Smart Snacks

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Nurturing Yourself - Wellness

We need a consistent source of energy (calories) to function well during the day, so even if you’re too busy to feel hunger, you need to eat!  This is true even if you’re trying to lose weight.  Have convenient, healthy snacks on hand, such as nuts, fruit, yogurt, low fat granola bars or popcorn, whole wheat crackers or pretzels, or cheese sticks.  You wouldn’t let your car run out of fuel; don’t let your irreplaceable vehicle run out either.

Does Your Food Suit Your Mood? Part 2

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Nurturing Yourself - Wellness

By Anita Rangaswami (Guest Blogger)

Are we paying close attention to the “negative effects” of certain foods that are consumed on a daily basis?  Here is an example that may sound a little too familiar and clearly illustrates these “negative effects”. An ice cream treat can be an earned reward after a particularly stressful day and without noticeable consequence when consumed infrequently. But what happens when infrequent turns into the “stress-relief” solution multiple times a week? We are definitely creatures of habit and it becomes easy to succumb to the temptation. Very soon, there is not only an uncomfortable increase in the midsection, but there are many other significant health ramifications to a weekly hot fudge brownie sundae therapy!

After a few weeks of brownie therapy, the “negative effects” begin to manifest. A cold may develop with chest congestion, a runny nose, dull headache and a cough that lasts seemingly forever. It feels as if a bad cold and chest congestion “suddenly” appeared, but in reality, the shift to excessive dairy and sweets consumption may have played a significant role. We know that the same foods can be processed very differently by individuals – one man’s food is another’s poison.

When we can properly identify an imbalance, avoid the foods causing it, and choose the appropriate foods to pacify the imbalances, we begin the healing process. As we become more observant of the nature of the food we eat, when and why we indulge in the foods that we do, we may be able to voluntarily change those patterns that are not nourishing for our mind and body.

Here are three key principles to help feed your mind and body:

1. Don’t let your mood influence your food!

2. Know what you are eating; always eat with total awareness

3. Know your Ayurvedic mind/body type and be in tune with nature’s rhythms …. Bon Appétit!

Anita Rangaswami is an Ayurveda Consultant and Founder of Prana Gyana Holistic Health and Wellness Center in Tempe. Go to for more details. Phone – 480-598-9961

Does Your Food Suit Your Mood?

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Nurturing Yourself - Wellness

By Anita Rangaswami (Guest Blogger)

Know how to feed your mind and body properly!

Individuals who lead a “wellness-oriented” lifestyle are generally concerned with nutrition, fitness, stress, and typically care about their environment as well. Health conscious individuals are into eating raw foods, drinking Kombucha tea, being on the cutting edge and going to yoga/pilates fusion classes, running ultra marathons, meditating, dancing, drumming, and so much more, just to keep fit.

However, in this age of information overload in every field, there is too much to digest and the consumer is often times overwhelmed with confusing and sometimes contradictory information. We pay more attention to ensure we consume foods that are listed as healthy or rich in anti-oxidants, but are we paying close attention to the “negative effects” of certain foods that are consumed on a daily basis?

With Ayurveda, a natural medicine system known as the “Science of Life,” we learn to understand our mind body type and become aware of foods that are nourishing for our body, while avoiding others that may not be as conducive. According to Ayurveda, every individual is unique and has a specific mind body type. “You are what you eat,” an old adage, takes on special significance when we use these nature based principles and work towards alleviating physical and mental imbalances or disease symptoms. Food is considered to be the first and foremost form of medicine, and without the right kind of food in the body all other healing modalities can only be partially effective.

Join me next week for more on Ayurveda including three key principles to help feed your mind and body.

Anita Rangaswami is an Ayurveda Consultant registered with AAPNA (Association of Ayurvedic Physicians of North America), Yoga & Meditation Instructor certified through the Chopra Center and Yoga Alliance registered. Originally from Bangalore, India, Anita has practiced Bhakti yoga, the yoga of love and devotion for over 30 years. She is the Founder of Prana Gyana Holistic Health and Wellness Center in Tempe, offering holistic, Ayurvedic consultations, group and individual yoga and meditation classes, chakra balancing and holistic nutrition, and stress relief workshops for kids and adults. Go to for more details. Phone – 480-598-9961

A New and Improved Life

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Nurturing Yourself - Wellness

Exercise outdoors whenever possible

To live long and well, we must exercise.  We’ve been told this for years, and we still don’t get it.  There’s just no substitute.  Dieting and maintaining a healthy weight are great, but they’re not enough.  Exercise does things for the mind and body that nothing else, including diet, can do.  Check out three ways regular exercise can improve your life and see if you can get excited enough about just one to get you going.

1. Cancer – Exercise reduces your risk of cancer or improves your prognosis if you do develop it.  As the people I know age, I learn of new cancer diagnoses almost every week.  The risk of colon, breast, endometrial, pancreatic, and several blood forming cancers are all affected by exercise, either directly or indirectly through weight management.  Strive to do the highest level of aerobic exercise that you can manage safely and will continue with, since some cancer risks are reduced only with moderate to vigorous exercise.

2. Dementia – Exercise creates new brain cells.  Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates new brain cell growth and the connections between them.  It also increases the supply of BDNF, a protein that promotes the growth of nerve cells and synapses that enhance memory and learning.  Three years ago I lost my father after watching his abilities in these areas diminish over several years.  It was a painful experience for both of us and something I’d like to see us all avoid.

3. Diabetes – Exercise improves insulin sensitivity.  As we age or put on weight (or both, as many people do), our bodies become less insulin sensitive, increasing our risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  In this case, both aerobic exercise and strength training will garner these benefits provided you exercise at least every other day.

In addition to lowering your risk of developing these debilitating conditions, exercise is a simple and inexpensive way to look, feel, and be your very best!

Source: Nutrition Action December 2009

To Replace or Not to Replace

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Nurturing Yourself - Wellness

Stay as active as possible for as long as possible

I was surprised to learn how many knee and hip replacements are being done on people under the age of 65.  According to Prevention magazine, almost 40% of all hip replacements done in 2010 were done on people under age 65, and 42% of that year’s knee replacements were on folks aged 45 – 64.  But experts say the reasons for this aren’t all bad.  One major reason for early joint replacement is because this age group is more active than in previous generations, and people don’t want to stop doing what they love.  However, it’s also true that an increase in overweight and being out of shape at a younger age also are partly to blame.

To avoid surgery, engage in low-impact exercise, wear proper footwear, and keep your weight in check.  Each additional pound you carry increases the pressure on your hips and knees by 3 pounds, making those ten extra pounds feel like 30 to your joints!  Strengthening your leg muscles will also help support the knees and certain supplements can help.  SAMe has been shown to be as effective as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in reducing stiffness, pain and swelling while increasing range of motion and walking pace.  Also worth your consideration are glucosamine and chondroitin taken in combination.  While the evidence is not as strong, these supplements are thought to slow down the natural breakdown of joint cartilage.

If you must have surgery, take comfort in the fact that joint replacement surgery has improved over the years due to changes throughout the process.  The procedures are less painful and recovery is quicker than in days past.  Better still, the replacement joints are lasting longer, with over 80% lasting more than 20 years.

Please don’t let your apprehension about surgery slow you down or, worse yet, force you into a sedentary lifestyle.  As you’ve heard many times here, when it comes to wellness, exercise is the closest thing to a magic bullet we’ve got.

Source: Prevention December 2012

A Day Older and Years Wiser

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Nurturing Yourself - Wellness

Enjoy good health at every age!

If you’re reading this, you’re a day older today than you were yesterday. Congratulations!  When you consider the alternative, this is a good thing.  Rather than dwell on getting older each day, why not think about how you’ve gotten wiser with each passing year?  Perhaps when we celebrate our birthdays with loved ones, we could gift them with our reflections on what we’ve learned during the past year.  As Baby Boomers age, it’s a perfect time for Americans to begin revering the elderly, as other cultures do.

Aging does not have to mean failing health.  Researchers have also become wiser over the years and have the following advice for us:

  • Double your produce consumption to two servings at every meal and one with every snack to boost your antioxidant intake and combat the free radicals that are linked to over 200 diseases.
  • Cut way back on unhealthy (animal) fats such as butter, cheese, and red meat and replace them with healthy plant-based fats which include nuts, soy, legumes, and ground flaxseed as well as fish.
  • Consult your physician about your need for supplementing critical vitamins and minerals: vitamins D and B12, calcium, and magnesium.
  • Choose unprocessed foods whenever possible: oatmeal not granola bars, broccoli not broccoli with cheese sauce, a baked potato rather than French fries, and quinoa over white bread.
  • Enjoy coffee in moderation and green tea, and indulge in single servings of red wine and dark chocolate.

I have several friends who are professionals and over age 70 and the gal who toured us around the Tovrea Castle last weekend is almost eighty.  They all enjoy an active, vital lifestyle.  Let’s join them!

Preventing Cancer

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Nurturing Yourself - Wellness

Apply sunscreen frequently

As I mentioned last week, the folks at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter have reported that there are many factors under your control when it comes to preventing cancer.  Begin by affirming daily, “I enjoy perfect health in body, mind and spirit.”  Then add fuel to this intention with these nine practices:

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products such as smokeless tobacco.
  • Maintain a healthy weight; body fat is linked to increased cancer risk and chronic inflammation, another condition connected with cancer.
  • Engage in physical activity most, if not all, days of the week – it’s never too late to start!
  • Eat a healthy diet emphasizing vegetables, fruits, and whole grains (in that order) and minimizing red meat, pork and salt-preserved foods.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation if at all (1 drink for women, 2 for men per day).
  •  Minimize high-heat cooking of meat, fish and poultry; this includes grilling and pan-frying.
  • Minimize sun exposure and use sunscreen as the instructions indicate; most people under-apply and then fail to reapply.
  • Limit exposure to radiation from medical testing; discuss the pros, cons, and alternatives for all testing with your doctor.
  • Minimize your exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution; I’m sorry that wood burning, candles, air fresheners, and incense are among the worst culprits!

Source: UC Berkeley WellnessLetter Special Supplement Preventing Cancer