Astragalus: The incredible immune tonic, and much more

Astragalus, also known as Huang qi, is one of the most important herbs in Chinese medicine.  It is derived from the root of the perennial Astragalus membranaceus.  This tonic herb has been used as a preventative health tonic in Traditional Chinese Medicine since ancient times.  Recorded history of this plant dates back to the first century A. D.

Astragalus has multiple uses and has shown a myriad of health benefits.  Astragalus is one of my choice herbs, for myself, my children and for my patients.

Astragalus Benefits:

  • Astragalus is highly acclaimed as the most important of all deep immune tonics.
  • Astragalus can stimulate the body’s natural production of interferon.  Interferons are proteins made and released by host cells in response to viruses, bacteria, parasites and tumor cells.
  • Research has shown that astragalus increases the strength of T-cells.  T-cells, also called killer cells, are the white blood cells of the body that attack invaders in the body.
  • Supports overall immune strength.
  • Is a powerful adaptogen, and therefore increases strength and vitality (known as Vital Life Energy, or Chi).
  • It is able to support and nourish the adrenal cortex of the adrenal glands.
  • Astragalus is a respiratory tonic.
  • Aids in the elimination of toxins.
  • Promotes healing of damaged tissue.
  • Supports liver and spleen function.
  • It can protect the liver of chemical damage and is therefore an invaluable addition to the treatment of chemotherapy patients.  Research has shown that astragalus has doubled the life of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.  Studies have also shown that cancer patients taking astragalus recover faster than cancer patients not taking astragalus.
  • It combats fatigue by nourishing exhausted adrenals.
  • It aids in the recovery from surgery and illness.
  • Astragalus acts as a heart tonic, lowering blood pressure, increasing peripheral circulation and increasing endurance to fatigued hearts.  It also acts as a vaso-dilating agent and has anti-clotting action.
  • Astragalus can normalize blood sugar.
  • Is warming, and helps support a healthy metabolism.
  • Increases the flow of bile and digestive fluids, thus aiding in digestion.

Astragalus Uses:

  • Used to treat respiratory infections
  • Used to treat the common cold
  • Used to improve lung function
  • Used to treat the Epstein-Barr virus or mono
  • Used prophylactically to keep the immune system strong (i.e. cold and flu season support)
  • Used to keep the immune system strong in cancer patients or AIDS patients
  • Taken during the course of chemotherapy to increase the white blood cell count
  • Used to strengthen the adrenals
  • Used to increase energy and decrease fatigue
  • Used in diabetics to normalize blood sugar and to increase circulation
  • Used to lower blood pressure and to increase circulation
  • Used following surgery to increase healing and decrease recovery time
  • Used to treat fibromyalgia
  • Used to treat asthma
  • Used to repair the liver in hepatitis patients
  • Used to improve digestion
  • Used to generate a warming energy and to stimulate the metabolism
  • Used to improve healing of any wound or injury

There are so many uses for astragalus and I’m sure I’ve missed a number them.  It is a wonderful, overall invigorating tonic.  Astragalus can be used long-term and there are no potential negative side effects from taking this herb.  Please email me with any questions.

Beware of Soy!

The soybean is a species of legume native to East Asia.  Soy farming started around 1100 BC in China.  At this time, soybeans were not deemed fit for human consumption.  Instead, these legumes were used to feed animals and to increase soil health.  It wasn’t until the Chinese began fermenting soy, thus making these beans more digestible while eliminating toxicity, that they began using it for human consumption.  Asian diets now include fermented soy products, such as miso, tempeh, natto and tamari.

Unfermented Soybeans have anti-nutrients.  All plants have some anti-nutrient properties, but the soybean plant is extremely rich in anti-nutrients.  These anti-nutrients are nature’s way of protecting the soybean plant so that it can live long enough to effectively reproduce. They offer protection from the radiation of the sun and from invasion by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. These anti-nutrients make the soybean plant unappetizing to animals.  If they are not removed by fermentation, soybeans can be a dangerous food to eat.  The major anti-nutrients  in unfermented soy are goitrogens, phytates and enzyme inhibitors.  Furthermore, soybeans contain dangerous phytoestrogens that have toxic effects on the body.

The problem:  Today in the United States, it seems that soy protein is everywhere!  To make matters worse, soy in the United States is commonly in the form of soy protein, soybeans, soy protein bars, soy formula, soy burgers or tofu.  These foods come from unfermented soy.  For vegetarians or those who are lactose intolerant, soy may make up a large part of the diet.  Furthermore, soy producers are pushing Americans to eat more and more soy, supposedly like the Asians, in order to combat cancer, heart disease and a number of other health ailments.  Soy manufacturers actually recommends Americans eat up to 100 grams of soy protein per day!  This is 10 times the amount that the average Asian might consume!  Furthermore, when Asians do consume soy, it is usually fermented.  Many Americans jumped on the soy bandwagon and suffered health problems due to consuming massive amounts of soy in its unfermented state.

Dangers of Unfermented Soy:

  • Goitrogenic: Goitrogens are substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake.  This can cause hypothyroidism, which often leads to the symptoms of low metabolism, constipation, dry skin, fatigue,  depression and weight gain.  Soy, in its unfermented form, is a goitrogenic food.  In time, soy can actually destroy the thyroid.  Low thyroid also means the action of the heart is reduced, thus resulting in lack of oxygen to the cells.  This is a prime condition for cancer.
  • Phytoestrogens:  Soy contains isoflavones are estrogen-like substances.  Soy contains isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens — plant-based estrogens.  In fact, soy is higher in phytoestrogens than almost any other food.  Phytoestrogens mimic estrogen in our bodies.  It is soy’s weak estrogenic properties that are often touted as a health benefit of soy.  Unfortunately, most of these studies were actually funded by the soy industry.  In fact, it is shown that consuming phytoestrogens is actually dangerous for the body.  These soy isoflavones have been shown to inhibit thyroid function by inhibiting the action of thyroid peroxidase.  Thyroid peroxidase is an enzyme essential for the production and transport of thyroid hormones.  Again, low thyroid lowers ones metabolism, can cause constipation, dry skin, fatigue, depression, weight gain, and also increases the risk of cancer.  Furthermore, it is very common for Americans to have estrogen dominance due to chemicals, hormones in our foods and toxins in our environment.  Consuming soy products only increases estrogen production in the body.  Breast cancer, PMS, bloating, fatigue, headaches, weight gain (especially around the midsection), low thyroid, autoimmune diseases, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, infertility and low libido are caused by estrogen dominance. An infant taking the recommended amount of soy formula is consuming the hormones equivalent to 4 birth control pills a day!  This is one of the reasons (on top of the hormones added to our meat and dairy products) that girls are starting their periods as young as age 6!
  • Genistein:  Genistein is an isoflavone found in soybeans.  Genistein can block thyroid productionFurthermore, genistein blocks certain transport proteins which slows the transport of glucose, meaning less energy production throughout the body.  It also slows down enzymes involved in the transfer of energy from one molecule to another.  These enzymes also drive cell division, tissue repair and blood vessel regeneration.  Because genistein regulates cell division, it was thought to be a popular substance to fight cancer.  The problem is that genistein lowered cellular energy in normal cells as well.  Genistein slows down the growth of blood vessels to tumors but it also has the same effect on blood vessels leading to normal, healthy cells.  Genistein can actually result in the starvation of healthy blood cells.  This leads to reduced oxygen levels in cells which can lead to cancer.  High consumption of genistein has been shown to lead to dementia and reduced brain size.  Furthermore, there is a growing concern about feeding infants soy formula due to the high amount of genistein.  Studies have found that it decreases the thymus size and leads to a repressed immune system.  Some countries have banned the use of soy formula for infants. 
  • Phytates:  Soybeans are very rich in phytates.  Phytates bind minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, magnesium and calcium in the digestive tract. Zinc may be more affected than the other minerals.  Zinc is an essential mineral that supports wound healing, protein synthesis, reproductive health, nerve function, and brain development.  Furthermore, decreasing the amounts of zinc and copper in the body can further decrease the activity of the thyroid gland.  Most legumes, seeds, nuts and grains contain phytates that can be removed by soaking overnight.  The soybean, however, must be fermented in order for the phytates to be broken down.
  • Enzyme inhibitors:  Our bodies naturally secrete digestive enzymes when food is eaten.  Enzymes such as amylase, protease and lipase are secreted into the digestive tract in order to help break food down for assimilation in the body.  Unfermented soy products contain a high amount of enzyme inhibitors which interferes with the digestive process, thus making the protein and carbohydrates from soybeans almost impossible to completely digest.  This can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea, pain and undigested food can eventually lead to food sensitivities and even autoimmune diseases.

Alternatives to soy:

Try coconut milk, hemp milk or almond milk.

Look for soy-free veggie burgers or meat substitutes (i.e. Sunshine Burgers or Quorn products).

Consume fermented soy in the form of miso, tempeh, natto or tamari in small quantities.


The Importance of Fat

Fat is a very important part of your diet.  In fact, every single cell in our body needs fat!  For this reason, our diet should be composted of between 20 to 30% fat.  Fat is the most concentrated form of energy in the body, supplying 9 calories per gram.  The most important thing to remember when consuming fat, is that not all fats behave the same in the body. There are three main categories of fats–saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Saturated Fats:

  • Saturated fats are commonly found in animal products, such as butter, lard, meat, dairy and eggs.  Saturated fat is also found in coconut.
  • Saturated fats, especially butter and coconut oil, are great for cooking.  Because of their saturated structure, they are preferred to cook with because their molecules will not be damaged by  high heat.  I recommend cooking with coconut oil over olive oil due to the saturated structure.
  • Saturated fats should not consist of more than 10% of your total fat intake.  High amounts of saturated fats are linked to cardiovascular disease, strokes, cancer, learning disabilities and insulin resistance.
  • Coconut Oil:  The Exception to the rule.  It wouldn’t really be fair to lump coconut oil in with all other saturated fats.  Coconut oil has amazing healing properties; in fact, many in the Asian and Pacific populations consider coconut oil to be the cure to all illness.  Coconut oil is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and actually boosts the immune system due to its high content of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).  Medium-chain fats boost the metabolism, thus aiding in weight loss.  They support the thyroid and have no negative effects on cholesterol.  Other uses of coconut oil include the prevention of cancer, kidney disease and liver disease.  It is also used as an anti-aging agent and is a beneficial antioxidant.  It can help kill many viruses, such as influenza, herpes and measles.  It can kill bacteria that causes gum disease, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and throat infections.  It can even kill fungi and yeast that causes candida, thrush, ringworm and athletes foot.  To say the least, coconut oil is an amazing food!

 

Monounsaturated Fats:

  • The definition of a monounsaturated fatty acid is an unsaturated fatty acid with one double bond.  The length of their carbon chains may vary, from 10, 12, 14, 16, or 18-carbon chains.  The most important monounsaturated fatty acid is one with 18-carbon chain, known as oleic acid (OA).
  • Oleic acid is found in olives, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, pecans, avocados, hazelnuts, cashews and macadamia nuts  and the oils derived from these products.  OA is also found in canola oil and also in the membranes of plants and and animal cells and in the tissue of most land animals.
  • Oleic acid is fluid and therefore can help keep our arteries supple. It is also fairly stable and may resist damage by oxygen.  Furthermore, it may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and is therefore an essential part of the diet. These fats are not required by our bodies though, because our bodies can make this type of fat to fulfill requirements.  Monounsaturated fats should be 10 to 20% of your total fat intake.
  • Especially beneficial are monounsaturated fats from raw almonds, unrefined cold-pressed olive oil and avocados.

Polyunsaturated Fats:

  • The most important fatty acids, also known as essential fatty acids (EFAs), contain 18 carbon atoms in their chain and more than one double bond. These fats are known as essential fatty acids because they are needed for every cell in our body and they can’t be made in our body, meaning we must get them from our diet.  Polyunsaturated fats should consist of the largest percent of fat in your diet.  Important:  Due to their delicate, long-chain structure, they are very delicate and should never be roasted or heated.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids, also known as linoleic acid (LA), contain two double bonds. Healthy omega-6 fatty acids are found in raw sunflower seeds or oil, safflower oil, raw sesame seeds or oil, raw walnuts, raw pumpkin seeds, raw flax seeds or oil and raw wheat germ.  Another very healthy fat in this group is known as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and this is found in borage, hemp and evening primrose oil.  *Beware of omega-6 fatty acids that have been chemically processed, such as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats).  These are extremely damaging to ones health.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, also known as alpha-linolenic acid (LNA), have three double bonds.  This is found in raw flax, hemp, walnuts and micro-algae.  In this category is also EPA and DHA, which are both found in fish oils, such as cold deep-water fish like wild-caught salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, or tuna.  (Note regarding tuna:  Please avoid tuna more than twice a month.  Tuna is a predatory fish and therefore may contain high amounts of mercury).
  • Note:  Free-range organic eggs and free-range organic poultry and meats may also contain some omega 3 essential fatty acids.
  • These polyunsaturated fats are essential to every single cell in our body.  What is even more important is the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.  The desired ratio is 3:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.  Due to all of the processed omega-6 fats, many Americans consume a ratio of 40:1 on a daily basis.  This sets the stage for inflammation and disease.

A partial list of the benefits of essential fatty acids: 

  • healthy immune system
  • lower blood pressure
  • lower cholesterol levels
  • decreased inflammation
  • increased metabolism
  • decreased blood clotting
  • increased learning ability and memory retention
  • healthy skin and hair
  • These fats make up the cell membranes of every cell in your body!

Omega-6 deficiency symptoms:

  • eczema
  • loss of hair
  • liver degeneration
  • behavioral disturbances
  • excessive water loss through skin
  • excessive thirst
  • increased susceptibility to infections
  • poor wound healing
  • sterility in males
  • miscarriage in females
  • arthritis
  • heart and circulatory problems
  • growth retardation

Omega-3 deficiency symptoms:

  • growth retardation
  • weakness
  • impaired vision
  • impaired learning ability
  • impaired motor coordination
  • behavioral changes
  • depression
  • ADD/ADHD
  • high triglycerides
  • high blood pressure
  • sticky platelets
  • inflammation
  • edema
  • dry skin

Chemically-altered fats (trans fats/hydrogenated fats):

  • Hydrogenated fats are unhealthy omega-6 fats that have been chemically altered.
  • They have been heated to extremely high temperatures and extra hydrogen atoms are forced into the molecule to make it shelf-stable and cost-effective.
  • Our bodies are not equipped to handle unnatural fat molecules.

These fats can: 

  • increase total cholesterol
  • increase LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • decrease HDL (good) cholesterol
  • interfere with the liver’s detoxification system
  • cause learning disabilities
  • cause digestive disturbances
  • increase inflammation
  • lead to autoimmune diseases
  • cause cancer
  • cause heart disease

They are found everywhere:

  • margarine
  • shortening
  • fried food
  • crackers
  • chips
  • commercial peanut butter brands (i.e. Jiffy, Skippy)
  • bread crumbs
  • cereals
  • cookies
  • energy bars

Please read the labels and be fat smart.  Remember, fats can heal and fats can kill.

 

Red Pepper Soup Recipe

This is my new favorite soup.  It’s easy to make, very filling and the kids loved it!  I ate this for dinner, then breakfast and lunch the next day.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups organic vegetable broth (If you want to make your own vegetable broth, you will find the recipe in the vegan broccoli cheese soup post under the recipe category)
  • 3 Tbs. extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4  tsp. red pepper flakes

Directions: 

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add red onion, sweet potato, potato and shallot.
  • Saute for 7 minutes.
  • Add cumin, red pepper and garlic.
  • Saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add broth and bell peppers and bring to a simmer.
  • Cook for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are softened.
  • Blend soup in batches until smooth.

Enjoy!

Natural Cures for Insomnia

Insomnia is defined as the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for an adequate length of time.  Chronic insomnia can be definied as the failure to get an entire night’s sleep on most nights over a one month time span.  Insomnia can be very frustrating and can affect children and adults alike.  In fact, it affects one out of ten Americans!

There are many causes of chronic insomnia.  Here are some of the common causes:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Calcium and magnesium deficiency
  • Low thyroid
  • High thyroid
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Asthma
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Allergy/cold medications
  • Adrenal fatigue (see previous blog)
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Other systemic disorders

Where to start:

  • Take 500 mg calcium with 250 mg magnesium twice a day (once with lunch and once before bed)
  • Take ashwagandha twice a day (once in the morning and once before bed).  This can be helpful for reducing anxiety, depression and insomnia.
  • Take a B-50 complex with lunch
  • Take 500 mg vitamin C with bioflavonoids twice a day
  • Take liquid trace minerals (Trace Mineral Research is a good brand)
  • Check total iron levels and ferritin levels (blood test)
  • If iron deficiency is detected, add an organic chelated iron to your supplements.  Take iron with vitamin C and away from calcium (calcium grabs iron from the stomach).  Iron Asporotate by Soloray is a good brand, as well as Floradix liquid iron by Flora
  • Check thyroid panel (blood test, TSH, T3, T4 total, T4 free and antithyroid antibodies)
  • Read my old posts on adrenal fatigue to determine if you fit the category and follow the recommendations.
  • For adults, 5HTP can be helpful for anxiety, depression and insomnia
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch time
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid allergy and cold medications
  • Eat 5-6 balanced meals a day
  • Avoid sugar and refined foods
  • Consume some protein an hour before bed (i.e. a whole grain cracker with raw almond butter).
  • Melatonin is one of the best cures for occasional sleeplessness.  It is a natural hormone created by the pineal gland that promotes sound sleep.  It helps regulate other hormones and maintains the body’s natural circadian rhythm.  When it’s dark, your body produces more melatonin and when it’s light, melatonin production drops.  Being exposed to bright lights in the evening or too little light during the day can also disrupt the body’s normal melatonin cycles.  As a supplement for insomnia, take up to 5 mg 30 minutes before bed.  It is usually best to begin with 1.5 mg and increase if needed.  Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant, can strengthen the immune system and is used during cancer treatment and menopause.

l

Super Easy Dinner: Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

Put these three healthy, simple ingredients together and you have a wonderful, quick and easy meal that the kids will love!  This dish is packed with protein, good carbohydrates and fiber, which eq

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers: 

Ingredients:

  • 6 bell peppers
  • 1 package of Quorn meatless, soy-free grounds
  • 2 cups of uncooked quinoa
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • Your favorite organic marinara sauce
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional:  feta or shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  • Cook quinoa (2 cups uncooked quinoa with 5 cups water) in pot
  • Saute onion in sauce pan
  • Add quorn meatless grounds into pan with 2 tbs water
  • Heat, stirring for 5 minutes
  • Add quinoa, carrots, marinara sauce, cumin, salt and pepper
  • Heat for a few more minutes, while stirring
  • Set sauce pan aside
  • Remove the tops, seeds and membranes of the bell peppers
  • Rub peppers with olive oil
  • Roast each pepper in a pan until the sides are golden brown
  • Stuff peppers with the filling
  • Top with mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes
  • Top with feta cheese (optional)

Enjoy!

The best supplements for diabetes

Diabetes is a result of problems with the pancreatic hormone insulin.  Insulin controls the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and is responsible for moving the sugar into the cells.  The cells need glucose to produce energy.  In people with diabetes, glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of being taken in by the cells.  This condition is called hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar.  Hyperglycemia can lead to damaged blood vessels, which may cause eye disease, heart disease, nerve damage to the limbs and organs, as well as kidney disease.  According to the American Diabetes Association, 15.7 million Americans have diabetes.  It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the primary cause of blindness in people between the ages of 20 and 70.

Three types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes, or insulin-dependent diabetes:  This affects 5 to 10% of people with diabetes.  In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, meaning that the pancreas can no longer produce insulin.  This generally occurs at an early age and may result from an immune response after a viral infection.

Type 2 diabetes, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes:  This is the most common type  of diabetes, affecting 90-95% of those with diabetes.  In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still produces insulin, but in small quantities.  The cells may also become resistant to the effects of the insulin in the bloodstream.  This type of diabetes generally occurs later in life, however, it is affecting more and more younger people due to the standard American diet.  Risk factors include a refined, high-sugar diet, a diet high in saturated or trans-fats, lack of exercise, being overweight, or increased age.

Gestational diabetes:  This is a form of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy.  It affects about 4% of pregnant women.  Poor eating, lack of exercise, along with hormonal changes during pregnancy, can affect the body’s’ resistance to insulin.  Some women with gestational diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.

The major danger with diabetes is the complications that can arise if insulin levels are not maintained at a constant level.  People with diabetes are prone to episodes of both high and low blood sugar.  Hyperglycemia (too much glucose in the blood) can cause fatigue, a constant need to urinate, extreme thirst, constant feelings of hunger, loss of weight, and problems with eyesight.  Hypoglycemia (not enough glucose in the blood) can occur from a missed meal, too much exercise, or from consuming to too much insulin.  Hypoglycemia can cause hunger, dizziness, confusion, palpitations, and numbness or tingling of the lips.  If not treated, one may have double vision, begin trembling, become disoriented, and can lapse into a coma.

Supplements to use in order to protect the cells and balance blood sugar: 

  • Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA).  This is an antioxidant that can help control blood sugar levels and can help prevent or repair peripheral nerve damage.
  • Vitamin B complex (50) twice a day.  B vitamins work together to support the adrenal glands, balance blood sugar levels, helps insulin’s ability to move into the cells, improves glucose metabolism and protects the nerves.
  • Liquid trace minerals.  Deficiency of many minerals, including zinc, manganese, magnesium and chromium, have been associated with diabetes.
  • Extra chromium (200 mcg).  Chromium improves insulin’s efficiency, and thus lowers blood sugar levels.
  • Extra magnesium (use a calcium/magnesium supplement 2:1 ratio 500/250 mg before bed).  Magnesium protects the arteries and helps improve insulin function and lower blood sugar levels.
  • Gymnema sylvestre.  This ayurvedic herb reduces sugar cravings and also helps stimulate the production of insulin, thus balancing blood sugar levels.
  • Coenzyme Q10.  This improves circulation, stabilizes blood sugar, protects the heart and helps to detoxify the body.
  • Maitake extract.  Maitake can help normalize blood sugar levels.
  • Bilberry.  Bilberry contains potent antioxidants that protect nerves as well as balancing blood sugar levels.
  • Bitter melon.  Bitter melon is another ayurvedic remedy that can balance blood sugar levels.
  • Vitamin C with bioflavonoids (1,000 mg twice a day).  This will protect and prevent against vascular problems, as well as supporting the adrenal glands.
  • Vitamin E (400 IU d-alpha-tocopherol).  Vitamin E improves circulation and is a potent antioxidant.
  • Vitamin A and vitmain D should be taken daily as well.
  • 1 tablespoon of cold-pressed flax oil daily (make sure you purchase flax oil in the refrigerated section.  Any exposure to heat, light or oxygen will destroy these delicate fat molecules).

It is important to eat 5-6 small meals a day.  These meals should be a good mixture of protein, complex carbohydrates and good quality fats.  You should consume 7 servings of fresh vegetables per day.  It is very important to avoid sugar, refined foods, trans-fats and excessive saturated fats.  Example:  Breakfast may include a piece of sprouted grain toast with an organic free-range egg.  Morning snack could include an apple with raw almond butter.  Lunch could include a large leafy green salad, loaded with black beans, sesame seeds and avocado.  An afternoon snack could include a hemp protein smoothie with berries, spinach leaves and greens.  Dinner could include brown rice, wild Alaskan salmon, steamed broccoli and cauliflower.  Eat plenty of raw garlic and cinnamon for their blood sugar lowering effects.

A Perfect Easy Dinner: Indian Chickpea Rice Casserole

This is a healthy, easy recipe that the kids will love.  Try it tonight!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup roasted cashews, chopped

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • In a saucepan, add 1 tsp oil, heat, and add mustard and cumin seeds.
  • When mustard seeds begin to pop (after about 30 seconds), turn heat off and transfer this spice mixture to small bowl.
  • Add remaining 1 tsp oil, heat, add onion and ginger.
  • Saute for about 6 minutes (until onions are soft).
  • Stir in spice mixture, broth, rice, chickpeas, currants and carrots.
  • Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until rice is tender and broth is absorbed.
  • Garnish with cilantro and cashews.

Enjoy!  :)

Sugar Feeds Cancer

Sugar feeds cancer cells.  It has been known for almost a century that tumor cells use much more glucose than normal cells.

Cancer metabolizes different from normal cells.  Normal cells need oxygen, and cancer cells disdain oxygen.  In fact, cancer cells metabolize anaerobically (without the presence of oxygen).  Malignant tumors display an increase in anaerobic glycolysis.  Anaerobic glycolysis is a process where glucose is used as a fuel by cancer cells.  In this process, lactic acid is the by-product.

This process is also known as fermentation.  The fermentation of glucose from cancer cells produces high amounts of lactic acid, which creates a more acidic pH in tissues, as well as physical fatigue from the lactic acid build-up.  Furthermore, disease thrives in acidic blood.

Fermentation requires sugar. 

When the food supply is cut off, the cancer begins to starve.

Furthermore, fructose (mostly from high-fructose corn syrup) tends to be even worse for cancer cells than just glucose.  Both types of sugars feed cancer cells, however, it has been found in studies that fructose also causes tumors to readily proliferate, and that the metabolism of fructose and glucose in cancer cells are very different.

Scary Fact:  U.S. consumption of high-fructose corn syrup increased 1,000 % between 1970 and 1990! 

Because we know that sugar feeds cancer cells, and cancer thrives in an acidic environment, we can conclude that individuals with cancer should consume a low-sugar diet, along with plenty of alkalizing foods; such as vegetables, greens, a small amount of fruits, buckwheat, quinoa and millet, along with some sprouted grains and seeds.  This type of diet will increase pH.  Meat, dairy, other grains and sugar create an acidic pH in the blood.

I was stunned when an adorable cancer patient came to see me a few weeks ago for help with nutrition.  They weren’t happy with the advice that the dietitian from a large renowned cancer hospital gave them.  The dietitian’s advice was for this patient to drink Carnation Instant Breakfast or Ensure. I was shocked!

The first four ingredients of many of the Ensure drinks are:

  • water
  • sugar
  • corn syrup
  • maltodextrin

The first ingredients on the vanilla Carnation drinks are:

  • water
  • corn syrup solids
  • canola oil
  • caseinate from cow’s milk
  • sugar
  • isolated soy protein
  • corn oil

The first four ingredients of the chocolate malt Carnation drinks are:

  • sugar
  • milk
  • malted milk
  • maltodextrin

Here we have large amounts of sugar, both gluctose and fructose, which feed cancer and cause tumor cells to proliferate, along with creating an acidic environment in the body.

We also have damaging oils, which will cause oxidation in the body, leading to free-radical damage and inflammation.

Furthermore, we have dairy, which leads to an acidic environment in the body.

We also have isolated soy protein, which is acidic, genetically modified, and can cause a whole host of health issues.

My initial suggestion for weight gain and energy:

  • Smoothies with almond milk, organic rice protein, cold-pressed flax oil, greens, spinach and berries
  • Freshly-made vegetable juices, such as cabbage, carrot, beet, asparagus, broccoli, etc.

These two suggestions will alkalize her blood stream, along with providing her anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, antioxidants and energy.

Please remember how important foods are in fighting cancer, and stay tuned for part 2 on foods/herbs to fight cancer.

 

Natural treatments for eczema

Eczema is a type of dermatitis, simply meaning inflammation of the skin.  Dermatitis generally results in inflamed, red skin that is generally itchy.  Eczema can include lesions, crusty sores, scabs, thickened skin and pimple-like eruptions.

Two common types of dermatitis:

  • Contact dermatitis is generally caused by the skin coming into contact with an allergen, thus leading to skin inflammation.  Possible allergens may include perfumes, rubber, cosmetics, latex, poison ivy or metals in jewelry (gold, silver or nickel).  Whatever the irritant may be, if the skin stays in contact with this substance, it is likely to spread and become worse.  Sunlight may aggravate the condition.
  • Atopic dermatitis, or atopic eczema, is generally the condition people refer to as eczema.  This condition usually affects allergy-prone individuals, and will generally appear on the face, in the bends of the elbows and behind the knees.  It is very itchy.  In children, it will usually appear the first year of life.  The triggers may be cold or hot weather, a dry atmosphere, infections, exposure to allergens or stress.

There are many underlying factors that can lead to eczema:

  • Low hydrochloric acid in the stomach, known as hypochlorhydria.
  • Candida, which is an overgrowth of yeast in the system.
  • Leaky gut syndrome, where the intestines become porous and allow tiny particle of undigested food to enter the bloodstream, thus provoking allergies.
  • Food allergies (i.e. dairy or gluten).
  • Inability to convert essential fatty acids into anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.

Possible tests: 

  • Organic Acids Test (OAT) or the Microbial Organic Acids Test (MOAT), which tests fungal and bacterial metabolites from a urine sample.  If the eczema is being caused by fungal or bacterial overgrowth in the gut, the appropriate course of action would be high-dose probiotics, along with anti-fungal products.  This test is available through the Great Plains Laboratory:

http://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/home/eng/microbial_oat.asp

  • A preliminary stomach acidity test is to drink a small amount of baking soda in water first thing in the morning.  If you have not belched within a few minutes, you may not be producing enough stomach acid.  Hydrochloric acid reacts with baking soda to produce carbon dioxide gas.  If low stomach acidity is suspected, the appropriate course of action would include apple cider vinegar prior to meals, betaine hydrochloride (HCL) with meals, or high doses of ascorbic acid with meals.

Treating eczema: 

  • Eliminate all processed, refined foods
  • Eliminate high-sugar foods, high-fructose corn syrup and all artificial sweeteners
  • Eliminate all trans-fats (i.e. hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats)
  • Eliminate all gluten from the diet (focus on grains such as quinoa, brown rice, nut flour, millet, buckwheat)
  • Eliminate all dairy from the diet
  • Take probiotics (2-3 times per day)
  • Take omega 3s, in the form of flax, hemp or fish oil
  • Take apple cider vinegar
  • Drink aloe vera juice
  • Take liquid trace minerals
  • Take a B-complex
  • Take a good quality multivitamin/mineral
  • If the eczema is thought to be due to fungal or bacterial overgrowth, also add natural anti-fungals, such as oil of oregano, grapefruit seed extract, pau d arco and caprylic acid.
  • If low stomach acid seems to be a problem, use apple cider vinegar prior to all meals, as well as using HCL or ascorbic acid with meals.
  • Avoid chemicals in bubble baths, detergents, perfumes, etc.
  • Oregon grape root and grapeseed extract can be used to reduce inflammation and help rid the body of toxins.

To relieve itching, mix goldenseal root powder with vitamin E oil, then add a little honey until it has the consistency of a paste.  Apply to the infected area.