Sunday, December 21, 2014

BIOTIN FOR GRAY HAIR

This is my first post since September. Its not that I haven't had anything to write about, my energies just went in other directions. But I couldn't close out this year without saying a few, hopefully helpful, words. 
Grapefruit seed extract was discussed in a previous post as a possible new way for me to "ward off" an out break of shingles. I had been experiencing for many years the form of shingles with no rash and believe me, it does exist. Please check my post on the subject. Well, it has been a dose of 15 drops in a 1/4 cup of water, once daily for many months now and I am very happy to report again, not one incident of shingles even trying to occur! I still take a 500 mg cap of l-lysine every day but am quite convinced it is the grapefruit seed extract that is doing the job. 
This has done so much for my well being. Anyone experiencing shingles, with or without the rash, knows it can make you feel awful before, during and after an episode. It was particularly scary to me when my head, face and eyes were the painful path the virus had started to take in my body. The information I have read on grapefruit seed extract says it kills numerous bacteria and viruses. So I am wondering, without a way to really know, if it possibly killed the herpes/shingles virus in my system (even though it is supposed to remain in your body forever). Maybe in 2015, I will make a brave attempt to find out by discontinuing the extract for a couple days or week and see what happens. But right now, I am too happy not dealing with that awful virus and its debilitating effects!
The next thing worth noting is the B vitamin biotin Country Life - Biotin, 1000 mcg and its effect on gray hair. Now reversing my gray is something I did not set out to do but have been quite amazed with my findings after taking this supplement for about a year now. My hair started to gray while I was in my 20's and by my 40's it was about 1/2 of my hair growth. Not quite ready to go gray, the use of semi-permanent hair color was my choice. In my 50's I was happy to find products produced more naturally by a few companies and the one I have been using for a long time is Herbatint Hair Color . In my 60's so much of my hair was gray/white that my decision was to go lighter and lighter with the hair coloring product so new growth blended in better. Then, about 2 months ago, I noticed new hair coming in dark! As my hair grows it is even more noticeable. The only thing I could attribute this to was my taking biotin for over a year. My initial reason for its use was to keep my hair healthy and from thinning. When I noticed the dark growth and researched it a little more, I found biotin is noted to keep hair from graying. Initially, I was taking just 1mg (1000mcg) per day but during the last month started taking 1 mg 2x per day. It is important to not take too much and avoid adverse effects. I will post again on this subject after a few more months go by.
So often, conditions we experience in our bodies are linked to genetics and stress. While I won't negate those factors as causes, I really believe many of our physical disorders result from the lack of specific vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc. I have shared 2 products being taken for different reasons and now have surprisingly found they help with something else! As you can see a long length of time led to the positive results. We need to be patient with our bodies healing, repairing and maintaining good health. 
I will be posting again in the new year. Have a wonderful holiday filled with joy and good health.

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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.


© 2014
    

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

EATING ORGANIC, EASIER THAN YOU THINK
My last post covered the importance of eating healthier, avoiding refined/processed foods while consuming more whole grains, nuts/seeds fruits and vegetables. Choosing organic products for all or most of what you eat is another important factor in not only being healthier but feeling better!
An organ in your body that will truly appreciate organic foods and products is your liver. Weighing about 4 lbs. it is the largest gland in your body and the only one capable of regenerating itself if partly damaged. Among its many functions is detoxifying the body of harmful substances including insecticide and chemical fertilizer residues, drugs, alcohol and other harmful chemicals. We are subject daily to numerous toxins in foods we eat/drink, drugs taken, alcohol, products for skin/hair, household cleaners, the air we breathe and the water we drink. Our liver works hard to remove the toxins we may have in our body from all those sources so it makes good sense to try and eliminate whatever harmful substances we can to reduce the stress on it. 
If you are taking medications, especially on a daily basis, and/or enjoying an alcoholic beverage try to lessen the amount of toxins in the food you eat.
Although I am not taking any medication or drinking alcohol, i started changing over to as many organic products as possible when I made the switch to a healthier way of eating. It just makes good sense.
Eliminating refined flour, sugar and rice/grains is a good start because of the chemicals and processing used to obtain those results. When you purchase the organic brand of a product that may have more than one ingredient, everything listed is organic. So even if you didn't make it from scratch, you are still eating something much better for you. There won't be any residues from chemical pesticides and/or fertilizers and chemical preservatives, artificial colorings, seasonings, sweeteners, etc. are also eliminated.
When shopping for fresh, frozen or canned produce, purchase as many organically grown as possible. Buying seasonal produce helps keep the cost down. Sometimes you may need a fruit or vegetable and the organic alternative isn't available. It isn't a big problem if most of what fills your grocery cart is organic. A good information source to become familiar with is the yearly published, "dirty dozen" of fruits and vegetables. Produce from the previous year is analyzed to determine the amounts of pesticide and chemical fertilizer residues found and which are at the top of the list to avoid. This year's list includes: apples, strawberries/blueberries, peaches, grapes, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet bell peppers, hot peppers, lettuce/spinach, kale, and potatoes.
I always purchase organic dairy and eggs. The cows and chickens are fed organic grains and grass and are also free of hormones and antibiotics. The same is true when eating organic poultry and beef. A good quote I once heard, "you are what you eat, eats" really helps put in perspective the importance of knowing the source of your food, how it was grown/raised and what happens to it before it gets to your mouth. When purchasing fish I make sure it is wild caught, preferably from the North Atlantic, vs. farm raised. Fish that are farm raised, aren't in the best environment before becoming food. There are some exceptions and this depends on the country/area where they are raised. You need to do your homework on this one. I do purchase canned tuna that we eat 3 or 4 times a month and try to always get Wild Planet Sustainably Caught Wild Albacore Tuna. Not only is it better for you, but also so delicious! It is pricy, so look for sales to pick up a few cans.
I buy organic olive oil to use as a finishing touch on salads, dips, etc. and cook with regular, cold pressed olive oil. Condiments, canned beans, pasta, maple syrup, nut butters, jams, flours, most herbs/spices, coffee and tea are all organic in our kitchen. The skin and hair care products I use have natural ingredients and many are organically based. All my household cleaning and laundry products are natural, phosphate free, biodegradable and without harmful chemicals except for the occasional cleanser or floor stripper. 
Often times I will hear someone say that it is too expensive to shop and eat organic. That might have been true 10 years ago. But today, stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have competitive prices and very reasonable organic store brands too. Many of the large food chains are offering more and more organic products at affordable prices. It will take a little time to learn where to shop in your area to get the best prices, but it will be well worth the effort. When eating more nutritious, good quality food, the difference in taste will be obvious and your body will be processing less toxins. Choosing healthy, organic products is choosing a healthy way to live.

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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.


© 2014
 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

EATING HEALTHY, MAKING THE SWITCH 

Many people think that eating healthy is daunting and difficult to do. But by 
making small, gradual changes, the transformation will happen quite easily.I found this out during the 1990's while working at Whole Foods and was introduced to a new way of shopping, cooking and eating. 
The very first thing I learned was not to use white flour, sugar and rice. While I do still use white flour in baking certain things, it is organic/unbleached and the recipe wouldn't work well without it. All bread products my family consumes are whole wheat, whole grain or mostly made with them. The rice we cook is organic brown, our sugar minimally processed and organic. In another post, I will cover the importance of consuming as many organic products as possible. The problem with typical "refined" flour is the process used, as it literally strips away any nutritional value. If there is no nutritional value in the products made from this flour, why eat them? You are consuming empty calories. Refined white rice and sugar are also guilty of this kind of processing. My favorite contradiction is fortified foods. After all the nutrients are stripped away during the refining process, then the product is fortified with synthetic vitamins and minerals!
Whole grains also score better on the glycemic index; how much glucose appears in the blood after eating a carbohydrate containing food. The nutrients in whole grains are slowly processed by your body and provide a steady flow of energy instead of a spike in glucose and then a quick drop as provided with empty calorie, junk food. The fiber in whole grains, brown rice, etc. is also good for digestion and promoting regularity. 
I was pleasantly surprised that after only a few months of just this simple, initial change to my diet, I no longer craved junk food or sweets as before. A piece of dark chocolate (the darker it is, the better for you), a small scone or piece of uniced cake with berries became more than enough to satisfy my desire for a dessert. Gone are the days of eating Twinkies, Ding Dongs, etc.! While I still may like a potato chip once in a while, my "go to" crunchy snacks are mostly; nuts, seeds, popcorn and multi grain chips/pretzels. The sugar highs and lows along with empty calories, is not a good way to eat.
Buying less processed foods and making more meals from scratch was the next part of the transformation process. Simple, healthy meals needn't take that much time to prepare either. When time does allow, making soups, chile, salads or casseroles with organic ingredients is a favorite way of mine to have prepared foods last for a few meals. But an easy and satisfying dinner is as simple as roasting chicken, potatoes and carrots together. On some days, a meal will be a saute of vegetables and tofu over rice or ramen noodles. Another time it is just the vegetables over pasta. We have eliminated red meat but may occasionally have ham or pork on our mostly fish, poultry and tofu menu. This year, I started cooking fish or chicken tenders with vegetables in a parchment paper sack and it is a great way to prepare a meal! You can find good recipes on line. I eat eggs but my husband doesn't. I love them simply poached, scrambled and/or mixed with sauteed veggies. Organic dairy products are also small parts of my meals. Fresh, organic vegetables and fruit fill most of the cart when I shop.
Very little processed food is ever on my grocery list anymore. But when I do purchase any, there have to be as few ingredients as possible and all pronounceable. A good rule to follow is, if you can't pronounce the ingredient, you shouldn't be eating it. All my shopping is done at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. If you want to purchase anything processed and not be concerned about artificial preservatives, additives, fructose, hydrogenated oils, etc., then Whole Foods is the store of choice. None of their products contain any of those. Trader Joe's is my first stop when I am shopping and most of their products are also free of what I listed, but you still have to read labels on some items. Whole Foods has a bulk food section and this is a good and economical way to try new grains, flours, nuts, etc. without buying an entire package of the product.
An occasional soda may find its way into our house, but only if it is made with real, natural ingredients. The same goes for juice and I purchase 100% pure, organic, not from concentrate, orange, apple, cherry, etc. The coffee I drink is organic as are most of the teas that fill our cabinet. Also lining the shelf are spices and seasonings which are a must for every kitchen. The health benefits from them are numerous while adding great flavors to the foods you prepare. A quick example is cinnamon. This wonderful spice helps regulate blood sugar and a piece of an organic cinnamon stick tastes so good in a cup of coffee. "The Prescription for Nutritional Healing" has a section listing herbs and their uses. Another good reference is The Herb and Spice Companion by Marcus A. Webb and Richard Craze.
Nut butters are another tasty way to get protein, healthy oils, vitamins and minerals.There are numerous kinds to choose from but the best for you are the raw, unsalted, no added sugar, organic varieties. It is eating the nuts in their purest form, only ground into a spreadable consistency and so delicious on bread, crackers, fruit or a spoonful right from the jar.
The right kinds of oils used for cooking, baking and on salads is another very important addition in your transition to healthy eating. The aim is not to eliminate fats completely from your diet because they are essential to the body, providing energy and supporting growth. But for an adult, only one third of your daily calories should come from fat. That third should then be broken down into thirds; saturated (animal products/dairy), polyunsaturated (corn/fish oil), monounsaturated (olive oil). Any trans-fatty acids should be avoided as they are formed when polyunsaturated oils are hydrogenated to harden the liquid vegetable oils into margarine and shortening. Many processed foods are now free of trans fats since the FDA, in 2006, required its listing on all products. The "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" has a concise section with all this important information.
The goal of eating healthy isn't really a diet, it is in fact a lifestyle. By eating natural, nutritious foods as much as possible, you are giving your body valuable nutrients for energy and cell repair. Eating healthy most of the time from foods I have purchased and prepared allows me to not feel guilty about eating an occasional meal out. You will feel the difference when you make the switch and your body will thank you too.

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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.


© 2014
 
 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

HEALTHY ME NATURALLY IS BACK

As of yesterday, my blog is up and running again. It was down for a few days because of a technical problem. I will be posting again soon with information on the why and how of transforming your diet with natural, healthy foods.
Have a wonderful day,
Georgann