Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Get into Cool Season Leafy Green Super Foods!

Healthy Green Vegetables

Spinach, Kale, Rapini, Dandelion

by Ronald Steriti, NMD, Ph.D.
The following is a discussion of some of the interesting foods that are now available at some grocery stores. Be forewarned, besides having odd tastes (because they are unfamiliar) you may also get some odd looks from the cashiers as they try to figure out what you are buying. Greens are prepared by submerging them in water to wash them and then cooking them either with steam or by frying them.
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a native of Asia introduced into Europe about the fifteenth century. Spinach contains nitrogenous substances, hydrocarbons, and iron sesqui-oxide. Spinach contains chlorophyll, which has a chemical formula remarkably similar to that of hemoglobin. The combination of chlorophyll and iron make spinach beneficial for treating anemia. During the war, wine fortified with Spinach juice was given to French soldiers weakened by hemorrhage.
Dandelion Greens
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are unwelcome guests in lawns, but they have a long medicinal history. Dandelion leaves have been used for hundreds of years to treat liver and gallbladder problems. These medicinal actions are attributed to taraxacin, which is a bitter. Dandelion leaves have high amounts of vitamin D, and moderate amounts of vitamin C and B as well as iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese.
Kale (Brassica oleracae var acephala) contains calcium, potassium, vitamin A and C. Kale is the common names for non-heading types of cabbage (mostly of the variety acephala), cool-weather crops of the mustard family. They are grown for their edible greens and, in Europe, for fodder.
Collard greens
Collard greens (Brassica oleracae var acephala), called Colliard, coleworts and collie greens contains calcium, potassium, vitamin A and C. Collard greens originated in the Mediterranean basin and were a favorite food of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Rapini, which also called broccoli raab, Choi sum and Chinese flowering cabbage, is used in Italian and Chinese cooking. Rapini is high in vitamins A, C and K.
A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve, originally published 1931

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cracking the Common Cold - by Ronald Steriti, NMD, Ph.D.

Cold and flu season is coming soon. There are several theories of health that try to explain why we get the common cold and flu. This article covers a few of them and discusses several natural cure for the common cold.
The germ theory states that there is a germ, typically an influenza virus, that we catch from other people, which causes the common cold. Linked with this is the concept of susceptibility. The germs seem to have a better chance of infecting us when we forget to wear a coat on a cold day, or when we have been working too hard and not getting enough sleep. It is well known that stress depresses the immune system, which is the bodies defense against disease.
  • Vitamin C is probably the most well known natural cure for the common cold and flu. Vitamin C increases macrophage activity (one of the cells of immune system), and has an anti-histamine effect which helps reduce the runny nose. Under stress most animals (except humans) make significant amounts of vitamin C from glucose. Therefore vitamin C is considered the stress vitamin.

  • Echinacea is the most well known herbal cure for the common cold. It supports the immune system and increases the production and activity of white blood cells, lymphocytes and macrophages (cells of the immune system). Echinacea can be taken both to prevent a cold and to treat one. Many companies make echinacea glycerites which are suitable for children.
  • Garlic is another cure for the common cold that has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Louis Pasteur confirmed its anti-bacterial action in 1858. Many people eat a raw clove of garlic a day to help support their cardiovascular system. Due to its heavy odor, many people prefer taking garlic capsules. The active part of garlic is allicin, which unfortunately is destroyed by cooking.
The story, however, doesn't end with the germ theory of disease. The important questions are: Why do some people not get colds? Why do some people catch a lot of colds? And, why do some people catch colds that last for months? According to the germ theory it is because some people have better immune systems, or because some people catch stronger germs. But suppose the problem isn't germs at all? What if the germs were a symptom of some deeper cause?
Opponents of the germ theory of disease argued that the internal milieu was more important than the germ. In other words, one should concentrate on keeping the body clean and in proper working order. They emphasized the importance of detoxification, and believed that mucous and runny noses were the bodies way of ridding itself of toxins. As this was a healing effort of the body, they believed it should not be suppressed with drugs like anti-histamines.
In today's post-industrial world there are hundreds of thousands of toxic chemicals commonly used. These include heavy metals such as lead found in lead pipes, mercury found in fillings and cadmium in smoke, as well as chemicals used to preserve foods, plastics for food containers, chemical fertilizers, herbicides for the lawns, and pesticides for ants and other household pests. The list is almost endless.
Proponents of detoxification recommend annual “Spring Cleaning” of the body. This is accomplished in several ways. Herbs used to treat the liver and colon are commonly used. These include milk thistle and dandelion for the liver and psyllium seed for fiber. In Ayurvedic medicine, the Triphala formula is used for internal cleansing.
Chinese Medicine has a different perspective. It focuses on balance. In one aspect it recommends balancing the four tastes: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Most people prefer the sweet and salty tastes, and a few like sour things such as lemon water. Most people, however, avoid bitter tasting foods. Interestingly most of the healing herbs are bitter. So are many of the greens like Rapini, Swiss chard, and dandelion greens.
The Chinese people eat a vegetable called Bitter Melon, which looks similar to a cucumber, but tastes terrible (extremely bitter). It is an acquired taste, according to the clerk at the Chinese grocery store, but many Chinese people believe that eating one per month will keep them healthy (similar to “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”). Ayurvedic medicine has an herb called Neem (Azadiracta indica) which is touted as the most bitter plant known. Neem is commonly used in India, both as a healing herb, in hair shampoos, and in toothpaste.
Several different theories have been proposed for preventing and treating the common cold. These included well-known supplements like vitamin C, Echinacea and garlic. The role of detoxification in preventing disease was also discussed, as well as the Chinese theory of the four tastes. Hopefully this advice will help you avoid catching the common cold. If not, perhaps the best advice still is “get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluid”.
About the Author
Ronald Steriti graduated from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, a four-year full-time accredited Naturopathic medical school. He also has a Doctorates Degree in Electrical Engineering. Dr. Steriti assists people to regain and maintain their health using herbs, homeopathy and nutrition to support their body’s natural healing abilities. He has a private practice in Naples, Florida and invites you to call him and discuss your health needs. Dr. Steriti can be reached at 239-659-2684.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Omega 3 Oil for Good Health by Ronald J. Steriti, NMD, Ph.D

Olive oil photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Fresh omega 3 oil is one of the most beneficial foods for your health. Fresh oil is a source of essential fatty acids, which help keep the skin healthy and the hair shiny. The human brain is almost entirely composed of unsaturated fatty acids. Fats add taste to meals and give one a feeling of fullness when eaten. Years ago fresh oil was delivered by truck, in the same way as milk. Now the oil found in most supermarkets has been processed into a form which is not readily used by the body, and is unhealthy.

Fresh oil becomes rancid fairly quickly, even when kept in a refrigerator. Modern technology solved this problem by using high temperatures and preservatives. These techniques change the molecular structure from one that is very healthy (the cis configuration) to one that is unhealthy (the trans configuration). The result is oil that can be kept for extended periods at room temperatures without going rancid.

Oil is composed of fatty acids which are chains of hydrogen and carbons attached to a glycerine molecule. Saturated fatty acids have a single long chain of hydrocarbons, whereas unsaturated fatty acids have smaller chains of hydrocarbons that branch off the main hydrocarbon chain. Omega 3 fatty acids have the branch at the third carbon, and omega-6 fatty acids have the branch at the sixth carbon.

Walnut photo courtesy of Wikimedia.
Omega 6 oil from nuts
Oils made from safflower, sunflower, and corn are rich in linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid.
Omega 3 oil from fish and flax seed
Oils made from flax seed, walnut, and soy are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil contains eicosapentatonic acid (EPA) and docasahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are omega 3 fatty acids.
Flax Seed photo courtesy of Wikimedia.
Omega 3 oil fatty acids
Omega 3 oil fatty acids form prostaglandin E3 which has been found to decrease inflammation, platelet aggregation, and triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol. The omega-6 fatty acids form prostaglandin E1 which has been found to inhibit cholesterol synthesis and decrease blood pressure.
An important question is what is the best oil that I can buy? Extra virgin olive oil, a mono-saturated fatty acid, is perhaps the best choice in a grocery store. Unfortunately few grocery stores carry fresh, cold-pressed oils. In health food stores, one can usually find flax and borage seed oils, as well as mixtures such as Udo’s Blend, in the refrigerator. These oils can be taken internally for health and added to food for flavor.

Much of the information about oil can be found in Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill by Udo Erasmus (Alive Books, 1993), The Natural Pharmacy edited by Linenger (Virtual Health LLC, 1998), and Nutritional Influences on Illness, 2nd edition, by Werbach (Third Line Press, 1996).

Most traditional Italian restaurants serve virgin olive oil on a plate to dip fresh baked bread into (instead of butter). This is a very old Italian tradition, particularly in Northern Italy. Many restaurants serve their own cold pressed extra virgin flavored olive oil. They have a distinctive flavor and a slight greenish tinge that is characteristic of high quality olive oil.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Effects of Energetic Healing on Depression and Stress

Reiki photo courtesy of ABMP.
Long-Term Effects of Energetic Healing on Symptoms of Psychological Depression and Self-Perceived Stress

The following is a summary by Pat Cougar of the research article " Long-Term Effects of Energetic Healing on Symptoms of Psychological Depression and Self-Perceived Stress" by Adina Goldman Shore, PhD. Originally published in the May/June 2004, Vol. 10, No. 3 issue of Alternative Therapies magazine, reprints of the original article may be obtained by contacting: InnoVision Communications, 169 Saxony Road, Suite 103, Encinitas, CA 92024; phone, (866) 828-2962 or (760) 633-3910; email, alternative.therapies@innerdoorway.com

Dr. Adina Goldman Shore's article is the result of a one-year study of the effects of Reiki, a form of energy healing, on psychological depression and self-reported stress. The study investigated the hypothesis that it is the Reiki energy itself, and not the "hands on" touch, that is the healing factor, and examined the long-term effects of Reiki on depression and stress. Dr. Shore also provides some basic information regarding the uses of Reiki, including it usefulness in psychotherapy.

Forty-five participants with symptoms of depression and stress volunteered for this study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Hands-on (touch) Reiki, Distance (non-touch) Reiki, and distance Reiki placebo. Participants were not aware of which group would be receiving placebo Reiki. Twelve Reiki Masters, and three second degree Reiki practitioners were chosen to conduct the one to one and one-half hour sessions. Each participant received one treatment weekly for six weeks. The article describes the protocols for the selection of Reiki practitioners and participants for the study, as well as uniformity in the manner in which sessions were conducted.

Three tests, designed to measure levels of depression and stress, were administered to each participant before and after the series of six sessions. One year later, the participants retook the three tests. After testing was completed, the control/placebo group received another six weeks of Reiki treatments, this time with actual Reiki, and the three tests were administered to this group again.

Findings of the study demonstrated that there were no changes in the control/placebo group until they received the six sessions of actual Reiki a year after the first six placebo sessions. Both the hands-on and the distance Reiki were effective in relieving symptoms of depression and stress. Distance Reiki was shown to be slightly more effective than hands on, which ruled out touch as the causative factor, although the difference may have been influenced in part by the project's design (please see original article for details). The results of the placebo group served to rule out any changes due to expectations of the participants. Re-testing a year later demonstrated that the positive results of the six Reiki treatments had remained intact.

Dr. Shore suggests combining Reiki with traditional forms of treatment for psychological depression, because of Reiki's effectiveness, and cost reduction. She encourages further studies of energy healing on other psychological and physiological disorders.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Don't let Dandruff Ruin Your Day - Natural Dandruff Treatments

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia
Dandruff, the bane of beautiful hair. According to Mayo Clinic and WebMD, factors such as poor diet and stress can contribute dandruff.  One common reason is that a natural occurring fungus called malassezia (aka pityrosporum,) that crops up on the scalps of healthy individuals. This fungus can get out of control and become seborrheic dermatitis.

Malassezia likes to live off the oil secretions of your hair follicles, which causes irritation to your scalp. Your scalp reacts by increasing cell production which ends up being the masses of dried skin cells, or dandruff.

Stress, infrequent hair washing, and fluctuation in hormone levels, high sugar intake are possible reasons for the fungus to get out of control.

  • Apple cider vinegar – this is the number one natural remedy used to combat dandruff, and most people already have it in their kitchen pantry.  Mix equal parts water with apple cider vinegar.  Wet hair and massage thoroughly into scalp.  Wrap your head with a towel and let the vinegar do its thing for 15 minutes and up to an hour.  Shampoo.   Apply apple cider vinegar twice a week till you get relief.
  • Tea tree oil – is an essential oil obtained from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree that oil that contain compounds with antiseptic and antifungal properties. Tea tree oil is a strong essential oil, it’s best to purchase shampoos that contain this oil rather than make your own.  Tea tree oil can fade  dyed or tinted hair.
  • Coconut oil –  Warm up a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in a bowl of warm water to liquify. Apply enough oil to coat the scalp thoroughly, wrap your hair in a towel and leave on for several hours or overnight.  Shampoo as usual.
  • Listerine – The eucalyptus oil in Listerine is the active ingredient that what works on the malassezia.  Use original flavor Listerine for mild dandruff by wetting scalp, leaving it on for 15 minutes and shampooing as usual.
  • Burdock or Sage tea – Make a tea of either of these herbs, cool and use as a rinse after shampooing. Burdock contains biotin, a water soluble vitamin B that breaks down fats. Sage also helps break down fats and is mildly astringent.
  • Ginger -- Mix two tablespoons of olive oil with a tablespoon of finely grated ginger.  Let sit for about 15 minutes so the ginger infuses the oil.  Apply to scalp just before shampooing.  If you have a particularly bad case of dandruff, let the mixture sit on your scalp for 10-15 minutes before shampooing.  Repeat a few times a week till dandruff is under control.
Here are some additional helpful tips for controlling your dandruff:
  • Wash your hair in warm or cool water.
  • Do not apply any dandruff remedy to broken skin
  • Take a close look at your diet.  Are you eating healthy or chowing down on burgers and fries all the time?
  • RELAX! Dandruff could be taken as warning sign that your life is getting out of control. 
  • Reduce or eliminate yeast from your diet.
  • Keep hair dryers about 10 inches from your scalp to keep from over drying your skin.

Different cultures have their own tried and true treatments and these are just a handful of remedies I found when researching this subject.  Hopefully one will work for you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Search of Better Sleep - Naturally

Getting to Sleep Naturally
Approximately 1 out of 8 people in the United States need to get better sleep. It’s no wonder that the sleep aids industry is a booming business and isn't going away any time soon. With about 32 million people suffering from insomnia there's no shortage of potential customers, but we can get to sleep without serious side effects that come with prescription sleep aids with specific foods and supplements. Check out these natural sleep aids:

Vitamin supplements:

  • Calcium lactate -1000mg, or calcium chelate -1500-2000 mg 
  • Magnesium – 1000mg these supplements are best taken after meals and at bedtime.  If taking calcium chelate, it’s recommended to take it in divided doses.
  • B complex plus extra pantothenic acid; Inositol, and B6.  Follow the label recommendations.

Foods high in tryptophan are also recommended as natural sleep aids:

  • Bananas
  • Figs
  • Dates
  • Yogurt
  • Whole grain bread
  • Turkey

Bathe in Epsom salts:

  • Epsom salts are high in magnesium which acts as a sedative for the nervous system and works as a muscle relaxant too.   Add two cups of Epsom salts to your bath.  Water temp should  be close to  body temperature at 98 degrees.
Effective Herbs for sleep aids:

  • Catnip
  • Hops
  • Valerian root (which comes in extract or capsule forms)
  • Passionflower (sip as a tea with chamomile)
  • Skullcap

Try L-theanine amino acid
  •  This is a wonderful sleep aid!  L-theanine is a free form amino acid that calms and relaxes without side effects.  It is derived from green tea.  

Other causes of insomnia could include copper and iron deficiencies in women.  A hair analysis should be done to determine if such deficiencies are present.

Fresh air, melatonin, relaxing with a book, soothing music, and a regular schedule are also effective sleeps aids.

Be sure to visit your doctor to rule out any underlying physical condition that might prevent you from sleeping.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Flower Essences to Facilitate Personal Growth

FES Flower Essences
Flower essences are vibrational medicines that are effective in aiding personal growth by helping to heal body-mind-spirit.  Unlike conventional medicines that interact with the body on a biochemical level, flower essences work on the body’s subtle energies to facilitate change. 

In other words, as human beings we are more than just our physical bodies.  We also have subtle body energies: an emotional body, mental body, and a spiritual body where our problems may be “stuck”.  Flower essences are the imprints of the healing energy of flowers and plants infused in water. They work on our subtle energy bodies elevating our awareness of our inner challenges while strengthening our resolve to work through our problems thereby stimulating personal growth.

~ To change a pattern of anxiety, fear of the unknown, you might try the flower essence Aspen.
This essence can strengthen the qualities of trust so that you can gain confidence to tackle the unknown and move forward in your personal growth.

~ To change destructive impulses, or ease a tense and rigid outlook in your life, you can use the flower essence Cherry Plum which can assist in connecting you to your higher self to develop trust and bring balance into your life.

~ To change your pattern of emotional neediness; to overcome possessiveness or manipulating behavior – consider using the flower essence Chicory.

~ Do you find yourself constantly longing for the past, unable to move emotionally into the present?  You may use the flower essence Honeysuckle which can assist you in being fully present in the moment and accept what is.

The examples above are a very small taste of what flower essences have to offer. The field of vibrational medicine and flower essences is quite large and comprehensive.  There are practitioners that can guide and council you on your path to personal growth and who can blend a specific formula of flower essences just for you and your goals. 

Flower essences are non-toxic, do not have drug interactions and are considered herbal supplements.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Natural Remedies to Manage Fibromyalgia Pain

It is estimated that fibromyalgia affects 5 million Americans 18 or older. About 90 percent of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia pain syndrome are women, and most people are diagnosed when they’re middle aged.

Fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria uses 18 tender points to help determine the presence of fibromyalgia. Tender points are areas that are sensitive to touch and deep pressure. They are clustered around the neck, the hips and the joints of the extremities. 

Symptoms associated with fibromyalgia may fluctuate from person to person, but the most common complaint is that the sufferer aches all over. The pain is described as a deep bone ache, pins and needles, or sometimes, a burning pain. Flare-ups can occur where the pain feels especially acute. If the pain were not enough, headaches, chronic fatigue, mood swings, and flu-like symptoms are also reported.

Are there natural remedies one can use to alleviate or manage fibromyalgia pain? Yes! Natural treatments for fibromyalgia are much the same as for arthritis pain. Following are the top three suggestions:

  • Clean up your diet – eliminate refined sugars from your diet. This is a big one. Sugar is a big contributor to inflammation. Cut back on wheat products and stick with whole grain only.
  • Get regular exercise. If it’s been a while since you’ve broke a sweat, then seek the advice of your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you get the go-ahead, find a reputable personal trainer. You will achieve results faster and more efficiently with a trainer.
  • Get regular massages. Most doctors recommend regular massage for fibromyalgia. Massage will increase circulation, relieve pain, and help you sleep better. It is very important that you choose a massage therapist who is familiar with fibromyalgia pain syndrome; otherwise your massage experience may be stressful and unpleasant.

Fibromyalgia is a painful condition that can be managed. Take control of your health and learn what you can do to bring your body back to homeostasis.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What's in Your Sunscreen?

Is your sunscreen on the High Hazard list?
Is your favorite sunscreen on the high hazard list? Environmental Working Group has just updated their Sunscreen Guide! Plug in your favorite sunscreen brand and see how it stands up to scrutiny.

Here is a sampling of name brand products with EWG's High Hazard rating:
  • Vaseline Aloe Fresh Protecting Intensive Care Body Lotion, SPF 15
  • Revlon Moon Drops Lip Conditioner, SPF 6
  • Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion, SPF 1
  • Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick, Honey, SPF 15
  • Australian Gold Lotion with Moisture Max, SPF 15 
Be sure to read: Sunscreens Exposed: 9 surprising truths  Be skin smart and safe this summer!

photo credit: Tom Purves

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Healthy Salt Levels = Body Electrolyte Balance

Salt is important to your diet.
It’s common knowledge that a diet low in salt is helpful in keeping your blood pressure low, right? Well, here’s some interesting news that flies in the face of this wisdom. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (May 4, 2011,) indicated that low salt consumption really doesn’t influence lower blood pressure, and interestingly enough, the risk of dying from cardiovascular problems is significantly higher.

This all boils down to your electrolyte balance. According to MedicineNet.com an electrolyte is: “A substance that will dissociate into ions in solution and acquire the capacity to conduct electricity. The electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and phosphate.”  This is important to understand because your body has a complex electrical system. All your nerves firing, your heart beating, muscles contracting all do so by biological electrical stimulation.  Without adequate electrolytes, you may experience fatigue at best or a heart attack at worst. In extreme electrolyte dilution (water intoxication,) death can occur.

Sweating releases minerals from your body.
According to the USDA,  the average adult RDA for sodium is 1.5 grams which is roughly 1/3 tsp measure. This is recommendation shifts according to age and according to how much you sweat either from heat or from the amount of physical activity you engage in. When you sweat, you excrete minerals and electrolytes,  hence the extra electrolytes in sports drinks. But here’s a tip, if you want to ditch all the extra sugar and artificial colors and flavors in sports drinks, add a pinch of salt to your drinking water, and eat foods rich in potassium and calcium.

Bottom line, don’t overindulge in sodium rich foods, but don’t shy away from salt altogether, it’s important for your body function. Balance is key.

Photo credits: Michel32nl; Minghong

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dietary Fiber can Make You Sexy!

A healthy diet is high in fiber.
Dietary fiber. It invokes thoughts of bran with all the taste and texture of cardboard, elderly folks, or worse, constipation. Definitely not sexy. So it’s no surprise that the average person consumes far less dietary fiber than what is recommended, a whole lot less.

The USDA recommends about 25 – 26 grams of dietary fiber per day for females ages 9 through 50; and 31 - 38 grams for males for the same ages. The requirements change somewhat for adults over 50 and pregnant or lactating women. Yet, according to a 2008 USDA Survey females consume 12 – 15 grams per day of dietary fiber per day, while males consume 13.7 – 18.7 grams per day.

Ever wonder what the long term effects of a chronic low fiber diet? Take a look:
  • Diverticulitis
  • Heart Disease 
  • Diabetes  

    Alternatively, a high fiber diet has been linked to these benefits:
    • Weight loss and maintenance
    • Blood sugar stabilization
    • Healthy immune system
    • Stabilized cholesterol

    Re-think healthy dinner food proportions.
    Even with strong evidence that eating a high fiber diet is really, really good for you, we still fall short. (Cue the bran flake image.) But what if dietary fiber excited your taste buds, could help you drop inches from your waistline and made you sexier? Would you take a second look?

    Unhealthy meat to vegetable ratio.
    These things are possible but, first things first. It’s important to change the way you think how healthy meal should look. On average, the dinner plate is heavy on the meat with a big side dish of starch some veggies, and bread. Sometimes a salad is thrown in too. Proportionally the typical plate may be 50% meat, 25% -40% (with that extra bread roll,) starches and 25% veggies.

    This plate is over 50% vegetable to 25% meat.
    Let’s flip that around. Think of a healthy, fiber rich food plate as being 50-75% veggies, including salad, and 25% or less high protein. Your protein could be meat or veggie based. Get bonus fiber content if you go with a veggie based protein such as soy or lentils. (I didn’t add starch to the healthy dinner plate because, from a digestion point of view, you’re better off eating your starches and meat protein separately, but both go best with lots of vegetables. This is called food combining and another subject.) 

    How does fiber make you sexier? Well, healthy is always sexier than sickly for one. For another, when you're on a high fiber diet, your digestive system doesn't hang on to excess baggage if you get my drift. You can possibly lose inches on your waist overnight by eliminating on a regular and frequent basis. (Some health experts feel if you eat three times a day, you should be eliminating three times a day.) A healthy you with a slimmer waist and less intestinal baggage is sexy

    Weight loss is easier on a high fiber diet because whole grains give you the feeling of satiety so you're less likely to over eat. Blood sugar is stabilized so you're less likely to binge eat for energy. 

    How do you make fiber excite your taste buds? First find the tasty foods that are high in fiber. Avocado, for instance, is surprisingly high in fiber - almost 12 grams in a medium sized fruit.  With a little creativity and a sense of culinary adventure you can easily find recipes that you will enjoy and that are good for you. Tip: Take a couple of your high fiber ingredients then go to a recipe website, such as Epicurious, insert your items into the search bar and choose a recipe result.

    Here are couple recipes to get you started:

    Pear and Roasted Jalapeno Salsa

    Pear - Roasted Jalapeno Salsa on soft tacos
    1 med firm-ripe pear diced2 Roma tomatoes diced
    4 green onions trimmed and sliced - white and green parts
    1 fire roasted jalapeno (to taste) minced
    handful of cilantro, mince
    1/4 tsp chili powder
    sprinkle of salt
    squeeze of lime

    Toss together all ingredients in medium size bowl and let marinate for 30-60 minutes. Serve on what you like.

    Beet and Mint Salad with Beet Greens

    High Fiber Beet Salad with Beet Greens
    3 beets with greens, greens removed and chopped, (compost stems)1/3 cup mint leaves, minced
    handful of Mesclun leaves or whatever you have on hand
    1 avocado, diced
    1 Roma tomato, diced
    1 cup Fontina cheese, diced
    high quality balsamic vinegar

    Trim beets and cut into quarters. Either wrap tightly single file in foil and roast till tender at 350 degrees just under an hour, or steam for under 15 min.

    Meanwhile, toss remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

    Remove beet quarters from foil, let cool slightly then cut quarters in half or thirds depending on the size of the beets. Let beets come to room temperature then add to salad. Serve. Drizzle balsamic vinegar to taste over each salad.

    Interesting factoid: Beeturia, which is the reddening of the urine after eating beets, affects about 10-15% of adults. People with healthy iron metabolism are less likely to experience beeturia, but those who are iron deficient, have iron excess or have trouble with iron metabolism are more likely. Beeturia is not considered harmful, but it could be an indicator of another health issue.

    See the movie: Forks Over Knives
    photo credits: commons.wikimedia.org; RBerteig; Food.gov.uk – Food Standards Agency; sixtysecondparent-wnc.com, me 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In Support of the Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Not be confused with hydrogenated coconut oil or hydrogenated palm oil, pure coconut oil, preferably the organic virgin type, has been used for generations by people in India, and Pacific Islanders for its health benefits. Coconut oil is highly touted for its healing properties, reducing inflammation, and for beautifying hair and skin.

Yet, in the United States, coconut oil is reviled for the sole reason that it is high in saturated fats. This much is true, but is only a small part of the story. A study published in the Philipine Journal of Cardiology states:

"Coco oil consists predominantly of 65% medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) and MCFAs are metabolized rapidly in the liver to energy and do not participate in the biosynthesis and transport of cholesterol. Coconut oil, in fact, tends to raise the HDL and lower the LDL:HDL ratio.
Coco oil is not deposited in adipose tissues and therefore does not lead to obesity. It is primarily an energy supplier and as fast a supplier of energy as sugar. MCFAs therefore differ in their metabolism from all the long chain fatty acids, whether saturated or unsaturated. "

In the Book: The Coconut Oil Miracle (Previously published as The Healing Miracle of Coconut Oil) the list of benefits of coconut oil are:
  • Reduces risk of atherosclerosis and related illnesses
  • Reduces risk of cancer and other degenerative conditions
  • Helps prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal (including yeast) infections
  • Supports immune system function
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • Helps control diabetes
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Supports healthy metabolic function
  • Provides an immediate source of energy
  • Supplies fewer calories than other fats
  • Supplies important nutrients necessary for good health
  • Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Is highly resistant to spoilage (long shelf life)
  • Is heat resistant (the healthiest oil for cooking)
  • Helps keep skin soft and smooth
  • Helps prevent premature aging and wrinkling of the skin
  • Helps protect against skin cancer and other blemishes
  • Talk to your grocer about carrying organic, virgin coconut oil and start using it in your diet today. Did I mention that stove popped pop corn using coconut oil is absolutely rich in flavor and delicious? Try it!

    photo credits:  Mart1n; adnandx

Friday, April 15, 2011

What’s Your Bad Massage Experience?

In recent days, I’ve talked with a lot of new and potential clients about their past massage experiences. Based on what people have shared with me, I’ve realized that there is a lot of misinformation about what should or should not happen during a massage session.

I’m not talking about inappropriate sexual behavior which is a whole different topic, but about what a client might expect from a massage session and their massage therapist.

Here are actual comments from my clients about their bad massage experiences:

“…she worked my butt so hard, I had bruises the next day.”
“I was sure she had it out for me…I felt beat up.”
“I felt so sick afterward.”
“…she didn’t lighten up even after I told her the massage was hurting.”
“I thought she was going to snap me in two.” (A Thai massage experience.)
“I walked around in pain for three days after my massage.”
“It felt like the massage therapist didn’t care because she wasn’t going to see me again.” (An expensive hotel spa massage experience.)

Countless times people have told me that their massage experience (often their first experience,) was too painful and they were soured on seeking another massage ever again. This saddens me because massage is a valuable health modality with a myriad of health benefits. Bad massages ruin it for everyone. 

So here’s what I want to share with you today to save you from a bad massage:

  1. A massage therapist best serves her client by asking what her client’s goal is for the massage. When she asks, be clear in your expectations. If she doesn’t ask, volunteer this information. For instance, “I have a stiff neck, I need that worked on.” Or, ”I’m just looking for a relaxation massage today.”
  2. Know that therapeutic massage can be painful, but it should never be more painful than you can tolerate. If you’re flinching from the pain, you’re tensing up and you’re not getting the intended benefit of the massage. Muscle tissue worked too hard, too fast, can be damaged, hence, bruising or intense soreness for days later. That’s counterproductive. Speak up if the pain is too much.
  3. Stop the massage, if you’ve told your therapist he’s using too much pressure and he doesn't lighten up. Don’t be embarrassed or assume the massage therapist knows better than you about what you're feeling. It should be the other way around. Be sure to tell the manager your complaint. A reputable establishment usually will not charge you for the massage.
    1. Excessive pain is not the only reason to stop a massage. If you do not feel comfortable with your therapist for any reason, it’s your prerogative to end the session. Again, speak with the manager about your concerns.
  4. Realize that not all massage therapists are the same. While this is not a blanket statement, you should note that sometimes an inexpensive massage is inexpensive because the establishment may hire new graduates without a lot of experience. This is not to say that all new grads are going to be fumbling around in the massage room, but if you have a specific issue, you may want to seek out someone who is experienced for better results.
  5. Before you book a massage with someone, take time to research reviews of the establishment and/or the massage therapist him/herself.
  6. Last, if you have a medical condition,(for instance you're at risk for lymphedema,) make a point to ask the massage therapist if they understand your special needs and if they've worked with others with similar issues and/or if they have special training for your condition. If the answer is no, take your business elsewhere.
If you have had a bad massage experience you'd like to share, please post it below. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about massage and how you can get the most out of your experience.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Fructose is a Chronic Hepatotoxin - Alcohol without the Buzz"

"Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin. Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public [7/2009] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 16717]"

Take the time (1.29.28 hr) to watch this highly informational video informing us of the poison in our food: Fructose (High Fructose Corn Syrup). Click on the Sugar title.

Ok - for those of you who don't have 90 minutes to watch this lecture, (though I truly believe it's worth your while,) here are some of the highlights of the lecture:
A tanker full of High Fructose Corn Syrup.
  • The body processes glucose (the main type of sugar occurring in plants and in blood,) and fructose (sugars found in fruit and honey,) very differently.
    • Excessive fructose consumption triggers the production of fat due to a complex carbohydrate binding response.
    • Fructose does not stimulate insulin production and therefore is an increases the risk for developing diabetes.
    • Fructose is a chronic hepatotoxin meaning it is poisonous to the liver. Chronic means it is continuous or long lasting.
    • The body reacts to fructose the same way it does alcohol, but since fructose is not metabolized in the brain, there's no alcoholic buzz.
    • We know what chronic alcohol consumption does to the body and in particular the liver, excessive fructose consumption causes the same metabolic syndromes.
  • Fructose is very cheap and therefore pervasive in our prepared food system. Check the labels of all your baked goods, chocolate milk, infant formula, yogurt, cereals, vitamins, sports drinks, sodas etc. The majority of national brands will be tainted with high fructose corn syrup. Is it no wonder we have an epidemic of obese six-month old babies and that the rate of children and adults developing type II diabetes is through the roof? 
    • NOTE: Fruit juice, 100% or otherwise, is also a culprit. Fructose without it's natural fiber package (whole fruit,) is poison too.
The immediate solution? Stop buying products that contain fructose. Eat whole foods and cook your own meals. Increase your daily dietary fiber.

Want to take further action? 
  • Contact food manufacturers and tell them that you do not want fructose or high fructose corn syrup in their products. Let them know you won't purchase their products anymore.
  • Contact your representatives and demand regulation of fructose and that the FDA officially recognize the health hazards of fructose.

photo credits: Tom Arthur; Cjcj; Fritz; John Knox

Define Your Learning Style to Boost Your Intelligence

Linguistic Learners use books to learn.
Did you know there are seven different learning styles? Sadly, schools and most learning institutions only teach  to one or two styles which can make a lot of people feel like they're not as smart or quick to learn as others. However, if you can define your learning style, you can creatively boost your intelligence without a lot of extra effort.

 Consider these different styles of learning and determine your best fit(s):

Interpersonal Learners work closely with instructors.
  • Intrapersonal, or self-directed learning. This person paves their own path to learning based on a decision to learn.
  • Interpersonal learning. This person works closely with an instructor to learn all about the subject at hand.
  • Visual learning. As indicated, learning occurs by direct observation.
  • Musical Learning. It's all about finding the rhythm of the task.
  • Kinesthetic learning. Here, learning is occurs by physically tackling the task or skill.
  • Logical learning.  All aspects of a skill are analyzed before attempting.
  • Linguistic learning.  Knowledge is obtained through books or listening to CDs.
By identifying your learning style(s), you can cater to your strengths and devise methods to better absorb and learn new skills and information. 

We are intelligent in our own ways. Sometimes we need to be creative in how we access and utilize our intelligence.

photo credits: CathyK; eieio1948;

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Aromatherapy is Found Effective for Knee Joint Pain Relief

People suffering from knee pain due to osteoarthritis found knee pain relief in a study where a ginger/orange aromatherapy was used during massage. In this double blind study, patients were given six massage sessions in a three week period. The results showed a decrease in knee pain, less stiffness in the knee, and increased range of motion.

Massage with aromatherapy can relieve knee pain.
While this study was conducted on elderly patients, the ginger/orange aromatherapy massage would also benefit those who are suffering from sports injuries or other inflammatory issues that are causing acute knee pain.

Ginger aromatherapy massage is effective for knee pain relief.
Ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and has been widely used in folk medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Ayurveda Medicine for centuries. Ginger is a strong anti-oxidant and is helpful in the prevention of free radicals. The essential oil of ginger is quite concentrated and extremely effective in relieving rheumatism, muscle pain, sprains, nausea, and other disorders. Essential oils are best used either through skin absorption or inhalation.

Talk with your massage therapist about ginger/orange aromatherapy massage for your knee pain relief. 

photo credits: Crystl; _rockinfree

Do-It-Yourself Natural Health: Natural Health Trio--Acupressure, Herbal Therapy, and Aromatherapy

8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain in the Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, and Foot (Remember When It Didn't Hurt)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Raw Horseradish - Natural Allergy Relief Product

Horseradish for allergies.
Are you plagued with allergy symptoms: runny nose and itchy watery eyes? Try this natural allergies treatment: horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)! Grate 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of fresh horseradish, mix it in a tsp of apple cider vinegar (aids the absorption,) and consume. If eating it straight seems harsh, hide it in a salad. Eat it 3-4 times a day until your allergy symptoms subside. Then a small dose once a month will prevent further attacks, as reported in Natural Health Secrets from around the World by Glenn W. Geelhoed, M.D.

Horseradish works as an allergy treatment because it
increases circulation and can widen sinus cavities. It's also a natural antibiotic that kills viruses as well as bacteria. Mix horseradish with garlic and you've got some potent anti-cold medicine!

Some precautions: If you're pregnant, skip this remedy. The same goes if you have kidney problems or a gastric ulcer. Eat too much horseradish and you'll give yourself a belly ache or worse. Use caution.

Photo credit: Pearson Scott Foresman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook: Two Hundred Gourmet & Homestyle Recipes for the Food Allergic Family

The Bible Cure for Allergies: Ancient Truths, Natural Remedies and the Latest Findings for Your Health Today


The Information Contained Herein Should not be Considered Medical Advice; Nor is it Meant to Treat, Diagnose, Prescribe or Cure Any Disease. Seek the Guidance of a Qualified Health Professional if You Have Concerns or Questions About your Health issues.

About Me

My photo
Southern California, United States
Holistic living, natural remedies have been part of my life since the early 80's. As a natural progression of my passion, I became a certified massage therapist in 2006, a Reiki Master in 2008, and in 2013 an Ayurveda Lifestyle Coach. I am here to promote natural healing, for it is my deep belief that with a little help from our friends and nature, we can all heal ourselves.