of “white with fish and red with meat.” Read this article for ways to compliment your healthy vegan diet with a tasty glass of wine or this blog entry for specific pairings of wine and vegan food.
  10. Fun. These ladies know how to kick it with vegan cooking. Post Punk Kitchen offers some great recipes with a ton of fun infused in them.
  11. Be sure to go through the archives for more yummy food ideas.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWMV8nzN7fU  Carl Lewis speaks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5kTwf-emqo    Famous vegetarians & vegans
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc_CUnvci7A    Interview with vegan children

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R4XkL_FKxY      ”  with  vegan parents. Yes, their children are vegan too.


raw vegan pyramid

The benefits of using natural menstrual products


Washable menstrual products are making a comeback in the form of cloth pads, reusable menstrual cups, and sea sponges.  This is another example of the cycles of tradition that exist – all these products were around 100 years ago.  We have ended our madness and fascination with disposable, convenient, and fast, and are moving towards reconnection with our bodies, our lives, our communities.


Pads, variously known as napkins, surfboards, rags, towels, and cloths.

It is not just the chemicals from bleaching or from attempts to increase the absorbency of the material, that are toxic to our bodies and the environment, pads usually contain a plastic layer, and adhesive as well.

Washable pads offer women a positive, healthier, and ecologically sound alternative to traditional disposable menstrual pads.  They are soft, absorbent and comfortable to wear.  Since one of the reasons to use non-disposables as opposed to disposables is to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals, it is important to choose washable pads made from organic fabric if you can.  Different manufacturers use different organic fabrics, with the most popular being chambray cotton, hemp, linen, jersey and wool.


In one form or another, tampons have been around for thousands of years.  The traditional tampon works by expanding inside the vagina to absorb blood flow and prevent leaks.  Tampons are typically made of cotton or a rayon/cotton blend.  Most come with an applicator made of plastic or cardboard.

Tampons of any kind remove up to 35 percent of healthy vaginal secretions.

The use of conventional tampons has some personal and health effects.  Most current tampons are rayon and rayon/cotton blends, which have been chlorine bleached and contain dioxins and furans.  Rayon tampons also carry with them a greater risk of toxic shock syndrome.  Tampon use is also associated with an increased risk of vaginal dryness and vaginal ulcers, especially with the more absorbent tampons.

Most tampons come with a plastic or cardboard applicator.  Despite all the entreaties of manufacturers and building managers, these applicators continue to be flushed down toilets in alarming numbers.  Not only are these a problem for sewage treatment plants they also end up in the ocean and washed up on the beach. 

Enviro- and health-friendly tampons are made of non-GMO, organic cotton, hemp or other fibre that is grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides, are free of dioxin and furan residues, and are chlorine free.


The menstrual cup is a type of cup or barrier worn internally like a tampon but collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it.  Cups are reusable, and will typically hold 30 ml of fluid, which is roughly one third of the average total produced each menstrual cycle. It is recommended that the cup is emptied every 6-12 hours.  The frequency is an individual decision based on the volume of fluid released, and each woman is different.  Correctly inserted the cup is comfortable but it may take a little practice to find the angle and position that is right for your body.

There are two main kinds of menstrual cups currently available.  The most common kind is the bell-shaped cup made of latex rubber or silicone.  These cups tend to last approximately 10 years depending on how they are cleaned and stored.  The second kind of menstrual cup is more like a contraceptive diaphragm.  This product is designed for single use only.

Originally cups made from rubber were too hard but today rubber cups are soft and have a feel like the baby bottle teats that are made from rubber.

The cup forms a light seal with the vaginal walls allowing the menstrual fluid to pass into the cup without leakage or odour.  Its use does not interfere with the healthy vaginal environment, and its use has not been associated with toxic shock syndrome.  Some women find, due to anatomical differences caused from childbirth, that there can be a very slight leakage.  If this is the case, women can use a light cotton pad on their heaviest days.

Menstrual cups can be emptied, rinsed or wiped and then reinserted.  They can be cleaned by washing with soap and water and by boiling in water for 20 minutes after each cycle.


There are more than 4500 varieties of sea sponges.  They are plant-like animals growing in colonies on the ocean floor.  The softest ones are the Atlantic and Mediterranean Silks.  Harvesting sea sponges can have a disastrous ecological impact.  For these reasons the use of sea sponges as menstrual products cannot be endorsed.

The risks associated with conventional menstrual products

It is surprising that the majority of women continue to suffer the consequences of using conventional tampons and pads without questioning what is happening and why.

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)

TSS is a rare but potentially fatal disease caused by a bacterial toxin. It has been associated with tampon use. TSS continues to cause serious illness, sometimes fatal, with symptoms including high fever, sunburn-like rash, nausea, diarrhoea, headache, sore throat, and achy muscles. Studies have shown that almost 99 percent of all TSS cases are found in women wearing rayon-blend tampons. The exact connection between the bacteria, TSS, and synthetic tampons remains unclear. There are a number of factors involved, including hygiene practices and the length of time a tampon is left in place. Another factor is greater absorbency, as there are more cases reported among women who use high absorbency tampons. Tampons do not cause TSS, and the disease is not limited to menstruating women. Men, children and non-menstruating women can also get TSS. Younger women are at greater risk because they haven’t developed the antibodies to the bacteria or toxin that causes TSS. Commercial tampons are typically manufactured from rayon fibres and viscose. The bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, that is responsible for toxic shock syndrome, breeds easily on synthetic fibres such as rayon and viscose. Rayon is a synthetic product made from cellulose, which is derived from wood pulp. The use of 100 percent cotton tampons may reduce the risk of TSS compared with tampons that contain rayon. Studies have shown that all-cotton tampons as opposed to cotton blend tampons do not produce the dangerous TSS toxins from the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus.

Toxins in conventional pads and tampons

Women’s genital tissue is highly sensitive, and chemicals are easily absorbed into their bodies, causing irritation, discomfort, and serious health problems. We already live in a toxic, polluted environment. Wherever we can we need to reduce our exposure to toxins. It is very easy to reduce our exposure to the toxins in menstrual products.

Dioxins and Furans

Dioxins and furans is the abbreviated or short name for a family of toxic substances that all share a similar chemical structure. Most dioxins and furans are not produced intentionally, but are created when other chemicals or products are made. Dioxins are toxic by-products of the chlorine bleaching process. Non-organic fibre production such as cotton, is sprayed with pesticides that release toxins, including dioxin, into the environment, leaving chemical residue in the fibre eg. cotton. Dioxins have been found in tampons and pads. Once it is in the environment it cannot be removed. It accumulates in the fatty tissue of humans and animals. We are all susceptible to dioxin contamination through our diet and the environment, but there is no logical reason why women should be subject to the additional exposure from their menstrual products. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies dioxins as a ‘known human carcinogen’. Furans are also considered as possibly carcinogenic. Action by the Women’s Environmental Network has led to most major manufacturers using alternative bleaching processes to chlorine bleaches. Despite this there is evidence to suggest that these alternative processes merely reduce possible dioxin contamination – they do not eliminate it. Low levels of dioxins are linked to cancer, endometriosis, low sperm counts in men, immune system suppression, pelvic inflammatory disease, reduced fertility, and changes in hormone levels.

Perms linked to early menstruation and fibroids

Study: Perms Linked to Fibroids 

By: Jenée Desmond-Harris on February 28, 2012  


Until now, the debate between black women who chemically relax their hair and those who think doing so is problematic has been mostly social and emotional. But concerns about physical health might also come into play. A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology has linked perms to early-onset puberty and worse — uterine fibroid tumors.While a direct cause-and-effect relationship hasn’t been established, the research could begin to explain why black women have two to three times higher rates of fibroids than their counterparts of other races.

BET News reports:

Scientists followed more than 23,000 pre-menopausal Black American women from 1997 to 2009 and found that the two- to three-times higher rate of fibroids among black women may be linked to chemical exposure through scalp lesions and burns resulting from relaxers.

Women who got their first menstrual period before the age of 10 were also more likely to have uterine fibroids, and early menstruation may result from hair products black girls are using, according to a separate study published in the Annals of Epidemiology last summer.

Three hundred African American, African Caribbean, Hispanic, and White women in New York City were studied. The women’s first menstrual period varied anywhere from age 8 to age 19, but African Americans, who were more likely to use straighteners and relaxers, also reached menarche earlier than other racial/ethnic groups.

Nutrition: Back to basics

Folks, don’t believe the hype. We do NOT have to be wealthy to take care of our health. Healthy living does require lots of self-discipline though.  VeganHood TV is here to school us:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXo1C5qQEbk   VeganHood TV, Episode 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1h-8-fXqVA    ” “, Episode 2

Check out the rest of the series when you can.

mango veganplate

 soursop2 fall-veggie-garden market2


P.S. Re-work that budget if necessary.  It’s all about priorities.