Turmeric for Inflammation and Fibromyalgia

Fact Checking Review Process

The Family Health Advocacy team is committed to delivering content that adheres to the highest standards for content accuracy and reference. Articles with the “Fact Checked” stamp will adhere these standards and will be reviewed using guidelines from the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and all the reviews conducted are subject to the AMWA code of conduct https://www.amwa.org/page/Code_of_Ethics in line with the medical industry’s best practices in health communication.

Our medical review team will ensure the following criteria is met:

1. Is it original writing? Does the article contain significant portions of plagiarized materials?

2. Are the main concepts well and clearly defined?

3. Are the articles central tenets backed by adequate evidence?

4. Are there any gaps or inconsistencies?

5. Is the writing clear and easy to understand?

6. Does it advance knowledge?

The opioid crisis is responsible for approximately 115 deaths a DAY in America alone. These are very frightening statistics! Therefore let’s discuss a safer solution, natural pain relief in the form of turmeric.

Fibromyalgia is believed to be a chronic disorder. It’s known to cause widespread tenderness and pain throughout the body. The condition is believed to be inflammatory and autoimmune; affecting the muscular and nervous system.

At this time, there is no conclusive laboratory test to confirm the diagnosis. The pain can be caused by over-stimulation of nerve cells. Increased levels of anxiety which is associated with fibromyalgia; will signal chemical stimulation from the brain. In time, the muscles become oversensitive to these signals.

In addition to pain and tenderness, fibromyalgia can cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Morning stiffness
  • Numbness
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

These symptoms may limit one’s ability to perform daily activities. This in turn can affect their quality of life. While the causes of this condition aren’t clear, it is believed that stress, trauma, and genetics may contribute to the development of fibromyalgia.

Many people have turned to anti-depressants and pain relievers with the hope of easing their fatigue and pain, and relaxing their muscles. However, today let’s look at a natural approach that can help people with fibromyalgia.  Let’s talk about Turmeric!

turmeric for inflammation

What Is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a yellow spice that is found in curry-spice blends. It is closely related to ginger and is primarily found in cuisines such as:

  • Indian
  • Moroccan
  • Thai

Furthermore, turmeric has long been used in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine.

The health benefits of turmeric have been well documented. Much of it is due to its main compound and key active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin has proven to possess anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and neuroprotective healing properties.

So, here are some of the advantages of using turmeric for patients who have fibromyalgia.

1. Natural Pain Relief

Fibromyalgia sufferers can experience severe pain in their muscles. In fact for some, it can affect their muscle function. Therefore, in many instances, people turn to a variety of medications which are harmful in the long run. (1)(2)(3)

For example, over-the-counter pain medications can cause toxicity in the liver. (4) Therefore, a safer alternative to pain medications is turmeric for natural pain relief.

Turmeric is believed to have a strong analgesic effect on the body. This is due to the presence of curcumin; a compound that is known to help relieve pain. (5)  It is also believed to be more effective than other antioxidants when it comes to relieving pain.

Fibromyalgia pain occurs as a result of neural stimulation, which isn’t easy to treat. Activation of BDNF increases pain signals throughout the body. Thus, increasing pain sensitivity in the muscles. Research indicates that curcumin is successful in alleviating neuropathic pain. (6)

natural anti-depressant

2. Turmeric Is An Excellent Anti-depressant

Depression and anxiety are some of the common symptoms of Fibromyalgia. In many cases, anti-depressants are prescribed. However, many people do not have the desired response to them. Another concern is that they pose a health risk.  This has led to a growing number of people looking for a natural alternative in turmeric.

Turmeric is considered one of the safest and efficient ways to help depression-related illness. Additionally, it’s believed to relieve depression arising from neurological disturbances. The presence of monoamine oxidase in the brain is responsible for most neurological disorders. Turmeric shows anti-depressant effects that inhibit the function of this protein in the brain. (7)

naturally improve your memory

3. Helps In Improving Memory And Cognitive Functions

Patients who have Fibromyalgia often experience “fibro frog” (8), decreased concentration, cognitive function, and poor memory. The active ingredient in turmeric is neuroprotective; thus it’s believed to enhance memory and cognitive abilities. It can also improve brain function by restoring or reversing impaired cognition. (9)

turmeric benefits

Natural Remedies Found In Your Own Backyard

natural remedies

Since my childhood days of watching my grandmother in her garden, I’ve always been excited by the idea of ‘backyard medicine’.  What do I mean by ‘backyard medicine’?  I mean walking into a backyard garden full of medicinal herbs for any ailment.  Thus a garden full of natural remedies.

I particularly enjoy my naturopathic practice in the summer when gardens are abundant.  This is when I can actually quite often practice ‘backyard medicine’.  If you want to learn more about living naturally, click here to read Clean Living Basics And DIY Cleaning Solutions.

Natural Remedies

Garden season is coming!  So, to get you as excited as I am, here are four herbs that are easy to grow.  Even in a container garden for those without yards.  All in which have wonderful health benefits as natural remedies.

fresh mint
Fresh Mint

Mint

Mint is very easy to grow.  It comes back every year, and can even start to take over the garden if you’re not careful.  It also happily grows in a container or planter.  There are two types or species of mint that I commonly use in my practice: peppermint (Mentha piperita) and Spearmint (Mentha spicata).

I will often use peppermint for digestive concerns.  It’s especially great for bloating and constipation, plus has a refreshing, cooling taste that most people enjoy.  This cooling aspect of peppermint also makes it good for soothing inflammation. Personally, I use spearmint more for its role in hormone regulation, especially in women.

It has actually been shown to have anti-androgenic effects in women with PCOS.  Meaning, it can help to decrease testosterone levels that may be causing issues such as unwanted hair growth or acne.

Oregano
Oregano

Oregano

I come from an Italian family so oregano is a staple our kitchen and garden.  It’s another hardy herb.  Like mint, I planted it once, and it comes back every year.  Oregano is great to have on hand for cooking since it adds delicious flavour (especially in tomato sauce!) and nutrients to your meal.

I most often use this one in practice as an essential oil.  Oil of oregano is traditionally used for its antimicrobial effects.  It appears that the phenolic compound Carvacrol found in oregano is a key contributor to these effects.

In the clinic, I have seen it work well taken orally to help clear viral infections like colds and flus as well as topically (on the skin) to help clear fungal infections like athlete’s foot or even viral infections like planters warts.  I usually combine it with other antimicrobial herbs like garlic for optimal efficacy.

Calendula Flowers and Oil
Calendula Flowers and Oil

Marigold

Take note!  There are two types of marigold that often get confused.  They are: French Marigold (Tagetes patula) and Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis).  Both produce beautiful, bright, cheery flowers and have their own benefits.

The one I will be talking about here is Calendula officinalis.  I often use Calendula for skin concerns.  It is quite effective at helping to heal broken or damaged skin, making it a great herb for sunburns in the summer or dry skin in the winter.  I love making oil infusions and skin salves with this little healing flower.  Don’t just take my word for it, there’s even research to show Calendula’s efficacy in wound healing.

It has been studied in the treatment of skin conditions from diaper rash to palliative care and cancer treatment. One of Calendula’s lesser known uses is in treating inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.  I will often prescribe it topically as an oil or cream for hemorrhoids or even as a tea or in a soup for inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis.

catnip
Catnip

Catnip

You’ve likely seen the effect that catnip has on cats but did you know it actually has a calming effect on humans?  I love cats.  So, if I’m being completely honest, part of the reason I planted catnip in my garden was to attract all the neighbourhood cats.

Really though, catnip is quite useful.  As a tea or tincture, it has calming effects, making it great for soothing anxiety or helping with sleep.  It can also be used to repel unwanted insects all summer.  As an essential oil, it may even be more effective at repelling mosquitos than DEET and even seems to repel cockroaches!  Who wouldn’t want catnip around?

And there you have it, four great herbs to start off your garden for use as natural remedies!  Click here for tips on How to Grow an Organic Garden.  

Herbs can be used in so many ways.  Teas, tinctures, oil infusions, essential oils, herb baths, even in cooking!  If you’re interested in learning more, send me an email to find out more about my herbal learning workshops in Burlington.  Interested in growing your own natural remedies garden but don’t have the outdoor space?  Don’t worry we have you covered!  Click here to read, ’10 Tips For A Successful Indoor Herb Garden’.

Sources

Grant, Paul. “Spearmint Herbal Tea Has Significant Anti-Androgen Effects in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. a Randomized Controlled Trial.” Phytotherapy Research, 2009, doi:10.1002/ptr.2900.Sakkas, Hercules, and Chrissanthy Papadopoulou.

“Antimicrobial Activity of Basil, Oregano, and Thyme Essential Oils.” Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, vol. 27, no. 3, 2017, pp. 429–438., doi:10.4014/jmb.1608.08024.Carvalho, Alexsander R., et al.

“Use of Some Asteraceae Plants for the Treatment of Wounds: From Ethnopharmacological Studies to Scientific Evidences.” Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol. 9, 2018, doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00784.Sharifi-Heris, Zahra, et al.

“Comparison the Effects of Topical Application of Olive and Calendula Ointments on Children’s Diaper Dermatitis: A Triple-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial.

” Dermatologic Therapy, vol. 31, no. 6, 2018, doi:10.1111/dth.12731.Cruceriu, Daniel, et al.

“Calendula Officinalis: Potential Roles in Cancer Treatment and Palliative Care.” Integrative Cancer Therapies, vol. 17, no. 4, 2018, pp. 1068–1078., doi:10.1177/1534735418803766.American Chemical Society.

“Catnip Repels Mosquitoes More Effectively Than DEET.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010828075659.htm>.

Chaga Mushroom Benefits, What Researchers Are Now Saying

chaga mushroom benefits

Alternative medicine and therapies are growing in popularity. As more research findings emerge, there is growing proof that natural remedies are an effective means of disease prevention and reversal. For a great example, let’s take a look at how the Chaga mushroom benefits your health.

Chaga Mushroom Benefits:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Chaga mushrooms are known for their ability to act as an adaptogen in the body. An adaptogen is a substance which assists the body’s ability to combat the effects of stress and disease.

Furthermore, it can promote healthy sleep cycles. Chaga can also aid in strengthening the immune system, improve mental clarity, and regulate various other cycles in the body.

Reports indicate that medicinal mushrooms including chaga are a source of anti-oxidants and contain compounds which are:

  • Anti-cancer
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-diabetic

Chaga has been found to have positive anti-cancer effects on breast and colorectal cancer cells, and aids in the protection of DNA damage.

Chaga mushroom health benefits - Health, Stress adaption, Healing, Renewal, Life Extension

What Is Chaga?

Chaga mushrooms are one of those alternative therapies that are proving to be effective and are starting to get some much deserved attention in the world of alternative therapies.

Chaga mushrooms are medicinal mushrooms native to the forests of Finland, Siberia, and North America and thrives in cold climates.

Although it grows most commonly on birch trees, it may also be found growing on:

  • Ash trees
  • Beech trees
  • Elm trees
  • Ironwood trees
  • Maple trees

In fact, you may have even seen it growing in the forest but didn’t recognize it. It has a rough looking outer surface that appears to be burnt and dark in colour with a yellow-orange core.

what is chaga

Enhanced Immune System

An enhanced immune system is better equipped to efficiently deal with:

  • Cancer cells
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Inflammation

Greater still, it provides the human body with a better opportunity to prevent disease formation.

chaga mushroom benefits

Chaga And Cancer

Chaga has been used to treat cancer for centuries in Russia and Baltic countries. It has been found that chaga mushroom extract can induce apoptosis of human colon cancer cells. These findings have since been confirmed in controlled lab experiments.

It’s believed that one of the main active ingredients in Chaga is a potent antioxidant called superoxide dismutase.

Superoxide dismutase is known as a liver cleanser, a cell membrane protector and a longevity enzyme. Furthermore, antioxidants are well known for their importance in disease prevention, and chaga is no exception.

How To Take Chaga

Due to chaga’s growing popularity, it can now be easily found at your local health food store and can be sold as:

  • Dried powder
  • Tincture form
  • Capsule

Dried chaga can be consumed in various ways including:

  • Steeping it as a tea
  • Grinding it to consume as food
  • Ingesting it as a tincture

Although, chaga tea is the easiest way to introduce into your diet.

chaga tea

Chaga Tea

  1. To make a chaga tea, first place small chunks of chaga, or ground chaga in a pot with cold spring water.
  2. Next, let the chaga sit in the water for up to one hour to begin the extraction process.
  3. Begin to heat the water, being caution that the water doesn’t reach a full boil.
  4. Lastly, let the chaga simmer for one hour before enjoying.

The mixture can then be strained and consumed hot or cold. Ideally, the tea should be consumed on an empty stomach before meals. Three to eight cups of chaga tea can be safely consumed daily.  Also, chaga tincture can be added to a small amount of water and swallowed.

Important Note

A known contraindication of chaga is that it can also act as a blood thinner. Therefore, if you are on blood thinners, chat with your natural health practitioner to be sure it is safe for you.

Are Naturopaths Doctors?

Are Naturopaths Doctors

“So are you like, a real doctor?” This is a question I still sometimes get asked as a Naturopathic Doctor. However, it’s a question that’s not always easy to answer because the definition and perception of a “real doctor” varies depending on who’s asking. It’s also an understandable question, as with so many titles being thrown around in the health and wellness fields, things can get confusing. So, are Naturopaths doctors?? Let’s take time to clear up some of the confusion about what it all means..

What Is Naturopathy?

Naturopathy is what Naturopathic Doctor practices. It’s a primary healthcare provider who is trained to:

  • Diagnose illness
  • Treat illness
  • Prevent illness

This is done by getting to know individual patients and their health concerns or goals. Then, using natural modalities that best support the optimal health of each individual patient. Visits with a Naturopathic Doctor are usually quite relaxed.

what is a naturopath

What’s Involved When Seeing A Naturopath?

  • Information gathering through chatting about each patient’s health story
  • Any necessary physical exams like taking body temperature, blood pressure, etc.
  • Any necessary bloodwork
  • Treatment

Typical Treatment Modalities Include:

  • Diet and lifestyle counseling
  • Nutritional support
  • Herbal medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Acupuncture
  • Hydrotherapy

Naturopathic Doctors work as a team with patients to come up with a plan to achieve desired health goals. Patients are always in the driver’s seat and a Naturopathic Doctor acts as more of a guide to health.

Day In The Life of a Naturopathic Doctor

How Is A Naturopathic Doctor Different From Other Natural Health Practitioners?

Depending where you are in the world, titles and regulations may vary slightly. For example, in Ontario, Canada, where I practice, a Naturopathic Doctor or ND is a regulated healthcare professional. This means every ND in Ontario has:

  • Spent 3-4 years completing an undergraduate degree
  • 4 years in naturopathic medical school
  • Passed all of the licensing exams required to practice in Ontario
  • Continues to be governed and regulated by the College of Naturopaths of Ontario

While other non-regulated natural health practitioners may also be very well equipped to help with your health concerns, there may not be any requirements or governing bodies that hold them to a standard of practice. Therefore, it is important to do your research ahead of time.

naturopathic doctor

How Is A Naturopathic Doctor Different From A Medical Doctor?

In Terms Of Education

Naturopathic Doctors and Medical Doctors both complete an undergraduate degree and four years of medical school. However, naturopathic medical students spend a great deal more time learning about:

Thus, less time learning about surgery and pharmacology.

Medical Doctors also specialize by completing a 3-7-year residency depending on the specialization. While Naturopathic Doctors have the option to complete a 2-year clinical residency. Although, many start practice without completing a residency.

In Terms Of Practice

As you may have realized from the differences in educational background, the major difference between Naturopathic Doctors and Medical Doctors lies in their approach for treatment. Medical Doctors are trained to recognize immediate concerns quickly and work with patients to come up with a solution that will act fast.

However, Naturopathic Doctors have the luxury of more time with patients. Therefore visits move more slowly. Allowing patients and ND’s to get to know each other and come up with a long-term treatment plan together.

ND’s have many tools at their disposal to help and patients often notice gentle, long-lasting changes, slowly over time. Along with an improved sense of well-being. These different approaches tend to make MD’s highly skilled at treating urgent, acute conditions. While ND’s tend to be more suited toward treating chronic conditions or optimizing health and preventing illness.

Medical Doctors are also covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan or OHIP while Naturopathic Doctors are often covered by extended health insurance plans.

are naturopaths real doctors

So Are Naturopaths “Real Doctors”?

So, what Is Naturopathy and are naturopaths real doctors?? Well, it still depends on what you mean by “real doctor” . But now at least now you know what it means to be a Naturopathic Doctor and you can decide whether or not that fits your definition of a “real doctor.” Click here to find a natural healthcare provider near you.

If you want to chat more about this topic or any of your other health concerns, reach out, I’m always happy to chat!

Mother’s Day Top 10 Gift Idea’s!

Mother's Day

Being a mother, I can honestly say it is one of the hardest and challenging but most rewarding jobs in the entire world.  However, it wasn’t until I had my own children that I realized the true strength and selflessness of my own mother and why recognizing Mother’s Day is so important.

A mother’s love is truly unconditional and their comfort and support, irreplaceable!  So, this Mother’s Day, why not take the time to give thanks by giving her arguably the best gift out there?  The gift of good health!

Here is a list of my top 10 healthy Mother’s Day Gift Ideas.

1.  Smoothie Maker

essential gift

Whether you’re a new mom, working mom or just simply a MOM, you know how busy your day can get, especially mornings!  It’s because of this, most moms don’t get a chance to eat properly (or at all).  This can not only effect their energy levels but also emotional well-being.  This is why I LOVE making smoothies!  You can quickly add all the nutrients you need to fuel your body right and take it with you on the go.

Click here for my favourite go to recipe for a morning breakfast smoothies.  And, if you go with a traditional juicer, be sure to read why you should, Stop Throwing Away Juice Pulp! Do This Instead.

2. Smartwatch Or Fitbit

A Smartwatch or Fitbit is easily among the best fitness gifts to give your mom this Mother’s Day as it can help boost her motivation and overall fitness.  Most Smartwatches and Fitbits track heart rate, calories burned and steps while offering handy tips for a healthy lifestyle.  Some even display texts and emails ensuring mom can always stay in the loop even while working out.

Click here to compare features on Fitbit Versa vs. Apple Watch.

3.  A New Bike

If your mom is an outdoor enthusiast, then surprise her with a new set of wheels!  A new bike can take her on and off the road for an excellent adventure.  It is also an excellent workout.  Look for a model with with multiple speeds and in your mom’s favourite colour for an added personal touch.

For additional help, click here for The Complete Guide to Buying a Bicycle.

4.  A Foam Roller

I’m sure this next suggestion is leaving some of you scratching your heads.  However, when your mom starts her workout with a stretch, it will help her reduce or even avoid aches and pains.  A foam roller serves double duty by stretching and soothing sore muscles allowing your mom to unwind physically and mentally before embarking on the main workout or perhaps just the rest of her day.  Look for a design featuring ridges for added knot-busting power.

Click here for 7 Foam Rolling Exercises Your Body Is Begging You To Do.

5.  Resistance Bands

Again, this may not seem like an obvious choice however a set of resistance bands have many benefits.  Not only are they a great alternative to heavy weights but they can help her up her fitness game and increase her strength.  The resistance bands are portable, lightweight and easily included in most stretches and routines for maximum results.

Click here for 2019’s Top 5 Resistance Bands.

6.  Wireless Headphones

These are a great choice to help mom get motivated and moving.  Because they are wireless you never need to worry about those annoying wires getting in the way or accidentally ripped out.  Your mom can listen to her favourite playlist or audio book completely uninterrupted regardless of her activity.

Click here for 5 things to consider before buying your next pair of wireless headphones.

7.  Sneakers

What woman wouldn’t want a new pair of shoes?  Getting your mom a lightweight, comfortable sneaker will help her go the extra mile and look great doing it.  Since cross-training requires a different type of shoe than weightlifting or jogging, consider the activities she enjoys the most before purchasing just any kind of sneaker.

Click here to read, How To Choose The Best Running Shoes.

 

8.  A Beautiful Gym Bag

Courtesy of @kustomkreations4

You can never go wrong with a gorgeous gym bag.  It will help her carry her workout gear and water bottle to the gym in style.  For an added touch include items such as a personalized towel or water bottle to place inside with an inspiring message.

9.  Asian Bamboo Steamer

This is the perfect gift for those who love to cook.  This steamer is ideal for low-fat meals that can practically cook themselves while maintaining their flavor, vitamins, and nutrients.  Buy her a two-tiered one so that she can throw fish (tilapia, snapper, and salmon) on one level and veggies (bok choy, leek, carrots) on the other.

Click here for The Best Bamboo Steamer And 6 Things You Need To Know About Them.

10.  Tea Kit

Surprise your mom with a gourmet tea kit.  Tea is high in disease-fighting anti-oxidants which can improve her health.  Get her a selection of herbal, white, green and black teas.  Also, try pairing the tea with an electric kettle.  It will bring water to boil faster than the normal teapots and as a bonus for forgetful moms they switch themselves off.

Click here to learn more about the Types of Teas and Their Health Benefits.  Also, for more information on antioxidants, click here to read, Antioxidants – Can They Be Boosted With Chiropractic Care?

Now, I know for many of us Mother’s Day is going to be a lot different then those in the past due to the restrictions of Covid-19. So, here is a video to help insprire you of additional things you can do for your mom to make her feel special!

Mother’s Day Gifts During Quarantine

I hope this list has helped inspire you to give your mom something special that she may not have considered for herself and that will impact her life in a big way.  As an added bonus, click here to subscribe to our weekly newsletter which includes amazing natural health articles and inspiring recipes.

Kale Benefits One And All

kale benefits

Kale, sometimes called ‘the king of greens’, is considered as one of the world’s healthiest foods. It’s packed with various nutrients that support healthy hair, skin, and bones. But kale benefits so much more than just that!

Kale benefits cardiovascular health and enhances digestion as it’s a great source of fiber. Furthermore, this leafy winter vegetable is also packed with:

  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin K
  • Chlorophyll
  • Calcium

How To Love Kale?

Whether you like, love or detest vegetables, I bet there is one or another forms of eating kale that you will enjoy such as:

super food

All Hail Kale!

Put Kale in the ring with spinach and broccoli and you have a good fight! However, if we’re taking bets, I’d put my money on kale for its nutrient density! Not sure where you stand? Check out the top 7 health benefits of kale and let’s see who you decide to cheer on!

Eating Kale Everyday Will Do This To Your Body

Top 7 Health Benefits Of Kale

Kale Contains Vitamin K

Vitamin K1 is known as the coagulation vitamin, since it helps the body’s blood clotting mechanism. Clotting is important because it helps prevent your body from bleeding too much when you are injured.

Also, Kale contains vitamin K2, which is known to activate over 17 proteins. For instance, vitamin K2 activates osteocalcin that is required for bone formation. Therefore, vitamin K improves bone strength

Kale Helps Keep Inflammation At Bay

Although known for its potent source of anti-inflammatory properties, kale also contains a variety of antioxidants which help protect our bodies against cellular damage.

Inflammation is a trigger for diseases and premature aging. However, antioxidants help in counter acting our inevitable daily exposure to oxidative stress.

naturally lower blood pressure

Kale Is Nutrient Dense And Detoxifying

First off, it’s no surprise many people have favored this vegetable as one of the top diseases-fighting food. Afterall, kale protects the heart and lowers blood pressure. In fact, studies have indicated that eating kale can lower cholesterol.

Furthermore, the high values of calcium, potassium, and magnesium in kale also help lower blood pressure as the presence of these chemicals helps counter balance the notorious effects of sodium present in the body which can often lead to high blood pressure.

how to protect your vision

Kale Protects Against Vision Loss

The presence of lutein and zeaxanthin in kale help protect the eye lens and retina. Research also indicates that it also helps in fighting the two common eye diseases; cataracts and macular degeneration.

Additionally, it contains beta-carotene that helps shield the ocular eye tissues from harmful ultraviolet light damage.

improve digestion

Kale Helps With Digestion

This leafy veggie is made from fibrous material. Hence, like other leafy greens, is excellent in aiding digestion. However, if you want to get maximum benefits from kale, it is recommended that you also eat the stems which contain a high quantity of prebiotics.

The stem might be appearing rough when taken raw. However, when sautéed in olive oil, it is delicious and can help you in fighting indigestion in addition to acting as a treat to your health.

how to achieve healthy hair and skin

Kale Helps Maintain Healthy Hair And Skin

Kale is known to be high in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A, which is required by the body. The nutrients available in kale enables all body tissues to grow including the hair and skin. Moreover, it’s also essential for the production of sebum; an oil which keeps the skin moisturized.

Human eyesight, immune, and reproductive functions rely on vitamin A which is present in kale. Cooked kale provides 53.3 milligrams of vitamin C which is required to build and maintain collagen. Collagen is a crucial protein which provides structure for our hair, bones, and skin.

how to cook kale

Kale Can Be Served In A Multitude Of Ways

Kale is a vegetable that you can have a lot of fun with. It can simply be:

  • Chopped up and served in a salad
  • Baked
  • Made into kale chips with the flavor of your choice
  • Steamed
  • Fried
  • Stacked in a sandwich
  • Tossed into soup

Including kale in your diet is one healthy and fun way to stack up on nutrients!

Intermittent Fasting 101

intermittent fasting 101

Welcome to intermittent fasting 101. Here I will explain everything you need to know about intermittent fasting (IF) including health benefits of IF, the different methods/options and how to determine which IF method is best for you.

Not All Diets Are Created Equal

It never fails: I open my laptop in the morning while I sip coffee and check social media. My feed overflows with friends latching on to new, trendy diets.

These diets tend to be challenging to adhere to, and they aren’t meant to last forever. Often, once you stop the diet, the pounds that melted away come right back.

Luckily, not all diets end this way. Allow me to introduce you to “Intermittent Fasting!”

what is intermittent fasting

What Is Intermittent Fasting? 

To understand Intermittent Fasting, you must understand the 2 states your body enters. These are the fed state and fasting state. 

When you think of fasting, you might think of disciplined monks who fast religiously. But everyone enters a fasting state regularly. Fasting can be anywhere from a few hours to days. We usually enter the fasting state a few hours after dinner up until “breakfast” when we break our fast. 

Once we eat, we enter the fed state. In this state, our bodies create insulin, which prompts the storage of glucose in your liver. When glucose is available, it’s used as the primary energy source. Excess glucose is stored in fat cells, which isn’t as simple to burn away. 

When you extend your fasting state, your body turns to the glucose stored away in those fat cells for energy. This way, you burn off stubborn fat rather than just glucose from your meals. 

Intermittent fasting allows a condensed window of time to consume your daily calories. Several methods exist to fit different schedules or time preferences. For example, the 16:8 ratio, or “Leangains Method,” allows an 8-hour window for eating. You fast during the remaining 16 hours. 

But, what sets intermittent fasting apart from other diets?

health benefits of intermittent fasting

Intermittent Fasting 101 – Benefits

Ease of Adherence

Many people who struggle with typical diets find success with intermittent fasting. The methods are customizable and allow for flexibility. It eliminates the drastic calorie restrictions that set many diets up for failure. It doesn’t limit your options or exclude any food items.

It also pairs well with any dietary restrictions or plans you use. If you want to enhance your Keto diet, intermittent fasting is perfect! If you’re paleo, vegan, gluten-free, no problem!

 If you’re not using a specific plan, here are some excellent tips!

How To Maximize Your Fasting Benefits
  1. Determine your goals. Are you looking to lose weight? Gain muscle? Cutting or bulking?
  2. Use a calorie calculator that factors in your goal to find your daily caloric needs.
  3. Calculating your macros can help establish specific nutrition goals. Adjusting your intake of protein, fat, and carbs can boost your results.

Weight Loss & Improved Body Composition

Triggering your body to burn fat cells can be a powerful weight-loss tool. As a bonus, it trims the unwanted weight while maintaining your muscle mass. This makes it popular among casual gym goers and professional athletes alike.

Fasting also promotes the release of the Human Growth Hormone (HGH). This hormone stimulates lean muscle development.

What Really Happens When We Fast?

Potential Health Benefits

Intermittent fasting has shown promising potential for some health conditions. 

People with insulin resistance have a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Studies show that fasting may fight insulin resistance to reduce diabetes risks. If you have insulin resistance or diabetes, consult your doctor before starting a new diet! Since fasting can trigger ketosis, diabetics must be cautious.

It may also promote heart health. Insulin resistance, inflammation, and “bad cholesterol” levels are risk factors for heart diseases. Fasting may reduce these risk factors and keep your ticker ticking.

Plus, fasting nourishes cell health and regeneration. This can lead to anti-aging and longevity benefits!

How To Start Intermittent Fasting 

As I mentioned before, it’s good to start with a clear goal in mind. This goal will help you choose which fasting method to use and how many calories you’ll need. 

It is always best to speak with your doctor before making significant dietary or workout changes. This is especially true if you have medical conditions or take daily medications.

intermittent fasting

Choosing Your Method

Most intermittent fasting routines resemble the Leangains by creating a daily ratio of fasting to fed hours. 

-16:8 (Leangains). This method is great for beginners who need to adjust to fasting. As the name implies, plans like this support lean muscle mass with a healthy rate of fat loss. 

-20:4 (The Warrior Diet). In this method, you spend 20 hours fasting with a 4-hour window for eating. The extended fasting hours boost your fat loss but can be a challenge. 

-One Meal A Day (OMAD). Rather than spreading out meals over a time frame, some prefer to get their calories all at once. Generally, this is paired with a small calorie deficit or by eating only the calories you burn that day. 

5:2 Method. This method goes by days instead of hours. For 2 days of the week (non-consecutive), you only consume 500-600 calories. During the other 5 days, you eat only the calories you burned. 

-24+ hour fasts. These fasts achieve significant results, but they’re not for everyone. The hunger can cause discomfort or foil your weight loss plans if you’re unable to stick with it.

review on intermittent fasting

Intermittent Fasting 101 Recap And Key Points

  1. Be realistic! If you expect crazy, miraculous results, you will sabotage yourself. Losing weight too fast can harm your health. And, if you choose an extreme method, the drastic changes can lead you to give up.
  2. Give it time. Follow your chosen method for at least a month to assess if it is working. Start at a less advanced method, then move to a different method after the month is over if necessary.
  3. Your overall health and nutrition still matter. Changing the time that you eat won’t fix much if you still eat junk, get poor sleep, or don’t exercise.
  4. Safety is the top priority. Communicate with your doctor and stop fasting if you experience any unusual symptoms.

Check out an in-depth guide of intermittent fasting 101 if you need more information!

Food For Thought

food for thought

Here is some food for thought, an honest conversation about food and weight loss.

I Want To Lose Weight, What Should I Eat?

Well, my answer is a question to your question. What do you want to eat? If your answer is pizza, chocolate and McDonald’s, we need to dig a little deeper into why you want to eat those things.

Many people say that they are comfort foods. That they crave them and these foods make them feel good. But do they really make you feel that good?

I’m sure within an hour of eating at McDonald’s, your stomach is cramping and you’re not really sure what’s going on in there. Also depending on how many Reese’s pieces you ate, you may be feeling quite nauseous. Later on, do you think to yourself, “oh man, why did I eat that?” And feel bad about yourself for doing that?

If so, this comfort food isn’t really as comforting as you may think. So, let’s take some time to reframe the way we think about food and the comforts it provides.

comfort foods

Food For Thought

If you are regularly consuming food that you know isn’t good for you, it’s time to consider why you’re eating them. Maybe these foods are being used as a form of self disrespect or self sabotage? Perhaps you have become so addicted to the foods that you thought of as comfort food that you can’t seem to walk away from them now? You desperately want to stop wanting them, but their chemicalized mixture is meant to keep drawing you back in.

Click here to read, Finally Quit Your Sugar Addiction With These Top Tips.

What’s Your Relationship with Food?

Transform The Way You Think About Food

A major issue with food is that many of us have grown up in a society of abundant food sources. Where we can go to the grocery store and choose any item we’d like!! Then we bring it home and use food as a way of celebrating with family and friends. It’s also a way to pass the time if we are bored. Furthermore, it can be used to keep us company if we are lonely and even to distract us from the stressful times in our lives.

Because of all of these roles that food has taken on, it’s almost as though food has become a friend. However, it’s important to note that just like in life, we must choose our friends wisely.

Begin by looking at food in two ways:
  1. As a friend
  2. As fuel for your body
what is your relationship with food

Food – Friend Or Foe?

Food can be looked at as a friend ONLY if you think of it as though you are choosing the best friends possible to have close to you in your life.

Therefore we cut out McDonald’s because she has such a toxic personality! We cut out pizza because he’s a gossip. Furthermore, we cut out chips, chocolate and candy because they have a bad attitude. We also cut out ice cream because she never could keep a secret.

So if you’re keeping only the best possible ‘friends’ (food) in your life, make sure you include abundant amounts of:

If you choose to eat meat products, make sure they are:

  • Free range
  • Grass fed
  • Wild caught
  • Antibiotic free

In addition to making sure to include as many organic options as you can.

Click here to read, Do I Always Need To Buy Organic?

fuel for your body

Fuel Your Body Right

Secondly, you can decide that food only has one purpose: to fuel your body. Food is only fuel. That’s it. We only NEED food for its nutrients, vitamins and minerals. You can begin to stop relating food with comfort, loneliness, boredom and celebration. Rather, appreciate it for what it is ~ the fuel your body needs to survive!

Sugar Sugar – Cool Math Games Review

sugar cool math

Sugar Sugar – Cool Math Games Review

The age old saying, “it’s takes a village to raise a child” could not ring more true then it does today. With so many of us forced to stay home due to mandatory social distancing, we are relying on others and technology more than ever, to keep us connected.

Today, I find myself in the same boat as millions of other families.  Struggling to work from home while trying to find new ways to help my children (ages 9 & 7) grow mentally, physically and emotionally through engaging education. Although our education system is doing their best to provide educational means online, I still find their resources fall flat in regards to stimulating aspects such as:

  • Imagination
  • Logic
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity

While expressing some of my concerns to a friend, she asked me if I had tried the site coolmathgames.com.  She said it was a game changer for her two boys and furthermore it was free! She definitely got my attention with that so I jumped online and went to see what it was all about.

Games Galore

The first thing that jumped out to me was all the categories they offered such as:

  • Strategy
  • Skill
  • Numbers
  • Logic
  • Trivia

They also had other categories including one called ‘More’ which included topics such as memory, geography and science. As such, I immediately thought this was the answer I was searching for!

Each category had quite literally hundreds of games to choose from. Sorted in such a way that you could easily find a game that would suit your child’s interest. For example, when I clicked on strategy, I could select games under topics such as:

  • New strategy games
  • Popular strategy games
  • Business games
  • Tower defense games
  • Endless puzzles
  • Match 3 games
  • Construction games
  • Figure it out

So after exploring the site quickly for myself, I decided it was time to test it out on my children. I began by asking them the obvious question, “who wants to try out some new games on my computer?”.  Note to parents, this is NOT the best way to do it.  A small fight ensued as to who would play first, followed by some tears, but FINALLY through compromise, they were ready to play.

Let The Games Begin!

The game they both decided to try first was called Sugar, Sugar. The game seemed simple enough.  Sugar would fall from above and you were to draw a line to help guide the sugar into the mug. Without dating myself, it reminded me a lot of a game called Lemmings that I used to play at their age.

The first level was pretty straight forward and they were able to pass during their first try however the levels become increasingly harder moving forward. At only level two I had to assist them by asking questions like, “what would happen if you drew the line half way down the page rather then right from the top?” as this level had two mugs at opposite side of the page which needed to get filled.

After about ten minutes they had enough, and started playing around with more familiar games such as:

  • Connect 4
  • Checkers
  • Snake
  • X’s & O’s

That probably lasted another ten minutes and then they were done. That said I must confess I found myself sneaking back on and continued to play Sugar, Sugar myself as I found it to be fun and challenging.

Final Review

Although this site had great categories and literally hundreds of games to choose from, I would give it a thumbs down for a few reasons.

Firstly, I found the games rather difficult especially for my 7 year old son. There didn’t seem to be a gradual increase of difficulty between levels but rather an abrupt jump. Secondly, I didn’t like how you weren’t able to select your child’s grade level to help find games specific to their skills and needs.

Lastly, I found the graphics and animation to be disappointing. The graphics appeared reminiscent to what you would expect from our old gaming consoles like NINTENDO or Sega.

Therefore, for those reasons I found this site feel flat especially compared to so many other great websites out there.

For further reading and exceptional resources for all ages, click here to read, Activities For Toddlers In Quarantine. You may also enjoy, Supporting Healthy Brain Development In Children and A Natural Approach To Hyperactivity & Focus In Kids.

What Is Arrowroot? Nutrition, Benefits And Uses

what is arrowroot

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about some health issues I was having. After my quick rant they asked me if I had tried arrowroot. “Arrowroot??” I said.  “What is arrowroot?”

Here is what I found out and why I believe it should become a household staple!

what is arrowroot

What Is Arrowroot?

The Arrowroot plant іѕ nаtіvе tо Cеntrаl аnd Sоuth Amеrіса аnd thе Caribbean.  However, it саn аlѕо bе fоund in other tropical regions of the wоrld ѕuсh аѕ Southeast Asia, South Afrіса, Auѕtrаlіа, аnd іn Flоrіdа.

Thе arrowroot рlаnt can grow as tall аѕ six fееt and can be used in a variety of forms.  As a powder іt is:

  • Odorless
  • Glutеn-frее
  • Lоw-рrоtеіn
  • Whіtе coloured starch

Thе herb іѕ еxtrасtеd from thе flеѕhу roots (rhіzоmеѕ) оf the arrowroot рlаnt.  This is done through a соmрlеx process оf wаѕhіng, рееlіng, soaking, then drуіng in thе sun.  Thе rеѕult is a fine, white powder wіth the ѕаmе tеxturе аnd арреаrаnсе аѕ соrnѕtаrсh.

how to use arrowroot powder

What Is Arrowroot Powder Used For?

Arrоwrооt іѕ рrіmаrіlу uѕеd for іtѕ soothing bеnеfіt and its effect іn dеаlіng with diarrhea as it rеlіеvеѕ:

  • Excessive асіdіtу
  • Nausea
  • Indіgеѕtіоn
  • Cоlіс

In addition to a a mіld lаxаtіvе. Furthermore it can be used tо trеаt аthlеtе’ѕ foot. Nоt bесаuѕе іt is antifungal but bесаuѕе thе starchy роwdеr rеmоvеѕ moisture whеn ѕрrіnklеd іn ѕосkѕ.

Arrowroot соntаіnѕ саlсіum, саrbоhуdrаtеѕ, аnd оthеr nutrіеntѕ and іѕ еаѕіlу digested. Therefore it’s a great source оf nutrіtіоn fоr іnfаntѕ, реорlе rесоvеrіng frоm іllnеѕѕеѕ (еѕресіаllу those оf thе bоwеl), аnd those оn restricted dіеtѕ.

Thе herb іѕ considered by some tо bе еаѕіеr оn the stomach thаn other fоrmѕ of ѕtаrсh. Thоugh mоrе еxреnѕіvе than соrnѕtаrсh, аrrоwrооt іѕ also used іn thе kitchen to thicken soups, ѕаuсеѕ, оr соnfесtіоnѕ.  Vegetarians uѕе іt іnѕtеаd оf еggѕ іn breads аnd deserts.

Everyday Magical Things ~ Arrowroot

How Arrоwrооt Powder Imрrоvеѕ Hеаlth

Thе hеаlth bеnеfіtѕ оf аrrоwrооt flour vаrу wіdеlу.  When соnѕumеd, it contributes tо a healthy dіgеѕtіvе system, аѕ thе ѕtаrсh wоrkѕ аѕ a laxative.  Also, dосtоrѕ оftеn rесоmmеnd arrowroot fоr реорlе who are nаuѕеаѕ or vоmіtіng, аѕ іt іѕ natural and рrоvеn tо reduce nаuѕеа. It іѕ also high іn саlсіum аѕh, whісh assists wіth stabilizing the acid levels іn thе bоdу, mаіntаіnіng a healthy іmmunе ѕуѕtеm.

weight managment

Weight Management Miracle

Mаnу people utilize аrrоwrооt flоur as a wеіght-lоѕѕ ѕubѕtаnсе. Mainly because the роwdеr thickens mеаlѕ when incorporated, but also because it hаѕ a vеrу low fаt content аnd nеxt tо nо саlоrіеѕ.  Bу adding the роwdеr іn during сооkіng, it еxраndѕ the аmоunt of food, without multірlуіng thе саlоrіеѕ.

Click here for a vanilla pudding cake recipe using arrowroot!

potassium health benefits

Power of Potassium

The arrowroot plant also contains potassium.  Pоtаѕѕіum works tо соntrоl thе heart rate and ѕtаbіlіzе blood рrеѕѕurе.  Heart and blood-related problems саn lead tо a plethora of ѕеrіоuѕ оf dіѕеаѕеѕ. Thus, so mаnу people choose tо іnсоrроrаtе аrrоwrооt іntо their diets tо avoid thіѕ.

Arrowroot is аlѕо a mаіn іngrеdіеnt іn bаbу роwdеrѕ, bесаuѕе оf іtѕ ѕmооth аnd ѕооthіng рrореrtіеѕ.  It іѕ bеnеfісіаl in аnу ѕkіn роwdеr оr lotion, as іt calms irritation аnd assists with the healing оf аnу rаѕhеѕ оr impurities.

precautions of arrowroot

Arrowroot In Summanry AND Precautions

  1. Arrowroot hаѕ аntі-іnflаmmаtоrу and antiseptic рrореrtіеѕ аnd may be аррlіеd as аn оіntmеnt оr роultісе.
  2. Arrоwrооt роwdеr, which is bаѕісаllу flavorless, іѕ оftеn mіxеd with juice оr оthеr bеvеrаgеѕ bеfоrе ingestion. However, be саrеful tо mіx аrrоwrооt wіth соld water first bеfоrе putting in аnуthіng hоt оr it wіll bе сlumру lіkе ѕmаll dumрlіngѕ.

Arrоwrооt should bе uѕеd wіth саutіоn fоr сhіldrеn, wоmеn who are рrеgnаnt оr brеаѕt-fееdіng, and people wіth liver оr kіdnеу disease.  There аrе no ѕіgnіfісаnt ѕіdе еffесtѕ whеn uѕеd іn thе recommended dоѕаgе and is nоt known to interact аdvеrѕеlу with any drug or dіеtаrу ѕuррlеmеnt.

Tо аvоіd соnѕtіраtіоn, соnѕumеrѕ should nоt tаkе аrrоwrооt wіth other medications оr dіеtаrу supplements uѕеd tо аllеvіаtе dіаrrhеа. It hаѕ bееn ѕuссеѕѕfullу соmbіnеd wіth mіlk, lеmоn аnd оthеr fruit juісеѕ, оr ѕugаrѕ wіthоut apparent hаrm.

There аrе mаnу ways уоu саn enjoy thе benefits of аrrоwrооt. Thе important thіng is tо mаkе sure thе form іn whісh уоu соnѕumе it will gіvе уоu all thе benefits іt offers.