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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Moving Towards Vegetarianism

It wasn't so long ago many people in North America thought vegetarians were weird, lived in hippie communes and lived off of tofu and brown rice. Our cultural ideas have shifted enough in the last decade that this concept has mostly fallen away. There's no question that more people are embracing a vegetarian diet, especially in the under 30 age group, but there is still some resistance.

There are many people out there who are flummoxed by the idea of cooking and eating a meal without meat. We'd like to change that. The challenge this week: Eat just one dinner without meat or fish in it. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Agave Nectar Fraud

Agave nectar is in reality not a natural sweetener but a highly refined form of fructose, more concentrated than the high fructose corn syrup used in sodas. Refined fructose is not a 'natural' sugar, and countless studies implicate it as a sweetener that will contribute to disease. Therefore, agave nectar is not a health building product, but rather a deceptively marketed form of a highly processed and refined sweetener.

Agave nectar is found on the shelves of health food stores primarily under the labels, "Agave Nectar 100% Natural Sweetener," and "Organic Raw Blue Agave Nectar." In addition, it can be found in foods labeled as organic or raw, including: ketchup, ice-cream, chocolate, and health food bars.

The implication of its name, the pictures and descriptions on the product labels, is that agave is an unrefined sweetener that has been used for thousands of years by native people in central Mexico. They made a traditional sweetener from the agave sap/juice (miel de agave) by simply boiling it for several hours. But, as one agave seller explains, the agave nectar purchased in stores is neither of these traditional foods: "Agave nectar is a newly created sweetener, having been developed during the 1990's." Read the entire article.

Update: 12/31/08 This information has been contested by Madhava Agave Nectar.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Green Space Reduces Fatal Diseases

Across the country, there are "health inequalities" related to income and social deprivation, which generally reflect differences in lifestyle, diet, and, to some extent, access to medical care.

This means that in general, people living in poorer areas are more likely to be unhealthy, and die earlier.

However, the researchers found that living near parks, woodland or other open spaces helped reduce these inequalities, regardless of social class.

When the records of more than 366,000 people who died between 2001 and 2005 were analysed, it revealed that even tiny green spaces in the areas in which they lived made a big difference to their risk of fatal diseases.

Although the effect was greatest for those living surrounded by the most greenery, with the "health gap" roughly halved compared with those with the fewest green spaces around them, there was still a noticeable difference. Read the entire article.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Healthiest Supermarkets

Your weekly (or daily) run to the grocery store is the foundation for your good health. So it’s thrilling news that the supermarket industry is on a health kick — these days you’ll likely find organic produce and “natural” packaged foods at almost any store.

But which chains are outdoing themselves to deliver the freshest and healthiest food? And which provide the best tools to help you make smart choices? Health magazine asked six prominent health experts to help pick the top 10 healthiest grocery stores out of the nation’s largest chains.

And surprise: Many are the traditional, affordable grocers close to your home! Read the results.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Break Bad Eating Habits

A whirlwind of office parties, family reunions, and shopping days, the holiday season can easily sabotage the healthy limits we normally set for ourselves. But it's not just the overabundance of sweets that lures us, says Judith Wright, author of The Soft Addiction Solution (Tarcher, 2006).

“The holidays stir up emotions that we often don't know how to deal with, so we end up self-medicating through unhealthy behaviors,” she says. Plus stress — another bad-habit trigger — can get exceptionally intense during this time of year.

“When we don't have ways to relieve stress every day, our habits tend to break down,” says Wright. Of course, stress isn't exactly a holiday-specific phenomenon. But when compounded with the season's tendency to disrupt our regular routines, it can leave us especially vulnerable to relapse.

Powerless against pumpkin pie? It's likely you're looking for another kind of nourishment, says Carol H. Munter, psychoanalyst and co-author of Overcoming Overeating. “If you're compulsively eating, it's often because you're using food to find calm rather than ease hunger,” she says. “So when you feel the urge to indulge, ask yourself if it's a physical or emotional need. If it's the latter, you need to find another way to soothe yourself.” Read the entire article.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Medications and Thinking Skills Loss

Common medications known as anticholinergic drugs -- used to treat ulcers, stomach cramps, motion sickness, Parkinson's disease and urinary incontinence -- may cause older people to lose their thinking skills more quickly than seniors who don't take the medicines, new research suggests. Medications for bladder problems and Parkinson's appear to have the worst effect on memory, he said.

Anticholinergic drugs are a class of medicines that work by blocking the binding of a brain chemical called acetylcholine to its receptor in nerve cells.

"You need acetylcholine for [good] memory," Tsao explained. Drugs used to treat Alzheimer's inhibit the enzyme which breaks down acetylcholine, he said, allowing more of it to be used by the brain.

Tsao's study adds to the body of evidence on the effect of these drugs on memory. "We've known for a long time that in people with Alzheimer's disease, if you put them on drugs with anticholinergic activity, it clearly worsens their memory, without a doubt."

In the new study, he said, they looked at people who had normal cognitive function. Read the entire article.

Help For The Liver

Reasons to love our liver abound since this organ does all of the following, and more: saves up energy; makes bile to help break down food; keeps pollution from hurting us; stops cuts from bleeding too long; kills germs; gets rid of toxic chemicals; and helps build muscle.

According to the foundation, liver disease affects one in 10 Americans, or about 30 million people — including children.

Liver disease begins with inflammation. If left untreated, especially over time, inflamed liver tissue starts to scar or become fibrous, which is called fibrosis. If fibrosis is not treated or healed, irreversible damage can occur, called cirrhosis; this can lead to liver cancer. If the liver loses most or all of its function, a life-threatening condition called liver failure can result.

In recent years, enlightened medicine has brought popularity to a variety of botanical liver lovers, including milk thistle, which has been used for what we now know as liver disease since the 12th century.

Today, research often attributes milk thistle´s liver supportive effects to a compound complex in milk thistle, called silymarin, which is extracted from the Milk Thistle seed.

One nutrient, however, that has been the subject of research and which shows the greatest promise for liver health has curiously not yet attained the level of popularity enjoyed by milk thistle; it is: alpha lipoic acid.

It is a natural substance that, according to ALA pioneer Burt Berkson, M.D., in the December 2007 edition of the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, is the "rate-limiting factor for the production of energy from carbohydrates." In other words, without Alpha Lipoic Acid we could not obtain energy from the food we eat and we could not stay alive.

Read entire article.
Milk Thistle Combination
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha Lipoic Acid & Longevity

Monday, December 22, 2008

Getting Out Of The Negative Loops

by Donna L. Watkins

This is the fifth and final article written around a very enlightening book I've read by Jill Bolte Taylor. My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey has put a visual aspect (right brain) to my left brain knowledge of the Scripture commanding us to "take every thought captive" (2 Cor. 10:4-5).

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Lamb's Ears at Montpelier Gardens
The author, a brain scientist who had a stroke and eight years of recovery, paints a picture of how we can control our thoughts which in turn controls our emotions and sets a positive and joyful path through life. Not without troubles, but seeing them in a different light with the choices we make on what we allow our left brain to pump out at us, since it's the story-teller of our brain and will ramble and rattle on forever with things you do not want to waste life listening to.

Jill mentions a few more methods of getting out of the negative loops that our left brain weaves for us: “The cells in our verbal mind [left brain] are totally resourceful in their ability to run our loops of doom and gloom. These cells tap into our negative attributes of jealousy, fear, and rage. They thrive when they are whining, complaining, and sharing with everyone about how awful everything is.

In extreme situations of cellular disregard, I use my authentic voice to put my language center’s Peanut Gallery on a strict time schedule. I give my story-teller full permission to whine rampantly between 9-9:30 a.m. And then again between 9-9:30 p.m. If it accidentally misses whine time, it is not allowed to reengage in that behavior until its next allotted appointment. My cells quickly get the message that I am serious about not hooking into those negative loops of thought – but only if I am persistent and determined enough to pay attention to what circuits are running in my brain.

I’m a devout believer that paying attention to our self-talk is vitally important for our mental health. In my opinion, making the decision that internal verbal abuse is not acceptable behavior, is the first step toward finding deep inner peace. I have learned that in order to protect my overall mental health, it is necessary for me to tend the garden of my mind and keep these cells in check. My story-teller simply needs a little disciplining directive from my conscious mind about what I want versus what I find unacceptable."

Many of us grew up with parents nagging and shouting and saying things they didn't mean to say. Fear makes us project accusations in hopes of some warped way of preventing what we are accusing our children of. Those childhood accusations often continue on when we become adults and they are so deeply rooted that we have a challenge to wake up enough to listen to every conversation, but the more practice you get, the easier it becomes. You will be surprised at what you are saying to yourself once you begin to tune in. This new information has allowed me to go to new levels of subconscious loops that I didn't even recognize as thoughts.

The 9-9:30 routine doesn't fit for me, but what I've found very successful is to first recognize that I'm in a moment where I can take the whine road or "take a right turn" to let my right brain see a bigger picture. Generally I'm off on the rejoicing road focusing on blessings instead of the problem, or putting it up against what God's Word says about it. Since it's winter, I look out at a gray and bleak setting and miss the views of summer with all the color, blooms and butterflies.

So .. I go back to "THIS is the day the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it." Then I think of blessings I can count because it is winter. I can see the birds better. They are willing to eat closer to the windows. I have more time for reading than in summer. And on and on. It keeps me focused on the blessing of today ... and tomorrow may be a sunny day which alters my mind greatly.

However, there are times when something warrants a bit of whine time because I know it's going to come back up if I don't process through it more fully. For example, a beautiful Downy Woodpecker hit our deck door (even though it has 3 decals on it) and died. There are emotions we have to express to go through the steps of grief, but we have the option of moving through those stages a lot quicker than we often choose to. I allowed myself a few moments moaning about its death and it being "not fair" ... but then I moved on. It's okay to give yourself time to whine when life doesn't go your way, but don't let it keep you in its flow. Put your toes in the water, but don't step into the current. Choose to flow in the thoughts of blessings that are all around you.

Jill continues with more specifics to help us: "Just like children, these [left brain] cells may challenge the authority of my authentic voice and test my conviction. Once asked to be silent, they tend to pause for a moment and then immediately reengage those forbidden loops.

If I am not persistent with my desire to think about other things, and consciously initiate new circuits of thought, then those uninvited loops can generate new strength and begin monopolizing my mind again. To counter their activities, I keep a handy list of three things available for me to turn my consciousness toward when I am in a sate of need:

I remember something I find fascinating that I would like to ponder more deeply, or
I think about something that brings me terrific joy, or
I think about something I would like to do.

When I am desperate to change my mind, I use such tools.”

Jill mentions that she had to be willing to make these decisions a thousand times a day initially. That sounds overwhelming. However, in reality, isn’t allowing our mind to control us with negative thoughts overwhelming, besides being so destructive.

Allowing yourself to whine and wallow in despair and grief, fear and worry, or any other negative emotion is totally destructive. There is no good coming out of it. None! Spending that time and energy thinking about the things that bring you joy – even if you can only find one thing – brings about positive change and that change gains momentum.

It’s like exercise. When you begin it is not fun. Every muscle hurts from being reawakened and you can’t see much positive coming out of it ... But if you keep on going you soon begin noticing more energy, more strength, better physical and mental health. It’s worth the investment, but each day it’s a choice on whether to put our mind in gear for it.

Jill also relates all of this to the realm of physical health. She writes, “The first thing every morning and the last thing every night, I faithfully hug my pillow, wrap one hand in the other, and consciously thank my cells for another great day. I care enough to say it out loud. ‘Thank you girls. Thanks for another great day!,’ and I say it with an intense feeling of gratitude in my heart. I then implore my cells, 'Please, heal me,' and I visualize my immune cells responding.

I unconditionally love my cells with an open heart and grateful mind. Spontaneously throughout the day, I acknowledge their existence and enthusiastically cheer them on. I am a wonderful living being capable of beaming my energy into the world, only because of them ...

When I’m having hunger pangs and can’t get to food, I remind my cells that I have fuel (fat) stored on my hips ... I listen to my body when it speaks to me. If I feel tired, I give my cells sleep. When I’m feeling sloth-like, I give my cells movement. When I’m in pain, I become quiet, coddle the wound, and consciously surrender into the pain, which helps it dissipate.

Pain is the tool our cells use to communicate to our brain that there is trauma somewhere in our body. Our cells stimulate our pain receptors in order to get our brain to focus and pay attention. Once my brain acknowledges the existence of the pain, then it has served its purpose and either lightens up in intensity, or goes away.


Deep inner peace is just a thought/feeling away. To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life.”

One of the keys to being able to stay centered on peace is knowing you are part of something greater than yourself. For Christians, that’s being in Christ, and all that defines. We are fearfully and wonderfully made and this book certainly broke that down into visual, scientific and factual terms.

Realizing these are real physiological processes that we were wired to control is truly empowering. We can read about having the power of the Creator within us, but this shows exactly where and how He wired it in.

Here's one last tip from Jill: "One of the easiest ways to shift just about anyone’s mood (for better or worse) is through stimulation of their nose. If you are overly sensitive, life in the real world can be unbearable. Capitalizing on our noses to shift ourselves back into the present moment is easy. Light a scented candle and let vanilla, rose or almond life you up beyond your recollections of stress. When random smells waft past you, hook into that cognitive loop and spend quality time trying to identify the scent. Score it on a scale of one to ten for pleasure or yuck. Remember to feel the physiology that underlies different scents. Let them move you into the here and now."

I've found several essential oils that I love and keep them nearby for use. Since I mix them with a massage oil, I use them as my face moisturizer which eliminates all those face products with a long list of chemicals. Even natural products have a longer list than I have come to want on my body.

I have a mixture of Rosemary and Pine essential oils for mornings and Sandalwood for afternoons. Essential oils enter the bloodstream in seconds, so I always feel the joy of them very quickly. I've used Tei Fu for asthma (relaxes arthritis pain for many years and the smell of that lifts my spirit also ... maybe because it's such an effective pain reliever for me.

I pray that these excerpts that I’ve been writing from My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey will bring you much insight into getting out of the darkness that wants to envelope us so that our Light no longer shines.

Related Articles:
Your Amazing Brain
Power To Change Your Mind
Stroke Of Genius On Emotions
Taking Thoughts Captive
Fighting The Darkness

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either or both of them on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com.
Link URL is: http://www.TheNatureInUs.com

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Cleansing & Weight Loss

All the holiday treats and overeating takes a toll on our digestive system, immune system and certainly on the liver and intestinal system.

What a great New Year's gift to give yourself ... a body cleanse. Cleansing aids so many areas of the body:

Why Should I Cleanse?

Even weight loss is better accomplished once you open the pathways of elimination so any fat you burn off can be removed:

Sensible Weight Control.

Nature's Sunshine's Clean Start Cleanse is on sale from December 21-31, 2008. Wild Berry and Apple flavors at $42.75 ($3.00 off) or you can Buy 4 and Get 1 Free if you're going to cleanse the entire family or do a series of monthly cleanses.

Nature's Sunshine has a big sale on many items. If you're ready to get some energy and nutrition into that partying body, check out the
Nature's Sunshine's products on sale now.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Healthy Legumes

Eating healthy can be part of an alternative treatment against illnesses.

Legumes are a staple food all over the world and are one of the best sources of soluble fiber. Plus, they're low in fat and high in good quality protein -- a great health-saving combination. Beans can be gassy, of course, but there are ways around that. So don't let their "explosive" nature scare you away from some of the best nutrition around.

The soluble fiber in beans helps lower levels of damaging LDL cholesterol in the blood, thus lowering heart-disease risk. And by slowing down carbohydrate absorption, soluble bean fiber fends off unwanted peaks and valleys in blood glucose levels -- especially valuable to people with diabetes. Beans also provide substantial insoluble fiber, which can keep constipation and other digestive woes away.

Legumes are also rich in folic acid, copper, iron, and magnesium -- four nutrients many of us could use more of in our diets. In addition, dried beans and peas are generally good sources of iron, which is especially helpful for people who don't eat meat. Read the entire article.

Beans are an important dietary choice for vegetarians since they contain a great amount of protein. When combined with a grain, they offer complete protein (containing all amino acids) in a more digestible form than meat and dairy products. Read more about vegetarian protein sources.

Beans can really stretch a food budget a very long way, even if you're paying the higher price for canned beans. Phil Lempert at MSNBC.com discusses buying dry beans vs. canned.

"Nearly every bean that is sold in dried form is sold pre-cooked in cans including garbanzo, red kidney, Great Northern white or black beans, pinto, and navy beans. Also available in cans are whole, and both French and Italian cut green beans that are not available in dried form, but also come fresh or frozen. Organic, low sodium and low fat varieties are also available.

Although dried beans are a very inexpensive source of protein, it’s hard to argue with the additional expense of buying precooked beans in cans. With the convenience of saving time soaking, cooking, and seasoning beans, all you need to do is open a can and use them in salads, or heat them up in other dishes.

So, while you could get four cups of cooked beans from a package of dried beans for under 60 cents, and you get only one cup for 90 cents to $1.50 for canned beans, it’s still such a modest investment that convenience here makes sense."


Here's a warm healthy recipe from Delicious Living for one of your cold winter evenings.

Lentil, Mushroom, and Spinach Stew
Serves 6

Lentil Tip:

Grayish-green French lentils stay firm when cooked; red lentils cook quickly but can lose their texture; and brown (often with a greenish cast and simply labeled “lentils”) soften but retain texture when cooked.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, cut in large dice
2 medium carrots, cut in large dice
1 medium celery stalk, cut in large dice
1½ cups sliced cremini or portobello mushrooms
1 cup flat brown lentils, rinsed
7-8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
4 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves
Sherry or sherry vinegar (optional)

1. In a medium soup pot, heat olive oil and sauté onion, carrots, celery, and mushrooms until onions are just tender, 3-5 minutes. Stir in lentils. Add 7 cups broth, bay leaf, rosemary, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook on medium, covered, for about 20 minutes, until lentils are tender.
2. Remove bay leaf. Purée half of the mixture and return to pot. If desired, add remaining 1 cup stock to reach desired consistency. Stir in baby spinach leaves and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Top each serving with a spoonful of sherry or sherry vinegar, if desired.

PER SERVING: 180 cal, 14% fat cal, 3g fat, 0g sat fat, 0mg chol, 10g protein, 30g carb, 11g fiber, 348mg sodium

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Least Toxic Denistry

Mercury fillings, dental sealants, and root canals may be linked to health problems. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.

When you visit the dentist, you’re probably hoping that you’ll get a clean bill of dental health. Keep in mind, though, that you should also be looking closely at the health of your dentist’s office. Many dental procedures that have been used for years—from fluoride applications to amalgam fillings to root canals—are now under scrutiny for their possible role in causing health problems. Learning about the issues surrounding these procedures can make you a more informed and safer dental patient.

The Fuss About Fillings

Amalgam, or silver, fillings, which have been widely used by dentists for more than a century, are about 50 percent mercury; the balance is made up of other metals, mainly silver, copper, tin, and zinc. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), amalgam is an ideal substance for dental restorations because it’s durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear, and cost-effective.

The ADA claims that the presence of mercury in fillings is not a problem, because the fillings release only minute amounts of mercury vapor, and such low-level exposure has not been proven to be harmful.

A growing number of dental professionals disagrees. “The ADA warns that amalgam is toxic before placement and after removal, so dentists have to take precautions with these procedures,” says Dr. Robert Johnson, a biologic dentist who heads the Natural Horizons Wellness Center in Fairfax, Virginia.

“There’s no reason for amalgam to suddenly not be toxic once it’s in someone’s mouth.”There’s little dispute about one thing: everyday activities like brushing your teeth, eating, and drinking hot liquids cause amalgam fillings to release mercury vapor.

The ADA acknowledges that chewing and grinding teeth may cause amalgam fillings to release one to three micrograms of mercury per day, while the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the average amount is actually three to 17 micrograms per day. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Don't Want To Eat Greens?

You can juice them and get more of a quantity down besides being able to mix it with fruit juice. Sounds a whole lot better to me than a plate full of bitter greens. Although Randal is juicing organic carrots right now to drink daily, I can't handle the visual look of adding greens. Orange (carrots) and green make brown.

But greens are very important and getting them in a liquid format makes it easier to get a good quantity of them in our children, or even in an older weakened parent or spouse.

I always look for an easier way to deal with getting things into my body that are good for it, but that I can't get beyond my eyes to deliver it to the mouth. So, I get my greens in Liquid Chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what makes plants green, and it's the building blocks of the body. It's perhaps the most powerful element that exists in the universe because It increases the flow of oxygen to the entire body. That means we release more toxins and our bodies become more aerobic, which means disease can't live in our cells.

Chlorophyll provides trace minerals which many people are seriously short in, so our bodies are not getting what it needs to fight disease and feel good. You can't open a health book or magazine these days without finding advice to eat your greens. They're important. Raw vegetables and fruits are the foundation of a healthy diet and I don't find anybody that's getting enough of them in by chewing.

Maybe the Liquid Chlorophyll option will work for you as well as it does for me. I use Nature's Sunshine Liquid Chlorophyll because it's pure, potent and has spearmint flavoring which makes it even more tasty. The source of the green is alfalfa. Alfalfa is known to have many great health benefits.

Somehow the green color reminds me of the earth and it makes me feel good to pour in essential nutrients that are readily absorbed in a liquid form. Most of our digestive systems are not up to breaking down the cellular wall of the fibers in greens, so we can get more benefit by taking a "juiced" form.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ginger - Inflammation, BP, Digestion

This spicy Asian flavor enhancer is actually a rhizome — an underground, horizontal-growing plant stem. Much more than just a zesty accent to baked goods and sushi, ginger contains potent compounds that help quell inflammation, ease nausea, and potentially lower blood pressure.

Eat it

To soothe osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, mince about 1/4-inch slice of fresh ginger and add to food every day. Or mitigate hypertension and relieve motion sickness by taking ginger in capsule or tincture form. Talk with your health care practitioner about an appropriate dose.

Drink it


Combat a queasy stomach or morning sickness with simple ginger tea. Place one or two 1/4-inch slices of fresh ginger in a mug of hot water. Let steep for a few minutes, and drink. [I have used one capsule to a cup of water for this.]

To eliminate gas, sip nonalcoholic ginger beer — as opposed to conventional ginger ales, which often don't include any fresh ginger.

Rub it on

When massaged into skin, ginger creates a warming sensation that helps increase circulation, soothe sore joints, and relax muscles. Plus, antioxidants in ginger boost skin's ability to fight free radicals. Mix a couple of drops of ginger essential oil into a carrier oil and knead into problem areas.

Source: Delicious Living Magazine

Ginger is something I take a lot of since I deal with rheumatoid arthritis. I am hot-natured and ginger is known to increase sweating, so I begin using it in September when it cools off here in Virginia. Throughout the winter, I take capsules before each meal, brew tea at bedtime, and cook with ginger as much as I can.

It's a great digestive aid and in cooler months I eat heavier foods, so it's nice to have some extra digestive support. I use Nature's Sunshine Ginger capsules.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Google Spying On Our Health

Google has a plan to spy on its users and report search details to the U.S. government. The project is for Flu Trends. It's monitoring searches for flu-related keywords to determine whether a pandemic outbreak is occurring in a specific geographic region.

The data is then reported in real time to the U.S. government, where offices like the CDC can take action to halt the outbreak. What's really happening? Google is snooping on the search queries of private users and reporting to the federal government!

What's next? If you search for "vaccine side effects," will you be visited by health authorities who will have you arrested for resisting mandatory vaccines? Read NY Times article.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stroke Of Genius On Emotions


I've been writing about the book I've been reading, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, by Jill Bolte Taylor, and wanted to give you more of her insight into controlling our brain. This brain scientist had a massive stroke and learned so much about controlling all the brain chatter, judging and critical aspects of the left brain. There's much wisdom to be learned for "taking every thought captive" as God tells us to do.

Jill says, "I define responsibility (response ability) as the ability to choose how we respond to stimulation coming in through our sensory systems at any moment in time ... Although there are certain limbic system (emotional) programs that can be triggered automatically, it takes less than 90 seconds for one of these programs to be triggered, surge through our body, and then be completely flushed out of our bloodstream. My anger response, for example, is a programmed response that can be set off automatically.

Once triggered, the chemical released by my brain surges through my body and I have a physiological experience. Within 90 seconds from the initial trigger, the chemical component of my anger has completely dissipated from my blood and my automatic response is over.

If, however, I remain angry after those 90 seconds have passed, then it is because I have CHOSEN to let that circuit continue to run. Moment by moment, I make the choice to either hook into my neurocircuitry or move back into the present moment, allowing that reaction to melt away as fleeting physiology.

I always have an alternative way of looking at any situation - is my glass half full or half empty?

If you approach me with anger and frustration, then I make the choice to either reflect your anger and engage in argument (left brain), or be empathic and approach you with a compassionate heart (right brain).

What most of us don't realize is that we are unconsciously making choices about how we respond all the time. It is so easy to get caught up in the wiring of our pre-programmed reactivity (limbic system) that we live our lives cruising along on automatic pilot.

By paying attention to the choices my automatic circuitry is making, I own my power and make more choices consciously. In the long run, I take responsibility for what I attract into my life.

There has been nothing more empowering than the realization that I don't have to think thoughts that bring me pain. I have the conscious power to stop thinking those thoughts when I am satiated and it is liberating to know that I have the ability to choose a peaceful and loving mind (my right mind), whatever my physical or mental circumstances, by deciding to 'step to the right' and bring my thoughts back to the present moment."

Jill told the story of driving down the highway singing along with one of her favorite CDs, "I've got joy in my heart." She was pulled over by the police for speeding. After receiving the ticket, she had to make the decision at least 100 times not to feel down about it. The little voice of negativity kept raising its head to remind her of the situation, most likely with a lot of name calling. She found her left brain wanting to mull over the event again and again from every angle. No matter how much thought she would've allowed it, nothing would change the situation, and she finds that kind of mental obsessing by the left hemisphere to be a waste of time and emotionally draining.

She tunes in to how thoughts make her feel and then makes the choice for feeling better. Yes, it takes a lot of energy, but it takes a lot less time and mental and physical health than all the negative thinking ... and totally avoids the long-term consequences of allowing that kind of thinking to continue in our minds and set up highway systems to welcome more of it.

We can use our power to stop thinking about events that we cannot change or have any control over, and bring our minds back to the present and the blessings in it. Feeling deep inner peace and sharing kindness rather than anger and frustration (even sharing it with ourselves), is always a choice we get to make. We choose to forgive or stuff it away.

Jill's book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, has really been a stroke of genius for insight into the workings of the mind and how we can truly be obedient to the Scripture telling us to "take every thought captive" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Related Articles:
Your Amazing Brain
Power To Change Your Mind
Taking Thoughts Captive
Getting Out Of Negative Loops
Fighting The Darkness

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either or both of them on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com.
Link URL is: http://www.TheNatureInUs.com

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wild Medicine

Is it possible that your pharmacist could be a chimpanzee? That's not such a silly question. Naturalists are discovering that many animals use a variety of plants and other items to treat their illnesses. Animals often know about the medicinal properties of plants when modern medicine has yet to learn about them.

Recently naturalists noticed that one of the monkeys in the African preserve under their care had become lethargic, lost her appetite, and obviously had a severe gastric upset. A few hours after she became sick, she started munching on a native shrub that is not a normal part of the monkey's diet. She chewed the plant, swallowed the bitter juice and spit out the pulp. By the next afternoon her symptoms were gone and she was feeling better. After a little research, scientists discovered that local tribes use juices from the same plant to treat intestinal upset and loss of appetite.

Studies of the juices of a root that bears rub into their coats show that the bears are using an effective insecticide. Scientists have observed elephants, monkeys, birds and bears eating a variety of things that were not a normal part of their diet only to discover that the things being eaten had medicinal properties. Most amazing is that the animals know how best to take their medicine. If a leaf is best swallowed whole to kill intestinal parasites, it will be swallowed unchewed!

Who but the Great Physician Himself could have taught the animals this medicine?

References: Cowen, Ron. 1990. Medicine on the wild side. ScienceNews, v. 138. p. 280.

Source: Creation Moments.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Obese Employees Pay More

Beginning in January 2009, state employees will be required to receive medical screenings for several conditions, including body mass index (BMI). Those who are considered obese -- along with exhibiting other negative health factors -- will have a year to get in shape.

The penalty for failure? A $25 increase in their monthly insurance costs.

Although critics view the penalty as a "fat tax," Alabama officials believe the new policies will result in fitter, healthier, and happier employees -- as well as help reduce the state's mounting health care costs. Read the entire article.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mobile Phones Causing Skin Problems

Mobile phones users are developing rashes on their faces and ears caused by an allergic reaction to the nickel on handsets, skin experts warn.

The British Association of Dermatologists said the phenomenon is being seen in people who spend long periods of time on the phone.

Nickel is often found in the handset casing or buttons. It could even occur on the fingers if you spend a lot of time texting on metal menu buttons.

The BAD said women who reacted to nickel in jewelery were at a higher risk of a rash from their phones. Nickel allergy is the most common contact allergy in the UK and is thought to affect 30% of the population. Read the entire article.

Related Articles:
Cell Phones - Epidemic of Brain Tumors
Mobile Phones More Dangerous Than Smoking
Cell Phone Precautions - Analysis of Studies

Friday, December 5, 2008

Using Essential Oils At Home

From Delicious Living Magazine

The right mix of pure essential oils can help you relax, recharge, or melt away fatigue, stress, and depression. Derived from plant secretions, the oils are astringent, antibacterial, and highly concentrated (always dilute before using).

Cost usually depends on how difficult a particular oil is to extract, but, fortunately, essential oils are so effective that a little goes a long way. Here's how to try aromatherapy oils at home.

In The Tub

What could be more relaxing on a winter day than a hot, fragrant bath? Place 9 or 10 drops of a gentle oil, such as lavender, in a full tub. The oil will pool on the water's surface, intensifying the aroma, says Jade Shutes, founder of the East West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies in Willow Springs, North Carolina, and author of Aromatherapy for Bodyworkers (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007).

If you prefer a mellower experience, add the drops to a dispersing agent — such as a tablespoon of honey, whole milk, or vegetable oil — before placing in the bath water. Oils can be added individually or in combination with other scents. To find a complementary blend, slowly waft two or more open bottles under your nose at the same time. They should smell balanced and not too pungent. Use less of the dominant scent.

"Lavender sedates the nervous system and can calm stress,” says Shutes. It may also help induce sleep. For deep relaxation, Shutes recommends combining 5 drops lavender with 1 drop Roman chamomile and 1 drop comforting neroli.

Although too cooling for use in a full bath, peppermint and rosemary essential oils stimulate circulation and relieve pain — perfect for soothing tired, sore feet. Mix 4 to 5 drops peppermint oil or 5 to 8 drops rosemary oil in a large, hot footbath.

On Your Body

When muscles tighten up, work out knots at home with sedative essential oils. As long as it has very little scent, any light oil — such as vegetable, sunflower, or walnut — or oil-based professional massage lotion can make a good carrier.

Don't use over-the-counter lotions, however; they soak in too quickly. Start with 1 drop of essential oil for every teaspoon of carrier. “If you know your skin sensitivity, you can increase that slightly,” says Ingrid Martin, author of Aromatherapy for Massage Practitioners (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2006).

“Using a strong blend, though, without assessing your skin sensitivity first can result in allergic reactions. But eventually you may want to add more essential oil to have a greater effect on physical injuries.” Mild, sedative oils, such as clary sage and mandarin, calm muscles.

In the Air

Their germ-fighting abilities make essential oils superb natural household cleansers. “The easiest way to mix them is to add essential oils to a spray bottle filled with water. Learn more in the Delicious Living website article How to Use Essential Oils in the Air.

More Information

Quality and Purity Essential For Essential Oils
Q&A
Essential Oil Recipes
Plug-in AromaBall

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oregano's Many Healthful Uses

The leaves of various species of oregano (Origanum genus) have been traditionally used for respiratory and digestive system ailments, and as an antiseptic for fighting infection. These uses date back to the famous Greek physician Hippocrates.

Traditionally taken in tea form, oregano has been used to treat colds, flu, fevers, indigestion, gas and bloating and painful menstruation. It is also a mild sedative and can be used to promote sleep.

Because it is both antiseptic and expectorant, oregano is helpful for respiratory infections. This is why it is an important component of Seasonal Defense Formula.

The most popular modern use of oregano is in fighting yeast and fungal infections. The Oregano essential oil has been shown to have anti-fungal properties 100 times more potent than caprylic acid against Candida, mainly due to the presence of carvacrol. Read the entire article.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Your Amazing Brain

by Donna L. Watkins

I've read a fascinating book that held a lot more than what the title implies. Not only did it give me a detailed view of how our brain functions, but an amazing appreciation for what it accomplishes and makes of my life. And much of that is based on my own control through my choice of thoughts.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Female Pileated Woodpecker Feeding Her Young

Jill Bolte Taylor was a 37-year-old Harvard-trained and published brain scientist when a blood vessel exploded in her brain. Through the eyes of a curious neuroanatomist, she watched her mind completely deteriorate whereby she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. Because of her understanding of how the brain works, her respect for the cells composing her human form, and an amazing mother, Jill completely recovered her mind, brain and body.

In My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, Jill shares with us her recommendations for recovery and the insight she gained into the unique functions of the right and left halves of her brain. Having lost the categorizing, organizing, describing, judging and critically analyzing skills of her left brain, along with its language centers and thus ego center, Jill’s consciousness shifted away from normal reality.

In the absence of her left brain’s neural circuitry, her consciousness shifted into present moment thinking whereby she experienced herself “at one with the universe.” That place of peace we reach when we still the brain chatter and tune into God.

Based upon her academic training and personal experience, Jill helps others not only rebuild their brains from trauma, but helps those of us with normal brains better understand how we can ‘tend the garden of our minds’ to maximize our quality of life.

It's the essence of spirituality. Our free will of choosing what to think and believe. Choosing who we are by the thoughts we choose to think.

Jill pushes the envelope in our understanding about how we can consciously influence the neural circuitry underlying what we think, how we feel, and how we react to life’s circumstances. Jill teaches us through her own example how we might more readily exercise our own right hemispheric circuitry with the intention of helping all human beings become more humane. “I believe the more time we spend running our deep inner peace circuitry, then the more peace we will project into the world, and ultimately the more peace we will have on the planet.”

She has a website with forums for people who want to build a community around the ideas presented in Jill's best-selling book. Various forums are available for people who have experienced stroke or other medical issues first-hand or through a loved one; another forum focuses on techniques for how to achieve a balanced brain; and yet another allows people to share their stories of insight and the life lessons they have learned.

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey is a New York Times Bestseller and is published by Viking Penguin Group. It is available in hardcover, audio, and large-print edition. Foreign editions are also available and published in the UK, Germany, Brazil, Holland, and France. Other translations are scheduled to be published in 2009.

Related Articles:
Power To Change Your Mind
Stroke Of Genius On Emotions
Taking Thoughts Captive
Getting Out Of Negative Loops
Fighting The Darkness

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either or both of them on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com.
Link URL is: http://www.TheNatureInUs.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

American Food Fertilized With Melamine

James E. McWilliams, a history professor at Texas State University at San Marcos, points out in a New York Times article, there’s plenty of undetected melamine circulating around in the American food system, thanks to lack of regulation and testing. He explains:

"Fertilizer companies commonly add melamine to their products because it helps control the rate at which nitrogen seeps into soil, thereby allowing the farmer to get more nutrient bang for the fertilizer buck. But the government doesn’t regulate how much melamine is applied to the soil. This melamine accumulates as salt crystals in the ground, tainting the soil through which American food sucks up American nutrients."

More ominous, the United States imports most of its wheat gluten. Last year, for instance, the F.D.A. reported that millions of Americans had eaten chicken fattened on feed with melamine-tainted gluten imported from China. Around the same time, Tyson Foods slaughtered and processed hogs that had eaten melamine-contaminated feed. The government decided not to recall the meat.

Only a week earlier, however, the F.D.A. had announced that thousands of cats and dogs had died from melamine-laden pet food. This high-profile pet scandal did not prove to be a spur to reform so much as a red herring. Our attention was diverted to Fido and away from the animals we happen to kill and eat rather than spoil.

Be informed with this website providing news articles on melamine contamination of our food supply. You might want to begin gardening not only because of the cost of produce, but for your health of your family.

FDA Scientists Report Corruption

A group of scientists working for the FDA have come forward, in a letter, against their corrupt managers, accusing them of committing crimes with this statement, "There is extensive documentary evidence that managers at CDRH have corrupted and interfered with the scientific review of medical devices."

These scientists also report, "It is evident that managers at CDRH have deviated from FDA's mission to identify and address underlying problems with medical devices before they cause irreparable harm, and this deviation has placed the American people at risk."

Congressman John Dingell, chairman of the committee which received the letter, made a statement that you can read here.

The NY Times has reported this story: F.D.A. Scientists Accuse Agency Officials of Misconduct

Monday, December 1, 2008

Help For Caregivers

A new resource is available at the Ask Medicare website. Launched by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the site includes information on navigating through Medicare, health care services, links to partner organizations that assist caregivers, and personal caregiver anecdotes. Visit now.