How To STOP Beating Yourself Up!

Ever been in a place where all of life's standard issue strain has literally hit the fan and you sink into a place of believing that Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, your Yoga or meditation teacher, and countless others are so much more qualified, prepared, capable of getting through this life smoothly, and you wish you could too?

We all sink there sometimes. That quagmire pulls you farther down into the depths as each event happens. Your best friend's dog dies, you get the flu and writers block at the same time, and then your internet goes out for six days... Sometimes life is not easy.

But it's not easy for Oprah and Deepak either. It is easy, when we are suffering, to look at someone we admire and think that they never let themselves get down like this, but, in reality, we're all human. And being human means that sometimes, despite our best efforts, life gets very, very difficult, and we can feel weak, sad, or angry. 

That was me last week. Trying to run a business is near to impossible when you have no internet for six days!!!!! And that was just the tip of my iceberg, so to speak. Life on this planet is chock full of adventures and disasters at times.

When times like this hit, I force myself to meditate more - even though there are a thousand things my mind thinks I should be doing instead. Even if I only take a ten minute self Reiki break, I do it anyway; every little bit helps. And, since we are all human, what also helps, is remembering a story my brother shared with me several years ago. I'll share it with you now to make my point.

This brother has lived in New York City for many years. He, like most people in the city, rides the subway to get everywhere. It's crowded, people are often unfriendly, angry, in a hurry, late for an appointment, etc. On one particular day, my brother was attempting to share positive emotions with those around him, which is his habit, by making eye contact or saying hello, but it was really, really difficult. There was lots of angry energy around and he was getting down on himself for not being able to keep his own positivity up.

He thought he recognized a man standing on the platform near him, and was wracking his brain to remember who it was. This man also looked pretty angry, which, it occurred to him later was one of the reasons my brother, at first, didn't recognize him. When it hit him who it was, he felt much better about his own situation. It was Deepak Chopra.  

If Deepak, with his four hours of daily meditation, his Yoga practice, and everything that he does for himself and others can fall into that quagmire once in a while, then we needn't beat ourselves up about sometimes being in the same position!

So, smile, think of this story when you feel overwhelmed by life's ups and downs, and take care of you! 

Here's a little  video of a calming eye massage. It only takes a few minutes and can help you come back to your sane, centered self.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Do You Trust The FDA?

 

What do you think of when someone mentions the FDA?  Do you believe that they are a watchdog agency that truly looks after our best interests? Or do you, like me, think the FDA has been laying down on the job for the last few decades?

Here's some interesting news that you may have heard this month. The FDA has banned 19 chemicals that they have declared are no more effective than soap and water for cleaning our hands, and may cause hormone damage. Well, it's about time!!!!! Many of us have been warning our customers/clients not to use products with these chemicals for years. NOW even the FDA has admitted the truth...

The way these chemicals cause us hormone trouble is by disrupting our hormone levels. These chemicals look similar to the hormones produced by our bodies, that's why they are called "endocrine disruptors." These endochrine disruptors can prevent the production or inhibit the action of the hormones that are normally made in our bodies (thyroid hormone, insulin, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and others). So, when these endocrine disruptors bind to our hormone receptors, they send incorrect signals and we end up either getting double the amount of hormones we need, or far less than what we need. YIKES!

The problem that I have with this FDA ruling is that our good old FDA is giving manufacturers ANOTHER FULL YEAR to change their products. This is not acceptable for me. Many reliable, conscientious manufacturers began replacing these harmful chemicals back in 2013. At that time, the FDA issued a proposed rule because data showed that long-term exposure to the active ingredients triclosan (liquid soaps), triclocarban (bar soaps), and others, could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects. Under the proposed rule, manufacturers were required to provide the agency with additional data on the safety and effectiveness of these ingredients if they wanted to continue selling the antibacterial products containing those ingredients. This included data from clinical studies demonstrating that these products were superior to non-antibacterial washes in preventing human illness or reducing infection. Manufacturers did not provide the necessary data to establish safety and effectiveness for the 19 active ingredients addressed in the final ruling released this month.

ALSO, in response to comments submitted by big manufacturers like Henkel (Dial soaps), the FDA has delayed ruling on three more ingredients used in consumer wash products: benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride and chloroxylenol (PCMX), to allow for the development and submission of new safety and effectiveness data. Antibacterial washes containing these ingredients can still be marketed during this time while data are being collected. I can tell you that these will not be on my shelf. I'm not waiting another couple of years for the FDA to ban them and then give big manufacturers another year to remove them...

Here is a full list of the banned ingredients - print it out, add the three additional listed above, and then check your soaps and cleaners. Toss out any that have these ingredients and replace them with products that do not have those ingredients.

Some of the companies that have never used, or have already removed these chemicals from their soaps, are:

Desert Essence 

Pure Haven Essentials

Dr. Bronners soaps

Penny Lane Organics

Some of these soaps are available at both Vitacost.com and ThriveMarket.com for less money than other stores. Always a good idea to check out the prices.

I have used Desert Essence soaps myself since researching for my bestselling book "Beautiful Sexy Skin For Women Over 40."

Here's a video I did for the release of that book which tells you some of the ingredients in your facial cleansers and moisturizers that are harmful. You may be surprised at what you are rubbing into your face!

Now I'll be checking my laundry detergent and other cleaning products to make sure that they also do not contain any of the 19 banned chemicals and the three that are under consideration. I'll keep you posted!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Today's post may be considered controversial, but I feel the need to talk about wine. Specifically, all the women who are being lead to believe by the wine industry that they deserve "Mommie's little helper," after a long day taking care of children, home, work, etc.

Every day there are memes that show up on my Facebook feed designed to encourage women to drink alcohol - all of them are shared by women... It's been a very long time since I have liked, laughed at, or shared any of them. Here's why.

So many women that I know bought into the whole idea that a little alcohol is good for your health, or that your mental health needs a glass of wine or two, or a bottle. Most of these women either now participate in AA or are suffering the effects of alcoholism but not seeking help yet. Some of them have battled throat and/or breast cancer. This is sad and unacceptable. To me, it's the exact same thing as when the tobacco industry did not share the information that cigarettes cause cancer, emphysema, and other lung diseases for so many years. Yes, you heard that right, THE SAME THING.

At last some physicians are now speaking out and sharing the information that alcohol CAUSES seven types of cancer.

"Epidemiologic evidence supports a causal association of alcohol consumption and cancers of the oropharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, and female breast, says Jennie Connor, MB, ChB, MPH, from the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, in Dunegin, New Zealand. In short, alcohol causes cancer."

Dr. Connor goes on to say that this is not news. Many cancer treatment/research facilities have long known and listed these as alcohol related cancers. The alcohol industry uses words like related, linked to, risk of, instead of stating the truth, which is that alcohol causes these cancers. According to the research that she studied, greater than 50 grams (1.609 ounces) of alcohol daily raises your risk for mouth, pharynx and esophageal cancer 4-7 times. Less than that for the rest of the above cancers. That amount is a little over a shot of alcohol and according to the National Consumers League, "one 12-oz. beer has as much alcohol as a 1.5-oz. shot of whiskey, or a 5-oz. glass of wine."

Another  report from the American Public Health Association back in 2013 concluded that 3.5% of cancer deaths in the US are caused by alcohol. This report talks about more than two drinks a day.

So, my point here is, not only can you become addicted to alcohol and join the millions of others in AA, you are also taking a risk for developing certain types of cancer. Having witnessed my brother's radiation/chemo treatment for his throat cancer a few years back, and the permanent damage that the followup surgery caused, believe me when I say you don't wish that on your worst enemy. AND, I will add that at that time, the Dana Faber Cancer Center listed alcohol as one of the causes of throat cancer.

You are probably wondering if I drink? Well, as these studies and more information has come out in recent years, I have been reducing the amount of wine I drink. Having been a lightweight in that department who couldn't handle anything stronger than wine all of my life, I now limit myself to drinking a glass of red wine with the special dinners that Ned and I cook together on weekends, or holiday parties. Perhaps some day I will not have any at all, but for now, that feels right for me.

What I ask is that you begin to think about whether you truly want that glass of wine (or other alcoholic beverage) or not. Think about the risk you are taking, think about your family and friends. Simply think before you drink. Then you will discover what feels right for you, and not what the media is pushing. Take care of you!

And if you are wondering about the news stories you have seen touting the benefits of drinking a small amount of alcohol daily, I can find no reliable scientific evidence supporting that. In fact, the Mayo Clinic states "The evidence about the possible health benefits of alcohol isn't certain, and alcohol may not benefit everyone who drinks." In short, the few possible benefits do not outweigh the risks.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Does Menopause NEVER End?!

After menopause some symptoms hang on or come back to visit. I’ve recently received some questions about why this happens and what can be done to alleviate these symptoms. Here are some useful practices that can bring balance back to your life.

Extra adipose (fat) tissue can act as an endocrine organ, producing more estrogen in the body, keeping it in circulation even when ovarian production stops at menopause. So, regular exercise and eating mindfully help to reduce that extra fat around your mid section, and then your body is not encouraged to overproduce those hormones. This is especially important for women because studies show that weight gain is a risk factor for breast cancer after menopause. An American Cancer Society study found that women who gained 20–30 pounds after age twenty were 40% more likely to develop breast cancer after menopause than women who gained no more than 5 pounds. Keep that fat away!

Include phytoestrogens in your diet. Phytoestrogens are plant-based and they help balance hormones naturally. These are found in soy foods, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, bean sprouts, and legumes such as garbanzo beans and peas. Now I know the press has been full of controversy about soy products, but as I posted last year, I have not found any scientific studies showing that eating food containing soy is harmful. I believe that a small amount of soy is beneficial. However, I do not recommend soy supplements as there has not been enough research as to the effects of taking these compounds in such high doses. Traditional soy foods such as tofu, edamame, tempeh, and miso are a part of my own diet.  

Eat your broccoli. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kohlrabi contain a substance called indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is metabolized in the body to produce diindolylmethane (DIM). Both of these substances help to regulate estrogen and, BONUS, they’ve been shown to have some anti-cancer effects, particularly for breast cancer.

The Ayurvedic herb shatavari has been used for centuries to reduce menopausal hot flashes, irritability and mood swings. Part of the asparagus family, the herb can have a cooling effect for those of us who are “too hot” for our own comfort! As with any herb, though, if you have allergies, please go slowly at first to make sure that you don’t have an allergic reaction.

As little as fifteen minutes of deep breathing twice daily has been shown, in several clinical trials, to decrease hot flashes and night sweats as well as improve your sense of well-being. Additionally, meditation helps decrease stress hormones and allows the body to return to homeostasis as well as calm the mind. As far back as the 1970’s Dr. Richard Benson proved the “relaxation response” reduced hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. My own research has shown that his relaxation response is exactly the Yoga Nidra, or deep relaxation, that is done at the end of most Yoga classes. This guided meditation has been shown through many scientific studies to benefit over-all health and well being in addition to reducing hot flashes.

If you are interested in a fabulous program of menopause symptom relief, personally designed for you, click this link for my coaching program.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Can Exercise Help You Avoid Knee Surgery?

Another Article, this week, about knee injuries in Baby Boomers, and how exercise can help many of us avoid surgery.

I won't go on a rant about how Western medicine is all about the money generated for big pharma and unnecessary surgeries. Instead, I will tell you about a knee strengthening exercise that I have been teaching my clients and students for the last few years which has helped many of them avoid knee surgery. At the very least, it can reduce pain and strengthen your knees.

When I showed this exercise to my friend Dr. Carolyn Dean, several years back, she termed them, "Super Squats," and I've kept that name because the results are, "SUPER!"

As the above article says, meniscal tears affect many of us at some point in our lives. A meniscal tear happens when there is damage to the cushioning that surrounds the knee. Most orthopedic surgeons agree that the size of the tear matters, but for many of us Baby Boomers, this happens after many years of normal wear and tear, and not due to a football injury.

What I have found is that the exercises we are given, like normal squats, strengthen the muscles above or below your knee, but not many strengthen the muscles on the sides of the knee. This is the key problem; we need an exercise that does both. Voila, Super Squats to the rescue! In case you haven't figured that out yet, I love this exercise!!!! I think it should be taught to kids in school as part of the regular PE curriculum, for healthier knees as we age.

Everyone that does this exercise consistently improves the condition and strength of their knees. It takes only a few minutes to do and just about everyone can do it, with or without modifications.

Super Squats strengthen ALL the muscles surrounding your knee. This makes the knee more stable so that ordinary walking does not wear or tear as much; also, when you step off a curb or onto an uneven surface, the knee is more stable and less likely to twist out of alignment.

I recommend doing this at least three times a week. If you are currently in pain, try it daily for a couple of weeks, and then, after you feel better, go to three times a week.

super squats side view

Also, if you have not done a squat before, please check these photos for placement of your feet to avoid over extension of your knees. Toes are above my foot. Make sure yours are too!

 

 

 

If you'd like to work with me privately, for this and other exercises, let's set up a time to chat about your personal health and wellness, what you'd like to achieve, and how to get there! Hit reply or send me an e-mail here.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Help! I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up!

Hope all US residents had a fabulous 4th of July celebration! Did you include some healthy recipes from my previous posts? Grilled Peaches is always a good one for summer holidays.

Today I am sharing a short video of the best way to get up (and down) from the floor. So many people in my classes for seniors say they can't get down on the floor because they'll never be able to get back up, yet when I show them how simple and safe it can be, they have no problem!

If you're afraid of getting stuck down on the floor, or if you know someone who is, please take a look, and share:

Notice that my feet are a several inches apart. I've seen some people try this with their feet too close together, which makes it harder to balance, so make sure yours are apart.

You simply reverse the pattern to get down onto the floor.

Now there's no reason that you can't take a Yoga or Pilates class! Join us at the Claire Teague Sr. Center, in Great Barrington, or the West Springfield Sr. Center! We have a lot of fun AND get strong in the process!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Try Peaches For Healthy Summer Grilling!

Nothing beats a 4th of July grill fest! 

Someone always brings a pie or cake decorated as a flag...

BUT, my favorite is grilled peaches. So sweet, juicy and delicious!

Try them and you'll be hooked too!

Grilled Peaches - Yummmmmmm!

Ingredients:

4 ripe peaches, cut in half with the pit removed

2 TBSP Butter

2 tsp cinnamon

2 TBSP coconut sugar

Preparation:

In a small saucepan, heat the butter, sugar and cinnamon until it boils. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes.

Make sure you grill is very hot and oiled, then brush the peach halves with the butter and sugar mixture

And gill for about three minutes on each side. Yummmmmm!

Each serving has approx : 160 calories (70 from fat), 8g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 1g protein, 19g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 17g sugar), 20mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium

If you want to be really decadent at 4th of July or a birthday party - serve the peaches over coconut ice cream  Wow!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Mid Year Goal Recap

Well, it's mid June - that means 2016 is more than half over. How are you doing on your goals for this year? Have you completed some of them?

What I have noticed lately is that it's just about impossible to meet new goals when life is buzzing along with more responsibilities than one can handle. I have my garden, which takes up a lot of time in spring and summer. The lawn (what little is left) needs mowing often. I have my work, graduations, summer parties, and I live on a lake so it's nice to get down there for a swim or to watch the sunset over the water...

Here's an idea I started about six weeks ago, and so far it's working for me. You may want to give this a try.

I have a checklist of five habits that I want to make a part of my daily routine. Things that I find myself letting slip sometimes, like taking my morning AND evening vitamins, getting more aerobic exercise, filling the tea kettle at night before bed, etc. I started with five items and each day checked them off when they were done. I also have an accountability partner that checks in with me to help keep me on track. After about five weeks, three of my habits had become ingrained and I now do them regularly - even when travelling!

Now, you may not think that filling the tea kettle before bed, so that I only need to turn it on in the morning on my way to the bathroom, is a big deal. But I knew that it would make me feel better to be more prepared for my day and I also knew that a couple of the items had to be simple so I could get them down pat in a month. It worked. Now I've added three more items to replace the three that are routine and I'll keep going with these five for several weeks until they also become routine.

Science shows that it takes about 30 days to form a new habit, so be sure to give yourself enough time.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Want Younger Looking Skin? Of Course You Do!

It's been a while since I wrote Beautiful Sexy Skin For Women Over 40, and since then I've found another natural product that I really love, which I'd like to share with you today.

A couple of months ago I began to use BADGER Damascus Rose Face Oil, and I fell in LOVE right away, with the smell and the way it made my face feel!  At first, I didn't notice much difference in skin tone though, but I loved how it made me feel. In the last couple of weeks, however, I've been told three times, that I look younger. I started paying attention to my face, and, sure enough, the skin tone is more even, wrinkles are less evident, and there are no dry patches at all!  WOW!  Hard to find a better recommendation than that. Badger is the name of the company and Damascus Rose Face Oil is the name of this fabulous product. I have found it at Vitacost, Thrive Market, and, of course, on the Badger web site.

As we know, what works for me doesn't necessarily work for you. Every BODY is different, but this one is priced right, so give it a try!

If you haven't seen this video on moisturizers, take a look at what you may be putting on your face...

While you are looking at Badger, check out their Bug Balm. That is what I originally purchased from the company, as it smells good, is chemical free, and works!  Best mosquito and other bug repellent I have found. Believe me, Otis has mosquitoes that can pick you up and carry you away! If it works here, it will work anywhere! Let me know how you like it!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Gardening Causing A Pain In Your Back? RELAX!

I am excited to say that I have planted my garden this year BEFORE Memorial Day! Can't remember ever doing that before; hope that means an early and fruitful harvest...

May is the month for gardening in the Berkshires. And, once again this year, most of my friends and neighbors are walking around with stiff backs from all the weeding, tilling, planting, etc. Each spring I find time to remind everyone of the single most important way to help your back when you know you have done too much - RELAX!

This is the only position which will relax all the muscles along your spine at the same time. Do it every day for at least 5 minutes to reduce that tension and give your back a break. You'll be glad you did!

relaxation pic - me

Make sure that your butt is right up against the couch, with your calves resting on the seat of the couch. If your neck is arched up, you can place a small pillow or folded towel under your head (not under the neck) so your neck is also resting. For more information, or to purchase my Amazon bestselling book STOP Back Pain, click HERE!

Please take time to remember the reason for this holiday. Stop during your activities, for a moment of silence, for all those who have given their lives so that we can live free and safe!

Wishing you a happy and safe Memorial Day!

Best of Health,

Kathi

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