Laughter Therapy...You Need This!

Tuesday night I laughed and laughed listening to political satire during an Evening of Cosmic Comedy. This fundraising event showcased the wit and talent of Swami Beyondandana…(otherwise known as Steve Bhaerman). Steve’s website is titled Wake Up Laughing, which reminded me that it had been too long since I enjoyed a good belly laugh. Kids laugh all the time…I was missing out! This event reminded me that I’ve been taking myself a bit too serious lately. Time to lighten up! :)

Political humor might not be your cup of tea, though it was just what I needed to ease stress, release tension, and calm my pain. You may already know that laughter is a terrific pain killer - due to endorphin release. If you didn’t know this, or want to learn more, check out the work of Norman Cousins or Patch Adams. Better yet, put the “laughter as best medicine” theory into practice and find ways to laugh every day. Laughter is a tool - both therapeutic and healing. After enjoying the two-hour comic shtick I felt lighter, my arthritis and joint pain was barely noticeable, and I slept like a ROCK!!!

I am writing this blog post nearly 24 hours after the program (editing & posting it today) and I still feel the benefits. I’m experiencing long term relief from chronic pain/stress/tension (while still working/dealing with life) and I didn’t take a pill to feel this way! I encourage you to be a proactive patient and invest in your self care. Partner with your medical providers to better manage your chronic conditions…you have more control over your health than you may realize.

Be Well! ~Tiffany

 Courtesy Pixabay:  A-Maze-Zing Laughter  figures. Each face happens to be a self-portrait of the artist  Yue Minjun . Work installed 2009, Vancouver BC.

Courtesy Pixabay: A-Maze-Zing Laughter figures. Each face happens to be a self-portrait of the artist Yue Minjun. Work installed 2009, Vancouver BC.

Potatoes - Foundation of a Healthy & Simple Meal

I had been eating potatoes long before I discovered Dr. McDougall and decided to follow his free program outlining the basics of The Starch Solution. At first, I was skeptical and had a hard time believing it could be this simple to feel better, maintain a healthy weight, better manage my chronic conditions, and even drastically reduce my need for prescription medication. Though it worked for me in more ways than I could ever imagine. Family, friends, and my medical team watched me struggle through a health crisis that nearly took my life. Today I feel amazing and couldn’t be more pleased with my quality of life.

Mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, fries, roasted yams, hash browns, and even cold boiled potatoes are a few of my favorite ways to eat this delightful tuber. I could have saved myself a lot of money and grief over the years had I realized that a humble, affordable potato is a nutritional powerhouse. That is, if it is prepared properly and eaten without oil. Read through my wellness blog, my book Butternut to Bionic, and the Nourish section of my website and you’ll notice that this starchy food takes center stage in my life. Coworkers rarely see me without a potato at break or at meal time. Below I share photos of my favorite potato based meals (you’ll see other favorite starches like corn/rice/oats/grains etc on my website) plus a video of Dr. John McDougall. He is the expert and his work has profoundly changed the quality of my life. I am forever grateful! I even had the privilege of meeting him in person last year at a McDougall Foundation 3-day intensive in Santa Rosa, California. Check out this video to better understand how a simple change in your meal plan could improve your life.

Be Well! ~Tiffany

Feel Achy and Sore? Reach for Ice...

Living with both chronic conditions and artificial joints means that I experience aches and pains day after day. I choose to manage my pain without prescription medication both at home and on the road. I recently spent a few days in the mineral pools of Glenwood Springs where I soaked away my aches and pains in the soothing, therapeutic water. Today, I return home from a trip to Seattle where I focused on morning exercise, stretching, and elevating to manage creaky hips and swollen ankles.

While managing day to day aches at home, my preference is to reach for ice. I also pack instant cold compresses when I travel. The excerpt below from Butternut to Bionic: A Resource Guide for Hip Replacement Surgery, shares my suggestions to use ice as a way to manage pain and inflammation. On page 73, I share affordable ice pack options that you may have at home already such as frozen peas, juice cans, gel packs, and rice packs.

Chapter 4: Pain Management-Before, During, and After Surgery, excerpt pg. 72

"The thought of cooler temperatures may not spring to mind when you are in pain. Ice is your friend and is much more effective than dry or wet heat for inflammation and pain relief. I certainly wouldn't dissuade you from soaking in a hot tub or mineral bath for comfort and relaxation when you are able, though to decrease swelling and quiet pain, ice is by far the preferred method. Ice packs should never rest directly on the skin. To avoid skin damage such as frostbite, always place a boundary, such as a towel or blanket, between your skin and an ice pack. Ice packs come in a variety of sizes and forms to treat large and small areas. Ice brings quick relief--the rule of thumb is to use ice packs for a maximum of five to 15 minutes."

Be Well! ~ Tiffany

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Willpower...Need Help Boosting Yours?

Willpower is an elusive animal; a behavior that is sometimes tough to muster and maintain. I am often asked how I manage my health so consistently...willpower could be a quick answer. I am motivated to manage my health in order to minimize chronic pain, sleep well, have enough energy and stamina to perform well at work, and prevent and/or delay any future health difficulties. These reasons support my willpower as I care for myself. What a lovely partnership.

I do not feel defeated because of my chronic conditions. My body and it's unique health quirks are much like a puzzle for me to solve. I want to better understand the why's and how's of my illnesses and work with them rather than against them. I literally share how I went from 'Butternut to Bionic' in my book. I partnered with my medical team and health professionals to recover and regain a good quality of life. Besides my doctor, The McDougall Foundation is one of my most trusted resources. Hundreds of free webinars, scientific articles, and videos can be found at Dr. McDougall's website. Tune into the most current FREE webinar, The Story of Willpower, What it is & How It Works at the link below. Cultivate your motivation!

Be Well! ~Tiffany

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Living Well with Thyroid Conditions...

Our thyroid is a complex, butterfly shaped gland located in the front of our throats. The thyroid is considered the master gland that, when not working properly, can cause a number of health problems. My doctor first diagnosed me with Hashimoto's disease when I was in my late 30's. Hashimoto's refers to hypothyroidism; meaning that my thyroid is under active and my immune system is attacking the gland. This is a long-term chronic condition. There is no cure, inflammation is a concern, and I plan on taking medication as treatment for the rest of my life. I partner with my doctor and take extra steps to improve how I feel.

Seeing my doctor regularly, candidly discussing any and all symptoms, monitoring my blood work, and modifying the dosage of my medication based on my doctor's recommendations are CRUCIAL to managing this condition. The symptoms listed below are often seen in those of us living with Hashimoto's disease. Besides my daily medication, I've added extra steps that I take to live well with Hashimto's. My disease isn't in charge of me, I AM in charge...I simply face Hashimoto's as another unique aspect of myself. I hope you find the information useful.

Be Well! ~ Tiffany

  • Fatigue - Making time for adequate rest is a priority. I do my best to manage my time. Naps, regular therapeutic massage, Epsom salt baths, moderate amounts of sunshine/Vitamin D, and acupuncture treatments help me recover from sleepless nights.
  • Bloating - Avoiding oil and eating foods like potatoes prevents me from experiencing bloating. I have found that if I am inflamed or bloated...it is due to something I have eaten. Check my Nourish page to view my meal plan and recipes.
  • Forgetfulness - I prefer pencil and paper over gadgets. I make lists as reminders and have a day planner to stay organized.
  • Weight gain - I love to cook, I love to eat...AND staying lean is important to me. The Starch Solution is my solution. Regular activity such as walking, stretching, and isometric routines provide energy, muscle tone, pain management, stamina, and keep my spirits up.
  • Change in skin appearance - Our skin is the largest organ of elimination. I support my skin with a whole food meal plan, stay well hydrated, avoid caffeine/nicotine/alcohol/refined foods, exfoliate daily with bath gloves/sugar scrubs/Clarisonic Mia (for face), spend time in saunas/steam rooms when I can, and moisturize with quality products.

Take charge! Implement self care to the best of your ability to improve how you feel.

"The wings of transformation are born of patience and struggle." - Janet S. Dickens