Why Is Chicken Soup So Good For You?

Why is Chicken Soup So Good For You?

Photo Credit: Jules (flic.kr/p/bkMk7J)

Generations of parents have spooned chicken soup into their sick children. Now scientists have put chicken soup to the test, discovering that it does have effects that might help relieve cold and flu symptoms in two ways. First, it acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the movement of neutrophils — immune system cells that participate in the body’s inflammatory response. Second, it temporarily speeds up the movement of mucus, possibly helping relieve congestion and limiting the amount of time viruses are in contact with the nose lining.

The National Institute of Whole Health supports this integrative approach to nutrition. In addition to supporting the body, food has the ability to stimulate and aid healing. When it comes to chicken soup, the healing qualities come from the ingredients. Let’s break down the components to identify the source of the immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory agents in chicken soup.

Considering that chicken is one of the most popular ingredients in the stock used to prepare chicken soup, it makes sense to understand what exactly it is that chicken has to offer. Chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, a substance released when you make the soup. This amino acid is similar to the drug acetylcysteine, which is prescribed by doctors to patients with bronchitis due to its ability to breakdown proteins found in mucous that settles in the lungs.

Cysteine can be found in proteins throughout the body and when used as a supplement it is usually in the form is N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC). The cool part about this is, cysteine, whether taken in supplement form or not, converts to glutathione. Glutathione is a potent antioxidant, protecting fatty tissues from the damaging effects of free radicals. The antioxidant activity of glutathione is attributed specifically to the presence of cysteine in the compound.

In addition, glutathione also plays a vital role in the detoxification of harmful substances by the liver and can chelate (attach to) heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. It is also believed that glutathione carries nutrients to lymphocytes and phagocytes, important immune system cells.

Next, we have the carrots. Carrots, one of the routine vegetable ingredients found in chicken soup, are the best natural source of beta-carotene. The body takes that beta-carotene and converts it to vitamin A. Vitamin A helps prevent and fight off infections by enhancing the actions of white blood cells that destroy harmful bacteria and viruses.

In addition to their antioxidant and immune-enhancing activity, carotenoids have shown the ability to stimulate cell to cell communication. Researchers now believe that poor communication between cells may be one of the causes of the overgrowth of cells, a condition which eventually leads to cancer. By promoting proper communication between cells, carotenoids may play a role in cancer prevention.

Onions, another chicken soup regular, contain quercetin, another powerful anti-oxidant. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that is found naturally present in teas — both green and black — apples, onions, and beans. It offers many benefits including maintaining the health of collagen. which is responsible for the firmness and health of our skin. Quercetin also improves the health of capillary and connective tissue (alleviating bruising, edema, varicose veins, etc.).  Other benefits include its ability to inhibit histamine, acting as a natural anti-histamine in many bronchial related conditions, such as allergies and asthma. In addition, quercetin has been ascribed anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties. For individuals who live in high pollen count areas, quercetin is extremely advantageous as it limits allergic reactions due to pollen.

To top it off, stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken-down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

I could probably keep going but I will let you learn more by giving it a try. As any of you reading this probably would assume, it is best to use only organic, free range protein, organic veggies and filtered water to get the best results from your broth.

For more whole health discussions like this, listen to my weekly radio show Living Above The Drama available on iHeartRadio.

12 Steps For Handling Difficult Relationships During The Holidays

Avoiding Conflict During The Holidays By Georgianna Donadio of National Institute of Whole Health

Thanksgiving is just over a week away, and the December holidays are on the horizon. Some say: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Or is it? For many of us, the holiday visits back home to family members are something to be dreaded. While we look forward to the pleasure of celebrating these festive times, there is also the memory of past conflicts and the very real possibility of new confrontations that we find ourselves anxious to avoid. We can tell ourselves that this is the year we will not get stressed out or upset with visits to or from our families. This is what we strive for yet, most often, not how things turn out.

Difficult Family Dynamics

According to Dr. Jeffrey Fine, Ph.D., director of the American Foundation for Conscious Parenting, our families can be “a breeding ground for repressed resentments and hostilities left over from childhood.” We might anticipate that once we have grown up and moved away to create our own lives and families these feelings would diminish, but, as many of us experience, unfortunately they do not.

One potential solution to transforming the holidays from stressful to joyful is the application of identified communication skills that have been researched and shown to facilitate changing difficult relationships. Behavioral Engagement is a 12-step set of communication skills that has been the subject of hospital pilot studies over a 2-year period.

The outcomes of these pilots showed the participants experienced a significant improvement in their relational outlook and attitude after interacting with the communication skills model. Originally developed to enhance relationships between whole health oriented doctors, nurses and patients, the model was also applied and studied with business and family relationships.

James Prochaska, Ph.D., renowned researcher on behavior change and author of Change for Good — the Six Stages of Transtheoretical Change says of Behavioral Engagement: “The process of Behavioral Engagement has the potential to transform relationships that are suffering or struggling to ones that are thriving!”

Generally, one of the most recommended approaches to staving off holiday conflicts is to “try and accept family members or friends as they are.” Unfortunately, this good intention can be easily sidelined without specific communications skills that can help keep us on track.

Easy 12-Step Model

The 12-Step Model of Behavioral Engagement offers specific, easy-to-learn communication skills that have been proven effective in changing conflicted relationships into compatible relationships based on the understanding that we all want to be valued, respected and listened to. The steps are based on physical, psychological, hormonal and neurological aspects of human relationships and communication. They start with the understanding that while we cannot change others’ behavior we can change our own behavior in how we relate to others, which can result in a transformative outcome for all participants.

Handling Difficult relationships during the holidays by georgianna donadio of national institute of whole health

We can do so by using specific, simple communication skills and following the steps that have been shown to be effective in creating greater receptivity and generating more positive emotions in relationships that have previously been conflicted or stressful.

If you have experienced or are anticipating challenging relationships during the holidays, you may wish to apply these easy steps and see if they can assist you in having happier and even healthier holidays.

Step One: Be physically comfortable when communicating. This removes discomfort that can distract from the conversation. Distractions reduce your attention, focus on the person you are speaking with, and decrease the conversational rapport and receptivity.

Step Two: Understand what you want. Our intentions are powerful behavior motivators. Understanding what we want from an exchange or a relationship can assist us in communicating more clearly our thoughts and feelings, inviting greater understanding and intimacy. Example: “I really want to understand what you are upset about.”

Step Three: Centered body posture. Uncross arms and legs and present open, receptive body language. To send the message that you are respecting the conversation and giving the other person your fully attention, do not play with your watch, glasses, hair or continually look away from the person you are speaking with. Committing to being focused is an important element in communication and sends the message that you care. We can all feel when someone values being with or speaking to us.

Step Four : Sustained, soft eye contact has been shown to stimulate oxytocin, which opens emotional centers of the brain and enhances trust and feelings of love and intimacy.

Step Five : Respectful inquiry. Asking rather than telling or directing and using “I” statements rather than “you” statements creates a safe, non-judgmental environment for the other person to communicate openly.

Step Six: Responsiveness. Using appropriate responses, such as facial expressions, smiling, head nodding and so forth, indicates you are listening and understanding what the other is saying without interrupting or interjecting. This acknowledges the value you have for their communication.

Step Seven: Pauses between responses. Instead of immediately speaking as soon as the other person is finished, allowing for appropriate pauses when someone has shared a thought or feeling with you creates for them the experience that they are being respectfully listened to, and that you are truly present to them.

Step Eight: Non-judgment. By not allowing yourself to focus on your unspoken mental and emotional judgments you eliminate the unconscious communication that is sent through subtle and gross body language. Unconscious, non-verbal body language is something most of us pick up on and they can make or break the communication.

Step Nine: Leave the ego at the door. Eliminate the push-pull or power struggle of previous relationship interactions by letting go of taking control of the communication and allow for equity between you and the other individual.

Step Ten: Re-centering when you start to lose focus. Mentally repeating simple words you identify as prompts to get you back to the focus of the conversation is a quick and effective way to get yourself re-centered in the exchange. Example: “Back to focus” or “Get centered.”

Step Eleven: Collaborative mindset. Working toward having a win-win outcome eliminates conflict and improves the quality of the relationship in both the short term and the long term.

Step Twelve: Sacredness of relationship. Sacredness means “worthy of respect.” When we are aware of appropriate verbal and behavioral boundaries within our communications, we hold the other person in high esteem and create fulfilling, lasting relationships.

When dealing with family holiday conflicts it can be helpful for us to try simple, proven communications skills but also to reflect on the wisdom of the question: “Would you rather be loved than be right?” Often times when we elect love over being in control or being right relationships shift for the better.

For more whole health discussions like this, listen to my weekly radio show Living Above The Drama available on iHeartRadio.

Food For Comfort And Health

Food For Comfort, Food For Health National Institute of Whole Health Integrative Nutrition Tips for Nurses
The typical American diet exceeds the recommended levels of added sugars, refined grains, sodium and saturated fat, according to data collated by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Unfortunately, many of our favorite comfort foods – if we follow traditional recipes – can tip us over the edge in these categories. With some carefully chosen tweaks and substitutions, however, it is possible to enjoy our favorites without costing our health, helping to cultivate a healthy relationship with food as we journey towards a holistic lifestyle.

Perfect Pasta

Mac and cheese ranks highly as a popular comfort food. Traditional recipes, featuring refined pasta and high levels of fat and sodium, are a problem for those of us following a healthy eating plan, but luckily, there are ways around this. Whole wheat macaroni is the first substitution to make, ensuring you avoid the blood sugar spikes associated with white pastas. Cooked and pureed butternut squash combined with vegetable stock can be mixed into a roux, providing the base for a healthier cheese sauce. You can use less cheese by maximizing flavor in other ways: adding roasted garlic, for example, or paprika. Yogurt could be used in a more traditional cheese sauce, and vegetables can be added to increase the nutritional value of the meal. Any pasta dish can be given a healthy twist by using whole wheat noodles and increasing the vegetable content. Use herbs and spices for low-sodium flavor, and minimize your use of processed meat products.

Fried Favorites

Food For Comfort, Food For Health by the National Institute of Whole HealthSome of our most-loved comfort foods tend to be fried, but banishing the fryer doesn’t mean we have to lose out. The way in which we heat up our food is heavily linked to its nutrition, but it’s absolutely possible to put a healthy spin on fried chicken without losing flavor: combine breading ingredients with paprika, cayenne pepper and garlic powder and bake chicken pieces for a deliciously crispy – and healthy – meal. Fish can also be breaded and baked, which is much better for us (but no less tasty) than battering and frying it. Remember that many of the bases for unhealthy foods are actually natural whole foods: if we treat them correctly, they can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle. Potatoes themselves aren’t bad for us… but what we do to them can be. Fresh potatoes in place of frozen fries can be tossed in olive oil and a small amount of salt to produce a healthier french fry alternative.

Safer Sweets

If we want to stay on track, it’s important not to deny ourselves the occasional treat. However, there are things you can do to make those sweet treats healthier if you want to enjoy them more regularly. To cut down on refined sugars in cookies and cakes, consider substituting them with maple syrup, honey or coconut sugar. Replace half the white flour with wholemeal if you’re baking a fruit pie, and ask yourself if you really need to add sugar to the fruit. Again, desserts that are traditionally fried can be baked – a donut is still a donut when it’s hot from the oven. Even cheesecakes can be made healthier with some careful use of yogurt or coconut milk.

A whole health approach to eating isn’t simply about eating more vegetables. Food should bring us joy, and finding healthy takes on our favorite comfort foods is way to incorporate good nutrition into our diets without denying ourselves the pleasures of a treat.

For more whole health discussions like this, listen to my weekly radio show Living Above The Drama available on iHeartRadio.


Author Credit: Allie Oliver

Every Breath You Take:
How Breathing Affects Whole Health

Every Breath You Take Whole Health Living

Most of us take our breathing for granted. We generally do not think about how our amazing brain automatically regulates the most urgent and important bodily function we have. If we do not breathe we do not live beyond a few short minutes. The ability to breathe and the quality of our breathing clearly has an important impact on our ability to live, but also expresses a great deal of information about the state of our nervous system and emotional health.

Breathing is such a critical function that in addition to being under the automatic control of our brain stem it is also a physical function we can control at will. We know that our breathing is affected by and directly affects our emotional states, exertion levels, nervous system fluctuations and overall whole health.

The affects of emotion on the respiratory system can readily been seen during an asthma attack, which can be very frightening and further reduces the individual’s ability to “catch their breath”. Many of us do not breathe freely. We are breathing freely when we breathe in and out through the muscles of our bellies. We tend to breathe through the chest muscles because we are tense and “holding our breath,” which starves our cells of energizing oxygen.

Deep breathing or relaxed breathing exercises can make an enormous difference in our health and vitality. By changing our breathing from shallow to deep,  we can experience many whole health benefits:

Every Breath You Take: Whole Health Living

> Breathing deeply rather than shallowly creates detoxification within our cells, bringing oxygen rich blood into our cells and cleansing out carbon dioxide.

> Breathing deeply into our bellies rather than our chest muscles produces a greater sense of calm and relaxation brought about through the increase of oxygen to the nervous system.

> This form of cleansing, nourishing breathing is conducive to whole body health and brings about a sense of inner peace.

> Deep breathing can help you sleep better and also feel more energetic because of the increase of oxygen to the brain

This is a great subject to review in your patient education. If you would like to re-train your breathing so that you derive the most benefit each day from this life-sustaining, automatic body function – start slowing. Take just five minutes twice a day to sit quietly in your chair with eyes closed, body relaxed. Allow yourself to focus on your breath. Rather than tensing your shoulders and back muscles, let your breathing rise and fall from your belly muscles. Slow, relaxed breathing for five minutes each day, twice a day, can re-train your automatic breathing patterns and help you to feel better, sleep better and be healthier and more energetic.

Join the conversation. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to follow NIWH on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates filled with useful accredited health program information for holistic nurses and health coaches.




Food and Mood Are Intimately Connected: A Whole Health Perspective

Food and Mood by Dr. Georgianna Donadio of The National Institute of Whole Health

After completing an interview for a national magazine on “Food and Mood” I was reminded about how intimately our mood and our food are connected– a topic explored more deeply in our Accredited Whole Health and Wellness Nutrition program. The magazine article was about “what foods help our moods.” But maybe the larger question is: “What do our moods have to do with what we eat?”

It’s interesting that the emphasis is usually on how things from outside of us affect our inside. In reality so much of what is going on inside of us affects our outsides. This is really evident in terms of weight loss and weight gain. The way we feel about ourselves, work, life, and whether we are fulfilled or dissatisfied has more to do with what or how much we choose to eat, than eating a food has to do with how it “makes us feel.” In Whole Health, everything affects everything.

One of the reasons diets don’t work is because the “work” is being done on the outside of the problem instead of the inside. I have been a nutritionist for over 30 years and have seen tens of thousands of patients who want to change the way they look or the way they eat. When we start to “work” on the goal, within a relatively short period of time, they become aware that there are underlying feelings and emotions associated with not eating foods that help them to “medicate” or mask their feelings.

They often become discouraged because the feelings are uncomfortable and sometimes painful. It is human to avoid pain and move towards pleasure. It takes courage to truly tackle and confront the underlying issues of food and mood, focusing on the inside of the problem, instead of the outside.

Here is an exercise you may find some value in. If you are dealing with mood or food issues, keep a journal for 10 days. Write down everything you eat. Include how you feel when you don’t eat what you want and how you feel when you do eat what you want.

Just becoming more aware of what you are putting in your mouth and how it translates to how you feel after you eat can be the start of a healthier and happier relationship with food and mood. This is just one of many benefits associated with taking a whole health approach.

Food and Mood Are Intimately Connected: A Whole Health Perspective

For more whole health discussions like this, listen to my weekly radio show Living Above The Drama available on iHeartRadio.

Are You Consuming Too Much Sodium?

Are You Consuming Too Much Sodium? Here's What The Experts Say.

Sodium is a naturally occurring, essential mineral that helps regulate body fluids and kidney function. Of concern to many is the fact that high doses can cause hypertension, kidney damage, and decrease of calcium absorption. It can cause bloating, fatigue and increase your risk for strokes and heart disease.

The Right Nutritional Value

The recommended daily intake of sodium is 2,300 mg per day. A low sodium diet is considered between 400 – 1000 mg a day. A normal sodium diet is considered between 1500 – 2,300 per day, and a high sodium diet between 2,500 and 4,000 mg per day. The average American diet contains over 3,500 mg per day, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control. Experts agree that damage of high sodium accumulates and can have a long term, life threatening effect.

Even those of us who think we are eating well and are careful about our food choices, may not realize how much sodium is lurking in our foods. Processed, canned, jarred and frozen foods have high levels of sodium, as do most restaurant prepared meals and certainly “fast foods” where sodium and flavor enhancers are added for taste and texture.

Few of us realize that foods we eat every day are loaded with sodium. In considering the examples below, it becomes clear that, once again, the best foods to eat are fresh and unprocessed, which not only contains more nutrients, but contains much less sodium.

High Sodium Foods To Avoid:

> One cup of cocoa has 950 mg of sodium.
> A chicken fillet sandwich has 940 mg of sodium.
> Tomato ketchup has 1042 mg.
> Parmesan cheese contains 1862 mg.
> Processed cheese has 1189 mg.

The list goes on. The more processed the food, the more likely it is to contain high sodium levels. On the other hand, Fresh fish, fruits, nuts, eggs, beans, meats and vegetables have low levels of sodium.

For more whole health discussions like this, listen to my weekly radio show Living Above The Drama available on iHeartRadio.

Parents Model Behavior and Self-Esteem

Lessons In Whole Health: Behavior and Self-Esteem

One day I noticed my daughter was watching a reality television show about high school students. The lack of respect that many of them showed towards other students was stunning. What was even more disconcerting was their lack of awareness that the people they were taunting and verbally abusing had the same range of feeling they did; wanted to be accepted and valued as they did; and wanted to belong within their peer groups, just like they did.

The main theme of the program was having a facilitator come into the school and educate the verbally abusive students on the basics of how to have appropriate relationships. It was portrayed that these young people had never seen respect or compassion modeled for them at home. They were not “aware” that other students, young people like themselves, had essentially the same need to belong and the same feelings and desires that they did.

My daughter commented that it was obvious that these insensitive high school students were suffering from low self-esteem to be treating other people that way. This started a conversation about “where do we develop healthy self-esteem from” and why do some people develop it easily and others not at all.

Self-esteem is so intimately connected to whole health and how we treat ourselves; which is also connected to how we treat others. The role of a patient advocate is to instruct a patient on “how to be in the world” and to provide the training, if you will, to have the skills, tools and awareness to develop a strong sense of self and self esteem.

“Roots and wings” was the expression many years ago, which refers to the stability, discipline and security that allows us to go out into the world and have the confidence in ourselves to “spread our wings” and fly.

As parents we have the profound responsibility of modeling to our children what they need to learn to be both healthy and happy. Children learn with their eyes, their ears, and their hearts. It really does not matter what we say to our children, or what we say to others, it is what we do that counts. When we take the easy way out as parents and do not provide our children with a strong example and foundation of learning responsibility, integrity and how to respect others, we fail them and we hurt them.

To educate our children to be healthy and happy we must advocate the number one rule of liking themselves, which leads to liking others: When our behavior is congruent with our values, with what we know intellectually and intuitively is right and good, we like ourselves. When our behavior goes against our values and what we know is the right way to behave, we have low self-esteem. We don’t like ourselves when we behave in a way that directly or indirectly hurts ourselves and others.

I remember talking one time with one of my children who was complaining that they “didn’t like themselves.”

I asked them an appreciative inquiry question: “Do you think that feeling might come from something you know about yourself that the rest of us don’t?” Several days later he shared with me that it “was one of the best questions anyone had ever asked him” and that it helped him to stop doing something that he felt really bad about doing.

This is a question to ask ourselves and to model to our children, who learn more from our non-verbal communication than anything we might “tell” them about how to live a happy life and support their own whole person health.

For more whole health discussions, listen to Dr. Georgianna Donadio’s radio show Living Above The Drama.

Doctors Taking Control of Healthcare

Doctors Taking Back Control Of Healthcare

For those us of old enough to remember Marcus Welby, MD and Dr. Kildare, the beloved TV docs we grew up with, we also remember a time when physicians ran healthcare. They set policy, budgets, insurance coverage guidelines and pretty much, back then, “everything healthcare” was directed by the doctors.

The insurance carriers, growing tired of paying for unnecessary surgery, warned the physician groups who ran the show that if they did not clean up the medical abuses taking place, the insurance industry would take away their decision making by enforced second opinions and limit paying for procedures that were being unnecessarily performed. Back in the 1970’s, there were millions of hysterectomies. Of these, 66% were deemed “unnecessary” by what has become the Medical Review Board watchdog.

Now in the U.K., to quote an article from English.news.cn, “The new British coalition government revealed on Friday that it planned to put doctors in charge of funding for frontline services in England’s National Health Service (NHS), in a change hailed as the biggest in 60 years.”

This is big! If this were to be enacted in the U.S., we could see a return of physician driven healthcare that is provided, determined and distributed by the same medical type of physician groups that were unable to police themselves a mere 30 years after the establishment of the American Medical Association and the mainstreaming of the pharmaceutical industry.

Granted, we have in place excellent watchdogs peer review boards and medical review requirements, but this works because of the lack of conflict of interest with the way these structures have been put in place.

The healthcare reform bill has yet to flex its muscles and most of us feel pretty much in the dark about what we can expect. No surprise since an overwhelming majority of politicos who voted on the bill had little to no idea what the bill contained!

The issues we see with today’s healthcare delivery simply reinforce the Whole Health vision of taking control of your body, preventing disease with common sense health hygiene and limiting the use of acute care medicine we as Americans are blessed to have available to us. Every day the news contains articles identifying the long-term use of even over the counter medications and caution us to realize we cannot repeatedly put these chemicals into our bodies and not experience consequences.

Chronic disease, which is the bulk of what is treated in healthcare today, is preventable and cost effective. Let’s create our own healthcare reform with self-directed whole person care – that means taking care of ourselves with consideration to all 5 aspects of health. In advocating this type of care through patient education, we all move toward living well and living long.

For more whole health discussions, listen to Dr. Georgianna Donadio’s radio show Living Above The Drama.

Becoming You – Developing Self-Esteem

Becoming You – Developing Self-Esteem

The Merriam Webster definition of self esteem is a confidence and satisfaction in oneself; self respect.” Self-esteem and self-respect are two important aspects of whole person care at any age. During the years of adolescence, however, personal and social differentiation is at an all time high, with peers playing a significant role in how our self-esteem expresses itself. As you are probably very well aware, your self-esteem is especially a front and center issue from middle school through high school.

According to Marilyn J. Sorensen, PhD, author of numerous books on self-esteem, our self-esteem is formed in childhood, when we develop an initial conscious and unconscious impression of ourselves. What we hear said about ourselves has a lasting impact on the messages our brain records as being our worth or our value in the world. It is these messages or neurological records that get “triggered’ when our peers either respond positively or negatively to us.

During the adolescent years, as you are physically developing and becoming young women and men, your appearance and how others respond to you can certainly become important. Other peer related issues such as belonging or being part of a particular group or activity are, as well.

It may surprise you that current statistics show seven in ten females believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members. And for males, the statistics over the past 25 years have gone from 15% dissatisfaction to 45% dissatisfaction regarding how they feel about their physical appearance.

The developing and confusing years of adolescence are filled with exploring and identifying what you think of yourself or what social direction you may wish to go in. It is also a time that you can begin to know yourself outside your family environment and develop who you are in a more meaningful and realistic way. This means sorting through the many reflections of “who and how you are” in relationship to the large world around you.

It is during this time, no matter what kind of earlier conditioning you have received, that you can take control over your self-esteem and self-respect. I would like to share with you a story about one of my children. She has happily given permission for me to share this with you because she feels it is an important story to tell.

At the age of 15, my daughter was very unhappy and struggling with feeling badly about herself. That whole year for her was filled with tears and poor grades. One day, we took a walk and talked about what she was experiencing. She said many times during that conversation, “I hate myself. I don’t want to be me.” I gently asked her why and she said that she “she didn’t think she was a good enough person because of the problems she was having with her peers.”

Not wanting to pry, I did not ask for details and she did not offer them. Rather, I shared something with her I learned about whole health and self-esteem when I was much older than her 15 years of age. I shared with that what is important, at any time in our life for us to feel good about our self, is that when we behavior in a way towards ourselves and others that is in agreement, or congruent, with our personal values – we feel good about who we are. Bottom line: No matter what anyone else says or does towards us, when we act in concert with our personal values, we feel good. Our perception and expression of ourselves can largely impact our whole health, which is far more important than what others think. We many not like the way others treat us or how they hurt our feelings, but our self–esteem and self-respect are high.

When we do not act in agreement, or congruently, with our personal values and inner beliefs of right and wrong, then we feel badly about ourselves; no matter what positive or flattering things someone else may say about us. Self-esteem and self-respect, like beauty, start from the inside out. No one can make us feel badly about ourselves when we know, and are confident, that our behavior towards ourselves and others is from a place of our values and of respect.

If you are working through this natural adolescent sorting process, reflecting on this information may assist you in changing how you feel about yourself, how your treat yourself and how you create relationships with others. My daughter, who is now in college, told me our walk together that day was the most important thing she has ever earned about how to feel good about herself. I hope it is helpful for you as well.

References & Resources:


For more whole health discussions, listen to Dr. Georgianna Donadio’s radio show Living Above The Drama.


Calcium May Help You Burn More Fat

calcium and weightloss article by dr georgianna donadio

Information from the Nutrition Institute of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, appears to confirm the “rumor” that calcium-rich diets result in lower body fat. According to a recent study in mice conducted at the University, a diet that includes low-fat dairy products and calcium supplementation can result in significant weight loss through the burning rather than the storing of fat. This is a result of the role that stored calcium plays in the breakdown and burning of fat inside our body’s cells.

The Science Behind Calcium and Weightloss

Here is an excerpt from an article on the study, written by Jeanie Larche Davis:

“The researchers used mice bred to be obese in their current study. The mice were fed a special high-fat, high-sugar diet for six weeks. All had a 27% increase in body fat.

Some were then switched to a calorie-restricted diet. Of those, one group was given calcium supplements (calcium carbonate similar to Tums) and others were fed “medium” and “high” amounts of low-fat dry milk.

Body fat storage was markedly reduced by all three high-calcium diets, say the authors.
Those given calcium supplements had good results, when combined with the restricted-calorie diet.

Mice getting their calcium via supplements had a 42% decrease in body fat, whereas mice eating without supplements had an 8% body fat loss.”

Exploring Why It Works 

This was of great interest to me, and it felt important to share. Over the past 10 years, I have observed that during any period of time when I have consistently taken calcium supplementation, in the form of powdered calcium/magnesium, my body weight has definitely decreased.

Within a month or so of not taking the calcium/magnesium powder, the weight starts to creep back on. This article helps to answer the question of why. Thyroxine, secreted by the thyroid, is a critical hormone in intracellular metabolism. Thyroxine also has a significant impact on intracellular metabolism and on the utilization of calcium.

Having a calcium rich diet allows the thyroxin that is necessary for cellular metabolism to be more efficient in utilizing the fat stored in our cells for energy! That is why high calcium diets facilitate weight loss.

Armed with that information we can enjoy eating our spinach, kale and sardines, knowing they are working away to keep our body fat burning.

For more whole health discussions, listen to Dr. Georgianna Donadio’s radio show Living Above The Drama.