Ten states, however, have adopted their own laws that specify which patients, based on their income and family size, qualify for free or discounted care. Among them is Washington, where Providence is based. All hospitals in the state must provide free care for anyone who makes under 300 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that threshold is $83,250 a year.

In February, Bob Ferguson, the state’s attorney general, accused Providence of violating state law, in part by using debt collectors to pursue more than 55,000 patient accounts. The suit alleged that Providence wrongly claimed those patients owed a total of more than $73 million.

Providence, which is fighting the lawsuit, has said it will stop using debt collectors to pursue money from low-income patients who should qualify for free care in Washington.

But The Times found that the problems extend beyond Washington. In interviews, patients in California and Oregon who qualified for free care said they had been charged thousands of dollars and then harassed by collection agents. Many saw their credit scores ruined. Others had to cut back on groceries to pay what Providence claimed they owed. In both states, nonprofit hospitals are required by law to provide low-income patients with free or discounted care.

“I felt a little betrayed,” said Bev Kolpin, 57, who had worked as a sonogram technician at a Providence hospital in Oregon. Then she went on unpaid leave to have surgery to remove a cyst. The hospital billed her $8,000 even though she was eligible for discounted care, she said. “I had worked for them and given them so much, and they didn’t give me anything.” (The hospital forgave her debt only after a lawyer contacted Providence on Ms. Kolpin’s behalf.)

was a single room with four beds. The hospital charged patients $1 a day, not including extras like whiskey.

Patients rarely paid in cash, sometimes offering chickens, ducks and blankets in exchange for care.

At the time, hospitals in the United States were set up to do what Providence did — provide inexpensive care to the poor. Wealthier people usually hired doctors to treat them at home.

wrote to the Senate in 2005.

Some hospital executives have embraced the comparison to for-profit companies. Dr. Rod Hochman, Providence’s chief executive, told an industry publication in 2021 that “‘nonprofit health care’ is a misnomer.”

“It is tax-exempt health care,” he said. “It still makes profits.”

Those profits, he added, support the hospital’s mission. “Every dollar we make is going to go right back into Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Alaska and Montana.”

Since Dr. Hochman took over in 2013, Providence has become a financial powerhouse. Last year, it earned $1.2 billion in profits through investments. (So far this year, Providence has lost money.)

Providence also owes some of its wealth to its nonprofit status. In 2019, the latest year available, Providence received roughly $1.2 billion in federal, state and local tax breaks, according to the Lown Institute, a think tank that studies health care.

a speech by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures.”

Ms. Tizon, the spokeswoman for Providence, said the intent of Rev-Up was “not to target or pressure those in financial distress.” Instead, she said, “it aimed to provide patients with greater pricing transparency.”

“We recognize the tone of the training materials developed by McKinsey was not consistent with our values,” she said, adding that Providence modified the materials “to ensure we are communicating with each patient with compassion and respect.”

But employees who were responsible for collecting money from patients said the aggressive tactics went beyond the scripts provided by McKinsey. In some Providence collection departments, wall-mounted charts shaped like oversize thermometers tracked employees’ progress toward hitting their monthly collection goals, the current and former Providence employees said.

On Halloween at one of Providence’s hospitals, an employee dressed up as a wrestler named Rev-Up Ricky, according to the Washington lawsuit. Another costume featured a giant cardboard dollar sign with “How” printed on top of it, referring to the way the staff was supposed to ask patients how, not whether, they would pay. Ms. Tizon said such costumes were “not the culture we strive for.”

financial assistance policy, his low income qualified him for free care.

In early 2021, Mr. Aguirre said, he received a bill from Providence for $4,394.45. He told Providence that he could not afford to pay.

Providence sent his account to Harris & Harris, a debt collection company. Mr. Aguirre said that Harris & Harris employees had called him repeatedly for weeks and that the ordeal made him wary of going to Providence again.

“I try my best not to go to their emergency room even though my daughters have gotten sick, and I got sick,” Mr. Aguirre said, noting that one of his daughters needed a biopsy and that he had trouble breathing when he had Covid. “I have this big fear in me.”

That is the outcome that hospitals like Providence may be hoping for, said Dean A. Zerbe, who investigated nonprofit hospitals when he worked for the Senate Finance Committee under Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa.

“They just want to make sure that they never come back to that hospital and they tell all their friends never to go back to that hospital,” Mr. Zerbe said.

The Everett Daily Herald, Providence forgave her bill and refunded the payments she had made.

In June, she got another letter from Providence. This one asked her to donate money to the hospital: “No gift is too small to make a meaningful impact.”

In 2019, Vanessa Weller, a single mother who is a manager at a Wendy’s restaurant in Anchorage, went to Providence Alaska Medical Center, the state’s largest hospital.

She was 24 weeks pregnant and experiencing severe abdominal pains. “Let this just be cramps,” she recalled telling herself.

Ms. Weller was in labor. She gave birth via cesarean section to a boy who weighed barely a pound. She named him Isaiah. As she was lying in bed, pain radiating across her abdomen, she said, a hospital employee asked how she would like to pay. She replied that she had applied for Medicaid, which she hoped would cover the bill.

After five days in the hospital, Isaiah died.

Then Ms. Weller got caught up in Providence’s new, revenue-boosting policies.

The phone calls began about a month after she left the hospital. Ms. Weller remembers panicking when Providence employees told her what she owed: $125,000, or about four times her annual salary.

She said she had repeatedly told Providence that she was already stretched thin as a single mother with a toddler. Providence’s representatives asked if she could pay half the amount. On later calls, she said, she was offered a payment plan.

“It was like they were following some script,” she said. “Like robots.”

Later that year, a Providence executive questioned why Ms. Weller had a balance, given her low income, according to emails disclosed in Washington’s litigation with Providence. A colleague replied that her debts previously would have been forgiven but that Providence’s new policy meant that “balances after Medicaid are being excluded from presumptive charity process.”

Ms. Weller said she had to change her phone number to make the calls stop. Her credit score plummeted from a decent 650 to a lousy 400. She has not paid any of her bill.

Susan C. Beachy and Beena Raghavendran contributed research.

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Democrat Mary Peltola Makes History

By Newsy Staff
September 1, 2022

Peltola, who is Yup’ik, will become the first Alaska Native to serve in the House and the first woman elected to Alaska’s House seat.

For the first time in nearly 50 years, Alaska will have a Democrat representing the state in the House of Representatives.

Mary Peltola, a former State Representative, beat former Republican Governor and one-time Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin in a special election held for the seat of the late congressman Don Young.

Peltola will also be the first Alaska Native to be in Congress.

This election used a new system where voters ranked their top three choices of candidates, with the winner needing at least 50% of the vote. If no one received more than half the vote, the candidate in last place is out of the race and the remaining votes from that candidate are given to the other two contenders.  

The Congresswoman-Elect tells Newsy she will focus on “getting the lay of the land” during her four months in Congress and attributes her victory to running “a very clean campaign.”

Source: newsy.com

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Mary Peltola Beats Sarah Palin, Wins Alaska House Special Election

By Associated Press
August 31, 2022

Democrat Mary Peltola beat Republican Sarah Palin in the special election for Alaska’s only U.S. House seat.

Democrat Mary Peltola won the special election for Alaska’s only U.S. House seat on Wednesday, besting a field that included Republican Sarah Palin, who was seeking a political comeback in the state where she was once governor.

Peltola, who is Yup’ik and turned 49 on Wednesday, will become the first Alaska Native to serve in the House and the first woman to hold the seat. She will serve the remaining months of the late Republican U.S. Rep. Don Young’s term. Young held the seat for 49 years before his death in March.

Peltola’s victory, coming in Alaska’s first statewide ranked choice voting election, is a boon for Democrats, particularly coming off better-than-expected performances in special elections around the country this year following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. She will be the first Democrat to hold the seat since the late U.S. Rep. Nick Begich, who was seeking reelection in 1972 when his plane disappeared. Begich was later declared dead, and Young in was elected to the seat in 1973.

Peltola ran as a coalition builder while her two Republican opponents — Palin and Begich’s grandson, also named Nick Begich — at times went after each other. Palin also railed against the ranked voting system, which was instituted by Alaska voters.

The results came 15 days after the Aug. 16 election, in line with the deadline for state elections officials to receive absentee ballots mailed from outside the U.S. Ranked choice tabulations took place Wednesday after no candidate won more than 50% of the first choice votes. Peltola was in the lead heading into the tabulation rounds.

Wednesday’s results were a disappointment for Palin, who was looking to make a political comeback 14 years after she was vaulted onto the national stage when John McCain selected her to be his running mate in the 2008 presidential election. In her run for the House seat, she had widespread name recognition and won the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

But critics questioned her commitment to Alaska, citing her decision to resign as governor in July 2009, partway through her term. Palin went on to become a conservative commentator on TV and appeared in reality television programs, among other pursuits.

Palin’s defeat in the special election doesn’t necessarily mean she has lost her shot for the U.S. House seat. Along with Peltola and Begich, she is among the candidates vying for a full two-year term that will be decided in the November general election.

Palin has insisted her commitment to Alaska never wavered and said ahead of the special election that she had “signed up for the long haul.”

Peltola, a former state lawmaker who most recently worked for a commission whose goal is to rebuild salmon resources on the Kuskokwim River, cast herself as a “regular” Alaskan. “I’m not a millionaire. I’m not an international celebrity,” she said.

Peltola has said she was hopeful that the new system would allow more moderate candidates to be elected.

“I’m really hopeful that voters will feel like they can vote their heart and not feel pressured to vote for the candidate that they think is most ‘viable,'” Peltola said before the special election. “And my hope is that we shy away from the really extreme-type candidates and politicians.”

During the campaign, she emphasized her support of abortion rights and said she wanted to elevate issues of ocean productivity and food security. Peltola said she got a boost after the June special primary when she won endorsements from Democrats and independents who had been in the race. She said she believed her positive messaging also resonated with voters.

“It’s been very attractive to a lot of people to have a message of working together and positivity and holding each other up and unity and as Americans none of us are each other’s enemy,” she said. “That is just a message that people really need to hear right now.”

Alaska voters in 2020 approved an elections process that replaced party primaries with open primaries. Under the new system, ranked voting is used in general elections.

Under ranked voting, ballots are counted in rounds. A candidate can win outright with more than 50% of the vote in the first round. If no one hits that threshold, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Voters who chose that candidate as their top pick have their votes count for their next choice. Rounds continue until two candidates remain, and whoever has the most votes wins.

In Alaska, voters last backed a Democrat for president in 1964. But the state also has a history of rewarding candidates with an independent streak. The state has more registered unaffiliated voters than registered Republicans or Democrats combined.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Do Voters Care About The Committee’s Effort To Investigate Trump?

A recent poll found 21% of registered voters said “threats to democracy” are now their top issue.

It’s no secret that former President Donald Trump looms large in the 2022 midterms, punishing the Republicans who defied him and rewarding his most faithful supporters.  

“Obviously we are all very grateful to President Trump,” said Harriet Hageman, who is running for election to the U.S. House to represent Wyoming.

But a key question heading into November is whether the former president’s many controversies could hurt Republicans in a year that history suggests should be good for them.

“I talk to people in Pennsylvania, where I’m from, I talk to people from Ohio, where I worked for the local congressman for a while, and people just aren’t that interested in what’s going on, you know, on these partisan run committee hearings, I think, right now, and we hear it again, and again, it’s inflation, inflation, inflation,” said Christopher Krepich, a former Republican Congressional Communications Director and Communications Strategist.

But a recent NBC News poll found 21% of registered voters said “threats to democracy” are now their top issue, overshadowing concerns about the economy, inflation and immigration.

Additionally, the poll found that 57% say they want investigations into the former president to continue. But this has come at a price for some in the GOP.

Of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, most will not be returning in the 118th Congress next year.

Of the eight not returning, four are retiring, including January 6th Committee Member Adam Kinzinger, and four have lost their primaries; including January 6th Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, who earlier this month lost to a Trump-backed challenger.

Just two were successful in their primaries against challenges to the Right earlier this year.

The one Republican Senator to vote to convict Trump and face voters in 2022, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, survived her primary but will still face off against a Trump-backed challenger in the general election.

“I think really what the November elections are going to come down to is how local each candidate is able to make their race. You know, I think of when most candidates are out there on the ground, talking to voters, they’re talking about kitchen table issues, they’re not necessarily litigating what the former president may or may not have been accused of,” said Krepich.

But just a few months out from the 2022 midterms, some Republican Senate candidates are struggling.  

Trump endorsed Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Hershel Walker in Georgia and Ron Johnson in Wisconsin — but they are all lagging in recent polls behind their Democratic challengers.  

But over in the House of Representatives, Republicans could still be poised to win and are likely to get rid of the January 6th Committee, should they take control of the Chamber next January.

Source: newsy.com

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Florida Democrats Choose Rep. Crist To Challenge Gov. Desantis

Rep. Charlie Crist defeated Nikki Fried, who staked out a more progressive campaign, in the Florida governor race.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist won the Democratic nomination for governor in Florida on Tuesday, putting him in position to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis this fall in a campaign that the Republican incumbent is eyeing as the first step toward a potential White House run.

U.S. Rep. Val Demings seized the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Sen. Marco Rubio this fall. Demings, a former police chief and a prodigious political fundraiser, has a chance to become Florida’s first Black female senator.

In selecting Crist in the race for governor, Florida Democrats sided with a candidate backed by many in the party’s establishment who viewed him as the safest choice, even after he lost his previous two statewide elections. The 66-year-old already served one term as a Republican governor more than a decade ago before becoming a Democrat. His moderate stances could appeal to voters in Florida’s teeming suburbs as Democrats seek to reverse a losing pattern in a state that was recently seen as a perennial political battleground.

Crist defeated Nikki Fried, the state agriculture commissioner. She staked out a more progressive campaign and was particularly vocal in defending abortion and LGBTQ rights. The 44-year-old cast herself as “something new” and hoped to become Florida’s first female governor. In a sign of the party’s meager standing in Florida, she’s currently the only Democrat holding statewide office.

But the race ultimately centered on the political future of DeSantis, who emerged from a narrow victory four years ago to become one of the most prominent figures in GOP politics. His hands-off approach to the pandemic and eagerness to lean into divides over race, gender and LGBTQ rights have resonated with many Republican voters who see DeSantis as a natural heir to former President Donald Trump.

DeSantis’ reelection effort is widely assumed to be a precursor to a presidential run in 2024, adding to a sense of urgency among Democrats to blunt his rise now.

The Florida contest concludes the busiest stretch of primaries this year, which featured contests in 18 states over just 22 days. In that span, Republicans from Arizona to Alaska have supported contenders who embraced Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was stolen, an assertion roundly rejected by elections officials, the former president’s attorney general and judges he appointed.

And for the most part, Democrats have avoided brutal primary fights — with some exceptions. Voters in New York Tuesday night decided congressional primaries that featured two powerful Democratic committee chairs, Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, competing for the same seat and other incumbents fending off challenges from the left.

Democrats are entering the final weeks ahead of the midterms with a sense of cautious optimism, hoping the Supreme Court’s decision overturning a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion will energize the party’s base. But Democrats still face tremendous headwinds, including economic uncertainty and the historic reality that most parties lose seats in the first midterm after they’ve won the White House.

The dynamics are especially challenging for Democrats in Florida, one of the most politically divided states in the U.S. Its last three races for governor were decided by 1 percentage point or less. But the state has steadily become more favorable to Republicans in recent years.

For the first time in modern history, Florida has more registered Republicans — nearly 5.2 million — than Democrats, who have nearly 5 million registered voters. Fried serves as the only Democrat in statewide office. And Republicans have no primary competition for four of those five positions – governor, U.S. Senate, attorney general and chief financial officer — which are all held by GOP incumbents.

Democrats hope that Demings, who defeated a little-known candidate in her Senate primary Tuesday, can unseat the state’s senior U.S. senator, Republican Marco Rubio, this fall. But for now, the party’s national leadership is prioritizing competitive Senate contests in other states, including neighboring Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Demings sounded an optimistic note as she reflected on her unlikely life story.

“Together, I really do believe this daughter of a maid and janitor who is not supposed to be standing here tonight — I really do believe that together we can do anything,” she said.

In Florida’s governor’s race, the Supreme Court’s abortion decision animated the final weeks of the Democratic primary.

Fried promoted herself as the only true abortion-rights supporter in the race, seizing on Crist’s appointment of two conservative Supreme Court justices while he was governor.

The conservative-leaning court will soon decide whether the Republican-backed state legislature’s law to ban abortions after 15 weeks is constitutional. Florida’s new abortion law is in effect, with exceptions if the procedure is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life, to prevent serious injury or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. It does not allow exemptions in cases of rape, incest or human trafficking.

Crist insisted he is “pro-choice” and highlighted a bill he vetoed as governor in 2010 that would have required women seeking a first-trimester abortion to get and pay for an ultrasound exam.

“It is a woman’s right to choose,” Crist said. “My record is crystal clear, and for my opponent to try to muddy that up is unconscionable, unfair and unwise.”

DeSantis and Fried spent several hours together Tuesday morning during a Cabinet meeting at the Tallahassee statehouse. They kept things cordial during the hourslong event, which placed Fried seats away from the governor as they heard reports from agency heads on state finances, contracting and other matters.

DeSantis shook Fried’s hand as the meeting concluded and told her “good luck” before criticizing her campaign and predicting her loss in brief remarks to reporters.

“I think that you know she had an opportunity as being the only Democrat elected statewide to exercise some leadership and maybe get some things done and instead she’s used her time to try and smear me on a daily basis, that’s all she does,” DeSantis said of Fried.

After the meeting, Fried told reporters she thought the governor had scheduled the meeting as a way to sideline her during her final day of campaigning.

“Of course it’s not a coincidence,” she said of the meeting’s timing. “I think that he is scared of me winning tonight so he’s doing everything in his power to keep me off the campaign trail today.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Why Is Military Recruitment Low?

Military recruitment is the lowest it’s been in years, due in part to the pandemic creating a lack of opportunities to recruit in schools.

A “war for talent” is how the Army is describing its plummeting recruitment numbers. 

The military targets teenagers and young adults, but get this: most of them aren’t qualified to serve. 

Army Chief of Staff General James McConville told the Heritage Foundation, “we’re starting to see more Americans qualified to come in.”

The crisis is hitting a boiling point.  

Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Ewing knows that military recruitment is at a critical point. 

“We are at a critical shortage, the highest shortage we’ve had since 1999. Unfortunately every branch is experiencing it,” said Ewing. 

And they’re throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. 

“You can go see Germany, you can go see Japan, Alaska,” said Ewing.  

But not even the promises of signing bonuses and boundless opportunities to see the world are convincing enough people to join the Air Force. 

Across the board, the military is facing new troop deficits in the thousands, with potentially massive consequences.  

“It’s definitely vital to national security, that we properly address the shortage that we have,” said Ewing. 

The military must recruit 184,000 people every year if it wants to replace people who leave the service, according to the Labor Department.  

The Department of Defense told Newsy that while the Marines and Coast Guard have already met their recruiting goals this year, other branches are still struggling. 

As of April, the Army was just over two-thirds of the way to their goal.  

Senior Army officials told Congress in July, they believe they’ll fall short of their 2022 goal by as many as 10,000 troops and could miss their 2023 goal by 28,000 recruits. 

The navy was 92% of the way there. 

Major General Ed Thomas, the commander of the Air Force recruiting service, tells us “the Air Force is about 80% towards its recruiting goal and expects to hit target with a caveat.” 

The aggressive labor market is also adding challenges with more open jobs than people to fill them.   

That means the military is competing for the same talent as businesses in the private sector. 

Pandemic lockdowns also cut off access to high schools and public events – the military’s bread and-butter for recruitment. 

“Our recruiters suffered the most when schools locked down because they couldn’t get in schools. And so it was a challenge for them to get to the young people just to give them the information we need them to have,” said Ewing. 

But there’s a worsening problem that could impact the military years down the road. 

“Longer term challenges: declining eligibility for the military today. Those numbers have dropped by about almost 6% over the last 2 to 3 years,” Thomas said. 

The Pentagon reports less than a quarter of 17-24 year olds meet enlistment requirements for a number of reasons, with many unable to join without a waiver. 

“Whether that’s due to obesity or criminal charges, drugs are becoming way more prevalent than they used to be,” said Ewing.

Another factor is that the DOD has restrictions in place for anyone with prior treatment for ADHD. 

Officials also warned that the pandemic’s remote schooling may have lowered overall aptitude and fitness levels.  

The Army recently launched a Pilot Boot Camp Program to help potential recruits meet academic and fitness eligibility requirements. 

Then, there are the cash bonuses.  

“So if they’re going to be a cyber expert, for instance, there may be a $20,000 bonus involved in signing on and coming into the Air Force. If they’re going to be a special warfare operator, it’s up to $50,000,” said Thomas. 

The military is offering $35,000 in bonuses for certain recruits who can leave for basic training within 30 days of signing up. 

Certain tracks are also offering free college and medical coverage. 

“It’s absolutely to get more folks in our force. We need to grow from the bottom up. We have a lot of senior folks in the Army right now. But we are looking to bring in our replacements ultimately,” said Ewing.  

Despite the added perks, the military acknowledges interest among young adults is waning. 

In an Internal Defense Department survey of 16 to 21 year olds, only 9% reported they would sign up for the military. 

That’s the lowest number since 2007.  

A majority of them feared they would experience emotional or psychological problems after serving. 

Major General Thomas believes there is a lack of understanding of what military life is like.  

“The American military is one of the best places where people can come in, be accepted as a team, be taken care of as a team, and be able to to thrive physically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually,” said Thomas. 

There’s also a trust gap. 

One survey found last year, just 45% of Americans had a “great deal of trust and confidence” in the military.  

That’s down 25 points since 2018. 

Major General Thomas recognizes these pitfalls, but he says the military is trying to build confidence by building a better understanding of what value troops bring to the nation. 

“Perception is reality for people. And those are the kinds of things that we have to be able to overcome,” said Thomas. 

The military is even leaning on Hollywood for a boost, with the Navy and Air Force relying on the summer blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick” to attract recruits.  

The Army’s recruitment commander told Newsy they’re also searching within the video gaming community for people who might translate those skills into technology jobs.  

Because without troops to fill those seats, leaders worry there could be ripple effects long into the future.  

Source: newsy.com

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How Social Media Has Fueled The ‘Clean Eating’ Movement

Clean eating can mean different things for different people, but the influence of social media on diet trends is ever-changing, from gluten to dairy.

Social media has a big influence on food trends and what humans eat. 

A study funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that social media actually helps young adults choose healthier foods. One survey of over 1,200 young people ages 14 to 24 found that more than half were familiar with the term “clean eating” from social media, other online sources or their peers.

The hashtag #EatClean has more than 61 million posts on Instagram. But, how exactly did this trend become so popular, and what does it mean to “eat clean?”

The meaning of the term “eat clean” can vary by person. Generally, it means eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible by avoiding processed foods and added preservatives.

Diets have been a trend for several decades. Counting calories dates back to the 1910s and Weight Watchers emerged in the 60s. The Atkins diet and other low-carb diets became popular in the 90s and early 2000s.

Our modern idea of clean eating can be traced back to popular books like “The Eat-Clean Diet” in 2007 and “Clean,” which came out in 2009. These books promoted more than a diet but a lifestyle — the idea that eating these foods was a more holistic way of living. Over the last decade, more people started cutting a lot of things out of their diets.

Sondra Kronberg is a licensed clinical nutritionist, certified eating disorder specialist and founder of Eating Disorder Treatment Collaborative. She’s seen a lot of diet trends evolve over the years, and she’s seen the impact social media has on diet trends today.

“There’s enormous pressure to eat right, to look right, to fit in to this culture — never used to be like that,” Kronberg said. “I mean, there was a cluster of people who thought eating was so important and what you eat. But now everything — the chemicals, where it comes from, the pollution — I mean, there’s a lot of value on what food you eat.”

Between 2009 and 2014, the number of Americans who stopped eating gluten, even though they didn’t have celiac disease, more than tripled. The lead researcher on that study thinks one reason for this is because being gluten-free became trendy for health-conscious people. There were also more people stepping away from dairy and substituting regular milk for almond or oat milk. Sales for those other regular milk alternatives grew by more than 60% between 2012 and 2018.

During the pandemic, there was a surge in plant-based diets. In 2021, the plant-based food market value rose to an all-time high of more than $7 billion, growing by more than 50% in three years.

Experts say part of this could have been because of COVID-19. Some people may have wanted to eat healthier to improve their immune response. Harvard researchers found that plant-based diets could decrease the risk of getting a severe case of the virus. 

On social media, more influencers promoting their plant-based lifestyles have emerged. People like Tabitha Brown blew up on TikTok during the pandemic with her tasty-looking, vegan-inspired foods. She now has more than 4 million followers on Instagram and Tik Tok and has a cookbook coming out.

There are also celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, actor and founder of wellness brand “Goop,” who are known for talking about and promoting clean and vegan eating. Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving claims his plant-based diet has made him a better player.

It’s an easy option for celebrities and influencers, and it’s likely these trends will show up on the plates of higher-income people. That’s because healthy foods are expensive. Consumer Reports says organic foods cost about 40% more than non-organic foods.

In the past several years, natural and organic foods have made the jump from special health food stores to more traditional grocery stores, but that only does so much for “food deserts” — neighborhoods that lack access to grocery stores to begin with.

Some nutritionists warn that the idea of clean eating can create or worsen stigmas attached to certain foods that aren’t especially bad for you, like anything that’s not clean eating can become “dirty.” But, some nutritionists say that’s not necessarily true because healthy eating is subjective, and you should figure out what works for you with the help of a licensed professional, rather than turning to social media for advice. “Trainers working out in the gym are giving out nutritional advice, and the guy who makes the smoothie is giving out nutritional advice,” Kronberg said. “Everybody thinks they know something from their own experience, and I will give them credit for having their own experience. But that is your own experience.”

Although 71% of young adults surveyed defined clean eating as healthy, it has the potential to become dangerous. When people are on strict diets, they can develop an eating disorder called orthorexia. It can cause people start avoiding certain events and eating with friends out of fear that they won’t be able to find the right food.

“So if somebody is older, they’re eating, they’re dieting, and they’re trying to manipulate their body and size, the weight, in a stillman’s way, let’s say,” Kronberg said. “They and the younger generation are eating all clean and pure and healthy and the salmon from Alaska, so based on what’s going on in the culture that becomes part of the eating disorder. You can eat as whole and as fresh and as raw as possible, but sometimes you have to be able to eat something that’s not.”

One study found that among young adults, the higher use of Instagram is associated with developing Orthorexia, so while social media has the power to introduce people to healthier eating options, it can also do the exact opposite.

As more people continue to change their diets because of social media’s influence, the question is how to move beyond the current trends.

“I think it’s going to take a while,” Kronberg said. “But I do think — just like other movements that are occurring now where people are saying we don’t all have to be the same, and in fact we’re not all the same — we all need to come to our own inner way of taking care of ourselves.”

Source: newsy.com

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Murkowski Advances In Alaska Senate Race, Palin In House

Alaska’s ranked choice voting means the top four vote-getters in a primary race, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election.

Alaska Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski advanced from her primary along with Kelly Tshibaka, her GOP rival endorsed by former President Donald Trump, while another Trump-backed candidate, Republican Sarah Palin, was among the candidates bound for the November general election in the race for Alaska’s only House seat.

Murkowski had expressed confidence that she would advance and earlier in the day told reporters that “what matters is winning in November.” Tshibaka called the results “the first step in breaking the Murkowski monarchy’s grip on Alaska.” Tshibaka also said she was thankful “for the strong and unwavering support President Trump has shown Alaska.”

A Murkowski has held the Senate seat since 1981. Before Lisa Murkowski, who has been in the Senate since late 2002, it was her father, Frank Murkowski.

Under a voter-approved elections process being used for the first time in Alaska elections this year, party primaries have been scrapped and ranked choice voting is being used in general elections. The top four vote-getters in a primary race, regardless of party affiliation, are to advance to the general election.

The other two places in the Senate race were too early to call.

Murkowski voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Trump was acquitted. But he has had strong words for Murkowski, calling her “the worst” during a rally last month in Anchorage.

Murkowski said that if Tshibaka derives her sole strength from Trump’s endorsement, “what does that really say about her as a candidate with what she has to offer Alaska? Is it just that she will be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump? I don’t think that all Alaskans are really seeking that. Not the ones that I’m talking to.”

Kevin Durling, a co-chair of Tshibaka’s campaign, said Trump’s endorsement of Tshibaka was an added bonus for him. He said Tshibaka’s commitment to business and family and her values were important to him. He expressed frustration with Murkowski for the impeachment vote and for her support of the nomination of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

In the House primary, Democrat Mary Peltola, Palin and Republican Nick Begich advanced to the November election. It was too early to call the fourth spot. The winner of the November race will be elected to a two-year term.

Peltola, Begich and Palin were also competing in a special election to serve the remainder of the late-Rep. Don Young ‘s term, which ends early next year. Young died in March.

The special election was voters’ first shot at ranked voting in a statewide race. The winner of the special election may not be known until at least Aug. 31. If successful, Peltola would be the first Alaska Native woman elected to the House.

There also were several write-in candidates in the special election, including Republican Tara Sweeney, who was also competing in the House primary. Sweeney was an assistant secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Interior Department during the Trump administration.

The special election was on one side of the ballot; the other side contained primary races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor and lieutenant governor and legislative seats.

Palin, in a statement Tuesday evening, called this “the first test case of the crazy, convoluted, undesirable ranked-choice voting system.”

Supporters of ranked voting have said it encourages positive campaigning but the House race has at times taken on harsh tones.

Begich, a businessman from a family of prominent Democrats, has come out hard against Palin, seeking to cast her as someone chasing fame and as a quitter; Palin resigned during her term as governor in 2009.

In one Begich ad, the narrator says Alaska has faced “years of disasters,” including fires and COVID-19. “Sarah Palin is one disaster we can actually avoid,” the narrator says.

A narrator in one of Palin’s ads refers to Begich as “negative Nick” and says Palin wants to serve in Congress “to carry Don Young’s torch.”

Peltola, a former lawmaker who most recently worked at a commission whose goal is to rebuild salmon resources on the Kuskokwim River, has cast herself as a consensus builder.

She said one thing that would help her be a good representative is that she is “not a millionaire. I am just like every other regular Alaskan, and I understand the economic struggles that Alaskans face first-hand. My priorities are the priorities of everyday Alaskans.”

In a statement early Wednesday, she said while the results of the special election won’t be known for some time, “we are moving forward into the general election. We are going to build on this momentum and build a coalition of Alaskans that can win in November.”

In the race for Alaska governor, Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy advanced, as did former Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, and Democrat Les Gara. It was too early to call the fourth spot.

Dunleavy and his running mate, Nancy Dahlstrom, in a statement said this “is only the start of the race. We’ll dig into all the numbers as they come in over the next few days to find out where we need to shore up our campaign, and we’re looking forward to reaching every Alaskan and earning their vote between now and November.”

Walker is running with Heidi Drygas and Gara with Jessica Cook.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Trump Foe Liz Cheney Defeated In Wyoming GOP Primary

Rep. Cheney told supporters that she “will do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office.”

Rep. Liz Cheney, Donald Trump’s fiercest Republican adversary in Congress, was defeated in a GOP primary Tuesday in Wyoming, falling to a rival backed by the former president in a rout that reinforced his grip on the party’s base.

The third-term congresswoman and her allies entered the day downbeat about her prospects, aware that Trump’s backing gave Harriet Hageman considerable lift in the state where he won by the largest margin during the 2020 campaign. Cheney was already looking ahead to a political future beyond Capitol Hill that could include a 2024 presidential run, potentially putting her on another collision course with Trump.

Cheney described her loss as the beginning of a new chapter in her political career as she addressed a small collection of supporters, including her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, on the edge of a vast field flanked by mountains and bales of hay.

“Our work is far from over,” she said Tuesday evening, evoking Abraham Lincoln, who also lost congressional elections before ascending to the presidency and preserving the union.

The results — and the roughly 30-point margin — were a powerful reminder of the GOP’s rapid shift to the right. A party once dominated by national security-oriented, business-friendly conservatives like her father now belongs to Trump, animated by his populist appeal and, above all, his denial of defeat in the 2020 election.

Such lies, which have been roundly rejected by federal and state election officials along with Trump’s own attorney general and judges he appointed, transformed Cheney from an occasional critic of the former president to the clearest voice inside the GOP warning that he represents a threat to democratic norms. She’s the top Republican on the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters, an attack she referenced in nodding to her political future.

“I have said since Jan. 6 that I will do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office — and I mean it,” she said.

Four hundred miles to the east of Cheney’s concession speech, festive Hageman supporters gathered at a sprawling outdoor rodeo and Western culture festival in Cheyenne, many wearing cowboy boots, hats and blue jeans.

“Obviously we’re all very grateful to President Trump, who recognizes that Wyoming has only one congressional representative and we have to make it count,” said Hageman, a ranching industry attorney who had finished third in a previous bid for governor.

Echoing Trump’s conspiracy theories, she falsely claimed the 2020 election was “rigged” as she courted his loyalists in the runup to the election.

Trump and his team celebrated Cheney’s loss, which may represent his biggest political victory in a primary season full of them. The former president called the results “a complete rebuke” of the Jan. 6 committee.

“Liz Cheney should be ashamed of herself, the way she acted, and her spiteful, sanctimonious words and actions towards others,” he wrote on his social media platform. “Now she can finally disappear into the depths of political oblivion where, I am sure, she will be much happier than she is right now. Thank you WYOMING!”

The news offered a welcome break from Trump’s focus on his growing legal entanglements. Just eight days earlier, federal agents executing a search warrant recovered 11 sets of classified records from the former president’s Florida estate.

Cheney’s defeat would have been unthinkable just two years ago. The daughter of a former vice president, she hails from one of the most prominent political families in Wyoming. And in Washington, she was the No. 3 House Republican, an influential voice in GOP politics and policy with a sterling conservative voting record.

Cheney will now be forced from Congress at the end of her third and final term in January. She is not expected to leave Capitol Hill quietly.

She will continue in her leadership role on the congressional panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack until it dissolves at the end of the year. And she is actively considering a 2024 White House bid — as a Republican or independent — having vowed to do everything in her power to fight Trump’s influence in her party.

With Cheney’s loss, Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are going extinct.

In all, seven Republican senators and 10 Republican House members backed Trump’s impeachment in the days after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress tried to certify President Joe Biden’s victory. Just two of those 10 House members have won their primaries this year. After two Senate retirements, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is the only such Senate Republican on this year’s ballot.

Cheney was forced to seek assistance from the state’s tiny Democratic minority in her bid to pull off a victory. But Democrats across America, major donors among them, took notice. She raised at least $15 million for her election, a stunning figure for a Wyoming political contest.

Voters responded to the interest in the race. With a little more than half of the vote counted, turnout ran about 50% higher than in the 2018 Republican primary for governor.

If Cheney does ultimately run for president, don’t expect her to win Wyoming’s three electoral votes.

“We like Trump. She tried to impeach Trump,” Cheyenne voter Chester Barkell said of Cheney on Tuesday. “I don’t trust Liz Cheney.”

And in Jackson, Republican voter Dan Winder said he felt betrayed by his congresswoman.

“Over 70% of the state of Wyoming voted Republican in the last presidential election and she turned right around and voted against us,” said Winder, a hotel manager. “She was our representative, not her own.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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