Thursday, March 31, 2016
Saturday, March 26, 2016
The Writer (March 2003)
A Healthy Opportunity
10 ways to tap into health and fitness markets
While I am a health nut, I didn’t plan on becoming a health writer. But for over a decade (despite my goal to be a romance novelist), it’s the health-related projects that have kept my busy. And there’s plenty of work to go around.
Welcome to the wide, wide world of medical, health and fitness consumers. The trend is for people to get well and stay well. And it’s this kind of attitude that opens up doors to a variety of departments such as health, diet and nutrition, diseases and conditions, fitness and exercise, family health and sexual health.
Looking back, it would have helped to know the potential pitfalls-and practical pointers to help meet the challenges of writing magazines articles and health books. Here are 10 tips, gleaned from my experience, that you can use to crack the health market.
1. Find cutting-edge news. Think like a consumer. Find a timely topic in the health world, and you can get one step closer to landing an assignment. I learned fast that catchy spin on a weight loss or disease idea grabs the attention of editors big time. For example, my article “Lose 12 pounds in one week!” turned into the cover story of Woman’s World. Later, American Media Mini Mags, Inc., assigned me a mini-project to expand on the diet article, which led to several quickie diet books (1,750 to 25,000 words, with payment ranging from $1,500 to $4,000 or more).
How you can do it: Make old topics newsworthy. That means thinking like a consumer: “I would love to read a story on an anti-aging trend or miracle sex drug.” To stay informed, check out JNet’s U.S. health news at www.journalismnet.com/beats/healthus.htm.
2. Target your audience. If your heart isn’t into your subject, you’ll get the big chill from an editor. Devin Alexander, Muscle & Fitness editorial assistant, advises, “Know our magazine and the kinds of stories we do so you’re not pitching off-the-wall topics. For example, don’t send an idea on beauty make overs. It’s clear you don’t know what we’re about.” In other words, you’ve got to brainstorm and put your creativity to work.
How you can do it: Ask yourself, “Do I really have the right slant and format to fit the publication?” A super-fitness magazine, for example, publishes articles like “Six-Week Killer Workout,” but that would be a poor fit for a mainstream family magazine. Try to sculpt your idea to fit your audience. Pick up a copy of the health publication-and read it.
3. Add statistics and facts. The numbers game can also hook an editor. In Doctors’ Orders, I wrote, “Breast cancer: the statistics are sobering. One in eight women will contract this disease.” It’s a startling statistic that shows no woman is immune-and dishes out instant and wide audience appeal.
How you can do it: You can use statistics in the lead paragraph to lure an editor. If you have several interesting facts, put them in a sidebar for oomph. Get up-to-date numbers from a nationwide organization such as the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org). Sources like these often provide fact sheets on their Web sites.
4. Team up with experts. Several years ago, I wrote a column on diet and nutrition for Woman’s World. I paired up with registered dietitians and interviewed medical doctors. The pros fed me their knowledge, and I wrote credible articles without having to get a health credential.
How you can do it: You, too, will find that collaboration has its perks. While dietitians may charge a fee (e.g., to devise a diet plan), you’ll be more apt to get an assignment if you work with one on a nutrition article. And note: High-profile doctors are busy, so cater to their schedule. Bonus tip: Doctors are always looking for ghostwriters.
5. Lose the medical-ESE. You’ll discover that doctors and academics may use a five-syllable vocabulary full of technical words. And if you don’t stay alert, you’ll wake up dazed and confused when writing your article or book.
How you can do it: To avoid a too-heady interview, take control. Try saying, “Pretend I am 5 years old, and please repeat what you said.” Or rephrase their words out loud and get the experts’ blessings. Always tape your interview. If you don’t understand a word or doubt a meaning during transcription, go back to the expert and double-check the quote.
6. Devour great quotes. Good health articles come with good quotes. Get colorful and concise language straight from your sources to paint a picture. The best quotes are ones that leave you thinking, “Wow!” In my book The Healing Powers of Vinegar: A Complete Guide to Nature’s Most Remarkable Remedy, one doctor struggled with weight loss.
(In 2015 VINEGAR received the #1 Best Seller banner! on amazon.com and kobo.com (in many health-related categories).The 3rd edition will be released in the summer of 2016.)
To connect with readers, I quoted her saying, “I lost 50 pounds-five times! I tried every diet you can name. I’d finally attained my dream of becoming a doctor, but I was miserable because I weighed over 200 pounds. It was time to get off the roller coaster.” Her comments have more of an impact than anything I could have written.
How you can do it: The trick to getting quotes is threefold: Bond with your subject by sharing experiences; listen for words that lead to a gold mind; and ask: “How did that make you feel?”
7. Use metaphors. Good quotes are nice; metaphors are nicer. Health writing can be a dry subject. In my story “Eat With Ease” for Energy Times, I had to discuss digestive enzymes. Boring, right? Wrong. Mighty metaphor came to the rescue. I paraphrased a doctor: “Like little Pac-Men and women, enzymes can speed up the digestive process and help break down the food so your body can absorb it.”
How you can do it: To get a visual image of a topic, go for it like a dog chasing a ball. It will make your work more interesting, and show that you’ve got a handle on the subject.
8. Digest good studies. People want scientific proof. It is your job to back up your words of wisdom. Animal research is lower in importance than research on humans. Testimonials and anecdotal evidence are not hard-hitting health studies. Peer-reviewed journal articles (such as those in The New England Journal of Medicine) are the best.
How you can do it: The more subjects in a controlled study (where sick people are compared to healthy people), the better. For up-to-date studies, contact EurekAlert at www.eurekalert.org.
9. Sprinkle in anecdotes. Adding real-life people brings life to health projects. Lora Wintz, executive editor of Complete Woman, says, “I like a health article that includes first-person stories because they help draw my reader in and give them something to relate to immediately: “This could happen to me if it could happen to her.”
In Doctors’ Orders, for instance, Susan Lark’s story rings true in this paragraph: “During medical school, I had both PMS and cramps. The last couple of years, I was sometimes on call all night taking care of patients. And the days were incredibly long and difficult. I often compare it to boot camp. I remember having severe cramps, so that I’d have to leave work and go to the on-call room and just sit there in misery.”
How you can do it: Good connections-and connecting-will get you that dream anecdote. (If you have trouble, practice, tip #6.) To find anecdotes, contact health clinics, national health organizations and authors of health books.
10. Check your facts. Once you have finished your work, fact-check. Sloppy reporting will end up
as a rewrite or worse-rejected. “Proofread,” caution all health editors.
How you can do it: Check the spelling of names, titles and medical terms. (Pick up a medical dictionary.) It will annoy your editor (and you) if your work contains a blooper. And yes, do include the vitals of study information (i.e., journal and date).
And finally, here’s some overall good advice: “I evaluate whether the piece is newsworthy, well-written, focused, informative and credible. I admire the use of humor and off-the-cuff analogies, too,” says Kerrie-Lee Brown, editor of American Health & Fitness.
These tips will help you survive the hunt and fill your belly in the health market.
Friday, March 25, 2016
Honey brings health benefits as sweet as its taste. (excerpt from Wellbella Magazine)
“Eating antioxidant-rich honey can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes—even help reduce body fat and unwanted weight—and increase longevity,” says Cal Orey, author of the [timeless] book The Healing Powers of Honey. But the benefits of eating honey go even further. Easing sore throats, boosting energy levels and strengthening the immune system are just a few added perks. As a DIY beauty treatment, honey can also be used to soften and exfoliate the skin.
It’s important to note, however, that not all honeys are created equal. “The quality of honey matters,” explains Orey. “It should be real, raw, unprocessed and unheated. Unfiltered honey, straight from the hive, is the true ‘superfood’ nutritionists applaud.” And while most honeys contain natural antibacterial qualities, some varieties contain higher levels than others. For example, Manuka honey, a special type of honey harvested from bees that feed on tea tree plants, is unique in its ability to treat minor wounds and burns.
Supercharge your green tea—and soothe a cough or cold—by adding 1 teaspoon each of buckwheat honey, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and cayenne.
“During the creation of The Healing Powers of Chocolate, I noticed that honey, like chocolate, was noted in the Mediterranean diet—an underlying theme in my book series,” says author Cal Orey. “And that five-letter word—honey—stuck in my mind like a honeybee on a sunflower. What else could follow the class act of decadent chocolate?” For more info on The Healing Powers of Honey, visit calorey.com.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Here It Comes! The book that ignited the Healing Powers series.
By Cal Orey
Back in 1999, I was assigned a book. The topic? Vinegar. Fast forward 15 years... Welcome to the third edition of The Healing Powers of Vinegar.
By Cal Orey
Back in 1999, I was assigned a book. The topic? Vinegar. Fast forward 15 years... Welcome to the third edition of The Healing Powers of Vinegar.
From the Back Cover
From Folk Medicine to 21st Century Favorite--Discover the Amazing Powers of Vinegar!
Revised and updated, this comprehensive book draws on the latest scientific studies and interviews with top health researchers to reveal how apple cider and red wine vinegars--as well as balsamic, fruit, rice, and herb-infused vinegars--can help you stay healthy. Often partnered with olive oil, a key ingredient in the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet, vinegar is the basis for easy, tasty, rustic recipes--including favorites of health spa chefs. You'll also find proven home health cures, innovative cosmetic secrets, lively anecdotes, and environmentally friendly household hints--from making countertops sparkle to cleaning up kids and pets.
*Take advantage of vinegar's natural therapeutic, antioxidant, and culinary virtues as this 5,000-year-old healer evolves in new uses and products--from sipping vinegars to home-cooked foods.
* Learn how vinegar helps lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and bone loss.
*Discover how vinegar's acetic acid kills bacteria, and may help prevent tuberculosis and combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
* Use red wine vinegar to enjoy the same important antioxidants as red wine--without the alcohol.
*Pair vinegar with healthful oils to ease anxiety, boost brain power, enhance energy, and aid digestion.
* Create home cures to treat allergies, arthritis, toothache, sunburn, swimmer's ear, sore throat, and other pesky ailments.
...and discover much more in this invaluable resource to help you slim down, shape up, and enhance longevity!
Sunday, March 6, 2016
(Excerpt from The Healing Powers of
Revised and Updated)
IN THE LAND OF OLIVE OIL
The same thing happened to me twice, in two different cities. The first time was at a book signing in Cleveland, OH when a small woman came straight up to me and asked, “Guess how old I am.”
She looked like she was about 68 to 72-ish (and I know how this game works), so I guessed low. “Oh gosh, no more than 65,” I responded.
|Trailer for fun, 2 minutes|
This woman was stunning. Her skin was perfect and she just radiated health. I said, “Okay, WHAT? What are you doing?”
She told me that she was a first-generation Italian, her family consumed olive oil every day, and her mother even put it right on her skin. Every day!
THE HEALTHIEST DIET ON EARTH
We look at cases like this, as does author-journalist Cal Orey, and wonder how in the world they knew to do that? But the knowledge to know that the rich delicious oil of the olive will keep them younger and more vibrant for more of their days doesn’t come from some laboratory. They don’t do it because some science study told them to.
The knowledge they rely upon, like the rich multi-layered complexity of olive oil itself, comes from the ancient cultural traditions of these thin, healthy people. There is a depth to that cultural understanding, which also forms the centerpiece to what many deem the healthiest diet on earth: the olive oil-based Mediterranean diet.
Could you imagine someone from Spain or Greece exclaiming how they suddenly weren’t going to eat olive oil because some study came out about low fat foods? That would be ridiculous. Or perhaps they’d turn to a low fat dressing because they read that the ratio of hydrogens saturating its fatty acid chain didn’t fit some theory about what should or shouldn’t constitute a healthy oil? Absurd.
The thin healthy people consumed olive oil when we recommended against it, and continue this delicious habit after we’ve embraced it. Their dietary prescriptions haven’t changed precisely because the decision to eat olive oil is an expression of who they are as a people.
There is a steady depth to this form of cultural knowledge, embedded in the steady passage of time across ages. It’s an expression of who they are, who their parents are, extending across time like an outstretched hand to us today, directly from their history, culture, and tradition.
Because of this solid foundation, you can count on it to work for your good health, just as well as it has worked for theirs.
After all, it has done so since before history was written down, and won’t change in the next five years either. The impact on your health will be the same as has been felt for millennia. And when you look at the results over this expanse of time, you see that olive oil consumption is clearly associated with low weight, healthy hearts and longer lives.
The people of Crete, for example, as I know and Orey pointed out in the first edition of The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, have some of the highest longevity rates on Earth, some of the lowest cardiac mortality rates, cancer rates, and all with the highest per capita consumption of olive oil. Ask them about their amazing heart healthy diet and they’ll shrug because they’re not on a diet. They’re just living their lives as they always have.
It’s funny, too, that the remarkable health benefits of olive oil have been known to people in the Mediterranean region for millennia, but the rest of the world is just now catching up with them. With each month, it seems, new scientific research continually re-confirms the many ways in which it benefits our bodies.
OLIVE OIL, THE VERSATILE FAT
Orey, once again, in The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, Revised and Updated, with the greatest of ease discusses in detail, the fats in olive oil that we feared for so long turn out to be the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated variety, which today’s science confirms can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
The antioxidants found within the deep green oil also work inside your body to fight the harmful free radicals. On your salad, in your sauté, or simply drizzled over your fish, this helps to prevent cellular damage and, ultimately, the development of cancer itself.
Not only are these amazing fats good for you on their own, but they can also help your body absorb the other healthful nutrients in your food, such as the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. In other words, if you include olive oil on any of your foods, you get one health enhancement from the olive oil, and then a turbo boost from the added nutrients you absorb from your salad.
And the cultural habit of applying olive oil both inside and out, for softer, smoother, less desiccated skin has been known and practiced for thousands of years. Now our western science confirms that the dermal application of olive oil leaves your skin less dry, less wrinkled, and less susceptible to DNA damage caused by exposure to UV light.
THE SUPERFOOD THAT’S GOOD AS GOLD
So whether you are a person who needs science to quantify and verify what you see in order to believe it, or someone who trusts what healthy cultures are doing and can apply those habits to their own lives, the jury is pretty much in on olive oil. It’s great for you!
And the good news is that Cal Orey’s “The Healing Powers of Olive Oil: A Complete Guide to Nature's Liquid Gold, Revised and Updated” clearly lays out more research and more reasons why olive oil (also paired with other healing oils) is healthy, how you can use it, which kind is the best, where you can find it, and many delicious ways you can incorporate it into your daily life, for added flavor, better health, and even beauty! Orey gives kudos to olive oil--and people of all ages will benefit from her words of wisdom.
--Dr. Will Clower, CEO Mediterranean Wellness and award winning author of The Fat Fallacy, and Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight