Is Veganism Mainstream Now?

We remember a time when we didn’t even know how to pronounce the word “vegan,” and when many people around us didn’t even grasp the concept of what it meant to not consume any animal products. A favorite scene from that movie “My Big Fat Green Wedding” is when the bride-to-be is explaining to a family member that her fiance is vegetarian and then aunt offers up lamp as an option.

But things have changed. People are more health conscious, not just where their bodies are concerned, but also with the planet. No matter what your eating beliefs are, there’s been considerable evidence recently that reducing the amount of animal products in our diets not only makes us healthier but makes Earth a little healthier, too. With all of this press about veganism and weekday vegetarianism going on, it’s no wonder that many people in the public eye have been flirting with veganism.

Q&A With Fertility Expert, Dr. Michael Feinman

The following is the transcript of a 2011 Q and A session with re-known fertility doctor, Dr. Michael Feinman and the previous owner of this blog. Dr. Feinman is a doctor at the Huntington Fertility Clinic and he shared some insight which I think may be interesting.

Goodkin: How did you decide to go into the field of Fertility?
Dr. Michael Feinman: Oddly enough, I was pretty determined as a medical student, not to go into Ob-Gyn. This was not due to any negative feelings about women. Quite the contrary! It’s just that I had different ideas in mind when I decided to become a doctor. During my Ob-Gyn clerkship in the third year of medical school at UCLA, I first learned about what was happening in the field of reproductive endocrinology and I became excited at the possibility of entering a new field at “the ground level,” and being part of its early development. As my life has turned out, family life has been very important to me, so the ability to be a medical pioneer and help people have children has proved to be a double blessing for me.

GK: After X years of experience, what is the hardest part of your job?
MF: After 25 years of experience, clearly the hardest part of the job is telling women they are not pregnant, especially if they have undergone several procedures already.

GK: What about the most rewarding?
MF: Conversely, the most rewarding part of the job is telling a woman who has been trying for years that she is finally pregnant. This can be particularly intense in the third-party parenting arena, where women may have been going through occasionally misguided treatment for years.

GK: What is the average age of your patients? Has it gone up in the last ten years?
MF: The average age of our patients is around 37. While it is hard to say if the actual average has gone up, it does seem like there are more women past the biological age of childbearing looking to have children.

GK: When people come to you, they are generally in a state of desperation. How can you help them emotionally?
MF: Part of my belief in compassionate care is to be as honest as possible. Some women are so committed to a particular treatment plan, regardless of its possibility for success and I try to help them understand that a different approach may actually land a baby in their lap, thus reducing their state of desperation. This approach is not always appreciated, but I think it is important to help women make the best choices based on their situation, my experience, and what the medical literature shows. I also liberally encourage patients to work with counselors to help them learn the art of stress reduction.

GK: Being a western medicine guy, do you think things like acupuncture can really help increase fertility?
MF: I am very open-minded about alternative approaches. However, I do like to see evidence. Currently, the evidence for acupuncture is mixed but suggests that there is a modest 10% improvement in pregnancy rates for women who undergo this in conjunction with IVF. Other forms of stress reduction have also been shown to be helpful, so I support any treatment that reduces stress.

GK: What about gender selection? Is it the new craze in fertility treatments?  Can you tell us if people ask for girls or boys more?
MF: It is totally possible to select the gender of the child. Fortunately, this has not become a “craze” in the U.S. yet. Most people understand that a healthy baby is a blessing and do not care about the gender so much. Also, the majority of people are not that anxious to undergo the types of procedures that result in accurate gender selection. At HRC, we only offer these procedures to patients who already have a child of the opposite gender. We call this “family balancing,” instead of gender selection.

GK: You must come across a lot of non-traditional families in your profession, despite the diversity of the families what commonalities do you find?
MF: Regardless of “family type,” most of the people I have met and helped understand that loving and raising children in a nurturing environment is one of the most rewarding aspects of life.

GK: Have you ever declined to treat a patient. If so, why?
MF: I try not to be overly judgmental with patients. With divorce rates soaring, it is clear that the once typical Ozzie and Harriet family model often does not stay that way. People can have inappropriate desires and expectations regardless of their sexual orientation or marital status. I occasionally turn away patients when I feel strongly that they have come to a decision to have children for reasons that might not be beneficial for the welfare of the future offspring. Also, if there is a medical contraindication or danger to treatment, I will try to dissuade the person from proceeding.

The Things We Do for Fun

Someone gave me some flyers for a teen flash mob that was being held at the library this weekend. Flash mobs are cool. If you’ve never seen one, head over to youtube to check some out. I handed out the flyers to my students, thinking some of them would love to participate. But instead I got questions like:

“What’s it for?”

“Why are they doing it?”

“What’s the point?”

“What do we get out of it?”

Jeez. I was floored. “It’s just for fun,” I said. But that comment seemed to mystify the kids even more. Fun. Do kids today do anything just for fun? It seems they do things for a grade, or because it looks good on their transcripts, or for graduation credit, or to get into college, maybe because it will help their test scores, or for money, or fame, or some other reward. But fun? Fun seems to be a foreign concept to some kids. Why should anything be fun? School definitely isn’t fun – and they watch adults go to work every day where stress seems to outweigh fun.

So, what are we doing for fun? Laundry? What kind of example are we setting for our children? How can we fix this? Isn’t life supposed to be joyous? Like a flash mob?

I ended up taking my own kids to the library to be in the flash mob. Just for fun. And, no, none of my students showed up. But Sami and Cate loved it, and they got free pizza too. They even had fun.

And then they got a great piece of advice from the dance teacher: she said that even if they “mess up,” they should “just keep smiling. It’s great advice for life too – like when you get pulled over for speeding and the officer says, ‘You were going 75 miles per hour,’ you should just say, ‘Really?’ and keep smiling.”

The moral of this story is…smile. And now go do something just for fun, which will make you smile more. Leave a comment here to let me know what it is you do so I can try it too! I’d love to turn this into a list of things we do for fun.

10 Jobs For Stay At Home Moms

The last few years have taken a toll on everyone’s finances. Many stay-at-home moms are feeling the need to go back to work to supplement their family’s income, but dread the idea of leaving their children at costly daycare centers or with nannies who may not share their values.

One of the great things about the internet is that you can have a full time or part time job all from the comfort of your home, as long as you have a reliable internet connection. Sites such as Freelancer.com and Elance.com serve as a marketplace to to connect job seekers with providers.

In this post, I outline ten great jobs that will help stay-at-home moms start making money without having to delegate the precious task of raising their children to someone else.

  • Social Media Manager – Social media has rapidly become an essential part of any business’ customer service and marketing strategy. If you’re familiar with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you’re already well on your way to helping companies leverage the power of this medium to win and retain loyal clientele. Begin with businesses in your local area and plan to expand online once you’ve built a small portfolio of success stories and referrals.
  • Freelance Writer – All sorts of writing jobs can be found online. From writing blog posts, to ghostwriting eBooks, to creating business marketing materials of all types, these writing gigs and more are waiting for you. Online writing jobs will span the gamut from technical to creative and everything in between. If you’ve always had a facility with language and a love of the written word, you can easily build a business while working from home. Your ‘office’ is anywhere you choose to sit down with your laptop.
  • Virtual Assistant – There are many business owners who would love to hire an assistant, but don’t have the resources to hire someone for a full-time, in-office position. You can work from home as a receptionist or virtual assistant by simply connecting a telephone headset to your computer. No need to ever commute to an office again.
  • Internet (Affiliate) Marketer – Affiliate marketing is a burgeoning field wherein, while working from home at your computer, you can reap rewards limited only by your imagination and the time and effort you’re willing to invest. Internet marketing is, essentially, a process of researching and selecting a product that fulfills the interests of a particular niche. You then set up websites and blogs to sell that product online using a variety of techniques, including keyword research and search engine optimization. Each time someone clicks one of your links and then buys the product, you earn a commission. Get one product going and then repeat the process over and over. Once you become familiar with the process, it’s fun and easy to do.
  • Researcher – Lots of companies have a need for original content online. You don’t need to be an expert in any particular area, as you know how to locate relevant data using the Internet. If you’re capable of separating the desirable nuggets of information from the less credible information, you can be very successful as an online researcher.
  • Photographer – With the explosion of the Internet economy, there’s been a commensurate uptick in the need for good photography. While your first association when you hear the word ‘photography’ might be fine art photography, there are many other niches that you can fill with a digital camera. Real estate agents need your services, as do banks and mortgage companies. People who have goods to sell on Craigslist or eBay often have a need for better pictures than they’re capable of taking themselves. If you enjoy working with pets or babies, you could build a healthy business taking photos along those lines as well.
  • Elder Transportation – If you enjoy caring for the elderly, you could easily build a business around aiding seniors with their errands. From medical appointments to food shopping, there’s a whole generation out there who are no longer able to safely drive themselves around. If you have a reliable car, you could be just what they need!
  • Telemarketing – Telemarketing provides another great opportunity to work from home. You’ll be paid to telephone customers, sometimes to sell products and services and sometimes to set appointments for other salespeople to call later. If you have a technical background and have ever supported products remotely, you can also find employment doing online tech support. Another great opportunity for the at-home worker revolves around answering customer inquiries via email.
  • Event Planning – If you have a flair for creating beautiful occasions and enjoy helping others with their party planning, consider starting an event planning business. This area is ripe for specialization. Children’s birthday parties, corporate events, town celebrations and, yes, even weddings will all potentially have a need for your professional services.
  • Transcriptionist – For those who enjoy working with computers, are rapid and accurate typists and have a discerning ear, consider starting a career as a transcriptionist. You’ll be listening to recordings of conversations (consumer marketing firms frequently utilize the services of transcriptionists) and creating verbatim transcripts of what was said.