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Monday, November 24, 2014

Back At It

It's been two long years since I have written a blog post. I'm back and hope to write about the many things that inspire me, my hopes, dreams and desires. I have many! Also, as I enter into the final decades of my life, I will write about my struggles that face and how I overcome them.

Did I mention that I turned 50 this year? (Ugh!) The new 30, right? At least that is how I feel, like a 30 year old! I hope that some of my writings may inspire you. At times I may query for your advice seeking your inspiration.

Follow me on my journey as we move forward together. My intention is to find a greater sense of happiness through the simple pleasures of life. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wellness Coaching

For those of you that have followed my blog in the past, thank you! I have enjoyed sharing information about healthy living. I have been absent from this blog lately because I have been studying to become a wellness coach. I am really excited about my new career, learning to coach about nutrition and whole life wellness. Be watching for my new website and blog where I am hoping to share with you everything I have learned. If you would like to help me while I am still enrolled in school, I am offering free health history consultations to anyone that is interested in exploring their health on a deeper level. Contact me via email @ danamulligan06@gmail.com  ...To your health!!! :-)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Relaxation Through Simple Meditation

This is quite funny advice coming from someone like me that really needs to learn how to take a chill pill! Although I may be a person that is quick to become high strung about an issue, I am also the last person to rely on a quick fix through pills, medication, or over indulgences of unhealthy behaviors.
My favorite way of inducing a relaxed behavior is through exercise, but sometimes exercise alone is not enough, or I may feel a moment when I just need to slow down and take a deep breath. Try it, literally, take a deep breath and slow down.
Here is a tip that you can do any where, any time: Find a comfortable spot to sit or lay down. You may want to close your eyes, but do not let yourself fall asleep (unless you need to use these techniques to induce sleep). Try to find a place that is quiet enough that you can concentrate on your breathing. Pay attention to slow breaths in, and slow breaths out. Naturally your mind will begin to wander. Take note of your thoughts and tell them that you will come back to them later. Address them quickly, and let them go. Continue to concentrate on your breathing. Next focus on your body. Do you feel comfortable, are you relaxed. Try to relax every muscle in your body. Your mind will continue to produce an endless stream of random thoughts, some pleasurable and some not so pleasurable. Now is not the time to work them out. Tell yourself to let the thoughts go. Focus on your breathing, your body alignment, your muscles relaxing. Pay attention to each muscle from your jaw muscles all the way to your toes. Acknowledge each muscle and make sure they are each relaxed. Breath, relax, breath....
There are literally hundreds of benefits to meditative relaxation. Try this when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. You will love how it makes you feel.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Can't Change Someone?

So many times I find myself frustrated by other people's actions. I want to change them and make them see things from my perspective. Even though I know in my heart that I can't change people, I still evoke an emotion because I want to be heard, understood, appreciated or whatever the case may be. I loved this article because there is only one thing that I can change, and that is my reaction to others. For those of us that possess a bit of a type "A" personality, here is a way to gain back some control. I loved this article that I found on "MindBodyGreen".....

Can't Change Someone? 5 Tips to Change How You React

Time and time again, I am faced with questions in cyberspace that go something like this: “My (insert relationship here) won’t stop (insert annoying habit here). How do I stop him/her from doing that?” The answer is that you don’t because you can’t change another individual. The only person you have total, absolute, and unwavering control over is yourself, and this is where the magic happens. Believe it or not, you actually have the ability to change the way you react to someone or something that makes you feel less than unapologetically blissful.

Anyone can change, but making a change takes time, effort, and patience. It won’t all happen at once, and that is OK. Below are five tips to change how you react.

1. Have Understanding and Compassion.

It can be difficult to offer individuals compassion when you assume they are the cause of a majority of your perceived problems, but if you can, take the time to put yourself in their shoes. Imagine what it is like to be them and reasons why they could be doing that thing they do that absolutely burrows under your skin and lives there only to annoy you time and time again. This way of viewing the situation doesn’t justify bad behavior, but it does explain it and make your life a heck of a lot easier.

2. See the Innocence in Them.

Beneath the neurotic behavior, the damaged ego, and the closed heart there exists an innocent soul, a living expression of the divine, just as it lives inside of you. When you are having a particularly difficult encounter, see the innocence within him/her and remember that you are connected through the one energy that connects us all. Pretend you are meeting him/her for the first time with no past experiences or future expectations, and expect the best. You might be pleasantly surprised.

3. Understand Yourself.

Know what you are doing and why. Self-awareness is an important piece to the happiness puzzle because it is followed by the ability to make a lasting change. Pause. Thinking before you act never goes out of style.

4. Consider the Consequences.

Newton was spot on when he declared every action has an equal and opposite reaction, even in relationships. If you react out of anger or frustration, you are likely to receive just as negative of a reaction back, and you will get what you expect. Consider the consequences of your actions and work toward creating healthier, more positive, or at the very least, neutral exchanges.

5. Look for the Lesson. 

If life is a classroom and people are our teachers, look for the lesson hidden within a difficult situation, the diamond in the rough. Why are you attracting these individuals and situations into your life? Are you not living in alignment with your highest good? Is it a lesson in patience? Or maybe judgment? Possibly self-awareness? Every situation is an opportunity for growth, and when looked at through this rose colored lens, life becomes a lot more enjoyable.
 
Published April 5, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Is Sugar Toxic?

 I just watched a segment on 60 Minutes, which was an overview on the toxicity of sugar. This is such an important message I just had to post this. The link is below and you can watch the segment as long as it is still active, and the article is outlined below:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57407128/preview-is-sugar-toxic/?tag=pop;stories

(CBS News) Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, believes the high amount of sugar in the American diet, much of it in processed foods, is killing us. And as Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports, new scientific research seems to support his theory that sugar is toxic, including some linking the excess ingestion of sugars to heart disease. Gupta's report broadcasted on 60 Minutes Sunday, April 1 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Americans are now consuming nearly 130 pounds of added sugars per person, per year. Those include both sugar and high fructose corn syrup. And while many vilify high fructose corn syrup and believe it is worse than sugar, Dr. Lustig says metabolically there is no difference. "They are basically equivalent. The problem is they're both bad. They're both equally toxic," he says.
Dr. Lustig treats sick, obese children, who he believes are primarily sick because of the amount of sugar they ingest. He says this sugar not only leads to obesity, but to "Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease itself." Something needs to be done says Dr. Lustig. "Ultimately, this is a public health crisis...you have to do big things and you have to do them across the board," he tells Gupta. "Tobacco and alcohol are perfect examples," he says, referring to the regulations imposed on their consumption and the warnings on their labels. "I think sugar belongs in this exact same wastebasket."
A recent study supports the idea that excess consumption of high fructose corn syrup is linked to an increase in risk factors for heart disease by increasing a type of cholesterol that can clog arteries. The University of California, Davis, study also indicated that calories from added sugars are different than those from other foods. Subjects had 25 percent of their caloric intake replaced with sweetened drinks. Nutritional biologist Kimber Stanhope was surprised to see that after only two weeks, "We found that the subjects who consumed high fructose corn syrup had increased levels of LDL cholesterol and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease," she tells Gupta. "I started eating and drinking a whole lot less sugar."
What happens says Stanhope, is the liver gets overloaded with fructose and converts come of it into fat, which gets into the bloodstream to create "small dense LDL," the kind of LDL that forms plaque in arteries. The irony here is that for precisely that reason - avoiding heart disease - a government commission in the 1970s mandated that we lower our fat consumption. "When you take the fat out of food, it tastes like cardboard," says Dr. Lustig. "And the food industry knew that, so they replaced it with sugar...and guess what? Heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and death are skyrocketing," he tells Gupta.
And other scientific work shows that sugar could also be helping some cancer tumors to grow because sugar stimulates the production of the hormone insulin. Nearly a third of common cancers such as some breast and colon cancers, contain insulin receptors that eventually signal the tumor to consume glucose. Lewis Cantley, a Harvard professor and head of the Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center, says some of those cancers have learned to adapt to an insulin-rich environment. "They have evolved the ability to hijack that flow of glucose that's going by in the bloodstream into the tumor itself."

What does the sugar industry have to say about this? Gupta spoke with Jim Simon, a member of the board of the Sugar Association. "To say that the American consuming public is going to omit, eliminate sweeteners out of their diet, I don't think gets us there," he says. Simon points out that the science is "not completely clear" and it's wrong to single out one food because the real emphasis should be on long-term reduction of calories, balanced diet and exercise.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dirty Dozen Pesticide List ~ Why It Matters to Eat Organic

The Environmental Working Group compiles a list of the fruits and vegetables with the highest amounts of pesticides and fungicides to help consumers make informed decisions about when to buy organic.
Pesticides and fungicides are sprayed on crops as a way to protect our food supply from bugs and pests. However, pesticides don't simply wash off. These pesticides and fungicides penetrate our foods, and as we eat these foods we also are ingesting these harmful products.
The easiest way to avoid pesticides and fungicides is to choose organic fruits and vegetables. But if buying all organic puts too much of strain on your pocketbook, the safest place to start is with the "Dirty Dozen" list of produce containing the highest levels of pesticides.
The list is compiled annually by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization that uses public information to protect public health and the environment. Many of the items on the list contain multiple pesticides, some with as many as 60 different types.
Although we are exposed to hundreds of pesticides a day, making some simple changes to your diet — such as not buying food off the Dirty Dozen list or buying the organic version — can reduce your exposure to pesticides and reduce health risks.

The 2011 Dirty Dozen list:
  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Imported nectarines
  7. Imported grapes
  8. Sweet bell pepper
  9. Potatoes
  10. Domestic blueberries
  11. Lettuce
  12.  Kale/Collard Greens





    For more information on pesticide health risks, visit the Environmental Protection Agency website, which provides human risk assessment informational fact sheets on pesticides/fungicides in alphabetical order.
    Jessica Hoffman, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

    This information was compiled from Bastyr University website, News & Media, Health Tips, November 21, 2011

Friday, March 16, 2012

SAD

SAD....It's easy to recognize, but not always so easy to overcome. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is as predictable for me as the changing of seasons. During the onset of fall and winter when there is the least amount of sunlight I sense a constant feeling of melancholy, a feeling of loss, and a general malaise. I pull away from people and hunker down for the winter. Running has helped me pull through the long dreary winters, but this year I have even pulled away from my love of running. My struggle with SAD this season has been worse than most previous years. I don't generally care to share this with people except those that understand this SAD mood disorder. However, I have found some dramatic differences this year and I think it is interesting to talk about and worth sharing with others that may experience the same drop in energy with the lack of sunshine. Here's the difference this year, ironically I spent two weeks in sunny Hawaii and a week in sunny Mexico. So, I ask, what the heck is wrong with me? I have been in the sun! Shouldn't this have helped my overall mood. During these weeks in the sun, I felt completely happy, the malaise was gone, and I had energy to exercise. However, upon my return from the sun, the dismal dark gray days of Seattle made me so resentful knowing that the sun actually existed somewhere else on this planet. I quickly dipped into darker moods than before I left for the sun. After analyzing these moods, I think it has to do with the perception of when I think I will see the sun again and knowing how much I love the warmth, not just the sun, the outlook sometimes seems dismal in the Pacific Northwest. Short of packing my bags and moving somewhere sunny (which may be ideal) I must come up with some other coping strategies. Here's some ideas:
  • Exercise: Strap on my running shoes and get out there again, no matter how much that voice inside is screaming that it hates this yucky weather. I am healthy, and I have the ability to do it! Suck it up girl! Going out and getting the morning light helps to start your day.
  • Lighting: Buy some lights that resemble natural sunlight or buy a sun box. We have replaced most of our lights with energy efficient lighting, which does not give off the same bright light and feeling of sunshine. I plan to replace my office lights with bulbs that give natural light, this is where I spend the most amount of time.
  • Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol: It will be hard for me to avoid caffeine, but will go buy some decaffeinated coffee.
  • Tryptophan: Eat more turkey, eggs and milk, tryptophan is found in these foods. This is thought to increase serotonin which enhances moods.
  • Sleep: Get enough sleep and maintain a regular schedule.
  • Try Something New: I joined a yoga class. Yoga is a positive coping strategy with many other benefits such as improved balance, flexibility, inner core strength and a means to relax. This was also a way of forcing me to go out and socialize. 
For all of us, daily hassles and stress can compound depression or mood disorders such as SAD. Being aware of the stressors in your life is an important factor to healthy coping and recovery. Do something that makes you happy today!