Monday, May 24, 2010

Cloves and Pain...

This past week I called my sister Aubrey to check to see how she was doing. She had STREP!

Here's a little background about my relationship with strep. It was a long and intimate relationship. It lasted weeks, then months. I knew He wasn't good for me but I was vulnerable and tired. Each time we connected I was left emotionally and physically drained. We just weren't good for each other. I tried and tried to get Strep to understand. After breaking up and getting back together 3-4 times Strep started stalking me. No matter what I'd do or where I'd go there he was. I vowed that this ridiculous obsession had to end. I made a painful decision that I don't regret but don't wish on anyone else. I had to rid myself of my feature that continually attracted Strep. I HAD TO GET A TONSILLECTOMY!!!! AT 25. During our time together I explored so many options to dull the pain and here is one that I shared with my sister and will now share with you....

We all know that there are pain relievers but this is a safe, effective one that I used PLENTY of times. (It's also effective for toothaches and canker sores and sore gums)

Clove gargle
2 T. whole cloves
1 c. water
Simmer cloves for 5-10 min. Rest until cool. Gargle AND swallow. This can be done as often as is necessary.

Why?? Clove is a mild topical anesthetic (dulls pain), antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-microbial against fungi and bacteria, relieves nausea, and stimulates the digestive system. it's also used to rid the body of intestinal worms and helps to de-congest.

I have used this and now my sister has. She sent me a text (because she couldn't talk) that read, "Wow, thank you! That's better for the pain than the vicodin!"

Aubs, I hope you're feeling better and am glad I could help.

I am sharing these remedies so that when you are in pain or sick you can reach into a file in your brain and remember what the remedies are, how to use them and in the meantime be safe and frugal.

Quote of the day: Little minds talk about people, Average minds talk about events, and GREAT minds talk about ideas.

Assignment: Say what needs to be said, do what needs to be done!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let's talk tofu...

Tofu inspires many reactions from lip smackin' to the furrowed brow and frown. "What is it?" "Why eat it?" and "What do I do with it?" are all common questions I get all of the time. I have to admit that I am a real tofu fan. Tastes like chicken!!

Firstly, what is tofu. Traditionally, tofu is fermented soy beans. Ew, fermentation! Yes! The wonderful benefits and power of fermentation (soy sauce, tamari, pickles, sauerkraut, sourdough, yogurt, etc) will be discussed later. Back to tofu. There are 2 common types of tofu I am going to talk to you about. Firm and Silken. Tofu is a wonderful meat substitute and takes on the flavors it is cooked with.

Before I begin I want to say that I AM BEING VERY BASIC HERE! This is like telling a person 1 way to cook chicken. You can do sooooooo much but we've got to start somewhere.

Firm tofu is, generally, sold in a block surrounded by water. The best way that I have found to prepare it is...1) Always FREEZE it. 2)Thaw it. 3) squeeze the block to get rid of the water. 4)wrap in a towel, place on a plate and place a weight on it for a minimum of 1/2 hour (can be done ahead of time and placed in the fridge). 5) marinate and COOK!

Here is a yummy recipe from Deborah Madison.

Sesame-Ginger Marinade
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
4 t. finely chopped Ginger
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 T dark sesame oil
2 T. sesame oil
4 t. brown sugar (can replace with another sweetener)
3 T. soy sauce

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then pour over drained, sliced tofu. GENTLY stir until all tofu is covered. Refrigerate until ready to use. Grill (shish-kabab) or broil, using extra marinade as a sauce. Serve over rice.

Okay now for silken tofu. I love to use it in DESSERTS!!! I LOVE a good tofu mousse.

Here's a recipe inspired by Tosca Reno with my adjustments...

Tofu Chocolate Mousse
3/4 c. dark chocolate chips
12 oz. silken tofu at room temp. drained
1/2 c. warmed almond, rice or soy milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. almond extract (optional)

In the microwave SLOWLY in the microwave (or double broiler). Stir until uniformly smooth.

In food processor combine tofu, chocolate, warmed milk and extracts. Serve chilled. YUM.

A little tip about tofu is....TRY TO BUY IT ORGANIC. There is a lot of controversy over the genetically modified crap and what it does to your hormones. Let me know what you think of the recipes and if you have questions.

Quote of the day: "Worryin' is like rockin' in a a rocking gives you something to do...but doesn't get you anywhere." (Ziggy and Tom Wilson)

Assignment: Don't be afraid to try something new. Embrace life. Expect to fail and celebrate success. Life's about learning and trying new stuff.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Appreciate your Body...

I have read this before and LOVE it.

Your body is divine...
With 206 sturdy bones
more than 650 dynamic muscles
12 perfectly synchronized organ systems
and over 10,000,000,000,000 life-giving human cells.

Your body is Miraculous...
by Melanie Douglass
Every day your heart beats over 103, 000 times
your respiratory system powers 25,920 breaths,
your body produces a consistent 98.6 degrees of heat,
and your body produces almost 200 billion new blood cells each day.

And that's just the beginning...
Every day your mind, body and spirit work together to give you the fortitude to fulfil family, church work, and community obligations. You take good care of everyone else;it's time to take care of you...

Today's goal: Take a walk for 10 minutes and give yourself a healthy snack...your body is the most important instrument.

Today's quote: "Every human being is the author of his own health or disease" Buddha

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I just saw on DR. OZ that he recommends and uses garlic oil for ear aches/infections... Also, on the news there has been ANOTHER scare on over the counter cold and cough medications. Using safe and natural remedies are less-expensive, just as effective and SAFE. I'll be sending more out in the future...It's time to be your own health advocate and to empower yourself with knowledge.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spare Tire

Okay, okay. I am going to share the secret of losing belly fat. Are you ready??? REDUCE YOUR STRESS!!!

I was talking to a girlfriend the other day and she, somewhat enthusiastically, proclaimed that she thrived on stress. Her life is stressful and she likes it that way. How many of us fill, to the rim, our life's cup that one misplaced drop (sick kid, cancelled appointment, lost car keys) can send our day into a turbulent rage of chaos. The things we fill our days with aren't necessarily bad things. There can be too much of a good thing too. Some are necessary and some are optional fun things that become less fun when we're stressed about them.

Unfortunately, stress is addictive. Stress releases hormones and adrenaline. We feel like if we aren't stressed we aren't striving for success or excellence. How many of us feel that if our day is not jam packed and full that the little voice of guilt flares up or we are left alone with our thoughts and feelings or boredome. We begin to feel restless, nervous, lazy. Ironically, we tell ourselves how much we'd like for things to slow down and that we hate being so busy. What's the truth??? The truth is we are addicts.

Remember the after school specials or interviews with addicts?? They didn't want to be tied to their substances or behaviors but their actions and beliefs spoke differently. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we're fine and functioning well. That's like giving kudos to the "functioning" or "nice" alcoholic. Stress does more harm than we think...I am talking more of chronic stress than acute. (Acute stress being that you lost your wallet only to find it 10 min later and the stress is relieved.)

Belly fat. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol that allows the body to store fat in the mid section. The only way to get rid of it is to chill!! Our amazing bodies sense stress and start to store reserves "in case of emergency" to live off of if the time comes. stress also increases appetite and decreases digestion and assymilation. Bad Combo. But that's not the worst of it.

Charlotte Eliopoulos PhD., RN, MPH, ND says, "Chronic stress is believed to be a major culprit in the development of stress related diseases." Here's just a SMALL list of the effects of stress:
Belly fat
Reduced interest in sex
High Blood Pressure
Poor Concentration
heart disease
hair loss
Weak immune system
Note to the skinny minnies: Just because someone is skinny does not mean immune. Stress can just be silently causing issue...

Man, what a downer!!! Enough of that stuff. Let's learn to reduce it. My favorite is to start having FUN. Learn to play a kid (I'm not talking a warrior round of chess). Color, jump on the tramp, build a fort, ride a bike for pleasure, have a game night, watch a comedy. When was the last time you had a good "my side hurts and I'm about to pee my pants" laugh.

Today's assignment is to do something just for the joy of doing it. No strings attached, no stress. Just a wonderfully inspiring happy thing. Sunbathe your face for 10 min. or plant a flower or watch the sun set or dance to your favorite CD or, or, or...

Quote of the day "Don't tell other people your problems. Eighty percent don't care and the other twenty are kind of glad it happened to you. Some days your the bug, and some days the windshield." We all have troubles but not all of us have good perspective. Have a great day.

PS...My husband, in support of Cinco De Mayo (and my Mexican heritage), is picking our sons up from school in a poncho and sun hat...He never ceases to make me laugh!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cures from your Cupboard

I am going to be teaching a class on this in the near future. You'd be surprised to find that there are MANY items found in our kitchen cupboards that pull double duty when it comes to our health. Our society has taken to going to the doctors office at the first sight of a runny nose or slight cough. I want to make it clear that having a good doctor is a valuable tool to have but not always necessary.

This past week my youngest son started to get an ear infection and a dry cough. I had several people ask me what the doctor said. I thought to myself, "How should I know...I didn't ask him!" I have 2 great home remedies that haven't failed me yet. I don't have to pay a co-pay or deal with the medication and it's side effects.

The first recipe is for Ear infections. I gave this to a mother at school (I was being nosy and overheard her predicament) and she looked at me like I was a loon, smiled, thanked me and walked away. I felt like a nerd!!! The next day she came up to me with her daughter and said," this is the lady who helped fix your ear, say thank you." I was so happy I could help. So here goes.

Garlic oil
6 cloves FRESH garlic (meaning not canned, powdered, etc)
olive oil (or other veg oil)

Crush cloves and place in jar. Heat oil. Pour over garlic and let steep and cool. That's it! Place a few drops in each ear, place a cotton ball in and tape it up. The pain generally decreases within a 1/2 hour and the infection within 1-2 days. (Keep ears covered and dry for 3 just to be safe). Use often...the more the merrier...

Remember: When treating an ear infection ALWAYS treat both ears. To help the healing take a nice massage oil and massage the lymph glands along the side of the neck. That will help drain the infection.

BEST cough medicine I have found (that doesn't have a freaky list of side effects or expensive) is Thyme. Yes, you read that right. Thyme, the stuff you add to spaghetti sauce is GREAT for coughs. Before I go further I want to address something that I get asked all the time.

1)Do herbs really help and why don't I see results with them?
Answer: Most people use herbs in a very light, watered down way like herbal teas and a capsule here and there. That's like licking an aspirin when you have a headache. Not gonna do a lot of good to an acute symptom. The following recipe will be a "decoction". This means its going to be strong and effective...Buckle up...

Thyme Cough syrup
6 T crushed dried thyme
2 c. water.
Simmer low about 15 min. Let it cool slightly. At this point you may want to add a sweetener (stevia, agave, honey) or not. Take an ounce or two at a time. I usually double the batch. Remember that this is going to be watery and not syrupy...If you want syrupy you can experiment with adding a small amount of pectin.
Depending on who I am making it for or specific symptoms I'll add a few other things. This is a short list...feel free to explore:
Valerian for sleep, pain, restlessness and headaches.

licorice root for children's tonic and a natural sweetener. Aids in congestion, sore throat & cough.

Catnip mild sedative, fever reducer, pain reliever.

Echinacea to boost immune system. Best used in a cycle...5 days on, 2 days off to keeps it's effectiveness.

For mother's out there these are all considered very safe and effective. As ALWAYS trust your instincts and don't let fear guide your decision making. Avoiding anti-biotics (as much as we can) will help our bodies maintain their natural flora balance(essential for long term health) and avoid unnecessary side effects (constipation, headaches, yeast infections, diarrhea, etc.) I am happy to report that my son is back at school, healthy and mischievous as ever.

***note: These are suggestions. Every person is encouraged to educate themselves and listen to their intuition. Most of the time our bodies will heal on their own with just a little nudge. Other times it's great to have a good doctor in the wings.

He who takes medicine and neglects the diet wastes the skills of his doctor~Chinese Proverb