Building a Yoga Foundation-Day 5

I wasn't sure how today was going to turn out. It ended up being a weird sort of day. I had an appointment scheduled for the afternoon to see a specialist about my joint issues. I was feeling a little unsettled about things so I chose to wear my superhero shirt. Couldn't hurt to feel like a superhero, right? Like my bff and I remind each other when feeling nervous about something, "Fake it till you make it". So I put on my superhero shirt and rolled out my mat.

Rise Day 5

So many members of the FWFG community have expressed their love for this practice and I completely agree. It was such a lovely practice. Very gentle and soothing. The shoulder shrugs felt especially nice this morning.

I thought this side body stretch was a nice variation with the leg stretched out.

It was interesting to notice that when I folded to the right side in this pose I was only partway to reaching my knee, but when I went to the left I could touch my nose to my knee. Have you noticed any differences in one side of your body compared to the other? Remember to notice without judgment. Yoga is a journey and it is all about the journey and the discoveries along the way.

Before practicing with Yoga with Adriene, I alway focused on trying to force my heels down into position in Downward Facing Dog. Now I relish in pedaling it out. Such a delicious feeling.

I loved this side body stretch that included hugging yourself. Can you tell? haha :D Seriously though, the biggest discovery for me with recording myself is seeing how happy and peaceful yoga makes me. It's nice to see that the outside reflects the inside with my yoga practice.

Foundations of Yoga Day 5

The foundation videos for today were "Cat-Cow" or Marjariasana-Bitilisana and "Victorious Breath" or Ujjayi Breath. Don't skip this this 8:49 minute video on Cat-Cow; there is so much more to the pose that just the "n" and "u" shapes. Once again, it is about how you get there.

Ah, Ujjayi Breath , chances are you have heard of this breath before. This is a nice tutorial for how to do this powerful breath. So worthwhile to learn how to breath properly in yoga so that we can marry our movement and breath together and take our practice to the next level.

My mantra for today was "Serenity". It popped right into my head. I liked it because it reminded me to remain calm and at peace in spite of the uncertainty of the upcoming doctor's appointment. I also liked it because it made me think of the "Seinfeld" episode where George's dad starts a new habit of saying "Serenity, serenity now!" when feeling frustrated. :D  haha

Little did I know in the morning when I was laughing to myself thinking about the episode that I would find myself in a similar frustrating situation after dealing with the doctor. The quest for answers in life, particularly with health questions, is rarely without frustration it would seem.

Serenity, serenity now!

Presented for my own amusement as well as for yours, I present Frank Constanza...

[embed]https://youtu.be/uC1Ri_0MlEs[/embed]

Sometimes you just have to laugh and be your own superhero.

Building a Yoga Foundation- Day 4

IMG_3578Good morning! It looks like it is going to be a gorgeous autumn day! After a chilly and wet start to autumn, we have been lucky to have such warm and sunny weather here in Pennsylvania in the US. Having the warm and bright sunlight stream in through the patio doors has made my yoga practice extra nice. I am soaking up as much warm sunlight as I can because I know soon the weather will grow cold, the bone-chilling rain will start and the snow will begin to fly.

But that is not today! So for now I ma going to enjoy every moment we get of this bonus late summer-like weather. :)

RISE- Day 4

Today's RISE practice started out by gently waking up the body. Adriene definitely likes to start out her day as I do by slowly easing into it. No need for craziness first thing in the morning! There is plenty of time for craziness later; the day is still young. ;)

IMG_3602 After gently waking up the body and moving it through some series of cat-cow and other poses, we moved on to Three-Legged Dog. I love the way this pose opens up the side body! I feel like this pose is able to stretch out all the little tight areas of the body that don't get stretched regularly. It feels amazing.

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From there we moved on to some other poses to stretch the side body in a seated position and poses to relax the neck.

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Now it was time for Triangle Pose. Love this pose! And the wide-legged forward fold twist that came next. Are you sensing a theme here? Basically I love any pose that stretches out those hard to reach muscles. :)

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Time for a cat break before moving on to the core wake up portion of the practice. Today it is Gracie joining me on the mat. I know she looks like Black Cat from yesterday's post but she's not. She is actually Black Cat's baby. Maybe one day I'll explain how Gracie got a normal name and Black Cat got stuck with...well, Black Cat.

Time to light the fire in the core! Makes it easier when you are imagining you are holding Simba, am I right? I will probably never be able to do this pose without thinking about Adriene. :D

Next, a variation to engage the core even more. Yay burning abs!!

And just in case the core is still asleep, let's move on to Boat pose! Guaranteed to wake up your abs and remind you later that you woke them up too!

After all that, now it is time to be still and be grateful for this practice and for this day and all it has to offer.

Foundations of Yoga0 Day 4

The foundations of yoga poses I practiced today were "Table Top Position" and "Extended Child's Pose" or Utthitta Balasana. Table Top is a pose that we come back to often in our practice. It looks like a basic pose, and in a way it is; however that does not take away from the value of this pose.

There are so many points to this pose that are important to get right. Proper positioning is important to get the most out of all the practice has to offer and to prevent injuries. Don't rush past the basics; your practice and safety depend on this.

A member of the FWFG community posted an article the other day that highlights some of the potential injures that can occur during yoga practice. Check out that article here. Don't let the article scare you; use it as a reminder to build your foundation and grow your practice safely.

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Here is an example of a way to be in Table Top Position if your wrists start to hurt. This was as great tip by Adriene and it really helps to take the pressure off the wrists until they build up more strength.

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And of course, we can't cover Table Top without a little Hovering Cat-Cow. :) This is one of those poses that most practitioners seem to either love or hate. I like the feeling of hovering so I am always excited when Adriene says we are going to do it next.

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After all that Table Top work it felt really nice to move into Extended Child's pose. This pose reminds me that yoga is an active practice. There is nothing passive about it. When in this pose, it is important to keep the shoulders pulled down and back, not hunched up around the ears. (*see above about the reason to do poses properly, even the "easy" ones.).

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And lastly, after all that work, I ended my practice by going into another Child's pose variation. This one relaxes any tension in the upper back. Perfect ending.

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Building a Yoga Foundation- Day 3

IMG_3566 My day fell apart yesterday late in the afternoon after a very difficult disagreement occurred between a close friend and me. That overshadowed the rest of my night and into this morning. After getting the kids off to school today I decided to call my friend instead of doing my RISE practice first. We talked things through until it was time for me to leave for my physical therapy. I noticed when I was at PT that the exercises were causing a burning sensation across my upper back. By the end of the PT session, it finally occurred to me that I was more than likely carrying the stress of the argument in my body, specifically in my upper back. And sure enough, when the physical therapist began working me through my range of motion after my exercises, he noted I had a knot in my upper back muscle. Stress is not without its consequences, that's for sure!

Love that she joined me on the mat today. :)

As soon as I finished PT, I head back home and rolled out my mat. I knew that before I did anything else today, I needed my yoga practice. RISE Day 3 and Foundations of Yoga Day 3 to the rescue! :)

RISE Day 3

This is my third practice in the RISE program, which actually only officially kicks off on November 5th. So it's not too late to join in the fun! Check out Adriene's website for more details about this morning ritual creating program and practice. I am only on day 3 and it is already so yummy!

It would seem others had the same experience with today's practice too, judging by the comments with the video and in the FWFG (find what feels good) community. One commenter referred to it as "fire and ice". I have to agree that it was rather chill most of the practice but ended by lighting the fire in the core.

One thing that I have noticed since recording myself practicing is that I actually smile a lot while I am practicing. I think it is just wonderful the effects that yoga has on our bodies and minds!

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The gentle stretching of RISE Day 3 was perfect for releasing the stress I was holding in my neck and back.

Rounding through the next and upper back is so effective at releasing the tension in the shoulders. I try to take breaks and dow this when I'm sitting at the computer writing.

Now for the fire lighting portion of the practice- Yogi Bicycles. I love this move! The key is to focus on all the energy of the movement out of the core and to keep the face and neck relaxed.

At the end, Adriene encouraged us to set our intention for the day. Immediately the mantra she taught use during her 30 Days of Yoga Program sprang to mind.

"Allow, release, let go."

Reclined Twist

After completing my RISE practice, I moved on to the Foundations of Yoga videos for the day. The first one was "Reclined Twist", or Supta Matsyendrasana. This is a pose that is always changing for me. I swear, some days my knees are only halfway to the ground; other days, they lay on the ground. It all just depends how tight my back and hips are that day. So if you are having one of those days where the knees seem to be so far from the ground in this twist, don't despair. Try it another day and you might just surprise yourself.

Wind-Relieving Pose

Ah, yes! Everyone's favorite pose to giggle at, "Wind-Relieving Pose" or Pawanmuktasana. :) Adriene made me laugh so much during this practice, as is evident by the smirk on my face in this picture. In all seriousness though, it is a helpful pose for aiding in soothing the digestive tract. And that's all I'm going to say about that. ;)

Yogi Cat

At the end of my practice she was still with me. Doesn't she look so peaceful? :)

:D

Building a Yoga Foundation- Day 2

Let's start off today with a little Monday inspiration from one of my favorite websites, Women You Should Know. Love this!!12195787_1173420472672292_3398135186483594410_n

RISE Day 2

Today's RISE practice was Day 2 of the program. It was an invigorating start to the day. There were several poses that I had to modify to protect my neck and shoulder, but it still was a wonderful way to start the day.

I really enjoyed all the Downward Facing Dog variations. Down Dog may be one of my favorite yoga poses. I don't know why but I just love it! The Three-legged Dog variation is fun and the variation that includes bringing the bent knee up to the heart then to kiss each elbow is SO fun! Not to mention that it lights the fire in the abs! There was some more fire-lighting toward the end of the practice with Yogi Bicycles too.

Many of the YWA community, or kula, as we lovely refer to our group, :) is using this RISE program to create a morning yoga ritual that includes getting up earlier to practice their yoga before the day starts. I wanted to be one of those people; however, I realized, and came to embrace, that my morning yoga time is less rushed and more meaningful for me if I do it as soon as I get back from taking the kids to school. I love how yoga as taught me to not be so caught up by the pursuit of perfection or by being a stickler of rules. It has taught me to embrace the changes, modify as needed, and be gentle with myself.

Yoga Foundations- Day 2

Once you do this video you will know exactly what I am laughing at. :D

Today's Foundation practice was "Bound Angle Pose" or Buddha Konasana and "Reclining Bound Angle Pose" or Supta Buddha Konasana. The "Bound Angle Pose" is so nice for gently opening up tight hips and thighs. It is up to the practitioner how close to the body one's heels are; the closer to the body, the deeper the stretch. This is one of those poses that evolves and deepens over time. Don't force this pose; let the hips gently stretch open. Think "gentle like a butterfly"IMG_3526

During my physical therapy I often find myself holding tightness at the base of my neck from working my injured shoulder through the exercises. My physical therapist's assistant showed me a move that is similar to this one and has the same mechanism to it. By sitting in this position with the head bowed and the back rounded, the tension is released from the neck. This move is also really good for anyone sitting at a desk for long periods of time. IMG_3533

For "Reclining Bound Angle Pose" gravity is helpful in gently stretching the hips open. Adriene also shows how to use blocks with this pose to deepen the stretch in the back and across the shoulders. I am working on strengthening my shoulders by drawing them back and down. I think it would be really helpful for me to spend some time in this reclining position with the utilizing blocks as she showed. IMG_3534

It was a peaceful start to the day. I hope you were able to get on the mat today too. What kind of morning rituals are you creating? And how are the foundation videos going for you? Any new discoveries? I would love to hear how your practice is going. Have a great Monday! Go out there and CHASE YOUR DREAMS!

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Building a Yoga Foundation- Day 1

Today I was joined on the mat by my lovely daughter. :) We did day 1 of RISE, the Yoga with Adriene morning routine program. This new program started off nice and easy with a gentle practice that left us warmed up, stretched and energized. Beginning practice

RISE Day 1

RISE Day 1 twist

RISE day 1 garland pose Then we moved on the our Foundation videos for Day 1 on the Building a Yoga Foundation calendar. The first video was for "The Easy Pose" or Sukhasana. This pose reminded us to be aware of our posture and sit with ease, remembering to keep head over heart and heart over pelvis.

My daughter tends to slouch when sitting, as most children seem to do. She found that this pose made her back hurt by trying to maintain this correct posture. She said it felt better for her to slouch because that was what she was used to. But, she stuck with it and at the end, rewarded herself with some resting in Child's Pose.

Easy Pose

Next, we moved on the "Staff Pose" or Dandasana. This video proved to be a strengthening pose for our legs for both of us. Staff Pose seems so easy but yet there is so much to it when done correctly. I really like the way Adriene worked us through the pose. She brought out little fine points that were beneficial in bringing awareness to the whole body. Reminded me again to be grateful for my spine which does so much for me.Staff Pose It was a lovely Day 1. So nice to have my daughter practice with me too! Overall today was just lovely. Lots of quality time with my husband and kids. We pulled out old board games that we haven't played in awhile, taught the kids new games, drank hot tea and coffee, went for a beautiful afternoon walk, spent some time writing and finished the day baking cupcakes together.

Tomorrow it is back to the hustle and bustle of the week but I have a feeling it is going to be a great week! It is already off to such a good start. :)

Namaste

Building a Yoga Foundation

Yoga seems to be having a very big moment right now. It seems to be cropping up all over the place these days. I have been doing yoga on and off for the last 15 years or so. But it wasn't until the last couple of years that I truly began to understand and appreciate all that yoga has to offer. Because of my deep respect and appreciation of yoga I could not be happier that so many people are now discovering yoga too! I have some concerns though about this widespread pop culture embracing of yoga. While I do think that wherever one starts their journey with yoga is a good starting point, I am concerned that popular culture may be stripping away some of the deeper elements of yoga that make it such an amazing body and mind experience. My hope is for everyone who is discovering yoga now that they are able to come to fully appreciate all that it has to offer, and hopefully at a faster rate than I did myself! :)

My other concern with the widespread popularity of yoga is safety issues. I guess you can take the nurse out of the hospital but can't take the nurse out of the girl...er...something like that. ;) Fortunately for all of today's new practitioners there is an abundance of knowledge available on the subject and right at our fingertips via the internet! No longer does one have to go to a studio for proper instruction; but through careful selection, a knowledgeable yoga teacher can be found online. Nothing wrong with going to a studio either if that is your cup of tea and you have access to one.

My favorite teacher is Adriene from Yoga with Adriene. This kind, gentle, quirky and funny soul hails from Austin, Texas. She teaches in a way that makes yoga accessible to anyone. You can find her videos on her YouTube channel here or via her Yoga with Adriene website. She offers so many high quality and informative yoga videos for free. She has also began creating special yoga programs and offers those classes for a price through her website. I have bought all there of her programs to date: Reboot, Empower and Rise. I think highly of these programs that she has created. One of the great things about Adriene and her producer Chris is that they put the same care and consideration into their free videos as they do for their pay videos. They are two very awesome people!

On Adriene's YouTube channel, she has a wide variety of videos. She has one selection of videos which she calls "Foundations of Yoga". I have done a few of these videos and they are short videos that breakdown one pose at a time and give instruction based on that one pose. I have been meaning to go back to these Foundation videos and work my way through them, taking the time to attend to my own foundation of yoga. However, there always seemed to be something that got in the way of this plan. That is until recently.

I have some ongoing joint issues due to being very hypermobile in most of my joints. This causes some issues with pain and such, and causes injuries from time to time. One such injury occurred at the beginning of October. Initially it required me to go on light duty at work but then as it became evident that my recovery with physical therapy was going to be far slower than expected, it was decided that I needed to go out on medical leave to protect myself, my patients and my employer. My physical therapy revolves around careful movement of the injured areas and rebuilding muscle around those areas to support those joints. My weight lifting restrictions have finally been increased from 5 lbs to 10-15 lbs. Yay, me!

In addition to doing my PT exercises I was given to do at home in between appointments, I have decided to slowly and gently add yoga back into my routine. What better time could there be to take my yoga slow and focus on doing each pose correctly? Yoga is so beneficial for building muscle and strength by using one's own bodyweight. And with the movement, bloodflow is increased to the area being moved which helps the body heal the damage. Also, yoga relieves stress and helps me sleep better too; and by doing so, this helps my body heal too. So many benefits! But no matter how good it is for me I still have to use care and caution with my practice so that I do not injure myself, just like new yoga practitioners need to do.

This is where the Foundation of Yoga comes in. I decided this is the perfect time to work on building my yoga foundation. With that end in mind, I have created a calendar for the month of November utilizing Adriene's Foundation videos, as well as her breathing videos. I arranged the videos in an order of sequence that makes sense to me as a progression of advancing. There will be poses that I won't be able to do with my injury or that a new practitioner may not be ready to try. And that's okay! Adriene is the biggest proponent of modifying, listening to our bodies, and "Find(ing) what feels good."

So if you are nursing an injury like myself, new to yoga, been away from your mat for a while, or just want to focus on your foundation too, please join me this month and build your yoga foundation with me and others from the Yoga with Adriene community. Post your progress and/or pictures on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and use the hashtag #ywanovemberchallenge. Look for other YWA community members using this hashtag too and be motivated to continue this journey all month! In addition to this Foundation challenge, I will be following along with YWA's newest program RISE, a morning yoga routine which is kicking off today for 21 days! I am excited about incorporating both of these challenges into my life this month and strengthening my body and mind.

I will be posting full updates with pictures on this website of my own practice and will be posting a picture or two daily on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook page was well too. Follow me there, share your own journey and we will keep each other going.

Pic of Novemeber Yoga Calendar

 

Time Flies When You're Having Fun?

We've all heard the expression "time flies when you're having fun." Now that I am an adult living a busy life raising a family, working and meeting obligations, I have realized that this statement isn't completely accurate. I think the statement should actually say,

"Time flies, so make sure you're having fun."

Whether we want to think about it or not, time marches quickly on. It is up to us how we use the time as it passes by. Working as a nurse and seeing so many people limited by their chronic diseases and seeing people die, I've been force to look at mortality and the rapid passing of time in the face. And as a parent, it is hard to accept or acknowledge the rapid passage of time when you have little children growing up before your very eyes. But working in the nursing profession has made me unable to ignore time anymore. 

I used to not want to think about how fast time was moving because invariably then I would start think about all that I had not accomplished yet, all that I still wanted to do, all the memories that I still wanted to make with my family, my family and parents aging, and how soon my children would be all grown up. So I used to push down those feelings of time rapidly passing whenever they would crop up.

But not anymore. I have grown to accept the passage of time as a unchanging fact of life. And when I reached that acceptance, I was able to see the reality that time flies by whether we are spending it having fun or not. The days march on, with or without our participation. Realizing that makes one stop and really think about their choices and actions.

  • Am I living each day fully?
  • Am I living how I want to live or am I being influenced by how other's think I should live?
  • Am I living each day taking actions or am I being reactionary?
  • Am I living life on my terms or am I living my life based of the emotions of those around me?
  • Am I embracing each day, the good and the bad, knowing that the present moment is all that is guaranteed? Or am I just getting through the day, living for another day?

So, how do we live life embracing the rapid passage of time instead of running from it? First, we have to accept the fact that time waits for no man or woman. Next, we need to choose to be present and live our lives in the moment with the ones who are important to us. Sure, we still need to plan ahead, but we need to stop putting off the important things because we feel like we should do something else first. It is important to take stock of one's life and assess if where it is and where it is headed is where you personally want it to go. And if it's not, figure what is stopping you from living the life you want and make a plan to course correct. Lastly, we need to stop wishing and start living.

I encourage you today to take stock of your life and see if you are having fun as time is flying by or if fly is simply flying by.

Source

Health News Roundup for March 29 - April 4

Score! Video gamers may learn visual tasks more quickly

"Many studies show that video gamers perform better than non-gamers on certain visual tasks, like managing distractors and identifying targets, but a small new Brown University study provides gamers with some cognitive bonus points. The study results suggest that gaming not only improves their visual skill but also may improve their learning ability for those skills." (Read more at Science Daily.com.)

Foods You Should Be Eating Instead of Taking Vitamins

"The supplement chain GNC announced on Monday that it plans to overhaul its quality control systems with new high-tech testing. The move comes after an investigation by the New York Attorney General that revealed the quality of supplements is highly variable, and many pills do not contain the ingredients they say they do or contain other ingredients that may not be on the label." (Read more at Time.com.)

7 Green Superfoods You Absolutely Should Be Eating

"Go green in a totally new area: your diet.

There was probably a time in life when most green foods—Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, to name a few—repulsed you. You definitely weren't alone. Many children are hesitant to pile green vegetables onto their plates. One possible explanation could be that green foods, such as Brussels sprouts, tend to be bitter, a sensation that your survival instinct tells you to avoid. Plus, children have a lot of sensitive taste buds. But as you grew up, you held on to fewer taste buds, slightly dulling the sense. Another possibility: You knew that naturally green foods (not to be confused with green Kool-Aid) were associated with the aim of eating healthier, and research suggests that children may be less likely to enjoy foods linked with goals." (Read more at Real Simple.com.)

This Everyday Activity May Raise Your Child's Blood Pressure

"We already know that too much screen time is bad for our health: Studies have shown that watching TV and reading e-books can cut into our sleep. Plus, phones can hurt our posture, balance, and even relationships. But now, new research suggests that children who spend too many hours parked in front of a screen may be at risk for developing high blood pressure.

Researchers from the Universities of Zaragoza and São Paulo took data from more than 16,000 children between the ages of two and nine. They examined their blood pressure and TV-watching habits, and found that those who watched more than two hours daily saw a rise in blood pressure after just two years. The study, published in the International Journal of Cardiology, concluded that patterns of sedentary behavior (think watching TV, playing video games, or surfing the web for hours) may increase the risk of high blood pressure in children by 30 percent." (Read more at Real Simple.com.)

Night Owls at Higher Risk of Diabetes, Other Illnesses

"Night owls may enjoy staying up late, but their belated bedtimes may be a detriment to their health in middle age, a new study finds. People with late bedtimes are more likely to develop diabetes and other health problems than early birds, the researchers found.

Moreover, the health risks stayed the same even for night owls who got the same amount of sleep as early risers, according to the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism." (Read more at Live Science.com.)

1,000-Year-Old Onion and Garlic Eye Remedy Kills MRSA

" A 1,000-year-old treatment for eye infections could hold the key to killing antibiotic-ressitant superbugs, experts have said.

Scientists recreated a 9th Century Anglo-Saxon remedy using onion, garlic and part of a cow's stomach. They were "astonished" to find it almost completely wiped out methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA. Their findings will be presented at a national microbiology conference.

The remedy was found in Bald's Leechbook - an old English manuscript containing instructions on various treatments held in the British Library." (Read more at bbc.com.)

March Vlog

Here is my vlog for March. Can't believe March is over already?! Watch the video to see how I did on my monthly challenge for March and to find out what my challenge is for April. What is your monthly challenge for April? I'd love to hear it. [embed]https://youtu.be/vcB1UiysyxI[/embed]

Here's the link to the cleaning schedule I'm going to use: Schedule. I'm adding Fridays to the schedule for myself and on Fridays, I will cleaning the family room in our basement and take care of paperwork (bills, sort mail, sort school papers, ect.).

Health News Roundup for March 22-28

Pesticides Used in Pet Collars and Home Insect and Weed Killer Sprays Connected to Cancer

"Five pesticides used in pet collars and home insect sprays could cause cancer in humans, health officials said in a new report.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), evaluates studies on chemical compounds and ranks them by the strength of evidence of their cancer-causing effects. The new report, appearing in the journal Lancet Oncology, classifies glyphosate, malathion and diazinon as probable carcinogens. For these, there is only limited evidence that the compounds can cause cancer in animals or people." (Read more at new.health.com.)

 

New Round of Studies Begin in Phase 0/I/II Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials Program

"The NCI Division of Cancer Prevention’s Phase 0/I/II Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials Program, also known as the Consortia for Early Phase Prevention Trials, is beginning a new round of studies in the effort toward systematic early clinical development of promising preventive agents for people at increased risk of developing cancer."(Read more at prevention.cancer.gov.)

 

'Mind' Your Diet, and Protect Against Alzheimer's

"If you want to protect your mind, be mindful of what you eat. Doctors say that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lean meats that includes a little wine can lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

The researchers have aptly named their diet the "MIND diet" — it is a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay." (Read more at livescience.com.)

 

New 'MIND' diet linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer's

"A new diet developed by researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, could significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, even for those who do not follow it precisely." (Read more at medicalnewstoday.com)

 

Health News Roundup for March 15-21

Loneliness Can Really Hurt You

"Loneliness is an invisible epidemic that affects 60 million Americans. Everyone feels lonely at times in their lives, but chronic loneliness poses a serious health risk. New research suggests that loneliness and social isolation are as much a threat to your health as obesity. As Richard Lang, MD, chair of preventive medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, puts it, people need to attend to loneliness 'the same way they would their diet, exercise, or how much sleep they get'." (Read more here at everydayhealth.com.)

Obesity Raises Women's Cancer Risk by 40 Percent, Study Finds

Obesity takes a huge toll on health, and a new British study finds that obese women have a 40 percent higher risk for cancer than thinner women. Overall, the Cancer Research UK study found that obese women have about a one in four risk of developing a weight-related cancer in their lifetime. Those include cancers of the bowel, gallbladder, uterus, kidney, pancreas and esophagus, as well as post-menopausal breast cancers. (Read more here at nlm.nih.gov.)

Kids' Bad Diets May Mean Worse Health as Adults

Northwestern University researchers found that while most of the nearly 9,000 children they studied had healthy blood pressure levels, 40 percent did not have good cholesterol levels, almost none ate a healthy diet regularly and 30 percent were overweight or obese. These findings may mean more children will face a future that will include heart disease if nothing changes, said Dr. Sarah Samaan, a cardiologist at Legacy Heart Center in Plano, Texas. "Childhood sets the stage for life. If a child starts off with a healthy diet and active lifestyle, he or she is far less likely to develop chronic, expensive diseases that can take years off of a productive life," said Samaan, who was not involved with the study. "Obese kids and adults are far more likely to develop high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease, so we should not accept this as the 'new normal,'" she added. (Read more here at nlm.nih.gov.)

7 Scientifically-Backed Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

"Unfortunately, there's no spigot you can turn on to flush excess calories out of your fat stores" and speed up your metabolism, says Gabriele Ronnett, M.D., Ph.D., the founding director of the Center for Metabolism and Obesity Research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore. But you can keep your metabolism stable—and maybe even give it a bit of a boost—by making gradual changes to your lifestyle. Doing so will help you maintain a healthy weight (or lose a little if you need to) while ensuring that your bodily systems keep humming along and doing their jobs well. Here, seven science-backed tricks." (Read more here at realsimple.com.)

FDA concludes Arctic Apples and Innate Potatoes are safe for consumption

"Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration completed its evaluation for two varieties of apples genetically engineered by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Inc., and for six varieties of potatoes genetically engineered by J. R. Simplot Company and concluded that these foods are as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts." (Read more here at fda.gov.)

Some background information about the genetically modified apples and the process of genetic modification from Live Science dated November 22, 2014. (Read more here at livescience.com.)

 

"No Longer Beautiful" Post

I was honored to have PositivelyPositive.com publish my post called "No Longer Beautiful" on Friday, March 13th. It was a positive experience interacting with their readers as they read and shared my words. It was a wonderful opportunity to reach a wider audience with my writing and it gave me a chance to make a positive impact on more people's lives. I am so grateful to Positively Positive for giving me this opportunity. If you haven't seen the post yet, be sure to go to their site and check it out. I will include an excerpt below, as well as the video I recorded talking about the experience. Thank you to everyone who read and shared my post!

Perhaps it is time for a change in our thinking. Perhaps lasting self-love actually comes from a place of gratitude instead. As long as my self-love is coming from a place that requires me to view my body as beautiful, then I am at risk of not loving myself when I don’t feel beautiful. Maybe self-love that comes from gratitude is what we actually need to be working toward. Being grateful for what my body does, how it functions, what it enables me to do in life, how it plays a role in me doing things that make me love life; these are all so much more than a fleeting feeling of beauty. (Read more here.)

[embed]https://youtu.be/ruAun02Ar0A[/embed]

Health News Roundup for March 8-13

Concussions

"A simple vision test using a stopwatch and a few flashcards may help parents and coaches screen young athletes for concussions, a small study suggests." (Read more at Reuters.com.)

Alzheimer's

A novel therapeutic approach for an existing drug reverses a condition in elderly patients who are at high risk for dementia due to Alzheimer's disease, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have discovered. (Read more at hub.jhu.edu.)

"In the US, a person develops Alzheimer's disease every 67 seconds. By 2050, it is estimated that as many as 16 million Americans will have the disease. But researchers from the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland in Australia say they have made a "breakthrough" in treatment for the condition: a noninvasive ultrasound technology that can restore memory." (Read more at MedicalNewsToday.com.)

Cognitive Decline

"The results of the first ever randomized controlled trial investigating a comprehensive program to slow cognitive decline among older people have been published in The Lancet." (Read more at MedicalNewsToday.com.)

"Among older adults with profound hearing loss, cochlear implantation may improve cognitive function, speech perception and symptoms of depression. This is according to a new study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery." (Read more at MedicalNewsToday.com.)

Gut Microbes

"We can carry up to 2 kg of microbes in our gut. Within the tens of trillions of micro-organisms that live there are at least 1,000 species of bacteria consisting of over 3 million genes. What is more, two thirds of the gut microbiome - the population of microbes in the intestine - is unique to each individual. But do you know how your gut microbiota could be influencing your health?" (Read more at MedicalNewsToday.com.)

Measles

"Measles cases could almost double in countries hardest hit by the West African Ebola outbreak as overwhelmed health systems are unable to maintain child immunizations, scientists said on Thursday."  (Read more at Reuters.com.)

"More measles outbreaks are sure to occur in the United States because of people refusing vaccinations, researchers say." (Read more at LiveScience.com.)

Circadian Rhythm

"We've long known about the master clock in our brains that helps us maintain a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. But in recent years, scientists have made a cool discovery: We have different clocks in virtually every organ of our bodies — from our pancreas to our stomach to our fat cells." (Read more at npr.org.)

Healthy Eating

"A vegetarian diet might cut your risk of colorectal cancer by 20 percent, a new study finds. For fish-eating vegetarians, the protective link was even stronger, researchers said." (Read more at nlm.nih.gov.)

"Healthy eating should be simple. But since we know it can be hard to keep up with what you should be eating now, we created a list of the 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time (With Recipes).That list, comprehensive as it was, skewed toward foods you already know about. But we also came upon some super-healthy eats that will appeal to the more adventurous eaters out there." (Read more at time.com.)

Yoga

"The word yoga may conjure up images of super-limber women in leggings twisting their bodies into impossible poses. But stereotypes aside, yoga offers a variety of health benefits for men as well as women. Loren M. Fishman, MD, medical director of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and an assistant clinical professor at Columbia Medical School, studied yoga in India, has written about it as a valuable addition to traditional medical treatment, and uses it in his rehabilitation practice to help with neurological and musculoskeletal problems." (Read more at everydayhealth.com.)

Menu for Week of March 15th

The key to eating well and smartly is to make a menu. That way on the nights when we are tired we already know what we are going to eat and can still eat healthy without much effort. Also, by making a menu we can plan to get the most use out of our ingredients and minimize the waste. With those two ends in mind, I plan on posting a 5 day menu plan with grocery list every Friday for the next week. This is what we will be eating and I will share it with you in case you need some inspiration too. I made the menu 5 days instead of 7 to accommodate for a day or two of leftovers of spontaneity. I hope this weekly feature is helpful. Note: Repeat use ingredients will be listed in parentheses after each day to emphasize the multi-use of ingredients to minimizing waste.

  • Day 1: Loaded Baked Potatoes topped with steamed broccoli and cheddar with a side of Waldorf Salad made with plain Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise. (potatoes, cheese, apples, celery)
  • Day 2: Wild caught Haddock topped with diced tomatoes seasoned with basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a side of brown rice and baked yams. (tomatoes, rice, yams)
  • Day 3: Tacos topped with diced tomatoes, raw spinach leaves, cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa and avocado with a side of steam carrots. (taco meat, tomatoes, spinach, cheese, salsa, carrots)
  • Day 4: Taco meat and rice combined with salsa and served on a bed of raw spinach leaves. (taco meat, rice, salsa, spinach)
  • Day 5: Butternut squash soup with a side of fresh fruit salad using apples and whatever other fruit you have on hand. (potato, yams, celery, apples)

Grocery List

5 lb. bag of organic potatoes

3 lb. bag of yams

butternut squash

2 organic onions

head of garlic

head of organic broccoli

3 organic tomatoes

bag of organic baby spinach leaves

avocado

bag of organic celery

3 lb bag of organic carrots

4 gala or red delicious apples

4 granny smith apples

organic raisins

chopped walnuts

wild caught Haddock

free range organic local ground beef

organic low sodium all natural vegetable or chicken broth

brown rice

tortillas

salsa

cheddar cheese

sour cream

greek yogurt

any staples like spices, oil, or vinegar that you need