Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Antidepressants and Alcohol

Mayo Clinic: antidepressants and alcohol, a toxic mix?

It seems innocent enough, a casual drinker who also suffers complications of depression or anxiety issues who continues to drink while on their medication.  Frankly I know several people who I am certain are in this category.   This Mayo Clinic article by Dr. Hall-Flavin points out this could lead to disaster of various proportions though.

For starters, alcohol IS a depressant.  Adding it to a depressed person's psyche along with medications that monkey with your brain chemistry may lead to worse depression, aggravated side-affects of the medication, intensified drowsiness and interrupted sleep patterns, monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI's) combined with certain foods and alcohol can cause dangerous spikes in blood pressure, and a higher risk of alcohol dependence (addiction).

Not so innocent, is it?  I caution you to beware if you are on medication AND drinking alcohol.  It is not such a simple equation as taking an aspirin and cough syrup.  Both drugs alter the brain.  Too much brain altering and the list of troubles could be endless, leading to more medications for more symptoms, when the source cause could be simple over-medicating at home, legally, in what seems to be a very safe way to relax at the end of the day or enjoy a meal with friends.   ~jd

Friday, July 22, 2011

On forgiveness

‎"The practice of forgiveness is our most important 
contribution to heal the world."---Marianne Williamson

I always enjoyed Stephen Levine's language: "I forgive anything you intentionally or un-intentionally did to cause me harm; I forgive myself & ask forgiveness, for anything I intentionally or un-intentionally did to cause you harm..."; and the concept in 12-Step programs that our holding someone in blame (unforgiven) separates them from God. God has a much better plan for that person than I ever could; and in Buddhist Metta meditation: May you be Free From Suffering, May You Be At Peace (if the "perpetrator of our suffering" was free from suffering and at peace they would not be causing harm to themselves and others, would they?). ~jd

Friday, May 20, 2011

Toxic food dyes in foods

Reading this article reminded me of my mother who suffered bouts of severe asthma, and eventually died at the (too young) age of 61 of an asthma-related death. She had learned about the yellow food dyes that were triggers of her asthma attacks back in the Seventies. ~jd

Toxic Treats – the Lowdown on Food Dyes
May 17, 2011

For commercial reasons, food manufacturers are adding toxic food colorings to our foods. The European Union recently placed regulations on labeling food dyes to alert consumers of health risks, but the United States has not followed suite.
Below are some of the most common toxic food dyes used today, according to the Food Freedom Network:
Citrus Red #2
Citrus Red #2 is toxic to rodents at modest levels and causes tumors of the urinary bladder and possibly other organs. Citrus Red #2 is used in: Skins of Florida oranges.
Red #3 (Erythrosine)
Red #3 (Erythrosine) was recognized in 1990 by the FDA as a thyroid carcinogen in animals and is banned in cosmetics and externally applied drugs. Red #3 is used in: Sausage casings, oral medication, maraschino cherries, baked goods, and candies.
Red # 5
Red # 5 was banned for a very long time because it was suspected that it made children hyperactive. Red # 5 belongs to a class of chemicals called “polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,” which studies suggest are carcinogens. But since these chemicals only cause cancer when injected, not ingested, the FDA keeps them legal.
Red #40 (Allura Red)
Red #40 (Allura Red) is the most-widely used and consumed dye. It may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice. It also causes allergy-like reactions in some consumers and might trigger hyperactivity in children. Red #40 is used in: Beverages, bakery goods, dessert powders, candies, cereals, foods, drugs, and cosmetics.
Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue)
An unpublished study suggests that Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue) causes kidney tumors in mice. Blue #1 is used in: Baked goods, beverages, desert powders, candies, cereal, drugs, and other products.
Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine)
Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine) causes tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats. Blue #2 is used in: Colored beverages, candies, pet food, and other foods and drugs.
Green #3 (Fast Green)
Green #3 (Fast Green) has caused significant increases in bladder and testes tumors in male rats. Green #3 is used in: Drugs, personal care products, cosmetics, candies, beverages, ice cream, sorbet, and externally applied cosmetics.
Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)
Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) causes hypersensitivity reactions and might trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children. Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)
Is used in: Pet foods, numerous bakery goods, beverages, dessert powders, candies, cereals, gelatin desserts, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow)
Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow) causes adrenal tumors in animals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions. Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow) is used in: Colored bakery goods, cereals, beverages, dessert powders, candies, gelatin deserts, sausage, cosmetics and drugs.
Avoid artificially colored foods
The Center for Science in the Public Interest recommends, "Because colorings are used almost solely in foods of low nutritional value (candy, soda pop, gelatin desserts, etc.), you should simply avoid all artificially colored foods."
You can also now purchase plant-based natural food colors that are prepared in concentrations that are easy to use. They can be used to color most foods. While they don't match the same hues as artificial colors, they may look much better, since they are actually the colors found in real foods.
Article provided by on May 20, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The growing inclusion of spirituality in therapeutic counseling

"Does religion belong in therapy? A growing number of counselors and patients think it does. Faith-based therapy is growing in popularity, reports Psychology Today, as more patients look for counselors who can discuss their problems and goals from a religious frame of reference."

"Nearly three-fourths of Americans say their whole approach to life is based on religion. But only 32 percent of psychiatrists, 33 percent of clinical psychologists and 46 percent of clinical social workers feel the same. The majority of traditional counselor training programs have no courses dealing with spiritual matters."
When God is part of Therapy, a NY Times article by Tara Parker-Hope
With God as my Shrink, Psychology Today

Our culture has come full circle in many ways, through the industrial and technology eras, to realize the value of spiritual principles, understanding, and core belief  systems to enhance our ability to thrive in the modern world.  Our spiritual (or religious) beliefs influence our physical and mental health, and are sometimes the brush of a feather that can roll us toward being a survivor during impossible odds or the person who is lost on the operating table without major risks or clear cause.   

Bruce Lipton describes in The Biology of Belief, how our cells are listening and responding to every thought and emotion.  Our DNA is informed by both the internal and external environments in which we live.  Spiritually-based principles such as gratitude and forgiveness have been studied and shown to take pressure off the heart, decrease depressive symptoms, and slow aging.  Faith in a "power greater than myself" creates trust in a world that supports me.  Altruistic, faith-based systems guide us to live better lives, to treat others and the world more kindly, to seek the good in the world and to feel safe in the world, regardless of the evidence of harm and drama super-sized by the media.

Spiritual and religious systems also ask us to be in relationship with a "Universal Wisdom, God, prophet, or other Divine Source of Life and Knowledge."  By practicing this relationship through meditation, contemplation, prayer and study we can each better listen to, hear and connect with the inner voice of this Higher Power, allowing it to guide us to our greater good instead of allowing the masses, the media, our family or friends to make our choices and lead the direction of our lives.

It is so easy to be driven off-track, to lose the inner voice, or forget what we knew as children;  to have our Guidance be drowned out by the voices around us;  to be overwhelmed by the negative voices within us.  Spiritual counseling and coaching listens to and speaks with the heart; it seeks to shore up values, self-esteem and integrity, and create Sacred Space where unneeded beliefs, suffering and heartache are restored to order according to the true (and holy) needs of the client.

Whole Health Educators always include Spirituality as one of the five critical aspects of health and wellness.   As a trans-denominational pastor, I provide spiritual coaching focused on universal spiritual principles grounded in New Thought teachings and the mindfulness and compassion teachings of Buddhism.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Combine the elements of your life into a harmonious whole: Integration

I enjoyed these tips from Jeff Klein, author of Working For Good, about recognizing the value in integration of all aspects of our lives.  Though it is easy to mentally compartmentalize work, family, entertainment, hobbies, and friends... all the areas of our life still make up just ONE LIFE.  We can't hide one from the other, nor prevent one area from influencing other areas.  Klein suggests recognizing integration as a way to creatively improve our life.  Here is one set of tips he recently sent out in his March 2011 Reflections Newsletter:

Making Space for Integration
Tune in: recognize where you feel integrated and where you don't.

Change channels: if you find your self stuck - whether in your mind, body, emotions etc - then shift to another "channel." Thinking stagnant? Move your body. Too tired to work out? Listen to some music or meditate or address an emotional block. Can't come up with a good solution to a business challenge? Look at art books. Since our thoughts, feelings and emotions are all part of one process, if we are stuck in one channel, we can move our whole being via another channel of experience, and return to where we were stuck, to find it too has shifted. 

Tune in again: and continue the process as necessary.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bromide Dominance Theory, blocking Iodine, causing disease?

In the 1960's, a single slice of bread in the USA contained the full RDA of 0.15 mg iodine. The risk for breast cancer was then 1 in 20. Over the last several decades, iodine was largely replaced by bromine in the form of potassium bromate in the bread making process.
Bromine blocks thyroid function and interferes with the anticancer effect of iodine. Today, the risk for breast cancer is 1 in 8 and increasing by one percent each year.

Bromide in Bread Banned in UK and Canada

In 1990 the UK banned bromate in bread. Canada followed suite in 1994. The United States has yet to take a similar action in this important matter.

Bromide Dominance – A National Health Crisis Part 1 of 2

Recent research clearly demonstrates that big pharma “science” has misled doctors and the public at large about iodine. Big pharma spin-doctors have in fact named Iodine as the underlying factor for numerous diseases, and have even assigned an “ism” to this naturally-occurring substance that our bodies very much need.
Iodism is now defined as “poisoning caused by sensitivity to or overuse of iodine or its compounds,” consumers are being encouraged to avoid iodine.
But the truth is that if you avoid consuming iodine you do so at your own peril.

Bromide Dominance Theory

The situation is more complex, and bromide is the culprit, not iodine. In recent years, increased exposure to bromide has caused dangerous levels of iodine depletion. Many people are so depleted that they have no tolerance for taking iodine supplements any longer without taking appropriate precautions.
Bromide is an insidious additive used in many consumer products, and as a pesticide. Because of the sheer number of bromide-supplemented products, exposure to this man-made additive has caused a depletion of iodine in human populations. Studies in lab animals provide alarming evidence that even small amounts of bromide exposure can be toxic.
A bromide dominance condition may develop when bromide, acquired through environmental, occupational or dietary exposure, causes bromide levels in the body to rise high enough to inhibit iodine enzyme metabolism.
Where does bromide come from? Bromide comes from the food we eat—especially bread—from drinking water, and from toothpaste, mouthwash, flame-retardants, hair dye and other sources.
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Bromide Dominance, Part 2 of 2, continues this article in more detail.

The mindful mind

“Many forms of spirituality try to get rid of thoughts, feelings, and memories - to make the mind blank, as if that were a desirable or spiritual state. But to have the mind blank is not necessarily wise. Instead, it is more helpful to see through thoughts and to recognize that a thought is just a thought, a belief, a memory. Then we can stop binding consciousness of spirit to our thoughts and mental states.”

From: Emptiness Dancing
By Adyashanti