Health: Addiction to Pain Drugs

Opioid pain meds“Data shows the number of prescriptions written for opioids as well opioid overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, highlighting a growing addiction problem in the U.S.” Time.com

When we think of drug addiction we tend to think of illegal street drugs, not prescription drugs. It’s a very different picture in our country today as the quotation and article above detail.

Opioid drug addiction has increased exponentially in our country. More than 100 million Americans live with chronic pain and prescription pain medication is the most common treatment.  Opioid prescriptions for pain have almost tripled in the last 20 years jumping from 76 million to 219 million. While there is certainly a place for them, unfortunately they are over-prescribed and abused all too often.

And while someone dealing with chronic pain can get to a point where they just want relief and don’t even consider the negative effects, we have to be aware of the pros and cons. While addiction, abuse and overdose are at the top of the list, (OxyContin has been identified as a major gateway drug to heroin) researchers question just how effective they are, particularly long term.

There are other side-effects, including increases in hepatitis C and HIV.

There are non-drug alternatives you can consider before resorting to these dangerous drugs, since pain has both physical and emotional components:

Nutrition – eliminating grains, sugar, processed foods and nightshades which are inflammatory;

Try herbs, spices and natural substances like turmeric, ginger, boswellia, bromelain, Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO)

Be sure you get enough Omega-3 fatty acids, which are precursors to prostaglandins, which reduce inflammation as well as vitamin D

Cayenne and CM cream topically

Acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy

Mind-Body techniques like EFT, Healing Codes, massage, meditation, prayer

Grounding

If you have pain issues, how do you deal with them?

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Posted in Brain health, Emotional Health, Overall Health and Wholeness, Supplements | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthy Lifestyle: Primary Reason for the Rise in the Death Rate

Healthy choicesThat means not only are middle-aged white people drinking more, using more opioids, and killing themselves at higher rates, more of them are getting sick with the diseases that usually kill older people. And when they do get sick, they don’t get better.”

From this quotation from the referenced article you may think that drinking and drugs are the reason for this uptick in the death rate but upon closer investigation, it seems there is a basic, underlying cause that is affecting us all.

Lifestyle.

We’ve reached the point when technology and treatments cannot overcome the effects of poor lifestyle choices in the United States. For the first time in 10 years the death rate has risen. While cancer and heart disease have long been the primary causes of death, heart disease death rate had been steadily declining. It is believed that this offset deaths due to drug overdoses and suicide. However, this year the number of deaths due to cardiovascular disease has increased.

Yes, the increase in opioid drug use is definitely a serious problem and factor. Often those drugs lead to depression and suicide. While fewer people are dying from the leading causes of death – heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease – than 50 years ago, that is changing. The rate of decline of these diseases has slowed.

Lifestyle is the factor every one of us can control. I believe it is directly attributable to rising obesity rates since heart disease, cancer and diabetes are all directly linked to obesity. I understand obesity is a complicated issue, but reversing this trend and improving health all begin with better lifestyle choices and the best place to begin is optimizing nutrition.

Does it surprise you that the death rate in the United States is rising?

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Posted in Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Health, Nutrition, Overall Health and Wholeness, Weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthy Snacking: 5 Reasons to Eat Popcorn Again

popcornOne of my daughter’s favorite go-to snacks is air popped popcorn. She drizzles it with melted organic ghee and mixes in chili lime spice! I was concerned about her eating popcorn because I know most of the corn produced here is genetically modified so I made sure I only bought her organic, non-GMO certified popping corn.

I found out I didn’t have to go to all that trouble! While 90% of the corn grown in the US is genetically engineered, popping corn, which comes from a different seed, is not genetically modified – at least not yet.

This should be good news if this has always been a favorite snack food. There are plenty of health benefits associated with it as well including:

It is nutrient dense with 3.5 oz. providing 56% of the recommended daily allowance for manganese, 36% each of magnesium and phosphorous and 21% of zinc as well as several B vitamins;

It is high in fiber which is important for good health in so many ways, including balancing blood sugar;

While it is a starchy carb food, the starch it contains is known to help lower cholesterol;

It can be a great weight loss food because of the high fiber content and relatively low calorie count (as long as you don’t use any unhealthy add-ins!); and

It has a very high concentration of antioxidants and polyphenols – higher than other relatively healthy snack options, including fruits!

So if you have been avoiding popcorn thinking it is an empty-calorie snack – here are some reasons to include it again. Just beware of movie theater popcorn and remember air-popped popcorn has half the calories of microwave popcorn and corn you pop with your own oil.

Just use healthy toppings like a little coconut oil, ghee, pasture butter and some healthy spices. I used to enjoy sprinkling it with nutritional yeast. It has a cheesy flavor and adds protein! A win-win in my book.

Do you eat popcorn?

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Posted in Children's Health, Digestive Health, Nutrition, Weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Healthy Aging: Mind over Matter

Mind over matter“Youthfulness is about how you live not when you were born.” Karl Lagerfeld

“Age isn’t how old you are but how old you feel.” Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

“If you think you are too old to rock ‘n roll, then you are.” Lemmy Kilmister

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” Satchel Paige

“If you think you are old, regardless of your age, you are.” Ann Musico

Those are some of my favorite quotations about age and aging with my special favorite probably being the one by Satchel Paige.

Maybe you’re not a baseball fan as I am and perhaps even if you are you don’t follow the Mets. We have a veteran pitcher on the team, Bartolo Colon, who is 43 years old and is pretty amazing. He especially amazing because he looks like anything but an athlete! He’s overweight but incredibly agile, he can still pitch circles around some of the younger pitchers and even hit his first home run this season! (You can see it below!) Pretty amazing!

He’s my favorite player because he just always looks like he’s having a ball out there. While the announcers are amazed that he is still doing what he does at this elite level at his age – he is having fun! I would bet he doesn’t think of himself as too old to play major league baseball.

Well this applies to health and longevity. Numerous studies show that age is basically a state of mind, and you’re really only as old or as young as you feel. Regardless of age, if you perceive yourself as “old and frail” – whether you really are or not – influences your health outcomes powerfully and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My children grew up thinking their mom was a little crazy because I’ve always told them that if Jesus doesn’t return soon, I expect to live to at least 120 and they could expect me to be pushing my great-great-grandchildren in strollers and playing with them! I mean that and believe it.

While I did have a health scare a couple of years ago, I fully expected to come out of it whole and I have. Maybe you do this too – when I meet a mom while I’m out and we talk, often in my head I can be thinking, “Hmmm, we are about the same age” even though logically I know she is in her 30’s and I’m 62! But in my head I am 30 and I intend to stay there. The research shows it’s the place to be!

How old do you feel?

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Posted in Emotional Health, Overall Health and Wholeness, Spiritual Health | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Health and Appetite: Clutter vs Control

clutter and chaosAnyone who knows me well knows I am most definitely not a fanatic housekeeper. I like a clean orderly house, but mine is of the “lived in” genre! God, with His amazing sense of humor, has given me close friends who are more of the “clean-freak” types – you know what I mean. Vacuuming the mattress every week and polishing doorknobs (ok so that’s a bit of an exaggeration but you get my drift.)

That being said, I have very low tolerance for a messy, cluttered environment. I find it makes me very agitated. We have a neighbor I used to do some typing and other clerical work for and just walking into her house made me feel anxious. It took a bit of time for me to realize why but there was so much mess and clutter that I almost felt like I couldn’t take a deep breath. I have learned that this is not an unusual response!

Well this study talks about how a chaotic environment can lead to overeating. Clutter and chaos go hand in hand. They both create stress and we all know that stress contributes to overeating and weight gain. In another study, mothers who described their homes as “messy” or “cluttered” also had higher levels of stress hormones by evening.

Prior research found people who struggle with clutter were 77% more likely to be overweight or obese.  This makes great sense to me. My walking buddy and I both read a book called, Your Spacious Self by Stephanie Bennett Vogt. She explains how, what she refers to as clearing clutter – both physical clutter as well as mental and emotional – can also be beneficial for your health.

If you find yourself struggling to maintain control of your eating habits, perhaps you first need to look at your environment. It could be that creating a tidy and organized kitchen might just help you gain the control you need over your appetite and food choices.

Is your kitchen a place of calm and order or clutter and chaos?

What better way to focus on clarity and reducing clutter than by breaking down big changes to baby steps? Here are 125 of my best ones to start you on your way to simplicity, clarity and control!

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Posted in Emotional Health, Fitness, Nutrition, Overall Health and Wholeness | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Brain Health: Why Gratitude is Powerful

gratitudeYou can train your brain to be more positive. In 2 minutes span of time done for 21 days in a row you can actually rewire your brain. Write 3 new things of what you’re grateful for 21 days straight. At the end of that, your brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world for the positive and not the negative.” Harvard researcher, Shawn Achor

“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

It seems too simple to think that just writing down 3 things you are grateful for over a period of 21 days can profoundly change your brain, but a new study shows just that! The more practice you give your brain at acknowledging, feeling, expressing gratitude, the more it adapts to this positive mindset. Imagine your brain has a gratitude ‘muscle’ that can be exercised and strengthened. It is the whole, “use it or lose it” thing!

And even more exciting, the effects of this exercise seem to be long lasting. Months later, the participants in the study showed more gratitude-related brain activity when scanned again. It is the same as with any healthy baby step you take. Just doing one small thing consistently naturally leads to more healthy changes. By intentionally practicing gratitude daily, the easier it is to notice and count your blessings. It becomes a self-perpetuating, positive cycle that increases your happiness and success in all areas of life.

I challenge you to write down 3 things you’re grateful for each day for 21 days and then share your experience with me!

The only things that will change you are the people you associate with and the books you read. Here are some books that could change your life!

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Posted in Brain health, Emotional Health, Gratitude, Overall Health and Wholeness | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Health: More Benefits to Consuming Greens

eating greensHow do you feel when you first step outside on a beautiful, sunny day? You feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. Everything is brilliantly lit up and sparkling in the golden light. You feel relaxed and energized all at the same time. Look at your plants, particularly those in pots in your house and notice how they lean toward the sun.

A new study found that animal life is capable of borrowing the light-harvesting capabilities of ‘plant blood’ (chlorophyll), and utilize it to photo-energize mitochondrial ATP production. This not only helps to improve energy but also helps mitochondria function in a healthier way by decreasing Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and increasing cell longevity.

In case you don’t know what mitochondrial ATP is – very simply mitochondria are the energy factories of our cells and ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the energy-rich molecule produced in the mitochondria using the energy stored in food. This is exciting because it is saying that like plants do, we humans can use the energy from the sun directly!

The chlorophyll is what makes green plants green. It is referred to as “plant blood” because it is the equivalent in plants of our blood. The major difference between our blood and chlorophyll is that chlorophyll has a magnesium atom at its core and our hemoglobin has iron at its core.

The new studies show that eating chlorophyll-rich foods and increasing sun exposure result in better overall health outcomes in a variety of diseases of aging. They are revealing that these benefits are not simply from vitamin D from the sun or the antioxidants in green foods alone. Sunlight is the most abundant energy source on this planet. So what does this mean for improving our health? Green veggies should not only be considered nutritional powerhouses because of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants they contain, but also as delicious carriers of essential energy cofactors without which our body cannot efficiently produce ATP or realize its full potential for maximum longevity.

And that’s not all! Research shows another amazing benefit of eating chlorophyll rich foods and getting sensible sun exposure is that it naturally regenerates CoEnzyme Q 10 in our bodies! This is important because CoQ10 is a powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and provides energy in the heart muscle (statins deplete this important substance) and also helps prevent diseases like diabetes.

Now researchers are asking: what if sunlight is toxic (as in skin cancer) when no chlorophyll is present in our diet and tissues, but promotes both increased ATP production, regeneration of CoQ10 and longevity when found there in optimal doses? Chlorophyll just may be nature’s most effective internal sunscreen and energy booster – without any negative chemical side effects!

What do you think about these newly discovered reasons to eat more greens?

If you are struggling to get your thinking to line up with the healthy choices and changes you want to make, I can help! The MindSweeper Home Study Course is a 12 week course you do at your own pace in the comfort of your own home. If you want to stay on week 4 for 3 weeks – no problem. You do this in the way that makes the most sense. And you will come out with clarity about why you struggle and how to move past it!

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 as well as getting exclusive information on giveaways and special offers, be sure to like me on Facebook, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report, follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

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

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