Thursday, December 13, 2018

Support Your Health

I apologize for missing a post earlier this month. I've been dealing with a lot of changes and challenges, but I'm so thankful that God continues to provide, to heal, and to work out His plans for me. I hope you're encouraged by His faithfulness in your life as well.

As I was talking with a friend recently, I realized something about a lot of health programs or health professionals. Sometimes they have an attitude of "no pain, no gain." And so they end up pushing the body or causing stress.

But our bodies are intricately designed and an amazing creation. God equipped our bodies with the ability to heal and repair themselves through many different processes.

When we face health challenges, instead of "pushing" the body to try to get better faster, what we need to do is "support" the body so it can heal in the best way.

Pushing vs supporting may seem like a small distinction, but it's actually very important.

When we do therapies or programs that push the body, it causes stress. Stress causes a negative response in the body, which actually can lead to more harm than good. You may have noticed in certain exercise programs, that if you push your body too hard, it will "push back" at you, because it's trying to send you a message.

In contrast, when we support the body, we are giving it what it needs to do its job. We are working with the body, not causing stress.

When it comes to various health regimes or remedies that you are considering trying, it might be helpful to start asking yourself this question:

Will doing this ___ push my body, or support my body?

If something seems like it would push instead of support, it might be better to look for a different program or therapy.*

There are many ways you can support your body to help it do what it's created to do. Some basic things you can do are -
- deep breathing
- gentle stretching
- good nutrition
- adequate rest
- healthy water
- laughter
etc.

Sometimes supplements, probiotics, herbs, essential oils, etc. can also be helpful in supporting your body. As long as you're paying attention and not letting it become something that pushes the body.

What do you think? Can you identify things you've tried before that were actually pushing your body instead of supporting it?

What things can you do this week to help support your body?


*Yes, there is a time for physical therapy, which can feel uncomfortable or even painful. But a good therapist knows what the body needs to help it heal vs what would push it too far and cause more damage. So in essence, even PT is designed to support the body's healing process, not to push it.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Thankful For Thanksgiving

Next week is Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. I like the simplicity of it - a day to think about all we have to be thankful for.

Yet, I know life can be so tough sometimes. Many of my friends are going through difficult situations, grief, struggles, or suffering. I don't pretend life is always great and we should just be happy.

At the same time, I can testify that even in the hardest times of my life, I had much to be thankful for. I had my mom who reminded me to smile and shared what she was thankful for. I had people praying for me. I had God's Word always available for me. I had my heavenly Father who is sovereign over my life and everything I go through.

Every day I have unchanging truths, eternal hope, and an ever-present Savior.

I don't always stop to remember and appreciate these gifts, but they are always there.

So, I could use this post to quote statistics about how giving thanks is good for your brain, good for reducing stress levels, good for relationships, etc. But I don't think you need statistics to tell you that.

I think what we all need is a gentle nudge...

Have you given thanks today?
Is there someone you're thankful for who you can express appreciation to today?
What gifts from God can you remember and thank Him for today?

I believe thanksgiving itself is a gift from God. It really does change our attitude, refresh our perspective, and benefit our health.

So, I'm thankful for the technology which allows me to have this blog. =)
I'm thankful for every time God uses my life to encourage someone else.
I'm thankful for the many wonderful people I'm blessed to know.
I'm thankful that God loves me every day, no matter what.
And I'm thankful for Thanksgiving.

What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Some veggies with your chemicals?

You probably heard sayings like this when you were a kid...
Like when you put so much syrup on your pancakes that your sister asked you, "Do you want some pancakes with your syrup?"
Or when you lathered the butter on your potatoes until your parent said, "Do you want some potatoes with your butter?"
It was their way of putting things in perspective. What are you actually eating more of?

So, would you like some veggies with your chemicals?

The sad reality is that today most conventional produce is overwhelmed with chemicals - pesticides, insecticides, etc.

Each year the Environmental Working Group puts out a report about which produce has the most pesticide and the least. You can read the full report on their website. It has a lot of information to help you understand the current situation of produce in America, including information about GMO's, studies that have been done on the effects of pesticide in children, etc.
www.ewg.org
Just to give some perspective, here are some quotes from the report:

"The USDA tests found a total of 230 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on the thousands of produce samples analyzed."

"A single sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides."

"People who eat organic produce eat fewer pesticides. A 2015 study...found that people who report they often or always buy organic produce had significantly lower quantities of organophosphate insecticides in their urine samples."

This problem is for real. And while not eating any fruits or veggies might seem like the easiest path, thankfully there is information to help us make good decisions about what we put in our bodies.

So to help us shop smarter, EWG uses the research and data to make two lists:
1) The "Dirty Dozen" - the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides.
2) The "Clean 15" - the produce with the least amount of pesticides.

They suggest, and I agree, to buy organic produce whenever possible. However, if you can't, then you can use these lists to help you know which produce is vital to buy organic or to just avoid, and which produce has fewer chemicals, if you choose to not buy it organic.

"Dirty Dozen"
1. Strawberries
2. Spinach
3. Nectarines
4. Apples
5. Grapes
6. Peaches
7. Cherries
8. Pears
9. Tomatoes
10. Celery
11. Potatoes
12. Sweet bell peppers
+Hot peppers (tested positive for insecticides)
If you aren't already buying organic for these fruits and veggies, you might want to consider it. Or check your local farmer's market, as sometimes they sell organic for less or they may use fewer chemicals in their farming.

"Clean 15"
1. Avocados
2. Sweet corn*
3. Pineapples
4. Cabbage
5. Onions
6. Sweet peas frozen
7. Papayas*
8. Asparagus
9. Mangoes
10. Eggplant
11. Honeydew
12. Kiwi
13. Cantaloupe
14. Cauliflower
15. Brocoli

*Some sweet corn, papayas, and summer squash come from genetically modified seeds, so to avoid GMO's, you might want to buy these organic.

Obviously, it's vital to wash your produce and to peel it before consuming it. And try to be mindful of this reality when shopping or eating out. Eating a salad at a restaurant might actually be putting more chemicals in your body than doing it good from eating the salad.... I know it's not fun to have to deal with this challenge. But your body will thank you for being aware and thoughtful about what you put into it.

I hope this information will help you find good produce to enjoy and that will contribute to good health!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Foods To Avoid

Last week I wrote about some food products that I've found that have been helpful for me. This week I thought I'd share an article from Dr. Axe. It's about some foods that you may have heard described as "healthy," but they really aren't. Here are just a few foods from his list of 21:

- fruit juice
- soy
- tilapia
- table salt
- canola oil

Here's his article: "21 'Health' Foods You Should Never Eat." 

I hope you'll take a few minutes and read through the rest of the list. What we put in our bodies really is important. Since the food industry continues to sell unhealthy food products, it's up to us to be informed and make healthy decisions.

On a positive note - what's your favorite healthy food this week? Please share with us in the comments. =)



Sunday, September 23, 2018

Some Helpful Products


I’ve been trying to eat really healthy again lately (after a few months of not being able to for various reasons). As I’ve shopped and read labels and explored, I’ve found a few products that have been helpful for me. So I thought I’d share them in case you’ve also been looking for such things. =)

Protein bars:
RX Bars – I was so happy to find these because they don’t have preservatives and junk in them! They come in several different flavors, including blueberry, chocolate mint, etc. They are pretty chewy, so if you have teeth problems they might not work for you. They also have egg whites, so might not work for those with egg allergies. I like that they have very few ingredients and taste good. They are great to carry with you if you need quick protein, or to have as a snack throughout the day.
*Most grocery stores now carry these. Walmart and Target also sell them by the box instead of as individual bars.

Kefir:
I found a brand of water kefir called Kevita that I really like. It’s carbonated, and it’s sweetened with stevia, so that might not work for some people. The taste is good, though it’s got a bit of a zing to it. There are various flavors, and each one contains different ingredients, so be sure to read the label and make sure you’re ok with the specific ingredients. Some of them have acai or coconut, apple cider vinegar, etc. I don’t usually drink the whole bottle, and so far I’m not drinking one every day. But even with that, it seems to be helpful for me.
*Many grocery stores carry this brand, as well as Whole Foods and some Target stores. It’s usually with the other fermented drinks such as kombucha, etc. (Watch the expiration dates though, as some may have sat on the shelf too long.)

Yogurt:
I’ve had a hard time finding healthy yogurt. One brand that I liked was discontinued. Another kind became very hard to find. So recently I’ve been eating the Stoneyfield organic yogurt for babies, called Yo Baby. It comes in a 6-pack of small servings and has various flavor options, such as peach/pear or apple/blueberry, as well as plain. It has very few ingredients and not too much sugar, so it's been a good option for me lately. 
*Many grocery stores and some Walmart stores carry it.

Probiotics:
Garden of Life brand has a children’s chewable probiotic called Organic Kids+ that I’ve been using lately. Especially if you don’t like to swallow pills, these are easy to take. They do have several ingredients in addition to probiotics, so read the whole label and make sure you’re ok with all of the ingredients. I’m not taking these every day, but I rotate them with another probiotic, and that seems to work well for me. They do need to be refrigerated.
*You can find these at Whole Foods or online (or maybe at your local health food store).

Chocolate:
Bark Thins snacking chocolate has become a favorite this year. These dark chocolate snacks come in different options – chocolate covered almond, coconut, pumpkin seed, etc. The different options have varying sugar content, so be sure it's not too much sugar for you. Also, some of them contain rice ingredients. But in general they seem to be a pretty healthy chocolate snacking option, definitely better than candy bars, etc.
*Most grocery stores, Walmart, and Target now stock these.

Tortillas:
If you’re not gluten-free, but you want to avoid yeast, Mission tortilla brand now has organic options. They have organic white flour and organic whole wheat flour tortillas. They aren’t completely free of preservatives, but short of making my own, they’ve been a good option for me.   
*These are a little harder to find, but some grocery stores and some Target stores carry them.

I hope this is helpful. I'm thankful for these options that are helping me eat healthier and still enjoy what I eat! =) 


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Treatment For Lyme Disease

I wrote a post about this back in 2014, and since then I've met even more people struggling with lyme, or wondering if they have lyme. So I wanted to share this information again. I hope it will help someone in need today.


Help For Lyme Disease

It seems like almost every week I hear of another person with serious health problems where lyme disease is either diagnosed or suspected. I also have friends whose lyme disease went undiagnosed or untreated for many years and they are still suffering with it. 

The good news is that I know a doctor who is successfully treating lyme disease naturally - without months of antibiotics, drugs, IV's or other stressful methods. I've mentioned Dr. Smith several times because he's one of the doctors who helped me significantly in 2009 (and since then as well). He successfully treated me for various infections (viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc.), as well as allergies. Several years ago he also developed a method for treating lyme. 

Here's a testimony from a friend of mine about Dr. Smith:

"Hi Joanna! Several of my friends that have lymes have also used him (Dr. Smith) and have had HUGE success. I'm also waaaay improved so I'd love to recommend him to your friends. He also has a good website called lymestop.com if they want more info about the treatment and about contacting him and stuff." -A.

Dr. Smith's website is very well done. I encourage you to read all through it. You'll find testimonies, a symptom sheet to see if it's likely you have lymes, an explanation of the treatment, Dr. Smith's story of how he developed this method, his podcast interview about it, and more.

I know Dr. Smith personally, and I believe that the treatment methods he's developed are an amazing gift from God for this time when so many people desperately need them. They truly saved my life. My mom and I still use his CBT method when needed to treat for allergies, infections, etc. Since I saw him in 2009, he has improved and refined his treatment for lyme. I'm very impressed with all his research and how he is able to treat the various problems - the lyme, any co-infections, parasites, allergies, etc. - all at the same time...all without drugs or antibiotics. It's truly amazing!

(His treatment method works by activating the body's own immune system and ability to heal. You can read more details on his website.)

The lyme treatment takes a few days and has a flat fee around $3,000 I think. This covers all the appointments and treatments needed (for lyme, parasites, viruses, allergies, etc.), as well as a three-month supply of whatever supplements you need to take after the treatment. Comparatively speaking, this cost is very reasonable and definitely worth it for better health. (Some people spend more than $20,000 on lyme treatments, which often aren't successful.)

I can tell you about two people I know personally who have been treated for lyme by Dr. Smith. One of them is almost back to 100% normal function! The other person's health is much improved, though still dealing with some other chronic issues that needed to be addressed. 

Dr. Smith's office schedules apptoinments for lyme treatment several months in advance (because it takes 3 days to complete the treatment, and because so many people are coming for it). The office staff are very kind and helpful, so feel free to call with any questions. They aren't in the office every day, but they will return messages as soon as they can. 

If you know someone with lyme, please feel free to share this information with them. I hope and pray that many more people will find help and healing sooner rather than later. 


If you or someone you know has lyme, please don't put off making decisions about it. Please prayerfully consider this option. It's the only treatment I'm aware of where people are actually improving and recovering long-term. (Some lyme treatments seem to help in the short-term, but often symptoms return as bad or worse than before.) 

And please keep praying for anyone you know who has lyme. It's a serious problem today. May God continue to sustain, strengthen, and give help and healing. 

Blessings,
-Joanna  


P.S. I'm sorry I wasn't able to do a post last week. I thought I'd post this one today, then I'll try to get back to my regular schedule next Thursday. =)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

How Are You Thinking?

I think a more common question we ask is probably - "What are you thinking?" But there is an additional aspect to what we are thinking, and that's how we think. Do we think with a negative perspective or a positive one? Do we think intentionally, patiently, or chaotically?

These are some questions addressed by Dr. Caroline Leaf in the video below: "How to Train Your Mind to Avoid Burnout."

After the severe stress I experienced in May-July, I felt like there was a level of burnout. Praise God that He is healing me day by day. I'm thankful He walks with me in the stressful times and in the healing process. And He knows exactly what I need each step of the way.

The body and the mind are connected - stress to one affects the other. And when there is stress on both, it's even harder.  

Sometimes it can feel like there are no easy answers. Your life may seem like a 3000-piece jigsaw puzzle...believe me, I understand. But don't let that stop you from continuing to put in one more piece at a time. =)

So for myself this week, I found Dr. Leaf's video informative and encouraging. We can recover from burnout, and we can learn tips to help us prevent it as well.

I hope you'll take a few minutes to watch this. (It's about 18 minutes.) Then feel free to share in the comments anything you found helpful or quotes from the video that stood out to you.

Here are some quotes that I wrote down to think about further:

"A toxic thought life will make you feel drained and exhausted."

"You can't change anything until you're aware of it."

"You're brilliant."

"You control your brain with your mind."


"How to Train Your Mind to Avoid Burnout"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRiM5NEYEJ0


I know that changing our thought patterns won't necessarily change our circumstances or "fix" the problems we face...please don't think I'm saying, "Just think better and your life will be great!" We know life is hard and much of what happens is outside our control.

At the same time, I think we can all agree that healthier thoughts are certainly a wise and long-term investment in our health and our lives.

May God continue to give us grace and strength for the challenges, and may He help us change how we are thinking, perhaps even starting today.

Blessings,
-Joanna