For me, the word mindfulness conjures up the same kinds of images that I get when I hear the word, exercise. In other words, I think “oh, no!” The truth is, when I exercise in any way, shape, or form, I feel good while I’m doing it and afterwards. It’s the same thing when I actually engage in mindfulness practices. So – I definitely need an attitude adjustment!
Mindfulness is a state of being in the present moment. It’s focus, calmness, etc. It’s definitely not self-put-downs or self-recriminations. Yoga and other mindfulness practices such as meditation, taking a bubble bath, being in nature, etc., are great ways to get into that calm, in-the-present mode of being. That’s where you’re at your best.
Self-care is not being self-indulgent. It’s not something that could be negative either. It means you take care of yourself to help promote better health. It’s something that helps you stay balanced. In fact, according to Google Trends, the number of searches for self-care has more than doubled in the past five years or so.
I think we all do self-care to a certain extent (and yoga and mindfulness definitely belong in this category), but are we really doing enough? For all of you helping people, you wonderful, loving people who would rather help others than yourselves, this can turn into a nightmare if you don’t learn how to do a balancing act between taking care of yourself and others.
Do you let others drain you? Do you put your perception of their needs in front of your own? If so, you can benefit from many of our course offerings on our Health and Wellness Online Teachable, whether you are a professional seeking continuing education credits or a parent or just a person who wants to be better informed.
Did I say yoga? Of course, I did – it is one of the best researched, and most effective ways to achieve mindfulness and healing, both in the mental/emotional realm and in the physical body. Remember that old mind-body connection…it’s real and succinct.
Here are just some tangible benefits of practicing yoga:
Since self-care is an umbrella term of sorts – it includes everything, we need to get and stay healthy – this includes our nutrition, cleanliness, getting medical care, taking supplements, practicing mental health care, etc. It can even mean making our spiritual life healthy…after all, we are hard-wired genetically for spirituality! It’s all that we need to do to keep our balance in this chaotic world. It helps us manage stressors from a healthy vantage point, not from an unhealthy one.
Yoga is one of the best researched modes of self-care, and it combines strength building, awareness, and harmony or balance in the mind and the body. In fact, if someone thinks they can have optimal health in one but not the other, I will respectfully beg to differ! One helps promote the other. Together, mind and body, we are stronger in all ways.
There are probably over 100 different types of schools of yoga, but most include breathing exercises, meditation, and posturing or striking poses which help flex different muscle groups. Haven’t you experienced muscles and other types of fasciae getting knotted up? Or when you’re stressed out, how does your back and neck feel?!
It’s important to find the ways that work well for you personally, as an individual, as well as in your tight schedules, to be able to relax and unwind. I know the same to be true of exercise – I like walking but love to dance! So, try a few things and find out what seems to be most beneficial to you. Then practice it a few minutes a day.
And as always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
Many of you know you’re not living the healthiest lifestyle you could be, and especially in today’s world, maybe you’re having some thoughts about changing that up.
But you may not know exactly what to do. We all know that getting rid of our beloved junk foods – foods with empty calories, foods that are overly processed, foods that are laden with chemicals and especially sugar, and foods that have been robbed of their nutrients, is a good idea!
Easier said than done, right?!
Let’s face it – it’s hard work! Don’t let anybody fool you. But if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s the ones who don’t give up that eventually turn their lives around for the better. Also, an occasional excursion into sugar and pizza mania is not likely going to be lethal – as long as it’s really occasional – LOL! (Psst, by the way, I and the internet have recipes for very healthy pizzas and other goodies that actually taste good too!)
So, yes, I start by talking about food, because what we eat represents about 75% of our total health. Adding some well-placed supplements to that list makes this percentage even stronger!
But there are other types of lifestyle changes that we can incorporate, like mindfulness, changing living and work environments, changing our social environments, etc. Have you heard about time management? Of course you have! (And we’re not all always that good at it.)
1) You can start by informing yourself of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, one that will promote optimal healing and abundant health in you and your loved ones. By the way, having worked with kids for about 16 years in a public middle school, I found out that kids watch adults, even adults they don’t know, and so we are in a very strong position to influence them. It makes sense we’d want to influence them in a positive way, right?! Examples of the bigger picture are cutting back or cutting out all junk food unless you make them with healthier ingredients. There are lots of available recipes. Just reach out and ask me for some guidance! Then start adding more health-giving foods each day, like salads made with fresh, preferably organic and varied veggies, and lightly steamed veggies as accompaniments to your meals. I also cook with tons of fresh veggies inside recipes for soups, stews, even meatloaf! It goes without saying that you need to read labels and not buy overly processed, chemical-laden foods. Use real, whole foods. If you want more help on this step, please just reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) The key to success is to start off after learning a lot by making one or two small changes at a time. The first week, cut down or cut out all things with sugar. The next week, continuing with low to no sugar, cut down or cut out anything made with processed grains, like wheat. If you see enriched wheat on the label, it should signal you that this wheat has been stripped of all nutrients first, and then a thimble-full of nutrients have been added back in. So, it’s a no-go! The next week you could cut back or cut out soda, even the ones that are healthier due to sugar content. You get the drift! And don’t be overly worried if you mess up – just start over again. Nobody’s saying this will be easy so be nice and understanding with yourself. Eventually you’ll get it!
3) If you’re not used to moving your body much, identify some things you enjoy or will enjoy doing that involve moving your body. For me the most fun thing I can do is dance. Even if I’m not going anywhere to dance, when I put on some music that moves me, I just dance around my living room! Nobody sees me doing this – LOL! If I get really ambitious, I remember that in earlier years I loved riding my bike and roller skating so I imagine I might be able to get into those things again. This is an individual taste thing, so it’s entirely up to you – even if you just like to take a stroll. Hey, logging in steps everyday is very healthy too!
4) Make lists of healthy foods that you like and be sure to include them in your mealtimes. In other words, slowly start to decrease unhealthy foods and increase healthy foods. If you don’t already take supplements, start with a healthy multiple vitamin – it’s easy and not too pricy!
These things can be accomplished slowly over a few months’ time, unless you want to dive in deeper all at once. It is my belief though that if you start and build up slowly, you may be more inclined to continue.
Above all else, don’t be discouraged if you fall off the wagon. Just forgive yourself and start over again. If you think you need extra help, you can reach out to me for a free 30-minute consultation, and we can go from there! If you want more help on this step, please just reach out to me at email@example.com.
And, as always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
You know, there was a time when our food supplies were so healthy that we didn’t need to even manufacture supplements, let alone take them! Those times, unfortunately, are long gone.
With the ushering in of the industrial revolution especially, this had both good and bad effects. Food became much more abundantly available on a widespread basis. However, preserving of foods had to happen due to food being shipped to other places farther away and the food would not stay fresh that long.
So, companies started using chemical additives, pesticides, herbicides, etc., and began to invent ways to create calories using not only chemicals, but also other heavily processed foods like wheat and sugar. In fact, some food became so nutritionally deficient, that vitamin C had to be added back in to prevent scurvy, and vitamin B to prevent pellagra. After stripping these foods of their nutrients, the ones added back in were negligible in terms of their ability to create health. In other words, it was enough to prevent certain diseases, but otherwise very nutrient deficient.
Even foods grown locally today as well as organically are not quite as nutrient dense as they once were, although it’s gotten a lot better! Making crucial lifestyle changes in our diets is about ¾ the battle of regaining robust health, and taking supplements helps this endeavor even further.
As today’s lifestyles are busy and hectic and we multi-task all the time, juggling work, pleasure, kids, parents, social life, etc. – it is certainly challenging enough to get even sufficient nutrients into our diets. Remember, too, that stress eats up our nutrients faster in our bodies.
So, working on improving the quality of our diets and even more, learning what our individual bodies need at any given time, is a great first step (I can give you tips on how to do this, too), but adding targeted supplements which your body can actually absorb and use efficiently, is for sure a great added step.
Remember, taking supplements without improving your diet does not quite cut it!
Some benefits of taking supplements are that you can age more healthfully, although everyone ages! We need better absorption and more nutrient density as we age, but not to worry – it’s not so hard to get that done.
Supplements have the ability to help you reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. Usually, the B vitamins are the ones which get this job done. Red meat, which has been unfairly vilified in my opinion, is a great source of B vitamins!
There are other supplements which are very heart healthy – yes, it’s the B vitamins again, magnesium, CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10), etc. Omega 3’s are also known to be heart healthy, and vitamin E is also good in this regard.
Your immune system can be greatly supported with supplements, like vitamins C, E, and D. Anything that gives an antioxidant effect, food or supplement-wise supports your immune system. Eating fermented foods is another good step, although some of this can also be procured by supplements, such as probiotics.
And don’t forget to also eat prebiotics (like green bananas and a small piece of raw potato -ugh – but it works). Yogurt containing lots of live active cultures is healthy in this regard, as is certain herbs like elderberry and perhaps even some homeopathic remedies, like allium cepa, oscillococcinum, etc.
Did you know your eyes could be improved by taking certain supplements? For example, vitamins E, C, and A, plus selenium are very helpful for eye health. So are zeaxanthin and lutein.
Of course, supplements can help keep your bones strong – something that is increasingly important as you age. Getting enough vitamin D is helpful, both from sun exposure but also by supplement, plus calcium, magnesium, and a host of others.
In this day and age of dementia – the most prominent one being Alzheimer’s – supplements can act protectively by keeping brain function in good shape. Some recommended supplements are fish oil containing omega 3 fatty acids, resveratrol, found in the skin of purple and red fruits, such as grapes, raspberries, and blueberries. Caffeine also stimulates the brain and central nervous system, but don’t use this as a license to overdo it! And if you’re sensitive to caffeine, don’t take it because there are plenty of other supplements to get the job done!
Well, there’s a lot more I can say on this topic – in fact, I could write a book about it and may do just that someday – LOL – but suffice it to say supplements are crucial to building health, maintaining it, and preventing disease!
Always remember to work with a highly competent health care professional!
This does not mean you can’t and shouldn’t do your own research as well.
And as always, please have a happy and holistically healthy day!
Today’s world is chock full of stress. If you’re a parent trying to navigate through this pandemic, or if you’re an adult or a professional, I think we can all agree that there’s more stress than ever before. These times have led to some very dramatic changes in our daily lives.
Increasing numbers of people – for good reason – are focusing on their own health and wellness and if you’re a parent, that of your kids as well. Because of this, growth of the supplement industry here in America has increased over 12% just in 2020 alone. The market size in this current year (2021) which is not yet over was $151.9 billion!
Supplements give us extra protection from all kinds of things. Besides supplements for beauty and skin care, collagen added to a smoothie can do way more for you than help with wrinkles although that is a very nice benefit! Collagen is the major protein in your connective tissues, including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles. Hey, we can all use a boost of something to help us look and feel younger – all this worry and stress ages us faster – LOL!
Lending support to these systems no matter what your age is protective, especially for older adults, as stress can bring about a weakening of all systems. Did you know that stress uses up the supplements in your body faster than normal?
Collagen hydrates and gives your skin structure and elasticity plus helps strengthen your bones. If you use a hydrolyzed form, this means it has been broken down making it more absorbable in your digestive tract.
As we’re living through a terrifying pandemic which creates so much stress and weakens the immune system, we have seen a 50% increase in people looking for immune-supportive supplements. There are a bunch of great supplements good for supporting the immune system, like vitamins B, C, D, plus elderberry, echinacea, astragalus, turmeric, and ginger are quite useful in this vein too.
Perhaps the one most trending and possibly the most important is vitamin D, which has been getting a lot of press due to its many-faceted benefits. Also known as the sunshine vitamin because it’s produced in your skin by exposure to sunlight, we know it’s a fat-soluble vitamin which has a family of compounds. Vitamin D helps regulate calcium and phosphorus and facilitates normal immune system function. It helps in the development of bones and teeth and has been noted to improve resistance against many diseases.
Vitamin D has been noted to reduce your risk of multiple sclerosis and decrease your chance of developing heart disease. In these times when so many people are getting vaccinated with a newer and more experimental gene therapy, there have been many reports of myocarditis. Isn’t good to know that you are taking some supplements that are protective of your heart?!
Vitamin D is also known to reduce your chance of getting the flu. It’s also very useful in reducing depression (rampant and raging during these trying times) and may play a meaningful role in calming anxiety as well.
Magnesium is also a much-needed supplement. Magnesium can help us navigate through migraines and is also known for improving sleep. I don’t know about you, but I’m increasingly finding that my sleep quality is a major tool against all the stress.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. A majority of magnesium is found in your bones, and the rest is found in muscles, soft tissues, and fluids, including the bloodstream. Every cell needs magnesium to function.
Magnesium helps convert food into energy and assists in the creation of new proteins made from amino acids. It also is instrumental in creating and repairing DNA and RNA. Magnesium is also involved in contracting and relaxing muscles, and also helps regulate neurotransmitters like serotonin. Unfortunately, about half of the people in America and Europe get less than the minimal recommended amount each day.
It's not hard to see what a critical role supplements play normally in our daily existence. They become even more important when living during times of high stress. Daily life is stressful enough, and when catastrophes occur, stress multiples exponentially.
However, we don’t have to worry about this! So many of us have faith and those who do should definitely use it to the max! We have an abundance of health-giving foods in America, and we can maximize consuming these and minimize “treating” our stress levels with junk food. Yes, it’s a very mindful and disciplined process, but you can do it! Plus, we can support each other in doing so. Supplements are also a critical part of our diet, and they give us extra added protection in so many way.
As always, I wish you a happy, holistically healthy day!
We have been inundated with reasons why our cholesterol is too high and that it’s bad for us. Then there’s the idea that there’s “good” cholesterol and “bad cholesterol.” Then we take a ratio of the good and the bad, and voilà – we have a percentage of average risk. Who can really understand all this, and what is this science based on?
Let’s understand that cholesterol is necessary and very much needed by the human brain. A huge part of our brain is composed of cholesterol! A doctor I used to go to once told me that he had patients coming in complaining of brain fog, and when tested, their cholesterol levels were very low. When they began to eat healthy foods containing cholesterol, their clarity of thinking improved.
So, let’s see why we need cholesterol first. Although higher levels of “bad” cholesterol have been linked to heart disease and are still problematic, the Cleveland Clinic says that we don’t have to worry anymore about eating foods high in cholesterol. (If you have diabetes, many cardiologists believe you should still avoid foods high in cholesterol.)
Our genes are more implicated in heart disease than diet. If your body is wired genetically to create high levels of bad cholesterol, what you eat is not going to affect that. On the other hand, the field of epigenetics (how environment and your genes interact) shows us that we can quiet adverse gene expression through higher quality diet, supplements, mindfulness, etc.
Just be sure you work with a very competent health care practitioner – you don’t want to play Russian Roulette with your health!
Cholesterol is needed to maintain cell health and build cells, and it is a precursor for synthesizing things like sex hormones, the bile in the liver, and vitamin D. So, folks, we really do need it!
However, if our percentages of good to bad are out of whack, and so many of us have this problem, it’s time to go to work on our diets. Start by cutting way back or completely out the junky foods and drinks full of sugar and refined grains and other chemicals. That’s a big part of the problem. Read food labels and avoid foods containing hydrogenated oils, or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, for one big example. This has even been banned by the FDA earlier this year.
Eat foods that are healthy – even saturated fats. For example, although many will cry out in horror, meat fat consumed in moderation will not be harmful for most people! Coconut oil, a very healthy fat, is a saturated fat so you get a green light on that.
Foods which can help lower LDL cholesterol are oats, barley, beans, eggplant, nuts, fruits such as applies, grapes, strawberries, and citrus fruits, being rich in pectin, represent soluble fiber that helps lower LDL. Fatty fishes (think mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, trout – preferably wild caught) can also help, because they are rich in omega-e fats, which help in the battle against high triglyceride levels. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids are also helpful. It almost goes without saying that extra virgin olive oil is heart healthy – go for the cold-pressed ones, as needed nutrients are not lost through the heating process this way.
A few supplements which are protective of your cholesterol levels are niacin (vitamin B-3), soluble fiber, psyllium, garlic, red yeast rice (white rice fermented with yeast), ginger, which is completely healthy for your gut as well as tasting yummy, and flaxseed.
Make other needed lifestyle changes. If you’re a smoker, or perhaps even a drug user, STOP! I know it is much easier said than done, but please work on it because your life may depend on this. In fact, if you quit cigarettes, after 20 minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the spiking that smoking causes. Within three months of quitting, lung and blood circulation function start to improve. Within a year, your risk of heart disease is 50% lower than people who still smoke!
Please get enough exercise that you find invigorating and fun. You’re probably not going to continue to exercise forever if you’re not having fun doing it. You can do this in moderation – too little won’t be much help, and neither will too much! (You can actually hurt yourself by exercising too much.)
Although it is just one of many, many diverse health factors, it can be helpful to lose some weight. If you have a lot to lose, this may be especially beneficial. However, just changing your diet may help in this path to recovery.
If you enjoy alcoholic beverages, please do so in moderation. As a drug counselor and prevention specialist, I would not recommend drinking every day. In fact, a couple times a month is plenty in my opinion, and I’m talking about one to two drinks. You shouldn’t get tipsy – if you do, in my educated opinion (remember – I’m a nerd!), it’s too much.
I cannot recommend starting mindfulness activities on a daily basis. This can even be five minutes a day! Do something you enjoy, which helps calm you, relax you, and helps you be in the present moment. Some favorites are diffusing essential oils, bubble baths, reading, taking a walk in the woods, etc.
If you find yourself in a dangerous position with your cholesterol, you can implement natural ways to lower it and also take medication until you can lower the amounts of medication needed or stop completely. This is a good way to control for negative side effects.
As always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
So many people have high blood pressure! Whether you’re one of them or you know someone with this issue, not to worry…always make sure you get checked out by a competent health care provider. According to the American Heart Association, about half of all adult Americans have hypertension.
Do not let this go untreated. It can develop into a heart attack, a stroke, and other adverse health effects – but that goes without saying. Of course, there are many medications available, and I would suggest if you have an acute case of high blood pressure and need to get it under control while working out alternatives to getting it down to normal levels, by all means take them.
There are lifestyle changes you can make including mindfulness activities, nutritional changes, supplements, and exercises. These are all advisable changes to make no matter what your situation is. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right?!
Let’s start with exercise. If you’re not very physically fit, do exercises by starting a little at a time. For example, if you can walk, try to get 1,000 steps in a day, slowly increasing them as you are able. I use my phone to track steps as it worked the best out of all ways I tried. So, I try to have my cell phone in my pocket most of the time.
You can also run or go on a treadmill, or you can ride a bike, go swimming, etc. Make sure you do this also under supervision of a competent health care practitioner, so you don’t end up hurting yourself!
If you read my information regularly, you know what a huge fan I am of healthy nutrition! What you put into your mouth accounts for about 75% of your overall health, so it’s very important. General guidelines are consuming fresh produce, especially veggies, don’t overload carbs or starches, and when consuming, use whole grains. Use moderate amount of healthy fats, like full butter if you eat dairy (although it’s mostly fat), extra virgin olive oil, etc. Oils should ideally be cold pressed for better nutritional value. If you eat meat, use high quality red meats and poultry, fish, etc. For example, use organic or natural, grass-fed meat, free range chickens, wild caught or responsibly farmed fish, etc. All of this will increase nutritional value and decrease toxic load.
Adding supplements which are heart healthy is an excellent idea. If you have serious health conditions, please check with your competent health care practitioner before embarking on a supplemental protocol to make sure it’s healthy for you. Although there aren’t many, there are a few supplements that don’t play nicely with certain medications and health conditions, so err on the side of caution and be sure!
Take a high-quality multiple vitamin/mineral to cover nutritional bases. One of the healthiest supplements you can take for your heart is Coenzyme A10 or CoQ10, as it’s nicknamed. Since fiber is very heart healthy, you should be getting ample amounts through your diet, but you can also add a fiber supplement like psyllium husks. Omega-3 fatty acids are very heart healthy. Many people take fish oil (make sure you purchase one that is highly absorbable), but I personally take Icelandic Cod Liver Oil, as my body uses this much more efficiently than fish oil.
Magnesium is also heart healthy. So is the amino acid L-Carnitine. Green tea, which is something you can drink, can also be taken as a supplement. Garlic is also extremely heart healthy, and you can eat it (my preference – almost all of my dishes have garlic in them) or take them in supplement form. Pomegranates are also heart healthy, and again, you can drink it or take it in supplement form.
If you’re a smoker, please do everything you can do to quit! As a drug counselor, I get it – much easier said than done. Tobacco is highly addictive and really tough to beat, but people do it successfully all the time … so can you!
Many recommend reducing salt intake; in any case, use salt a bit sparingly and use healthy salt preparations such as kosher salt, or red sea salt, as well as other options.
If you’re overweight, changing your diet may help you lose weight, which is a good idea for heart health.
It also goes without saying that reducing your stress load is desirable. Think about everything you do, and perhaps you can streamline and omit some things that are not particularly necessary or helpful to you. So, time management is in order! Many people need to learn how to say no more often – is that you?!
Mindfulness activities help greatly in reducing stress and helping you be calm and focused so you can think more clearly and make better decisions. Think yoga, meditation, binaural beats, deep meditation music, bubble baths, reading, being in nature, etc. Do what works best for you – after all, you are an individual. What relaxes you the best? Remember to take time off and go on vacations or at least staycations.
Lasting change often comes gradually. So don’t overload yourself all at once. Do a little bit each day, sustaining it, and adding onto it. I know you can do this!
If you have questions or need help, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And as always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
There’s no doubt about it – Vitamin D has been trending in the news within the last couple of years, mainly in conjunction with whether it can help in treating COVID or not. But Vitamin D is very helpful in conjunction with kidney function, as well. For some reason, we have been seeing many inquiries about this in recent weeks.
It’s well known that Vitamin D is nicknamed the sunshine vitamin due to the fact that our bodies – particularly the skin – make it in response to sunlight. Our liver converts this Vitamin D from the sunlight to the form that is measured by a blood test. So, spending a bit more time in the sun is a great way to up your levels of this all-important vitamin.
You can also get Vitamin D through certain foods and supplements which will ensure that you have ample levels in your bloodstream. Vitamin D is fat soluble. Salmon, herring, and sardines contain Vitamin D. So does cod liver oil, canned tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms, and other fortified foods (think milk). Spinach also has the vitamin, as well as kale, okra, collards, soybeans, white beans, etc.
Too much Vitamin D can hurt your kidneys. Since it’s fat soluble, it stays in your body longer than if it were water soluble (where things wash out quickly). So, it’s important to have just the right amount! Most people either have adequate amounts when measured in their blood, or they have too little, which can make us vulnerable to other disease since it’s important to immune function.
Too much of this wonderful vitamin can also contribute to constipation, nausea, and kidney stones. So, it’s very important to work with a competent healthcare practitioner and have it measured occasionally so you really know where your level is. If it’s low, then you can take supplementation or try focusing on the foods that are rich in Vitamin D and spend a bit more time in the sun!
But how is it supposed to help kidney function?
There are also many benefits to having enough Vitamin D in your body. It may play a role in reduction of risk for multiple sclerosis, decrease your chance of developing heart disease, and help reduce your risk of getting the flu.
Vitamin D can reduce depression, according to some clinical studies. Another study was conducted with people who have fibromyalgia, and it showed that Vitamin D deficiency was more prevalent in these people dealing with anxiety and depression.
Vitamin D may help with weight loss or in heart disease. In a study conducted with overweight people, those who took a daily Vitamin D supplement together with calcium were able to lose more weight than those taking a placebo. In another study with overweight individuals, those who supplemented daily with Vitamin D showed improved heart disease risk markers.
Healthy kidneys have many Vitamin D receptors, and they help turn the vitamin into its active form. If you have kidney disease, your kidneys cannot activate the Vitamin D. Without the ability to control calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood, your parathyroid hormone goes outside of its normal healthy level.
Recommended doses vary, from about 400 IU up to 2000 IU per day. I like to err on the side of caution and find out where my blood level is first!
Several herbs have been studied and are known to be good for the kidneys, as well. These are milk thistle which contains silymarin and helps repair kidney tissue faster and is chock full of antioxidants. It is known to reduce inflammation in the kidneys as well. Marshmallow root is known to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal. This root can act as a diuretic which can help flush out toxins from the kidneys.
Parsley – of all things – contains many flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all good for the kidneys. Like marshmallow root, it can have a diuretic effect. Beetroot helps dilate blood vessels, increasing blood flow, which enhances your kidney function. Beetroot is also anti-inflammatory. Ginger, also great for the digestive tract, can lower inflammation and remove toxins from your organs.
The great news is that many people can recover if their kidneys are not functioning well. Eating a very healthy diet and taking some needed supplements like Vitamin D in appropriate amounts, practicing mindfulness, reducing stress, and more goes a very long way toward helping everything in your body including your kidneys achieve improvement and abundant health.
And, as always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
This is a wonderful time of year, celebrating the holidays. However, as we all know, the food and drinks are often not so healthy! You may have the mindset that in order to be nutritious and good for the immune system, such food and drinks can’t possibly be all that yummy. But wait - that’s just not true!
Let’s look at some possibilities for delicious yet healthy drinks. While you can probably buy them somewhere, you should also consider making them yourself!
Sparkling Apple Cinnamon
For instance, ingredients like apples always pair well with cinnamon. Since apples have quite a bit of sugar occurring naturally in them, consider combining cold, pure apple juice with some sparkling spring water. Add a good natural source of cinnamon to it and you can even put a cinnamon stick into the drink because it looks so good! Apples have quercetin, which is an antioxidant that has brain protective properties. Do you want the drink warm? Slightly heat up your drink using regular spring water or add a little real cream or coconut water (or combination according to taste). Apples also have phytochemicals which may help protect against colon cancer, heart disease, plus diabetes. Plus, phytochemicals can protect against infections and other invaders like viruses so they’re good for your immune system. Yum. Also consider sugar-free pomegranate juice (please read the ingredients on the label or just make it yourself from the actual fruit), as well as drinks containing lemons and limes. Berries are lower in sugar and can really sweeten and brighten up a holiday drink. Just be careful with the alcohol – if you use it at all, use it in moderation. That’s needs no explanation!
Healthy Hot Chocolate
Let’s look at making some delicious hot chocolate for the season, but in a healthier way. You can use real cream, or half-and-half, or coconut milk, etc. as the base. Then you can melt some high cacao percentage dark chocolates from either a bar or as chocolate chips (you can buy them in most supermarkets – use at least 60% cacao or higher which is healthier). There is a little sugar in the chocolate to sweeten, but you can also use 100% cacao chocolate from a bar or powder, and use a healthier sweetener like erythritol, or stevia. These ingredients are available for purchase in almost every grocery store. Erythritol behaves just like an antioxidant so it may also be immune-protective. It does not spike the blood sugar or insulin. Stevia leaves are the sweetest part of the plant. Stevia may help lower insulin and blood sugar levels. Be careful about purchasing over-the-counter preparations as some of them are more processed than others and are combined with ingredients that may not be so healthy. Now dark chocolate has many health benefits! It is fiber-rich and provides several minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc, etc. Dark chocolate, while it contains some caffeine, will not keep you up at night because there’s just not that much in there! Dark chocolate also is a terrific source of antioxidants, so it is another boost to the immune system.
Mashed Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes
Now let’s move onto the food. Basically, you can make any recipe healthy, or at least healthier, by using the right ingredients. Most of us have heard of mashed cauliflower. Well – it’s delicious when made well. If you consume dairy, add some real butter and cream when mashing. It looks like mashed potatoes and unless you’re really paying attention, you might even assume you are eating mashed potatoes! Cauliflower does not spike your blood sugar, but white potatoes might. Cauliflower contains many minerals and some vitamins, is low in calories (that is until you start adding the cream and butter….), and high in fiber. It is also a great source of antioxidants which is immune system protective and staves off inflammation. You can also prepare mashed sweet potatoes in a similar manner. While this has more starch, it is also a great source of fiber, vitamins (think B and C), and a variety of minerals. They contain beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A (another antioxidant) when you eat them and are thus also good for the immune system. Use your imagination for adding other ingredients, like coconut butter, a tiny touch of maple syrup, etc. In fact, if you use a family recipe, just swap out unhealthy ingredients (like table sugar) and use something healthier. (Do they have to be overly sweet?!)
Low-Starch Turkey Stuffing
Do you roast a traditional turkey for the holidays? If so, most likely the only possible unhealthy ingredient is the stuffing, which is usually made with white flour. There are gluten-free options out there, although they are not starch free, but it’s a “cheat” you might consider just this once. You can put the same seasonings and veggies in it. In fact, many people make breads these days out of almond and coconut flour, which have antioxidants, so you might consider making a loaf of bread with these (which are much lower in starch), slicing it, and toasting it. Then cube it to create your stuffing mix, add your favorite seasonings, and prepare as you would any other stuffing mix.
Veggie Based Dips
How about healthy dips? First of all, think healthier carbs. You can use split peas for example with onion, garlic, salt, and other ingredients and put it in the food processor. Add a little olive oil and/or lemon juice. Split peas may also help blood sugar levels and are known to be heart health protective. Or you could consider a dip made largely of any combination of veggies, which are of course healthy for the immune system and a lot of other things! Consider serving with rice crackers or raw veggie slices. Consider making an onion dip by sautéing onions, salt, and pepper till browned, and adding it to some Greek yogurt, or sour cream (or a combination). You can put chives on top!
Basically, you can dial back the holiday junk foods, sodas, etc. and create some new and delicious holiday food traditions using real, unadulterated ingredients. These are always healthier, and flavors are also often brighter. Search online for inspiration and recipes – there are many online. While we haven’t gone into healthier baked goods here, there are many recipes to be found online, according to the eating style you are following.
As always, have a happy, holistically healthy day and holiday season!
As we are all aware, we are living in unprecedented times of internet use. So, it makes sense, given all the concerns of being online in various formats, to learn how to navigate through this successfully. (I’m thinking of social media, YouTube, just being online looking things up, doing schoolwork online…you get my drift.)
Ever since the times when internet use became widely available to all, parents wanted kids to turn off their televisions, phones, desktops, laptops, etc. and spend more time doing activities which might help them be more creative, develop their communication skills more, and help them become more of their individual selves.
Of course, all of this can happen while being online, too!
As of 2019, American kids were spending up to about 8 hours a day in front of screens, with maybe one hour spent outside. The downside to so much screen time is poorer sleep quality, increased stress levels of the unhealthy kind, lessening of attention span, and more.
Did you know that when your kids spend more time doing outside activities their moods improve, their attention spans increase, and even ADHD symptoms have been clinically noted to be reduced?
Outside activities promote better quality energy release, and kids get more Vitamin D from soaking in the sunshine – a big plus when it comes to immunity. Even the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin, the natural way the body has to not be depressed and feel happy, increases its production.
Since a pandemic was declared in early 2020, continuing through 2021, more than 1.5 billion kids and teens are online, learning, socializing, getting exposed to dangers like sexual exploitation and cyberbullying (or harassment), and violence (not to mention other adults).
So, what can you do about all of this?
You as parents, or even just adults, can let your government representatives know of your concerns and encourage them to offer free awareness and education on child safety while being online.
You can also learn about and implement security and protection measures already available to you if you aren’t already doing this.
You can let your schools know your concerns about being online and ask them what safety precautions they are taking on your kids’ behalf.
As to what you can do as a family unit, you can set limits on screen time and schedule activities like reading to your kids before bedtime, family night board games (or other types of games), and you can go bike riding together.
Use your imagination as to what other types of activities you and your family might relate to, and don’t be afraid to try out different things. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised (or you can know what you never want to do again, too!).
Since many things have reopened, maybe you can go miniature golfing or go to a museum! Maybe your family enjoys tennis. Or perhaps you can equip your back yard with games like building a labyrinth or shoot some hoops.
You’re only limit is your imagination!
It’s also a good idea to check on everyone’s mental health during such times. If you have a good insurance plan, you might have counseling services available. There are also many free services out there, so check your local areas for information.
Supporting your mental health will also help support your physical health, and vice versa. So, make sure you and your family eat plenty of fresh veggies in the form of salads, lightly steamed, or stir-fried, fresh whole grains (if you are inclined to eat them), and good quality protein sources. Go easy on highly processed foods, especially wheat and other refined grains and anything with sugar and other chemicals in it.
For those of you who eat meat, I often find high quality meat in the marked down section of my grocery store. I buy and throw them in the freezer. I’ve been doing that a long time and have never had anything go bad on me.
Above all else, practice excellent self-care, both for yourselves and your kids, and teach your kids how to do this too!
And, as always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
- Dr. P
Certainly, I think nearly everybody would agree that these are trying times. It’s been about a year and a half since this “pandemic” was proclaimed…worldwide.
Many of us don’t know what to think or do. Should we be worried or not so much? What are we to think when there is so much contradictory information coming down the pike, right?!
First of all, our beautifully crafted human bodies are designed to fight off marauding invaders successfully. This means anything from a virus (as is the case here) or a bacterial growth, a bite from a predator in nature, etc. We do this through our immune system.
Our bodies are so wondrously designed that even if we are genetically programmed for certain weaknesses (and we are), there are more natural ways to quell the expression of those adverse gene combinations which leaves us feeling, well…pretty darned good!
I’m living proof of that. If you haven’t been following my writings, then I’m here to tell you I conquered debilitating and lethal autoimmune disease, plus a host of other undesirable (potential) conditions.
I would have to say that for the past 25 or so years I have been studying and working directly with people in various capacities (like counseling, teaching, and consulting), and for those who have followed holistic ways of living, supervised by competent professionals, I haven’t seen them fail.
So, how do you do it?
Holistic means that you look at something as interconnected parts of a whole. In the health arena, it means that you learn and implement multiple lifestyle changes to create a healthy, resistant, resilient new you!
Okay – easier said than done!
One of the most important changes you can make to improve immunity is by changing your diet. In broad, general terms, you do this through lowering or eliminating your junk food habits (eating junk foods only if they’re made in a truly healthy manner).
Unfortunately, this includes so many foods we just love, like soda (both those with sugar and with alternative sweeteners), cakes, other baked goods, pizza, chips, and more. But remember that most of these foods and drinks can be made in a healthy way, so don’t despair…completely! LOL!
The two main dietary culprits are wheat (including other starches) and sugar. If something says sugar free on the label, check it out to see if it has other forms of sugar that our government says we can term “sugar free.” This is important, especially if you are really vulnerable to these so-called foods. Most of us are.
It is important to start adding healthier foods. Whole foods, like meats, cheeses, lots of low- to no-starch veggies, salads, lightly steamed, stir-fried, etc. I hated this when I first started but my taste buds changed so now, I actually crave these foods.
Please know that everyone’s body is different, plus our needs change, so there is no one-size-fits-all diet approach to good health.
Veggies and a little fruit (they have sugar) are very immune-friendly. So are foods that are fermented. Do you like miso soup? Enjoy it, it’s fermented! I like mine with a touch of sesame oil in it. Kimchi is also fermented, and sauerkraut, and even pickles (make them yourself without sugar and chemicals please).
Eat healthy yogurt which is full of probiotics, healthy fat, and other nutrients. A prebiotic food is something like a piece of green banana or a small piece of a raw white potato! These work in tandem with probiotics.
Avoid foods and products that have been more than minimally processed. Start cooking more! And please try to avoid foods with chemicals in them, as they are not healthy.
There are basic supplements that are always good to take, like a good multiple (I’m not thinking of those overly processed ones in the conventional arena), antioxidants (I’m thinking about Vitamins C and more), but a great multi vitamin should have lots of these included, so READ LABELS!
Working with a competent health practitioner will enhance your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients that are so desperately needed. I can’t recommend this enough. But, having said that, there are so many excellent sources of information available online. You just have to know which ones are better in general and specifically for you. Some might be excellent for some, but your body doesn’t absorb them!
Now, if your immune health needs work, it might be a good idea to take extra precautions while you’re building up your own body’s ability to fight. If you’ve had an organ transplant, or if you’re on multiple medications, then err on the side of caution.
Even if you can’t be (professionally) weaned from your medications, eating a diet full of foods that are healthy for you will still make you stronger and healthier!
I always prefer to lay the foundation of diet and supplementation first, because therein lies about ¾ of your total health, including your immune system.
If you are interested in learning more about health for your immune system, please check out the full holistic guide designed just to do that: Immunity for Your Health.
Other things you can do for your immune health are taking time for self-care, especially in the form of mindfulness activities. This can be different for each person, so experiment! For some it is meditation. For others it’s listening to music, taking a bubble bath, or turning on binaural beats (sound waves).
Do you have too much stress in your life? It’s time to change that as well! Too much negative stress overtaxes the body, and the immune system can easily take a hit. Time management is a great skill to hone or build. A great resource with tips and activity prompts for managing stress is my holistic guide Mindfulness for Your Total Health.
Remember – you have to be the one to take good care of yourself!
And as always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
- Dr. P