October is National Healthy Lung Month!

Tips for Healthier Lungs and Mesothelioma Information

Breathing Tips for National Healthy Lung Month

As someone who has lived with asthma her entire life, lung health is never far from my mind. It’s also why I feel so frustrated when I see someone smoking.  Healthy lungs aren’t something to be taken for granted.

Lung health just isn’t something the average person thinks about – certainly not compared with the amount of time they spend thinking about brain health or heart health. However, if someone were to spend just one hour struggling to breath, they’d realize that it’s a very terrifying situation to be in. Trying to get precious oxygen into your lungs while it feels as though your airways are the size of a crushed coffee-stirring straw redefines horrifying.

Naturally we shouldn’t limit our focus on healthier lungs to one month only. We should use the month as a reminder to pay more attention to the health of our lungs…. each and every mont.

The tips in the infographics shown here are outstanding and quite eye-opening. I hope you’ll read them carefully and use this as a wake up call for treating your lungs as the valuable gifts they are.

Mesothelioma and Asbestos

In an effort to raise awareness about mesothelioma, the MAA Center would like to share information with you. This horrible cancer is primarily caused by the inhalation of asbestos, which can be found in homes all across the country. Once asbestos is disturbed or broken, it can be easily inhaled and cause severe health issues later on down the road, including lung cancer.
Since asbestos is still not banned in the US, we all have do our best to stay informed to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Click HERE  to request your free information packet.

Thanks so much to the MAA Center for sharing the valuable information with Self Help Daily’s readers!

Breathing Tips for National Healthy Lung Month

Things That’ll Help You Live Longer

A Few You May Not Have Even Thought Of...

Things that Make You Live Longer
The infographic above is from Successstory.com and I think it makes a couple of excellent points.

  1. The importance of sleep cannot be emphasized enough! Our bodies need sleep to revive, heal, and rejuvenate – especially when we’re stressed or sick. During “tough” patches, our bodies actually crave more sleep than usual but we often try to fight through it or tough it out. Big mistake! When we don’t get enough sleep (not just rest… but actual sleep), we end up paying the price for it.  Unplug, turn off the lights, and fall in love with the wonderful way getting a good night’s sleep feels.
  2. Exercise and activity are essential for good health.  And here’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be a jog at the park or a workout at the gym. When you’re active, your heart doesn’t know if you’re giving it a great workout in your home with chores, in your yard mowing, or at the gym on expensive equipment. All it knows (and responds to) is that you’re giving it what it needs to keep right on ticking for years to come.
  3. Be happy! Okay, it’s not always as simple as that, but you catch my drift. Try to focus on the good things in life and look away from as many bad things as possible. Even in a storm, you can think about sunshine, right?! Focus your energies and thoughts on things that make you happy. In the long run, it’s MUCH more important than most people realize.

Two Things I Would Add…

  1. Have a good doctor and schedule (and keep!) yearly checkups. The sooner a problem is “caught,” the sooner it can be dealt with. A doctor can even let you know if you are “headed” in a bad direction. For example, I once had a bone scan that let me know I had ostopenia  – pre-cursor to osteoporosis. Learning this kind of alarmed me and by  kind of I mean completely.  With this information, I was then able to do a little research on my own and determine what foods a lactose-intolerant person such as myself could eat to get the calcium they need.  If I had not gotten that information, I wouldn’t have been able to make changes.
  2. Always have something to look forward to!  This goes along with happiness to a very large extent, but I think it’s important enough to mention.  I hear from a lot of people who are looking for happiness or ways to cope with life-changing events such as “empty nest syndrome,” divorce, the loss of a loved one, etc. One of the things that is most essential is as simple as it gets – always, always, always have something to look forward to. It could be a favorite television show, new movies coming out at the theater, monthly family get-togethers at a favorite restaurant, sporting events… anything that gets you excited and gives you something to look forward to. Each day I look forward to the special time in the evening – after supper is eaten and the dishes have been washed. It’s when my husband, our cat, and I kick back and watch television (baseball, college basketball, football, History Channel, Animal Planet… ).  Something as simple as this makes the entire day even sweeter because I know the story’s going to end perfectly…. happily ever after, whether our team wins the game or not. I actually tell everyone who’s dealing with an empty nest to set up as many family events throughout the year as possible. Birthdays, holidays, special events, monthly cookouts during summer, and game-day get togethers are just a few ideas.  This gives you events to plan for and look forward to.

Infographic Credit: Successstory.com

If you have infographics you’d like to share with Self Help Daily’s readers, simply e-mail them to me (joisigers @ aim.com) along with the link you’d like linked to in the credits. If you don’t hear back from me, that does not mean I won’t use your infographic. Simply watch for it… I try to space them out a bit, so it may take a week or so. Thanks! ~ Joi

Book Review: The Complete Thyroid Health & Diet Guide

Understanding and Managing Thyroid Disease

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide
I have had Thyroid Disease for more years than I was Thyroid Disease free. My Grave’s Disease flat out refused to let any medication control it, so they had to destroy it with radiation.

Since then, I’ve had to take thyroid medicine every morning.

Like allergies, asthma, diabetes, hypertension or a host of other diseases – thyroid disease will sometimes award its owner with good days and will other times make leaving the house seem like a chore.

Also like other diseases, a lot… make that A LOT.. of these days can be controlled with our own actions and diet as much as it can with a pill.

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide
For a lot of years, I craved more information about what things I SHOULD be eating and what things I SHOULD NOT be eating. I wanted an expert in the field to tell me what I could do to control my own health and prevent thyroid disease from causing any more harm than it already has AND to help heal the damage it may have done.

I wanted an all-in-one guide to lay it all out for me… “This is what you should be eating more of… this is what you should be eating less of… and here’s why.”  Unfortunately a guide never existed.

Now it does.

When I was contacted a while back about reviewing The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide: Understanding and Managing Thyroid Disease, the first thing I thought was, “Could this be what I’ve been looking for for SO many years?” I said it would be my pleasure to both read and use the guide as well as tell others all about it.

I only hoped that it would live up to what I wanted and needed it to live up to.

It actually exceeded everything I could have ever hoped for. The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide is easy to read, easy to follow, easy to comprehend, and easy to implement into your daily life.  I lost track of the number of times I thought, “I didn’t know that!” as I read along.

It wasn’t long before I grabbed a highlighter to highlight the information and a pen and notebook to record the knowledge.

About the Author

Dr. Nikolas R. Hedberg, DC, DABCI, DACBN, BCNP, is a board-certified naturopathic physician and a chiropractic physician. In addition, he is board-certifed in nutrition by the American Clinical Board of Nutrition. He is the founder of the Immune Restoration Center, located in Asheville, North Carolina.

Danielle Cook, MS, RD, CDE, has a master’s degree in nutrition and food science. She has worked as an inpatient clinical dietitian a nutrition support specialist and a diabetes/educator/dietitian in an outpatient setting.

{Review Continued Below…}

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide looks at each system in the body and how they are affected by thyroid disease. The disease reaches further than most people realize. That’s why it “feels” like it touches us head to toe… because it DOES touch us head to toe!

As someone who recently had to stop eating gluten and wheat, I was especially fascinated by the connection between gluten and thyroid disease. I also thoroughly enjoy the recipes and excellent nutritional advice.

A Few Nutritional Tips from this Guide:

  • Increase your fiber intake. Add 1 to 3 tbsp of ground flax seeds or chia seeds to smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods.
  • Choose healthy fats. The best fats for thyroid disease include avocados, avocado oil, coconut oil, macadamia nuts, macadamia nut butter, macadamia nut oil, organic butter, organic ghee (clarified butter), and olive oil.
  • Use unrefined Celtic sea salt. Processed table salt has many added chemicals and is deficient in nutrients. Unrefined Celtic sea salt contains over 50 different minerals that are important for health and thyroid function.
  • Asparagus is an excellent source of folate and a good source of vitamin C, thiamine, and vitamin B6. It is high in rutin (a flavanoid that helps lower inflammation, strengthen blood vessels, and protect cells from damage) and glutathione (a potent antioxidant, critical for detoxification).  It contains protodioscin which has been shown to reduce bone loss, improve libido, and help defend against cancer. (two recipes in the guide for asparagus: Roasted Asparagus and Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic)
  • Cilantro is a powerful antioxidant and a source of iron, magnesium, and manganese.  It helps remove heavy metals, such as mercury, from the body. Cilantro is also antibacterial and can aid in digestion by enhancing pancreatic enzyme activity and stimulating bile flow and secretions.

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide is the type of all-in-one guide I’ve been looking for for years. If you have thyroid disease, I hope you’ll check this book out for yourself. It’s a winner!

~ Joi


Prevent Dementia with Smart Food Choices

Out of Bounds

Dementia (including the most fearsome type of dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease) has become as feared in our society as cancer. Fortunately, there are proactive changes we can make to greatly reduce our odds of getting dementia. In addition to getting plenty of physical and mental activity – eating a healthy diet is absolutely essential.

Read more about brain foods that’ll help prevent dementia by clicking the link.

Heart Healthy Benefits of Drinking Your Heart’s Favorite Drink: Green Tea!

How Tea Can Help You Prevent Heart Disease

Cup of Green Tea

The health benefits of green tea are legendary.  I could, I’m certain, write a 6,000 word essay on the powers of green tea and still not cover half of the information.  Since I have a lunch date with my family in a few hours, I won’t launch into that right now.  I know one thing, though, as usual, I’ll be ordering tea to drink.

Green tea isn’t just one of the smartest drinks anyone can choose, it might just be THE smartest one an individual at risk for heart disease could choose. Given the sobering fact that, each year, roughly 1.5 million Americans have a heart attack, it makes sense to do absolutely everything to make sure we don’t fall within this number. When lowering our risk is as simple as choosing the right drink to pour into our glass, it’d be ridiculous not to jump on board.

The following excerpt from Prevent a Second Heart Attack lays it all out beautifully:

Just like chocolate, tea is a form of plant food – and plants contain a plethora of phytochemicals that, when stacked together, will maximize the strength of your daily heart disease defense system. No doubt about it, a few daily cups of tea, and especially green tea, can provide cardiovascular protection via antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.

There are three main varieties of tea – black, oolong, and green – and all are derived from the tea plant known as Camellia sinensis (Countless herbal infusions are informally referred to as “tea,” but these are unrelated to real tea produced from Camellia sinensis). Teas are classified based on how the leaves are processed, with the leaves of green tea being the least processed of the three varieties. Green tea is dried but not fermented; hence it retains the greatest amount of polyphenols.

What exactly is in green tea that wards off heart disease? Researchers believe that the primary therapeutic component in green tea is another type of flavonoid, the catechin family of plant polyphenols, found in exceptionally high concentration.  The most abundant of the green tea polyphenols is called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short. EGCG is believed to be the most active health-protective component in green tea. (Incidentally, green tea contains 40 percent more polyphenols than black tea.)  According to researchers out of the University of Hong Kong, EGCG is a highly effective agent for lowering inflammation in the bloodstream as well as reducing oxidation of LDL, thereby protecting against plaque buildup.  – Page 225, Prevent a Second Heart Attack by Janet Bond Brill, PH.D., R.D., LDN

Did you know that research shows that drinking tea may reduce the risk of death following a heart attack. A study showed that people who drank two or more cups a day had a 44 percent lower death rate following their heart attacks than did non-tea drinkers.

Some of the health benefits of drinking tea may come from the fact that it keeps you from drinking soft drinks and diet soft drinks – both of which aren’t even remotely healthy.  It’s always the right time for tea… so I think I’ll go have a cup right now. – Joi

You can read my Prevent a Second Heart Attack Review by clicking the link. The article includes GREAT advice on heart health whether you’re looking to prevent a first or second heart attack! The author also answers some questions about heart health and heart attack prevention.

See Also: I’m not just a tea drinker or a tea lover… I’m actually a Crazy Tea Chick. Click the link for my tea blog!

Review: Clean Slate, A Cookbook and Guide from the Editors of Martha Stewart Living

Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best

Clean Slate Cookbook and Guide

Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best

Almost everyone is TALKING these days about “clean eating,” cutting out empty calories, cutting back on red meat, and forgetting that fried food even exists. Yet hardly anyone is actually FOLLOWING through.

Why? It’s a whole lot easier to say you’re going to changer your way of eating than to actually do it.

The talk? Easy. The follow thorough? Not so much.

Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best, from the editors of Martha Stewart Living, might just be the book to help you nail the “follow through” once and for all.

As the back cover states, Clean Slate is more than just a cookbook:

More than just a cookbook, CLEAN SLATE, from the editors of Martha Stewart Living, provides you with the nutritionally sound information you need to shop for and prepare food that nourishes body and mind. You’ll find guidelines for restocking your pantry with whole grains, beans and legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats; glossaries of the best sources of detoxifiers, antioxidants, and other health-boosting nutrients; and menus for a simple 3-day cleanse and a 21-day whole-body detox, with easy to follow tips and strategies for staying on track.

If you’re at all familiar with computers, you now that sometimes your desktop computer needs to be “reset.”  Hitting reset gives your computer a chance to gather itself and clear its thoughts!

I had an old Gateway once that would (every so often) get “hung up.” It’d freeze, usually when I was right in the middle of something. It just really knew how to pick its moments. I’d hit “reset” and it’d come back as good as new.  Oddly enough, it’d actually perform 10 times better after I afforded it the opportunity to start fresh.

Clean Slate offers readers a chance to do just that – to reset their approach to food and get a whole new fresh start on the health of their body by being smarter about what they put into their mouth.

This beautiful book emphasizes eating clean, whole, unprocessed foods as part of a primarily plant-based diet. There are more than 160 great looking, “doable” recipes to help you along the way. Juices, smoothies, main dishes, snacks, and even desserts!

One of the things I love most about Clean Slate is the fact that each recipe clearly and plainly states whether it is vegan, dairy free, nut-free, and/or gluten free.

While I lvoe the recipes like any self-respecting foodie would, my favorite part of the book is the KNOW YOUR NUTRIENTS section. Within these pages are listed the superheroes of the food world – along with colorful photographs:

  • Super Detoxifiers: Foods that support the liver, the “Main Guy” in charge of detoxification. Avocado, citrus fruits, flaxseed….
  • Antioxidant Powerhouses: The vitamins in these foods help neutralize free radicals that contribute to the onset of aging and disease. Carrots, dark beans, cloves, plums….
  • Inflammation Fighters: The foods with Omega-3s, Vitamin E and other compounds that help prevent inflammations. This, in turn, reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease while soothing the aches and pains from arthritis.  Walnuts, herbs, papaya…. 
  • Digestive Aids: Foods that are particularly loaded with beneficial bacteria and fiber. They keep the digestive system running smoothly. Honey, mint, turmeric, coconut, ginger…

While there were some foods listed within each of the above groups I expected, there were far more I didn’t expect. It makes smart meal planning easier when you know what each ingredient brings to the Clean Slate Party.

Other subjects covered in Clean Slate:

  • Golden Rules for Eating Clean
  • Restocking Your Pantry
  • Action Plans for Detoxing Your Mind and Body
  • MANY recipes along with gorgeous photographs.

Clean Slate is a beautiful guide/cookbook that’ll help you sort through the maze of healthy eating. You’ll come away from this book armed with all the information you need to begin a fresh new approach to food…. An approach that’ll lead you and your family down the path to better health.

Click through any of the links to take a closer look at Clean Slate on Amazon.

~ Joi

Note: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. The opinions are entirely my own.

Healthier Habits for a Healthier Life and a Healthier YOU!

Out of Bounds
December 6, 2014

Here’s a link to an article on my mental fitness blog, Out of Bounds. The article was written by Ron McDiarmid, founder of Healthy Living Coach.com. The article lays out the healthy habits we should all strive to incorporate into our lives… if, that is, we want to be as healthy as we possibly can be! See Healthy Habits for a Healthy Life for a great read.

The Truth About Smoothies

Healthy Smoothies vs Unhealthy Smoothies

How Healthy are Smoothies?
The following article was written by Ron McDiarmid from MyHelathyLivingCoach.com.  As we near the closing of one year and the beginning of a new year, I hope healthy eating is at the forefront of your mind. Articles such as this one  – as well as the many other articles you’ll find on the My Healthy Living Coach website – will help you get where you want to be by this time next year!

It can be a challenge to create healthy, easy meals, especially when we are on the go. The smoothie is one of the more popular health foods to emerge in recent years. And these days, you can find them anywhere, from your neighborhood new age restaurant to famous fast food joints. There’s a reason that the smoothie is so ubiquitous; they are a fast, easy and convenient way to get a lot of nutrition into your body in a short amount of time. But although smoothies have many benefits to our health, they can also cause health challenges, depending on how they are made.

What’s In a Smoothie?

Blended fruit is the most basic ingredient in a smoothie. Unlike in a juice, a smoothie can contain the entire fruit including the skin and seeds. Fruit is simply cut up and blended until it’s a liquid, instead of having its liquid extracted, as is the case with juice.

But the smoothie has much more potential than just the addition of fruit. Beyond that basic element, smoothies can include just about anything. A large number of smoothies have some sort of fat component, often a protein-rich food like yogurt or nut butter. They also tend to include a variety of fruit. Some people add supplements like protein powder, digestive supports like fresh ginger and powdered cinnamon to their smoothie. Super foods like spirulina, maca, or raw cacao can also be added.

The green smoothie is a definite favorite. This includes green leafy vegetables such kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro, arugula, and lettuce. These leafy veggies can be blended with sweet fruit like bananas, or a raw vegan fat like avocado or soaked almonds can be used.

Beware the Unhealthy Smoothie

The level of a smoothie’s healthfulness depends on what has been put into it. But it’s important to understand that in a smoothie; relatively large amounts of food have been broken into tiny bits. This means that far more calories can be consumed than we realize. Making a smoothie that has over 800 calories is very easy to do. And because smoothies are liquid, we can ingest a high volume without necessarily feeling full, and then feel hungry again shortly after.

Fruit contains a lot of calories as well as naturally occurring sugar. If a smoothie is largely fruit-based, and a sweetener like agave nectar or honey is added, the sugar calories skyrocket which can spike our blood sugar levels.

Weight gain is triggered by eating too much sugar. Many think that increased fat consumption causes weight gain, but in a smoothie, healthy fats like avocados and nuts are usually added. Eating a lot of sugar places a lot of stress on the bloodstream. Whatever the body doesn’t immediately use for energy is converted into fat. And this is what makes smoothies potentially fattening; the potentially large amount of sugar that’s ingested in a relatively short period of time.

Healthy Smoothie Versions

Of course, there are incredibly healthy versions of the smoothie. One example is the vegan smoothie which contains primarily leafy green vegetables with some healthy fats, plant-based proteins, and a small amount of fruit. The vegan smoothie is a great way to boost your health. You can enjoy a large serving of nutritious greens and camouflage their taste in the fruits you add. This is a great idea for those who find salads challenging to enjoy. You can even make a sugar-free smoothie with greens, lemon, avocado, and assorted seeds.

The secret to a smoothie that supports weight loss and overall health is the careful choice of ingredients. Include only those ingredients that you would feel good about eating in a single meal. For example, if you would not eat 4 ounces of nut butter or 3 bananas in one meal, you may wish to reconsider adding them to your smoothie, because you will be consuming a high amount of calories at once.

It’s always a good idea to include a bit of fat in your smoothie to make the vitamins in the vegetables more accessible by your body. Doing this will also increase the level of satiation so that you feel full for longer, but it won’t be so much fat that your smoothie becomes a dessert. Adding just enough fruit to make the greens palatable is preferable to turning your smoothie into a fruit salad. Avoid the addition of sugar and calorie-laden ingredients like fruit juice. Do not add sweeteners unless it is stevia, which provides the sugary flavor without blood sugar spike. Ensure your smoothies are high in fiber, as this will help to slow the absorption rate of any sugar that may be present.

It also makes sense to think of your smoothie as a meal instead of a drink. Use smoothies as a main meal replacement. Enjoy your smoothie as you would any other meal, by sitting at your dining table. Drink slowly, and chew it a bit. This will help to further break down the greens and help your body to absorb it more slowly and thoroughly. If you intend to lose weight or maintain your current weight, the calories in your smoothie can be counted as a part of your daily total.

Smoothies remain one of the most versatile, healthy and convenient meal options available today. With the push of a button, we can create elaborate and delicious concoctions of fruity and green goodness. But just as with anything else, smoothies are only as healthy as their individual ingredients, amounts, and serving sizes. Choose to include mostly green veggies in your creation, along with a little healthy fat, plant-based protein, and minimal fruit, and your body will reap the many benefits.

This post is contributed by Ron McDiarmid, who is the founder of My Healthy Living Coach. Having had health challenges along the way Ron was keen to share the research and learning he gathered. Through MHLC this continued into a current presentation of healthy lifestyle choices and how to implement them. Check out his website at www.myhealthylivingcoach.com.

Getting “Couch Tots” Up Off Their Perch

Couch Tots Grow Into Couch Potatoes...

If you’re in the vicinity of my age, then… like me… you probably marvel at the lack of outdoor activity kids get these days.

Seriously, we practically LIVED outdoors when we were kids, didn’t we?!  I don’t think I could have told you ANY television shows that were on during the day… not counting Saturday morning cartoons, of course.

Of course, parents have the extra hurdle of getting their kids away from, not just television, but also computers, iPads, iPhones, etc.

Experts recommend that kids get no more than two hours per day of “screen time” (tv, computer, and/or video games).  Most kids, however, average more than 4 hours a day.

Below are tips from the American Heart Association to get your kid(s) up and moving.  Couch tots grow up to be couch potatoes, and neither are particularly healthy as a result.

  1. Suggest and Offer alternative activities.  Have a “Family Game Night,” shoot some hoops, go for walks, or visit a nearby park.
  2. Become active with your kids.  Play with them rather than just watch them!
  3. Don’t position your furniture so that the TV is the main focus of the room.
  4. Remove TVs from bedrooms.
  5. Plan TV watching in advance. Go through the TV guide ahead of time and pick the shows you’ll watch. When the show’s off, turn the TV off.

I love the one about playing with your kids.  I’ve had some of my best times in trees, on swings, and inside blanket tents with my girls. You haven’t lived until you’ve played Barbies or paper dolls beneath a tent that spans the entire space of your living room or den.  My daughter Brittany was a MASTER tent builder!

One thing I would suggest is this:  If your child already has a certain number of shows that he/she watches faithfully – it may not be what the experts suggest, but I’d suggest not rocking the boat. Instead, how about buying a stationary bike or treadmill and tell them that (in an effort to make the family healthier) you want everyone to exercise at least 30 minutes everyday. Place it right in front of the television!  Then you can suggest that they do it during a favorite show.  Before you know it, they’ll be hopping on and working out throughout the day – and getting more and more all important exercise.

If you try to take a show away from someone who watches it and enjoys it, I think you’d just be asking for a battle.  Tensions will arise and what you’re trying to suggest (exercise/activity) will suddenly become the enemy.

You want the activity to be fun and positive, you don’t want it (or yourself!) to be the enemy.  Just think how you’d feel if someone told you, even if it were for your own good, that you couldn’t watch your favorite television shows or sports again.

I believe if anyone told me I had to give up watching Animal Planet, the History Channel, or baseball I’d throw a pillow at them.

Probably two pillows.

If a treadmill or stationary bike is out of reach (I understand the whole out of reach thing as much as anyone.) – an exercise mat, a few dumbbells, and/or an exercise ball can also do wonders.

Zoos are another fun way to get your kids, and yourself, out and about.  If you’re lucky enough to live near one, you should become a familiar face to the monkeys, tigers, lions, bears, and even the reptiles.

The best way to get your kids to become more active is to lead by example. If they see your life revolving around “screen time,” they’ll assume that’s the cool thing to do. Get moving and get grooving – your entire family will be better off.

Get those bodies moving!
~ Joi