Did you know that we’re supposed to get at least 30 grams of fiber a day? The average American eats only 15 grams per day. No wonder everyone is bloated, irregular, and at high risk for heart disease. Also, if you don’t poop, your body reabsorbs toxins it’s trying to flush out. One of the results- Colon cancer is now the third leading type of cancer related deaths in the US.
Keep in mind that that fiber is found only in plant foods and never in animal products. No wonder those who consume the Standard American Diet (SAD) are clogged up. We’re supposed to go three times a day. I can tell you most of my patients are lucky, if they go #2 once a day. I’ve seen some cases of once every ten days!
Health Benefits of Fiber
• Prevents colon cancer, constipation, colitis, hemorrhoids, gallstones, and varicose veins.
• Lowers cholesterol and helps prevent and manage diabetes.
• Slows the absorption of food. Thus, reducing blood glucose levels and increasing weight loss.
• Removes heavy metals and toxins and reduces the side effects of radiation.
Sources of Fiber
Fruits and vegetables- 1 medium size, unless otherwise noted.
Apple with skin 3.0 g
Banana 2.0 g
Pear with skin 4.5 g
Orange 2.0 g
Prunes 3.0 g
½ cup Brussels sprouts 4.5 g
1 large Carrot 2.9 g
½ cup Broccoli 1.5 g
Potato with skin 4.0 g
1/ 2 cup Corn 1.5 g
Beets 1.85 g
All half cup for legumes, grains, nuts and seeds
Barley 4.0 g
Black beans 5.5 g
Brown rice 1.5 g
Garbanzo beans 6.0 g
Green peas 6.9 g
Hemp seeds 16.8 g per serving
Kidney beans 6.5 g
Lentils 4.5 g
Lima beans 6.5 g
Oats 3.0 g
Pinto beans 5.9 g
As you increase your fiber intake, pay attention to your use of medications and certain minerals- calcium, iron, and zinc. You may need to adjust your medications, especially insulin. If you take a fiber supplement, never take your medications or supplements at the same time.
Your body could take a little while to adjust to getting the fiber it needs. So you might be a bit gassy at first. This will pass. Drinking plenty of water and chewing on fennel seed will reduce the toots.
See how important it is to get enough fiber? And how easy it is? Stock up on hummus, carrot sticks, and split pea soup, and you’ll be good to go. No pun intended.
Live natural. Live well.
What is all this hype about vitamin D deficiency? It’s sort of the new health trend. Most doctors didn’t test for it or even ask about D until a couple of years ago.
So why is there such a problem?
First, if you live north of Los Angeles on the west coast or Florida on the east coast, you can’t get enough D from the sun in winter. If you:
* Work indoors
* Always wear sunblock
* Avoid going out in the sun
* Are over 60
Vitamin D is responsible for your immune system, bone & heart health, reducing cancer risk, muscle flexibility, and mood elevation. The agreed upon intake amount per day is 2,000 IU.
Signs that you might be vitamin D deficient.
* Osteoporosis or arthritis
* Poor memory
* Fractured or broken bones
* Weak or sore muscles
* Autoimmune disease
* Prostate cancer
* Frequent colds
Sources of Vitamin D
* Sunlight with out sunblock 5-30 minutes per day on arms and legs
* Take a vegan D3 supplement
* Mushrooms, especially shiitake
* Fortified organic soymilk
Have you doctors check your vitamin D levels, especially if you’re experiencing any symptoms mentioned above. Get outside and enjoy a little sun. It does the body good.
Live natural. Live well.
Have you been experiencing hot flashes or irregular periods? Worried about osteoporosis? Emotions running rampant? You might be at the beginning of menopause or peri-menopuase. Yes, there are many drugs out there that reduce menopause symptoms with some dangerous side effects. Why not eat the right foods to feel cooler and a little less crazy instead? Proper nutrition can reduce symptoms and keep you calm with out any of the worries of medication. In Chinese nutrition, each plant, nut, seed, or fruit has an energetic value to it. They can give you energy or help you to de-stress.
Here are some tips.
What to eat, when you’re feeling.….
Overwhelmed or afraid
Miso soup, adzuki beans, black beans, buckwheat, soba noodles, roots and greens, squash
Barley, wheat, rye, lentils, white beans, spring greens, daikon radish
Worried or self-conscious
Millet, adzuki or garbanzo beans, sweet squash, root veggies
Depressed or sad
Brown rice, tempeh, lentils, roots and greens, miso soup, onion, scallions, ginger
Cooling foods to help with hot flashes and night sweats
Apples, bananas, pear, persimmon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, citrus, lettuce, radish, cucumber, celery, asparagus, Swiss chard, eggplant, spinach, summer squash, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, zucchini, soy, mung beans/sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, millet, barley, amaranth, seaweed, spirulina, wheat grass, peppermint, lemon, cilantro, marjoram, molasses, oats, wild rice, black beans, parsnips, black sesame seeds, potatoes, kidney beans, blueberries, blackberries, and watermelon.
Sources of fluorine for building bones
Cabbage, avocados, black-eyed peas, seaweed, rice, rye, parsley, lemon grass, licorice, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, carrots, caraway seed, cauliflower, cucumber, dates, endive, turnip and beet greens, dandelion, sunflower seeds, garlic, spinach, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, and almonds.
Feeling better about ‘the change’ now that you’ve read this? I hope so! You can take charge of your health and do it naturally. The transition into menopause can go smoothly.
Live natural. Live well.
You might have heard that your liver is in charge of filtering out toxins. But did you know your liver is also in charge of filtering out anger and resentment? It’s true. In Chinese medicine, each organ has an emotion or emotions that affect it. If you don’t release or process what you’re feeling, it starts to cause internal imbalances. The liver is weakened or compromised by anger, resentment, frustration, and/or stress. Experience any of those lately? In the last week? In the last hour?
If you are stressed out or frustrated about your job, you might be experiencing some physical symptoms related to your mental health.
Symptoms that can manifest from suppressing your anger.
* High blood pressure, PMS, headaches
* Vertigo, hair loss, & blurry vision
* Muscle spasms & ringing in the ears
* Crave sour tasting foods, dizziness, & red eyes
Avoiding anger and stress is pretty much impossible unless you live in a cave. But you can do something about it. How you deal with it is key. One of those ways is through the foods you eat. Chinese nutrition gives very detailed guidelines on what to eat when needing emotional support.
Foods to Eat
* Beets, apple cider vinegar, & dill
* Broccoli, pine nuts, & mustard greens
* Romaine lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, & cauliflower
* Basil, mint, cabbage, peaches, strawberries, & quinoa
So instead of going through PMS hell, try the above foods instead. Find ways to simplify your life. Maybe take up yoga or meditation. A kickboxing class might be just the trick. Most importantly, acknowledge and accept your what you’re feeling. Don’t suppress or ignore it, even if it’s uncomfortable. You’ll not only feel your mood lift, but any physical ailments will start to disappear.
Live natural. Live well.
The information out there can be so confusing. Have any of these thoughts run through your head?
My doctor says I HAVE to eat meat.
Is it safe for my baby?
All I can think is I need to: get rid of the baby weight pronto, have energy, keep my baby healthy.
Breastfeeding is definitely the best choice for guaranteeing better health for your child. Keep in mind that everything you eat, your baby is eating, too.
What to avoid and why
* Caffeine including chocolate (Sorry!): irritability, poor sleep, and colic.
* Sugar: poor sleep, irritability, decreased immune function, thrush, diaper rash, and eczema.
* Alcohol and recreational drugs: lethargy, poor physical and/or mental development, decreased immunity, thrush, and diaper rash.
* Medications: Talk with your doctor to see if there are safer options while lactating. There may be a safer medical or herbal version. Side effects may vary, depending on the medication.
* Spicy food, cabbage, dairy, raw onion, and broccoli: colic.
* High allergen foods (gluten, nuts, dairy, soy) as your baby may develop an allergy from early exposure.
What to Eat
• Eat whole unprocessed foods including fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, and whole grains daily.
• Because of brain development, eating a balance of essential fatty acids is key. Limit meat and dairy products and include hemp seeds, kale, flax seeds, avocado, and seaweed into your diet.
• Keep taking your whole foods source pre-natal for added nutrients. If you haven’t already, add a probiotic for your immune system and digestion.
Now that you’ve made the best possible choice for you child, your breast milk will help your baby to thrive. Every child is different. How your diet affects her may change or be different from child to child. Watch how she responds from meal to meal and you’ll know what’s best.
Live natural. Live well.
Turmeric. It’s the spice that makes your curry yellow. This little yellow root is a powerhouse of healing properties. So many, in fact, that it would be hard to list them all.
* Skin conditions- eczema, psoriasis, and hives
* Pain reduction
* Blood detoxifier
* Helps cough and asthma
* Gas & bloating
* Speeds up wound healing
* Heals stomach ulcers
* Prevents cancer
* Slows progression of Alzheimer’s and MS
* Reduces side effects of chemotherapy
* Lowers cholesterol
Fresh is always best. But powdered and capsules will still help. Turmeric can be added to soups, stews, grilled veggies, tofu scramble, and, of course, curry. Juice a small amount with some cucumber, carrots, lemon and lettuce for a delicious, immune boosting treat every morning. You can also make into a paste with aloe vera to reduce itching from bug bites and chicken pox.
Isn’t it amazing how the things we have in our kitchen cabinet can keep us healthy? Every time we cook, we have the opportunity to improve our quality of life. Food can really be thy medicine.
Live natural. Live well.
So you’ve gotten the big C diagnosis. Now what? Whether you decide or not to go with Western treatments- surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation, Chinese medicine and nutrition should be a part of your healing plan.
Chinese medicine can help with any cancer related symptoms and side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation, including: nausea/vomiting, burns, weakened immunity, stress, anxiety, detoxification, pain, bruising, hair loss, skin issues, hot flashes, fatigue, digestive issues, loss of appetite, and anemia.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Even the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has proven that acupuncture used on cancer patients improved their immune system response. Their studies also showed that acupuncture reduced pain levels in some cancer patients. Clinical trials performed all over the world have determined that acupuncture reduces nausea and vomiting caused by chemo and anesthesia.
What can you do?
Eat & Drink
* Immune boosting- astralgus root, probiotics, lemon, aloe vera, bell pepper, kiwi
* Nausea- ginger, mint, dry crackers, apples
* Calming- beets, radish, carrots, yams, melons
* Detoxifying- dandelion greens, cucumber, kale, beets, seaweed, tumeric, garlic
* Sugar- cancer loves to feed on sugar.
* Dairy- casein, which is a milk protein, encourages tumor growth.
* Non- organic- pesticides and steroids cause and promote cancer.
Most importantly, do what makes you happy. Find support from people who will keep you on track. All experts agree that having a positive outlook on your diagnosis and treatment is vital to recovery.
These tips are meant for prevention as well. Whether or not you’ve gotten diagnosed with cancer, you can use this opportunity to take charge of your health and even come back healthier than ever before.
Live natural. Live well.
In the hectic, fast paced world we live in today, most of us don’t get enough sleep. Sleep is key to a healthy body and mind. Keep in mind that alcohol, caffeine, sleeping pills and some medications can lead to unrestful sleep.
If you’re tired after a solid 8 hours, something else may be going on with your health.
Lack of quality sleep can lead to:
Weight gain: Chronic insomnia can cause weight gain by elevating cortisol (stress hormone) levels, which stimulate fat production. How we process and store carbohydrates can be compromised as well.
Cardiovascular Health: Insomnia may cause hypertension and irregular heartbeat.
Poor Memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory.
Mood: Lack of sleep can cause anxiety, irritability, and poor concentration.
Illness: Poor sleep weakens our immunity, make you more prone to illness. Getting enough rest is also vital to fighting cancer.
So turn off the tv and computer early, take a relaxing bath, drink some herbal tea, and get in to bed.
Live natural. Live well.
I’m writing this article based on a FRED talk I’m giving tonight. I realized 6 minutes isn’t enough to share all of these great tips, so here they are on my site. Have you made any resolutions? Is the thought of committing to them stressing you out? Then this list is perfect for you. Now and throughout the year.
First, I’d like to point out that stress makes you sick. It keeps you awake at night. Makes you crave the bad stuff even more. It even makes you gain weight. I’m not saying don’t put pressure on yourself to do better and more. But setting yourself up for failure and then beating yourself up isn’t going to make you healthier. And definitely not happier.
* Make realistic goals for the year. Make goals that you know you can keep. You know what you’re capable of. If going cold turkey on alcohol, sugar, or coffee or maybe all of the above terrifies you, then don’t do it. Pick one thing you want to give up. Commit to it daily. Set the intention to keep this commitment every morning. For all of you twelve steppers reading this- one day at a time does help. Thinking- “I can never have another pint of ice cream ever again in my entire life” will make the most sane of us go crazy.
* Want it. You’ve got to really, really want it. What ever your goal or commitment is- every cell in your body should crave it. Whether it’s adding a daily yoga practice or giving up meat. People come to me all the time to get over an addiction. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t really ready. They usually do it out of pressure from loved ones. If that’s the case, you might not even last a day. A great example- someone came in to quit smoking a few weeks ago. They called me the day after their first treatment to tell me acupuncture wouldn’t work for them. They had a cigarette on the way home from my office. They hadn’t even gone 2 hours. They still had cigarettes in the car. So of course acupuncture didn’t help. It reduces cravings, detoxes your body quickly, and helps you deal with any emotional stuff that comes up. But you have to be ready to let go. So, if you really want to give something up, don’t have any of it in your home. Throw it away. Give it to a neighbor. Make that commitment.
* Stop buying stuff. Yes, I said it. Stop shopping. Buy only what you need. If you see something you like, wait a week. Stop buying stuff. Yes, I said it. I know that’s considered blasphemy in our culture. But it can be done. Stop shopping. Obviously, uy what you truly need. If you see something you like, wait a week. If you can’t stop thinking about it, then indulge. Give away whatever is in your home that doesn’t inspire you. Go through your closets and cabinets. If you don’t love it or haven’t worn it, it’s time to say goodbye. Many charities will even come pick up for you.
* Eat more plant based, locally grown whole foods. I don’t consider this a diet. It’s a lifestyle. Going to your local farmers market or even having organic produce delivered to your doorstep by a CSA- Community Supported Agriculture. You can find recipes for anything online. Start today. Why not? Your body, the planet, and our fellow earthlings will all thank you.
*Give yourself a treat. I’m not talking about cupcakes or a third cocktail. I’m talking a massage or a day off in the middle of the week. Visit your best friend. Go to your favorite restaurant or yoga class regularly. You deserve it.
* Volunteer. A lot of my readers already do this. There’s nothing more fulfilling than helping others. Whatever your cause. Getting out of your head and giving back will definitely bring more joy in to your life. It helps gain perspective on our own lives. An added benefit is that we end up learning so much. So whatever your passionate about- protecting children, the environment, animals, find a group. Maybe use your expertise to help your favorite cause.
*Consume less caffeine and sugar. They might make you feel great in the moment. But believe me there are consequences. No way around it. The crash can make you cranky, tired, and want more of it. So why not just stay away? I have to say that all that I’ve written, the one on coffee upset the most people. It wasn’t the ones on giving up plastic, meat, or sugar. It was coffee. Luckily, I’ve never had it. But I can relate when it comes to sugar. Especially after all the desserts I had in the last week.
*Nature. Most of us are so busy; we don’t take the time to get outside. Which is really sad for any of my followers living in southern California. We can comfortably be outside 300 days out of the year. Go on a hike. Get to the beach. Or just go to your local park in put your bare feet in the grass.
* Forgive yourself and others. Do a meditation apologizing to yourself and the person. I like this guided meditation to help. Visualize the person you feel has hurt you. Forgive them. Then apologize to them for any harm you may have caused them. Then forgive yourself. Pick one person or event a night. See how the weight has been lifted.
What I want you to end with this thought- what are you wiling to change in 2013?
Live natural. Live Well.
Want to stay healthy this holiday season? No colds or flus. No gaining ten pounds that never seem to come off. Sound impossible? Not at all. Let’s do it differently this year. If you’ve been following my posts for a while, you know I’m all about prevention. Once you’ve gained the weight or gotten sick, it’s much harder to recover than not going through it at all.
Here are a few helpful tips to be in top shape the whole year.
1) Take at least 500 mg of vitamin C a day.
2) Eat garlic- It’s a natural antibiotic and tastes delicious.
3) Sweat- It’s a great way to get toxins out.
4) Dab your wrists or neck with lavender oil, because it has antibiotic properties.
5) Eat before going to parties. Fill up on healthier options before being tempted to eat only sugar, white bread, and animal products.
6) Contribute some healthy options of your own to holiday meals.
7) Take a B complex for hangover prevention.
8) Let yourself totally enjoy when you are indulging. Feeling guilty releases stress hormones leading to weight gain. So, if you’re going to have one too many cocktails or that second piece of pie, just accept it and enjoy every bite. Not that I’m condoning doing this, but we all know it’s going to happen.
9) Drink a glass of water after each alcoholic beverage.
10) Get moving. It’ll help keep the weight off, reduce stress, and boost your immunity. Walk. If you live where it’s too cold and wet to get outside or even to the gym. Run up and down your stairs a few times. Do some jumping jacks. Buy a mini trampoline and jump for 20 minutes.
See how simple and fun prevention can be? Start a new holiday tradition this year. The tradition of health.
Live natural. Live well.