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Focused Wellness Solutions with Rosie


Stay Well; Stay Healthy; Stay Focused

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The rise of incivility and how to manage it

Posted on February 14, 2020 at 3:09 PM Comments comments (4)

 
What happened to people being nice to one another?  It seems as if there isn’t a kind word to be heard.  What has happened or changed that has caused this to occur.  I have a few thoughts.

Children are being raised without much of any discipline.  They are no longer respectful of their parents or elders and certainly don’t shy away from telling their parents what they are and aren’t going to do.  Unfortunately parents allow this behavior.  We are seeing the fruits of that type of parenting now in the workforce where these young adults feel like they really don’t have to carry out the mission of the company unless it is on their terms.

The isolationism of individuals also seems to be a factor.  People can pretty much stay in one place and not have to interact with others.  Companies offer home delivery on groceries, fast food, and almost any other type of product by Amazon or other huge businesses.  Why bother with people?

The media isn’t helping either.  We now have news 24/7 and it is no longer news.  Each station has politicized the facts to suit their narrative and followers, on each side, listen to the station that agrees with their views.  The divide between the political parties grows ever more tense.  Conversations frequently end up in a shouting match or violence.

I also think that social media has proved to be a mixed blessing.  Yes, it is really nice to connect with friends and see what everyone is up to.  But the downside is that many comments that pop up are from friends of friends, whom you have never met and have absolutely no clue who they are.  The anonymity is what is giving them cover.  The hatred and name calling from grown adults is unsettling. 
So how can you manage this negativity?

1.        If you are raising children, take a good hard look at how you are teaching your children.  Expect respect from them.  Give them opportunities to grow and also to fail.  They will learn from failure.  We did!

2.       Get out and meet people.  Don’t be a hermit.  Everyone is struggling to make it through their day and you have no idea what they are going through.  You would be surprised how just a smile or a pleasant gesture will go in a person’s life.  It isn’t always about you.

3.       Take a news hiatus for a few days and see how you feel.  It is all a daily political soap opera so don’t get caught up in the hate and discontent. 

4.       Get outdoors and look at the beauty of nature.  Take a walk, look at the flowers, listen to some soothing music.

5.       If you have social media accounts, perhaps it is time to unfriend those that are nothing but negative.  Settings can be changed as well as to who receives your posts.  The world doesn’t need to see what you are thinking; perhaps only those close to you whom you trust need to see what you have to share.

Life is too short to have incivility a way of life.  Your mental health depends on it.
 
Until next time,

Stay well, stay healthy, stay focused.

When was the last time you tossed your cosmetics?

Posted on November 27, 2019 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)
I would bet that you have a makeup bag and that bag contains all kinds of makeup, many of which are years old or have never been opened.  But did you know that cosmetics may be detrimental to your health?  Some of those unexplained symptoms, such as running nose, puffy eyes, or rashes may be a result of the makeup.  We don’t often think about how important our skin is, but it is the largest organ!  And, it does absorb ingredients. 
So how long should you keep cosmetics?  The standard of the cosmetic industry is 3 years from the date of manufacture.  That isn’t a regulation, but a recommendation, so your guess is as good as mine as to the enforcement of this.  The Food and Drug Administration do mandate that over-the-counter products such as sunscreens, and antiperspirants have the expiration date written clearly on the package, unless, of course, that time frame is 3 years.

How can you tell if what you are using is a cosmetic or drug?  The US. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act defines cosmetics as articles intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beatifying, promoting attractiveness or altering the appearance without affecting the body’s structures or function. Those products that claim to change the structure or function of any part of the body or to treat or prevent disease is considered a drug and comes under a very restrictive act of drug regulations.  Some of the ingredients in many of the foundations, anti-aging compounds may be included in that, so be aware.

What should you know about possible hazards? Bacteria, such as pseudomonas aeruginosa, can contaminate mascara and can infect the eye, especially if the cornea is scratched upon application.  Those wearing contact lenses are also vulnerable.  Coal tar dyes, a major coloring agent in makeup, can result in dermatitis and skin cancer.  And let’s not forget aluminum, a known toxin, which may be found in makeup and lipsticks.  Preservatives methyl and propyl paraben, ingredients that people are learning more about, allow for traditional cosmetics a longer shelf life.

So how long is too long?

Discard after 3 months:  mascara
 
Discard after 6 months: Concealer, Foundation, cream or liquid
 
Discard after 12 months: Lipstick, lipstick pencil, gloss, balm, eye shadow, eye pencil, blush, pressed or loose powder
 
Discard when expiration date listed on product:  Cleanser, Moisturizer, Moisturizer with sunscreen, and Toner.
 
Scary isn’t it?
 
Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

1.       Don’t share your makeup with anyone
2.       Keep your makeup out of the sun and heat and don’t keep a bag in the car.
3.       Throw away any eye makeup that you were using if you developed an eye infection.  Same goes for any mouth infections; throw gloss, lipstick, or chapped lip product.
4.       Do you see a color change in your lipstick, blush, or foundation?  Throw it away.  Same if you smell something different.
5.       Be careful not to inhale powders.
6.       Don’t drive and put makeup on.  How many times have you seen this?
7.       Keep your brushes clean.  Soap and water are fine.
 
If all of this just seems overwhelming and a bit much, there are a couple of apps that can help you stay organized.  Expiry Wiz and Beauty Keeper may just help you do that.   And, if all that is too much to worry about, consider replacing all your cosmetics one time a year.  Now you know what that Christmas money can buy.

Until next time,

Stay well, stay healthy, stay focused.

13 Tips that might just help you get a good night's sleep

Posted on October 23, 2019 at 8:11 PM Comments comments (0)
I don’t know about you, but a good night’s sleep has been harder to achieve as I’ve gotten older.  And, after menopause, geez!  I have found a few things that have helped me better a better night’s sleep and may just help you as well.

1.        Develop a pattern and stick with it.  It is better to have a consistent time to go to sleep and wake up than to be different every night.  Your body will become accustomed to the schedule and it will be easier to fall asleep.  This is your body’s circadian rhythm.

2.       Limit your caffeine intake in the evening.  For some people, even afternoon caffeine can interfere with sleep.  Be aware that that may be a factor in your sleep quality.

3.       Limit liquids, especially 1-2 hours before bed.  This is especially true if you have to get up to go to the bathroom several times at night.  The best policy is to urinate right before you go to bed.  That may give you one less time to get up!

4.       Take a relaxing bath or shower.  It has been found that a hot bath about 90 minutes before bedtime may help with better sleep quality.  And, if you are prone to aches and pains, pour some Epsom salts into the bath water and soak for 20 minutes.

5.       Don’t eat a heavy meal before bedtime.  Eating a heavy meal can lead to poor sleep and disrupt hormones, such as HGH and melatonin, not to mention aggravate GERD in many people; not a pleasant sensation.

6.       Get a dose of sunshine daily.  Because your body depends on circadian rhythm to function optimally, light helps to direct wakefulness.  If you are in an area with little daylight, such as in Alaska, then an investment in an artificial bright light would be advantageous.

7.       What about blue light?  What the heck is that? We are so used to watching TV, using computers, and gluing our eyes to our smartphones.  The light on these devices can interfere with the quality of sleep and actually trick your body into thinking it is daytime. 

8.       Get some exercise.  It is recommended that we get 30 minutes of exercise every day.  Just DO SOMETHING!  Walking is perhaps the easiest, but do what you like to do.  It doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t have to have expensive gym memberships or wear fancy clothes.  If you have a dog, use him or her as your hairy treadmill.  You both need the exercise.  Your body will thank you and your sleep will be enhanced.  Just don’t do vigorous exercise right before bed. 

9.       Take an inventory of your bed and pillows.  Could they be having an affect on your body?  How many years have you had that mattress?  Most recommend changing mattresses after 8-10 years.  If you notice you are waking up with back and neck aches, it may just be your mattress.  There are so many choices these days in the types of mattresses.  Go to a mattress store and have fun laying down on their options.  You will find out right away which feels right for you.  You spend about 1/3 of your life in your bed.  Don’t skimp here.

10.   Herbal teas may help.  One that has helped me is Sleepytime tea, which includes chamomile, can help initiate sleep.

11.   Essential oils may help as well.  Aromatherapy has become the rave lately; smells definitely affect the body and mind.  The most popular oils are lavender, vanilla, rose, geranium, jasmine, citrus.  There are several books online to help educate you on how best to use these oils.  Realize that one scent isn’t the best for all.  Everyone reacts to smells differently.  Have fun testing the various oils.

12.   Supplements may help.  Melatonin is a popular sleep aid and comes in various doses.  Start with a small dose, 1 mg and increase if needed about an hour before bedtime.  Always consult with your healthcare provider about what you are doing to make sure there is no interaction with medications.  Another supplement that has helped me is magnesium. Magnesium is so important and is responsible for more than 600 reactions in the body.  It has helped me with my restless legs, so I don’t miss a dose daily.  Again, always include your provider in your plan.

13.   Bedroom environment.  Make your bedroom conducive to sleep.  Is it the right temperature for you?  What is the noise factor?  A quiet environment will help you relax sooner.

Hopefully one or more of these suggestions will help you get a better night’s sleep.

Until next time,

Stay well, stay healthy, stay focused.

 

Staying positive in a negative world

Posted on July 14, 2019 at 4:41 PM Comments comments (0)
Lately I have been irritable and angry at all of the negative and fake news.  Thus really isn't healthy.  The world continues to spin out of control ad the so-called leaders are out for themselves and not for the American people.  How can you turn around these feelings and feel positive toward life and the future.  Here are a few tips that seems to be working for me.

1.  Limit news time.  A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, factual news was reported at 6 pm and 10 pm.  Now, it is on 24 hours a day.  The news stations seem to have gotten a memo on what to report and how to report it, depending upon the news station (or rather the propaganda stations).

2.  Get out and enjoy life!  Get off the cough and look around.  There really is a beautiful world out there.  Go for a walk, go fishing, go for a run, enjoy the woods, enjoy a beach, smell the fresh air.  Find an activity that you enjoy and just do it!

3.  Connect with friends and family.  OK, the ones that make you feel good.  It is known that connecting with others that are positive and upbeat makes you feel good.

4.  Laugh, laugh, laugh.  When was the last time you had a good belly laugh?  Wow!  Didn't that feel good?

5.  Read a good novel.  Getting lost in a good story energizes the mind and keeps your brain working.

6.  Listen to your favorite music and dance like no one is watching.  There is nothing like music to lift the soul.  And.....singing in the car is awesome!.

7. Enjoy new life.  If you have friends or family with new babies or new puppies, enjoy them.  There is nothing like a baby's smile or laughter or a puppy's wiggle butt to put a smile on your face.

The world will always have negative twists and turns, but you don't have to let it envelope you and bring you into the morass.  Try a few of these tips to keep smiling.

Until next time, 

Stay well; stay healthy; stay focused.

What Intermittent Fasting can do for you

Posted on May 21, 2019 at 7:54 PM Comments comments (0)
I have been struggling with weight control for the better part of my adult life.  I've tried all the diets and have found some to be successful and have used alternative approaches as well.  When someone suggested intermittent fasting, I just laughed.  I like to eat too much.  Visions of wasting away crept into my head.  I have always thought of fasting as not eating for days at a time.  It turns out there is another way of fasting that actually might turn out to be powerfully effective.  If done correctly, will not cause suffering (I don't want that!) and not death.  Got your interest?  Let me tell you what I found out.

Fasting is not taking in any food for health reasons, spiritual reasons, or other reasons.  Here's the clincher.  The fact that you are not eating means that you are fasting.  It can be for a FEW hours to one, two, or several days.  You can begin the fast any time of your choosing and you can end it as well any time.  I am going to concentrate on just the few hours, OK?

The fact that we generally eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner during a 12 hour period and then basically fast the next 12 hours.  What actually happens is that we are eating snacks all day long outside of meals.  When food is eaten, it is stored as energy.  What is not used is stored for later use.  When we do not eat, insulin levels decrease, causing the stored food to be used as energy.  If eating and fasting are balanced, then there is no weight change.  By eating all the time, we don't give the body time to go into a fasting or burning stage.  

What is the way to change this?  Increase the fasting time.  The benefits are numerous including:

- Weight loss
- Increased burning of fat
- Decreased insulin levels, with possible impact on pre-diabetes, and diabetes
- Decreased in inflammation
- Increased feeling of energy
- Flexibility of when fasts are done
- No real need for medical supervision under normal conditions; however, if you are on medications, have diabetes or other chronic medical condition, consultation with your primary physician is warranted and recommended

Individuals who should NOT fast include:

- Pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding
- Children under 18
- Those individuals with eating disorders, such as anorexia

Suggestions of fasting within 24 hours include:

16:8- You decide to eat within an 8 hour period and fast the remainder of the day.  This can be done daily or intermittently.  You can be flexible on the timing depending upon your lifestyle and work schedule.  For example,  you may decide to start eating at 9 am and finish your last meal at 5 pm.  Then you do not eat until 9 am the next day.

4:4:4:12-  You eat three meals a day during a 12 hour period, with four hours in between each meal. and fast the remaining 12.  I like this one best! This is actually the plan that is used in the GETFIT 21 challenge (see www.getfit21.com for more information).  As a GETFIT21 Health Coach, I can attest that this does work!

Remember, just because you are not eating, you can still drink zero calorie beverages, water, tea, or coffee.  

So, now you know.  Want to give it a try?  If interested in the GETFIT 21 Challenge, or need more information send me a message.

Until next time, 

Stay well, stay healthy, stay focused.

Have you heard about Manuka honey?

Posted on March 23, 2019 at 11:02 AM Comments comments (0)
I was wondering around Costco the other day picking up several items and ran across something I have never seen before, manuka honey.  My last blog gave a run down of some of the great things honey can be used for, so this caught my attention.  The price was quite high, so what is so special about this honey?  This is what I learned.

Manuka honey is a very special honey, considered to be on of the most healing honeys in the world.  It is produced by New Zealand bees pollinating the Manuka bush.  All honey contains antimicrobial properties, but only Manuka honey contains non-hydrogen peroxide.  It is this feature that gives it its greater antibacterial power.  Along with hydrogen peroxide, manuka honey contains methylglyoxal (MGO) and dihydroxyacetone, two chemical substances with high antimicrobial action, and probably other bioactive compounds that give it additional potency.  These chemical are more stable than hydrogen peroxide which easily gets neutralized by  heat, moisture, and enzymatic action.

Manuka honey is actually graded according to its non-peroxide antibacterial potencey, referred to as Unique Manuka Factor (UMF).  The UMF of Manuka honey varied with each batch well as from season to season.  It is graded from UMF 0-30, based on laboratory tests that compare its antimicrobial action to different concentrations of phenol  A UMF of 15 is equal to the antibacterial action of 15% phenol and a 20 UMF to 20% phenol.  A UMF of 10 is good to maintain general health, but if you are looking for honey with medicinal and therapeutic effects, choose Manuka honey with at least a UMG of 15, and 20 is even better.  Realize that the higher the UMF, the more expensive.

As with other types of honey, Manuka honey can be used for:

1.  Gastritis
2.  Stomach ulcers
3.  Tonsillitis
4.  Sinusitis
5.  Skin ailments such as eczema, hives, rosacea, rashes
6.  Building Body Immunity
7.  Facial masks
8.  Common Flus, Coughs, and Colds
9.  Cuts

How does it taste?  According to some other sources, the taste is unique among the honeys, more like an earthy forest.

The medical community has been slow to recognize the healing capacity of Manuka honey, but has slowly gained acceptance in the treatment of wounds and burns. Eventually, in 2007, FDA approved its use in medicated bandages named Medihoney.

A few words of caution:

1.  Do not use if allergic to bees or honey.

2.  Diabetics should consume with caution as could cause complications.

3.  Do not give to infants less than 1 years because of a possible risk of botulism.

More information can be obtained from:  https/www.umf.org.nz

I think I'll get some to have in my First Aid Kit.

PS.  The Manuka honey in the Costco warehouse was UMF 10, but they do have higher grades on their website.

Until next time, 

Stay well; Stay healthy; Stay focused.

What is so great about honey?

Posted on February 11, 2019 at 11:43 AM Comments comments (0)
Most people, unless they are allergic to bees or honey, enjoy honey in their tea or substitute the sweet taste in other foods.    But it is so much more than that.

Honey has been around since the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans, more than 8,000 years ago.  It was valued not only for the sweetness, but for its medicinal values.  It contains more than 200 compounds that are quite useful for the body.  Some of which include:

-Antibacterial and antifungal and antiviral properties- this is perhaps one of the most fascinating features.  Honey has been shown to inhibit more than 60 types of bacteria, some viruses, and fungi.  It has also been successful in combating some of the superbugs, like Methicillin Staph and E coli. 

-Wound healing- modern medicine has rediscovered the use of honey in would healing and can be successfully used in infected wounds.  The disinfectant properties actually stimulate the immune response and allows for tissue regeneration.

- Weight loss?   Really??? One would think that the sugar would do the opposite, but in actuality the honey suppressed appetite but activating hormones. 

-Heart health- Honey prevents platelets from clotting and also helps to dilate blood vessels.  Blood pressure can also be improved as well.

-Diabetic use-surprisingly, honey has no effect on blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, but this is for natural, raw honey only.  Another good thing.

So, if you are buying honey, buy raw, unpasteurized, and organic.  This will maintain all the nutrients and allow for all the benefits outlined above.  It has a long shelf life as well, so always keep some in your cupboard, just in case you need it!

Until next time,

Stay well, stay healthy, stay focused.

New Year's resolutions- Are you ready?

Posted on December 29, 2018 at 1:46 PM Comments comments (0)

 
It’s that time of year when we begin to think about the new year and starting anew.  Many people choose to set new year’s resolutions.  Are you one of them?  Are you also one of them who has set the same resolution each year with the same outcome…failure?  So, how can you really break that cycle and bring success upon yourself?  Let’s get started.

1.     Prioritize what it is that you want to change in the coming year.  List all the changes and prioritize them from most important to less importance (because they all are important, right?).

2.    Beside each of the change listed, how likely you are to succeed, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not likely, and 10 most likely.  Be honest with yourself.

3.    Beside each one, determine if you are willing to put in the time and energy to make the change, again on a scale of 1-10, with the above scale.

4.    List the pros to making the change on each of the changes listed.

5.    List the cons to making the change on each of the changes listed.

6.    List what you are getting out of not changing your behavior.  Again, be honest.

7.    What excuses are you making for not changing?

8.    List what it looks like to succeed?  What is the end point?

9.    Now, really look at what you have determined and determine which one of the changes you want to tackle first.  DO NOT tackle them all; that is a prescription for failure.  And, you may wish to tackle one that is most likely to succeed first because this will give you a sense of accomplishment and momentum for future success.

10.It’s time to embrace the new year and the new you.  Don’t forget to tell your family and friends about your goal.  Telling others makes it real and now you are accountable.
 
Good luck and may your New Year’s resolution be successful this year!
 
Until next time,

Stay well; stay healthy; stay focused.
 

 

Why bother to journal?

Posted on December 6, 2018 at 5:08 PM Comments comments (0)
 
What is journaling?  Journaling, according to Susan Borkin, author of The Healing Power of Writing: A Therapist’s Guide to Using Journaling with Clients, is any type of writing or related expressive process used for the purposes of psychological healing or growth.

Remember when you were a young girl, you may have had a diary.   Your “dear diary” captured events and emotions in your life.  Now, as an adult, things happen, circumstances change, and those things are either good, bad, or ugly. Journaling your experience can actually be liberating.  How do you feel, what are you going through, and how are you dealing with these issues?  How have your relationships changed?  Who are your friends, I mean, really friends?  How has your perspective on life changed? What is now important to you?  What are you grateful for?

So, how do you journal?  It can be any way you want.  There are NO rules.  Just let it flow.  Are you a sketcher?  Include drawings in your entry.  The idea is to express your emotions.  It’s amazing how one can gain perspective on life when writing and to look back on your entries, how far you’ve come in life!

I would also say don’t worry about the quality of your writing.  This is for you and you alone, unless you choose to share with others.
I would also encourage you to write about the full range of your emotions, and not just negative.  The more positive your thoughts, the better you will feel overall.  It is well known that our thoughts can control our actions.

As some of you know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of this year.  I began to journal.  As part of my healing I decided to write a book with helpful references for those going through the same thing, but the main element of the book are journal pages.  I have included diet and exercise regimen entries as well for those who have the desire to start anew and really concentrate on improving their health.

The book, “A New Day and a New Normal” can be purchased through www.iUniverse.com or through www.Amazon.com. It would be a very thoughtful gift for anyone with this diagnosis.

As always, I wish you the best.

Until next time,

Stay well; stay healthy; stay focused.

Are you taking care of your girls? I am talking about your breasts

Posted on October 22, 2018 at 10:37 PM Comments comments (0)
October is Breast Cancer awareness month.  One in eight women will experience breast cancer in their lifetime.  We, as women, take much better care of our hair and face than we do our breasts.  And yet, this part of our anatomy is extremely vital to life, in nursing our children, as well as our self-image, as dictated by cultural mores.  So, what can you do to take care of your breasts?

1)       It is important to know your body.  What is normal and what is not normal?  Perform self breast exam monthly to determine if there has been any change.   It is best to perform this exam at the same time each month and after your period.    For more information and specific instructions visit https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam.

2)      Have you ever had your bra fitted to you?  Do you know that nearly 80 percent of women are wearing the wrong size bra!  Yes!  Our breasts change along with the rest of our body and our bra size may change.  It is therefore recommended that a professional fitting be done when things change with you ( ie. Weight loss, pregnancy).  Many high-end department stores, such as Dillards, have free fittings available.  Don’t miss out. Do it!

3)      Have a yearly gynecological exam with a physician directed breast exam.  This is a good time to have a direct conversation with your doctor about your breasts as well as your sexual health.

4)      Get your mammogram.  The current recommendation is to screen women starting at the age of forty.    This isn’t a hard and fast rule.  If you have a positive family history of breast cancer or discover something that is not normal, then a mammogram may be in order.  As an aside, results of mammograms are not 100%.  There is an error rate of almost 20%.  So, just because the results are read a normal, there may be pathology that is undetected.  That means you HAVE to know your own breasts and can be assertive if things do not seem right.  There is also a potential error rate on dense breasts.  3D mammograms may be a more appropriate test for women with dense breasts.

5)      Are you overweight?  This is one factor that can increase the risk of breast cancer. Fat cells produce estrogen, and high levels of that hormone have been linked to certain cancers. Working out can shrink the size of fat cells, so your body pumps out less estrogen.    You will feel a heck of a lot better if your weight is within a normal range for your height. Keep your body mass index (BMI) at 25 or less for optimal health.  Feel free to investigate www.getfit21.com for more information on a program that will teach you about healthy living, including nutrition and exercise.  I’d love to have you join me on the next session.

6)      Practice general good health, including nutrition and exercise.   Limit alcohol intake, no more than one drink per day, eat fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, drink filtered water, and exercise at least 30 minutes per day.  Supplements that are very helpful to breast health are vitamin D, omega 3, and folic acid.

7)      Did you know that there are a number of lymph nodes around the breast area into the axillary area?    This is extremely important because lymph needs to flow.  Restrictive bras prevent the free flow of lymph, leading to congestion.  Cheryl Chapman RN, HNC,  a registered nurse, massage therapist, and certified holistic nurse conceived and developed a method to increase lymphatic drainage, called Phluffing.  Visit the following links for more information:
https://www.healingtouchprogram.com/content_assets/docs/current/PhluffingYourGirls1.pdf.  A short You Tube demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbQ4AOLUy3g.  Thank you Cheryl for bringing this quick and easy to perform maneuver for our breast and allowing me to share on my blog.

So, as you can see, there are several things that you can do to enhance the health of your breasts.  Take a good look at what you are doing and where you can improve.
 
Until next time,
 

Stay well; stay healthy; stay focused.

What is the best diet?

Posted on October 7, 2018 at 10:54 PM Comments comments (0)
I have tried many diets throughout my life, and all have ultimately failed.  Since my breast cancer diagnosis, I have been on the hunt for the best diet since this is definitely part of the equation to health and healing.  I have been frustrated to receive little to no answers from physicians.  They are uneducated about nutrition in general, and seem to have no interest in learning about it.  Unfortunately, their training is geared to treating symptoms and in prescribing medications.  So, I have since reviewed at some of the well-known and recognized diets and what they have in common.  Here is what I have come to believe is the bottom line.

1.         The term “diet” is commonly referred to a special or limited selection of food and drink designed for a specific health issue.  Many people prescribe to one of these for a limited time.  That is the problem.  Succeeding in the diet and then returning to previous habits negate it all.  One needs to look at a diet as a lifelong habit, a way of life.

2.       The diet you choose must be sustainable; it must be one that you can follow for a long period of time.

3.       Whether the Mediterranean diet, the Anti-inflammatory diet, South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Ketogenic, or the DASH diet, there are some commonalities, although each has a different emphasis and may have more or less of one food group.  The common threads in all of these diets are:

a.        Limit sugar intake, especially high fructose corn syrup.  Review all labels for hidden sugar in the ingredients (you will be surprised at how much sugar is in foods that you thought had none).  Sugar should be in the form of natural sugar, such as in fruits.  Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, cakes, cookies, sweets, desserts, pastries and pasta should be minimized or eliminated.  Organic is best for fruits. 

b.       Increase your vegetable intake, especially green leafy vegetables and vegetables with a lot of color, like the rainbow. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, are especially helpful if you have been diagnosed with cancer. Limit consumption white vegetables, such as white potatoes.  Organic is best.

c.       Protein should be high quality, with fat removed.  Include fish, chicken, turkey, and lean beef.  Processed meats, such as sausages, ham, deli meats, and smoked meats should be avoided.  Organic, hormone free, and wild caught is best.

d.       Fat is no longer the enemy, but there are good fats and bad fats.  Butter, olive oil, and avocados, once off limits, now have been found to be beneficial to health.  Stay away from margarine and oils, such as canola, corn, or safflower.

e.       Water is essential to life; look for filtered water.  The best gauge for the amount of water is to take your weight, half it, and that is the amount of water in ounces to drink (150 pounds, then 75 ounces of water).

f.        Become familiar with the glycemic index, or GI, which will tell you how fast foods enter your digestive system, spiking systemic glucose.    Many grains actually have a high GI, such as pasta and rice; switch to lower GI foods, such as quinoa.

g.       Experiment with herbs and spices, and limit the amount of salt intake. 

h.       Alcohol should be limited as well.  The current recommendation is no more than one drink/day for a woman and two for a man/day.

i.         Calories count.  Many of the diets above have increased protein and fat intake and lowered carbohydrate intake.  Remember that carbohydrates and proteins have 4 calories/gram while fats have 9 calories/gram.  If you increase your fat intake, you must alter other source intake to avoid weight gain.

All those fancy, catchy names for diets that promise success are meant to sell books and have a limited life.  If you are serious about a healthy diet for life, then these principles hold true, and are sustainable for life.    
 
Until next time,
 

Stay well; stay healthy; stay focused.

Time for a news media holiday

Posted on October 1, 2018 at 11:19 AM Comments comments (0)
My husband and I recently came back from a vacation to Colorado where the air was fresh and clean and the outdoors was invigorating.  Our location had no television, radio, or phone.  For 5 days we were media free.  I admit the first day was a bit unsettling, but after that was quite liberating.  I found myself focusing on my health, actually paying attention to the world around me, and meeting and actually engaging in conversations with complete strangers.  My husband and I found each other again.  I felt relaxed for the first time in a very long time and very happy.  That was then.  Fast forward to today.

I don’t know about you, but I have been really cranked up about all the circus acts in Washington, DC.  I am feeling anxious, angry, and I know my blood pressure is through the roof. What happened?  The media has done an excellent job at keeping the public at a fever pitch of division. The problem is that I have absolutely no control over what happens in DC. Objective reporting is out the window on both sides of the political spectrum so one tends to gravitate to those stations that reinforce our particular views, therefore making the division even worse.  The constant barrage of information, 24/7, doesn’t help either.  There is no relief, either from television, radio, and now even smartphones.  We just can’t get away from it if we are attached to all of our electronic devices. 

So here is what I recommend if you want to stay healthy:
 
1.        Detach yourself periodically from ALL of your electronic toys.  It may be one day, two days, a week.  Start slow because you may feel and additional rush of anxiety with the withdrawal of your devices.
2.       Concentrate on limiting your news watching or attention to a specific program or news cycle.  Avoid keeping the television on all day!
3.       Make a concerted effort to avoid talking politics in a social setting with friends.  Some may have different views which can lead to heated arguments and loss of friends.
4.       Focus on your interests and your health.  This is the one area that you can control.
I think it is time I take another media holiday.  What about you?
Until next time,
 

Stay well; stay healthy; stay focused.

Surviving the relentless Southwest heat

Posted on July 25, 2018 at 5:26 PM Comments comments (0)
 
As I write this we are suffering with 112 degrees heat outside.  It’s been that way for more than a week.  It’s getting really old.  I have lived out here since 1972 and I can tell you that it is getting hotter earlier in the year and staying that way into October.    So, how do we survive during this time of year?

1.       Activities have to be done early in the morning, between 5-8 am.  Forget anything strenuous, like hiking or outside construction projects.  It is 80 degrees all night, so there is no relief.   Forget evening time as well, as it is still into the 90s until 10 or 11 am.

2.       Drink, drink, drink water.  How much should you drink?  A good rule of thumb is to half your weight and drink that much in ounces.  So, if you are 150 pounds, drink at least 75 ounces of water.  I am saying water, not sodas or alcohol, which tend to dehydrate you.  I know, you don’t like water.  I am not a fan either, but I have found that putting a little lemon, lime, or pineapple juice makes it much more interesting and palatable; I also add some ice. 

3.       Watch for signs of dehydration.  There are several:  extremely tired and lethargic, extremely concentrated urine (more yellow than normal- your urine should just have a tinge of yellow), decreased amount of urine (you aren’t going to the bathroom as your normally do), constipation (less fluid causes your stools to be much drier), headaches, irritability (I know, it’s hot as hell, what do you expect?), feeling thirsty (duh), dry mouth and hoarseness, and muscle cramps.  Keep a glass of water around you all the time for sipping and if you have to go out to the store, take a bottle with you.  Always keep some water in the car; I like to have a few bottles on ice in a small cooler in the back seat.  Remember to take any plastic bottles out of the car when you get home.  Many still have BPA in the plastic which can leach into the water.

4.       Nap time.  A siesta has been the norm in this area for hundreds of years.  This is very wise during the hottest part of the day.  Allow your body to relax.  Hopefully you are blessed with a good air conditioning system.

5.       Adjust what you are eating.  Eating heavy foods may tend to make you nauseous.  Opt for salads (such as green salads with cooked chicken or pasta salads with vegetables).  Avoid processed foods.  Now is a good time to enjoy all the wonderful fresh fruit that is available (watermelons, berries, cherries, and peaches).
6.       Rediscover indoor activities, such as reading, crafts, puzzles, games, and art. 

7.       Last, but not least, is to remember your furry pets.  They are suffering as well and need to be monitored for the same issues.

We will make it through the endless summer; we always do.
 
Until next time,
 

Stay well; stay healthy; stay focused.

Time to take a news vacation

Posted on June 17, 2018 at 4:33 PM Comments comments (0)
Today I’d like to talk a little bit about the news.  I am first going to digress a little bit.  I am of the boomer generation.  When I grew up in the 50’s, television was new.  Yes, that’s true.  Our family had a black and white TV first, and then a color TV.  We had only a handful of stations to choose from.  Back to the stone age, I am afraid.  Local, state, and world news was presented to the public twice a day, one the 6 0’clock news or the 10 o’clock news.  News commentators, such as Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokow were highly respected journalists that presented the facts of the issue or the situation.   Never could you guess what their political affiliation or bias was.

Fast forward to today.  We are inundated with news 24/7.  It is on our televisions, laptops, ipads, and phones.  News outlets either lean right or left with the station personalities clearly stating their opinions or the directive of their managers.  The truth is, alas, somewhere in-between.  The rhetoric spewed is one that is sensationalistic, divisive, and intended to be emotionally charged.  The result are audiences that become upset and stay so continuously.

This is quite stressful and can be detrimental to our health.  We have very little control over what happens in the world; we do have control over what happens in our lives as well as how we respond to things.  

Perhaps it’s time to take a break from the news and not get so wrapped up in the daily soap opera that is thrown at us.  I would bet that if you took a news vacation news for a week, you’d feel a heck of a lot better physically and mentally more positive.  So, how about it, consider a news vacation in your health program periodically. 

Until next time,
 

Stay well; stay healthy; stay focused.

Attitude

Posted on May 31, 2018 at 11:57 AM Comments comments (0)
Attitude
 
Today I’d like to talk a little bit about attitude.  I recently watched the HBO special on John McCain’s life.  I was struck by the amazing positive attitude that he held while enduring horrific conditions and torture in the Hanoi Hilton.  Regardless of your political views, his fortitude and strength through all the adversity is admirable.
No matter who you are, life is not always a bowl of cherries.  We all have lessons to learn, disappointments, tragedy, and hardships throughout our lives.  How we choose to cope with and survive these challenges determine the outcome.  Do you surrender to the adversity, becoming a victim, or do you take the bull by the horns and meet it head on, controlling what you can?    Is your glass half full or half empty? It’s an attitude.  How your mind thinks determines your outcome.
I recently was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I had no risk factors and I was taken completely by surprise.  The first few weeks were a whirlwind of tests, x-rays, and consultations.  What to do?  How was I going to deal with this?  All the emotions flooding my body; I found myself going through the stages of grief.  The thought of dying sooner than I had anticipated was staring me in the face. 
I want quality of life and I am in control of that.  My actions have been and continue to be to educate myself on this beast as much as I can.  I have good doctors that I highly respect, but they are not my keeper.  I listen to what they have to say and recommend, but the ultimate decision on my treatment belongs to me.  That is not surrendering and being a victim of the medical system.  I have to be confident in my decisions and be willing to take the consequences. 

Reflect on your life and circumstances.  Can you make changes that will ultimately bring about a more positive outcome.  So, what is your attitude?

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