Inspiring Millenials

It is not often that a Gen Xer  finds inspiration in the younger Millenials. But I had the great pleasure and honor of spending some time this past Sunday with two amazing Millenials – Jessica and Jess, clearly no coincidence. In Hebrew, the name Jessica means: Rich, God Beholds. We came together for a vinyasa yoga class taught by Jessica at the lovely Mermaid Winery in Norfolk, VA.

There is a lot of controversy about the characteristics of a Millenial. Some call it the “Me” Generation and describe them as being lazy and entitled. The first author, however, to coin the term, described them as confident, civic minded achievers. Now this perfectly describes these two beautiful ladies, Jessica and Jess.


Jessica is a beautiful, smart, kind, inspirational young woman who is a yoga teacher, medical student, co-founder of Bhav Brigade, and wise beyond her years. She will graduate medical school in a few months and clearly be one of the most compassionate Emergency physicians I and the world will know. She spent her “free time” as a medical student bringing yoga to the medical school and the community through the Bhav Brigade, a pop-up yoga collective based on donations that go back to the community.

Jess is a beautiful, smart, kind, inspirational, motivational young woman who is a trail blazer, entrepreneur, fitness guru, social media whizz and wonderful friend. She left a well established job to follow her heart. Her heart has led her to be a leader in her “industries”-health & fitness and social media. She is the creator of The Fit Petite and Relay Your Brand. Whatever she does, her heart is always with the community. She is the most motivational person I know. She organized and participated in a huge fundraiser run from Virginia Beach to the White House to raise money for the homeless.

Needless to say, sharing space and time with these women was truly inspirational.

The theme for the class was balance. Not balancing on one toe with the other leg wrapped around your head balance… but balance in our lives. What does that mean to you? Jessica suggested we debunk it … and not give it so much power over our lives. It seems that “balanced” has made its way to the list of things we need to accomplish. Instead, balance should be acceptance of the good and the bad days, our goodness and our imperfections. To prove how challenging that can be, we “practiced” balance on our mats.

Topping off a great, challenging yoga class in a winery, what better for a balanced day, than brunch and mimosas in the winery with Jess. We are both so excited about this new year. Not because 2016 was bad but because we share a common optimism about the future and how we can mold it. I was excited to hear how Jess will guide a women’s workshop on “Never Surrender – Your Roots, Rules and Resolutions.”

So I resolve, and invite you to see everyone we meet, regardless of age, with an open heart and without preconceived judgement. I am grateful to these beautiful souls for their light and their inspiration.

Who inspires you?

Namaste

Millie

 

Stay Healthy during Cold and Flu Season

Are you ready for 

cold and flu season?

 

Ugh!I can’t believe I got sick. I never get sick and as a doctor I am exposed to sick people all the time. I have attributed this to my generally healthy lifestyle. So… maybe, I haven’t been as good as I should be, not getting enough sleep, not drinking my green smoothies everyday. But, luckily, with my healthy habits, I was able to get better quickly and get back on track to stay healthy.

What causes the common cold and flu this time of year?  Contrary to grandma’s loving advice, you do not catch a cold by going outside without a hat. LOL. In fact, while the exact mechanism behind the seasonal nature of influenza is not well known, it is proposed that being indoors more, being in close contact with others that results in direct person to person transmission. Other proposed mechanisms:

  • The cold temperatures allow the virus to decompose slower and linger on external surfaces like door knobs, keyboards and counter tops
  • The cold temperatures are associated with drier air, which may dehydrate mucous membranes, leading to decreased defense against respiratory infections.

Here are the most common symptoms for the flu. The common cold, caused by a different virus, shares these symptoms, generally with less severity.

How do you deal with symptoms if and when they arise?  

Here are some of my favorite, natural, drug free tips to beat the bug and stay healthy this season

Sip Tea. I like to drink hot green tea with lemon and honey. Drinking the tea and breathing in steam stimulates the cilia — the hair follicles in the nose — to move out germs more efficiently. Lemon thins mucus, and honey is antibacterial

Drink Water. Lots of it! Water flushes out toxins through the lymphatic system.

Go Green. Green juices or green smoothies are chockful of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants and delicious. Remember, the darker the greens, the higher the nutrient count. My go-to green smoothie, is kale, spinach, cucumbers, mango, berries and banana.

Eat healthy foods. Remember you are what you eat. So, eating healthy foods, should make you, uh, Healthy. We’re not just talking fruits and vegetables here, superfoods from all major food groups that can improve your immunity. Fish, oysters, mushrooms, garlic, probiotic foods, carrots, sweet potatoes and don’t forget Dark Chocolate.

Vitamin C. If you’re sick, you should consume 400-500 mg. This is hard to do with food alone, so I take a pure supplement.

Sanitize shared surfaces at home, at work and at the gym. Wipe everything down!! Viruses can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours!

Pamper your nose. 

NETI, developed thousands of years ago by yoga and Ayurveda practitioners in India, is a nasal purification technique, that involves the use of Neti pots.

The pot is filled with a saline solution (specially packaged salt mixtures can be purchased, but non-iodized salt (not sea salt) and water will do just fine. Once the neti pot is filled, its spout is inserted into one nostril while the user tilts the head to the side to allow the saline solution to flow up the nasal passage and then out the other nostril. Then the technique is repeated on the opposite side.

Neti pots do the following:

  • Clear the nostrils to allow free breathing
  • Remove excess mucous
  • Reduce pollen or allergens in nasal passages
  • Relieve nasal dryness
  • Reduce cold and flu symptoms
  • Alleviate sinus headaches
  • Improve sense of smell and taste
  • Reduce snoring

Pamper Your Body. Massage Therapy – I like to get a massage once a month to improve circulation which nourishes the cells with oxygen and nutrients. Also, massage reduces stress which means… Less stress… less of a germ magnet.

Good night. Research shows that our bodies need 7 to 8 hours of sleep to stimulate an immune response from our natural killer cells against viruses. Sweet and Healthy Dreams! 

 

Namaste

 

 

Winter Can Be Hazardous to Your Heart

As winter kicks off and snowstorms strike across the country,

the risk of heart attack rises.

Fact: More people die of heart disease in the winter, especially the months of December and January. Why?

We’ve all heard the stories about someone who suffered a heart attack while shoveling snow.  Is it the cold weather? Is it the physical activity? Is it the dark days of winter? Is it stress? Turns out, all of these factors play a role.

 

Cold weather causes the arteries to constrict, which then raises blood pressure and pulse rate. These increases put additional strain on the heart.

Additionally, hormonal changes that come with the colder weather can make blood more conducive to clotting. Cortisone levels in the wintertime fluctuate with the colder weather, causing platelets to become ‘sticky”. These sticky platelets allow clots to form more easily. For people with known heart disease this can exacerbate their disease.  As the arteries constrict due to cold air, blockages become more severe.

While intense physical activity certainly puts a strain on the heart, cold weather is an exacerbating factor which leads to an increase in heart attacks and fatalities over the winter season.

Although many experts believe that colder temperatures cause heart attacks, if temperature is the sole factor then people who live at higher altitudes, where it is generally colder, should be more likely to die from heart attacks as well. Right? However, this is not the case.

Fact: Heart attacks are less common closer to the equator, less common in the summer, and less common at higher altitudes.

Fact: Vitamin D-UVB light is higher closer to the equator, higher in the summer, and higher at higher altitudes. So, lack of sunlight and Vitamin D deficiency may also play a role.

Finally, stress can certainly play a role. How else can we explain that the 3 riskiest days of the year to have a heart attack are: Christmas, the day after Christmas and New Years Day.

Some tips to keep your heart healthy

  • Keep Warm
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to cold temperatures if you are elderly,have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease like hypertension
  • Get some sun, but bundle up.
  • Exercise regularly. Join a gym or check out one of many exercise you tube videos
  • Do not shovel snow first thing in the morning
  • Warm up the body by marching in place before heading out to shovel snow
  • Stay hydrated
  • Do not drink alcohol or smoke before shoveling snow

Just remember, that with each passing winter day, the days get longer and summer gets closer.

Namaste

 

 

Hit Your Health Goals for 2017

We all have them. What are your health goals for 2017? How will you accomplish them?

 

The first day of the first month of a new year invites us to set goals for the new year. Everyone wants good health, right? So, most people wish for health in the New Year. But we must do more than wish. Our health, our lives, are in our own hands. Let 2017 be the year of accountability. Take control of your health.

Starting point.  The first step in the process is to evaluate your current situation regarding your health and then ask yourself what you really want to achieve.

You can define your starting point by asking yourself:

  • What are your current health statistics – height, weight, Body Mass Index, blood pressure, cholesterol level, blood glucose, etc – how do these compare with normal measurements?
  • Do you exercise? How often and for how long?
  • Do you get enough sleep? Do you feel tired or do you have lots of energy?
  • What is your fitness level?
  • Do you have any bad eating habits – are you addicted to a particular food or type of food? Are you an ‘emotional’ eater? Do you eat enough?
  • Do you have any ailments that affect your health and wellbeing? Do you always seem to be run-down or picking up the latest cold or flu in town?
  • Do you often feel stressed?
  • Do you have any other bad habits that affect your well being – smoking? Alcoholism? Drugs?

Set goals. Set SMART goals. Simply saying that you want to lose weight, eat healthy, or stop smoking will likely result in failure.

SMART:
Specific
      Measurable
       Accountable
Realistic
    Timeframe

Set a specific goal.A goal needs to be as specific as possible so you can work toward it and achieve it. “Lose weight”  or “Be Healthy” as a goal is too vague. What exactly do you want to achieve and how? Why do you want to do it? Do you want to feel better, have more energy, be happier, live longer?

Make goals measurable. If you don’ make your goal measurable, you don’t know when you’ve reached it. How much weight do you want to lose? What do you want your blood pressure to be? What about your cholesterol levels? How often should you exercise? Track your progress, write it down and celebrate the small successes along the way.

Be accountable. Keep a journal. Track your progress — your weight, your workouts, your food intake, how many cigarettes or drinks you had, your stress levels. There are many health apps out there that can be very helpful. Share your goals with a friend who can help keep you on track.

Set a realistic goal. Make it challenging yet not too overwhelming. Make it realistic for you based on your life, your schedule, your other commitments.

Set a timeframe. Timeframes should also be realistic. Don’t expect to lose 20 pounds in one month. Don’t expect to quit smoking cold turkey (although possible).

  • Allow yourself 1 week per kg (2 lbs) of weight you want to lose.
  • Allow yourself 3 months to get in to peak physical fitness.
  • Allow yourself at least 6 weeks to quit a habit like smoking, and maybe even longer for alcohol and drug dependency.

It may take up to 12 months to start ‘feeling’ healthy and energetic or overcome some other particular health ailments, again depending on your starting point. So hang in there! It is worth it.

Key to whatever your health goal is…eat mostly fruits and vegetables, get plenty of sleep (7-8 hours a night), exercise regularly and most importantly have compassion for yourself. Our goals are long-term and our good intentions are how we approach them everyday. Acknowledge that there will be days off track and celebrate the good days.

Namaste