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A Dab of Apple Cider Vinegar a Day May Keep the Doctor Away

I remember when I first started working as a holistic doctor, Carol, a sweet patient of mine gifted me a handbook called Health and Healing with Apple Cider Vinegar. She had a severe case of arthritis and told me that just by adding a little bit of apple cider vinegar into her water every day, helped to heal her from years of pain.

apple cider vinegarCurious about this natural amazing remedy, I began to do more research and naturally I also started to drink some of this golden nectar daily to see what effects it would have on me.

First let me start by saying that a little apple cider vinegar goes a long way. There is definitely a point where too much of this good thing is truly too much and quite overwhelming for the palate. So ease into this by starting with maybe 1/4 tsp in a glass of water daily, with the goal of reaching one tsp in a glass of water 3-4 times a day. Aside from the acidic taste however, which is actually the basis of most of its medicinal qualities, eventually you can become quite accustomed to this powerful natural remedy’s taste, and it is worth it. Apple cider vinegar is a potent healing remedy, a gem that I have grown to love and have discovered is amazing for so many different things.

As a folk remedy, apple cider vinegar has been credited with curing everything from  the flu, arthritis, aches, pains, dandruff, diabetes event warts. Many of its supposed benefits are unproven, but some experts, aka my patients, think that adding a little of this sour liquid to your life has many health benefits and no side effects, so why not give it a try?

In fact, I believe in this remedy so much that I actually added apple cider vinegar to the recipe for Flackers (www.drinthekitchen.com). Not only does it actually add a great flavor to the cracker but the medicinal benefits are overwhelming.

In case you were wondering, the following are just a few of the reasons to drink a sip of apple cider vinegar daily.

Apple cider vinegar may aid in weight loss

Apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight. Here’s why: The acetic acid suppresses your appetite, increases your metabolism, and reduces water retention. Scientists also theorize that apple cider vinegar interferes with the body’s digestion of starch, which means fewer calories enter the bloodstream

Apple Cider Vinegar and Blood Sugar

While apple cider vinegar is touted for its incredible weight loss abilities, I would have to say it probably won’t make you skinny, but taking it daily does appear to help with diabetes and blood sugar regulation. Its effects on blood sugar are similar to certain medications and apple cider vinegar’s antiglycemic effect is very well documented in the medical literature.

Vinegar blocks some of the digestion of starch preventing at least some of that starch from being digested and raising blood sugar. I was having dinner with a friend who wisely shared that information with me as we were indulging in sushi. The white rice which is typically high in the glycemic index, he explained, is lowered by the fact that the Japanese bathe it it vinegar first.

Apple cider vinegar for energy

Exercise and sometimes extreme stress cause lactic acid to build up in the body, causing fatigue. Interestingly, the amino acids contained in apple cider vinegar act as an antidote. What’s more, apple cider vinegar contains potassium and enzymes that may relieve that tired feeling. Next time you’re beat, add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to a glass of chilled vegetable drink or to a glass of water.

Apple cider vinegar soothes a sore throat

As soon as you feel the prickle of a employ germ-busting apple cider vinegar to help head off the infection at the pass. Turns out, most germs can’t survive in the acidic environment vinegar creates. Just mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup warm water and gargle every hour or so.

Apple cider vinegar prevents indigestion

Sip before eating, especially if you know you’re going to indulge in foods that are rich and decadent. Try this folk remedy: add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water and drink it 30 minutes before you dine.Some folk remedy experts contend that apple cider vinegar contains pectin, which can help soothe intestinal spasms. Try mixing one or two tablespoons into water, or clear juice like apple juice

Apple cider vinegar to clear a stuffy nose

Next time you’re stuffed up from a congestion, consider a tsp of this golden liquid for relief. Apple cider vinegar contains potassium, which thins mucus; and the acetic acid in it prevents bacterial growth which could contribute to nasal congestion. Mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink to help sinus drainage.

Apple cider vinegar to ward off dandruff

The acidity of apple cider vinegar changes the pH of your scalp, making it harder for yeast to grow. Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water in a spray bottle, and spritz on your scalp. Wrap your head in a towel and let sit for 15 minutes to an hour, then wash your hair as usual. Do this twice a week for best results.

Apple cider vinegar for acne

Apple cider vinegar makes a great natural toner that can act as  a natural astringent and leave skin looking healthier. Its antibacterial properties help keep acne under control, and the malic and lactic acids found in apple cider vinegar soften and exfoliate skin, reduce red spots, and balance the pH of your skin.
So go ahead and try some today. I suggest a tsp on an empty stomach first thing in the morning and then 20 minutes before each meal. Let me know what you think?
To your Health!

 

 

Herbal Steam Your Cold and Flu Away

Well it is officially cold and flu season and despite the zinc , elderberry and vitamin D, many of my colleagues and patients are still getting the flu or are complaining of cold symptoms.

Inhaling steam can help loosen congestion and offer relief from coughing as well. Steams are a wonderful natural way to alleviate cold symptoms and I love to add herbs to my steams for the delicious aroma and also for their medicinal virtues.

Here is one of my favorite recipes if you are congested. It is easy to make, it smells fabulous and it works!

Herbal Face Steam Ingredients

  • a large pot
  • 1 tablespoon each of desired herbs, for congestion, my favorite is  eucalyptus. But feel free to roam your kitchen and add whatever else you may have like; rosemary if you want to feel more alert, or lavender , if you want to feel more calm. Garlic can also be added to the steam mixture for additional antibacterial benefit.
  • 2 large towels

How to prepare

Put about an inch of water in the bottom of a large pot and boil.

Fold a towel in half and place on a sturdy, heat-proof, flat surface like a counter or table. Place the pot or bowl on top of this towel.

Add any dried herbs, stir well and cover with a lid for 1-2 minutes.

Herbal Face Steam Instructions

Remove lid and cautiously check the temperature of steam to make sure it isn’t too hot for your face.

Steam is hot and caution should always be used when handling and breathing it.

Once you have determined that the temperature is ok, lean over the pot and cover head with a towel to create a tent. Try to let as little air escape as possible, this will maximize the benefits of your steam.

Slowly breathe in the steam for 5-10 minutes. Initially you can breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Eventually try to breathe in and out through the nose to loosen up all the congestion.

When finished, pour out the liquid and herbs in the pot and thoroughly wash your pot.

The beauty of this steam is that it also has skin benefits. When you are done, your pores are open so you can wipe your face with a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water after your face steam to tone your skin and remove anything that has loosened from the pores.

Steam is often used in spas as part of a facial treatment. Facial steams are touted for their ability to open pores, soften skin and improve circulation.

So steam your congestion away and get a mini facial all in one! How fabulous right?

Enjoy and stay well…

 

 

Recipe for a Happy Life

I know that I typically use this blog to share food ideas and recipes so that you may be healthier  and feel good in your life. But I have learned that optimal health is not just dependent on what you put in your body, the key to a truly healthy body goes deeper than just what you eat.

As Thanksgiving gets nearer I am always reminded that this is a wonderful time to express appreciation and gratitude. But why limit it to just one day. The key to a happy life, to feeling good, to being truly healthy in mind body and spirit is enhanced by the daily practice of appreciation. And it feels great!
The physical benefits are multiple and include; strengthening the immune system, less aches and pains, lower BP, lowering stress and stress hormones and better sleep, just to name a few. If you practice gratitude you will feel more alive, alert, more joy, optimism and pleasure. Need I say more?
So how can you make appreciation a habit? For some of us, it actually takes a lot of practice so I suggest a few simple techniques. Firstly, when you wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed, think of three things that you are grateful for. You can do this at night before you go to sleep as well. It can be as simple as the feeling you have in your toes, or the sensation of the sheets on your body. Next, as you take your first bite of food or drink, take a moment to appreciate the source of your food, did it come from the earth, who took care of it before it reached your table, imagine the energy it took to grow. When you bite into your food, be grateful for the way the flavor bursts in your mouth and enjoy every bite. Think of all the nutrients that your body is receiving with every morsel and be thankful that you have such rich, nutritious food at your finger tips.
You can actually practice gratitude and appreciation all throughout the day. There is always something to be thankful for in every moment. I tell all of my patients that maybe every time they look at their phone, to use this as a reminder thoughout the day to express your gratitude. You can just think about it, you can journal it, even keep a gratitude jar in your home so that you can visualize all that you are grateful for as the jar continues to fill up. Notice how your heart expands and your life begins to improve and feel better the more that you engage in this magical practice.
Appreciation is a wonderful gift that you can give to yourself before thanksgiving and all year round. When it becomes the way of living, when we practice noticing the little joys in life, everything in our lives appreciates!
In Gratitude…
Alison
 
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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Want to Maximize your Daily Health, Happiness and Pleasure? Try these 10 Healthy Habits

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Your daily checklist to maximize life

Start & End Day w/2 min deep breathing. Set attitude and release stress.

Get up and drink one glass of warm water

Eat 3-5 small meals a day

Balance each meal/snack with Protein, Carbohydrate, Fiber & Good Fats

 Move for ½ hour daily and then at least for 1 min every hour

Drink 1/2 your weight in ounces of water, not bottled water; add lemon or a tsp of apple cider vinegar for bonus health benefits

Say NO to 1 unhealthy lifestyle choice per day 

Say something positive and encouraging to yourself and some-one else today

Minimize the chemical impact on your body: ex-no BPA, Stay away from the dirty dozen (www.EWG.org)

Sleep for 7-8 hours

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Can Environmental Toxins Alter the Bacteria in your Gut and Cause You to Get Sick? YES!

Even if you live a super ‘clean’ life and use natural non toxic products in your home while eating organic foods, sadly we are still exposed to a large variety of environmental toxins daily. These toxins have been implicated in several diseases, and a new report suggests one way they may do this is by changing our gut bacteria.

Environmental pollutants are so widespread in our environment exposure is ubiquitous. One in particular which is ubiquitous in our environment is called roundup. Used on GMO crops and lawns across the country this chemical is detrimental to our health, toxic for our cells, hormone disruptors and toxic to the natural environment including our pollinators that we rely on for fresh fruits and vegetables. And they have been linked to several common health problems including dementia, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and certain cancers.

A new study suggests that environmental toxins can alter gut bacteria in ways that may increase your disease risk.

Exposure to some of these toxins have been shown to alter the gut microbia by shifting the ratio of dominant bacteria Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes. And these bacterial changes were associated with increased bacterial fermentation, significant intestinal inflammation, changes in liver function, and metabolic changes that influence fat and glucose metabolism.

These results suggested that environmental toxins may negatively impact gut bacteria in ways that contribute to the development of chronic disease. Adding to this evidence, other toxins including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and urban airborne particulate matter (air pollution) have also been shown to have a negative effect on gut bacteria as well.

Taking probiotics is one way to build up the good bacteria in your GI system. Other ways, which I prefer because they are more natural include ingesting yogurt, Kefir, and eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso and kombucha.

Here is a simple recipe to make your own sauerkraut….

Eat, Enjoy and Stay Healthy!

How To Make Homemade Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar

Makes 1 to 1 1/2 quarts

What You Need

Ingredients
1 medium head green cabbage (about 3 pounds)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional, for flavor)

Equipment
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Mixing bowl
2-quart wide-mouth canning jar (or two-quart mason jars)
Canning funnel (optional)
Smaller jelly jar that fits inside the larger mason jar
Clean stones, marbles, or other weights for weighing the jelly jar
Cloth for covering the jar
Rubber band or twine for securing the cloth

Instructions

  1. Clean everything: When fermenting anything, it’s best to give the good, beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with as clean an environment as possible. Make sure your mason jar and jelly jar are washed and rinsed of all soap residue. You’ll be using your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage, so give those a good wash, too.
  2. Slice the cabbage: Discard the wilted, limp outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into quarters and trim out the core. Slice each quarter down its length, making 8 wedges. Slice each wedge crosswise into very thin ribbons.
  3. Combine the cabbage and salt: Transfer the cabbage to a big mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt over top. Begin working the salt into the cabbage by massaging and squeezing the cabbage with your hands. At first it might not seem like enough salt, but gradually the cabbage will become watery and limp — more like coleslaw than raw cabbage. This will take 5 to 10 minutes. If you’d like to flavor your sauerkraut with caraway seeds, mix them in now.
  4. Pack the cabbage into the jar: Grab handfuls of the cabbage and pack them into the canning jar. If you have a canning funnel, this will make the job easier. Every so often, tamp down the cabbage in the jar with your fist. Pour any liquid released by the cabbage while you were massaging it into the jar.

    Optional: Place one of the larger outer leaves of the cabbage over the surface of the sliced cabbage. This will help keep the cabbage submerged in its liquid.

  5. Weigh the cabbage down: Once all the cabbage is packed into the mason jar, slip the smaller jelly jar into the mouth of the jar and weigh it down with clean stones or marbles. This will help keep the cabbage weighed down, and eventually, submerged beneath its liquid.
  6. Cover the jar: Cover the mouth of the mason jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band or twine. This allows air to flow in and out of the jar, but prevents dust or insects from getting into the jar.
  7. Press the cabbage every few hours: Over the next 24 hours, press down on the cabbage every so often with the jelly jar. As the cabbage releases its liquid, it will become more limp and compact and the liquid will rise over the top of the cabbage.
  8. Add extra liquid, if needed: If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water and add enough to submerge the cabbage.
  9. Ferment the cabbage for 3 to 10 days: As it’s fermenting, keep the sauerkraut away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature — ideally 65°F to 75°F. Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid.

    Because this is a small batch of sauerkraut, it will ferment more quickly than larger batches. Start tasting it after 3 days — when the sauerkraut tastes good to you, remove the weight, screw on the cap, and refrigerate. You can also allow the sauerkraut to continue fermenting for 10 days or even longer. There’s no hard-and-fast rule for when the sauerkraut is “done” — go by how it tastes.

    While it’s fermenting, you may see bubbles coming through the cabbage, foam on the top, or white scum. These are all signs of a healthy, happy fermentation process. The scum can be skimmed off the top either during fermentation or before refrigerating. If you see any mold, skim it off immediately and make sure your cabbage is fully submerged; don’t eat moldy parts close to the surface, but the rest of the sauerkraut is fine.

  10. Store sauerkraut for several months: This sauerkraut is a fermented product so it will keep for at least two months and often longer if kept refrigerated. As long as it still tastes and smells good to eat, it will be. If you like, you can transfer the sauerkraut to a smaller container for longer storage.

Recipe Notes

  • Sauerkraut with other cabbages: Red cabbage, napa cabbage, and other cabbages all make great sauerkraut. Make individual batches or mix them up for a multi-colored sauerkraut!
  • Canning sauerkraut: You can process sauerkraut for longer storage outside of refrigeration, but the canning process will kill the good bacterias produced by the fermentation process. See this tutorial from the National Center for Home Food Preservationfor canning instructions.
  • Larger or smaller batches: To make larger or smaller batches of sauerkraut, keep same ratio of cabbage to salt and adjust the size of the container. Smaller batches will ferment more quickly and larger batches will take longer.
  • Hot and cold temperatures: Do everything you can to store sauerkraut at a cool room temperature. At high temperatures, the sauerkraut can sometimes become unappetizingly mushy or go bad. Low temperatures (above freezing) are fine, but fermentation will proceed more slowly.

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-sauerkraut-in-a-mason-jar-193124

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Posted by on September 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Super Charge Your Health With This Amazing Yummy Elixir

My sweet friend, I will call her L, is on prednisone, and she asked me what else she can do or take that would work as an anti-inflammatory. This is the first thing that came to my mind; my anti-inflammatory ginger turmeric honey elixir.This super anti-inflammatory booster is amazing, healthy, yummy and I just love it! It tastes incredible in tea or just on it’s own, dissolved in hot water. It would probably also be yummy nice to use in cooking or on a piece of bread. I have been adding a large spoon of this in a cup of my daily green & peppermint tea and am good to go!

I strongly believe that consuming this elixir daily will keep you feeling fabulous, and help you to stay healthy.It is filled with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial ,digestive supportive and detoxification enhancing properties. All in one tsp of yummy sweet goodness.

And so here is the recipe L, and like I said, everyone, everyone should consume this daily.

GINGER TURMERIC HONEY ELIXIR

Notes: this super booster elixir takes only 5 minutes to whip up and will yield about 1/2 cup. You can store it in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for about about one week.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup local, organic raw honey

1 teaspoon organic lemon zest

1 tablespoon ground organic turmeric

1 tablespoon powdered or raw freshly grated ginger

moderate pinch of black pepper to activate the turmeric

2 tablespoons raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Whisk your ground turmeric in a small mixing bowl or with a mortar + pestle to loosen all clumps smooth into a fine powder.

Then add in the honey, GINGER, lemon zest, black pepper and apple cider vinegar and whisk or stir until smooth.

Ginger is a marvelous root that you can purchase raw or dried in almost every supermarket. It has antibiotic effects and can help digestion, detoxification, infections, inflammation, joint pain, circulation, nausea (also pregnancy nausea) and motion sickness.

Turmeric is a known strong antioxidant and has been used as traditional Ayurvedic medicine throughout history for cooking, to cleanse the whole body, especially the liver;  to support digestion, treat fever, wound infections and inflammation. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin and has been proved to have similar effects as anti-inflammatory medicine. Turmeric and black pepper is a great pair to match. The black pepper helps to enhance the bioavailability of curcumin by a thousand times. Turmeric has a slight bitter taste but blends very well with other flavors.

How To consume:

As a warm tonic — mix 1 tablespoon of this elixir with one glass of warm water + ( tea bag of your choice…optional) then sip

On toast or baked goods — a teaspoon or two as a spread on top

In a smoothie — blend in a tablespoon

As is — 1 large spoonful daily

Enjoy!

 

Just Say NO to Toxic Plastic…Is It Possible?

I often wonder what it would be like if I eliminated all plastic in my life; probably very challenging. Think about it, plastic is everywhere; lining our cans, bottles that we drink from, bags and containers where we store our food, most cosmetic containers including shampoos and creams-plastic is everywhere. And yet most plastic is quite toxic.

I try and live a non toxic life and yet when I think about it, when I look around my house, there is plastic everywhere. We/I buy organic foods that is in cans lined with toxic plastic or we store our high quality food in plastic containers. We buy pure, spring water from Fiji or Italy that is stored in a plastic bottle. Really? It does not make any sense.

But this is the world that we live in today and unless you are seriously committed to getting the plastic out of your life the least we can do is consider limiting our toxic exposure. Here are some tips on how I have done this in my life.

As an aside, I was also thinking too that it would be so wonderful if one day a large influential company like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s would step up and really own that they are supporting health and not just consumerism and just said no to plastic. If anyone out there wants to start a movement, I am in! After you read this, let me know…

1. Avoid the worst common plastics

Identify the type of plastic of a product by looking at the recycling symbol molded on the item. This is a number from 1 to 7 surrounded by three chasing arrows forming a triangle. The three following plastics are common and are significantly harmful. I suggest you start by just avoiding these 3 as much as you can.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC #3): A very toxic plastic that often containing multiple unsafe additives, including lead and phthalates. Still used for some toys, clear food and non-food packaging (e.g., cling wrap), some squeeze bottles, cooking oil and peanut butter jars.

Polystyrene (PS #6): Contains styrene, which is toxic to the brain, nervous system, and various organs. Used in Styrofoam containers, egg cartons, disposable cups and bowls, take-out food containers and most plastic cutlery.

Polycarbonate (Other #7):  #7 is actually a catch-all category including any plastic resin that does not come within the first six categories. Typically it contains BPA, which has been linked to numerous health problems. Used in some baby bottles (though increasingly banned in baby bottles by countries around the world), clear plastic “sippy” cups, sports water bottles, juice and ketchup containers, and in three and five gallon large water storage containers, and most metal food can liners.

Would you like to learn more about the different plastic types? Take a look at our sections on Common Plastics #1 to #7 and Other Plastic Types.

2. Refuse plastic bags and bring your own reusable bags wherever you go 

3. Avoid bottled water and bring your own reusable water bottle or mug with you when you go out

4. When buying canned goods make sure that they are labelled BPA free

5. Use non-plastic containers for food 

To your health!

Happy Friday Everyone

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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