Monthly Archives: March 2014

Aldi Has Organic Food?

I will be honest that this blog post is a bit of an experiment. I have friends who consistently blog from their phone, but I never have. Until today. I’m committed to writing and posting this entire post from my phone. Let the adventure begin!

Several months ago I read an announcement Aldi Logothat Aldi was going to start carrying organic options and was creating its own line of organics. For those who have never heard of Aldi, it is a deep discount store whose parent company is in Germany. It has many similarities to the big warehouse stores such as Costco, but has much smaller stores and a much smaller array of offerings. When shopping at an Aldi, you bring your own bags, expect goods to be displayed in the carton they were shipped in, and you always bring a quarter because you’ll need one to gain access to a cart.

The goods sold at Aldi are definitely low in price. Their paper goods are extremely reasonable. If we shop at Aldi, it is only to get paper goods because most of their products are highly processed, non-organic, and heavily packaged. Their produce was usually not top quality and never organic. Their meat was cheap but often contained fillers and was never organic or ethically raised.

Things are changing! My hubby and I were out running errands today and decided to take a “field trip” to Aldi. Here’s what we found:

  • Organic bananas, apples, carrots and cherry tomatoes. (It’s a start.)
  • Organic, grass-fed ground beef for $4.49/lb. We bought six pounds and will probably go back and buy the rest since this Aldi was located in an area that typically does not have high sales in organic goods.
  • Organic real honey, which is amazing because what is sold in most mainstream stores isn’t really honey.
  • No organic milk, yogurt, cheese, bread or eggs.
  • No organic coffee, spices, condiments, juices, canned goods or snack items.

Final conclusion? I applaud Aldi for listening to the wishes of the American public, but admit they have plenty of room for improvement. I noticed a huge new store is being built close to the one we visited, so I look forward to seeing how they choose to fill the additional space.

Aldi is the parent company of Trader Joe’s, so the move to carry organic goods wasn’t much of a stretch. My hope is they will expand their organic offerings and will soon commit to carrying fewer GMO products.

Have you shopped at an Aldi since they added organic goods? What did you find at the Aldi near you?

If you were wondering , this will be the last post i write from my phone. Thus the adventure ends.

Why I Do What I Do

I want to thank @Joyful_Sparrow for recently asking me on Twitter to share how I got started doing what I do. Since I’ve never really shared the road that led me here, I thought it was a great idea. In the simplest terms, I do what I do because I love it. There is no greater joy than helping someone heal and regain health, especially if that person hasn’t been able to find help elsewhere. Have you heard the old saying about never working a day in your life if you love what you do? I’m living that quote and am incredibly grateful to have been given a gift that allows me to help others. For more information about my philosophy, read my post, What Makes Me Different from Other Practitioners.

The less simple answer takes a bit of telling. I got into this field after being so ill for over 15 years that getting out of bed was a challenge and taking a shower exhausted me for the rest of the day. During that time, I had some wonderful doctors and I had some horrible doctors, but none of them could figure out what was wrong with me. I saw every specialist under the sun, including multiple oncologists, hematologists, endocrinologists, infectious disease specialists, nephrologists, Pamela HS4aneurologists and multiple internists. I had bone marrow biopsies, liver biopsies, a multitude of CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds, even more blood tests, and many other invasive procedures, yet none identified the cause of my exhaustion or severe neurological symptoms. Instead, my doctors diagnosed me with chronic fatigue syndrome, with cancer incorrectly once, and with multiple sclerosis incorrectly three times. They patted me on my head while shaking theirs and sent me on my way, hoping I’d give up and they’d never see me again. More than one recommended I seek psychological counseling. The rationale appeared to be that anyone who had symptoms they couldn’t fit into a diagnosis obviously wasn’t sick. One infectious disease specialist diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, told me there was nothing he could do to help, and prescribed Prozac. He explained the Prozac by saying: “You’re not depressed, but the Prozac will make you not care about not feeling well.” He was wrong.

The bottom line was that it was completely up to me to determine the cause of my symptoms and figure out how to eliminate them. Trust me when I say that much prayer went into my research and many prayers for healing were uttered. My desire to reverse my symptoms necessitated that my hobby of studying herbalism and natural remedies become a dedicated passion. I not only studied alternative healing but also studied many of the same courses MDs take. I soon became more knowledgeable about endocrine disorders than many of my physicians. I progressed from doing self-directed research and study to taking formal classes. Over time I received multiple  natural health certifications. In the midst of my research, I began to identify and eliminate the causes of my symptoms. By God’s grace, most of my symptoms disappeared. For the first time in a very long time, I was able to function normally. The fact my healing came from simply identifying what my body lacked and replacing it was a huge confirmation of everything I had studied.

During this time, others began asking for my advice related to their own health. While still working in the corporate world, I realized one day that I had spent more time providing health advice than I had doing my real job. I also realized that providing health advice and empowering others to improve their health brought me far more joy than managing IT projects did. Shortly thereafter, my company lost a government contract and many people were downsized. I was given the option of being downsized or joining another department. I gratefully accepted the offer to be downsized. I think I was the only person in the downsized group who was happy to lose their job and who actually chose to be downsized instead of moving to another department.

On a short term basis, I used my knowledge of herbs, physiology and toxicity to launch a natural skincare company while I evaluated what I wanted to do long term. I also begin receiving invitations to speak nationwide, which I loved. After closing my skincare business, I began working as a consultant in a health food store. Throughout this phase of my life, I continued studying and receiving additional certifications. I also experienced some new minor health challenges, which only served to help me learn more. I can honestly say I’m thankful for all the health challenges I’ve had, because each one taught me much and provided insight into what my patients and clients are experiencing. Being able to honestly say, “I’ve been there, but I found my way back” is often very encouraging to my clients.

I completed one doctoral program in Naturopathic Medicine and am currently completing another. I am also working to become a Master Herbalist and a few other minor certifications. I hope to be done soon. I have an office located in the heart of Broad Ripple where I see my clients and hold classes. I also accept private speaking engagements. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to schedule me to educate and inspire your group.

I still love what I do and take every possible opportunity to learn more. I’m currently evaluating what my next training focus will be. I’m considering medical school or becoming a Physician’s Assistant so I can provide the best of natural and mainstream options to my clients.

I guess the best answer for why I do what I do is, quite simply, because it’s my calling and I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. To not use this gift and share it with others would be wrong.

Preview the 2014 Indiana Artisan Marketplace and Win Tickets!

Indiana Artisan Marketplace Info

I was honored to be selected to share a preview of the 2014 Indiana Artisan Marketplace that will be held March 29-30 in the Expo Hall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. I am also very excited to be giving away one set of two free tickets and one free single ticket to the event. Use the Rafflecopter widget shared below to enter. Please note that this is a quickie give-away. Entries must be received before Tuesday, March 25 at 10 pm so I can mail the tickets to the winner in time.

I don’t promote many events, so here’s a list of reasons I chose to promote the Indiana Artisan Marketplace:

  • It features over 150 local artisans who live and work in Indiana and Kentucky.
  • It is low priced ($10 per ticket with free entry for children aged 14 and under) with booths that will appeal to the entire family.
  • It is a juried show, meaning artisans must apply to exhibit. All artisans submit samples of their work to a panel of judges as part of the jurying process. Only artisans providing the highest quality handmade goods are selected to participate.
  • It has one of the broadest variety of handmade foods, jewelry, clothing, metalwork, pottery, household goods, woodwork, decorations, instruments and other wares I’ve ever seen.
  • It’s in a location that’s easy to access and which has ample parking.
  • It is a show the artists respect more than any other.

Here are details about the show:

Indiana Artisan Marketplace

Dates: March 29-30, 2014
Times: Saturday, March 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, March 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: The Exposition Hall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds
Tickets: $10 at the door, 14 and younger admitted free

Indiana Artisan Marketplace TicketsHere are a few of the artists whose booths I cannot wait to visit: 

The artists shown above are a very small sampling of the many artists who will be exhibiting during the show. Whether you’re looking for handmade guitars, beautiful jackets made from hand-spun wool, healthy fermented veggies, metallic sculpture, or a multitude of other handmade works of art, this show is for you! Best of all, the treasures you take home will support local artisans.

To win tickets, please complete the Rafflecopter entries shared below. Complete the required entry to gain access to others. Have fun entering. I will email the winner as soon as I receive notice of and verify the winning entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top 20 Quick and Easy Healthy Snacks

This article contains product links for which I may receive a very small amount of compensation if an item is purchased. Please know I only share links for products which I use or have used personally and which I feel are worthy of recommending

Many people trying to eat healthier are stumped by what good options are for snacking. Eating a sensible snack between meals is a good way of maintaining energy and stable blood sugars throughout the day. For some people, it may also be a way of encouraging the metabolism to kick into a higher gear.

Following is a list of my favorite snacks. As always, please note that all ingredients mentioned are organic:

  • Make or buy dehydrated veggies to use as a great portable, no-mess snack. Make your own using a food dehydrator to Appleensure no added chemicals were used.
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  • Make a custom blend of nuts, seeds and goji or acai berries.
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  • Slice a zucchini into slices and top them with hummus, almond butter, salsa or guacamole.
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  • Slice veggies and dip in pesto.
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  • Slice an apple and dip the slices in almond butter or other nut butters.
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  • Blend one part chia seeds into two parts green tea and two parts coconut milk. Add stevia to taste if needed. Cinnamon or other spices also liven this up. Allow to sit for about ten minutes, then drink it down. It is very filling and provides powerful nutrition!
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  • Make a veggie pate from soaked nuts, soaked seeds, leafy greens and soft veggies. Eat it by the spoon or spread on veggies or gluten-free crackers.
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  • Spread roasted garlic on zucchini slices or on a few gluten-free crackers.
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  • Stir cacao chips and sunflower seeds into vanilla coconut yogurt.
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  • Wrap slices of organic turkey around tomato boats, fermented pickles or other veggies.
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  • Wrap wasabi seaweed snacks around avocado slices.
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  • Stuff dates with almonds. Dates are incredibly high in sugar, so it only takes a few of these snacks to be very filling and energizing.
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  • Load toothpicks with a cherry tomato, mozzarella cube and basil leaf.
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  • Make guacamole to eat on veggies or by the spoonful.
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  • Stuff celery or mini-peppers with hummus, almond butter or guacamole.
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  • Make a plate of avocado slices and tomato slices.
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  • Make a smoothie with 1/3 dark leafy greens, 1/3 veggies and 1/3 fruit.
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  • Stuff half an avocado with a small scoop of chicken, egg or tuna salad.
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  • Pop organic popcorn in organic extra virgin coconut oil and top with a bit of Himalayan Sea Salt and Organic Garlic Powder.
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  • Dip non-GMO corn chips into homemade salsa.
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  • Pack a salad in a jar. Place chopped veggies on the bottom of a Mason jar, top with a variety of mixed greens, then place a dressing on top. Shake when ready to eat. (Don’t forget to pack a fork.)

Oops. That was 21 instead of 20. Oh well!

What snacks would you add to the list?

Diabetes Control: My Story

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1967. Back then, there was no such thing as disposable syringes, glucose meters or Victory in Diabetessensible eating plans. Instead, syringes were glass, had to be boiled after each use, and were then re-used. That cycle continued until the needle became too dull to be efficient. (Discovering the needle was too dull was no fun. Injections with dull needles hurt.) It was impossible to test daily blood sugars at home, so doctors ordered morning and afternoon blood sugars for patients every three months. If patients were unlucky enough to wind up in the hospital, blood was drawn every three hours so blood sugars could be closely monitored. Many phlebotomists assume I’m a former heroin addict because my veins are so scarred from those frequent blood draws. Urine was tested for glucose instead of blood. The standard eating style prescribed to diabetics was to strictly avoid sugar, but very little attention was paid to the fact simple carbohydrates had the same effect.

I am incredibly thankful to have lived through what could be considered the “stone age” of diabetes control. I am blessed to now live in a time when research has found a multitude of ways to simplify controlling glucose levels. 

In 1967, standard treatment included one daily insulin injection with a blend of fast and slow-acting insulin. Dietary control involved avoiding all sugar. Urine tests were done up to three times daily to estimate glucose levels. Urine was tested with a Clinistix Test Kit that used urine and a tablet containing chemicals that reacted with glucose. The Clinistix reaction was performed by adding a few drops of urine and water to a test tube and then adding the reagent tablet. The blend would fizz and get very hot. When the reaction was over, the color of the end product was an indicator of the amount of glucose in the urine. Blue meant there was no glucose present; orange meant there were high quantities.

In my case, my parents were told to give me one sugar cube each time my urine test was negative. As a kid who had always been told sugar was forbidden, achieving negative test results was a strong incentive … to lie. I wasn’t usually a dishonest child, but that sugar cube was enough to push me over the edge. At that point, no one had ever truly explained how what I ate affected my glucose levels. I knew eating sugar caused them to rise, but no one had explained that breads, pastas and similar carbohydrates also did. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time with extremely high glucose levels. According to my mom, my body had become so accustomed to high blood sugars that I actually felt better when my sugars ran in the 300s. (Normal is 80-120.) I’ve spoken with other people with diabetes who experienced the same thing.

One of my biggest blessings is that my parents never made a big deal out of the fact I had diabetes. They never said I couldn’t participate in any activity due to having it, and they never played the “woe is me” card. Diabetes was simply a part of every day life. The fact my life was a little different from other people’s was irrelevant. That attitude stuck with me and served me well. Nothing breaks my heart more than speaking with a newly-diagnosed diabetic who is convinced they can never lead a normal life. My goal is to teach people how to control diabetes instead of letting diabetes control them.

When I was in second grade, I began vomiting one morning. My mother figured it was the flu and began giving me sips of 7-Up to calm my stomach. By the time my dad came home from work, I had deteriorated to the point my parents decided to take me to the hospital. My sister was just a few days old, so my poor mother went from bringing a new baby home to having a child in the hospital before she had fully recovered from giving birth. In the emergency room, I was on the verge of a coma and was so dehydrated they were unable to start an IV in my arm or hand. They wound up having to use a scalpel to access a vein to start an IV in my ankle. Did I mention they didn’t use any numbing agents? I don’t think they realized I was still conscious, and it was an emergency situation. I have no memory of the days that followed. I was incoherent and my body was trying desperately to heal itself. During that time, I was assigned an amazing endocrinologist, Dr. Paul Boyce, whose amazing compassion and skill changed my life. 

He was a firm believer in patient-led control, so I attended the hospital’s diabetes classes with my mother. The fact I was eight did not stop me from learning a lot. I also began giving my own insulin injections, which was very empowering. At the time, Dr. Boyce was using an eating plan that required every gram of carbohydrates, fats and protein to be calculated for each meal. I was given a specific allotment of each per meal and my mother was given a technique for figuring my totals. We began having to weigh everything I ate. We had a box of index cards where my mother stored a collection of meal plans that could be used again and again. The entire program was tedious and bothersome. I was thrilled when that eating style became outdated and the exchange system began being used.

During this time, I was still required to test my urine multiple times daily. I was supposed to test as soon as I woke up and before dinner at a minimum. My biggest act of adolescent rebellion was refusing to test. Having to urinate into a container and conduct the test was not something I enjoyed. The anger I felt about having diabetes also began to manifest in larger ways. Refusing to do urine testing was one way I compensated for feelings of helplessness caused by having diabetes. I wound up missing out on many fun activities because my parents thought not allowing me to participate would be an incentive to comply. They were wrong. Everyone with diabetes experiences grieving and anger about their condition. It is a normal part of life with diabetes. I now counsel many parents of children with Type 1 Diabetes about how they can help their child cope. I was in my early twenties before anyone encouraged me to work through my own anger. It was a long process and I still have times I have to work through anger, inferiority and other feelings associated with having diabetes.

Life continued, I attended college, worked, lived in Mexico and Costa Rica, married, and always lived life to the fullest. In the early 90s, portable glucose monitors became readily available and the ability to control blood sugars reached a new level. My entire care program changed as the result of using a glucose monitor. I was switched to taking 2-3 injections daily and the amount of insulin I took changed depending on how high or low my blood sugar was. I was also able to check for low glucose levels much more easily. Carrying my glucose meter, insulin and syringes with me at all times became my new normal. It was wonderful! As a result of having a glucose meter, both of my pregnancies were relatively normal and my children did not experience gross complications from having a mom with diabetes. (My daughter spent two weeks in neonatal intensive care due to physician error, but that’s another story for another day.)

Currently, I have no complications from diabetes and live an abundant life. I travel frequently, ride a motorcycle (as the driver, never a passenger), am very active. Having diabetes never stops me from doing anything. I am immensely grateful for that.

Diabetes care has become a specialty of my practice. I will soon offer a course on using natural methods to control diabetes. Please visit Victory in Diabetes to learn more about this class. I am offering it as an on-site seminar and as a webinar, so anyone in any location can attend.

References:

 A History of Blood Glucose Monitors and Their Role in self-monitoring of diabetes mellitus

How to Cleanse and Detoxify on a Daily Basis

There are currently a glut of programs and online courses devoted to cleansing and detoxing the body. Although we each Sudsy spongeneed to set aside time to cleanse and detoxify on a regular basis, I wanted to share some simple things we can do every day to help our body naturally eliminate toxins. The truth is that our bodies put a very high priority on detoxification. Our bodies are constantly working to break down and neutralize toxins by turning them into simple water-soluble chemicals that can be easily eliminated. Before reading this article, please read How to Tell You Need to Detox and How Does the Body Detoxify Itself.

The following daily habits are known to help your body eliminate toxins:

  • Start the day with warm lemon water. Blend 1-2 cups of purified, gently heated water with the juice of one organic lemon. Drink the blend first thing in the morning every day. The combination is known to assist the liver in cleansing itself, helps get the colon moving, and is known to alkalize the body’s pH.
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  • Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water every day. Staying hydrated is one way to help your body eliminate toxins via the kidneys and colon. If your cells look like raisins instead of grapes, they cannot expel toxins efficiently. Drink up!
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  • Eat a healthy diet high in fiber and free of pesticides, processed foods, fast food, soy, tap water, GMO produce, etc. The fewer toxins you ingest, the fewer your body will have to eliminate. Eating a rainbow of colors from fruits and veggies on a daily basis will provide a wide variety of nutrients that will strengthen your body’s cleansing efforts.
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  • Eat foods that support the body’s detoxification efforts. A few of my favorites include turmeric, garlic, onions, beets, avocados, broccoli, cabbage, dandelion greens and flowers, blueberries, cloves, ginger, dark leafy greens, green tea, etc. These foods provide nutrients that either specifically boost the liver’s ability to cleanse itself or provide antioxidants known to neutralize free radicals. They are healthy and tasty, so it’s a win-win!
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  • Skip your buzz of choice one day a week. Whether your preferred buzz comes from alcohol, sugar, caffeine, cigarettes, time spent online or something less legal, designate one day a week to avoid that item. If you have a strong addiction, start by avoiding the item for one waking hour a week and gradually work up.
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  • Have at least three bowel movements per day. Yes, three. A healthy digestive system expels toxins a minimum of twice daily. Drinking enough water and eating sufficient fiber are good ways to start helping the digestive tract heal itself. Damaged digestive systems will require additional assistance. For more details on how to improve digestion, read Top Six Ways to Maximize Digestion or What Your Poop Should Look Like.
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  • Exercise enough to sweat every day. Sweat is one of the body’s best detoxifiers. Even ten minutes of exercise is sufficient to create chemical changes that benefit your body’s ability to detoxify. If you do not have a habit of exercising, start slowly and work up very gradually. Do activities that are fun. Exercise should not be synonymous with “torture.” On days you’re unable to exercise, sweat by using a sauna or extremely warm bath.
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  • Switch to all-natural body products and cleaning products. Women are said to absorb over five POUNDS of toxins on a yearly basis from their bath and body products. Switching to all-natural products will take a load off your liver and kidneys and will help improve the appearance of your skin. Switching to all-natural household cleaners is another effective way of reducing your toxic load. For more information on eliminating toxins from skin care products, read Top Five Ingredients to Avoid in Skin Care Products.
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  • Breath deeply, from the diaphragm. Take a deep breath. Did your shoulders rise? If so, your breath was actually fairly shallow. Deep breathing gets the diaphragm moving and causes the abdomen to expand and contract. Your lungs are organs of elimination the body uses to expel toxins. Help your lungs do their job by pausing once an hour (or several times a day) to breathe deeply. Take a deep breath in, counting to four as you slowly inhale, and then exhale for a count of four. Repeat ten times. You’ll be glad you did.
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  • Get enough sleep. Your body’s heaviest time of detoxification occurs while you sleep. Most people need a minimum of seven hours of sleep for adequate rejuvenation. If you’re getting less than that, start making changes to increase the amount of sleep you get.
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  • Dry skin brushing. Dry skin brushing involves using a natural-bristle brush to gently brush the body from head to toe. Doing so clears the skin of dead cells, stimulates blood flow and stimulates the lymphatic glands, allowing them to move toxins out of the body more easily. Start at the feet and brush toward the heart, using gentle strokes. (It should not hurt.) Move upward, always brushing toward the heart. I recommend doing dry skin brushing before showering. It should always be done on dry skin, never wet.) The dry skin bush I use is: Natural Dry Skin Brush.
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  • Take a bath. Taking a detoxification bath 2-3 times per week is a simple way of helping your body eliminate toxins. You can either use a very warm bath with no additives, or can add a wide variety of common household ingredients known to help the body detoxify. For more info, read Create a Detoxification Bath Using Common Ingredients.
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  • Laugh every day! Detoxification is not a purely physical activity. We each need time to decompress mentally and emotionally. Laughter is a wonderful way of releasing tension and lifting spirits. Make a goal of having a good belly laugh several times a day. If your coworkers and family aren’t particularly funny, find online resources that make you laugh. Make a point of finding things that are funny in a positive way. Avoid humor that focuses on making people laugh by belittling others.
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  • Spend time in prayer, meditation, or relaxing mind work on a daily basis. As stated above, your mind needs detoxification as much as your body. Take time every day to focus on the positive and release the negative. 

Which of these methods do you use? Please take time to share your thoughts below and to let us know which methods you’re considering adding to your daily habits.

Photo provided courtesy of Bored Now Photography but does not necessarily indicate their endorsement of this site or its content.