The Dangers of Eating Late
Sep21

The Dangers of Eating Late

ACID REFLUX is an epidemic affecting as many as 40 percent of Americans. In addition to heartburn and indigestion, reflux symptoms may include postnasal drip, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, chronic throat clearing, coughing and asthma. Taken together, sales of prescribed and over-the-counter anti-reflux medications exceed $13 billion per year. The number of people with acid reflux has grown significantly in recent decades. Reflux can lead to esophageal cancer, which has increased by about 500 percent since the 1970s. And anti-reflux medication alone does not appear to control reflux disease. A Danish study published this yearconcluded that there were no cancer-protective effects from using the common anti-reflux medications, called proton pump inhibitors, and that regular long-term use was actually associated with an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer. What is responsible for these disturbing developments? The answer is our poor diet, with its huge increases in the consumption of sugar, soft drinks, fat and processed foods. But there is another important variable that has been underappreciated and overlooked: our dinnertime. I specialize in the diagnosis and management of acid reflux, especially airway reflux, which affects the throat, sinuses and lungs. Airway reflux is often “silent,” occurring without telltale digestive symptoms, like heartburn and indigestion. Most of the tens of thousands of reflux patients that I have seen over the last 35 years are well today because I treat reflux by modifying my patients’ diets and lifestyles. Over the past two decades, I’ve noticed that the time of the evening meal has been trending later and later among my patients. The after-work meal — already later because of longer work hours — is often further delayed by activities such as shopping and exercise. Typical was the restaurateur who came to see me with symptoms of postnasal drip, sinus disease, hoarseness, heartburn and a chronic cough. He reported that he always left his restaurant at 11 p.m., and after arriving home would eat dinner and then go to bed. There was no medical treatment for this patient, no pills or even surgery to fix his condition. The drugs we are using to treat reflux don’t always work, and even when they do, they can have dangerous side effects. My patient’s reflux was a lifestyle problem. I told him he had to eat dinner before 7 p.m., and not eat at all after work. Within six weeks, his reflux was gone. In my experience, the single most important intervention is to eliminate late eating, which in the United States is often combined with portions of large, over-processed, fatty food. Europeans have fewer cases of reflux than we do, even though many of them eat...

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It Doesn’t Make Sense!
Sep14

It Doesn’t Make Sense!

There are a lot of times when life doesn’t seem to make sense. Like when we put in a good effort, but don’t get the reward we were hoping for. Or when your parents ask you to do something that seems completely insane when you’re in the middle of something really, really important. In the Bible, God often asked his people to do things that just don’t seem to make sense. Here are a couple of mind-bending examples: In the desert, God first asked the Israelites to give him the first and the best of their crops and herds. If you’re a farmer, this DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. Farmers want to keep the best genetic specimens to make sure the next herds are just as good! God sent the huge numbers of Israelites out of Egypt (river plains, fertile, lots of food) into the desert (not much water, v. little food). This DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. Where are you going to find enough food and water out there for hundreds of thousands of people all at once? When he was going to conquer the oppressing army, God told Gideon to send home almost all of his own men. This DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. Why would you attack an opposing force of tens of thousands of men with only 300 soldiers? When King Saul did the dodgy and failed in his kingly role, God sent Samuel to look for a new king. He chose the smallest, youngest, not-even-thought-of-by-his-father-Jesse for the position. This DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. People want to follow the strongest, most physically impressive warrior kings, don’t they? When the Israelites were in exile and going to be in trouble, it was up to the young winner of a beauty pageant named Esther to save everyone. This DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. Women in the king’s harem were powerless. Almost prisoners. How could a trapped woman do anything to save anyone? The more you read the Bible, the more you see of these events that don’t seem to make logical sense – from a human perspective, anyway. But here’s the kicker: that’s the whole point. God’s commands don’t always make sense See, when everything makes sense, we have a habit of trying to take the credit. So over and over, God put his people into situations where there was only one possible thing they could do: they had to trust him. Of course it makes no sense to give the best animal genetics to God. But he wanted his people to to put their future in His hands. Of course there’s no water or food in the desert. But God wanted his people to depend...

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Change Your Life With Your Thoughts
Sep11

Change Your Life With Your Thoughts

The longer I live the more I realize how strong a connection exists between our thoughts and our words. I honestly believe that this connection is one of the most important things we can learn in our lives. So many people’s problems are rooted in their way of thinking, which can actually produce a lot of the problems they experience. How does that happen? Well, a negative mind produces negative words and, consequently, a negative life. Our words can actually become traps that cause us to continue our cycle of negative thoughts and actions. Yes, we’re all tempted to speak negatively, but we don’t have to give in to that temptation. To turn our words around, we need to start thinking about what we’re thinking about, and then make some real changes. Let me show you how. The Trap of Negative Thinking Because I allowed many years of negative thinking and speaking in my life, I became an extremely negative, sour person. My philosophy became “if you don’t expect anything good to happen, then you won’t be disappointed when it doesn’t.” Have you ever felt that way? Because I had encountered so many disappointments, I was afraid to believe that anything good could happen to me. I had developed a terribly negative outlook on everything. If I had continued to believe those lies about never getting over my past, I never would’ve gotten over my past. New Thoughts, New Possibilities With God’s help I am continually reminded that my past doesn’t have to control my future. I don’t need God’s help in my life to give up; I need His help to keep going! I now know how important it is for me to understand the fact that my life would not have gotten straightened out until my mouth did… And since the two are linked, my mouth wasn’t going to get straightened out until my mind did. Changing your words and thoughts is definitely not an easy thing to do, but with God’s help all things are possible. Be Patient with Yourself We have to choose to think and speak positively. It doesn’t come naturally—and it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it takes a lot of practice. There will be days when you have setbacks, but just get back up, dust yourself off, and start again. When a baby is learning to walk, he falls many, many times before he gains the confidence to walk. Failing from time to time—which you will do—doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It simply means that you don’t do everything right all the time. Well, neither does anyone else. If you’ve been consumed with negative thinking and speaking,...

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Forgiveness: Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness
Sep01

Forgiveness: Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward. Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Perhaps your mother criticized your parenting skills, your colleague sabotaged a project or your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance — but if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. What is forgiveness? Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life. What are the benefits of forgiving someone? Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to: Healthier relationships Greater spiritual and psychological well-being Less anxiety, stress and hostility Lower blood pressure Fewer symptoms of depression Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse Why is it so easy to hold a grudge? When you’re hurt by someone you love and trust, you might become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. What are the effects of holding a grudge? If you’re unforgiving, you might pay the price repeatedly by bringing anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Your life might become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present. You might become depressed or anxious. You might feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you’re at odds with your spiritual beliefs. You might lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others. How do I reach a state of forgiveness? Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. To begin, you...

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3 Steps to Turn Your Failure Into A Success
Aug27

3 Steps to Turn Your Failure Into A Success

“Life is a process of becoming. A combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” ~Anais Nin I’ve always been an optimist, looking for the good in situations, even when they seem like the bleakest thing that could happen to me or the people around me. But failure is a difficult one to turn on its ear. You know when you don’t reach your goal. You know when you don’t get what you wanted. Now I know the Rolling Stones sang “You can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” And you know what? Those lines never sat well with me—to just sit and accept it. So, even though I know there are reasons I didn’t make it big as a recording artist—and that my Pilates business didn’t fulfill me, and that I’ve experienced the sting of working at companies that decided to shut down—I have always refused to simply shrug my shoulders and say, “Oh well!” I decided to find a new way to handle failure and to not only look at in a more optimistic way, but also find within it clues for my next move. Here’s what I discovered. Failure is a step toward your ultimate success.  It’s a lesson.  A challenge. A chance. When I struggled with my Pilates business, for example, I realized I needed to ascertain where the bulk of my money was coming from and then do more of that. So I made a plan and moved forward. I started doing more of what I loved and what was bringing in income, and less of what wasn’t. If you’re also dealing with failure, I recommend these three steps to turn it into success: 1. Reframe. Try to look at the situation from different angles. You might ask your friends or family members to give you their honest feedback. Don’t just look for the type of support that will feed your ego; seek out perspectives from people who may not have been supportive during the process. The important part of this step is to listen, take in the information, and then synthesize everything you know of your failure into a complete picture of what happened and why. Try not to react emotionally to anything you discover or that people express to you. 2. Revise. While you’re gaining a new perspective, be open to ideas for moving forward. People might offer them without you asking. Be prepared for that. Allow them to...

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