Friday, December 26, 2008

"Weighty" Relationships

I read an extremely timely message this morning that highlights an aspect of wellness:

"Good morning. "I try to have an easy attitude about everything. You have to be able to get along although something may come and upset you. Don't hold on to things that will affect you. It's damaging to anybody's life to walk around with something in them." --Rev. Charles Leonard

God is Love
Rev Run (

What Does it Mean to Be "Well"?

Emotional wellness is feeling positive about ourselves and our lives. To be considered well means that we should understand and manage our feelings, relationships, and stresses. Holding grudges and keeping hurt feelings bottled up can manifest themselves in many ways including stress, failing health, overeating, substance abuse, mood swings, "blow-ups", sleep disorders, self-hatred, insecurity, anger, jealousy, envy, resentment, and rage. Harboring ill-feelings and avoidance will not resolve problems. "Letting it go" only works as long as this approach isn't being used to sidestep confrontation. Our feelings are what they are and they are a part of who we are. Whether it be health, fitness, occupational wellness, or spiritual wellness, we must treat the whole person.

What Are the Effects of Being Un-Well?

Some of the most difficult conflicts to resolve are the ones that arise between family members. There is a physical manifestation that results from holding on to old baggage. A common "go-to" coping strategy is eating--a lot. Coupled with feelings of guilt and anger, overeating and making poor food choices in the process will lead to weight gain. The weight gain sparks self-hatred. Depression and "brain fog" may set in as well as slowed metabolism. To make the pain go away, there is more eating. The vicious cycle continues. The stress that accompanies unresolved issues is detrimental to one's health. As Dr. Steven Covey (author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) put it, "It is not what others do or even our own mistakes that hurt us the most; it is our response to those things. Chasing after the poisonous snake that bites us will only drive the poison through our entire system. It is far better to take measures immediately to get the poison out.”

What Are Some Solutions?

In an earlier post, I shared with you the 8 Steps of Atonement. Before attempting to make peace with others, work through the steps with YOURSELF. Why? It is important to be clear about your role in the conflict. Consciously and unconsciously, we give others permission and direction on how we want to be treated. Unless we modify our own attitudes and feelings about ourselves, no change will occur. Remember, if we don't love ourselves, no one else will and we will hinder our ability to love others.

In an article entitled, "Ways to Keep Family Harmony", Emily Sue Harvey states that, "History itself affirms that the family is the foundation of society. It is the glue that holds together civilization itself. Block by block, it builds nations. But the most important place for family is inside each of us; it is who we are. We’re living in days when the traditional family is challenged to the hilt. More than ever, parenting and nurturing roles are important and necessary. Like an orchestra, each family member is an instrument, with notes that blend the unit." Read the full article here.

Going into the new year, let's take some "weight" off our relationships AND balance the scales. Let's resolve to conquer our fears, love ourselves, make peace with the people in our lives, and "GET WELL"!

More next time...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My 20-20 Workout

Here is a workout that I designed and use myself when my schedule is hectic. If you can grab 20 minutes out of your day three times a week, then this might be worth a try. You will need one set of dumbbells weighing 5-15 pounds each. The exercises require that you be able to perform 20 repetitions without stopping, so choose lighter weights than you might use when performing 10-12 reps per set.

(*As always, consult your doctor prior to starting any exercise program.*)

The Warmup

20 jumping jacks
20 knee raises (like marching in place, 20 on each leg)
20 jumping jacks

The Workout

20 bicep curls
20 crunches
20 regular squats (feet shoulder-width apart, holding your weights)
20 bicycles

20 second break

20 tricep kickbacks
20 toe touches (lying down w/ feet in the air, holding one dumbbell w/both hands)
20 lunges (10 on each leg holding your weights)
20 reverse crunches

20 second break

20 shoulder presses (standing)
20 count plank (get in pushup position resting on elbows and count to twenty)
20 pushups
20 count plank

The Cooldown

Stretch every muscle group while focusing on deep breathing. Drink at least 2 glasses of water.

For more helpful tips, visit my website at

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Genetically-Engineered Foods: What Are You Really Eating?

According to the USDA, "U.S. farmers have adopted genetically engineered (GE) crops widely since their introduction in 1996, notwithstanding uncertainty about consumer acceptance and economic and environmental impacts." The top three GE crops produced in the U.S. are corn, cotton, and soybeans. Proponents argue that to protect the food supply and ensure that it keeps pace with population growth, genetically-engineered foods are necessary.( )

But, why is it necessary to alter a plant species? Two reasons are offered: to protect crops from herbicides and to protect crops from insects.

"Herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops, developed to survive application of specific herbicides that previously would have destroyed the crop along with the targeted weeds, provide farmers with a broader variety of options for effective weed control. Based on USDA survey data, HT soybeans went from 17 percent of U.S. soybean acreage in 1997 to 68 percent in 2001 and 92 percent in 2008. Plantings of HT cotton expanded from about 10 percent of U.S. acreage in 1997 to 56 percent in 2001 and 68 percent in 2008. The adoption of HT corn, which had been slower in previous years, has accelerated, reaching 63 percent of U.S. corn acreage in 2008."

"Insect-resistant crops containing the gene from the soil bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) have been available for corn and cotton since 1996. These bacteria produce a protein that is toxic to specific insects, protecting the plant over its entire life. Plantings of Bt corn grew from about 8 percent of U.S. corn acreage in 1997 to 26 percent in 1999, then fell to 19 percent in 2000 and 2001, before climbing to 29 percent in 2003 and 57 percent in 2008. The recent increases in acreage share may be largely due to the commercial introduction in 2003/04 of a new Bt corn variety that is resistant to the corn rootworm, a pest that may be more destructive to corn yield than the European corn borer, which was previously the only pest targeted by Bt corn. Plantings of Bt cotton expanded more rapidly, from 15 percent of U.S. cotton acreage in 1997 to 37 percent in 2001 and 63 percent in 2008." ( )

Opponents say that although genetic engineering all but guarantees high crop yield, the long-term effects of ingesting these foods has not been tested. Many argue that the abundance of these crops, corn and soybeans in particular, better serve food manufacturers' profits rather than improve the nation's ability to feed the masses. Turn your attention to a bottle of salad dressing or a box of cereal. Read the ingredients. Do you see soybean oil or high fructose corn syrup (a highly refined sweetener derived from corn) as one of the top three ingredients? Take a look at a loaf of bread or a bottle of juice. What do you find? Few packaged goods lack one or both of these ingredients. It is no coincidence that obesity rates have skyrocketed. Obesity has been linked to a shift in the American diet from home-grown and cooked foods to fast foods and packaged foods. The scales continue to tip.

For some statistics on obesity, take a look at a very telling power point presentation entitled "National Epidemic of Overweight and Obesity" created on February 16, 2005 by George A. Mensah, M.D. Acting Director, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pay attention to the increasing trend of obesity in the U.S. since the late 1990's:

By the way, this technology is expensive, so big corporations have a huge advantage over the small farmer. They can produce more "food" and offer it to food manufacturers at a lower price while earning a huge profit. Therefore, unless you are purchasing certified organic foods, it is more likely that what you are eating is something genetically-engineered--including fresh fruits and vegetables.

So, what are you really eating when you partake of genetically-engineered foods? No one really knows. But, you can be sure that this fruit fell a little bit farther from the tree!

More next time...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"You've Come a Long Way, Baby!" Or Have You?

Because of the women's civil rights movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s, Americans became engaged in the debate on sex bias in education. On July 1, 1972, Title IX took effect which ensures that “(N)o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational programs or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Not without its detractors, women have made great strides in intercollegiate sport including athletic participation, coaching, and administration. Even with the passage of Title IX, however, much work still remains to be done toward achieving the goal of gender equality.

Title IX regulations require that academic institutions must comply with at least one of the following three part test criteria:

Part One: Substantial Proportionality. This part of the test is satisfied when participation opportunities for men and women are "substantially proportionate" to their respective undergraduate enrollments.

Part Two: History and Continuing Practice. This part of the test is satisfied when an institution has a history and continuing practice of program expansion that is responsive to the developing interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex (typically female).

Part Three: Effectively Accommodating Interests and Abilities. This part of the test is satisfied when an institution is meeting the interests and abilities of its female students even where there are disproportionately fewer females than males participating in sports.

One of the arguments against “substantial proportionality” is that in order to afford women more opportunities, men must forfeit some of theirs. In 2008, female enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities is nearing 65% as compared to just over 35% for men. However, it is still a common perception that men are not only more likely to participate in sports than women, it is more appropriate and attractive to sports fans that they should. This attitude is even more prevalent on the coaching and administrative levels of intercollegiate sport.

Prior to the enactment of Title IX , there were only 2.5 women’s teams per school (as of 1970) and 16,000 female college athletes (as of 1968). In 2008, those numbers have grown to 8.65 teams per school (9101 total teams) and over 180,000 female college athletes. The Acosta/Carpenter Study 2008 ( offers five factors contributing to the huge increase in participation: 1) second generation of Title IX beneficiaries’ participation, 2) lawsuits supportive of Title IX, 3) societal acceptance of females as athletes, 4) improved and increased media coverage, and 5)advocacy efforts of individuals and organizations.

Coaching has taken a different direction in its representations of women. In 1972, more than 90% of women’s teams were coached by females. In 2008, that percentage has bottomed out at 42.8%--the lowest in history with the exception of 2006 at 42.4%. Of all collegiate coaching jobs, women represent only one out of five coaches at 20.6%. While there are no definitive reasons for this disparity, the following considerations could be made: 1) coaching is still viewed as a male domain, 2) lower pay for women coupled with higher levels of harassment, and/or 3) male athletic directors recruit male coaches more aggressively.

In the areas of administration, women represent 21.3% of all athletic directors (the highest in 27 years) while 11.6% of athletic programs have no females in their administrative structures. While the great majority of institutions have athletic training, women only represent 1 out of 4 head athletic trainers. Female sports information directors only comprise 11.3% of all available positions.

While women are enjoying the highest levels of participation and employment in intercollegiate sport history since the passage of Title IX, major gaps still exist with more work to be done. It would seem that as the numbers of female athletes increase, women will expect to be represented in coaching and administrative positions in the very near future. The pursuit of advanced degrees, practical work experience, and high achievement is the key to continued progress for women in intercollegiate sport.

More next time...

Friday, December 12, 2008

"Cheers!" To Your Liver

During this holiday season, many will indulge in more alcohol than usual. In addition to all of the Christmas and New Years' celebrations, economic hardships are giving Americans the blues and yet another excuse to take a drink. But, before you do, ask yourself the following questions: Am I struggling with my weight? Do I suffer from irregular "eliminations"? How much alcohol do I ingest weekly? Do I consistently indulge in a high fat and sugar-laden diet? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you are endangering your liver.

What Does My Liver Do?

The liver is the body's largest gland weighing in at 3 pounds. Its contribution to the digestive process is bile production. Bile is the yellow-green fluid comprised of minerals, cholesterol, neutral fats, phospholipids, bile pigments, and bile acids--most of which is bodily wastes filtered from the blood. The liver is key to metabolism. Heavy drinking stresses the liver. Alcoholism often produces an enlarged and fatty liver due to the excess calories that alcohol provides (which makes fat-burning for fuel unnecessary) as well as the extra fatty acids converted from acetaldehyde. (According to Kenneth S. Saladin in Anatomy and Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function 2007)

How Do Alcohol and My Poor Diet Affect My Health?

If your diet is loaded with trans fats and processed sugar, your liver becomes inflamed and your blood sugar levels spike damaging vital tissues. ( You on a Diet, Roizen and Oz, 2006 ) Your overstressed liver cannot metabolize fats and remove toxins from your body properly. Thus, if you are sick, then you get sicker, and if you are fat, then you get fatter.

What Can I Do To Fix the Problem?

1) Don't Drink Alcohol.
2) Clean up Your Diet.
3) See Your Doctor for Evaluation: Get a plan based on your health condition.
4) Drink More Water.
5) Exercise.
6) Drink a Tea That Contains Burdock, Dandelion, and Milk Thistle. I recommend Waiora Herbal Detox Tea. This tea contains all three herbs which serve to detoxify, protect, and improve the health of your liver.

Start today and your New Year's resolution will be to CONTINUE to get fit, get healthy, and lose weight!

More next time...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Which Came First? The Chicken or the Meds?

Marketing and advertising are evil genius. You've seen the ads: "Got Milk?", "High fructose corn syrup is fine in moderation", and "Tyson chickens are raised with no antibiotics". Many Americans didn't grow up on a farm. We haven't the slightest clue about what it takes to raise poultry, livestock, and crops in quantities large enough to feed our communities and be sustained financially when doing so. Ever wonder how it is possible that food manufacturers can grow to become billion-dollar corporations while the average independent farmer is struggling?

Consider the following article excerpt from The Farmer entitled "The Farm is the Engine of Our National Life" by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu'min Muhammad of Muhammad Farms in Georgia (

"Minister Farrakhan told me to tell you that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, "The farm is the engine of our national life." The engine of our nation is what pushes the nation forward. Without the farm we are lost. Without agriculture we have nothing. Because of the bad treatment under slavery and under the sharecropping system, our elders left the land seeking a better life in the cities. They left with a bad taste in their mouth, so that when schemes were fashioned to take the land from them, they did not put up a real fight. They took the little money and let the land go. The national life includes food, clothing and shelter. You can get all of these, if you have the land. However, most of the countries in Africa import their food from their former colonial or slave master. No nation can truly be free with its mouth in the kitchen of their former colonial masters. We need the land not only for economic development and wealth, but our very health depends on it. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave us the "Economic Blueprint" in Message to the Black Man, and he gave us a pattern to sustain our lives in "How to Eat to Live". America has forced many of us off the land. America is now forcing many countries to destroy their seed and buy seed from American companies. Why? As the value of money goes down platinum, gold and silver go up. But these minerals are just a means of exchange. You can not eat, wear, live in or ride platinum, gold or silver. You must exchange these items for the land and the means of extracting and processing the raw materials from the land to make the items of necessity. Real value rests in land, seeds, clay and trees. Since our elders never got the real value for their work on the land, we have now lost respect for the land. Where will you work and live tomorrow? What are you doing to insure your future or do you still think that America will find a way for you?"

The point that I am making here is that our dependence on big business forces us to buy their products and trust that the quality will sustain our levels of nutrition and overall health. We have basically placed our lives in in the hands of businessmen whose goal is to MAKE MONEY. So, it should not surprise any of us that a few corners might be cut here and there to add a few more dollars to the bottom line. In the meantime, the independent farmer cannot compete price wise with mass-producers and are subject to greater losses due to drought, natural disasters, and the struggling economy. Why? Because they choose to grow foods and raise animals naturally "as Mother Nature intended".

Let's take a look at a story written by David Gutierrez about Tyson chicken and their claim that their chickens have no added antibiotics. This article can be found in its entirety at

"(NaturalNews) Tyson Foods, the world's largest meat processor and the second largest chicken producer in the United States, has admitted that it injects its chickens with antibiotics before they hatch, but labels them as raised without antibiotics anyway. In response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) told Tyson to stop using the antibiotic-free label. The company has sued over its right to keep using it. The controversy over Tyson's antibiotic-free label began in summer 2007, when the company began a massive advertising campaign to tout its chicken as "raised without antibiotics." Already, Tyson has spent tens of millions of dollars this year to date in continuing this campaign. Poultry farmers regularly treat chickens and other birds with antibiotics to prevent the development of intestinal infections that might reduce the weight (and profitability) of the birds. Yet scientists have become increasingly concerned that the routine use of antibiotics in animal agriculture may accelerate the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that could lead to a pandemic or other health crisis."

Wow. And that's not all that is in your chicken. Dr. Joseph Mercola writes(

"If you really want to be sure your food is healthy and safe, you might want to try avoiding grocery stores altogether, as conventionally-raised livestock, including chickens, are not your best choice. And, adding insult to injury, about 30 percent of all fresh chickens sold in your supermarket have been pumped and plumped with as much as fifteen percent salt water, potential cancer-producing carrageenan, and other additives. This equates to cash strapped consumers paying about $2 billion a year for salt water! These chickens also contain about 800 percent more sodium per serving than expected. More and more people are buying food fresh off the farm from producers they personally know and trust, through CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), farmers’ markets, or other local food movements. When you can actually go visit the farm itself, you can see that it’s natural, fresh, and exactly as advertised."

Ok, so how do we find foods that are not manipulated to increase volume and profits at the expense of our health? Isn't it more expensive? Well, the long-term solution is to acquire some land, cultivate it, and produce your own food. We could start in our own backyards, window boxes, or even use flower pots. We could pool our resources and start a community garden. A great short-term solution is to support local farmers at farmers' markets or start and/or support your local co-ops. You can find one in your area at Buying direct will be much easier on your pocketbook. The motto of Muhammad Farms is "from the land to the man and no middle man". Here is a great article by Dr. Colleen Huber, NMD that breaks down the average costs of purchasing from big grocery chains versus your local co-op including weekly menus:

And lastly, for all of the fast food lovers, here are some video excerpts from Morgan Spurlock's movie "Super Size Me". Pay close attention to the end of the first video and the beginning of the second to learn about the "chicken" in Chicken McNuggets. Enjoy!

More next time...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Best Exercise of the Day: "Push-Aways"

(Thanksgiving Day marks the official kickoff of the holiday season and, for many, the start of a whole lot of eating. Food becomes the center of social interaction at family gatherings and at school and office parties. Cooking comfort foods and holiday desserts are parts of family traditions. There are many social and emotional reasons to eat. Even the most disciplined eaters can fall off the wagon. My hope is that today I can offer some perspective on overeating and unfavorable food choices. Here is some "food" for thought...)

Let's start by testing what you know about diet and digestion:

Digestion is the breaking down of chemicals in the body, into a form that can be absorbed. It is also the process by which the body breaks down chemicals into smaller components that can be absorbed by the blood stream. It takes an average of 12-24 hours to digest a meal depending on the types and quantities of food ingested. So, your breakfast eaten at 8 a.m. today won't be digested and passed from your body until at least 8 a.m. TOMORROW. TMI? Get this: Your body hasn't fully extracted and used the nutrients consumed from your first meal of the day by lunch time. In a 24 hour period, your body could be storing a minimum of three meals in your digestive system. This is a normal condition if you eat three balanced meals a day.

What happens when you overeat? A simple definition of overeating offered by Merriam-Webster is "eat(ing) to excess." There are many reasons why one might overeat: stress, going too long without eating, greed, sugar/carb addiction, depression, bulimia nervosa, and emotional reasons. Gorging yourself on sugar, high fat, and /or salt-laden foods creates a traffic jam in your digestive tract. Your blood sugar levels spike and if these sugars are not used up in physical activity, they are stored in your fat cells. Translation? You gain weight. The amount of time and energy required to lose these extra pounds is a whole lot more than the amount of time and energy it took to eat them.

So how do we keep it all in check? Indulge with balanced moderation. Here are some tips:

1) About an hour before you eat, drink a glass of water. Then, have some fresh fruit or dates. Wait a while for your appetite to return before filling your plate.
2) Fill up on the veggies first. Eat colorful salads, soups, and cooked vegetables. The fiber will start to fill you up which will prevent overeating.
3) Focus on proteins and carbs next. Ensure that you serving size is not greater than the amount of food that you can hold in the palm of your hand.
4) Now "push-away" from the table. Examine the spread and earmark the desserts that you would like to sample. Do not eat more than you can fit on one DESSERT plate.Wait an hour before you partake.
5) If you have food allergies, are on medication, are overweight, and/or have diabetes or another chronic condition, then do not use these occasions as an excuse to forgo your diet. You will pay for it later.

I hope this helps! More next time...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Inflammation and Obesity

There is a causal link between what you eat, how you feel, and how much you weigh. The more good foods that we put into our bodies, the better our health and the easier it is to manage our weight. Consuming processed foods causes a volatile reaction caused inflammation. It manifests itself as food allergies, swelling, sickness, and weight gain. This is the body's natural response to foreign substances via the immune system. According to an article entitled, "The Top Ten Inflammatory Foods" published on, Jack Challem writes:

"Chronic, low-grade inflammation almost always lurks beneath the surface of diabetes and excess weight. You can’t usually see or feel the damage, but this type of inflammation significantly increases the risk of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death among people with diabetes. Low-grade inflammation has also been linked to an increased risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Your doctor can measure it with the “high-sensitivity C-reactive protein,” or CRP, test."

The article goes on to discuss the effects of white sugar and refined starches on the body:

"Processed sugars and other high-glycemic starches increase inflammation, just as they raise blood sugar, according to an article in the March 2002 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and many other drugs reduce inflammation, but they pose a risk of side effects and no doctor’s going to suggest taking these drugs on a regular basis because your CRP is elevated. However, many foods have anti-inflammatory benefits, and the only side effects are other stellar health benefits."

Challem offers a list of the top 10 anti-inflammatory foods. Visit the site to read more about these foods:

1. Salmon
2. Green tea
3. Olive oil
4. Salads (Dark-green lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and other salad veggies
are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants)
5. Cruciferous vegetables
6. Cherries
7. Blueberries
8. Turmeric
9. Ginger
10. Garlic

I would like to offer a recipe for an immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory soup. It is easy to prepare and should be eaten several times a week year-round. Use fresh, organic vegetables whenever possible:

2 cups spinach leaves
3 medium sliced carrots
1 medium yellow or white onion diced
2 stalks chopped celery
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 bunch fresh chopped parsley
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. Himalayan Sea Salt or Real Salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a pot and cover with distilled water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Enjoy!

Please send me your feedback!
More next time...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

High Fructose "Corn" Syrup

It is likely that you have all seen the latest commercial that promotes high fructose corn syrup. It is sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association. Because Americans consume so many products that contain this processed sugar, the food industry has created its own marketing plan to counter the bad press it is presently receiving. Take a look:


(I am having a really hard time with this portrayal. One mother is aware enough to know that some bad things have been said about HFCS, but can't articulate it because she didn't research the facts for herself. She is easily defeated by the almost rehearsed response of the sister who is pouring some red punch from a jug that we know is worse than Kool-Aid. Sans the stereotypes, they represent the average American consumers: the uninformed and the ill-informed.)

So, What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?

Brandie Trigger, LMT, Nutritionist of writes the following response:

"Its made from corn"- True. High Fructose Corn Syrup is made from corn syrup that has been highly processed to increase its fructose content then mixed with pure corn syrup, which is 100% glucose. The result is a cheap, widely available and utilized sweetener, so highly refined that saying it is 'made from corn' (in support of its safety) is like saying cocaine is made from a plant so its safe to snort up your nose.

"Doesn't have artificial ingredients"- True. HFCS doesn't have artificial ingredients, however, unless you're buying HFCS off the shelf in its 'raw' form, the products that contain it, most likely DO have artificial ingredients. This is just another attempt to use the emerging interest in 'natural' foods as a ploy to push harmful foods to increase profits. Just because actual HFCS doesn't have 'artificial' ingredients doesn't negate the fact that it is HIGHLY REFINED.

"Like sugar, its fine in moderation"- Questionable.
To say that HFCS is like sugar is hardly accurate- at least in the way we metabolize it. The term 'sugar' is used widely to refer to many varied forms of sugar cane, which is sucrose, a disaccharide made up of glucose and fructose (the same components of HFCS). Our bodies have an innate mechanism that regulates the release of insulin to uptake the glucose and fructose from the bloodstream as enzymes break them down. However, in HFCS, these molecules are already 'broken down' (they're two separate 'monosaccharides' or single sugars), so our body's natural regulation mechanism is not triggered. Rather than absorbing and utilizing the excess fructose, our liver is forced to convert those molecules to fat and store them as such. This places a tremendous burden on the liver, our already overworked and often underpaid amazing organ working to detoxify our body every moment of our lives. Because HFCS is so sweet, the body registers that it has eaten, however, little of the actual 'fuel' the glucose and fructose is actually used at the cellular level, stimulating cravings for guess what.....more sugar!!

Organizations like the Corn Refiners Association is citing studies that were done on lean women only. What about its effect on a developing body and liver, such as in your child?"

Is It Really Worse Than Sugar?

Dr. Mercola ( offers the following:

"By now you’re probably familiar with the advertisements claiming that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is “no worse for you than sugar.” What gets me about this campaign, run by the Corn Refiners Association, is this: What decent food product has ever needed to spend up to $30 million to convince consumers it’s inherently safe to eat?"

"If you need to lose weight, or if you want to avoid diabetes and heart disease, fructose is one type of sugar you’ll want to avoid, particularly in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. Part of what makes HFCS such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar.

According to Dr. Elizabeth Parks, associate professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and lead author of a recent study on fructose in the Journal of Nutrition:

"Our study shows for the first time the surprising speed with which humans make body fat from fructose. Once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it's hard to slow it down. The bottom line of this study is that fructose very quickly gets made into fat in the body."

How does this happen?

Well, most fats are formed in your liver, and when sugar enters your liver, it decides whether to store it, burn it or turn it into fat. Fructose, however, bypasses this process and turns full speed ahead into fat.

"It's basically sneaking into the rock concert through the fence," Dr. Parks said in a previous interview with Science Daily. "It's a less-controlled movement of fructose through these pathways that causes it to contribute to greater triglyceride [i.e. fat] synthesis.”

Ironically, the very products that most people rely on to lose weight -- low-fat diet foods -- are often those that contain the most fructose! Even “natural” diet foods often contain fructose as a sweetener."

So, What Can We Do?

1) Educate yourself. Don't be the person who walks around quoting "what they say" about anything. Be informed and make better decisions for the good of your and your family's health.

2) Read the ingredients before you buy a product. Ingredients are listed in the order of highest to lowest percent content. If sugar is in the top 5, put it back on the shelf.

3) Consume more foods that don't have labels like organic fruits and vegetables. (The ingredient list for an apple would say "apple".)

4) Don't drink soda! The average can of soda contains about 40 grams of sugar (8 teaspoons) per serving. The American Medical Association recommends that we limit our daily sugar intake to less than 32 grams per day which is still 25.5 pounds per year!

5) Cook. If you prepare your own food, you will have a better idea of what is in it, right?

6) Use Natural Sweeteners. If it is in a bag or in a packet, leave it alone. Some better options include stevia, agave nectar, and locally-grown honey. Use them in moderation.

More next time...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Diet, Exercise, and Health: Putting It All Together

There is a ton of information floating around about how to get healthy and stay in shape. As a society, we are often pushed into following the next big fitness craze or trying the latest diet pill or plan because we want instant results. I would like to offer the following advice to those who are looking for the best way to get and stay healthy and fit: Find a methodology that works for you.

First, make a list of all ailments, injuries, and imbalances in your body and be specific: tight hamstrings, lower back pain, elevated blood pressure, excess fat, scaly complexion, fatigue, etc. Seeing these things on paper should help you set real goals and identify your reasons for making lifestyle changes.

Secondly, see your doctor/health practitioner for a full evaluation: Give him/her your list and attempt to ascertain the root causes of these conditions. Many of them you already know of, so be honest with yourself.Ask if there are any restrictions before you start or modify your exercise program.

Thirdly, follow your doctor's orders: If your doctor tells you to eliminate certain foods from your diet, then do it. If you are working out with a personal trainer, give them a copy of your doctor's recommendations. Give honest feedback to your doctor, trainer, and others supporting you on this journey. Talk about your fears and your triumphs and seek good advice only from those that you trust.

Customize your ideal plan: Be realistic about your lifestyle and schedule when taking this step. Are you a morning person? Do you travel/commute often for work? Are you a student, parent, spouse with obligations that you juggle? Are you sleeping enough at night? Do you eat prepared meals at home or do you eat dinner out 3+ days per week? What are your dietary vices? What kinds of physical activity do you enjoy? Do you have the discipline to maintain a food journal? Do you need help with time management? Do you eat junk food or larger portions of food when you are stressed, emotional, or in social environments? Do you believe that you will be successful at making changes in your life? Answering these questions honestly after some careful consideration will help you to see exactly what you are up against.

Allow room for error: Engage in some positive self-talk. I read once that for every negative thought you have, you must counter it with 7 positive thoughts in order to neutralize the effects of it. Whatever habits that you have, good or bad, you took time to develop them . So, be patient with yourself and stay the course. If you stumble and fall, then get up and keep moving. This is an internal struggle and you have to listen your instincts.

Start the journey today!
More next time...

Friday, November 7, 2008

What's Your Motivation?

"I'm asking you to believe.Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington...I'm asking you to believe in yours."--President-Elect Barack Obama

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over again in my life--and that is why I succeed."-Michael Jordan

"The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work."-Oprah Winfrey

"Success doesn't come to you . . . you go to it."-Marva Collins

"Success does not consist in never making mistakes, but in never making them a second time."- George Bernard Shaw

"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"-Robert Schuller

"It's never too late to be what you might have been."-George Eliot

"Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right."-Henry Ford

Motivation can be simply defined as "the direction and intensity of one's effort". (Sage, 1977)The direction of effort refers to whether an individual seeks out, approaches, or is attracted to certain situations. Intensity of effort refers to how much effort a person puts forth in a particular situation. The view of motivation most widely endorsed by sport and exercise psychologists today is the participant-by-situation interactional view. Summarized, the best way to understand motivation is to consider both the person and the situation and how the two interact. (Weinberg, 2007)

Have you ever wondered why your consistency in exercising fluctuates? Well, achievement motivation and competitiveness are believed to develop in three stages:
1) Autonomous competence stage.Occurring before the age of four, children focus on mastering their environment and on self-testing.
2) Social comparison stage. Beginning around the age of five, a child focuses on and directly compares his performance with that of others.
3) Integrated stage. A balanced combination of stages 1 and 2, this stage represents those who know when it is appropriate to compete with others and when it is appropriate to adopt and measure performance by their own standards. While this is the most desirable stage, not everyone reaches it because it requires introspection and maturity.

So, start by asking yourself, "What's my motivation for exercise?" If the root cause of your decision is tied to an internal characteristic, you are more likely to continue the behavior indefinitely. If your motivation comes from competition, you will likely quit when you defeat your opponent, lose miserably, or if your opponent ceases competition with you. If your desire to impress or please someone is at the root of your desire to get in shape, what happens when that person is removed from the picture.

My point is that,like everything in life, you must do it for yourself. Every decision that you make must be in line with the vision that you have for your life. Whether it be for health, wealth, education, or family, you must know your purpose and act accordingly in everything that you do.

It's a new day. What are you going to do? What's your motivation?
More next time...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Childhood Obesity: Who's to Blame?

Yesterday, I came across an article about the Neenah Joint School District in Wisconsin and its efforts to combat childhood obesity which has reached epidemic proportions in the last decade. An expansion of the district's wellness program, Neenah has issued a ban on sweets. Here is the article: (

Neenah School District Bans Cupcakes, Sweet Treats

Associated Press
NEENAH - Neenah students who want to bring an occasional treat for their classmates will be limited fruit, vegetables and other healthy snacks.

The Neenah School District tightened its wellness policy this year and banned cupcakes, candy and other sweet treats.

Parent Vicki Denzin is asking the Board of Education to ease those rules. Denzin says banning the items doesn't teach the children moderation or portion control.

Denzin asks how excited a 6- or 7-year-old would be to bring bananas or carrot sticks to share with their friends.

Tullar Elementary School Principal Diane Galow says it's not the sugary cupcake that's important, it's the ability of the students to share a treat on their birthday or special day.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

The alarming part of this story is that there are parents who oppose the ban- one that would move towards educating children about proper nutrition. As the article points out, one parent in particular (Vicki Denzin) points to the fact that this policy doesn't teach moderation or portion control. In this instance, consuming a "food" that will impair your health over time by eating it "in moderation", is innappropriate. It is more appropriate to teach children to eat the right amount of healthy foods, from the proper food groups, at the proper times. Neenah is attempting to accomplish a task that was once taught in the child's home--by their parents.

I reviewed Neenah's wellness policy and it appears that they are on the right track. Here is an excerpt of the Mission and Goals of the program:

Wellness -- In order to fully achieve the mission of the Neenah Joint School District, we recognize our responsibility to promote lifelong wellness behaviors that link proper nutrition and physical activity to students' overall health, growth, development, academic performance, and readiness to learn. This District-wide wellness policy encourages all members of the school community to create an environment that supports lifelong healthy eating habits and promotes opportunities for increased physical activity.

546.1 Wellness Goals

546.11 Establish an environment that empowers the school community to make good nutritional choices during the academic day and school-related functions outside of the instructional day.

546.12 Establish an environment that empowers the school community to increase physical activity during the academic day and supports the continuation of these activities outside of the instructional day.

546.13 Provide a high quality lunch program for students and staff.

546.131 Provide students with well-balanced nutritional choices of food and beverages;
546.132 Assist students in making healthy choices; and
546.133 Encourage and promote participation in the school lunch program.

546.14 Educate our school community, including students, parents and staff, on the benefits of good nutrition and physical activity.

The program further outlines nutrition standards, district food service, lunch and snack recommendations, school-based activities, physical activity and nutrition education, and policy regulation. As a parent, how could you object to this type of program? If executed properly, the children will lose the weight, miss fewer days from school due to preventable illness, improve grades and conduct, and become more physically active. Here is the link. Please read it and decide for yourself:

On October 28, 2008, The New York Times published an article entitled, "A Rise in Kidney Stones Is Seen in U.S. Children"written by Laurie Tarkan. Kidney stones? I wonder if there is link between children's diets and kidney stones? Here is how some of the experts respond:

"“What we’ve really seen is an increase in the salt load in children’s diet,” said Dr. Bruce L. Slaughenhoupt, co-director of pediatric urology and of the pediatric kidney stone clinic at the University of Wisconsin. He and other experts mentioned not just salty chips and French fries, but also processed foods like sandwich meats; canned soups; packaged meals; and even sports drinks like Gatorade, which are so popular among school children they are now sold in child-friendly juice boxes."

"Dr. Slaughenhoupt has seen more overweight children at his clinic. “We haven’t compared our data yet,” he said, “but my sense is that children with stones are bigger, and some of them are morbidly obese.”

Dr. Pope, in Nashville, agreed. His hospital lies in the so-called stone belt, a swath of Southern states with a higher incidence of kidney stones, and he said doctors there saw two to three new pediatric cases a week.

“There’s no question in my mind that it is largely dietary and directly related to the childhood obesity epidemic,” he said."

At the end of the day, we can protest, litigate, and criticize the food and medical industries and even the schools. But, in this country we have a choice. Children are the most easily influenced people on the planet if parents would judge take charge of their health. It starts at home and we must be found modeling the behavior: increase fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats; eliminate processed foods; increase water intake; increase physical activity; get proper rest. It really is that simple. Here is a link to help you assess your family's needs:

I am going to conclude with some "food for thought" about the food and beverage industry and its relationship with the health care industry. Have a look!

Dr. Alim Muhammad "The Atonement and Purification of a Nation"

Morgan Spurlock "Super Size Me"

Michael Moore "Sicko"

More next time...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Causes of Belly Fat

One of the most common concerns that dieters have is, "How do I get rid of my belly?" Both men and women (especially mothers)want to target this area of the body more than any other because it is probably the most difficult to reduce. Excessive belly fat is an indicator of potential health problems like heart disease, high cholesterol, a fatty liver, stroke, and diabetes. Excessive belly fat for a man would be a waistline over 40 inches and for women, a waist over 35 inches. Contrary to popular belief, hundreds of crunches and hours of cardio alone won't burn off the fat--they will tone and sculpt the muscle underneath. (By the way, fat doesn't "melt", so you can't sweat it out.) Keeping a strong powerhouse is important for maintaining good posture, but to shrink that pooch, you must clean up your diet.

I have gathered a few good tips that will help you improve your health while you flatten your midsection. Here goes:

1) Cut white foods out of your diet.
Refined products like white sugar, flour, bread, rice, and potatoes metabolize into sugar once ingested. Your blood sugar levels spike and your pancreas works overtime secreting insulin to control it. If your body doesn't use it for energy, then it is stored as fat--in your belly, hips and thighs. Replace with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.

2) Drink more water.
Waste and toxins are filtered from the body through your liver, gall bladder, kidneys, and colon. They all require plenty of water to do their jobs. Old toxins are stored in fat cells. Drink at least half your body weight in ounces everyday.

3) Monitor your salt intake.
Salt has gotten a bad rap in recent years, but it contains very important minerals critical for bodily functions. Some consume too much salt which can cause bloating, but more importantly the type of salt that is present in processed foods is toxic. According to Dr. Mercola, "Your table salt is actually 97.5% sodium chloride and 2.5% chemicals such as moisture absorbents, and iodine. Dried at over 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, the excessive heat alters the natural chemical structure of the salt...Containing all of the 84 elements found in your body, the benefits of natural Himalayan Crystal Salt include:

1. Regulating the water content throughout your body.
2. Promoting a healthy pH balance in your cells, particularly your brain cells.
3. Promoting blood sugar health and helping to reduce the signs of aging.
4. Assisting in the generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in your body.
5. Absorption of food particles through your intestinal tract.
6. Supporting respiratory health.
7. Promoting sinus health.
8. Prevention of muscle cramps.
9. Promoting bone strength.
10. Regulating your sleep -- it naturally promotes sleep.
11. Supporting your libido.
12. Promoting vascular health.
13. In conjunction with water it is actually essential for the regulation of your blood pressure." ( I personally have used this salt for over a year and I have seen great benefits.

4) Get tested for food allergies.
See your doctor and start a food journal. Note when your belly expands and what foods caused it. A simple way to identify food allergies (like to gluten) is to stop eating all processed foods for a month. Then, reintroduce the foods that you suspect one at a time like bread, oats, or soy and record your body's response. If it has an undesired effect, cut it out of you diet--permanently.

5) Monitor your stress levels.
Stress causes the body to release the hormone cortisol which triggers an accumulation of belly fat. There are many ways to manage stress including proper rest (7-8 hours), prayer, yoga, meditation, journaling, and exercise. Be sure to allow proper recovery time between workouts as this will create additional stress and prove counterproductive. (Remember, walking is the best form of exercise!)

Incorporate these steps into your lifestyle and whittle your middle in no time!
More next time...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Navy Beans: The Low-Fat Meat Alternative

As far back as the 17th century, beans were regarded as a cure-all for ailments ranging from colds to hair loss. We know now that beans are a great alternative to animal protein. According to How to Eat to Live by Elijah Muhammad, man can survive indefinitely on the navy bean. While beans are low in fat and sodium, high in protein and fiber, and contain folacin (folic acid), vitamins, and minerals, they are also very easy on the pocketbook. In these tough economic times, including navy beans in your diet will certainly stretch your dollar by reducing both your grocery bills and your doctors visits.

Let's take a closer look at the nutritional content of navy beans:

Navy beans are similar to Great Northern beans, but are much smaller. They are sometimes called “pea” beans because they are similar in size to peas, but they are more oval than spherical. Navy beans are a member of the Phaseolus species, and are grown primarily in Michigan. They are related to other white beans as well as to kidney beans and pinto beans.

Nutrition Highlights
Navy beans (boiled), 1 cup (182g)
Calories: 258
Protein: 15.8g
Carbohydrate: 47.8g
Total Fat: 1.0g
Fiber: 11.6g

*Excellent source of: Iron (4.5mg), and Folate (255mcg)
*Good source of: Calcium (127mg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.

Here is one of my favorite Navy Bean Soup recipes re-printed from my website Journeys Fitness

1 lb. dry navy beans; 1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

2 cloves minced garlic; 1 large carrot, peeled

2 stalks celery; 2 tbsp. sea salt

1/2 large white onion; 1 cup chopped bell pepper (all colors)

1 teaspoon sage; 1/4 teaspoon red pepper

3 tbsp. olive oil; 1 tsp. Italian seasoning

4-6 bay leaves; water to cover

Wash and soak beans for 6-8 hours. Mince all vegetables in food processor. Cover beans with water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Skim off foam. Once beans break easily with a spoon, add olive oil. Cook until beans begin to cream and water has turned milky (about 30 minutes). Add all vegetables and add seasonings . Add more water, if desired. Simmer for 45 minutes or until beans are tender. Salt to taste. Serves 6.

Try to eat at least one serving of Navy Bean Soup with your dinner everyday for a month and note the changes in your health. More next time...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Fitness and Family Time

Year-round exercise can be a challenge with increasing precipitation, cooler temperatures, and the end of leisure time enjoyed during the the summer months. With increasing sedentary lifestyles in the U.S. and the decline of physical education in the schools, families must become more creative to incorporate physical activity into their family time.

In a book entitled How to Eat to Live by Elijah Muhammad, we learn that walking is the best form of exercise. If you pay attention to the covers of health and fitness magazines, few fail to mention walking as an optimal method for maintaining healthy a weight. Exercise will not only keep stress at bay during the present financial crisis, but driving less and walking more will save you at the pump and at the doctor's office.

In an article entitled "Get Active as a Family" (, the following suggestions are made:

* Go for a bike ride.
* Take a swim at the pool or lake.
* Walk around a local track.
* Hike a wilderness trail.
* Walk along the beach.
* Take a trip to the local rink for roller-, ice-, or in-line skating.
* Play a game of catch or touch football.
* Play at a local playground.
* Jump rope or play hopscotch.
* Walk around at the zoo.
* Play tag, hide-and-seek, or keep-away.

Don't overlook money-saving chores that will satisfy your weekly fitness requirements. Wash your own car, cut the grass and rake your leaves, clean out the gutters, wash your windows or power wash your siding and driveways, paint the trim, and clean your house. You'll burn more calories, enlist involvement from your family members which will save time, save some money, and improve your collective health and wellness.

Hope this helps! More next time...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

21 Pounds in 21 Days: Revolutionizing Modern Medicine As We Know It

On October 11, 2008, I had the privilege and pleasure of interviewing Dr. Roni DeLuz, RN, ND who is the author of 21 Pounds in 21 Days and owner of Martha’s Vineyard Holistic Retreat. While Dr. Roni’s story begins with a very personal battle to save her own life, it continues as she now helps people around the globe restore health and vitality to their lives with weight loss being the preferred byproduct of her detox program. My fascination with detoxifying the body started with my own visits with Dr. Alim Muhammad, MD (Abundant Life Clinic, Washington, D.C.) who is trained in both allopathic and naturopathic medicines. His treatment and advice gave me the courage to try detoxification and nutritional supplementation to cure some severe health ailments and lose weight. (Dr. Alim told me that detoxing was part of my treatment plan after first eliminating food allergens and taking nutritional supplements--which I did.) Both programs worked and I now have a better understanding of eating (to live) properly and how to enable my body to heal itself. Never having met Dr. Roni face-to-face, I was thrilled to secure the telephone interview. I must say, on that call you could feel her energy and excitement and all over again, I was inspired to improve my health.

Dr. Roni DeLuz is a graduate of Fairfield University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, The Clayton School of Natural Healing, and the American Holistic College of Nutrition. Dr. Roni is a registered nurse and colonic therapist who has been a healing professional for 20years. She is a member of the Coalition for Natural Health, the American Naturopathic Medical Association, and the International Association for Colon Therapy. In 1980, Dr. Roni founded Singh Care Homes in California, which provides long term care facilities for children and adults.
She continues to act as its Executive Director. In 1997, she founded and opened the Martha's Vineyard Holistic Retreat By 2007, the success of her on-site retreat led Dr. Roni (along with publicist and partner James Hester) to write 21 Pounds in 21 Days: The Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox. A former client-turned-success story, Mr. Hester has worked with Dr. Roni at the retreat since 2003.

An average day for Dr. Roni starts long before her clients rise in the morning. She takes time to address her own wellness needs and then oversees her staff’s execution of the customized treatment plans that she designs for each individual. She has a kitchen staff that prepares the juices, soups, and supplements, counselors, massage therapists, detox therapists, yoga/Pilates instructors, and more. Every client has a specific plan based on their health condition, length of stay, and personal goals. Every hour of the client’s day is scheduled. Her approach is very hands-on as she will periodically stay overnight at the facility. Dr. Roni also offers telephone consultations at an hourly rate. Emails and other correspondence are answered late at night. While this setup sounds pretty elaborate (as many have assumed), Dr. Roni assures me that she manages an intimate treatment facility making her very accessible to her guests.

We talked at length about the overall health condition of Americans in relation to the practices of allopathic (traditional) doctors. Dr. Roni stated that, “The problem is nutrition.” The quality and nutritional value of fruits and vegetables harvested in 2008 is more than 20 times less than produce grown over 50 years ago. Many doctors either refuse to investigate nutritional deficiencies in their patients, or they ignore it. Routinely, prescription medications are administered to treat an ailment, which leads to additional medications for treatment of the drugs’ side effects. Sadly, irreversible organ failure (i.e. kidney, liver) is a result of taking prescription drugs over the long-term. If a doctor decides to add anti-depressants to his/her patients’ “treatment plan”, expect those patients to die soon because the doctors have given up hope. Dr. Roni sees a shift in this old paradigm, especially in new doctors who now include detox programs coupled with exercise as a greater part of their orders.

Health and fitness professionals in the future will have to educate/re-educate themselves on cleansing, healing, and feeding the body properly for the optimal health and performance of their patients and clients. Treatment plans must expand to include these elements because our present system has failed. The average American is uninsured and toxic and can afford to neither get sick nor get well. The need for more naturally-trained professionals is increasing, but Dr. Roni believes that the industry is just not ready to take the leap. There is much to lose if our current HMO system is scrapped.

Dr. Roni’s advice for future professionals is to prepare now, model the behavior, and spread the word. Each care provider must be ready to accommodate new clients because the masses are frustrated and desperate for healing. Robin Quivers hired Dr. Roni and James Hester to detox her at her home. After a successful detox, Dr. Roni was invited to appear on Robin’s radio show. Unbeknownst to Dr. Roni, Robin works on “The Howard Sterns Show.” After her appearance, a viewer/listener with chronic digestive problems traveled to the Martha’s Vineyard Holistic Retreat looking for Dr. Roni in the wee hours of the morning. At the time the retreat was private and offered no walk-in services. Dr. Roni’s attorney said to her that, “You have to put things in place to help people.” That encounter led to the opening of the Martha’s Vineyard Holistic Spa Annex which offers detox/spa services for “walk-in” clients—in my mind, a quite natural progression. The exposure led to her book that debuted at #3 on the New York Times Best Seller List, television appearances on shows like ABC’s “The View”, and a growing clientele ranging from professional to celebrity status. Dr. Roni now travels to detox clients during her retreat’s off-season.

The health and fitness professional of the future must, therefore, be properly educated, have a business structure that is easily expandable, be a service-minded resource, and be able to assist the masses through a variety of media. In this case, if you build it (and market it), they will come.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Atonement and The Power to Forgive

Emotional wellness is defined by Dr. Bill Hettler as: "...a person being both aware of and accepting of a wide range of feelings in him/herself and others. He/She is able to freely express feeling and manage feeling effectively to arrive at personal choices/decisions based upon the integration of feelings, cognition and behavior." Emotional wellness is also described as self-awareness or self-acceptance. The definition by Dr. Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute, Inc, on his web page goes on to say that an emotionally well person can function autonomously but is aware of personal limitations and the value of seeking interpersonal support and assistance.

Emotional wellness extends beyond oneself as it encompasses the health of our
relationships with ourselves, others, and our God. Inside each and every one of us lies the ability to let go of old hurts, anger, and despair. Forgiveness is defined by Merriam-Webster as : "Giving up resentment of; pardoning; absolving; willingness to allow room for error or weakness." Atonement is a process for making amends for a fault or wrongdoing. This process, if applied with a sincere spirit, can heal all wounds including broken marriages (, childhood abuses, overfeeding/abusing the body with food, drugs, and alcohol, and more.

In recognition of the 13th Anniversary of the Million Man March and the Holy Day of Atonement (October 16, 1995), I would like to share with you the Eight Steps of Atonement.

In order to resolve our problems with one another, we must follow these steps:

1. Point Out Wrong or Fault – Let it be known that a wrong was committed.
2. Acknowledge the Wrong – No matter who brings it to your attention, if you were at fault, admit it.
3. Confession – Confess your wrongdoing to your Creator and to the person whom you wronged.
4. Repentance – Show remorse for your actions and sincerely promise to change.
5. Atonement – If you can, do something to make up for your actions.
6. Forgiveness – Seek forgiveness from the individual wronged and your Creator. Remember, also, to forgive yourself for your transgressions.
7. Reconciliation –Settle differences and make peace with yourself and with
those whom you have wronged.
8. Perfect Union – Oneness with your Creator, family and friends.

Here are some tips for ensuring a productive atonement session:


(Adapted from Youth Leadership Development Workbook written and published by New Light Leadership Coalition, 2001-2003, pages 62-63.)

In order to work well with other people, leaders must be good at resolving conflict.
A conflict is a situation causing disunity or discord between two individuals or
groups. Conflicts are usually caused by perceived feelings of hurt, insult, or injury. To resolve a conflict, it is important to maintain control of emotions.
Use the following steps to approach solving conflicts with others peacefully:


You should never be the aggressor or the cause of a conflict. Try to avoid
physical confrontations if possible.
The main problem during conflict is that both parties want to get their point
across. This causes them to want to speak before the other person is heard. It is
important to LISTEN in order to resolve a conflict.
The other party must know that you are willing to compromise. A compromise
is the process of give and take that leads to a middle ground where BOTH PARTIES
are content.
Be sincere in your attempt to reconcile with another party.


√ Never approach an individual in front of other people as this will only cause
defensiveness.The person will likely retaliate instead of cooperating with you.

√ Do not insult the other party.Tell him what he is doing that is hurting you and
ask him to stop.

√ Do not provoke the other person or group.This will only lead to further conflict
and, potentially, violence.

√ Be calm! Instead of approaching the situation emotionally, give yourself a moment
to cool down before trying to deal with the conflict. Emotion can cause unnecessary
confusion, leaving the root of the problem neither discovered nor solved.

I wish you all peace and success in your attempts to achieve total wellness!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Getting "Well"

The next time that you watch a TV commercial ad about the newest prescription drug, pay attention to how much time is spent on detailing the SIDE EFFECTS that may result from taking it. Basically, taking the drug can alleviate the old illness while replacing it with a new one. The average American has long-suffered with disparities in the quality and accessibility of health care coverage and treatment coupled with the rising costs of medications. In the present economy, or what's left of it, people can neither afford to sick much less get well. What's the solution? Here are some options.

1) Clean up your diet and start exercising. Almost all sickness is a direct result of poor nutrition: obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. Stop eating so much. Look at food as fuel for the body. Proper fasting will cure many ills. Take care of your nutrition and your body will take care of itself.If you have a weakness for soda and candy bars (sugar, sugar, sugar) and spend $3.00 per day, you could pocket about $90.00 per month and lose some weight.

2) Stop smoking and drinking and save that money. Not only are these habits detrimental to your health, they are expensive. If cigarettes cost $4.00 per pack, and you smoke 2 packs per day, then (by quitting) in a month's time you will have saved at least $224.00. (How much is your insurance premium again?)

3) Practice preventive medicine. See your doctor once a year for a check up. Your treatment options are broader when an ailment is detected in its early stages and it will be a lot less expensive. Don't put it off until tomorrow--tomorrow is not promised. If you have ever had a full-blown toothache, then you know the penalty for putting off dental checkups (compare $75-100 for x-ray and cleaning to $350-500+ for fillings, extractions, root canals and/or crowns plus pain medications and/or antibiotics). Ouch! You might want to see your dentist every six months as well.

4) Explore alternative medicine. Long before HMO's came on the scene, people treated their ailments with items found in their kitchens--often picked right out of their own gardens. Here are some excerpts from an article entitled, "Understanding Naturopathic Medicine:Medicine with a Natural Focus" by Beth Farrell (

"With natural healing becoming more and more popular, one of the terms you may commonly hear is naturopath. But, you may wonder, what exactly is a naturopath?

"Simply put, a naturopath is a health professional trained in the practice of natural medicine and healing through an accredited institution. Also known as a Naturopathic Doctor or N.D., a naturopath believes that the human body strives to be well and balanced and, when experiencing illness or pain, it can be encouraged to be healthy through natural methods. Doctors of naturopathy are not traditional medical doctors but they are extensively trained in such subjects as anatomy, homeopathy, nutrition, physiology and counseling.

What do they treat?

"Because naturopaths believe in treating the whole person, they will focus on all aspects of a person's health and wellness, which include the mind, emotions and spirit as well as the physical. They will gear their treatment of the person by addressing not only the illness but all the underlying causes of the illness. For this reason treatments can be very diverse and may include such things as herbal remedies, aromatherapy, massage, nutritional counseling, biofeedback or acupressure, depending upon the needs of the person they are treating. There is also a strong focus on preventive medicine by keeping the body healthy through proper nutrition, physical activity and stress management..."

5) Do something for your mind and your spirit. Start journaling. Practice prayer and/or meditation. Get proper rest. Help a friend in need. Pay attention to the negative noise in your head and replace every negative thought with 7 positive ones.

I challenge you to make at least one of these changes and email me your results in 30 days. I think that you will be better for it! (smile)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Got Milk? That's What You Think...

(*Publisher's Note: This post was inspired by a message I heard by Dr. Alim Abdul Muhammad on Sunday, October 5, 2008. Dr. Muhammad has operated the Abundant Life Clinic in Washington, D.C. since 1986. Visit his site at Look for future posts to notify you once the DVD is available for this lecture as well as his upcoming publication entitled, "The Problem Is Nutrition.")

Don't you just love the "Got Milk?" ads featuring gorgeous celebrities donning milk mustaches? These ads recommend drinking milk daily and many have done so in the quest to emulate the images projected by these personalities. Milk has been touted as the cure-all for strong bones and teeth, postponing osteoporosis, and even cancer prevention. I am sure that this campaign has done much to boost sales in the dairy industry. It has also been helpful in teaching the general public about one aspect of nutrition. The only problem is that the milk readily available on the market cannot provide the many benefits of drinking it. Why? Milk and dairy products are pasteurized and/or homogenized. In other words, everything good has been removed.


To pasteurize means "to sterilize a substance by heat or radiation." (Webster 1997) According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, "Raw milk is an outstanding source of nutrients including beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus acidolphilus, vitamins and enzmes, and it is, in my estimation, the finest source of calcium available.

"The pasteurization process, which entails heating the milk to a temperature of 145 degrees to 150 degrees F and keeping it there for at least half an hour and then reducing the temperature to not more than 55 degrees F, completely changes the structure of the milk proteins (denaturization) into something far less than healthy. While the process certainly destroys germs and bad bacteria, it also destroys the milk's beneficial bacteria along with many of its nutritious components.

"Pasteurizing milk destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria and promotes pathogens. You may notice that raw milk left out will sour naturally but pasteurized milk will rot. This is because the beneficial bacteria in the raw milk helps to keep putrefactive bacteria under control. Pasteurized milk, however, does not have any of the beneficial bacteria left to keep it from rotting.

"Then, of course there is the issue of the antibiotics, pesticides and growth hormones and the fact that nearly all commercial dairy cows are raised on grains, not grass, like they were designed to. This will change the composition of the fats in the milk, especially the CLA content.

"Pasteurized cow's milk is the number one allergic food in this country. It has been associated with a number of symptoms and illnesses including:

* Diarrhea
* Cramps
* Bloating
* Gas
* Gastrointestinal bleeding
* Iron-deficiency anemia
* Skin rashes
* Allergies
* Colic in infants
* Osteoporosis
* Increased tooth decay
* Arthritis
* Increased tooth decay
* Growth problems in children
* Heart disease
* Cancer
* Atherosclerosis
* Acne
* Recurrent ear infections in children
* Type 1 diabetes
* Rheumatoid arthritis
* Infertility
* Leukemia
* Autism

"Raw milk, on the other hand, is not associated with any of these problems, and even people who have been allergic to pasteurized milk for many years can typically tolerate and even thrive on raw milk.

"Raw milk is truly one of the most profoundly healthy foods you can consume, and you'll feel the difference once you start to drink it."(

Find a raw milk cooperative near you:

If you reside in the Houston area, I recommend 45 Farms:
Alvin: 45 Farms, 5825 County Road 182, Alvin, Texas 77511. . (713) 261-6409, 30 minutes south of Houston. Sells raw milk from a family herd of grass-fed Jersey cows and eggs from free roaming chickens NO anitbotics or hormones are used. They plan to add cheese.

Read more about the benefits of raw milk at

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Seasonal Cleansing

Now that fall has set in, it is time to perform some maintenance on yourself. Cleansing one's major bodily systems every three months is a great way to give your temple a tune-up. Here are some of my favorite tips:

1) Kick meat, sugar, bread, alcohol, nicotine, and refined foods for a week and increase your intake of fruits, veggies, and water. Eat your meals at fixed intervals.

2) Drink fresh juices daily over that 7 day period. Try "green lemonade" by juicing a head of romaine lettuce, 2 cups of raw spinach, 4 large carrots, 1 peeled lemon, 2 apples, and a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger root. Drink up!

3) If you perform no other exercise, get out and walk everyday. If you are really active, use your walks for relaxation and meditation. Time to unplug!

4) Take a yoga class. Get focused and center yourself.

5) Dry brush your body before showers to stimulate and cleanse your lymphatic system. Get a natural bristle bath brush and start with the soles of your feet avoiding "sensitive areas" and the face.

6) Choose a colon cleansing product and relieve yourself of old, built up toxic waste. Increase your fiber ("an apple a day...")and water intake.

7) Take a relaxing, detoxifying bath. Add a cup of Epsom salt, a cup of baking soda, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a hot bath and soak.

Check out some of my favorite books on cleansing for more great tips. Customize your cleansing regimen in time for winter.

1) The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs

2) Detox: Five Dozen Ways to Detoxify Your Body by Nadine Goodman

3) The Colon Health Handbook by Robert Gray

4) The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose

5) 21 Pounds in 21 Days: The Martha's Vineyard Diet Detox by Roni DeLuz, RN, ND

6) Juicing for Life by Cherie Calbom and Maureen Keane

More next time!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Race for the Cure!

This morning, I received an email form my sister, Raula, that she was participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Houston, TX on October 4, 2008. On the heels of the devastation of Hurricane Ike, she and her sister-in-law, Tracie, turned their attention to a cause bigger than themselves during a time when they could be more concerned about power loss and storm damage. I was certainly touched but not surprised by this gesture. Aside from the fact that they are indeed family, they share a connection. As young women they both lost their mothers to cancer: our mom to lung cancer in 2005, and Tracie's (Tige's)mom to breast cancer about 18 months later. Words can't begin to explain the effect that losing a mother has on their daughters in particular. But, you can certainly credit their mothers for rearing two awesome young women--the product of two terrific ladies--which didn't occur by accident or coincidence.

Let me encourage you to support this cause by making a donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation by clicking on the following links:
Raula's link

or, Tracie's link