Tag Archives: natural cures

Neti Pot for Seasonal Allergy Relief

Neti Pot for Seasonal Allergy ReliefJust in case you aren’t aware, this years allergy season is supposed to be one of the worst ever. Spring is here, and in addition to a much needed detox, your nasal passageways may need a little extra TLC to deal with the high pollen levels. Last week when with a dear friend at a health food store, she stopped to buy neti salt, and told me that her intense seasonal allergies which used to have her popping tons of medications have completely ceased to exist just by using a neti pot religiously. Apparently this was a divine encounter, because the following day, I had an allergy attack which included the not so awesome highlights of sneezing every few seconds, itchy eyes, and feeling like I was walking around in a purple haze. On my slightly delirious trip to the health food store to get some homeopathic allergy meds, I remembered the neti pot and decided to give it a try. After using it twice that day, nothing really happened, but the following day I might as well have thrown a mucus releasing party. By day three things calmed down and the sneezing had stopped altogether.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies and have not considered using a neti pot, give it a try. The reason why it works is that allergic reactions which include sneezing, coughing etc. are usually your bodies’ response to a completely benign element like pollen which can accumulate in your nasal passages. Using a neti pot is almost like doing a regular colonic or enema, in that it is preventative and keeps your nasal passages free and clear of debris that could accumulate and cause reactions. It also may free you from having to take any medications, because you are getting rid of the problem. Below is a video that I found online that illustrates how to use a neti pot for any newbies like I was. They come in various shapes and sizes and are made from various materials like ceramic or plastic. Go with whatever works for you and follow the directions. The key is to also make sure you are regularly cleaning your neti pot and that you use filtered water to avoid contaminating your body with any organisms or germs that will wreak additional havoc on your system. -XoXo Raw Girl

Juice! Broccoli Blast

Broccoli Blast

Have you ever tried juicing broccoli? Although I love eating broccoli raw it is also a great addition to your daily dose of greens! Broccoli comes from the gangsta family of cruciferous vegetables with includes cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and the almighty kale. It has an awesome amount of calcium and vitaminK, in addition to vitamin C, vitamin B-complex, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, and iron. Juicing broccoli can be useful for any sort of digestive disorder including indigestion, gastritis, or ulcers. It is also beneficial in preventing breast cancer because it helps to rid the body of excess estrogen, and has a high level of antioxidants which of course slow the aging process and prevent macular degeneration. -XoXo Raw Girl

Broccoli Blast

Ingredients:

2 Large Stalks of Broccoli

1 Head of Celery

3-4 Kale Leaves

1 Apple

Ginger

Run all ingredients through a juicer. Serve, strain, enjoy!

Juice! Broccoli Blast

Natural Cures for Mercury & Lead Poisoning


Natural Cures for Mercury & Lead PoisoningHeavy metal poisoning is becoming a common health issue in our toxic world. Two types of heavy metal toxicity often seen nowadays are lead and mercury poisoning and can affect children and adults. Both may go untreated because the symptoms are mistaken for other illnesses but excessive levels of either lead or mercury in the body can cause serious damage to health short-term and long-term. Lead poisoning can cause excess levels of aggressiveness, irritability, damage to the nervous system, damage the reproductive system, elevate blood pressure, and harm the developing brains of children. In fact, I stumbled across some articles that investigated the correlation between murder rates in various cities and increased exposure to lead. One author even asserted based on research conducted that inner city crime may actually be the result of children in urban environments being  exposed to something around 10 million tons of lead residue from paint, the environment, and from water pumped through lead pipes. A Cincinnati study conducted over a twelve year period showed, “a shocking 50% increase in violent crimes occurred for each 5 mcg/dcL increase in blood lead concentration.” In addition, “The results showed that the brain’s gray matter — the part associated with intellect and reasoning ability — was shrunk an average of 1.2%.”  That was so mind-blowing it made me want to  throw on my Raw Girl cape, strap on my combat stilettos, and start zapping some lead and pumping organic green juice through inner city faucets, stat. In addition to water, paint, and the environment the list of products that contain lead continues to grow including things like cosmetics, batteries, jewelry, toys, vitamins, food cans, cell phones, computers, lipstick, water fountains, balsamic vinegar, and fruit juices. In fact, some samples of apple and grape juices have been found to contain unhealthy levels of arsenic along with lead that exceeded federal standards for bottled and municipal water.

Mercury poisoning can damage your brain, central nervous system and kidneys. Some of the symptoms of toxic build up in the body due to heavy metals include fatigue, depression, impaired blood sugar regulation, and female reproductive problems. Primary causes of mercury poisoning include dental fillings, and eating fish that have been exposed to mercury. A study for  Biodiversity Research Institute in Maine showed that 84% of all fish available for mass consumption have unsafe levels of mercury. Tuna and swordfish usually have the highest levels, but other fish are still susceptible to toxicity.

Did you also know that high fructose corn syrup also has high levels of mercury? This highly addictive food additive is in almost everything on the supermarket shelves, which proves that the majority of processed foods are indeed toxic and need to be avoided at all costs. If you have fillings and for that reason or otherwise think you may be exposed to heavy metals, you can purchase over the counter cleanses that are effective. A great and festive way to combine a few mercury cleansing foods is to regularly make fresh salsa with tomatoes, garlic, onions, and a generous serving of cilantro. In the event that you have already been diagnosed and are already struggling with mercury or lead poisoning, thankfully mother nature has provided some foods that can help to flush the heavy metals out of your body. Remember during your process that you have the power to take control of your own healing. Be gentle with yourself, stay focused on that vision of your recovery, and may the veggie force be with you. -XoXo Raw Girl 

Nutritional Balance is one of the things that helps to counteract lead toxicity. When your body has optimal amounts of zinc, calcium, magnesium, selenium, iron, copper, B Vitamins this helps to curb the effects of lead on your system. Vitamin C is key because it neutralizes the effects of lead and increases its elimination. Restore balance by closely watching your diet to ensure you are getting a wide range of nutrients from whole foods, especially those listed above, as well as integrating high quality supplements and super foods. Go to whatever lengths necessary to eat hormone and pesticide-free for a more effective detox program.

garlic

Garlic is another natural remedy that can be used to heal from lead  and mercury poisoning. In 1960 a Belgian scientist discovered in his research that garlic can bring about detoxification in cases of chronic lead poisoning. The sulfur in garlic also plays a big role in combatting mercury poisoning.

Aloe Vera which can be taken in juice form or by using the gel from the plant (in moderation) can help with heavy metal toxicity especially lead because it loosens bowel movements so that toxins can be expelled from the body.

imagesBrazil Nuts contain selenium which is a powerful mineral for neutralizing toxins.

cilantro

Cilantro is a heavy metal detoxifying superfood which actually binds mercury in the bloodstream and facilitates it leaving the body. It is also a very powerful remedy for flushing lead and aluminum.

chlorella-factsChlorella, another heavy metal superfood is a single-celled fresh water algae that acts as an efficient detox agent. The large amounts of chlorophyll present in chlorella make it extremely powerful, allowing the body to process more oxygen, cleanse the blood, and promote the growth and repair of tissues.

Ten Immune Boosting Power Foods for Winter Wellness

black_woman_sneezingChristmas is just around the corner and it’s been getting chilly lately, although we have yet to see any snow hit the ground. When the weather starts to fluctuate it can sometimes wreak havoc on even the most health conscious poster girl, if she happens to be unprepared and caught in the cold without a hat and gloves. I myself was visiting New York, and was exposed to just a little too much cold during my visit, which had my lymph nodes feeling like a sore throat or cough was about to come on by the time I returned.

What do you do when you get that not-so-great-runny-nose feeling? What I do is immediately grab some natural immune boosters that will stop that sickness in its tracks and have me barely missing a beat from my usual routine. Below is a list of some go-to immune boosting foods and supplements. Depending on how gangsta you need to get you may need more than one on the list. To beat the forthcoming cold that could have stopped me in my tracks, I added Spirulina in my juice, had some kombucha, drank tea with honey and lemon, followed by chewing on some ginger throughout the day, and seriously by the next day I was brand new. Remember also, sickness and mucus based illnesses also come from too much food consumption, consumption of the wrong kinds of foods (processed), or our colons being backed up. Which is why taking a break from heavy foods and doing soups, juices, teas, and water always accelerates your process of getting back to a 100% healthy you. – XoXo Raw Girl

ginger-root1Ginger is one of the best cold remedies on the planet. A staple in traditional Chinese medicine, ginger has been used for over 2,500 years to treat congestion, sinus pain, and sore throat. It has strong yang energy and warms the stomach and lungs. Ginger is also great for relieving nausea or indigestion. Eat ginger fresh, juice the root along with greens, boil it and steep to make tea, or add it to foods.

Garlic has been used the world over for warding off colds and the common flu. It is powerful because of it’s anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. Eat fresh garlic cloves, juice them, take odorless garlic pills, make garlic tea, or add to foods.

830435_27547401Papaya is a very nutrient dense fruit packed with beta carotene, vitamin A & C, iron, calcium, folate, potassium, fiber, and more. A small papaya contains around three times the daily recommended value of vitamin C, which is a nice whopping serving that can send a common cold running for the hills faster than you can say “Bless you!”

Oranges are the typical go-to Vitamin C boosters that will help you fight a cold if you already have one, or keep the sniffles at bay. Eat them fresh or juice them fresh. Remember that the typical cartons of O.J. in the store are not only pasteurized (which kills of most nutrients) but they have other preservatives added to the juice that won’t necessarily do your body good. Fresh squeezed is always the best way to go, especially if you are trying to give sickness a run for it’s money.

spirulina2Spirulina is blue green algae that you can take in pill or powder form. Consuming this superfood regularly will boost your immunity enough that you will not have to worry about most illnesses. Read more about the amazing superfood Spirulina

Mung Bean Sprouts have pure forms of vitamin A, B, C, and E, along with K, calcium, iron, magnesium, pottassium, phosphorous, and zinc. One cup contains 1/4 the daily recommended value for vitamin C. Because of their high vitamin C content these power sprouts have been used since ancient times to ward off disease. Eat them fresh, add to soups, or salads.

Blog-27-ImageWheatgrass may be hard on the taste buds going down, but it’s worth the discomfort. About two ounces of this green stuff is equivalent to three pounds of organic vitamins and minerals. Wheatgrass is a complete protein and this antioxidant packed super shot helps to detoxify the body and remove toxins, energize, and will assist with relieving sinus issues and congestion. Contains vitamin A, C, E, and zinc to name a few, and can be taken alone as a shot or added to a juice.

Wellness Formula is a vitamin supplement that really works. I recommend it sometimes to people who get sick often or as a way to stop the onset of a cold. You can find it in most health food stores. Nowadays most vitamins are completely useless, but this formula delivers for warding off sickness, or helping you recover.

Green Juice is one of my favorite cure-alls. Got Chlorophyll? Add in a lot of ginger root and lemon, and you should start to feel groovy and sickness-free pretty quickly. Juicing nutrient packed greens and herbs like kale, chards, parsley, spinach, etc. will help bring your body back to one.

kombuchaKombucha Tea is a powerful tea created from fermenting mushrooms that can assist in healing numerous conditions. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and therefore can treat sore throats and common colds. If Kombucha is consumed regularly it has been shown to be an effective preventative medicine creating resistance to colds and flus in the majority of people. You can brew your own, buy it local, or find it at a health food store. When you find that magical brand, stick with it. The most powerful brands I have ever tried have always been locally made.

Juice! Sandy’s Cilantro Detox and Benefits of Cilantro

Sandy’s Cilantro Detox

1 Bunch Green Kale Leaves (5-7 Leaves)

1 head of Celery

1 or 2 Limes

handful cilantro

handful parsley

1 apple (optional)

Juice, strain, serve. Enjoy! :)

To pay homage to the unfortunate Hurricane headed for the East Coast as I wrote and scheduled this post last week, I’ve named today’s juice Sandy’s Cilantro Detox. Cilantro also known as coriander is a lovely addition to a juice or smoothie. Full of antioxidants this herb also has a nice amount of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, C,E, B6, K, phosphorous, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, manganese. The iron and magnesium make cilantro great for fighting anemia. Ladies! Take note, adding cilantro into your diet once a month prior to the onset of PMS may be beneficial because it can relieve menstrual cramps and reduce hormonal mood swings of the condition I like to call Vegan Bi&% Syndrome. In addition to this, along with aged garlic and chlorella, cilantro is great at removing heavy metals from your body like mercury, aluminum, and lead. Incorporating cilantro in your diet will also natural remove accumulated pesticides from your body as well. Other benefits include reducing cholesterol, aiding production of digestive enzymes, promoting liver function, disinfecting and detoxifying the body, relieving arthritis, reducing nausea, lowering blood pressure, reducing cellulite, lowering blood sugar, and being an effective natural fighter of salmonella. Keeping all of these awesome benefits in mind, you may not want to reserve cilantro only for your salsa. Toss it in your juice, smoothie, or salad for a fresh green taste with great nutritional benefits to boot. -XoXo Raw Girl

The Amazing Wonders of Spirulina!

The word superfood is tossed around in common health lingo so often it’s hard to tell what is worth its weight in gold. Nowadays, everything seems to be deemed a “superfood” by doctors and health authorities alike. The word superfood is really an unscientific term to loosely describe and market a food or foods that offer incredibly high nutritional value. Nature is truly the body’s best healer and many fruits, vegetables, and herbs have nutritional content that is of value to anyone looking to obtain optimal health. But the word superfood, I feel, should be reserved for foods like spirulina, which when incorporated in your diet can have extremely profound affects on your energy level, nutrient intake, boost immunity, and promote healing and prevention of disease.

So what is this superfood spirulina? Spirulina is a blue green algae, a one-celled organism that gets it’s name from the Latin word helix or spiral, that has been consumed in Africa, Asia, and Mexico dating all the way back to the 9th century. It is the cousin of another algae called chlorella which is actually great for ridding the body of heavy metals like mercury but doesn’t have the same nutritional profile of super spirulina. What makes it so super? To start off spirulina has all eight essential amino acids that the body needs, with an additional bonus of ten of twelve non-essential amino acids included. For those that don’t know, whenever all eight essential aminos are available in any food, that makes it a protein powerhouse. Spirulina is 65-71% protein compared to around 22% in beef, and it’s protein is in a highly digestible form. What makes this an extremely golden plant source of protein is all the additional nutrients that come along with it. Essential minerals including potassium, calcium, zinc, iodine, magnesium, selenium, iron, and phosphorous are all in spirulina adding additional nutritional bang for your buck. Add to this nutritional profile, folic acid, niacin, B vitamins including super essential B12, vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin E, carotenoids (which convert to vitamin A), and chlorophyll and you’ve got a great deal of nutrients needed to get you through your day. Chlorophyll, which has an almost identical molecular structure to human blood, is an important ingredient that gives super healing power.

Just to give you a taste of these healing powers, spirulina increases antioxidant protection, fights free radicals, slows the aging process, curbs appetite and promotes weight loss, supports healthy cardiovascular function, improves the digestion process and gastrointestinal health, creates beneficial flora in the digestive tract, and makes the body produce more red and white blood cells which kill germs and viruses. It can also relieve allergies, sinus issues, lower cholesterol, lower risk of stroke, heart disease, and risk of contracting cancer. To take it even further not only is this miracle food great for fighting candida, colds, allergies, influenza, measles and mumps, studies have shown that it can inactivate the virus associated with AIDS and HIV.

Spirulina has virtually no calories, and the small percentage of fat it contains are in the form of essential fatty acids. Due to all these amazing nutrients, spirulina can give any Plain Jane an energy boost that transforms her into Wonder Woman. Are you a working mom? Take spirulina and give some to your kids. You’ll be more energized and your kids’ immune systems will be strong enough to withstand viruses and colds that get passed around at school. Business woman and multi-tasker on-the-go? Spirulina taken at the beginning of your day can give you the energy boost you need to finish the projects on your plate. Are you addicted to caffeine to give you an energy boost? Try spirulina instead and you will feel naturally energized and get a nutrition boost that trumps any multivitamin on the market. Do you workout a lot? Spirulina can boost athletic performance. Did I mention that it can protect the body from harmful radiation? This legit superfood has a laundry list of health benefits too long to expound upon, the best way to truly know it is to try it for yourself.

You can find spirulina in powder form online or at your local health food store which can be mixed into liquids or pill form. Whatever method you choose to consume it keep in mind that the best way to take spirulina is gradually. Spirulina can have different effects on the body, one being a cleansing reaction if too much is taken too soon. In powder form, starting with as little as a teaspoon and later building up to a tablespoon or more is advised. It’s best if you slowly begin increasing over time as your body adjusts. Spirulina is great to add to smoothies or juice in the morning because it is so energizing. Take it at night and you may not be able to sleep. If you are suffering from hyperthyroidism, or are pregnant its smart to consult with your doctor before incorporating spirulina into your diet. If you have really severe allergies to seafood or iodine, it’s best to not consume spirulina. Whatever method and frequency you choose, I can personally vouch for the fact, that spirulina is truly a superfood that has the potential to enhance your health and boost your quality of life. -XoXo Raw Girl

Natural Remedies for the Candida Blues

Candida is a word we are hearing thrown around more often in conversations. Before I was like candi-who? It kind of sounds like a dirty word. Now I know all too well about this imbalance that is quickly becoming the least talked about health epidemic in our nation. These days pretty much all us have it or have had some symptoms, it’s about what degree from mild to severe. Candida is a group of single-celled organisms that live in our bodies and are actually good for us until our body gets out of balance because of diet, stress, or medications that throw it out of whack. Candida overgrowth is literally a “genus of yeasts” or in lamens terms a gang of fungus who have been granted permission to hang out  and bring their friends en-masse anywhere in your body that’s cozy. Candida usually grows in warm moist areas of the body, and the most common candida condition is yeast infections which can affect both men and women, but also includes nail fungus, athletes foot, thrush (on the tongue), and may be the culprit with some prostate issues. In its most aggravated and full-blown state cancers especially and AIDS deal with aggressively overgrown candida. Which is why many have been able to reverse cancer and some holistic healers (namely Dr. Sebi who says all diseases are born from mucus)  has been able to reverse HIV/AIDS.

When candida starts to flourish in the body it’s really like your once upon a time friend who decides to invite a bunch of unwanted guests who are now sleeping on your comfortable couch and require a fire marshal and an eviction notice to get them out of your apartment. Dealing with candida overgrowth just by wishing it away does you no good. You need to strap on some combat boots and be prepared to make some changes to get your body back in balance. Depending on the severity of the condition this is not a short-term thing, you may need to make some serious lifestyle amendments.

So you want to know how you managed to say yes and let in that frenemy name Candida who is now eating all your sweets with his buddies?  Well, our bodies thrive on bacteria. I learned recently from  a colon hydrotherapist who was very knowledgeable about bacteria that the metabolic waste of our good bacteria is serotonin! So part of the reason why people who are backed up or literally full of sh&% are also in a crabby mood is because the good bacteria is not present in their bodies to give them that natural happy boost. Same with candida, when yeast is overgrown there’s not enough good bacteria present in your body to give you that feel good natural serotonin.

There are numerous reasons in our modern day culture that this condition affects millions and the numbers keep growing. First off,  it doesn’t help that doctors are prescribing antibiotics these days like candy at a Halloween party. Seriously, it seems to be the cure-all for anything nowadays. It may help alleviate short-term symptoms but long-term know that it wreaks havoc on most bodies’ and kills all of the good and bad bacteria in the gut leading to more problems that have to be addressed including candida. Another major factor involved is the Standard American Diet which is basically a trial that most are failing to see how long someone can last before getting ill while subsisting primarily on carbs, animal protein, frakenfoods, and sugar.

All of those things feed yeast, and your good old friend Candida basically throws a party when you consume them. The thing is you won’t feel like partying much because you may be experiencing fatigue, headaches, poor memory, or mental fogginess, and perhaps weight gain. Not exactly a reason to cut the cake.  Last, but not any less important is STRESS. I forget all the time how important our emotions are for sustaining our well-being. In my own family I have seen how every single one of us is now dealing with some sort of health condition/struggle following my brother’s passing. Stress is no joke; it can kill you. Not meaning to scare you I’ll also add that in rare cases if fungus enters the bloodstream and is left unchecked, up to 50% of people affected die from this condition. Crazy!

I recently went to my doctor, who by the way is one of the best doctors on the planet. This woman should teach other doctors how to do their jobs. She can actually write me a prescription for things to treat anything that I can find in Whole Foods, and can suggest lifestyle changes or food elimination to help, but she also knows about all the typical medications prescribed. God must have sent me this woman. Anyway, to cut to the chase my consumption of brown rice in moderation the past two years  has finally reared its evil grainy head. That in tandem with elevated stress in my life taking its toll. Looking back I really started to notice the slight imbalance literally a month after my brother passed. It took me awhile to figure it out, but all of this together diet issues and stress of loss has been causing ongoing yeast imbalances in my body. So, it’s time to buckle down and cut brown rice out of my diet altogether. Back to being 100% carb-free! Quinoa still doesn’t bother me, and wild rice soaked is a great raw option I plan to try. The good news is after being a drama queen and thinking it was really bad, it was a relief to discover that my case is super minor and manageable compared to a lot of people suffering out there who have it ten times worse. Thanks to my doc, and of course my own research, I’ve gotten some great lifestyle recommendations that I’m sharing:

Cut out Dairy, Meat, Processed Foods, & Sugar (including natural Sugars). I think this is self-explanatory. You just can’t have it. You want the yeast to die off right? Remind yourself in the thick of the cravings why you must stay away. They say that some low-level sugar fruits may be added like berries, grapefruits, or granny smith apples, but even these should be consumed with caution. You also need to eliminate sugary or starchy veggies like carrots, potatoes, or beets.

Incorporate More Fermented Foods & Find a Great Probiotic. I’m dying to try coconut water kefir which is a naturally fermented beverage made from young coconut water. There’s also things you can eat like fermented cabbage, namely sauerkraut and  kimchi, and drinks like kombucha, brewed from the scoby organism, and  rejuvelac, which is made from fermented wheat berries. All of these foods along with a good probiotic supplement are going to help you crowd in your good bacteria friends, while you starve the yeast and they die off.

Stress-Less. Back to hot yoga I go! Breathing and meditation are great. We can’t predict when those tragic things in life will happen to us, but we can try to handle them as they come with grace.

Drink Lots of Water. Staying hydrated is important and keeping the cycle of replenishing fluids and flushing out toxins going.

Exercise Every Day. This is a prescription I like! The reason this is necessary for recovery is that sweating is one of our primary sources of eliminating toxins from the body.

No Alcohol. Wine, beer, and hard liquor will all make candida worse and allow the yeast to thrive. So if you are a drinker, sorry to be the one to have to tell you to cut it out.

The thing about dealing with candida is that its very similar to battling a parasite infection. There is a withdrawal period and the yeast will create cravings for carbs and sugars because that is what keeps them alive. You may also feel irritable and extra hungry even for the green stuff you are eating to starve the yeast. As I write this I’m already feeling withdrawal and its only been a day. If you can survive a full week, the cravings should start to dissipate as the yeast dies off. Cave in and eat anything sweet, and you will be back to square one. It’s tough, but you will make it through. I will too…although I will be having vivid dreams until the end of this year about eating bananas, mangoes, and a million other things.

If you are a woman and experiencing yeast infections, a vaginal suppository that has boric acid as an ingredient is great for that. Candida suffers can also try things like consuming bitter grapefruit seed extract. Oregano oil is another one that is thrown around, but my doc says it can be very harsh on the system. I’m sure I’ll be following up with more revelations or tips as I work through this. I’m aiming for at least three months, six months would be ideal but may be impossible, of no sugar in any form (God help me besides maybe one apple in a green juice), and seeing how I feel as I go along. -XoXo Raw Girl

Mineral Must-Have: Magnesium

So there’s always this talk about superfoods, meat eating vs non meat eating, and all sorts of other philosophical debate over what and how the best way is to eat. Very seldom do we actually break it down to the basics of what specific nutrients there are and how much we actually need. Not only that, even if we do know the names of the many vitamins and minerals essential to maintaining our health…what do they actually do? Well, insufficient amounts of just one mineral, magnesium, can result in anxiety, asthma, anorexia, birth defects, hardened arteries, mental disorders, hyperactivity, hypertension, hypothermia, insomnia, menstrual pain, muscle weakness, tremors, seizures, AND it’s been linked in studies to be associated with increased risk of cancer development. I think its important for you and me and everyone we know to know more about magnesium, where it’s found, and how much we need.

Magnesium is involved in activating hundreds of biochemical actions in the body. Some of these very important functions include food metabolism, adjusting cholesterol levels in the body, reactions that make ATP (energy the body uses), and many more. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. Magnesium is also intrinsically involved in nerve and muscle function. When it is ingested, magnesium is absorbed in the small intestine. Magnesium is attributed with boosting the immune system, keeping heart rhythm steady which makes it in important mineral in maintaining cardiovascular health. The thing about magnesium, is that it is depleted through the kidneys. Meaning, when you urinate, you lose magnesium. This makes it extra important to consume magnesium rich foods frequently. The use of diuretics can speed the depletion of magnesium as well.

From my own personal experience, after discovering just how critical and life changing this mineral is, decided to purchase a magnesium supplement which also had calcium and potassium in it. At the time I was suffering from extreme mood swings, excessive food binges, and just an overall feeling of fatigue. As soon as I starting taking the supplement, I kid you not, the next day my appetite was under control. I then realized that my body urging me to consume consume consume was actually it nutritionally calling out for more of some combination of calcium, potassium, and magnesium. It blew my mind. Remember that it is important to not get so focused on one nutrient whether it be magnesium or protein. Instead we should be focusing on getting a wide range of foods in our diet to ensure we have optimal health. Learning about vitamins and minerals is just one additional tool that can allow us to see earning signs where we may be imbalanced.  -XoXo Nicola, Signing in for Raw Girl

Food Sources of Magnesium

Mustard greens, blackstrap molasses, turnip greens, sea vegetables, green beans and collard greens, spelt, cucumber, bell peppers, celery, kale, cantaloupe, cacao,  brazil nuts, almonds, cashews and a variety of seeds, including sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and flaxseeds.

 

Need an Immunity Boost? Echinacea!

It’s around that time of the year when you really need get your guard up and prevent common colds and the flu. We’re transitioning into the fall season, and if you live on the East Coast of the United States then you can attest to the recent abrupt changes in weather from extremely humid to sudden very chilly nights and moderate day time temperatures. Needless to say it’s a great time of year to turn our natural healing abilities all the way on. So the past week has been quite a struggle for me. It started with a scratchy throat and feeling fatigue and it progressed into a sore throat. Then I completely lost my voice! I was definitely not stoked about that at all  since I was scheduled to do a short presentation on nutrition for kids to welcome to them to the Kids Day at a local farmers market that same day….FAIL!  It’s very rare that I actually get sick so given my symptoms I had to tap into my memory bank and pull out of my arsenal one superb herb which was just what the natural doctor ordered: echinacea! I swear, I took echinacea for the first time this season last night (I had to, I was sounding so terribly hoarse and feeling horrible) and I literally woke up this morning feeling like a million bucks, with voice intact and immunity boosted up.

Echinacea is an herb which is native to North America and has been used for over 400 years to treat all sorts of immune system issues and other infections internally and externally as an overall “cure-all” plant. This herb has historically been used to treat scarlet fever, syphilis, malaria, blood poisoning, and diphtheria. However, in the 18th and 19th Century, echinacea use greatly declined after the introduction of antibiotics. There are nine species of echinacea but those that are most frequently used for therapeutic purposes are: echinacea angustifolia, echinacea pallida, and echinacea purpurea. Echinacea (of all species) is available in extracts, tinctures, tablets, capsules, and ointments. I usually drink it as a tea which you can find in your local health food store, or possibly even supermarket. Echinacea purpera is believed to be the most effective form of the herb.

Echinacea is like that friend you can count on when it gets down to the wire and you already went through all your contacts and absolutely NEED them to come through. Yes, it is there for you when you most need it by stimulating the immune system giving powerful results in a short period of time. It’s great for battling the onset of a cold, a sore throat, flu, etc. This brings me to an important side note: DO NOT take Echinacea for longer than 10 days at a time; the herb is so powerful and effective in boosting your immunity and giving fast results that if you take it too much it can actually weaken your immune response. Basically it gives the bugs too much time to evolve and adapt to your kick but echinacea attacks, so fall back before you give away your secret weapon.

Taking echinacea as soon as you feel a cold coming on from my experience can actually stop the symptoms from progressing to full out sickness, and if you take it while you are sick, clinical studies have shown that it can shorten the duration and severity of symptoms versus a control group who didn’t take it. Echinacea contains powerful substances which make it so useful and effective. These include polysaccharides, glycoproteins, alkamides, volatile oils, and flavonoids. These substances work together to increase the number of white blood cells, and boosts the activity of other immune cells. Echinacea is a go-to herb in treating cold, flu, and throat symptoms, but it can also be used externally to treat wounds and skin issues such as boils, rashes, and acne. Believe me, this stuff works! Remember, nature, is always our best medicine cabinet. Check echinacea out for yourself, and tell your friends and family about it too. – XoXo Nicola, Signing in for Raw Girl

Bring in the Tea Season w/ a Sting!: Nutrition Packed Nettle

The fall is approaching and I’ve  been getting that familiar urge I always get around this time of year which gets me through the coming winter months; it’s tea time! So I knew it was time to write about one of my favorite herbs ever, Stinging nettle!
 
A prehistoric plant that has received critical acclaim, Stinging nettle (Urtic Diocia), has been used for ages for a number of different uses.  A flowering plant of the Urtica family, the stinging nettle is naturally found in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America. Urtica Dioica specifically is the most commonly recognized and used species of nettle. It has been used as the material for the uniforms of German soldiers in the first world war, as well being used worldwide in many rituals and superstitions for health, luck, and protection.

Nettles have incredibly powerful and beneficial medicinal and dietary properties, and are very nutritionally dense.  Not only is it very rich in chlorophyll (great for overall health), but nettles are abundant with fatty acids and amino acids. As far as minerals , nettles has calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sulfur, and zinc for a powerful combination of minerals that are vital to the body’s functions.  A vitamin B powerhouse, nettles contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 along with vitamins C, E, K and folate.  Nettles are packed with a host of essential phytonutrients such as lycopene, beta-carotene, caffeic acid, acetic acid, and betaine.

These naturally occurring plant compounds (phytonutrients) help prevent and treat many of the diseases in humans by preventing and reducing free-radical-induced damage to your cells and DNA.  With these nutritionally powerful properties, there’s no wonder nettles carries a sharp reputation for overall good health as a dietary supplement (pun intended because they can actually sting).

There is a saying that goes: “The sting of the nettle is but nothing compared to the pains that it heals.”  Indeed this herb has healing power. As a tea, nettles can be used to treat a number of diseases and inflammations of the urinary system.  Nettles can be used to treat anemia, asthma, allergies such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, cancer, diabetes, goiter, kidney problems, and malabsorption syndrome. It’s great for the kidneys, helping to expel gravel from the bladder, and dissolve kidney stones.  Nettles stimulates the kidneys to excrete more water, helping to purify the blood of toxins, metabolic wastes, eliminating viruses and bacterial infections.  Also, due to the decreases the tea causes in blood sugar levels, and subsequently the glycemic level, it is great as a tea for diabetics. The tea actually cleans out the entire intestinal tract, and activates the body’s natural defense mechanisms.  Other uses and benefits include helping with high blood pressure, anemia, skin inflammation, and more. With all of the apparent uses for nettles, there’s no wonder why this herb is such a hit with so many people who are aware of its benefits- and even more- it tastes great! Below are a few ways  you can use nettles to add great flavor and abundant health to your life one tea cup at a time. – XoXo Nicola, Signing in for Raw Girl
  • Herbal tea/tisane:  Soak fresh or dried nettle leaves in boiled water.  For a more concentrated, infused drink, use more nettles and make sure they are finely crushed, then let them sit while covered and boiling for a good ten minutes.  This can be served either hot or cold.
  • Nettle Tincture:  For a healthy and youthful hair and scalp, 6-7 fresh leaves or 2 spoons of dried plant in a half a liter of alcohol for 10 days will make a concoction that will revitalize your hair, eliminating dandruff and leaving hair silky and fresh.  Rub this at the root of the scalp.
  • Nettle Juice:For a powerful addition to your daily routine, nettle juice will provide a host of healthy and powerful benefits if added to your juicing regiment.  Just take the leaves and the stem and place them in the juicer.  Filter the paste that results from this process and you will be left with a juice that is to be kept cold in the fridge in a dark container.  Consume a half a glass before the most important meals of the day to regulate arterial pressure and straighten the blood vessels.  If you suffer from renal insufficiency and you want those kidneys to kick it back into high gear, drink one glass of this every day after waking up for 20-30 days and you’ll be feeling a major change.  Drink 1-2 glasses of nettle juice every day for 2 weeks if you suffer from anemia and de-mineralization.