wholesome health advice

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why prevention is actually vital

Dr. Greger is one of my health heroes and this video might be eye-opening to some.  Hope you have 4 minutes to take a look.


The Dry Skin Duel

…skin survival tips.

Here in Montana, winter creates parched skin. Though, no matter where you live, weather can zap skin of vital moisture.

Dry skin tool kit necessities:

  1. LOOFAH. Use this sponge to dry brush skin prior to your shower; thus, your skin and the brush are completely dry. Dry brushing removes dead skin cells, facilitates skin cell renewal, removes wastes, and increases circulation. I recommend a loofah on a stick to reach entire body (earth therapeutics is good brand). Start at extremities and brush toward heart.
  2. HUMIDIFIER. They not only bring humidity into a room, but they can also add moisture to dry skin. http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/product-reviews/appliances/humidifier-reviews/best-humidifiers
  3. FAT. Eat a high-fat diet, adding more calories from quality fats. The body will produce more water for the cells. Plus, there will be more fatty acids available for the oil-producing glands, the body’s moisturizers. Good fats include organic butter, lard, unfiltered coconut oil, high quality olive oil (see prior post for brands), flax-seed oil, and cod liver oil.
  4. FERMENTED COD LIVER OIL. I recommend Green Pasture brand. Fermented cod liver oil is a traditional super food prepared by ancient methods, which properly preserve the nutrients: omega-3, vitamin A and vitamin D.  

Other considerations:

      1. Take fewer showers, and/or use cooler water. Hotter water for longer periods dries skin.
      2. Use high-quality, toxin-free moisturizer (of course, I recommend robin’segg organics:  www.robinseggorganics.com)
      3. Drink your fluids. Dry skin is a sign of dehydration of the cells.

What is a canola?

Canola is a made-up word, not a vegetable or plant.

You may be surprised to know that canola oil is also a made-up word…and that canola oil is not healthful.

Prior to the 1980’s, canola oil was called rapeseed oil, manufactured from rapeseed, a member of the mustard family. Marketers took this name as a hard sell so created the acronym, canola, taken from Canadian and low acid.    Sure this oil has low acid and originally derived in Canada, but it certainly is not a healthful option.  Why?

Canola oil is highly refined, genetically-modified, and contains 14% fragile omega-3 fatty acids, making its healthful heating point about 100 degrees.   The manufacturing is troubling, a procedure that begins with high-temperature pressing using solvent (hexane) extract (traces remain even after refining).  Like other vegetable oils, canola is bleached, de-gummed, and deodorized.  Manufacturers add deodorizers to mask potential rancidity.   Rancid oils don’t just smell and taste bad, they are oxidized, which can cause damage to cells and tissue, and inflammation.

Very few studies exist touting evidence as to why canola is healthful, but some believe it to be.   Yet, canola oil is banned from infant formulas in the U.S. and Canada.   “Research in the late 1990’s has shown that oils such as canola oil are not appropriate for growing animals and likely not appropriate for growing children” (Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol by Mary G. Enig, PhD).

Why is this oil ubiquitous?  It’s cheaper than better alternatives.   Inspect food labels.  If they state, may use canola oil and/or…, know that canola is probably used and don’t purchase.   Purchase products manufactured with integrity from manufacturers using safflower oil, olive oil, coconut oil.  For healthy cooking options try extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, Ghee, or lard.

“All I ask of food is that it doesn’t harm me.” Michael Palin

What’s in your H2O?

Is your water safe?

This site is all things water quality.  Find out what’s in your water supply.  Then learn which water filters best suit your needs.       http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/whats-in-yourwater.php

“Any drop of water inside my body could have been ocean, cloud, river or spring the day before.  I remind myself this fact when the bonds of daily life squeeze too tight.”   Deepak Chopra

Salt, the spark of life…


Without salt, there’d be no life.  Muscles would stop working, cognitive ability and memory would diminish, the heart would stop beating.

Our bodily fluid composition compares to ocean water with close to 97 percent sodium (Na), chloride (Cl) and trace minerals.  Since salt is necessary down to the cellular level, low saline levels result in disorders of endocrine system (glands), nervous system and viscera (organs). Each day, normal body processes reduce salt and other minerals, which then must be replaced.

Replenishing these vital minerals is easy using quality salts.  Sodium, the primary constituent of salt, is one of the three electrolytes (the other two being potassium and chloride) that maintains homeostasis, and conveys charge enabling nerve impulses plus muscle contractions.

Historically, salt was worth its weight in gold.  NaCl was one of the first industries and first international trade commodities; trade routes traversed the globe; and it was often used for money, thus coveted and sometimes fought over.   The word salary is a Latin derivative of salarium, which was money allotted to Roman soldiers to purchase salt.

It’s not just a savory flavor.  Salt acts as a food preservative; aids in digestion; makes a useful mouthwash, tooth powder and throat gargle; plus works as an antiseptic.

What type to buy/use?  This question is complicated, as there are so many salt options on the market ranging from basic table salt to celebrity salts to cultural salts; each claiming health benefits.  My answer is to look for salt that is unrefined with only one ingredient: salt. 

Yes:  Sea salt (evaporated ocean water) is recommended because it has minerals without harsh processing.  Though the mineral content varies depending on the harvesting location, sea salt has small amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, zinc, and iron.  Additionally, according to time intensity profiles, less sea salt is needed to reach the same intensity level as table salt.  A good thing, since less than a teaspoon of salt per day is needed to satisfy bodily Na requirements.  Overuse of salt stresses kidneys, interferes with nutrient absorption and can increase blood pressure.

Colors:  Salt tinted pink, black or grey contains more trace minerals than white.

Brands: The two most famous unrefined and quality brands are Maldon and Fleur de Sel.

No:  Though most commonly consumed, highly processed, chemically-altered Kosher, table, or iodized salt is not recommended.  Stark white table salt contains iodine and additives such as sodium silicoaluminate or magnesium carbonate to aid pour-ability and prevent caking.  The USDA allows 2 percent preservatives and does not require listing on the label.  Refinement occurs with incredibly intense heat, sometimes up to 1,200 degrees (F).  The heat molecularly alters the salt (as with any food), requiring enhancement with synthetic vitamins and minerals.  These table salts are just not whole foods.

“Bread that this house may never know hunger, salt that life may always have flavor. ”
~It’s A Wonderful Life,(movie)1946

chocolate’s bitter side

Chocolate’s Bitter Side

…the ugly truth about some chocolates’ origins and practices used to sustain this highly profitable sweet.

Do you know?  Most of the world’s chocolate comes from small farms located in western Africa, particularly the Ivory Coast.  What’s ugly is that many of these farms use child slave labor to harvest their cocoa beans.  Young slave boys are trafficked from neighboring countries or even sold by their parents to harvest against their will with no pay.  Conditions they endure are horrific; they suffer greatly.

How has this happened and why does it continue?    Low pay from the larger chocolate companies forces small farmers to extremely cut corners;  some governments don’t prosecute traffickers; consumers  demand low prices and will purchase according to price; and lastly, some reporters hoping to unveil the truth have been killed.

What’s the solution?  What can we do? As we know from business 101, demand influences supply.  So, if consumers demand certified fair-trade, slave-free products, there will be less supply needed.  Thus, please scrutinize your next chocolate bar purchase as the trickle effect will be that chocolate companies will realize there  truly is a demand for chocolate that isn’t created by slaves.  Look for chocolates with labels that state certified fair-trade, certified slave-free.

Also note that organic chocolate mostly derives only from Central and South America.  Currently, no organic chocolate is from western Africa.

What to buy for your valentine (since the love holiday is right around the corner)These three ethical companies sell slave-free chocolate and give some proceeds to the cocoa farming communities.

 Divine Chocolate
A fair-trade chocolate co-op
45% owned by cacao farmers in Ghana

Equal Exchange
Partners with small farmer co-ops

Endangered Species Chocolate
Partners with Nigerian co-op,
Donates 10% of profits to Nigerian co-op villages & other partner programs

Other ethical-created chocolate companies can be found from this table: http://vision.ucsd.edu/~kbranson/stopchocolateslavery/main.html#Table

Some fair-trade:http://www.fairtradeusa.org/products-partners/cocoa?gclid=CMXOy5SZm7UCFQLZQgodbGgANA

As Charles M. Schultz brilliantly said: “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

*Stayed tuned for the next  blog about the health benefits of this divine candy.

C is for cabbage

Why EAT cabbage?

….because this diverse vegetable is a nutritional powerhouse serving up:

~more vitamin C than oranges

~more ALA (alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3) than salmon

~valuable cholesterol-lowering capabilities

~potential healing of peptic ulcers

~strong anti-cancer benefits

~well-documented anti-inflammatory compounds

Ranked as one of the healthiest vegetables, cabbage has antioxidant, antibiotic, and antiviral characteristics.  From the TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) prospective, it supports chi circulation, clears heat, tonifies stomach, lungs and large intestine, plus mildly stimulates liver out of stagnation.

This vegetable helps treat constipation, poor circulation, depression and irritability.  The juice, due to an abundance of glutamine (amino acid with anti-inflammatory properties), is a healing remedy for ulcers and abdominal spasms/pain.  Historically, cabbage was food and medicine.  Romans used it as hangover cure; they and the Greeks thought it a general panacea for a multiple of health conditions; and Dutch sailors used it to prevent scurvy during long voyages.

Cabbage and its family, Brassica, have phyto-nutrients that ward off carcinogens (substances capable of causing cancer); they also inhibit cancer formation, detoxify carcinogens, and protect against cancers of the stomach and colon.

Its macro and micro nutrients are noteworthy too.  Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C, A, and K; plus it’s a very good source of folate, fiber, manganese and B6.  This veggie also supplies B1, potassium, tryptophan and calcium.

Cabbage is globally cultivated and eaten in many countries like sauerkraut in northern Europe and kimchi in Korea.  These fermented dishes preserved food and provided nourishment for centuries.  Plus, with a tight, dense head, cabbage had/has storage capabilities in root cellars.  Today, in refrigerators, it lasts up to two months.

Though this veggie is 90 percent water and has only 15 calories per cup, it is pack with nutrients.  Eat it raw, thinly sliced in salads or in slaw.  Use it in soups; make wraps with it; sauté or steam it to capture all its benefits.  Try not to overcook it, as it produces strong odor and flavor.

Red Cabbage Slaw

1 head red cabbage

1 pound carrots

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons of salt

1 Tablespoon of chili powder

Option: add one bunch of parsley

Quarter and core cabbage, then thinly slice either by hand or food processor.  Peel and grate carrots.  Chop parsley.  Toss all ingredients.  Let stand one hour.  Serve as garnish, side dish or as salad.

“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”  Mark Twain