Archive for category Health and Wellness

Stress Management With Herbal Medicine

Stress management is something we do both actively and passively. We gain skills to use in the face of stress and we develop ways to relieve stress when no stressors are present.  Some of us use pharmaceuticals to calm down like Xannax or Valium.  Others prefer to use natural remedies such as Rhodiola or ginseng.  In this article we will discuss natural medicines to use as a stress reducer.stress-management-medicine

Rhodiola

Rhodiola is though to be the master adaptogen.  An adaptogen is an herb that is said to increase resistance to stress, anxiety, fatigue, and trauma.  One method of action they are thought to use is balancing endocrine hormones and the immune system.  If you are in excess or deficient in these the herb will lower or rise the hormones to balance their levels.  It is also said that Rhodiola functions at the allostasis level which is a far more dynamic way of dealing with long term stress.  In addition to this studies have shown that it improves mood and can alleviate depression.  It has also shown to improve physical and mental performances.

Ginseng

Ginseng comes in many genus, the most common being:  Siberian, Panax, American, and Red.  Ginseng has traditionally been used as an adaptogen, aphrodisiac, stimulant, type II diabetes, and for the reduction of stress.  One study shows that is promising when used to increase overall quality of life.

Holy Basil

Holy Basil is becoming popular for use as a stress reducer and for mood support.  In Ayurvedic medicine it is said to be an adaptogen and is helpful is relieving stress.  It is a highly respected plant as is referred to as “the elixir of life”.  Tulsi Tea which can be bought at many health food stores has holy basil in all of its blends.  Many people I have talked to regard it as the best supplement they have taken for emotional well being and as a stress reducer.  I feel the same way, for me it works great and helps my stress management to be easy and thoughtful.

Although studies aren’t extensive for these medicines many have shown these and other herbs to be effective in relieving stress.  They are definitely worth a try and although we all react to medicines differently we should be able to find ones that work for us.  Stress management can certainly be improved with the use of medicines and it definitely is worth the time to find what works for you.

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Common Everyday Tasks Used for Stress Reduction

going-for-a-walkStress is something that’s always around us. Almost everything you do in life has the ability to cause some kind of stress, whether it’s mentally or physically, and there isn’t much you can do to completely avoid the main stressors in your life – most of them are there and there for good. You can however control how you manage your stress, and in fact there are plenty of everyday common activities that are extremely useful in stress reduction. Here are just a few.

Enjoy a Casual Stroll Through the Park or Your Neighborhood

You’d be amazed at how much a little bit of light walking can do lighten your mood. When you’re feeling a little (or very) stressed from work, or just feel a little overwhelmed drop what you’re doing and take a 5-10 minute walk. Whatever you were doing before can wait and will be there when you come back. Try to enjoy your walk; look around, observe what’s going on around you. Smell the fresh air and walk somewhere you’ve never walked before. As a stress reducer a leisure walk is very efficient, and in some cases can completely eliminate your stress.

Take a Bath

Society is becoming more and more fast-paced, and because of this people want to spend as little time as possible doing non-work related things, such as bathing. While showering is just as effective at keeping you clean than taking a bath, taking a bath has one main advantage that you don’t get from showering – stress reduction. Take an extra 10 or 20 minutes out of your day and fill up your tub and just lay in there. Lay in there and think about your day, or don’t if you don’t want to. Some people like to close their eyes and just relax, that’s fine too.

Sleeping

Sleep is one of the most often overlooked stress reducers, and probably also one of the most efficient. Something as simple as sleeping can completely eliminate your stress. Lack of sleep is actually a very common cause of stress, and if consistently done and lead to many more serious problems. Try to get about 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. You’ll find yourself full of energy during the day, and you’ll also find yourself in a much better mood overall. You’d be surprised to see how important sleep is to keeping a stress free life.

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Eustress and… Shopping?

Eustress is an interesting form of stress, not only because it is the positive form of stress but because it has some odd contemporary triggers that nature would have never thought of. For one it is released when we spend a lot of money on something we want. That is a strange response and it can, in part, explain the addiction of shopping. There is undoubtedly a release of adrenaline while spending a lot of money, the shoppers high, eustress is the physiological explanation for this.eustress-and-shopping

There are more factors than just eustress that go into shopping addictions but this seems to be one of the main reasons. The gratification that comes with eustress builds positive reinforcement when buying new things. The excitement of a new purchase and the feeling that something positive is happen is very deceptive. A lot of people go about their addictions without making another thought about it. Many people feel the response of eustress without knowing what it is, just that they want more.

A lot can be said about addictions. That is not the purpose of this article, we are merely illustrating the power of eustress and it’s hidden triggers in life. It may help you begin to understand why you feel a certain way after buying a big priced item. We are not trying to help with addictions in this article, those need the support of yourself, your family/friends, and perhaps a trained professional. If you think you have a problem with this or anything else the sooner you work on correcting it the easier it will be and the less damage to be done.

Eustress is a mysterious force that sits and waits in your mind until the stimulus it is waiting for is introduced. It then catapults into action and in most cases helps you accomplish a goal. It may be dubbed the positive form of stress but it can also take negative affects such as those stated above. So be aware of the eustress response because it is always waiting to be triggered.

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Eustress and Marriage

It’s time again to look into the eustress and peer deeper under it’s veil. This mysterious form of stress which is beneficial has just in this century began to be understood. Hans Seyle, the father of stress research, first dubbed this positive stress as eustress. It had been experienced through all of mankind and in ways understood, but he linked it to many more ideas. He looked deeper at it, both the physiological and the psychological aspects of it. Eustress is a potent tool of the mind that has a very positive effect on us in most cases. We are going to take a look at it in relation to the act of marriage.eustress-marriage

Getting married is a unique time in a couples life where they unite in the highest sense of trust and respect for one another. It is an paramount experience that brings together two family’s and many groups of friends for one event honoring two. It typically takes months of planning, thousands of dollars, event organizers and coordinators, and the help of family and friends to get it running smoothly.

With the hectic nature of all this on the wedding day the bride and groom will be experiencing eustress at many points of the day. It will wear them out and keep them going. It will flood their minds once the “I do” are exchanged and it will carry them off onto their honeymoon. Nature never planned on such complex social structures and events when the eustress came into fruition so long ago. In many cases stress being thrown into our current way of living is sometimes not beneficial. But on a day like this, the eustress can get them through the day. It is a day of bombardment from every angle, it is a giant party for you and your loved one, and it is a spiritual sacrament of devotion.

This article turned out more of a snapshot of marriage than an article on eustress. Eustress is their to guide us along in life, to jump into action when we need it and to keep us at our most ready when we need to be.

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Don’t Ignore What you Eat!

All to  commonly we ignore what we eat. We take flavor and value over substance and nutrition. Not to say healthy food is  flavorless, it can in fact be much more delicious. As for price it is going to be more expensive overall (which is a good thing). If you ignore each stores individual margins and what they are paying for wholesale due to their purchasing power; you will always get what you pay for. That is to say, the fundamental price of each variety of food exactly reflects it’s quality. You can spend a buck on some crap or you can invest your money into your health, longevity, and mental/emotion well-being.broccoli-tofu

Yes, food will affect all of these things. The dangerous part of this is it’s hard to link how we are feeling to what we eat. In some ways however it is cut and dry; we eat fast food late at night and we wake up the next morning feeling poorly. This is an obvious example but some people may not connect the two. The long-term effects are much harder to decipher. The food industry is cloaked behind poor laws to protect us and the ability to present very low quality food in an appealing way. They can make grade D meat look great, they can even make it taste good with enough fat and additives. They can’t however make it be good for you, and really what do they care. It is very easy for these large companies to get away with this, and if they can why not? Their profits are always there first concern.

Ninety-nine cents for a burrito, what a deal right? That depends on what you mean by deal. The meal you are eating likely comes from grade D meat (ask your friends who work there) they contain potentially dangerous additives and are hard on your body. Give a new diet a chance, do your research on healthy foods and work hard to achieve a new diet. Your life will be enriched in ways you never connected to your food. You will feel better on many levels and your money will be going to much better people who care about you!

Think of all the food scares in the country. Think of all of the outbreaks or life-threatening diseases. Do these come from small scale farmers or from large scale corporate production that cram animals next to each other for miles? There are virtually no reported cases (I can’t actually find any) that came from family or individual owned farms. You can argue it is because they don’t supply near as much food but they would still have to have some statistic to compare to and they don’t even have a percent.

We must care about our bodies and about our lives to make these changes. We must re-budget our food to a more effective and nutritious choices. There is a lot to do but making one change at a time will smooth out the transition. We can get cheaper deals than big name fast foods chains with rice and grains. We can get good organic diary and produce that will make us feel good. To make these changes will give you the direct experience of how your food affects your life.

Eat well and feel great!

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Organic vs Conventional

The organic vs conventional debate is pretty cut and dry but finding which organically labeled items are organic and which aren’t is essential to living an organic lifestyle or at least eating as organic as you decide you want to. I will start off with the organic basic for those of you who don’t know.

Organic produce, grains, herbs, etc are all grown pesticide free, without genetically modified (GMO) seeds or artificial fertilizer. They are generally produced in smaller crops which raises quality and supports small farmers. Corporations however, don’t care about the land or anything else, they just care about profits. Organic is not only better for the environment it is better for you. Organic products regularly contain more vitamins and minerals than the same conventional products. On top of this they are not grown with pesticides or genetically modified seeds. Organic-Vs-Conventional

Genetically modified seeds are manufactured by Monsanto. A quick Google search of Monsanto and you will find a tremendous list of their misdeeds and dozens of groups working against them for a plethora of reasons. These seeds are potentially very harmful to our bodies (not enough scientific studies have been done) and are very harmful to our environment. They make pesticide resistant plants that can be sprayed more, which is bad for us and the environment. Additionally this extra spraying of pesticides are creating super weeds which are become more and more resistant to the spraying.

Organic products are better for the environment, they are better for you, they taste better, and generally the money you spend on them is going to small farmers and away from corporations who don’t care about you in anyway. There are many fake organic labels and lobbyist have successfully lowered the bar for organic labels. Avoid brands that are well know for unhealthy snacks and products that also have products with organic labels. These are always fake organics. Look for products with a short list of ingredients.

If you choose to eat one thing Organically let it be your dairy. This is the largest jump in food quailty, conventional dairy is disgusting and I will let you do the research to see why. Organic dairy is a massive jump in quality so let that be your starting point.

Eat better and you will feel better!

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What Not to Eat

trans-fatsWell there’s a lot of things and I mean a lot of things not to eat. There are the obvious things like any food product with trans fat (any). If you want a heart attack eat trans fats. It’s gained a lot of
attention lately for not breaking down and doing a great job of clogging your arteries and messing your health up. Although reading the nutrition facts on the back of a food item can be deceiving (more about that later) seeing trans fat on it is very straight forward and should be avoided unless you hate your life.

High fructose corn syrup has become another enemy of the public. The fact that they released ads saying it was good to eat and a healthy part of your diet shows how desperate they are. It is not healthy, it is made with disgusting chemicals, it’s bad for your digestion, and it will make you gain weight. It takes less calories to digest and it digests so fast you get insulin spikes which is very bad for your liver and most of your body. Just stay away from it as best you can even with that makes drinking diet cola with aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is said to be safe and really not proven otherwise although it is likely carcinogenic. Try natural alternatives like Blue Sky soda which uses only real sugar. Try alternative sweeteners like stevia, agave, or honey.

Processed foods in general are a bad idea. They rob you of the nutrients and enzymes you should be getting, they digest in less than healthy ways, and the method in which they are processed can be dangerous (although not usually).

Milk. Ew, just ew.

These are a couple basic things to avoid. I will add much more down the line. Until then just remember what you eat equates to how you feel, how healthy/unhealthy you are and how often you get sick. So while the rewards aren’t instant just remember you it’s your life and it’s your choice to eat well and reap the benefits that come in time and are maintained once achieved.

Be healthy!

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Nutrition Advice For a Stress Free Life

fruits-grainsNutrition is one of the most overlooked and most important things in life. It not only affects your health but it has a strong link to your mental clarity and emotional well-being. It is overlooked in part because of our separation from the food we eat; most of us don’t garden and we certainly don’t kill and butcher our food. It is overlooked in part because of the motives of the food industries, to think that big business care about our health over their profits in naive. It is also overlooked because it’s something we have always done, always do, and rarely have we tried or know how to eat healthy.

There are so many small and large steps to take that lead to great changes in our life. Many of us think that fats are bad and cause body fat. That is simply untrue. Our caloric intake mixed with how simple or complex the food is along with metabolism is what affects fat. Complex carbohydrates like Bran, barley, corn, buckwheat, oats, brown rice, and yams all take more energy to digest. We actually burn more calories digesting this food unlike high fructose corn syrup which extremely simple and takes nothing to digest.

Not only does eating complex carbohydrates benefit us by lowering calories but it’s also great for our bodies. It doesn’t cause insulin surges which is very hard on our body (also a strong contributing factor to break outs).

To move on from the shallow affects of eating (break outs, body fat) we must understand how much eating clouds mental clarity. The lighter the foods, the less dairy we eat, the less processed our food is all lower our minds sharpness. To prove to yourself all of the above, change your diet! Start simple, you don’t have to eat rice everyday and that’s not even healthy. Proper diet takes a lot of research and time. Here is a brief overview of what you should be eating.

  1. Vegetables, you can NEVER eat to many and they should be the first on the list. Don’t overeat, it’s very hard on your body, spread out your meals. It is psychology that the more food on your plate the more you will feel compelled to overeat.
  2. Eat complex grains/beans: brown rice, oats, whole wheat, lentils and every other bean.
  3. Avoid processed foods as best you can.
  4. Fruits are also complex and great to eat; replace candy with fruits! Apples are high in fiber and bind to saturated fats.
  5. Replace soda with green/white/black teas. This may be the most difficult since many of us are literally addicted to them, but it is also a very important step.
  6. Avoid trans fats, look for healthy fats like those found in olive oil and avocados.
  7. Seriously don’t overeat!
  8. Take a daily multivitamin (non-synthesized is best) and omega 3-6-9’s (like fish or flax oil).
  9. Always, always eat a great variety of foods!

Just give it a try, there is no magic pill in life, but there truly are magic diets!

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