Monday, July 30, 2007

Excessive Concern about your health...

Ziggy comic, July 30, 2007

Blue Corn Tortilla Packs Healthy Punch

They Have Less Starch, More Protein Than White Corn Tortillas, Researchers Say

By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Medical News

July 30, 2007 -- Fare at your local taco joint may be getting a bit more colorful. A new study shows blue’s best when it comes to packing the most nutrition into a taco shell or bowl of tortilla chips.

Researchers from the home of the tortilla, Mexico, found blue corn tortillas contain 20% more protein than their white corn counterparts. They also have less starch and a lower glycemic index (GI), which may be good news for dieters and people with diabetes.

Foods with a lower glycemic index are considered healthier because the sugar content is taken into the blood more slowly and provide a steady source of energy, while sugars in high-glycemic index foods are more likely to cause spikes in blood sugar and energy levels.

Blue Corn Better

Researcher Juan Pablo Hernández-Uribe of the Centro de Desarrole de Productos Bióticos del IPN in Morelos, Mexico, and colleagues say the blue color of the tortillas comes from anthocyanins in the corn, which are the same healthy compounds found in berries and red wine.

The study, published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, analyzed the chemical composition of blue and white corn tortillas.

The results showed that white corn tortillas contained an average of about 75% total starch compared with 68% starch in blue corn tortillas. Blue corn tortillas also had a lower concentration of resistant or undigestible starch than white, although resistant starch increased with greater storage time among both types of tortillas compared with fresh.

Finally, researchers found blue corn tortillas had a lower glycemic index value that did not change over time, while white corn tortillas had a higher glycemic index value that also increased with storage.

SOURCES: Hernández-Uribe, J. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. News release, Society of Chemical Industry.

Conflict Resolution with Scott Wyman

I attended an all-day workshop this weekend in Chico, entitled Conflict Resolution for Growth and Intimacy, presented by Scott Wyman, licensed marriage and family therapist and Reiki Jin Kei Do Master. With four couples in the class, I was the only “single.” I attended in order to explore understanding and skills within the context of my friendships and business relationships, an area which has been lively in the last year, to say the least. I could not help but see the value of these concepts within my marriage as well.

Wyman’s point-of-view is decidedly Buddhist in nature, with meditation and self-exploration, self-awareness the cornerstone of his approach. Well versed in world religion (certified Spiritual Mentor with graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology), he is just as fluent in Christian themes as he is in Eastern philosophies.

The class opened with meditation, and a presentation on the concept of differentiation, which is explained in detail on his website . Briefly, this addresses the conflict in human nature to be both attached, or connected closely in relationship, versus our drive for uniqueness and individuation. In general women are more inclined to the “belonging” side of the spectrum, while men often (but not always) are wanting to maintain separation. The struggle in relationships arises in the ongoing tension between these two extremes. At the far ends are belonging, complete co-dependency with lacking boundaries; and, complete autonomy, a state of detachment and feeling disengaged. In order to have healthy “selves” and relationships, we must work towards a balance point amid these two realms, where there is “celebration of the unique self,” as well as the ability to be that self, “without anxiety, in relationship with another.”

Wyman next reviewed the conflict cycle, a process of moving from “normalcy” (homeostasis - not necessarily healthy), a trigger event, escalation, to climax, distancing, repressing and eventually repeating the cycle. Noticing what triggers us and our over-blown emotional responses through self-awareness is key. Otherwise we are doomed to repeat the process over and over, not only with the same person (our spouse or child for instance), but often with successive partners, bosses, friends, etc.

Wyman recommends gaining clarity in our conflicts, by breaking down the conflict-cycle into the facts (known truth), the “story (our truth),” identify and own our feeling state (emotions), and recognize the resulting behavior. The root of all of our stories is our unresolved issues, the unhealed parts of our history that run silently in the background of our lives, filtering every experience. It can be much harder than we realize to separate the facts from the story and the story from our emotions. It is human nature to point the finger and blame the other person, religion, or country for our troubles. Extracting and taking responsibility for our role in our suffering is the only answer. There is nothing we can do to influence, motivate, manipulate or change the other.

Wyman teaches Four Stages of Relationship, a road-map of our path of growth in relationships, whether to self, others, churches, or countries. The stages are preconscious , conscious, intentional and enlightened. We are primarily in one of these stages, and we are testing the waters of the next stage as a natural part of the growth process. We may find our selves moving in and out of different stages depending on the healing of unresolved issues which inform our emotional reactions to triggers. Wyman stresses the fact that no stage is better or worse, these are just landmarks along the way to “growing up.” He likens it to a Freshman being no better nor worse than a Senior, they are just different points on the path.

To the break the cycle of repeating our unhealthy conflicts and suffering, Wyman suggests calling a time-out when we notice a triggered event escalating out of control. Take the time to pause, breathe (3 conscious breaths), and experience the emotion without the story. Devoting meditative time to experiencing the raw emotion, we have the opportunity to discover what other times, triggers or relationships in our lives have resulted in the same feeling(s). We begin to understand the underlying story we are bringing to the conflict, and can share this with our partner, diffusing blame, facilitating understanding, thus engendering compassion.

There is much more to this training, and anyone interested can explore Scott’s website. He also provided a reading list which includes books and audios by Pema Chodron, Tara Brach, John Welwood, David Schnarch, and Gay & Kathlyn Hendricks.

I am available to review these concepts in depth in a Whole Health Education counseling session with anyone who would like to study and apply these concepts to reduce stress and improve the quality of their relationships. Feel free to call or write for more information.

Be Well, Janis

Take everything you like seriously...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The life I touch..

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Marital Status, Marital Strain, and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease

Marital Status, Marital Strain, and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease or Total Mortality: The Framingham Offspring Study
Elaine D. Eaker , ScD, Lisa M. Sullivan , PhD, Margaret Kelly-Hayes , EdD, RN, Ralph B. D'Agostino Sr, PhD,Emelia J. Benjamin , MD, ScM

Published online before print July 18, 2007
Psychosom Med 2007, doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e3180f62357
© 2007 by American Psychosomatic Society

Objective: To determine if marriage and marital strain are related to the 10-year coronary heart disease (CHD) incidence or total mortality. Research has demonstrated associations between marital strain and prognosis of heart disease, but little research has addressed the association between specific aspects of marital strain and incident CHD.

Methods: From 1984 to 1987, 3682 participants (mean age 48.5 ± 10.1 (standard deviation) years; 52% women) of the Framingham Offspring Study were examined; measures of marital status, marital strain, and risk factors for CHD were collected at the baseline examination. The present study describes the 10-year follow-up for incident CHD and total mortality.

Results: After adjusting for age, systolic blood pressure, body mass index, cigarette smoking, diabetes, and total cholesterol/high density cholesterol, the married men compared with unmarried men were almost half as likely to die during follow-up (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.54; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.34-0.83). Women who "self-silenced" during conflict with their spouse, compared with women who did not, had four times the risk of dying (HR = 4.01; 95% CI: 1.75-9.20). Men with wives who were upset by work were 2.7 times more likely to develop CHD (HR = 2.71; 95% CI: 1.22-6.03). Marital happiness, satisfaction, and disagreements were not related to the development of CHD or death in men or women.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that marital communication, conflict, and strain are associated with adverse health outcomes. Further research into the influence of marital stress on health is merited.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Celebrate National Safety Month by Learning CPR

If you saw someone having a cardiac arrest, would you know how to perform CPR? Most people don't.

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. When performed immediately and effectively after cardiac arrest, it can double a victim's chance of survival. CPR helps save lives by maintaining vital blood flow to the heart and brain until more advanced care can be given.

What better way to honor National Safety Month than by learning this lifesaving skill? Now it's easier and more convenient than ever with the American Heart Association's CPR Anytime kit. It takes just 22 minutes to learn and can be done anywhere.

This innovative personal learning program is designed to teach the core skills of CPR in just 22 minutes. The program can be completed individually or in large groups. Each kit includes a personal, inflatable Manikin (Mini Anne), a CPR Anytime Skills Practice DVD, a CPR for Family and Friends resource booklet, and other accessories for the program. The self-directed course is based on the traditional AHA CPR for Family and Friends Course and has been research-proven to be equivalent to the traditional course for learning the core skills of CPR.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fire the Grid - Earth Healing Meditation July 17

Please excuse me if you are not interested in this, but I have had a number of people send me information about a healing session for our planet earth. The story at this link: , tells us how we can help our planet and ourselves through a unified gathering of our Consciousnesses.

This planned sitting of the people of earth will demonstrate the love and faith we feel for the goodness of our world and her inhabitants. We are the catalyst to the healing of earth. A true believer has the power of ten fold, so if you only think you may believe, know that the faith of the others will boost your own faith and the power will be intensified. That is why we must all sit at the same time. We will feed each others power, strengthening the force of delivery and compounding the energy we send into the core of our home. Each and every one of us is important alone, but together we are a very powerful source of creative energy. Remember we are all a piece of God, and that energy of creation lives in all of us.

On July 17 at 11:11 GMT — 04:11 (4:11 AM) in your time zone (Pacific) — we will assemble from all corners of our world as a collective body of energy to meditate simultaneously for 1 hour (60 minutes).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Chakra Study & Mandala Instructions

This well constructed site has information that is user friendly, colorful and accessible about sacred geometry, chakras, and mandalas from the world's great traditions. I am especially impressed with their instructions for drawing your own sacred chakra mandala. (Go to the website and click on Mandala).

If you've ever wondered what chakras are all about this is a great place to start your journey!
Be Well, Janis

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
Mark Twain

Monday, July 9, 2007

Meet Life Face to Face: a treatise on Summer

“The way to dissolve our resistance to life is to meet it face to face. When we feel resentment because the room is too hot, we could meet the heat and feel its fieriness and its heaviness. When we feel resentment because the room is too cold, we could meet the cold and feel its iciness and its bite. When we want to complain about the rain, we could feel its wetness instead. When we worry because the wind is shaking our windows, we could meet the wind and hear its sound.

Cutting our expectations for a cure is a gift we can give ourselves. There is no cure for hot and cold. They will go on forever. After we have died, the ebb and the flow will still continue. Like the tides of the sea, like day and night: this is the nature of things. Being able to appreciate, being able to look closely, being able to open our mind: this is the core of ‘maitri’ (loving-kindness).” When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön, 1997, Shambhala Publications, Inc.

I have spent much of this year studying the philosophies of Tibetan Buddhism, especially the teachings of Pema Chodron, an irreverent yet wise American Buddhist nun who is the resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners.

This quote seems so timely with the intense heat we have endured the last week or so, and my menopausal hot flashes only serve to intensify the heat, distilling it into something that is pure torture. Following the Buddhist line of thinking, I try to take these heated opportunities to watch my self. What comes up? Anger, frustration, intolerance, confusion, laziness….

Struggling against Nature is like struggling against our own death, fruitless. A pouring out of energy that could be better used. Buddhist thinking includes a couple of main points. Simplified: experience all of life as preparation for death, thereby removing death’s power; second, hold all Beings in unlimited immense compassionate kindness - especially oneself - or the closest you can get there in any particular moment.

So the heat of summer and the cold of winter become opportunities, teachers if you will, of our path. To accept what is, right now. Wishing things were different robs us of treasures in the moments of our lives. My husband takes delight on the Summer Solstice to say, “the days are getting shorter, Winter’s on its way!” and on Winter Solstice, “the days are getting longer, pretty soon it will be hot and dusty!”

The fact is, when I find myself dreaming of snow in Summer and hot baking sunshine in Winter, I have lost touch with enjoying those things, as they truly are, in the moment. I want to come to the end of summer knowing heat, and dryness, and cooling lake waters, hummingbirds and watermelon. And having accepted and taken it all into my Soul, then am I ready to fully assume the nature of Autumn and Winter, wind, rain, snow, darkness and bitter cold.

And having been present through our daily struggles, too hot or bitter cold, we learn to be more open and relaxed in tougher times, like illness, loss and death. Consider the weather kindergarten for those tougher times. And practice compassion in the summer heat, knowing that as you suffer, so do thousands, no, millions of others. Meeting “anger, frustration, intolerance…” with kindness and mercy.
Be Well, Janis
J. Davies, 2007. All Rights Reserved.

IV Vitamin C Improves Quality of Life in Terminal Cancer Patients

Moderately large doses of intravenous vitamin C can quickly and significantly improve the quality of life, and reduce pain, in terminal cancer patients, according to a study done by Korean physicians. IV vitamin C is far more potent than oral forms in cancer treatment. In a study of 39 terminal cancer patients, quality of life scores jumped from 36 to 55 (a 53% improvement) on a standardized questionnaire. The patients had significant improvements in physical, emotional, and cognitive function. They also had better appetites and decreases in fatigue, pain, nausea, and vomiting.

In another study assessment performed by the NIH (National Institutes of Health), they found 3 well-documented cases of advanced cancers, where patients had unexpectedly long survival times after receiving high-dose intravenous vitamin C therapy.

Adapted from The Nutrition Reporter, June 2007, Vol 18 No 6
by Jack Challem

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Flashes & Floaters: what's up with aging vision?

Having experienced my share of floaters, and flashes (shimmer) from ophthalmic migraines, I found this article very helpful in determining what is likely to be normal eye aging versus what should cause immediate concern. Jan

In "Understand Your Changing Vision: Floaters And Flashes" Nan Kathryn Fuchs, Ph.D. explains these worrisome conditions, gives tips on determining when they are serious, and suggestions for nutritional support that many have found helpful.

Five Strategies for Raising HDL from A. Weil, MD

Dr. Andrew Weil's June 2007 newsletter, Self Healing, lists 5 strategies for boosting HDL, the good cholesterol. Briefly, they are:
1. Maintain a healthy weight. Weight loss boosts HDL levels (Losing 6 pounds may increase HDL 1 mg/dL).

2. Elevate your heart rate. Regular aerobic training boosts HDL, stop exercising and the benefits go away. As few as 2 aerobic training sessions a week produced a 5 mg/dL increase in a 2003 study.

3. Upgrade your diet. Two worst offenders? Simple carbohydrates (high-fructose corn syrup is the worst of all!); and, trans-fats (like hydrogenated oils, and anything fried or cooked at high temps). Good anti-inflammatory foods include olive oil, wild salmon, flax seed, nuts, avocados, green leafy vegetables. Mimi Guarneri, MD, medical director of Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, Calif. also suggests 1,000 to 2,000 mg. of fish oil a day in divided doses with meals.

4. Smoking & Drinking. Smoking lowers HDL; 1-2 alcohol drinks may raise HDL (but watch your consumption! more is never better, and those with liver stress or disease should never drink alcoholic beverages.)

5. Niacin. Niacin can raise HDL, but the high dose needed to affect cholesterol levels must be supervised by a doctor, as there is risk of liver toxicity. Something to note, the "flush-free" forms of niacin currently sold do not elevate HDL.

Spring Soup from Yoga Journal for Summer

Even though we are already tapping into the dog days of summer, this fresh veggie soup sounds light, fresh & tasty. Just prepare it in the morning and enjoy it with your salads or fresh fruit for a light lunch or dinner. Jan

Spring Soup

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 leeks
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 white turnip
  • 2 yellow potatoes
  • 4 leaves green cabbage
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
  1. Cut all vegetables julienne-style, except mushrooms.
  2. Melt butter in a wide-diameter soup pot, add vegetables, and cook on low heat until soft, about 30 minutes.
  3. Add 2 quarts water and simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  5. Serve topped with grated cheese.
Spring Soup

Monday, July 2, 2007

Researchers Identify Alcoholism Subtypes

Analyses of a national sample of individuals with alcohol dependence (alcoholism) reveal five distinct subtypes of the disease, according to a new study by scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"Our findings should help dispel the popular notion of the ‘typical alcoholic,’” notes first author Howard B. Moss, M.D., NIAAA Associate Director for Clinical and Translational Research. “We find that young adults comprise the largest group of alcoholics in this country, and nearly 20 percent of alcoholics are highly functional and well-educated with good incomes. More than half of the alcoholics in the United States have no multigenerational family history of the disease, suggesting that their form of alcoholism was unlikely to have genetic causes.”

“Clinicians have long recognized diverse manifestations of alcoholism,” adds NIAAA Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D, “and researchers have tried to understand why some alcoholics improve with specific medications and psychotherapies while others do not.

The researchers identified unique subtypes of alcoholism based on respondents’ family history of alcoholism, age of onset of regular drinking and alcohol problems, symptom patterns of alcohol dependence and abuse, and the presence of additional substance abuse and mental disorders:

Young Adult subtype: 31.5 percent of U.S. alcoholics. Young adult drinkers, with relatively low rates of co-occurring substance abuse and other mental disorders, a low rate of family alcoholism, and who rarely seek any kind of help for their drinking.

Young Antisocial subtype: 21 percent of U.S. alcoholics. Tend to be in their mid-twenties, had early onset of regular drinking, and alcohol problems. More than half come from families with alcoholism, and about half have a psychiatric diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder. Many have major depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety problems. More than 75 percent smoked cigarettes and marijuana, and many also had cocaine and opiate addictions. More than one-third of these alcoholics seek help for their drinking.

Functional subtype: 19.5 percent of U.S. alcoholics. Typically middle-aged, well-educated, with stable jobs and families. About one-third have a multigenerational family history of alcoholism, about one-quarter had major depressive illness sometime in their lives, and nearly 50 percent were smokers.

Intermediate Familial subtype: 19 percent of U.S. alcoholics. Middle-aged, with about 50 percent from families with multigenerational alcoholism. Almost half have had clinical depression, and 20 percent have had bipolar disorder. Most of these individuals smoked cigarettes, and nearly one in five had problems with cocaine and marijuana use. Only 25 percent ever sought treatment for their problem drinking.

Chronic Severe subtype: 9 percent of U.S. alcoholics. Comprised mostly of middle-aged individuals who had early onset of drinking and alcohol problems, with high rates of Antisocial Personality Disorder and criminality. Almost 80 percent come from families with multigenerational alcoholism. They have the highest rates of other psychiatric disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders as well as high rates of smoking, and marijuana, cocaine, and opiate dependence. Two-thirds of these alcoholics seek help for their drinking problems, making them the most prevalent type of alcoholic in treatment.

The authors also report that co-occurring psychiatric and other substance abuse problems are associated with severity of alcoholism and entering into treatment. Attending Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs is the most common form of help-seeking for drinking problems, but help-seeking remains relatively rare.

Complete article: Researchers Identify Alcoholism Subtypes

Stress + “comfort” foods = excess weight gain

While these scientists have discovered the neurotransmitter and receptor in fat tissue that are activated during stress, (and therefore the chemical receptor blocker); it is great to know that ultimately here is more scientific proof that reducing stress is a powerful method for reducing weight gain, as well as supporting weight loss. It is helpful to note that the rats studied were "stressed," as well as given high-fat foods. The defining outcome is that the stressed, poor-diet fed rats gained more than they would have on the same diet without (or reduced) stress.

Washington, D.C.--In what they call a “stunning research advance,” investigators at Georgetown University Medical Center have been able to use simple, non-toxic chemical injections to add and remove fat in targeted areas on the bodies of laboratory animals. They say the discovery, published online in Nature Medicine on July 1, could revolutionize human cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery and treatment of diseases associated with human obesity.

Investigators say these findings may also, over the long-term, lead to better control of metabolic syndrome, which is a collection of risk factors that increase a patient’s chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Sixty million Americans were estimated to be affected by metabolic syndrome in 2000, according to a study funded by the Centers for Disease Control in 2004. In the paper, the Georgetown researchers describe a mechanism they found by which stress activates weight gain in mice, and they say this pathway (which they were able to manipulate) may explain why people who are chronically stressed gain more weight than they should based on the calories they consume.

“An accumulation of chronic stressors, like disagreements with your boss, taking care of a chronically ill child, or repeated traffic road rages, could be acting as an amplifier to a hypercaloric diet when protracted over time. Depression may also be acting as a stressor.” Not only were the stressed mice much fatter, they began to exhibit the metabolic and cardiovascular consequences of obesity, Kuo said. “They had the glucose intolerance seen in diabetes, elevated blood pressure, inflammation in the blood vessels, and fat in their livers and muscles.”

“We are hopeful that these findings might eventually lead to control of metabolic syndrome, which is a huge health issue for many Americans,” she said. “Decreasing fat in the abdomen of the mice we studied reduced the fat in their liver and skeletal muscles, and also helped to control insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, blood pressure and inflammation.
Complete article is posted here:
Scientists Discover Key to Manipulating Fat - Pathway also explains stress-induced weight gain