February Is American Heart Health Awareness Month

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healthyheartbpThe CDC has teamed up with Million Hearts for American Heart Health Awareness and NJ Top Docs wants you to do the same.

The CDC has teamed up with Million Hearts® in order to prevent one million strokes and heart attacks in the U.S. by the year 2017. Each New Year, people all over the world set personal goals to accomplish by the end of the year. Whether it’s losing those five pesky pounds, quitting smoking, or visiting relatives more often, there should definitely be this one goal on everyone’s list: staying on top of their heart health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages people each February (and all year round), to pay attention to their blood pressure. NJ Top Docs wants its readers to join the CDC and Million Hearts® in this national campaign.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. More than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure, making it four times more likely for them to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease. Most times, there are no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure. It is imperative that people check their blood pressure regularly.

The CDC offers the following suggestions to maintaining good heart health:

“Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and talk about how you can reach your goal. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet that goal. Track your blood pressure over time. One way to do that is with this free wallet card[920 KB] from Million Hearts®.

Take your blood pressure medicine as directed. Set a timer on your phone to remember to take your medicine at the same time each day. If you are having trouble taking your medicines on time or paying for your medicines, or if you are having side effects, ask your doctor for help.

Quit smoking—and if you don’t smoke, don’t start. You can find tips and resources at CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco website.

Reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise blood pressure. Read about ways to reduce your sodium and visit the Million Hearts® Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center for heart-healthy, lower-sodium recipes, meal plans, and helpful articles.”

More information about high blood pressure is available at CDC’s High Blood Pressure website. In addition, the following resources are available to help you and your loved ones make control your goal:

High Blood Pressure: How to Make Control Your Goal

Supporting Your Loved One with High Blood Pressure

African Americans Heart Disease and Stroke Fact Sheet


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The Link Between Gum And Heart Diseases

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malesmilePeriodontist Joseph R. Nemeth, D.D.S. recognizes American Heart Month this February and reminds patients with bleeding gums in the Metro Detroit area about the link between gum disease and heart disease. Dr. Nemeth is specially trained and certified to administer a gentle laser gum disease treatment called the LANAP® protocol that eliminates periodontitis without cutting and stitching the gum tissue.

During American Heart Month this February, Dr. Joseph R. Nemeth wants to remind area patients of the scientific link between gum disease and heart disease. Gum disease is a relatively common disease that causes symptoms like gum inflammation or bleeding, and painful teeth or receding gums. Dr. Nemeth is proud to offer a patient-friendly treatment option for those suffering from gum disease in the Metro Detroit area through the LANAP® protocol.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with gum disease are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease. Researchers found that the bacteria that cause gingivitis enter the bloodstream through the gums and travel to other organs, potentially wreaking havoc throughout the body. They found that people who had higher levels of the bacteria in their mouths were more likely to develop deposits of fat and other substances, known as plaque, in their arteries.

Bleeding gums is usually the first sign of a periodontal infection, and can be an indicator of serious dental concern. Causes can range from hormonal changes with pregnancy, menopause, or adolescence, to problems with brushing techniques.

To treat gum disease, Dr. Nemeth uses the Periolase-7™ laser to target infection along the gum line. The patented computer-guided laser eliminates pockets of infection and damaged gum tissue, leaving strong healthy gums in place after the quick, minimally invasive LANAP® surgery. Even better, the laser heat stimulates increased bone density beneath the roots of the teeth, for stronger, firmer teeth.

For more information about the warning signs of gum disease, including bleeding gums, call the office at 248-357-3100. Or, visit the office on the web at http://www.drnemeth.com to learn more about LANAP®, the exciting laser gum disease treatment that Dr. Nemeth uses to improve his patients’ oral health in Michigan and the Detroit areas.

About the Practice

Joseph R. Nemeth, D.D.S. & Associates is a periodontal practice offering personalized dental care for patients in Southfield, MI. Dr. Nemeth has been serving patients for over 30 years. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan Dental School, and completed graduate study in periodontics at New York University. Dr. Nemeth belongs to the one percent of dental professionals currently providing the Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP®), the first FDA-cleared laser procedure for gum disease and periodontal treatment. Dr. Nemeth is also a member of the American Academy of Periodontology, the North American Society of Periodontists, and the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology. To learn more about Joseph R. Nemeth, D.D.S. & Associates and their dental services visit their website at http://www.drnemeth.com/, or call 248-357-3100.

“Be Heart Smart” Campaign During National Heart Month

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heartshinyFebruary is American Heart Month, and Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) Cardiology is kicking off its “Be Heart Smart” campaign to do its part to spread heart health awareness. Since 1975, NCMA Cardiology has focused on educational outreach in addition to providing a comprehensive range of cardiac services from highly trained, elite physicians.

Heart disease has been the number-one killer of Americans for the past 80 years. In 2015, it isn’t news to most people that heart disease is the leading cause of premature death in the United States. It also isn’t news to most people that heart disease is preventable. The shocking news is that even though people know the risks of heart disease and that it is preventable, the incidence of heart disease and related deaths continues to grow. According to the American Heart Association, one in seven deaths is related to coronary heart disease, and one in nine is caused by heart failure. In light of the growing problem, February has been deemed “Heart Month” in America. NCMA Cardiology has launched its “Be Heart Smart” social media campaign this month as a means to help people realize the power of preventative healthy living to reverse the trend of rising heart disease.

While there are some risk factors that can’t be controled such as age, gender, heredity, and race, people can significantly mitigate their risk for heart disease by making healthy lifestyle choices. With its campaign, NCMA Cardiology hopes to reach as many people as possible and to cause them to stop and think about their hearts when making health-related choices. NCMA cardiologists have identified seven interrelated goals that will help people reduce their risk for heart disease. In essence, the “Be Heart Smart” campaign is about (1) managing diet and weight, (2) exercising regularly, (3) quitting smoking, (4) reducing stress, (5) keeping blood pressure in the healthy range, (6) managing cholesterol levels, and (7) controlling blood sugar.

First and foremost, managing diet and weight is the most important step towards minimizing one’s risk of heart disease. NCMA Cardiology strives to redefine the meaning of ‘diet’ in popular culture. One’s diet encompasses everything he or she ingests over a lifetime. Alternatively, when one ‘goes on a diet,’ this most likely means the dieter is resisting the foods that he or she prefers to eat for a set period of time for the sake of losing weight. This type of dieting is not an effective way to sustain weight loss, as once the diet ends, the person rewards themselves with the unhealthy foods they resisted while dieting. To truly have a healthy diet, NCMA cardiologists recommend eating smaller portions at meals, and snacking on vegetables and fiber-rich whole grains during the day.

While obesity poses one of the most serious threats to heart health, it isn’t the only factor for increased risk of heart disease due to a poor diet. Everyone’s body processes food differently. Although it is unlikely, some people can appear slim and fit while sustaining themselves on potato chips and soda pop. This does not change the fact that these people are increasing their risk for heart disease through their diets. What foods are really the best for your heart? Recent studies have shown that the “Mediterranean diet” can reduce the risk heart disease by about 20% in both men and women.

“Just taking a walk in the morning or the evening will put you on your way to better heart health.”

After maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly is the next most important step towards reducing hearth health. Not only will living a sedentary lifestyle reduce muscle strength and endurance, it will also contribute to metabolic problems such as high blood sugar and cholesterol. Much scientific research has gone into how much exercise is enough, and today’s leading experts recommend getting at least 60 minutes of continuous, moderate aerobic exercise each day of the week. NCMA cardiologists recognize that this recommendation is more than what many Americans are willing to do or have time for, so they level with patients and tell them the raw facts—true up until the extreme, the more cardiovascular exercise people get everyday, the more they reduce their risk for heart disease. While 60 minutes a day brings about excellent health benefits, even just 20 to 30 minutes of continuous, moderate aerobic exercise five days a week has been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease by 30-50%. Just taking a walk in the morning or the evening will put you on your way to better heart health.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that smoking dramatically increases your risk of cardiovascular heart disease. Like it says on every cigarette box today, smoking causes heart disease. Smoking accelerates the progression of heart disease in people predisposed to having it, and drastically increases the chances of it developing in people who would otherwise be at a very low risk. In conjunction with the Northern California Center of Well-Being, NCMA offers smoking cessation classes. Even if a smoker isn’t ready to quit, it is important to talk to a NCMA physician about smoking habits in order to gain access to all of the resources, clinics and classes offered through NCMA.

healthyheartWhen it comes to reducing stress, it is important to clarify what kind of stress is most necessary to reduce for the sake of improving heart health. Reducing physical stress such as exercise, for example, should not be thought of as an effective means to reduce one’s risk of heart disease. Emotional stress, such as work-related, relationship, and financial stresses, has long been suspected and recently confirmed to increase one’s risk for heart disease. These types of stresses, however unpleasant or dangerous, cannot always be avoided. Reducing stress, therefore, is ultimately about finding ways to relax when confronted with stressful situations. No two people will ever react to the same type of stress the same way, so it is also important for individuals to determine the stresses that affect them most.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and off-balance, volatile blood sugar levels are all relatively common in our society and can significantly increase one’s risk of developing heart disease. While the best way to mitigate these risks is through exercise, healthy eating, and not smoking cigarettes, treatment may require management with drug therapy and careful monitoring by a physician. Other contributing factors other than lifestyle choices such as genetics and metabolic disorders are often unavoidable and may warrant even closer care by a doctor.

Improving heart health and reducing the risk for heart disease doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Simply making an effort to be conscious of heart health in day-to-day living can go a long way. To start, NCMA Cardiology encourages everyone to pick two or three goals on the “Be Heart Smart” list to go after. In addition, keeping regular appointments with a cardiologist before any serious heart issues arise is the best way to stay on top of heart health.

NCMA Cardiology is comprised of 14 cardiologists, two cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons, and one electrophysiologist—all board-certified in their fields. Since 1975, the group has focused on sub specialization within cardiovascular health to provide services by the most highly trained and experienced physicians and staff. In accordance with its practice of providing comprehensive cardiovascular health care, NCMA offers HeartWorks, pacemaker and defibrillator clinics, anti-coagulation clinics, congestive heart failure clinics, pulmonary hypertension clinics, lipid clinics, and an adult congenital heart clinic in addition to general check-ups with cardiologists. NCMA’s HeartWorks Cardiac Rehabilitation Center provides each patient with a personal diet and exercise plan supervised by a team of physicians, nurses, and cardiac exercise specialists.

NCMA Cardiology provides cardiac care in three counties, with 11 offices, located in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, Healdsburg, Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Gualala, Ukiah, and Lakeport. Visit our website at http://www.ncmahealth.com for more information on NCMA health services and contacting NCMA offices. Please call (707) 573-6166 to schedule an appointment with NCMA Cardiology, and visit NCMA’s Facebook page to follow the “Be Heart Smart” campaign.

The Success Of New Gene Therapy For Heart Patients

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What is your opinion about this article from PRWeb written by Bel Marra Health?

heartBel Marra Health, who offers high-quality, specially formulated vitamins and nutritional supplements, has reported on new research that has shown the success of the first ever biological pacemaker that could put an end to invasive surgeries.

Bel Marra Health, who offers high-quality, specially formulated vitamins and nutritional supplements, has reported on new research that has shown the success of the first ever biological pacemaker that could put an end to invasive surgeries.

As Bel Marra Health reports in its article, (http://www.belmarrahealth.com/heart-health/heart-patients-to-live-longer-thanks-to-new-gene-therapy/), the study was conducted by Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and published in Science Translational Medicine in July. For this study, 12 pigs with heart block – a condition where the electrical signal is slowed or disrupted as it moves through the heart – were injected with either the single gene, called TBX18, to reprogram cells, or a fluorescent green protein acting as a placebo.

The patch of peppercorn-sized cells acted as a pacemaker for a two-week period, performing the function of a conventional one. During this same period, cardiologists looked at the average heart rate of the pigs in the morning when they ate and at night when they slept.

They found that the gene therapy was fast-acting, reprogramming enough muscle cells to effectively regulate heart rate within 24 to 48 hours. After eight days of testing, the average heart rate was much higher in the pigs that received the therapy than ones that did not.

This “biological pacemaker,” as it’s been dubbed by researchers, could be useful for certain patients, such as those who develop infections from electronic pacemakers and need to have the devices temporarily removed, or fetuses with life-threatening heart disorders who cannot have an electronic pacemaker implanted.

Spokesperson for Bel Marra Health, Dr. Victor Marchione, says, “Since the early 1960s, pacemakers have been widely available, and they’ve constantly improved, becoming more safe and sophisticated.”

Conventional pacemakers are electronic, implanted into the chest to control an abnormal heartbeat. Electronic pacemakers restore regular function to slowing and arrhythmic hearts by using electricity to stimulate heartbeats. That’s a function usually performed by a cluster of thousands of cardiac cells that tell the heart to pump at a regular rate.

These mechanisms are lifesaving for many people with abnormal or slow heart rhythms. But they require an invasive surgery to be installed. So scientists have been waiting for the day when an implant is no longer needed by patients.

Of course, the applications of this new research are still a long way off. And the benefits of a pacemaker usually outweigh the risks. Still, pig hearts are similar to human hearts in their size and the way they work, so there’s good reason to think that the new findings could translate to humans.

(SOURCE: Y.-F. Hu, et al., Biological pacemaker created by minimally invasive somatic reprogramming in pigs with complete heart block. Science Translational Medicine, 2014; 6 (245): 245ra94 doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008681)

Bel Marra Health is the maker of Heart Rescue a high-quality nutritional supplement to help support and maintain heart health. All ingredients are backed with scientific evidence. Every product is tested for safety, quality and purity at every stage of the manufacturing process.

Furthermore, Bel Marra Health products are produced only in Health Canada approved facilities, going the extra mile to ensure that our health-conscious customers are getting top-quality products. For more information on Bel Marra Health visit http://www.belmarrahealth.com or call 1-866-531-0466.

– Courtesy of PRWeb

Treating Gum Disease May Help The Heart

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smileGum disease, which happens when sticky, bacteria-laden film builds up and hardens around the teeth, has been linked to cardiovascular disease.

Gum disease has long been linked to heart disease. New research suggests that for people with both conditions, treating the gum disease may lower their health care costs and the number of times they end up in the hospital, reports the November 2014 Harvard Heart Letter.

Gum disease begins when the sticky, bacteria-laden film known as plaque builds up around your teeth. Daily tooth brushing and flossing and regular cleanings by a dentist or hygienist can prevent and even reverse gingivitis, the earliest form of gum disease (also called periodontal disease). Left untreated, gingivitis can turn into gum disease. The gums pull back from the root of the tooth, creating a tiny pocket that gradually widens. Eventually, the infection and inflammation attack the tissue that holds the tooth to the jawbone, which can cause the tooth to loosen and possibly fall out.

A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reviewed the medical and dental records of people who had gum disease in addition to cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease (usually a stroke), or another chronic health problem. People who had at least one periodontal disease treatment had lower medical costs and fewer hospitalizations within four years of the treatment compared with people who weren’t treated. For cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease, health care costs were between 10% and 40% lower.

Treating gum disease reduces the body’s burden of infection and inflammation, which seems to help people respond better to treatments for other health conditions, like heart disease, says periodontist Dr. Alpdogan Kantarci of the Harvard-affiliated Forsyth Institute, a not-for-profit research organization focused on oral health. “As we’re always telling our physician colleagues, ‘Make sure your patients are getting regular dental care,’ because we may be able to help improve their overall health,” Dr. Kantarci says.

Read the full-length article: “Treating gum disease: Save your smile, help your heart?”

Also in the November 2014 Harvard Heart Letter:

* Exercise: The best medicine to slow aging

* Treating narrowed arteries in the neck

* For heart health, less salt makes the most sense

The Harvard Heart Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Noodles And Your Heart

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By Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

newsIt may be easy to pop one of those instant packages of noodles, a cup of water and a packet of broth into the microwave when you are too busy to cook, but you could be risking more than you know when you’re cutting corners. Here are some facts to consider.

Noodle consumption is the highest in the world in South Korea. Researchers studied 10,711 adults, a representative sample of the Korean population. [1]

According to the study [2], women who ate instant noodles at least twice a week were 68 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome which results in abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which, in turn, increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Dr. Hu said, instant noodles are definitely not part of a healthy diet. “Once or twice a month is not a problem,” he said. “But a few times a week really is.”

It turns out that a small packet of crispy noodles can deal a big blow to your heart health. If you’re cramming for finals, opt for something healthier than the packaged noodle student staple. If you’re a working person and besieged by deadlines, obligations and find yourself always short on time, don’t let your body pay the price. Get used to choosing a healthier alternative.

Pick up pre-packaged vegetable snacks at the grocery store in the produce sections, or make your own snack packs and carry them with you. Rice and beans are easy to prepare the night before and take along in a air tight container. Sliced green, red and yellow peppers are refreshing, crispy and loaded with vitamin C. A paper or plastic sack full of unsalted, unbuttered popcorn (use herbs and pepper for seasoning) will fill you up and contribute to your lower GI health. (Pop the corn from dried kernels, use only a small amount of canola oil and avoid the prepackaged microwave popcorn varieties.)

A cup of fat-free low sugar yoghurt will also satisfy your hunger pangs as will an apple, a bunch of grapes, or a handful of plums.

When it comes to the convenience of a package of dried noodles that magically come alive when you add boiling water, get in the habit of saying no to the noodles and yes to a healthier heart.

[1] A version of this article appears in print on 08/26/2014, on page D4 of the New York edition with the headline: Nutrition: It’s Time to Reel In the Ramen.

[2] http://jn.nutrition.org/content/144/8/1247.abstract

Kac Young , a former television director and producer, has earned a PhD in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy™ is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. Traditional recipes are turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make. The health results are outstanding. While earning her PhD in Natural Health and a Doctorate in Naturopathy, she completed 36 courses in nutrition from Baylor University.

The State Of Your Heart Health…. Map The Heart Health Of Your State

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By Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

The statistics for heart disease show improvement; and yet it is still the #1 killer in the USA. The staggering fact is that 90% of cardio vascular disease is preventable…so why the heck are we dying of it at such alarming rates?

I teach heart health, and lecture about it to anyone who will listen. Believe me I’ve heard all the excuses and justifications. “I don’t have time.” “It’s too expensive.” “Healthy food doesn’t taste good.” “It’s not what I’m used to.” “I’ll just take a pill.”

My responses:

What do you mean expensive, since when has broccoli cost more than fried chicken?

You can cut food costs by cutting down your portions, which most of us need to do. We eat too much!

Frequent consumption of fast food is your guaranteed ticket to the ER. (Why wait. Book it now!)

If you have time to watch football, you have time to exercise.

If you take better care of your car then you do your health, there’s something wrong with your priorities.

You know the objections! If you are still finding excuses, please let me show you a map I came across recently that took my breath away. Maybe it will help you to change your mind and get serious about your heart health.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

America, we don’t need to be dying state by state of heart disease. It is 90% preventable. Even if you inherited a genetic predisposition for it, you can save your own life!

There are Three Have-to’s and Five Solutions.

The Have-tos:

1. Diet. You must, right now, stop eating the “bad” saturated fats. No more fried foods, nor more hamburgers loaded with fatty cheese, no more salty chips, high fat dips, high sodium, high fat pizza, no more sugary and fat-laden cakes, cookies and pies. You can eat better, healthier, cheaper and live longer. Biscuits and gravy = early grave.

2. You must exercise. Your heart is a muscle. If you allow it to get flabby from lack of aerobic exercise it will peter out on you when you need it the most. Keep it in good working order. It’s the best and most important muscle you have. Really!

3. Control. You must take control of your own life. No one else is going to step in and do it for you. No one is forcing you to eat, to gain weight, to create fat around your heart so that it can barely function. No one is making you eat that donut, drink that soda, or the 900 calorie sundae. Nobody is going to reach over and take it from you. You’ve got to say “No.”


1. Can your excuses. Literally. Make a list of reasons why you can’t/don’t want to/aren’t motivated to/take care of your health. Put them in a jar, close the lid and toss them in the recycle bin. Get rid of the disempowering thoughts that are keeping the weight on you, clogging your arteries and stealing your life pizza by pizza.

2. Look around you and make a list of all the reasons you have to live. Who do you want to be around for? What milestones do you want to reach? What dreams do you want fulfilled? These are your real motivators.

3. Find a program, buy a book, ask your doctor. Get active and proactive and lose those pounds, tone those muscles, get off the couch and replace your old habits with new ones that will add years to your life.

4. Bite the bullet. Change can be easy or hard depending on how you approach it. Personally, I like the radical approach where you throw away everything in your freezer, refrigerator and pantry that isn’t heart-supportive. Dump it and move on with healthy foods, treats and attitudes.

5. You have no idea how powerful you are when you make up your mind. Nothing can stand in your way once you see the end goal. If you want to live free of heart disease adopt these steps today and be the first one on your block to defy the odds and be a positive statistic FOR heart health not be a victim of heart disease.

Take another close look at the map and decide right here and right now what kind of state you want your heart to be in. Change and heart health is only one decision away.

– Kac Young has a PhD in Natural Health, a Doctorate in Naturopathy and a Doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy. She is a television producer/director and the author of: Feng Shui the Easy Way, 21 Days to the Love of Your Life, Gold Mind, Heart Easy, Cheese Dome Power, Discover Your Spiritual Genius, Dancing With The Moon, The Quick Guide to Bach Flower Remedies, Star Power, The Quick Guide to Bach Flower Remedies and Supreme Healing. Visit: spiritualgenius.com and HeartEasy.com for more information.

The Heart of Spirituality – Part 2

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The Great Love, All That Is Good Is Abundantly Present When We Are Heartfully Present

By Bruce Davis, Ph.D.

Author of The Love Letters: Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi Meet Pope Francis

Continued from part 1 of this article…..

familywalk2Since those medieval times, serving others and self-sacrifice have been confused in the Church and in many traditions. Many think helping others includes denying ourselves. This is where Pope Francis and today’s Church must speak openly about leaving behind medieval thinking and join the modern era. How can being unloving to ourselves lead us to be more loving with others? How can we think battling with ourselves can lead to peace? If God is love how can we love one another if we are uncaring and supportive towards our own feelings and needs? After saying “no” to parts of ourselves, how can we suddenly expect to find a big “yes”? Denying our feelings, trying to turn off our sexuality has led to the problems that have existed for centuries in all traditions, but are now very public. When are we going to realize the excess in fasting, controlling, berating, judging ourselves and others has nothing to do with God?

Denying the self to free the self does not work. We free the mind by discovering and receiving God inside our heart and in life all around us. The great love, all that is good is abundantly present when we are heartfully present, available, and sharing it with others. There is a big difference between self-denial and sacrifice and humility and compassion. One is hurting to the heart. The other is fulfilling the heart.

Humility and compassion cannot be forced. They grow slowly, naturally as we discover the abundance of our inner garden.

A true spiritual life is neither self-sacrifice or being selfish. It is neither self-denial or self-importance. Battling parts of ourselves does not lead to peace but inner conflict, hidden lives, and destruction. Being poor and suffering is not a path to holiness, but about being poor and suffering. Similarly being successful and healthy can be a distraction if we are busy acquiring possessions and forgetting about our heart and the hearts of others.

The path is not really about having possessions or no possessions, having desires or trying to have none. St. Francis and Pope Francis point to a spiritual practice in silence with no distractions. Today, we call it unplugging or disconnecting. When the mind is not so occupied and busy, awareness of the heart naturally begins. Inside each of us there is a vastness of presence, God overflows our normal limits of self and personality. We find ourselves more forgiving and offering the gifts of life to others. From the well of silence in our heart comes generosity, gentleness, innocence, and joy. Today with all the humility and beauty being demonstrated by Pope Francis, let’s speak clearly about the end of putting ourselves down in order to lift someone else up. It makes no sense and never has. Time to lift ourselves and everyone with a sincere and meaningful spiritual life like St. Francis long ago and Pope Francis today.

– Bruce Davis Ph.D. is the author of The Love Letters: Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi Meet Pope Francis, a charming, soaring fictional and spiritual dialogue with a deeper purpose: a discourse on whether Pope Francis can truly return the church to the saints’ ideal-a humble, compassionate, uplifting embrace of the world’s poor and the heart in everyone. This tender tome–that bespeaks the deep love of God, Man and Nature from every page–purports to be letters between the two saints as they discover to their delight that a new Bishop of Rome has arrived carrying forth their ideals. Can he succeed, truly bringing about the radical change that’s necessary and end two millenniums of pomp and circumstance, returning the church to its spiritual essence of simplicity and compassion? For more information, go to: gravedistractions.com

The Heart of Spirituality – Part 1

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The Great Love, All That Is Good Is Abundantly Present When We Are Heartfully Present

By Bruce Davis, Ph.D.

Author of The Love Letters: Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi Meet Pope Francis

heartshinySeemingly a day does not pass by when there is not a new quote or an act of humility from Pope Francis. Recently he advises all that “we know God by having an open mind.” “Each of us,” he says, “must look into our hearts.” Then a few days later it is announced Pope Francis is going to wash the feet of handicapped people during Easter week. I think a Pope rarely leaves the Vatican during the Holy Days of Easter, no less washes the feet of the least fortunate amongst us. Truly Pope Francis is bringing alive the spirit and life of St. Francis of Assisi.

St. Francis, the medieval saint from the 12th century is being remembered for his love of nature and his humility and concern for everyone–no matter what is their walk in life, particularly the very poor. If we look deeper, we will also see Pope Francis practicing the inner path which brought St. Francis of Assisi to so much joy. Pope Francis can illuminate these practices as well as clear up misunderstandings. There has been too much self-denial and sacrifice embedded in religion for too long and for too many.

Those who have been fortunate to live in Italy and follow the footsteps of St. Francis realize he is the saint for nature, the poor and a lot more. Most people don’t know that St. Francis spent a good part of his short life living simply on mountain tops all over central Italy. His many days and long nights were spent in the big silence, contemplating all elements of life. Nature in all its beauty, the sky in its wonder, and his own nakedness stood out nearly every moment. This time alone in silence guided him to a profound peace within himself. He would spend days and weeks alone on many mountaintops instructing his dear brother Leo to keep all humans away. His time alone in the perfect stillness was sacred. This time was about simply being and much more. It was time without distraction. St. Francis would venture deep into the great vastness of his heart. Loneliness and everything human was present, but time and time again, it all fell aside to something greater. St. Francis found a great vastness of God. A perfect peace was found inside the midst of the peace and quiet of the mountaintop.

Today Pope Francis, the Dali Lama and spiritual leaders of many faiths are practicing a similar path of spending much time sitting in profound stillness, the deep quiet of the heart. They begin each morning, taking time to be and listen to the depths of the inner stillness. This is the source of their openness, humility, wisdom, humor and compassion.

St. Francis battled his ill body, his desires and his feelings on his journey into the vastness of God. Pope Francis, the Dali Lama, and spiritual leaders today have learned the battle is not necessary. The middle road of taking time to listen and receive the silence of the heart is a true path. There is no need to punish ourselves. At the end of his life, St. Francis asked brother body to forgive him for being so hard and unforgiving towards what is also a gift from God, his body and all his humanness.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

– Bruce Davis Ph.D. is the author of The Love Letters: Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi Meet Pope Francis, a charming, soaring fictional and spiritual dialogue with a deeper purpose: a discourse on whether Pope Francis can truly return the church to the saints’ ideal-a humble, compassionate, uplifting embrace of the world’s poor and the heart in everyone. This tender tome–that bespeaks the deep love of God, Man and Nature from every page–purports to be letters between the two saints as they discover to their delight that a new Bishop of Rome has arrived carrying forth their ideals. Can he succeed, truly bringing about the radical change that’s necessary and end two millenniums of pomp and circumstance, returning the church to its spiritual essence of simplicity and compassion? For more information, go to: gravedistractions.com

Can You Feel Heart Disease? – Part 2

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By Kac Young ND, PhD, DCH

Continued from part 1 of this article…..

healthyheartSigns of Heart Failure (2)

Heart failure means the heart is not functioning as well as it should. Some early warning signs may include:

• Weight gain. If your heart starts to fail and fluid starts to build up in your tissue, causing edema, you might see a sudden weight gain.

• Frequent urination. Heart failure may cause decreased blood flow to the kidneys, which causes you to retain more fluid. One of the signs of this fluid may be frequent urination.

• Cataracts. Although the exact connection is not known, studies show that people who have cataracts are at higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

• Nighttime cough. “One of the signs of heart failure may be the build-up of fluid in the chest and heart when lying flat at night. This pressure can cause a nighttime cough.

These warning signs may have several different causes. They do not automatically mean you have, or will get, heart disease. But combined with other heart disease signs and symptoms, blood tests, and your family history, they provide your doctor with information to detect heart disease early on.

“Signs like ankle swelling or weight gain do not necessarily mean you have heart disease, but taken together with diagnosis of heart disease or heart failure,” says Carl E. Orringer, MD,(3) director of preventive cardiovascular medicine at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

The real message here is to pay attention. Don’t just assume that one condition is not related to a bigger issue. Chronic swelling may be an indication that you have inflammation present in your body. Inflammation that does not subside is a key factor in heart disease. Mention symptoms to your doctor so he or she can order the proper tests that may, in fact, save your life!


(1) http://www.everydayhealth.com/heart-health/surprising-physical-signs-of-heart-disease.aspx?xid=tw_everydayhealth_sf

(2) Chris Iliades, MD

(3) http://www.everydayhealth.com/heart-health/surprising-physical-signs-of-heart-disease.aspx?xid=tw_everydayhealth_sf

Kac Young, a former television director and producer, has earned a PhD in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. In the Heart Easy Cook Book sound nutritional advice is followed by family favorites that have been turned into heart healthy meals anyone can make and everyone will love.