Archive for the ‘Holistic Health & Healing’ Category

RETURN TO EXPO: Part four – Shoji makes my day.

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Just joining us? Be sure to read Part one of our #EXPOWEST adventure.

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Truth be told, this was my sixth nosebleed in about a month. The stress of the show, no doubt, and the insanely dry winter air in Chicago, were major contributors. The drought-like conditions in California had offered no respite. But still I had never had a nosebleed in my life when they started up a few weeks earlier and they scared the bejeebers out of me. What horrible harbinger of forthcoming illness were they? A physician friend had guided me through the necessary steps to take; but I had dreaded having one at EXPO. And now here I was having a nosebleed – and a real gusher – in the final moments of the second day. My sisters sat me down, got me the necessary supplies and headed back to sell, sell, sell – as the booth was still hopping – even though our floor had technically been closed for close to an hour.

It was not just the nosebleed that was so embarrassing. It was that – per doctors orders – I had to jam a tampon up my nose to get the bleeding to stop. Okay? (more…)

RETURN TO EXPO: Part three – Aloha means love.

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Just joining us? Be sure to read Part one of our #EXPOWEST adventure.

By Mary Duggan

EXPOWEST is one enormous ongoing conversation. And so we pack throat spray and lozenges and make sure there is comfortable seating for long chats. Really, you are throwing a party – only the food comes from fellow vendors, instead of a caterer or your own kitchen. We were blessed to be kitty-corner from the FEEL GOOD gluten-free egg roll company. The line never let up, the smell was insanely wonderful, and it was the closest we came to lunch breaks for 3 days.

others_IMG_7140_gf asian

For my first conversation, I  was delighted to be able to open our chat with “Aloha!” And even more delighted when this enthusiastic group from Honolulu opened 4  accounts with the Duggan Sisters. Folks had been walking into their stores in Hawaii and requesting lifestinks deodorant and they had listened!!! Can you imagine a more perfect beginning to EXPO? And I swear, I have NEVER asked my cousins who live in Hawaii to go into any stores and request our products. I do often ask if they would consider adopting me.

customers_IMG_7111+HI

Remember, Aloha means I love you! And Aloha lifestinks means I love you lifestinks deodorant. Or something like that.

In rapid-fire succession Annie was deep into a conversation with 2 phenomenal women from Norway who want lifestinks in their high-end natural beauty stores – all 114 of them! Holy mole! Or holy fjord! (more…)

Hugs Are Expensive

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Yep, yesterday I got yet another expensive hug. $110 to be precise. And costly, as well, in terms of time. I will need a half day out of the office to sync up with the doctor’s schedule. Because I can’t afford the cash or the time just now it also means I will be living in considerable pain for quite a while and that translates into here comes crabby. My poor family.

Ironically, a neighbor gave my sisters and I the moniker Huggin Duggans a number of years ago. So it seems we are doomed. (more…)

Gathering Together We Heal One Another

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Mary Duggan

By: Mary Duggan

It’s time to prep for our upcoming Fall speaking engagements. It’s almost October and that means church halls, school gymnasiums, Adult Ed classes, and every other imaginable venue for those of us in the breast health brigade. Summer fun is behind us and everyone is back to business. This week we resume our “ENOUGH WITH THE PINK, LET’S THINK” campaign at our local Curves and so I am preparing and updating. Fortunately there is so much exciting to discuss that the last thing on my mind is breast cancer. (more…)

Would you rather clean your refrigerator or the ocean?

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Mary Duggan

By Mary Duggan

One. I love Maritime culture. Two. I am proud to make environmentally sound personal care products. Three. I live for being in the water: anything from my bathtub to the ocean. Four: I love seeing women doing really important and interesting work. So you can imagine my delight when I read that one of the Tall Ships converging on Chicago just a few weeks ago was here doing really important environmental research on microplastics in our waterways and lots of the scientists involved are women. And you guessed it, while the topic is complex and layered, one of the catastrophic delivery systems for microplastics to our waterways is through toxic personal care products.  (more…)

Birthdays Are Such A Good Idea

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

By Mary Duggan

Let’s just say the girls went garbage picking for my birthday. And it worked out beautifully.

In the weeks preceding the Big 60 there was much gnashing of teeth and sighing coming from my sisters about the plans for my 60th birthday celebration. Now the girls are big on doing it up really big when it comes to the milestone birthdays. When I turned 40 it was a Wild Women Road Trip to the Badlands. And they topped that one with a whopper when they took me to Paris for the Big 50. Like I said they are crazy generous and enthusiastic sister-friends and both times they pulled out all the stops with itineraries so jammed packed with fun that it defied belief. So what were they to do with 60 to celebrate and no cash available?

I tried desperately to let them off the hook. I adore organizing and had noticed that Container Store was running a sale on some specialty shelf liners that I had coveted for years. No really. I had always wanted them. I love to clean and organize and my kitchen needs them desperately. I actually suggested a gift of shelf paper. Really, I did. Of course I came quickly to my senses and then withdrew that particular suggestion. But I was determined to help with the party plans and pull the weight off their shoulders by taking all expectations down – way down.

I came up with the idea of really enjoying yet another stay-cation. I mean we live in Chicago, not some sleepy little hamlet. And we never make the time to just plain enjoy Chicago. So I proposed a bloom where you are planted – don’t forget to enjoy your own garden kind of shindig. Better still, I said, let’s build it around the Printers Row Lit Fest, which is always held on my birthday and which I never go to because I am always having some kind of big birthday fun with my sisters. Once I proposed a theme that we could all get behind, all that was left to do was peruse the daily Tribune build-up to the big event and circle the authors and events on the enormous 2-day calendar that interested me.

Author April Peveteaux's autographs Mary's birthday book.

Author April Peveteaux autographs Mary’s birthday book.

Just a smidge more fun than shelf paper? Not in the hands of my sisters it’s not. And not when the party girl is a word nerd from way back. Every day I read articles about who was coming to town and I sifted and sorted through the options. Gluten-free food bloggers competed with celebrity chefs. There were local authors like Amy Sue Nathan and old friends like Billy Lombardo. Even Sting was on board with his Narrative Project. Then one day I came upon author Porter Gale who intrigued me with her “Your Network is Your Net Worth” take on entrepreneurs and marketing and other business-y matters. And despite apprehensions that it would trigger work thought, I added her to the list and even did the nifty little exercise she suggested. I shared the exercise with my sisters. (more…)

Having Choices Was My Greatest Gift

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

MaryDuggan_hands on hip

By Mary Duggan

It’s days before my big birthday and I would rather be otherwise occupied than explaining a recent blog. But okay, let’s try this again. And I will leave out the elegant metaphor or was it an analogy? Whatever it was, I still think it was spot on (as everyone seems to be saying lately) if we are ever going to figure out what keeps people from reclaiming their precious health.

The point I was trying to make is this: did anyone involved in your medical care make clear to you that you have choices? Did anyone say there are two ways to look at your __________? Here you have to insert the type of auto-immune disease you have been diagnosed with because there are so many. A big part of the conversation is why so many and a big part of the answer is the inflammation that links these conditions. But first, about choices.

I know in my case the docs made clear there were no real options or choices. I have found in years of discussions with other folks suffering from these myriad disorders that they were not presented choices either. And there’s the rub. Okay? Sorry but I will not allow you to take away my English Literature degree altogether. And I will argue with you that having a choice in the manner of your medical care is such a gift. Many medical maladies are permanent and irreversible and tragic – autoimmune disease isn’t. (more…)

Don’t Just Say No, Say I’m Sorry

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

MaryDuggan_hands on hipBy Mary Duggan

When you give up glutens, and I know you will eventually – the tipping point grows closer and closer each day – don’t just give up gluten. Say I’m sorry to your body too. And send down pro-biotics and other gut-restoring goodies to heal the damage done. If you don’t know what those goodies are, seek out professional folks who do.

Nutritionist Kelly Dorfman, author of “What’s Eating Your Child?” had me cheering with an insight she shared in a recent interview with Mari-Jane Williams of The Washington Post. The talk was too skinny kids on gluten free diets; just the sort of condition that would have traditional nutritionists finger-waving and clucking about the needs for “healthy whole grains.”

Kelly dorfman nutrition

Kelly Dorfman is a nutrition detective who works with medical professionals around the country to help people with complex ailments and symptoms.

But Dorfman made the wiser point. You can’t assume (more…)

Gluten is my WHAT?!*&@?

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

By Mary Duggan

The writers are coming! The writers are coming! It’s time for Chicago’s Printer’s Row LIT FEST and I couldn’t be more delighted to see gluten-free bloggers and writers taking their place at the table. Especially ones with a great attitude about not letting a gluten-free diagnosis get in the way of being a super foodie. Such is the case with April Peveteaux, author of the blog Gluten Is My B*@#H!!!

Gluten is my Bitch author April Peveteaux.

Don’t you have to love a gal who created gluten-free beignets?! I apologize in advance to Dr. Bill Davis, but I do love April Peveteaux’s spirited approach to GF.

Okay, all these younger than me bloggers use language that I just don’t understand. No really, I am not any kind of prude. Most certainly not a language prude, but I am so (more…)

Disease Is A Lousy Lover

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

MaryDuggan_hands on hip

By Mary Duggan

Why do folks fall in love with their diseases? I just don’t get it. The minute someone tells me that they have MS or RA or Lupus or Fibromyalgia, and the list goes on from there, I can hear it in their voice. That immediate embracing of victim energy. This fell from the sky and it landed on me. I am not lucky. My mother had it. I have learned to live with it. My doctor says, my doctor says, my doctor says seems to be the primary mantra that keeps them down for the count and deeply invested in their disease.

When folks with any sort of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Krohn’s Disease say my doctor told me that what I eat will make no difference at all I actually want to scream. On and on it goes and I need an alternative to screaming. What is it with us human beings that we surrender so quickly and fully to our diagnosis of disease? Why do we fall in love (more…)