Henna: a nourishing tradition.

henna-application

For years, I have been focused on ensuring that what put in my mouth, on my skin and  in my hair is truly nourishing. Over time, I have fine tuned what I define as nourishing. For example, I first thought I was consuming the highest quailty chicken when I purchased a Rosie’s organic chicken at Whole Foods. That has evolved to a pasture-raised chicken purchased at the farmers market, to pasture-raised chickens purchased directly from the farm via a buying coop that is also soy-free, corn-free and has no genetically modified organisms.

My hair care has also evolved over time.

As I’ve aged, and started to gray, I’ve decided I wanted to enjoy being a brunette a bit longer. I researched several products to use for hair color. I thought NaturaColor was relatively natural and used it for a number of years. It was fairly well reviewed and I had read in an article about Herbacuticals Naturacolor that the only real concerning ingredient is  sodium metabisulfite, an irritant and possible toxin – but, according to tests only at high doses.

Ingredients in Naturcolor:
Spagyric (TM) Herbal Infusion, Burdock, Centella Asiatica, Nettle, Sage, Hops, Lavender, Rosemary, Lecithin, Lavender Oil, Coconut Oil, Soy, Oleic Acid, Ethanolamine, Shea Butter, Mango Glycerides, Chamomile Extract, Vegetable Resin Extract, Bilberry Extract, Red Sorrel Extract, Walnut Extract, Sodium Metabisulfite, Jasmine Absolute Ascorbic Acid, Hydrolized Wheat Protein, P-Phenlyenediamine, P-Eminophenol, M-Aminophenol.

Ingredients in Naturfix:
Water, glycol, hydrogen peroxide (3%), etidronic acid

The photo below was captured on April 13, 2014 with NaturaColor on my hair.

naturocolor-application

While I knew it may be more natural than some hair color solutions, I suspected that it was somewhat of a comprise and was seeking something more natural. We’ll I’ve found it!

Henna

I have returned to my Moroccan roots and started to use Morrocco Method’s henna. Made from the leaves of the Lawsonia plant, henna works without damaging, without drying and without chemically altering the structure of the hair. Henna binds with the keratin of your hair, preventing brittleness and breakage. It wears off gradually over a period of approximately 8-12 weeks, eliminating the dark-root problem you must contend with when using chemical tints.  What is referred to as neutral henna in the form of Cassia obovatacan can also serve to benefit our hair and scalp without any color as well.

As I’ve written before in my article How can we get our hair clean with mud?, I discovered Morrocco Method hair care in 2005, and have been using their shampoos and conditioners. Now that I’ve started to use their henna, I’m only putting truly natural products on my hair and scalp. Before I switched from Naturacolor to Morrocco Method’s henna, I had used henna twice in the past. The first time I used a henna purchased from an outdoor market in Israel, and my hair became fairly orange. The next time, I used henna purchased at the health food store designed to cover grey, and my hair remained grey. With the Morrocco Method henna, I have had full coverage of the gray, as well less tangled, well conditioned, smoother, silkier hair in a rich brown color.

Below are photographs captured on November 22, 2014, after a haircut followed by my own application of henna the night before.

Henna 1


Henna 2

Henna has been used as a hair dye for 6,000 years.

As Wikipedia explains: Henna has been used since antiquity in Ancient Egypt, as well as other parts of North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Near East and South Asia to dye skin, hair, and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silk, wool, and leather.

Henna is prevalent in my mother’s Moroccan culture, so I feel like I am truly returning to a nourishing tradition. Henna is considered the only way for for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to safely color their hair since it is nontoxic. There are no chemicals of any kind in Morrocco Method henna.

The henna in the Morrocco Method product is Lawsonia inermis, which is naturally a red-orange dye. In order to achieve their variety of colors they use other plant powders. Their browns and black are mixtures of Lawsonia inermis and Indigofera tinctoria in varying ratios. As was mentioned above, neutral Henna is pure Cassia obovata. Blonde Henna is actually Cassia obovata mixed with marigold and chamomile flowers.

Benefits of Henna on Hair

While my primary motivation was to find a natural hair color solution to cover gray there are other benefits to henna. The following have been noted: henna contributes to stronger strands and less breakage, smooths hair cuticle giving hair a healthy appearance, thickens hair, promotes growth due to antibacterial and anti fungal properties, as well as less shedding. In addition:

  • Less tangling. Being that Henna coats the strands of hair with the Lawsonia, it makes the cuticles lie down flatter, which can result in smoother, shinier hair with less tangling.
  • Hair conditioner.  Henna covers each hair shaft and builds a protective layer that safeguards the strands from damage. It is said that regular use of henna makes your hair thick and strong by locking the essential moisture in the hair. Morrocco Method offers a neutral henna in the form of pure Cassia obovata that doesn’t impart any color but, simply conditions.
  • Can help alleviate dandruff. Henna is naturally antifungal and antibacterial and some people have reported that consistent use of henna has helped with dandruff and scaly scabby scalp.
  • Loosening and softening curly hair.  Some people report that henna loosens their curl pattern, which may nor may not be considered a benefit for more highly textured, curly, or coarse hair types. Rather than hair standing straight up from the scalp it now hangs downwards. Also users notice they have a lot less shrinkage when hair dries. This benefit is often noticed by those who have used henna treatments at least three or four times in a short space of time between three to eight weeks. This is due in part to the weight the various coatings henna adds to the hair strands and of course natural gravity.
  • More body, density, bounce. People with fine, thin limp hair also notice that continual henna treatments give their hair more body, density, shine and all round bounce. Again, this is because the regular coats of henna will build up the hair’s structure and result in thick stronger strands.

Below are before and after pictures of my hair illustrating how well henna covers my gray hair. Yes, that is my hair in both photographs. I promise.

Gray-After-v3jpg

Henna 4
Despite all of its benefits, some hesitate to use henna.

  •  Some have expressed concern that henna isn’t safe  or is bad for their hair.
    Henna is not bad for your hair; it is a natural colorant and strengthener, and has all sorts of other benefits such as the reduction of dandruff, elimination of ringworm and head lice.
  • Some have claimed that henna has dried out their hair.
    If you already have dry hair, it won’t dry it further necessary but, it also won’t condition it because it seals in moisture that is already in your hair. As such, Morrocco Method recommends you use less of the apple cider vinegar or lemon juice as you make the recipe, and be sure to add some Euro Oil, but no more than 3 teaspoons to ensure the henna sticks. Conditioning several days before is recommended, followed by shampooing only before henna applicaiton. Also, washing out the henna with a conditioner is also recommended for those with dry hair.  Of course, Morrocco Method conditioners are recommended. My hair feels conditioned after henna rather than dry. I’ve applied Morocco Method henna to my hair three times so far and have never experienced it as drying.
  • Some have had bad results switching to henna.
    Some brands of henna contain metallic compounds that react with the ammonia activator in synthetic hair dyes. This could be an issue if you’d recently use synthetic hair dyes. These reactions could result in green hair, fried and brittle hair, and in some rare cases, the combination of metals and a freshly done chemical color might melt the hair off your head.  I only use Morrocco Method’s Medium Brown Henna Hair Color, which is 100% pure plant dye. There are no chemicals, metallic salts, or purified protein derivative in any of their hennas.  You can safely use henna on previously chemically dyed hair however, they suggest waiting 6-8 weeks after your last dye job to allow for detox.

I absolutely love the way my hair looks and feels after a henna treatment. I am very confident that henna is a truly nourishing product whether or not you use it to color your hair. The smile you see below is authentic. I am happy the day after.

Henna 3

Henna Recipe

Below are some pictures taken during my preparations of the henna recipe. The henna is green, but happily my hair isn’t.  I add organic black tea brewed in filtered water, apple cider vinegar and spices to the henna to release the dye. I follow these directions, and have called and emailed them with any questions I’ve had. As mentioned above, their customer service is, in my opinion, suberb.

Henna-Prep-v3
Added below is some apple cider vinegar and ginger. Ginger and other spices such as cinnamon are suggested to soften the smell of the henna. I don’t mind the smell as is but, enjoy the added spices. Later, after the henna mixture has cured for up to 12 hours, I add the indigo to the mixture that has already been pre-measued and is part of the medium brown henna kit.

Henna-Prep-v4

Promotion for our Nourishing Community

Morrocco Method has become a sponsor of Nourishing Our Children, which means they have agreed to support our non-profit educational initiative with a contribution.  As a point of clarification, they didn’t pay for me to write this post and my wholehearted support of all of their products has come from my own initiation. These are the only hair care products I use and believe they are the most nourishing products available to us for retail sale.

They are offering our community an exclusive coupon for all of their hair care, including henna! Please read my article about their shampoos and conditioners to learn why I use and recommend them! One of the benefits of using any of the Morrocco Method products is the level of support they offer. They have held my hand every step of the way. I think their customer service is exemplary.

  1. Follow our referral link to Morrocco Method‘s online store.
  2. Use coupon code Nourishinghair33 and you’ll receive 15% off any order.
  3. One per customer.
  4. The coupon expires December 27, 2014.

Have you colored your hair? Have you used henna? What has your experience been? Are you curious to try it?

Disclosure
Please note that we serve as an affiliate for Amazon, in addition to allied organizations and individuals whose products and/or serves we recommend. In some cases, we receive referral bonuses or commissions for our promotional efforts. This enables us to sustain our educational efforts.

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Would you eat horse meat?

Schlup Wila 55

How about drink mare’s milk?

I recently returned from the eighth Weston A Price Tour of Switzerland led by chapter leader and Swiss native Judith Mudrak.

On July 20, 2014, we visited a Demter farm called Shlulp Wala. According to Wikipedia, Demeter International is the largest certification organization for biodynamic agriculture, and is one of three predominant organic certifiers. Its name is a reference to Demeter, the Greek goddess of grain and fertility. Demeter Biodynamic Certification is used in over 50 countries to verify that biodynamic products meet international standards in production and processing. The Demeter certification program was established in 1928, and as such was the first ecological label for organically produced foods.

The farm offers cow and horse meat, mare’s milk, and some sheep and chickens, fruit and berries, and a rich vegetable garden complement their production. The horses live in herds on large pastures in the Tösstal hills and outdoor playpen. In summer and fall they look for the best grasses and herbs in the nature reserve of Schnäggewalds.

See more photos from our outing to the farm in this album.

They were out of the raw mare’s milk they sell so we didn’t get to taste it but, we did eat horse meat, which I’ll discuss in a moment. Mare’s milk is indicated for gastrointestinal disorders, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and used for premature babies. Mare’s milk is similar to that of breast milk rich in long-chain, multiple unsaturated fatty acids (2 or more double bonds in the molecule, for example. linoleic and B. Linolenic acid assert Jahreis among others in 1998, Doreau and Boulot 1989 Zeyner among others 1996). About 55% of all fatty acids of mare milk fat are unsaturated fatty acids. Apparently, fresh mare’s milk has a pleasant, refreshing, almond-like taste.

Schlup Wila 117Horse meat

I ate it for the first time! I didn’t hestiate and thought it was delicious.

It was served to us in a stew, as well as as sliced cured meat.

Horse meat consumption has been growing rapidly for the last several years in France, and is common in several other cultures including Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. In Japan, you can even get horse sushi. The consumption of horse meat has been common in Central Asia societies, past or present.  In Islamic laws, consuming horse meat is discouraged, although it is not forbidden. Horse meat is forbidden however by Jewish dietary laws because horses do not have cloven hooves and they are not ruminants. While horse meat can’t legally be sold in the United States for human consumption, it appears that it can still be used in pet food.

As horses are relatively poor converters of grass and grain to meat compared to cattle, they are not usually bred or raised specifically for their meat. Instead, horses are slaughtered when their monetary value as riding or work animals is low, but their owners can still make money selling them for horse meat. I was saddened to learn that due to the fact that horse slaughterhouses still aren’t legal in the United States, they are shipped in fairly inhospitable conditions to be slaughtered out of the country.

The following is quoted from the article How Nutritious is Horse Meat?

According to NutritionData, a strip steak has slightly fewer calories than horse (117 vs 133 calories per 100 grams), though this is obviously not be true for all cuts of beef. Sirloin, for example, contains 142 calories. The meats also have very similar amounts of fat, cholesterol and protein when lean cuts are compared.

Where the meats really differ is iron concentration, with horse meat having double the iron (21% vs 10% DV) that beef contains. It is not surprising that a more athletic animal has more iron, but the magnitude of the difference is striking. Horse meat also contains substantially more vitamin B12 (50% vs 21% DV), but less B6, niacin and folate.

But what’s truly impressive is the omega-3 fatty acid concentration in horse meat, which contains 360 mg (per 100 grams) compared to just 21 mg in strip steak. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that need to be obtained from your diet. They are thought to be helpful in fighting against heart disease, stroke and neurodegeneration.

Compared to lean beef, horse meat appears to have some nutritional advantages.

Wikipedia reports that French actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has spent years crusading against the eating of horse meat. However, the opposition is far from unanimous; a 2007 readers’ poll in the London magazine Time Out showed that 82% of respondents supported chef Gordon Ramsay’s decision to serve horse meat in his restaurants. What is your opinion?

Horse meat? Yay or nay? What about mare’s milk?

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How can we get our hair clean with mud?

hair-cut-scissors

Many of us don’t think of mud when we think of washing our hair. We think of shampoo.

Most shampoos have a pH level of around 5 or 6, which closely matches our hair’s natural pH. While that is desirable, it is most often achieved using toxic surfactants; chemical foaming agents such as sodium lauryl sulfate. “Non-sulfate shampoos” have become a buzzword in the hair industry, since it has become apparent that chemicals such as sodium laurel sulfate [SLS] and sodium laureth sulfate [SLES] can be harmful being that we absorb them through our skin. Some assert that even with “non-sulfate shampoos” these chemicals are not really gone from the shampoos. Instead they’ve just been renamed [SLS alone has 38 different names] or replaced with different chemicals. Natural shampoos frequently replace these two ingredients with cocamide diethanolamine [DEA], a lathering agent made from coconut oil. DEA is on California’s list of Prop 65 list of harmful chemicals.

Chemical foaming agents, found even in many of the “natural” shampoos I’ve used, may leave our hair squeaky clean after we wash it but can harm our hair over time. Sudsing shampoos strip our hair of natural oils. This makes it look clean but, with all the oils washed away, the hair overproduces it to make up for it. In the long run, this can leave our scalp and hair unhealthy.

No Poo

There are a number of options for those who want to avoid shampoo altogther, amongst them apple cider vinegar, castile soap, baking soda and even mud or clay, which seems like it would make our hair dirty rather than clean, right? Clays draw out dirt and impurities, but do so without taking away the natural oils. Clay has a much higher pH than most shampoos which can leave our hair dull and even sticky. Fortunately one can restore their hair’s natural pH after washing with a vinegar based rinse.

In 2005 I happened across the Morrocco Method on the shelves at Rainbow Cooperative Grocery in San Francisco where I shopped regularly. The word Morrocco caught my eye because I had traveled to Morocco that year to visit the country my mother was born and raised in. Being of French/Moroccan descent, I was curious to try this no-poo method. I liked the fact that it was wild-​crafted and traditional. It is also raw, gluten-free, soy-free and free of GMOs.

When I first saw it on the shelves, I purchased several different bottles of shampoo, I believe all 5 offered, so I could rotate them, which was recommended by the staff member at Rainbow. I also purchased a conditioner and mist coniditoning spray. Akin to how we support our health by rotating our diet, our hair is said to flourish when fed a variety of nutrients. The Morrocco Method emphasizes this concept with five different shampoos that each utilize unique cleansing agents.

After all these years after my initial purchase, I have decided to recommend the Morrocco Method to our community as a referral partner. What does that mean? They have not paid me to write this post, but we will receive a referral bonus on purchases made via our affiliate links and the discount code offered at the bottom. This revenue enables us to continue our educational initiative.

So let me tell you more about my own personal experience …

It was definitely an adjustment for me to use mud to wash my hair.

It doesn’t lather like detergent based shampoos so I used much too much at first … and it appears that I experienced a detox period while my scalp adjusted. When transitioning to a natural shampoo such as this, it helps to keep in mind that silicone is used in many commercial brands. Silicone covers the hair like plastic would to give it shine. If you have been using a shampoo with silicone or other chemicals your hair may need to detox like mine did. Build-up from chemical products can clog the pores of our scalp and shafts of our hair and must be removed before we experience truly healthy hair. Some may experience an overly dry or overly oily scalp as their hair and scalp detoxify.  We are advised to simply give our scalp time to readjust and re-regulate its own oil production.

I remember years ago when I used to easily eat an entire pint of Häagen-Dazs ice cream in a single sitting. Now even 1 banana is too sweet for me. These days, I eat about the equivalent of a tablespoon of a banana at a time and I’ve had my sweet tooth satisfied. I think the Morrocco Method may prove to be a similar transition for some.

It is recommended that we shampoo twice with this method. The first cleanses hair and scalp of dirt, dead cells and dust and the second stimulates the flow of blood to the scalp and opens the hair follicles, ensuring the proper lubrication and distribution of your own natural oils to the entire scalp and hair shafts. A natural layer of oil is critical to the maintenance of a healthy scalp and hair. It keeps the outer layer of hair lubricated and prevents drying, which occurs with the excessive evaporation of moisture. A little of these products goes a long way.  In fact, it is recommended that we dilute the shampoo:

Dilute the Shampoo

Shampoo with Morrocco Method using the dilution technique. Mix 1 part water with 1 part shampoo in a travel sized bottle.Morrocco Method Shampoos are incredibly concentrated and sometimes it can be tough making sure the shampoo is getting to your scalp and really cleansing–especially with thicker hair. We suggest diluting your shampoo in a smaller bottle with 50% shampoo and 50% water. Then, pour the mixture all over your head and massage into your scalp. You’ll be able to make sure your scalp is getting the raw nutrients from the shampoos, plus it’s the perfect time for a scalp massage.

Ingredients

To give you an example of how pure the shampoos and conditioners are, see the ingredient list of two of them:

Apple Cider Vinegar Natural Holistic Shampoo
Ingredients: Aqua. Raw, Unfiltered & Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar (live enzymes= naturally preservative), Aloe Vera & Irish Moss (nourishing & moisturizing), Chilean Soapbark, Chinese Green Tea from Shanghai, Mexico Cactus (rich, natural foaming & cleansing botanicals), Blood of the Dragon (reconstructive rare botanical protein encourages healthy hair growth), Brown & Red Algae, Kelp (absorb impurities, stimulate & protect), 92 Trace Minerals (natural preservative), Essential Oils of Almond, Ginger, Lemon Verbena, Sesame and Tangerine.

Chi Instant Hair Conditioner
Ingredients: A Synergistic Blend of Natural Botanicals, Herbs, Sea Plants and Marine Proteins of Kelp, Nori, Kombu and Fucus. Natural Botanicals: Blood of the Dragon (restorative, rare conditioning herb for healthy hair growth), pure Cactus, Green Tea and Olive Oil. Crystals from Tibet liquified as Crystalline Herbal Base with Herb & Spice Extracts. Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with Live Enzymes plus 92 Trace Minerals (natural preservative).

Why buy?

There are “do it yourself” recipes for making your own clay shampoos and rinses. I personally need a break from doing everything myself! The Morrocco Method is an option for those of us who may want the convenience and support of a bottled product. Being that we serve as an educational initiative, I really appreciate that they offer so much supportive educational content: how to videos, educational articles a question and answer forum and even a complimentary audio book and e-book.

Beyond shampoos, conditioners and rinses, they also offer henna for those who’d like to color their hair. Henna provides a safe and natural alternative to color hair, but, as many us know from first hand experience, obtaining the correct shade of henna can prove to be difficult. The Morrocco Method offers a range of henna dyes from light blonde to red to black, and even a colorless version to add silky shine to hair. The Morrocco Method’s line of henna can also be used to color beards and eyebrows!

See these testimonials about how countless people recommend this method.

Coupon Code

For the next 2 weeks, the Morrocco Method has offered our community  members an exclusive discount code of 15% for new customers: NOURISHING14. The code is good through July 11, 2014. I have not yet purchased from their website myself, only in a health food store, so as a new customer of their website, I will use the coupon code myself!

I was told me need to set up an account, rather than sign in as a guest, in order to enjoy the discount.

Have you used mud to wash your hair?

Disclosure
Please note that we serve as an affiliate for Amazon, in addition to allied organizations and individuals whose products and/or serves we recommend. In some cases, we receive referral bonuses or commissions for our promotional efforts. This enables us to sustain our educational efforts.

 

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How do we treat and even reverse diabetes?

Diabetes

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death, but people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of complications. Some would assert that it can even be reversed or cured.

According to the National Diabetes Education Program, 25.8 million Americans have diabetes — 8.3% of the U.S. population. Of these, 7 million do not know they have the disease. In 2010, about 1.9 million people ages 20 or older were diagnosed with diabetes.

  • Type 1 was previously called insulin-dependent or juvenile-onset diabetes. It accounts for approximately 5% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in adults.
  • Type 2 was previously called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes. It accounts for 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in adults. Type 2 diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents.
  • Gestational diabetes occurs in 2% to 10% of pregnancies. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 35% to 60% chance of developing diabetes, mostly type 2, in the next 10 to 20 years.

Reversing Diabetes World Summit

There is an upcoming free online conference called the Reversing Diabetes World Summit, May 5 – 12, 2014. There are 50 presentations we can hear for free online. Register here and you’ll receive a free ebook when you do:  Core Nutrition to Prevent and Reverse Diabetes.

If you’d like to purchase the summit, they offer an opportunity to do so for less than 100.00. One can also choose a payment plan for about 30.00 each month over 3 months. I have never attended a conference that offers 50 audio and visual presentations for less than 100.00, so I consider this to be a bargain.

Diabetes Definition

Dr. Thomas Cowan on Diabetes

Dr. Thomas Cowan, MD, writes about how to treat diabetes in his book The Fourfold Path to Healing, which we recommend via our Amazon affiliation. The following are paragraphs from his article published on the Weston A. Price Foundation’s website.

Studies of indigenous peoples by Weston Price and many others reveal the wisdom of native diets and life-style.

For not only did so-called primitive peoples follow the “perfect” anti-diabetes life-style program, but their diets incorporated specific foods only recently discovered to play an important role in the prevention and treatment of this disease. In general, indigenous peoples had a low carbohydrate intake coupled with a lot of physical activity. In fact, those peoples especially prone to diabetes today, such as northern Native Americans and Inuits, consumed virtually no carbohydrate foods. In warmer climates, where tubers and fruits were more abundant, these foods were usually fermented and consumed with adequate protein and fat. It is only in the change to Western habits that their so-called “genetic” tendency to diabetes manifests.

Dr. Cowan explains that there are three other nutritional factors in traditional diets that are helpful for diabetics.

  1. First, the diets were rich in trace minerals. Modern science has shown us that trace mineral deficiencies–particularly deficiencies in zinc, vanadium and chromium–inhibit insulin production and absorption. Without vanadium, sugar in the blood cannot be driven into the cells and chromium is necessary for carbohydrate metabolism and the proper functioning of the insulin receptors. Zinc is a co-factor in the production of insulin. Traditional foods were grown in mineral-rich soil, contained mineral-rich bone broth and salt, and included mineral-rich water or beverages made with such water. In the modern diet, the best sources of zinc are red meats and shell fish, particularly oysters. Extra virgin unfiltered olive oil supplies vanadium, and chromium is found in nutritional yeast, molasses and organ meats like liver.
  2. Second, indigenous peoples ate a portion of their animal foods, such as fish, milk or meat, uncooked–either raw or fermented. This strategy conserves vitamin B6, which is easily destroyed by heat. Vitamin B6 is essential for carbohydrate metabolism; it is often the rate-limiting vitamin of the B vitamin complex because it is one of the most difficult to obtain in the diet. Indigenous peoples intuitively understood the need to eat a portion of their animal foods completely raw.
  3.  Third, traditional peoples consumed foods rich in fat-soluble vitamins, including butterfat from grass-fed animals, organ meats, shellfish, fish liver oils and the fats of certain animals like bear and pig. High levels of vitamin A are absolutely essential for the diabetic because diabetics are unable to convert the carotenes in plant foods into true vitamin A. Vitamin A and vitamin D also protect against the complications of diabetes, such as retina and kidney problems. And vitamin D is necessary for the production of insulin.

Dr. Cowan goes on to write that “when we put all these rules together, we find that a nutrient-dense traditional diet fits all the requirements for the prevention and treatment of diabetes. The diet should include sufficient trace minerals from organic and biodynamic foods, Celtic sea salt, bone broths, shellfish, red meat, organ meats, unfiltered olive oil and nutritional yeast. High levels of vitamins A and D are essential, as are raw animal foods to provide vitamin B6.

Carbs

Strictly Limit Carbohydrate Intake

Most importantly, diabetics must strictly limit their daily carbohydrate intake. While the optimum amount of carbohydrate foods depends somewhat on activity levels, most diabetics need to start on a 60-gram-per-day carbohydrate regimen until their sugars normalize. I recommend The Schwarzbein Principle as a guide to carbohydrate consumption. The book contains easy-to-use charts that allow you to assess carbohydrate values. During the initial period of treatment, which can take up to a year, average blood sugar levels should be determined by a blood test that measures HgbA1c, a compound that indicates average blood sugar levels over a period of about 6 weeks. Carbohydrate restriction will also help with weight loss.

For Type II diabetics, this diet should help both blood sugar levels and weight to normalize, after which the daily carbohydrate intake can be liberalized to about 72 grams per day. This level should be maintained throughout the life of the diabetic. The same approach applies to the Type I diabetic, although it may not allow him to get off insulin. However, strict carbohydrate restriction should reduce insulin requirements, help keep blood sugar stable and, most importantly, prevent the many side effects associated with diabetes.

Please note that in this approach there are no restrictions on total food intake, nor do we pay attention to the so-called glycemic index of various carbohydrate foods. Fats consumed with any carbohydrate food will lower the glycemic index. Worrying about glycemic indices adds nothing to the therapy and only increases time spent calculating food values rather than enjoying its goodness. One should eat abundantly from good fats and proteins–only carbohydrate foods need to be restricted.”

With this approach, diabetics can expect greatly improved quality of life and even a complete cure.

Learn more during the free online conference Reversing Diabetes World Summit, May 5 – 12, 2014.

What is your experience of diabetes?

Disclosure
Please note that we serve as an affiliate for Amazon, in addition to allied organizations and individuals whose products and/or serves we recommend. In some cases, we receive referral bonuses or commissions for our promotional efforts. This enables us to sustain our educational efforts.

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Filed under Healing Arts, Natural Remedies, What is a healthy diet?

Happiness

Happy

Happiness is the state of being happy.

hap·py adjective \ˈha-pē\

: feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc.
: showing or causing feelings of pleasure and enjoyment
: pleased or glad about a particular situation, event, etc.

As of this writing, the song titled Happy by Pharrell Williams is the number 1 song on Billboard’s Hot 100 and has been for weeks. Homemade videos of people dancing to the song have been posted on YouTube from all over the world. As was reflected upon in an Oprah Winfrey interview, I think that the song and official video resonates with so many because we relate to the notion that it is our birthright to be happy. “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.”

In Nia classes, an expressive movement practice I have been committed to for the last 11 years, we have definitely clapped along. A foundational principle in Nia is a focus on the joy of movement, the antithesis of the “no pain, no gain” mentality.

“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. The phrase gives examples of the various “unalienable rights” which the Declaration says all human beings have been given by their Creator and for the protection of which they institute governments.

Yet many of us in our society aren’t experiencing happiness. Let’s explore some of the reasons why and how we might reverse that trend. Raine Saunders has gathered the information that follows for educational materials we are co-creating on Nourishing Ourselves, which will be launched this year.

Contributing Author Raine Saunders

Depression and Mood Disorders

A Time Magazine article from 2011 reports that antidepressant use has risen nearly 400% since 1988. An estimated 1 in 10 adults experiences depression, and more than 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 have been prescribed some type of antidepressant.

Those between the age range of 45-64 have been observed as most likely to experience depression.

Deadlock

As a society, why are we so depressed?

Food

We propose that our diets are lacking in nutrient-dense foods. We consume a large quantity of processed, nutritionally devoid food products. The consumption of processed food has been observed to have profound effects on the development of depression and mood disorders.

Read more in these articles: The Pursuit of Happiness and Violent Behavior: A Solution in Plain Sight

To manage depression, allopathic recommendations tell us to avoid real fats and consume plant foods and even processed, modern fats such as margarine and vegetable oils! Reducing cholesterol depletes seratonin binding and signaling in the body. Seratonin is a critical neurotransmitter that regulates many bodily functions including behavior, learning, and memory. We assert that eating a low-fat diet, recommended by many medical professionals, can lead to a variety of chronic health issues including depression. See sources at the bottom of this article [1].

Sleep

Some develop chronic habits of not getting enough sleep or staying up late. Some watch television or use a computer or other electronic device late at night. This causes a disruption in sleep patterns. Research suggests that those who don’t get adequate sleep or experience insomnia are in the highest risk category for depression. [2]

Stress

The frenetic pace of modern life exposes some of us to stress from which we find little opportunity for relief and escape. Stress causes depletion of nutrients in the body that support health.

Julia Ross, M.A., author of The Mood Cure, says that important, natural brain chemicals are used up quickly under conditions of chronic stress. Our body cannot produce these chemicals in adequate amounts without proper support, including rest and a nourishing diet. Source: The Mood Cure, page 5, a book we recommend via our Amazon affiliation.

In an article from Science Nordic on how stress can cause depression, studies with rats reveal that stress affects the brain’s ability to stay healthy. This causes shrinking of the hippocampus, a vital part of the brain. Stress impacts our short-term memory function and learning abilities which can affect our mood and behavior.

Sun

Some allopathic practitioners and other sources advise avoiding the sun. As a result, we spend more time indoors and don’t produce enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for many aspects of our health including brain development. The Vitamin D Council asserts that vitamin D receptors have been observed in various parts of the brain, and in particular, those associated with the manifestation of depression.

pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceuticals

Seratonin reuptake inhibitors commonly known as SSRIs and other antidepressants are routinely prescribed for depression. However, we don’t recommend them as a first step solution because they don’t address the underlying cause of depression. In addition we are concerned about the following side-effects:

SSRIs (seratonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft:

  • feeling agitated, shaky, or nervous
  • a feeling of malaise
  • digestive issues including stomach aches, diarrhea, or constipation
  • low sex drive
  • headaches
  • loss of appetite
  • dizziness

Antidepressants including Wellbutrin, Cymbalta, and Effexor

  • dry mouth
  • blurry vision
  • constipation
  • heart rhythm problems
  • weight gain
  • dizziness or drowsiness
  • difficulty passing urine

In the interest of time we won’t mention the myriad of side-effects connected to other antidepressants.

Girl on a beach

Our recommendations to support a sense of well-being and happiness:

  • Eat traditional fats such as those found in butter, lard, tallow, grassfed meats and poultry, and raw dairy foods.
  • Use coconut oil, apple cider raw vinegar, and other fermented and cultured foods such as homemade sauerkraut, beet kvass, yogurt and kefir, and probiotic supplements to support digestive health. These provide additional support for mental and brain function. Read more in Raine’s Medicine Cabinet.
  • In her book The Mood Cure, author Julia Ross has written extensively on the subject of diet and depression, and recommends removal of processed foods and inclusion of real, traditionally prepared foods to support mood and brain function. During his travels, Dr. Weston A. Price witnessed and wrote about the profound effect animal foods had on not only the physical but emotional and mental development of the brain and mental function. Proper bone and skeletal structure supports both physical and mental health, while deformities contribute to chronic health issues including a variety of mental disorders. [3]
  • Get regular, moderate sun exposure
  • Obtain adequate and regular sleep. Go to bed by 10 p.m.
  • Engage in stress relief such as meditation, yoga, sex or other activities that promote deep relaxation
  • Engage in some type of movement or exercise you enjoy such as walking, hiking, running, dancing, or bike riding

Here are foods we recommend that contain nutrients that protect against depression. These include the following nutrients in abundance – Vitamins A, D, calcium, and arachadonic acid:

  • Cod liver oil (vitamins A and D)
  • Butter from grass-fed animals (arachidonic acid, vitamins A and D)
  • Egg yolks from pasture-raised chickens (arachidonic acid, vitamins A and D)
  • Fats from grass-fed animals (arachidonic acid, vitamins A and D)
  • Organ meats from grass-fed animals (arachidonic acid, vitamins A and D)
  • Bone broths (calcium)
  • Raw whole milk from grass-fed animals (calcium, arachidonic acid, vitamins A and D)
  • Fish eggs (vitamins A and D)
  • Small whole fish (calcium, vitamins A and D)
  • Shell fish (vitamins A and D)

Source: Health and the Pursuit of Happiness

homeopathy

Alternatives to Prescription Medications

In addition to diet, here are some alternatives to prescription medications we can use to support mental health:

  • Homeopathy uses homeopathic medicines, derived from natural substances such as plants and roots to trigger the body’s healing response. This method uses the principle which the same substance which causes symptoms can be used to treat those same symptoms. Source: Depression, Anxiety and Homeopathy
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine uses herbs and acupuncture to address underlying imbalances in the body’s energetic organ meridian systems that can lead to depression. Source: The Case for Chinese Herbal Medicine in the Treatment of Depression
  • Ayurvedic medicine addresses causes of depression through diet, herbs, oils, and an understanding of each patient’s constitution and state of imbalance by considering the doshas or bodily humors. These affect the flow of energy in the body and their impact on our lymphatic system, immunity, circulation, and other factors which control our wellness and vitality. Source: Depression, Anxiety, and Ayurveda

What do you do in pursuit of happiness?

Disclosure
Please note that we serve as an affiliate for Amazon, in addition to allied organizations and individuals whose products and/or serves we recommend. In some cases, we receive referral bonuses or commissions for our promotional efforts. This enables us to sustain our educational efforts.
Sources
[1]
http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/diet-recovery
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232248.php
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17064686
http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/skinny-on-fats
http://paleosimplified.com/processed-food-depression-food-thought
[2]
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/really-using-a-computer-before-bed-can-disrupt-sleep/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608071941.htm
http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/depression-and-sleep
[3]
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, pages 321-346, Chapter 19
http://www.westonaprice.org/dentistry/mental-or-dental
http://paleosimplified.com/processed-food-depression-food-thought/
https://www.moodcure.com/

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Filed under Nourishing Our Spirits, Nutrient Dense Foods, What is a healthy diet?

How do you keep the beet?

roasted-beet-salad-500px

I love beets.

I welcome new ways to prepare them. Roasted beet and walnut salad with kombucha vinaigrette is a recipe from Jenny McGruther’s new cookbook available via our Amazon affiliation The Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table Recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle (Ten Speed Press 2014). It is re-published below by permission.

The benefits of beets

Beet roots have always been included in Dr. Joseph Mercola’s most recommended vegetables list, although we are advised to use them sparingly because of their high carbohydrate levels.

Although beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, he asserts that most people can safely eat beet roots a few times a week, and their greens in unlimited quantities, enjoying not only their sweet, earthy flavor but also their powerhouse nutrients that may improve your health in the following ways. Dr. Mercola lists 6 benefits of beets:

  1. Lower Your Blood Pressure
  2. Boost Your Stamina
  3. Fight Inflammation
  4. Anti-Cancer Properties
  5. Rich in Valuable Nutrients and Fiber
  6. Detoxification Support

Kiley Dumas adds another couple of items to the list:

  • Beets are nature’s Viagra. Seriously. One of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac. And that’s not just urban legend – science backs it up. Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
  • Beets help your mental health. Beets contain betaine, the same substance that is used in certain treatments of depression. It also contains trytophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well-being, similar to chocolate [which we actually recommend you avoid].

Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad with Kombucha Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 8 hours, 5 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 pounds beets
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter or ghee
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts [preferably crispy walnuts]
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into rings no thicker than 1/8 inch

Kombucha Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons kombucha
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground
  • unrefined sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. To prepare the salad, trim the beets by removing any beet tops and the tips of their roots. Dot each beet with a touch of clarified butter, then wrap each in parchment paper and again in aluminum foil. Roast the beets for 45 to 60 minutes, until they yield under the pressure of a fork. Refrigerate the beets for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.
  3. To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk the kombucha tea with the salt, allspice, cloves, and the walnut and olive oils. The vinaigrette will store at room temperature for up to 3 weeks, but remember to shake it vigorously before dressing the salad because the oil will separate from the tea and spices when left sitting.
  4. Just before serving, heat a skillet over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until very hot. Toss in the walnuts and toast them for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. Remove the cold beets from the fridge, peel them, and chop into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss the beets with the sliced onion and toasted walnuts. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, toss again, and serve.

More recipes

There are over 160 recipes based on the traditional foods philosophy of eating, which emphasizes properly prepared grains, raw and cultured dairy, pastured-raised red meat, organ meats, and fermented foods in Jenny’s new book: The Nourished Kitchen. It is available for pre-order now and will be released shortly! I consider it not only to be an invaluable resource but, a work of art.

What are your favorite ways to consume beets?

Disclosure
Please note that we serve as an affiliate for Amazon, in addition to allied organizations and individuals whose products and/or serves we recommend. In some cases, we receive referral bonuses or commissions for our promotional efforts. This enables us to sustain our educational efforts.

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Filed under Nutrient Dense Foods, Recipes

Why Buy Local?

Local

Sandrine’s Introduction:

Buying locally is something that I value and recommend for so many reasons, one of which is that I like supporting and being a part of the community I live in. The word locavore was added to the dictionary in 2005: lo·ca·vore ˈlōkəˌvôr/ noun 1. a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food. One’s food shed is often described as food grown within a 100 mile radius. There are a few occasions when I do opt to buy items that aren’t produced locally, because sometimes it is economically advantageous to do so. Read my article titled Decisions  written about my own quandary. I also do buy some items that simply aren’t produced locally such as salt, tea, coconut oil and the like.

By Author Raine Saunders: 

Although Globalization may be the wave of the future, it is not the best choice for health. Here’s why …

Let’s say it’s winter time and you are in the grocery store looking for fresh vegetables and fruits. In many regions, a good variety of produce is not readily available and so the method of bringing in tomatoes or oranges in during the cold months is to ship them from different parts of the world who can grow these plants year-round. Why would this be a problem? One reason is that having to ship all these foods all over the globe uses up more fuel. This drives up the price of petrol and pollutes the environment. Another issue is that in shipping these fruits and vegetables all over the globe, merchants are finding that much produce is perishing more quickly than they are able to turn a profit. In order to make sure their produce does not perish before it makes its arrival in the store, many decide to grow plants in an altered environment where the plant has been modified somehow to survive days of travel and stocking on the grocery store shelf.

In addition to genetically and otherwise modified foods, toxins and pollution from shipment and travel adversely affect the produce being sent. If these toxins and chemicals affect the produce, does it affect your health? Indeed. Eating local produce cuts down on toxins and pollution on fruits and vegetables because the food has traveled less distance to get to your table. That’s a happy thought.

Seasonal Purchasing 

The notion of eating fruits and vegetables in season is also becoming more and more understood by local communities. In season varieties allow the local farms to receive your support when you buy, reduces pollution from shipment, and provides the opportunity to try new foods and seasonal recipes that you may have otherwise overlooked. It tastes better too! Buying in season is more sustainable and better for your health as during different times of the year, your body needs different types of foods. Those needs come and go with the season, and thus eating in season makes health sense.

In Idaho, many crops do not grow in the winter time. So the shipping of produce from many other locations is something grocery stores do in order to provide a full menu for their customers. But, many local farmers are now using winter green houses and hot houses. This should reduce the need to ship in from other locations. Unfortunately, the demand of customer’s dictates that we have anything we want anytime we want it. Thus, the stores are shipping in anything and everything all the time.

Alternatives might include adjusting our consumption of certain types of produce during times of the year when they are not locally available. Some people make use of the available produce during peak seasons by canning, or drying, their food. We recommend Fido and Ball caning jars which can be purchased though our Amazon affiliation as well as the titles The Complete Book of Home Preserving, and The Natural Canning Resource Book, both of which can also be purchased through our Amazon affiliation. Two great dehydrators that we recommend are KegWorks Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator or the TSM Products Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator, both of which can be purchased through our Amazon affiliation.  Although these activities take a little more time and effort, you are conserving in many ways by making use of the available produce when it is fresh and preserving it safely for later use. Another alternative is to buy at your local farmers market. Growers from nearby farms can bring their seasonal produce to your local community. For a list of farmers markets in your hometown visit Local Harvest to locate farmers markets and organic and local products in your neighborhood.

Products that aren’t local

Even though buying local is important, there are other healthy products that may not be produced in your local area that may be of interest.  Some examples include traditional fats such as coconut oil, ghee, and olive oil.

For coconut oil, consider these brands we recommend through our Amazon affiliation: Artisana  Raw Coconut OilGarden of Life Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil, or Barlean’s Organic Oils Extra Virgin Coconut Oil .

For ghee, consider these brands we recommend: Pure Indian FoodsPurity Farms, or Ancient Organics.

For olive oil, consider these brands we recommend: Bariani Olive Oil CompanyBragg’s Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or Kevala Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

To what degree do you consider yourself a locavore?

Disclosure
Please note that we serve as an affiliate for Amazon, in addition to allied organizations and individuals whose products and/or serves we recommend. In some cases, we receive referral bonuses or commissions for our promotional efforts. This enables us to sustain our educational efforts

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Filed under Savvy Shopping, Sustainable Practices, Traditional Foods, What is a healthy diet?