Tag Archives: Natural Cures

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

Milk Thistle to Heal Damaging Effects of Alcohol Consumption

Dearest Readers: Indeed we live in a toxic world, and most of these toxins are completely legal, widely available, and even celebrated as commonplace or even necessary for social interaction. I met a really cool interesting guy on my way back to DC from NYC last week, and we had a great conversation about health. Whenever I explain why I do not drink alcohol, people tend to look at me cross-eyed, but he seemed to get the logic. If you are committed to truly living a long healthy life and respecting your body temple, it is imperative that you take a look at EVERYTHING you are consuming, not just food. Cigarettes, alcohol, etc, may be legal and widely available, but they do just as much damage as consistently eating processed foods. People may look at you funny now, but years later, your body will thank you for abstaining from these legal poisons. Remember that the liver is the chief detoxifying agent in your body; a healthy liver also keeps toxins from floating around in your blood which can lead to acne or other conditions. Milk Thistle is beneficial for cancer, diabetes, many skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and for acne specifically for that reason. Here’s to discipline, a healthy liver, and vegan swag by any means necessary. -XoXo Raw Girl

Drug addiction in all it’s forms is a chronic illness that we seldom talk about yet is so relevant to the toxic world we live in. Some of the most dangerous drugs are not the illegal street drugs that we hear about on the news, but the many poisons in the legal drugs that are widely available, and foods that you see stacked on shelves in your local “convenience store.” Alcohol addiction is the 4th leading cause of death for males aged 25-44. The degenerating effects that alcohol has on the liver makes this substance a truly damaging vice especially when it becomes a chronic issue. Some studies say that drinking alcohol in moderation may actually have positive benefits on the respiratory system, but this refers more specifically to red wines, and in moderation not excess. Many of the hard liquors and beers that many people consume many times as a go-to in order to wind down and relax can cause serious long term issues like cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, and eventually premature death. There is however, a powerful herb that mother earth has to offer which is a superhero for reversing and rehabilitating serious damage to the liver, milk thistle.

Milk thistle contains two powerful substances silymarin and silybin, which effect the way in which alcohol is metabolized in the body. For chronic drinkers this is good news because milk thistle is actually more effective in these cases, because milk thistle acts on the enzyme system by neutralizing toxic byproducts. Milk thistle has a hepatoprotective (liver protecting) effect, and numerous studies have reported significant improvements in the liver health of patients which used milk thistle consistently. Not only is milk thistle wonderful for the liver, but it also protects the gall bladder by increasing bile solubility. Milk thistle contains bioflavonoids which not only protect the liver against alcohol but carbon tetrachloride, acetaminophen, and other toxins. Our livers are an extremely important organ which metabolize fat and purifies our blood. If you know someone who has at one point or currently suffers from excessive alcohol consumption, please, please, do them a favor and alert them to this powerful and amazing substance. It’s best to take milk thistle as a dry extract because it is more likely to contain more silymarin than seed powder. You can purchase Look into milk thistle to protect your liver, and remember that mother nature has your back, it’s just up to you to make the lifestyle changes to support your own process! -XoXo Nicola, signing in for Raw Girl

Here’s a brief outline of more of milk thistles amazing abilities:

  • Increases protein synthesis and decreases tumor growth
  • Stabilizes immunologic response
  • Protects regular cellular regulation processes
  • Increases stability of cellular membranes
  • Provide heart benefits by lowering cholesterol levels
  • Help diabetes in people who have type 2 diabetes and cirrhosis
  • Reduce growth of cancer cells in breast, cervical, and prostate cancers
  • Lowers fasting glucose levels
  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Supports weight loss
  • Supports anti-aging and protects against free radicals

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.

Smoothie! Moringa Mango Madness & the Anti-Aging Anti-Parasitic Benefits of Moringa

So last week we introduced the miracle tree, Moringa Oleifera. As extensive as that article was, we barely skimmed the surface. If you haven’t read part 1 I suggest you check out the first blog post on Moringa here. In addition to the nutritional benefits of Moringa like the fact that it contains more than 92 nutrients and 46 types of antioxidants, moringa is extremely beneficial for slowing the aging process and guess what, killing parasites! If you are a regular reader of this blog, you should know how much I love any natural product that I can add to my parasite killing arsenal.

If you don’t know, antioxidants are key in slowing the aging process because they neutralize free radicals. The combination of superior nutritional value, which in includes providing all eight essential amino acids and 18 of the 20 amino acids absolutely essential for good health, seven times the Vitamin C content of oranges, four times the Vitamin A of carrots, four times the calcium of milk,  and three times the potassium of bananas, high amounts of iron, along with 46 antioxidants makes moringa probably one of the strongest natural sources of antioxidants. In the O.R.A.C. rest (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) test, moringa was tested against and beat out superfoods like acai, dark chocolate, garlic, blueberries, goji berries, pomegranate, red wine, and baobab for the most antioxidant capacity.

In addition to the powerful antioxidants, moringa leaves contain healthy amounts of cytokinins, which are naturally occuring plant hormones that induce cell division, growth, and delay aging of cells. Clinical studies have shown that this compound also called Moringa YSP produces anti-aging properties in humans and caused new skin cells grew faster than the older cells died. This resulted in an almost miraculous reduction of wrinkles on the face and other parts of the body. Sound better than botox? I think so. 

Now lets get to the parasite killing properties of this other worldly plant. Moringa not only kills parasites, it kills their eggs as well! This is really important to note because in most parasite cleanses, even ones you buy over the counter you have to take cloves in combination with black walnut hull and wormwood to effectively combat both the worms and their eggs. The cleansing effect cause by taking moringa has been used by traditional people to combat worms for years and years. It can effectively help to get rid of waste and parasites while also providing enough nourishment to rectify any imbalances caused by the worms as they leave your body. I am very excited about incorporating this tree into my diet long term for nutrition and to combat parasites and plan to grow it. Last week, I bought some moringa powder and I’m testing out this particular brand. I plan to find the best, most potent brand of leaf powder and continue ongoing use. Will most definitely report back my results! If you want to check out what I am using now, go the Raw Girl Store, and you’ll see it under super foods. Below is the recipe for my first moringa smoothie. -XoXo Raw Girl

Moringa Mango Madness Smoothie

Ingredients: 2 bananas, 1 cup to 1.5 cups of frozen mango, 1 tablespoon moringa powder, 1 tablespoon flaxseed, Young thai coconut water and meat or almond milk.

Put all ingredients in blender. Blend, serve, enjoy! :)

 

Natural Solutions for Eczema

My cousin recently told me that she and her newborn son have developed eczema. Sitting around with the thought of the cutest little baby in the world itching and crying his cute little face out provoked me to immediately  look into natural ways to treat eczema. When they visited a doctor, of course our little bundle of joy was prescribed loads of non-organic chemically laden ointments and creams.

Eczema is a skin condition that affects over 18.7 million adults and 7 million children in the United States. It’s a very inconvenient condition and can be easily agitated if you don’t know how to deal with flare ups when they occur. My research revealed that there are a host of natural ways that it can be treated. Eczema is term for a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. During a flare up the skin can become very itchy, flaky, and develop a rash may appear that can turn into blisters and even ooze liquid from them. The more you scratch, the worse it gets.

Some triggers that may cause an eczema flare up include: soaps, household cleaners, perfume, makeup, chlorine, cigarette smoke, sudden changes in temperature or humidity, tight or scratchy clothing, wool, cleaning products, detergents, perfume, certain foods, sweating, medication, stress, mold, smog, dust and STRESS (so chill out!) Important note: Eczema is NOT contagious by the touch (usually hereditary or due to food allergies). For women who are pregnant a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology showed that woman who took probiotic supplements while pregnant were significantly less likely to have a baby who developed eczema. Below are a few things you can try to treat your symptoms naturally. – XoXo Nicola, signing in for Raw Girl

  1. Neem Oil.  (Read more about Neem oil: The Healing Wonders of Neem) This soothing and evening oil has properties which are anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antioxidant,  and anti-carcinogenic. This is certainly a go- to in treating eczema naturally because it brings just the right amount of moisture to your skin. Applying it topically can help relieve itching and facilitate healing. It doesn’t smell great at all, so for regular use mix with a sweeter smelling essential oil.
  2. Bentonite Clay is always an important substance to remember. Massaging some bentonite clay with a little rose water on the skin is very effective in healing the skin through drying it out while sucking impurities and toxins from the skin. (Read more about Bentonite’s amazing healing ability in article: Natural Cures: the Wonders of Bentonite Clay)
  3. Dietary Changes. Our body is made from food,  water, air, and light energy. From foods, water and air our body must derive 50+ essential factors to function in a healthy way, factors our bodies cannot make from other substances. These include 20 or 21 minerals; 13 vitamins; 8 to 11 essential amino acids; 2 essential fatty acids; water; air; light; and a source of energy (carbohydrates).  Make sure to investigate your diet; find and eliminate any foods that are causing allergic reactions.
  4. Drink Plenty of Water & Take Baths. Eczema involves excessive moisture loss, so you want to keep your skin as hydrated as possible, so drink at least your 8 glasses of water daily. It also helps to soak without scrubbing aggressively on your skin. Adding in epsom salts to your bath should provide some relief as well.
  5. Use Natural Skin Products. Check your soaps, face creams, and lotions and try to use products with the least amount of unnatural ingredients in them. Anything you can’t pronounce or have no idea what it is research it. You wouldn’t want to increase your flare-ups and aggravate your skin more, just because you wouldn’t switch to a chemical-free product.
  6. Coconut Oil is an awesome soothing moisturizer for your skin without causing irritation.
  7.  Nutritional Balance. Inflammation is a factor in eczema so getting adequate omega-3 & omega-6’s ‘s is necessary to treat         the condition. Adding in foods like nuts and seeds, fish oil or DHA flaxseed oil,  spirulina, and hemp oil will give your body these essential fatty acids. To promote vibrant skin and repair of damaged skin cells make sure to get adequate zinc, selenium, silica, vitamin A, vitamin C, and sulfur. Nutrition can be improved by the consumption of whole foods, fresh juices, and super foods supplements.

Leaky Gut Syndrome: Root Cause of Eczema, Psoriasis, & Autoimmune Disorders

My dear contributing writer Nicola wrote up an article on some things one can do for treating eczema naturally, which I will post soon. I realized that first I must personally elaborate on this subject  and provide the proper context because I have recently come across research that reveals the root cause. My mother developed psoriasis sometime last year, following my little brother passing away unexpectedly. She’s never had anything like this in her life, and her situation is a clear example of how stress and dealing with overwhelming emotions can bring out diseases that would have remained dormant. I’ve got her taking omega-3’s via flaxseed oil daily, she’s eating a high plant-based diet with some fish, and getting moderate exercise. Thus far her condition has been steadily improving, the skin marks are fading away rapidly, and I intend to see that it disappears altogether.

While researching how to help her I came across a very brilliant book called “Healing Psoriasis” by John O. A. Pagano, D.C. which I highly recommend for anyone dealing with psoriasis or eczema. The book includes accounts of healed patients, research, and recipes/meal plans for those implementing a healing program. What I learned that literally gave me an Oprah AHA! moment, was that skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, along with AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS can all be traced to leaky gut syndrome. For years now, I’ve had friends and colleagues with autoimmune disorders  that are deemed “un-cureable” and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was behind them. I knew there had to be something. How does the body just starting attacking itself?  Come to find out it all goes back to THE COLON, which shouldn’t have been surprising considering it is the root of almost every disease we know. What is leaky gut? It is exactly what it sounds like…the intestinal walls get weak and “leak” out toxins into the bloodstream causing illness.

In Pagano’s book he mentions Dr. Zoltan P. Rona  who has conducted research on this matter: ”  ‘Leaky gut syndrome is almost always associated with autoimmune disease, and reversing autoimmune disease depends on healing the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.’ He [ Dr. Rona] named diseases in this category such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, vertigo, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and diabetes among others as being directly linked to a hyperpermeable intestinal wall.”

Here are some causes the Dr. Rona and Pagano list that may cause leaky gut: antibiotics, alcohol and caffeine, foods and beverages contaminated by parasites, chemicals in processed foods, enzyme deficiencies, prescription corticosteroids, diet high in refined carbs, prescription hormones (birth control pills), chronic constipation, improper elimination, insufficient intake of water, foods high in saturated fat, nightshade foods like tomatoes (destructive to those with eczema or psoriasis), smoking, negative emotions, depression, spinal misalignment (which can be rectified with a chiropractor), and hereditary factors.

All that said, basically if you or someone you know has any of the conditions mentioned above, change in diet  and removal of unnatural foods will help relieve symptoms and lessen inflammation or pain. Colon cleansing will help get rid of stored toxins and also actively working to rebuild the walls of the colon may help address the root cause. How do you do that? There are herbs that are great for that include slippery elm bark powder and American yellow saffron tea that can be taken, and/or you can also supplement with vegetarian glucosamine.

I’m more of an herbal girl, so I would probably try to find the most potent version of the teas, but glucosamine will probably be more aggressive at addressing the issue although it may come with some side effects. Try it and just be wary of how your body feels and reacts. Glucosamines are amino sugars which are an essential component of all bodily tissues. An inability of the body to manufacture glucosamine causes the intestinal walls to thin (leaky gut) and allows toxins and undigested proteins to enter the bloodstream, which leads to the aforementioned diseases and autoimmune disorders. Most glucosamines are made from shellfish and other animal products, so take care to find the vegan/vegetarian brands. The veg friendly brands are out there, and I heard first-hand while at a local health food store from a few suffering from diseases related to leaky gut that this drastically helped reverse their condition.

If you have an autoimmune disorder or any skin condition like eczema and psoriasis, the good news is that there is hope. It’ll take some investigation as to what is aggravating you (as you are probably highly sensitive to chemicals, additives etc.), and determination to change your lifestyle and dietary habits, but it is possible to heal yourself and live symptom-free. Stay the course, and may the veggie force be with you. -XoXo Raw Girl

Moringa: The Miracle Tree to Combat HIV, Purify Water, & Save the New World

Dearest Readers: We live in a world where fear rules all. We are taught to believe and accept that sickness, degenerative aging, disease, and war over resources can only be the norm. I am very excited about this post by my lovely contributing writer Nicola. I really encourage you to share this article with people you know. The more that I continue along my path to live optimally, the more I believe that the Divine force that governs all has created the human body to heal itself, and has provided plant life that can address any sickness, ailment, or disease. Even those caused by our own neglect and abuse of our body temples. It’s up to us to believe, to choose courage over the fear and pharmaceuticals. I believe Moringa has a special place in a new world, where the majority of us begin to choose optimal health and sustainable living. I plan to write a sequel to this post which elaborates on the incredible and scientifically proven anti-aging power of Moringa. -XoXo Raw Girl

So I’ve come across another amaaazing plant, which is not only nutritious but highly sustainable and increasingly relevant (basically, what we NEED right now). The Moringa tree also known as Moringa Oleifera, is known by hundreds of other names in different languages, “la libertad” and “mothers best friend” are just two recognized in the Dominican Republic. With a name like that, this miracle tree is not likely to fall short of goodness, cause as you know…MAMA DON’T PLAY. Moringa Oleifera contains more than 92 nutrients and 46 types of antioxidants. Moringa  is said to cure about three hundred diseases and contains almost all the vitamins found in fruits and vegetables in a larger proportions. All of its nutritional benefits easily make it the most nutritional herb on the planet. There are no side-effects which also has tried, tested, documented and proved evidence to support the same. Moringa is being considered as a plant which has the potential to virtually wipe out worldwide malnutrition. This is due to its ability to grow under adverse subtropical conditions, such as that in Sub Saharan Africa and South East Asia where it is easily cultivated and grows abundantly.

The Moringa trees powerful qualities come in large part from but are not limited to it’s leaves. Moringa leaves are a solid rich green but not dark in appearance, that contain all eight essential amino acids and 18 of the 20 amino acids absolutely essential for good health! Not only that, it has seven times the Vitamin C content of oranges, four times the Vitamin A of carrots, four times the calcium of milk,  and three times the potassium of bananas. It also contains high amounts of iron, and phytochemicals. These humble but giving leaves are a complete protein in perfect proportions, which in plant form makes it super bio-available to your body and easy to assimilate. Some see Moringa as an ideal for a multivitamin supplement. While it is a very reliable source of whole nutrition, I would prefer the term “superfood” because supplement to me sounds so…manufactured. And Moringa, is grown naturally in even the harshest of climates.  In a three-week study, researchers saw a complete turnaround in the health in a Sub Saharan African community who used Moringa as food, as a water purifier, and for healing external wounds. Its durability is what’s making it a hot topic in fighting hunger and malnutrition around the world. Moringa contains high nutrients, low calories, and low sodium, and this makes it an ideal high energy food. I personally, have a friend whose mother started using Moringa to treat HIV/AIDS symptoms, and months later her HIV test has come back UNDETECTABLE. Yes, UNDETECTABLE! The high vitamin A content may be in part attributable to this, because it acts as an antioxidant, anti-infection, and strengthens the immune system. Moringa is not completely understood in its totality but it is indeed, a miracle tree.

What I found to be most amazing about Moringa in my research, is that it can actually PURIFY water. As we all know, clean water is becoming harder and harder to come by, and studies have shown that the Moringa seeds not only remove solid contaminants, but greatly reduce amounts of harmful bacteria. Moringa is a treasure. I could write a whole dissertation it seems on the Moringa tree and why this tree seems to be a savior of sorts for the future of our world. Below are some more of Moringa tree uses and benefits. -XoXo Nicola, signing in for Raw Girl

The Vitamin Component of Moringa Leaves

Moringa has Vitamin A (Beta Carotene), Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B6 Pyrodixine), Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Vitamin K, High in Oleic acid (raises good cholesterol), Complete Protein

The Leaves

*Anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, strengthens immunity, high Vitamin A content keeps the eyes, nose, mouth, and digestive tract strong.

The Seeds

*Water purification (how to: http://www.treesforlife.org/our-work/our-initiatives/moringa/other-uses/water-purification)

*Oil- great for hair, skin, and preparing food in, which also contains even more phytochemicals to boost your immunity

*External wound healer (rub on wounds)

The Root

*Use as a tea (treats colds), natural antibiotic, an aid in childbirth (lubricant/tea), used for treating liver disorders, and more.