Thursday, January 30, 2014

Probiotics are at the Core of Immunity

Homemade Kimchi:  teaming with immune system-enhancing probiotics!


Most people are aware that certain nutrients are important to feed the immune system.  While this is true, and nutrients (like vitamin C) are crucial for immune function, the health of your digestive system is at the core of your immunity.  It has been estimated that around 80-85% of the immune system is located in the gut wall.

According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a neuroscientist and creator of the highly effective GAPS diet, the epithelial surface of the digestive system is inhabited by huge numbers of bacteria, which are in fact the cradle of the immune system.  Ideally, our digestive system is inhabited by a majority of essential or beneficial bacteria.  These beneficial bacteria engage the lymphoid tissue of the gut wall and are involved in the production of large numbers of immune system cells.  Armed with an abundance of immune system cells, the body becomes ready to protect the body from any type of invader. 

Improving your digestive flora is simple!

Tip 1:  Eat vegetable foods, rich in "prebiotic" fibers that naturally break down into healthy bacteria in your gut.  These include fresh fruits and vegetables, goat's cheese, leafy greans, starchy root vegetables, whole (gluten free) grains, and well-cooked beans.

Tip 2:  Eat lacto-fermented foods and drink lacto-fermented beverages, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha tea.  Each serving of these can provide trillions of beneficial bacteria (more than even a supplement provides.)

Tip 3:  If you don't eat fermented foods, be sure to supplement with a high quality probiotic.  I recommend Ascended Health products probiotic, for example.

Tip 4:  Avoid foods and beverages imbalance digestive flora, such as:
    - Fluoridated water
    - Conventionally raised meat and dairy products, which regularly contain antibiotic residues
    - Refined sugars and corn syrup
    - White flour
    - High-gluten grains like wheat
    - Genetically modified foods

Antibiotics can have a devastating affect on the bacterial in your digestive tract, as can other medications (such as birth control pills).  In circumstances where these medications are used, special care should be taken to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria and prevent immunological problems from occurring. 

Can you cut your chances of getting a cold by 42 percent just by making sure your gut is full of healthy bacteria?   Mike Gleeson, PhD. professor of exercise biochemistry at Loughborough University in England, suggests that you can.  He recommends taking probiotics- in the form of foods or supplements- to reduce the risk of both respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.  In a meta-analysis of 10 studies, people taking probiotics were 42 percent less likely to get a cold than those on a placebo. 

Sources:
Mercola M.D.,  Joseph. "Viruses Worldwide Battled by Gut Microbes."  Mercola.com, 14 July 2012.  Web. 30 Jan. 2014.
Campbell-McBride MD, Natasha, Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  Medinform Publishing, 2012.  Print. 
Ince, Susan (2012 October). 15 Ways to Prevent Colds and Flus.  Prevention Magazine.  Retrieved from: http://abcnews.go.com.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Lavender-Infused Raw Vegan Chocolate Ambrosia



Over the summer, I did a front porch talk and demonstration at The Green Eyed Lady about the health benefits of raw chocolate, combined with lavender essential oil.  I gave out samples, and everyone  enjoyed the creaminess of the drink and the subtle lavender flavor!  Serve this to your p

Ingredients:
Makes 2 servings.


3 c. cashew milk or plain coconut milk
2-3 drops lavender essential oil
3 T. raw cacao powder
1 T. raw coconut oil
1/2 tsp. raw vanilla bean powder
3 T. raw wildflower honey
a pinch of sea salt

Directions:  Blend until smooth and creamy. 

Chocolate is one of the most complex foods on the planet, containing more than 300 identifiable chemical substances with positive health effects.   However, when it is heated and combined with refined sugar, most of its benefits are lost and it can even create negative health effects. Raw chocolate, on the other hand- combined with the highest quality sweeteners and essential oils- is the highest quality "medicine" the Earth has to offer. 

Raw chocolate has been considered the food of the heart and love by ancient South American civilizations.  The ancient Aztecs gave chocolate as a traditional wedding present.  Modern science has confirmed that chocolate is not only an aphrodisiac, but is a potent heart health enhancing food. 

Cacao contains chemicals (such as Phenylethylamine* and Serotonin), which are scientifically proven to be present in the brains of people when they are happy, more relaxed, playful and creative. 

More Interesting Raw Chocolate Facts...
  1.  Raw chocolate is the richest food source of magnesium:  Magnesium improves the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body, increasing energy levels.
  2.  Raw chocolate is the richest source of antioxidants of any food.  Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals caused by pollution, chemicals, etc., which may damage healthy body tissue and give rise to disease.  
  3. Raw chocolate is a dilator and improves the absorption of other health-enhancing substances (like herbs) with which it is taken.  
  4. Raw chocolate contains flavanoids and essential minerals and vitamins that support healthy heart functioning by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, lowing LDL cholesterol, and reducing plaque buildup on artery walls.  
  5. Raw chocolate improves digestion and cleanses the digestive tract. 

Reference: 
http://www.lifefood.eu/en/strava/raw-cacao-the-real-raw-chocolate.html

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Gluten Free & Vegan Pumpkin Seed Pesto, Presto! Pasta



Presto!  Pumpkin seed pesto can turn any boring pasta into "magic," crowd-pleasing pasta that makes you feel as if you've just eaten out.  It also incorporates pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil.  Pumpkin seeds are very high in zinc, an immune-boosting, cancer preventative nutrient.  Pumpkin seed oil fights candida and provides valuable Omega 3 fatty acids. 

This pesto happens to be raw:  Please see my note at the bottom of the page if you wish to make a fully-raw and vegan pasta dish...

Pumpkin Seed Pesto: 

1/2 c. Pumpkin Seed Oil
1 1/2 c. Basil
1/3 c. Nutritional Yeast
1 c. Pumpkin Seeds
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper or Crushed Red Pepper
3 Cloves Garlic

Directions:  Pulse in a food processor until the mixture turns into a paste. 

Pasta:
Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta

Directions:  Prepare according to the instructions on the box.  Place in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat.   (This prevents the pasta from "sticking.")

Vegetables: 
Coconut Oil 
Zucchini, diced
Tomatoes, diced
White Onions, diced
Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

Directions:  Melt coconut oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the vegetables together, until soft.  

To Finish the Dish- 
1.  Incorporate the pesto into the cooked bowl of pasta.  Adjust the amount of pesto you add to your taste.
2.  Add the cooked vegetables to the pasta, lightly tossing.


* Raw Variation:  Substitute Kelp Noodles for quinoa noodles.  Make the pesto according to the above instructions (no change).  Simply toss the diced vegetables in without cooking them first, omitting the coconut oil.  Massage the noodles and diced vegetables with the pesto to incorporate the flavors well.  Leave in a warm dehydrator for a few hours to soften and warm the dish if you wish. 


 

Healing is Remembering Our Interconnectedness to the Web of Life

There is a grand web of life to which we are all connected.  Health and life force pulses through it, giving us the impetus and energy to explore new levels of existence... and evermore complex states of consciousness.

A depiction of the Universe as described in the Urantia Books, from http://antifan-real.deviantart.com.

When we become disconnected from this web of life, it manifests as disease.  The causes of disconnection can be physical, mental, or spiritual.  This is why, as an intuitive healer, I address all aspects of a person, mind-body-soul, in the healing modalities that I offer.  Connection brings compassion and kinship with all of life.  In a perfectly connected world, we serve life and life serves us:  We enter a symbiotic relationship with nature itself- all living things. 

Albert Einstein describes humanity's basic challenge to remember its interconnectedness:

"A human being is part of a whole, called by us "universe," a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Coconut Oil for a Happier Cold and Flu Season



Coconut oil has an incredibly long list of therapeutic uses and health benefits.  Of interest this time of year is its application toward colds and flus.  Most over the counter medicines are aimed at symptom relief, but coconut oil is actually known to kill viruses and bacteria.   In fact, research on this particular benefit of coconut oil was emerging way back in the 1960's!  

Coconut oil has unique medium chain fatty acids (MCT's for short), that inactivate bacteria, yeast, fungi, and enveloped viruses.  Lauric acid is the predominant MCT found in coconut oil.  

Mary Enig, Ph.D writes regarding its effects, "Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body.  Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria, including listeria monocytogenes and helicobeter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.  Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid."

Coconut oil can assist you with prevention or recovery during the cold and flu season.  The recommended daily maintenance dose of coconut oil is one to three tablespoons per day for adults.  If you are new to coconut oil, begin taking one tablespoon and increase your intake gradually.  If you are ill, a therapeutic dose ranges from three to six tablespoons per day, depending on your tolerance level.  

Note:   Coconut oil enhances metabolic rate.  Most people find that they lose weight when they add a few tablespoons per day.

Sources:  
Virgin Coconut Oil:  How it has changed peoples lives, and how it can change yours by Brian Shilhavy and Marianita Shilhavy
Eat Fat, Lose Fat:  The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon


Cold Relief Tea: 


8 ounces of boiling hot water
1 bag of Echinacea tea (or your favorite cold-
relief blend) 
1 T. coconut oil 
1 tsp. raw honey

Directions:  Brew the tea.  When it is cool enough to touch, stir in the coconut oil and raw honey.  

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Holidays are an Ideal Time to Boost Your Level of Vitamin "L"



The holiday season can be a more challenging time to improve your health with nutritious foods.  The good news is, it is a perfect and opportune time to increase your weekly dosage of "vitamin L."  "Vitamin L" is a nickname for the love, joy, compassion, and other positive emotions essential for well-being.  Though not technically a vitamin, vitamin L is essential for your health!

The HeartMath Institute in Boulder Creek, California, the leading non-profit research center for studying the science of the heart and how it affects health and well-being, discovered what it named, "heart rhythm coherence."  The researchers found that when the heart has a steady, balanced, and smooth rhythm, blood pressure is lowered and all bodily systems work efficiently. Heart rhythm coherence is triggered  directly by Vitamin L - love and positive emotions!

When the heart rhythm is incoherent (erratic and stressed), the nervous, cardiovascular, hormonal and immune systems can all be affected negatively.

According to the the HeartMath Institute:

"Scientific research now tells us plainly that anger, anxiety and worry significantly increase the risk of heart disease, including sudden cardiac death. Landmark long-term studies conducted by Dr. Hans Eysenck and colleagues at the University of London have shown that chronic unmanaged emotional stress is as much as six times more predictive of cancer and heart disease than cigarette smoking, cholesterol level or blood pressure, and much more responsive to intervention."




My recommendations for Boosting your Vitamin L levels:

1.  Meditation:  Any kind works well (and continues working after you finish your meditation and go about your day).  One type of meditation specifically well-known for its ability to boost loving feelings is called the Loving-Kindness meditation.

2.  Spend time with a pet... or get a pet!

3.  Volunteer.

4.  Spend time doing things you enjoy with people you enjoy.

5.  Engage in your regular work or activities with an attitude of kindness and compassion toward others. 

6.  Hug often.


Reference:
 Wright, Carolanne, "A loving, joyful heart shown to encourage vibrant health." Thursday, February 10, 2011: http://www.naturalnews.com.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Green Lemonade: Fresh, Raw, and Alkalizing!

Green Lemonade
This is a highly oxygenating and cleansing drink that I made in my Hurom slow juicer.  One of the most powerful health disciplines you can develop is juicing every morning.  The following drink is wonderfully refreshing and mellow.   "Green is the new caffeine."  The instant energy provided by green drinks gives you a high from the instant energy transfer provided by the chlorophyll molecule.  Even better, "green energy" isn't followed by an energy crash!


Green Lemonade

Ingredients:

1 cucumbers
1 large or 2 small lemons
1 head of romaine lettuce
2 green apples
optional:  3 or 4 sprigs of parsley

Directions:

1.  Juice.
2.  Enjoy.
2.  Repeat as often as possible.