7.18.2016

July 2016 Edition

Food for Thought. . .


Did you know that only 36% of people are able to accurately identify their own emotions as they happen?

"Our emotions are often beautiful, but they can also be dangerous. They represent our spontaneity, and seem to speak to us of our freedom."
- Tariq Ramadan



Awesome Avocado



There are so many reasons - and so many ways - to love avocado. A culinary super-food, avocados provide up to 20 nutrients including vitamins K, C and E, as well as folate, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. In fact, they actually have more potassium than bananas.

Unlike most fruits, avocado is low in carbohydrates and high in a healthy fat called oleic acid. Like olive oil, oleic acid has been linked to health benefits such as reducing inflammation, protecting cells against cancer, and reducing cholesterol. This amazing fruit also improves digestive health and helps your body absorb other nutrients.

There are limitless ways to add avocado to snacks or meals: Use avocado as a healthy spread on toast; blend it into scrambled eggs; add it to dips, salsa, or soup; slice for a salad topping.

Avocado is optimally ripe when the fruit is mildly soft to touch. Its flesh should be creamy and green-gold in color. If you don't use the whole fruit at one time, keep leftover avocado fresh by leaving the pit in the unused portion and allow it to sit, uncovered, on a counter for a few hours before placing it in the fridge (still uncovered) for up to two days. When you want to use the other half, simply peel off the brown crust to reveal a soft and deliciously ripe avocado beneath.



Vegan Avocado Chocolate Mousse





Want to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding inches to your waistline? This rich, creamy avocado mousse is about as close as you'll get to a truly healthy chocolate treat. Serves 1.

Ingredients 
1 ripe avocado, skin and pit removed, mash slightly with a fork
3 1/2 Tbs unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
3 1/2 Tbs RAW honey
Unsweetened almond, coconut or hemp milk

1. Place avocado and cocoa powder in food processor. Add honey.

2. Process avocado, cocoa powder and honey for approximately 1 min, pausing to scrape the sides, or until a thick, smooth mousse forms.

3. Add milk as needed to bring to desired consistency.

4. Spoon mousse into a small bowl; top with almonds or fresh fruit.



Beta-Carotene



Beta-carotene has two important functions in the body: It functions as an antioxidant, protecting cells against damage, and it can be converted to Vitamin A (retinol), critical to maintaining skin and eye health.

Without beta-carotene, our bodies are unable to manufacture Vitamin A. And without sufficient Vitamin A, nearly all of our systems are at risk, including lungs, kidneys and immune function. Research shows that people who consume the necessary levels of beta-carotene are able to lower their risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, macular degeneration, and other age-related diseases.

You can get beta-carotene from a variety of foods:
Apricots
Asparagus
Broccoli
Carrots
Chinese cabbage
Yam/Sweet Potato
Spinach
Kale

The National Institutes of Health recommends a daily intake of 3,000 IU for adult men and 2,310 IU for adult women. For children, amounts vary according to age. While beta-carotene deficiency is rare in most industrialized countries, it can be difficult getting the recommended levels simply from food. That's where supplements come in. In consult with your healthcare practitioner, design a plan that meets your individual needs. You may want to consider a supplement with a mixture of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, astaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin.

It's possible to take too much beta-carotene. This is usually indicated by a yellowing of the skin, palms or soles and is known as carotenemia. Once consumption of beta carotene is reduced, this yellowing fades over time. As always, your best outcomes are achieved when working closely with your healthcare practitioner.




Rose Hips for Wellness


There's nothing like a rose to stimulate feelings of well being and nothing quite like rose hip - the actual fruit of a rose - to enhance health and promote wellness.

Of all the roses, the beautiful Wild Dog Rose is the type most often cultivated for their hips. Once the flower has bloomed, and all the petals have fallen off, the hip is picked and used in a range of herbal preparations. Rose hips contain a variety of antioxidants (especially Vitamin C), Vitamin A, carotenoids, and other plant compounds that are recognized for their role in preventing degenerative disease, including heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Many natural health practitioners use rose hip to treat wounds and inflammation. Rose hip oil is commonly used in cosmetics as it has the ability to revitalize skin cells. It has been used to treat scars, acne and burns. In Germany, rose hip powder (capsule) has been used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Herbalists have long used rose hip tea to ease constipation and as a supplement to treat a cold.

Rose hip pulp can be incorporated into sauces or made into a jelly. Standardized extracts are also available in capsules. Always check with your wellness practitioner before using any herbal remedy.



Homeopathy: Finding the Cure in the Cause


Like cures like. That's the concept behind homeopathy, a centuries-old system that stimulates the body's innate healing ability. In 1796, Samuel Hahnemann, M.D. observed that Cinchona Bark, a medicinal plant used by native people in South America to treat malaria, could also caused the symptoms of malaria in healthy people. After testing the theory on himself, he continued his research, establishing the "dynamic" effect of a homeopathic substance: The less potent the disease-causing agent in the remedy, the better it stimulated the healing process and with fewer side effects.

Whether you have an acute illness, such as a cold or flu, or a chronic illness, such as thyroid disease, homeopathy can play an essential role in your wellness. Within the homeopathic model, as in most holistic approaches to health, illness is believed to be caused by imbalance within a person. Employing the system of "like cures like" -- often along with other therapies -- balance is restored; the body begins to function as it should and the symptoms of disease go away.

A homeopathic physician will conduct an extensive interview with a patient, identify potential remedies, and closely monitor a patient's progress until the person is well. During treatment, symptoms may come and go as the body heals. While it's a very safe therapy, it's important to work with a practitioner who has been fully trained in order to achieve the best results possible.

References



The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.

6.15.2016

June 2016 Edition

"The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely." - C.G. Jung

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement: Is it Right for You?


When experiencing menstrual changes - from PMS to menopause - women are often confused about the differences between natural, synthetic and Bioidentical hormones. With more than 48 million women going through The Change at the same time, it's important for them to understand their choices and whether or not they need Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

Natural Hormones come from a plant, mineral, or animal source. They are not easily, if ever, converted to an identical match to those found in the female body. Products in this category include prescription HRT formula's and over-the-counter soy and yam-based products.

Synthetic Hormones are created in a lab and are a close match to Bioidentical. These are available by prescription or over-the-counter.

Bioidentical Hormones (Bi-HRT) are identical in chemical and molecular structure to hormones made by a woman's body. They have been prescribed by doctors for years, are easily adjusted to a woman's individual needs, and may be based on a panel of hormone tests. Many formulas are available from retail pharmacies and formulary (compounding) pharmacies, which create custom products based on a physician's order. The molecules for which we generally seek replacement include progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and three types of estrogen (estrone, estradiol, and estriol).

How do Bioidentical Hormones Work?

The body is swimming in hormones that act like keys in a lock. Basically, hormones are comprised of a solid steroid base decorated with "arms" and "legs." These attachments turn hormones into specialized molecules (the keys), which plug into receptor molecules (the locks), triggering biochemical reactions in the body. If hormonal replacement therapy doesn't follow the design our cells have evolved to recognize, women may experience side effects ranging from general discomfort to increased risk for serious illnesses.

How are Custom Bioidentical Hormones Made?
A healthcare practitioner begins with a saliva or blood test to assess hormone levels and ascertain a "recipe" for Bi-HRT unique to the patient. That formula is filled as a prescription by a compounding pharmacy, which is regulated by each state.

Is Bi-HRT a Safer, More Effective Alternative to Conventional HRT?

The long-term study, Women's Health Initiative (WHI), looked at combined estrogen and progestin for preventing later-life illness. In 2002, the study was stopped because hormone users had a higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots. Fearful of these results, many women and their doctors concluded they must discontinue hormone therapy. For these women, hot flashes, sleeplessness, and other menopausal symptoms returned with a vengeance. However, it should be noted that conventional HRT is considered an effective approach and studies of Bi-HRT have had promising results; several have gained FDA approval (e.g., Estraderm, Vivelle, Estrogel, Provera) and may ease mood, sleep disturbance, anxiety and hot flashes. Bioidentical estrogens are the treatment of choice in Europe and becoming more widely used in the U.S.

Not every woman needs HRT, nor does every doctor recommend it. This is best decided on an individual basis between each woman and her holistic health care doctor.

Did you know…?

Smoking can not only cause early menopause in women, but it can also make menopausal symptoms more severe compared to women who don't smoke.



Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum)

While research results are mixed around flaxseed and its ability to reduce menopausal symptoms, there are enough positive findings to support use of this nutrient-rich herb. For many women it has made the difference between comfort and discomfort when it comes to reduction of hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings). Here are three nutrients unique to flaxseed, all of which play a role in supporting good health.

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: beneficial for preventing or treating certain health conditions, including heart disease and depression.

2. Mucilage: refers to water-soluble, gel-forming fiber that can provide special support to the intestinal tract. This makes flaxseed an excellent support to digestion and relief of constipation.

3. Lignans: provides fiber-related polyphenols that have two important health benefits. They provide antioxidants, which help prevent damage to other cells in the body and are associated with preventing disease. Additionally, polyphenols in lignans influence hormone metabolism.

Purchasing and Storing Flax

Raw flaxseed ranges in color from amber/gold to tan/brown. White or green flaxseed has been harvested before full maturity; black flaxseeds were likely harvested after full maturity. To reap the full health benefits, select the amber or brown variety. If possible, purchase the whole seed in bulk, store in the freezer and grind only the amount needed for immediate use. Flaxseed can be ground, sprinkled on cereal, added to baking mixes and used as a thickening agent in many recipes.



Food for Thought. . .
Gluten-free Flaxseed Apple Muffins

Whether you're serving breakfast on the deck or packing a picnic lunch, these muffins add a perfect combination of sweetness and nutrition to your meal.






Ingredients

2 medium apples

1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 1/2 cups flaxseed meal

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup whole flaxseeds

Makes 6 muffins.



Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a six-muffin tin with large paper cups and set aside. Peel and puree the apples in a blender or food processor. Set aside (mixture will turn brown).

In a large bowl, mix flour, flaxseed meal, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well, and slowly pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring. When wet and dry ingredients are combined, add the apple puree; stir to combine.

Using a measuring cup or scoop, evenly divide the batter between the muffin cups. (Fill nearly all the way to the top; because these are gluten-free, they won't rise very much.) Sprinkle flax seeds on top of each muffin. Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool in the muffin tin for 5 to 10 minutes.

Muffins will keep in an airtight container for 3 days.



Could Diindolylmethane (DIM) Protect Against Cancer?

Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. Scientists think these crunchy vegetables may help protect the body against cancer because they contain diindolylmethane and a related chemical called indole-3-carbinol (I3C).

Dim helps balance the sex hormone estrogen and testosterone. When the body breaks down estrogen, for example, it can form either a harmful or beneficial metabolite. DIM, in some clinical and animal studies, has been shown to help the body form the more beneficial estrogen metabolite and reduce formation of the harmful metabolite. The beneficial estrogen metabolites can have many positive effects, including reducing the risk for some types of cancer. DIM may benefit patients with certain types of prostate cancer and may help reverse abnormal changes in cells on the surface of the cervix. Some scientists think DIM will be useful for preventing breast, uterine and colorectal cancer. However, because of the variability in types of cancer and the sensitivity of the estrogen system in the body, DIM and I3C supplements may not be appropriate for everyone.



Natural Soothing for Menstrual Distress: Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)

There's a long history to the medical uses of Black Cohosh. Native Americans have used it as a diuretic and to treat fatigue. European settlers used preparations of the roots to treat fever, menstrual problems, and pain following childbirth. Into the 19th century, black cohosh became a staple ingredient in medicines for "women's complaints." Over time, it faded from use in the U.S. while still being used in Europe. New studies in the U.S., however, are investigating the safety and long-term effectiveness of black cohosh and there's an almost mainstream resurgence of its use for treatment of women's health concerns.

Black cohosh is considered a menopause tonic for a number of reasons. It can improve mood and soothe anxiety. Also, herbal practitioners recommend it for taming hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. It's commonly prescribed for women who - for medical reasons - don't take conventional hormone replacement therapy.

Tinctures, capsules and standardized extract are available for medicinal use. The specific dose of this herb will depend on your individual needs and health concerns. Black Cohosh should not be used during pregnancy or nursing. It is not recommended for persons who have a heart condition or liver disease. Always check with your holistic health practitioner before using an herbal remedy.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is likely the most recognized and widely practiced modality in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Over the past 25 years, the most dramatic increase in use has been in America, second only to China where it's a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

According to TCM, when you experience illness, it's because there's an imbalance in your life force, or Qi ("chee"). Acupuncture involves stimulating the energy pathways (called meridians) by applying slim needles to the surface of the body. Stimulation of the meridian points is believed to re-balance Qi.

Many of the energy pathways identified in TCM correspond with known neurological and electrical pathways that are organized throughout the human body. These pathways connect with muscles, connective tissue, organs and other physiological systems in the body. Scientists believe this is the foundation for how acupuncture works.

Based on your primary concern, an acupuncturist will assess your lifestyle habits, energy level, emotional state and medical history. Your practitioner will then describe a course of treatment, including the use of extremely thin needles, which can be placed anywhere on the body to stimulate healing.

While many people are relaxed during treatment, some experience a dull ache or numbness around certain needles. This is an indication that "healthy flow of Qi" is being restored. Generally, there is no long lasting sensation during or after an acupuncture treatment.

References

The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.

4.16.2016

April 2016 Extra Edition


Your Organic Garden

It's really quite easy to plant and grow a flourishing organic garden. It all begins thinking of your organic garden as an integrated ecosystem built upon nature's principles, not man's laboratory creations.
The foundation for organic gardening is biodiversity. In the wild, a variety of plants and wildlife exist interdependently-providing shelter, moisture, continual bloom when pollen is available for insects, and support for all the creatures within the system.
You can apply the biodiversity principle at home by following these key steps in organic gardening:
  • Build-up the soil
  • Use natural fertilizer and pest control
  • Choose companion plants for your climate zone
  • Arrange plants so they provide a habitat for insects and wildlife that actually benefit garden health.
If you combine these principles with good gardening habits, you'll soon have an organic green thumb (and lots of delicious, good-for-you vegetables to eat)!

It's Not Just Dirt!
What's the difference between how the organic gardener feeds a garden compared to the conventional gardener? The conventional gardener feeds the plant (with chemicals from a lab), while the organic gardener feeds the soil.
Soil is living matter full of as many as 50 billion microscopic plants and organisms! Soil, and the creatures living in it, requires air and water to thrive. If you don't know the condition of your soil, contact your local master gardening organization, or university agriculture department-both will usually test soil for free or a nominal fee. When buying soil, you want it largely composed of organic material (read the package label).
To maintain and protect organic soil:
  • Continually feed with organic matter-compost, manure, leaves, straw, and grass clippings.
  • Weed regularly.
  • Incorporate companion plants that naturally tame weed growth.
  • Check plant packaging or a regional organic gardening guide to learn how to properly select and space plants to best match the yield you want from your garden.
  • Use mulch.
Protect Against Pests and Fertilize, Naturally
Synthetic herbicides and insecticides seep into groundwater, affect the health of wildlife and plants, and can contaminate your food. These chemicals also kill off beneficial insects that are part of nature's pest control system.
Synthetic fertilizers are not recommended for an organic garden because residual chemicals, including salts, can interfere with plant growth and even build-up in lawns. For example, quick-release high nitrogen fertilizers produce lush foliage but damage root structure - a plant's only way to extract nutrients.
Your best defense against pests is preventing a problem to begin with. You can accomplish this in a number of ways, all of which will invite natural enemies of pests into your growing area. Plus, these are great practices for any size garden:
  • Carefully select plants for your climate zone, build-up your soil and plant in appropriate light/shade and space for the growing season.
  • Water early in the day, not at night. Keep water in the root zone, not aimed at the plant.
  • Maintain "plant personal space." Prune plants and weed to maintain good air circulation and prevent crowding, which can spread disease.
  • Use netting or chicken wire to keep out pests that scurry around your yard.
  • Learn to properly use botanicals from plants or minerals that are toxic to plant predatory insects (ex. Neem, essential oils).


More Ways to Earn Your Organic Green Thumb
Once your soil is in good condition and you’re ready to plant, follow these tips to start, and keep, your organic garden growing.

Prepare & Maintain: Clean-up your garden area in the fall. Remove all debris and weeds from a vegetable garden. Do not compost weeds - you might transfer seeds to your compost pile. Prep the soil. In spring and summer maintain weeding and mulching. If you don't have a local seed supplier, check online for a seed catalog and order early.

Right Plant, Right Place, Right Time. Decide if you will start from seed or young plant. Planting time will vary. Choose plants based on your growing zone, which is shown on the seed packaging or found online. Consider a vegetable plant's need for light/shade, moisture and the weather patterns typical for your area. Check the yield on the packaging for plants that you intend to grow. Some plants produce rapidly, such as cucumbers and tomatoes.

Go Native. It makes sense to use plants that are known to successfully grow in your area. Native species, seeds or plants, can be found at local growers and community supported agriculture (CSA) farms. These farmers can also tell you if a native plant has been prone to disease in your area.

Go Disease-Resistant. Certain varieties of vegetables are the superheroes of disease resistance, and are easy to grow. A partial list: Green beans, snap beans, yellow wax beans, cucumbers, Zucchini elite, black magic eggplant, Lady Bell Pepper; Klondike Yellow Bell; Cubanelle, Italian Sweet, Cherry Sweet. Tomato- Jet Star, Jackpot, Super steak, Super sweet Cherry, Cherry Presto.

Companions. Include, and properly space, a variety of companion plants - herbs and flowers - with your vegetables, according to your growing zone. For example, dill and parsley can be planted near your vegetable garden to attract beneficial insects and enhance biodiversity.

Keep a Garden Journal. Note weather patterns, combinations of plants and effects on growth and pest control. Record the yield from your plants and their quality (appearance and taste). Take photos throughout the growing season.
The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.

3.19.2016

March 2016 Edition

Detoxing: Strengthening Your Body's Defense Team
Detoxification is a natural healing process that incorporates resting, cleansing, and nourishing the body from the inside out. By eliminating toxins, then fueling your body with healthy nutrients, a planned period of Detox can strengthen your body's natural "Detox Team" and help maintain optimum health.
I suggest following a Detox plan at least twice per year, with spring and fall being the ideal times. You may have heard critics argue the human body is designed with just the right physiological processes necessary to clear the body of impurities and maintain health. Unfortunately for many people, lifestyle habits and the environments where we live, work, eat and play often expose us to toxins that our bodies don't efficiently eliminate.
The toxins you can be exposed to everyday include:

·         heavy metals in the food and water supply
·         environmental pollution
·         chemical food additives
·         smoking, use/overuse of Rx medication
·         prolonged high stress
·         poor quality diet and lifestyle habits
·         frequent colds or chronic illness

Your Body's Natural Detox Team
Your body naturally detoxifies itself via a Detox Team of organs that work synergistically to neutralize and eliminate toxins, with the goal of keeping the blood and cells free of impurities. The liver leads the Detox Team by processing toxins for elimination. The supporting Detox defense players are the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph, and skin. When your body's natural Detox Team becomes compromised, impurities aren't properly filtered out. This makes it a real challenge for the Detox Team to maintain or restore health and well-being.

Detoxing Boosts Your Health
Following a Detox program suited to your personal needs supports the body's natural cleansing process and boosts your health in many ways:
·         Allows digestive organs to rest
·         Stimulates the liver to process toxins more efficiently
·         Promotes movement of bowels
·         Improves circulation
·         Enhances sweating, which facilitates release of impurities
·         Restores vital nutrients and energy to the body

6 Things to Know Before You Detox
Before you begin a Detox, prepare mentally and physically. Plan your dates a few weeks in advance. Inform the people closest to you about the time you've set aside to take care of yourself. Clear your schedule of routine obligations that may create stress. Stock up on inspirational music and reading material.
Gather Herbal Support. Herbal and nutritional supplements such as burdock, milk thistle, dandelion, and vitamins C and B protect and support the body's Detox Team, especially the liver. They also have antioxidant effects that benefit the whole body.
Hydrate! Without enough water, toxins will not be sufficiently flushed from the body. Aim to drink at least 2 quarts of water per day with lemon/lime during a Detox.
Dry Brush Your Skin. Look for a brush with soft natural bristles. Begin with light, gentle brushing over the skin (don't make the skin red). Always brush towards the heart. Shower immediately after to rinse off exfoliated skin.
Sweat! Therapeutic use of water also supports detoxification. A steam or Infrared sauna can accelerate the release of toxins. Hydrotherapy provides support to the muscles and promotes relaxation. Mineral bath salts also help release toxins.
Exercise facilitates digestion, circulation, metabolism and hormone balancing. During a Detox, decrease the intensity of your usual exercise routine, but do break a moderate sweat. Get outdoors for fresh air and natural sunlight. Good exercise options are easy hiking, brisk walking, dancing, walking, and yoga. 
Rest.  For your mind and body to fully assimilate the benefits of Detoxing, you need good quality sleep. Plan your least stimulating activities (reading, meditation, guided imagery, bathing) for right before bed.

How to Detox?
There are many ways to approach Detoxing, from fruit and vegetable juice fasts to herbal tea cleanses. A typical approach is a short period of fasting with proper fluid intake followed by whole or raw foods and beverages before resuming your usual daily routine. There are people who must be under the care of a health practitioner, such as pregnant or nursing women or those diagnosed with certain conditions such as diabetes. In general, it's important to work with your doctor to select a program that matches your health needs.
Food for Thought. . .
"We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves." - Buddha
Go Wild with Dandelion Greens

You might not want dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) dappled across your lawn, but you definitely want to make them a part your healthy diet. For centuries, the sunny yellow dandelion, its greens and roots, has been embraced across cultures for its culinary and medicinal uses.
Dandelion roots contain several compounds beneficial to health, one of which is bitter taraxacin, which stimulates digestion. The leaves are rich in potassium, antioxidants such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and several B vitamins.
Dandelion helps filter waste products from the bloodstream. In many cultures it has been used as a liver tonic, diuretic, and digestive aid. Herbalists have used dandelion to treat jaundice, cirrhosis and liver dysfunction. Preliminary research suggests dandelion may even strengthen liver and gallbladder function.
All parts of the dandelion are edible. The bittersweet roots may be eaten raw, steamed or dried, roasted and ground for a coffee substitute. The flowers are commonly used to make wine and jam. Dandelion greens can be eaten steamed, boiled, sautéed, braised or raw in salads.
Try adding dandelion greens to:
·         quiche, omelets
·         pesto
·         sauce such as garlic & olive oil
·         dips
·         seafood soup
·         sautéed vegetables and Salads
·         in a green smoothie


Dandelion packs as much power in its flavor as it does in its nutrition. It can quickly overpower more delicate herbs and flavors-a little goes a long way.
When harvesting dandelion, especially for salad, take greens from young and tender plants, before the first flower emerges. Greens from older plants will be larger, but also tougher and more bitter. Older leaves are better suited for cooking. At the grocery store, look for organic dandelion with vibrant green color.

Tea to Nourish & Support Detoxing

Sipping Detox tea may help nourish your liver and support the body's natural process for eliminating toxins from the body. Herbs that strengthen, tone, and stimulate the secretive functions of the liver are known in the Western herbal medicine tradition as hepatics. Although research is limited, many hepatics (aka 'detox teas') have been found to boost the activity of liver cells and support the functions of the liver and digestive system.

Pre-made versions of Detox teas are widely available in health food stores. These products often contain ingredients that have long been used in herbal medicinal teas and Traditional Chinese Medicine, including herbs such as:
Burdock root, seeds, and leaves are recognized for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Burdock has been used to protect liver cells from damage, particularly for alcohol or acetaminophen-related damage, and to purify the blood.
Dandelion leaves and roots have long been used by herbalists as a diuretic, antioxidant, and for anti-inflammatory effects.
Schisandra berries, among the most important herbs of traditional Chinese medicine, are used to protect the liver against inflammation. In some studies, Schisandra berry extract has been shown to improve the health and function of the liver in people with fatty liver disease.

Milk thistle seeds are abundant in an antioxidant silymarin; a free-radical scavenger thought to help prevent toxins from entering liver cells and stimulate liver cell regeneration, among other benefits.
Other common Detox tea ingredients include ginger root, licorice root, and fennel seeds to facilitate digestion, and decrease inflammation. These herbs also help tame the more bitter flavors from ingredients such as dandelion. Fresh lemon and maple syrup can be used to flavor as well.
Some Detox herbs interact with other medications. Check with your health practitioner to choose the best Detox tea for you.


Massage Supports Your Body's Natural Detox
Your body's innate Detox system can get sluggish for a variety of reasons such as lack of regular exercise, too little fluids or fiber in your diet, frequent colds, or high stress. A massage can rev-up your body's natural Detox process.
During massage therapy, the rhythmic strokes and pressure applied to muscles, tissues, and organs stimulates the circulatory system. When pressure is applied to body tissues, toxins are released from in between the muscle fibers and cells. Toxins are carried into circulation throughout the body and eliminated in a variety of ways.
The increase in circulation during massage positively affects other systems and organs in your body. Massage helps move oxygen-rich blood and nutrients into your organs, especially the kidneys and the liver. Massage also facilitates relaxed, deep breathing-another important way in which the body naturally detoxes.
Working in tandem with the circulatory system is the lymphatic system, which carries immune cells throughout the body to help defend against infection. The lymph system doesn't have a big central pump like the heart to keep things moving. Instead, it relies on gravity, exercise, breathing and massage to work efficiently.
If you're not feeling your best or haven't been as good about your diet and exercise routine lately, a massage can help you Detox, and get back in balance-naturally.

The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.


2.17.2016

February is Heart Healthy Month!

February 2016 Edition
"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller

Laughter might be the perfect antidote to stress! In one study when people watched a funny movie, their blood flow increased by 20%!


Secrets to a Healthy Heart
Long ago,Egyptians wrote about health and disease in relation to how the heart "speaks in vessels" with the rest of the body. Today, physicians may not associate the heart with the soul, but many credit early Egyptian medical knowledge of the heart as a precursor to modern cardiology.

A key element of a healthy body is a healthy heart. The heart is the center of our cardiovascular system and beats an average of 100,000 times per day supplying oxygen rich blood to the whole body. Every day we make choices that have a profound affect on the health of this vital organ. Most heart disease is linked to risk factors such as lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, stress, and poor eating habits.

One major condition that can develop with these risk factors is Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Often called the 'silent killer', Hypertension can cause significant damage throughout the cardiovascular and other body systems and ultimately results in over 80 million deaths each year.


The Silent Killer

Blood pressure is the amount of pressure exerted on the inside of blood vessels as the heart pumps the blood through the body. When there is resistance in the vessels, the pressure rises and hypertension results. The longer hypertension goes undetected and/or uncontrolled, the greater the damage to blood vessels and other organs. Hypertension can lead to heart attack, stroke, ruptured blood vessels, kidney disease or failure, and heart failure.

Warning signs for high blood pressure are rare but can include headaches, blurred vision, lightheaded, shortness of breath and nosebleeds. However, there are typically no warning signs or symptoms for hypertension, which is why it is called the silent killer.

Hypertension is diagnosed by looking at 2 numbers in your BP reading: Systolic pressure (the top number) is the pressure in your arteries when the heart beats (contracts). Diastolic pressure (bottom number) represents the pressure in your arteries between beats.
Normal blood pressure is below 120/80
Prehypertension is 130 - 139 systolic or 80 - 89 diastolic.
Hypertension is 140/90 or higher

The Potassium Secret for a Healthy Heart

You've no doubt heard the best thing to do when you have hypertension is to reduce the amount of salt/sodium in your diet. Did you know the average adult needs 4,700 mg of potassium daily compared to only 200 mg of sodium. Unfortunately for most of us, our eating habits give us way too much sodium - 3,300 mg a day - and not nearly enough potassium. This imbalance can increase your risk of developing hypertension.

What's truly important for your heart, and a more accurate strategy to prevent high blood pressure, is to balance the relationship between potassium and sodium (salt) in your daily diet. Proper sodium-potassium balance is necessary for nerve transmission, muscle contraction, fluid balance, and the optimal health of all the cells in your body. In regard to the heart, potassium is particularly important for regulating heart rhythm and maintaining blood pressure.

By reducing your sodium intake, you are often correcting the sodium-potassium imbalance without realizing it. To further support your heart health, eat more potassium-rich foods such as sweet potato, spinach, banana, peas, legumes, apricots, avocados, halibut and molasses.

More Healthy Heart Tips

Heart-Healthy Diet Do's: Eat a variety of fresh dark green veggies daily and limited fruits. Use plant-based oils for cooking; Organic Olive Oil, and coconut oil. Eat mindfully, not on-the-run. Eliminate packaged and processed foods, refined sugar, and red meat.

Walk, No Need to Run: 30 minutes of daily, brisk walking lowers your risk for hypertension.

Be Calm: Learn to manage stress with healthy coping techniques, such as, deep breathing, yoga, meditation, gratitude journaling, and getting quality sleep.

Supplemental Support: Nutritional supplements shown to support heart health include Hawthorn, CoQ10, Essential Fatty Acids, Magnesium, Garlic and B-vitamins.

Because some blood pressure medications affect the potassium level in the body, be sure and discuss the best strategy for making this adjustment with your Holistic Doctor.

Food for Thought. . .
Garlic: Good for Your Heart!



It may not smell like a lily, but Garlic is an edible bulb from the lily family. Fondly known to herbalists as "the stinking rose", for centuries, there has been many traditional medicine uses for Garlic, including treatment of skin conditions, immune support, antimicrobial and, to reduce risk for cancer and heart disease. In fact, Garlic is one of the most widely studied herbal supplements for its beneficial effects on the heart.

Garlic contains several vitamins and minerals that support heart health, including vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, and selenium. It is the chemicals that give garlic its pungent odor that scientists believe are the source of the herb's heart health-promoting effects. Garlic is also rich in antioxidant compounds that help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.
Studies on garlic and the cardiovascular system typically use garlic powder, oil, or aged extracts. To date, the effects of garlic on the heart that are supported by science include:
Slows the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
Reduces blood pressure
Reduces triglycerides and therefore lowers total cholesterol

The amount of active compounds supplied by garlic supplements can vary because allicin is very sensitive to things such as air and heat. For example, aging garlic to reduce its odor also reduces the allicin present and compromises the effectiveness of the product.

Generally safe for most adults, taking a garlic supplement can cause heartburn, upset stomach, an allergic reaction, and breath and body odor (common with raw garlic). Garlic should not be taken by persons who are preparing for surgery or who have bleeding disorders because it can impair the body's ability to form blood clots.

Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha)


Hawthorn, also known as Maybush, is a thorny shrub found on hillsides and in sunlit woodsy areas throughout the world. Over centuries, all parts of the plant have been used to prepare foods, beverages, and medicines. In folk medicine, Hawthorn was used for the treatment of diarrhea, insomnia, and asthma. In China, it has been used to treat digestive problems, high cholesterol, poor circulation, and shortness of breath. During the early 1800s, doctors in North America used Hawthorn to treat heart conditions, circulatory, and respiratory disorders.

Hawthorn has a rich supply of flavonoids (antioxidants that protect cells from damage) and anti-inflammatory properties, which are important to heart health. It plays a role in helping dilate blood vessels, improves blood flow to the heart, and lowers blood pressure. In Europe, Hawthorn is regarded as a safe and effective treatment for early-stage heart disease. It is used to promote the health of the circulatory system and to treat angina, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure. In studies, patients with heart failure who took Hawthorn showed improvement in clinical symptoms and sense of well-being.

Hawthorn is available as tea, capsule, tincture, and standardized extract found in prescription drugs, over-the-counter medication, standardized herbal medicine, or dietary supplements. Before taking Hawthorn, especially if you suspect or have a heart or lung condition, consult with a holistic medical professional.




The Power of Breath: Lower Blood Pressure, Reduce Stress
When you don't manage stress effectively you place an unnecessary burden on the one muscle that keeps you alive: the heart. When you're stressed, your body goes into "fight or flight" response. The brain releases hormones that cause your heart to pump faster, thicken your blood, and raise blood pressure. If you constantly experience this stress response, it eventually changes the way the heart and blood system function--putting you at risk for heart disease.

Along with Yoga, here's something you can use anytime, anywhere to change the way you respond to stress and actually lower blood pressure and protect your heart from the deadly grip of stress. I highly recommend Guided Imagery. Here is a link:

http://www.healthjourneys.com/Store/Stress-Relief/1

References
The information offered by this blog is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.


2.08.2016

Prescription Drug use and Overdose

Did you know...  46 Americans pass away from prescription painkiller overdoses each day??

I guess I could say I have been very blessed to have adversity and many (More than I have wanted) life events. That sounds weird to call our stress and losses as blessings, but later (Much, much, much later); we appreciate the events we go through as it makes you realize how strong you can be.

I lost my Sweet Sister Kerry to Pain Killers, Oxycodone to be specific. This topic has been very heavy on my mind for over 4 years now. This is not a new problem, however, for the reasons that I am no longer able to speak with her every day and with the high number of people abusing medications, I feel it is a huge problem that needs new attention.

The misuse and abuse of prescription medications in our country remains high, but few people are aware of just how big the problem really is. Drugs, when taken as prescribed kill more than 106,000 Americans each year, and the death toll from overdosing on painkillers is now greater than both car accidents and death from illegal drug use. According to the National Center for Health Statistics and the CDC, the rate of drug overdose deaths between 1999 and 2014 for Caucasians between the ages of 25 and 34 rose by 500 percent. The overdose rate for people 35 to 44 years old tripled.

Here is some disturbing data regarding our painkiller abuse:

  • Over 7 million people abuse prescription medication
  • In 2010, Enough Prescription painkillers were prescribed to medicate every Adult American every 4 hours for a whole month
  • 3 out of 4 overdoses are caused by prescription painkillers
  • The United States consumes 75% of the world’s prescription drugs
  • Half of a million people are in the emergency room due to painkiller misuse
  • Young people, as young as 8th grade are starting to use 
  • In the past 15 years, there has been a 300% increase of prescription drug overdoses. 

The most commonly abused prescription drugs fall under 3 categories: Painkillers (Opioids), Anti depressants/Tranquilizers, and stimulants.

* Opioids: These could include Hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), Oxycodone (e.g., Oxycontin, Percocet), morphine, and codeine. Opioids work by reducing the perception of pain and stimulating the brain’s “reward center,” producing a feeling of euphoria. Other consequences include a lack of interest in activities and school or work, decreased attention to personal hygiene, and needing to take more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect (also called “tolerance”).

* Central nervous system depressants: Also called tranquillizers and anti depressants, these include barbiturates and benzodiazepines. They are used for treating anxiety, panic attacks, depression, insomnia, seizures, nausea, and vomiting. They have a calming, relaxing effect on the brain.

* Stimulants: This class increases brain activity, thereby increasing alertness and energy.


In the Nutrition and Integrative health Fields, there is such great success with balancing the neurotransmitters in the brain. We can test to see which Neurotransmitters are low and supplement naturally to boost those that are low. Increasing amino acids, getting exercise (Including meditation/yoga), feeding the mind and spirit, as well as establishing new thinking patterns are important as well.

More than 87% of Americans saw a Doctor last year. According to the CDC, those doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioids
​,  No, Doctors are not only to blame. However, 62% of abusers say 
“It was easy to get meds from their doc or someone’s medicine cabinet.” Others say 
“The pills are easy to get through other people's prescriptions.” 

Our Doctors and pharmacists need to be more Mindful and involved in identifying and preventing prescription drug abuse. In addition, we need to start treating the cause of pain and disease, not just the result.

~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~

1.08.2016

January 2016 Edition

Did you know...
Your brain is 73% water. It takes only 2% dehydration to affect your attention, memory and other cognitive skills!

Earth-friendly 2016 Diet Resolutions


Too many of us have become Eco-Zombies... careless about the relationship between the health of the planet and the health of our own bodies and minds. From farm to fork, the way food is grown, processed, and distributed affects not only its quality and variety, but also impacts our health and the sustainability of Mother Earth. That's why a lot of people who are concerned about both the size of their waist and recent extremes in climate change are making Earth-friendly dietary choices.

A useful starting point for understanding the relationship between the environment and your health is "planetary boundaries," or tipping points in our planet's natural air, land, and water systems. Recently, a team of 28 internationally renowned scientists identified these boundaries and related changes in natural systems, such as air quality, biodiversity, and land use. Breaches to these boundaries and the altered environmental trajectories could result in rapid, irreversible changes that threaten the conditions under which humanity can thrive on Earth. According to the scientists, 3 of the 9 planetary boundaries have already been crossed: climate change, biodiversity, and the global nitrogen cycle. The direct and indirect effects are seen in loss of biodiversity; soil, air and water pollution; polar ice melting; rising sea levels; species endangerment and alterations in habitats; and inadequate development of water and land resources to meet food and energy needs. These changes have unchangeable effects on human health, including increases in food and waterborne disease; disease carried by wildlife (e.g., Lyme, West Nile, and Ebola), malnutrition, and rising rates of cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness, and diabetes.

Our reliance on factory farms - Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFOs-is a big contributor to environmental rifts and the degradation of health. Most meat, poultry, eggs and dairy sold in the U.S. come from CAFOs, a major driver of deforestation, habitat destruction, and climate change. To prevent disease and promote faster growth, these animals are given hormones and antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance, a serious public health problem. Animal feed consists largely of subsidized Genetically Modified (GMO) grains grown with toxic pesticides and fertilizer, which end up in the water supply and on our produce.

"Grass-fed" beef may be more humane for animals but even the most humane farming practices wreak havoc on ecosystems. We have to feed billions of people, too many of whom consume too much of any kind of meat.

Fish aren't off the hook, either. Over fishing has depleted many marine species and degraded marine ecosystems. Fish farms face similar problems to CFAO's. When it comes to reducing the negative impact food production on the planet, reducing seafood consumption is part of the equation.


Earth-friendly Diet Resolutions

Every day, you have the choice to choose a healthy, Earth-friendly diet consisting of more fruits, veggies, and legumes and no (or less and more carefully chosen) meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. In turn, you'll create a healthier future for Mother Earth.

Grow Your Food. Growing food helps save money, reduces the environmental cost of factory farming, and is educational to the whole family. Use organic soil, compost, and practice conservation-friendly watering to help your garden grow.

Eat Organic, Seasonally & Locally. Choose organic and in-season foods from local farms and markets to support your local economy.

Go Meatless. Just 1 day a week, try replacing meat-based recipes with savory vegetarian or vegan options.

Fish with Care. Like beef, farm raised fish also contain chemicals and antibiotics that affect our health and the environment. Choose locally caught or wild caught fish.

Start a Farm-to-School Program. Talk with local public schools about partnering with CSA farms and serving vegetarian options to students.

Support GMO Labeling. The only way to know if a food has been genetically manipulated is for labels to indicate products are GMO-free. When it comes to your inbox, sign petitions for GMO labeling laws.

Food for Thought. . .
"Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success." 
- Swami Sivananda

Reduce Your Footprint & Save Money

Each day, Americans toss out enough food to fill the Rose Bowl stadium! As much as 40% of edible food in the United States goes uneaten. That's a drain on your wallet - $28-$43 a month. All that uneaten, but perfectly good food doesn't just lay waste to your budget; it rots in landfills and pollutes the planet.

While your virtual self is looking for spare change in that mountain of food trash, we've got good news: With a little mindfulness, there are easy ways to reduce your footprint and put money back in your pocket!

Net-Zero Your Fridge. Before you restock, make sure it's emptied of all edible food. If you really must stick to a shopping schedule, try freezing, canning or preserving foods.

Befriend Your Freezer. Most frozen foods remain safe indefinitely. Freeze leftovers if you won't have the chance to eat them before they go bad.

FIFO Your Meals. Plan and cook meals using the "First In, First Out" rule. Place the most recently bought items toward the back so older items, in the front, are used first.

Use Leftovers. Look for recipes that will help you get creative with using leftovers.

Shop Smarter. Plan your shopping and avoid impulse buys. If you have no idea how much food your family wastes in a month, do what restaurants do to manage profit and loss: keep a log of what you buy and what you throw away.

Get Savvy about Expiration Dates. "Sell-by" and "use-by" dates are manufacturer suggestions for peak quality. The dates are not federally regulated to indicate safety, except on certain baby foods. Not sure if you should keep a food or toss it? Search online for a shelf life guide.

Bought Too Much? Donate or Compost. Non-perishable and unspoiled food can be donated to a food bank, soup kitchen, church, or a neighbor in need. Perishable food you can't donate can be composted to recycle their nutrients and nourish the planet.

Recipe of the Month
Creamy cauliflower soup [ :) ] 
Ingredients
·         2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
·         2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, thoroughly washed and chopped 
·         1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets and thinly sliced
·         5 cups organic low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth or bone broth
·         1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
·         ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
·         1 tablespoon minced parsley
·         Pinch of ground red pepper
·         1 tablespoon snipped chives

Instructions
1.     Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the cauliflower, broth, salt and black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, then cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
2.     Let the soup cool slightly. Puree the soup, in batches, in a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and add the parsley and ground red pepper. Heat the soup through and garnish with chives before serving.
Healthy Add-ins:
Quartered or chopped artichoke hearts, zucchini or other squash, diced/shredded onion, spinach, kale or any other greens that you like can be added.  



The information offered by this newsletter is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this newsletter.