My Purpose

my-desk

My hearts purpose and desire is to listen to your Dear Abby online stories and questions about Life; In the hopes of inspiring and offering comfort, giving advice and hearing recommendations on whatever life may bring…Inspire Spirituality, Health, Physical Fitness, Relationships, Careers, Finances, Education, Home Cooking, Home Environment, Social Life, Creativity and Joy.

I can’t wait to read your Dear Abby stories, questions, advice and recommendations. I’m looking forward to share my blessings with the world! Please note that your letters will be answered in a blog and referred to by the name given unless signing off as anonymous.

You can also visit my website for a FREE Health Coaching consultation. Please don’t forget to request a FREE Cleanse Cheat Sheet at http://www.healthcoachingpro.com

 

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Tips for Optimal Brain Health

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Most people think brain deterioration, memory loss, dementia, alzheimer’s decease, or like I call it, “Forgetfulness” all come from aging. But did you ever wonder how the 85 year old that lives down the street from you has such a great memory?  How many times have you heard someone in their 50’s, 40’s or even 30’s say, “I just had a senior moment!” ?  They may have said it jokingly but it’s no laughing matter.  It’s pretty scary, if you ask me. I mean think about it, trying to live an independent life without your memory…It’s impossible.  You may be able to live a normal life without a limb or even an organ but you really need your brain.

So all of this “Forgetfulness”  related to aging has me thinking about my 86 year old father-in-law. He has an amazingly sharp and clear memory.  He recalls every single event of his life. He remembers, in detail, his life as a child. He can recall details about his parents and even his siblings. He can tell stories about working on the farm with his family. He often shares lessons he learned as a child that make him the person he is today. He can describe every single detail of his life in the army,  his life in France and how many years, months and days he spent there, his work experiences and life as a husband and father.  He can even give you detail of all 6 of his children growing up, like their first step and their first tooth. How is this possible? I have always linked “forgetfulness” with aging however, as a Health Coach, we learn that you Are definitely what you eat ( Secondary Food) and your everyday activity (Primary Food)  will effect your brain.  I decided to take my curiosity one step further.  I tracked down my father-in-laws history while doing a little more research on how I can keep my brain healthy.

I have known my father in law for about 30 years now and his diet or what I like to call “Secondary Foods” always consists of a variety of grilled fish dishes, such as Bacalhau (salted cod), Sardines (fresh and not from a can), Salmon and Tilapia seasoned with only sea salt.  As a side, Collard greens, broccoli Rob, potatoes, carrots, plenty of beans, cabbage, all smothered in lots of extra virgin olive oil and a glass of red wine and/or water to wash it all down. For dessert, my father-in-law likes a bowl of fruit but his favorite of all is a cantaloupe or melon straight up. As long as I have known my father-in-law, he has always enjoyed a banana and an orange with a glass of water for breakfast. And when he is constipated he will have a fig or 2. Although he receives vitamins and minerals from his rich and nutritious diet, the need for certain supplements, at his age, is crucial. For instance,  Resveratrol helps with cardio and circulation of blood to the brain for clarity. Good fat for the brain is necessary such as Omega 3’s. I have never seen my father-in-law munching on potato chips, candy or ice-cream but I often see him snacking on a piece of garlic or olives.

My father-in-law was born and raised in a very small village in Portugal called, Vila Nova de Ourem.  At the age of 7 years old, he worked on the land from dusk till dawn with his father, brothers and uncles. They owned vineyards that produce grapes to make wine. They also owned pine trees (which is where the last name Pinheiro comes from) that produce resin for glue and olive trees for olives an olive oil. There were no local supermarkets so every edible object served at the dinner table came from their very own crops and livestock including meat and dairy such as pigs, cows, goats, chicken, wheat for bread, milk to drink or for making cheese, and even sugar canes for sugar. Although my father in law came to American in 1981 he still continued his traditional eating habits. His choices are a slightly different now as he does not grow his own produce but purchases it at a local supermarket.

Anything other than food consumption such as, exercise, relationships, spirituality, careers, finances, social life, all contribute to our emotions and well being. I like to call these things “Primary Foods”. And because they all play a major roll in your overall health they will affect the way our brain continues to develop through out the years.  My father-in-law has been happily married for almost 60 years, he is very close to his children and grandchildren, he has been retired for over 20 years now and lives in NJ for 6 months to spend time with his family. The other 6 months he spends by the ocean enjoying peace and quite.He reads the newspaper every single day and is very well informed about the news around the world. He walks 1 hour a day. His BMI is about 18%, his height is 5’7” and his body weight is 130 pounds. He checks his blood pressure twice a day.  During my father-in-laws last physical, the doctor was stunned at my father-in-laws blood work. When reviewing the test results the Doctor thought he had mistaken my father-in-laws bloodworm for a 22 year olds blood work. His “numbers” such as sugar level, blood pressure, cholesterol, iron, to name a few, all were at a healthy standard level, especially for someone in their 80’s.

Knowing your “numbers” is crucial. Ask your doctor to run an annual blood test and go over the following with him or a Health Coach.

  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Blood Pressure
  • Fasting Blood Sugar or A1C
  • Vitamin D Level
  • DHEA
  • Ferritin
  • Thyroid
  • Lipid Panel
  • CBC
  • Chemistry Panel
  • Testosterone
  • Estrogen

Happiness or “Primary Food” as well as a nutritious diet “Secondary Food” play a major roll in a healthy brain. Not only is my father-in-laws healthy lifestyle a positive outcome and proof of a healthy brain but in 2013 AARP came out with an article on how to keep your brain healthy. This was very similar to my father-in-laws everyday habits. Here are a few of the tips they believe can work:

1. Exercise: Increasing exercise levels can reduce the risk of dementia by 30 to 40 percent, says Art Kramer, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Illinois. He says even other forms of dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease, can be decreased by working out because exercise appears to reverse the shrinking of the hippocampus.

2. Weight lift: Researchers at University of British Columbia at Vancouver says weight training and resistance training exercises appear to increase the growth of the IGF1 gene, which nourishes and protects nerve cells in the brain.

3. Learn new skills: Because learning spurs the growth of new brain cells, doctors believe learning new games or skills like internet surfing can help improve memory.

4. Decrease stress: Stress reducers such as meditation, prayer, relaxation, exercise, and even a vacation could reduce the stress hormone cortisol and reverse damage to your brain health, according to Harvard researchers.

5. Eat a heart-healthy diet: Foods like fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts and beans significantly reduced Alzheimer’s risk in studies conducted by Columbia University.

6. Spice up your food: Black pepper, cinnamon, oregano, basil, parsley, ginger and vanilla are high in antioxidants, which studies reveal can help build brainpower.

7. Pursue your purpose: A study by Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center revealed that people with clear focuses on personal or professional goals were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s for at least seven years.

8. Rev up your social life: A 15-year study of older people from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute shows a rich social life may protect against dementia by providing emotional and mental stimulation.

9. Reduce risk of other diseases: Researchers say diabetes, obesity and hypertension are sometimes associated with dementia, including a doubled risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in people with diabetes.

10. Get your vitamins: Nutrient deficiencies can affect brain vitality, according to Rush Medical, which found that older adults with vitamin B12 deficiencies had smaller brains and scored lowest on tests measuring thinking, reasoning and memory.

Through specific testing  Amen Clinics ,founded by Dr. Daniel Amen, can detect how much the brain has deteriorated. According to Dr. Amen, these are some issues that can accelerate brain aging:

  • Brain Injuries
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Poor Diets
  • Drugs
  • Toxins
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Caffeine/smoking
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Sleep Apnea

The Amen clinics, offers treatment in reversing the aging process of the brain. Dr. Amen also offers ways and teaches patients how to prevent and maintain a healthy brain. In line with Dr. Amens work, practicing the following exercises can decelerate brain aging:

  • Good Decision Making
  • Great Diets
  • Protecting the Brain
  • Clean Environment
  • Healthy weight
  • Healthy bloodworm numbers
  • 8 hours of sleep
  •  Gratitude/Meditation/Worship
  • Positive Peer Groups
  • New Learning
  • Wise Calorie Consumption
  • Omega 3’s
  • Green Tea
  • Exercise
  • Stress Management
  • Cleanse regularly

 

I hope you found this research helpful! If you have any questions or for further information on Life Coaching and to receive a FREE consultation and evaluation please visit www.healthcoachingpro.com

Sign up for my free cleanse cheat sheet to find out how + to get more updates from me!

Sincerely,

Abigail Pinheiro, Health Coach

Can incorporating Basic Breathing and Meditation techniques, into my daily routine, help me in my practice?

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Both Breathing and Meditation serve as a technique for relaxing the body and calming the mind. Most breathing and meditative techniques have come from Asian religious practices, particularly India, China, and Japan, but similar techniques can be found in many cultures around the world and go back to around 500 BC. Until recently, the primary purpose of meditation has been religious, although its health benefits have long been recognized in cultures where these methods originated.

Breathing and meditation began to gain popularity in the 60’s and 70’s when scientists, doctors and researchers began to study the benefits and effects of this technique. Dr. Herbert Benson was on of the first researchers to share the benefits at Harvard University publishing books such as “The Relaxation Response”.

In the 1970’s, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center by Professor Kabat-Zinn. Using a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and yoga for a wide variety of conditions including stress reduction.

Since then breathing and Meditation has gained popularity in managing stress, healing, coping and preventing certain disease and improving overall health.

Meditation is said to decrease stress, improve mental clarity and energy, and foster creativity.1  Some of the most successful innovators in history have
been dedicated meditators. Meditation is an excellent tool to incorporate into your daily routine, especially during times of distress. Whether you’re going through a breakup, handling a work challenge, or dealing with a physical illness, meditation can focus your internal lens and bring you greater clarity and peace.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to mitigate addiction, depression, anxiety, stress, cognitive function, and even eating disorders.2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Basic breathing and Meditation can be an excellent tool to incorporate into your daily routine to help you gain control of your practice.  The best time to do this is 5-10 minutes before the most stressful point and time in your day.

The Practice of Basic Breathing and Meditation is said to:

  • increase difficult decision making skills
  • oxygenate the flow of the blood to the brain to improve mental clarity, focus and concentration
  • achieve tasks from both sides of the brain
  • settle the mind
  • Immediately reduce/relief stress
  • relieve tension in the neck and shoulder area
  • calm the heart
  • relax the nervous system
  • activate the digestive system

The Practice of Basic Breathing and Meditation is also said to:

  • improve cell health
  • Balance hormone levels
  • reduce blood pressure

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Incorporating new tasks into your everyday routine, lifestyle and/or practice can be challenging and difficult. But starting slow, little by little and having a reason as to why you should incorporate this practice in the first place can help you stick to it with ease.

So how can you incorporate breathing and meditation and reap all the wonderful benefits?

  • Identify your why. Why do I want to practice breathing and meditation? How do I want it to make me feel? What do I want to get out of it? If you are clear on your goals and expectations of your practice, you’re more likely to see the benefits. Write it down in a place where you can be reminded by it everyday.
  • Start small. A few minutes of meditation can have a great impact on you. Start with a few minutes a day and work your way up to 10, maybe even 20 minutes if it suits you.
  • Mantra. Using sounds or repeated words or phases can guide you in a guided meditation and structure.  It can also prevent your mind from drifting or becoming distracted. Experiment deferent option to find out what works for you. Don’t limit yourself to what others are doing or what’s popular.
  • Join a group. If you enjoy the company of others, later on, down the road, you may consider a group breathing and meditation class. This may help you to feel more connected and engaged.
  • Stick to it. Establishing a routing is key to consistency.  Even if you practice 5-10 minutes everyday, its better than 30 minutes every other day.

How To breath and Meditate: If you are going to use the breathing and mediation technique in your office and/or before seeing a patient

  1. Sit on a chair with your feet to the ground and your hips parallel or higher than your knees.  You can also sit on the floor with your legs criss cross indian style.
  2. Make sure that your back is straight and not slouched.
  3. Your hands should be relaxed and laying flat with backside down and palm up.
  4. Close your eyes.

Proper positioning will help fill your lungs to the greatest capacity for maximum breathing and meditation benefits and relaxation. See the charts below.

Now you have all the tools you need and you are ready to get started on your new adventure. Remember, start small and be consistent. The point of the breathing and meditation technique is not to overwhelm you but to reduce stress and help you in your practice.

Abigail Pinheiro, Health Coach

For further information on Life Coaching and to receive a FREE consultation or evaluation visit www.healthcoachingpro.com

Test out each chart below and pick the one that you feel most comfortable with:pro_7201-3

 

About Me

apin-19-of-32As a Certified Life Coach, busy mother of 4 very energetic children, care giver to my bible teaching father, and wife of a traveling CEO, I often find myself listening to stories and answering questions from friends and family like, “Dear Abby, How Do You…?” As much as I enjoy answering questions from my advice-seeking friends and family, I was also Inspired as well as encouraged and intrigued to offer advice and receive recommendations from the rest of the world.

I have always been captivated by the many different stories people share about their life; happy, sad, negative and/or positive. When someone chooses to trust me with an issue in their life, being good or bad, I take it very serious. Most of these stories have made me very humble, yet strong…I have learned and grown a great deal in my own life.  Through inspiration, my heart has been tugged by a desire to answer questions, offer comfort, give advice and hear recommendations on whatever life may bring…Spirituality, Relationships, Health, Physical Fitness, Home Cooking, Education, Career, Finance, Home Environment, Creativity, Joy, Social Life

Another desire that has been tugging at my heart is to share my own challenges and defeats with Chronic Diseases, Metabolic Diseases, Eating Disorders and Obesity. I am not a medical professional so I CANNOT treat or prescribe medication. What I CAN do is teach people how to prevent diseases.

I can’t wait to read your Dear Abby online stories, questions, advice and recommendations. I’m looking forward to share my blessings with the world!

I received my Life Coaching Certification from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

You can visit my website for a FREE Health Coaching consultation. You can also request a FREE Cleanse Cheat Sheet at www.healthcoachingpro.com

Ideas to improve School Lunches

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1. Help raise your local school’s food IQ.
Consider ways you can spark the food revolution in your community. Make a list of three to five things you can do to help out at your local school. Remember: You may need to start small.

Here are a few examples to get you started:

• Offer a workshop on the healthiest options at fast-food restaurants near the school.

• Teach simple, kid-friendly recipes to students.

• Share fun and educational games for after-school programs.

2. Consider a program for kids or teens.

If you prefer power in numbers, seek out like-minded souls and join a school food advocacy group. Check out the Lunch Box Project, the Cookbook Project, the Edible Schoolyard Project, Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project, Jamie’s Ministry of Food, and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Apprentice Programme for inspiration. If there aren’t any advocacy groups in your area, form your own!

Many young people know little to nothing about nutrition and would benefit greatly from your knowledge. Spend 15 minutes brainstorming and researching how you can tailor a talk for a younger audience. Now think of three topics that would cater to them. Consider topics such as healthy snack choices or building a garden. Focus on motivating them to respect and take care of their bodies through lifestyle choices. Make it fun and engaging!

Information provided by Institute for Integrative Nutrition IIN

My Purpose

my-desk

My purpose is to answer your Dear Abby online questions about Life; Inspire Spirituality, Health, Physical Fitness, Relationships, Careers, Finances, Education, Home Cooking, Home Environment, Social Life, Creativity and Joy.

Unlike the original Dear Abby advise column that you find in the newspaper, my real name is Abigail aka Abby. My father choose my name carefully from the bible. See future “Abigail” blog coming soon.

I can’t wait to read your questions, requests, recommendations and even advice. Please note that your letters will be answered in a blog and referred to by the name given unless signed off as anonymous.

Don’t forget to request your FREE cleanse Cheat Sheet at http://www.healthcoachingpro.com

Obesity and School Lunches: Help Change School Lunches in your community

 

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Thousands of people all over the world are making an effort to put an end to the childhood obesity epidemic – starting with school lunches.

Here are some resources to get ideas on how you can help in your community.

*Information provided by Institute for Integrative Nutrition