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Archive for General Knowledge

Putting the “Can Do” in a Candida Detox

Candida is a type of yeast that is one of many microorganisms that make up the intestinal microflora.  The balance of microflora is important for our bodies to stay in good health.  However, when these microorganisms are out of balance due to poor diet, medications, and stressful lifestyles, what once helped create health can now create havoc.  Overgrowth of Candida Albicans can then become an adversary responsible for intestinal inflammation and leaking toxins into the bloodstream that weaken the immune system.

Some common symptoms of Candida overgrowth can include:

  • Sensitivities to foods
  • Fungus in the nails or feet
  • Mental confusion, or inability to focus
  • General fatigue
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Poor Digestion Reoccurring yeast infections

While getting the gut flora back into balance can take some dedication and time, it is possible to regain health with a few “can do” steps:

  • Repopulate the body with probiotics.  This helps bring the “good guys” back into balance so they can keep the Candida Albicans in check.
  • Detox. Using natural Anti-fungal supplements to help create an unfriendly environment for the Candida Albicans.
  • Modify diet.  Changing the diet alters the environment for Candida.

Modifying the diet can be the most challenging part of keeping Candida in check, but it is also the most crucial because the yeast needs sugar to build cell walls and reproduce.  Not only are the simple sugars found in candy, soda, and pastries a food source for yeast, but even more complex carbohydrates in fruit and whole grains will break down into a glucose source. Eliminating junk food is always in our best interest for better health, but when detoxing from Candida, the elimination of even more complex carbohydrates that include fruit, potatoes, rice, bread, yams, and fruit juices, will be necessary for a time to have the best benefits.

So, what can we eat on a Candida diet? The “can do” list of nutritious, low-sugar, anti-inflammatory foods include:

  • Non-starchy vegetables: leafy greens, spinach, kale, green beans, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, etc.
  • Low sugar fruits such as limes, lemons, avocado, and berries can be eaten in moderation.
  • Meat, fish, and eggs.  Avoid processed meats with sulfates and nitrates.  Many deli meats have added sugar in the form of dextrose, so learn to be a label reader.
  • Bone Broth!  Bone broth is wonderfully restorative with naturally occurring collagen and glutamine.  Both compounds help restore the integrity of the gut lining.
  • Fermented foods. These can include unsweetened yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles (unsweetened), and olives
  • Nuts such as cashews, almonds, and pecans.  Peanuts can be high in mold and should be avoided.  Mold does not necessarily feed the candida, but when there is an overgrowth there can be a high sensitivity to mold present, and eating peanuts could trigger a reaction.
  • Spices!  Spices add wonderful flavor and some such as turmeric and cinnamon are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and have anti-fungal properties that add another layer of nutrition and health benefits.
  • Good Fats such as avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil.  Both olive oil and coconut oil have anti-fungal properties and can help boost the immune system.
  • Herbal teas and plenty of water. There are some sweeteners that can be enjoyed in herbal tea if desired:
    • Stevia
    • Monk Fruit
    • Erythritol

Along with choosing nutritious foods to eliminate the candida food source, there are foods with special properties that make a wonderful addition to assist in the candida detox processes:

  • Garlic not only fights Candida Albicans, but it also helps to maintain a healthy digestive system by destroying harmful bacteria while leaving healthy bacteria in place.  Garlic also helps with detoxification by boosting the lymphatic system.
  • Onion has anti-parasitic as well as anti-fungal properties.  It also helps support the kidneys, helping to rid the body of waste through the urinary system more efficiently
  • Ginger, along with being anti-inflammatory helps with detoxification by assisting the liver in flushing out toxins.  Ginger also increases oxygen throughout the body (which aids in healing) as well as helps soothe irritation in the intestinal tract caused by yeast overgrowth.
  • Pau d Arco tea is an excellent addition to a Candida detox as It is packed with powerful yeast-fighting compounds.  Pau d arco can found in tea form or capsules in health food stores such as The HealthPatch.
  • Cayenne Pepper is not the biggest hitter on being anti-fungal, but it is still valuable in detox because, like ginger, it is particularly good at increasing oxygen throughout the body.  Oxygen in the cells is vital for healing and healing the body is the ultimate goal in a detox.

Some final thoughts:  Changing your diet and detoxing is not easy and may become even more uncomfortable for a time as the body goes through a healing process.  If this happens, do not give up.  Instead, adjust your program if needed, drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins, rest as much as possible, and give yourself grace.  Often a mental shift is needed when working to make permanent changes for better health.  The title of this article is cheesy, but I chose it for a purpose.  In the middle of processes such as detoxing, it can be very human to want to give up when the changes become challenging and the physical symptoms seem to have worsened. When we want to look at the diet and think “look at all I have to give up”, instead of shifting to “look at the foods that can help me reach my health goals” can often make a difference in moving forward.  Emphasis on Can.

Health and Blessings,

Kimberly Anderson, ND

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Hypochlorous Acid

This is a product that is just too good to be easily believed. So, up front, I admit to plagiarizing virtually all the information I have placed here. I want my listeners to know that these are not claims that I am making. These comments have been approved for the manufacturer by the EPA. It is an “EPA-registered disinfectant & sanitizer that kills 99.9% of germs, even Staph, MRSA, Norovirus, Influenza A, Salmonella, and Listeria when used as directed. It’s on EPS’s N list of Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.”

Hypochlorous Acid, I’m told, is produced by every cell in the body and released into the blood stream as a part of your immune system to kill these pathogens. Previously, the problem had been that no one had been able to produce it OUTSIDE the body. But a few years back, the manufacturer found a way to electrocute [my word – I don’t really understand the actual process] salt water and produce a shelf stable hypochlorous acid.

The manufacturer calls it a “Non-toxic Natural Ingredient Solutions for Cleaning and First Aid”. They further state that it is “Natures gift to us and our environment. We’ve taken an incredible aspect of the body and made a gentle, effective, multi-purpose cleanser, first aid, and hand and skin products that are safe to use everyday for you, your family, pets and home!”

What does it do? Again, from their literature, the “Hypochlorous acid [is the] active ingredient that kills multiple drug resistant bacterium.

  • Virucide, Tuberculocide, Bactericide, GermicideKills Pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza virus (formerly called Swine Flu)
  • Kills Clostridium difficile (C.diff) spores
  • Kills HIV (Aids virus), Norovirus, and Rhinovirus
  • Deodorizes by killing the bacteria that causes odors
  • Aids in the reduction of cross-contamination between treated surfaces
  • Free from alcohol, Phenol & VOC [Volatile Organic Compounds]
  • Not harmful to septic and waste water treatment systems”

I’m told that for a product to be called a “sanitizer” by FDA rules, it MUST contain alcohol. Therefore, this product cannot be labeled a sanitizer, but is labeled as a “hand & skin cleanser”.

I’ve personally used the products. A personal problem of mine has always been that I have extremely dry skin. As a kid I was seriously teased by the fact that my hands were so dry that they were continually cracked to the point of bleeding. The solution back then was to slather them with “toilet lanolin” (sheep fat) every night, and sleep with my “fatted” hands in cotton socks! – NASTY! Especially for an 8th grader!!! One of my favorite attributes of this product is that it is water based, not alcohol based. Therefore, it kills the pathogens that a hand sanitizer kills, but does not cause you to suffer the drying, burning, and toxic effects caused by alcohol.

Come by the store and look at these wonderful products and pick up some of the manufacturer’s educational literature. We think you’ll love them, too. It’s trademarked “Seriously Clean, powered by Nixall”.

  • For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

October

Overview: Awareness: Breast Cancer, Children’s Health, Dental Hygiene, Domestic Violence, Down Syndrome, Healthy Lung, National Chiropractic, National Physical Therapy, SIDS, Vegetarian Flower: Calendula Gemstone: Opal, Tourmaline Trees: Hazelnut, Rowan, Maple, Walnut

Halloween:
Halloween is one of those holidays that are challenging for those with diabetes. Diabetes is a condition marked by elevated blood sugar levels. It is currently one of the most prevalent metabolic disorders around the world. In fact, type 2 diabetes now affects more than 20 million Americans.

Diabetics need to be extra cautious of what they add to their plate-especially during the holidays. There are many dishes that are loaded with sugars of all kinds. Sugars are naturally occurring carbohydrates. These include brown sugar, cane sugar, confectioners’ sugar, fructose, honey, and molasses. They have calories and raise one’s blood glucose levels (the level of sugar in the blood).

There are many different types of sugars that tend to have little to no effect on one’s blood sugar levels. They are:

  • Sucralose (Splenda)-It is 600 times sweeter than sugar, yet has no effect on blood sugar, says Keri Glassman, RD, CDN, of Nutritious Life. In addition, Splenda passes through the body with minimal absorption. These attributes have helped it become the most commonly used artificial sweetener worldwide, according to an article published in October 2016 in Physiology & Behavior. However, there are studies that show it to be a cancer-causing agent when heated above 350 degrees. And another study showed beneficial gut bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria were significantly reduced, while more harmful bacteria seemed to be less affected. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 5 milligrams (mg) or less of sucralose per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day. A 132-pound individual would need to consume 23 tabletop packets of the artificial sweetener per day to reach that limit.
  • Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low)-It is calorie-free and is about 300 to 500 times sweeter than sugar. It was the first artificial sweetener, with chemists discovering it as a derivative of coal tar by mistake in 1879, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Studies by the National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health concluded that saccharin shouldn’t be on the list of potential carcinogens. Saccharin is currently FDA-approved. A 132-lb individual would need to consume 45 tabletop packets of the artificial sweetener per day to reach the ADI of 15 mg of saccharin per kg of body weight per day.
  • Aspartame (Equal)-It is a nonnutritive artificial sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. While not zero-calorie, it is still very low in calories. A study published in December 2014 in the journal Cytotechnology, has shown linkage to leukemia, lymphoma, and breast cancer. “Other research shows a [possible] linkage to migraines.” People with phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare condition in which they are unable to metabolize phenylalanine (a key component of aspartame), should not consume this sugar substitute. A 132-lb individual would need to consume a whopping 75 tabletop packets of the artificial sweetener per day to reach the ADI of 50 mg of aspartame per kg of body weight per day, notes the FDA.
  • Stevia (Truvia)-Steviol glycosides are sweeteners derived from the leaf of the stevia plant, which is native to Central and South America. It is calorie-free. However, it doesn’t have a 1:1 ratio (cup-for-cup) with sugar when using it in foods and drinks. Thus, one needs to remember a little stevia can go a long way. It can also gain a bitter taste when too much is used depending on the brand. According to the 2019 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes, published in January 2019 in Diabetes Care, nonnutritive sweeteners, including stevia, have little to no impact on blood sugar. The FDA has approved the use of certain stevia extracts, which it has generally recognized as safe (a term that is applied to food additives that qualified experts deem as safe, and therefore not subject to the usual premarket review and approval process). Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center notes that people have reported side effects, like gastrointestinal symptoms, after eating high amounts of stevia. But to date, there is no solid scientific research to prove these claims. The FDA recommends an ADI of 4 mg or less of stevia per kilogram of body weight per day. A 132-lb individual would need to consume nine tabletop packets of the artificial sweetener per day to reach that limit.
  • Sugar Alcohols (or polyols)-They are derived from the natural fibers in fruits and vegetables, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center. They include Xylitol (sourced from corn and birch trees), Sorbitol, Mannitol, and Isomalt. They may have a laxative effect and cause indigestion, bloating, and diarrhea in some people, the FDA points out. Products containing sorbitol and mannitol must bear a label warning that excess consumption can cause a laxative effect, per the FDA. The gastrointestinal symptoms arise because sugar alcohols are not completely absorbed in the digestive tract, says Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDE. She explains that unabsorbed carbohydrates from these sweeteners pass into the large intestine, where they are fermented by gut bacteria to produce gas. Sugar alcohols do contain some carbohydrates and are nutritive sweeteners, so they can affect blood sugar levels. If one counts carbs to manage diabetes, a common rule of thumb is to subtract half the amount of the sugar alcohol carbs listed on the nutrition label from the total carbs listed, according to the University of California in San Francisco. Also, they do have a 1:1 ratio with sugar when it comes to food and drink. When baking with yeast and making hard candies, these should not be used. And they are harmful to dogs.
  • Erythritol-It is also a sugar alcohol sweetener, but unlike the others just mentioned, it has less than 1 calorie per gram, notes the International Food Information Council Foundation, and doesn’t have a big effect on blood sugar levels, per the American Diabetes Association. It’s an ingredient in the stevia-derived sweetener Truvia and is marketed under the brand-name Swerve. Swerve measures 1:1 ratio with sugar. Thus, one can use it like table sugar, or in cooking and baking recipes that call for sugar. If other sugar alcohol sweeteners give one tummy trouble, this may be a better option for them. It is less likely to produce the gas, bloating, and diarrhea that happens from fermentation by gut bacteria because only about 10% of the erythritol consumed enters the colon, per past research. The rest leaves the body through the urine. There’s no ADI for erythritol.
  • Monk Fruit (Luo Han Guo fruit extract and Siraitia grosvenorii Swingle fruit extract)-This nonnutritive sweetener comes from a plant native to southern China. The extract contains 0 calories per serving, per the International Food Information Council Foundation, and per the FDA, is 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar. The FDA has not questioned notices submitted by monk fruit sweetener makers that the extract is “generally recognized as safe.” The agency doesn’t specify an ADI for monk fruit sweetener. It also has a 1:1 ratio with sugar.

As one can see, there are many artificial sweeteners to help one reach their blood sugar goals. Just remember that maintaining them will be easier if one practices moderation and don’t allow sweet-tasting food and beverages to lead one to overconsume them. A major goal should be to reduce all types of sweeteners in one’s diet, including sugar substitutes so that one becomes accustomed to the naturally sweet taste of food. In fact, the American Diabetes Association recommends that in the case of beverages, it’s best not to rely on zero- or low-calorie options as a replacement for ones that contain sugar beyond the short term; but instead, to consume as little of any type of sweetener as one can, and simply drink more water.

There are two types of fiber: water-insoluble and water-soluble. Water-insoluble fibers bind or attract water, becoming very viscous and add bulk to the stool. This bulking helps maintain normal bowel function by acting as a scouring agent in the bowel. Water-soluble fibers actually dissolve in water and are further altered by the bacteria in our intestines. However, all fibers can slow the absorption of sugar and fat from food, and therefore help prevent spikes in blood sugar and blood fat after eating, possibly reducing the inflammatory response to food. Fiber can also prevent the absorption of some fat and cholesterol altogether, lowering blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

Calling fiber indigestible is not entirely accurate. Although we do not produce the needed enzymes to digest many of the fibers we eat in our diets, many of the bacteria that live in our intestines are able to break down, or ferment, fibers. It provides important nutrition for the bacteria to live and prosper, and so they are called pre-biotics. Many have heard of the fiber, fructooligosaccharides (FOS)/inulin. A few examples of inulin-containing foods are legumes, jicama, onions, and Jerusalem artichokes.

Fiber is further important in normal detoxification functions in the body. Much of this detoxification occurs in the liver. When the liver detoxifies these substances, the end products are frequently eliminated in the bile, a liquid substance made in our liver, and secreted via the gall bladder into our intestinal tract. When we eat a high fiber diet, the fiber from our meals binds these toxins and allows us to eliminate these waste products. Without a lot of fiber in the diet, these toxins can be reabsorbed, go back to our liver, and need to be processed again. Requiring the liver to reprocess these toxins requires more energy and may result in higher levels of these toxins in the bloodstream.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends adults eat 14 grams of dietary fiber per 1000 calories eaten in the diet. For most of us, this translates into 21-28 grams of fiber per day. However higher fiber diets may have additional benefits for those people with diabetes, including reducing blood sugar, lowering insulin, and lowering cholesterol. A typical recommendation to patients is 35-40 grams of fiber per day ideally achieved through the diet alone, with additional fiber intake (usually as a powered supplement) for weight loss or to selectively target reduction in post-meal blood sugars. Many people need to increase their water intake when they increase their fiber intake to avoid constipation because of the water-binding/bulking effects of water-insoluble fibers. Fiber, in combination with fish oil, has extra benefits on triglycerides and total cholesterol.

Vegetables (like kale, collard greens, chard, arugula, and lettuces), whole grains (like quinoa, barley, oats, and rye), nuts and legumes (beans, peas, soy, black, pinto, and lentils) remain the single best sources of fiber in the diet. Quick sources of supplemental fiber include ground flaxseed (freshly ground to preserve the oils present in the seeds), powered fiber supplements, chopped nuts, and/or oat bran. All of these can be sprinkled over salads, mixed in protein-shakes or water, or added to yogurt, salads, and vegetable medleys.

Psyllium, oat bran, glucomannan (Konjac), corn bran, peas, and agar have all been studied in people with type 2 diabetes. They all demonstrated substantial reductions in blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and/or weight in study participants. Wheat fiber has also been studied but did not result in improvements in blood glucose or cholesterol in people with diabetes, though this was a very small and short study. Some people cannot tolerate fiber supplements (psyllium being the most commonly reported) as it produces gas, bloating, cramping, and constipation. These are the signs of food intolerance. Also, it is important to determine wheat/gluten sensitivity before choosing to supplement with oat, wheat, rye, or barley bran as a fiber source.

There are many herbal supplements that aid in reducing blood glucose levels. A few are:

  • Curcumin (a compound found in turmeric)-It has been shown to both boost blood sugar control and help prevent the disease. In a nine-month study of 240 adults with pre-diabetes, those who took curcumin capsules completely avoided developing diabetes while a sixth of patients in the placebo group did.
  • Ginseng-It has been used as a traditional medicine for more than 2,000 years. Studies suggest that both Asian and American ginseng may help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. One study found that extract from the ginseng berry was able to normalize blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity in mice who were bred to develop diabetes.
  • Fenugreek-It has been used as a medicine and as a spice for thousands of years in the Middle East. In one study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes, fenugreek was found to have a significant effect on controlling blood sugar.
  • Psyllium-Studies show that people with type 2 diabetes who take 10 grams of psyllium every day can improve their blood sugar and lower blood cholesterol.
  • Cinnamon-Consuming about half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day can result in significant improvement in blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Aloe Vera-It has been used for thousands of years for its healing properties. Some studies suggest that the juice from the aloe vera plant can help lower blood sugar in people with types 2 diabetes. The dried sap of the aloe vera plant has traditionally been used in Arabia to treat diabetes.
  • Bitter melon-This is a popular ingredient of Asian cooking and traditional Chinese medicine. It is believed to relieve thirst and fatigue, which are possible symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that the extract of bitter melon can help diabetics with insulin secretion, glucose oxidation, and other processes.
  • Milk thistle (aka silymarin)-It has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Milk thistle may reduce insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes who also have liver disease. It contains high concentrations of flavonoids and antioxidants, some of which may have a beneficial effect on insulin resistance. The role of milk thistle in glycemic control is little understood.
  • Holy basil (Tulsi)-It is commonly used in India as a traditional medicine for diabetes. Studies in animals suggest that holy basil may increase the secretion of insulin. A controlled trial of holy basil in people with type 2 diabetes showed a positive effect on fasting blood sugar and on blood sugar following a meal.
  • Neem-It has been long used as a treatment for diabetes. Aqueous extract of neem leaves significantly decreases blood sugar level and prevents adrenaline as well as glucose-induced hyperglycemia. Aqueous leaf extract also reduces hyperglycemia in streptozotocin diabetes and the effect is possibly due to the presence of a flavonoid, quercetin. The plant blocks the action of epinephrine on glucose metabolism, thus increasing peripheral glucose utilization. It also increased glucose uptake and glycogen deposition in isolated rat hemidiaphragm.
  • Gymnema Sylvestre-It has been linked with significant blood-glucose-lowering. Some studies in animals have even reported regeneration of islet cells and an increase in beta-cell function.
  • Nopal (prickly pear cactus)-Inhabitants of the Mexican desert have traditionally employed the plant in glucose control. Intestinal glucose uptake may be affected by some properties of the plant, and animal studies have found significant decreases in postprandial glucose and HbA1c.
  • Okra (bhindi)-It is a rich source of fiber, beta-carotene, lutein, vitamin B6, and folate. B vitamins slow the progress of diabetic neuropathy and reduce levels of homocysteine, a risk factor for this disease. This vegetable has a very low glycemic index. 100 grams of bhindi contains only 7.45 grams of carbohydrates. It is one of the few vegetables, which is also dense in protein. Diabetics are often advised to keep their diet high in protein as it helps keep them satiated and prevent bingeing on other sugary foods. 100 grams of bhindi has less than 33 calories. In addition to the blood-glucose-lowering compounds, okra is also a powerhouse of antioxidants. It is also enriched with anti-inflammatory properties.

There are several vitamins and minerals that aid in reducing blood sugar levels:

  • Chromium-It is required for the maintenance of normal glucose metabolism. Effects of chromium on glycemic control, dyslipidemia, weight loss, body composition, and bone density have all been studied. Considerable experimental and epidemiological evidence now indicates that chromium level is a major determinant of insulin sensitivity, as it functions as a cofactor in all insulin-regulating activities. Chromium facilitates insulin binding and subsequent uptake of glucose into the cell. Supplemental chromium has been shown to decrease fasting glucose level, improve glucose tolerance, lower insulin levels, and decrease total cholesterol and triglycerides while increases HDL cholesterol in normal, elderly, and type 2 diabetic subjects. Without chromium, insulin action is blocked and the glucose level is elevated. Although a low recommended daily allowance has been established for chromium over 200 mg/day appears necessary for optimal blood sugar regulation. A good supply of chromium is assured by supplemental chromium because chromium appears to increase the activity of the insulin receptors, it is logical to expect that an adequate level of insulin must also be present. Those using chromium supplements should be cautioned about the potential for hypoglycemia, and monitoring renal function is prudent.
  • Vanadium-Several small trials have evaluated the use of oral vanadium supplements in diabetes. Most focus on type-2 diabetes although animal studies suggest that vanadium has also potential benefits in type 1 diabetes. In a subject with type 2 diabetes, vanadium increased insulin sensitivity as assessed by euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp studies in some but not all trials. Two small studies have confirmed the effectiveness of vanadyl sulfate at a dose of 100 mg/day in improving insulin sensitivity.
  • Magnesium-These mineral functions as an essential cofactor for more than 300 enzymes. Magnesium is one of the more common micronutrient deficiencies in diabetes. Low dietary magnesium intake has been associated with an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes in some but not in all studies. Magnesium deficiency has been associated with complications of diabetes, retinopathy in particular. One study found patients with the most severe retinopathy were also lowest in magnesium.
  • Nicotinamide (vitamin B3)-It occurs in two forms, nicotinic acid, and nicotinamide. The active coenzyme forms (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide NAD and NAD phosphate) are essential for the functions of hundreds of enzymes and normal carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism. The effects of nicotinamide supplementation have been studied in several trials focusing on the development and progression of type 1 diabetes a meta-analysis and one small trial in type 2 diabetes. Nicotinamide appears to be most effective in newly diagnosed diabetes and in subjects with positive islets cell antibodies but not diabetes. People who develop type 1 diabetes after puberty appear to be more responsive to nicotinamide treatment. Study results have offered more support for the idea that nicotinamide help to preserve β-cell function than for its possible role in diabetes prevention.
  • Vitamin E-This essential fat-soluble vitamin functions primarily as an antioxidant. Low levels of vitamin E are associated with an increased incidence of diabetes and some research suggests that people with diabetes have decreased levels of antioxidants. People with diabetes may also have greater antioxidant requirements because of increased free radical production with hyperglycemia. Increased levels of oxidative stress markers have been documented in people with diabetes. Improvement in glycemic control decreases markers of oxidative stress as does vitamin supplementation. Clinical trials involving people with diabetes have investigated the effect of vitamin E on diabetes prevention insulin sensitivity glycemic control, protein glycation, a microvascular complication of diabetes, and cardiovascular disease and its risk factor.

Recipes:

  • Okra Water: 5 okra pods, medium-sized; 3 cups of water. Directions: Take the okra pods and wash them thoroughly. Cut off the ends of the pods. Now, with the help of a knife split the pods in half. Take a mason jar or a tumbler with three cups of water and put the pods in it. Let the pods soak overnight. Squeeze the pods into the water and take them out. Drink the water.
  • Chocolate Candy: 1 cup coconut oil; 1/3 cup xylitol; 3/4 cup cacao powder; 1/4 teaspoon stevia extract; 1/3 cup coconut flour. Directions: If you have granulated xylitol, begin by putting it in a food processor or coffee grinder and whiz it around for a minute or two until the xylitol is powdered. It will dissolve SO much easier if you don’t skip this step. Next, place your coconut oil in a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until it is liquid. Add your xylitol and stevia, continuing to warm until the sweeteners are dissolved. Be careful not to boil. Add the cacao powder and coconut flour and stir until dissolved in the mixture and well combined. Finally, pour your chocolate into some type of silicone tray and place it in the freezer until solid. After the candies have hardened (it doesn’t take long), pop them out of the tray, place in a ziplock baggie, and store them in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Homemade Peanut Butter Cups: 1/4 cup nut butter; 1-2 tablespoons sweetener of choice (optional) ; pinch salt (optional); 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional); 2 teaspoons coconut oil. Directions: For the base: Carefully melt the chocolate chips and stir with the optional oil until smooth. Spread about 1 tsp up the sides of mini cupcake liners. Freeze. Meanwhile, stir nut butter together with the optional sweetener and salt. Add about a teaspoon of filling to each liner, then cover with another tsp chocolate. Freeze again to set. Variations: *Nut Butter & Jelly: Make the base. Fill with nut butter and jelly. *Dark Chocolate Coconut: Use melted coconut butter as your base (stir in a little sweetener of choice if desired). Fill with melted chocolate chips. *Inside Out: Stir 1/2 cup powdered peanut butter with 1/4 cup coconut oil and 4 teaspoons pure maple syrup or sweetener of choice. Use this instead of the chocolate coating in the base. Melt 3 tablespoons chocolate chips as filling. *Chocolate Banana: Use mashed banana instead of nut butter for the filling. *Strawberry Jam: Combine 3 tablespoon coconut butter with 2 teaspoons mashed strawberry and optional sweetener of choice to taste. Use this as your base, and fill with nut butter of choice. *Raspberry Truffle: Fill the base with raspberry jam.
  • Vegan Candy Corn: 1/4 cup cashew butter (or peanut butter); tiny dash salt; 1/4 cup powdered sugar; tiny pinch turmeric; a few drops beet juice. Directions: Mix the first three ingredients together in a bowl until it becomes a crumbly dough. (Note: if your nut butter is from the fridge, let it sit awhile or heat it up so it’s easier to mix.) If the dough is too gooey, you can add a little extra sugar. Taste the dough and add a little more salt if desired. Now transfer the crumbles to a plastic bag and smush very hard into a ball. Remove from the bag and form three little balls, the turmeric to one ball, and knead until it’s all one color. Do the same with the red. Roll balls into skinny strips—the skinnier the strips, the smaller the resulting candy corns, and press strips together. Cut into triangles or other shapes. As stated above in the post, these aren’t supposed to taste exactly like store-bought candy corn; they’re yummy in their own right. You can store it in the fridge or freezer. Or bake them: 350 F for 3-5 minutes, then allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from tray.
  • Ginger Lemon Tea with Cinnamon: Servings: 8 Ingredients: 1 oz. fresh ginger, thinly sliced; 1 cinnamon stick; 8 cups water; 1 medium lemon; ¼ cup honey. Directions: Juice ½ of the lemon using a citrus juicer. Reserve juice. Discard the seeds and peel. Slice the remaining half lemon horizontally. Set aside. Place ginger, cinnamon stick, and water in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard the ginger and cinnamon. Stir in the lemon juice and honey into the ginger tea. Pour individual cups. Garnish with a slice of lemon. Serve and enjoy.
  • Tea for Blood Sugar Management: 25 grams holy basil; 20 grams cinnamon; 20 grams Gymnema Sylvestre; 10 grams fenugreek; 15 grams orange peel; 10 grams ginger. Directions: Mix the following herbs and spices together. Dried leaves and spices can be stored for a long period of time in a glass jar in a cool dark place. Makes a total of 100 grams of the mix. To prepare the tea: Take a teaspoon of the herbal mix and add it to a cup or use paper tea filters. Add 8 ounces hot water into the cup and cover for 10 minutes so the herbs are infused in water. Enjoy this tea 15 minutes before meals or 1 hour after meals.

—-Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ—-
Jolene Grffiths, Master Herbalist

Prepare Your Bees for Winter

One of my favorite late Summer or early Fall activities is working with my bees. It is a time for the harvest of honey, the cleaning of the bee environment and getting the bees situated for the Winter survival process.

We generally harvest the honey in late August or Early September. I’m a hobbyist where bees are concerned.  I have only five hives.  I always joke that a hobbyist can handle around five hives; more than that and it turns into work – a job!

“Supers” – the boxes – come in two sizes. Deeper ones are placed on the bottom and are reserved for the bees. This is where the queen lays her eggs, young bees are hatched, some honey for their consumption is stored, and the hive lives. Individual beekeepers may reserve one or two supers for the care and living of the hive. The smaller suppers are placed on top of the “Brood” supers and are called “honey” supers.  This is where the worker bees make and store honey. We think of is as excess, for harvesting!

Harvesting the honey from my five hives usually takes the better part of one day.  We try to start early while the bees are less active. Each “super” (containing nine-ten frames) may weigh up to around 50 pounds of honey. That will provide about that many one-pound jars of honey. Each super is removed from the hive, the frames are removed and any bees that stayed on the comb are brushed (or blown) off, and the frames are placed in plastic totes for later honey extraction.

Then we ready the hives for the winter.  We ensure the brood supers have adequate honey for the hive. The queen slows her egg laying activities to promote a smaller winter hive, and we plan not to open the hives again till Spring so they can seal it with propolis to keep out the Winter weather. I generally put out three mushroom extracts one more time (once in the Spring also) for the bees to drink to strengthen their immune systems against hive pathogens. Then I clear the bee yard of debris (some of which we may have produced in the harvesting – “robbing” – process) to give them a clean area also free of pests and pathogens.

I also inspect the area to note that any fencing I keep to block some of the Winter wind is in place and functional, and if the weathermen indicate it could be an unusually cold Winter, I may wrap the hives with roofing paper as added protection.  Their propolis is very effective, so I have only used this technique once in the past decade!

Extracting the honey is also about a half day process.  This takes some specialized equipment: heated knives for removing the caps from the honey cells, heated buds for collecting the wax (which also has craft and commercial value), producing centrifugal force to remove the honey from the frames’ comb, buckets to transport the honey and containers into which we can put the extracted honey. But in the end “how sweet it is”.

I am often asked “why don’t you leave the honey in the comb and sell it that way?” This could certainly be done, but it would destroy the frame structure and require the bees to completely remake the frames next year. Also, some frames which use a plastic foundation would also prevent this.  The cost of the resultant process would also be about double what the same amount of honey would cost, besides the extra work for the bees. While we don’t do this because of the cost and lessened demand, we do melt and pour the wax for crafting interest in making certain cosmetics, lip balms, and salves.

Almost every homeowner could place a bee hive in the outer part of his property and raise his own “honey”. The work is minimal, the pollination of his foods and flowers is effective, and the honey is both nutritious and medicinal! The study of the bees is fascinating and important to our food supply. Honey – how sweet it truly is!

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Autumn/Fall – Things to Consider

My wife was born and raised in Northwest Arkansas. We met, dated and married at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. You couldn’t do that and not develop a fascination and joy in the colors of Fall. Even now we take an annual trip to somewhere where we can watch the beauty of Nature fading from green to shades of red, orange and yellow.

So, I decided to spend a few minutes reflecting on other of our life’s activities that help to make Fall both uplifting and healthy!

Fall is harvest time. Apples; many varieties of winter squash; green vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and Brussel sprouts; and onions – all these and more speak of harvest and planning root cellars so we can enjoy the freshness of the harvest all through the winter months. And for things that don’t overwinter so well – like beans, peas, corn, cucumbers, and peppers – this is the time for canning. That’s an all Summer and Fall activity at our house. So, by the end of Fall the pantry is full of sauerkraut, vegetable soups, jellies, jams, pickles (cucumber, squash, and okra varieties); and the freezer is full of berries, beans and other Summer bounty.

That’s the good! But Fall is also the time for Seasonal Allergies – a bane for many! The last of the pollen sprays: ragweed, pine, mold & mildew, indoor pet dander & fur, and dust mites to name a few, are contentious at best; nagging at worst! Many deal with sniffles, sneezing, itchy throats, teary red eyes, etc., during this season. A simple internet search of Fall allergies lists many common prevention methods to avoid these symptoms. But there are also a number of herbal solutions. Some boost your immune system, and some bear names like “Seasonal Allergies” that promote herbs that counter many of the common symptoms. These days, you don’t really have to “suffer” with most symptoms.

We know that sunshine is important for the production of vitamin D, which is an immune system boost that the body produces from sunshine on the skin. You might consider a vitamin D supplement during the Fall and Winter to promote a healthier immune system. And sunshine also enhances to our moods and there is also an increase is depression or simple moodiness in the Fall. Find activities that energize you or stimulate good feelings for your Fall enjoyment. You might also consider a supplement that elevates your mood.

Adding to the “moodiness of the Fall is that we now use Daylight Savings Time. While some feel this gives them some extra daylight to get outdoor activities done, it does complicate our natural circadian rhythm. Wikipedia states this is “a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats on each rotation of the Earth roughly every 24 hours”. When I used to travel overseas regularly years ago, I was told that for each time zone you transited you need a day to reset this natural rhythm. So while we’re only talking about one hour here, many people report the onset of sleep problems that, for some, last more than a day to get their body rhythms back in sync.

For my family, Fall is a beautify time of the year. We love the color, take a couple of extra supplements, enjoy the bounty of the season and look forward to a decrease in the busyness of the Summer. I pray that your Fall brings pleasant respites as well! Good health and God’s blessings!

  • For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

September

Overview: Awareness: Baby Safety, Children’s Eye Health & Safety, Cholesterol Education, Healthy Aging, Leukemia & Lymphoma, National Childhood Cancer, National Food Safety, Ovarian Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Sickle Cell, World Heart Flower: Aster, Morning Glory Gemstone: Sapphire Trees: Pine, Weeping Willow, Lime, Olive, Hazelnut

Labor Day:
Although this holiday has its origins as being a day set aside for people to meet with their labor unions, today it’s used as a day of rest and a time to destress. Stress (resulting from demands placed on the brain and body) is a situation that triggers a particular biological response. When you perceive a threat or a major challenge, chemicals and hormones surge throughout your body-such as adrenaline and cortisol.

Stress triggers one’s fight-or-flight response in order to fight the stressor or run away from it. Typically, after the response occurs, one’s body should relax. Too much constant stress can have negative effects on long-term health. Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s what helped our hunter-gatherer ancestors survive, and it’s just as important in today’s world. It can be healthy when it helps one avoid an accident, meet a tight deadline, or keep one’s wits about them amid chaos.

But stress should be temporary. Once one passed the fight-or-flight moment, their heart rate and breathing should slow down and the muscles should relax. In a short time, one’s body should return to its natural state without any lasting negative effects.

On the other hand, severe, frequent, or prolonged stress can be mentally and physically harmful. This is due to the long-term effects of high levels of the stress chemicals and hormones. When asked, 80% of Americans reported they’d had at least one symptom of stress in the past month. Twenty percent reported being under extreme stress. Anxiety (resulting from feeling high levels of worry, unease, or fear) can be an offshoot of episodic or chronic stress.

Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, or the fight-or-flight hormone; increases heartbeat, increases breathing rate, makes it easier for muscles to use glucose, contracts blood vessels so blood is directed to the muscles, stimulates perspiration, and inhibits insulin production. Frequent adrenaline surges can lead to damaged blood vessels, high blood pressure or hypertension, higher risk of heart attack and stroke, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and weight gain.

Cortisol raises the amount of glucose in the bloodstream, helps the brain use glucose more effectively, raises the accessibility of substances that help with tissue repair, restrains functions that are nonessential in a life-threatening situation, alters immune system response, dampens the reproductive system and growth process, affects parts of the brain that control fear, motivation, and mood. Negative effects of cortisol are weight gain, high blood pressure, sleep problems, lack of energy, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, mental cloudiness (brain fog) and memory problems, a weakened immune system, impacts mood.

Symptoms of stress and anxiety include tension headaches, chronic pain, insomnia, and other sleep problems, lower sex drive, digestive problems, eating too much or too little, stomach ulcers, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, fatigue, feeling overwhelmed/irritable/fearful, alcohol/tobacco/drug misuse, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, panic disorder, depression, panic disorder, suicidal thoughts, restlessness, anger outbursts, lack of motivation/focus, social withdrawal, and exercising less often.

Stress and anxiety can be helped by using various strategies and resources to develop a stress management plan. Start by seeing a primary doctor, who can check one’s overall health and refer one for counseling with a therapist or other mental health professional. If one’s having thoughts of harming themselves or others, get help immediately. (See my August blog for more information.) Also, get emergency help immediately if one is having chest pains, especially if also having shortness of breath, jaw or back pain, pain radiating into the shoulder and arm, sweating, dizziness, or nausea. (These may be warning signs of a heart attack and not simply stress symptoms.)

The goal of stress management isn’t to get rid of it completely. In order to manage one’s stress, first one has to identify the things (triggers) that are causing the stress. Figure out which of these can be avoided. Then, find ways to cope with those negative stressors that can’t be avoided. Over time, managing stress levels may help lower the risk of stress-related diseases.

Some basic ways to start managing stress are to maintain a healthy diet, aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, exercise regularly, minimize the use of caffeine and alcohol, stay socially connected so one can get and give support, make time for rest/relaxation/self-care, setting aside time for hobbies, read a book/listen to music/sing (stick with calming subject matter), learn meditation techniques such as deep breathing/yoga/tai chi/massage, keeping a sense of humor, spend time with animals, reconnect with one’s faith, and taking medication or natural remedies for stress. (Note: watching television, surfing the internet, or playing video games may seem relaxing, but they may increase stress over the long term.)

Some natural treatments for stress symptoms include magnesium, potassium, flower essences, St. John’s wort, S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM-e), B vitamins, inositol, choline, probiotics, fiber, citrus fruits, chamomile, hops, kava kava, essential fatty acids, holy basil, ashwagandha, astragalus, Schisandra, valerian, lavender, melatonin, passionflower, skullcap, hops, lemon balm, sage, marjoram, rosemary, elderflower, mugwort, cedarwood, black cohosh, ginkgo Biloba, ginseng, magnolia, Phellodendron, hibiscus, peppermint, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), l-theanine, l-tryptophan, and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP).

Recipes:
Sweet Sleep Infusion: 1/4 cup lavender buds; 1/2 cup chamomile flowers; 1/4 cup dried orange peel; 2 tablespoons rose petals; honey; milk; water
Directions: Mix all herbs gently together and store them in a glass jar.
To Make: Heat water to boiling and pour over herbs. Use 2 teaspoons of herbs per 8 oz water. Steep for 3-5 minutes. Strain out the herbs and stir in honey and milk to taste-such as 1/4 cup milk and 1 teaspoon honey per serving.

Chamomile Infusion Latte: 2 servings
Equipment: saucepan; mesh strainer; French press
Ingredients: 2 cups milk; 2 tablespoons chamomile; 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; 5 cloves, crushed; 1 cinnamon stick + ground cinnamon for garnish
Directions: In a saucepan, heat milk on medium-low heat with chamomile, cinnamon stick, and cloves. When little bubbles form along the sides of the pan, let it simmer for a couple of minutes before turning off the heat. With the heat turned off, steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain hot chamomile latte into a French press. Add vanilla extract. Move the French press plunger 5-8 times to froth. Pour latte into 2 cups and garnish with ground cinnamon.

Lemon and Ginger Magnesium Tonic: Serves: 2
Ingredients: 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated; 1 tablespoon powdered magnesium; 1 fresh lemon, sliced; 2 cups boiling water; honey, to taste (optional)
Directions: Mix ginger and magnesium with boiling water and honey. Add the lemon slices to the cups. Serve warm.

Orange Lavender Herbal Infusion: 2 oranges, any variety; 1 lemon; 1 apple; 1 bunch sage leaves; 1 tablespoon lavender; 8 dried apricot halves, chopped
Directions: Cut the citrus and apple into chunks and lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add the sage, lavender, and apricots and spread into an even layer. Leave out in the open for 24 hours or so, until there is no more juice from the citrus. Preheat oven to the lowest temperature, around 200 degrees. Put the baking pan in the oven, leave the door open, and let the fruit dry out completely until there is no moisture whatsoever. Crumble the herbs and bigger pieces. Steep in boiling water for 5-6 minutes. Store the rest of the dry mixture in an airtight container.

—-Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ—-
Jolene Grffiths, Master Herbalist

Kidney Health

When my customers ask me “exactly where are my kidneys?”, I ask them to stand like little tin soldiers with their fists at their back. In fact, they are about the size of your fists and are rather bean-shaped, one on each side of your lower back. They filter wastes from the blood at the rate of about a half cup of blood every hour, filtering the complete contents of your entire blood supply about 40 times each day. They do the filtering through around a million “nephron filters in each kidney, which remove the wastes through your urine and return needed water and needed nutrients back to the bloodstream.

The kidneys also do a couple of other things that are also important to body functions:

  • They monitor and are primarily responsible for maintaining your body pH. They do this by removing the excess acids that your body produces through its normal functioning and balancing water, salts, and minerals such as sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium.
  • They make hormones. Some of the functions of these hormones are making red blood cells, keeping your skeleton strong and healthy, and controlling blood pressure. It is interesting to me that if you have a loved one in the hospital for evaluation of their blood pressure issues, you will probably find them in the kidney ward of the hospital. It’s the first place they look for high blood pressure issues.

In my previous blog on kidneys, I shared “We once had a test in which customers brought in saliva and urine samples to find weak body systems. The developer of that test told herbalists that upwards of 90% of our customers would find their weakest organ to be the kidney because of all the work it had to do.” I would add that the other cause is the fact that most of us do little with our kidneys in mind. If they work at all, we think they are working fine! We only notice them when we develop a problem with them, such as burning urine; dark-colored, thick, or bleeding urine, or are very painful; developing kidney stones.

So, what can we do to help keep our kidneys healthy?

  • Drink adequate water. I’ve defined that in several other blogs, so I won’t belabor the point here.
  • Monitor your body’s pH. Testing strips are available at almost all health food and supplement stores. If you eat properly and guard against substances that acidify your body, you’ll take a great load off the pH balancing duties of the kidneys.
  • Lower your sugar intake. Sugar is among the most inflammatory substances you can put in your body. As the inflammation attacks your body it taxes the cleansing effects of the kidneys.
  • Work with your medical advisors to control your blood pressure. Again, if you keep your blood pressure in a healthy range, it alleviates much stress on your kidneys.
  • If you are a “big-time” salt user as most Americans are (virtually all of our many snack foods are salty), you not only increase blood pressure issues, but you cause health issues as the kidneys try to balance the excess with the nominal body needs for salt.

And where any of these issues address your concerns, consider herbal supplements to help you where lifestyle issues are not manageable for you. The herbs can help wash wastes as you move urine (diuretics), strengthen the kidneys themselves, and aid in addressing most of the issues mentioned above. Talk with your doctor, herbalist, or other health care practitioner.

Kidney issues are a major cause of premature death in America. Take care of yours – don’t take them for granted! Good health and God’s blessings!

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

August

Overview:
Awareness: Cataract, National Immunization, National Minority Donor, World Breastfeeding
Flower: Gladiolus, Poppy
Gemstone: Peridot
Trees: Cypress, Poplar, Cedar, Pine

Mountain Day (Japan):
While Victory Day (the defeat of Japan) is celebrated only in Rhode Island in August, the rest of the United States observes this day in September. Having been blessed to have lived in Japan as a child I am choosing to honor the Japanese and their traditional medicine on Mountain Day-a day to leave the cities and get-back-to-nature.

Kampō medicine, modern Traditional Japanese medicine (TJM), is the study of traditional Chinese medicine in Japan following its introduction, beginning in the 7th century. Their traditional medicine uses most of the Chinese therapies including acupuncture and moxibustion, but Kampō in its present-day sense is primarily concerned with the study of herbs. Today, the Japanese have created their own unique system of diagnosis and therapy which combines TCM, TJM, and Western Medicine. There are 165 herbal ingredients, 148 Kampō formulation extracts, 241 crude drugs, and 5 crude drug preparations used today.

Kampō medicines are produced by various manufacturers. However, each medicine is composed of exactly the same ingredients under the Ministry’s standardization methodology. The medicines are therefore prepared under strict manufacturing conditions that rival pharmaceutical companies. Regulations, and likewise safety precautions, are much stronger and tighter for Japanese Kampō than Chinese traditional medicine due to strict enforcement of laws and standardization.

In addition to being used in Kampō, seaweed, or algae, is a major food item. There are four types of seaweeds that are regularly consumed. They are green algae such as sea lettuce or Ulva, and sea grapes; brown algae such as kombu, arame, kelp, and wakame; red algae such as dulse, laver, and nori; blue-green algae such as spirulina and chlorella. The unique properties of seaweed make it beneficial to the body. It is much more nutrient-dense than any land vegetables. It is an excellent source of micronutrients including folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and selenium. Seaweed is also a great source of iodine (a serving typically contains 20 – 50 mg). Unlike land plants, seaweed contains pre-formed omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, so seaweed or algae oil can be a reliable source of omega-3 for vegetarians. Seaweed contains many antioxidants. The species, Kombu, aids with the digestion of legumes when added while cooking them.

All plants contain fiber, but seaweed contains many types of carbohydrates that the human digestive system can’t digest. For people prone to digestive problems or with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, these carbohydrates cause significant issues. These carbohydrates include carrageenan, fucan, galactan, and many more. They then become foods for the bacteria. What one eats directly influences which bacteria dominate in the gut. The types of bacteria that can feed best on the foods one chooses to eat will grow better. This explains why some cultures handle different types of food better than others. In fact, scientists found that the gut bacteria in healthy Japanese people are higher in bacteria that can digest the types of carbohydrates in seaweed. But, perhaps it is best to avoid seaweeds that are higher in carrageenan content such as Irish moss and occasionally enjoy other seaweeds in moderation.

One needs to be aware of when consuming seaweed of the effects it could have on the thyroid. Iodine is a very important mineral for thyroid functions. While the thyroid can adjust to higher intakes of iodine, it is possible to develop thyroid problems from too much iodine. Generally, consumption of seaweed on occasion (2 – 3 times a week) as a condiment (1 – 2 tablespoons) generally will not exceed the 3 mg limit of iodine. Asian cuisines typically serve seaweed along with foods that contain goitrogens that inhibit iodine absorption by the thyroid. These include tofu, soy milk, and cruciferous vegetables. This might explain why most Japanese and other Asian people can consume seaweed without any problem.

Seaweed can also contain toxic metals. This likely depends on the type of seaweed, where it is harvested from, and the variation of toxin levels in the water. Heavy metals levels in seaweed can really vary from batch to batch. The best way to know for sure is to purchase your seaweed from companies that regularly third-party lab test their products for heavy metal levels. Heavy metal exposure also comes through other sources like the environment and foods like fish and seafood. Everyone’s ability to remove these heavy metals from their bodies differs. Because seaweed is at the bottom of the food chain, the concentration of toxins like radioactivity and heavy metals is much less than in fish or other animals that eat the seaweed. It should be mentioned too that algin, a type of carbohydrate found in brown seaweeds, is used to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and to reduce the number of heavy chemicals including strontium, barium, tin, cadmium, manganese, zinc, and mercury.

Back to School (Northern Hemisphere):
As the new school year begins, there are several key areas of health that children combat. Alongside the excitement of new supplies, teachers, and friends, this time can also bring challenges like emotional stress, bedtime problems, and ‘ailments’ that hits when children are exposed to more germs. Each of these areas deals with some aspect of their ability to do well in their studies. Two simple things an adult can do to help ease these issues are making sure the student gets a good night’s sleep and receives good nutrition through diet or supplements.

Two weeks prior to the beginning of the school year and up to one month after, it is recommended that the student takes a good immune booster. Nerves, tension, and anxiety can suppress the immune system, which makes one more vulnerable to the viruses and bacteria that are found in classrooms. Vitamin A, B6, C, D, and E can help increase the strength of the immune system; whereas, echinacea and elderberry are two popular herbs.

House plants are great at cleaning the air of our homes, offices, and classrooms. But, they have the added benefit of helping boost our immune systems as well. House plants can scrub the air of toxins and help improve our overall well-being. They also have these added benefits within schools:

  • Learning-Research shows that children who spend time around plants learn better. In addition, being around natural environments improves the ability of children with Attention Deficit Disorder to focus, concentrate, and engage more with their surrounding environment.
  • Reduce stress-Studies show that people who spend time cultivating plants have less stress in their lives. Plants soothe human beings and provide a positive way for people to channel their stress into nurturing. They also give people a way to cope with their negative feelings.
  • Concentration and memory-Being around plants help people concentrate better in the home and workplace. Studies show that tasks performed while under the calming influence of nature are performed better and with greater accuracy, yielding a higher quality result. Moreover, being outside in a natural environment can improve memory performance and attention span by twenty percent.
  • Increase attention by 70%-Studies shows that plants increase focus and attention. A year-long study at The Royal College of Agriculture in Cirencester, England, found that students demonstrate 70% greater attentiveness when they’re taught in rooms containing plants. In the same study, attendance was also higher for lectures given in classrooms with plants.

A few common houseplants are:

  • Aloe Vera-It has so many benefits that it is hard to name them all. This plant grows great indoors and can be used in juices, applied topically, or used as an air scrubber. For best results, keep your plant in a warm area near natural light. Kitchen counters are a good option. Plant in succulent soil that is fast draining, and water thoroughly when the soil is completely dry. The most common mistake when caring for an Aloe plant is over-watering or allowing it to sit in water.
  • Spider Plant-It is especially good at scrubbing the air of carbon monoxide, benzene, and formaldehyde. By helping remove these toxins, they increase oxygen levels in a room, which improves a number of body functions. They are easy to care for and thrive in almost any indoor conditions. They prefer bright-indirect light but will do well in all conditions except direct sunlight. Water thoroughly through the summer and mist the leaves occasionally. Cut back on water through the winter.
  • Snake Plant-It is among the easiest of all house plants to care for. They decrease levels of formaldehyde which are found in many household products. It has also been proven to help you sleep, making them great additions to your bedroom. They are very forgiving and can go weeks without water or light and still thrive. For best results keep them in indirect light, and water only when the soil is completely dry.
  • Chrysanthemum-Similar to Aloe, they are a variety of uses that will improve your overall well-being. They scrub the air of benzene, and the flowers can be used in teas. Mums require a bit more care than some of the other plants on the list. They like direct sunlight and warmer temperatures. Keeping them in front of an east or west-facing window will produce full blooms. Water the soil under the leaves as needed.
  • Warneck Dracaenas-They are great air scrubbers and can improve the symptoms of asthma and allergies. They are low maintenance and prefer filtered light or semi-shade. A Dracaena’s growth will adjust depending on the amount of light received. The less light the plants get, the less water is needed. Mist the leaves and soil when dry. Other immune-boosting properties include; reduce stress and anxiety, absorb odors and molds, headache relief, improve mood, improve brain function, increase energy levels, boost healing, and lowing blood pressure.

Conjunctivitis, or Pink Eye, is a contagious common childhood ailment. It is important to treat this right away so that the condition does not worsen. Some treatments include chamomile, eyebright, and colloidal silver. If you’ve tried at-home treatments for a week and your symptoms are getting worse instead of better, if there is an increased sensitivity to light, intense eye pain, problems seeing, significant amounts of pus or mucus coming out of your eye-go see an eye doctor.

To keep Pink Eye from spreading to others practice these eye hygiene tips: change your pillowcase and sheets every day, use a clean towel every day, wash your hands after you come in contact with potentially contaminated items, and after you touch your eyes. For older students and adults: toss contact lenses that may have come in contact with your eyes as you were getting Pink Eye, toss out mascara you are using, and clean eye makeup brushes with soap and water to prevent recontamination. Remember: Don’t share anything that touches your eyes (like mascara or eye drops) with others.

Many people experience panic upon realizing that their child has a head full of lice, even though having them is not whatsoever associated with poor hygiene. Lice are tiny, wingless parasites that feast on minuscule amounts of blood for survival. Since they can’t fly or even walk on the ground, these insects can only live off of a host for 24 to 48 hours. An adult louse can be light brown or grey is two-three millimeters long and has a lifespan of about 30 days. An adult female can lay an average of six eggs per day (up to ten) and does so as close to the scalp as possible to promote survival, securing the eggs to the hair shaft with a glue-like substance. Nits are the size of a pinhead, and appear whitish or yellow. It takes approximately eight to nine days for an egg to hatch, which is why getting rid of lice is rarely a quick fix. A nit hatches into a nymph, an immature louse, and as long as there is a blood supply, it develops into an adult in nine to 12 days.

Lice are primarily spread through head-to-head contact with an infected child who has either lice or their eggs, called nits. Less commonly, lice are transmitted through shared belongings like hats, combs, brushes, scarves, and bedding. The good news is lice are not dangerous and do not carry disease. To get rid of an infestation, you must completely eliminate both the organisms and the eggs they lay. Otherwise, the remaining lice will lay more eggs. Many medical providers recommend treating all members of a family, whether they have evidence of active head lice or not.

The number one enemy of lice and nits is the extremely fine-toothed comb. Douse wet hair with thick, white conditioner mixed with baking soda, separate hair into sections, and use the lice comb to comb out nits and lice, starting as close the scalp as possible. Wipe off the conditioner on a rag or paper towel after each pass. Wet combing catches lice and removes eggs from new hair growth. This process should be done every other day for two weeks until you stop seeing live lice. And while combing is a tedious job, it’s important to stick with it.

Over-the-counter insecticidal shampoos have been found not to be as effective as they once were because so many lice have also become resistant to pyrethrins and pyrethroids. Thus, it’s possible you can make your comb-outs more effective by starting with a shampoo fortified with these essential oils:

  • Tea tree oil-This essential oil contains two constituents that have insecticidal activity and have proven to kill lice and nits. Parents can either mix three to five drops of tea tree oil to every ounce of shampoo or combine three tablespoons of carrier oil such as olive or coconut, with a teaspoon of tea tree oil and apply to infested hair for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Neem oil-This oil has compounds that disrupt the life cycle of the louse, making it a natural insect repellent (for gardens and human heads). Neem oil-based shampoos are available OTC or eight to 10 drops of the essential oil can be added to one ounce of regular shampoo and left on for 20 minutes.
  • Lavender oil-This oil is another effective and safe essential oil used to treat head lice, a variety of insects, and even fungi, but it does not kill nits. Dissolve two drops of the oil in 10 milliliters of water and apply as a hair wash once per week for three weeks. Lavender oil has also proven to be a terrific deterrent against getting lice in the first place.
  • Anise oil-This oil may coat and suffocate lice. A 2018 study of natural remedies for lice in children found that anise oil was one of the most effective natural remedies. Although other natural remedies were frequently effective, anise oil was one of just two that permanently eliminated lice. People who used other herbal remedies typically reported reinfestations within a couple of months.

Other home treatments include:

  • Vinegar-It has been touted as an aid in the removal of nits, but it doesn’t kill adult lice. The acidic makeup of vinegar breaks down the glue-like substance that adheres to the nits to the hair shaft. Mix 50 milliliters of vinegar with 50 milliliters of water and use it as a rinse.
  • Olive oil-It offers similar benefits to anise oil, potentially suffocating lice and preventing them from coming back. Like anise oil, it ranked among the most effective remedies in the same 2018 study. People who want a highly effective home remedy should consider using olive oil and anise oil together. Olive oil may have other benefits for the hair and scalp.
  • Coconut oil-It is a common treatment for people with dry skin and hair. Coconut oil is a popular treatment for dry skin and hair. The researchers behind a 2010 study in Brazil explored the effects of several natural head lice remedies and compared the results with those of over-the-counter (OTC) treatments. Of the tested remedies, the team found that pure coconut oil was the only effective treatment. Within 4 hours of applying the oil, an average of 80% of the head lice was dead. (The two most effective medicated shampoos killed 97.9% and 90.2% of lice in the same period.)

It is also important during periods of treatment to wash all clothing, hats, outerwear, and bedclothes that have been recently worn in hot water and dry them on the high-heat cycle, vacuum the floor and furniture and soak combs and brushes in hot, soapy water for 10 minutes. If there are objects that your child sleeps with or frequently touches that cannot be washed, soaked, or adequately vacuumed, place them in a sealed plastic bag for two weeks to kill the lice and nits that may have fallen onto them. Essential oils may be mixed with water and sprayed onto items and surfaces as a way to not only help kill them but also to repel lice in the future.

An area of stress deals with those with ADD/ADHD. Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a neurological disorder that causes a range of behavior problems such as difficulty attending to instruction, focusing on schoolwork, keeping up with assignments, following instructions, completing tasks, and social interaction. ADD is a term used for one of the presentations of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as defined in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” It is officially, “attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, predominantly inattentive presentation.”

ADD does not manifest itself in the same way that ADHD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type or ADHD combined type does. Students with these presentations have different symptoms. Children with the other two presentations of ADHD, for example, tend to act out or exhibit behavior problems in class. Children with ADD are generally not disruptive in school. They may even sit in class quietly, but that doesn’t mean their disorder isn’t a problem and that they’re not struggling to focus. In addition, not all children with ADD are alike.

Children with ADD without the hyperactivity component may appear to be bored or disinterested in classroom activities. They may be prone to daydreaming or forgetfulness, work at a slow pace, and turn in incomplete work. Their assignment may look disorganized as well as their desks and locker spaces. They may lose materials at school and at home or misplace schoolwork and fail to turn in assignments. This can frustrate teachers, parents, and result in the child earning poor marks in class. Behavior intervention may counter the child’s forgetfulness.

ADHD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect a child’s success at school, as well as their relationships. The symptoms of ADHD vary and are sometimes difficult to recognize. However, the top three symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

The Mayo Clinic notes that certain food colorings and preservatives may increase hyperactive behavior in some children. Avoid foods with these colorings and preservatives:

  • Sodium benzoate-It is commonly found in carbonated beverages, salad dressings, and fruit juice products.
  • FD&C Yellow No. 6 (sunset yellow)-It can be found in breadcrumbs, cereal, candy, icing, and soft drinks.
  • D&C Yellow No. 10 (quinoline yellow)-It can be found in juices, sorbets, and smoked haddock.
  • FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine)-It can be found in foods like pickles, cereal, granola bars, and yogurt.
  • FD&C Red No. 40 (Allura red)- It can be found in soft drinks, medications, gelatin desserts, and ice cream.
  • Diets that restrict possible allergens may help improve behavior in some children with ADHD.

It’s best to check with an allergy doctor if you suspect that your child has allergies. But you can experiment by avoiding these foods for two weeks:

  • Chemical additives/preservatives such as BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) and BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)-These are often used to keep the oil in a product from going bad and can be found in processed food items such as potato chips, chewing gum, dry cake mixes, cereal, butter, and instant mashed potatoes.
  • Milk, eggs, chocolate
  • Foods containing salicylates (chemicals occurring naturally in plants and are the major ingredient in many pain medications) –berries, chili powder, apples/cider, grapes, oranges, peaches, plums, prunes, & tomatoes
  • Grains-They may contain different chemicals that one can be intolerant to, not just gluten.
  • White sugar-This item can cause some symptoms to intensify.

Treatment with supplements may help improve symptoms of ADHD. These supplements include zinc, L-carnitine, vitamin B-6, magnesium, omega-3, and DHA. Herbs like oat straw, ginkgo, ginseng, lavender, cedarwood, chamomile, and passionflower may also help calm hyperactivity. In some children caffeine (found in guarana, coffee, tea, etc.) can actually act as a calming agent. There are some flower essences and essential oils that also aid in calming.

Peer pressure, or influence, comes in several forms, and these types of peer pressure can have a tremendous impact on a young person’s behavior. Research shows the most impressionable age for peer influence seems to be the middle school years. This is when a child is forming new friendships and choosing an identity among those friends.

It is also the most common age for kids to start experimenting with alcohol, drugs, sexual activity, and other risky behaviors. Very often, the drive to engage in this kind of behavior is a result of peer pressure. Adolescents who have larger circles of friends appear to be less influenced by the suggestions or actions of their peers, but the pressure to conform is very real at this age.

Here’s a breakdown of six types of peer pressure, and tips for parents who want to help their child make healthy, life-long choices:

  • Spoken Peer Pressure-It is when someone asks, suggests, persuades, or otherwise directs another to engage in a specific behavior. If this is done in a one-on-one environment, the recipient of the influence has a stronger chance of adhering to his or her core values and beliefs. If, however, the spoken influence takes place within a group, the pressure to go along with the group is immense.
  • Unspoken Peer Pressure-It is when someone is exposed to the actions of one or more peers and is left to choose whether they want to follow along. This could take the form of fashion choices, personal interactions, or ‘joining’ types of behavior (clubs, cliques, teams, etc.). Many young teens lack the mental maturity to control impulses and make wise long-term decisions. Because of this, many teens are more susceptible to influence from older or more popular friends.
  • Direct Peer Pressure-This type of peer pressure can be spoken or unspoken. Direct peer pressure is normally behavior-centric. Examples of these kinds of behavior would be when someone hands another an alcoholic drink, or makes a sexual advance, or looks at another student’s paper during a test. This puts the other person in a position of having to make an on-the-spot decision.
  • Indirect Peer Pressure-Similar to unspoken peer pressure, indirect peer pressure is subtle but can still exert a strong influence on an impressionable young person. When someone overhears a friend gossiping about another person and then reacts to the gossip, that is indirect peer pressure. Or if a middle schooler learns that the popular kids’ parties include alcohol or drugs, that indirect pressure may prompt them to experiment as a way to gain acceptance.
  • Negative Peer Pressure-Asking someone to engage in behavior that is against their moral code or family values is a type of negative peer pressure. Teens see the actions of other teens with stronger personalities and are put in a position of following the leader or walking away. It’s not uncommon for teens with strong morals to find themselves engaging in behavior that goes against their beliefs, simply because they want acceptance. Young people often lack the skills to come up with an excuse or reason to say no to negative peer pressure.
  • Positive Peer Pressure-A group dynamic can be a positive peer influence if the behaviors are healthy, age-appropriate, and socially acceptable. For instance, if a peer group wants to make good grades, a young teen can be positively influenced to study. Or if a popular friend wants to earn money and save to buy a car, a less outgoing teenager may also be influenced to get a job and open a savings account. If members of the football team take a pledge to abstain from drinking alcohol to focus on staying healthy and having a winning season, other students may adopt the same behavior.

Parents can be the strongest influence in their child’s life if they understand and are aware of the types of peer pressure their teenager is facing. Supporting healthy friendships, modeling responsible behavior, and keeping an open, judgment-free family dialogue are three key components of maintaining positive parental influence on a teenager. Take the time to talk it out with your child and ask them about types of peer pressure they may be facing. Bullying is a prevalent form of youth violence, particularly in school settings. It is defined by aggressive behavior (i.e., behavior that is intentional and mean) that occurs repeatedly over time and within the context of a power imbalance. Although both are harmful to youth, there is an important distinction between bullying and aggression- if there is an occasional conflict or fighting between two children of equal strength, size, and social status, this is aggression, but not bullying.

Most children are exposed in some form of bullying in schools due to the unequal balance of power and influence that is so common in youth relationships and peer groups. Research on bullying in schools shows that it increases in late childhood and peaks in early adolescence, specifically during middle school. Bullying in schools also typically takes place in unstructured settings such as the cafeteria, hallways, and playgrounds during recess. If someone is being bullied in school (or witnesses bullying) it should be reported to a parent, teacher, school counselor, principal, superintendent, and/or to the State Department of Education. Both peer pressure and bullying can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, and/or something worse.

Students need school to be a positive climate where they feel safe. This reduces their own stress and potential aggression, allowing them to focus on the learning necessary for them to be successful in their lives. Fortunately, there are actions that students and school staff can take to prevent bullying in schools and to create a more positive school climate. The culture of school violence cannot be impacted by only working with bullies and victims alone. It takes consistent and united action by everyone -students, school staff, administrators, and parents.

If you know someone who is feeling hopeless, helpless, or thinking of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Report potential threats of school violence and student self-harm: Contact Safe2Say www.saysomething.net or call 844-572-9669, the Safe2Say phone app.

Recipes:

  • Yakitori (a family recipe): 2 skinless chicken breasts, cubed (for 4 people); 2 tablespoons soy sauce; 1 ½ tablespoons sugar (white or brown); 2 tablespoons water (or sake-a dry sherry); ½ teaspoon minced ginger; ½ teaspoon minced garlic; if desired: onion, scallions, pineapple. 2 bamboo skewers per person. Directions: Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least one hour to prevent them from burning on the grill. Combine all the ingredients (except vegetables) and marinate 30 minutes or more. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from the marinade and thread onto bamboo skewers, alternating the chicken with vegetables. Place the skewers on the hot grill. Brush with the marinade during the first 2 to 4 minutes and grill for a total of about 6 to 8 minutes (internal temperature of 165 F), turning the skewers a few times. Serve over rice.
  • Elderberry Syrup: 3½ cups water; 2/3 cup black elderberries, dried (1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen); 2 tablespoons ginger (grated); 1 teaspoon cinnamon; ½ teaspoon ground cloves; 1 cup raw honey. Directions: Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add the honey and stir well. When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a mason jar or 16-ounce glass bottle of some kind. Store in the fridge and take daily. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to help boost immunity. Instant Pot: Put all ingredients except honey in pot, seal lid, and set manually for 9 minutes on high pressure. Vent pressure and strain. When cooled to room temperature, stir in the honey. Standard dose: ½ – 1 teaspoon for kids and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults. If one does come down with symptoms it may be taken at the normal dose every 2-3 hours until symptoms disappear.
  • Lice Treatment: 1/4 cup food grade diatomaceous earth; 10 drops melaleuca (tea tree) essential oil; 1cup witch hazel; 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil; 10 drops rosemary essential oil. Directions: Mix together the diatomaceous earth and tea tree essential oil. Place a small amount in hands and massage in hair and scalp. Make sure to cover all areas. Diatomaceous earth can create a lot of dust, so one may want to put a mask over the child’s mouth and nose while applying. Leave on hair overnight. Wash hair next morning and dry with a hot air hairdryer. Use a lice comb to remove any eggs or nits out of the hair. Make a preventative spray of witch hazel, eucalyptus, and rosemary. Liberally spray daily on dry or wet hair, style as usual. Repeat the same process for two more days, or as needed.
  • Immune-Boosting Bitters: 1 tbsp. honey; 1 oz. dried astragalus root; 1 oz. dried angelica root; 1/2 oz. dried chamomile; 1 tsp. dried ginger; 1 tsp. dried orange peel; 1 cinnamon stick; 1 tsp. cardamom seeds; 10 oz. alcohol. Directions: Dissolve the honey in 2 teaspoons of boiling water. Let cool. Combine the honey and the next 7 ingredients in a Mason jar and pour alcohol on top. Seal tightly and store the bitters in a cool, dark place. Let the bitters infuse until the desired strength is reached. It’ll take about 2–4 weeks. Shake the jars regularly (about once per day). When ready, strain the bitters through a muslin cheesecloth or coffee filter. Store the strained bitters in an airtight container at room temperature. Prepare: Mix this bitters into hot tea or take a few drops first thing when you wake up for protection during cold and flu season.
  • Pink Eye Remedy 1: Place cool, moist chamomile tea bag on each closed eye for about 10 minutes. Repeat this every couple of hours.
  • Pink Eye Remedy 2: Infuse a teaspoon of chamomile or eyebright (Euphrasia Officinalis) in a cup of hot water. Allow to cool, strain. Use an eyecup to hold the lukewarm liquid in each eye. OR Just wash the eyes out with the infusion, make a compress with a cloth, or even soak a cotton ball in the liquid and wipe the eyes every so often. While treating pink eye topically, you certainly want to treat internally too using your go-to cold remedies.
  • Pink Eye Remedy 3: Wash the eye using 1 cup of boiled and cooled water in which 5 drops of chamomile tincture has been added. OR Soak a cotton ball in this mixture. Never use the straight tincture in an eye.

—-Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ—-
Jolene Grffiths, Master Herbalist

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Back to School – in 2020!

It’s that time of year again. And what a different world we live in this year. “Back to School” means many different things to the kids (and their parents) this year. Some will return to the classroom, some will do on-line training, some will homeschool, and some have joined small community co-ops with diverse curricula. So, the health challenges are just as diverse.

I’m not even going to comment on the viral concerns directly. We get new updates, advice, and regulation almost hourly. But there are still some other health concerns that we need to address – regardless of how or where we’ll learn this year. So, much of this is relooking at advice from years past.

First, a well-balanced vitamin and mineral supplement is still a necessity. The purpose of every cell in our bodies is to produce energy. But they must have a balance of proper nutrients as well as adequate water, exercise and rest to accomplish this task. Since most of us don’t get regular, well-balanced meals, supplements help to meet this need.

Mental alertness is imperative. It’s tougher than ever to focus on “learning” – but it is certainly necessary! Establish a routine early in the school year. Schedule adequate time for rest, exercise, homework, and desired activities. And since many longtime athletic and extracurricular activities have been canceled this year, you may need to get truly creative to ensure your kids don’t become “couch potatoes.” There are some wonderful natural nutritional supplements to help with mental alertness, too. They can aid with focus and concentration. This is especially important if your child has focus and attention challenges.

This year especially, consider adding immune system boosters to your child’s supplement regimen. I’d recommend an echinacea or elderberry supplement. And don’t forget to include good, old fashioned hygiene. To “sanitize” I add “cleanse”. Wash often, bathe regularly using antibacterial soap, brush your teeth after each meal, and use an antibacterial mouthwash.

As if our kids didn’t have enough stress in this year of the pandemic, remember that the new school year also brings on other conditions for the average student: increased mental stress and increased muscle aches and pains for those involved in outdoor activities, and increased emotional anxiety. Each student experiences these on different levels. Watch your students and listen to them. If a supplement is in order to help them adjust, contact your health food store or herb shop.

This year this “wonderful time of the year” has added burdens for our children. We’ll need to be diligent to put a positive twist on every adventure. Enjoy life and make it full. Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings. Gen.1:29.

How Should I Cleanse the Colon?

The colon is the waste container for the body.  The digestive system dumps its waste here, the lymphatic system dumps its waster here, and the circulatory system dumps its waste here. Since we discussed in our last blog that the colon works to reclaim any nutrients left in the waste, it stands to reason that we should keep the colon as clean as possible.  It requires constant care to keep it disease-free. Daily bowel movements help, but a more focused cleansing should be a regular part of our cleansing regimen.  I look for ingredients in my monthly cleansing regimen that will ensure the colon is addressed in each of them.

I am often asked how often we should have a bowel movement. I am reminded of an old doctor who in the 1970s was the first person I remember asking me how often I had a bowel movement.  He told me he asked that question of every patient he ever saw.  Answers he received spanned the numbers form “once a month” to “twelve times a day” – and each person thought that was normal because we usually think that our number is “normal for us”. But he reminded me of a newborn baby who has a meal and about 45 minutes later has a dirty diaper. He said that if we had perfect body systems then we would usually follow that routine. But he said he wasn’t concerned as long as his patients had at least “daily regularity”. But the fewer bowel movements you have, the greater is your need for routine colon cleansing.

It’s interesting to me that as soon as we potty train a child, we begin to try to make its bowel habits “convenient”; we’re at the store when little Johnny says “I need to go to the bathroom.” And we say, “can you hold it? We’ll be home in just a few minutes.” Actually, few of us go to the bathroom just when the urge first hits us. So old fecal material dries and starts sticking to the colon walls.

Remember the water reclamation function of the colon.  If there is excess fecal material in the colon, as it tries to draw off the excess water, it also draws off the bacterial and disease that may also be present and recirculates these substances throughout your body as well – we re-toxify ourselves!!!

Also, consider a balloon that is filled with air, emptied, refilled, and on and on.  It will eventually produce dimples on the wall.  In our colons, these dimples are called diverticula.  They are the perfect place for seeds, etc. to collect and get infected and produce diverticulitis.  Remember “it is” simply means “inflammation of.”

So, in addition to regular bowel movements, I look for products specifically formulated to cleanse the colon. These products not only aid in the evacuation of wastes but may also contain ingredients that can re-tone (tonify) the bowel. They can both cleanse and strengthen the bowel at the same time.

Keep moving and keep your bowel moving too.  It will not only keep you comfortable, but it will help keep your whole body healthier.

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.