Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Intimate Partner Violence : BWS Battered Woman’s Syndrome

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS Telehealth

 

batteredwomen

 

Intimate Partner Violence

Battered Woman’s Syndrome

 

Women who are victims of intimate-partner violence have been identified by the mental health field for more than 30 years now.  It is understood that domestic violence is part of gender violence, and that many more women than men are the victims of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse.

 

Even when women strike back or engage in mutual violence, it is usually the woman who is most likely to be hurt—both physically and emotionally. Women who strike back in self-defense are often arrested along with the batterer.

 

It is further understood that gender violence is fostered by the socialization of men to be more powerful than women. In some men, this process creates the need to abuse power and to control women. While the term “victim” is not always considered politically correct, in fact, until battered women take back some control over their lives, they may not truly be considered survivors.

 

Psychological symptoms, called battered woman syndrome (BWS), develop in some women and make it difficult for them to regain control. Mental health professionals have been able to assist these battered women with empowerment techniques and with accurate diagnosis and proper treatment, as described here.

 

If you are a woman who has suffered from gender abuse by your partner and you’ve lived through at least two cycles of being battered, physically or emotionally,  you might have what’s known as battered woman syndrome. It may not seem like it now, but you can get help and break the cycle.

 

Phases of Gender Abuse

 

In the first phase, tension builds between the two people.

 

The second phase is an explosion or encounter when the woman is the victim of emotional or physical battering and could be seriously injured physically and psychologically.

The third is when her abuser strikes back!   Does something to take control of the other person.  This can be in a physical method, even taking something away, or destroying a cell phone, or keeping the other person isolated.  The abuser will not usually leave the other person alone.

 

Some experts see the battering cycle as a circle.

“I draw it as a graph because it repeats itself and keeps getting worse and worse.”

 

( BWS) battered woman syndrome is a subcategory of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychological disorder that is the result of facing or witnessing a terrifying event.  The battered woman is so traumatized by her partner’s abuse that she may believe she is in danger even when she’s safe.  It also shows itself as the one being abused can not tell that anything is wrong, and they keep it to themselves.

 

Why Women Take It

 

Many battered women stay in abusive relationships. There are a number of reasons why they don’t leave, says Deb Hirschhorn, PhD, a marriage and family therapist in Woodmere, New York, and author of The Healing Is Mutual. They include:

 

She worries she would have no way to support herself or her children if she left.

She may come from a background of abuse and “is conditioned to look for the good in her partner just as she had to see the good in her parents,” Hirschhorn says.

She truly believes her spouse or partner wants to help and protect her. “It’s a ‘rescue syndrome,’” Hirschhorn says. The battered woman remembers why she fell in love with her partner and believes they can get back to where they began, Walker says.

She’s likely to have low self-esteem. She believes she’s only getting what she deserves.

She also might fear that if her partner learns she wants to leave, it will only heighten the abuse, says Rena Pollak, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Encino, California.

 

Getting Out of the Abuse Cycle

Talk with your doctor. Discussing your battered woman syndrome symptoms with your doctor is a good idea because your doctor or nurse can give you resources if you don’t know where else to turn, Pollak says.

 

Seek shelter.  Realize that you are not alone and that there are people who can help you, Pollak says. She recommends starting with the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which has advocates who can speak on the phone or online.

 

Have a safety plan. Most women can sense danger and when their partner is likely to hurt them. The National Domestic Violence Hotline says that whether you are living in an abusive relationship or planning to leave one, you should have a plan that identifies safe areas of your home where you can go if you need to. If you can’t avoid violence, make yourself small – curl up in a ball and protect your face with your arms.

 

Work with a counselor. When you are being emotionally abused, a  marriage counselor or therapist can help you see your strengths and help you realize it’s not your fault – despite what you’ve heard over and over again from your abuser.

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

What to do when Anger tries to Get the Best of You?

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What to do when Anger tries to Get the Best of You?

anger

 

What to do when Anger tries to Get the Best of You.

 

A brass chandelier looms over my kitchen table.

It waits for me to finish my work, stand up, and meet it with my cranium. It’s a jarring blow.

 

First comes pain. Then comes anger.

 

That’s right. I get angry at a lamp.

 

I’ve had plenty of contact with that fixture over the years, so when I bashed my head for the third time one day, I thought little of it. Upon later reflection, however, I realized there was something special about that particular incident. Let me explain.

 

You see, my head-bashing routine is like a controlled experiment for my temper. My reaction is more or less the only variable. And my reaction is not typically one I’m proud of.

 

In my defense, I never hit back. Instead I clench and stew with my blood boiling until I realize that I am, in fact, angry at a light fixture. But this realization doesn’t come until anger successfully infests my mind and leaves my composure in tatters. Not ideal.

 

“The other vices drive the mind on,” wrote the Stoic philosopher Seneca. “Anger hurls it headlong. […] Other vices revolt from good sense, this one from sanity. […] And it makes no difference how great the source is from which [anger] springs; for from the most trivial origins it reaches massive proportions.”

 

Anger hurls the mind headlong. Under its spell, we become senseless beasts.

 

And it doesn’t take much to set us off. A stubbed toe. A barking dog. A paper jam. In the movie “Office Space,” Peter and the gang steal the company copier—infamous for getting jammed—and demolish it with baseball bats. When angry, this is our level of mental maturity.

 

Can anger be willed away? Seneca thought so. He wrote that anger should be “driven” and advised us to “do battle” with this destructive emotion.

 

But here’s where I part ways with the great Stoic. This struggle to suppress emotion—though it could avert some embarrassing displays—only creates more internal strife. We get angry and then feel guilty about getting angry.

 

But the truth is, we all get angry—even the Dalai Lama.

 

When asked if he ever gets angry, the Dalai Lama responded in typical fashion: “Oh, yes, of course,” he said, “I’m a human being. Generally speaking, if a human being never shows anger, then I think something’s wrong. He’s not right in the brain.”(2)

 

If that doesn’t give you permission to accept your anger, I’m not sure what will. But that doesn’t mean anger should be ignored. There’s a world of difference between noticed anger and unnoticed anger. The first can spoil a few moments. The second, a few days.

 

There’s an art to noticing anger. Everyone has their own warning signs: a flushed face, a contracted abdomen, a clenched jaw. These physical symptoms carry the implicit message, “Ah, I’m getting angry.” Try it out. It’s actually hard to stay angry when you’re fully aware of this process.

 

“The best way of dealing with these hindrances is to be aware of them, to be mindful,” recommends the meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein. “Sit back and notice ‘anger, anger.’ Not identifying with it, not condemning oneself for being angry. Simply watch.” (3)

 

The method described by Goldstein is mindfulness in a nutshell: a non-judgmental watching of phenomena arising in the mind. When this attitude is cultivated, we are less likely to be swirled away by a torrent of thoughts and emotions. The chain is broken, and we can settle back to a relaxed state.

 

Yet this goes beyond mere theory. Neuroscientists have, in fact, examined this phenomenon.

 

According to their research, a regular mindfulness practice rewires the brain for increased emotional stability. In brain regions that govern emotional regulation—the hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex—experienced meditators had more gray matter than controls. And the amygdala, the stress center of our brains, actually shrinks through meditation. (4)

 

So through mindfulness practice, the brain gets rewired for less emotional reactivity. Very cool.

 

This leads back to my last encounter with the chandelier. As I suggested, this encounter was different than the others. When I blundered into the lamp, I felt the blunt sensation of pressure radiating through my skull. I watched it closely. The pain, of course, didn’t last for long.

 

And that was that. No destructive impulse arose. Not even one fantasy of tearing it out, Hulk style, from the ceiling.

 

The results of this experiment have left me convinced. I’m not a long-term meditator, yet it seems I’ve already rewired my brain. And thankfully, some of my temper has gone extinct.

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

The 4 Words holding us back from Happiness.

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The 4 Words holding us back from Happiness.

 

Embracing the Freedom that comes when we Stop Asking, “Are we there Yet?”

 

 rwethereyet

 

Last night, I had the pleasure of enjoying dinner and a “few” cocktails with a very dear old friend of mine.

Because of life and its happenings, this person and I had not seen each other or really been in touch for a little over six years, but our connection was still fierce.

 

When we knew each other way back when, this was someone who I viewed with great admiration—a man with truly staggering ambition as well as genuine insight into the sensitivities of the world. Our conversations in the past have been filled with lighthearted laughter and deep soul searching. I was excited to see him again and relight the fire that our friendship possessed so many years ago.

 

Lately, my run-ins with old friends have inspired me and stirred up the pot in my mind with fresh ideas; I knew this interaction would do exactly the same. I pulled up to the restaurant and walked inside. Immediately, I was greeted with the warmest embrace and the sound of a familiar voice in my ear. He found me.

 

Right off the bat, we started catching up: How is so-and-so? What is so-and-so up to? It was exhilarating to hear about all of these people I once lived with and to see friends of mine thriving in their lives as travelers, doctors, writers, and up-and-coming celebrities.

 

Slowly, our conversation delved deeper and deeper into our latest thoughts. As a writer—a published writer I might add—my friend has a way with words that draws a conversation out smoothly and with great ease. These are my favorite kinds of friends. It did not take long for our talk to approach a point that has been circling in my consciousness for quite some time now.

 

There’s a message that the universe, or something like it, has been sending me—by any means necessary. Finding it in books, street art, social media posts, and conversations with old and new friends, I have felt so bombarded by this message over the last several weeks that it has finally hit me that it’s probably time I listen.

 

Sitting across the table from my friend in this dimly lit booth of a train car-themed cocktail bar, we locked eyes as he said to me, “The key is to be present.” I couldn’t believe it. I wondered how long this point had been trying to get my attention. I looked back at him and said, “I can’t believe you just said that,” and from there, our conversation took off.

 

So many profound thoughts came to us in this discussion. Through the weaving and twisting conversation, I walked away with one important message. You see, my friend and I are both at very different stages in our lives. A lifelong goal of his has recently come to fruition; he is a published author and has the opportunity to travel and live his dream. I, on the other hand, am at a starting point. I have realized that my personal passion is to travel, and although I know my career will one day require my full attention, that day is not today. My direction is changing, while he is reaching his next highest peak.

 

But regardless of those differences, we are both completely aware that none of that really matters. Why? Because we are not our careers. He is not a published author, and I am not a waitress. Those are roles that we play, and they are important and necessary, but they do not make us who we are. At any given moment, our jobs, our careers, or our passions can change in the blink of an eye…and what then?

 

All we will have is this moment, all we will know is the person we are in the present. But what if we do not know them? What if we become so engrossed in the roles that we play that we become doctors or lawyers or CEOs, and we are successful and well-established and rich and powerful, but one day we don’t want to do that anymore? And what if one day we realize this but because we haven’t paid attention to the person inside of us that isn’t just a doctor, but is also a writer or a yogi or a traveler or an artist, we don’t know how to be anything else?

 

By completely identifying ourselves with the roles that we play, by considering myself inferior because I’m a waitress or by seeing himself superior because he’s an author, we are losing ourselves to our roles. We are not being present with our true selves because we are seeing these roles as who we are. But I’m not a waitress—I’m Erin.

 

And, when I look at it that way and take a look at what that provides me in the current moment, it’s actually perfectly aligned with who I want to be—someone who loves travel, who has the freedom to explore California, and the freedom to explore myself. I want to be on my feet and constantly meeting new and interesting people. Those are the things that I want at this moment, and I have all of them. For that, I am grateful.

 

When we stop asking, “Are we there yet?” with every decision we make, when we stop imagining that there is some finish line out there somewhere in the distance that we will reach, when we stop looking forward to our happiness as something that hasn’t even happened yet, we can take a moment like this—a moment with a dear friend in a train car bar with a margarita—and we can say:

 

“Yes, we are here now.”

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Cultivate Self Compassion

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

 

Cultivate Self Compassion

 

 

rosequartz

Life-changing strategies can help you be kinder to yourself.

 

Self-compassion not only helps you be kinder to yourself, but it also gives you the power to be kinder to the world around you.

 

These benefits have been empirically validated by Kristin Neff, PhD, one of the world’s foremost researchers on self-compassion. She established it as a field of study almost a decade ago, during her postdoctoral work at the University of Denver. In her book, Self-Compassion, Neff walks us through the scientific research underpinning the whys and hows of cultivating self-compassion. The volume is packed with both theoretical and practical goodness.

 

Neff’s basic argument is that self-compassion is made up of three components:

 

 

Self-kindness. We need to be kind to ourselves. Beating ourselves up is not helpful.

Common humanity. We’re not alone. It’s important to see that our suffering is part of a shared human experience.

Mindfulness. We want to observe our experience. We can learn to hold it in “balanced” awareness without trying to push our pain away or make it a bigger deal than it is.

Now let’s take a look at each of these elements in more detail.

 

 

 

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

 

“Self-kindness, by definition, means that we stop the constant self-judgment and disparaging internal commentary that most of us have come to see as normal. It requires us to understand our foibles and failures instead of condemning them. It entails clearly seeing the extent to which we harm ourselves through relentless self-criticism, and ending our internal war,” Neff writes.

 

“But self-kindness involves more than merely stopping self-judgment,” she adds. “It involves actively comforting ourselves, responding just as we would to a dear friend in need. It means we allow ourselves to be emotionally moved by our own pain, stopping to say, ‘This is really difficult right now. How can I care for and comfort myself in this moment?’ With self-kindness, we soothe and calm our troubled minds. We make a peace offering of warmth, gentleness, and sympathy from ourselves to ourselves, so that true healing can occur.”

 

I love the image of treating ourselves the same way we would treat a dear friend or family member. By slowing down and allowing ourselves to be emotionally moved by our own pain, we actively comfort ourselves.

 

The first step is to stop the internal heckling. Quit beating yourself up with thoughts like Why am I such an idiot? or, I can’t believe I did or said that. Instead, replace that heckling with phrases like I feel my pain right now. This is tough. How can I best take care of myself right now?

 

In short, be nice to yourself. It’s not as simple as it sounds, but learning to do it can lead to huge breakthroughs in your life.

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER

 

Once we’re in the practice of being kind to ourselves, we can work on the second fundamental element of self-compassion: recognizing the common human experience.

 

Neff argues that seeing our common humanity “helps to distinguish self-compassion from mere self-acceptance or self-love.

 

 

 

“Although self-acceptance and self-love are important, they are incomplete by themselves. They leave out an essential factor — other people. Compassion is, by definition, relational. Compassion literally means ‘to suffer with,’ which implies a basic mutuality in the experience of suffering.

 

“The emotion of compassion springs from the recognition that the human experience is imperfect. Why else would we say ‘It’s only human’ to comfort someone who has made a mistake? Self-compassion honors the fact that all human beings are fallible, that wrong choices and feelings of regret are inevitable, no matter how high and mighty one is.”

 

In our hyper-individualistic, hyper-comparative society, it’s easy to always try to outdo everyone and feel disconnected — either better or worse than those around us. But what if, instead, we slowed down and appreciated our sameness? Doing so gives us the ability to see the threads of our common humanity. It leads us to recognize that we all struggle and can connect to one another through our shared triumphs and failures.

 

 

 

FACE UP TO REALITY WITH MINDFULNESS

 

 

 

One way to stay connected to our own experience and to cultivate our connection to the experiences of others is by practicing mindfulness.

 

For Neff, “mindfulness refers to the clear seeing and nonjudgmental acceptance of what’s occurring in the present moment. Facing up to reality, in other words. The idea is that we need to see things as they are, no more, no less, in order to respond to our current situation in the most compassionate — and therefore effective — manner.”

 

Like many wise teachers, Neff reminds us that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. How we respond to pain determines our level of suffering. Resisting pain by trying to wish away whatever is happening — whether it’s something mundane, like traffic on the way to work, or something more significant, like a serious illness or death of a loved one — only causes our suffering to grow.

 

 

 

“Our emotional suffering is caused by our desire for things to be other than they are,” Neff explains. “Once something has occurred in reality, there is nothing you can do to change that reality in the present moment. This is how things are. You can choose to accept this fact or not, but reality will remain the same either way.”

 

 

Mindfulness is one tool we can develop to appropriately relate to reality.

 

 

 

TAKE NOTE

 

Neff’s “noting practice” is one of my all-time favorite tips for building mindfulness. She writes that “the idea is to make a soft mental note whenever a particular thought, emotion, or sensation arises. This helps us to become more consciously aware of what we’re experiencing.”

 

Noting is a simple way to create awareness, and I love to use it during my own meditation sessions. For example, when I observe my mind wandering off into strategizing or planning, I softly say the word “strategy” to myself  and then bring my attention back to my breath.

 

Give it a try and see if noting helps you become more conscious of your life experience.

 

Using the three components of self-compassion improves our chances of reaching our goals and living the profoundly beautiful and fulfilling life we all deserve.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

SPINACH FRITTATA

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EHS Telehealth

 

SPINACH FRITTATA

 

spinach-fritatta

This recipe goes heavy on the spinach, a nutrient-dense green rich in carotenoids and vitamin K, as well as magnesium, iron, and copper. A frittata travels and reheats well, making it handy for packed breakfasts, lunches, or on-the-go snacks. You can even make this recipe in muffin tins for extra portability. For a Mexican-inspired version, add seasoned, cooked ground beef, thinly sliced jalapeños, and cilantro.

 

 

 

Makes two servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes

 

6 large eggs

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

2 tbs. ghee or clarified butter

½ onion, diced

1 cup diced, seeded tomato

4 or 5 tomato slices for topping the frittata

5 cups fresh baby spinach (approximately 9 oz.), roughly chopped

Grated zest and juice of ¼ lemon

Set oven to broil.

 

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs with salt and pepper.

 

Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the ghee to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom. When the fat is hot, add onion and diced tomato and cook, stirring, for two to three minutes, until onion is soft. Add the spinach and let it wilt for 30 seconds.

 

Add the eggs to the skillet and fold them into the vegetables with a rubber spatula. Cook without stirring for about three to four minutes to let the eggs set on the bottom and sides of the pan. When the eggs are firm but still appear wet, lay a few tomato slices on top. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle the lemon zest over the frittata.

 

Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for three to five minutes, until the top is golden brown. Cut into slices and serve hot.

 

If you prefer, you can finish your frittata by baking it rather than broiling: Simply preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, then cook it for three to five minutes.

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Foods, Uncategorized

CHICKEN CACCIATORE

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CHICKEN CACCIATORE

 

chicken-cacciatore

Don’t be tempted to use boneless, skinless chicken with this classic recipe. The chicken skin holds the fat, and fat equals flavor. Plus, the skin helps the sauce cling to the chicken.

 

Makes two servings

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

 

4 tbs. ghee or clarified butter ( butter from Europe )

1 lb. chicken legs (bone-in, skin-on)

3/4 lb. chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

½ onion, minced

½ red bell pepper, finely diced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbs. capers, drained

1  14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth or water

1 tbs. fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

In a large skillet with high sides, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee over medium-high heat, coating the bottom of the pan. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper and place in the pan. Sear the chicken until golden brown, about three minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

 

With the same pan still on medium-high heat, add the remaining 2 table-spoons of ghee, the onions, and the peppers, and sauté for two to three minutes, until the onions become translucent. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring for two minutes. Add the garlic and stir until aromatic, about one minute. Add the capers and diced tomatoes.

 

Return the chicken to the pan and pour in the chicken broth or water until it covers the chicken pieces. Reduce heat to medium and bring everything to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and continue to simmer until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 30 minutes.

 

Garnish with the chopped basil and serve hot.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Roasted Beet,Orange and AvacadoSalad

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ROASTED BEET, ORANGE, AND AVOCADO SALAD

beet-avocado-orange-salad

These three flavors together are a dynamite combination — and super nutritious, too. Beets contain pigments called betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detox benefits. Avocados deliver a host of vitamins and minerals, as well as heart-healthy fats, and oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber.

 

Makes two servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 35 to 60 minutes

 

2 medium beets

2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 orange, halved: one half zested and juiced, one half peeled and cut into segments

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

1 avocado, split lengthwise, pitted, peeled, and diced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

 

Rinse beets and stab all sides with a fork. Place in a medium bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, tossing to thoroughly coat. Wrap each oiled beet in aluminum foil, pinching the top closed to create a seal. Place beets in the center of a baking sheet and roast for about 35 minutes. When you can pierce a beet with a thin knife all the way to the center without resistance (be careful opening the foil), it’s done. Remove from the oven and allow to rest until cool enough to handle.

 

With a knife, remove the skin from the beets. (Wear gloves and an apron.) Dice the beets into 1-inch pieces and place in a serving bowl.

 

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the vinegar, orange juice, salt, and pepper, and whisk until combined.

 

Add the orange segments and avocado to the beets. Drizzle with the dressing, sprinkle on the orange zest, toss to coat, and serve.

These three flavors together are a dynamite combination — and super nutritious, too. Beets contain pigments called betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detox benefits. Avocados deliver a host of vitamins and minerals, as well as heart-healthy fats, and oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber.

 

Makes two servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 35 to 60 minutes

 

2 medium beets

2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 orange, halved: one half zested and juiced, one half peeled and cut into segments

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

1 avocado, split lengthwise, pitted, peeled, and diced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

 

Rinse beets and stab all sides with a fork. Place in a medium bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, tossing to thoroughly coat. Wrap each oiled beet in aluminum foil, pinching the top closed to create a seal. Place beets in the center of a baking sheet and roast for about 35 minutes. When you can pierce a beet with a thin knife all the way to the center without resistance (be careful opening the foil), it’s done. Remove from the oven and allow to rest until cool enough to handle.

 

With a knife, remove the skin from the beets. (Wear gloves and an apron.) Dice the beets into 1-inch pieces and place in a serving bowl.

 

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the vinegar, orange juice, salt, and pepper, and whisk until combined.

 

Add the orange segments and avocado to the beets. Drizzle with the dressing, sprinkle on the orange zest, toss to coat, and serve.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Cauliflower Rice

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

 

CAULIFLOWER RICE

 

cauliflower-rice

Gone are the days of overcooked cauliflower that smells like sulfur. “Ricing” cauliflower in a food processor by pulsing it until it’s ground to a rice-like consistency gives it a light, delicate structure and a mild taste that pairs well with just about anything. Make this a complete meal by adding a serving of your favorite protein and sautéing any leftover veggies from your fridge.

 

Makes two servings

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

 

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets

3 tbs. ghee or clarified butter

½ onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup chicken broth

1 tbs. minced fresh cilantro

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

“Rice” the cauliflower in batches: Place approximately half of the florets into the food processor, being careful not to pack too tightly, and pulse 15 to 20 times until the cauliflower has a rice-like texture. Remove riced cauliflower from the processor and repeat to rice the remaining florets.

 

In a large skillet, melt the ghee over medium heat and coat the bottom of the pan. When the ghee is hot, add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, two to three minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about one minute.

 

Add the riced cauliflower to the skillet and mix thoroughly with the rest of the vegetables. Add the chicken broth, cover the pan with a lid, and steam until finished, like cooked rice, about 10 to 12 minutes. (The cauliflower should be tender, but not mushy or wet.)

 

Remove from the heat and mix in the chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

 

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Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

10 Ways to Treat COPD Naturally: A must read if you know someone with COPD

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10 Ways to Treat COPD Symptoms Naturally

 

Are you familiar with the third leading cause of death in the U.S.? I’m talking about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, more commonly known as COPD. This respiratory disease is characterized by an abnormal inflammatory response in the lungs and restricted airflow, which both result in difficulty doing the most vital thing in life — breathing. And these are just a few COPD symptoms so many people deal with.

Important News on COPD.  It has been more than 50 years that the Federal Government has been warning people about COPD from smoking cigarettes.  The Insurance Board has stated that your medical insurance no longer has to pay for your healthcare.  It is a choice you have made, and no one should pay for your poor decision.

 

More than 11 million people in this country have already been diagnosed with COPD, but an estimated 24 million may have the disease without even realizing it! (1) COPD is actually an umbrella term that includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and, in some cases, asthma. The No. 1 reason someone gets COPD in developed countries is smoking tobacco, so the best way to avoid COPD is not to smoke or stop smoking immediately. Sadly, close to half of U.S. adults over the age of 40 who have trouble breathing due to asthma or COPD still continue to smoke. (2)

 

If you’re willing, there are many ways to treat and reduce your risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with your own efforts and natural treatment. But first, you must realize you have COPD symptoms to begin with — then you can pinpoint exactly how to treat them.

 

COPD Symptoms & Life Expectancy

 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis and chronic airway obstruction. These diseases are all commonly characterized by irreversible airflow limitation.

Symptoms of COPD often don’t appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and they usually worsen over time, particularly if smoking exposure continues. For chronic bronchitis, the main symptom is a daily cough and sputum production at least three months a year for two consecutive years.

 

Signs and symptoms of COPD include:

 

 

 

Shortness of breath while doing everyday activities or during physical activities

 

Chronic cough

 

Wheezing

 

Chest tightness

 

Frequent respiratory infections

 

Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds

 

General fatigue and lack of energy or chronic fatigue syndrome

 

Producing a lot of mucus or phlegm

 

Having to clear your throat first thing in the morning, due to excess mucus in your lungs

 

Unintended weight loss (in later stages)

 

 

 

People with COPD are likely to experience episodes called exacerbations. This is when symptoms become worse than usual and persist for at least several days. If you have one or more of these symptoms on a regular basis, then you definitely want to seek medical advice. Early detection of COPD is key to successful treatment. A simple test called spirometry can be used to measure pulmonary (lung) function and detect COPD in anyone with breathing problems.

 

 

 

There are four stages of COPD:

 

 

 

Stage 1 — very mild COPD

 

Stage 2 — moderate COPD

 

Stage 3 — severe emphysema/chronic bronchitis

 

Stage 4 — very severe COPD

 

Each of these stages has a different impact on each sufferer, but generally speaking the higher the stage of COPD, the shorter the life expectancy. Overall, COPD can cause serious long-term disability and early death. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for COPD, and the number of people dying from COPD continues to grow. However, there are natural ways to slow its progression.

 

10 Natural Treatments for COPD Symptoms

 

Avoid Smoke in Every Way

 

The most essential step in conventional and natural treatment plan for COPD is the same — stop any and all forms of smoking. Yes, this includes the electronic cigarette. If you smoke, this is the only way to keep COPD from getting worse.

 

In general, you should avoid smoke of any kind. You should also avoid air pollution as much as possible. If you’re not a smoker, then you definitely need to avoid places where others smoke. Smoking yourself is definitely the worst thing you can do when it comes to COPD, but secondhand smoke and air pollution can damage and irritate your lungs too. (3)

 

 

 

  1. Improve Your Breathing

 

 

There are techniques for breathing that can help you breathe more efficiently with COPD. These breathing techniques can also help improve breathing for people with asthma as well as people who don’t currently have lung issues but want to optimize their breathing.

According to the American Association for Respiratory Care, pursed-lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing may increase your blood oxygen levels and help reduce shortness of breath. (4) A respiratory therapist can be very helpful if you need assistance with breathing techniques.

 

  1. Follow a Healthy Diet

 

A healthy diet can help manage and improve COPD symptoms. Some foods in particular should be mainstays when it comes to an anti-COPD diet while others should be majorly or entirely avoided. Your diet should definitely have plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits to ensure you get lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Citrus fruits are especially helpful because they contain quercetin. Wild-caught fish, flaxseeds and chia seeds, along with other omega-3 foods, can provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

 

If you’re suffering with COPD symptoms, you definitely want to steer clear of conventional dairy since pasteurized dairy is mucus-producing and can plug the airways in the lungs. You always want to stay away from processed, canned and frozen foods and sugar as well. Additives, preservatives and food dyes are also known for contributing to breathing issues and even asthma attacks.

 

  1. Increase Water Intake Inside and Outside the Body

 

One of the common and frustrating COPD symptoms is having mucus collect in your airways. This mucus can be difficult to clear and result in persistent and uncontrollable coughing. One internal way you can improve this mucus problem is by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily to thin mucus and stay hydrated.

 

 

 

Externally, you can increase the moisture content of the air in your home by using a humidifier. Humidifiers can also help make breathing easier. I like using one while I’m sleeping at night.

 

5.Exercise

 

When you’re having trouble breathing, exercise might seem like a terrible idea, but being sedentary won’t do anything to help your COPD symptoms. By regularly getting exercise, especially cardio workouts, you can strengthen your respiratory muscles and improve your overall endurance.

About 40 percent of people with COPD experience high levels of depression and anxiety, which makes it even more difficult to quit smoking and comply with treatment. Exercise also increases endorphin levels, which improves mood, reduces depression and anxiety, and makes it easier to quit smoking.

 

  1. Use Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil can be very helpful for people with COPD. A study in Respiratory Research showed that cineole, the main constituent of eucalyptus essential oil, actually reduced exacerbations in people with COPD. It also reduced dyspnea (shortness of breath), and improved lung function as well as health status overall. Furthermore, the research suggested that cineole is an active controller and reducer of airway inflammation in COPD.

To get the benefits of cineole, you can use eucalyptus oil in a diffuser and/or humidifier and breath in the anti-inflammatory air.

 

7.Consume Ginseng

Ginseng is an herbal supplement that improves lung function and also decrease bacteria in the lungs. Panax ginseng in particular has a long history of use in Chinese medicine for respiratory conditions, including asthma and COPD.

A recent study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine highlighted therapeutic ginseng benefits. Panax ginseng and ginsenosides (active components of ginseng) appear to inhibit processes related to the development of COPD.

 

Take N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)

 

Supplementing with NAC helps decrease the severity and frequency of asthma attacks and improves overall lung function by increasing glutathione levels and thinning bronchial mucus. Glutathione fights against oxidative stress in the respiratory tract, which can make NAC a powerful and effective natural treatment for COPD.

 

 

 

Avoid Cold and Crowds

 

When you have COPD symptoms, it’s important to avoid things that make them even worse. I already told you that smoke and pollution are absolutely key to avoid. Another thing to be aware of is the fact that cold air can trigger bronchospasm, a sudden constriction in the muscles of airway walls that leads to shortness of breath. If the weather is really chilly, it’s a smart idea to avoid or reduce your time outdoors. You can also help your symptoms by putting on a face mask before going out into very cold temperatures.

 

Another environmental hazard to avoid, especially if you have been prone to respiratory infections, is large crowds. Since respiratory infections can cause COPD symptoms to worsen, the less you’re in big crowds the lower your risk of being exposed to infectious germs. By no means am I encouraging you to be a hermit and never go to a mall again — I just want you to be smart and not unnecessarily put yourself in situations that could make your symptoms any worse.

 

Reduce Stress

As with all health issues and diseases, stress only makes COPD symptoms, like airway inflammation and shortness of breath, worse. By reducing your daily stress and managing stress in healthy ways, you’re more relaxed, and this has a direct positive effect on your COPD symptoms. (13)

 

If you suffer from COPD, you should make time every day to relax both mentally and physically. Try some of these natural stress relievers to start.

 

 

The COPD Umbrella

 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is an umbrella term that includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and sometimes asthma. Here are some alarming stats on COPD:

 

 

 

According to the CDC, smoking accounts for as many as eight out of 10 COPD-related deaths. However, as many as one out of four Americans with COPD never smoked cigarettes.

A hallmark symptom of COPD is shortness of breath that gets worse over time. It’s often accompanied by a phlegm-producing cough and episodes of wheezing.

Typically, the first symptoms of emphysema occur in heavy smokers in their mid-50s.

Shortness of breath occurs with chronic bronchitis, but it may not be as severe during rest as it is in people with emphysema.

Classic symptoms of an asthma attack are coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath (dyspnea).

People with chronic asthma can get airway obstruction that makes them more likely to develop COPD.

Approximately 40 percent of those with COPD experience high levels of depression and anxiety, making it more difficult to comply with treatment and quit smoking.

COPD in the U.S.:

 

Women were more likely to report COPD than men (6.7 percent vs. 5.2 percent).

Prevalence is lower among homemakers, students and the employed than among those who are unable to work, unemployed or retired.

Prevalence decreases as income increases (from 9.9 percent among those making less than $25,000 a year to 2.8 percent among those making more than $75,000).

36.4 percent of those reporting COPD were former smokers.

38.7 percent of those reporting COPD continued to smoke.

43.7 percent of those reporting COPD had a history of asthma.

 

COPD Risk Factors & Root Causes

In developed countries, the central cause of COPD is tobacco smoking. In the developing world, COPD often occurs in people exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes.

Root causes and risk factors for COPD include:

Smoking — By far, the biggest risk factor for COPD is long-term cigarette smoking. The more years you smoke and the more cigarettes you smoke daily, the greater your risk for developing the disease. People who smoke pipes, cigars and marijuana are also at risk.

Tobacco smoke exposure — People exposed to large amounts of secondhand smoke are also at risk.

People with asthma who smoke — The combination of asthma and smoking increases the risk of COPD even more.

Occupational exposure to chemicals and dusts — Long-term exposure to chemical fumes, vapors and dusts in the workplace or elsewhere can irritate and inflame your lungs.

Age — COPD develops slowly over years. The majority of sufferers are at least 35 to 40 years old when symptoms begin.

Genetics — In about 1 percent of people with COPD, the disease results from a genetic disorder that causes low levels of a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin. Alpha-1-antitrypsin is made in the liver and secreted into the bloodstream to help protect the lungs. Other genetic factors also likely make certain smokers more susceptible to the disease.

 

COPD in Women

 

Deaths resulting from COPD are higher in women than in men. There are a few reasons why this happens:

 

In the late 1960s, the tobacco industry intensely targeted women. This resulted in a huge increase in women smoking. We are still seeing new cases of smoking-related diseases, including COPD, as women age.

Women are more vulnerable than men to lung damage from cigarette smoke and other pollutants. Their lungs are smaller, and estrogen plays a role in worsening lung disease.

Women are often misdiagnosed. Because COPD has long been thought of as a man’s disease, many doctors still don’t expect to see it in women and miss the proper diagnosis.

 

COPD Symptoms Takeaways

 

COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 11 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with COPD, while an estimated 24 million may have the disease without even realizing it.

COPD symptoms include shortness of breath while doing everyday activities or during physical activities, chronic cough, wheezing, chest tightness, frequent respiratory infections, blueness of the lips or fingernail beds, general fatigue and lack of energy, producing a lot of mucus or phlegm, having to clear your throat first thing in the morning due to excess mucus in your lungs and unintended weight loss (in later stages). People with COPD are likely to experience episodes called exacerbations. This is when symptoms become worse than usual and persist for at least several days.

There are four stages of COPD: Stage 1, very mild COPD; Stage 2, moderate COPD; Stage 3, severe emphysema/chronic bronchitis; Stage 4, very sever COPD.

To naturally treat COPD symptoms, avoid smoking in every form, improve breathing, follow a healthy diet, increase water intake inside and outside the body, exercise, use eucalyptus oil, consume ginseng, take NAC, avoid cold and crowds, and reduce stress.

The root causes and risk factors for COPD include smoking, tobacco smoke exposure, having asthma and smoking, occupational exposure to chemicals and dusts, age, and genetics. In addition, deaths resulting from COPD are higher in women than in men.

 

Please share with family and loved ones and call us if you have concerns and question about what to do in your healthcare needs.

 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article

Dr Jay Jaranson

Dr Gail Gray

312-972-Well

Healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

 

 

 

Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Bacteria in Your Gut Influences Your Mind

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

Bacteria in Your Gut Influences Your Mind

gut

 

An estimated 40 million adults (18 and older) or 18 percent of the population endorse symptoms of anxiety (not to mention one out of eight children). Treatment of anxiety accounts for one-third of the $148 billion dollars spent annually on mental illnesses in America.

In other words, we spend $42 billion a year on treatment of anxiety disorders in America. Women are 60 percent more likely to develop an anxiety disorder than our male counterparts. These numbers are terrifying to me as a clinician, a woman and a mother.

 

The symbiotic relationship between our gut health and how we feel is a hot topic of discussion and research. Scientists, physicians, and mental health practitioners are increasingly aware of the important relationship between the balance of “critters” in our gut and how we experience our brain, mood and emotions. So, before we begin to discuss what we can do to optimize this important relationship, let’s explore the underlying processes.

 

From a holistic vantage point our gut is known as the “second brain” and there are structural/anatomical reasons for this reference. The “second brain,” known scientifically as the enteric nervous system, consists of sheaths of neurons located in the walls of our gut. We refer to these sheaths as the vagus nerve and it runs from our esophagus to our anus, roughly nine meters long.

 

Did you know…?

 

The bacteria, fungi and viruses that make up your body’s microflora outnumber your body’s cells by 10 to 1.

 

95 percent of the body’s serotonin supply is found in our bowels.

 

The vagus nerve contains 100 million neurons, which is more neurons than the spinal cord or peripheral nervous system hold.

 

There are over 100 trillion bacterial cells contained within the gut.

 

Our gut sends far more information to our brain than the other way around.

 

When the precarious balance of bacteria in our gut becomes disturbed we often experience symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other gastrointestinal related disorders. These symptoms are likely to start out as complaints of bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea.

 

These symptoms are often indicators of “leaky gut syndrome” where our gut wall becomes permeable and particles of food start to escape from the digestive and GI tract. When this occurs the domino effect of issues becomes inevitable and thus begins the cascading symptom patterns that plague tens of millions of Americans struggling with GI related disorders.

 

Due to the interconnectedness of our brain and enteric nervous system, via the vagus nerve, once our gut bacteria is out of whack, we are vulnerable to a pattern of emotional discomfort, usually marked by increasing episodes of anxiety and depression.

 

How does our gut bacteria become so unbalanced? Here are a few of the many ways in which we accidentally (and sometimes unavoidably) contribute to this pattern of disturbance:

 

Excessive and unmanaged stress

 

Too much use of antibiotics

 

Food Allergies

 

Prolonged use of steroids

 

Intestinal infections

 

High sugar; low fiber diet (in other words, standard American diet)

 

Regular consumption of alcohol

 

 

 

If you are reading this blog and you find yourself relating to this content, I encourage you to seek out professional help, contact us,  to better understand what these symptoms mean for your unique constitution. Taking the right type of probiotic to help restore balance in the micro flora in your gut is one step, but often with more advanced GI issues and more acute anxiety-based symptoms there is a need to first heal the permeability of the gut wall before adding in probiotics.

 

There is a growing body of research that is exploring strain specific probiotics to help mitigate acute symptoms of anxiety. For example, in clinical trials involving the study of mice, Bifidobacterium longum and Lactobacillus Rhamnosus have shown to help normalize anxiety-like behavior. Lactobacillus appears to work on the GABA receptors, an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of acute anxiety. GABA is the receptor influenced when you take a benzodiazepine such as Xanax or Ativan.

 

There is a bourgeoning area of interest and research exploring use of probiotics to treat a wide variety of mental illnesses. Pharmaceutical companies are attempting to create a new line of psychiatric medications referred to as Psychobiotics, but this field of research is still in its infancy.

 

So, that being said, there is a lot we can do right from the comfort of our own home to start the process of realigning the balance of our gut flora. As you can imagine, most of it involves cleaning up our diet, being mindful of the relationship between food and mood, and exploring our habits and patterns. Below are action steps you can take in an effort to begin the process of healing your gut, mind and brain:

 

It generally takes a minimum of 90 days for these suggestions to be maximally effective:

 

Eliminate sugars: The “fake” sugars. We are not talking about eliminating whole fruits. Rather, cutting out the baked goods, cookies, ice cream, and store bought sugary products that wreak havoc on the bacteria in our gut and lead to cyclical patterns of emotional and physical cravings.

 

Eliminate all simple starches and reduce intake of even complex starches.

 

Add in fermented and living foods. Please try to avoid store bought yogurts even though they are considered fermented.

These products are loaded with sugars and often end up exacerbating imbalance.

 

Consider having the vast majority of your diet be plant-based foods. Generally speaking, eat as many veggies as you want in any form you want. Avoid use of store bought dressings etc., which are loaded with sugar and preservatives. If your GI tract is especially damaged, consider cooking all your veggies before consumption.

 

Consume foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts, salmon, flax, some types of squash, etc.).

 

Aim to consume local and organic sources of animal protein. Doing so will reduce your ingesting unwanted antibiotics and feed-based chemicals.

 

WARNING!   Contact us, or a knowledgeable healthcare provider on the steps to take properly!

Doing so incorrectly will cause more harm to your system.  If your doctor does not know the correct steps for you, RUN!

 

Discuss with your practitioner if the use of a probiotic or prebiotic will benefit your unique situation. A probiotic introduces specific strains of good bacteria, while a prebiotic introduces carbohydrates that serve as food the bacteria already present in your gut.

 

Exercise. Again, more days than not. Enough to sweat. The goal is to find joy in it. But if you hate it, that’s okay. Do it anyway.

 

Drink mostly water.

 

Work with a skilled psychologist or mental health professional to metabolize past trauma, identify faulty thought patterns, and implement mindfulness-based skills to better manage your central nervous system.

 

Implement a daily mindfulness/meditation practice. The goal is observed your mind, not to clear it or control your thoughts. Simple observation and balanced breathing. This is a restful and restorative way to calm the central nervous system and recalibrate the vagus nerve.

 

Exploring the relationship between our mood and our gut bacteria reveals an interconnected relationship between the mind, brain, and body, via the enteric nervous system and vagus nerve. This relationship is the foundation of why it is critical to address your emotional discomfort from a holistic and integrated approach to your wellness.

 

The good news is that because we now know and understand that there is a connection between the mind and body, we have the knowledge and tools to make immediate changes that will yield significant results in how we feel. The better we understand and participate in our own sense of wellness and empowerment the more likely we are to embark on change that starts from within.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

P Carrothers

Dir Personalized Healthcare

healthwellnesssassociates@gmail.com

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