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We’ve all had big decisions to make. Whether it is changing jobs, leaving a relationship, choosing a doctor, or moving to a new city, the one part of life that will always remain constant is change. 

I have certainly experienced my fair share of major decisions including moving away from home at 17 years old to leaving my 7-year relationship to selling all of my belongings at age 37 and moving to a new country. I see my clients and friends struggling with similar choices every day. 

The main reason that we feel stress at times of transition is because we fear the unknown. What if I make the wrong choice? What if this path leads me to a terrible place? What if I leave and I end up alone forever? What if this treatment doesn’t work and my illness gets worse? Why can’t I just be happy with what I have? Why can’t I make a decision? If you can you relate you’re certainly not alone. 

The first thing that we need to understand is that fear, stress, and anxiety come only when we live in the past or the future. In the present moment all is well. Even if we’re struggling with an illness or going through a divorce, in the present moment everything is okay. It is our fear of dying or being alone or going broke at some future time that causes us turmoil. Or it is our memory of a similar experience that led us to a painful experience in the past. How then do we let go of fear while also getting clarity on which path to take when were faced with a fork in the road? 

  • Get Quiet - I often speak of meditation because it allows our minds to get still. When we get quiet and go inward, we begin to get internal guidance rather than external validation. This means that our spirit, intuition or that part that is all knowing speaks to us rather than being affected by the outside world.
  • Baby Steps - While there is a time to remain still, there also comes a time when some action is better than none. If you’ve been feeling paralyzed or stagnant for an extended period, take a step. There is no wrong or right choice, just take the next logical step towards some type of change and you will be guided along the path. Often the big steps cannot come until you’ve taken the smaller ones first.
  • Follow the Energy - If we can learn to follow the excitement and energy, we cannot be led astray. When faced with a fork in the road, simply picture yourself in both scenarios. Take a moment to feel what it will be like when you take the path on the left and then take some time to experience the one on the right. Which path brings you the most enthusiasm, excitement, and joy? Which decision feels most aligned with the biggest and best vision for your life? Which one forces you to become all that you can be and which one keeps you playing small? Does one push you outside of your comfort zone and the other keep you complacent?
  • Trust Yourself - It is so easy to make ourselves wrong and to use past mistakes as a way of avoiding moving forward. When we can re-build trust within us and become our own best support systems, we begin to trust that WE know what’s best. We begin to let go of the need for others to tell us what to do and while we may still ask for advice, the ultimate decision will be made by us because deep down, we know the truth.
  • Embrace Fear - We try very hard to get rid of fear. We have learned to push it away and to avoid facing it at all. When we understand that fear itself is an illusion of sorts and when we actually learn to embrace it, it no longer holds power over us. What if we began to love those dark parts of our self and faced it head on? I have seen people do this over and over again and eventually the very thing that causes fear begins to lose its power. What we resist persists. What we embrace begins to diminish.
  • Take a Leap - Eventually we will look forward to taking the leap. Making big decisions will become easier and easier over time. When we learn that there is no wrong or right and when we can listen to that quiet voice inside of us, we realize that as we leap, the net will ALWAYS be there to catch us. 

Making big decisions and constant change is inevitable but as we learn to navigate using our inner compass, we become much better at handling these transitions and trusting that they are leading us towards the grandest version of our life. Each of us has been brought here with unique gifts and talents to offer the world and when faced with a fork in the road, it simply means that we are being guided towards that ultimate place of inner power, fulfillment, and mission.   

(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Coach Living in Los Angeles.  http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com  He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)

WELLNESS--Spices, herbs, and natural flavoring may not just enhance our taste buds. Recent studies are showing that spicing up your mealtime may in fact lower your risk of certain diseases and may also help to reduce inflammation in your body. 

Often nature has many of the answers that we’ve been searching for and herbs and spices are a great example of this. 

Here is a small list of my favorite spices and how they’ve been shown to enhance your overall health: 

Black Pepper - Black pepper is rich in piperine which has been shown to slow, reduce or even kill certain types of cancer cells relating to breast, prostate, colon, lung, liver, stomach, and cervix. Piperine has also exhibited anti-inflammatory effects and may help reduce the pain relating to Arthritis and gout. 

Turmeric - This bright orange spice has been used in Ayurvedic traditions for thousands of years. It has shown great promise in lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s, certain cancers, and even heart disease. The active ingredient curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is often recommended by doctors to help fight the symptoms or Arthritis and sports injuries. 

Oregano - Oregano has potent anti-microbial properties and is incredibly effective during cold and flu season. Using oil of oregano drops under the tongue along with fresh oregano in your cooking has been shown to boost immunity and ward off certain infections. 

Pink Himalayan Sea Salt - Salt has had a bad rap. For those with high blood pressure, it is wise to minimize sodium intake but tests have shown that pink Himalayan sea salt contains 80 + trace minerals and may help to alkalize the body. 

Basil - Fragrant basil is packed with Vitamin K which helps our bodies to better absorb Vitamin D3. Vitamin K also promotes proper blood clotting, and supports our bones. Basil may also offer DNA protection and has antibacterial properties to help fight off infections. 

Sage - According to the Journal of Psychopharmacology, sage has been shown to benefit people’s memory. Sage supplements have also been studied for their power to reduce anxiety symptoms. 

Garlic - Garlic contains the sulphur compound called allicin which has numerous health benefits. Garlic is known to reduce bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure, inhibit the common cold and flu, and may even fight cancerous cells. 

Rosemary - Rosemary also has anti-inflammatory effects and supports healthy eye health. Rosemary also positively affects the brain and may even lower the risk of certain cancers including breast and blood. 

Curry - Various colors of curry are often used in Thai and Indian cuisine. Curry has long been researched to reduce inflammation in the body, and to fight harmful free radicals from attacking our cells. Curry may also support proper liver health and detoxification. 

Ginger - Ginger tea has been used as a remedy for digestive issues, nausea, and motion sickness for thousands of years. It also has immune-boosting properties, and has been shown to reduce overall inflammation in the body. 

Cinnamon - Cinnamon has antifungal and antibacterial properties and has been researched for its benefits in lowering blood sugar in the body. It has anti-inflammatory effects and is considered a superfood because of its high antioxidant content. 

There are numerous studies worldwide that show the positive health benefits of herbs and spices. 

This week why not experiment with your cooking? The next time you’re at the supermarket look for fresh, organic herbs and try something new. Not only will your taste buds thank you but you’ll definitely be doing your health and your body some good! 

Alert! Always check with your doctor to ensure that specific herbs and spices won’t interact with your current medications or pre-existing health issues.

 

(Jay Bradley is an Anti-aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Coach living in Los Angeles.

http://JayBradleyLifestyle.com.  He is the Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)

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Life isn’t always easy. Regardless of how many self-help books we’ve read, the number of empowering seminars and warrior camps we’ve attended, sometimes we still suffer. After all, if we were happy and overjoyed all the time, we certainly wouldn’t be able to appreciate the awesomeness of the joyous experiences when they show up. 

WELLNESS--The world is an amazing place. Each country holds ancient truths about health, vitality, beauty, and longevity. Herbs, plants, and other natural sources have been used for thousands of years to assist people in looking and feeling better. 

I have become more and more fascinated by these secrets that are now readily available to the western world. We now have the privilege of experiencing these products here in North America, which are often packaged into convenient teas, supplements, and powders. 

Many of us are keenly aware that changes must be made and in particular we are waking up to the fact that pharmaceuticals, although necessary at times, are not getting to the cause of our illness. While our mental and emotional health plays an integral part in our total wellness, nature may hold many cures as well. 

Here is a list of many of these superfoods and their country of origin. Of course there a so many more and this is only a partial list. Perhaps it’s time for you to look into trying them for yourself and making some a part of your daily health care routine.

INDIA
Ashwaganda
- Ashwaganda root is known as an adaptogen herb which may stimulate the thyroid gland, lower the stress hormone cortisol, and increase energy and sex drive in men and women.

Turmeric - Turmeric is best known for it’s anti-inflammatory powers. It is well researched for use to help alleviate arthritis symptoms, possibly lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and is a powerful antioxidant giving the cells an important boost. 

Moringa - Moringa is a powerful leaf with each serving said to have 4 times more calcium than milk, the vitamin C of 7 oranges, potassium of 3 bananas, 3 times the iron of spinach, vitamin A 4 times that of carrots, and double the protein of milk! It is known to boost energy, libido, mental focus, and numerous other health benefits. 

CANADA

Chaga - Chaga is a mushroom-like fungus that grows in cold climates like Canada and Siberia. It contains the highest levels of a powerful antioxidant called Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). Often enjoyed as a tea, this powerful healer may have amazing cancer-fighting properties. 

JAPAN
Green Tea
- By now many of us know the powerful immune support that green tea offers but it also contains amazing thermogenic compounds that assist the body in burning fat and it helps our skin to look more radiant from the inside out.

Enoki Mushroom - Mushrooms are some of the most potent healers in all of nature and recent studies show that they may protect our body from radiation. Enoki is known for its unique shape and is often enjoyed in salads. It is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. 

CHINA

Goji Berries - Goji berries are considered both a fruit and an herb and are very rich sources of vitamins A and C. They help to support eye health and the overall immune system. 

GREECE

Oregano - Oregano Oil is now being touted as nature’s most powerful antibiotic. It has incredible antimicrobial and antifungal effects and works to naturally boost the immune system and ward off infection. 3 drops under the tongue regularly followed by water or juice is recommended. 

ITALY

Olive Oil - Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats which may help to lower the risk of heart disease. Olive oil contains important vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants and is a great source of monounsaturated fat. It is a wonderful aid to reduce overall inflammation and assist healthy digestion. 

AFRICA

Rooibis - Rooibis tea is a delicious, dark, caffeine free beverage made from the Rooibos bush. It is one of the most powerful antioxidants in nature and works to naturally boost the overall immune system, may reduce asthma symptoms and headaches along with a number of other health benefits. 

CARIBBEAN
Coconut
- The healthy fats in coconut known as Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) are well documented to assist the body in reducing inflammation, burn fat, and help maintain healthy cholesterol. Coconut oil also works wonderfully as an antiaging skin treatment. 

SOUTH AMERICA

Soursop - Soursop leaves contain high concentrations of alkaloids and acetogenins which is a family of compounds with natural antibiotic and antifungal effects. Many people have made claims that Soursop has helped them to regain their health during cancer treatments. 

These amazing and life-changing miracles of nature are taking center stage as remedies for a myriad of health challenges. You may be surprised at just how powerful they are! 

It’s up to each one of us to do our own research and experiment to find what is right for us. Of course it is always advised that you do so along with the assistance of your family doctor or health professional especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or you are on medication.

(Jay Bradley is an anti-aging & wellness coach living in Los Angeles. He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better! Jay can be reached at: jaybradleylifestyle.com

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WELLNESS--With Chinese Medicine we are taught that as the elements change and the cooler weather moves into our environment, it also moves into our bodies. Fall is in full swing, so we need to be mindful by taking certain steps that will help keep us healthy and well as we enter the cooling months. 

For starters, sleep more. Many people are noticing that they feel sleepier as we move into October and November. This is because as the days get shorter, there is more darkness and the brain picks up on the lesser amount of light. With less light during the shorter days, the pineal gland as apt to create more melatonin making us want to sleep more that normal. The best solution to this is to allow yourself more rest when possible. If you have kids, get them into bed a little earlier than usual so you can also get yourself to bed. If your single, pick an earlier and reasonable time to turn off the screens so your brain can start preparing for sleep. Your body and brain will thank you for the increase in sleep time. 

Regarding foods, eat more soups and stews. As the cold weather moves in, we don’t want it to move into our bodies. Warming foods like onions, garlic, and ginger become even more important to cook with in the winter months especially considering the antiviral qualities of those foods. Try to avoid too many cool drinks and cooling foods. Fall and winter is a great time to steam your veggies instead of eating them raw, and to drink hot tea and room temperature water instead of ice cold drinks. 

In Chinese medical theory, the spleen is like the gas burner on your stove and the stomach is the pot with the food cooking in it. The less cool and cold foods we add to the pot the less work the spleen has to do to heat it, so eat foods that are already cooked during these months. It will make it easier on your body to digest them and use them as energy. 

As the days get shorter and the darkness moves in, the chemicals in our brain also shift causing us to feel more sleepy and less energized if we are not taking proper care of ourselves. Because of this, the temptation for caffeine in the form of that afternoon cup of coffee or sugar in that candy or muffin grows stronger during the winter months. Add holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, and we usually have an abundance of sugar and processed foods at our fingertips. 

One great way to fight the urge is to find someone you work with that is also concerned about putting their health and wellness first, and create an accountability buddy partnership. Set some realist healthy goals with this person and be sure to include realistic goals without trying to be perfect. 

A great example of this is “every Sunday we can eat whatever I want, but during the week and at work we will not eat sugars or refined foods.” It helps tremendously to have someone you are accountable to, and actually makes the process fun. I love to use the fall and winter as a time of increased self care and wellness. That way, when the spring arrives, I feel like I already have a jump on my summer health goals!

 

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

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Omega fats are a crucial part of any diet, but what’s the deal with these elusive compounds? For starters Omega 3’s and 6’s are considered “essential” because it is essential that we get them from our diet since we can’t make them ourselves. You may remember the word “essential” from when we talked about amino acids. It is used for the same reason. Both omega 3’s and 6’s are considered polyunsaturated fats. 

Some of you are confused and have been given misinformation stating that omega 6’s are good and 3’s are bad. This is not the case. The exact ratio of 6’s to 3’s is still a bit unclear, but most professionals agree that at least a 1:1 ratio of omega 3’s to 6’s is required. As usual, every body is different so our needs vary, but it is widely accepted that a diet dominant in 6’s and deficient in 3’s is not healthy for our hearts, brains, and nervous systems. Studies show that people who get more 6’s than 3’s tend to carry more inflammation in the body and have a greater risk of heart disease.   

A big part of why we get more omega 6’s is because they are cheaper to obtain and they are often found in refined foods. Besides being found in nuts and seeds and some of the oil extracted from them, omega 6’s are also found in refined oils like soy and vegetable oil, which is used to make processed foods. In the United States, 90% of all oil produced is Soybean oil at 108 million metric tons. This oil has some Omega 6 fat, but it’s often hydrogenated meaning they add hydrogen atoms making the oil stay fluid even in cooler temperatures. That hydrogenation process makes the oil easier to cook with and much easier to store, but it’s very difficult for the body to break it down. Hydrogenated oils should be avoided at all times regardless of the type of oil that is being hydrogenated. It is extremely unhealthy. Omega 6 oils are also found in meat and chicken, but the Omega 3 content in these foods is much lower. 

Omega 3 oils come primarily from fish. Most of you have heard of the Mediterranean diet. This diet is comprised of lots of fish and vegetables and a low intake of meats. The 3’s can also be added and obtained from healthy fish supplements and krill oils. Try to get at least a 1:1 ratio. In other words, if you are able to look at the ingredients of your food and count the Omega 6 content, try to at least match the Omega 3 intake. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least 2 times a week. It is not always easy to prepare and eat fish, so for those of you that simply don’t eat a lot of fish or don’t like fish, taking a fish oil supplement rich in omega 3 is crucial for heart and brain health. The exact amount of fish oil each of us needs is varied and it is a good idea to talk to your healthcare providers to find out the right amount of oil supplementation for you. A good rule of thumb is to try to at least match the amount of 3 to 6 that you are consuming. 

In closing, omega fats are crucial for you brain, heart, and nervous system functioning. Be aware of your omega intake ratio, and for most of us, adding 3’s is necessary. Avoid vegetable and soybean oil and definitely cut any hydrogenated oils from your diet. If the food seems unhealthy but doesn’t have hydrogenated on the label, do some digging on line. More than once, I have found that the hydrogenated oil is hidden and not on the label at all. One example is Girl Scout cookies. Pay attention to labels, but also dig deeper to get all the information around the foods you are putting in your body. I am here for any unanswered questions you may have regarding supplementation and omega intake.

 

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

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WELLNESS--Many of us have heard that catchy phrase, but let’s dig a little deeper into the science of sitting versus movement. 

Besides the obvious weak bones and varicose veins that sitting can cause, it turns out that more serious diseases are associated with sitting. In a study with nearly 2500 people,  they were able to link sitting and sedentary lifestyles with type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which is the name of a group of risk factors that raise ones risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease. 

Another study in Europe found that sitting times were highest in males, younger age groups, and people with postgraduate educations. This can be explained through the tendency for men to exercise less and be more drawn to video games. As far as the more educated people, they tend to have more high paying and time-consuming desk jobs leaving less time to move the body. 

There is also evidence showing that even for people that are exercing for 30 to 60 minutes a day, the long periods of sitting besides during that exercise time can be damaging. Just the simple act of standing up and walking helps to enhance the function of the metabolism while simultaneously increasing the bodies function. 

The best thing we can do to prevent the damage caused by sitting and being sedentary is to move our bodies as much as possible all day long. That may mean taking a short 10 minute break each hour or two at work and walking around the block or simply walking up and down stairs at work a few times a day. 

For the more ambitious, there are now treadmill desks. It is basically a treadmill with a large desktop platform that you have your computer and phone and anything else you may need. People set the speed at a low rate of maybe 2 mph and slowly walk while they work. One woman blogged about her experience of using a treadmill desk for a month, and the results were pretty great!  

I push my patients to get a fitness buddy and use that person as someone that you can answer to as far as how much exercise you are doing. 

If you have an office job, grab a friend every day during your lunch hour and go for a brisk walk around the building. If you have kids and find it tough to find time for fitness, bring them to the park with you. There are strollers for infants designed for performance walking or jogging and if you have more than once child, make it a game and take turns to see who can push the infant the furthest or fastest. 

A wrist worn activity tracker is also a fun and helpful way to ensure one is getting enough steps each day. We only have one body, and when something is important enough to us, we always make time for whatever that may be. Make you and your health a priority and start moving today.

 

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

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WELLNESS--Very often people think of wellness and fitness as a program or a series of events.  A more effective way to approach health and wellness is to look at it as a practice. Studies show that the effects of exercise and wellness are cumulative. In one study, participants fitness regimes and diets were tracked for 2 decades and it showed that the people who had clocked the most hours were the healthiest as opposed to the weekend warriors that only worked out in spurts. 

For some of you reading this may think that this is not good news because your track record regarding exercise is less than exemplary. A better way to look at these studies is to recognize that small amounts of exercise every day is more effective and healthy than say training for a marathon once a year for 3 months and then doing nothing the rest of the year.  One need not be a marathoner to be healthy. In fact, it may be argued that the person that wakes up each day and does a pleasant and brisk morning walk for 15 minutes is healthier than the part time intense fitness trainee. 

Look at your fitness schedule and wellness as a practice. Like any practice, the more we do it, the better we get. Sometimes we make mistakes when we are practicing or we don’t practice enough. Instead of focusing on what we are not doing or what we should be doing, when our wellness practice becomes challenging, we need to simply recognize that we won’t always do it perfectly, then simply move forward from there. 

When getting back in shape, self-talk is an effective tool that can be used to reach your goals. A study posted on NPR noted that people who use the 3rd person when relating to self have lower levels of anxiety that there 1st person counterparts and greater levels in success towards reaching goals. Other studies show that our self-talk is important, not only in shaping how we see ourselves, but also in the action steps we take to improve. Using the 3rd person may be more effective that using the first person when we relate to ourselves. Telling ourselves something like “you are human, and while you are not in the best shape at the moment, you are getting healthier and more fit every day” is much more effective than “I am fat and out of shape.” 

The important take away here is to remind you that just like life, wellness is a practice. When you are in a slump or haven’t worked out for a while simply tell yourself that you are a little out of practice, and with a little time and a brisk morning walk, you will be back on track in no time at all and feeling great.  Reach out if you need advice or inspiration. 

 

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

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