Category Archives: Natural Remedies

3 Effective Strategies for Dropping the Covid “19”

As if things aren’t crazy enough, many people are experiencing a significant side effect of the pandemic – weight gain (a.k.a. the “covid 19”). If you’ve been feeling that, you’re not alone! Many people are wondering why this is the case, when they’re still working on working out and even avoiding the oreos most of the time. Read on for some simple, effective solutions to the top three causes.

About Those Steps

Pre-pandemic, we were out and about, shaking and groovin’. Now, instead of 10,000 steps, it’s more like 10. That short walk from the home office to the couch just isn’t cutting it. And if we’re being completely honest, the home workouts aren’t always as challenging as the ones we do when we’re in front of others, right? So let’s step this up. Take a walk every day even if you worked out, pick it up in the workouts, and get up and move every hour. Set a timer on your phone as a reminder. Just say no to extreme sitting!

Could it be Stress Weight?

And now we’re stressed, legitimately, over real things like finances, health, safety, politics, confusion, uncertainty… Stress all by itself causes weight gain. When stressed, your body thinks there’s an emergency and hangs onto calories. Don’t be mad at your body, it’s just trying to ensure your survival. Well you know what the tough ones do in tough times? They meditate furiously! Here’s a great resource that I’ve been loving. They also exercise, hug their loved ones, breathe deeply, and walk in the woods. Forest bathing (or “Shinrin Yoku” in Japanese) has been shown in research to reduce stress hormones. Stress reduction is an important, and often missed, part of any weight loss strategy.

Resistant Starch for Resistant Weight

Refined carbs like conventional bread, bagels, pasta, and cookies raise your blood sugar, which spikes insulin, which stops fat burning. Besides the calories, this is how refined grains and sweeteners contribute to fat accumulation.

But resistant starch (RS) is your friend! This type of starch acts like fiber – you barely absorb any carbs from it and research shows that it reduces insulin, even in the next meal! So RS is exceptionally good for blood sugar control and weight loss. Another huge benefit is that RS feeds your microbiome, another important factor in health and weight management.

Two examples of RS are cooked potatoes that have been fully cooled, and a great product called Miracle Noodle. They’re made from the konjac root, like the shirataki noodles that have been eaten in Japan for over a thousand years. It might look weird when you buy it, but the noodles are seriously good and wholesome. I loved the Pad Thai version (I added fresh sauteed tofu and broccoli, tamari, and hot sauce). The plain noodles are extremely versatile – you can add any sauce or accompaniments you have a hankering for. You can learn more here.

If your microbiome isn’t used to a lot of fiber, it’s best to start slow. Only eat a portion of a serving the first couple times and gradually increase the amount you consume. We need to give our microbiome time to adjust (in a good way!).

This is my new favorite thing. I’d love to hear how you like them!

8 Reasons to Cleanse During the Quarantine

  1. We’re not going out partying, drinking Starbucks, or eating decadent restaurant food.
  2. You don’t have to miss out on any fun because you’re cleansing. There’s nothing to miss out on!
  3. We actually have time to exercise, meditate, and sleep.
  4. Although some things are being hoarded in the stores, inexplicably, there is still plenty of produce!
  5. Cooking breaks up the monotony.
  6. You’re bored so you might actually read the eBook.
  7. You’re already cranky, might as well make the most of it.
  8. Because you can come through this pandemic, healthier, stronger, and better lookin’ than before.

PLUS I’m offering a steep 77% Corona discount to make this comprehensive program as affordable as possible (just $35), so more people can improve their health and immune system.

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Corona – Reducing your Exposure AND Susceptibility

All of the advice we’re hearing about social distancing, washing hands, and disinfecting, is to reduce exposure to the Corona virus. Hopefully these important measures will slow down the infection rate. But there is an equally important aspect that needs to be emphasized more…

We need to start taking better care of our immune system to reduce our susceptibility to Corona virus, as well as Lyme disease, Lyme coinfections, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, the flu, etc.

We can’t avoid every microbe, even if we sit alone in our houses for a year. So, we really need to keep our immune system healthy and balanced so we aren’t as susceptible to the ravages of these infectious diseases, as well as things like cancer and autoimmunity.

Louis Pasteur, the father of germ theory, concluded that, “The microbe is nothing. The terrain is everything!” He was referring to whether our inner tissues are hospitable to microbes or not. Is our immune system nourished and balanced or suppressed and depressed?

If you were to design a diet and lifestyle that would decimate the immune system, it would be the Standard American Diet and Lifestyle! As a society, we are sleep deprived, stressed out, toxic, sedentary, and eating nutrient poor food. The fact that we’ve survived this long is a testament to our incredibly intelligent immune system and biochemistry. Your body is doing the very best it can, within the environment you’re asking it to live.

Let’s improve that environment to the extent we can, so that we can better weather current and future health threats. As a bonus, because everything in the body is interconnected, an immune supportive lifestyle and diet is also a boon to our overall health.

Below are key recommendations to support your immune system. Although numerous research papers and books have been written on these topics, I will do my best to summarize action steps that you can take right away.

Prioritize Sleep

• Your immune system and general wellbeing depend on regular, excellent quality sleep.
• Aim to go to bed around 10 PM and wake up with the sun. Being a night owl (self imposed night shift work) suppresses your immune system.
• Practice good sleep hygiene by avoiding screens (TV, phones, and tablets) an hour or two before bed and remove all ambient light while sleeping. This will help to maximize melatonin, your primary sleep hormone and potent internal antioxidant.
• Create a relaxing bedtime routine. This isn’t just for kids!
• If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, try the heavy blanket! It’s like swaddling a baby – except you’re the baby. The gentle, constant compression activates your parasympathetic nervous system (known as the rest and digest nervous system), which helps you to relax and sleep like a baby.
• Magnesium is known as the relaxation mineral. Low magnesium may make it harder for you to relax enough to fall asleep. Magnesium is one of the top three deficiencies in the US. Get more magnesium by eating more leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and legumes. If you opt to supplement, magnesium threonate or magnesium taurate are more relaxing options that increase the action of GABA in the brain.

Reduce stress

• When you’re stressed, your body de-prioritizes immunity because getting over a cold is way less important than escaping from a tiger. Deadlines, relationship stress, financial worries, etc might not feel like being chased by a tiger in your mind, but your body experiences it that way. There’s enough evidence about the negative impact of stress on our whole body. Now is the time to become aware of your stressors and do something about it. Yoga, meditation, exercise, breathwork, and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction are all effective strategies. Choose one that resonates with you.

Optimize immune nutrients

• Yes vitamin C is good for your immune system, but it also needs vitamins A, vitamin D, zinc, and protein.
• Start your day with fresh lemon juice in water for vitamin C with all of its cofactors. Oranges, red peppers, broccoli, kiwi are also great sources of vitamin C and other nutrients.
• With sunnier days coming, get out in the sun without sunscreen for 20 minutes so your body can produce vitamin D. If that’s not possible, supplement with D3 drops.
• Eat your darkly colored veggies for beta carotene (which gets converted to A).
• Snack on pumpkin seeds for zinc (these are a great option because they’re sprouted, and therefore more digestible and nutritious).
• Most people get ample protein, but you may want to double check that you’re getting at least 45-55 grams per day from varied sources. If not, plant based protein powder in your smoothie can easily and tastily fill in the gap. (Lately I’ve been liking Orgain best.)

Other dietary considerations

• Some foods we eat are a constant challenge to the immune system, making it less able to fight actual threats.
• A high sugar meal suppresses the immune system for hours… Just in time for your next obscenely decadent latte or snack. If you think about it, most Americans are immune suppressed all day long due to regular sugar spikes.
• The chemicals in pesticides hamper the cellular metabolism of all cells, including immune cells, by multiple mechanisms. Choosing organic foods whenever possible reduces this toxic burden.
• Subclinical food allergies and sensitivities are rampant, and result in chronic activation and depletion of the immune system. The top two food sensitivities are gluten and dairy. For most people, avoiding them helps the immune system stay balanced, which not only makes it more effective in fighting microbes, but also helps reduce the inappropriate immune reactions such as allergy and autoimmunity. There are many delicious dairy alternatives out there now for milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, and even ice cream. Switching from wheat to naturally gluten free grains like rice and quinoa has many benefits.
• Dairy causes most people to produce more mucous, which then provides a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.
• Garlic, onion, and mushrooms are fantastic for your immune system. Try to eat them every day! I’m going to be writing more about mushrooms in a future post. They are amazing!

The immune system in the gut

• Did you know that two thirds of your immune system is in your gut? The microbiome, or the good bacteria in our gut, is so vital to our health that some consider it an organ.
• Most of what we do decimates that line of defense, including many medications (NSAIDs, antibiotics, oral birth control, SSRIs), fake sugars like sucralose, glyphosate (the herbicide heavily sprayed on many grains), alcohol, sugar, and conventional animal foods which contain antibiotic residues. Minimize all of that whenever possible.
• Boost your microbiome by consuming probiotics (beneficial bacteria) daily whether through unpasteurized fermented foods like Real Pickles veggies, Fire Cider, Kombucha, and/or Gut Shots or a probiotic supplement. Those good critters live on fiber, so feed them with lots plant foods.

Stay hydrated

• Dehydrated mucous membranes are more vulnerable to microbes. Drink a couple glasses of water first thing in the morning (with fresh lemon juice as a vitamin C bonus!) and then sip water throughout the day.
• Minimize things that dehydrate you like coffee and alcohol.
• Eat lots of fresh plant foods that contain lots of water.
• Consider using a humidifier when the air is dry.

Exercise!

• You know it, but here’s a journal reference if you need one. Just do it.
Outside in the woods is especially helpful. Being out in nature increases natural killer cells. Plus it’s fresh, nontoxic air, with plenty of space between germ infested people.
• But don’t over do it. Exercising too much raises your stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses your immune system.

Your immune medicine chest

• These are the things that I have found extremely effective for both cold triage and prevention. It’s a great idea to have them on hand.
• Epsom salt baths. Soaking in the hot tub functions like a fever – it heats up your body causing the viruses to die off and may boost the immune system. The steam also helps to clear your sinuses. Baths are relaxing, and when you’re relaxed, your body can prioritize immune function. I always add the Epsom salts to the bath because it’s a great way to get more magnesium and sulfur (which gently supports detoxification). If you’re congested, you might want to add a bit of eucalyptus essential oil as well.
Oregano essential oil. Put a drop of oregano oil in a shot of water and throw it back. Two or three times a day if you’re sick. This is quite potent, so don’t over do it or splash on your face. I was actually paranoid that I might be getting sick the past couple days because I was extremely tired. I had a drop of oregano oil in water a couple times each day, and I’m good as new!
• Drink tea. Lemon balm and cats claw tea are antiviral. I usually multitask with both teabags in the same mug. Throat Coat is really nice for soothing your throat, and these herbs are soothing for the rest of your digestive system! Another benefit to green tea is that it strengthens and balances the immune system. What doesn’t green tea do?! Matcha green tea (the powdered version) has the most nutrients. Be sure all tea is organic, otherwise the first time the pesticides are washed off the leaves are in your mug.
• Fruit and vegetable extracts. My kids and I have been taking Juice Plus for 10 years, and we rarely get sick. When I feel something coming on, I double it up.
Elderberry syrup and lozenges (which may have added zinc as a bonus) are also very helpful for colds.

I hope that this has inspired you to take great care of your immune system. There’s a lot here, which can be overwhelming. But even if you start with just one thing, that is a step forward. Comment below if you have any questions. I’d also love to hear what your remedies are!

Image attribution: CDC

A Tasty Technique for Better Sleep

If you’ve been having trouble sleeping, here’s a unique strategy… eat pistachios! They are a surprisingly excellent source of the hormone melatonin that helps us to sleep. Most foods have 1, 10, or even 100 ng/g of melatonin, but pistachios have a whopping 200,000 ng/g!

I purchased a huge bag of pistachios before I learned this, and have been eating a couple tablespoons of them daily for about a month. I gotta say, I’ve been sleeping like a LOG! I was actually wondering why. When I came across this study, it all made sense. The good thing about my own accidental experiment was that it ruled out the placebo effect.

And don’t worry, eating them during the day won’t make you sleepy because of all the ambient light. But when the lights go out, you’ll have more than enough melatonin to help you get and stay asleep.

If you don’t need to improve your sleep, you’re lucky! But you might want to consider adding these tasty morsels to your diet anyway. Melatonin is a potent antioxidant with far reaching benefits. Pistachios also have other notable antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and polyphenols. Antioxidants help protect you from chronic disease and slow the aging process. Pistachios are also one of the lowest calorie nuts, and eating the ones with shells helps you to slow down and eat just the right amount.

Image credit: Mae Mu

Top 3 Poison Ivy Remedies

Just this week, a few dads I know came down with severe cases of poison ivy. Must be all that yard work! Or hopefully something more fun like hiking or golf. I used to get poison ivy all the time and couldn’t figure out why. At some point, a friend pointed out that those weeds I’d been pulling out with my bare hands was actually poison ivy. So I’ve had ample opportunity to experiment with many poison ivy remedies on the market. I’ve found that the more natural options work much better than the usual ones like Ivarest or Tecnu. Here are my top three choices.  

Rhus Tox This is a homeopathic remedy that my acupuncturist recommended when I had a terrible case that plagued me for weeks. The conventional remedies weren’t touching it. To be honest, I really didn’t think this would work either. So I was shocked, shocked I tell you, when the day after I took a single dose, the oozing rash started to dry up, and then totally cleared up over a few days. Rhus Tox is available in all natural food stores and on amazon. For some reason, you’re not supposed to touch homeopathic remedies with your hands. To dispense, turn the container upside down with the cover on. Turn the cap left and right until you hear 5 pellets drop in the cap. Then remove the cap and drop the pellets from the cap under your tongue. Hold them there until they dissolve. The recommendation is usually to take a few times a day, and preferably not right after you had anything minty.  

Jewelweed Soap This was highly recommended by a yoga student with a dreadful history of poison ivy attacks. Apparently jewelweed grows around poison ivy and keeps it in check. I bought this soap maybe 10 years ago, and scrub up with it when I know I was exposed or first start seeing a rash. I still have the bar, so it lasts a long time and more importantly… It helps a lot.  

Lavender Essential Oil What isn’t lavender essential oil good for? It soothes all kinds of skin issues including poison ivy and relaxes you at the same time. There are different opinions about the best way to use essential oils. I’ve found that applying lavender oil directly on the problem area of the skin works very well. However, some people prefer to add a few drops to a carrier oil (like jojoba or olive oil), and apply it that way. Young Living is a brand I trust. The ones you find in stores may not be as effective.

I hope you don’t need these, but if you do, let me know how they work for you!  

Image by Pax Ahimsa Gethen