I just recently read Andrew Weil’s recent blog post all about the newest offer by EWG (Environmental Working Group). At this time EWG is offering a seasonal produce magnet (to help you make better organic, seasonal food choices) for tax-deductible donations of $10 and above and any of those donations will be matched dollar for dollar.
In this time of gift-giving, consider this a gift to yourself and to others and EWG will receive the benefits not only from you but also from the generous donor who is matching your donations. And remember to check out EWG’s website for cutting-edge research that helps us all live healthier lives.
My fondest memories as a child were not all the Christmas presents I opened on Christmas morning but the smells coming from the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning ~ although we rarely had extended family visit, our own family always enjoyed a turkey dinner with stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, and of course, the pumpkin pie and this ritual has been passed on from generation to generation. It does make me wonder why this memory is so much more vivid and memorable than all those gifts under the tree.
I believe part of this is because Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude, family and community. And I want to take this time to especially thank all of you who take the time to read my healthy blog each week. I appreciate you and love sending healthy tips your way. Have a wonderful family day!
Sitting down to a shared meal is the norm for most families in America on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, it is not the norm for many on a daily basis. 30 percent to 35 percent of families often eat less than three meals a week together, which means less time for connecting and communicating. Dinner is a great time for reconnection, long enough to spend some quality time to catch up with the ups and downs of the day with each family member (even little ones can talk about their adventures that day), as well as telling stories, laughing, and experiencing those precious moments over a home-cooked meal.
Laurie David has written a great book about the subject. “The Family Dinner ~ Great Ways To Connect With Your Kids ~ One Meal At A Time” includes, besides great recipes, tips on teaching green values, conversation starters, games to play to help even the shyest family member become engaged; ways to express gratitude; and much more.
So what are the benefits of all of this? According to the North Dakota State University sharing a family meal provides an experience that touches all of our senses – sight, touch, taste, smell and listening to warm laughter or good conversation. Family meals help provide a regular, consistent opportunity to create a shared experience that is meaningful and offers a sense of belonging to all. It has been shown that families who eat dinner together are healthier, the children do better in school and adolescents suffer less depression and feel more supported by their families.
As we all gather in our homes and around our tables this Thanksgiving, let us remember what an important and meaningful event it is and hopefully continue the tradition on a more daily basis. What about you and your family? Do you spend time around the table?
The Facebook Page by the American Diabetes Association was set up to help us learn more about “A Day In The Life of Diabetes”, a program to help us all understand what it is like on a daily basis to have this life-changing disease. If you know someone with Diabetes or have this yourself, you can add to this socially focused initiative to demonstrate the impact diabetes has on our families and communities across the country.
The video below can be very helpful in understanding how to encourage all of us to either avoid or help curtail the perils of diabetes.
Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take steps to Stop Diabetes.
The Toll on Health
Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults.
The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.
About 60-70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage that could result in pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion, sexual dysfunction and other nerve problems.
Cost of Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion.
Direct medical costs reach $176 billion and the average medical expenditure among people with diabetes is 2.3 times higher than those without the disease.
Indirect costs amount to $69 billion (disability, work loss, premature mortality).
One in 10 health care dollars is spent treating diabetes and its complications.
One in five health care dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes.
With these kind of statistics, I know we all have loved ones who suffer from this disease. Deep down we want to do the right thing ~ pass up on all those goodies, exercise often, don’t get stressed. It sounds so simple, yet each day we make our choices and often, as a result, end up in the doctor’s office, and are suddenly told that we are to be on a life-long medication. Prescription medicines, unfortunately, are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Did you know that the World Health Organization figures show higher life expectancy and lower child mortality in Cuba than in the U.S.? Why? By necessity, according to an article in this month’s issue of The Intelligent Optimist (Jurriann Kamp, September,October 2013, Volume 11, Issue 5) Cuban doctors use herbs and other substances that conventional Western medicine would say had no useful properties at all. The average number of patients per doctor in Cuba is 170. In the U.S., that number is 390.
As mentioned in the video above, diet plays an important role in the prevention of diabetes as well as controlling it. Here is a list of recommended foods:
Soluble fiber slows the absorption of glucose from food in the stomach, which also helps blunt the rise in blood sugar. Studies have shown that eating a diet rich in whole grains and high-fiber foods may reduce the risk of diabetes by between 35 and 42 percent.
BEST FOODS FOR HIGH-QUALITY CARBS: Vegetables, fruits (fresh and frozen, unsweetened), beans, peas, lentils, brown rice, wild rice, barley, oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, whole-grain breads, whole-grain crackers, quinoa, amaranth, wheat berries, millet
As our country continues to hash out the pros and cons of Obama Care, I find the most sane advice in Kamp’s article…..“Healing is something you do yourself. Despite all the modern medical resources and technologies, self-care is the essence of being healthy.”In examining what has been suggested for helping us all avoid such things as diabetes, this certainly rings true. As I stressed in my last post, Prevention Is The Key To Health, the responsibility for our bodies, our health and our lives lies with each one of us.
Harvard School of Public Health Dean Julio Frenk states: “Prevention may seem expensive, but in the long term it saves money,” said Frenk. “Consider that a scant 3 percent of current health care spending in the United States is now focused on prevention and public health, while a whopping 75 percent of health care costs are related to preventable conditions.”
… advancing the health, safety and equity of communities across the nation requires everyone’s involvement: from prevention and public health to healthcare to business to community leaders and institutions. At the same time, change won’t happen without deliberate leadership: The prevention and public health field bears large responsibilities for the health of the public and needs to step up to its role in new ways.
Even the Affordable Care Program by President Obama includes a Prevention and Public Health Fund which represents a critical investment in our nation’s health. Funding prevention activities becomes a key step toward bending our unsustainable cost curve in health care.
My own involvement in prevention began 20 years ago almost to the day when I was introduced to a supplement program that changed my life. I was shown a chart called The Ladder of Health ~ it is literally a visual of a ladder with steps going up. At the bottom rung is Death, next is Disease, next is Symptoms & Illness, next is the Neutral Zone, next is to Become Aware, next is a Nutrition Program, and the top rung is Optimum Health. It was explained to me that the two bottom rungs, Death and Disease, we are often under a doctor’s care, and we need to climb the ladder or we may not recover. We are often plagued with Symptoms and Illness or simply live in that Neutral Zone where we have those frequent headaches, digestive issues, etc., but just live with them. The majority of people spend part of their lives here. When I became aware of what can happen and what is possible I began a guaranteed health program and was able to reach Optimal Health (I am now 70 and take no prescription drugs, and feel better than I did when I began at 50 to look into prevention). I was very fortunate to have been given the guidance to look into how to take care of my own health through proper diet, exercise, reducing toxins in my home, mindfulness and of course a nutritional program of supplements. I learned that the key to health was in my hands, not in my doctor’s and moved forward.
Did you know that the word “prevention” comes from two Latin roots that mean “before” and “come.” Andrew Weil, M.D. describes this concept as by anticipating what may come that can harm us (those symptoms and illness for example), we can take action to stop it (becoming aware) avert it, or minimize its effects (go on a nutrition program for optimum health). He believes that the chronic diseases that are now epidemic in America are largely preventable, and further states that lifestyle factors figure prominently in the causation of chronic disease: obesity, smoking, lack of physical activity, unmanaged exposure to toxins, etc. and can be addressed by integrative medicine. His statistics on the toll of preventable disease was shocking:
Chronic diseases cause 70% of deaths in America and are responsible for 3/4 of health care spending
Half of all American men and 1/3 of all American women will develop cancer.
1/4 of all Americans will have heart disease
One in 12 Americans will have asthma
One in fourteen Americans will have diabetes.
One in 7 Americans will develop Alzheimer’s disease.
An exciting observation he made was that many recent discoveries show that environment and lifestyle factors can modify genetic expression and influence risk for age-related disease. Dr. Weil’s obstacles to prevention can be found in is book, Why Our Health Matters.I highly recommend it. He has written many opportunities for prevention as well as the benefits of dietary modification to reduce chronic disease and also included the benefits of dietary supplementation (which I found so helpful in my own journey).
We all want to be at that “top rung” of the ladder of health ~ at Optimum Health. Taking charge of our own health is just the beginning. How about you? Are you being proactive in your own journey of health? Where are you on “The Ladder of Health?” I offer a free report (look at right column on this page) “8 Simple Steps to get off Prescription Drugs” ~ this is my own journey and how I literally changed my life. You might want to check it out ~ just click on the site and you will be sent the report, free of charge. Enjoy!
“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” -Joseph Campbell
On a recent trek into a little shop in the mountains I found a coffee cup which read Making A Difference. It literally spoke to me as I walked by (of course I bought it!) and realized what importance it held for me. At a recent convention for my business it was emphasized the importance of what effect we all are making around us. When I put these two things together I realize that truly making a difference and the effect it has, whether it is with family, with promoting my business, and, in general, just living my life, that is what creates bliss for me.
Is there a difference between happiness and bliss? I looked this up under English Language and Usage and found this explanation: Bliss is a great deal stronger than happiness. You can be happy because it’s not raining today, or because you found your glasses. But bliss is reserved for a state of complete, perfect happiness, such as what you may experience by finding your soul mate or having a transcendent spiritual experience. In reflecting upon that definition, I will add one more aspect of bliss that is in my life ~ that being my good health. We all are familiar with the quote, “health is wealth.” I truly believe that good health is the key to a long and happy life…it impacts everything, from the way you look, to how you feel, and what you can achieve.
Part of the “bliss” I have experienced and continue to in my own life has to do with sharing my journey to health with others. Helping others to experience a healthier and better life is part of my mission and “making a difference.” I realize that the choices we make every day play a critical role in shaping our future health, including such things as having a healthy weight, supporting the immune system, and having a healthy environment by minimizing exposure to toxic chemicals in the home.
How about you? Have you found bliss in your own life? I have a twin sister who truly loves and treasures things from the past. She has found her passion in discovering them and then sharing them with others through a little shop of collectibles. Her love for these treasures has created a “blissful” career for her. I loved the blog post by Linda Gabriel Tiny Buddha, 6 Tips To Find Your Bliss. She includes such simple things such as being open as new experiences cross your path, being curious enough to actually experience something you might not have ever considered, being willing to give it a try (and give it some time), and stepping outside of your comfort zone (something I am always challenged with!) I would have to add gratefulness to this list. Beginning each day with a grateful heart can do wonders.
I would love to hear how you might experience bliss in your own life.
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime with over 40,000 deaths attributed to it. As we honor those who have won the battle against this disease and remember those who did not, I wanted to look at some preventative measures we can all take.
Apparently, body weight, physical exercise and diet all play a role in reducing the risk of this disease, the same things that affect other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Breast-feeding is highly recommended; in fact, the longer one breastfeeds, the more the protective effect. Being vigilant about any changes in the breast, such as a new lump or skin changes and checking with your doctor, and of course, getting regular mammograms are all important preventative measures. Although not proven to be connected to breast cancer, it is recommended that one does not smoke as well as limit alcohol to only one drink per day ~ something that actually can help keep a healthier lifestyle.
American Cancer Society (ACS) researchers found postmenopausal women who walked for at least one hour each day had a 14 percent lower chance of getting breast cancer than infrequent walkers. More vigorous exercise was tied to an even lower risk. Dr. Steven Chen, an associate professor at City of Hope in Duarte, California, said that sitting was also tied to a woman’s risk of breast cancer in the study.
“The more you sit, the higher the likelihood of you developing cancer,” he said. “So of course we encourage people to be as active as they can.” This statement certainly made me appreciate my commitment of both walking and swimming throughout the week.
Menopausal hormone therapy has been found to increase the risk for breast cancer. It is recommended that avoiding progesterone and limiting any hormone therapy to less than 3 years, which even include “Bioidentical hormones” and hormonal creams and gels.
A few things I have done in the past 20 years of my life to prevent cancer was to eliminate the toxins from my home by using non-toxic household products to clean my home, clothes and dishes. I have also chosen a line of skin-care and personal care products which are safe and non-toxic. Losing my extra pounds this past year has also been part of my regime. I used a safe but effective program of delicious shakes.
I believe all of these preventative tips will help empower all of us against this debilitating disease. What about you? Do you have something to add to this list? Please share it with us.
Did you know that being dehydrated decreases your body’s ability to burn calories by 2% each day? And that your thirst mechanism often does not kick in until you already dehydrated? As stated above, simply drinking two glasses of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner, can help you lose weight and keep it off. ”As part of a prudent, low-calorie weight-loss diet, adding water may help with weight-loss success,” says Brenda Davy, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and an associate professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg.
We all know now that dehydration can slow down the fat-burning process which is certainly not a weight loss goal; other facts about water and weight loss tips include fatigue ~ without proper hydration our blood volume gets reduced which then impacts the supply of oxygen to our muscles which creates that feeling of tiredness; soreness in our joints and muscles is another factor caused by lack of hydration; we all tend to eat more fiber when we want to lose weight including those great veggies; however, without a good amount of fluids, we can easily become constipated; and of course we know that by drinking those 2 glasses of water before each meal ~ we definitely will feel fuller and eat less! Also, research shows exercise under warm or hot and humid conditions can cause dehydration in as little as 30 minutes. So it’s important to consume fluids not only during and after exercise, but also before a workout or strenuous activity. And we all know how important exercise is in losing weight and inches. It is recommended that athletes drink 8 to 10 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes during exercise.
Changing our preferred beverage away from sodas and calorie-laden drinks to simply water can make a huge difference in our weight loss goals. Drinking more water might simply make people less likely to drink a lot of high-calorie sugar-filled beverages, said Barry Popkin, director of the Interdisciplinary Obesity Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
I detest plastic bottles of water so filter my own water and fill my own water bottle. When possible I carry this water filter with me when I travel so I can always depend on safe, healthy water to drink. It also tastes better! What about you? Does water fit into your daily routine?
With as many as 5 million Americans facing Alzheimer’s, the 6th leading cause of death here in America, it is no surprise that 45 million dollars has just been awarded by the National Institutes of Health to support clinical trials and test promising drugs in an effort to find effective interventions, including prevention, for this devastating, degenerative brain disease.
I think we all get anxiety when we start forgetting where we put the car keys, or go into a room to get something but once we get there, we have forgotten why we came there in the first place! The Harvard Medical School lists 7 reasons why we may do this and, fortunately, it is not connected to Alzheimer’s! They include lack of sleep, alcohol, depression, anxiety and stress, underactive thyroid, and medications. Good to know! This is an excellent article and I highly recommend checking out that link for more information.
In Total Wellness by Joseph Pizzorno, N.D., the research by Marian Cleeves Diamond, Ph.D. on the brains of rats and humans for several decades, was discussed. 150 research studies and three books came as a result of her work and she found that rat brain size and function can be substantially affected regardless of age, with old rats (equivalent to a 90-year-0ld human) showing as much change as young rats. Providing rats with an enriched environment (the more diverse the better) that changes constantly (yes, even rats get bored with the same toys) results in several very significant effects: increased size of the cortex (the higher function part of the brain) and increased blood supply to the brain, neuron cell size, number of neuron connections, and size of synapses. Stress was found to have the opposite effect, with the brain of stressed animals actually getting smaller. In other words, the more we use our brain, the better it works, unless we damage it by stress and toxins. Pizzorno states, “Considering the high incidence of dementia and other degenerative diseases of the brain, we apparently need to do a much better job of stimulating and protecting our brains and nervous system. This is especially the case as we get older since the risk of developing diseases of an aging brain (dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) increases 15 fold between 65 and 85 years of age…..obviously, prevention is the best approach!”
In a recent article by Larrisa Long, researchers did a study involving individuals who fell into 3 categories ~ those who never showed signs of degenerative brain disease, those who, after death, were found to have the tangles associated with Alzheimer’s yet showed no signs while alive, and those who died with the disease. All of these individuals had taken personality tests before their deaths. All agreed to have an autopsy of the brain following their death. The results discovered that those who are more emotionally stable and conscientious may have greater resilience because they are generally healthier and engage in behaviors that reduce the risk of dementia — like exercising and abstaining from tobacco use. In addition, emotionally stable people tend to have better metabolic and inflammatory risk profiles and are less likely to have depression — all of which have been linked to dementia. To add to that they found that skepticism, cynicism and being manipulative and deceptive actually were associated with those amyloid placques and tangles found in Alzheimer’s disease patients. The individuals who died and revealed some of those placques and tangles yet showed no sign of the disease while living, researchers believed was because of their personality traits! This new knowledge of how personality traits affect the development of dementia allows us to see just how much of a role attitude plays in our overall health.
Way back in 2002, (New England Journal of Medicine, Feb.14, 2002), it was stated “There appears to be a newly discovered relation between the level of homocysteine in the blood and Alzheimer’s disease.” For years homocysteine has been known to have a direct toxic effect on cells lining the body’s arteries. The compound is clearly related to coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease and the aging of the brain. The study indicates that the higher the homocysteine level, the more likely a person will develop Alzheimer’s. This finding is doubly important because homocysteine blood levels can be significantly reduced by supplemental folic acid, a vitamin, in dosages of one to two milligrams a day. When my husband and I began taking supplements 20 years ago, I remember reading about the dangers of homocysteine levels and made sure to include that daily.
Along with the above tips I recommend this post I wrote a few months ago that include even more preventative measures to help us avoid this aspect of aging. And turning that frown to a smile might help too! (who knew that even our personality plays a huge role in our brain health!)
Every day our bodies are attacked from stress, poor nutrition, pollution, and fatigue, all of which can constantly challenge our immune systems. A strong immune system can help us fight off environmental challenges and help keep us all healthy.
In 1954 Dr. Yashuhiko Kojima, a world-renowned immunologist, first discovered interferon while he was conducting research at Tokoyo University. After 40 years of painstaking research testing hundreds of natural compounds, he developed a unique blend of four powerful plant extracts that boosts the body’s natural production of interferon.
Interferon has long been identified by scientists and medical communities as being crucial to healthy immune function. Dr. Kojima’s product is the only dietary supplement in the U.S. that naturally increases the production of interferon in the body. Providing immune support right at the cellular level, this product is potent-yet-safe. It has been subjected to a stringent set of scientific tests for safety, purity, potency, and performance.
Here is an explanation of how Interferon works in our system by Dr. Bruce B. Miller, DDS, CNS
When a virus enters a cell the cell releases a chemical messenger called interferon.
1. Interferon does two things.
1) It tells other cells how to defend against this virus.
2) It stimulates cells called macrophages to multiply and get
2. Meanwhile the virus is multiplying in the invaded cell.
1) When the cell gets loaded with new viral particles—it explodes
releasing more particles into the body to invade other cells.
3. The newly released viral particles are in for two surprises.
1) The exploding infected cell is surrounded by macrophages
which “eat” up viral particles.
2) Other cells in the area are more resistant to viral invasion.
4. Most of the time a viral infection can be stopped at this stage.
What if a cell is low in interferon when the invasion occurs?
1. The interferon output is low, weak and there is a time lag.
1) There is a delay and a weak signal telling the other cells how to
defend against the virus.
2) The macrophages receive a late and feeble signal.
2. During the time lag the virus is replicating rapidly in the infected cell.
1) The infected cell bursts releasing millions of new viral particles.
2) Macrophages are few and weak and many particles escape.
3. The other cells fall to invasion because they do not know how
1. If a cell has a “full tank” of interferon, it seems to me that it would be better able to battle a viral invasion.
My husband and I have taken this product for many years and can safely say our immune systems are very strong. Hope you consider trying this natural approach. What about you? How do you prepare for the flu season?