The National Institute of Whole Health (NIWH) | Pioneers of Whole Health Education® and Whole Person Care
January 10, 2017

Integrity And Your Health

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

Driven by personal history and ambition, successful people offer perfect examples of the potential outcome of serotonin-driven self-soothing. This invites us to ask and answer questions about self-esteem and self-care. When we understand the relationship between our unconscious mind, our self-esteem, and the stress of looking for love “out there,” it becomes clear that what is at the core of our “super sizing” or over-eating is not solved by the diet of the month or the next how-to best seller. Rather, what is called for is an examination of:

-our ego state
-our personal world view
-our treatment of nature and others
-our values
-our beliefs
-our consumption
-our accumulations

Internal Alignment

When these aspects of self are aligned with choices that lead to moderation rather than ambition, that produces balance rather than extremes, which debunks the thinking that “more is better.” We then select the foods we innately know are healthy, even when we must choose from a fast food menu.

In a culture comprised of 5% of the world population, using 75% of the world’s resources, we have come to accept access as a way of life. The 1980’s Robin Leaches’ TV show, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, tainted our appetites for over-consumption, which has brought us to where we are today– obese and chronically diseased.

A Tip From The Gurus

World wide, healthy cultural traditions offer us an opportunity to re-think our approach to the way we live. Folk wisdom invites us to ponder:

How much do I really need to —–

> have?
> eat?
> own?
> control?

What do I need in order to be content? And, what role does gratitude in my life is? Having a calm, well-functioning nervous system can be a main objective for all of us instead of trying to trick the body into doing what is not natural with the latest diet craze or supplement pills available.

A Different Question

It may be time to not only change the question we ask ourselves but the questions we are asked as consumers. What if, when making food purchases, the questions were “supersize or downsize” and the choice we make could result in significant weight loss rather than weight gain? That might put us on the road to health instead of heart disease and diabetes, which more and more research shows comes from stress and poor food choices.

So, are your food choices congruent with your personal values?

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Published in Holistic Health, Holistic Nutrition, Integrative Nutrition | Comments (0)

January 3, 2017

A Step Toward Happiness

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

We all want to be happy. Yet few of us know how to achieve happiness on a day-to-day basis. We may be happy when something wonderful happens; but if something not-so-wonderful happens, we can easily find ourselves feeling angry, depressed, disappointed or just plan unhappy.

Simple Things First

There are simple things we can all do to develop our skills for becoming and remaining happy in spite of whatever may be going on around us. That is not to say that we should not be concerned or sad if someone we loved is ill or that we should not react to losing our job or having the landlord sell our apartment building for condo development.

But by developing and strengthening our “happiness muscle,” we can maintain our happiness and bounce back from adversity easier and faster.

Here is a simple yet powerful tool we can all apply daily to help us discover a balance point between all the ups and downs that we find ourselves dealing with.

Taking Note

Every day, start writing down the specific things you are grateful for. A gratitude study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by Robert Emmons of the University of California and Michael McCullough of the University of Florida showed that when we keep track of what we are grateful for every day, through journaling or making lists, we experience a higher reported level of the positive states — alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy — compared to people who journal or write down negative interactions, complaints or grievances.

Growing Compassion And Care

Positive journaling also results in reaching out to others and helping those in need.

During the time the study was being conducted, each of the participants continued to help others in less fortunate circumstances on a weekly basis. This, in turn, connected the participants to a fulfilling experience of giving and receiving compassion and caring.

For participants, caring for others also translated into a greater sense of caring for themselves and brought about a sustained sense of happiness or contentment even when less desirable events occurred. We can develop our happiness skills and happiness sustainability by focusing on being grateful for the positive things in our lives every day and by focusing less on the things we may want but don’t have. This makes us more compassionate of others and well as of ourselves.

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Published in Holistic Health, Holistic Living, Whole Person Health | Comments (1)

December 27, 2016

Does Alcohol Decrease or Increase Your Cancer Risk?

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

By now, everyone has heard about the benefits of red wine – that it’s packed with heart-healthy antioxidants and resveratrol, which may reduce bad cholesterol and prevent blood clots.  But, as doctors have long known, drinking alcohol also increases your cancer risk. The Million Women study, which followed the behaviors, lifestyles and reproductive habits of women over a seven year period, found that 13% of certain cancers were linked to alcohol use. Women who were heavy drinkers were more likely to be affected.  The cancers linked to alcohol included: mouth, throat, esophagus, breast, liver and rectal.

The Cancer-Alcohol Connection

Certain types of cancer are more pervasive depending on one’s alcohol habits.  For example, mouth cancer affects up to 70% of heavy alcohol drinkers.  Those imbibing 5 or more alcoholic drinks per day are more likely to suffer from cancers of the upper digestive tract and colorectal area. Even as little as three drinks per day can increase cancer risk by 40% in men, and two drinks per day increases the risk by 20% in women.

Swear Off Drinking Completely?

With news like this, it’s understandable that some people might rush to clear out their liquor cabinets and completely abstain from even “one more drink.”  The key, however, is knowing that the number of cancer deaths linked to alcohol is quite small overall – only 3.5%.  But it’s still worth noting that these deaths could have been prevented just by enjoying alcohol in moderation.

Benefits of Drinking

Doctors have long known the benefits of drinking a glass of red wine.  It appears to be good for the heart, and promising research has focused on resveratrol.  However, the resveratrol studies have so far only been performed on mice – not humans.  To get the measured benefits of resveratrol noted in the studies, you would have to drink 15 gallons of red wine every day!

There are also noted benefits found in the alcohol itself, such as a 25-40% decrease in cardiovascular diseases with moderate drinking.  These specific conditions include: peripheral vascular disease, ischemic stroke (caused by a blood clot), sudden cardiac death and other cardiovascular issues.  Moderate amounts of alcohol raise the body’s “good” cholesterol.   There are also the social aspects – such as drinking with friends or a stress-relieving drink at the end of a hard day of work.

Rules For A Healthy Alcohol Intake

The specific type of alcohol involved in reducing cardiovascular risk does not seem to matter – beer, wine, vodka and other types all seem to bestow the same effects.  With this in mind, though, what are the best ways to drink in moderation safely?

  • Time-frame Matters – Someone who has 5-7 drinks on a Friday night might think they’re getting the same benefits as someone who has one drink a day (if they can think straight at all!) – but binging on alcohol can have the opposite effect – including liver and other organ damage. Spread your alcohol consumption over a longer time period rather than guzzling it all at once.
  • Drink with a Meal – Having food in your stomach slows the rate of alcohol absorption, which is why more people feel hung-over after drinking on an empty stomach. Drinking before a meal may also aid digestion.
  • Know Your Risks – If you have a family history of breast cancer, for example, it’s probably not a good idea to hit the bottle often. Understand the genetic links between alcoholism and cancer risk as it applies to your unique makeup.
  • Talk to Your Doctor – Don’t be embarrassed to talk to your doctor about your drinking habits. Certain prescription and over the counter medications can interact with alcohol and lead to severe side effects.  Tell your doctor how many drinks you have per day (on average) and ask whether or not this may affect the medicines you’re taking.

Balancing The Risks And Benefits

Knowing the risks and benefits of drinking is about more than just issuing “one size fits all” advice.  Your family history, genetic makeup and susceptibility to cancer and alcoholism will all play a role in your decision to drink.  Even your mental health (such as whether or not you’re suffering from depression) can upset the balance and lead to addiction.  Other factors such as your gender, level of physical activity, smoking habits and so forth will also play a role in how much alcohol your body can realistically tolerate, and if the health payoff is truly worth it.

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Published in Holistic Health, Holistic Nutrition | Comments (0)

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