Health Tips, Thoughts and Inspirations
The content of this blog will vary, dependent on the topic I feel led to share with you. My prayer is that it will be a blessing to those who choose to read it.
My favorite holiday is upon us - Thanksgiving. As of yet, it isn't as commercialized as some are. In fact, it's often overlooked, especially now when stores are no longer waiting for Black Friday, but opening on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas decorations are everywhere by November 1. My daughter-in-law, who is from the Philippines, asked what we do on this day. "Eat" was the response she got. No, that's not what it's about. At least, not for me.
It's easy to be thankful when things in life are going well, but what about when it seems that everything is falling apart? I look back, not only on the past year, but the years before. Like many of you, our family has been through many difficult times. I admit that in the midst of all these, being thankful wasn't always the easiest thing to think about. In some of them, I was angry, distraught, and to the complete end of myself. And yet, God brought people into my life, some known and some complete strangers, who spoke to me, lifted me up, prayed for me and my family, and showed us the love of Christ. Suddenly, I still had something to be thankful for in the midst of heartache because of these precious people.
Should we take account of our lives and practice thankfulness only once a year? Or is there more to this than a one day holiday? Studies show that having a spirit/heart of thankfulness has a positive effect on our physical, emotional, and mental health. It can be considered a part of our mental health AND our spiritual health. Remember that all these aspects of our lives are intertwined. One is not separate from another.
How does this effect your health? "Happy people live up to 10 years longer than unhappy people, and optimists have a 77% lower risk of heart disease than pessimists." Does this attitude happen without any effort? Some people are definitely more joyful than others. If you think of those around you, I'm sure you can think of those who are on both ends of the spectrum. Which type are you more likely to want to be around? That may seem like an obvious question, but we have often heard the old saying "misery loves company." Either way, one feeds off the other. If we surround ourselves with positive people, it will impact how we look at life. The opposite is also true. "But I am surrounded with crabby, negative people that I can't escape from! They're always complaining about life, work, their spouse, their kids, the in-laws....the list goes on and on. I don't have the option of being around someone with a thankful heart!" There is a couple of answers to that dilemma. When you can, make time for some space away from it. And other....Be one! Be the thankful person! How do we get there? First take a long, hard look at yourself. What are your thoughts like? What do your words reflect?
Begin with the symptoms of an unthankful heart:
In Romans 12:2, the Scripture talks about renewing our mind. What we put into our minds, through what we read, watch on TV, the music we listen to, what we look at on the internet and social media - each one of these makes a difference. We need to "think about what we are thinking about." If we are dwelling on negative thoughts, our problems, people that we are upset with, the list goes on and on - we will not have a thankful heart. It will be a clouded, down-trodden, "woe is me" darkness that weighs us down. I, for one, don't want to live there. We will miss out on the joy of life. Ask yourself, "What have I been thinking about this past week/day/hour?" If we want to see a change, we have to change the way we think. What are the blessings in your life? Do you have a roof over your head? A safe and warm place to sleep? Clothes to wear? Food to eat? People you love and who love you? Even if you can answer "yes" to only one of these questions, you have more than a large percentage of the people in this world! There are many who would gladly exchange places with you!
To start out on the right track, begin and end each day reminding yourself of at least one thing you can be thankful for. Write it down and look back at your list after a week of doing this. Post them where you can see them. You will be surprised at how blessed you really are!
May your Thanksgiving and all the days thereafter be filled with love, joy, peace and a grateful heart! From our most precious blessings....to yours.
Forgiveness. We hear about it, we know it's what we need to do, but do we apply it to our lives? It can be a difficult thing to do, especially when we have been hurt, or even worse, when someone we love has been hurt. You may have heard it said that when we forgive someone, the person we set free is ourselves. The one we are angry with may not even know how upset we are and it certainly doesn't imprison them nearly as much as it imprisons us. Hanging onto our anger and pain will eventually effect our health. It also effects those around us as it continues to turn into a root of bitterness. "Unforgiveness is classified in medical books as a disease. According to Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, refusing to forgive makes people sick and keeps them that way." He goes on to explain that 61% of their cancer patients have forgiveness issues.
Where do we start if we know that this is an issue that needs to be dealt with? Of course, that is the first step - recognizing that it is a problem that needs to be met head on. According to Jesus, we are to forgive because WE have been forgiven. This statement comes from the One who said, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do" as He hung on the cross in pain that we can't begin to imagine. In Luke 6:37-38, Jesus says “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” In a parallel passage in Matthew 6:14-15, in response to the disciples asking him how they should pray, Jesus emphasizes, "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." There are many more Scriptures that could be cited here, and they all point to the same thing. Forgiving is a command that is for our own well-being, that we may be a blessing.
Unforgiveness is detrimental to our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health, which I approach from a Biblical perspective since that is the world view I am living. However, if that's not where you are in life, this is still an applicable truth that has been proven in the medical community.
If this topic has created a stir in your heart, I pray you will consider taking that first step towards the freedom of forgiveness. At a complete loss as to where to begin? You may find this teaching by Joyce Meyer to be helpful, who forgave her father for abusing her throughout her childhood.
May you be blessed and set free!
Holy Bible, ESV
Are you experiencing...
The Pokemon Go craze has created quite a stir. People are chasing these little fantasy creatures wherever their phone takes them, including in harms way. Just search the most recent news and you will find one story after another about people getting injured or KILLED while pursuing yet another Pokemon. It is a bit terrifying to me. I admit that I am one of those people that does not understand the fascination with this app, especially to the extremes it has rapidly evolved. And then the other night it hit me. Who am I to be spouting about the stupidity of all this? How much time am I spending on my phone looking at Facebook, Twitter, news feeds, emails, text messages, the weather app, internet, or anything else I click on out of boredom (or avoiding work)? Conviction can be a painful thing...
If our ancestors could see our current society, they would be shocked and dare I say, appalled. We are busier than ever, with all our modern "conveniences." We claim that we are more connected to people than ever because we can text, message, call from anywhere, scroll the social media. Yes, we can do all those things, but is it healthy? Are we truly "connected" to anyone? Is this a true, healthy connection or are we ignoring those who are physically present with us? What would happen if we finally looked up from our phones one day and realized that our loved ones are gone? Precious time that could have been spent in face to face communication, complete with the important element of non-verbals which tell us what a person is truly feeling, has been replaced with a cyber reality. A reality that in fact is, for the lack of a better word, not real. I fear that we have forgotten what healthy communication looks like and definitely forgotten how to put it into action.
We were out for supper at a local pub this past weekend with my daughter and her boyfriend. There was a family at the table next to us, obviously celebrating a birthday complete with 3 generations of loved ones. My daughter says to me, "Mom, look." Over half the family was looking down at their phones and not interacting with each other. Unfortunately, this is not a rare scene. Everywhere you go, people who are physically together are not "together." Don't get me wrong. I am not condemning. I have been guilty of this more than I care to admit. There have been more wasted moments since acquiring a Smart Phone than probably any other time in my life. Moments that I can't get back. So what do we do going forward?
Here are some suggestions from experts as listed in an article on WebMD:
I am often asked about holistic health and how it differs from mainline medicine. Naturopathy was the earliest known healing system. Before surgery and pharmaceuticals, foods, water and whole herbs were used by many cultures for a wide range of problems. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was likely the best known of the older naturopathic scientists. His best contribution may be the principle of "first do no harm."
Naturopaths and holistic health practitioners believe in prevention and also in the power of the body to heal itself, given the right tools. We believe that by identifying the cause and supporting it's healing, everything else will improve. The body can heal itself of just about anything if it is clear of toxins and given the proper nutrition, rest, mental outlook and natural stimulation. The naturopath trusts that the natural processes within the body want it to heal. The goal is to identify the cause of problems, eliminate toxins, recommend substances to deal with deficiencies, and stimulate the body's own natural healing abilities. It is always taken into account that everyone is different and that not everyone with the same problem will benefit with the same solution.
Natural healing is not quackery or a cult. "It is the science of nature, the biological way of living right." (Dr. Benedict Lust) It is a mixture of modalities intended to encourage the body to heal itself as it was created to do, with attention also being given to the mind and spirit.
To take this path means a person must take responsibility for their own health. This is empowering to some, yet daunting to others. It takes time, work, and determination to change habits, including food, water consumption, sleeping, exercise, and reducing toxins along with adding in supplements and/or herbs if necessary. However, getting to the root of health issues will mean an overall healthier body, mind and spirit, which will be better equipped to fight off disease, infections, and anything else that comes on life's journey. If you would like to know more about how to address your health through natural means, contact me here or on my Facebook page. I would be honored to help you in any way that I can.
Sources: Naturopathy for the 21st Century, Robert J. Thiel,, PhD
Making healthy choices is not always easy, even when we know what we should be doing to heal our body, mind and spirit. There are days I know I will feel better after a workout, but I honestly don't want to do it. I would rather lie in bed a little bit longer. Or maybe I tell myself that I have too many other things to do and need to forego the exercise. After all, company is coming! The house needs to be cleaned! School is starting soon and there is curriculum planning to do! I don't have time to plan and cook a healthy meal! I can come up with so many excuses.
So what do we do about it? We may not always choose to invest in our health, but when we do, the rewards go past that one moment. It seems that when I do one thing that I know will enhance my health, it leads to other good choices. Starting my day with exercise, a protein smoothie, followed by prayer time is my favorite way to get going. Of course, there are days that I can't fit all of those things into my morning. Then I have to choose and do the best that I can. Maybe my exercise time will be shorter in order to have that precious one on one time with God. Or that quiet time might be shorter than I would like it to be.
It is less overwhelming to change our lifestyle one small step at a time rather than looking at an overall big picture. It may not always be my ideal day, but I can do the best I can with what's available in the moment. This includes food choices, sleep, prayer, exercise, my thoughts. It is all equally important, with each decision affecting all the others. What areas of your holistic health need extra attention this week? And how are you going to nourish them? Take time to invest in your health. I promise that you won't regret it.
"....I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10. Choose your abundant life, one decision at a time!
First of all, you may be wondering what IS a pH level? Your pH is the balance of acid and alkaline in your body. If it is too acid or too alkaline, it will have serious affects on your health. Fortunately, this is simple to test and can be done in the privacy of your own home. Using pH litmus paper (available at most drug stores/pharmacies and also at Restoring Wellness), you can do both a urine and saliva test to determine your own pH level. The paper will change color to indicate whether your system is overly acidic or alkaline. A healthy pH level is between 6.5 - 7.5. Be sure to test before you eat a meal, rather than after.
With our current SAD (Standard American Diet), being acidic is more common than overly alkaline. Why should you care about this? One of the biggest reasons is that cancer, along with other states of dis-ease, cannot thrive in an alkaline environment. Even if you are eating a basically healthy diet, your body isn't able to absorb the nutrients from your food if your pH level is off. Thankfully, you can bring your body back into balance with a change in diet which is great news! It doesn't require expensive medications! But it will require looking at your current diet and determining where the changes are needed.
Some of the symptoms that may be experienced if your body is in a state of acidosis are: frequent sighing, insomnia, water retention, recessed eyes, arthritis, migraine headaches, abnormally low blood pressure, acidic or strong perspiration, dry hard stools, foul-smelling stools accompanied by a burning sensation, alternating constipation and diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, halitosis, burning sensation in the moth and/or under the tongue, sensitivity of the teeth to vinegar and acidic fruits, and bumps on the tongue or the roof of the mouth.
What should you eat? Raw foods maintain the correct acid/alkaline balance in the body and are also richer in nutrients and easier to assimilate. Increase your raw food consumption to at least 50%. Limit protein intake to no more than 80 drams a day and grains to 8 servings or less. Slow down while you are eating and chew your food to aid digestion. Digestion can have an impact on your pH level also. If your body cannot process your food intake, it will strain the digestive system and in turn your entire bodily function. In this case, enzymes are a must along with probiotics. Both are available in my on-line store and at my office. /store/c1/Featured_Products.html
Alkalosis (less likely) can create symptoms such as sore muscles, creaking joints, bursitis, drowsiness, protruding eyes, hypertension, hypothermia, seizures, edema, allergies, night cramps, asthma, chronic indigestion, menstrual problems and a calcium build up in the body, as in bone or heel spurs. It is often the result of excessive intake of alkaline drugs such as sodium bicarbonate (Tums) for the treatment of gastritis or peptic ulcers. It can also be caused by excessive vomiting, high cholesterol, and osteoarthritis. If this is the case, you will want to adopt a diet that is 80% whole grains and includes beans, breads, brown rice, crackers, lentils, and nuts. Do not use antacids! They are masking the problem rather than healing it. To deal with heartburn or acid reflux, consider trying Gastro Health Support from Healthy Reflections, listed in my store. /store/p3/Gastro_Health_Support.html
If you find that you need to balance your pH level, consider printing out a list of the foods that will help your body return to a more healthy state found at Energise for Life. http://www.energiseforlife.com/acid-alkaline-food-chart-1.1.pdf It's worth it to put in the effort now and avoid more serious health issues later!
Is it possible to eat healthy within my budget? The answer, thankfully, is YES! It can be done! It takes planning, but it is possible. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Eat food in season and check our your local farmer's market. Foods that are in season are less expensive since they are more easily accessible and also more healthful for your body. When possible, shop at your local farmer's market. It will cost less than the same item in the grocery store. Why? The produce you find at your farmer's market hasn't traveled hundreds (or more) miles. The costs and environmental issues connected with food that has been shipped a great distance are eliminated. It supports your local growers, rather than the "middle men," keeping the money in your area. And of course, it has been allowed to ripen naturally, which also increases its nutritional value. If you have children, take them with you to help pick out their favorite vegetable. When it's something they have chosen, they are more likely to eat it. If you visit the market towards the end of the day, you may be able to get whatever is left for a lower price because the farmers do not want to pack it up and bring it home. But remember to be fair! This is their living!
2. Shop the sales and buy extra. For food that has a longer shelf life, watch for sales and buy extra when it is on sale. This will work well for frozen vegetables or fresh foods that you can freeze yourself. If you don't like the prep work, watch for frozen vegetables that are on special.
3. Plan your menu around the weekly specials. Before planning your menu for the week, check the current items on sale. Are they things your family will eat or be willing to try? It's can be fun to try new things and it will also help you to be creative! Planning your menu may seem daunting, but it will save you money and the nightly stress of "what's for dinner." Overwhelmed by the idea? Check out the Plan To Eat app at www.plantoeat.com. You can download your own recipes, plan them out, and it will organize your grocery list for you. I love this tool!
4. Make a shopping list and stick to it. Again with the planning....I don't know how many times I have gone into the grocery store without a list and ended up coming out of there with a big bill and nothing to make for supper. It's frustrating, isn't it!? I have been amazed at how much less waste there is when I do the planning beforehand. Throwing food away is throwing money away.
5. Try less expensive cuts of meat or compare the cost of getting directly from a local farmer. Meat can be expensive. The less expensive cuts can still be prepared in a way that makes them tender (and delicious!) using the slow cooker. Skin-on chicken thighs will cost less per pound than skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Not only is it better for you to get it with the skin and bones still intact, it also has more flavor! Don't be afraid of healthy , natural fat. If you can find someone local to buy your meat from, you can ask them if it has had any hormones, antibiotics or other drugs.
6. Modify leftovers. Not a fan of leftovers? Alter them a bit and it's something completely new! For instance, you can remake leftover chicken into salads, soups, or wraps by incorporating more vegetables, greens, a side of rice, stretching that chicken into lasting a few meals.
7. Meatless Mondays (or any day that works). Change things up! There are plenty of meatless recipes that could fit into your budget! Search the internet for something that looks appealing and easy. Beans and whole grains, like quinoa, freekeh and brown rice are an inexpensive and tasty way to bulk up meals, and can even be a meal in themselves. Eggs are also a great source of protein and can be eaten at times other then breakfast.
8. Grow your own food. This may not always be a possibility depending on where you live, but it is inexpensive and rewarding to grown your own food when you can. Greens are easy to grow! Check this website for more easy to grow veggies. http://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/easy-edible-plants/easy-edible-plants_7. Square foot gardening has also become a popular concept, making it possible for more people to grow their own produce in a small area.
9. Eat at home. Making homemade meals rather than eating out or ordering in will not only save money, but you will be eating healthier since you control what is put into the food. Oftentimes, when we eat out there are also beverages ordered along with it that add to the cost quickly.
10. Focus on nutritional value per dollar. When you factor in the vitamin/mineral content of a fresh avocado, apples, and sweet potatoes versus a bag of chips, 12-pack of pop, ramen noodles, or whatever packaged food it is, what are you really getting for your dollar? However, there are some fruits and veggies that can be more cost effective than others. Some of your best "deals" in the produce section can be kale, broccoli, leafy greens, spinach, carrots, watermelon, plums, bananas, and pears.
What are your tips for eating healthier on a budget? Please share in the comments below! I would love to hear from you!
Recently, I went through a time in which I was tired of trying to live healthfully. I was tired of planning healthy meals, tired of being concerned about my family's choices, tired of attempting to help them to make better ones, tired of searching for local food options, scheduling (and doing!) workouts, researching the latest health news and supplements. To sum it up, I was tired of the fight. I even began to think that it wasn't worth it. The cost, the planning, and even (at times) the stressing over it.
As He often does, the good Lord reminded me of why I'm on this path. I remembered the sight of my husband hooked up to tubes that were pumping chemotherapy into his body. The news that he had cancer, having to tell our children, the surgery, treatments, the emotional and mental toll it took on not only him, but our entire family. Although it was "only" two rounds, the lasting effects on his body that we are still dealing with have been something I wouldn't want anyone to go through. Healing continues through detoxing and nutrition, but it has been a long road. I am thankful beyond words that he has been cancer free for 5 years, and I want to do everything I can to make sure this continues.
I hear many comments about the high cost of eating healthy. "I can't afford produce." "The organic stuff costs too much money." "It's too much work to change." "It's too hard." "My insurance won't cover a natural health practitioner (or supplements), but will pay for a visit to the clinic." Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do about insurance companies. However, what does it REALLY cost when our health takes a nose dive? Medical bills, prescriptions, missed work and/or school, the worry and stress of it all. It counts up quickly. If our bodies have been out of balance for a longer length of time, it leads to more serious health issues which can be devastating in ways that extend far beyond the financial.
Are there unhealthy habits (and the costs that go with them) that we can replace with healthy ones? We can spend more at the grocery store (or with a local farmer) now, or we can spend it at the doctor's office later. I know where I want to invest my money. What will you choose? What is it your health worth? Remember to count the cost.
Next week: Eating healthy on a budget
Our gut health determines the health of our entire bodies. It can effect mental and emotional health as well as physical. It is something that many people don't want to talk about, but it is of utmost importance. If your digestion isn't working properly, it leads to excess toxins in our bodies which in turn leads to inflammation and disease. Whether it is constipation or diarrhea, or vacillating between the two, we need to focus on healing this vital part of our health.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) does not typically provide what our bodies need to digest food properly and enhance our health. Unfortunately, it is quite the opposite. Much of what is consumed is processed, packaged, and full of chemicals that our body does not recognize. It doesn't know what do with these foreign substances. Imagine putting garbage or water in the gas tank of your vehicle instead of gasoline. Would it run effectively? Would the parts last very long? That may seem like a dramatic and somewhat ridiculous comparison, but it is exactly what we do to our digestive system and other organs when we consistently consume man-made, manufactured items rather than the whole foods that were created for us.
There are two ways to approach this and work on healing the gut (digestive system). Implementing both avenues will increase the total healing and help things to move in the right direction faster. If you come to see me with digestive issues (or other challenges that are rooted in digestion), the first thing we would look at is your diet. By diet, I don't mean what we eat to lose weight. It is your day-to-day lifestyle of food and beverages. The second is by supplementing with quality enzymes to aid your body in digesting and absorbing the nutrients from the food you are consuming. Most of us need assistance in this area. Past medications, current medications, immunizations, and processed "foods" all contribute to destroying our gut bacteria. Cleaning up the diet, along with including enzymes and probiotics, can go a long way in the journey of healing your body and get it back to a balanced place. Your energy and overall health will benefit!
This journey is not for the faint of heart. It takes determination to change what may be long time habits, learn what your body needs, listen to what may effect your system negatively and what it loves. However, it is worth it! Improving already existing issues and preventing later, more serious ones is an easier road than dealing with the consequences of not addressing the root issues now. You are worth it! The people who love you would most certainly agree!