Category Archives: Nutrition

moon with clouds

Thoughts on Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

A love letter to our ongoing struggle with physical bodies

In these political and environmentally trying times, sometimes our most effective tool for change is simply to try and remain healthy and happy.  It sounds easy, but its not. It can mean changing core beliefs and patterns and fighting cultural pressures and habits we are not even aware of.  It can imply a luxury of time and/or money to actually enable health and self examination.  Plus, not everyone gets to choose a reasonable baseline with which to start with in life.  Nevertheless, we continue and we strive and we believe and we have hope and that makes us human.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here, but I felt drawn to after a close friend was diagnosed with CLL.  For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts on this, and cancer in general.  I realize it is an emotional topic, I eat grains of salt with every opinion I have and I don’t say them out loud very often.  However, perhaps these may be of help to someone.  Also, don’t eat grains of salt if you think you might have cancer!

looking up at trees

Someone once helped me turn paralyzing a fear and nervousness into excitement, by pointing out that they actually feel very similar in the body.  Adrenaline, blood flow, flushing, mind racing… and our mind is what controls the positive/negative connotation of the experience. In the spirit of optimism, see if you can treat a cancer diagnosis as an opportunity to change your relationship with life, as opposed to a death sentence.  The majority of cancer’s are slow acting and you have time to decide.  Even when they are not, panicking only hurts you more.  Try not to rush into treatments based on fear, and take the time to ask questions, get statistics, get second opinions.  Most of all, don’t be afraid to trust your gut and do what is right for you, even if no one else agrees or understands.  Your life is literally the only thing you have control over.

Once you have made decisions, embrace them and follow them down the rabbit hole to see what information they provide for your next steps. Don’t tune out and hand over the reigns to others, stay invested if you are able. Ask for help when you need it, ask for time and space if you need that too. As the majority of people choose conventional routes whether with natural “alternatives” or not, I have attempted to constrain this article to what natural things can be used alongside and after harder treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Contemplate the difference between curing and healing.  Curing is the “elimination of disease”, which is what most people chase, while healing is becoming whole and coming to terms with your life, whatever it may turn out to be, and it needs your personal involvement to improve it’s quality through nutrition, exercise, social support, stress management, and a sense of connections to the the natural world.

I spend a lot of time in the health food industry, so granted I have a skewed sample of people I talk to, however, we do tend to get ‘survivors’ or partners of non-survivors looking for new options to the standard MD recommendations.  Many of them come after trying it the ‘hospital way’ or wanting to try something concurrently. The people who are the most upset are the ones who felt they were rushed or bullied into fast treatment and/or not listened to by their primary health care provider. There is no “cure” for cancer, because they still don’t know exactly why it happens. There also seems to be as many cancer types as there are new blood tests, so it makes sense to me that there would never be a one-cure-fits all. In my opinion, we need to stop treating the Big C as one giant monster and start treating people as individuals.

“Conventional medicine holds that the tumor is, in effect, the disease and, therefore, treatment is focused on combinations of protocols, such as chemotherapy and radiation, which destroy cancer cells, but can harm healthy cells as well. These protocols can buy time, but have no intrinsic healing properties. The yardstick of success is the 5-year survival rate. The biological repair approach views cancer as a systematic problem. A tumor or abnormal cells are symptoms of a biochemical breakdown which can be corrected with a comprehensive, non-toxic, metabolic program. Such a biorepair system seeks to balance and strengthen all body functions in order to produce healthy cells and restore well being. The yardstick of success is long term recovery.”
http://www.rethinkingcancer.org
An example of what a multi-faceted approach can look like:
http://www.rethinkingcancer.org/about/about-bio-repair.php

I favour this description because it outlines how “treatments that focus merely on killing cancer cells ignore the root cause of the problem – a breakdown in body chemistry causing abnormal cell production”. It provides a template for thinking about focusing on the host, not the tumor. I believe this holds true no matter what form your treatment takes.

Christiane Northrup, M.D wrote a book in 2010 (Women’s bodies, Women’s wisdom) that truly affected my perception of disease and how I felt about it.  She laid out some nice arguments around how what organs are affected relates to what message your body is trying to tell you. For many people it is somewhere they already had a weakness, and the body is escalating  its attempts to communicate.  For example, the multitude of cancers around the reproductive organs in women can mirror our skewed views of our bodies, sex, reproductive rights arguments, hormonal imbalances due to environment, and maybe even mortal fear for our offspring (my words). These can range from the obvious, imbalances in the throat point to communication, to the more subtle, fear is held in the belly. For others, it can be a shock, a sudden betrayal somewhere in their body when they have acknowledged no prior weakness there.

Two stories come to mind for me personally, I’ll share one, a close family member with breast cancer. She went through all of it, the “cut it off and you won’t need chemo”. Then, “do radiation so you won’t need chemo”.  Then, “oh you need chemo after all”. Then just being so sick.  When asked, she said she would not follow that path ever again, and she credits her survival (20+years) to the forcible confrontation it brought to her life regarding her choices as well as the techniques they taught concurrently regarding communicating with your body on a deeper lever, including visualization, meditation and expressing instead of repressing.  I also think a new term might be helpful, lets talk about thrival instead of survival, which only implies life but not quality of life.

hooded person sitting in a field

The chemo-fairy comes at night.

Let’s move on to some actionable things!  At some point a decision is made, and we are putting our hair, teeth and nails under our pillow and praying that the chemo-fairy brings us shiny quarters and not coal.  I say this without irony, as the vitamin-fairy will likely get the same amount of prayers and fears in the loneliness of night when we are faced with our own mortality.

Definitions & theory:

https://www.cancer.gov/types/leukemia/patient/cll-treatment-pdq
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/cancer-oncology

“CLL is usually treated with chemotherapy drugs. Although the majority of patients respond to these drugs, the researchers say most patients relapse and need repeated cycles of the treatments. With each cycle, the remission periods tend to decrease. The researchers say that as a result, patients often stop responding to treatment or are forced to stop because of severe side effects. According to the investigators, these side effects are a result of the chemotherapy medication being unable to distinguish between healthy cells and cancer cells.” This is not exactly news, but sometimes it bears repeating, when the treatment is no longer killing cancer effectively, but simply killing you, you can stop.  This particular cancer has a pretty harsh outlook in general, however focussing on the individual instead of the Big C can help build a foundation for healing rather than curing.

Psychological and emotional causes cannot be underestimated. Tangentially specific to CLL, in traditional Chinese medicine, blood disorders are always related to the spleen/pancreas and both are adversely affected by worry and anxiety.  Cancer is also always associated with stagnancy of some sort, whether it be of the blood, mucus, qi, old emotions or repressed resentments. Taking the time to delve and clear old blockages and stress responses can be one of the key differences in people who thrive.

Cancer is considered a symptom of Dampness in Traditional Chinese Medicine, so oxygenating cells and living in dry warm climates can help. Paul Pitchford (Healing with Whole Foods) draws a parallel to the dampness theory and how all chronic disease in Western Medicine starts with edema and affects electrical potential, enzymes and cell oxidation. Fight this by avoiding salt and sugar and increasing potassium (fruits & veggies), iodine (seaweed) and enzymes (raw unsalted saurkraut).  Boosting the thyroid will help internal drying by increasing cellular metabolism, and on a side note, supplements for the thyroid can go a long way to helping energy and mood.

Subsequently, herbs in all cultures used to treat cancer, tend to be bitter or aromatic which remove moisture and clear stagnation, Native American Chaparral, South American P’au D’arco and Suma, European Dandelion, etc.  I wouldn’t necessarily use these herbs while on conventional treatments however, as it might be too cleansing or trying on the body.  On that note, detoxification is mentioned quite a lot in alternative cancer therapies, but it does not work as an adjunct modality.  They are both extreme therapy’s and they work on opposite sides of the spectrum. Either wait until after you are finished your conventional therapy such as chemo/radiation, or do it long before you start them, to see if it can be of benefit to you.  It helps to do this under supervision from a willing health care practitioner.

What you can to is pay attention to whether you are displaying deficiency or excess symptoms and moderate your nutrition accordingly.  Do you need to feed yourself warm easy to digest nutrition to build your blood, or cooling, cleansing, bitter foods to help clear over saturated organs? Ayurvedic and Chinese traditions can help provide concrete ways to define yourself and your needs as an individual in both normal and stressful times.  Reading about them can sometimes bring insight into otherwise mysterious associations within the body.

PH and disease. There has been debate regarding the efficacy of the pH theory, however, to me it makes good sense regardless, if you simply look at the recommendations and the results in everyday life.  This company provides an easy to read breakdown on the theory and my favourite pH chart regarding the foods.

http://www.genuinehealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/PH-Paper-Brochure.pdf

“For years, doctors have linked oxygen supply with cancerous activity. Research shows acidosis (little to no oxygen) appears to allow pathogens and cancer cells to proliferate, whereas an alkaline pH (high oxygen levels) discourages cancer cell colony initiation and promotion. This explains why regular, deep belly breathing is so important – it feeds your body oxygen!” (Graci, The Path to Phenomenal Health, Wiley, 2005.) 

Luckily for us, “dampenss”, anxiety, pH, etc, all tend to point in the same directions nutritionally. Yay!  So holding all these things in mind at once, here is my resulting

List of Things to help:

  • Acupuncture and acupressure have both been shown to reduce chemo-related nausea and vomiting.
  • Massage has been proven very effective for pain relief in hospital cases (up to 60% less pain with a half hour massage)
  • Consider Shirodhara, which is an Ayurvedic treatment involving a steady stream of warm oil being poured onto the forehead.  I know, I know, its a fine line between health treatment and torture!  It is very calming and sustaining.
  • Breath deep.  Just do it.
  • Here are nutritional recommendations that come up again and again regarding cancer in general and CLL specifically.  I have found no contraindications, but feel free to ask your health care providers if you are worried.  I’ve focused on mostly nutritive and gentle action remedies.

Nutrition

Fish oil & Omega 3: Protects and heals, penetrates cell membranes to normalize electrical activity.  This is somewhere you don’t want to tread lightly.  Large amounts of fish oil are recommended, or other Omega-3 sources, however, fish is the easiest on a stressed out liver as it doesn’t have to be converted there. I’m talking 8 Tablespoons of flax oil, or 6 capsules of fish oil style large doses in some cases. Don’t start with that much, but don’t be afraid to work up to it.  If fish is not going to work for you, take your flax seed in the form of biochemist Dr. Johanna Budwig’s ratio of 1:2 – flax oil: quark/cottage cheese. There is a surprisingly long line of research backing up her work for over 60 years.  If you want to learn more about her cancer protocol don’t be afraid to look into it.
https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/budwig-diet-protocol-cancer/

Mushrooms (shitake, reishi, maitake, chaga): anti-tumour and immune boosting
Fruit: Organic apples, papaya – provide enzymes and don’t add to dampness
Whole Grains: Millet and kasha are the only alkaline grains, but oats are also good because they strengthen and calm the body.
B12:larger doses, in the form of methylcolabamin
Vitamin C : (large doses )the buffered form such as Esther-C or from food, for general health and side effects:  “Vitamin C in massive amounts helps the liver to neutralize the resulting enormous quantities of toxic by-products… of chemotherapy or radiation therapy” (Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods)

Feeding the body and the blood:
Vitamins might be harder to break down for compromised digestive system and weakened organs, so you might find whole food nutrients more bioavailable than vitamin tablets: Spirulina, chlorella, blue-green algae, seaweed, royal jelly, nettles, mugwort mochi (japanese sweet rice)

Helping with side and after effects
Kelp, seaweed, wheat grass, barley juice
Fennel seeds, tea or chewing
Astragalus to recover: this can be used long term!
Vitamin D, Vit A (Cod liver oil, carrots, watercress, spinach, broccoli)
Probiotics, get yourself some Bio-K or other high quality acidophilus supplements, and make sure your intestines have the bacteria to function happily as possible.  (Please do not get cheap ones here)

The good news is, now is your chance to eat copious amounts of raspberries and blackberries, as they are mentioned in many places along with blueberries, bilberries, cranberries and leafy greens as being specifically helpful to cancer and autoimmune disease.  Look into thyroid helpers, such as iodine from  seaweed sources.  L-Tyrosine, while being warned against for melanoma, seems to have no contra-indications for CLL and can have significant mood and energy benefits.

Specific to CLL with clinical trials

Below are some exciting supplements that are seeing results both with and without conventional therapy:

Tumeric and Green Tea are mentioned in many places as being used in natural treatment for CLL. The active ingredients being Curcumin and EGCG used for treating inflammation and stress respectively. There is some promising research out there:

http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/15/4/1123.long

Make sure to get the most bioavailable curcumin supplement you can or dive in and do it yourself!  For those who have ever used eastern spices in cooking, the idea of needing fat and heat to release the good stuff will not be a foreign idea.

Tumeric Paste:

  • ½ cup turmeric powder
  • 1 cup spring water (+ ½ extra if necessary)
  • 1.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Mix water (1 cup) with turmeric powder in a pan and slowly heat it up and stir for 6-10 minutes until you get a thick paste (add the additional ½ cup water if it is too thick).
  2. Add black pepper and oil and continue stirring until all the ingredients are fully mixed in together.
  3. Allow the paste to cool. Store in the refrigerator in a jar for up to 1-2 weeks.

Then you can make warm or cold “Golden Milk”:

  • 1 teaspoon of organic coconut oil (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric paste
  • 1 cup of almond or coconut milk
  • Organic, raw, unfiltered honey for taste

Here’s a site with easy to read ideas on other ways to use your paste:

How To Make {& Use} Highly Bioavailable Turmeric Golden Paste

We’ve been hearing about the benefits of Green Tea for years, anti-aging, antioxitant, balanced energy and more, but recently it has been proven to be anti-stress as well.  Two of the most studied active ingredients include L-theanine an amino acid promoting calm and clarity, and the polyphenol EGCG for stress  and also more specific to fighting cancer.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509513/

Get specific supplements or drink lots of tea*.  A quality loose leaf or especially matcha will have the highest amounts of these things.

*The only caveat I’ve seen pertinent to CLL for green tea is that you need to add lemon or milk to it or drink it between meals so it doesn’t reduce your iron absorbtion.

Almost everyone has heard of the anti-oxidant benefits Green Tea.  Anti-oxidants are almost always mentioned in Cancer situations, with conflicting conclusions all the way from anti-oxidants help cancer cells grow, to anti-oxidants help mop up the poisons that cancer cells cause.  To be safe, you might want to stick with mostly food sources instead of high dose supplements of things like A & E, but with green tea and its derivatives there seems to be enough evidence to support using it during and after chemotherapy, both for fighting cancer and for mood improvement.

I’m interested, though still new to, Magnolia extract.  There seems to be a number of studies around cancer with it and it also helps fight cortisol and establish more natural sleeping patterns. Also beginning to look into Maca  as it is being studied for cancer and has a positive effect on the strength and energy of the body.

With the water rising, take a deep breath and dive under.
man in water looking away

blue ice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outro:

Sometimes I wonder if people survive in spite of chemotherapy as opposed to because of it.  Doctors will recommend it even with no positive prognosis, assuming people need some kind of action rather than none, so people feel like they are fighting the good fight. I used to feel more anger around the perceived callousness of one-track mind medicine, but I try to keep in mind that we are all learning all the time, and if we want others to keep their minds open, we will have to do the same.  Here are some random chemotherapy discussions for anyone looking to delve further.  Are my spots showing?

Chemo thoughts, for delving:

David refused chemo and healed leukemia naturally

http://www.naturalnews.com/055790_cancer_chemotherapy_ineffective_medicine.html

Are chemotherapy drugs as successful as they seem?

dandelion flower oil

Pesky Weed or Beautiful Loser? A Dandelion Flower Oil Answer

Part 1 of 2: Dandelion Oil Preparation

dandelion-oil--making-supplies

What you will need: oil, glass jar with lid, plastic bag, dandelions

There are so many uses for Dandelion plant, and the flowers are the most labour intensive, but therefore the most rewarding.  They are such a sunshine flower that they literally curl up and close when it rains out and open to the sun when it shines again.  Here’s the instructions for the making of a simple and lovely oil that can be used topically for many things.  (more on this later)

dandelion-bowl-of-happiness

Dandelion leaves, flower heads and plucked petals

You can find dandelions everywhere, with the flowers in early spring.  They didn’t originate here (Canada), they were “imported” via the ships bearing European people and seeds long ago, but they sure have taken over.  Instead of griping about ’em, let’s eat ’em!

Dandelion Driveway

I figure the harder a weed fights to grow somewhere, the more strength it has to pass on to me.

 Step 1:  Pick the flower heads, as many as you can.

Wildcrafting rules need not apply as there are always enough dandelions to reproduce, and they don’t exactly grow in the wild, they grow in previously used soil.

Step 2: Separate the petals from the green parts

This is the time consuming bit, but the green is where the bitter lies, and the flowers by themselves actually have a sweet scent and flavour.  (unlike the bitter leaves)

dandelion-petals-twist

De-greening the dandelion flower

dandelion-petals-after-twist

Grab all the yellow parts and give them a twist to separate from the green holder at the base of the flower

dandelion-petals-scissor-snip

Use scissors if you prefer, but you might find a little more green left behind.


dandelion-petals-after-scissor-snip

yay-dandelion-fingers

Plus no fun yellow fingertips!

Step 3: Fill clean glass jar with dandelion petals

I sterilize mine by pouring boiling water over it, letting it dry then a little vodka rinse for good measure.  Loosely pack the petals almost to the top.

fill-bottle-with dandelion-petals

Loosely fill jar to the top with dandelion petals (pictured here 3/4 full)

Step 4: Fill with oil

Olive oil is a nice choice, it has preservative qualities, the golden yellow merges with the blossoms nicely and if you buy quality organic (or at least extra-virgin) you can eat it later.  It’s a little heavy for use on the skin of the face, but I personally love the moisturizing qualities of it.

dandelion-fill-with-oil

Fill to the top (again) with oil.

 

Step 5: Stir to prevent bubbles

Use something non-reactive such as a wooden chopstick to make sure there are no bubbles hanging about… It can spoil faster if there is air or extra moisture trapped in the oil.

stir-dandelion-oil-wooden

Stir gently to get air bubbles out as they can cause oxidation of the final product

Step 6: Cut out insert for the lid

I re-use plastic bags for this, but wax paper would work.  This is to prevent the metal from the lid interacting with the oil.

plasic-cover-dandelion-oil

Use a plastic bag or wax paper as a barrier between the metal lid

Step 7: Close lid tight and let sit from 3-6 weeks.

That’s right, there is no exact science here, the longer you leave it the stronger it will be, but as it is a gentle oil to begin with, trust your instincts on this one.  (but resist the temptation to peek at it after the first day or so*)

*you might want to check after the first day and top it off with more oil, as the contents may settle and we don’t want extra air space at the top.

dandelion-oil-capped

Ta da!

dandelion-oil-steeping

Put it in a cool dark place to steep for 3-6 weeks.

Step 8: Check back here for the results!

In a few weeks: Straining the dandelion oil and what you can do with your new concoction.

 

 

What Happens In Your Body When You Drink? The Biology of Getting Drunk

Many adults have experienced intoxication, more commonly known as getting drunk. A biological process occurs in your body when you drink alcohol that causes intoxication. The body rapidly absorbs alcohol, mostly through the walls of the small intestine. The liver processes most alcohol. Alcohol also affects your kidneys, causing increased urination and possible dehydration, which can result in a hangover.

Most people want to know “how much is too much to drink.” The legal intoxication limit is .08 percent nationally for a person to be considered a drunk driver. Alcohol affects every person differently, depending on their sex, how much food they have eaten, their overall health and their tolerance for alcohol. Even two drinks can cause intoxication in some people.

The effects of alcohol also vary based on the amount of alcohol consumed. One or two drinks usually cause a euphoric feeling. Three to six drinks cause sleepiness and a lack of coordination. Increasing alcohol consumption results in confusion, a stupor, a coma and eventual death.

Provided by: BestCollegesOnline.org

 

Biology of Getting Drunk Infographic

violet flower sake cocktail

Sneak Nutrition into Your Loved Ones! Tip #3: Bloody Caesar

Ok, so many of you might complain that this is cheating, but… so far it is one of the more successful sneaks.  You don’t even have to hide it!  You do however need to add Vodka.

Caesar, where have you been all my life?

Lime Wedge

  • rim the glass, (hey, none of that!!)  I simply mean run the lime around the edge to wet it……
  • squeeze and drop wedge into the glass (or garnish)
  • vit C, enzymes, lovely sour for that chinese medicine taste protocol, and well, it’s green?

Celery Salt

  • Here’s where I win!  For much cheaper, you can buy whole celery seeds and mortor & pestle or grind them up with coarse sea salt (see my tip #1:) and get creative!
  • Seaweed, pepper flakes from the garden – hand dried by needle and thread – or maybe chipotle?!  You see what I mean.
  • Just powder ’em all up and dump on a clean surface, then dip the edge of the limed-up glass in it so it sticks to the edge

Ice

  • hey!  It’s still H2O, water, hydration and all…
  • fill glass, whatever glass you use

1oz vodka

  • the cleanest of the alcohols, the only one allowed by naturopaths if you are on a candida diet (shhhhhh…)
  • sugarless, grain free*

*Interesting fact though, check the label… in my liquor store I could only find ONE brand made from potatoes.. I thought that was the basic premise behind Vodka!  But most of them are “winter grains” or wheat.  It’s distilled all the same, but STILL!  (pun intended)

bunch of Wort sauce, Worteshire, Worticheshire (who the hell named this?)
– a scoop on what’s inside 
Worcestershire

  • shake it like a polaroid picture
  • i’m sorry for the above bullet point
  • its got fishies!!! heh.  (!vegan warning!)
  • apparently it’s the British answer to Vietnamese Fish Sauce
  • savoury and best not to think about the rest…
  • the real stuff is fermented, and that is good for the digestion and absorbtion of many minerals and vitamins

Tobasco,

  • they say 2 dashes, I say 5+
  • I figure any chili sauce will do, made with vinegar
  • chili’s – if not messed with – are high in the vit C area too
  • pep up that digestive fire, warm up your cold nights

4oz Clamato Juice (spicy)

  • !redundant vegan warning!
  • spicy, clams, veggies, tomato paste, etc…
  • I’m sure on some bottle, somewhere, there is a claim for “{some number here} servings of veggies!”
  • clam broth, it’s gotta be good for something!
  • vit A (according to my label)

Pour into glass.

Add more celery salt, or salt and pepper.

Garnish

  • this is the super veggie bonus addition round
  • half a celery stick
  • olives
  • asparagus for those fussy adventurous types
  • ideas?

My fuss-pot eater requests these, and has even bothered to learn how to make them!  I figure, what’s an ounce of vodka compared to all that other craziness?  Just don’t get in the habit of drinking them as your salad course.  I mean it.

fish on green background

Sneak Nutrition into Your Loved Ones! Tip #2: Miso

Next on the sneaky mission for stealth vitamins… Miso!

Miso is one of the most nutrient packed things I can think of off the top of my head.  B-vitamins, enzymes, protein and goodness (vitamin G) are all contained within small amounts of this Japanese salty paste.  I’ve been told it’s similar to Marmite which hails from Australia, but I haven’t confirmed this for myself, just relying on hear-say.

How do you hide this quite distinctive taste you ask?  Think salty, think savory;  after all it is used traditionally as a soup stock.

TIPS:

  • Mash and mix well with whatever you are combining it with.
  • Use the paste not instant powder for maximum health benefits.
  • Don’t boil, fry, or microwave to keep the nutritional content intact – treat it gently, like a delicate flower of the stock family.
  • keep in mind the different colours have different shades of flavour:  whites to light-yellows are sweeter and milder, yellows to dark-reds are saltier and stronger.

#2. Miso it Up

1. Sneak a bit into that cup-o-soup package when you mix in the boiling water (shhhhh…) not too much though, enough to make the fuss-pots think they are going slightly crazy, but not enough to suspect that you might be the culprit.

2. Mix equal parts Mayonaise and Miso into a smooth (ish) paste and use as a spread for sandwiches or burgers.  I’ve especially gotten away with it on breakfast egg-sandwich-with-cheese type things.

3. Mix equal parts Tahini and Miso and thin with warm water to use as a savoury sauce or gravy on things as diverse as asparagus (haha) to potatoes or meats.  –This tip I gleaned off a friend nutritionist (link soon).

4. Use in a cheesball!  Yes, cheeseball, the creamy, sharp, herby things you bring to dinner parties.  They are always asking for worcestershire sauce or other savoury condiments, just start off light and add Miso to taste, remembering that letting the cheeseball sit brings out more flavour.

Have fun!

Carrot man

Sneak Nutrition into Your Loved Ones! Tip #1: Sea Salt

Do you, like me, have a pretty good working knowledge of nutrition, opinions to spare, a strong belief that you are, in fact, what you eat…

…and someone(s) in your life who couldn’t care less?

Well, after much lamenting, cajoling, mentoring, throwing up handing, and finally saying “fine, eat what you like i’m putting seaweed in my dinner dammit!” -ing, I have come up with a few tricks to appease my sense that time is running out to stuff adequate nutrition into another human being.  Because, lets face it, it ain’t my body, so I really don’t have the right to feel put out by it all.

Educate, don’t Berate!  (is that how the saying goes?)

IN THE MEANTIME:

#1. Spruce up the Salt

One good thing about fussy eaters, is that they are usually also too lazy to remedy a situation unless it is very uncomfortable.  So, get yourself a salt shaker that is also a grinder, some unrefined course sea salt (grey if you can get away with it) and some seaweed of your choice.  Mix it all together and pour into grinder.  Then, get rid of any other salt options in the house.  If they want to saltify, they must grind!  I haven’t actually had any complaints, as it really does just taste salty.

TIPS:

grinder:  if you can afford ceramic parts, great, they don’t rust.  If not, plastic or stainless steel will do the job.  If you can’t find one easily, you can buy one of those specialty salts in any grocer to start with and then just keep refilling it with your own mix.
salt:  get the biggest course salt you can find, if it is damp (high quality) you might need to spread it out on something (pan, towel, board) and dry it out first.  The grey colour is because it hasn’t been bleached or refined and it still contains all those tasty trace minerals that we actually need.  They also help minimize the damage excess salt causes in the body.  After all, we came from the sea originally right?

seaweed:  This is all preference… As I am lazy, I buy Dulse flakes, which are already cut up for you and mix well with salt.  I’ve also used Alaria, which come in black strands and breaks up nicely when dry.  Kelp gives you a littel extra calcium and Nori a little extra protein.  Use your imagination!

So, don’t do the salty dance of guilt, just spruce* your salt up!

*you know you Can eat spruce needles (or at least make vit. C rich tea outa them), but you might find the taste a little strong and distracting for salt…

Looking for a Green Christmas? Who Needs Snow when there is Frozen Algae!

Need some extra pep to get you though this busy time of the year, with the side effects of good health?

Just a quick note to let you know that on of my favorite products, E3Live is having a Holiday Special!

You can get 20% Off Your Order!
Valid from Dec. 12th to Jan 2nd (midnight to midnight EST)

This will give you a chance to stock up on your favorites, buy extra for friends, or just treat yourself!  They even have a section for gifts under $10 this year.  So if you want something unusual for the person who has everything or who doesn't go for the regular candy-type gifting, this is an option.

*Special Tip: Use coupon code: HOLIDAY2011 during checkout

Click Here to See their Superfoods and Gifts

Cheers and Happy Season even if you don't get many holidays…!

Vancouver & Vitamin D should be a Mandatory Combination

They already make us pay premiums on healthcare here in BC, unlike any other province in the country, they may as well do something useful like give you a discount on your fees if you are taking vitamin D.. especially if you live in Vancouver.  November is the time you start to realize that if you work in an office, you can easily go all week without seeing the sun which rises at 8am and sets at 4:30.

Here, more than anywhere I've ever lived, have I noticed the complete scarcity of sunshine.  When there is a glimmer, people flock to the streets and the coffee shops, hoping to get a little warmth on their faces before the inevitable return of cloud cover and drizzle.

I've recommended Vitamin D a lot in my life for people who work inside or have depressive tendancies, or even wear too much sunscreen, this is the first time I've prescribed it for myself.  I found this great raw form from Garden of Life that has been working well so far.  (On the test subjects of myself and fiance – not exactly a controlled experiment, but we can get very cranky!!)

It's been a short time, but I have found myself with a slightly brighter take on my life, even as my sleep stays deprived.  One thing at a time.

Spring is in the Air, but Allergies need not be

Courtesy of The Vital Planet Health Shop

As winter thaws into spring, most of us look forward to leaving behind the ice and snow to welcome the warmth and blossoming flowers.  For those of us who suffer from springtime seasonal allergies, however, the changing of the seasons can be bittersweet as we face the prospect of days spent with constant sneezing and an unrelenting runny nose.

This need not be the case, though.  There are natural remedies available at your local health shop to help prevent and eliminate the annoyance and discomfort of seasonal allergy symptoms.

Natural Anti-histamines

Many allergy symptoms are caused by the inflammatory compound, histamine.  When there is an abundance of certain substances in the atmosphere, such as tree pollen in spring and grass pollen in summer, the immune systems of allergy sufferers will treat these harmless substances as toxins and unnecessarily produce histamine to combat them.  Fortunately there are natural supplements that can inhibit the release of histamine which, unlike pharmaceutical anti-histamines, have no adverse side effects.  Quercetin, a bioflavanoid found in many common foods, is the most recommended by health practitioners but there are other natural supplements with known anti-histamine properties such as Vitamin C and the herb Nettle.

Antioxidants

As well as being natural anti-histamines, Quercetin and Vitamin C are also antioxidants which can assist in combating allergies.  Antioxidants help protect the body from free radicals, an atom or group of atoms that cause damage to cells.  This cellular damage can lead to many health problems including a weakened immune system and susceptibility to inflammation, both of which make us more vulnerable to seasonal allergies.  Coenzyme Q 10 and Grape Seed are other antioxidant supplements which have been shown to help in the allergy fight.

Immune boosters

A strong immune system can help prevent allergies.  Astragalus, Echinacea, and Garlic are among the most highly regarded natural supplements to improve the immune system.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, visit a health food shop near you and they will be happy to assist you in finding the right natural remedy to help you enjoy the beautiful spring and summer allergy free.   

Oh, Water… how do I count the ways?

As I now haunt the west coast of Canada, I constantly think that I have too much water in my life.  This would be external water.  What I am here to espouse is Internal water!  Otherwise known as hydration.

I am still baffled by the amount of people I meet who still don't try for the Doctor (no less!) Recommended dose of 8-10 glasses per day.  If a glass is 8oz… that's 2L of water!  Yes, you unbelievers!… 2 litres, minimum.

Now I have been lucky enough to grow up in a place where water is abundant.  As I listen to the stream outside my window, I do think about how I could possibly get enough water in the desert? Or does the body simply function differently?  I often worry about walking around the planet Dune and having to use recycled bodily water for hydration.  Have I simply been spoiled on water?

Well, those thoughts aside, water has helped me with:

  • PMS: water retention and bloating is caused by the body actually having too little water and having to store it.
  • Dry skin and lips, dry scalp
  • Sports, the muscles react better, faster and with less fatigue than if I have been lax in my water drinkage.
  • Constipation:  a dehydrated colon is a common cause of bowel issues. (magnesium helps the colon absorb the water)
  • Tiredness:  the body is made up of so much water, fluids is how almost every system in our body communicates (lymph, blood, digestive juices, intracellular fluid)
  • Headaches (mild-moderate):  some say that the glass of water you take with your 'Advil' is actually what cures the headache.
  • Toxicity:  soreness, tiredness, brain fog, joint problems, edema.  Water can dilute and flush toxins out of the body.
  • Thirst (haha)

 

Some books claim that dehydration is the cause of almost every major disease out there.  It's an extreme theory, but it doesn't hurt to try drinking water first, as it is the easiest and cheapest thing you can do for yourself (at least in my part of the world…)  Watch your electrolyte balance if you Only drink water (especially if you are sweating) and try to include some juices, herbal teas or (as all the hot yoga places say) Emergen-C.  Gatorade if you are desparate and in a sea of convenience stores instead of health food stores.

-what you are looking for is H20 with glucose, potassium, sodium and magnesium.  (limes or Apple Cider Vinegar, sea salt, molasses/raw sugar/maple syrup)
I will endeaver to find a tasty homemade substitute as I can't find my notes right now!

Just remember, when in doubt, drink water!