Back to School with Intention

The words “back to school” stir up varied emotions; excitement, anxiety, nervousness, relief and even dread. No matter what your outlook on it is, setting an intention can bring desired results and lessen anxiety. For adults going back to work, summer’s end can bring up similar feelings.

Children and adults can benefit from the power of intention or as it is frequently called manifestation. It is the fulfillment of our desires and intentions coming to fruition. This can be scholastic, nutrition, health, mental and social desires from a parent’s or kid’s point of view.

Of course, just wishing isn’t enough, we need actions behind the intention. It makes them all the more powerful.
Here are some intentions we can set, paired with actions, as kids go back to school, vacations end and adults go back to work.

Overcome the social anxiety of returning to school or work.
Intention: I will focus on the positive such as seeing my friends, partaking in group activities I enjoy and focus on the true meaning of being there.
Action: Visit the school beforehand if it is new. Make plans to meet with friends on the first day back. Seeing familiar, comforting faces will ease anxiety. Join an after school or work activity that is fun and brings joy, not just competition. Do the homework and work assignments knowing that you are learning and growing as a person with each task performed and every social interaction, never knowing where it will lead in life.

Stick with a healthy diet so you can be your best.
: I will eat delicious foods that are good for my body and my brain.
Action: Healthy back to school & work options are available. Choose a fuel filled breakfast such as sliced apples with peanut butter, organic eggs in a whole grain wrap or organic oatmeal with almond milk and fresh berries. Keep energy and focus up with a great lunch like a salad with chicken and avocado, almond butter and banana in a wrap, turkey and cheese in lettuce wraps with apple slices on the side. Healthy choices provide sustained energy and focus instead of a sugary slump later on.

Nutritional support can help.
Intention: Supplements can help me stay energized and focused while providing nutritional support where I need it.
Action: Take DHA from Omega-3 fish oils. Studies show DHA promotes focus, mental clarity, memory and even support for ADHD. Fish oils also offer inflammation relief for sports activities too. Protein shakes, smoothies with real fruit & greens and fresh pressed juices offer natural energy and nutrition as great in between meal snacks or for an on the go breakfast or after school snack. Kids usually love strawberry or vanilla shakes or watermelon or apple/carrot juices.

Setting intentions with your kids is a great way to open a conversation about concerns and issues while addressing them with positivity and solutions. The connection to positive thoughts will have outlasting effects for both adults and kids and can be applied to all aspects of life.

Summer Wellness

Summer is the time when Mother Nature is in all her glory. It’s a great time to recheck your summer routines and see if they need a makeover.

Choose Your Sunblock With Care
Products we put on our skin find their way into our bloodstream so avoid chemical sunscreens containing ingredients like avobenzone and oxybenzone. Choose mineral based sunscreens found mostly in health food stores and are made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, both protective against UVA and UVB rays. Both are minerals found in nature known to be safe for your body and stable in sunlight. Mineral sunscreens begin working right away and stay on in the water although reapplication is advised. They are reef safe unlike chemical sunscreens which are destroying coral and fish populations. Try John Masters Organics SPF 30 Sunscreen.

Take care of your skin
While being exposed to the sun can have it’s health benefits (vitamin D production), too much can be harmful. Limit your sun exposure without sunblock to 15-20 minutes per day at times when the sun is at it’s weakness, early morning or after 5pm. Wear sunglasses, sunblock and a hat when at the beach, pool or exercising. Just because your skin isn’t dried out like it is in winter, don’t give up your beauty regime. Using an anti aging serum with vitamin C is very protective as well as restorative when it comes to your face any time of year. After a day in the sun slather yourself head to toe with some coconut oil to prevent peeling and help moisturize.

Shop locally - think globally
Summer is the perfect time to visit a farmer’s market and try what local farms have to offer. Fresher, local food translates into less time in an airplane or truck traveling to get to the supermarket creating a larger carbon footprint. You can also join a CSA (community supported agriculture)which is a membership that gives you weekly produce deliveries from farms nearby. Or grow your own! In your yard or a community garden, you’ll grow what you love and love what you grow. Towns across America are taking open spaces and turning them into community gardens. There are several around Long Island where you can put your name on the waiting list.

Clean Air Quality
Summer breezes make me feel fine. So I especially don’t want to clog the air with chemical cleaners and applications. Our home is our sanctuary and we need to show it some love. Try using plant-based products around your home which kill 99.99% of germs and have lovely scents like lavender and geranium. Outside skip the weed killers and fertilizers which pollute our beautiful Long Island waterways. Alternatives are sold which produce the same result using the safest path.

The Great Outdoors
Lastly, get outside and be active. It’s the best medicine to help alleviate anxiety, depression and obesity. Gardening, swimming, cycling, and hiking are all fun outdoor pursuits that leave you feeling as good as Mother Nature herself.

Inflammation in the Body

A minimal amount of inflammation can be a good thing because it protects us from foreign invaders such as germs and can aid in the healing process when we are cut, scraped or burned. Our bodies also protect us through inflammation when we have allergic reactions from pollen, pets or food. It’s the other types of inflammation that are of concern to us, the more moderate to severe types that lead to disease over time.

Types of Inflammation
Moderate to severe inflammation can be categorized by symptoms such as redness, swelling, pain and loss of function. This is common in arthritis and more severe in the autoimmune diseases such as IBS, Colitis, Crohn’s, MS, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s and Rheumatoid Arthritis. In these diseases we see and/or feel the inflammation, especially over time as it progresses.

Prevention | Support
There are many measures that can help in prevention or support and modulate an already diagnosed disease.
Quit smoking – Smoking ups your risk and makes symptoms worse.
Diet – Avoid/reduce sugar, night shade veggies, trans-fats, caffeine, soda, dairy.
Exercise – 4-5 days per week with some enjoyable, off the couch and away from the computer, exercise will be highly beneficial in prevention and support.
Control your weight – Inflammation is prevalent in over weight people.
Reduce stress – Since eliminating stress is nearly impossible try to manage it effectively with yoga, exercise, meditation, tai chi or prayer. Vacations are said to reduce stress and anxiety as well. Book a trip or enjoy a staycation!
Up your vitamin D levels – Test your blood and aim for a result of 50-70 blood level. Supplementing is essential. Since we use sunscreen and have long winters it is hard to produce vitamin D from the sun especially in the Northeast. Low vitamin D is linked to MS and RA among other diseases.
Acupuncture – can help with pain and help with the flow of Chi in your body, the universal life force of energy. A blocked flow leads to pain and illness.

Therapeutic support
There are many foods and supplements that can help support inflammation.
Tart cherry – Either in juice form or supplement form has amazing anti-inflammation effects stemming from the skin of tart cherries. Also great for post exercise too.
Turmeric - Supplement form can be taken daily or try adding the powder (in the spice section or supplement section of grocery store) to your stir-fry, eggs, soups and marinades.
Ginger – Teas, supplements, fresh pressed juices or add fresh ginger to your recipes
Resveratrol – Available in supplement form or in red wine ingested in moderation.
Quercetin – Available in supplement form (great for seasonal allergies too!)
Fish oils – Effective in joint inflammation as well as coronary disease. Try Carlson Labs.

The most deadly form of inflammation is the silent one that can be asymptomatic as it progresses and that is cancer and heart disease. We all know that a collective effort, like above, works best in prevention or healing.

Note: Be cautious of using anti-inflammation drugs. They can have powerful side effects and long terms negative effects. Always consult your doctor and consider visiting a holistic doctor for a cohesive approach to treating your disease.

Gifts for Mom To Inspire Wellness

Our mothers are special. They’ve inspired us, taught us and loved us. This Mother’s Day give mom the gift of wellness. Showing her your love by creating health and happiness, a gift that lasts more than just one day. Below are some gifts to inspire wellness and also sustainability by reducing carbon footprints. Using local businesses and resources serve our community and neighbors.

A relaxing and rejuvenating massage is a great present. A gift card to a local day spa, massage clinic or therapist is something mom can look forward to and schedule at her leisure. The benefits of massage are long lasting. Massage reduces stress, promotes circulation, relieves muscle and joint aches and raises mental wellbeing. Massages range from $60 an hour to $100+ depending on where you go and what type of massage you get. Most popular is deep tissue or Swedish but an extra special touch is a hot stone massage.

I get facials on a regular basis and it’s one of the treatments I swear by. Facials are relaxing but also have so many benefits for the skin. The professional aesthetician will help promote collagen production, exfoliate dead skin cells, extract clogged pores, help with circulation and apply products to heal and balance mom’s skin. She deserves to look and feel her best and glowing skin will help her do that. I recommend facials using natural and organic products. Teresa Ochoa of Natural Faces in Huntington is wonderful. 631-220-6408

Simple in their beauty, flowers have the ability to make mom smile. Her favorite florist can make a beautiful bouquet that will outlast Mother’s Day. Even better, if mom gardens why not buy her a plant or bush she can add to her own garden. She will have it for years to come. One that attracts bees (they need our help), butterflies or hummingbirds is extra special.

Fruit Basket
An edible basket that is healthy too is always a plus. Fruit is the most natural sugar you can have with the added benefit of fiber. Some even come with chocolate covered fruit, a treat mom will love. Edible Arrangements and Stew Leonards online deliver.

Tickets to a show
Making a memory together is priceless. This year I am taking my mom to a Broadway show. Tickets to an on or off Broadway show in the city has top-notch talent and right in our backyard. Closer still is The Paramount, Jones Beach or John W. Engman Theater that have great plays, music and comedy all year long.

Lunch or Dinner out
Enjoying a beautiful brunch, lunch or dinner out is always a treat. No one cooks or cleans and you have time to focus on your time together. Life is going so fast these days, our time together is more important than ever. Ditch the cell phones and computers for the day and have a great time with mom who, let’s face it, just wants time with us. It’s a gift that is always on her wish list.

The Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oil

Omega-3 fish oils are part of my daily regimen. With eye problems in my genes and as someone who exercise a lot I feel these oils positively support my body. There are many health benefits to these oils. Let’s look at them in more depth.

Fish oils come from cold-water fish like cod, sardines, mackerel and salmon. They come in plain and flavored liquids as well as pill form. Look for a brand that uses sustainably sourced fish.

Cod Liver Oil vs Fish Oil
Both are Omega-3 oils and both contain essential fatty acids EPA and DHA. Cod liver oil comes from the liver of the cod and fish oil comes from the fatty tissue of other cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel and trout. Cod liver oil also has naturally occurring vitamins A and D. For years people have taken cod liver oil, especially in winter months when those of us living in northern climates cannot produce enough D. Vitamin D helps build the immune system, elevate the mood and the latest studies are showing hopeful signs in cancer and autoimmune disease prevention.

Health Benefits of Fish Oils
-Add moisture and shine to hair, skin and nails.
-Lubricate the joints and helps with inflammation which is great for someone with arthritis or autoimmune disease like RA, lupus, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s and MS.
-The DHA and EPA present in fish oils have an amazing effect on the brain showing to improve memory, focus and concentration. Everyone can benefit from that but especially the elderly or anyone with ADHA.
-Many alternative doctors use EPA and DHA to assist with mild depression and anxiety.
-DHA supports eye health. The eyes are rich in DHA and produce less with age so supplementation can help restore DHA levels. Studies have also shown DHA slows the progression of macular degeneration.
-EPA and DHA are beneficial to expectant and new moms by supporting brain development of the fetus and new born.
-Helps cardiovascular function. Studies show reduction in stroke, cardiac arrest, triglycerides and cholesterol.

Look for a brand with a stellar reputation like Carlson Labs who test for mercury, PCB’s and other contaminants present in wild fish. I take the liquid fish or cod in lemon flavor. I drizzle it on salad, blend into a protein shake and take by the teaspoon.

Genetics play a substantial role in our health but supplementation can help to overcome, alleviate and assist with health problems when taken preventatively. Check with your health care provider or your local health food store for what type of Omega-3 can help you in your journey to health and wellness.