Simple Tricks to a Healthier You

In this modern world of technology and medical advancement, staying healthy should be easier than ever before. But the fact is, the health of our world is declining. We are facing epidemics never seen, rising at alarming rates in both adults and children: Autism, obesity, diabetes, and cancers, to name but a few.

There are many factors on which we can place the blame: GMOs, processed foods, food colorings, an overabundance of vaccines, overuse of antibiotics, high fructose corn syrup, pollution, pesticides and herbicides, and the list goes on.

It sometimes feels as if we are doomed. Because, let’s face it, when it comes to what is sold in the marketplace, what is placed on crops, and what is given to society, it seems as if we don’t have a lot of say. Much of the control is placed in the hands of large corporations.

But believe it or not, corporations listen. They hear what you say every time you go to the store. When we buy foods with pesticides, we tell them it is okay. When we purchase a quick meal laced with food colorings and additives we can’t pronounce, we are giving them the go-ahead to make more.

It’s true that sometimes no matter what we do, no matter how healthy we eat or how great of shape we are in, we can still get sick. It is an imperfect world, after all. But while we’re on this earth, shouldn’t we do our best to take care of ourselves? If not for us, then for the ones who follow.

I encourage you to do one thing to change your health. To better the world. To make the world a better place for future generations.

You don’t have to do it all. Pick one, and see the changes in your health.

Pick One:

~ Buy organic. If you can’t purchase all organic, purchase produce from the Dirty Dozen.

~ Stop buying pre-made frozen meals and meals in a can.

~ Don’t buy factory-farm meat.

~ Don’t buy soda.

~ Refuse anything with food colorings and multiple (unknown) ingredients. (Thankfully, some of the problems with food colorings are getting cleaned up, and now more colorings are natural-based, such as beets being used for the color red.)

Pick one. Change your health. Your body will thank you.

I’d love to hear about the changes you are making for better health. Leave me a note below.

Have a simply lovely, and healthy, day!

Please follow and like us:

The Circle of Healthy Living

They say what goes around comes around, or is it the other way around? I can never remember. In any case, it’s a circle. This is true in every area of our lives, how we treat others, good or bad, and even how we treat ourselves. And it is never truer than in our health. I recently discovered this in my own life.

I’ve always been a bit of a health nut, but lately, due to food and pollen allergies, I’ve pushed my healthy living up a few notches. I am determined to one day see my allergies disappear, or if nothing else, at least make them less severe. But even if they never totally go away, this healthy lifestyle is sure to benefit me. How do I know? Because of the circle.

Three weeks ago, after seeing the doctor, I tossed the remaining processed foods from our home. I made homemade tomato-less ketchup, nut and seed bread, chicken stock, and carob fudge. My eating became all clean, whole foods. And this is what happened. . .

I lost a few pounds. My husband lost some weight as well (because he is forced to eat whatever I eat, and being the good sport that he is, he does it without complaining). We are both sleeping better, feeling better, and waking up a bit more energized (often before the alarm goes off).

You know what? I love having energy. Because when I have energy, I exercise more. And when I exercise more, I want to eat healthier. And when I eat healthier, I have more energy. See how that works? A circle.

Jump on the circle with me. You’ll love the ride. Pick one thing to jumpstart your health. It doesn’t have to be big. Just one small change will lead to another, which leads to another, until soon, you will be on your own circle to a healthier life.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Drink more water.
2. Cut out processed foods.
3. Don’t eat out as often.
4. Add more veggies to your diet.
5. Walk daily.
6. Do push-ups, or sit-ups, or lift a few weights.
7. Do yoga.

Happy Healthy Living!

Please follow and like us:

Simply Let Go of Too Much Knowledge

I know too many things, like why people get headaches, that infections can be deadly, and brain injuries are more than a bump on the brain. And while I won’t go into details, I know the effects of taking pain medication, and what it can do to your body. I guess it’s the joy of having had many problems.

It’s also the joy of the internet, and a little trauma of a too-curious writer.

Having a recent foot injury, I did a little research. It seems I have an infection, possibly caused by an old fracture. I’m being treated with antibiotics, which is what the internet said would happen. But there’s more to it than that.

The internet went on to tell me that many antibiotics no longer work as well as they used to. Drugs in our society have been so overused that infections are becoming immune. Kind of scary, huh?

I started thinking about this and what it could mean, and I got a little nauseous. What if the infection spread? What if the drugs didn’t work? What would happen then? I read more.

And then I stopped. Maybe I didn’t want to know. They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I can see why. That little bit of knowledge fed my brain, just like the bacteria in my body fed the infection. My imagination went wild, and I pictured all kinds of scenarios.

The internet, with its many facts and figures, can’t tell the whole story. It didn’t know I had a fracture. The doctor discovered that on an x-ray. It also didn’t know I had allergies to medications. I needed a doctor for that. It doesn’t know my health status, or how well I take care of my body. Only another human would know.

It wasn’t only the medical information I received from the doctor that was helpful, it was the reassurance that I would be okay. It was the calm, quiet, comforting help of a human helping another.

There’s nothing on the internet that ever can replace that.

I think I’m done with researching medical issues. It’s too scary. I’m going go of a little dangerous knowledge, and leave it to the experts. It’s simpler that way.

Please follow and like us:

Are Supplements Part of Healthy Eating?

Supplements are a big market, to the tune of approximately $37 billion a year. I was once a part of that industry. (Taking them, not making or selling them.)

After my brain injury, my blood test levels were quite low: My iron, vitamin D, vitamin B, and white blood count plummeted. Other levels were off as well, but it’s been so long, I can’t remember what they were.

In any case, my doctor put me on a bunch of supplements: Iron, Vitamin D, calcium (because I don’t eat dairy due to an allergy), fish oil (to help my brain), a multi-vitamin, and protein powder (I’m guessing this was also to help my brain). I also took Calm (magnesium supplement) occasionally to help during bad evenings when I wasn’t sure if I’d sleep, bee pollen (to help with my allergies), nutritional yeast (vitamin B), and acidophilus to help with my never-ending bout of stomach aches.

Over the course of time, I improved. My blood levels increased, except for my white blood count, which is always low. (We’ve come to the conclusion it’s probably due to environmental allergies.)

At the same time I was taking supplements, I began changing my diet. I started eating more whole foods and less processed. I also ate mainly organic, and lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. I juiced whenever I could, and made meat more of a side dish and less of a main course.

My health was looking up. As my brain and body improved, I got to wondering, are all these supplements necessary? Is it the supplements making me better, or is it the food?

I did some research. This is what I found:

*Supplements aren’t well-regulated. They don’t need preapproval by the FDA, and the companies that produce them don’t have to provide evidence that the supplement is safe. Read:
http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm047470.htm

*Since they aren’t a prescription, it’s easy to overdose. (Yes, you definitely can overdose on vitamins. It’s serious.) Check out:https://smartypantsvitamins.com/the-overdose-risks-of-vitamins-why-proper-dosage-matters/ and
http://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/supplements-remedies/can-you-overdose-on-vitamin-and-mineral-supplements/

*The FDA can recall a product, but there are so many companies, it’s almost certain they can’t keep up. Really, anyone can put together a supplement and sell it. How scary is that? Check this out: http://www.consumerreports.org/vitamins-supplements/we-made-this-weight-loss-supplement/

*There can be additives in the product that may not be listed on the bottle, or might be written in such a way that you don’t know exactly what you’re getting. http://consumerhealthchoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Dangerous_Supplements.pdf

*23,000 people end up in the emergency room each year after taking a supplement. http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/23000-people-us-end-er-annually-because-supplements/

*Supplements can interfere with drugs, and even other supplements. https://www.drugs.com/slideshow/herb-drug-interactions-1069

After reading all this, I was sick. All that money spent on junk sitting in my gut that might actually be causing me more harm than good.

I decided it was time to drop the pill addiction, and rely on the one true drug we’d been given at the beginning of time: Real Food.

I upped my dosage on produce, cut out grains, juiced occasionally, and did everything I could to stay healthy. And you know what? It worked.

It’s been about two-and-a-half years, and I am supplement-free, and healthier than ever. Rarely do I get a cold, but when I do, it lasts a couple of days instead of the seven or ten like it does for most people. I have had a sinus infection, but even that went away quickly. And other than getting tired (which I should by the end of the day-I work hard), I am really, really healthy.

(Research has shown that people who take supplements are generally already concerned about health. They exercise, eat right, drink in moderation, don’t smoke, and rarely eat out.)

I can’t say for certain that the supplements didn’t contribute to my improvement, I can only say I don’t need them now. I have a new medicine cabinet, supplements supplied by nature.

My new medicine cabinet: Fruits, vegetables, daily greens (produce equals 10-12 per day, on bad days I get 8)- I do smoothies to ensure I get my daily needed allotment of produce; nuts; lentils and beans; fish; olive and coconut oils, along with avocado and walnut occasionally; organic, whole meats; no dairy; no grains; homemade fudge (recipe: equal amounts of honey, melted coconut oil, cocoa powder; stir; add extras like: walnuts, shredded coconut, cinnamon or sea salt; place in 8 x 12 pan and freeze; cut into 48 bars); other desserts are usually raw; baked products and processed foods are minimal.

I’m still allergic to dairy, but a recent bone scan assured me, and my doctor, that my bones were stronger than ever. Apparently there’s a lot of calcium to be found in greens. And there’s a lot to be said for walking and lifting weights.

I am not a medical professional, or in the nutritional field. I can only tell you what worked for me. While I think there is still a place for a few supplements, I think the overall strategy we were given at the beginning of time provides us with every vitamin and mineral we need.

I’m not saying never take a supplement, but please, before you do, know the facts. And always see your doctor.

Here’s to healthy living!

Please follow and like us:

Stress is a Pain in the Neck (And Sometimes in the Back)

To say I don’t handle stress well is putting it mildly. I used to thrive on stress, juggling children, activities, career, all the while balancing a calendar and house atop my head. I looked for stress the way Winnie the Pooh searches for honey. The more I had, the happier I was.

But brain injuries have a way of changing a person. I can no longer handle stress. I push it away, eliminating situations I know I can’t handle. Unfortunately, sometimes the old me tries to sneak back into my life, tries to fool me into thinking I can do anything. Kind of like it did the last few weeks.

Plans and Changes
It began with summer and fall plans my husband and I were making. Things weren’t falling into place as easily as we had imagined. We had to make changes to our calendar, and leave a few things in the air. Not a big deal, if that had been all there was.

My body is tired. My mind is worn. I do not hear.

My family, both close and extended, are experiencing many changes in their lives. They are all adults, and the changes are good, but I couldn’t help but be a little worried, because, after all, they are my family.

My back twinges, my neck begins to ache. I will not listen.

My husband has seen a lot of changes in his company lately, and his job has become a bit precarious. When your spouse is stressed, so are you.

My body cries, my muscles tighten. “Sit, relax,” it says to me. I refuse.

My husband and I have designated Memorial Day weekend as “Catch-Up Weekend,” a time to complete forgotten and abandoned chores. This year, we should have gone away, if only for day. Instead, we opted to paint the office. The only place we would go would be Home Depot.

We stripped the walls of pictures, emptied closets, removed furniture. We washed walls, taped bright blue strips around the trim, and painted. Halfway through, I felt it.

Stop! Tense muscles. Pain. I close my ears.

I barely made it through the first coat. But by then, my body had rebelled. It screamed things I had never heard, shooting pains from my lower and middle back into my stomach, making it difficult to eat or breathe. My only relief was bending over or lying down.

Stop and Listen
If only I had listened the first time. If only I had paid attention when my body told me to rest.

Back pain is, well, such a pain. Back pain costs employers 7.4 billion dollars a year in missed days of work (based on ages 40-65, per www.painmed.org), it will affect about 80 percent of adults at some point in their lives (per ninds.nih.gov) and is the number one reason Americans visit a doctor (per Johns Hopkins University study – www.disabled-world.com)

Back pain can truly ruin your day, or even your life. I knew I couldn’t live with this kind of pain for long, and I knew the exact reasons for why I felt this way.

The first thing I did was lay on a heating pad, rest, and enjoy a movie, letting my mind wander away from that sometimes stressful thing called life.
Then I did something else. I thought about what I was dwelling on –family, house, unsolved vacations. I thought how I had turned a simple life into something difficult. And then I knew what I needed to do. I needed to let it go.

Let it go
*Don’t try to do so much. Some things, like painting, can wait. Some things just aren’t that important.

*Don’t try to live other’s lives. If they are happy and okay, let it go.

*Accept situations. Do what you can to change it, but if you can’t change it, learn to live with it.

*Most importantly, don’t gather stress like it’s an honor to carry around.

Remedies
We all incur stress at some point in our lives. It’s the way life is. And sometimes, when we have stress, our body rebels. If this happens to you, here are a few simple remedies I found to be helpful:

1. Heating pad. (Follow directions, don’t leave on too long, or turn on too high of a heat.)

2. Mild yoga (This is not the time for head stands or balancing on one hand.)

3. Hot shower. Or better yet, a hot bath with Epsom salts.

4. Topricin. Use like Icy Hot. (I love Topricin. It doesn’t smell like Grandma’s muscle cream, isn’t greasy, and it works.)

5. Massage. (Light massage.) With oil.

6. Rest.

7. Relax. Breathe.

8. Remember, life is simple. We just make it difficult.

9. Mostly, learn to let it go.

Please follow and like us: