Independence Questioned

I love July 4th!

Deep-down, I am incredibly patriotic. I cry during the National Anthem, for example, at football games and the such. I usually feel a little ridiculous when I begin to tear-up but then I realize… we have a lot to be thankful for in this country, we really do. July 4th makes me reflect on so many things; the strong spirit of the “Founding Fathers” (and Mothers) of our country, the sacrifices that have been made by so many to maintain our freedoms, our right to vote and our right to speak our minds (even if we don’t agree with one another). Say what you will, but these few things alone make our country stand-out from so many others and I am proud of us! Yes, we are a work in progress and we need to keep striving to get better but, overall, we are pretty darn great!

This year, however, Independence Day made me reflect on a different kind of independence. An independence which is really just ego-based, sometimes fear-based, stubbornness. An independence which makes one afraid to ask for help when they need it, makes one declare, “I don’t need anyone. I can do everything on my own.”

Many people are guilty of this; I know I certainly have been, especially in my younger years. Having grown-up female in a home with old-school, stereotypical male/female roles, I was determined to never “depend” on any one person for any one thing. I would happily declare this to anyone that asked, as well.

In some respects this has definitely made me a more able person; I know how to build my own furniture, change my own oil, install drywall (recently, my greatest accomplishment was installing my own door bell!) but also how to bake a cake from scratch, clean my pool and tend to my yard.

This determination to “do it all” also gave me a great drive and passion for life and it’s experiences. I have traveled to many places – often alone. I also attended graduate school and built my own private practice/holistic heath center upon graduation. All seemingly great things but I have done most of this alone…something to ponder.

Then I reached a point in my life where everything personally was crumbling and I began to tell others the truth of what my personal world was at that moment in time. I learned a lot from this experience: 1) It was ok not to be “perfect” and people would still love you that way (sometimes more so because you were human!) 2) when you told your truth so many others had the opportunity to tell their truths and so often they were almost the same story of pain, loss, rejection, whatever you may have been sharing at that time but so many others were holding all of this in, as well, attempting this perfection that was just not possible and 3) letting others know that you needed support or help does not make you weak or less wonderful as a human being, it connects you with others, gets them to share their experiences and creates a sense of community.

We are human, afterall, we need community; we need each other. Let us not strive for perfection but for health; let us strive to be whole.

Happy 4th, everyone! May you all celebrate your independence and simultaneously appreciate your need for connection and community.

~Jewel Sommerville, D.Ac.

Advertisements

Eat what you want!

On May 11th, we celebrated “Eat what you want” Day. That’s right, “Eat what you want“!

The Four Food Groups

I am curious to hear what everyone will did on this very special day.

Did you gorge on sugar, desserts, ice cream, chips? or did you gorge on fruits, veggies? or did you choose between quantity and quality? or lastly, did you decide that Eat what you want doesn’t mean Eat to be sick?

For me, when I came upon this topic, I thought how cool is that, there is a day I can eat what I want. Then I realized I already do that, every day of every year. I don’t believe in deprivation, in dieting or in guilt. I do believe however in balance, in Whole Foods, in eating for health and in choosing foods based on how they make you feel.
So maybe on “Eat what you want” day, I will eat foods I don’t often eat, foods I think of as a treat, such as sushi, smoked salmon, grass fed lamb, escargot, etc

Another important idea for me on May 11th is to celebrate Mother Earth, our Mother and in doing so, I choose to eat Whole Foods. And I can make cookies and desserts made of Whole Foods so I can treat myself while loving my body and respecting Mother Earth, how cool is that?

Remember the old saying “We are what we eat!” so today who do you choose to be?

Anais et moi hammac

The Author:  Severine Degnan, founder of Birth in Harmony and co-founder of Doulas of Rhode Island, was propelled forward in her journey as a doula after her own natural, un-medicated birth of her daughter, Anais. Because her daughter’s birth was so empowering and powerful, Severine felt a strong urge to begin working with other pregnant women to guide, support and empower them on own their journey into motherhood.

In 2007, she became a birth doula and started to attend births in hospitals and at home and certified as a postpartum doula in 2011.  That same year, she became a Holistic Health Coach and certified in Transformational Coaching Methods. Since working in the birthing field, she has had the pleasure to work with over 120 women and families.

Over the last few years, she began to wonder how food and lifestyle were affecting certain pregnancy induced symptoms and conditions such as gestational diabetes, heart burn, pre-clampsia, and morning sickness. She started helping women regain their health by linking conditions with diet and lifestyle. She realized both health and sickness all begin in the gut.

She is now bridging her passions of pregnancy and birth with foods, wellness and cooking. She teaches women how to listen to their body and adjust their foods and life so their can feel happy and healthy from the inside out.

Her website is www.Birthinharmony.com

Tree Hugger

tree one

I am a tree hugger.

This may come as a surprise to some but not if you look around my private practice. There are photos of trees everywhere. I did not notice until a patient pointed it out to me years ago. Every bit of artwork in my office, at that time, was of a tree.

I could hide behind East Asian Medicine (EAM) and say, “Well, in Chinese Medicine the tree is used symbolically to represent the person and his/her ailment.”

Which is true, in EAM to truly treat a person’s ailment we must address the root of the “tree” – i.e. – the cause of the problem, as well as, the “stem” (symptoms) of the problem to truly heal. Trees are also the element of wood in EAM, therefore connected to the Liver Qi and are rooted in the Earth, therefore connected to the Spleen Qi.

If truth be told, however, this was just a coincidence. I did not choose these pieces because they were related to my training; I chose them because trees bring me great peace and are, simply, beautiful. So, I am a tree hugger through and through.

Perhaps it was the early reading of Shel Silverstein’s, “The Giving Tree” that solidified it for me as a child. I read that book repeatedly and sobbed every time. Who didn’t?!

Wherever this love originated, I am grateful for it. The peace one gains while walking through a forest is unlike any other. The Qi (energy) trees generate and share is immense.

This month is “Love a Tree” month… I do love trees, of all kinds. So I ask you to take a moment to love a tree; maybe plant a new tree or tend to one you already have; walk through a forest and breathe in the peace of it, the renewal of your spirit, the calm. They are here for you, always have been and always will be.

Visit here: http://psd.fanextra.com/articles/40-naturally-beautiful-photos-of-trees/ for 40 photos of beautiful trees by Tom Ross. Thank you FreeFoto.com for the first tree photo.

Tree 2

~~Author: Jewel Sommerville, Doctor of Acupuncture

Dr. Sommerville, founder of Holistic Health Rhode Island, received her degree from the New England School of Acupuncture, the oldest graduate school for the study of East Asian Medicine (EAM) in the United States. She is licensed to practice EAM in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island and earned the credential of Diplomate of Acupuncture from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

In addition to her clinical experience, Jewel worked in collaboration with Harvard Osher Institute to design and implement research studies which examined the effectiveness of EAM; she was credentialed and treated patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital as part of a study examining the effectiveness of acupuncture with IBS.

Dr. Sommerville currently serves as part-time faculty at the New England School of Acupuncture. She has also taught at Brown University as part of an elective examining Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and served as a teaching assistant at the New England School of Acupuncture in 2002. She was honored to be the Master of Ceremonies at NESA’s Women’s Health Research Symposium in 2011 and often guest lectures on Women’s Health & Acupuncture Research. She has written numerous articles for publications throughout New England and presented on topics ranging from stress to complementary medicine’s role in substance abuse recovery.

Dr. Sommerville believes quality of care and the patient-practitioner relationship are of utmost importance. She combines her training in Japanese and Chinese acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine to assess, diagnose and treat your condition.

E-mail: drjewel@holistichealthri.com

Celebrating Mothers!

May 12th is Mother’s Day!

11384320-happy-mothers-day

I love Mother’s day. It’s the day I get to decide what I want to do and my family just goes along. As I tell my daughter, I have 2 days/year that are mine; my birthday and Mother’s day, she gets the rest beside Father’s day and my husband’s birthday.

Although we should celebrate Mothers every day because they deserve it, let’s make a big deal of this one. Make her feel special, bring her breakfast in bed, cover her with kisses, buy her flowers, tell her how beautiful and amazing she (all day long), put her on top of your world for one day, hug her 10 bi-zillion times, take her for a walk to her favorite spot, make her laugh (a real belly laugh), etc. whatever it is that make her happy, do it.

In celebrating our mothers, we are also honoring the birth process. Let’s not forget that a birth transforms a maiden into a mother.

As I became a mother, I began to appreciate my mother more and more and as I age, my love and respect for her deepens every day. She never stops to amaze me.

Although, growing up, I wish she made different choices, I have forgiven her and I can now love her the way she is because she deserves it. We are all perfect in our imperfections.

mothers-day

I hope as you talk to your mother, think of her or even better, spend the day with her, you will find a place in your heart to forgive her and to love her for the perfect mother she has always been.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL THE AMAZING MOTHERS!

244

The Author: Severine Degnan, founder of Birth in Harmony and co-founder of Doulas of Rhode Island, was propelled forward in her journey as a doula after her own natural, un-medicated birth of her daughter, Anais. Because her daughter’s birth was so empowering and powerful, Severine felt a strong urge to begin working with other pregnant women to guide, support and empower them on own their journey into motherhood.

In 2007, she became a birth doula and started to attend births in hospitals and at home and certified as a postpartum doula in 2011.  That same year, she became a Holistic Health Coach and certified in Transformational Coaching Methods. Since working in the birthing field, she has had the pleasure to work with over 120 women and families.

Over the last few years, she began to wonder how food and lifestyle were affecting certain pregnancy induced symptoms and conditions such as gestational diabetes, heart burn, pre-clampsia, and morning sickness. She started helping women regain their health by linking conditions with diet and lifestyle. She realized both health and sickness all begin in the gut.

She is now bridging her passions of pregnancy and birth with foods, wellness and cooking. She teaches women how to listen to their body and adjust their foods and life so their can feel happy and healthy from the inside out.

Her website is www.Birthinharmony.com

Nurses Need To Be Healthy Too!

Nurses Need To Be Healthy Too!

nurses1

Nurses, like the general population, struggle with their own health. They struggle with nutrition, fitness and weight.  Nurses can work long hours and changing shifts that can wreak havoc on their sleep and eating patterns. One week they are working days and the next week they are working evenings. It is difficult to get into a set pattern and have regular sleep and meals. Sometimes they may work overtime which can contribute to more havoc on their own health. They are also exposed to many germs throughout their shifts.

Nurses must try to stay healthy so they can continue their profession into their 50’s and beyond, if they choose. They should not have to give up their own careers due to their own health issues. It would be a terrible irony if, after taking care of so many people in their nursing careers, that their own health fails them.

Steps to Keep Nurses Healthy

Get regular sleep. Nurses need to find a way to get enough sleep with their changing work shifts.  This is not always easy when they may work the night shift. Many people struggle working the night shift. It’s best to avoid caffeine after midnight. Try to make your sleep environment as dark as possible and napping 30 minutes before going to work may help you throughout your night shift.

Eat healthier and regularly. Eating on the go is another thing that many nurses do especially when they work overtime and extra shifts to cover for others who may be out sick. Many nurses, like the general population, eat due to stress. See the past article from this blog on how to avoid emotional eating and some examples of whole foods to eat. It is true – we are what we eat.

Exercise More. Many nurses do not exercise. According to NursingWorld.org only 35% of nurses exercise 4-5 times per week. This is due to the long hours they work and being on their feet during those long hours. It’s important for nurses to try to get some form of regular exercise – even if just walking 30 minutes per day. Find an exercise that is enjoyable.

Relaxation for Nurses is a must. Nursing is one of the top most stressful careers. Many nurses suffer from burn-out leaving the field to pursue other professions. Nurses may want to consider scheduling regular massage, Acupuncture or Reiki treatments to de-stress and boost the immune system. Reiki can balance the mind, body and spirit.

Wear protective clothing on the job.  There are nursing uniforms on the market that protect nurses from germs with fluid-repellant fabric. There is a Virginia Commonwealth University study showing these fluid repelling scrubs may play a role in decreasing the risk of MRSA being transmitted to patients as well as healthcare workers. Even some nurses shoes now come with fluid repelling properties. Why let bodily fluids fall on clothing and shoes when you can wear fluid repelling medical apparel?

Nurse at work

Happy Nurses Week to all the nurses out there and we hope you stay as healthy as can be!

Lisa3

The Author: Lisa Buben of FancyScrubs.com.

Lisa Buben is the blogger and webmaster at FancyScrubs.com – celebrating their 3rd year in business – offering unique fluid repelling medical apparel.

Child Nutrition Month

Starving children

Since 2009, Global Child Nutrition Month is observed in April in order to heighten awareness in childhood hunger. There are as many as 35 million of the world’s children suffer from poverty and hunger.

This movement was started to help developping countries as well as assist schools that are offering lunch programs to provide sustainable and nutritious meals.

On the other hand, in the US, many children don’t suffer from hunger yet they are just as malnourished, through the use and abuse of sugary drinks, sweets, packaged foods, fast foods, etc

Obesity rates for children between the ages of 2 and 19 have tripled, since 1980. As of 2007, about 30 percent of children in America are either obese or overweight. (TAKE A MINUTE AND LET THAT SINK IN! 30% OF CHILDREN ARE OBESE OR OVERWEIGHT!!!!!)

As important as fighting hunger is, I would like to start feeding our children with nutritious meals, because good nutrition starts at home, from birth. Children learn by example and repetition. Putting vegetables at every meal on the table so parents and children can share is the 1st step.

6 Tips to promote Child Nutrition:

  • Choose vegetables and dishes with your children – keep them involved in the process
  • Everyone at the table eats the same meal at the same time – including at least 1 vegetable
  • Be creative with your dishes – most times, it’s about how it is cooked
  • Offer dips, sauces, spices to complement the vegetables
  • Focus on whole grains (quinoa, millet, brown rice, amaranth…), vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans/legumes and fruits
  • Start to cook more at home – start with simple dishes

Teaching our children about Nutrition will serve them for life, it will allow them to live a long and healthy life.

As we celebrate Global Child Nutrition Month, remember to think about your children, grand-children, nieces and nephews; remember that good nutrition starts at home with Whole Foods.

It is time to ditch the junk food and welcome with open arms the food Mother Earth gave us so our children can thrive.

I am offering a free consultation to help you tackle this “ho so important” task to switch your family to healthy eating and healthy habits: “Ditch the junk for good” discovery session. Email me at Severine@birthinharmony.com

Image

Author: Severine Degnan, Birth and Postpartum Doula, Nutrition Consultant and Transformational Coach. My family that you see above has come a long way as I have learn about healthy eating. We have banished GMOs, High Fructose Corn Syrup, most soy and corn products, canola oil, etc from our house and we focus on Whole Foods. I only cook with Coconut oil, my husband bakes with no sugar and we all enjoy sitting down every night around a delicious homemade and ‘lovemade” dish.
My daughter who is almost 7 years old, favors tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and green beans. Just this morning, she requested my vegetable soup (all there is in this soup are veggies that I puree after cooking them). Eating healthy can be simple even with children. Parents are the driving force and the example to follow; lead the way and they shall follow!

http://www.birthinharmony.com

Compassion

This week encompasses Earth Day; my original piece was centered around literal ways to help the Earth.

images

Given the tragedy of this week, I am shifting my approach to remember and honor those injured or lost in Boston this week, as well as their families and friends.

I also want to honor those that ran toward the tragedy to help others, showing compassion and selflessness; this includes the first responders and the many citizen volunteers that appeared from the crowds.

The message is simple but can be difficult to practice at times such as this: 

Love the Earth.
Love each other.
Practice compassion.

So many of us feel:

We have lost our way.
We have forgotten how to heal.

We have left our true selves behind.

Ask Yourself:

What small thing can I do to help someone else?
What small thing can I do to begin to heal?
With each life decision ask yourself: What is best for the greater good?

As Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers) said:

~When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my Mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my Mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in the world.~

Let us all be helpers, running toward the tragedy, facing difficulties together, sharing compassion and embracing our fears.

Our world changes after such a tragic event. Let it not change our hearts…

jewel_acupuncture

~~Author: Jewel Sommerville, Doctor of Acupuncture

Dr. Sommerville, founder of Holistic Health Rhode Island, received her degree from the New England School of Acupuncture, the oldest graduate school for the study of East Asian Medicine (EAM) in the United States. She is licensed to practice EAM in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island and earned the credential of Diplomate of Acupuncture from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

In addition to her clinical experience, Jewel worked in collaboration with Harvard Osher Institute to design and implement research studies which examined the effectiveness of EAM; she was credentialed and treated patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital as part of a study examining the effectiveness of acupuncture with IBS.

Dr. Sommerville currently serves as part-time faculty at the New England School of Acupuncture. She has also taught at Brown University as part of an elective examining Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and served as a teaching assistant at the New England School of Acupuncture in 2002. She was honored to be the Master of Ceremonies at NESA’s Women’s Health Research Symposium in 2011 and often guest lectures on Women’s Health & Acupuncture Research. She has written numerous articles for publications throughout New England and presented on topics ranging from stress to complementary medicine’s role in substance abuse recovery.

Dr. Sommerville believes quality of care and the patient-practitioner relationship are of utmost importance. She combines her training in Japanese and Chinese acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine to assess, diagnose and treat your condition.

E-mail: drjewel@holistichealthri.com