Saturday, March 24, 2012

Constipation - Dealing With The Other 'C' Word Naturally

No-one likes to talk about a dysfunctional bowel especially constipation, the other 'C' word. In fact anything dealing with our internal plumbing is usually very embarrassing, after all, who wants to talk about poop. Although I have had short bouts of constipation during UC flareups, my problem has always been the opposite. Most people will have episodes of constipation during their lifetime, but I know many who have a chronic problem, and it's not fun. In fact it can be downright painful, especially if you get hemorrhoids from the straining.


If you have elimination problems for more than 3 months- hard stools, straining when you go, inability to completely evacuate, pain, bloating, swollen abdomen, and have less than two to three bowel movements per week, or any combination of those symptoms, you're constipated.


There are many things that can cause constipation including:

-not drinking enough water
-not including enough high fiber in your diet
-vegging out in front of the TV instead of exercising
-traveling or some disruption in your routine
-too much dairy (which can also cause the runs for those who are lactose intolerant)
-certain medications (iron supplements, diuretics, pain and blood pressure meds, antacids among others)
-Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
-Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) like Ulcerative Colitis
-colon and rectum obstructions
-other disorders and diseases including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, Stroke, Lupus, Diabetes
-using too many stool softeners (laxatives)
-not going when you have the urge
-eating disorders

and the list goes on.


There are many natural ways to treat constipation that attack the root problem, not just the symptom, and the main one is prevention.

A. Diet

Eat more fiber- whole grains, beans, lightly cooked veggies, wheat bran, ground or whole flax seeds.

But when searching for what foods to eat to prevent or help with constipation you're going to find differing opinions. Bananas, for example, can help with constipation or cause it in others. In some cases it can cause diarrhea.  Some swear by prunes, others, not so much. Oriental Medicine explains why certain foods can cause constipation for some but not for others. It all depends on what 'type' you are: 'hot' or 'cold'.  This website briefly details that, and also includes some interesting home remedies that might be helpful, including the following.

Drink 2 cups of warm water, followed by a 10-minute walk, about 20 - 30 minutes before breakfast everyday. [I drink a full glass of water first thing in the a.m. with my morning supplements, and off I go]

Maintain the same bathroom schedule everyday, 20 minutes before breakfast (even if you can't have a bowel movement, still go through the actions).

Eat an ounce of walnuts before bedtime every night.

Use a juicer to juice a large potato. Mix the potato juice with 1 teaspoon of honey and drink 20 minutes before breakfast.

Lubricate your intestines by eating walnuts, sesame seeds and/or peanuts.

He also includes instructions on an abdominal massage that seems to relieve constipation.

Stay away from high fats in your diet including dairy and meat.

Remember add those high fiber foods slowly, since it can also cause gas and bloating.  And drink plenty of water. Stay away from too much caffeine, it can dehydrate the body, and thus harden your stool.

B. Exercise: 

Make sure you get enough exercise. Walk, swim, whatever gets your body moving will help with digestion and ultimately how you move your bowels.

C. Go, When You Gotta Go:

If you have the urge to go, make sure you head to the bathroom. Isn't it better to get that icky ca ca out of your system, than letting it just sit inside your body? 


- magnesium - a deficiency can cause constipation, on the other hand, too much can cause the runs.
- Probiotics, they're great for most digestive disorders, but start off with a lower billion count, because it can cause gas and bloating if you don't start slowly.
-herbs and herbal teas, like 'smooth move', rhubarb, senna and aloe are also beneficial. Here's a list of other helpful herbs.
-ripe kiwi fruits-  some people swear by this.

Other sources:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Natural Ways to Cope with Depression

Dealing with depression is never easy. Although there are several depression help resources located on the web and at your local physician's office, coping with depression is still a personal journey that can sometimes seem overwhelming. If you find yourself a bit down, consider trying a few of the following natural depression remedies, in addition to contacting a local mental health care professional:

Exercise Regularly

That sluggish feeling you may be feeling could simply be because of a lack of exercise. Exercise not only leaves us feeling healthier, but it also releases endorphins which leaves us feeling happier. So if you are feeling a bit low, consider going for a jog.

Add St. John's Wort to Your Daily Supplement

St. John's Wort supplements derive from the flowering parts of the plant, which has long been known as a natural stress reliever. Consider adding a daily dose alongside your regular multi-vitamin to give you a bit of a boost. If you are already taking an anti-depressant, however, consider swapping St. John's Wort for Vitamin D as St. John's Wort can mix poorly with certain anti-depressant medications.

Get More Omega 3s

Omega 3 Fatty Acids, like those found in salmon and other fatty fishes, have been clinically shown to help treat depression. Even countries with higher diets of such fishes, such as China, record lower depression rates. Unfortunately, we don't make these ourselves so if you would like to treat you own symptoms, consider taking a supplement or incorporating more omega 3s into your own diet.

Balance Your Diet

If you are someone who eats on the go and downs several caffeinated beverages during the day, then there is a good chance that all the poor food you are putting into your body is negatively effecting your mood. To make yourself feel better, treat yourself better by ditching a few of those caffeinated beverages for water, and replacing those greasy fast food meals with lighter fare loaded with veggies and lean meats.

While these remedies may help, they should not be all the help you seek should your depression symptoms continue or worsen. If you feel as though your depression is not subsiding, contact an area mental health care professional immediately for further treatment.

Guest Post by writer and blogger Alex Summers

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Controlling Anger Is As Simple As Using Your Non-Dominant Hand To Stir Your Tea

Anger can be toxic, on so many different levels. It can harm both you and the recipient of your anger, and if not managed properly, it can cause all sorts of health issues and adversely effect our lives from home to the workplace.

There are different ways to help control anger, but I read an article on the UK Dailymail website about a particularly interesting method which apparently works in as little as two weeks.

Research studies conducted by Dr. Thomas Denson, an Australian doctor at the University of New South Wales, found that after two weeks of training people to use their 'non-dominant' hand to deal with easily handled jobs they were less likely to act on impulse.  Strange, right?  But supposedly it works for both right and left-handers.  Denson likens the practice to bettering oneself at sports or playing the piano.

Dr Denson, whose findings are published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, said it is only self control that keeps us from punching queue jumpers or murdering conniving colleagues.

He said: ‘Using the mouse, stirring your coffee, opening doors. This requires people to practice self control because their habitual tendency is to use their dominant hands.’

In one experiment, participants were mildly insulted by another student and were given the option of retaliating with a blast of white noise, a combination of all the different frequencies of sound also known as static.

Dr Denson and colleagues said criminologists and sociologists have long believed people commit violent crimes when an opportunity arises and they are low on self-control. He said: ‘It is an impulsive kind of thing.’  ‘I think, for me, the most interesting findings that have come out of this is that if you give aggressive people the opportunity to improve their self control, they are less aggressive.’ It is not that aggressive people don’t want to control themselves - they just aren’t very good at it. In fact, if you put aggressive people in a brain scanner and monitor their brain activity while insulting them, the parts involved in self control are actually more active than in less aggressive people. 

The article doesn't mention anything about those who happen to be ambidextrous, but it's certainly worth a try for those who aren't. And challenging or not, most worthwhile things are worth the effort.
So it might be possible to teach people who struggle with anger or violence problems to control themselves more easily.
For people not inclined towards violence, it may also be useful to practice self control by trying to improve your posture, for example. In the short term, this can reduce self control and make it harder to control impulses.  Added Dr Denson: ‘But if you practice that over the long term, your self control capacity gets stronger over time. It is just like practicing anything, really - it is hard at first.’

Monday, March 5, 2012

Keys To Happiness: 30 Dr. Seuss Quotes

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, of  "Cat In The Hat", "Green Eggs and Ham" and "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" fame, just had a birthday.  Born on March 2, 1904  he was a prolific writer of children's books.  He passed away on September 24, 1991.  In honor of his birthday, here are 30 wonderful quotes that can make a difference in anyone's life- child or adult.

Dr. Seuss's official site for fun games, information etc.


Graphics: Mamiverse

Thursday, March 1, 2012

"If You've Never Failed, You've Never Lived", or Try and Try Again

This is a wonderful motivational video about some well known and well loved people who initially failed  (or were rejected) and then went on to become very successful in spite of the odds against them. You might be surprised at some of the people mentioned. But there are others, too numerous to include in the video,  so I thought I would add a few more:

It took a middle-aged Colonel Sanders (of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame) 1,009 times before he was finally able to sell his soon-to-be famous recipe.

12 publishers rejected JK Rowling's original manuscript for Harry Potter.

Stephen King's first book "Carrie" was rejected 30 times.

Here's a list of more successes from initial failures. And some more.

All of these people had drive, and obviously a very strong belief in themselves refusing to take no for an answer.  The failure more than likely inspired them to try even harder.  And the difference between someone who eventually succeeds and someone who fails is his/her ability to not succumb to the negativity generated by a person telling them they aren't interested or good enough for whatever it is they are trying to achieve. There are those who will just give up, and those who will say "I'll show them."

I remember being told by a counselor in college, after taking a bunch of vocational and personality tests, that I would never graduate so it didn't matter what classes I took. Four years later I went in search of this fool, College Degree (Cum Laude) in hand, but unfortunately he was no longer there.  Not surprising, of course, but I easily could have bought into that thoughtform and just not bothered. I am fortunate that I am one who does not give up.

The end of the video has an interesting quote:

Life = Risk

And it's so very true.  If you don't take risks you will never know if  you will succeed.  There's a great saying in Spanish: "el que no ariesga un huevo, no tiene (saca) un pollo." Literal translation, he who doesn't risk an egg, won't get a chicken."  Or, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." In other words, had Colonel Sanders given up before the 1,009th time, we wouldn't have Kentucky Fried Chicken.

So, keep on trying. If you have faith and it's meant to be,  it will eventually happen.  But you certainly won't know unless you try.