IDENTIFYING AND HANDLING STRESS IS A KEY TO GOOD HEALTH
According to the American Psychological Association, 54 percent of Americans report that they are concerned with the level of stress they deal with on a daily basis. What’s more, one in four workers have taken a mental health day off to cope with stress. It may be something that people can’t completely avoid, but it’s better for an individual’s overall health if they can identify the stress, teach themselves to remain composed, and combat it.
“Under pressure, feeling trumps thinking – we cannot think when we’re swamped with feeling,” explains Kimberly McKenna, a family systems specialist, coach, and Director of the Center for Family Leadership at the Oceanside Institute. “People need to teach themselves to identify it and react to it in an appropriate way.”
When people are under stress, there is a transformation in there behavior. Their thinking becomes rigid, they feel hopeless and often look for immediate relief, and many turn to food or drugs for that relief. Identifiable stress signals in others often come across in the form of criticism, increased sensitivity, being defensive, impatience, being dramatic, and pointless arguments.
“Emotional stress is contagious,” says McKenna. “But one calm, composed person can change a whole system of connected people.”
Staying composed under stress is the best route to take. Just how do you do it? “Always separate facts from feelings,” says McKenna. Other things people can do to work on their composure include:
- Keep their focus on the big picture and the long term
- Think through problems in a clear-headed, open-minded way
- Gather as many facts as possible in order to see situation accurately and realistically
- Identify their convictions, principles, and beliefs that apply to the situation
- Allow others to have strong feelings without catching them or trying to change them
- Choose a response or action based on your best thinking
“It’s important that people have a balance between work, life and health, and that they take care of themselves in all those areas,” adds McKenna. “Regaining your composure automatically mitigates feelings and symptoms of stress.”
The healthy route for individuals to take is learn to identify their stressors: the people, times and situations that bring them stress. Then, when they are feeling stressed, they have to find ways to work through it, like doing yoga, breathing exercises, taking a break, going for a walk, or phoning a friend for a relaxing conversation.
RELIEVE WORK STRESS AND TENSION WITH FOUR DAHN YOGA EXERCISES
Does sitting at the computer for hours make your body ache and your mind tired? After lunch, do you feel drowsy sitting at your desk? Do long meetings wear you out and drain your energy? You are not alone, people in offices across American experience this daily. The good news is that there is something you can do to get relief – Dahn Yoga.
At times like these, Ilchi Lee (http://www.ilchi.com), president of the University of Brain Education, located in South Korea, recommends, “Try a few simple Dahn Yoga (http://www.dahnyoga.com) energy-restoring exercises. They can generate vitality in the body, bring clarity to the mind, and develop the mental stamina for long periods of clear and creative thinking.”
To follow the exercises, simply start here:
1. Abdominal Breathing. Take deep breaths with your abdomen to provide your body and brain with sufficient oxygen. This releases the spine’s tension, relaxes the central nervous system, fills the brain and body with vitality, facilitates digestion, and eases drowsiness.
2. Exhale through the Mouth. Our breathing deepens when we have adequately exhaled the air in our lungs. In eliminating stagnant energy with each exhalation, your body and brain relax.
3. Spread Arms to Open Chest. Sitting at your desk, your shoulders can become stiff and head warm. Unable to circulate throughout the body, energy stagnates in your head. Spreading wide your arms makes your energy pass through your chest and go throughout your body, which revitalizes your brain.
4. Neck Rotations. Neck and shoulder stiffness hinders the blood and oxygen flows to the brain, keeping you from having a clear head. By slowing rotating your neck, you refresh your neck and spine, and stimulate your central nervous system.
Leaving the office to go exercise sounds great, but isn’t always the easiest of options for people. Doing these simple Dahn Yoga steps will help relieve aches, pains, stress, and keep you going until the five o’clock whistle blows.
AGAVE'S TAKING OVER
by Bonnie Carroll
The hot and healthy alternative to anything that needs to be sweet is Agave. The latest line on the market is Wholemato Agave Organic Ketchup. It's great on tofu dogs or turkey burgers and is as sweet and delivious as old ketchup favorites that may be too sugury for your diet. For questions visit: www.wholemato.com
ACTIVE LIFE BEGINS (AGAIN) AT 40
AFTER MINIMALLY INVASIVE SPINE SURGERY
REPLACES TWO DISKS
Colorado mom moves without pain for the first time in five years
Kelly Weber’s tennis racket hasn’t been retired, after all.
A car accident five years ago destroyed two disks between three bones in Weber’s spine, bringing her active lifestyle to a sudden stop. But minimally invasive spine surgery performed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is giving the Greeley, Colo., resident a chance to return to the tennis court and ski slopes without the pain that made even sitting in a car a difficult task.
“I couldn’t extend my right leg because I’d have pain going down it. So I’d have to keep the steering wheel really close and my leg bent, and sometimes I couldn’t even drive because of the pain,” said the 40-year-old mother of two.
According to Weber, who used to play on a United States Tennis Association (USTA) league and is a water aerobics and water therapy instructor, after the accident, she was unable to even hug her then 3- and 5-year-old daughters in a normal way. “I’d have to sit down and then have them sit on my lap,” she remembers.
After the crash, Weber underwent a surgical procedure called lumbar laminectomy in which pieces of damaged disk material were removed to take pressure off a pinched nerve root exiting the spinal column. Disks act as firm cushions between the vertebrae.
Surgical fusion of the area – lumbar vertebrae 3, 4 and 5 – was discussed, but knowing that this would require a long period of recuperation and limited mobility, Weber wanted to wait until technology provided a less-invasive option for multiple-disk replacement.
While waiting, Weber sought pain relief and healing through medical treatment and a variety of complementary approaches, including massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, water therapy, and Bikram yoga. If nothing else, she reasoned, she would be in good physical condition when it was time to try surgery. Selective nerve root blocks, in which an anesthetic and a steroid were injected into the inflamed area, provided some short-term relief but no long-term solutions.
Last May, Weber learned of a minimally invasive operation to replace two or more adjacent disks. She researched the work of neurosurgeon Burak Ozgur, M.D., a minimally invasive spine surgery specialist who is one of the top surgeons experienced in the technique. Weber arranged a Nov. 2 consultation with Ozgur, who had joined Cedars-Sinai’s Department of Neurosurgery in October. Surgery was performed Nov. 14.
Ozgur said the procedure, which was completed in about three and a half hours, is performed in two steps. “First, we approach from the side, exactly 90 degrees from the spine, and access the two disk spaces. We remove the disks and put in ‘cages’ that contain bone graft materials and a protein that enhances and speeds up the fusion process. Then from the back, we insert screws and rods to stabilize the spine.”
Using a scope and special instruments, the entire operation is performed through four incisions, each measuring about an inch and a half. These are closed with melt-away stitches and glue, resulting in very small scars. More importantly, the procedure spares the muscle injury and significant blood loss that is common with traditional back surgery, along with the long, painful months of recuperation.
Weber was discharged from the hospital after three days and stayed with family in the Los Angeles area. Her mother returned with her to Greeley on Nov. 23, staying about three weeks for support.
“I cannot believe how good I felt right afterward. I went Christmas shopping. My mom had to make me slow down,” said Weber, noting that without constant pain she has more energy and feels “full of life.” Although she has to pace herself for a while, she expects to gradually resume her normal routine.
“I think this procedure is revolutionizing spinal fusions because it’s changing how people are recovering,” Ozgur said. “Compared to invasive surgery, the end result looks the same as far as the construct, but the recovery is much improved. And it can be an option for other indications, such as adult degenerative scoliosis, which is usually more complicated and involving more levels. I’ve done five- and six-level cases with this type of approach.”
Refresh, revitalize and moisturize your skin while you cleanse with derma e®’s luxuriously scented NEW Bath & Shower Gels. Each unique formula combines natural antioxidants and botanical extracts such as Olive, Green Tea and Aloe to help soothe and provide moisture to your skin. Available in: Melon & Ginger, Tangerine Burst and Pink Grapefruit.
THINKPRODUCTS GATHERS TOP NATURAL INDUSTRY LEADERS TO SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE ON CANCER PREVENTION TO BENEFIT SUSAN. G. KOMEN FOR THE CURE
COMMUNITY of Natural Industry Leaders and 32-Year Old Breast Cancer Survivor Appear in Groundbreaking DVD to Debut at Press Conference March 15, 2008 @ 4:30 p.m.
One of the nation’s largest natural nutrition bar companies in the U.S., and cause marketing partner to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, thinkproducts (www.thinkproducts.com), is making history by bringing together for the first time over 20 of the world’s top natural industry executives to create awareness about how a natural, healthy lifestyle positively affects disease prevention. thinkproducts is rallying this group of like-minded leaders who all help consumers live a vital life. Together they aim to reach a goal of $200K to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer research organization and prevention advocate. The natural industry leaders, along with Stephanie LaRue, a 32-year old breast cancer survivor who survived Metastatic stage 4 breast cancer by committing to a healthy lifestyle, will be featured in a press conference and DVD presentation on Saturday, March 15, 2008 at 4:30 pm at the Natural Products Expo West Show in Anaheim, CA. The press conference will precede the thinkVitality Fashion Show at 7 p.m. highlighting the nation’s most celebrated eco-friendly fashion designers.
The COMMUNITY of industry leaders consists of:
Aubrey Organics, Bossa Nova,Clean Eating Magazine,Delicious Living Magazine,Deborah Lindquist,Earth Footwear,Ecolution,Ecover,Fiji Water,Gabriel Cosmetics,Garden of Life,Giovanni Cosmetics,Guayaki Yerba Mate,Honeybee Gardens, ,c,Indigenous Design,ISI Brands,Kiss My Face,Koi Swimwear,Livity Outernational,Loudermilk, Inc.,Maggie’s Organics,Mineral Fusionosmetics,Natural Dentist,Nature's Way,New Hope,Nordic Naturals,Rainbow Light,Rainforest Native,Seventh Generation,Soy Basics,Stewart + Brown,thinkproducts,Tree of Life,Under the Canopy,UNFI,Whole Foods Market
thinkproducts, with this COMMUNITY of industry leaders, has made this thinkVitality Fashion Show possible and will prove that natural can not only be healthy but glamorous. The nation’s top eco fashion designers have been invited from Linda Loudermilk to Deborah Lindquist, Green Babies, Livity Outernational Indigenous Designs, Under the Canopy, Stewart+Brown, Koi Swimwear and Ecolution. Breast cancer survivors from the Orange Country Susan G. Komen for the Cure affiliate will walk the fashion show runway in designers’ creations made from thinkproducts’ bar wrappers.
According to Lizanne Falsetto, CEO of thinkproducts, “This united alliance of companies is unprecedented in the industry and reflects the core values of the natural products community, which is to help make the world a healthier place, naturally. Consumers need to better understand that what they eat, wear and how they live can help promote wellness and reduce their risk of disease or sustain themselves during their illness or cancer treatments. To date, breast cancer awareness has always been about early detection, traditional research and a pharmaceutical and surgery-based approach to slow the spread of the disease. This group of natural industry leader’s products and services promote holistic well-being while also preserving the health of the planet. I founded my company based on the ideal that nature provides us with the functional foods we need to live a life of true vitality. I am proud to have such an inspiring group of industry leaders in one place with aligned ideals; each are successful in achieving this in unique and diverse ways.”
A former model who believes that ‘thinking about what you eat” is the key to creating true vitality, thinkproducts CEO, Lizanne Falsetto put her money where her mouth is with the creation of the thinkThin Pink nutrition bar which raised $84,000 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure last October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. thinkproducts was one of the first “preventative” cause-marketing partners of Susan G Komen.
About thinkproducts: thinkproducts™ was founded by former international fashion model Lizanne Falsetto, who is a true believer in the healing and nourishing power of nature. Creator of all natural, convenient, great tasting, functional foods for people striving to live a life full of vitality and free of disease, thinkproducts was originally inspired by Lizanne’s goal to create food for those who "think about what they eat." thinkproducts includes high protein thinkThin™; raw fruit and nut thinkOrganic™; superfood-rich thinkGreen™; and think5™ ,made with 5 cups of fruits and vegetables. All thinkproducts are wheat/gluten free and designed to deliver powerful nutritional benefits. The company's commitment to vitality goes beyond food to support a vital cause - the prevention of breast cancer. A portion of the proceeds from every thinkThin Pink™ bar purchase is donated to Susan G Komen for the Cure. thinkproducts can be found in Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralph's, Target, and your local supermarket and independent natural and grocery retailers nation wide. thinkproducts can also be purchased directly from the company’s website, www.thinkproducts.com . thinkproducts is headquartered in Ventura, California, and is one of the largest independent companies in the nutrition bar category.
All Natural Sweetner
This is a great new all natural way to enjoy something sweet in your coffee, tea or cereal. It comes in a convenient serving jar, or individual take-along packages that come 50 to a package. There are 0 calories, no aftertast, no artificial ingredients, no sugar or sugar alcohol. 3 packages provide the same amount of soluble fiber as a serving of oatmeal or a slice of whole wheat bread! Visit: www.sweetfiber.net.
DURING MARCH'S AGE-RELATED
MACULAR DEGENERATION AWARENESS MONTH
EYECARE AMERICA AND MACULAR DEGENERATION
PARTNERSHIPASK SENIORS, "DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?"
National Non-profit Organizations Join Forces to Raise Awareness about
Age-related Macular Degeneration and Provide Free Eye Exams to Seniors
"Do You See What I See?" For seniors who suffer with an eye disease known as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) the answer is always, "No."
Picture this… a large black hole in the center of your sight that robs you from seeing complete images and eats away at your vision from the inside out. That is what happens for the 10 million Americans who suffer from AMD. AMD is a devastating eye disease and the leading cause of vision loss in people 65 years or older in the United States.
In honor of March's AMD Awareness Month, EyeCare America and Macular Degeneration Partnership are launching an awareness campaign for AMD called "Do You See What I See?" The campaign aims to raise awareness about AMD, its risk factors (age, race, family history) and its treatment options. For seniors who have not been diagnosed with AMD, the national organization would like to connect those people with a free eye exam through its AMD EyeCare Program.
People can call the toll-free helpline at 1-866-324-EYES (3937) anytime, for themselves and/or family members and friends to see if they qualify for a free eye exam.
This year-round program promotes annual eye exams for people 65 and older, raises awareness of AMD, provides the latest information about treatment options and low vision services, offers free AMD educational materials, and facilitates access to eye care. The eye exams will be provided by more than 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists across the US.
"There is no cure for AMD, but early detection and treatment may lessen severe vision loss and slow the progression of the disease," said William Tasman, MD, chair of EyeCare America's AMD EyeCare Program.
"AMD is a devastating eye disease that affects millions of Americans," said Judith Delgado, Partnership Director. "Early detection and treatment are critical. We are happy to partner with EyeCare America to raise awareness, provide critical information and support those dealing with the effects of macular degeneration and vision loss."
What is AMD?
AMD, also known as macular (MAK-yoo-lar) degeneration, means the central area of the retina known as the macula is loosing function. The retina is made up of layers of nerve cells that sense light and allow you to see.
Someone with macular degeneration might be able to see a clock, but not read the numbers, or when talking to you, not recognize your features. However, AMD usually does not damage the side vision, which is what one uses to get around without bumping into furniture or other objects.
What causes AMD?
Most people who get macular degeneration are over age 65. Some people but not all people lose their central vision slowly over many years. In 10 to 15 % of affected patients, vision loss is sudden if abnormal blood vessels leak fluid or blood under the retina.
The AMD EyeCare Program is designed for people at increased risk for AMD, but who have NOT been diagnosed and who :
- Are age 65 and older
- Are US citizens or legal residents
- Have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years
- Do not belong to an HMO or the VA
People can call the toll-free helpline at 1-866-324-EYES (3937) anytime, for themselves and/or family members and friends to see if they qualify for a free eye exam and care from one of EyeCare America's 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists nationwide and to request free AMD educational materials..
Callers who have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years and who are also at increased risk (age, race, family history) may be eligible to receive a comprehensive medical eye exam and, in most cases, up to one year of care at no out-of-pocket cost for any disease diagnosed during the initial exam.
Eyeglasses, medicines, hospital services and fees of other medical professionals are not included.
To supplement its award-winning referral program, EyeCare America has recently created a new website specifically designed to assist online users in learning more about eye problems such as AMD.
The site, eyecareamerica.org, contains up-to-date clinical information about AMD and other eye diseases reviewed by certified ophthalmologists (Eye MD’s) with links to current treatments and even an interactive tour of the eye's anatomy. Visitors can share important health topics with family and friends through a convenient email forward function and order free brochures that give in-depth information on treatment, tests/diagnosis, causes and risks factors for a wide variety of common eye diseases.
Other easy to use functions include online tools such as a vision simulator, which allows users to see how vision would be affected from common eye diseases, and informative videos, created by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, that will provide visitors with a complete interactive experience.
The AMD EyeCare Program is co-sponsored by Alcon, Inc., Bausch & Lomb, Inc., Genentech, Inc., Novartis Ophthalmics and Pfizer Ophthalmics.
About Macular Degeneration Partnership (MDP)
A program of the non-profit Discovery Eye Foundation, MDP is a patient education and outreach program designed to provide information, resources and support to patients and family members. The comprehensive website, AMD.org, educates visitors about age-related macular degeneration (AMD) research and treatments as well has information on how to cope with vision loss. The toll-free "warm line" (888-430-9898) connects callers with a knowledgeable professional who can answer questions, provide support and point the way to more resources. Discovery Eye Foundation also funds research on blinding eye disease at the laboratories of the University of California, Irvine and supports collaborative investigations around the world.
About EyeCare America
Established in 1985, EyeCare America, the public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is committed to the preservation of sight, accomplishing its mission through public service and education. EyeCare America provides eye care services to the medically underserved and for those at increased risk for eye disease through its corps of more than 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists dedicated to serving their communities. More than 90 percent of the care made available is provided at no out-of-pocket cost to the patients. EyeCare America includes programs for seniors, glaucoma, diabetes, AMD and children, and is the largest program of its kind in American medicine. Since its inception, EyeCare America has helped more than 860,000 people. EyeCare America is a non-profit program whose success is made possible through charitable contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. More information can be found at: www.eyecareamerica.org SELMA'S COOKIES are a healthy trans-fat free cookie choice for the entire family, and come in so many different flavors. Selma's has cookies for holidays, such as Easter, St. Pat's, Valentines Day, and more.
DERMA E® INTRODUCES NEW BATH & SHOWER
Refresh and revitalize your skin with derma e®’s new collection of three luxuriously scented Bath & Shower Gels. This premier collection continues to build on derma e®’s pioneer status and long history of formulating cutting-edge natural skincare products containing powerful antioxidants and beneficial botanicals.
These expertly formulated gels combine natural antioxidants and botanical extracts such as Olive, Green Tea and Aloe to help soothe and provide moisture for your skin. Each unique formula is designed to leave skin clean, refreshed and mildly fragrant.
- Melon & Ginger Bath & Shower Gel
This exotically scented, soothing formula thoroughly cleanses while natural ingredients such as Avena Sativa (Oat Extract), Chamomile, Olive and Aloe Vera help calm and heal skin.
- Tangerine Burst Bath & Shower Gel
This refreshing citrus scented formula washes away impurities leaving skin clean and revived while providing Ester C®, Olive and other botanicals for nourishment.
- Pink Grapefruit Bath & Shower Gel
This invigorating moisturizing formula is designed to cleanse, soften and mildly scent skin while ingredients such as Olive, Green Tea, Vitamin E and other herbs help recharge skin.
“These Bath & Shower Gels are not only a great extension to our skincare line with scents that compliment three or our existing Hand & Body Lotions, but they continue to reflect our high level of quality”, says David Stearn, President of derma e® Natural Bodycare.
All derma e® products maintain a gentle, paraben-free preservative system and fully recyclable packaging. The Bath & Shower Gels are free from petrolatum, phthalates, artificial colors and animal byproducts. They are also very reasonably priced at $8.50 for a sizeable 12 oz. container.
From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine
Dear EarthTalk: Everybody says stop using plastic bags, but what about all the plastic, cellophane, cardboard and other materials used for packaging the food itself? What can we do to reduce how much of this unnecessary stuff comes wrapped around our food? -- Sunil Sreedharan, Mumbai, India
Yes, food packaging is a big problem in North America as well as elsewhere around the world, with landfills filling up and recyclers facing a glut of materials to process. It’s hard to say just how much of the 130 million tons of paper, plastic and metals that get tossed or sorted for recycling in major U.S. cities is from food packaging, but the percentage is no doubt sizable. The main problem is in the psychology of marketing: Manufacturers know that products in big flashy-looking packages attract more buyers.
A 1994 European Union directive requires companies operating in its 27 member nations to take back and recycle (or otherwise deal with, taking the burden off of local communities) at least 60 percent of their packaging waste, including that used for food items. But no such “producer pays” laws, which provide incentive for manufacturers to cut back on waste to begin with, exist in the United States or Canada. As such, it falls to consumers to patronize stores and manufacturers that minimize packaging.
One way to take a bite out of packaging is to buy as much in bulk as your family can keep up with. It may take longer to get through that gigantic box of cereal you got at Costco, but think of all the cardboard and plastic your bulk purchase saved over buying several small boxes. Similarly, instead of sending the kids off to school every day with a new juice box in the lunch bag, how about a safe metal or plastic reusable, washable container that you can refill each morning from the gallon jug you keep in the fridge?
Another way to forego packaging is to reduce time spent in large supermarkets, where wasteful product packaging rules. Most natural foods stores have large bulk-buying sections so you can haul away in large paper or plastic bags the equivalent of many containers of beans, pastas, rice or other staples. Frequenting local farmers’ markets—armed with your reusable shopping tote, of course—is another way to keep food packaging out of your home. The website Local Harvest offers a free searchable database of farms across the U.S. that run Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs and participate in farmers’ markets.
It’s worth noting that we tend to toss way too much food packaging where a quick rinse would make the same cans, jars and jugs useful storage containers or quality recycling fodder. Soup cans, for example, can easily be recycled into new steel and are collected universally by municipal recycling programs. And while you’re buying soup, opt for the family size cans and save leftovers instead of buying single-serving containers. Even when packaging material is recyclable, there’s no reason to waste it, as even recycling uses resources and costs money.
Beyond shopping and sorting more responsibly, individuals also have the power of their voices to pressure food makers to cut back on packaging. You can also try to persuade your elected officials to look into the feasibility of enacting “producer pays” laws in your community, city or state. And you can talk to co-workers, friends, relatives and others about the importance of buying in bulk and reducing waste