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

February 22, 2024 | ISSUE 171
What's Inside This Week 
  • Love Is The Answer!
  • Facing Fear Head On
  • Morning Routine
  • Morning Stretch
  • Extras

Heart Health
Love is the answer 

Back in the day, The Bee Gees sang about how to mend a broken heart. What we knew in the late 1960s and what we know now are quite different, but they were on the right track. When we think of heart disease, often we think cardiac procedures and stents or bypass surgery. We think of lifelong disability and never being the same. But do you know that there is another way to treat and even reverse coronary artery disease? Many have no idea that there is a clinically proven method to reverse this disease. Dr. Dean Ornish and others teach the value of a whole foods plant-based diet in the fight against heart disease. The research demonstrates that what we eat matters so much.
The science tells us that diet, movement, and stress reduction help protect our hearts. There is another component that is equally as valuable and its L-O-V-E! Dr. Ornish teaches that the need for authentic connection and community is primal. It is fundamental to our health and well-being as is the need for air, water, and food. Love is the answer! In his book, UnDo It!, Ornish describes the tens of thousands of studies that have shown that people who feel lonely, depressed, and isolated are 3-10 times more likely to get sick and die prematurely from all causes when compared to those who have strong feelings of love, connection, and community. That is a big deal!
You may be asking, does that mean that if I am not in love, I will get sick…maybe develop heart disease? Absolutely not. There is so much we can do for ourselves to boost the love and connection in our lives and to reduce our chances of developing disease.
  • Loving ourselves is top on the list. This means taking good care of our bodies and our minds. Eating the healthiest foods available to us, reducing substance use, moving our bodies, and finding ways to reduce stress are part of a health-promoting way of living.
  • Smiling and laughing boost well-being. How simple is that? It is hard to be in a bad mood with a smile on your face. And laughing, even if it starts out fake can boost our mood. Smiling at strangers may seem silly now that we are wearing masks, but a smile is more than just a mouth movement, it shows in your eyes and your overall posture.
  • Gratitude is another way to express love. Gratitude can spark joy even in the smallest things. Look around you now. What are you thankful for? There is always something.
  • Forgiveness is about letting go of the blame and misery and freeing yourself to live your life in a more loving way.
  • Serving others is an excellent way to increase the love in your life. Helping others and giving your time and presence is a gift, not only to others but to yourself.
  • Support groups can be super helpful especially now with less socializing. Finding an online support group may be useful to ignite a connection with others and bring more love into your world.
  • Pets are an amazing way to share love. If you do not have a pet, consider adopting one from a shelter if you have the resources to support one. Shelter pets often crave the love and connection that may save both of you.
To stay with the theme of songs that represent love, the Beatles, “All You Need is Love” is not exactly true but it is a great start when it comes to heart health. February is the month for love and for increasing awareness about heart health. Now is the time to explore ways to bring more love into your life, not only to improve your quality of life and happiness but for your heart health…bonus 😊

Facing Fear Head On
Often the good stuff is on the other side of fear…

Flexing our fear muscle is like learning how to say no when you are tapped out and just cannot do one more thing. We get better at it with practice. The upside of fear is that it only lasts if we allow it to. When we are fearful of a specific task or event, we can create all kinds of drama in our minds about how it will play out. Often this speculation is just that. Most times the thing that we fear is not as bad as we think it will be. 
First, it is completely normal to be fearful at times. We all are afraid at times. Others may make it look easy…or they may look like they are fearless, but the more likely truth is that they have pushed through their fear enough times that it has lost its power. An example is afraid of rejection…ask enough people to join you for coffee or for a date and even if you receive mostly no’s, it becomes easier and easier to risk rejection because we learn that it will not kill us…it doesn't even really hurt that much over time. It is just a thing. 
Anxiety is one the rise…it may be the post-pandemic lingerings or our current political state or a hundred other things. Truth is many are seeing an increase in anxious feelings. One of the problems with anxiety is that it can lower our immune response and increase our risk of heart disease (and other chronic illness). Anxiety is based on fear. Fear is the mind's way of protecting us and keeping us safe, but it can get overblown and that's when it can affect us in negative ways. One the other side of that is that a lack of fear can kill us…or, at least, get us into some big trouble. This is the positive affect of fear…it can keep us safe. It's the overblown fear that can be a real struggle for many.
One of the ways to take charge of our fear is to face it head on. Fear is basically information. When we become interested in what the feeling of fear is trying to teach us, we may see the benefits. Exploring fear and looking at the possible origin may reduce its power. Taking intentional action toward overcoming the fear also takes away its power grip. It's okay to feel all the feelings we experience AND we don't have to accept them as something we ‘have’ or something we ‘are’. Our feelings do not define us…how we react to them may provide us with insight on how we might adjust our actions to gain a different perspective. 
My challenge to you this week is to explore your fears. Notice it, notice how you respond to it and ask yourself questions about it. Is this how I want to respond? What are other options that may bring me peace and reduce my anxiety? Start small and practice facing your fear head on. As you experience letting go of useless fears, work your way up to bigger things. Relaxation techniques can help…Gratitude can definitely help. Visualization exercises may be a way to ‘see’ an alternate way of responding to fear. Focus on what you want to create in your life. You may have heard me say, what we focus on, we get more of. Noticing fear and stepping bravely into the fear for exploration may be a way to reduce it and its power. Moving through fear happens when we get more comfortable being uncomfortable. The more we do it, the less uncomfortable it feels. Give it a try. You are stronger than you know. 

Morning Routine
A strategy for a great day

The way we start our day each morning impacts our day in many ways. When we commit to creating the habit of a morning routine, we begin to see the impact it can have. The optimal time for most of us is the early morning hours before the daily commitments of work or school set in. Here are 5 ways to get the most out of your morning routine.
  1. Eliminate the snooze button. If you use an alarm, hitting the snooze takes away the ability to begin your morning routine without delay or rushing. Those extra minutes in bed do not bring restful sleep. If you are prone to hitting the snooze, set your alarm clock up across the room so you must get out of bed to disable it. Viola! You are out of bed and positioned to start your day.
  2. Move your body. See the MOVE section below for an easy morning stretch routine that you may want to incorporate into your routine. You can follow this stretching with lifting weights, walking or running on a treadmill or outside or bouncing on a rebounder. Even just a few minutes each morning allows for more mental clarity, increased energy, and improved overall wellness.
  3. Feed your soul. The early morning hours are perfect for meditation or prayer. Sitting in stillness, again, even for a few minutes, nourishes your mind and your body. You may want to incorporate journaling into your morning routine. A gratitude practice is one way to highlight all we have to be grateful for…and there is a lot! Life is full of challenges…every…single…day. Pointing out the gifts balances out the ‘not so good’ stuff.
  4. Wash your face. Seems like something everyone does, right? Spending just an extra minute or two to cleanse your face and nourish your skin in the morning helps your feel your best and look your best!
  5. Plan your day. What are 3 things you want to accomplish? Limit your ‘to-do’ list to just your top 3 tasks…if you do more, awesome! Plan for downtime as well as a little playtime. Work is required for most of us. Having a plan on what you need to do keeps us on track so that at the end of the day, we feel good about what we’ve done with our precious day.

Move Yo'self
Our bodies were created to move! Each newsletter now includes some suggestions to add movement to your day. Start where you are and increase as tolerated. Push yourself…a bit. 
Starting your day with an easy morning stretch routine is a great way to get your blood moving. There are so many videos available on YouTube to guide you. I chose this one to share with you. If it doesn't feel right, check out the hundreds of other videos available. This stretch routine can be done in bed as part of your morning routine. It takes just a few minutes but you likely will notice a difference in how you feeling almost immediately. Click on the video and follow along. 

Peanut Butter, Banana & Crushed Berries Sandwiches
Delicious, satisfying & quick for breakfast or lunch
Makes 4 sandwiches; ready in less than 20 minutes
1 ½ cups fresh or defrosted frozen berries (any variety)
8 slices whole-grain bread, toasted
4 tablespoons unsalted natural peanut butter
2 ripe medium bananas, thinly sliced
  1. Place the berries in a small saucepan and crush them lightly with the back of a spoon. Cook over medium-low heat until they are soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  2. Spread 1 slice of the whole-grain toast with 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter. Repeat with 3 more toasts. Arrange the banana slices on top, overlapping them slightly to cover the peanut butter.
  3. Spread the cooled crushed fruit on top of the bananas, dividing it evenly among the 4 toasts. Top each with one of the remaining 4 toasts.
  4. Cut the sandwiches in half, if desired. Serve at once or wrap tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Recipe from Forks Over Knives Family

did you know
More than 10,000 additives are allowed for use in food sold in the U.S. These chemicals are added to products for a variety of reasons, including to add color or shine, to stabilize artificial flavors and to extend shelf life. Choose wisely. 

Food for Thought
Dr. Michael Greger released his “How Not to Age” book recently and it is jam-packed (like all of his books!) with facts that can help us to slow the aging process and feel great until our last breath. For the next several weeks, I will share little tidbits that I am reading. I strongly encourage all my readers to look for Dr. Greger's books. They are based on scientific evidence and worth their weight in gold (in my humble opinion). :)
Telomeres are one of the aging pathways that the public is becoming more aware of. Dr. Greger explains that telomeres are the protective cap at the tip of each of our 46 chromosomes. These caps keep our DNA from unraveling and each time our cells divide, we lose a bit of telomere length. When the telomere is gone…we are done. Research has enlightened us on how to maintain and even lengthen our telomeres…with lifestyle. The most damaging to our telomere length are smoking, intake of refined grains, soda, processed meat and dairy. Protective are fruits, vegetables and other antioxidant foods. 
To help boost this anti-aging pathway on a daily basis, consider:
  • following the previous recommendations
  • eating a high-fiber diet centered around whole plant foods
  • choosing to drink tea or coffee over soda or milk
  • eating cruciferous vegetables
  • supplementing with 800 to 2,000 IU of Vitamin D3 a day if your Vitamin D level is below 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L
Catch my Health Tip Tuesday video on Facebook on most Tuesdays to hear my health tip for the week!
Share with your friends and family. Sharing and commenting along with liking or loving <3 increases the exposure so more people can become aware of the value of healthful living.

“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”
--Ayurvedic Proverb


what small step will you take this week?
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Lots of love from Teri