Monday, December 31, 2012

Natural 6 Air Purifying House Plants

1. Bamboo Palm: According to NASA, it removes formaldahyde and is also said to act as a natural humidifier.

2. Snake Plant: Found by NASA to absorb nitrogen oxides and formaldahyde.

3. Areca Palm: One of the best air purifying plants for general air cleanliness.

4. Spider Plant: Great indoor plant for removing carbon monoxide and other toxins or impurities. Spider plants are one of three plants NASA deems best at removing formaldahyde from the air.

5. Peace Lily: Peace lilies could be called the “clean-all.” They’re often placed in bathrooms or laundry rooms because they’re known for removing mold spores. Also know to remove formaldahyde and trichloroethylene.

6. Gerbera Daisy: Not only do these gorgeous flowers remove benzene from the air, they’re known to improve sleep by absorbing carbon dioxide and giving off more oxygen over night.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The REAL Truth About Cholesterol

Cholesterol and Why Statin Drugs are Harmful

Written on December 30, 2012 by Agriculture Society.   

Original article from
For decades, health experts have told us to watch our cholesterol levels, lower our intake of saturated fats, and consume low-fat diets.
An estimated 102 million Americans have cholesterol levels higher than 200. More than 20 million Americans are on statin drugs to lower cholesterol.
In theory, if we were following recommendations from doctors, dietitians, fitness experts, and dutifully taking our medications, we should be see a reduction in disease.
But the fact is…
We don’t.
So, it’s important to ask…
  • Does eating high cholesterol foods correlate to rising cholesterol levels?
  • Do high cholesterol levels necessarily mean you are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease or heart attack?
  • Is the use of statin drugs safe and useful in reducing the levels of cholesterol in the body, thus lowering our disease risk?
A recent government study shows that raising levels of HDL “good” cholesterol using a drug did not diminish the chance of heart disease.
From the NY Times:
“Patients taking the medicine along with Zocor had higher levels of H.D.L. and lower levels of triglycerides, a fat in the blood. Despite these seeming improvements, the patients fared no better and may have done slightly worse than those taking Zocor alone. That is why the entire theory behind trying to increase H.D.L. levels in patients with heart disease may need rethinking.
In 2010 the British Medical Journal published a study revealing that the use of statin drugs was connected to liver, muscle, eye, and kidney problems.  The results showed increased risk of moderate or serious liver dysfunction, acute renal failure, moderate or serious myopathy and cataracts.

Dietary cholesterol levels are not related to serum cholesterol levels

According to Nora Gedgaudas, of Primal Body – Primal Mind:
“No study to date has adequately shown any significant link between dietary and serum cholesterol levels…or any significant causative link between cholesterol and actual heart disease.  Other than in uncommon cases of genetically based ‘familial hypercholesterolemia’ (where natural mechanisms which regulate cholesterol production fail and the body cannot stop overproduction-even here the proof of the problematic nature of cholesterol is dubious, at best), cholesterol is perhaps only potentially deleterious in and of itself in oxidized forms, occurring as a result of food processing methods (such as in “reduced fat” milks, powdered milk/eggs) and high heat cooking/frying.  Inflammatory processes can also be oxidizing of cholesterol in the body.   Other than this, ALL cholesterol in the body is the same.   ‘HDL’ and ‘LDL’ only reflect transport mechanisms for healthy cholesterol and are meaningless measures of coronary heart disease risk (Enig, Ravnskov).
It is also important to realize that ‘HDL’ and ‘LDL’ are NOT actual cholesterol at all, but merely the protein transport mechanism for cholesterol.  Again, All cholesterol is exactly the same.  LDL takes cholesterol away from the liver to the extremities and other organs for various purposes and HDL merely returns the same cholesterol to the liver where it may be recycled.”
Gedgaudas believes it is more important to find out why your cholesterol levels are up. When we have stress, infections, clogged arteries, high carbohydrate diets which cause insulin resistance and diabetes, weight issues, free radical activity, and low thyroid function, these can cause the liver to produce more cholesterol in order to deal with excess inflammation. If cholesterol levels are rising, it’s always a sign of some underlying problem, but it doesn’t mean cholesterol is causing the problem.

Doctors are missing the problem

Prescriptions for high cholesterol go hand-in-hand with recommendations for low-fat diets.  This type of diet is not only tasteless and unsatisfying, it is also grossly deficient in the most nutrient-dense and health supporting foods on the planet: foods with healthy fats and cholesterol.
In the last five years, doctors have started recommending that obese children take statin drugs. Of course, there is little to no thought given to the staples of the Standard American children’s diet: highly processed, increasingly lower and lower in fat as time goes on, high-carb, sugary foods with little to no nutritional content.
It’s a wonder doctors don’t draw the obvious conclusion that these foods might possibly be the culprit to children’s health and obesity issues. But they don’t. What’s more, they fail to give good, sound nutritional advice. The result is that some children end up on drugs because apparently providing real, healthy foods that support growth and development is not what they believe will solve the problem.

Truths about cholesterol:

  • Cholesterol is vital to health. Without it, we have hormonal, brain, heart, endocrine, and nervous system issues and damage. Lack of adequate cholesterol in the body leads to blood sugar imbalance, mineral deficiencies, chronic inflammation, infertility, allergies, and asthma.
  • Cholesterol is beneficial to the gastrointestinal environment and lining because it improves cell-membrane integrity and can also help reduce excessive permeability of substances through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.
  • Every cell in our bodies is made of cholesterol. Without it they would become leaky and porous, causing a flood of cholesterol taken from other parts of the body to repair damage.
  • Cholesterol is the precursor to Vitamin D, which is now known to be a hormone rather than a vitamin, and is responsible for helping to digest fats, mineral metabolism, protecting bones, strengthening the immune system
  • Cholesterol is a powerful anti-oxidant which protects the body from free-radical damage and aging
  • The theory of cholesterol being unhealthy was originally created by food processing industries to villanize animal fats and products, which are direct competitors to vegetable oils, and also from the pharmaceutical industry to develop a market to sell cholesterol-lowering drugs. Lipitor and other Statin drugs are enormous profit-bringers for pharmaceutical companies.

Truths about statin drugs:

  • Taking them only masks the problem going on in your body (for a little while) and doesn’t get to the cause of the problem, which is usually chronic inflammation due to poor dietary habits which cause nutritional deficiencies
  • They deplete your body of vital nutrients, such as C0Q10, which is essential to heart health. Cardiologist Dr. Peter Langsjoen conducted a study involving 20 patients with completely normal heart function.  Six months later, after being on 20 mg daily of Lipitor (a low dose), two-thirds of the patients were found to have abnormalities in the filling phase of the heart. Langsjoen’s conclusion was that this occurred due to the depletion of CoQ10.  A lack of C0Q10 causes muscle pain and weakness, due to the prevention of energy being produced in the mitrochondria in the cell.
  • These medications can also cause other types of muscle weakness and pain.  In Denmark, researchers who studied 500,000 residents (approximately 9 percent of the population)  discovered that those taking prescription medications to  lower cholesterol were more likely to develop polyneuropathy, characterized as weakness and pain or tingling in the hands or feet and difficulty walking.
  • They cause a marked decrease of cholesterol-production in the brain.  According to Dr. Barry Sears, this leads to a loss of memory due to diminished production of new synaptic connections and loss of memory.
  • They are costly in more ways than one: for your wallet and for your health. Eating healthy foods that naturally maintain normal cholesterol levels in the body costs less.
  • They causes other side-effects, one of them being liver damage. Liver damage is dangerous and can lead to other health issues that are very unpleasant, expensive, and time-consuming to treat

Would the real enemies please stand up?

  • Industrial fats – industrially-produced, polyunsaturated fats: canola, soybean, cottonseed, corn, peanut, safflower, and sunflower oils, shortening, butter substitutes and spreads, and other fake butter products. Some of these oils come from living things, but they are processed and chemically-altered which transforms them into trans-fats (even though the label may specifically read “no trans fats”), deodorized, and subjected to high- heat temperatures, rendering them nutritionally bankrupt and rancid.
  • Sugar -  which causes metabolic syndrome and blood sugar imbalance, leading to insulin resistance and diabetes, and heart attacks.  In 2009, the United States was ranked 4th in sugar consumption levels in the world.
  • Lack of nutrient-dense foods – modern diets are largely represented by nutritionally-deficient and heavily processed convenience foods which do not support the health of the human body. They cause  build up in our arteries, liver damage, diabetes, premature aging, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Stress - periods of stress deplete nutrients in the body causing inflammation, which triggers disease.
Watch this informative video by Dr. Mark Hyman about cholesterol:

How to keep inflammation and cholesterol levels normal in your body

Real, traditional fats from healthy animals and birds on pasture actually make us healthier because they are easy to digest and are some of the most nutrient-dense foods available. Looking back over the historical past, the human diet has always contained large amounts of  fat and cholesterol.
Dr. Weston A. Price, author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, analyzed foods consumed by traditional, primitive peoples all over the world. In these populations, health was robust and disease nearly non-existent. He discovered that their diets allowed for at least four times the calcium and other minerals, and at least 10 times the fat-soluble vitamins and amino acids as the modern diet which were obtained from animal foods such as eggs, fish, shellfish, animal fats like butter, lard, and tallow, and organ meats. All these foods were high in cholesterol and fat.
If you want to maintain good health:
  • Eat olive and coconut oil
  • Eat organic fruits and vegetables
  • If you do eat grains, eat them sparingly and prepare them properly through soaking, sprouting, or fermenting. Eat grains with healthy fats such as milk, cream, butter, cheese, and other healthy foods containing fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, lard, tallow, bone marrow, and grass-fed meats and poultry.
  • Avoid sugar – that means any refined carbohydrates – crackers, breads, rice cakes, cereals, pretzels, chips, bagels, pasta, desserts, sugary beverages (including juice and power “electrolyte” drinks).
  • Avoid unhealthy vegetable oils such as canola, soy, cottonseed, or safflower. These oils are too high in Omega 6s (which cause inflammation, cancer, and heart disease), are highly-processed at high temperatures making them rancid, and many of these oils are also likely to be genetically-modified as well, which has its own set of health risks.
  • Lower stress levels with moderate and enjoyable exercise and relaxation strategies. Stress can severely deplete nutrients in the body, leading to heart disease.
For more information:
Cholesterol and Health – Chris Masterjohn
The Benefits of High Cholesterol – Weston A. Price Foundation
The Oiling of America – Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary G. Enig, PhD
Medication Sense – Dr. Jay S. Cohen
Suggested reading:
Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD
The Cholesterol Delusion by Ernest N. Curtis, M.D.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Migraine Prevention - Naturally as Discussed by Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola ,

An estimated 26 million Americans suffer with migraines. Approximately 80 percent of them are women. All in all, about one in five women get migraines while only one in 16 men get them, according to About 60 percent of women affected have menstrual-related migraines, meaning it tends to coincide with their menstrual cycle.
A migraine headache is characterized as an intense throbbing or pulsing headache, typically in one area or side of your head, and is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
Those who have never had a migraine before can be very frightened with the neurological symptoms. The visual problems are most problematic as a migraine can simulate a stroke where you start to have disturbed vision and even short term visual loss and flashing lights.
Migraine attacks can cause debilitating pain for several hours to several days. Some migraineurs experience "aura" sensations before an attack. These are sensory warning symptoms, such as flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling in your arm or leg.
The featured article2 recently brought up the dietary links to migraines – specifically how the grain- and dairy-free Paleo diet appears to help banish the pain for many people. This is not entirely surprising, considering that milk and wheat are two major food allergens.
Are Food Allergies Causing Your Migraines?
Searching the medical literature in using the search terms "migraine" and "food allergies" will provide you with more than 150 different studies.3 Some of the top migraine-inducing foods identified include:
WheatCow's milkGrain cerealsCane sugar

Processed foods in general can also contribute to allergies for a number of different reasons, and most processed foods contain a variety of food colorings, flavors, preservatives, and other additives that may also promote headaches and migraines. Both aspartame and MSG are notorious for causing headaches and triggering migraines. Besides noting whether or not your migraines typically occur after eating a specific food, additional questions that can help you determine whether or not you might have a food sensitivity or allergy are:
  • Do you experience bloating after meals, gas, frequent belching, or any kind of digestive problems?
  • Do you have chronic constipation or diarrhea?
  • Do you have a stuffy nose after meals?
  • Do you have low energy or feel drowsy after eating?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may want to investigate further. Keeping a detailed food diary is the easiest way to start tracking down potentially migraine-inducing foods, as well as foods that cause other symptoms of sensitivity. Keep in mind that eliminating your migraines is not the only health benefit you can reap from identifying food allergies or sensitivities. Eliminating food antigens is also critical for gut health. I've written extensively on this topic, as medical science is now beginning to realize just how important your gut is, not just for physical health, but emotional and psychological health as well.
Elimination Diets Shown Helpful in Reducing or Eliminating Migraines
In a 1979 study published in the Lancet,4 60 migraineurs with food antigen immunoreactivity who were put on an elimination diet experienced profound relief. According to the author:
"The commonest foods causing reactions were wheat (78 percent), orange (65 percent), eggs (45 percent), tea and coffee (40 percent each), chocolate and milk (37 percent) each), beef (35 percent), and corn, cane sugar, and yeast (33 percent each).When an average of 10 common foods were avoided there was a dramatic fall in the number of headaches per month, 85 percent of patients becoming headache-free. The 25 percent of patients with hypertension became normotensive. Chemicals in the home environment can make this testing difficult for outpatients. Both immunological and non-immunological mechanisms may play a part in the pathogenesis of migraine caused by food intolerance."A randomized, double blind, cross-over study published in 20105 also found that a six-week long diet restriction produced a statistically significant reduction in migraines in those diagnosed with migraine without aura. If you notice your migraines start up shortly after eating a specific food, then that's a good place to start. Keep in mind that you can also be sensitive to food additives like artificial colors, preservatives, flavor enhancers (MSG), and aspartame so read the food labels, and note the ingredients in your food journal.
One of the best things you can do if you believe you are suffering from a food allergy is to do a diet elimination challenge. Simply remove all foods that contain what you believe you are allergic to and see if your symptoms improve over the next several days. Keep in mind that depending on your typical migraine frequency, you may need to avoid the suspected food for a few weeks in order to evaluate whether it had an effect or not.
To confirm the results, you'll want to reintroduce the food or drink (on an empty stomach). If the suspected food is the culprit you will generally be able to feel the allergy symptoms return within an hour, although migraines can sometimes have a longer lag time than, say, bloating or drowsiness.
Diet for Migraine Relief
Quite a few people report ridding themselves of migraines on the Paleo diet, which can be summarized as "any food that can be eaten without being processed." That means no grains, bread or pasta, and no pasteurized dairy, but does include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, some nuts and oils along with wild caught fish, organic poultry and grass-fed lean meats. You can easily mold your diet around the principles of Paleo eating by following my nutrition plan. The full details are described in the plan, but generally speaking, the following key factors apply to any "healthy diet":
  • Eliminate all gluten products
  • Eliminate the other 10 common foods that the Lancet study found helpful in making 85 percent of participants headache free
  • Eliminate all artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame. My sister is one of many who will get a guaranteed migraine if she consumes any aspartame. Obviously, even if you don't have migraines, there simply is no reason to ever consume aspartame
  • Unprocessed whole foods
  • Often raw or only lightly cooked (ideally, try to eat at least one-third of your food raw, or as much as you can manage)
  • Organic or grass-fed, and free from additives and genetically modified ingredients
  • Come from high-quality, local sources
  • Carbohydrates primarily come from vegetables (except corn and potatoes, which should typically be avoided). Dramatically lowering your intake of non-vegetable carbs could improve leptin and insulin signaling which could also improve migraines
I believe a return to "real food" is one of the most profound interventions for the 21st century. We've strayed so far from the foods we are designed to eat, going back to basics and refocusing your diet on fresh, whole, unprocessed, "real" food can improve just about anyone's health, regardless of what health issues you need to address.
Helpful Supplements and More
In terms of supplements that might be helpful for migraines, one of the most critical is ubiquinol (the reduced form of Coenzyme Q10). According to experts like Dr. Robert Barry, an underlying problem involved with migraines is mitochondrial dysfunction. Ubiquinol plays a vital role in ATP production, which is the basic fuel for your mitochondria. Your body does produce ubiquinol naturally, in fact it is the predominant form in most healthy cells, tissues and organs, however, with rampant pollution and poor diet, mitochondrial dysfunction has become increasingly common.
A 2005 study published in Neurology6 found that CoQ10 was superior to a placebo in preventing migraines and reducing severity. Of the patients who received 100 mg of CoQ10 three times a day, 50 percent reported significantly reduced frequency of headaches compared to only 14 percent of those who took the placebo. Ubiquinol is the reduced form of CoQ10, and studies have repeatedly demonstrated that it is far more effective than CoQ10 due to its superior bioavailability.
Other dietary supplements that can be helpful for migraines include:
  • Magnesium. This is probably the most important one as it contributes to relaxing the brain blood vessels that cause the pain. The best magnesium supplement I know of is magnesium threonate as it penetrates cell membranes, including the mitochondria, and no other magnesium supplement does this. Interestingly, some of the best drugs used to treat migraines are calcium channel blockers, and that is how magnesium works. Supplemental magnesium would be FAR safer than a calcium channel blocker
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folic acid
A 2009 study7 evaluated the effect of 2 mg of folic acid, 25 mg vitamin B6, and 400 micrograms of vitamin B12 in 52 patients diagnosed with migraine with aura. Compared to the placebo group, those receiving these supplements experienced a 50 percent reduction in migraine disability over a six-month period. Previous studies, such as a 2004 study in the European Journal of Neurology,8 have also reported that high doses of B2 (riboflavin) can help prevent migraine attacks.
Patients received 400 mg riboflavin per day. Headache frequency was reduced from four days per month at baseline to two days per month after three months. Headache duration and intensity did not change significantly however. Keep in mind that prophylactic supplement regimens may take several weeks to produce results, so don't give up too soon. Typically, if the supplement is the right one, you'll notice results in about three to six months.
Exercise is something that should also be considered as an enormously useful strategy.
Last but not least, the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) often provides results for migraine headache relief. Newcomers who use this simple process by themselves tend to achieve relief 50 percent to 80 percent of the time. EFT is a very profound intervention that can be used in addition to the above strategies, it can also be useful for helping compliance to the lifestyle changes recommended.
[-] Sources and References

Saturday, December 22, 2012

What's healthy, tasty and brimming with probiotics?

Probiotics (good bacteria) are essential to gut health, gastrointestinal complaints, our immunity, stabilizing allergic reactions, imperative post antibiotic therapy and the list goes on.   Sources of natural probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, natto, tempeh, kombucha, kefir and yogurt.  But what happens if you can’t eat dairy yogurt because you happen to be one of the millions of people including myself that can't tolerate dairy.  The answer is coconut milk yogurt.  

Benefits of coconut milk:
It is 100% dairy free and coconut milk is rich in a wide range of minerals and vitamins.  It contains iron, selenium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, phosphorus and potassium.  It also has the following important vitamins: C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6.  Coconut milk is a good source of protein.  It is a source of good fats such as medium chain fatty acids (caproic acid (C6), caprylic acid (C8), capric acid (C10) and lauric acid (C12)), which is good saturated fat that is easily digestible and metabolized so it doesn’t contribute to fat storage.  Lauric acid is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.

Those with liver disease and diabetes should check with their physician before consuming large amounts of medium chain fatty acids as it increases ketones.

How to make coconut milk yogurt

Step 1: Choose the coconut milk
  • Coconut milk yogurt can be made with canned, boxed, or homemade coconut milk.  Choose a coconut milk with higher fat content.  It will yield a thicker, more creamier and tastier yogurt.

Step 2: Choose the Thickening Agent
  • Coconut milk yogurt will be thin and runny without a thickening agent.  I recommend something natural such as arrowroot, agar agar, or tapioca starch.  Gelatin may be used but know it is processed from animals.
  • If using a thickening agent isn't an option but you still prefer thick yogurt, it is also possible to strain some of the liquid from the coconut milk yogurt by placing the finished yogurt in cheese cloth or a similar tight weave fabric and allow the mixture to hang over a bowl to drain some of the liquid resulting in thicker yogurt.

Step 3: Choose the Yogurt Starter
  • The easiest way is to buy some organic coconut milk yogurt with live cultures at your natural health food store and add a 1-3 Tbsp to your coconut milk before fermentation.  
  • Another way is to use a 2-3 capsules or ¼ tsp of your high quality probiotics (high quality probiotics are found refrigerated). 
  • Thirdly, you can use a yogurt starter which are prepackaged cultures found on the internet.

Step 4: Make Yogurt

  • 3-4 cups coconut milk (approximately two cans).  BPA free coconut milk are Native Forest, Trader’s Joe, and Aroy-D (tetra-pak).
  • Thickening Agent, choose one:  3 Tbsp tapioca starch, arrowroot, agar agar OR 1-2 tsp gelatin
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey, maple syrup or coconut sap (needed as food for the good bacteria)
  • Yogurt Starter, choose one:  3 Tbsp yogurt containing live active cultures purchased from the grocery store (ideally use an unflavored variety) OR 1/8 tsp yogurt starter OR 3 capsules or ¼ tsp of high quality probiotics

  • Candy Thermometer
  • Mason jars with lid and ring
  • Stock pot large enough to cover your mason jars
  • Whisk
  • Spatula to scrape the pot
  • Yogurt maker or Excalibur dehydrator

1) Sterilize mason jars and utensils in a large stock pot.  Cover equipment with 1 inch of water. Boil for 10 minutes. This keeps bad bacteria from competing with good bacteria.

2) Add thickening agent to cold coconut milk and whisk to combine. 

3) Heat the coconut milk to approximately 180°F using candy thermometer.  Heating kills bad bacteria.

4) Take off burner and allow coconut milk to cool to 110°F.  Add the honey at this time and whisk to combine.

5) Once the milk has reached 110° F, add the yogurt starter/yogurt with live active cultures/high quality probiotics and mix well to combine.  Important to add at this time because if add probiotics when too hot, they will die and your yogurt will not ferment.

6) Pour into mason jars.  Incubate the mixture at 108° to 112° for 8 to 24 hours in your Excalibur dehydrator or a yogurt maker.
  • Please note, coconut milk generally takes a few hours longer to culture than when making yogurt with animal-based milk products. If a more sour yogurt is desired, use a longer culturing period.

7) Once the yogurt has set (solidified), allow the yogurt to cool for an hour or two until it reaches room temperature. Place the yogurt in the fridge for 6+ hours to halt the culturing process. The yogurt will also thicken further as it chills.

Step 5: Eat

I like to eat it plain or add some nuts of your liking, bee pollen, fresh berries, or what ever tickles your fancy.  I add it to my green smoothies.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

How to live a happier life

In light of the recent events that occurred last week in Newtown, CT and Clackamas, OR, it's hard not to think about the innocent lives taken away too soon.  God rest their souls.  It made me think about my life, my purpose, my loved ones, and how I can make this world a better place before I leave.  Life is so fragile and at a moment's notice it can be instantly taken away.   So I asked myself, am I living my life to the fullest?  If I were to die today would I have any regrets.  Sadly, I honestly can say yes.   So let's all make a promise to ourselves that we'll wake up tomorrow and be thankful we are given a new day.  Say hi or give a friendly smile to someone on your way to work, call a loved one and express your feelings and be grateful for what we have.  Make the most of your life and live it to the fullest.  It's yours, so live the life you want to live.

1. Have the courage to live a life true to yourself, not the life others expect from you.  Honor your dreams and aspirations and go for it no matter what anyone says.

2. Don't work so hard.  Simply your lifestyle and make conscious choices along the way.  It is possible to not need the income that you think you do.  By creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. Have the courage to express your feelings.  If you suppress your feelings for the benefits of others, you are settling for a mediocre existence and will never live a happy life.  Many illnesses are related to bitterness and resentment you carry.  You cannot control the reactions of others.  However, although people may initially react when you speak from your heart and honestly, the end result will raise the relationship to a whole new and healthier level.  Or it may release the unhealthy relationship from your life.  Either way, you win.

4. Stay in touch with your friends.  There is no excuse with the abundance of social media.  Don't get so caught up in your own life that golden friendships slip away.  When it comes down to it, all that really matters is love and relationships.

5.  Let yourself be happy.  Happiness is a choice.  Laugh, better yet, laugh at yourself.  Why are you so serious?

Life is a choice.  It is your life.  Choose consciously, choose wisely and choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Reference: Ware, Bronnie. Top 5 Regrets of Dying.  AARP.  February 1, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Boost Your Immune System and Keep the Colds/Flu at Bay!

When you first feel yourself becoming sick there are things you can do to avoid becoming ill or to shorten the duration of illness.  These suggestions are especially helpful if you do them early on – as early as possible.  They will help you fend off flus, colds, or minor infections.  Call a physician if your symptoms become severe.  These are some steps you can take to boost your immunity.

 Eat Very Lightly or Not at All – With most illnesses, the appetite is diminished, this is a natural response of the body.  Energy is needed to fight off the “bug” and the body doesn’t have the energy to process food.  Give your digestive tract a rest!

 - Focus on simple foods like fruits and steamed or raw vegetables.  Add powerful immune boosters in your diet as much as possible: Garlic, Onions, Tumeric, and Ginger.  

Get Rest as Soon as Possible – Many people ignore the early warning signs of illness and keep on working until they “drop.”  You will take longer to heal if you allow the illness to get a foothold.  If you feel a sore throat, headache, congestion, etc., coming on, take it easy.  If possible, take a day off from work.  This may prevent you from having to take three days later on.

Drink Plenty of Fluids – This standard advice is good advice.  You can clear the toxins from a “bug” out of your system with large amounts of filtered water and herbal teas.

Take Immunity-Boosting Supplements and Homeopathics:   
Vitamin C: Take 500 mg every 3-4 hours with a small amount of food.  Cut back on dosage if stools become loose.
Vitamin A: Take 10,000 IU three times daily.  (Women who are pregnant should not take high doses of Vitamin A as it can have adverse affects on the fetus.)      
Zinc: Take 30-50 mg once daily with a small amount of food.  This can be continued for 1-2 weeks without depleting copper stores in the body.      
Oscillococcinum: Take 6 pellets of this homeoplathic remedy every 6 hours at the first onset of flu or cold symptoms.  Take away from food.

 Take Immunity-Enhancing Herbs* – These herbs can be taken as teas (3-5 cups/day), tinctures (30 drops 4 times a day), or in freeze-dried capsules (2 capsules 4 times a day).
Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower) Hydrastis (Goldenseal) Commiphora Myrrha (Myrrh) Trifolium (Red Clover)  Ligusticum (Osha)  *These are adult dosages.  Consult your physician regarding dosages for infants and children. 

Give Yourself a Home Hydrotherapy Treatment (A Hot Foot Bath) – Soak feet in hot water while wrapped in a warm wool blanket.  Put a cold cloth on your head and relax while you sit in a comfortable position for 10-15 minutes.  Take care to avoid getting chilled after this treatment.  Or…

Throat or Chest Compress – Warm the throat or chest with a warm washcloth or hot shower.  Dry the skin thoroughly and apply a thin cotton wrap (to throat) or a thin cotton T-shirt (to chest) that has been soaked in cold water and wrung out so that it is not dripping wet.  Cover this with a wool scarf (throat) or a wool sweater (chest).  Go to bed this way.  By morning the scarf or T-shirt will be dry.  This treatment increases circulation and increases white blood cell activity.

Boyle, Wade & Saine, Andre, Lectures in Naturopathic Hydrotherapy, (East Palestine, OH: Buckeye Naturopathic Press, 1988).
Murray, Michael & Pizzorno, Joseph, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, (Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1998) pp. 145-161.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Take some Charcoal with you on your Holiday Travels

Indications and Uses of Charcoal

 Charcoal is one of the best agents for cleansing and assisting the body’s healing processes.  It has incredible absorptive qualities and aids in removing foreign proteins, toxins, drugs and wastes from the body.  It may by used internally and externally for a wide range of problems from bee stings to metabolic problems.  The charcoal made for medicinal use is prepared from charred wood and is labeled as activated charcoal.  It can be easily found at a health food store or pharmacy near you.  Before you head out of town, grab a bottle and throw it in your suitcase.  When those insect bites, diarrhea or upset stomach hit, you will thank yourself!

 Oral Charcol Use
Charcoal may be used internally for diarrhea, colds, nausea, jaundice, gastric upset, and in cases of poisoning.  The following are general recommendations and are not meant as a substitute for appropriate care by a physician.  If condition is not responding, seek medical advise.

Diarrhea:  Take 1 tbsp. in water 3-4 times per day.
Colds:  Take 1 tbsp. in water at the first sign of cold.
Nausea/gastric upset:  Take ½ tbsp. in water.
œJaundice:  Make a slurry using ¼- ½ tbsp. or administer to nursing child as described below.
Poisoning:  Use 2-10 times the amount of charcoal as the suspected weight of the poison and take internally followed by water.  One tbsp. absorbs 3-7 grams of poison.  It poorly absorbs mineral acids, alkalis, and salts.

Taking charcoal orally:  Charcoal may be taken in the form of capsules, tablets, or as a powder mixed in a glass of water.  Be sure to increase fluids when using charcoal internally, as charcoal may cause constipation if there is inadequate fluid intake.

To make a slurry for babies or small children, mix the designated amount of charcoal (usually ½ - 1 tablespoon) in a glass of water.  Mix this around.  Let much of the charcoal settle to the bottom of the glass.  Give that which remains in suspension to the baby or child in a glass or bottle.  For newborns, the charcoal solution may be administered by squirting a small amount into the corner of the mouth from a dropper while the baby is nursing.  The bowels will turn black as the charcoal is eliminated, so do not be alarmed by black stools after the use of charcoal.

Charcoal Poultice
Charcoal poultices are used in the treatment of abscesses, hemorrhoids, insect bites and stings, mastitis, and otitis media or otitis externa.  The following are general recommendations and are not meant as a substitute for appropriate care by a physician.  If condition is not responding, seek medical advise.

Abscesses:  Apply as a poultice to affected area.
œHemorrhoids:  Apply to hemorrhoidal tissue and use a sanitary napkin to hold in place.
Insect bites/stings:  Apply poultice to area as soon as possible after bite/sting.
Mastitis:  Apply as a poultice to affected breast.
Otitis media/externa:  Apply to external ear as a poultice, cover with heating pad.

To make a poultice: Dosage equivalents:  1 tablespoon = 4 capsules = 8 tablets
For a large area:  3 Tbsp. charcoal, 3 Tbsp. flaxseed ground in blender (stretches it further), 1 cup of water      
For a small area:  2-3 Tbsp. charcoal, ½ cup of water

You may heat this mixture or let it stand until it thickens.  Spread the mixture on paper toweling or cotton cloth of the appropriate size, leaving ½ to 1 inch on all sides.  The paste should be about 1/4 inch deep.  Cover this with another thickness of cloth or paper toweling.  Place on affected area.  Cover this with plastic wrap and/or a towel to prevent leakage.  Hold all of this in place with an elastic ace bandage.  Leave in place for 6-10 hours unless otherwise directed.

Buchman, Dian Dincan, The Complete Book of Water Healing, (Chicago, IL:Contemporary Books), 2002.