Artists With Special Needs Draw Hundreds to Wisconsin Auction

The average starting bid for Gavi Becker’s artwork was $50. Not bad for a fourth-grader.

The 10-year-old finds comfort in coloring with various tones of red, according to his mother, Miriam Becker, and he works in various mediums: coloring, painting, crafting. Gavi is able to express his creativity—and his Jewish pride—through Friendship Circle.

To support an organization that works so hard on behalf of children with special needs and their families, more than 200 people gathered at the rustic Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Bayside, Wis., on Jan. 25 for an inaugural event called “Art4Friendship.” The local Friendship Circle, an international Chabad-affiliated organization that pairs teenage volunteers and children with special needs, is a division of Lubavitch of Wisconsin.

The evening featured various types of art for sale created by children and adults with special needs, with ceramics, paintings and other pieces auctioned off to the highest bidders. A total of 75 items were up for sale—65 as part of a silent auction and 10 in a live auction that had hands raised and waving in the air. Some 95 percent of it was art, with a few other items thrown in.

Alan Turner attended the event with his daughter Lisa, who has special needs. Far more than just an evening out, he feels good knowing that she has a safe and nurturing place to go to on a regular basis—a place to be herself, a place where she’s not alone.

Friendship Circle, he says, “has given Lisa independence and confidence to do activities she never would have participated in if it weren’t for this organization. I’m proud of her and grateful she has true friends.”

True friends, that’s what Friendship Circle creates. Imagine living most of your childhood and never having one. That’s what one parent expressed to LeahStein, co-director of Friendship Circle in Milwaukee with her husband, Rabbi Levi Stein. “This mother called me up in tears. Because of Friendship Circle, this child, a teenager, made his first friend. For that mom, this moment meant that her child finally had someone outside of family who cared and saw him as a unique, wonderful person.”

Attendees were also treated to the soulful sounds of violin music, topped off with the resonant singing of Cantor Aryeh Leib Hurwitz. One piece he performed—“My Friend,” written by singer and songwriter Rabbi Moshe Hecht of Brooklyn, N.Y.—was composed for the organization and offers a special message about the transformative power of friendship.

“Friendship Circle stands out from other Jewish organizations because it enables children to have a year-round platform to live life to its fullest,” said Hurwitz. “It touches a special place in my heart.”

Up for sale were ceramics, paintings and other pieces.
Up for sale were ceramics, paintings and other pieces.

‘A New Set of Lenses’

One of the featured speakers, 20-year-old Stephanie Phillips, who started volunteering when she was 11, emphasized similar sentiments. “My first experience with Friendship Circle was the beginning of the most meaningful part of my life. It became the driving force—my purpose on this earth to make a difference for others. The people I met became my second family. Today, I’m studying special education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater because of these experiences.

“I call on everyone to find a way to make a difference by doing something positive to impact their community,” continued Phillips. “Through an act of kindness, everyone has that ability.”

Rabbi Levi Stein
Rabbi Levi Stein

The Steins affirmed that they aim to change the world, one friendship at a time. “Whatever our external differences,” said Leah Stein, “Friendship Circle is about the essence of the soul. We are fitting society with a new set of lenses so that people see that every human being is brought into this world for a mission.”

A major announcement came after the performance, speeches and auction: Friendship Circle of Wisconsin will open a bakery this spring. The new development will provide a valuable experience for adults with special needs, allowing them to gain skills in a workplace environment by helping bake and package fresh items. The kosher baked goods will be available for purchase at local grocery stores.

“This is just one more step in the right direction,” said Rabbi Stein. “We won’t rest until we serve everyone who needs assistance in this community.”

The artwork auctioned off was created by children and adults with special needs.
The artwork auctioned off was created by children and adults with special needs.
The handcrafted work of Jenny Lackner
The handcrafted work of Jenny Lackner
A selection of work by Gavi Becker, age 10
A selection of work by Gavi Becker, age 10
Both a silent and live auction were held during the evening.
Both a silent and live auction were held during the evening.
A total of 75 items were up for sale, 95 percent of it art.
A total of 75 items were up for sale, 95 percent of it art.
Cantor Aryeh Leib Hurwitz’s repertoire included the song “My Friend,” written by Rabbi Moshe Hecht of Brooklyn, N.Y., for the Chabad-affiliated organization.
Cantor Aryeh Leib Hurwitz’s repertoire included the song “My Friend,” written by Rabbi Moshe Hecht of Brooklyn, N.Y., for the Chabad-affiliated organization.
Alan Turner with his daughter, Lisa (Photo: Liza Wiemer)
Alan Turner with his daughter, Lisa (Photo: Liza Wiemer)
Three generations support the work of Friendship Circle, from left: Nancy Phillips, Anita Stone and Stephanie Phillips, who spoke at the event. (Photo: Liza Wiemer)
Three generations support the work of Friendship Circle, from left: Nancy Phillips, Anita Stone and Stephanie Phillips, who spoke at the event. (Photo: Liza Wiemer)

What 1 Tablespoon of Coconut Oil Can Do To Your Fat Is Unbelievable!

Whether you want to drop that last ten pounds or simply maintain the weight you’re at, utilizing coconut oil in your diet can help you lose weight.

Not so long ago coconut oil was not favored by health advocates due to its high saturated fat content, but it has since been deemed healthier and in fact, can successfully help people shed a few pounds over time.

Coconut oil may be comprised of 90% saturated fat, but scientists state that its fat is largely made up of lauric acid, which is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid (MCT) that actually has a better effect on the heart than the other saturated fats.

Therefore, you have permission to add coconut oil into your diet in order to promote health and possibly lose weight as well.

Backing up these claims are reports from countries like India and the Philippines, whose diets prominently feature coconuts and coconut products. Citizens from such countries tend to have less weight issues and have minimal rates of cardiac diseases as compared to individuals from the developed world.

In this article I am going to explain to you how to use coconut oil for weight loss.

Coconut Oil for Weight Loss – The Studies

When it comes to weight loss, metabolism is a big deal, so the faster you can get your metabolism going, the more calories your body will burn. Coconut oil is different from most other fats we consume in our diet. While most other oils mostly contain long-chain fatty acids (LCT), coconut oil consists almost entirely of medium chain fatty acids (MCT).

The thing with these medium chain fatty acids (MCTs), is that they are metabolized differently than the longer chain fats. Reduced chain length means that MCTs are more quickly absorbed by the body and more quickly metabolized (burned) as fuel.

The result is quicker metabolism and instead of being stored as fat, the calories in MCTs are very efficiently converted into fuel for immediate use by organs and muscles in our body.

One study investigated the effects of MCT oil on weight: it compared between rats who were overfed with either long chain or medium chain fats. The study found that the rats fed the medium chain fats gained 20% less weight and 23% less body fat.1

Coconut oil is also considered “thermogenic”, which essentially means that when you eat it, it tends to increase the amount of fat burning going on in your body more so than the other oils that you could be consuming.2

There were other studies about MCT oil and weight loss:

One study found that relatively low-to-moderate intake of MCT (15-30 g per day) as part of a person’s diet may play a role in controlling human body composition by enhancing daily energy expenditure by 5% which is 500 kilojoules (120 calories) per day.3

Another study on obese women showed that long-term consumption of MCT enhances energy expenditure when compared to long chain fatty acids consumption.4

Other studies have found that coconut oil helps to reduce appetite. The Journal of Nutrition mentions animal studies of rats fed on MCT. The rats felt more satiated, which lead to a reduction in calorie intake.5

One small study on men showed that consuming a high amount of MCTs caused them to automatically consume less calories per day.6 Another study found that men who ate MCTs at breakfast delayed their request for lunch and their lunch was significantly smaller compared to the low fat breakfast. 7

There are other foods that can boost your metabolism and you can have a look at them in my article top 10 foods to boost your metabolism. If you are really serious about boosting your metabolism you should also be aware of these 10 factors that affect your metabolism.

How to Use Coconut Oil for Weight Loss

There are essentially two types of coconut oil — virgin and refined.

  • Virgin coconut oil (VCO), is made by pressing fresh coconut meat, milk or milk residue.
  • Refined, or RBD, oil is made from the coconut copra or dried kernel and may be chemically treated.

Choose virgin coconut oil because it is prepared with no chemicals in the process.

In order to use coconut oil for weight loss, you can use it in several ways. These include:

Nut butters

With nuts being so healthy for your body, consider preparing nut butter for good health and weight loss.

To prepare this, grind two cups of cashews or almonds with two tablespoons of coconut oil until the mixture is smooth and buttery. You can throw in some honey, ground coffee, cinnamon, or maple syrup to add more flavor. Feel free to use nut butter on toast, English muffins, or bagels for a delicious and healthy breakfast.

Nuts have amazing health benefits – I’ve already written a post about the health benefits of nuts (including delicious recipes).

Baked foods

Since coconut oil can be used under high temperatures, you can use it to replace butter when baking foods like cookies, muffins, cakes, and brownies. Coconut oil can be used to substitute other oils (as well as butter) in nearly all baking recipes. To bake with coconut oil, replace your other oil by using a 1:1 ratio.

Roasted vegetables

Vegetables like zucchini, beets, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash can be brushed with a mixture of thyme, lemon juice, coconut oil, salt and paper to give them a desirable coconut flavor. Go ahead and sauté them using coconut oil or brush them with it and cook them on the grill. There’s nothing like grilled vegetables!


Coconut oil is known to nicely pop corn kernels when it is used instead of normal vegetable fat. Hold off on the butter to maximize your weight loss regimen.


You can add coconut oil to your smoothies or other beverages, such as your morning coffee.

Adding Coconut Oil to your Daily Diet – General Guidelines

You might reach for your jar of coconut oil and see that it has solidified. This is because coconut oil usually solidifies at 76 degrees Fahrenheit. It is completely safe to use coconut oil in its solid state but if you want to use coconut oil to replace you normal oil, you can dip the jar into a hot water bath before using it.

The best time to consume coconut oil is about a half an hour before mealtimes, as coconut oil has satiating effects that makes you feel fuller, thus helping in weight loss.

If you want to consume coconut oil by the tablespoon, the recommendation is to take up to 3 tablespoons daily per adult.

Coconut Oil and Weight Loss – What About the Calories

It is important to be aware that coconut oil is fat – it contains 9 calories per gram. If you want to use coconut oil to lose weight, you need to take into consideration the added calorie intake of the coconut oil. Especially if you consume a fixed amount of calories.

But, most people don’t count calories and in these cases, adding coconut oil to your diet will reduce your appetite and probably make you eat less of other foods instead.




20 Signs You’re Succeeding In Life Even If You Don’t Feel You Are

We all feel like failures from time to time. While this is a normal feeling, you have to find a way to see yourself and your life from a different perspective. Sometimes we ignore the “little things.” Just because you are not a millionaire, don’t live in a mansion, and you don’t drive a fancy car, that doesn’t mean you’re a failure. In fact, it’s quite the contrary.

Here are 20 signs that you are succeeding in life:

1. Your relationships are less dramatic than they used to be.

Drama is not maturity. As we age, we should develop maturity. So maybe your relationships were drama-filled in your past, but if you have moved beyond that, then you are successful.

2. You are not afraid to ask for help and support any more.

Asking for help does not equal weakness. In fact, it is a strength. No person has ever succeeded in isolation. It takes teamwork to accomplish goals. Asking or help is a sign that you have grown as a person.

3. You have raised your standards.

You don’t tolerate bad behavior any more – from other people, or even yourself. You hold people accountable for their actions. You don’t spend time with the “energy vampires” in your life anymore.

4. You let go of things that don’t make you feel good.

No, this is not narcissistic even though it might seem like it. Self-love is success. Love yourself enough to say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t make you happy, doesn’t serve your purpose, or drags you down.

5. You have moments where you appreciate who you see in the mirror.

Ideally, you should appreciate who you see in the mirror at every moment. But even if that doesn’t happen, if you do it more than you used to, then that is success. Love yourself. You are awesome.

6. You have learned that setbacks and failure are part of self-growth.

Not everyone can have success 100% of the time. That’s just not realistic. Life is about victories and losses. So look at your setbacks as stepping stones to something better. In reality, there really is no such thing as as setback. It’s all just part of a wondrous journey.


7. You have a support system that includes people who would do anything for you.

If you have figured out the people who “have your back” and recognized the ones who only pretend that they do, then you have succeeded. This is a painful realization, but once you learn to see the signs of betrayal, you can stay away from those people.

8. You don’t complain much.

Because you know there really is nothing to complain about. Unless you really have gone through some horrific life experience and had unimaginable losses, most of what we all experience on a day-to-day basis is just mundane. And successful people know that. And they live in a space of gratitude.

9. You can celebrate others’ successes.

Just because other people succeed, that doesn’t make you a failure. Applaud the people who rise to the top. The more positive energy you give to other people’s victories, the more you will create your own.

10. You have passions that you pursue.

You are not stagnant. You know you have something wonderful to contribute to the world. You have unique talents and gifts. Not only do you know that, you pursue it.

11. You have things to look forward to.

If you don’t have exciting things going on in your life that you are eagerly anticipating, then you are slowly dying inside. Successful people create goals that they are passionate about pursuing. They let this excitement drive their life.

12. You have goals that have come true.

Even though “failures” are a part of life, you have stuck to your goals and dreams long enough to make them come to fruition. You have  some tastes of victory. It fuels you.

13. You have empathy for others.

A person without empathy is dead inside. Empathy equals spreading love and positive energy into the world. Successful people know this. They love others as if they are family.

14. You love deeply and open yourself up to be loved by others.

Love is risky, and sometimes scary for people. It’s the one thing we all strive for, but it’s also intimately tied to the one thing we fear the most – rejection. If you open your heart enough to love and be loved, then you are successful.

15. You refuse to be be a victim.

You know that life doesn’t always happen to you. Many times, you are a co-creator of your life experiences. Successful people know this and refuse to be kept down by life experiences. The rise up and conquer anyway.

16. You don’t care what other people think.

You know you can’t please everyone. You know that the standards with which society judges people is many times unrealistic. So you just keep true to yourself and love the person you are.

17. You always look on the bright side.

Life can be full of disappointments – if you choose to see them that way. Otherwise, they are learning opportunities. No negative experience is ever wasted as long as you learn from it.

18. You accept what you can’t change.

Let’s face it – there many things you can’t change in life. All you can change is how you view what happens. If you can change your negative perspective on situations to a positive one, then you are successful.

19. You change what you can.

And let’s face it again – there are many things you can change in life. Successful people don’t sit around accepting the negatives that are changeable. They get out there and do something about it!!

20. You are happy.

To me, this is the ultimate definition of success. It doesn’t matter what the balance is in your bank account, how big your house is,  or how many fancy vacations you take. If you are happy, then you are succeeding in life.


Even if you don’t see yourself in many of these 20 things, don’t fret. It’s okay. Be happy that you see yourself in just a few. In time, the rest will come. You just need to keep moving onward and upward.




Understanding silent stroke, a leading cause of vascular dementia

Although it may not be a common term, silent stroke is a leading cause of vascular dementia that impacts about one-third of those over the age of 70. A better understanding of silent stroke can help many people reduce the risk of memory problems associated with vascular dementia.

During a typical stroke, a clot blocks a blood vessel that feeds part of the brain. Brain cells then can die, leading to facial weakness, trouble speaking, difficulty walking, or even vision problems. So what is a silent stroke then? Well, when someone has a silent stroke, blood flow is interrupted and cells in an area of the brain that don’t control vital functions get destroyed. This damage can show up on an MRI or CT scan, but is often too small to produce obvious symptoms. Still, a silent stroke can cause cognitive impairment.

Many people don’t even realize that they have had a silent stroke or a series of them, but research has shown that silent strokes can lead to vascular dementia. Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia. An interruption in blood flow to the brain, and large strokes that can affect sensation, strength, as well as other parts of the nervous system can contribute to vascular dementia. People who have diabetes, hardened arteries, high blood pressure, or who smoke are at a higher risk for vascular dementia.

Silent stroke signs to look for

People who suffer from a normal stroke often experience symptoms such as tingling or weakness on one side of their body, trouble speaking, confusion, sudden changes in their vision, headaches, and problems with balance. In the case of a silent stroke, signs can go completely unnoticed since the interruption is not in an area that controls functions, such as mobility and speech. Most of us lead busy lives and that means that small signs that accompany silent stroke are paid little attention. Studies show that some silent stroke sufferers may experience mild memory problems and chalk it up to stress or aging. Research suggests that out of 12 million strokes that occur each year, about eleven million are silent strokes.

The problem with silent strokes is that they occur continuously over time and, therefore, the effects can be cumulative, leading to memory problems. This is where silent strokes and dementia are connected. Here’s an example from one recent study. Researchers followed over 600 patients as part of an ongoing dementia investigation. They found six patients with brain lesions indicating silent stroke. Three recalled symptoms of silent stroke that they dismissed, while two of the patients had symptoms that were blamed on their cognitive impairment. The final patient experienced a lack of coordination, which was simply attributed to confusion.

Stroke risk factors

There are certain risk factors associated with stroke. For example, your risk may be greater if a parent, grandparent, sister, or brother has had a stroke. If one of your family members has suffered a stroke perhaps you are aware of how life-changing it can be, but when it comes to silent strokes, the damage can be less obvious until there have been several silent strokes that have gone unnoticed.

Here we outline some of the other risk factors linked to stroke.

Age: The chance of stroke doubles for each decade of life after age 55.

Race: African Americans have a higher risk of death from stroke due to the fact that they have a higher rate of high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

Gender: Women have more strokes than men and more women die from stroke than men do. Contraceptive use, pregnancy, preeclampsia/eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and post-menopausal hormone therapy may pose stroke risk in women.

Prior stroke: Anyone who has had a stroke before, a heart attack, or transient ischemic attack, which is a warning stroke, could also be at higher risk.

Diagnosing silent stroke

Without any symptoms being displayed, silent stroke diagnosis can be challenging. In many cases, people are not diagnosed until long after the stroke or strokes occur. Scans such as a CT or an MRI can detect small lesions in the brain that are indicative of a stroke. These dark spots can tell a doctor which type of stroke has occurred and therefore what kind of treatment should be administered.

The most common type of stroke is an ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot that blocks an artery and limits blood flow. Silent strokes are usually ischemic strokes. The other type of stroke is called hemorrhagic, caused by a leaking or ruptured artery that leads to bleeding in the brain. In the case of ischemic strokes, a person can experience a number of tests, including an electrocardiogram to check for heart abnormalities and blood tests to check for any underlying problems that could cause symptoms.

How silent stroke causes memory loss?

Some neuropsychology experts report that people think of memory problems as a sign of Alzheimer-like changes, but this isn’t always the case. In one study, researchers at Colombia University’s Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s disease and Aging looked at over 600 people over 79 with no history of dementia. These people were tested for their memory, language, and thinking abilities. Experts also measured their hippocampus, a part of the brain that regulates memory and emotion. A smaller hippocampus is usually associated with cognitive decline. Brain scans showed that 174 of the participants experienced silent strokes and did not perform well on memory tests, independent of their hippocampus size. The study findings suggest that stroke contributed to memory loss and could be a potential indicator for Alzheimer’s development. In other words, dementia-like symptoms may be due to the vascular changes in the brain.

Researchers believe that by controlling vascular symptoms, we can prevent stroke, which in turn could be a good way to prevent cognitive changes as we get older.

Tips to prevent silent stroke and related memory loss

Silent stroke prevention is possible. For example, managing risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes can be helpful, as well as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. Research shows that taking part in moderate to heavy physical activity can prevent silent strokes.

Let’s look at some tips to prevent silent stroke and memory loss in more detail:

  • Blood pressure – control it by getting it checked regularly and taking any blood pressure medication as prescribed.
  • Salt – less than one teaspoon per day can lower blood pressure as much as some medications in some people.
  • Cholesterol control – try to keep total cholesterol below 200mg/dL and LDL cholesterol below 100 mg/dL. Lose weight if you’re overweight and increase fiber in your diet.
  • Smoking – talk to your doctor about methods that can help you quit, including patches, gums, and other replacement products.
  • Fruits and veggies – consume at least 1.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables a day, while cutting back on red meat and sweets.
  • Activity – be active, engaging in activities such as swimming, brisk walking, or riding a bike for 30 minutes per day.

Paying attention to your body and not blowing off any unusual signs and symptoms, such as dizziness, loss of muscle coordination, confusion, or vision changes is important. The reality is, the quicker you get treatment for a stroke, the lower your chances of experiencing serious long-term effects are.



Here’s everything you need to know about trichotillomania

Trichotillomania, an anxiety-related mental health disorder, is characterized as an insatiable and persistent compulsion to pull or pick at hair.

The condition, which is much more common among women than men and is frequently diagnosed in adolescent girls and young adult women, can result in baldness or patches of profound hair loss and is often diagnosed alongside other compulsions or mental health issues.


Women, especially young girls, are often stereotyped as hair-twirlers, socially conditioned to play with and touch their hair out of boredom or self-consciousness. This predisposition makes trichotillomania harder to spot.

Of course, frequent hair-pulling and breaking is the most easily diagnosable symptom. Beyond the obvious, though, trichotillomania sufferers often exhibit other compulsions. According to Mayo Clinic, individuals with trichotillomania are likely to pick at or scratch hair follicles on their scalp, pull their eyebrow hair and eyelashes, and obsessively shave or tweeze almost all body hair.


Many people with trichotillomania develop bald spots or patches and suffer from hair loss. Trichotillomaniacs mostly pull hair from its root and, as stated by KidsHealth, usually “feel a sense of relief after pulling,” which decreases an individual’s chances of seeking treatment. As is true of those with many obsessive compulsions, people with trichotillomania frequently feel ashamed or embarrassed of their habits — especially since sufferers of this condition can often go so far as to need wigs or head coverings.

Hair-pulling can be characterized in one of two ways — as automatic (unconscious) or focused (conscious.) Those who pull consciously often develop rituals around the behavior and are aware of what they’re doing. In fact, they might even decide to pull their hair to offset stress or a negative emotion.

Their counterparts who pull unconsciously, however, are likely to pull hair as a sort of fidget — something they do without noticing when they’re sitting idly or feeling apprehensive. It’s generally easier to diagnose and treat focused trichotillomania since individuals who are conscious of their behavior are quicker to accept a diagnosis and can more easily track their own habits.


The impulse-control disorder usually begins to take hold around the onset of puberty and advance as girls get older. Since twirling and playing with hair is considered a feminine habit, many dismiss early warning signs as a bad habit or inability to sit still.

In fact, the disorder creates impulses that are incredibly difficult to resist. Diagnosed individuals in treatment have blogged on community forums about having more difficulty stopping their hair-pulling than they did recovering from eating disorders or quitting smoking.

Though some sufferers find success in creative treatments like scalp sprays and special gloves that help them resist the urge to pick, most find therapy and prescription medication to be the most effective treatment. Therapists often help patients examine why and when they pull their hair, and often help them fight the urge by building a substitute behavior or ritual into their lives. Just as with any compulsion, treatment takes time and effort and requires that the individual in question be ready and willing to get help.

So if you find yourself tugging at your hair the next time you’re catching up on your favorite Netflix series or spot your friend picking at her scalp, consider how common and challenging trichotillomania is. If you or someone you know might be suffering from its symptoms, the sooner you seek help, the sooner you’ll begin to address the compulsion head on.



5 Things People With Trichotillomania Want You To Understand

Sure, you’ve heard of anorexia, OCD, depression, and anxiety; they’re all common mental illnesses. But what about trichotillomania? Most likely, you’ve never even heard of it; and believe it or not, it’s more common than anorexia and affects approximately 2-5 percent of the population.

Trichotillomania, hair pulling disorder, is a BFRB (body-focused repetitive behavior) in which a person is compelled to pull out hair from anywhere on their body, often resulting in noticeable bald patches. There is not one specific reason someone may have trichotillomania. While research has shown that it is very possible that it could be genetic, there are still many other factors involved. At the moment, there is no cure.

I’ve had trichotillomania since I was ten years old; currently, I am 17 and am about to enter my senior year of high school. I’ve worn wigs to cover my head when I was bald, and every day I hide my sparse eyebrows with brow makeup. Even though I am open about my trichotillomania, I still experience shame on a daily basis, especially after I pull.

It is impossible to understand what it’s like to live with a BFRB unless you are actually diagnosed with one. One thing we can do, though, is educate others about BFRBs and explain our experiences to them. Here are five things that trichsters like me want others to know about us.

1. Even though we say we want to stop, we don’t always want to stop

Don’t get me wrong; if it was that easy to stop, I would. But unfortunately, it isn’t. However, there are some times when I am conscious of my pulling, yet I choose not to try and stop. Instead of reaching for a fidget toy or getting up and going to a different room, I would rather sit and pull my hair.

The reason for this is that I like the feeling of pulling my hair so much; it feels natural and I do not know what I would do otherwise. I have a theory: I’ve had trich for so long that trich has “brainwashed” me into thinking I like pulling my hair, and in order to stop pulling, I first need to come to terms with actually wanting to stop once and for all. In order to stop, I have to be fully motivated and willing — and I don’t know if I am yet.

2. If you think my hair pulling is weird, imagine how embarrassing it is for me

We’re the ones who have to live with and face the aftermath of our disorder, not you. Yeah, I understand that my lack of eyebrows sometimes may look weird to you, but it’s even harder for me to deal with. I’ve spent countless hours trying to perfect them and make them look the least bit natural so I don’t get made fun of. And you think wigs are weird? I’ve spent even more hours trying to get it to look nice than you can imagine. So if you think our hair pulling is weird — we’re the ones having to live with it, not you.

3. We can ruin a year’s hard work in minutes

If we have an urge to pull, and do start to pull (because it just feels so necessary), we might tell ourselves that we will pull “just one,” — but it’s never just one. Because then we find another hair that has to go, and another, and another, until we’re left with a bald patch — right where we were before. Relapse is very hard to deal with, and oftentimes, we feel terrible after having ruined our regrowth. We were doing so well, but now it’s all down the drain.

This has happened to me quite a few times. The worst was when I was in seventh grade. I finally had full eyebrows, but in the spring, I started pulling at them again. One afternoon, while my parents were at my sister’s soccer game, I was studying and pulled all of them out. I called my parents crying and asked them to come home because I was so ashamed and upset. I didn’t want to go to school the next day because I didn’t want others to see me. When my mom told me I had to, I asked if I could fill my eyebrows in with Crayola marker (I didn’t know about eyebrow pencil then).

4. We don’t always know when we’re pulling.

If you catch us pulling, don’t assume we are aware of it. For many of us, the act of pulling is a subconscious behavior. Pulling just feels so natural for us; many times, our hand just goes up automatically and searches for a hair to pull. We don’t even think about the fact that we are pulling; at that moment, we’re so engrossed in the behavior, we don’t pay attention to it. We just go about our day normally, but pull our hair whilst doing so.

5. We may or may not want to talk about it, so let us come to you

No matter how open we may be about our trich, it’s still a hard thing for us to talk about at times, because it causes us to feel so much shame. The funny thing is, personally, I am more comfortable talking about my trich with my friends than I am with my parents. I think many other trichsters can relate to this, because we feel like we’re disappointing our parents. We don’t want to show them that we’ve been hurting. Instead, it’s easier to talk to people our own age or therapists, who will better understand what we are going through.

Of course, there are times when we might be open to talking about it. And if that time does come, we will come to you and talk. Don’t force it upon us. It may take years for us to talk to you about it, or maybe we never will. Trich is just a really hard thing to talk about, and for some of us, it’s embarrassing.

If you’re struggling with trichotillomania or know someone who is, resources and information are available at The TLC Foundation for BFRBs. You are not alone.




Trichotillomania: Could stress be causing you to quite literally tear out your hair?

The disorder, called Trichotillomania (TTM) affects two million people, thought to be more than the 1.6 million people struggling with eating disorders.

It can also cause people to pull out their eyelashes, eyebrow and other hair on their body.

Trichotillomania is a psychological condition where the person is unable to stop themselves carrying out a particular action.

They will experience an intense urge to pull their hair out and growing tension until they do – and many use it as a way of relieving stress or anxiety.

After pulling out hair, most sufferers feel a sense of relief.

Ruth Walters, 23, started suffering with TTM at the age 14, and the condition became a coping mechanism which soon spiralled out of control.

Ruth said: “I couldn’t stop and my family found its hard to understand – ‘why do it if you don’t want to’” they would say.

“But I would spend hours searching for the right hair to pull.

“While I was pulling I felt safe, like I had a security blanket around me, in a trance like state.

Angela Habeshi

Angela Habeshi has also suffered with TTM

“I would pull multiple hairs at a time and cause my scalp to bleed, which I would then pick at to keep the scab going.”

Katie Nieman, 27, said she started pulling out her hair at university, partly, she believes, as a result of exam pressure.

“I was sat in the library for my geography finals at Oxford, finishing a 1,500-word essay, and feeling the stress of competition and exam nerves, when I first pulled out a hair,” she said.

“It was coarser and darker than the rest – it felt like it didn’t belong, so I just pulled at it.

“The pop and tingle of it coming out was almost instantly a strangely soothing and addictive feeling.”

Hair loss specialist Lucinda Ellery, launched International No Pulling Week 2016 – which runs from October 3 to 9 – to raise awareness for the overwhelming number of women who suffer in silence from the disorder.

Lucinda has studios around the world and offers hair loss solutions to help women suffering with the condition.

“Over the past 30 years I’ve worked with so many women affected by the condition who feel completely alone,” she said.

To treat the condition, women can be fitted with a system which means they can’t pull their hair out.


Katie said the Lucinda Ellery interlace system meant her fingers could no longer reach past the mesh base and her hair grew back so quickly.

”If it wasn’t for my Intralace system, which I have to wear until such time I get my TTM back under control, I’m not sure I’d have the confidence to be myself,” she said.

Lucinda said she wants to raise awareness for TTM by encouraging people to talk about the condition.

“It is more a common than we realise and it needs to be recognised,” she said.

“More awareness will help the 90 per cent of sufferers currently suffering in silence to come forward and seek treatment which we hope International No Pulling Week 2016 will help to achieve.”

The condition can also be treated with psychotherapy and behavioural therapy.



I’m Not ‘Crazy’ for Talking About My Feelings

“Why didn’t it work out between the two of you?”

“Because…she was crazy.”

I have lost count of the times I have heard guys describes girls as “crazy.” I have seen joking memes that say things like, “All girls are psychotic. You just need to find the one you can put up with.”

To me, it’s not funny, and the word “crazy” should never be used as a joke or as a derogatory term against someone. I wouldn’t be surprised if guys I’ve dated have called me “crazy” behind my back.

With my last ex-boyfriend, I’m sure when talking about me to his friends, the word “crazy” was thrown around. After all, he would call me crazy to my face. If I was having a panic attack or crying, then he would tell me to, “Stop acting crazy.” Because you know, saying this would make me feel so much better.

Why is the word “crazy” thrown around so freely? Why is showing your emotions considered “crazy”? It’s because it’s become a norm in our society to act like we don’t have emotions. We’re encouraged to act like we don’t care.

Don’t let people see you cry. Don’t act like you care about someone or have feelings for someone. Have casual sex but don’t be upset when they don’t call you. Wait a certain amount of time to respond to a text message. Don’t ever say, “I miss you,” or “I’m excited to see you.” Talk about movies, the weather, your favorite food or what you did last weekend. Don’t ever talk about emotions or what you’re thinking you know because that’s considered, “crazy.”

I once had a guy tell me it made him uncomfortable because I say what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling.

“People just don’t do that,” he told me.

If not being a robot makes me “crazy” and if choosing not to hide who I really am is “crazy,” then, yes, I’ll be “crazy.” I’m proud of it. Please, don’t let anyone make you feel like there is something wrong with being who you are or feeling the way you feel because it’s not. Having a tough exterior and acting like you have no feelings and calling people “crazy” because they’re “emotional” or “sensitive,” doesn’t make you strong or tough. It, in fact, makes you the opposite.

I think, the people who are the strongest are the ones who are not afraid to be themselves in a world that tells you to be someone else. The strongest people are the ones who ask for help when they need it. The bravest people are the ones who say, “I love you,” or “I care about you.” They’re the ones who are passionate. They talk about things that matter, and yes, they even let people see them cry.

People may not like you. You may make them uncomfortable. They may call you “crazy,” but maybe that’s not such a bad thing.



Low Carb Cloud Bread Chips with only 2 Ingredients

If you heard of cloud bread, you may be aware that it made the internet go crazy. For a good reason though. If you tried it, most likely you appreciate how this carbless cloud bread is a delicious substitute for regular bread, how well it goes with meat, cheese or burgers and how fluffy and soft it is.

       But sometimes you want something a little more crunchy to munch on, like you want to dip that chip into the yummy guacamole. Of course you can dip with your veggies too, but how about a chip, completely carb free that looks like a chip, tastes good too while having only 2 ingredients. Brilliant!


These are cloud bread chips. Or call them egg chips. I adapted this recipe from Sparkles and Sprinkles.

The beauty of this recipe that it is very quick to prepare and that you can add any of your favorite spices and herbs.

        While you may already know that with cloud bread, the key to the recipe is to fluff up the egg whites to stiff peaks, in this chip recipe you don’t need to stiff peak your egg whites, but instead gently whisk them as if you prepare for your omelette. For this recipe you don’t use the whole egg, just the egg whites.

Ingredients (serves 1 person, makes 12 chips. Prep time 2 minutes. Cook time 10 minutes)

2 egg whites

2 TBS Shredded Cheddar cheese

1 TBS Water (Optional)

Spices and herbs are optional and highly recommended.

      For a different varieties of chips I used few different spices, like season-all spice, dried rosemary, thyme, garlic, onion, oregano, crushed red pepper and so on and so forth.

Preparation method


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray your muffin pan with non-stick spray. If you don’t have a cooking spray, gently brush the pan with olive oil or avocado oil. If you want to double the amount of chips, then you will need to double the recipe and accordingly use two muffin pans. The one I used is 12-cup silicone muffin pan.

  • Whisk your egg whites, water, add your favorite herbs and spices

  • Spoon egg white mixture just to cover the bottom of the muffin pan (see photo above). The less you put, the more chips you will have and the crispier they will turn out.

  • Sprinkle a pinch of cheddar cheese on top of egg mixture. I tried with shredded  Mozzarella, the result was delicious too.

  • Bake for 10 minutes until the edges of your chip are a nice deep brown.

  • Remove from oven and use a small spatula to help remove the chip from the bottom of your muffin pan. They should come off easy. I like to put chips on their sides, that way they cool off quicker.

  • Enjoy immediately. My favorite is to dip into fresh guacamole, but of course you can use your dip of choice.





Let me know if you make these Cloud bread chips and what did you think of this simplest 2 ingredient recipe. Also what hers and spices did you add?




Scott Weiland’s Widow Talks Healing From PTSD & Heartbreak Following His Death

Amidst all of the Scott Weiland tributes we did on Alternative Nation earlier this month, we missed a beautiful tribute that Scott’s widow Jamie Weiland posted on her photography Facebook page. Read it below:

Three hundred and sixty five days. A year ago…


Longing and sobbing and disbelief that I have no way of ever describing.

Darkness that I would have never considered to even be possible.

A funeral I barely remember.

Nights of sleeplessness, holding his ashes in our bed. They wrap the box in a very soft silk fabric…I suspect I am not the first who felt inclined to keep the remains of a cremated loved one right next to me.

David Bowie’s lyrics from ‘Oh you pretty things’ resonated in my head like a phone garishly ringing that no one could ever manage to answer.

“All the nightmares came today. And it looks as if they’re here to stay”…

Days turned to weeks, and to months…

Utter heartbreak, anxiety… numbly going through the motions. The avalanche of having to start my life over completely. Finding a new place to live, trying to work when most days I wasn’t entirely sure I could form a sentence.

My heart, hollow. My mind was a scattering of so many pieces I wondered if I’d lost it entirely.

Legal issues and horrific social media commentary…misunderstandings about him, about me…hurtful and cruel and beyond comprehension.

As if I hadn’t had enough pain.

A diagnosis of PTSD which explained why I often couldn’t even drive a car or hold a pen without shaking and write my own name.

But…the blessings as well… the things that came into my life after his passing, the things I refer to as his “secret gifts”…. an influx of new friends, relatives, possibilities, inspiration. A new vision of myself, almost as if I can see ‘me’ through his eyes.

He was always the biggest believer in me…I can feel his pride and support of me, his love for me now. I really can. I don’t know how to describe it.

It’s a beautiful thing you have with someone, when love is real and true…wherever either of you are, you feel it.

And with that love, with time, you heal. I am healing. I am grateful, beyond, to those angels in my life that have been there for me…my amazing friends and family that have held me up through all of this. You’ve loved me and supported me and believed in me and bailed me out when my mind and my heart and my ability to keep it together wasn’t so great.

I love you all so much.

And Scott knows I love him, I tell him all the time. I know he hears me.

He knows you guys all love him, too.

Let’s cherish him, his heart, his music, his love…today and always. We were all so lucky to have known him. xoxo