“Good Spirits”, Scrooge implored the silent, cloaked figure of the ghost of Christmas Future “…Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life!”
There is no better, more classic, more meaningful way to remind ourselves of the meaning of Christmas than by taking a couple of hours to immerse our hearts and minds in the experience of Jason Woods performing the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol.”
Offered this year by Jason as a benefit for the HealthyUNow Foundation, tickets are $20 and available at:
Your ticket purchase will support the DramaWorks program and will alter the lives of these creative, talented young people with autism.
Please forward this to your friends and family! We look forward to seeing you there!
“God bless us every one”!
~Dr. Julie Buckley, Founder HealthyUNow Foundation~
When we think of “service dogs,” most of us think first of guide dogs for the blind. But since 1990, when the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law, these canine caregivers have cheerfully taken on an ever-expanding role in human health and well-being and proven themselves to be invaluable in enhancing the lives of people with a much broader range of disabilities. The high level of independence these animals can help their owners achieve might be unattainable either physically and/or financially without their service. In 1996, the organization National Service Dogs (NSD) began training service dogs to assist people with autism. Two years ago Project Chance began training dogs for this purpose in Northern Florida. Six months ago an intelligent, motivated, cheerful Golden Retriever named Flux joined our household as my daughter Dani’s service dog. I wanted to share with you some of the reasons that I now advise my patients to consider getting a service dog of their very own.
Because a service dog makes people smile at your daughter, and you overhear mommies telling their children “Look, Sarah, that dog is helping that little girl!”
Because everyone wants to talk to your daughter and meet her dog. No one is looking at her strangely anymore.
Because when she has a seizure, the dog will help and be there to comfort her.
Because she will learn how to love another being in ways you can’t teach her just because the dog is there.
Because she’ll go into the theater with the dog and watch a full-length film and say “That was a good movie!” afterward.
Because she’ll be so busy taking care of the dog on the airplane that she forgets she’s a little nervous, and when you land she’ll say, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be!”
Because “I want my puppy,” may be the most wonderful sentence you’ve heard since your child regressed into autism. The social isolation is going away.
Because the dog brings so much joy into the home that everything seems easier.
Because there’s someone else available full time to keep an eye on your daughter and you can actually get something done.
Because they can be mutual pillows for each other driving home at the end of a long day.
Last week I went to see the doctor who “drove” the chemo part of my cancer treatment five years ago. I’m done with cancer and bragged about all the new things I was doing with my mind and body since I saw him last year—got SCUBA certified and dove the Great Barrier Reef with my son; finished and released my second book, Breast Cancer: Start Here; working out fiercely in a closely supervised CrossFit style setting at SETPerformance; had a leading role in Nunsense.
My doctor called our visit more a social visit than a cancer visit and, really, we had a philosophical conversation more than anything. It centered on a Christmas Eve tragedy. A neurosurgeon we both knew had been driving his entire family down a busy highway and lost control of his vehicle—his twelve-year-old daughter died in the wreck, and he was lying in a hospital fighting for his life. I knew of this family through my church, my doctor knew of them from the child’s school. My doctor, who sees patients in all stages of life and death, working in cancer, was freaked out about what had happened to the neurosurgeon. He said to me repeatedly, “You never know, Julie. You just never know.” I was, frankly, a little surprised to find that this car accident was what was driving the message home for him: Be. Here. Now.
When I was nineteen, we found out that my father was going to die within a few months, and he didn’t want to try to fight cancer again because the treatment, worse to him than the disease, was guaranteed to not work. About a week after the diagnosis, he was sitting in our living room and told me something I’ve never forgotten. It has been the focus of my motivation for an awful lot of my life.
“Julie,” Dad said to me, “when I look around this room and think, ‘Is there anywhere else in the world I would rather be?’ the answer is ‘No.’ When I look outside at this farm we work and these horses we have, and think, ‘Is there anywhere else in the world I would rather live?’ the answer is ‘No.’ When I think about my job and ask myself, ‘Is there anything else I would rather be doing?’ the answer is ‘No.’ So when they tell me that I’m going to die soon, I think to myself ‘Is there anything else that I need to do that I haven’t done yet?’ The answer is ‘No.’ Make no mistake, Julie. I don’t want to die. But if I die in the next ten minutes, I did everything I could with the time I’ve had.”
When my daughter developed autism and we began to work aggressively on healing her body, our whole family had to stop and remind ourselves of that message. We did it pretty successfully. My son is an Eagle Scout now as a result of that commitment to Be. Here. Now. When I developed cancer five years ago, we recommitted to that principle and made sure to do it from a position of gratitude. But here’s the thing that makes me happiest—that recommitment didn’t involve a major shift in how we live our lives.
So at the end of a year, a time that is filled with so much rushing and running and trying to do it all, a time that is pregnant with anticipation of gift giving and celebrating, a time that is ripe with promises and endeavors for the New Year, I invite you to join me in what has been my daily exercise for thirty years now—to pause at least nightly, and sometimes several times daily, and from a position of gratitude, consider how I would answer those questions my dad asked of himself and shared with me. As long as the answers continue to be “No”, then I don’t have to worry too much if it’s over in ten minutes—although I sure do hope it isn’t! It’s a lot of fun to Be! Here! Now!
So, this girl ran into me a few months ago. Literally. I was sitting at a stoplight. She had been drinking and was currently texting while not stopping or even slowing down as she drove up behind me—you see the problem? Anyway, one crash later, my old, completely-paid-for, healthy van was a goner and I had to get a new car.
Since I survived breast cancer five years ago, I’ve worked hard at having more fun, more peace, and more mindfulness in my life. I’ve consciously worked at nourishing my body and mind and treating them both a little—no, truthfully, a LOT—better than I had been before cancer. And many of the products and activities that provide nourishment and foster peace, if medically indicated and prescribed, are tax write-offs in the “non-reimbursed medical expense” column, a lesson we learned when our daughter developed autism and almost none of her treatment was covered—but I digress.
So, if I’m getting a new car, and a new car payment to go with it, I’m gonna make sure I smile all the time while driving it. Right? So I got the same car that I had B.K.—Before Kids. Mustang. Stick shift. Convertible. Not car seat-friendly, not especially responsible, but FUN.
But just because a car is FUN doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with rules. For example, since it takes only 14.5 seconds to raise or lower the top, that top MUST be down unless the temperature is higher than 90, lower than 50, or if weather will make the inside of the car wet. Top down translates into lots of wind in my hair, which itself translates into low maintenance haircuts—and no phone use while on the road because whoever I’m talking to can’t hear me speaking over the wind.
Skirts and dresses must be hiked up as high as possible to allow for maximum sun tanning—without indecent exposure, of course. And with all of that sunshine, my vitamin D level is soaring, with excellent immune function improvement.
It’s virtually impossible to eat while driving a stick shift—so I don’t.
There must be singing in the car, all the time. Singing is just like prayer to me and with the top down, it feels so easy to talk to God—so car time translates to prayer time.
The incredible sensory input of driving a stick shift, feeling the road under you and the air all around you, drives out the worries my brain wants to work on, so I can practice being present. Other people smile, and some do laugh, I admit, when they see me driving down the road these days—my joy must be infectious.
Which brings me full circle to my original thought. If there was a pill that would raise a person’s vitamin D3 levels into therapeutic range, improve mood, suppress appetite, obviate the need for hair dye and blow dryers, facilitate therapeutic mindfulness and prayer, and foster the same in others just by virtue of proximity and observation, it would be easy to get a scrip for that pill, wouldn’t it?
So can I get a scrip for my new car?
Wow. At the recent Institute for Functional Medicine Annual Symposium, I heard a statistic- the average American spends 27 minutes daily cooking. But- we watch food shows on TV that are 30 to 60 minutes long. We have allowed the preparation of our food to become an industrial process while we can watch someone else prepare it and lament that we have no time to cook.
Studies are showing that calorie counting isn’t actually that important, as long as we make sure to eat healthy food choices that WE prepare for ourselves, and for each other. Why is that? Well, 80% of the food that is processed and prepared for us has sugar added to it. When we prepare it for ourselves, we stop unintentionally buying so much sugar. When we prepare whatever bread we are going to eat, we’ll likely eat less bread just because it’s not that easy to make. If we take a moment to actively consider how the food we choose to prepare for ourselves and our loved ones is going to nourish our bodies, we are likely to optimize our food choices.
If you ask me about growing up, or about holidays at my house, my memory flashes to the kitchen. My uncle Bob would bring his guitar into the kitchen and we’d all be singing Christmas carols or folk songs or Elvis ballads while Mom directed each of us in some preparatory task. On a more mundane level, my sister and I spent a lot of time solving the problems of the world, with Mom’s help, while we prepared the evening meals.
So what is the take home message here? Turn off the TV- stop watching someone else cook and get into the kitchen and COOK! Cook with the people that will be sharing in the meal. If we make an effort to get the entire family in the kitchen, working together to prepare our meals, we’ll add extra ingredients that you can’t buy in food that’s been processed outside of your home: Gratitude. Intention. Mindful choice. Love.
How many of you already knew that the stuff that makes antibacterial soap antibacterial is a chemical called Triclosan? Did you know that the FDA has taken a position that if a manufacturer doesn’t show that it’s more effective in reducing infection than regular soap, they shouldn’t put Triclosan into handsoaps in the first place?
By now, you should be wondering what it is about Triclosan that has the FDA worried into thinking it maybe shouldn’t be in your handsoap.
Well, there’s a nice story in SmithsonianMag.com by Joseph Stromberg that gives us five reasons why you really probably don’t want to wash your hands with Triclosan:
1. It’s not effective at reducing bacterial infections
2. It might be contributing to antibiotic resistance.
3. It might be an endocrine disruptor- especially thyroid.
4. It might contribute to childhood allergies and thus immune dysregulation.
5. It is bad for the environment- disrupting algae’s photosynthesis.
You will find more information about our endeavor on our HUN Books page. Today, on Mother’s Day, we proudly announce the release of our first book. Entitled “Breast Cancer: Start Here” and written by our very own breast cancer survivor, Julie A. Buckley MD, and her reconstructive surgeon, Ankit Desai, MD, we think every woman can benefit from reading it. Taking the functional medicine lessons she learned from working with children with autism and applying them to her own illness is precisely what we hope the world will see and do. As we optimize function and restore health for individuals with autism, it should be obvious to all of us that optimizing function and restoring health is a realizable goal for anyone, no matter what your health challenge is.
A woman typically has thirty days from the time of her diagnosis with breast cancer to the time when she begins her treatment. There’s a lot to learn in that one short month. What lab tests are necessary – when, and how to interpret them. What treatment options are right for your particular kind of cancer-mastectomy, radiation, chemotherapy. What doctors you’ll need-general surgeon, reconstruction surgeon, oncologist-and how you’ll interview them to choose the best ones for your needs. What is the science behind integrative therapies-diet, supplements, exercise, massage-and which ones can give you the most bang for the buck to enhance your outcome?
HealthyUNow is grateful to receive proceeds from the sale of this book in support of the work of our foundation. Dr. Buckley is well known for her knack of making complicated science understandable and palatable. Read this description from Amazon, and remember to buy it through our Fundinco portal! We have featured Dr. Buckley’s books on our Fundinco home page!
Every 20 minutes a child is diagnosed with a disease on the autism spectrum–including ADD, learning disabilities, Aspergers, Autism, and PDD–making it today’s most common childhood disability. While the medical establishment treats autism as a psychiatric condition and prescribes behaviorally based therapies, Dr. Julie A. Buckley argues that it is a physiological disease that must be medically treated.
Part personal story of her battle to heal her autistic daughter, part guide for parents, Healing Our Autistic Children explains simply and accessibly the new treatments and diets that have already proven effective for many families. Told through the case studies of her patients, the book is divided into four typical visits to Dr. Buckley’s pediatric practice so that parents can see the progression of initial treatment. Written in a warmly engaging voice, parents new to the diagnosis will:
That’s the short answer. The longer answer is that for the first few years, we replaced bread stuffing in our turkey with a rice stuffing, and it worked fabulously. Tasted like stuffing, wasn’t trying to be the stuck-together-comfort-food-gluten-glued stuffing that I grew up loving. We were all happy around the Thanksgiving table. We’re ten years into GFCF at my house now, and I’m experimenting with breads again. We were really really close to a GFCF version of the stuck-together-comfort-food-gluten-glued stuffing this year. If I get there- no, WHEN I get there, I’ll be sure to post that recipe- stay tuned…
For now, so that you don’t have to miss stuffing at this time of year when we consume copious quantities of turkey and stuffing and gravy, I thought we ought to re-post the yummy Roast Turkey and Rice Dressing Recipe that Grammie Buckley actually wrote up and put in her Grammies Recipes book that is available on Amazon. (Remember to purchase it through Fundinco if you get one!)
Plan about 4-5 hours to stuff and roast an 18 lb. turkey. Follow roasting times on turkey packaging. Caution: Never stuff a turkey until it is oven time. Bacteria in poultry grow rapidly at room temperature!
Hey Asheville, are you ready for a fun-filled weekend supporting a wonderful cause? Here at the HealthyUNow Foundation, October can’t get here fast enough. Why are we so excited? Well, October,12 2013 marks the date for the 1st Annual Bird’s Nest Invitational.
This co-ed soccer tennis tournament – brought to you by the HealthyUNow Foundation, the Asheville soccer community and our wonderful sponsors – supports children and families in Western North Carolina affected by autism. In fact, all tournament proceeds support the HealthyUNow Foundation’s construction of The Bird’s Nest — the world’s first healthy-built, environmentally-pure and safe habitat for individuals and families affected by autism. Did we mention, this one-of-a-kind healing center will be built here in the Asheville community?