Tag Archives: Women Vitamins

Eating Healthy: Small Steps for Big Results


Happy Thanksgiving
Image by faith goble via Flickr

Healthy eating doesn’t sound like the right topic for a holiday-season blog, but healthy eating is a gift to yourself: it can protect you from disease and give you the gifts of better health and longevity.  Just a few simple changes can help a woman dodge some significant health threats.

Choose whole grains instead of refined ones.  Studies indicated that 3 servings of whole grains per day can lower the risk of heart disease by up to 36%.  Whole grains provide fiber and antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E.  These work to reduce inflammation, and lower both cholesterol and blood pressure.  Use brown rice instead of white.  It has twice the fiber and will make you feel fuller, longer thus helping your diet.  Grab an oatmeal raisin cookie instead of a chocolate chip, and eat wheat crackers instead of normal saltines.

Include protein with every meal.  Doubling your protein intake will help you shed those unwanted pounds, as well as lessen your risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and more.  Amino acids in protein send signals to the brain that reduce the appetite.  Protein also has the highest thermogenic effect…it requires more calories to digest protein than other foods.  You could lose an additional 70 calories a day (equivalent to 8 pounds a year) with no effort.  Studies indicate that if you are serious about losing and maintaining weight loss, 5-6 small meals per day focusing around quality protein intake can substantially decrease your weight, increase your energy while energizing you as well.

Drinking 3 glasses of fruit or vegetable juice in the morning can slash your risk of Alzheimer’s by 76%.  Polyphenols in fruit and vegetable skins and pulp buffer brain cells from oxidative damage.  Just be careful of juices loaded with sugar, or juices that really offer very little actual juice.

Peppers, oranges, peaches, and papaya are loaded with beta cryptoxanthin; a carotenoid that reduces the risk of lung cancer by up to 30% says the American Cancer Research Institute.  It neutralizes free radicals so they can’t damage the DNA, and it keeps the growth of any cancer cells that do develop, under control.

Stop sipping on sodas…Tufts University says that soda is the biggest source of calories in the American diet.  Drinking just one soda a day can put on 14 pounds in a year and can up your risk of having type-2 diabetes by 83%.  Jazz up your water with fresh squeezed lemons or limes, sliced apples or cucumbers.  Adequate hydration can also lessen your can of suffering a heart attack by 50%.

Eat dark chocolate.  It hardens tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay.  In fact an extract in chocolate rights cavities better than fluoride according to Tulane University.

Be safe, be healthy, find a quality protein supplement, take your WomenVitamins, and be blessed, Kersten

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Women Vitamins: The Low Down on High Blood Pressure


The most efficient way to pack different-sized...
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Summer time should be the perfect time…but the stress of high temperatures, the strain of kids out of school, the extra expenses of vacations and the high cost of utility bills can put our happiness, our health, and our hearts at risk.

An estimated 60 million Americans have high blood pressure (or hypertension), an increase of 10 million over the last 10 years. Most people aren’t even aware that they have high blood pressure and it goes untreated. Yet, hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (heart diseases), and is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.

It is estimated that high blood pressure  has or will affect 90% of Americans at one time or another. Main causes of this condition include lifestyle factors that are controllable: eating a high-grain, high-sugar diet and not exercising and factors and some factors that are out of our control: excessive stress.

Happily, most people can normalize their blood pressure by following a healthy nutrition plan, participating in exercise, and rebalancing emotions and stress responses.

One old standby to combat high blood pressure is vitamin C.  Studies of the effect of Vitamin C in relation to hypertension go back well over a decade.  It is a powerful antioxidant that has continually proven its efficacy against hypertension.

A study (published in the Lancet ,1999) of 45 people with hypertension, noted that blood pressure levels fell by 9.1% after taking 500 mg supplement of vitamin C daily for a month. Duffy SJ, Gokce N, Holbrook M, et al. Treatment of hypertension with ascorbic acid.

Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, may lower blood pressure by protecting the body’s supply of nitric oxide which relaxes blood vessels, contributing to healthy blood pressure levels. Studies have also shown that vitamin C may help protect against certain cancers and chest pain when consumed as part of a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Recently, 2 studies (Brazilian and Israeli) looked at the benefits of vitamin C on hypertension and blood sugar levels.

The Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, led by Erika E Nishi, focused on the results of specific testing on 32 male Wistar rats, and determined that vitamin C lessened the severity of hypertension and protected blood cells against hypertension-induced genotoxicity. (Genotoxicity is a property possessed by some substances that makes them harmful to the genetic information contained in organism).   Brain, liver and heart cells were all protected by vitamin C after hypertension-induced DNA damage.    Human & Experimental Toxicology

Israeli researchers gave 70 patients from their hypertension clinic either a placebo, or a combination of antioxidants: vitamin C (1,000 mg/day), vitamin E (400 iu/day), coenzyme Q10 (120 mg/day) and selenium (200 mcg/day).

Participants were tested at 3 and 6 months.  Both testings showed those who took the supplements had improved blood sugar control, lowered blood pressure, significantly higher levels of HDL cholesterol,  and healthier arteries.  Those who took the placebo showed no differences.

The bad news is high blood pressure is a silent threat to your health and the number of people suffering from high blood pressure is increasing.

The good news is that taking steps to provide yourself with a nutritious diet, simple exercises, proper supplementation, and practicing stress reduction techniques like EFT, can help guard you from something as potentially dangerous as hypertension.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM; Washington, DC) estimated that hypertension prevalence might be reduced by as much as 22% if Americans consumed less salt in their diet and ate more vegetables, fruit, and lean protein.  A recent study calculated that reducing salt intake from 3,400 milligrams to the currently advised maximum intake level of 2,300 milligrams per day could bring down the number of individuals with high blood pressure by about 11.1 million and result in approximately $17.8 billion in health care cost savings annually.  The committee also estimated that an initiative to help overweight and obese Americans each lose 10 pounds could reduce the prevalence of high blood pressure in the overall population by 7 to 8%.  An exercise program that gets physically inactive people more active could decrease prevalence by 4 to 6%.

Be safe, be healthy, take your Women Vitamins and be blessed, Kersten

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Women Vitamins: Finding Your Voice: the whole is greater than the part


I’m on  vacation in Colorado.  a huge step for me.  I haven’t been on a real vacation in over 2 years, and I can’t remember the last time that I took a vacation all alone.  I dawdled and dithered for a long time before I committed to airline tickets and resort reservations, even choosing a destination was a labor.  I asked close friends if doing this alone was worthy or selfish…I wonder if deep down I thought I didn’t deserve this time just for me.

Then school ended…on a Saturday this year.  It was a hot day in Houston, and I had a flat on the way to the airport.  I was positive I would miss my flight….but I didn’t, thanks to the guys at NTB….and a fast Spot parking van driver, and friendly airline counter servers.

Anyway, landing in Denver was awesome…I was upgraded on my car rental to a Ford Escape (the implications of the name are not lost on me).  Breathing the mountain air as I drove up I70, reminded me of all the things I miss by living in a large urban area.  SPACE…CLEAN AIR….that delicious sense of un-boundedness.

So here I am in Breckenridge.

My first morning started at 2:30 Sunday…yup…was awakened by the yipping of animals unidentifiable to my befuddled brain….I figured it was a local pack of dogs…and I was so ready to complain.  The continued chorus finally forced me up at 5:30.  

And I saw a sight that amazed and compelled me.  4 fox were staving off a wolf, not 200 feet from my deck. They circled and nipped and yipped and worried him, for those 3 hours, until he finally gave up and trotted off.  Later exploration revealed a fox den complete with young kit.  Remarkable, to witness that successful cooperation in the wild.  Of course I did not think of taking pictures until after I had my first mug of coffee in hand.

I thought of our world today, so disjointed, so fragmented….and wondered if we couldn’t take a lesson from these critters.  Nature has made them normally timid and they don’t go around provoking incidents….but they banded together for their common good.  They weren’t necessarily braver but their efforts, each voice,  connected them into a greater force.  Their kit survived, their intruder left, their domain was secure…it was a victory, if only for another day.

Drinking coffee in the early morning, on my deck, with a view of mountain peaks, lodge pole pines, and a local den of fox…. What more could I ask for?  This is my victory.  I found my voice and  took a stand for myself, with the help of friends and strangers along the way, and here I am.

I am savoring each moment, whether in the sunshine, on the road to mountain summits, eating blueberries and bananas by an icy spring creek, anticipating white water rafting tomorrow…. I believe I  hear John Denver in the background…I kid you not….and I am chronicling this journey of my own,  with each picture I take and send on to FB….

I pray you find your voice, stand up for yourself, support your friends and family….together we are so much greater than we are alone.

Be safe, be healthy, take your women vitamins, and be blessed, Kersten

Mt Quandry, photo by Kersten Conway, WomenVitamins.net

Mt Quandry, photo by Kersten Conway, vitamins for women

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Women Vitamins: To Sleep, Perchance to Live Longer & Better


Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...
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Oh those blissful days of summer. We anticipate more sunshine, more vitamin D,  more pleasurable activities, and possibly less sleep.

We live away from the natural circadian rhythm of light and darkness that ruled our ancestors lives. We are sleeping less, at later times, thinking that we can make it up “some day.”

The truth is, we need sleep and  our body seems to work best with 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep…  We need to sleep during the darkest hours, and we need to sleep regularly.  Contrary to what you may tell yourself, there really is no making up lost sleep.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Americans slept an average of 9 hours, based on available light. Now  the average American sleeps 7.5 hours, a shortening mostly likely to accommodate more working hours or the pursuit of increased recreational and pleasure times.

6 or less hours of sleep falls under the label of sleep deprivation. Although we may get used to feeling fatigued or un-rested, the truth is that sleep deprivation aggravates and accelerates aging and ill-health. Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and memory loss are common symptoms of an un-rested life.

16 studies involving more than 1.3 million participants who were followed for up to 20 years, has revealed that people who sleep for less than 6 hours each night are more likely to die prematurely.

Professor Francesco Cappuccio, of the Sleep, Health, and Society Programme at the University of Warwick (UK) worked  with the Federico II University Medical School in Naples, Italy. His research found that people who slept less than six hours each night were 12% more likely to die prematurely than those who got the recommended 6-8 hours of rest.

Researchers also found that adults under 40 who typically slept for 5 hours or less each night had a greater accumulation of belly fat, both the “superficial” fat layers just below the skin and the “visceral” fat that surrounds the abdominal organs.  Research suggests that sleep loss alters people’s levels of appetite-regulating hormones — which could  account for the urge to overeat and it’s subsequent obesity.  Cortisol, (a stress hormone that stimulates the storage of fat cells, particularly around the waist area), is also activated by the lack of consistent sleep.

Tips for a good night’s sleep:

  • Get regular, daily exercise.  A study by Stanford University revealed that after 16 weeks of moderate exercise, participants fell asleep about 15 minutes earlier and slept about 45 minutes longer.
  • Stop eating after 7PM, and avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars which raises blood sugar levels and inhibits sleep.
  • Eat a high-protein snack several hours before bed. Protein provides the L-tryptophan need to produce melatonin and serotonin, two components of good sleep.
  • Listen to relaxation cd’s, nature sounds, or white noises CD’s.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and most liquid drinks before bed.
  • Read something religious or spiritual, practice meditation and pray…all these ease the mind
  • Sleep in the dark, unplug electronics with LED red or blue lights, light interfers with the  pineal gland’s production of melatonin and seratonin…even a brief flash of light can disrupt this production.
  • Don’t watch TV before bed, and get your TV out of the bedroom. TV stimulates your brain and it will take longer to fall asleep.
  • During winter months, wear socks to bed. Cold feet affect the quality of your sleep. Wearing socks reduces night waking.
  • Get to bed fairly early.Your body does most of its repair and recovery between 11 PM and 1AM.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, somewhere around 70 – 74 degrees. Your sleep is disturbed if you are too hot.

Sleep well, sleep enough, stay healthy, take your women vitamins, and be blessed, Kersten

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Women Vitamins: ALA/ALC- the Bobbsey Twins of Anti-Aging


Hill Street Farm CSA Week 4
Image by Wally Hartshorn via Flickr

We all are looking for ways to live healthier, longer, active lives.  We know that the process is not instantaneous, but rather like a journey…made one step at a time. Research on 2 enzymes has

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is a key component in the body’s ability to create acetyl-choline, a neurotransmitter responsible for memory and learning functions. It also boosts cellular metabolism and increases mitochondrial activity.   ALC can “jump-start” the brain and appears to improve spatial learning, discriminatory learning, and long-term memory.  It also seems to increase communication between the hemispheres of the brain.

ALC carries fatty acids from the cytosol (the main body of the cell) into the mitochondria (the energy-producing furnaces within cells) to oxidize  these fats into energy.

ALC has a remarkable solubility in water, which enables it not only to diffuse easily across the inner wall of the mitochondria and into the cell cytosol, but also cross cell membranes. ALC easily reaches all parts of the body.

In addition to its role in mitochondrial activity, ALC is involved in the production of key brain neurotransmitters.

I notice the effects of ALC within two hours after taking a  500 mg pill; these effects are arousal and vigilance, along with mood improvement, and can last most of the day. (Mind Boosters, Dr. Ray Sahelia)

However, by itself, ALC increases mitochondrial activity which creates oxidative damage. But, when ALC combines with the powerful antioxidant Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), the results in the lab are astonishing.

ALA is a sulphur-containing antioxidant, occurring naturally, in small amounts, in such foods as spinach, broccoli, beef, and yeast.  ALA is water and fat soluble, thus having antioxidant properties in almost any part of the body, including the brain. In the mitochondria, ALA can act both as an antioxidant, capable of recycling other antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin E, and as a coenzyme for key metabolic enzymes involved in energy production.

ALA also raises the level of glutathione within cells which is critical for neural function, and aids in glycolysis, the breaking down of carbohydrates for energy.

ALC/ALA supplementation on elderly (24-month-old) and lethargic rats showed an increase in energy,  an improvement  on memory tests, and increased mitochondria efficiency. Researchers likened this result to a group of 80-year-old humans acting 35 years younger.

Otolaryngologist, Michael Seidman, MD FACS conducted hearing tests on elderly, 2-year-old rats.  In his book, Save Your Hearing Now, Seidman relates that the ALC/ALA supplemented groups not only avoided hearing loss but their hearing actually improved. In other words, supplements didn’t just stop age-related hearing loss, they reversed it.

Human studies support these animal studies.   ALC/ALA, which eventually slows down and even reverses mitochondrial decline, is a long-term investment for  your health, and not a quick fix for age reversal.

I take GNC’s pre-blended mix of ALC (500 mg) and ALA (200 mg) and I’m in it for the long haul.

Be happy, be healthy, take your vitamins for women, and be blessed, Kersten

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Women Vitamins: Turmeric vs the Tumor


A while back, I wrote a blog about turmeric, an ancient spice with a lot of modern applications.  You’d be amazed by the vast and varied benefits that turmeric offers.

Turmeric

Image via Wikipedia

Turmeric gets its rich yellow color from the natural pigment, curcumin.  Curcumin has the potential of lowering cholesterol levels, improving cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and diabetes, and fighting certain cancers, particularly pancreatic and breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, almost 195,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the US this year, and over 40,000 will die from the disease.

Pancreatic cancer is the 9th most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Pancreatic cancer is initially difficult to detect and it is estimated that roughly 29,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year.

Both breast and pancreatic cancers present in forms of tumors.

Compounds found in spices may reduce the risk of breast cancer formation by stopping the growth of the stem cells that spawn the tumors.

Researchers from the University of Michigan released a study: “Targeting breast stem cells with the cancer preventive compounds curcumin and piperine” in which they report that curcumin, found in turmeric, and piperine, found in black peppers, decreased the number of stem cells while having no effect on normal differentiated cells.

“If we can limit the number of stem cells, we can limit the number of cells with potential to form tumors,”  Madhuri Kakarala.

The results of the study suggest these dietary compounds could reduce the risk of cancer by targeting stem cells.  While the amount of curcumin and piperine ingested were at doses 20x’s more than would be consumed in a meal, supplements afford a reasonable vehicle for higher dosages.

”The concept that dietary compounds can help is attractive, and curcumin and piperine appear to have very low toxicity.”  Kakarala

Another small study, published in the American Association for Cancer Research’s Clinical Cancer Research, was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas – MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Curcumin was given to patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.  Although the amount of curcumin found in the blood serum was low, indicating low level bioavailability, several patients did see a decrease in pancreatic tumors.

A 2009 study in German involving the Wilms’ Tumor Gene1, (WT1), showed astounding results.  When curcumin was given with siRNA (silencing RNA that interferes with the gene expression) almost 90% of the WT1 was downgraded. They concluded:

“Targeting WT1 gene expression with siRNA may enhance the efficacy of curcumin to inhibit cell proliferation.”

Turmeric an essential ingredient in curry powder, can also be purchased as a “stand alone” spice.  The rhizome (root) of turmeric has been used for ages in the east (Asia/India) as traditional medicine to help with gastrointestinal upset, arthritic pain, and “low energy”.

I am going to add 2 recipes for turmeric….turmeric tea and golden milk….both are soothing beverages that can calm the mind and the stomach.  Both taste pleasant and you can add honey to sweeten the flavor, if you so choose.

Turmeric Tea

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • lemon (optional)
  • honey (optional)

Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and add ground turmeric. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into a mug using a mesh strainer or cheesecloth.  Add honey and/or lemon to taste.

Golden Milk

  • 1/8 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons almond oil (organic)
  • honey (optional)

-Boil  Turmeric in about 1/4 cup water for 7-10 minutes – this forms a thick paste, add water as needed, keep stirring

-While this mixture is boiling, bring 1 cup milk & 2 tablespoons almond oil up to a gentle boil

-As soon as it starts to boil, TAKE IT OFF THE STOVE!  (don’t let it scorch)

-Combine the milk with the turmeric mixture

-Add honey (optional) to taste


Stay healthy, take your Women Vitamins, and be blessed, Kersten

Turmeric powder 薑黃粉

Image via Wikipedia

This article is purely informational.  As with any new diet or change in health or lifestyle routine, please consult with your physician or health care provider first.
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Women Vitamins- Smile and the World Smiles with You…Longer


Don't give me a fake smile
Image by Jen SFO-BCN via Flickr

I try to smile… a lot…every day…for several reasons:

  1. I like smiling, it reminds me to be happy and to share that happiness
  2. I like being smiled at in return
  3. I think it makes my face look more youthful…I kid you not, go to a mirror smile…look….frown, looked bored or stern…look…smile…reevaluate.  Don’t you look younger?  More interesting?  More like the REAL you?
  4. It alters my reactions….I take things less personally.  I have the, “I grant you my happiness”, nobles-noblige  outlook.

I’ve noticed that as I smile, I am content.  I find myself dwelling on the blessings of my life.  I have a job I love, students spanning the last 20 years who genuinely care about me and seek me out…a nice house, great health….good friends…

Sure, I could make a list as long as my arm about the stuff I don’t have or the things that have been done to me, the wrongs and slights I have endured, the loneliness of being single in a couples world, the pits of aging…on and on… ad nauseum….but why?

When you are truly happy, these negative things are sort of reminders to enjoy the good.

A smile and a kind word can change the day for others as well.  Just greet a teen with a smile and a hug or high-5 and watch the difference in their eyes, in their body posture, and in the rest of their day.

SO-  I was intrigued by a study done and recently released, that hypothesized that a sincere smile, named a Duchenne smile,  reaching not just the lips but also involving the eyes, actually indicates the potential for a longer life.  A Duchenne smile requires the raising of  both cheeks, the corners of the mouth rising (demonstrating contraction of the zygomatic major muscle), and crow’s-feet wrinkles observed around the eyes.  (SEE there is a GOOD reason to love those crow’s-feet!)

Duchenne smilers were half as likely to die in any year compared with non-smilers

Keep that thought in mind when you are frustrated in snarled traffic, in a long line, on hold forever, with your child or your spouse…

Further, 70% of Duchenne smilers lived to age 80, as compared to 50% of non-smilers who survived to that age.

In 2000 the Mayo Clinic released data from a 30 year study of optimists and pessimists, which found that pessimistic patients had a 19% increased risk of mortality over optimists.

On-going research shows that basic emotional conditions, such as happiness and sadness, generate differentially patterned autonomic responses, which then influence physical and mental well-being and longevity.

Emotions affect personalities and life outcomes by influencing how people think, behave, and interact with others. People with positive emotions are happier and have more stable personalities, more stable marriages, and better cognitive and interpersonal skills than those with negative emotions, throughout their life span.

So start smiling…really smiling, ‘cuz that half-hearted smile doesn’t really count.  As that old adage states: Smile and the world smiles with you…and it will– for a longer time…

Be healthy, be safe, take your Women Vitamins and be blessed, Kersten

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Women Vitamins: Listening to that Still, Small Voice


About 10 years ago, while my loving father was dying of cancer, I wondered if Dad had heard any messages from his body about the cancer…and I realized that I no longer heard messages from my body.

I know that I “heard” my body as a child.  I remembered that  if I didn’t get meat for dinner, I had a tummy ache that night,  if I didn’t get outdoors to play, I felt grumpy and anti-social.  If I had not forgiven or been forgiven, I felt awful and achy all over.  Then I sort of forgot to listen, for too many years.  And I knew I had to start listening again.

I was lucky, I was ready, and the Universe supplied me with wonderful teachers who taught me to be still and listen again.

You may not find a teacher as quickly as I did, but I know that we can teach ourselves to hear:  Be still and listen…hear your heart, your joints, your breath, your muscles and the alignment of your bones.  Listen to your organs, the stomach telling you  it is satisfied before the plate is empty, the joy of your heart when you forgive or are forgiven, the blessing of the sun upon your face in early morn.

Listening to your body is not something we are taught.  We run ourselves ragged thinking we can always rest later, eat later, resolve issues later, be healthy later…and then when our system breaks down, we run to a doctor and hope for a prescribed pill to put us immediately to rights….and we are off again, never having taken time to deal with the real issues.

We are delicate machines, meant be maintained by the  healthy equilibrium of body, mind and spirit…  We have lost the ability to hear our body’s thirst, pain, and hunger.  We filter the  “I’m out of balance” cry…it’s too inconvenient and maybe too uncomfortable to acknowledge that voice.

7chakra
7 chakras for balanced health

In yoga, we learn there are 7 chakras, each a portal for a particular energy center:

The Root Chakra affects the health, structure and safety of your body. This chakra, symbolized by the color red,  is associated with how one’s body links to the material world.

The orange-colored, Naval Chakra is associated with the feelings of love, passion, sexuality and pleasure.

The Solar Plexus Chakra is found just above the navel and below the chest. This yellow chakra is the point at which

self-control, will power, authority and discipline are focused.

The Heart Chakra, green in color,  is found in the middle of the chest. Love and understanding are the focused in this chakra.

Located in the throat area  is the sky blue Throat Chakra that is linked to communication and understanding.

The Brow Chakra sometimes called the Third Eye Chakra is indigo in color, and is associated with sensitivity outside the physical sphere as a clairvoyance-related focus point.

The Crown Chakra dwells at the center point on top of the head, and is concerned with the spirit and the mind. One’s consciousness and items related to the High Self are dictated by the violet-coloured Crown Chakra.

My shamanic teachers often mentioned that unresolved issues manifested as disease in specific areas…..throat problems when you didn’t speak your truth, leg cramps and foot problems when you weren’t on the path you should be on, heart issues with unresolved emotional wounds and abandonment, stomach issues over dealing with authority, anger and the inability to forgive, eye problems when you refused to see the truth….

Some of this may be over simplified…perhaps…some is just uncomfortable truth…

So what am I saying?

Take time to listen to your deepest, inner-most self….It wants to start a conversation with you.

Learn to bless the  foods you prepare that satisfy your deeper needs… instead of filling up on hollow-calorie junk foods. Relearn the sweetness of fruits instead of grabbing those sugary processed foods.  Enjoy the exhilaration of a brisk walk, a run around the block, take a bike ride to the local park instead of playing on the computer or watching TV for hours.  Gather your friends and family members around you and bless them for the richness they add to your life.

Listen to that still, small voice.  Be healthy, take your vitamins for women, and be blessed, Kersten

Apple pear banana
Image by DeusXFlorida via Flickr
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Vitamins for Women: The Sweetness of a Kiss


Valentine’s Day is right around the corner…what a beautiful holiday: dedicated to love, joy, appreciation, and peace.  We think of candy and cards and flowers and kissing….just makes you feel better thinking about it, doesn’t it?

Out of those 4, let’s examine my fave: KISSING!  Nothing beats a good kiss, a sweet kiss, a kiss of atonement, a kiss of forgiveness, a kiss that wipes away despair and loneliness.  There are kisses of passion and kisses of tenderness, kisses of joy and kisses of promise.

The kiss is universal; it expresses affection and needs no translation.

Kissing is also good for you.  In fact, some of the health benefits of kissing are just amazing!  Consider these facts:

  • Kissing your partner good morning and goodbye can add 5 years to your life
  • Kissing improves your self esteem…you feel appreciated and it boosts your state of mind
  • Kissing releases stress, tension, lessens negative energy and produces a sense of well-being
  • Kissing burns up calories…about 3 calories a minute and your metabolic rate rises
  • Kissing passionately at least 3 times a day (minimum lip locking time of 20 seconds) can cause you to lose a pound a year…Can you say “I’m on a kissing diet?”
  • Kissing utilizes 30 facial muscles and can actually tighten facial features, prevent baggy cheeks, smooths the skin and increases circulation
  • Kissing frequently seems to make you less likely to suffer from bladder, blood, and stomach infections
  • Kissing stimulates  secretion of natural antibodies in the saliva and a type of anesthetic that helps alleviate pain
  • Kissing lowers the stress hormone cortisol
  • Kissing increases adrenaline that pumps up the heart, causing better circulation
  • Kissing frequently has been proven to stabilize cardiovascular activities, improving your heart’s health
  • Kissing decreases blood pressure and lowers cholesterol
  • Kissing reduces anxiety
  • Kissing stops the “negative noise/talk” in your mind
  • Kissing increases oxytocin levels which in turn calms you and produces peaceful feelings
  • Kissing produces endorphins that are 200 times more powerful than morphine.

Whew!

So I say, pucker up baby and start kissing!pucker up for womens health

Happy Valentine’s Day, take your vitamins for women, and be blessed, Kersten

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Women Vitamins: 10 Antioxidants from Whole Foods


Humans live on the energy produced by the oxidation process where oxygen triggers the burning of glucose and fat.
Stress, ultraviolet rays, cigarette smoke, and vigorous workouts tend to cause oxygen to change into free radicals that can  join with other compounds and attack cells causing damage to our bodies.
Having a larger percentage of free radicals can:
  • Lead to infections
  • Speed up the aging process by oxidizing cell walls, deteriorating functions of organs, and causing aging effects such as wrinkling
  • Damage genes leading to cancer
  • Oxidize cholesterol, changing it into “bad” cholesterol causing high blood pressure and arterial sclerosis
  • Narrow blood vessels which may cause heart attacks and strokes and deteriorates functions of tissues due to      blood flow blockage
  • Stimulated by ultraviolet rays, create melanin, causing skin blotches and freckles

Vitamins A, E, and C  and  zinc and selenium are excellent sources of antioxidants.  Multivitamins with minerals can and do help protect you from free radical damage.  However, it is also imperative to utilize sound eating practices and there are several wonderful sources of antioxidants found in whole foods (foods that are close to natural in form and not processed in a plant).

So, if you are looking for reliable sources of antioxidants these ten foods are your best bet:

Berries are a wonderful source of antioxidants

Berries especially blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are high in proanthocyanidins. These antioxidants help prevent both heart disease and various cancers. Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries all contain ellagic acid, a compound that seems to neutralise carcinogens.

Broccoli contains a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) a strong antioxidant with the ability to break down oestrogen. Reduced levels of oestrogen have been found to lower the likelihood of developing breast cancer, cervical cancer and cancer of the ovary. Another important antioxidant present in broccoli is beta carotene that helps protect against heart disease and various cancers.

Carrots when cooked, contain a potent antioxidant, beta carotene, that offers some protection against a variety of types of cancers, particularly lung,breast, bladder, stomach and esophageal cancers.  Beta carotene also reduces heart disease.

Garlic has certain anti-fungal properties, lowers cholesterol levels and reduces blood pressure. Studies also suggest that the intake of garlic helps prevent the onset of cancer.

Soy contains genistein and isoflavone, it reduces low density lipoprotien (LDL cholesterol) which in turn, reduces the chances of developing heart disease and reduces susceptibility to colon, breast and prostate cancers.

Spinach contains lutein which is the main pigment in  the section of the eye  most sensitive to light, the macula.  As we age this pigment may decrease and we cannot manufacture this pigment. However lutein, is  found in spinach and studies indicate that people who regularly eat spinach have lessened macular damage and cataracts.

Tea contains catechins (present in green tea) and theaflavins (found in black tea) are antioxidants that are both beneficial in neutralizing free radicals. Studies have shown that drinking either green or black tea significantly reduces the risk of cancer, strokes, and heart disease. Green tea is the most powerful antioxidant beverage known today.

Tomatoes and pink grapefruit contain lycopene, one of the rarer carotenoids, that has twice the antioxidant effects of beta carotene. Studies show that lycopene reduces the likelihood of developing colon, lung, and breast cancers.  Adult males who include tomatoes or tomato based products such as tomato sauce in their diets, have a lesser incidence of prostate cancer. Cooked tomatoes are most beneficial and  eating tomatoes with some olive oil is the best  because lycopene is fat soluble and can therefore enter the system more readily if accompanied by some form of oil or fat.

Whole Grains are a good source of Vitamin E, a very powerful antioxidant found to help protect against various cancers, particularly cancer of the prostate. Vitamin E strengthens the immune system and slows down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Whole grains are also high in phytic acid (IP-6), a strong antioxidant shown to help protect against breast, liver, and colon cancers.

Red Grapes and red wine contain quercetin and resveratrol.  Resveratrol helps protect against cancers, and reduces the likelihood of having a stroke, developing inflammatory diseases, or osteoporosis.

Eat wisely, exercise, and be blessed, Kersten