World A.S. Day is today May 4, 2013. The goal is to help draw awareness to Ankylosing Spondylitis which is a physically debilitating disease affecting over 2 million men, women & children. In spite of chronic pain, crippling symptoms & incredible discomfort, many thrive while living with this autoimmune disease. The Positive Pear offers comfort, support and helpful tools one would need to continue thriving while living with A.S. Sending love & hugs to all those thriving & surviving!! ♥ Read more about Ankylosing Spondylitis: http://thepositivepear.com/invisible-chronic-illness/ankylosing-spondylitis/
Happy Earth Day. Earth Day is meant to raise awareness about various environmental issues, such as air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, habitat destruction and lack of biodiversity, sustainable energy, reduction of energy usage, climate changes and issues relating to global warning, ecological crisis, species poaching and loss of species, and environmental policies.
One very important issues of concern lately is Neonicotinoid pesticides and its detrimental impact on the Bee population. Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine. This class of insecticides has been in existence since the 1980′s initially developed by Shell and further developed by Bayer in the 1990′s. The neonicotinoids were initially developed because they showed reduced toxicity to mammals compared to the previously used insecticides which were organophosphate and carbamate. However, these toxins have always been harmful to insects.
Researches have linked Neonicontinoid to the Honey Bee’s inability to learn scents, hampering their esfforts to collect food. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) first discovered in 2005, has dramatically worsen within this last year. Honey Bee deaths are on the rise around the globe, with a commercial loss of hives at 40% to 50% that’s approximately 5,650,000 lost hives, valued at $1.61 billion. Needless to say that loss of the honey Bee population is a threat to U.S. Agriculture and according to Albert Einstein “If the honey bee becomes extinct, mankind will follow within four years.” Italy, France, Slovenia and Germany have taken action to limit the use of bee-killing pesticides. In January 2013, the European Food Safety Authority stated that neonicotinoids pose an unacceptably high risk to bees. The European Commission has also pushed for neonicotinoid pesticide ban in Euorpe, but chemical companies such as Syngenta and Bayer have loudly protested. What can we expect from The U.S. Department of Agriculture? Probably about as much as we expected regarding food labeling of GMO foods. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently in the midst of approving a deadly NEW neonicotinoid called Sulfoxaflor.
What can we do? Well, as the food movement learned regarding GMO Food Labeling with the failure of Prop 37, we can’t outspend “Big Food” and large named corporations with deep pockets who are causing irreparable harm to the environment and to human life. Additionally, we can’t out campaign them, but we can potentially outsmart them. As with many things that are out of our control, I think it helps to drive awareness, because our efforts large or small due make a difference. We do have a voice, we can help in this instance by asking Congress to Ban Neonicotinoid Pesticides before they completely devastate the U. S. Bee Population.
Boston Strong on Earth Day
On Earth day as my focus moved from our food, the environment and the many hazards that both the healthy and chronically afflicted are exposed to, to focusing on our loss of peace and the demand for justice in Boston. I could not help but think pf our community as we return to a form of normalcy. We usually spend a great day in Boston doing something earth day related, but after the bombings and subsequent lock down of the city, which lead to the apprehension of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in an area that is a short distance from where my family once lived, we elected to donate our earth day time to paying our respects to so many who were affected by the bombings. We would have attended the Boston Marathon this year as we do each year, if my youngest weren’t on crutches. We actually cheered for my sister-n-law who ran in the Marathon for the first time this year. We also had many friends who were also running and though forever touched by this horrible incident, all came away completely unscathed. On this earth day we honored 8 year old Martin Richard, 29 year old Krystle Campbell, 23 year old BU Grad Student Lingzi Lu of China and 23 year old MIT Police officer Sean Collieral and the many victims the Boston Marathon bombings. We prayed for peace and comfort for the families, along with gratitude and appreciation for own safety and for those we know and love. A calmness has been restored to the Boston area. Peace and hope have been restored in all of our hearts, along with renewed faith and confidence in humanity. Through the vigilance of those who helped on the day of the bombing to our law enforcement agencies who were on the ground until the suspect was apprehended. We can only hope now that circumstances will allow justice to be served in an appropriate manner. May Peace light & love be with each of you and may we all continue to be Boston Strong.
“The Human Spirit Needs Places Where Nature Has not Been Rearranged By the Hand of Man” ~Unknown~
Yay, warm weather is here, as we’re quickly approach the official first day of Summer. Like many of you, I long for this time of year when I can spend time outdoors and I also look forward to taking advantage of the many opportunities to reconnect with nature. This longing for fun in the sun and fresh air is not only rejuvenating both physically and mentally, the great outdoors also offers us incredible healing benefits. Scientists have discovered that by spending time outside we increase our exposure to phytoncides which naturally reduce stress. People who take walks in the park where they encounter many plants and trees, versus walks in the city where they are surrounded by buildings and cement sidewalks, had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as a lower pulse rate, and lower blood pressure readings. In several other studies, specifically one that took place in April 2007, showed an increase in white blood cells within a group of 12 healthy men ranging in ages 37-55 , who took two-hour walks in a forest over a two-day period. In January 2008, a group of women who also participated in a very similar experiment entitled ”forest bathing” had an increase in white blood cells and a reduction in anti-cancer proteins, which lasted up to one week due to their exposure of phytoncides which are found in forest air.
The beach is another place to go for wonderful healing benefits. Salt water is high in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and bromide which not only accelerates the healing of cuts, it also helps to fight infections, reduces inflammation of joints and relieves muscle pain and soreness. Salt water also stimulates blood circulation, increases moisture retention, detoxifies and promotes cellular regeneration. As a result it offers beautifying and anti-aging benefits, for both the inner and outer body. Regular beach time & salt water swimming also offers healing benefits for skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. In summary, spending quality time in nature, offers us incredible physical and psychological benefits, such as recovery from stress, increased relaxation, decreased mental fatigue, better performance, restored mental clarity, increased immune function for improved heath, healing and an increased overall sense of well-being.
Best Places to Enjoy Nature
3) Local Parks
4) National Parks
6) Camp Sites
A Few Outdoor Nature Activities for Summer:
6) Paddle Boarding
9) Outdoor Meditation & Relaxation
10) Outdoor Yoga & Fitness Classes
Want to feel better mentally, physically and emotionally? Increase the amount of time that you spend outdoors surrounded by nature!
As a Holistic Health Advocate, stress is one of the leading topics that I cover with my clients. As a Health, Wellness & Fitness Professional, Speaker and Presenter, I’m also asked to speak on and write about related topics and stress of course is one that I’m asked to cover. It’s also a topic that I reference quite frequently in many posts via my blog “The Positive Pear.” Most recently I was asked to cover this very topic in which I entitled “Live, Love & Laugh Stress Awareness & Management” it also happened to be “Stress Awareness Month.” Here are a few highlights from that discussion…. People often discount the adverse effects of stress and its negative impact on our mind, body and emotions. Stress is directly linked to the six leading causes of death which are, heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, cirrhosis of the liver, accidents and suicide. Stress management is incredibly important for everyone and especially for those of us who are living with and battling chronic invisible illness & autoimmune disease, because not only are we more susceptible to stress, but having frequent bouts of stress can trigger many symptoms of our conditions. Long term exposure to high levels of stress can even cause a healthy body to remain in constant “fight or flight” mode with an inability to properly regulate the production of stress hormones. The continued release of these hormones can lead to impaired immunity. Which can lead to chronic conditions like adrenal fatigue, thyroid imbalance and several aging related diseases. Symptoms of stress often include, allergies, fatigue, chronic headaches, unexplained weight gain, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, insomnia, digestive issues, depression, memory impairment, heart disease, strokes, and certain types of autoimmune disease.
Avoid ineffective fall back methods:
It is important to recognize your stressors and to take the appropriate action which would be either to avoid, alter, adapt or accept situations in which we’ve been exposed. Avoid resorting to methods which only temporarily reduce stress while creating other problems, such as drinking, pills, drugs, smoking, overeating, sleeping too much, zoning out, running away/becoming overly busy, procrastinating, withdrawing from friends, family and activities in addition to lashing out.
More Effective Ways of Managing Stress:
Remember that everyone encounters stress, working professionals, business owners, new parents, stay at home moms & dads, single people, married couples, teens & even children. The earlier in life that we learn to recognize the symptoms of stress and how to manage & cope the better. It is also very important to adapt effective coping mechanisms and to utilize these techniques regularly: First and foremost, know your limits and recognize when you’re exceeding them. learn to say “no” when appropriate. There is an example with the use of “spoons” and how it relates to the energy level of those of us who are battling chronic invisible illness. We’re only allocated so many per day and if we use too many, then we’re depleted and we run the risk of not being able to accomplish things that are incredibly important. We’re then forced to pick and choose our activities based on the number of spoons we have each day. This example can apply to everyone whether they’re chronically ill or incredibly healthy , ecause we all encounter stress and we can encounter it regularly. Simply put, do not take on more responsibly than you can handle. Be mindful of your association, support systems and friends and choose wisely. Avoiding negative, confrontational and toxic people who cause you stress.
Take Control of Your Life: Utilize proper time management skills, plan ahead, stay organized, prioritize and choose methods which help you to avoid stressors.
Check in Emotionally: Voice your feelings by speaking up for yourself or talking it out with a friend or family member. Work on developing or utilizing effective communication skills, rather than holding things inside and allowing them build up. This might also require becoming more assertive. Also be willing to compromise in situations and make personal adjustments if needed.
Change Your Way of Thinking: By changing your perspective you’re more apt to seeing the bigger picture, instead of seeing only the many individual problems that you may encounter. Adjust expectations that you have of yourself and others by making sure you have a realistic view of life. This is especially important if you are a perfectionist (like me). In doing so you’re less likely to set yourself up for disappointment and failure.
Acceptance is Crucial: Accept yourself for who you are, where you are and what you have to offer. Accept things which you can not control, such as the behavior of other people and focus on things that you can control such as your reactions. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people and allow them to make mistakes by forgiving them and letting go of anger and resentment, which will free you from negativity.
Adjust Your Attitude by Focusing on the Positive! How we think has a profound impact on our emotional and physical well-being thus affecting our ability to manage stress. Look at bad experiences as life’s learning opportunities. Do not remain here in this bad place even if you’re at fault. Simply make the appropriate adjustments, pick up the pieces and move on. When things are out of control, take a moment to think about all of those things that are going right in your life and all of the things that you are truly appreciative. Focusing on even the smallest of gifts, talents and accomplishments can help us to keep things in proper perspective.
Lastly but certainly not least, Live, Love, Laugh and enjoy life and all that it has to offer! Nurture and pamper yourself, get a message, exercise regularly, take a yoga class, practice meditation and relaxation techniques. Take a long hot bath, with scented lavender candles and relaxing music. Curl up with a good book and a cup of chamomile tea, write in your journal, or on your blog, surround yourself with nature by taking advantage of a good walk, a long hike, a bike ride, or by working in the garden. Always remember that balance in life is crucial and that we can all benefit from having a little more fun, relaxation, laughter and enjoyment.
Since 1992 April has been Stress Awareness Month
Additional tips on managing stress via “The Positive Pear” Natural Stress Management Technique, Deep Breathing Technique to Reduce Stress, Relaxation is Good for the Mind, Body & Soul, Is There A Prescription for Yoga In Your Future?
Got a chocolate addiction? Well that’s a good thing. According to a recent study led by Associate Professor of Medicine Beatrice Golomb at the University of California San Diego, chocolate has proven to have favorable metabolic effects on healthy adults who combined reasonable consumption with exercise. In this study those ranging in ages from 20 to 85, reported eating chocolate twice per week while also exercising an average of 3.6 times per week, had lower Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a fairly reliable indicator of body fat and is a calculated by using a person’s weight and height. A normal BMI is typically 18.5 – 24.9, while anyone considered overweight would have a BMI of 25.0 – 29.9 and 30+ for those falling into the obese category. Adults who consumed chocolate more frequently had a lower BMI than those who consumed chocolate less often. Galomb further stated “Our findings– that more frequent chocolate intake is linked to lower BMI — are intriguing,” while calling for more detailed research and perhaps a randomized clinical trial of chocolate’s metabolic benefits. In conclusion she added ”We have seen in multiple studies the benefits of chocolate, and yet again, we see as part of an overall healthy lifestyle, chocolate does not add to weight gain, but in fact, might help control it,”
Chocolate a treat ordinarily associated with a guilty pleasure, is high in antioxidant polyphenols and flavonols, which can improve mood by releasing the neurotransmitter serotonin and in the process can also enhance sleep and reduce stress and the sensation of pain. This amazing superfood can also lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar and the plasma concentrations of proinflammatory cysteinyl leukotrienes. Thus lowering risks of heart disease, by reducing inflammation. Also beneficial to those with live with chronic inflammatory conditions. According to a study led by Elizabeth Triche of Yale University, pregnant women who consume dark chocolate during pregnancy are less likely to develop pre-eclampsia and according to a study led by Katri Raikkonen at the University of Helsinki in Finland, using 300 pregnant participants, it was further established that pregnant women who consume one small square of chocolate each day have happier, livelier babies thanks to phenylethylamine an ingredient in chocolate. Having a chocolate bar a day does not necessarily keep the doctor away, so before you begin stocking up on chocolate bars remember that moderation is key. In addition, the types of chocolate and how it’s processed is incredibly important, because those less processed will have a higher flavonoid content and those with less sugar are healthier options. Consider a few Positive Pear recommendations: RAW unprocessed chocolate in the form of cacao nibs and Navitas Naturals is a great brand. ZICO chocolate flavored coconut water and your favorite whole food, high quality, chocolate flavored protein powder, such as Monitoba, Alive, Vega or Amazing Grass. If you’re dying for a chocolate bar make sure it consists of at least 70% cocoa, that it’s also Organic and/or “Fair Trade” chocolate. Your local health food store, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Amazon.com are all great sources.
Keep Calm, Eat Chocolate & Exercise More!
Association Between More Frequent Chocolate Consumption and Lower Body Mass Index, Cocoa polyphenols and inflammatory mediators, Chocolate Consumption in Pregnancy and Reduced Likelihood of Preeclampsia, New Scientist magazine Journal reference: Early Human Development (vol 76, p 139)
Happy First Day of Spring!
As we move into one of the most beautiful seasons, we can’t help but think of doing a little spring cleaning! Clearing out the old to make room for the new.” Doing so gives us a better opportunity to embrace all of the beauty that Spring has to offer, fresh air, beautiful flowers, healthy foods and lovely sunny days. This not only applies to our homes, but our emotional health as well. Consider taking a few steps toward “cleansing your Karma” because staying healthy emotionally also helps our physical health and overall well-being.
By Utilizing 5 Basic Concepts of Karma Cleanse:
Act with Love
Check your Motives
Watch your Attitude
When I talk about healthy gluten-free snacks I can’t help but rave about one of my all time favorites and that’s the Roasted Seaweed Snack by Trader Joes. These small paper-thin snacks are only 30 calories while offering only 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein and 50 mg of sodium. If you are now thinking, “why on earth would I ever want to eat seaweed” then consider its incredible healing benefits. Seaweed is packed full of Amino Acids, ionic and trace Minerals plus Vitamins, most specifically Vitamins A, B and C. It also contains Beta-Carotene and Iodine, essential for Myelin production which helps to combat symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) by nourishing the mitochondria. Seaweed also contains high amounts of Iron, Calcium, and Fiber, along with the non-essential amino acid Taurine, which is great for alertness and mental clarity. Incredibly beneficial to those who suffer from *Fibro Fog, memory issues and depression. It also aids in bile production which helps with digestion. Seaweed is also instrumental in naturally lowering cholesterol levels which is essential to heart health. This wonderful super food also has antiviral and antibacterial properties, as well as an abundance of anti-inflammatory properties. Proving very beneficial to those with chronic inflammatory conditions such as Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS).
Seaweed also contains Selenium, Collagen, Asparagine, Boron, Bioflavonoids and Antioxidants. When you eat this amazing little snack, you are strengthening your hair, bones, teeth, gums and connective tissue, while improving your thyroid, eyes and skin. You are also sharpening your brain, removing toxins from your body such as mercury, lead and heavy metals, while helping your body to fight infection, colds, flu, allergies, and other respiratory problems. In addition to lowering your risks of breast and prostate cancer. Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack is vegan-friendly and a great substitution for chips and other high calorie, high sodium snacks. Plus, there is no need to swim to the bottom of the ocean to enjoy this tasty little snack. They are packaged nicely, sold at your local Trader Joe’s and are very reasonably priced at only $.99. They also travel well for eating on the go and they are quite addicting, so be sure to stock up!
Great packaging, opens easily and travels well. Roasted seaweed remains fresh and in tact.
Beautiful snacks which you can serve on a plate or in the included plastic container. They tend to absorb moisture rather quickly, so be careful of leaving them out for too long. Especially in humid climates, or you’ll risk losing the crunchiness which is their appeal.
Paper thin, filling and incredibly delicious!
If you like a little kick be sure to try their mouth blowing Wasabi Roasted Seaweed Snack. I like spicy, but one bite of this flavor was all that I could take. I will say it’s worth trying and if you can’t handle the heat revisit the idea of the original flavor.
Over 100 million American live with chronic health conditions and illnesses, such as autoimmune arthritis, ankylosing spondilitis (AS), multiple sclerosis (MS), diabetes, Crohn’s and lupus to mention only a few. Our symptoms—like pain, fatigue, muscle aches and weakness, disturbances in vision, cognitive difficulty, intestinal distress and memory loss—aren’t always visible to the naked eye. The ones closest to us, such as family, friends and co-workers can’t always recognize the sense of loss, loneliness and isolation, that we as sufferers can experience. In spite of the many obstacles that we strive to overcome daily associated with living with chronic illness, we can strive to live full and very meaningful lives regardless of the severity of our conditions. It takes having a good support system, becoming our own health advocates, through knowledge and education about our conditions, symptoms, medications, natural supplements, appropriate healthy nutrition. While also knowing the types of exercise that works for own individual lifestyle and abilities which helps to reduce our levels of stress, which can trigger symptoms. While striving to maintain a positive mental attitude. As someone living with multiple chronic invisible illnesses, I understand the many daily challenges that sufferers can experience and I encourage you to recognize that as a statistical group, or as beautiful, unique individuals, we are so much stronger than we think! YOU are much strong than you think!!
“You never know how STRONG you are until being strong is the only choice you have” ~Unknown~
“Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” ~Friedrich Nietzsche~
Beautiful people don’t just happen: ”The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross~