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Stevia: Safe & Healthy Alternative to Sugar

Stevia: Safe & Healthy Alternative to Sugar

We’re in the midst of the holiday season and with it an increased consumption of sweet and baked goods.  At a time where so many of the foods commercially available are laden with sugar, and excess sugar consumption has been found to be detrimental to our health, it is important to find alternatives.

There are, of course, many alternatives to sugar, including honey, agave, molasses as well as sugar substitutes that don’t add caloric content to the food.  However, most of these calorie-free sugar substitutes come with consumer alerts.  The latest one I saw was on a toxic chemical released in Splenda when it is heated.  Studies found that dioxin, a cancer-causing compound, is released when Splenda, particularly sucralose, is cooked (Ji, 2018).

On the other hand, stevia is touted as the healthy alternative to sugar (Santana, 2018).  I decided to learn more about it, and here is what I found.

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The Importance of Mental Health Support

The Importance of Mental Health Support

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), nearly ¼ of adults in the United States are affected by mental health, whether it be anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others (2017).  This means that over 44 million people in the US suffer from a mental health issue (Mental Health America, n.d.).

There are social stigmas surrounding mental health, including the misunderstanding that people who suffer from mental health issues are more likely to be violent or institutionalized.

The truth is mental health issues affect people of all ages and are no different than any other issues that we face.  In fact, we all suffer from some form of mental health issue at some point in our life. Having discussions and open communication about mental health can provide people with proper support.

Ashely Santangelo (2018) discusses her experience with mental health issues, diagnoses, and eventual support. I was inspired by her story, and it motivated me to write this article.  The holiday season can be a particular trigger for those suffering from mental health issues, which made me feel this is an appropriate time to write about this.

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How to Stop Comparing Ourselves to Others

How to Stop Comparing Ourselves to Others

Measuring ourselves against others leads to feelings of insecurity and that we are not enough.  Comparisons are draining and keep our focus on others rather than on ourselves.  In the long-run, they hurt us.

There will always be people who have more than us, who can do more than us, and who have what we desire.  Similarly, there will always be people who have less than us, do less than us, and are in situations we don’t desire.  It is inevitable.  It is a fact of life that we are better off accepting and not indulging in.

Don’t get me wrong, even though I realize comparisons aren’t healthy, I struggle with comparing myself to others.  I have done it my whole life and continue doing it still, but I have gotten better at managing it.  Here is how I have learned to reduce the desire to compare.

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Get It Done

Get It Done

If you are like me, you struggle to get things done.  Even though most who know me consider me to be organized, I am far less productive than they imagine.  At times I lose myself to procrastination.

That is why I was intrigued when TCK Publishing sent me a copy of the book Get It Done – The 21-Day Mind Hack System to Double Your Productivity and Finish What You Start by Michael Mackintosh (2018).

Michael makes big promises.  He says his system is different because he explains how to overcome the resistance that holds us back from accomplishing what we desire.

The book does not provide strategies, timelines, or time management techniques.  It is quite the opposite.  Although there is planning, it’s quite simple.  The book is divided into three parts and provides a step-by-step system for bringing our ideas to life.  I tested it and I am sharing my take and results.

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DIY Cleaning Products: Why & How to Make Them

DIY Cleaning Products: Why & How to Make Them

My friend Amy Rojas Kantorczyk has used DIY or do-it-yourself cleaning products for her home for many years.  I buy eco-friendly cleaning products, which is what Amy uses, but I buy them and Amy makes her own.

I was curious about this and talked to her about it.  It was an eye-opening conversation.  She shared with me some of what she does and how easy and cost effective it is.

Amy worked for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts for many years and was most recently the Director of Operations at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn in Sonoma, California.  She interacted closely with the Housekeeping team and one particular housekeeper inspired her to make her own cleaning products.  All it took was white vinegar, baking soda, isopropyl alcohol, and essential oils.

I asked Amy about this and much more.  Here is how our conversation went.

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How to Cultivate Spirituality (Without Religion)

How to Cultivate Spirituality (Without Religion)

“Spirituality begins when you decide that you’ll never stop trying.  Spirituality is the commitment to go beyond no matter what it takes.  It’s an infinite journey based upon going beyond yourself every minute of every day for the rest of your life.” (Singer, 2007).

Those are the most accurate and powerful words I have found to describe spirituality.

Spirituality is a belief and a connection to something that is bigger than us.  It is not linked to religion, although faith in a religion can certainly increase our spirituality.

Spirituality is personal and is about cultivating a connection with ourselves, people around us, and our universe.  It is something that unites us and helps us feel more connected with one another, the Earth, and all beings on it.

Many of us are curious or interested in spirituality but do not know what to do to cultivate it.  Here are five practices we can try.

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Placebos Have the Power to Heal

Placebos Have the Power to Heal

One of the most common arguments we see against the use of alternative, herbal, aromatherapy, or other forms of traditional medicine is that the benefit we have from using these forms of treatment are due to the placebo effect (Null & Gale, 2018).

The placebo is commonly known as the sugar pill.  Scientists argue that traditional treatments are not effective in it of themselves, but that the cure comes from the patient’s belief in their effectiveness.  This they call the placebo effect.

I believe in the effectiveness of alternative remedies.  I have published several posts that share personal stories and studies that show evidence of the effect traditional cures have.  In fact, 80% of the world population uses herbal medicine, and often the traditional remedy is more effective than the scientific or allopathic ones (Ji, 2018; Null & Gale, 2018).

Yet, I also think that our beliefs play a large role in our healing process.  As such, so what if the placebo has a healing effect?  What is wrong with someone believing that something will work, and then that something actually working?  Isn’t that part of the healing process?  I believe it is.  Let me explain why.

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We Should All Write – Here is Why

We Should All Write – Here is Why

I have been writing in one way, shape, or form for many years, but it wasn’t until the last couple of years that I took upon doing so as a habit.  I have found it to be extremely beneficial.

Now, I write every day.  And, I do different kinds of writing, including stream of consciousness writing, creative writing, business writing, and these articles that I write weekly. I don’t do all types of writing every day, with the exception of stream of consciousness writing, which I do daily, ideally in the mornings.  I learned the habit after reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

I have found writing to be beneficial and studies support it.  I will share some of the benefits of writing and provide encouragement for you to do the same.

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Black Seed - Key to Asthma Control?

Black Seed - Key to Asthma Control?

I have suffered from asthma in the past, and it is no surprise since asthma runs in my family. I developed asthma as an adult and was diagnosed during my first year at Graduate School about 18 years ago.

I know I am not alone, for the Global Asthma Report from 2018 stated that 339 million people are affected by asthma globally.

Asthma is caused by inflammation in our airways and respiratory system that causes one or a combination of symptoms including wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and coughing, all of which work together to limit airflow into our body (Global Asthma Network, 2018).

I am blessed that I no longer suffer from asthma.  I healed it through natural means, including the use of aromatherapy, other natural remedies, and lifestyle changes.

However, I didn’t realize that black seed is something I could have used as well.  Evidence shows that black seed or Nigella sativa provides great benefits for asthma sufferers.

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The Little-Known Power of Dynamic Phytotherapy

The Little-Known Power of Dynamic Phytotherapy

I first learned about Dynamic Phytotherapy (DP) when I was attending the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS).  I could take a few elective courses as part of my Master’s in Complementary Alternative Medicine.  I signed up for the course on DP because I was interested in Herbal Studies and anything relating to plant therapy or Phytotherapy.  This class was about Phytotherapy of the Dynamic kind, which I found particularly intriguing.

It turns out that there is not a lot of information available on DP, apart from what ACHS provides. They are not well known outside of New Zealand, where the approach was developed, and perhaps Australia.  They are gaining popularity in the United States and the United Kingdom, but are still not commonly found.  And, DP remedies were originally known as Homeobotanical (Hb) remedies, which complicates matters even more.

But these remedies deserve more attention, and I am going to share with you some of what I know.

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