Learn to play an instrument and save your brain!

 

Research has shown that learning a new hobby, like playing a musical instrument, can reduce your dementia risk, but now, new research out of the University of Montreal’s School of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology has shown a link between playing a musical instrument and better reaction times.

While the lead researcher states that learning an instrument later in life hasn’t been studied (as opposed to learning when you’re in middle school), there is reason to believe it may help. And it certainly can’t hurt!

He goes on to say, “Playing an instrument will instill discipline, bring moments of focus, build new connections in the brain, and hopefully provide a bit of joy,” he says. “Even if it doesn’t end up increasing reaction times, those are all important benefits for a balanced lifestyle.”.

 

Brain training and preservation of cognitive function are a big area of both research and consumer products. And, while it’s great to buy and use these products, some can become expensive over time. Learning to play an instrument can be as inexpensive as buying the instrument. A simple acoustic guitar can be purchased for as little as $40.00! Many even come with simple instructions to get you started, and even if they don’t, there are plenty of free resources on the Internet to get you started (think You Tube). Once you get started, you may find you want to take more formalized lessons, which can be found locally pretty much everywhere.

 

So instead of spending your time watching tv or some other mindless activity, maybe consider picking up a new hobby like learning to play an instrument! It will give you many more benefits other than learning the skill itself!

Posted in Personal Coaching, Spiritual Health

Complimentary and Alternative Supplements for Cold/Flu Season

 

Now, before I go any further, let me just say I am not an antivaxer by any means. Vaccines have proven an overall positive to society and longevity of life. That said, there are no true absolutes in life, and vaccines will never cure ALL illness. While we have wiped out certain conditions, there are many we have not, nor probably ever will with vaccines.

 

One such illness is influenza or the flu. Every year, we are boldly encouraged to get our flu shot to protect us from the flu. And while the immunization does decrease the chances of getting the flu, or having as bad a case, the “flu shot” has traditionally been a crap shoot. Even the CDC admits it’s only 50% – 60% effective. That means you have about a 50% chance of STILL getting the flu.

 

So what ELSE can you do to minimize your chance of getting the flu? 

 

Well, first off, a healthy diet goes a long way! Our immune system functions best when it’s given the right ingredients to work. Adequate intake of protein, as well as vitamins C, A, and E and zinc all help keep the immune system functioning well.

Staying well hydrated. We in the US live in an almost constant state of dehydration. We hate to drink water, and we drink soda, coffee and other beverages to excess. None of these “other beverages” help keep our bodies hydrated. Dehydration can easily contribute to being sick, or sicker – and sooner!

Get your rest. Plenty of good, relaxing sleep helps. When we sleep, our body uses that time to heal and repair itself. Getting too little, or low quality sleep, interrupts this and doesn’t allow our body to fix all the problems we give it daily.

Control/get rid of your stress. Stress, as I’ve blogged about before, kills. But it also weakens our immune system. Stress causes a chronic state of “fight or flight” and over taxes the body’s resources, keeping it in a constant state of “war”. This means any OTHER stressor (like a viral infection) can overwhelm it and make it unable to fight it off.

 

What to do if you begin feeling like you may have a cold or the flu

Since the flu shot is no more than 60% effective, you stand a good chance of still getting the flu even if you get your immunization every year. For this reason, it’s good to know what you can do to help your body maintain its’ defenses to fight it off and minimize the problems.

At the first feeling of becoming sick, you should begin increasing the amounts of the following:

  • Vitamin C (500 – 1000mg every waking hour)
  • Zinc (75mg total per day)
  • Vitamin D (up to 4000iu per day)
  • Elderberry (175mg 4 times a day)

Elderberry has been shown clinically (Western medicine research) to reduce the symptoms of the flu by as much as 3 – 5 days!! And guess what? It’s MUCH cheaper than (1) going to your doctor) to get (2) a prescription for Tamiflu (roughly $120.00) that will only decrease your symptoms by about 8 – 12 hours!!

 

Now, as with ANY supplements I write about, they can all have side effects and interact with drugs you may be taking. ALWAYS speak with your health care provider before taking ANY supplements. 

Posted in Alternative Therapies, Personal Coaching, Physical Health

Study finds how stress increases cardiovascular disease

In a study published in The Lancet this month, researchers state they may have discovered how stress actually does kill…or at least increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes.

 

The link between stress and cardiovascular problems has long been known. What hasn’t been known is the why or how. Now, researchers studied a specific region in the brain called the amygdala, which is a region that is involved in the stress response. What they found was that activity in that area, more specifically chronically increased activity, is an independent and robust predictor of cardiovascular diseases. Activity in this area is partly involved in bodily functions, including increased bone marrow activity and arterial inflammation (!!!!).

 

What’s interesting to me about this study is that the researchers found and/or confirmed that long term, chronic arterial inflammation independently plays a part in cardiovascular diseases. The key being independent.  So it would seem that, potentially (and this is not something the study talked about, nor is generally or widely accepted in the medical community), inflammation may be a more important thing to control/manage than cholesterol levels to decrease heart disease. Think about it. If chronic inflammation is directly and independently related to heart disease, it would make sense that decreasing it (and the reasons it is occurring to begin with) would decrease the outcomes (heart attacks and strokes).

 

So, what might you consider after reading this study?

 

Maybe the single biggest takeaway from this is that chronic stress increases inflammation in your arteries, and this is directly related to cardiovascular disease. So…DECREASE YOUR STRESS!! Meditation is probably the easiest way to begin working on this right away. You can (should) do it every day, and it can be for as little as 5 minutes!

 

Second, and just as important, understanding what causes this inflammation (other than stress) and controlling this is a must also! Things like bacterial/viral/fungal infections are obvious causes of inflammation, since it’s part of the immune/injury response. But other things can cause it too. Here’s a partial list:

  • food allergies or sensitivities
  • an imbalance in the bacterial/fungal flora and fauna in the gut
  • environmental toxins from our foods, water, and air
  • lifestyle
  • our diets!!

That last one is HUGE!! We in the US eat a high sugar high fat diet. We also drink LOTS of caffeine, which keeps us dehydrated. Both of these things lead to chronic inflammation.

Our lifestyles play a major role too. Lack of adequate sleep (burning the candle at both ends), and a lack of activity lead to chronic inflammation too.

These are all things we can easily change!! Eating a proper and balanced diet, staying away from highly refined sugars/carbs, and eating whole and raw/natural foods can help reduce your inflammation. Drinking plenty of W-A-T-E-R daily to stay hydrated will do wonders too. Getting up and moving – 150 minutes per week – is beneficial in many ways!

Supplements that can help:

  • Vitamin D
  • Curcumin
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Probiotics (30 million CFU)

Some specific foods to add to your diet:

  • watermelon
  • berries
  • onions
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • whole grains

See, it’s really not that hard to reduce your inflammation!! And changing your diet doesn’t HAVE to mean not liking what you eat!

Posted in Alternative Therapies, Personal Coaching, Physical Health, Spiritual Health

Your back pain may NOT be sciatica

 

Sciatica is what most people think is the reason for their low back pain, especially when it radiates down into any part of the leg. And while that MAY be the nerve that is being affected, it may not be the root of the problem. There a few different, and distinct things that might be causing the problem. And not surprisingly, most are related to our lifestyles!

 

Sciatica is more from disk problems than muscle problems (although not necessarily!)

The sciatic nerve come from your lower back and runs all the ay down to your foot.

This means that irritation of it can cause pain anywhere along its’ path (the area in red in the illustration above). The pain is usually in the extreme lower back and radiates into the buttock on one or (heaven forbid) both sides, and may go down the leg. It may also be in ONLY the leg, or just one part of it. It usually gets worse with exertion or bending forward.

 

However…

 

The sciatic nerve normally goes under the piriformis muscle, but in 15% – 20% of people, it passes through it instead.

 

 

The symptoms can be the same as sciatica, but may be pain in the groin, perineum (low abdomen), and/or hip. It to is aggravated by activity or sitting, but also by simply standing.

 

The mischief maker

 

The psoas muscle is another possible cause. While the two above are more common, psoas syndrome might be the cause of your problems. This muscle runs between the lower spine and your hip, and helps you move your hip when you walk or run.

 

 

Sciatic pain symptoms can be present here too. However, you may have bowel movement problems, postural problems (usually low back sway), leg length discrepancies (internal rotation of your leg on the affected side. The opposite leg will rotate externally in an effort to counter-balance. This will make the affected leg longer so that every time you take a step, it drives your leg up into your hip socket), and groin pain.

 

If you sit for prolonged periods, your problem may not be sciatica. The two other syndromes I mentioned above can be caused by prolonged sitting, poor lifting techniques (!!!!!), pelvic muscle weakness, scoliosis (an abnormal spine curvature), or even sleeping in the fetal position (one position which seems to help relieve sciatic symptoms when they flare). Proper stretching – daily – regardless if you have these problems or not, getting up and moving around a few times a day, and abdominal strengthening exercises can all help minimize the chance of you having a problem.

 

Exercises to help once you already have one of these are more specific to what the problem is. However, abdominal exercises (and I do NOT mean stit-ups or crunches!!!) as well as leg stretching can all help relieve symptoms and minimize problems. Probably the best abdominal exercise that has helped me is planking.

I must admit I don’t do it daily like I should, but I am going to embark on that next week. Beginning Monday I am committing to planking daily. Start small – do 15 – 30 seconds (that can be harder than you think!), and work your way up to 3 minutes or more.

 

As always, should you decide to start something like this, talk with your provider first and make sure it’s safe for you. And, should you have any pain, especially sharp and acute pain that radiates, stop immediately and seek appropriate attention. NO exercise is benign, and there are always inherent potential downsides to them. You can easily injure yourself permanently by doing something wrong!! While I advocate exercise, I also advocate safety! Do any exercise I discuss only after becoming well informed if it’s safe for you and if it will help. 

Posted in Physical Health

Metformin – The Wonder Drug That Will KILL You!

 

Metformin is a first line treatment of Diabetes Type 2, and is generally considered safe. It’s been well studied and is a good drug for the most part.

 

However…

It has side effects that can be devastating! The brand names for metformin include Fortamet, Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glumetza, and Riomet have the KNOWN side effects of depleting Vitamin B12 and folate. B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis, while folate deficiency has weakness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, headache, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath as symptoms. Lactic acid build up is another known possible side effect of metofrmin use, and can also lead to fatigue as well as death (ever heard of lactic acidosis??).

But the newest side effect is an increased risk for Alzheimer’s! A study published in the journal “Aging” in August 2016 showed an increased risk of Alzheimers with chronic use of metformin. It would appear that it (metformin) causes mitochondrial dysfunctiton and cell death in the brain by affecting certain proteins, including beta-amyloid. The build up of this enzyme is thought to be one cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, I’m NOT saying you shouldn’t take metformin if your provider prescribes it. But you SHOULD understand that it’s a drug and as such, has possible complications!

So what should you do? 

There are some things you can do to minimize these side effects. First, maintain or obtain a healthy weight. This is HUGE for controlling diabetes! I can’t tell you how many people I have taken care of who were only diet controlled with Diabetes II.

Next is eating a healthy, well balanced diet. PUT DOWN THE DONUTS!!!

Lastly, there are supplements you can take to help. First, Vitamin B12 and folate to replenish what metformin depletes. Curcumin and other anti-oxidants like nobiletin (a flavanoid from citrus fruits) and green tea extract, as well as PQQ (this one protects your mitochondria!!) can help too.

As always, you should discuss using nutritional supplements with your provider, since they too can have interactions you may not want. And if your provider wholly dismisses their use outright, maybe consider changing. Nurse Practitioners are usually more amenable to using “alternative” therapies, but this also isn’t always the case. The best thing to do is ASK!

Posted in Alternative Therapies, Personal Coaching, Physical Health

New FREE Resource

ebook

 

Taking control of your health is most effective when you take a look at yourself with a holistic perspective.

The holistic approach to health takes into account the complete person; their physical, psychological and social needs which directly relate to their spiritual selves.

Basically, you will improve your overall well-being by integrating aspects of every part of yourself and by not just eating right and getting exercise. Your mind needs stimulation, you need social interaction and solid relationships, and you need to nurture your spiritual side along with honoring the operation of your body’s physical aspects.

How do you put this all together?

I’ve written a special guide to help you in all areas of your health. From eating the right foods to exercising and your mentality. I’m excited to have the chance to share it with you, and I know you’ll be very happy with the results.

Again, you will receive the comprehensive and valuable insights you need to start getting healthy and fit for FREE. To get your free copy and start moving closer to your health goals this year, CLICK ON THIS LINK or the picture above. I’ll send it to you right away!

 

If you made a New Years Resolution or set a personal goal for this year to lose weight or get healthier, this guide is meant for you!! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to get a MASSIVE JUMP on reaching your health goals for the year!! Just click the button below and get it now!! You have NOTHING to lose!!

 

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Posted in Personal Coaching, Personal Growth, Physical Health, Spiritual Health

Even MORE Reason to Consider NOT Taking Statins

statin-tablets

 

As if the fact that statins increase the risk of becoming a Type 2 Diabetic, or having memory problems, liver problems, cataracts, and sexual dysfunction weren’t bad enough, now the side effects include making exercise more difficult AND less beneficial!!

 

A new study, published in December in PLOS One, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, showed that mice given statins did less exercise than those who weren’t on the drug, and their activity levels constantly declined. Those on statins had less muscle growth, and even had less changes at the cellular level, meaning the muscles didn’t work as efficiently as they could – again leading to increased weakness overall.

 

If you DO decide to take statins, at LEAST supplement with a high quality CoQ10. Statins are known to deplete this substance from the body.

 

Naturally controlling your cholesterol levels

 

There are better ways to control your cholesterol level than taking a drug (especially one that has so many bad side effects!!). They include

  • Optimize your Vitamin D level
  • Reduce and work to eliminate all grains and sugars from your diet
  • Eat more raw foods
  • Supplement with high quality, animal based Omega-3 fatty acids, like krill oil
  • Exercise daily
  • Avoid smoking or drinking excessively
  • Address your emotional stress (stress DOES, in fact, KILL)
  • Get good sleep
  • Add heart healthy foods like olive oil, raw organic dairy products, and organic grass-fed meats to your diet

 

One thing is for certain; there are very few DRUGS that almost everyone on the planet should have. One is oxygen, the other is water, the rest we SHOULD be getting from our foods. Big Pharma and medical groups are pushing for more people to be on statins, to the point that pretty much everyone over 40 should be taking at least a low dose. See a problem there?

 

Remember, you CAN decline to take drugs your provider suggests. Do so with the knowledge and understanding of your decision though. Don’t just outright decline a drug without having some understanding of why and what you’re doing.

Posted in Alternative Therapies, Personal Coaching, Physical Health

Study Shows Diabetes as Most Expensive Disease in US

diabetes

 

A recent study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) cites diabetes as being the most expensive disease, with $101 billion between diagnoses and treatment costs. While heart disease was number two on the list, diabetes increased THIRTY-SIX TIMES FASTER!!

 

In 2013 alone,  an estimated $101.4 billion was spent on diabetes. As I’ve posted before, diabetes is at epidemic levels in the US, with no sign of slowing down. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), there are 29.1 million Americans with diabetes currently, and 1.4 million more are diagnosed annually. In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes (blood sugar higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. A MAJOR risk factor for diabetes!!!).

 

The risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes (the most common type) include:

  • Overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of physical activity

 

If you’d like to learn more about YOUR risk of being diagnosed with diabetes, the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) has an online tool. The link is here.

 

In the meantime, regardless of your risk from the above assessment, it may be time to consider changing some things!! Loose weight, learn how to eat more healthy, and start exercising at least a little bit! Besides making you feel better, it will increase your overall health. AND, you’ll be doing your part to decrease the massive amount of healthcare spending in this country!!

 

In the very near future, I am going to be talking much more about this and what you can do to be healthier. Stay tuned!!!

Posted in Personal Coaching, Physical Health

The Magic of Magnesium

 

Magnesium is a nutrient found in many foods, including leafy greens, fish, nuts, and whole grains. This wonderful little element does wonders to help our bodies remain healthy. Recent research (published December 8, 2016) shows that by maintaining adequate levels, we have a decreased chance of developing respiratory problems, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular problems like heart attack and/or stroke.

 

According to guidelines, the recommended dietary allowance of magnesium is 350 mg/day for an average male adult and 300 mg/day for an average adult female, with an additional 150 mg/day during pregnancy and lactation. However, as the author states, “magnesium deficiency remains a global public health problem. For example, diet surveys conducted in both Europe and the United States revealed that the daily intake of magnesium is generally lower than the recommended amounts. Moreover, a major cause of magnesium deficiency can be attributed to an improperly balanced diet and/or impaired intestinal absorption.

 

While it’s important to get as many nutrients as possible through our diet, this can be hard to do for many reasons. First, the soils many of these foods are grown in are nutrient depleted, meaning the foods don’t have the nutrients in them to begin with. Second, as is the case with magnesium, it’s hard to get the recommended daily does through just one serving of any food that is rich in it. For this reason, you may choose to use supplements.

 

Thoughts on Supplements

There are many types of magnesium supplements on the market, all with slightly different effects. For example, magnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid, which has laxative properties, while magnesium oxide is a non-chelated type of magnesium, bound to an organic acid or a fatty acid, and has stool softening properties. Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium and appears to provide the highest levels of absorption and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency.

 

As always, make sure the product is manufactured to pharmaceutical and/or provider grade standards. This is very important to make sure you are getting what you are looking for! And, as always also, it is always advisable to check with your healthcare provider BEFORE starting any nutritional supplements, as they can have negative reactions with drugs you may be taking.

Posted in Alternative Therapies, Physical Health

Are You Chronically Unhappy?

depressed-girl

 

With all the negativity of the last half-year or so, it can be easy to get caught up in it, and actually  perpetuate it. We are being constantly bombarded by negative ads, negative Facebook posts (that we can easily share, or even join in on the grumbling), negative Tweets, etc. That’s one of the dangers of the “instant information society” we have become.

 

But by doing so, we continually remain in this negative state. Looking at everything and everyone around us as “bad”, or “evil”, and we think everything that happens, no matter how removed we are from it, just furthers this.

 

The Huffington Post recently has an article on the traits of chronically negative people. If you have a couple of minutes, it’s a good read. It goes through seven habits that could be considered as chronically negative. Things like only concentrating on what’s wrong in the world, as opposed to what’s right (sound familiar???), and filling conversations with gossip and complaints (again, familiar????).

 

It finishes up with some thoughts on positive people. One of the final paragraphs states, “Happy people live in the now and dream about the future. You can feel their positive vibe from across the room. They’re excited about something they’re working on, grateful for what they have and dreaming about the possibilities of life.”.

 

This isn’t some “pie in the sky” dreaming. It’s thinking of the positive possibilities for your future. Living in the present moment, and being grateful for what you have and where you are – RIGHT NOW. That’s not to say you’re content with your current place in life, but you’re thankful for what you have, where you are (and where you’re NOT), etc.

 

Leo Buscaglia said of worry, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”. So worrying about all of these things, being down and negative about pretty much everything, or continually gossiping or being down on every situation only robs you of the possibilities of being happy!

 

You WANT to be happy!?!?! Stop complaining!!! 

 

Stop listening to all the negativity. Pass over all of those negative political posts. Let’s face it, not everything that Mr. Trump has done in his life has been bad, and neither has everything Mrs. Clinton has done. Neither one of them is truly the devil incarnate. In the same tone, neither of them is the second coming of the Savior! Stop looking for the bad. Stop trying to make EVERYTHING bad. It’s not.

 

Instead, begin thinking of how you can make your little part of thew world more positive! What can YOU do to make YOUR LIFE better? Maybe meditating? Maybe doing a little bit of exercise? Maybe get out and take a walk in the evenings? How about reading a book?? Not just ANY book, but a biography of a great person from history. Read about their life and the struggles they overcame. How they turned adversity into triumph. There are PLENTY of things you can do instead of trolling Facebook or Twitter for all the negativity and reposting it or adding to it.

 

Here’s a challenge for you: The very next time you read a political post/negative post on your feed, take a deep breath and count to ten before doing ANYTHING. Then, ask yourself if it’s even worth it to pass it on or respond to it. Will it change anything for the better? Will it fix anything? WILL IT CHANGE ANYONE’S MIND??

If the reply to any of these is “No”, then move on without doing anything. Do this a few times in a row and think about how much better you feel for not responding to the negativity. Better yet, close FB and go for a walk. I bet you’ll start looking at things just a little bit differently.

Posted in Happiness, Personal Coaching, Prosperity