Live To 120?

 

Aging

There is an ongoing discussion about living beyond 100 years in the “anti-aging” world. Today I read in the May 2014 naturopathic journal NDNR, an article by Dr. Millie Lytle where she shared research that confirms some facts about the cell longevity.  Two of the biggest factors that influence aging are inflammation and the health of the immune system.  As a general statement, a body functions well when not inflamed and our host defense system is strong and active. Proudly, I can say, naturopathic medicine has continually promoted health from this perspective.

It is true that genetics have a role, but it is becoming more clear that keeping cells healthy supports genetics which is known as epigenetics. In other words, the support system has to be in great shape too. Even if you have good genes, if the body is neglected genes won’t necessarily save you.

So if you want to live to 120 in a healthy state, which is now considered possible,  boost up what you’ve been given. Reduce inflammation by eating well, remove inflaming activities (high stress) in your life, and  give the immune system all the help it needs.

In a great book titled Counterclockwise  by Lauren Kessler, the author wrote about how she self experimented on what keeps us from aging. Her take away is what you belief about aging matters the most! What do you believe on how you will age? It is an important clue!

SKIN – YOUR BEAUTIFUL PROTECTOR

What makes skin so important?

The largest organ of the body is skin. Amazing right? As a protector,  skin has many functions and it often needs our understanding and self care participation to stay healthy and clear. Important to note is that the major functions of skin is as an organ of elimination along with protection from outside elements. When we are born our skin is smooth, soft and rosy in color – skin we love to kiss! Over time skin changes occur. The good news is there are preventive and healthful steps you can take to keep skin more beautiful.

Many factors influence skin health and I’ll discuss three important ones.

Nutrition is always a part of healthy looking skin. Vitamin C is one nutrient that keeps skin collagen strong (think sagging skin and wrinkles). As an example, people who smoke loose collagen from vitamin C loss. Another example to demonstrate nutrition and skin eruptions are allergies. Episodes of rashes, hives and other skin problems can be connected to certain foods. Many vitamins and minerals contribute to skin beauty.
Digestive health: as I have said many times, what gets ingested into the body via the mouth and how it exits, affects skin. Toxins are eliminated via the skin if they are not eliminated via the bowel. Further, if the normal bacterial flora (intestinal bacteria) is imbalanced from high stress, or repeated antibiotic use this will affect skin.
Hormonal balance is more insidious, but definitely affects skin texture. Adrenal and thyroid hormones work hand and hand and can have direct effects on skin.  When hormonal life changes occur, both men and women experience changes in skin color, texture and sometimes eruptions. Men and women have hormonal changes mid-life that affect skin quality.
Naturopathic medicine has long understood the inter-connection of body systems. Even before Evidence Based Medicine, natural medicine practitioners  knew the importance of a clean diet, good digestive function. Add peaceful life habits allowing the body to heal itself as a bonus.
Good skin denotes good health and it is truly our great protector. How does your skin look today?
For more in-depth information on skin read here.

Why I Love Naturopathic Medicine

The Naturopathic profession is over 100 years old with growth and expansion each year.  Naturopathic doctors help people get healthy and then coach them to stay healthy. Ironically, I learned on the news today that some chemotherapeutic treatments are coming into the million dollar cost range – some pills as much as $1,000 per pill.

I thought – this is why we ALL need naturopathy! Staying healthy is a major part of lowering cancer risk.  It is not mysterious why chronic illness is rising in western culture. Toxins in the environment and poor nutrition by over consumption of processed foods are the main culprits.

On Saturday April 26th I stood before my profession at a conference in Vancouver BC, along with colleague Dr. Jim Sensnig as we shared our wisdom of natural medicine. We spoke of the six principles that are relatively simple, but that also make sense in the realm of wellness within the  human body, mind and spirit.

Here is the list of Naturopathic Principles as practiced by our wonderful colleagues across America and Canada:

1. Do no harm.

2. The body is a self healing entity.

3. Treat the cause of the illness.

4. Docere = doctor as teacher.

5. Prevention.

6. Treat the whole person.

The best health model is  keeping life simple, learn the true value of your health, and feel empowered and connected by nature and nurture.  Know and practice what is natural and nurturing to the body. Healing is a word derived from wholeness.

Healing vs. Wholeness

 

To heal is to  become whole again. Curing  only relieves symptoms of the disease, not necessarily restoring wholeness.

Treat The Cause

Treat The Cause

Apply the six principles to your life every day. These tenets of naturopathic medicine are changeless and true to health and well being. Modern conventional medical philosophy is empty of a true healing philosophy.

Veggie Rutabaga Fritters

While shopping at New Seasons Marketplace, I often find delicious food samples. Here is one I really enjoyed, so I bought the ingredients I never thought I liked, came home and made them. You can vary the ingredients to your liking. Rutabaga are surprisingly mild and a cross between cabbage and turnips. Here is my version of their recipe:

Smoky Rutabaga, Sweet  Potato, & Green Garlic Fritters

1 rutabaga

1 sweet potato (orange ones sold as “yams”)

3 green garlic – bulb and stems chopped

2-3 Tablespoons almond flour (they used rice flour)

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1-2 eggs

1 tsp. salt

extra virgin olive oil for frying or try grape seed oil.

Grate the rutabagas and sweet potato using the large holes on a grater. Combine all the rest of ingredients except oil.

Mix well adding more flour or egg if needed to hold the fritters together.

Put enough oil in heavy skillet to cover the bottom. Use 2 soups spoons to form egg sized fritters. Cook until browned and drain on paper towel. Makes about 12 fritters.

These simple fritters travel well; great for snacks too.

Dandelion Greens for Health

 

As I walk around my yard I notice the abundance of what some people feel are obnoxious weeds, but I see them as healthy food. In spring these plants are prolific with their big yellow flower brazenly  sticking out of the greenery. I, however, see their distinctive leaf pattern and know what great benefit they bring to body wellness. In the botanical world, dandelion greens are best known as a liver tonic. And goodness knows liver function needs a lot of help in this toxic soup in which we live.

 

Some healthful  properties of this common plant:

  • The greens are rich in iron and calcium
  • The leaves are high in anti-oxidants like vitamin C and betacarotene; vitamin C helps with iron absorption too!
  • Dandelion is a tonifier for the liver. This herb can be found in many formulas  enhancing the detox process. If you chew on the leaf you’ll notice a bitter flavor; bitters enhance liver and gallbladder function.
  • High in minerals, this plant helps support many biochemical functions. It has  copper (10% RDA), manganese (8% RDA), phosphorus (5% RDA), potassium (5% RDA) and magnesium (5% RDA).

How to eat dandelion. Wash well. Try it in smoothies, or add some leaves into your salad greens, or sauté in garlic or spring onion. See my smoothie recipes for additional basic smoothie recipe ideas.

Pick dandelions only from land that has NOT been sprayed with chemicals. The younger leaves (before the flower appears) will yield  less bitterness. Spring and early summer is best time to choose wild/yard dandelion. They are one of the best proactive health foods to lower your risk of cancers, inflammatory diseases and cardiovascular illness .

For pro-health activities such as detox, improved energy, greater immunity and true disease prevention, include dandelion this spring. Eat it often while it’s available. Click here for further reading about dandelion.

The Power of Belief

What we think about everyday impacts us. I am referring to the almost unconscious thoughts that run through our minds. It’s these thoughts, believe it or not, that drive our lives. Often belief systems about who we are can sound like:  “I’m not good enough or smart enough” or “I could never do that” (work with numbers, earn a degree, or build a company) or “I never get a lucky break” which manages our lives. Thoughts become our beliefs become our action.

Get in touch with those underlying thoughts that often run like an undercurrent within the daily mind babble.  It is estimated that we run 60-90,000 thoughts a day. Phenomenal!  What are we thinking? It is only when we become aware of the content of our thoughts, that we can begin to change them. By changing thoughts our beliefs change and in a short time, your life can change.

Here is one of my stories of change.

As a young woman working as an RN, I was quite sure I could never become a doctor – nor did I want to become like the MD’s working around me. But as I changed my beliefs over the next few years, it became clear that I could create what I truly wanted. So I did become a physician by changing my ideas of what was possible. I envisioned my life’s work into becoming something different by first seeing in my mind the desire to help people in a new way. It led me to the naturopathic college in Portland, OR – National College of Natural Medicine. I graduated in 1990.

This was a healing step for me because I got to work within a sane and loving environment that I created. My work was rewarding and the stress on my body was lower than if I continued to work in hospital systems. My mind had the power to change my beliefs of what I could do or thought possible. I made new things happen. And it was mine to do. This is the power of belief.

Think about what changes you have already created in your life. What do you now want in your life? What changes are needed? Start with the  power of the mind. Create a vision by drawing it or cutting pictures and pasting them on a board. See it and feel it everyday!  Know in your heart what you want for yourself. Listen inside for the next steps needed. Then take them. And keep going…

woman

 

REMEMBER WHO WE ARE

IN HONOR OF THE SPRING EQUINOX!

As the earth moves beneath our feet

and  new mountains emerge from the depths of the sea,

All that was hidden must now be revealed.

With nothing left to cling to

and no one to blame,

 

 

 

We are at last alone with ourselves,

immersed in the ocean within,

diving below the surface

again and again

while it all rises up to meet us.

And so we learn to breathe

into the turbulent waters of our emotions

To find the inner anchor that holds still

as the winds of change and uncertainty

blow through our minds, our homes, our World.

Nowhere left to run

Right here, Right now, Open, Ready

It is time to return to Wholeness,

To Remember Who We Are.

by Melissa Myers 2012

This lovely writing comes from We’Moon 2104 – Radical Balance

Purple flower

 

Maca Helps with Vitality

A relatively little known herb called Maca (lepidium meyenii)  gives a surprising boost for energy and vitality. It is related to radish and turnips and really should be considered a medicinal food.

This Peruvian grown plant has been well used by people in Peru for centuries. It is considered a nutritional food with about 60-75% carbohydrates, 10-14% protein. It is used as a food for humans and animals in Peru. The latest craze when Maca was introduced to the U.S. was as an aphrodisiac improving sexual function, but there are mixed reviews about this effect.

Its value is the property of increasing vitality and endurance. It provides support to the central nervous system (CNS), so as a food it is supportive and nurturing to the CNS. In my research I found numerous studies that support its use with relatively low side effects.

In a small study of menopausal women who took Maca for 6 weeks they reported symptoms of depression and anxiety reduced even though hormone levels did not change. Another study did show a similar positive effect for men.

A paper published in 2003 from the Czech Republic reviewed the many chemical constituents; they concluded how useful Maca can be for chronic disease including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic fatigue.

Here is my suggestion:

  • Use Maca as a medicinal food in moderation to improve energy and stamina, support healing in the body with chronic illness.
  • Use Maca for menopausal support.
  • Purchase from a reliable source such as Herb-Pharm who is a conscientious herbal collector who works with sustainability of all its products.
  • Maca comes in a dried powder or liquid tincture. I like to use  the powder and add to  smoothies.

This is another way to  become actively involved in your own wellness program and supporting vitality. If you have questions you can email me at healyourlife13@gmail.com

 

 

Shiitake mushroom & Swiss Chard Stir-fry

 

Enjoy this easy to prepare vegetable dish. Swiss Chard is an excellent dark green leafy vegetable that belongs to the same family as beets and spinach. Native to the Mediterranean it has been honored as a medicinal food by the Greeks and Romans. Chard  is an excellent source of minerals and vitamins, as well as dietary fiber and chlorophyll. In studies it has been shown that rates of colon cancer are reduced when there is regular consumption of Swiss chard. With quite high levels of Vitamin K1, it offers great help with bone strength (think osteoporosis). This is a healthy dish with Shiitake mushrooms as an immune enhancer and chard as great garden vegetable packed with vitamins and minerals.

INGREDIENTS

1 bunch Swiss chard (rainbow or regular);

½ cup sliced shiitake mushrooms

1  shallot – sliced

1 Tblsp. Sesame oil or olive oil.

Option: 1/2 cup soaked then roasted walnuts to a light crunch, chop into pieces and serve with chard.

Wash and dry chard leaves – remove tough stalks and chop leaves & stems.

Heat oil in fry pan or wok and add shallots and shiitake slices and sauté for about 1 minute and then add chard leaves.

Cook for 5-7 minutes depending on the thickness of chard leaves. Try baby chard leaves, which will cook more quickly.

Serves 2-3

America’s Secret Addiction – SUGAR!

sugar_2675994b

 

 

Sugar is America’s Number One Addiction

I confess my fondness for sweetness in my food has existed for a long time. Even being natural medicine doctor for many years, it has been a challenge to not have sugar of some form in my daily diet.  Back in the 1970’s my interest in eating better began while raising my two sons. I carefully read all label ingredients and refused to buy any package foods containing chemicals, other unrecognizable words and more than 2 sugars (i.e. breakfast cereals). It was my great start to understanding good nutrition.

Currently, the more research I read about the dangers of food loaded with sugar, the easier it is to remove sugar laced foods.  I’d like to reveal to you how these “sugars” have crept into our everyday food intake.  First one has to recognize what actually is a sugar: AKA simple carbohydrate.

Sugars In Disguise:

  • Words ending in ‘ose’ are sugars. Sucrose, fructose, maltose, dextrose & monosaccharaides are more popular types found in almost all packaged food.
  • Common sugars includes: raw sugar, brown sugar, beet sugar, cane sugar, confectioner’s (powdered) sugar, molasses, turbinado, maple syrup, sugar cane syrup, cane juice, invert sugar, malt syrup, and high fructose corn syrup.
  • Flour: the most common one used is white bleached wheat flour, which is a simple starch found in the American diet. This simple carbohydrate readily converts to sugar.
  • Gluten free foods for example contain rice, corn and potato flours which also readily become simple sugars.
  • Fruit juices and lactose in milk contain sugar.
  • HFC = high fructose corn syrup is a cheap sugar manufactured and found in most soft drinks.

Food manufacturers have been very creative in luring people like yourself into buying packaged foods. Prepared foods often taste so good because of the many different starch/sugars. You eat them and  inevitably want more – creating a sugar craving and addiction cycle. Plus the evidence is now clear: high sugar/carbohydrate intake leads to increase fat storage in the body.

So what can I eat?

There are  many foods without high amounts of sugar, and it’s imperative to know what is in food you are eating. Best policy: avoid all package foods! If you have to travel plan your food ahead – seriously.

Read more:  “Sugars Maybe Killing You”  

What you CAN do:

cashewsI carry nuts and seeds with me. Nut butters (excluding Nutella) are wonderful snacks. Buy your organic veggies, wash and carry cut up carrots, celery, radishes, zucchini and/or some roasted vegetables. All these foods travel well without refrigeration.

Drink water and stop all canned drinks. They all contain some type of sugar or artificial sweetener.

See my recipe blog for more health ideas.

Reducing sugar will improve health and wellness. Sugar, as it is now better understood, is a key player in causing inflammation in the body which is the crux of many chronic diseases today.

Next blog, I will discuss sugar and its association with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Here’s to YOUR health….

cleans

 

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