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Dr Georgianna Donadio

Dr Georgianna Donadio PhD

Whole Health and Behavioral Health
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Dr Georgianna Donadio is a PhD and specializes in Whole Health and Behavioral Health.

Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD, is the Director of the National Institute of Whole Health, and a health care visionary who pioneered the integration of Whole Health and Whole Person Healthcare within medical and holistic health organizations. Georgianna is one of only six Florence Nightingale Scholars in the U.S., an MNA award-winning Nurse Advocate and widely published Integrative Health expert and healthcare provider. Named “Best Integrative Healthcare Practitioner” in Boston, for 20 years she hosted the nationally syndicated, regionally Emmy nominated women’s TV programming, Woman-to-Woman®.

She is currently the host of iHeart radio’s Living above the Drama which is heard globally, and an Amazon #1 Bestselling award-winning author. She has been a regular contributor/writer for the Huffington Post, Dr. Oz’s Share Care, Daily Strength and other national blogs.

Dr Georgianna Donadio's Latest Activity

  1. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    Journey Through Menopause

    According to the National Institute on Aging, “Menopause is a point in time 12 months after a woman's last period. The years leading up to that point, when women may have changes in their monthly cycles, hot flashes, or other symptoms, are called the menopausal transition, or perimenopause. The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55.” 1 While the old discomforts of speaking about menopause openly have changed, what has not changed is its impact on many women’s physical and emotional daily lives. Back in the day, menopause was often treated as a pathology. Books and journal articles were written about the disturbing changes women go through and menopause was often given a diagnosis identifying it as a related mental or emotional pathology. The famous Phyllis Chesler's book, "Women and Madness"2 is such an example. Much emphasis was placed upon the physical changes of menopause as just part of what a woman can experience during this time. Medicine didn't have much to offer women who were suffering through this transition. The emotional changes of a woman during menopause were often referred to as “hysteria”, depression or melancholy. This labeling suggests a pathological quality to any woman who experienced those symptoms during menopause and the treatment was usually a popular tranquilizer or sedative. Some of us do not necessarily welcome the signals of the ending of our reproductive years. For many women, it can impact not only physical body changes but also their sexual drive and experience. Many of us fear this transition because of hormonal shifts that take place and produce unwanted effects such as hot flashes, night sweats, or insomnia. Other issues like facial hair growth, thinning of hair, weight gain and fatigue can also accompany the hormonal changes that take place during menopause. *While menopause is a natural, inevitable, and even healthy part of our reproductive experience, there are many women who do not have an easy time with it. On the other hand, some women have little to no discomfort at all. I have taught the subject of reproductive health for many years. Thankfully, the options, treatments, and our ability to have control over the resulting symptoms have changed significantly. Yet, we are not given information about this process that could greatly reduce our concern about the symptoms that happen during this time. Many of us did not necessarily have all the information we needed to make the experience easier in those years of transition. As many of us are aware of but don’t necessarily connect with, the physical symptoms that can accompany menopause until they are in the process themselves. Some of the changes that can be difficult to deal with are: Irregular periods Vaginal dryness Hot flashes Chills Night sweats Sleep problems Mood changes Weight gain and slowed metabolism The National Institute of Whole Health (NIWH), an accredited Whole Health education organization since 1976, has made available a free video course titled Journey through Menopause that is entertaining and informative. This course can give you a different perspective and understanding of menopause. It also provides 4 ANCC-approved contact hours. The video offers you new insights and tools to make your own Journey through Menopause less challenging and easier to move through. Understanding the 5 Aspects of Whole Health™ * can help an individual reduce or greatly control the symptoms of the menopause process. The course video addresses the accompanying aging issues women experience as well as common physical and emotional challenges that can accompany them. The course is filled with evidence-based information on the subject, yet is fun and engaging. You can access the course online for free at this address: https://wholehealtheducation.com/journey-through-menopause-free-ce-webinar/. If you or any of your friends or relatives are experiencing this “change of life” it may be helpful and greatly appreciated if you share this free information with them as they will come away with a clearer, deeper understanding of what the journey through menopause is all about and what they can do to take more control over the process. References 1. National Institute on Aging, 2017 2. 5 Aspects of Whole Health™ 3. FREE CE – A Whole Health Approach to Experiencing Menopause 4. Women and Madness: Revised and Updated | amazon Book
  2. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    When You Hear Hoofbeats

    Hi Curious - At my age, I've learned its best to be accepting and kind. Very little gets under my skin these days and I keep the blood pressure down that way 😊. Thanks for your support! Warm regards, Georgianna
  3. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    When You Hear Hoofbeats

    Hi Daisy4RN - OP, your f/u conversation/info is very informative and interesting! I was recently reading an article about how some believe that allergies are/can be a precursor to autoimmune dx. I have autoimmune dx so it was interesting to see the Inter-connectedness of these too. And, now I am even more curious as I had allergies at a young age and also swam both for sport (at school/rec pools) as well as in private pools, with of course probably more Clorine added to school/public pools. Most HCP (nurses, MD's) don't really study the other factors (Alternative) that can lead to dx or help after one has the dx. I did much research in an attempt to "fix" my own situation as I was getting little relief from my MD (ie western medicine). There is much we (HCP's) don't know/understand! Yes, many people get into natural or alternative treatments for precisely the reasons you lay out. Medicine can be miraculous, but it is largely focused on acute care and pathology. There are other ways of addressing symptoms, which are a communication from inside the body to outside the body. Today, many professionals and patients are seeking a more natural, life style focused approach that addresses the HOW and WHY of their conditions. You might be interested into looking at a Whole Health approach that address issue from a 5 Aspect perspective: physical, emotional, nutritional, environmental and spiritual. It's an excellent framework to use and is getting great result with chronic conditions and preventing disease. The program I am affiliated with is www.niwh.org if you are interested. Thanks for your response, Kind regards, Georgianna
  4. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    When You Hear Hoofbeats

    Hello All - Here is some additional information that may clarify your questions and explain issues with chlorine. Thanks for your comments! Chlorine Absorption and Inhalation While Showering, Whole ... www.superiorwater.com Many people believe they are safe from the hazards of chlorine because they don't drink unfiltered tap water. However, people still absorb chlorine when they bathe, shower, or swim in chlorinated pools. ... As with bathing and showering, swimming in chlorinated water is absorbed through the skin. Those relaxing, hot showers you love to take may be hazardous to your health! Studies on the health hazards of chlorine added to our public water supplies have been conducted for decades and many of them have caused scientists to conclude that there are many significant health risks. In some cases scientists have concluded that there are direct links between chlorine intake and serious illnesses in humans and animals. Many people believe they are safe from the hazards of chlorine because they don’t drink unfiltered tap water. However, people still absorb chlorine when they bathe, shower, or swim in chlorinated pools. In fact, two-thirds of the chlorine taken into the average person’s body comes from taking hot showers. The reason for this is two-fold. First, hot water opens the pores and allows water to be absorbed through the skin. Second, the steam you breathe in while showering can contain up to 50 times the amount of chlorine (and other contaminants) than the water coming out of the tap. Both the inhaled chlorine and chlorine absorbed through your skin then enters directly into your bloodstream whereas chlorine ingested from drinking tap water is filtered by your liver and kidneys before entering your blood stream. As with bathing and showering, swimming in chlorinated water is absorbed through the skin. So if you own a pool you should consider alternatives to chlorine such as ozanators and ionizer which only require a small amount of chlorine to be effective. You can protect yourself and your family from inhalation and skin absorption of chlorine by removing the chlorine before it ever comes out of your shower heads. From LIVESCIENCE - An over-chlorinated pool, on the other hand, can cause eye irritation, dry out the hair and skin (by stripping them of natural oils), and sometimes cause color-treated hair to turn shades of green, Duarte told Live Science. Because of this, it's important to have the right levels of chlorine in the pool, she said. Excess chlorine in the pool can sometimes also cause small amounts of vapor to come out of the water, which "can trigger [a person's] asthma," Duarte said, though she noted that she doesn't think this effect is too common. "Perhaps it could happen in a freshly chlorinated pool or a super-chlorinated [one]," she said. But as overeager swimmers may recall, pools are typically closed right after pool keepers chlorinate the water so that some of those vapors can diffuse, she said. (In high concentrations, chlorine gas is known to be very poisonous. In World War I, for example, chlorine gas was used as a chemical weapon. Inhaling large amounts of the gas is poisonous and could cause what's called a pulmonary edema, or fluid buildup in the lungs, according to the New York State Department of Health.)
  5. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    When You Hear Hoofbeats

    Hi Curious, Thanks for your comment. Actually this was a simple case that could have been interpreted as complicated. It is not unusual for people to have chlorine reactions, and yest it is absorbed thru the skin and sometimes it can get into the mouth as well. He has been completely checked out medically and there was no pathology or any red flags that was found. Vitamin and mineral levels fluctuate so much that a blood reading can be frustrating as a primary indication. His MD did think it might have been a systemic allergy response but didn't discuss the chlorination. As a nutritionist I was taught that the only real way to measure these values (and they could still vary greatly over the course of a day or hours) was to actually measure the intra-cellular levels which is not something you want to subject someone to except in extreme cases. The important thing is his symptoms went away with a slight supplements adjustment and no I don't believe his supplementation was dangerous or a concern as he was taking micro-nutrients, which are well utilized, and not mega-vitamins. The point of the article is that when someone has been medically "vetted" and there is no presenting diagnosis, then rather than looking for an exotic zebra, it might just be a simple horse hoof beat! Thanks again for commenting. Kind regards Georgianna
  6. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    When You Hear Hoofbeats

    Hi Daisy, Thank you for your comment and so pleased you liked the article! I hear you about your PT experience. My leg and hip injury got so much worse on my compensating side and is now much worse than the injury side. PT can be great but any injury that can worsen with repetitive motion should probably avoid a PT regiment. Being a "health detective" is part researcher and part Whole Person Care professional! We teach a course on this approach and people seem to really enjoy examining a condition from a whole different perspective. Thanks for your comment. Hope your should improves! Kind regards, Georgianna
  7. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    When You Hear Hoofbeats

    Listen for Horses... Not Zebras In all aspects of life, a wise adage of "when you hear hoofbeats, think of horses and not zebras" truly applies. If you are not familiar with this approach to observing and responding to problem-solving it’s worth exploring. Health care, and to a large extent the rest of the working world, is focused on listening for the zebras - that is, looking for the pathology, the disease, the exotic condition, something to diagnose. Rather than taking a simple, practical and common-sense approach to assessing cause and effect and practicing health care, we continue to associate the hoof-beats with zebras, or the exotic pathology we have all been trained to look for. Common-Sense Approach Beginning to Disappear This meaningful approach to care has been lost within this modern “expert medicine” era. We can even see today that this common-sense approach is even beginning to disappear from "alternative" health care practices, as well. Using many forms of supplementation or non-toxic treatment modalities are often used in place of drilling down to the causative factors in a patient’s symptom complex. For Example... Here is an example from one of my recent office visits with one of the patients. A very gifted, physical therapist, someone I have had treatment from myself, called upon me after having intractable muscle pain for a week. He could not lie down, could not sleep was in great discomfort, and was also concerned about what this could mean. He had spoken to a wide variety of practitioners who normally deal with musculoskeletal conditions and at the end of his exploration was still in pain and becoming rapidly more concerned. His doctors and practitioners were looking for the dysfunction or pathology that was causing his symptoms and treatments were not working. When this happens to us we start to think, "do I have something really wrong with me?", if you're older you think "this must be what getting old is about", or if you are an active, healthy person who takes care of yourself you might ask, "how could this be happening to me, I take care of myself." This individual said he called me because he "didn't know where else to turn" to understand his pain and condition and isn't this what I did in my practice – look at the big picture and figure things out about the cause and effect?" Start with the Basics Being a Whole Health educated practitioner and patient educator, I started with the basics: What specifically had he been doing prior to this onset? What had he been feeling or avoiding feeling before this happened Where is the specific discomfort? Has he experienced this before and under what circumstances What makes it feel better? What makes it feel worse? Did he experience any other symptoms along with this pain? He explained that he just joined a gym and was working out for the past week, but that he wasn't doing that much exercise to cause this discomfort and it wasn't just in one muscle, it was all over his body. He is in very good physical condition so the idea of mild exercising causing this full body pain didn't resonate. He reported that he hadn't changed his diet, work habits, taken any unusual supplements, changed beds, changed shoes, or had any upset or stress over the past week. He tried a series of natural remedies and treatments to no avail. He was both personally and professionally stumped and so were the practitioners he had spoken with about his pain. Having been called by several of my patients, the "Sherlock Holmes of Whole Health", I knew the task at hand was to find out the missing piece of information that would unlock the cause of the problem. Looking at the 5 Aspects of Whole Health ™ - the physical, environmental, chemical and emotional possibilities of what could cause this is where we started. We discussed his new membership at the gym. Logic told me that there was something connected to his activities at the gym that was the causative factor in his pain experience because it was after joining the gym that his pain began. It was just a matter of putting our finger on it. Having suffered chronic back pain myself, I have been a fan of John Sarno, MD, who practiced from a causative perspective targeting the emotional roots of back and body pain. He had cited much research and evidence-based information on the subject but did not take a whole-person perspective, which is how we approached this patient. After a few minutes of detailed review, one factor that surfaced seemed the right solution to the problem. After his workout, he went for a swim in the gym's pool. After questioning him about the swimming experience, he shared that the pool was heavily chlorinated and he could tell because the water made his eyes burn. Interesting and a major clue. Now some of you who are practitioners reading this might think, "Ah-ha, he has a virus from the pool water", or “he swallowed pool water and had a bad reaction, or “his immune system must have had a toxic reaction to the chemicals in the pool". Sorry, but no cigar - these are all zebras. Having comprehensive, evidence-based, health information and understanding of the How and Why of body function is critical in truly serving our patients/clients and being able to empower them with the knowledge they need to take control of their health. Demystified health information is absolutely critical to empower your patient to take control and retain control over their health. What does chlorine do to our body? It draws out minerals, most importantly calcium and magnesium. Because chlorine molecules have double negative bonds it is wildly attracted to double-positive bonds, as found in calcium. What minerals are significantly involved in muscle function? And, what minerals are likely to be diminished with repeated exposure to chlorine – Ca and Mg! I recommended that he go to Whole Foods or CVS and purchase a calcium and magnesium powder, take a dose am and pm over 2 days, and see if that helped. I received an e-mail about 24 hours later with the subject title "WOW" - it dramatically took away most of his discomfort, he got a great night's sleep and felt much better. He is swimming away, but mindful to take his calcium/magnesium before and after each swim. A Simple Horse - Not an Exotic Zebra This is the perfect example of thinking horses and not zebras in our practices. I do hope you found and encourage you to become a health detective using a whole health approach. References Ionic Bonding What Does Magnesium Do for Your Body? A Whole Person Approach to Health and Healing
  8. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    The Passion Diet

    One of the frustrating aspects of health information that we hear the most from consumers is that just when you think you’ve got a handle on what you are supposed to do to be healthy – the information changes. For example, not long ago those of us who were over 50 were assured that if we moderately cut back our portions, decreasing our calories and exercised for a half hour 4-5 times a week, we could keep at bay the extra body fat that creeps in after menopause. How many of us dutifully reduced their calories and did their half hour routine daily only to feel that there was “something wrong with them” because this formula didn’t work for their body; but the “experts” said it was the right way to control weight after 50. Wisdom, from research, has now shifted for women past the age when our estrogen is dramatically lower than pre-menopause. Estrogen, as every woman knows, is that amazing hormone that is a metabolic calorie burner as well as a reproductive hormone. It keeps us heart healthy; keeps our skin healthy and produces “pheromones” for attraction, among other body functions. No longer is a half hour of exercise deemed adequate to increase the metabolic furnace that is slowed down by the loss of estrogen. We now have to exercise a minimum of one hour per day and really watch everything we put in our mouths, ESPECIALLY carbohydrates, which we want more than ever for the serotonin surge they give us. This new information comes from the fact that women over 50 generally do not lose the weight they want with just a half hour of exercise. What IS important regarding losing weight and keeping it off after 50 is what our individual body tells us is right for our metabolism and body type. We need to ask ourselves what DO we know about ourselves and our own weight loss and weight gain pattern that should be more important than the “weight loss expert’s” advice. The big question is, now that we are past the age of reproduction and our body no longer is protecting us against many of the maladies that come with getting older, what are we willing to make our priority and what do WE KNOW about our own metabolic profile and how food and exercise affects our body weight. In addition, understanding the function of various hormones in regulating appetite and satiety, hormones such as ghrelin, leptin, cholecystokinin, and other peptides all relay peripheral signals to the hypothalamus, which control appetite and satiety. Passion and creativity increase this hormonal function to decrease appetite and increase satiety. Many of us experience this when we fall in love! Important Questions to Ask Ourselves 1- What do I know about how I gain weight? 2- What do I know about how I lose weight? 3- Do I eat when I’m stressed? 4- Do I lose weight when I’m stressed? 5- Do I use food for emotional soothing? 6- Does eating play a dominant role in my daily routine? 7- Is losing weight more important than eating what I like when I like it? 8- What am I willing to give up to get the body weight I want? 9- Do I feel my food choices need to improve? 10- What is my personal experience with exercise? 11- What works best for me; what kind of exercise do I enjoy? 12- What do I know about how my body responds to exercise? 13- Am I willing to make the time to take care of myself? 14- What are my health priorities? 15- What are my ego priorities? 16- What keeps me from being the weight I want to be - REALLY? The issue of weight loss is intimately connected with our relationship with our life force. Rarely do we see an energetic, productive, organized individual (men or women) who struggle with weight issues, even after 50 because they are often focused on their external interests and passions. Often these folks suffer from not taking the time to eat when or as much as they should. One of the weight loss “secrets” I have learned over the years as a nutritionist from my patients is that when they are excited, creative, interested, and passionate about their work, their relationships, learning, doing or being, the issue of a naturally right body weight solves itself. We are often over-focused on the sensory experience and pleasure of food as a main stay for satisfaction and pleasure. Then, often when something else catches our attention, the issue of fulfillment comes from another source in our lives. Something to consider - Find Your Passion! References Empty-Stomach Intelligence Physiology, Obesity Neurohormonal Appetite And Satiety Control
  9. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    Fortune Cookie Wisdom

    Do you remember the last time you cracked open a fortune cookie? Those little blue and white slips, with lucky numbers filled with uplifting, motivational messages, always seem to brighten the moment. Snippets of inspiration such as “you will soon be hearing great news from someone you love” or “now is a perfect time to follow your dreams” get placed in our wallets, taped to our computer, or posted on our bulletin boards as a reminder of possibilities. These little harbingers of possible outcomes can make us think, “what if it really could happen?” When was the last time you received an encouraging or inspiring comment from someone? When taking a minute or two to pause and reflect on the fortune cookie’s message, you suddenly stop and realize… this may be the first affirmative message you’ve received all day! Within the hustle and bustle of looming deadlines, demanding bosses and crabby coworkers, somewhere in the vastness of space and time, this little paper has given you a boost of positive outlook and a ray of hope that things could get better. And it comes with a tasty cookie! But this seemingly innocent and well-meaning message begs an even deeper question: What are we getting from fortune cookies messages that we may not be getting from one another? When was the last time you received an inspiring, hopeful or encouraging comment from a friend, or a compliment from a partner or spouse? Can you recall, in your work environment, the last time someone praised your work or anyone commented on your attentiveness to detail or your dedication to doing a good job? We are bombarded with negative communications on a daily basis, and chances are, if you are like the rest of us, you tend to reflect on the more negative elements of daily life that can drag you down, rather than focusing on the highlights that can truly lift you up. It is said what we focus on and think about can become self-fulfilling outcomes. As it turns out, there really is some truth to the self-fulfilling prophecy theory. This works for both positive and negative outcomes. Reasonable optimism has been scientifically proven to impact nearly every aspect of our lives – from living longer to doing well on a test, to enjoying success in our work. Likewise, pessimism has been shown to contribute to feelings of depression, social withdrawal and loneliness. Pygmalion Effect - Positive Reinforcement Changing how to respond to life and our environments is more than just a matter of repeating a thought or a desire to yourself. As humans, we instinctively look toward others to reinforce our expectations for ourselves. This is called the Pygmalion effect. The Pygmalion effect works two ways: if you were conditioned as a nurse to reach for a high set of expectations, you would tend to meet those achievements. If you were held to a lower standard, you wouldn’t try as hard. What psychology research demonstrates today with the many studies that have been conducted on positive thinking and positive reinforcement is that when we look to the positive words, events, experiences in our lives and not dwell on the negative, we are happier and healthier. We also know that the Pygmalion effect isn’t set in stone. A little encouragement and higher expectations can yield fantastic results. So why can we get excited by the message in a little fortune cookie rather than from the many interactions we have during our day with other people? Can a fortune cookie provide really meaningful positive communication and rewarding expectation that we all so actively seek? Perhaps it’s because somewhere, on some level, the fortune cookie reaffirms what we’ve always believed: that we really can succeed, be loved, and feel wanted. The cookie message doesn’t judge us or try to tell us what to do, but rather lends positive words and support for our imagination. Have you ever seen a fortune cookie that gives bad news or advice like, “You will just to manage to get by”. Offer Hope of Encouragement If you have saved a fortune cookie message, maybe take the time today to carry the fortune cookie’s ever-hopeful message to those around you. Offer some words of encouragement to a coworker who is struggling with a tough project. Give your partner or spouse a shoulder rub and tell them how much you appreciate having them in your life. Share moments with each of your children and let them know how great their latest artistic creation is, or how much you loved watching them perform at the ball game. The bottom line is, be the person who communicates just how valued others are in your life. Reinforce their deeply-held beliefs that good things will come soon. By sharing meaningful communication and hopeful affirmation with those you love, your words become a soothing balm that makes the bitter stings of the bad news and turmoil in our everyday lives not be quite as bad as they could be. References Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and The Pygmalion Effect Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress Negative Communication How a pessimistic attitude can affect your health How optimism benefits your health
  10. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    Stress Proofing the Holidays

    Celebrating the Holidays During the Pandemic The holidays can be a wonderful time to enjoy and celebrate friends and family. They can also be hectic, stressful, and exhausting. This year that is doubly so as many of us continue to remain socially distant due to the ongoing public health crisis. The familiar warmth and magic of the holiday season has served as a beacon of hope and joy at the end of each year. Normal life has been upended by the pandemic, and as hospitalizations continue to record highs, the draining effects of pandemic fatigue are casting a grim shadow over our cherished traditions. Even with many celebrations being conducted virtually, the ever present drive to go all out with decorating and getting a sleigh’s worth of gifts can easily elevate our stress. This is all the more reason for us to be mindful, as we prepare for the season, of engaging in stress relieving acts of self- care. It can be helpful to take a self-inventory, and decide how we would like to experience the season. Below are a number of tested, proven, and cost-effective ways that can help us take control, insuring that the holidays will carry us into the New Year renewed and fulfilled rather than stressed-out, exhausted and in debt. This can be the best gift we can give ourselves, our friends and loved ones. Ways to Take Control and be Stress-Free 1 - Set Realistic Expectations We can start by not avoiding the trap of setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others. It may be all the more tempting to overcompensate this year and crank the holiday cheer to 11 by feeling the need to create a perfect celebration, buying the perfect gifts, and not forgetting anyone that you would normally buy a present for. We can avoid this pitfall by identifying very clearly how we want to celebrate and then setting parameters on our gifting in this challenging this year. By setting boundaries for our gathering and gifting we can greatly reduce the concerns and stress of the season which must take a backseat to the safety and well being of those we love, including ourselves. If we are feeling uncomfortable with gatherings outside of our immediate pod members, we can let go of the guilt and simply share with others our concerns for our and their well-being. If we elect to have modest gatherings with trusted members of our pods, we can set clear boundaries on behaviors like mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, etc. Rather than draining ourselves by chasing perfection or trying to create a story book holiday as we have in the past, or buying perfect presents that can create financial stress, limiting activities and defining a budget for gift giving can shift our holiday experiences from stressful to joyful and put a greater emphasis on the meaning of our giving. 2 - Gift-giving? Be Creative Another great way to simplify the season is to be creative with our giving by making gifts with a personal touch. For example, rather going the store bought route, my daughter in law will be using her baking talents to gift us delicious treats that I love and can freeze to enjoy during the new year, as well. Whether it’s through baking, cooking, knitting, crafting, or scrap booking, such gifts not only provide a customized feel, but can also help us avoid spending a lot more than we might want to. 3 - Staying Debt-Free In a recent survey conducted by the National Retail Foundation, shoppers plan to spend on average around $998 on gifts this season, with the bulk of it being placed on credit cards. Here are a few simple but effective tips on how to stay debt free during the holidays, highlighted in a November 17th, 2020 article for Forbes by Bill Hardekopf. Draft a firm budget for holiday shopping and stick to it Use cash rather than credit Set clear expectations for gift giving with friends and family The BEST Gift for the Holiday Celebration ... As mentioned above, keeping up with our self-care is perhaps the best gift we can give ourselves and those who love us. Making sure to give ourselves time for exercise, meditation/prayer/relaxation, vitamins, good nutrition, and getting enough sleep is wonderfully effective at minimizing the production of stress hormones, such as cortisol, and producing feel good hormones like oxytocin. All of these practices, as well as the ones listed below, can help us stay centered and positive during both a pandemic and the crunch of the holiday season: Giving ourselves permission and space to slow down when things get hectic Taking time to mindfully enjoy our favorite beverage or food Wrapping gifts as they are purchased rather than all at one time Prepping meals and freezing them for planned events Keeping social commitments to a safe and enjoyable number Wishing you joyful and safe holidays! Georgianna Resources 10 Tips for Surviving the Holidays Holidays and Stress 10 Tips To Avoid Credit Card Debt During The Holidays 6 Tips for Holiday Self Care
  11. Hello Carol, Great articles! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience. Would love to get in touch with you but don't know how. If you can email me that would also work: gd@niwh.org I look forward to speaking with you. Kindest regards, Georgianna
  12. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    Dog Therapy As Good Medicine For Seniors

    Thanks again Karen! Happy Holidays- Georgianna
  13. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    3 Easy Ways to Improve Health and Happiness

    Hi Mary, Thanks so much for your comment and pleased you found them helpful. These are such stressful times for all of us that anything that can give us a little lift and reduce stress is so welcome! Many thanks ! Kind regards- Georgianna
  14. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    3 Easy Ways to Improve Health and Happiness

    It is a basic human drive to thrive and experience a joyful, life filled with purpose. Yet, despite the influx of the latest and greatest life hacks, self-help programs, and wellness products flooding the market , it is time tested, no-cost , and overlooked measures that ultimately help us to enhance and foster more excellent relationships with ourselves. Here are a few simple tips that any of us can apply immediately to improve our well-being, enhance our health, and restore our peace of mind. 1. Live Debt Free At some time or another, most of us have learned the stressful nature of debt. Studies have shown that high levels of debt can lead to, among other things, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, lowered immunity, and relationship issues. All of these can rob us of our well-being and cause us to lose control over our ability to manage our health and happiness. One of the fastest and easiest ways of turning the ship around when it comes to debt is to commit to using only cash for purchases and eliminating the use of credit cards. Living within our means gives us an appreciation and a sense of fulfillment when we apply the resources we have, limiting our consumption and not wasting our financial resources on items we do not need. Saving money provides a sense of accomplishment, security and improves well-being. While it is wise to have a credit card or line of credit squirreled away for a rainy day, being disciplined in our spending habits and paying down our debt can often do more for our sense of well-being and health than following the latest health trends and may-be even starting an exercise program. Eliminating the stress of debt accumulation is a vital act of self-care which we can easily apply and commit to. Studies show that chronic stress makes us sicker and can contribute to life-threatening events such as stroke and heart attack more so than any other lifestyle behavior. Additionally, paying with cash in hand versus charging a credit card makes us more conscious of the amounts we are spending, giving us the opportunity to ask ourselves two important questions: “Can I afford this?” and “Do I need this?” 2. Organize Your Space In our consumption centered culture, we are bombarded daily with endless advertising and are urged to buy and consume constantly. Before long we can find ourselves with living spaces packed with all manner of “stuff”, a lot of which serves no immediate purpose in our lives and, in many instances, has been collecting dust for years. It is supremely gratifying to clean out and organize our spaces. Giving things away to the local thrift store or donating these unnecessary belongings to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, in addition to freeing up valuable room, also provides a greater sense of control and orderliness – all net positives for reducing stress and improving well-being. A study conducted by Dr. Nicole Keith of Indiana University found that out of a group of 998 subjects between 49 – 65 (a particular group of high risk demographic for heart disease), those who kept their homes orderly and uncluttered where healthier than those who didn’t. 3. Write Your Goals Down We all have goals and dreams we want to realize. Whether they are of a personal, financial, social, or professional nature one of the fastest, proven ways to achieve those goals and manifest our dreams is to write them down. You can choose to keep them down in a journal or jot them on post-it notes or note cards and distribute them throughout your home or office. Prioritize your most pressing goal or need and spend a few minutes each day focusing on them. You can also elect to write positive affirmations toward the realization of your goal, reciting them several times day to keep it in focus in your imagination. This inexpensive, proven method for creating the things we want in our lives can become an excellent life-long behavior, which is backed by research. A study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews of Dominican University of 267 people found that those who regularly wrote down their goals and dreams were 42% more likely to achieve their dreams than those who didn’t. When one goal is realized or achieved, we can identify the next important goal and work on that specifically, using our desire to program our unconscious mind to make our ideal real. After all, thoughts actually are tangible forms of energy or “things”. By repeatedly thinking about something, we can help facilitate its realization. Vision Boards are also very popular and provide not only an opportunity to produce a creative expression of our thoughts, feelings and desires, but can also serve as a daily visual reminder of what our desire and dreams are for the present and future. Everything was a thought before it became a physical reality – the chair you are sitting on was a thought in someone’s mind before it was created. We can and do create our lives with our thoughts – so, to use the title of a best-selling book: write it down and make it happen! Resources Dave Ramsey: Cash vs. Credit Card: Which Should I Use? Health.com: 7 Ways Debt Is Bad for Your Health Psychology Today: The Powerful Psychology Behind Cleanliness HUFFPOST: The Power of Writing Down Your Goals and Dreams
  15. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    The Complexity of Human Nutrition

    With the worldwide web, it has never been easier to find information on achieving sustainable levels of health and wellness, as well as managing chronic disease. Thanks to the internet and the ongoing efforts of scientists, medical researchers, and healthcare professionals, the general public has access to a broad body of knowledge when it comes to proper exercise, lifestyle choices, and nutrition. In the field of biochemistry, metabolism, and nutrition we have gained an in-depth understanding of human biological processes, and the biochemical intake necessary to keep those processes functioning optimally. Interest in nutrition is at an all-time high, with a full gamut of dietary models being extolled as the best, correct or right diet approach. Followers often argue about the "good, better, best" diet with the same level of passion found in political and religious debates. My colleagues and I joke about how there are now three topics of discussion to avoid: politics, religion, and nutrition! Humor aside, the question remains ... ... is there truly one definitive diet which covers all the bases? As with most things in life, the answer is clothed in shades of gray rather than black and white. While our bodies have a uniform need for proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, etc., the way our bodies process and assimilate them varies greatly from person to person based on gender, activity, culture, metabolic function, exercise, work and other elements of the lifestyle we live. Our nutritional needs also change significantly as we age. These variables can throw a serious wrench in the researches of dieticians, nutritionists, and food scientists, as well as undercut the claims of one diet over another. This conundrum was highlighted brilliantly in a fact-checked February 2020 article by Tim Newman of MedicalNewsToday.com, titled "Why Is Nutrition So Hard to Study?" "Nutrition is wrapped in multiple confusions," Newman writes. "Why is it so hard to determine whether a food is good or bad for health?" He goes on to list a number of factors ... A changing world Newman observes: "Although the water is muddy and difficult to traverse, there have been substantial victories in the field of nutrition research. For instance, scientists have determined that vitamin C prevents scurvy, that beriberi develops due to a thiamine deficiency, and that vitamin D deficiency causes rickets." However, he notes that in other areas of nutrition research "the picture is rarely so clear-cut. This is especially true when investigating conditions wherein multiple factors are at play, such as obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, or heart disease." In lieu of perfection As multiple factors, including cost and ethical concerns, make conducting a "perfect" nutritional study impossible, "Nutritional research has to make some concessions." While observational studies have proven to be valuable, they can be problematic for several reasons, including the inconsistency of participant self-reporting. "The issues associated with measuring nutrient intake are so ingrained that some authors have referred to self-reporting as a pseudoscience." Diving into complexity As mentioned earlier, individual differences in food assimilation can stymie the efforts of researchers to find a clear cut answer. "There are so many variables to take into account that even when a study does find a statistically significant result, it is difficult to determine if it actually came from the food under investigation. Of course, humans are just as diverse as the foods they consume. Eating a single peanut might provide one person with beneficial nutrients, while that same peanut could be fatal for someone with an allergy." The scourge of confounding variables It is very easy to conflate correlation with causation when it comes to associating a particular nutritional outcome with the consumption of a particular food, neglecting the influence of other possible variables at work. As an example, Newman gives a hypothetical study regarding spinach consumption and increased lifespan: "People who eat a great deal of spinach live for 5 years longer than people who eat no spinach. From that result, one might quickly conclude that spinach increases life span…In this case, the extended life span might not be due to the spinach alone; someone who eats a lot of spinach might also eat a lot of other vegetables. Conversely, someone who eats no spinach might eat fewer vegetables overall. Also, someone who regularly eats vegetables is possibly more likely to indulge in other healthful pastimes, such as exercise. Someone who never eats spinach might, perhaps, be less inclined to work out." These factors serve as a sobering reminder that nutrition is far from an exact science, underscoring the need to continually evolve research standards and keep a healthy sense of skepticism regarding the alleged supremacy of certain diets over others. Newman concludes: "Overall, there are no quick answers in the world of nutrition. However, because we all need to eat, interest is unlikely to disappear, and science will continue to forge ahead." In addition Nutrition is likely one of the areas of our life that we can exert complete control over. As our world and its politics become more conflicted the comfort of the food we eat can take on more meaning and a sense of stability in our lives. References Medical News Today: Why is nutrition so hard to study?
  16. Dr Georgianna Donadio

    Broken Heart Syndrome Increase During Pandemic

    Thanks for posting this interesting article! Here is another article on the subject which includes information by Dr Helen Fisher, which explains why this syndrome is so painful and debilitating.