The Benefits of Meditation

The holidays bring about time to reflect on the importance of family and friends. Everyday our lives are filled with work, family obligations, housework and keeping the daily flow of a routine and schedule. Sometimes it almost feels as if you're just waking up to race through the day and then at night, as you lie in bed, you reflect how quickly time is passing by. Most people are focused on the future or past, but what about the present? How do you feel in this moment? Meditation is a way to allow you to streamline your energy into the present moment. Here are some bullet points about the positive outcomes you can attain if you chose to implement meditation into your everyday life: 

  • Helps to manage stress
  • Helps you to be more aware and to cope with anxiety
  • Reduces the need to cope in negative ways
  • Increases self-awareness
  • Can help with overeating and other addictive behaviors

There are all types of ways to learn to meditate. Some people will find their own way to find self-awareness and to allow themselves that peace.  Whether it be practicing a mantra, guided imagery, or simply going for a mindful walk in nature. The simplest way to explain how to meditate is to have a moment of self-awareness and not have any thoughts of the past or future. It is allowing your mind to have a blank slate to feel the environment all around you and the sensations you have within your mind and body.  

I have practiced meditation for years, for myself and with my patients. I have worked in hospice care and during the times when narcotics that were used to control pain did not work, we used this practice in combination with human touch to allow the patient to have relief of pain. I find the most compelling knowledge to be scientifically based in regards to benefits with this practice as listed below:

  • Increases immune system
  • Decreases pain
  • Decreases inflammation at a cellular level
  • Increases cortical thickness in the brain
  • Decreases stress and negative emotions
  • Allows you to interact better with family/coworkers
  • Improves memory

In conclusion, I allow you to investigate how meditation can help you all with your everyday life. It is important to attain knowledge everyday to better your life. It will only increase your ability to allow time to slow and to be able to find peace in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

Namaste….. Trudie

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All About Vitamin A

Vitamin A (Retinoid)

Vitamin A is key for good vision, a healthy immune system, and cell growth. The American Heart Association recommends obtaining antioxidants, including beta-carotene, by eating a well-balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains rather than from supplements until more is known about the risks and benefits of supplementation.

A Word of Caution

Vitamin A exists in two forms – retinoids (mostly found in animal products) and beta-carotene (plant sources).  While there isn't any upper limit on the beta-carotene sources, retinoid (found in animal products) should not be consumed in excess as it can have harmful effects on your body.  It is also important to note that taking vitamin pills without any doctor’s recommendation can be bad for your health. It is best to get a check-up and follow what the doctor prescribes. Natural sources are better.

Why do people take Vitamin A?

Topical and oral retinoids are common prescription treatments for acne and other skin conditions, including wrinkles. Oral vitamin A is also used as a treatment for measles and dry eye in people with low levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A is also used for a specific type of leukemia.

Vitamin A  has been studied as a treatment for many other conditions, including cancers, cataracts, and HIV. However, the results are inconclusive. 

Most people get enough Vitamin A from their diets. However, a doctor might suggest Vitamin A supplements to people who have Vitamin A deficiencies. People most likely to have Vitamin A deficiency are those with diseases (such as digestive disorders) or very poor diets.

Food Sources

Vitamin A comes from animal sources, such as eggs, meat, fortified milk, cheese, cream, liver, kidney, cod, and halibut fish oil. However, all of these sources -- except for skim milk that has been fortified with Vitamin A -- are high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Sources of beta-carotene include:

  • Bright yellow and orange fruits such as cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, and apricots
  • Vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and winter squash
  • Other sources of beta-carotene include broccoli, spinach, and most dark green, leafy vegetables.  The more intense the color of a fruit or vegetable, the higher the beta-carotene content. Vegetable sources of beta-carotene are fat- and cholesterol-free.

Good Skin From Within

Healthy skin comes not just from what we put on it and expose it to, but also from what we put into our bodies. Our health is a complex combination of what we eat, what we do, and how we live that affects not just our lives and our hearts, but also our skin. There are several things that are vital for good skin health.


Dry, red, itchy skin can be very difficult to deal with. The obvious solution is to try to moisturize skin with external products, lotions, and oils. However, drinking plenty of water helps prevent dehydration as well as dry skin. It is very important to keep skin hydrated and drinking multiple glasses of water every day is very good for skin health, and the current recommendation is 9-13 cups of water daily. Water also gives you radiant, younger looking, healthy looking skin.


Vegetables are an important source of vitamins and nutrients and also promote healthy skin. Vitamin C and E like those found in citrus foods, spinach, and broccoli are known to decrease photo-damage from the sun and decrease the risk of sun cancer. Vitamin C is also essential to collagen formation, which is used for the structure and strength of new skin. In addition, vegetables are a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants, like those found when eating tomatoes, oranges, and peppers, are counter active to the work done by free radicals. They can help increase protection from the sun and can help decrease past damage as well. Vitamin A found in vegetables like carrots, pumpkins, and peaches is also very helpful for healthy skin. Vitamin A helps reduce wrinkles and acne. Studies have even suggested that a combination of vitamin E and vitamin A is associated with a reduction in the chance of developing basal cell carcinoma by 70%.


Smoking can cause premature aging of the skin and significant wrinkling. The combination of nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes narrows blood vessels, and decreased blood flow to the skin can make it difficult to get proper oxygenation and vitamins. This can leave skin sagging, with a yellowish color and causes poor wound healing. Smoking is a big hindrance to healthy skin.


Mental health is also very important to overall skin health as well. Stress can be very damaging to skin, mostly because it can cause us to tense up certain muscles in our face and shoulders, which actually pulls at and ages the skin prematurely. Avoiding and learning how to deal with stress can be very good for helping skin health.


Green Tea has been found to be healthy for many different aspects of health including protecting against heart disease, osteoporosis, and promoting weight loss. Green Tea also contains antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Just a single cup contains antioxidants that can decrease past damage to the skin from the sun.


Brazil nuts and almonds are also great for skin health. They contain antioxidants, which are known to be great for skin. Almonds also contain Vitamin E, which also helps protect skin from harmful UV light and free-radicals. Vitamin E can also help reduce wrinkles and smooth out skin.

Many foods that we consume can contribute to healthy skin. Combine this with great habits for healthy skin . If you feed your skin from the inside and out, you can’t help but look and feel great.

Winter Skin Care Tips

For many people, the cold clear days of winter bring more than just a rosy glow to the cheeks. They also bring uncomfortable dryness to the skin of the face, hands, and feet. For some people, the problem is worse than just a general tight, dry feeling: They get skin so dry it results in flaking, cracking, even eczema (in which the skin becomes inflamed).

Moisturize More

You may have found a moisturizer that works just fine in spring and summer.  But as weather conditions change, so, too, should your skin care routine.  Find an "ointment" moisturizer that's oil-based, rather than water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. (Hint: Many lotions labeled as "night creams" are oil-based.)

But choose your oils with care because not all oils are appropriate for the face. Instead, look for "non-clogging" oils, like avocado oil, mineral oil, primrose oil, or almond oil.

You can also look for lotions containing "humectants," a class of substances (including glycerin, sorbitol, and alpha-hydroxy acids) that attract moisture to your skin.

Slather on the Sunscreen

No, sunscreen isn't just for summertime. Winter sun -- combined with snow glare -- can still damage your skin. Try applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and your hands (if they're exposed) about 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply frequently if you stay outside a long time.

Give Your Hands a Hand

The skin on your hands is thinner than on most parts of the body and has fewer oil glands. That means it's harder to keep your hands moist, especially in cold, dry weather. This can lead to itchiness and cracking. Wear gloves when you go outside; if you need to wear wool to keep your hands warm, slip on a thin cotton glove first, to avoid any irritation the wool might cause.


Sure, soaking in a burning-hot bath feels great after frolicking out in the cold, but the intense head of a hot shower or bath actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which lead to a loss of moisture.  A lukewarm bath with oatmeal or baking soda can help relieve dry, itchy, and flaky skin.