Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Natural Insect Repellent that works better than DEET

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS Telehealth

 

lemoneucalyptus

 

 

Natural Insect Repellent that works better than DEET

 

Biting insects can put a damper on your summer fun, not to mention potentially transmit diseases like Lyme disease and West

 

Nile Virus. The majority of US adults (75 percent) said they are actually more concerned about such diseases than they are about potentially dangerous chemicals in insect repellent.1

 

Still, most people also told Consumer Reports that safety is important when choosing an insect repellent, and only one-third believe products on the market are safe for adults (and only 23 percent considered them safe for kids).

 

Concern is well-justified, as DEET(N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is used in hundreds of products, in concentrations of up to an astounding 100 percent. DEET has been shown to harm brain and

nervous system function.

 

Children are particularly at risk for subtle neurological changes because their skin more

readily absorbs chemicals in the environment, and chemicals exert more potent effects on their developing nervous systems.

 

DEET is not your only option for insect repellent, fortunately, and Consumer Reports tests have recently revealed natural alternatives that may be even more effective without the harsh side effects.

 

Picaridin and Lemon Eucalyptus Beat DEET for Repelling Insects

 

Consumer Reports recruited volunteers to test out spray-on repellents made of DEET, oil

of lemon eucalyptus, picaridin, a chemical called IR3535, and products made with natural plant oils. After the repellents were applied and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, the volunteers reached into a cage containing (disease-free) mosquitoes or ticks.

 

Two products emerged on top and were able to keep mosquitoes and ticks away for at least

seven hours: products that contained 20 percent picaridin or 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus. Picaridin resembles the natural compound piperine, an essential oil in black pepper.

 

However, picaridin is not a natural compound; it’s produced synthetically in the lab. According to the Environmental Working

 

Group (EWG), picaridin does not carry the same neurotoxicity concerns at DEET,

although it has not been tested much over the long term. They report:2

 

“Overall, EWG’s assessment is that Picaridin is a good DEET alternative with many of the same

advantages and without the same disadvantages.”

 

Lemon Eucalyptus Is a ‘Biopesticide’ Repellent

 

Oil of lemon eucalyptus comes from the gum eucalyptus tree, but it is

p-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD), its synthetic version with pesticidal properties,

that is used as an insect repellent. While the term “PMD” is often used

interchangeably with lemon eucalyptus oil, know that it is different from the

“pure” unrefined oil, which is typically used in making fragrances.

 

The pure oil is not registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an insect

repellant. PMD or the refined version, on the other hand, has a long history of

use but only recently became important as a commercial repellent.

 

In 2000, the EPA registered oil of lemon eucalyptus or PMD as a “biopesticide repellent,”

meaning it is derived from natural materials. Both lemon eucalyptus oil and picaridin are not actual repellents, but insteadmost likely work by masking the environmental cues that mosquitoes

use to locate their target.

 

Side effects of both picaridin and lemon eucalyptus include potential skin or eye irritation,

and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that picaridin should not

be used on children under age 3. Urvashi Rangan, PhD, executive director of

 

Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center, said:

“They are not side-effect-free, but ‘those problems are much less severe than deet…’ Still,all repellents should be used sparingly and only for the time you need them—especially on children and older people.”

 

Why DEET-Containing Repellents Are Better Off Avoided

 

About 30 percent of Americans use DEET every year, but you should know that this

chemical – though generally effective in keeping away insects – can have deadly

repercussions. From 1961 to 2002, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease

Registry reports eight deaths related to DEET exposure. Three of these resulted from deliberate

ingestion, but five of them occurred following DEET exposure to the skin in adults and children.3 Psychological effects have also been reported including altered mental state, auditory hallucinations, and severe agitation.

 

In children, the most frequently reported symptoms of DEET toxicity reported to poison control centers were lethargy,headaches, tremors, involuntary movements, seizures, and convulsions. Further,

in a study of more than 140 National Park Service employees, 25 percent reported health effects they attributed to DEET, including:4

 

Rashes

Skin or mucous membrane

irritation

Transient numb

Dizziness

Disorientation

Difficulty concentrating

Headache

 

Nausea In addition, Duke University Medical Center pharmacologist Mohamed Abou-Donia spent 30 years researching the effects of pesticides. He discovered that prolonged exposure to DEET can impair cell function in parts of your brain — demonstrated in the lab by death and behavioral changes in rats with frequent or prolonged DEET use. Other potential side effects DEET exposure include:

Memory loss

Headache

Muscle weakness

fatigue

 

Shortness of breath

Muscle and joint pain

 

 

Another potentially harmful chemical found in many bug sprays is permethrin. This

chemical is a member of the synthetic pyrethroid family, all of which are neurotoxins.

 

The EPA has even deemed this chemical carcinogenic, capable of causing lung tumors, liver tumors, immune system problems, and chromosomal abnormalities. Permethrin is also damaging to the

environment, and it is particularly toxic to bees and aquatic life. It should also be noted that permethrin is highly toxic to cats.5

 

Non-Chemical

 

Options to Keep Bugs Away from Your Barbecue

 

Consumer Reports also tested three non-chemical options for keeping pests away from a

simulated backyard barbecue: a citronella candle, a portable diffuser with

essential oils, or an oscillating pedestal fan set at its highest speed.

 

While neither the candle nor the diffuser showed much promise, the fan worked

well, cutting mosquito landings by 45 percent to 65 percent among those sitting

near the fan.

 

Similar results were found from the Consumer Reports survey, which found 45 percent of people who used fans to keep insects away reported them as “especially helpful” (compared to 31 percent of those who used candles).6

 

Naturally, the best way to avoid mosquito bites is to prevent coming into contact with them in

the first place. You can avoid insect bites by staying inside between dusk and dawn, which is when they are most active.

Mosquitoes are also thicker in shrubby areas and near standing water. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) recommends the “Three Ds” of protection to prevent mosquito breeding on your

property:7

 

Drain – Mosquitoes require water in which to breed, so carefully drain any and all sources of standing water around your house and yard, including pet bowls, gutters, garbage and recycling bins, spare tires, bird baths, etc.

 

Dress – Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing—long sleeved shirts and long pants, hats, and socks

 

Defend – While the AMCA recommends using commercial repellents, I highly recommend avoiding most chemical repellents for the reasons already discussed; try some of the natural alternatives instead, when necessary

Bat houses are another option since bats are voracious consumers of insects, especially mosquitoes. For more on buying a bat house or constructing one yourself, visit the Organization for Bat Conservation.8 Planting marigolds around your yard also works as a bug repellent because the flowers give off a fragrancethat bugs dislike.

 

Enjoy the Outdoors with These Additional Natural Repellent Options

 

Body temperature and skin chemicals like lactic acid attract mosquitoes, which explains why you’re more likely to be “eaten alive” when you’re sweaty, such as during or after exercise, so trying to stay as cool and dry as you can may help to some degree. Some experts also recommend supplementing with one vitamin B1 tablet a day from April through October, and then adding 100 mg of B1 to a B100 Complex daily during the mosquito season to make you less attractive to mosquitoes. Regularly consuming garlic may also help protect against mosquito bites, as may the following natural insect repellants:

Cinnamon leaf oil

(one study found it was more effective at killing mosquitoes than DEET9)

 

Clear liquid vanilla extract mixed with olive oil. Wash with citronella soap, and then put 100% pure citronella essential oil on your skin. Java Citronella is considered the highest quality citronella on the market

 

Catnip oil (according to one study, this oil is

10 times more effective than DEET10)

 

Another option is to use the safe solution I have formulated to repel mosquitoes, fleas, chiggers, ticks, and other biting insects. It’s a natural insect spray with a combination of citronella, lemongrass oil, peppermint oil, and vanillin, which is a dynamite blend of natural plant extracts. In fact, an independent study showed my bug spray to be more effective than a product containing 100 percent DEET. And it’s safe for you, your children, and your pets.

 

You can also try using lemon eucalyptus oil to make a homemade insect repellent. Here is a recipe from Backpacking Spirit to try out:11

 

“Make your own mosquito repellent consisted of around 10% lemon eucalyptus oil. If you are

using the essential (‘pure’) oil, note that it does not mix with water and will therefore, require a carrier oil, such as hazel, vodka, or olive oil.

 

Procedure:

 

Obtain an appropriately sized bottle for travel; a 100 to 200 ml bottle will be a good

choice. You may also go for a bottle that has a spritzer nozzle for easy application.

 

Choose your carrier oil

 

Use a measuring jug for more precise measurements.  Think 10%

essential oil. If you are using a 100 ml bottle, mix 90 ml of your chosen

liquid and 10 ml of lemon eucalyptus oil. If you are using a 200 ml bottle, mix

180 ml of liquid and 20 ml of essential oil.

 

Shake the bottle thoroughly before use.

 

Spritz onto skin and rub in.”

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-WELL

 

Healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

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

Advertisements
Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Crust-less Asparagus Quiche

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

 

Crust-less Asparagus Quiche

crustlessasparagusquiche

Ingredients

 

2 cups sliced asparagus

6 egg whites

2 whole eggs

1/3 cup diced onion

1/2 cup (low-fat) feta cheese, optional parmesan cheese

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Kosher or sea salt to taste

 

 

Directions

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and pour into a quiche pan or 9-inch glass pie plate.

 

Bake at 350° for approximately 45 minutes or until filling is set.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr Gail Gray  CPH

312-972-WELL

 

Healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

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

Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Breast Cancer and Iodine

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

 

Breast Cancer and Iodine

 

iodine

 

One out of seven women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Many studies have found a strong association between thyroid abnormalities caused by lack of iodine and breast cancer. A mere 30 years ago, iodine consumption was much higher and only one in twenty women developed breast cancer. In Japan, the breast cancer rates are well below the US rates. This is because they consume lots of seafood, kelp, and other iodine-rich foods as a regular part of the diet. The average intake in Japan is about 12 mg (12,000 mcg) a day. Now look at Americans who get about 50 times less iodine than Japanese in their diets. The only iodine consumption is iodized salt which many people have been convinced is bad for you. It is NOT! Salt at fast food restaurants is bad for you. If you are not getting at least 12mg of iodine/iodide a day, you are falling behind. If you are deficient in iodine (90% or more of Americans are), it will take more than 12mg a day for a few months to catch up.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr A Sullivan MD-ONC

312-972-WELL

 

Healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

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

 

Health and Disease, Uncategorized

10 TESTS TO AVOID AT THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

 

10 TESTS TO AVOID AT THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE

 

10teststoavoid

 

10 TESTS TO AVOID AT THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE

 

 

Bulletin, doctors are warning that some of the medical tests routinely taken by Americans do more harm than good, waste billions of health care dollars annually and could endanger your health or even your life.

Some of the tests that are overused by prestigious panels of doctors include annual Pap smears, regular PSA tests, regular EKG’s, and even routine yearly physicals.  Doctors are saying that the overuse of such tests can lead to dangerous side effects, pain, radiation exposure, unnecessary surgery, even death.

 

The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation asked more than 50 medical societies—of family

doctors, oncologists, cardiologists, and other specialists—to identify tests and treatments that are often unnecessary.  AARP is a consumer partner with this campaign, called Choosing Wisely.

 

Another Choosing Wisely partner is John Santa, M.D., medical director at Consumer Reports, and he says that these screening tests often yield false-positive results that lead to a spiral of unneeded invasive procedures, medications and even surgeries.  If you have symptoms or certain risk factors, these tests can be valuable—even life-saving—but they’re performed on far too many people.

 

Nuclear stress tests, and other imaging tests, after heart procedures:

 

Many people who have had a heart bypass, stent or other heart procedures want to be reassured that their hearts are functioning properly, which is understandable because they feel as if they’ve had a brush with death.  A common way to reassure their patients is for doctors to perform tests like a nuclear stress test or other tests, to make sure their hearts are beating strongly.  But according to William Zoghni, M.D., performing these tests every year or even every two years in patients without symptoms rarely results in any change in treatment.  “More testing is not necessarily better,” he says. In fact, it can lead to unnecessary invasive procedures and excessive radiation exposures without helping the patient improve.

 

Instead, patients and doctors should focus on what does make a difference in keeping the heart healthy: managing weight, quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure and increasing exercise.

 

Yearly electrocardiogram or exercise stress test

 

A survey of nearly 1,200 people ages 40 to 60 who have never had heart diseases or any symptoms found that 39% had an EKG over the previous five years, and 12% said they had an exercise stress test.  The problem with this is that someone at low risk for heart disease could be 10 times more likely to get a false-positive result than to find a real problem, says John Santa of Consumer Reports, which conducted the 2015 survey.

This could lead to unnecessary heart catheterization and stents.  Instead, have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked.  If you’re at risk for diabetes, have your blood glucose level checked, as well.

 

PSA to screen for prostate cancer

 

Cancer is always scary, but the PSA test often finds slow-growing cancers that won’t kill men.  “The evidence is extremely convincing that in a man with usual risk and no symptoms, the PSA test causes more harm than benefit,” says Reid Blackwelder, M.D., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

 

He also says that as a result of the test, men often have ultrasounds, repeat lab tests and even biopsies for a problem that isn’t there—an estimated 75% of tests that show high PSA levels turn out to be false alarms.  When men do have treatments like surgery or radiation, 20-40% end up with impotence, incontinence or both.

 

Not all doctors agree with AAFP’s recommendation against routine PSA screening, but many agree that the test is overused.  Even the American Urological Association, which supports the use of PSA testing, says that it should be considered mainly for men age 55 to 69.  The American Society of Clinical Oncology recommends against PSA testing for prostate cancer screening in men with no symptoms when they are expected to live less than 10 years.  A recent study published in the journal Cancer found that Medicare spent almost $450 million a year on PSA screenings, one-third of which was for men over the age of 75.

 

PET scan to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease

 

Until recently, the only way to accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s was during an autopsy.  In the last few years, doctors have begun using PET scans with a radioactive dye to look for beta-amyloid protein that  is found in the brains of people with the disease.  Although this test has promising use for research, there are serious questions about whether it should be used on those who complain of fuzzy memory.  PET scans in older people consistently find the protein in 30 to 40% of people whose memories are just

fine.

 

Although beta-amyloid plaques are present in all of those who have Alzheimer’s, it’s not known if or when everyone with the plaques will develop the disease, says Peter Herscovitch, M.D., president-elect of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

 

What’s more, even if a PET scan could accurately diagnose the disease, it’s untreatable.  If you’re concerned about your memory, the better course would be a complete medical evaluation by a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating dementia.  Many other medical conditions, like stokes, thyroid deficiencies and vitamin deficiencies can cause the same symptoms, and these are treatable.

 

X-ray, CT scan or MRI for lower back pain

 

Unfortunately, back pain is incredibly common—80% of people will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.  It can be both excruciating and debilitating.  Of course, people want to know what’s wrong with them.  Here’s the catch:  The best imaging machines in the world often can’t tell them what’s wrong.  Many older people with no back pain can have terrible-looking scans.

 

Most back pain goes away in about a month and imaging tests tend to lead to expensive procedures that often don’t help recovery.  One study found that people who got an MRI during the first month of their back pain were 8 times more likely to have surgery than those who didn’t have an MRI—but they didn’t get relief any faster.  If you don’t feel better in a month, talk to your doctor about other options like physical therapy, yoga or massage.  But if you’re experiencing numbness or weakness in your legs, you have a history of cancer or you have had a recent infection, see your doctor as soon as you can.

 

Yearly Pap tests

 

The yearly Pap smear is a common part of women’s health checklists, but it doesn’t need to be.

Women at average risk only need them every three years, since cervical cancer generally takes 10 to 20 years to develop.  If women have also had negative tests for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is now known to cause the cancer, they only need a Pap test along with the HPV test every five years.  And women older than 65 who have had several normal Pap tests in a row can stop having them altogether.  Do note, however, that a yearly visit to an ob-gyn stays on the to-do list.

 

Bone density scan for women before age 65 and men before age 70

 

For the estimated 10 million people—mainly women—in the U.S. who have osteoporosis, bone-strengthening medications can lower the chances of breaking a bone.  A bone density test for anyone over the age of 70 is unnecessary.   You can no longer prevent osteoporosis at this age.

 

But many experts argue that for those age 50 to 65 who have osteopenia—mild bone loss—testing and subsequent drug prescriptions may be a waste of time and money also.

Not only is the risk of fracture often low, medications like Fosamax (alendronate) and Boniva (ibandronate) have been linked to throat or chest pain, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, muscle pain, bone loss in the jaw and thigh-bone fractures.  And there’s scant evidence that people with osteopenia get much benefit from the drugs.

 

To help keep your bones strong, try walking and weight-bearing exercises, says Blackwelder.  Get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet.  If you smoke, quit.

 

Follow-up ultrasounds for small ovarian cysts

 

Many women receive repeated ultrasounds to verify that ovarian cysts have not become cancerous, but current research says that these tests are not necessary.  For one thing, premenopausal women have harmless ovarian cysts regularly.  For another, about 20% of postmenopausal women also develop harmless cysts.

 

“The likelihood of these small simple cysts ever becoming cancer is exceedingly low,” says Deborah Levine, M.D., chair of the American College of Radiology Commission on Ultrasound and a professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School.

In postmenopausal women, only cysts larger than 1 centimeter in diameter need a follow-up ultrasound.  For premenopausal women, who typically have benign cysts every monthly when they ovulate, cysts smaller than 3 centimeters aren’t even worth mentioning in the radiologist’s report, Levine says.

 

Colonoscopy after age 70

 

Most people should have screening for colon cancer at age 50 and then every 5 to 10 years after that, if the first test is normal.  By age 70—if you’ve always had normal colonoscopies—you can stop taking this test altogether.  That should be good news, because a colonoscopy can cause serious complications in older people.

 

“Just the preparation for colonoscopy can be exceptionally harsh,” says James Goodwin, M.D., director of the Sealy Center on Aging at University of Texas Medical Branch, who studies overuse of colonoscopies.  Some patients become incontinent or experience weeks of pain, diarrhea and constipation.

 

In worst cases, the procedure can perforate the colon.  Despite such risks, recent studies have found that substantial numbers of people over 75, even over 85, are still getting screening colonoscopies.

 

To protect your colon, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains for fiber.  Cut down on fatty foods, red meat and processed meats.  Lose weight if you’re overweight and exercise.

 

Sound familiar?  It should, because that’s the best advice for protecting the rest of your body—and mind—as well.

 

Yearly physical

 

There’s little evidence that having an annual checkup can keep you healthy.  Many tests that doctors regularly perform—to diagnose anemia, liver disease or urinary tract infections, for example—don’t make sense unless there’s a reason to suspect a problem.  “A healthy 52-year-old does not need to see the doctor once a year,” says Jeremy Sussman, M.D., an internist for the VA system and assistant professor at the University of Michigan who was on the Societof General Internal Medicine task force for making the ChoosingWisely recommendation.

 

“We certainly don’t think people should never see doctors—quite the opposite.  We question the value of seeing someone for the sake of seeing someone.”  Your specific needs should determine how often you go to the doctor’s office, he adds.  If you have an illness that needs treatment, you should see your physician.  And do talk to your doctor about how often you need to have your blood pressure and cholesterol tested.  “Our real point is, don’t do these things for the sake of a calendar,” he says. “Do them for the sake of your health.”

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-WELL

Healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

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

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr M Williams

312-972-9311 ( Well)

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

 

Healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

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

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS Telehealth

 

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.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr M Williams

312-972-9355 ( WELL)

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

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

 

 

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

The 4 Words holding us back from Happiness.

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS Telehealth

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.”

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr M Williams

312-972-9311 ( Well)

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

 

Healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

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.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr Mark Williams

312-972-Well

Healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

Foods, Uncategorized

SPINACH FRITTATA

Health and Wellness Associates
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.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr Jay Jaranson

Dr Gail Gray

312-972-9355

Healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

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

 

 

 

 

 

Foods, Uncategorized

CHICKEN CACCIATORE

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

 

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.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr Jay Jaranson

Dr Gail Gray

312-972-9355 (WELL)

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

Healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com