How to Pick the Best Corn

Nothing says summer quite like corn on the cob. Sure, the yellow veggie isn’t as glamorous as other seasonal produce, like tomatoes or peaches, but it’s just as important. Think about it: Have you ever been to a backyard barbecue, beach party, or summer gathering that wasn’t serving corn on the cob? I definitely haven’t.

Of course, shopping for corn isn’t as simple as eating it. Since whole corn cobs are almost always sold still in their husks, it can be hard to tell what’s good and what isn’t if you don’t know what you’re looking for—you can’t check for bruises or feel for ripeness like you can with a peach, after all. If you do know what you’re looking for, you can actually use that husk to guide you to the right choice, Katy Green, produce field inspector at Whole Foods Market, tells SELF. These are all her tips for shopping corn.

There are tons of different kinds of corn, but only a few you’re likely to encounter.

Green says that there are hundreds of different types of corn, but sweet corn is the one main category you’ll probably see at the grocery store. Other categories of corn include field corn, which is used to feed livestock and mass produce things like cornmeal, and flint corn, which is colorful corn that’s used for decorative purposes more than anything else—it’s probably made an appearance on your Thanksgiving table at least once.

The most common varieties of corn under the sweet corn umbrella are white, yellow, and bi-color, Green explains, and, in general, white corn is sweeter than yellow. She says you might also run into red sweet corn, but that this variety is very rare. No matter which color you’re shopping, you can tell the corn is good by looking for the same visual indicators.

Whatever you do, don’t peel back the husk.

Every now and then I see someone at the supermarket peel back the husk on a corn cob to see if it’s good or not, but Green says you definitely should not be doing that. She explains that it can expedite dehydration and cause the kernels to prematurely lose their sweetness. “Also,” she adds, “peeling corn in the store can be a potential slipping hazard for your fellow shoppers!” Basically, just don’t do it.

Instead, start by looking for size—Green says the ideal corn cob will be about 8-inches in length with a thick girth—then take a good long look at the husk, because you can actually use it to help you find the best corn. “For sweet corn,” says Green, “you will want a bright green and well-hydrated husk.” She explains that you’ll want to avoid husks that are brown, slimy, or dehydrated, as that can indicate aging or improper storage. And If you notice any holes, drop it, because that can be a sign that insects have damaged the corn from the inside.

Then, get a little touchy-feely with the corn.

After you’ve determined that the husk is up to snuff, give the corn a nice, long squeeze. Green says that what you’re doing is feeling for the kernel development pattern through the husk. She says to avoid cobs where you notice spaces between the kernels, as that can be a sign of improper pollination and less tasty corn. The kernels should be plump and developed all the way to the tip of the corn—if they aren’t, that can be a sign that they were prematurely harvested.

Corn won’t continue to ripen after you buy it.

Green says that corn cannot be improved after purchasing, because there is no further sugar development once it’s removed from the stock. Unlike peaches, which continue to ripen long after they’ve been picked, you get what you get with corn.

But there is a way to make it last longer.

“When buying sweet corn, think of it as a carton of milk in terms of perishability,” Green explains, “you want to get it into the refrigerator as quickly as possible.” She says that if you don’t, heat can cause the sugars in the kernels to transition into starch, which will ultimately make the vegetable less sweet. And heat can lead to a dehydrated husk, which will cause the kernels to shrivel. Basically, throw your corn in the fridge right when you get home from the store—there, it will stay good for about three days.

If you want it to stay good for way longer, Green’s go-to trick is to remove the kernels from the cob, and freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Then, she transfers them to an airtight plastic bag and moves them to the freezer, where they’ll stay good for months.

The best time for corn is June through August.

Sadly, good corn isn’t something you can enjoy all year, so make the most of it while it’s still in season. For the absolute best corn, Green recommends shopping locally or regionally whenever possible, as she says “the faster the cob gets from the field to your home, the better flavor will be,” and mass-produced corn can spend a lot of time in transit.

Use your summer corn in these festive recipes.

Blueberry Corn Salad With Grilled Chicken

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

Corn and blueberries make a sweet and surprisingly excellent team. Get the recipe here.

Cheeseburger With Herb Corn Salad

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

This side salad is like a corn on the cob, without all the energy required to eat a corn on the cob. Get the recipe here.

Sheet-Pan Shrimp Boil

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

Making a shrimp boil doesn’t get easier than this. Get the recipe here.

Heat therapy boosts mitochondrial function in muscles

A new study finds that long-term heat therapy may increase mitochondrial function in the muscles. The discovery could lead to new treatments for people with chronic illness or disease. The study — the first of its kind in humans — is published ahead of print in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Mitochondria, the “energy centers” of the cells, are essential for maintaining good health. A decrease in the number or function of mitochondria may contribute to chronic and potentially serious conditions such as heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and type 2 diabetes. Exercise has been shown to create new mitochondria and improve function of existing mitochondria. However, some people with chronic illnesses are not able to exercise long enough — previous research suggests close to two hours daily — to reap the benefits. Rodent studies have suggested that heat exposure may also induce the production of more mitochondria.

Researchers from Brigham Young University in Utah studied 20 adult volunteers who had not participated in regular exercise in the three months prior to the study. The research team applied two hours of shortwave diathermy — a type of heat therapy generated by electrical pulses — to the thigh muscles of one leg of each person every day. The researchers based the six-day trial of heat on the minimum amount of exercise needed to measure changes in muscle, or about two hours each day. They designed the treatment to mimic the effects of muscle heating that occurs during exercise. The therapy sessions increased the temperature of the heated leg by approximately 7 degrees F. Each participant’s other leg served as a control, receiving no heat therapy or temperature change. The researchers looked at mitochondria content in the muscles on the first day of therapy and 24 hours after the last treatment.

Mitochondrial function increased by an average of 28 percent in the heated legs after the heat treatment. The concentration of several mitochondrial proteins also increased in the heated legs, which suggests that “in addition to improving function, [repeated exposure to heat] increased mitochondrial content in human skeletal muscle,” the research team wrote.

“Our data provide evidence to support further research into the mechanisms of heat-induced mitochondrial adaptations,” the researchers explained. People who are not able to exercise for long periods of time due to their health may benefit from [heat] treatments.

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Materials provided by American Physiological Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Seared Tilapia With Lemony Wild Rice and Spinach

Seared Tilapia With Lemony Wild Rice and Spinach

Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients
  • 2 tilapia fillets (skinless, about 4 ounces each)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2cups cooked wild rice
  • 3cups packed baby spinach
  • Pinch of lemon zest
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
Directions
  1. Pat fish dry with paper towels and season on all sides with salt and pepper.

  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. When oil is hot, add fish. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 4 minutes, until underside is browned and fish is opaque around the edges but still raw in the center. Carefully flip and cook 2 minutes more, until fish is cooked throughout. Carefully remove fish from skillet and set aside on a plate.

  3. Wipe out skillet and return to medium heat. then reduce heat to medium and cook 2 minutes more. Carefully flip salmon and cook to desired doneness (for a 1 1/2-inch thick fillet, about 2 minutes for medium rare, 5 minutes for well done.) Remove from skillet and set aside.

  4. Return skillet to medium heat and add remaining tablespoon olive oil. Add farro and spinach, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted and farro is heated through. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice.

  5. Serve fish over spinach-rice mixture.

Nutrition Per Serving

407 calories
17 g fat (3 g saturated)
38 g carbs
2 g sugar
4 g fiber
28 g protein

Roasted Fennel, Tomatoes, and White Beans With Parmesan

Roasted Fennel, Tomatoes, and White Beans With Parmesan

Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients
  • 2 small bulbs fennel, each cut in 8 wedges
  • 1pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2ounces Parmesan, shredded
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 400° and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

  2. On the lined sheet pan, toss fennel and tomato with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast 25 minutes.

  3. Add white beans and basil to sheet pan and toss, then spread mixture evenly and roast 10 minutes more, until fennel is browned in places, tomatoes are very soft, and beans are warm.

  4. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. Serve topped with Parmesan.

Nutrition Per Serving

455 calories
19 g fat (8 g saturated)
54 g carbs
19 g sugar
18 g fiber
24 g protein

Medication Errors: Cut Your Risk With These Tips

Medication errors refer to mistakes in prescribing, dispensing, and giving medications. They injure hundreds of thousands of people every year in the United States. Yet most medication errors can be prevented. How can you protect yourself and your family?

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of a medication error is to take an active role in your own health care. Learn about the medications you take—including possible side effects. Never hesitate to ask questions or share concerns with your doctor, pharmacist and other health care providers.

What exactly are medication errors?

Medication errors are preventable events due to the inappropriate use of medications. Medication errors that cause harm are called preventable adverse drug events. If a medication error occurred, but didn’t hurt anyone, it’s called a potential adverse drug event.

An example of a medication error is taking an over-the-counter product that contains acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) when you’re already taking a prescription pain medicine that contains this exact ingredient. This mistake could cause you to take more than the recommended dose of acetaminophen, putting yourself at risk of liver damage.

Another example of a possible medication error is taking a depression medication called fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) with a migraine drug called sumatriptan (Imitrex). Both medicines affect levels of a brain chemical called serotonin. Taking them together may lead to a potentially life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of the dangerous drug interaction include confusion, agitation, rapid heartbeat, and increased body temperature, among others.

How do medication errors happen?

Medication errors can happen to anyone in any place, including your own home and at the doctor’s office, hospital, pharmacy, and senior living facility. Kids are especially at high risk for medication errors because they typically need different drug doses than adults.

Knowing what you’re up against can help you play it safe. The most common causes of medication errors are:

  • Poor communication between your doctors
  • Poor communication between you and your doctors
  • Drug names that sound alike and medications that look alike
  • Medical abbreviations

Know how to prevent medication errors.

Knowledge is your best defense. If you don’t understand something your doctor says, ask for an explanation. Whenever you start a new medication, make sure you know the answers to these questions:

  • What is the brand or generic name of the medication?
  • What is the medication supposed to do? How long will it be until I see results?
  • What is the dose? How long should I take it?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • What should I do if I accidentally take more than the recommended dose?
  • Are there any foods, drinks, other medications, or activities I should avoid while taking this medicine?
  • What are the possible side effects? What should I do if they occur?
  • Will this new medication interfere with my other medication(s)? If so, how?

Your doctor can help prevent medication errors by using a computer to enter and print (or digitally send) any prescription details, instead of hand writing one.

Participate in medication reconciliation.

Asking questions is essential, but it isn’t enough. Your health care providers can follow a process called medication reconciliation to significantly decrease your risk of medication errors.

Medication reconciliation is a safety strategy that involves comparing the list of medications your health care provider currently has with the list of medications you are currently taking. This process is done to avoid medication errors such as:

  • Missing medications (omissions)
  • Duplicate medications
  • Dosing errors
  • Drug interactions

Medication reconciliation should be done at every transition of care in which new medications are ordered or existing orders are rewritten. Transitions in care include changes in setting (such as being admitted or discharged from the hospital), health care provider, or level of care.

Sharing your most up-to-date information with your health care providers gives the clearest picture of your condition and helps avoid medication mistakes.

Here’s what you need to tell your health care providers:

  • The name and strength of all medications you’re taking and when you take them, including prescription medications, herbs, vitamins, nutritional supplements, over-the-counter drugs, vaccines, and anything received intravenously, including diagnostic and contrast agents, radioactive medications, feeding tube supplements, and blood products
  • Any medications that you’re allergic to or that have caused problems for you in the past
  • Whether you have any chronic or serious health problems
  • If you might be pregnant or you’re trying to become pregnant

Avoid these mistakes.

The following medication errors have happened to some people. Don’t make these same mistakes:

  • Confusing eardrops and eyedrops. Always double-check the label. If a medication says “otic,” it’s for the ears. If it says “ophthalmic,” it’s for the eyes.
  • Chewing nonchewables. Don’t assume chewing a pill is as good as swallowing it. Some medications should never be chewed, cut, or crushed. Doing so may change how they’re absorbed by the body.
  • Cutting up pills. Never split pills unless your doctor or pharmacist has told you it’s safe to do so. Some medications shouldn’t be cut because they’re specially coated to be long acting or to protect the stomach.
  • Using the wrong spoon. The spoons in your silverware drawer aren’t measuring spoons. To get an accurate dose, use an oral syringe (available at pharmacies) or the dose cup that came with the medication.

Make safety a habit.

Get into the habit of playing it safe with these medication tips:

  • Keep an up-to-date list of all your medications, including nonprescription drugs and supplements.
  • Store medications in their original labeled containers.
  • Keep your medications organized by using a pillbox or an automatic pill dispenser.
  • Save the information sheets that come with your medications.
  • Use the same pharmacy, if possible, for all of your prescriptions.
  • When you pick up a prescription, check that it’s the one your doctor ordered.
  • Don’t give your prescription medication to someone else and don’t take someone else’s.

A final word on medication errors

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is never a smart policy when it comes to medications and your health. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or to tell your health care providers if anything seems amiss. Remember, you’re the final line of defense against medication errors.

If despite your efforts you have problems with a medication, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about whether to report it to MedWatch—the Food and Drug Administration safety and adverse event reporting program. Reporting to MedWatch is easy, confidential and secure—and it can help save others from being harmed by medication errors.

Updated: 2017-08-19

Publication Date: 2009-10-16

These Are the Foods That Cause the Most Illnesses, the CDC Says

If all the produce-related food recalls this summer have you giving your local grocery store salad bar the side eye, that’s completely fair. But, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are plenty of other foods you should be more concerned about.

A new surveillance report released by the CDC analyzed the causes of foodborne disease outbreaks between 2009 and 2015.

The researchers found 5,760 outbreaks that caused 100,939 illnesses, 5,699 hospitalizations, and 145 deaths in the U.S. during that time. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported outbreaks. (An outbreak is defined as two or more cases of a similar illness that happens after people eat a common food, the CDC says. So if you get sick after leaving your plate of potato salad out in the heat for too long, it doesn’t qualify.)

The foods that were most often implicated in outbreaks were:

  • Fish (17 percent of all outbreaks)
  • Dairy (11 percent of all outbreaks)
  • Chicken (10 percent of all outbreaks)

But some foods were more likely to cause outbreak-related illnesses. Those were:

  • Chicken (12 percent of cases)
  • Pork (10 percent of cases)
  • Seeded vegetables (10 percent of cases)

Some foodborne illnesses are more worrying than others. But the most common one isn’t usually serious.

The researchers also found that norovirus was responsible for 38 percent of the outbreaks, salmonella was responsible for another 30 percent, and shiga toxin-producing escherichia coli (STEC) was implicated in 6 percent. Other causes (including campylobacter, clostridium perfringens, scombroid toxin, ciguatoxin, staphylococcus aureus, vibrio parahaemolyticus, and listeria monocytogenes) were all responsible for 5 percent or fewer outbreaks.

As SELF wrote previously, norovirus is a contagious illness that affects the gastrointestinal tract and tends to cause classic food poisoning symptoms, like vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea that lasts for about three days. Although it’s common (especially in confined spaces like cruise ships), most healthy adults are able to recover from a norovirus infection without extensive treatment—they just need to stay hydrated and get some quality rest.

When it comes to the bacteria most likely to cause serious illnesses (including hospitalizations, deaths, outbreak-associated illnesses), the top offenders were listeria, salmonella, and STEC. In fact, salmonella and listeria have been finding their way into many foods that weren’t considered a risk in the past, like cereal, crackers, and peanuts, which is especially concerning, Darin Detwiler, Ph.D., director of the Regulatory Affairs of Food and Food Industries program at Northeastern University, tells SELF.

In most healthy adults, many foodborne illnesses will be uncomfortable but temporary annoyances. However, for those who have other health issues, they can be incredibly serious and even deadly. Those who are most susceptible are people who are immunocompromised, including people with HIV, those who are undergoing chemotherapy, very young children whose immune systems haven’t developed yet, pregnant women, and elderly people, food safety expert Felicia Wu, Ph.D., a professor at Michigan State University, tells SELF.

You shouldn’t panic over this report, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Interestingly, the CDC report revealed that, in cases where health officials could actually pinpoint an original source of an outbreak, 61 percent of the outbreaks were traced back to restaurants, while only 12 percent started in private homes. Among those restaurants, sit-down dining style restaurants were the most commonly reported type of restaurant behind an outbreak, followed by catering or banquet halls, and schools. The places with the largest number of illnesses per outbreak were schools, while restaurants had the smallest number of illnesses per outbreak.

“The findings highlight the continued need for compliance with guidelines that exclude ill and recovering food workers, prohibit bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, and ensure appropriate hand washing,” lead study author Daniel Dewey-Mattia, M.P.H., an epidemiologist with the CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, tells SELF.

“When we prepare food at home, we have much more control over the food’s safety,” Wu says. Based on the results of the report, preparing your own food at home really could lower your risk of contracting a foodborne illness, she says. When it comes to preparing your foods at home, using good food safety practices like washing your hands before preparing food, cooking foods to a safe internal temperature, and separating raw meats and poultry from ready-to-eat foods like fruits and veggies can make a big difference, Dewey-Mattia says.

So, you don’t need to worry too much about foodborne illnesses, but you can be smart about avoiding them. “Just as we say to our children to look both ways before crossing the street every time…we need to start talking about food safety as if it is something we need to prioritize every time,” Detwiler says. “Nobody is immune.”

Related:

Heatstroke: First Aid

Heatstroke occurs when your body temperature rises rapidly and you’re unable to cool down. It can be life-threatening by causing damage to your brain and other vital organs. It may be caused by strenuous activity in the heat or by being in a hot place for too long.

Heatstroke can occur without any previous heat-related condition, such as heat exhaustion. Heatstroke signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever of 104 F (40 C) or greater
  • Changes in mental status or behavior, such as confusion, agitation, slurred speech
  • Hot, dry skin or heavy sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flushed skin
  • Rapid pulse
  • Rapid breathing
  • Headache
  • Fainting, which may be the first sign in older adults

Seek emergency medical care

If you suspect heatstroke, call 911 or your local emergency number. Then immediately move the person out of the heat and cool him or her by whatever means available, for example:

  • Put the person in a cool tub of water or a cool shower.
  • Spray with a garden hose.
  • Sponge with cool water.
  • Fan while misting with cool water.
  • Place ice packs or cool wet towels on the neck, armpits, and groin.
  • Cover with cool damp sheets.

Let the person drink cool water or other nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine, if he or she is able.

Begin CPR if the person loses consciousness and shows no signs of circulation, such as breathing, coughing, or movement.

Updated: 2015-03-31

Publication Date: 2015-03-31

As a Woman in Recovery, the Term ‘Beauty Junkie’ Bothers Me

Google “beauty addict” and you’ll find articles listing the ways you know you’re literally addicted to makeup. Signs include having 12 different tubes of the same shade, painting your nails every other day, and being the one all of your friends go to for makeup advice.

Wait, you’re an addict and you still have friends?

Did your love of lipstick cause you to alienate your loved ones, get fired from your job, or land in the hospital? Do you wake up in the morning in a stranger’s bed with no recollection of the previous night, shaking and vomiting because of your eyeshadow addiction? I ask all these questions because I am a beauty writer and licensed professional manicurist. I also happen to be an addict in recovery—I recently celebrated nine years clean and sober.

I became a manicurist with the help of a vocational rehabilitation program that enables unemployed people with substance misuse issues to pursue job and career training. Career-wise, I’m a late bloomer. Getting sober saved my life, and gave me the chance to start over. I shared my journey of recovery in an essay for a women’s website, which eventually led to a second vocation as a freelance writer.

When I started writing regularly about beauty news and the industry, I realized I had to draw a hard bottom line. I established a boundary with my editors: I will never use the terms “addict,” “addiction,” “junkie,” or any variations to describe a product, service, or routine. The sites I write for respect my choice, and in many cases have stopped using the phrases altogether. But the media is only one part of the puzzle. This type of language has become common in beauty culture.

Check the Instagram hashtags for #beautyaddict. Millions of hits. (Pun intended?) Popular blogs, influencers, and businesses have incorporated these words into their names. Many major brands use the terms as part of their advertising and in product names. If you’re not looking for it, you won’t even notice.

Urban Decay’s tagline is “beauty with an edge.” The company hit the scene in the ’90s as a rebellious response to the era’s tame pinks and beiges. Urban Decay’s rewards program is called UD Beauty Junkies and offers perks based on points accumulated by spending. Copy on the site encourages consumers to “Get higher and higher,” and reminds them to “Get the most out of your addiction.” (Urban Decay declined to comment.)

Smith & Cult takes a slightly softer approach. The inspiration for the brand’s edgy-yet-elegant nail, eye, and lip products is a “beauty-addicted heroine who sees her world through a lens of color.” I asked Smith & Cult co-founders Jeanne Chavez and Dineh Mohajer about their use of the terms:

“Smith & Cult’s concept of ‘Diary of a Beauty Junkie’ comes with a long history of the working relationship between (us). Having collaborated for twenty plus years on multiple beauty brands we have formed a dynamic and a language that to others may need translation. First and foremost, the term ‘junkie’ was always tongue in cheek to us, it was ironic and not meant to be taken literally. However, we did see some comparisons with our wholesome obsession with all things beauty, health, art, music, fashion, architecture that led us to the play on addiction. ‘Diary of a Beauty Junkie’ is purely referring to our history and infatuation with anything that inspires us to the point of preoccupation.”

Dior carries a line of fragrances and lip products called “Dior Addict.” The ad for the products features a young, pleasure-seeking woman walking into a club and wearing bold makeup. (We reached out to Dior multiple times for comment.)

Creating a craving and an immediate desire is the oldest advertising trick in the book. Sometimes we can feel a love and need for a product that might feel like an addiction. In the case of skin-care or other therapeutic products, we may even develop something of a psychological dependency—believing that the body requires the product to function optimally.

Titillating terminology and racy phrasing contribute to the appeal. Reading these words certainly doesn’t trigger me to the point of relapse, but it occasionally makes me feel sad and dismissed. (I imagine someone with a psychiatric diagnosis might feel similarly hearing a person without one say, “I’m so ADHD right now” or “I’m being OCD.”)

Sarah Chipps, Psy.D., a psychologist in New York City, described how the terms could affect or trigger people in recovery:

“Describing someone as an addict of anything implies a physiological dependence on an external object not generally necessary for life. For an addict of drugs, including alcohol, this is a desperate and desolate place to exist, not to be confused with taking interest in a vacuous hobby,” she tells SELF. “More than triggering I would say that misuse of the word addict or junkie in the media can lead to people dependent on drugs feeling invalidated, misunderstood, and consequently isolated from the general community.”

I grew up in West Virginia, where so many of my friends have fallen victim to the opioid crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 115 Americans die from opioid overdoses every day. Addiction is a deadly epidemic and should be treated as seriously as cancer or heart disease—but it’s still the butt of so many jokes and hyperbolic marketing.

In the future, I hope that beauty brands and publications can reconsider their vocabulary, or maybe even make a commitment to phase out the language (like how some women’s magazines have stopped saying “anti-aging” or “bikini body”). I do think it’s important to speak on the topic of invisible illnesses and mental health issues. Using terms like “addict” and “junkie” lightly doesn’t accomplish anything but to further obfuscate a dire problem. What if they used their platforms on glossy pages and billboards and store shelves and launched campaigns to raise money for people struggling with recovery, or to help fight the stigma of addiction? Wouldn’t that be beautiful?

[Editor’s note: This publication has used these terms occasionally in the past; we won’t moving forward.]

Michelle Williams Shares Her Advice for Those Going Through a Mental Health Crisis

Just two weeks after announcing that she “sought help from a great team of healthcare professionals,” Michelle Williams, former Destiny’s Child member, posted some valuable advice on Instagram for others who may be in the midst of a mental health crisis.

She began by thanking everyone for the support she received after her last Instagram post.

“Thank you ALL sooooooooooooooo much for every message of love and support sent! My family, friends and fiancé have been AWESOME!” she wrote. “Sitting here reflecting on the past two weeks. I had no plans of what I was going through being public BUT now that it is I have a made an even BIGGER commitment to the mental health awareness area.”

“So many people are suffering, hurting, hopeless, lost and don’t see a way out but there is,” she continued. “Depression sucks, but my faith in God and my commitment to doing the work to stay well is my way out!”

Williams then shared some self-care tips, like taking care of basic hygiene, which she acknowledged can sometimes be difficult for people who are dealing with severe mental illnesses.

“You have to do the work even when you’re tired and feel the heaviness. Take one step at a time! Don’t overwhelm yourself,” she wrote. “If you can just get up out the bed and brush your teeth and shower…..DO IT. For people dealing with depression , that is a HUGE step! Now don’t be depressed AND stinky…..pick a struggle! 🤣 (y’all know I had to add some humor).”

As SELF wrote previously, self-care often looks quite different for people dealing with mental illnesses than the bubble baths and nights in with Netflix that we’ve come to associate with the phrase. Although those things absolutely may help some people, others find that self-care involves taking care of more basic tasks, including brushing your teeth, preparing food, and keeping up therapy appointments.

One way to go about accomplishing those tasks is to write down everything you need to do in a day and, as Williams says, it helps to “pick a struggle” and try to accomplish just one thing at a time. Although you might only get one or two things done at first, the goal is to gradually increase the amount of tasks you’re able to cross off the list as time goes on.

“Anyhoo…..I love you all very much! Talk soon! ❤️ (yes I need a fill and my roots need to be flat ironed….bye…..I haven’t lost my humor),” Williams finished her post. “Oh……Miss Tina cooked a HUGE meal for me the other night too, I just wanted to make y’all jealous! 🤷🏽‍♀️”

Related:

Smaller plates don’t help you eat less when you’re hungry, research finds

Tricking the brain into eating less by serving food on a smaller plate doesn’t necessarily work, according a new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers, who found that when people are food-deprived, they’re more likely to identify a portion size accurately, no matter how it is served.

The new study, published in Appetite, debunks the popular diet trick based on the Delbouef illusion that predicts people will identify sizes differently when they are placed within a larger or smaller object. The classic experiment shows that people perceive a similar black circle is smaller when it embedded in a larger circle than when it is embedded in a smaller one.

“Plate size doesn’t matter as much as we think it does,” says Dr. Tzvi Ganel, head of the Laboratory for Visual Perception and Action in BGU’s Department of Psychology. “Even if you’re hungry and haven’t eaten, or are trying to cut back on portions, a serving looks similar whether it fills a smaller plate or is surrounded by empty space on a larger one.”

In the first study to examine the way food deprivation affects perception of food in different contexts, Dr. Ganel and BGU Ph.D. student Noa Zitron-Emanuel found that people who hadn’t eaten for at least three hours were more likely to identify the proportions of pizza placed on larger and smaller trays correctly than people who had eaten recently.

This only worked when it applied to food. Both groups were similarly inaccurate when asked to compare the size of black circles and hubcaps placed within different sized circles. According to the researchers, this indicates that hunger stimulates stronger analytic processing that is not as easily fooled by the illusion.

“Over the last decade, restaurants and other food businesses have been using progressively smaller dishes to conform to the perceptual bias that it will reduce food consumption,” says Dr. Ganel. “This study debunks that notion. When people are hungry, especially when dieting, they are less likely to be fooled by the plate size, more likely to realize they are eating less and more prone to overeating later.”

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Materials provided by American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.