Evie Alexander


If you’re a cat owner, you know that catnip is a really fun kitty drug. Felines will rub their faces in it, roll around, act silly and then pass out in a furry pile. So what’s the deal with catnip? How does it affect cats? And does it affect cats the same way drugs like alcohol, cocaine and marijuana affect people? The answer, from veterinarians at Cornell University’s Feline Health Center, is… maybe?

How Humans React to Drugs

In order to figure out the effects of catnip on cats, researchers have to first look at what causes us to act “high” when we take drugs. Turns out, we have natural systems in our bodies that receive drugs and alter our behavior. Opioid receptors allow things like heroin to block pain. The endocannabinoid system is able to interact with THC to give us that “high” feeling from marijuana. And cocaine stimulates our dopamine system to produce a happy feeling.

How Cats React to Catnip

The same cannot be said for cats. While the molecules of catnip do bind to the smell receptors in a cat’s nose, it doesn’t bind to anything in their brain (that we know of). Not all cats react the same way either! Some cats turn into goofballs, while others are sedated by catnip, sitting in a statue-like manner. The attraction also works on large cats, like lions, cougars, mountain lions and leopards. But strangely enough, tigers don’t seem to be bothered by catnip.

No Harm in Catnipping

Until research can tell us more, we won’t know for sure why cats love catnip. But it doesn’t seem like it’s a habit forming kitty-drug, so no harm in using it to perk up your feline friend’s day!


Counting calories is tedious, stressful, and restrictive. It also misses the point, 300 calories from a small bag of M&M’s is very different 300 calories of fruits and vegetables. It’s not the calories that matter, it’s the nutrients in the food. M&M’s have zero nutritional value, so even if you eat 1,000 calories, your body will still be missing important vitamins and minerals, which leads to cravings and overeating. Basically, your brain is saying “Keep eating! We’re still deficient!”

There are better ways to lose weight, let’s take a look at what they are.

Get enough sleep

You may have noticed when you’re sleep deprived, the urge to snack increases. That’s because sleep deprivation increases your appetite. Personally, I’ve drowsed my way through an entire bag of potato chips, when what I should have done was just taken a nap. Eating more is your body’s way of coping with a lack of sleep.

Reduce processed sugars

A piece of fruit contains sugars, but it also contains minerals and vitamins. That’s why it is very different from eating candy and processed snacks. These types of “faux-foods” have no nutrients and leave you feeling hungrier. So, you eat more.

Eat more protein to stay full

Proteins are harder for your body to digest and thus, stay in your stomach and small intestine for a longer amount of time, which creates the sensation of being full for a longer amount of time. Also, make sure the proteins you’re consuming come from real things like eggs and meat, not a protein bar.

Exercise portion control with smaller bowls

Beware of the big plate. If you’re in the habit of eating everything on your plate, trick your brain by using smaller bowls and plates. You’ll still be finishing all your food, you’ll just be eating less of it!

Increase fiber

Fiber, though unsatisfying, will fill you up. This type of complex carbohydrate is not digestible by the human body. Still, it plays an important role in stimulating absorption and binding together waste in your colon.

Add Fat to your fiber

Since fiber is so unsatisfying by itself, eat it with some fat, like some sliced avocado or cheese. The fat signals your brain to stop sending hunger signals and you’ll feel satiated. Make sure that you don’t use fat-free products because they substitute sugar for fat.

Drink water and stay hydrated

Sometimes, you’re just dehydrated, but you think you feel hungry. I don’t know why, but brains are weird like that. If you’re starting to feel a case of the munchies comin’ on, drink a glass of water, wait 20 minutes and reevaluate.


Vaping started off as a less smelly form of cigarettes. It has now turned into a marketing and pulmonary disease scandal. Over a thousand people have fallen ill due to vaping and over 30 of them have died. So just what is causing this vaping illness? Here are some possible culprits:

Vaping Itself

Since this illness has only cropped up recently and people have been vaping nicotine for a long time, vaping itself isn’t a likely to be the cause of the mysterious lung illness.

Flavoring in Vapes

Once again, flavored nicotine vapes have also been around for a while and there have been no reports of deaths or injuries until now. So, this too, is an unlikely culprit.

Contaminated Juuls and Weed Vapes

Most cases of lung damage are happening to people who vaped weed, so it is possible that contaminated weed has been causing the lung damage. That makes it less likely that Juuls, the delivery mechanism, is the cause since evidence points to THC being possibly responsible.

Super Heated Vapes

Oils do weird things when heated to high temperatures, including creating toxic and potentially harmful substances. Cranking up your vape to “high” might not be the cause, but it may be only one of the factors contributing to lung damage.

Weed Vapes with Vitamin E

When you mix THC and Vitamin E at high temperatures, it’s possible that the heated compound chemicals can degrade and react. The Centers for Disease Control has focused its attention on illness among folks who used weed vapes containing THC since the majority of people effected used it. If you’re wondering what to do now, the best and safest course of action is to not use THC vapes. If you’re in a State where recreational marijuana is legal, you can always purchase edibles or simply go analog and smoke a joint. Source:
You’ve probably seen the 30 day fitness challenges all over social media. There’s my least favorite, the 30-day burpee challenge where, I assume, you’re doing lots of burpees. Then there’s the 30-day squat challenge, where you do 25-50 squats per day and the 30-day plank challenge where you increase planking time over the course of a month. But do these exercises actually help with weight loss and fitness?


Exercising in general is good for you, so based on that, these 30-day challenges are effective for weight loss and general fitness. However, if you’re not used to doing intense full body exercises everyday, start easy with the burpee challenge. Without proper training and supervision, beginners can easily hurt themselves doing consecutive burpees.


The same thing can be said for squats. You can easily hurt your knees or back if you’re not squatting properly. Plus, you’ll want to add some core and upper body exercises to the 30-day squats challenge, otherwise, you’ll overwork your lower body.


The easiest challenge for beginners is the 30-plank challenge. You’ll want to watch your form (do it in front of a mirror) so that you don’t strain your neck and back. However, this low intensity core exercise is a great way to build stability and strength. Just make sure you’re not doing planks by themselves. Pair them with some cardio to maximize weight loss. Overall, exercise is good, even necessary for fitness, but for weight loss evidence is less convincing. It can’t hurt. And a combination of exercise and proper diet clearly would contribute to better health. Source:

Vitamin D is so important to our skeletal structure that as humans migrated toward the poles, our skin, hair, and eyes mutated to a lighter color. If you think skin color is just a political talking point, think again! Skin color has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with Vitamin D. As people moved away from the equator, they needed lighter skin to absorb more sunlight during the long winters of nordic countries. On the other hand, dark skin was protection from direct, harmful sunlight and helped prevent skin cancer.

Sun Bathe Like A Lizard

If you live in a place where there isn’t a lot of sun during the winter time, there are ways to make sure you get enough Vitamin D to keep your bones strong. The easiest way is to go outside and expose your skin to the sun for about 10-15 minutes. If this isn’t possible because of winter conditions (like blizzards or just overcast skies for days on end), the next best option is to make sure you’re eating foods that are high in Vitamin D.

Vitamin D-rich Foods

Before the invention of dietary supplements and fortified foods, people ate things like mushrooms and oily fish to increase Vitamin D. This makes sense since mushrooms grew well in cold, dark, and damp environments. Oily fish were plentiful in the oceans and were a staple food in the diet of the Inuits. Of course, these people probably weren’t aware that they needed this vital vitamin. They just knew that those who ate these foods never developed weak bones.

So this winter, remember to get outside for some sunshine or throw some mushrooms or salmon into your dishes. Your bones will thank you.


By now, we all know that diets don’t work, lifestyle changes do. Well, meet Cindy Escobar, she turned her life around by using a combination of the keto diet, intermittent fasting, and exercise. After a year of her new lifestyle, Cindy lost 72 pounds! Let’s take a look at what made this plan work for her and how you can make your own, customized, weight loss plan.

The Keto Diet

The Keto diet focuses on cutting out carbohydrates, which forces your body to convert fat to sugar (a simple carbohydrate), thereby depleting your fat supplies. Cindy’s diet consisted of high-protein, high-fat foods (cheese and yogurt and eggs), nuts and vegetables. While glucose (a sugar) is the molecule that gives you energy, proteins and fats help you feel full and reduce the amount of hunger-hormones produced by your stomach.

Fasting Through the Night

Intermittent fasting means not eating for a certain number of hours per day. The easiest way is to simply stop eating a few hours before bed time and eat breakfast/lunch at a later time. Cindy did a 7pm – 11am fast, meaning her body relied on her stored adipose tissue and muscles for 16 hours per day.


Since the body doesn’t discriminate between using fat or protein for fuel, working out is a way to sway that pendulum toward the fat side and away from the protein side. By adding some cardio and weight lifting into her routine, Cindy was able to minimize muscle loss while maximizing fat loss.

Combinations Work

Mixing and matching different diets and exercises is effective because there’s a lot of leeway if you fall off the wagon. If, for example, you ate a cookie for lunch, you’re still exercising (burning calories and increasing metabolism) and you’re still fasting. This type of thinking and living is much healthier than restricting yourself and then feeling guilty for not having enough self-control.

Input < Output

Remember, your body was meant to store fat (for future famines). We might not live in a world where we’re worried about the next meal, but our brains and our metabolisms don’t know that. In order to lose weight and stay in shape, people have to come up with new ways to input less than what we output.




Nutrition has always been a controversial field because the science behind it isn’t exactly black and white. The reason is that nutrition experiments must, in the end, take a holistic approach to eating. By “holistic”, we don’t mean yoga and essential oils and rolling around in the grass. Holistic means that all the chemicals and enzymes of Organism 1 interact with all the chemicals and enzymes of Organism 2. There are side reactions, synergistic reactions and a host of other unpredictable results occurring as well.

One Nutrient vs The Whole

It’s important, before any nutritional conversation, to understand that scientific research on nutrition usually focuses on one vitamin, nutrient or mineral. Then the headline reduces the results to “_________ is bad for you”, which is misleading. What the headline should say is, “___________ is harmful if taken alone at high dosages.” The latter is more accurate, but still opens the door for lots of gray areas and misunderstandings.

Pressed vs Processed

Having said all that, here’s what you need to know about juice. If we’re talking about juice in a box, then yes, juice is not healthy. And by unhealthy, we mean it has no nutritional value other than sugar and water. But if you press your own juice, when the vitamins are still intact, juice can be a dose of concentrated nutrients and even fiber!

Making Your Own OJ

If you get store-bought orange juice, it’s usually overly sweetened, tastes artificial and all the Vitamin C has oxidized (aka: reacted with oxygen and has become inactive). In contrast, if you press your own juice, you’ll be drinking 138% of your daily Vitamin C needs!

Fruits other than OJ, that can be easily pressed at home include: apple juice, grapefruit juice and tomato juice. For that last one, you might be better off blending it and making a Virgin Bloody Mary.

Squeeze It Yourself!

So when it comes to healthy juice, making your own is always going to be better than buying the processed version. That way you preserve the vitamins, you can customize it to your tastes, and best of all, there are no preservatives, added dyes or extra sugar and salt to worry about!