Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Archive for April, 2013

10 Products to Ban From Your Home Forever

10 Products to Ban From Your Home Forever

You would never cross the street without looking both ways, walk alone down a  dark alley alone at three a.m., or tell your child to accept rides from  strangers. So why let hazardous, toxic, and even carcinogenic chemicals into  your home everyday?

The message driven home for millions of Americans each day via TV and  internet commercials is this: No need to scrub or scour. With just one squeeze  of the spray bottle, you can wipe away dirt, grime, and bacteria.

Alas, there’s that dark alley again. Air fresheners, disinfectants, and  cleaners found under your sink are more dangerous than you think. Mix bleach  with ammonia, for example, and you’ve got a toxic fume cloud used by the  military in WWI. And they weren’t cleaning kitchens.

Here is a list of the ten products you should ban from your  home–forever–along with suggested alternatives.

1. Non-Stick Cookware When non-stick pans were first  introduced into American households in the 1960s, they were thought to be a  godsend. Gone were the days of soaking pans for hours and scouring pots with  steel wool. In the forty years since then, however, we’ve learned that the ease  of cleaning comes at a steep price: the coating that makes Teflon pans non-stick  is polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE for short. When PTFE heats up, it releases  toxic gasses that have been linked to cancer, organ failure, reproductive  damage, and other harmful health effects.

The problems with PTFE-coated pans seem to occur at high temperatures, so if  you must use Teflon, cook foods on medium heat or less. Avoiding non-stick pans  altogether is the safest option. If you’re able to do so, try anodized aluminum,  stainless steel, or cast iron pans with a little cooking oil. SustainLane  reviewers like LeCreuset cast iron pans and more cost-effective ones like Lodge  Logic. Using a lower setting on the stove will reduce the chances that your food  will burn, which is how it usually gets stuck to pans the first place. If you’re  worried about the extra calories cooking oil adds, try baking or steaming your  food.

2. Plastic Bottles By now you’ve heard of dangers of BPA  in those ubiquitous neon water bottles. BPA mimics the effects of hormones that  harm your endocrine system. While the company at the heart of the controversy  has switched to BPA-free plastic, those aren’t the only toxic bottles.  Single-use plastic bottles are even worse for leaching chemicals, especially  when you add the heat of the sun (think about bottles left in your trunk) or the  microwave. Aside from the fact that bottled water sold across state lines is not  as regulated as tap water, the bottles themselves are spawning grounds for  bacteria and are a source of needless waste. Each year, more than one million  barrels of oil are used to manufacture the more than 25 billion single-use plastic water bottles sold in the U.S. Choose a reusable,  stainless steel or glass bottle instead.

3. Conventional Cleaning Supplies These routinely make  the top ten lists of worst household offenders. They contain toxic chemicals  that negatively affect every system in your body. All purpose cleaners often  contain ammonia, a strong irritant that has been linked to liver and kidney  damage. Bleach is a powerful oxidizer, which can burn the skin and eyes. Another  danger lies in oven cleaners, which can cause chemical burns and emit toxic  fumes that harm the respiratory system. The American Association of Poison  Control Centers reports that more than 120,000 children under the age of five  were involved in incidents involving household cleaners in 2006, the most recent  year for which data is available.

To protect you and your family from the hazards conventional cleaners pose,  choose non-toxic, or natural cleaners. SustainLane reviewers have particularly  enjoyed Method and Seventh Generation, which are commonly found on supermarket  shelves. Bon Ami is a safe alternative to Comet and Ajax. If you have the time  and want to go the extra mile, you can even mix your own using common household  items like vinegar and baking soda. Make a non-toxic cleaning kit.

4. Chemical Insecticides and Herbicides Since the purpose  of these products is to kill pests, you can bet that many of them have  ingredients in them that are also harmful to humans. For example, the active  ingredient in Round-Up–a weed-killer popular with gardeners–is known to cause  kidney damage and reproductive harm in mice. And cypermethrin, one of the active  ingredients in the popular ant and roach-killer Raid, is a known eye, skin and  respiratory irritant and has negative effects on the central nervous system.

There are several companies that sell natural and organic weed- and  pest-control products. Buhach makes a natural insecticide from ground  chrysanthemum flowers that controls ants, flies, fleas, lice, gnats, mosquitoes,  spiders, and deer ticks, among other pests. Boric acid is an effective, natural  solution for cockroaches as well; sprinkle it around baseboards, cracks and  other places likely to harbor roaches. For weeds, check out E.B. Stone  Weed-N-Grass or try spot-spraying with household vinegar. Learn more about getting  rid pf pests naturally.

5. Antibacterial Products The widespread use of  antibacterials has been shown to contribute to new strains of  antibiotic-resistant “super-bugs.” The Center for Disease Control says that  antibacterials may also interfere with immune system development in children. Triclosan–the most common antibacterial additive found in  more than 100 household products ranging from soaps and toothpaste to children’s  toys and even undergarments–accumulates in the body. In a study conducted by the  Environmental Working Group, 97 percent of breast feeding mothers had triclosan  in their milk, and 75 percent had trace amounts of the chemical in their  urine.

Make it your goal to be to be clean, not germ-free. People who are exposed to  household germs typically develop strong immune systems and are healthier  overall. Avoid buying antibacterial products or soaps containing triclosan. Soap  and water is really all you need to clean most things. There are plenty of  eco-friendly hand washes and other cleansers that are safe for you and easy on  the planet.

6. Chemical Fertilizers These are notorious for causing  damage to our water supply and are a known major contributor to algal blooms.  Whenever it rains or a lawn is watered, the runoff goes straight into  storm-drains, and untreated water is dumped into rivers, streams, and the ocean.  This causes an imbalance in delicate water ecosystems, killing fish and  degrading water quality.

If you have a lawn, choose organic fertilizers rather than chemical ones.

As another alternative to harsh chemicals, consider starting a compost pile  to create nutrient-rich soil for your flower beds and vegetable gardens. You’ll  be creating your own inexpensive fertilizer just by letting food scraps and yard  trimmings sit. An added benefit: it’ll also help divert waste from  landfills.

7. More Bulb for Your Buck A Compact Fluorescent (CFL)  bulb uses just a fraction of the energy regular light bulb uses. When your  current bulbs burn out, swap them with CFLs, and start calculating your savings.  General Electric has an online calculator that shows you just how much money you  can save by making the switch.

One caveat of the low-energy bulb is that it contains mercury. Even so, CFLs are still your best bet, according to EPA Energy Star  program director Wendy Reed. Coal-fired plants are the biggest emitters of  mercury. Using CFL bulbs means you draw less power from the grid, which means  less coal is burned for electricity. Because of the mercury, take precautions  when disposing of these CFL bulbs. Rather than throwing them in your household  trash or curbside recycling bin, take them to a hazardous waste collection or  other special facility.

8. Air fresheners Just like cleaning supplies, these are incredibly toxic and can aggravate respiratory problems like  asthma. Even those labeled “pure” and “natural” have been found to contain  phthalates, chemicals that cause hormonal abnormalities, reproductive problems  and birth defects. Try simmering cinnamon and cloves to give your home an “I’ve-spent-the-whole-day-baking” scent, and leave a few windows open to let in  fresh air. You might also boil a pot of water on the stove with a few drops of  your favorite essential oil, or use an essential oil burner.

9. Flame Retardants A common flame retardant that was  used in mattresses–polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)–is known to accumulate  in blood, breast milk and fatty tissues. This chemical is linked to liver,  thyroid, and neuro-developmental toxicity. According to the Environmental  Working Group, new foam items often do not contain PBDEs, but foam items  purchased before 2005 (like mattresses, mattress pads, couches, easy chairs,  pillows, carpet padding), are likely to contain them. Household furniture often  contains flame retardants and stain repellents that use PBDE’s as well as  formaldehyde and PFOA (the same chemical used in non-stick cookware).

If you are in the market for a new mattress or sofa, ask manufacturers what type of flame retardants they use. Look for products  that don’t use brominated fire retardants. Organic Abode sells natural and  organic furniture. If you’re looking to keep your existing mattress, but make it  safer, use a cover made of organic wool to reduce PBDE exposure. You can find  organic furniture and interior decor here.

10. Plastic Shopping Bags Remember: Like diamonds,  plastics are forever. Ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It’s a giant mass of plastic  twice the size of Texas that’s floating 1,000 miles off the coast of California.  In the United States, only two percent of plastic bags are recycled, which means  that the remaining 98 percent is dumped into landfills or blown out to sea.  According to Californians Against Waste, the City of San Francisco, which  recently banned plastic shopping bags, spends 8.5 million dollars annually on  plastic bag litter.

The good news is, we can easily decrease our plastic bags use. Bring in your  own reusable cloth bags when you go shopping. If you have kids, ask them to  remind you to bring them. Or keep them in a place by the door where you’re most  likely to remember them on your way out.

By SustainLane via DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women  come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability,  and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by  writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real  women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re  discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel  and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at  DivineCaroline.com.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

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Study Links Roundup to Obesity, Cancer, and More…

Study Links Roundup to Obesity, Cancer, and More

 

A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Entropy  indicates that glyphosate—the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed  killer—may be linked to gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart  disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer  and Alzheimer’s disease.

The study showed that glyphosate inhibits the function of enzymes that are  critical to enable the body to properly detoxify. Additionally, it also enhances  the damaging effects of other foodborne chemical residues and environmental  toxins.

According to the scientists who completed the study, “The industry asserts  (glyphosate) is minimally toxic to humans, but here we argue otherwise.” They  indicate that residues of glyphosate are found in foods that people are eating  on a regular basis, especially sugar, corn, soy and wheat.

The scientists behind this important study include: Anthony Samsel is a  retired science consultant and member of the Union of Concerned Scientists and  Stephanie Seneff who is a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of  Technology. They add that “Negative impact on the body is insidious and  manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout  the body.”

Pesticides have been found in many studies  to be toxic to the brain and nervous system of humans.

There is no good reason to use glyphosate or other toxic chemicals on lawns,  agriculture, or food.  Many of these chemicals used in creating “picture-perfect” lawns or in agricultural use are seeping into groundwater and  the residues find their way into our food supply.  The harm to living  organisms appears to outweigh any alleged benefits concocted by corporate  marketing departments.

Many scientists and environmentalists have been warning about the dangers of  glyphosate to plants, animals and people for many years.

Monsanto is the developer of Roundup herbicide as well as the  genetically-modified seeds that have been altered to withstand being sprayed by  Roundup.

For more information about toxins linked to cancer, check out Cancer-Proof.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 14-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: 60 Seconds  to Slim, Healing Recipes, The  Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The  Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan,  and The Phytozyme Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and  subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

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Top 7 Reasons We Feel Stressed Out

Top 7 Reasons We Feel Stressed Out

 

“I’m so stressed out.” We’ve all said it, and felt  the effects of living it.

In our fast-paced, over-stimulated culture, we’re constantly pushing our  brains and bodies to the limit. Too little sleep, exercise, and lack of a  healthy diet only contribute to this feeling of anxiety, fatigue, and  overwhelmedness.

You might be surprised to learn that feeling stress enabled humans’ successful  evolution. Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand.  Back in the hunter-gatherer days, our bodies would release  stress-inducing chemicals into the blood so that we could either fight or  flee when faced with a threat. Cortisol, a stress-induced hormone, can help boost energy and  immunity, and even improve memory function in the short term. Once the threat  was over, everything went back to normal.

Unfortunately, the stress we feel today isn’t brought on by a predator or the  need to escape from physical entanglement. What we feel today is internal stress  which comes from worry about things we can’t control. Some people even become addicted to the kind of hurried, tense,  lifestyle that results from being under stress. They even look for stressful  situations and feel stress about things that aren’t stressful.

Check out the infographic below to learn seven of the most common sources of  internal stress, and some suggestions for how to de-stress your life before it  kills you.

Is Stress Killing You?

By Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So  far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is  passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent.

Image via Thinkstock

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~  www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

 

22 Things Happy People Do Differently

Many people spend their lives waiting to be happy.  You may think, “if only I had more money,” or “could lose weight,” or you fill in the blank, then I would be happy.

Well here’s a secret: you can be happy right now. It’s not always easy, but you can choose to be happy, and in the vast majority of circumstances there’s no one who can stop you except for yourself.

The truth is, happiness doesn’t come from wealth, perfect looks or even a perfect relationship. Happiness comes from within. This is why, if you truly want to be happy, you need to work on yourself, first.

        22 Positive Habits of Happy People

What’s the secret to being happy? You can learn how to do it, just as you can learn any other skill. Those who are happy tend to follow a certain set of habits that create peace in their lives; if you learn to apply these habits in your own life, there’s a good chance you’ll be happy too.

The featured article compiled 22 such behaviors that you can use to enhance your life and your happiness:1

1. Let go of grudges

Forgiving and forgetting is necessary for your own happiness, as holding a grudge means you’re also holding onto resentment, anger, hurt and other negative emotions that are standing in the way of your own happiness. Letting go of a grudge frees you from negativity and allows more space for positive emotions to fill in.

2. Treat everyone with kindness

Kindness is not only contagious, it’s also proven to make you happier. When you’re kind to others, your brain produces feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin and you’re able to build strong relationships with others, fostering positive feelings all around.

3. Regard your problems as challenges

Change your internal dialogue so that anytime you have a “problem” you view it as a challenge or a new opportunity to change your life for the better. Eliminate the word “problem” from your mind entirely.

4. Express gratitude for what you have

People who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions, and are better able to reach their goals. The best way to harness the positive power of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or list, where you actively write down exactly what you’re grateful for each day. Doing so has been linked to happier moods, greater optimism and even better physical health.

5. Dream big

Go ahead and dream big, as you’ll be more likely to accomplish your goals. Rather than limiting yourself, when you dream big you’re opening your mind to a more optimistic, positive state where you have the power to achieve virtually anything you desire.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff

If the issue you’re mad about will be irrelevant a year, a month, a week or even a day from now, why sweat it? Happy people know how to let life’s daily irritations roll off their back.

7. Speak well of others

It may be tempting to gather around the office water cooler to get and give the daily gossip, but talking negatively about others is like taking a bath in negative emotions; your body soaks them up. Instead, make it a point to only say positive, nice words about other people, and you’ll help foster more positive thinking in your own life as well.

8. Avoid making excuses

It’s easy to blame others for your life’s failures, but doing so means you’re unlikely to rise past them. Happy people take responsibility for their mistakes and missteps, then use the failure as an opportunity to change for the better.

9. Live in the present

Allow yourself to be immersed in whatever it is you’re doing right now, and take time to really be in the present moment. Avoid replaying past negative events in your head or worrying about the future; just savor what’s going on in your life now.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning

Getting up at the same time every day (preferably an early time) is deceptively simple. Doing so will help regulate your circadian rhythm so you’ll have an easier time waking and likely feel more energized. Plus, the habit of rising early every day is one shared by many successful people, as it enhances your productivity and focus.

11. Don’t compare yourself to others

Your life is unique, so don’t measure your own worth by comparing yourself to those around you. Even regarding yourself as better than your peers is detrimental to your happiness, as you’re fostering judgmental feelings and an unhealthy sense of superiority. Measure your own success based on your progress alone, not that of others.

12. Surround yourself with positive people

The saying “misery loves company” is entirely true. That’s why you need to choose friends who are optimistic and happy themselves, as you will be surrounded with positive energy.

13. Realize that you don’t need others’ approval

It’s important to follow your own dreams and desires without letting naysayers stand in your way. It’s fine to seek others’ opinions, but happy people stay true to their own hearts and don’t get bogged down with the need for outside approval.

14. Take time to listen

Listening helps you soak in the wisdom of others and allows you to quiet your own mind at the same time. Intense listening can help you feel content while helping you gain different perspectives.

15. Nurture social relationships

Positive social relationships are a key to happiness, so be sure you make time to visit with friends, family and your significant other.

16. Meditate

Meditation helps you keep your mind focused, calms your nerves and supports inner peace. Research shows it can even lead to physical changes in your brain that make you happier.

17. Eat well

What you eat directly impacts your mood and energy levels in both the short and long term. Whereas eating right can prime your body and brain to be in a focused, happy state, eating processed junk foods will leave you sluggish and prone to chronic disease. My free nutrition plan is an excellent tool to help you choose the best foods for both physical and emotional wellness.

18. Exercise

Exercise boosts levels of health-promoting brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of stress and also relieve some symptoms of depression. Rather than viewing exercise as a medical tool to lose weight, prevent disease, and live longer – all benefits that occur in the future – try viewing exercise as a daily tool to immediately enhance your frame of mind, reduce stress and feel happier.

19. Live minimally

Clutter has a way of sucking the energy right out of you and replacing it with feelings of chaos. Clutter is an often-unrecognized source of stress that prompts feelings of anxiety, frustration, distraction and even guilt, so give your home and office a clutter makeover, purging it of the excess papers, files, knick knacks and other “stuff” that not only takes up space in your physical environment, but also in your mind.

20. Be honest

Every time you lie, your stress levels are likely to increase and your self-esteem will crumble just a little bit more. Plus, if others find out you’re a liar it will damage your personal and professional relationships. Telling the truth, on the other hand, boosts your mental health and allows others to build trust in you.

21. Establish personal control

Avoid letting other people dictate the way you live. Instead, establish personal control in your life that allows you to fulfill your own goals and dreams, as well as a great sense of personal self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed

Everything in your life is not going to be perfect, and that’s perfectly all right. Happy people learn to accept injustices and setbacks in their life that they cannot change, and instead put their energy on changing what they can control for the better.

A Healthy Lifestyle Naturally Enhances Happiness

You may have noticed that some of the habits of happy people are one in the same with those that are essential for leading a healthy lifestyle – exercising and eating right, for example. Once you adopt a happiness mindset, and even before you do, embracing healthy habits will help keep your mood elevated naturally even in the midst of stress. Happy people tend to be healthy people, and vice versa, so in addition to healthy food and exercise, the following lifestyle strategies can also help to support emotional wellness:

  • Proper sleep: Sleep deprivation is linked to psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and bipolar depression, while getting the right amount of sleep has been linked to positive personality characteristics such as optimism and greater self-esteem, as well as a greater ability to solve difficult problems.2
  • Animal-based omega-3 fats: Low concentrations of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA are known to increase your risk for mood swings and mood disorders. Those suffering from depression have been found to have lower levels of omega-3 in their blood, compared to non-depressed individuals. Krill oil is my preferred source of omega-3 fats.
  • Regular sun exposure: This is essential for vitamin D production, low levels of which are linked to depression. But even beyond vitamin D, regular safe sun exposure is known to enhance mood and energy through the release of endorphins.
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): If difficult life circumstances and the negative emotions they create are making happiness hard to come by, try EFT, which is a form of do-it-yourself psychological acupressure. This simple technique can help clear your body and mind of negative emotions so you can implement positive goals and habits more easily in your life.

By Dr. Mercola

www.mercola.com

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life?   Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!  I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~  www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

4 Reasons Poetry is Good for Us

4 Reasons Poetry is Good for Us

 

Before there was writing, before there was prose, certainly way before there were such things as 140 character “tweets” and “status updates,” there was poetry.

April is National Poetry Month in the U.S., a time to “celebrate  poetry and its vital place in American culture”; to read or even recite out loud  poems such as Emma Lazarus’ The New Colossus (“Give me your tired, your poor, / Your  huddled masses yearning to breathe free”) or Alan Ginsberg’s Howl (“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by  madness, starving hysterical naked”).

Classes in poetry aren’t the most popular with most of my students. But if  analyzing metaphors in 18th-century poets isn’t your favorite activity, perhaps  you still enjoy reciting the lyrics of songs or keep a few words of some poem in  mind because it just says something in just the right way.

Poet Robert Pinsky has suggested that poetry evolved to “hold things in memory,  both within and beyond the individual life span; to achieve intensity and  sensuous appeal; to express feelings and ideas rapidly and  memorably.” Poetry may  not help you to get a six-figure job, but  composing a haiku forces you to condense your thoughts into just a few  words and focus on what you mean. Four  reasons that poetry can be good for us:

1) Writing poetry has helped hospital patients recovering from medical  illnesses.

Shamans once chanted poems as part of religious healing rites, according to  the National Association For Poetry Therapy. A 2008  documentary, Healing  Words, showed how a doctor and a poet were able to help patients with  serious medical conditions  (including a Vietnam veteran awaiting a  transplant) to write poems that helped them to recall “an essential truth about  themselves — a memory from childhood or a moment of insight — and deepens their  understanding of their lives and their illnesses.”  The poetry writing was  found to aid patients in releasing deeply private feelings, thereby playing a role in their  healing process.

2) Poetry could help with depression.

Studies undertaken by arts and health organizations and agencies  in the U.K. have looked at whether writing poetry could be “the new Prozac.” One study investigated whether poetry writing might increase levels of  secretory immunoglobin; the secretory immune system has been called “the body’s first  line against invading organisms” and also plays a role in how our moods  fluctuate throughout the day. Another considered whether writing poetry could help with depression and wean people off  anti-depressants.

These studies have been inconclusive, but that doesn’t mean poetry writing  didn’t help. Poetry may not be a panacea for illness, but it doesn’t hurt and  could be at least a non-intrusive placebo.

3)   Learning poems by heart is good for your memory.

Making the effort to memorize a poem helps to “take the poem inside you, into  your brain chemistry if not your blood,” the writer Brad Leithauser wrote  in The New Yorker. While some say that memorizing poems doesn’t help with other tasks, in a day and  age when we need to concoct passwords with alpha-numeric characters and some  punctuation mark, and then to recall them, exercising your memory capacity by  learning a poem can have its uses.

An organization called the Alzheimer’s  Poetry Project (APP) seeks to use poetry to help people those dealing with  memory loss to, indeed, remember things. The APP conducts poetry workshops to  help stimulate the memory of those with Alzheimer’s, via a group  call-and-response session and the creation of a group poem, built from  participants’ own words.

4) Writing poetry can  improve your writing (and thinking).

Writing a poem means that you have to focus your thoughts and only use so  many words. For these reasons, some writing teachers suggest that writing a poem  (or rather poems — practice makes perfect) can help to improve  your writing skills overall, even if you’re writing fiction and have no  intentions of ever publishing, or trying to get, a poem published.

As poet Elizabeth Alexander, who read her poetry at President Barack Obama’s  2009 inauguration ceremony, has said, “poetry models precise and mindful language is useful,  because after all if we can’t be precise with language, how can we share ideas?”  — in other words, how can we effectively communicate with each  other?

Looking for a new poetry book to nourish your soul?  Here’s one to remind you of the song in your own heart… 

On her  37th birthday Leesa suffered a brain hemorrhage  caused by a rare, vascular disorder known as an AVM/CA and  could not talk, read, or write.  Her ability to write this book is a  miracle!  On  the pages of this book, she’s shared some meaningful  moments with us.   Using powerful and vivid imagery, compiled with  elegance and grace, Leesa draws readers into the depth of  the beauty of her words.  Various poems offer praise exploding  with adoration in torrents of poetic language while others  present intriguing topics in great depth. Her words of love  are skillfully written and seem to dance off the page!  So step inside,  into her heart, and listen to the Melodies From  Within
Melodies From Within: a collection in verse can be ordered directly from Leesa’s publisher, AuthorHouse, by visiting authorhouse. Books may also be purchased from amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your neighborhood bookstore. Melodies From Within is also available in the United Kingdom (UK) from  abebooks, in Australia from fishpond, in New Zealand from fishpond, in Italy from libreria universitaria, in Canada from Indigo, and in South Africa at loot.

Enjoy!  

By Kristina Chew

Photo from Thinkstock
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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life?   Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!  I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

The Very Smell of Olive Oil is Good for You!

The Very Smell of Olive Oil is Good for You

 

The smell of virgin olive oil may signal the Mediterranean diet to you — and  it could also be key, improbable as it may sound, to weight  loss. Researchers at the German Research Center for Food Chemistry have found what  seems to be another health benefit of olive oil, already hailed for its  antioxidants and for its heart-protecting oleic acid. Extra virgin olive oil may help a person  feel satisfied thanks to its particular aroma.

Olive oil does have a distinctive scent, in part because one of its  components is a compound called hexanal, which some thinks smells like fresh-cut grass.

Dr. Malte Rubach, a nutritional scientist, and her colleagues came upon their  finding about olive oil and satiety while doing research on how four different  fats — lard, butter, olive oil and canola oil — influence feelings of fullness.  120 participants were randomly divided into five groups and instructed that they  were to eat 500 grams of yogurt every day for three months. One group, the  control group, had plain, zero-fat yogurt while those in the other four groups  ate yogurt enriched with one of the four fats. All participants were given  routine blood tests.

At the end of the three months, the group that had eaten the olive oil yogurt  had the greatest increases in blood levels of serotonin, a hormone associated  with satiety. In addition, those in this group had, for the most part, lowered  their caloric intake to take the extra daily yogurt into account and had not, as  a result, gained weight. Those in the butter and control groups had also not  gained weight. But those in  the canola and lard groups had as they had not cut  back on the overall calorie consumption along with the extra yogurt.

Canola oil is, like olive oil, recommended as a healthy alternative as a  cooking oil; it contains less saturated fat than other oils and also less  monosaturated fat than other oils. As canola oil has properties that are similar to that of olive  oil, Dr. Rubach and the other scientists were “particularly surprised” that  it produced such different results and concluded that something besides  nutrients in canola and olive might be leading to the different results.

They conducted a second trial, dividing participants into two groups and  having both eat zero-fat yogurt — but one group’s yogurt contained an aroma  extract with the scent of olive oil. The results are intriguing: the  participants  who ate the plain yogurt not only said they felt less satisfied  after eating it, but their serotonin levels fell. They also increased their  overall intake of food by an average of 176 calories a day.

In contrast, the participants who ate the yogurt with olive-oil flavoring ate  fewer calories from other foods and showed better responses in glucose   tolerance tests, which measure blood sugar control — variations in this leads to  sensations of hunger and satiety.

Earlier research about how we know we’re satisfied has focused on flavor and taste. It’s not just what you see on  your plate (like the amount of a food) or how your taste buds react that can affect your satiety but  unseen factors, such as aromas. How foods are packaged and labeled also plays a  part: knowing that a food is low-fat can actually lead to people compensating  and eating more, as Rubach says to the New York Times.

Could it be that it’s not yogurt in flavors reminiscent of dessert that we ought to  help ourselves to, but one that instead has the savor of a nice green salad  dressed with olive oil?

By Kristina Chew

Photo from Thinkstock

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life?   Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!  I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~  www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

Organic is Best for Flower Bouquets, Too!

Organic is Best for Flower Bouquets, Too

 

How “fresh” can most cut flowers for sale be, given the amount of pesticides  and fungicides (up to 50 times as much as can be used on food crops)  used to grow them? There’s also the fact that the vast majority (around 80  percent) of cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported from far away, often from  countries like Columbia and Ecuador.

If you are not inclined to grow flowers yourself using chemical-free methods,  it’s more than worth it to consider getting sustainably grown flowers. These have been reared  without synthetic, toxic substances and by workers who are paid a fair wage for  raising them. Instead of pesticides, growers can use predatory mites to kill  spider mites and thrips that damage petals and leaves. Instead of being shipped  to you in mounds of styrofoam and plastic packaging, flowers from retailers  seeking to meet eco-standards come to you in biodegradable, green materials.

The Fair  Trade and Veriflora  labels can help you figure out which flowers were raised using sustainable  practices. Flowers with Fair  Trade and/or Veriflora  certification come from farms that have been audited to ensure they follow  strict environmental and labor standards. For instance, in recognition of the  discrimination women in the flower industry often experience, Fair Trade requires that farms provide employee benefits,  including twelve weeks of paid maternity leave and child care.

Fair Trade’s and Veriflora’s certification do not, however, require  flowers to be fully organic. The label USDA Organic certifies that flowers have been grown without  toxic or synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Some online suppliers for organic  flowers are listed at Organic Gardening; also check out Local Harvest to find growers and retailers in your  area.

Another factor to keep in mind in seeking out sustainably grown flowers is  the issue of energy efficiency. Smaller amounts of flowers grown locally in a  heated greenhouse and then transported to various farmers’ markets in a pickup  truck do not have an automatic eco-advantage over large loads of flowers  transported by more energy efficient means. In addition, as the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) points out, the  flower industry has an important role in the economies of some Latin American  countries. Our buying flowers from farms certified by entities like Fair  Trade and Veriflora can help to push for better regulations to protect workers’ rights and health.

Fresh flowers are routinely associated with spring. Locally grown, organic flowers comprise only a tiny percentage of the huge  business in cut flowers, but by seeking “green flowers” out, you can support  growers and florists who are trying to make a difference and do what’s right for the  planet. If you’re not giving flowers with the dirt, why not make sure a bouquet is  beautiful through and through, down to the very methods and substances used in  growing it?

By Kristina Chew

Photo from Thinkstock

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life?   Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!  I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~  www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

 

 

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