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Lady Gaga shares open letter about living with PTSD

After a "Today" show interview in which Lady Gaga revealed that she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, the 30-year-old pop singer wrote an open letter to detail what it's like to live with the disorder. 

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Gaga, who alluded to being sexually assaulted at the age of 19 during a Howard Stern interview, said that now, years after she began experiencing mental changes and searching for answers about her trauma, she's ready to speak out.

"It is a daily effort for me ... to regulate my nervous system so that I don't panic over circumstances that to many would seem like normal life situations," she wrote.

Gaga said that leaving her house and being touched by strangers are basic actions that can cause her stress.  

"I also struggle with triggers from the memories I carry from my feelings of past years on tour when my needs and requests for balance were being ignored," she wrote, detailing an experience in which she felt overworked during an event.

It wasn't just sexual assault that led to my complex PTSD. I have prolonged repetitive traumas over the course of my career. #ShareKindness Greg Williams PhotographyPosted by Lady Gaga on Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The "Til It Happens to You" singer also said she suffers from dissociation, which causes her to "look off and ... stare."

"My mind doesn't want to relive the pain .... As my doctors have taught me, I cannot express my feelings because my pre-frontal cortex (the part of the brain that controls logical, orderly thought) is overridden by the amygdala (which stores emotional memory) and sends me into a fight or flight response," she wrote. "My body is in one place and my mind in another. It's like the panic accelerator in my mind gets stuck and I am paralyzed with fear."

Gaga said that when she experiences dissociation, she can't speak or function normally. 

"It's harder to do my job. It's harder to do simple things like take a shower. Everything has become harder," she wrote. 

But despite the daily battle, Gaga said she will work to maintain her mental health. She wrote that she undergoes psychotherapy and takes prescribed medication.

"However, I believe that the most inexpensive and perhaps the best medicine in the world is words," she wrote.

Gaga, who pointed out that PTSD affects more than just those who have served in armed forces, co-founded the Born This Way Foundation with her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, in 2012. The organization is committed to supporting mental health wellness, empowering young people and encouraging them to spread kindness.

"I am a strong and powerful woman who is aware of the love I have around me from my team, my family and friends, my doctors and from my incredible fans who I know will never give up on me," she wrote. "I will never give up on my dreams of art and music. I am continuing to learn how to transcend this because I know I can. If you relate to what I am sharing, please know that you can too ... No one’s invisible pain should go unnoticed."

Read the full letter at Born This Way Foundation

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.8";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> I wrote a letter sharing my experience w/ PTSD. I want 2 help others understand what it is + how to get or give helpPosted by Lady Gaga on Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Uh-Oh, Shaving Your Pubic Hair Could Put You at Risk for Getting an STI

When it comes to grooming down there, the choice to shave, wax, or go full bush seems to be nothing more than personal preference. But a new study found that people who shave or wax their nether regions have a 75 percent higher risk of developing an STI. Trimming your pubic hair can cause microtears in your skin—easy spots for bacteria and viruses to get into your system. (A lovely image, we know.) But before you freak out, there's an important caveat. Most people—two in three men and four in five women—tidy up their pubic hair. And the people in the study who groomed reported having sex more often, which also increases the risk of contracting an STI. One thing the study didn't look at? Condom usage, which just so happens to be one of the easiest ways to lower your risk of getting an STI. So practice safe sex (duh) and maybe cut back on waxing and shaving.

7 Dairy-Free Eggnog Recipes That Aren't Just Holiday Milkshakes

If you had one sip of eggnog 10 years ago and proclaimed it disgusting, lemme finish. While real-deal eggnog is thick and rich, omitting the cream and eggs (yes, we get the irony) is actually the key to nailing this drink. These dairy-free nogs and nog-based eats are the quickest way to feel festive during the so-called most wonderful time of the year. Not feeling so holly-jolly this season? We love this blogger's advice on how to get through the holidays: “It’s at the bottom of a glass filled with eggnog and straight up brandy. Drink up.” 1. Vegan Almond Eggnog The easiest dairy-free eggnog recipe is right here (you’re welcome): Simply mix almond milk, light coconut milk, maple syrup, and spices in a saucepan, then reduce until slightly thickened. Serve with cookies and friends on the side. 2. Vegan Eggnog Ice Cream Sandwiches Soaked cashews and mushy ripe bananas make a thick base for this nog ice cream. While a triple scoop will get the job done, why not smash that spiced ice cream between two freshly baked gingersnap cookies? Why not, indeed. 3. Vegan Nog Pie For those who’d rather slice into their nog, listen up: Grab a bottle of vegan eggnog and turn it into custard pie (hell to the yeah!). Since this is a cold custard, the filled pie doesn’t have to be baked—however, make sure you let the pie chill for a full 12 hours before throwing it in the freezer for its final firming stage. We promise it’s worth the wait. 4. Vegan Banana Eggnog Pancakes We can’t think of a winter breakfast more festive than these eggnog pancakes. Sweet with bananas (and your favorite vegan eggnog, duh), we think the best way to enjoy these pancakes is to make as many batches as we have eggnog recipes. Brb, we're heating up the griddle. 5. Vegan Pecan Eggnog Raw vegan... eggnog? Oh yes, it’s possible. Plus, this version takes about 30 seconds from ingredients to sip. Blend rich pecans with fat dates, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Extra points if you use a cinnamon stick as a straw. 6. Coconut and Cashew Eggnog For an uber-creamy dairy-free eggnog, soak cashews overnight until soft. Blend with rich coconut milk, maple syrup, and dates—and a pinch of salt to balance all that cream and sweet. Add a three-second pour of brandy, and you’re good to go. 7. Vegan Eggnog Steel-Cut Oats Eggnog for breakfast? Yes please! Mix your favorite eggnog recipe into a pan of nutty steel-cut oats, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Cook until creamy, then serve with your favorite oatmeal toppings—and another glug of eggnog, obviously.

29 Easy Recipes to Help You Stick to Your Healthy-Eating Resolutions

'Tis the season for stuffing our faces. Whether it’s with a few extra slices of pie here or several celebratory glasses of wine there, we all know the feeling. And while there shouldn’t be any guilt for enjoying it all, there’s no denying that those little indulgences can add up to a sluggish start to the new year. But instead of taking extreme measures that are destined to fall flat, like boycotting carbs or counting every last calorie (there’s a reason 80 percent of health and fitness-related New Year’s resolutions don’t last beyond the first month!), here are 29 more realistic—and more fun—ways to get back on track: I'm talking about simple, sensible meals that require just five main ingredients (or less), making it even easier to stick to your healthy-eating plan come January. Beef/Pork 1. Breakfast Sausage Egg Cups With Spinach and Parmesan Photo: Kevin is Cooking Cook once, eat all week—aren’t those the best kinds of recipes? Packed with spinach, cheese, and sourdough, these muffin versions of scrambled eggs and toast save you from dirtying dishes every morning and provide a complete, balanced breakfast that’s portable too. 2. 5-Ingredient Italian Sausage and Kale Baked Ziti Photo: Gimme Some Oven If you’re going to use only five ingredients to make a meal, making sure cheese, sausage, and pasta are three of them is a good start. In the absence of tomato sauce, kale lends the dish its veggie component, while lots of garlic is really all you need for extra flavor. 3. Thai Peanut Beef Photo: Le Creme De La Crumb When peanut butter is involved, you don’t really need much else, which is why it takes only three other ingredients to make a fantastically flavorful sauce for beef strips. Unlike other super-sweet peanut sauces, this one calls for just a tablespoon of brown sugar, while Sriracha gives it a spicy kick. 4. Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos Photo: A Cedar Spoon Even with the addition of tortillas (or lettuce wraps, or your other taco vehicle of choice), this recipe clocks in at just five main ingredients. Plus, the slow-cooker method means that you don’t have to be around to babysit the beef as it simmers down to shreddable tenderness. 5. Honey Dijon Roasted Pork Tenderloin Photo: The Seasoned Mom Tenderloin might be one of the leanest cuts of pork, but when it’s slathered in a homemade honey-mustard sauce and roasted, getting crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, it tastes totally decadent. Oh, and it needs only five minutes of prep before the oven does the actual cooking. 6. Shredded Crock-Pot Roast Beef With Pumpkin and Salsa Photo: Food Faith Fitness Healthy conveniences such as canned pumpkin and ready-made salsa make up most of the ingredients in this shredded beef recipe, making prep time a cinch. Throw everything in the Crock-Pot to make the cooking process just as easy. 7. Slow Cooker Apple Butter Pork Chops Photo: Honest Cooking This recipe takes a fruity but buttery pork chop dinner from stove to table in just 15 minutes. No-sugar-added applesauce and caramelized onions give the meat just enough sweetness, and whole-grain mustard adds just enough zing. See? Making a healthy meal is possible even when you’re short on time! 8. 5-Ingredient Chorizo Spaghetti Squash Pasta Photo: Hold the Grain Light strands of spaghetti squash balance out the richness of chorizo, while soaking in the flavors from the tomato and basil sauce. It may be lower in carbs, but the dish still makes you feel like you’re digging into a hearty pile of pasta. Poultry 9. 5-Ingredient Chicken Feta Pasta Photo: Well Plated From the fettuccini to the herby tomato sauce, all the ingredients in this light but filling dish cook in a single pan (yay for easy cleanup)! Plus, each serving provides an impressive 19 grams of protein and six grams of fiber; how’s that for a well-balanced dish? 10. 5-Ingredient Caprese Chicken Photo: Seasonal Cravings Who says only salads can get the caprese treatment? The tomato, basil, and mozzarella combo tastes just as good on top of chicken—don’t forget the balsamic drizzle! 11. Mango Chicken Breakfast Sausage Photo: Heart Beet Kitchen Little chunks of mango are like sweet surprises between the savory bites of chicken in these adorable mini patties. Pile them on a bed of greens for a light meal that comes together in just 20 minutes. 12. Rockin’ 5-Ingredient Sweet Potato Turkey Chili Photo: Heart Beet Kitchen Many chilis require a ton of ingredients (not to mention a lot of time chopping all those veggies). This one strips the comfort food recipe down to its bare essentials—but packed with sweet potatoes, black beans, and ground turkey, it’s as hearty as ever. 13. 5-Ingredient Turkey Meatballs Photo: Real Food Whole Life Using almond flour instead of bread crumbs for binding, these turkey meatballs aren’t just lean and protein packed, they’re also gluten-free. Chopped peppers thrown into the mix give them a burst of color along with added vitamins. Eat them any way you like your meatballs. 14. 5-Ingredient Lemon Yogurt Marinated Chicken Photo: Ambitious Kitchen Most marinades require hours of soaking time, but this one has so many tangy, spicy flavors from the Greek yogurt and lemon juice that the chicken needs to sit in it for as little as 20 minutes. Quick and easy, it goes perfectly with pretty much any side dish, from rice to salad. Seafood 15. Honey Garlic Shrimp Skillet Photo: The Cooking Jar When you’re working with a literal handful of ingredients, you’ve got to make them count. Ginger, garlic, honey, and soy sauce are all definitely bold enough flavors—use them as a sauce for shrimp, and you won’t need anything else. 16. Honey Mustard Pecan-Crusted Salmon Photo: Joyful Healthy Eats Crusted fish of any kind sounds complicated, but this recipe, which calls for just five ingredients and fewer than 20 minutes, is anything but. Super healthy and super elegant, this one’s a keeper for both busy weeknights and weekend entertaining. 17. Mediterranean Tuna Salad Photo: A Clean Bake This salad may look like it’s got a long ingredient list, but trust us—there are just five main components, and the rest are spices you’re likely to have lying around already. Even better is the fact that there’s literally no cooking involved. Just toss everything in a bowl, mix thoroughly, and call it lunch or dinner. 18. 5-Ingredient Baked Cod Photo: The Scrumptious Pumpkin Garlic and sage together make a pretty dynamic duo. Put them on thick pieces of cod and let the oven work its magic. Just 20 minutes later, you’ll be digging into a perfectly flaky and herby fish dinner. 19. Shrimp Salad With Zucchini Noodles, Lemon, Garlic, and Feta Cheese Photo: Mother Rimmy If end-of-year indulgences leave you feeling kind of blah, pick yourself back up with a meal full of protein and fresh produce, like this one. Spiralized zucchini, shrimp, and low-fat feta are topped with a no-cook sauce of olive oil and lemon for a dish that’s a refreshing antidote to all the heavy holiday fare. 20. Orange Maple Salmon Photo: Nutritioulicious If you’ve never tried pairing fish with fruity flavors, start easy with this recipe. Just a tablespoon of fresh orange juice goes a long way toward giving the salmon a sweet, citrusy tang without being overpowering. 21. Quick and Easy Sumptuous Salmon Photo: No Gojis No Glory Who wouldn’t give a recipe with a title like this a shot? It’s not all talk either—pan-cooked and topped with a sauce made from chili paste, soy sauce, and honey, this salmon is fast, simple, and sumptuous indeed. Meatless 22. Kale Butternut Squash Salad Photo: Stephanie Sain Here’s a recipe that proves it doesn’t take much to make healthy eating easy. Toss in some cranberries, roasted veggies, and some crumbled cheese, and even people who scoff at salads will want in on it. 23. Easy Swiss Chard Stir-Fry Photo: Omnivore's Dilemma Stir-fries are fast and easy by definition, but many involve chopping lots of veggies and complicated sauces. This one is on a whole other level of simple, using just Swiss chard and garlic and calling for a mere five minutes of cooking time. Speediest stir-fry ever. 24. Vegan Roasted Tomato Pasta With Garlic and Basil Photo: Cilantro and Citronella When pasta isn’t doused in creamy sauce, it can most definitely help you get your healthy eating on. Take this spaghetti recipe—tossed with lots of fresh cherry tomatoes, garlic, and basil in a light olive oil base, it’s highly unlikely to send you into a food coma. 25. Roasted Potato Salad With Dijon Vinaigrette Photo: Dinner Then Dessert Potato salad isn’t just for picnics! Here’s a healthy version, best served warm. The spuds are baked instead of boiled, while the dressing swaps out the mayo for olive oil, and the addition of chopped red peppers give the dish a welcome pop of color. 26. 5-Ingredient Vegetable Frittata Photo: Sweet Phi Fair game for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, frittatas are the ultimate convenience meal. This one goes classic with cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and peppers, but really, go with the veggies you have on hand. After all, the beauty of a frittata is its versatility. 27. 5-Ingredient Mexican Quinoa Photo: Simply Quinoa Canned beans and corn plus a jar of salsa (check out our favorite all-natural brands!) help dress up this quinoa dish in just 15 minutes. Stir it all on the stovetop, and it’s ready for serving. Putting a hot meal on the table doesn’t get much easier than that. 28. Healthy Kale and Quinoa Bowl Photo: Kara Lydon Even counting the cooking time for the quinoa, this recipe comes together in fewer than 30 minutes. Plus, there are really only three main components here, leaving you room to toss in slivered nuts or cheese and still come in under the five-ingredient mark. 29. Cauliflower and Tofu Curry Photo: Infinite Balance Craving Thai curry but not in the mood to shop for (or cook with) all the ingredients it requires? Don’t deprive yourself; just make this. Red curry paste is the main flavoring agent here, and just two tablespoons can make cauliflower and tofu taste like a dish straight from the streets of Bangkok.

Ikea expands paid parental leave to 4 months for US employees

Ikea announced on Tuesday that effective Jan. 1, it will offer a new parental leave policy in the U.S. for workers who are expanding their families, providing up to four months of paid leave.

This includes salaried and hourly workers, both mothers and fathers, and adoptive and foster parents. The company said the expanded policy was introduced to ensure employees have the opportunity to bond with their children and connect as a new family. 

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“At Ikea, we believe time with family and friends is so important for a healthy work-life balance and a happy and productive workforce.” said Lars Petersson, Ikea U.S. president. “This benefit, which applies to all parents, will give our co-workers the opportunity to spend more time with their families when welcoming a child. Our co-workers are our most important resource, which is why we continue to invest in helping them reach their dream.” 

CNN writes that the change in policy comes as other companies adjust their paternal leave policies in an effort to modernize workers' benefits and increase employee retention. Last year, Netflix began offering parents "unlimited" paid leave for a year. Other tech companies such as Adobe and Microsoft also have adjusted their parental benefits. 

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