Wednesday, December 31, 2008

With Wishes For Peace In The New Year!

The fireworks, last night, sounded like the crackle of gunfire and it saddened me to think that in so many parts of our world, this disturbing sound is probably a daily occurrence, and I wondered what it must be like to live in constant fear.

2008 was a turbulent and troubling year with violence erupting throughout most regions of the world; from the Middle East to India to our own back yard. I'm not just referring to the bloodshed that's perpetrated in the name of religion or politics, but also to the violence that occurs in our cities, inner cities, suburbs or rural areas because of drugs or family disputes or whatever pathetic reason that drives someone to harm another. In today's society people (like possessions) have become disposable and it seems, for many, that the easier option is to kill rather than deal with whatever negative situation they happen to be in, or think they might be in. So mothers suffocate their babies and dump their newborns in canals, rather than give them up for adoption; husbands kill wives because it's simpler than a divorce; daughters kill parents because the parents disapprove of their boyfriends; brothers kill sisters because of disputes over their inheritance; criminals and drug dealers kill for an easy buck (or revenge), because they're too lazy to work, pedophiles give in to their sick lust, rather than seek help. People choose the easy way out (whether through lack of conscience or ignorance or both) regardless of the consequences, and as a result, the innocent suffer.

But, in spite of the daily barrage of bad tidings we call 'news', I still harbor hope! Hope for a world in which people can live in harmony and peace. Where freedom (our greatest gift from GOD) is something that is cherished and encouraged and allowed to flourish.

Every New Year brings, with its birth, the possibility for transformation and renewal and evolution. We start each year with a clean slate, and it is up to us, as individuals, to make the necessary changes within ourselves to move forward as enlightened beings. If we purge our hearts and minds of hatred and all negativity and replace those feelings with Love we can make a difference, because Love does truly conquer all.

God bless this country and all those in the world who embrace freedom, and God bless our troops and allied troops, who make that possible!!

Happy 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Different Kinds of Calcium Supplements

It's always a challenge to figure out which supplements to take and calcium is no different.

There are 3 different types of calcium (Citrate, Carbonate and Phosphate) that are usually prescribed by your health practitioner when you are in need of calcium, and the amount often differs depending on your needs. I was told by my Rheumatologist, after a bone density test, that I should take between 1,500 and 2,000 mg per day, max, although 1,000 is recommended for those under 50 and, 1,200 for over 50. He suggested calcium citrate (in the form of Citracal) but you do have other choices.

CALCIUM CITRATE: (Citracal, Solgar etc) 21% calcium. This is the most easily absorbed calcium, and the most expensive of the 3. Apparently does not contain much elemental calcium

CALCIUM PHOSPHATE: (Posture) 39% calcium. Also easily absorbed, and does not cause gas or constipation. Costs more than calcium carbonate.

CALCIUM CARBONATE: ( Rolaids, Caltrate, Tums) 40% calcium. Contains elemental calcium, but can cause gas or constipation, and must be consumed with food or a glass of orange juice (or any other acidic juice). It is the least expensive of the 3.

You should make sure that you subtract the calcium you get in certain foods like dark green veggies, dairy products and calcium-enriched foods and juices from your total RDA, so you don't take too much.

Although it's always preferable to get your vitamins and minerals from foods etc, for those of us who are vegetarians or who don't or can't do dairy, a supplement is necessary.

Because the body only absorbs elemental calcium, check how much your supplement actually contains. It's also best to use Calcium with Vitamin D and C, so that fortified Orange Juice is a great way of getting all 3.

There are other types of calcium- gluconate and lactate, but they're not worth taking because they contain very small amount of elemental calcium. There has been a huge hype about coral and oyster shell calcium, but neither is recommended because they could contain high levels of lead or mercury.

DOSAGE: Because the body only absorbs a certain amount of calcium, it is best to take several doses per day.

For more information on how to choose a calcium supplement and which foods are calcium-rich, please click here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmakwanzukkah To All!

I have been rather slack with blogging these days, but will start back at it shortly.

In the meantime, I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa!

With Love,

Monday, December 22, 2008

All You Ever Want To Know About Leptospirosis

Lepto what, you ask? I wondered the same thing as I watched an impressive PowerPoint presentation that put the fear of God in me.

This post initially started off as a warning to wash all canned goods before using them. Originally inspired by an email floating around the Internet regarding the dangers of tin cans infected with Leptospirosis (from rat urine), it morphed into something else when I discovered the information was totally bogus. Not unusual for the many emails flooding our inboxes that get forwarded without checking the validity of the information on the various net lore websites. I guess there are far too many people with far too much time on their hands that find it amusing to send mis-information out into the universe. Although it probably is a good idea to wash your tins before opening them, or putting that soda to your mouth, it's not because you could get sick and die from Leptospirosis, as the presentation implies.

Don't get me wrong, Leptospirosis does exist! Commonly known as swamp fever, mud fever, sugar cane fever, rice field fever, Stuttgart Disease, and Fort Bragg fever, it's a disease caused by the bacteria Leptospira and can affect both humans and animals. Humans usually become sickened after coming into direct contact with urine from infected animals, or water, plants or soil contaminated with urine. It can be symptomless and mild or severe, and in some cases can lead to death.

Predominately found in warmer climates, it occurs worldwide and is both an occupational and recreational hazard for those who come in contact with contaminated water and soil.

Although farmers, veterinarians, soldiers, sanitation/sewer workers and fishermen are more likely to come in contact with Leptospirosis, all those who love to camp and play in the great outdoors (think whitewater rafting, canoeing etc) are also susceptible.

TREATMENT: Antibiotics.

PREVENTION: If you want to protect yourself, stay away from contaminated water, or wear protective clothing or footwear.

Click here for more information.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lao Tze Quote- "If there is right in the Soul.."

"If there is right in the Soul,
there will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world."

It all starts with the individual. Get your house (both physical and spiritual) in order and perhaps we will see change in the world. Each person can make a difference, by looking at life through the eyes of love, not the pangs of fear.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I AM POTENTIAL - by Patrick Henry Hughes

Over a year ago, I wrote about the selflessness of Patrick Henry Hughes' dad, who has devoted his life to his son who was born with a rare disease that left him with no eyes, and a crippled body. In spite of his handicaps, and with the loving encouragement of his parents, Patrick plays the piano, trumpet, is in college majoring in Spanish and is a member of the University of Louisville Cardinal Marching Band, along with his dad who pushes his wheelchair. He has performed at venues across the nation including the Grand Ole Opry and the Kennedy Center. None of this would have been possible without parents who, coming to terms with a physically less-than-perfect child, came to realize there is potential in every life, and helped their son realize his full potential.

Now Patrick Henry Hughes can add author to his ever-expanding resume. He has written an inspirational book (along with his dad and Bryant Stamford) entitled "I Am Potential- Eight Lessons on Living, Loving, and Reaching Your Dreams."

In I Am Potential, Patrick Henry and his father share their incredible journey. Simply and candidly written, this book is not only the story of Patrick Henry’s remarkable life, but of the bond between father and son. It is also a guide for those who seek to live their own life more meaningfully each day—demonstrating how with faith, perseverance, and unconditional love, almost anything is possible to achieve.
Their story proves that we can all overcome adversity by accepting and embracing, with gratitude, whatever hand we are dealt, and looking at even the negative in our lives as a gift.

As the title of the first chapter says "When Life Gives You Lemons, Accept Them and Be Grateful".

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Keys to happiness: Burton Hills Quote On Enjoying The Journey

"Happiness is not a destination.
It is a method of life."

Burton Hills
Most of us are in far too great a rush to get somewhere to enjoy the journey, we call life. Or, we travel from A to B, believing that what lies on the other end will provide us with happiness, so we miss all the wonderful opportunities presented to us along the way. It's the 'stopping to smell the flowers' along our path through life that brings us true joy, not the destination itself.
So don't wait until some specific event happens in your life to do something, just do it.
Take time to love, laugh and enjoy your life now!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Is That Fur You're Wearing Really Worth It? China's Cruel Fur Industry.

Yes, furs are beautiful, and can keep people warm in winter, but at what cost? Is it really worth donning a fur, fur trimmed coat or hat, when the animal you're sporting could very well have been skinned alive? China supplies the bulk of the world's fur trade, and because the cost is cheaper, the fur industry eats it up. Even though your coat might say made in France, the fur more than likely originated in China. A country that has no regulations regarding the fur trade, and certainly not regarding animal cruelty.

A Swiss animal protection group (SAP) revealed that they had more than 6 hours worth of video footage, and over 500 photos of animals being knocked unconscious (to save the pelt) and being skinned alive, oftentimes the heart still beating. And it's not just foxes and minks, it's cats and dogs, as well. I understand that there are cultural differences with respect to how we all perceive animals, but cruelty is unforgivable under any circumstances. We are the caretakers of our world, and that includes caring for our animals, as well. Smashing a raccoon dog's head on the ground, to knock it unconscious before skinning it alive, is unconscionable.

But we, the consumer, are as much at fault with our demand for furs and fur accessories. Without the demand there would be no need.

You might reconsider buying those fur trimmed gloves, the next time you are out shopping, knowing that animal might have died in agony.

The following is a video of Heather Mills, produced by PETA (whose methods I often find questionable), that has some very disturbing images. You might want to close your eyes, if you choose to play it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Is That Bacteria On My Lemon Slice?

I love lemons and limes. Those tangy, mouth-puckering fruits get placed in everything from my salads to that ice-cold glass of water. The first thing I ask for, when eating out, is a glass of ice water (or Perrier) with a slice of lemon or lime. What's a glass of cold water without some lemon?! But I have to admit that after watching the video below, I do think twice about requesting it now.

According to microbiologist Anne LaGrange Loving, a professor at Passaic Community College in New Jersey, those slices of lemon we get at eateries contain everything from fecal bacteria to micro-organisms that cause staph infection. After noticing a waitress' fingers dip into her soda, along with her lemon, Loving was inspired to conduct a study. Of the 76 lemons (from 21 New Jersey restaurants) that were examined, a whopping 77% (or 2 out of 3) had some form of bacteria. One had a grand total of 6 different micro-organisms, 3 of which are found in fecal matter. Though some had nasties only on either the rind or the pulp, 29% had them on both.

Although it's probably nothing too much to worry about, those with compromised immune systems should always be careful.


AT HOME: simply scrub the lemon (or lime) in soapy water before use, and make sure you slice the lemons using a clean cutting board, knife and clean hands.

AWAY FROM HOME: Ask how the restaurant handles their lemon slicing, although it's probably simpler to just say no. But, for those who need that extra zip in their water and don't want to risk getting sick from a contaminated lemon slice, there's a product you can buy at It's an all-natural, crystallized lemon and lime product that comes in packets, or a shaker. Although I haven't tried it yet, it sounds like an interesting alternative.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"The Rescuing Hug"- The Healing Power of Touch

There's nothing like a good, hearty hug to make you feel warm, protected and loved, no matter who the giver is.

There's something very healing about hugs, especially when we are lonely, depressed or stressed. And even though most of us can attest to that fact, without proof from the scientific community, there have been research studies that do indeed prove that touch can substantially increase physical, emotional and spiritual well being.

Research indicates that hugging can actually lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, strengthen our immune system, increase oxytocin (particularly in women) which can reduce stress by decreasing levels of cortisol (the fight or flight hormone), can help decrease pain, increase hemoglobin levels, stave off potential senility in those over 70, and even save lives (see story below).

Oxytocin, according to a research study at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences,

".... increases pain thresholds and stimulates various types of positive
social interaction, and it promotes growth and healing. Oxytocin can be released by various types of non-noxious sensory stimulation, for example by touch and warmth."

One of the most moving examples of the healing power of touch is a **story that made the rounds via email about Kyrie and Brielle Jackson, preemie twins (pictured above) born in 1995. In the neonatal intensive care unit at The Medical Center of Central Massachusetts in Worcester, Kyrie (the larger of the 2, at 2 pounds 3 ounces) began to thrive, while her sister Brielle was not doing so well, with breathing and heart rate troubles. Then one day Brielle started gasping for breath, turned bluish-gray, and started hiccoughing (an indication that her little body was overly stressed). With her heart rate dangerously high, the nurse (Gayle Kasparian) tried everything to stabilize the baby, to no avail. Remembering an unorthodox treatment, rarely used in the U.S. but common in Europe, Kasparian decided to bed Brielle with her sister. As soon as she was placed in Kyrie's incubator, Brielle snuggled against her sister and immediately stabilized. Kyrie then placed her arm around Brielle, and we have the picture above. Both children are doing well.

Hugging costs nothing and benefits both the receiver and the giver. So, go out and give someone a hug.


1. Unless you know the person well, ask for permission before you give or receive a hug. "Can I give you a hug?" or "Do you need a hug?" or "I need a hug!" will suffice.

2. Approach the person with a smile and open arms.

3. Gently embrace for as long as you feel it can withstand. You will know when it's time.


It's wondrous what a hug can do.
A hug can cheer you when you're blue.
A hug can say, "I love you so,"
Or, "Gee, I hate to see you go."

A hug is "Welcome back again!"
And "Great to see you!” Or “Where've you been?"
A hug can soothe a small child's pain
And bring a rainbow after rain.

The hug! There's just no doubt about it,
We scarcely could survive without it.
A hug delights and warms and charms,
It must be why God gave us arms...

Hugs are great for fathers and mothers,
Sweet for sisters, swell for brothers.
And chances are some favorite aunts
Love them more than potted plants.

Kittens crave them. Puppies love them.
Heads of state are not above them.
A hug can break the language barrier.
And make the dullest day seem merrier.

No need to fret about the store of 'em.
The more you give, the more there are of 'em.
So stretch those arms without delay
And give someone a hug today!

Author Unknown

**The story was published in Worchester Telegram & Gazette (November 18, 1995), Life Magazine (June 1996 - Page 18) and Reader's Digest (May 1996 Pages 155-156)

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Cat House On The Kings

For those of you who love animals, and there have been research studies that prove pets can be very therapeutic , there is a wonderful 'No Kill', 'No Cage' adoption facility in California, run by Lynea Lattanzio. Called The Cat House On The Kings, Lynea has approximately 700 cats (and some dogs) at any one time. This non-profit organization runs entirely on donations, and even if you can't adopt, you can donate or sponsor a cat.

Way too many cats are abandoned and left to wander, or are in shelters waiting for adoption or to be put down, because of irresponsible owners. If you are looking to adopt, this is a place you might consider. But adopt responsibly.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

When Cats Behave Badly: Dealing With Cat Bites The Natural Way

Our furry, fiercely independent, feline friends aren't always as loving and cuddly as we'd like them to be, but sometimes they can be downright evil. I experienced that this past weekend, after a friend's cat bit me.

So, why do cats bite and scratch, you ask?

a. They were somehow provoked. A tad too much roughhousing by their human, perhaps? No, not even animals like getting slapped around.

b. They were frightened, or scared by something, and your body just so happened to be in the way.

c. They were just playing, and your hand looked more interesting than their catnip mouse.

d. They're ill. Don't we all get ornery when we do?

e. Their evil alter-ego decides your arm is a deserving target.

f. All of the above.

If you marked f. you get an A.

There are many reasons a cat will scratch and bite, but you won't find many people attributing it to the Jekyll and Hyde nature of one. Most cats are lovable, and wouldn't dream of harming their humans, without provocation, that is. I had a wonderful cat for 13 years that never once bit or scratched me, or any of my friends for that matter; but I trained her, from kittenhood, that I would not tolerate aggressive behaviour. I haven't had a cat in a long while, so I enjoy any time I can spend with one. The friend I was visiting has 2 beautiful cats, although she did warn me that one of them had a proclivity to bite. She was gone for the evening, and I couldn't remember which was which, so when Hugo (the evil one) started rubbing himself against my leg, I automatically assumed he was the good kitty. At one point, Hugo jumped onto the couch and, purring softly, allowed me to pet him for a few minutes, seducing me further into thinking he was enjoying it. But then he suddenly lunged at me, sunk his teeth into my forearm (drawing blood), and then scampered off, laughing all the while at my stupidity, I'm sure.

After the initial shock, my first instinct was to wash the bite with soap and hot water, then douse it with alcohol, which, as it turns out, is exactly what one should do. Thankfully, it did not get infected, but apparently anywhere from 50 to 80% of all cat bites do get infected. I was one of those statistics, about 12 years ago, after getting bitten on my hand by a frightened cat; a long story which I will not get into. In that case, I did not think to wash the wound, as I was more concerned about the condition of the cat. The following morning my hand was severely infected.


1. Stop the bleeding, if there is any, by applying pressure to the wound, with a clean, dry cloth. This could take several minutes. Do NOT, however, apply a tourniquet. This could cause damage.

2. Immediately wash the wound with soap and warm water, for approximately 5 minutes. The cat's saliva is the source for potential infection. Those little mouths are not as clean as we might think; just remember what they spend so much time licking, and no, not their fur. Some sources suggest soaking the wound in warm soapy water for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Clean the wound (if not too deep) with alcohol. Although I haven't seen this in any articles regarding cat bite first-aid, it helped keep me from having to visit the doctor.

4. Cover the wound, loosely, with a sterile gauze pad.

5. Increase your intake of Vitamin C, which helps fight infection. 4,000 to 10,000 mg per day for a week, then decrease to 3,000.

SOME HOME REMEDIES: I can't vouch for any of these, but here are some natural, albeit less orthodox treatments, for slow healing cat bites. If you have been to a doctor, the wound is not infected, and you are not in need of antibiotics you might try the following:

1. Make a poultice of fresh grated carrots and place on top of wound. Then cover with a warm, moist washcloth, and leave for 20 to 30 minutes. Apparently this will draw out the toxins and help speed healing. (I'm not sure about this one, but people have used honey on wounds, and that seems to work, so who knows.)

2. Homeopathic remedy LEDUM PALUSTRE 30C. Good for puncture wounds. Eases pain and speeds up healing. (There are no potential adverse side affects using Homeopathy, so this should be pretty harmless.)

3. Make a paste using clay and any, or all, of the following anti-bacterials: goldenseal, tea tree oil or calendula and place on wound.

4. Combine castor oil and lime juice and apply to wound.

Please do your research and make sure you are not allergic to any of the herbal products, and consult a doctor immediately, if the wound looks like it is infected or you were bitten by a feral cat (in case of rabies.


If there is swelling, and the wound becomes hot, red, oozes, smells foul, becomes more painful, or there seems to be a red line leading outwards from the wound, get thee to a doctor immediately.

PLEASE NOTE: Do not use herbs if you are pregnant or nursing, and check to make sure various herbs are safe for you to use.

The above solutions are taken from the following sources:, homeremediesfor, and “Prescription for Natural Healing” by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC and James F. Balch, M.D. Third edition Penguin Putnam, Inc. Copyright 2000 p. 330

Monday, August 4, 2008

Food Can Make You Very Sick- Some cautions and precautions

Food sustains and nourishes us. Without it we would literally starve to death, and yet, some foods themselves can actually make us very sick, even causing death. For those with food allergies the body itself is responsible- the person's immune system views a normally safe food as an invader and the body reacts accordingly, causing anything from a rash to anaphylaxis (which can sometimes lead to death). For those of us with Rheumatoid Arthritis (an auto-immune disorder), certain foods can trigger inflammation, and the accompanying pain. Foods in the nightshade family, like white potatoes, eggplant, bell peppers and tomatoes are potentially harmful, if eaten in excess, or eaten at all. I also have problems if I eat too much corn, another trigger for those with R.A. If I eat corn or potatoes, occasionally, I have no problems; it's when I eat these foods several days in a row that I notice an increase in achiness.

The most common allergenic foods are:

soy, eggs, wheat, cows milk, tree nuts, peanuts, fish and shellfish,

although most foods can cause an allergic reaction, even strawberries. So, those of us who know which foods cause trouble simply eliminate them from our diets, that is, if we value good health enough to make those sacrifices. It's as simple as that.

But, in other cases, the food itself is what creates havoc in our bodies, or to be more specific, the food that has become contaminated by microbes and other nasties, and there is usually no way to determine if something has become contaminated or not, until there is some major publicized outbreak. Like the recent tomato/salmonella scare, which has now turned into a jalapeno pepper scare. Foodborne illnesses can be very hazardous to our health, so it is essential to practice safe food handling at home.

Some suggestions:


**If you have a cooler, great. Place all frozen and refrigerated foods in cooler and transfer immediately to freezer and fridge as soon as you get home. Do NOT leave food in a hot car for an extended period of time.
**Choose veggies and fruits that are in good condition.
**Pick cans that are not dented, bulging or cracked.
**Cold foods should be cold, frozen foods solidly frozen.
**Choose a use-by date that you know you will use by.


**Make sure your fridge is 40 degrees F, and the freezer at 0 degrees F, bacteria can multiply rapidly in a fridge that isn't cold enough.
**Meat, fish, poultry products should be frozen if you don't plan to eat within a few days, and should be placed on a plate so the juices don't mingle with other foods.
**Eggs should always be refrigerated, and always refrigerate any foods that recommend refrigerating after opening.


**Always, wash, wash, wash those hands with warm soapy water before you touch any food item, and after you touch potentially bacteria-laden foods like meat, fish, poultry and eggs.
**Make sure you wash your kitchen towels often, and replace or disinfect your sponges often. They can also harbour lots of nasties.
**Keep flesh foods away from other foods. If you're a vegetarian, you don't have to worry about this, but if you're a carnivore, make sure you wash, in hot soapy water, all cutting boards, knives etc. before you start chopping that onion.
**Marinate or thaw food inside the fridge, not in the kitchen. Bacteria will start to proliferate before the meat thaws.


**Cook, cook, cook that meat, fish, chicken and those eggs until done. No rare steaks or runny eggs, please. Especially important for pregnant women, our elders, children and anyone with immune system troubles.


**Never re-use dishes and utensils that you used to prepare the food.


**Don't leave any perishable leftovers unrefrigerated for more than 2 to 4 hours. You're inviting bacteria to enjoy the food as much as you did. I would refrigerate any kind of dish with mayonnaise sooner than that.
**Large amounts of food will cool and keep better if placed in smaller containers.
**Remove stuffing from turkeys etc. and store separately. Remember, warm and moist can cause bacteria.


**Heat thoroughly all leftovers. Boil sauces, soups and gravies. If anything looks odd or smells odd, toss it. It's not worth getting sick over.


When we eat away from home, it's not so easy, but we can choose carefully the restaurants we decide to patronize. California has a wonderful system of grading, and the results are plastered on the front of every eatery. In other States, if you are concerned, you can simply ask to see their most recent inspection score. If they have nothing to hide, I'm sure they will gladly comply. You can usually tell if a place is safe to eat, although a recent outbreak of ciguatera-laden fish was found at a Whole Foods health food store in West Palm Beach, Florida, recently. One would think you'd be safe at a health food store, but apparently not.

If you do happen to get sick, and the symptoms are severe, get thee to a doctor, or emergency room, and report it to your local health department. You could be responsible for stopping an outbreak in its tracks, before it becomes a national health problem.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rest In Peace Randy Pausch

The inspirational Dr. Randy Pausch lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008, but not before he left a wonderful message for us all. Intended for his 3 young children, his "The Last Lecture", (also now a book) was a powerful one, encouraging people to make their childhood dreams come true through right living.

Although he possibly could have prolonged his life, for a while longer, using alternative/complementary therapies, he chose not to take that route:

"If you have any herbal supplements or remedies, please stay away from me."

Rather than become bitter and hardened, he embraced his inevitable death with grace, dignity and humour:

"I'm dying, and I'm having fun.".

He chose to make his last days good ones, and in doing so this courageous man has left a legacy that has reached, and will continue to reach, far beyond the message he wanted to leave his children. Live the right way and "the dreams come to you".

Rest in peace, Randy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Keys to happiness: Marcus Aurelius Quote on Positive Thinking

"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking."

by Marcus Aurelius

Do you have a tendency to see a glass half empty or half full? How you see that glass determines how you percieve your world. If we look at everything from a negative perspective, most things in our lives are going to turn out negative, and we will continue to attract negative experiences into our lives. If we choose to look at our experiences as positive, we will start to attract good into our lives. Everything is essentially neutral, it's how we view things that causes an experience to be either good or bad. We can decide to put either a positive or negative spin on everything we encounter in life, and when we do, even something that is quite obviously negative can be viewed as a positive. We learn from even those things that challenge us.

It all begins with our thoughts, and remember- a thought can be changed.


Try to find the lesson in every challenging situation; you will find there is always something wonderful to learn from it.

Look for something good in every experience. There will always be something positive.

If you have a negative thought, immediately replace that thought with a positive one. It's easier than you think.

Compare yourself to someone worse off than you. That always puts things into perspective.

Give all the negativity up to God to handle, because there is nothing too hard for God to handle.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Agony Of Ciguatera-laden Fish

Cigua-what? I had never heard of the word until I was reading about an outbreak of Ciguatera in Palm Beach County, Florida recently. At least 10 people have been sickened by Ciguatera which turns out to be a specific type of food poisoning caused by ciguatoxin (a natural marine toxin) tied to certain tropical reef fish.

Some of the major culprits are:


although there are other fish that can carry the toxin. Of course, if you're a vegetarian you don't have to worry, but for those fish-eaters out there, if you avoid reef-feeding fish, you should be okay. And, although they say that certain species of Grouper and Snapper are not potentially harmful, I'd rather stay safe than sorry.

As unfamiliar I was with Ciguatera, it seems more than 50,000 people worldwide, per year, are sickened by ciguatoxin-contaminated fish. It is one of the most common forms of fish and seafood poisonings.

The major problem with Ciguatera is that you can't tell a fish is contaminated until it's too late, and unfortunately cooking the fish does not help. The toxin is so potent it takes less than one-hundredth of a gram to get you sick, and the symptoms seem hideous, often appearing within hours of eating the fish.


Cramping and stomach pain


Muscle aches and weakness
Tingling sensations in the mouth, lips and tongue
Hot/Cold reversal, i.e. hot feels cold and vice versa

If you get any of the above symptoms you should immediately consult a doctor, and report it to the Marine and Fresh Water Toxins Hotline (888) 232-8635.

However, the above symptoms are similar to other food poisonings, so it might not always be Ciguatera, so fear not. I remember a violent reaction I once had to MSG (at least I'm convinced it was), suffering with every single above-mentioned symptom, except for the hot/cold sensations, plus severe heart palpitations. I thought I was not long for this world. It was not fun; but whereas I felt fine the next morning, the neurological troubles caused by Ciguatera can last for months and sometimes years, in severe cases. And the symptoms can often re-occur after initial poisoning, sometimes triggered by something as seemingly harmless as caffeine, alcohol, other fish, nuts, or animal proteins.

The irony, in the case of 5 of those sickened in Palm Beach County, was that the contaminated fish was purchased at Whole Foods Markets, one of the leading Health Food Stores in the U.S.

Prevention and Holistic Treatment:

Other than eliminating fish altogether from your diet, there doesn't seem to be much else one can do to prevent the problem. As for treatment, one source recommends high dosages of Vitamin B12.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

When In Doubt Just P.U.S.H.

I received this in an email recently, and loved the message. I have experienced, first hand, the blessings of P.U.S.H. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did:

One night, a man was sleeping in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and God appeared. He told the man He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. God explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might ...

So, the man pushed against the rock day after day. For years he toiled from sunup to sundown, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might.

Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out and feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Since the man was showing discouragement, the adversary (Satan) used this opportunity to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind (and you know he tries to do it every time).

"You have been pushing against that rock for a long time and it hasn't moved," said Satan. This gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.

Satan whispered, "Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort, and that will be good enough."

That's what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to God.

"Lord," he said, "I have labored long and hard in Your service, putting all my strength to do that which You have asked, yet after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"

The Lord responded compassionately, "My child, when I asked you to serve Me, and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I say to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. Now you come to Me with your strength spent thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself! Your arms are strong and muscled, your back shiny and brown. Your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard."

"Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven't moved the rock, but your calling was to be obedient; that you have done. Now my child , I will move the rock.

At times, when we hear a word from God we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants. All He really wants is obedience and faith in Him.

When everything seems to go wrong, just ... P.U.S.H.

When the job gets you down, just ... P.U.S.H.

When people don't do as you think they should, just ... P.U.S.H

P = Pray

U = Until

S = Something

H = Happens

Hat Tip: Spiritual World via email

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tomatoes, Salmonella and You

I love tomatoes in any form, raw, cooked, in sauces, and the fact they are chock full of vitamins and minerals is merely an added benefit. So when the recent salmonella scare reared its ugly head, I was crestfallen.

I had always thought that salmonella ( as far as fruits and veggies goes) was restricted to berry type fruits, but then we had the spinach episode, and now the glorious tomato outbreak and who knows what will be next. It just proves that nothing is safe from foodborne illnesses, and also demonstrates the importance of food preparation cleanliness.

The FDA tracked the source to farms in Mexico and Florida and are continuing their investigation. It initially recommended staying away from raw red plum, red Roma, round red tomatoes, and products containing these, like salsa etc., but has since issued a list of States that have not been associated with the outbreak, and tomatoes grown in those areas are, therefore, safe to eat. Frankly, I'm staying away from those little fellas until the whole issue is resolved.

Fear not, however, as there are tomatoes not affected by the outbreak:
grape and cherry tomatoes, and tomatoes grown on the vine (with the vine still attached) are all safe to eat. They all happen to be my favorites, so there's not much loss in restricting which types I purchase.

The FDA recommends the following preparation tips for Fresh Produce:

What About Pre-washed Produce?

Many pre-cut, bagged produce items like lettuce are pre-washed. If so, it will be stated on the packaging. This pre-washed, bagged produce can be used without further washing.

As an extra measure of caution, you can wash the produce again just before you use it. Pre-cut or pre-washed produce in open bags should be washed before using.

Begin with clean hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.

Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables before preparing and/or eating. Produce that looks rotten should be discarded.

All produce should be thoroughly washed before eating. This includes produce grown conventionally or organically at home, or produce that is purchased from a grocery store or farmer's market. Wash fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking.

Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first. Washing fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent or using commercial produce washes is not recommended.

Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush.

Drying produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel may further reduce bacteria that may be present.

Although the FDA claims it's okay to not wash pre-washed veggies, I would highly recommend it. When it comes to your health and well being, you can never be too safe.
Go ahead and pop some grape tomatoes in your salad, or make some spaghetti sauce, you will be getting the following nutrients with every bite:
Lycopene, Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, Carotenoids (Vitamin A source), Anti-oxidants.
And they are a low calorie food, to boot. What more can you ask for.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Signs Of A Stroke & The Best Ways To Prevent It

If you think a stroke only targets seniors, think again. I knew a woman, in her early forties, who had a massive stroke, which took her years to recover from. It can occur at any age, but increases substantially after the age of 55, and more than doubles after the age of 65. It is the 3rd leading cause of death and a major source of disability.

As with most things concerning our health... an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A healthy lifestyle is by far the best way to ensure you maintain good health, and it applies to stroke prevention, as well. They say 80% of all strokes are preventable.

High Blood pressure or hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol are major contributing factors in stroke potential, so it would behoove you to make sure you keep those things under control by:

1. EXERCISING: Get out there and get your heart pumping. It not only reduces high blood pressure it also helps keep your cholesterol in check and can decrease your risk of diabetes.
Exercise helps make the heart stronger. And the stronger the heart, the less effort it takes to pump blood around the body—so the lower the blood pressure.

2. CONTROLLING YOUR WEIGHT: The heavier you are the greater the risk. Exercising will, obviously, help with this issue.

3. EAT HEALTHILY: Add more fruits, veggies and whole grains to your diet, and lower the saturated fat content.

4. STOP SMOKING: Besides the obvious reasons to stop, smoking increases the risk of hypertension.
Stroke risk decreases significantly two years after quitting and is at the level of nonsmokers by five years, research shows. In fact, recent data from the Women’s Health Study showed that women who smoke a pack a day are at increased risk of hypertension. What’s more, the nicotine and carbon monoxide damage the cardiovascular system, leading to a higher risk of stroke.

5. LIMIT YOUR ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION: The more you drink the greater the risk of stroke. Limit your daily intake to one a day. Remember, moderation is best.
Experts aren’t clear on why alcohol raises blood pressure and increases stroke risk, but research from the University of Cincinnati has shown that having more than two drinks a day is associated with subarachnoid hemorrhage, a particularly deadly type of stroke caused by the rupture of a blood vessel on the surface of the brain; it tends to strike premenopausal women.

6. CHECK YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE: There are often no symptoms for high blood pressure, so have your doctor check it periodically. If you do, increasing exercise and lowering your intake of salt/sodium might be necessary.


8. DEAL WITH STRESS IN A HEALTHY WAY: Meditate, try Yoga or Tai Chi, write in a journal, anything that can help lower your stress levels.


It is said that if a stroke victim is diagnosed and treated within the first 3 hours, the effects can be reversed completely, so it's imperative to know the signs.

There are many different symptoms and signs and a victim can have 2 or more:

The most common signs are:

Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg (mainly on one side of the body)
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance
Sudden confusion or trouble talking or understanding speech
Sudden bad headache with no known cause

Women may have unique symptoms:

Sudden face and arm or leg pain
Sudden hiccups
Sudden nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
Sudden tiredness
Sudden chest pain
Sudden shortness of breath (feeling like you can’t get enough air)
Sudden pounding or racing heartbeat

If you suspect someone might have had a stroke remember the 3 different steps to determine the possibility: STR (the first 3 letters of the name)

It's as simple as asking the person 3 questions:

S * Ask the individual to SMILE.

T * Ask them to TALK and repeat a simple sentence.

R * Ask them to RAISE BOTH ARMS.


If they have difficulty with any of the above tasks, or the tongue is crooked or lopsided, call 911 immediately and describe the individual's symptoms.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Getting Your Pearly Whites Whiter- The Natural Way To Whiter Teeth

So you look in the mirror and notice your teeth are as stained as the inside of you're favourite old coffee cup, not very attractive, but what do you do? You can take some bleach or ajax and scrub that old cup white, but your teeth, how do you get them back to the pre-coffee-cigarette-wine-blueberry-stained days? My teeth aren't as pearly white as I'd like, but after years of tetracycline use as a child, and cigarette smoking, until I quit in my late 20s, it's no wonder they're what they are. I'm not sure much can be done regarding the yellowing from tetracycline use, but as for other common stains, what safe options are there?

You could go to a dentist and have them whitened, but that's expensive, and as with most hydrogen peroxide based whiteners (even over-the-counter) there is the potential for tooth and gum sensitivity. In fact, they say up to 2/3 of patients will encounter some form of sensitivity. I'll pass, thank you. My teeth are too precious to experiment with that.

You'll be happy to know that there are some natural alternatives, some of which are rather surprising.

1. Strawberries: Yes, believe it or not, these red berries can actually whiten your teeth. Mash and rub or brush on teeth. BUT, remember because of the acid and sugar in the berries, you should immediately floss and then brush with your regular toothpaste. Actually, brushing after eating will help prevent staining.

2. Baking Soda: Although it won't bleach the teeth, it will remove stains and make them shine. You can either add to your toothpaste or wet your toothbrush and pour some on, brush and then rinse. This should only be used twice a month as Baking Soda is abrasive and can remove the enamel from the teeth.

3. Baking Soda and Peroxide: Apparently, this is the best combination.


1. Pass on the coffee, red wine, dark syrupy sodas and blueberries. Or if you do partake, immediately rinse with water.

2. Give up smoking, your lungs, teeth and your friends will thank you.

3. Use a straw when drinking stainworthy liquids.

4. Eat more raw, crunchy veggies. They can remove surface stains.

5. Chew sugarless gum, it stimulates the salivary glands which cleans the surface of your teeth. There are several sugarless gum brands you can buy in the health food store that don't have preservatives, artificial sweeteners and other icky chemicals. ECODENT, Xylitol and Peelu.

DO NOT USE LEMON JUICE. Although, it is often recommended, lemon juice is not a good alternative. Yes it will brighten your teeth, but the citric acid will also strip the calcium from your tooth enamel, leaving you much more susceptible to tooth decay. You'll have lovely white teeth and tons of decay. Not worth the trade off, in my opinion.

For more interesting dentifrices check out Dr. Paul H. Keyes. He has some interesting natural solutions for good dental health.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Relieve Bee Stings And Other Nasties The Natural Way

Thankfully, I have never been stung by a bee! With my phobia, I'd probably die from a heart attack before I ever had to figure out how to deal with it. But for those who might, some day, encounter the stinger of a wasp, bee or hornet, rest assured there are natural ways to alleviate the ensuing pain and itching.

You better hope the wasp, hornet or yellow jacket decides to leave you alone after the initial attack because their stingers, unlike the honey bee's, remain firmly intact. This means, if they are so inclined, they can continue to sting you for as long as they deem you worthy. The honeybee leaves his stinger attached to your body, so you should remove the stinger immediately. Then proceed as follows:

Wash the site with soapy water: "Do not squeeze, rub, or pick at the sting as it may cause an infection. If you have multiples stings or a severe allergic reaction visit the emergency room of the nearest hospital."

Apply the following to the sting site:

1. A paste of baking soda and vinegar

2. Mix a little water with Meat Tenderizer that has papaya extract, and apply paste immediately to sting.

3. Place a slice of onion or potato for 20 minutes.

4. Clay or mud has also been known to help. Apply wet and allow to dry on skin.

5. Crush the stems and leaves of the Impatiens (a plant most everyone has in their garden). When it becomes watery, place on the bite.

These remedies also apply to fire-ants, and most other stinging creatures.

Hopefully you will never have to use any of these, but if you do, good luck!

People's Pharmacy
Natural Awakenings

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bloggers Unite For Human Rights: The Junta and The Dying People of Burma

What is happening in Burma is unconscionable! Cyclone Nargis made landfall on May 2, carving a path of destruction throughout the country, and yet here we are 13 days later, and little has been done. The Burmese people are starving, disease is now setting in, the world is trying desperately to help, and yet a corrupt government, that failed to warn its people of the impending disaster, is refusing most help. With tens of thousands dead, as many missing, and over a million displaced persons (which could result in even more deaths), the perverse Myanmar regime, continues to thwart the global communities efforts to bring desperately needed aid to the people. Why? Politics, greed and paranoia.

Horror stories abound. The little aid that is being allowed into the country is being confiscated by the military, more than likely for their own use. The food that is being distributed is usually rotten, and most are not receiving anything at all. People are being forced to leave the monasteries, where they have sought refuge and received help, even though they have no place to go. Foreign aid food, rather than being given to the people free of charge, is being sold at commercial prices, as are zinc sheets for roofing. Supplies are being given in return for "yes" votes in the national referendum. Child traffickers are targeting children in the refugee camps.

The useless U.N. keeps begging, but getting no results, because countries like China refuse to meddle in what they believe to be internal domestic affairs.

This week, Beijing blocked a proposal to have the U.N. humanitarian chief brief the Security Council on Myanmar, saying governments should not politicize the issue.

I wouldn't expect any other response from China. They don't want other countries meddling in their affairs, considering their blemished record on human rights, so why would they deign to interfere with Burma?

So, we sit in the comfort of our living rooms, watching a group of people die before our very eyes; the result of a sick government's gross negligence. A people whose rights were violated prior to the tropical cyclone, and whose lives are being threatened now. We sit silent and mute, doing nothing, perhaps reaching for our checkbooks knowing full well that what we donate will probably wind up filling the coffers of the military generals rather than aiding those in need.

And there are many who feel the same way as the Chinese government. But I ask you this:

If your neighbour was abusing his wife and children, would you call the police or allow the abuse to continue because you refuse to meddle in their domestic affairs?

Failure to act, on a global level, has led to much unnecessary death in the past few centuries. WWII, Darfur, Rwanda. And the sad and pathetic thing about Burma is that much of the death was and is avoidable. What harm is there in allowing the world to help your country? Any reasonable nation would have welcomed the help, and Burma would be well on its way to recovery. But, government officials are far too preoccupied with profiting from this disaster than helping their citizens. In fact, there is another storm on its way, and the populace has not been warned, yet. More devastation and more inaction.

We are all brothers and sisters. We are each other's caretakers.

Why don't we act as if!

Burmese Bloggers with out Borders.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bloggers Unite For Human Rights!

Bloggers Unite

When I witness the many horrors perpetrated against innocents in far off lands, I am filled with a tragic sense of impotence, knowing there is absolutely nothing I can do, as an individual, to prevent such injustices.

However, there are things we can do to help. We can donate to charities, we can educate others, we can continue pressuring groups like the U.N. to make a difference, and as bloggers we can make our collective voices heard above the lazy, politically correct, apathetic fray, by bringing those injustices to light, by blogging about them.

Tomorrow, May 15th, blogcatalog is sponsoring Bloggers Unite For Human Rights. Take a moment to write something. Anything.

And May 21st is Cuba Solidarity Day.

Let us speak out for those less fortunate, who have no choice!

Blessed Be,

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Keys to happiness- Mother Teresa on Joy

"Joy is a net of love by which you catch souls"
Mother Teresa
It's the simple things that bring joy to one's life. And those who are joy-filled always seem to attract others. Joy can uplift both the giver and the receiver.
Make a list of the things that give you joy, and take time to participate in whatever those things happen to be. You will find how that can transform your life and affect those that surround you.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Computers Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

I love my computer! I think most people who have them do. But those of us who spend a great deal of time tapping away at our keyboards would be horrified to discover what evil lurks inside our computers. I'm not talking about the viruses and trojans that nasty hackers like to foist on unsuspecting computer users, causing agonizingly endless hours of hassle, I'm talking about the hazards from simply using your computer!

Let's start with your keyboard:

ICKY BACTERIA: You have a greater chance of getting sick touching your keyboard than sitting on a public toilet seat! According to a consumer group in London, keyboards have 5 times as much harmful bacteria as toilet seats. That's comforting to know, considering the amount of time we use our computers versus the amount of time we frequent public restrooms. And who sits on those seats, anyway? I know I don't.

While food can be found in the keys, much more lies beneath. Swabs of more than 30 keyboards discovered bugs related to staph infection and e-coli. "If you sneeze or blow your nose you’ll put viruses on there, which can spread colds. And, even worse, if you go to the toilet and don't wash your hands afterward, you'll put coliforms on there,” explained Dr. Peter Wilson of London’s University College Hospital. “All of these can cause disease in other people.”


REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURY: Spending long hours at your keyboard can also cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Repetitive Strain Injury. Although experts at Harvard Medical School seem to think that even 7 hours of computing isn't likely to cause the syndrome, others think there is a definite risk. This University of Nebraska website has some interesting information on how to determine whether you have it, and some handy recommendations for how to prevent it. Prevention is always the key to better health!

BLOOD CLOTS: Another hazard of spending too much time attached to our computers is the possibility of Deep Vein Thrombosis, the same thing that can occur when you spend extended periods of time confined to one space, like long airplane flights, or long drives. A New Zealand study of office workers found that they had a higher risk of developing these potentially fatal blood clots.

Then you have eye strain, gases from the plastic in the computers, radiation, toner from laser printers.

It's enough to convince you to give it all up. But I know I won't. So, rather than chuck your computer check out some of the solutions for safer computing.


Clean, clean, clean: Wipe your computer keyboard (and or laptop surface) with alcohol wipes or some kind of disinfectant. Spray on a cloth or paper towel and wipe down. Make sure it is safe for the computer, though. And clean out the keyboard with compressed air. While you're at it, clean that mouse, as well! Another major harborer of bacteria.

Break, break, break: Take breaks. Get up and walk around. Do some exercises. Give your eyes a break by not focusing intently on the screen for long periods of time. Shift focus from the screen to distance and back.

Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate: Make sure the room where your computer is located, is well ventilated. Go outside every once in a while and breathe some fresh air, that is, if you don't live in a smog-filled city like Los Angeles.

Have fun, but be safe!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Natural Remedy For Your Kid's Cough

So, you're little Joey is hacking away, do you grab that nasty bottle of Robitussin or head to your kitchen cabinet for something natural? Is there even anything natural that will help, you wonder? As a matter of fact there is, and it's as close as your kitchen cabinet! Honey. If you're vegan, of course, this won't be of help to you, but for those who aren't, honey is a far better alternative to over-the-counter cough medicines.

We're often less inclined to try natural or home remedies on our kids because of their youth, but in many cases those holistic methods are safer and more effective than the allopathic alternative. In fact, experts at the FDA recommended banning non-prescription cough/cold medicines for children under 6 (and particularly for children under 2) after there were reported deaths associated with those meds. Although most of those deaths were attributed to incorrect dosage, many manufacturers voluntarily withdrew their cold and cough medicines for kids, and the FDA, rather than outright ban anything, has issued an advisory instead. The FDA also issued an alert, recently, regarding Tussionex- a prescription cough medicine that has also caused death in adults, due to overdose, and was being prescribed for children under 6.

Although honey should not be given to children under the age of 2 (because it sometimes contains a bacteria that causes botulism) , it is a great remedy for older children. According to a recent study, conducted on children ranging in age from 2 to 18, buckwheat honey worked better for relieving coughs than dextromethorphan (common in most over-the-counter cough meds), or nothing at all.

"(Honey) is a cheap and effective treatment," said Dr. Ian Paul, lead investigator for the study. "Consider using this as a treatment before going to the pharmacy to pick up an over-the-counter cough and cold

The honey not only helped with the cough, it actually helped the children sleep better. Then again, honey relaxes muscles and the nervous system, which helps with insomnia, so it would make sense that it would also help induce a more restful sleep, in addition to relieving the cough.


Half an hour before bed give your child:

1/2 teaspoon for children aged 2-5,
1 teaspoon for children aged 6-11
2 teaspoons for children aged 12-18.

Wouldn't you prefer to give your child something sweet and tasty that nature created, rather than a nasty tasting drug some pharmaceutical company manufactured?

Seems like a no brainer to me.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

National Day Of Prayer- May 1st

Today was National Day of Prayer:

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It
was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Our Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose it is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America's leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.

I'm actually surprised the whole idea hasn't been assailed by the likes of the ACLU, but I'm sure some day that will happen.

Although there has been some criticism, and rightfully so, that the day has been hijacked by evangelical Christians, I would invite those of all religions to take some time to pray for this great country, our leaders, our troops.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Don't Quit

I love this poem. It's a wonderful reminder that even when our troubles seem insurmountable, that when we think we can no longer go on and are ready to give it all up, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Too often we are ready to quit when the going gets tough, but we must remember that there is an ebb and flow to life, and that in spite of those stormy days that seem frightening, dark and never-ending, the sun will eventually shine through the clouds of life. With a little faith and perseverance, we will find that pot of gold just around the next corner.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must- but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow-
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out-
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt-
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit-
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.

Author Unknown

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Dangers of Energy Drinks

Even though I'm a recovering caffeine addict (consuming more than 20 cups per day and loving every drop!), I've never understood the appeal of energy drinks. The only thing I gained from caffeine was the jitters. I drank coffee from the moment I woke up until right before bed, and it never increased my energy, nor did it ever help keep me awake. It was just a nasty habit that went hand in hand with my excessive smoking, so I gave up both over 20 years ago, and I've never looked back.

I quit caffeine before the advent of energy drinks, so I haven't had the opportunity to try one, but the thought of drinking a can full of excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar is as appealing as injecting both those ingredients directly into my veins. It's apparently the rage of the under-30 crowd, but I've seen older colleagues in the entertainment industry chug one Red Bull after another (for an extra added jolt) as if it was a cold, refreshing glass of water.

Though there have been varying scientific opinions as to the benefits, or lack thereof, of caffeine, these new-ish energy drinks have doctors concerned. Red Bull (started in Austria back in the late 1980s) and Monster are probably the 2 most notable of all the energy drinks, but 500 new energy drinks were introduced into the market in 2006, and there's even a blogger who rates them. The problem is, not only do many of these drinks contain a higher content of caffeine than a plain old cup 'o java, they often include other stimulants and ingredients like taurine and l-carnitine, guarana, ginseng, plus B vitamins. Megadoses of B vitamins can cause heart palpitations, and some people have even had seizures after drinking an energy drink called Spike Shooter. Mixing energy drinks with alcohol, as many youngsters do, can even cause cardiovascular or cardiopulmonary failure. A Brazilian study of college students concluded that those who drank alcohol with Red Bull were less cognizant of how drunk they were than those who didn't, which could lead to accidents and potential alcohol poisoning.

But it's a multi-billion dollar-per-year industry, capitalizing on the youth culture's ever-expanding, never-ending search for a legal high and our modern day, quick-fix tendencies, so it won't be dropped from our grocery store shelves any time soon.


Get a good night's sleep

Exercise regularly

Eat healthfully
Eat energy boosting foods
and toss that can away. In the recycling bin, of course!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Brain Fitness

Our minds need as much exercise as do our bodies, particularly as we age. There are a plethora of ways to keep our brains fit and in shape. Any kind of mental workout will keep our minds sharp throughout the years.

Reading a book that challenges us, doing daily crossword puzzles, or even playing online games that require some form of mental activity.

Prevention magazine has a section some great brain games that make it fun and easy to challenge and keep the brain active.

Have fun! But they're not easy. It is a workout, after all.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Many Uses for Milk of Magnesia!

Who would have thought that the thick, white, chalky, foul mixture called Milk of Magnesia (MoM), normally used as a laxative, could be used for other health issues. Yes, according to Joe and Terry Graedon's The People's Pharmacy, Milk of Magnesia may help with the following:

1. ACNE: Rub it on face, at bedtime. One reader wrote how it helped their son's cystic nodular acne. The Graedons had no explanation as to why it helped.

2. SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS: Rub on skin. According to the Graedons this has been known to help.

3. ANTIPERSPIRANT/DEODORANT: Spread on underarms with fingers. Some people swear by this. And, it's safe to use because it contains no aluminum. And no stains.

I have no idea if any of these home remedies actually work, but it's probably worth a try. If MoM is made to ingest, there certainly shouldn't be a problem applying it to the skin.

However, I remember being told, as a teen, that Mercurochrome was good for skin problems. So, I liberally applied it to my face one evening. I was scheduled to take the SATs the following day. When I woke up the next morning and went to wash it off, I found that nothing could remove the red splotches plastered all over my face. They failed to specify it had to be the white Mercurochrome.

Considering Milk of Magnesia is white, you should have no problems.

UPDATE 10/08: I decided to give it a try as a deoderant, and it does work!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dr. Randy Pausch's Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams Through Living Right

There are many people in this world who truly inspire, through both their words and actions. I've posted about some of them: Nick Vujicic, Patrick Henry Hughes and his dad, Team Hoyt. In spite of being handed a grim deck of cards, or living lives full of adversity, these people somehow have been able to rise above their various, extremely challenging circumstances, and have found the positive in their lives.

I want to add to my list of heroes Carnegie Mellon Professor Dr. Randy Pausch, who is dying of pancreatic cancer. He gave a last lecture at the university on September 18, 2007, and later shared some of that speech with the Oprah Winfrey audience. At 47, with a wife and 3 young children you would think he would be bitter, but rather than wallow in self-pity, after being told he had only 3 to 6 months to live, he has decided to embrace his last days with joy, fun and gusto. Although the lecture's main emphasis is about achieving your childhood dreams, it's more about living life to the fullest. He talks of how, as children, we have a certain sense of fun and wonder, and he encourages us to retain that throughout our lives. We can choose to either live in a negative state of mind like Winnie The Pooh's Eeyor, or choose to embrace life in a positive manner like Tigger.

Some of the highlights of the shortened lecture:

-Choose to live life with integrity.

-If you screw up- apologize, but he adds that there are 3 steps to a true apology: 1. Saying you're sorry. 2. Claiming it was your fault. 3. Asking how you can make it right.

-Show gratitude.

-Don't complain, just work harder.

-If you conduct your life in the "right" way, karma will take care of everything and your dreams will come to you.

Some very wise words from a man faced with his own mortality.

Blessings Dr. Pausch for accepting death with such grace and dignity!!

The shorter Oprah version follows.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Too Much Sodium Equals Trouble

Since childhood, I have always preferred salty foods over sweets. During my younger years, when my cast-mates and I would go out for dessert, after a show, and everyone would be ordering their hot fudge sundaes and banana cream pies, I was the odd duck ordering an appetizer. And my tastes haven't changed much, since then.

I love salt. In fact, I adore it! The more the merrier. I spread those tiny, glorious crystals of sodium over pretty much everything. So, when the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting your salt intake to 2,300 mg (a meager 1 teaspoon of salt) per day, you can imagine how depressing that might be. Considering so many foods have added sodium (particularly fast foods), it is estimated that the average person consumes 5,000 mg per day. More than double. In fact, the National Academy of Science suggests the human body only needs 500 mg (1/4 teaspoon) This is not a good thing when research shows that excess intake of sodium can cause high blood pressure and osteoporosis, although there is debate within the scientific community as to whether a healthy person, with normal blood pressure, needs to worry about how much salt they use. Don't get me wrong, we need salt:

Sodium regulates the body's fluid balance and blood pressure, helps the muscles relax and carries nutrients to the cells.

Just not in excessive amounts.

A research study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that girls (ages 10 to 15) whose diets included 3,860 mg of sodium per day lost more calcium in their urine than those girls restricted to 1,300 mg per day. This has lead researchers to believe that young girls on a high sodium diet might be more susceptible to osteoporosis as they age, because of the leaching of calcium from their young bodies when they most need it for healthy bone development.


Limit your sodium to no more than 2,300 mg, per day.

Use more herbs and spices that are sodium free, to flavour your foods.

Try adding some balsamic vinegar to your food.

(photo: Morton Salt, they also have a salt substitute)