Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Menacing Mathematics of Multiple Meds

By Gary Craig

There's something scary about drugs that concerns a growing number of physicians and should wobble the knees of every patient on the planet. It's obvious to any mathematician but somehow has escaped the general scrutiny of the health industry.

It has to do with combining meds.

Ever since I can remember I have been fed the perception that drugs are governmentally evaluated and thus are safe if taken under the guidance of competent physicians. However, even if we accept the presumed safety for the ingestion of one drug, we must ask ourselves how might that safety change if we take multiple drugs?

For safety assurances, proper testing should be done for every drug combination we are advised to take. If we take Prozac and Tylenol, for example, we should be presented with all the possible benefits and consequences before allowing these two foreign substances to mix with the chemicals our bodies already create. Same thing goes for combining Paxil with Viagra or Interferon with Lipitor.

The list of possible problems here is monstrously long because there are a b'zillion drugs and mega b'zillions of combinations. Nonetheless, I've never seen or heard of any studies that test any of these combinations ... have you?

Thus, if you take two drugs, the odds of their combination having been adequately tested for safety are skimpy at best. But if you take 3 or more drugs the danger possibilities multiply even faster.

Here's how the mathematics work: If you take 3 drugs then adequate safety testing of the various combinations require 7 separate tests. If you take 4 drugs the combinations require 25 separate tests. If you take 5 drugs it amounts to 121 tests. If you take 10 drugs the number of required safety tests total 362,881.

The conclusion here should be obvious. Namely, there is questionable safety testing if you take 2 drugs and nominal, if any, safety testing if you take 3. Beyond that you are clearly into the land of, "I have no idea what these combinations of drugs will do."

To me, this tosses our dedicated docs into a tenuous position. They have patients with problems who aren't willing to exercise, eat right, do EFT for emotional issues or much of anything else to help their own health. Instead, the patients hope the physicians will produce a magic pill (or pills) to make their problems go away.

I have met many patients who are on several drugs and take some drugs to counteract the effects of other drugs. As a non-physician I look at this with a shudder. These folks are being fed chemical cocktails with little or no safety testing behind the combinations. Maybe I need some help with my perceptions here but, to me, they are playing drug roulette.

I don't know if lawyers have picked up on the simple, but compelling, math here. But I do know that I wouldn't want to be a doctor in court facing these clear facts.

In the 15+ years I have been involved in the health field, I have had the good fortune to count many physicians as my personal friends. With few exceptions, they agree that it is our lifestyles, diets and emotional stresses that cause most of our health problems ... and ... the vast majority of these problems would vanish if people would live common sense lives. Yet patients repeatedly abuse their bodies and ask for more and more "miracle drugs" as the convenient solution. I don't envy the docs at all as I often hear them complain that this is a highway to NobodyWinsVille.

Maybe what we really need are good salespeople to persuade folks to take care of themselves. I suspect that, if truly persuasive, they would do more good than the ocean of drugs at our disposal.

Love, Gary

PS: The Free EFT Get Started Package can help any newcomer learn the valuable EFT process. If you want to save time and dive right in, get our low cost DVD Library.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Basics of Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a system of medicinal treatment founded by Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician. He published a paper in 1796 in which he promulgated his principle that "likes are cured by likes". This principle is known as "Law of Similars". Hahnemann claimed that quinine, a medicine widely used for successful treatment of malaria, produced symptoms of malaria in a healthy person. The patients of malaria were treated with a medicine which created the same symptoms as those created by the disease. The observations with quinine and other medicines led Hahnemann to his "Law of Similars".

Four years later Hahnemann advanced his doctrine of "potentization of dynamization" which stated that medicines in small doses effectively exerted their curative power.

The homeopathic system of treatment is based on these two principles - Law of Similars and Potentization.

Potentization is a process by which medicine is diluted in precise steps and subjected to "succussion" (a vigorous shaking action). This process brings about an energetic change that gives medicines a deeper curative effect. Repeated dilution ensures that the medicine has no toxic effect. This allows homeopathic use of many substances which would be unsafe under normal conditions.

Traditionally homeopathic treatment is done to cure the disorders, not just the symptoms. Any physical and emotional disorder produces certain symptoms in the body. In many cases different ailments produce similar symptoms. As a part of the treatment the medicines are prescribed to eliminate the causes of disease or discomfort. If two patients have similar problems, they may still require different medicines depending upon their habits and many other factors. Medicines of higher potency are generally given only after the cause of the disease is established.

Homeopathy is relatively young - just over 200 years old. New medicines and treatments are constantly being evolved and documented. Such research studies are called "provings". As a result of these research studies, Homeopathy is used in a wide variety of health conditions.

Homeopathic medicines do not work strictly by chemical action. At higher potency the medicine is diluted so much that concentration of original medicine reduces to insignificant level. Yet the medicines not only work, they are more effective at higher potency. "Potentization" process brings energetic change in the medicine. In turn the medicine stimulates the body's defense mechanism to fight the cause of disorder. This approach produces more stable cure as compared to treatment with drugs. Direct chemical action of the drugs often produces harmful side effects. Homeopathic medicines on the other hand have no or little side effects. They are safe and non-toxic.

Two centuries of existence has firmly established homeopathy. It is accepted form of treatment in many parts of the world. However, the theory of homeopathy is inconsistent with known laws of science; therefore the critics often dismiss it as pseudoscience and quackery.

Homeopathy has thrived on the basis of its results. Its medicines have relatively slow but lasting effects. It is not trusted to meet emergency situations, but it is extremely useful in many other situations.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Improve Memory and Prevent Brain Deterioration

Human memory is a truly amazing phenomenon. It is always a source of wonder that seemingly insignificant occurrences may create lasting memories for one person while other people cannot even recall details of major events in their life. There are many factors that influence this apparent disparity.

It is sometimes said that a healthy brain never forgets anything. Unless affected by injury or disease the brain never loses anything. Forgetting something is actually a result of:

1. Not storing the facts properly in the first place.

2. Failure to store the facts in a manner in which they can be recalled.

3. Inability to recall facts at the time although they are still safely recorded in the brain. Who among us has not had the experience of "forgetting" something only to have it pop into consciousness at the most unlikely time?

Problem 1 can be overcome by concentration. If one is distracted and does not store facts to start with then there is very little chance of recalling them later. Memory has two phases - Short Term and Long Term Memory. It is believed that up to 50 percent of information we receive is lost almost immediately and a further 20 percent vanishes within 24 hours. An example would be a telephone number or other ten digit number. Unless a special effort is made its gone almost instantly. Some of these short term memories go on to become long term memories. For instance your best friend's phone number would have started out as a short term memory but has now become part of long term memory and can be readily recalled several years later. Scientists are still uncertain as to the exact reasons why some facts are lost while others go on to create lasting memories. However, it is safe to assume that some special importance is attached to that information for one reason or another. In the world of information overload we live in there are constant distractions and information competing for attention. Chances of recalling facts are significantly improved by paying attention to those that we need to remember later.

There are several techniques that can be used to ensure sufficient attention to important facts. The most common among them would be repetition. Most of us would probably recall having learnt our multiplication tables in this way. Writing notes and personalizing the facts ie. writing ideas in one's own words also helps. However, it is important not to fall into the trap of relying on notes as a substitute for remembering. Notes should be used to reinforce a memory not as an alternative to it. Writing down facts surrounding and supporting an idea as well as the theory and methodology leading up to certain facts also help in recall. Complex mathematical formulae would be an example. Formulae comprised of abstract symbols and numbers can usually be quite hard to recall on their own. However, if one commits to memory the principles from which the formula is derived the symbols often become a lot easier to recall. Understanding the concepts behind the final outcome makes things less fuzzy. The fuzzier things are the harder they are to remember. Breaking down facts into manageable chunks to concentrate on helps immensely as well as there is a limit on how much information can be assimilated at a given time. Avoiding distractions is another important consideration in ensuring that the facts are stored right - it is a lot harder replace incorrect information than it is to store it right in the first place.

Problems 2 and 3 are closely connected to how we recall information. Memories are made by creating connections - connections with experiences through all our senses. Perhaps you have had the experience of a smell or sound triggering a memory of long ago. The more connections we create the better the chances of recall. This is why mnemonics are commonly used as an aid to memory. The more ridiculous or unusual the association the more likely it is to be recalled rather than fade into insignificance among the millions of other connections. Using mental pegs is another technique that works very well. Associate facts with unusual images or rhymes. For instance to remember names and faces one may look at a prominent facial feature, create an exaggerated version of it and connect it with the name. Say Leon with rather long hair may become a mental image of a Lion with a mane. Lion then quickly converts to Leon making it a lot easier than simply trying to recall the name of the guy with long hair!

Unfortunately as we age our brains begin to degenerate and memory deteriorates along with it. There are 4 main reasons for this degeneration.

1. Reduction in Neurotransmitters, especially acetylcholine causes decline in brain function.

2. Reduced blood circulation. The brain uses a significant proportion of all blood. Any impediment to blood flow therefore has a huge impact on brain function.

3. Effects of Cortisol. As a response to stresses cortisol is produced in the brain which damages the cells in the Hippocampus. The Hippocampus is instrumental in converting short term memories to long term ones. The damage in the hippocampus also triggers further production of cortisol setting off a ever increasing cycle of cell damage.

4. Free radical damage. Free radicals are atoms that have an electron imbalance and are constantly seeking to steal an electron to make itself whole. This process of stealing electrons from cells causes cell damage. Brain cells are no exception and brain cell damage also occurs due to free radical activity.

There are many common sense approaches to limiting and preventing brain degeneration:

* Proper diet - limit intake of salt cholesterol and fat while eating plenty of fresh fruits and foods high in antioxidants.
* Regular Exercise - avoid becoming overweight.

* Control Blood pressure

* Control and limit stress

* Limiting alcohol intake and not smoking helps reduce free radical damage.

* Increase intake of Omega 3 fatty acids - found in large quantities in fish -helps combat free radical damage.

* Avoid even minor head trauma - When engaging in activities which could result in jarring of the brain use adequate protection. Regular jarring, even minor levels has been connected with higher incidence of dementia.

There are also several not so obvious strategies that have emerged from recent studies into the brain.

Depression can affect the way the brain processes information and retrieves it. Therefore avoiding or minimizing depression can positively impact on brain function in later years. Socializing and involvement with family and community activities is recommended.

Mental exercise. "Use it or lose it". Stimulating your brain with mental exercises such as crossword puzzles, board games or even taking up a new hobby or learning a musical instrument has been shown to increase the number of brain cells and connections between brain cells. These activities improve what is known as "Brain Plasticity".

Herbal supplements such as Gingko Biloba which is credited with improving blood circulation may help to deter the onset of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

While aging and its consequences cannot be halted it is clear that there is much that can be done to improve brain health and memory.

The Importance of Phytochemicals

As time goes by the typical western diet seems to increasingly contain more fatty processed foods and less natural plant based foods than ever before. The results of this disturbing trend can be seen in the alarming statistics on cancer, heart disease, stroke and many other degenerative diseases.

Aside from the obvious dietary problems of high fat, protein and simple carbohydrate intake is the considerably inadequate intake of plant based foods and all the health giving benefits they bring with them.

Enter Phytochemicals

Many people are aware that eating plant based foods add much needed fiber, vitamins and minerals to the diet but what is less well known is the many benefits of the phytochemicals that these plants contain.

Phytochemicals come in a variety of forms and different vegetables have higher concentrations of a particular phytochemical than others. Some of the main phytochemicals include:

Carotenoids - Found in broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, squash, sweet potato and yams.

Flavonoids - Found in cabbage, cucumber, parsley, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, soybeans and berries.

Isoflavones - Found in peas, beans and legumes.

Indioles - Found in brussels sprouts, cauliflower, turnips, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage and kale.

Lignans - Found in walnuts, flaxseeds and many other nuts and seeds.

Omega 3, Omega 6 Fatty Acids - Found in walnuts and flaxseeds.

Plant Sterols - Found in eggplant, soybeans, peppers, tomatoes, squash, cucumber, cabbage and broccoli.

The list above is only a small segment of the entire phytochemical family which encompasses a very large and extensive range of nutrients.

Benefits of Phytochemicals

Phytochemicals act in numerous ways to assist your body in combating disease and health problems such as:

1) Help to protect the cells by blocking carcinogens that try to enter the cell walls.

2) Helps to fight the malignant changes within cells that have already been penetrated by carcinogens.

3) Appear to boost enzyme activity to increase the benefits of the various protective enzymes consumed within the diet.

4) Combines with numerous vitamins to boost antioxidants activity to scavenge free radicals before they can cause damage within the body.

Although it is not important to know the names and benefits of the large range of phytochemicals that exist, what is important is to understand that maintaining a diet that contains a variety of fruits and vegetables will combine the benefits of the phytochemicals and vitamins to help you achieve optimal health.

By reducing your high fat/processed food intake and increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables you will greatly reduce your chances of falling victim to the ever-growing list of degenerative diseases which plague the general population today as a result of following a typical western diet.

It is not only the damaging effects of high fat, high sugar foods in the western diet that allow cancer, heart disease etc. to develop, but the absence of the protective phytochemicals that are only found in plant foods as well.

By adding plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet you will bring a host of phytochemicals to fight the damaging effects of free radicals and carcinogens and give you a level of health that most people will envy.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Dumped on Saturday Night...

Just a couple of days ago I came across a site named BlogDumps. Although virtually anyone can submit their blog there, it seems to me kind of a blog community. Today I received an email from them asking me to participate in the Saturday Night Blog Dumping. It wasn't easy to decide whose blog to dump today, but I had to quickly chose or else I would be reading blogs until Monday morning, lol.
So I chose to dump Nafcom. I found great info about Skype on his blog, and as I'm an avid Skype user it was like finding treasure. I'm off to download the RSS feed reader to Skype!

Get the Code and Get Listed!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tips for Gym Newbies

Beginning a workout regime at the gym can be overwhelming in many different ways. If you haven't been before (or haven't been for a long time) it can seem as though everyone knows what they're doing but you. You worry about looking stupid, or about what people will think about your body, or about whether you'll remember everything you've been told.

The first day is usually okay (because most gyms provide an introductory session on how to operate the machines) - but the second day can be confusing and even embarrassing, unless you've signed up with a personal trainer. You're quite likely to find that you can't remember which machines you're supposed to use, or even how they work.

Relax. Everyone goes through it. You'll find it easier on the third day, and by the fourth you'll be feeling quite confident. Within weeks you'll be powering through your exercises as though you were born in the gym!

Here are a few tips that might ease the way in the first few weeks:

1. If you're a complete beginner, it might be worth your while to sign up with a personal trainer for at least a couple of sessions, until you're feeling more confident. Otherwise, go with a friend. If you're both new, you can muddle through together. If your friend is experienced, he/she will help you out.

2. Take a notepad and pen with you for your introductory session. Write down the name of the machine and its position in the gym as well as a few words that will remind you what you're supposed to do on it. (Some machines can be used in several different ways.)

3. Don't hesitate to ask a staff member for help if you can't adjust the machine for your weight and height, or if you can't remember exactly how it works. They won't mind showing you again. They want their customers to keep coming back!

4. Don't push yourself too hard to begin with. If you work out so hard that you can barely walk, you'll be tempted to miss a day while you recover. One day doesn't matter much, but if you continually skip days because you're too sore, you're likely to drop out altogether. What's the hurry? After a few weeks, when your body is getting used to the extra exercise, you can increase the intensity.

5. If your knees and ankles react badly to increasing the speed on the treadmill, try increasing the grade instead. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that a slower speed, with the treadmill on an incline, burns more calories than jogging.

6. Smile and nod to the other gym users, but don't hold up their workout programs by chatting. As you become recognized as a regular, you will find that you gravitate to your own little group - probably people who have the same goals and needs as you do.

7. Wear comfortable clothing - either loose or with plenty of stretch. Avoid the temptation to buy workout gear that's two sizes too small in the hope that you'll lose weight quickly. (You might well shed those pounds fast - but if it takes longer that you'd anticipated, you'll always be conscious of those too-tight clothes.)

8. Don't worry about being overweight. In a way, it's good to start off with quite a few excess pounds to lose - your success is much more noticeable than it is on slimmer gym users, and you'll find the positive comments really motivating. Make sure you get a 'before' photo of yourself at the gym when you start out. After a few months, you'll be amazed at the difference.

9. If you're considerably overweight, you are likely to find that your stomach gets in the way on some machines. Just do what you can. You might feel better just increasing your fitness and losing some weight on the treadmill for the first month or so, then moving on to the machines when moving and stretching is more comfortable. Consider doing a few laps in the pool (either walking or swimming) as well as your other gym work. The water will help to support your weight and provide variety.

10. Try to find a happy medium between challenging yourself and resting on your laurels. If you can easily manage three sets at the current weight, try increasing it for the first set. If you can do twenty minutes on the treadmill without sweating, then increase either the speed or the grade (or both!) Remember... "if nothing changes, then nothing changes!"

One final tip: once you have decided on your regular gym days, resolve that nothing but an emergency will stop you going. Make your gym attendance a habit - and before too long, the exciting results will have you trying to convert all your friends to becoming exercise lovers too!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is truly one of nature's gifts - widely used as a food product and skin moisturizer. Cocopura� Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is unique as it contains antiviral, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties. Health-conscious chefs prize coconut oil for its extremely high flash point, zero trans-fatty acids, and extremely rich source of Medium-Chain Fatty Acids (MCT's) - which are broken down efficiently by the body, providing an immediate source of energy.

Cocopura's oil is hand-pressed by local coconut farmers in the South Pacific, producing a truly raw cold-pressed coconut oil with full flavor and heavenly aromas. Cocopura is certified organic and are proud supporters of fair trade and sustainable living practices.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Olive Oils on Sale!

The time is here to stock up on Raw Olive Oils for your holiday recipes. Through the end of November save on Bariani and Olio Beato olive oils!
Here is what Eating for Beauty has to say of olive oil:
Olives are perhaps the greatest beautifying food of all. Olives and their oil are one of the highest natural sources of Vitamin E. They are an alkaline fat source that is also high in protein. Investigators at Harvard conducted a survey of Greek women to determine if their abundant consumption of olive oil could also increase cancer risk. Their findings indicated that olive oil had an opposite effect. They concluded that the breast cancer risk for women who consume olive oil more than once per day is reduced by 25 percent when compared to women who consume olive oil less frequently.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Turn Ordinary Water into 'Xtreme Body Fuel'!

In my last post I mentioned purified water. Purified water has the advantage of removing dangerous nitrates - often leaching into the water table from fertilizers from farming and our lawns,
organic solvents and chemicals that are usually carcinogenic - including MTBE found in gasoline that also often leaks into the water table, and heavy metals (lead, arsenic, mercury, and others that you definitely do not want in your body!).

The trouble is that all the healthy minerals are also removed in the process of purification. In time, drinking purified water without the minerals added,forces the minerals inside your cells to come out which then depletes all of the cells of their needed minerals. The bottom line is, you have no pollutants with purified water, but your cells are losing their minerals.

I recently came across an amazing product named Xooma X2O. By adding Xooma to purified water, you get the best of both worlds: highly absorbable essential minerals without the additional pollutants that the purification has removed. So what is X2O?

X20 is derived from pre-ionized Coral Calcium which when added to the water of your choice will lower the surface tension (make the water "wetter"), add needed essential minerals in a highly absorbable form that is often missing from our diets, and finally changes the pH of the water from about 7.0 to about 9.9.

X2O comes in the form of a sachet (tea bag) that is simply added to regular water or any non-carbonated beverage. I find it really amazing.

To find out more, simply take your free, no obligation tour here: X2O Tour

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Drink Water!

A variety of symptoms can be traced to a lack of water intake. Most people showing these symptoms (constipation, dry and itchy skin, acne, nose bleeds, repeated urinary tract infections, dry and unproductive coughs, constant sneezing, sinus pressure and headaches .. just to name a few) are drinking plenty of fluids: coffee, soda, tea and juice. But none are drinking enough water.

Water is required by every cell in the body as nourishment and to remove wastes. When there is not enough water in the body, it tries to limit the amount it loses through breathing, mucous production, urination, perspiration and bowel movements.

Water is needed for breathing because the lungs require humid air to do their work. The body has to moisturize the air before it reaches the lungs and does so through the mucous membranes lining the nasal passages and the bronchi. If there is less fluid available, the mucous lining becomes drier. This in turn irritates the lungs, causing them to become more reactive to irritants, and less resistant to viruses and bacteria. Then comes dry cough and bronchitis.

It is estimated that 3-4 cups of water are lost through breathing every day, and you can add 2-3 more cups in the winter time when air is drier, and the heating systems decrease humidity even more.

Water is also required to remove various toxins from the body through urination. It is a common misunderstanding that the more water we drink, the harder it is on the kidneys. Lack of water also causes constipation. The increase in body toxin levels can cause headaches and fatigue. The attempt by the body to remove excess levels of unwanted chemicals through the skin can cause acne and will aggravate eczema.

The easiest solution is to drink more water. Herbal teas and diluted fruit juices (1/3 fruit juice to 2/3 water) can be substituted for some of the water, but you can't avoid plain water, so you'd better get used to it.

What type of water is best to drink? My first choice would be pure filtered water. Then bottled mineral or spring water. Maybe distilled water once in a while, and I'd avoid tap water alltogether.

Take care of your body and drink water!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners, Part 2

The other day I was talking to a bunch of women, and I told them about how bad refined sugar is for our health. I added that artificial sweeteners are not a real solution, either, naming aspartame, and giving them some info from my last post. One of them, relieved, said: "Oh, great, I only use Splenda". I told her not to be so happy about it, as I had read that it wasn't that good at all, but at that time I did not have any facts to support my statement. So I began to search, and I really wanted to find pros and cons alike. Well, Splenda's own website was about the only one with positive info.
They have a really nice website, somehow it reminded me of the house of the wicked witch from "Hansel and Gretel".
Let's see what they say about the safety of sucralose (its trade name is Splenda, but its included in a wide variety of food items):

McNeil Nutritionals, LLC is committed to developing innovative nutritional products, such as the SPLENDA® Sweetener Products, that provide important health and lifestyle benefits to consumers. The company is extremely proud of the strong clinical database that supports the safety of sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in all SPLENDA® Sweetener Products, and we recognize that this strong safety evidence is one of the many reasons why SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener has been the number-one low-calorie sweetener in the U.S. marketplace for more than three years.

Unfortunately, I found too many websites that contradict this statement. Unlike the manufacturers of Splenda, they don't have (well, most of them don't) any financial gain from telling that sucralose is in fact a chemical that can do you more harm than good.
Instead of providing explanations taken from other websites, let me paste here some of the sites I found and are worth reading:

I don't know for you, but I'll stick with raw honey and Stevia.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners, Part 1

When people decide to lose weight, one of the first changes many make to their diet is to add artificial sweeteners in place of sugar. We have been told by the government that artificial sweeteners are safe, but are there hidden dangers to this additive? Let’s take a closer look at artificial sweeteners, specifically aspartame.

In an earlier post I have already published an article about the connection of Nutrasweet and brain tumors (Click here to read it).

Aspartame is made up of three components. Fifty percent is phenylalanine, forty percent is aspartic acid, and ten percent is methanol, or wood alcohol. Phenylalanine and aspartic acid are both amino acids. Amino acids are naturally found in the food we eat, specifically in the proteins. They are the building blocks for our bodies, and help us build tissue and muscles. But, in nature, amino acids are not ingested singularly. Many types of amino acids are joined together to form protein chains, and that is what we ingest when we sit down to eat. In aspartame, Phenylalanine and aspartic acid are the only amino acids being introduced to the body. There is no protein chain, just singular amino acids. It has been found that aspartic acid (when not bound into a protein chain) enters the central nervous system in high concentration and causes the neurons to begin firing rapidly. Many times, it excites the neurons so completely, that the cell dies. High levels of aspartic acid have been found to cause headaches, mental confusion, balance problems, and even seizures. And the rest of your body fares no better. Outside the central nervous system, isolated aspartic acid has been found to accelerate diseases such as cancer, coronary artery disease and arthritis. Fortunately, the effects are cumulative. So, if you stop ingesting isolated aspartic acid, then the continuing damage will also cease.

High levels of isolated phenylalanine can be quite dangerous as well. Research has found that excessive levels of this isolated amino acid cause a decrease in the amount of serotonin in our brains. Decreased serotonin often leads to depression and other emotional disorders. When phenylalanine is exposed to warm temperatures, or is stored for a long time, it breaks down into diketopiperazine (DKP), which is a known carcinogen. It is also important to note that in pregnant women, phenylalanine easily crosses the placental barrier, and in children under one, also crosses the blood-brain barrier. Infants exposed to high levels of phenylalanine during the pregnancy and later through their mother's milk, have an increased risk of birth defects and irreversible brain damage.

The third component of aspartame is methanol. Methanol is commonly known as wood alcohol. It is a colorless liquid and is both poisonous and flammable. Long-term exposure to methanol causes blindness and death. Early symptoms of methanol poisoning include headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal problems, chills, memory lapses, and numbness in the extremities. One particularly scary aspect of methanol is that at cold temperatures it creates formaldehyde. The EPA considers methanol a "cumulative poison", and recommends a limit of no more than 7.8mg per day. To put this in perspective, one liter of diet soda contains 56mg of methanol; over seven times the EPA stated limit. By combining several diet sodas, a couple of packages of aspartame in morning coffee, and consuming "diet" food during the day, most consumers are exposed to considerably more methanol than the 7.8mg per day limit.

With what we know so far, you may be wondering why the FDA would approve it if it wasn't safe. Instead of giving you a straight answer, I'm going to outline just a few of the events that occurred during the FDA approval process of aspartame. In 1965, James Schlatter, a chemist at the G.D. Searle Company, stumbled across aspartame while attempting to create a new ulcer drug. It was initially approved for use in dry goods on July 26, 1974. But researchers questioned the practices of the G.D. Searle Company, and the FDA put the approval on hold pending further investigation. A task force was created to examine aspartame. The ultimate report from that task force found that there were serious deficiencies in the research done by the Searle Company. The task force recommended that G.D. Searle face a Grand Jury for further inquiry in their testing procedures. In 1976, a second task force was created, this time finding the G.D. Searle Company guilty of faulty and fraudulent product testing, and knowingly misrepresenting product testing and findings. Officials at the Searle Company turned to Donald Rumsfeld, who had worked with both the Nixon and Ford administrations, and elected him as chairman, hoping to smooth the way and avoid criminal prosecution. In 1977, the FDA appointed U.S. Attorney Samuel Skinner to investigate Searle's testing procedures. After a meeting with the Searle attorneys, Samuel Skinner left the FDA and accepted a position with Searle's law firm. The FDA then appointed U.S. Attorney William Conlon to take Skinner's place. Mr. Conlon sat on the case and did nothing, until he left the FDA in 1979 and also joined Searle's law firm. In 1981, FDA Commissioner Arthur Hayes, Jr., approved aspartame for use in dry foods and as a tabletop sweetener. At that time, three FDA scientists came forward to oppose the approval, based on their in-house studies of the additive. Hayes ignored these reports and aspartame was approved. Arthur Hayes then left the FDA and took a position as a senior medical consultant for the public relations firm for the G.D. Searle Company. Ultimately, the statue of limitations ran out on prosecuting the G.D. Searle Company for wrongdoing.

So, are there hidden dangers associated with the use of aspartame? I'll let you decide. Next time we´ll learn more about Splenda and sucralose.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Exercise - Interval Training

When it comes to exercise, the word “intervals” puts fear in many people’s minds. Intervals are sometimes misunderstood but adding them to your exercise program can help you burn fat and get in shape quicker.

Intervals are not for everyone. To begin performing intervals, you should be in good condition and a physical from your doctor is highly recommended.

What are intervals?

The easiest definition would be periods of high intensity exercise followed by recovery periods of low intensity exercise.

Here's an example. You are following a walking program and have been walking briskly for thirty minutes a day, four days a week. You feel pretty good but would like to lose weight a little quicker.

Intervals might be perfect for you. Begin your regular walking program and, after five minutes, jog for ten, twenty, thirty seconds or more. Your heart rate will begin to increase and your breathing will pick up after this period, return to walking briskly until you have completely recovered. You then begin to jog again.

In the beginning you may only want to perform two or three of these short jogs. That's fine. Do what's comfortable for you. Later, as you become more accustomed to this routine, you can add more jogs or increase the length of time you jog or both.

During each period of jogging, your heart rate has increased. When you stop jogging and continue walking, your heart rate will be at an increased rate for a minute or so. This is an added benefit. During aerobic exercise you want your heart rate to increase, which makes it stronger and makes you healthier.

Intervals work great on a treadmill. You can increase the speed for however long you want, or you can increase the height, so you are walking at the same pace only going uphill.

This is interval training at a low level but you still get benefits from it. You can follow a similar routine in your other aerobic exercise as well.

For instance, if you are riding a bike for exercise, every so often pedal faster until you begin breathing heavier, and then return to riding as before.

You can see that interval training is not only for athletes. It's one of the fastest and most effective means of reaching a top level of fitness and decreasing body fat.

Do these three or four days a week and watch your fitness level go up while your pounds begin to disappear.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Skin Cancer Awareness

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers. Approximately one in six people will develop skin cancer. Medical experts unanimously agree that overexposure to sunlight is the main culprit. Other factors include sunburn with blistering especially during childhood, skin creams that contain tar if used over a prolonged period, repeated X-rays, exposure to coal and arsenic, radiation, chemotherapy and family history. Freckles with fair skin that doesn't tan very easily can also put one at risk.

Most skin cancers grow slowly. It is imperative you inspect your body on a regular basis for anything unusual. Stand in front of a full length mirror and with a hand held mirror check out every inch of your skin. Have someone check the top of your head as well. You should know your body in detail, so that when something different rears its ugly head, you notice it immediately!

Watch for any unusual spots. Look for lesions, moles or spots that are asymmetrical in shape. Observe for any colored spot that grows bigger or develops an uneven color or irregular, ragged edge. Look for any nodules or patches that are red and scaly, as this can be a squamous cell carcinoma which can metastasize (spread). Other symptoms to look for are changes in the surface of a mole. If you notice the mole is raised above the skin and has a rough surface, is scaly, oozing, bleeding or there is development of bumps on any mole, seek medical attention. In other words anything that develops that wasn't on your body before should be investigated by your physician.

Skin cancer has a high cure rate if caught early. Excision of the lesion is the most common treatment. Self examination is the key to early detection with a regular visit to your doctor for check ups.

The best methods to avoid skin cancer are to avoid the sun, especially during the hottest part of the day from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wear a sunscreen if you are out doors with an SPF of at least 15 or more, applied thirty minutes before going into the sun. Put the sunscreen everywhere the suns rays will hit you. Don't forget your ears and men don't forget any bald areas on top of your head. If you have to be out in the sun, use a wide brimmed hat or cap. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun. Choose sunglasses that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses can help prevent cataracts as well. Wear long sleeve shirts and pants if it is not sweltering hot, to better protect your body. Don't use tanning salons as they can damage your skin just like the sun.

Of course there is the controversy that you need some sun in order NOT to be vitamin D deficient. I know it is hard at times to completely avoid the sun. A few minutes of sun occasionally with a good sun screen, should not be too harmful, as long as you watch the time of day and check your body on a regular basis. Also too much sun can contribute to wrinkles. Avoidance is best, but not always possible. Hence, just be very careful and check, check, check your body regularly (monthly if possible). Go to your doctor immediately when you notice any irregularities. Keep healthy!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tonic Herbs: Ginseng

Ginseng root is probably the most familiar tonic herb. There are several types of Ginseng, all of which share many characteristics.

Panax Ginseng is the most famous of the Ginsengs. It is most often available as "Red" or "White" Ginseng. (The difference between Red Ginseng and White Ginseng is how the roots are treated after harvesting.)

Panax Ginseng has a very long history as a tonic herb, going back thousands of years. The word "Panax" comes from the same root as panacea, (cure-all), and was used to describe the many, many uses of ginseng.

There is also a Siberian Ginseng. Eleutherococcus Senticosus (often called Eletheuro) may be the most researched herb on the planet. This was the first herb described as an adaptogen. (Acanthopanax Gracilistylus is also sold under the name Siberian Ginseng, and shares many properties with Eleuthero.)

A few effects of Siberian Ginseng are: increases endurance; helps insomnia; lowers blood pressure; improves blood circulation; improves blood flow to the brain. (A full listing would take several pages.)

Some herbalists say Siberian Ginseng is the safest of the Ginsengs. It is often used with elderly or infirm individuals, to improve their energy levels.

There is also an American Ginseng, Panax Quinquefolium, which once grew wild in great abundance. Over-harvesting has made wild American Ginseng scarce. Botanically, this is the closest to Panax Ginseng.

All these varieties function as adaptogens, and tonify a range of body systems. They are all safe to use, and are suitable for long term use.

Some people find that Panax Ginseng over-stimulates them, and find Siberian Ginseng to be a better choice.

All of the Ginsengs are available as raw herbs, in capsules and freeze dried powders. Capsules and powders are the easiest to use, simply follow the manufacturer's directions. Some herbalists say that using standardized extracts gives you less benefit than using the whole root.

Trying one or more of the Ginsengs is a good way to introduce yourself to the benefits of herbal tonics.

Vitamin C – The Secret Nutrient

How could vitamin C be a secret? Everybody knows we need it to stay alive and healthy. For example, most people are aware of its role in preventing scurvy. Sailors on long, ocean-going voyages commonly got scurvy, so in 1795 the British Navy began issuing limes, which are full of vitamin C, to its sailors for this very reason. (Brits are called “Limeys,” right?)

However, here is the secret that drug companies hope the general populace never finds out. Vitamin C can do far more than merely keeping humans from bruising easily and having bleeding gums, loose teeth, poor immune systems, difficulty healing and mild anemia.

It turns out that vitamin C is not just one of the least toxic substances that exist, but in fact it should actually be its very own food group, right up there with proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It’s water soluble and is essential for life. Vitamin C is far less dangerous than common table salt and is about as necessary for true health as water.

It’s all a matter of dosage. Some researchers have criticized dosages recommended by government agencies because they don’t take weight and age differences into account and because they only represent the amount needed to prevent acute forms of vitamin deficiency disease instead of either lower levels of the disease or the amounts needed to prevent other diseases. Nor do they address amounts needed for optimal health, as they are solely based on levels that are slightly above malnourishment. Because most people are content with the guidelines of the governmental agencies, the benefits of much higher doses are rarely considered.

Most animals make as much vitamin C right in their own bodies as they need in order to have immune systems and self-healing abilities people can only envy. Why can’t humans do the same thing? Millions of years ago, the ancestors of modern homo-sapiens had an evolutionary hiccup. They lost the ability to manufacture vitamin C in their own bodies, so they started needing to get it from the food they eat.

This was fine until the ice age made it difficult to get vitamin C all year round. Evolution compensated by allowing humans to patch up fragile blood vessels (remember that vitamin C prevents bruising) with cholesterol. When summer came along, and vitamin C was plentiful, the cholesterol patches on the blood vessels dissolved. The hardening arteries softened right up again.

Alas, the “modern” diet of humankind today makes the caveman’s diet look like the heights of good nutrition. Usually people don’t get nearly enough vitamin C to dissolve arterial plaque, also called arteriosclerosis. Nor do they get enough vitamin C for their bodies and immune systems to really engage in rebuilding themselves from the inside out. As a result, people get degenerative diseases and age before they really need to.

Why hasn’t this been in the news? It’s simple. Vitamin C is incredibly inexpensive. Put another way, promoting it is not lucrative. For example, a heart attack is worth tens of thousands of dollars to the health care system, but heart attacks can often be avoided by a daily intake of vitamin C that adds up to mere tens of dollars. There’s just no money to be made by selling preventive over the counter vitamin C compared to selling expensive prescription heart medications.

This example focuses on heart disease, but vitamin C has far broader “healing” powers. It is a safe way to treat viral diseases and works very effectively against poisoning. There is certainly evidence that it is useful in preventing lead poisoning. There is a high probability that it prevents the formation of cataracts. Most people are aware that it helps with colds and flu. And there is a growing body of evidence of its toxicity to cancer cells in high, intravenous doses.

It is almost impossible to get enough vitamin C for optimum health from diet alone. Many more details can be found by using an internet search engine and searching for “Linus Pauling” and “Vitamin C.”

How much vitamin C should be taken daily? Authorities vary widely in their recommendations, but a good benchmark is something called “Bowel Tolerance.” This simply means taking as much vitamin C as possible before starting to experience stool looseness. For most people, this is about 6,000 to 12,000 mg per day. It’s helpful to take vitamin C several times throughout the day instead of all at once because the body flushes it out very quickly.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

About Tooth Whiteners

Tooth whitening was discovered by accident by dentists who traditionally use peroxide in the mouth after dental surgery. They noticed the effects of peroxide on tooth discoloration due to coffee, tea, colas, smoking, and other substances. Whitening has now become a common process.

There are two main kinds of tooth whitening treatments, those carried out in a dentist's office and those done at home. The procedure in the dentist's office, with laser activation, can take a little over an hour; the procedure at home can take days or weeks.

Home treatments include those dispensed by dentists and those bought over-the-counter. To get to the root of the differences, you must first look at who regulates or sets guidelines for tooth whiteners. Since they are not considered as drugs by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FDA does not regulate them.

In place of regulation, the American Dental Association (ADA) has set minimal guidelines for safety and effectiveness. The only products to have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance are tray-based products dispensed by dentists. The active ingredient in these ADA-accepted products is carbamide peroxide at 10% concentration. The active ingredient found in many over-the-counter products is hydrogen peroxide.

Your dentist should be your first advisor on which over-the-counter product is best for you, based on the nature of your tooth discoloration and your dental history, as well as safety. You can also ask your dentist or do your own research online as to which manufacturers have a reputation for making quality products, and which manufacturers conduct their own research.

As a general rule, there has been extensive testing of carbamide peroxide-based whiteners, but very little of hydrogen peroxide, something to be taken into consideration when choosing.

Another consideration is the condition of your teeth. It is safe to whiten your teeth yourself without consulting a dentist if your teeth are healthy, but if you have dentures, fillings, capped teeth or teeth blackened by fillings or decay, ask your dentist what would be right for you.

Whitening toothpastes might be safer, as they gently whiten with mild abrasion and do not necessarily contain peroxide. They typically can leave your teeth one shade lighter with continued use. On the other end of the spectrum, dentist-applied light activated whitening can lighten teeth by up to 8 shades.

Whitening gels and strips use peroxide in lower concentrations than if administered by your dentist. They can lighten teeth by several shades in a few days to two weeks, and the effects can last up to 4 months.

Tray bleaching at home is done typically for 1-2 hours per day, or overnight, for up to 4 weeks for maximum results. This method is much cheaper than having your dentist do the job.

Possible side effects of tooth whitening include cold or heat sensitivity, or gum irritation. If you use over-the-counter products at home and develop sensitivity in your mouth tissues, discontinue use and consult with your dentist. Your dentist can apply whitener and keep it from contacting your gums, plus he can control the amount and maximize contact with your teeth for optimal whitening and minimal irritation.

Whether you choose to whiten your teeth with your dentist's help or on your own, educating yourself will give you the best chances of achieving that dazzling white smile.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is an essential oil extracted from the flowers of the lavender plant, usually by a process of steam distillation. It's a very well known essential oil, and is extensively used in aromatherapy for its many beneficial properties.

Just for starters, lavender oil has been shown to relieve tension, ease tiredness, and reduce feelings of depression. Lavender oil can be utilized in many ways to achieve these ends. Very simply, lavender oil can be applied to a tissue or handkerchief and placed nearby while you work or sleep. Another popular way of using lavender oil is to place it in an oil burner or diffuser, and allow heat to gently dissipate the fragrance into the atmosphere, allowing you to breathe in the powerful aromas and the medicinal chemical compounds present in the lavender oil.

Lavender oil can also be added directly to bath water, preferably while the water is still running. Unlike many essential oils, lavender oil can be used directly on the skin, so it's not at all irritating. When you bathe in water that's had lavender oil added, you get the benefit of the oil not only from breathing in the aromas released by the steam, but also by absorbing some of the oil through your skin.

One important use of lavender oil that few people know about is its ability to heal burns. Putting oil on a burn seems like contradictory advice; however, lavender oil provides one of the best ways of healing and soothing burns, and if applied as soon as possible after the burn has occurred, can alleviate both pain and assist in healing.

If you are prone to burning yourself, perhaps on the oven, fireplace or even spilling boiling water on yourself lavender oil really does work wonders. All you do is apply a few drops of lavender oil to the recently burned area, and cover it with a bandage or sticking plaster (depending upon the size of the burn). The pain usually disappears within the hour (again depending upon the severity of the burn), and the burn heals easily and quickly.

The story behind the discovery of lavender oil as a treatment for burns is an interesting one. In 1910 the French chemist and perfumer, Rene Maurice Gattefosse, burned his hand badly while working in his laboratory. The only liquid close to hand was lavender oil, so without thinking, he plunged his hand straight into the oil. Not only was the pain eased almost immediately, but his hand healed quickly without scarring, much to his own surprise and delight.

Having given medical advice, it's necessary to state that you shouldn't try treating an extremely serious burn, especially on a child with anything except immediate cold water. While lavender oil is fantastic for minor burns and sunburn, it can't take the place of correct medical burn treatment when it's necessary.

Lavender oil has so many beneficial properties that it should be an integral part of anyone's medicine cabinet. You can find lavender oil at your local aromatherapy supply store or online, at one of the many aromatherapy websites.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Pills, Potions and Power

This little essay is about your personal power and how to give it away OR how to keep it. It is all to do with a particular way of thinking, doing and being. It is a way of getting out of the victim and fear mode that pervades a lot of the global population. If you are interested in staying right where you are in your current state of consciousness, please, go watch TV or have another beer. Reading this will only bother you and be a waste of time.

This is about being your own person and being in your own power. It is about the beginnings of change and creating the personal world that you want to inhabit. There will always be things going on in the world that are not quite the way we would like. Just accept this as the way things are and that it is really none of your business. This may sound like a selfish statement. However, it is made with the intent that if it is happening the worst thing you can get into is the judgment of 'good and bad.' 'Energy follows thought' so you will only be exacerbating the situation by focusing upon it. You do not know the way that someone else's reality operates or what lessons they may have to learn. Certainly do what good you can in the world AND ensure that you keep your own counsel.

Now for a basic concept. Accept that you are the power in your life. You have a body. You think thoughts. You are not your body or your thoughts.

When you say that you must ingest such and such to be well there is no power in that way of thinking. The power lies within. When you eat or drink something to make you 'better' you take the healing and curative energy away from the body. You are working with effects. The causative lies within and not without. You are the cause and not the effect.

There are many quotes and experiences to substantiate the above outlandish assertions. Some are from the Bible and others from various sources.

1. 'As a man thinketh in his heart so shall he be.' The Bible

2. 'Nothing happens by chance.' Reshad Field

3. 'With our thoughts we make the world.' Gautama the Buddha

4. 'Energy follows thought.' Annie Besant

5. 'We become what we behold.' William Blake

6. 'Man creates his own disharmony.' Hazrat Inayat Khan

7. 'What you think about comes about.' Anonymous

8. 'No ye not that ye are the temple of the Living God.' The Bible

If you search around in the Natural Hygiene area on the internet you will find further evidence and the experience of many people for whom, given the right conditions, the body does indeed have the capacity to heal itself without any interference from drugs or herbs. This may come as a shocking surprise to most of us who grew up in the 'if you are feeling off then you must take something for it' culture. If you have ever been around a farm dog when it is feeling sick it will chew grass, spit it out, avoid eating and rest. Such are the triggers for healing in our human society.

Any sort of cleansing and clearing of the old accumulated debris within your body will be of great assistance to allow it to heal and function as it is meant to. There is a substantial amount of material available on this subject from the Natural Hygiene area and the old stuff in the body is called 'morbid matter.'

Changing eating habits is one challenge here; the greater one is to change our mind habits; our habitual, cultural ways of thinking. If you would like some valid information from an excellent writer then search for Are Wearland, author of 'The Cauldron of Disease.' This book is readily available as a free download. Reading this 70+ years old publication will help with the mind stuff as you gain insights into how your digestive system was designed to function.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Whys and Wherefores of Body Odor

Your skin is the largest organ of your body (despite what some men may think!) As such, it is part of the breathing apparatus for your body. The skin is also highly absorbent. To make this more believable to you place a few drops of pure peppermint oil on the souls of your feet. Within 10 to 15 minutes you will taste the peppermint in your mouth. Nicotine patches and those used for H R T and other medical reasons work exactly the same way, on the absorbency of the skin.

Given the high level of transference from 'outside' to 'inside' you would really wonder why writing on labels of various preparations states: 'for external use only' or 'not to be swallowed'. Well folks, what you put on the skin does get to the rest of the body system so be aware of what you readily apply to your skin.

Now, with that snippet of information out of the way, let us return to some of the reasons why body odor exists. As well as being extremely absorbent the skin is an organ of elimination. When we perspire and the sweat literally drips off us, you get an idea of the volume of fluid transferred to the outer layers of skin. Many, many toxins are eliminated through the skin in this fashion. Have you ever noticed the relationship between what you eat and your underarm odor? If you are a heavy meat eater you may not notice a lot of difference. If you only eat meat occasionally, you may note the change in body odor. You will notice a difference if you dine on Indian (from India) style food with many aromatic spices, as this will come through the body pores.

If, for instance, you participate in any sort of detoxification/cleansing of your body, this can raise the intensity of body smell. Most likely, your tongue will look white and furry. This is all part of the body ridding itself of accumulated toxins. Your urine may be quite strong as well during this healing process and this is all very natural. This process can go on for some time until your body clears itself of the accumulated debris. You will come out of this feeling energized, healthier and in a much better state to avoid what is usually called disease.

So, if you want to 'smell nice' without the use of antiperspirants, deodorizers, perfumes and unguents then you need to address the causative. This is achieved by changing your eating habits and participating in regular cleansing until your body is clearer.

Taking note of the fact above, that your skin is like a sponge taking in what you put on it, the reading of product labels is highly recommended. If you cannot easily pronounce the name of any of the ingredients then maybe it is a chemical that your body is not handling either.

When your digestive system is operating well with good bowel function then your feces and any flatus will have only a small amount of odor. This will only occur with particular diet and after your body is well cleansed of old morbid matter.

You are in charge of your health, if you choose to take the job. If not you are at the mercy of outside influences and currents. It is entirely your choice!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Probiotics and Their Effect On the Body

Probiotics are nutritional supplements that contain strains of beneficial bacteria. You might wonder why someone would actually introduce bacteria into their diet. Bacteria are living in your body right now, over 3 pounds of it just in your intestines. That probably makes you want to run to the doctor's office and pick up a prescription for antibiotics. But before you do, you should realize that not all bacteria are the same. Everyone's body has a combination of good bacteria and bad bacteria living in it. The object is to have more good bacteria than bad, and this is where Probiotics come into play. They replenish the good bacteria and allow it to thrive and crowd out the illness-causing bad bacteria. And overgrowth of bad bacteria can lead to, or complicate a variety of diseases and even in an otherwise healthy person can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. Doctors in Europe have long recommended probiotics to their patients, and finally, many doctors in the United States are starting to follow their lead.

Bad bacteria can enter your body in a variety of ways. It's in the food we eat. It's on the door handles that we touch the phones that we answer. In short, bad bacteria are all around us. It enters the body and takes up residence in the small and large intestine, and once there, it flourishes. It latches on to the intestinal wall and begins to affect digestion. It causes inflammation of the intestinal lining and begins to inhibit the absorption of many nutrients. It even begins to produce toxic substances, like alcohols and aldehydes. The least serious result of bad bacteria in the gut is gas and bloating, mild abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea. But there are serious side effects as well. Overgrowth of bad bacteria is thought to contribute to many of the intestinal disorders we suffer with, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chrones disease, and Leaky Gut Syndrome. All in all, bad bacteria are bad for your body.

Lucky for us, researchers discovered probiotics, or good bacteria. Most of you probably know more about good bacteria than you think. We've all heard of Acidopholus, right? It is the main culture of most commercially prepared yogurt. We've all been told to look for the label stating "Live and Active Cultures." In essence, yogurt is a very weak probiotic. It contains a specific strain of bacteria that is normally found in our bodies. But this is not the kind of bacteria that makes us sick. This is a good bacterium. And there are many different varieties of it. Good bacteria enter our system, and again take up residence in the intestines. It fights with bad bacteria for nutrients and food, and if there are enough good bacteria, it will crowd out the bad and leave us with a more balanced system. It reduces the amounts of toxic substances in the gut and allows for the more effective production of digestive enzymes, such as lactase, which is needed to digest dairy products. In many cases, people with food sensitivities notice a reduction of their symptoms when they begin a long-term regimen of probiotics. Good bacteria also protect the lining of the intestines and allow our bodies to more easily fight off infection.

There are even more benefits to probiotics. Pediatricians in Finland performed a double-blind placebo controlled study with pregnant and nursing women. They found that women taking probiotics during pregnancy and breastfeeding reduced the chance of infants developing eczema, and also helped to prevent allergies in babies. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, a doctor who uses a combination of holistic measures and standard drugs to treat his patients, taking a probiotic every day can reduce or reverse problems like acne, eczema, psoriasis, bad breath or body odor, developmental delays in some children, yeast infections, high cholesterol levels, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and frequent colds and flu.

So, while we should all probably take a probiotic every day, there are some times in our lives when we should "double up". Antibiotics are quite effective at killing off the bacteria that make us sick, but they also kill off the good bacteria. And science has shown that the bad always grows back more quickly. You need to actively replenish your system with probiotics to rebalance your body. You should also increase your probiotic intake after vaccinations, when you are sick with a cold or flu, and any time you have diarrhea.

Also, it is important to note that just eating yogurt is not enough. You need a quality probiotics with at least 10 to 16 different strains of live bacteria. Each strain of bacteria works slightly differently with your body, and some strains only take up residence in the small intestine. Probiotics are available in a powdered capsule form, and also as a liquid mixed with dairy. For children, the capsules can be opened and added to their favorite cold drinks. Many brands suggest refrigeration, and probiotics in general have a relatively short shelf life. In a perfect world, you should never heat a probiotic, or add it to a warm liquid, as this will kill the live cultures. But, a study done by Eyal Raz from the University of California, found that good bacteria is just as effective dead as it is alive.

Your doctor may be able to give you additional information about probiotics, though many doctors in the United States are just learning about these supplements. You may find it helpful to search out a doctor who uses a combination of holistic remedies and standard drugs. In any case, you should look into probiotics as a way to improve your health.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

Green tea leaves have long been used throughout Asia as medicine for poor digestion, body aches and pains, headaches and general improved well being.

Very little processing is required to produce green tea. In most cases the leaves are dried immediately after harvesting or briefly treated with steam prior to drying. There are a few types of tea that are also lightly roasted. Because of this minimal processing, the leaves keep their green color and more importantly they keep the very valuable ingredients that contribute to their healing properties. Green tea leaves contain caffeine, tannins, essential oils, proteins, vitamins, minerals and trace elements such as fluoride, zinc and potassium.

Green tea is naturally rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are needed by the body to protect cells from free radicals (unstable molecules found in our cells). Too much free radical damage, over time, could lead to diseases which includes cancer. As part of our regular cell processing, antioxidants attach themselves to free radicals and this results in the neutralization these molecules. Drinking green tea regularly has been linked (via loads of research) with the prevention of cancer; it lowers the risk high blood cholesterol, harmful blood clotting and stroke.

Green tea is very good for arthritis sufferers because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

The caffeine in green tea has an invigorating effect and it promotes concentration.

Green tea is also antibacterial and the trace element fluorine helps to fight tooth decay. Just one cup of tea a day will be beneficial in the prevention of decay. Green tea is also ideal after dinner as a palette cleanser.

Many Naturopaths recommend green tea to cleanse the body. It is a useful addition to all types of detoxification diets. It contains no calories, no carbs and is referred to as the 'fat eater' in China due to its cholesterol-lowering properties.

Green tea is an excellent thirst quencher. It is enjoyed at any time of the day and is also delicious hot or cold. Try it with a squeeze of lemon, over ice for a very refreshing drink.

Usual Preparation of The Tea: Use one level teaspoon of tea leaves per cup. Boil your water and then let the water sit for a couple of minutes - to cool slightly. Boil to 70 degrees Celsius if you have one of those fancy kettles. Pour the water over the tea and leave the tea to brew.

Brewing the tea for 2-3 minutes will give you a mild tasting but highly stimulating tea.

Brewing the tea for 4-6 minutes yields a less stimulating and stronger tasting tea.

Special Note: The caffeine in green tea can cause heart palpitations in extra sensitive people. To reduce the amount of caffeine in your tea, put one teaspoon of leaves in your cup, pour a little bit of hot water over it and allow it to stand for 30 seconds then strain. Now use the leaves to prepare your tea as usual.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Walk Yourself To Health & Fitness

Does life feel so good that you cannot wait to get out of bed in the morning?
With the sedentary lifestyle so many of us lead nowadays, the chances of feeling like this are a little on the minus side. Hours of sitting at computers, driving to work and then watching TV at home, all lead to being overweight, having posture-related aches and pains and a general feeling of sluggishness.

These physical symptoms lead to mental sluggishness too. So we are trapped in this cycle of lethargy, draining us of our vital energy.

In order to lignite that vital spark, we need to break this cycle and the way to do it is...exercise. Exercise should not an optional extra that we fit into our lives when we feel like it, it needs to be an essential part.

Body and spirit are inextricably linked, so to achieve a healthy mind, you must firstly have a healthy body.

In order to make exercise an ingredient of our everyday lives, something that we will stick at, it needs to be fun. It needs to be enjoyable, challenging, motivational, have variety, achieve the desired results and suit your body and lifestyle.

One of the most natural forms of exercise is walking. Walking is an aerobic exercise that will not only increase your cardiovascular strength, but improve your posture as well. Whereas any form of walking is beneficial, the most powerful is...Power Walking.

There are numerous benefits to be gained from power walking and some of them are:
- Cardiovascular fitness is improved and thus the risk of coronary disease and strokes is reduced.
- Mental well-being is improved resulting in a reduction in anxiety, stress and tension.
- Muscles are toned and strengthened.
- Helps to reduce body fat and manage your body weight.
- Boosts energy and improves your self esteem.

The above are just a few of the physical and mental benefits to be gained from power walking. One benefit that deserves special mention and is often overlooked, is that if you walk with friends, it is socially enjoyable. This ensures that your power walking exercise is fun and not an activity that has to be endured.

Power walking is a low cost form of exercise. No special clothes or equipment are necessary to be able to participate. However, there is one item that I would strongly recommend and that is a good pair of walking shoes. Each time your foot hits the ground, it is subjected to two and a quarter times your body weight, so the purchase of walking shoes is a wise investment.

So, muster your friends, grab your walking shoes and power walk yourself to new levels of physical and mental well-being.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Why Exercise?

Why? Most of us do it because we want to reap the benefits that tag along; such as: weight management, muscle tone, fat-loss, strength gain, etc. Nothing compares to exercise and everyone should be doing it. This is where a motive must come in. It may be health related it may include a big event such as a wedding, reunion, or even a friendly competition. Whatever your motive is, think about it long and hard, and think about the feeling you will have once you achieve whatever it is you want to accomplish.

Set Goals

It is hard to hit a goal when you do not know where the target is! That is why goal setting is crucial in achieving victory. You want to set short term and long term goals. Setting a long term goal by itself is not smart. This is like driving to a foreign destination with no map or guidelines to help you along the way. Try setting a short term goal to be reached every three to six weeks. By doing so, you are allowing necessary adjustments to be made if needed. This will keep you on the track to success. The long term goal is your motive that you have already visualized, it is your climax, it is not however the end. Once you have achieved it you will re-evaluate and set new goals.

How Do We Get There?

Which way is fast and most efficient? This is the most important question we ask ourselves in the beginning; however this question should be asked each time a short term goal is reached to prepare for the next. We all have different goals, physical capabilities and lifestyles. There are no one size fits all workout programs!

Once we manage our lives into an exercise program, we must then keep in mind that our bodies will adapt to that program within four to six weeks time. When this happens our bodies will then become stagnant in producing results. It is extremely important that we cover many avenues in fitness so that hitting plateaus can be prevented. This includes changing the number of sets, repetitions, the amount of intensity (resistance), the amount of rest time among sets and workouts. Changing the types of exercises performed must also be done over time.

This is not only the most productive way of exercising but, it also helps to keep things fresh so that boredom is not a problem. Remember, workout time is supposed to be fun, which can make reaching goals very exciting! So, what is your motive?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Lose Weight With SparkPeople

I've been a member of the SparkPeople community for some time. Although I don't have to lose much weight, I like to hang around because of the daily recipes, tips, etc. I get, and because of the great community forum. It is unbelievable nowadays that you get so many tools, resources and help to lose weight at no cost at all. So I'm recommending them to you: Get a Free Online Diet

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sprouting Seeds at Home

Sprouting seeds is a fast and easy way to get fresh food, even during the winter months. They also carry plenty of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes. And above all, they taste great!

You can sprout many kinds of seeds, including alfalfa, various beans, pea, red clover, broccoli and radish. Just make sure you buy seeds meant for sprouting, or at the very least certified organic seeds, since seeds meant for planting could be contaminated with bacteria.

No expensive material is needed to get started. You only need a glass jar, some cheesecloth, a rubber band, fresh water and of course some seeds. Wash your jar first with water and vinegar, and rinse well.

To start growing your sprouts, you need to soak the seeds first. Put one or two tablespoons of seeds (depending on the size of the seeds) in the jar. Cover with the cheesecloth and secure with the rubber band, add some water and swirl to clean the seeds. After that, drain the water and add one cup of fresh water. Prop the jar at an angle in a bowl so the water drains. Let the seeds soak overnight.

The next day, empty the water and rinse with fresh water. Drain the water and put them back in their spot. Do that twice a day. In three to six days, your sprouts should be ready, at about one or two inch. The best way to know if they are ready is to taste them!

When they are ready, expose them to the sun for a few hours to green, rinse off the hulls and drain. Put them in a plastic (or even better: glass) container and store in the refrigerator once they are dry. If the sprouts are big enough, you can use a salad spinner to dry them. Sprouts from small seeds can keep for almost a week, while sprouts from bigger seeds can keep for about four days.

Now that your sprouts are ready, how to eat them? They can be used instead of lettuce in sandwiches, tacos, hamburgers and hot-dogs. They are also a great addition to salads, soups and vegetable or Chinese dishes. You can even try to add half a cup of sprouts per loaf in your homemade bread for a more nutritious loaf. I love eating them on a slice of homemade or other organic bread with tahini spread. Just use your imagination!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Good Fats and Bad Fats

All of us have probably heard that too much fat in our diets is bad for our health. However, not all fats are bad. In fact, some fat is actually good for us and is required by our body for proper function. Some of the uses that fat has in our body include:

1) Helps our body in the production of hormones

2) Insulates and cushions our body and internal organs

3) Keeps our skin and hair healthy

3) Regulates our blood pressure

4) Helps to improve brain function - especially in children

5) Provides us with energy

6) Lowers bad cholesterol levels

7) Alleviate symptoms of PMS and Menopause

8) Lowers our risk against heart disease and other cancers

9) Helps to transport certain vitamins through our bloodstream

Understanding the differences between fats, therefore, can be helpful to understand whether the fat content in a particular food will be helpful to you or harmful.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats are a rich source of Vitamin E and essential fatty acids which we need but can't be made by our bodies. These fats help to lower bad cholesterol levels, ease symptoms of PMS and aid in motor coordination. Polyunsaturated fats can be found in sunflower oil, safflower oil, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, and sesame seeds.

Monounsaturated Fats

Like polyunsaturated fats, it is thought that monounsaturated oils also assist in the lowering of bad cholesterol levels. Additionally, a diet rich in monounsaturated fats have been associated with lower risks of cancer and increased longevity. Some foods that are rich in monounsaturated oils include: olive oil, Angola oil, sesame oil, avocados, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, humus, mackerel, and lean meat.

Saturated Fats

A diet high is saturated fats have been proven to raise the levels of bad cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease, cancer and obesity. These fats have been found in large quantities in such foods as: cheese, lard, cakes, chocolate, pies, pastry, cookies and meat.

Trans Fat

As bad as saturated fats are for our health, Trans fats are even worse. Trans fats are nothing more than saturated fats that have been chemically modified in the food manufacturing process. And not only do they increase the levels of bad cholesterol in the body but they also lower the good cholesterol levels as well. There is also a link between Trans fats and various forms of cancer and heart disease. Trans fat is sometimes listed on the food label; however is mostly found in margarine, cookies, cakes, puddings, fried foods, chocolate bars and in many fast foods.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Amazing Hoodia Plant

The Amazing Hoodia Plant
by Patsy Hamilton.

While there are nurseries that may advertise the hoodia plant for sale, this is not the hoodia gordonii variety which contains the natural appetite suppressant.

Hoodia is a genus in the plant family Apocynaceae. Advertisements which reference the appetite suppressing abilities of the hoodia plant are referring to the hoodia gordonii species. This is the only species on which research has been done to this date. Any website, nursery or other company which advertises that they have a hoodia plant for sale is referring to the typical garden variety of hoodia plant.

Though the hoodia plant is commonly referred to as a cactus, it is actually a succulent. Succulents and cacti are very similar plants and it is relatively difficult for anyone other than a botanist to tell the difference. There are a few differences which may help consumers distinguish the hoodia plant from some form of cactus. The major one is country of origin. An advertisement which offers a hoodia plant for sale and lists the country of origin somewhere in North or South America is probably selling some sort of cactus.

The hoodia plant is native to the continent of Africa. As an interesting note, only one form of cactus grows wild in Africa. Botanists believe that the cactus did not develop until after the continents drifted apart millions of years ago. Succulents are found on most continents and are believed to have developed before the continental drift. Any hoodia plant which was not imported from Africa is not a genuine hoodia plant.

Offering a wild hoodia plant for sale in many countries in South Africa is illegal. The hoodia plant has been placed on a protected status due to the large publicity it has received for its natural appetite suppressing abilities. Many South African farmers have begun to cultivate the hoodia plant for sale to health supplement companies throughout the world. A special license is required to export the hoodia plant, since wild stands are practically depleted. This is referred to as a CITES certification. Most health supplement companies which are licensed to export hoodia gordonii will display their CITES certification in order to support the claim that their product contains genuine hoodia gordonii. This became necessary after several companies offering hoodia for sale were found to be scammers.

Another factor which may help a consumer distinguish between the gordonii variety of the hoodia plant and some other hoodia plant for sale is price. Currently, as of April 2006, sources say that authentic hoodia gordonii is selling for $300/kg on the open market. This price is expected to go up as supplies become more and more limited. The gordonii species of the hoodia plant is difficult to grow and requires four or five years to reach maturity. It also has a very strong smell. Some companies are developing their own hoodia plantations in Africa to guarantee their continued supply of product.

It may be years before Phytopharm, the British pharmaceutical company which holds a patent on the isolated active molecule in hoodia gordonii, releases its product to the world. There are a few reputable health supplement companies that deal exclusively in herbs and other natural products which offer the powdered form of hoodia for sale to dieters. One such product is Hoodia XR. Hoodia XR has received positive reviews from dieters, offers a money back guarantee on unused portions and contains 1000mg of powdered hoodia gordonii in a time released capsule. The best advice for dieters not willing to wait for the Phytopharm product is to do a little research on the health supplement company and be wary of anyone offering the hoodia plant for sale.

For more information about the hoodia plant and to view pictures of different varieties of hoodia, visit the Hoodia Info Blog.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamps Can Improve Your Health, Too!

250 million year old Himalayan Salt Crystals have been known for improving air qualities by enriching the air with negative ions, thus enhancing your well being and improving your health. Salt Crystal Lamps naturally improve the quality of air we breathe by neutralizing the positive ions generated by electrical devices. The Salt Lamps glow with warm pinks and oranges, beautifying any room. Life in the 21st century has become stressful for our body, mind and spirit. Surround yourself with the soothing, elegant, and healing energy of the Salt Crystal Lamps.

Scientific studies show that Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamps can increase the negative ion count. The feeling generated by negative ions is one you find at the ocean, or in the high you experience in the midst of a big storm, or near a big waterfall. Positive ions, on the other hand, called pos-ions, are overwhelming in our polluted cities and buildings made of synthetic materials.

Humans respond most positively to a ratio of 2 negative ions to 1 positive ion, but such a ratio is rare at best. Yosemite Falls has a negative ion count of over 100,000 per cubic centimeter. Fresh, country air has a negative ion count of around 2,000 to 4,000 per cubic centimeter. Los Angeles during rush hour has a negative ion count of around 100 per cubic centimeter.

Here is a simple, natural way to increase the negative ions in our home or office.
Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamps are 50% off now at the Nature's First Law Online Superstore. Each authentic lamp varies slightly in shape and weighs between 10 and 12 pounds. Includes replaceable bulb and cord with on/off switch. Also included with each lamp is a nice wooden base.

Check them out by clicking on the picture:

Friday, May 05, 2006

Using Hypnosis to Quit Smoking

All habits, inhibitions, and mental blocks are stored in our subconscious mind. With each of these factors there are associated feelings and sensations. Some time in the past these emotional inputs - feelings and sensations - were experienced repeatedly. The repetition reinforced those emotions and made them more dominating than other emotions. The subconscious mind tries to re-live the experience, creates situations so that dominating emotions appear again and again and get further reinforced. As a result the subconscious mind creates and maintains self-made limitations.

To take an example, say a person has a habit of smoking. There are physical and mental sensations connected with smoking. The subconscious mind will try to experience those sensations again. It will create a situation in which smoking will become a "necessity". The data stored with the subconscious will be confirmed and the subconscious mind will happily conclude that smoking is a necessity.

To break any bad habit or limitations set up in the subconscious it will be necessary to change the conviction held by it. The stored emotions of bad habit will have to be replaced with desirable emotions. Hypnotism is one of the methods for changing the beliefs held by the subconscious mind.

There are two broad stages in the process of hypnotism.

1. Relaxation
2. Focus on the problem

In the relaxed condition the subconscious mind is more receptive. You will need to have some perfection in achieving relaxation by practicing stage 1 several times. This is a necessary precondition for hypnosis. After you are sufficiently trained in relaxation you can divert your attention to problem solving. By this technique it is possible to solve virtually any personal problems.


Try to recall an event in which you felt totally relaxed. It could be your recent vacation or meeting with old friends or time you spent in reserve forest away from daily problems. It could be any situation with which memory of your relaxation is connected. If you cannot recall any event you can invent one in your imagination. You can have a combination of real life and imaginary situations.

After deciding the situation you will mentally go there. Write down the steps for going there from your present position. Your steps could be something like this.

1. I am sitting comfortably on my favorite chair.
2. Now I am shutting out my worries.
3. My nerves have calmed down and I am feeling more relaxed.
4. My breathing is becoming more rhythmic and relaxed.
5. I am breathing more deeply. (Concentrate on your breathing for a minute or two.)
6. I am feeling that I have descended into Endcity Park. (Try to remember the park in detail.)
7. I am enjoying the natural surroundings, the smell of fresh air, all around there is feast for my eyes.
8. The atmosphere is so soothing and relaxing.
9. I feel totally relaxed.
10. I am totally relaxed.

After writing these steps, revise and remember them thoroughly because once you start the process of relaxation you cannot break to consult your notes.

In the entire process of relaxation you will be talking to yourself. You can silently talk to yourself or record your talk in your voice and play the recording when you want to relax. While recording speak in slow and soothing voice. For each step give sufficient time in your recording to experience the feelings as if you are really there.

When you are ready to start the process, sit comfortably in your favorite chair. Close your eyes, silently start talking to yourself and go through the steps one by one. (Or play the recording). Give sufficient time and stress to each step to capture the emotions. After you reach equivalent of step 10 given in the example above you can retrace your steps and return back to normalcy. You should practise these steps few times so that you are able to relax quickly at will.

Now you are ready to focus on your attention on resolving the problems. From step 10, or its equivalent, you can go directly to the next stage.

Focus on Problem Solving

There are several methods of concentrating on the problems. A method called 'pattern interrupting' works well for eliminating habits like smoking. In this method you start with writing the steps and feelings associated with execution of your bad habit.

If you wish to quit smoking, make a list of all the steps you take when you smoke. Following steps are only suggestive; you can make your own steps:

1. I am totally relaxed (you will be continuing from the relaxed position).
2. I have an urge to smoke.
3. I take out a cigarette. There goes my 50c (or whatever the cost of one cigarette).
4. I take out my lighter.
5. I can already feel the excitement of smoking.
6. I light my cigarette.
7. I am now smoking (remember the taste and the sensation of smoking).
8. My cigarette is over and I throw away the stub.
9. The evil act of smoking is over. At last!
10. Feeling of guilt.
11. Feeling of mischievous accomplishment because I finished my cigarette before Anita could see me smoking.
12. Comforting feeling that I will not be smoking for some time at least.
13. I am still relaxed.
14. What a great achievement it will be when I totally quit smoking.

After writing down the steps, try to remember them.

Next time after you are in relaxed stage start with the steps to focus on the problem. Try to re-live the experience. After completing the steps again think of steps 2 to 12 but not sequentially. Think of the steps in random order to break the pattern. Try to think of each step randomly about 3 times.

Now think of desirable steps. For example, you can concentrate on these steps:

1. I am totally relaxed.
2. It is good that my last cigarette is over.
3. It feels great just to think that I will not smoke again.
4. I am happy that I will not have to hide anything from Anita.
5. What a sense of achievement. I have finally quit smoking. I have done it!
6. This is the victory of my will power over my useless habit.
7. I am still relaxed.

After repeating those desirable steps few times you can slowly come back to your normal self.

Hypnotism has amazing power. When used properly it can bring about tremendous benefits. It is a formidable tool and should be used wisely.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Good, Informative Site About Soy

I've just came across this site about soy. It is a very controversial subject, as there are pros and cons regarding soy consumption. I guess everyone has to make their own informed decision. This site might just help you make yours.

Soy Online Service

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Power of Thoughts and Words

There is much evidence to support the idea that our thoughts and words are very powerful and go to make up our world reality.

'With our thoughts we make our world' - Gautama the Buddha.

'Energy follows thought' - Annie Besant - Thought Power: Its Control and Culture (1903/1979).

'We become what we behold' - William Blake.

'Man creates his own disharmony'- Hasrat Inyayat Khan.

With the above in mind let us have a closer look at some of the words we use and the deeper meaning of these.

We might begin with a phrase that is frequently heard when you state something to someone. This is, 'yes but.' This is their way of negating the opinion or idea that you have expressed. Listen to yourself as you speak. Do you use this? It is a communication blocker. The option for acknowledging what the other person says AND just stating your own opinion is to use 'yes and' instead. This will improve the energy of the communication. Firstly it acknowledges the persons point of view as valid for them and secondly it keeps the flow of the conversation in place.

There are empowering and disempowering words that most of us use a lot of the time. For instance 'got to', 'have to' and 'must' usually denote a feeling of no choice. Again, listen to your self talk and the speech of others to get a sense of what is going on at an inner level.

'Should' is a good one to be aware of, as there is usually some feelings of guilt behind it. Do you ever find yourself saying, 'I should go and do xyz'? At the back of this is the idea that if I do not I will feel bad.

We also have never, forever and always. These come under the heading of gross generalizations. The first thing that can be stated is they are generally 'never' true all the time. For example; 'She always gets that look on her face when I come home late' and 'you never buy me anything nice any more.' These statements are reflecting the perception of the person generalizing, not the reality of the matter. Again, use awareness with regard to what is going on in any given communication situation.

The word 'try' is another interesting little word. You may have seen a demonstration of this when someone is asked to try to pick up a pen. You do not 'try' to do something. You either do it or you do not. Another example would be if you ask someone to do something for you and they reply that they 'will try' to do whatever it is you have asked. You can be pretty sure with that sort of comeback your request will not be honored.

Be aware of what words and phrases you use. You will be surprised and delighted at what a difference changing your words can have on your communication with others and your life in general. This really can be quite transformational.

Go forth and have fun playing with words!