Healthy Steps …. Part 2

The first part focused on removing an unhealthy ingredient from our favorite foods or beverages. A small step that with time can add up to a healthier life.

Now for the fun part …. The addition

Explore ones that are healthy for you and pick a new favorite. For me one example is coconut water. It’s my new favorite drink (other than my morning coffee). And drinking it frequently is actually good for my health. One choice, one item at a time. It becomes a treat you can really feel good about.

There are abundance of choices, from a vegetable pasta, to a tropical fruit. You are the one who gets to pick based on what works for both your taste buds and the needs of your body. Add a simple ingredient such as cinnamon to your coffee, tea or cereal. That one step can even lead to more. Each needs to be enjoyable, to create a lasting habit of health.

Start checking out herbal teas and see which ones address your health issues and that you like the taste of. Even with that there are an abundance of of options, with several trustworthy brands. Elderberry makes a great tea for the immune system and Red Clover addresses bone issues. I have come to love both, with a dab of honey, and even that, is a healthy addition.

Neem supplements have eliminated my need for antibiotics. It is my go-to for infection prevention. Nature has some of the best medicines to heal with. It simply takes doing your own research for your specific needs and an honest conversation with your doctor. You are in a partnership of your health. Treat the relationship that way and you will teach each other valuable things.

Now that you’ve read this (thank you), what comes to mind for you? Start looking and you might surprise yourself, and add a little joy and health in the process.

Written by Melody Belliveau

Healthy Steps ….Part 1

Everything we do is based on steps, whether it be career, health, or even our habits. What you are reading right now (thank you), will be about health.

We all want to be healthy – no one aspires to have health issues, but despite medical ‘advances’, we have more issues now than some remote villages. One of the keys is an easy step – it’s our choices, the ones we don’t even notice.

“Eating healthy” is too broad a term to see the smaller steps, the ones that add up that anyone can take to eat just a little bit healthier. Everything successful starts with 1%. We all have favorite foods or ways of drinking our coffee. Do you love barbecue sauce and use it frequently? Checking the label for an unhealthy ingredient such as high fructose corn syrup can be your first step. It has been linked to a variety of health issues. Look for a brand that doesn’t contain it, or at least that isn’t the most prominent ingredient listed. Then follow that step for other favorites you consume regularly. Eliminating that one ingredient can be your successful way of eating healthier.

Like half & Half in your coffee? It contains milk and cream right? For some brands yes – but for others – there are ingredients that are healthier to do without, especially if it is consumed often.

Pick an ingredient you know or believe to be unhealthy and eliminate it from your most used products, not by going without, but by choosing brands that choose not to include it. It’s a step in the right direction, and if enough of us do it, it sends a message to the brands you eliminate. It could be how they learn too.

Written by Melody Belliveau

The Terminal Diagnosis

Mindset matters

The medical field can be magnificent, but sometimes, it has limitations. How we see those limitations matters greatly. Being told you are terminal translates to there is no hope, and the advice is to get your affairs in order because you are going to die. Then they give you your estimated life expectancy. That diagnosis is only one small part of the picture that sometimes consumes the whole view. But it only comes from the medical community’s lack of ability to help you. It does not mean there is no help that can be found. Your survival depends on you seeing the full options BEFORE you accept their death sentence on your life. Because once you accept it in your mind, it doesn’t matter what you do, you probably won’t survive.

Every struggle has miracle stories, and the physicians cannot predict who they will be. But it starts with the will to overcome. It’s the time to see it as a fork in the road and a new direction. It can be a road to healing mind, body and soul. Embrace the work of all three because now, they are telling you that you have nothing to lose in trying. Countless “you won’t make it” stories turn into inspiration of living for others, and they love life to a depth they never knew was possible.

It’s a challenge to hold a badge of honor as the Warrior to show what’s possible. You can choose whether your story will be a powerful one, or just another heartbreaking part of statistics your belief led you to. It’s a choice based on your value of your life. No one can decide it’s worth fighting for but you. Your mindset can either work for the diagnosis – or for you. It’s your job to stack the deck in your favor.

The awakening

Consider this your awakening. Now is the time to explore what makes you feel alive. It’s the time to reflect on what’s really important to you. The body and mind are energy attached to the spirit. Nourish the body – it needs your love now more than ever. Feed the mind and read those books and learn something new. There is an abundance of natural alternative healing methods out there. From frequency healing music, to God’s herbs and foods. Qi Gong can help with meridian energy blockages and grounding in nature holds healing energy. Nourish your soul with spirituality. You need that important connection of gratitude and Faith. It’s how one is able to believe anything is possible.

The point is, don’t let anyone tell you there is no hope just because they are not the ones who hold it for you. They are not your maker and they cannot predict your purpose. Are you willing to step up to the plate and fulfill yours? Your life may depend on it. Do all you can do, be all that you can be, learn all you can learn, and you may just shine yourself to healing. There are those who have shown us that.

Free yourself for living

Make a bucket list – not for dying, but for living instead. Do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Have those conversations you’ve always wanted to have. Now is the time to get to know yourself deep down inside and heal the wounds you’ve held. Pour your heart and soul into being you. Hope is that light inside you. Feed it, and feed it with all you’ve got. You have within you a Warrior, a Teacher, a Healer and a Visionary. Help those parts of you thrive and it may heal you physically. Anything is possible.

No one can predict your road ahead, and it will probably be a difficult one. But you get to decide whether or not you want to give up, not the doctors, and not the diagnosis. Find your purpose and live a legacy life and it may become longer than you’re told. You still matter, and anything is possible.

Written by Melody Belliveau

The View From The Edge

Today is World Mental Health Day, where focus is brought to an important aspect of who we are. This is a message for those who have faced the edge of life and death and yet survived. Having gone through something like that can have the effects of Anxiety and PTSD and it can cripple who you are. So how do you find the light in that piece of darkness? It takes a multitude of tools. One is where you look, and where you focus.

The difference in it being traumas and miracles. The view is there if you have escaped death as a certainty. When you knew death was right there staring you in the face, and yet divine intervention stepped in and you survived.

So……If it’s there, why do we sit in the trauma of it feeling trapped?

Because for it to have been an escape, the intensity of it has to be on the unbelievable level. Sometimes we can’t get passed that. But when we do….Wow! It’s a whole different perspective and it becomes a Blessing. Confidence and courage work together with your new mindset because you forge a drive out of it. You need to find that belief in who you are, that you were saved for. You have a purpose.

If you’ve been there before, if you have received that miracle and cannot deny you’ve survived something, spend some time reflecting on the miracle of it, and try to imagine what you could do with it. How do you use it to see what it’s done for you that can help others? Who else is suffering from the same scars you carry? What would help them? Could that be what you’re meant for? Could it be the key to your healing?

Your Purpose

If you’re suffering from a trauma that almost ended your time here, stop and reflect on knowing that means you are meant for something. No one else can do the work for you, only you can take it to the depth you need to heal. You have to know deep down in your soul that you matter. You were meant for more and your best is yet to come. Use the tools that are out there to get you where you need to be. Counseling, music and art therapy, Tapping, Support groups, TRP, and the list goes on as far as you are willing to reach. The bigger the struggle, the greater the purpose. Find yours because the world needs you to.

“…Ladies and Gentlemen, you’ve got to understand that the reason that you are existing in this world right now is because you have things that must be done and only certain people are qualified to take it to the level that it needs to be taken to….” Coach Pain Never Give Up

Written by Melody Belliveau

Just A Little Bit Of Basil

Herbs such as Basil are used in kitchens everywhere to season meals with just the right touch.  But did you know they can be used for your health as well?  Basil has healing properties for both mind and body with some amazing benefits.

Basil, aka Saint Joseph’s Wort, is an herb belonging to the mint family.  Sweet Basil has a strong clove scent due to its high concentration of eugenol, which has antiseptic and anesthetic properties.  Lime and Lemon Basil have a strong citrus scent due to their high concentration of limonene, which has anti-cancer and weight-loss properties.

The eugenol and rosmarinic acid in Basil boost the brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin, which can be mood boosting.  Along with Ginseng, some studies suggest it may help the body adapt to stress and when consumed on a regular basis, Holy Basil can reduce anxiety and associated stress and depression in people with anxiety.  It can also help with mental clarity.  It shows promise in studies for Alzheimer’s disease as well.

Just putting fresh Basil in your salad can help insure the safety of your fresh produce with its antibacterial properties.  Its inflammatory benefits can relieve arthritis as well as many other health issues.

A nice hot cup of Holy Basil tea can help relieve congestion and respiratory issues as well as helping with your mind, mood, and stress.  So the next time you head to the grocery store, consider putting Basil on your list for the health of both your body and your mind.

Reach For The Spice Of Life

Cinnamon, as well as many other spices we use to flavor our foods, actually have numerous health benefits when used regularly.  Besides making your oatmeal tastier, cinnamon can help lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise your good cholesterol (HDL) and helps the body burn stored fat.  Regular consumption may lessen the effects of high-fat content meals by reducing the after meal blood sugar, aiding in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.  It helps muscle cells remove sugar from the bloodstream and has a positive effect on blood markers.

This amazing spice has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties and research suggests it may even help prevent the HIV virus from entering cells.  It can aid in clearing lung congestion and, like garlic, it can help fight bad breath and IBS.

Its antioxidant and free radical properties may slow the signs of aging and even slow the growth of cancer cells.  It can help with systematic inflammation, reducing headaches and arthritis and boosts circulation and energy by increasing blood flow.  Adding it to a warm, soaking bath can also alleviate muscle pain.  It can even assist women in the treatment of endometriosis, menorrhagia, uterine fibroids and cramps.

It contains epicatechin, compounds that boost brain neurons that, like dark chocolate, can assist with the treatment of ADHD, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases and improve motor functions.  It can help increase muscle mass from satellite cells that surround muscles used to repair and restore tissues.  Even the cinnamon scent itself can boost brain function as well!

Cinnamon comes in ground powder, sticks, bark oil, and capsules and can be added to apple water, tea, coffee, oatmeal, tapioca, bakery items and endless other possibilities.  Be careful to use Ceylon cinnamon and NOT Cassia since Cassia has a high concentration which in large doses can cause liver toxicity and have blood thinning actions and can reduce the good bacteria in your gut.

With all the health benefits you can reap from regularly adding cinnamon to your diet, isn’t it worth a consideration?


The Calm Of Your Hand

With the holiday season upon us, between shopping, travel plans, and family gatherings, anxiety levels rise and your body reacts by producing a “fight or flight” chemical reaction.  These hormones put your body at greater risk for illness, high blood pressure and a multitude of other health issues.

Although burying your head in the sand and cancelling plans is one response, there are other more helpful ways we can choose if that is not a viable option.  If we apply simple yet effective measures to help the body cope, we reduce the production of those hormones which in turn helps reduce the anxiety that causes it.

Hand reflexology methods can be applied regardless of where you are, as long as you can spare just a few moments.  Each part of the hand is connected to different parts of the body.   The fingertip pads represent glans in the center of the brain.  Applying pressure to them can help with sleep issues such as insomnia.  The next set down on your fingers , corresponds to your neck.  Pressure to the inside area below your pinkies can help clear the lungs, bronchial, and chest.

Even if you don’t follow a reflexology guide, merely gently massaging your fingers and focusing on slower breathing can lower your stress response and help both your mind and body and possibly even head off a panic attack or tension headache.  Once you turn this practice into a habit, you may want to look into a reflexology chart and see what techniques you can use to improve a number of other health issues.

Every little bit you can do to keep you in control of how stress affects you gives you a better chance of enjoying those times, creating the positive memories you can look back on as a treasure.  Don’t you owe it to yourself to give it a try?

Just Breathe…

When was the last time, if any, that you stood in your outside area (your yard or even your front stoop) and closed your eyes for even five minutes?  What do you remember hearing?  If you closed your eyes at your next free five minutes, what would you hear? Are there birds in surroundings trees?  Can you see them in your mind?  My favorite is our back porch where we feed the birds.  I have even gotten to the point of knowing the voices of a variety of the bird’s sounds such as the cardinals, the tufted titmouse and the white-breasted nuthatch.  At one point, when we had more frequent visits from the hummingbirds, I even knew the sound of their voices when I stopped and listened close enough,  And that’s without looking!

Is the air crisp or warm?  Now that Fall is upon us we have days that start out crisp and warm up without getting hot.  Maybe that’s why so many people  choose Fall as their favorite season.  What do you smell?  There are scents in the air that can bring me back to first grade  when we gathered leaves to iron between two sheets of wax paper that we hung around the class.  It amazes me that throughout the fifty-plus years the same scents can be noticed in the air.  Are there any that you can relate to?  Looking at the answers to these questions would bring to life your other senses to slow your mind down.

Meditation, which is the definition of taking that five minutes, has been around for centuries and can be as simple as a few minutes of pause, to a multi-step training program.  There’s even an app called Calm to help you relax and focus.  No matter which variety you choose, the health benefits are enormous.  The body has an underappreciated ability to heal itself when given the right tools, and meditation is an important one.  Taking the time to be aware of your surroundings can give your body a sense of being grounded.  It will also give you a clearer head.  Have you ever tried to change your frame of mind and then the solution to an issue came to you?

In the fast-paced world we live in, few people take the time to pause.  As a result, health issues are on the rise from the never ending pressure of the rat race we find ourselves sucked into.  The stress caused by this rat race literally causes your brain to emit hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that when chronically produced are harmful to your entire body.  High blood pressure, heart disease, chronic inflammation, and a weakened immune system are just some examples of chronic stress issues. Unfortunately we very rarely can just quit running the rat race before it kills us.  Many turn to multiple medications for physical ailments that result, and each one has it’s own side effects and consequences.  Before you know it, you’re looking back at the days when your health didn’t get in your way and you enjoyed life more, but there are steps you can take to change that.

Meditation pauses can literally change the chemical production healing chemical to healing chemical such as DHEA, serotonin, and gamma aminobutyric acid, or GABA. DHEA hormones have a direct impact on your lifespan.  Doctors can even use your DHEA levels to determine your physiological age that is a more accurate health age than just your “years”, and the higher the reading, the better.  Meditation can boost your production of DHEA.  Every one of us has the ability to utilize that by spending five minutes (which may seem long) any chance we get.  Your outlook tends to be more positive and your physical being responds in a healing mode.  Tension and anxiety are reduced and as a result, your mind clears and becomes sharper.

The feel of the air, sounds and scents will hold in your memory for years to come.  Nature has a way of healing your body and calming your mind and we are lucky enough to live in an area with plenty of nature’s riches.  Here in New England we have the benefit of the four seasons that have their own unique beauty.  Our scenic calendars can attest to that.  Just taking a slow breath of air through your nose can even tell you what season it is.  Are we in your favorite season now?  What does your favorite season sound or smell like?  Just contemplating those things can use up your five minutes.  If you start your day with this, time won’t seem as limiting.  Open your eyes and your on a more positive footing.  Reboot before you try to be productive.  Now that you’ve invested the time it took to read this, why don’t you give it a try.