Powerhouse Immune Boosters

 

 

 

 

 

Blueberries – Anti-oxidant, anti-aging; neuro-protective; anti-cancer; supports digestion; heart protective; nutrient-dense; delicious source of healthy fiber

Chiles – Excellent source of beta-carotene; promotes healthy mucous membranes; contains capsaicin, which fights congestion and is anti-inflammatory; super high in Vitamin C bioflavonoids; supports white blood cell formation

Dark chocolate – Promotes micro-circulation; anti-oxidant, mineral rich;
heart protective; improves mood

Different colored vegetables – Rich in fiber, Vitamins A, C & E, potassium, folate (essential for red blood cell formation), & many other phytonutrients; the key to good health in every season. Eat a wide variety, and strive for five (or more) servings a day.

Echinacea – Strong immunity modulator; anti-aging; anti-cancer. Best used long term; sourcing & formulation are essential, so shop for efficacy, not for price.

Fresh ginger – Anti-nausea; promotes good digestion & nutrient absorption; anti-bacterial and anti-fungal; helps prevent blood clotting; anti-cancer; traditional diabetes remedy

Garlic – Anti-inflammatory; anti-cancer; heart protective; anti-fungal; detoxifying;
supports healthy digestion; anti-oxidant & anti-aging

Green tea – Promotes micro-circulation; anti-oxidant; heart and neuro-protective;
helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels; anti-cancer & anti-aging

Oranges – Rich in fiber and Vitamins A and C, along with other phytonutrients: pantothenic acid, calcium, copper and potassium. Best eaten whole!

Parsley – Excellent source of Vitamins K, C and A; rich in flavonoids, folate, and iron; contains anti-cancer volatile compounds; anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory; traditional diabetic remedy; promotes bone health

Raw local honey – Anti-oxidant; traditional diabetes remedy in conjunction with cinnamon; moderates pollen allergies; anti-bacterial when used topically; soothing to the throat; delicious energy source

Salt water gargle – Inhibits bacterial growth; balances pH; promotes healing of sores; prevents plaque buildup. A neti pot nasal rinse 2-3 times a week is a great addition to a daily throat gargle.

Turmeric – Anti-inflammatory; anti-cancer; anti-depressant; helps regulate blood sugar; heart & gut protective. Best as food, with fat (ex. coconut milk) for absorption

Water – This can be unappealing when it’s cold outside, or if you are feeling unwell, but it’s always essential to your health to stay hydrated. Try drinking it warm!

Warming broth – If all else fails and you end up with a cold or other virus, make some easy, warming broth that will help you get better faster:

Immune boosting broth:
Sauté finely chopped onion, celery, carrot and minced garlic in olive or coconut oil. Add ground turmeric, and stir to coat vegetables. (Also add fresh ground ginger, if desired.) Pour in chicken or beef broth (homemade from bones, for preference) and cook over low heat until hot and savory.
Any combination of the above ingredients that you can manage is fine; more is better.

Throat soothing tisane – Here’s a delicious way to help your throat and your immune response at the same time:

Orange ginger tisane:
Peel an orange, cut up the pulp in smallish pieces and put in large teapot. Add 1″ fresh ginger, skinned and cut in small chunks. (If throat is irritated, add 1 tsp. raw honey – local if possible.) Po¬ur boiling water into teapot; let steep 5 minutes. Pour off liquid 1 cup at a time and drink slowly.
You can make a second batch with the same orange/ginger. Eat the orange pulp, if desired.

Herbal teas to keep on hand – Here’s a short list of readily available teas to boost your mood and your health:

Traditional medicinal teas:
Breathe Easy
Echinacea Plus
Ginger with Chamomile
Lemon Balm
Throat Coat

Tulsi teas:
Lemon Ginger
Turmeric Ginger

Yogi teas:
Breathe Deep
DeTox
Echinacea Immune Support
Egyptian Licorice
Ginger
Throat Comfort

posted in Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Seasonal Tips

Curried Pumpkin Soup

If you don’t load it up with cream, pumpkin is a low calorie food, with tons of Vitamin A
(good for your eyes) and minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. These minerals can play a role in your ability to stay hydrated, among other benefits. Like all members of the squash family, it’s actually a fruit! The seeds are also delicious, and super-nutritious. So here’s what I’m making for Thanksgiving supper: curried pumpkin soup.

You will need:
2 medium onions
2 cloves garlic
2” piece of fresh ginger
1 – 2 Tb Olive / coconut oil
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander ¼ tsp ground cardamom
2 big cans organic pumpkin
3 cups water
2 cups veggie / chicken stock
1 can full-fat coconut milk
¾ tsp red pepper flakes
1-2 tsp salt

Directions:
Finely chop the onions, and mince the garlic cloves and ginger. It’s easiest to put the garlic through a press, and use a grater or microplane for the ginger. You can also use garlic and ginger paste if you’re in a hurry.
Heat a heavy sauté pan over fairly low heat. Add enough olive oil (or coconut oil, if you like the flavor) to really coat the bottom of your pan: about 1 – 2 tablespoons*. Add 2 tsp. brown mustard seeds*. Let them “pop”. Add the onion, let it sauté a few minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and let that cook a bit. Add the cumin, coriander, and cardamom.
*If you are interested in avoiding oil, consider learning more about dry sautéing.

Now you can open 2 big cans of pumpkin and toss that it. You want at least 3 cups. Trader Joes has organic pumpkin; just make sure you don’t use pumpkin pie filling! Now add about 3 cups of water, 2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock, and 1 can of full-fat coconut milk (also available at Trader Joes).
Season with ¾ tsp. red pepper flakes & 1-2 tsp. salt. Let it simmer for half an hour. Then let it cool, and puree in a blender or food processor. Check to see if it needs more salt.

If you want to make this ahead of time, just cool completely and refrigerate. When you re-heat it, you can top it with a little creamy yoghurt and some cilantro. Happy Thanksgiving!

Other ideas:
In addition to veggie and chicken stock, you can also use bouillon or a combination of miso paste and water for a more umami flavor.

posted in Healthy Eating, Seasonal Tips

Travel Tips

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, the mechanics of travel can take a toll.  Here are some ways to help you arrive in a happier state of being!

On the plane or train:

Check bags that are heavier than 10% of your body weight.  And remember – even mules prefer a balanced load, so do your best to distribute the weight you carry evenly.

Keep your body in line with the task.   Everyone wants to get right into their seat – but take a few moments to line yourself up in front of the overhead bin or rack.  Often it’s easier to lift your bag in stages; if you can use the seat / armrest as a resting point halfway, do.   Ask for help if you need it!  PLEASE DON’T hoist your monster-heavy bag overhead, twist your torso and neck, lean forwards and push –  all while you stand on your tippie-toes!

If you stow your bag below the seat in front of yours, please cut down on the number of times you have to bend down and get stuff out of it.  There’s barely room for your feet (let alone your head!) so there’s really no good way to do it.  So try to minimize the amount of twisting you do, and don’t force bulky objects in with your feet: it’s easy to strain your lower back and legs.

Move around as much as you can!  Prolonged sitting can restrict blood flow and build up pressure in your circulatory system – especially in the lower part of the legs.  Change your position:  massage your arms and legs; move your knees up and down; prop your feet up on a book or bag; do some gentle head and neck stretches or range of motion exercises; sit up straight, arch your back, wiggle around – do something like this at least every 20 minutes.  And you can always get up and walk down the aisle…

An inflatable neck pillow can make a big difference on a long flight; if you fall asleep, you won’t feel like Quasimodo when you wake up!  Try to avoid drafts: point the air nozzle away from you to keep your muscles from tensing up.  And – of course – drink lots of water!

In the car:

Check your position relative to the steering wheel.  Are all your mirrors lined up so you can see?  Are you in the center of your seat?  Are your knees the same height or higher than your hips?  If you’re poking your head forwards, move your seat up!  Not only is this a better position for your body, it’ll help you relax the death grip on the steering wheel!  If you use a back or seat support, make sure it’s centered – and that it fits you (ask your chiropractor to check your car seat)!

Exercise while you drive: wiggle your toes; squeeze your calf, thigh and butt muscles; do shoulder rolls; rock your sit bones back and forth; tap your fingers on the wheel; sing – whatever keeps you lively.  Most importantly, take a break every hour.  Get off the road, out of the car, and get some fresh air.  Whew!

Have a wonderful trip!

posted in Healthy Living, Posture & Ergonomics, Seasonal Tips

The Hidden Cost of Pesticides

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Annually, 33,500 tons of pesticides and 3 million tons of fertilizer are used on U.S. lawns (1 ton = 2000 pounds!).

 

 

 

 

Pesticide residue contaminates air, dust, household surfaces, and carpets due to drift and track-in.

 

 

 

Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides: 16 are toxic to birds, 24 are toxic to aquatic organisms, and 11 are toxic to bees.

 

 

 

Children in homes using pesticides are 6.5 times more likely to develop leukemia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: beyondpesticides.org, duke.edu, The United States Environmental Protection Agency

 

So, how can you minimize your exposure to these toxins?

  • Invest in a filter system for your drinking and cooking water, and follow the recommended maintenance schedule.  Use a metal water bottle if you can, rather than plastic.
  • Avoid highly processed food, and use the Clean 15 / Dirty Dozen shopping guide.
  • Change into house shoes or go barefoot when you get home.  This reduces tracked-in toxic debris and makes cleaning easier!
  • Remember that your skin absorbs chemicals, so shop for personal care products that won’t compromise your health.  Sadly, cosmetics are one of the worst offenders.
  • Use non-toxic soaps and cleaners inside your house.  Many good brands are now available.
  • Air your house regularly, and change your HVAC filters on a schedule.  If you use window AC units, rinse out the filters once a month.
  • Run a ventilator fan while you shower, and use a de-humidifier in damp areas of your house to discourage mold and mildew.
  • Remove the plastic from dry-cleaned clothes and let them air thoroughly before storing.
  • If you are in the market for new carpeting or furniture, avoid heavily treated synthetic or fiberboard products.  Always let new products have a chance to out-gas before use.
  • Buy better alternatives to lawn and garden pesticides: this helps our health, the pollinators we depend on, and protects our water supply.
  • If your neighbors use a lawn service, ask them to please request non-toxic products or switch to a company that does.
  • Be proactive about your health! Good diet, sleep and exercise habits support your physical health and your ability to withstand the inevitable stresses of daily life.  If you think you need a detox, please call on us: we are here to help!

An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure.

PDF version of this information

 

 

posted in Healthy Living, Seasonal Tips

Poison Ivy

 poison ivy, autumn

 

The active element in poison ivy is an oil called urushiol and it is nasty!  It is very potent, spreads easily on your skin and can be transmitted to you via your pet’s fur.  If you think you’ve been exposed to it, your best defense is a thorough scrubbing with warm, soapy water. You also need to wash any clothing or bedding that has been exposed; twice is better than once.  If your pet will let you, wash them as well.  

 

If you make an autumn bonfire, please make sure there is no poison ivy mixed in with your wood; inhaling the oil can create a medical emergency.  Difficulty breathing, a rash and swelling near eyes or genitals, or a rash over most of your body are all indicators that you need emergency medical treatment.

 

If yoPoison Ivyu missed the chance to wash off the oil and are already developing the rash, DO NOT SCRATCH and DO NOT BREAK THE VESICLES that will form on your skin.  This can be hard to resist; they not only itch, but they are also painful as they harden.  

 

But breaking the fluid-filled sac can open you up to an infection, so exercise your will power and try some remedies to cool the burn.  From start to fading finish, the rash can last up to 14 – 21 days, so you are going to want some relief.  You can bathe the rash with vinegar, you can put a paste of water and baking soda on it, you can cool it with cucumber slices.  Some people have success with a cortisone cream.  Baths with colloidal oatmeal or baking soda can ease the discomfort.  

 

Cool compresses can also help – but the best thing I found is Fels Naptha soap.  Make a heavy lather and let it sit on your skin for a few minutes before rinsing.  Repeat 1 – 2fels_naptha 2 times a day, but avoid contact with your eyes or other areas of your skin.   For me, this accelerated the drying-out process and reduced the discomfort considerably.  I also recommend supporting your immune system while you are waiting this out: I took a lot of Congaplex daily, on top of my usual Echinacea Premium and Thymex.  Anything that helps speed up this process is a very good thing!

posted in Seasonal Tips

What you need to know about hand sanitizers

Why use them?

Sometimes it just isn’t feasible to wash your hands.  And we all know that our hands are a vector for transmitting bacteria.  Doorknobs, gas pumps and pin pads are all touched by many, many people, and are rarely – if ever! – cleaned.

Why ingredients matter:

Trans-dermal delivery is incredibly effective, as anyone who’s used a nicotine patch can testify.  Harsh chemicals can not only be very damaging to your skin, they can also disrupt your hormonal system.  Especially for small children, who tend to put their hands in their mouths: safer is smarter.

What we recommend:

Buy a quality product.  You want a sanitizer that’s designed with your total health in mind, not just the company’s bottom line.  And don’t forget, actually washing your hands is still the best way to prevent sickness.

Clean Well Hand Sanitizer

 

EO Products Hand Sanitizer

 

CleanSmart Hand Sanitizer

Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Hand Sanitizer

                     These are all available locally (or online): try Mom’s, Trader Joe’s or Wegman’s.

 

posted in Healthy Living, Seasonal Tips

8 Daily “Greats” for a Healthy 2017

Here are 8 food items that are incredibly beneficial to include in your daily diet.  They will boost your immunity and vitality, and are very protective of your overall health!

Dark chocolate

Promotes micro-circulation; anti-oxidant, mineral rich; heart protective; improves mood

Blueberries

Anti-oxidant & anti-aging; neuro-protective; anti-cancer; supports digestion; heart protective; nutrient-dense; healthy fiber

Turmeric

Anti-inflammatory; anti-cancer; anti-depressant; helps regulate blood sugar; heart & gut protective

Best as food, with fat (ex. coconut milk) for absorption

 
Green Tea

Promotes micro-circulation; anti-oxidant; heart and neuro-protective; helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels; anti-cancer & anti-aging

 
Garlic

Anti-inflammatory; anti-cancer; heart protective; anti-fungal; detoxifying; supports healthy digestion; anti-oxidant & anti-aging

 
Bitter Greens

Nutrient-rich; promote bile secretion & healthy digestion; boost gut-based immunity; detoxifying; reduce sugar cravings; stimulates metabolism

 
Ginger

Anti-inflammatory; heart-protective; promotes healthy digestion; reduces fever; anti-nausea; anti-bacterial & anti-fungal; helps regulate blood sugar

 
Echinacea

Strong immunity modulator; anti-aging; anti-cancer

Best used long term; sourcing & formulation are key

 
Water

# 9 here, but truly # 1 in healthy habits: drink half your body weight (lbs) in ounces every day

 
posted in Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Seasonal Tips

Pumpkin Chili

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oilVegetarian Chili
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • 1 15 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz small white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
 
Optional garnishes:
  • Minced green scallions
  • Shredded cheese
  • Salted pumpkin seeds
 

Heat heavy pan over medium heat and add olive oil.  Add onion, celery, garlic and cumin seeds.  Saute until onions are translucent.  Add red bell pepper, chili powder and oregano.  Saute a few minutes more until bell pepper starts to soften.  

Add cinnamon, tomatoes, pumpkin and beans.  Add stock and let it heat through.  Turn heat down to low.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes.  Check the seasoning; add more chili if you like it spicier, or more stock if needed.  Let cook another 10 minutes; add salt to taste.  This freezes well.

 

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posted in Healthy Eating, Seasonal Tips

Halloween Safety Checklist

Pumpkins on front steps of home during  Halloween/Thanksgiving s

For you:

  • If you are buying a costume or wig, check the label for “flame resistant”.
  • Add reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
  • Carry a flashlight or glow stick.
  • Always test face paint on a small patch of skin in case of allergies, and don’t wear it any longer than you must.  A skin or eye irritation can out-last the candy!
  • Decorative contact lenses can result in severe eye infections; better not to use them.
  • Avoid walking near lit candles or luminaries while wearing costumes.
  • Whatever your costume, wear shoes that fit well if you’ll be out walking.
  • Walk in groups; it’s more fun for everyone, and much safer.
  • Stay on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic. Look for cars when walking by a driveway.
  • Only visit well-lit houses, and don’t go past the front door.
  • Don’t accept any homemade treats made by strangers.

Halloween Pumpkin Witch Dog

For your pets:

  • Don’t let your pets eat your treats!  Chocolate in all forms can be very dangerous for your dog or cat.  
  • Eating pumpkin can also cause upset stomachs in pets.
  • When in doubt, call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435.
  • If you have a candle in your decorative pumpkin, place it where your pets are not likely to knock it over or investigate it with their whiskers.
  • Keep power cords for decorative lighting away from pets, especially chew-happy puppies!
  • Don’t dress up your pet, unless you are absolutely sure a) it doesn’t annoy your pet; b) it fits well and won’t get tangled up; c) it’s not constricting your pet’s ability to breathe, bark or meow.
  • Make sure your pet doesn’t dash out when you open the door for trick or treaters; it may be best to keep them in the kitchen for the evening.
  • If you take your pet with you for the evening, make sure he or she is on a lead and has a proper collar with ID tags.
posted in Healthy Living, Seasonal Tips

Festive Toasting

 

If you love the festivity of bubbles, but not what alcohol does to your head, here’s a lighter alternative for toasts around the table.

Festive punch 

Marinate in a punch bowl:cranberry cocktail with ice and mint

1/2 bottle dark cherry or cranberry juice (100% pure juice, with added sugars)

2 thin sliced oranges, cut in quarters

2 thin sliced limes, cut in quarters
When ready to serve, add:
3 bottles chilled sparking water
Garnish with mint, if desired.

You can change the proportions to suite your taste; this can also be made by the glass.

Enjoy!

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posted in Seasonal Tips