Ten Tips for Longevity

drryanThe Ten – Lifestyle Choices to Shift the Aging Process
Author: Dr. Jeanette Ryan

In our complex and sometimes sly modern world, ordinary experiences can put us at greater risk for unhealthy aging and disease.  Simple lifestyle choices can significantly tilt the odds in your favor for a vibrantly healthy, active journey into the Golden Years.  Here’s some of my faves:

1. Forego the convenience of plastic.  From take out food to gourmet hot drinks to prepared food in packages, we are constantly exposed to plastic.  My favorite? Those K-cups! Pressing boiling water through a plastic cup, and then drinking it in a disposable hot cup is a direct double infusion of BPA or Bis-Phenyl A, a potent endocrine disruptor that contributes to obesity, prostate cancer and feminization in men, estrogen toxicity and estrogen based cancers in women. That goes for Styrofoam too.

2. Go for the small inconvenience of constantly using your own ceramic hot cup (if you hand it over when you order your drink, you usually get a 10 cent discount along with the benefit of lowering your BPA load), glass water bottles (I love these by Life Factory http://www.lifefactory.com), and always take prepared food out of the packaging to heat in in your own non-reactive cookware.

3. Forego the unnecessary radiation of CT scans…for just about every test, there is an MRI version of a similar test. And while a mammogram is not a CT scan, it is still quite a dose of radiation. Other safer breast scans: thermography and SonoCine, an ultrasound scan.  There is one low dose radiation CT Scan worth doing: the Virtual Colonoscopy has numerous benefits over the Optical Colonoscopy. And for ambient radiation, optimize your iodine levels to protect the thyroid, the gland most vulnerable to radiation. First confirm you do not have hidden auto-immunity against your thyroid with a simple blood test: ATGA, ATPO.

4. Harness the powerful efficiency of Burst Exercise….

5. Forego the late night munchies. Staying up past your point of tired usually kicks in the craving for sweets and quick energy like chocolate and starches.  This in turn fires up your stress hormones and makes it far less likely you’ll sleep restoratively thereby accelerating aging, and contributes to stubborn weight gain.

6. Go for lights out by 10pm…the benefits

7. Forego caffeine abuse and use it smartly instead. So many of us are overstressed and under rested and have coffee the first thing on empty. After fasting all night, this necessarily puts the body into a blood sugar rollercoaster, contributing to weight gain, pre-diabetes, mood swings, and high carb binges at the afternoon slump, also caused in part by AM coffee on empty.  Instead, go for smart use of tea or coffee: have it with a meal, preferably lunch.  Better yet, use caffeine only when needed, not as a daily habit.

8. Forgo technology damage…MRI studies have shown that holding a cell phone to your head for a 10 minute conversation increases inflammation of the brain.  If Alzheimer’s or Dementia are diseases you’d like to forego, make sure you always use an earbud, car Bluetooth (not the ear piece) or speakerphone.  Or better yet, talk on your corded landline (cordless also emit EMFs). When reading or gaming on a wifi enabled device, put it on Airplane Mode.  Plug your computer into cabled Ethernet.

9. Go for adequate protein at breakfast and lunch. By adequate, I mean 25g at each meal for women and 35g at each meal for men as a rough guideline. (Yes, that’s 50 and 70 total, respectively). The protein must be lean and clean and for those over 35, one of the meals should probably be an organic vegan protein powder in a smoothie, such as rice, pea, hemp or pumpkin seed.  Eating protein this way is excellent for stabilizing blood sugar, adding stamina and ditching the afternoon slump (another dangerous time for carb loading), and keeping you lean and energized.

10. Go for body and skincare products labeled with the word “Organic.” Could it be that one of the reasons women have 4x the incidence of cancer over men is linked to the fact that on average, a woman puts 76 chemicals from 7 different beauty products on her skin before she leaves the house each day?

Go for something that nurtures your spirit on a daily basis…meditation, prayer, journaling, dance, exercise, making….art. Live all of your life as if it is Sacred…because it IS.

Peace and Blessings, Dr. Ryan

This Trippy Plant May Heal You

The Life-Altering, Psychedelic Ayahuasca Plant

Author: Rak Razam

Ayahuasca is a plant medicine that has been used by the indigenous people of South America for millennia to heal physical ailments—and, they claim, to cleanse and purify the spirit. It was discovered

by the West in 1851 when the legendary British botanist Richard Spruce explored the Rio Negro Basin and was introduced to the vine by the Tokanoan Indians. Spruce gave the vine its scientific name, Banisteriopsis caapi; in different areas of South America it is also known as yagé or hoasca. For a while in the mid-twentieth-century chemists who isolated the active properties of the vine called their compound “telepathine.”

Research showed it contained various harmala alkaloids, which are boiled up in a brew (also called ayahuasca) with a multitude of other plants, one being the leafy Psychotria viridis, which contains the powerful hallucinogenic chemical Dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT. On its own the vine is only orally active at very high doses, but it also contains potent MAO (mono-amine oxidase) inhibitors that overpower the body’s own enzymes and allow the DMT to potentiate.

Science has made cautious forays into the jungle to study the vine in its native setting or, as with the “Hoasca Project” in the 1990s, to study church members of groups like União doVegetal (UDV) who drink ayahuasca as part of their syncretic Christian-jungle religion. What they found was that regular ayahuasca use flushed the brain clean and improved receptor sites, suggesting the vine could be a medicinal goldmine.

But what science cannot explain is the psychic effect of this “mother of all plants,” the sense of the numinous and the spiritual world it reportedly opens up. Those who drink say that each ayahuasca journey is unique. They say that the spirit of the vine comes alive, it guides and teaches, and on the other side nothing is ever the same. Or so they say.

The native men and women who safeguard the knowledge of the vine and of the spirits it is said to reveal are the curanderos and curanderas—or, as the West would call them, shamans. Their role has been that of healer, priest, and traveler between worlds, acting as intermediaries between the spiritual dimension and this world on behalf of their patients.

Yet the demands of the work and the rise of Western materialism throughout South America have seen a fall in prestige—and customers— for the curanderos. The profession, usually hereditary, was in danger of extinction before an unprecedented wave of Western gringos started coming in search of ayahuasca and the healing it can provide.

Over the last twenty years or so a new gringo trail—this one a journey of the soul—has been blossoming in the jungles of South America. Seekers and thrillseekers alike have been coming from theWest for a reconnection to the deeper reality shamanism connects one to—and bringing back amazing stories of hallucinogenic trips, healing, and enlightenment.

FlowerIndigenous shamanism has quickly become the most profitable business in town and numerous jungle lodges and retreats have sprung up across South America to cater to the influx of rich tourists. This has spilled over onto the internet as hundreds of ayahuasca websites, chat rooms, and forums have emerged to crystallize a global subculture engaging with an indigenous spiritual practice and seeding it back into theWestern world.

As well as being used by hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of indigenous peoples throughout South America, ayahuasca has also become one of the world’s fastest growing religions, with branches of Brazilian churches like Santo Daime and União doVegetal springing up in Europe, Britain, Australasia, America, Japan, and elsewhere. In January 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a New Mexico branch of the UDV, saying they had a constitutional right to be allowed to legally practice their ayahuasca ceremonies under the freedom of religion law. The U.S. government immediately appealed, but the genie was out of the bottle.

The mystery of ayahuasca had left the jungle and entered the cities, via religion, media, and the web. And what did it say about the growing Western need for an authentic reconnection to the planet?

Author: Rak Razam
Permissions: The following is an excerpt from Aya Awakenings: A Shamanic Odyssey by Rak Razam (North Atlantic Books, 2013)

Stress increases inflammation!

Dwelling on negative events can increase levels of inflammation in the body, a new Ohio University study finds.

Researchers discovered that when study participants were asked to ruminate on a stressful incident, their levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of tissue inflammation, rose. The study is the first time to directly measure this effect in the body. “Much of the past work has looked at this in non-experimental designs. Researchers have asked people to report their tendency to ruminate, and then looked to see if it connected to physiological issues. It’s been correlational for the most part,” said Peggy Zoccola, Metaphysicsan assistant professor of psychology at Ohio University.

Zoccola is lead author on the new study, which she will present Friday at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Miami, Fla.  The research team recruited 34 healthy young women to participate in the project. Each woman was asked to give a speech about her candidacy for a job to two interviewers in white laboratory coats, who listened with stone-faced expressions, Zoccola said.

Half of the group was asked to contemplate their performance in the public speaking task, while the other half was asked to think about neutral images and activities, such as sailing ships or grocery store trips.  The researchers drew blood samples that showed that the levels of C-reactive protein were significantly higher in the subjects who were asked to dwell on the speech, Zoccola reported. For these participants, the levels of the inflammatory marker continued to rise for at least one hour after the speech. During the same time period, the marker returned to starting levels in the subjects who had been asked to focus on other thoughts.

The C-reactive protein is primarily produced by the liver as part of the immune system’s initial inflammatory response. It rises in response to traumas, injuries or infections in the body, Zoccola explained. C-reative protein is widely used as a clinical marker to determine if a patient has an infection, but also if he or she may be at risk for disease later in life. “More and more, chronic inflammation is being associated with various disorders and conditions,” Zoccola said. “The immune system plays an important role in various cardiovascular disorders such as heart disease, as well as cancer, dementia and autoimmune diseases.” Zoccola is working with Fabian Benencia in Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and Lauren Mente, a registered nurse and graduate student in the School of Nursing, to investigate the effect of rumination on additional inflammation markers. In addition, she hopes to study the issue in other populations, such as older adults, who might be vulnerable to rumination and health problems.

Study co-authors are Wilson Figueroa, Erin Rabideau and Alex Woody, all graduate students in the Ohio University Department of Psychology. This study was supported with funding from the Ohio University Research Committee.