Juicing for your health

by Michelle on May 1, 2019

If you Google “juicing” you will get hundreds of different sites to visit about how beneficial juicing raw fruits and vegetables can be.  Some are realistic in that they promote juicing as an excellent way to get healthy vitamins and minerals into your diet but others tout that juicing will cure diseases and “fix” whatever ails you.  You should take the outrageous claims with a grain of salt (or the whole shaker depending on the claim) but juicing is very healthy and beneficial for many people that are not very healthy.  Here are some of the therapeutic effects:

  1. Raw fruit and vegetables are extremely rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, and natural sugars that can aid in regulating body functions.
  2. Juices from raw fruits and vegetables require no digestion and almost all of their vital nutrients are assimilated directly.
  3. The fruits and vegetables are very rich in alkaline elements which are highly beneficial in normalizing the acid/alkaline balance in blood and tissues.
  4. Juicing provides a generous amount of organic minerals like calcium, potassium, silicon, etc. which can prevent premature aging of cells and disease.

Here are some combinations for juicing arranged by the ailment they are meant to benefit:

  1. Allergies-Apricot, grapes, beet, spinach and carrots
  2. Acne-Pear, plum, grapes, tomato, cucumber
  3. Anemia-Prune, red grape, beet, celery, strawberry, carrot and spinach
  4. Arthritis-Pineapple, sour apple, sour cherry, lemon, grapefruit, cucumber, beet, spinach, grapefruit
  5. Asthma–Apricot, lemon, peach, carrot, radish and celery
  6. Bronchitis-Onion, carrot, peach, tomato, pineapple, lemon
  7. Bladder ailments-Apple, watercress, parsley, celery, lemon, cucumber, carrot
  8. Colds-Spinach, celery, carrot, onion, grapefruit, pineapple
  9. Diarrhea-Papaya, lemon, pineapple, carrot and celery
  10. Eczema-Cucumber, beet, red grapes, spinach
  11. Gout-Red sour cherries, tomato, cucumber, spinach, carrot, celery
  12. Halitosis-Apple, tomato, grapefruit, celery, carrot, spinach
  13. Headache-Grapes, lemon, carrot, lettuce, spinach
  14. High blood pressure-Grapes, orange, carrot, beet
  15. Insomnia-Apple, grapes, lemon, carrot, celery
  16. Influenza-Apricot, onion, carrot, orange, pineapple, grapefruit
  17. Kidney ailments–Apple, orange, lemon, cucumber, celery, parsley, beet
  18. Liver ailments–Papaya, grapes, carrot, tomato, beet and cucumber
  19. Obesity–Lemon, orange, cherry, pineapple, papaya, tomato, beet, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, carrot
  20. Psoriasis–Grapes, carrots, beet, cucumber

Please be sure to check with your healthcare provider to make certain you should try juicing to improve any ailments you suffer from and that the ingredients don’t present a problem with any condition or medication.  And as always…fresh is best and making your own juice is what’s healthy.  HAPPY JUICING!

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Although there is still Winter weather throughout much of the country, today is the first day of Spring and in some areas those pesky seasonal allergies have already begun.  Pollen and mold can leave you sneezing, stuffy, and itchy which all make for a miserable time.  While there are plenty of prescription and over-the-counter remedies you might want to opt for a more “natural” way to battle the misery.

Here are some options that might work well to provide you with some relief:

Probiotics:                              They can help balance and boost your immune system to better tackle allergy triggers without the overreaction and annoying symptoms.  Both foods and supplements work.

Nettle Leaf:                             It can help naturally block your body’s ability to produce histamine, which is the “allergic response” compound of the immune system.  It’s best to steep whole nettle leaves along with some peppermint leaves and a small amount of honey to make an herbal tea for this tasty and beneficial remedy.

Apple Cider Vinegar:             It can help reduce mucus production and cleanse the lymphatic system.

Take 1 tablespoon straight 2-3 times a day OR place it into a cup of hot water with a bit of honey.

Neti Pot & Saline Rinse:         The Neti Pot flushes out the nasal passages and the saline rinse is also a flush…if a Neti Pot isn’t for you.

Local (raw) Honey:                 This isn’t immediate relief but having a tablespoon (or two) of local honey can naturally reduce your allergy symptoms over time.  Start doing this when symptoms first occur to allow your immune system to acclimate to the local flora and reduce the allergic response.

Dietary & Lifestyle Changes: Sometimes what you eat can exacerbate seasonal allergy symptoms.  Avoid (of course) foods you know cause you “issues”, and be sure to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet.  Also, drink plenty of water and get a good nights’ sleep.

Acupuncture & Massage:      It can treat a wide variety of health issues as well as naturally reducing allergy symptoms.  Even getting a massage can “calm down” the immune systems’ response to allergic reactions by relaxing your body and mind.

Whatever relief you choose just remember to always give your body proper rest, hydration, and nutrition so it can take the best possible care of you!

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Acupressure and Reflexology have been around for centuries as a way to naturally treat anxiety, pain, injury, illness, and systemic issues the body might be dealing with.

Acupressure was first practiced in China over 5,000 years ago when they discovered that pressing certain points on the body relieved pain where it occurred and also benefited other parts of the body as well.  Gradually, they found other locations that not only alleviated pain but also influenced the functioning of certain internal organs.  As acupuncture uses fine needles to stimulate the meridians (life energy channels) of the body, acupressure uses gentle to firm finger pressure on the pressure points and meridians.  In Japan acupressure is also known by the name Shiatsu…and a Shiatsu massage deals with all of the meridians as well.

Acupressure therapy is known for producing many benefits:

  1. Boosts the immune system
  2. Releases tension & produces a feeling of over-all well being
  3. Increases circulation
  4. Reduces pain & promotes faster healing
  5. Contributes to a calmer mind & body; anxiety relief
  6. Increases muscle tone & brings more oxygen to the skin, reducing wrinkles
  7. Beneficial for arthritis relief
  8. Helps ease nausea

Reflexology is based on an ancient form of therapy practiced in China as long ago as 4,000 B.C and at the same time in Egypt as well.  It’s a system of massage that’s also used to naturally treat many issues based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet, hands, and head that correspond to every part of the body.  Unlike Acupressure, Reflexology deals more with putting pressure on only these three areas of the body that correspond to other points and organs to elicit a reaction and produce an effect.

The health benefits of Reflexology are very similar to Acupressure and they include:

  1. Improved nerve function
  2. A boost in energy levels
  3. Increased circulation
  4. Promotes better sleep, relaxation & anxiety relief
  5. Helps eliminate toxins from the body
  6. Stimulates the nervous system
  7. Reduces headaches; treats migraines
  8. Speeds healing & relieves pain

Many people use these two ancient techniques to not only relax and treat whole-body issues, but to also keep their systems running at their optimal levels in general.  Acupressure and Reflexology are body-balancing practices that have kept people healthy and happy for thousands of years.  Maybe you too could benefit from giving them a try.

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Although there is still Winter weather throughout much of the country, today is the first day of Spring and in some areas those pesky seasonal allergies have already begun.  Pollen and mold can leave you sneezing, stuffy, and itchy which all make for a miserable time.  While there are plenty of prescription and over-the-counter remedies you might want to opt for a more “natural” way to battle the misery.

Here are some options that might work well to provide you with some relief:

Probiotics:  They can help balance and boost your immune system to better tackle allergy triggers without the overreaction and annoying symptoms.  Both foods and supplements work.

Nettle Leaf:  It can help naturally block your body’s ability to produce histamine, which is the “allergic response” compound of the immune system.  It’s best to steep whole nettle leaves along with some peppermint leaves and a small amount of honey to make an herbal tea for this tasty and beneficial remedy.

Apple Cider Vinegar:  It can help reduce mucus production and cleanse the lymphatic system.  Take 1 tablespoon straight 2-3 times a day OR place it into a cup of hot water with a bit of honey.

Neti Pot & Saline Rinse:  The Neti Pot flushes out the nasal passages and the saline rinse is also a flush…if a Neti Pot isn’t for you.

Local (raw) Honey:  This isn’t immediate relief but having a tablespoon (or two) of local honey can naturally reduce your allergy symptoms over time.  Start doing this when symptoms first occur to allow your immune system to acclimate to the local flora and reduce the allergic response.

Dietary & Lifestyle Changes:  Sometimes what you eat can exacerbate seasonal allergy symptoms.  Avoid (of course) foods you know cause you “issues”, and be sure to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet.  Also, drink plenty of water and get a good nights’ sleep.

Acupuncture & Massage:  It can treat a wide variety of health issues as well as naturally reducing allergy symptoms.  Even getting a massage can “calm down” the immune systems’ response to allergic reactions by relaxing your body and mind.

Whatever relief you choose just remember to always give your body proper rest, hydration, and nutrition so it can take the best possible care of you!

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Corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, Irish soda bread, and Guinness…these all make for a very festive St. Patrick’s Day but they aren’t exactly part of a healthy diet.  Unfortunately, what often tastes the best isn’t the best for us, but one day isn’t that bad right?  Well, it can be…especially if you’re trying to stick to a diet or even just trying to eat healthy in general, and this holiday can be a difficult one to navigate if you are.  So here are some suggestions for having a healthier celebration this weekend that might make you feel a bit better about the traditional fare:

  1. Corned Beef: this salt-cured cut of meat isn’t exactly the healthiest choice, but since it’s the traditional selection for St. Patrick’s Day you can mitigate the unhealthy aspect (fatty and a lot of sodium) by boiling the brisket either on the stove or better yet in a slow cooker.
  • In a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker put in the carrots, onion, and potatoes. Place corned beef, fat side up, on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with pickling spice; add enough water to cover the meat (4 to 6 cups, or more). Put on the lid and cook on highuntil corned beef is fork-tender (4 1/4 hours on High or 8 1/2 hours on Low).  Remove when done and take off the fat “slab” to serve.
  • Here is a site for Vegan options…while not traditional, still in the spirit of the holiday: https://www.veganricha.com/2016/03/30-vegan-st-patricks-day-recipes.html
  1. Cabbage, Carrots, Potatoes, & Onions: you can cook these with the corned beef and they take on the flavor of the meat…plus it’s a way to cook them without added oil or butter.  You can roast them as well, just use minimal olive oil to cut down on the fat content.  Sautéing is also an option, but more oil is needed to cook them this way.  Cabbage is best stovetop steamed or boiled since it cooks quickly.
  • You can also mash the potatoes and make Colcannon…mashed potatoes with cabbage (or kale, chard, or another leafy green). Just use caution with how much butter and salt you use in the mashed potatoes.
  1. Irish Soda Bread: There are sweet varieties (with raisins and a sugar topping) as well as savory versions of this traditional bread, but the savory variety (no fruit and no topping) is better for reduced calories and less sugar.  Here is the link to a traditional Irish Soda Bread (brown bread) recipe that’s not only easy but delicious:  https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/irish-soda-bread/
  • If you don’t want to make (or buy) Irish Soda Bread you can always choose Rye, Pumpernickel, or a healthy wheat bread instead. Try to avoid rolls as they usually have more calories and don’t contribute much to the overall “flavor” of the meal.
  1. Guinness: There is no substitute for this one…but it’s not exactly bad for you…just keep in mind the calories it contains (125 calories for a 12 ounce serving).  Also, some people like to cook their corned beef in Guinness, but drinking it might be more to your liking…so whatever you choose keep track of the numbers!

You can always choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with healthier options…but if you don’t choose to do that just try to cut out as many unnecessary calories and any additional sugar, carbs, and fats as possible and enjoy.  Have a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day and “Erin go Bragh”!

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Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems.  It originated in India nearly 6,000 years ago and to this day is one of the country’s traditional health care systems.  Meaning “science of life” in Sanskrit, Ayurveda is founded upon the belief that all areas of life impact health.  According to the practice, we all have a unique mix of three mind and body principals which create our specific mental and physical characteristics.  These three principals, or life forces (energies), are called doshas.  These doshas control how your body works and they are Vata (space & air), Pitta (fire & water), and Kapha (water & earth).

There are various resources (books, websites, practitioners, etc.) for delving deeper into what dosha you might be and what that means for following an Ayurvedic lifestyle.  Here is a link to take a “Discover Your Dosha Type” quiz that can help you begin your Ayurvedic health journey:  https://shop.chopra.com/dosha-quiz  In general, Ayurveda means not only are you eating or avoiding certain foods for the benefit of your dosha, but you’re also living a lifestyle that is in line with “balancing” your dosha…meditation, exercise, essential oils, etc….all are very important principals in Ayurvedic practice.

Here is some information on the 3 doshas that can help you remain in a physically and emotionally balanced state using the Ayurvedic holistic science of health:

Vata Dosha:    Vata people tend to be on the thin side, have smaller bones, and don’t put on weight easily.  Vatas are said to be like the wind and this dosha’s energy is primarily associated with mobility, motion, circulation, breathing, and other essential body functions.  Known to be creative and energetic when in balance but fearful, stressed, and “scatter-brained” when out of balance; also might be cold a lot, have a delicate digestive system, and have dry, sensitive skin.

Pitta Dosha:    Pitta is the energy force that governs most metabolic activity including digestion, absorption of nutrients, body temperature, and energy expenditure.  Pitta types tend to be smart, hard-working, and driven (even competitive) when in balance but can be overly angry and aggressive when out of balance.  Pitta’s tend to have a medium build, be athletic, and are versatile in terms of putting on weight or muscle.

 Kapha Dosha: Kapha controls growth in the body and is considered the nourishing dosha.  It supplies moisture to the cells and organs and helps keep the immune system strong.  Kapha people are known for being grounded, supportive, loving, and forgiving when balanced…almost like a motherly type.  When out of balance they can be lazy, insecure, envious, and sad.

There are many benefits of practicing Ayurvedic medicine, here are just a few:

  • Helps lower stress and anxiety by rebalancing the body’s hormones or “energy”. Practicing meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, herbal treatments, skin treatments, visualization or repeating inspirational mantras all play a part in improving stress and anxiety.
  • Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol by following Ayurvedic diet practices and relaxation techniques which helps lower inflammation and can help reduce plaque buildup.
  • Helps with recovery from injuries and illnesses by targeting inflammation, which is the root of most diseases. Ayurvedic medicine can help lower pain and swelling, improve blood flow, and fight inflammatory conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia.
  • Promotes a nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich diet filled with a variety of real, whole foods. Included are various fresh herbs, spices, teas, vegetables, healthy fats, high-antioxidant foods and protein.
  • Can help with weight loss or maintenance by using the various Ayurvedic practices and foods specific to your dosha. Even essential oils are utilized for weight loss along with specific exercises.
  • Lowers inflammation by focusing on balancing your dosha which involves various ways of reducing inflammation with hopes of regulating the heart and circulatory system, digestive tract, and the means of waste elimination.
  • Helps with hormonal balance by focusing on balancing your dosha; can also incorporate the use of essential oils along with diet and relaxation techniques that specifically target hormonal function.

As with everything, moderation is the key to success.  Please review everything with your healthcare professional before making any large-scale changes to your medication, supplements, and your exercise routine or lifestyle.  Use Ayurvedic principles and practices to enhance every aspect of your life and keep up your self-care efforts…you’re worth it!

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10 Stress Relieving Super Foods

by Michelle on February 27, 2019

So much is going on this time of year…work, family, shopping mayhem, social engagements…it’s no wonder that the stress we’re under begins to take a physical toll.  Being short on time seems to make it nearly impossible to avoid the drive-thru or difficult to cook healthy food at home, so it’s no wonder pre-packaged items are the easy go-to.  However, if you try to add some of the following items into your daily diet you might notice you’re stress is less noticeable and you’re feeling physically better as well.

Here are some of the best “super foods” to help you feel calm and healthy:

  1. Green Leafy Vegetables: they contain folate, which produces dopamine (a pleasure-inducing brain chemical) which helps you keep calm.
  2. Turkey Breast: contains tryptophan, which may have a calming effect as well as amino acids (found in protein rich foods) and it helps produce serotonin (which regulates hunger & feelings of happiness and well-being).
  3. Oatmeal: a complex carb that won’t contribute to your already potential blood sugar spike in response to stress as well as keeping you full longer.
  4. Yogurt: full of calcium and protein in addition to probiotics that helps restore good gut bacteria (which is reduced when you’re stressed) so your digestive system runs well.
  5. Salmon: the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon have anti-inflammatory properties that may help counteract the negative effects of stress hormones such as adrenaline & cortisol.
  6. Blueberries: the antioxidants and phytonutrients in this berry work in your defense, helping improve your body’s response to stress & in fighting stress-related free radicals.
  7. Avocado: might help shut down stress-eating by filling you up and making you feel more satisfied; also a great source of healthy fat.
  8. Pistachios & Cashews: pistachios have heart-health benefits and may reduce acute stress by lowering blood pressure & heart rate, while the zinc content in cashews may help reduce anxiety.
  9. Seeds: flax seed, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are all great sources of magnesium…a mineral that may help regulate emotions and has been shown to help alleviate depression, fatigue, and irritability.
  10. Dark Chocolate: a small piece (about a 1 inch square) has been shown to reduce stress hormones, including cortisol; the antioxidants in cocoa also trigger blood vessel walls to relax, lowering blood pressure & improving circulation.

Try incorporating some of these items into your daily diet and see if you’re feeling calm and healthy soon!

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I’m sure you have heard a lot going around these days about the multiple health benefits of Turmeric…and they’re all true!  But have you ever tried it?  Turmeric a cousin to ginger, is a staple in curries, and is used to impart color to mustards…but its uses extend far beyond the culinary world.

Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds.  The active compound, Curcumin, is known to have a wide range of biological effects beyond being anti-inflammatory which include antioxidant, antitumor, antibacterial, and antiviral activities.  Chinese medicine has used it for centuries in the treatment of various infections and even as an antiseptic and turmeric also appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases with virtually no side effects.

These are some of the many benefits of Turmeric that warrant giving it a try:

  • Supports healthy joint function
  • Helps improve digestion
  • Promotes healthy, radiant skin,
  • Helps the immune system
  • Aids in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels
  • Promotes healthy blood and liver functions
  • Supports the absorption of vitamins and minerals
  • Helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

There are many recipes online for things like Turmeric Tea, Turmeric Milk, and recipes incorporating this multi-faceted compound that can make it easier and tastier while adding it to your daily diet.

Another use for turmeric is in beauty treatments.  Here are some of the benefits:

  • High in antioxidants that slow down cell damage and can help wounds heal
  • Widely used as a skin exfoliant and improves skin’s texture
  • Helps with inflammatory skin conditions like acne, dry skin, psoriasis, and eczema
  • Aids in reducing pigmentation and evens out skin tone
  • Can help diminish wrinkles

An internet search for “turmeric masks” will yield several results that you can try to reap the benefits of using this spice topically.

With so many positive attributes associated with the use of turmeric, both internal and external, doesn’t it warrant giving it a try?  Start slow and maybe add it to scrambled eggs, soups, etc. and work up from there.  Please check with your doctor and/or pharmacist about any health conditions and medications before using turmeric or any new food item if you have particular concerns.  And don’t worry, using turmeric on the skin is not known to make you turn yellow or orange but as always, test in a small, unnoticeable area first just to make sure.

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What exactly is a healthy diet?  The dictionary definition is simple…”A diet that contains the proper proportions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water necessary to maintain good health”.  Okay, that’s easy enough…but what exactly does that mean?  Is it really something you can put into action without details?  Probably not, and that’s why people tend to fall short of eating enough healthy foods to reap the benefits…and also where supplements come in.

It’s important to remember what the difference is between a vitamin, a mineral and a supplement.  This should help:

Vitamins & Minerals:  Natural substances usually found in food that help the body remain healthy.

Supplements:              Products taken orally that contain one or more ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc. that are intended to “supplement” one’s diet; not considered food.  Meant to “fill in the gaps”, so to speak, of what you require for good health and what you’re actually eating to meet that requirement.

Many people take vitamins and minerals in either a type of multi-vitamin or in larger individual doses to cover a specific area they know they’re deficient in to make sure they are getting the proper amounts.  Whether doing it for the specific diet they eat that doesn’t provide all of the necessary nutrients, to help naturally treat specific conditions, or just to aid in the general functions of the body, taking vitamins and minerals definitely serves a purpose.  However, each one might only address one or two things.        

Supplements, on the other hand, serve a different type of purpose.  Many of the ingredients in supplements are meant to promote a certain type of action or even reaction in the body based on the functions of the different ingredients as well as having them work together to achieve an intended result.  Take for example our Liver Formula…a product containing powerful ingredients that on their own provide beneficial elements, but working together perform in multiple areas.  They aid in detoxifying the liver and body, protecting the liver from damage with antioxidants that aid in helping it function more efficiently, and aiding in liver repair and regeneration.

Many people prefer supplements to just vitamins or minerals as they get the individual elements in the proper amounts to achieve the intended result from the product without taking so many of them separately.  Just remember, vitamins and minerals are individual items that are found in foods and sometimes eating these foods can give you the beneficial amount each day.  Supplements are a combination of vitamins and minerals intended to achieve a specific result…eating foods to get the same amounts as the ingredients in the supplement is not something realistic you can do.

As always, do your research before taking any product so you know what the ingredients are intended to do and that they’re in the proper doses in the product that are considered beneficial for results.  That research must also include checking with your doctor about your personal health situation that might prohibit taking supplementation and asking your pharmacist about any type of interaction with your medications.

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A nice cold drink on a hot day is very satisfying but not something you might want when it’s freezing outside.  While water is always vital for your health regardless of the season, staying hydrated during the colder months is crucial if you want to remain healthy.

Your body needs water to not only stay hydrated but it also helps regulate body temperature and is essential to the function of cells, tissues, and organs.  Water can also give your immune system a boost and help you keep from getting sick during peak cold and flu season along with increasing your metabolism and helping you feel full longer.

Many people don’t like “plain water” and want to use flavor “drops” or “powders” to get in the necessary hydration.  While these aren’t that terrible they do add unnecessary elements that sometimes cause bloating and adverse reactions.  You can try adding lemons or limes for flavor and even berries, cucumber, mint, etc. if plain water just isn’t for you.

Hot beverages count towards your water content as well.  Tea, hot water with lemon or a nice cup of green tea not only keep you hydrated by are known to boost your metabolism as well.  Be cautious of powdered hot drink mixes as most contain a lot of sugar.

You can also eat your water!  Several fruits and vegetables have a high water content that can help you reach your daily intake goals.  Broccoli, celery, cucumbers, mixed greens, strawberries, watermelon, pears, and grapefruit are just a few of the foods that help you stay hydrated.

Don’t drink the wrong things either!  Caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate your body and so can soda and coffee.  Many people feel that wine isn’t going to dehydrate them but that’s just not the case…wine still isn’t a good option for hydration so limited consumption is advised.

Remember too that a humidifier is useful in adding moisture to the dry winter air and can help keep you hydrated while preventing a scratchy throat and dry skin.  It’s crucial to stay hydrated in cold weather and with a little bit of forethought and planning it’s really not that difficult to do.

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