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10 Tips for a Healthy Wedding


Here’s a copy of the Press Release, for those interested…

As an experienced June bride myself, I can tell you that
your wedding may be one of the happiest times of your life, but for a number of
reasons, health problems can crop up on and around this special day.  But with some advance planning,
you can make sure that you and your guests remember the day for the right
reasons, and not the wrong ones.

1.      Beat the Heat – Many June weddings are
planned months in advance (at a cooler time of year), when the prospect of
being outdoors is inviting.  But when
June arrives, wedding guests find themselves spending hours exposed to peak sun,
heat, and humidity.  And since weddings
often involve older relatives and younger children, the risk from sun and heat
exposure is higher than many expect.  If
you’re getting married outdoors, keep an eye on the heat, especially for your
oldest and youngest guests.  Have
sunscreen and plenty of water available.
Consider moving older guests to a shaded area.  To recognize the signs of heat exhaustion, visit:
symptoms and find treatments for heat exhaustion

2.      The Size is Right – Many brides buy
their wedding dress a size smaller, with ambitious plans of weight loss – or
perhaps the dress fit well when it was bought, but  run up to the wedding (with the related stress),
has led to a slight weight gain.  Either
way, too many brides try crash dieting in the days and weeks before the wedding
to squeeze into that gown – and find failure, anxiety, and health problems.  If you want to lose weight for your wedding,
start in advance, and stick with a healthy, safe weight loss plan.  Crash diets are fittingly named:
you smack into a wall and find yourself worse off than before.  Brides also should keep an ear tuned to
bridesmaids engaged in crash dieting, and try to talk their friends out of such
bad habits.   Find
smart strategies for healthy weight loss.

3.      Sober Dialing – While many people don’t
think of drunk driving as a “health issue,” drinking and driving is one of our
county’s leading preventable causes of death.
A healthy wedding is one where the guests get home safe and sound.  Wedding planners should ensure that everyone
has a designated driver, arrange with a cab company to have a certain number of
cabs available at the end of the evening.
Or you can arrange for transportation to take guests back to their
hotel.  That way no one has to worry
about drinking and driving.  And make
sure you have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages for any guests who have alcohol
dependency issues

4.      Celebrate with a Healthy Meal
Everyone wants to treat their guests to a wedding meal to remember – but make
sure it is remembered fondly.  If you’re
holding your wedding outside, make sure that food, like potato salads and
shrimp, are properly cooled or kept on ice.  I know of a wedding where five of the guests got food poisoning from
this type of mistake.
And consider a lighter, healthier meal:
your guests will appreciate the chance to celebrate with you (without
needing to go on a diet the next week), and will find themselves feeling less
weighed down during the celebration.  Learn
about food poisoning and how to handle food safely.

5.      Get the Glow – Every bride wants to
look perfect on her wedding day.  But
that “glowing, radiant” skin can’t be had via makeup:  healthy choices make a big difference.  Try to keep your stress under control to
avoid an
acne breakout
.  And drink plenty of
water on the day before and the day of your wedding to keep your skin looking
great and your body feeling great. Check
here for more information on the importance of staying well-hydrated

6.      Dealing With Family Issues – Weddings
pose challenges not just to physical health, but emotional well-being,
too.  Unresolved family
issues have a not-so-funny way of erupting at a wedding, exacerbated by the
stress of the event
and intensified by the gathering of relatives who may
not often encounter one another.  Ask a
trusted relative to try to resolve these disputes before the wedding day, and if
you suspect they may nonetheless erupt at the wedding, have a “designated
diffuser” – a relative who can soften family conflicts or at least keep them
from ruining the celebration.

7.      Take Care of Yourself – You can’t have
a “healthy” wedding with an “unhealthy” bride.
Schedule some time to do things that help you relax.  Yoga, massage, a day trip, hiking or reading
a good book are all great ways to de-stress.
about other stress management tips.

As you prepare for your upcoming event, make sure you are getting 7-8
hours of sleep per night.  Being
well rested can help you avoid feeling irritable and anxious and can reduce
your chances of becoming ill

8.      Countdown
—  Maybe it’s not romantic,
but a comprehensive  physical exam is a
good idea for couples preparing for marriage.
Before you ask someone else to
say that they will love you “in sickness and in health,” you owe it to them to
know just where on that spectrum you stand.  Together you can plan to support one another
in long term, healthy lifestyle goals. Get a complete check up a few months
before the wedding, so you can understand and address any health issues before
you are at the altar.  Both women
and men
need complete and regular physicals.

9. A
Healthy Honeymoon
– Ok, you’ve made it all the way through the wedding in
good health, and now comes “the fun part:” the honeymoon.  But a surprising number of brides and grooms
wind up too sick to enjoy this first taste of wedded bliss.  Key tips:
make sure you don’t overindulge in food and drink at the wedding; plan
for the honeymoon like you would any other trip (with sunscreen for warm places
and precautions about drinking safe water and eating safe food); and make sure
you’ve had all necessary vaccinations well in advance of the wedding so you
aren’t suffering from vaccine side effects on wedding day.  Learn
more about health and travel

10.  Waiting to Exhale – Take a deep breath
and remember that in the end, marrying the person you love is more important
than having a perfect ceremony or reception.
The wedding is just the start of the marriage – and hopefully, not the end.  The happiest and healthiest wedding is the
one that leads to a happy, healthy marriage.  Check out some great
for keeping your marriage strong long after the wedding’s over.This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

5 Running Lessons


It was a beautiful day for a run today, 72 degrees, light
wind, clear blue sky and lush foliage… the trail was busier than usual, with
bikers passing me every few minutes.  But
otherwise, it couldn’t have been a better day.
My running partner recently left DC to spend a couple of months working
in Morocco,
and I swore to myself that I wouldn’t completely go to pot while she was
gone.  So I forced myself to get into my
gear and go for a solo run.  Being alone
gave me the chance to reflect on 5 running lessons…

Don’t compare
yourself to others
– there will always be someone better, faster, fitter,
stronger, smarter…  It’s important to be
content with who you are, and do the best with what you’ve got.  At least, this is what I told myself as I was
passed by the majority of joggers on the trail, dragging myself along to mile

Appreciate the beauty
of nature
– it’s so easy to take nature for granted.  I ran by a patch of mushrooms, and one had
been broken off its stalk and flipped over so I could see its little
vents.  How can a fungus know how to grow
into such a well organized structure?
How can the cells know to line up into soft, brown vents?  I don’t know… it seems pretty amazing to me
that one little organism can be so delicate, complex, and completely
independent.  It never asked anyone for
permission to be itself.  Meditating on
the whimsy and creativity that is abundant in the life around us can put things
into perspective.

Take responsibility
– no one’s going to help you get in shape.
It’s up to you to take care of your body.  I’m really bad at this – I don’t like to exercise
alone, and I sometimes put off getting in shape unless I have a partner for
accountability.  It’s as if I prefer to
delegate responsibility about my health to others.  I know that this is a common tendency in
medicine – where folks rely on their doctors, without taking responsibility for
applying their advice (for diet/exercise/medications) on a daily basis.

Exercise is a
life-long discipline
– as I thought about how hard it was to run, and how
heavy my legs felt, and how much easier all of this was just a couple of years
ago… I realized that exercise is not something you do every other weekend.  It really is best applied on a daily basis.  And being in shape is the result of
consistent hard work – so we have to focus our minds on making exercise a part
of our regimen, just as we make time to eat each day!

Don’t psych yourself
– part of your success or failure in exercising has to do with whether
or not you believe you can do it.  When
you’re running, you have to believe that you can make it the whole way… or that
you can run farther than you did last time.
The temptation is to quit when you start feeling a little tired, but you
have to keep going – encouraging yourself along the way with a positive
attitude.  Of course, if you really are
unable to make it (your heart rate is at its limit and you are breathing so
hard you can’t speak) then slow down.
But a lot of the time you’ll find that running an extra mile is a matter
of mindset, not physical capability.

Do you have running lessons to share?

This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

Brand Name or Generic Drugs: Does it Matter?


To tell you the truth, I used to think that there was no real difference between a generic drug and its trade name equivalent. The active ingredients in both formulations are identical, so I assumed that they worked the same way. Sure I knew that the inactive “filler” compounds are different – but what does a filler do anyway? It’s just there to hold the active ingredients into a pill shape, right?

Well, Dr. Barry Rumack, Founder of Micromedex, Inc. set me straight yesterday. According to Dr. Rumack, as many as 15% of people have drug sensitivities to fillers, therefore raising the question of whether or not people should take an even closer look at their prescription medications. In some cases generic medications might be best for a person, and in others the name brand might be worth the extra cost.

Dr. Rumack explained that he had previously tried to create a filler database that people could use to seek out the best formulation of their particular drug based on their personal allergy and intolerance profiles. Unfortunately, demand for such a tool was too low to make the database worthwhile. Maybe demand is low because people are unaware of this issue? Or maybe I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill. What do you think?

This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

Plantar Fasciitis – how do you make it go away?

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The plantar fascia is basically a thin, broad “rubber band” on the bottom of your foot.  It holds your foot bones together and gives you a little spring in your step.  But when that rubber band gets stiff, every step can be painful, especially the first few steps in the morning.  So what would you do with a stiff rubber band that needs to fit around a deck of cards?  You’d stretch it gently until it could fit around them, right?  Well, as it turns out, that’s the best course of action for plantar fasciitis.  There are many different ways to stretch the fascia (like rolling a tennis ball under the bottom of your foot) but my favorite method is: the night splint.

What’s a night splint?  They’re little booties that keep your feet at a 90 degree angle when you’re lying down.  This gentle stretching works while you sleep, so it couldn’t be easier.  Night splints are available online or at most surgical supply stores, and cost upwards of $30.  Try them for several nights in a row, and see if it makes a difference in the pain you’ve been feeling when you take your first steps of the day.  Keep it up for a week or two, and you may have cured yourself.

Have you tried night splints?  Still having pain?  Find out what else might work in the next blog entry!This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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