Category Archives: Health & Fitness

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Don’t Be Afraid: A Dose of Inspiration

Spiders. Public speaking. Ridicule. Failure.
There are lots of things that appear to warrant fear. No one would fault you for being afraid of sharks or risking it all, but throughout history, great men and women have had a lot to say about the freedom that comes from conquering those fears.
Let us encourage you- you can do the same thing!
You don’t have to be afraid anymore. Don’t believe us?
Here are some of our favorite quotes from some of our favorite people on the subject.

fearimage borrowed from Oprah.com

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Making Science Cool and Getting Sleep

We live in a generation where teachers make a fraction of what professional athletes take home. People can become celebrities by being really good at Twitter and you could get an MTV show by being able to ride in a shopping cart and crash into things, so we think it’s kind of cool how science and learning is making it’s comeback and our current favorite is the #SciShow on Youtube!

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Discovering Your True Self

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My best friend Erin always felt like she was a follower because she never had a “thing”.
She liked basketball and played in a league but it wasn’t her whole life.
She played music and owns a couple of instruments but it didn’t consume her.
She writes but mostly for herself even though she’s really great at it.

There wasn’t one circle of friends or work or life she felt defined her. She could come and go from a variety of circles and as a result always felt like it must mean she wasn’t a good leader. She must just be a wanderer going from place to place, never being confident enough in one thing to really take charge.

Then we both took the Clifton’s Strengthfinders Test that asks you a series of questions and returns with your top strengths out of 34 on their list. Surprise, surprise- Erin found that one of her top 5 strengths was ADAPTABILITY.

This aspect of her life that had for so long felt like a weakness was actually a strength! She found that she had the ability that so many lacked to be able to be thrown into a variety of situations and really thrive. For the first time, she found truth in discovering who she was.

I know she’s not the only person who saw themselves as an Ugly Duckling of some sort, only to find that maybe they were just a swan and didn’t know it. While we will surely spend the rest of our lives growing and developing, cutting off things that don’t work in our lives and investing in things that do, maybe it’s time to shine a little light of truth onto the uniqueness of who you are!

So here are some thought-provoking questions:

1. What are your favorite parts of yourself? Maybe it’s your love of family. Maybe it’s your recipe for brownies. Maybe it’s your legs. Whatever they are- how are you engaging them and how are you using them to help other people be more alive?

2. When it comes to the things you’re least proud of, what would you say to your best friend if they shared the same thing? We tend to be most hard on ourselves- we aren’t eating right, we could be better friends, we should be over this relationship quicker. But when it comes to those we love, we tend to offer more grace and see things in a better light. Take a moment and imagine what you would say to your best friend if they had the same thought or feeling about themselves. And then take a dose of your own medicine.

3. Who are your heroes? There are surely qualities that your heroes possess that you value. So what might happen if you intentionally fostered those qualities in yourself? Selflessness, patience, fearlessness. Heroes aren’t just born with a supernatural ability to be great. They sacrifice and choose those things when they could choose others. You can do the same thing. You are every bit designed to be a hero.

You don’t have to lie to yourself. We don’t encourage you live in a fantasy world.
We do encourage you to be true to who you are.
We encourage you to discover who that person truly is.
Nice to meet you!

Facing My Ebola Fear

On July 23, gravely ill Liberian-American diplomat Patrick Sawyer flew into Murtala Mohammed Airport. He died at a Lagos hospital four days later, after exposing scores of airline passengers and medical personnel to the Ebola virus.

Ebola had arrived in Nigeria. It has since spread to other areas of the country.

Ebola Virus Particle
Ebola Virus Particle

I live in Lagos but on the day Patrick Sawyer delivered his terrible gift, I was an ocean away. My three children and I were on vacation at my parents’ house in suburban Massachusetts.

It was disconcerting to be far from Lagos when it was in crisis. I read articles about Ebola in the newspaper, watched reports on CNN, and tried to ignore the panicked emails from expat women I know.

My parents urged us not to return to Nigeria. They suggested I enroll the kids in the elementary school down the road, which I attended as a child.

It was tempting. The children could walk to school along the same forest path I had used. My mother would cook delicious Indian meals and my father’s wine cellar would allow me to remain in a continuous state of inebriation. At 41, I would have no responsibilities and could spend my days in the basement hula hooping and taking naps.

My children, however, were sick of America. They missed their father, their friends, and their toys. They were desperate to return. My husband, John, assured us we would stay safe in Lagos, that Ebola in Nigeria could be contained. But it is very unnatural to willingly travel into danger. It takes courage, which I lack.

I couldn’t decide whether to stay or go. And then one day my husband phoned me from Lagos to complain about our housekeeper. He had broached the subject of Ebola with Marie and was annoyed by her response.

“What do you know of Ebola?” John had asked her, intending to discuss precautions to prevent the spread of disease.

“I don’t know him,” Marie replied. “Is he Yoruba?”

“Can you imagine,” John told me, “she thought E. Bola was a man’s name! Has she been living under a rock?”

And that was how I decided it would be safe for us to return to Lagos. If Marie—my barometer for all matters West African—had never heard of Ebola, it must not be a big deal.

The kids and I arrived in Nigeria in mid-August. As we taxied to the gate, the newlyweds beside us slipped on latex gloves.

reaching out for nothing

After deplaning, the passengers queued up in neat lines for body temperature scans. This was the first time I had ever seen thermometers used at an airport or anyone in Nigeria stand in a line without trying to cut to the front.

The ordinarily bustling terminal was silent. It was as unsettling as in the weeks following 9/11 when New Yorkers stopped honking their horns and giving each other the finger. I felt like a cold hand was squeezing my heart. This wasn’t the Lagos I remembered. Was coming back a mistake?

I noticed a number of people pulling out bottles of hand sanitizer and squirting their palms as we cleared customs. Suddenly every surface seemed to be writhing with toxic germs. I wished there was a giant barrel of sanitizer I could dip my children into by the ankles, Achilles-style.

We exited the airport, dropped the suitcases at home then drove around looking for a place to eat. It was 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday night and Lagos was dead. We tried three restaurants but they were all closed.

We ended up at The Radisson, a shiny hotel perched on the lagoon.

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I took a seat by the water and waited for my family to join me outside. From my table I had a view of the lobby. I saw a man near the bar lurching back and forth, vomiting. Then his face tipped up and I saw white discharge covering his mouth. At that moment, John and the kids walked by him.

John was stoic. As I saw my husband and children become infected with the Ebola virus, my eyes filled with tears. We had just become a cautionary tale.

My 4 decades on the planet, my 22 year romance with my husband, and my 3 beautiful children were about to be reduced to a handful of hysterical Facebook posts and a few mistakenly pressed thumbs ups.

Then the man straightened and I saw a shiny vacuum in his hand. His back was bucking because he was cleaning. What I had thought was white vomit was a surgical mask over his mouth.

John and the kids joined me at the table. They appeared to be Ebola-free.

Our first week back in Lagos was tense. I considered offering Marie an immediate early retirement because she coughed twice in an afternoon.

Despite my anxiety, we settled back into Nigerian life. My daughter got her hair twisted at the salon. I went grocery shopping. The children spent a happy day at the pool splashing with friends.

My fear began to dissipate. The number of Ebola cases in Nigeria, meanwhile, began dropping.

Aside from the strategically placed dispensers of hand sanitizer that had materialized around Lagos, it was business as usual.

Hand Sanitizer

I had no way to know how severely the Ebola virus would impact our lives when we returned. My decision was a bit impulsive, perhaps, but was borne from a desire to reunite my husband with his children. And I am certain I made the right choice. This is home.

It is in moments of adversity that we see the true worth of a people. Against all odds it seems that this awful virus has been contained here. Nigeria has been tested and I’m proud to say that she has come through with flying colors.

In the end, all I suffered was anxiety, nightmares and sleepless nights. Compared to thousands of our fellow Africans, we got off easy.

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How To Keep Your Intention to Be Positive When the Going Gets Really Rough

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Our stress hormones are meant to help us in an emergency with a boost of energy and focus, but when a crisis drags on, those same helpful hormones can lead to exhaustion. Use the following practices to maintain your positive intention and see yourself through the rough chapter in your life and back into calmer living.

Establish order and routine in your life

In a natural disaster, the first support crew on the scene immediately sets up order and discipline. You can adapt their practices, whether your challenge is a sick child, a financial downturn, a lost job, or some other troubling matter.

Set up a schedule for regular meals, adequate rest and exercise. Assign essential tasks to others, whether they are friends, family members, coworkers, or outside help.

Build a routine for housework and bill-paying basics to create order, harmony, and a restful environment. When your surroundings are cluttered and dirty, it makes it harder to tame the chaos in your mind.

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Demystifying Health Fads

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Here in Los Angeles alone, it feels like you can find a restaurant to accommodate any dietary needs or preferences. Restaurants that serve only cold-pressed juice, vegan items or traditional fare from countries you’ve never even heard of. Gluten-free Southern food sounds like a paradox, but people can try.

There is a lot of talk about what you should be eating more of and what you should be avoiding so we decided to review three of the biggest buzzwords in health and diet these days.

Gluten: 
Everyone’s going gluten free because it’s healthier, right? That’s right, right? Interestingly enough, gluten is only a problem for the approximately 1% of Americans diagnosed with Celiac’s disease who’s immune system actually damages the lining of the small intestine while trying to process it. The problem with everyone else avoiding gluten, according to some experts, is not with the ingredient so much as how easy it is to miss out on other vital nutrients like iron and fiber by avoiding foods like whole wheat. There are certainly grains without gluten but the key here is knowing that going gluten-free isn’t necessarily the key to a healthier lifestyle.

Kale:
Traditionally a winter crop, this hearty green that’s sneaking it’s way into salads everywhere is actually super good for you. It’s got a ton of Vitamins A, C and K. We’re talking 684% of your daily value of Vitamin K in just a cup. It’s low in calories and while it might be an acquired taste, it’s worth considering as a dietary staple. Something to note- Kale will be less thrilling if you are low on calcium or taking anticoagulants as it blocks calcium absorption and can mess with certain medications, so check with a doctor before you start eating it by the bucket loads.

Probiotics:
We spend a lot of money on cleaning products every year to get rid of bacteria from our homes, but so why are buy bacteria to put into our bodies? Made more well-known thanks to the family favorite, yogurt, Probiotics are good bacteria that, when added to your digestive system, can help ease bloating and get your body processing food like it should. Stress, sitting on planes for hours, eating like a maniac can wreck you, or more specifically, the living microbes in your body that break down and retrieve the nutrients you need. Probiotics are valuable to keeping your intestines in good shape otherwise. We’ve also learned that just having some yogurt here and there won’t be enough to set everything back in balance which is why many opt for a probiotic supplement like SCD Essential Probiotics as opposed to consuming more miso soup than you know what to do with.

Before you hop on the health fad popping up in your grocery stores, make sure you know what works best for you and your body. If it means cutting the gluten, by all means. If not, you’ve made a knowledgeable decision. The point is that you’re in the know.

So, maybe have a donut. Not too many donuts. And maybe wait for dessert ’til you’ve had a kale salad.

 

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Helping Your Health Intentions

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Most of us start every year trying to lose a few pounds.
It’d always be nice to run faster, jump higher, lift heavier.
Whether it’s finally having those six pack abs or faithfully sticking to a healthy diet, getting healthier and staying there can be a lifelong process, so what are the best ways to do that? And are our best laid plans helping or hurting our goals?

1. Diet sodas aren’t helping your diet. The easy solution to losing weight while still fulfilling those carbonation cravings seems like switching from your favorite full calorie drinks to the diet version. Sad news: one study showed that the greater the number of diet sodas consumed, the greater the chance of being overweight. Another linked it to higher risks of metabolic syndrome.

2. Get a little extra shuteye. Sleeping the day away may feel lazy to us but the truth is a difference of even 16 minutes can show big differences in the health of test subjects. Feeling tired throughout the day might be an indication of not enough hours of sleep but it can also indicate a variety of disorders that could be keeping you from sleeping soundly through the night. A little tired? Take a nap. Persistent tiredness? Time to do some investigating.

3. Packaging Promises. The grocery store is bursting at the seams with good that will lower your cholesterol, boost your metabolism, gives you extra calcium to prevent osteoporosis, everything but a granola bar that will make you live forever! Who knows. It could be around the corner…

Recently, it seems the hot topic is probiotics and yogurt. It appears not all bacteria is bad for you and the microorganisms commonly associated with yogurt can help get your digestive system back in order after being ravaged by stress or a potato chip diet. They can also help with gas and bloating so you’re feeling good throughout the day.

The thing to know is some food products are vague about revealing how many bacteria are left in the product after processing. It may not be enough to make a difference unless you’re consuming it in bulk. In addition, the key to probiotics is delivery to the intestines which means they have to be strong enough to survive stomach acid. Most packaging has less to say about that, so do your research on bacteria counts and what is actually being promised. A cup of yogurt every now and then may not be enough to really affect your digestive health so consider natural probiotic supplements. One product, SCD Essential Probiotics, contains 11 strains of probiotics grown together and designed to survive stomach acid to actually do what you’re hoping. It’s also all natural and made with organic ingredients. Good news all around.

We support your intention to be a healthier you and staying informed helps you make wise choices, so learn and grow!

 

 

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How to Change Your Life One Thought At A Time

185429204One of the key reasons that I wrote “The Law of Sobriety” is because too many people focus only on the medical and behavioral aspects of addiction recovery and sobriety. It is as if they believe that if you change your behavior then somehow your mind will pick up on these thoughts and change your way of thinking.

As my studies into the Law of Attraction have clearly shown me, it is actually the opposite process that works. By changing the way that you think and how you expend your mental energy into the universe you will change your way of doing things and in leading your life.

To start to make those all-important mental changes to lead a life of sobriety you can implement the following tips at any time. Remember, it is about changing the way that you view the world that allows you to take advantage of what is presented to you and the natural positive energy all around you.

 

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