Did you get your iodine today?

There are lots of good reasons to think about iodine. According to health expert Cheryl Myers, R.N. many women may not be getting enough of it. Cheryl is an integrative health nurse, author, and expert on natural medicine. Her articles have been published in such diverse journals as Aesthetic Surgery Journal and Nutrition in Complementary Care, and her research on botanicals has been presented at the AmericanCollege of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the North American Menopause Society.  Cheryl is the head of Scientific Affairs and Education for EuroPharma, Inc. Cheryl shares her thoughts on the importance of iodine here:

 
Before the introduction of synthetic drugs, iodine was one of the universal medicines all physicians used. Iodine was effective for wound healing, various diseases, and even cancer prevention. This critical mineral is considered especially important for women, as they have more health challenges with breast tissue and the thyroid gland than do men. Once iodine was one of the most commonly-used medicines in the world, but was “forgotten” in favor of new pharmaceutical drugs.
 
In the 1920s, goiter or iodine deficiency was very common, so iodine was added to salt. While this helped reduce goiter, today many people are not using iodized salt in their diets.
 
Additionally, chlorine, fluoride, and bromide, which lower iodine levels in the body by blocking iodine receptors, are increasingly consumed in foods or ingested through environmental exposure. For example, chlorine is now used to purify water in place of iodine. Fluoride use is widespread in toothpaste and drinking water. Bromines replaced iodides in commercial baked goods in the 1980s. Not only are these elements toxic for the thyroid, they are dangerous for the rest of your body as well. Dr. David Brownstein, an expert on iodine supplementation, writes that he found that his patients with breast cancer had higher than normal levels of fluoride, but lower than normal levels of iodine in their bodies.  
 
People in the U.S. consume an average 240 mcg of iodine per day, which is slightly above the amount needed (150 mcg) to prevent goiter. However, that is not the optimal healthy amount.
 
The highest source of dietary iodine occurs in sea vegetables, or seaweed. People in coastal Japan consume an average of 12 mg of iodine (12,000 mcg) per day, which is 50 times more than the average American.  Life expectancy in Japan is the highest of all industrialized countries. Finally, the number of deaths from breast cancer is almost three times higher in the U.S. than in Japan. Yet, when Japanese women immigrate to the U.S. and adopt an American diet, their mortality and breast cancer rates increase to that of other Americans.
 
Today, one in sevenAmerican women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Thirty years ago, when iodine consumption was much higher than it is now, one in 20 women developed breast cancer. While there are several reasons for this dramatic increase, we should not overlook the role that lack of iodine has played.
 
Iodine’s anti-cancer function may well prove to be iodine’s most important benefit. Laboratory studies using estrogen sensitive breast cancer cells exposed to iodine have shown that iodine makes them less likely to respond to the negative influence of estrogen, such as abnormal growth and spread.
 
Fibrocystic breast disease a very common concern for women, and can be quite uncomfortable. Supplemental iodine has been found to improve symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease. In fact, in one study, 98 percent of women receiving iodine treatment were pain-free by the study’s end, and 72 percent had improvements in breast tissue. (Ghent WR, et al. Iodine replacement in fibrocystic disease of the breast. Can J Surg 1993;36:453-460.)
 
The thyroid gland is entirely dependent upon iodine to function. One of the jobs of the thyroid gland is to determine how quickly we burn calories. Women with healthy thyroid function struggle less with weight issues, have good energy, mental clarity, and better-looking skin and thicker hair. The thyroid gland uses iodine, along with an amino acid present in many protein foods called L-tyrosine, to make thyroid hormones. Not enough iodine can result in lower production of thyroid hormones, which can lead to weight gain, fatigue, thinning hair, rough skin and lack of mental focus and forgetfulness.
 
What kinds of supplements work best? Different tissues in the body prefer iodine in different forms. Thyroid tissue prefers potassium iodide. Breast tissue takes up iodine when it is in the form of molecular iodine. Sodium iodide is the most soluble form of iodine, and can increase the absorption of both molecular iodine and potassium iodide. Therefore, for optimal total body support, iodine supplements should contain more than one type of iodine.
 
When focusing only on thyroid function, supplemental potassium iodide partnered with L-Tyrosine provides the raw materials the thyroid gland needs.
 
Most women supplementing with a quality iodine product notice a difference within the first few weeks of use. Since iodine intake is so low in the United States, and since there are toxic minerals we are exposed to daily that steal our iodine away, women should seriously consider increasing their iodine intake.
 
NB: DolceDolce recommends that you check with your doctor before implementing any medical advice. Be sure to ask if your medical advisor has a sound nutritional background. If not ask to be referred to someone who does.
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Journaling through hard times

Diana M. RaabOur contributor this week, award-winning writer and teacher Diana Raab, shares her thoughts on how journaling can help one get through tough times. I found her column inspiring and uplifting. I particularly liked her suggestions for getting started.

 
Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN is the editor of Writers and Their Notebooks, a collection of essays by distinguished writers who journal, including Sue Grafton, Kim Stafford, Dorianne Laux, John DuFresne, James Brown and Michael Steinberg, to name a few. We recently read, enjoyed, and revisited it. She is also the author of the critically-acclaimed memoir Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal. Her second memoir, Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey  is a self-help book that also offers journaling exercises for other survivors. It is being published this month by Loving Healing Press. Diana’s work has also been published in numerous literary magazines and is widely anthologized. She has one poetry book, My Muse Undresses Me, and two poetry collections, Dear Anais: My Life in Poems For You, the winner of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Award for Poetry, and the newly-released The Guilt Gene.
 
Here’s Diana’s essay:
 
When life takes an unexpected turn, writing can become your best friend. Journaling is a process of self-discovery and a cathartic way to spill your feelings onto the page.
 
In the journaling classes I teach, I remind students that their journal entries are not graded content for style. What they write is for their eyes only, and they should write whatever comes to mind. I also stress there is no “right” or “wrong” way to journal.
 
As a professional writer, all my story and book ideas began on the pages of my journal. My most recent book, Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey, describes in a wry and inspirational tone, my breast cancer experience and then five years later being diagnosed with a rare form of bone marrow cancer, multiple myeloma. Writing was my lifeline then and during other difficult times in my life. My journal became my best friend and confidant. In my book, I was thrilled to include blank journaling pages and prompts to inspire my readers to do their own writing. Being given a health diagnosis doesn’t have to turn your life black. Chronicling your experience can turn a negative into a positive, and in my book I emphasize to my readers that negative experiences, although overwhelming at first, can rivet you to make positive changes in your life.
 
It’s important to know that unless you are a professorial writer or have plans to publish, your journal is for your eyes only. When teaching high-risk teens, I remind them that, when they write in their journals or private notebooks, it’s not like doing a school assignment where you’re penalized for incorrect spelling and grammar. It’s your place and you can write about wherever your heart is pulled to. Writing without parameters is very liberating and allows creative juices to flow freely and honestly.
 
James Pennebaker, the author of Writing to Heal, once said in a seminar: “Writing dissolves some of the barriers between you and others. If you write, it’s easier to communicate with others.”
 
Some people write their observations of the world in journals. Alexandra Johnson, in her book Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal, says, “If I could keep only two journals, it would be the ‘observing the world’ journal and a journal of gratitude.”
 
In the tradition of Quaker diaries, Oprah Winfrey has long kept a daily gratitude journal. “I have kept a journal since I was 15 years old,” she has said. “As I’ve grown older, I have learned to appreciate living in the moment.” At night, she lists a minimum of five things she’s grateful for – no matter how small. She says it’s been instrumental in her success: “What it will begin to do is change your perspective of your day and your life. I believe that if you can learn to focus on what you have, you will always see that the universe is abundant.”
 
Whether you’re affected by loss or pain or simply want to write because it makes you feel better, finding the time to write is critical to your mental health. Turning to journaling during difficult times is a healthy alternative, and it could inspire you to enjoy the lifelong habit of journaling. But you can also journal during good times and on an as-needed basis. Writing from a deep place is often about your relationship with yourself. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the easier it will be. Part of this involves trusting your wisdom, intuition, and heart. If you do this, your true inner voice will emerge.
 
It’s also important you don’t feel pressure to journal when you really don’t want to. If you find that a set routine is not for you, you can always carry your journal with you, and write when inspiration strikes. No matter when you decide to journal, you’ll soon find out what an empowering and healthy habit it can be. Try it, and you’ll see!
 
How to Start:
Buy a journal which resonates with you
Buy a pen which is comfortable in your hand
Date your entries
Find a safe and quiet place to journal
Start writing for 15 to 20 minutes the same time each day
Write without editing or censoring your thoughts
 
Some Prompts to Try:
Write about your very earliest memory
Write about a recent emotional upheaval
Write about your obsessions
Write about what you are grateful for
Write about a grandparent
Write about a place you love
 
 
 
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Creativity: Nature or nurture

Diana M. RaabDiana M. Raab, MFA, RN is the editor of Writers and Their Notebooks, a collection of essays by distinguished writers who journal, including Sue Grafton, Kim Stafford, Dorianne Laux, John DuFresne, James Brown and Michael Steinberg, to name a few. We recently read, enjoyed, and revisited it. She is also the author of the critically-acclaimed memoir Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal. Her second memoir, Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey is a self-help book that also offers journaling exercises for other survivors. The publication date is June, 2010 by Loving Healing Press.

 
Diana’s work has been published in numerous literary magazines and is widely anthologized. She has one poetry book, My Muse Undresses Me, and two poetry collections, Dear Anais: My Life in Poems For You, the winner of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Award for Poetry, and the newly-released The Guilt Gene.
 
Here’s Diana’s essay:
 
Creativity: Nature or Nurture
 
To be human is to be creative. To create is to live. The creative self is the essential self and the creative process is a like a journey – it is intuitive and experimental. Living creatively means being tuned into all of your senses and being aware of what’s going on. It means valuing your experiences. Creativity might entail expressing yourself thorough art, but it can also be a way of living that is open, eager, curious and uplifting.
 
At an early age, my parents nurtured my creative energy by giving me journals and coloring books. In fact, my mother gave me my first journal to help me cope with the loss of my beloved grandmother. Little did she know that seemingly benign gesture became the platform for my life as a writer.
 
Creativity is an expression of intuition. The more intuitive we are the more in touch we are with the natural flow of life. “The act of creation begins with the need to express oneself,” says John Daido Loori in his book, The Zen of Creativity.
 
So, is it true that some people are more creative than others? This gets down to the age-old question of nature vs. nurture. I believe that if you were born creative, but not inspired, then you might not be able to manifest your talents. I believe that the U.S. education system is not designed to promote creativity, but it does encourage students to “think outside of the box” by offering fine art classes. Yet, these classes are often quite structured and might not produce the best results in terms of freedom of expression. It has been said that children are creative until they start school, when much of their creativity gets crushed.

To be creative, the mind must be stimulated. Once stimulated, it is easier to continue to be inspired. When we are captured by something, our momentum is boosted and things can take off, especially if we have unstructured environments in which to enjoy the process.
 
To encourage your own creativity you should keep doing whatever creative things you already do, whether it’s art, writing, or dancing. To help foster your creativity you can also start keeping a creative journal. A creative journal is a tool for personal growth which combines the craft of writing and art, such as prose, poetry, drawing, doodling, scribbles and symbols. It also helps get rid of the junk floating around in our head so that we can get down to being creative. In other words, it can be a way to quiet the mind.
 
 
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