Nutritional emptiness. That’s what sugar is. Oh it certainly delights the palate and that is one reason to love it or even become addicted to it, but it’s certainly not in our best interest. The history of man’s love of sugar goes way back. The difference between now and then is that whole fruits accounted for most of the sugar in primitive man’s diet, so he was getting the whole package. Vitamins, minerals, fiber .. these all paid the body back, so to speak, for the energy it was putting out to digest the food it was taking in. I’ll explain more about that below.
Now the whole point of sugar and other carbohydrates in the diet are to provide the body with energy. You’ve likely experienced a feeling of hunger at one time or another. That is your body signaling that blood sugar has dropped and it’s time to refuel. Refined sugar (sucrose) goes right to the bloodstream so it makes sense that it is an easy modern-day go-to for a quick energy boost. Unfortunately, there are several problems associated with that, not the least of which is that the short-lived burst of energy you get is followed by lethargy and weakness, which results in yet another sugar fix to drive your blood sugar back up. The cycle then continues.
Sugar can be characterized as an “anti-nutrient”. Rather than contributing to the pool of nutrients responsible for the energy of the body, it automatically depletes that pool.
Sugar can be regarded as “empty calories”, and that presents a huge health concern. Digestion and metabolism require energy. To generate energy, the body must use a variety of nutrients. Because refined sugar has every nutrient processed out of it, it cannot pay the body back for the energy used to digest and metabolize itself! In other words, the nutrients used must be replaced by robbing the vitamin and mineral reserves of the body, further depleting these with every bite. Over time this leads to malnutrition, setting the stage for chronic health issues and serious disease.
Believe it or not, malnutrition is a serious modern-day concern, even in the obese.
Not only are we a high-sugar society today, but we also rely quite a bit on manufactured foods. These “fake foods” that come in boxes and bags and other man-made packaging are similar to refined sugar in that they have been stripped of most of their nutrients. In addition, these foods often have plenty of hidden sugar in an effort to improve taste when fats have been limited or removed. All of this will provide short spurts of energy as described above, while providing nothing to help the body live, let alone thrive. Modern-day malnutrition. So yes, it is quite possible to be overweight, even obese, and still lack adequate stores of the vitamins and minerals necessary to be well, thanks to diets high in refined carbs and empty calories.
There are a couple of [NASTY] things that do benefit from sugar . . .
First and foremost, sugar feeds yeast. Think athlete’s foot, jock itch, vaginal infections, skin rashes, thrush (whitish coating inside the cheeks or on the tongue)… not pleasant stuff. What’s even more unpleasant is when yeast (otherwise known as Candida albicans) goes way overboard and becomes a systemic problem. It can grow out of control in your digestive tract and, quite honestly, all over your insides if given the opportunity. This itself causes nutrient malabsorption and weakened immunity. Legitimately, the body views candida as an infection and acts to fight that infection, which in turn takes energy from your immune system’s front line that typically defends against the other viruses and bacteria making the rounds.
Next and even nastier: Did you know that cancer cells need sugar to survive? Okay, all cells need glucose to survive. Or do they? Apparently not, it turns out. Healthy cells are able to survive without glucose because they switch to an alternate fuel – ketone bodies. A defect in cancer cells do not allow for the same adjustment and they are therefore 100% dependent on glucose for survival. So when you take away the glucose … in essence starving the cancer cells … they die. The “Ketogenic Diet”, an anti-cancer diet currently at the media forefront, consists of natural proteins and fats but close to zero carbohydrates. Research, along with a bunch of anecdotal stories, indicates that it works to kill the cancer cells.
Okay, so it turns out that there is really nothing good about sugar when it comes to your health. And keep in mind I only covered a few things here, in an effort to keep the blog post under control. Don’t forget about things like insulin resistance and diabetes, premature aging, the well-known ill effects of sugar on dental health, mental health, behavior, etc. While you are considering all of this, don’t strive for perfection. Every little bit of sugar you avoid is one big step in a healthier direction!
Hoffer, Abram, and Morton Walker. Putting It All Together: The New Orthomolecular Nutrition. New Canaan, CT: Keats, 1996.
Ballentine, Rudolph. Diet & Nutrition: A Holistic Approach. Honesdale, PA: Himalayan International Institute, 2007.
Negative emotions do more than make you feel bad psychologically. They also change your body chemistry, and not for the better. This is what happens:
Every time you feel negative emotions your body responds as though it is being chased by a hungry tiger. Digestion, elimination and healing shut down so that all energy can be directed toward keeping your senses alert and your heart pumping with the goal of getting away fast. Sure, nobody wants to face the threat of a hungry tiger, but at least that would be a temporary concern – once the tiger is gone you can resume your peaceful existence until another tiger shows up.
Unfortunately in today’s world negative emotions can be the rule rather than the exception. We often hold onto these feelings long-term, so our bodies really never get the chance to rest and regenerate. Instead, time passes and the emotion festers, wearing down the body internally. Rather than recognize it and deal with the feeling at its very core, we stay occupied, sometimes excessively so, in an attempt to forget about it. Unfortunately, the body doesn’t forget. Tension mounts – even over the smallest things, the immune system weakens, there is insufficient energy for detoxification, causing damage to organs and tissues until your body regains enough energy to push out waste and toxins, breathing becomes shallow and does not supply enough oxygen to your blood and organs, and digestion becomes problematic.
If you find yourself stuck in negative feelings like anger, resentment, fear or even guilt, do what it takes to move beyond that. Use deep breathing, counseling or other healing techniques such as meditation or yoga to change your perspective and get to the bottom of it. Your long-term health depends on it.
Unfortunately, they could be living inside you right now. Yes, parasites -those disgusting wormlike microbes that reside inside of a host, stealing nutrients and excreting toxic waste. We tend to think of this being the stuff of jungle tribes. Yet even in our developed country microbes such as parasites, bacteria, yeast and fungus can be linked to a multitude of diseases and chronic conditions. In fact, recent studies estimate that 85% of the adult population of North America is infected with at least one form of parasite!
Microorganisms such as those listed above can lie dormant in the body for many years until they are “awakened” by certain foods, medications, chemicals or immune dysfunction. How did they get in there in the first place? Undercooked meat, especially beef, pork and raw fish, contaminated water, travel to undeveloped countries, unwashed fruits and veggies, exposure to animals (that includes pets!) and mosquitoes are the most common sources. The good news is there are natural ways to prevent these bugs from setting up house in our body, or at least lessening their stay, even after we have been exposed.
First and foremost, maintain a healthy colon. Constipation, leading to the buildup of fecal matter on the colon wall, provides an ideal breeding ground for these nasty bugs. Take a high quality probiotic daily to insure that you have an abundance of “good” bacteria to overpower the parasites and harmful bacteria. Lots of fiber in the diet is also very effective at keeping these guys at bay. Psyllium husk is my fiber of choice.
If you suspect that you are infected with microbes of any kind, it is prudent to avoid all sugars, as this is their food of choice. Also take as much of the load off of your liver as possible by eliminating alcohol and both environmental and food-based chemicals. The less junk that your liver must filter out through the day, the more energy can be spent to rid your body of these unhealthy bugs. Many folks also find periodic colon cleanses helpful in eliminating any foreign invaders. There are a variety of cleansing kits available, most of which use some form of fiber along with anti-parasitic and anti-fungal herbs together or at different stages in a daily regimen.
How do you know if these bugs have taken up residence in your body? A few of the most common symptoms of parasites in humans include: a bloated tummy, inability to lose weight, dark circles under the eyes, teeth grinding, bad breath or body odor, anal itching, sinus congestion, fatigue, moodiness, diarrhea or constipation. That doesn’t help a bit, does it?! These symptoms obviously have a wide variety of causes, so it is difficult to pin any one of these on a case of the worms! So here is what I think….
If you take care of your colon, eat healthy foods and avoid anything processed, take in plenty of fiber (that is very significant) and if you include in your daily regimen a couple of “parasite-destroying” foods or supplements, on the whole, you’ll keep these guys out. If you already have a chronic condition or are in a diseased state, you may have to go a bit further than mere “maintenance” and undertake a more structured colon cleanse.
Some of the more common parasite destroyers …
BLACK WALNUT - The dried and ground green hull of the Black Walnut contains tannin, which is organic iodine, as well as juglandin, extractive matter from the juice of the green shucks of the walnut. Black walnut has been used for centuries to expel various types of worms, including parasites that cause skin irritations such as ringworm. It oxygenates the blood, which also helps kill parasites. Black Walnut is very effective against tapeworms, pinworms, Candida albicans (yeast infections) and malaria. It is also effective in reducing blood sugar levels, and helping the body rid itself of toxins.
WORMWOOD - This is one of the MOST POWERFUL tools in the parasite-killing herb kingdom. It is most effective against roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and pinworms. Wormwood contains the potent chemicals thujone and isothujone, which are the primary components that kill parasites. Wormwood also helps produce bile, which in turn helps the liver and gallbladder.
CLOVES - Cloves contain eugenol, caryophyllene, and tannins, which are powerful antimicrobial agents. These components travel through the bloodstream, killing microscopic parasites and parasitic larvae and eggs. I personally love my Clove Essential Oil which can be diffused or taken internally – 1 drop in 8 oz of water. It’s interesting that cloves are also effective at killing Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacteria. Keep this in mind when you are hearing about antibiotic-resistant germs. There are other options, and this is one of them.
THYME - Thyme contains flavonoids that are most commonly known for their antioxidant activity, and thymol and carvacrol, which are effective in killing bacteria, fungal infections, and yeast infections. Thyme is especially effective in killing hook-worms, roundworms, threadworms and skin parasites. Thyme also destroys Cryptococcus neoformans, Aspergillus, Saprolegnia, Salmonella typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureas, and Escherichia coli.
GARLIC - Garlic is known to slow and kill more than 60 types of fungi and 20 types of bacteria, as well as some of the most potent viruses known to humans. Garlic has a history of killing parasites and controlling secondary fungal infections, detoxifying while gently stimulating elimination, and has antioxidant properties to protect against oxidation caused by parasite toxins. It’s been shown to eliminate candida albicans (yeast overgrowth). I personally love garlic, but my family doesn’t love being around me after I eat it!! So, I take Kyolic garlic capsules with each meal. You can’t go wrong with this supplement, as there is no garlic flavor or aftertaste.
CAYENNE - A member of the Capsicum genus, known for assisting with assimilation, healing, improved circulation, cleansing, indigestion, urinary tract health, colds, flu and other benefits too numerous to mention, cayenne also destroys parasites.
GINGER - The components of gingerol, the active constituent of fresh ginger, destroys parasites including the roundworm, the blood fluke, the anisakid worm, and the Salmonella bacteria.
Then there are the “detoxifiers” ….
MILK THISTLE - Silymarin is the primary component in Milk Thistle that removes liver toxins. Milk Thistle promotes liver cell regeneration, and its antioxidant action protects against cell damage from toxins. Milk Thistle is most helpful in cleansing the toxins given off by parasites.
MARSHMALLOW ROOT - Marshmallow Root contains mucilage, a gummy substance obtained from certain plants. When Marshmallow Root gets wet, it becomes soft and sticky, which soothes the mouth, throat, stomach and intestinal tract. When parasites are dislodged from body tissue, they can leave an open sore. Marshmallow Root coats these sores so there is less irritation.
PAU D’ ARCO- Pau d’Arco is used for Candida, yeast infections, fungal infections, viral infections, and
parasitic infections. It also helps relieve cystitis, prostatitis, ringworm, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Pau D’Arco is one of the most powerful antioxidants known, and stimulates the immune system. Pau d’Arco also helps relieve leaky bladder syndrome.
BURDOCK - Burdock removes accumulated waste and toxins from the skin, kidneys, mucous and serous membranes. A very effective blood purifier, Burdock is wonderful for head, face and neck skin problems including, eczema, psoriasis, boils, carbuncles, eyesores, and dermatitis.
LICORICE - An anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and mild laxative. It purifies the organs and the endocrine system, especially the liver.
Lastly, this stuff will move those bugs right out!
BARBERRY - The ingredients of Barberry, columbamine, berberine, and oxyacanthine, have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Research indicates that berberine in Barberry is specifically effective against cholera, giardia, Shigella, Salmonella and E. coli. The berberines aid in the secretion of bile and are good for liver problems. It is also a mild laxative, and helps the digestive processes. Barberry helps to purify the respiratory and digestive systems, and also has an antiparasitic effect.
CASCARA SAGRADA - Also known as Buckthorn, Cascara Sagrada stimulates increased wavelike contractions of the intestines, helping to expel parasites. It is highly recommended during parasite removal and colon detoxification and is considered one of the safest laxatives.
SENNA - Senna is a powerful laxative that is excellent for expelling worms. Senna works best when combined with other anthelmintic herbs (used in the treatment of roundworm), such as ginger or fennel. These herbs increase regularity and reduce the chance of bowel cramps due to Senna’s strong action. Senna effectively cleans the elimination system, and has a vermifuge action that repels parasites.
SAGE - Sage has the power to relax the muscles lining the digestive tract. Sage contains relatively high levels of thujone which is the same ingredient in wormwood that kills parasites. Sage is also used to increase circulation, and is considered an excellent remedy for poor digestion and stomach problems.
PSYLLIUM - Removes toxins from the colon and is especially useful in cleaning out all of the pockets in the colon wall. Psyllium swells up to 50 times its size, and is powerfully effective in removing waste and toxins from the colon.
PEPPERMINT - Peppermint is well known for relieving indigestion, but it also relaxes the stomach muscles, relieves gas, and is also good for nausea and vomiting. Peppermint also has antiparasitic properties.
An awesome and very effective first step no matter where you are on the parasitic continuum is a hair tissue mineral test. This will not only tell you which important nutrients are depleted in your body (perhaps due to microbes) but also levels of toxic metals present such as lead and mercury. Parasites love to attach to these toxic substances so it is very important to know your levels and then rid yourself of what is there.
If you would like to learn more or to schedule a Hair Tissue Mineral Test, fill out the contact form below. We will set up a free consultation and take it from there! To find out more about how I can help you reach your health and nutrition goals, go to http://www.healthybynaturehwc.com/services.html
Have a great day!
Sue Hughes, MSEd, HHP, CNC
What is DIM?
DIM (diindolylmethane), is a food-based compound found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussel’s sprouts. Studies have shown that it has the ability to reduce the risk of certain cancers, especially those influenced by excessive estrogen levels, such as breast, uterine and prostate. DIM can also stimulate fat breakdown and encourage an increase in muscle mass. I can attest, through my own personal experience supplementing with DIM as well as that of quite a few clients (both male and female), that DIM effectively modulates estrogen metabolism – helping to do away with uncomfortable symptoms of PMS, perimenopause and prostrate issues.
The following excerpt comes from Dr. Scott Rollins, MD, founder and Medical Director at the Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado (http://imcwc.com/news/index.php?id=3271124400587032289). This is a very well-written and comprehensive account of the effects of DIM and how to best use this supplement to make the most out of its incredible benefits:
“Lower your risk of cancer, help lose weight and build muscle – all remarkable benefits of a simple food supplementcalled DIM. For men or women, DIM is something to consider as part of an overall supplement program.
DIM, or diindolylmethane, is a plant based compound found in cruciferous vegetables, such as brussel sprouts,cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. DIM has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of certain cancers, especially those driven by abnormally high estrogen levels, such as breast, uterus and prostate cancer. DIM can also stimulatethe breakdown of fat while encouraging muscle development.
Estrogen hormones are naturally found in men and women and have many benefits such as preserving artery health and brain function while fighting oxidative free radical damage. Higher estrogen levels found in women cause the female body shape with breast and hip development. Many women are estrogen dominant however, meaning they have too much estrogen accumulating in the body for the complementary progesterone to balance.
Natural estrogen dominance occurs as women near menopause, starting even ten years prior to menopause, where they often don’t make as much progesterone to balance their estrogen. Symptoms such breast pain, water retention, heavy painful menstrual cycles, or irritable anxious moods are typical bothersome symptoms. Estrogen’s over-stimulation of breasts and uterus tissue can lead to breast cysts or adenomas and uterine growths – both unpleasant and potentially dangerous physical outcomes are too often accompanied by worrisome mammograms and hysterectomies.
Some women have estrogen dominance throughout their life for various reasons, such as low thyroid, high cortisol, exposure to environmental estrogen-like chemicals, or impaired detoxification pathways for estrogen.
Men often suffer from estrogen overload as well. With normal aging our testosterone levels drop as the conversion to estrogen increases, leading to a falling ratio of testosterone to estrogen. Higher estrogen levels in men lead to weight gain, loss of muscle mass, feminization of the body, further decreases in already falling testosterone levels, and increase the risk of diseases such as heart disease and prostate cancer. The enzyme that normally converts testosterone to estrogen is most abundant in fat, so as men put on weight the cycle of falling testosterone and rising estrogen simply
picks up steam!
How does DIM work?
There are two main pathways in the liver for our estrogen to be normally metabolized and excreted. One pathway leads to very good metabolites called 2-hydroxy estrogens. The other pathway leads to bad metabolites called 4 or 16-hydroxy estrogens. DIM stimulates the favorable 2-hydroxy pathway for estrogen metabolism and this is how DIM works to improve our health. DIM is not a hormone, nor is it a hormone replacement. It is a plant compound that will improve our hormone balance. By improving the metabolism of our natural estrogens DIM will help lower high levels of estrogen in the body. This alone can help remedy estrogen dominant conditions and restore a healthy estrogen/testosterone ratio in men and women. The favorable 2-hydroxy metabolites promoted by DIM are potent anti-oxidants and help prevent muscle breakdown after exercise, as evidenced by female athletes having less muscle tissue breakdown after intense exercise than men. By reducing the estrogen dominance and also reducing the accumulation of cancer-promoting 4/16-hydroxy metabolites DIM can help lower the risk of cancer. The 2-hydroxy metabolites help increase the active testosterone levels in men and women by displacing inactive protein-bound testosterone to its active “free” portion. This leads to significant improvements in the ability to build muscle and enjoy the benefits of testosterone including better mood, increased stamina, endurance, sex drive and erectile function. The accumulation of fat around the belly, hips and buttocks is partly due to excess estrogen levels combined with falling testosterone levels. DIM will help lower excess estrogen and promote the fat-burning 2-hydroxy metabolites. This can help you achieve a leaner body with less body fat.
Hormone balance with DIM
How do you supplement DIM and how much should you take? First of all, only the “micro-encapsulated” forms of DIM are well absorbed. For women, doses of 100-200mg daily are typical, and after menopause, whether taking hormone replacement therapy or not, doses of 50-100mg daily will improve estrogen metabolism. For men, doses of 200-400mg daily are sufficient during intense exercise or weight loss efforts. For general healthy aging a dose of 100-200mg daily is sufficient. Doses as much as a thousand times higher have been shown to be safe in animal studies and there has never been a reported complication with DIM usage in humans.
How do you know if DIM is working? Aside from the improved clinical circumstance we often measure the good and bad estrogen metabolites with a simple blood test. We routinely observe increases in the good 2-hydroxy metabolites with the use of DIM. As an aside, correction of low thyroid conditions also improves estrogen metabolism. I recommend DIM instead of its precursor compound known as I3C or indole-3-carbinol. Two I3C molecules combine in the body to make DIM. But I3C is variable in its absorption, reacts with other supplements such as vitamin C, and can convert to unhealthy compounds. As much as 10 times amount of I3C is needed to get levels comparable with straight DIM supplementation. I start many women on DIM in their early 40s when there are signs of falling progesterone levels early in the perimenopause. For many this alone can help the estrogen dominance while also increasing a low testosterone level. Sometimes we add progesterone to further balance the estrogen. We also routinely add the health-promoting adrenal hormone known as DHEA during this time which helps with weight loss, strength, sex drive and more. We strategically combine DIM with other supplements to help with athletic conditioning or with overall healthy detoxification. During weight-loss or athletic training we might add creatine and a higher-protein diet, combined with targeted workout and recovery drinks that maximize insulin and muscle building. My favorite DIM supplement also contains curcumin, green tea and wasabia for a broad detoxification effect.
DIM can be used at any age as part of a weight-loss or strength training program. DIM promotes healthy hormone balance that can help you achieve peak exercise efficiency and healthy aging. Hormone balance can help you stay healthy, resist aging and get the most from your exercise or weight-loss efforts.
As you might have assumed, I am not a big fan of processed foods. In fact, I try to avoid them at all costs. However, I am also a big fan of ice cream, which flies in the face of my first comment. Store-bought ice cream is no longer cream, sugar and eggs like it was back in the day. Today many brands can barely fit the long list of ingredients on the packaging! Fillers, preservatives and coloring are bad enough, but don’t forget about the milk or cream. If it is not certified organic, that means you and your family are also taking in a nice serving of hormones and antibiotics with your dessert. Yuck.
There is hope for those of you who, like me, are serious about maintaining good health but also have a weakness for a delicious dairy treat every now and again.
It was about one year ago when my frustration peaked resulting in my decision to purchase an ice cream maker. After reading many excellent reviews, I pulled the trigger on a nice Cuisinart model (for those of you interested, the ICE-30BC Series). This ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This thing has already paid for itself, as my family makes a fresh batch of ice cream just about every other week. All of our batches are 100% organic, no fillers, no preservatives, and I even experiment with different types of sugar or sugar substitutes (i.e. coconut sugar or stevia, not chemicals) as well as the use of Young Living Pure Essential Oils like Orange or Peppermint!
100% ORGANIC CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT ICE CREAM
- 1 cup unsweetened organic cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup organic raw cane sugar
- 1/2 cup organic blonde coconut sugar
- 2 1/4 cups organic heavy cream
- 2 1/2 cups organic half and half
- 1 T pure organic vanilla extract
- 4-6 drops Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil*
Combine the cocoa and sugars in a medium bowl. Add the half and half and whisk until the cocoa and sugar are dissolved. Whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla. Add peppermint oil* to taste (this can be very strong so be sure to do some taste testing!) Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and let mix until thickened, 30 minutes. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container until ready to serve.
*I recommend Young Living Essential Oils due to the fact that they are 100% pure and both their peppermint and orange are safe for ingestion. Please contact the manufacturer prior to ingestion of any other essential oil brand, as many advise against this due to impurity.
Okay, this certainly isn’t a low-calorie recipe, but it is pure and it is delicious! If you and your family are big fans of ice cream, consider making the switch to your own homemade version so that you can better control what your putting into your bodies. Enjoy!!
I’m a control freak. I may have mentioned that more than once in this blog in an attempt to explain why I devote my time trying to figure out what will help to make us, and keep us, healthy. My control freakishness is also the main reason why I will never get a flu shot. Basically, I don’t like surprises such as potentially unpleasant side effects or even possibly contracting the illness that is being injected into my body to prevent that very illness. I’ve seen too many otherwise healthy folks react negatively to these vaccines, so I choose to take matters into my own hands.
Thankfully I can control, to a great extent, whether or not I get the flu virus. Does that sound naive? It may very well, based on what the media is telling us. But the truth of the matter is, my immune system is the responsibility of only one person: me. Here’s what I do to boost my immune strength, especially during the winter months (aka “flu season”):
1. A good quality probiotic. This is a supplement that will provide your intestinal tract with friendly bacteria that fight off the bad guys (like bacteria and viruses). Your gut is where your immune function begins, so this is an incredibly important piece of the puzzle. You can find probiotics at grocery stores and health food stores. The Pearl Elite by Enzymatic Therapy is one that I’ve found to be helpful, easy to take and not in need of refrigeration.
2. Vitamin C. I’m a firm believer in the incredible benefits of this nutrient. The more stress you have, the faster your body goes through this vitamin. Since our bodies can’t make it (interestingly, most mammals do …), it’s up to us to take it in via diet and/or supplements. With all of the stress, both mental and physical, that we have today, chances are diet alone isn’t cutting it. So I take 1000 mg of a buffered Vitamin C with bioflavonoids three times daily during the winter.
3. Vitamin D3. I’ve written a lot about the “sunshine vitamin”. No matter where you live in the US, in the winter time the sun isn’t close enough to the earth to allow our bodies to manufacture D3 through sunshine, so supplementation is a necessity. 5000 iu’s once per day with a meal is what I take. Ideally, get your blood level of D3 checked by your doctor and maintain that above 50 ng/ml.
4. Neti Pot nasal irrigation nightly. I swear by this. Whatever bacteria or viruses end up inside my nasal passages during the day are flushed out before they get a chance to do damage. For those of you who haven’t ever tried nasal irrigation, it may seem a bit odd not to mention uncomfortable. But trust me, once you get in the habit, doing this occasionally when you feel a bug coming on or as a preventative during flu season, it will become as second nature as brushing your teeth. Because so many illnesses are going around right now, I add 4 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract (from my local health food store) to my neti (along with the typical warm, distilled water and neti salt). Grapefruit Seed Extract is an incredible anti-viral and anti-bacterial that can be used like this or even taken orally.
Okay, let’s say I’ve done all of the above religiously but a bug still makes its way into my system. I start to feel a bit of a scratchy throat and maybe slightly feverish. What do I do now???
1. Colloidal Silver. I provided extensive info on this wonderful supplement in an earlier post, but just briefly, this is basically a liquid containing microscopic particles of silver. Silver is an incredible antibiotic, antiviral and antibacterial that has been used extensively in conventional medicine in the past. I take 1 teaspoonful (held under my tongue for 30 seconds prior to swallowing) every 4 hours as soon as I begin to feel “off”. You can find this at your local health food store.
2. Thieves Essential Oil Blend (I use Young Living Essential Oils because I’m convinced that they are 100% pure). I actually rub this oil on the bottom of my feet before bed and I put a drop on my tongue anytime throughout the day when I’m feeling ill. Please note that I do not recommend ingestion of Thieves Essential Oil unless it is specifically Young Living brand. Click HERE to read the interesting history behind this oil blend. Click HERE to purchase Thieves Essential Oil Blend (scroll to the very bottom of the page that opens).
3. Fresh Ginger Root Tea. You can’t beat this if you aren’t feeling well. Ginger is an awesome immune booster and absolutely miraculous for stomach issues. Read more about the benefits of ginger root HERE. I mince a thumb-size piece of fresh ginger root and put that in water, bring it to a slow boil and drink. Sometimes I add a teaspoonful of raw honey for some healthy sweetness.
4. Last but definitely not least, Oregano Oil. I use Oreganol P78 by North American Spice Company. A drop or 2 under my tongue (be forewarned, it has a very strong, spicy flavor!) This stuff will stop any sore throat in it’s tracks. I also will use a few drops in a Neti Pot to ward off a sinus infection.
So, now that I’ve shared the main things that I do to prevent and fight the flu and other viruses, I think it’s important to mention some small “common sense” items like eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of spring water, avoiding sugar, caffeine and processed foods and adopting some stress-busting habits like meditation and yoga. It’s all interrelated after all, which is why the term “holistic” is used so often when it comes to healing.
Oh, and one last thing – if you find that your immune system is a mess and you’re catching every winter bug that comes your way, give juicing a try. Nothing beats fresh fruit and vegetable juice as a way to get nutrients straight into your bloodstream to help on the front line of your immune system’s battles! And as usual, message me if you have any questions or need some support to get your health on track!
Well it’s that time of year again. Time for the flu to strike. And this year, like many that have come before, there’s a lot of hype surrounding the flu – headlines such as: “An earlier than usual start to flu season” and “Flu season could be worst in nearly a decade.” Pharmacies have strategically placed banners and signs advertising flu shots, providing the illusion that each individual can be in control of his/her own health destiny by taking this one simple step.
Although I do agree that we each have quite a bit of control over whether or not we come down with the flu my strategy to assure that I don’t fall prey to this seasonal bully does not include getting a flu shot. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is that I believe there is an easier, healthier method that is devoid of side effects and allergic reactions and will cover every strain of the flu, not just those guessed by the experts to be most likely villains for the current season. I suppose my curiosity regarding the strange timing of “flu season” expressed in questions like “why does the flu suddenly begin to wreak havoc roughly between October and April of each year, typically peaking in January and February?” and “Isn’t it sort of curious why the flu doesn’t strike much during the summer months?” resulted in an undeniable conclusion that I found would be easy to apply to my own life and help me avoid not only the flu, but poor health in general – supplementing with Vitamin D3.
After much research, I found that there are lots of theories out there regarding the timing of this viral illness, however it is apparent to me that there is one small but very significant variable that can cause the increase of flu cases during the non-summer months: the body’s inability to produce Vitamin D3 during that time.
Our skin can do a great job of producing Vitamin D3 for us. There is one catch however. We need to be exposed to the sun’s rays in order for this process to be triggered. Lack of these rays (or simply their decrease in intensity) due to the increased distance between the sun and the earth during the winter, leads our body to manufacture little, if any, of this critical substance. Our bodies become deficient in D3 during this time, which means that there is only enough D3 in our system to perform its most critical function – as a regulator of calcium in the blood. The lack of any “extra” D3 means that there is not enough available to boost immune system function or for disease prevention – two functions of this substance that recent studies have found to be nothing short of miraculous. It is for this reason that supplementation with Vitamin D3 becomes so important, especially during the non-summer months.
To receive the extra benefits of Vitamin D3, i.e. maintain good health and immune system function capable of fending off the seasonal flu, it’s important that your blood level of D3 is at least 50 ng/ml. You can verify this through a 25 Hydroxy D blood test, which most physicians now include automatically with routine bloodwork, although you can always request it on an as-needed basis.
So how do you make sure that your Vitamin D3 blood level is optimal? Well, chances are, if you live in the United States, you must supplement in the fall, winter and spring seasons to maintain sufficient levels. The Vitamin D Council recommends supplementing with 1000 iu’s of D3 per 25 lbs of body weight per day. Children 1 year of age and younger should supplement with 1000 iu’s per day. After doing this for a couple of months, have your D3 blood levels checked to be certain that your 25(OH)D level is maintained between 50-70 ng/ml (and higher still if you are in a diseased state.)
Please check out www.vitamindcouncil.org for more information on all of the benefits of Vitamin D3.
** Keep in mind the importance of a healthy diet, exercise and stress management for overall health and optimal immune function in addition to the addition of Vitamin D3 to your regimen!