Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Food For Thought

If you are eating well you shouldn't feel tired.

Salt tends to over-stimulate the adrenal glands, whereas sugar tends to over-stimulate the pancreas.

If you are experiencing headaches, cold sweats, or get cold just after eating, your body is giving strong signals that you are out of whack. 

Coffee stimulates the endocrine/nervous system as a whole. It can over-stimulate our nervous system. If you are experiencing sharp spikes of energy with subsequent 'crashes' you may want to look at caffeine as a culprit. Carbohydrates can be another hidden simulator with a similar spike and crash pattern.

Using stimulants to kick an under-nourished body is rather like beating a tired horse. If your body is not looking or acting the way you would like, be prepared to make the necessary changes.

Food should energize through nutrition, not stimulation
I remember reading an article about a young man who traveled across the United States for employment and used only hot sauce to keep him awake, rather than coffee.  He arrived in New York State feeling alert and energized.

Being out of the spiral of stimulating foods means that I can trust my body to nudge me towards what it really needs. 

There are certain foods that just make me feel better. My body loves carrots, spinach, dandelion, kale and beets. These are my own personal super foods. I crave them. Sometimes I want meat. I tend to use the 24 hour delay button here and see if I can make my body happy by supplementing protein and Floradix iron or having a meal with beets. If that does not satisfy, then a meat meal it is.

Foods I would avoid:

Junk foods/Prefab foods/Franken-foods, refined foods, Sugar/Salt laden foods, Canned foods/Frozen Foods, Toxic Fats/Deep Fried Foods, De-vitalized foods, Moldy foods such as mushrooms, peanuts and pistachios, simple carbohydrates and Carbonated drinks.

Eating Lower on the Food Chain
The higher up on the food-chain that we consume, the more accumulated toxins the food contains. 
Eating lower on the food chain not only means cleaner food, but can also mean less expensive food. 
(Diet for a Small Planet)

Another name for diet is ‘food style’. One ‘food style’, known as ‘food combining’ which is outlined in the
The Fit for Life Diet. ( advises eating proteins and carbohydrates at separate meals.  This really takes the stress off the whole digestive engine).  

The Blood Type Diet is a wonderfully researched thesis that focuses on the genetic/antibody link to foods.  For example, Type O is typically the meat eating, hunter/gatherer, whereas Type A is Agrarian.  Type A’s usually do well with a vegetarian diet.

We are hardwired for Feast and FamineYou can’t fool the body.  If you have a ‘starvation and boom and bust’ kind of eating style, your body will prepare for famine and conserve every calorie.  Deprivation just doesn't work to control weight. Maintaining a personalized food style works.
The wise choice is to eat foods that are lower in calories and higher in nutrition.  Usually people eat food that is nutritionally empty, laden with calories, and too much of it.

When high activity makes physical demands on one’s body, repair with quality protein and eat just enough carbohydrates to maintain a good energy level.  The best choice is complex carbohydrates such as unrefined whole grains, which allow a slower glucose release into the bloodstream.

It isn’t just what we eat, but when we eat.  The Body Type Diet looks at the dominant glandular tendencies and food choices that over-work specific endocrine glands.  For example, I notice that if I eat too much too late in the day, I am unusually hungry all the next day.  If I eat a heavy breakfast, I am unusually hungry all day long. It doesn’t work for me.

When your systems are working well, and your food style is in balance with your life, still be prepared to make ongoing changes.  We are constantly changing too, and our food choices need to reflect our real needs on a personal and physical level day to day.

My favorite diet is The Dolly Parton Diet. The reality is that your first taste of anything is an explosion of sensation in your mouth.  The second taste is good, but by the third spoonful, you can no longer taste what you are eating. A teaspoon of anything isn't too much, calorie wise, but why eat volume when you can no longer taste your food?

Staying Healthy with the Seasons
Changes in the seasons create big changes in the body.  Extremes in temperature and humidity can really stress the body’s coping mechanisms, not only in detoxification but endocrine balance as well.

This is the wisdom behind eating watermelon and cucumbers, raw foods, fruits and salads that cool us in the heat of the summer.  In the winter we are attracted to soups, stews, foods that are oven baked.  All of this tends to create more warming for the body.

With this in mind, we can maximize our personal ‘house-cleansing’ of primary elimination systems at these peak times of year.  In the spring, the body is focused on cleansing the liver system, which includes the blood and intestines. In the fall, the body is focused on flushing the kidneys and the whole genito-urinary system and cleaning the blood. 

A simple way of looking at this is that in the spring the wood element is highlighted – hot and juicy (liver), and full of growth and expansion. In the fall the water element is highlighted – cold and damp (kidneys), and 
the body is conserving and contracting.  The foods we eat every day make a tremendous change in how effective these peak times are maximized.  The quote “Let food be your medicine” is certainly true.

What is your personal super-food?
I have been approached by so many people over the years, each selling a plethora of products guaranteed to ‘cure whatever ails ya’.  How could one product be good for everyone? For example, Chamomile herb is in the same family as ragweed.  Needless to say, it doesn't affect us all in the same way. 

Fortunately, by using bio-feedback testing, such as specialized kinesiology, it is easy to assess what your personal needs are and what specific nutrients meets this need in the most body-friendly way.
The following is a list of nutrients that in my experience have been on many people’s ‘top picks’ of super-foods.  Don’t assume that you need to supplement all of them.

ü  Green Food Blends (Vegge Green) - These blends nourish, as well as detoxify & alkalize the body.
ü  Minerals: Make sure these are ‘body friendly’
            Multi Mineral

ü  Antioxidants:
            Co-enzyme Q 10
            Network Antioxidants (Phytoberry)
            Grapeseed Extract

ü  Digestive Enzymes
ü  Digestive Tonics
ü  Essential Fatty Acids
ü  Vitamin C (Ester C)
ü  Vitamin B & B Complex

Manufacturing quality is always important. Choose top quality companies.  Be tested and make sure that the brand you are using is really performing for you, and that you are getting the optimal amounts. 

What I mean by that, is some people are taking too much at once whereas taking less over a long 
period of time would help make profound gains in well'being. I have to say again, that if you are not 
putting top quality in, you are not going to experience the change your hoping for. Worse yet, what you are using may by toxic, or a elimination burden to your body.

Spend a little more and get a lot more results.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pre and Post Surgery Suggestions for the Naturally Inclined

I tend to hang around with a healthy crowd who abhor unnecessary medical intervention. However, occasionally there may be a time to consider surgery as the best option of treatment.  

One of my friends (who is a health and exercise nut) had to make a serious choice around her worsening scoliosis. In my own life, it was an emergency C-Section. My client's son had severely impacted wisdom teeth that has to be dealt with. 

Even purists sometimes have to take this long road

Surgery can be a reasonable the answer when we are looking at increased suffering over the long haul without it. If surgery is how it has to go down, the best path is to be fully prepared and resourced going into it.

Go into it as well rested
Surgery is rather like running a long race; the better shape you are going into it, the better shape you will be coming out of it. Toned tissue bounces back easier. This means don’t stop moving. Try to keep being as active as possible.

Be as well-nourished as possible
Most people go into surgery already nutritionally starving. Pre-surgery is no time to be counting calories. You need to stock up on quality nutrition beforehand.

What you need is optimal nutrition to maximize your healing potential

Protein is the body’s building blocks for healing tissues. Finding sources of plant protein may be helpful. This can be beans and legumes, quinoa, nuts and seeds. I like Harmonized Vegan Protein by Progressive Nutrition. Is has for instance, yellow pea, cranberry seed, chia seed, rice and hemp proteins. It is easy to digest and tastes great. It is an easy addition to any smoothie recipe.

Network Antioxidant
 Free radicals are what damage our cells and a good quality network antioxidant is essential for optimal healing.

Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids feed our brain, spine and nervous systems as well as our immune system. EFA’s also reduce inflammation.

Trace Minerals
Trace minerals are essential for healing.  Zinc in particular is vital for cell repair and regrowth. Without it, we do not heal quickly.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen in our bodies.  Top up on a good quality Ester C with Bioflavanoids (circulation support) up to a month before your treatment date. Delete for 3 days before your surgery. Then as soon as possible after, continue with Vitamin C again. I like Progressive Nutrition Vitamin C complex. It is a totally food sourced Vitamin C with food sourced Bioflavanoids. I also like Emergen-C. It comes in 1,000 mg sachets that are easy to mix in water if your wee patient is groggy or unable to do much more than take sips of water. The recommended amount of Vitamin C is 1,000 mg 3x daily.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A increases the strength of our cell membranes. It also reduces our risk of infections.

Co-Enzyme Q 10
This antioxidant helps support our oxygen uptake.

High fiber
If your diet is high in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, nuts and seeds, you will be in good shape. What you don’t want is a lot of sudden change in diet that adds constipation to your list of grievances. Pre-plan meals and have them brought in to you especially if you have to stay in hospital for more than a day.  Don’t expect an industrial kitchen to have health in mind or bend to your needs or preferences.

Vitamin E mixed tocopherols
Try to source out a natural form of Vitamin E. Mixed Tocopherols are more complete for the body’s needs. This helps our tissues to be more elastic.
Bach Rescue Remedy for trauma and shock
This is easy to have in your pocket. You can put drops under the tongue or put a drop or 2 on the wrist. You can even put a drop or two in the navel.

Probiotics are essential after surgical procedures. This is even more so if antibiotics have been routinely given. I would suggest starting with HMF which is a unique human strain. You can use others, but this is the best front line choice.

Protein Digesting Enzymes
I recommend Bromelain Papain+ to reduce scaring. This is not the surface of the skin, but the deep tissues where scar tissue can impair natural function and communication in the body for decades to come. This enzyme formula also reduces inflammation. In this instance it would be taken away from food.

Oil of Oregano and Grapeseed Extract
Thwart infections that often have the hospital as its source. An easy way to take either of these is to open a Vitamin C capsule and add 1 drop of Oil of Oregano or extract. Put the capsule back together and take with water.

Water is essential when you are flushing medications out of the body. I like adding Emergen-C  to help this along further. Rather than downing lots of water at once, make as your goal to drink 2 ounces every half hour.

Dental/Wisdom Teeth
To remove local freezing use homeopathic Hypericum 30k, 1 dose every 15 minutes. Alternate the Hypericum with homeopathic Arnica 30 k. Wait 5 minutes between doses. Arnica helps to reduce fluid bruising and swelling. Wound healing – Hypericum MT

General anesthetic most natural physicians recommend Vitamin C.

Other factors may improve your healing experience

Go into this as well rested and overall as healthy as you can. Learn all you can about the procedures you are facing and do your research.  Find out all you can about how to speed and enhance your healing.

Peace and happiness is the perfect environment for healing Surround yourself with positive people. Legislate for yourself a ‘zero-negative-word zone’. As soon as someone starts to talk about their awful hospital experience or their ills aches and pains or what medications they are on or how they or someone they knew almost died and ……well, you get the picture. Nip it in the bud. You don’t need to hear it and they don’t need to share it.

Focus on Your Goal and Aim For a Positive Outcome

Your goal should be to bounce back quickly and easily. Our body works and heals in 12 week cycles. Continue your nutrition throughout those pivotal 12 weeks. Try gentle stretching or even a yoga program to get you back to yourself.

I may have forgotten to mention a bijillion things here, but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Going Away Check List

Going away to visit another ecology can be challenging for us.

I have often seen people suffering from unexplained ills that have a pivot point of travel to another climate/overseas. We may have the benefit of a resistant immune system at home.

Travel to exotic destinations are a whole different kettle of fish.

So what can we do?
The obvious would be to be cautious of water supply for drinking. This applies to ice cubes and frozen fruit treats. Wash fruits and vegetables in a mild peroxide solution. I like a product called 'Oxygen Solution. It is effective  and a basin of water only needs 10 drops or so.  Grapeseed extract is another really potent anti-bacterial solution. This can be used by the drop internally so it is safe for foods. 

So here is a basic run down on prevention

It is important to fill the intestines with bacteria that produce low toxins.  This increases resistance by ‘filling the space’ and reduces the change of opportunistic organisms to proliferate in the intestines unchecked. If you can’t provide some degree of refrigeration, look for an entero coated product that will stay stable even in the heat.
Udo Super 5 from Flora is an oral version that inoculates the mouth, throat and stomach.  This needs to be kept cool.

Melatonin/ Insomnia Pellets
I prefer Melatonin Time Released by Innovite.  Take 4 or 5 at once, and then reduce the amount by one the next night and so on, if you are sleeping better.  Insomnia Pellets by Homeocan, are also helpful to keep sleeping patterns back on track, especially when jet lagged.  Our bodies have a Circadian rhythm that can become interrupted by travel through different time zones.  Also if you are a person who is always waking up at 3 in the morning like clockwork, this is a ‘blip’ in the Circadian rhythm.

Another essential is Emergen-C, an mineral ascorbate powder that goes fizzy when you put it in water. Comes in great flavours. My fav is Lemon/lime. When you feel wonky, head achy, queasy or your digestion feels wonky, cut back on food for a short time and try this. Use 1/2 packet at a time every hour, up to 4 doses.  

Unda # 710 Homeopathic Complex
As a preventative, take 5 drops morning and 5 drops at bedtime.  This remedy tends to be more for ears, nose, throat, and sinuses.  For people who have ear trouble when traveling by airplane this would be started a week or more before the flight. For general resistant to airborne pathogens, take 5 drops at bedtime only.

Unda # 37 Homeopathic Complex
Is to support and fight pathogens such as virus and bacteria.  5 Drops at bedtime is suggested for prevention, but when fighting something, take 5 drops morning and night.

Unda # 39 Homeopathic Complex
This complex discourages parasites from gaining a toe-hold.  Take 5 drops at bedtime throughout the vacation.  No matter what, be really careful of water supply while away.  Remember that ice cubes are local water.

Vitamin C/Vitamin A
This is generally great to take to increase protection and immunity and cell integrity (resistance).  Also Vitamin D3 400 IU daily can help resist flu and colds.

Multi Vitamin/Mineral
If you are going to the trouble of hauling a multi vitamin/mineral around and commit to taking a multi with every darn meal, make sure it is a really good quality and is absorbed well.  I prefer Progressive Nutrition formulas.  They are in capsules rather than tablet form.

Oil of Oregano/Echinacea/Goldenseal
Oil of Oregano is an antiseptic whereas Echinacea is an immune simulator.  Echinacea is good to have handy, in case of infection or onset of illness, but oil of oregano is safe to use every day preventatively.  Goldenseal herb is a great infection fighter, especially in a viral overgrowth, but again is used if and when needed.

Here is an interesting way to use Oil of Oregano. It is my airport special.

Eye Drops
The trouble with eye drops is that they are usually preserved with something nasty.  Ephrasia Stilidoses is homeopathic Eyebright herb, in single application ampules.  This is great to use to flush the eyes after swimming in chlorine treated pools or in lakes and oceans. Sisu also makes a good natural eye drop formula that will soothe and clean the sensitive eye tissue.  Just a note, that Katherine Hepburn had trouble with her eyes after the making of the movie, ‘African Queen’.  This ongoing problem was contributed to the river water where they were filming.

It is a good idea to keep up fiber intake in you diet while away, especially for those who tend to be toilet-shy when away from home.  Take it easy on fruit if your system is not used to it.  Fruit all of a sudden in the bowel can lead to a bout of constipation. Keep hydrated throughout the day. 

Calendula Cream or Mother Tincture
Calendula Tincture, diluted is great to have on hand for scrapes and minor burns, including sunburn.  This also helps to protect the skin from infection as well as speed heal.  Calendula MT is also good for taking out the itch and reducing inflammation.   Not the best choice if the skin is broken.

Hypericum Mother Tincture
Hypericum Tincture, diluted is great to use in place of alcohol or peroxide for an open wound or when the skin is broken.  This can be used in the form of a spray.  Hypericum MT is as well as being an antiseptic, an aid to speed the healing process.  Hypericum MT helps the body to heal from the inside out rather than healing over the surface, and perhaps locking debris within.

Sunscreen/mineral makeup
Sunscreen is essential when traveling to hot climates.  Mineral make up applied by brush is the best protection from sun.  It will not easily sweat or wash off.  Men with extra forehead will do well with mineral makeup.  It is like a thick layer of zinc cream without the cream.  Sensitive skin will do well with this approach.

Adrenal Support
If you need to recoup and restore your energy while away, consider maximizing your build by adding an adrenal supplement to your daily plan.  If you plan to hike all day and dance all night, an adrenal supplement will help carry you through so you don’t arrive back home exhausted.

Liver/Kidney Detox
When vacationing we can often eat more than we usually would at home, and often drink more alcohol than we should.  Look after your filter systems by doing a mild detox daily.  This can be in the form of fresh lemon/lime in pure drinking water, or chlorophyll concentrate in your drinking water.  Take lighter meals the day after overindulging, and drink lots of water.  Homeopathic Nux Vomica 30k can really help the liver to de-tox.

Choline/Nux Vomica 200k
Food poisoning can happen anywhere.  Sometimes the liver and gall bladder have just had enough of our overindulgence.  For nausea, take 1 Choline every 15 minutes until the nausea stops.  Nux Vomica can also be taken at 15-230 minute intervals.  Ginger can be helpful as well, fresh in a tea or in capsules.

Ginger caps/tea/Nux Vomica/Coculus Indicus 200k
Motion sickness can be helped by a natural approach.  You may want to have what you usually use on hand just in case the above doesn't work as well as you would like.

Digestive enzymes
It is wonderful to have fun times where we share great food and great friends.  However, feasts can lead to a burdening of the digestive system.  For example when corn on the cob is added to the rest of the menu, nothing gets digested.  Corn is a considered to be a carbohydrate rather than a vegetable; therefore it can easily be digested when combined with other carbohydrates as well as vegetable.

Food combining has been championed by such food gurus as Harvey and Marilyn Diamond and Suzanne Somers.  Basically you don’t eat proteins and carbohydrates in the same meal.  Fruits (as well as deserts) are eaten alone. 

Digestive enzymes are genuine relief when eating a variety of foods together.  Some products are more carbohydrate specific, others are more protein specific.  If you are burpy and gassy, enzymes will change your world.  Pay attention to what you eat that causes your system to be hurting or in an uproar.

So What If?
If you tend to notice trouble with after eating bread or sugar, this may be a yeast or Candida issue.  Increasing acidophilus may help.

If you develop skin issues, heads up; something is going on in the blood. Get checked out as soon as you can. To be sure, plan a check up for when you get back home. Nipping things in the bud as always a better plan.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

New Growth

Spring is time for new growth. This is particularly true for me this year. I enrolled myself in a business school.

I chose Marie Forleo as my mentor, with her B-School on line program.  After six whirl-wind weeks in, I am so glad I made this decision.

For decades I have avoided technology as part of my business function. In doing so I have not taken advantage of all the ways to make business run easier and smoother. Learning curve? You bet!

I had been on the fence trying to decide to sign up or not. 

A friend said to me 'What doesn't challenge you, won't change you".

The truth is that as long as we stay within our comfort zone, nothing new will happen. This is my twenty fourth year in the holistic health industry.  I was too comfortable and I didn't like it. I was loosing the passion for my work. I was not communicating in the way of the world today and  I was feeling disconnected.

I have a few surprises that I would like to tell you about

The first is that I have a website up. It is 90% there in regard to function. No one is more surprised than me! I used and it is an a blog format.  With help from my friends, I have done much of this myself. A big thank you to Amy Zoethout of Huron Image Factory, and Katrina Bos from East Street Station This begs the question; do I transfer my blog over to WP, or leave it as is?

If you want to come over for a visit,  to my website, it would be great if you would do that. You can also sign up to receive regular newsletter updates. You can also unsubscribe at any time.

Why Did I Create This Blog?

I started this blog in 2009 to support client services. This was to inform and educate clients who were already in a healing program. Someone would ask a question and it just made sense to answer it once; really well and store it in an online library. Over time I have created a well equipped library of resources on this Blogspot address.

What I Have Done

The title of this blog site,( where you are now) is 'Thoughts About Life and Healing'. This blog and my website are now linked.  On the home page on my website, the menu item to reach this blog is called  'Help at Hand'.

I will continue to add in depth information to this blogspot and I am categorizing it as such. I will also be writing blog posts on my website that will be connected to my newsletter subscriptions. As ever, things may morph as we go along, but for now, this feels fine to me. Just know that there will not be duplication of posts.

Now for the surprise I didn't want.

A friend mentioned that she got a mess of posts from me in her email inbox. It looked like a whole bunch of posts all together. If this happened to you, I do apologize. This is what happened. Once I decided to keep this blogspot site happening, I went into my posts lists and started to edited my early posts. I didn't want 'blog site shame'. I thought I was just updating the posts, but I suspect it was re-posting and sending them out to my subscribers. Yikes!

These updates did not show in my system as recent posts so I was unaware. I won't be trying that again any time soon!

So for you Followers, near and far, thank you so much for your interest and encouragement over the years. Thanks to all you subscribers. People tend to email me and give generous feedback and discussion about posts I have written. These tend to bypass the comment box and stay private. I do love it when people chew my words. I love it when they share with their friends.

I will sign off for now with a thought:

"The greatest gift we can give the world is to explore what God has made possible in us."

Be well

Monday, March 17, 2014

Scalp Issues

Scalp issues like skin issues are far more than skin deep.

I started out my professional life as a hair stylist, and I worked in the cosmetic industry for over fourteen years. Clients would often ask me for my personal recommendations for products to use to treat extreme scalp and skin issues.

I found myself looking at my clients skin, scalp and hair, thinking to myself that the issues were deeper than what could be cured by a bottle of stuff.

In almost all cases, what I was seeing was some sort of imbalance from deeper in the body.  This could be signs of irritation from the products there were using, but for the most part, what I was seeing was signs of allergies, nutritional starvation or signs of systemic (whole blood/body) infections that were building high levels toxin in the blood and the toxins were in turn draining out through the skin.

More than just skin deep
The most common infections are bacteria, yeast/fungus, viral and parasitical.  Micro-organisms don't play nice.  Mixed infections 'dysbiosis' are a mixed bag of infection acting together like a street gang (dysbiosis is like symbiosis but with a bad attitude). Bacteria can either show as large yellow oily flakes, often with an inflamed looking scalp with sores underneath.  Another type of disturbance is small white dry flakes with an overall red irritated scalp underneath, sometimes in localized patchy raised red areas. The dry version is often accompanied by an intense itch.

Psoriasis is a blood toxin issue that has an infection (usually a combination bacterial/fungal) root.  This condition really amps up when there is more personal, dietary or life stress.  Psoriasis will also get worse in the presence of sugar, simple carbohydrates, beer, yeast, wine, mushrooms and junk food.  Antibiotics or hormone imbalances can make it worse to the point where the skin cracks and 'weeps'.  Eczema looks similar, and can worsen with outside factors, but has more of a deeper genetic or inherited root than other skin conditions.  Cradle cap (it doesn't just affect babies) is a sign of a systemic yeast overgrowth.

Cleaning up the diet can really help.  Drinking warm water and lemon first thing in the morning can be a good habit to cultivate.  Cleansing herbs, cleansing teas and green foods can really help to clean up the blood. Just be aware that chronic digestive issues may also be showing all sorts of symptoms and issues, including skin irritation. This may require a deeper and longer look to focus on restoring the health of this primary system.

Single homeopathic remedies may also really help the body to overcome the problem.  Also recognizing that when overgrowths are the root of the problem, a protocol for clearing the infection may be the most sensible first step for lasting change.  Remember that what you see on the skin is the symptom not the cause.

All that being said, I have some advice concerning treatment and balancing of the scalp.  I love LUSH products which are handmade small batches of body care products using only natural ingredients.  I like owner Mark Constantine's philosophy.   His advice is to treat the scalp and hair separately.

Be careful with styling products and conditioners on the scalp
A while back I got into trouble by using a styling product directly onto my scalp.  I was trying to amp up the curl by getting a lot of product at the base of the hair.  Wrong!  It irritated my scalp to the point where I was crazy with the itch.  It took months to get the balance back.  Now prevention is the key so I still follow the system I outline below at least twice a month.

Healing and preventative program
Here are some ideas for a scalp and hair healing program.  Superbalm is a treatment for the scalp.  I use the flat surface of a toothpick to scrape up a little of the product and then warm it between my fingers.  Then I massage it into my scalp being careful to avoid getting it in my hair.  This is a exercise in patience.  If you do this at bedtime, cover your pillow case to protect it and leave the treatment in overnight.  Shampoo it out in the morning as usual.

Exfoliate your scalp
Roots is another great healing product for the scalp, especially if the scalp is dry and itchy. It is minty and soothing. To exfoliate the scalp, you can add sea salt to the Roots product to create a salt scrub to clear away some of the dry skin on your scalp, or use Ocean Salt  as your creamy scalp exfoliant.  If you have open skin, it is going to sting so be wise here.

Using a gentle touch is key.  Going tooth and nail is just going to make things worse. Gently massage for a bit; rinse out and then shampoo as usual. The salt treatment will also make your hair extra shiny.  Ocean Salt scrub gets full bonus points with me.

If you have the oily large flake variety of dandruff, you may need to soften the scales off with oil first (castor oil, or olive oil is good, but if you go slap happy here, you are doing to have a bugger of a time getting all the oil out of your hair after).  You can add antiseptic essential oils to the carrier oil. Lavender, rosemary, oregano are great choices.  Again, you can leave this on overnight and shampoo out the treatment in the morning.  Don't be a 'flash in the pan'.  You will have to keep up using the treatments until the scalp is 'fixed'.

Treat the scalp and hair differently
I have long curly hair that tends to be scary big hair unless I take serious measures. If you have short hair that doesn't need conditioning, ignore this.  For a full treatment I would use the Superbalm on the scalp first and then put a moisturizing conditioning treatment on the hair.  Either leave on for twenty minutes or overnight before shampooing off. After shampooing I use a leave-in anti frizz boost of moisture, called R & B.  If I do all this, I don't need a styling product, or at least very little of it.

I want to point out here that I am not affiliated with, or paid to endorse Lush products.  Lush hair products just happen to have worked better than anything else I have tried so far.  I personally will not use chemical laden treatments.  The Lush product line is also affordable.  You can order on line or visit store locations. The staff are really helpful and they are very generous with giving out samples to try.

Home made 'Snake Oil'
Lush produced a bar scalp treatment that I liked called 'Snake Oil' that is now discontinued.  I now make my own version of it. I start with a jar of cocoa butter (with 5% jojoba oil) by a company called 'Now'.  I melt it using a bain marie method.  When it is evenly melted I add about 20 drops each of essential oils of: lavender, rosemary, cade (juniper), tea tree and balsam of peru.  Pour the mixture into molds (nothing fancy, I just use the plastic form that rice crackers came in).  When the bars are firm wrap the bars individually in waxed paper. I keep one bar handy and store the rest in the fridge.

To use, as with the Superbalm; the heat from your fingers will warm the oils and you can massage it into the scalp.  If you have extra dry or frizzy hair, leave this treatment on overnight.  It will work its way down the hair shaft a bit and work miracles to tame unruly locks.

Experiment until you find what works.  Consistency is the key.  If you stick with the program, I trust this will help.  If the topical approach is not working, you most likely have a very tenacious underlying infection or your core digestion is whacky.  In a way it is a blessing that your body will not hide the problem.  Such is the body's wisdom.

Keep well_ Nelda

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Healthy Meals on a Budget of Time and Money

I am always amazed when clients say they can’t eat a healthy food style because they don’t have the time or the money. 

In reality, eating well is usually easier; in time and cost.  From a health viewpoint, eating real and fresh vegetables, whether raw or lightly cooked is offers more nutrition. 

It is always better to eat consciously
What does this mean?  Is is the ability to assess what your body needs and use food, herbs and spices to balance the body?  For example adding a dash of chili sauce to a soup helps our body start its furnace.  This is especially helpful when there is a rapid temperature change and we just can't seem to get warm.

Simple food can taste good and be extra nourishing too

My family’s food culture leaned towards the abundance of bread, cow’s milk, cheese meat and wheat.  When I was faced with avoiding all of these things for allergy and health reasons, I was really panicking.  What was I going to replace these with?

What I decided to do was flip cultures.  Asian and East Indian cooking easily avoided these staples and thus avoid the North American food rut.  Learning how to cook simply, using natural and fresh ingredients was my goal. I needed to learn different prep skills.

Think:  Cooking for a family of 12 with 1 pot and a Bunsen burner (and sharing an ounce of meat).

I was patiently coached by a friend who was a card carrying vegetarian. I also took some cooking lessons. 

What most simple foods require is a focus on developing and building flavour 
Learning methods of building flavour was the biggest epiphany for me.  The ingredients don't really matter so much.  Just work with ingredients on hand.

I remember seeing a recipe in a magazine for an Asian-style-cauliflower-coconut milk – fresh lime- thing. When I followed the recipe to the letter it just totally didn't work!  I made it again by using the flavour building system that I know, it was totally awesome!  The recipe 'my way' is below.

The rule of thumb is that when you are using fresh and raw foods, keep flavours simple so you can taste the food. Sauces should compliment flavour, not cover it.  The simpler, the better.

Asian food has a balance of flavours: 

Salt, sweet, sour, bitter and hot.

Salt- this can be fish sauce or oyster sauce, shrimp paste or soy cubes. 

Sweet- this can be soy sauce, honey, molasses, pickles, and agave or brown rice syrup. 

Sour- is vinegars and lime or lemon juice, or tamarind paste. 

Bitter- is usually the bitter dark greens that are common in Thai recipes. 

Hot- is chilies, chili sauce, chili paste, ginger, onions and garlic.  Wasabi or horseradish can also be used. I just love PC ‘Memories of Thailand’ Fiery Chili Pepper Sauce.  I use it as a dip as well.

Cauliflower Soup with Cumin and Lime
1 tsp black mustard seed
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 inch fresh ginger root, cut into thin slices
1 tsp ground cumin
2 medium onions diced
4 TBS oil (light olive oil)
1 Head chopped cauliflower
4 cups stock or stock/bullion cube combination
2 cup coconut milk

4 tsp fresh lime juice or more to taste
Herbamere or sea salt and pepper to taste

First Make Flavoured Oil
In a large saucepan, heat the oil.  Add the mustard seed and heat until they start to pop.
Turn heat to medium  and add the garlic and ginger root.
Remove them when the garlic just starts to brown

Cook the Onions and Spices
Add the onion and sauté until transparent.
Add the cumin and sauté for 2 minutes. Add a little water if necessary to keep spices from scorching

Next, throw in all the vegetables and the liquid (milk/broth and bullion cubes)
Add the cauliflower, coconut milk and broth and bring to a simmer.  Cook until the cauliflower is tender.
You can use small cubes of potato to add with cauliflower for a heartier soup.  IF you need to intensify the flavour, add as many vegetable bullion cubes as necessary.

To Serve:  Blend with a hand blender and add the fresh lime and Herbamere.
You can add a dash of any hot sauce, or my favourite, Thai chili dipping sauce.  Yum!
Garnish with a thin slice of lime and parsley or cilantro

Planned Attack:
When I have a windfall of vegetables I cook the vegetable part (not the onions because that is in the 'flavour department') separately and refrigerate or freeze this if I don't want to use it right away.
When I am ready to cook the meal I make the flavour part in a separate saucepan and then add the vegetable mixture to it.  Using frozen vegetables does not noticeably change the taste of the soup, but fresh is better of course. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Noodle Salad with Oriental Dressing

These days I am on a roll.  I want noodle salad with oriental style dressing.  For health reasons I do better with less wheat and gluten so I am using rice noodles.  Soba (buckwheat noodles) is a great choice too.  Asian salad just hits the spot when the weather feels too cold for tossed green salad.

This recipe has many uses and many forms.  Any leftover cooked vegetables can be dressed with this.  Top with grilled chicken, or seafood to create a full meal.  

The Oriental Dressing also makes a great marinade, especially for grilled chicken or shrimp.  It can be noodle heavy, or have little noodle but lots of vegetables.  When there is a plethora is greens, this works well too.

Note:  Arame is a Japanese sea vegetable that looks like black noodles. Grab a pinch and soak it in warm water, Saki, Tamari or soy sauce. Sea veggies are loaded with minerals and are a wonderful source of iodine. Iodine feeds the thyroid gland and boosts stamina and immunity. 

 Oriental Dressing
 ½ Cup Brown Rice Vinegar or sushi style seasoned rice vinegar
½ Cup Agave Syrup (amber)
2 Tbs water
1 large clove garlic, minced fine
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 Tlbs organic Grape seed oil or any mild tasting oil
½ tsp Toasted Sesame oil
1 tsp hot sauce or to taste (or more if desired) Here I use President’s Choice PC Choice Fiery Thai Chilli Sauce.  It is available locally and is the perfect balance of taste and spice.
1 tsp grated Lime Zest or 4 drops of Lime Essential Oil
Shake well and store in refrigerator

Have available wedges of fresh lime to squeeze over the top

Cook or soften any style of noodle such as Soba (Quick: I like vermicelli rice noodles that you soften by pouring boiled water over) until tender and rinse well under cool water.  Don’t overcook.  

Topping Suggestions:
Slice green, yellow and red sweet peppers sliver thin. Add fresh snow peas or even defrosted peas are great.  ¼ cup Arame Sea Vegetable soaked in a little Tamari Sauce or Soy Sauce.

Arame sea veggie has an appearance of thin black noodles in the salad. (Found in Health food Stores).

You can garnish with either black sesame seeds or brown. Gomasio (Japanese condiment) is good too.
I have on hand slivers of raw carrot that I have marinated in dill pickle brine.  They are softer and more flavourful than raw.  You can use raw carrots or blanch the carrots and run under cold water.
Top with greens: cilantro, basil, water cress, parsley, bruised kale, spinach……

Remember that the simplest of foods can taste good and be extra nourishing too.  ENJOY!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Learn to Cook Delicious Vegan Food

"Let Food Be Your Medicine" - Hippocrates 460 B.C - 370 B.C.

My belief is that Food and health are intricately entwined.  With this in mind, I am offering a 4 week program for individuals who are interested in learning Vegan Cooking. 

Introduction to Delicious Vegan Cooking
Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m.
Feb 20th to March 13th,
Costs:    $140 per 4 Weeks               

Space is limited to 8 persons so register early

This four week program is for those who are interested in cleaner food, a diet with less meat, low meat or no meat or for those who entertain dinner guests who have special needs.
This is a ’hands on’ class; the goal is to make real food for real people.

This is also an opportunity to learn how and why different foods balance and heal the body

Benefits of Vegan Cooking
·         Healthier food
·         Cost effective
·         Fast and easy to prepare
·         Tasty and interesting meals
·         Simple meals & Recipes for each lesson

What people are saying.....

“Only glowing accolades for the culinary skill of Nelda. Beautiful thing is, it’s the healthiest nutrition this body ever consumed. Nelda, being a wonderful authentic soul is always willing to share her knowledge and recipes with clarity, enthusiasm and obvious passion.” GM

 "During my training to become a Kundalini Yoga Teacher I was truly privileged and grateful to have Nelda provide our lunches for us. I was a picky eater most of my life but after experiencing Nelda's wholesome dishes, I quickly realized that I was discovering my spirituality through food just as much as I was through the other components of the yoga training.  With Nelda's gift to us of fresh, light & clean foods to which she lovingly shared with us, I feel I was truly tasting and experiencing food for the first time.  

Fingers crossed that there will be a 'From Nelda's, With Love' cookbook soon!" TM
 “I have had the privilege of attending events where Nelda has catered the meals and have to say that I have never been so well fed, with such interesting and delightful food! Without reservation, Nelda’s meals are above and beyond any other catered event I have attended, or dining out experience I have had.”

“Having also attended programs taught by Nelda, I have to say that Nelda brings to the ‘table’ a vast and well thought-out knowledge that she shares with such clarity that it seems like you should already know it, even hearing it for the first time! Her ability to see and understand all aspects of health-to then apply and/or share that with her clients and students in a manner that everyone understands, is truly a gift. I would strongly recommend her classes to everyone, and I look forward to future classes with her myself!” CH

For more information contact Nelda McEwen

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Minimalist Mindset

"Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they think that they must have such a one as their neighbors have. …

Shall we always study to obtain more, and not sometimes be content with less?" ― Henry David Thoreau

While most people are in search for more and more stuff, there are some of us who crave to have less.

It takes a brave soul to embark upon sizing down, and streamlining their lives.  The rewards of a minimalist mindset however are great.

I am a passionate following of Small Homes, Tiny Homes and owner build homes and spaces.  I love to see the result of a space that the owners have created to fit a lifestyle, rather than the reverse which is often true.

I have been a renter for most of my life.  In many cases, the homes that we live in shape our lives.  I know a few people who cannot hang a shirt in their back yard.  Some are unable to have a home vegetable garden. Many people live in environments which are not sustainable.  Many of us live in homes that do not embrace. enrich or nourish, but instead, warp and demand.  Bottom line; most homes are expensive and they are work.  A lot of work.

To live small requires the minimalist mindset; to be able to reduce one's possessions to be exactly what is currently needed; no more, no less.  I have been looking at design and the design of spaces for decades. The spaces that appeal to me visually are the ones that understand function and aesthetic; the perfect balance of function and beauty.

Clutter does not work in a small living or working space.  The 'eye' searches for clean lines, and order; areas that invite with purpose and intention.

Click here to see here to see a few of my favourite spaces....and also here and also here.

Those of us in small spaces value their personal time and are mindful of how they use personal time.  One young home builder says "a small space allows for cooking food, hygiene and intellectual pursuits".  I think it also creates intimacy, with oneself and one's companions.

So the criteria is not 'how small', but 'how authentic.

Keep well