Tag Archives: wellness

And In Other News: Free e-book today and tomorrow

This is reminder #1.  And yes, you’ll see reminder #2 tomorrow.  🙂

I’m running a free promotion for my book today and tomorrow (Saturday), October 2 and 3.  This allows you to download and own the e-Book for free. Of course, the printed copy is available for purchase on Amazon as well, and you can find it in three different local outlets – Book proof front

Date & Thyme

1130 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 587-7475

Key West Island Bookstore

Address: 513 Fleming St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 294-2904
917 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 292-0043

I’d really appreciate reviews!

It’s not a long difficult slog.  It’s about a two hour read.  You can download here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012E7M2VG  .  I hope you pick up a few tips that will help you with your wellness, weight loss and life goals.

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, here in the comment sections below my posts, and of course, I invite you to share your experiences, recipes and ideas as well.

Free E-Book Friday and Saturday!

I’m running a free promotion for my book Friday and Saturday, October 2 and 3.  This allows you to download and own the e-Book for free. Of course, the printed copy is available for purchase on Amazon as well, and you can find it in three different local outlets – Book proof front

Date & Thyme

1130 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 587-7475

Key West Island Bookstore

Address: 513 Fleming St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 294-2904
917 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 292-0043

I’d really appreciate reviews!

It’s not a long difficult slog.  It’s about a two hour read.  You can download here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012E7M2VG  .  I hope you pick up a few tips that will help you with your wellness, weight loss and life goals.

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, here in the comment sections below my posts, and of course, I invite you to share your experiences, recipes and ideas as well.

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!

 

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.

 

Another trip to the market and discovering hidden ‘bad stuff’.

It was time for yet another trip to the market. A family’s gotta eat!  Today I’m looking at some pantry items.  These are stand-bys we can keep on hand for quick meals when time becomes an issue.  So, where to start?

Nicoise saladWho doesn’t love a beautiful Nicoise Salad or a spicy black bean salsa?  These are easy dishes made easier using pantry items.

First let’s look at a couple of real disappointments – items that have ingredients that are less than ideal and in one case, BAD.  Just because it says organic, it doesn’t mean that there cannot be problems.  ALWAYS read the labels!

I’ve been a fan of Annie’s brand for years, but lately, I’ve come across some disappointing items.  Last week, it was a so-called ‘healthy’ boxed macaroni and cheese, but to be honest, anything that is boxed can’t be that good.  Annies CaesarToday, in reading the label of Annie’s Organic Caesar dressing, I was disappointed to find that they list a generic ‘expeller pressed vegetable oil’ Canola and/or sunflower).  Canola is generally, BAD.  It is a genetically engineered oil from the rapeseed.   Rather than going into a detail on this, I am referring to a great article from Natural News.  It starts ” Corn oil comes from corn: sunflower oil from sunflowers, sesame oil from sesame seeds, peanut oil from peanuts, olive oil from olives, Canola oil from…Canolas? What is a Canola?”  The uptake?  Canola is bad.  There are many more good oils to choose from.  It is made from a high-heat process using toxic chemicals in the process.  It is touted by the food industry as being healthy, yet many animal studies point to serious and deleterious effects on rats and pigs.  Why take the chance?   I should add that we generally make our own Caesar salad from scratch.  Hmmm…I’ll post that recipe soon.  It’s to die for!

Another disappointing item?  Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups.  Justins Peanut Butter CupsThese are a real taste sensation.  You’ll never want the standard old junk-food peanut butter cups again.  BUT there’s one nasty item on the ingredient list:  SOY.  Even if it’s organic, it’s still soy and soy is a hormone disruptor.  I can’t understand why companies that appear to be health-oriented continue to use soy lecithin when there’s a far healthier choice out there in the form of non-GMO sunflower lecithin.  As much as I like this item, I’ve stopped eating it now because of the soy.  Hormone disruption is the basis of many health problems.  Weight issues are the first that come to mind, but anything to do with your body’s endocrine system can be disrupted with soy.  The World Health Organization reports problems from hormone disruption including non-descended testes in young males, breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, developmental effects on the nervous system, attention deficit /hyperactivity in children and thyroid cancer.  Come on, Justins!  Get with the program and stop using that stuff!

Now for the good things.  While I always encourage using fresh and healthy items, there are times that you just need a bit of help in the kitchen.  That’s when we go to the pantry for our jarred or canned items.    The packaging is important.  If possible, buy these items in jars where you will have little or no BPA exposure.  If in cans, be sure they’re marked as BPA-free.

Who wants to make sauerkraut from scratch?  Not me! I occasionally find some organic Sauerkrautchicken sausages for a quick dinner, brown them and cook with sauerkraut.  I’ve been really happy with the Eden Organic product.  The ingredients?  Organic cabbage, water and sea salt.  That’s all you need!  This is a good pantry item to have on hand.

If you don’t have nut allergies, a great snack always includes peanut butter.  It’s high in energy, protein and fiber.  And the best peanut butter contains absolutely NOTHING but organic peanuts.   You can spread on apple wedges for a quick snack or on organic bread (ours is gluten free) with sliced bananas PeanutButterfor an old fashioned peanut butter and banana sandwich.  Oh, my Mama loved those!

Kalamata Olives are a great addition to salads and for appetizers. Divinia Organic Olives These organic olives are particularly good and I use them in a Nicoise salad (as shown above) and for any Greek style dish.  What’s in them?  Organic Kalamata olives, water, organic red wine vinegar and sea salt.  You can make a divine main-dish salad from leftovers such as chilled green beans, hard boiled eggs, sliced seared fresh tuna, fresh herbs and olives with a light mustard-based dressing. Add Feta cheese for a Greek accent or some hard Italian or French cheese shreds for a more northern Mediterranean accent.

Living in South Florida, one comes to rely on black beans in many dishes.  Black bean chili is a healthy one-dish meal.  Black beans are wonderful in salads, salsa and of course, over rice.  Black Bean salsaThe ideal manner of preparing is using dried black beans that have been soaked overnight and slow-cooked.  However, since there isn’t always time for that, canned black beans are a great pantry item to add protein, fiber, vitamins and iron to your diet.  (Note:  If using corn in your black bean salsa as shown to the right, be sure you have organic, non-GMO corn!)

At the risk of being downright boring, I can’t remind you enough:  READ THE LABELS!

BlackBeans

Wellness for your pets. They deserve the best!

I credit much of my success in weight loss and in my wellness to the loving atmosphere in my home. Yes, the meditation is key. Yes, excellent nutrition is a requirement. But the mental and emotional world surrounding us can have a profound affect on us all. And our home is a spa for us all.  The love we have for our pets and that they have for us nourishes our spirit daily.

I’m an advocate for all animals, big and small. I feel that they deserve the best we can give. This of course, translates to working with animal rights groups, rescue organizations and wildlife organizations. But it really must start at home.

Having never had children, my fur and feather babies ARE my children. They get the best of everything. We are very particular about healthy nutrition and this of course, goes for our pets.

I’d never even consider buying kibble for our cats nor would I consider feeding our Yellow Nape Amazon Parrot a fattening, unbalanced seed diet. We try to keep their diets as close as possible to what nature intended. Here’s a rundown of the diet for our gang

Harrisons Bird FoodsOur Amazon has been eating an organic food since she was a hand-fed chick. This food was developed by a vet, Dr. Gregory Harrison.   I feed this about 10 months out of the year.  When she comes into her ‘season’ and gets, um, shall we say ‘frisky’, it is clear that her body is demanding more of her so we feed the higher protein version for those two months.  She’s now 11 and very healthy and active. We supplement with fresh food as well. She loves nuts but they can make her fat, so now we do freeze dried organic peas as her treat and she’s crazy about them.  Another treat?  I give her the seeds from organic oranges, lemons and limes that I use when cooking.   I order this directly from Harrison’s in Tennessee.  Harrison’s Bird Food  I highly recommend them, though.

Our cats are young – 2 years, 2 months and 5 1/2 months old.  They have eaten raw since they were babies.   It is difficult to do here in this town because we have very few quality choices for high quality raw pet foods, and the local stores, while nice, don’t keep things in stock for ready access.  So, most everything they eat is ordered in.   There are three ways to go raw:  (1) make it yourself  (2) frozen and (3) freeze-dried.   Freeze dried cat foodTo make it yourself, you really need the highest quality organic ingredients and the problem with that is that we have no real quality source for organic meats here.  I did buy an organic chicken a few weeks back that was NOT out of date, that was rotted when I opened it.  Nasty!   Thus, I go with option 2 or 3.  Most of the time, it’s the freeze dried.  They do love it, though.  There are added vitamins and taurine but not much else – just raw meat that is sourced from outside the US.  I try to buy NOTHING that is sourced in the US if it is not organic, thus much of this comes from New Zealand.  I actually had a problem trying to snap this picture because the girls thought it was lunch time – AGAIN.  I order this from an on-line Florida company called http://www.Chewy.com. They generally arrive in 2 or 3 days and shipping is free with an order over $50.00.   You toss these with a small amount of warmed, purified water to reconstitute.  Be sure to do this, though.  Dehydration will do a great deal of harm to a cat’s kidneys.

The last option is far more expensive.   The frozen raw is harder to come by and even Raw Advantage Frozen chicken neck crumblesharder to find in organic.  As you can see, I was unable to get a good picture without, um, supervision.  Not only do you have to ship it in, but it needs to come in an expedited manner and frozen.  Raw Advantage Organic Chicken Neck Crumbles .  Since freezer space is at a premium, these are used more often as treats.

Raw chicken ‘meaty bones’ are good for cats.  Just never, ever, ever give them cooked bones!  This gives them the same sensation they have when chomping down on a meaty mouse, though my babies have never had such a thing.

And finally, let’s not forget the highlight of the evening:  TREATS.  Again, it is hard to find something that is not ‘manufactured’ with artificial and harmful ingredients.   Our girls go crazy for these!   They’re nothing but freeze dried single-ingredient chunks.  The salmon is Alaskan wild Freeze Dried Treatssalmon so I feel fairly comfortable with that.  NEVER, EVER give your pets or your family farmed fish!   The chicken, well…they love it but the fact that it is stamped “Made in the USA” makes me really nervous.  We all know what goes with US meat production.  I’m always looking for an alternative.  I’m able to buy these from Amazon most of the time.

Now, a word of warning about the pet foods you generally see in the supermarket or on TV.  RUN!  If you simply Google “Pet Food Recalls”, you’ll be astounded by how many there are.  And very few companies are immune from this.  Some of the worst are sold in vets offices:  Hills Science Diet and the Prescription diets as well as the highly-touted. Royal Canin sold by breeders and vets?  Not good.  Kibble is also known as kitty crack.  They spray this with something that makes cats crave this, much like they get children hooked on bad breakfast cereals.  This can destroy your babies’ kidneys and shorten their lives.  Pet food dealers will often tout ‘human grade ingredients’ but with GMO’s and other poisons, that isn’t saying a lot.

Finally, here are a few shots of my girls.  Sophie.  And then there are Mhysa and Mei Li…Nice?  Or not so nice?  The seemingly nice ‘hug’ is generally the prelude to a bit of a fight.   😉Sophie Mei Li and Mhysa