Laura G Owens ~ Writer. Raw. Real. Chronically ambivalent.

Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do, you apologize for the truth. – Benjamin Disrael

Page 2 of 15

Let's stop talking about Trump

It’s time to stop talking about Trump

It's time we stop talking about Trump to our loved ones.

Underneath our seeping political wounds over the past 5 years is an unsettled feeling no one on either side knows how to fix.

Because we can’t. Ever.

I’m an optimist and even with my abundance of wishful thinking I’m 100% sure we can’t move past this. By “this,” I mean finding “political common ground” with Trump supporters as we’re charged to do to “heal the nation.”

Don’t misunderstand, we’ll get back to decency and normal partisan political scuffling now that Trump is (almost) off the world stage. But the Trump Factor, aka those who love him, and the rest of us, can never discuss that man again if we want to get back to normal times with our loved ones, neighbors, etc.

This may not be the feel-good answer, but it’s true.

Because if we stop talking about Trump with his supporters we no longer have to feel like we’re trying to convince people that the blue sky they insist is yellow, is in fact, blue. It’s crazy-making to see something others don’t or won’t see.

One of the greatest tragedies of Trumplandia is that there’s no going back.

Now we know who supported him (twice), which includes some of our favorite people in the world. Family, friends, our dry cleaner, our pharmacist, our sweet neighbor (still sweet, btw). For a faction of Trump supporters, it was rabid zealot love from the start.

For others it was an insidious growing tolerance for his string of horrors, a numbing effect if you will, combined with full rejection of the Democrats. Either way, sad.

It’s deeply painful that our once benign political foe, say our opinionated Uncle Frank who used to be relentless with his trickle-down Reaganism vs our grassroots approach, isn’t who you thought he was.

Pre-Trump Uncle Frank was just a different sort of patriot than you or I. Not better or worse, but with an alternate point of view about what he thinks is best for the nation.

Except now Uncle Frank thinks what’s best for the nation is Trump.

A certifiable malignant narcissistic, racist, sexist, xenophobe, demagogue and autocrat in bed with Putin.

A president for who lying to is the norm and for who using superlatives (biggest crowd!) and bullying (loser!) is used to rile and divide rather than to keep calm and inform, as presidents are called to do.

A president who on the daily panicked the world (and his staff) with rogue tweets designed to feed his fragile ego and elevate his delusions of grandeur. It’s not a good strategy to keep people guessing “What next?” on the world stage. It’s a dangerous mind screw.

Trump politically and personally pulverized his own party naysayers until they retreated or crawled up his ass. He knowingly and repeatedly downplayed a deadly pandemic, smirked while he stoked hate in proud racists, and diabolically worked to dismantle democracy.

And in his latest flagrant act of corruption, Trump asked Georgia’s Secretary of State to ‘find’ him votes.

Trump does all this with the smug conceit of a megalomaniac convinced his power transcends the sanctity of facts, the Constitution and civility.

Come on, that person is better than a Democrat?

So no, with all due respect, I can’t reconcile a 2020 Trump vote. And frankly, I don’t want to. Not out of pride, because of my moral compass. Of course I’m no saint. I don’t see myself as better or worse than anyone out there. I’m plenty flawed.

But I’m damn proud that I sensed from the moment Trump mocked a disabled journalist and said he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” or that McCain wasn’t a hero because he was captured or that Megan Kelly “had blood coming out of her eyes. Or blood coming out of her where ever,” that I knew in my every cell, that this guy wasn’t presidential material.

This is unquestionably a sick man. A “stable genius” isn’t prone to referring to himself as a stable genius.

Still I’ll never show a hint of unkindness to a Trump supporter. Never. That’s just basic Golden Rule 101. Like with all my opposing views, my disgust or disappointment will never come up in conversation. My relationships are a million times more precious than the Divider-In-Chief’s dark shadow of evil (and evil he is).

It’s easy to say now that Trump’s no longer a grave threat. Although his devout will undoubtedly keep him relevant by rallying his Trumpian views and a 2024 run.

Yet I’ll never forget that Trump voters and too many politicians thought he was a proper role model for our kids. Neither would they if they were honest and dealt with their boatload of cognitive dissonance.

Trump repeatedly showed the emotional maturity of a toddler. He lacked integrity, stability, humility, contrition and a commitment to the truth. He’s nothing more than a schoolyard bully who beat the nation’s soul to a pulp. He’s a psychological abuser I’d kick out of my house, nevermind hire him as president.

It’s an understatement to say our nation wasn’t left A Better People thanks to this president. In time we became a pitied laughing stock the world over.

Lately my small church groups and I have been talking about how to heal the great divide. How we might come together. I have no doubt we can, but not in the way we did before Trumplandia. Instead of facing head-on where we disagree (about Bush, Clinton, Obama) over the dinner table or in moderated town halls, we have to pretend Trumplandia never happened.

This means we politely change the subject if someone brings it up.

Because what I’ve failed to successfully convey in five years of posting about Trump is that the problem doesn’t begin with his partisan politics.

The problem is first and foremost him. His character. The buck stops there. Trump is inherently a very bad person.

This is the sole reason I won’t talk to his supporters about their leader. Because either A) They think he’s a good person or B) They know he isn’t a good person but they don’t care.

It goes without saying that’s not a foundation for a reasonable discussion. I think he’s evil. You don’t. Exactly how do we progress from there?

So if we ever want to remember how life used to feel in politics before Trumplandia, we have to at least pretend it never happened.

Of course we’ll never fully escape Trump’s blustering that the election was stolen. His devout see him as the victimized Chosen one (some literally) and Democrats as a dangerous bunch of radical lefty socialists (despite the President-elect’s clearly moderate platform).

So sadly our Trump vs Never Trump divide will remain a gaping wound best not aggravated into further oozing infection.

So for the love of peace with our Trump-loving friends, family and community, let’s stop talking to them about he who shall not be named.

Jeff Flake: ‘Trump Can’t Hurt You. But He Is Destroying Us.’

Trump Banned From Twitter. Faces Possible Impeachment

The pandemic and depression

2020: The perfect storm for depression.

Depression

Since the pandemic started so many people told me they can’t quite put their finger on how they’ve been feeling.

Anxious, yes. This is a terrifying surreal time. But also a little down. I recently suggested to one of my friends that she might have low-level depression.

It’s this simmering underlying feeling where you’re not exactly miserable but you don’t feel like yourself.

In the early months of lockdown, while some people were baking bread, biking, walking or painting bathrooms to fill the hours, my friend couldn’t motivate herself to do much.

And it’s not that she’s been socially isolated during COVID. She has her family. Nor is she at risk for serious COVID complications or in financial distress. In fact my friend is a million times luckier than most people right now.

She’s not one to wallow in self-pity. She’s grateful for her life and counts her blessings, especially now. And yet she feels blah, unmotivated, a little down and has zero energy.

I think that’s how a lot of people feel right now. There’s also thousands of people struggling with severe depression. The kind of debilitating, soul-crushing despair.

These people are overwhelmed every moment of the day trying to pay their bills and keep their kids from going stir crazy. Then once school started after parents spent weeks wondering whether to send their kids face to face, online or some combination, half the time their kids couldn’t logon to their classes because of some technical problem.

And for some kids who generally don’t do well with virtual learning, homework assignments might now demand more help than either you or your child’s teacher can give right now. Everything feels out of control and in chaos.

People are terrified their aging parents might catch COVID. They’re terrified they might catch COVID, or their husband or their sister on the front line. Widows and senior citizens are falling deeper into social isolation and loneliness.

Eviction seems inevitable for some and for the first time — or maybe again, thoughts of suicide creep in for thousands of people trying to cope.

A recent study from JAMA finds that depression has more than tripled during the pandemic.

Everyone is grieving the loss of someone or something precious right now. I think that’s the inexplicable feeling my friend was feeling. Loss. The loss of normalcy replaced by dread.

Our collective mental health is in serious crisis.

2020 has been the perfect storm for depression. A nightmare of many stressors converging all at one time to beat people down to an emotional and psychological pulp.

– Social isolation
– Grieving a death
– Loneliness
– Fear of COVID based on age and/or underlying health conditions
– Financial distress
– Pre and post-election stress
– Estrangement of a loved one due to the election
– Fears about healthcare
– Seasonal affective disorder

Some people are experiencing all of these right now. Every. Single. One.

So if every morning you find yourself just trying to hang on or you don’t feel like yourself, please consider talking to a mental health counselor.

Of course we can’t compare losing a loved one to “just” feeling a little down, but everyone deserves empathy right now. No matter how seemingly insignificant your pain it’s still pain.

Don’t beat yourself up because others are “suffering so much more than I am right now I have no right to complain.”

Complaining all the time about COVID inconveniences while others suffer isn’t cool. But talking about how you feel emotionally and psychologically because you’re have a tough time is a whole other story. In one way or another, everyone is having a tough time.

Maybe you’re not comfortable seeing a mental health professional in person right now. If that’s the case please consider a telehealth service.

Telehealth mental health resources:

LiveHealthOnline – Psychiatric care
Inpathy – Psychiatric care, medication management, and therapy
Talkspace – Individual therapy, couples therapy, therapy for teens
Betterhelp – Individual, couples, and teen counseling
Regain – Individual and couples counseling focused on relationships
Online-Therapy.com
 – Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT (read more about e-therapy here)
Pride Counseling – Counseling for the LGBTQ community

See: Covid Depression: Prolonged Lockdowns, Political Unrest, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and Holiday Depression Create a Perfect Storm

Image credit

4 supplements to strengthen immunity during COVID-19

A strong immune system begins with a healthy diet, minimizing toxins, getting adequate sleep and exercise, reducing stress and taking science-backed supplements when appropriate.

I often hear people talk about vitamin C, D and zinc. Those are all helpful, but in many cases, not enough.

I take COVID-19 very seriously. I also leave the house a lot.

I know this sounds flip and contradictory.

Believe me I’m not arrogant enough to think I’m superwoman. I know I can get COVID. I’ve had enough colds, flu and health issues in my life to know I’m anything but invincible.

Since the start of COVID-19 I’ve felt something coming on at least three or four times. I didn’t have a cough or fever but I was run down with a slight scratchy throat and stuffy nose. Just on the cusp of something turning ugly.

I slammed down my supplements for a few days and whatever was lurking went away.

Of course I followed the CDC guidelines when I left the house. Mask, distancing, hand sanitizer constantly. But I’ve been out countless times (after lockdown ended in Florida May 1st).  I’m not high risk. I’m 54 and in good health as are my husband and daughter.

But as you know with COVID-19 that’s no guarantee.

I’ve been tested three times for COVID-19 before I visited my stepmom and had one antibody test. All negative.

So, I have to think either my test results were false negatives (certainly possible), I’ve been incredibly lucky or my immune-strengthening supplements have something to do with why I haven’t gotten sick.

I have no way of proving my theory except to say that since I started taking a specialized silver called Argentyn 23 years ago I don’t get sick (or seriously sick).

(Want to cut to the chase? Head to the end of this post)

Argentyn 23 to strengthen your immune system

Argentyn 23 is a unique form of silver. A refined, improved colloidal silver.

Please don’t stop reading because you read the word “silver” and said “oh helllll no, quackery alert.”

I felt exactly the same way.

I refused to try any form of silver. Because while I’m serious about alternative medicine, I didn’t trust drinking a liquid version of my favorite sterling silver earrings (obviously an exaggeration, there’s no comparison).

But Argentyn 23 is safe, non-toxic and *effective for bacterial and viral infections. It’s a bio-active hydrosol form of silver. In a nutshell this means super small (nano) particles with positively charged ions. It’s unique molecular makeup makes all the difference in safety and efficacy.

See: Types of silver and why it matters
See: How Argentyn 23 compares to other silver

I need to say upfront that the FDA issued a warning to companies that claimed their silver products prevent or cure COVID-19.  Dietary supplement companies are prohibited by the FDA from stating that their products prevent or cure disease.

The company that makes Argentyn 23, Natural Immunogenics, follows FDA guidelines to the T. They don’t claim to cure or treat because they’re not allowed to make those claims.

This isn’t a snake-oil company. There’s peer-reviewed science behind Argentyn’s form of silver (see “Research” below).

Silver has long been shown to have antibacterial properties. And in more recent years scientists discovered that silver also has antiviral properties.

It has been reported that silver nanoparticles interact with virus, bacteria, and the immune system…the size, shape and composition of silver nanoparticles can have a significant effect on their efficacy.

Silver Nanoparticles Interactions with the Immune System: Implications for Health and Disease.

The one thing my doctor recommended to prevent colds and flu

A few years ago I asked my integrative MD if she had to pick one supplement to help prevent colds and flu what would it be? She said Argentyn 23.

I’d never heard of it and was pretty skeptical. I’d read about some people turning blue (argyria) from talking silver so I wanted nothing to do with it.

But it works and it’s safe. My husband and daughter also started taking Argentyn 23 and these are the last two people I’d put at risk.

I know my words means nothing without science and safety assurances to back up my claims.

See: Why Argentyn 23 is safe, pure and *effective

The 4 supplements I take religiously when I’m getting sick

I take these the second I feel a scratchy throat. I mean I’ll crawl out of bed half asleep and make myself. Sometimes I still get a cold, but rarely. And if I do get sick my symptoms are less severe and I get over it faster.

The trick is to take these immediately and repeatedly (according to directions) until you feel better (generally 5-10 days depending on severity).

  1. Argentyn 23
  2. Black elderberry syrup  
  3. Vitamin D
  4. Vitamin C

See: 3 Quick Ways to Reduce Anxiety During COVID

Research

Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials

Vitamin D effective for reducing flu and colds: study

Can vitamin C prevent or treat COVID-19? Peer-reviewed studies: antiviral effects of silver

Silver Nanoparticles Interactions with the Immune System: Implications for Health and Disease.

Application of Silver Nanoparticles in Viral Inhibition: A New Hope for Antivirals

Silver Nanoparticles as Potential Antiviral Agents. 

Statement of Argentyn 23 safety by former Science Assistant to the Associate Bureau Director, Division of Toxicology, US FDA.

Antiviral effects of nano colloidal silver, water catholyte, oxidal with methylene blue. possible effects of influence over coronavirus SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2

 Nanoparticle-based antimicrobial paper as spread-breaker for corona virus

Inhibitory effect of silver nanomaterials on transmissible virus-induced host cell infections

Efficiency of silver nanoparticle against virus coronaviruses

Application of nanomaterials in treatment, anti-infection and detection of coronaviruses

Could silver nano-particles control the 2019-nCoV virus?; An urgent glance to the past

Glutathione-Capped Ag2S Nanoclusters Inhibit Coronavirus Proliferation through Blockage of Viral RNA Synthesis and Budding

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Have you lost any friends or family over politics?

Don't make me unfriend you | Gina Trapani | Flickr

After Trump won we turned on each other and we’ve never been the same as a nation.

If we see someone wearing a MAGA hat or Biden 2020 shirt we know that person is one of them. A traitor to our values and to all we hold dear.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating.

In one night our good friend of 20 years or sweet Aunt Alice turned into either a “namby-pamby liberal snowflake” or a “heartless racist Trump-lover.”

Remember when you used to have friendly conversations with that guy at the gym and you never thought twice about whether he was a Republican or Democrat? Who cared?

But then after the 2016 election he made an offhanded comment like “well you know how it is with that lyin’ Hillary (or Trump)” and suddenly you knew all you needed to know about that guy.

Our candidate now defines who we are, or so we think.

Listen I know all the reasons Trump won. Some of it was the Dem’s fault. I know all the reasons his fans are doubling down on their Trump love. It’s what we do when we’re attacked. The more we hate your guy, the more you love your guy.  

Because if we hate your guy it must mean we hate all that you stand for. But it’s just not that simple.

You’re Mars and I’m Venus

In the first year or so after the election it was all the rage with pundits and town hall moderators to insist that we at least hear each other out. The idea was that if we at least listened to the other side maybe we’d come to some new understanding (if not agreement) and stop screaming.

Doesn’t that sound nice?

In theory I still believe that, but at this point we can’t even politely agree to disagree like we did BT (before Trump).

The best we can do now is smile, nod and zip it. Like the Hippocratic oath, at a minimum “do no harm.”

My stepmom, a lifelong Democrat activist thinks it’s tragic that we can’t bring up politics at the table anymore. I don’t think we’re doomed to never again politely talk partisan politics, but while Trump is still on the world stage we can’t come to the table hold hands and have happy happy epiphanies about Trump vs — everyone else.

The best we can do right now is agree that you’re Mars and I’m Venus (remember that book for struggling couples?). And then we need to move on and talk about things that have nothing to do with politics.

But unfortunately the pandemic is all we’re talking about right now.

I get it. It’s a really scary time. But even a pandemic that should have us “all in it together” has turned into another divisive political bloodbath.

Defend your values, don’t defend your candidate

Last month I told my daughter about a friend who I found out from another friend, has some pretty prejudice, maybe even racist views about people of color. I was pretty shocked and disappointed. My daughter said to me, “Mom, you need to stop being friends with her, she’s racist!”

But it’s just not that simple.

I really like this friend. She’s thoughtful, nice, a good listener and really fun. She has a good heart although we see the world really differently. I mean like her version is somewhere in the 1950’s where all (good) moms stay at home.

Now, if she ever says something supremely judgmental or racist in front of me I’ll be sure to calmly but firmly tell her how I feel. I have no problem standing up to my values.

But if my friend mentions she likes Trump (she hasn’t) I’ll just smile and move on. I won’t talk about Trump with people who love him.

The mere mention of DJT guarantees the room will go cold. People squirm, they look away, the fun dies and whatever relationship you had with that person is now a little awkward and a little tainted.

I can’t tell you how many people in the last four years told me that the election destroyed relationships, or at the very least put a serious wedge in between. Someone got political at the holiday table, the insults flew and someone unfriended someone or stormed out of the house.

Personally I never had an issue (until last year, more on that later). But it’s only because I make a point to never talk partisan politics in person.

But I do post politics on my Facebook page. All the time. I don’t attack friends who voted for Trump (but I do ask why? why?). I unmercifully go after Trump and his long list of GOP enablers.

Okay so about six months ago a close relative who’d never commented on any of my political posts decided she’d had enough of my Trump rants. Fair enough. I figure if I put my opinions out there some people will want to debate me.

But the problem was this close relative didn’t want to debate Trump’s policies. She wanted to rile me up and get personal.

And she wanted to get personal because I told her that I’m open to debating policy but I’m not open to debating Trump’s character. That pissed her off. Because if someone attacks our beloved candidate’s character, doesn’t it feel like they’re attacking our character?

In my view Trump’s sorely lacking in the character department. My relative 100% disagreed, citing as proof that Trump’s done plenty of good for the nation, that his wife loves him and that his kids turned out really well (I’ll leave all that alone).

But our Facebook disagreement really got going after I posted an article about Pence where he said we need to “spend more time on our knees than on the internet.” I wrote: “hee hee I know what he means, still this is funny stuff.”

Okay I know, not exactly mature. But sometimes childish irreverent humor is all I have left to survive the insanity.

So then one of my friends commented that “Pence is an ass” to which I “liked” his comment (Pence isn’t an ass, he’s a prince compared to Trump but his archaic LGBTQ views are indeed, asinine).

My relative was incensed that I supported my friend’s “ass” comment although her response to my friend was: “You’re an ass.” To which my friend wrote “You’re a troll.”

Yeah it went like that. So I stayed out of it.

Why I had to finally unfriend my relative

I tried to rationally explain my views about Trump and Pence. After a few futile back and forths my relative posted, “I’m bored now” adding a bunch of laughing emoji’s.

She posted laughing emoji’s in response to my sincere effort to explain my view on Trump which is first and foremost to focus on his character, and then on his policies (which I also don’t agree).

She wrote that her husband (who I’ve always adored) was also laughing at me. She said I needed to lighten up and that I had no sense of humor since Hillary lost. Gaslighting, however unintended.

I was so hurt and angry that I decided I had no choice but to unfriend my relative. People unfriend people all the time. I don’t. She’s the only person I’ve ever kicked off my page and it felt absolutely horrible.

But to stop the madness I had to do it. She’d started posting articles on my timeline about guns and Trump’s accomplishments saying that “my Trump haters and I needed to read this.”

When I told her it’s not cool to post opposing articles directly on someone’s timeline she said, “I don’t don’t care. You can do it on my page.”

I finally told her “clearly we shouldn’t have a relationship on Facebook.” Since then it seems we have no relationship which is pretty sad but I guess it’s what she wants.

My relative couldn’t separate the personal from the political so after 50 years of love and memories we’re done.

I decided a long time ago to never Facebook friend people. I mean why subject the unsuspecting into my world of inappropriate humor and Trump-bashing?

But if someone says she’s going to friend me I warn her that my page is stuffed with politics and super controversial stuff that might very well offend or piss her off.

If she still wants to friend me fine, she’s been warned.

Here’s my feeling about my Facebook posts:

It’s my page.

If you disagree with what I post then by all means present a counterpoint. I really don’t want to exist in a bubble which is why I watch Fox News sometimes or post Fox articles that seem balanced.

But I insist on two rules if you comment on my posts:

  1. Use facts and credible sources. I recommend checking sources for bias and factual rating on Mediabiasfactcheck.com or allsides.com.
  2. Be respectful. No “libtard” or “mask-wearing sheep morons.” This of course goes for everyone. No “racist Trump-loving stupid assholes.” And you won’t catch me insulting Trump’s hair, tan, body etc. Granted insulting looks is one of his favorite past times but I don’t want to act like Trump. Going low diminishes credibility and the argument. If you want to guarantee the other side will tune you out or get nasty — sling personal insults.

You also have a few other options if my posts make you spitting mad:

Delete, scroll or unfriend me.

I honestly don’t mind if someone unfriends me. Do it loudly or do it silently. We can still be friends in person if you want. Easy enough. 

So I’m wondering, have you lost any family or friends because of your pro or con feelings about Trump? What happened? Or have you made a pact to avoid talking politics with friends and family?  Please share your story. No judgment.

More: Trump Nation. Yes We’re Divided, But You and I Are Fine.

Image credit

Mask shaming

Masks work. Shaming doesn’t.

Surprise, surprise, wearing a mask has turned political.

It was only a matter of time when masks became a symbol of either forced conformity or deference to science.

My sense is that most people favor wearing masks. Pro maskers are posting charts and personal pleas to please cover-up.

While a vocal minority are upset that their personal freedoms are under attack. They’re also worried that if the government makes masks mandatory, the assault on freedom won’t stop there (e.g. forced vaccines).

But masks work. They’re not foolproof but they help.

This review of 172 studies across 16 countries and 6 countries is pretty convincing.

These data also suggest that wearing face masks protects people (both health-care workers and the general public) against infection by these coronaviruses.

Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID -19: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Believe me, I don’t want to wear one.

Does anyone? They’re hot, mildly suffocating and they hide my summer pink lipstick.

They also hide when I smile at a random stranger or the hardworking sales clerk across the aisle. The latter just happened to me yesterday.

I smiled at this clerk then thought, well that’s stupid. So I said “hi” instead. We’re an expressionless society right now except for the glimmer of empathy in our eyes as we pass a fellow masker.

But I wear a mask anyway. And not because I’m scared.

I haven’t been scared of contracting COVID or getting seriously ill since day one. No I don’t think I’m blessed with extraordinary Godly protection or have superpowers.

I’m healthy and under 65.

And my husband and daughter are healthy and under 65. Also we’re fanatics about boosting our immune system. Especially now. So if any one of us caught COVID while I’m reasonably sure it wouldn’t be a picnic, it probably wouldn’t be serious.

So wearing a mask isn’t about me or my immediate family.

It’s about others.

It’s about getting this superbly contagious virus under control for the sake of those at risk and our potentially overwhelmed healthcare system.

That’s it. That’s the reason to wear a mask.

Even if you don’t believe the science. The mere act of wearing one tells your fellow man, I got you.

But no way am I going to shame you on social media or give you the stink eye if your face isn’t covered. As one of my good friends sums it up, “you do you.”

I mean I strolled an (almost empty) mall the other day without a mask. But you won’t catch me in the essential or crowded stores bare-faced.

So instead of citizen shaming I’d like to see our local, state and national officials regularly encourage citizens and businesses to cover up.

Flood the public with service announcements until more people change their behavior (Temporarily. I mean, I’ll never be on board with becoming a mask-wearing society. Nor will I give up hugging and handshakes).

Shaming friends, family, neighbors or strangers on social media and in-person won’t work. If anything people will double down and 100% refuse. It’s what we humans do.

We vehemently defend our convictions. Especially in a time of political divide so heated that I’m not sure we’ll ever return to a time when partisanship was mostly civil.

So please wear a mask. Thank you.

More: The role of community-wide wearing of face mask for control of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic due to SARS-CoV-2

Image credit

Past research suggests melatonin may help coronavirus treatments

Homemade Liposomal Melatonin for Sleep and Brain Detoxification by ...
Melatonin is naturally produced in the brain at night

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the brain’s pineal gland in response to nightfall. As we age our levels drop. Melatonin supplements are often used as sleep aids.

Side note: I’ve never had success taking melatonin by itself for my adrenal-related sleep issues. Melatonin isn’t really a sleep aid or sedative. It helps the body regulate a disrupted circadian rhythm (involved in sleep). This is why it’s useful for jet leg. But two months ago I decided to test adding 6mg (rather than my usual 3mg) to my sleep supplement regime. The higher dose worked like a charm.

A couple weeks ago I was researching evidence-based natural treatments for viruses and I found this March 2020 analysis:

COVID-19: Melatonin as a potential adjuvant treatment

Previous research has documented the positive effects of melatonin in alleviating acute respiratory stress induced by virus, bacteria, radiation, etc. [1,2,3].

Herein, we review the evidence indicating that melatonin will have supportive adjuvant (assisting in) utility in treating COVID-19 induced pneumonia, acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

COVID-19: Melatonin as a potential adjuvant treatment

That got my attention.

Also my holistic MD regularly recommends that her older patients take melatonin at night, not only to regulate sleep disruption but for its important health benefits.

Because in addition to regulating a disrupted sleep cycle (e.g. jet lag), melatonin has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, immune assisting and indirect anti-viral properties. All of which may be useful for respiratory illnesses and viral infections such as COVID-19.

See: “Studies Show Melatonin May Help Fight the Coronavirus.

Benefits of melatonin

Melatonin reduces inflammation, which can contribute to the respiratory failure and other systemic effects of the illness.

Melatonin supports the body’s cells, by promoting the growth of cells under normal circumstances. Discretionary actions of melatonin allow it to benefit normal cells and tissues while supporting the body’s defenses against pathological cells and tissues.

In addition, research found evidence that melatonin appears to stop apoptosis — a process in which cells infected with a virus actually kill themselves in an attempt to stop the spread of a disease. Although this apoptosis response can be helpful in some diseases, it can cause even more misery in some illnesses such as coronavirus.

Melatonin is known to stimulate the immune system. Although it does not directly attack viruses, it helps our body’s own defenses to act more efficiently. This can lead to fewer symptoms and ultimately a better chance of surviving this feared disease.

It’s too soon to say whether melatonin might be a useful addition to COVID-19 treatments. But based on earlier research that found melatonin was beneficial for respiratory illnesses that have similar responses as COVID-19 (excessive inflammation, depressed immune system and a cytokine storm) it looks promising.

References:

  1. Wu, H. Ji, Y. Wang, C. Gu, W. Gu, L. Hu, L. ZhuMelatonin alleviates radiation-induced lung injury via regulation of miR-30e/NLRP3 axis Oxidative Med. Cell. Longev., 2019 (2019), p. 4087298. 
  • H.-K. Yip, Y.-C. Chang, C.G. Wallace, L.-T. Chang, T.-H. Tsai, Y.-L. Chen, H.-W. Chang, S. Leu, Y.-Y. Zhen, C.-Y. Tsai, K.-H. Yeh, C.-K. Sun, C.-H. Yen. Melatonin treatment improves adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cell therapy for acute lung ischemia-reperfusion injury J. Pineal Res., 54 (2013), pp. 207-221.
  • S.-H. Huang, X.-J. Cao, W. Liu, X.-Y. Shi, W. WeiInhibitory effect of melatonin on lung oxidative stress induced by respiratory syncytial virus infection in mice J. Pineal Res., 48 (2010), pp. 109-116. 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Image credit

3 quick ways to reduce anxiety during the coronavirus

This pandemic is messing with our minds. Fear and uncertainty. The constant doomsday data. The sense of loss. Our daily routine out of whack. Every day blends into the next.

Faces covered in masks makes the world feel like we’re facing the end-of-times. Although our rational mind knows that this too shall pass, nothing feels rational right now.

This morning I saw a woman in her 60’s walking her dog across the street from my house. She had a mask on and was at least 20 feet away.

As she walked by she kept her head down. I was just about to say hello but I could tell by how fast and focused she walked that she didn’t want to interact. It was almost as if she thought that if she caught my eye this might encourage me to ignore social distancing and mosey on over for a chat.

But this hasn’t been most of my experience. If anything neighbors and strangers are even friendlier (from a distance). Yet it struck me that this woman was probably so genuinely terrified that I might get too close that she panicked and averted her eyes.

It’s all very unsettling. Basic politeness replaced by fear.

So until this nightmare is over what little things can we do to feel better?

First, limit how much time you spend listening to the news. And make sure what news you do follow is accurate. Steer clear of obsessing over rumors.

And — make it a habit to do these as often as possible:

Get grounded

Heh? All this means is to walk barefoot outside in the grass (or sand or dirt) for a few minutes a day.

I know this probably sounds very woo-hoo. But besides the pure joy of being outdoors there’s science behind the health benefits of walking barefoot, otherwise known as “grounding” or “earthing.”

Here’s why: When you walk barefoot on porous surfaces (dirt, sand) you connect to the Earth’s vast supply of electrons. This in turn creates physical changes in the body. Grounding has been shown to improve sleep, pain and stress.

Emerging scientific research has revealed a surprisingly positive and overlooked environmental factor on health: direct physical contact with the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the Earth. Modern lifestyle separates humans from such contact. The research suggests that this disconnect may be a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and unwellness.

Chevalier, G., Sinatra, S. T., Oschman, J. L., Sokal, K., & Sokal, P. (2012). Earthing: health implications of reconnecting the human body to the Earth’s surface electrons. Journal of environmental and public health.

So take a few minutes every day to shuffle barefoot through your grass. Don’t worry if you look ridiculous. Your neighbors just might want to join you (from their own yard).

(For more on the benefits of grounding/earthing.)

Get a little sunshine

You know how you feel blissed when you lay in the sun? Well it’s not just the soothing radiant warmth. Sunshine actually boosts mood. I’m not suggesting you bask for hours. But if possible, get a few rays on your arms and legs every day.

It turns out low levels of the brain chemical serotonin (involved in mood, focus and sleep) have been associated with low sun exposure. The right balance of sun exposure (5 to 15 minutes) has been found to boost mood.

The light-induced effects of serotonin are triggered by sunlight that goes in through the eye. Sunlight cues special areas in the retina, which triggers the release of serotonin. So, you’re more likely to experience this type of depression in the winter time, when the days are shorter.

Nall, Rachel, RN, BSN, CCRN. “What are the benefits of sunlight?” May 25, 2018. www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight

Laugh (often)

If I don’t laugh I’ll cry. And laughter is the best medicine.

Cliches aside now’s not the time to binge on shows about murder, zombie takeovers, virus invasions or the end of times. Unless of course these apocalyptic shows help you escape from coronavirus anxiety.

From Mayo Clinic’s “Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke.” The benefits of laughter:

Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.

Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.

Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.

Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier.

Funniest shows on Netflix right now

Larry David, master curmudgeon, tells everyone to stay home

Image credit: Antonino Visalli

Iodine is critical

Why iodine is critical to good health.

Iodine is critical

Iodine is needed for more than the thyroid. The thyroid only holds less than 1% of the body’s iodine store; the skin holds 20%, the breasts hold 5%. Our whole body needs iodine.¹ – Dr. David Brownstein author of “Iodine: Why You Need It. Why You Can’t Live Without It.” 

You probably think of iodine as that red-rust-colored liquid your mom dabbed on your skinned knee. But iodine is so much more than just an anti-bacterial.

Maybe you’ve noticed these salt box disclaimers,  “This salt provides iodine necessary nutrient” or “This salt does not contain iodide, a necessary nutrient.”

Because not only is iodine a necessary nutrient, but more than two billion people worldwide are deficient. (Read here to learn why). 

Iodine is an essential mineral commonly found in seafood. Your body needs it in order to produce thyroid hormones and reverse the effects of a slow metabolism.  Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormones).  It’s critical for fetal brain development, immune support, and endocrine gland functions including the breasts, ovaries, uterus and prostate.

Public health experts report that adding small amounts of iodine back to salt may be one of the simplest and most cost-effective steps to tackle Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) in over 118 countries.

Iodine is also gaining attention for it’s use in cancer prevention, and in some cases, cancer treatment.

“The good thing about iodine is, it has apoptotic properties,” says Dr. David Brownstein, a Board-Certified family physician and Medical Director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, MI.  “Meaning it can stop a cancer cell from just continually dividing, dividing, dividing until it kills somebody. Iodine can stop this continuum wherever it catches it and hopefully reverse it, but at least put the brakes on what is happening.”

How to use iodine

How much to use and what form depends.  I strongly advise working with a holistic health practitioner familiar with iodine supplementation.  

You can apply iodine directly to your skin or you can drink iodine mixed with a small amount of filtered water. 

My doctor told me to rub Wellness Resources Iosol Iodine drops directly on my neck because I have a lot of thyroid nodules (I recently had the largest biopsied and thankfully it was benign).

So this is what I do:

I rub one to three (small) drops of iodine on my throat in the morning and one to three before dinner. I used to use more based on my doctor’s recommendation.  Five drops 2x a day plus one I-Throid capsule in the afternoon. But it turned out that amount was too much for me. 

With that high dose sometimes I experienced adrenal crash (felt weak) or had  mild heart racing.  Eight years ago I was diagnosed with severe adrenal fatigue. I’m much better now but I have to stay on the low side of iodine dosing. 

So, how much you use is highly individual which is why I strongly recommend working with an integrative/holistic health practitioner. 

Okay but here’s the irony. My doctor put me on the high iodine dose that caused problems. She told me she thought my stronger adrenal glands could take it (They couldn’t). So while I always recommend people work with their health practitioner, ultimately you need to listen to your own body. 

I quickly lost weight with iodine 

Anyway, when I first started using iodine I didn’t notice anything. But a couple weeks later I starting losing weight. I lost a total of about five to seven pounds until I leveled off.  I never weigh myself  but I easily dropped a pant size without changing a thing (I work I out six days a week and eat pretty healthy). 

Wellness Resources Iosol Iodine dosing guide:

“The most commonly used dose of Iosol Iodine is 1 drop of the preparation in a few ounces of water, taken once a day. Each drop has 1.8 mg of iodine or 1200% of the governments recommended daily value. If you would like to get only 100% of the daily value then take 1 tsp of a mixture of 1 drop of Iosol Iodine in 2 ounces of water; however, most people like taking more than this.”

There’s quite a few forms of iodine available. I don’t mean brands, I mean forms. Lugol’s vs iosol vs nascent. 

Wellness Resources claims that iosol iodine offers superior water solubility and therefore superier bioavailability (the body’s ability to absorb and efficiently use a substance).

“There are two sources of iodine in the Iosol formulation. One is from kelp. Iodine in kelp is naturally in the form of potassium iodide. However, potassium iodide is not very soluble in water and may be difficult for your body to easily use. For example, if you get liquid potassium iodide on your clothes it causes a permanent stain of red. If you get Iosol Iodine on your clothes the red will evaporate out in a few minutes or readily come out with washing. In fact, potassium iodide has been shown to congest the thyroid gland when taken in high doses and is how Hashimotos thyroiditis was first discovered (Japanese citizens consuming too many sea vegetables). This is why I don’t use potassium iodide.

During the production of Iosol, iodine is extracted from kelp and made into pure iodine crystals. This is not potassium iodide, rather it is an unbound form of iodine.

The second form of iodine used is ammonium iodide, a form that readily dissolves in water. These two forms of iodine are combined in a proprietary manner in a base of vegetable glycerin.

Ammonium iodide is a combination of the mineral iodine and ammonium (NH4). This is a synthesized compound, not derived from a food source. It has superior bioavailability as the iodine readily disassociates from the ammonium upon exposure to water, producing a free iodide ion exactly what your body would like to use in metabolism. ” Wellness Resource website. 

Whatever form you choose, start low and go slow.  

Want to read my full article on Whole Life Times? 

¹Interview with Dr. David Brownstein: MD. Board certified family physician, integrative practitioner and an expert in thyroid disease, hormones and iodine

Foods naturally high in iodine

 

Read More

How chronic insomnia drove me to a nervous breakdown, and what finally got me to sleep.

If you suffer with serious insomnia at some point you’ve probably tried damn near anything to sleep.

I spent God knows how much money on supplements, herbs, books, prescriptions and acupuncture. I even got tested for sleep apnea although I suspected that wasn’t the problem (It wasn’t. In fact the doctor said I moved through “all the stages of sleep perfectly.” Really? Tell that to my 3am wide awake brain).

Nothing worked. Well prescription sleeping pills worked but not without horrible side effects (Ambien made me really nasty the next day). And sleeping pills are for short term sleep issues.

The more stressed I got the worse my insomnia. I went from having trouble falling back to sleep, to for the first time in my life, having trouble falling asleep. It was a nightmare. I was anxious, depressed, in a fog.

I did hours of research and finally figured out I probably had something called adrenal fatigue. I sent a sample of my saliva to a company called ZRT Laboratory. ZRT offers home testing for a variety of conditions. The results showed I had mild to moderate adrenal fatigue.

But here’s the problem with that diagnosis.

Conventional doctors (vs. integrative/functional/holistic) don’t believe adrenal fatigue is a real condition. They only recognize adrenal insufficiency/Addison’s disease and Cushing syndrome. So if you ask your health care provider about adrenal fatigue prepare for an eye roll and to hear “there’s no such thing.”

Don’t listen to them.

Adrenal fatigue isn’t quackery. It’s real. If you want to know more about adrenal fatigue and insomnia please read this post.

So I found a holistic MD who confirmed my diagnosis. But she told me my condition wasn’t mild, it was severe. This doctor worked with me for months to strengthen my adrenal glands. And when I finally felt better — I slept better. Not every night, but most nights.

Read: my insomnia – adrenal fatigue story

In my link above I list a bunch of supplements I recently tested after I found out the FDA discontinued my favorite sleep supplement, Kavinace Ultra PM (Oh how I miss you…). I had so-so results with most of the supplements I tested. But with trial and error for the most part, I have it down.

Phenibut pulled from dietary supplements

Kavinace Ultra PM contained phenibut. Phenibut is a central nervous system depressant. It’s used in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and for a variety of other conditions. It worked really well to get and keep me to sleep (in combination with other supplements (see below).

Unfortunately in April the FDA issued warning letters to companies that sell dietary supplements with phenibut. They told the companies to immediately pull their product off the market or to relabel it a “nootropic.” Nootropics are substances that have memory or cognitive-enhancing effects.

Okay great so now I’m stuck without my Godsend of a sleep supplement.

Desperate, I called the company that made Ultra Kavinace PM (NeuroScience). The representative suggested Ultra Kavinace PM users try their Alpha Gaba PM formulation. I tried it. Meh. It works okay. I usually still wake up in the middle of the night.

NeuroScience’s latest replacement for Ultra Kavinace PM is a new formula called Kavinace OS (available in capsules or liquid). I haven’t tried it and I probably won’t. It has ingredients I’ve already tried alone or in various sleep formulas with so-so results.

Like Alpha Gaba PM, Kavinace OS contains L-theanine and melatonin. But Kavinace OS contains 5 mg of melatonin vs. Alpha’s 3 mg. That bump in melatonin might make a real difference for some people.

In my experience melatonin by itself vs. in combination with herbs etc. doesn’t work well for me. Melatonin isn’t a sedative. It’s a hormone naturally produced our brain’s pineal gland as the sun goes down. Its job is to regulate our body’s natural circadian rhythm. As we age our melatonin levels drop.

When I add a higher dose of melatonin to my sleep supplements I sleep pretty well but I have some pretty wicked (unsettling) dreams. Not a great trade-off.

This is the sleep regime that (usually) works for me.

Three to four nights a week I take:

Three to four nights a week:

I replace Alpha Gaba PM with one of my sleep formulas that contains phenibut. How did I get my hands on phenibut when it was removed from the market?

When I heard sleep supplements that contain phenibut were being pulled I stockpiled a few brands that got positive reviews on Amazon. Gaba Complex and Sleep Time (both are no longer available). You can however, also still purchase phenibut by itself at **LiftMode.

I don’t sleep quite as well with Alpha Gaba PM as I do with phenibut sleep formulas. But my holistic doctor increased my bioidentical progesterone by an extra 25mg per night to support my adrenal glands and that helps (as a note to women in menopause, bioidentical progesterone helps among many symptoms, sleep).

I may try adding GABA supplements to my Alpha Gaba PM. I read a study that found that GABA and L-theanine in combination are more effective than taken alone. I suggest taking the PharmaGaba form of GABA. PharmaGABA is the form, not a brand.

So that’s what I’m doing to stay asleep.

Trial and error. Please note that long term insomnia may be caused by a number of underlying or interrelated issues (stress, chronic pain, sleep apnea, etc.). Please consult with your health practitioner.

And please let me know what you’ve tried that’s working for you.

To better sleep and sweet dreams ~ Laura

**Please note: phenibut has the potential for tolerance and abuse. Use the lowest possible dose and regularly rotate with non-phenibut products.Phenibut requires careful, disciplined and responsible cycling and limited consumption to maximize its benefits and minimize the potential drawbacks. 

Disclaimer: Please note I don’t recommend any products or service I haven’t  personally tried or that haven’t receive positive reviews from Amazon. Laura-Owens.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Photo credit

how my two very different playgroups saved me

How my two very different playgroups saved me

Perhaps during our earliest mothering years our friendships are born because we reflexively cling to each other. Drawn together like forceful magnets by a love for our children so new, powerful and terrifying we can’t possibly imagine how we’ll survive. Yet sometimes we gradually grow apart for reasons that aren’t obvious or unkind or even divisive—they’re simply visceral and, because of that, irreconcilable.

I stayed with my first playgroup until my daughter was nearly four. My second group gradually fell apart after our kids started kindergarten, although most of the moms regularly met for dinner and an annual girls’ weekend. Twenty years later and a bunch of us still get together, our parenting vents now brimming with teen and college kid worry.

I’m deeply grateful to both groups. Each nurtured different parts of me. The first saved me when I was a scared, isolated stay-at-home new mom, flailing and insecure. And the second reflected what I felt all along as a mother: that from the moment my daughter was born I knew she’d be the center of my life—but she could never be the entirety of it…. Read full post at Motherwell Magazine.

Page 2 of 15

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Site last updated November 29, 2022 @ 8:49 am

%d bloggers like this: