A Way to Save on Your Health Costs: an Health Savings Account

Do you pay a lot for out of pocket expenses? There are many various expenses, it can be co-pays, or visits to non-covered medical services, like your Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor, or Acupuncturist? For some it can also mean the costs of first-aid items.

Well you may benefit from having an HSA. Not everyone can take advantage of this tax-free plan. Every year there are likely changing numbers to qualify who is eligible.

Currently, as of Fall 2017 you can qualify if you are an individual/family, with a PPO, and a high-deductible health plan, who is not a dependent, or on Medicare. A high-deductible health plans means, a minimal annual of $1300 for individual or $2600 for a family, with a max out-of pocket of $6550 or $13,100 respectively .

There are actually many things you can use your HSA for; including vision, dental, therapy, service animals, lodging, meals, and much more!

Personally, I think this is a great option, for the person who doesn’t go to the doctor often, is into wellness care v.s. disease care and those who are self-employed to help save them on their insurance premiums.  

One of my favorite things about the HSA, is it really does act like a savings account, where you can always access these funds, even if you are no longer contributing, and it can roll over into an investment account, like an IRA.

Discuss your personal health care needs with your insurance agent, ideally prior, or during open enrollment (Nov 1-Dec 15), so you both can make a decision of what is right for you.

For more information: visit IRS

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Toxins-A few tips on how to avoid them

Toxic exposure has increased dramatically in America, as have rates of disease. Environmental exposure of toxins can happen via air pollution, food and water contamination or through household products used for cleaning/purifying or personal care products.  It is estimated that between 80,000 and 85,000 chemicals are in use in the environment in the United States, yet only about 200 of these chemicals have been tested for safety.

While toxins are all around us, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics indicates that women use an average of nine personal care products each day, exposing themselves to a mixture of over 100 individual chemicals. These products can include things like: soap, facial products, make up, deodorant, lotion, perfume, toothpaste, dental exposures, etc. Now thinking outside of things we put on our body, what are we putting in that exposes us to toxins; food that has been made from GMO, soy, processed foods, sugar, hydrogenated oil, food with pesticides, foods with antibiotics and hormones, food made in microwaves or Teflon cookware. Our home or work environment can expose us to more-air fresheners, cleaning supplies, paints, plastics found everywhere-rain coats, children’s toys, bags, garden houses, containers, vinyl flooring and more!

These lists are just for examples and there are many more; as you can see there is an exhausting supply that we combat on a day to day experience. Various toxins can have different effects in the body such as: headaches, dizziness, respiratory symptoms, infertility, hormonal imbalance, liver, kidney and heart disease, neurological problems, and even cause cancer. You can control what you put in and on your body. Decrease your exposure by taking these steps:

Environment at home

    • Take off shoes as to not bring toxins in
    • Use natural cleaners
    • Use “Low or Zero VOC” (Volatile Organic Compounds-which emit gas and go into our air) paint, air-fresheners, carpet, and furniture( pressed board/wood etc).
      • If buying new furniture let it “off gas” into garage for a few days prior to bringing into your home; consider this with dry cleaning clothes.
      • Use GreenGuard.Org to find low emissions of VOC’s furniture


  • Eat organic, review the 12 crops with the most pesticides (“Dirty Dozen”) and specifically buy these organic if limited on resources. Refer to the “Clean 15” that can be purchased non-organic. See
  • Eat low mercury fish
  • Avoid plastics-drinking/storing/heating with
    • Phthalates are used to make plastics softer or more flexible. PVC’s-polyvinyl chloride; avoid these by not using containers with the codes 3 and 7; and using natural fibers. Phthalates are also found in dairy, meat and pesticides they have been linked to birth defects and disrupt our endocrine system.
  • Drink filtered water (consider a whole house filter or shower filter to avoid all chlorine/chloroform. Can also use a low-flow shower head,ventilate while showering, shower in cooler water.

Personal Care/Medical products

  • Avoid antiperspirant-aluminum is a heavy metal found here
  • Use natural deodorants
  • Use natural based soaps, facial products and make up

Remember this is a start to living toxin free, other toxins do exist too; radiation from hair dryers, computers, cell phones; and even our emotions and negativity can create toxic effects in our body!


Minding the Month: Knowing The Calendar of of “Health Awareness”

Did you know each month there is are usually not just one but several associations and organizations that try to educate the public on an array of health concerns? April is an awareness month for 13 health concerns, it also holds weekly awareness for another 3 health issues, and 4 days to specifically raise awareness for yet another set of medical problems, some of which overlap with the monthly awareness. Each month is similar, differing in health observances.

Amongst the monthly efforts for April is “Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness”, also referred to as IBS. A topic that is somewhat taboo to talk about is our bowel habits, or going number two as some refer to it. However, 10-15% of the U.S. population suffers from this condition, which is disorder, “characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort, and altered bowel habit (chronic or recurrent diarrhea, constipation, or both – either mixed or in alternation).” It is important to exclude any other causes of these problems with your doctor.

Ideally for good health we should be having a bowel movement that is not painful, or difficult, at least 1x/day, perhaps even up to 3, after your main meals. These should be well formed and brown in color. If you are going days without having a bowel movement, the toxins that are waiting to leave your body are built up and can lead to increased chance of colon cancer.

Constipation can be avoided, consider these 3 simple steps:

1. Make sure you are getting enough water. Imagine a pipe that represents your intestines and if the line is dry so to say, nothing in it will move. Ideally we should all get at least 64 ounces or more depending on your weight. Often if you weigh more, you should aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces. Example 200 lbs person, needs to drink 100 ounces of pure water.
2. Vitamin C isn’t just for your immune system, it also has many other health benefits, including aiding the bowels. Taking 2000mg along with 200mg magnesium per day can aid in elimination.
3. Be friends with fiber! Fruits and vegetables such as brocolli, cauliflower, spinach, and zuccini are rich in fiber. There are also fiber supplements that may be beneficial.

“The road to good health is paved with good intestines!” (Dr. Steven Sandberg-Lewis)


The Balance in Your Body: Finding the meaning of dis-ease

Here is goes another health article, but this one isn’t a checklist of do’s and don’ts to prevent something. This article is targeted at what to do, when you have done everything you could: you ate your protein and veggies, consumed the proper amount of water (1/2 your body weight in ounces), breathed deeply, ate fruit and nuts as snacks, avoided sugar, drugs and alcohol, all three of which are equally addictive. On top of this you took your Vitamin D, fish oil, and antioxidants, along with a daily dose of physical activity!

Now what? You sound unstoppable with this laundry list of activities that are supposed to paint the picture of good health. What happens when all this fails? What do you do when you find yourself dealing with something you were trying to prevent, from the common cold, other infection, diabetes, cancer, or some other malady?

Why is often a question we ask ourselves when something in life doesn’t go the way we wanted. Why do bad things, like sickness, health challenges, or dis-ease happen to good people? Why, is because there are some things that are beyond us, one of which is our health. “The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

When you are faced with a ill-health, find your centeredness. Our health is an interplay of forces, seen and unseen. Go within yourself and find serenity as you surrender to something bigger then your efforts and their effects. Look for the meaning, what can you gain or grow from, if your health can be a learning lesson? If you have trouble coming up with something on your own, try this for entertainment, and of course, don’t take this or anything else too seriously, for the spiritual meaning underlying diseases, take a look at

Usually, I encourage people that health is in their own hands, of which I think is nearly ninety percent true, the other piece of it, we need to reconcile with, so at the end of each day, you are balanced with in yourself, you’ve done all you can do, and sometimes you just need to remember to relax and stop doing, and be a human-being.

Be Well and Be in Balance to your best ability!


Diabetes 3 Tips to Dodge This Disease

20 million Americans are living with Diabetes and over 40 million have pre-diabetes, thus making this disease almost like an epidemic. This disease is caused by high blood sugar levels. There are a few different types of diabetes, and it can come into someone’s life at any time, and may or not be reflective of their diet. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas in the body that helps the take glucose (sugar) into the liver to store, or be used by cells. Some people are dependant on a insulin prescription because their body has stopped producing it. Aside from Type I diabetes, where the pancreas fails, we each have control of regulating our blood sugar levels, and can get them tested to see how our body is functioning.

Here are a few ways to keep your blood sugar levels in check:

1. Protein-Eat things like eggs, chicken sausage, turkey bacon, or whey protein in the morning to “break-the-fast” from the night. Protein helps keep blood sugar levels more stable, unlike starches which spike and then decline, and leave you wanting more when glucose drops. Calculate your bodies needs with this handy tool

2. Don’t Skip-Many people go without breakfast, lunch and catch up at night, or perhaps don’t snack. It is important to eat small frequent meals to keep your bodies metabolism in a working state. Often people have weight gain, because they are actually starving their body, which responds by storing fat, as a mechanism of survival. The more often you eat, the more you are “using” your metabolism and thus won’t “lose” it with weight gain, which puts you at risk.

3. Exercise-Daily ideally, or at least a few good workouts a week will make your body become more efficient at making insulin. Decreasing body fat also allows for greater use of insulin, known as “sensitivity”. Combining cardiovascular and weight training, when approved by your doctor, can give you many more benefits too. Many people argue that they don’t have time to exercise, well think of this, a cartoon from Randy Glasbergen, “What fits in your schedule better, exercising one hour per day, or being dead 24 hours per day?” (see cartoon at

Good health is a function of healthy diet and lifestyle, and both of these things are controlled by you!


Heart Health 4 Plus Habits to Cultivate

The heart in the human body functionally serves as a circulation pump with an electrical impulses, using sodium, potassium, and calcium contracting the muscle and sending blood, oxygen and vital nutrients all through out the body. Heart disease is a huge problem in America, being the number one killer, with an approaching 600,000 people dying each year.

Heart disease encompasses multiple afflictions and diagnoses, such as congestive heart failure, congenital heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and coronary heart disease. Many health problems, like heart disease, can be avoided with diet and lifestyle. However, there is another component to good health, beyond the well known basics. Imagine a triangle, and in one form of medicine, Applied Kinesiology, there is what is referred to as the “Triad of Health”. The foundation of this triangle is on the “structure” of the body, with the sides comprised of “chemical and mental”. It is is the realm of the “mental or emotional” category that can be a largely overlooked component of heart disease.

Cardiologist Dr. Mimi Guarneri highlights all the hearts different aspects in her book, The Heart Speaks.

Do these 4 things regularly for a healthier and happier heart and life.

1. Let Go! Emotions can be overwhelming, and may get bottled up. What happens when pressure adds? You will get an EXPLOSION if you don’t express your feelings! Don’t go there, by daily trying to release the hardships you endured. Talking or journaling can be an outlet, or exercise. Find something that works for you. Consider Emotional Freedom Technique, or otherwise known as tapping, which is a quick and easy tool that has profound effects.

2. Follow your passion! Do you feel a sense of fulfillment in your life? What gets you “lit up”? Doing what you love is like spiritual food for your heart. Either in your work life or outside of that, connect with an activity that you enjoy regularly. If you love to dance, and its been a while, turn up the music at home on an evening after work. Don’t put off the simple pleasures that put a simile on your face.

3. Forgive and stop worrying! We all experience feelings of resentment at one point or another, to others or even ourselves. Holding on to this is toxic. We just have this moment to live, and often we are either in past or future. Realize that each person in any given moment is doing the best they can, and if you’ve been hurt, don’t keep on hurting yourself with reliving that situation for the past. Talk with a professional or trusted friend to help you through life’s challenges.

4. Do the basics! It is the basic lifestyle habits that create a compound effect that will lead you to health or away from it. Don’t use tobacco, eat plenty of vegetables, eat fruit for dessert, and exercise.


Cut Your Cancer Risk with 3 Character Traits

The CDC came out with a report relinquishing statistics that the US population falls short with cancer screening. Much of the report is discussing women’s cancers such as cancer and breast, and colon cancer which affects men as well. To give you an example, “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, 72.4 percent of American women were screened for breast cancer, and 83 percent of American women were screened for cervical cancer. These screening rates are below the national targets of 81 percent and 93 percent, respectively.”

Recall the top 10 killers for Americans, heart disease ranks #1 as of 2009 statistics, and cancer coming in next, with 567,628 deaths per year, with an overall death rate of  793.8 deaths per 100,000 population. Take this knowledge for empowerment, you don’t have to be a statistic. When is comes to disease, “genetics loads the gun, with diet and lifestyle pulling the trigger,” as said by Dr. Chris Meletis.

Here are 3 simple, not easy, ways to embrace a healthier lifestyle to cut your cancer risk:

1. Be Tobacco Free: Have you been to a Body Worlds exhibit or some other experience where you got to view the lungs of a smoker? Or do you know that tobacco use contributes to 1/3rd of all cancer deaths, or that “a single cigarette contains over 4,000 chemicals, including 200 known poisons and more than 60 carcinogens.” If you or a loved one, are still using, reach out for help to quit.

2. Eat Fruits and Veggies: The record player is broken, have you noticed? Yes, amazingly this is still the answer to so many problems! So basic, yet so hard to make a change at times. Try a cooking class or get a some new recipes to inspire you to make healthy and tasty meals at home. Your plate should be half vegetables, one quarter protein, and one quarter grains (preferably gluten free according to many holistic doctors) according to the new USDA guidelines.
3. Stop Stressing: Stress will make you not only unhappy, overweight, but ultimately lead to your death through heart disease,cancer, or some other illness. Your stress could be manifesting as neck tension, IBS, panic attacks, or other health condition. Consider reading a book, joining a group, or other exploration of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

Today, can be the start of a new beginning, leading you down a path of better health. Change starts with you, wanting a long, healthy, and happy life!

“The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions.”  ~Ellen Glasgow