How Nutrition Affects Alcoholism
I’m reading a book right now which is blowing the lid off my mind.
Bear with the hokey title:
“The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism” by Dr Abram Hoffer Md Phd and Andrew W Saul PhD.
The authors claim with such certainty that alcoholism is a result of hypoglycaemia, nutritional deficiencies, allergies, aside from the obvious environmental issues.
In it, the authors make some bold claims:
- “I tested over 300 alcoholics with a glucose tolerance test and did not find even one patient who had a normal result.
- “The treatment was to avoid sugar, which is very difficult especially for alcoholics.
- “Alcohol…is basically liquid sugar…and a slow-acting poison.
- “When malnutrition or nutrient starvation is present, it is impossible to respond effectively to any medical treatment.
These statements are reminiscent of Dr Russell Blaylock’s lecture called “Nutrition and Behaviour” which details a study of alcoholic inmates.
95% of them were hypoglycaemic.
They separated them into two groups, fed one of them a healthy diet, and allowed the control group to continue eating their junk food diet.
Those who stayed on the healthy diet had a 71% success rate of sobriety – compare that to AA’s sobriety rate of 25%.
Back to Hoffer’s book:
- “Alcoholism and drug addiction, so often portrayed as without cure, can indeed be ended with high-dose nutrient therapy.
It gets bolder:
- “We are convinced that healthy people will not become alcoholics.
- “Only people who are not healthy become alcoholics.
- “We would go so far as to state it as a law: only the sick become alcoholic.”
They go on to describe the megadose or Orthomolecular treatment plan which has worked to help their patients, including Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, use vitamins such as B3, B6, Vitamin C, and others, to effectively kill off any cravings for alcohol, even when one has achieved sobriety through AA, and also eliminate any negative side effects from long-term alcoholism such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, and so on.
Bear in mind that this book is written by two of the heavyweights of Orthomolecular Medicine.
Dr Hoffer pioneered the field and conducted psychiatry’s first randomly controlled double-blind placebo trial ever in the 1950s.
Andrew Saul was on the faculty of the State University of New York for nine years, and taught nutrition, health science and cell biology at the college level.
What do you think? Excitement or Quackery?
Raw Vegan Potluck Groups in Ontario
Join a raw vegan potluck in your area!
These groups are not for profit and run on a recurring basis.
The goal is to bring together like-minded folks to create a supportive community.
- Toronto Raw Food Potluck Group
- York Region Raw Food Potluck Group
- Mississauga / Brampton / Oakville Raw Food Potluck Group
- Barrie Raw Food Potluck Group
Wild Edibles in Southern Ontario
Wild food is some of the most nutritious – even more than organic produce – because the soil hasn’t been tampered with compared to farming.
Here’s how to identify your local native plants, the health benefits, and how to consume them.
This season, we’ll have lots of wild harvested food on the House of Verona retreat menu.
We’ll also be offering wild edible walks in the Blue Mountain area for our guests to pick and discover their own wild, highly nutritious foods.
Book a customized retreat by emailing email@example.com or call 1-800-252-2826.
Disclaimer – NEVER eat anything unless you are 100% sure what it is – consult a field guide or herbalist expert if you are not sure.
Health benefits: High in vitamin A and protein; good to cleanse the liver.
To use: throw flowers in salads or dehydrate the roots to make an instant coffee substitute. Use the greens in smoothies or salads. Pick them in the spring so that they’re not as bitter.
Health benefits: calcium, chromium, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, niacin, thiamine and phosphorus, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center.
To use: the flowers and leaves are edible in salads, smoothies or teas.
This clover look-a-like tastes very lemony and has darling heart shaped leaves.
Health benefits: high in vitamin C; also used by Native Canadians to relieve thirst.
To use: Throw in salads or smoothies.
Wild garlic mustard
Health benefits: shown to reduce “bad” cholesterol and strengthen immunity
To use: add to salads, soups, or anything else you’d use garlic or mustard in.
Found in forests particularly in damp conditions.
Health benefits: source of manganese, vitamin C, iron, folate, and B6.
To use: use the entire plant just like you would an onion or a clove of garlic. Best picked in late spring/early summer
You can tell it is mint because the stem is square-shaped. Some species have purple leaves.
Health benefits: has been shown to soothe stomach aches, and a source of vitamin C and A.
To use: in teas, smoothies, or salads
Recognized by its broad leaves and red root, this sucker is all over downtown Toronto.
Health benefits: removes toxins from the bloodstream.
To use: Use the root to make a detoxifying tea, rub the root on hives from stinging nettles to act as an antidote, or use the root as you would any other root vegetable (potatoes, carrots, beets..)
Jewel-weed, aka Spotted Touch-me-not
Crack open the stem and juice oozes out which is the Canadian answer to aloe vera.
Health benefits: Soothing – it treats insect bites, burns and poison ivy.
To use: Cut open stem and apply topically.
Dog-toothed violet, aka Troutlilly
Found in forests under thick canopies.
Health benefits: shown to reduce “bad” cholesterol
To use: Great in salads or smoothies.
This green has an anise or “root beer” fragrance.
Health benefits: helps to cleanse the digestive system.
To use: Make a tea out of the leaves and yellow flowers.
Wild carrot aka Queen Anne’s lace
This ubiquitous flower is actually a wild carrot
Health benefits: high in vitamins A, K and C.
To use: just as you would any carrot: salads, soups, mixed vegetable dishes.
Careful: There are poisonous lookalikes – only eat this if it actually smells like carrot!
Also known as cat-mint, it’s identifiable by its square purplish-green stem and purplish leaves
Health benefits: getting your cat high.
To use: slip under Muffin’s nose and watch her go wild.
Part of the mint family, it’s what many earl gray teas are actually made from
Health benefits: it’s a diuretic, so it’ll clean you out
To use: steep into a tea
This little guy is a very common “weed”.
Health benefits: an antidote to skin irritants.
To use: Crush it up and use it to soothe bee stings, insect bites, and poison ivy.
Called the supermarket of the wilderness, every part can be eaten.
Health benefits: loaded with raw starch, nutrients and carbohydrates to keep you alive in the forest
To use: pull a live green tail out of the water, peel off a few leaves and eat it like celery. Open up the fuzzy brown top to reveal pollen, which can be used just as flour is used – mix into batters.
St John’s Wort
This grows wild but is native to Germany. The green sprouts beside the brown dried seeds are what is used to harvest the herb. The purple dots on the underside of the leaves are what contain the medicinal chemical.
Health benefits: a potent anti-depressant – but never to be used by pregnant women, as there are negative side effects
To use: Don’t. It’s not advised to experiment without knowing the real dosage level. Best to buy a natural supplement instead.
Wild rice (which is actually a grass) and wild asparagus can also be found in Ontario.
All willow trees are a source of ASA, or a natural source of aspirin
Health benefits: a reliable non-opiate painkiller found in the forest
To use: cut off a branch and steep slowly on medium or low heat for an hour in water. Strain & drink. Never boil.
Health benefits: very high in vitamin C; prevents insect bites when used topically.
To use: crush the greens between your hands and rub on your skin as a natural bug spray, or steep into a tea. Never boil.
Any evergreen tree is high in vitamin C
Steep needles slowly to make a tea – never boil for a tea it unless you want to ingest a toxic syrup.
These come from the black cherry tree, identifiable by bark that resembles Corn Flakes.
Health benefits: high in antioxidants.
To use: gather the fruit which has fallen at the base of the tree.
Found all over Toronto, ripe mulberries are nature’s gummi bears.
Health benefits: high in antioxidants.
To use: shake the tree & eat. Careful: only eat if it’s ripe. Unripe mulberries and leaves are hallucinogenic!
Staghorn sumac tree
Her fuzzy antler-like branches are easy to spot.
Health benefits: very high in vitamin C.
To use: Steep red fruit & strain to make a tart tea. Chill to make sumac lemonade.
Tip: The berries are the best picked in the fall.
These tiny blue berries have a distinct cedar taste.
Health benefits: high in antioxidants, but an old wives’ tale says that too much can make you sterile.
To use: Add dried & crushed berries to sauces
Any rose flowers are edible, regardless of the species.
Health benefits: very high in vitamin C
To use: Rosehips are the fruit when the petals of the flower falls off. The leaves and flowers are also edible in salads or teas.
I wouldn’t eat roses grown for the “love industry” – not sure the dyes or pesticides sprayed on there.
Wild grapes, wild raspberries, and wild strawberry can also be found in Ontario.
An OceanGrown Heirloom CSA is coming to Toronto
- They are is paid upfront for the season (in deposits) and do not have to worry about sales – only on producing the best crop possible
- They can obtain input from shareholders on what they want to eat, so it’s easy to modify supply based on demand
- They can meet the farmer and knows exactly where their food is coming from
- They can influence what is grown since they are shareholders
- They are supporting their local farming community
- They are participating in a more sustainable way of eating
New Wave Organics (+1- is a Guelph-based CSA which will be growing heirloom produce with OceanSolution, which is a type of water that contains 90 trace minerals.
- Beets – 3 varieties delivered with the tops
- Beans – green, yellow, purple
- Brussels sprouts
- Carrots – orange & purple
- Herbs – dill, parsley, basil, oregano, mint
- Lettuce – romaine, leaf, bib/butterhead
- Onions – bulb & green
- Peas – snap & snow
- Peppers – hot varieties
- Potatoes – white & red
- Radishes – delivered with tops on
- Swiss Chard
- Tomatoes – red & yellow
- Watermelon – mini
- Winter Squash
- Wheatgrass & Sprouts
- Wild Elderberries
- Wild Hops
- Wild Lamb’s Quarters
- Wild Pigweed
- Wild Arugula
- Wild Dandelion
- Wild Mustard Greens
- Wild Purslane
- Wild Nettle
- Wild Horsetail
- Get Juicy! Juice Fast in May, 2011 (100% raw juice)
- Spring Cleanse (100% vegan, 95% raw)
- Fight Cancer with Food (100% vegan, 50% raw)
Call 1-800-252-2826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
Growing your own superfoods
- Astragalus (immunity, digestion, metabolism, heart health)
- Burdock (vitamins A, Bs, and EFAs; cleans the blood)
- Calendula (flavonoids, antiviral, anti-inflammatory)
- Dandelion (almost all vitamins, minerals and aminos)
- Goji Berry (all aminos, 5x vitamin C of oranges)
- Holy Basil (antimicrobial, acne, antifungal, anticandida)
- Lamb‘s Quarters (almost all vitamins, minerals & aminos)
- Maca (libido, sexual dysfunction)
- Nettles (urinary tract, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, prostate)
- Stevia (only sweetener on earth which doesn’t raise insulin)
- Wild Chamomile (flavonoids, diabetic symptoms, anti-inflammatory)
- Wild Cherry Tomato (vitamin C, K, A, Bs, anti-oxidants)
- Wild Mountain Spinach (almost all nutrients and aminos)
Most are easy enough to plant using basic gardening skills.
If you haven’t gardened before, call our friends at the Young Urban Farmers – they are the absolute experts on how to grow food in urban centres.
Growing with OceanSolution also boosts the minerals in your food.
Growing your own food is not only extremely rewarding, but so beautifully sustainable – even in a city, you can help local insects and birds thrive while improving your personal air quality, well-being and self esteem.
If you’re looking to jump-start your motivation to be healthy, join one of our spring retreats and eat fresh, local, wild & organic foods on our gourmet menu where many items are made with food we grow ourselves.
Or, customize your own private retreat for a group of 4-100.
Give us a ring at 1-800-252-2826 to book a spot.
Holiday Gift Cards Now Available
In the spirit of the holidays, your favourite raw/vegan vacation property is giving away extra gifts with each purchase of a gift card for the holidays.
Gift cards can be put towards either:
- an upcoming group retreat; or,
- a private retreat for your family or group of friends
When you purchase your card, we’ll send you a personalized wooden gift card in the mail on the same day, with a personalized note for your recipient.
Here’s how to order a card:
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Happy Holidays!
How a raw vegan corrected her vision naturally
Jen Laur, owner of Raw Love, Life Food, a Toronto-based catering company she owns with her husband Mike, recently lead a raw food retreat with the House of Verona. On that retreat, she shared her story of how she corrected her eyesight after going raw.
Like so many, Jen suffered from poor eyesight. Once believing eyeglasses were a permanent sentence, her perspective shifted after attending a vision-correcting seminar. She was surprised to learn that a traumatic event is often a trigger to bad vision and immediately thought back to a stressful event, which seemed to affect her vision overnight.
She began looking into alternative therapy for eyesight, including the Bates method, which takes a proactive, holistic approach to correcting eyesight that includes exercise and nutrition.
Jen took full responsibility for her eye health and realized that in addition to exercises, her diet was a crucial component of her healing.
Jen’s raw vegan diet was full of nutrients her eyes needed to repair themselves. She noted that the most important nutrients for her eyesight included:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids (sprouted chia seeds are the highest food source)
Eating foods whole and raw ensures that the maximum amount of nutrients remain intact.
According to Dr. Mercola, lutein is also an essential nutrient for proper eye health. Lutein is found in dark leafy green vegetables and produce with a strong yellow colour, such as papayas, oranges, squash, and carrots.
Just like an athlete needs to support strength training with proper nutrition, Jen continues to fuel herself with eye-supporting foods (the eye is, after all, part muscle!) Now, Jen enjoys vision that is better than when she wore glasses.
Jen’s top foods and supplements for eyesight:
- Gogi berries (high in beta-carotene and antioxidants)
- Chia seeds (excellent source of Essential Fatty Acids)
- Marine Phytoplankton (incredible rich source of nutrients, supports cellular health)
To contact Jen Laur, or put in an order for organic raw food to be catered to you in Toronto, email email@example.com or call +1-416-551-8820.
To book a spot on a raw food retreat at the House of Verona, call 1-800-252-2826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raw vegan NHL player stays muscular with these foods
Georges shared that he’s a strict 100% vegan and 80% raw, and he was this way even when he was on the ice.
I asked him how he is able to maintain enough muscle mass while competing in the NHL on a raw vegan diet.
His advice: “Tons of kale. Lots of goji berries, as they’re a complete protein, full of amino acids. It was very important for me to eat a lot of cooked quinoa when I was on the ice. Vega protein powder helped me as well.”
Georges went vegan for animal rights purposes, but now reports that he’s never felt better, and he wishes he had made the decision years ago. A quote from his official website states, “my energy level is stronger and my strength has increased too. My health has never been better in all areas.”
He goes on to say, “If you want to try to be a vegetarian, but are under the impression that you will not get enough protein or that you will look skinny, rest assured that there is tons of protein in vegetarian products that are much better for your health because vegetarian products aren’t filled with the cholesterol that animal protein is filled with.”
“Some of the greatest athletes in the world are vegetarians like retired four-time NBA champion John Salley, Carl Lewis (who was named Olympian of the Century by Sports Illustrated), NFL’s Tony Gonzalez and the MLB’s Prince Fielder among others.”
We love Georges tremendously for his compassion towards animals, his passion for activism, and the fact that although he was the most feared player on the ice, he was one of the kindest ones off the rink.
Follow Georges on Twitter here.
53 tactics to stay healthy at work
Tiny, tactical changes in the way you live at work can have a significant impact on your health if repeated 365 times a year.
If you increase activity for just 4 minutes a day, over a year, that could be a pound of fat you kept off. Does a pound sound insignificant? Hold a pound of butter in your hand. You don’t want that on your body, do you?
Here are some ways that you can make minuscule changes to see results.
During your commute
- Park at the farthest end of the parking lot
- Get off one station before your subway stop and walk the rest of the way
- Stand up on the subway instead of sitting down – it burns more calories and strengthens leg muscles
- Always take the stairs over the elevator or escalator
- Put a small weight or heavy object in your briefcase and lift it a few times as you walk
- Strap velcro weights to your ankles
- Walk back and forth while you’re waiting for your train instead of sitting down – an extra 200 steps a day equals pounds per year
- Leave your heels or dress shoes at work and walk or bike home
At the office
- When you first arrive, fill up 2 pints of water and keep them at your desk
- Print to the farthest printer from your desk and walk the extra steps
- Instead of calling or emailing a co-worker, get up and walk to their desk
- Sit on a swiss ball instead of a regular chair to build core muscles
- Offer to help anytime someone is moving or lifting anything (safely – use your legs, not your back)
- Put a small aloe or cactus plant on your desk to improve air quality: CO2 in, O2 out
- Crack a window to let some fresh air circulate – outdoor air is cleaner than indoor air and helps you concentrate
- Clean out your desk of clutter – it’ll help you clear up mental clutter and focus on the moment
- Eat 15 minutes earlier than you normally do – when you’re starving, you’re more likely to make poor choices
- If you work late, go for a stroll around the block at 5pm when emails die down
- When cookies are floating around at the office, make sure they don’t park at your desk. Out of sight, out of mind
- Plan meetings with colleagues off-site at a local café – anything to get outside and walking
- Strive to meet with superiors over a game of squash, tennis, or golf instead of in a boardroom
- If you have input into the office social, suggest an activity like rock climbing, soccer, or volleyball
- Keep your healthy snacks on your desk within arm’s reach. How often have you eaten a bag of chips simply because the bowl was beside you at a party? Leverage that effect in a positive way
- Ditch the tray. If you eat at a cafeteria, using a tray makes it more likely for you to pile on items that you don’t need, just because you have the space. (Source)
- Avoid chairs like the plague. Stand up while you wait for someone in the lobby instead of using a chair. Offer your chair to others when there aren’t enough. Studies show that those who have to be on their feet at work have similar levels of cardio health as those who sit all day but work out at night (Source)
- Pack a healthy lunch. No time? Buy a bag of groceries and assemble it in your work kitchen
- If your workplace provides snacks, ask them to substitute healthier options in place of pastries without changing the budget
- Always keep lemons in the fridge to add to your water. This increases your vitamin C consumption and you’re more likely to burn more fat when you end up working out (Source)
- Set visual reminders: leaving post-it notes on your steering wheel or computer screen can increase motivation. Try: “book a tennis date”, “drink water at 2pm” or “pick up kale tonight.” (Source)
- If you have to buy your lunch, choose healthier restaurant chains such as Freshii, Fit for Life, Cruda or Fresh
- Reward yourself with a spa day after every batch of 20 workouts or 20 consecutive healthy lunches
- Make a deal with your manager where you may work-out during lunch for a hour, take lunch, and stay an extra hour at work. It also makes for a more productive afternoon
- “Keep the lid closed:” One study found that on days where a cafeteria left the lid open of their ice cream cooler produced twice as many sales of ice cream. When the lid was closed, sales were cut in half. Find ways to make it inconvenient for you to indulge
Using a health buddy
The buddy system – that is, getting a friend to partner in you in your health commitment – is a proven way to exercise more and eat healthier. Here are some ways to leverage it.
- Take turns making lunch. You make a healthy lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and they get Mondays and Wednesdays. The more people are involved, the better this gets
- Call each other once a week to ask how much they exercised. One study showed that those who reported how much they exercised increased their activity levels
- If you keep delaying booking an appointment with a trainer or food allergist, book your friend’s and have your friend book yours
- Set gym dates or jump on the #morninglife trend: Wake up early, work out together, and share breakfast
- Buy a subscription to a health magazine for your buddy on their birthday. Have it delivered to the office so you can both enjoy the health inspiration
- Sign up for a triathlon together. If you back-out, you have to pay your friend’s entrance fee.
- Start an office competition — contribute a dollar every time you do not work out and top 3 contestants split the cash
- Start an office sports team
- Drink a pint of water as soon as you wake up and before you go to bed to clean up your system
- Set your alarm 5 minutes earlier to do 4 minutes of crunches and push-ups
- Get a mini trampoline: 10 minutes of jumping is the equivalent to 30 minutes of running (Source)
- On Sunday night, create Ziploc bags full of healthy snacks for the week
- Make a green smoothie in the morning – it kills cravings all day (Source)
- Carry a basket instead of pushing a cart at the grocery store to help build muscle
- Whatever’s on your shopping list, always fill half of your basket with produce
- Bring fresh workout clothes to the office so you’re always prepared for the gym
- Sleep in complete darkness to ensure circadian rhythms aren’t disrupted and thus, food cravings at a minimum (Source)
- Get your organic groceries delivered to your door. Discouraged by the delivery charge? Think about what happens if you don’t buy groceries and end up spending the $10 on junk food at work
- Get healthy meals or snacks delivered to your desk
- Studies show that willpower can be replenished and depleted. Replenish your willpower by delaying chores for an hour while you catch up on your favourite blogs or play with your kids (Source)
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How to Stay Healthy at Work I
Part 1: Damage Control
Let us assume the worst case scenario.
- You work 100 hours per week at Frito-Lay
- Part of your job is to test the new products
- Your boss likes to take the team out for beer and wings
- You come home exhausted with an urge to watch TV
There’s hope! We’ve seen 400lb truck drivers get healthy in the most damaging work environments:
There are many ways to stay healthy at work despite the worst case scenario. We’re going to divide this topic up into 3 parts: Damage Control, Tactical Efforts, and Long-Term Strategy.
Before you start: Stop stressing out that you’re unhealthy or overweight. Being stressed on top of eating poorly only makes you less well. Relax. You have plenty of time to get healthy and it will happen.
Here’s what to do in these derailing situations.
Situation 1: You’re stuck on a plane with unhealthy food
Damage control: Work out your brain
Working your brain burns more calories than your brain at rest. Stanford Professor Robert Sapolsky has reported that an intense game of chess can burn loads of calories.
- Do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle
- Conduct a Google search on your smart phone for problems to solve
- Read the toughest article in the Financial Times
Situation 2: You’ve just eaten a business lunch which could very well land on thisiswhyyourefat.com.
Damage control: Take in as much oxygen as you can, then go and get some enzymes
Dr Brian Clement from the Hippocrates Health Institute advises that oxygen is highly effective at digesting food and metabolizing fats.
- Go outside and suck in air like you’ll never breathe again
- 30 minutes after the meal, get 2 pints of water and park it on your desk
- Water has a very high oxygen content and it helps to flush out toxins immediately
- Water also helps support your liver which processes the fats and toxins
- Do a workout that night – no time? Get 8 full hours of sleep – it’ll help to clean up the damage you’ve done.
Also, eating something with lots of enzymes – that is, any raw vegetable or fruit – helps to digest the indigestible food which you’ve just ingested. Otherwise, food can quickly turn into fat if left undigested.
Situation 3: You’ve had a rough day. You come home and have zero desire to make something healthy. All you want to do is eat a bag of nachos.
Damage control: Consume 1 cup of leafy greens
- Open your fridge (1 second)
- Take out a bunch of leafy greens (romaine, kale, parsley) and some fruit (2 seconds)
- Throw them in your blender with water (60 seconds)
- Throw your blender in the dishwasher (30 seconds)
In under 2 minutes, you’ve gone a tremendous way towards killing cravings for those nachos.
Even if you end up eating the nachos, you’ll eat less since you’ve already had something to eat. What’ll likely happen is that the greens will eliminate cravings and get you eating something healthier (find out how greens kill cravings here).
Situation 4: You have no time to work out
Damage control: You only need 3 minutes to see results
A recent study conducted at McMaster University found that short spurts of cardio training, performed at maximal capacity, is as effective as long-duration endurance training.
Professor Martin Gibala, Chair of the Department of Kinesiology, had participants exercise for 30 seconds of maximal pedaling on a stationary bike followed by four minutes of recovery, and repeated 4-6 times. This added up to a total of 3 minutes of exercise at maximum effort, and the improvements to cardiovascular health were on par with those who had done moderate cardio training for about an hour, three times per week.
Situation 5: You’ve had a destructive day, but it’s now 11pm and gyms are closed.
Damage control: Take a 5 minute hot & cold shower
Minute 1 to 3: Stand in hot water
Minute 4 to 5: Turn the faucet to cold (as cold as you can take it)
Tempering your body in cold water is shown to be effective at reactivating capillaries (which have atrophied by age 30 with a poor diet), and therefore expediting the delivery of nutrients within your body, expelling toxins, and killing free radicals.
Situation 6: You’re about to fall asleep, and you feel guilty that you’ve had an unhealthy day.
Damage control: Tell someone that you love them
A healthy social life has a tremendous impact on well-being and it’s as important as eating well and exercising.
Remember the Rosetta Effect in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: people live longer, healthier lives when they have a strong and caring community around them.
Send a text to a loved one – you’ll likely get one back.