herbal-medecineThis 2013 year has seen a disturbing increase in the number of flu-related deaths in California, and it is a cause for concern, but certainly, not panic. The purpose of this article is to educate and arm you with simple, effective, natural and holistic methods to prevent or recover from a cold or flu. With the information presented in this article, you will know what to do for yourself, and your family to prepare for and breeze through the cold and flu season.

Prevention:

Of course, the best answer to cold and flu season is not to come down with one in the first place. So, the first part of this article is on prevention. There are many, many things that you can do to help yourself out; and, I’m not talking about getting a flu vaccine. I’m not a proponent of injecting disease, contaminants, and even heavy metals into my body – in the name of prevention. Medical journals have published thousands of articles revealing that injecting vaccines can actually lead to serious health problems including harmful immunological responses and a host of other infections. This further increases the body’s susceptibility to the diseases that the vaccine was supposed to protect against. For more information on the hazards of flu shots, check out this enlightening article – Flu Shot More Dangerous than Flu. There are much safer, effective, and simple steps that can be taken. In fact, they are so simple that they fall into the Duh Category. But, SOOO FEW of US actually do them. Anyway, here I go…

1] Get enough sleep:

Oh my goodness, if there’s one thing on the list that could wipe out half the colds and flus in the world, it would be everyone getting enough sleep. Our bodies are amazing at fighting off viruses and bacteria, but only if we’re in top physical condition. So, if you feel like something is trying to get you, take heed and hit the sack for some shut eye. During sleep your body can devote all of its resources to fighting off whatever is trying to take hold inside of you.

fruits-veggies2] Eat the right foods:

Well, I could go on ad nauseam about getting proper nutrition and all that, but I’ll restrain myself for the moment. Good nutrition is the ammunition your body needs to fight anything, it’s more important than any drugs you can take. If you’re feeling vulnerable to a cold or flu, there are foods that will help you stay strong, and foods that will send out flyers inviting a cold or flu to come and party in your body. Which do you want to eat? So, when you’re feeling vulnerable to getting sick start implementing the tips below until you feel stronger again.

  • First, eat warmer foods that are easily digestible. Cold foods are harder to digest and will drain your body’s resources. Things like salads and sandwiches. This also means that you should not drink cold drinks, but have them at room temperature instead.
  • One of the biggest no no’s, and a direct invite for a cold or flu is to eat dairy products. Dairy creates mucus, lowers your immune response, and slows your digestion to a crawl. So, NO milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, yada yada…
  • The right soups are fabulous. This means thin stock soups, like vegetable, minestrone, and miso soup are wonderful. A little bit of meat in your soup is ok, like fish, chicken or even an egg, but avoid red meat; it’s really hard on you, hard to digest, drains your resources, and lowers your immune response; absolutely, no cheese in your soup, ok? It’s a mucus making machine, all dairy products are.
  • Drink tea, not coffee. Coffee depletes your immune system. It’s hard on your adrenals, kidneys, and heart. Green tea however is good. It is fabulous for boosting your immune system, and is full of antioxidants. Now If you really want to strengthen your immune system, one of the best teas to drink is rosehip tea. Not from a teabag though. Go to a health food store and ask for dried rosehip pieces, not whole rosehips. Why not? Because you’d have to take a hammer and smash them up, that’s why. To make the tea, boil water and pour it over about 3 tablespoons of rosehips and let steep for at least ten minutes. You can use RAW, UNHEATED honey as a sweetener which is full of antibacterial and antiviral enzymes. Good stuff.
  • It’s so obvious, I shouldn’t have to say it, but oh well. NO fried foods and NO processed sugar! You might as well inject yourself with staphylococcus and save some time.
  • Avoid pastries, pastas and any other wheat products, they are cold and flu factories.
  • Basically, the rule is to keep your food simple and easy to digest, and for goodness sake, chew before you swallow, that way you actually get some of the nutrition out of it.

3] Drink enough Water:

Water is the most important cleansing medium for your body to eliminate unwanted garbage. A reasonable estimate would be to say that more than 75% of us are chronically dehydrated. That’s fairly astonishing, but not surprising given our busy, lifestyle. Water is life, our bodies need it to for well, everything. Do yourself a favor, and drink more of it.

4] Preventative Herbal Formulas:

There is one gentle herbal formula that I do recommend to my patients if they are motivated to gradually build their immune system over time, or take preventative herbal measures for an upcoming cold and flu season. It’s called Yu Ping Feng Wan or Jade Windscreen. I’ve taken Yu Ping Feng Wan myself for many years, and it’s been many years since I’ve come down with a cold or flu. If you want to do yourself a favor, and prep for the cold and flu season, I recommend taking Yu Ping Feng Wan beginning in August, and continue taking it throughout the season. You can discontinue when you feel the danger is passed. You can also take Yu Ping Feng Wan for a much longer term, years, if desired. It’s a great way to gradually build your immune system up. It’s subtle, but eventually, (especially if you’ve fixed your nutrition and sleeping habits) colds and flus will be a thing of the past. I do have one caveat; stop taking Yu Ping Feng Wan if you do catch a cold or flu for as long as you’re sick and then wait to start up again until after you’re well. Since Yu Ping Feng Wan is tonifying it could strengthen a cold or flu if you continued taking it while you’re not feeling well.
If you’re going to put yourself in harm’s way of a cold or flu – such as, visiting your tiny nieces or nephews or flying on a plane or must be around someone who’s hacking their lungs up – then you can take Gan Mao Ling or Yin Chiao Wan, as extra protection and prevention during your time of exposure. Either one is just as effective.

For convenience, I do have these formulas available through my website at www.inspirewellnesscenter.com

holly-reeseArticle by: Holly Reese, MSOM, L.Ac. She is an acupuncturist, herbalist, wellness coach, food-healing expert, founder of the Inspire Wellness Center, which specializes in natural and holistic health alternatives for the recovery of chronic illness. Holly Reese is also author of Rising from the Abyss: My Journey into and out of Chronic Illness a gripping memoir that details Holly’s personal descent into and eventual rise from a nearly fatal auto-immune disorder using all the natural and holistic health methods that she espouses and uses for her wellness practice. Feel free to contact her at: holly@inspirewellnesscenter.com.

 

Part 2: Oh No! I’m Sick. What do I do Now?

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leaf-and-herbal-bottleThere are many things you can do to recover, too many to put them all in this blog, but I will list a few of my favorites for you.

1] Go to Bed!

YOU NEED REST FOR YOUR BODY TO WIN! The sooner you give yourself what you need, the quicker you will heal. It’s really that simple.

2] Food:

Eat light broth, vegetable soups with a bit of meat (like fish or chicken, not red meat). Throw in scallions and lots of garlic; they are great for fighting colds and flus. You can also have room temperature fruit like apples, pears, melons, papayas. Please no fruit juices; it’s just a glass of sugar. Your body needs access to solid nutrition without having to work hard to get it. Do not eat dairy, fried foods, or wheat products – they are mucus factories.

3] Herbal Medicinal Teas:

Besides drinking a lot of room temperature water. Medicinal teas are your super cold and flu ass-kicking arsenal.

Rosehip Plus – This tea is my personal favorite that I will start drinking immediately if I feel anything coming on. You will be amazed at its effectiveness. Drink cup after cup, the more, the better. Here are the incredibly simple ingredients. Please use organic wherever possible, since pesticides do not help you beat a cold or flu. [ How to Dry & Store Rose Hips for Rose Hip Tea ]

    • 4 Tbsp. dried rosehip pieces.
    • 2-4 slices of ¼” fresh ginger.
    • Juice of ½ a fresh lemon.
    • A whopping big tablespoon of raw, organic honey. (Note: Not suitable for infants.)
    • Boil 6 cups water and add ingredients in a steeping teapot, steep for at least 10 minutes, more is even better. Drink one cup right away, then simply reheat the tea for additional cups.
    • I use the same batch of rosehips and ginger slices for two teapots, and I let the second pot steep longer. Just add more lemon and honey to the second batch and off you go again.

grinding-herbsCustom Medicinal Blend – I will make a custom blend of ingredients to address different symptoms. There are too many herbs to list them all here, but I’ll give my favorites and their functions. You can pick and choose which ones you want and create your own healing blend of tea. It’s actually fun to make your own medicine! You can put together any of the ingredients listed below, and follow the same steps as described previously for Rosehip Plus Tea. Always sweeten your tea with raw, honey which has loads of antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic properties in it and a lot of nutrition besides. These teas are for older children 4+ and adults, do not give to infants, mother’s milk is best for their immune system.

Rosehips:

    • Actions include: antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antispasmodic, expectorant, blood tonic, menstrual regulator, kidney tonic, digestive stimulant, sedative, cleansing, and increases bile production, astringent.
    • Pretty gosh darn amazing herb. I put it in all of my cold and flu herbal teas.
    • I usually use 3-4 tablespoons per batch.

Echinacea:

    • Actions include: antibiotic, immune stimulant, antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-allergenic, lymphatic tonic.
    • Echinacea is fabulous for boosting your body’s ability to fight off colds and flus and infections and inflammation of any type.
    • It’s expensive, but I add it to all of my cold and flu herbal teas along with the rosehips.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.

Meadowsweet:

    • Actions include: anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, soothing digestive remedy, diuretic, promotes sweating.
    • Meadowsweet is used to reduce inflammations and fevers. Although meadowsweet contains salicylic acid, like aspirin, this herb modifies the action of salicylic acid and actually protects the digestive tract. Long use of aspirin can lead to gastric ulceration and bleeding, but meadowsweet does not show these side effects, and is actually a gently digestive remedy for acidity and some types of diarrhea.
    • If you have a fever add meadowsweet, it will also help to reduce the aches and pains associated with colds and flus.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.

Yarrow:

    • Actions include: febrifuge, promotes sweating, relaxes peripheral blood vessels, digestive stimulant, and as a menstrual system restorative.
    • Yarrow is another good herb to add for reducing fevers.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.

Coltsfoot:

    • Actions include: relaxing expectorant, reduces phlegm, antispasmodic, demulcent.
    • Coltsfoot leaves and flowers are great for coughs and reducing phlegm, acute or chronic.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.

Mullein:

    • Actions include: expectorant, demulcent, mild diuretic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, sedative.
    • Mullein is great to use for coughs and to soothe a sore throat.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.

Hyssop:

    • Actions include: expectorant, promotes sweating, reduces phlegm, antispasmodic, carminative, and relaxes peripheral blood vessels.
    • Hyssop is another great herb for coughs and phlegm. Great in combination with mullein.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.

Chamomile:

    • Actions include: anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, sedative, anti-emetic.
    • I add chamomile to help reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with a cold or flu. It helps one relax and sleep, and it soothes the stomach and reduces nausea.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.

These are just some of my favorite herbs that I keep stocked all the time, there are many more. I encourage you to do a bit of research and discover your own favorites to add to your herbal pharmacy. It’s a great feeling not to run to the pharmacy for drugs when you’re not feeling well, but instead to start a pot of a good medicinal herbal tea brewing! You can find these wonderful organic herbs offered in my cold and flu first aid kits on my website at www.inspirewellnesscenter.com.

4] Medicinal Herbal Formulas

If you do start to come down with a cold or flu, there are some fantastic herbal formulas you can use in addition to your medicinal teas. They are a MUST HAVE for your herbal medicine cabinet.

Gan Mao Ling:

This is one of my two first line of defense formulas. It can be used as a cold or flu preventative when you’ve been around already sick people and don’t want to come down with anything. It may just stop a cold or flu dead in its tracks before anything happens. However, if you do start to feel any of the symptoms associated with a cold or flu such as fever with chills, headache, sore throat, red eyes, stiff neck and back, nasal discharge, cough, swollen lymph glands and general aching. Start taking Gan Mao Ling as directed on the bottle or package.

Gan Mao Ling is especially good to use when a cough or sinus congestion is present at the onset of a cold or flu. Gan Mao Ling is safe for children to use, but don’t use on children under four.

Yin Qiao Wan (or sometimes spelled Yin Chiao):

This formula is my other first line of defense formulas. It’s similar to Gan Mao Ling in that it can also be used as a preventative if you’ve been exposed to others who are already sick or you can even take it before you go on a plane trip as added protection from all those airborne germs.

    • If you come down with a cold or flu and feel any of the symptoms associated with a cold or flu as listed above in the Gan Mao Ling description you can use Yin Qiao Wan. The difference between this and Gan Mao Ling is that Yin Qiao is stronger for helping the sore throat. If you wake up and your throat is killing you, just run for the Yin Qiao Wan.
    • For added punch – Gan Mao Ling and Yin Qiao Wan are great to use together, no problem.

Zhong Gan Lin:

This formula is the big guns of the terrific trio. If you’re symptoms are advancing and now you’ve got a severe head cold or flu with headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches, fever and chills add Zhong Gan Ling to the group. You can use it alone or with Yin Qiao and/or Gan Mao Ling depending on whether the congestion or throat is bothering you more. All three are fine to use together, the herbs complement each other.

I keep all three formulas on hand, and they are a must to bring along whenever you travel. Again, for convenience, I do offer Gan Mao Ling, Yin Qiao, and Zhong Gan Ling on my website at www.inspirewellnesscenter.com.

5] Remove stress from your environment:

To give yourself the best fighting chance to recover. Relax, let go of your worries, it’s not helping. You’re stuck in bed for the moment, so take it like an adult, and relax. Listen to soothing music, watch a movie that leaves you feeling good, or just sleep. Please no brain work outs while you’re sick. That means NO working in bed either. This is a time to surround you with a pleasant, happy, healing environment. The more you do to help yourself recover, the faster it will happen.

Cold and Flu First Aid Kits

If you don’t want the bother of trying to find the herbs and putting all the formulas together for yourself, I’ve designed several ‘cold and flu first aid kits’ that are perfect to take care of your medicinal needs. They include all the formulas and herbs for the medicinal teas that are mentioned above. Plus, the herbs are organic. They are the Cold and Flu Prevention Kit, the Cold and Flu First Aid Kit, the Deluxe Cold and Flu First Aid Kit, and the All-In-One Deluxe Cold and Flu Kit. You can pick and choose the ones you feel best suit your needs. Again, you can find these indispensable natural and holistic first aid kits on my website at www.inspirewellnesscenter.com.

Wrap-up:

Well, I hope this little cold and flu primer has been helpful for you, and gives you more tools in your wellness toolkit. One note of caution, however, is that if your symptoms persist for longer than two weeks or you feel you’re getting worse, not better, than by all means take your health care to the next level and consult an acupuncturist or western medical professional. As a special note, several of these herbs are not suitable to take if pregnant. Please consult myself, or another acupuncturist or herbalist for herbal remedies suitable for pregnancy.
holly-reeseWritten by: Holly Reese, MSOM, L.Ac. She is an acupuncturist, herbalist, wellness coach, food-healing expert, founder of the Inspire Wellness Center, which specializes in natural and holistic health alternatives for the recovery of chronic illness. Holly Reese is also author of Rising from the Abyss: My Journey into and out of Chronic Illness a gripping memoir that details Holly’s personal descent into and eventual rise from a nearly fatal auto-immune disorder using all the natural and holistic health methods that she espouses and uses for her wellness practice. Feel free to contact her at: holly@inspirewellnesscenter.com.

 

Part 1: Preventing Colds & Flu

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I quit cold turkey on a weekend so if I got tired in the afternoon which I did, I just took naps..I was only a 2 cup in the morning coffee drinker so I didn’t have any big mood swings or headaches, just a loss of energy at first. It was actually a feeling of I need a nap, plus my eyes were blurry and my ability to focus on a conversation were also very compromised.

So here the 4 things I did to make my life easier while quitting coffee:

1. WEAN YOURSELF OFF: If you drink ALOT, say more then 3 cups/day then wean yourself off over several days, don’t go cold turkey like I did. You can also try substituting decaf as you cut back. This gradual decrease can help to prevent the headaches & loss of energy that might occur if you stop caffeine abruptly.

Organic Fuji Apples

Organic Fuji Apples

2. REPLACE IT WITH A NEW GOOD HABIT: When you change any habit, replace it with another habit. When I quit coffee I started juicing again, every morning I make a fresh juice of organic beets, carrots & fuji apples from my tree. Any new habit will work; juicing, smoothies, caffeine-free herbal tea, or even herbal teas are great.

Rooibos Tea , South Africa’s most popular tea has a sweet, full flavor without sugar and is naturally free of caffeine. Caffeine leaches calcium from the bones, whereas Rooibos contains much needed calcium. Unlike coffee, Rooibos is also low in tannins, which can inhibit iron absorption.

3. TAKE NAPS: Women usually take longer then men to detox but symptoms are unlikely to last more than nine days. I quit on a weekend so I could manage my afternoon lows with a nap or a brisk walk but after 4-5 days I had no more energy swings.

4. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY: Your body is a amazing machine and it wants you to live in a healthy state. Listen to your body, it will tell you exactly what it needs. After you quit coffee, pains and discomforts you may have been experiencing which were caused by the caffeine will slowly fade away. Within 3-4 months of quitting, your energy levels should stay consistent all day long and your skin, gut, sleep patterns and mood will improve greatly.

Kicking the caffeine habit can be incredibly difficult, but well worth your while. If you are looking to cleanse more toxins from your body, check out our article on:Start your Fat Burning with a Real Food Detox

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coffee-mocha

I LOVE coffee. I drank it every morning. I thought I needed it for my 6a.m. workouts, but I also wanted to quit since I’m doing everything I can to have a CLEAN lifestyle. So 3 weeks ago I quit cold turkey and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was in Seattle last week hanging out in cafes with a coffee loving friend, and the aroma was enough to satisfy me.

Its actually a myth that coffee gives you energy, since it doesn’t contain any nutrients, it isn’t feeding your brain or muscles. What caffeine does do though is to stimulate your adrenal glands into producing the classic “fight or flight” syndrome. This is basically your body under STRESS.

No way, you say, don’t take away my coffee!

Let me give you 9 reasons that might change your mind…

1. CONSISTENT ENERGY LEVELS: Since I quit coffee, my energy levels are consistent throughout the day whereas before when I would get up at 5:20 a.m. to go workout I’d start feeling tired in the early afternoon and many times have to lay down for a nap! Not any more…I now have a smooth flow of energy all day without any shakes, irritability or hunger spikes.

2. RAISES BLOOD SUGAR: Caffeine can cause weight gain by raising blood sugar. After drinking coffee, the liver releases glycogen which raises blood sugar and to fix this problem the pancreas releases insulin. The catch is that insulin will store the excess sugar as fat.

3. CALCIUM LEVELS: Women need Calcium to maintain a healthy PH in our bodies. Coffee is acidic and robs your bones of this much needed Calcium. This lack of Calcium can result in brittle bones, osteoporosis, arthritis, kidney stones and many other health concerns.

4. ACID STORED AS FAT: Coffee contains over 700 volatile substances, including more than 200 acids and even pesticide residues. Keeping a balance alkaline pH in your body is crucial to good gut health. But most cooked foods, meat, dairy, etc are very acidic as well and this acid ends up as waste in your body. The excess acid from foods and drinking lots of coffee is stored as fat.

5. SKIPPING BREAKFAST: Coffee suppresses your appetite and lots of people forgo eating a healthy breakfast because of it. But don’t assume that is a good thing, because skipping breakfast drops your blood sugar levels, and when they get too low you get VERY hungry. Starving yourself or skipping meals is a sure way to INCREASE your metabolism and could help increase you gain weight faster. Keep your blood sugar levels consistent by eating 5 to 7 small meals a day.

6. SLEEP BETTER: Do you dream? Studies have shown that reaching REM or the dream state of sleep is impaired by coffee still being in your body. Caffeine stays in the body much longer than you might think since elimination is based on weight, metabolic rate and the like it might not leave your body by bedtime even if you had a few cups in the morning.

7. BETTER GUT HEALTH: As we get older, keeping your internal pipes clean and having an easy bowel movement everyday is essential. One of the reasons I wanted to quit coffee was how it made my stomach feel acidy first thing in the morning. Again this excess acid will be stored as FAT.

8. HEART HEALTH: Caffeine increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and can contribute to the development of heart disease. Both decaf and regular coffee increase your cholesterol and homocysteine, the biochemical that science has linked to increased risk for heart attack.

9. AGES SKIN & KIDNEYS: After 40, people find that their vital hormones such as DHEA, & melatonin start to decline and caffeine speeds up that decline even more. Caffeine increases cortisol levels, a stress hormone, PLUS it contributes to aging the skin and kidneys through dehydration AND it slows the ability of the liver to detoxify foreign toxins.

Next See: My Top 5 Tips on How to Quit Coffee >>

For more in depth information on caffeine and it’s effects on the body and mind, read Caffeine Blues: Wake Up to the Hidden Dangers of America’s #1 Drug by Stephen Cherniske, M.S.

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Kimchi - Cultured Vegetables from SouthEast Asia

Kimchi - Cultured Vegetables from SouthEast Asia

For thousands of years, indigenous cultures worldwide have understood that cooked & fermented foods are more feeding & nourishing to the body than raw foods. 

Raw foods are cleansing and detoxifying to the body because they are harder to digest. Whereas, cooking foods breaks down their cellular structure, making them easier to digest. Our ancestors developed methods to make foods more digestible through cooking and fermentation that have more nutritional value then many modern foods.

Asian cultures ferment kimchi (fermented cabbage), kefir, miso, sake, pickled ginger and shubat (fermented camel milk). India and the Middle East have fermented chutneys, various yogurts, and torshi (mixed vegetables). Europeans fermented sauerkraut, kefir, crème fraiche, and rakfisk (salted, fermented trout). In South America, kombucha, and cacao beans which must be fermented first before use. In the Pacific, they have poi (fermented, mashed taro root) and kanga pirau. And in the U.S., we used to ferment sauerkaut & make relish, pickling, & ketchup. My Austrian grandfather kept barrels of fermented pickles, sauerkaut & pigs parts in his cellar in upstate New York.

Today foods such as sauerkraut and pickles, contain no live enzymes and are poor substitutes produced quickly for mass consumption. Commercial sauerkraut and pickles, are preserved in vinegar instead of the traditional and naturally occurring lactic acid forming bacteria.. Unless the producer adds bacteria, store bought sauerkraut is usually pasteurized and void of taste and nutrients. Lactobacilli contribute to the protection of the body against infections and stimulate the immune system. Probiotics have become popular today because they add back into our digestive system those microflora that our gut needs to prevent allergies & infections.

To heal your digestive system, you can Buy Probiotic Enzymes or Make Real Fermented Foods.

The Top 10 Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

1. Fermented foods are instrumental in healing & restoring the balance of gut flora in our bodies. Lacto-fermented foods normalize the acidity of the stomach. In the not too distant past, people who ate traditional, whole foods diets ate this bacteria on a regular basis did not have a severe gut deficit that we do today.

pickled-red-cabbage

Pickled Red Cabbage

2. The beneficial bacteria in fermented foods are very potent detoxifiers, capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals. Molecules in the bacteria grab hold of mercury, lead, aluminum, arsenic, and other toxins, which are then removed through stool. Fermentation removes phytic acid from grains, nuts and seeds, which otherwise would block mineral
absorption and lead to deficiencies. Eating improperly prepared grains is a major cause of
osteoporosis in our culture.

3. Lactobacilli converts starches and sugars in vegetables and fruits into lactic acid, a natural preservative that inhibits putrefication and also act as anantioxidant, and anti carcinogenic agent, reducing cancer precursors known as free radicals.

4. Sauerkraut contains large quantities of choline, a water soluble nutrient. Choline must be consumed through the diet in order for the body to remain healthy and it may lower the risk for breast cancer in women and also helps to lower blood pressure. Sauerkraut also contain acetylcholine, which reduces blood pressure, slows the rate of the heartbeat and promotes calmness and good sleep.

5. You only need to consume small amounts every day in a greater variety to get the optimum amount of microorganisms possible. Steer clear of pasteurized versions, as pasteurization will destroy many of the naturally occurring probiotics. Most of the “probiotic” yogurts you find in grocery store these days are not recommended. They’re pasteurized and they also typically contain added sugars, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, and artificial sweeteners.

Buy Probiotic Enzymes

6. Consuming traditionally fermented foods will also help you absorb more important nutrients such as vitamin K2, which is important for preventing arterial plaque buildup and heart disease. It also facilitates the synthesis of certain vitamins, such as vitamin C, and B12, which can only be produced in the presence of lactic bacteria.

7. Probiotics have been shown to help optimize your intestine’s immune system. With eighty percent of your immune system located in your digestive system, your gut is a major focal point on your way to maintaining optimal health. Buy Probiotic Enzymes

Pickled Cucumbers - Cultured Vegetables

Pickled Cucumbers - Cultured Vegetables

8. Save money by eating real foods rather then supplements. Fermented foods can contain 100 times more probiotics than a supplement. A cost effective strategy would be to eat a small amount of fermented foods with each meal to replace some of the supplements you are  now taking.

9. Aging decreases your body’s supply of enzymes, but fermented foods are rich in enzymes, and so can help offset this shortage. Eating an enzyme-rich diet reduces the stress on your pancreas, and therefore could reduce your risk of many different chronic diseases. Warding off enzyme depletion, can help you live a longer, healthier life.

10. Fermentation preserves food. Fermentation organisms produce alcohol, lactic acid and acetic acid, all “biopreservatives” that retain nutrients and prevent spoilage. Captain Cook conquered scurvy among his sailing crews by bringing large quantities of sauerkraut, which is very high in Vitamin C, on his lengthy voyages. Not a single sailor got scurvy and the last barrel of kraut was still perfectly preserved after 27 months.

More Resources on Fermented Foods:

Places to BUY Fermented Foods:

Buy Probiotic Enzymes


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The number one reason for failure in losing body fat or anything in life is the lack of clearly defined, written goals.

You & your friends might set the best of intentions this New Years but most won’t be following through on their goals. Research shows only 8% of people achieve their New Years Resolutions.

Here are seven steps to make your resolutions work in 2013:

Here are the steps to achieving your New Years fitness goals:

STEP 1. Set Inspiring, Detailed & Specific Goals
Don’t say things like I want to lose weight and have more energy, that is not clear, detailed or specific. A better way to talk to your sub conscious brain is to say something like: By March 1st, I want to weigh 130lbs, with 18% Body Fat, and be wearing size 8 clothes. My Current waist size is 36 inches, and My GOAL is 28 inches. See the difference? Those are very specific detailed and attainable goals that you can now write down and measure by tracking your progress as you’ll see in Step 2.

Step 2. Set BIG Measurable Goals
Really look at some BIG goal that seems very far from where you are at the present moment. For instance, I said to myself, I haven’t weighed 130 lbs since I was 30, so it’d be a Big Deal for me to have that as my goal today. So, Yes its scarey, BUT I will look and feel totally different and people will SEE me differently, WHEN I have achieved my big scarey goal. This is Way outside my comfort zone of what I’ve thought I could do, but now I’m gonna do it & succeed, cause its time! I can See the Picture of my New Body in My Mind, and I will Visualize it Everyday…!

Then make sure you measure it everyday. Write down your goals somewhere that you can track your progress. So I might say, on my scale I want to weigh 130 lbs, but by measuring with the Body Fat calipers I want to get down to 17% Body Fat.

Step 3. Set Realistic Deadlines
30 lbs lost by May 1st. So 4 months (16 weeks) from now, that’s 8 lbs per month, or 1.9 lbs/week. In terms of body fat, that translates to about a half a percent per week.

Step 4. Daily goals & habits to do every day repeatedly

You develop good habits by setting daily action goals and working on them repeatedly until they become as routine as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Ninety-nine percent of the actions you take every day are habits. Write out a list of daily goals, to-do’s and habits you want to develop habits like eating small, frequent meals, cutting down on sugar, getting up early, making your meals in advance for each day and so on.

The next time you feel a craving, you’re tempted, discouraged, unmotivated or you feel like skipping a workout, focus on your daily goals, not on the huge amount of work that is ahead of you. Tell yourself, “All I have is today. All I have is this moment, this workout, this meal, the next 30 minutes, the next hour. If I just do what I know I must do now, then I know I’ll reach my ultimate goal eventually.” Concentrate on the task at hand in this moment. As the Zen masters of Japan remind us: “Be here now.” The point of power is always in the present moment.

Step 5. Write out an extensive goal list in the form of affirmations

Always use I AM or I HAVE. Write them in the present tense. I AM 30 lbs leaner. I AM 130 lbs of solid muscle. Always use positive affirmations, never negative. Never say “I’ll never see my abs again”, instead say “I HAVE a flat toned stomach. I AM getting leaner every day. I like the way I look. Whatever it takes, I’ll do it. I like eating healthy foods. I love working out. Training early in the morning is exhilarating.

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Step 6. Read your affirmations (your goal list) at least twice a day and always keep your goals “in front of you” and “on your mind.”

Psychologists have proven that repetition is an effective way to penetrate and program the subconscious mind. Fortune 500 companies spend millions of advertising dollars every year based on this fact. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich and The Law of Success, said, “All thoughts which have been emotionalized and mixed with faith begin immediately to translate themselves into their physical equivalent.”

As you read your affirmations, mentally visualize them as already achieved. Visualization means making mental pictures or images – it’s thinking without words. The brain thinks in pictures. I’ve also put photos up of myself to help me through this visualization, the photos make it very real and I can see them everyday.

Step 7. Share your Goals with Everyone.

Your Friends & Family, your Workout Partners share your goals with everyone so you can feel good about what you’ve achieved and you can stay motivated by calling someone up to help you get to the gym or give you a high five for doing another exhausting workout. You’ll be amazed at how great a little bit of praise can help you through day.

Just to give you some motivation, Here are My New Years GOALS:

1. I AM dramatically Changing my Outer Packaging, by being 17% body fat and 130 lbs, by May 1st.

2. My motivational positive affirmations are: “I HAVE a flat toned stomach. I AM getting leaner every day. I LOVE the way I look & how I FEEL. I’ll DO whatever it takes. I LOVE eating healthy foods. I love working out & training early in the morning is exhilarating and really starts my day off right. I feel healthy & have lots of energy.

3. I AM sharing my written goals, my workouts and my daily experiences with My Team.

4. I AM thinking constantly about My Goals & Being Constantly Mindful of what I AM accomplishing. I AM visualizing and seeing my goals photos everyday.

 So, Before you eat your next meal or start your next workout,

THE MOST POWERFUL ACTION you NEED to do right now to achieve your ultimate fitness goals is to WRITE DOWN YOUR FITNESS GOALS, – TO DO IT NOW!

Check out the Burn The Fat Inner Circle Fitness Site for More Info >>

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I love fresh greens everyday in my salads and since I work at home a lot, I enjoy walking out onto my deck and harvesting my lettuce greens fresh from the garden everyday. Since my actual garden is down in the back yard I decided to make it more convenient by creating these EarthBox Salad gardens on my deck instead. I can harvest about 2 salads/day when they are in full bloom and they easy to make and even easier to keep growing once you have them built.

So check out my video and let me know what you think:

 

Here are some photos of the EarthBox Salad Gardens in full swing…these have several different greens and spinach.

Earth Box Salad Gardens

This EarthBox has Serano Chilies and 3 Varities of Basil, and Chives

Earth Box Salad Gardens

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Add a Colon Cleanse to your New Years Checklist

Add a Colon Cleanse to your New Years Checklist

Like many people at the New Year, I’ll bet some of your goals include: lose weight, burn fat, get fit, get stronger or any number of things.

Well I would add to that list, Do a Colon Cleanse and here’s why. Since about 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, Taking special care of your gut promotes overall well-being.

Weight gain and over-toxicity is on the rise and so the trend to detoxification is growing in popularity. In our modern times, our body accumulates more toxins than its natural detoxification system (your liver, kidneys and lungs) can eliminate. Chemicals from pesticides on our foods, chlorine in our drinking water, and carbon monoxide from car exhaust build up over time and cause disease.

People are ideally supposed to have one or two bowel movements a day, but many people go two or three days between eliminations. The normal pathway for toxins to move out of the body is through the liver, which converts harmful chemicals into water-soluble molecules that can be flushed out in the urine or feces. If there’s a delay in elimination, however, those toxins remain in your system longer.

Detoxing your gut with a colon cleanse will remove these unwanted toxins from your system. People with excess weight carry tons of impacted fecal matter in their colon. This fecal matter is rotting away and leeching toxins into the blood stream and can become a precursor to illness. Doing a colon cleanse is simple and painless and helps to flush out the waste in a fast and hygienic way.

female colonOh by the way, like most things Detoxing does have its side effects. A Colon Cleanse will make your skin glow, give you a natural weight loss quickly, make your eyes white, and make you feel young again..need we say more..

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Be careful in what kind of cleanse you chose. I have personally started a Colon Cleanse with a company called Blessed Herbs. A friend recommended this cleanse to me after she successfully completed her 9 day detox program. This cleanse removes something called Mucoid Plaque, which builds up after years of eating on the walls of our intestines. This plaque greatly lowers our ability to absorb nutrition and makes our bodies much more toxic.

This cleanse has 3 different levels for you to choose. I chose the Best Option which is a liquids-only five day intensive colon cleanse, intended to remove as much of this plaque as possible.

The herbs is the cleanse include: Digestive Stimulator™: Cape Aloe leaf, Aloe Vera leaf , Cascara Sagrada bark, Triphala† (Amla fruit, Chebulic Myrobalan fruit, Belleric Myrobalan fruit), Chinese Rhubarb root†, Barberry root, Dandelion root†, Fringe Tree root bark, Meadowsweet aerial parts†, English Plantain aerial parts†, Ginger root†, Fennel seed†, Peppermint leaf†, Fenugreek seed† and Licorice root†

Toxin Absorber™: Psyllium seed husks†, Bentonite Clay, Apple pectin, Ginger root† or Peppermint leaf†

Blessed Herbs has been a family owned and operated medicinal herb business in Massachusetts since 1985. They only work with wildcrafters and organic growers who they personally know and who harvest from pollution free areas at the height of their potency and with regards to continuing a sustainable balanced ecology. Their certified organic growers farm without synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides and take care to cultivate their soil.

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SAVE 25% off all BLESSED HERBS Products: Use Coupon Code 2013 – Expires 1/15/2013

Here is a quote from there website; “Why choose Blessed Herbs detoxification programs? We’ve been a trusted herbal resource for over 25 years. In a world of online hype, anyone can form a company overnight, employ some slick marketing techniques, and masquerade as a legitimate company. Beware the “snake oil” salesmen.” This is so true, be careful what you buy and what you put into your body that might be masquerading as any kind of program.
Healthy living starts with a healthy diet, and exercise and then with consistent action towards total mind-body wellness.

[ As a disclaimer: In regards to Blessed Herbs, I have become an affiliate for them which means, when you click through and buy any of their products, I receive a small percentage of the sale. This payment allows me to keep writing this blog and articles such as these and it also makes us all aware of good independent companies who can give us the wonderful variety of sourced local products that we desire. In addition, I only promote products or companies, that I have personally used. ]

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Detox to Eliminate Belly Fat

Detox to Eliminate Belly Fat

In order for your body to BURN FAT, you need to eliminate the toxins first with a Nutrient-Rich Whole Food Detox.

You may be burning fat but if you haven’t done a detox you are not getting rid of the toxins that have built up in your body.

The Secret to Eliminating Toxins

The secret is to make the toxins in your body water soluble so they can be sweated and peed off, so then you’re REALLY BURNING FAT. As long as you are taking in more toxins then you are eliminating your body is not going to let you burn fat, because burning the fat will just put more toxins into your body. You have to address the fact that you are being assaulted by toxins before your body will allow you to let go of any weight.

Doing a Detox is an opportunity to recharge, rebuild, cleanse and heal your body inside and out. This cleanse is meant to be a jump-start to your overall long-term health and fitness plan.

Benefits of Detoxing:

Having done this Detox Plan for the recommended 10 days I can attest to the fact that it helped me to:
1. Sleep and Dream Better
2. Improved my energy levels
3. Better digestion, less stomach issues
4. Gave me a sense of relaxation
5. Felt in control of my sugar cravings

Let the Body Heal Itself

The body only wants to heal, its crying out to heal, the body wants to detoxify, you just have to give it a chance to do the healing. So the best thing to do first in any WEIGHT LOSS Plan is to Detoxify the body. Most people have been overfed and undernourished for years so their digestion is all messed up, but it can heal itself.

The diet we ate over millions of years was predominantly one of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts, low-sugar fruits, which was rich in nutrient-rich whole foods and superfoods.

Today’s modern diet including starches, grains, pasta, legumes, and breads has only been consumed for a mere 10,000 years. In the last hundred years the increase in complex sugars and chemical additives in the diet has led to a huge increase in health problems ranging from severe bowel disorders to obesity and brain function disorders. We have not adapted well to eating this modern diet.

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The Detox General Guidelines are:

• Eliminate Gluten grains & Flour–wheat, oat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, bulgar as well as corn, (but Continue to eat quinoa, rice, millet, amaranth and buckwheat)

• Eliminate Refine sugars – anything with added sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, or alcohol (cakes, cookies, candies, pastries, beer, wine, liquor, ice-cream)

• No processed, canned, packaged or preserved foods, no artificial sweeteners or flavorings or anything

• No Caffeinated drinks (sodas, coffee, caffeinated teas)

• No Dairy products and eggs, soy

 

Real food is whole, natural, and nutrient-dense.

  • Organic
  • Humanely raised (animals on pasture, not in factories)
  • Grown locally when possible
  • Whole and unrefined (real maple syrup instead of high-fructose corn syrup)
  • Processed as little as possible (raw milk instead of pasteurized and homogenized)
  • Nutrient-dense (enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics)
  • Free of additives and preservatives
  • Free of synthetic and chemical ingredients
  • Not genetically modified
  • Traditionally produced and prepared

For example, use real butter or lard instead of shortening or vegetable oil. Real milk from a cow instead of soy milk. Real sprouted flour instead of refined white flour. Real, natural sweeteners like honey or unrefined cane palm sugar  instead of white sugar. Or try a super food variety of sugar like Yacon Sugar.
Live Superfoods Yacon Syrup
. If it’s highly processed and doesn’t come from nature, it’s not real food!

Food allergies are very common

Food allergy or intolerance can produce every symptom under the sun, from migraines, fatigue, PMS, painful joints and itchy skin to depression, hyperactivity, hallucinations, obsessions and other psychiatric and neurological manifestations. However, the most immediate and common symptoms in the vast majority of patients are digestive problems: pain, diarrhea or constipation, urgency, bloating and indigestion.

So there is nothing wrong with the food. What is happening is that foods do not get a chance to be digested properly before they are absorbed through the damaged gut wall. Thus, in order to eliminate food allergies, it is not the foods we need to concentrate on, but the gut wall. When the gut wall is healed, many food intolerances disappear.

Vegetables in a grocery storeHow To Restore Digestive Health

  • Eat the right foods.
  • Take the right supplements.
  • Remove the wrong toxins

Soups and Stocks

Soups and stocks made from animal bones and cartilage, have been almost eliminated from our diets, this has contributed to digestive problems as well as joint problems. Stock and soups made from the bones of chicken, turkey, duck, beef, lamb and fish are anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and contain nutrients which help build the integrity of the digestive tract. A soup based on bone stock can bring a person is suffering from a digestive disorder fast relief.

The Right Oils

Garden of Life Oceans 3 Cod Liver Oil liquid
Most individuals with digestive disorders have some inflammation which is exacerbated by an overabundance of omega-6 fatty acids. Avoid all Trans fatty acids & commercial liquid vegetable oils.

At the same time, you will need to increase your consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including salmon and other wild-caught cold water fish, eggs from pastured chickens, walnuts, organ meats and flax seeds and a small amount of flax oil.

Cod liver oil, is high in special anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids but also fat-soluble vitamins A and D. Both of these nutrients help fight inflammation and build the immune system, so critical to restoring digestive health. Icelanders are blessed with great health & longevity and they consume cod liver oil regularly. It is even served at breakfast in their hotels.

Buy the Garden of Life Oceans 3 Cod Liver Oil liquid

Body Ecology Dong Quai Probiotic Beverage

Whole food probiotic

Essential to digestive health is taking a whole food probiotic. Healthy bacteria found in healthy soil and plants are missing from our modern food supply. They protect the plants in the soil, and also protect humans who ingest them. A major discovery in the battle against digestive disorders is how beneficial bacteria can help people with “leaky gut syndrome,” as the use of beneficial bacteria can reduce the hyper-permeability of the gut. Before the days of modern hygiene and chemical farming, these bacteria were in the soil and hence on the surface of our vegetables; they thus helped colonize the gut with beneficial flora whenever people ate raw fruits and vegetables and whenever kids played in the dirt.

Try the Body Ecology Innergy Biotic Gluten-Free Probiotic


Try the Body Ecology Dong Quai Probiotic Beverage

Lacto-fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut also provided healthy bacteria in traditional diets and these should be part of the diet of any person suffering from digestive problems. But probiotic formulations can help “jump start” the system in those with serious digestive problems as they will quickly populate the gut with beneficial organisims.

 

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A hungry womanWorking out on an empty stomach can boost your overall health and fitness.

Simply skip breakfast and exercise first thing in the morning and then have a protein recovery meal 30 minutes after your workout. Whether you choose to exercise on an empty stomach or not, your post exercise meal is crucial to stop the catabolic process in your muscle and shift the process toward repair and growth. An example of a catabolic process is knowing that your muscles actually endure a break down phase because of hormones released during each workout, and that you have the ability to counteract this process by consuming high-quality nutrient sources before, or after your exercise sessions.

If you fail to feed your muscle at the right time after exercise, the catabolic process will go too far and can potentially damage your muscle. The correct time to eat is within 30 minutes after your workout. Your meal should include fast-assimilating proteins, such as a high-quality whey protein shake with no sugar added.
Dr. Mercola Miracle Whey Protein Powder (Vanilla)

If you cannot exercise in a fasted state due to fatigue, or simply opt not to for some other reason, you can also consume whey protein before exercise. It’s an excellent breakfast choice. A 2010 study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise demonstrated that consuming whey protein 30 minutes before resistance training can boost your body’s metabolism for as much as 24 hours after your workout.

Dr. Mercola Miracle Whey Protein Powder (Chocolate)Certain amino acids, such as leucine found in high-quality whey protein activate certain cellular mechanisms which promote muscle protein synthesis, boost thyroid, and also protect against declining testosterone levels after exercise. They have also have been found to improve performance in high intensity exercise.

Leucine helps you lose weight and builds muscle when dieting

Leucine triggers muscle growth. Leucine is an essential amino acid, which simply means our bodies cannot produce it and we must get it from dietary sources. Researchers have known about leucine for decades, but exciting new research has shed a new and broader light on this important health-promoting amino acid. Much of protein’s benefits may be attributable to leucine due to its ability to stimulate protein synthesis, help turn on the body’s switch to build muscle and spare muscle when dieting.

Whether you’re interested in building muscle or preventing muscle loss that normally occurs during dieting and aging, stimulating protein synthesis is absolutely key. Most people know that consuming protein induces an increase in muscle protein synthesis, which is why protein supplements are popular to consume after exercise.

A large number of studies have shown that high protein diets help spare muscle loss during dieting and weight loss. Researchers at the University of Illinois conducted studies that examined weight loss diets containing 10 grams of leucine per day and 125 grams total of protein per day.The groups consuming high leucine diets had greater weight loss, greater fat loss and better preservation of lean body mass. In these studies, the high leucine diets also resulted in better glucose control.

The best food sources of leucine include any proteins from animals that naturally contain all the essential amino acids. The protein source with the highest leucine content is whey, which contains about 10% leucine or 10 grams per 100 grams of protein. If you drink a whey protein shake that has about 25 grams of protein, you would get about 2.5 grams of naturally occurring leucine.
Dr. Mercola Miracle Whey Protein Powder (Chocolate)

Eating too many carbs in relation to protein and fat is a big mistake

Scientists have found that as you age, the ratio between protein and carbohydrates is critically important. Research shows that a high-protein/high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet is most effective both for muscle building and weight loss. In order to build muscle, you clearly need calories, but there’s compelling evidence showing that calories from fat are far better than calories from carbohydrates.

To maximize the benefits of exercise, you’ll want to avoid fructose and other sugar drinks, unless you are engaged in intensive and prolonged cardio exercises that will allow you to burn these sugars and not store them as fat. Most casual exercisers and those seeking to mostly improve body composition and optimize health and fitness need to stop using energy drinks, sports drinks, like Gatorade and most energy bars that contain fructose  and even “healthy” drinks like vitamin water.

These fructose laden drinks sabotage your exercise benefits by tricking your body into gaining weight by turning off your body’s appetite-control system. It’s also important to realize that consuming fructose, including that from fruit juices, within two hours of your workout (before or after) will also decimate your natural human growth hormone (HGH) production.

If you are doing high-intensity interval training, such as CrossFit, a major benefit of such exercise is an increase in your HGH, HGH is also known as “the fitness hormone,” and some athletes pay a lot of money for HGH injections. But the combination of eliminating fructose and doing high-intensity interval training while fasting is a natural and the preferred way to optimize your HGH.

Dr. Mercola Miracle Whey Protein Powder (Chocolate)


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