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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Coping through tough times

Have you ever watched a river or stream? In parts there is chaos, with water cascading over rocks and white water forming. Then the water calms and sometimes pools to the side, as if giving itself a rest from the ravages of the rocks.

If you were to just look at the water going over the rocks, you’d only see the rough water and chaos. But if you pull away and look at the river as a whole, you can see how there are phases of craziness and calm that the water goes through as it makes its way downstream.

Isn’t this true with life? If you concentrate on the rough water you may be encountering at the moment, it can feel insurmountable. Unending. Chaotic. But if you pull back and see the whole picture, you can see that there are always calm times after the rough spots.

If you simply look at nature to help you through tough times, you will see there are always calm periods after a storm. Sometimes just remembering this simple fact can help us get through the rough times. Calmer, happier days are ahead.

For some other articles on helping to relieve stress, see:

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Helpful hints to lessen sugar intake

Perhaps you’ve read Sugar Addicted? Try a three-day sugar fast (see link below) and decided to give up sugar for a while. Maybe it was a New Year’s resolution, deciding it was time to make a positive change and sugar had to go. Whether you’re skilled at letting the sweet stuff go or need some helpful hints, the suggestions below may be new to you, and my hope is these ideas help you to lessen sugar in your diet to bring you closer to balanced health.

Don’t eat sugar two days in a row. If I follow this rule, the addiction doesn’t have a chance to set in, I get to exercise my will, and I can have sugar every now and then. This doesn’t mean it’s OK to eat it every other day. It means don’t go on a run of eating sugar for days on end. Have some cookies one day if you haven’t had sugar in a while and just want to indulge. But stop there. Otherwise you will get your system readdicted and you’ll have to go through the withdrawal process all over again. Don’t start another chain of events. Don’t link one day of eating sugar to the next. You want to break the chain, not start one.

Another alternative is to go sugar-free Monday through Friday and allow yourself a moderate amount of sugar on the weekends. It’s like a reward for being good most of the week. It is the excessive intake of any toxic substance that creates the downfall of health. I’m not a big believer in complete denial or deprivation; moderation is the key here. Allow yourself some pleasure, but keep your sugar intake in check. Remember, you control how much sugar you eat; don’t let sugar control you.

If you don’t crave it, don’t eat it. Sometimes eating sugar is just a habit. Jars or bowls of sweets are lying around your home or office, so you constantly have visual cues to eat the sweet stuff. If this is true, it will be hard to just walk past that dish full of jelly beans or M&Ms, but you’ve got to give it a shot. Sometimes you have to forgo the good stuff to get to the great stuff, which in this case is clear skin (if you know you're sensitive to sugar). So if you aren’t going crazy with a sugar craving, pass up the sweets.

Don’t buy things you know you’re going to eat. If you are anything like me, when it comes to the junk foods you love, you have faulty willpower. I sometimes buy a sugary food thinking, “Well, I just want it around in case I have an uncontrollable craving.” And the truth is, at the moment I hold that item in my hands, I know in my soul that I will be eating it as soon as I get home. This is not to say I don’t give in to my cravings from time to time. But if something is sitting around my house, and it’s one of the junk foods I like, I will eat it. So my suggestion is this: don’t buy foods to keep around the house you know you don’t really want to eat or shouldn’t eat. When that major craving comes along and you decide to give in, go out and get the sweets you crave at that moment and be done with it. Make it a one-time deal. Don’t keep poor-quality foods lying around in your kitchen calling you to “come and get it.”

Not buying the sweet things you like may seem like a simple concept, but just wait till you’re in the grocery store eyeballing all those sweet delights. You may think to yourself, “I’ll just get one (box, bag, or pint) and keep it for emergency sugar attacks.” Or you may think if you buy your favorite candy you’ll be able to eat “just one.”

My objective is to take you to the land of awareness, and to help you realize you have the ability to affect the health of your skin. In order to do this, you need to understand the correlation between sugar and your skin problems. It is within your power to say yes or no to sugar. Now you can decide if you want to contribute to your breakouts or not.

For more information, see:
Um—I think it was not within her power quite yet

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Airplanes, travel, and skin care: Supplemental help

As we all know, the air in an airplane is poor quality at best. Add to that the potential of sitting next to someone who is sick with a cold or flu, and you have all the ingredients for coming down with something yourself. I recommend taking some type of immune system booster before, during, and even after your flight to help your body fight off foreign invaders.

There are many herbal supplements that can help boost your immune system. Garlic has well-documented antibiotic properties, and most brands have special coatings on the pills to inhibit giving you garlic breath. Astragalus is another immune system helper that can be taken in capsule or tincture form. (Tinctures are liquid concentrates that are usually taken mixed with a little bit of water.) Echinacea and goldenseal are both excellent immune stimulants, helping to fight off germs that may have infiltrated your body during the flight.

Antioxidants are another way to help your body fight off the bad air you are breathing in an airplane. Vitamin C, probably the most widely known antioxidant, comes in many forms and is easy to take with you on a trip. You can pop chewable vitamin C tablets throughout the flight, or Emergen-C powder can be mixed with a glass of water as a refreshing, thirst-quenching drink that also helps you internally. Zinc is another popular remedy to fight off unwanted foreign invaders.

Sleeping can be a concern when flying, and not getting restful sleep can adversely affect your skin. For a simple way to help your body relax, take a bottle of essential oil of lavender on the plane with you. Lavender is known for its sedative effects. By just sniffing the soothing aromatics of this amazing mood shifter, you can truly help your whole body relax. If you carry a pillow when you travel, dab a few drops of lavender on it, lie back and relax. You could also use a handkerchief if you prefer. Lay it on the pillow, and you’ve just created an opportunity for some shuteye during your flight.
If you know you aren’t able to fall asleep on an airplane, you might want to inquire at your health food store for supplements that might help. There are many homeopathic and natural products that help induce sleep without giving you a prescription sleeping pill hangover. 

Creating a mood. Sound pollution (in this case the constant noise in an airplane) not only stops your body from relaxing, it can create tension for some people as well. The healing power of music is widely believed by many people, myself included. Consider using music to help create a mood of relaxation while flying. Take soothing music to listen to on the plane. You’ll be able to cancel out the airplane’s noises and soothe your mind at the same time. Music truly is the doctor, so don’t forget to partake in some soothing tunes to help you relax and enjoy your flight. 

If you won’t or can’t listen to music, try writing in a journal. Gratitude journals in particular help you to reflect on all the blessings in your life, which surely will help to calm you down. Even writing down three good things that happened to you that day or that you appreciate about your life can go a long way to helping you relax. It may sound silly or simple, but it’s true. Try it and see for yourself. I’ll bet there are dozens of things you can think of right now that you are grateful for in your life. Maybe being grateful for a safe flight would be something you could jot down in your journal. No matter what you write about, using a journal to help remember the good things in life can in turn help you relax on any flight.

There are many things you can do to relax your body and to take care of your skin while traveling. Add to my list and do as much as possible to make your traveling experience more enjoyable.

For more information, see:

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Accutane and Depression

When you take anything orally, the substance enters the bloodstream and is introduced to all the cells it comes in contact with. Whether it is a medication or vitamin pill, it affects your body chemistry. And this includes brain chemistry. Depression, which occurs due to altered chemicals in the brain, is one of the side effects that can be caused by taking Accutane. If you choose to take Accutane, I caution you to pay close attention to your emotional life. If you think you may be experiencing medication-induced depression (depression brought on by the use of this oral medication), call your doctor!

The following are the symptoms listed on the Informed Consent/Patient Agreement form that must be filled out by every patient about to undergo Accutane treatments. It instructs you to immediately tell your doctor if:
  • you start to feel sad or have crying spells
  • lose interest in your usual activities
  • have changes in your normal activities
  • become more irritable
  • lose your appetite
  • become unusually tired
  • have trouble concentrating
  • withdraw socially
  • start having suicidal thoughts
This is an instance where you are trying to fix a problem (acne), and you may accidentally create another, more undesirable problem (depression).

Obviously Accutane does not cause depression in every patient. But without knowing the possibility of it occurring, you may not be watching out for the signs of depression. I recommend talking with your doctor about this aspect of Accutane specifically so you can be clear about what to watch out for and what to do should you start feeling emotional changes. I realize you want clear skin, but don’t make your body (and mind) pay the price. Knowledge is power; know what all the roadblocks are and keep your eyes open. Be sure to read other articles under Accutane on this blog.

Fore more articles, see: