Expressions of Health Blog
"Videos, Motivations, and Other Positive Stuff"
  1. “Get Out and Vote, Billy Goat!”

    9 year-old Lia telling it like it is in this election year. Please share!

  2. Presidential Debate Jingle will Make Your Day, Blue Jay!

    Brought to you by Spriggles Motivational Books for Children

    In this season of political debates and candidates, Primates, let’s keep in mind, Porcupine, that we can agree to disagree, Flea.

    There’s no need for fights, Termites. And remember the golden rule from school, Mule, if you can’t say something nice, Mice, then mum’s the word, Hummingbird.

    Stick to the facts with no personal attacks, Yaks. Just tell us what YOU are going to do, Caribou. What is your plan, Lamb, and what direction will you take, Snake. We can’t sweep the issues under the rug, Bug.

    And it’s not OK, Stingray to bash the leader of our nation, Dalmation. Though his policies you may dislike, Pike, name-calling gets us nowhere, Polar Bear.

    So let’s unite, Bobwhite. We need a strategic plan, Pelican, followed by a mission and common goals, Moles. An agenda we can all follow, Swallow certainly would be best, Robin Redbreast.

    But it takes all of us, Platypus! Divided we fail, Whale, but together we succeed, Centipede. So let’s keep on trying, Lion, to get this country in great shape, Ape!

    Get out and vote, Billy Goat and make yourself heard, Bluebird!

    About Spriggles:

    “Motivating, educating, and inspiring children to lead healthy, active and energetic lives!”

    Spriggles Motivational Books for Children have been endorsed by the National Children’s Literacy Project. These award-winning books provide a fun and unique way to enhance your child’s awareness and knowledge of health, nutrition, activity, and character. Spriggles combines “spirit” and “giggles” to weave innovative stories, imaginative illustrations and playful animal rhymes. Nothing else motivates and educates young children ages 3 to 8 quite like Spriggles. For more information and details on how to order these specially priced books go to www.spriggles.com

  3. Scientific Link Between Processed Foods and Depression

    Reprinted, with permission, from Dr. Mercola:

    Research shows that the food you eat can have a profound effect on your mental health. So, regardless of your mental health problem, the importance of addressing your diet simply cannot be overstated.

    In a very real sense, you have two brains — one in your head, and one in your gut. Both are created from the same tissue during fetal development, and they’re connected via your vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem to your abdomen.

    It is now well established that the vagus nerve is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain, which helps explain why mental health appears to so intricately connected to your gut microbiome1 — the bacteria and other microbes living in your gut.

    For example, researchers recently found that fermented foods helped curb social anxiety disorder in young adults.2,3 Another study4 found that mice engaged in obsessive-compulsive repetitive behaviors were pacified when given a strain of the bacterium Bacteroides fragilis.

    Gut bacteria also produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin is found in your intestines, not your brain.

    At the end of the day, if you’re trying to address your mental state, optimizing your gut health should be toward the very top of your list.

    The Strong Link Between Sugar and Depression

    A number of food ingredients can cause or aggravate depression, but the number one culprit is refined sugar and processed fructose, which feed pathogens in your gut, allowing them to overtake more beneficial bacteria.

    Sugar also suppresses the activity of a key growth hormone in your brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia.

    Diets high in sugar also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation, which over the long term disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system and wreaks havoc on your brain.

    Last but not least, refined sugar and processed fructose and grains are key contributors to insulin and leptin resistance, which also plays a significant role in your mental health.

    One recent study5,6 found that high-glycemic foods (including those high in refined grains and added sugar) were associated with higher odds of depression.

    Added sugar in particular was strongly associated with depression, reconfirming what William Dufty said in his classic best-selling book, Sugar Blues, first published in 1975. Sometimes it takes a while for science to catch up — in this case 40 years!

    Other Processed Food Ingredients That Promote Depression

    Other processed food ingredients that can contribute to depression and/or other mental health problems include:

    Genetically engineered (GE) ingredients can significantly alter your gut flora, thereby promoting pathogens while decimating the beneficial microbes necessary for optimal mental and physical health.
    Glyphosate— the most widely used herbicide on food crops in the world with nearly 1 BILLION pounds applied every year — has been shown to cause nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, which are critical for brain function and mood control.
    It also causes systemic toxicity, and was recently declared a Class 2A probable human carcinogen. Roundup, in which glyphosate is the active ingredient, has also been shown to increase the antibiotic-resistance of E. coli and Salmonella.

    Artificial food additives, especially the artificial sweetener aspartame, can wreak havoc with your brain function. Both depression and panic attacks are known potential side effects of aspartame consumption. Other additives, such as artificial colorings, are also known to impact mood.
    Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley, may negatively impact mood and brain health.
    In fact, a number of studies indicate that wheat can have a detrimental effect on mood, promoting depression and even more serious mental health problems such as schizophrenia.

    Most non-organic wheat is also treated with glyphosate in a pre-harvest processed called desiccation, which adds to its problematic effects (see glyphosate above).

    To Heal Depression, Heal Your Gut

    As noted by The Epoch Times:7 “In the last 20 years or so, scientists have developed a new respect for bacteria, and the paradigm is turning from a strategy of war, to one of co-existence. Science now considers a robust, diverse bacterial colony to be essential to good health.”

    Indeed, the bacteria residing on and in your body outnumber your cells 10 to 1, and viruses in turn outnumber bacteria 10 to 1. In many respects, you are your microbiome.

    As Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, told The New York Times:8

    “We are, at least from the standpoint of DNA, more microbial than human. That’s a phenomenal insight and one that we have to take seriously when we think about human development.’’

    Rapidly mounting research reveals that many of these little microbes have very specific functions, and as a whole play a profound role in your biological processes and overall health — including your brain health.

    “According to Dr. Raphael Kellman, a New York City-based physician who specializes in treating the microbiome…the microbiome not only influences our mood, but it also has a lot to do with how the brain functions and develops over time,” The Epoch Times9 notes.

    ‘By improving the microbiome we can actually see positive changes in mood, cognitive function, and executive function,’ Kellman said…

    ‘The microbiome communicates with the brain through a number of mechanisms… These pathways include direct neurotransmitters that the microbiome produces.

    It communicates with the brain via the vagus nerve, and also via the endocrine system in the stress pathway — the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal axis.’

    Current treatment for neurological disorders focus on direct changes to brain chemistry, tweaking levels of neurotransmitter chemicals in hopes of tuning in the right balance. But the future of mental health treatment may focus much more on the gut than the brain, and more on food than drugs.”

    The fact that improving your microbiome can affect your cognitive function means it’s also important to nourish your gut to stand a better chance against neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Interestingly, researchers have also found that recurring depression is associated with shrinkage of the hippocampus, the area of your brain associated with memory formation,10 and depression itself appears to be a risk factor for dementia.

    Here, it’s important to take your vitamin D levels into account, as both depression and Alzheimer’s disease are associated with vitamin D deficiency.

    The Birth Of A More Holistic Model For Mental Health

    Depression and anxiety are typically treated with antidepressants, despite the fact studies have shown them to only be on par with placebos in terms of effectiveness. They’re also associated with a slew of side effects, including the progression into more severe and/or chronic mental health problems. Recent research may in part explain why antidepressants can worsen the situation rather than making it better.

    The ‘chemical imbalance’ theory states that depression and anxiety disorders are due to low serotonin levels. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by making more serotonin available for use in your brain, which is thought to improve your mood. Alas, recent research reveals that people with social anxiety do not have low serotonin; they have higher than normal levels. So further boosting serotonin with an SSRI will only make the anxiety worse…

    The new focus on gut health is a welcome departure from the synthetic drug model. As discussed in The New York Times,11 researchers are listing and investigating psychoactive compounds found in feces, and are experimenting with fecal transplants in animals to assess its effect on neurodevelopment:

    “Anxiety, depression, and several pediatric disorders, including autism and hyperactivity, have been linked with gastrointestinal abnormalities. Microbial transplants were not invasive brain surgery, and that was the point: Changing a patient’s bacteria might be difficult but it still seemed more straightforward than altering his genes. When Lyte began his work on the link between microbes and the brain three decades ago, it was dismissed as a curiosity.

    By contrast, last September, the National Institute of Mental Health awarded four grants worth up to $1 million each to spur new research on the gut microbiome’s role in mental disorders, affirming the legitimacy of a field that had long struggled to attract serious scientific credibility… It seems plausible, if not yet proved, that we might one day use microbes to diagnose neurodevelopmental disorders, treat mental illnesses and perhaps even fix them in the brain.”

    Abnormal Gut Flora Fosters Abnormal Brain Development

    Researchers have also begun experimenting with fecal transplants in autistic children,12 and while such investigations are still in its infancy, there’s plenty of cause for optimism. There does in fact appear to be a close connection between abnormal gut flora in infancy and abnormal brain development — a condition Dr. Campbell-McBride calls Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS). GAPS is the result of poorly developed or imbalanced gut flora and may manifest as a conglomerate of symptoms that can fit the diagnosis of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD) without hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, just to name a few possibilities.

  4. New Years Wish from Expressions of Health!

  5. Namaste and Thank You (Final Yoga Class)

     

    As most of you know, last night (11/20/2013) was our final yoga class UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.  We emphasize this because at this point we are not certain when our classes will resume.  As we navigate various opportunities and situations in our lives, we will certainly keep you informed of our plans.  Please keep in mind that our healthy wellness retreats WILL continue to be available and we urge you and your friends/family to contact us to create your very own customized group retreat that may include massage, yoga, reiki, and reflexology.

    We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank each and every one of you that have participated in our yoga classes and let you know how immensely proud we are of the progress that you’ve made.  We urge you to maintain your yoga commitment in our absence and look forward to keeping in touch with you until classes are able to be resumed.  Most importantly, we wish you all the peace, joy, and light this Universe has to offer.

    Namaste,

    Martha and Jeff

  6. Check Out Trailer for New “YogaKids” TV Show!!

    We want to share with you the trailer for YogaKids: The Magical Garden.  This is the pilot for a new children’s TV show that we supported through its Kickstarter campaign and we think will be fantastic.

    Here is the link:

    http://youtu.be/kcBFem7CrMQ

    Please share!  The more people that see this, the better!

  7. Processed Meats Declared Too Dangerous for Human Consumption

     

    The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has just completed a detailed review of more than 7,000 clinical studies covering links between diet and cancer. Its conclusion is rocking the health world with startling bluntness: Processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption. Consumers should stop buying and eating all processed meat products for the rest of their lives.

    Processed meats include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, sandwich meat, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami and virtually all red meat used in frozen prepared meals. They are usually manufactured with a carcinogenic ingredient known as sodium nitrite. This is used as a color fixer by meat companies to turn packaged meats a bright red color so they look fresh. Unfortunately, sodium nitrite also results in the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines in the human body. And this leads to a sharp increase in cancer risk for those who eat them.

    A 2005 University of Hawaii study found that processed meats increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67 percent. Another study revealed that every 50 grams of processed meat consumed daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent. These are alarming numbers. Note that these cancer risks do not come from eating fresh, non-processed meats. They only appear in people who regularly consume processed meat products containing sodium nitrite.

    Sodium nitrite appears predominantly in red meat products (you won’t find it in chicken or fish products). Here’s a short list of food items to check carefully for sodium nitrite and monosodium glutamate (MSG), another dangerous additive:

    • Beef jerky
    • Bacon
    • Sausage
    • Hot dogs
    • Sandwich meat
    • Frozen pizza with meat
    • Canned soups with meat
    • Frozen meals with meat
    • Ravioli and meat pasta foods
    • Kid’s meals containing red meat
    • Sandwich meat used at popular restaurants
    • Nearly all red meats sold at public schools, restaurants, hospitals, hotels and theme parks

    If sodium nitrite is so dangerous to humans, why do the FDA and USDA continue to allow this cancer-causing chemical to be used? The answer, of course, is that food industry interests now dominate the actions by U.S. government regulators. The USDA, for example, tried to ban sodium nitrite in the late 1970′s but was overridden by the meat industry.5 It insisted the chemical was safe and accused the USDA of trying to “ban bacon.”

    Today, the corporations that dominate American food and agricultural interests hold tremendous influence over the FDA and USDA. Consumers are offered no real protection from dangerous chemicals intentionally added to foods, medicines and personal care products.

    You can protect yourself and your family from the dangers of processed meats by following a few simple rules:

    1. Always read ingredient labels.
    2. Don’t buy anything made with sodium nitrite or monosodium glutamate.
    3. Don’t eat red meats served by restaurants, schools, hospitals, hotels or other institutions.

    And finally, eat more fresh produce with every meal. There is evidence that natural vitamin C found in citrus fruits and exotic berries (like camu camu) helps prevent the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines, protecting you from the devastating health effects of sodium nitrite in processed meats. The best defense, of course, is to avoid eating processed meats altogether.

    —–Reprinted from “Dreamhealer Alternative Medicine”

  8. “Get a Good Night’s Sleep, Sheep”

     

    The Better Sleep Council recognizes the month of May as Better Sleep Month, so that makes this a great month to practice better sleep habits and enjoy the benefits of quality sleep. We talk a lot about nutrition and regular physical activity as a part of our wellness journey, and the importance of sleep may slip out of focus. The Better Sleep Council has information that supports many families are falling short of a restful night’s sleep at least one day per week. Review your practices around sleep, your routines that lead up to periods of restful sleep, and assess how the family functions when sleeping well. Keep a sleep log this month and look for connections to how the family responds to physical activity, stress, meal planning, homework, or family dynamics. Some questions you may answer in the log include: what was the routine that lead up to bed time, was the night restful, how long was the period of sleep, what was the mood at wake time, and what was the mood at sleep time. Have fun looking for connections and enjoy a better night’s sleep for the entire home.

    ———re-posted from YMCA of America

  9. Happy Earth Day (Spriggles Video)!!

    Spread the word, Hummingbird!!

  10. CHARITY YOGA EVENT – 3/24/2013

    
    
    "SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY" - SUNDAY, MARCH 24, 2013 
    
    We are thrilled to announce a very special charity yoga event 
    on Sunday, March 24 from 4-7 pm at Expressions of Health in 
    Oscoda.
    
    The evening will begin with a 2-hour yoga class based on the 
    theme of "Spirit of Community".  The class will incorporate 
    postures (asanas), breath work (pranayama), and meditation. 
    NOTE - THIS CLASS IS GEARED TO ALL LEVELS OF YOGA.
    
    We will follow class with a wonderful vegetarian meal that 
    we will provide.
    
    Suggested donation: $20 with 100% of all proceeds donated 
    to the Oscoda High School auditorium renovation project 
    spearheaded by Scott Heinrich and Giuseppe Canale of Northeast 
    Academy of Dance.
    
    We have room for just 10 people and we expect this to 
    fill up quickly.  Please email (jeff@spriggles.com) or 
    phone (989/739-5498) ASAP to reserve your spot!!