Wholeness: The Power of Words and Belief

 “A cancer diagnosis may be as fatal as the cancer itself.” Does that statement shock you? That’s exactly what a 2012 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, concluded. Patients who were told by a doctor that they have cancer were 16 times more likely to commit suicide, and 27 times more likely to die of a heart-related death in the following week, versus people who were deemed cancer-free. Is it possible that instead of the cancer, the patient’s expectation of death could be what kills him?

Cancer is possibly the most traumatic and gut-wrenching diagnosis a person could receive. I believe that is true even when it is the diagnosis of a loved one. I clearly remember sitting in a doctor’s office with my brother and having this doctor nonchalantly tell us that tests revealed our mother had advanced bone cancer. He said it as if he was saying “the sky is blue” and yet it hit us like a ton of bricks. It was devastating and his callous, thoughtless delivery did much harm. I can’t even imagine what he may have said to my mother and how that may have impacted her. She only lived 3 more weeks.

Unfortunately some doctors do not realize that both the words they speak and how they say them carries great power and can influence a patient’s outcome. Most people look at doctors as authority figures and if a doctor you trust tells you that you have 6 months to live, chances are, you will fulfill that expectation. Dr. Candace Pert, a pioneer in stress research explains the mind-body process this way:  “In the beginning of my work, I matter-of-factly presumed that emotions were in the head or brain.  Now I would say they are really in the body.  We experience emotions in the form of chemical reactions in the brain and body, which occur at both the organ and cellular levels.”

The power of belief is undeniable. Dr. Robert DeLap, head of the Food & Drug Administration’s Office of Drug Evaluation says:  “Expectation is a powerful thing.  The more you believe you’re going to benefit from a treatment, the more likely it is that you will experience a benefit.”  This is how the placebo (positive) and nocebo (negative) effect both work.

Consider the ancient Aboriginal practice of “bone-pointing.” Certain Australian tribal cultures sometimes had a ritual executioner or ‘bone pointer.’ Using a dried, pointed human bone he would “point the bone” at a person who was condemned to death. There was no physical contact required to cause death. The person being cursed simply had to believe it and they essentially scared themselves to death.  Could this ancient ritual often be replayed in doctor’s offices today with the doctor assuming a priest-like role over the patient’s body and its ultimate fate.

There is so much more to healing – from any disease or disorder – than solely the physical aspect of it. We are tri-part beings and so we can’t ignore our spirit and soul when we are dealing with a physical illness. There is great power in the mind and emotions to affect, and in some cases determine, one’s health destiny. Doctors use data and experience to give their best prognoses for fatal illnesses, but patients can live for months or even years. Every patient is different, every disorder is different. People are unique. There is always hope. And we each have the ultimate responsibility for what we choose to believe.

Has a doctor’s diagnosis influenced your health? How?

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Posted in Emotional Health, Soul Health, Spiritual Health | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Nutrition: Connection between Grains and Eye Health

Cataracts and glaucoma are eye diseases we are familiar with. You may have seen commercials recently about dry eye syndrome, which is caused by a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. The effects of dry eyes range from constant eye irritation to significant inflammation and even scarring of the front surface of the eye. This is definitely a serious and common condition. In fact it is a major reason for visits to the eye doctor with 48% of Americans age 18 and older regularly experiencing dry eye symptoms.

More than 26 million Americans suffer from dry eyes, with this number expected to increase to more than 29 million within 10 years.

There are numerous thoughts as to what causes this condition, which tends to be more prevalent in women, such as working at a computer or using a smartphone constantly, wearing contact lenses, aging, menopause, frequent flying, smoking and certain medications.

This possible cause I recently learned about was surprising and yet made all the sense in the world and it was linked to nutrition. Dr. Peter Polack, an opthalmologist and corneal specialist found a connection between low and no fat diets and the prevalence of dry eye. He found that eliminating wheat and increasing healthy fats successfully resolved this condition for many of his patients without resorting to prescription drugs. The link here is inflammation. You can read the interview Dr. Davis did with him or listen to it here.

I find many of my own clients have fat phobia – they are so afraid to eat too much fat! Fat is a macronutrient and it is critical for health. Every cell in your body needs it. You just have to choose healthy fats and avoid the toxic ones. Kudos to Dr. Polack for connecting the dots between this serious condition and a simple nutritional tweak!

If you have or had dry eye, would you be willing to change your diet before resorting to a pharmaceutical drug?

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

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Posted in Nutrition, Overall Health and Wholeness | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Health and Nutrition: Another Reason to Beware of Ticks

This seems to be one of the worst tick seasons in recent memory. But evidently that prediction is nothing new. Last year experts were saying the same thing. In fact, I experienced it firsthand when my husband was bitten by a tick and had a very alarming reaction. I wrote about it here. I remembered how Lyme disease affected my dad but this was a very different, emotional effect that I didn’t realize a tick could cause.

Ticks are most active during spring, summer and early fall, times when we are more often doing things outdoors.

Recently experts found that a certain type of tick, Lone Star tick Amblyomma americanum,  can cause an allergy to red meat in susceptible people! While it is not common, there have now been over 5,000 cases in the U.S.

Common symptoms of this red-meat allergy include itching, hives, and gastrointestinal distress and onset of those symptoms can be delayed. You could experience them as quickly as several minutes after eating, or as delayed as 3-6 hours after eating red meat. Be aware that symptoms could even occur in the middle of the night after eating meat for dinner.

It’s imperative that you take precautions to protect yourself from ticks when you will be outside – gardening, doing yard work, hiking, etc. If you are bitten by a tick take it seriously and see your doctor immediately. Document any unusual symptoms. Don’t think they can’t be related!

Have you ever been bitten by a tick? Did you experience any unusual side effects?

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.      

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Fitness: Strong Legs, Strong Brain

Sport concept. Woman stretching legs on beach in summer. Female athlete warming up before running.

While exercise in general is known to be important for overall health as well as for brain health, numerous studies have revealed a strong link between leg strength in particular and brain health.

Exercise in general improves health and brain function in the following ways:

Improves and increases blood circulation (oxygenation) to the brain and throughout the body reducing heart disease risk and improving cholesterol;

Boosts mood;

Increases energy levels;

Helps with weight loss;

Builds and maintains strong muscles and bones;

Reduces and alters the way damaging plaques reside in the brain, slowing development of Alzheimer’s.

Recent research actually shows exercising leg muscles helps the brain to produce new nerve cells as well as neurons. According to the findings of lead researcher, Raffaella Adami: “Our study supports the notion that people who are unable to do load-bearing exercises — such as patients who are bedridden, or even astronauts on extended travel — not only lose muscle mass, but their body chemistry is altered at the cellular level and even their nervous system is adversely impacted.”

The primary takeaway of the new findings is that weight-bearing leg exercise “tells” the brain to produce healthy neurons, which are key for our ability to cope with stress and life changes. Weight-bearing exercise includes things like dancing, walking, hiking, climbing stairs, tennis, and weight-lifting. One of the best whole body exercises I do regularly are squats and they definitely exercise the legs.

What do you think about the connection between your legs and brain?

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

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Posted in Brain health, Fitness, Intentional Exertion/Exercise, Overall Health and Wholeness | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Nutrition: Look Out for Golden Rice

Golden Rice grain compared to white rice grain in screenhouse of Golden Rice plants.

Genetically engineered (GE) Golden Rice has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The U.S. is now the fourth country to give approval to this GE food, along with Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Golden Rice is genetically engineered to contain extra genes that produce beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. It is being touted as a potential solution to global vitamin A deficiency, despite serious questions remaining regarding its safety and effectiveness.

Let’s talk first about it being a solution to vitamin A deficiency, which affects 250 million preschool-aged children worldwide.  It is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children, with up to 500,000 children becoming blind each year due to vitamin A deficiency. There’s no question that this is a serious and alarming problem.

The FDA based their decision to approve Golden Rice on data supplied by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), who currently make Golden Rice and is currently tasked with ensuring the product’s safety. It has been noted that its beta-carotene content is “too low to warrant a nutrient content claim.” Wasn’t that the whole purpose of creating this product?

According to Health Canada, even if all rice and rice products in the country were replaced with Golden Rice, it would result in only a very small (0.8 to 8%) increase in beta-carotene intake daily. Additionally, research has shown that whatever beta-carotene content there is in Golden Rice at harvest degrades rapidly in storage. Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed that after three weeks of storage Golden Rice retained only 60% of its beta-carotene and this dropped to 13% after 10 weeks.

GE-Free New Zealand said there was a “total absence of data” regarding the safety of this rice and considered taking legal action against Food Standards Australia, New Zealand and the Minister for Food Safety over its approval. Greenpeace noted “next to nothing is known about how this GE rice interacts with the environment.”

I believe the most important question to ask in these issues is – who is really benefitting? It isn’t always who it seems.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others, has invested millions of dollars toward the development of Golden Rice, which stands to make the biotech industry even richer, especially if it paves the way for the approval of even more GE crops globally.

Perhaps instead of pouring millions of dollars into Golden Rice, which is questionable in its safety and efficacy in alleviating vitamin A deficiency, real food sources of beta-carotene and other nutrients could be provided instead.

I always want to make you aware when these questionable products become available in case you didn’t know about them and they appear on the grocery store shelves.

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

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Sleep Quality: What’s Faith Got To Do With It?

Previous studies have concluded that “religion” could decrease psychological distress, substance abuse and stress exposure. According to Harold G.Koenig, MD, “An exhaustive analysis of more than 1,500 reputable medical studies indicates people who are more religious and pray more have better mental and physical health.”

New, recent studies have linked measures of religious involvement (religious attendance, prayer and secure attachment to God) with sleep outcomes (sleep quality, restless sleep, use of sleep medications). Just to be clear, when I say “religion” I am really talking about a secure, loving, personal relationship with God. I shared in more detail about that in this post earlier this year.

This is a big deal when you realize between a third and half of all Americans have insomnia and complain of poor sleep. The sleep medications often prescribed are classified as “sedative hypnotics,” a specific class of drugs used to induce and/or maintain sleep. Many of these medications like Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata and others over time can still sometimes cause physical dependence. Even more alarming are some of the other possible side effects. Besides the “usual” side effects like changes in appetite, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, daytime drowsiness, unusual dreams, heartburn and headaches there are some that can be much more alarming.

Parasomnias are movements, behaviors and actions over which you have no control, like sleepwalking. During a parasomnia, you are asleep and unaware of what is happening. Parasomnias with sleeping pills are complex sleep behaviors and may include sleep eating, making phone calls, or having sex while in a sleep state. Sleep driving, which is driving while not fully awake, is another serious sleeping pill side effect.

Finding the most natural, healthy ways to encourage adequate, restful sleep will impact every other area of your life. So these studies on the effects of faith are very encouraging.

Sleep researcher, Christopher Ellison, who has published two books and nearly 200 peer-reviewed articles, did a follow-up project based on data from a large, recent nationwide survey of U.S. adults. With this data, he and his associates discovered that people with a greater sense of assurance of spiritual salvation tend to enjoy better sleep quality and tend to have fewer negative sleep consequences due to stressful life events and chronic conditions. Ellison said much of the benefit among the faithful is due to reducing stress, promoting social engagement and support from fellow church members, providing psychological resources (hope, optimism, sense of meaning) and promoting healthier lifestyles, such as lower levels of substance abuse.

All too often we separate spirit, soul and body as if they are not interrelated. They are not only interrelated but each one impacts the other aspects of our being.

How does your spiritual life affect your physical health and ability to sleep?

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.      

Posted in Emotional Health, Overall Health and Wholeness, Soul Health, Spiritual Health | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happiness and Health: Surprising Connection

We know there is a profound mind-body connection. In fact I talked in detail about that in this earlier post. When we have an argument, feel anxious or stressed or are under prolonged emotional distress, can it really affect our physical health and well-being that much?

Every thought we think releases chemicals into our bodies. Positive thoughts release healing chemicals and negative ones release damaging, destructive ones. “Happiness” is very subjective. Different things make each of us feel happiness but that doesn’t mean it is not important. For our purposes let’s consider happiness to be feelings of well-being and inner joy. Research shows happy people live longer than unhappy ones.

Did you know that a half-hour argument with your spouse or significant other can slow your body’s ability to heal by at least a day and in couples who regularly argue, that healing time is doubled again due to a surge in inflammation-triggering molecules. We know that being chronically stressed releases cortisol and breaks down our bodies. This would include feelings of jealousy, anger, fear and loneliness. In fact one study indicates that loneliness can impact the body’s ability to repair DNA and accelerates cellular aging.

Some of us (I have been guilty of this) hold our feelings of irritation or upset inside. Of course this isn’t a good thing to do. Suppressing anger as well as explosive outbursts are both destructive. Bursting into tears or just having a good cry, on the other hand is definitely therapeutic.

Well how can happiness or well-being change this? Here are 6 things we can do to increase our feelings of well-being and joy, which will directly influence not only our quality of life, but the quantity as well.

1.Laughter is not only contagious, it boosts the immune system, reduces stress and definitely increases feelings of joy and well-being.

2.Love is an easily overlooked tool for anti-aging and health. This includes and actually begins with self-love or self-acceptance. Scripture tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves – meaning you must love yourself in a balanced way before you can love or accept anyone else. Expressing love with physical expressions of affection like a hug or even petting and cuddling your pet, causes your body to release oxytocin, a natural stress relieving hormone.

This is easier for some people than others. My dad was not a physically affectionate person but as he got older I took every opportunity to rub his back or arm and of course give him a hug and kiss. He was awkward about it and yet I knew it was healing for him and as much as he protested, he always waited for that hug and kiss when he was coming in or leaving.

3.Gratitude is one of the most powerful, health-boosting emotions. Perhaps it’s why we are told to give thanks in all things. Intentionally being thankful for our blessings boosts immunity, lowers blood pressure and increases healing potential all through the body.

4.Using our imaginations and visualizing in a healthy, positive way can improve health because the mind cannot differentiate between an imagined state and a real “external” one. So, if you vividly imagine a positive state, you may experience the benefits as if they are real. You have nothing to lose, so why not?

5.EFT, Emotional Freedom Techniques, also known as tapping is a great tool especially when you are in the midst of an anxious, fearful, angry or other state of upset. I use it often, sometimes daily, and find it is a game-changer.

6.Exercise is an effective stress reducer and especially being out in nature is very calming and uplifting. Try taking a walk with your spouse or significant other and just enjoy the sights, sounds and smells. See if it doesn’t improve your mood and relationship.

Our relationships, and how happy we are in them, have a powerful influence on our health. While it is very important to take care of our physical health, tending to our relationships and emotional health is a critical piece of self-care that’s often overlooked.

What are your favorite forms of self-care?

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.      

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