November News Brief

Greetings Further Shore friends,

These early November days are for the Remembrance Holidays, as we take time to honor and celebrate loved ones who have passed from this life. The upcoming season of winter holidays can be a time of joy and celebration, gift exchanges, and sharing good times. For persons who are grieving, holidays can be complicated. I offer some suggestions about meeting holiday grief in the December 2022 News Brief. Of course here in the USA, November is also about preparing and sharing food and gratitude on Thanksgiving Day. I’m wishing you good food, good company, and peace in this season of gratitude.

Now for the News:

  • This Month’s Special Day:   is November 1stWorld Vegan Day – a day to explore and celebrate the vegan diet, which according Wayne Marinelli (aka The  Food Doctor) means “never consuming anything that had (or could have) a face! No meat, no fish or fowl, no eggs or dairy.” The strict vegan doesn’t eat honey or wear leather shoes or clothing. It is the gentle way of eating because no animals are killed or made to suffer to bring food to the table. Veganism supports heart and colon health and reduces risk for other fatal diseases. Plant-based food production uses less water, which in turn reduces the impact on climate change. Here are few ways to celebrate the day:
    • Try a vegan recipe – There are over 100 of these in Recipes from the Food Doctor and Friends. I’ve mentioned it before, but the tofurkey, stuffing, and gravy is a Thanksgiving delight! There’s also a vegan pumpkin pie and a vegan pecan pie recipe in this cookbook. Bon Appetite!
    • Just One – If you are dedicated to animal products for every meal and snack, going vegan might feel super daunting. Just try to eat one vegan meal or snack per day for a week. Some great snacks include nuts, nut butters with crackers or veggies, protein bars, edamame, roasted chickpeas, hummus and veggies, fruit or fruit leather, guacamole, salsa, and chips. If you find you like the way that’s going, take the next step for one meatless meal per week.
    • Meatless Monday – yes, this is a actually a ‘thing’ that has been embraced in over 40 countries!
  • November is National Family Caregivers month; a time to recognize, honor, and appreciate individuals providing care and support for loved ones who are ill, disabled, or elderly. Here are some things to ponder:
    • In the United States, there are approximately 65.7 million family caregivers who care for a partner, spouse, housemate, disabled child, adult, or elder; and/or live-in or living-at-a-distance family member. An estimate of 11.4 million family caregivers serve hospice patients in the patient’s (or caregiver’s) home. There are estimated 7.3 million children with profound special needs, most being cared for by parents and/or other family members.
    • Caregivers can often feel isolated and alone with their duties. They may put on a courageous face, yet suffer silently with feelings of overwhelm, frustration, or exhaustion. You can help!
      • Often caregivers just need a friendly ear to truly listen.
      • If time, energy/resources permit:  make them a playlist of favorite songs; offer a hug, flowers, to share a cup of tea; give a gift card for respite care or a massage.
      • If you know someone in a caregiving role, do reach out with a kind gesture during the month of November. It can be as simple as saying “Thank you for taking care of our mom (grand-dad, wife, child, etc.), you are appreciated.”
    • Caregivers, think about support for YOU with these tips:
      • Learn about and/or engage professional caregiving services
      • Ask for others in your friend or family circle to provide a few respite hours so you can take care of yourself.
      • Take time away from the caregiving routines for a nature walk, spa day, breakfast with friends, or even an overnight getaway!
      • Join a support group (don’t rule out multi-generational conversations; people of all ages are caregiving).
      • Explore Share the Care – a caregiving model that engages a community of friends, family, and others to support the primary caregiver.
      • Please don’t hesitate to ask for help you may need during the holidays.
  • Pandemic Tidbit:  Long Covid is affecting millions of persons around the globe. While we tend to think of respiratory problems related to covid, researchers are now looking at gut health and mitochondria. Turns out that viral persistence in the gut can cascade into a reduction in tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin. That in turn increases inflammation throughout the body and brain. This is serious micro-biology and this excellent article outlines the details. If you have gastro issues, insomnia, post exertional malaise (PEM), brain fog, or chronic fatigue, please read this article. Certainly, more research is warranted, not only for Long Covid patients, but for anyone suffering with these symptoms. Remember, serotonin is the “happiness” hormone. If that is reduced, the result may be feelings of unhappiness, low motivation, even depression or anxiety. There is not a magic pill to increase serotonin, but there are some natural ways to boost it if it appears to be lacking or low. In this article, exercise is suggested as one way to boost serotonin but for people who experience severe PEM, vigorous exercise is not only contraindicated, but may cause more serious harm. Gentle, flowing yoga or tai chi may be a better fit than biking, running, or aerobics.
  • On the Blog:  “V” is for Volunteering is available now in the Wellness Alphabet. You may also view the current, and all past newsletters here.
  • Movie of the Month:  The documentary Unseen – How We’re Failing Parent Caregivers & Why It Matters provides an unfiltered look into the lives of those parenting a child with profound special needs. The film makers including Director/ProducerTom K. Dyer, Director/ProducerAmanda Dyer, and their Nashville based team want to shed light on the real challenges these parents face in a daily way and show how difficult it is to find supportive solutions and resources. Another objective of the film is to establish strategic partnerships with agencies, advocacy groups, businesses, and others that will affect real change toward support. This documentary is being screened in honor of National Family Caregivers Month. The film makers have put out a call to parent caregivers requesting video testimonials that may be included with the film’s supplemental materials. Watch the trailer here.
  • Quote of the Month:  “Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.” ~ Tia Walker

May all beings be safe, well, happy, and content.

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