Cissy Brady-Rogers
Cissy Brady-Rogers Cissy Brady-Rogers Cissy Brady-Rogers

Tag: health

How to Hold it Together When Your World Feels Like it is Falling Apart – Thursday, October 23rd 4 p.m.

Join me at the Cancer Support Community of Pasadena next week to explore the powerful opportunities unleashed amidst the crisis state evoked by cancer.

My breast cancer diagnosis and treatment 22 years ago lead me on a journey I didn’t choose or want, but has shaped my personal and professional life ever since. What began to emerge in my recovery process was the new way of being in my body and life that I now pass on to others. Cancer is just one of the many challenges we will all face if we are blessed to live long enough to face a major life crisis.

We will look at how cancer diagnosis and treatment can send many areas of life spiraling out of control, including family, friendships, work & professional life, overall  health and well-being, lifestyle choices, physical intimacy, as well as religion and spirituality.  Discuss how challenges to core belief systems and values can rock your world during and after a cancer journey. Learn mindful awareness tools to help you recover your stability amidst the crisis of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

To register contact the Cancer Support Community of Pasadena: 626-796-1083.

My mind-body mentor Joan Borysenko’s new book, The PlantPlus Diet Solution, is a compendium of relevant and accessible food science and health psychology. Full of practical tips and recipes it’s an exceptional resource in the self-help diet book genre. The personalized nutrition guidelines she presents aren’t for those who want a quick or easy solution to weight or health issues. But that is exactly what makes it a valuable resource for those seeking a sustainable, enjoyable and life-giving way to eat! Unlike most diet books, The PlantPlus Diet Solution doesn’t tell you what to eat, but gives you facts, guidelines and resources for listening to the wisdom of your own body and becoming your own expert as to what will best serve your overall health and well-being.

eat in alignment with your body

I’ve learned through twenty-five years of work with clients struggling with food and weight that, as Dr. Joan demonstrates through research and examples from her own personalized nutrition experiments, “there is no one-size-fits-all diet.” The key to finding the “right” combination of food for your body is through paying attention to the impact different foods have on your physical and mental health. Joan does an exquisite job providing simple tools that empower readers to become experts on their own unique biological blueprint for metabolism and optimal energy efficiency.

I especially appreciated her clear explanation about the role insulin efficiency plays in metabolism of carbohydrates–and some people’s remarkable capacity to store excess calories as fat. She identifies three types of bodies: 1.) insulin efficient people who can eat all the carbohydrates they want and never experience negative weight or health consequences; 2.) insulin resistant people whose bodies react negatively to diets high in carbohydrates; 3.) and the rest who fall somewhere in-between. Knowing where you fall on the continuum can be an important part of finding a way of eating that works best for your body.

Knowledge is power. Joan provides information to help readers make informed choices about nutrition as well as tools to increase self-knowledge. Best of all, she does so with authenticity and wisdom born from several years of “diet sleuthing” as she looked for solutions to her own nutrition related health challenges. Her personal examples, humor and lighthearted way of writing makes the science digestible for those of us who haven’t taken a hard science course since high school!

For Southern California locals, Joan will be in Pasadena presenting on her new book on October 25th at the I Can Do It! conference. I’ll be there and would love to see some of you there too.

As long as any boy or girl’s development of a solid sense of identity is limited by gender stereotypes, then we’ve still got a long way to go as a culture.

Last week was the 42nd anniversary of the passing of Title IX — the 1972 law that prevents sexual discrimination in higher education. In 1972 only 300,00 girls were involved in high school sports. Today that number is over 3 million.

In 1972 I was 10 years old and didn’t yet know how unjust the world was for females. I grew up with an attorney mother, a pretty forward thinking father, and a world where women were doctors and lawyers.  My great aunt Eileen Chambers, whom my mom and I visited each week at her nursing care residence, had been a doctor in her younger years. In addition, several of my mom’s best female friends were attorneys and my pediatrician was also a woman. In my idealized world a woman could be anything but a priest!

As a little girl I didn’t know that it wasn’t culturally acceptable for girls to play sports or dress in “boys” clothes. Unaware of gender stereotypes, I played “boy games” with my brothers and dressed how I wanted unless we were going to church or somewhere special. With two older brothers whom I adored and wanted to emulate, I loved being included in their rough and tumble games and wearing their hand-me-downs!

Then came school years when the gender rules became more clear
. But, I still played kickball with the boys while most of my female classmates played other games…although for the life of me I couldn’t tell you what. I was too busy enjoying myself to even notice what they were doing.

Thankfully, due to Title IX, throughout my school years I had equal access to after-school sports and organized team play. I wasn’t the greatest athlete, but I loved to play basketball, kickball and softball. In 4th grade I could kick the ball farther than most of my male classmates! Later on in junior high and high school I even played volleyball–the least favorite of my team sports. But I played because I loved the activity and the camaraderie of working with others and friendly competition.

The  “Always #LikeAGirl” video reminds me to be grateful I grew up in a gender neutral, supportive home where I was allowed to be me. None of my brothers or boy friends ever accused me of running, throwing or playing like girl. I don’t remember when I first heard that derogatory comment, but I’m pretty sure it was hurled at a boy by another boy on the elementary school playground.

Our task as supportive adults is to empower kids to be themselves, whatever that looks like. Rigid gender stereotypes don’t just harm girls, boys are equally victimized by cultural message about “being a man.”

Last month I posted a blog inspired by India Arie’s song “Just Do You.” Her’s is an important message in a world where binary definitions of gender limit authenticity and emotionally damage kids just trying to figure out who they are in a complex world.

Last month I met filmmaker James Colquhoun at a screening of his film Hungry for Change. This month I’m excited to tell you about his recently launched FoodMatters.tv – a website devoted to bringing the best information about food and health together in one place. They are on a mission to educate and inspire us to remember the wisdom of Hippocrates: food is medicine. In their vernacular: You are what you eat!

James and his wife Laurentine share my vision of individual responsibility for good health. “We believe that your body is worthy of good care and that no one is more suitably qualified to care for it than yourself.”  Amen!

Inspired by the healing of his dad’s chronic disease through eliminating a boatload of medications and introducing a plant-based diet, James and Laurentine are the real thing. I’m delighted to benefit from and support their efforts to help each of us become our own best advocates for good health.

What’s your vision? And what are you willing to invest to get there?

How about 37 years and over one million dollars of your own money?

That’s what Dillion Griffith has invested to build his 64-foot fishing boat in the backyard of his home in Sun Valley. “The Mystic Rose” was just a vision back in the 1970’s when he began to dream his boat into being. But, like many of us (myself included) he didn’t stop with a vision. He hired a ship designer to draw up plans, moved his family, traveled to Montreal to purchase materials, tore out and rebuilt parts of the ship, and navigated many obstacles to fulfill his dream. He had a vision, but he also created a plan and invested resources in getting there.

This August or September he plans to launch his 40 ton boat in Oxnard – at a cost of another $50,000 just to haul it to the sea!

Perseverance, faithfulness and determination are hallmarks of those who dream great dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true.

Seven years ago I began investing my resources toward building a world where women love and enjoy being in our bodies, just the way we are on any given day. That doesn’t mean we don’t have goals, seek to change what we can, or work toward being healthier, more vibrant and radiant. But it does mean we stop criticizing ourselves and change our relationship to our bodies. Or, as a reader commented on a recent blog, at least “stop saying mean things about myself.”

I thought I’d be further along by now. Some days I get discouraged and think about giving up. But when I read Dillion’s story I imagined that 7 years into his boat plan he probably felt like quitting too.

What’s your vision of a healthier, more vibrant, energized you? What’s your plan for getting there? What are you ready to invest?

Health coaching is a resource to support you in fulfilling your dreams–for health of body, mind and spirit. You may want to focus on specific health behaviors like eating or exercise or you may want to reduce stress by changing your job or increase your contentment by creating more beauty in your home. The Wheel of Health provides an overview of the potential topics you might work on to support your vision of a life you love.

Visioning, planning, supporting you with Duke Integrative Medicine's Wheel of Health

I’d love to help you identify your vision and create a plan for getting there. Contact me to set up a no-fee phone consultation about how health coaching can help you build your ship!

This morning at the end of our strength training workout at Fitness Revolution Pasadena, we took several minutes to just lay and our backs and breath deeply into our diaphragms. Our trainer Joseph says it’s a great way to release the muscles of the spine and prevent back pain. Then we took 5 minutes to stretch. It felt so good to lengthen and soften into the stretches.

As we stretched, I flashed back to Tuesday’s workout when we didn’t have time to stretch. I missed those five minutes a lot. And, my stiff low back and hips later in the day reminded me of the importance of lengthening and softening my muscles at the end of a workout.

Last night at the Long Live LA video screening we viewed a series of health videos by Ann Kaneko. 

Qigong Series: STIFF by Ann Kaneko from Freewaves on Vimeo.

I love the simple message of “Stiff”. It validated my instinct to rub my tense muscles and frequently shift and move my body into new positions.

Sometimes it feels awkward in public situations to stretch or move around a lot, but when my body cries out for attention, I’ve learned it’s better to respond sooner than later. Delaying attention to seemingly small needs for a stretch, a deep breath, a drink of water or to use the restroom isn’t good for my body.

Love your body today. Take a few minutes to practice belly breathing or stretch. Your body will appreciate it.

On Wednesday, April 30th at 7:30 p.m. I’ll be at the Laurie Hendricks Gallery in South Pasadena for a screening  and panel discussion of Long Live L.A. – a series of artists’ videos addressing the public health crisis. If you’re interested in the intersections of health and art, how media can change lives for the good, or looking for ways to engage, educate and inspire health in yourself and your community, I’d love to have you join me!

Long Live L.A. was originally commissioned by Freewaves and broadcast on L.A. Metro  County buses during February and March 2014. With 70% of health care spending going towards diseases that are preventable through lifestyle changes, finding new and culturally relevant ways to educate people and inspire good health is an important part of the solution. Art is a fabulous way to access our “WHY” for taking care of ourselves in ways the written word alone cannot.

Six of the original videos will be screened followed by a panel discussion about how artists can contribute to public dialogue about health while educating people who might not be reached through traditional formats. Maybe I’ll see you there!

1504 Mission Street, South Pasadena, 91030

LA Times writer Michael Hiltzick’s article “Federal rules on diet supplements do users no favor” lends further support to the point of my last blog. Uninformed use of diet products, supplements, energy boosters can be hazardous to your health! He exposes a dietary supplement named OxyElite Pro that has been linked to multiple hospitalizations and one death.

According to Hiltzick, the 1994 Dietary Supplement Heath and Education Act “essentially requires the Food and Drug Administration to assume that dietary supplements are safe until proved otherwise.”

Not surprisingly, the authors of the bill, Senators Harkin and Hatch, both cashed in heavily on campaign contributions from supplement manufacturers and related professional associations.

While some of us may benefit from and need supplements, eating real food as close to nature as God created it is the best way to nourish our bodies.

If you decide to explore dietary supplements, be a wise consumer and do your research. Be wary of brand-new products and anything promising too-good-to-be-true results. And nothing can replace the support of well-trained, licensed professionals. Always consult with your doctor when introducing even seemingly benign supplements as everybody is different.

Additionally, there’s a growing number of integrative medical doctors, like my colleague Marina Khubesrian (offices in South Pasadena and Montrose), who are trained in both traditional medicine as well as complementary methods. They can help you get a clear picture of  your health profile to accurately assess and determine appropriate supplements as well as make recommendations on other non-traditional interventions.

A humorous personal opinion piece from the NY Times reminds me why everybody needs to take personal responsibility for finding our own unique blueprint for optimal health.

Apparently, kale and other cruciferous vegetables must be avoided by people with hypothyroidism. These “super foods” that health gurus juice, powder, and encourage us to eat in mass quantities may actually be making some people sick. Wrap your head around that!

And those fruit and veggie juices you drink because of all the nutrients they deliver? When it comes to your oral health, you may as well drink cola and eat chocolate because to your teeth, sugar is sugar!

I’m not going to stop eating my cruciferous veggies and I don’t juice. I like my food as close to nature as God made it. No point in throwing out all that good fiber and having a mess to clean up. I prefer to just eat my fruits and veggies whole. But, that’s me. Some of my best friends swear by their juicing routines.

The next time you see someone touting their latest wonder remedy for whatever ails you, remember that you must be your own health expert. Know yourself. Know your body. And listen to your gut.

There are many well intentioned so-called “professionals” offering services, products and plans that aren’t regulated by any governing authority. The detox programs,  vitamins, supplements, and other regimens they offer may have value, but can also be ill-advised for some people.

Be a wise consumer. Know your own health profile. Listen to your body and trust yourself first of all!

Years of healing work with myself and other women have taught me that God loves all of creation, including the parts I’d rather exclude from love–like the increasingly droopy skin encasing my upper arms. If I can’t love my body exactly as it is today, whatever my weight or state of health or disease, then I settle for far less than the fullness of life that lives in my by the Spirit of God. And I cut myself off from the transformational power of God’s love.

Having spent the first 30 years of my life in varying degrees of distance from my body, ashamed because my body didn’t match those of the models and movie stars of my day, I know about resistance to accepting and loving your body just as you are.

my nieces Sophia and Caity inspire my work - loving ourselves just as we are today

Acceptance and love for your body doesn’t mean you’ll “feel” good about yourself. Emotions come and go. I’ve worked with countless women with eating disorders and body image problems whose external appearance matched the cultural ideal perfectly, but still loathed their thighs, breasts, belly, nose or some other part of their body. As my all-time favorite Saturday Night Live character Rosanna Rosanna Danna, played by the amazing Gilda Radner (God rest her soul), used to say, “It’s always something…” Either your nose is too big, your breasts are too small or just when you finally came to a place of peace with your body, some other change comes along to upset your equilibrium–like pregnancy, menopause, an illness.

Loving your body as God loves you is about attending to the real needs of your body for nourishing foods, plenty of fresh water, and adequate sleep—at a minimum. Many of us run on sleep deprivation and then drink caffeine or eat sugar to compensate for our lack of energy and focus during the afternoon. Statistics indicate over 30% of adults get less than 6 hours of sleep a night. Most of us need 7-8 to function at optimal levels. Countless numbers of us exist at varying levels of dehydration—75% being the statistic most often sited.

Regardless of other possible ways you might respond more lovingly to your physical needs, how might getting seven hours of sleep a night and drinking more fresh water improve your life? It’s likely you’d even begin to “feel” more loving toward yourself as both of these deprivations are associated with increased emotional distress—particularly anxiety and depression.

You can’t have fullness of life if you aren’t fully inhabiting your body. It’s that simple. Your body is where God’s transformative power dwells. The Spirit is an energetic presence that lives in our bodies. I imagine the Spirit operating within our bodies along the central nervous system, but that’s a blog for another day. So the wisdom, vitality, radiance, power, joy, peace, hope—and all the other transformative energies of our new life in Christ—live in and are accessed through your body.

What loving action will you take today on behalf of your body’s real needs? Drink more water? Plan to go to bed earlier?

Pick one small change and work on that for a month. Build the muscle of choosing to love yourself as you are by treating your body in loving ways, even if you don’t feel loving or accepting. Even if you feel shameful, disappointed, regretful for all the years you’ve spent living at a distance from your body. Shame and fear are huge obstacles for many of us. I’ll write more about that in an upcoming blog.

But for today, what might treating your body with more lovingkindness look like, just for today?