Gabrielle Union Opens Up About Her Struggle With Infertility

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In a recent visit to Doctor Oz, Breaking Bad actress Gabrielle Union opens up her struggle with infertility. Like most women Gabrielle Union had the dream to get married and start a family her husband former Miami Heat basketball player Dwayne Wade. However, there was problems due to her having miscarriages. Somewhere the effect of IVF and the others were due to natural causes. She suffered so many miscarriages that the actress reveled that she “lost track, it’s somewhere like eight or nine give or take.”

Her first pregnancy was the most devastating because she and her husband prematurely announced that they were expecting.

“The first one was the most brutal because we were so excited. You dream of this moment and those dreams where crushed.”

Even though African American women have a tougher time conceiving than white women, very few women speak up about the stigma surrounding infertility.

“There are so many women hiding in plain sight, suffering in silence, nobody wants the world to think that you are defective or less than a perfect woman or less than capable. There is so much shame, mystery and guilt that surround infertility issues.

For women who maybe experiencing what Gabrielle has been through she wants you to know that you “are not alone.” Click here to watch  the full interview

August Alsina Attributes Jada Pinkett Smith For Him Overcoming Drug Addiction

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In 2014 August Alsina reached out Jada Pinkett Smith in London after attending a Willow and Jaden Smith performance because he needed help with dealing with life and was abusing Percocet. August had an accident where he fell of the stage, “I was doing way too many shows, not taking care of myself. I was drinking so much liquor, smoking so much weed. And one night at a show in New York, I literally passed out like in the middle of the show and fell off the stage.”

It was a pretty serious accident because August went into convulsions and was in a coma for three days. August flatlined twice. He was giving Percocet to deal with the pain of the fall “I literally was given an endless supply of Percocet, if you ask my brother or anybody they like yeah I know Aug is raining percs. I’m raining pills like skittles forreal.” August is a little ashamed to admit but Jada speaks up saying 

“I remember you telling me, well I do six Percocet a day but my friends so 20.” and Jada admits that’s when it was an eye opener for her.

“I did because my step father was addicted to crack, my father was addicted to crack and an alcoholic and my introduction to drugs was that. Seeing my step father pawn the whole house for crack. I remember my step father would come home off his bingeing and I would see him shaking and sweating and I went through that thinking I had it under control and could beat it.”

“Because its coming from a doctor you are feeling like, what am I doing wrong? So it’s a tricky situation.”

August Alsina reveal a conversation with Jada was the reason he stopped abusing the drugs.

“I don’t know I was on tour or something and you called me and literally broke down about it. something has to give, I can’t love you more then you love yourself. To feel your emotion and you balling that was a reality check for me. If someone else can love you that much that it hurts them, why doesn’t it bother you that you hurt yourself. That moment changed the trajectory of my life. When I went through the experience of making the decision. It’s literally as simple as making a decision. I didn’t go to rehab or a client I went sat in my house. Withdrawals are not a good feeling at all. The shit I had to go through to get away through the pills, I felt like a bus ran me over.”

How I Used The Keto Diet to Deal with the Symptoms of PCOS

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Since being diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome, a disorder characterized by cyst-growing ovaries that affects one in every 10 women), I have experienced just about every symptom associated with the health problem: irregular periods, pervasive acne, weight gain especially in the midsection, depression, hirsutism (aka facial hair) and hair loss on my scalp.

Researchers are unsure what causes it, but it may be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There is no cure for PCOS, so those afflicted with it spend their lives trying to mitigate its symptoms. For me, it has been a balance between regular exercise and a diet nicknamed “keto,” that’s been found to aid hormone regulation in women suffering from PCOS.

The Ketogenic diet, more commonly referred to as “keto,” were initially praised for their weight loss benefits—even for those not diagnosed with PCOS. Despite keto’s reliance on a high protein, high fat, and low-carb intake, it has been shown to burn more energy and store less fat than a traditional diet.

Keto and PCOS

A keto diet puts the body in a state of “ketosis,” working from the inside out. With its emphasis on low- to no carb intake, the body ultimately won’t store as many carbs in fat cells; instead, it burns the other foods you eat for energy (this state of being is referred to as ketosis). Ketosis helps manage how hard the pancreas has to work (decided by how many carbs, of the potato or sugar kind, you put into your body) and how much insulin is released into your blood.

Keto diets lessen the symptoms of PCOS by reducing insulin spikes, which in turn reduce acne, inflammation, and testosterone in women with. Duke University and State University of New York have proven that keto diets can improve mental clarity, as well as skin, hair, nails; curb food cravings; increase energy levels; lower cholesterol; and reduce the risk of heart disease.

What to Eat

A healthy keto diet cuts carbs down to 20 – 30 grams a day (this is ideal for lowering insulin levels). Remember: the fewer carbs you’re taking in, the faster you’ll enter ketosis and the longer you can remain in it. So, stay away from refined carbs (breads, rice, cereal), sugars (table sugar, honey, maple syrup) starchy foods (beans and potatoes), and almost all fruits (avocados and some berries are allowed in small servings).

Ketogenic Meal Site, ruled.me, recommends a diet consisting of “70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.” Their list of good foods for your keto menu include: meats, leafy greens, above ground vegetables (sorry, no sweet potatoes), high-fat dairy, nuts and seeds, avocados, berries, sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit, and fats like coconut oil.

Tips to Remember

    • Beware hidden carbs! These can pop up in places like smoothies (fruit sugars), specialty coffee drinks (milk and sugar), salad dressings, and sauces. When in doubt, check the label.
    • Drink lots of water. It’s best to have a gallon a day.
    • Don’t fret the fat. If you haven’t noticed, the ketogenic diet is 70% fats. They are your main source of energy. Good fats can be found in red meat, butter, eggs, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and salmon.
    • All protein is not good protein. A lot of bad stuff hides in some proteins. Whey protein, for example, can take you out of ketosis as fast as a bowl of cereal. If you’re the type who drinks protein shakes, refrain from whey protein powders. Drink milk? Try switching to almond milk.
    • Keep away from “bad snacks.” Did you know there are quite a few high-carb nuts? These include chestnuts, cashews, pistachios, and peanuts.

Gabrielle Union Opens Up About Infertility Struggles In Hopes to Change Dialogue Around The Issue

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In her new book, We’re Going to Need More Wine, Gabrielle Union reveals her painful experiences with infertility. In an excerpt from the book shared with People magazine, the start of BET’s Being Mary Jane says that she’s had “eight or nine miscarriages.”

“For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant,” Union writes in her book. “I’ve either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle, or coming out of an IVF cycle.”

 The 44-year-old actress said that she wanted to be frank about her fertility issues because she hopes to change the way people broach the topic. Union says that she is constantly being asked about whether she wants to start a family—and not just from the media.

From People:

“For so many women, and not just women in the spotlight, people feel very entitled to know, ‘Do you want kids?’ A lot of people, especially people that have fertility issues, just say ‘no’ because that’s a lot easier than being honest about whatever is actually going on. People mean so well, but they have no idea the harm or frustration it can cause.”

Still, Union is hopeful that she and husband Dwyane Wade will one day bring a child into the world. Union writes that they “remain bursting with love and ready to do anything to meet the child we’ve both dreamed of.”

Ramona Griggie Makes Millions After Launching Line Of Do-It-Yourself Teeth Whitening Kits

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Ramona Griggie wanted to whiten her son’s teeth as a graduation gift for completing his bachelor’s at Duke University. While price matching and trying to find the best teeth whitening service, she found out that the service was quite expensive ranging from $700-$900.

So, Griggie took the matter into her own hands and decided to buy the $250 machine offline and do it herself; this investment has now turned into a business for the mother and wife.

Griggie went full force with her new business as she rented out a work space and began to gather clientele. “It was a cute little setup where people would come and pay $100-$200 for a one-hour procedure,” Griggie told Essence. She began selling $35 do-it-yourself kits online, which became a big hit. After some successful marketing and advertising, Griggie’s product has attracted many celebrities such as Amber Rose, Monica, and Kevin Hart. She made $1 million in her first 60 days of business and she has a flagship boutique in College Park, Atlanta.

Can you say #BlackExcellence and #BlackGirlMagic?!

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Source: Blavity.com

 

Monica Opens Up About Having Endometriosis Surgery

Over the weekend, singer Monica opened up for the firs time about having endometriosis. Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus, 1 in 10 girls and women are affected by this disease. Monica has just undergone a successful surgery to remove cysts, fibroids, and a hernia.

“May 30th I had an almost 8-hour surgery to remove my endometriosis (which I didn’t know I had until two weeks prior), 2 cysts, fibroids & a hernia that all were making me very sick,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “I’ve known something was wrong but I also knew victory & better health would be near again!!”

This disease can affect women’s reproductive organs and can be extremely painful, thankfully Monica had a success story and is able to share her battle with endometriosis with women around the world. Lena Dunham is another celebrity who has been very open about her condition, which came back last month.

Although Monica is undergoing a tough time now she did not let it dim her light. While opening up about her condition on social media she also debuted a new lavender hair color that she got to celebrate her successful surgery.

Endometriosis is a difficult diagnosis because it is not often discussed. Moments like this help open up the conversation which will ultimately help women, doctors, and researchers find better ways to deal with the disease.

We wish Monica and other women who are suffering from endometriosis lots of health and wealth, keep fighting and remember that us women bend but we don’t break!

Shake the Shame, Put Mental Health First

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“You should get professional help.” I literally never thought I would hear someone tell me those words.

It wasn’t until I realized what a mess I had became, that made me admit it was time to see a therapist. The young lady who once had it all together, with all the answers, was now a lost soul just struggling to make sense out of the world. It was like a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. I felt myself slipping into a dark area that was unfamiliar to me and didn’t know how to stop. Though I was physically in one place, my mind was somewhere else: A scary place of hopelessness.

The only problem was, this wasn’t a dream. It was my life.

Before I felt relief that there was someone who could “fix me,” I was mortified more than anything. I came from a Caribbean family where failure was not an option, so admitting I was different, mentally, was not something I could expect sympathy for. In my head, I wasn’t allowed to be weak due to both my background and pride.

For my first appointment, I wore a tight baseball cap and even switched my everyday bag so no one would notice me going into the on-campus mental health clinic.

I found myself sitting in front of a total stranger that, for some reason, I felt protected with. Her stare was intense, but her smile was warm. For a long time, I forgot what it felt like to belong somewhere. Sitting with her, I found it again.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders affect 18% of the population. That’s 40 million adults 18 years and older. While our older generations have this morphed thought that because we “don’t have any responsibilities yet,” there’s no reason to be stressed. However, living in the fast times of social media and the insecurities they can cause are huge factors in anxiety. Not to mention maintaining an active social life, juggling school, and getting pushed into the adult world.

Regardless of the different causes, victims of depression and anxiety often share an unfavorable common denominator: Embarrassment. Too often do we allow the thoughts of others to overcome what is best for ourselves. While we suffer silently, the world continues to rotate whether we’re ready for the next day to come or not. The negative stigma behind therapy has become so strong that the importance of mental health has been overshadowed by the importance of physical appearance.

When you’re ready to get your summer body together, there’s never any shame in going to the gym and getting a personal trainer to help you concentrate on your body’s “problem areas.” People find pride in making that step. Ironically, seeking mental help is the same process, yet we rarely see the same satisfaction. It all comes down to recognizing your worth.

Is your life worth pursuing your dreams? Is embarrassment worth holding back your blessings? Are you worth being happy or are you worth being content?

At a time where I felt fate was pitted against me, it was my faith that strengthened me. It wasn’t in anyone else’s power to bring me happiness, but my own, and if talking to a therapist was going to give steps towards my pursuit, I was going to do it. Session after session, I felt like a caterpillar slowing coming out into the butterfly I knew I was suppose to be. I left behind the chaos and anxiety I was causing myself and regained the confidence I thought was lost. Who would’ve thought talking to a complete stranger would do that.

Don’t accept judgment as the decision making factor for what makes you who you are, or should be. Seeking help doesn’t make you weak. Being self-aware enough to want better for yourself is the strongest attribute a person can have.

Meditation Replaces Detention At This Baltimore Elementary School

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Forms of discipline in the education system vary across schools and cultures. In America, we are used to the star/smiley face system, detention, all day isolation, or if you’re really cutting up, an alternative school. Discipline is a touchy subject and to each, it’s own when it comes to determining what is the most effective approach. One school has innovatively created a new technique that even adults can use to get their act right.

alternative to detention Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore sends kids who aren’t following the rules to the “Mindful Moment Room” instead of detention. The “Mindful Moment Room” is a purple cozy room any yogi would love to spend the day in, filled with pillows, light, and minimal decor.

Children may act disruptively when their mind and emotions are not working in harmony. From a psychological standpoint, the purple room will contribute to the harmony of  mind and emotions and help support meditation. A harmonious relationship between the mind and emotions results in mental balance and stability, a link between thought and activity which is what is happening when these kids get sent to the “Mindful Moment Room”.

To some, this method may seem like the kids are getting a vacation from school instead of a punishment that will teach them a lesson but it works. There have been absolutely zero suspensions at Robert W. Coleman Elementary, ZERO!

The Holistic Life Foundation plays a major role in the development of the “Mindful Moment Room”. The local non-profit also has an after-school program called Holistic Me that guides children through their yoga/meditation practice.

Yoga and meditation have proven their positive effects on one’s mental health and well-being time and time again. One benefit to this new technique is the long lasting and even lifetime effects that it will have on the children. This approach won’t just “fix” the children for the moment but will contribute to a lifetime of self-awareness and mindful thinking.

What do you like about this new approach? Do you think this new technique is effective? Why or Why not? Let us know in the comments below! 

8-year-old Boy Becomes First Child To Receive Double Hand Transplant

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While many 8-year-old boys spend their days playing with a football, a basketball, or swinging from the monkey bars, this hasn’t always been the case for Zion Harvey. But earlier this month, he became the first person ever to receive a double hand transplant making his dreams of playing guitar, becoming a doctor, and holding his little sister that much closer.

When Harvey was just 2-years-old he developed a server case of gangrene causing doctors to amputate his hands and feet. Earlier this month, 40 doctors, nurses and staff members worked together for approximately 10 hours during to provide Harvey with two brand new hands.

“I wanna say thank you guys for helping me down this bumpy road,” Zion expressed at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

According to a statement from the hospital”

“During the surgery, the hands and forearms from the donor were attached by connecting bone, blood vessels, nerves, muscles, tendons and skin. The surgical team was divided into four, simultaneous operating teams, two focused on the donor limbs, and two focused on the recipient. First, the forearm bones, the radius and ulna, were connected with steel plates and screws. Next, microvascular surgical techniques were used to connect the arteries and veins. Once blood flow was established through the re-connected blood vessels, surgeons individually repaired and rejoined each muscle and tendon. Surgeons then reattached nerves and then closed the surgical sites.”

“I just want to say this, never give up on your dreams. It will come true,” Zion also expressed at the press conference.

Zion still has a ways to go with rehabilitation but with an outlook like his, that should be nothing but a breeze.

“I’m the same person who I still used to be, but with some cool new hands,” he assured. You can watch Zion’s historic and life changing story above.

Waka Flaka Teams Up With Kickstarter to Combat Ebola

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Waka Flaka Flame 2
Superstar rapper Waka Flaka Flame has partnered with the award-winning impact driven social venture WakaWaka in an effort to fund WakaWaka Base, the world’s first solar power kit.

WakaWaka’s mission is to provide light to those that lack it and in turn aid in the fight against Ebola. Liberia and Sierra Leone are the countries hardest hit with Ebola yet 90% of the residents in these countries lack electricity. WakaWaka will provide solar light to Ebola workers, first responders and families in West Africa for every pledge made towards helping develop this portable solar kit.

The kickstarter is confident that Waka Flaka Flame’s popularity will bring awareness to the campaign and save lives.

“This simple yet brilliant idea can literally bring people out of the dark in parts of the world that are indeed suffering,” said Waka Flocka Flame. “Join me in celebrating the type of innovation that helps change lives for the better. If you’re down with Waka Flocka, contribute now to WakaWaka!”

For more information about this kickstarter campaign, click here

OHSU Researchers Could Have Human Test-Ready HIV Vaccine Within 2-3 Years

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This past Wednesday Oregon Health and Science University announced that they have created a vaccine that could possibly remove all traces of HIV from the body. The vaccine is currently being tested on monkeys with a primate exclusive strain of HIV called SIV which causes AIDS in its host.

Dr. Louis Picker, the lab’s associate director, said HIV infection has only been cured in “a very small number of highly-publicized but unusual clinical cases.”

In those cases, people with HIV were treated with anti-viral medicines very early after the onset of infection or they received a stem cell transplant to combat cancer.

“This latest research suggests that certain immune responses elicited by a new vaccine may also have the ability to completely remove HIV from the body,” Picker

Check out the video below:

KPTV – FOX 12
The full story is available here at KPTV.com.

In Medical First, a Baby With H.I.V. Is Deemed Cured

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A baby girl who was born with HIV has been cured after very early treatment with standard drug therapy, US researchers reported, in a potentially ground-breaking case that could help eradicate HIV infection in its youngest victims.

Specialists made the announcement on Sunday at a major AIDS meeting in the US city of Atlanta.

“This is a proof of concept that HIV can be potentially curable in infants,” said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who presented the findings.

The baby girl was born in a rural hospital in the state of Mississippi and her mother had just tested positive for HIV infection.

A team of doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson then put the infant on a cocktail of three standard HIV-fighting drugs when she was just 30 hours old.

That fast action apparently knocked out the HIV in the baby’s blood before it could form reservoirs in the body.

The new findings could offer some promise, especially in AIDS-plagued African countries where many babies are born with the virus, researchers said.

“You could call this about as close to a cure, if not a cure, that we’ve seen,” Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, who is familiar with the findings, told The Associated Press.

‘Berlin patient’

The child’s story is different from the now famous case of Timothy Ray Brown, the so-called “Berlin patient,” whose HIV infection was completely eradicated through an elaborate treatment for leukemia in 2007.

Instead of Brown’s costly treatment, the Mississippi baby’s case involved the use of a cocktail of widely available drugs already used to treat HIV infection in infants.

More testing needs to be done to see if the treatment would have the same effect on other children, but the results could change the way high-risk babies are treated and possibly lead to a cure for children with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Persaud’s team is now planning a study to try to prove that, with more aggressive treatment of other high-risk babies.

No one should stop anti-AIDS drugs as a result of this case, Fauci cautioned. But “it opens up a lot of doors” to research if other children can be helped, he said. “It makes perfect sense what happened.”

Better than treatment is to prevent babies from being born with HIV in the first place.

About 300,000 children were born with HIV in 2011, mostly in poor countries where only about 60 percent of infected pregnant women get treatment that can keep them from passing the virus to their babies.

In the US, such births are very rare because HIV testing and treatment long have been part of prenatal care.

Dr. Rowena Johnston, vice president and director of research for the Foundation for AIDS Research, which helped fund the study, said the fact that the cure was achieved by antiretroviral therapy alone makes it “imperative that we learn more about a newborn’s immune system, how it differs from an adult’s and what factors made it possible for the child to be cured.”