Be Positive & Surround Yourself With Positive People….

Our lives can sometimes be a reflection of our attitude, actions and the choices we’ve made. We are all too familiar with the term “Karma” and how it relates to the type of energy that we put out into the world and much like a boomerang, that positive and/or negative energy can return to us. Knowing this encourages many to live a life that includes being kind to others, while others in spite of knowing this, still choose to be harmful at every turn. A good person recognizes the powerful forces of Karma, but their lives accurately reflect what is truly in their hearts, even without the existence of these universal principles.  There are of course exceptions to the rule, because we know that are times when good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.  This is proof that not everything in life is a direct reflection of cause and effect, or action and reaction. These are examples of things in life that we simply can not control, but we can control the type of energy that we choose to exude and pass onto others. We can also choose the type of energy in which we surround ourselves through our association, by perhaps selecting people with a higher sense of consciousness, rather than allowing some to simply fall into our lives by default. When choosing to add people to our support systems, we want to make sure that these individuals are in fact supportive, loving, kind, selfless and above all, positive in their thoughts and deeds.  I also think that these individuals poses inner peace, greater awareness, intellectual & moral enlightenment, profound knowledge and a strong sense of personal growth. These are the types of people who are full of and surrounded by positive energy, rather than a cloud of drama. They have positive attitudes which allows them to cope rationally with just about anything that comes their way. These individuals are not victims in life, they get angry but they choose not harbor resentment and as a result, you’ll never see them engaging in competitive, vindictive or spiteful behavior.  They live & love by the high standards of their personal code and they enjoy all that life has to offer. Yes, they get knocked down, but they easily recognize that there is an ebb and flow to life, so they recover in tact and often better and stronger than they ever were.  We all desire a life that is full of love and we all truly want to be loved by all around us. We have the power of choice to make this happen and we can take one major step toward living this loving and very fulfilling life by being positive, and surrounding ourselves with positive people. Sending peace, light & love to you wonderful, healthy people who read this blog. In addition, positive healing energy to all of the beautiful people who are fighting the difficult battle of  living with Invisible Chronic Illness.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is mental health awareness month. Our mental health is an aspect of invisible chronic illness that we can easily overlook, because we’re busy focusing on the pain, discomfort or numerous other symptoms that accompany our autoimmune disease or chronic conditions.  We must keep in mind the importance of paying close attention to our mental and emotional health, as well as our physical well-being.  Depression is not only a symptom of conditions which affect the brain, such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or a symptom of  conditions that affect mobility such as autoimmune arthritis,  it’s also one of the leading causes of disability effecting approximately 120 million people worldwide.  Being able to recognize the signs of depression and having a well established support system is incredibly important. Symptoms of depression include: anxiety, persistent sadness and hopelessness, loneliness, sense of loss, withdrawal from friends & loved ones, isolation, loss of interest in activities, enjoyment, feelings of guilt, low self-worth, sleep disturbance, disruption in appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.  There are ways in which we can manage our own symptoms of  mild depression and these methods also work with antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. Such as exercise, yoga, meditation, lifestyle management, stress management, balanced whole-food nutrition, and nutritional & herbal supplements. Within our support systems it is incredibly important to also include a mental health professional who is capable of easily recognizing when depression exceeds our ability to self manage, in which case medication or psychotherapy might be needed.

It’s hard to believe that this awareness effort has been underway since 1949, especially since mental illness was incredibly taboo until recent years. We are so fortunate to live in society where advocacy is alive and well. Education is at our finger tips and we can openly discuss invisible chronic illness in all of its forms.  Along with Depression & Major Depression also known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) & clinical depression,  there are numerous other mental disorders which fall into the category of mental health and require awareness such as: ADHD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder GAD, Panic Disorder, Eating Disorders, Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism, Bipolar Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Dissociative Disorders, Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Phobia, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Schizophrenia, Self-injuring Behaviors, Social Phobia and Tourette Syndrome.

1st week in May is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

The entire month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Why Should I Be Positive When I Have Every Right To Be Negative?

I’ve considered writing about this topic in many different ways over the past few months.  I’ve started a few drafts, yet I struggled a bit with the most appropriate way to approach this subject. I desire to help others understand the importance of having a positive mental attitude while fighting chronic health conditions, without inadvertently trivializing anyone’s emotional or physical pain. I’ve also sat back and observed and I can’t help but notice the amount of negativity that comes from people who are physically suffering. When I’ve chimed in with my messages of hope and sunshine, I’ve been asked if I even know what its like to live with chronic pain or chronic illness. I initially found this surprising, then realized by the many negative comments and private conversations, that many feel they must appear downtrodden to be taken seriously.  After all, living with chronic illness can often mean their conditions are also invisible to the naked eye and because these conditions are also difficult to diagnose, they’ve had much to endure. This showed me the great need for positivity within this group who are living with Invisible Chronic Illness and I set out to share my positive message.

By the way, the answer to that question is yes, I do know what its like to live with invisible chronic illness, as I’ve lived with two chronic conditions since childhood and another that I developed after a horrible car accident a few years back. I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS). Like most of my fellow sufferers I look fine, and because of my positive and very hopeful outlook on life, on the surface I might also act fine. I’m an eternal optimist and in spite of my difficulties and physical challenges, I’m the type of person who is most likely to see the glass half full, rather than half empty.

Why is this? When like most of you I’ve lived with symptoms of chronic invisible illness for many years, going undiagnosed or being misdiagnosed.  I’ve also had my symptoms trivialized or blatantly disregarded by numerous doctors.  I’ve had “friends” incapable of understanding why I would have bouts of spontaneous swelling or why I was physically debilitated for 8 months, using a cane & crutches without a single diagnosis.  As a teen my mother would tell me that I was being lazy and would force me out of bed at 2am to wash dishes that I couldn’t get to because of fatigue, during what I know now to be AS & CFIDS flares. My mom would also suggest that I was far too young to be tired all of the time and that I needed to “snap” myself out of it. As my conditions progressed, I can recall my husband asking how long I’d plan to be sick, when it came to cooking and cleaning the house, as he sat and watched football. I’m sure that if I asked each of you to list below your many encounters with insensitive people, doctors, friends, strangers, or family members, that the comment section would be full. However, I know the effects of dwelling on the negative and as I recall these situations, I can still tap into the awful feelings that I’d experienced at those precise moments. I also know that as easily as I can focus on the negative, I can also think of many positive situations in my life to draw upon. I can name 20 very supportive friends, at least one doctor who finally listened to me, leading to a correct diagnosis. I can think of a phone conversation with my mom, as I explained the spontaneous swelling that I’d experienced as a child, was the result of AS and the debilitating fatigue I’d also lived with since childhood, was due to Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS/CFS. My husband has since taken over the cooking and cleaning, as I now sit and watch the occasional football game. My friends and family are now my biggest supporters, and I do not harbor resentment toward them because they did not understand invisible chronic Illness.  I didn’t even understand it myself and I’d lived with (3) of these conditions for most of my life. I’ve also found great healing in forgiveness and not so much of others, but of myself. Letting go of much of the guilt that comes from being chronically ill.  Allowing myself to mourn the loss of the former me and embracing all of who I am today.

Through knowledge I empower myself. I also posses an inner strength and a sense of joy that absolutely no one can steal from me. As my own health advocate I walk into a doctor’s office and I can say with great confidence that I’m looking for someone to partner with me in my health care. I want a doctor who is more knowledgeable about my conditions than I am and sensitive to my needs as a patient and when they are neither, I fire them. That’s right fire them! I recently “fired” my primary care physician after 8 years and I used the term “fired” because Its empowering. She had not been at all helpful in identifying any of the (3) chronic conditions that I have, because she continually trivialized or ignored my symptoms. I even had to demand appointments with specialist, because she would never refer me on her own.  On one occasion dragging myself to an Infectious Disease Specialist, simply to prove that I did not have Lyme Disease. However, I had to sever ties, when she blatantly lied about finding a lump in my breast preventing me from receiving the type of mammogram that I needed. I felt this was an attempt on her part to hide her lack of cooperation with me on my many mammogram requests in the past.  Now faced with a rather large lump she could have been exposed or worse liable. It was obvious to me that her reputation was of far more importance to her than my health, so, I “fired” her! I asked for a meeting with her boss, which I received, where he apologized on behalf of his department and proceeded to order the mammogram and ultrasound that I needed.

Even from this situation I can find a positive.  I’ve gained even more confidence to stand up for myself as a patient. I can share my experiences with others, so that they too can the find their inner strength. I am not a victim of chronic illness and neither are you.  As a result, I do not allow the autoimmune disease that I have or the two other invisible illnesses take control of my thinking or to define who I am. I choose to navigate through life with a positive mental attitude and so can you. because it is a choice.  I also find great strength in controlling things that are within my ability to control. I exercise daily, I eat healthy, healing foods, I take natural herbs and supplements to give me energy and to help with managing the multitude of  symptoms that I encounter. Knowing that stress is a symptom trigger, I keep my stress levels low by resting when needed, meditating, practicing yoga, making sure that I have some “me” time and by being grateful and truly appreciative for all that is right in my life. Being positive does not come at the risk of ignoring the emotional, mental or physical pain, the bad moments in life or the negative situations that we encounter. Life is full of those. Feel free to face those head on, cope with them, feel the anger and the frustration and be ready to stand up for yourself when needed. What’s most important about the negative things that we encounter in our lives, is not the fact that we encounter them, it is how we recover from them and its easiest when we do not allow these moments to consume us, instead allowing ourselves to learn, grow and move on.

Without question each day brings its own challenges, especially when living with chronic pain &  invisible chronic illness, but we do have a choice when it comes to being negative ~vs~ being positive. Deciding to have a positive mental attitude not only empowers us, but it gives us the opportunity to see the wonderful things that each day brings.

Another TPP article giving us the why’s and how to’s: “Being Positive when Living with a Chronic Illness”

Eat Foods High In Amino Acids to Feel Great & Manage Symptoms

Amino Acids are protein building blocks and proteins are the building blocks of life itself.  There are 20 which are crucial to human heath, relating to growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues.  Nine of these amino acids are considered essential and required through proper nutrition, which will enable the body to produce the required protein.   These are: leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, phenylalanine and histidine.  The eleven non-essential amino acids are arginine, alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamine, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.

Many non-essential amino acids may not be required for protein building, but through much research it has been discovered that they are instrumental in healing and relieving symptoms of many conditions, thus used therapeutically.  Many with chronic health conditions often have deficiencies of both essential & non-essential amino acids. Conditions and symptoms such as,  Allergies, Ulcers, Anemia, Osteoarthritis, Autoimmune Arthritis such as Rhumatoid Arthritis & AS, lupus, cerebral palsy, certain cancers, depression, cognitive issues,  insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, associated with CFIDS (chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome), musculoskeletal pain and discomfort associated with Fibromyalgia, Ankylosing Spondylitis, IBD, ADD (attention deficit disorder) & ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), as well as others. Amino acids work synergistically with many drugs and treatments, so interactions are not ordinarily a concern, but if you have decided to supplement with amino acids, your doctor should be informed.  A few Therapeutic aminos are L-histidine, L-Carnitine, L-Taurine & L-Tyrosine.  L-Trosine is often low in individuals battling depression, as well as those suffering with kidney disease. L-Theanin is found in green tea and is said to help relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety, while enhancing focus and concentration. Which is perfect for those who are cognitively challenged, as with ADD & ADHD, Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyaglia.

Nine of the essential amino acids can be found in protein rich foods such as red meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products. Plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits and grains, will only provide some of the nine essential amino acids. For this reason, a vegetarian diet should be balanced to ensure  that amino acids are derived from all parts of  the diet. Vegetable sources of protein such as nuts, beans, and grains are incredibly healthy, because they not only provide amino acids, but additional nutrients such as fiber, vitamins A and C.

If you are able to eat and digest protein rich foods such as meat, poultry, seafood & dairy products then you are more than likely getting your required amounts of amino acids.  However keep in mind that many chronic health conditions can prevent absorption of many vitamins, minerals and amino acids through food intake, so supplementing might be required. Since our protein requirements are actually lower than most people consume, below are many fruit & vegetables sources of amino acids which you can easily add to your existing diet:

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a low-starch or low-carb food friendly list, rather its to provide overall information on foods which are high in amino acids.

Alanine – Main source being alfalfa, but also found in: celery, carrot, lettuce, cucumber, turnips, green pepper, spinach, plums, apples, guavas, grapes, oranges, almonds and strawberries.

Arginine – alfalfa, carrots, green leafy vegetables, beetroots, cucumber, celery, lettuce, radishes and potatoes.

Aspartic acid – carrots, celery, radishes, cucumber, mint, tomatoes, turnips, lemons, grapefruit, apples, plums, pineapples, melons and almonds.

Cystine – alfalfa, beet roots, carrots, cabbages, cauliflower, onions, garlic, apples, pineapples, raspberries, raisins.

Glutamic acid – found in carrots, turnips, cabbages, celery, beetroots, mint, lettuce, spinach and papaya.

Glycine – carrots, turnips, celery, mint, alfalfa, spinach, garlic, potatoes, figs, oranges, raspberries, pomegranates, melons and almonds.

Histidine – radishes, carrots, cucumber, beetroots, celery, garlic, onions, turnips, alfalfa, spinach, pineapples, apples, pomegranates and papaya.

Hydroxy glutamic acid – carrots, mint, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, grapes, raspberries, plums.

Hydroxy praline – carrots, lettuce, beetroots, turnips, cucumber, plums, cherries, figs, radishes, grapes, olives, pineapples, almonds and coconut.

Lodogorgoic acid – carrots, celery, spinach, tomatoes, lettuce and pineapple.

Isoleucine – papaya, olives, coconuts, almonds, apricots, pistachios and walnuts.

Leucine – coconuts, almonds, apricots, papaya, olives, pistachios and walnuts.

Lysine – carrots, cucumber, beetroots, mint, celery, spinach, turnips, alfalfa, germinates soyabeans, plums, pears, papaya, apple and grapes.

Methionine – cabbages, garlic, cauliflower, pineapples and apples.

Norleucine ( NLE a form of lucine)

Phenylalanine – carrots, beetroots, spinach, mint, tomatoes, pineapples and apples.

Proline –carrots, beetroots, lettuce, turnips, cucumber, plums, cherries, figs, grapes, olive, oranges, pineapples, coconuts and almonds.

Serine –radishes, garlic, onion, carrots, beetroots, celery, cucumber, mint, spinach, cabbage, alfalfa, papaya, apples and pineapples.

Threonine – carrots, green leafy vegetables, alfalfa and papaya.

Thyroxine – carrots, celery, lettuce, turnips, spinach, tomatoes and pineapples.

Tryptophane – beetroots, carrots, celery, spinach, alfalfa and turnips.

Tyrosine – alfalfa, carrots, beetroots, cucumber, lettuce, mint, spinach, green pepper, plums, strawberries, cherries, apples, melons, figs and almonds.

Valine – carrots, turnips, sweet gourd, celery, mint, beetroots, tomatoes, apples, pomegranates and almonds.

When supplementing  look for free form amino acids and you’ll want products with a full amino acid profile, many will read “amino acid complex.” such as with protein powders or protein drinks. Amino acids work synergistically with vitamins and minerals, thus working naturally with our bodies. Though it is preferred that we obtain vitamins, minerals, as well as amino acids through our diet, when we are chronically sick or have malabsorption issues such as those related to chronic inflammation & IBD, supplementing  just might be required. Be careful of taking excessive amounts of amino acids and be sure to follow label instructions.

Braggs Liquid Aminos

Food based Amino Acid Supplements: Braggs Liquid Aminos NON-GMO soy (contains 16 amino acids/8 essential.) This product is great to use in place of regular and potentially GMO contaminated soy sauce. Should not be cooked or heated.

Coconut Aminos

Coconut Aminos by Coconut Secrets contains 17 naturally occurring amino acids. Nutrient-dense, certified organic, dairy free, gluten-free, soy-free and raw-vegan friendly.

By ensuring that you are eating foods that are high in amino acids, or that you are supplementing via a well balanced protein powder or free form amino acids, you are improving your chances for optimal health, greater energy, strength, recovery, improved muscle definition, beautiful skin, better mood, better memory and enhanced brain function. Incredibly beneficial in combating fibrofog, pain and stiffness relating to Ankylosing Spondylitis and the multitude of symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, including depression.

Amino Acids, Angelo P John research based on amino acid cancer therapy, amino acid, amino food guide courtesy of Naturopathy for Perfect Health. The Healing Power of Organic, Real Food, Superfoods & Whole Foods, Nutritional, Gluten-Free, Diary-Free, Low-Starch & Inflammation Friendly Recipes