Blog Posts by Nancy Roberts

  • User Post: Ways to Love Our Planet for Earth Day

    As Earth Day draws near, our minds turn to ways we can become greener, to reduce the pollution, carbons, and toxins that are destroying our planet, for future generations. Although I am sometimes guilty of driving when I could walk or ride public transit, not always thoroughly sorting my recycling, and enjoying long showers, this time of year makes me mindful of my carbon footprint and if not for myself, but for my beautiful nieces and nephews and the children of my friends.

    1. Support green companies. Today's lean economic times emphasize the need for selectivity for where our hard-earned dollars go. Forbes just released its ranking of America's Greenest Companies. Even better, shop and spend locally, cutting down costs of delivery and transportation.
    2. Reduce or eliminate meat intake. Many of my friends do "Meatless Mondays." According to the EPA, cutting down out one meat meal per week would mean a carbon dioxide savings equivalent to taking more than half a million cars
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  • Detoxing with Moxie

    Deprivation is never easy, but it's always done better with a friend. Come May, my post New Year's workout regimen was yielding mediocre results. With an event to attend in several weeks, I needed to up my game.
    One of my fabulous coworkers who was receiving acupuncture and seeing a naturopath, told me about a cleanse she was starting and I decided it was now or never: I was in it to win it. Now a quick disclaimer: I don't do fasts. Three hours without food, nutrition deprivation sets in, I get the delirium tremens and forget my own name. But this cleanse was more realistic: for 10 days, no alcohol, gluten, red meat, dairy, soy (except the feremented kind), preservatives, white sugar, and gasp -- caffeine -- the hardest thing to give up during a workday. But I called in my reserves of strength, knowing I could withstand anything for 10 days..the following is a chronicle of said journey:

    Day 1: Where's my f***ckin coffee? My water, lemon juice, agave, and cayenne pepper concoction is

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  • It Takes a Village to Change our Eating Habits

    Just today, Change.org's Sustainable Food blog released its Top 5 Foods You Should Avoid in 2010 list, a wake-up call for the New Year and decade. Unsurprisingly, the usual offenders were present: high-fructose corn syrup (HFC), seafood on the watch list, out-of-season produce, and factory-farmed meat. Anyone who's read "Fat Land" or the "Omnivore's Dilemma" will never look at their meals the same way again. But gradually, the horror fades and these lessons get lost in the pressures of the daily grind, as most working people struggle to put food on their table. Whether it's grabbing a donut in between meetings or stopping off for fast food with the family after soccer practice, most everyday working people don't have the time to carefully research and plan their meals. We eat just to survive. And we get complacent and make choices out of convenience. For a person like myself, a single urban professional without children, it should be easy to make smart food choices, but I too fall

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  • Diabetes Robbed My Friend of Her Sight and Life

    On the eve of my high school reunion, I am slightly giddy with anticipation. Not because my life began and ended with high school: my 30s have been where I've really hit my stride. And I have remained connected with my high school friends who made an impact on me. But I am curious and genuinely looking forward to catching up with my classmates to see where the journey has taken them over time. However, my excitement is marred by the absence of one of my dearest friends since grade school.

    My friend was a beautiful, smart, funny, and vivacious woman, and could light up a room. The tough environment and inner city in which she grew up was no match for her sense of humor, feist, and wit, which all got her out of trouble. I learned so much from her. How to take chances and see the light in anything. To love Robert Smith. To make the mistakes teenagers do, and hopefully learn from. She witnessed all my proud teenage milestones: first cigarette, first car accident, first

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  • Love Letter to Gotham

    New York, today I grieve collectively with you and the nation. I write this from California, but you are my adopted home city, as you have been to the many to whom you have opened your doors.

    You woo me with your beauty, excite me with your energy, and tantalize me with your style. Sometimes you make it difficult for my sensitive West Coast, emo self to cohabitate with you. But every time I vow to leave though, you lure me back with your exquisiteness, and always leave me wanting more.

    Today, rain falls out of your skies, as if you are shedding tears for the fallen. On that horrible day, I was living in Boston, enjoying those same brilliant, blue skies of the warm late summer's day, without a hint the world would turn upside down. Moments later, your skies blackened and rained with ashes.

    You are a tough broad: feisty, raw, and challenging. I love you even on the days your subway becomes a sauna, and even more so during the bleak dreary days of February. But always honest, and

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  • An Ancient Treatment for a Modern Ailment

    I awoke one morning with frightening symptoms: three fingers on my right hand were numb. Convinced the cause was neurologic, I headed straight to WebMD, which pointed toward the telltale early symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, especially given that symptoms were on my right (dominant) hand and on my three Blackberry fingers.

    As a writer, my eyes and hands are my lifeblood, and I'll do anything to protect them. Recommended treatments for carpal tunnel included nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil, steroid injections, specific exercises, or -- for severe cases -- surgery. Wishing to avoid medications and surgery, I began to explore alternative medicine. I'd done some research about acupuncture as a potential treatment, and thought I'd give it a try.

    I am fortunate to live in San Francisco, home to not just one, but three community acupuncture clinics. These clinics provide treatment in a semi-private setting, with fees on a sliding scale. Their mission is to

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  • Who inspires you?

    Despite signs that the economy is on the upswing, the recession is still very much here, with many of us unemployed. I've been fortunate to have freelance income keeping me afloat, but some days I need a little more of a tug than just the fear of unpaid rent to inspire me.

    When I'm feeling unmotivated or down, I watch President Obama's acceptance speech from November 4, 2008 on Youtube. Ten months later, I still get goosebumps and shed tears of nostalgia remembering that magical moment in our history, that I was fortunate enough to bear witness to. Despite your politics, whether Democrat or Republican, we all share the common struggle of the human condition. And on that night, he was talking to all of us, not just Democrats, not just supporters. He was saying we are all in this together.


    Some of us draw inspiration from our teachers, parents, friends, partners, or clergy. I'm lucky to have many inspiring people in my life. But when I'm a bit down, watching Obama's speech gives me the

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  • 5 Tips for Surviving New York Dating

    Author's disclaimer: This piece is meant to be read as tongue-in-cheek and deliberately cynical. Still, it might elicit a few head nods from those in the trenches...

    New York dating is a jungle, a proverbial shark tank, a snake pit. Thrown in at the deep end, I had to learn fast, that the very tips that apply to New York dating are similar to a job interview. Master them, and you won't be shark bait.

    5. Never let'em see you sweat. No, literally. The subway becomes a sauna in the summer. Give yourself lots of time and know where you're going. Nothing says first impression like arriving late, breathing heavily, and schvitzing like a pig. Wear cotton and breathable materials to avoid those charming sweat stains.

    4. Put your best face forward.
    In a city home to supermodels and the world's most beautiful people, appearance is EVERYTHING. Now is not the time to put off that facial, waxing, or dye job. In one of the most competitive places, you are being judged. Insist on meeting somewhere

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  • How "Julie and Julia" Helped Me Find My Voice

    I'm descended from remarkable, strong women, and thus it's no surprise, I'm inspired by remarkable, strong women, or those on their way. Julie and Julia, the 2009 film about Julie Powell, a frustrated 30-year-old cubicle dweller and unpublished writer who blogs and cooks her way through Julia Child's Art of French Cooking, had a profound impact on me. With that I must give proper credit to Dory Devlin's excellent post, which in turn inspired my commentary.

    The past 3 years of my life have been a bit of a rollercoaster. Following my divorce. I'd quit my full-time job, bouncing between several writing freelance jobs and short-lived relationships. I sublet my apartment in San Francisco to live in New York a few months. Traveled to Central America alone and on a whim, prompted by the invitation of an ex. People joked that they never knew where I was. Perhaps living my own "Eat, Pray, Love," or early midlife crisis? Something was clearly driving me to live a different life, but I craved

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  • User Post: Does Milk Really Do a Body Good?

    Growing up, I drank my milk, 2-3 glasses every night, like a good little girl. This was during the 70s, way before "lactose-intolerant-this," "nondairy that," let alone "hormone-free milk" and Whole Foods. I also grew...big. I was healthy, but developed rather quickly and was "cursed" with the curse before the age of 12. Since then, my periods have always been bad -- heavy, irregular, and crampy. I've been on and off the pill, on a first-name-basis with Advil, and tried a variety of supplements, exercise, and yoga, which have met with mild improvement. Laparoscopy has been suggested as an option, but surgery is something I've filed away in a "if I'm really desperate" drawer, with lackluster resignation.

    Two months before my 30-never-you-mind birthday, and after a particularly decadent weekend, I decided to detox, which included an experiment with veganism. It was surprisingly easy for me, living in a major metropolitan area (New York), laden with farmers' markets during the summer and

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