• YOU can become your own primary health care provider!

    Natural medicine is a vast improvement over contemporary care, but natural health is even better. My intent is to provide the tools and information you need in order to duplicate my successful experiences, and to offer you the comfort and peace of mind that has been such a blessing and security to my family.
  • Whatever form of natural health supplement you choose, be sure to educate yourself on all aspects of your health care. Let your diet and your attitude be the foundation for a life of wellness, not disease. When you don’t feel well, look for the root causes rather than seeking to simply substitute an herb or remedy for your medication. If you are taking medication for a serious condition, consult with someone well trained in herbs and alternatives before making a substitution and stopping your prescription. Your body will need time to reestablish it’s awareness that it is required to function!
  • DISCLAIMER:

    The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe.

No Pain…..No Gain….NoSAIDs

A report this week warned that regular use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) increases heart attack and other cardio-vascular risks by about 40%-huge for people with any other existing risk factors. So, do you suffer, which also increases stress, or take the chance? Short of opiates, there are not lots of plants that stop pain. But then, neither do medications “stop” pain.

Pain control is not one of nature’s strong suits for a reason. Pain is a message that something is wrong and needs to be addressed, and NSAID’s put a gag on the message rather than requiring that we deal with the issue. They block the production of prostaglandins, some of which trigger the inflammation that leads to pain-but which also form the foundation for the production of other, critical hormones. (Could their use then also be connected to our infertility, diabetes, and other glandular-imbalance epidemics?) It is amazing what happens when you support the body functions instead. One of my clients dealing with a serious condition found that oxycodone was not managing her pain; she added large amounts (20-30 capsules a day) of magnesium complex which took care of it to the extent that she now uses the drug only occasionally at night. Magnesium coats the nerve endings and helps with the assimilation of calcium, which is essential for healing. Willow barks ( white, purple, etc.) are high in salicylates, and the original source of the salicylic acid that became aspirin; they are also astringent herbs, which tone tissues and thereby reduce inflammation and pain. High acidity damages nerve endings, so chlorophyll (always at least 30 minutes from a meal to prevent it from interfering with digestion!) and safflowers can be helpful. Remember that consuming refined sugar acidifies the body so will increase both pain and inflammation; high blood sugar is what destroys nerve endings in diabetics. Ironically, NSAID’s negative effect on cardiovascular health may be, in part, that they tend to make breathing more shallow; deep, focused, breathing alone has been found to reduce pain significantly by getting more oxygen to the cells. Herbs like blessed thistle and chamomile, and lavender and clary sage essential oils probably have been used traditionally for headaches and other pain largely because they increase oxygenation through relaxation! Getting adequate B vitamins, digestible fats, and calcium is likely to strengthen the nervous system overall, making you less susceptible, in a sense, to pain.

Inflammation is also protective. Pain results from inflammation of the nerves in response to something going on internally, which is why it has to be addressed. Think about a joint that hurts, say your elbow. It swells to prevent you from moving and injuring it further, but you’ve got a tennis game tomorrow so you take the pills and move it anyway, and eventually end up needing surgery for a greater injury. A better response is to be sure you support the function of the adrenal glands and others involved in the inflammatory process, which may be why licorice root is sometimes called “nature’s cortisone”(actual corticosteroids stress the adrenals). I love Everflex, which is marketed for joint issues, but which I find is actually primarily beneficial to the adrenal glands and works great for many of my clients. Essential fatty acids like those in black currant,  borage, and “Omega” oils lubricate the joints, so can reduce associated pain. Lymphatic massage, stroking the inside of joints near the inflamed area toward the heart, is a huge help, especially if you also use Tei-Fu (I like to add chamomile as well) or other essential oils to increase circulation through the area. Move!

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Mindfulness and Meals

I get lots of questions about what I eat; not so many about how, which I think is just as important. A few years ago I returned to Paris, one of the places I lived as a child. Whenever I travel I try to bring home one intangible thing from the trip, something I experienced that I can apply to make my life better. We were in the flea market one day around lunchtime in a tiny shop selling antique compacts, which my daughter wanted to buy for her grandmother. The proprietor told my daughter to pick one out for herself as well as a gift from him, and to bring the money around the corner, where he would be eating with a friend; he left the shop completely in our hands. Our next stop was at a small shop selling vintage linens, with several tables set up on the sidewalk out front. While we were looking at those items the proprietor placed a broom across the doorway, signifying that the shop was closed, and proceeded to set a table in the street with one of the vintage cloths, real silverware and china, and a lovely lunch for herself. The message was clear: “you may look at whatever you like, but don’t expect me to sell it to you until I have finished dining”. Contrast that with America, where we may grab a few bites out of a sandwich in the back room between customers, or throw down a snack bar and coffee in lieu of real food. Europe has the sidewalk cafe and Japan invented the tea house-we created the drive through. At any rate, mindful meals were the change I decided to bring home.

So how does that make a difference? Three major ways. First, we digest our food better when we are relaxed. The vagus nerve that runs behind the stomach affects gastrointestinal function, heart rate, and blood pressure in addition to esophageal and other functions. When we are rushing through our meal we usually are ‘uptight’, pushing the stomach into the diaphragm (often resulting in a hiatal hernia) so we constrict circulation to the nerve and related organs. Taking a short break to relax and focus just on eating releases that tension.

Second, we might actually take time to chew our food rather than mash it slightly with our teeth and force it down with a beverage (usually carbonated, so we distend the stomach and reduce our oxygen levels, and sweetened, so we stress the pancreas and create acidity, whether we use real sugar or artificial sweeteners). Digestion begins with smelling your food, which triggers digestive enzyme activity, tasting it, which lets the body know what specific levels of insulin, bile, etc. will be needed, and chewing it, which provides the initial breakdown of the starches. Skipping any of those steps causes unnecessary stress on the pancreas and makes you more susceptible to everything from Irritable Bowel Syndrome to Diabetes.

Third, it makes you much more aware of what (and how much!) you are actually eating. This is what prompted this entry: I rushed right into my day this morning, resolving a couple of crises left unfinished last night, so I just had some juice for breakfast, which I rarely do. Was just going to grab something quick for lunch, like hummus with chips (love the lentil chips from Simply Seven!) and carrots. Got a glimpse of the linen towel I bought (eventually) from the shop in Paris which reminded me I could afford two minutes to put my lunch on a plate, instead. The carrots looked lonely, so I added some snow peas; decided I would do even better with some multi-grain/flax crackers mixed with the chips, and remembered my own rule about three raw foods per meal so added some dried cranberries. Took less than two minutes to double the nutritional makeup and mindfulness of my meal, which led to a deep breath of gratitude before I ate, which took the tension out of my shoulders…….which will let me tackle my ongoing challenges with a better attitude and fresh resolve!

IT’S A “WONDER” THIS PMS (ETC.) DRUG STILL EXISTS!

“Wonder Drug”, an article discussing birth-control pills in “Elle” magazine this month, repeated virtually verbatim a comment that absolutely blew my mind several years ago. It was made by a nurse practitioner, speaking at a women’s health conference supposedly on reproductive health, but actually presenting a thinly-veiled push for the new-at-the-time “Yaz” pill. What she said was “while having periods may be culturally significant, they are medically meaningless”, and therefore no possible harm could result from artificially limiting them to once a year or so. Not long after introduction it appeared to be causing more blood clots, the sometimes fatal side-effect of birth control pills, than other birth control pills; although the manufacturer was briefly ordered to run an ad campaign informing consumers of the possible risk it was never taken off the market.

In actuality, periods are an extra “chimney” (watch my introductory video on YouTube if you haven’t) for women. Your body knows you can live without reproductive organs so will use them as a dumping ground, which is one of the reasons premenstrual problems disappear once you start getting rid of the decaying matter in the uterus. Women with endometriosis often find that their liver often needs support, which is often connected to a pancreatic weakness that makes it hard for them to digest fats, the basic nutrient for the liver and the raw material for prostaglandins, which are the building blocks for hormones. I noticed the tendency to see simultaneous challenges with those three organs in my clients years before studies linked polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to a tendency toward insulin resistance and diabetes, which are also governed by the pancreas. Liver stress will also manifest in acne and other skin concerns, since the skin is another “chimney” that’s overworked when toxicity increases. Cysts are basically internal pimples, sacs of waste matter sequestered to keep you safe. Using the pill shuts down hormone functions; one doctor quoted in the article likened it to a mechanic putting a piece of tape over a warning light on your dash and “claiming he’s fixed the problem”.

The article pointed out that “women with moderate to severe endometriosis are four times more likely to have been prescribed the Pill before age 18 to treat menstrual pain”; the statistic may reflect that suppression of the cycle causes endometriosis rather than that they are related in any other way. Most of my clients with endometriosis have been on the pill for so long that their bodies have never functioned independently, which is true of the author as well. What they usually find is that they can get the balance back and resolve both the symptoms and the problem in a few months at most, with noticeable improvement in the first cycle after they start their programs. Several have gotten pregnant fairly quickly, so I caution clients now to use other methods if that is not part of the short term plan!

Definitely to be continued….

Splenda® DOES skew blood sugar!

A new study has finally been released that showed drinking sucralose (and I believe any other artificial sweetener) significantly affects the way the body functions-or doesn’t. For example, although there are no calories (read: no fuel for energy!) in Splenda®, it had the following effects on people when they drank water sweetened with it:

  • 12% higher peak blood glucose levels.
  • 20% higher total insulin secretion.
  • 22% faster insulin-secretion rate.
  • 7% slower rate of clearing insulin from the blood.

I’m not even going to begin to address the issue of toxicity and chemical stress from artificial sweeteners here; I’ll do that in other posts, and have done several questions and comments about it on my website that will eventually migrate here as well.  The new discussion is that taste buds (and we know now that there are taste receptors in the gut, too) trigger the production of insulin. Your body responds, makes it, and then has to figure out what to do once it gets into the bloodstream since insulin isn’t necessary for processing artificial sweeteners. Refined sugar has a similar effect since it can enter the bloodstream through the cell walls; unlike naturally-occurring sugars in, say, a strawberry, it doesn’t require digestion for extraction.  That’s the essence of “insulin resistance”, which is the newest buzzword in the sugar sagas connected to the American diabetes epidemic. The surplus insulin causes stress leading to exhaustion of the adrenal glands-as if we didn’t have enough other stresses in our lives- since they have to produce the hormone to break down the excess insulin; it also leads to the chronic inflammation researchers are blaming for everything from obesity to cancer.

Frankly, I’m not a fan of most of the so-called “natural” sweeteners, either, and this study would probably apply to them as well. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, a highly refined extract that causes stomach upset in lots of people, including me. Stevia is fine if you use it fresh or as a green powder (just the dried leaves) or liquid; if it is clear it has also been through a long list of refining treatments that make it about as healthy and natural as vodka, which “just comes from potatoes”! High fructose corn syrup is also considered a “natural sweetener”.

The real problem is that Americans simply want things too sweet.  Even agave, honey, molasses, and maple syrup, which really are consumed essentially in their natural state, should be used in really moderate amounts.  I am constantly encouraging my clients to eat more raw, fresh foods. The fiber they contain slows down the release of the sugars, and the full range of flavor slows down the demand for sweetness. Organic fruits usually have more taste; it’s trace elements that give them flavor and organic fertilizers have a wider range of nutrients than commercial ones. Protein also slows the release of sugar; if you have to have a chocolate chip cookie, have one made with whole wheat pastry flour (more fiber and protein than white flour but made from softer Spring wheat) and nuts for extra protein. When I bake I use Sucanat®, which is just dried,  unrefined sugar cane juice, and use less than the recipe calls for. Because none of the molasses has been removed it has a really rich flavor. Friends and I make baked goods for an eighteenth century re-enactment every year-people LOVE our products and we make the above substitutions, which are period-correct! (Check out my “Three Wives Kitchen Cookbook“, which goes into great detail about healthy period ingredients.)

You can read the article citing the study at the link below. Bottom Line Health is one of my favorite newsletters for quick info.

http://www.bottomlinepublications.com/content/article/health-a-healing/splenda-raises-blood-sugar-levels-and-may-increase-diabetes-risk?utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=2013-09-19%20DHN%20NL%20%20CID-0000001681%20remainder&utm_content=utm_source=Newsletter&spMailingID=42643680&spUserID=NTE4NTcxNDc1ODES1&spJobID=203947271&spReportId=MjAzOTQ3MjcxS0