Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Redefining Success

Today I read an article that claimed that happy people are more likely to succeed because they put in more effort and have more confidence.  This is interesting and it certainly follows the law of attraction but doesn't it sound like a bunch of confounding variables? Did they succeed because they were happy or was it actually the effort and the confidence that made them succeed? Being happy regardless of circumstances is in itself a tremendous success and accomplishment.  I would argue, however, that it was the other factors and not the positive mental attitude--although I am a big proponent of positivity, not just for financial success but for health and wellbeing too. No one likes a negative Nancy and there are so many benefits from being happy and positive.  But happiness alone cannot determine whether a person will be successful or not.

There are certain habits, rituals or practices that anyone can do (happy or not) that do seem to foster and engender the cultivation (or possibility) of success and this link has some solid insights, suggestions and observations that I believe are worthwhile to adopt. But there are no guarantees in life.

Napolean Hill was onto something big when he said, "Think and Grow Rich"  There is much truth to that and yet I feel that there is much more at play.  What about fate and destiny and luck or karma?  Could these factors be involved in determining success?  We all know of starving talented artists, comedians, singers etc who have the skills to be on the big screen making millions but they remain undiscovered waitresses and bartenders and computer technicians singing karaoke and playing in front of small audiences in dive coffee shops.  Why?  They have the confidence to perform and share their gifts, they have agents, but they didn't get the big opportunity to shine.  Does that make them unsuccessful?  Are you only successful if you are famous or make lots of money?  Or does small scale success count?

Can't sad or angry people also use their negative emotions to fuel their success, drive them to work hard and achieve their goals?  I would argue that any emotion can be used as passion and fuel to achieve success if it motivates a person to pursue their passion.  The key factor is the ACTIONS that the person makes despite of their feeling happy, sad or mad.

Let's look at the real world.  Some of the greatest artists, politicians, inventors, and business men in the world were frustrated, depressed and/or mentally ill.  This article lists 50 famous people who were/are depressed and achieved tremendous accolades in their respective fields.  Many achieved unparalleled fame, fortune and productivity.  Clearly depression can be debilitating and life-threatening for some but it does not stop other people from fulfilling their dreams and aspirations.

Would country music or the Blues exist without sadness?  People have made fortunes on those careers.  What about Van Gough who chopped his own ear off.  Or Mike Tyson who bit a man's ear off, and Woody Allen who could talk your ear off?  Was it happiness or something else that was responsible for their achievements?

How about successful angry people?  Would Heavy Metal music exist without anger?  Would Eminem be famous if it weren't for expressing his rage in rap music?  Would Alanis Moressette even have a career in music if it weren't for the frustration and anger she channeled in her songs that many people could relate to?  What about boxers and other athletes who use their anger (towards bad parents, upbringing, lack, and life) to power their athletic prowess? All emotions serve a purpose and when people are authentic with their feelings, other people can relate to that and that is powerful, inspiring, moving, unifying, and reassuring.  People seek connection and they find it through music and art and sports.  They want to feel like they are not alone with their struggles and challenges in life. 

So what do successful depressed, angry and happy people have in common?  I would say that these people all used their strong and powerful emotions to drive them forward in life.  But emotions are not enough.  It has to be coupled with action, effort, confidence, drive, and determination.  All these people had a huge desire to express, share, or transform what it was inside of them into whatever their vision was.  Oprah Winfrey and Tony Robbins were driven by the poverty of their upbringing to create a better future for themselves.  In my humble opinion, you don't have to be happy to be successful, you have to desire success, envision success, and create success.  This can be done in any emotive state.

Robin Williams, Michael Jackson, and many other superstar celebrities were depressed and society would define them as having had successful careers. But did they succeed in the game of life?  Were they successful in God's eyes?  What does the fame and fortune mean if you can't be around to enjoy it? 

So this brings me to another interesting discussion... WHAT IS SUCCESS?  How do we define it or measure it?

Most of us equate success with money.  If you are rich, you are successful.  Steve Jobs was a successful business man but was he a successful person?  Did he win in life?  The articles that I read about him online said that he was a horrible person and employer and father.  He denied his own children paternity!  He embarrassed and humiliated his employees in interviews and treated people like garbage.  Is this what we consider success?

There are articles online that explain why rich people are jerks and that having money brings out the worst in people. So is having money and being a despicable person the measure of success?  What about poor teachers and preachers or house wives who raise good ethical children who are generous with their time and helping others?  Are they not successful because they don't have money or fame?
What about the rich lawyer who made his fortune by twisting facts in court and letting rapists, murders and child abusers off the hook to become repeat offenders?  Is he successful?  What about the real estate tycoon who made his fortune stepping on others, committing adultery and having an attitude of entitlement and superiority, vanity and arrogance.  Do you crave his success and all that comes with it?  It is a package deal after all.

We live in a world of illusion and mixed up values. We live in a society that defines success as having lots of money and a lavish lifestyle of excess, fortune and fame.  We all want it despite that we have already seen what it could do to us.  Many people sell their souls to the devil to get these things.  They lie, cheat, steal, do drugs, prostitution and other evil things for the Almighty dollar and to impress others.

I would argue that raising good quality human beings with strong morals and ethics and values is a greater accomplishment than making lots of money.  I used to be down on myself for not being where I imagined I would be financially at this age.  That's because for a long time I equated success with making money and acquiring wealth.  But I see that money can't buy happiness and there are somethings in life that are more valuable than paper.

An empathic patient of mine helped me to shift my perspective many years ago.  He sensed that I was down and he asked me about it.  I told him I was sad because I was not yet "successful."  He said that I helped a lot of people to improve their health and wellbeing and had a positive impact on their lives and that I was already successful because of that.  I never thought of it that way but I liked his perspective (positive reframe) and it helped me to not be so hard on myself for not achieving my financial goals.  I did put in all the effort and devotion and hard work that I had to my practice but it wasn't enough and despite my good intentions and vision and plans it seems like maybe it wasn't Gods Will.  Could there be another explanation?  Maybe there was a lesson in humility and acceptance and gratitude in having a modest income and being content with it. I had so many expectations about education and prosperity that didn't turn out to be true.  I was miseducated and misinformed about how to make money because I did all the right things but I still wasn't getting "there."

So I would say that happiness isn't enough and maybe isn't even even truly necessary at all.  Many people succeeded with anger and sadness.  There's so many factors and facets to success.  I have come to redefine success.  Success isn't money and money isn't success.  I think someone who is happy with what they have is successful.  We all know rich miserable people and I don't think they are winning in life.

I think winning in life is learning, growing, sharing, giving, serving, helping, connecting, smiling, living (not existing) and following your heart wherever it takes you, whether fortune and fame is in your cards or not, you can be successful at any level as long as you are authentic, true to yourself, and act with integrity.  Money doesn't define people.  Success should be measured in smiles not dollars.  How many people can you make smile today?  How many people will be better off for having known or met you?

The little old lady who rescues animals is successful.
Foster parents who love and take care of abused and neglected children are successful.
Preachers in poor neighborhoods who make people feel closer to God are successful.
Social workers who struggle with bills while helping people get on their feet are successful.
The school psychologist who instill confidence in bullied children is successful.
The firefighter who saves lives and who rents his apartment and has an old car is successful.
The substitute teacher who makes students love learning is successful.
The lawyer who takes pro bono cases fighting for justice but hasn't paid off his student loans is successful.
The medical assistant who instills hope in patients and has defaulted on her mortgage is successful.
The clown who brought joy at your kid's birthday party who lives with his mom is successful.
The man who lives in his parents basement pursuing his dream to be a musician is successful.
The special education teacher, the senior care provider and all the others who provide services with love and care and genuineness are not wealthy but they are successful.

None of the people in the list above drive fancy cars, live in big homes, make lots of money or get any kind of recognition.  But they are all making a difference in this world.  And THAT is how I chose to define success.

Monday, December 31, 2018

MSC is NOT For Me!

First & Last MSC Cruise

First I would like to say that I am not a complainer.  I never even would have posted this blog if it weren't for the fact that the cruise line sent me an email asking for my feedback.  When I attempted to fill out the online survey I was unable to submit it due to some technical problem their website.  There was a glitch that was not allowing me to move from one page to the next.  So I copied and pasted my letter and wanted to send it to them as a link to their representatives.

I went on their Facebook page and saw many people had similar experiences to mine and said similar things.  So it wasn't a fluke, but rather this is their modus operandi.  Sad to say.  Surprisingly they had 4.4 stars which a friend of mine says are paid reviews!

What I liked on MSC was the entertainment (although there were not a lot of costume changes in the shows) the variety was nice.  It was eclectic and circus-like.  My favorite was the guy who did flips in the air and landed on a narrow bar.  

I also liked the interior design, the color schemes, carpet, art, and interior of the ship, it was very beautiful.

My personal trainer, Jacques was great as well.

But overall, I am sorry to say I was very disappointed so I want to explain why I would not take another MSC cruise.

I worked on Celebrity cruise line for 2 years as an acupuncturist from 2004-2006 and I have also been on Princess, NCL, and Carnival.  I hate to say it but MSC was the worst line of the 5 lines I have been on.  
Here's why: 

I purchased the cruise directly from MSC.  Due to poor customer service (having to wait over 30 minutes on hold before anyone answered (numerous times), no one responding to emails sent from the company website etc) I cancelled the trip.  I wanted this itinerary because it went to Columbia (and I could not find another line with dates that worked for us) and I had never been there before so my father purchased the cruise from Expedia.  I had trouble getting my $198 deposit refund. I had to place several calls and emails about it.  We also had trouble getting our boarding passes.

Our check in time was late so we missed the boat safety drill.  Then the notice for the second drill came so late we didn't know about it and missed that too.  We felt the overall organization of the cruise was poor.  

I purchased shore excursions in advance and I was charged twice for the one for Aruba for all 3 of us.  That also took me many attempts to get refunded.  At first only 2 tickets were refunded and then the third one was refunded on another credit card statement even though they were all purchased together at the same time.

In Jamaica I wanted to go to Blue Hole but it was not offered so I purchased it from an outside shore excursion group.

In Columbia I wanted to do the hop on hop off bus tour but it wasn't an option until literally the night before we got there, we had a flyer on our doors. I was disappointed that I overpaid by using another tour company because it was not available on the cruise website.

The Panama excursion choices were not available until right before the cruise and the descriptions barely told us anything about the trip.

In Cozumel our snorkel excursion was cancelled due to the rainy weather.  We were able to get on another tour (in German in French which we don't speak) and I had to pay full price for it despite the fact that I prepaid for the snorkel trip and got a discount, It was not my fault the weather was bad and our trip was cancelled but the shore excursion department would not give me the discounted rate from the on board price like I got for the snorkel trip because I paid for it before we boarded the ship.    

I also purchased a photo package in advance before boarding.  It turns out the family eating dinner with us also pre- purchased the same package.  We both were under the impression from the marketing materials we got from MSC that we were getting both 10 prints AND 10 digital files but on board they insisted it was only 10 prints.  It's odd that we both thought the same thing.  There must be a mistake on the website or the printed advertisement that is not consistent with what the ship is actually offering.

So I prepaid and purchased the 10 photos for $80 because the advertisement lured me in by promising me 70% OFF of on board prices.  Then when we were on board they offered 15 photos for $99.  This is a MUCH better deal but they would not let me upgrade to the better package.  This was misleading and unfair.  I don't think any other company would have done that! -- Refused to allow customer to use purchase towards a better deal.  What happened to the customer is always right?  This was lousy customer service!  I wanted to pay the difference and get the better promotion but they said no.  Why burn a bridge for $19?  The printed photos were anyway going to recycling, there is literally no financial loss to the ship to give us the extra 5 photos and make us happy and take an additional $19.  It's literally a win-win but the ship was not able to accommodate, bend, or compromise.  What a shame.

I pre-purchased spa treatments and personal trainer (at the same time for my father and myself).  When I came to the spa to make my appointments they only had record of my personal trainer payments and not our 6 spa treatments.  I had to wait for the spa manager to contact reception to try to find the proof of payment.  

One day there was a time change so people came to their spa appointments an hour late.  Instead of rescheduling them they bumped people who were on time.  My dad was frustrated that his treatment started over half an hour later that it was scheduled.  

I spent over $114 for the internet plan (before boarding) for 5 devices and the data we were given only lasted a few days.  This is more than I pay for a month of internet at home with unlimited use.  So the majority of the trip we could not use internet.  Most people use social media to upload vacation photos and it would behoove the company to give better plans with more data because it's free advertisement for the cruise-line.  But the company seems too near-sighted to even see the big picture that they are jeopardizing long term gains for short term gains.   

The 4D movie and bowling and car simulator package was a rip off.  Very glad I didn't buy it.  The bowling had 2 lanes, a tiny ball and was not like real bowling, the movies were 5 minutes long, and the car was not a big deal to warrant such a high price tag.  

There were very long lines for the buffet and also for getting off the ship.  Never seen such lines on a cruise in my life and I have been on over 200 cruises.

The food was overall bland and lacked variety.  Would have liked lox for breakfast, but I never saw it offered.

Our waiter at night kept making mistakes every night, bringing people the wrong dish, and so many things.  We overheard another table complaining to the restaurant manager so my dad said it was happening with us too.  We were happy to see that steps were made to correct this and the service improved immediately.

We got the drink package and were told different things at different bars on the ship.  One bar said that the drink I wanted (BBC) was not included so I paid $9.95 for it, then I went to another bar and they took my drink voucher and the receipt said the drink price was $8.50 but there was no charge for me because of my drink plan.  People on board were not operating from the same rule board, it's as if they had no company/brand training.  The line was consistently inconsistent.    

I did not see any Friday night Sabbath services scheduled for the Jewish passengers but there were daily AA meetings and regular LGBT and singles meetings.

In general, there were way TOO many inconsistencies and poor customer service and disappointments which is why I will not be a return customer. 

I hope this helps you with quality control and to improve your service so that you have more repeat business and do not lose potential clients like me.  

We spent over $1,800 on board but will not be back, unless it's for a FREE cruise!

Sincerely yours,
Ahuva Gamliel, ND, AP

From Fat to Fit --Living Your Best Life!

                Fitness = Exercise + Nutrition

Bodies at rest tend to remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. It's the laws of inertia and thermodynamics. So be your own force and get your body moving!

As many as 50 million Americans are living sedentary lives, putting them at increased risk of health problems and even early death, a leading expert in exercise science told the American Psychological Association today.

Given that these individuals are doubling their risk of developing numerous health conditions compared with those who are even moderately active and fit, we’re looking at a major public health problem.

The truth is that although exercise is VERY important, they say that six pack abs are made in the kitchen and it's true. A lean physique is 80% nutrition!

There is no need to reinvent the wheel, just look at what successful people do! Dwayne Johnson is 46 years young and has a superb physique so let's take him as an example.  His full regimen is here.

When he is in beast mode, his diet consists of:
oatmeal, egg whites, steak, chicken, halibut, cod, white rice, broccoli, asparagus, baked potato, salad and protein powder. *

He also takes vitamins and supplements such as glucosamine to protect his joints

What he does NOT consume:
bread, pasta, pizza, pastries, (any gluten), cereal, hot dogs, hamburgers, wings, potato chips, fried food, dairy, Starbucks, fast food, alcohol etc.

Note that he LOVES pizza and brownies and pancakes so when he is done training for events or movies he goes an a major BINGE and overcompensates for the time lost, which I do not advocate. Instead, I recommend (unless you are training for a competition) to have 1 cheat meal per week where you have something you like such as a pasta dish and dessert that you miss or a breakfast that you love. I recommend quinoa pasta, or black bean pasta (from Trader Joe's). It has a higher protein content and no refined white carbs. I recommend trying to avoid swinging from one extreme to another so that one does not go from fit to obese like a yo-yo. This happens in the body building world.

The thing about extreme dieting is that you can feel deprived and cranky/moody when you don't eat what you are used to eating. There's a lot to say about the focus, will power and self-control that people who undertake these kinds of regimen's accomplish and how they transcend their desires and become a master over their bodies. I know of some people on very high spiritual levels who are able to conquer and negate physical temptations and bodily pleasure to the point that it does not exist at all for them but that's a rare breed and not where most of us are holding.

In general I feel that if you eat 80% healthy, it's good enough but there is always room for improvement. I'm going to start the new year with a 90 day modified Dwayne plan (will add salmon and lamb for example as a protein source and kale as a green source) and see what happens. Who's with me?

Don't be part of the 35% of sedentary Americans. Make it a lean 2019!

Your Imperfections Are Perfect!

I can give you at least 2 reasons to be happy with what you already have.

Reason 1 It doesn't always work out as you planned. Transformation in the wrong direction...

Reason 2 From beauty to beast, bigger isn't better.  Your face isn't Texas. 

You can find dozens more reasons online.  Stop trying to fix your face, it's already perfect as it is.  Unless you were born with a cleft palate or developed skin cancer or some kind of dermatological condition that needs to be fixed, please don't go messing with your face to try to improve what you were given. You really are enough and you really have enough natural beauty.  Believe it and bring it out by working on your confidence and self worth.

People like Michael Jackson and Joan Rivers had so many procedures, it killed them in the end.  Too much unnecessary medical intervention is deadly!  A doctor with morals, values and a conscious would not be performing botox and other procedures on a 19 year old beautiful girl for example.  What this girl is missing is self-esteem, not collagen.  Her fixing her face is a form of self-hatred and rejecting who she is and wanting to change her outside when what really needs to change is her inside (thoughts, attitude, beliefs, confidence etc).

And isn't it ironic that people do things to make them more attractive and it actually makes them MUCH less attractive?  Elective procedures make people's features look exaggerated, unhuman, unnatural and even grotesque.  

Like in everything in life, we must assess the risk or the cost to benefit ratio before proceeding.  In this article, the ethical anesthetist gives links to many cases of people who died from elective procedures. 

"As an anaesthetist I assess sick patients booked for surgery to treat disease. Sometimes after open discussions between the patient, surgeon and myself we decide that the risks of operation exceed the benefits. This decision, that their quality of life is greater through avoiding surgery, is never made easily.

There is no medical benefit to cosmetic procedures and there is significant risk of immediate and long term harm. Any perceived psychological benefits are influenced by the heavy advertising people are subjected to. Societal pressure impairs people’s ability to accept their own natural beauty."

If you would have told someone in the 1940s (during the Polio epidemic) that people would be purposely having their facial muscles paralyzed in the future, they would think you were crazy.  I think we, as a society, are really acting crazy.  Risking death to fill already beautiful people with plastic parts (silicon, saline etc) is indeed crazy.  It shows that we value a perceived "perfection" over life itself.  It shows that we care more about how we look than anything else.   It shows that we reject our imperfections, both our inner and outer flaws.  It shows that we don't believe G-d knew what he was doing.  It shows that we are not happy with ourselves.  It shows that we can't accept ourselves or others the way that we/they are.  Isn't this a pity?  Isn't it tragic?  How did we become such vain beings?  

Being human, by definition means having flaws.  All kinds of flaws.  We are perfectly imperfect beings.  We can accept, embrace and acknowledge that without thinking any less of ourselves!  It's okay, you have permission to have expression lines, scars, stretch marks, freckles, small breasts, a big nose... it's ALL GOOD, It's all from G-d!

I will never understand why people elect to inject Botulism organism a (botox) in their forehead which is so close to their brains and think that there could be no long term detrimental consequences. Who would have thought self induced facial paralysis would be a thing?

I had a 19 year old patient in drug rehab who already started with botox. This person needs to work on self-esteem issues and not on fixing problems that don't exist. Perhaps obsessing over her image is her way of evading her negative emotions.

I think people should work on fixing their inner flaws instead of being fixated on their outer appearance. If you don't want to leave your face alone, at least try something benign such as facial acupuncture, it has similar effects with side benefits such as better health and vitality and does not involve shooting toxins into your face.

People don't realize the risks involved in these common procedures.  There is evidence that botox does alter the brain and the implications are not yet fully understood.

Today I took a fitness class in Aventura, FL (an affluent neighborhood). One of the ladies in the class was obviously older with a noticeably stretched out face. It is so obvious that she had work done. Who do people think they are fooling? No one thinks she looks 10 or 20 years younger than her actual age. Her age is plainly visible even though the lines are gone. The only fool she is fooling is herself.

I know this is mean but I'm going to say it anyway. Botox does not fix ugly. You do not become a more beautiful version of yourself because you got rid of your wrinkles. You still look like yourself. You cannot become beautiful by erasing some expression lines. All you did was erase your expressions but we can still see your neck for example and all the original facial features. 

Aging is something that we should embrace. Not everyone gets to age, it is a gift given to the lucky. We should accept it and welcome it with grace and humility instead of fighting it and resisting it as if it makes us somehow better or more worthy of being loved

Everyone should feel beautiful and confident about themselves but that shouldn't entail feeling the need to inject your face with a toxin. We don't know the long term effects of botulism on the brain. What if in 20 years from now it was pulled off the market like many drugs have been and deemed unsafe? I wouldn't want to be that Guinea pig with regrets.

For natural facial rejuvenation I recommend facial lymphatic drainage massage which you can do on yourself using YouTube tutorials, galvanic micro-current wand (you can buy online), using a cleanser, applying hyaluronic acid containing serums, dead sea mask, periodic facials, drinking lots of water, eating a clean nutritious diet, good sleep, meditation and stress reduction. Your attitude and outlook on life is reflected on your face.

Please don't give in to the high pressures of your peers and society to do unnecessary elective procedures. Vanity isn't worth permanent brain damage or worse!

You are already beautiful just the way you are!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Quantity VS Quality

There are so many weight loss myths out there. I shared an uber with a personal trainer not long ago and I told her that I want to lose 10 lbs. She said I needed to eat MORE and she is RIGHT! When I did the body building competition I had to eat every 3 hours. I was consuming more calories and I was leaner. This is counter-intuitive: eat more*, weigh less. How is this possible? Because the calorie counting model that nutritionists teach is outdated and wrong. It's not about calories, it's about boosting metabolism (the rate your body BURNS calories). Also, not all calories are created equally. Refined white sugar carbs won't get rid of stubborn fat but a diet rich in green vegetable carbs and lean protein can. If you eat lean, clean and green, without skipping meals, drink plenty of water and exercise 5 days per week for an hour, you should be in good shape. If not, you need to research your body type (and maybe even blood type) and do some fine tuning according to your genetic constitution. Taking emotional inventory is also important to make sure food consumption is not being used as an emotional crutch.

*According to data from the Harvard Health Newsletter, after walking two 15-minute miles and weightlifting for 30 minutes, a 125-pound person burns only 210 calories and a 185-pound person burns 333 calories. So as you can see the calorie counting method just doesn't add up mathematically to the results that they claim are true.

If weight loss equaled calories consumed minus calories burned then all people eating 4,000+ calories per day should be morbidly obese (it's impossible to burn that much in a day with exercise*). But they are not necessarily, some have a very low body fat percentage. The movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, in order to maintain his legendary physique, eats more than 5,000 calories a day. The calories, spread over seven meals, include roughly 2.3 pounds of cod, a fish particularly rich in protein.

Case and Point: If I posted the visual aid above without the words and asked you which man ate 2,000 calories per day more than the other man, most people would guess that Patient X had the higher calorie consumption because he looks over-weight.
The truth is that it's not calories that count, it's metabolism. How do you boost metabolism? Small frequent meals and exercise. I am quite certain that WHAT they eat is also very different. The Standard American Diet is full of unhealthy fats, processed foods, additives, preservatives, food coloring and refined carbohydrates. THAT plus a sedentary lifestyle is why Patient X is Morbidly Obese while The Rock is, well... A beast & A LEGEND! You can eat more and weigh less. It's what you eat and how you eat it that matter too, not just numbers!!!
So stop counting your calories (unless you are in a body building competition) and start eating lean, clean, and green and GET MOVING! There is no magic pill for success, you put in the effort and time will do the rest.

Lastly, don't be fooled by appearances. Some people may look skinny on the outside but they could have a lot of fat around their organs on the inside and can actually be in bad cardiovascular shape. I remember in high school a very skinny girl (genetically vata ectomorph banana small frame) had 3% more body fat than I did (pitta mesomorph pear medium frame) and I was physically bigger than her. So looks can be deceiving.
The bottom line is that if you are not getting the results that you want then it may be time to modify your nutrition and fitness routine. 2019 is a great opportunity to do that. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year.

If you don't believe eating clean works, here's my personal testimonial. When I was in graduate school I did the allergy elimination diet to try to find the source of my sinusitis. I ate only organic fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, gluten free grains including white rice, lamb, lentils, beans, and olive oil. I am 5'5" and I started off at 125 lbs. 6 weeks later I was down to 118 lbs. I went to my naturopathic clinic at school because I didn't like that I became so thin. My legs looked like I was riding a horse. I was eating PLENTY of calories but I could not keep the weight on. They advised me to eat more nut butters. The take home message is that your body will shed whatever it doesn't need when you give it what it does need! Our bodies need clean protein and vitamins and minerals from nutritious food. Eat good, feel good, look good. Good?

So when it comes to quality vs quantity, quality wins by a landslide! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Trauma Happens: Recovering from Life

I had a dream once that I was knocked down by 3 consecutive tidal waves. I came to understand the meaning of that dream many years later. 3 big unexpected life events which occurred in my life at ages 11, 25, and 32 that totally crushed me and yet I was able to stand up afterwards unharmed. I believe the lesson in these events were humility, trust, and faith. G♡D was showing me that He runs my life and my illusion of control is just that, an illusion. My mantra is בידו אפקיד רוחי. (In His hands I entrust my spirit). I acknowledge that אין עוד מלבדו (It's all G♡D) and I see that it's also true with unforeseen blessings. It's all out of my hands and beyond my control. I am grateful to finally absorb it so no more tidal waves are necessary.

When I was 11 years old or so, my parents got divorced.  As a coping mechanism my young psyche developed perfectionism, probably believing that if I was perfect this would not have happened, my world would not have fallen apart.  So I was the perfect daughter, an honor role student, skipped 8th grade, graduated high school with honors, lettered in Track & Field, tutored my peers, held numerous jobs before, during and after school, and kept myself occupied with sports, music, and friends.  I didn't know what a crutch perfectionism would be until I became an adult and a healer called me out on it.  At first, I was in denial.  After all, I half-assed a lot of things that I did, how could I be a perfectionist?  I came to understand later that a perfectionist doesn't necessarily do everything perfectly but rather expects life and people to be perfect and suffers repeated disappointment because both life and people fail to meet this impossible and unrealistic expectation.  I was subconsciously hard on myself and therefore also very critical and judgmental of others.  Even though I am aware of this today, it is still something I need to constantly work on every time I catch myself doing it.  It's hard to stop things that are on autopilot but luckily I have people in my life who help me to realize when I am falling into these hardwired patterns so that I can consciously make better choices.  My husband is good at helping me with this.

When I was 25 years old, I was drugged and raped by someone I knew and trusted, a friend who I had worked with for almost a year.  I didn't tell a single soul about it.  Not my parents (who I am very close to), not the police, not a doctor, not even my best friend.  I couldn't even tell myself (admit, accept, acknowledge) that it happened.  I was in shock and denial about it and I suppressed it as if it never existed.  I became full of (self) doubts.  My coping mechanism for tidal wave trauma number two was similar to the first one, I got very busy.  I didn't have time to deal with the (emotional) pain.  I was immersed in 2 full time graduate programs: Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncture, I woke up at 5am and went swimming at 6am (to train for a triathlon), I was sometimes in school from 9am to 9pm because of the double track I was in that had not even been created at the time but I pioneered and navigated it on my own. I trained for and competed in 2 half marathons, 2 full marathons, 1 rollerblading marathon, and a 200+ mile bike ride from Seattle to Portland. I got a massage therapy license and a fitness instructor license. I taught Pilates at my school and at a local gym.  I took up Latin Dancing-- sometimes going out 4 or more days per week and coming home in the wee hours of the morning. I even traveled to Alaska, Hawaii, California and had an active social life and dated.  Rape? As the famous meme goes: Ain't no body got time fo dat!  

So I kept this secret for about a decade.  Then I read a story online about a woman who had been raped and it hit me.  It was before the #metoo movement but that's what I felt. ME TOO!  I was finally ready to deal with the skeleton in my closet that I pretended wasn't there.  I wrote and published an article anonymously online about my experience and what I learned from it in order to try to help and encourage others in a similar situation to get the help that they need and to feel supported and that they are not alone.  People commented on my article that they were glad I shared my story and that it helped them in some way.  I wrote and sent my rapist a letter in the mail.  I found out that he had a daughter and asked him if he would have wanted what he did to me to happen to her. I didn't include a return address, and I don't know for sure if he got it but I wanted him to know that I knew what he did to me even though he drugged me and I was unconscious during the act.  I suggested that if he felt remorse he should volunteer for a rape prevention organization to make amends for what he did to me.  By the time that I was ready, able and willing to deal with it, the statute of limitations had already passed and I could no longer take him to court.  I rest assured that Divine Justice prevails and everyone gets what they deserve in the form of karma.

At the time when I published my article, only pseudonyms were used in the story.  I didn't want my name attached to the story.  Although I didn't feel guilt or shame, per se, like many victims or survivors of sexual abuse do, I was afraid that if a patient or potential patient would Google my name that they would find the article and it would be TMI-Too Much Information: Not something you feel comfortable knowing about your health care provider.  I didn't want anyone to judge me or feel pity for me.  I wanted to hide that part of me because it was too uncomfortable to bear.  That all changed recently when another woman shared her similar story online in the form of a Ted Talk.  I felt fortunate that my incident didn't give me nightmares or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but something she said, hit home for me.  

In my life I seek to empower those around me: friends, family, patients, social media followers.  I often said things like, "What you think of me is none of my business."  I want people not to be afraid of being their true authentic self.  I want people to be free from the burden of seeking outside approval or validation.  And yet, I was being a hypocrite.  By publishing my article anonymously, I was hiding an unpleasant fact about myself that I didn't want people to know about because I was trying to project a perfect false image of myself and having been raped was not part of the narrative that I embraced as being part of my social history.  Instead of practicing what I preached I was practicing, "do as I say, not as I do."  

When this hit me, I reached out to the publisher and asked her to please add my name as the author of the article.  I was ready to be a role model of authenticity.  I will no longer play into society's errant notion of blaming and shaming the victim.  If I were the criminal in this case, THAT would be something to be embarrassed and ashamed about.  But something happened to me, against my will, and I decided not to be held hostage to it any longer.  I realized that if someone found my article online and didn't want to be my patient because of it, then that person was not meant to be my patient. However, I sense that the opposite is true.  

After over 3 years of working at a drug rehab center, when I finally had the courage to share my story with my community acupuncture session, it was following watching the Ted Talk video above together with them in a group and things clicking into place for me.  Instead of being rejected as I had feared, people came up to me afterwards and hugged me and shared their similar stories with me.  I received empathy, love, support, and compassion not judgement, criticism, rejection, and shame. My fears were in vain.  What a breath of fresh air.  To be open and honest and real is far more respectable, productive, and liberating than being secretive, fearful, and false.  When your thoughts, speech and actions are all congruent, you can have inner peace.  It is a gift we can give ourselves, being authentic.  

My patients were surprised when I told them that I didn't turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain because many staff working at recovery centers are also in recovery.  I suppose sports, studies, and salsa dancing are a healthier coping mechanism than substance abuse, but underneath those healthy things I was doing was the emotional pain that I didn't want or know how to face and deal with.  We were more similar than different, we just chose a different means of avoidance and distraction.  We both sought to deny or evade an uncomfortable past event we just went about it in different ways.  

Now I know that the only way to get over the pain, is to go through the pain.  If I could go back to my 25 year old self, I would have trusted myself and gone to make a police report.  I didn't want to accuse a friend of raping me (since I had no memory of the actual rape due to the date rape drug that was put in my water) but the police could have sent me to a medical examiner who may have found physical evidence of the incident but I didn't know that back then and I was shocked and traumatized, I couldn't think straight.  I do wish I would have told someone about it.  20/20 hindsight as they say.  Life is lived forwards not backwards.  As one of my teachers says, "Don't ask why me, ask what now?"  

So now my mission is to be a resource and lamplighter for those who went through difficult times to come out triumphant instead of victimized and downtrodden.  I seek to lift others up who have also been hit by the tidal waves of life.  We all have scars and baggage and traumas that we survived.  The question is do we continue to live in the past and suffer by losing our power and freedom or do we push forward and thrive not despite of the trauma but rather because we authentically embrace and accept the totality of our selves and all of our experiences.  

My third tidal wave came in the form of an unplanned out-of-wedlock pregnancy.  This was a major crisis for me.  The pregnancy, the stigma, and being a single unwed mother was not part of the script that I wrote for myself.  Surrendering my ego and following the Creator's plan was not easy but I see that with the other 2 trauma's He was breaking me in.  I thought I was in charge of my life and He showed me over and over again that stuff happens that's out of my control and life goes on, just like in theater, the show must go on. The question is how would I adapt, would I become bitter or better?  

Just like a toddler who is learning how to walk repeatedly falls and must keep getting up without dwelling on all the past failures, we too as adults get knocked down by life and must repeatedly get up.

The truth is that after my third tidal wave I opened a business and closed it 3 years later.  It didn't take off as I had hoped, wanted, or planned.  Overall,  I felt defeated by life, like nothing was going my way, as planned, as anticipated, or as I had envisioned.  I felt beat down, fatigued, and discouraged.  

So now I'm taking off my mask and putting myself in recovery.  Recovering from not believing in myself, recovering from feeling like my parent's divorce was my fault, recovering from perfectionism, recovering from not accepting my imperfect life, recovering from fear of rejection, recovering from denial, recovering from negative self-assessments, recovering from life not going as I planned. 

I never wanted my parent's divorce, rape, and having a child out-of-wedlock to be part of my narrative.  I never wanted it to be part of my story.  But there it was, and there it will always be and the only way over it is through it.  Instead of running and hiding, all I can do is face the music and dance and help others to do the same.  We are all injured and wounded warriors in our own ways but we must be there for one another and remember that the wound is where the light enters.

I may not be able to erase my past but I can certainly cultivate a compassionate future of acceptance, surrender, faith, confidence, trust, and empathy for myself and others.  That is all there is left to do now. 


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Flu Vaccine Propaganda

Recently my step-kids came back from private school with the fear-mongering propaganda below:


The papers talk about how the flu is deadly and that vaccination is the "best" way to prevent the flu.  This is utter and complete nonsense.  First of all people do NOT die of the flu virus.  The so-called "flu-associated" deaths are most likely from iatrogenic infections which the person acquires during hospitalization!  

When I was in college and uneducated about the risks of vaccines, I was persuaded to take the flu vaccine.  Much to my dismay, I became sicker than I had ever been in my entire life.  I was bed-ridden for 2 days, miserable, with the flu.  I would never wish that demise on anyone and I never want to experience that again.  I should mention that I was otherwise very healthy and fit. 

Under the section of is the flu vaccine safe, they fail to mention reactions like the one that I had.

Under the benefits of getting a flu vaccine they say that the shot can keep your child from getting sick.  Again they miss the opportunity to disclose that the recipient of the injection can BECOME extremely sick!

The claim that the flu vaccination may make your illness milder if you do get sick is not supported by any scientific data,  In fact, all so-called "studies" that they reference in this literature do not have any sources sited!  Where is it published (in a peer-reviewed journal)?  Who funded the $tudy?  What was the sample size?  What was the nature of the study?  What are the confounding variables?  Show me the evidence.  You can not make such outrageous claims without any evidence to back it up!

Under other ways to protect against the flu they fail to mention nutrition, vitamins, hydration, exercise, rest, and sleep.  

Under medicine to treat the flu, they only mention conventional meds, no natural (herbal or vitamin/mineral) immune supporting antivirals.

They fail to mention the toxic and disgusting ingredients in the flu vaccine which include: mercury, gelatin, formaldehyde, and MSG.

I disagree with their recommendation that pregnant women get the shots.  Pregnant and lactating mothers transfer these toxins to their baby!  Mercury and other heavy metals stay in the body forever and MSG is a neurotoxin.  Heavy metal can deposit in the brain (which is particularly susceptible to heavy metal toxicity).  These are not health conscious recommendations!  The risk of the vaccine is worse than the risk of the flu!

They do give a very important piece of information, "Flu viruses are constantly changing and so flu vaccines are updated often to protect against the flu viruses that research indicates are most likely to cause illness during the upcoming flu season."  This is the most important and true statement in the entire handout.  The viruses and changing and mutating all the time and the vaccines are being updated some of the time.  Also, science doe not have a crystal ball to predict which viruses are going to be most active at any point in time.  I do not want anyone playing Russian roulette with my health when the shot contains heavy metals and other chemicals which are not fir for human consumption!

Conventional Iconic Doctor Oz says
NO FLU SHOTS for his wife and children!

Here is some additional information from my previous posts about the flu:


The scare-tactic data of soaring high death rates provided by the CDC in their brochure was from between the years 1918 and 1919. Hello? We have antibiotics since the 1940’s!!! That data is totally and completely IRRELEVANT! Are you kidding me? Using pre-antibiotic information to scare stupid people into taking the vaccine so big pharma and the gov can make more money off of us! Good grief!!!

The CDC has the audacity to state, “Before the vaccine” prior to their ridiculous statistics in order to make it look like the vaccine is what saved the day. NO, it should say before antibiotics, sanitary water, and hygienic living conditions!!!

Granted the flu is a virus, if it is left untreated the weakened immune system is susceptible to a super-imposed bacterial infection, which is what all those millions of people died from! No one EVER died from the FLU!!! See Merck page 1288, “ Although even healthy people demonstrate defects in lung clearance and ventilation for several weeks after acute illness, RECOVERY IS THE RULE in uncomplicated influenza.”

The CDC website says the following about potential adverse effects:
Severe problems:
· Life-threatening allergic reactions from vaccines are very rare. If they do occur, it is within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot.
· In 1976, a certain type of influenza (swine flu) vaccine was associated with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). Since then, flu vaccines have not been clearly linked to G.B.S. However, if there is a risk of G.B.S. from current flu vaccines, it would be no more than 1 or 2 cases per million people vaccinated. This is much lower than the risk of severe influenza, which can be prevented by vaccination.

Treatment: rest, naturopathic or homeopathic remedies, hydration, symptomatic relief to prevent bacterial super-imposition and appropriate antibiotics if super-infection occurs.

CONCLUSION: The CDC brochure is purposely misleading people into erroneous thinking by deliberately presenting skewed data! This is totally unethical and nothing less than outrageous! No one ever died from the flu. We can successfully treat it with modern medicine!


Given at 6, 12 months and then once a year. Vax contains mercury, gelatin, formaldehyde, MSG

Possible side effects include: Guillain Barre syndrome, encephalopathy, facial and arm paralysis, visual problems.

Virtually all cases of the flu pass without consequence.  And the disease isn’t usually treated anyway, so why bother with the vax? 

There are less than 60 deaths per year in children up to 14 years old.  Complications of the flu usually occur in the elderly or people with chronic heart, lung, or immune system diseases (p. 121-123).  Children with asthma, diabetes or chronic health diseases are recommended to take the vaccine but otherwise healthy people do not need the shot.

People who SHOULD NOT be given the vax include those with: egg allergy, past history of Guillain Barre syndrome, and children routinely taking aspirin.

Antivirals can make the course of the disease milder.
Dr Sears says, “I feel that the potential severity of the flu for infants and children has been hyped up by the media.  The actual number of fatalities on this age group every year is extremely small.  Combine this with the high rate of side effects and the unusual chemical additives in the shot, and it’s no wonder some parents shy away from making this a routine vaccine for their kids” (p. 134). 

CONCLUSION:  See highlighted paragraph above by Dr Sears from p 134 of his book.  It summarizes my sentiments very nicely!

HIB (the bacterial flu bug)

This vax is typically given at 2, 4, 6, and 15 months, by AAP guidelines. 

According to Dr. Sears, “severe cases of this disease are now extremely rare.”  There are only about “25 cases per year in the United States in kids under five years of age.”  And, “a breastfed baby who does not attend day care is at a particularly low risk of catching this illness” (p. 9).  My guess is that those 25 cases were in children who have weak immune systems, live in unhygienic circumstances and were possibly malnourished or impoverished without access to appropriate medical care.

He says that he hasn’t seen a single case of HIB in 10 years of practice and that since the disease is so rare, HIB isn’t the most critical vaccine (p. 12).

Dr Sears states that in the vaccine trials, “more babies who received the vaccine caught a serious HIB infection than those who didn’t get the vaccine!” (p. 8).

It seems to me that the risks of the side-effects of the vax such as Guillain-Barre syndrome are more common and more threatening than the bug itself. 

According to the CDC, “The risk of Hib vaccine causing serious harm or death is extremely small.”

CONCLUSION:  My baby is breastfed and not in day care.  Therefore, she is at low risk for catching HIB, which is anyway a rare bug with rarely grave consequences.  Since the vaccine is known to have caused serious harm or death, why would I want to take that “small” chance???  No thank you!  We’ll stay healthy with breastmilk and naturopathic medicine and if need be, antibiotics!


According to the Merck Manual, “Haemophilus species are normally found in the upper respiratory tract and RARELY cause disease! (page 1166).

Antibiotic treatment varies depending on the site of infection.

According to the brochure, this condition was responsible for the death of 600 children a year (before the vaccine). I suspect that those 600 children were immune compromised, malnourished, probably not breastfed, without medical access and/or lived in poverty conditions with poor sanitation and hygiene. I doubt if any of them were the children of naturopathic doctors!

The vaccine contains ammonium-sulfite, and thimerosal.

CONCLUSION: This is a RARE condition, which can be successfully treated with antibiotics. 

More resources

Doctors who explain clearly why vaccines aren't safe or effective.

1. Dr. Nancy Banks -

2. Dr. Russell Blaylock -

3. Dr. Shiv Chopra -

4. Dr. Sherri Tenpenny -

5. Dr. Suzanne Humphries -

6. Dr. Larry Palevsky -

7. Dr. Toni Bark -

8. Dr. Andrew Wakefield -

9. Dr. Meryl Nass -

10. Dr. Raymond Obomsawin -

11. Dr. Ghislaine Lanctot -

12. Dr. Robert Rowen -

13. Dr. David Ayoub -

14. Dr. Boyd Haley PhD -

15. Dr. Rashid Buttar -

16. Dr. Roby Mitchell -