Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's programs from Spirituality & Practice

Happy New Year from Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

We are delighted to announce that we have a new series of e-courses on Spirituality & Practice -- 21-day programs designed to help you change a habit and establish a new practice, which recovery programs tell us takes three weeks.

As we wrote in Spiritual Rx, people come to the spiritual life in many ways and for different reasons — but most of us, frankly, are drawn to spirituality because, as a doctor might say, certain symptoms are "presenting."

So we've taken four common symptoms many of us face regularly and developed 21-day email programs to help you work with them. Each email contains a brief quotation from a spiritual teacher on the subject and a way for you to practice the thought during the day. Available on-demand (you choose start date and frequency - though we recommend the daily schedule), these programs are ways for you to jump-start your personal transformation in 2008.

Beating the Blahs - Get back your resolve and get over feeling stuck.

Dealing with Disappointment - Examine the causes and teachings of this common feeling.

Fear Busters - Quotes and exercises to help you break the fear habit.

Letting Go - Experience the freedom that comes from releasing things.

Sign up today and start on the path to personal transformation in 2008!

Current E-Course Schedule Coming Soon

We will be announcing the schedule of Practicing Spirituality E-Courses for 2008 later this week, so watch the website and your inbox for that announcement. These are the 40-day programs that run for specific times and also have Practice Circles where participants can share their experiences with the courses and provide mutual support.

We're planning more courses with spiritual master, courses on the world's religions, and an e-course on Practicing Spirituality during Illness. We can tell you that the first new current e-course will not begin until February 1, so you have just enough time to get in a 21-day course before embarking on one of those journeys!

We look forward to spending 2008 practicing spirituality with you. To remind ourselves and you of some of our core commitments, we've created a downloadable version of our Spiritually Literate New Year's Resolutions. You can get it here.

Salaam, Shalom, Peace,

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Do the Holidays Have You Feeling Blue?

Counseling Corner 12.03.07
from the American Counseling Association
sponsored by the ACA Foundation

It's the holiday season and everywhere people are happy and excited...except you. Instead, you're feeling stressed and depressed. It's called the "holiday blues" and it's a fairly common condition, though one often hidden behind false holiday smiles.

One reason the holiday season can seem depressing is that it comes at a time when we may be mentally summing up the year, especially its troubles and shortcomings. Year-end memories commonly focus on problems of the past year -- illnesses, loss of loved ones, work or relationship problems, or things falling short of our expectations -- rather than the positive happenings of the year.

The holidays are also a busy time. Added to the normal stresses of daily living are the anxieties of gift buying, holiday parties, family issues, social obligations and other stress-inducers of this season.

Holiday media images can also leave us with impossibly perfect holiday expectations. Advertising, TV shows, and magazine stories are present wonderful family holidays that never happen in real life, but still leave us feeling that we're falling short of how things should be.All these complications of the season can certainly leave us feeling blue, but there are steps to take to minimize their effect on our emotional state.

A healthy lifestyle is a good start. Instead of overeating or drinking excessively because you're feeling stressed, make conscious decisions to enjoy holiday food and drink, but to do so in moderation. At non-party times, choose tasty low-fat foods. You'll feel better and avoid the stress of holiday weight gain.

Other healthy lifestyle decisions include getting enough sleep and exercise. A brisk daily walk in the sunshine is a very effective way to fight depression. Studies also fine even moderate exercise can reduce stress and mild depression.

You also want to stay connected. Feeling sad often causes people to withdraw and isolate themselves. Instead, make a real effort to spend time with friends, to call or write those you care about and to remember past good times you've enjoyed with these people.

Simply talking about your holiday feelings with friends can also help. Their support and comfort can make a real difference. And while the holiday blues are usually only temporary and fairly mild, talk to a counseling professional if your depression feels deeper and more than just a symptom of the season.

"The Counseling Corner" is provided as a public service by the American Counseling Association, the nation's largest organization of counseling professionals. Learn more about the counseling profession at the ACA web site,

Uninsured have lower cancer survival rates

"A new report by a major US cancer charity has found that uninsured Americans are less likely to survive cancer, less likely to be screened for it, and more likely to have an advanced stage of the disease once they are diagnosed, compared with Americans on health insurance."

Amercian Cancer Society complete article, 2007/12/20:
Report Links Health Insurance Status With Cancer Care

Grapefruit & possible breast cancer connection

There is a growing list of drugs that interact with grapefruit and grapefruit juice, due to its ability to alter liver metabolism. Grapefruit juice slows activity of the liver enzyme that metabolizes Lipitor, for instance, thus increasing the possible side-effects of the drug.

Now there is preliminary evidence that regular consumption of grapefruit in a post-menopausal woman's diet can increase breast cancer incidence, due to grapefruit's inhibition of CYP3A4, an isoenzyme that metabolizes estrogen.

In the Hawaii-Los Angeles Multiethnic Cohort Study, women in the highest intake category—60 grams or more per day, equal to slightly more than one-quarter grapefruit per day or half a grapefruit every other day—had a relative risk of breast cancer 30% higher than women who ate no grapefruit. The trend of increasing risk with increasing consumption was significant after adjusting for weight, exercise, use of postmenopausal hormone therapy, family history of breast cancer, and other factors that could impact risk.

"The results are consistent with a biological effect of grapefruit on estrogen metabolism. At least 2 previous studies have found higher estrogen levels in women consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice, the authors note, and grapefruit is known to elevate serum concentrations of many drugs, including hormone replacement therapies. The US Food and Drug Administration requires hormone replacement products to carry warning labels stating that grapefruit juice may increase plasma concentrations of estrogen."

Lead study author Kristine R. Monroe, PhD, Research Associate in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University's Keck School of Medicine stresses, however, that there's not yet enough evidence to recommend women stop eating grapefruit as a means of lowering their breast cancer risk. "I would use caution until further studies are done and a scientific conclusion can be reached."

Sunday, December 16, 2007



By Venerable Losang Samten

At the Chico State University BMU

Jan 28th- March 1st (Tues-Sun 10am-5pm)


at the
Chico Family Masonic Center
February 16 & 17

A rare, historic and sacred event will be at the University of California in Chico. Come to the Bell Memorial Union and experience this one month long process of creating the ancient Kalachakra Sand Painting referred to as "The Wheel of Time". The Dalai Lama has given permission to Losang Samten to create this mandala in Chico. Losang is highly skilled in this meditational art from Tibet's monasteries which is intended to bring peace and healing to all its viewers, as well as to the environment. The path of its colors has symbolic meaning in every detail and is said to trace the progression toward the state of Awakening and Inner Peace.

Losang is scheduled to be at the BMU Tuesdays-Sundays from 10-5 working on the mandala. He enjoys and encourages questions as well as dialogue, and is a wonderful storyteller. While taking breaks he shares these tales. Every story will lead the listener into the heart of Tibet's deep teachings on wisdom and compassion.

All are welcome! In addition there will be evening teachings and programs on and off campus, as well as teachings for various on campus classes. Daily notices will be posted near the mandala for these details.

The opening ceremony will be on January 28th and the closing will be on March 1st. Don't miss this. The sand of this exquisite painting will be collected, some distributed to those present and the rest poured into the nearby creek. The message is that all things are impermanent, highlighting the idea of not getting "too attached". You will feel the peace of a tradition carried on by a living master of this art.

Some Special Dates
Feb 6 - Tea Ceremony - Spiritual Enrichment Center, 2565 California Park Drive, Chico. 7-9 pm Suggested donation $10.00

Feb 12 - International Forum - Holt Rm 5:00-5:50pm, open to public.

Feb 13 - Sacred Tibetan Dance - Spiritual Enrichment Center, 2565 California Park Drive 7-9 pm Suggested donation $10.00.

Feb 16-17 - Tibetan Cultural Festival, Masonic Family Center, 1110 East W. East Avenue, Chico 9 am - 7 pm.

Feb 19 - Religious Studies lecture - 4-5:15 pm Humanities Center open to public.

Feb 22 - Tea Ceremony - Church or Religious Studies Paradise, 789 Billie Rd
6:30 pm Suggested donation $10.00.

Feb 24 - 1 Day Buddhist Retreat - Masonic Family Center, 1110 W. East Avenue, Chico 10 am -4 pm.

email Shanta at

Tara, a Christmas Star of Peace

I so enjoyed this Christmas message in a recent Dharma Tapestry newsletter from Richard Rudis, I am offering it here for your enjoyment. Richard is the man who performs Gong Baths and teaches vibrational healing through the use of traditional Himalayan instruments such as singing bowls and tingshas. His concerts and trainings are very popular in California, Colorado and the Chicago area.

Tara, a Christmas Star of Peace
Knowing something of Christian and Buddhist traditions it occurred to me that the Buddhist Bodhisattva ‘Arya Tara’, (‘Bringer of Life’, the ‘Compassionate Mother’, the ‘Embodiment of Wisdom’), is the perfect model for the Christian Christmas Star. In Sanskrit her name means ‘Shining’ and in Hindi ‘Star’.

Her two principle emanations; White Tara and Green Tara portray the long associated qualities surrounding the birth of Christ; peace embodied, transcendent wisdom, compassion, love, protection and healing. As the light of that special star guided and illuminated the profound birth so the ‘Star Tara’ empowers enlightened activity arising from pure compassion and wisdom. Just as the Magi were guided by the Shining Star of the East so too were numerous Tibetan refugees, fleeing the horrors of occupied Tibet, guided by Tara over the Himalayan mountains to freedom and safety.

Tradition tells us that Tara will assume any form to help those in need. Indeed there appears to be a manifestation of her found in virtually every culture known on Earth. Five thousand years ago in what is now Finland there was a group known as the ‘Tar’ or the ‘Women of Wisdom’. The Celts called their great goddess ‘Tara’; she who is bathed with spiritual energy. The latin word for earth, ‘Terra’, echoes her presence. She is ‘Kuan Yin’ in China, ‘Tarahumara’ in South America, ‘Star Woman’ to the native Cheyenne and ‘IshTar’ in ancient Egypt. She is an archetype of our own inner wisdom, our inner knowing, that guides and protects us as we navigate the samsaric depths and storms of life. Her teachings reminds us of our shared oneness in spirit and creation. Her shining in this world is embodied in her vow; “I shall work for the welfare of all beings, until such time as all humanity has found its fullness."

Surely this is the Star of Christ, the Star of love, compassion, understanding, wisdom and the deepest meaning of Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All - Richard Rudis

Dharma Tapestry is a free monthly email newsletter that promotes understanding, tolerance, compassion, and awareness of eastern philosophy.

To subscribe, please send an email to:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Being... H. W. Longfellow

HeartQuotes is a trademark of Quantum Intech, Inc. Copyright © 2007, HeartMath LLC All rights reserved.

National Healthcare - NPR Science Friday report on Candidates

National Public Radio's weekly presentation of Science Friday (12-14-07) talked about the prospects for a national healthcare initiative among the many candidates. There is little to nothing said about this in the national media, so I thought I would share this resource. There are also two websites that were mentioned, offering the proposed policies of the various candidates. You can listen to the radio show in its entirety here, as well as follow links to the guest speakers:

The American College of Physicians website reviews 6 benchmarks to help you analyze the health platforms of the 2008 presidential candidates:

Kaiser Family Foundation offers this analysis of the presidential candidate healthcare proposals here:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

He that does good to another does good also to himself.

Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki, South Island, New Zealand.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca, or Seneca the Younger) (c. 4 BC – AD 65) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. [Wikipedia]
HeartQuotes Copyright © 2007, HeartMath LLC All rights reserved.

Bill Harris on "The Secret" & magical thinking

There is so much discussion about the "The Secret," the DVD about using the power of intention to create what you want in life. I found this blog entry from Bill Harris, one of the "Secret's" experts, to be highly informing. It has been my belief that the "The Secret" does exemplify an overly simplistic and potentially narcissistic point-of-view. Beyond the simplicity, there also lies the potential for exploring a new way of thinking and being in our world. It is the responsibility of each person who seeks this lifestyle to study and inform themselves, to find great teachers, and to reach beyond the glamour and marketing ploys for real depth. Be Well, Janis

Excerpts from Bill Harris' blog,

Several of you have asked about The Secret, and why, since I was in it, I’m sometimes critical of it. So what’s wrong with me? Why am I such a wet blanket?

First of all, The Secret used just a small bit of what I said when they recorded what I had to say about using the mind to create what you want in the world. They had a certain point of view they wanted to present, and I quite frankly didn’t know precisely what it was when I was being interviewed. Now, I see that their point of view was primarily a magical one, in the sense that The Secret seems to be saying that all you need to do is wish, hope, or “put it out to the universe” in order to get something. This point of view was presented despite the fact that very few of the teachers featured in The Secret (and I know almost all of them) actually believe that.

If you want to give “putting it out to the universe” a try, go for it. I’ll just caution you that I know a lot of very successful people, and none of them (and I really do mean zero, none, nada, zip, goose egg) became successful using that method.

Yes, every successful person I know did use their mind, and did focus on the outcome they wanted. Focusing your attention on what you want IS necessary. However, it’s just the first step. and you certainly don’t do it because it creates some sort of magic tractor-beam that sucks what you want into your waiting arms.

Here’s what happens when you focus your mind on the outcome you want: 1) it generates ideas you can use to get it, 2) it alerts you to resources you can use but might not see otherwise, 3) it creates the motivation to act, and 4) it helps you develop necessary personal qualities you might need, such as imagination, courage, persistence, or enthusiasm.

Next, though, you need to act, you need to do something. And, if you want something in return, the action you take needs to be of value in some way. It can’t be just any action. Running around in your underwear in Times Square is an action, but it might not get you the outcome you want.

The idea that thinking or hoping by itself will get you what you want is first-class magical thinking....

....What is more, both controlling things with your mind (other than yourself, which is what you should use it for) and the hope of getting something for nothing are self-centered, egocentric, narcissistic points of view. Yes, until we learn to be in charge of ourselves and our immediate environment we do tend to think mostly of ourselves, but that doesn’t make it resourceful or desirable.

I find that those who wish for magical powers like this do so because they feel powerless in the world. They don’t see a way out of their situation (though there is one) and this idea that there is a magic way to get what they want sounds very appealing.

....What you focus on does create your reality, but there’s no magic involved. Many–most– people don’t know that this is true. Until you can observe your thoughts and be aware of how you focus your attention–which comes at a certain level of development–you cannot intentionally focus your mind. Before that point your mind still focuses on something, but it is done automatically, unconsciously. When you are immersed in your mental processes, these processes (what I have called your Internal Map of Reality) will create your life without any intentional direction from you.

Once you develop to the point where you can observe your thinking process, rather than being it, you can direct your mind, and in doing so begin to take charge of your life.

Read the complete blog entry via the included link: © 2007 Centerpointe Research Institute. All Rights Reserved.

One of the best known forms of training to become aware of our thoughts and focusing our attention is Mindfulness Meditation. Janis teaches this form of meditation to individuals and groups in her Chester, CA offices. Contact Janis for more information or to sign up for future classes. email=

Monday, October 29, 2007

Suffering Is Optional

Be curious about your pain and you'll find that though it may not be optional, the pain of your reaction is.

By Christina Feldman

Aging, sickness, and moments of pain are intrinsic to the life of all of our bodies. Bodily pain comes in many guises—some of it is chronic, some temporary, some unavoidable. Our first response is to resist it. We have numerous strategies to ward pain off, to avoid it, or to camouflage it with distraction. Aversion, terror, and agitation interweave themselves with the experiences in our bodies and we are easily lost in dread and despair. Our bodies may even be seen as enemies, sabotaging our well-being and happiness. When we are enmeshed in this knot of fear and resistance, there is little space for healing or compassionate attention to occur.

And yet we can learn to touch discomfort and pain with an attention that is loving, accepting, and spacious. We can learn to befriend our bodies, even in the moments when they are most distressed and uncomfortable. We can discover that it is possible to release aversion and fear. With caring and curious attention, we can see that there is a difference between the sensations occurring in our bodies and the thoughts and emotions that react to those sensations. Instead of running from pain, we can bring a curious and caring attention into the heart of pain. In doing so, we discover that our well-being and inner balance are no longer sabotaged. Surrendering our resistance, we find that pain is no longer intimidating or unbearable.

No one would suggest that learning to work skillfully with pain is an easy task, however, or that meditation is a way to fix pain or make it go away. Sometimes we are overwhelmed and we can learn to accept this too. In moments when the intensity of pain seems unbearable it is fine to take our attention away from it and connect with a simpler focus of attention such as breathing or listening for a time. When our hearts and minds have calmed and feel more spacious, it is the right moment to return our attention to the areas of pain in the body.

There are also times when it is often possible to dissolve the layers of tension and fear that gather around pain and to embrace it with greater spaciousness and ease. We may even find a deep inner balance and serenity in the midst of pain. These are moments of great possibility and strength. Working with pain, learning to accept and embrace it, is a moment-to-moment practice in which we release helplessness, despair, and fear. This is in itself healing and teaches us the way to find peace and freedom within the changing events of our bodies.

When pain or distress arises in our bodies, our conditioned reaction is to pin it down and solidify it with concepts. We say "my knee," "my back," "my illness," and the floodgates of apprehension are opened. We predict a dire future for ourselves, fear the intensification of the pain, and at times dissolve into helplessness and despair. Our concepts serve both to make the pain more rigid and to undermine our capacity to respond to it skillfully. We are caught in the tension of wanting to divorce ourselves from a distressed body while the intensity of pain keeps drawing us back into our body.

Meditation offers a very different way of responding to pain in our bodies. Instead of employing strategies to avoid it, we learn to investigate what is actually being experienced within our bodies calmly and curiously. We can bring a compassionate, accepting attention directly to the core of pain. This is the first step towards healing and releasing the agitation and dread that often intensify pain.

Turning our attention directly toward the distress or pain, we discover that the pain we had previously perceived as a solid mass of discomfort is in truth very different. Sensations are changing from moment to moment. And there are different textures within those sensations—tightness, heat, pressure, burning, stinging, aching... As we ask, "What is this?" the label "pain" becomes increasingly meaningless.

Within all pain and distress we discover there are two levels of experience. One is the simple actuality of the sensation, feeling, or pain, and the other is our story of fear that surrounds it. Letting go of the story, we are increasingly able to connect with the simple truth of the pain. We discover that it may be possible to find calm and peace even in the midst of distress.
Fear Factor

Pain in our body, particularly chronic and acute pain, has an inevitable emotional impact that can be equally debilitating. Blame, fear, self-condemnation, despair, anxiety, and terror can arise in the wake of physical illness and root themselves in our bodies, further hindering our capacity to heal and find ease. Our emotional reactions of fear and resistance often lodge themselves in our bodies alongside the pain, to the point where they are almost indistinguishable. Learning to notice the distinction between pain and our reaction to it, we begin to see that although the pain in our bodies may not be optional, some of the pain of our reactions is optional.

The natural desire to avoid pain is translated in our minds and hearts into turbulence and anxiety, and our sense of inner balance is swept away in the avalanche of those feelings. Even when we are fortunate in that our body recovers, without mindfulness the emotions associated with illness or pain linger much longer in our bodies and minds. We may begin to live in a fearful way, treating every unpleasant sensation as a messenger of doom, assuming it signals a return of the pain or illness. The damage we do to ourselves in ignoring the impact of our emotional reactions compounds our tendency to feel anxious and afraid.

There is a great art in learning to be present with pain, just as it is, in the moment when it arises. But with mindfulness, we can learn to make peace with pain. We can learn to be present one moment at a time and so liberate ourselves from the dread of what the next moment may bring. We can learn the kindness of acceptance rather than the harshness of denial.
Extracted from Heart of Wisdom, Mind of Calm, by Christina Feldman, published by HarperThorsons.
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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Think to yourself that every day is your last - Horace

Think to yourself that every day is your last;
the hour to which you do not look forward
will come as a welcome surprise.


Quintus Horatius Flaccus, (December 8, 65 BC - November 27, 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Breast Cancer Chemo Drug for Whom?

Drug, Called Taxol, May Only Benefit Certain Women With Breast Cancer
By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 10, 2007 -- The breast cancer chemotherapy drug Taxol may not help most breast cancer patients, researchers report in The New England Journal of Medicine. The key finding: Adding Taxol to a chemotherapy regimen may only benefit women who have HER2-positive breast cancer, in which breast cancer has a high level of a protein called HER2.

That's about 15% to 20% of all breast cancer patients, according to the researchers, who included the University of Michigan's Daniel Hayes, MD. Hayes' team isn't recommending that any breast cancer patients abandon Taxol. "We think the stakes are too high" to change treatment recommendations until further research is done, Hayes says in a news release. But cancer doctors "have a responsibility to patients to be aware" of the study, states a journal editorial.

"The days of 'one size fits all' therapy for patients with breast cancer are coming to an end," writes editorialist Anne Moore, MD, of New York's Weill Cornell Medical College.

Taxol for Breast Cancer

Hayes and colleagues reviewed data from a breast cancer study conducted in the 1990s.
Though the data weren't new, the analysis was, and it was "appropriate" to look back at that data, according to editorialist Moore. The study included 3,121 women whose breast cancer had spread to their lymph nodes and who had already had breast cancer surgery. All of the women got two chemotherapy drugs -- Adriamycin and Cytoxan. Afterward, about half of the women got further chemotherapy treatment with Taxol.

Taxol and HER2

Over the next five years, women with HER2-positive breast cancer who got Taxol were more likely to survive without breast cancer recurrence, compared with those with HER2-positive breast cancer who didn't get Taxol. But those Taxol benefits only included women with HER2-positive breast cancer, the study shows. In women with HER2-negative breast cancer, Taxol didn't appear to affect survival or recurrence. The findings weren't affected by whether the women's breast tumors were sensitive to the hormone estrogen. In the journal, several of Hayes' colleagues report financial ties to Bristol-Myers Squibb, the drug company that makes Taxol.

Chronic illness costs the economy more than $1 trillion a year

SFGate: San Francisco Chronicle
Victoria Colliver, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Americans who have common chronic health conditions cost the U.S. economy more than $1 trillion a year, a figure that could jump to nearly $6 trillion by 2050 unless people take steps to improve their health, a study released Tuesday found.

According to the report by the Milken Institute, a Santa Monica think tank, the economic impact of chronic illness goes far beyond the expense of treating disease. It takes an even greater toll on economic productivity in the form of extra sick days, reduced performance by ill workers and other losses not directly related to medical care.

But veering onto a path that emphasizes changing lifestyles along with prevention and early detection of disease could reduce the number of illnesses by 40 million cases and save $1.6 trillion by 2023, the report said.

"The public is telling us the No. 1 domestic issue is health," said Dr. Richard Carmona, former U.S. surgeon general and now chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, in a news conference in Washington on Tuesday releasing the report. "The disease burden is mounting, the economic burden is mounting and the trajectory we're on is unsustainable."

The study looked at seven of the most costly chronic illnesses: the most common forms of cancer, hypertension, mental disorders, heart disease, diabetes, pulmonary conditions such as asthma and stroke.

"More than half of Americans suffer from chronic disease. Every year, millions of people are diagnosed, and every year millions die of these diseases," said Ross DeVol, the Milken Institute's director of health and regional economics and principal author of the report.

Treatment for those diseases, based on 2003 data, cost $277 billion. But lost productivity cost far more: $1.1 trillion.

Combined, the economic impact of the diseases added up to more than $1.3 trillion. Cost calculations, which are based on various studies of companies, also included economic losses generated by caregivers.

The study found some conditions create a greater economic burden than others, regardless of the number of diagnoses or cost of treatment.

For example, far fewer people suffer from cancer than pulmonary conditions. But the overall economic impact of cancer is greater because, while treatment is expensive, cancer patients also tend to be more debilitated and lose more work time than those suffering from many other chronic conditions, researchers said.

If the country does nothing to address the problem, the number of cases diagnosed in those seven disease categories will increase by 42 percent by 2023 for a total economic impact of $4.2 trillion, the report said.

"The data to stay the course is not a particularly attractive option," said Ken Thorpe, executive director of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease and a professor at Emory University.

The country needs to shift its focus from trying to reduce health expenses to lower rates of illness, Thorpe said.

Lifestyle changes could have a major impact on our country's price tag for chronic disease, the report said.

Curbing obesity alone by close to 15 million cases could translate to a savings of $60 billion by 2023 and improve the country's productivity by $254 billion, the report said. Other changes include lowering smoking rates and increasing early detection and disease-management efforts.

The report looked at the impact of geographical differences on chronic illness, which varies by habits, age and other demographic issues.

California generally is healthier than much of the rest of the country, ranking sixth in a score of all states for percentage of chronic disease by population. The lowest levels of disease were found in Utah, followed by Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. The sickest states in the survey were West Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi.

Despite California's relative health ranking, the state's large population means it has both a lot to lose and a lot to gain in future costs.

"For many of the chronic diseases, California has a lower prevalence than other states, but we're such a large state - the largest state in the country - we have a lot to be gained in avoiding treatment of these disease as well as improving the quality of the workforce," said DeVol, the study's author.

California has the opportunity to prevent about 4.2 million cases of avoidable chronic disease by 2023, which would increase productivity by $98 billion and lower treatment costs by $18.9 billion, DeVol said.

"The cautionary tale, when I look at California, is looking at our children and obesity rates," DeVol said, adding that the rising obesity levels are especially dramatic among young Latinos. "If we don't address the rising obesity problem, we have a huge potential problem in the future."

The study was funded in part by a grant from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America, the drug industry's trade group. The Milken Institute declined to reveal the amount of the grant.

Online resources

To view the complete report:
To see an interactive Web site with national and state-level detail:

Source: The Milken Institute's "Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease" relied on data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (2003), U.S. Census Bureau, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the National Health Interview Survey.
Unhealthy numbers
Key points from the Milken Institute's report, "Unhealthy America":

-- More than 109 million Americans have one or more common chronic condition, for a total of 162 million cases.

-- In 2003, productivity losses associated with chronic disease reached almost $1.1 trillion, and treatment cost $277 billion.

-- California is home to more than 16.3 million cases of chronic disease, for a total cost of $133 billion.

Source: Milken Institute

This article appeared on page C - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
© 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Aromatherapy Massages With Music Reduced Stress Levels in Nurses

Aromatherapy Massages With Music Dramatically Reduced Stress Levels In Nurses
Source: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Date: September 24, 2007

"Introducing stress reduction strategies in the workplace could be a valuable tool for employers who are keen to tackle anxiety levels in high pressure roles and increase job satisfaction."
Science Daily — Nurses working in an accident and emergency department reported that their anxiety levels fell dramatically when they were given aromatherapy massages while listening to music, according to recent research in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Two 12-week alternative therapy sessions were provided over the course of a year. 86 nurses participated in the study, with 39 taking part in both the summer and winter sessions. Researchers found that 60 per cent of the staff - 54 per cent in summer and 65 per cent in winter - suffered from moderate to extreme anxiety. But this fell to just eight per cent, regardless of the season, once staff had received 15-minute aromatherapy massages while listening to relaxing new-age music.

The study also sought to examine whether there were any seasonal differences in stress levels.
"There's always been a perception that staff feel more stressed in the winter months -- when they deal with more serious respiratory and cardiac cases -- and the stress levels we recorded would seem to support this" says Marie Cooke, Deputy Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

"But when we analyzed the workload figures and case distribution we found little difference between winter and summer patient levels during the study periods. Staff dealt with just over 10,700 patients each season and the number of deaths and the percentage of patients in each triage category (which determines how quickly people need to be seen) was fairly consistent between the seasons.

"However the fact remains that providing alternative therapy was more effective during the winter months. During both study periods the number of staff feeling stressed fell to eight per cent, but there was a greater reduction in winter, when the number fell from 65 per cent, than in the summer, when the pre-massage score was 54 per cent. As well as measuring staff's anxiety levels before and after aromatherapy massages, 68 responded to a detailed occupational stress survey -- 33 who had taken part in the summer sessions and 35 from the winter sessions.

The survey - which included measuring occupational stress factors such as pressure of responsibility, quality concerns, role conflict, job satisfaction and self esteem - was carried out before and after each 12-week period. It revealed that occupational stress levels were consistent between the summer and winter trials.

Staff who took part in the study had an average age of 38 and had spent just over seven years working in the emergency department. 80 per cent were female and 60 per cent worked full time. Comparisons with national statistics showed that the sample had more male and full-time staff than national averages.

Massages were provided by a qualified therapist who sprayed aromatherapy mist above the heads of participants and then massaged their shoulders, mid back, neck, scalp forehead and temples, while they listened to relaxing music on headphones. Participants, who were seated in a quiet room, were able to choose the essential oil used, from rose, lavender, lime or ocean breeze -- a combination of lavender, ylang ylang, bergamot and patchouli. Sixteen massages were carried out over a two-day work period each week, with the names of all staff working those days put into an envelope and selected at random.

"There is scope for a lot more research into this area," concludes Dr Cooke. "We would be interested to see if different types of alternative therapy produced different results and whether factors such as age, gender and health status had any effect on the outcome. "But what is clear from this study is that providing aromatherapy massage had an immediate and dramatic effect on staff who traditionally suffer high anxiety levels because of the nature of their work.

Reference: "The effect of aromatherapy massage with music on the stress and anxiety levels of emergency nurses: comparison between summer and winter." Cooke et al. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 16, pages 1695-1703 (September 2007).

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Blackwell Publishing Ltd..

Copyright © 1995-2007 ScienceDaily LLC — All rights reserved — Contact:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Stress Breaks Hearts

By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 20, 2007 -- Here's a health fact most of us understand better than our doctors do: Emotional stress really can harm our hearts.

Intense grief, acute anger, and sudden fear can have direct -- sometimes fatal -- effects on the human heart. And long-term emotional stress shortens lives by increasing the risk of heart disease, notes Daniel J. Brotman, MD, director of the hospitalist program at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore.

"What is intuitive to people is not necessarily intuitive to physicians," Brotman tells WebMD. "Emotional stress, conceptually, is the same thing for cardiovascular risk as physical stress. But a lot of doctors blow that off, because they think emotional stress is a psychological problem, not a physical problem."

To overcome this false impression, Brotman and colleagues reviewed recent studies looking at the short- and long-term effects of emotional stress on the heart. Their resulting report, "The Cardiovascular Toll of Stress," appears in the Sept. 22 issue of The Lancet.

"In the hospital, I see people under all sorts of stress all the time -- and I see what happens to bodies under stress," Brotman says. "Our study illustrates how important the body's stress responses are in precipitating cardiovascular effects."

Heartache, Heart Harm

Psychological disorders, personality types, and other psychological stressors are linked to various heart problems:

  • People who suffer from depression, hopelessness, or a pessimistic outlook are more likely than others to suffer heart attack and sudden heart death. They are more likely to develop conditions that increase heart risk, such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and impaired heart rate.
  • People who suffer chronic anxiety are more likely than others to suffer heart attack, atrial fibrillation, and sudden heart death. Their propensity for high blood pressure and impaired heart rate increases their heart risk.
  • Emotional trauma -- such as the death of a spouse, mental or physical abuse, or posttraumatic stress disorder -- increases risk of heart attack and heart death.
  • People with type D personalities (characterized by pessimistic emotions and inability to share emotions with others) and type A personalities (characterized by anxiety directed outward as aggressive, irritable, or hostile behaviors) are more likely than others to suffer heart attacks.
  • People with angry or hostile temperaments are more likely than others to suffer heart death.
  • Acute fear, grief, startling, or anger can cause "stunned heart." Wallops of emotion also can cause sudden death due to life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm.

Even when intense bouts of emotion don't kill, they may cause long-lasting heart damage.

"Most people who suffer the death of a loved one are not coming to medical attention, but that does not mean their hearts are not stunned for a period of time," Brotman says. "We doctors only see those with heart failure, or those with already-damaged hearts whose defibrillators fire. But probably, in every body, what stress hormones do today have some impact on how healthy your cardiovascular system will be 20 years from now."

It would seem to be wise for all of us to learn to deal with stressful emotions. But Brotman warns that there does not seem to be any one-size-fits-all way to do this.

"We don't have concrete evidence to suggest that if you manage your stress levels you will reduce your cardiovascular risk," he says. "People are different and have different ways of reducing stress. It is disingenuous to suggest that stress reduction is going to be simple."

Meanwhile, he urges doctors to pay more attention to what their patients are telling them when they talk about stress.

"Real-time physical effects correlate with intense emotional states," Brotman says. "We should think beyond cholesterol, beyond blood pressure, when thinking about what it means to live a heart-healthy lifestyle."

Bigger Brains, Better Genes. Dean Ornish, M.D.

Believe it or not, those are among the benefits of exercising more and eating healthier.
By Dean Ornish, M.D.Special to Newsweek, Updated: 12:47 p.m. PT Sept 12, 2007

“Go pump some neurons! Expand your craniums!”
—Robin Williams, in “Mrs. Doubtfire”

You don’t need to read this column to know that exercise is good for you. You probably already know that regular, moderate exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health and well-being. What you may not know is that new research is showing that exercise beneficially affects your genes, helps reverse the aging process at a cellular level, gives you more energy, makes you smarter, and may even help you grow so many new brain cells (a process called neurogenesis) that your brain actually gets bigger.


So does improving your nutrition. A diet high in sugar and saturated fat diminishes neurogenesis, whereas other foods increase it, including chocolate (in moderate amounts), tea and blackberries, which contain a substance called epicatechin that improves memory. Small amounts of alcohol increase neurogenesis, whereas larger amounts decrease it. Chronic emotional stress decreases neurogenesis, but stress management techniques increase it. Drugs such as nicotine, opiates and cocaine decrease neurogenesis, whereas a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in 1995 showed that cannabinoids (found in marijuana) increase it, at least in rats. (Uh, what were we just talking about?)

Use It or Lose It
Until about nine years ago it was thought that you were born with a certain number of neurons, and they tended to decrease in number as you got older. The best you could hope to do was to slow the rate at which you lost brain cells.

Fortunately, it’s not true. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and at Columbia University showed that older adults continue to generate new neurons at virtually any age. Earlier this year these researchers found that in addition to growing new neurons, exercise doubled blood flow to the brain. A study published last year by researchers at the University of Illinois reported that just walking for three hours per week for only three months caused so many new neurons to grow that it actually increased the size of people’s brains.

Best of all, the region of the brain that grew the most was the hippocampus, the part most involved with memory and cognition. After only three months, those who exercised had brain volumes typical of people who were three years younger! Also, the new neurons tend to find their way to well-established existing connections and replace ones that are damaged or nonfunctioning. Those who showed the most improvement in fitness also showed the greatest enhancement in memory. The authors concluded, “These results suggest that cardiovascular fitness is associated with the sparing of brain tissue in aging humans. Furthermore, these results suggest a strong biological basis for the role of aerobic fitness in maintaining and enhancing central nervous system health and cognitive functioning in older adults.”

Regular, moderate exercise (along with healthier eating and stress management techniques) also reduces inflammation throughout your body, including in your brain, and reduces the incidence of tiny strokes that can impair your ability to think clearly. Exercise also helps boost your sense of well-being. Levels of beneficial neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine are higher in those who exercise—the same ones elevated by many antidepressants. These, in turn, may help reduce depression, elevate mood and help you focus better.

Exercise Makes You More Intelligent
Other studies have shown that older adults who exercise regularly have better memory, are better at going from one mental task to another, and can focus and concentrate better than those who are sedentary. In other words, exercise makes older people more intelligent.

Exercise makes younger people smarter too. Kids who exercise have fewer problems with attention-deficit disorder and learn faster. Studies have shown that physical education in schools improves academic performance as well as physical fitness. For example, a study by the California Department of Education of 322,000 seventh-grade students found that the most fit scored in the 66th percentile on their SATs, whereas the least fit scored in the 28th percentile. Studies at the University of Illinois also found that those who were more fit had better standardized test scores.

Exercising Your Genes
Your genes are not your fate. The choices you make each day in your diet and lifestyle have a direct influence on how your genetic predisposition is expressed—for better and for worse. You’re only as old as your genes, but how your genes are expressed may be modified by exercise, diet and lifestyle choices much more than had previously been believed—and more quickly. For example, Finnish scientists reported in a study published in July that increased moderate to vigorous physical activity modified two genes involved in type 2 diabetes and reduced the risk of developing the disease, independent of changes in weight or diet.

Another recent study compared mitochondria in muscle biopsies of older and younger men and women. Your mitochondria are the “energy generators” of your body’s cells. One of the reasons many people feel less energetic as they get older is that their mitochondria work less efficiently with age. The investigators found that in those who were mostly sedentary, mitochondrial function declined markedly with age and was affected by more than 300 genes. Then the investigators put these older men and women through a six-month exercise program that involved strength training for one hour only two days per week using the types of weight machines found in most gyms. Resistance exercise for each session consisted of three sets of 10 repetitions for each of: leg press, chest press, leg extension, leg flexion, shoulder press, lat pull-down, seated row, calf raise, abdominal crunch and back extension, and 10 repetitions for arm flexion and arm extension.

After only six months, the subjects’ strength improved by 50 percent, and they reported feeling much more energetic. Many of the 300 genes that had declined with age began to now act more like those in younger people. In fact, the investigators found that exercise affected age-associated gene expression more than in younger people, meaning that exercise is especially beneficial as people get older.

These high-tech studies illustrate what a powerful difference low-tech interventions such as changes in exercise, nutrition and stress management techniques can play in our lives. People often believe that advances in medicine have to be a new drug, a new laser or a surgical intervention to be powerful—something really high-tech and expensive. They often have a hard time believing that the simple choices that we make in our lives each day—how much we exercise, what we eat and how we respond to stress—may make such a powerful difference in our health, our well-being, and even in our brains. But they often do.

How to remember to exercise in a way that’s sustainable? Do what you enjoy, make it fun and do it regularly. If you grow new neurons, then you won’t forget!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Seasonal Depression Tied to Serotonin

People With Seasonal Affective Disorder May Have Less of the Brain Chemical in Winter
By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Medical News

Sept. 19, 2007 -- People with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may have lower levels of the brain chemical serotonin in winter than other people, according to a new study.

But those lower serotonin levels bounce back to normal if their seasonal depression is treated -- and in summer.

Researchers say the finding could lead to improved treatments for SAD, which is a form of seasonal depression that worsens in winter and improves in summer. Symptoms include weight gain, increased need for sleep, irritability, and inability to concentrate.

SAD Tied to Serotonin Levels
Previous studies have shown that in depression the brain has too little serotonin, but it’s not known exactly why.

In this study, researchers at the Medical University of Vienna looked at how the brain removes serotonin through the serotonin transporter and compared the rate of removal in 73 people with untreated seasonal affective disorder and 70 healthy people.

The results, published in Neuropsychopharmacology, showed serotonin was removed from the brain at a faster rate among those with seasonal depression, causing serotonin levels to drop below normal. But serotonin removal rates returned to normal with treatment and during the summer months.

Researchers say the results could help identify people at risk for seasonal depression and more effective treatments.

Currently available treatments for seasonal affective disorder include increased exposure to light sources, such as natural sunlight or a light box, and antidepressants.

©2005-2007 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nutrition Model Stresses Positive Experience Of Eating

The Satter Eating Competence Model, also known as ecSatter, was created by Ellyn Satter, a registered dietitian, family therapist and author of "Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family," Kelcy Press.

Competent eaters are positive, flexible and comfortable with their eating habits and make it a priority to regularly provide themselves with enjoyable and nourishing food. They guide food intake based on the internal processes of hunger, appetite and satisfaction, and rely on the body's innate ability to maintain a preferred and stable weight. Satter observes that the eating competence model cultivates effective eating attitudes and behavior by emphasizing permission and discipline:

  • The permission to choose food you enjoy and eat it in amounts you find satisfying.
  • The discipline to provide yourself with regular and reliable meals and snacks and to pay attention when you eat them.

Being eating competent appears to mirror overall-well being, notes Satter of Madison, Wis. People with high eating competence feel more effective, are more self-aware and are more trusting and comfortable both with themselves and with other people.

"Many of us have eating problems, because as children, we are forced into eating more or less food than we need. That is traumatic. Eating becomes a mindless activity invested with conflict and anxiety, and not something to be enjoyed. To overcome those feelings, you have to ignore how you feel about eating, just eat," said Lohse.

Research by Lohse and her Penn State colleagues suggests that people with high eating competence do better nutritionally, have healthier body weights, higher levels of good cholesterol and fewer of the components of "sticky plaque," today's high-tech approach to predicting the tendency to cardiovascular disease.

According to Satter and Lohse, there are four steps to competent eating:

  • Take time to eat, and provide yourself with rewarding meals and snacks at regular and reliable times.
  • Cultivate positive attitudes about eating and about food. Emphasize providing rather than depriving; seeking food rather than avoiding it.
  • Enjoy your eating, eat things you like, and let yourself be comfortable with and relaxed about what you eat. Enjoying eating supports the natural inclination to seek variety, the keystone of healthful food selection.
  • Pay attention to sensations of hunger and fullness to determine how much to eat. Go to the table hungry, eat until you feel satisfied, and then stop, knowing another meal or snack is coming soon when you can do it again.
Excerpts from: , adapted from a news release issued by Penn State. 09-18-07

Heart Quote, Pema Chodron

Deepen Your Focus - Meditation

A good deal of mystique has grown around meditation, yet it is one of the most natural of our human capacities. You've no doubt had moments in your life when you were not thinking or analyzing your experience, but simply "going with the flow." In these moments, there was no past or future, no separation between you and what was happening. That is the essence of meditation.

Contrary to a common misunderstanding, meditation is not a limiting or narrowing of our attention so much as it is a focusing on what is relevant. Our attention can be narrow, as in observing our breath, or broad, as in cooking a five-course dinner. When the mind is able to focus on what is relevant to what is happening now, we experience ourselves as being at one with what we perceive. This experience is deeply joyful, as we become freed from the illusion that we are separate from everything else in the universe. In fact, meditation isn't a withdrawal from life but a deeper, fuller presence in life.

Meditation for Everybody

Return to Stillness

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Women For Women, Int'l Donation Matching Now

Right now any donation you make to Women for Women
International will be matched dollar for dollar.

That means the generous gift you give will offer the women
survivors of war-torn Sudan and beyond twice as much
support to help rebuild their lives and their communities
and ultimately their nations. Learn More
But the Matching Gift is only available through
October 31, so please make your donation now.

FAQs l Contact l Project Independence l Donate l Sponsor l Shop Women for Women International is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization. EIN/Tax ID # 52-183-8756

Friday, September 7, 2007

Moonlight WildFire

Closure: At 64,997 acres, the Moonlight Fire is the largest fire in recorded Plumas County history. This equals 101.5 acres... (updated Sept. 26, 2007)

Courtesy Janet Cox, c. 2007 All Rights Reserved.

This wildfire, 12 miles from my home, has been the centerpiece of our lives this week. The fire started on Monday, Labor Day, and quickly grew into a massive firestorm, now consuming over 28,000 acres in Northeastern California. Tucked in the steep rugged terrain of the Sierras, between Susanville, Westwood, Chester, Greenville, Taylorsville and Quincy, CA. There are many photos and plenty of information updates at the website listed above as well as the Incident Information System website for wildfires on public lands. Yesterday we choked on thick smoke and ash, with brown skies and red sun most of the day. Fortunately for those of us west of the fire, winds changed direction and carried most of the smoke away. It is still listed as only 8% contained with the risk of spreading listed as extreme (according to InciWeb).

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Energy and Emotion Must Move

Excerpt from: Lola Jones' wonderful book, Things Are Going Great In My Absence

"Emotion, which is a form of energy, is supposed to move and flow through us. When emotion or energy can't flow through us, our experience of the Divine is pinched off. Every malady can be traced back to energy that was not allowed to move freely.

Too many spiritual people try to avoid negative emotions, transcend them, or deny them. They want to leap straight to love and peace when they feel a negative emotion. I call it the "spiritual bypass". Interestingly their spiritual development in stunted until they dive into the very human realm of emotions. Enlightenment requires fully embracing the whole human experience, not rising above it or escaping it.

"When we try to push negative feelings away, they last longer, because by focusing on what we want, we give them more life and they grow. When we try to hold onto positive feelings or experiences, we're operating as if there is a scarcity of them. When we realize that there is an endless supply, there is no need to try to freeze them and keep them. Stop trying to hold on to positive emotions or experiences, or trying to push away negative emotions or experiences, since doing either is trying to stop something that is innately designed to move.

"It's your birthday party and you open a fabulous gift, you savor it, you pass it around and enjoy it as long as you can, but the next gift you open will be different. It won't be the same as that one, but hopefully you can enjoy the next one, too, then move on to the next gift, and the next. Experiences are like that. They come and go, and there will be more. Source provides an endless supply of delights and experiences, and when we're open and relaxed, each one gets sweeter than the last, eternally."

"Don't hold onto the gift. Hold on to the Giver."

I invite you to go to Lola's website and learn more about this witty, wise and wonderful woman and the amazing work she is doing to bless and transform the world. Just click on the link below:
From the Newsletter: Blessings Experiment Update 08/29/07, Copyright 2007 Kate Nowak. All rights reserved

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Stop, Count to Ten

When we enter into an intimate relationship, few of us escape visitations of insecurity and shame, of aversion and jealousy. Learning to bring an openhearted presence to these kinds of feelings, rather than reacting out of fear or hurt, is not easy. But when we are willing to stay put and pay attention at precisely the moments when we most want to lash out, cling tightly, or pull away, our relationship becomes a path of deep personal healing and spiritual transformation. As with any type of yoga, one of the blessings of the yoga of relationships is the profound inner freedom that comes from realizing the goodness and beauty of our essential Being.

Learning to pause is the first step toward transformation and healing. We pause by stopping what we're doing—we stop blaming, withdrawing, obsessing, distracting ourselves. In the space a pause creates, our natural awareness arises, allowing us to be mindful, to recognize what is happening inside us without judgment. By pausing, we begin to dismantle lifelong patterns of avoiding or distancing.

The Yoga of Relationships

A More Perfect Union

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lunar Eclipse Tonite, August 28, 2:52 a.m. Pacific

Well, if you missed it too bad, it was fantastic, and looked much like these photographs! J.D.

The event begins 54 minutes past midnight PDT (0754 UT) on August 28th when the Moon enters Earth's shadow. At first, there's little change. The outskirts of Earth's shadow are as pale as the Moon itself; an onlooker might not even realize anything is happening. But as the Moon penetrates deeper, a startling metamorphosis occurs. Around 2:52 am PDT (0952 UT), the color of the Moon changes from moondust-gray to sunset-red. This is totality, and it lasts for 90 minutes.

Rise-and-Shine Cookies, from the American Heart Association

Serves 15; 2 cookies per serving

Cookies for breakfast? Sure—when they are rich in fiber and low in fat and taste like big chunks of granola. Make these ahead of time for a quick breakfast treat.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Egg substitute equivalent to 1 egg

3 tablespoons canola or corn oil

1 1/4 cups quick-cooking or regular rolled oats

1/2 cup wheat germ

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, stir together flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, egg substitute, and oil. Stir until well combined. Stir in flour mixture, oats, and wheat germ.

Drop dough by tablespoons about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Flatten slightly to a 2-inch diameter with your hand or the bottom of a glass. Bake 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool on wire racks. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container for one week or in the freezer for several weeks.

Nutrition Analysis (per serving)
Calories 116
Total Fat 4.0 g
Saturated 1.0 g
Polyunsaturated 2.0 g
Monounsaturated 1.0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 74 mg
Carbohydrates 18 g
Protein 3 g

This recipe is reprinted with permission from the American Heart Association Quick & Easy Cookbook, Copyright © 1995 by the American Heart Association. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. Available from booksellers everywhere.