Friday, January 31, 2014

Cutting Off Your Hair for a Cause

After our Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness client, Caroline Brown, was diagnosed with breast cancer, her best friend Cannon Hodge did something amazing to show her support... she cut off her Rapunzel fairy tale locks for Pantene Beautiful Lengths! Read about her story that was featured in Elle Magazine. 

By: Julie Schott

Photo credit: Alexandra Kuhn

Anne, Carey, Miley, Michelle—everyone's losing inches and looking cooler for it. Bergdorf Goodman social-media manager decides to make it count.
What do you do when your best friend of nearly two decades receives a breast-cancer diagnosis? 

Bergdorf Goodman social-media manager Cannon Hodge cut her bum-grazing, fairy-tale-princess hair into a below-the-chin crop, in hopes of contributing to a wig for her friend Caroline Brown. Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, the two were inseparable, and they fulfilled their childhood pact to go to college and move to a major city. Both built fashion careers in New York City, although Brown has since relocated to Houston. 

Before Brown’s diagnosis, they even wore their hair the same way. “We have the same color and texture,” Hodge says. “She’s a long-haired Texas girl; I’m a long-haired Texas girl.” For Hodge, shearing off the extra length to make a wig for Brown was an obvious choice. But she soon learned that a full hairpiece requires up to 20 pony-tail donations—each at least eight inches long—far more than her cut alone would generate. “It’s not as easy as just snipping off your hair and turning it into a wig,” Hodge says. Still, every little bit does help.

For those looking to grow and give—or just grow and grow—hair guru John Barrett, who executed Hodge’s new do, recommends avoiding harsh chemical treatments, including coloring. Future donors should also reduce heat styling and consider replacing elastics with softer hair ties. “Also, keep in mind that it takes about 10 months of regrowth before you’ll be able to donate again,” Barrett says.

Read more at Elle Magazine.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Starting Chemotherapy: Nutrition Tips

If you are undergoing chemotherapy, you want to stay as healthy and comfortable as possible during treatment. What you eat during treatment can make a big difference in helping you achieve that goal.

Keep Food Tasty. Chemo can do a number on your taste buds, making certain foods and drinks taste metallic or unpleasant. Water and meat are the two most common items that become distasteful during chemo. If it becomes difficult to drink plain water, try drinking flavored mineral water or add sliced lemon to tap water. If certain meats become difficult to enjoy, try other sources of protein such as eggs, low-fat dairy, beans, and fish.

Fight Constipation. While some people experience diarrhea with chemo, others deal with constipation. Keeping hydrated is important to help prevent constipation. Including all types of fiber in your diet also can be helpful. If you aren't accustomed to large amounts of fiber, make sure to increase your fiber slowly. Getting some exercise -- even just a 20-minute walk -- can be a powerful intestinal stimulant.

Manage Weight Gain. Some cancer patients tend to gain weight during treatment.  Stick to low-fat meals, snacks, and lots of vegetables.

Improve Your Appetite. Many people undergoing chemo find that their appetites suffer. Since carbohydrates are usually digested well, try snacks such as hot cereals, toast with peanut butter or other nut butter, or pita bread with hummus. Other foods to consider include yogurt and blended soups.

Ease Diarrhea. If you are experiencing diarrhea, avoid greasy and fried foods, caffeine, sugary drinks and fruit juices, salad greens, raw produce, and sugar alcohols. Foods that are generally well-tolerated include oatmeal, most fruits without skin, sweet potatoes, and squash.

Keep a Food and Symptom Diary. Write down what you eat and drink, and record any symptoms you experience daily. This will help you and your health care team identify what you are eating that may be causing nausea, constipation, or diarrhea. This way, medications and other dietary suggestions can be tried before problems escalate.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Colorful Compression Stockings to Match Your Personality!

Do you have a strong desire for a bit of flair in your couture? Our custom compression stockings come in various fun colors to match your mood for the day. Check out what our client Monica shared with us about her new pink compression hose:

"Thank you Kristen for all that you and your staff at Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness have done. It is great to have such great people to ensure I am able to get the correct compression stockings that I need. My life has improved so much. Since I have to wear compression stockings, I want to have some fun, so I got them in some fun colors!"

If you are interested in finding out more about our colorful compression garments, call 713-623-4247 to schedule your free consultation with our BOC/ABC certified garment fitter. Kristen can answer any questions you have about compression garments and assist you in managing your lymphedema.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Slow eating might aid weight loss

As people look for fresh strategies to cut back on calories and shed pounds, a new study suggests that simply eating more slowly can significantly reduce how much people eat in a single sitting.

The study involved a small group of both normal-weight and obese/overweight. All were given an opportunity to eat a meal under relaxed, slow-speed conditions, and then in a time-constrained, fast-speed environment.

The catch: Although all participants consumed less when eating slowly and all said they felt less hungry after eating a slow meal compared to a fast meal, only people considered normal weight actually reduced their calorie intake significantly.

Feeling full

"One possible reason for the calorie drop seen may be that slower eating allows people to better sense their feelings of hunger and fullness," said study author Meena Shah, a professor in the department of kinesiology at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

Slow eating also seemed to increase water intake and stomach swelling, Shah said, while also affecting the biological process that determines how much food people consume.

The study was published online Jan. 2 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

To explore a potential connection between slow eating and reduced caloric intake, the team focused on 35 normal-weight men and women and 35 overweight or obese men and women.

Slow vs. fast eating

During a two-day study period, all were asked to consume the exact same meals under two conditions. The "slow" meal was spread over an average of 22 minutes per meal, involving small bites and deliberate chewing without concern for time. The "fast" meal involved large bites and quick chewing, under the notion that time was of the essence. The average fast-meal time was about nine minutes.

The result: Normal-weight participants were found to consume 88 fewer calories when eating slowly, a decrease deemed "significant." By contrast, the obese/overweight group saw only a 58-calorie reduction during the slow-eating session.

The researchers said the obese/overweight group actually consumed less food overall during both the slow- and fast-eating sessions than the normal-weight group. That finding might explain the smaller calorie drop during the first group's slow-eating trial, they said.

Both groups ate less when eating slowly, however, and a notable spike in water intake during the slow-eating test might be a major reason why. When eating slowly, water intake increased by 27 percent among the normal-weight group, and by 33 percent among the overweight/obese group. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Critical Legislation to Improve Health Care for Lymphedema Patients Introduced

U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) and cosponsors Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Bruce Braley (D-IA) introduced the Lymphedema Treatment Act, HR 3877, to ensure Medicare coverage for the millions of Americans who suffer from this condition.

"Seniors who suffer from lymphedema should not be punished for taking the necessary steps to treat their condition," Reichert said. "By rectifying Medicare's failure to cover compression garments we give seniors their best chance and real hope to fight back against this chronic disease. I am pleased to be joined by my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in this fight against lymphedema."

Lymphedema is a chronic condition resulting from damaged or inadequate lymph nodes or lymphatic vessels that afflicts millions of Americans. It is a disease that one can be born with but it is most often caused by cancer treatments that damage the body's lymph system or immune functions.

Due to the painful swelling that results from lymphedema, compression therapy is an essential component of treatment but compression supplies are not covered by Medicare despite being an ongoing necessity. HR 3877 closes this coverage gap by requiring Medicare to cover lymphedema compression items.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Healthy Hair Tips for Winter

We all want healthy, glossy Hair throughout the year, but during winter when it all gets a little colder we need to give it that extra bit of TLC.

Take extra care of your roots: Avoid putting products like conditioner, wax or gel directly onto the roots of your hair. This will clog the pores and hair follicles, making it difficult for hair to grow as it normally would.

Be product wise: In the winter months you should opt for a gentle shampoo that won't strip the hair of much needed moisture. A deeper conditioner should then be used to protect the hair and prevent damage from extreme weather or central heating.

Stock up on protein for the winter months: Hair is made up of Keratin, a protein, so embarking on a protein high diet can keep hair shiny and strong. Incorporate meat, fish and eggs into your diet where possible.

Keep it natural: Many women suffer from flyaway or frizzy hair in the winter months and prefer to dry their hair before venturing out in to the cold. Try to keep the use of straighteners and hair driers to a minimum, as intense heat can actually traumatize the hair. Over a long period, if you continue to straighten or curl your hair regularly, you will make the hair brittle and prone to breakage, contributing to the overall weakening of each individual hair. When you combine this with harsh winter weather, the hair can become very dry and will look and feel unhealthy. Avoid using hair dyes regularly as well, as these can cause long term damage by drying out the hair and starving it of its own vital nutrients.

Don't overheat it: In the winter there is nothing better than a hot bath or shower, but this could actually be detrimental to your hair. It is always best to wash your hair with warm or cool water, rather than very hot water, as this will prevent trauma to the hair.

Gently does it: When your hair is wet, avoid rigorously brushing it or attacking the knots, as this can cause the hairs to break. Try not to scratch the scalp too, as this can cause the scalp to become dry and to flake. It can also damage the hair from the root, which could curtail growth.

Wear a cap: If you enjoy a swim in a heated pool during the winter months, try to remember to bring a swimming cap. Chlorinated water has been found to damage the hair if the hair is exposed to the chemicals within the water over long periods of time, so try to protect it by simply popping a cap on.

Keep calm: Don't let the stress of the holidays get the better of you. Sustained periods of stress can lead to a change in hormonal balances, which can pave the way for hair thinning or patterned baldness. Stress also leads to the build up of acid free radicals and this can contribute to gradual loss of hair. Try to incorporate time away from stressful situations or environments into your regime.

Act on loss: If you suffer with hair loss, the best thing to do is to consult a hair loss specialist. At Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness, our team of hair loss specialists will be able to analyze your hair and assess what is causing it to thin or fall out. Unlike in men, hair loss in women is most commonly caused by some form of underlying health condition, such as anemia.

Have Questions?  Contact Ricky at 713-623-4247 today!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Best Weight Loss Apps of 2014!

Year after year, weight loss reigns as one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. Yet obesity remains an epidemic in the United States. Whether you want to lose 5 pounds or 50, stick with it in 2014, so that next year your goal is just to keep the weight off. With countless apps and wearable tech designed to help you meet your fitness goals, there are no excuses this year. Eat well, work out, and stay motivated with the help of this technology.

Lose It!

Lose It! has been one of the most popular health apps on iTunes for several years now. The easy-to-use app makes it easy to keep track of weight loss goals. Enter your current weight and your desired weight and the app will tell you the maximum daily calories you can consume to meet your goal. Log fitness activities and scan barcodes on food items, to easily keep track of your progress. Weigh yourself every day and see a line graph of your progress. This free app is available on iOS and Android, with additional charges for upgrades.

Daily Workouts

Save money on a gym membership this year. Work out at home! The Daily Workout app is essentially a workout video for your smartphone or tablet, broken up into five or ten minute routines. This app will get your butt, arms, abs and legs in shape, while saving you a time. The workouts are as effective as your local fitness class. This free app is available on iOS and Android, with additional charges for upgrades.

Jawbone UP

"Wearable tech," was definitely a catchphrase of 2013 and that's expected to continue into the new year. With fitness-tracking wristbands gaining popularity, there's no sign that the momentum is slowing down. The Jawbone UP band is one of the more popular devices and recently came out with a new version, called the UP24. In addition to tracking steps taken and calories burned, the water-resistant band keeps tab on sleep patterns via its smartphone app. Set an alarm to wake you up in your lightest sleep phase, and the band promises you'll be refreshed. Add friends to your "team," and tell them to step it up! The Jawbone UP24 retails for $149.99


The Fitbit is another contender for the hottest in wearable tech. The recently released Fitbit Force, is an upgrade to the Flex. Like the Jawbone UP, the Fitbit bands track steps taken and hours slept. Yet unlike the previous Fitbit, the Force displays real-time data on the band's screen, doubling as a watch. Sync with the app to track progress and compete with your friends. The Fitbit Force retails for $129.95


In an era where people track everything from carbs to gluten, ShopWell helps you keep track of all your dietary needs. Next time you're at the grocery store, scan barcodes of food items and ShopWell will tell you if the product meets your requirements. If not, it will suggest another similar product that does. Whether you're looking to lose weight, avoid allergies, or help with diabetes, ShopWell will do you well. This free app is available on iOS and Android.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lymphatic Flow and Yoga

Lymphedema is a condition in which the lymphatic system fails to drain lympatic fluid from the body properly causing increased swelling and volume in the affected area. This is a increasingly heightened problem for cancer patients who have had lymph nodes removed or otherwise damaged by radiation and cancer treatments.

Yoga is an especially effective exercise in helping to revive the lymphatic system and expel lymphatic fluid. By concentrating on muscle contractions of the whole body and by incorporating deep conscious breathing, it serves as a pump to help direct lymph through the deep channels of the chest.

Types of yoga-influenced exercises to help with lymphatic fluid are:

Inversions - by placing your legs up a wall or lying on an inversion therapy table you create anti-gravity and drain lymph and used blood from the legs

Abdominal Twists - working the abdomen with twists and side bends simulates the flow of lymph fluid up through the core of the body by squeezing the organs and muscles and then allowing fresh fluid to soak back in as the twist is relaxed

Aerobic Exercise - dynamic flow practices cause large muscles in the body to contract and relax, the primary way lymph fluid moves through the body