Saturday, May 18, 2019

unconditional love and gratitude...

So, there I was planning my day and deciding to make my lovely husband one of his favorite meals and preparing a fire for the deck. I thought it would be nice to get the Salmon soufflé in the oven and start the fire on the deck for when he gets home.

He has been busy working and schmoozing at a seminar all day. I was whipping the egg whites when it dawned on me, as I spotted the little red dot in the egg whites, the perfect example of unconditional love. (organic free range eggs of course)
The chicken sacrificed her baby for my survival. And that little unborn chick gave its life for me.

It made me think about the love a parent has for their child and the sacrifices they would make for the wellbeing and life of that child. Such unconditional love is given to us each and every day, by mother nature...
Animals and plants give of themselves freely everyday for our survival. For us to thrive. Trees grow and give off oxygen daily for s to be bale to breathe. Mother nature never asks for anything but does rely on our love to nature and protect her just like she natures and protein its us regardless of how we abuse her. Regardless of our appreciation or not.

I am grateful for all living organisms on this planet that gives of their energy so that I MAY THRIVE and live a healthy happy life.
I strive to give so unconditionally to enhance the lives and energy on this beautiful planet.

This moment of clarity fills me with gratitude and unconditional love for life and all living things.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Detoxification and what happens to your body during this time.

What Happens to the Body During Detox?

Nobody likes uninvited guests. This includes toxins and pollutants such as heavy metals and pesticides from the air, water, and soil that bombard our bodies every day. Over time, these “guests” can build up and can contribute to mild issues such as brain fog, tiredness, aches, and skin complaints.1,2 This is when it is important to understand the three phases of your body’s natural detoxification processes. Here’s what that looks like:

Phase I: Reaction 

In the first phase of metabolic detoxification, your body reacts to toxins by using enzymes (known as P450 enzymes)3 that act to turn the toxins into free radicals. This is a good thing: Free radicals are a natural occurrence that, when balanced, should not be an issue; it is when free radicals become imbalanced that they are considered an issue. Through this conversion process, toxins become water-soluble molecules that are easier for your body to get rid of via the kidneys (and eventually through the urine).3

Phase II: Neutralization

Welcome to the activation phase of detox! After Phase I, some toxins are rendered as more reactive than before. In Phase II, these products are attached to other water-soluble substances to increase their solubility and make them easier to eliminate through urine or bile.3 This process is called a conjugation reaction, and requires cofactors (metal ions or coenzymes) to make it happen.3

Phase III: Transportation

Like a ferry that brings cars and people from Point A to Point B, the transporters of Phase III help ensure the water-soluble compounds created in Phases I and II are excreted from your cells. Before this occurs, Phase III neutralizes the compounds and binds them with dietary fiber. From here, it’s literally a flush when the toxins are excreted.3
References:
  1. Goldman RH et al. The occupational and environmental health history. 1981 Dec 18;246(24):2831-6.
  2. Nelson et al. 2011.
  3. Liska D. The Detoxification Enzyme Systems. Altern Med Rev.1998 Jun;3(3):187-98.
  4. Infographic: The 3 Phases of Detoxification. Metagenics Institute. Available at: https://www.metagenicsinstitute.com/ce-education/clinical-tools/3-phases-detoxification. Accessed August 30, 2018.

9 Ways to detox your life

9 Ways to Detox Your Life


There’s been plenty of buzz in recent years around the word “detox,” but your body is not the only thing that can be exposed to toxins. Your whole way of life might be exposing you to emotional toxicity, too.
We take the trash out from our homes on a regular basis. This allows us to discard what’s no longer useful and keep our living spaces clean and pleasant. If we neglect this responsibility, the consequences are hard to ignore: overflowing waste baskets, unpleasant odors, and possibly the invasion of pests!
Unfortunately, emotional garbage is not so easy to detect. Bad habits, negative thoughts, toxic people, and unhealthy situations can overwhelm your personal space and accumulate clutter in your mind. Over time, both internal and external stressors cause your mental waste bin to become full. If you aren’t careful to filter out what you don’t need, that waste bin can overflow—and lead to a very unhealthy life!
There are plenty of ways to minimize toxicity in your life. Consider these nine steps to start reducing stressors today.
1. Change your self-talk
What are you thinking about right now? What did you think about when you first woke up? Believe it or not, your answers say a lot about you and your health.1Your thought patterns are an integral part of your overall wellbeing. Over time, repeated thought patterns influence behavior and beliefs.1 When your thoughts are mostly negative, it can feel like you’re stuck on a “not-so-merry”-go-round.

Remind yourself, too, that you can’t always trust your own thoughts to be impartial. Sometimes you have to hit the pause button, take some deep breaths, and talk yourself off the ledge. And that’s okay. To break free from a negative thought spiral, try a relaxing, rejuvenating activity (e.g., read a book, practice yoga, tend to your garden, or listen to a favorite record) to lift your spirits and get your mind focused on something new.
2. Reevaluate your habits 
We all have bad habits. Some habits are relatively benign, like biting your nails or smacking your lips when you chew. But others, like hitting the snooze button, comparing yourself to other people, and picking fights with friends or partners, can actually be toxic to your wellbeing.
The first step toward improvement is self-awareness. To start, make a list of your habits and mark an X next to the not-so-good ones. As you build your self-discipline, remember to be patient with yourself. Studies say it can take about two months (not 21 days) to make or break a habit!2
3. Walk away from bad relationships
Good friendships matter. In fact, research conducted over a ten-year period found that individuals with a stronger network of friends were 22% more likely to outlive their lonelier counterparts.But where good friendships can support your health, bad ones can do just the opposite.
Pay attention to how you feel after hanging with certain people. If you’re always left feeling distressed in one way or another, it may be best to start distancing yourself from them. Don’t feel obligated to keep up friendships (or romantic partners) that cost you your mental and emotional sense of peace.
4. Disconnect from social media
Social media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it helps us stay connected with friends and family. On the other hand, it’s a hotbed of competition, comparison, and drama. Taking a break from social media can clear mental clutter and help you focus on the here and now.
Evaluate your feelings after using Facebook, Instagram, or any other social network, then ask yourself why you feel this way. It’s a good idea to delete or unfollow highly negative people or those who stir up bad feelings whenever you visit their pages or see their posts. Doing this can spare you those negative emotions and allow you to focus your energy on more positive things.
If nothing else, social media can be a real time killer. The time you save on scrolling could mean more time spent on hobbies or with loves ones.
5. Downsize your wardrobe 
Clothes are a necessity and a fun way to express personal style. Unfortunately, they are also an easy thing to hoard. Physical clutter can lead to mental clutter. If sartorial clutter has taken over your bedroom, you may be in need of a closet purge.
The clothes you wear can affect your mood and your confidence, so it’s important that you feel good in them. Are any of your duds, well…a dud? Find out by doing a quick survey of every item in your wardrobe. Ask yourself: Would I feel good wearing this tomorrow or to an upcoming event? If the answer is no, it may be time to let it go. If you choose to donate, you can feel good knowing that your preloved apparel might work equally well for someone new.
6. Reorganize your workspace
While the importance of keeping a clean home seems like a no-brainer, your work area can be an easy thing to neglect—until you find it’s covered in “organized” piles of paper and old business cards. According to science, a clean, organized workspace can boost productivity. In fact, a Harvard study found that students who worked in a tidier environment remained focused for 7 ½ minutes longer than messier students, who were more likely to experience frustration and weariness.4
Giving your desk or workspace a weekly once-over means you are less likely to be invaded by dust bunnies and more likely to check items off your to-do list.
7. Turn off the TV
It’s easier than ever to get hooked on television. The average American adult watches five hours of TV per day (wow!), and about 50 percent of Americans use some kind of streaming service—a number that’s been steadily rising.5
As statistics show, what we spend much of our free time doing is more passive than active, and that mindset may spill over into other areas of life. Although entertainment is not all bad, moderation may be the best approach to screen time. Increased television watching is associated with lower physical and mental vitality and may be linked to chronic health conditions.6,7
If this feels relevant for you, consider cutting your quality time with the tube by a small amount each day. Replace that time with a physical activity or creative hobby, which—according to research—can promote overall wellbeing.
8. Reassess your diet
The benefits of a balanced diet go beyond your physical body. It can also make you feel good mentally. Eating foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can protect your brain from oxidative stress, support brain function, and help stabilize your mood.9 There’s also plenty of evidence showing that when your body is low in certain essential nutrients, such as vitamin D and omega-3s, it can negatively impact mental health.10,11 If you’re stuck in a funk, your diet may be playing a role.
To help combat those blues and support your health, start by incorporating wholesome snacks into your day, like nuts, fruit, or string cheese, and eat plenty of nutrient-dense greens whenever possible. Stock your fridge or pantry with things you enjoy that won’t make you feel guilty. And to set yourself up for success, rid your kitchen of sugary, greasy snack foods so you won’t be tempted to indulge.
9. Keep a journal
Had a bad day? Feeling low but you don’t know why? Write about it! Reading what you wrote a few days later may give insights on things that can be reduced or eliminated to avoid future bad or unhappy days.
Writing is one of the best ways to release bad feelings. Writing down your thoughts can feel just as good as venting to a friend. And because your thoughts are recorded in one place, it’s much easier to pick up on patterns in your thoughts and behavior—helping you prioritize problems, identify triggers, and work through anxious feelings.12 Anyone can do it!
When life gets too complicated, wellbeing silently suffers. And though we all have different thresholds for toxic overload, most of us could benefit from taking some steps to detox our lives as well.
References:
  1. Mayo Clinic. Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950. Accessed October 18, 2018.
  2. Lally P et al. Eur J Soc Psychol. 2009. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ejsp.674. Accessed October 18, 2018.
  3. Giles LC et al. Effect of social networks on 10 year survival in very old Australians: the Australian longitudinal study of aging. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2002;59(7).
  4. Chae B, Zhu R. Why a Messy Workspace Undermines Your Persistence. Harvard Business Reviewhttps://hbr.org/2015/01/why-a-messy-workspace-undermines-your-persistence. Accessed October 30, 2018.
  5. Koblin J. How Much Do We Love TV? Let Us Count the Ways. The New York Timeshttps://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/01/business/media/nielsen-survey-media-viewing.html. Accessed October 18, 2018.
  6. Shiue I. Modeling indoor TV/screen viewing and adult physical and mental health: Health Survey for England, 2012. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2016;23:11708–11715.
  7. Harvard School of Public Health. Prolonged television viewing linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. Harvard T.H. Chanhttps://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/tv-diabetes-cardiovascular-disease-premature-death/. Accessed October 31, 2018.
  8. Conner TS et al. Everyday creative activity as a path to flourishing. J Posit Psychol. 2018;13(2).
  9. Selhub E et al. Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626. Accessed October 18, 2018.
  10. Sathyanarayana Rao TS et al. Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses. Indian J Psychiatry. 2008;50(2):77–82.
  11. Roca M et al.Prevention of depression through nutritional strategies in high-risk persons: rationale and design of the MooDFOOD prevention trial. BMC Psychiatry. 2016;16:192.
  12. Ballas P et al. Journaling for Mental Health. University of Rochester Medical Center. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=4552&ContentTypeID=1. Accessed October 31, 2018.

Three phases of detoxification...

When we talk about physical detoxification, we talk about 3 phases of detoxification....


A healthy intestine provides a barrier against many toxins. A healthy gut helps to eliminate toxins before they can be transported to the liver. Unfortunately, unhealthy intestinal function prevents effective detoxification. As shown in this infographic, ingested toxins and toxins formed as metabolic by-products of an unhealthy microbiota can leak through a weakened intestine and are transported to the liver. This can result in systemic accumulation and re-circulation of metabolic toxins and contribute to chronic adverse health conditions.
The three phases of healthy detoxification are:
  • The generation of water-soluble intermediaries
  • The neutralization of toxic water-soluble intermediaries
  • The excretion of the neutralized intermediaries.
Preventing unhealthy detoxification function begins with reducing our exposure to toxins. Keep a clean work and home environment, wear protective gear when using toxic and/or chemical substances, and eat healthy, unprocessed foods whenever possible.

View Infographic


Spring Cleaning....

Spring ushers in the new. It signals the end of winter and brings in new flowers, buds etc. Spring is the awakening of all that laid dormant during the winter. One must clear out the old to make way for the new. One must rejuvenate and remove the stagnant energy from our homes, our bodies and our lives. This can be achieved through a good detoxification program, spring cleaning your home and delving deep within yourself to clear out and move stagnant energy and feelings that you have carried and held for far too long.

Start with cleaning out your home and then help your body detox from the millions of toxins we ingest through our mouths, noses and skin. Be aware of the toxins that enter your body through your eyes, ears, thoughts and feelings.

For the body we recommend a wonderful detox shake to help fortify your detoxification pathways and organs in your body....https://nhh.nutridyn.com/dynamic-detox
https://nhh.nutridyn.com/clear-changer-10-day-program-with-ultraclearr-renew-vanilla

For the toxins that enter the eyes and ears we suggest a detox from social media, television and the news. Try to read an uplifting book, spend more time in nature, meditate and spend more time with loved ones and play more.
Pay attention to your toxic thoughts and feelings and find ways to resolve old hurts and disagreements. Change your thoughts and what you surround yourself with.
Allow your light and beauty to shine as your emerge from old patterns and ways of being into something fresh and new and promising. Let spring be the beginning of you blossoming and flourishing through summer.

Here is some more food for though on how to clean out your home...

Spring Cleaning

BY MADISYN TAYLOR
As you sweep away the clutter blocking the flow of energy in your home, you sweep away some of the issues blocking you in life.
As the last vestiges of winter depart, all of nature enters into a lively and animated state of renewal. In the springtime, earth's life energy is awakened from dormancy, and the cycle of life starts anew. We have the ability to sense this change taking place even before the seasonal flora around us blooms before our eyes. It is natural, therefore, that during spring many of us begin to feel the urge to clear away the clutter that has accumulated while we've enjoyed being sequestered in our winter nests. Now is the time to let the fresh breezes cleanse the energy in our homes.

Spring cleaning is traditionally a way to welcome a new season--one in which we open our doors and windows to let visitors and the sunshine in. It is also a way to remove stagnant energy from our homes in order to prepare our personal space for the positive, verdant energy of spring and summer. As you sweep away the dust and clutter that has blocked the flow of energy in your home, you inevitably sweep away some of the issues that may have been blocking you in your life. Intention is important, so before you begin cleaning, ask yourself what needs to be cleansed, what can be discarded, and how you can make your home a reflection of your best self. Then, gather your tools and supplies around you--vinegar mixed with water makes a wonderful natural cleanser, and putting everything you need in a bucket with a handle will make it easier to move your supplies around your home. Once you've begun spring cleaning, you may find that with each piece of clutter you discard and each item that you clean you begin feel increasingly energized. Divesting yourself of unnecessary possessions can help you regain clarity of mind while cleaning your windows can help you refocus your vision. As you clean, invite healing and vital energy into your home and heart.

When you've cleaned your home from top to bottom, create a floral arrangement with flowers from your garden, or buy a new plant at a farmers market. You may notice that your home feels newer, and brighter and full of new fresh energy. You also feel reawakened, rejuvenated, and alive. By cleansing your home, you can harness the vivacity and vigor of spring.
Reactions to life are often pre-programmed responses. What I mean by this is that we respond as we have been taught or as our experiences have taught us. We must become aware of our habitual responses and our pre-programming to be ale to change that. Many times we find it difficult to change these responses or behaviors even when we are aware of them. We must have a strong desire to change and the awareness to do so.

There are many modalities out there that can help us remove old patterns, energy and feelings and replace them with new, beneficial thinking. feeling and energy. I suggest utilizing the amazing array of tools now available to help s lead a fuller, healthier life. Some of these modalities are the different forms of energy balancing and healing (Reiki, healing touch, body alignment therapy, sound healing etc), EMDR, NLP, The emotion code, to mention just a few.
Moving our bodies and paying attention to how they feel and the energy tat moves trough them is a huge step in becoming more attuned to yourself.

Our Office specializes in many of the energy and emotional medicine that assists us in removing old blockages/patterns that o longer serve us in living a healthy full life or even the life we desire.
www.naturalhealthhaven.net

Here is a wonderful piece by Madisy Taylor that may help you understand what I am trying to say here....

Reactions to Life Events

BY MADISYN TAYLOR
Our past experiences, can and do, influence our emotional reactions and responses to present events.
Our experiences color everything. The events of the past can have a profound effect on how we see our lives now and what we choose to believe about our world. Our past experiences can also influence our emotional reactions and responses to present events. Each of us reacts to stimulus based on what we have learned in life. There is no right or wrong to it; it is simply the result of past experience. Later, when our strong feelings have passed, we may be surprised at our reactions. Yet when we face a similar situation, again our reactions may be the same. When we understand those experiences, we can come that much closer to understanding our reactions and consciously change them.

Between stimulus and reaction exists a fleeting moment of thought. Often, that thought is based on something that has happened to you in the past. When presented with a similar situation later on, your natural impulse is to unconsciously regard it in a similar light. For example, if you survived a traumatic automobile accident as a youngster, the first thing you might feel upon witnessing even a minor collision between vehicles may be intense panic. If you harbor unpleasant associations with death from a past experience, you may find yourself unable to think about death as a gentle release or the next step toward a new kind of existence. You can, however, minimize the intensity of your reactions by identifying the momentary thought that inspires your reaction. Then, next time, replace that thought with a more positive one.

Modifying your reaction by modifying your thoughts is difficult, but it can help you to see and experience formerly unpleasant situations in a whole new light. It allows you to stop reacting unconsciously. Learning the reason of your reactions may also help you put aside a negative reaction long enough to respond in more positive and empowered ways. Your reactions and responses then become about what's happening in the present moment rather than about the past. As time passes, your negative thoughts may lose strength, leaving only your positive thoughts to inform your healthy reactions.

Living life with Intent...

I know I keep sharing these pieces by Madisyn Taylor and it is because of how succinctly and easily she conveys these concepts and thoughts. I love to read them and they always seem to touch something within me, a recognition of a truth within myself.

I am constantly striving to live my life with intent, to be consciously aware of my actions and to be present in my day. Only in being present are we aware of our thoughts and the habits that we have around certain situations and circumstances and in the presence of the situation realization dawns and we have the power to change in that moment. In the moment we have the power to chose something different...to shift the energy.


Intent

BY MADISYN TAYLOR
When we live with intent, we own our actions; instead of habitually performing them.
We tend to associate the energy of intent with complicated or profoundly meaningful actions that require our full attention and effort in order to succeed. For example, walking a tightrope, taking a test, and taking a vow are all tasks that call us to be fully present and single-minded. However, intent can also be applied to everyday events, like eating breakfast or going to work. In fact, everything we do benefits from the presence of intent, which has the power to transform seemingly mundane tasks into profound experiences. You only have to try it to find out.

Intent is one of the cornerstones of the Zen tradition of Buddhism in which monks work for years to develop the stillness and sharpness of mind to do only one thing at a time. Most of the time we are doing one thing and thinking of something else, or even doing three things at the same time, such as talking on the phone, doing dishes, and boiling water for tea. There is nothing inherently wrong with multitasking, which seems necessary at times, especially in the midst of family life. However, balancing this with a healthy dose of intentional activity can provide valuable insight into the benefits of doing one thing at a time, being fully present with whatever the task at hand happens to be.

From the moment we wake up, we can apply intent to our situation by simply saying to ourselves, "I am aware that I am now awake." We can use this simple tool throughout our day, saying, "I am aware that I am driving to work." "I am aware that I am making dinner." Or even, "I am aware that I am breathing." As we acknowledge what we are doing in these moments, we come alive to our bodies and to the world, owning our actions instead of habitually performing them. We may realize how often we act without intention and how this disengages us from reality. Applying the energy of intent to even one task a day has the power to transform our lives. Just imagine what would happen if we were able to apply that power to our entire day.

Humanity....we are all one

I love the sentiment that Madisyn shares so eloquently in this piece. Our similarities are so much stronger than our differences. We all want the same things, joy, peace, love, laughter, acceptance and abundance.  Let us never forget our humanity and look at each other as fellow human beings and not as color or religion or geography or as insurmountably different.


Humanity

BY MADISYN TAYLOR
We are human, we are family - we all look at the same stars, we all laugh and cry, we all love.
When it comes to our families, we sometimes see only our differences. We see the way our parents cling to ideas we don't believe, or act in ways we try not to copy. We see how practical one of our siblings is and wonder how we can be from the same gene pool. Similarly, within the human family we see how different we are from each other, in ways ranging from gender and race to geographical location and religious beliefs. It is almost as if we think we are a different species sometimes. But the truth is, in our personal families as well as the human family, we really are the same.

A single mother of four living in Africa looks up at the same stars and moon that shine down on an elderly Frenchman in Paris. A Tibetan monk living in India, a newborn infant in China, and a young couple saying their marriage vows in Indiana all breathe the same air, by the same process. We have all been hurt and we have all cried. Each one of us knows how it feels to love someone dearly. No matter what our political views are, we all love to laugh. Regardless of how much or how little money we have, our hearts pump blood through our bodies in the same way. With all this in common, it is clear we are each individual members of the same family. We are human.

Acknowledging how close we all are, instead of clinging to what separates us, enables us to feel less alone in the world. Every person we meet, see, hear, or read about is a member of our family. We are truly not alone. We also begin to see that we are perfectly capable of understanding and relating to people who, on the surface, may seem very different from us. This awareness prevents us from disconnecting from people on the other side of the tracks, and the other side of the world. We begin to understand that we must treat all people for what they are--family.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Keeping the brain healthy and sharp

9 Tips to Keep the Mind Sharp

As we grow older, we may see changes in the ways our mind and memory continue to function. Certain cognitive processes may slow down, making it more challenging to learn new things or eliminate distractions that hinder our memory.1
Maybe you forgot the name of an acquaintance at dinner last week—or you just can’t remember where you put your keys. Situations like this can certainly be frustrating, but fortunately, there are a number of habits and exercises you can practice to help maintain your brain function. 
Here are nine tips to help keep the mind sharp:
  1. Engage multiple senses.
Research reveals that the more senses you engage, the more active your brain.1 One study had adults examine a series of neutral images, each one paired with a smell.2 Later these adults were asked to look at different images (without the scent-associated pairing), and then indicate—out of all the images—which ones they’d seen before. Researchers found that participants had a better recall for the pictures that featured smells and that the brain was more active when they looked at those pictures. 
So to stimulate your mind, make a point of engaging multiple senses at the same time. Sign up for a pottery class, cook aromatic foods, or take a warm bath with essential oils. 
  1. Aim to get enough sleep.
If you don’t get much rest, you’ll find that even simple tasks like running errands or cooking a meal take more effort than they should. Not getting enough sleep is also linked to focus issues and short-term memory problems.3
Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.3 
  1. Make exercise a top priority.
Working the skeletal muscles can also help to work the mind.4 Exercise not only helps stimulate and strengthen the connections between the synapses, or brain cells, but it also promotes the development of new nerve cells. This makes the brain more efficient and adaptive.4
And research has shown that the benefits of exercise are linked to more than just the brain. Physical activity reduces blood pressure, stabilizes cholesterol levels, and lessens mental stress.5 Both resistance training and cardio offer a number of benefits.
  1. Consume a healthy diet.
Surely, you’ve heard the term “brain food.” Good nutrition promotes both a healthy body and a strong mind. For instance, research indicates that people who consume a Mediterranean diet of fish, unsaturated oils, produce, nuts, and other plant-based proteins are less likely to experience cognitive issues or develop dementia.4
  1. Enjoy a meaningful social life.
Cultivating friendships and simply getting to know new people can enhance the brain’s executive function, which includes our short-term memory and our ability to screen distractions.3 Even short conversations can help to sharpen the mind.3
And that’s not all: A fulfilling social network is also linked to lower blood pressure and a longer life expectancy.4 It all boils down to developing and preserving both our neurological and our social connections.
  1. Reset with yoga or meditation.
In addition to relaxation, yoga and meditation are known to improve cognitive performance.6 By paying close attention to the thoughts, feelings, and sensations you experience, you can leverage multiple sensations at once, manage stimuli, and ultimately work your brain. 
  1. Quit smoking—and steer clear of secondhand smoke.
Did you know that smoking is linked to a thinner cerebral cortex and mental decline?7 A number of chemicals in cigarettes have negative effects on the brain, and secondhand smoke has similar drawbacks.7
If you don’t smoke but spend a significant amount of time around friends or family who do, gently explain the risks and encourage them to quit. 
  1. Get organized.
Rather than wasting precious mental energy trying to remember things you can simply add to your calendar or grocery list, take advantage of a planner or any other organizational tool you’ve been meaning to use. This could help to increase your focus.1
Similarly, think about removing clutter from your home and office to reduce distractions. Keeping key items like keys, glasses, and your gym bag in the same place can help to reduce the need to remember where you left these things.
  1. Manage stress.
People who are depressed, stressed, or anxious generally score lower on cognitive tests.4 While this doesn’t necessarily point to cognitive decline, stress management tools like a healthy diet, exercise, and adequate sleep—tools we’ve discussed at length in this post—can keep your stress in check. 
References:
  1. Harvard Medical School Staff. 7 ways to keep your memory sharp at any age. Harvard Health Publishing, HEALTHbeat. Accessed January 22, 2019.
  2. Keller A. Odor memories: the first sniff counts. Current Biology. 2009;19:21. 
  3. WebMD staff. Keep Your Mind Young and Sharp. WebMD. 2017. Accessed January 22, 2019.
  4. Harvard Medical School Staff. 12 ways to keep your brain young. 2006, updated 2018. Harvard Health Publishing. Accessed January 22, 2019.
  5. American Heart Association Staff. Stress and Heart Health. 2014. American Heart Association. Accessed January 22, 2019.
  6. Gothe NP et al. Differences in Brain Structure and Function Among Yoga Practitioners and Controls. Frontiers in integrative neuroscience. 2018;12:26. 
  7. Preidt R. Smoking Linked to Damage in the Brain. WebMD, HealthDay. 2015. Accessed January 22, 2019.

High-Fat Diet Adversely Affects Gut Microbiota

High-Fat Diet Adversely Affects Gut Microbiota

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Higher-fat diets have unfavorable effects on gut microbiota, fecal metabolites and plasma proinflammatory factors, researchers from China report.
"The higher-fat diet was associated with significant and potentially detrimental changes in long-chain fatty acid metabolism, resulting in higher levels of chemicals that are thought to trigger inflammation," Dr. Duo Li from Qingdao University told Reuters Health by email. "These effects may sow the seeds for the development of metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, over the longer term."
In China, the recent transition from the traditional low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet to one higher in fat and lower in carbohydrate has been associated with a dramatic increase in the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
Previous research has linked high-fat diets with reductions in human gut microbiota diversity and richness, changes that have been postulated as a major trigger of metabolic impairments associated with obesity.
Dr. Li's team compared gut microbiota and fecal metabolomic profiles as well as markers of inflammation in 217 healthy adults who had been randomized to one of three diets for six months: a lower-fat diet (20% fat, 66% carbohydrate), a moderate-fat diet (30% fat, 56% carbohydrate), or a higher-fat diet (40% fat, 46% carbohydrate).
All three groups lost weight during the intervention, and the weight reduction was significantly greater in the lower-fat group than in the higher-fat group, as were reductions in waist circumference, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and non-HDL-cholesterol.
The lower-fat diet was associated with significantly increased microbial community diversity relative to the higher-fat diet. The higher-fat diet decreased the abundance of Faecalibacterium and increased the abundance of Alistipes and Bacteroides, whereas the lower-fat diet increased the abundance of Faecalibacterium and Blautia.
The higher-fat diet was associated with significant decreases in the concentration of short-chain fatty acids, compared with the other diets, while the lower-fat diet was associated with decreases in two cometabolites (p-cresol and indole) that have been linked to host metabolic disorders.
Plasma concentrations of several inflammatory markers were increased during the higher-fat diet and decreased during the lower-fat diet, the team reports in Gut, online February 19, 2019.
"These findings provide confirmatory evidence that nutritional guidelines in countries in a state of nutrition transition should advise against increasing intakes of dietary fat," the researchers conclude. "The results might also have relevance in developed countries in which fat intake is already high."
"We suggest that fat intake for the general healthy population should not be more than 30% of total energy," Dr. Li said. "We also suggest that the general healthy population should use polyunsaturated or monounsaturated plant fat, such as soybean oil, rape seed oil, peanut oil, olive oil, etc. for cooking."
Dr. Stefano Menini from Sapienza University of Rome, who recently sought to differentiate metabolically healthy from metabolically unhealthy obesity, told Reuters Health by email, "These findings indicate that increasing the dietary content of fat induces microbiome changes similar to that observed in human obesity and type 2 diabetes, even without increasing calorie intake and body weight. A Western-style diet, that is typically enriched in fats and deprived of fibers, may alter the gut microbiota structure and activity regardless of its obesogenic action, with ensuing adverse effects on intestinal permeability, systemic inflammation, and metabolism dysregulation."
"These findings might even be undervalued relative to real-world conditions," explained Dr. Menini, who was not involved in the work. "In this study, soybean oil was added to reach the desired amount of dietary fat. Whether saturated fats of animal origin led to the same changes in gut microbiota and fecal metabolites needs to be studied further. It could be that the type of fat, in addition to the quantity, can influence the composition and activity of the gut microbiota, and that a Western-style diet, which is particularly rich in saturated fats, can induce even more unfavorable alterations than those induced by a diet reach in soybean oil."
Dr. Debby P. Y. Koonen of University Medical Center Groningen, in the Netherlands, who studies various aspects of the gut microbiota and was not involved in the new work, told Reuters Health by email, "Of particular interest are the results on the short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the study. They are in line with the increasing number of publications that highlight a protective role of SCFAs in numerous diseases."
Gut 2019.

Living in-Spirit rather than in-ego

Wayne Dyer had many, many wonderful words of wisdom to share with us during his lifetime. I am inspired by this message that he delivers so eloquently.....(thanks to HayHouse for still spreading his words of wisdom)

"Thanks to the world we live in, we’ve developed many habits that are the direct result of living almost exclusively “in-ego” rather than in-Spirit. This will stress how to gain awareness of these ego habits, how to immediately protect ourselves from these onslaughts, and how to develop alternate strategies to ensure that we remain connected to Spirit—even in the face of a blitzkrieg that’s designed to take us away from living an inspired life.

I’m not suggesting that there’s a conspiracy to keep us from living in-Spirit. My contention is simply that when a majority of society members are raised and persuaded to believe in the illusion of ego, then that society will develop and evolve firmly committed to that false self. It would then be natural for such a society to put forth messages designed to promote the idea of the importance of ego and all of its inherent ideas—and we’re fully immersed in just such a society.

I once heard Swami Satchidananda lecture about this subject of the collective ego and its unceasing impact on all of us. He looked at the two words heart and head, the symbols for Spirit and ego, respectively, and confirmed that we’re in-Spirit when we act from our heart. Swami also observed that the word heart contains two words, he and art, and that leads to the thought that he and his art make up the heart
The word head, on the other hand, also contains two words—he and ad—which leads to the thought that he and his ad make up the head. Swami reminded us that the head is an advertisement—that is, it’s the ego looking for recognition. He then asked a question I’ve never forgotten: “Why is it that lovers call each other sweetheart and not sweethead?” And he reminded us not to despise the head or symbolically cut it off, but rather to let our heart (that is, our feelings) lead, and the head will then follow, rather than the other way around. To that end, this chapter provides three steps to help us transcend the ego’s uninspiring energy. They are: becoming aware, cultivating a defense, and developing our own alternatives. 

Some Suggestions for Transcending Commonplace, Uninspiring Energy
  • When you find yourself being exposed to media onslaughts that are decidedly uninspiring, listen to your very first impulse and switch off! Turn off the television or radio, leave the movie theater, put the magazine down, and affirm: I no longer wish to be in the energy field of anything that isn’t a vibrational match with Spirit.

  • Be aware of brazen attempts by pharmaceutical companies to profit off of your presumed maladies, with advertising telling you to consult your doctor for some new medication. Let the ad be a reminder that you’re an instrument of health; by doing so, your body will react to the messages being sent by your mind. Remember that your body/mind is the greatest pharmacy ever created. It has an unlimited potential for creating well-being, since that’s where it originated from in the first place!

  • Say it out loud! By this, I mean, that you shouldn’t be afraid to make unusual or provocative affirmations. For example, you might avow: I won’t attract any further illness to my life. I’ll never allow myself to feel old, feeble, or frail; and I refuse to allow Alzheimer’s, cancer, or any other infirmity into my life. I don’t vibrate to frequencies that are designed to keep me from being in-Spirit.

  • Always remember that you’re a being who was created out of love. Write this out, place in a conspicuous place, and repeat it to yourself: I live in a Divinely Inspired Universe. I have nothing to fear. I trust in myself, and when I do so, I trust in the very Wisdom that created me. Convince yourself (as I have) that when you live on purpose and “take care that [you do] not cheat your neighbor,” then you’re watched over by a “Senior Partner” Who knows that you’re both living and vibrating to the same spiritual frequency. 

  • Work at developing your faith each and every day by taking time to be quietly in conscious contact with the Creative Source of your being. When you take time to meditate and commune with Spirit, not only will you feel revitalized, but you’ll adopt a defense system that can’t be penetrated by efforts to uninspire you, no matter how frequently others may attempt to do so. Ultimately, you’ll find that you won’t even bother to invite uninspired energy into your life via the media—or any other source, for that matter."

Monday, February 25, 2019

Difference in salt explained...

Courtesy of General Wellness...by Metagenics

What’s the Difference? Table Salt vs. Sea Salt vs. Himalayan Salt & More

When you were growing up were you told to avoid oversalting your food? 
Also known as sodium chloride, salt is a crystalline mineral made of 60% sodium and 40% chloride. It gets a bad rap sometimes—and there are risks to consuming too much salt—but research indicates that not eating enough salt is also a risk in itself.1  
Salt intake helps the brain and nerves perform essential functions such as sending electrical impulses and maintaining fluid balance and muscle function.2 Plus, most dietary salts are harvested from mineral-rich sources including salt mines and by evaporating seawater. And, in addition to flavoring your meal, salt serves as a preservative by preventing bacterial growth.1
But what are the differences among table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, and other kinds of salts?
Table salt spilling on black table
Regular table salt: Table salt is extracted from natural deposits and heated to 1,200° F. Since it’s crushed product, the majority of its impurities and trace minerals are removed during processing.2 One thing to note is that regular table salt often includes additives called “anticaking agents” to keep clumps from forming, so it’s not as “natural” as it may seem.  
That said, food-grade table salt consists of 97% or more pure sodium chloride, and it also includes added iodine.2 If you decide not to consume iodized table salt, there are other foods that are naturally rich in iodine such as eggs, dairy, and fish, if you wish to ensure you are receiving iodine from other sources. 
Sea Salt in round wooden bowl
Sea salt: Like table salt, sea salt mainly consists of sodium chloride. Unlike table salt, sea salt is less processed and therefore much coarser. Made by evaporating seawater, sea salt contains potassium, iron, and zinc.2 Darker varieties of sea salt generally feature a higher concentration of impurities and trace minerals, which can affect the taste of the salt but not necessarily its nutrient value.
While many nutritionists favor sea salt because it’s less refined, ocean pollution has led to the addition of trace amounts of heavy metals and microplastics. Some believe the risks of microplastics in foods are relatively low at current levels, but more research is needed to confirm this.3
Coarse Celtic Salt in wooden scoop spoon
Celtic salt: Celtic salt is fairly coarse and sourced from French tidal pools. It features a briny flavor, and since it’s denser and moister than table salt, it can be used more sparingly. Its gray color is the result of being allowed to touch the bottom of the pan during harvest.
Celtic salt also includes trace amounts of minerals such as magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, iodine, and potassium, and it has less sodium than regular table salt. Its gray color is the result of those trace elements. Celtic salt is related to fleur de sel, which translates to “flower of the salt” and is quite popular in cooking, although fleur de sel boasts a more complicated harvesting process. 
Coarse Kosher Salt in wooden spoon on metal table shot from above
Kosher salt: Many recipes include kosher salt because it’s coarse and dissolves quickly. Often used in traditional Jewish cuisine, which requires that blood be removed from meat, kosher salt is absorbent and good at extracting liquid.  
Like table salt, kosher salt is mainly sourced from natural deposits, although it may also come from seawater. It’s worth noting, though, that a tablespoon of kosher salt weighs significantly less than a tablespoon of regular table salt—and that kosher salt features a larger flake size. In addition, kosher salt does not contain iodine.2  
Himalayan pink sea salt in bowl on table
Himalayan pink salt: Sourced by hand in Pakistan from the second-biggest salt mine in the world, Himalayan salt offers a unique color and flavor. Trace amounts of iron oxide, or rust, account for its vibrant hue. This salt type also includes minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and many others.2
Himalayan pink salt is lower in sodium than regular table salt and considered one of the purer salt varieties.2 While it may contain some iodine, it’s usually less than what is found in iodized salts.4
Of course, the different types of salts mentioned above aren’t the only ones available. Hawaiian salt, Persian salt, and smoked salt are other forms of dietary salts. And while different types of salts contain different amounts of trace minerals, there are generally few other nutritional variances.2

Benefits and nutrition recommendations 

The body needs a certain level of salt to function. Since sodium helps our cells retain water, which, in moderation, ultimately keeps blood pressure in a healthy range, it’s important that we do our due diligence and consume enough of the stuff. 
The benefits of moderate salt consumption are certainly relevant. Sodium ensures we have enough fluids to maintain our cellular function, helps us contract and relax our muscles, and promotes brain health by helping our nerve cells communicate.5 And, as discussed, iodized salts and salts that naturally contain iodine—which is considered an essential mineral. 
How can we tell whether we’re getting enough iodine? In the US, iodized salt contains 45 micrograms of iodine per gram of salt.3 The recommended daily amount of iodine is 150 micrograms for most adults—about ½ to ¾ teaspoon of regular table salt—and research reveals that most Americans consume enough iodine through their diets alone.6
But how much salt is too much? The 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that people cap their sodium intake at 2,300 milligrams per day.7 This translates to roughly 1 teaspoon of regular table salt daily. (Those with high blood pressure should limit their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day.)1 According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 500 milligrams is a safe daily minimum sodium intake for most populations.8 

Managing salt intake

People over the age of 50, as well as those with diabetes or elevated blood pressure, are more susceptible to health risks associated with high sodium intake.9 To this end, a diet that includes too much salt may increase the risk of contracting the following health conditions:1
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver damage
  • Osteoporosis 
Almost 80% of the sodium in most Americans’ diets comes from processed or packaged foods such as frozen meals, condiments, and sodas.10 To manage your salt intake, consider exploring the different salt types outlined in this post, and start cooking with the ones that appeal to you most.
Use these salts sparingly—but by cooking with salt instead of buying salt-laden packaged foods, you’ll be better-equipped to control your sodium intake. You might also consider these tips:
  • When you go out to eat, request that the restaurant staff prepare your meal with little or no salt. 
  • Focus on salt-free snacks. If you’re choosing between two brands, select the chips or crackers that don’t include added salt. 
  • Read and compare labels before you purchase items like soups and deli meats. Many of these products are surprisingly full of salt.
  • Add herbs and spices to your pantry. They’ll add flavor without raising blood pressure, and many of these ingredients offer anti-inflammatory benefits.11
References
  1. Palsdottir H. Salt: Good or Bad? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/salt-good-or-bad. Accessed January 28, 2019.
  2. Gunnars K. Types of Salt: Himalayan vs Kosher vs Regular vs Sea Salt. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/different-types-of-salt. Accessed January 28, 2019. 
  3. Karami A et al. The presence of microplastics in commercial salts from different countries. Sci Rep. 2017;7:46173. 
  4. Leonard J. Does pink Himalayan salt have any health benefits? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315081.php. Accessed January 29, 2019.
  5. Tremblay S. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Sodium for Nutrition. SFGate. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/advantages-disadvantages-sodium-nutrition-5640.html. Accessed January 29, 2019.
  6. Torborg L. Mayo Clinic Q and A: Sea salt and sufficient iodine intake. Mayo Clinic. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-sea-salt-and-sufficient-iodine-intake/. Accessed January 29, 2019.
  7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/. Accessed January 28, 2019.
  8. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake. Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2010. Appendix B, Government Initiatives and Past Recommendations of the National Academies, the World Health Organization, and Other Health Professional Organizations. 
  9. The Nutrition Source Staff. Health Risks and Disease Related to Salt and Sodium. Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/salt-and-sodium/sodium-health-risks-and-disease/. Accessed January 29, 2019. 
  10. Thomas G. Do You Know Where Salt Is Hiding in Your Food? Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/know-salt-hiding-food/. Accessed January 28, 2019.
  11. Cleveland Clinic Staff. Do Sea Salt, Kosher Salt and Pink Salt Beat Table Salt? Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/do-sea-salt-kosher-salt-and-pink-salt-beat-table-salt. Accessed January 28, 2019.