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  • Summer: Nurture yourself with Nature

    Hiking, walking or meandering through the woods in the summer is so much more special to those of us in the North. Our season is so short here, we have to be very careful not to miss it!

    It doesn’t have to be summer necessarily to enjoy nature, but warmth, sun and wildlife activity tend to make the experience a more pleasant one. There is no comparison to the sounds of summer! A bubbling brook, a roaring waterfall, the birds, locusts and bees all forming another eco system that we rarely let ourselves be a part of.

    Bathing in Nature, sitting quietly in the middle of a field or forest can quiet the mind and lift the spirit. Notice the details around you as you walk slowly, picking up pine cones, shells, stones or fossils. Can you identify the birds you hear? Do you see any signs of wildlife?

    Breathe deeply and slowly, place your hands on your belly or chest and feel your breath going in and coming out, all while standing still or sitting in this natural environment.

    Communing with that part of yourself that benefits from the peace and quiet of your surroundings can lower your blood pressure, reduce your stress, improve your mood, boost your immune system and on and on it goes!

    Shinrin-yoku is an actual practice of Forest Bathing. Specifically walking through a forest at a slow pace, sitting, noticing, and practicing silence to commune with nature.


    What part of nature can you reach this summer? Can you get out and enjoy a peaceful piece of it more than once this season? If you have a high stress job or lifestyle, try to make a point of Nature walking as often as possible. Nurture your soul with the spirit of the outdoors!

    You deserve it!

    • This is Part one of a four Season Nurture with Nature series


    What Cooking Oils to Use in Your Kitchen and Why?

    Ever wonder the difference between cooking oils in the kitchen? We found an article in Yoga Journal from Feb, 2015 that has some great information about three different oils to use for cooking and what to look for when shopping for them.

    Celine Beitchman, a chef instructor and nutrition counselor at New York City’s Natural Gourmet Institute, shared her top three oils and tips for selecting, tasting and storing the right oil for your next dish:

    Shopping: when buying, look for USDA organic label, which certifies it’s free of artificial preservatives, colors and flavors. Pick up only dark bottles, which keep out the light and heat that speed spoiling.

    Tasting: Sample your oil right after you buy it. If you’re not familiar with how your oil tastes when it’s good, you won’t know how to tell when it’s gone bad.

    Storing: If you buy in bulk or have a pricey bottle you don’t want to risk spoiling too soon, decant a small portion for your counter and refrigerate the rest to preserve it.

    Coconut oil: Virgin coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial that’s used to reduce skin swelling and redness. It can support a healthy immune system. Add it to dishes you want to taste like coconut, such as sweets. It’s good for: Baking, Frying or Pan-searing.

    Extra-virgin Olive oil: The go-to at the Natural Gourmet Institute, it’s high in “good” monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are linked to a lowered risk of heart disease. Bottles labeled “estate harvested” indicate a conscientious producer made it with oversight and care. It’s good for: Low- to no temp recipes since its flavors can quickly break down in heat.

    Sesame oil: Often used in Ayurvedic and macrobiotic diets, sesame oil has been shown to help lower blood pressure and is rich in vitamin E, an anti-oxidant crucial for healthier skin, hair and nail growth. Vitamin E has lately been studied for its role in preventing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s too. The oil can range in color from light to amber to dark. In general, the darker the oil, the stronger its flavor. It’s good for: Sautéing when it’s refined (processed to withstand high heat), drizzling over cold dishes when it’s unrefined.

    Now you can feel like an expert when next you use an oil in the kitchen!!

    Five Steps To Finding Your Groove

    This is a great reminder of some easy basic things to do to change your daily routine so that you are functioning at a higher level. How great would it be to find that sweet spot or groove in your life where you are not being drained of energy while performing at your peak!!?

    Mindful magazine author Christine Carter wrote:

    1. Take Recess
      When we give ourselves a break from overwork, we increase our brain power and convert stress into productive and creative energy. Have some playtime.

      Take a good old fashioned recess after 60-90 minutes of hard work. Rest. What do you find rejuvenating? Reading? Napping? Looking at interesting things on the internet? Sitting in the sun? Whatever it is, it must be restful and fun, it can’t be “instrumental” in any way.

    1. Switch Autopilot On
      This doesn’t mean being “Mindless” and bumping into walls because we don’t know where we are. It’s about using our brain’s natural ability to run on well-grooved habits, which are more powerful than will power in carrying life’s burdens.
    1. Unshackle Yourself
      Take time to break free from things that tax us, like our smartphone’s constant siren’s song. It opens the door to more joy, and it’s much simpler to do than you think.

      We need to play! We need to laugh and delight in the small things. We need to play peek-a-boo with babies. We need to sing our favorite song at the top of our lungs! We need to dance with our children, lovers and friends!

    1. Cultivate Relationships
      What are friends for? Lots of things. It’s a cliché and it may sound hokey, but life is simply hard to pull off all by ourselves, and there is solid science that tells us our brain is healthier when we nurture our connections to others. It is also being proven as we speak, that maintaining connection to others prolongs your lifespanJ
    1. Tolerate Some Discomfort
      Do what it takes to develop mastery, which makes hard things easy; have the courage to follow your passion and purpose; learn how to bounce back when the going gets rough.
      Let yourself rest, and choose to live more like an olive tree- which bears fruit for centuries-rather than like your smartphone, which is built to last only a couple of years.

    When we judge our worth by how busy we are, we start to believe that if we’re not busy, we’re not worthwhile. Don’t let exhaustion become a trophy.

    Mindful magazine can be found at Mindful.org

    Diabetes Risk Questions

    Diabetes Risk Questions:

    MVP, one of our local Insurance companies, has published a quick quiz to gain insight into Diabetes and could add years to your life!

    If you are 65 yrs. or older, you are at risk for Diabetes.
    It is preventable!

    Here are the questions asked:

    1. Are you a woman who had a baby weighing more than 9lbs. at birth?
    2. Do you have a sister or brother with Diabetes?
    3. Do you have a parent with Diabetes?
    4. Are you younger than 65yrs of age and get little or no exercise in a typical day?
    5. Are you between 45 and 65 years of age?
    6. Are you 65 years of age or older?
    7. Does your weight fall into the range acceptable for your height?

    The answers to these questions can help you make a decision to follow up with your Health care provider and allow you to take the necessary steps to a diabetes free future!

    Maintain a healthy weight, don’t use tobacco and regularly check in to yourself and notice anything unusual that starts to occur in your body, such as excess thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision or extreme fatigue.

    Check out our page on Diabetes under General Health and learn more!

    Probiotics and Why You Should Take Them

    Essential to digestive health is taking a whole food probiotic. Healthy bacteria found in organically grown fruits and vegetables and in raw fermented foods are often missing from the modern American diet. These bacteria helped colonize the gut with beneficial flora whenever people ate raw fruits and vegetables or through the traditional way of preparing foods through fermentation. The average American is greatly lacking in these kinds of foods, not to mention the use of antibiotics even once in life creates the need for a good probiotic to rebuild the gut flora.

    Probiotics enhance the immune system and detoxify the colon for anyone but especially for those who suffer from digestive disorders. Additionally probiotics help to maintain a healthy gut microbial environment, increase the body’s natural absorption of calcium and magnesium, improve overall nutrient absorption and digestion as a whole and promote normal and healthy bowel regularity and consistency.

    Lacto-fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha also provided healthy bacteria in traditional diets and these should be part of the diet of any person suffering from digestive problems. But probiotic can help “jump start” the system in those with serious digestive problems as they will quickly populate the gut with beneficial organisms. When choosing a probiotic make sure it contains both pro and pre-biotic. Be mindful that if you overuse probiotics it can in turn, cause bloating and gas if you are taking too much.

    Andréa Evans, MSACN, CHC, AADP
    Clinical Nutritionist, Applied Kinesiologist, Holistic Health Counselor
    Gateway Nutrition and Fitness @ East Side Wellness Center
    625 Ayrault Road
    Fairport, NY 14450

    Overcoming Sunscreen Hurdle With Kids!

    Sunscreen is so important for our future Skin health and longevity. Thinking about applying it as adults, it’s no big deal and we just slather it on and help out those around us by getting their backs. With kids though, most of us that have been through that phase of life have blocked out the difficult moments we had trying to apply it to our young children! However, if you have young ones currently, you can definitely relate to the difficulties that come from their resistance to applying sunscreen before any outdoor activities.

    Important note: read the labels on the sunscreen and be aware:
    Oxybenzone is a hormone disrupting sunscreen filterRetinyl Palmitate is a form of Vitamin A linked to skin damage.

    An article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle had some great advice I wanted to share with you:

    According to the article written by Priscilla Dunstan, a behavioral researcher and author of “Child Sense” and Calm the Crying”, It is so important to be adaptable in your approach to your kids and work with them using their dominant sense to make sure the sunscreen gets applied and protection is given.

    All children respond well to rules and clear boundaries she says, don’t be afraid to make sun protection a priority. No Sun protection, no playing in the sun!

    Tactile children tend to dislike the texture of the sunscreen and will resist with vigor as you try to apply it. A spray can be a good option for these children as they can stand still with their eyes closed for a minute while it is applied. Alternatives such as clothing that blocks the sun, hats and large umbrellas may also work well with these children.

    A low fragrance, sensitive skin sunscreen is a good choice for the taste and smell child. They will prefer lotion rather than the spray as the mist can interfere with their sense of smell and taste. Remember to think hats, sun umbrellas and shirts or sun body suits.

    Forget large brimmed hats that cover your auditory child’s ears as they don’t tend to be fans of items that can distort the sound around them, which large hats can do. Baseball caps will be a hit for them however, especially if others are wearing them and there is a story attached to it. Applying the lotion while discussing the cap story can be very effective. Create a summer song about sunscreen for them and sing while applying or spraying lotion.

    Visual children can become obsessed with sunscreen not showing or being too shiny or white according to Priscilla, so bring a small mirror to reassure them that’s it’s all rubbed in to their satisfaction. They may also be interested in helping to put it on, so if they’re old enough, encourage this type of self-care. Pick a sunscreen that doesn’t leave a color or residue and if it has a picture of their favorite cartoon character on it, all the better.

    Thank you Priscilla from the D&C for a great article that reminds us how different every child is and adapting to their senses will reward us with easy and stress free outdoor activities!

    Sleep – Let’s take a deeper look

    In general, with a good night’s sleep we feel better, we think better, we have more energy, we are in a better mood and we enjoy our day overall. We rebuild and regenerate while sleeping. According to WebMD, and almost all other qualified resources, 7 hours a night is a minimum and 8 is ideal. They also mention a study that showed with less than 7 hours sleep people are 3 times more likely to get sick than if they get 8 hours or more on a regular basis.

    It’s essential to ease out of our busy days and leave behind its tensions, stress and hectic pace and enjoy a good night’s sleep.  You’re not alone, if you have trouble either falling asleep or staying asleep. Lack of sleep can negatively impact many areas of your life.

    A wide range of things can contribute to trouble sleeping. Physical and/or emotional stress is often the most common reason. Lifestyle, health issues, medications, and aging have also been known to contribute to sleep problems. Chronic problems, such as severe nervousness, agitation, nausea or thoughts/feelings that are self-destructive should be discussed with your doctor.

    Our minds are now being over stimulated with the fast pace of work, constant use of television, computers and mobile phones. Our brains find it hard to switch off and allow us to sleep. We have to learn to relax and take control of our own minds – thinking and worrying about sleep can lead to no sleep!  There’s no one sleep solution, often it’s a matter of finding a range of solutions that work for you – your own path to a better night’s sleep.

    Tips for what to do as you prepare for Bed on our next Blog!

    Does this beach paradise hold the secret for long life?

    Does this beach paradise hold the secret for long life?

    And what does this have in common with

    “Stay grounded and listen to your Dad?

    I watched a wonderful show on CNN, it is Bill Weir’s The Wonder List. Each week he visits different places and cultures, mainly ones that have tradition and have not changed very much over time, treasures of the world that are not well known. He mentions that he wants to visit these unique and special places while they are still there, before they change.

    Meeting Dan Buettner, BlueZones.com, and listening to his adventure stories, Bill learned some very interesting things. One being a statistic from the World Health Organization that claimed that Okinawa Japan had the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world. They lived longer and healthier. This became his kick off for this interesting series.
    The question, after looking at United States longevity statistics is, ‘How do we get those extra 13 years?”

    The episode that I am writing about here is his visit to Ikaria, a small island off Greece where people live well into their 90’s and 100’s.

    Being in touch with life while slowing down to enjoy it, lots of movement and their diet, are major factors of their long lives.
    Growing their own food means that for every meal they are bending, picking doing some form of movement to gather and prepare. They did not know what Organic was as they have never used anything on the plants they grow.
    Meat’s a rare treat and a tomato is a snack with their diets being mainly 95% plants.
    Interaction across generations is common with Grandparents watching and playing with children.

    A few general comments from the Island were:
    Having a sense of value, feeling needed.
    Hiking, walking, dancing
    A life of service
    Moderation for everything
    Here, life is slow.
    Longevity is 25% genetics. 75% comes from where and how you live.
    Daily routines that help with stress
    Eat a plant based diet

    Does this beach paradise hold the secret for long life?

    This is the opening line on the CNN page about longevity on the island of Ikaria.

    “Stay grounded and listen to your Dad”
    This is Bill Weir’s comment to his daughter at her very young stage of aging.
    He is watching his daughter grow up, become independent much too soon and, from my perspective, wondering about his own longevity and hers, maybe without him to guide her.

    So the common bond, of these seemingly unrelated two statements, is the unknown question of how long will we live?

    He also mentions the following statement, as a side note, because his daughter is included as he personalizes his story.

    “The real lesson is, when they reach a certain age of freedom your kid is going to ignore everything you have ever said.” Bill Weir

    Have one! Or not…

    I write this for all the people that are trying to manage their weight and have to wade through the many treats that show up at the workplace. It’s inevitable that as soon as you make a decision that you’re going to be so good and you’re not going to eat any sugar that day that someone brings in Girl Scout cookies, or cupcakes or whatever. Everyone’s gathered together in the kitchen area, sharing and snacking and they call you over to join them. What do you do? You don’t want to miss taking part in the team comradery, but you know they’re watching you, especially if you already have a reputation of being a healthy eater or just the opposite! Do you just ignore the treat? That’s one way to do it, but what if you really really want one??

    Here’s the rule as I live it; Have one!! Can you have one without wanting to eat the whole box or bag or whatever? If you know you can, enjoy it! Sample it, take a bite and throw the rest out!

    If you can’t have just one, simply pass and tell them the truth! You’d be surprised how many people will relate to that simple admission. It could start a whole conversation on the benefits of bringing in only Healthy snacks in future, you never know!! If all else fails, keep a supply of healthy alternatives handy for just these emergencies. Grab one of yours and join the group.

    What’s most important here is accepting yourself and all of your faults as they are, admitting to yourself that no, maybe one isn’t enough, better pass, or yes, let me have one so I don’t binge later!

    Be honest with yourself when setting any goals for weight and eating habits. It’s much easier to go with the flow if you already know your limitations.

    Personal Energy Our Thoughts and Poetic Thinking

    At a presentation on personal energy and how it effects our self and others, I did an exercise that had some interesting results. It was for a group of about 70 health care professionals.

    TM-034Here is how the exercise went.

    I asked on a scale of one to ten, to focus on how they felt, in their body, as they heard the word. And to respond quickly, and out loud, without thinking.  “1” being low energy, or negative, in some form and “10” being high energy, feels good.

    For the first word “Discipline”, most  said “2”,  for the next word “Adore” most said “10”.

    I had done the same exercise with a different group at an earlier date and they said the exact same numbers – “2” & “10”.

    Interesting on its own and a reminder for us all to become more and more aware of our thoughts and words and to practice changing some of them if they do not feel good. Awareness is the first step. If we are not paying attention inwardly we will not even know what is there.

    Think about practicing with your thoughts and words just as we practice with improving our physical abilities with sports and games. Our personal energy and awareness improve in the same way by being interested to do so, having the intention and practicing to change our habit.

    Having written a fair amount of intimate poetry I am interested in finding a way to mix poetic thinking with our daily lives and even with business situations.

    Poetic thinking, or writing, is somewhat more about what you feel, and are aware of with your senses, than just what you are thinking about.

    It is a deeper, more present, more in tune, more compassionate, and more about life, way of thinking, writing, speaking and being.

    Poetic writing and thinking style might be an interesting exercise to relate to some event in your life.  If you do it a few times, you might just surprise yourself.

    Remember getting started, taking the first step, is the difficult part. Once you start, your pen, or keyboard, will take over almost on it’s own. Here is a question to ponder and use as a starter.

    What choice could you make today that would enhance your personal environment?

    And why could or would that happen?

    Enjoy this moment as it is constantly changing, and a good time to change your thoughts.