Health: Broken Heart, Happy Heart: My Top 5 Tips for a Happy Heart

broken-heartWe recently saw how powerfully the sadness of a broken heart can impact a person when Debbie Reynolds died one day after her beloved daughter, Carrie Fisher. Studies have shown that the loss of a loved one raises your own risk of sudden death, known as the “bereavement effect.

Broken heart syndrome (stress cardiomyopathy) is a real medical condition, triggered by acute, major stress or shock, such as the death of a loved one. In fact the emotional stress of losing of a loved one through divorce, death or any other circumstance can have as powerful of an impact as full-blown depression. Heartbreak can have a devastating impact on your emotional health and the loss of a vital connection can lead to the literal breakdown of the functions of the heart.

Symptoms of broken heart syndrome are very similar to those of a heart attack, including chest pain and shortness of breath. However, there’s no actual damage to the heart to trigger it. Extreme shock or stress may also trigger a hemorrhagic stroke by causing a dramatic rise or change in blood pressure.

According to a study in 2012, losing a significant person in your life raises your risk of having a heart attack the next day by 21 times, and in the following week by six times. The risk of heart attacks began to decline after about a month, as levels of stress hormones begin to decrease.

There are numerous studies linking heart and mental health.  Harvard researchers reviewed more than 200 studies and concluded that people who are more optimistic and satisfied with life have a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.  Pessimism was linked to a 19% higher risk of dying over a 30-year period in another study.

We can’t totally eliminate all the negative situations and happenings in life, but we do have some control over what we focus on. Focusing on intentionally creating positive experiences in your daily life has been found to lead to more satisfaction in general and greater health. Happiness researchers found we need 3 positive experiences for every one negative one in order to flourish emotionally.

So my top 5 tips to protect your emotional and physical health are:

Stay connected: don’t cut yourself off from friends and loved ones. Even consider getting a pet – love is love whether it is shared with human loved ones or animal loved ones!

Get other-centered: break out of the vicious cycle of self-absorption and intentionally show an interest in other people.

Laugh every day: find the humor in your every day events and don’t take yourself so seriously. Intentionally watch funny movies or videos and have a good laugh daily. Proverbs 17:22 says a merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones!

Nurture your spirit: we are spiritual beings. We may not all believe the same way, but we must not ignore our spirits. Read, listen to and watch uplifting things and nourish your spirit which will carry you through good times and bad. Scripture tells us:  The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit? (Proverbs 18:14 NLT)

Cut yourself (and others) some slack: don’t be so hard on yourself. Learn to accept yourself, flaws and all, as well as others, just as you and they are now and see the best. Focus on what is good in yourself and others rather than all that is wrong.

Do you intentionally create positive experiences for yourself to offset the negativity in life?

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Healthy Changes: Can you Trust Yourself?

trust-yourselfIn my book, Today’s the Day 7 Week Fitness Plan, and my coaching program, I talk about exercising as it applies to your body, spirit and soul (mind, will and emotions). What I want to focus on in this post is exercising your will and why it is something most people are overlooking.

Have you made New Year Resolutions that have already been forgotten? How often do you think about making some change, either to your diet or some other area of your lifestyle, that doesn’t last more than a week or two?

Have you wondered why that is?

Well perhaps you don’t consider your will a muscle as I do. The easiest way to exercise that will “muscle” is to make and keep promises to yourself! Sounds extraordinarily simple doesn’t it? It actually is but the truth is, most people don’t keep their word to themselves. These are the same people who would never go back on their word to their spouse, child, parent or friend. Yet they continually do so to themselves.

In working with many people with respect to this very issue, I think the core of the problem is that they don’t feel they are worthy. That may sound odd to you but if deep down you don’t think you’re worth taking care of, you will continually sabotage your best efforts to do so.

So the first step is to honestly assess whether you have feelings of unworthiness. They may be well buried and camouflaged but if you constantly struggle with following through, this very well may be an issue for you. As women and moms in particular we are used to putting other people’s needs (children, spouses, parents) before our own. And that’s necessary at times and a good thing. Don’t misunderstand. I am not advocating becoming selfish and self-centered. Not at all. However it’s important to remember than extremes of any kind are where the enemy usually attacks us.

Keep in mind, you can slip into that mindset/heart attitude when it is perfectly right and acceptable to put yourself on the list. That is when you know it has become a problem you need to address.

Once you determine whether this is an issue for you, there is only one way to exercise that “muscle” and get it to grow and be strong again. That is by making small promises to yourself daily and keeping them! The more consistently you do this, the more you will develop your will. And that will carry over into every area of your life, not just weight loss and health.

To begin, make the promises small and very doable. For instance promise yourself you will begin the day with at least 8 oz. of water. Keep that promise to yourself every day for at least a week or two. Don’t skip a day.Now as you continue to keep that promise, add another.

Choose another promise – perhaps taking the stairs up to your office instead of the elevator. Keep that small promise over time as well. You will soon see it spilling over into your finances, job and relationships – in a very positive way. Continue adding promises, and keeping them and you will begin to be able to add bigger ones.

You’ll begin to notice that your will is bulking up! It’s developing some definition much as your biceps or thigh muscles do when you consistently exercise them.When you begin to see yourself as trustworthy and worthy of good things, your life and health will begin to improve dramatically.

So can you trust your own word to yourself? If not, why do you think that is?

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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Heart Health: 16 Facts You Need to Know

strong-heartFebruary is when we celebrate Valentine’s Day and it is also National Heart Month. We focus on the heart for both, although in different ways. I thought it might be helpful to give you some quick and easy facts about heart health. Keeping your heart healthy and strong is something we all should make a priority. So here goes:

1. The heart can beat more than 3 million times during a person’s lifetime. It pumps out 2 ounces of blood at every heartbeat, adding up to at least 2,500 gallons daily.

2. Each year about 735,000 Americans suffer a heart attack, one person every 43 seconds, 1 in 4 deaths overall.

3. The average heart weighs between 7 and 15 ounces, a little larger than your fist.

4. The body’s blood vessel system is more than 60,000 miles long!

5. Men’s hearts beat about 70 times per minute and women’s about 78 times per minute.

6. Dog owners have a lower risk of heart disease.

7. Laughter can increase circulation of blood by up to 20%!

8. Happiness and a strong sense of emotional vitality lower risk of heart disease.

9. More heart attacks occur on Monday mornings than any other day.

10. Some of the heart-healthiest foods include fish, nuts, red wine, oats, flax seeds, berries, beans, tomatoes and dark chocolate.

11. Some of the heart-healthiest nutrients are omega-3 fats, fiber and antioxidants.

12. Studies have proven there is no connection between healthy saturated fats like pasture butter and grass-fed beef and heart disease.

13. Lack of physical activity and sitting too much increase cardiovascular risk.

14. A broken heart is real! A new study of nearly 2,000 heart-attack survivors found that attacks were far more likely to happen soon after the death of a family member or close friend than at other times. (More on this in the next post.)

15. Don’t demonize salt! Heart failure patients following a low-sodium diet were 85% more likely to die or require hospitalization for heart disease compared to those who didn’t restrict their salt intake. This includes those with high blood pressure. But this was referring to natural, unprocessed salt, (like Himalayan Crystal salt) not highly processed white, table salt or salt in processed foods.

16. Research done by The HeartMath Institute on the human heart and the power of our thoughts and intentions has proven that the heart’s electromagnetic field changes according to your emotions. Their research has shown that positive emotions create positive physical effects in the body including boosting the immune system. Gratitude is one of the most powerful!

Keeping your heart healthy is critical to true health and wholeness. That goes beyond just good nutrition and targeted supplements. You also must nourish your heart on a spiritual and emotional level. The reasons for this will be even more clear in the post next week. So be sure to check it out then.

What are your favorite ways to keep your heart healthy?

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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Healthy Heart: A Real Life Success Story

healthy heartI love it when someone asks for help and actually listens and follows through! Last August a close friend and colleague of my husband’s stopped by and wanted me to look at his bloodwork and give him my thoughts. He said he thought the doctor would tell him his cholesterol was too high. When I looked at his numbers his cholesterol was 199 – which is perfectly fine. His HDL and LDL were within good limits although they certainly could improve. What jumped out at me were his triglycerides, which were 334! Yikes, that is WAY too high. Normal levels are less than 150 milligrams per deciliter; borderline high is 150 to 199; and 200 to 499 is considered high.

I told him that and explained that having that number this high was much more dangerous than elevated cholesterol. What I mean by that is that if your total cholesterol is 220 the doctor may immediately recommend a statin drug, but what is more important is the ratio between the HDL and LDL. Cholesterol is a very necessary component of a healthy body and brain and artificially lowering it to some arbitrary number can do more harm than good. And don’t get me started on the dangers of statins. I’ve talked about that many times in the past so I won’t bore you again here. Back to his situation.

I explained that triglycerides are the main form in which fat is found in the body, the diet and the bloodstream.  High triglycerides are an independent risk factor for both heart disease and stroke. An even more important number than your cholesterol level is the ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol. Triglycerides trigger the liver to produce more cholesterol, particularly the small dense particles known as LDLb, which are particularly harmful.

So we did a brainstorming session and I created a blueprint of foods he should avoid, those to include, some habit changes and supplement suggestions that would be helpful in lowering his triglycerides and raising his HDL, which would ensure he has the harmless type of LDL.

Whenever I work with someone, I can’t guarantee their results because I can’t guarantee they will actually follow through. I must admit I wasn’t sure just how much this gentleman would follow through because of all the objections he raised initially. All I can do is point people in the right direction. It is up to them to begin walking.

That being said, he stopped by our house to see my husband this week and brought me his blood work results from. He took the suggestions to heart (literally, pun intended!) and in 4 months his triglycerides dropped from 334 to 62! His HDL went up 15 points, his total cholesterol dropped 27 points; his LDL/HDL ratio is much improved and he lost about 10 pounds as well.

I felt like doing a dance! It thrills me when people follow through and then are able to see the results they desired. It also makes me happy because then they also experience just how critical nutrition and making good food choices is. I say it on my home page video and it is absolutely true: properly nourishing ourselves is critical from conception to death and at all points in between! And it is an aspect of our health we do have control over.

Do you agree that nutrition is a powerful force for or against health, depending on the choices we make?

**I am being interviewed by The Iron Jen tomorrow, February 1st at 11 am ET and sharing some of my thoughts on how to make 2017 your healthiest ever. I hope you can join me – here are the call in details:

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/845424270
Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll):  +14086380968,845424270# or +16465588656,845424270#
Or Telephone:
    Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)
    Meeting ID: 845 424 270

 

Eliminating gluten was a BIG part of how this man reduced his triglycerides. If you have ever wondered how to eat gluten free but didn’t know where to begin or even if you should consider it, my brand new Baby Step Guide: Going Gluten Free is now available. Click this link to learn more!

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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Health: Could You Be at Risk for Kidney Disease

2608_kidney_position_in_abdomenI was reading a very interesting and alarming article in Life Extension Magazine about some hidden factors behind the kidney disease epidemic. In case you were not aware, more than 1 in 10 Americans have some stage of chronic kidney disease and the prevalence for developing kidney disease is increasing in people 60 and older. (That got my attention!)

Besides the reasons most of us are familiar with – high blood pressure and diabetes – they mentioned common pain relievers like ibuprofen being extremely damaging to the kidneys and one other very commonly prescribed and overused class of drugs – proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Prilosec and Prevacid.

This hits close to home for several reasons. A close friend was on these meds for years – probably 15. I kept telling him that those drugs are not tested for safety if used longer than 6 weeks but he said the doctor told him he had to stay on them, so he did. Fast forward to about a year and a half ago. His legs were so thin and weak (this is a 6 foot tall guy who was always sturdily built and has a very physically demanding job) he had trouble walking up the 3 steps to my front door. I asked what was wrong and he just said he lost all muscle in his legs. Well I can tell you why that probably happened. When you take those drugs you do not digest your protein. Even though he is a meat eater and loves protein foods, his body wasn’t getting the benefit from them.

When my son Chris had a perforated ulcer in his early 20’s the surgeon released him from the hospital with a prescription for a proton pump inhibiting drug and said he can eat whatever he wants as long as he takes those drugs for the rest of his life! Thankfully my son trusted me more than what the surgeon told him and he never filled the prescription, taking some natural supplements to protect his stomach as it healed instead.

I know those drugs are also associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis as well. In fact, regular users have a 10-40% increased risk of bone fractures.

A year later when he had an endoscopy to see how the healing had progressed, the technician told him if he hadn’t known he’d had an ulcer he never would’ve been able to tell. His stomach was totally healed.

I am so grateful we took that route. The study mentioned in the Life Extension article said people taking those drugs twice a day had a 46% higher risk of chronic kidney disease than those who only took it once a day. Those people had a 15% higher risk. Either way, choosing a different, more natural approach is highly recommended. The way I see it, heartburn and GERD are not PPI deficiencies! It is better to find the cause – maybe you need to make changes in your diet or habits – and correct that.  If you need some suggestions on how to do that, contact me directly.

Do you take proton pump inhibiting drugs for GERD or chronic heartburn?

**I am being interviewed by The Iron Jen on February 1st at 11 am ET and sharing some of my thoughts on how to make 2017 your healthiest ever. I hope you can join me – here are the call in details:

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/845424270
Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll):  +14086380968,845424270# or +16465588656,845424270#
Or Telephone:
    Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)
    Meeting ID: 845 424 270

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 Diabetes, Nutrition, Overall Health and Wholeness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Nutrition: How Your Mindset Affects the Food You Eat

truth-knowledge-beliefYour mindset and belief about the food you eat has an incredibly powerful effect on how your body uses that food.

A fascinating experiment in New York Times best-selling book E-Squared: 9 Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality, is a 72-hour challenge. During this 72-hour period, people were instructed to infuse each bite of their food with positive thoughts, envisioning each bite bringing nourishment to their body. Amazingly, after the 72 hours, many people found they had lost 3 pounds! I don’t know about you but that’s an experiment I will definitely be putting into practice.

That beautifully illustrates the truth of God’s Word in Proverbs 23:7: For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

I wrote in a previous post about the Milkshake Study conducted by researcher Alia Crum. The focus was to see if there was a placebo effect in food label language as there is with medications. What she did was to divide people into two groups; giving each group the exact same milkshake containing about 300 calories total. One group’s milkshake was labeled “sensishake” saying that it was fat-free and guilt-free with only 104 calories. The other group’s shake was labeled “indulgence” and “decadence” saying it had 620 calories.

The author studied ghrelin, the “hunger hormone,” which signals the need for food. When we are hungry, ghrelin levels rise, causing our metabolism to drop in case we do not find food. When we eat, ghrelin levels drop and metabolism spikes in order to digest the food.

The results of her study were fascinating.  Participants who consumed what they thought was the “light” shake had significantly higher levels of ghrelin compared to those who consumed what they thought was the “indulgent,” shake, with much lower levels of ghrelin. In fact, the “indulgent” group’s ghrelin levels dropped three times as much as the “light” group. That means the milkshake they consumed left them more satisfied on a physiological level even though they were identical!

So what does this mean for us on a daily basis? We must understand that our thoughts and mindset have a very powerful and direct relationship to the food we eat and how it affects our physical body. By infusing our meals with negative thoughts, we program our bodies to respond negatively. But if we infuse our foods and meals with positive, nurturing thoughts, our bodies will respond accordingly.

Maybe that sounds a little “out there” but think about this: Dr. Emoto proved that water is sensitive to intention as you can see in the video below. You are made mostly of water and since water is impressionable, what you think and say has a powerful effect!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAvzsjcBtx8

Research done by The HeartMath Institute on the human heart and the power of our thoughts and intentions has proven that the heart’s electromagnetic field changes according to your emotions. Their research shows positive emotions create positive physical effects in the body including boosting the immune system.

It highlights the importance of being intentional: eating slowly, really tasting and enjoying your food, appreciating all aspects of it, including how it will nourish and satisfy your body and also how important it is to eat in an atmosphere of peace, aware of your thoughts and emotions. The worst thing you can do is eat when you are stressed or anxious. Also I believe praying over your meals is another powerful way to positively influence food’s effect on you.

Have you experienced how your mindset may have influenced how your food affected your body?

It’s that time of year again – flu season! If you want some simple, natural and easy ways to boost your immune system and fight off those nasty germs, you’ll find them here, in my Natural First Aid Kit ebook. You’ll learn how to keep yourself and your family healthy without resorting to flu shots and drugs.

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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Health: Benefits of Periodic Cleansing

fasting plateWe just finished with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and all the delicious (and rich) foods associated with them. While I enjoyed every morsel, I clearly felt the difference in my body after eating foods I only have once a year. I have incorporated periodic cleansing into my normal routine and I would love to tell you why and how I do it.

As much as I enjoy the stuffing, pies, lasagna and cookies over the holidays, I almost immediately begin to feel bloated, lethargic and fatigued. I try to do a very gentle, modified cleanse one day a week during the year as often as I can. It just leaves me feeling refreshed, lighter and well, clean. This holiday season I did a 3 day cleanse/fast before both Thanksgiving and Christmas and what I found was that I just naturally was able to eat less during the holiday. I still tasted everything and had enough, but I didn’t overeat.

I did this liquid, gentle cleanse beginning New Year’s Day as well. Not only does it seem to physically provide benefits, but I find by limiting my food intake, even just for one day, helps me take control over my physical body – rather than being controlled by my appetite. I believe it is important and effective to remind your body just who’s in charge!

During these cold weather months I like to start with my Bulletproof tea and NutriBlast green drink. Then throughout the day I sip on organic bone broth – at least 2 big mugs – and one mug of Golden Milk which I have really been enjoying lately! Of course I still include half my body weight in ounces of water with the appropriate amount of unprocessed salt.

During the warm weather months I often do a 3 Day Suero Cleanse. It’s refreshing and surprisingly filling. Many times I break it up and do one day a week over three weeks rather than 3 days all at once. It just depends on my needs and how I feel.

I also make sure to take an extra fiber supplement on those cleanse days and of course I continue taking my probiotics. This helps with the cleansing aspect of it.  Whenever possible I also include an Epsom salt soak for my feet which is also very detoxifying.

I try to schedule my cleanse day at a time during the week when I can just slow down, stay home if possible and spend a little more time reading scripture and nurturing myself spiritually as well as physically. I am also extra intentional about avoiding negative information such as news reports and let myself focus only on uplifting, positive information entering my ears and eyes. It’s good to detox the soul too! I emerge from those days feeling recharged and renewed.

If the thought of all liquids is daunting to you, just drink extra water and focus on fresh, organic, raw veggies. Try having a green drink in the morning and then one or two big, beautiful salads brimming with cleansing and nourishing veggies. Maybe you could institute a No-Meat Monday or have an All-Salad Sunday each week or two. Nothing is written in stone – do what works for you and what you know you can consistently do.

Do you have a cleansing practice? What do you do?

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, follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

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

Posted in Detox, Detoxification, Nutrition, Soul Health, Spiritual Health, Weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments