Category Archives: wellness

The Politics of Clean

I find it fascinating and yes, disturbing, when I look at all of the politics and greed that goes into the concept of ‘clean’.  We want clean homes.  That goes without saying.   But at what cost?

The aisles of the grocery store are lined with products to clean your dishes, your floors, your cabinets, your glass, your toilets, your sinks, your furniture, Cleaning Productsyour clothing and so much more.   For now, we won’t even go into cleaning your face, your body and hair.  How many people really stop to read the labels and even if they do, how many among us are chemists who can decode the actual language on the labels and what it represents?

In my opinion, EWG.org’s database is the most helpful of all one-stop web sites when it comes to deciding if a product is harmful.  I do wish they would put out a cleaning products app for phones.  They have one for food which is helpful, though.  So it is left up to me to do my homework before I leave home.   I highly recommend EWG, though. They’re one of the great watchdogs out there between us and the governments, chemical companies and other entities that really do not care about our health.

Cleaning products can contain dangerous toxins and poisons.  They can harm your home and they can harm you.   Simply inhaling some products can make you ill on the spot.  Cleaning GlovesOddly enough, many people don’t think of their skin as a source of exposure but the truth is, whatever you touch will go internal almost immediately.  Thus it is important to keep most household cleaning items away from your skin.

As with GMOs and other toxins, the producers of these products will go to great lengths to keep you in the dark as to the dangers that go hand-in-hand with their products.  But then, hey, these are chemical companies the same as Montsanto and Dow and other well-known dangerous corporations.

Our politicians in Washington are constantly in contact with chemical company lobbyists who go to great lengths to circumvent proper labeling.  These politicians have the power to stop labeling bills or to add pork to important labeling legislation in order to do as their ‘lobbyist’ handlers ask.  The truth is, there is very little that you can trust about most all of our household products.

The chemical companies really try hard to win you over, though.  Trusting a product has nothing to do with it’s  beautiful clear blue color or the pleasing shape of the bottle or for that matter, even the scent.   A case in point?  Glade!  This collection of air freshening products is about as toxic as it comes!  S C Johnson and Company is the owner and while claiming total transparency, they are far from transparent and even downright dishonest.

Now, when you mix a toxic cocktail of these poisonous cleaning ingredients, your home becomes a sealed chamber of chemicals that can harm, even kill you, your family and your pets.  Yet none of the pretty labels in the cleaning aisle give a hint as to the true dangers within.

SO, I go for the safe alternatives.  I like using vinegar whenever possible.  It is the best glass cleaner around.  My mom had us clean our own bedroom windows regularly with vinegar and water and newspaper.  It is also good for floors, glassware, counters, coffee carafes and other kitchen utensils.  My husband uses the classic vinegar / water / newspaper combo to clean windows on the car.

When it comes to laundry, I go straight to EWG’s list.   Just look at how many truly dangerous detergents are sold.  And remember, when you use these detergents, you are putting these chemicals right next to your skin!   I have been using Green Shield Organic Laundry Detergent, HE Elite Care, Lavender for quite some years now.   It is ‘A’ rated and I have to admit, I’m a lavender addict, even though I never end up smelling it on our clothing after using the vinegar. I chose this because it is fairly easy to obtain via Amazon.   Our local stores have very few that are truly safe.

I buy the large jugs of white vinegar at the market and pour that into the fabric softener dispenser in my washing machine for all loads.  It takes away any odors that could linger, it helps protect colors and it helps to rinse any soap residue that might remain.   I never, EVER use laundry / dryer sheets or fabric softeners.  They really are just money down the drain and often can break down the fibers in your fabrics so they don’t hold up as long.  AND then there’s the toxic smell!  I once lived next to a home where their dryer vent blew into our windows.  (Thus another opportunity lost for fresh air.)  They used the most sickening dryer sheets – and toxic too!    Just for the fun of it, try Googling ‘DRYER SHEETS AND TOXIC’.

Some of the worst, most toxic items are the ones that are used most often in cleaning the home:  bleach and Pinesol.  It is really hard to pry those two items from the hands of any cleaning people you may have helping you, too!  But it can be done.   My Mom used Pinesol anytime we’d been vomiting so I automatically associate that horrid scent with nausea, thus any cleaning help I’ve ever had has been banned from ever using that.

Bleach is toxic to breathe, toxic for your skin and it really doesn’t do what you think it does.  You think that bleach will get rid of mold, don’t you?  Think again! It only gets whatever is on the surface, allowing the mold and mildew below to safely multiply out of site.  If your fingers are exposed to bleach, your fingernails will loosen from the nail beds.  You can get chemical burns on your skin with bleach.  The list goes on and on.  There are far better alternatives out there.

For instance, the best thing for heavy mold and mildew is industrial strength (30%) Hydrogen Peroxide.  Of course, you’d want to wear gloves to prevent a chemical burn, but this is a very effective and ultimately, very safe way to get rid of serious problems.   Also, you can add the usual 3% strength to a spray bottle with some water to spray surfaces to prevent mold as well.  (Don’t forget to protect any colored fabric nearby and test an inconspicuous area if using on fabrics.)

Now that I’m mentioning hydrogen peroxide, I have also found it helpful to remove small blood stains on white rugs or fabrics.  The first choice for blood though, is the saliva of the person or pet who bled.   Yup, it is hard to get my cat to spit on a spot she left where she hurt the pad of her foot, so that’s when the hydrogen peroxide comes to the rescue.  The first time my husband got a bit of blood from a cut on the sheets, I told him to spit on it.  He looked at me as if I’d lost my mind!  But indeed, it broke up on the spot, and then disappeared in the laundry.  The enzymes in your own saliva will break down the enzymes in your blood stains. I learned this little trick in the early 80’s when I was taking a smocking class.   It’s easy to prick your finger and drop a bit of blood on an intricate white piece of fabric and the person teaching the class clued us in on the saliva trick.  I’ve used it ever since.

My mantra “READ THE LABELS” holds true for your cleaning products.  When that is not possible, if information is missing or if you need additional help, go to EWG.org.  A sparkling clean home does you no good if it’s toxic.

 

 

Read more:

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/11/toxins-household-cleaners-tide-clorox-glade-pinesol-febreze-simplegreen

http://action.sumofus.org/a/glade-chemicals/2/2/?sub=homepage

https://www.momsrising.org/blog/glade-air-freshener-poster-child-for-toxic-secrets

Make your home your spa

Who doesn’t love a trip to the spa?  You walk in the door and immediately, you relax.  The air is clean and oh-so breathable.  The sounds are calm and relaxing.  The lighting is low-key and the decor is reminiscent of nature.  Often there is the sound of water. The furnishings are well-maintained. There is no clutter and the feel is clean and fresh.

Now, who can afford a daily trip to the spa?   Not many of us, that’s for sure.  The next best thing is to give your home that spa feel.  In my book, I go into some detail as to the steps you might take.  But here, I’ll give a bit of a crash course.

Start at the doorway to your home.  The entry way should give a hint as to what is inside.  This is generally going to be your porch or portico.  It should be clean, uncluttered, with any furniture in clean condition and good repair.  FountainI have a medium-sized fountain going with lush greenery and a comfortable rattan bench to sit on when removing shoes. Like at any competent spa, you kick your shoes off outside the door.  After all, you don’t want the toxins, poisons, dangerous fecal matter and sewer run off that is present on all streets and sidewalks stepping into your home!   When you step through the door, stop and close your eyes for a minute.  What do you hear?  What do you smell?  What do you see? What do you feel?   HOW do you feel?  The preferred answer?  You feel like you’ve walked into a spa!

You should hear either total quiet or very relaxing music or even nature sounds.  Since I have a fountain in the kitchen for the cats, and since I have fountains near most all windows, I hear the movement of water first.  I often keep nature sounds going in my house daily.  My pets love it.  They also enjoy a soft, low-key instrumental music. Since I work at home, I’m much more able to do my work well in a relaxing, natural environment.

You should NOT smell last night’s baked fish or tonight’s veggie lasagna.  You should smell Aromatherapy Diffusera fresh, relaxing scent or something that is very neutral.  Please, please, please! NO GLADE or other toxic air fresheners!   They’ve been proven to be truly dangerous for humans and pets. If you want to add scent, I generally recommend something like organic lavender essential oil in a diffuser with purified water.  There are many alternatives, based on what you’re trying to achieve.  Aromatherapy has been proven to have a positive effect on your mental attitude.

Look around you now.  What do you see?  Do you see clutter?  That needs to go!  A cluttered home stifles the energy flow that is necessary for a serene, relaxing environment.  Many things can hide in clutter – dirt, dust, allergens, vermin, and just plain old crap.  Get rid of it!  The air flow to your home is as important as your breathing is to your body.  Think of it this way:  If something is obstructing your airway, you won’t be able to breathe and give your body the much-needed oxygen that is required.  If clutter is obstructing your home, your home is unable to breathe and give you the peace that you require to live a healthy life.

Now what do you feel when you walk through your door?  Do you feel stressed?  Oh so much to do!!!!  Or do you feel relaxed and grateful for your peaceful space?  In our case, when we walk through our door, we immediately relax and lose all the annoyances that we experienced in the ‘outside’ world.  Between us, we work four jobs so stress could always take over if we allowed it.  But we do not. My husband says the most important gift is to walk through the door and feel instantly at peace. Here our world is quiet.  Here our world is restful.  This is where we renew our energy.

It’s very rare that we do not have a good night’s sleep and not a lot of people can say that at age 65 and 61.   We awake renewed and ready for a new day.

I highly recommend reading up a bit on the basics of Feng Sui.  While we don’t have the luxury of repositioning our homes on the piece of land where they’re located, we can certainly have some control on the interior spaces.

Now some will say that nature is the perfect ‘spa’ and in many cases, that’s absolutely true.  However in the area where we are, it is close to impossible to find an environment in nature that will allow this type of relaxation.  As an example, we often would go to an area in our boat about 6 or 7 miles north of our island.  We’d run the boat up on a sand bar, anchor and sit naked in salt water up to our chests, with a cool beverage and just ‘be’ with nature.  The shore birds were marvelous and calling to one another. Spotted Eagle Rays would swoosh past my arm, mangrove snapper would be feeding nearby.   You could hear and see nature in it’s glory – for about 3 minutes.  Then someone who didn’t appreciate nature would come roaring through a no-wake zone at high speed, in an over-loaded boat with stereo blaring. :::sigh:::  There goes nature.  Then the next overloaded boat 2 minutes later would decide that they wanted to have a party about 40 feet from where we were when there happened to be a hundred of miles of similar spots in reach.  So, sadly, in our area, it is not possible to truly have a ‘spa’ moment in nature.   Too many people don’t respect the space, property and peace of others.

Often my posts are inspired by the events of a day or the day before.  In this case, this post was inspired by a particularly spiteful, bullying post or two on a thread from someone half-a world away who felt that their choices were the only choices.   The website I enjoy so much is generally chock-full of healthy tips and ideas and is dedicated to health, wellness, peace and a non-toxic life so it’s surprising to find those on there who seem opposed to the basic healthy tenants of the site.  This just served to remind me that everyone makes their own choices, and that our personal choices are particularly precious to us.  One’s own value system defines one’s life.  If your life is dedicated to peace, wellness and a healing non-toxic atmosphere for you, your family and your pets, then this is all that matters.

 

 

Delicious veggie pancakes

A healthy veggie breakfast!  You didn’t think it was possible?  It is.  We did it this morning! It’s all organic and has a healthy helping of fiber, vitamins and protein.

I found the recipe on a site that I enjoy, TheHeartySoul.com, except I made a few alterations so those are included in this version.

Zucchini Pancakes

Zucchini Veggie Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic sweet potato with skin on, grated
  • 1 cup organic zucchini, grated
  • 1 cup organic yellow squash, grated
  • 1/8 cup grated organic onion
  • 3 eggs, thoroughly beaten until frothy
  • 4 heaping tablespoons organic gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Organic olive oil, for cooking
  • freshly grated organic Parmesan Cheese
  • Organic sour cream
    Directions:
  1. 1. In a large bowl, mix together the grated veggies, eggs, flour, and salt until thoroughly combined.
  2. Heat a thin layer of olive oil on a griddle at 300 degrees (or if you use a saute’ pan, be sure it’s medium heat.) You want the pancakes to cook all the way through the middle by the time they’re brown on the outside. When the oil is hot, drop pancake-size dollops of the veggie mixture into the pan, without overcrowding. Flatten a bit. Cook until the bottom starts to brown.
  3. Flip and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese
  4. Cook until browned on the second side, then repeat until the batter is gone.
  5. Transfer cooked pancakes to a paper towels.  Serve immediately. If you need to keep warm, you can tent with foil or place in the oven on the lowest setting on a plate.
  6. Serve warm with a topping of sour cream.

Serve with a side of fresh organic cantaloupe or for an extra helping of nutrients,  avocado chunks.

Notes:  The yellow squash and the zucchini once grated, tend to be a bit watery so I added extra flour.  These didn’t turn out fluffy and were a bit flat but were still delicious.  The sweet potato was difficult to grate so watch the knuckles.   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve grated my knuckle over the years! Grating the onion was simple, but it turned out very watery.  However, I think that it added to the dish.

We had three extra and I wrapped in paper towel, put in a zip lock and will warm and have them perhaps tomorrow AM.

 

 

GMOs – TRUST NO ONE!

I read a recent post where a company has surreptitiously sold 400 acres worth of GMO potatoes to grocery stores.  It seems that even McDonald’s won’t buy this particular poison for their poisonous menus! (At the bottom of today’s post is a cut ‘n’ paste from the post about the potatoes, fyi.)

For me, this was the final straw.  I will no longer buy ANYTHING that isn’t non-GMO.  I don’t care if a recipe has a big gap in it.  If it isn’t organic and if it doesn’t STATE clearly that it is non-GMO, I will not buy it.  You really have to be careful when shopping these days if you want to save your family from serious disease from poisonous foods.  Food producers, chemical companies and the farmers who are involved in the toxic food industry will do all they can to sell YOU this toxic stuff and they don’t care about you.  They don’t care about your family and your children.  All they care about is their own greed and profit margins.  I urge each and every person who reads this to vow right now to do the right thing for their health and run these crooked people out of business.  If no one buys their toxic crops, then they will stop playing games and trying to sell it to you.

Today’s trip to the grocery store even further solidified my thinking on this subject. Often, there are similar products available, but you must read the labels to see what you are getting.   One of my non-organic short-cuts is an occasional Kind bar.  They are generally healthy, they are non-GMO and they are gluten free.  They don’t have artificial ingredients, are high in protein, fiber and nutrients. And no, not organic.  Today I saw that Publix is selling their own brand.  So I photographed theirs (and did NOT buy it)  , and here is a photograph of the original, Kind version above it: KindBarAnd Toxic copy  Kind’s labeling tells us what we need to know: NON GMO!  This is not to be found anywhere on the Publix brand wannabe.

Next up, I looked at something else on my shopping list – Gluten-free bread.  Predictably, the first store I went to didn’t have what I want.  (That is a massive source of frustration here in our third-world town!)  The supply of minimally acceptable foods is never reliable. Anyway, outside of that little gripe which I foresee as another post another day, since the first Publix I went to didn’t have what I wanted, I considered buying another brand.  I buy Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free breads because they don’t have soy and because they are non-GMO.  But since the store saw fit to NOT stock the one I wanted this week (the multi-grain version), I looked at an alternative – UDIs brand.

My problem with Udis in general has been that they often have soy in their products, GF Bread comparisontheir fiber content is almost non-existent, and now I see that GMOs are obviously in there, since they don’t claim that they are non-GMO.  These photographs are a side-by-side comparison of the Cinnamon Raisin bread from both companies. Note the emblems in the circles.  Canyon Bakehouse is Gluten Free and Non-GMO.  Udi’s makes no such claims about GMOs.  AND I must say from past experience, the Udi’s simply tastes awful.

Needless to say I walked away from buying anything at this store because of the GMOs.  I know, I know.  It seems I’m constantly complaining about Publix but in Key West, there are two stores and one is no better than the other.  AND they’re both Publix and both 2 blocks away from each other!  (The other option, Winn Dixie, is a lost cause and waste of time.  No one speaks my language there, which is English, and their supply of organics, non-GMO and gluten free is non-existent. ) The problem is that we have no other choices and it seems that Publix’s intent is to force the people of this town to buy whatever they offer, whether it is healthy for the customer or not.  Not everyone is like me, though. Many buckle under and buy what they’re offered. Not me. I have a list and will then buy at Whole Foods when we go to the mainland, which is about once every  month and a half.  We load up and fill our freezer and fridge on those trips.  OH, and to not totally denigrate Publix stores, when we’re on the mainland in SW Florida, we often go to Publix there and have a totally positive experience.  They have everything we need in stock, the stores are spotless and the staff is bend-over-backwards helpful.  In Key West?  None of that applies.

These are just two items of thousands in a grocery store that on the surface appear to be similar, but when you read the labels, you will see that one is toxic and the other is not toxic – or at least not SO toxic.

Now, below is the article on the sneaky potato swap.  Based on this, from now on, I do not recommend buying potatoes at all unless they’re organic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After being rejected by McDonald’s, genetically engineered potatoes created with dsRNA technology, which may be linked to autoimmune disease in vertebrates, are being marketed and sold directly to unsuspecting consumers. 400 acres of these reduced-browning potatoes were sold in grocery stores in the Midwest and Southeast this summer. Simplot, the company that created these potatoes, has plans to increase the production to 2,000 acres next summer. The USDA has already approved the next generation of Simplot’s GMO potato. It’s only a matter of time until the EPA and FDA give the second generation potato the rubber stamp. Was your family part of Simplot’s GMO experiment this summer? Boycott Simplot’s GMO Potatoes. BOYCOTT GMOs.

READ: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2015/08/28/3960031/usda-oks-simplots-2nd-generation.html

READ: http://www.independentsciencenews.org/health/monsantos-worst-fear-may-be-coming-true/

Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/GMOFreeUSA/photos/a.468695639837571.108816.402058139834655/1061833373857125/?type=1&theater

 

It pays to invest in wellness

My husband will turn 65 the end of November, and thus I’ve been forced to look at Medicare in detail.  Let me tell you, it’s ugly!  The many myths I’ve believed have now been shattered.  Medicare is not a panacea.  MedicareAs a matter of fact, my husband’s Medicare will cost us more for basic annual services such as blood work and checkups than our existing ACA coverage does.  (Affordable Care Act)  AND he’ll pay $104 monthly which is higher than current premiums, with far, far higher potential financial exposure than the current coverage offers.

It’s discouraging to think that our government pushes those at age 65 into a program that really isn’t the best thing for anyone.  Luckily for us, we do everything in our power to stay away from the standard Western medical community by remaining well.  Unfortunately accidents do happen and my husband was hospitalized because of an accident in 2010.  He was also hospitalized because he ate some bad stuff in 2012.  In looking at our coverages, it appears that we would pay far, far more using Medicare than we’d have paid with our previous insurances.

So, it’s become increasingly clear that we MUST keep ourselves healthy.  This country is not like France nor is it like Canada, where quality health care is available for all at a minimal cost, if any cost at all.  In the US it’s every man for himself.   Thank goodness for the wellness-minded providers!  At least you are getting quality for what you pay where with the standard medical community, your results are always questionable and quality is long gone.

I invite you all to contribute to a list that we can all share, of health-minded providers, natural healers and alternative healers in the comment section below.  You can include health food stores, wellness providers, integrated medicine providers and any other alternative provider that you deem worthy.

I should also add that the same holds true for our beloved furry and feathered family members.  The same lack of respect towards wellness, the same cut ‘n’ drug thinking applies to veterinarians.

And if you have been reading this blog, you know that I am a strong believer that reading labels, organic eating, healthy choices and meditation will go a long way towards healing.

I’ll start the list here, but urge everyone to please, please add to the list!

Mitzi Schardt, MSN, NP – Fort Myers / Cape Coral, FL

Robert Murdock, NaturalFamilyPhysicians.com / Fort Myers and Cape Coral, FL

Whole Foods nationwide

Natural Pet Care LLC – Metarie, Louisiana  (They do phone consultations)

A Healthy Brain … AND our weekly winner!

Deborah Mccottry won our weekly drawing this week.  For those who wish to become part of our community and be part of the fun, you can sign up here:  Free weekly drawings

Now, today I’d like to pass on some information about brain health.  In case you are not paying attention, it’s a growing problem.  Dementia and other brain disorders are on the rise.  BrainDisordersThe Alzheimers Association states that the US will see a 44% increase in individuals with Alzheimers by 2025.     Utah, Alaska and Colorado are projected to have the biggest increase – around 126%, with significant growth in states with the largest populations:  Texas (74%), Florida (64%) and California (50%).

One doesn’t have to look too far to see friends and family members who have been touched by this disease.  If you’ve seen it, you have most certainly felt the impact.

I have read Dr. David Permutter’s book “Grain Brain:The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers” and I highly recommend it.   His approach is complex but then this is a complex issue.  It has everything to do with your immune system and keeping it healthy.  There are no ‘quick fixes’ but there are things you can do right now to help keep your brain healthy.  His book goes into nutritional issues as well as issues of toxicity from our foods and environment.  He makes a definitive link between colon health and brain health.

Just to give you a quick run-down on important supplements, Dr. Perlmutter recommends:

*Alpha Lipoic Acid – 600 mg daily

*Coconut Oil – 1 TBS daily (taken straight is recommended but you can use it in cooking)

*DHA – 1,000 mg daily  (combined with EPA.  He recommends a fish oil supplement but since I have a problem with the mercury in our fish oil supplements, I opt for a DHA derived from marine algae.)

*Probiotics – 1 capsule on an empty stomach up to 3 times daily.  Look for a probioitic that contains at least ten billion active cultures, from at least ten different strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium.  For probiotics, I take one that has 150 billion active cultures –  Renew Life brand Ultimate Flora Mega Potent.  With a history of colon issues and gluten sensitivity, this works best for me.

*Resveratrol  100 mg twice daily

*Turmeric   350 mg twice daily

*Vitamin D3 5,000 IU daily

These are all easily obtainable from Amazon or other sources.  If you would like some recommendations, please comment below and I’ll give you links and details.

No, the above is NOT all you need for a healthy brain.  You also have to clean out your kitchen and cabinets.  Get rid of the junk – glutens, sugars, processed foods, anything containing non-fermented soy, anything that says ‘fat free’ or ‘low fat’, margarines and most oils that are processed in any manner whatsoever.

I know it sounds complicated but isn’t this better than sitting in a vegetative state among your loved ones as their hearts break for you?

I highly recommend Dr. Perlmutter’s book.  In reading it, you may find many surprising links to your own health challenges.

And predictably, I come back to meditation.  😉  Meditation seems to keep dementia at bay!  There are hundreds of articles, but this one sums it up nicely:   Prevention Magazine: Meditation staves off dementia 

I know the last thing I want to happen to me is to have one part of my body go before the rest.  It works both ways – I want my mind to be present and for my body to function right up to the very end.  It’s an important goal for us all to embrace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindfulness

Last night, I watched an excellent piece on 60 Minutes by Anderson Cooper about Mindfulness.

MindfulnessMindfulness meditation is just another of the many forms of meditation.  I prefer to think of it as the ultimate goal of my meditations.

I enter into my daily meditations usually with a specific intention or two, in mind.  I set the intention for the meditation – what I wish to examine or accomplish or what I wish to embed in my psyche.  But after I’ve gone through the steps of my meditation for weight loss, wellness, blessings and healing for others, abundance in health, love and finance, the real joy of my meditation is the final step for me – the mindfulness period.   During this time, you’re not trying to get from point A to point B.  You just are.

For me, it is a blissful state, where I am able to just ‘be’ with no pressure, no agenda, no worries.  I finish my daily meditation refreshed and eager to move forward with my day.  Since I’ve been meditating daily, without fail, I rarely get angry in traffic as I once did, I am not as frustrated with humans.  Note I said ‘as frustrated’.  I’m still frustrated.  I just don’t get to the point that I allow it to ruin my whole day.

And while the political atmosphere in this country is rancid right now, with racism, hate, ignorance and greed fighting for daily attention, I am not quite as angry about  ‘them’ as I once was.  As a peaceful person, it is difficult for me to ignore those who harm others with their political acts, their hate-filled speech and actions and their financially driven need to poison our population with toxic foods.  The truth is, we all create our own consequences in life and those who harm others will themselves suffer the effects of their hate-drive or greedy choices.  It’s just a shame that others have to suffer as well. For that reason, we are adamant about making informed choices for our lives, our pets, our food and our home.

Mindfulness has become part of my center now.  I think more clearly and come up with inventive and creative ideas more readily.  I am able to connect to my pets and my husband on a more spiritual level and feel I am far more compassionate about others.

It doesn’t take a lot of time.  You can do this in a matter of 15 minutes or can go on for hours.  I urge you all to give it a try!

 

Cats Love to Meditate

You need not meditate alone.  My cats love to meditate with me.  My older, recently transitioned cats Mei Mei and Maggie really enjoyed meditating with me, even though it was not a daily event then.

SleepingCatBuddhaOur fur-girls are age 6 months and 2 yrs 3 months.   I’d actually assumed that they would be too rambunctious to enjoy it but they’ve surprised me.  What is especially surprising is that Mhysa, the 6 month old, is the one that loves it most.  She has become adamant that she be with me when I meditate.  Mei Li still comes and goes and is taking it all in.

With her current issue involving the ovarian remnant from the veterinarian’s surgical mistake, I have concentrated very strongly on Mhysa’s healing in my daily meditations.  She appears to understand and even digs in deeply by my side, trying to touch both my body and my upturned left palm.

If you share your life and home with these amazing creatures, you probably know how intuitive they are.  They can easily access your meditations and understand what you’re doing. But did you know that you can also communicate to them using pictures, without saying a word?  I’ve been doing it for years.  Yes, I talk to them all day long anyway, but they can grasp the pictures you send very easily and they understand.  It is, of course, important to send positive, loving pictures, or just factual pictures.  Please don’t freak them out with negative pictures or scenarios!

Before we moved over a year and a half ago, I’d been sending our girls pictures of the new home.  When they arrived, with boxes everywhere, they were very cool, calm and matter of fact since they knew what to expect.

Another instance involves long-distance communication:  Our kitten, Mhysa, came from California but we couldn’t bring her home with us because she was too young.  So she flew by herself on what ended up being a relatively short, easy flight with only one change in equipment.  You would expect her to be freaked out, right?  I mean, she was only 12 1/2 weeks old at that point.  For many weeks, I’d been sending her pictures of her new home in my meditations, I’d sent her pictures of her new sisters (at that time, Maggie was still with us).  I’d sent her images of us, of the sounds of the house and of the many kitty beds and her dining area.  And then, when I knew she was on the way to the airport, I started ‘sending’ her a gentle, calming heartbeat soundtrack that I’d found on iTunes, to keep her company with all of the frightening noises, sights and smells that go with travel. I listened when meditating and sent the energy to her.  If only I had such a calming influence when I travel!!!   I hate flying these days!  It isn’t what it used to be.

When she arrived at our local airport, we expected a frightened little girl.  Instead, we found a calm little one, very happy to see us.  When we got home and opened her carrier, she marched right out, looked around as if to say “Yes!  This is what I expected.”  She immediately made herself at home.

36 years ago, in 1979, I’d seen an animal communicator on late night TV, who explained the visualization process for communicating with our pets.  I was lying in bed with my then-4 yr old sleeping toy poodle, Brigitte.  She loved more than anything to ‘go out’ to play in our fenced yard.  All I had to do was just mouth the words “do you want to go out?” and she would be beside herself.  This was long past her last ‘out’ trip at that time.  I just concentrated on seeing us get up, walk down the hall, through the foyer, the dining room, the kitchen to the back door and opening it.  I only had to do it once.  She lept up out of a sound sleep, and went racing down the hall in a frenzy to go out.

There are many ways to communicate with our furry and feathered family members, and this is but one option.  We work with an animal communicator if we feel that there are conflicts between them, if there are behavioral issues, if there are health issues or if someone just can’t seem to follow the rules.  It’s wonderful to have that resource available for us, because after all, this IS our family.

I will write more on that subject soon, along with contact information should anyone wish to find out more about it themselves.  Should you have a need now or need a referral, please feel free to comment below and ask any questions you might have.

In the meantime, I strongly recommend including your cats, dogs, birds and other pets in your meditation rituals.  They feel it, they understand it, and they love it.  We all benefit.

More Info: Ovarian Remnant Syndrome in Cats

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I have more information to share.  This issue is far more common than known, based on my experience.

BabyMhysaFor instance, in my last four kitty girls, two have suffered from these surgical ‘errors’ as vets prefer to call it.  I’m afraid I could come up with far stronger terminology.  When my babies are hurt, I become a very protective monster.

Thanks to being put off by vets who either did not know what they were doing, or who didn’t want to accept their own failures, my 20 year old Maggie who left us in May lived an entire life of anxiety and stress from the ovarian remnant(s) left behind in a sloppy surgery.  Even the vet who DID the surgery (and who charged me $1,500 in tests) claimed to be clueless as to why she had such problems.  The vets just tend to chalk it up to a ‘goofy’ cat or to some sort of feline anxiety disorder.   I’ve only come to the realization of what my sweet Maggie went through all those 20 years when I began to research the symptoms of my new kitten, Mhysa.  I suddenly realized that Maggie had struggled with this her entire life.  I’m not about to let Mhysa do the same.

Now, I have run into what appears to be more issues with vets, just trying to determine when to test Mhysa for estrogen levels.  I asked a local vet tech and she said she thought perhaps anytime would be fine and she said she’d have the vet call me.  I’ve not heard from him as of yet.  But since I am on natural bioidentical hormones myself, I know my high and low days in my cycle for estrogen.  We test once a year to be sure everything is in line on those days.  We don’t test on ‘baseline’ days.   So there is no reason to believe a cat would NOT have a similar cycle.

I found what appeared to be a very knowledgeable blog post by a veterinarian in Manhattan (NYC). He confirmed what my instincts told me were true – we would need to test when Mhysa was in the throes of estrus (a heat episode) to be sure of her estrogen levels.  After a few days of that, this vet states that the levels drop to baseline quickly, sometimes in as few as 48 hours.  http://catexpert.blogspot.com/2015/01/feline-ovarian-remnant-syndrome.html

SO, now the trick is getting the vet here for the blood draw on one of those few days, and then, another tech has told me that it is best to do the surgery when she’s in heat so they can more easily find the swollen ‘active’ ovarian tissue.   :::sigh:::  The vet we used for her spay, who said he’d ‘make it right’, is not in town so that means a hasty, long-distance trek and of course, the usual ‘fasting’ routine before the surgery.   Then, we can just hope this doesn’t happen on days when he is not there, since he only does surgery one or two days a week.

This is yet another reason it drives me crazy to live in a place where wellness services for humans and for pets are almost non-existent and where up-to-date health care is very rare. This is why we use a wellness, integrated health practitioner 6 hours away.  I’m more and more concerned about the wellness of my family when it relies on others.

Please, pet owners, be aware of this!  It appears these surgical errors are even more common in dogs.  Please, please, don’t let the veterinarian blow you off if your female pets are exhibiting symptoms of estrus when they’ve already been spayed.  This is really important to their lives, their overall wellness and their mental well-being.  AND it can be important for your HOME since often animals that are in heat mark their territories.  You can’t blame it on a ‘bad dog’ or ‘bad cat’ when it’s hormonal and they can’t help it.

 

Wellness for our pets: It’s a constant challenge

Wellness for our beloved furry and feathered family members is every bit as much a challenge as it is for us.  My particular frustration today is with the veterinary world.  I have known a lot of veterinarians over the years, and I continue to have problems with the care they offer our pets.

Our 6 month old kitten is struggling right now.  We had her spayed when she was BabyMhysa4 months old, and surprisingly, she was in heat when they spayed her.  However, we were told all was well.   A few days later, after she’d gotten over the worst of her surgery, she started to show minimal signs of actually being in heat.  I mentioned it and was told it was some sort of ‘dominance’ dance with the other cat.  Well, it’s gotten worse.  This past week, she has cried and shown every sign of being in heat.

I have researched on-line and this appears to be what is known as Ovarian Remnant Syndrome.   This occurs when during the surgery the vet fails to remove both ovaries and/or fails to remove ALL ovarian tissue. I was told by the vet who did the surgery that ovaries can pretty much ‘regrow’ if tissue is remaining.  It’s unusual but there have sometimes been additional ovaries other than what is expected.  And the problem with this is that she will remain in heat her entire life!  That is an awful prospect for our little girl.  So now, because of a mistake, which the vet swears has never happened to him before, there’s a good chance she will have to undergo another surgery.  This has me horribly upset and it breaks my heart to put her through this.

Mhysa SleepingNext, we will do blood testing to see what her estrogen level is.  If it’s 25 or over, then there is ovarian tissue still there and that means she has to go under the knife yet again.  I honestly can think of nothing else that would manifest these symptoms.

The vet indicates that this is extremely rare, but my research and personal experience proves otherwise.  My adored 20 year old girl who transitioned in May, had often displayed estrus symptoms and had an alarming full-blown episode when she was 16 years old.  She had been spayed by a local vet as a kitten when we adopted her from Friends of Animals.  Through her entire life, she had been a very anxious girl with a lot of odd symptoms and now, I know what it was.  Sloppy veterinary surgery.

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of disturbing behavior and heard a lot of disturbing comments from vets.  I’ve had one vet tell me that our pets don’t feel pain, when of course, they do.  I’ve had vets try to induce me to euthanize when it wasn’t necessary.  (I will go into that another time.)  When attempting to diagnose my older girl’s issues, the ‘second opinion’ vet didn’t accept the tests from the first vet, and insisted on doing tests again.  Not surprisingly, the test results were identical, and by then, I had a $3,000 total vet bill between the two of them.   They claimed they could find nothing wrong, declared it psychosomatic and then, with her x-ray on the light box, I could see she had spondylosis.  I knew because I had something similar, which is a degenerative condition of the spine from injury or from spinal arthritis.  I asked about that and they blew me off.  YET I know exactly how painful that is!

These are only a few instances.  I’d hoped we were finished with all of this, until recently when our baby began to suffer from estrus symptoms.

My husband put it very succinctly:  Vets consider our pets to be patients that won’t tell on them.   Vets are not counting on pet owners like us, who are very intuitive and who educate themselves.   Our pets are the center of our family and nothing is too good for them!

This, however, is reminding me of the surgery my husband underwent in 2012 where the local surgeon made some serious mistakes and to correct them, it would take more surgery.  It seems to me that doctors AND vets make an inordinate number of life threatening mistakes every single day.  To put your life in the hands of a surgeon (or in the case of today’s post, the life of my adored kitten in the hands of a vet yet again) is a a risky proposition no matter how you look at it.

 

 

 

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