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Monday, October 5, 2009

Migraine Free for 19 Years

This is a remarkable story from my friend, Rosanna...thought I'd share with my blogging friends! Thanks, Rosanna, for sharing!

I've always had headaches -- even as a child. At age 15, they became migraines and escalated
in severity and duration after I was involved in a car accident at age 19. From that point on my
migraines began lasting 24-72 hours and would hit every 3-5 weeks. At times, I got two or three migraines in a one-month period.

I went to every doctor; our family physician, eye doctors, OB/GYN, Neurologist, Osteopath,
& Massotherapist. It was first blamed on menstruation, PMS and heredity. Then, all the doctors
cancelled that theory and began blaming my car accident injuries, which I had years after the
migraines began. I was given all types of medication; Valium, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, prescription and non- prescription pain medications and Morphine at the hospital. Nothing worked! That's why in 1977 I stopped taking any and all medications. I gave drug lectures at the high schools as part of my job with the Police Department, and I knew what harm these drugs could do to your body. Yet, all the doctors wanted me on them. My physicians and specialists didn't know what else to do except advise me of a pain clinic in Michigan that would teach me to "live with the pain". I felt I HAD learned to live with it because I'd managed to live "around" my migraines and lead a normal life throughout it all.

In the meantime, over the years I truly did everything to rid myself of this pain and agony. I went to many doctors and specialists, had physical therapy and even took Yoga classes and Biofeedback for breathing and relaxation techniques. I can't tell you how much money my parents and I spent over the years.

When I got a migraine, I'd know 6-8 hours in advance. I was never able to prevent it. It would
begin as a headache across the eyes and forehead, then travel to my temple area and top of my
head. Once the pain reached the base of my neck, there was no stopping it! I was forced to lie
down, immediately, in a totally darkened room with no noises or movement. You cannot walk,
let alone drive a car during one of these migraines.

A phone ringing would kill me with pain! I'd have nausea and dry heaves, along with vomiting if I merely lifted my head off the pillow. My pain was severe and debilitating! It never subsided in intensity, but remained the same level throughout the duration. Some migraine sufferers say theirs subsides in cycles. One never lasted less than 24 hrs. for me and usually lasted 72 hrs.

My two pregnancies gave my husband Dan, and me, an idea that my migraines might be an
imbalance in my system with some hope for the future. During both pregnancies, and while
nursing our daughters, I never got a migraine. We couldn't believe it! Relatives and close friends
were amazed. And we felt we had hit on something important.

So, we ran back to my OB/GYN who delivered our girls, my OB/ GYN who treated my
migraines since I was 16 yrs. old, and my family physician. And to our amazement, they merely
agreed this meant it was hormone related and they could treat me with a medication used for
endometriosis. But, neither one recommended it because it could cause sterility and we wanted
more children. Each one made this diagnosis sitting behind a desk.

My cousin was helped with Shaklee Supplements for Epstein Bar Syndrome (also known as
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and she pressured me constantly to try them. As a favor, we went to
a nutrition talk at her home - reluctantly. But, it proved my saving grace. Many things said during the nutrition sounded like questions we'd brought to the attention of my physicians.

It all made sense, but I didn't immediately run to get Shaklee because it sounded too simple of a
solution, after years of tests, therapy, medications and doctors. I believed they helped my cousin, but felt migraines were a world apart from what she had. Two weeks after that nutrition, I experienced a 72 hr. migraine and my husband set up an appointment to discuss a supplement
program.

Dan was extremely supportive of me when I began the program. He even began taking the
supplements so we would have a buddy system. After all, we'd get our money back in 30 days if
we didn't feel better. Plus, they were just foods -- not drugs. About 7-8 days after I started the
program, I got a migraine. It lasted two and one-half hours and I'm still waiting for it to return. I
had a few in the first two months which felt as if they were on their way, but I was able to get rid of that dull, mild, headache feeling by taking extra supplements. With time, it got easier and
easier to "ward off" the migraine before it hit.

All I have done differently is take Shaklee Food Supplements. It's wonderful and I can't find
words to describe the joy and relief I feel each passing day. I feel like a walking miracle!
I began by taking the following supplements and followed Dr. Klinkhammer's Health and
Harmony Program.

I've altered my initial program accordingly over the years.
I want everyone to know there may be hope for them. This is NOT a cure, and I'm not saying
you will rid all migraines in 90 days. It's taken longer for some. But, you deserve to know if it
will work for you. If you get the same results I've gotten, you will be thankful for the rest of your
life!

Love, Rosanna Montecalvo

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Welcome Back to the Track

Wow, I cannot even explain how great it feels to be able to go out and run again. After 2-3 months of not running, I feel like a new woman hitting the track! I am staying away from the road for a while because I want to take care of my knee, but running on the track was just as beautiful. I am so grateful for the ability to run & what running does for my body. I feel like I could conquer the world, tackle the lions, focused, praying and running in the brisk air, just God & me (and the football players in the distance).

Thank you, God, for a beautiful fall day! Thank you for focusing me on your goodness and giving me special blessings like being able to run again. Thank you for teaching me to slow down, take it easy, heal and submit my competitive spirit. Thank you for teaching me to praise you in the storm and be grateful for everything that comes along my path.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day

Okay, everyone...today is Wednesday and it is time to check in...


1. In honor of Earth Day, what is something you're going to do to be GREEN today, this week, this year??
2. What was your greatest victory this week?
3. What was your greatest challenge?
Visit www.servegodsavetheplanet.org for some great blogs and more information on Serving God by helping to save the planet!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Eat!

I thought this was an interesting article from Women's Health Magazine! I hope you find it interesting!

Never Have a Pig-Out Again
A bad day can send even the healthiest eater on a chocolate cake bender. Knowing how emotions and appetite are connected can help you curb your impulse to overeat.
By Karen Asp
You sail through Super Bowl parties every year without dipping a single chip and survive the annual Girl Scout cookie blitz. So why does one lousy fight with your boyfriend land you elbow-deep in a tub of mac 'n cheese? Maybe because a dieter's worst enemy isn't temptation; it's a really foul mood.

"Emotional eating is the number-one reason most diets fail," says Linda Spangle, R.N., M.A., a Denver-based weight-loss coach and the author of 100 Days of Weight Loss. Spangle estimates that up to 75 percent of her clients overeat because of how they feel. "They have a bad day and self-medicate with food," she says.

Researchers at the Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center in Providence, Rhode Island, agree. In a 2007 study, they found that internal emotional triggers pose a larger obstacle to weight loss than external ones (e.g., eating more because dinner is served buffet-style).

Now there's physiological evidence to back up what you've always instinctively known: Women really are more prone to day-from-hell food fixes than men. In a study published earlier this year, researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory had normal-weight male and female volunteers fast for nearly 20 hours, then tempted them with their favorite foods. The volunteers were instructed to resist the food while imaging equipment took photos of their brain activity. The resulting scans showed that while all the volunteers could consciously suppress their hunger somewhat, the brain areas that regulate emotions and the motivation to eat were more active in the women than in the men.

So if we're able to will our hunger pangs into submission, why don't we? For one thing, because our emotional attachment to that box of doughnuts, unlike the one we have to Clive Owen, isn't all in our head—our emotions can in fact trigger physical hunger. "There's definitely a physical component to emotional eating," says Susan Kraus, R.D., a nutritionist at Hackensack University Medical Center. "The mood- and appetite-regulating chemicals in your brain like to stay in balance. So when you experience unpleasant emotions that throw off that balance, your brain will try to compensate."

When you have an evil day, your brain's production of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that keeps you from feeling anxious and depressed) can drop. Studies link low levels of serotonin in women to irritability and increased appetite. Further, research has shown that the things that cause low serotonin—including exhaustion, stress, PMS, and lack of sleep and sex—hit women harder than men because women start out with about 25 percent less of the chemical, according to Robert Posner, M.D., co­author of Stress Eater Diet.

To maintain its proper levels, your brain issues an order for carbohydrates, which contain the amino acid tryptophan, a building block of serotonin. That's why, after spending an hour in traffic on the way home from work, you want to scarf a slice of pizza, not grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. When you do, your body pumps out more serotonin, which takes the edge off almost instantly—until your body finishes processing the carbs. Then comes the dreaded rebound, when your blood sugar plummets and you end up craving another slice.

Are you really hungry? Probably not, though it sure feels that way. In fact, the most common time to binge is after a meal, says Mary Boggiano, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who has studied overeating in rats. "Hunger is actually the least reported reason for overeating," she says. Low serotonin can also impair your ability to tell when you're full, making you more likely to eat when you don't really need to as well as more prone to overeating.

What's more, if you do tend to eat for comfort, being low on serotonin will probably make it harder for you to resist the foods you love. That's because dwindling levels have been linked to an increased sensitivity to reward. Translation: "Emotional eaters eat not only to reduce stress but also because it feels so much better than what they're going through," Boggiano says. Add brain chemistry to the emotional associations formed throughout life—like getting a lollipop every time you scraped your knee—and it's no wonder you feel helpless to resist that carton of Rocky Road. "

It takes time, but you can change the way you react," says Linda Hlivka, a clinical nutritionist and Posner's co-author on Stress Eater Diet. And that doesn't mean you can never treat yourself. "If you decide you want to relax with a few cookies and can stop at three, that's probably not emotional eating," Hlivka says. "When it becomes your go-to stress-reduction strategy—like, 10 times a day—it's a problem."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Still On the Journey??


Hello, my fellow Health Challengers!
Tell us about your week...

1. What has been the greatest hurdle these last few weeks?

2. What are you doing (or going to do?) to overcome your hurdle?

3. What is a goal you have for this week? Only one!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just For Laughs...

This article is for everyone who knows that swimsuit season is coming and is dreading it like the plague....I love you ALL!!





Gone, Baby, Gone by Vicki Glembocki

I remember so clearly the last time I saw it. It was hanging on the back of the door in a hotel bathroom. I thought to myself, "You'd better take that down or you're going to forget it." I didn't take it down--although I didn't remember that until months later, when I was packing up to go to a water park and opened the bottom drawer of my dresser, where it should have been. It wasn't there. It wasn't in any drawer. I started to panic. It wasn't in the laundry basket, either. Or my suitcase. Or the Goodwill bag. Or the pantry. Or the dishwasher. Or the glove compartment. It was gone. The best bathing suit I ever owned was gone.

We had found each other two years before. I was shopping at Target in mid-February, which is when the cruel people who run Target put bathing suits on display. It's also the time of year when I praise the inventor of sweatpants, since if it hadn't been for him I'd have no way to conceal the layer of whale fat that seems to form around my hips every winter. So there I was in Target, wearing sweatpants, hunting for hard taco shells and an economy box of Tampax, passing the swimsuits. And passing them again. And again. "Avert your eyes, Vicki!" I told myself, knowing how susceptible I am to the potential of finding a suit that might make me look skinnier than the one I currently own, how the very possibility tends to lure me into the Vortex of Pain that is the fitting room, where I'll have no choice but to disrobe. In front of a mirror. Under those nasty fluorescent lights. In February. But then I saw it: a tankini, all festive and flirty, with turquoise and white swirls. I snagged one in every size, weaved my cart to the fitting rooms, and handed the suits to the employee manning the Vortex of Pain and Pasty Skin, who looked at me as if to say "Are you crazy? It's February!" But I pushed onward, closing the door behind me so I could plot my strategy from within:

1. Face away from the mirror whilst disrobing.

2. Remove socks.

3. Start with the largest suit, because if it fits, you are done. And if it turns out you need to go down in size, you may be able to stop therapy.

4. Promise yourself that you will not look at your thighs.

5. Put on a little more lipstick so you at least look less dead.

6. Turn around.

7. Do NOT look at your thighs.

8. STOP looking at your thighs!

Once I stopped looking at my thighs, I realized that God did in fact exist. The bottom didn't dig into my hips and give me a muffin top. The halter made my boobs look bigger. The square of fabric that hung down in the front covered the area formerly known as my abs. And the best part: It was on sale. "Oh, glory be!" I thought, followed by an immediate reprimand: "You made this a bigger deal than you needed to, Vicki. You're so beyond all that immature body-loathing crap."Which is why I felt so relieved when I called the hotel to report the missing suit and the man at the front desk got back on the line after checking the Lost and Found box."I found it," he said."You did?!" I screamed as if he'd said Brad Pitt was knocking at my door. "I love you! No--really!" As soon as the package arrived, I opened it like there was something alive inside that needed to be set free. I pulled out the bathing suit: a lime-and-beige one-piece that would have been too small for Calista Flockhart after a colon cleansing. I grabbed the phone and called back the hotel immediately. I spoke to the manager. The valet. The woman who came in to water the plants. No suit. I e-mailed the manager. No suit. As I began to e-mail her again, I realized what a liar I was. All that cocky talk about how I'd evolved into a woman who embraced the fitting room? That power came from within--that is, from within a new bathing suit that didn't make me look like a rhino and protected me from having to get naked in Target for a long, long time. I pleaded with the manager, believing my sheer desperation could somehow make the suit materialize. I reminded her about the unbelievably horrible process of finding and purchasing a new suit, about stepping into the Vortex of Pain and Pasty Skin and Puckered Thigh Cellulite."Gasp," the manager wrote back. "I cannot imagine having to do that again!"


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I hope this article gave you all a little laugh and didn't just make you sick to your stomach!!

Bobbie e-mailed me today and said that she is going to face "D-day" tomorrow and weigh-in! Are you all ready to get back on the "horse"? Only a few more weeks of challenge left! Let's give it all we've got until swimsuit season is upon us!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Need Motivation to Run?

Here are six great reasons to hit the pavement(found at womenshealthmag.com):


1. It's so easy
True, some high-tech gear will make your run more fun, but really, all you need is a good pair of shoes, and a supportive sports bra. It couldn't be simpler. And everyone knows how to run. You may not have perfect form yet, but you already know how to place one foot in front of the other and settle into a comfortable pace. No new skills to master, no equipment to buy--just get out there and run. If you've never laced up before, be sure to check out our run/walk plan to injury-proof your transition into running.


2. Yet so hard
No other exercise matches running for its ability to soak that sports bra. The stair-stepper, bike, and other gym staples work you hard, but running blasts the most calories: In a study done by the Medical College of Wisconsin and the VA Medical Center, the treadmill (used at a "hard" exertion level) torched an average of 705-865 calories in an hour. The stair-stepper (637-746), rower (606-739), cross-country ski machine (595-678) and stationary bike (498-604) were all lower in overall caloric burn. Running also gives your ticker a world-class workout. When your legs hit their stride they squeeze blood toward your heart, which in turn forces it to pump the blood right back. The faster you run, the harder your heart works and the stronger it gets.


3. Your knees will thank you
Contrary to what your mom says, running doesn't wreck your joints. Osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis), occurs when joint-cushioning cartilage starts to break down. The biggest osteoarthritis risk factor besides age? Body weight. A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that obese women had nearly four times the risk of knee osteoarthritis than non-obese women; for men, it was five times the risk. Runners are much more likely to be at a normal weight than members of the sedentary population, significantly decreasing their risk of osteoarthritis. It goes further than just the benefits of weight loss, too. Running bolsters your cartilage by increasing oxygen flow and flushing out toxins, and by strengthening the ligaments around your joints. Hitting the trail also gives your bones a boost, helping to prevent osteoporosis. Though it's important to treat all running injuries and to replace your shoes often, in the end, running will build your joints up, not tear them down.


4. You'll stress less
Runners can provide tons of anecdotes about the stress-busting powers of their regular jog. "Nothing beats that feeling when you settle into a strong stride with a powerful rhythm," says Brooke Stevens, a four-time NYC marathoner, "The tension in my neck, back, and shoulders starts to loosen up, and I can think more clearly too." Many women swear they work out all of their problems on the road, and there's research on exercise to back them up. The University of Georgia Department of Exercise induced anxiety (no worries, it was with caffeine pills) on subjects and then tested their physiological and mood symptoms after either resting for an hour or exercising for that hour. The exercise (in this case, on a stationary bike), was three times more effective at reducing anxiety. Running is even used by mental health experts to help treat clinical depression and other psychological disorders such as drug and alcohol addiction.


5. It can prevent disease
Most experts agree that regular exercise reduces the risk of many kinds of cancer, including some of the scariest: colon, breast, endometrial, and lung. One recent study in the British Journal of Cancer calculated that the "most active" (e.g. walked briskly 5-6 hours/week) people were 24 percent less likely to develop colon cancer than the "least active" people (e.g. 30 minutes of walking/week). In a study by the National Cancer Institute, women of a normal weight who reported the highest levels of "vigorous activity" (running, tennis, aerobics) had about a 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer when compared with women who did no vigorous activity. Becoming a regular runner may help you cancer-proof your life. Joggers also have a leg up against heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and running has been shown to lower blood pressure, raise good cholesterol, and boost immunity to colds and other viruses. Your time on the treadmill can even prevent vision loss, it seems. Two studies from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found that running reduced the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.


6. You'll probably live longer
In perhaps the most surprising study done on the health benefits of running, a team at the Stanford University School of Medicine studied 538 runners and 423 healthy non-runners from 1984 until 2005. All of the subjects were over 50 and were asked to take a disability questionnaire each year measuring simple tasks like cutting meat, shampooing hair, and opening a milk carton. Every year, the disability levels were significantly lower in the group of runners than in the non-runners, and they became more different as both groups aged. Even more interesting (though admittedly morbid)? At the end of the study, 85% of the runners were still alive, while only 66% of the non-runners were. Based on the info gathered during the 21 years, the researchers concluded that regular exercise could reduce both disability and risk of death by increasing cardio fitness and bone mass, lowering inflammation, improving response to vaccination, and improving thinking, learning, and memory functions. We say, is that all?


Okay, let's get out and run!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I Can See Clearly Now...

"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." Romans 8:5

All week I have been asking this question, "Lord, what should I do in this situation??" I have been wrestling with God over a choice I have to make. Have I known what was right? Yes, I think I have, but I fooled myself into believing that the right decision wasn't REALLY the right decision. I just wanted to take the easy way out! I didn't want things to be difficult or painful. I didn't want to face my insecurities and jealousies, I wanted to run away and pretend that facing those things was in fact the wrong decision!


Have I lost you?


For the last week I have been wrestling with insecurities, fears, lies from you know where, and temptations. I have stopped to pray and ask God for help, but never took time to ask what He wanted me to do. I was too busy telling Him what I DID NOT want to do!


This morning, things became clear. I stepped outside of myself and truly asked God what HE would have me do. The answer? It was what I feared most, but when He spoke to me, I knew it was right!


You see, if I live by Romans 8:5, and my mind is set on the things He desires, I will have peace. Will life always be easy? No way, but I will always have an assurance that I am living for a greater purpose, for eternity. The moment I start living for my sinful desires and for myself, everything I do will be for nothing.


All of this came clear this morning as I ran outside. God was finally able to break through my hard head and speak to me what He has been saying all along!


What things do you do to clear your head and refocus your priorities?

Take time this week to focus on Him and what He would have you do!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Who Wants a Smooooothie?

You all know how I LOVE smoothies. Of course, I prefer my Cinch or Soy Protein smoothies, but this sounds delicious and healthy, too! I'll let you know when I make one!

Diana Dyer, registered dietitian and 3-time cancer survivor,created these cancer-fighting shake recipes to provide beneficial phytochemicals. The shakes are all easy to prepare, consume and digest. These shakes are tried and true and are just a sampling of helpful information that is part of her book A Dietitian's Cancer Story.


8 oz (1 cup) calcium fortified soy milk
8 oz (1 cup) vanilla low-fat yogurt
6-8 baby carrots or one large carrot
1/2 cup fresh fruit (mango is nice)
3/4 cup frozen fruit (raspberries make a pretty shake)
1 TBSP wheat germ
1 TBSP wheat bran
1 TBSP whole flax seeds or ground flax meal 2 1/2 oz tofu (cut a 1 lb block or tofu into 6 pieces)
Makes 3 1/2 cups.

If anyone decides to make it this week, let me know!