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The Health Up Newsletter
Created Weekly by Teri Yunus 
Health Up With Teri Health & Wellness Coaching

October 13, 2022 | issue 110

What's Inside This Week:
  1. Raise the Flag
  2. Why is it So Easy to Sabotage My Desires to Change?
  3. Did You Know?
  4. Recipe of the Week
  5. Book of the Week
  6. Resource Tip of the Week
  7. My Favorite Quotes
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Raise The Flag
If you or someone you know is having trouble with “raising the flag”, you may be interested in knowing that this may be an early sign of life-threatening heart problems. Erectile dysfunction (i.e. raising the flag) is a real concern for all men. A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that screening men with erectile dysfunction (ED) for heart disease could help prevent a million heart attacks or strokes over the next 20 years and save billions of dollars. There is a way to prevent erectile dysfunction…one that most doctors don’t talk about. Most of the time, the treatment of choice is pills…like Viagra. Vegetables are the best way to prevent ED and the heart disease that it may be warning about.
Many people, both men and women, do not know about the connection between ED and heart disease and stroke. Most often, we think it’s just an age thing. Something that happens to all men over time. The thing is it is happening to younger and younger men. Men in their late 30s and early 40s are showing up at their doctor offices asking for the little blue pill. Why is that? What is causing this to occur in younger men? “It’s the food”, says Dr. Michael Klaper. A meat and dairy heavy diet affects blood flow in all of our blood vessels. The smallest vessels of them all are the penile arteries…the ones that carry blood to the penis.
Men with ED have a 59% higher risk of coronary heart disease, a 34% higher risk of stroke, and a 33% higher risk of dying from any cause, compared to men without symptoms of ED. Prevention is the best route to avoid this from occurring to you or someone you love. A healthful whole food, plant-based no oil way of eating is the perfect recipe to help unblock arteries…all the arteries in the body. Not only does this way of eating prevent and reverse heart disease, but it can prevent and reverse erectile dysfunction, as well.
So let’s raise that flag by moving toward the healthiest diet on the planet! Eating your veggies just got a whole lot more important!
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Why is it So Easy to Sabotage My Desire to Change?
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Does it sometimes feel like you have no control over what you do? Does it feel like you know what to do but don’t know why you’re not doing it? Habit is the driver behind almost all of what we do!
So how are habit formed? When we do things repeatedly, they become just what we do…our habits. Do it enough and you will do it without thinking about, without even realizing it. Here’s how it goes.
Habit loop – the root of how we behave. The first few times we do something it feels hard or awkward but the more we do it, the less decision-making is required and we can almost do it blindly. Our primitive brain is designed for survival and tells us to conserve energy so we don't expend all our stored energy in times of scarcity…habits are formed in our brains to save effort. The brain will attempt to turn any routine into a habit because it allows the mind to relax more often. This can be dangerous, though. When the brain shuts down and we go on “auto-pilot” we rely on the habits we have created…good or bad. The brain says, oh, you’re stressed, grab some ice cream. Oh, you’re bored, what’s in the fridge. See where this is going? 
The habit loop is a 3 step process – a cue,  the routine, and a reward.
  • Cues/Triggers – can be something as simple as a visual cue like walking down the candy isle at the grocery store…oh, there’s a Snickers bar…thoughts of when you lost your favorite pet and turned to Snickers for comfort come rushing back. This triggers a strong drive to buy the candy bar and eat it in the car. So that’s a visual cue/trigger. We can also have emotional cues…oh, I’m upset, where’s the chocolate? Emotional cues are more complex and powerful.
  • Routine – when I am stressed, I reach for a Snickers. It comforted me when I lost my pet, and it worked pretty well (until I gained 30 lbs).
  • Reward – the Snickers is the reward…it did provide comfort during a time of loss. Our brains remember that and the cue triggers the behavior…whether you are aware of it or not.
Habits structure our lives…think of little kids. We often say that kids do better when their lives are structured…when routines are altered, they don’t do so well. The structure gives kids brains an opportunity to just do without having to make the same decisions over and over…teach your child to make his bed every morning and then 2 months down the road tell him there’s no time for bedmaking…it will not go well. The habit has been created and the child will not feel “normal” if all the pieces of his routine are played out. Anybody have any experience with this? Habits often form without conscious thought…they usually happen by accident. Going out to eat is an example…we rush through the fast food line because we are rushed to get the kids to their practice or to a game. We do this several times a week…before we know it, we have created a habit and now it feels even harder to go home and make dinner. It feels so labor intensive and the fast food line is calling your name. Many times, even after the habit is created, we don’t realize it! Studies show that habit lives in the basal ganglia in the brain and this area continues to work even when all other memory is lost. This is survival…and can throw us off when we are trying to change. I will share a quick story that one of my veteran patients told me years ago…he had a 50-year smoking habit and was able to quit after multiple attempts. He had been off cigarettes for about 3 years when his son-in-law was in a bad accident…he ran to his daughter’s home and saw a pack of cigarettes and a lighter sitting on the kitchen counter. He, without thinking, picked up the pack and lit a cigarette. Within moments he realized that he no longer smoked and put it out in disgust! His basal ganglia took over…he was stressed and scared and there was his cue…fascinating when you think about it.
Industry knows all about how to create cues and triggers that lead to habits…McDonald’s is a perfect example of this. All their restaurants looks very much the same including the “golden arches”…if you routinely eat there, you will be triggered to feel “hungry” whenever you see the big yellow M. Perfect marketing strategy…we don’t even know what’s happening…we just find ourselves in the drive thru ordering a cheeseburger.
The first step to habit change is knowing the cue or the trigger. A lifetime ago, when I was a smoker, the cue to have a cigarette was after a meal or with my morning coffee. When I finally was able to quit the habit came when I changed up my morning routine. I gave up coffee (which I never liked anyway…I like the sweet cream that went in the coffee). I changed to tea and I no longer went downstairs prior to getting in the shower. My husband helped me a lot. He brought my unsweetened tea upstairs for me to enjoy while I got ready for work. For anyone who knows me well knows that I am now a tea addict…lol. I kept the reward but definitely it's a healthier one as tea, especially green tea, promotes longevity. 
It can be a fun process…kind of like a detective. What are your cues? If we are going to change our habits, we must be aware of our cues and triggers. The next step is keeping the reward the same…that morning cigarette and coffee were a relaxing way to start my morning. I replaced this with the tea that gave me the same relaxing reward. I sipped the tea and enjoyed the aroma and the flavor. The Golden Rule of habit Change (per Charles Duhigg who wrote the book, “The Power of Habit”. It’s an amazing book that will enlighten you about why you do what you do and the influence of industry and marketing) is same cue, same or similar reward…different routine. And BELIEF! You must believe that you are able to change the habit. One of my favorite quotes is from Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t…you’re right”.
So often when we are attempting to lose weight or stop smoking…whatever it is, if it’s your habit and you want to change it, we start out strong, enthusiastic, and excited to make this change. We may go on a strict diet or join a gym and tell ourselves that THIS TIME we will follow through and eat the food and actually go to the gym. Often, we can do really well for the first few weeks…then life shows up. We go on vacation or one of the kids gets sick and our routine is thrown off schedule.
  • We slid back to old habits
  • We seek comfort in our old way of being
  • Some of us may even beat ourselves up about it.
  • We feel like a failure and that we don’t have any control
  • We sabotage our efforts…and we had been doing soooo well!
So what do we do? Some people will tell you it’s all about willpower. I call BS on that one. Willpower is nothing more than habit! Willingness is a better way to think of it. Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and be UNCOMFORTABLE while you create new habits…habits that serve you in the way that will take you to achieving what you say you want?
Being willing to sit in the discomfort is key for any habit change. Knowing that the UNcomfortable is where the good stuff is…believing that you CAN do it and taking one moment at a time will help you achieve what you want.
Creating a NEW habit happens when we break the habit cue…want to stop smoking, stop going to the smoking hut on your break…go for a long walk far away from the place you went to smoke. Create a new habit during your break…you are breaking the cue. Want to eat more fruit…put a bowl of easy to eat fruit on your counter in your visual field and grab one and go to a different place to eat it. If you typically ate your unhealthy snacks standing in the kitchen…take the fruit to a space near a window and look outside while you eat it and visualize that thinner, more energetic you. Changing the habit cue takes perseverance and commitment AND you can do it. Health Coaches are often called Masters of Change…we delve into the habit and shift it to create the better version of you. What habit would you like to let go of? It's only as hard as you tell yourself. 
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Joining clubs after retirement could extend your life. Bring on knitting and book club!
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Recipe of the Week
Sheet Pan Fajitas
Makes 4 Servings (2 fajitas each)
2 portobello mushroom caps, sliced into strips
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into strips
1 ½ medium yellow onions, sliced into strips
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
8 corn tortillas
Optional toppings:
Coconut yogurt
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or silicone mat).
  2. Toss together the portobello strips, bell peppers, onions, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and cilantro in a bowl. Pour onto the baking sheet and spread out evenly. Roast for 25 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  3. If desired, you can warm the tortillas by wrapping a stack of them in foil and heating them in a 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes (toaster oven?)
  4. Divide the portobello mixture among the tortillas, and top with your choice of toppings. 
Recipe from plantyou cookbook by Carleigh Bodrug
Book of the Week
Catching title, hey? This interesting read is by Gary John Bishop to help you get out of your head and into your life!
Listen to my Health Tip Tuesday video on Facebook on Tuesdays around 10:30am to hear my book review!
Their goal is to build a plant-based world as quickly as possible, leaving no one behind. Profits from their meal starter kits help people with food insecurity. Check out their kits, newsletter, nutrition info, and recipes. Watch the film that started it all, Plant Pure Nation.

“Whether you think you can, or think you can't…you're right!”
---My very favorite quote of all time by Henry Ford

Important Disclaimer
The content in this newsletter is intended for educational/informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care professional. 
hen Basics tea
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