Category Archives: Natural Remedies
Do you feel like life is going by too quickly? Do you feel like time is slipping away? Do you miss important moments because you are always multi-tasking? Do you feel like you are always looking forward to the next moment instead of enjoying this one. Here are some tips to help you slow down and smell the roses.
Breathe Deep: When you have deep breaths you engage your parasympathetic system which relaxes your body. When you breath deeply it is almost impossible to think about other things. The simple act of breathing keeps us from focusing on the future and what we “should be doing”.
Chew Your Food: Do you wolf down your food because you are in a hurry to do something else? Do you talk on the phone or watch TV when you ought to be masticating and savoring each bite. Chewing food will help your digestion and increase awareness of the present. Plus it seems that people who chew at least 20 times for each bite are full on less food.
Drink Tea: Tea is hot and it is hard to drink quickly so it will automatically slow you down. The whole act of tea is slow, waiting for the water to brew, then waiting for tea to steep. Each sip will help you savor the present moment. You can take tea time to reflect on how lucky you are to have tea to drink. This is one of my favorite teas especially with some coconut milk.
Drink Broth: Broth encourages awareness because first you have to save your bones, then simmer them for 24 hours in a Slow Cooker. Then you have to strain off the brown bits. Broth will give you vital minerals which will help you focus so you can be in the moment. Broth is also full of glycine which heals the gut lining which will boost your mood. See my recipe here. If you are too busy to make it you can order it a great source here.
Acupuncture: I have been going to Community Acupuncture lately and it has been incredible. They are so attentive and helpful with all my ailments. It is an amazing place because it is a sliding scale from$15-35, plus it is a chain so most likely there is one near you. They put you in this big recliner and stick in the needles in certain spots based on your needs. My eyes close and 45 minutes later I come out of my dream like state. It may seem like I was asleep but it feels like I went to another level of awareness. The time flies by and all my stress is gone too. Have you tried acupuncture?
Try Meditation: Meditation helps you shut out all the “noise” so you can truly experience the present moment. When you practice meditation your mind easily goes to this new place where all your cares seem to float away. Read my article on how to meditate here:
Walk Outside: I love walking outside and breathing fresh air. I love to get out of the city and hike, especially in the Marin Headlands. This area is totally away from the ambulance noises and there are very few people. When you walk outside it is tough to multitask so it is a good time to focus on enjoying nature and being in the moment.
Sit by the Ocean: When you sit by the ocean or walk on a beach you soak up negative ions from the air. This automatically calms anxiety and even increases Serotonin. Listening to the waves will help calm your nerves and keep you from focusing on your to-do list.
Make a Gratitude List: Practicing gratitude increases feel good chemicals in the brain making it more likely that you will enjoy the simple things in life. Giving thanks will naturally lower cortisol production which will help reduce stress (and reduce belly fat). We spend so much time thinking of all the things we don’t have or don’t like but counting your blessings will help us savor each moment.
Take an Epsom salt bath: In the bathtub you can’t have your phone or Ipad to distract you. You have to sit in there for 20-30 minutes in order to not waste water, so it is a good time to be in the moment. The magnesium in Epsom Salt helps all the tension in your muscles to relax away helping you get out of fight or flight mode.
Stretch: Sometimes when I want to meditate but I am just too jacked up, I opt for stretching instead. I put on some Kitaro on Pandora and I just do every stretch I can think of. After a few minutes I am so in the moment that I forget my worries. Try some stretching for yourself and let me know how it works.
How do you increase your awareness to be present and in the moment?
Green juice is all the rage and all I ever hear about is detox fasts with liquified veggies. In the film Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead the main character, Joe Cross, drinks nothing but juice for 60 days and loses a lot of weight and calms down his autoimmune skin condition. I think his results are wonderful but I think someone can get similar results without being hungry and drinking only juice.
When people start juicing they often report a feeling of euphoria and many find their poor health symptoms (such as rashes, bloating, constipation, gas, acne) are quickly alleviated. I believe this is because when people go on a juice fast they eliminate all the possible food allergens that they were previously consuming.
Most people are sensitive to dairy, wheat/gluten, soy, corn and other grains. People are also very often poisoning themselves with new substances like soybean, canola, and corn oil found in processed foods and at most restaurants. The removal of these food toxins will dramatically improve someones health, which is the same thing that happens on a juice fast along with some other unintended consequences.
Here are some common juicing pitfalls I see in my practice:
Blood Sugar Swings: Many people drink green juice as a meal replacement which may be okay if it is only done for one day as a temporary cleanse. The problem is that skipping fat and protein rich meals causes toxic blood sugar highs and lows. Blood sugar regulation is key to avoiding diabetes and may even be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Fruit Overload: Many people get carried away with fruit when they are juicing, which creates a concentrated source of sugar. Most juicers remove the pulp and fiber which speeds the delivery of the glucose and fructose. These juices made with carrots, pineapple, mango, papaya and bananas, for example can create a sugar rush. When the blood sugar crashes several hours later people are likely to search for more sugary treats defeating the purpose of the juice cleanse/fast in the first place.
Goitrogen Gangbusters: When certain raw vegetables are squeezed into juice some of their compounds can concentrate. When vegetables like kale, spinach, cabbage and collards are cooked some goitrogens are reduced. A overload of goitrogenic vegetables can interfere with iodine absorption and slow down thyroid function. If you eat these veggies in their whole form (not juiced) you will most likely not be able to consume massive quantities because the fiber will slow you down and fill you up.
Protein Priority: If you drink a green juice and have two eggs fried in grass fed butter with it, it will probably be fine, but that is not what I usually see my clients doing. Many people drink a green juice for breakfast then wonder why they couldn’t resist getting a burrito at lunch. The reason is this person didn’t actually have breakfast. Green juice is usually a combination of water, sugar, and some minerals and vitamins but it is lacking the protein and fats needed to feed our cells and make hormones. If you are in a rush add some protein to your juice with this great protein powder.
Forgotten Fiber: The fiber from green vegetables can feed the beneficial bacteria which helps motility. When someone is juicing most of the fiber is removed so they may miss out on some of the benefits. Some people keep the fiber when making green drinks such as in a Vita-Mix but that can cause problems too. Many people with compromised health like IBS or IBD are better able to digest well cooked vegetables in broth and soups like on the GAPS Diet and SCD diets.
Downstream Digestion: Digestion begins in the mouth when food is mixed with saliva, and some say it starts just from smelling/seeing food. Chewing cues stomach acid production and peristalsis. When someone is only having liquid food they may not send the right signals downstream to start digestion off right. If stomach acid is not released in sufficient amounts food will not get broken down and nutrients won’t be absorbed.
Unstable Moods: Skipping meals by only drinking juice can make people feel moody, tired, and hungry often sabotaging good dietary intentions. If we do not have the right fuel we will feel tense and irritable. Our brain needs plenty of protein for our neurons to make chemical endorphins that make us feel calm and happy. Blood sugar irregularities from a lack of quality animal protein put the body into fight or flight mode increasing depression and anxiety.
Acid/Alkaline Balance: You can’t talk about juicing without hearing about acid and alkaline balance. One of the main reasons people are acidic is that they eat too much sugar. It is not imperative to mainline juice to achieve an alkaline balance but it is important to reduce or eliminate inflammatory, hard to digest foods like grains/gluten, vegetable oils, pasteurized dairy, legumes and fructose. When people have a good proportion of leafy and crunchy vegetables, grass fed meats, fish, eggs and healthy fats they easily achieve alkalinity.
Critical Co-factors: Fruits and vegetables come in whole forms for a reason and they have evolved certain nutritional profiles that we have barely begun to understand. Why mess with perfection when we have no idea what we are doing? I just think when a vegetable is pulverized and the pulp is removed from the water there may be certain phytonutrients or natural co-factors that we will be missing, just the way we understand now that isolated and/or synthetic vitamins are not replacements for healthy foods.
The big reason I am a proponent of lower carbohydrate Paleo diet is that it removes the common allergens that most people have problems with. These are same foods that most people eliminate on a juice fast which is why they see great results. By eating grass fed meats, pastured poultry, or wild fish and organic vegetables at every meal people can stabilize their mood, stamina and energy while allowing their body to heal and detox. If you decide to juice use it as a complement to your meals not as a replacement.
Are you looking for more help?
Get this great e-book for getting started on a grain free lifestyle!
I see many clients who are very stressed out and seem to push themselves to the limit everyday. This sets people up for major health challenges down the road. When a person does not manage stress well, too much cortisol is produced which wears away the lining of the gut, lungs, skin and brain. When these protective layers are compromised a person is likely to have allergies, headaches, bloating, heartburn, gas, acne, asthma, food allergies and much more.
My Introduction to Meditation:
Back in 2009 when my health took a nose dive, I sought help from a wise nutritionist named Dixie. She went to the same nutrition school that I did but she had many years of experience as a healer. She was a very wise soul and Buddhist who lived in an Ashram. She knew a thing or two about meditation, relaxation and stress relief, to say the least. While I am not as Zen-ed out as Dixie, I can still try my best. That is the thing about meditation: perfection is not required. It is a practice and something we get better at each time we do it. We have to train our bodies and brains to calm down and be in the moment. If someone decides to start a meditate practice it will have great benefits for health by immediately reducing stress.
How to Meditate:
- Wear comfortable clothing
- Play some soft peaceful music (such as Kitaro may help beginners to relax)
- Create a quite space free from distractions
- Get comfortable: you can sit on a pillow with your legs crossed, sitting up straight
- You can also try lying on the floor in a comfortable position (but avoid sleeping)
- Close your eyes
- You can put your hand on your belly and feel it rising and falling
- Try repeating a word or phrase: such as peace or love
- Focus on your natural and normal breathing
- Just observe the thoughts that come like waves without criticism or judgement
- Don’t try to stop thinking just accept the way you are now
- Thoughts will calm as you keep practicing
- Try starting with 5-10 minutes and work up to 20-30 minutes
- When finished, slowly open your eyes and let your thoughts return to a normal rhythm
- Just like exercise, with practice it will get easier to get into a meditative state
Don’t over-think it
You can shut your eyes and breathe for two minutes before a meeting or phone call. You can do it when you are parked in a parking lot. It does not have to be a formal setting with candles and incense. The main thing is to do it whenever you can fit it in. If your boss or spouse is driving you nuts, that is the perfect time to take a 5 minute “me” break. Walking can even be a meditation if you do not blast music and focus on enjoying the surroundings.
How meditation can improve health:
- Support adrenal glands by taking people out of fight or flight mode
- Helps to balance the immune system
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- increases stomach acid for improved digestion
- Reduces cortisol and belly fat
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases concentration and attention span
- Improves sex drive by reducing cortisol
- Reduces inflammation and chronic disease risk
- Expands compassion and connection for others
- Improves sleep and provides insomnia relief
- Reduces chronic pain
Looking for more info on meditation and mindfulness:
One of the first CD’s I got about meditation and increasing mindfulness is from Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn is internationally known as a meditation teacher, author, researcher, and clinician in the fields of mind/body medicine, integrative medicine, lifestyle change, and self-healing. He is an expert in stress reduction, relaxation, and the applications of mindfulness meditation in everyday living to optimize one’s capacity to deal with stress, pain, and illness across the lifespan. His work is now referred to by health professionals as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), and is offered in medical centers, hospitals, and clinics around the world.
Most of my clients who come to me are constipated and they don’t even know it. We should be moving 12 inches of poop to have a healthy colon and proper digestion. If you are not eliminating a good amount of waste daily you may want to investigate because constipation over time can be very toxic and a sign of looming health issues.
Gluten and Grains: Grains cause major problems in the digestive tract and block many minerals from being absorbed. When minerals are blocked then smooth muscles won’t function properly for elimination. Grains also neutralize digestive enzymes which cause gas and bloating which slows down peristalsis.
Soy: dramatically stifles thyroid hormone production which is a major player in proper elimination. Cut out all soy products pronto to get back to regularity!
Magnesium: is a vital mineral needed for over 300 bodily processes. Our soil is depleted of this super mineral and so is our food. A standard American diet is very low in colorful vegetables needed to help us get enough magnesium. Some people may need to cook vegetables well to break them down which does not affect the magnesium status. Bone broth is also a great source of magnesium many people overlook.
Fiber: Some people take psyllium husk fiber supplements and these can cause more harm than help. Psyllium husks can be very irritating to an already inflamed gut lining in the constipated person because they are impossible to digest. Using psyllium regularly is not a good idea because it does not address the bigger picture of why a person has constipation in the first place. Getting fiber from vegetables is much better idea for improving motility.
Probiotics: Many courses of antibiotics over a lifetime kill off our good bacteria that help move wastes out of the body. It is important to repopulate the gut with beneficial bacteria like Sauerkraut and Kim-chee. Antibiotics also slow down our metabolism which additionally affects regularity. An abundance of sugar and carbs in the diet will also cause proliferation of poor flora causing dysbiosis, an imbalance of beneficial flora. Dysbiosis has been linked to colon cancer in many studies so it is very important to get the bowels moving by introducing good probiotic organisms. See my recipe to make your own sauerkraut at home.
Stress: When we have a lot of stress our body stays in the flight or flight mode and the last thing it will do is relax enough for a proper bowel movement. Eating in a hurry, overeating and multi-tasking during meals also negatively affects digestion because poorly chewed food increases putrefaction and stagnation. It is important reduce digestive stress by eating slowly, chewing well, and eating a blood sugar balancing diet. It is also critical to sleep 8 hours a night and participate in relaxing exercise like walking or slow yoga to achieve normal bowel rhythm.
Watch my video below about relieving constipation:
and Digestive Wellness by Liz Lipski Ph.D.
When I was a young child I had frequent bladder infections, but I thought it was just something was I prone to and had to deal with. The more I have learned about holistic health in the last few years I’ve begun to understand that these constant trips to the doctor were very related to the food I was eating. I ate tons of sugar as a kid in the form of cereal, orange juice, bread and whatever else I could find, all of which wore down my immunity. I also probably had a dairy sensitivity all my life too, but I ate tons of it anyway.
I took mountains of antibiotics as a child which helped the pain right away, but in another month or so I was back at the doctor with another bladder (or ear infection). The sad fact is that powerful antibiotics kill all of our good and bad bacteria in the colon making us less able to fight a pathogen the next time around. These prescriptions didn’t help with my constant sugar cravings and some research shows that multiple rounds of antibiotics make kids prone to obesity. I changed my diet a few years ago and I have not had a bladder infection since, which I don’t think is a coincidence.
- Drink 6-8 glasses of pure, filtered water every day
- Urinate when you feel the urge, do not hold it
- Wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from entering your urethra
- Avoid public pools and jacuzzi’s to avoid pathogenic bacteria
- Go to the bathroom immediately after intercourse
- Avoid fragrant cleaning creams and lotions that have harmful chemicals that can disrupt flora
- Use only white unscented toilet paper to avoid potential dye reactions
- Add fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, beet kvass daily to improve your good flora which helps fight infection
- If you do not like fermented foods you can take a good probiotic like Essential Formulas Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics but fermented food is always a better source of beneficial bacteria
What to do if you get a UTI:
If you do get an infection there is an alternative to try before jumping into antibiotics called D-Mannose.
D-Mannose is a fruit sugar that can be taken for a short time to clear a bladder infection. Take 1000 mg three times day for the first two days then 1000 mg once a day for 4-5 more days. If no improvement is felt after the first 72 hours then consult your doctor. UTI’s can be very serious if ignored.
D-mannose occurs naturally in many plants, including cranberries, blueberries, peaches, oranges, and apples. It is very safe for most people and won’t raise blood sugar the way cranberry juice can. The supplement serves as a kind of magnet in the urinary tract, attracting the E. coli bacteria and keeping them from attaching to the bladder lining. Then the D-mannose and the harmful molecules are flushed out with the normal urine flow.
For those women who suffer from “honeymoon cystitis” (bladder infections linked to sexual intercourse), D-mannose can be taken before intercourse, and a little more immediately after, can help prevent infection.
Diet: If you get a lot of urinary tract infections it is a good idea to take a look at your diet. A diet high in sugar and carbs can feed harmful bacteria which will run down the immune system, opening the door for UTI’s.
When our bodies are overtaxed and over programmed it will also cause imbalances in beneficial and protective bacteria. It will also wear down our linings of defense such the gut, lungs, and skin making us more prone to invaders. Try to get plenty of sleep (8 hours) and engage in yoga, meditation or walking to manage tension and anxiety.
One of the most stressful things on our body is a nutrient poor diet. Improve your immune system with a lower carb paleo diet.
For an easy get started guide Click Here!