Reimaging – Awakening You to Your Highest Potential

Would you like to start attracting more prosperity and abundance into your life? Are you having relationship challenges or, do you want love? Do have chronic health issues, stress, tension, chronic pain, or are overweight? Do fears, worries, the blues, or anger ruin the precious moments of your life? Do you feel blocked from success or feel stuck in some areas of your life? Would you like to clear old negative reactions, so that you respond differently to others? If you have answered yes to any of the above questions you may be subconsciously and firmly standing in your own way.

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Dropping Pounds After the Holidays – A Sensible and Successful Weightloss Plan

Photo credit: Pixabay.com

Holiday foods and staying indoors in cold weather make weight gain common.  Photo credit: Pixabay.com

Holiday Weight Gain
A new year brings about new resolutions, and most common resolution is to lose weight.  November, December and January are key times when weight is usually gained over the holidays, because people tend to eat more foods high in carbohydrates, trans fats, and sugar than they normally do. Unfortunately gaining weight is an extremely easy task for most of us. The good news is that with enough will and determination, losing 5-15 pounds is not as difficult as the majority of us tend to think. The cornerstone idea to losing weight is simple: exercise regularly and eat healthy meals.

Prescription drugs and over the counter drugs are not the best way to shed unwanted pounds. Photo credit: Pixabay.com

Diet Pills or Prescriptions
People who don’t want to bother to change their lifestyle and dietary habits to include exercise and healthy meals, often turn to diet pills to lose weight. There are many diet pills in the market today such as Zantrex 3 and Hydroxycut.

Your doctor may consider weight-loss prescriptions for you if haven’t been able to lose weight through diet and exercise and if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30
  • Your BMI is greater than 27 and you have a serious medical problem related to obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure (Mayo Clinic, 2015)

According to the Mayo Clinic (2014),

“Dietary supplement manufacturers aren’t required by the Food and Drug Administration to prove that their products are safe and effective, so view these products with caution and skepticism, and always let your doctors know about any supplements you take.”

Even though some diet pills and prescription drugs may prove to be effective in terms of melting the pounds away, the healthiest way to lose weight is not to introduce foreign chemicals in the body.

 

Metabolism Diagram - Photo credit: Researching the Kinetics of Functional Food Materials in the Body - Safety Science, KAO, Japan, www.kao.com

Metabolism Diagram – Photo credit: Researching the Kinetics of Functional Food Materials in the Body – Safety Science, KAO, Japan, http://www.kao.com

Metabolism
Metabolism is the process your body goes through to convert food into energy. The energy created by this process is then used by the body to function properly. Energy is needed for people to breathe and regulate hormones in the body.

Metabolic Disorders - Photo Credit - Power of the Gene. www.powerofthegene.com

Metabolic Disorders – Photo Credit – Power of the Gene. http://www.powerofthegene.com

People can have “metabolic diseases” as a result of inefficient metabolismA metabolic disease is the result of a loss of any one many enzymes required for efficient metabolism.  The enzymes needed are different for different substances.  If someone has inefficient enzymes for the metabolism of  carbohydrates, for example, they might have lactose intolerance, glycogen storage diseases, galactosemia.   If they have insufficient enzymes for amino acids, the metabolic disease might be phenylketonuria, or maple syrup urine disease and if they don’t have the sufficient enzymes for fat metabolism this might result in Tay-Sachs disease. (Murgatroyd, 2011)

Swimming can help to burn calories and increase metabolism. Photo credit: Pixabay

Swimming can help to burn calories and increase metabolism. Photo credit: Pixabay

Several factors will determine a person’s ability to lose weight in a certain amount of time. Mayo Clinic (2014) provides information on the subject in the following:

  • Your body size and composition. The bodies of people who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.
  • Your sex. Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight, burning more calories.
  • Your age. As you get older, the amount of muscle tends to decrease and fat accounts for more of your weight, slowing down calorie burning.

 

Physical exercise and healthy diet is the best way to lose weight. Photo credit:  Publicdomainpictures.net

Physical exercise and healthy diet is the best way to lose weight. Photo credit: Publicdomainpictures.net

Physical Activity
Physical activity will also determine weight loss. The amount of physical activity and exercise you get will either result in weight loss or weight gain. Mayo Clinic (2014) states:

“Unfortunately, weight gain is complicated. It is likely a combination of genetic makeup, hormonal controls, diet composition, and the impact of environment on your lifestyle, including sleep, physical activity and stress. All of these factors result in an imbalance in the energy equation. You gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn-or burn fewer calories than you eat.”

Bicycling can increase metabolism and burn calories. Photo by Pixabay

Bicycling can increase metabolism and burn calories. Photo by Pixabay

Regular exercise can help you burn the amount of calories you desire and it can also help you maintain a healthy weight. Examples of regular exercise include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Bicycling
  • Hiking
  • Dancing
  • Playing sports
Incorporating daily physical activities or chores such as washing the car, keep a body healthy. Photo credit: Pixabay

Incorporating daily physical activities or chores such as washing the car, keep a body healthy. Photo credit: Pixabay

If these activities are not convenient for you due to your schedule or lifestyle, there are simpler alternatives to losing weight. Increasing the frequency of these daily activities can help you burn more calories.

  • Cleaning the house
  • Doing the laundry
  • Tending to the garden
  • Washing the car
  • Taking care of children
  • Walking up and down the stairs

Besides losing weight, regular exercise has many other benefits. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  (formerly the Harvard School of Public Health) (2015) states the benefits of regular exercise includes, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Improves your chances of living longer and living healthier
  • Helps protect you from developing heart disease and stroke or its precursors, high blood pressure and undesirable blood lipid patterns
  • Helps protect you from developing certain cancers, including colon and breast cancer, and possibly lung and endometrial (uterine lining) cancer
Healthy Eating Plate

Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Photo Credit http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource

Figure 1: USDA Recommended Food Portions


Healthy Meals
The United States Department of Agriculture (2015) recommends the following diet per day for men and women:

  • 2 cups of fruit
  • 2-3 cups of vegetables
  • 6-8 ounces of whole grains
  • 5-6 ½ ounces of lean protein
  • 3 cups of dairy


Avoid eating foods with a high percentage of fat or sugar. It’s greatly recommended to either limit your intake of alcohol or abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages altogether.  Drink plenty of liquids such as water, teas, and juices. Figure 1 goes further in-depth on the types of whole grains and lean proteins to consume as well as how much of each food group is recommended for one meal.

Conclusion and Summary
Honestly, a diet of any nature, such as the one expressed above, can difficult for some to maintain, especially if you have a full-time career and/or a family to care for.  It is wise to do some research on the diet that is most suitable for your lifestyle. You don’t want to have unrealistic expectations of yourself if you know deep down that the results will be impossible to achieve. If it seems too challenging to jump into a diet right away, there is no shame in taking it one step at a time. Try eating more fruits and vegetables at first. You could bring one or two servings of carrot sticks to work so you could nibble on them during your break. Then, when you feel more comfortable, you could incorporate more physical activity into your schedule. After a while, it might not even feel like a diet, but a regular routine. Physical activity and eating healthy meals are vital to sustaining a long nourishing life and the benefits of these activities are endless.

 

References
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2015). Staying Active: Introduction. The Benefits of Physical ActivityThe Nutrition Source

Mayo Clinic. (2014). Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories. Healthy Lifestyle: Weight Loss.  Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic. (2015 ) Prescription Weight-loss Drugs: Can They Help You?  Mayo Clinic

Murgatroyd, Chris, MD,  Metabolic Disorders, Power of the Gene, Nova Science Publishers Inc., 1 Edition, February 2011, ISBN-10: 1608769496, 217 pages.  PoweroftheGene.com

United States Department of Agriculture. (2015). Welcome to the Five Food Groups. Food Groups.  USDA

 

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This articleHang Pham, MBHA Health Educator is written by Hang Pham. Hang Pham is a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator. Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

 

 

Disclaimer:  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

 

Pregnancy and Fetal Risk: Preventing Opiate-Addicted Babies

Fetal Risk and Prescription DrugsWhat Does Research Tell Us About Fetal Risk?
Any factor that may jeopardize the health of the fetus and subsequent neonatal amid pregnancy and post-birth constitutes a fetal risk. A recent study (Desai, et al, 2014) of 1.1 million Medicaid-enrolled women with completed pregnancies revealed that 21.6% had filled a prescription for an opioid during pregnancy. An opioid is an opium-like compound. It is a narcotic that has the potential to be addictive and dangerous when misused. The most commonly prescribed drugs in the study were codeine and hydrocodone. Studies show that oxycodone (Oxycontin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) cause more deaths per year than heroin and cocaine combined (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, 2011).

 

Woman and Doctor PrescriptionAnother study (Bateman, et al, 2014) focused on the opioid utilization of another large (534,500) cohort of women who had completed pregnancies and were commercially insured. Among this population, 14.4% were dispensed an opioid at some point in their pregnancy. Again the most common drugs were codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone. Both studies conclude that exposure to opioids during pregnancy is common, especially among Medicaid-enrolled women. Opioids were dispensed during all three trimesters, and in a small percentage of the cohort, dispensed three or more times during pregnancy. Also notable was the high regional variation with which the drugs were dispensed. Rates were highest in the South and lowest in the Northeast. Only about 10% of the total prescriptions were related to surgical procedures and 1% was related to women who had been using opioids chronically before pregnancy. If opioid use is justified in this 11%, it is questionable whether or not opioid use was a necessity in the other 89%. With such a high rate and degree of exposure, and the small, inconsistent body of literature on the safety of their administration during pregnancy, more research should be conducted to determine whether or not such an administration of these drugs is sound.

 

Fetal Development and Drugs

Prescription drug opioid use during pregnancy has harmful effects during the critical stages of fetal development


FDA Safe Drug Classifications

The FDA-assigned pregnancy categories as used in the Drug Formulary are as follows:

  • Category A: There is adequate evidence that there is no risk to fetuses.
  • Category B: Animal studies have failed to show a risk to fetuses; no well-controlled studies have been completed in humans.
  • Category C: Animal studies have shown a risk to fetuses; there are no well-controlled studies in humans. However, “potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women.”
  • Category D: There is evidence of fetal risk, but “potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women.”
  • Category X: There is too much evidence of risk to prescribe these drugs to pregnant women.

Two categories (B & C) illustrate no research in humans. Opioids likely fall into a grey area somewhere around Category D. The point is that current knowledge and understanding of which drugs are safe during pregnancy is rudimentary. Not only is the medical and pharmaceutical literature naive about pregnancy, but it is grossly misinformed about dosages for women in general.

Differences in Prescription Drugs for Men and Women Differences in Metabolism of Men and Woman
Biological differences among sexes can be extremely relevant and critical to proper administration of drugs, but these nuances are often ignored. Earlier this year the FDA finally lowered the recommended dose of Ambien (zolpidem) for women – it was cut in half. This astonishing revelation comes after the drug has been on the market for 14 years. Women metabolize the drug differently than men and need far less to achieve the same effects. Women prescribed Ambien have likely been overdosing on it, the drug still active in their bodies as they get up in the morning and drive to work. Another example – low dose aspirin lowers the risk of heart attack in healthy men, yet does not lower the risk of heart attack in women, but may protect against stroke instead.

Laboratory RatsDr. Melina Kibbe is a vascular surgeon who runs a lab at Northwestern University Medical School. She notes that the vast majority of animal studies across the country are done on male rats; only male rats – as the control.  Animal studies comprise much of the medical literature, and all of the animal studies are male dominant. Much of women and men’s biology, not even counting our obviously opposing reproductive biology, is fundamentally different where drug dosages are concerned. This fact is completely ignored or not even understood in much of the medical community. If women themselves aren’t accounted for in the literature with regards to drug dosages, is it to be expected that the dosages during a sensitive time like pregnancy are any better understood?

According to Cheryl S. Broussard, “Fewer than 10 percent of medications approved by the F.D.A. since 1980 have sufficient data to determine fetal risk.”   Moreover, pregnant women are taking more prescription drugs now than at any time in the past 30 years. A study (Broussard, et al, 2011)  showed an association between early maternal opioid use and certain birth defects. Maternal opioid use may increase the risk of certain congenital defects such as neural tube defects (NTD’s) which affect the brain, spine and spinal cord. Mothers with pregnancies affected by an NTD reported opioid use more often during the first two months of pregnancy than mothers of babies without an NTD. 3.9 % of mothers of children with NTD’s reported using opioids early in pregnancy, compared to just 1.6 % of mothers of children without NTD’s.

Baby drug withdrawl“Opioid use in very early pregnancy is associated with an approximate doubling the risk of neural tube defects,” said Martha M. Werler, the senior author and a professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health. “About half of pregnancies are not planned, so that’s a big chunk of women who may not be thinking about possible risks associated with their behavior.” Not only might opioids increase the fetal risk by way of defects, but in cases where the drug use is more prolonged, infants may be born with what is known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Opioids and other substances may pass through the placenta to the fetus during development. As the baby is born it may be dependent on the drug and have withdrawal symptoms without treatment.

Opiate Baby

One study (Patrick, 2012)  found that babies with NAS were more likely than any other hospital births to have a low birth weight. It also found a substantially increased incidence of NAS from 2000 to 2009, as well as hospital charges that were relatedly high. Even over-the-counter drugs that are commonly used for pain management could pose risks to fetuses. It was well-publicized that the active ingredient in Tylenol (acetaminophen) was the leading cause of acute liver failure in Americans between 1998 and 2003.

Tylenol - AcetaminophenNewer data has suggested that maternal use of acetaminophen can result in an increased risk for the development of hyperactivity disorders like ADHD or hyperkinetic disorders (HKD’s) in children. The children of women who took acetaminophen during pregnancy had a 30% increased risk of developing ADHD and a 37% increased risk of developing HKD by age 7. The etiology of a disorder like ADHD is complex and assuming complete causality with regard to environmental exposures may be an oversimplification. Acetaminophen currently has no FDA classification for use in pregnant women. However, the associations have been clearly observed and should render public health relevance (Liew, Ritz, et al, 2014). Pain is a common side-effect of pregnancy because of weight gain, postural changes and pelvic floor dysfunction. Women who are pregnant or nursing could choose to be cautious in using drugs, and instead look to complementary and alternative methods of pain management.

Acupuncture WomanAlternative and Complimentary Treatment
Dr. Pamela Flood and Dr. Srinivasa N. Raja, a professor in anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, noted that  the most common forms of pain (back, abdominal and joint) were not even substantially helped by opioids, but were more thoroughly ameliorated by non-drug interventions like physical therapy. They note that while taking drugs may be easier, the more time-intensive use of other therapies is often more effective.  One recent study (Pennick and Liddle, 2013) concluded that both acupuncture and exercise are effective in treating low back pain and pelvic pain during pregnancy.  Another study   details  the case of a 23-year-old at 27 weeks whose chronic pelvic pain was “incapacitating” on narcotics. The use of acupuncture allowed her to limit her use of narcotics and maintain normal activities of daily living until her subsequent delivery of a healthy infant without complications.

Father Baby MotherEarlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unveiled a new website for its Treating for Two initiative. It seeks to provide a better framework for expecting mothers and their clinicians to make choices about medication use, while aiming to prevent birth defects and minimize the harm of exposure. Our understanding of the implications of drug use during pregnancy is fundamentally lacking, while the specter of opioid abuse continues to loom. It would behoove expecting parents to learn about the fetal risks associated with the treatment of their pain and discomfort. Alternative forms of treatment such as acupuncture, exercise and other modes of therapy may yield enormous benefits, while reducing the need to use potentially harmful drugs.


References

Bateman BT; Hernandez-Diaz S; Rathmell JP; Seeger JD; Doherty M; Fischer MA; Huybrechts KF. Patterns of opioid utilization in pregnancy in a large cohort of commercial insurance beneficiaries in the United States. Anesthesiology. 201 PubMed

Broussard CS; Rasmussen SA; Reefhuis J; Friedman JM; Jann MW; Riehle-Colarusso T; Honein MA. Maternal treatment with opioid analgesics and risk for birth defects. Am J Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2011 Apr; 204(4):314.e1-11.PubMed

Desai, Richi J; Hernandez-Diaz, Sonia; Bateman, Brian T; Huybrechts, Krista F. Increase in opioid use during pregnancy among medicaid-enrolled women. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2014 May; 123(5):997-1002.

FDA Pregnancy Categories, University of Washington(UW) Medicine Online Formulary Categories

Liew Z; Ritz B; Rebordosa C; Lee P; Olsen J. Acetaminophen use during pregnancy, behavioral problems and hyperkinetic disorders. JAMA Pediatric. 2014;168(4):313-320. doi:10.1001/ jamapediatrics.2013.4914

Patrick SW; Schumacher RE; Benneyworth BD; Krans EE; McAllister JM; Davis MM. Neonatal abstinence syndrome and associate health care expenditures: United States, 2000-2009. JAMA 2012 May;9;307(18):1934-40. PubMed

Pennick V, Liddle SD. Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database syst rev 2013; 8:CD001139 PubMed

Prescription painkiller overdoses at epidemic levels, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, 2011 Nov 1.

Thomas CT; Napolitano PG. Use of acupuncture for managing chronic pelvic pain in pregnancy. A case report. J ReprodMed. 2000 Nov; 45(11):944-6. PubMed

Yazdy MM, Mitchell AA, Tinker SC, Parker SE, Werler MM. Periconceptual use of opioids and the risk of neural tube defects. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2013 Oct;122(4):838-44. PubMed

 

 

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Kevin McMahan3This article is written by Kevin McMahan, a Health and Wellness Educator for the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. Kevin has had a lifelong interest in health and wellness. After graduating from Carmel High School he went on to get an associates degree in social sciences from Monterey Peninsula College, and a bachelors in kinesiology from California State University Monterey Bay. He is a certified personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine. “Your health is your wealth”, is something that he always likes to say. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.


Disclaimer:  
The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

 

Prescription Drugs – Mind/Heart Wisdom

Do we use abuse prescription drugs? Can we reduce the incidence of prescription drug use and drug abuse in our country? Are there other alternative and holistic health options besides prescription drugs?

Buon pomeriggio, friends and health enthusiasts!

Today mind/heart wisdom, drug use, pain and stress relief is the MBHA topic and focus. Although this is a time to be grateful and filled with love, holiday shoppers can be seen frantically grabbing  hot deals, and family members can overeat, overwork, lose their tempers, and experience pain and fatigue. It’s a reminder that holiday stress often brings aches and pains, financial worries and debt, and drugs are often the chosen remedy and quick fix.  Using the mind/heart wisdom is so important during these times. Let’s check out some current statistics about the drug dilemma here in the United States.

Here are a few startling facts.

Prescription Drugs

Click to enlarge photo, and copy and share with friends. According to a recent report by the NIDA, 25% of adults who started abusing prescription drugs at 13 years of age or younger met clinical criteria for addiction later in life.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), unintentional death from overdose of opioids has quadrupled steadily since 1999 and now outnumbers those deaths from heroin and cocaine combined.  Between 1991 and 2010, prescriptions for stimulants increased from 5 million to nearly 45 million and for opioid analgesics from about 75.5 million to 209.5 million, or about 36% increase.

The medication most frequently abused is pain relievers.

Out of the more than seven million people abusing prescription drugs, more than five million people abused pain relievers in the past year.

The good news is that while cannabis use has risen in the United States, prescription drug abuse among youth and adolescents has dropped in the past year, but prescription drug abuse and death from prescription drugs, still remains a major concern. Social, emotional and mental stress, physical injuries, acute and chronic illnesses, environmental toxicities, poor diet, lack of sleep, and other situations can cause severe body pain.

So what can we do?

The  often used phrase “Mind/Heart Wisdom” comes to mind. As a holistic health nonprofit,  it is the mission of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance (MBHA) staff and volunteers to share alternative and complimentary approaches to healing.  The list is long  (energetic healing, naturopathic, homeopathic, acupuncture, herbal remedies, yoga, Tai Chi, aromatherapy, essential oils, hypnotherapy, light therapy, music therapy, and much more, too numerous to name).

Certainly there are situations where prescription drugs are necessary.

A health education nonprofit, such as MBHA acknowledges each individual’s right to choose his or her way of healing.  Like many educational service organizations, we are  here as to offer solutions when one way has failed and a person is seeking other options. However, we as a nation and as a world, can choose to use Mind/Heart Wisdom.  We can choose to listen to that inner guidance and higher wisdom within each of us, to know how to care for our bodies.  Of course, that’s easier said than done. If we are deep in depression, Mind/Heart Wisdom is hard to hear.

Let us remember those 5 million people and make wise choices this holiday season. 

This holiday season, we at MBHA plan to continue to nurture and nourish ourselves and share this information with you, as a health education nonprofit.  When the head, knees and back are aching, we’re  going to try to listen to the Mind/Heart Wisdom and ask, “What can I do to love my body?”   Prescription drugs and pain killers are certainly important for the survival and comfort of many people around the world, yet there might be times when we can do some stretching exercises, change the diet, get more sleep, or visit an alternative therapist before considering taking more pain medications.  We invite you to share with us. Let us explore ALL health options, and listen and learn together on this journey in life.

Sending love and best wishes,
The MBHA Staff and Volunteers