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Mom! What are you doing in my Mirror?

by Christine Lamb

     I honestly thought this would never happen to me. I wasn't going to get varicose veins, or have jiggly thighs. I would have a flat firm belly until the day my ancient yet youthful body stopped breathing. People who got old let that happen to them but not I!  Pfffft.

     Fixation on youthful appearance is nothing new -- scientists say it is hard-wired into us to be drawn to fine physical specimens for breeding. But as we evolve further from our fellow mammals and our primitive ancestors, you'd think we'd have gotten over shallow, visual criteria instead of turning it into multi-billion dollar industries. You don't need to talk to women “of a certain age” to realize the damage it has done, particularly to girls and women. They are starting younger every year, to compete for male attention, to look “sexy.” So many parents collude in this effort, one has to wonder what they are thinking!

     By the time a girl is an adult her self-worth is usually closely tied to her appearance; and, we spend billions every year trying to maintain attractiveness. In the past, aging beauties just faded/were hidden away. Fortunately that tide is turning and acceptance of reality is making a comeback. Famous actresses --Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, Jamie Lee Curtis- are rejecting the notion that they should transform themselves through surgery, chemicals or disappear; and, they're making good, interesting movies. Hillary Clinton isn't hiding her age; why should she do what John McCain, Bob Dole, and a slew of other male politicians were never expected to do?

     We're not famous or in positions that put us in front of cameras, targets for criticism every day; but,   we witness it and internalize it. Most of the women I've talked to on the subject say the same thing: neither the body nor the self-image has improved with age. Or, the body-image seems to be better “until I see a picture.”

     I saw an old friend of my family recently -- she was always impeccably dressed and accessorized and obsessive about her figure. She embodied, “You can't be too rich or too thin,” throughout her forties, fifties and beyond. Now in her eighties she is thin, beautifully dressed and bejeweled, but instead of feeling admiration, I felt sad and tired for her. She has spent so much effort to look the “same” as she did fifty years ago.

     Another woman, a friend and teacher, is beautiful, strong, vivacious, happy, successful, smart; and, even she is susceptible to the headgames of physical signs of aging. It's frustrating to know intellectually that it's nonsense, but we have been so deeply, subconsciously programmed that it still surfaces. It's a daily effort to remember that our bodies are not our Selves; they are housing, tools and transportation for Us to create our lives and relationships.

     Since even the healthiest eaters, the most avid athletes, the most religious oilers and lotioners cannot remain young, we need to get comfy with our aging. It is not a flaw or a failure. Time takes its toll.  Gravity prevails. At some point most people realize that they don't want to spend their remaining energies fighting against nature. Anti-aging is a marketing tool and a dumb one at that; let's just allow and embrace the aging as graciously as we can.

     So what can we do to age gracefully, healthily?  First, drink more water. Everyone. A large glass of room temperature water first thing in the morning wakes up your body so all systems are “go.” Then make sure to sip all day long…big floods right before or after a meal will put out your digestive fire, as will ice water, so try to avoid those habits.

     Next, take an attitude of gratitude towards your body.  What it does for us on a daily basis is incredible. I'm a yoga teacher and student, and while I can't easily do what I could thirty years ago, I still do what I can. Accepting limitations doesn't mean not pushing your edge, though. We can be gentle but still stretch ourselves -- literally and figuratively. Take time to recall what you felt like as a kid: embodied, aware, strong, free. Get back in touch with your body, gratefully, and move it however you like through dance, walking, swimming, yoga, tai chi, or something else. The more you do, the better you'll feel and be able to do. Then treat yourself to a massage -- monthly!

     Eat well, you're worth it. You are quite literally what you eat, so don't be fast, easy or cheap. As a rule, take the time to prepare a meal from scratch at least once a day, even if it's “just” putting fresh fruits and veggies in a blender for a smoothie. Local farmers' markets are in full swing so take advantage and consider canning or freezing some of summer's abundance for winter. And there are endless easy 3-4-5 ingredient recipes on the Internet.

     Spend time with people you love, who love you. They don't care about your wrinkles and rolls and would probably be shocked to hear the mean things you say to yourself. Go love and be loved, just the way you are.

     Be of service, in any way you like and that is meaningful to you. It doesn't have to be the Peace Corps; you can read to children or pick up trash on your walk. You still matter and can make a difference.

     Do what you love. Adapt the “more than zero” concept, of doing SOMEthing towards a goal every day. Even if I just fool around with my mandolin for fifteen minutes, it's more than zero and will eventually add up.

     Love yourself and be grateful for your wonderful, creaky old body and the journey you're sharing!



Cooking Shows? Get Real!

by Bethany Klug, D.O. 

     We tend to gravitate toward extremes in the U.S. One example that’s been on my mind lately is the popularity of cooking shows and more recently movies showcasing chefs. The preparation is dramatic, the food elegant, and always sensually presented -- justifying the term “food porn.” Totally fun to watch! Yet, a 2013 study showed only half the people in this country spend anytime cooking on a given day and the amount of time cooking is declining, likely due to heat-and-eat foods or foods that require no preparation beyond opening a package. People are coming to think that cooking is a complicated, time consuming endeavor that requires special—read chef—training. So believing they cannot possibly meet that standard, they resort to ready to eat foods or eat out.

     Here’s where I get a little worked up. Cooking is an activity of daily living! Also called ADLs, these are the things we normally do in daily living, including activities we perform for self-care such as feeding ourselves, bathing, dressing, grooming, work, homemaking and leisure. Doctors often assess the ability to perform ADLs in determining disability. We need to rediscover this real-life cooking as an ADL if we are to take back our health and end the rise of chronic age-related diseases.

     Mark Hyman, MD described the most gratifying experience of his career that came during the making of the movie Fed-Up. He went to the home of one of the morbidly obese teens featured in the movie. Everything they ate came out of a box or package. Except for a few dull knives ditched in the back of a cabinet, they didn’t have basic cooking implements. Yet he taught them the basics of peeling garlic, slicing onions and snapping the ends off asparagus. They roasted sweet potatoes in fennel and olive oil and made turkey chili from scratch. They even made fresh salad dressing from olive oil, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. After the family devoured the meal, the teen asked Dr. Hyman in disbelief, “Dr. Hyman, do you eat real food like this with your family every night?”  He assured him that he did. After twelve months, the mother lost 100 pounds and stopped her blood pressure medication, the father lost 45 pounds and was finally able to qualify for a kidney transplant and the son lost 40 pounds. However, he gained most of it back after getting a job at a fast food joint and was trying to get back on track.

     This is how we begin. We sharpen those knives, dig out the cutting boards, visit the farmers market or produce section and plant a few herbs on our patios. It’s not hard or complex, but it is delicious, satisfying and nourishing. Given that fast and factory food is everywhere and designed to hook us, we need the support of others who want to rediscover real-life cooking as an ADL and recover their health. Cooking is an act of resistance against the pseudo-foods that are destroying us.

     Here’s a simple “real-life cooking as an ADL” recipe I’ve been living off of the past month. The only tools required are a knife, cutting board and spiral slicer.

Zucchini Noodles with Cold Tomato Sauce

1/4 small onion, diced finely

1 clove garlic, diced finely

3 large tomatoes, seeded and sliced into 1/2 inch dice

1/2 cup raw walnuts

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 TBSP chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 medium zucchini

Combine all ingredients except the zucchini in a bowl. Spiral slice the zucchini in to long “noodles.” Divide the noodles between two plates and top with cold tomato sauce. Serves two as an entrée, four as a side. Enjoy!


Do It If You Can

Do It If You Can

by Jude LaClaire

August 27, 2014

Maya Angelou, author, artist, teacher, activist and human being, died May 28, 2014, at the age of eighty-six. She inspired me over forty years ago when I read her first book, I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings. She continued to inspire us in so many ways in the past four decades. She was scheduled to speak in Kansas City this fall; sadly, we did not get to share her with the world one more time.

In one of her last interviews with Oprah she was saying how her aging process was just getting better; and when asked about being 85, she responded, Do it if you can.

Age can be a relative thing, and some say it is just a number. Some days my body and mind would not agree with that. As the body ages and some mental processes become more challenging, the doing it can be a bit harder. Two of the times in our lives that we are more at risk for depression are adolescence and over age 65. Both are times of great change and development.

The later stage of development is characterized by despair. This can be triggered by the increasing loss of physical abilities and autonomy, peers and spouses dying, a need to re-find purpose, meaning and a sense of place. If a person has not developed skills of resiliency, how to deal with change, a sense of identity that goes beyond the mid-life roles or a belief system that helps them navigate this turbulent time, he or she is going to feel that despair keenly. This is the challenge.

One life skill that has been proven to consistently improve our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being is the habit of gratitude. Research shows that people who practice gratitude daily experience: Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure Higher levels of positive emotions More joy, optimism, and happiness Acting with more generosity and compassion Feeling less lonely and isolated

How can you develop this attitude of gratitude? One woman was given the advice to write one thing each evening she was grateful for. She then added taking one picture each day of something she appreciated. Soon she was taking many pictures and writing many things. She was also feeling much better. A good way to start the day is to write five to ten things you are grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal can make a big difference in boosting your mental and physical health. Make a habit of sending one thank you a month. Remembering the hard times of your life is a good way to appreciate your present circumstances. Take time to be aware of the sensory information in your environment. Observe and take in the beautiful sky, the smiling face, the good smell of fresh food and the comforting touch. You get the idea. How often do you thank someone with a look, a smile, encouraging words? Take a little more time with that process so you and the recipient can really feel it. Receive the appreciation and compliments given to you. At any stage of life, but especially as we age, it is important to review, refresh and keep learning new ways to live healthily. As Maya Angelou so wisely counsels us, My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.


Trauma Matters: The Move Toward Trauma Informed Care

Trauma Matters: The Move Toward Trauma Informed Care

by Sharon McGloin

August 7, 2014

Between 1995-1997, Kaiser Permanente and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted one of the largest investigations into the connections between child maltreatment and later life health and wellbeing. Known as the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) Study, more than 17,000 individuals chose to provide detailed information about their childhood experience of abuse, neglect and family dysfunction. The ACE Study found that adverse childhood experiences correlated with major risk factors and poor quality of life with increased risk factors for diseases that were leading causes of death in the United States. It is critical to understand how some of the worst health and social problems arose as a consequence of adverse childhood experiences.

As a result of this study, the interest in the effects of trauma on the brain has become a topic of discussion in the field of mental health. What do I mean by trauma? According to Trauma MattersKC, Trauma is the emotional impact as a result of environmental events and stressors and may include violence, war, loss and natural disasters, physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse. The result of trauma can include injury, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, difficulty coping with everyday tasks, stress, troubled relationships and increased health concerns and issues with mental health. Everyone has experienced trauma in their lives. The important part is how we learn to deal with these events from a trauma informed perspective.

Trauma Informed Care is an organizational structure and treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. Becoming trauma informed means recognizing that people often have many different types of trauma in their lives. People who have been traumatized need support and understanding from those around them. Changing the language from, What is wrong with you? to What happened to you? is a good starting point in becoming trauma informed. As an organization begins to adopt trauma sensitive practices, these practices are within the entire organization. It is not just about how we treat the clients that are being served but how we treat each other everyday. When these practices become embedded into the culture of an organization, folks feel safe. Clients and staff participate in their care and treatment. Folks are supported for disclosure and support is offered that leads to resilience and recovery.

There are various models of trauma informed care available. One model that I am most familiar with is called Sanctuary. The Sanctuary Model represents a theory-based, trauma-informed, evidence-supported, whole culture approach that has a clear and structured methodology for creating or changing an organizational culture. The model provides a context from which healing from psychological and social traumatic experiences can occur. The model is designed to facilitate the development of structures, processes and behaviors on the part of staff, clients and the community that can counteract the biological, affective, cognitive, social and existential wounds suffered by the victims of traumatic experience and extended exposure to adversity. (Sanctuaryweb.com) The curriculum is based on the acronym SELF-Safety, Emotional Management, Loss and Future. These represent four areas of recovery that provide a framework for individuals and organizations. Both the clients that are served as well as the organization itself can become stressed as a result of the effects of trauma. SELF is a guide that will assist with clients and staff working through the effects of trauma both from an individual perspective as well as an organizational perspective.

What can you do to promote trauma informed care practices within the community and your organization? Begin by creating a common language and establishing best practices within the organization. Provide information on the causes and consequences of trauma. Promote education, resources and advocacy for prevention and intervention services. Promote healing and increase awareness of issues facing those who have been traumatized. Change your language and ask, What happened to you?


Manifesting a Dream

Manifesting a Dream

by Jill Dutton

June 1, 2010

He tapped into the Oneness of the Universe.

Without consciously knowing what he was doing, Michael Taylor created a vision, held it in his mind and manifested the unthinkable.

In high school, Mike dreamed of playing football at the highest level; yet, he was far from what a coach looks for in a stellar player. He was undersized, struggled academically and didnt begin playing football until the 10th grade. His background didnt lend itself to an athletic career, either. Mikes mother raised four boys as a single mother in a socially and economically deprived part of Detroit, known as little Vietnam, which frequently has the highest violent crime rate in the country.

Regardless of his background, the odds against him and even his own fears, Mike held a vision to play football. He used the law of attraction to plant the seed of his desire. He held this seed and nurtured it daily to reach his goal. And he did it without realizing exactly what he was doing.

It started one Saturday afternoon by fate. When Mike was 12, he went to his room and Maxwell Maltzs book, Psycho-Cybernetics, was lying on the floor. No one knows where the book came from, but Mike picked it up and sat down to read. When he opened the book it was Noon and when he closed the book it was dark. Mike says of this event, It was like invisible arms came out and pulled me into the book. The author was an American cosmetic surgeon with a method to improve self-image. Maltz said he noticed that even though he fixed peoples faces and looks, they still had a distorted view of themselves as ugly. It was the self-image that was plaguing the person. It was something inside them, not outside them, which needed to change. This realization led Mike to understand that through the right image of self, he could achieve any goals.

People frequently ask Mike how he got away from the crime, the drugs and the other negative influences surrounding him. The power of that book put me in a trance. Like in a hypnotic spell, it allowed me to stay focused on what I wanted, not what I had, Mike says.

It all started with desire. My conscious mind sent meaning to my subconscious mind the concept of being a football player and my subconscious mind created the reality through people, circumstances and conditions.

Growing up in Detroit, there wasnt a local sporting program like the YMCA or Little League for inner city kids. So when Mike started playing football in high school, he says he was, nothing but a tackling dummy. There were a lot of times he wanted to quit. He lacked the size and the abilities to play. He was frequently ridiculed by his teammates. Rather than accept defeat and circumstance, he used the power of assumption to create a dream in his mind. And he saw this dream as a present reality. I could see myself playing the game. My imagination took over. In the midst of the gauntlet of being a tackling dummy and the adversity of peer pressure, my imagination held the key to solve all of my problems, Mike says.

Mike graduated from high school and lived in his mothers basement while working odd jobs. During those two years, rather than accept his circumstances, he sat and imagined himself playing football for hours on end. Mike says, For two years, I sat in the theatre of my mind and imagined myself playing the game. I was completely involved with the feeling of it. I saw myself in uniform. I saw the crowd, the commentators. I saw myself running out of the tunnel. I saw myself in the limelight, playing the biggest teams. During those two years, with such intent focus, I began materializing the people and circumstances I needed.

The situations and circumstances started to build. Mike met a man who talked to him about junior college. He took a bus to three different schools. He walked into coaches offices and said, Im here. I want to play football for your school. One of the colleges gave him a tryout. During the tryout, he collided with another player and broke the players foot. The other player told him that by breaking his foot, he ruined his chances for a football career. Incredibly, he offered to help Mike instead.

This guy said, Youre a decent player, but youve got to get better. Ill show you how. I worked out with him for a semester, Mike remembers. Now not only playing in his mind, Mike began physically working toward his goals. He calls it his Rocky moment. To build strength and weight, he slept on concrete. He began doing push-ups and sit-ups and ate food anywhere he could. Miraculously, within two months, Mike grew two inches in height and put on 15 pounds of muscle mass. He bought a one way ticket to Iowa Falls, Iowa, and told his mother he wasnt coming back.

That was it, the moment of truth. All the other colleges shut their doors on me and I end up at the most prestigious community college in the country. For the first time in my life, I broke the lineup. I lead that team with 111 tackles and 13 quarterback sacks and a number two ranking in the country.

Mike was offered scholarships to numerous colleges. Iowa State reached his mother first. Mike says, They came with their black suits and cases and told my mother that I was a great player with great ability and they wanted to offer me an athletic scholarship. My mother collapsed on the floor in tears.

Trouble used to find me in high school. Mom once said I was the worst kid to deal with. I was in the bottom third in high school, yet I graduated from Iowa State.

The climatic highlight of Mikes career came on August 27, 1984, during a University of Missouri homecoming game. Mike was called on to block a go ahead field goal win. Seizing the moment, Mike blocked the field goal, saving Iowa State from a road loss with a game-saving 14-14 tie. The Columbia Tribune stated that the block left homecoming fans stunned and silent. Mike remembers, What a powerful realization of a wish fulfilled. I was the first one in my family and my entire high school class, to get a college degree.

And thats the power of the law of attraction. Thoughts are powerful; form them with care, intention and desire and like Mike, you can create the reality of your dreams.

Learn the shocking truth about how success is achieved through Mikes books:Ten Powerful Strategies To Get an Athletic Scholarship and How to Get your Kid from Little League to Pro. To book Mike Taylor for speeches/appearances, contact him at 913.701.0270 or creativeforce43@gmail.com www.mastermindsportsrecruiting.com Facebook: mastermindsportsrecruiting

Jill Dutton is publisher of Evolving Magazine. She has worked as a freelance writer for 20 years. Jill is currently writing her second book, The Business of Writing. www.EvolvingMagazine.com


Monday, July 28, 2014

A Healthy Mind is Clear and Calm...by Suzette Scholtes

"I can see clearly now the rain is gone." Remember that tune? As great yogi Sean Corne said, "I was walking one day and asked myself what am I feeling?" She broke into a smile. She felt a depth of happiness never felt before. She experienced what we call in yoga a "break through." I equate a solid yoga practice to therapy. That is why my membership in the National Association of Yoga Therapists is always renewed for its guiding work in the proper use of yoga for mental, emotional and physical healing. As the father of Yoga, Pantajali writes, "Yoga allows us health and happiness." I wrote these seven C's years ago as guidelines.

1. CHOOSE. Choice or intent is pivotal to all change and growth. Use passion! Today I choose to create a day of love and fun and productivity. I choose to be alive in my heart, body, mind and spirit. When stuck, get quiet, breathe, center and move again to the heart for healing. Love is always a choice. One cannot feel fear when one feels love.
2. CENTER. Before I leave the sanctuary of my bedroom, I meditate and connect with God, High Self, Soul and Spirit. Ease flows in the under-current of my day.
3. CREATE. This means we give birth to the new. Your next breath is a new breath. Your next choice may be a new choice. Your attitude change may be new. I'm writing a book. I love this project I procrastinated on for too many years.
4. CAUTION. I keep my negative ego in check watching for covert control issues, blame, and nobilzing the past, arrogance, feeling unworthy, self-pity, not forgiving. Healers: protect yourself with pranic or light energy or other means you find appealing, such as crystals. Lock your car doors. Secure your latches. In June, I purchased pepper spray to carry while walking. A snarling black dog raced from behind as my sister and I walked the lake. It growled and bared its teeth. Streams of pepper spray left it to sputter and cough as we walked on. Pepper spray turned out to be a serendipitous purchase.
5. CALM. I love how yoga gives us the tool to create composure with our will. I return to my heart, breathing deep in a "mini" meditation. Why should I give power away to an aggravating incident or negative conversation? This is a fine tool to use for peace.
6. COMMIT. How I wish to be fully awake. I look for beauty and find ways to feel grateful every day. It is the core of the laws of attraction.
7. CHERISH. On my morning walk, along with the geese upon the path, ducks in the pond, I found myself remembering incidents in my life, that were not so positive. Like a child who holds tight onto the red balloons, I opened my hands to the sky, part of the heart chakra, and let it go. As we cherish those golden moments shining divine light within, others see it in your eyes. It is indeed ".... a bright, bright wonderful day."

Mon, July 28, 2014 | link

Addictions: A Path to Healing...by Jude LaClaire

From the beginning of our lives we are on a quest for food, sleep and touch. We move on to seek novelty, friendship and sex. The reward system of the brain is insatiable for good reasons. It keeps us alive as we connect, reproduce and seek new ways to do things. It has not only helped us survive, but drives us to develop and grow in the process. The downside of this drive is addiction.
Addictive substances or behaviors mimic natural rewards such as food or sex by activating a network of brain areas called the 'reward circuitry,' which is responsible for enjoyment. The hook is that the use of mood-altering substances or behaviors (like gambling, porn) often ‘exceeds expectations.' We might think, "Wow, this was even better than I thought it would be." When we repeat this experience, we begin re-wiring the brain, strengthening the synaptic contacts between neurons that encode this experience. With repeated use, combined with the delusion of the addict, the brain develops a long-term strengthening of the substance/behavior memory circuits. This helps explain why it is so difficult to stop the addictive behavior.
What predisposes a person to get hooked? We know that genetic vulnerability, environmental influence and the repeated use of a substance or behavior are conditions that will trigger an addictive habit. As I look at family genograms the patterns of addiction are easily spotted. Experiences of trauma, loss, mental or physical health problems and relationship issues can all be triggers for addictions. Experimenting with drugs and alcohol at impressionable ages, along with some of the factors mentioned, could start a person on the road to addiction.
Once the brain's reward system is 're-wired' the roller coaster is sliding down hill. Until a person has some sort of awakening, either by hitting bottom or some experience that jolts them out of their delusional thinking, the addiction will be in charge.
In the twelve-step program of AA, the first step is to "admit that we were powerless over alcohol (addictive substance or behavior) and that our lives had become unmanageable." The second step is to believe "that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." These steps are taken only when some sort of ‘awakening' has occurred. Bill W. (one of the founders of AA) and Carl Jung, a well-known Swiss psychiatrist, discussed this in the letters they exchanged in 1961. Carl Jung had told one of his patients (Rowland), who later met Bill W. and who continued to relapse with his drinking, that he was at the point where he was powerless and needed to have a spiritual experience. He recommended that he search for this experience. It took Rowland seven more years to find the Oxford Movement, where he immersed himself in helping others and began his recovery.
Jung's idea that addiction was a longing for wholeness is a portend of the discovery that it is in the hard-wiring of the reward system of the brain. Some of us get lost in the immediate reward and forget to keep seeking for the holistic experience. And we want it now! Having the spiritual experience, which may happen slowly over time, is key to the motivation to ‘re-wire.'
The neurobiology of addiction helps us to understand the nature of this brain dysregulation and invites us to learn new skills, re-train the brain and be patient with the long-term nature of this process.
People do better in recovery when they have support and structure. Addiction treatment, good psychotherapy, groups that use the twelve-step program and family and community support are helpful in this journey. It is definitely the best, and often most difficult, road to take.



Mon, July 28, 2014 | link

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Farm is Medicine...by Bethany Klug

We’ve all heard the aphorism “food is medicine.” Daphne Miller, MD however, made a convincing case that “farm is medicine” at the Institute for Functional Medicine Annual International Conference this past May.

     Miller began with the story of a farmer in the Pacific Northwest who bought land with the intention of farming organically. First he had to restore the soil that had been conventionally farmed for years. He took the advice of a local university, tested the soil and purchase minerals and other amendments to replace what was missing. After a few years, this got expensive and his soil was still depleted. Test and replace just wasn't working.

     So, he researched how nature builds healthy rich soil. It’s a cycle. 

    Plants grow, animals eat them and after eating, they poop. Worms and soil microorganism compost the poop and dead plants, enriching the soil. The plant roots take up the soil nutrients, and the cycle begins again. That farmer spread compost on his fields and the soil tests quickly improved.

     A rancher found by taking advantage of the soil cycle, he no longer needed to treat his beef cattle herds with antibiotics. The animals were disease free.

     Miller then went on to share the research on how the soil cycle affects humans. John Reganold at Washington State University has shown that organically farmed soils host a wider variety of microorganisms than conventionally farmed soils. He also showed that one year after converting from conventional to organic farming methods, fruit had more antioxidant activity, phenolics and vitamin C. The differences were statistically significant. More microbial diverse soils yield more nutritious plants.

      Carlotta De Fillippo of the University of Florence, Italy, showed that children in areas of rural Africa who consumed a traditional diet of traditionally raised—read organic—food had completely different stool microorganisms than children living in Florence, who ate a more processed diet. The African children had bacteria that digested fiber that were completely lacking in the stools of the European children. The African children had far less pathogenic bacteria such as Shigella and E. Coli in their stools. De Fillippo and colleagues propose that the food we eat and how it is raised shape our gut microbial environment. In the case of the African children they suspect it allows them extract maximum energy from a high fiber diet and protects them from inflammation and disease.

     Erika Von Mutius, MD described a farm effect. She found that children raised on farms in Germany had lower rates of allergy and asthma than children raised in urban areas. The stool of the rural children had a much wider variety of microorganisms than the urban children. She proposes that we’re living too cleanly, that is, exposure in infancy to hay, livestock and raw milk may protect children against allergy and asthma.

     Finally Jan-Hendrik Hehemann at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed in his work that bacteria that live on seaweed have contributed DNA to the gut bacteria of Japanese people. That is, the microorganisms on our food give our gut bacteria the ability to digest it. His work may explain why I, with my predominantly Eastern European heritage, have no difficulty digesting cabbage, a food which gives many people gas. I even crave cabbage, or is that my gut bacteria talking?

     Perhaps it time to get back to the land, restore our soil and restore our health.

EMCLC/Picture1.jpgBethany Klug DO is a physician for whom food is a doorway to personal, community and planetary health. Learn more about how she helps people live a lifespan of health at www.HealthSpanKC. com Learn more about her juice fast on the Health Span blog at www.healthspankc.com, click on HealthSpan Blog at the bottom of the page.





Thu, July 24, 2014 | link

Food Sensitivities...by Nancy Russell, M.D.

I used to have a chronic runny nose, coughing, headaches, burning eyes and fatigue. Thinking it was allergies to something like dust or grass or trees, I just took Benadryl, but didn’t get much relief. Then a holistic physician did a blood test on me and found out I had food sensitivities. Avoiding dairy, sugar and wheat has changed my life; I rarely have symptoms unless I eat these foods more that just occasionally.”

     This is a typical story of a person with food sensitivities and may be the tip of the iceberg of other internal problems with the digestion system. These intestinal abnormalities can affect many systems of the body.

     The intestinal defense system is continuously under attack from chronic stressors including: emotional issues, stress, infections (bacterial, viral, yeast), toxins (exogenous, endogenous), lifestyle, poor diet and medications. Immune responses by the body to these stressors can cause a breakdown of the intestinal lining or leaky gut. This leaky gut is also known as intestinal barrier distress and causes an ongoing cycle of inflammation. This inflammation up-regulates the inflammatory cytokines which affects the nervous system, immune and endocrine systems. This up-regulation can lead to: food sensitivities, fatigue, lethargy, malaise, anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, asthma, arthritis and many other potential problems.

     Testing is available to assess the intestinal barrier lining, food sensitivities, dysbiosis (intestinal imbalances) and neurotransmitters. To find the many pieces of the puzzle, food sensitivity testing with intestinal barrier assessment may be the place to start. Food sensitivities are different from food allergies.

     Typical food allergies cause an immediate response, such as hives, swelling of the throat and lungs with serious shortness of breath and even lead to a life threatening situation. These food allergies are caused by the response of the immune system cells called immunoglobulin E (IgE) and need immediate medical attention and treatment. These are the type of allergies that conventional allergy physicians diagnose with skin testing and treat by strict avoidance long term.

     Food sensitivities, also known as food intolerances, are very different and caused by the response of the immune system cells called immunoglobulin G (IgG) and have a more delayed response, the reaction can be varied from a few minutes or as long as 24 to 36 hours. The testing for IgG responses is done by alternative laboratories with blood samples and not usually recognized by conventional allergy physicians. These delayed reactions can manifest symptoms as mentioned above and many more. A few more symptoms include: gas and bloating, joint pain, ear infections, attention deficit disorder, memory loss, mental fogginess, bed wetting, migraines, bladder infections, fluid retention, canker sores, nausea, eczema and psoriasis.

     Blood and fecal testing helps identify the degree and type of dysbiosis, quantifies IgG food sensitivities and effectively guides treatment options. Food elimination nutritional programs based on this testing can reduce symptoms and increase positive outcomes in people by more than 25 percent over people utilizing elimination diets alone. Food sensitivity testing is a good place to start in a comprehensive health evaluation with holistic principles as a guide. I invite you to start on your path to optimal health.


EMCLC/Picture4.jpgNancy Russell, M.D. has been a holistic Internal Medicine physician in the Kansas City northland for over 30 years at 5140 N. Antioch Road in Kansas City, MO. Her phone number is 816-453-5545 and website is www.nancyrussellmd.com where you can get more information. Dr. Russell is board certified in holistic medicine and is a member of the American Holistic Medical Association and a prior board member.






Thu, July 24, 2014 | link

Mental Health: Are We Listening?...by Jude LaClaire, Ph.D.

In the Native American Learning Story, Who Speaks for Wolf  by Paula Underwood, one of the elders of the tribe spoke to the people about making a decision without listening to everyone, “To live here requires more work than change would have made necessary.”  The tribe, without realizing it, moved to Wolf’s territory. They had to spend all their time defending themselves against wolf. They knew that if they had listened to Wolf’s brother, they would have lived in harmony -- living a life of balance. They vowed, as a tribe, never to make a decision without listening to everyone.

     The lesson of this wonderful learning story is helpful to those who want to provide good mental health care and those who receive it. Who and what should we be listening to that we are not? Dr. Thomas Szasz who wrote many books about the myth of mental illness and the overemphasis on diagnosis and pharmacology was often ignored, dismissed as too shrill or extreme. But more recently, more voices are being heard on this topic.

     Robert Whitaker in Anatomy of an Epidemic writes convincingly of the very serious problem created by our dependence on pharmacological intervention, often beginning with very young children.  Dr. Thomas Insel, National Institute of Mental Health Director, citing the lack of scientific validity of psychiatry’s official diagnostic manual, (currently DSM V) stated that the “NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories.”

     Let’s think about the current approach. I, as a mental health professional, am asked to diagnose a person using the criteria in the new DSM V and develop a treatment plan based on this diagnosis. It has been increasingly encouraged and often, common practice, to suggest psychotropic drugs as a first line of treatment and intervention. Since there is little scientific validity for the DSM V criteria we have an immediate problem. The basis of our assessment of a person’s needs is flawed.

     The trend towards recommending a pharmacological solution has been increasing since the creation of Thorazine in 1955 and exploded after the introduction of Prozac in 1988. “Better living through chemistry” became the motto of my profession. Robert Whitaker tells us that as all other major diseases have gone  “the number of mentally ill children rose thirty-five fold. Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children…” Though there is agreement that psychiatric drugs have helped people lead relatively normal lives, he continues: “During the past two decades when prescribing psychiatric medication has exploded, the number of adults and children disabled by mental illness has risen at a mind-boggling rate.” And he asks, “Could our drug-based paradigm of care, in some unforeseen way, be fueling this modern-day plague?”

     One excellent example of this trend is in the use of anti-depressants. A product that was developed for short-term use (3-6 months or less) has morphed into long-term use for many people. These drugs used short term, in partnership with good psychotherapy are an excellent combination. The fact is that many people have been taking these drugs for decades, needing different drugs, stronger doses and they have not been in therapy. The result is many relapses and the increase of treatment resistant depression often accompanied by immune deficiency illnesses and other chronic diseases.

     The ‘helping relationship’ model pioneered by Carl Rogers encouraging ‘unconditional positive regard’, assisting the client by listening, forming a positive trusting relationship and helping them find the wisdom within seems to still be the bedrock of healthy change. I continue learning better ways to do this as I learn about the brain, the person and our environment. Drugs are not typically the first thing to do or the best tool for long-term success.

     Perhaps it is time we listened to wolf’s brother as living in a drug dependent world is requiring more work than change would have made necessary.


EMCLC/Picture5.jpgJude LaClaire, Ph.D., LCPC, LCSW is a counselor, educator and author. For counseling appointments, seminars, training, speaking engagements or information on Neurobehavioral Programs or Imago Couple therapy call 913-322-5622. For more information about Jude LaClaire or the Kansas City Holistic Centre go to www.kcholistic.com jude@kcholistic.com.






Thu, July 24, 2014 | link

Faith: Secrets of Success...by Suzette Scholtes

Great leaders of companies say the keys to success are passion for your work, a willingness to take risks and  “follow your gut.”

Self-actualized people also know how to access and trust their inner resources. What does that mean?

1. Find your connection to God, Goddess, love, your visions and dreams.

2. Foster rewarding friendships.

3. Build intimate relationships based on trust, loyalty and honesty.

4. Let your work have meaning and value to you. This frees worry of what others think of you.

5. Reflect often upon your self-worth and self-value.

6. Know you have power to create success.

7. Be responsible to your thoughts, feelings, and choices.

8. Keep it fun!

     Read these points and you see success is a product of your love and will. You begin to feel worthy and deserving of success.

     You can say: I know I have value! I know I have worth! Then your core belief is as solid as a rock. If you fail to feel worthy and deserving that rock crumbles to sand.

     Yet, a paradox, most people fear success. Why? As a business owner of The Yoga School for over 30 years this I know well. The fears may be covert as some beliefs lock in the subconscious:

1. Fear of Power because of dysfunction of past or ego.

2. Fear of freedom because of the covert need to manipulate or control.

3. Fear of too much responsibility.


     To overcome these fears I remain mindful of procrastination, excuses, games or entitlement. As well, watch out for feeling overwhelmed; and odd as it may sound, fear of being lonely if too successful. The genuine fears, and all fear is real emotion, may feel like too much weight on your shoulders. No one wants that burden. A few ideas of how to handle genuine fears:

1. You don’t want to fail. It is a law of physics that when something new is created something is destroyed. That is scary. You are moving into the unknown. Scary indeed!

2. True success will produce chaos. You may be away from family to work. With success comes more love and caring so fear of loss grows. Fear of humiliation and rejection is real fear. As Shirley MacClaine wrote, “You are out on a limb,” not knowing if it may fall or if it will support you.

3. When you succeed you are subject to judgments, especially those in your industry. It does not feel good to be judged by anyone. Judgments build walls and that hurts. You must remain true to yourself—pure faith.


     Now the big question: “What if I am wrong?!! Look at what you have accomplished. You know and trust you are responsible. You know you actualized your power. Accept it. When you know this you tame this genuine fear of success.

     Drum Roll! And now the secret of success is unveiled: When your most powerful choices are made the most consciously, success is unlimited and unstoppable. The only way I know to do that is meditate; go within and follow your intuition, take those risks and LIVE your passion. You will find comfort in the love (the feminine) and the will (the masculine). This gives birth to the NEW, which is your power. Love, will and choice give you faith in others and yourself. To believe in yourself lights your path on every twist and turn!



EMCLC/Picture6.jpgIn 2014, dream new dreams at The Yoga School of Therapeutics. Enjoy classic yoga with certified teachers. Our yoga promises health and happiness whether 18 or 80. Be met with a smile and feel so much better in heart, mind and body. Scholtes, an award-winning writer, serves as Director of Teacher’s Training and Founder. 10400 W. 103rd St,  OP, KS. theyogastudio.com or  info@theyogastudio.com or 913-492-9594.







Thu, July 24, 2014 | link

One of Two Things Will Happen...by Tamie Rising

 EMCLC/Picture3.jpgI love inspirational quotes. Look close and you find a gem hidden inside the words. Heed their insights, and a light is shown to reveal the gem’s beauty.

     “When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly” - Patrick Overton

     Moving into the unknown can be very scary. It’s the unknown after all, something unfamiliar and not yet experienced. That’s really all it is when you think about it. Yet moving into the unknown requires a faith bigger and bolder than fear and doubt -- anaudacious faith. This faith is mustered from the depths of your soul and harnessed to take with you down the road to the fresh and new.

     When I left my job and started my business, I stepped boldly into the unknown. I was gung-ho, enthusiastic and feeling unstoppable as my new adventure began. The first year on my own was a brand new, unlived experience for me and it came with lots of unknown. As a business owner, all areas of business are my responsibility. It was up to me and I felt alone and isolated. This feeling was unexpected; and it was dark and difficult for a time. I needed to find that solid ground or learn to fly. I did.

     Our faith doesn’t usually grow during easy times. It grows when life purposely delivers a specifically designed curriculum to help us become all we are meant to become. The syllabus feels so daunting that turning back seems like a much better and safer option than moving forward. The truth is we get to choose if we take that curriculum on as our own. It can take guts and that’s faith in disguise. When we say yes to what’s before us, we find solid ground and soar!

     When we learn that we cannot fall, we develop a bottomless trust that we are held by a strong and powerful presence. An inner confidence may say, “Hey, this is possible and I got this because after all, I am NOT alone even if I might feel that way.” It’s like being in a dark room and unable to see anything or anyone. Then someone flips on the switch and you see the room is filled with people all around you holding out their hands. When this happens, take their hands and move forward in faith.

     I am grateful for that time the light was dim because I learned how to dig deep within myself and build a bigger faith in my dreams, my abilities and my Source of all. The unknown stretched me, challenged me and built me. I am who I am today because of it. And I’m better at what I do because of it. The same has been true for you, I’m sure.

     Faith is a state of mind that can be cultivated. We can consciously decide to have the unceasing faith that we can get through and do what we set out to do. Faith, like yoga or meditation, is a practice. We cultivate and grow our faith by waking up every day and setting an intention to live that day in faith of what’s possible.

     Faith does not mean we have to know how to make real the possibility we hold for our self and our life. It’s also doesn’t mean we have to already possess the means to the end. Faith is knowing we ARE the means to the end.

What does faith mean to you?

Here’s some other ways to think about faith:

¨ Faith is the propeller you can’t see under the water, gently moving you forward.

¨ Faith is trusting yourself and trusting life as you head down your path.

¨ Faith is believing the impossible is possible.

¨ Faith helps you take the next step, even when you might feel some doubt.

¨ Faith is knowing in your bones the step we take leads you to where you want to go, even if you can’t see how.

¨ Faith means you trust and believe the how will be revealed.

¨ Faith is knowing that when I take a break from writing this article, I’ll come back and find the words to finish it.

     Like yours, my journey continues. When I don’t feel something solid to stand on, I’ve learned that in holding closely to my faith I can fly, as we were all born to do!

     In times of darkness, breathe deep, dig deep and trust deep. Because one of two things will always happen…you will find something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly. 



EMCLC/Picture7.jpgTamie Rising is a business coach who helps conscious business owners make their mark. She is also a professional speaker who is on a mission to empower individuals, leaders and teams to be more creative, happy, innovative and authentic contributors within their families, businesses, communities and on the planet. Learn more about Tamie at www.tamierising.com or contact her at tamierising@gmail.com.






Thu, July 24, 2014 | link

Faith is Waiting...by Stephanie Forcier
EMCLC/Picture2.jpgAs I sat down to write this article, my computer froze and crashed. Slightly frustrated, and somewhat inconvenienced, I manually shut down my laptop. I pressed the power button and listened to the fan kick on as the system came back to life. I watched the security log-in screen come up and…I got an error message. The log-in screen failed to initialize. Now, frustration building, I pressed “okay” to clear the message and once again, shut down my computer. Annoyed, I ejected the laptop battery and stared at it, thinking, “You better work this time, I have an article to write!”  

     After a few minutes of stewing over the precious minutes wasted, I heard a voice that caused me to chuckle. The voice said, “Have faith!” In that instance, frustration and resistance left me. How wonderfully appropriate it was that the very topic I was writing about would become a direct part of my experience. So, I decided to go grab a bite to eat, relax and center myself. As I noticed calmness and peace wash over me, I knew that when I powered up my computer again, it would work. Moreover, even if the computer did not come back on, I knew everything would work out. I knew another path would present itself. I pressed the power button again, heard the fan whizz, and there appeared my log-in screen. I typed in my password and I was on my way.

     While this divine challenge was a seemingly small reminder to embrace faith, it definitely got my attention. Faith finds us at some of the most vulnerable times of our lives. Yet, faith won’t take action on our behalf, speak for us or make decisions for us. Faith waits patiently near until we are ready to allow it into our hearts. Faith allows us to grow.

     So, what is faith? In my experience, faith can take many forms and work through many messengers, but in its pure state, faith is formless. Regardless of the form faith takes or how a message is received, faith is a feeling of believing. Faith allows us to believe that everything is going to work out. Faith supports us in taking the next step, even though we may not see the outcome. When we align with faith, it activates something other than our logical mind, which is the reason we experience what we might describe as miracles. Faith connects to a greater universal flow, and may be experienced on a deeply personal level regardless of religion, background or upbringing. Faith is as unconditional as love, always present in every moment no matter how messy things seem.

     Faith serves as a foundation upon which we can navigate our lives. If we are experiencing stress, anxiety, fear, grief, etc., it may seem like faith has left us. But, faith has not left us. Faith is right beneath our feet, an eternal foundation, just waiting for the fog to clear. Faith is in our hearts the whole time, holding the road map that leads to peace. As we move through life’s challenges, faith reveals itself to us. As we get out of our own way, quiet our minds and relax into the flow, faith washes over us. As faith washes over us, we are able to find the words, to discover the direction and to take the next step. Faith gives momentum to truth; and as truth is recognized, miracles unfold.

     Keeping in alignment with faith may be supported or challenged by others in our lives, the energy of the environments we frequent and how we choose to care for ourselves. We may feel empowered when hearing someone’s story, or we may feel depressed. We might feel delighted every time we visit a cherished friend, or stressed out every time we go to work. The stories change, the characters change, environments change and we even change…yet faith remains.


     Faith is, in its purity, a formless quality that continuously whispers to our hearts. As our hearts hear faith, the forms and messengers to support our growth reveal themselves. Faith is inspired as we align ourselves with proper self-care, with supportive people and harmonious environments. And, faith is also inspired as we recognize lack of self-care, unsupportive people and disharmonious environments. Either way, faith is there, standing by with your road map to peace. Either way, faith is waiting.

EMCLC/Picture8.jpgStephanie Forcier is a Certified Teacher and Advanced Practitioner of Linda Howe’s Pathway Prayer Process to accessing the Akashic Record with over a decade of experience. She is also a Certified Angel Practitioner. Stephanie actively offers certification classes, events, workshops, personal sessions and facilitates Akashic Record Meet-up groups. For more information: www.InnerWisdomEvolution.com 816-260-2438 or Facebook www.facebook.com/innerwisdomevolution.






Thu, July 24, 2014 | link

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Life Transitions

     Life is continual transition. Most of the changes are small, daily shifts toward a new reality. Others are major life-changing events.

     We all experience these major and minor transitions which help us grow, experience and learn. These are opportunities to reinvent ourselves to our choosing. We can accept change as an opportunity for growth or we can resist and fight against nature, making life more difficult and less joyous.

     I’ve experienced many of the major life transitions: childbirth, death of a parent, divorce, family illness, changing careers, empty nest and more. Each is frightening, intense and sometimes painful. I usually scream and cry and feel the pain completely. Then I start to heal and find that each calamity presents the opportunity to reach inside myself and find new strength — and to recreate Who I Am.

     This beautiful issue of Evolving features articles on life’s transitions. In her column this month, Jude LaClaire offers insight into the spiral of life and how we can learn from transitions.  Ashana, in her feature article, teaches us  to take a leap and allow miracles in our lives. And, Sara Koron explores the yin and yang of nature and how it relates to mid-life changes. This is truly a glorious issue.

     I encourage you to welcome change; to stop resisting the forces of nature and allow the waves of change to help create a new, stronger, more resilient and open to love—You!


Wed, August 24, 2011 | link

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Freedom from Addictions

Carl Jung said, “Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.” When it comes to addictions, I don’t believe the core problem is the particular addiction (whether it be cigarettes, alcohol, sugar, shopping, gambling or any other addictive behavior); I believe the core problem is the nature of what causes a person to seek relief through an addictive substance or behavior.

     In my opinion, the drugs themselves aren't the true problem, but ill-fitted or weak solutions to a problem—an attempt to cope. If we can learn to address the issues underneath the desire we can learn new, healthy coping skills.  I’ve found that addictive behaviors become non-issues when I feel well and whole. There isn’t a need to cover up, medicate or cope with life; life itself is joy.  Whenever I detect a potentially harmful habit (and what truly is an addiction but a habit that becomes consuming, compulsive, and at times uncontrollable, with usage that persists even in the face of extremely negative consequences), I question what is my motivation with this habit? What do I get from it?  Then I find a healthy replacement.

     This month, noted author and psychic Almine shares a resourceful article on addictions and the self-abandonment involved in these life issues.  She explains how we lose our energy, and thus our power, by indulging in addictive habits. She teaches us to harness our true power to fill the void that addictions normally fill. It is a truly inspirational piece and I hope you gain a nugget of hope and knowing that we all can be whole, powerful and addiction-free.          


Tue, July 26, 2011 | link

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Sweat: A Prescription for Anti-Aging

by Alex Jackson

     So…you walk into a doctor’s office and politely ask him to make you FEEL and LOOK younger. His first reply is — go and SWEAT! You are thinking this is either a joke or it had to be taken from the pages of Mad Magazine’s snappy answers to stupid questions. Quite the contrary, the anti-aging benefits of sweating is no joke; in fact, sweating therapies have been used for centuries to purify the body.  Unfortunately, the majority of our modern western culture does not see it this way; we often see sweating as disgusting and dirty…even embarrassing.

     We now live primarily in an air-conditioned country, where we have conditioned ourselves to stop perspiration even before it begins. Take, for example, walking outside in the city on a nice warm afternoon in the summer…what a blessing to feel the heat on your body. In fact, you welcome a little perspiration, especially after being on lockdown inside for months hoping to survive the Midwest winter. You decide to enter a nearby boutique; suddenly you are hit with an artic blast! Yes, often it is upwards of 85 degrees outside but can be 30 degrees cooler inside an air-conditioned building. Our bodies and minds are creatures of habit and begin to see sweating as abnormal, which can have a direct adverse affect on our immune system. 

     Sweating actually has numerous health and beauty-related benefits. It is true that everyone would like to have radiant and young looking skin. In fact, spending on anti-aging products is expected to reach $291.9 billion by 2015 according to a Global Industry Analysts report. I can assure you that you can look younger without wasting money on unnecessary and unnatural products. But, first we need to understand and demystify the relation between the body, the skin and sweat.

     One myth is that sweat stinks. Sweat itself is essentially odorless. The source of any smell is the bacteria that cover our bodies. These bacteria break down as protein and lipids in the form of moisture and accumulate in the apocrine glands found in our armpits. One thing to consider is the more we sweat, the more this bacteria is removed and what we have left is completely odorless. Sweating is not only important for maintaining proper body temperature but is also important for cleansing. When we sweat our bodies release various toxins, and some of these toxins can only be eliminated through the skin, which is your single largest organ. When those toxins exit our pores, healthy skin makes its entrance. Some other benefits of sweating include the following:

•  Kills viruses and bacteria that cannot survive in temperatures above 98.6 F

•  Cleans pores on the skin, which help to eliminate blackheads and acne

•  Expels toxins, which support the immune system and help prevent diseases related to toxic overload

     I see many patients in my practice that (along with their abdominal, digestive or reproductive issues) have also developed abnormal places on the body where the skin is irritated. Of course, this would make anyone more anxious and alarmed if they saw their skin looking sickly. In fact that is just what it is happening: the skin is trying to tell them it is overloaded with toxins. This happens for a few reasons. First, the liver is our major internal detoxification organ (emotion that is associated with it is anger or frustration). When we have congestion in our abdomen it blocks vital circulation and waste removal, thus the liver becomes overloaded and cannot perform its job efficiently (just another reason we also need to let go of our daily stress and frustrations). The liver then passes its excess toxins to the next available organ, the skin. Now pathologies begins to show up, as nature never intended to put such a heavy burden on either organ.

     For many cultures around the world the ritual of sauna therapy is seen as sacred and is used for curing many illnesses, revitalizing the body, relieving sore muscles and dispersing unneeded emotions. Cultures such as the Roman, Scandinavian, German, and Russian have traditional sauna therapies. Closer to us, we may be more familiar with the sweat lodge of Native Americans; but I would like to introduce you to another type of ancient sauna therapy used in Mexico -- the Temazcal. A Temazcal is a type of sweat lodge, which originated with pre-Hispanic Indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica. The word Temazcal comes from the Nahuatl word temzcalli ("house of heat") also from the Aztec words teme (to bathe) and calli (house). It is best described as a round igloo shape made of brick and covered in stucco. The size can vary but an average one would fit 8-10 people. Volcanic rocks are heated at one end and tea is placed on the rocks to create steam and induce the body to sweat. Medicinal plants like eucalyptus (for the respiratory system) are often placed on the floor on the Temazcal and the heat from the vapor releases the medicinal properties of the plants.

     During the past four years I have had the privilege to learn and see firsthand the healing benefits of the Temazcals while working with Rita Navarrete Perez of Mexico City and Toñita Gonzales of New Mexico. These are some of the best Temazcaleras (Master of the Temazcal) you will ever find, and they work to regulate a comfortable warm temperature inside the Temazcal, never using extreme heat to stress the body. Benefits of the Temazcal include the following:

•  Cleanses the respiratory system and sinuses; eliminates toxins

•  Excellent for rheumatism and relieves muscle and joint aches

•  Reduces emotional stress and calms the nervous system

•  Improves circulation and eliminates chronic fatigue

•  Skin purification and rejuvenation 

     Tip: place raw honey on your face after any sauna therapy. Honey is full of antioxidants, which are good for wrinkles and aging skin. It is antibacterial, which helps with acne treatments and prevention. It clarifies skin by opening up and unclogging pores. It’s also a great moisturizer that soothes irritation and blemishes.

     I believe strongly in the medicinal properties of this traditional sauna therapy, that is why I plan to construct a Temazcal in the next year. Until then, you can get many of the same benefits with an Infrared Sauna. Who would have thought sweat could make you look and feel so good…I guess that doctor was right!


Sleep Apnea: Nuisance or Dangerous?

by Nancy Russell, M.D.

     Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.

     OSA, obstructive sleep apnea, is a chronic, ongoing condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep. As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.

     Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Doctors usually can't detect the condition during routine office visits. Also, no blood test can help diagnose the condition. Most people who have sleep apnea don't know they have it because it only occurs during sleep. A family member or bed partner might be the first to notice signs of sleep apnea. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition, the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. This causes shallow breathing or breathing pauses. When you try to breathe, any air that squeezes past the blockage can cause loud snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in people who are overweight, but it can affect anyone. For example, small children who have enlarged tonsil tissues in their throats may have obstructive sleep apnea.

     Untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, dementia, diabetes, increase the risk of (or worsen) heart failure, make arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats more likely and increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents. OSA increases risk of stroke by 2X and the risk of fatal heart events by 5X. Left untreated, there is an increase in overall death from all causes.

     If you or your partner have these symptoms: unintentional sleep episodes during wakefulness, daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, unrefreshed or restless sleep, fatigue, morning headaches, nighttime choking or insomnia, a medical evaluation is advised. To diagnose sleep apnea, a formal sleep study in an overnight sleep lab conducted and evaluated by sleep specialists is optimal. The official name of a sleep study is polysomnography which monitors the 4 stages of sleep with measurements of  brain activity, eye activity, muscle activity, lung volumes, airflow, oxygen levels and heartbeat.

     Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that requires long-term management. Lifestyle changes which lead to weight loss can help treat and even reverse OSA is some cases. The mainstay of treatment is a breathing device called CPAP which is continuous positive airway pressure delivered through a mouth or nasal piece or mask. CPAP is generally the most effective.

     Other treatments consist of mandibular advancement devices, tongue retaining devices and nasal valve therapy; palate stimulators can successfully treat sleep apnea in some people.

     Alternative treatments, which can be researched at www.mercola.com include orofacial myofunctional therapy which is a re-education or re-patterning of the oral and facial muscles and perhaps the Buteyko breathing method. If you have sleep apnea, get a treatment that will work for you.



This or Better...Harm to None

This or Better...Harm to None

by Suzette Scholtes

August 27, 2014

The phone rang early that September morning. It shook me out of my daily meditation. It was a call I had waited on for a long time.

Mom died, Dad said. I felt relief. She endured Alzheimers for 10 years. The last stage is painful. I was praying at that moment, God, take her home and end her suffering. Thy will be done. This or better, harm to none.

Why did you call me? I asked thinking of my elder siblings. He said, You are a writer. You dont do anything.

I was not offended. He was a cynic to the day he died. I sensed he knew I could handle it. I arrived at the family farm 20 minutes later. Together, we completed service plans at the funeral home. He didnt want to call the other six children in the family. He said he didnt want to ruin their day. I had to beg him. Tears held back, I called my sisters and brothers around the country with the news of our beloved mothers death.

He was her caregiver. I could see the pain in his eyes; that pain of no relief for 10 years, watching the degeneration of someone you love. I said I lost my mom twice. After diagnosis in her 50s, she did not know any of us. My sis Jeanette and I took her out for lunch and/or shopping. I did her hair, until the last stage when her only life force became a moan.

Dad had served as a marine. He navigated bomber planes over Japan in WWII. He was brilliant. He attended the University of Chicago until he ran out of money. He joined his dad doing concrete and construction. He designed our rambling farmhouse and built it brick by brick into a huge structure. He built the barns, the ponds, and a swimming pool. He had a temper like Mark Twains. He would knock down lamps and bang spoons into the table. I heard Mark Twain threw all his shirts on the lawn when he found one that had a missing button. These men held back lots of hurt and worry, stuffing emotions, as somehow they believed tough guys are not allowed to feel.

Older now, I see how he opened doors for his children to create fulfilling lives. He wanted us to read. He wanted all his five daughters to attend college and find careers so we would not be co-dependent upon a man. This is 1958 before the womens movement. He read with passion. Books were all over the house. We were allowed to stay up late if we read. Of the eight children, six of us graduated from college. We paid for it with part-time work and scholarships. He gave me a $20 bill and off I went. I never questioned it. I just did it. He made us strong. My senior year I carried l8 hours and worked 35 hours at Macys. I graduated with honors.

Years before his death he asked, So are you one of those woman libbers? He never liked women wearing pants. I show him my subscription to MS Magazine. You need to marry. You need to settle down now," he said. And damn dont be a writer. How will you pay your bills? Yet somehow he understood me. He sensed the undercurrent of my daily meditations: Dear God, heal us. Help us. This or better, harm to none.


Manifesting Success

Manifesting Success

by Bhasweti Gewhas

August 7, 2014

In my work as a spiritual life coach and hypnotherapist, one of my clients, Susan (not her real name), brought me an important lesson involving the significance of simplicity, joy of life and its powerful role in manifesting success.

She is a Reiki practitioner and has been working for many years in the field of holistic health. She has learned many different healing modalities; but becoming financially successful as a holistic practitioner was a big struggle for her. She understood the concept of success in the form of conventional norms: like regular flow of income, continuous growth, new clients, prosperity, supportive friends and family, fame but after trying too hard for ten years she became frustrated. She realized that she had difficulty receiving the wonderful gifts of the universe.

Susan tried to devote more time in marketing and promotional activities like demonstrating her healing work at different holistic fairs, offering free workshops, advertising in new age magazines, developing a good looking website and asking for referrals; but again, nothing worked for her financial success. She had very few clients and very little income; all her hard work and sincere efforts resulted in very few positive responses.

She felt unworthy of success so she tried self-healing for some time and practiced affirmations regularly. But, she felt defeated, confused and helpless and gave up hope. She was lost, feeling the universe was not supporting in her ventures. She did not understand why the universe was not supporting her by providing a clear way to grow her spiritual practice and income.

She began to struggle with self-respect and low confidence. Eventually stress affected her more by causing chronic depression and anxiety. She started to suffer with ulcer, heartburn and many other gastrointestinal problems. She started eating more and gained a lot of weight, disrespecting herself even more as she became an emotional eater.

As her body and mind became out of control, it affected all her chakras adversely. It caused imbalances in her root and feet chakras as they became ungrounded. Weak feet and root chakras are related to poor health, fear and manifestation problems. During her state of confusion, she was stuck in the sufferings of past failures and become too engaged in anxieties about her uncertain future she was never present in the moment. Opportunities to experience the joy and simplicity of life were not available to her, because she was not able to understand that the root cause of her problems were within her own mind.

As she started doing hypnosis sessions with me, she became able to access her subconscious mind. She was directed to connect with her spirit guides and angels. Guided by her higher masters she was able to understand the inner conflict. She gradually realized that if she really wanted to experience a dream life then she had to change her inner feelingsher inherent vibrations. Otherwise, positive changes were not going to happen. Soon, she realized that she had two options to choose from she could remain fixed with the limited mindset of complaining and suffering for the lack of money, career, health happiness; or could notice the simple moments that life was presenting. When she focused on lack, then all that she did not have in life became the main point of her attraction. The law of Attraction brought her exactly the same kind of lack and poverty again and again. Since the issues of lack of monetary success took all her attention, she was getting stuck in the past realities of lack, sickness, failures, resentment, confusion; it was becoming a spiraling pattern of continuous misfortune for her.

At the same time she also had the option to choose a more holistic path of open ended goals of expansion and flexibility, by bringing change, not in her outer world, but from inside first. She was advised by her spirit guides in our hypnosis sessions. to change her focus from achieving monetary goals to something different, something easy and something more enjoyablelike finding joy in simplicity of life, because then it would be easy for her from moment to moment to raise her vibration to something positive.

The moment she brings trust into her mind things become easier for her to attract. Without being in the drivers seat, she can focus on something joyful and then allow the universe to bring this to her in due course. There is no stressful struggling associated in the process of manifestation. As she is practicing this aligning process with trust and gratitude, she is experiencing joy in simple things and easy flow of synchronicity. Her mind rests in a high vibrational state of receiving. Recently she has attracted a wonderful life partner, they are very happy with each other and he is eagerly sharing all her financial expenses to give her opportunity for growth. The Universe presented her with a wonderful gift that was her first major key to trust and become more open to the flow of abundance.

She was told by her spirit guides to go through all kinds of exposure to offer healing sessions and workshops, and keep the focus on creating joy for self and others. Because joy will bring the high vibrational frequency that can eventually open up the door to bring the prosperous flow of the universe in her life.

These healing sessions with Susan gave me the confirmation of the truth. It is very important for all of us to replace our limited perspectives by opening our heart to higher guidance. The Universe is ready to offer us everything when we are ready to receive in joy. In order to be in the receiving mode, we need to improve our vibrations by being grounded in the present moment -- finding joy in simple things and feeling grateful. Changing our attitude from lack to joy helps us to find the opportunity to feel the closeness with the Divine within. Feeling grateful for all that is joyful brings us closer to the prosperous flow of the Universe. for true success. This present moment is the best time to create a life of joy!


Mindfulness for Everyday Peaceful Living

Mindfulness for Everyday Peaceful Living

by Martha Childers & Tracy Ochester

August 7, 2014

Much of our time is spent plugging away at routine tasks, barely noticing what we are doing or how we are feeling about it. As a result, we tend to get stuck in our habits, neglecting to appreciate the moment and causing a disconnect from others and ourselves. Flying on autopilot, life passes us by with little awareness. The cost of this mindlessness is a sense of dissatisfaction, boredom, restlessness and maybe even feeling a little dead inside.

Fortunately we can break free of these habits through Mindfulness, which is a calm awareness of a gentle, sustained attention to the present moment. It involves being fully conscious in the here and now while accepting, without judgment, the experiences, thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations that arise. Mindfulness can be cultivated through practice and increases mental clarity, compassion, acceptance, and emotional self-regulation leading toward improved life satisfaction and functioning. The practice of Mindfulness helps us to be more aware of our emotions, choose our responses wisely, accept things that are outside of our control, adjust to change, have more compassion for our own struggles and those of others. A psychotherapist trained in Mindfulness can help you learn techniques and guide you in your practice.

Practicing Mindfulness can be as simple as being aware during the performance of daily tasks, such as teeth brushing, eating meals or waiting in line. For example, feeling the sensations of the teeth and gums being cleaned, the suds foaming in the mouth, and all the experiences that usually go unnoticed while brushing our teeth, can make us feel alive. While waiting in line at the grocery store, stop, become present in the moment, relax, experience yourself and your environment. Time will expand as you breathe slowly. Pull back, and wait your turn while seeing, feeling, hearing and smelling the space around you. Connect with the checkout clerk; enjoy this unique persons presence and the fleeting interactions you will share together. Lose yourself in the experience. Notice how you feel, and this will motivate you to repeat the experience next time you are waiting in line. Each day, take a little extra time to pay attention to what you see, hear, feel, smell and taste during routine activities. Resist multitasking, such as watching TV or listening to music while you perform your tasks. Instead, calmly observe your physical sensations, thoughts and emotions without judging them.

An even more effective way to develop Mindfulness is to keep a regular practice of meditation. Choose a quiet space where you are unlikely to be distracted or interrupted and sit comfortably, starting with short periods of only 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Begin with just observing the breath as the object of meditation. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the sensations of air entering and exiting your nostrils and the rise and fall of your chest and diaphragm. Over time you can increase the length of your practice or schedule in several meditation sessions per day. Those new to meditation may find it useful to enlist the help of a therapist or mentor who can guide them in their practice.

There are a number of documented health and cognitive benefits to cultivating Mindfulness. Research indicates it decreases stress and worry while increasing working memory capacity, and sustained attention. Emotional regulation is also improved. An ever-increasing supply of excellent resources for learning Mindfulness is available in bookstores, on the web and in your community. Free apps are available that you can download to use to remind you to take a mindful moment as well as suggest subjects of meditation. A Mindfulness informed therapist can provide you with more resources and help you clarify the path that is best for you as a unique individual.


The Untold Story of Inflammation and Weight Gain

The Untold Story of Inflammation and Weight Gain

by Julie Daniluk

June 1, 2010

The following is an excerpt from Slimming Meals That Heal, written by Julie Daniluk, published by Hay House (May 1, 2014) available at bookstores or online at www.HayHouse.com

THE UNTOLD STORY OF INFLAMMATION AND WEIGHT GAIN Depending on how many decades youve been aliveand how many of those decades youve spent trying to control your weight, youve probably seen many diet fads come and go. The 1990s had the low-fat revolution, the cabbage soup diet, and the lemonade cleanse, to name just a few. The 2000s had the high-protein, low-carb obsession. You may even remember the high-protein, low-carb thing going around in the 1970s as well.

One of the basic principles that well-meaning health practitioners have promoted for years is that weight loss always comes down to calories in versus calories outthat whether you eat a balanced, health-promoting diet of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean protein or a bunch of processed junk, as long as the calories are right, youll lose weight. The truth Ive discovered contradicts that long-held belief. Not only should you eat a healthy, whole-foods diet because it boosts your energy and reduces your risk of disease, you should also do so because a calorie is not, in fact, just a calorie.

The reason that all calories are not equal comes down to the simple (and sometimes complex) differences in the way calories from different sources react inside your body. The way you process the calories in avocado, beets or celery is far, far different from the way you process the calories in high-fructose corn syrup and margarine.

What you may be surprised to discover is that the missing piece to your dieting and weight-loss puzzle comes down to inflammation. As recently as the late 1990s, nutrition scientists began to discover ties between the markers for inflammation and weight-related conditions like metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Later studies began to reveal the causal relationship between persistent inflammation and being overweight or obese, in addition to added risk for all of the diseases that go along with obesity.

Of course, some inflammation is part of a normal, healthy immune response to invaders. When you come into contact with a virus, bacteria, toxin or allergen, your body launches its immune defense mechanisms. One of these mechanisms is inflammation. As a part of the normal immune system response, the purpose of inflammation is to heal injured or infected tissues. This is known as acute, or short-term, inflammation. However, the natural inflammatory process becomes harmful when the immune system doesnt appropriately shut off these tissue-rescuing mechanisms. What results is a chronic state of inflammation. Chronic, or longterm, inflammation can manifest as a variety of diseases, including cancer. *****

There is no single, perfect healing diet that suits everyone. Youre an individual on the inside as well as on the outside. You are unique in the way you metabolize foods and in your specific nutritional needs.

All around the world, people have come to accept pain as a normal consequence of aging, but it doesnt have to be that way. Pain is often a sign of tissue inflammation, which can be remedied either through prevention, intervention or a combination of the two. Many of the normal symptoms of aging may be tied to reversible immune responses and tissue damage. But you dont have to live with inflammation and pain indefinitely. And you dont have to struggle with calorie counting and failed weight-loss attempts for one more day. Moving away from the Die-it and embracing the Live-it leads to happiness, balance, and longevity.

Welcome to juicy vitality.


Let Sleep Heal You

Let Sleep Heal You

by Nancy Russell, M.D.

August 4, 2014

Sleep is one of the great mysteries of life. Like gravity, we still dont understand exactly why we sleep, although we are learning more about it every day. Good sleep is one of the cornerstones of good health.

How many hours do you need to sleep to be optimally well? If you are a giraffe, it is 2 hours in 24 hours, if you are a Koala bear, you need 22 hours in 24 hours. As a human being, experts tend to agree that you probably need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Too much or too little can have adverse effects on your health.

Sleep offers rebuilding of tissues and maintenance of a healthy metabolism and sleep deprivation impacts levels of the major hormones; insulin, adrenaline & cortisol. In April of 2006, the Institute of Medicine issued a report that confirmed links between sleep deprivation and increased risks for high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, memory loss, depression, heart attack, stroke and immune dysfunction.

The largest study of sleep duration and mortality followed one million people for six years. Those who slept 7 hours had the highest survival rate, and those who slept less than 4.5 hours had the worst. Nine hours of sleep or more each night was also associated with a higher mortality risk. In general, a good nights sleep seems to be as important to good health as a nutritious diet and regular exercise.

Roughly 40 percent of Americans get fewer than seven hours of sleep on weekdays, and 71 percent get fewer than eight hours of sleep. The main causes for lack of sleep are: long work hours, long commutes to work, excessive television and computers.

If you are getting enough sleep, you will feel well-rested and able to wake up in the morning with no problem. But if you are fatigued in the morning, nodding off or yawning throughout the day, and just want to go back to bed when your alarm clock goes off, your sleep schedule needs some tweaking.

Suggestions to improve your sleep are as follows: sleep in complete darkness, no television right before bed, keep the temperature no higher than 70 degrees F, eat a protein snack several hours before bed, move clocks away from your bed, reserve your bed for sleeping and establish a bed routine. Also helpful can be avoiding caffeine and alcohol, exercising regularly and meditating regularly.

If you find no answer to your sleep issue, get checked out by a holistic physician for food sensitivities, adrenal stress, female or male hormone imbalances and/or neurotransmitter excesses or deficiencies. I have been able to help many patients with sleep disorders using these simple techniques or more complex testing. These tests are done through urine, saliva or blood. Let me know if you would like assistance on your journey to optimal wellness.


In August, Green Girls Eat Weeds

In August, Green Girls Eat Weeds

by Bethany Klug, D.O.

August 4, 2014

Its August, and tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and zucchini abound. While I enjoy these vegetables, I feel a bit deprived this time of year. You see, I eat a lot of greens. They make me feel fantastic. But most greens are dormant this time of year. So whats a green girl like me to do? Eat weeds. You read it right. Many so-called weeds are delicious, more nutritious than domesticated plants and thrive on the summer heat. If youve been around long enough you may remember what is now the Blue Bird Bistro started as the health food market, City Garden. They grew food on the vacant lot to the east and sold it at the store, thus the name. I learned about one of my favorite edible weeds there. Once the weather hot heat arrived, they gathered the purslane that grew in the garden and sold it. Purslane is succulent with paired leaves and grows is straggly bunches along the ground. I cut it, leaving an inch or two behind so it will regrow. It tastes slightly salty and lemony. Its delicious raw in salads and in smoothies but it can be cooked in any way.  Another weed that keeps this green girl thriving is lambs quarters, or wild spinach. The leaves are arrowhead shaped, soft, with a slight silvery cast and toothed edges. The stalks are reddish green. The taste is similar to spinach, but better in my book. Prepare lambs quarters just like spinach or chard. My friend and HealthSpan Health Coach Christy Lonergan introduced me to wood sorrel. Similar to clover, it has three heart shaped leaves, but has small yellow, white or pink flowers. I add it to smoothies for its lemony flavor. If the stalk is tough, snip the leaves off with scissors. Oxalic acid is responsible for the lemony taste, so folks with gout and kidney stones should pass up wood sorrel. Each year, Ive learned to identify another edible weed. The book Edible Weeds for Beginners from Althea Press is a helpful guide with color photos and recipes. Ive included a recipe from this book for you to enjoy. One important caveat: know your land. I do not apply chemicals to my yard. If you do, dont eat your weeds.

Purslane and Golden Potatoes

The mild flavor of purslane and buttery Yukon Gold potatoes are a nutritious and delicious combination. Try this as a side dish with roasted or broiled chicken.

1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rose mare or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary Sea salt and freshly ground pepper 2 cups purslane leaves 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon lemon zest

If the potatoes are larger than a golf ball, cut them in half. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the potatoes without stirring for about 5 minutes, until the bottoms are golden.

Stir the potatoes, reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the purslane and lemon juice to the potatoes, toss to combine. Sprinkle the lemon zest over all. Serve the potatoes warm or at room temperature.

Questions or comments? Get in touch with us at: jill@evolvingmagazine.com