Yoga for Stress Relief

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Melissa’s Rap: The topic of Yoga for Stress Relief may seem a bit redundant, since yoga is known for reducing stress more than anything else. Perhaps it is, but as a yoga instructor and a woman who has dealt with chronic anxiety for much of my life, I do feel that some poses and practices are more effective than others in reducing stress in one’s life.
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Health Crisis Part 1: The Standard American Diet

Sarah’s Rap: Look around and you may notice that Americans (and others) are SADDLED with disease and worsening in rapid numbers. Not only are many people suffering from chronic illnesses, they’re getting worse  for many reasons, including:

Standard 
American 
Diet, 
Disabling healthcare system, 
Lifestyle, 
Environment and 
Denial

As a result of a combination of the above factors,  alarming numbers of people suffering from disease and obesity are being reported. The end result is a civilization that is unhealthy, dying, depressed, malnourished, overweight, brain-addled, irritable and stressed. I’m going to dive into each of these disease-causing factors to give you a better understanding of the risks with each and hopefully some ideas for how those suffering can turn their life around and enjoy life without the burden of these debilitating encumbrances. What would you rather be – SADDLED and led through life on a path you didn’t choose and might not be happy with, or to run free and fast, stopping to smell the roses when you want and steering your own course through life? I know which one I’d prefer, which is why I’m taking actions to get my health in order! I hope you choose to do the same. Continue reading

Tick Prevention and Proper Tick Removal

tick

Melissa’s Rap: May is Lyme disease awareness month. This disease has greatly impacted me and my family, as I was diagnosed CDC-positive with Lyme on Cinco de Mayo 2011. I spent the next two years treating with IV antibiotics, oral antibiotics, herbs, supplements and other  treatments. To this day, I see effects  of the disease in my low immune function, brain fog, and fatigue. Now that I know what I know about Lyme and its coinfections (Lyme rarely travels alone), I am diligent about prevention and work  to educate others about how to prevent this debilitating disease.
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See You Sunday

"Ray of Sunshine", © 2011 Jamie Pfister, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

“Ray of Sunshine”, © 2011 Jamie Pfister, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Melissa’s Rap: A couple of weeks ago, I had a Bilateral Skin-Sparing Mastectomy. Leading up to the surgery, I was in a sort of prep mode. It helped me take my mind of what was to come (to a certain extent) and helped me to feel more prepared for the known of what was to come, as well as the unknown.

Why do we wait to deep clean things? It always feel so good to get it done. It usually happens when somebody is coming over or you are throwing a get together of some sort. Or when you are moving and need to clean the place to hand it over to the owners or the new tenants. Or in my case, when I choose to endure a difficult surgery in the hopes of preventing a more difficult experience in the future. I don’t know why we wait, but all I could think was…why did I not start this sooner?

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Eating Paleo on a Busy Schedule

Melissa’s Rap: I am a busy woman. Between being a mom, working a full-time leadership position, writing a blog and juggling a household, I don’t have a lot of extra time. So, when I decided to eat Paleo, I quickly became overwhelmed by the amount of cooking (and dishes) that came with it. With practice, though, I found a system that worked for me.

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Build a Network of Love and Support

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Sarah’s Rap: If you look at any truly successful, happy or healthy person you will notice that they do not stand alone. They are surrounded by people that love and support them. Synergy, one of my favorite words, is “the combined power of a group of things when they are working together that is greater than the total power achieved by each working separately.”* This is what a human support system can do for each of us. As this month of love closes behind us, continue to grow the love in your life by finding a Bert to your Ernie, a Brady Bunch to your Alice or a cheering squad for your own personal pep rally.

That all sounds well and good, you say, but how? Well, don’t despair! Sometimes the sources of love and reinforcement can surprise us. One thing I’ve learned in recent years is that just as one needs multiple pieces to build a puzzle, so does a support network requires multiple people of varying “shapes” to make your life feel complete and your own puzzle piece to feel surrounded and stable. That’s why it’s called a support “network”, not a “pair”. No one person can provide you will all the different types of support you may require, whether you are suffering from heartbreak, job loss, illness or just life’s general stresses. Continue reading

Un-“Extreme” Prevention: Choosing A Preventative Mastectomy

choose-the-right-direction-1536336_1280Melissa’s Rap: How do you tell your 6 and 10-year-old children you are having a body part (or in my case parts, plural) cut off – just in case? That has been on my mind lately. Honestly, it has been difficult to focus on much else.

A couple of months ago, I was diagnosed with Atypical Lobular Hyperplasia Bordering on Lobular Carcinoma In-Situ. My gynecologist recommended a mastectomy based on my history – 21 plus years of mammograms, where they always found “something”, followed by ultrasounds and needle biopsies and, five times during those 21 years, surgery.

My surgeon, however, felt it best to take things one step at a time, so I had a lumpectomy in January. Thankfully, the area they removed came back cancer-free. However, because of my original diagnosis, I was offered three options:

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Book Review: The Loving Diet by Jessica Flanigan

Sarah’s Rap: Last year I was walking with a long-time friend and after voicing my unhappiness with my health issues and resulting dietary regimen (for probably the millionth time), my friend suggested that I might need to accept that this was the way things were going to be. That I might not get past this. She had a good point, and for awhile after that conversation I tried not to be upset with what I COULDN’T eat and instead was satisfied with what I COULD eat, and all the other good things I had in  my life – a loving family, a good job, enough money to buy organic, high-quality foods and more. A strange thing happened. Just by deciding to change my mindset my stress-levels reduced and I felt more enjoyment in life.

Sadly, since then I’ve regressed and reverted back to fighting my circumstances and always striving to “get better”. On one hand, it’s a good thing to want to be better. I don’t sit idly by or decide to eat whatever I want no matter how sick it makes me. I got a new doctor, did some lab work to find more food sensitivities and bacterial overgrowth issues, bought a portable sauna for the house and started doing progressive relaxation. But this mindset of always striving for better health also causes stress and a constant dissatisfaction that my life is not what I want it to be. I’m always cooking, worrying about eating at social functions and turning a bit into a hermit.  What I need to find is a balance between the two. I need to bring more LOVE into my life and only I can control how receptive I am to it. Only I can generate love within myself for others, my environment and my life experiences. No one will do it for me. I am surrounded by love from others, yet I often feel dissatisfied and depressed. I am going to call this My Year of Love and I’ve just read an inspiring book that’s going to help! Wanna join me? If so, read on!love Continue reading

Puppy Love: The Power of Pets to Heal

Sarah’s Rap: As the month of love is upon us, I have been contemplating all the sources of love in my life. I am very fortunate to receive love from many angles – family, friends, spouse and children. Each kind of love is different, yet special in its own way. All this love has definitely helped me to cope with illness, stress and challenges over the years. Thank you to all those in my life that love me. I love you too!

A few other “loves of my life” are my fuzzy buddies. As a daughter and wife of pet-lovers, there have been very few times over my lifetime that I have been without a furry friend to love. Those times that we didn’t have a pet, the house felt empty even when it was full of people. What is it about the love from a pet that sometimes feels more comforting than human love? Do I take the human love for granted because I have always had copious amounts? Is it that pets love you unconditionally (as long as you feed them)? Is it because they are always so happy to see you when you come home or maybe because they snuggle so nicely? Whatever it is, the power of a pet’s love is amazing, as is the feeling of loving a pet in return. In fact, it’s downright therapeutic!

katie-and-me

This is Katie and I after moving to the Pacific Northwest. We had her for 14 years, after adopting her when she was a 7-week pound puppy. Although she is no longer with us physically, she’ll always be in my heart.

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