This past weekend, the weather changed
quickly from summer heat and humidity to rain
and the cool of the approaching fall. I was
not prepared for temperatures in the high
50's this past Saturday. School starts in a
week, both for my son entering 8th grade, and
for me, beginning a new semester at UMass
There just doesn't seem to have been a
natural transition this year!
With the passing of Ted Kennedy, reflecting
more deeply on health matters seems only
fitting. Each of the articles I have chosen
for this article looks at a different
dimension of health and well-being.
The next Healing the Traumatized Heart
workshop, will be on
Sunday, October 25 from 2 - 5 pm in
If you are interested in Apprenticing in
EKP, I am starting to take applications
for the next apprenticeship group beginning
in January 2010. For more
information, read the programs section in
this month's newsletter.
Articles in this issue include: "Fast
Food, Processed Fat and Endothelial
which caught my attention after seeing "Food,
Inc," as a follow-on to "Fast Food Nation,"
"Health Co-ops: An Alternative to Our
Current Insurance System," and
"Healthy Sexuality As a Single Person and
Throughout the Life Cycle," featuring the
reflections of my colleague, Niela Miller.
Your comments and feedback are always welcome!
Fast Food, Processed Fat and Endothelial Dysfunction
When my son and I saw "Super Size Me," Morgan
Spurlock's "human guinea pig" experiment of
eating 3 meals per day at McDonald's for 30
days, we were shocked and horrified at the
rapid deterioration of a young, vital and
virile man's health.
In just a few weeks, Morgan's health went
from perfect to endangered. And it tooks
months, if not years to restore his healthy
body chemistry after his experiment was through.
As I learned recently in an article entitled,
"15 Horrifying Reasons to Never Let Anyone
You Love Near a McDonald's" by Sarah Irani,
published in EcoSalon, the processed fat in
McDonald's food (and other fast food as
well), damages the tissue that line the
inside of blood vessels, the endothelium,
with dire consequences for our hearts and
sexual function. Eating the processed fat in
fast food promotes endothelial dysfunction
for up to 5 hours after consuming the fast food.
Damage to the endothelium can lead to a blood
clot, resulting in a heart attack or stroke.
A study at the University of Maryland
conducted by several cardiologists, suggested
that eating fast food (like an Egg McMuffin
with sausages and hash browns), "may deposit
lipid-containing plaques on the innermost
layer of the wall of an artery--independent
of any increase in blood cholesterol levels."1
In a study report by The Lancet in January
2005, the message of Spurlock's documentary
was confirmed: "Fast-food consumption does
increase the risk of obesity and type 2
diabetes." The frequency of fast food
consumption was directly associated with
changes in body weight. "The researchers
also ound that changes in frequency of fast
food consumption were directly associated
with insulin resistance in both groups.
...Those consuming fast food at least twice a
week gained an extra 10 pounds of body weight
and had a two-fold increase of insulin
resistance than those who ate fast food less
than once a week."2
In addition to being bad for our hearts, our
weight and our overall circulatory system,
endothelial dysfunction is also associated
with erectile dysfunction. Given blood flow
is essential to achieve and maintain an
erection, this is not surprising news. In
fact, Spurlock, a young and virile man who
had no sexual difficulties prior to his fast
food experiment, reported sexual problems
during his McDonald's diet.
The good news for Spurlock, and hopefully for
others who can keep their fast food at bay,
is that endothelial dysfunction is completely
reversible once a normal diet is restored.
I find it incredibly sad that people who
cannot afford healthy food, who turn to fast
food for financial reasons alone, are being
led to a lifestyle that will erode their
heart health, the sexuality and their overall
well-being. Fast food isn't really food at
all! It is fast poison!
1 = From "Why Every Type 2 Should See 'Super
Size Me," by Robert J. Tanenberg, MD, March
1, 2005, Diabetes Health.
2 = Drawn from a summary of the Lancet Study
from January 2005
©2009 Linda Marks
Please share your thoughts...
Health Co-ops: An Alternative to Our Current Health Insurance System
While the concept of "health care for all" is
surely a noble and valid one, the structures
we have created to deliver health care in
this country are so far from what is needed
to provide quality, affordable health care
for all, I believe that to truly provide
universal health care, new structures need to
be built from the ground up.
Health insurance costs are outrageous,
costing some individuals and families more
money on a monthly basis than their rent.
Yet, when an overnight hospitalization can
cost $11,000 (and that does not include the
ambulance ride to the hospital), the fear of
having a medical emergency while uninsured is
One model that has arisen quietly in Seattle,
among other cities, is the "health co-op"
model. A health care co-op is a non-profit,
member-owned group that assembles a network
of health care providers and negotiates
payment rates with them. Consider this power
to the patients! A health care co-op can
operate at a state, regional or national
level with voluntary membership.
Health care co-ops would eliminate some of
the layers in the conventional insurance
model, including profits which contribute to
the high cost of both insurance and medical
care. While no set number of patients need
to be members to form a health care co-op,
Senator Kent Conrad of Noth Dakota, believes
each co-op would need 500,000 members to succeed.
Many years ago, when I was pregnant with my
son, I belonged to a local network of health
professionals called GAPnet. We were a guild
of practitioners committed to affordable
care. As a way to bypass the insurance
system, and provide access to affordable care
to those who needed it, we simply allocated a
number of slots in our various practices for
people who could not afford the "real cost"
of our care.
While we did not get large enough to
negotiate contracts with hospitals, which
health care co-ops may do, on a community
level, we were able to bring care to many
people who would have otherwise fallen
through the cracks.
If we as both patients and practitioners
alike, turn to one another and try to work
something out that is mutually respect of our
talents and circumstances, we can create a
pathway towards care free from the clutches
of insurance premiums and claims.
I truly hope more and more patients and
practitioners do take matters into their own
hands, so that we don't reinforce the culture
of insurance-based-only health care,
exhorbitant prices for medical treatment
designed to hook into the insurance system.
We need a major change!
©2009 Linda Marks
Share your thoughts on this article...
Healthy Sexuality As a Single Person and Throughout the Life Cycle
Reflections From Niela Miller
Niela Miller is a colleague I have known for
several decades, whose work has always
involved creativity and living ones life to
the fullest. One subject she has explored in
workshops over the years is how to have a
rich, fulfilled life as a single person. Two
areas that our culture and the media has made
particularly challenging is how to express
ones sexuality as a single person and as we age.
I asked Niela to share her thoughts on these
topics. The following are some of her
"The biggest misconception about sexuality
and being a single person in our society is
that single persons are either promiscuous
sex hungry animals or asexual pitiful
creatures. The media has a brutal approach
to selling all kinds of commercial products
and procedures to singles based on the
ability to attract a partner for sex. Those
who are alone by choice or by fate are
marginalized. They are not seen as sexual
beings if they are not in a couple or trying
to be in one."
"Another misconception is that, although men
can easily take care of themselves through
masturbation, women are rarely seen as
self-sufficient in the very same way. Women,
themselves, often have a difficult time
recognizing that they are quite capable of
regular sexual fulfillment through
self-pleasuring. Many have bought the hype
that only if you have a partner can you be
complete in this way."
For a single person to develop their sense of
sexuality, separate from relating with a
partner, Niela recommends, "Enjoy your body
in every sensual way possible. Enjoy your
attractions to other human beings. See
yourself in nature as part of a world of
passion and pleasure. Wear clothes that feel
good to your body and that please you when
you look in the mirror. Write about yourself
in fantasy. Sing love songs to yourself."
"Living one's sensuality can be a blessing,
no matter what one's partner status. Knowing
one's body and how it responds, what it
likes, can be life-enhancing in any
"All close relationships have elements of
sexuality in them, whether acted upon or not,
simply because we are sexual creatures. As a
heterosexual, my close friendships with men
over the years have sustained me in my
feelings of contentment and self-worth as a
woman and I have filled the need for male
companionship, whether sexual or not. I have
also been fortunate to work with the
transgender community and my friends who are
mixed in gender have taught me that sexuality
can be experienced no matter what one's
presentation, identification or relationship."
One of the places our culture is most cruel
is in regard to sexuality as we age. Niela
reflects, "By worshipping youth, by craving
perfection, which leads women and more and
more men to fix body parts to some imagined
ideal, we feed the shadow--a fear of death,
aging, a revolt against the natural order of
things. This is very unsexy. Nowhere in the
natural world, except in the human species,
does this dread of body change and aging
exist. From my perspective, what is sexy at
ANY age is vitality, a keen interest in life,
a creative spirit, a loving heart, and a
willingness to engage."
To have a healthy sense of sexuality, single
or partnered, young or older, Niela
recommends, "Do what feels good. Realize
that shame was something you learned, not
something you were born with. Relate in a
way that supports your well-being as a
sexual, sensual, approachable person and
recognize others in the same vein."
You can learn more about Niela and her
work on her website,
You can listen to a radio blog interview of
Niela's life's work on her website(Projects,
Publications and AUDIO) PAGE with Andrea
executive coach who has a series on creativity.
Niela has also been developing programs in a
reality called Second Life
(www.secondlife.com). She has a studio in there
called Octagon for Creative Exploration and
make it available to friends who
want to come in and bring groups etc.
Share your thoughts....
Would you like to learn how to do EKP?
Applications are being accepted for the
2010 EKP Apprenticeship Program. The
apprenticeship group meets once a month for a
weekend training session. For more
information, contact LSMHEART@aol.com or call
Linda at (617)965-7846.
The Thursday night EKP Therapy Group has
openings for a couple new members. An interview
and one EKP session are required to apply.
Linda if you are interested at LSMHEART@aol.com
The next Healing the
Traumatized Heart Workshop, is on
Sunday, October 25 from 2 - 5
pm, in Newton.
Join us for an
experience of heartful
To enroll, send an e-mail to
LSMHEART@aol.com, and a check for $50 to
Linda Marks, 3 Central Avenue, Newton, MA
02460. Please include your name, phone
number, address and e-mail.
Come visit the EKP booth at the Spirit of
Change Expo in Sturbridge, MA on
Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, 27. We
will be running a EKP Clinic, as a
community service on
Saturday. Linda be be giving a workshop
from 4:30 - 6 pm on Saturday, as well.
On Tuesday, September 29, I will be
presenting as part of Jan Wall's Holistic
Psychology class at Lesley University
onThe Power of the Heart in Body
And on Tuesday, October 6, Linda Marks and
Alan Krentzel will be leading a Stress
Management for Peak Performance event for the
Sloan School of Management Alumni Association
EKP opportunities in Newton include:
- Being a guest client in the Student Clinic
- On-going Thursday night EKP Body
Psychotherapy Group (which currently has room
couple new members)
- On-going Sunday EKP Monthly Process
Group (which also has room for a couple new
- Apprenticing in EKP
If you would like a Healing the
workshop near you, or have a group of people
who you would like to bring EKP to, please
To find out more....