You were raised to show gratitude, right? We all were, but yet, we all typically struggle with this seemingly easy task. We get caught up in the expectations and the business of life. As the new year gets underway, though, it is a wonderful time to truly understand the importance and benefits of gratitude.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful, with readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Gratitude is not an attitude in our mind. Feeling grateful is an internal experience of fullness and expansion in the heart, an expansion that spontaneously arises from the recognition of love, of goodness, and of grace.
When you accept gratitude into your lifestyle and let it become a true part of who you are at your core – which happens over time and with awareness of practicing gratitude – it actually will rewire your brain and provide unexpected benefits to your body.
Everyone has a gracious side. A 2009 study discovered that the hypothalamus (the part of our brain that regulates multiple bodily functions including our appetites, sleep, temperature, metabolism and growth) activates when we feel gratitude, or display acts of kindness. Leading a kinder life evokes a happier, higher functioning body. As we feel gratitude, the chemical dopamine is released in our brain. It doesn’t matter if we are grateful for a person, an item, or an experience, we are granted a ‘high’ similar to what people label a ‘runner’s high.’ This high is addicting and will pull us toward this feeling over and over again. This release of dopamine may also be responsible to reducing pain levels. Studies show that keeping a gratitude journal throughout a painful (physically, mentally, or emotionally) time can reduce the overall symptoms.
As your brain is the first place that experiences the affects of gratitude, research confirms that appreciation effectively increases happiness and reduces stress and depression. The benefits to your body are not far behind those that impact the brain. Research shows that performing acts of kindness and being grateful may contribute to a longer and healthier life. Grateful people tend to be happier and exercise more than those who are more anxious or reclusive.
Gratitude also improves your sleep cycles and increases your self-esteem, leaving you feeling less aggression and anxiety. You will form stronger connections to friends, strangers, or family members as your heart becomes more empathetic through learning gratitude. Research also shows that gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma.
One study showed that people are more likely to feel gratitude towards:
- acts done by strangers than family members
- larger acts than smaller acts
- more inconvenient acts
- acts that confer benefits which themselves are not necessary because of a situation caused by the benefactor
- people with higher status
- people who were generally nicer.
People were also significantly more likely to feel gratitude when their declaration of gratitude would be public. While this all may be true, it is not gratitude at the core. Take the time to notice and respond to the smaller acts. Your head, heart, and body will thank you.
My goal for you in 2019 is to exchange self-pity for gratitude. You can choose to write a few sentences in a gratitude journal or notes for a gratitude jar, or simply take a moment to silently acknowledge all that you have, but any way you do it, giving thanks can impact your life for the better.
If you are wondering how to lead your children down the path of a grateful heart, start by saying, “Thank you” to them whenever possible. Leading by example, squatting down to eye level, placing a hand on their shoulder, and simply being grateful towards your child will open their world to accept and give appreciation.
Now that you have decided to embark on an elimination diet for yourself or your child, there are a few things that I would like to cover. Remember why you are doing this and what you hope to gain. This isn’t a fad diet.
8 Tips for a Successful Elimination Diet
Clean Out the Kitchen and Prepare Wisely
This means to research why you are choosing this elimination diet and to take the time to understand and commit to it. If your head is not truly in the game, your chances of successes are minimal. Your health is at stake, educate yourself on why the foods you have been consuming may be the root (or aid in symptoms) of chronic issues. Clean out your pantry and refrigerator and start from scratch. Many seasonings and packaged items that you may think to be harmless are full of flavorings and other products not allowed on your elimination diet.
Meal Prep is Key
Find a few easy to prepare, easy to cook, and easy to clean up after recipes as your staples. The key is not to replace your current diet’s unhealthy foods with a diet-friendly version, but instead, try new foods or learn how to prepare things in new ways. If eating out was a go-to, preparing lunches for the week ahead of time will keep you on track. If dinners are always a last-minute thought, utilizing a slow cooker or pressure cooker may help you out. You can wash, chop, and portion foods after your grocery trip to make them easier to grab for meals throughout the week.
Keep a Food Journal
You need to write down your food consumption times and ingredients. You should also include your mood, sleep patterns, and ailments. You will be able to start seeing a pattern throughout your elimination diet that will help you to decide what foods are safe and which are trigger items.
Have a Support System
Are you entering this elimination diet alone? If a friend or family member is also on board, it will be a bit easier to stay motivated. But it’s completely doable to sail these seas solo, too. It is, however, important to have support. This means that your spouse or family should avoid eating your biggest non-diet foods in front of you. They can help you choose meals, talk with you about your experience, or simply cheer you on. Talking with others who have been through an elimination diet is also extremely helpful (and motivating).
Never Have an Empty Kitchen
When hunger strikes, food needs to be available. Keep high protein, diet-safe snacks premade and portioned and ready to grab. Toss some in your bag and pack a few for work (or school for a child). Visit the grocery store when needed to replenish fresh produce and other daily staples but stick only to what is on your list and avoid aisles filled with foods you are avoiding.
Do Not Cheat
Remember that this is not a weight-loss diet. If you cheat early on in an elimination diet, you will have to start from day 1 again. You will have to give the body time to detox from the consumed items. An elimination diet is done to learn the foods that trigger your ailments. Once you hit ‘baseline’ for a few weeks, you will be allowed to add back in items one at a time. From that point, you will know what triggers your body. Then it is up to you to either limit or permanently eliminate them from your daily life.
The Two-Week Detox Period
The first two weeks will be hard. I am not lying here. The body will go through a detox with headaches, mood swings, and exhaustion, especially if your previous diet consisted of highly-processed foods and lots of sugar. Push through and stay strong. Your body needs to be cleaned out so you can become the healthiest you possible.
The detox period does end, and you will feel better. You should even start feeling great. Your energy should increase, sleep should be easier, and your mood should improve. Some people feel so good that they become scared to reintroduce foods at the end of their elimination diets, but remember that you want to learn exactly what’s negatively affecting you. Knowledge is power, don’t be afraid to gain this knowledge.
Your Diet is Your Business:
You do not have to explain your choice to anyone, but if someone genuinely is interested in learning about your journey, you can share whatever you choose with them. That being said, you have the right to tell others to worry about what’s on their plate not what’s on yours.
For a school-aged child:
Talk to his teacher prior to beginning the diet. Let her know why you are doing this and ask her to please follow your food guidelines while he is under her watch. This goes for any childcare provider, including family members.
It started off as a pink trend. Grocery stores started stocking their shelves, and customers started buying up the pretty pink salt, but other than a few ‘it’s good for you’ rumors, no one really knew anything about this aesthetically pleasing salt substance. It comes in cooking form, slab form, stone form, and lamp form. But what is ‘IT’ and where does it come from?
True Himalayan salt is mined from within the Himalayan mountains that stretch through Asia, China, and India. Crystalized sea salt beds that formed within these mountains were covered in lava millions of years ago. This lava protected the sea salt from millions of years of pollution, bacteria, and ruins. It basically kept it in pristine condition. Now the red, pink, and white salt can be found just about everywhere.
Let me be clear before I start informing you on the benefits of Himalayan salt, cooking with or on this salt, utilizing the stones, and places the lamps in your home will not be a cure all to anything. We tend to be a society driven by quick fixes, and this is not one of them. The benefits to Himalayan salt are real, but (like any and all-natural solutions) it takes multiple interventions, therapies, and lifestyle changes to truly impact your life. I absolutely enjoy having salt lamps around my home and office, and I believe that you should invest in a few as well, but please take the time to dig deeper into your health and mental state of mind to find other ideas to pair with the salt. Himalayan salt is only a small addition with great benefits that should be made to your life.
Himalayan salt is the purest form of sea salt available. It contains varying amounts of minerals and iron-rich content. Nothing is added into this salt, as it naturally contains iodine and everything needed to benefit the body. It contains:
- sodium chloride
- strontium and more
Together these elements and minerals are linked to:
- Electrolyte balance
- Mood stabilization
- Aiding in adrenal fatigue
- Increased hydration
- Balanced pH (alkaline/acidity)
- Reduce acid reflux
- Muscle cramping prevention
- Proper metabolism functioning
- Strengthening of bones
- Lowered blood pressure
- Increased absorption of nutrients in intestines
- Improved circulation
- Removal of toxins and metals
- Libido support
You will find many blogs and articles saying these benefits are tied to the minerals but not the salt itself. I beg to differ, as most natural remedies are often described in this manner. Again, depending on your main complaints, you should include healthy lifestyle changes in combination with the Himalayan salt.
Ways to utilize Himalayan Salt:
Bathing: The skin soaks minerals through the bath water; this can be more effective than ingesting them! Using Himalayan salt in the bath tub allows the body to absorb the nutrients in the best way possible.
Salt Lamps: While a single salt lamp will not purify your home, paired with an air purifier, the lamp should effectively help send negative ions into your air, impacting your focus, mood and health. Salt is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water molecules from the air. These microscopic compounds remain on the salt and not floating in the air where you would have been breathing. The heat also dries these particles and rereleases water into the air with negative ions. Every few weeks, it’s good to turn off your salt lamp for an hour, let it cool and then gently rub it with a damp cloth to clean away trapped dust and particles. The rest of the time just leave it on and let it work to clean the air in your home.
Salt Slab: These can be used hot, warmed, room temperature, chilled, or frozen. You can serve any and all food types on the slab, as it enhances taste and mineral content within the food. It is naturally anti-microbial, so clean up is easy.
Cooking: Himalayan salt is used just as table salt is – it’s an even substitution.
Neti Pot: A salt water rinse of the sinuses can help with allergies and illnesses. Using Himalayan salt kills bacteria and bonds to many contaminants that may be stuck in your nasal cavities due to breathing polluted air.
I am not about to start a food blog here! (Although, Manuka Honey is absolutely delish!) I want to introduce you to the amazing powers and benefits of having Manuka Honey in your medicine cabinet (or kitchen) at home.
Long before the days of Neosporin, there were natural solutions to most scraps, burns, wounds, sore throats, and infections. Over the decades, we have drifted away from these solutions looking in favor of man-made, chemical-filled, toxic answers. Why? Because doctors tell us we should. But times are changing, and our society is beginning to question more, research deeper, and demand healthier options.
As with most products on shelves, there are several options to choose from, and most of the time, you get what you pay for. This is no exception. The highest quality, most beneficial Manuka Honey will cost more, but it will last you quite a while.
What is Manuka Honey?
Manuka Honey is one of nature’s most powerful medicines. It comes from New Zealand, made from bees that pollinate the native Manuka bush. Only those specific bees in this specific region of New Zealand can create this powerful honey. It is then tested and verified by independent labs for its properties and exported all over the world.
Manuka Honey consists of:
- Hydrogen peroxide (found in all honey)
- Methylglyoxal (MG) (A powerful antibiotic compound)
It is the Methylglyoxal (MG) compound that sets Manuka honey apart from other types of honey. MG is much more stable than hydrogen peroxide and doesn’t lose its antibacterial properties. It is this element that provides the benefits listed below, but not all Manuka Honey is created equal. There is a UMF number found on each brand and jar of the honey. This is the Unique Manuka Factor, and it is extremely important when purchasing your honey. It tells you the antibacterial power found within that honey; the higher the number, the more powerful the honey. While UMF 1+ to 10+ holds benefits, they are not more beneficial than your average local honeys. Looking at a UMF of 10+ to 15+ is better, and will provide benefits, a Manuka Honey of UMF 16+ or higher is what you want to find.
How can Manuka Honey benefit you?
Research shows Manuka to be effective against over 60 species of bacteria, and can be used topically on wounds and infections. It is quite effective as a wound dressing to promote fast, improved healing.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is more commonly known as the ‘Super Bug.’ Due to the antibiotic overuse and drug ineffectiveness within our society, we have caused certain strains of Staph to become so powerful that the only option is surgery or other ultra-invasive solutions and medications. Research has found the Manuka Honey can combat the strongest, most threatening genes of the MRSA bacteria. When a higher concentration of Manuka honey is used, it is able to effectively treat the major wound-infecting types of bacteria. If antibiotics are used, Manuka honey can help them be more effective and even reverse antibiotic resistance.
Research shows that Manuka Honey can actually cure a sore throat as it can inhibit the bacteria causing a Strep Throat. More recently, it has even been approved by the National Cancer Institute to be used to heal inflammation in the throat from chemotherapy.
Low Stomach Acid and Acid Reflux
Clostidium Difficult is a dangerous bacteria related to intestinal imbalances. Manuka Honey is an effective way to defeat this bacteria. Taking Manuka Honey can reduce reflux and rebalance the digestive system as a whole, healing stomach issues.
Clinical trials have also shown that Manuka honey has a positive effect in the treatment of various cancer tumors. The honey was effective in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and also proved to increase the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments.
Acne and Eczema
While no studies have been performed yet, the testimonies speak for themselves. Topical use of Manuka Honey seems to cure acne and eczema; leave the homey on for 10 minutes and then wipe off – repeat daily until healed.
Research shows that Manuka Honey drastically reduces the pain from a burn, speeds healing, and can prevent infection from occurring.
The rich anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties of Manuka Honey can prevent infection in people with venous ulcers.
Tooth Decay and Gingivitis
This powerful honey has been shown to improve oral health and prevent gingivitis. One study showed that chewing on Manuka Honey for 10 minutes, 3 times a day, can reduce tooth plaque and bleeding gums.
Because Manuka honey is an effective antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory topical treatment for skin problems, it is also excellent for treating shingles. One study showed that Manuka Honey was able to treat the virus that causes shingles.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS and IBD plague many in our society without medical reasoning to support why. I believe it to be an unbalanced gut, as the gut health is what controls most bodily issues. No studies have been performed involving IBS and Manuka Honey, but in clinical trials involving IBD, researchers found that Manuka Honey reduced inflammation in the colon. It is safe to believe the testimonies about the positive relationship between Manuka and IBS as well.
Manuka Honey is naturally 4x stronger than any other honey, and is rich in fructose, amino acids, enzymes and B-complex vitamins, particularly thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), and B6. Its mineral content includes calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese in various amounts.
Manuka Honey has also been found to fight:
• Athlete’s Foot
• Hair Loss
Even when you lead a healthy lifestyle, sickness happens. Of course, it is best for our bodies to be prepared to fight off any bad bacteria, but sometimes we need help. It is so easy to pull into to the drug store and grab the most promising over-the-counter product, but is it the best option? What about for our children?
I cannot explain how often people ask me about my home ‘medicine cabinet.’ They want to know if I secretly have a stash of some cure-all product. They want to know what to have on hand when sickness invades their home so that they can avoid the dye and chemical-filled medicines down the street. With a world of homeopathies and natural remedies, what works? What items are helpful for what ailments? What is worth keeping on hand? Oils? Pellets? Foods? The list is never-ending, and no one seems to just give you a list of what to use and when.
While these natural items are things that I recommend, or have used, it is not an exhaustive list. I wanted to take the most common ailments that patients ask about and offer natural remedies to at least explore before grabbing the Motrin or Ibuprofen. Yes, I do keep dye-free children’s Motrin on hand as a ‘last resort.’ I use it when a fever is above my comfort zone within my own child, and when she is beyond comfort. Please read about why you should NEVER resort to Tylenol on my blog HERE. (Also note that the AAP does NOT recommend to EVER alternate the use of Tylenol and Motrin. Learn about recommendations https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAP-Issues-Advice-on-Managing-Fevers-in-Children.aspx)
A list of natural remedies to have for basic ‘First Aid’ and Sickness:
*Remember that with homeopathies and natural items, they can be taken in combination with one another, but it is not necessary. You can alternate these throughout the illness or stick to only 1-2 of them. I want to give you options to find locally or order within your budget.
Flu (Preventative and Remedy):
- Celletech’s Winter Balance (remedy) and Winter Tonic (prevention) taken weekly and then continuously at the onset of flu symptoms (These products are wonderful and worth researching to add to your medicine cabinet – read more http://celletech.com/about-us.html ).
- Oscillococcinum – pellets can be dissolved in water for fastest relief.
- Bioron Gelsemium Sempervirens 200C – 3-4 pellets dissolved in water repeated until symptoms subside.
- Elderberry Syrup
- Increased Probiotics
- Vitamin D3
- Aloe Vera Juice
- Triguard: If you feel one coming on take 30 drops in orange or grapefruit juice 3 times a day until symptoms subside. (Learn more http://anaturalhealingcenter.com/Products/tri_guard.html)
Cough, Cold and Nasal Discharge:
Depending on type of cough (dry, croupy cough. Wet, deep cough. Dry, hacking cough) and color/thickness of discharge, there are specific hemopathies that are meant to be used. I keep the following on hand, as recommended by the National Center for Homeopathy. (Learn more http://www.homeopathycenter.org/coughs-and-colds )
- Aconite: watery runny nose, sneezing, headache; early stages of croup.
- Arsenicum: profuse watery nasal discharge, nose feels stopped up, frequent and violent sneezing; nasal discharge may be thick and yellow; dull throbbing frontal headache; cough from deep in chest.
- Bryonia: dry, painful, spasmodic cough, worse with deep breathing, eating, drinking, in warm rooms and during the day; better from the open air.
- Hepar sulphur: rarely used in the beginning stages; cold may have started with watery, runny nose, but now nasal discharge is thick, yellow and may be bad smelling; sneezing at the slightest exposure to cold.
- Kali bichromicum: used during later stages of cold; discharge thick, yellow or greenish, and stringy, difficult to remove from nose; thick post-nasal drip; sinus headache.
- Nux vomica: illness after exposure to cold or cold dry weather; onset not sudden; dry, tickling and scraping sensations in nose; nose stuffy and dry at first, then develops a watery and often irritating discharge with sneezing; nose may alternate between stuffed up and runny.
- Pulsatilla: bland yellow to yellow-green nasal discharge, with stuffiness alternating with fluent discharge; nose may run in the open air and the evening, and stuff up in a warm room; lips are chapped and peeling; dry mouth with a lack of thirst; both dry and loose coughs,
- Spongia: loud, dry, barking cough and hoarse, rasping respirations; breathing sounds like saw being driven through a board.
- Activated Charcoal Powder: This is amazing and has multiple uses, but for upset stomach, diarrhea, food poisoning, vomiting, etc it cannot be beat.
- Increased Probiotics
Items I always have on hand:
- Belladonna: Sudden High Fever
- Coconut Oil: The uses are endless.
- Magnesium: Cramping, growing pains, and so much more. Research shows that magnesium (Epsom salt) in the bath can help the body fight illness.
- Manuka Honey UMF16 or above (and goldenseal mixed as a paste on wounds): Acne, burns, sore throat, allergies… This can even work on an early staph infection! Talk about powerful.
- Colloidal Silver: Any sign of infection can be battled with Colloidal Silver. It can be used on open cuts, ingested, as eye drops for pink eye, etc.
- Raw Garlic: Nature’s antibiotic, consuming this can fight off illnesses.
- Arnica Gel (not to be used on open wounds): ‘Growing Pains,’ bruises, unopened ‘boo-boos’ and sore muscles
- Arnica Pellets: stiffness, sore muscles, light pain from injury
- Milican Oil: Ear ache or swimmer’s ear
- C Salts: My first line of defense for sudden constipation.
- Bone Broth: Keep a batch in the freezer to pull out whenever needed.
As I said, this is not an exhaustive list, but one that covers the most common illnesses that strike our homes. There are many other options out there that may also work, but these are the short list that have made it to my personal ‘Non-Medicine Cabinet.’
Make sure to follow proper dosing and consult your primary doctor with questions.
Medication is not the first resort.
I have several clients who came to my practice with a medicine cabinet full of prescriptions to help them be ‘healthy.’ It’s funny isn’t it; how many drugs a person must take to counteract the problems occurring within the body? The truth is that these drugs typically act as a mask. They may lessen symptoms and appease doctors, but do they actually aid in solving the root of the problems?
Let’s talk about what blood pressure is.
“When your heart beats, it pumps blood round your body to give it the energy and oxygen it needs. As the blood moves, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your arteries (and your heart) and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes.”
There are two readings you need to understand when having your blood pressure taken: Systolic (SBP: the higher number) and Distolic (DBP: the lower number). Your Pulse Pressure is the difference between these two numbers. While a systolic number above 140 (hypertension) places an individual at higher risk of problems, the greater the pulse pressure, the higher the risk factors become.
Hypertension exists in two stages:
Stage 1: SBP 140-159 or DBP 90-99
Stage 2: SBP > 160 or DBP > 100
Instead of reaching for the medication, let’s look at the main underlying causes to hypertension:
- Physical Inactivity
- Sleep Apnea
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Primary Aldosteronism
- Thyroid Issues
There are many other reasons an individual may be experiencing hypertension, but altering the current lifestyle should help immensely.
More than 15% of deaths today are linked to high blood pressure. Remember that hypertension triggers strokes, heart attacks, aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure. According to the American Heart Association 28% of Americans have high blood pressure and don’t even know it.
Even if you are not actively hypertensive, it may be time to evaluate your lifestyle to see how you can prevent it from occurring in the future.
Things to consider when trying to lower your blood pressure:
NIH recommends the DASH diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. Personally, I tend to recommend skipping anything labeled ‘low-fat’ or ‘fat-free’ and stick with real food, as opposed to altered, processed foods that contain food substitutes.
Foods to avoid: alcohol, processed foods, sugar, trans-fats, caffeine, excess sodium.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Regular physical activity — at least 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). It’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again. Exercise can (also) help you avoid developing full-blown hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.The best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program.”
SUPPLEMENTS (Always talk to your doctor about adding supplements into your routine)
The following are all linked to lowering blood pressure:
- Fish Oil
- Coenzyme Q10
- Cat’s Claw
- French Lavender
- Celery Seed
- Deep Breathing
- Quit Smoking
- Lessen Chronic Stress
- Get More Sleep
Several studies lead to the same conclusion: Chiropractic care, in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can aid in lowering blood pressure. More research needs preformed, but from personal experience, I believe that these three categories (along with adding homeopathics, acupuncture, and supplements) will keep the medications far from your body.
Did you know that there are two different types of happiness?
Eudaimonic Well-Being: Giving, passionate, nurturing, intrinsically happy
Hedonic Well-Being: Superficial happiness, ‘consummatory’ self-gratification
These two traits are both defined as happiness, but only one is linked to positive well-being; while the other can have lifelong negative effects.
In the past few years, as the science has unfolded in linking eudaimonic happiness to health, I have often pointed my patients toward the published information. Too often, I see clients who take longer to shake a cold, those who get the flu year after year, and some who just never feel healthy. They all say that they are happy with their lives, but if they open their minds to this research and start seeking true joy, I tend to notice a huge difference in the way their body handles and maintains an adjustment.
In 2013, Scientists from the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology and the University of North Carolina found that positive psychology (happiness) impacts human gene expression (our DNA). In a study that took over 10 years to conclude, researchers learned just how life-altering it can be when an individual reaches an overall state of happiness.
Previous research had found that immune cells shift during extended periods of stress, threat or uncertainty. This shift is called the conserved transcriptional response to adversity, or CTRA, and it occurs when there is an “increased expression of genes involved in inflammation and a decreased expression of genes involved in antiviral responses.” But no one had looked at the emotion of happiness, and how it plays a role in the overall well-being of the human body.
Happiness can prevent and protect us from illness and disease, and it help lessen the impact or heal those who are ill. In the last 10-15 years, research has been published that links eudaimonic happiness to lower heart rate and blood pressure, healthier heart rate variability, increased immunity, decreased risk of various diseases (such as coronary heart disease), and increased chances of positive health outcomes during an illness. A 2010 study found that for every additional point of happiness a subject earned during their research, their individual risk of heart disease decreased by 22%.
What does this mean for those who fulfill their happiness by spending money and living a materialistically happy life? Simply put, it means the exact opposite of everything above. Instead of having low levels of inflammatory gene expression with high levels of antibodies and antiviral genes, their blood shows an hostile environment with high inflammation and low antiviral and antibody gene expression. This leads to higher risk of illness, chronic problems, and earlier death.
The 2013 study included blood samples from 80 healthy adults who were assessed for hedonic and eudaimonic well-being, as well as potentially confounding negative psychological and behavioral factors. The outcome not only taught us that eudaimonic happiness alters us at a cellular level, but researchers learned that both types of people (eudaimonic and hedonic) expressed the same levels of positive emotion. This means that just feeling happy is not what alters our genetic makeup; it is the happiness that occurs when we are doing good in this world that makes us healthier.
Researchers have found that the following 10 habits are scientifically linked to happiness, with acceptance being the number one predictor of reaching true happiness
- Giving: do things for others
- Relating: connect with people
- Exercising: take care of your body
- Appreciating: notice the world around
- Trying out: keep learning new things
- Direction: have goals to look forward to
- Resilience: find ways to bounce back
- Emotion: take a positive approach
- Acceptance: be comfortable with who you are
- Meaning: be part of something bigger
Take this as your inspiration to start working towards your own true happiness. You will thank yourself later.
Dr. Gary G Kohls, a retired holistic physician, has just released an article on Global Research entitled: Mitochondrial “Collateral Damage” Thanks to Big Pharma – Iatrogenic Drug and Vaccine-induced Mitochondrial Disorders.
After reading this article, I immediately knew it needed to be read by you, and by everyone. As a chiropractor, I agree whole-heartedly with this research and the conclusions that are made, and I cannot begin to explain just how many patients I have seen who have, or are still experiencing a condition caused by a medication.
Looking at our society as a whole, you can easily see how sick we are. Generations are facing Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases earlier than those before us. Bipolar disorder and other disorders of the brain have also increased overall and within younger age groups. There are so many of these conditions that have become known as “common iatrogenic diseases.” This means that the disease is caused by drug or doctor; however, this research is based only on commonly prescribed drugs and vaccine ingredients that are linked to causing the following (and more) conditions:
- Huntington’s disease
- Cancer including hepatitis-C virus-associated hepatocarcinogenesis
- Alzheimer disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Bipolar disorder
- Aging and senescence
- Anxiety disorders
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH – late stage of nonalcoholic fatty infiltration of the liver)
- Cardiovascular disease, including atherosclerosis
- Sarcopenia (muscle-wasting disease, mainly of the elderly)
- Exercise intolerance
- Fatigue, including chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and myofascial pain
The research cited in the article shows that the ingredients in the following drugs and vaccines are making us sick. We are a walking toxic-filled, chronically ill society, and it is time to pull the blinders off. To statistically rank as having the most persistently-ill people (infants, children, and adults) in the developed world should be triggering alarms, but it is not. And why? The makers of these drugs intend to keep us sick; it benefits them. But it is not okay. It has never been okay.
These medications and ingredients are “documented to induce mitochondrial damage”
- Alcoholism medications Ex: Antabuse
- Alzheimer’s dementia drugs Ex: Tacrine (Cognex), Galantamine
- Analgesics (for pain) and anti-inflammatory drugs, Ex: Aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), indomethacin, Naproxen
- Anesthetics Ex: lidocaine, propofol (also general anesthetics likehalothane. isoflurane, sevoflurane)
- Angina medications Ex: amiodarone
- Antiarrhythmic (regulates heartbeat) Ex: amiodarone (also beta blockers)
- Antibiotics Ex: tetracycline (also chloramphenicol, Cipro)
- Antidepressants Ex: amitriptyline, citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac, Symbyax, Sarafem)
- Antipsychotics Ex: chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, haloperidol, risperidone, quetiapine, clozapine, olanzapine
- Anxiety medications Ex: (Every benzodiazepine), including alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (valium)
- Barbiturates Ex: amobarbital, phenobarbital, pentobarbital, , propofol, secobarbital
- Cholesterol-lowering medications Ex: All statins – atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin (Crestor), simvastatin, cholestyramine, clofibrate (Atromid-S)
- Cancer (chemotherapy) medications Ex: Mitomycin C, profiromycin, adriamycin
- Diabetes medications Ex: metformin, Glucophage, troglitazone, rosiglitazone, buformin
- HIV/AIDS medications Ex: (AZT, zidovudine)
- Epilepsy/Seizure medications Ex: valproic acid (Depakene, depakote, divalproex sodium)
- Mood stabilizers Ex: lithium
- Parkinson’s disease medications
- Vaccine Ingredients Ex: Mercury, aluminum, ethylene glycol
It seems to be a catch22, needing medication because you are ill, but the medication is linked to an illness. But realizing that a vaccine from childhood, a round of drugs prescribed years ago even could be the cause of the disease. It is possible, though to screen for mitochondrial toxicity as part of the preapproval process before a medication is approved to be distributed. This could aid in preventing so much of what our society suffers from.
Healing diets need to be researched, as they can decrease toxic effects of these ingredients. Nutritional therapies also need to be further researched.
There are pros and cons to every decision a person makes, including choosing to vaccinate a child or themselves. Accepting a medication is also a choice. Again, weighing pros and cons with these choices. Improving the gut and overall health of our infants, children, and ourselves, as well as spreading factual information as to why this is important, can call play a role in future statistics. Understand that knowledge is power.
Please take the time to read the original article, educating yourself and others. Then begin questioning and researching things for yourself; informed decisions are the best decisions anyone can make.
You may be risking your life for a good night’s sleep.
There are two different categories of sleeping medications: Over-The-Counter (OTC) and Prescription. I’m going to talk to you about the risks of both, beginning with OTC. OTC sleep aids may seem to be an easy fix, not addictive like prescription versions, and even safe because they are made so readily available. This is not the case, is it ever these days? If you are not sleeping well, or not falling asleep well, there is a deeper issue at hand. Finding a natural, healthy solution to the rooted issue will not only solve your sleeping troubles, but improve your overall wellbeing.
Most people assume that taking an OTC sleep aid won’t cause harm, but the sad truth is that a few doses can cause long-term problems. The main ingredient in many OTC sleeping pills is an antihistamine which results in the drowsy and sedative effect. Many OTC sleep aids also contain acetaminophen (Tylenol type products), especially if they advertise pain relief as well. For more specific information on Tylenol risks read here: http://peaandthepodchiropractic.com/the-truth-about-tylenol-dangers-for-infants-children-and-pregnant-women/
Most Common OTC Sleep Aids:
- Tylenol PM
- Advil PM
- Other store-name brands
OTC Sleeping Pills May Increase Your Risk of Liver Failure and are linked to brain damage.
The number one cause of acute liver failure in the United States is taking too much acetaminophen, which is incredibly easy to do considering just how many over-the-counter and prescription products contain this drug. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/07/21/FDA-Changes-Tylenol-Warnings-But-Doesnt-Tell-You-How-to-Take-it-Safely.aspx
Overdosing is as easy as taking a dose for a headache, cold or achy back that’s making it difficult for you to sleep, but having already taken one or more acetaminophen-containing products to relieve your pain and other symptoms during the day. Not realizing that compounding doses of acetaminophen can be extremely dangerous, even deadly, is what causes an overdose. This risk is important to be aware of, especially if you take Tylenol PM, Excedrin PM or other acetaminophen-containing sleep aids on a regular basis. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/29/overthecounter-sleep-meds-are-not-effective.aspx
The numbers are alarming, over $100 million or more is being spent on OTC sleep aids, and research shows that children 12 years and older along with adults are downing these medications like candy.
Taking these OTC Sleep Medications, even sporadically, can put you at risk of: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep-aids/art-20047860
- Skin rash
- Appetite increase, weight gain, loss of appetite, or even anorexia.
- Hypo-tension (abnormally low blood pressure).
- Blurred vision.
- Prostate problems.
- Liver toxicity.
- Morning hangover. Waking up groggy and feeling “drugged” is a common side effect.
- Daytime drowsiness and fatigue. OTC medications tend to last longer than 8 hours, leaving you unable to function well throughout the next day.
- Dental Decay
Benadryl and Sominex have previously been found to cause hallucinations in the elderly. All of the listed OTC drugs can negatively affect your brain, causing long-term cognitive impairment. These drugs, called anticholinergics, block acetylcholine – a nervous system neurotransmitter. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease typically have a marked shortage of acetylcholine. The results of some studies indicate that these drugs with anticholinergic effects may be yet another piece of the puzzle that might explain the sharp rise in dementia and cognitive decline.
Other anticholinergic drugs, such as Paxil, Detrol, Demerol, and Elavil are available only by prescription.
“Research involving data from more than 10,500 people who received drugs for poor sleep (hypnotics) showed that “as predicted, patients prescribed any hypnotic had substantially elevated hazards of dying compared to those prescribed no hypnotics” and the association held true even when patients with poor health were taken into account — and even if the patients took fewer than 18 pills in a year.
The study suggested that those who take such medications are not only at higher risk for certain cancers, but are nearly four times more likely to die than people who don’t take them.
Sleeping pills linked to these risks included benzodiazepines (such as temazepam), non-benzodiazepines (such as Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata), barbiturates, and sedative antihistamines.” http://www.darksideofsleepingpills.com/
Not only are prescription sleep medications linked to increased risk of death, but they place you at a 35% higher risk of cancer.
In addition to the side effects of the OTC versions, prescription sleep aids add the side effects:
- Sleep walking, sleep eating and even sleep driving
- Confusion and disorientation
- Complete amnesia from events, even those that took place during the day
Sleeping Pills Help You Fall Asleep Just 13 Minutes Faster and Sleep Only 11 Minutes Longer
Sleeping pills do nothing to help the underlying reasons why you’re having trouble sleeping in the first place. This is likely why studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy can treat insomnia better than drugs
Better Options for a Good Night’s Sleep
Whether you are not able to fall asleep, wake up too often, or don’t feel well rested when you wake up in the morning, these options may provide you with techniques to improve sleep problems.
There are many factors that can influence your sleep, but one that many fail to consider is the use of lights, such as your TV, iPad, and computer, before going to bed. These emit the type of blue light that will suppress melatonin production and hamper your ability to fall asleep. Ideally, you’ll want to turn them off at least an hour prior to bedtime.
Next, making sure your bedroom is ideally suited for sleep can also go a long way to ensure restful and uninterrupted sleep:
- Cover your windows with blackout shades or drapes to ensure complete darkness.
- Consider using a Himalayan salt lamp. It will give off a soft red glow, purify the air, and help you rest easier.
- Keep the temperature in your bedroom at or below 70 degrees F (21 degrees Celsius)
- Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs).These can disrupt your pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well.
Natural sleep aids and insomnia treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy take time to treat this sleeplessness, usually a minimum of several days or weeks. It takes time and hard work to learn how to sleep if you have insomnia.
Chiropractic care and wellness adjustments will help you to relax. It also improves the blood flow in the nervous system and corrects any misalignments, or sublaxations in the spine. These subluxations compress the nerves and cause lack of communication between the spine and the brain. These subluxations lead to a process called stress response which puts the body out of balance and do not let the body rest.
Avoiding gluten, grains, dairy and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most important reasons why inflammatory prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.
Omega-3 fats (Like Krill Oil or Fermented Cod Liver Oil) are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins.
B vitamins are important for energy production in cells. And vitamin B6 works with the sleep aid 5-htp to help create serotonin.
Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D3:
Adequate calcium and magnesium in your daily diet are also important nutrients for helping you relax and get a good night’s sleep. But according to the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements, millions of Americans are not getting adequate amounts. Magnesium in particular may help with fatigue and stress reduction. Multivitamins almost never contain much calcium or magnesium, so you may need to supplement if your diet is lacking in these two essential nutrients. You should also make certain you are getting at least 400 IU of vitamin D3 every day (1,000 IU supplements are even better, especially during the dark winter months). Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption.
Make sure to use high quality supplements.
A melatonin sleep aid can be very effective for some people, especially for jet lag. Melatonin can be taken by itself as a natural sleep aid. It is also often seen as a blend in supplements, which may be the most effective way to use it.
Also known as 5-hydroxytryptophan, this substance is produced in the body from the amino acid tryptophan. In supplements, 5-htp often comes from Griffonia simplicifolia seed extract. 5-htp is a precursor to serotonin and increases serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that has many functions, one of which is to regulate sleep. One of the great things about 5-htp is that it crosses easily from the blood into the brain. That’s why 5-htp taken by itself may be effective for reaching a natural calm mood and also help with depression.
As a natural sleep aid, it’s probably best to use 5-htp as part of a supplement blend.
This brain neurotransmitter is included in some natural sleep aids because it has a calming effect and relieves anxiety that can keep a person awake at night. GABA does promote drowsiness and may help some people fall asleep faster.
This is the most abundant amino acid in your body. It has a wide range of uses, including for insomnia, anxiety, and to improve mood.
This is also an amino acid and is naturally found in green tea. Studies have shown that green tea contains about 1 to 3% theanine. It has a relaxing and anti-anxiety effect on the mind.(Green tea itself is not a natural remedy for insomnia because this tea contains caffeine, but you can find a decaffeinated version.)
Herbal Sleep Remedies:
The best natural sleep aid will have some combination of sleep herbs in them.
- Lemon balm
Not all of these herbs need to be present for an all-natural sleep aid to be effective. Most herbal sleep aids will also often have melatonin mixed in with them, though not always.
Tips for falling asleep fast: http://www.sleeppassport.com/how-to-fall-asleep.html
The Truth about Tampons (and Pads)
*This article is in reference to non-organic products*
Disposable, single-use tampons and pads became available in much of the developed world in the first half of the 20th century. Today tampons are used by over 100 million women worldwide, while pads, which are much more widespread on a global scale due to a cultural aversion to tampons in many regions, comprise a multi-billion dollar industry. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB976238645760374015
The average woman uses an average of more than 11,000 tampons in her lifetime. It’s estimated that approximately 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators are filling (North American) landfills annually. These products require hundreds of years to biodegrade, particularly if wrapped in the plastic bag commonly provided for this purpose as part of their packaging. (In fact, every piece of plastic ever made, still exists to this day.) In addition to the environmental crisis these products produce, the actual process of manufacturing these products – turning wood pulp into soft, cotton-like fibers – is both resource- and chemical-intensive. http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/healthandscience/cumulative-exposure-and-feminine-care-products/ and http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/apr/27/disposable-tampons-arent-sustainable-but-do-women-want-to-talk-about-it
While the environmental issues are cause enough for concern, I am writing to share something far scarier about these products.
The purpose of feminine care products is to clean, moisturize, absorb discharge or otherwise treat the sensitive skin and tissues of the vaginal area. The vagina (vulva and labia, too) is comprised of soft tissue that is incredibly absorbent. Inserting a standard tampon or placing a pad against this area is the equivalent of inviting toxic chemicals into your most delicate and absorbent areas.
Tampons and pads are sold under the cosmetic product label, and are therefore tested and determined to be “safe” if used on ordinary skin. (Which is a joke in itself, as the chemicals found within them have been proven that they should be nowhere near our skin or bodies.) This means chemicals of concern such as carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, and allergens are being used on, or even in, the extremely permeable mucus membranes of the vaginal area. (Yes, these chemicals are all approved for use in our cosmetics too.)
Tampons and pads are made of cotton, right? They are actually made of cotton and rayon:
- Rayon is not a natural substance and is classified as a synthetic fiber due to the chemical process used to create it.
- A few of the toxic chemicals used in the process of manufacturing rayon include carbon hydroxide, sulfuric acid, and carbon disulfide.
- Rayon absorbent fibers added to the tampon can stick to your vaginal wall (causing irritation) and some loose fibers may even be left behind when you remove the tampon potentially raising your risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
- About 90% of the cotton grown in the U.S. is genetically modified (GMO) according to the USDA. http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us/recent-trends-in-ge-adoption.aspx
- Conventional cotton (non-organic) is considered by many to be the world’s “dirtiest” crop. It is one of the highest sprayed (if not the highest) crops in the U.S.
- 5 of the top 9 pesticides used on cotton in the U.S. are classified by the EPA as a Category 1 & 2, which are the most dangerous. These pesticides have also been linked to cancer.
- A recent discovery by a university has discovered that feminine hygiene products contain a chemical (glyphosate) found in Monsanto’s famous “Roundup” herbicide. This chemical has been classified as “probably carcinogenic.”
According to Revolution News:
“Glyphosate was found in 85% of the products containing cotton bought in pharmacies and supermarkets including feminine care products like tampons and sanitary pads, sterile gauze pads, cotton swabs and wipes.”
February (2016),The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will begin testing food for glyphosate, the world’s most commonly used pesticide. This marks the first time that a U.S. agency will routinely test for glyphosate residue in food. It comes after the Government Accountability Office released a report condemning the FDA for failing even to disclose its failure to test for glyphosate in its annual pesticide residue report.
Did You Know?
Tampons and pads are bleached with chlorine. The bleaching process creates a by-product called dioxin, which has been labeled as a toxic carcinogen by the World Health Organization. (Learn more about the dangers of this toxic chemical here: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/)
Bleaching exposes women to low levels of dioxins every time they use these feminine hygiene products. Not to mention, these toxins get stored in fat cells over time making it more difficult to maintain a healthy body throughout life.
* products labeled as ‘chlorine-free bleaching’ may still use methods containing chlorine dioxide.
Aside from pesticides, traces of dioxin, and GMOs, if you’re using scented tampons, be aware that such products may contain any of the nearly 3,000 fragrance chemicals in use. But, like the above mentioned chemicals, they probably won’t be listed on the label. An analysis by Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), which acquired public patent documents held by Proctor & Gamble (the maker of Tampax and Always), showed the following chemicals may also be in your tampons. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/04/21/boycott-gmos-roundup.aspx
Chemical Name Function Potential Health Effects Found in Benzethonium Chloride Preservative, spermicide Not for use on mucous membranes, maternal and embryotoxicity Deodorant powders and suppositories, feminine wash Benzocaine Mild anesthetic Allergic rash, dermatitis Anti-itch creams Butylparaben Preservative Endocrine disruption, increased risk of breast cancer, allergic rash Wipes D&C Red 33 Colorant (dye) Not for use on mucous membranes Feminine wash Diazolidinyl urea Preservative Releases formaldehyde, allergic rash, cancer Feminine wash, douche Dioxins and Furans Contaminant from bleaching process Cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity Tampons (not disclosed on label) DMDM Hydantoin Preservative Releases formaldehyde, allergic rash, cancer Wipes, feminine wash Ethylparaben Preservative Endocrine disruption, increased risk of breast cancer, allergic rash Wipes Ext. Violet 2 Colorant (dye) Not for use on mucous membranes Feminine Wash FD&C Yellow No. 5 Colorant (dye) Allergic reactions including bronchial asthma Feminine Wash “Fragrance” Fragrance Contains undisclosed chemicals of unknown toxicity, likely to contain allergens, allergic rash, endocrine disruption, cancer Wipes, feminine wash, tampons, pads, douche, deodorant, anti-itch creams Methylchloroisothiazolinone Preservative Allergic rash Feminine wash Methylisothiazolinone Preservative Allergic rash Wipes, feminine wash, anti-itch cream Methylparaben Preservative Endocrine disruption, increased risk of breast cancer, allergic rash Wipes, deodorant, anti-itch creams Octoxynol 9 Spermicide Genital irritation, increased vaginal discharge, potential reproductive toxicity Douche Pesticide residues Contaminant of traditionally grown cotton Cancer, endocrine disruption, acute toxicity Tampons (not disclosed on label) Polyoxymethylene Urea Preservative Releases formaldehyde, allergic rash, cancer Deodorant powder Propylparaben Preservative Endocrine disruption, increased risk of breast cancer, allergic rash Wipes, anti-itch creams Quaternium-15 Preservative Releases formaldehyde, allergic rash, cancer Wipes, feminine wash 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1, 3-Diol Preservative Releases formaldehyde, allergic rash, cancer Wipes
Tampons and Pads have also been linked to the following:
- Imbalances pH of the vagina- Normal pH is essential for maintaining good vaginal health. When the pH is imbalanced a woman is at risk for vaginal issues such as infections, pain and discomfort.
- Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)- which is not as rare as we are made to believe. TSS can include causing endometriosis, abnormal pap smears, genital warts, etc. TSS is caused by a bacterial toxin that can also result in high fever, confusion, a rash similar to a sunburn, low blood pressure and can be fatal.
- Interfering with the menstrual flow- Tampons disrupt the natural downward flow of energy during menstruation which causes excess cramping and abdominal discomfort.
- Depleting natural fluids causing dryness and irritation- In addition to absorbing blood tampons also absorb the natural vaginal fluids which causes the vaginal walls to become dry and damaged.
- Containing mold – http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/06/tampons-feminine-care.aspx
- Organic Tampons
- Organic Pads
- Reusable Fabric Pads
- Menstrual Cup
Pads and tampons are one of the most convenient inventions for feminine hygiene products in modern times; however, now more than ever it’s crucial for us to know what we’re putting into our body. Knowledge is power.