Glorious Garlic

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By: Marlene Affeld ~

Native to Central Asia, garlic (Allium sativum) has been prized for over 7,000 years for its amazing culinary and medicinal properties. From the time of the ancient Romans, garlic, also known as the “stinking rose”, was believed to increase sexual potency and endurance during physical competition. Garlic is a species of the onion genus, Allium. Closely related to rakkyo, chives, leeks and shallots, garlic is attributed with antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

Dioscorides, a Greek who lived in the first century A.D., practiced plant-based healing. Revered as the founder of modern pharmacology, Dioscorides routinely dispensed the pungent plant to treat bronchitis, cough, respiratory infections, leprosy, circulation problems, snakebites, rabid dog bites, and numerous other medical conditions. Ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Indian and Greek writings also praise the odorous bulb. Garlic was placed in the tombs of ancient Pharaohs as long ago as 3,200 B.C. Written in 1550 B.C., the Egyptian “Ebers Codex” presents 22 different medical formulations in which garlic was an integral ingredient.

Many European cultures employed garlic as protection against ghosts, evil spirits, vampires, and demons. However, throughout history, many religious sects forbade garlic, believing garlic to be a passion-arousing stimulant.

soup-727964_640Garlic, an indispensable seasoning in the cuisine of hundreds of cultures around the world, also has a wealth of well-documented health enhancing effects. In Korea, China and Italy, where the consumption of the pungent bulb is viewed as a protective against disease, per capita consumption is as high as 12 cloves each day.

“People have known garlic was important and has health benefits for centuries,” said Dr. David W. Kraus, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Biology at the University of Alabama. “Even the Greeks would feed garlic to their athletes before they competed in the Olympic games.”

food-877968__180“Many home chefs mistakenly cook garlic immediately after crushing or chopping it,” noted Dr. Kraus. Dr. Kraus advises, “To maximize the health benefits, you should crush the garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. That triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds in garlic.”

Medical studies show that garlic helps fight infection, boosts the immune system, improves circulation, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol while helping to prevent many types of cancer including colon, breast and prostate. Garlic’s health benefits are attributed to its sulfur-containing compounds: diallyl trisulfide, diallyl disulfide and allicin.

Blame allicin for the pungent odor. The odor is caused by the interaction of the compound alliin and the enzyme allinase. Allinase enzymes are activated by water, heat and oxygen. This is the reason cooked, aged or pickled garlic does not present as pungent an odor as fresh garlic. Both the flavoring agents and the medicinal properties of garlic are strongest when raw.

spaghetti-706124_640Garlic also contains the anti- cancer agent germanium. In fact, garlic has more of this potent cancer-retarding agent than any other plant. Recent lab tests noted that mice fed garlic showed no signs of cancer, whereas mice fed a garlic-restricted diet developed the disease.

Garlic lovers should be aware that garlic could potentially interfere with prescribed anti- coagulants, so it is best to avoid eating garlic prior to a scheduled surgery. Although sensitivity is rare, some people may be allergic to garlic and should consult their health practitioner if they develop a severe headache, digestive tract irritation, an elevated temperature or skin blistering after handling or consuming garlic.

Because of its delicious flavor and powerful health benefits, garlic deserves a prominent place in a healthy plant-based diet and lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Meditation Relieves Stress #PTSD

12191078_918981804845671_5262419959871832479_n“Your body is precious. It is your vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” ~ Buddha

By: Marlene Affeld ~

Stress, a preprogrammed biological response of the body characterized by symptoms of emotional or physical tension in reaction to a situation in which a person feels anxious or threatened, is experienced by everyone at some time in their life. Man or woman, adult or child, no one is immune. For many of us, stress seems an inescapable “part and parcel” of our daily lives.

Stress triggers an alarm in the brain, known as the “fight or flight” response, prepping the body for defensive action. When the nervous system is alerted of potential danger, respiration deepens, muscles tense and our heart picks up the pace.

Drugs.com describes stress, stating, “The unpleasant emotional state consisting of psychophysiological responses to anticipation of unreal or imagined danger, ostensibly resulting from unrecognized intrapsychic conflict. Physiological concomitants include increased heart rate, altered respiration rate, sweating, trembling, weakness and fatigue, psychological concomitants include feelings of impending danger, powerlessness, apprehension, and tension.”

Stress can be positive in that it helps us develop the skills required to adapt and cope with the new situations, environments, and potential dangers and threats that arise throughout life. In an emergency, stress helps us respond to the crisis.

While occasional or short-termed episodes of stress can be positive and presents a small risk to our health, stress-provoking situations that go unresolved keep the body in a constant state of “alert”, which increases “wear and tear” on our biological systems and accelerates aging.

Prolonged stress, regardless of its origin, is tiring and compromises the body’s ability to heal and repair itself. Fatigue, irritability, stomach distress, headaches, and insomnia are typical early signs of stress overload. Troubled relationships with family and friends, compulsive behavior, difficulty focusing, memory loss, loss of libido, anger management issues and weight loss or weight gain are other common symptoms of stress. Research studies confirm that accumulated effects of chronic stress result in an increase in illness and injury.

Stress Provoked Reactions

Everyone reacts to stress in their own unique way. Common reactions to a stressful event may include insomnia or excess sleeping, crying, fears about the future, depression, reduced interest in daily activities, a desire to be alone, aggression, loss of appetite,   irritability, erectile dysfunction, memory loss, disbelief, feelings of guilt, bad dreams, reoccurring bad memories, and suicidal thoughts.

Stress And Disease

Over the past decade a wide body of medical research studies have demonstrated the relationship between chronic stress and a diverse variety of ailments. Stress, when severe enough, can overwhelm a person’s ability to care for themselves or their families. Stress has been shown to be associated with several types of chronic health problems especially psychological disorders, musculoskeletal disorders and cardiovascular disease.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

When some people experience an extremely frightening traumatic event, such as military engagement, a natural disaster or a near-death event, they may have an intense and prolonged stress reaction to the event known as PTSD.

Stress Management

While the old advice of making time for adequate rest, eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise can help the body combat the effects of stress, stress management techniques that involve calming the mind and consciously relaxing the body as practiced in guided imagery or meditation have proven to be the most effective for long-term management of chronic stress.

The benefits of meditation are amazingly diverse. When practicing meditation your breathing and heart rate slows down, you blood pressure returns to normal, your body uses oxygen more efficiently, your mind clears and your senses sharpen. People that meditate daily find it easier to control life-damaging habits such as drug abuse, alcohol, and smoking.

Initially, your mind may tend to wander when you practice meditation, however, by training your mind to focus on the present moment, you will begin to feel a transformation and a sense of peace and contentment.

If you have difficulty controlling your thoughts and they constantly return to the negative or the source of your fears and sadness, meditation teaches you to be watchful of your thoughts and consciously only chose positive ones.

As with any new skill you are trying to master, meditation requires daily practice to acquire mastery of the powerful technique. For persons in Indianapolis and regional Indiana that would like to learn more about Zen, Tibetan, Christian, Hindu, or non-sectarian meditation,  a visit to a group meditation session will answer questions, provide guided meditations and help you master a practice that can literally change your life.

Smile With Confidence – Cosmetic Dental Procedures Explained

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By: Marlene Affeld ~

Do discolored or deformed teeth make you hide your smile or diminish your confidence and self-esteem? Are your teeth sensitive to heat or cold or do you experience paid caused by cavities?

Do you suffer from severe headaches, pain in the neck or jaw, back or shoulder muscles? Do your facial muscles ache? Many people have TMJ (Trans-mandibular joint) dysfunction and don’t even know it. You know something is wrong, but you don’t know what. TMJ symptoms include jaw click when you talk or chew. If left untreated, TMJ can lead to painful dislocation of the jaw. If you are experiencing these symptoms or disfigurements, it’s time to see your dentist for an evaluation. Dental intervention could free you of pain and improve your quality of life.

You deserve a beautiful, pain-free, fabulous smile. The advances in cosmetic dentistry over the past decade have significant improved not only the appearance but the health of countless millions of people who in the past, would “have had to live with” discolored, gaping, twisted or missing teeth or TMJ.

In the past, orthodontic procedures and teeth whitening were about all of the options patients had to turn to in correcting a disfigured or damaged mouth. Today cosmetic dentists create happy smiles by employing the latest advances in dental technology combined with an understanding of the symmetry required to restore a natural looking smile.

When choosing a cosmetic dentist, ask to see before and after pictures of actual patients. You will be amazed at the dramatic improvement in appearance. Ask questions and make sure you have realistic expectations as to the outcome of any dental procedure.

Teeth Whitening And Professional Cleaning

laser-teeth-whitening-716468_640You want to present a clean, healthy and vibrant smile to the world. That’s hard to do if your teeth are yellowed and stained. Smoking, drinking coffee, wine and other food items contribute to discolored teeth as does lack of fluoride or excess minerals in drinking water. No matter the reason, it difficult for a person with nasty yellow teeth to make a good impression, especially when you are an up and coming professional where peer judgments are often made based on appearance.

The American Dental Association recommends that everyone have his or her teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year. Your dental hygienist can consult with your dentist to recommend one of the many different methods currently employed to lighten, whiten and brighten teeth. There are many of methods available for teeth whitening, so you should select one that best suits your lifestyle.

Teeth whitening can be an easy and brilliant solution to discolored teeth. With a whiter, brighter smile, you’ll have the confidence you want to excel in life. Get rid of embarrassing of yellowing or stained teeth and embrace the amazing beauty of your smile.

Teeth whitening procedures are used to brighten the aesthetic appearance of a patient’s smile; often lightening the patient’s tooth coloration by as many as 5 to 10 shades in a single pain-free session.

The American Dental Association reports, “Teeth whitening procedures have become some of the most popular esthetic dental treatments among patients throughout the country. Professional teeth whitening services can be performed in an office setting or prescribed for take-home use by a patient. In comparison to over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments, professional whitening uses stronger whitening agents that deliver faster and more effective results.”

It’s no wonder that teeth whitening gained such incredible popularity in the last few years. As patients discover how confident and happier having a brighter, whiter smile makes them feel, they are opting to rid their mouth of the social stigma of yellowed teeth.

Yellowing or discolored teeth not only give rise to feelings of insecurity, embarrassment or self-consciousness; teeth whitening helps replace those negative feelings with a happy smile of confidence and improved self-esteem.

Teeth whitening products are designed to work on two basic types of stains found on teeth: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic refers to stains found on the surface of the enamel. Toothpastes are quite effective at lightening or removing extrinsic stains. Toothpaste, however, cannot reach and remove stains that are underneath the enamel. These stains are known as intrinsic. They are inside the tooth and show through the enamel and cannot be corrected with tooth whitening methods. These types of stains are usually masked with laminates or veneers.

Orthodontics

tooth-366335_640Orthodontics, also known as dentro facial orthopedics, is the dental specialty that focuses on correcting teeth and jaws that are improperly positioned. Teeth that do not fit together correctly such as in the case of an over-bite, or crooked teeth do more than detract from your appearance. These types of malocclusions are harder to keep clean and have a higher risk of early decay, periodontal disease and tooth loss.

Uneven teeth not only detract from one’s smile, they put extra stress on the chewing muscles that can lead to facial pain and headaches. Orthodontic treatment brings the teeth lips and jaw into proper form and function and can address control or modification of facial growth.

Children, teenagers, and adults can benefit from orthodontic procedures.

Gone are the “painful mouth full of wire” days of the past. Braces are virtually invisible and much more comfortable than previous dental appliances. In most cases, your friends won’t even know you are wearing a corrective tray or retainer. Because patients vary in their physiological development, doctors work to provide the best type of treatment at the appropriate time.

For patients concerned with aesthetic appearance and missing time from a busy work schedule for frequent appointment, orthodontist can now offer ceramic braces made from a translucent material that does not require an elastic ligature to hold wires in place. The ceramic material, though somewhat costlier, does not stain nor discolor and allows for fewer office visits.

Crowns And Caps

One remedy for dealing with imperfections in your smile, such as deformed, damaged, missing, discolored or unsightly teeth, is dental restoration using crowns and bridges. Frequently prescribed by dentists to address dental health problems as a lower cost alternative to more expensive dental implants, crowns and bridges are long lasting and aesthetically pleasing.

Prosthodontists, known as crown and bridge experts, are highly trained specialists focusing on the diagnosis, treatment and restoration of the comfort, function and appearance of missing or diseased or damaged teeth. As well as enhancing your grin, bridges and crowns can repair and correct alignment of your bite and treat a wide range of complex dental challenges.

Remember the long-term durability and the appearance of restorative dental work is dependent on you taking proper care of your mouth and always practicing good oral hygiene. Crowns and bridgework require the same level of diligent care and attention as natural teeth.

Veneers

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Long popular with beauty pageant entrants and actors, veneers, also known as laminates, are cosmetic dental appliances that dramatically alter the appearance of the mouth, allowing patients a chance to achieve a natural looking “perfect” smile while foregoing invasive dental work or great expense. Custom fabricated to meet the patient’s aesthetic preferences; veneers are available in any shade of whiteness. Secured in place with strong bonding cement, veneers obliterate dental flaws.

The ideal candidate for veneer attachments is the person who has stained or imperfect, but otherwise healthy teeth. Persons with cavities, gingivitis or infection must work with their dentist to address those issues before veneers are applied.

If you have a habit of biting your fingernails, chewing ice or tearing plastic bags open with your teeth, veneers may not be right for you. Veneers provide a strong and durable surface and good service for normal oral function. However strong, porcelain veneers can chip, break or pop-off if subjected to extreme pressure and do not stand up to twisting or bending. Patients that participate in outdoor physical activities or sports are wise to wear mouth protection in order to avoid damage from a blow to the mouth, a collision or fall.

As technology has improved the product, dental veneers have become exceedingly popular. They are no longer thick, bulky and uncomfortable. Today’s veneers look completely natural and make a dramatic change in one’s appearance.

Do you have an unsightly gap between your front teeth? Crooked teeth or teeth that are positioned to far apart can frequently be corrected with laminates rather than more expensive orthodontic procedures or dental implants. Patients are happy that with veneers they see an immediate cosmetic improvement rather than waiting months or years to complete other dental improvement procedures.

Veneers are simply a very thin layer of resin or porcelain that are adhered to the outside or visible portion of patient’s teeth. The process is fairly simple, pain free and does not take long. Veneers are used to conceal damage or discoloration from teeth stained by tetracycline or a root canal. Extremely versatile, veneers can be bonded to a single tooth or applied to all teeth visible when we smile. Today, veneers are available and affordable offering a quick way to take your smile from dull to dazzling. 

Implants

Did you run into a door jam, lose a bar fight or fall off your bike? Common everyday incidents often lead to losing “your two front teeth.” Dental implants are a permanent and aesthetically pleasing way to repair the damage of tooth loss. Whether it is a surfing, skiing, snowboard or skateboard accident, an accident on a construction site or a smack in the mouth by the ball at a little league game, hundreds of persons have their teeth knocked out daily. Implants now allow what was once a life-disfiguring injury to be addressed with a natural-looking replacement tooth.

Titanium application in dentistry has greatly enhanced the development of dental implants. Titanium is ultra strong and is well tolerated within the body by the majority of patients. Tiny titanium screws are used to anchor the implant in the bone. Dental implant surgery was first introduced during the 1960s. The quality, realistic appearance, comfort and affordability of dental implants has improved dramatically since that time making implants one of the most popular ways to repair or replace damaged or missing teeth.

 

Affirmations For My Soul’s Journey

By: Marlene Affeld ~

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Affirmations help us maintain focus, belief, and clarity: empowering us with hope and faith that motivates effective action to bring about the positive changes we seek in our daily lives. Affirmations, like all thought, are a form of prayer.

  • I have the ability to change anything in my life I choose to change.
  • I speak with confidence and conviction.
  • I live in “an attitude of gratitude, expressing my heartfelt appreciation and praise for others earnestly and often.
  • I am congruent and totally committed to my goals; seeing them as already accomplished.
  • I only seek that of which I can be a loving custodian. I honor, respect, appreciate, value, mend, and maintain whatever or whomever comes into my life.
  • I respect and love myself: flaws and all. I hold myself, and others in high esteem.
  • I see myself as the person I want to be: courageous, decisive, healthy, truthful, loyal, fair, prosperous, and wise.
  • My vitality, energy, and health increase daily.
  • I slumber in peace and awake in joy living life with a sense of eager anticipation: knowing the best is yet to come.
  • I live a life of design rather than reaction. Divine life flows through every cell of my body as I acknowledge that everything in the Universe is sacred.

Creamy Cilantro Avocado Dressing

I love avocados and because are so plentiful here on the Big Island of Hawaii, I am always looking for new ways to utilize the abundance from the garden. This creamy dressing is a winner.

Reprinted from an article published on MedicalMedium.com

avacado-71555__180Avocado is one of the world’s most perfect foods. It’s incredibly delicious and so versatile. Avocado can be used to make dips, dressings, sauces, smoothies, soups, and desserts, and is wonderful added to salads, sandwiches, stuffed with other veggies and fruits, or added as a topping to almost anything!

Avocado is also easily digested and contains over 25 essential nutrients including iron, copper, magnesium, and essential fatty acids that help the body to function optimally. Avocados increase the body’s ability to assimilate nutrients, so they are a wonderful addition to green leafy salads to ensure proper absorption of all the vitamins and minerals.

They are an excellent source of glutathione, which helps to boost the immune system, strengthen the heart, rebuild the nervous system, and slow the aging process. The monounsaturated fats in avocados reverse insulin resistance, which helps to steady blood sugar levels.

Due to its nutritional profile, avocado is one of the closest foods to mother’s breast milk, being a complete and easily assimilated food with protein ratios that are equal to breast milk. Avocados are high in folate, which is essential for women in childbearing years and is also known to aid in preventing strokes and reducing the risk of heart disease. Try adding a couple avocados to your diet each week and enjoy the benefits of this delicious and health promoting food.

Today I have a wonderful, creamy dressing recipe to share with you that is perfect on any salad, or used as a light dip for vegetable crudités.

Avocado Cilantro Dressing

Ingredients:

1 large avocado

2 cups zucchini, peeled and diced

2 medjool dates, pits removed

¼ cup cilantro leaves

1/2 lemon, juiced

· optional sea salt and pepper

Directions:

Blend all ingredients until smooth, adding water as needed to desired consistency, about ½ cup.

Enjoy over salad greens or as a dip with raw vegetables such as cucumber, cauliflower, or bell pepper.

Serves 1-2

Meditation: The Simplest And Fastest Way To Reduce Stress #PTSD

By: Marlene Affeld ~

12191796_918974671513051_7102312580434827728_nFor centuries, mankind has sought out ways to combat fear and find inner peace. Some of the very earliest written records of the practice of meditation come from the Hindu around 1500 B.C.

Originally meditation was a sacred practice meant to help deepen the understanding of the mystical and spiritual forces in life. Today, rather than just focusing on spiritual growth, meditation is also used for stress reduction, relaxation, healing and self-improvement.

Meditation has gone mainstream; recognized as a simple and easy way to reduce stress. Recent statistics show that more than 10 million people in the United States actively practice meditation.

If chronic stress has left you feeling fatigued, tense, anxious, and worried, spending even a few minutes of mindful meditation can renew your energy, restore a sense of balance and calm and bring about an attitude of gratitude and serenity.

Meditation is especially beneficial if you have a medical condition that may worsen with stress. While the evidence is not conclusive, however, there is a great deal of scientific research that supports the health benefits of meditation.

While meditation is not a replacement for any ongoing medical treatment, it is viewed as a type of mind-body complementary medicine that produces a tranquil mind and a deep state of relaxation. Meditation may be helpful in the management of symptoms of asthma, depression, anxiety disorders, heart disease, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and cancer. Many former insomniacs report that meditation is the way to a good night’s sleep.

The emotional benefits of meditation include gaining a new perspective on stressful situations and building new skills to manage your stress. With meditation comes a new self-awareness, fewer bad dreams, a new sense of creativity and hope for tomorrow.

Adult or child, man or woman; anyone can practice meditation. Meditation is simple, doesn’t require any special equipment and it’s free. One of the best things about meditation, is you can learn to practice it whenever and wherever you want to find peace and calm just when you need it most. The benefits don’t stop when your meditation session is over, but rather help you carry on calmly for the remainder of your day.

Meditation can wash away the day’s stress while bringing a sense of release and an inner stillness. Our minds are constantly bombarded by a diverse array of jumbled thoughts that crowd our consciousness and fight for our attention. During meditation, by focusing your thoughts, you quiet the chatter, clearing away the information overload that contributes to your stress.

Walking Meditation

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., founder and Director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, advises that one simplest ways to bring awareness into your life is through walking meditation.

“This brings your attention to the actual experience of walking as you are doing it, focusing on the sensations in your feet and legs, feeling your whole body moving,” Dr. Kabat-Zinn explains. “You can also integrate awareness of your breathing with the experience.”

To do this walking exercise, center the attention on each foot as it contacts the ground. When your mind wanders away from the legs or feet, or the feeling of the body walking, redirect your attention. To deepen your concentration, don’t look around, but keep your gaze focused in front of you.

“One thing that you find out when you have been practicing mindfulness for a while is that nothing is quite as simple as it appears,” says Dr. Kabat-Zinn. “This is as true for walking as it is for anything else. For one thing, we carry our mind around with us when we walk, so we are usually absorbed in our own thoughts to one extent or another. We are hardly ever just walking, even when we are ‘just going out for a walk.’ Walking meditation involves intentionally attending to the experience of walking itself.”

Types Of Meditation

There are many different types of meditation including guided meditation, mantra meditation, mindfulness meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi gong. It pays to do some research, attend some classes, and try different methods until you find the meditation method that is right for you.

It is once again stressed that meditation is not a replacement for traditional medical treatment. It can however, be a useful addition to any other type of treatment.

 

 

 

Depression And Interpersonal Relationships

By: Marlene Affeld ~

Depression And Anxiety

dependent-100343__180Depression is a prolonged psychological condition that affects our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The majority of persons suffering from depression cannot experience emotions, including love, joy, pleasure, pride, hope, accomplishment, anticipation, or grief, in a normal way. Many people with depression experience feelings of low-self esteem, self-loathing, loneliness and despair. Others describe depression as a constant feeling of impending danger or doom.

Depressed people are often socially withdrawn and feel progressively hopeless and helpless. Common symptoms of depression include irritability, insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, paranoia, and an inability to concentrate or make decisions. In cases of extreme depression, memory and cognitive skills may be impaired.

A patient plagued with chronic depression describes his condition, remarking, “Depression is a maladjustment. The way we react to emotions when we’re depressed isn’t calibrated the same way as other people. It becomes a habit to be negative, and it’s difficult to learn the proper way to react or how to feel certain positive emotions. That doesn’t mean you can’t. You’re not missing a happy gland. You’re just out of alignment.”

While many depressed persons experience intense feelings of unrelenting sadness, others don’t feel sad at all. Rather they may feel empty, lifeless and apathetic or aggressive, restless, bitter, and angry. For many, the descent into depression is fraught with obsessive thoughts of death and suicide. Ignored or improperly treated depression is the leading cause of suicide in the United States.

What Is Depression?

The NIH (National Institute of Mental Health) answers the question,

“What Is Depression?” by stating, “Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you.

Depression is a common but serious illness. However, many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Medications, psychotherapies, and other methods can effectively treat people with depression.”

Medical experts advise that proper treatment cures 90 percent of depression cases.

Types Of Depression

The University of Maryland Medical School explains depression   affects people differently and in varying degrees, noting, “The primary types of depression include:

  • Major depression — A person must be depressed for at least two weeks but often for as long as 20 weeks.
  • Dysthymia — a long-lasting, less severe form of depression. Symptoms are like those of major depression but more mild. People with dysthymia have a greater risk of major depression.
  • Atypical depression — Unlike those with major depression, people with atypical depression can feel better for a while when something good happens. In addition, people with atypical depression have different symptoms than those with major depression. Despite its name, atypical depression may be the most common type of depression.
  • Adjustment disorder — happens when someone’s response to a major life event, such as the death of a loved one, causes symptoms of depression.”

Depression can be destructive in interpersonal relationships generating withdrawal, blame, a lack of intimacy, poor communication, dependency on others, or feelings of inadequacy and anger.

Husbands, lovers, children and friends become enablers, and often unwilling, caregivers. Accommodating and meeting the demands of a clingy, negative, depressed spouse or a loved one is exhausting; compassion fatigue is common.

Depression – Deal With It

Depression is not something to be ignored. Not only does it attack your sense of self-worth and well-being, depression can cause severe physical symptoms as well. Patient complaints include painful body aches, elevated blood pressure, strokes, heart arrhythmia, migraine headaches, and diarrhea and stomach distress.

HealthLine.com reports, “As if depression weren’t bad enough, statistics show that diagnoses are growing at an alarming rate. In addition, states with higher rates of depression also show high rates of other negative health outcomes, such as obesity, heart disease, and stroke. Individuals suffering from depression are more likely to be unemployed or recently divorced than their non-depressed counterparts, and women experience greater risk of depression than men. Despite all of these statistics on depression, studies show that many people suffer symptoms of depression without seeking care and that undiagnosed depression costs the U.S. millions of dollars each year. Now a global health issue, depression awareness, diagnosis, and treatment are matters of crucial significance in building a healthier, happier world.”

While there are no medical tests that confirm depression, like there are for diabetes or a thyroid condition, a candid talk with your physician is in order. If you are going through a stressful period in your life and think you might be depressed, talk to an understanding healthcare professional or counselor who will be able to ask the right questions to help determine if you are experiencing a period of sadness of whether you have depression; understanding the underlying cause of your depression may help you overcome the problem.

Take Care Of Yourself – You Are Worth It!

In addition to counseling and medications your doctor will likely encourage to get more exercise, stay well hydrated with at least 8 to 12 – 8oz. Glass of water daily in addition to other liquids in your diet, avoid alcohol and illicit drugs, quit smoking, lose weight, add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your food plan, and get outside and get some fresh air.

Medical studies show that many severely depressed people are deficient in vitamin D; sunshine is a great natural source of vitamin D.

Try to adopt an “Attitude of Gratitude!” Life, by its very nature, brings sadness, loss, and disappointments. Gratitude helps put your problems into perspective if you daily make a list of things in your life for which you are grateful.

You might say that’s so much honey hype! Wrong! No matter how desperate or pitiful your situation, you have many things to be grateful for: even if it’s your eyes that read these words. Stop dwelling on what’s wrong with your life; focus on what’s right. Empower yourself with positive affirmations; “What you think about you bring about.”

Depression is a real illness that demands medical intervention. Sadly, many depressed people “drown in their misery”; believing that requesting help is a sign of submission or weakness

Many people caught in the cycle of depression feel their feelings and thoughts aren’t important enough for others to care or just plain nobody else’s business. Still others are afraid to appear “crazy for seeing a therapist or taking medication to help manage their symptoms. Don’t be one of those people in denial! Depression hurts! With professional help, you can smile again and enjoy life.

References:

Depression And Bi-Polar Support Alliance

http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_statistics_depression

  • “Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, in a given year. (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 Jun; 62(6): 617-27)
  • While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32. (U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates by Demographic Characteristics, 2005)
  • Major depressive disorder is more prevalent in women than in men. (Journal of the American Medical Association, 2003; Jun 18; 289(23): 3095-105)
  • As many as one in 33 children and one in eight adolescents have clinical depression. (Center for Mental Health Services, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1996)
  • People with depression are four times as likely to develop a heart attack than those without a history of the illness. After a heart attack, they are at a significantly increased risk of death or second heart attack. (National Institute of Mental Health, 1998)”

University Of Maryland School Of Medicine

National Institute Of Mental Health

 

Info graphic-Depression Statistics

Depression statistics infographic

healthline.com

Important Tips On Taking Medications Safely When Traveling #AskQuestions

By: Marlene Affeld ~

You are taking medicine for a reason. If you fail to ask questions and learn how to use your prescriptions and non-prescription medicines wisely and safely you can dramatically increase the risks and decrease the benefits.

When you doctor writes you a new prescription, it is important to ask questions. There is no “dumb” question except for the one unasked. Make sure you understand clearly and take notes to jog your memory.

  • What is the name of the medicine?
  • What is the medical name of the illness or condition this medicine will treat?
  • How does it treat my condition?
  • What are the dangers inherent in this medication?
  • Are their possible side effects I should be aware of?
  • What is the name of its active ingredient?
  • Did you check that it doesn’t contain anything I’m allergic to?
  • How long does it take to work?
  • Is this a long-term maintenance medication?
  • How long do I take it?
  • How should I store the medication? Does it need to be refrigerated?
  • Can the pharmacist substitute a less expensive, generic form of the medicine?

Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about the right way to take any medicine before you begin using it. Ask questions when you don’t understand or when instructions aren’t clear. It’s your body and you need to take responsibility to do your part in getting well.

Before starting a medication, be sure you know the answer to these important questions.

  • Should I take it as needed or on a schedule?
  • Should I take it at a certain time of day?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • How much should I take each time?
  • Do I need to take it with food?
  • Are there foods I should avoid while on this medication?
  • May I drink alcohol while on this medication?
  • Will it affect my ability to drive or do my work safely?

medications-257349_640When you have a new prescription filled at the pharmacy, the United States Food and Drug Administrations outlines the important things to tell your pharmacist, noting:

  • Tell your pharmacist everything you use. Keep a record and give it to your pharmacist. Make sure you put all the prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, herbals, and other supplements you use. Your pharmacist will use this to keep his/her records up-to-date and help you use medicine safely.
  • If you’ve had any allergic reactions or problems with medicines, medicines with dietary supplements, medicines with food, or medicines with other treatments.
  • Anything that could affect your use of medicine, such as, if you have trouble swallowing, reading labels, remembering to use medicine, or paying for medicine.
  • Before you start using something new. Your pharmacist can help you avoid medicines, supplements, foods, and other things that don’t mix well with your medicines.
  • If you are pregnant, might become pregnant, or if you are breast- feeding.

Tips For Taking Medications Safely

Before leaving the pharmacy after picking up a new prescription or refill, check to make sure your have the right medication. Accidents and mistakes do happen. You don’t want to take the wrong medication as the result of human error or a typo.

When traveling, all medications must be in there original packaging. Ask your pharmacist to provide a small, labeled bottle for the amount needed for your journey and you can refill from your big bottle.

Don’t mix your medicines together in a storage container. Certain drugs can absorb moisture or interact negatively when stored with another chemical formulations.

To prevent overdose or other health threatening mishaps, always store medications in their original container out of the reach of children or pets.

Take your medications at the right time. Many medications are time released or meant to work in combination with other medications. If you miss a dose, don’t double up or change your medication schedule without consulting your healthcare provider.

tablets-193666_640If you find it difficult to swallow tablets or capsules, ask for doctor or pharmacist if there is a liquid form of the medication or a patch. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is safe to crush or chew a tablet. Never do this without talking to your doctor as it can change the delivery mechanism of the medication with dangerous or ineffective results.

When a person is ill and taking a lot of different medications, it is easy to become confused and take the wrong medication at the wrong time. If you get up at night to take medication, turn on the light and read the label to make sure your are taking the right pill; the wrong one at the wrong time might just kill you.

Cautions and Concerns

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CHealth.canoe.ca advises, “Certain medications need to be taken with plenty of water. Depending on the medication, there are different reasons for this:

  • The medication could cause you to become dehydrated (e.g., lithium)
  • The medication could damage the kidneys or lead to kidney stones if too much of it reached the kidney at the same time (e.g., cotrimoxazole, indinavir). Water helps to “dilute” the extra medication so that too much medication does not go through the kidneys at once.

In general, all medications should be taken with a full glass of water, unless your doctor or pharmacist recommends otherwise. If your medication needs to be taken with “plenty of water”, you may need to drink more than a full glass of water with your medication. This varies with the medication, but can be as much as 1.5 L every day, as is recommended for indinavir.

It is also important to drink enough water throughout the day to avoid dehydration. People’s needs will vary, but most people need 6 to 8 glasses a day, and even more if it is hot, or when they are physically active.”

Expect the Unexpected – Basic Wilderness Survival

Marlene Affeld ~

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I love to spend time exploring the tundra, mountains, woods and deserts of our great country. My prospecting adventures have provided me with many unique and unforgettable memories. Through experience, I have learned how vulnerable and fragile human beings are and how a basic knowledge of wilderness survival is of the utmost importance.

Survival planning is nothing more than realizing something could happen that would put you in a life-threatening situation and, with that in mind, taking steps to increase your chances of survival. Always expect the unexpected!

The most common cause of death in the wilderness is lack of preparation. As an example, death from hypothermia can actually be attributed to not being prepared for what may be encountered in nature. People don’t die of hypothermia, they die from not preparing for, or expecting, an extremely cold situation. Thus, survival planning requires preparation and emergency planning is essential.

Preparation means having survival items and knowing how to use them. Those of us who live in snow regions prepare our vehicles for hazardous road conditions. We put on snow tires, add extra weight in the back for traction and we carry a shovel and a blanket. Providing you know how to safely operate a chainsaw, carrying one is a sound precaution. The road up the mountain may be clear, however a strong wind can bring down trees that will block one’s return.

Different climates and terrain call for planning to contend with the potential hazards of the local area. Travelers in the desert will want to carry several gallons of water in case they are stranded or an engine overheats. Applied common sense and pre-planning can prevent an annoying and inconvenient event from escalating into a life-threatening situation.

Preparation also means knowing your intended route of travel and familiarizing yourself with the area. Before departure, it is wise to inform someone about your route, plans and when you can be expected back. Tracking a person is much easier for the search and rescue team if they know your destination and proposed route. Dont forget to notify your contact person when you return.

If you park and then venture a considerable distance away from your vehicle, leave a note as well. Post the note where it can be easily visible through the windshield. Write with bold lettering your route and when you expect to return.

Basic Wilderness Survival Skills Reprinted: Courtesy of BC Adventure

The advances in the development of outdoor clothing, equipment, emergency food and techniques have been growing rapidly in recent years. For those beginners interested in using the outdoors there is unlimited information on wilderness survival skills and equipment available. However, experience is the best teacher in any outdoor situation and your reaction in a wilderness survival situation depends on your education. Always keep in mind that it can happen to you. Those who are mentally and physically prepared to survive are more likely to do so. To deal with an emergency situation one must be able to make decisions, improvise and remain calm.

Fear – For anyone faced with a wilderness emergency survival situation, fear is a normal reaction. Unless an emergency situation has been anticipated, fear is generally followed by panic then pain, cold, thirst, hunger, fatigue, boredom and loneliness. It is extremely important to calmly assess the situation and not allow these seven enemies to interfere with your survival.

Pain – Pain may often be ignored in a panic situation. Remember to deal with injuries immediately before they become even more serious.

Cold – Cold lowers the ability to think, numbing the body and reducing the will to survive. Never allow yourself to stop moving or to fall asleep unless adequately sheltered.

Thirst – Dehydration is a common enemy in an emergency situation and must not be ignored. It can dull your mind, causing you to overlook important survival information.

Hunger – Hunger is dangerous but seldom deadly. It may reduce your ability to think logically and increase your susceptibility to the effects of cold, pain and fear.

Fatigue – Fatigue is unavoidable in any situation so it is best to keep in mind that it can and will lower your mental ability. Remember that in an emergency situation this is often the bodies way of escaping a difficult situation.

Boredom & Loneliness – These enemies are quite often unanticipated and may lower the mind’s ability to deal with the situation.

Preparing A Survival Kit:

The environment and terrain you will encounter dictate the types of items you will need in your survival kit. The amount of equipment you put in your kit depends on how you will carry the kit.

A kit carried on your body will have to be smaller than one carried in a vehicle. Remember to always layer your survival kit, keeping the most important items on your person. For example, your map and compass should always be on your body. Plan to carry less important items, that you do not necessarily need to have with you but want to keep handy for emergencies, in a separate waterproof kit.

In preparing your survival kit, choose items you can use for more than one purpose. If you have two items that will serve the same function, pick the one you can use for a dual purpose. Do not duplicate items, as this increases your kit’s size and weight.

Your survival kit need not be elaborate. You need only functional items that will meet your needs and a lightweight, waterproof case to hold the items.

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Survival Essentials:

1. Waterproof, strike-anywhere matches are your best bet. Matches may be water-proofed by dipping them in nail polish. Store your matches in a waterproof container.

2. A cigarette lighter is also a good way to produce a spark, with or without fuel.

3. The flint and steel method is one of the oldest and most reliable methods in fire starting. Aim the sparks at a pile of dry tinder to produce a fire.

4. The electric spark produced from a battery will ignite a gasoline dampened rag.

5. Remove half of the powder from a bullet and pour it into the tinder. Next place a rag in the cartridge case of the gun and fire. The rag should ignite and then may be placed into the tinder.

6. Allow the suns rays to pass through a magnifying glass onto the tinder.

Dry grass, paper or cloth lint, gasoline-soaked rags and dry bark are all forms of tinder. Place your tinder in a small pile resembling a tepee with the driest pieces at the bottom. Use a fire starter or strip of pitch if it is available.It is important to keep in mind that smaller pieces of kindling such as, twigs, bark, shavings and gasoline, are necessary when trying to ignite larger pieces of fuel. Gather fuel before attempting to start your fire. Obviously dry wood burns better and wet or pitchy wood will create more smoke. Dense, dry wood will burn slow and hot. A well ventilated fire will burn best.

Build a Shelter A small shelter which is insulated from the bottom, protected from wind and snow and contains a fire is extremely important in wilderness survival. Before building your shelter be sure that the surrounding area provides the materials needed to build a good fire, a good water source and shelter from the wind.

Wilderness shelters may include:

1. Natural shelters such as caves and overhanging cliffs. When exploring a possible shelter tie a piece of string to the outer mouth of the cave to ensure you will be able to find your way out. Keep in mind that these caves may already be occupied. If you do use a cave for shelter, build your fire near its mouth to prevent animals from entering.

2. Enlarge the natural pit under a fallen tree and line it with bark or tree boughs. Near a rocky coastal area, build a rock shelter in the shape of a U, covering the roof with driftwood and a tarp or even seaweed for protection.

3. A lean-to made with poles or fallen trees and a covering of plastic, boughs, thick grasses or bark is effective to shelter you from wind, rain and snow.

4. A wigwam may be constructed using three long poles. Tie the tops of the poles together and upright them in an appropriate spot. Cover the sides with a tarp, boughs, rain gear or other suitable materials. Build a fire in the center of the wigwam, making a draft channel in the wall and a small hole in the top to allow smoke to escape.

5. If you find yourself in open terrain, a snow cave will provide good shelter. Find a drift and burrow a tunnel into the side for about 60 cm (24 in) then build your chamber. The entrance of the tunnel should lead to the lowest level of you chamber where the cooking and storage of equipment will be. A minimum of two ventilating holes are necessary, preferably one in the roof and one in the door.

CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT

Clothing Clothing must provide warmth and offer protection from the elements. Layers of light, natural fibers are best. Hats are a must, as they offer protection from both the heat and cold. Water proof outer layers are necessary.

Equipment Equipment must be easily manageable and promote survival in any situation. Items to carry in your pockets may include a fire starter, waterproof matches and/or lighter, a pocket knife, goggles, compass, small first-aid kit and some sort of trail food.

Survival Kit Items for your survival kit should be packed in a waterproof container that can double as a cooking pot and water receptacle and be attached to your belt.

Backpack In addition to a survival kit, a good, comfortable backpack is mandatory. Loads of about 18 kg (40 lb.) are average. Items to include are; flashlight, extra jacket, socks and gloves, a pocket saw, gas camp stove, first aid kit, emergency food as well as a light weight sleeping bag and mini tent.

CHECK LIST

Useful items to include on your hike are:

1. A map and compass with a magnifying glass.

2. A large, bright plastic bag will be useful as a shelter, signaling device or in lieu of rain gear.

3. A flashlight with extra batteries.

4. Extra water and food.

5. Extra clothing such as rain gear, a hat and gloves, a sweater and pants.

6. Sun protection such as sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat and long sleeved clothing.

7. A sharp pocket knife.

8. Waterproof matches, a lighter and/or a flint.

9. Candles and fire starter.

10. A first aid kit.

11. Insect repellent.

12. A whistle, flares, a tarp.

About The Author
Marlene Affeld has spent much time in the woods and knows about being safe. Visit Chasing The Wind

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Sugar Dangers #SugarHarmsHealth

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By: Marlene Affeld ~

More addictive than cocaine or heroin, sugar is a sweet white poison that triggers weight gain, feeds prostate, breast, endometrial and colon cancer cells, causes a host of chronic diseases and accelerates premature aging. If that isn’t enough, sugar rots our teeth.

Available in a diverse variety of forms with a host of different names, all of the following sweeteners are loaded with empty calories that offer little or no nutritional value.

  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Corn Sweetener
  • Sucrose
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Corn Syrup
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Sorbitol
  • Maltose
  • Lactose
  • Glucose

doughnut-380212_640Have you ever considered how much sugar you consume in a day, a week, a month or a year? Nutritionists advise that we should receive less than 10 percent of our daily calories from sugar. However, the majority of Americans dangerously consume sweeteners in amounts that are devastating to good health. Are we slowing killing ourselves one sweet taste at a time?

The statistics on sugar consumption in the United States cause serious alarm. Two centuries ago our forefathers ate less than 2 pounds of sugar a year. In 1900 the average U.S. sugar consumption rose to 90 pounds a year. By 1970, sugar addiction had skyrocketed to an average of 123 pounds a year per person. In 2013 the average American devoured approximately 152 pounds throughout the year or an average of 3 pounds a week.

Right now you are probably saying, “Hey, wait a minute. No way. That isn’t me. I don’t begin to eat that much sugar.”

Wrong! In all likelihood, you consume a lot more sugar that you realize. Sports drinks, fruit juices, sodas, over-the-counter medication and almost all processed foods are sources of sugar in the diet. Lunchmeats, bread, potato chips, dips, cheese spreads, ice cream, yogurt, salad dressings, steak sauce, pickles, and ketchup are but a few items on a seemingly endless list of foods we enjoy daily that contain hidden sugars. Research studies show that we consume approximately 500 calories a day of hidden sugars.

Recent market research shows that the majority of infant formula products contain as much sugar per serving as a 12-ounce can of your favorite sweetened soft drink, metabolically poisoning babies from birth.

Sugar And Obesity

thick-373064_640Considering our obsession with sugar, it comes as no surprise that there is an epidemic of obesity in America. Currently, greater than 30 percent of Americans are obese. An additional 64 percent of us in the age group of the population from 20- to- 74 years of age are overweight. That totals up to more than 129.6 million people that are or should be on a weight loss diet. If you have been counting calories and carbs with the intent of losing weight, hidden sugars may be the culprits sabotaging your success. Adult obesity isn’t the only problem. Obesity rates in adolescents have tripled over the past 30 years in America while childhood obesity rates have doubled.

Dr. David Ludwig, a renowned obesity and weight-loss specialist at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital advises, “Sugar-containing foods in their natural form, whole fruit, for example, tend to be highly nutritious—nutrient-dense, high in fiber, and low in glycemic load. On the other hand, refined, concentrated sugar consumed in large amounts rapidly increases blood glucose and insulin levels, increases triglycerides, inflammatory mediators and oxygen radicals, and with them, the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses.”

Excess weight puts us at risk for a wide range of life-threatening conditions including diabetes, hypertension, depression, and heart and kidney disease. While science has long been aware that excess sugar can increase our risk for heart disease, it took a 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association to confirm that sugar actually affects the pumping mechanism of the heart and can increase the risk for heart failure.

All Sugars Are Not The Same

With so many different types of sugars and sweeteners available in the marketplace it is easy to become confused.

  • Glucose, dextrose and fructose are all simple sugars with the difference being in how your body metabolizes them. Dextrose and glucose are basically the same sugar. Food manufacturers usually elect to use the term dextrose in food labeling.
  • These simple sugars, when combined, create more complex sugars including thedisaccharide sucrose, commonly known as table sugar.
  • Widely used in processed foods, high fructose corn syrup is a combination of 45 percent glucose and 55 percent fructose.

Fructose Is The Worst Type Of Sugar For Our Bodies

Published in Time Magazine October 27, 2012, Robert H. Lustig M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist who has spent over 16 years treating childhood obesity, explains fructose’s addictive properties noting, “In animal studies, fructose causes the four criteria of addiction: bingeing, withdrawal, craving, and sensitization to other addictive substances (meaning after chronic exposure to sugar, it’s easier to get hooked on another drug). In humans, fructose lights up the reward center in your brain called the nucleus accumbens on MRI; but after repeated exposure, the reward center lights up less and less, so you need more and more to achieve the same effect. Fructose has effects on the reward center similar to alcohol; and just like alcohol, can lead to a “vicious cycle” of consumption and disease.”

Fructose itself isn’t the problem. The problem lies in how much we consume. On average, Americans daily consume an average fructose dose of 70 grams. This amount exceeds the recommended limit by 300 percent.

Loaded with high fructose corn syrup, soft drinks, sodas and energy drinks are the single largest source of calories in the American diet. An average 12-ounce can of sugar-sweetened soda contains about 150 calories, almost all from sugar.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports, “Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), particularly carbonated soft drinks, may be a key contributor to the epidemic of overweight and obesity, by virtue of these beverages’ high added sugar content, low satiety, and incomplete compensation for total energy.”

Over 40 years ago beverage manufacturers began switching out their sweeteners from sucrose to corn syrup as they discovered that high fructose corn syrup was a lot cheaper to produce and was approximately 20 percent sweeter than table sugar. What makes it a problem is that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contains the same two sugars as sucrose, but has an increased metabolic risk due to its manipulated chemical form.

Fructose and glucose do not bind together as in table sugar meaning the body does not have to break it down. Fructose is immediately absorbed, headed straight for the liver.

Fructose and alcohol present similar toxic effects on the liver. Fructose consumption can also promote elevated uric acid causing low-level inflammation throughout the body with long-lasting adverse health concerns. If you have ever suffered from gout, you know one of the painful consequences of uric acid build-up. Believe me, if you don’t know, you don’t want to find out.

Elevated uric acid levels can also cause inflamed blood vessels, a leading causes of strokes and heart attacks. Scientists are reporting a preponderance of evidence that suggests chronic inflammation also encourage the growth of cancerous tumors. Similar to ethanol metabolism, fructose metabolism produces a host of toxic effects including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Fructose is a trickster, fooling the metabolism by shutting down the body’s appetite-control system. Medical experts advise that ingesting fructose is worse for us health wise than eating fat. In fact, high fructose corn syrup makes us fat! Fructose leads to rapid weight gain target at the area where we least want to see it accumulate. In addition to fostering belly fat fructose consumption promotes increased LDL, decreased HDL, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure.

In her book, Lick The Sugar Habit, noted clinical nutritionist Nancy Appleton lists 124 reasons that sugar is bad for you. Highlights of the list are definitely “food for thought”.

  • Sugar raises cholesterol
  • Sugar can weaken eyesight
  • Sugar can impair DNA structure
  • Sugar may sap your brain power
  • Sugar can lead to periodontal disease
  • Sugar can cause anxiety, hypertension, loss of concentration and crankiness in children.
  • Sugar contributes to eczema in children
  • Sugar consumption promotes uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans a common yeast infection in women
  • Excess sugar consumption lowers our defenses against bacteria infection
  • Sugar contributes to osteoporosis

It is the consensus of the medical community that “fructose is the number one contributing factor to the current obesity epidemic.”

Kicking A Sugar Habit

calories-957767_640Darlene Kvist, a licensed nutritionist and author of the book “Dishing Up Nutrition” offers some sound advice on kicking a sugar habit noting, “It’s about biochemistry, not willpower. It’s important to recognize that sugar addiction is not simply a lack of willpower. For long-term recovery, it is absolutely necessary to balance the biochemical systems in the body, such as blood sugar, poor intestinal health, and insufficient brain chemicals (neurotransmitters). Only then can sugar addiction be overcome, otherwise relapse occurs similar to any other addiction. The number one tip for someone looking to free him or herself of sugar addiction would be to have an in-depth nutrition consultation. This is critical to address the unique biochemical needs of the individual. Treating sugar addiction is complex and different for each person.”

While quitting sugar isn’t easy, it is more than worth the effort to try to eliminate as much sugar from our diets as possible. Give it a try for at least two weeks. You will be amazed how you feel.

Alternative Sweeteners

In an effort to reduce their sugar intake and cut calories, many Americans opt to use alternative sweeteners.

  • Honey is a preferred substitute for sugar even though it about 53 percent fructose. In its pure raw state, honey used in moderation, offers many significant health benefits.
  • Stevia is a highly concentrated natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the South American stevia plant. Completely safe in its natural form with no unpleasant side effects, stevia provides the sweetness we crave without the calories making it an ideal alternative to table sugar.
  • Beware of Splendia. Sucralose, marketed as Splendia, is not a sugar in spite of its “sugar-like” name. Falsely advertised as “made from sugar” is actually a chlorinated artificial sweetener similar to saccharin and aspartame with all the same detrimental effects on our good health.
  • Sorbitol, xylitol, glycerol, mannitol, erythritol and maltitol are known as sugar alcohols although they contain neither sugar nor alcohol. Gaining in popularity as a sugar substitute these sugar alcohols are incompletely absorbed in the small intestine and provide fewer calories than sugar. However, they are not without their downside often producing unpleasant stomach distress including flatulence, bloating and diarrhea.
  • Falsely advertised as a natural sweetener, Agave syrup in a con on the public. In reality the syrup is typically highly processed and is approximately 80 percent fructose.
  • Found in Asian markets and health food stores, Lo han also known as luohanguo, is another natural sweetener derived from fruit that makes an excellent low calorie substitute for table sugar.

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