Chitika

Friday, August 31, 2012

Appreciate or Change the Game Instead of Blaming It

By Timo Kiander


Imagine these three scenarios:

Scenario 1: You wake up in the middle of the night and your baby is crying. You feel annoyed that you have to wake up in the middle of your sleep.

Scenario 2: Your goal is to finish your first marathon, so you have to practice consistently. However, you don’t feel like exercising today. It’s raining and you’d like to watch television instead.

Scenario 3: You hate your job. You snap at your boss and you procrastinate on the work you are supposed to do.

What do these scenarios have in common? If you haven’t figured it out yet, then keep reading.

IT’S ABOUT YOU, NOT ABOUT THEM


These three seemingly different scenarios have one thing in common: You are blaming the game even though you made a decision to play it.

In many of these situations, we jump in without really knowing what we are dealing with.

When we jump into situations with wrong expectations, it creates wrong attitudes. We expect things to follow a certain path, but the reality is different. And when the reality and our attitudes collide, it’s natural that we feel frustration.

For instance, a new world opened to me and my wife when we had our first baby. Although we had prepared for this a bit, the reality was completely different.

In the beginning, our son was constantly waking up in the middle of the night and his sleeping patterns were quite irregular. This led us as parents to be very tired in the beginning.

At the same time, we knew that this was part of the reality when you have a baby. Sure, it wasn’t nice to feel tired all day because of the lack of sleep in the night, but we also understood that the start could be challenging until things smoothed out.

YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM—FAR FROM IT!


All this inner resistance leads to a “victim” mentality. When you find yourself in a situation that you don’t like, you feel like you have been mistreated.

If you feel like this, then understand that you can change it by taking responsibility for your actions.

When you don’t take responsibility, you are more likely to complain and try to get others to join you in negativity.

TAKING A TIMEOUT CAN HELP


When these negative feelings arise, take a moment to reflect on what is really annoying you about your situation. Then, zoom out and take a bird’s eye view.

Remember that your experiences, whether they’re good or bad, are part of “the game,” and that you started playing voluntarily—that you wanted to play.

Finally, foster gratitude for the positive aspects of your situation, rather than feeling negative about all the not-so-great ones. Remember, the negative aspects are probably only temporary.

FIX THE NEGATIVE ATTITUDES AND MOVE ON


Here are the steps I take when I feel like blaming others and resistance starts to take over:

1. Take a timeout.


When you feel frustrated, angry, or stressed, it’s time to stop for a moment. Literally, just stop!

2. Look at the bigger picture.


Zoom out from the situation and get some perspective.

For example, when our baby was crying in the middle of the night, understandably I was a bit frustrated at first. But then, I changed my mindset.

First, I had to remember that I was like this when I was a baby. And babies won’t cry without a reason—that’s the way they communicate with the parents.

Second, I knew that our baby was healthy and we loved him very much. This helped me to stay up— even if it was in the middle of the night.

Finally, we also knew that this situation (nightly wakeups) wouldn’t last forever, and, in fact, things would get better.

So, everything that happens is part of a bigger picture. Not all new situations are a bed of roses all the time, but that’s to be expected.

3. Resist the urge to victimize yourself.


When you victimize yourself, you’re less able to recognize and meet your responsibilities.

When our baby was born, we knew that there was to be a lot of work involved. Sometimes things would go smoothly, while sometimes things would be a bit more challenging.

However, we wanted to have a baby in our family and we fully accepted everything that came with it.

4. Appreciate.


No matter what happens, you can turn most situations around and appreciate them. Sometimes you can do that in an instant, while other times you might have to be patient.

In our situation, we understood that no matter what, it was our baby that mattered to us the most. Even if we were tired a bit, this would still give us valuable experiences (if we ever wanted to have more children).

If you look closely, you can find lessons in anything that happens, and see beauty in the details.

5. Research the game in advance.


Next time you’re about to take on a new situation, take some time to prepare so you can adjust your attitude and mindset accordingly.

In our case, we studied more about having a baby and what kinds of changes it would yield in our life.

We also talked with friends and colleagues who had a baby already to learn how they handled the change.

This gave us confidence that we could manage it as well.

6. You are the referee.


Remember, you have control over many situations in your life. You are the referee.

So, for example, if you don’t like your day job, start working on a plan B or start your own business instead of dwelling on your situation.



If we take responsibility for our actions, we can find things to enjoy and appreciate, even if the game we’ve chosen to play is challenging at times.

If we decide we don’t like the game, many times we can change it—but first we must change our attitude.

Have you ever blamed the game? How did you get over it?

 

About the Author - Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD superdad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to get more productive in your own life, grab 222 of his best Tips for Becoming a Productivity Superstar.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

25 Easy Ways to Lower Your Stress Levels

By Healthy Living

Stress. It begins to affect our health and well-being after being exposed to long periods of it - and it can affect everything from our emotions to our immune system. So with all the pressures of life, how can we just relax already?

 Here are some quick tips for reducing your stress.

 1) Breathe. Remember that Lamaze class you took? Practice breathing in through your nose slowly and out through your mouth. Whenever you feel overwhelmed practice breathing.

 2) Keep in mind - not all life is serious business; not every mistake the end of the world.

 3) Laugh. One of the best stress-busters is to laugh at something absurd or silly.

 4) One moment at a time - don't worry about the future - focus upon the now.

 5) When you feel the panic rising, get up from wherever you are and get active for 10 minutes. Vacuum, sweep the floor, do anything that takes that extra nervous energy and puts it to good use.

 6) Make time every day for 20 minutes of activity - exercise releases endorphins, which calm your frazzled nerves and allow you to de-stress.

 7) Find a quiet room and rest for 10 minutes - even if it's the copy room at work or a quiet boardroom - just sit down, lie down if you can, and allow your mind to roam as you feel the tension dripping off you.

 8) Make your home a place of comfort - get rid of excess things you don't need - especially the stuff that makes you say, "I should..." when you see it.

 9) Make a list. You don't have to keep all your thoughts in your head.

 10) Prioritize your list and do things in order - do not allow yourself to be sidetracked away from the task at hand.

 11) Trim out the fat from your life - that extra stuff you don't need to be focusing on? Dump it.

 12) Allow yourself to say "no" when you don't want to do something.

 13) If you're not happy with your life, choose to do something new with it.

 14) Be honest about what you can and can't do.

 15) Ask for help when you need it.

 16) Forgive yourself and forgive others - we're all only doing the best we can do.

 17) Your time is your own and a very valuable resource - do not allow others to fill it with things you do not want to be doing.

 18) Make sure that you wear clothes that make you look good - the better you feel you look, the better you'll feel!

 19) Reconnect with the world around you - it's a big place, and you're fortunate enough to have a spot in it!

 20) You don't have to fix everything for other people just because you can.

 21) Leave work at work.

 22) Play with your kids - even if it's a quick game of tag or a walk through the park. Practice seeing the world through their eyes.

 23) Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise and meditation - make some time a couple of times a week to practice - alone or in a class.

 24) Don't eat because you're bored, lonely, or angry. Instead, savor your meals. Food is meant to nourish you, not fix your problems.

 25) Remember that there is joy all around you. Every day you wake up to new choices, new loves, new days - that is truly a miracle.

 

Here is a list of our links.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): Tap Into Empowerment

By Polly Anne Rice -  From Wake Up World


Every individual is unique and the variations in their lives and life choices are physical manifestations of the distinctive energy, essence, and disposition they possess.  When an individual is searching for mental and emotional healing modalities, there is a need for therapy that is personal, effective, cost efficient, and uplifting so the person can move forward with their life in a positive way; emotional freedom techniques (EFT) surpass those expectations.

What Is EFT?

EFT is rooted in energy psychology, applying Ancient Chinese medicine theology, which focuses on the body’s energy grid.  The energy grid utilizes pathways and nodal points through which your chi, or life force, flows.  This theory states a traumatic event, negative psychological conditioning, or other experiences can cause a disruption in your energy flow through a blockage or imbalance, prohibiting the proper flow of chi; when your chi is imbalanced or blocked, mental and emotional illnesses, disorders, and issues will arise.

Gary Craig, the founder of the EFT technique, discovered by employing these medicinal philosophies, you would be able to tap specific acupressure points, the meridian or nodal points on the body’s energy grid, releasing the blockage and bringing your body’s energy flow back into a state of homeostasis.

However, EFT doesn’t just make use of acupressure point stimulation; this technique incorporates other psychotherapies already being used in conventional cognitive behavioral therapies, such as relaxation and memory recall, causing a long term cognitive restructuring within the brain.

When your brain reconstructs its cognitive processes, you no longer process thoughts or emotions the way you did before, meaning you can nullify the negative feelings or reactions you currently have, or have had for years, resulting in a neutral reaction to the same memory or situation when successfully employing EFT.

What The Research Says

EFT has proven to be a useful technique for a wide variety of disorders or illnesses; in various studies, EFT has successfully treated anxiety disorders, depression, hostility, aggression, posttraumatic stress disorder, addictions, phobias, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, panic, attention deficit disorder, hypertension, social anxiety, career issues, and somatoform disorders.  EFT also has improved colds, headaches, joint pains, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, rashes, lower cortisol levels, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.  Let’s take a look at some of these studies and experiments a little closer.

In a case study cited by Feinstein (2010), a 52 year old woman with stage IV breast cancer decided against conventional medicine interventions and instead used EFT on numerous personal issues that surfaced after she was diagnosed.  The patient received six clinical EFT tapping sessions, lasting 60 to 90 minutes in length, then continued to use the methods daily until a follow up examination eight months after the diagnosis; the appointment revealed no trace of cancer, but some scar tissue where the cancer had been (Feinstein et al., 2010).

Stapleton, Sheldon, Porter, and Whitty (2011) conducted a randomized clinical trial on the effects EFT exerted over food cravings, the perceived power of food, psychological symptoms, and will power of 96 overweight and obese adults.  When the researchers initially retested the participants, immediately after receiving their EFT treatment, the participants had significant reductions in food cravings, food wielded less power over the participants, and will power was improved.  The improvements in cravings and the power of food were maintained at the six month follow-up.

Another randomized controlled study performed by Church, Brooks, and DeAsis (2012) with 30 first-year psychology students scoring in the moderate to severely depressed ranges on the Beck Depression Inventory.  The participants in the experimental group received four EFT sessions of 90 minutes; the treatment proved to be both clinically and statistically significant, as the average post treatment depression score of the EFT condition group resulted in not depressed.

In a controlled pilot study by Benor, Ledger, Toussaint, and Hett (2009) with Canadian college students with severe to moderate test anxiety, EFT accomplished benefits equal to that of five cognitive behavioral therapy sessions.

Click here for images of brain scans from an experiment by Andrade and Feinstein (2004) using EFT treatments for participants with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD); these scans show the average brain scan procession over a course of four weeks with twelve sessions of EFT.  The first scan is what an ideal brain scan looks like and the second scan is the average scan of the participants with (GAD) before they began EFT sessions; the brain scans progress toward their natural or ideal homeostasis state through EFT, reducing dysfunctional brain wave frequencies.

This study contrasted EFT with cognitive behavioral therapy, combined with medication when necessary, as a control mechanism.  The EFT participants were more likely to maintain their new functional brain wave patterns compared to the cognitive behavioral group.  Moreover, Andrade and Feinstein (2004) noted people treated with antianxiety medications did reduce their anxiety symptoms, but their brain scans maintained brain wave frequency dysfunction, implying the medication acts as a cosmetic layer without actually addressing the real issue(s).

How It Works

The research shows you the beginnings of the wide applications for EFT, but I want to explain to you why and how it works because there are several stratums to consider.  The first level we will consider is the electroconductivity of the human body, then epigenetics, and finally the cognitive restructuring process.

Your body is a beautiful and amazing transmitter and receiver of energy as represented by its electromagnetic field.  The human body produces electromagnetic fields with cells and tissues that can be measured on the skin, while all of our organs produce biomagnetic energy.

Within these energy fields, diseases and disturbances can often be measured before their physical symptoms can be detected.   EFT literally taps into these specific energy fields to redirect their flow in a proper, balanced manner, alleviating electromagnetic and biomagnetic fields of disturbances and blocks.

Epigenetics is a subfield of genetic research, exposing an inherent variability within genetic expression previously thought impossible.  Your DNA does not actually come with a concrete, inflexible blueprint dictating your every thought, action, and countenance; conversely, it is a vast set of probabilities, combining information from your default genetic expression, your thoughts, your beliefs, your behaviors, and your environmental and biochemical influences.

All of these inputs interact on the cellular level, communicating with the entirety of your body about the information received,responding by activating or deactivating the potentials within your unique genetic expression.  This is why over time identical twins, people born with duplicate DNA, begin to look different; each individual has their own experiences, psychology, and environmental exposures offering an alternative expression of active and inactive genetic potentials.

As epigenetics proves genetic and cellular expression is affected by conscious thought and behavioral inputs, EFT offers somatic and cognitive inputs that activate positive, balanced potentials, while deactivating genetic potentials expressing imbalance and harm.

Researchers and practitioners assert the physical activity with the activation of mental processes alters the targeted response because the stimulation of acupressure points transmits signals to the amygdala and related brain structures, reducing hyperarousal to the given stimulus or memory; the brain then reconsolidates the memory, cognition, feeling, or mental picture, while the newly reduced or absent hyperarousal is retained as the new reaction to the initial stimuli (Feinstein, 2008).

Ruden (2010) asserts EFT techniques focusing on stress-producing cues, such as fear or traumatic memories, depotentiate the neural pathways maintaining maladaptive conditioned responses; this means the EFT techniques recode the conditioned responses that produce ill effects with desired behaviors or feelings. This creates a cognitive restructuring of the brain, so old paradigms no longer regulate your responses.

The Process

There is a basic EFT procedure, consisting of tapping on each of eight energy meridian points while using an affirmation statement that coincides with a memory or a feeling. The procession of tapping can vary depending on the therapist or practitioner you are working with, as can the affirmation statements.

Some practitioners use the industry standard, “Even though I have (or feel) this fear of rejection, I deeply and profoundly accept myself,” while other practitioners prefer a stream of consciousness dialogue. With the latter method, you would tap as you say whatever comes to mind that you would like to work with, using a shorter phrase to repeat as you continue to tap on the proceeding points to reinforce the issue you are working on.

Even though the sequence of point tapping may vary, I am going to share with you what has worked for me, which also seems to be the most common. As you repeat your chosen phrase or issue, you tap on your karate chop point, or the side of your hand, followed by the inside of your eyebrows, then the side of your eyes, the bone under your eyes, under the nose, between your lower lip and chin, then your collarbone point, under the arm, and then the top of the head.  This would conclude one repetition.

You want to be sure not to tap too hard. You want to stimulate the meridians, but you do not want to cause bruising or pain. Look at the following chart for a visual representation of the proper tapping points.



 

Where Can I Learn It?

There are several ways to learn or administer EFT, such as with the help of a therapist or a certified EFT practitioner in both group and individual settings. If you are able, I suggest learning in a setting where you can have a certified EFT practitioner make sure you are accurately tapping your energy meridians. Because this method is so quick and easy to learn, you do not have to pour money into endless sessions with an EFT therapist. This is something you can do on your own, wherever and whenever you would like, empowering you in your health and healing.

There are also instructional DVDs you can use at home such as The Tapping Solution and Project Tapping: Tapping Into Abundance With Dr. Carol Look. These are great alternatives for those of you who live in areas where you do not have access to a certified EFT practitioner.

If you decide to learn or try EFT, I suggest staying well hydrated to increase your biological electroconductivity and to do one session right before you go to bed.  When you learn something new, or alter a pattern of thinking, and immediately go to sleep, you have several hours to integrate the new template in your brain without interruptions, resulting in a more effective and solidified change.

Spiritual & Personal Implications

By successfully implementing EFT into your daily routine, you empower yourself to take control over your emotions, thoughts, and how you choose to experience your life. Imagine eradicating irrational fears as they enter your consciousness or overcoming a traumatic event that has stifled some part of your life.

You no longer have to live captive to thought processes that do not serve your highest good or take medications that only serve as a temporary band aid while poisoning your system.  You would not have to try to suppress negative emotions or thoughts because as they enter your awareness, you can safely and painlessly extinguish them.

By bringing balance and inner peace to your life, you offer more balance and peace to the world.  Every energy field is interconnected, ebbing and flowing together to create an even larger field of energy.  By correcting your energy flow, you aid in balancing the whole.  You have the ability to heal yourself in many ways; EFT is quick, easy, cost effective, and encourages your unique zenith expression.

 

About the Author

Polly Anna’s deepest passion since childhood has been helping humanity. She has embarked on a special spiritual and educational journey that has allowed her the ability to share her experiences, gain esoteric and scientific insight, and help others on their individual paths to personal growth and enlightenment.

She is educated in both the arts and sciences, graduating with honors with a bachelor’s of arts in theatre and entrepreneurship and she is about to graduate Summa Cum Laude with a master’s of science in psychology. She will then be working on her doctorate in psychology, consciousness, and cosmology. Beyond her education, she is a spiritual intuitive empath, and is gaining further credentials and certificates in neurolinguistic programming, spiritual guidance, transformative life coaching, and emotional freedom techniques (EFT). My background has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of myself, the human condition, and taught me how to conduct thorough research.

Polly feels there is nothing of greater importance than every individual on this beautiful planet realizing their authentic, intrinsic self and true worth. For more information on Polly Anna and her articles, check out her site PositivePollyAnna.wordpress.com

Monday, August 27, 2012

Foods That Improve Your Mood

By Brian Moss

If you are feeling sad, lonely or blue, don't run for anti depressants. Be sure to try these seven foods to improve your mood. They will elevate your spirits and your body will thank you, as they provide healthy nutrients. Being in a good mood the natural way, is the best way.

Snacking on concentrated sweets is not an effective solution for the long term, however, because the spike in sugar they induce is usually followed by a mood-destroying drop, which can leave you feeling fatigued, agitated, and depleted. You can go a long way toward maintaining an even blood sugar level by heeding the following tips:

Eat every four to five hours.
Eating consistently throughout the day — every four to five hours — provides your brain and body with a constant source of fuel and can prevent dips in your blood sugar levels. Some people with diagnosed hypoglycemia may need to eat even more frequently (every two to three hours). 

Limit refined carbohydrates.
Concentrated sources of sugar, like soda, candy, fruit juice, jam, and syrups, can cause radical spikes (and drops) in your blood sugar, which ultimately leave you feeling grumpy and tired. Refined starches, such as white bread, crackers, bagels, and rice, often produce the same effect because they break down quickly in your digestive system to form blood sugar. Stick with whole-grain versions of these foods, which are digested more slowly because of their higher fiber content and which therefore keep your blood sugar stable.
 
Combine high-quality carbohydrates with lean protein.
Protein combined with high-fiber carbohydrates (specifically those rich in soluble fiber, like oats, barley, and certain fruits and veggies) has the ability to slow the absorption of sugar in your blood and lessen mood swings. Try an egg-white omelet loaded with veggies for breakfast, grilled tofu and peppers in a whole-grain tortilla for lunch, shrimp-broccoli stir-fry for dinner, and celery sticks with peanut butter or nonfat yogurt with berries as snacks.
 
In addition to the role food can play in regulating your blood sugar, studies have shown that certain nutrients in food can positively affect mood. Indeed, some nutrients influence the function of specific neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain.
 
Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid.
Omega-3 fatty acids are present in the brain at higher levels than any other part of the body, and of particular interest is the ability of omega-3 fats to help alleviate depression. Omega-3 fats can be found in fatty fish like wild salmon, sardines, and Atlantic mackerel, and to a lesser extent in ground flaxseeds, walnuts, and omega-3-fortified eggs. If you'd like to try fish oil supplements, consult your physician. 


Folic acid, also called folate, also seems to be important in regulating mood, and some studies have shown that low levels of this B vitamin in the blood are related to depression. If you're experiencing the blues on a regular basis, you should report this to your doctor. But if you're having some transitory moodiness, try to include leafy greens, fortified breakfast cereal, sunflower seeds, soybeans, beets, and oranges — all of which are rich in folic acid — into your diet. Also, consider a multivitamin that provides 100 percent of the daily value for folic acid. 

Here is a list of our links.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Is Chewing Gum the Most Toxic Substance in the Supermarket?

Dr. Scott Graves - Activist Post


Recently, I asked about thirty women, whose ages were mostly under the age of forty, if they carried chewing gum with them. Twenty seven of the thirty were able to pull out a pack of gum, some even going as far as telling me why they loved a particular brand/flavor of gum.

While this demographic is not representative of all women, 90% of them chewed gum on a daily basis, some consuming more than one stick per day. As with many things that we expose our bodies to on a daily basis, let’s take a moment and analyze the ingredients of chewing gum and ask some important questions that pertain to whether it contributes to good health.

How many of us have looked at the ingredients on a pack of gum?

If you have, do you know what each one of the substances is?

Is a stick of chewing gum more of a “cancer stick” than a cigarette?

As you will see below, commercial gum products are some of the most toxic substances that you can expose your body too and literally can lead to some of the worst diseases on the planet.

Here is a list of the most common ingredients in the most popular chewing gum products on the market:

  • Sorbitol, Xylitol, Mannitol, Maltitol

  • Gum Base

  • Glycerol

  • Natural and Artificial Flavors

  • Hydrogenated Coconut Oil and Starch

  • Aspartame –Acesulfame

  • Soy Lecithin

  • Colors (titanium oxide, blue 2 lake, red 40)

  • BHT

  • Malic Acid, Citric Acid


Ingredient #1: Gum Base.

Imagine if someone came up to you and said, “Hey, would you like to chew on some tire rubber and plastic?” You probably would politely decline and want to report this person to a doctor for a psychological evaluation. “Gum base” is a blend of elastomers, plasticizers, fillers, and resin. Some of the other ingredients that go into this mix are polyvinyl acetate, which is frequently referred to as “carpenter glue” or “white glue”. Paraffin wax is another ingredient that is a byproduct of refined petroleum. Is chewing plastic, petroleum and rubber safe? As you chew, these substances leach into the mouth and body. Yummy.

Ingredient #2: Aspartame.

The controversy surrounding this substance is widespread. It is one of the most body toxic substances we can consume. The political corruption and money trail behind this agent of disease is a mile long. Aspartame has been linked to all of the major brain diseases including Alzheimer’s and ALS. It is also considered a prime contributor to many other diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, asthma, obesity, and many others. It is in many diet products on the market today, but in the long run actually contributes to obesity due to his extreme acidity. Aspartame is an excitotoxin, which over excites neurons in the brain until they burn out and die. Dr. Russell Blaylock is the leading expert on Aspartame and other excitotoxins and I would highly encourage you to see the documentary entitled “Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World”.

#3: Hydrogenated Coconut Oil and Starch.

Hydrogenation is chemical process that adds hydrogen across a double bonded carbon. This is done to increase the shelf life of a product, turning oil into a more plastic like substance. This process also creates Trans fats, which are now known to be very harmful to health.

Ingredient #4: Colors (titanium dioxide, blue 2 lake, red 40).

Titanium dioxide is a nanoparticle that is very common in sunscreen and many other health products, including synthetic nutritional supplements. New evidence is leading in the direction of this substance being carcinogenic, leading to cancer. We as humans are drawn to things that are colorful. Artificial food colorings, such as red 40, are made from petroleum and are dangerous to our health. Many people have extreme allergies to these substances and they have been implicated in contributing to ADD and other disorders and diseases.

Ingredient #5: Sorbitol, Xylitol, Mannitol, Maltitol.

These sugar alcohols are originally made from sugar, but are altered so much that they are considered sugar free. As a general rule, when nature is altered and changed to make a “better” product, more often than not, the result is something that is not healthy. Some even go so far as to say that these products are far worse than sugar and can stimulate weight gain. Other side effects can include abdominal pain and diarrhea. Is sugar alcohol better than sugar? Neither are good substances, so comparing the two is somewhat pointless.

Chewing Gum and Digestion

Every time you chew gum, your brain is tricked into thinking that you are eating food. Therefore, it sends signals to your stomach, pancreas and other organs involved in digestion to prepare for this “food”. Your salivary glands and pancreas will begin to emit enzymes, which are necessary to digest food and absorb nutrients from food. Constant emission of enzymes over time will deplete enzymes and over time this process can slow down. If you are not breaking down and absorbing food properly over time, you will get disease because the body needs nutrients to rebuild and thrive.

A Great Alternative for Fresh Breath

A great alternative to chewing gum is to carry around a small bottle of organic food grade peppermint oil and when you would like fresh breath, just put one drop in your mouth and you will have achieved the same effect. You can find many food grade oils that are wonderful for helping you have fresh breath.

Nothing in chewing gum is natural. It is chemical goop that in no way contributes to health or is good for your teeth. Don’t be fooled by fancy advertising. The five ingredients that we reviewed above, in one form or another, contribute to disease and poor health. Is this really a risk that you want to expose yourself to all for the sake of fresh breath? In the future, perhaps we will see that chewing gum may be as much of a contributor to disease as are cigarettes.

About the Author

Dr. Scott Graves ND, CNHP, CNC is a Naturopathic Holistic Health Practitioner, President of Go Beyond Healthy, LLC at costaricanNONI.com. Contact him through drscottgraves.com for a free consultation.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

No Garden? Here Are 66 Things You Can Can Grow At Home In Containers

By Rachel Cernansky - planetgreen.discovery.com


Growing your own food is exciting, not only because you get to see things grow from nothing into ready-to-eat fruits and veggies, but you also don’t have to worry about the pesticides they might contain, and you definitely cut down on the miles they—and you—have to travel.

As it turns out, with pretty minimal effort, anyone can be a gardener. My boyfriend and I are essentially first-timers this season and so far have the beginnings of strawberries peeking out, tomatoes are on their way, the basil’s about ready for a big batch of pesto, and once the last frost hits, the peppers, kale, spinach, chard, and mesclun will be on their way, too. All on a tiiiny little terrace (with the help of a little DIY carpentry).

If you’re up to the challenge—and it really isn’t much of one—growing your own food can be so rewarding. And so much cheaper! Just be sure to choose the right planter or container, learn how to maintain it properly, and go find yourself some seeds! (Or starter plants.)
Like this idea? Be sure to check out these 6 Crazy Concepts for Micro Gardens That Actually Work to get inspiration for designing your own garden in a small space.

Here’s a starter list of all the crazy things even urban gardeners, without space for a garden, can grow at home.

Tree fruits – including apples


1. Apples can be grown in a container; you can also grow them on the balcony or other small space using a technique called espaliering.
2. Kumquats
3. Avocados (plenty of extra tips online if you search)
4. Blackberries
5. Blueberries (sometimes helpful videos are available online)
6. Pomegranate
7. Cherries
8. Figs
9. Pears

Citrus fruits


Citrus trees in particular are said to be good for beginning gardeners and are easy to grow indoors, so don’t let inexperience or lack of outdoor space stop you from enjoying fresh-picked, hyper-local fruit.
10. Dwarf oranges
11. Grapefruit
12. Tangerines
13. Meyer lemons
14. Limes

Tropical fruits


Tropical fruits can also be surprisingly easy to grow indoors, even in non-tropical climates. Such as…

15. Bananas (look for container gardening tips online)
16. Pineapple
17. Papaya
18. Guavas (several varieties)

The real surprises


19. Hops—yes, as in the “spice” ingredient in beer. Turns out they’re easy to grow!
20. Aloe Vera
21. Strawberries
22. Tea (well, herbal tea)
23. Quinoa!

The non-surprises


24. Tomatoes
25. Summer squash
26. Other squashes, like acorn and pumpkin
27. Hot Peppers
28. Sweet peppers
29. Cucumbers

Melons


30. Small cantaloupe
31. Jenny Lind melon (an heirloom cantaloupe)
32. Golden Midget Watermelon

Herbs


Just about any herb grows well indoors—just be sure that if you’re going to do any container-sharing, you do your research first about which herbs co-habitate well together. (Some will hog water, for example, and leave the others dried out.)

33. Basil
34. Oregano
35. Parsley
36. Rosemary
37. Chives
38. Catnip
39. Thyme
40. Sage
41. Parsley

Leafy Greens


42. Kale
43. Mesclun greens
44. Spinach
45. Swiss chard
46. Lettuces (plenty of options there, from micro-greens to head or loose-leaf)
47. Mustard greens
48. Collard greens
49. Arugula

Root Vegetables


50. Carrots
51. Beets
52. Potatoes

Other healthy-sounding stuff


53. Sprouts
54. More sprouts: mung bean and lentil sprouts
55. Wheatgrass
56. Kohlrabi
57. Turnips
58. Rutabagas
59. Celeriac
60. Parsnips
61. Jerusalem Artichoke
62. Sugar snap peas
63. Rhubarb (not ideal in a container, but it can work)
64. Mushrooms (again, more tips online if you look)
65. Pole Beans
66. Aaaand… asparagus, although some disagree that it does well in a container. Try it if you’re ok with a risk!

Bonus 67: You can grow your own loofah, too, but you’d need a garden rather than a container for that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Foods That Fight Cellulite

By Merritt Watts


Now that you've sweated your way to a tighter bod, make some tiny adjustments to your supermarket list. "Including specific foods that hydrate skin, build collagen and prevent fat storage in your healthy diet may help keep cellulite at bay," says Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., a spokeswoman in Sarasota, Florida, for the American Dietetic Association. Follow these three food rules for smoother skin and a sleeker you.

Drink up!


"Anytime the skin is well hydrated, it will look suppler and healthier," says Lona Sandon, R.D., a spokeswoman in Dallas for the American Dietetic Association. On your tush, thighs and other spots prone to cellulite, a thicker, plumper skin layer will better cover the fat cells underneath. Aim for about 8 1/2 cups of water per day, Sandon suggests. Count the water that's in your glass, but focus as well on what you put on your plate. Don't love to chug? Foods that contain large amounts of H2O can help you reach your daily goal. Not only can snacking on these hydrating eats help you look sleek, but you'll trim down, too! Women who took in more fluid from water-rich foods, such as apples, grapes and cucumber, had a smaller waist and a lower body-mass index than those who took in fluids from beverages, a study in the journalNutrition reports. Get snacking!

Pick bright bites


Colorful veggies are loaded with vitamin C, which is essential to preventing collagen breakdown, Sandon says. Collagen is the skin's support structure; as shown in the diagram on page 145, strands of the tissue running through fat attach skin to the underlying muscle layer. When these strands weaken, skin loses elasticity and fat can pop up and bulge against the skin, rendering the bumpy layer underneath even more visible. (Beach bum alert: Excessive sun exposure also contributes to collagen breakdown.) Vitamin C is linked to collagen synthesis, Gerbstadt says. What's more, research from Arizona State University at Mesa suggests the super vitamin can help you blast up to 30 percent more fat during exercise. Aim for at least 75 milligrams of C daily.

Go for wholes


Refined grains such as sugary cereal, white bread and white rice are converted into blood sugar (glucose) so quickly that they send your insulin skyrocketing. The postmeal insulin spike signals the body that it should store fat rather than burn it. All this new and excess fat makes cells full, so they're even more apt than usual to push through connective tissue and look lumpy. Avoid refined carbohydrates and stick to healthy whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal and popcorn, which won't take you on a blood sugar roller coaster. Bonus: They also have more filling fiber—which means no drastic insulin jump and thus less fat packed onto your hips—to help you eat less overall. Get at least half of your six daily servings of carbs from whole-grain sources.

 

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

6 Ways Exercise Makes Your Brain Better



 

1. It spurs brain growth

As we get older, the birth of new brain cells slows, and our brain tissue actually shrinks. Exercise may be able to reverse that trend. One brain-scanning study of healthy but sedentary people aged 60 to 79 showed significant increases in brain volume after six months of aerobic fitness training. No such changes occurred among controls who only did stretching and toning exercises. The researchers concluded that the improved cardiovascular fitness that comes with aerobic exercise is associated with fewer age-related changes in the brains of older people. Cardio boosts blood flow to the brain, which delivers much-needed oxygen (the brain soaks up 20 percent of all the oxygen in your body).

2. It boosts brain-building hormones. Much like plant food makes plants grow faster and lusher, the chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, stimulates the growth and proliferation of brain cells. This is especially true in the hippocampus, the brain region that is largely responsible for memory and which is particularly vulnerable to age-related decline. The more you exercise, the more BDNF you produce. 

3. It fights depression and anxiety. Depression slows the brain's ability to process information, makes it more difficult for us to concentrate and reach decisions, and causes real memory problems. For serious depression, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants. For milder cases, exercise may help lift your mood. It cranks up the body's production of serotonin and dopamine, brain chemicals crucial to happy mood. And it boosts levels of the feel-good chemicals called endorphins. 

4. It reduces the effects of stress. If some hormones like BDNF make the brain younger, others help age it. These include the so-called stress hormone cortisol. Slow, scattered thinking and forgetfulness are caused by stress more often than we may realize. Exercise lowers cortisol levels, helping you to think straight again. It is also believed to help generate new nerve cells in the area of the brain called the dentate gyrus, an area of the hippocampus linked to the creation of new memories. Brain cells here are depleted during times of stress.

5. It improves your brain's executive function. Executive function basically means cognitive abilities like being able to focus on complex tasks, to organize, to think abstractly, and to plan for future events. It also encompasses working memory, such as the ability to keep a phone number in your head while you dial. When researchers set out to analyze the effects of exercise on executive function, they looked at 18 well-designed studies and found that adults aged 55 to 80 who did regular exercise performed four times better on cognitive tests than control groups who didn't work out. Effects were greatest among those who exercised 30 to 45 minutes each session for longer than six months, but substantial benefits were seen in as few as four weeks of exercise.

6. It increases sensitivity to insulin. When you eat, your body turns most of the food into glucose, or blood sugar, the main source of fuel for the body, including the brain. In order for that glucose to enter cells, it must be accompanied by the hormone insulin. Unfortunately, in some people, cells become resistant to insulin. The body then has to pump out more and more of it, and still blood sugar levels rise, often resulting in type 2 diabetes. And even if you don't develop type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance is bad for your brain. When brain cells are flooded by glucose, it can adversely affect memory and thinking.

Regular exercise, however, can reverse insulin resistance. In fact, your insulin sensitivity increases, stabilizing your blood sugar after you eat-for at least 16 hours after a single exercise session. The better your blood-sugar control, the more protected you are against age-related cognitive decline. 

 

 

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

6 Reasons to Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables

A growing body of research proves that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health. In fact, fruits and vegetables should be the foundation of a healthy diet. Most people to need to double the amount the amount of fruits and vegetables they eat every day.

With the summer heat we’re currently experiencing, the last thing you want to do is turn on a stove, right? Turns out, eating raw foods does more than just keep you cool but it's a smart strategy for your abs too. A groundbreaking new study from Harvard University reveals that cooking food can actually increase the amount of calories your body absorbs. That's big news: It suggests that adding raw foods to your diet may help you lose weight and expose your abs. And there's no better time to do that than summer, when markets are teeming with ripe produce that doesn't need to be cooked to be delicious.

You’ll Feel Better Every Day


Eating more raw foods when they are in season and especially delicious will leave less room for processed foods, sweets and over-indulgences. Eating less junk and more clean, whole foods will help your body feel lighter, more energized and all-around healthy on a daily basis. A balanced diet that includes a moderate amount of raw foods can help keep your digestive system working efficiently, which will help nourish and enliven the rest of your organs and improve your overall wellbeing. 

You'll Chew More


All those crunchy foods can give your jaw a workout—and that's an advantage when you're looking to drop pounds. In a 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, men who chewed each bite 40 times consumed 12 percent fewer calories than when they chewed each bite only 15 times. Turns out the extra chewing releases more of a satiety hormone called cholecystokinin; it also lowers levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stokes appetite. Plus, chewing more makes you eat more slowly, which a New Zealand study has linked to lower weight. 

You'll Be Satisfied With Less


In winter, bland imported berries, mealy cold-storage apples, and dusty root vegetables don't make much of an impression on your palate. (Try these 8 great winter veggies instead.) Come summer, though, the robust intensity of local, in-season fruits and vegetables can help you feel satisfied with less. "Stronger-flavored foods like raw radicchio, green onions, radishes, and arugula induce satiety, tricking your brain into eating less," says Alan Hirsch, M.D, director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. For maximum impact, stick to raw versions of these flavorful fruits and vegetables, since cooking them mellows much of their pungent punch. 

You'll Take In More Water


We all know we need to stay hydrated in summer. But water-rich fruits and vegetables do more than help replace sweat—they also help fill you up without piling on too many calories. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese people who bumped up their intake of water-rich fruits and vegetables while cutting out some dietary fat shed about 17 pounds in a year, and they felt less hungry than those who only cut back on fat. And since produce contains more water (and more volume) when it's uncooked, you'll maximize those benefits. A cup of raw spinach, for example, has a mere 7 calories, versus 41 calories in a cup of cooked spinach.

More water can even help you fire up fat loss, a German study found. That's due in part to the energy needed to warm the water to body temperature. And research also shows that staying well hydrated can rev up metabolism.

You Can Cut Down on Carbs


Shifting the balance of your plate toward vegetables and away from refined carbohydrates can help keep your insulin levels smooth and steady so you're able to maintain a healthy weight. And you don't need to listen to the deafening sounds of your grumbling stomach to make the change. A Penn State study found that substituting a lower for some of the grain and meat on your plate can help you cut calorie consumption while keeping you just as full. According to researchers, as long as you see and consume the same volume of food, you're likely to be equally satisfied despite the drop in calories.

Raw vegetables offer even more opportunity to bring down your carb intake. Since vegetables have a tougher, more substantial texture when raw, you can even use them to stand in for chewy carbs like bread, pasta, and tortillas. Just be patient—try the swap a few times to give your tastebuds time to adjust.

You'll Boost Fiber


Piling your plate with raw fruits and vegetables is a fast way to take in more fiber, an essential nutrient for weight loss. "Fiber slows digestion and minimizes blood-sugar fluctuations so you feel full longer," says Brian Zehetner, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., chief science officer for Anytime Fitness. In fact, a Brigham Young University study showed that every gram of fiber you add to 1,000 calories of food may help you drop about half a pound of body weight over a 20-month period. So simply using raw produce to raise your fiber intake by 10 grams a day (something most guys need to do anyway) could help trim over 5 pounds from your body over that time.

 

 

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Monday, August 13, 2012

4 Mindless Habits that Are Hurting Your Weight Loss

By Megan Coatley


With the odds stacked against us, it's easy to understand why conquering unhealthy habits with willpower alone can be rough. Luckily, the science of habit change gives us more effective ways to go about banishing unhealthy routines for good. Let's take a closer look at some common unhealthy habits to see how we can put behavioral science to work for us. 

Bad Habit: Eating on the Run 
We've all fallen into the trap: You're late for work, so you stop for a latte/muffin combo. The kids have soccer practice after school, so you settle for take-out tacos. And if you've ever taken a road trip, you'll agree that convenience stores definitely live up to their name: there's a one-stop-shop for all kinds of unhealthy eats within every 5-mile stretch! 

Bust It! 
Eating out while you're in a rush is a habit that can definitely wreak havoc on your health and fitness goals. But there are ways that you can combat the convenience of fat-laden fast foods. Get savvy about stowing snacks in your vehicle. If you've got apples, carrots, granola bars and water on hand, you'll be less likely to make unplanned pit-stops. Additionally, if you know you're in for a busy week, prep quick and easy meals at home ahead of time. This way, you can grab a healthy bite to eat and avoid the all-too-familiar fast-food run in between evening activities. When you're preparing to leave the house, give yourself more time than you'll actually need to get ready so you can make healthy decisions with a level head instead of instinctively reaching for the easiest option. 


Bad Habit: Skipping Workouts 
As important as nutrition is in your health-focused efforts, exercise ranks right up there with it as a tool to achieve lasting wellness and weight loss. There's lots of work that goes into planning meals andpumping weights, but only one will get you sweaty and crank up your cardiovascular health. If you find yourself missing workouts, you've probably fallen victim to one of two bad habit culprits: lack of practice or more powerful pay-offs. 

Bust It! 
There are two types of people who are most likely to fall off the exercise wagon: people who haven't yet mastered making fitness an everyday priority, and those who have become bored with their age-old routine. 

In the first case, when you're starting a new workout regimen, it is extremely important to set small, measurable goals and to track your progress daily. Keeping a chart on your wall of the days you fit in your workout will help you stay on track toward creating a lasting healthy habit. 

If you've been rocking it out at the gym for a while and have recently hit a wall, consider changing up your routine and adding in incentives for reaching new heights. Never tried yoga? Complete a month of classes and then treat yourself to a massage. Think you hate cycling? Commit to biking to work for a week and, only then, indulge in that new handbag or pair of jeans. When you've lost internal motivation, adding outside incentives can give you the boost you need to get back on track. 


Bad Habit: Mindless or Emotional Munching 
On the surface, the analysis of unconscious eating behavior seems pretty simple. Food tastes good, especially the sugary or salty snacks we choose when we're munching away in front of the television. It is obvious that there's an immediate, powerful pay-off in the taste and texture of whichever treat you choose from the pantry. What you may not realize is that there's another nasty habit-maker at fault here as well. If you really think about your instances of mindless munching, you'll realize that they often occur in coordination with some other environmental trigger. Many of us turn to food when things go bad or when we're bored; maybe you reach for chips when you hear unexpected bad news, or you've always had ice cream as a bedtime snack. The practice of situational eating is deeply ingrained and can be tough to correct. 

Bust It! 
Here again, keeping track of mindless munching and adding in incentives for staying away from unhealthy snacks can help you to reign in your behavior. Notice your food/mood triggers when they happen and make a point to keep your biggest trigger foods out of the house. Be mindful about what you're eating and set a goal for avoiding senseless snacking. Is there a favorite show you've taped or a new album you've been eyeing for your iPod? Deny yourself those little luxuries until you've met your goal of mindful eating for one full week. Adding a pay-off more powerful than the flavor of food can help you avoid so many extra calories. And, you can start practicing an alternative healthy behavior to get you through stressful times instead of food. Try journaling, meditating, calling a friend, or going for a walk instead of reaching for your usual comforting snacks. 


Bad Habit: Skimping on Sleep 
Late to bed, early to rise is a poisonous pattern that rings true for most of us. We know that sleep helps us to function well and be productive. But, between career commitments, family time, social activities and personal fitness, who has time to get a good night's sleep? 

Bust It! 
Sleeping patterns are typically programmed in when we're young. If you think back, you may realize that you were a night owl in` high school or an early riser in college. Your body has found a rhythm and is happy sticking with it. Because being awake is so well-ingrained, when you're trying to change your sleeping habits, you've got to start small. Set up a bedtime routine and stick with it; this will help trigger your brain and body to prepare for rest. Brush your teeth, wash your face, read a book, or meditate to calm your body. Avoid looking at a computer or TV screen right before bed, as this can sometimes make it more difficult to fall asleep. It also helps to reserve your bedroom for sleeping only; relegate the television, video games, and home office to the rest of the house. 

After you've got your bedtime routine down, aim to go to bed 5 minutes earlier or sleep in 5 minutes later than usual. When you achieve this schedule for a few days, add 5 more minutes of shut-eye. Making little changes like this can lead to big results. Keep it up for a month and you'll have added over one full hour of restful rejuvenation! 





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Friday, August 10, 2012

Got Stress? - Dance it Away!

By Patrick Humbly


There is no cure all for stress and it would not be feasible to remove stress altogether even if it were possible since stress can be useful, and even healthy at times. There are many methods of treatment and plans out there for stress relief and stress management. Since there are so many aspects to stress, different reactions and such taking a natural approach seems, well the most natural method to effectively reduce and manage stress without any undue side effects.

Dance or Movement therapy is a completely natural approach to stress management. In one way or another dance has been used for many purposes throughout the ages and in different cultures. Dance has been a part of ceremonial and religious events and is an important part of self-expression.

Many years ago Native American medicine men, or shamans used dance as part of their healing rituals. Along with stress management, dance therapy is used in a variety of settings with people who have social, emotional, cognitive, or physical concerns.

It is often used as a part of the recovery process for people with chronic illness. Dance therapists work with both individuals and groups, including entire families. Therapists are highly trained individuals learned in the methods of dance and movement. Therapeutically, dance uses movement to improve the overall well being of an individual both physically and mentally.

Some may consider it a holistic healing method since it focuses on the connection between the mind, body and spirit. Physically dance is an exercise, it improves mobility and muscle coordination and reduces tension in the body that often gets stored up in the muscles and glands. Emotionally one can develop their self-awareness, self-confidence and is a great outlet for conveying feelings or emotions.

Through dance, it is thought people can identify and express their innermost emotions, bringing those feelings to the surface. In doing so this can bring about a sense of renewal and feelings of unity and completeness. Although individuals have different levels of tolerance to stress, chronic stress will eventually wear down even the strongest person.   

Dance therapy is often enjoyable for most people, which is important for longevity purposes and overall wellness. Probably the most important step in reducing stress in your life is to have a good understanding of the nature of stress and to learn how to condition yourself to be able to gain some control over it.  This can be accomplished through dance as you become more aware of your body and your feelings and emotions that you associate with stress and the physical and physiological aspects of the stress response.

 

 

 


 


 

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

When Painful Things Happen and You Don’t Understand Why

by Harriet Cabelly


I used to be a “why” person. Why you ask? Because after receiving my middle daughter’s diagnosis of a neurological condition, I got really hooked into “why me” mode, and it just ate away at every fiber of my core.

I obsessed over “why.” Why did it happen? I needed to make sense out of a senseless fluke of nature.

I was devastated and beside myself with the raging emotions of grief—the anger, bitterness, and resentment—and the dance in my head and the ache in my heart kept circling and banging into the graffitied wall of  W H Y in big black letters.

Here is where I remained for a long year of ranting and raving in a therapist’s office.

I sought out lectures and classes on the famous theme of “why bad things happen to good people.” (As I’m sure you all know, there’s a book by the same title.) I was totally stuck in this place.

I felt so unwound and so out of control that I thought being able to wrap my head around a “real” reason would somehow help me in coping.

I thought if I understood the “why,” I could deal with it better.

I often say and truly believe that if I can understand where someone is coming from, I can more readily and easily accept our differences and disagreements; that this breeds tolerance and respect, and sets the stage to agree to disagree.

I somehow thought this to be similar in my acutely grief-stricken situation—that if I could understand where this came from and why this happened to my baby, I could accept it more easily and therefore cope with it.

I was drowning in this “why me,” in the unfairness of it and the idea of bad things happening to good people.

Then of course I went down the path of “what did I do wrong,” looking for that dose of self-recrimination.  And oh I had plenty of arrows with which to shoot myself. We can all become our worst enemy when we look for that scapegoat. I was it for myself. 

My therapist became my healer.

He held my pain for months and months until it was able to wash through me and I could actually air it out. I came to understand and grasp the idea that these are the big unanswerables. There were no answers to the “whys.”

We could create tales and come up with hypothetical reasons to tell ourselves to make us feel better, but there are no “real” answers.    

The sharpness of the pain lessened. There was a gradual shift in my emotions. Whereas they had been like dark threatening clouds with no sunlight peeking through, the clouds started lifting, allowing some rays to shine in once I was able to work through some of those painful feelings.

I became able to see and appreciate Nava’s beautiful nature. I could start to focus on what and who she was rather than on what and who she wasn’t.

“Why” began to take a back seat.

I had to focus on my new reality and expend my energy on things that would make a difference, things that would help her and all of us as a family; things that I could choose to act upon; things I could control. 

The “how” and “what” took a front seat. We put hard work into all her therapies, into maintaining normalcy for my older daughter, which meant building lots of fun and play into our lives.

It meant doing all that was in my control to help Nava be the best she could be.

It meant encouraging her toward independence every step of the way; having high but realistic expectations and working toward that balance; fostering a strong sense of pride in herself.

It meant focusing on her most incredible sunny disposition and “shepping nachas” (Yiddish for reaping joy) from her growth and advancements.

Fast forward years later: Nava became critically ill. I was attuned to my old M.O. and how far I had come. My mind did (naturally) go the existential “why.”

I thought, “Why is this happening? She doesn’t deserve this now.”

There was a concrete medical explanation: She was the unfortunate one-in-a-million statistic they always warn us about for possible complications of medicines. But I did not stay with that for too long. I would not allow myself to get sucked into that deep black hole again. Too much was at stake, and I needed every ounce of mental energy to deal with that crisis.

Those thoughts came and went periodically. And that was the key—I let them in and gently escorted them out, knowing full well they would not serve me well. I would not allow them to take root in my turf.    

I dealt with the “how” and “what” during Nava’s year-long hospitalization. I focused on coping well and keeping myself strong so I could be by her side, fighting alongside for her survival and recovery.

Here is what I’ve learned about dealing with the “how” and “what” of a situation:

  • This is where our energy needs to flow. What we focus on is where our energy goes.

  • “Hows” and “whats” lend themselves towards action steps. We can have an impact here and make a difference.

  • We have some control.

  • We have choices in how we handle something and in what we do.

  • We can provide ourselves with some peace by allowing the “unanswerables” in and then gently letting them go.


How” and “What” Questions:

  • How can I take what I have and make it as good as possible?

  • What goals can I work toward?

  • What can I learn from this? What lessons am I receiving? (Sometimes we don’t know this until years later, until we can look back on it—hindsight is wonderful.)

  • How can I make lemonade out of lemons?

  • How can I utilize this for a greater purpose?

  • What can I do to improve the quality of my/our life?

  • How can I integrate this into my life and carry on well, in spite of it?

  • How can I create balance?

  • How can I bring joy into my life?

  • What am I grateful for?


This last one should probably be up there as number one, but it can be hard to get to this place when we’re in the throes of a particular difficulty. Sometimes it takes time.

I have come a long way in accepting that there are no answers to the big “whys” of adversities and suffering.  If we can accept this, we can feel so much more at peace with what is, despite what we don’t know.

 

Harriet Cabelly is a social worker and life coach emphasizing living life to its fullest and creating a good life out of (or despite) adversity. Read more about her at Rebuild Your Life Coach and read the latest from her blog.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why Cinnamon for Diabetes Treatment is Among Most Simple, Effective Solutions

by: Elizabeth Renter

Cinnamon is indeed a powerful, health-boosting food. It’s been used for centuries in holistic medicines—for everything from the common cold to stomach disturbances. But more recent research shows that cinnamon health benefits aren’t merely restricted to protecting against the cold – cinnamon for diabetes treatment may actually be one of the most simple and effective of diabetes solutions.

Why Everyone Should Consider Using Cinnamon for Protection Against Diabetes


For a study, which was published in the Journal of Diabetic Medicine, a group of adults diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes were split into two different groups. The first group was given your run-of-the-mill insulin controlling pharmaceuticals, while the other group was given two grams of cinnamon every day. What the researchers found 12 weeks later was remarkable, to say the least.

The group who was given drugs from Big Pharma didn’t measure up to the cinnamon group. Those on the daily regimen of cinnamon experienced lower fasting glucose (blood sugar) levels than the other group and showed reduced body fat overall.

A British review of eight different studies also showed why everyone should be using cinnamon for diabetes, finding that every study agreed on cinnamon’s effectiveness in reducing fasting blood sugar levels and reducing blood sugar after a meal.

Another study, this one from the United States, found that 22 subjects monitored for blood sugar and body fat experienced positive results in both areas when supplementing with cinnamon. Cinnamon actually showed benefits in reducing overall body fat and increasing lean muscle mass.

How Cinnamon for Diabetes Treatment Works


Here is how cinnamon can positively affect your metabolism and help with diabetes:

  • Cinnamon improves the sensitivity of insulin by slowing the emptying of your stomach following meals.



  • Cinnamon enhances your antioxidant defenses. According to a study published in 2009, “Polyphenols from cinnamon could be of special interest in people who are overweight with impaired fasting glucose since they might act as both insulin sensitizers and antioxidants.”



  • Glucose metabolism can be increased nearly 20-fold thanks to cinnamon. This increase greatly improves blood sugar regulation.



  • Cinnamon acts as an insulin substitute and possesses “insulin-like effects” due to a bioactive compound.



  • Proanthocyanidin, a bioflavonoid in cinnamon, could alter insulin-signaling activity in your fat cells.


As reported by us in the past, cinnamon has a wealth of other health benefits. Other benefits of cinnamon include:

  • Reducing bad cholesterol

  • Promoting cardiovascular health

  • Preventing heart disease

  • Treating arthritis

  • Alleviating menstrual pain

  • Reducing inflammation


Add a stick to your tea or sprinkle some ground cinnamon on your meals. It’s a versatile spice with a variety of worthwhile benefits. You may also consider a cinnamon supplement.

Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease; it is something you are diagnosed with after failing to take care of yourself. Time and time again, however, people have shown that this disease is treatable and even reversible through proper diet and fitness, as studies have shown that simple spices like cinnamon for diabetes control can be used. While cinnamon is just another valuable tool to help control diabetes, there has also been a connection made between turmeric and diabetes, as well as magnesium, foods rich in vitamin K, and oil from wild almond trees known as sterculia foetida.


 

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

6 Weight-Loss Strategies that Add on the Pounds

By FitSugar


There are plenty of effective weight-loss strategies that we know work, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, but they aren't exactly the easiest ways to drop pounds. I don't blame you for looking for a quick fix, but some strategies can actually cause you to gain weight. 

  • Skipping Breakfast or Other Meals: Limiting your calorie intake will help you lose weight, but in no way does that mean forgoing entire meals, especially breakfast. To keep your blood sugars level and metabolism thrumming, try eating five to six small meals a day. This will help your body use up the calories you take in and limit the unhealthy cravings.



  • Limiting Calorie Intake: While watching portion sizes is essential if you want to slim down, limiting your calorie intake to well below a healthy amount will make your body think you're starving, so instead of losing fat, it'll hold onto it for dear life. Women should never go below 1,200 calories a day; if you're not sure how many you should be eating, then check out this calorie evaluator.



  • (Only) Walking Every Day: Taking your dog and yourself for a daily walk is definitely better than sitting on the couch. The problem is that compared to other higher-intensity cardio activities, walking burns much fewer calories. In order to see the weight-loss results you're after, pick up the pace by jogging, biking, or swimming. 



  • Ditching Your Favorite Foods: Sure, a bacon cheeseburger and french fries are superhigh in calories, but if you deny yourself the foods you crave, then it'll backfire, and you'll end up wanting them so much that you break down, eat them anyway, and give up on your healthy ways entirely. Stay on track by allowing yourself a small and reasonable indulgence each day so you feel satisfied without feeling guilty.



  • Saunas: Getting all hot and sweaty certainly feels like you're working hard, but it doesn't exactly translate to a slimmer you. Stepping on the scale, you might see the numbers drop, but you're only losing water weight from sweating buckets. A sauna session can feel good on sore muscles, but if you want to lose real body weight, then stick to cardio.



  • Going Carb-Free: Tons of people have lost weight by following a carb-free routine such as the Atkins Diet, which promotes eating mostly protein and avoiding carbs. The problem is that as soon as you go back to your regular, carb-full diet, you'll most likely gain the weight back. Aside from the fact that a carb-free diet is not sustainable in the long-term, there are many healthy foods high in carbs - such as fruit and whole grains - that offer valuable and essential vitamins, not to mention filling fiber, that you'll be missing out on. It's also tough to avoid bread, pasta, and cookies entirely, so denying yourself will only make you crave them more. Instead, find a balanced diet that you can live with forever; it's your best bet for losing weight and keeping it off.


 

 

 

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Monday, August 6, 2012

The Top 10 Superfoods We All Should Eat

by Sally Winstein


 

Cucumber
Cucumbers are one of the all-time best foods for fighting uncomfortable bloat because they're loaded with water and naturally low in sodium (taking in extra water while halting salt reduces water retention). Plus, they're a terrific calorie bargain; you can gobble up an entire cuke for just 45 calories. When you get the urge to munch between meals, slice one up into "chips" to squelch your appetite in a hurry.

 

Blueberries
Did you know that much of the power of blueberries lies in their color? That deep-blue hue is a by-product of flavonoids — natural compounds that protect the brain's memory-carrying cells (neurons) from the damaging effects of oxidation and inflammation. Since blueberries are one of the best sources of flavonoids you can find, it's no surprise that this superfood has been shown to help preserve memory function. Blueberries, like other berries, also have a high water content, which makes them hydrating for your skin and other cells of the body.

 

Spinach
Popeye was definitely on to something — eating spinach even before we knew about superfoods! Spinach is filled with antioxidants, including vitamin C and beta-carotene, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin — a duo that acts like sunscreen for your eyes and guards against macular degeneration. One cup of fresh spinach leaves also provides almost double the daily requirement for vitamin K, which plays an important role in cardiovascular and bone health. And of course you can't forget that spinach is a great vegetarian source of iron, which keeps your hair and nails strong and healthy. Use fresh spinach leaves as a base for salad or sauté it and add to an omelet.

 

Cherries
Cherries are a skinny solution to sugar cravings. Snack on these deliciously sweet gems right out of the freezer bag — they're like a healthy version of cherry Italian ices. You can enjoy ¾ cup of these treats for just 110 cals. Cherries have gained fame as one of nature's most powerful anti-inflammatories, which means they're beneficial for many different conditions. This is due to the anthocyanins in cherries that researchers have found prevent free radical damage and inhibit cyclooxygenase enzymes better than many anti-inflammatory drugs. Cherries are high in beta carotene, containing 19 times more than blueberries or strawberries.

 

Pistachio Nuts
Nuts offer a nutritious package of protein, fiber, and heart-healthy unsaturated fat, making them one of nature's perfect foods. Pistachios are especially rich in phytosterols and soluble fiber — two natural plant compounds that have been shown to lower total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels. Pistachios are my nut of choice when it comes to weight loss. Twenty-five pistachios will cost you only 100 calories (per nut, they're the least caloric of all) and because they're in a shell, eating them will slow you down!

 

Dark Chocolate
Believe it or not, chocolate is a healthy treat, as long as you choose wisely. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants that have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and boost overall heart health. Choose chocolate that is at least 70 percent cacao or cocoa to optimize the antioxidant power and health benefits. Dark chocolate may even boost your mood. While there's no scientific explanation for why, the rich taste and sensuous mouth-feel of a decadent piece of dark chocolate may be to thank. Just be sure to keep your portions in check — one ounce of dark chocolate has about 150 calories.

 

Red Bell Peppers
A little known fact: one red bell pepper has twice as much vitamin C as an orange. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps clear your body of free radicals and keeps your skin and blood vessels healthy and strong. The vitamin C in bell peppers may also help prevent arthritis or slow the progression of the disease. Red bell peppers also deliver beta-carotene and lycopene, two more antioxidants that have been associated with decreased risk of eye diseases like cataracts. And, thanks to their high water content, bell peppers of all colors are a high-volume, low-cal food that's very figure-friendly.

 

Beans
Beans are a fabulous source of vegetarian protein and fiber, two nutrients that help you stay full and satisfied. The protein and fiber in beans also tempers the rise in blood sugar that occurs after a meal, which can help stabilize mood. The fiber in beans also helps keep you regular (every half cup serving adds another 7 g of fiber to you daily total) Beans are low in fat and a good source of magnesium and potassium, nutrients that work together to lower blood pressure and keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. Added bean bonus: They're inexpensive! So stock up on canned, no-salt added varieties and add them to soups, salads, stews, and more!

 

Oats
You've probably heard that it's good to eat oats if you have high cholesterol. That's because whole grain oats are one of the best sources of soluble fiber, which, in addition to lowering cholesterol, helps keep blood sugar levels under control. Trade in your cream of wheat or sugary breakfast cereal for a bowl of wholesome oats topped with berries and chopped nuts for extra nutrition!

 

Pumpkin
Pumpkin is good for a lot more than carving jack-o'-lanterns on Halloween — it's loaded with nutrients that will help your heart, bones, eyes, and skin. Beta-carotene and potassium are the two standouts here: Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that helps rejuvenate skin, protect your vision, and may even reduce risk of arthritis. Potassium is a mineral involved in lowering blood pressure and maintaining healthy bones. Use fresh or canned (no-sugar-added) pumpkin in stews, soups, pies, or pureed as a side dish — or add a scoop to some nonfat vanilla yogurt for a yummy snack.

 

 

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