10 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality


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1. Do not allow anyone to smoke inside of your home at anytime.

2. Measure the indoor humidity with a digital humidity and temperature monitor to keep it below 50 percent. Do not use any type vaporizer or humidifier; you may need a dehumidifier. Always use vent fans in bathrooms, and allow them to run for at least 30-minutes after bathroom  and shower usage.  Also, use vent fans when cooking to remove moisture.  Promptly repair all water leaks.

3. Wear a N95 particulate mask (Centers for Disease Control (CDC) NIOSH rated) when vacuuming or sweeping to reduce your exposure to fine particulates and allergens.

4. Do not use carpet in the bedroom. Use a central vacuum or a vacuum with a HEPA filter regularly. Keep it mind that it takes over two hours for dust to settle back down. If you’re not filtering it mechanically, then your nose is filtering it.

5. Keep pets out of the bedroom at all times. Use a room size Air Cleaner in the bedroom with an adequate CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) for the size of the room.

6. Encase mattresses and pillows with “mite-proof” covers. Wash all bed linens weekly.

7. Install a MERV 11 or 12 disposable high-efficiency media filter in the furnace and air-conditioning system. Change the filter every one to three months (with the change of the seasons) to keep the air cleaner year-round.

8. Install a high-quality air purification system in your home. Find a “whole-home” system. Leave a fan on to remove particles that may trigger allergies and asthma.

9. Have your heating and air-conditioning units inspected and serviced every six months.

10. Vent gas appliances and fireplaces to the outside and maintain them regularly.

If you would like a free, no-obligation, 3-day in-home trial of one of the best selling air purification systems available, click here.

2013 in Review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Bout With Gout


A Bout With Gout

When I was young, my dad had a very severe case of gout.  As I grew older, I

Gout: the disease of kings

Gout: the disease of kings (Photo credit: DanCentury)

saw him suffer more and more with the crippling disease.  He not only had it in his feet, but he got it in his hands and elbows as well.  As a matter of fact, his doctor told him that he had the most severe case he had ever treated. Of course, I’m sure everyone who has ever suffered with gout would say they feel they have the worst case.  I actually had my first “flare-up” of the despicable ailment in December of 2004.  Thankfully, I now no longer suffer with the disorder. Sadly, my father died at age 59 from renal failure brought on by diabetes.

What is Gout?  According to the National Arthritis Data Workgroup, an estimated 6 million people in the United States report having experienced gout at some point in their lives. In fact, gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in men over the age of 40.

So, we know that it’s a form of arthritis, but there’s a lot more to it. Gout is a painful form of arthritis that is caused by high uric acid levels in your blood. Gout attacks occur when excess uric acid forms crystals, causing inflammation in your joints that leads to swelling and pain. As your uric acid level rises, so does the potential for gout and gout flares. Over time, gout attacks can become more severe, last longer, and occur more often. Decreasing your uric acid to the recommended level (less than 6 mg/dL) can reduce the risk of gout attacks over the long term. And there are options that may help get you there.

Gout Signs & Symptoms  Gout flares usually strike suddenly, at night, and without any warning. During the attack, the affected area becomes hot, red, swollen, and extremely tender. Having gout may sometimes feel like your toe is a volcano erupting into a hot, fiery flare.

Gout may be best known for causing harsh pain in the toe. While most gout attacks do occur in the big toe, they can occur in other parts of the body as well. As I mentioned, my dad had attacks in his hands and elbow as well.

What Can One Do?  Healthy Choices!  A lot of people misunderstand the role of diet in gout, but here are some good tips that you can discuss with your family doctor:

  • Drink plenty of liquids, like water.  Fluids like water help remove uric acid from the body. Alkaline ionized water is a great choice. Avoid beer and other alcoholic beverages!
  • Add low-fat dairy products to your diet. Eating more of these dairy products is associated with a decreased risk of gout.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight, and get plenty of exercise.
  • Limit your intake of high purine foods (beef, pork, and lamb)
  • Avoid spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, and mushrooms

The foods you eat aren’t necessarily the cause of gout. To best address gout, you need a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses healthy lifestyle changes including diet and exercise, pain management for gout flares, and the long-term treatment of high uric acid that causes gout.

Part of coming up with this plan is having an honest discussion with your doctor about what you are doing right now.

What is your daily diet like?

Are you taking herbal supplements or eating a lot of particular foods that you heard might help? One of the best supplements I discovered that helped my gout is Re:Flex.  It can’t be found in stores, but can be ordered online at https://store.myvollara.com/%28raines%29/Site/ReFlex

What kind of exercise are you doing and how frequently?

Are you taking your medication as prescribed?

Your doctor can tell you whether or not you are on the right track. I mentioned in the beginning that I no longer agonize from gout.  I had my last flare in 2004.  I found relief by losing weight, avoiding or decreasing the amount of high purine foods I take in. I also drink alkaline ionized water on a daily bases, and I take Re:Flex as mentioned previously.  My doctor insisted on prescribing a medication for me, and he did for a while; however, I saw what the long-term use of some of the medications did for my father and I didn’t want to follow that path.

Hopefully, this information has been helpful and if you suffer from “bouts of gout”, you get some relief.

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Brian Raines is not a healthcare provider, and does not render medical advice or services, and the information in this blog should never be used as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare provider. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a disease or health problem. You should instead always consult your physician or other healthcare provider for such medical advice or services. 

 

 

 

 

Fibromyalgia and Alternative Treatments


Fibromyalgia and Alternative Treatments

 

Today I want to discuss a topic that many of my close friends call major pain…fibromyalgia.  Fibromyalgia is a neurosensory disorder characterized by widespread muscle pain, joint stiffness, and fatigue. The condition is chronic (ongoing), but pain comes and goes and moves about the body. The disorder is often misdiagnosed or unrecognized and is and often complicated by mood and anxiety disorders.

According to the American College of Rheumatology diagnosis criteria,

Cover of "The pH Miracle: Balance Your Di...

Cover via Amazon

fibromyalgia affects about 3-5% of women, most of whom are between ages 20 and 50, but only 0.5- 1.6% of men. Some experts feel the actual rate is much higher. Fibromyalgia is more prevalent in adults than children, with nine times more women affected than men. People with fibromyalgia are most likely to complain of three primary symptoms: muscle and joint pain, stiffness, and fatigue.

There is no known cure for fibromyalgia; therefore, the goal of treatment is successful symptom management. Treatment usually requires a combination of pharmaceutical therapies, appropriate exercise, proper sleep hygiene, and good nutrition. As of early 2009, the only drug specifically approved for treatment of fibromyalgia by the United States Food and Drug Administration was pregabalin (Lyrica), an anticonvulsant whose mechanism of action in the treatment of fibromyalgia was not completely understood.

Antidepressant drugs that alter the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain help improve symptoms of pain and disrupted sleep in many people with fibromyalgia.

Our bodies are meant to be alkaline, and our highly acidic diets put enormous stress on our systems.  When you eat foods that create acid in your body, most of the toxic waste is eliminated from your body by the bladder and bowels, and some is eliminated by breathing and through the skin.  However, some of the waste is stored in protective fat cells, and some is absorbed into the blood stream and carried throughout your body.

The key to dealing with almost any disease, and especially fibromyalgia, is to eat an alkaline diet and drink alkaline ionized water.  While converting to an alkaline diet is often a struggle, drinking ionized water is simple and very effective.   That doesn’t mean you can drink alkaline ionized water and continue to fill your body with acidic foods. While I don’t have fibromyalgia, I do have gout, and I found that starting with the water allowed me to experience the benefits of being alkaline, which encouraged me to slowly convert to a more alkaline diet as the benefits became more and more obvious.

I talk with people frequently who have struggled with fibromyalgia for many years.  Several have found that they can experience almost total relief from fibromyalgia on an ongoing basis simply by drinking alkaline water and being more mindful of their diet. Nothing works for everyone, but I have talked with too many fibromyalgia sufferers who have found relief by drinking the water to simply discount it as “hocus pocus”

Secondly, eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits (preferably organic), and lower in meats and grains is another established approach to alkalizing the diet; however, most people don’t do this on a regular basis.  NSA Certified supplements are a great source for those who do not get their daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Robert Young, Ph.D., author of The pH Miracle, reports that drinking alkaline water “neutralizes stored acid wastes and gently removes acids from the body”.

Lastly, deep breathing and relaxation breathing exercises for stress management can dramatically alter the body’s acid/alkaline balance by oxygenating and eliminating carbon dioxide and aerosol wastes. However, breathing exercises won’t be much help if you’re breathing polluted air. Cleaning up your indoor air quality by using a world-class air purification system can reduce pollutants of all kinds including acid producing components and provide a better environment for deep breathing. Cracking windows for ventilation can sometimes be a superior air cleaner as recent studies have shown that outdoor air is many times cleaner than indoor air. More involved programs of acid/alkaline balancing should be done in conjunction with a knowledgeable health care provider. If you would like to research this topic further, there are many popular books available on acid/alkaline balance and diet. The pH Miracle by Robert O. Young, Ph.D., and Shelley Redford Young; and Alkalize or Die by Theodore Baroody, M.D. are two respected resources.

Fibromyalgia is a complex disorder in which many factors play a part. Acid/alkaline balance is not a “magic bullet” by any means. However, many people can experience significant benefits by taking a good look at their overall acid/alkaline picture and by making sometimes very simple changes to diet, lifestyle, self-care, and home environment.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  Products referenced are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. These statements are not intended to be medical advice. Consult your health care practitioner for specific medical advice and treatment.

Spring Cleaning for Your Finances


 

 

Spring Cleaning for Your Finances

 

 

As the temperatures climb and the days grow longer, many people start

Finance

Finance (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

thinking about “spring cleaning.” It’s time to wipe away the cobwebs of the
winter and welcome in the sunshine and warmth of spring.

Spring is a time of new beginnings, and this doesn’t just apply to our homes. It can also apply to our finances. Many people make the New Year’s resolution to get on a budget or to better manage their money, but most resolutions are forgotten after a few months.

Spring is a great time to get back into that groove of biblical money management.  When spring cleaning your home, you take a close look at those things that need cleaning or updating. Do the same with your finances.

Take a close look at your budget. Assess your present spending and look for areas that need adjusting. After the spending frenzy of the holidays is over, you can get a better idea of how much you actually spend each month. Keep track of your spending for 30 days and then use the Crown Spending Plan Calculator to make a budget. (Learn more about starting a budget here.)

 

 

As you are spring cleaning your home, you may find items that you no
longer need or that are outdated. As you are tracking your spending, you
may find the same applies to your budget. Assess spending for cable,
Internet, and phone service. Ask yourself if you really need all the
services you are paying for or if you could bundle your services or find
a better deal that would be cheaper.

Do you pay for a daily or weekly newspaper but hardly ever read it? Perhaps you could read the news online and cancel your delivery subscription. Save money on food by eating out less. Use coupons at the grocery store and use a weekly menu for meal planning.

 

 

Also, take a good inventory of your debt. Are you paying a high
interest rate on a credit card? Could you find a card with a lower
interest rate and transfer your balance? Also, look for areas in your
budget where you can cut back on spending and use the extra to pay off
those credit cards. Buy off debt faster by using a rollover plan to pay off your credit cards. Debt is an extra burden that we shouldn’t have to carry.

 

 

Need to generate some extra income? Look around your home for things
you can sell. Outgrown or outdated clothing items, sports or exercise
equipment, electronics, CDs, DVDs, old furniture, baby items, and
kitchen items usually have good resale value. Collect these items, clean
them up, and have a yard sale. Put ALL of the profits toward paying off
debt or funding your emergency account. You will generate extra income and free yourself of things that can clutter your home.

 

 

The final step in spring cleaning your finances is to get organized.
Misplaced bills can cost you late fees. Develop a good filing system to
keep up with your incoming bills and other important financial
information. Use products like the Bill Organizer to keep track or try using an online bill paying service. Crown Mvelopes and Crown Money Map Financial Software are great ways to track your spending online.

 

 

Before you know it, your spending plan will be running smoothly, and you will be on your way to true financial freedom.

 

 

by Crown Financial Ministries

 

 

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If you would like to have Crown Financial in your church or organization for a seminar or workshop, or if you would like to order Crown resources, contact Crown Associate, Brian Raines,  at brianraines@bellsouth.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Painful Three…Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and Arthritis


The Painful Three…Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and Arthritisreflex_lrg

If you’ve ever experienced fatigue, joint stiffness, sleep disturbance, numbness, tingling, and swelling of your joints, then you’ve experienced some of the symptoms of these three conditions.  For me personally, it is the third…arthritis. Specifically, I suffer from gout.

The muscle and joint discomfort associated with an active lifestyle can be hard to ignore.  I usually don’t use my blog to blatantly promote one specific product, but today I am.  I am doing so, because I have found one product that has personally given me great relief, and I feel obligated to share it. For relief, I found RE:FLEX by Vollara.  Re:Flex contains a proprietary blend of enzymes, powerful herbs, and antioxidants specifically formulated to support muscle and joint health.

Re:Flex provides highly concentrated proteolytic enzymes, including bromelain, to support the body’s natural anti-inflammatory systems. These enzymes are combined with powerful herbs, like Boswellia, that have been used for centuries in herbal medicine to support the body’s natural healing processes.

In addition, Re:Flex provides a combination of antioxidant nutrients to help the body fight the free radicals which may be released after an injury or in inflammatory conditions. Re:Flex utilizes the CAeDS® mechanism to insure maximum effectiveness

Benefits of Re:flex

Promotes faster recovery from exercise and competition

Helps maintain healthy muscles and joints

Take Re:Flex if:

You need extra support for joint and muscle health

You plan to participate in strenuous activity

You want to recover more quickly from exercise, sports or other physical activities

You want to support the body’s natural healing processes

Re:Flex also contains turmeric, and this has many benefits.

Order Re:Flex here

According to Health Diaries.com http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/20-health-benefits-of-turmeric.html  the active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Tumeric has been used for over 2500 years in India, where it was most likely first used as a dye. The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Here are 20 health benefits of turmeric:

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.

3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.

4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.

5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.

6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.

7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.

12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.

14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.

16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.

17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.

18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.

19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.

20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.

Re:Flex and other Vollara products can be ordered direct at https://store.myvollara.com/%28raines%29/Site/ReFlex

 

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

 

 

Biblical Principles of Borrowing


Biblical Principles of Borrowing

1739 Edition of Poor Richard's Almanac

1739 Edition of Poor Richard’s Almanac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Principles of borrowing appear in God’s Word, although it should be noted that principles differ from laws.

A principle is an instruction from the Lord to help guide our decisions. A law is an absolute. Negative consequences can result from ignoring a principle, but punishment is the likely consequence of ignoring a law of God.

An example that shows the difference between principle and law: the principle of borrowing given in Scripture is that it is better not to borrow if the loan must be taken with surety. “A man lacking in sense pledges and becomes guarantor in the presence of his neighbor” (Proverbs 17:18).

The law of borrowing given in Scripture is that it is a sin to borrow and not repay. “The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives” (Psalm 37:21). The implication of this Scripture is that the wicked can repay but will not, as opposed to those who want to repay but cannot.

Principles are given to keep us clearly within God’s path so that we can experience His blessings. To ignore them puts us in a constant state of jeopardy in which Satan can cause us to stumble at any time.

Principle 1: Debt is not normal
Regardless of how it seems today, debt is not normal in any economy and should not be normal for God’s people.

We live in a debt-ridden society that is now virtually dependent on a constant expansion of credit to keep the economy going. That is a symptom of a society no longer willing to follow God’s directions. God told His people what He would do if they kept His statutes.

“Now it shall be, if you will diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth….The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow”

(Deuteronomy 28:1, 12). Borrowing is never God’s best for His people.

Principle 2: Do not accumulate long-term debt
It’s hard to believe that a typical American family accepts a 30-year home mortgage as normal today or that it is now possible in some cases to borrow on a home for nearly 70 years.

The need to expand the borrowing base continually forces longer mortgage loans, because expansion through taking on debt causes prices to rise through inflation. As prices rise, mortgages lengthen.

Today it requires from 40 to 70 percent of the average American family’s total income to buy an average home, even with a 30-year mortgage.

The longest term of debt God’s people took on in the Bible was about seven years.

During the year of remission, the seventh year, the Jews were instructed to release their brothers from any indebtedness (see Deuteronomy 15:1-2). Thus, the only debts that could exceed seven years were those made to non-Jews or from non-Jews.

Principle 3: Avoid surety
Surety means accepting an obligation to pay without having a guaranteed way to make the payments.

The most recognizable form of surety is cosigning a loan for another person. But surety also can be any form of borrowing in which an unconditional guarantee to pay is committed.

The only way to avoid surety is to collateralize a loan with property that, if sold, would cover the indebtedness, no matter what.

Currently Americans charge in excess of $400 billion annually on their credit cards, of which $50 billion or more is for annual finances charges, and they carry an average monthly balance of between $3,000 and $5,800 at 12 to 21.5 percent interest.

These credit card purchases have become the most common form of surety in America today. In a credit card transaction, one merchant sells a consumer a product and another finances the purchase, unless the credit purchase is with an in-store credit card.

In the event of a default, the return of the merchandise to the original merchant does not cancel the debt because the finance company has no interest in the merchandise purchased.

Principle 4: The borrower has an absolute commitment to repay
In this generation, situational ethics is widely accepted—so much so that it’s easy to rationalize not paying a debt, especially when the product or service is defective or when family financial situations seem to be out of control.

Unfortunately, many borrowers discover that it is possible for them to accumulate far more debt than they can repay and still maintain the lifestyle they want. As a result, they bail out.

Currently (2002 standards) over one million people a year now choose bankruptcy as a way to postpone or avoid repayment.

Nevertheless, in some cases voluntary bankruptcy is acceptable—but only in the context of trying to protect the creditors, never in the context of trying to avoid payment.

A Christian needs to accept that God allows no exceptions to keeping vows. “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:5).

Conclusion
Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac quotes, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” Although it is good common sense, it is not from God’s Word.

However, many Christians feel that all borrowing is prohibited according to Romans 13:8, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”

To properly interpret this Scripture, it must be considered in light of the context in which it appears. In this particular reference, Paul was not talking specifically about money—teaching that we are never to allow people to do things for us if we are not willing to do even more for them.

Scripture very clearly says that neither borrowing nor lending is prohibited, but firm guidelines are given.

Borrowing is discouraged and, in fact, every biblical reference to it is a negative one. “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave” (Proverbs 22:7). The scriptural guideline for borrowing is very clear. When you borrow, you promise to repay. Literally, borrowing is making a vow and God requires that we keep our vows.

by Crown Financial Ministries

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Brian Raines is a former Senior Financial Advisor for an international firm, and is now an associate with Crown Financial Ministries.  If you are interested in utilizing Crown resources in your church, school, or business, please contact Brian at brianraines@bellsouth.net