Thoughts To Live By…

Archive for May 2009

By HealthDay – Wed May 27, 8:49 PM PDT

WEDNESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) — Drinking too much cola can increase the risk of a muscle problem called hypokalemia, experts warn.

In people with hypokalemia, a drop in blood potassium levels results in problems with vital muscle functions. Symptoms can range from mild weakness to serious paralysis, say Greek researchers who conducted a review of people who drank between two to nine liters of cola a day.

Two of the patients were pregnant women who were admitted to hospital with low potassium levels. One was a 21-year-old woman who drank up to three liters of cola a day and complained of fatigue, appetite loss and persistent vomiting. An electrocardiogram revealed she had a heart blockage, and blood tests showed she had low potassium levels, the researchers explained in a news release.

The second pregnant patient, who’d consumed up to seven liters of cola a day for 10 months, had low potassium levels and was suffering from increasing muscular weakness, the researchers noted.

Both patients made a rapid and full recovery after they stopped drinking cola and took oral or intravenous potassium. The case studies are described in the June issue of the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

“We are consuming more soft drinks than ever before, and a number of health issues have already been identified including tooth problems, bone demineralization and the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes,” and there’s increasing evidence that excessive cola consumption leads to hypokalemia, Dr. Moses Elisaf, of the University of Ioannina, said in the news release.

Elisaf said the three most common ingredients in cola — glucose, fructose and caffeine — can contribute to hypokalemia.

“The individual role of each of these ingredients in the pathophysiology of cola-induced hypokalemia has not been determined and may vary in different patients,” Elisaf said. “However, in most of the cases we looked at for our review, caffeine intoxication was thought to play the most important role. This has been borne out by case studies that focus on other products that contain high levels of caffeine but no glucose or fructose.”

However, “caffeine-free cola products can also cause hypokalemia because the fructose they contain can cause diarrhea,” Elisaf said.

http://health.yahoo.com/news/healthday/toomuchcolacancausemuscleproblems.html

By Susan Adams

Improving your health can be as simple as eating these items.

Eaten many coconuts lately? How about cherries or blueberries or grass-fed beef?

You should, because these are all foods with powerful health properties. However, few people pack their grocery carts full of these items.

Take kiwifruit. It’s chock full of vitamin C–a whopping 115% of what you need to eat in a day. It’s also low in calories–just 45 per fruit, sans skin.

“In America, most people don’t eat three servings of fruit and vegetables a day,” says nutritionist Jonny Bowden, author of seven books including, most recently, The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy. According to him, there are 10 very healthy foods we don’t eat enough of.

Ignore the Food Pyramid

Bowden says many Americans are misled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid, which is a graphic, pyramid-shaped depiction of nutrition guidelines, updated every five years, that tells Americans what to eat according to food groups. Bowden dismisses it as the product of interest group politics.

“It demonizes fat,” notes Bowden. “Fat is an essential building block for many important compounds in the body.” This is why Bowden puts grass-fed beef, wild salmon and, yes, coconuts, on his top 10 list.

Salmon, in particular, is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with heart and brain health as well as bringing down blood pressure and triglycerides, a risk factor for heart disease. Omega-3s have also been found to improve mood and reduce inflammation, says Bowden.

Another food packed with nutritional value that’s present–but not necessarily front and center in every grocery store–is kale. A member of the cabbage family, which Bowden dubs “vegetable royalty,” kale contains indoles, a compound found to fight cancer. Kale is also rich in antioxidants, which also help prevent cancer, says Bowden.

If that’s not enough for you, kale is also full of sulforaphane, yet another cancer-prevention agent. Kale has calcium, iron and vitamins A, C and K, and two nutrients that are great for the eyes, including zeaxanthin. Kale’s pièce de résistance: Two cups packs three grams of fiber. Try sautéing it with garlic and butter, recommends Bowden. Or eat it like salad, with pine nuts, cranberries and olive oil.

Then there are coconuts, a terribly misunderstood food, according to Bowden. The fat in coconuts is a particular kind that’s good for you. It’s called MCT, or Medium-Chain Triglycerides. The body doesn’t store MCT as fat, says Bowden, but rather uses it as energy, like a carbohydrate. Coconuts are also high in lauric acid, a fatty acid that tends to kill pathogens. In addition, coconut oil is great for cooking since it has a very high smoke point.

Eat Mediterranean

For Bowden, sticking to a Mediterranean-style diet is the healthiest way to eat. That means plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and lots of olive and nut oils. The Mediterranean diet has indeed been proved by study after study to have multiple healthful properties.

If all that sounds just too darn healthy, consider the 10th food on Bowden’s list: dark chocolate. Rich with a phytochemical called flavanol, found by a 2005 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology to improve cardiovascular health, chocolate with at least 60% cocoa content should be a regular on your shopping list.

Chocolate and coconut anyone? OK, but not until you’ve finished your kale.

http://health.yahoo.com/featured/14/foods-you-should-be-eating-but-aren-t

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

by Brett Blumenthal

A couple of years ago, the Boston Marathon promoted its event with a series of inspiring billboards.  All of them were black and white images of a runner, with a quote that expressed their reason for running.  Some billboards were of fully mobile individuals and others were of those who were disabled but were determined to cross the finish line, either through a family member’s or friend’s assistance, or through the use of a prosthetic device.  Each had different quotes, but one in particular really stood out: the runner’s response was simple…“Because I can.”

As kids, the “Little Engine who could” told us a valuable tale of an extraordinary spirit…of perseverance…of determination…of believing in ourselves. As adults, we don’t always have tales to teach us these valuable lessons. And, as a result we start making excuses. We stop learning. We stop trying.

‘Because I can’ eliminates these excuses. It pushes us past the status quo and our comfort zones. It gives us a reason to do the things that we think we can’t. And, it enables us to believe in ourselves.

Practicing ‘Can’ thinking is important to keeping us young, to having a positive outlook, to staying motivated and to reaching our goals. Further, it can help us lead richer and fuller lives that are more rewarding. The fact that you have the ability to do something empowers you to do it, whatever the task might be.

How can you use the power of ‘Because I can’? Here are a few ways to incorporate this positive thinking into various aspects of your own life:

  1. Be More Active: Whether it is to get to the store or work, or if it is climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator, embracing a ‘Because I can’ attitude is an easy way to incorporate more activity into your life. Break the ‘I’m tired’ or ‘It is too hard’ or ‘It is too far’ cycle. Increasing your activity level will provide enormous benefits, both physically and mentally.
  2. Try Something New: It is easy for us to make excuses for why we shouldn’t try new things. Maybe you think it is out of your comfort zone. Maybe it seems too difficult. Or maybe, it is just inconvenient. Reminding yourself that ‘You Can’ try something new will help you to move past these roadblocks and discover new things about yourself and possible new interests.
  3. Reach for the Stars: No matter how old you are, setting new goals and continually dreaming makes life more interesting and rewarding. Whether it is professionally or personally, find new ways to stretch yourself, to learn and to grow. Pushing yourself to be the best you can be will give you a sense of accomplishment. Further, you’ll never feel bored.
  4. Speak Up: Often, we can become complacent in our lives, going through a routine and not addressing things that bother us or make us unhappy. You have a voice. Use that voice ‘because you can’. Communicating to loved ones, co-workers and even your boss as to how you feel, what your needs and expectations are and what you are thinking can help you develop deeper, more meaningful and rewarding relationships. Further, you will be truer to yourself, inevitably making you a happier individual.
  5. Go the Extra Mile: No, you don’t have to be a marathon runner to incorporate this slogan into your exercise routine. But, when you are at the end of your thirty minute aerobic workout, try going an extra ten minutes ‘Because you can.’ You’ll empower yourself to push beyond the ‘status quo.’ Additionally, you will strengthen your heart and burn off the cheesecake from the night before.
  6. Increase Your Willpower: Saying ‘No’ to our favorite indulgences can be challenging. However, developing a strong willpower, whether it is in response to our favorite chocolate cake or to over-shopping and spending past our means is something that we can all benefit from. Next time you are tempted to do something you think you might regret, try reminding yourself that you ‘can’ say no. YOU have the power.

The human spirit can be very fragile, but incorporating positive thinking, such as ‘Because I can,’  while, eliminating ‘because I can’t’ from your thought processes, can be very powerful.

Do you have any techniques that motivate you to step out of your comfort zone and move beyond the status quo? What inspires you?

http://www.sheerbalance.com/brettsblog/2009/01/15/do-you-push-yourself/

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Throughout life, there are times when we may come across an individual or a situation where a person is very dominant, controlling and possibly even manipulative. Sometimes it is a boss who doesn’t allow us to voice our opinions. Sometimes it is a family member who is very demanding and finds ways to get us to manipulate us into doing what they want. And sometimes, it may be a friend who is very pushy and demands that others do things their way, on their time schedule, forgetting that those around them are affected in the process.

This can frustrate us, making us feel stifled, and worst of all, powerless. And although it may come to a head only once in awhile, if we are in a relationship or friendship where this happens on a frequent basis, it can take a toll, and we can lose our sense of worth and even worse, sense of self. It can be debilitating. The only way we can avoid these feelings is to take the power back, and empower ourselves.

Let’s take an illustrative example of a friend who is perpetually late. You find it irritating and inconsiderate. Moreover, you resent the fact that her perpetual lateness causes you to be late as well. With this example in mind, here are six steps to empower yourself out of her control:

  1. Take Charge of Your Life: The only person who can really control your life is you. Start acknowledging how you feel about these situations. Start making decisions for yourself and prioritizing what is important to you. Example: Admit that your friend’s lateness bothers you. Think about the ideal situation and how you would like it to play out. Picture it in your mind.
  2. Set Goals: Setting goals allows us to stay true to what is important to us. Goals can be big or small. Whatever the case, create goals that are important to you and don’t let anyone else hurt your chances of reaching them. Example: If there is an event or function that you want to be on time for, set a goal that you will be on time no matter what.
  3. State Your Opinion/Thought/Preference: Once you have a goal in mind, state it out loud. State it to yourself and to the other person so they know where you stand. Be clear in voicing your expectation, and don’t leave anything up to the imagination by assuming the person understands what you want. Example: State to the individual who is always late that it is very important to you that you are on time for the event. Let them know you are willing to go without them if they aren’t ready in time.
  4. Stand Your Ground: Wishywashiness isn’t going to help you in these situations. Don’t back down from what you believe, feel or want. Stand your ground and follow through with your plan to ensure your goal is met. Example: If the other person is late, leave without them. If you don’t, they will continue to assume that it is okay to push their schedule on you.
  5. Stop Relying on Others for Approval: Part of what allows us to be ruled by others is that we want their approval. The reality is, if you respect yourself and stand up for what you want, then others will start respecting you more for it.  Example: If after you leave and the other person gets upset. Make it clear that you informed them you would leave without them. Don’t apologize. You did what was important to you and you stayed true to yourself.
  6. Let go: There will be times when these steps aren’t always possible. You might just find that a relationship is repetitively one-sided in consideration. Instead of getting upset, let go. Realize that the person isn’t going to change and that you have the power to not let it bother you. Find ways to ensure that you take care of yourself. Example: If the person continues to be late for everything, stay true to your priority and start going alone and stop caring. Let go of the feelings and just accept them for who they are and start empowering yourself to be the on-time person you want to be.

Empowering yourself is important. Waiting for others to empower you gets you nowhere. Have you had a relationship where you felt you had no power? What did you do to address the situation?

http://www.sheerbalance.com/brettsblog/2009/03/08/6-steps-to-stop-being-manipulated/


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