Shingles Virus

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Hello everyone! I apologize for not writing for a while. So I am back! I open with a topic that is probably most interesting to everyone “The Shingles Virus.” Recently a family member developed the Shingles Virus, also known as the Herpes Zoster Virus, Hives, and Angioderma. Thus began my research on the Shingles Virus.

What are Shingles?
Shingles is a form of the Herpes Virus that lies dormant in the body after having the chicken pox as a young child or young adult (teenager). Approximately 1 million people or more each year will be diagnosed with the Shingles Virus in the United States. One in three to five people will develop the Shingles Virus.

thThe Shingles are inflamed herpes blisters which may cover the whole body or isolated areas, such as the torso area, abdomen area, the face and eye area, the chest area or the back or front of the body.  The Shingles blisters are considered infectious to the human touch or to an individual who has not had the chicken pox as a child or young adult (teenager). Everyone is prone to get the Shingles Virus.
Symptoms of the Shingles Virus might include: flu like symptoms, fever, severe headaches, upset stomach, followed by scarring, numbness, skin discoloration, extreme nerve pain and unexplained itching, followed by inflamed, deep red blisters. In some rare cases, extreme nerve pain and itching will only occur.
Some people say that people over 50 are the most susceptible to the Shingles virus, but in my research I have found that any age over 20 years old may develop and be susceptible to the Shingles Virus.

Why is that possible? We live in a very high stress society so anyone with high or extremely large amounts of stress or have very poor immune systems are at risk of developing the Shingles Virus. I found there are other causes that might cause the Shingles Virus. Different forms of Herpes, Adrenal and Liver exhaustion, very poor or low immune systems, a body that is very acidic, and individuals that has had several treatments of antibiotics, chemical reactions which may include highly chlorinated water, allergic reactions from shellfish, dairy products, wheat, MSG’s or food additives. People with auto-immune diseases are susceptible to the Shingles Virus.

What can you do for the body or to support your body if you suspect you have the Shingles Virus?
First, and foremost you should seek medical attention immediately. It is critical especially if you get the Shingles Virus in the face and eye area. The Shingles Virus spreads so fast that if you develop the Shingles in the eye and face area, there is a chance you could lose your eye sight. Nerve pain is very common with the Shingles Virus, and can become debilitating. Immediate medical treatment includes prescription drugs that kill the virus as well as steroids. An Ophthalmologist is also critical if the shingles are near the eye.
After seeing a medical professional, there are some Holistic and natural therapies you can incorporate into your healing process of the Shingles Virus. It is important to check with your medical doctor if you plan to incorporate holistic remedies, herbs or naturopathic remedies. Some Holistic herbal remedies and vitamin supplements will react with most drugs given to you by your doctor. A qualified Holistic Nutritionist or your medical doctor (that incorporates holistic healing) should be able to determine what drugs will react with herbs, vitamin supplements, and homeopathic remedies. Be sure to take the medical drugs as prescribed until the virus subsides, and then check with your doctor about returning to taking your herbs, vitamin supplements or homeopathic remedies. An Ophthalmologist might prescribe steroid eye drops and other drops for an extended period of time.
Second, during the Shingles Virus, when you are taking the medical drugs you can eat fresh foods and eliminate or avoid foods that make your body acidic. Foods that make your body acidic are: alcohol, coffee, some caffeinated herbal teas, highly chlorinated drinking water, some red meats, cheese, salty and fried foods, sugar, aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), tetracycline, antibiotics. These foods have the tendency to aggravate the blisters and could cause possible future outbreaks while recovering from the Shingles Virus. Eliminate or avoid foods with preservative, flavorings, additives, and food colorings. A healthy clean pure diet is the key while recovering from the Shingles Virus.
Lastly, try to avoid as much stress as you can. Stress will aggravate and prolong your recovery time. Get enough rest.

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There are Holistic Health topical ointments available you can use. They are as follows: warm and cold compresses with flax seed oil, castor oil, Aloe Vera juice (organic pure Aloe Vera juice is best), Epsom salts, or colloidal oatmeal baths or compresses (take a soaked cotton cloth/towel with Epsom salts or colloidal oatmeal, and apply to the blisters, 4 to 6 times a day or as needed), Cayenne-ginger compresses, Shea butter, avocado oil, vitamin E oil or jojoba oil are all good sources for moisture and help with the scarring. Vitamin D supplements, Olive Leaf Extract, Vitamin C, and Quercetin are all good to help support your body during and after the Shingles Virus. Homeopathic remedies: Des Bio Series Therapy Herpes Zoster Vials, Hypericum Perforatum 30c from Boron, both remedies help nerve pain and support the body. Check with your doctor (that practices holistic alternatives) about the details and timing of taking these remedies.

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Acupuncture is good recovery therapy support for after developing the Shingles, approximately 6 weeks after the trauma. Massage therapy is good as well, 6 weeks after developing the Shingles.

Again, I cannot stress enough to check with your medical doctor (that incorporates holistic healing) if you take any of the above mentioned herbal and vitamin supplements while on the medical drugs.
Unfortunately, it can take anywhere from four to six weeks to recover from the Shingles Virus and in some cases 6 months to 1 year. It depends on how healthy your immune system is, what your body type is, and how your body heals.

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Is the Shingles Virus vaccine a good option?
Well it has always been my preference not to over vaccinate the body, but it is your body so you decide. There have been some cases where the Shingles Virus Vaccine works well and some cases where the vaccine will bring on the Shingles Virus. There are some cases where the Shingles Virus Vaccine prevents one from developing a severe case of the Shingles Virus. Every individual body is different; therefore, every person will have a different experience with the Shingles Virus Vaccine.
In conclusion, remember the key to recovering from the Shingles Virus is to seek out your medical professional, a healthy pure diet, very little stress as possible, and plenty of rest. A good attitude helps too; the Shingles Virus will not last forever!
Please know this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Its sole purpose is to inform and educate. Consult your Medical Practitioner before making changes to your diet and health life style. This information blog is my opinion and is not to be construed as medical advice or recommendations.
References:
Healthy Healing A guide to Self-Healing for Everyone 12th Edition, Linda Page, PHD in Traditional Naturopath
Tabors Cyclopedia Medical Dictionary, F. A. Davis, 20th Edition
A-Z Guide, Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions, Edited by, Alan R. Gaby, M.D., and the Health Notes Medical Team
The Internet
Personnel Experiences from Friends and Family Members who have developed The Shingles Virus

Chocolate, Cacao or Cocoa Beans

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One of my guilty pleasures is to eat and drink chocolate. Unfortunately, today’s chocolate is highly refined and processed and comes in all kinds of variations. Chocolate is best known as Cacao or Cocoa beans. Here is a brief history of chocolate.

 

1500 BC – 400 BC, The Olmec Indians of the West Indies or South America were the first to grow and cultivate Cocoa beans.
600 AD the Mayans Society of South America drank an unsweetened chocolate beverage from ground Cocoa beans.
By the 14th Century, the drink became popular amongst the Aztecs of South America’s upper class, who took the beverage from the Mayans. The Aztecs were the first to tax Cocoa beans. The Aztecs called the beverage “Xocalati” meaning a warm or bitter liquid.
Chocolate came on the scene when the Europeans discovered the Americas. Soon after, Columbus and Spanish Explorer Hernando Cortez encountered and recorded the Cocoa bean usage in South America, thus, eventually making its way to Europe.
By the 16th Century the Spanish began adding cane sugar and flavorings, such as vanilla, creating their version of a sweet cocoa beverage, known today as “hot chocolate.”
It was the year 1570 when Cocoa was gaining popularity as a medicine and aphrodisiac.
The year 1674 is when chocolate worked its way into rolls and cakes and served in Chocolate Emporiums amongst the social elite across Europe.
The year 1765 chocolate was brought to the United States by Irish Chocolate maker, John Hanan, who imported Cocoa beans from the West Indies in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Chocolate was then processed and refined by the help of the American Dr. James Baker, who in 1780 created the first chocolate mill and made “Bakers Chocolate” famous.
The year 1828, the Inventor Conrad Van Houten of Amsterdam invented a Cocoa Press to improve the quality of chocolate by giving the beverage a softer smoother consistency. He was also the first to add alkaline salts to powdered Cocoa to make it mix better with water and cut the bitter taste, thus creating “Dutch Cocoa.”
The year 1847, Dr. Joseph Fry and son, along with the Cadbury Brothers, created a way to mix chocolate and cocoa butter, adding sugar creating a paste to mold, thus creating the first “Chocolate Bar.” Shortly after, the Cadbury Brothers created and mass marketed the first boxes of Chocolate Candies.
The year 1879, the Nestle Company was formed by Daniel Peter of Switzerland and Henri Nestle. Also the “Conching” machine was invented by Rodolphe Lindt of Switzerland. “Conching” is the process created to heat and roll chocolate in order to refine it and make it possible to create the “Chocolate Fondant.”
So there you have it — a brief and somewhat short history of the Cocoa bean, known today as “Chocolate.”
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The question remains — is Chocolate good for you?

Well Chocolate, or better yet Cocoa, has compounds that may increase and elevate serotonin and boost feelings of well-being. Cocoa contains a compound phenethylamine, which stimulates endorphins and dopamine, which may create the feelings of pleasure and well-being in most people. Cocoa is said to help brain function and increase blood flow. Cocoa does contain a very small amount of caffeine. To get the best benefits of Cocoa is to use it in an organic raw and minimally processed form. The “Dutch Cocoa” process reduces the flavonol and antioxidant properties of the Cacao/Cocoa bean.
When high refined sugar is added to Chocolate or Cocoa powder it changes the Cocoa, thus aggravating hypoglycemia, and over stimulating the Adrenal Glands in some people.
Eating quarter to half a dark chocolate bar consisting of 70% or more raw Cocoa content with a small amount of non-refined sugar, could be consumed in moderation, and may have great health benefits.
Alternative to Chocolate “Carob”
Carob is a locust bean similar to the Cocoa bean. It has a slightly similar taste and structure to the Cocoa bean. It can be used as a Cocoa or Chocolate substitute. Carob does not contain stimulants and is known to help normalize hypoglycemia.
The following are a few of my favorite Cocoa/Chocolate recipes I have collected and reformulated. Also, included are the best Chocolate Bars I have ever eaten.
Heavenly Organics, Chocolate Mint Patties, Only 3 ingredients 100% Organic Dark Chocolate, Organic Raw White Honey and Peppermint Oil, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, No Nuts, No added refined sugar, http://www.heavenlyorganics.com
Gnosis Chocolate, Deeply Dark Intensity, 90% Raw Cacao, contains Dark Raw Organic Cacao and Coconut Palm Sugar, http://www.gnosischocolate.com
Recipes:
best-hot-chocolate-recipe-coconut-milkHot Chocolate (Beverage)
1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk or Rice Milk
2 tsp of any brand certified Raw Organic Cocoa Powder (non-alkaline)
1-2 tsp of organic Stevia (or favorite natural sweetener, to taste)
Optional: small 1/8 to ¼ tsp organic vanilla
Or 1/8 to ¼ tsp ground organic cinnamon
Blend, Heat to boiling, Enjoy!!
Cold Chocolate Milk (Beverage)
1cup of Unsweetened Almond Milk or Rice Milk
1-2 heaping tsps of Wax Orchards Classic Fudge Fat Free Dark Chocolate sauce
Stir/blend, Enjoy!!
german-chocolate2Chocolate Sweet Potato Pie with Gluten Free Crust
1 can 15oz can Organic Sweet Potato (Farmers Market Brand)
¼ tsp organic cinnamon
¼ tsp organic ginger
¼ tsp organic cloves
¼ tsp organic caradom
¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt (himalaliania brand)
1-2 Tablespoons raw organic cocoa powder (more can be added depending on how much chocolate you like it)
1-2 Tablespoons Organic Stevia, organic coconut sugar, organic date sugar, raw honey or your favorite sugar/sweetener, (3 Tablespoons of sugar sweetener can be added depending on how sweet you like it, I prefer one tablespoon because Sweet potato can be sweet)
½ to 1 tsp of organic vanilla (optional)
1 can 13.5 oz can organic coconut milk
2 cage free/free range eggs
1 Gluten Free 9 inch crust
Mix Sweet Potato, spices and chocolate powder together. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into a gluten free pie crust.
Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes (checking to make sure liquid is set in the middle of the pie) when done. If middle is not set add an extra 5-10 minutes till middle is set. Cool, serve, enjoy! This pie is great the next day!!
paleo-chocolate-cupcakes-unfrostedSour Cream Fudge Cupcakes
¼ cup unsalted organic butter
½ cup water
¼ cup raw organic Cocoa powder
½ cup sugar (your favorite health unrefined sugar can be substituted, such as organic date sugar, coconut sugar, or Table Top Just Like Sugar)
1 1/4 cup Bobs Redmill Organic Quinoa Flour (pronounced Keen-WA)
½ tsp Baking Powder (gluten free)
½ tsp baking soda
½ Himalayan pink salt (Himalaliania brand)
2 cage free/free range eggs (separated)
½ tsp organic vanilla
¼ cup organic sour cream or organic Greek yogurt (can be substituted)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place butter and water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder. Sift together, Quinoa Flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cooled cocoa mixture, egg yolks, vanilla and sour cream, mix/blend well. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold egg whites into batter/mixture. Next, spoon into 100% unbleached muffin or large baking cupcake liners, place in cupcake pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester inserted in middle comes out clean or slightly crumbly. Makes 12-16 cupcakes. These can be frosted with your favorite gluten-free chocolate frosting or just plain. Enjoy!!
A recipe from Bob’s Red Mill Flours, reformulated and changed by me.
Please know this blog is not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Its sole purpose is to inform and educate. Consult your Medical Practitioner, before making changes to your diet and health life style. This information blog is my opinion and is not to be construed as medical advice or recommendations.
References:
The History of Chocolate – Culture of the Cocoa Bean, the Internet Http://inventors.about.com/foodrelated inventions/a/chocolate
A brief History of Chocolate, The Internet, http://www.smithsonian.com
Better Nutrition Magazine, February 2014 Issue, http://www.betternutrition.com Cocoa Nibs
Adrenal Fatigue, The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, James L. Wilson, N.D., D.C., PhD.
Staying Healthy with Nutrition, the Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. Elson M. Haas, M.D. with Buck Levin, PhD., R.D.

Colds and Flu Season

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This is the time of year when at least 10 people I know run out and get a flu shot.  I was once one of these people.  Unfortunately, I became sensitive to the flu shot.  The first flu shot I received was about 30 years ago, when the big concern was the Swine flu.  My arm ached for days after receiving the Swine flu shot.  Every year after I received a flu shot the arm was very sore and ached down to the finger tips.  After a few years of receiving the flu shot, I developed a rash followed by aches and pains and flu like symptoms, thus, ended my journey of receiving the flu shot.

Is the flu shot good for you?

This can be a difficult question to answer.  The flu shot works well for some people, while others who have sensitivities or allergies may develop a sensitivity or allergy to the flu shot over a period of time.

Some people have to get a flu shot if they’re advised by their Doctor or in an at-risk group. In that case, by all means, get the shot.

Some people refuse to receive the flu shot because of sensitivity or simply don’t want to receive the flu shot. In that case, all is not lost.  You can develop a cold and flu protocol.

To start, have a well balanced diet.  Creating a diet that keeps your body alkaline during cold and flu season.  An alkaline body is a healthy body, and an acidic body is not.  The body becomes acidic by consuming refined white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and large amounts of alcohol, cigarette smoke, and stress. If you can reduce or eliminate these substances out of your body you are on your way to a healthy alkaline body.

To help maintain an alkaline body drink lemon with warm or hot water or try Alka Seltzer Gold (with reduced sodium and free of aspirin).  Again, eliminate or reduce all refined white sugar, large amounts of alcohol, cigarette smoke, and stress.  Viruses and bacteria love to live in an acidic body.  Viruses and bacteria have a difficult time living in an alkaline body.   A weakened immune system increases the chances of colds, flu viruses, and bacteria entering the body.  It also makes the body very acidic and highly susceptible to all colds, viruses, influenza, and bacterial infections.

4407393_f520To help maintain a healthy immune system, and protect against getting an excessive amount of colds, flu, viruses and bacteria infections, the following are a few suggestions:

Vitamin C plays an important role against the prevention and treatment of colds and viruses.  It reduces the length of time of the common cold.  Up to 1,000mg may be consumed.  If excessive amounts of gas and diarrhea develop, decrease the dose.

Zinc, in lozenge form, may help with providing relief of a sore throat due to the common cold.  Zinc lozenges also help reduce the duration or length of time the common cold persists.  If you feel a cold coming on, zinc lozenges can be taken every 2 hours prior to common cold symptoms or as a preventive.  Zinc has also been known to help prevent or reduce pneumonia in some people.

Echinacea, (also known as E. purpurea), helps to strengthen the immune system.  It is an excellent resource and treatment for the common cold.  It helps to reduce the duration of the common cold.  Echinacea is related to the daisy family of herbs and flowers.  Take note if you have an allergy to daisies, do not take this product.  450mg to 900mg can be taken during and a short time after the common cold.   When the cold or virus passes discontinue.

Vitamin A, also known as beta carotene, can be taken for a short time.  It helps to strengthen immune function during a cold or virus.  It is not recommend for women who are pregnant or sexually active women trying to get pregnant.  When the cold or virus passes discontinue.

Olive Leaf Extract is excellent for boosting the immune system.  Try to find a good quality Olive Leaf Extract formulation.  This product can be taken all of the time, it has some excellent healing capabilities for people with asthma or asthma flare-ups during a cold or virus.

Pro Boost is purified Protein A from calf thymus. It is an excellent immune booster for before, during, and after the cold and flu.  It helps protect and support the thymus gland, especially during the cold and flu.

Glutathione helps to boost and maintain a healthy immune system.  As we age the body slows down and stops creating/making glutathione in the system.  It is sometimes a good idea to supplement with this nutrient.

homeopathSuggested Homeopathic Remedies for recovery from the flu:

Influenzinum 9, by Boiron, is a homeopathic remedy for after-effects of the flu or flu like symptoms.  This can also be taken as a preventive to support the immune system before, during and after the flu.  If you are pregnant or breast feeding ask your health care professional before using this product.

Bryonia Alba is a good remedy to use if you are feeling irritable, want to gulp or drink large amounts of water, high fever, perspiration and body aches.  This might help reduce these symptoms.

Gelsemium Sempervirins a remedy for weakness and extreme sleepiness.  Helps with the chills, heavy eyelids, heavy head, and fevers that tend to develop slowly during the flu.  This might reduce these symptoms.

Euphatorium perfoliatum a remedy for severe muscle aches and chills.  This should help reduce these symptoms.

Arsenicum Album is a remedy to reduce or relieve extreme sickness during the flu or a craving for open air or feeling worse after any kind of motion.

Discontinue or stop all of the above mentioned remedies once you have recovered from the flu.

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Suggested Chinese Herbs for Colds, Viruses and Flu:

Yin Chiao a Chinese herb used for the first stage of a cold and flu.  2 to 3 tablets a day and it should only be taken for 2-3 days.  It helps to reduce the duration of the common cold and flu.  A children’s dose should be half.

Gan Mao Ling is used for the 2nd stage of a cold and flu.  It may be taken for up to 30 days and up to 3-5 tablets per day.  It may be used as a preventive.  It is beneficial for sore throat, cough, runny nose, and swollen glands.  It helps with irritation of yellow or runny mucus.  A children’s dose should be half.

Huang Lien is an antibacterial used for colds and flu.  It helps to maintain well being of the head, eyes, ears, mouth, gums, and throat during a cold and flu.  2 tablets can be taken 3 times per day.  It should only be taken for 3-4 days.  Do not take if pregnant or breast feeding.  If you have a history of ulcers or kidney stones this product should be taken with caution, or check with your health care professional.  Children under 12 years old should not take this product.

Bi Yan Pian a Chinese herb for the use of a head cold, sinuses, and congestion.  It supports healthy sinuses.  It is helpful for occasional hay fever, allergies or sinus irritations.  Check with a health care professional if you are pregnant or breast feeding.  It can be taken for up to 30 days, a dose of 2-3 tables per day.

Xiao Qing Long Tang (blue green lung formula) is used for lung congestion, it resolves phlegm.  It supports healthy lung function during a cold and virus.  Take up to 2-3 tablets per day.  This product should not be used for long term, discontinue after cold or virus ends.

Osha Root Cough Syrup is an excellent cough syrup, helps to resolve phlegm.  It has a vile taste, but is an excellent resource for a cough.  Small sips may be taken.  This product can be taken until cough is resolved.

All of these products mentioned are non-addictive, non-habit forming and should be used as mentioned above or follow the directions on the box or bottle.

chicken-noodle-soup-and-teaFor best results before, during and after a cold and flu, Chamomile Tea, Ginger Tea, and Decaf Green Tea are excellent resources to drink for warming and calming the body.  Warm or hot soups and steamed vegetables are great to eat during the cold and flu.  Eliminate or reduce cold drinks and eliminate all dairy during a cold and flu, because dairy tends to create phlegm and congestion in the lungs.

Remember no matter how many Vitamins, Chinese Herbs or cold remedies you take before, during or after a cold, sleep and rest cannot be emphasized enough.  Plenty of rest, a light diet and hot or warm fluids will always help the body to overcome colds and flu.  Without rest, the body will take longer to recover from any cold and flu symptom. 

For severe colds and flu always seek out your health care professional.

The above mentioned products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Please know this blog is not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Its sole purpose is to inform and educate.  Consult your Medical Practitioner, before making changes to your diet and health life style. This information blog is my opinion and is not to be construed as medical advice or recommendations.


References:

Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, revised 2nd Edition, Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D.

Healthy Healing, 12th Edition, Linda Page PH.D., traditional Naturopath

Better Nutrition Magazine for Natural Living January 2014 Issue, Avghi Constantindes, D. Ham, Co-founder and Director of Los Angeles School of Homeopathy

Protocols for Colds and Flu

Kan Chinese Herbs

New Year Resolutions – Exercise

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This is the time of year when almost everyone I know makes a New Year Resolution.  Some start a new diet to lose weight, others may vow to exercise more or start a new exercise program.  You can be sure 2 months later most New Year Resolutions are broken.  Reasons include not enough time, too much work, laziness, forgetfulness, etc., etc.  The excuses outnumber the reasons why each individual on the planet should and would benefit from exercise.

There are so many types of exercise programs that it can be so overwhelming.  I suggest, start by getting an evaluation from your doctor first or professional health care person.  This could help you determine if you are in good or poor health and let you know how to proceed.  If you are in good health then the sky is the limit as far as exercising.  If you are in poor health, your doctor should determine what you can and can’t do.

Personal Trainers are usually the best way for individuals who are in poor shape to start out.  They assess and implement an exercise program especially for individuals with medical problems and medical clearance to exercise.  You can hire a personal trainer for a one on one program or as a group, depending on your budget.

Health Fitness Instructor helps individuals and groups to exercise and build fitness programs for individuals in good health and individuals with medical problems.

Exercise Specialist is a healthcare professional who is certified to assess training, rehabilitation and lifestyle and risk factors for individuals, such as individuals who have cardiovascular, pulmonary and metabolic issues.

Clinical Exercise Physiologist is a professional who works with exercise and physical activities, such as individuals who need therapeutic and functional therapies.  They help individuals who have cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, immunological inflammatory, orthopedic, and neuromuscular problems.

Nutritionist is a professional who consults with individuals about diet before, during and after exercising, before and after training for a marathon, if you are an athlete, or if you just want to eat healthy in general.  A good nutritionist can help you determine how many calories to consume while exercising or training.

No matter what the issue is there are so many options one has at their fingertips, the internet, the TV, magazines, Recreation Centers, and Workout facilities; that give you good ideas on how to structure your own exercise program.

Remember you don’t have to be an athlete to exercise.  The value and benefit that exercise brings to every individual is, it helps the body with stress, stronger muscle function, blood flow, endurance, heart and cardiovascular, fatigue, depression, anxiety, weight loss and weight gain, mental processes and alertness, and longevity.

Regular exercise has been known to elevate mood and create endorphins in the brain, when endorphin levels rise, so do mood levels.  The most powerful health promoting medication available is exercise.  Don’t take my word for it just ask your doctor.

Just walking 10-30 minutes a day helps the above mentioned stressors on your body.  Getting up off the couch and cleaning your house everyday is considered a form of exercise.  Gardening and yard work are another form of exercise.  Always try to stretch and relax the muscles after intense or mild exercising.  This will help with recovery.

Exercise is sometimes measured by your heart rate, the number of times your heart beats per minute.  The best way to determine your maximum and target heart rate is to subtract your age from 220, for maximum heart rate, and subtract your age from 185 for an exercise target heart rate.  For instance, if you are 40 years old your target heart rate would be 145 beats per minute while exercising.  Maximum heart rate, at 40 years old, would be 180 beats per minute. Keep in mind that you should never achieve the maximum heart rates. Reference the American Heart Association for further details.

 What is the best diet while exercising?

water bottleDrink plenty of water and fluids as per my suggestion (Hydration, Water Blog).  Do not guzzle your water during exercising or after exercising, this may cause some individuals to become dizzy and sometimes faint.  Pace/sip your water consumption during any kind of exercise.  Always drink water or have water on hand, so you will not become dehydrated.  Always have some form of mineral supplement or mineral intake when exercising and after exercising.  Exercising and sweating causes your body to use up minerals and electrolytes.  Minerals help your muscles to be pliable; help reduce cramping and lactic acid build up in muscles.  I suggest, do not drink high energy drinks while exercising or training, for example Red Bull, 5 Hour Energy, just to name a couple.  They cause fluctuations in the heart, causing the heart to beat too fast or high and may result in a heart attack.  It is suggested not to drink energy drinks at all because of the correlation with heart disease.

green-apples-4436972Always try to maintain a good carbohydrate, protein and fat balance while exercising or training for a marathon.  Never fast for any kind of exercise program for this could cause problems later.

Carbohydrates should be eaten before or after exercising, not refined carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates provide glucose and energy to the muscles and liver.

Protein, eat good protein. Protein breaks down and provides amino acids for the liver and muscles.

Fat, eat good fat.  Fat and fatty acids break down and provide energy for muscles.

Fast food should never be consumed before, during or after exercising, for they may cause (in some people) muscles to go into shock and create high fat intake in the muscles.  Have a well balanced meal plan.

Exercise should be fun and enjoyable, like walking or taking a bike ride, cleaning house, or gardening.  Try to have exercise goals like increasing intensity after months of the same exercise or change your exercise routine by adding a variety of new exercises. 

No matter what exercise program you have or develop for yourself, you deserve to pamper yourself and be the best you can be!!  After all, you are worth it!!  Happy New Year!!

References:

Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, revised 2nd Edition, Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D.

Nutrition for Sport and Exercise, Marie Dunford, and J. Andrew Doyle

Please know this blog is not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Its sole purpose is to inform and educate.  Consult your Medical Practitioner, before making changes to your diet and health life style. This information blog is my opinion and is not to be construed as medical advice or recommendations.

Holiday Stress

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holiday stressThe Holidays are upon us; unfortunately stress is following close behind.  Every day can bring a certain amount of stress in our busy lives, but add the Christmas Holiday Season and you have a recipe for even more stress.

Why does it seem more stressful during the holiday season?  I think it is because we place a lot of pressure on ourselves to have a perfect holiday, find the perfect gift, worry if it is liked or not, fight the crowds in the store, the wait in long lines, the traffic, the holiday traffic, the weather, and the list goes on.

The following are a few suggestions to help with that holiday stress.

1)    Make a list of all of the things you want to get done/accomplish.  Starting with the high priority items first and ending with the low priorities.

2)    Exercise.  Don’t forget to take the time and exercise.  Just 30 minutes of exercise a day helps relieve stress.  Regular exercise is effective in reducing stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression.  Leave your desk every hour for 10 minutes, even if it is just to get water from the water cooler or go to the restroom.  Just the movement of getting away from the desk/work for 10 minutes helps reduce stress.

3)    Diet.  Have a healthy diet.  Reduce the amount of sugar intake, thereby trying to eliminate refined carbohydrates.  Reduce the amount of caffeine in the coffee you drink.  Try to eat planned meals and not fast food meals, and try to do this in a calm relaxed environment.  I emphasize “try” because, I know if you have small children, this can be a challenge.

If any of these few suggestions don’t seem to work, then the following are some vitamin/herbal supplement and essential oils I suggest.  Please be sure to check with your health care professional if you are taking any medications that could interfere with these vitamin/herbal supplements or essential oils.

Rescue Remedy –by Bach Flower Essences, drops or spray.  This product contains a combination of the following flower essences:  Rock Rose flower essence helps with courage and fear, calming the mind.  Clematis flower essence helps to live in the present and not in the future or past.  Impatiens flower essence helps to cope calmly to irritating situations, problems, or people.  Cherry Plum flower essence helps one to think clearly and act rational, with a calming of the mind.  Star of Bethlehem flower essence calms and softens grief, shock or a frightful situation.  I use this when I have high stress moments.  Spray 1-2 or 2-4 drops in the mouth or in your water bottle and drink it throughout the day.  When doing this in the mouth spray or use drops under the tongue, it will mix with the bile in your mouth and start to work quickly.  This is a natural stress relief product, is fast acting and non-habit forming.

Basic B Complex or B Vitamins – a dietary supplement which includes the following combinations of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid (B5).  The foods B vitamins are most commonly found in are brown rice and whole grains.  If you are not eating grains it is best to supplement your diet with a good quality Basic B Complex combination.  B vitamins give your body a sense of calm and help your adrenal glands.  If you are a woman, and are taking birth control pills, it is suggested that you supplement with vitamin B6 or a vitamin B Complex supplement, because birth control pills tend to deplete the body of precious B vitamins.

Vitamin C – this vitamin supplement is depleted during emotional, psychological stress, and smoking.  A vitamin C supplement is a good idea to have on hand.  Excessive Vitamin C, such as 1000mg or more has the tendency to cause loose stools or diarrhea in some people.  Just back off on the dose and stools will return to normal.

Zinc – plays many roles in the body.  One of which helps the body to metabolize B vitamins, magnesium, and testosterone.  It also helps support the immune system.

Magnesium – a good source for reducing stress tension headaches, migraine headaches and vascular migraine headaches.  Also, good for maintaining healthy blood vessels, and muscle tissue.  Helps to calm frequent asthma attacks (in some people) and helps to absorb calcium.  It has a significant calming effect on the body.  Good to take before going to bed.  Up to 600 mg can be taken (unless you are a small child and less should be used); any more than that may cause loose stools, if this happens just lower the dose.  Ibuprofen/advil has the tendency to deplete the body of magnesium.  Magnesium is a non-habit forming supplement.

5HTP – 5-Hydroxy-L-Trypotophan helps to prevent migraine headaches in some people.  5HTP increases serotonin levels in the brain; serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain.  It helps some people with depression, insomnia, and anxiety.  This supplement is best to be taken early morning and at night.  It is best not to take 5HTP and the B6 vitamin within 2 hours of each other.  5HTP and B6 vitamin should be taken at separate intervals, because 5HTP has the tendency to interfere with the absorption of Vitamin B6.  5HTP is a non habit forming supplement.

L-Theanine – an amino acid which helps with mood, stress, anxiety, and ADD.  Small amounts are found in green tea.  L-theanine helps people to focus when under extreme duress or stress.  It helps to increase levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter found in the brain.  Some people may take this supplement and experience sleepiness, if that happens it is best to take at night.  Otherwise, it is a safe natural supplement to take anytime during the day.  This supplement is non habit forming.

Gaba Calm – is a sublingual supplement.  It is also available in a capsule.  It can be found in orange flavor and peppermint as a sublingual.  Gaba (gamma- aminobutric Acid) is a non-essential amino acid, meaning it does not need to be used all of the time, only in extreme cases. Gaba is also used in combination with Glycine, N-Aceytl, L-tryosine, and Taurine.  This combination works together to help in treating brain dysfunctions such as anxiety, depression, nervousness, high blood pressure, insomnia, and ADD.  This supplement can help to overcome alcohol and drug abuse/addiction.  I think it is best to use Gaba calm as a sublingual, so it can be used on an as needed basis.  This also is a non-habit forming supplement.

Above are a few supplements I suggest, because I have personally used them.  I cannot stress enough; always check with a qualified health care practitioner when using supplements, especially if you are on any kind of medication.  Some supplements are known to interact with certain medications.

If you would like to know more about these supplements and learn about more ways to reduce stress please feel free to email me at glohav@q.com.

I would like to introduce my niece who has taken time from her busy schedule to write a piece about her experience with Essential Oils.  She provides some useful suggestions using Essential Oils for a stress free Holiday Season.

Using Essential Oils During the Holidays

Sometimes I just look in my rear view mirror of my van and I get stressed. Behind me sit four trusting sets of eyes, all vying for my attention.   A typical day for us involves multiple trips to the bathroom, several changes of clothes, toys brought out, toys put away, a dishwasher that ran three times, 16 plates filled with food over the course of the day, eight snacks, and a mom that has barely sat for more than five minutes.

Add Christmas magic into the timeline, and the kids wake up lit like a Christmas tree.  Our days are consumed with making multiple construction paper gifts, glitter, sticky hands, giggles, and just plain old energy.  The Holidays, for me, are like watching a Christmas action movie in fast forward, but tiring.  Honestly, it can be a bit tense at times as I try and figure out how to purchase unique gifts while shopping with 4 little ones, and create wholesome meals for seemingly shorter days, and remain joyful.  I try to create purpose amongst all of this business, and to remember the meaning behind the celebration.  The daily ritual of using therapeutic essential oils is not a luxury but a necessity for maintaining my sanity and buffering my stress level.

Avoiding holiday stress with essential oils photo avoidingstressfortheholidays_zpsf4f36b1b.jpg

Why Do I Use Essential Oils?

I wish I could sit down with you over some herbal tea and share my health journey with you, but who has time for that right now?  In a nutshell, after trying the traditional route of western medicine to stay well, heal my thyroid, and avoid seasonal depression – I was introduced to essential oils.

Not those fragrances you can purchase in a bottle from a store.

The Essential Oils that I use are called Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils.  They are so pure that you can ingest them, diffuse them, apply them topically, and even take them intravenously.  After much research, I decided that Young Living Essential Oils were the most effective and thoroughly tested therapeutic grade essential oils on the market.  After 9 years of using them, I still believe they are the top company with excellent standards allowing me to use them on my family safely.  I use Essential Oils because not only are they natural, but they are effective in healing.

What is An Essential Oil?

An essential oil is an aromatic, volatile liquid that is within many shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes and seeds.  They are usually extracted through steam distillation.  A therapeutic grade essential oil works because when extracted properly from a plant, it retains healing properties to complete the same tasks it preformed in the plant that is now in your body.  Such as removing toxins, cleaning and healing cells, oxygenating the blood and reaching across the blood brain barrier, and carrying nutrients (to name a few things).  It is an intuitive substance that functions to promote health.  Modern medicine often masks the problem at hand and destroys cells, where therapeutic grade essential oils improve cellular function and add a unique access to the brain.

Young Living Essential Oils may have unique access to the brain, while many medicines cannot pass the blood brain barrier and may have nasty side effects in some people.

organizing studying essential oilsWhen I feel down or overwhelmed, I apply essential oils to my skin or diffuse in the air.  I am feeding my brain with nutrients and oxygen.  Due to our bodies linking memories with our sense of smell, I often find that my mood shifts almost instantly and the stress in my neck melts away.

Essential Oils for the Holidays

This holiday season finds me using four specific essential oils, they literally make me happy, and giddy in a calm way.

Christmas Spirit Essential Oil – if you like Yankee Candles or potpourri, but want to avoid the chemicals, then Christmas Spirit is the essential oil for you!  The oils in this warm scent are: Orange, cinnamon bark, and spruce.

Three Wise Men Essential Oil – a truly intoxicating aroma, I can’t get enough of this oil, I discovered.  One of my favorite oils because in name, it reminds me of our celebration this month; when I applied, I often spend time contemplating the reason for our family’s celebration.  It contains: sandalwood, juniper, frankincense, spruce, and myrrh, in a base of almond oil.

Joy Essential Oil – I often wear this as a perfume.  I use this as part of my “Happy Day Routine”.  I use this to ward off depression.  It contains bergamot, ylang ylang, geranium, rosewood, lemon, mandarin, jasmine, Roman chamomile, palmarosa, and rose.

Frankincense – Is one of the best oils for your brain to function well.  It keeps you alert, is calming, and very grounding.  This oil was brought to Jesus and is an oil that I need to pay attention to.  This oil makes your immune system function smarter.

Other options she suggests:

How do you overcome stress during the holidays? 

You can follow Jodi on her essential oil blog, Naturally His.  She has some outstanding recipes (which I have personally used)  on her personal blog, Granola Mom 4 God. Recently she co-authored a book, The {essential} Oiler’s Handbook. Her blog also includes her journey with health issues.  It is a privilege and honor to know her.

May you all have a blessed and stress free Holiday Season!!

My References:

Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, revised 2nd Edition, Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D.

Healthy Healing, 12th Edition, by Linda Page, PH.D., Traditional Naturopath

Better Nutrition Magazine, December Issue 2013,  www.betternutrition.com

Please know this blog is not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Its sole purpose is to inform and educate.  Consult your Medical Practitioner, before making changes to your diet and health life style.  This information blog is my opinion and is not to be construed as medical advice or recommendations.

Thanksgiving

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My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.  It is a time to reflect and look at all of the things I am thankful for.  I am thankful for the great soul and spirit within me.  I am thankful for my family.  I am thankful for my health.  I am also thankful to share with you a little bit of history about the “Turkey,” and recipes to follow.

Is turkey good for you?  Yes it is one of the best sources of protein you can eat every day.  It is not just a once a year meat/protein.  Turkey contains up to 29 grams of protein with each 3 1/2 ounce serving.  A 5 ounce serving of turkey provides almost half of the daily allowance of folic acid.  Turkey is a good source of the following vitamins:  B, B1, B6, zinc, potassium and phosphorus.

Wild turkey is very common to North America.  Turkey is a Native American staple.  It was the Native American Indians who brought us turkey.  Turkey was later imported to Europe in the early 16th Century.  45 million turkeys are eaten at Thanksgiving; 22 million turkeys are eaten at Christmas.

The white part of the turkey has less fat.  The active part of the turkey is the legs.  This is why the legs have dark meat.  A lot of oxygen is stored in the legs of the turkey.  Less active muscles like the breast have white meat.  So you get zinc from the dark meat.

There are so many recipes for cooking turkey.  They include several methods of cooking such as baking, broiling, roasting, boiling and frying.  One thing I do suggest is to buy the best turkey you can.  What I mean is buy a turkey that is a happy turkey, cage free, free range, antibiotic free, and organic or natural.  A wild turkey would be best but probably not available.  There are some great turkeys I suggest:  Mary’s Organic Turkey, Shelton Turkey, Diestal Turkey, Applegate Turkey and Red Bird Turkeys.  These turkeys are the best, but they can be a bit pricey. Good health makes the investment worth it!!

My favorite turkey is the Shelton Turkey.  I order this turkey every year from Natural Grocers/Vitamin Cottage.

The day before Thanksgiving I cook my pies, gravy, cranberry dish, and prepare the stuffing.  All I have to do on Thanksgiving is cook the turkey, mash potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetable, dressing, and gluten free rolls.

All of the great chefs of America suggest not stuffing the turkey, because it may have the tendency to dry the bird/meat.  I do not stuff the turkey since I have wheat and gluten sensitivity.  I think stuffing the turkey is an individual preference.

I like basting the turkey on Thanksgiving.  So I guess what you call me is a turkey baster (LOL!)  I just love opening the oven door every 20/30 minutes to check the progress, inhale the aroma, etc.  I am funny that way.  I also get the family in on the basting process.  No matter how you cook your turkey I am sure it will be great!!

The following are some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes:

Frozen Cranberry Dish, from The Cotton Country Cookbook

The Turkey (My version I changed a bit. Ideas from the Food Network)

1 – 11-12 lb. Fresh Shelton Turkey (any size turkey will work with this recipe just increase the tarragon and olive oil

Tarragon (dried or organic fresh can be used)

Herbamore Salt

Olive Oil

2 Organic Lemons

Pure filtered water as you need it.

Reserve/save Turkey giblets, innards, and neck this will be used to make the gravy.

Rinse and pat dry the turkey.  Lightly season/salt the turkey with herbamore salt.  Mix ¼ to ½ cup Olive oil and 1-2 Tablespoons of dried tarragon or chopped fresh can be used.  Rub the olive oil and tarragon all over the turkey.  Take 2 organic lemons (wash them) poke holes with a fork or make slits in the lemons (with a knife).  Place the 2 lemons inside the cavity of the turkey/bird.  Trust me this will not give the turkey a lemon flavor.  It just keeps the turkey very moist and delicious, from the inside out (so to speak).  Cook the turkey in a preheated oven set at 400 degrees. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees when the turkey is ready to put in the oven.  This can also be cooked in the outdoor grill, provided you have a nice outdoor grill with a heat element monitor on the outside of the grill to keep track of temperature fluctuations.  I also insert a popup timer specifically made for turkeys.  You can purchase this at Whole Foods or Bed Bath and Beyond.  This timer should be placed on the thickest part of the turkey breast at an angle.  Baste the turkey every 20 or 30 minutes (that is if you like to baste your turkey).  Enjoy!!!!

Turkey Gravy (from a neighbor, made the day before Thanksgiving) (My version)

Organic carrots

Organic Celery Stalks

1 Organic Onion

1 clove of organic garlic (optional)

Reserved/saved Turkey neck, giblets

1 can 14.5 oz Shelton Brand Chicken Broth low sodium (any organic or non organic chicken broth will work)

1-2 Tablespoons Arrow Root Powder or Corn Starch

Herbamore or Himalayan Salt and organic pepper to taste

Pure filtered Water

In a crock pot the day before Thanksgiving:  Cut up 2-3 organic small carrots, Cut in half 4-6 organic celery stalks and one whole organic onion, one organic garlic clove (optional).  Wash and rinse the turkey neck and giblets.  Place all ingredients in the crock pot on low with 1 can of Shelton brand chicken Broth.  Add water so that it covers all of the vegetables, neck, giblets, etc.   This should cook 6-8 hours until all the vegetables are soft and the flavors blend together.  After 6-8 hours remove the neck and turkey giblets, let the mixture cool to room temperature.  Place all of the ingredients in a Vita Mix or a blender and puree.  This makes great tasting gravy.  If you find that you have too much gravy, you can freeze this liquid for future gravies for meat loaf or when you bake or roast a whole chicken.  It will freeze well up to 1 year.  Thanksgiving day you can heat this gravy in a large shallow pan. Add salt and pepper to taste and add 1- 2 Tablespoons of arrow root powder or corn starch to thicken this gravy.  If you want to make this gravy with a little non-dairy/milk just add ¼ cup of milk (It really doesn’t need it though).  Enjoy!!

Favorite Vegetable (an old family recipe)

1 bag (any size) Organic frozen Corn

1 small organic Zucchini (shredded or chopped) makes about 1 cup +

½ – 1 whole organic onion (chopped)

½ – 1 whole organic green bell pepper (chopped)

½ – 1 whole organic red bell pepper (chopped)

½ – 1 stick of organic butter

Heat a deep shallow frying pan.  Use about 1 tablespoon of the butter and melt it (do not let the butter burn).  Add the chopped green and red bell pepper, sauté for 1-2 minutes on low/medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until translucent.  Next, add the shredded or chopped Zucchini, sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Next, add the frozen organic corn.  Mix all of the ingredients and turn the heat to low or simmer. Add ½ the stick of butter, cover with a large glass lid, because you want to make sure this does not burn, you can keep looking at it.  When done, place in an oven-proof bowl, add about 1-2 Tablespoons of butter and pop into the oven or convection oven for 15 minutes before serving.  Salt with Herbamore salt or Himalayan sea salt to taste.  This recipe can be doubled.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes (my version)

10 organic red potatoes (a good rule is 1 good size potato per person)

3-6 garlic gloves (depending how garlicky you want your mashed potatoes)

1-2 tsp butter

¼ to ½ cup of coconut milk, rice milk, or your favorite non-dairy milk

1-2 tsp of dried or fresh cut parsley (for garnish)

Bake red potatoes in a 400 degree oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Pierce with a fork before baking or slit with a knife.  Red potatoes are low on the glycemic scale so I usually use red potatoes.  After baking potatoes, make sure a fork or a toothpick glide in and out of the baked potatoes to determine if the potatoes are done. Slice the potatoes in half and let cool for about 2-3 minutes.  Scoop them out of the skins or leave a few skins on them (the best nutrients are in the skins).  Put them in a mixer for 1-2 minutes, adding garlic cloves, butter and milk.  Add the milk a little at a time.  Your may not use the all of the milk; just use enough to have a nice consistency. I like my potatoes a bit lumpy, some people like them smooth, so mix according to your preference.  Put mashed potatoes in an oven-proof baking dish with a pad of butter and garnish with parsley.  You can warm these potatoes 10-15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!!

Gluten Free Crust, from The Gluten-Free Gourmet cook book

Apple Pie Filling (my version)

5-6 Organic Granny Smith Apples

2-3 Tbsp Agave Nectar or your favorite healthy sugar

1/8 tsp or a dash of salt

¼ – ½ tsp lemon juice (this keeps the apples from browning)

1 – 2 tsp pumpkin spice or cinnamon, clove, ginger, cardamom blend that equals 1-2 tsp

1 tsp tapioca pearls or tapioca flour

1-2 tsp butter in pieces

Your favorite gluten free crust

Wax paper or Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare gluten free (GF) crust.  Divide crust into 2 equal pieces, one for the top of the pie crust and one for the bottom.  Roll GF crust between two pieces of wax paper or parchment paper. Roll out one of the GF crusts for the bottom, flip onto the pie pan and slowly peel off wax paper.  Form into pie pan.  Roll 2nd piece of GF dough, set aside.

Peel, core and slice granny smith apples.  Place sliced apples in a large bowl.  Sprinkle spices over apples, adding agave nectar.  Add lemon juice and salt.  Add tapioca pearls or tapioca flour.  Incorporate all ingredients making sure apples get thoroughly coated.  Taste an apple to make sure it tastes semi tart or sweet, however you would like it to taste.  Add more sugar or spices if necessary.  Place apples on bottom GF crust in pie pan.  If there is juice from the mixture pour this over the apples as well.  Put butter pieces throughout, placing them between the apple filling.  Prepare GF top crust between 2 pieces of wax paper.  Gently peel off the top wax paper, this is a good time to use a cookie cutter and make some sort of design pressing the cookie cutter into the GF crust.  Lift the wax paper with the top of the crust, and flip it onto the pie pan with the apple filling in place. Gently peel off the wax paper.  Using a knife, cut both crusts around the pie pan (flush with the pie pan), pinch ends together with index and thumbs, or pinch together with a fork.  You can use an egg wash for the top of the crust if you like or just leave it.  Brush the egg wash gently if you plan to use egg wash.  Egg wash can be used with a tiny bit of water and 1 egg white.  Bake your pie at 350 – 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until you see the top crust has a nice golden brown edge.  If the edge of the crust is not a nice golden brown you can cook the pie for an additional 5-10 minutes, watching the crust does not burn.  Enjoy!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!!!!

 

References:

Power Foods, Stephanie Beling, M.D.

Staying Healthy with Nutrition, Elson Haas, M.D.

Thanksgiving Turkey History, Home Cooking, About.com

Frozen Cranberry Dish, Cotton Country Cookbook

Turkey Recipe, My creation inspired by the Food Network

Turkey Gravy, My version inspired by a neighbor

Garlic Mashed Potatoes, My creation inspired by the Food Network

Vegetable, Old family recipe

Gluten Free Pie Crust, The Gluten-Free Gourmet, Revised Edition, Bette Hagman

Apple Pie Filling, My creation inspired by the Food Network

Please know this blog is not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Its sole purpose is to inform and educate.  Consult your Medical Practitioner, before making changes to your diet and health life style. This information blog is my opinion and is not to be construed as medical advice or recommendations.

 

A Journey in Sugar

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A Journey in Sugar

I thought this would be a good time to talk about a journey that led me to change the way I looked at sugar.  Plain and simple, I was becoming a sugar addict.  I was becoming depressed, tired, fatigued, and angry and getting some unexplained acne.  I hardly ever get acne.  I was also getting mild to severe headaches.  I was developing a Jekyll and Hyde personality, was I becoming bipolar?  I did not like the person I was becoming.  I was getting sick all of the time, due to colds and flu symptoms.  Refined sugar was slowly depleting my immune system.

A medical doctor once told me “over time refined white sugar has the potential to poison our bodies.” –Dr. David Luce, MD

Refined white sugar is so processed that many people over time start to develop symptoms similar to what I mentioned above.  I know that most people reading this will not believe this information I came upon from one of my Holistic Health books, “Sugar has the potential to change our DNA over time.”

Here is some interesting history about sugar.  Sugar can be traced as far back as 1000 B.C.   It was introduced to the Americas in the 1800’s.  More interesting facts can be found about sugar in a cover story I found in National Geographic, “Sugar Why We Can’t Resist It”, August 2013 Issue.

We have become a nation where each person consumes 22.7 teaspoons of sugar a day. One teaspoon of sugar is equal to 4.2 grams.  That is a lot of sugar we are consuming every day.  Sadly we are becoming a nation of obese people, diabetics, hypoglycemics, high glucose resistant and insulin resistant individuals.  The normal fasting glucose level is between 70 and 105mg/dl, a fasting blood glucose measurement greater than 140mg/dl will lead to diabetes according to your health care medical practitioner.

What is the answer to consuming sugar? Well I don’t really have an answer.  Some of my Holistic Health Nutrition books suggest avoiding sugar at all costs, while other Holistic Health books suggest to cutting the sugar you consume in half.  There is really no good answer other than Moderation.  Unfortunately we have become a nation that is hooked on sugar.

The following are some alternatives to sugar:

Table Top “Just Like Sugar” is a natural dietary fiber from the Chicory Root.  This sweetener contains small trace amounts of calcium and vitamin C.  Its natural flavors come from the peel of the orange.  This sugar does not contain any soy, yeast, animal derivatives, “MSG”, l-glutamic acid, d-glutamine acid, aspartic acid, and is free of preservatives.  It is considered gluten free and dairy free.  To learn more about this sugar visit its website www.JustLikeSugarInc.com.  It is recommended by Paleo enthusiasts.  It is considered a good baking sugar.  You can find this sugar at Amazon.com.

Stevia rebaudiana (sweet Herb), is a natural sweetener used in South America for over 1500 years. Tests show that stevia may help to regulate blood sugar, prevent/inhibit tooth decay, and in some cases lower high blood pressure.  Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar and should be used sparingly. Interestingly enough, stevia has a 0 calorie count.

Agave Nectar is a new high fructose sweetener that is sweeping America.  It comes from the Agave Plant, the same plant that Tequila is made from.  At one time it was on the low glycemic scale, but as we learn more about this sweetener and consume more of it, it has risen on the glycemic scale.  This sweetener has the potential in some individuals to aggravate copper deficiency and possible gastrointestinal stress over long time use.

Luohan fruit: is found in the mountainous regions of southern China.  The fruit has a low glycemic, and non-calorie count. It’s 20 times sweeter than sugar.  The Luohan fruit has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  This fruit is rich in minerals, essential fatty acids and amino acids.  This sugar, like Luohan fruit concentrates, is available but can be very hard to find.  This fruit does not affect blood sugar and may be safe for diabetics and hypoglycemics.

Date sugar ground from dried dates. It is the least refined. It has the same nutrient value as dried dates and is about half as sweet as sugar.  It is an excellent alternative to brown sugar.

Raw blackstrap molasses is liquid sludge after sucrose is extracted from cane sugar after the refining process.  It is rich in minerals and vitamins, has more calcium per ounce than milk.  Use sparingly, raw blackstrap molasses is very sweet (raw meaning minimally processed).

Sorghum molasses is concentrated sorghum juice related to the grain millet.  It is processed by crushing the plant stalks then boiling the juice into syrup.

Fruit Juice concentrate is an extremely processed product with 68% soluble sugar.  It may have trace amounts of vitamins and minerals.  Try to find unrefined fruit juice concentrate.

Corn Syrup is a commercial made glucose.  Chemically purified cornstarch made mostly of corn but is highly refined and can be absorbed into the bloodstream quickly.

Barley malt and brown rice syrups are mild natural sweeteners made from barley sprouts or cultured rice.  People with gluten sensitivities use caution when using barley malt.  Both are 40% as sweet as sugar.

Amazake a pudding like sweetener is made from organic brown sugar. Is 21% sugar and depending on the processing may have trace amounts of B complex and iron.

Turbinado sugar is raw sugar and refined by a washing.  It has the same refining process as white sugar.

Honey is a good sugar as long as it is raw and is formed from the nectar in the bodies of bees.  Unfortunately honey can be processed to clean it up so to speak.  Honey is twice as sweet as sugar and has the potential to cause candidias or diabetes.  Use honey sparingly.  Makuna Honey is a sweetener that is making its way into hospitals across America.  This sweetener has unusual healing properties.  It is a special honey that comes from some very special bees in Australia.  Because it comes from Australia it is very pricey.  It is the best honey you can buy next to Raw Honey.  It can be found at Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers and Whole Foods.  Please use caution with small children when using honey.

Maple syrup is made from the sugar of maple tree sap.  It takes up to 30 to 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.  This sugar should be used in its pure natural state.  Maple syrup and maple sugar contains trace amounts of minerals.  The best grade in maple syrup is Grade A.  It is the purest form of sweetener.

Sucanat, made from dried granulated cane juice, is available in health food stores.  This sugar has trace amounts of minerals, amino acids and vitamins.  It is a concentrated sweetener and should be used carefully.

Coconut sugar is on the rise.  Not much is known about this sugar.  It contains trace amounts of minerals.

Xylitol is derived from plums, Birchwood chips, and or strawberries.  It really doesn’t work well for baking.  It is a good sugar found in most tooth pastes. This sugar is not toxic to humans.  Take caution with this sugar if you are a pet/dog lover.  Dogs are known to vomit after ingesting Xylitol.  This sugar has the potential to cause a surge in insulin secretion within 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion or up to 12-48 hours.  Dogs should be monitored if you suspect your dog has ingested this sugar.  This sugar may be highly toxic to your dog’s liver. –Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA), MediMedia, Animal Health Compendium: Continuing Education for Veterinarians, February 2010/Vetlearn.com.

I save this sugar for last, Aspartame, a low calorie; artificial sweetener is aspartic acid and phenylalanine.  It should not be taken by individuals who have been diagnosed by their medical health care practitioners with phenylkentonuria (a result where the body can’t effectively process or metabolize phenylalanine).  It is not a good substance for cooking because it starts to break down with excessive amounts of heat and will change its chemical makeup and flavor.  Aspartame contains 10% methanol.  Aspartame is in the following products: Equal, NutraSweet all diet sodas and diet foods.  More research should have taken place before they let this artificial sweetener in the market place.  Aspartame has the potential to create havoc in our bodies over long periods of time, such as the following:  brain damage, mild to severe headaches, slurred speech, sudden memory loss, visual problems, chronic throat swelling, allergic reactions, grand mal seizures and the list goes on.  Aspartame increases the appetite for sugar.

In conclusion, is sugar good for us? Lots of controversy stems from this topic because sugar has become a multibillion dollar industry.  As a Holistic Health Nutritionist, I suggest moderationModeration is the key in consuming sugar.

This blog is not intended to offend Food Bloggers and sugar lovers only to educate and inform and possibly help change the way we cook and consume sugar.  Please know this blog is not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Its sole purpose is to inform and educate.  Consult your Medical Practitioner, before making changes to your diet and health life style. This information blog is my opinion and is not to be construed as medical advice or recommendations.

References:

Healthy Healing; A guide to Self-Healing for Everyone, Linda Page, PHD, Traditional Naturopath

National Geographic: “Sugar Why We Can’t Resist It”, August 2013, Issue

The New Optimum Nutrition Bible, (Revised and Updated, Patrick Holford, Founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition

Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised 2nd Edition, Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND

Tabors Cyclopedia Medical Dictionary

Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA), MediMedia, Animal Health Compendium: Continuing Education for Veterinarians, February 2010/Vetlearn.com

My Journey to Celiac and/or Wheat and Gluten Allergy

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Thank you all so much for the positive feedback on my first Holistic Nutrition Blog “Water, Introduction to Hydration.”  My next experience led me to a journey that I wish for no one to encounter. How I became Celiac (a Wheat and Gluten Allergy).  Celiac Disease is defined as a nontropical sprue, gluten-sensitive enteropathy or celiac sprue, which begins with diarrhea and an abnormal small intestinal structure, caused by the immune system’s response to protein gluten.

Some say your body changes after pregnancy. Please believe it. I encountered a series of changes in my body. I was diagnosised with HPylori.  High levels were found in a blood test.  Most people are supposed to have HPylori but in very small trace amounts. My levels were through the roof.  HPylori is caused by high levels of bacteria in the blood, most commonly found in people who consume large quantities of raw meat, or people who handle raw meat and do not wash their hands after handling raw meat.  Some people will gradually have symptoms after a period of time. My symptoms included excessive diarrhea, Irritated Bowel Syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue, and very bad Vascular Migraine headaches. Thus began a treatment protocol.  I considered antibiotics, but didn’t want to become resistant to antibiotics, so I opted for a health natural protocol including a powerful herb and supplements. I was still not feeling well after my recovery from HPylori. Keep in mind; I was going through all of this about 15 to 20 years ago.  I continued to have IBS and Vascular Migraine Headaches. I was still feeling tired and started having skin problems and brain fog.  Another blood test was taken and the HPylori levels were clear.

All of us may have the same color of blood, but as humans we do not share the same DNA or chemical makeup. Therefore, treatment for HPylori is different for everyone.  Twenty years ago, Celiac or Wheat and Gluten sensitive people were rare.  As our bodies’ age and change, or encounter dramatic experiences or stress, all kinds of things can happen to the body.  Now it seems that everywhere I look I hear about someone diagnosed with Celiac or a wheat and gluten sensitivity.

Twenty years ago, a very good friend of mine, who was an Alternative Health Practitioner (whom is now retired), had me do a food journal for 2 weeks.  I wrote everything down in this journal.  Beginning with breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks I ate throughout the day. A startling discovery was made when he reviewed this journal with me.  I consumed a lot of white flour, wheat and gluten.  I was devastated with his findings. He told me he thought I might have a wheat and gluten allergy.  So began a journey to find other flours to cook and eat.  Even though I changed my diet and found other grains to consume, I should have stayed away from all grains for 6 months to a year.  I started to become sensitive to other flours and grains.  I did not allow my stomach and intestines to heal properly.  My stomach and intestines continued to be inflamed and carried over into other food sensitives.  This happens to some individuals, and unfortunately it happened to me.

Today, there are several tests on the market and medical field to determine if you are Celiac or have a wheat and gluten sensitivity.  Here are a few:  1) A biopsy of the stomach, large or small intestine (considered the most accurate test). 2) A blood test given by and allergist or a medical doctor. 3) A urine or feces test. 4) Muscle testing in the form of Kinesiology/Kinesiotherapy given by a qualified chiropractor or nutritionist, 5) Naet Accupuncture, specialized for and specific to allergies.

There is some speculation that suggests Celiac and wheat and gluten sensitivity may be linked or associated with other diseases such as:  Chrohns Disease, RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Colitis, Multiple Sclerosis, or Diabetes.  IBS, skin disorders, stomach disorders, obesity, thyroid disease, severe weight gain and weight loss, and severe and chronic muscle pain are other potential symptoms due to Wheat/Gluten and Celiac.

There are 3 theories as to why we have become a nation sensitive to Wheat and Gluten: 1) Possible Genetic Markers. 2) Heavy pesticide use in our food supply. 3) A process that has been skipped after cultivating wheat and some grains (this process is soaking the wheat and or grain after cultivating). Soaking wheat or grains in citric acid allows it to alleviate the acid that wheat and some grains produce and build-up after cultivation.  This process helps the body to digest wheat and gluten.  This process continues to exist in some European countries, specifically Germany and Italy. Italy is now starting to report an increase in wheat and gluten sensitivity.   Sadly, we have become a nation that is all about getting the product out quickly, and not thinking about the consequences it may create in our digestive tracts.  Something to ponder.

If you suspect you have Celiac or a wheat and gluten sensitivity, see your Medical Doctor, Allergist or Health practitioner.  Please know this blog is not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Its sole purpose is to inform and educate.  Consult your Medical Practitioner, before making changes to your diet and health life style. This information blog is my opinion and is not to be construed as medical advice or recommendations.

Paelo Coconut Pancakes

8 eggs (if concerned about cholesterol add egg whites only)

½ c coconut flour (for a change from coconut flour use ¼ c coconut flour, ¼ cup Italian chestnut flour)

1 T honey or Agave Nectar

½ c yogurt, apple sauce, or coconut milk

Your favorite fruit can be added to the mixture after running ingredients through the blender/Vita Mix.

Coconut oil, butter or ghee for frying or coating a pan or pancake pan

Directions:  Mix/combine ingredients and let them sit for 5 minutes in a blender or a Vita Mix.  This process eliminates pesky lumps. Warm pancake pan or griddle, cook a few minutes on each side flatten on last flip to insure pancake is thoroughly cooked. Enjoy!!!!

Recipe from: Jodi McKenna, http://www.Granolamom4god.com

 References:

Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, www.tabers.com,  Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine., Revised 2nd Edition Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D.

Suggestions for Wheat and Gluten Free Friendly Resturants and Bakery:

Zest, Flavorful Foods Done Right, www.zestdenvercafe.com, Udis Resturants, www.udisfood.com,      240 Union, www.240union.com, Cherry Creek Grill, www.allmenus.com, Cucina Colore, www.allmenus.com, urbanspoon.com, opentable.com

Gluten Free Bread

Kristin Wheelock, www.MTNGirlBakery.com, Paleo Wraps, www.JulianBakery.com,                              Grain Free Meal Plans, www.healthhomehappy.com

Introduction to Hydration

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I decided to come out of the dark ages and enter the 20th century and start a Nutrition Blog. Hopefully there are some people out there who could benefit from some good nutrition tips, ideas, thoughts on recipes, education on holistic health, sports training, diets, supplement information, and medical information, because after all nutrition begins with you!Drop Falling into Water

My journey to health began when I became pregnant with my first and only child. A OBGYN doctor told me to start thinking and eating healthy because I was growing a child inside of me. The first thing he suggested was to start drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. I thought he was crazy. I was drinking water but not enough. So I became conscious and aware of what I was putting in my body. Such as how much water I should drink and what kind of food I need to be eating.

My first blog is going to focus on water, and hydration. Water, hydration is an important factor in your body. Your body needs to maintain a healthy fluid balance. The body is composed of 60% water.  Why is it important for the body to maintain a healthy fluid balance? A number of reasons come to mind, without adequate fluid balance in the body, the body can develop headaches, dizziness, fatigue, muscle cramps, and sometimes become faint. Like recycling, drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water a day helps to recycle the water going in and out of your system. Drinking this much water will help the filtration system in your kidneys, liver, and blood. Two very important organs in your body you do need to keep flushed out on a continuous basis along with your blood.  Lack of fluid intake such as water will effect the body before, during and after exercising, during hot, dry weather. While pregnant you are giving water to the baby in your womb. Drinking water as an every day event helps an individual to lose weight. Alcohol consumption is not recommended for pregnant women. Alcohol tends to cause dehydration in the body so if you like to drink alcohol, it is wise to have water along with that alcoholic drink. Coffee and tea tend to dry out the body of water, sorry coffee and tea drinkers. Even though coffee and tea has water in it it is the acid in coffee and tea that has the potential to dehydrate the body. So if you are a huge coffee and tea drinker also have pure water on hand. There is a coffee out there that is good for the body that helps maintain the PH in the body (it can be expensive), but aren’t you worth it. I will include information on coffee at the end of the blog. Water consumption also helps to cleanse the skin,  especially if you have a lot of acne. Also, water is great for chronic fatigue syndrome or people with chronic pain in your muscles.

Hydration is achieved through several combinations of water or water based fluids. Pure water is the first and foremost best option of fluid for the body. I am talking about good pure water. That does not come from the tap. Tap water has the tendency of being too chlorinated and chemically treated. If you are drinking tap water you are putting potentially harmful chemicals in your body. Invest in a good filtration system for the home, or water filter and if you cannot afford any of these options get a Britta filter, you can find this at Walmart, Target, Costco, or Sams Club. Bottled water can be used if you cannot get  filtered water, but bottled water may be contaminated with plastic toxins (from the plastic bottles) leaking into the water.

water bottleSports drinks, contain electrolytes, sodium, and minerals sufficient for water-based fluids for the body. Choose the right sports drinks. Gatorade and Powerade are mass marketed. They contain large amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners which may cause the body to crash (become fatigued) later after consumption. Artificial sweeteners can play havoc with Adrenal glands in some people. Adrenal Glands are important organs for the body that create energy.  “Recharge Thirst Quencher Sports Drink” by Knudson is an excellent sports drink, and is a natural, healthy option as a thirst quencher. This drink is make without added sugars, sweeteners, and artificial ingredients and is made with all natural fruit juices.  Vitamin Water, is a good option but may have trace amounts of sugar. Smart Water and Coconut Water are other excellent sources to hydrate the body.   If you  are thinking of detoxing your body there is a simple easy drink you can drink everyday.  Try pure water with a squeezed lemon or lime wedge in the water. This helps to flush the impurities that build up in  the liver and kidneys, and helps stimulate digestion, so your body can flush out the bad stuff that builds up in the body over time.

Remember “Water is considered the Nectar of the Gods” so water is the best for hydration, fluid balance, performance, energy and your overall health!!

Suggestions: A Latte More Than Coffee, http://www.alattemorethancoffee.com, Recharge Sports Drink, Smart Water, Coconut Water,  found at Vitamin Cottage/Natural Grocers, Whole Foods Markets, King Soopers, and Safeway, Vitamin Water can be found at King Soopers and Safeway., Water Wise, Inc., (water scams exposed), http://www.waterwise.com.

Consult your Medical Practitioner, before making changes to your diet and health life style. This information blog is my opinion and is not to be construed as medical advice or recommendations.