Oct 242014
 

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When Ray and I were in Long Beach this last summer at the Shaklee Convention we were shown this video. I loved it because it was so true to how these products have impacted our lives so much. The “Shaklee Effect” has made such a difference for us health-wise and now that Ray is retired, in our plan “B”. Hope you take the time to watch this short, but very inspiring glimpse into what the Shaklee legacy is all about.

2014 Shaklee Live! Opening Video from Shaklee Corporation on Vimeo.

Oct 122014
 

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I lost my father to heart disease at the age of 52.  He was one of the statistics they refer to below.  We are often told that this disease is highly preventable simply by following a healthy lifestyle.  I will admit that my Dad had a lot of stress in his life, did not exercise, loved red meat and bacon and hated to go the doctor.   So, yes, I think he could have lived a longer, healthier life had he paid more attention to the preventative activities such as exercise, diet and a calmer lifestyle.  Did I mention also that he smoked and was overweight, had high cholesterol and his blood pressure was always rising?

Fortunately, I did not follow in his footsteps and have taken many steps to avoid an early death of a heart attack, am energetic and healthy 21 years past the amount of years he lived.  So what did I do that was so different?   I do believe stress is a a big factor.  My father experienced lots of it ~ financial, his relationships, his job, etc.  In a “fight or flight response” (coined by a scientist named Walter Cannon to describe the body’s response to stress),  this response allowed early humans to “jump into high gear” to avoid those saber-toothed tigers.  Today our body is going through the same physical changes that those early humans did; however, instead of protecting us from that tiger, this response can be harmful.

Dr. Jamie McManus, M.D., in her book, Your Personal Guide to Wellness, talks about the importance of stress management because those of us who become chronically stressed by job, marriage, financial worries, traffic jams, etc. puts our bodies in a constant low-grade state of “fight or flight” and this has long-term possible physiologic results of hypertension and heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and, of course, chronic anxiety and depression.  She further states that what began as a “hectic life” can result in real disease.  In looking back, I do believe that was at the root of my own father’s heart attack.  And of course all of the other “habits” he had just added to it.

I loved Dr. McManus’s formula to manage stress simply by creating a “magnificent tone” in your life and following the Triple “A” Map which includes Alter, Avoid and Accept.  She quotes Herbert G. Lingren, Ph.D., an Extension Family Life Specialist: “…choosing a low-stress response to life’s bumps and bruises will not only preserve your sanity but also your physical health.”  She then goes on to describe the 3 A’s:

  • Alter your life by removing the source the stress by becoming more organized in both personal and family life and become more efficient in the use of time, always having backup plans for any emergency.
  • Avoid stress by removing yourself from the stressful situation ~ sometimes it is okay to walk away, to let go, to say “no” ~ know your limits.
  • Accept the situation simply by equipping yourself physically and mentally for stress.  This involves making good nutritional choices which include whole foods, whole grains, lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, restricting sugar, fried foods and caffeine, and of course including exercise in your daily routine.

Dr. McManus also mentions eating fatty fish at least 2 to 3 times per week and/or take fish oil supplements that contain both EPA and DHA (the essential fatty acids humans need).  Those with anxiety and other mood disorders will benefit from B vitamins.  An herb, Valerian, is a botanical which has been used for sleep disturbance as well as anxiety.  She also mentions relaxation therapies such as massage, aromatherapy and hypnosis to show significant benefit for anxiety disorders.  Lavender, rose, cypress and violet also can play a role because as you inhale them they can relax muscles, sedate, provide pain relief and reduce stress and depression.

Although I nor my husband of 75 years (and going strong!) do not have high blood pressure, we have just learned about a supplement that addresses two important mechanisms that are known to impact blood pressure levels already in the normal range by promoting blood circulation and promoting healthy blood vessels.  Practicing prevention as part of our lifestyle, we have chosen to take this on a daily basis.

The infographic below describes the different kinds of heart disease as well as how to lower your risk.  How is your heart health?

 

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Oct 072014
 

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I just read an interesting report from the Center for Food Safety and wanted to pass it on to you.  Did you know that most of the  U.S. apples cannot be sold in the European Union because of the use of diphenylomine (DPA), a chemical used to preserve apples all year long?  99% of the apples in the US tested positive for at least one pesticide present with over 80% having DPA present.   This is the number one product recommended  to purchase organically.

Strawberries are the next fruit to consider purchasing organically.  The USDA Pesticide Data Program (PDP) found 45 different pesticide residues  in this fruit, with six known carcinogens and seven neurotoxins present.  These pesticides can have negative effects on the brain and nervous system.

Grapes are number three in the list of the top 5 pesticide laden fruits and vegetables.  8 known carcinogens and four developmental or reproductive toxins out of the 56 pesticide residues were found by the PDP on this fruit.  Fertility, miscarriage and a number of developmental defects are all linked to these pesticides.

The lone vegetable mentioned, Celery, included 10 known carcinogens and 12 different neurotoxins out of 64 listed.  The most disturbing fact was that Spinosad, a known honeybee toxin, was found on 100% of celery samples.

The last of the fruit listed are peaches… 12 neurotoxins (8 are known carinogens) out of 62 residues of pesticides including Chlorpyifos (linked to neurological effects, persistent developmental disorders and autoimmune disorders).

If this subject interests you, there is an excellent resource on this website called  Organic, and Beyond ~ where one can go and explore the reasons why to purchase organically.

Michael Pollan, in his book, In Defense of Food, discusses the fact that a chemically simplified soil would produce chemically simplified plants.  Since the widespread adoption of chemical fertilizers in the 1950’s, the nutritional quality of produce in America has declined substantially, according to figures gathered by the USDA, which has tracked nutrient content of various crops since then.  Some researchers blame this decline on the condition of the soil; others cite the tendency of modern plant breeding, which has consistently selected for industrial characteristics such as yield rather than nutritional quality.

Pollan’s mantra is “Shake the hand that feeds you.”  When you eat from the farmers’ market, you automatically eat food that is in season, which is usually when it is most nutritious.  And it diversifies your diet ~ because you can’t buy strawberries or broccoli or potatoes twelve months of the year, you will find yourself experimenting with other foods when they come into the market.  He believes that supermarket organic produce is most likely to have come from too far away ~ from the industrial organic farms of California, or, increasingly, China.

So what about you?  Organic or non-organic?  Grocery store or farmers’ markets?  I will say when I read Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food, it has made me think twice about what I am piling into my grocery cart or on my plate!

 

 

 

Sep 242014
 

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When was the last time you misplaced your keys, forgot a name or lost concentration in a meeting? Is this loss of memory and acuity a natural part of aging? According to Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D., FACN, Board-Certified Neurologist and a leader in the field of complementary medicine, memory loss and other brain dysfunction are not inevitable with aging and, in fact, we can prevent ~ and even reverse ~ the effects of stress and “aging” on our brains.

I have chosen this particular subject this week partly because September 21 was World Alzheimer’s Day, a day set aside to build awareness and education about a condition that can affect people as young as 40 to 50 years old. The World Health Organization has stated that over 35 million people are afflicted with this disease, and in the next 20 years this number will double. Pretty scary statistics! The other reason for my post on brain health is to examine ways we can, as Dr. Perlmutter stated, reverse the “aging” on our brain through simple preventative measures such as nutrition, lifestyle changes and brain workouts.

One disturbing fact I learned from Dr. Perlmutter was the effects of common prescription and over-the-counter drugs on our brain. Common drugs from stomach acid suppressors to antidepressants, to birth control pills, to cholesterol-lowering medicines, to pain relievers ~ can deplete our brain of life-saving nutrients that protect against free radical damage and can contain ingredients that can promote inflammation. For example, there are drugs (primarily statins) that lower levels of Co-Q10 or glutathione, two critical antioxidants for the brain that protect against free radical damage and inflammation. He also mentioned that dozens of drugs destroy B-vitamins which are essential because they help control the amino acid homocysteine, which in excess can promote inflammation and kill brain cells. AARP’s most recent newsletter also listed 10 drugs that may cause memory loss.

Here are some of the tips he recommends:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising
  • Eating those foods that can make us smarter such as berries, (particularly blueberries and blackberries), omega-3 enriched eggs, Wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, seeds such as pumpkin seeds and ground flaxseed with high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and beneficial GLA, spinach, walnuts and walnut oil
  • Finding out whether you are gluten intolerant with a simple test called the antigliadin antibody test which measures antigliadin antibodies in the blood, a sign of gluten sensitivity, (also called celiac disease, which affects about 1 in every 250 Americans and causes memory loss, confusion, or other neurological symptoms as well as chronic upset stomach)
  • Avoiding fried foods, refined grains and starches, sweets, bad fats, high-sugar condiments, sweet beverages, snack foods, MSG, aspartame and hydrolyzed vegetable protein, sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Purchasing organic as much as possible
  • Reducing stress
  • Removing household toxins as much as possible
  • Practicing brain boosting exercises as much as possible
  • Using a sensible supplementation program

All these can assist us in the journey of caring for our brain.

I highly recommend Dr. Perimutter’s book, Brain Health for more education on the subject. I also recommend the natural supplements and non-toxic household cleaners at this site.

What about you? How are you coping with that absentmindedness?

Sep 182014
 

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Watching these two mice interact made me realize that “young” one could be me. At 50 I was going down that slippery slope of extreme joint pain, tiredness, and feeling old. Fortunately I was introduced to a natural line of supplements that turned my health around. Now at 71 I am healthy, prescription-free, pain-free and actually feel like the clock is turning back regarding aging. The company that produces these supplements actually published a landmark-first-of-its-kind study that supports the potential benefits of long-term supplementation in a unique consumer population. The study, called The Landmark Dietary Supplement Study: Usage patterns, health, and nutritional status of long-term multiple dietary supplement users: a cross-sectional study, can be found here.

The results were stunning! Long-term dietary supplement use was consistently associated with more favorable blood levels of important nutrients and key heart health biomarkers. More importantly, long-term users of multiple dietary supplements generally reported lower prevalence of disease in self reported health conditions including elevated blood pressure and diabetes, when compared to single multivitamin users and nonusers.

This first-of-its-kind study was conducted on a unique study population using new online data collection methods employed for the very first time in collaboration with renowned nutritional epidemiologist Dr. Gladys Block, from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.

Information regarding diet and supplement intakes, exercise and health status was obtained from online questionnaires and on-site physical examinations from 278 long-term Shaklee multiple dietary supplement consumers. Data for 602 matched nonusers and 176 single multivitamin supplement users was obtained from the Nationwide Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) the largest and longest running national health and nutrition survey, sponsored by the National Center for Health Statistics.

The long-term multiple supplement users included more females, were slightly older, better educated, had higher incomes, and lower body mass index (BMI) than the other groups. Dietary supplements consumed on a daily basis by more than 50% of the multiple supplement users included such products as multivitamin/mineral, vitamin B-complex, vitamin C, carotenoids, calcium with vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, glucosamine, an herbal immune supplement, a probiotic supplement (women) and a soy protein supplement (men). Check out the results on the link above to see the differences.

I am truly grateful that I began a supplement program when I did. Practicing prevention (by taking these supplements) instead of waiting for chronic diseases to appear, has made a huge difference for me. I hope you check out the results of the LandMark Study and also check out the link above “Products I Use” and see what a difference it can make for you as well.

Sep 102014
 

Is sugar worse than fat? Dr. Sanja Gupta states “Why is sugar so bad? Is there a simple way to explain that scientifically? Here’s a simple way:

It’s that humans weren’t designed to eat this much sugar. We used to get sugar once a year when fruit fell from the trees. Even honey was protected by the bees. How much food could you really eat? I mean you can’t…10 oranges, that’s enough. Now, we eat 140 pounds, roughly, a year, on average. Our bodies simply didn’t evolve to be able to handle that.

So it hits the liver, the liver says I don’t know what to do with all this sugar, so it starts to metabolize it in unusual ways and it gets turned into what are known as low density lipoprotein particles. And that’s the worst kind of cholesterol.”

It was clear back in the 70’s when we all saw fat as the culprit in raising our cholesterol levels; as a result, we became advocates of “low fat” foods and raising our levels of sugar. The result? Heart disease is still the biggest killer of men and women and diabetes rates, as you know, are higher than ever before.

Are you one of the 1 in 10 adults (over 20) or 1 in 4 seniors with diabetes? Below is an excellent infograph describing diabetes ~ be sure to scroll to the end and see the best ways to prevent this disease and/or control it.diabetes infographic

Aug 172014
 

download A few weeks ago I wrote a post about aging and why telomeres play such an important role in this. Since we all want to live longer I thought I would pass on some more research on the subject so we can all benefit.

This research, published on Jul 8, 2014, is by Nobel Laureate, Professor Elizabeth Helen Blackburn, AC, FRS, FAA, FRSN. She is an Australian-American biological researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who studies the telomere, a structure at the end of chromosomes that protects the chromosome.who has done extensive research on this very subject.

According to Wikopedia Professor Blackburn discovered the molecular nature of telomeres – the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes that serve as protective caps essential for preserving the genetic information – and the ribonucleoprotein enzyme, telomerase. Blackburn and her research team at the University of California, San Francisco are working with various cells including human cells, with the goal of understanding telomerase and telomere biology.

I just returned from a Shaklee Convention in Long Beach and learned that Professor Elizabeth Blackburn is now on our Shaklee Scientific Advisory Board, working on a project that involves a control group that is taking Shaklee supplements, particularly Vitamin E and Vitamin C, compared to those that do not and what effect it has on the length of telomeres. Important information for us to know ~ Enjoy!

Aug 072014
 

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I came across this wonderful little video this morning and wanted to share it with all of you. I love hearing about people who care about the health of our planet; that is why I only use biodegradable, nontoxic cleaning products in my home and share this as much as possible. This young girl, age 16, has been doing her part in making a difference for the planet simply by finding an alternative to plastics. I know you will enjoy watching this.

Jul 212014
 

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Oftentimes we may blame our genes for our health destiny.  But is that true?  Is it really because my mom and dad had certain health issues that I will too?  We know that our genetic traits make us more or less predisposed to certain health issues; however, through a study of identical twins it was found that our longevity is based only one-quarter on our genetics ~ and three-quarters on our behaviors and lifestyle choices!

So why the question “how short are your telomeres?”  According to Dr. Michael F. Roizen and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, in their book (which I highly recommend) You Staying Young ~ The Owner’s Manual for Extending Your Warranty, explain that our chromosomes have small caps on the ends called telomeres, which are like little plastic tips on shoelaces.  Every time a cell reproduces, that telomere gets a little shorter, just as the shoelace tip wears off with time.  These doctors refer to telomeres as our “Major Ager,” (most likely because every major disease is the result of shorter telomeres).    Our body has a protein ~ called telomerase ~ that automatically replenishes and rebuilds the ends of the chromosomes to keep cells (and you) healthy.

Unfortunately, stress shortens our telomeres and turns down telomerase.  Dr. Oz states, “The telomeres of people who feel more stressed are almost 50% shorter than people who say they’re less stressed.  Since scientists have a rough idea what the average telomere length is for a specific age, they can estimate how much older the higher-stress group is biologically:  a whopping nine to seventeen years, just by thinking they were aging faster, they actually age faster.”  Looks like a great reason to learn how to slow down, perhaps using such techniques as meditation.

Just by adding a 30 minute walk can add years and quality to our lives.   Meditation and exercise and of course not smoking are all factors known to help with the length and health of our telomeres.

Stress can come at us in many ways ~ the neighbor’s dog constantly barking, worry over unpaid bills, constant exposure to disasters happening around the world on tv, endless “to do” lists,  etc.  It can build up as a massive amount of noise in our system.  So what is the answer?  Dr. Oz states that one of the keys to having a healthy mind is to live as much as you can in the moment; that is thinking about  what you’re doing right now, not worrying about the mistakes you made yesterday or the headaches that await you tomorrow, which, in turn, helps to reduce the noise in your system.  That stress (similar to the saber-tooth tiger bearing down fast) actually shortens the telomeres on your chromosomes, making it harder to concentrate and contributes to memory problems as well.  The next time you are playing with your children (or grandchildren), make the effort to be there intentionally and not let your mind wander to thoughts about tomorrow’s workday or the world’s problems.  This can help not only you but the people around you!

I just recently was looking at a WebMD list of 18 Secrets to Longevity and wanted to share them with you.  I do believe these all will help reduce the shortening of our telomeres!

1.  Become more conscientious (like attention to detail and persistence)

2.  Make friends

3.  Chose your friends wisely

4.  Do not smoke

5.  Embrace the “siesta”

6.  Follow a Mediterranean diet – high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil and fish

7.  Eat like an Okinawan (a diet high in green and yellow veggies and low in calories)

8.  Get married

9.  Lose weight

10.  Drink in moderation

11.  Have a faith

12.  Forgive and let go

13.  Use safety gear (eg. seat belts)

14.  Get enough sleep

15.  Use yoga, meditation and deep breathing to reduce stress

16.  Have a greater sense of purpose

17.  Develop healthy habits to protect your DNA

I would have to add to that list a certain supplement that is known to help with inflammation as well as stop cellular aging.  My husband and I take that every day.

So what about you?  Have you thought about what it takes to extend your life?  There is a fun website I found that helps you estimate your Real (health) age and life expectancy.  Go here and take the quiz!  I found out that I actually am health-wise only at 50 ( my chronological age is actually 71)  and my life expectancy can be over 100 because of the healthy habits I have incorporated into my life.

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