Tag Archives: natural remedies

Reverse Heart Disease with a Plant-Based Diet



Just in case you hadn’t heard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing over 600,000 people each year. The good news is that research has proven that heart disease can not only be reversed, but cured all together with lifestyle changes, and adopting a plant-based diet. Removing animal products from the diet literally removes the ongoing contributing factor to cardiovascular disease and  allows the body to heal because most saturated fats and cholesterol are found in meat and dairy products.

Dean Ornish was the first to conduct a groundbreaking study that proved that a vegetarian diet in tandem with lifestyle changes can reverse heart disease. He studied a total of 47 patients and half of the subjects were prescribed medication along with the standard diet of “lean meats” including fish and poultry, and also not allowed to smoke. The experimental group were put on a low fat vegetarian diet, brisk walking as exercise three times per week, no smoking, and stress management exercises. After one year the findings were groundbreaking. The control group had not improved, most had their condition worsen, and still needed medication to function. In the experimental group within weeks chest pain disappeared, cholesterol levels dropped, and in 80% of patients the arteries were reopening.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic conducted another groundbreaking twenty year study and had the same astounding results. The seventeen patients from his study who stayed on the diet and kept up with the lifestyle changes did not have a single cardiac episode over the consecutive twelve years. “After 5 years on Dr. Esselstyn’s plant-based diet, the average total cholesterol levels of his research group dropped from 246 milligrams per deciliter to 137 mg/dL (Above 240 mg/dL is considered “high risk,” below 150 mg/dL is the total cholesterol level seen in cultures where heart disease is essentially nonexistent.) This is the most profound drop in cholesterol ever documented in the medical literature in a study of this type.”

What these studies prove is that contracting heart disease is in large part the result of a sum of choices. Luckily our bodies allow us to  choose something different. But why wait until the your arteries are clogged and the veggie hits the fan?


Esselstyn, C. (2007). Prevent and reverse heart disease: The revolutionary, scientifically proven, nutrition-based cure. New York: Avery.

Falk, L., Bisogni, C., & Sobal, J. (2000). Diet change processes of participants in an intensive heart program…Dean Ornish Lifestyle Heart Trial. Journal of Nutrition Education, 32(5), 240-250 11p.

Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease. (2011, May 6). Retrieved November 21, 2015, from http://www.pcrm.org/about/volunteer/preventing-and-reversing-heart-disease


Ayurveda 101








Ever since I was introduced to Ayurveda, I’ve been hooked. Learning more about doshas and energy imbalances while at Wanderlust (the yoga festival) helped me to realize that I needed to move from the East Coast and that the stagnant energy of where I was living was affecting my health. As soon as I took steps to relocate everything shifted back to optimal. The wonderful thing about Ayurveda is that it emphasizes the bio-individuality or uniqueness of every being and takes into consideration the whole person, mind, body, and spirit.

Ayurveda is the traditional system of medicine that originates from India and has the goal of maintaining health and preventing the onset of disease. This is system is personalized and considered a macro-explanatory model for disease because it takes into consideration the whole person being treated along with environmental factors. Ayurveda is based on three entities called doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. The doshas help to explain the makeup of the body along with the temperaments of individuals for the purpose of understanding balance and imbalance. Ayurveda is based on energies of the elements including: fire, air, ether, water and earth; and each dosha corresponds to one or more of the element energies. Every single person at birth comes into the world with a specific makeup of these doshas that is fixed, and referred to as Prakriti. One’s Prakriti is the most important factor in ayurvedic medicine because it determines the treatment plan for each individual. Optimal health is achieved when there is optimal functioning of the doshas and the interactions between them to maintain balance in the body. Proper elimination, clear thinking, proper functioning of sensory organs, and a peaceful mind are also considered signs of good health.

Diagnosis of disease in the ayurvedic system is holistic involves examination of the manifestations of disease, subtypes of disease, and severity of condition. Development and progression of disease within Ayurveda, is explained by deviations or imbalances in the doshas. Imbalances of the doshas can be caused by a range of external or internal stressors including: environmental conditions, nutritional deficiencies, physical stress, or emotional turbulence. Treatment of any condition is highly personalized and includes parameters for overall health, diet, digestion, immunity, and response to environmental factors. Ayurveda also takes into consideration six tastes: bitter, sweet, sour, pungent, astringent, and bitter. These can be used to determine dietary changes or herbal treatments that also help to counteract imbalances. Herbs may be used in tandem with manual treatments, massage, dietary and lifestyle advice, nutritional supplements, and yoga to restore balance. If you are experiencing a health challenge that seems to be a impossible to diagnose, or if you just want to try a different perspective, Ayurveda may offer you interesting new insights.  -XoXo Raw Girl


Sumantran, V., & Tillu, G. (2013). Insights on Personalized Medicine from Ayurveda. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(4), 370-375.

Iyer, J. (2013, July 1). The Goal of Ayurvedic Treatment. Tampa Bay Wellness, 7-7.



7 Natural Remedies That Kill Internal Parasites



Although it sounds crazy and a little scary to think about WORMS in our bodies, the fact is that 99.8% of people will be exposed to or experience health issues related to parasitic infection. You can get parasites from your pets, other people’s pets, from kissing or having intercourse with a person who has parasites, from contaminated drinking water (and a lot of drinking water is infected, especially tap water), from walking barefoot on contaminated soil, from improperly cooked or handled meat, improper hygiene, infected fruits or vegetables, and the list goes on. If you are a loyal reader of this blog you know that I’ve explored this topic before, but because of the overwhelming response, I want to address it again. -XoXo Raw Girl

So, what are parasites? Parasites are organisms that live in our bodies and feed off of our life force. They are worms that suck us dry by preventing nutrients from our food from nourishing our bodies, can cause damage internally to organs, and can cause a host of other symptoms that you and your doctor will most likely mistake for something else entirely. These can be anything from stomach and intestinal complications like constipation, irritable bowel syndrome or leaky gut, mood and anxiety issues, sleep disturbances, weight issues either via excessive hunger, or excessive weight loss, skin disorders like acne or rashes, food allergies, and excessive fatigue or lack of energy. Essentially, parasites can slowly but surely erode your quality of life. Below are a few key herbs and foods that can help you rid your body of parasites. If you choose to conduct an over the counter parasite cleanse, ensure that it at the very least includes cloves, black walnut, and wormwood in the list of ingredients.

 Cloves destroy parasitic eggs before they have a chance to develop. They are more powerful when purchased whole and ground up for consumption as they tend to lose their anti-parasitic properties rather quickly. Cloves contain powerful antimicrobial agents that travel through the bloodstream, killing microscopic parasites and parasitic larvae and eggs. Cloves are tremendously effective in killing malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, scabies and other parasites, viruses, bacteria and fungi, including Candida.

Black walnut hull is very effective at removing dead parasites and other parasitic wastes from the body. It is available in a powdered form, in capsules, as well as in tinctures. Black walnut hull has been used for centuries to expel various types of worms, including parasites that cause skin irritations such as ringworm. It also oxygenates the blood, which also helps kill parasites. Black Walnut hull is very effective against tapeworms, pinworms, Candida albicans, and malaria. It is also effective in reducing blood sugar levels, and facilitating the bodies’ natural detoxification process.

 Wormwood is one of the most powerful weapons in the parasite killer arsenal. It is an extremely bitter herb that is quite difficult to down, but the effects are well worth it. It acts as an anesthetic that numbs the parasites, thus forcing them to release their grip on the body. The herb is most effective against roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and pinworms. Wormwood is the second most bitter herb known to man and has been proven a powerful herbal remedy for malaria. The herb is now being used by locals in Malaria ridden countries and has proven even more effective than drugs without the danger of side effects.

Consuming Raw or Aged Garlic is one of the most effective ways to kill parasites. Garlic is an effective remedy for many types of parasites, from one-celled species to larger varieties such as hookworms and pinworms. Garlic is known to slow and kill more than sixty types of fungi and twenty types of bacteria, as well as some of the most potent viruses known to humans. All effective parasite cleanses always include garlic. It can be hard to consume large amounts of raw garlic, so another way to successfully include large amounts of garlic in your diet is to consume aged, odorless garlic pills.

Apple Cider Vinegar increases stomach acid if taken prior to your meals. This will keep the stomach free of parasites and will also ensure that you will kill off any larvae you inadvertently eat with your meals. A great way to incorporate apple cider vinegar is to add it to salad dressings or prepare a simple “apple cider vinegar tonic” which is apple cider vinegar diluted in pure filtered water and drink this concoction first thing in the morning and several times throughout the day.

Coconut Oil has an abundance of medium chain fatty acids, which after converted by the body, create a substance that efficiently kills parasites, yeasts, viruses, and pathogenic bacteria in the gut.

Pungent Spices such as: turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, chilies, horseradish, and cayenne, all make parasites run for cover. While conducting your cleanse you can use all or some of these spices freely to add flavor and aid you in kicking some parasite but. 

Want to learn more about parasites and natural remedies? Check out my latest book Parasites, Be Gone! which includes in depth research, personal antidotes,  and a two week cleanse to get you started on the path to becoming parasite-free.

Healing with Acupuncture

Photo from theheartnest.com

Photo from theheartnest.com

Yesterday, I experienced an exceptional Acupuncture treatment with Dr. Shin-Yang Chen in Melbourne Beach, Fl.

I have had acupuncture before, but never like this. The healing energy was palpable the moment I met him and things just got better and better. The key to acupuncture is that there are points along our body meridians that, when stimulated, balance the flow of energy or chi within us. This balance is equal to optimal health. When we don’t have it, our chi is stuck and our blood stagnant, hence we experience disease and ill health.

Dr. Chen took the traditional practice a step further by incorporating Electro Acupuncture where each needle, after being inserted into the appropriate points, is attached to an electrode. A subtle current is turned on and runs through the energy points, further stimulating proper chi flow and balance. It is not painful, though you do feel a pulsing sensation.

As I lay there with those currents pulsating through my body meridians, I truly felt like I was floating off the table. Then, when I thought I could not reach a peace greater, he removed the needles and began a massage of my neck, temples and shoulder blades with deep penetrating strokes and Chinese herbal oils.

Later, I was given a cupping treatment that just put the icing on the cake of the whole experience. This is a suction method where cups are placed on your back and then, through heat or manually, a vacuum is created with your skin that draws out impurities by increasing blood flow.

According to www.cuppingtherapy.info, “Cupping therapy or Hijama has been utilized for centuries to cure illnesses. Hijama was used for thousands of years by Pharaohs and ancient Egyptians. It was also used by ancient Chinese, Greek and all old civilizations. The oldest recorded medical textbook, Ebers Papyrus, written in approximately 1550 BCE in Egypt mentions cupping.”

Our ancestors knew so much intuitively and spiritually that today’s scientific research cannot even begin to understand and decode. The way I felt when I got up from my full treatment, is indescribable. The wisdom of the ages had granted me a healing opportunity of a lifetime. I am still glowing and charged and filled with joy from the lightness my body achieved, due to these detoxifying and balancing procedures. I left with an herbal medicine made for me as well as an exuberant, lithe, happy and peaceful body, mind and spirit.

After the treatment

After the treatment

– Sia

To learn more about Sia, click here


Natural Remedies for Peptic Ulcers

UnknownWe all love to eat food right? Most of us self-respecting veggie lovers not only want to find out ways to eat spectacularly healthy food with spectacular taste, but to also learn some of the ways that Mother Nature has got our back, front, and everything in between. That said, we often take for granted the delicate yet immaculately efficient process which is our digestive system. It’s a long journey from mouth to (ahem) “organic output” and every step of the way is just as important as the next to make sure everything flows perfectly.

The stomach is a very important site of digestion where strong acids and digestive juices such as pepsin and hydrochloric acid continue to break food down into more digestible forms. A stomach (peptic) ulcer is literally a burning of the mucous lining of the stomach which protects the rest of the body from exposure to the powerful acids in the stomach. This causes actual lesions to form in the stomach which can range from ½ inches to ¾ of an inch or in some severe cases even up to 1 to 2 inches. Yea pretty scary. According to John Hopkins Medicine there will be 500,000 new cases of Stomach ulcers each year.  At any time over 5 milllion new cases may develop. Symptoms include but are not limited to: burning in the abdomen right underneath the ribs, vomiting, nausea, weight loss, bloating, black tarry stools, irritation to the stomach after consuming spicy foods.

How do these ulcers develop? Well the most common cause of peptic ulcers is a bacteria called helicobacter pylori which is a spiral shaped bacteria that due to its shape is able to penetrate the stomach lining, leaving your body exposed to the powerful acids the stomach secretes. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 20% of people under 40 years old and half of adults over 60 years old in the U.S. are infected, with higher rates in developing countries.

The good news is stomach ulcers can be treated by eating foods that strengthen the stomach and with a few dietary changes (like excluding spicy foods for a while) can alleviate symptoms and give the stomach time to heal itself aided with mother nature’s most powerful medicine. Below are some helpful natural remedies and tips to alleviate symptoms of stomach ulcers and increase your overall health. Look into these natural remedies and don’t forget to move that body! In order to preserve your stomach health and support your body in its natural healthy function. -XoXo Nicola, Signing in for Raw Girl

Cabbage Juice  is great for treating stomach ulcer. The amino acid arginine helps boost blood flow to the stomach lining. This strengthens the stomach lining and aids in healing ulcers. You can also mix the cabbage juice with carrot juice for a sweeter taste. Researchers have found that ulcer patients who drink 1 quart of raw cabbage juice a day often heal their ulcers in five days.

Honey isn’t an option for a lot of vegans, but in it’s raw form helps reduce any inflammation in your stomach and also attacks bacteria which keeps complications at bay.

Bananas neutralize the hyperacidity in the stomach that is caused by the gastric juices.  Reduces inflammation and strengthens the stomach lining.

Bilberry is used frequently in Russia to treat ulcers by reducing inflammation in the stomach and intestines and protecting mucous membranes.

Produce rich in flavonoids  like red bell peppers, strawberries, and citrus fruits can improve your condition. Studies report  that they can assist in inhibiting  growth of H. pylori.

Palm Tree Yoga Pose is a yoga posture that is great for increasing blood flow to the stomach and increasing overall feelings of wellness. Regular practice of Yoga in general will also be beneficial because of numerous poses that support healthy digestion and overall wellness.

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 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 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

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

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