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One-Up your health with Nature Made and enter the Nature Made Sweepstakes

*This post was sponsored by Nature Made as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I am not one to make resolutions at the start of the new year, but I do always make a promise to myself that I will make better, more conscious, choices for myself. This especially applies to my health.

By making better choices I am referring to things like opting for an apple instead of cookies, ordering a glass of water at a restaurant instead of soda, and parking my car far away from a store’s entrance to get more walking and exercise into my day.

When it comes to your health, every little bit helps. By making smarter choices for yourself, you are helping to achieve and/or maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This year I made a promise to myself that I would not neglect to take all my medications (thyroid, high cholestrol…) and supplements. For that reason I purchased a large weekly pill case. Each Sunday I sit down at the table and fill each day’s box with all the medications and supplements I have to take.

Because I made the conscious effort to “one-up” my health I have not missed any of my medications or supplements. It also makes it a lot easier and less confusing than trying to remember what to take each day.

In addition, I have also added Fiber gummies to my daily regime. I can tell you right now that I don’t get nearly enough fiber in my daily diet than I should. That is why I choose to use a fiber supplement.

I stopped by our local Walgreens to pick up some Nature Made Fiber Gummies. Nature Made is my preferred brand. I have been using their products for many years and I have always been pleased with them. Nature Made is also #1 Pharmacist recommended. When I am trying to make every day a little healtier, is only makes sense to partner with a trusted brand like Nature Made.

I actually got a great deal on them. They were on sale for $9.99 so I ended up buying two bottles since I use them daily.

I also contemplated getting Nature Made Digestive Probiotics. I hear so many good things about Probiotics. I didn’t pick them up at that time, but I am regretting my decision now because they were on sale too.

I like Nature Made Fiber gummies because I like the way they taste. If you have to take daily medication you know how bland (or gross) those pills can be. After swallowing a mouthful of chalky, bland tasting pills I enjoy chewing on flavorful gummies.

It’s hard to believe that these tasty, fruity gummies are helping me to get more much needed fiber into my daily diet.

The reason why I want to “one-up” my health is because I am getting older and I realize that I haven’t always taken good care of my body. After all, it’s the only body I’ll ever have. I regret not taking better care of it over the years.

These days, aside from making sure to take my medications, vitamins and supplements every day, I also make an effort to get in more exercise (for example – parking further away), drinking more water (opt for water instead of soda when eating out) and TRYING to get more sleep (that one I am having a hard time doing). I even purchased a fitness monitor so I can track my steps, exercise, calorie intake and more.

I am proud to say I have lost about 40 pounds in the past few months. I am the lightest I’ve been in about 17 years. I’m only about 34 pounds away from what I was when I got married (I can even fit into my wedding dress!).

Nature Made is partnering with Women’s and Men’s Health where you and your friends can win awesome weekly prizes to help motivate you to get healthy and stay healthy.

The sweepstakes is currently going on at the Nature Made Facebook page. It ends on April 9, 2017

Some of the prizes you can win include Blue Apron, Lululemon and Sephora gift cards as well as FitBit’s and a one-year membership to Nature Box. Nice!

They are also giving away a grand prize of a spa vacation (4-day/3-night trip for two to the Red Mountain Resort in Ivans, UT). I’d love to win that. I need a vacation.

You can enter for a chance to win the Grand Prize by visiting www.NatureMade.com/OneUp and clicking where indicated in order to complete and submit the registration form for one (1) entry into the Grand Prize drawing. You can also learn more about the weekly prize drawings, and enter them, on the same website.

If you would like to learn more about Nature Made visit www.NatureMade.com. Don’t forget to check out their Facebook page for more sweepstakes information – Facebook.com/NatureMade.

In what ways are YOU “one-upping” your health this year? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section of this post.

Don’t forget to check out the sweepstakes too!

Kimberly

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Spring into Spring – 7 Ways to Be More Optimistic

 

We set the clocks ahead for daylight savings and many of us woke up to a darker sky feeling sluggish thanks to a one hour loss of sleep. If you hit the snooze, pulled the covers up over your head still feeling bummed out about your waistline, bank account, career or love life, you’re not alone. Despite more daylight our worries will still be there. So how do we spring into spring, a season that’s all about new beginnings and rebirth? For practical ways, to cultivate optimism in our lives we turned to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services who shares these tips and tools.

Focus on the good.

“A daily exercise I often have my patients do is keep an appreciation or gratitude journal. When you focus on all the things to be happy for in your life then more great things come. Think generally and use your senses. What do you appreciate seeing, smelling, touching, tasting, listening to? Write it down. Within a few weeks you’ll train the mind to pivot to an appreciate thought when a negative thought comes,” explains Dr. Hafeez.

Make plans.

Making plans to see relatives, to see a new exhibit a movie or to travel gets our mind moving forward towards something positive that we can be hopeful and optimistic about. Dr. Hafeez suggests making plans to do 3 things per month for the next 3 months. “Choose things that you know will bring you joy and then go do them! Feeling excited about what is coming and talking about how fun it will be keeps us optimistic and forward moving,” says Dr. Hafeez.

Control what you can, delegate the rest! 

We get pessimistic and worry about the worst possible outcomes when we realize that we cannot control every detail. This leads to anxiety and an even stronger feeling of having to control conditions, and even others. According to Dr. Hafeez, this is a trap. “Figure out what needs to get done. What actions you can take. Then let go of anything else that is beyond your control with faith that everything will turn out fine. Envision the desired outcome,” advises Dr. Hafeez.

Limit your news watching and avoid it before bed.

“There is a very common pattern I see people falling into,” says Hafeez. “People awaken and immediately reach for their smartphone for news headlines. They then turn on the TV news as background noise. They listen to news in their cars, have news alerts going off on their phones all day, catch the evening news and then the 11pm news before bed. No wonder they’re less optimistic! What you choose to look at will impact your mood. Remember, good news doesn’t get ratings,” she adds.

Don’t snooze. Instead just breathe.

When the alarm goes off give yourself a few minutes to just lie there, eyes closed focused on your breathing. Breathe in counting to 4 and then breathe out. Do a mental scan of your entire body from head to toe thanking your cells for restoring you as you slept. “Deep breathing is a form of meditation and in the morning, you have a small window of opportunity to decide what kind of day you want it to be,” says Dr. Hafeez.

Distract yourself with something that requires focus.

The key here is to pick something you truly enjoy doing and do it daily. It can be painting, coloring, yoga, a 20-minute walk or jog, listening to music and dancing around your living room. “When you are fully engaged in something, you can’t ruminate which leads to pessimism,” explains Dr. Hafeez.

Make feeling good top priority.

When you commit to feeling good you instantly start to think more optimistically. According to Dr. Hafeez, when you’re mindful of your own negativity and shift to a better feeling positive thought you feel powerful. You’ll feel like you can conquer anything when you can master your own mindset.

About the Author:

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.

Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or www.comprehendthemind.com.

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5 reasons you should workout with a buddy

 

How are you doing with your 2017 goals/resolutions? Are you still on track? Have you called it quits? Or are you struggling to stay with them and need a little motivation?

I know that a lot of people resolve to exercise so that they can stay in shape, or get in shape. I know for personal experience that often it’s hard to stay motivated, especially if it wasn’t already part of your normal, daily routine. For some people, exercise is part of life and they can’t go a day with out it. For others, it’s not that easy.

Sometimes all you need is someone to work out with you. I know that I tend to work out more when I have someone with me to talk with (it makes time go by a lot quicker).

Here are some reasons why you should get yourself a work out buddy from Pedro Ast, CEO of www.Bvddy.com.

It’s easier to stay motivated and on track with your fitness goals.

This is because having regular workout times with a buddy help you work harder and push through your routines. Having someone around that holds you accountable for doing the most important thing to show up and not skip a day just because “you don’t feel like it” makes it easier to stay on track with your goals.

It’s more fun to have a buddy around. 

When training alone is easier to get bored if not fully feeling it that day. This is why having a buddy around makes it more fun and easier to share moments throughout your routines that makes both of you laugh.  Before you know it, if you are having fun time will fly.

Sports bring people closer.  

When sharing a sweat, tough workout or even a bad day at the gym or court allows for a closer bond to form between friends. The social interaction that occurs when working out with a friend creates a strong connection that makes that friendship stronger. Especially after those tough routines were you want to give up but your buddy makes you pull through it.

You push each other. 

When you workout with a buddy it’s easier to not give up and continue to push your limits to get better because they give you that extra motivation when you most need it. Also having someone to compete with in different exercises or routines, who lifts more or who can run quicker, provides healthy competition that allows for you to continue to push your limits and get better.

You’ll meet your goals faster. 

This is because with a buddy you will end up being more consistent and pushing yourself harder. Leading to you seeing results and achieving your goals, which give you additional motivation to set new ones.

Do YOU have a workout buddy? Why or why not?

Do you have any other tips on how to keep yourself motivated and on track? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Kimberly

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The incredible Lemon

 

Are you a fan of lemons? I know that not many people are because lemons are extremely sour.

When our son was little he would eat lemon slices. The sour and bitter taste didn’t bother him one bit. I guess that is why he can tolerate extremely sour candies. Blah! I can’t eat those things.

I like lemons when they are incorporated into recipes. I also prefer lemon juice in my tea instead of milk, cream, sugar or honey. A dash of lemon in my hot (or cold) cup of tea is very refreshing.

Did you know that lemons are good for you? Lemon juice, and even the skin, has health benefits that you shouldn’t overlook, even if you are not a lemon fan.

Lemons are low in fat and calories, as are most fruits.

Lemons provide you with important vitamins and minerals like Folate, Niacin, Riboflavin, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitaamin E, Vitamin K, Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc. Lemons don’t provide you with huge amounts of some of these vitamins and minerals (you’d have to eat a lot of lemons), but lemons are a tasty way to get these important vitamins and minerals into your body.

Lemons do contain more potassium than grapes are apples. Potassium is important for heart health.

My lemon squeezer

Lemons are part of the citrus family and are a good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system.

There are plenty of other health benefits associated with eating lemons (or drinking their juice). Some have some scientific basis, where as others are unfounded but many people to be true. Here are just a few examples.

  • Lemons can help restore balance to the body’s pH level.
  • Lemon juice added to a large glass of water in the morning is a great liver detoxifier.
  • Lemons have powerful antibacterial properties and can help destroy bacteria that causes such diseases as malaria, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases.
  • The citric acid in lemon juice can help to dissolve gallstones, calcium deposits, and kidney stones.
  • Lemon can aid in digestion and help to regulate your bowels.
  • Lemon juice can help boost your metabolism.

These are just a few benefits to consuming lemons or lemon juice. Like I mentioned before, come claims do have science to back them up. Others are things that people say and believe to be true. Regardless, I enjoy lemons – in my tea, a glass of water and in recipes.

I use a lot of lemon juice throughout the week (mostly in my tea). I used to buy those little lemon shaped squeeze bottles but I found that I went through them too quickly. Juicing fresh lemons is too time consuming and messy. I only use real lemons if a recipe calls for it.

I like Santa Cruz Organic 100% Lemon Juice because it not only comes in a nice sized bottle (which means I won’t run out of it so quickly), but it’s also organic. My family and I have been slowly transitioning to more organic products. Our daughter is way ahead of us in that aspect (she will only eat organic foods).

You can enjoy Santa Cruz Organic 100% Lemon Juice to create mouth watering marinades, zesty salad dressings, cakes, pies and of course beverages like ice tea and lemonade. Lemon juice is very versatile. You can even clean with lemon juice. I use a little bit of lemon juice in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it for a minute and let the lemon scented steam clean, deodorize and refresh our microwave.

When I was a teenager (a million years ago) I would use lemon juice to add highlights to my hair. It does work but I don’t recommend it. It’s messy, sticky and not exactly good on your hair.

You can even freshen up your home with a bowl of lemons. They are nature’s air fresheners.

If you are unfamiliar with the Santa Cruz Organic brand, here is some additional information.

As a pioneer organic brand, Santa Cruz Organic® was the first to have a wide range of organic, 100 percent juices and blends and the first juice processor to use all organic fruit sourced from growers certified by an independent, third-party certification organization.  With a history of developing innovative products, Santa Cruz Organic currently offers more than 60 organic items ranging from organic fruit juices and lemonades to organic fruit sauces, chocolate syrups, peanut butters and fruit spreads.

All Santa Cruz Organic products are Certified USDA Organic Non-GMO Project® Verified.

You might have seen their products in the organic section of your local grocery store.

If you are into lemons, and enjoy lemon juice, you should pick up a bottle or two of Santa Cruz Organic 100% Lemon Juice. It’s great to keep on hand since lemon juice has so many wonderful benefits and uses.

If you are interested in learning more about Santa Cruz Organic, you can visit their official website, www.SantaCruzOrganic.com for more information. The brand can also be found on social media.

Are you a fan of lemons? What is your favorite way to enjoy lemons/lemon juice? Have you noticed any health benefits from consuming lemons/lemon juice? Feel free to share your thought. I always love to hear from readers.

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Santa Cruz Organics to bring you this information. I received free product samples and compensation. The opinions expressed are my own (unless otherwise noted) and not influenced in any way.

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10 Ways stress is written all over your face

 

According to Dr. Sanam Hafeez Psy. D, Colombia University Professor and Founder of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services in New York City; stress is written all over our face and can result in looking years older when stressed for prolonged periods of time.

Dr. Hafeez whose expertise is in understanding neural pathways as they respond to anxiety, stress and trauma explains that how we think directly impacts how we age and how youthful we appear. The routine stressors in our lives really impact how fast or slow we age. When stressed, we see it in our skin tone, texture, elasticity, and over all glow.

“When someone is under stress they can appear up to 5 years older, 10 years if they don’t manage stress or make changes to their lives. Stressful relationships and careers age people. I have seen patients end relationships or get new jobs and look 10 years younger within days.  People are spending money on creams, facials and cosmetic procedures but if the stress is still there it will still show in their face,” offers Dr. Hafeez.

Here are Ways Stress is Written All Over Your Face

You have dark circles.

Stress results in blood flow to main organs plus capillaries under eyes are fragile and break under stress leaving your face looking sallow and tired. Dark circles seem more apparent.

Mini-Menopause

The jury is still out on exactly how or if this is possible, but it appears that the constant flow of cortisol that goes along with chronic stress causes a dip in estrogen, one that mimics, on a smaller scale, the dip that occurs during menopause. Less estrogen means less collagen and less moisture. So, while estrogen levels may not drop enough to shut down your period, stress may make them dip enough to make your skin look dull and dry.

You notice more wrinkles. 

Life’s stress due to divorce, death of loved one, job-loss, financial concerns; impacts our brain chemistry. When we feel sad or anxious, are crying or not sleeping well it’s common to see deeper lines around the middle of the eyes, forehead, under eye area and mouth.

You itch, flake and even have hives.  

Stress leads to inflammation which may lead to rashes, rosacea, eczema flare ups and changes in skin moisture.

People ask if you’re feeling okay. 

When the Starbucks barista or guy at the dry cleaners asks if you’re feeling okay, pay attention. These people may not know the details of your life but they know how you look because they see you quickly. 

Under-Eye Bags.

Tomorrow’s to-do list can weigh on your mind, keeping you from getting enough beauty sleep. This can cause fluid to pool below your lower eyelid area, and what you end up with is a puffy mess in the a.m. Stomach sleepers, bad news: You can expect the puffiness of your under-eye bags to be even worse because of gravity.

Increased jaw size – Heavy jaw

Grinding teeth and clenching of the jaw are common symptoms of stress. Unfortunately, these habits can cause the jaw muscles to work overtime. This can result not only in damaged teeth, but also a heavier than usual jawline, as the muscles become larger with the grinding action.

Hair Loss

Stress can cause sudden hair loss by literally flipping the switch on the hair follicle’s growth stage from an active to a resting phase. Once the follicle enters this resting phase prematurely, it stays there for about three months, after which time a large amount of hair will be shed. When you experience an overall shedding of hair, you must cast back a few months to find the trigger. Rest assured that in most women, this hair will grow back.

Adult Acne

Acne isn’t just for hormonally crazed teenagers. Many adults can’t seem to outgrow it because of stress hormones. What makes it worse is that tense people often can’t leave pimples alone. Squeezing, poking and picking at them becomes an almost obsessive way to release tension, but it also makes breakouts worse, exacerbating the inflammatory response, and you’re left feeling a bit more stressed. So no picking.

Hormonal Mood Swings

There is a lot of interaction between hormone physiology and mood that works both ways. Our mood can impact our physiology, and our physiology can influence the balance of our hormones. If stress can sit at the top of a cascade of events that lead to undesirable hormonal changes in the body (like those that trigger insomnia, insatiable hunger and weight gain, and collagen breakdown), then what we want to do is find ways to gain the upper hand on our stress level and ensure that we keep all those hormones in check.

According to Dr. Hafeez, “The good news is that we can get to the root cause of our stress and manage it. When you notice changes in your facial appearance take inventory of what is going on in your life and what may be stressing you out. Simple things like sitting quietly for 10 minutes focusing on breathing, writing in a journal, exercising or taking a walk outside, reading, baking, painting, listening to music and reaching for an activity that takes focus off the stress is helpful. If you find yourself reverting back to the stressful issue consider therapy. Clearly there is a connection between how we look and how we feel and think.”

About the author:

Dr. Hafeez provides neuropsychological educational and developmental evaluations in her practice.  She also works with children and adults who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, autism, attention and memory problems, trauma and brain injury, abuse, childhood development and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…) In addition, Dr. Hafeez serves as a medical expert and expert witness by providing full evaluations and witness testimony to law firms and courts.

 

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Top Brain Boosters to Add and Brain Drainers to Drop From Your Shopping List

 

The foods you have in your pantry and fridge may be helping or hindering your brain. Dr. Christopher Calapai DO, a New York City Osteopathic Physician board certified in family and anti-aging medicine explains that the foods we choose have a lot to do with how sharp, attentive, alert, focused and happy we feel after they are consumed. Certain foods may taste great have additives in them that literally cloud our brains and leave us sluggish and dull headed. The opposite is also true. We can eat certain foods and feel a charge of mental energy and focus. We spoke to Dr. Calapai and got a quick list of foods that boost and drain the brain. Which ones will you add and remove from your shopping list?

Brain Boosting Foods to Add!

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamin E.  Higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older. Add an ounce a day of walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, and un-hydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini. Raw or roasted doesn’t matter, although if you’re on a sodium-restricted diet, buy unsalted nuts. “Adding nuts to your diet can aid in decreasing levels of enzymes that lead to protein plaques from forming and dementia. Nuts can also reduce brain inflammation, keep blood pressure low, key for preventing stroke,” explains Dr. Calapai.

Blueberries

“I eat these daily and encourage patients to add blueberries to as many things as possible. They’re great on their own, added to a shake, to oatmeal, or even to a salad,” says Dr. Calapai. Blueberries are tasty and sweet and loaded with antioxidants. They’re packed with vitamin C, K and fiber and pack high levels of gallic acid, making them especially good at protecting our brains from degeneration and stress. “Studies show that eating blueberries can boost focus and memory for up to 5 hours,” adds Dr. Calapai

Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the best brain foods out there. Thanks to its high levels of vitamin K and choline which is a B vitamin know for aiding brain development keeps memory sharp and protects the brain from later decline with age. It’s also loaded with vitamin C. Just one cup provides you with 150 percent of your recommended daily intake. Its high-fiber levels makes you feel full quickly, too. “People hear broccoli and roll their eyes thinking it’s bland a boring. Think of broccoli as a canvas ready to be painted with spices and flavors, offers Dr. Calapai. Try stir frying with a bit of olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add in a spoonful of orange or lemon juice and it gets this nice sweetness to it.

Fish

Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other fish are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA seems to be very important for the normal functioning of neurons in the brain. Eating more fish often means eating less red meat and other forms of protein that are high in artery-clogging saturated fats. “People who are lacking in Omega 3’s can experience mood swings and feeling edgy or negative. Omega 3’s have been know to be mood boosters in addition to enhancing focus and memory,” says Dr. Calapai.

Avocado

This creamy treat is also a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin E. Research suggests that foods rich in vitamin E—including avocado, which is also high in the antioxidant powerhouse vitamin C—are associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Brain Drainers to Drop!!

Partially Hydrogenated Oils

There is zero reason to ever eat foods that list “partially hydrogenated oils” in their ingredients list. It’s code for trans fats, which, in addition to upping your risk for obesity and damaging your heart health, can cause serious brain drain. “Diets high in trans fats increase beta-amyloid, peptide ‘plaque’ deposits in brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. One study published in Neurology found that people who consumed high levels of trans fats had lower cognitive abilities and smaller brains later in life,” says Dr. Calapai. Common culprits include fried foods, baked goods, and processed foods. So bake or grill chicken instead of frying it, go for sweet potatoes instead of French fries and avoid anything wrapped in plastic that sits on a shelf for months at a time.

Added sugars

The average American eats 79 pounds of added sweeteners per year which can cause constant insulin spikes and inflammation resulting in both vascular and neuronal damage. One study published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity found that large amounts of sugar cause the hippocampus, the brain’s memory control center, to become inflamed, meaning it can’t work at 100 percent. Meanwhile, one cross-cultural analysis found that high sugar intake is linked to depression. “Sugar is a big trap because when you eat something sweet there’s a high initially. It feels good at first taste but then once it starts to be processed in the body there’s a heaviness that follows, says Dr. Calapai.

Saturated fat

A diet high in saturated fat can decrease the brain’s ability to fight the formation of Alzheimer’s-linked brain plaque. An onslaught of saturated fat also hurts your brain in the short-term. Saturated fat impairs your brain’s ability to learn and form new memories within as little as 10 minutes after chowing down. Processed meats such as bacon, pepperoni, pork sausage, or chorizo are examples of very tasty foods that are high in saturated fat. “Look we all like to indulge from time to time and that is fine, but when saturated fats are staples in your diet, then that’s going to take a toll,” advises Dr. Calapai.

About the Doctor:

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed the “The Stem Cell Guru” by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson’s. He has worked with Mike TysonMickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Gotham’s, Donal Logue; and as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers. Connect with him via twitter @drcalapai or at www.drcal.net

 

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