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A Year of Celebration and Health

February 2020
Overview:
Awareness: American Heart Association, National Cancer Prevention, National Children’s Dental Health, National Eating Disorder
Flower: Violet
Gemstone: Amethyst
Trees: Cypress, Poplar, Cedar, Pine

Groundhogs Day: Groundhogs live in the ground and it is from the ground that we get most of our minerals! Minerals come from rocks, soil, and water, and they’re absorbed as the plants grow or by animals as the animals eat the plants. They are the elements that our bodies need to develop and function normally. The body cannot create minerals. Minerals have to be digested, but the body can create 10 out of the 14 vitamins that we need if our mineral intake is up. They are needed to activate enzymes. If fact, many diseases are caused by a polluted blood stream and a mineral deficiency. There are 102 minerals that make up the human body. The major minerals, which are used and stored in large quantities in the body, are calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur.

The trace minerals are just as vital to our health as the major minerals, but we don’t need large amounts. Minerals in this category include chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc. “Each one plays a role in hundreds of body functions. It may take just a very small quantity of a particular mineral, but having too much or too little can upset a delicate balance in the body,” says Dr. Bruce Bistrian, chief of clinical nutrition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Essential minerals are most potent when they come from food. But if you’re struggling with deficiencies, you may need to take supplements. If so, use caution: ingesting too much of a mineral supplement can be harmful. One way the ancients supplemented minerals was to consume mineral-rich clays. The other way was by adding a hard rock to their cooking pots. There are two different methods: one was to add a rock first and then boil food over an open fire; the other was to add a hot rock to a vessel which would cook the food without using an open flame. Sodium and calcium are the top two minerals provided using this method. And, by boiling stones and water for 15 minutes any harmful bacteria should be eliminated. A limestone rock was often used in the American Southwest. This leached chemical lime from the stones into the water, which has been found to raise the pH of the water to 11.4–11.6 at temperatures between 300–600 degrees centigrade, and higher yet over longer periods and at higher temperatures. When historical varieties of maize were cooked in this water, the chemical lime broke down the corn and increased the availability of digestible proteins.

President’s Day: This is the day the United States set aside to celebrate two former Presidents’ birthdays-George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Thus, I am using this day to talk about natural birthing herbal aids.

  • Herbal infusions (aka: teas that don’t contain any Camellia sinensis-tea bush) have been used by midwives throughout history to help with some of the negative symptoms associated with pregnancy and labor.
  • Red Raspberry: While red raspberry leaf infusion is typically recommended for the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, some women use the herbal remedy to help with nausea and vomiting in the first trimester as well. The fragarine compound found in red raspberry leaves is known to help tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, including the walls of the uterus, which can help make delivery easier. It also lessens complications, shortens labor by helping contractions to work more effectively; making birth easier and faster, and prevents excessive bleeding after childbirth. Women who drink red raspberry leaf tea later in pregnancy have been shown to have reduced use of forceps and other interventions such as, C-sections or vacuum-extractions, as well as a reduction in the likelihood of pre- and post-term labor.
  • Nettle Leaf: Nettle leaf is a tonic herb thought to strengthen and tone the entire system, and is particularly useful to support fertility in both men and women. In traditional herbal medicine, nettles are thought to ease leg cramps, and possibly ease the pain of childbirth. After birth, nettle is thought to promote an abundant milk supply. Nettle is particularly rich in micronutrients like carotene, vitamin C, manganese, iron, calcium, zinc and chromium. As the mother passes anything she consumes to her baby both during pregnancy and breastfeeding, nettle will not only nourish her body, but also her growing baby. In addition to nettle infusion, one can use fresh nettles in springtime (be wary of their sting) in one’s cooking.
  • Oat Straw: Oat straw was traditionally used in Europe as a tonic for health, beauty, and emotional resilience. It’s rich in both calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium work together in the body. Calcium tones the muscles and the cardiovascular system, and improves circulation both in the mother’s body and, naturally, in her baby as well. It also stimulates the muscles to contract. Magnesium then, by contrast, helps those muscles to relax, easing cramps, restless legs, as well as improving sleep. In this way, it’s thought by herbalists and midwives that oat straw can be particularly valuable for pregnant women.
  • Alfalfa: Alfalfa, like nettle, is a general restorative herb. In folk medicine, alfalfa is used to support thyroid health and it’s thought to ease morning sickness. Alfalfa hay is also given to livestock to help them produce abundant milk, and is thought to convey the same benefits to human mothers as well. Alfalfa, like nettle and red raspberry leaf and other green leafs, is also rich in vitamin K which supports healthy circulation and proper blood clotting. Low vitamin K levels is linked with bleeding and hemorrhage which may be why many midwives recommend optimizing one’s vitamin K levels during pregnancy, particularly in the weeks leading up to childbirth, with the primary recommendation being diet as well as herbs like alfalfa.
  • Lemon Balm, Rose Hips and Rose Buds: Lemon balm gives a pregnancy infusion delightful, mellow lemon-like flavor. In traditional, folk medicine, lemon balm is used for nervousness, digestive upset, and headaches. Similarly, rose hips bring a light and pleasant tartness to an infusion. Rosehips are rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C, and it’s that vitamin C that works synergistically with iron to help your body better absorb that mineral. Similarly, rose buds bring pleasant floral notes and a lovely feminine energy to an infusion. Lemon balm and rose hips added to an infusion is for their flavor more than anything else. The pregnancy infusion listed below in the recipe section tends to be inky and dark, owing to the heavy use of leafy green herbs like nettle, alfalfa and raspberry leaf. Both lemon balm and rose hips, bright in flavor, aromatic and astringent, lighten the infusion in a pleasant way.

Some uncommon plants: Each culture has their own special herbs they use for labor. Alas, a vast majority of these plants are not found on the market and need to be foraged. Some exceptions are yucca and prickly pear cactus roots used by the Lakota as an infusion to aid in childbirth. Eggplants, lemons, dates, nuts and seeds, sweet potatoes, melons, and licorice are others that have been claimed to aid in the birthing process.

*Caution: Although herbs are natural, not all herbs are safe to take during pregnancy. The FDA urges pregnant women not to take any herbal products without talking to their health-care provider first. Women are also urged to consult a trained and experienced herbalist (or other professionals trained to work with herbs) if they want to take herbs during their pregnancy. Some herbal products may contain agents that are contraindicated in pregnancy. Herbs may contain substances that can cause miscarriage, premature birth,
uterine contractions, or injury to the fetus. Few studies have been done to measure the effects of various herbs on pregnant women or fetuses.

Valentine’s Day: Many of the common symbols of this day include hearts, roses, and chocolate. It is common in Japan and Korea for singles to get together and eat Jajangmyeon (noodles with black bean sauce). In Wales it is tradition for a man to give the woman whom he loves a carved wooden spoon.

Rose petals and their medicine help to move and open a heart which has tightened emotionally and spiritually. Both TCM and Unani (traditional Arabic medicine) teach that rose has a powerful effect on the spiritual state of one’s heart. In Unani medicine some heart herbs are termed as “exhilarants”, which help the spiritual heart feel joy. A wonderful nervine, great for uplifting the mood and alleviating depression, rose also has antispasmodic, aphrodisiac and sedative qualities, as well as being anti-inflammatory. Rose helps regulate menstruation as well as stimulate the digestion. Rosehips, which come along after the bloom has faded, are a wonderful source of vitamins C, B2 and E. One may use rose as an herbal supplement, essential oil, or flower essence. Rose petal tincture is often used in heart formulas. Dried rose petals make a lovely addition to teas. There is a long tradition of rose water being used in medicine, including in Iran and other parts of the Middle East, as far back as the 7th century.

The observation that people prone to herpetic lesions and other related viral infections, particularly during periods of stress, should abstain from arginine excess and may also require supplemental lysine in their diet. Some arginine-rich foods such as chocolate, nuts, and seeds causes some to experience herpes outbreaks. Lysine-rich foods such most vegetables and fruits, dairy, egg whites, and meats help. Foods that contain high amounts of Vitamin C such as citrus, leafy vegetables, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bell peppers, strawberries, and papaya aid in boosting the immune system. Other immune boosting foods that contain high amounts of bioflavonoids such as citrus, many bright colored fruits and vegetables, leafy vegetables, black tea, broccoli, brussel sprouts, eggplant, wine and juice made from berries or grapes. Zinc-rich foods that also aid the immune system include pumpkin seeds, most dairy, beans, lentils, whole-grain cereals, and legumes.

If you’re an abuse survivor, there’s not one way to cope with feelings that Valentine’s Day might stir up. But if you can do things that empower you and make you feel good, that’s a step in the right direction. (And for those of you who haven’t experienced abuse but know a friend who has, Valentine’s Day is a good time to reach out and remind them you’re there for them in any way they need.) Here are some general suggestions that may work for you:

  • Surround yourself with support: Seek out friends and family who make you feel validated and won’t encourage you to return to your abuser.
  • Call a helpline: There are quite a few hotlines available for those who are or have experienced domestic abuse. There’s Day One, which is a great resource. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233 or RAINN, the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which you can reach at (800) 656-4673.
  • Take self-defense classes: not necessarily as a defense against a future incident of abuse, but as a way to make you feel stronger and less vulnerable.
  • Turn to therapy: Talk with a therapist or a survivor group where you can be candid about the trauma you experienced. A good online support group with over 80,000 users is Pandora’s Project (a nonprofit organization that provides support to survivors of sexual assault). https://www.pandys.org.
  • Put your own needs first: Do whatever makes you feel good and at peace. It could be meditating or seeing a silly movie or reading that book you’ve been curious about. Overall, the hope is that with the right support, no matter where it comes from, triggers like Valentine’s Day will, over time, become less impactful and destabilizing. Yes, the trauma you experienced was real, but the memories of it don’t have to keep hurting you. The more autonomy you allow yourself to have over them, the sooner they’ll fade into the background.
  • Herbal aids: There are several herbal aids one may take to help deal with triggers, memories, and nightmares. St. John’s wort is most commonly used for “the blues” or depression and symptoms that sometimes go along with mood such as nervousness, tiredness, poor appetite, and trouble sleeping. Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a naturally occurring amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter in your brain. Neurotransmitters function as chemical messengers. GABA is considered an inhibitory neurotransmitter because it blocks, or inhibits, certain brain signals and decreases activity in your nervous system. Rescue Remedy is a blend of five flower remedies especially beneficial when you find yourself in traumatic or stressful situations.

Mardi Gras: Traditional Mardi Gras foods include shrimp, grains, and legumes. All these are within the top 8 foods groups known to be allergens. In fact, researchers estimate that 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under age 18. And, about 40% of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food. There are also those who do not have allergies, but instead have intolerances. Both allergies and intolerances are labeled food sensitivities. Key differences between food allergies and food intolerances:

  • Food Allergy: Immediate response; possibly life-threatening; IgE-mediated immune response
  • Food intolerances: Response ranges from one hour to up to 48 hours; not life-threatening; possibly IgG-mediated immune response
  • Food Sensitivity Symptoms: acne, brain fog, eczema; dry and itchy skin; bloated stomach after eating; fatigue; joint pain; reflux; migraines; diarrhea; depression and mood swings; runny nose; headache; trouble sleeping and dark circles under eyes.

If you notice certain ailments or aches on a regular basis like the ones listed above, you might have a food intolerance. The tricky part is figuring out which food is to blame. Since symptoms can wait to show up until a few days after consumption, it makes diagnosis especially challenging and time-consuming. That’s why for many, food sensitivities last for decades and are largely undiagnosed. Traditionally, you would keep a food journal and embark on an elimination diet, removing possible culprits one at a time for periods of two to eight weeks (the longer the better).

Leaky gut occurs when there is damage to the lining of the intestinal tract making it more permeable to substances that should not cross the delicate lining. Normally, only nutrients from fully digested foods such as vitamins, minerals, emulsified fats, amino acids and simple sugars are able to cross the intestinal barrier that separates our blood stream from our gut. But when the gut becomes leaky, undigested food particles, bacteria and toxins are able to make it through the gut lining and they enter the
circulation, going to places in the body where they don’t belong. The body’s defense system fights back and it’s during this fight that uncomfortable symptoms are experienced.

There are several causes of leaky gut and one or more of these causes may be at work simultaneously. For example, leaky gut can be caused by damage from an autoimmune reaction, such as celiac disease which destroys the microvilli and increases permeability, or by the presence of gluten which causes the production of a chemical called zonulin which directly opens up the tight junctions, making the gut more permeable; it may also be due to damage caused by bacterial toxins in conditions such as Small
Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), which also contribute to gut inflammation leading to leakiness. And probably most importantly, leaky gut can be caused by undiagnosed food sensitivities with the immune battle between white blood cells and undigested food particles taking place in the villi of the small intestine.

Food intolerances are the main cause of symptoms associated with leaky gut. Food intolerances create a vicious cycle in that they help maintain the reason for their development (the leaky gut) while being the direct cause of the various symptoms suffered. This vicious cycle can only end after carefully removing all sources of reactive foods and chemicals, which not only eliminates symptoms, but also allows the gut to finally heal. But this is easier said than done for a number of reasons: Food sensitivities are often dose dependent, with symptom onset delayed by many hours, and there are usually many reactive foods, not just 1 or 2 as in food allergy. And just like each person has a unique fingerprint, both food intolerance symptoms and trigger foods are different from one person to another. In other words, in two gluten sensitive people, gluten may cause digestive problems in one person and migraines in another. And in 10 migraine patients, there could be 10 different sets of trigger foods. Because of this, obviously there is no one-size-fits-all diet. Although research proves that leaky gut exists, there is no perfect test to diagnose it, diagnose its cause, or determine if a particular therapy is effective at treating it. What is known is that diet and stress are two things that play a significant role in causing leaky gut. Therefore, an individually prescribed diet, stress reduction and supplement plan are a big part of the solution. Monitoring symptom improvement is the best way to determine the effectiveness of therapy and the healing of your leaky gut. Omega-3 oils, probiotics, fibers, removing foods to which one is sensitive, and eliminating sugar to can aid in the healing of the gut.

Recipes:

  • Pregnancy Infusion: Makes 28 serving Ingredients: 2 ounces’ nettle leaf, 2 ounces’ raspberry leaf, 1 ounce oat straw, 1 ounce alfalfa leaf, 1/2 ounce lemon balm, 1/2 ounce rose hips, 1/2 ounce rose buds. Instructions: Stir all the herbs together in a large mixing bowl so that they’re evenly distributed. Set a wide-mouth funnel into the lip of a jar and spoon the mixed herbs into the jar. Cap tightly and store out of the sun. Bring about a quart of water to a boil, and then spoon a heaping quarter-cup (about 1/4 ounce) of your mixed herbs into a quart-sized jar. Cover with boiling water, cap, and let them steep overnight – about 8 hours. Strain out the herbs, and enjoy the tea. Note: Take about two cups a day during the second trimester and up to a quart a day in the third trimester. Reach out to your care provider to determine what is the right amount for you.
  • Nan-e Berenji (a cookie): 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, 1 egg yolk, 2 cups fine rice flour, 1/4 cup rose water, 1-2 tablespoons poppy seeds. Directions: In a large bowl, mix together the oil and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add egg yolk and mix for another 20-30 seconds. Sift in the rice flour, in three batches. Using a spatula, fold in the flour into mixture after each batch is added. Add the rose water. Knead the mixture for 5-10 minutes. Shape into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 325 F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into small 1-inch balls and flatten the cookie into a small disc. Repair any cracks on the edges and place on baking sheet. Using the curve of a small teaspoon make overlapping arch-shaped indentation marks on the top. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bottom and edges begins to turn a light golden color. Let completely cool before carefully removing from baking tray.
  • Millet & Rice Pasta: ¼ cup arrowroot starch, ¾ cup brown rice flour, ½ cup millet flour, ½ tsp xanthan gum, ¼ tsp salt, 2 tbsp light olive oil, ½ cup flax seed gel, 4 tbsp warm water. Directions: Combine the dry ingredients and set them aside. In the stand mixer, combine all of the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients slowly until a crumbly mixture forms. Form into a long roll and slice to make long noodles. Cook as normal pasta.
  • Konjac Noodles: 2 teaspoons of glucomannan/Konjac, 1/8 teaspoon of pickling lime (or 1 gram of baking powder), 2 cups of Cold Water. Directions: Pour 2 cups of cold water into a large cooking pot. Stir in pickling lime (or baking powder) for one minute. Add the glucomannan powder, stirring continuously until the liquid reaches a boil. Boil the mixture for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. The mixture will turn into a gel once the mixture cools down. Being a thermally stable (non-reversible) gel, this gel will not dissolve at room temperature. Once cool, cut the gel into small pieces or into your desired shape. When ready to serve, dip the cut glucomannan food into a pot of warm water or steam for about 3 to 5 minutes. Then serve or continue to cook in any manner one likes.
  • Vegetable Noodles: serves 2. Ingredients: 4 zucchinis, cut into thin strips on a mandolin, or julienne peeler, black pepper, freshly chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Directions: Saute zucchini in a pan over a medium heat with a little olive oil. Season with a little lemon, sea salt and black pepper. Add fresh herbs if you wish. Note: You may use: Zoodles-zucchini noodles, Poodles-parsnip noodles, Swoodles-sweet potato noodles, Toodles-turnip noodles, Coodles-carrot noodles, Squoodles-squash noodles, boodles-broccoli stem noodles (peel stem first).
  • Carob-dipped Strawberries: 8 -10 large fresh strawberries, washed and dried; 3 tablespoons coconut oil; 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or liquid stevia-to taste), optional; 2 tablespoons carob powder. Directions: Pre-line a flat tray that you will use to place your strawberries on to and keep in the fridge to cool whilst preparing the carob sauce. Pre-chilling the tray helps carob coating to set quickly. In a small mixing bowl, mix coconut oil over boiling water to melt. (Use a small saucepan of boiling water and sit bowl over the top. The heat from underneath will melt the coconut oil in the mixing bowl). Add carob powder and optional maple syrup (or liquid stevia-to taste) and mix well. Holding the strawberry at the leafy end, dip each strawberry into the carob sauce and coat well. Use a spoon to help if needed. Place onto pre-chilled and lined tray. Once all strawberries are coated, place in fridge until carob coating is set. Keep in refrigerator until ready to eat. Variations: Use raw cacao powder instead of carob for an authentic chocolate flavor. Add desiccated coconut to your carob dipping sauce or sprinkle coconut over wet carob dipped strawberries before setting. Add 1 tablespoon nut butter such as almond butter to dipping sauce for a nut fudge coating. Make carob sauce to serve as a fondue at dinner parties and let guests dip their own strawberries. Tips: Make sure your washed strawberries are pat dry before dipping into carob sauce otherwise the coating won’t stick as well. For an extra thick coating of carob, after first coat is set on strawberries repeat process for a second coating. Pre-chilling your lined setting tray in freezer will help the carob coating to set quickly. Pre-chill your washed strawberries in the refrigerator prior to dipping to also help the carob to set quickly. If your carob dipping sauce is too runny it won’t stick to the strawberries well. If it is too runny place your dipping sauce in the fridge for a few minutes or until it begins to thicken.
  • Traditional King Cake (Gil Marks): Dough-1 package active dry yeast (or 1 cake fresh yeast or 2 teaspoons instant yeast); 1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115°F for dry yeast; 80 to 85°F for fresh yeast); 1/2 cup warm milk (105 to 115°F for dry yeast; 80 to 85°F for fresh yeast) (or sour cream); 1/4 cup granulated sugar; 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (½ stick); 2 large egg yolks or 1 large egg; 3/4 tsp table salt; 1 tsp ground cinnamon (or cardamom), optional; 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, optional; 1/8 tsp almond extract, optional; 1 tsp grated lemon zest, optional; 2 tsp grated orange zest (or orange blossom water), optional; 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or bread flour); 1/4-1/2 cup chopped candied citron (or ½ cup chopped mixed candied fruit, or ½ cup golden raisins); egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon milk or water)–Cinnamon Filling-(optional): 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar; 1/4 cup all-purpose flour; 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon; pinch salt; 2/3 cup chopped slightly toasted pecans (or 1/3 cup pecans); ¼ cup raisins; ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted (½ stick); 1 pecan half, large bean, or other token/baby, optional. Icing–1 cup confectioners’ sugar; 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened (¼ stick) (or ¼ cup cream cheese, softened), optional; 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or ¼ teaspoon almond extract); 1 tbsp milk (buttermilk, fresh lemon juice, or water); a few drops gold food coloring (or 2 to 4 tablespoons yellow colored sugar) optional; a few drops green food coloring (or 2 to 4 tablespoons green colored sugar), optional; a few drops purple food coloring (or 2 to 4 tablespoons purple colored sugar), optional. Directions: To make the dough–In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks, salt, and, for a flavored dough (but omit this if you are using a filling), the spice or zest. Blend in 1½ cups flour. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft workable dough. On a lightly floured surface or in a mixer with a dough hook, knead the dough until smooth and springy, about 5 minutes. Knead in the citron, mixed candied fruit or golden raisins. Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a kitchen towel or loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight. To make the optional filling–In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the pecans. Drizzle the butter over top and mix until crumbly. Punch down the dough and knead briefly. Making the cake with the filling: Roll the dough into a 16- by 10-inch rectangle, spread evenly with the filling, leaving 1 inch uncovered on all sides. If using a token, place it on the rectangle (Be sure to warn your guests.) Beginning from a long end, roll up jellyroll style. Then bring the ends together to form an oval. Place on a parchment paper-lined or greased baking sheet, seam side down. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap spritzed with cooking spray and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Making the cake without the filling: Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a 24-inch-long rope. Braid the 2 ropes together, and bring the ends together to form an oval, pinching the ends to seal. OR Divide the dough in thirds and roll each piece into a 16-inch rope. If you prefer an oval shape, the strands should be closer to 20 inches. Braid by first connecting the ends of the ropes at one end. As you braid, be sure that you are pulling the strands gently taut to make a neat and even braid, otherwise your cake may bulge in some areas. When you are ready to connect the ends, unbraid a few inches at each end, then braid them together by connecting the corresponding pieces. For example, center rope to center rope. Place on a parchment paper-lined or greased baking sheet, seam side down. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap spritzed with cooking spray and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. To make the icing: In a medium bowl, stir the confectioners’ sugar, optional butter or cream cheese, vanilla, and enough milk until smooth and of a pouring consistency. If desired, divide the icing into thirds and tint each third with one of the food colorings. Or you can drizzle or spread the icing over the warm cake. While the icing is still wet, sprinkle with the colored sugar. The easiest way to do this neatly is to use a pastry brush to apply icing to each section, then sprinkle with sugar, let dry, and move on to the next section. For the braided cake, follow the braid pattern around the cake, using one color at a time and applying to each icing section directly after applying while still wet (the icing dries fast!). Then allow the icing to dry and gently tap off the excess sugar before starting the next color. Serve warm or at room temperature. After cooling, the cake can be wrapped well in plastic, then foil and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Do not cover with the icing before freezing. Variation: Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake: Beat 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese at room temperature with 1 cup (4 ounces/115 grams) confectioners’ sugar, ½ egg yolk (use the rest for the egg wash), and ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract. This can be used with or without the cinnamon filling. Hint: To make colored sugar, in a jar shake ¼ cup granulated sugar with 4 drops yellow, green, or purple food coloring.

—-Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ—-
Jolene Griffiths, 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 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Heart Healthy Foods for February

February is American Heart month. This February marks the 51st anniversary of American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., claiming more lives than all cancers combined. It is important for us to take a serious look at what we can do to lower our risk for heart disease this month and throughout the year. I will share with you the following tips to get started on your path toward Heart Health.

Be active. Physical activity is one of the best ways to fight off heart disease and other chronic conditions. Any amount of activity is better than nothing. However at least 30 minutes a day is ideal. If you can’t devote a full 30 minutes, split your exercise into 10-minute segments.

Maintain a healthy diet. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables, protein, nuts, seeds, beans, peas and lentils. Avoid foods and beverages that are high in fat and sugar. High fiber foods can help prevent high cholesterol.

Aim for a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight especially in your mid-section is hard on the heart and can increase risk for diabetes. Losing 5-10% of your starting weight can make a big difference in your blood pressure and blood sugar.

Know your numbers. Have your levels checked. Staying informed will allow you to better manage your heart and prevent certain health conditions from developing.

Dark chocolate on Valentine’s Day? My answer would be “yes”. Why?

  1. Dark chocolate may give your brain a boost. Dark chocolate, made from the seed of the cocoa tree, is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.
  2. Cocoa may calm your blood pressure.
  3. Dark chocolate can help you lower your cholesterol. There are a number of products out there to help lower cholesterol. But by all means, don’t use dark chocolate as a license to purchase a case of dark chocolate. It is just an added benefit.
  4. Studies show that dark chocolate can improve your health and lower your risk of heart disease. Keep in mind these dark chocolates should contain at least 50-70% cocoa.

Another tip: these dark chocolates should be sweetened with natural healthy sweeteners, not refined sugars. Where can you find these healthy sweeteners? “At the Health Patch” of course!

Your Wellness Friend:
Shirley Golden, Staff ND, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health
1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, ph:736-1030, e-mail: jehovah316@netzero.net.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is intended for
educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The Circulatory System: The Heart of Good Health

The circulatory system is made up of the heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries with the primary function of carrying oxygen and nutrients to every cell of the body as well as carrying away waste from each of those cells. The circulatory system also works intricately with the immune system to carry white blood cells and the endocrine system as an avenue to deliver hormones to tissues.

This system is vital for good health in every area of our fearfully and wonderfully made bodies and when circulation is impaired, tissues can begin to deteriorate and begin to lose function. Some common symptoms of poor circulation include cold hands and feet, poor memory, poor wound healing, and a pale complexion. Diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes can increase heart disease and poor wound healing by decreasing the circulatory system when there is a constant high glucose level in the blood. It is imperative to keep the circulatory flow to every tissue of the body and there are some wonderful herbs that help us achieve that goal.

Capsicum– has long been used as a circulatory stimulant. Its alkaloid, capsaicin, is what causes the herb to be hot. It is also the active part that is responsible for the ability of the herb to stimulate circulation. By helping to increase circulation, Capsicum has been useful in lowering blood pressure and in aiding in the healing of wounds. This herb is often blended with other herbs to work as a catalyst in getting the medicinal properties throughout the body. Capsicum is also rich in Vitamin C and E as well as other antioxidants known for their ability to help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Ginkgo Biloba– this herb has a group of antioxidants known as bioflavonoids that help increase circulation, particularly to the brain and extremities. Several clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Ginkgo Biloba for improving blood flow to the brain, helping to improve memory loss, depression, headaches, and ringing in the ears.

Butcher’s Broom-this effective herb received its name from one of its uses many years ago. Butchers would tie several of the shrub branches together and use it to sweep their carving blocks clean. Butcher’s Broom is a vascular tonic which means it helps strengthen the veins and improve circulation, particularly to the lower body. Because it helps strengthen veins, it can be very helpful for varicose veins and hemorrhoids. This herb is also rich in iron, chromium, and B3. Due to its ability to strengthen the veins, this can cause the vessels to constrict and slightly increase blood pressure. Take caution if you have high blood pressure.

Hawthorn Berries– this herb loves the heart and helps protect it from oxygen deficiency. The Rutin, Quercetin, and other bioflavonoids in this herb help dilate and relax arteries, enhancing circulation to the heart. This increase in circulation and oxygen helps it to strengthen and normalize heart beats as well as help lower
blood pressure.

Garlic– the herb that those mythical creatures avoid is one that helps improve many circulatory problems. Garlic can help prevent the formation of clots in the circulatory system by inhibiting the clumping together of blood cells called platelets. Garlic is also a circulatory tonic, helping to strengthen and dilate circulatory vessels that can help reduce blood pressure.

In most of the herbs presented here, there is a rich presence of bioflavonoids that are important nutrients for the circulation. Foods such as blueberries, citrus fruits and pomegranate are rich in bioflavonoids. Pomegranate also enhance nitric oxide, a molecule produced in the body. Nitric Oxide’s important function is as a vasodilator—opening up the blood vessels—and this helps lower blood pressure.

Finally, an herb that can help with the stress and emotional component of good circulation is Holy Basil. This herb is an adaptogen and helps the body adapt to stress and helps protect the heart from stress as well as helps lower blood pressure connected to daily stress.

If you would like to learn more about how to better strengthen the circulatory system and help alleviate the conditions that can come from poor circulation, contact us here at The Healthpatch.

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 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Rid Your Body of Abnormal Cells!

This is a touchy subject for Naturopathic Doctors because we work only with body systems. We do not diagnose or treat “named” diseases. But when we mention “abnormal cells” many people immediately go to “cancer” or “melanomas”. I always begin such a discussion with the fact that we do NOT treat or CURE cancer with our work. But we all carry some abnormal cells and we work with our customers to work within their body systems to alleviate the growth of these abnormal cells.

A few years back, due to some serious sunburns on my back as a teenager, I was diagnosed by my dermatologist as having a pretty severe skin cancer. I knew that in this case that was mutant cells in my skin that were multiplying and talked to him about the possibility in this case of using a natural product to get rid of these specific cells. He told me to try it and three weeks later removed all the malignant tissue from my back and retested it – and didn’t find any abnormal cells left.

The product was call Paw Paw Cell Reg. It is the extract of pawpaw twigs collected in the month of May when the over 400 acetogenins they contain are at their peak. The medical community has known about this product for over 40 years, but don’t use it much because of its limited effectiveness on many conditions. The product is selective for only abnormal cells, has no known contraindications, and can be used in a defensive roll. A few years back I went to a conference with Dr. Ajay Goel who was at the time the lead research scientist at the Baylor Cancer Institute in Dallas, Texas. The title of his talk was “Why cancer always comes back.” He made a powerful case, so I take a bottle once a year as a preventative.

The product works by slowing the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate – a chemical that provides energy to living cells) in the mitochondria of the abnormal cells making them weak; upsets the RNA & DNA building blocks within the abnormal cells interrupting their ability to reproduce, and may help modulate the growth of blood vessels near the abnormal cells making it difficult to get food, water and oxygen and get rid of their wastes.

According to Dr Goel, the reason these abnormal growths will always return at some point is that while traditional treatments kill the bad cells, they also kill good, normal cells in the process and yet do not kill the abnormal stem cells. He believes that a specific clinically studied curcumin with a concentration of a specific component and added turmerones may stop these stems cells from reproducing, and a clinically studies component of a French grape seed may also play a part in breaking some specific cellular communication chains in the proliferation of abnormal cell growth as well.

Dr Goel has changed jobs and now works at the City of Hope in Los Angeles. He is working to get more medical doctors trained in the use of several of our natural products to allow their use in their practices.

We hear stories from our customers regularly of products they have used to aid in the breaking of communication channels to halt the proliferation of abnormal cell growths. Rene Cassie worked decades ago with the Ojibwa Indians in Canada to learn to blend extracts of burdock root, sheep sorrel aerial parts, the inner bark of the slippery elm tree, and the roots of the turkey rhubarb to produce a popular product called Essiac Tea. Others have tried using such things as inositol hexaphosphate from mineral sources, shark cartilage which gained popularity from a book a couple of decades ago called “Sharks Don’t Get Cancer,” and essential oils like frankincense.

Every medical doctor I have talked with assures that there is currently no cure from the disease named “cancer”. But strides are being made, and doctors like Dr Ajay Goel of the City of Hope in Los Angeles teaches that some of the progress we see in inhibiting the early growth of the abnormal cells that may develop into the actual disease many be helped with some of our natural products. So I take a bottle of Paw Paw Cell Reg as a part of my cleansing regimen each year.

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.

A Year of Celebration and Health

Our year is filled with an assortment of celebrations-some a based in faith, others in history and folklore, and still others are to honor various people, groups or things. Each country, state, province, nationality and religion also has their own unique festivities. While some holidays fall on the same day, year after year; others move around the calendar. (Some calendars contain 12 months, others, 13. There are those which have different year counts. While others have a different number of days.) The following are just days that are celebrated within the United States and are listed according to the month they fall within on the Gregorian A.D. 2020 calendar.

January Overview:

  • Awareness: Birth Defects, Blood Donor, Cervical Health, Glaucoma, Healthy Weight, Thyroid
  • Flower: Snowdrop
  • Gemstone: Garnet
  • Trees: Apple, Fir, Elm, Cypress

New Year’s Day: This is the day when new beginnings are made. People make resolutions to aid in improving their lives. Certain traditions ranging from food, cleaning, even clothing are thought to bring good luck for the upcoming year. Some ‘good luck’ foods include greens, pork, rice, dates/figs, lentils, noodles and black-eyed peas. Cleaning not only covers tossing out broken/unused stuff but also airing out rooms. The physical body also needs to be cleansed and nourished. It is considered ‘good luck’ to wear clothing of certain colors and some believe it must be new. To help make the year a healthier one, you can consume food that is organic and heirloom (if possible) and allergen-free (ex: gluten, yeast, dairy and egg). Buy clothing made of 100% renewable plant fibers (ex: cotton and hemp) and has fasteners (if applicable) that are either metal zippers and snaps, stone/shell/wood buttons, or pull ties. Brooms made traditionally out of wood, broomcorn straw, twigs or horsehair and twine are eco-friendlier than the modern plastic ones. Body cleansing can include organ detoxing, skin brushing, bathing, consuming more fiber and water and getting more exercises. Also, one can nourish their mind and spirit by reading up-lifting books, going to church, meditating and seeking counseling to get rid of past traumas.

Martin Luther King Day: This is a day to honor an American Christian minister and activist who stood against social injustices in a non-violent way. But, during his life he battled personal religious conflict, severe depression and major stress. He seemed to have conquered all except stress. Everyone can change their hearts, minds and spirits. Counseling can help break down walls and overcome negative habits. Another technique to help achieve this is through nourishing the emotions with aid of flowers. The flower remedies are safe and natural methods of emotional healing discovered by Dr. Bach from the 1920’s and 1930’s in England. They gently assist the restoration of balance between the mind and body by casting out negative emotions such as fear, worry, hatred and indecisions which interfere with the equilibrium of the being as a whole. These remedies aid in allowing peace and happiness to return to the sufferer so that the body is free to heal itself. They are made from wild flowers and are considered safe for the whole family including pets. Common methods of use are applied on the skin or taken under the tongue. The flowers used are: Agrimony, Aspen, Beech, Centaury, Cerato, Cherry Plum, Chestnut Bud, Chicory, Clematis, Crab Apple, Elm, Gentian, Gorse, Heather, Holly, Honeysuckle, Hornbeam, Impatiens, Larch, Mimulus, Mustard, Oak, Olive, Pine, Red Chestnut, Rock Rose, Rock Water, Scleranthus, Star of Bethlehem, Sweet Chestnut, Vervain, Vine, Walnut, Water Violet, White Chestnut, Wild Oat, Wild Rose and Willow.

Chinese New Year: The Chinese calendar lists this as 4,718. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the ancient Chinese medicine system is based on the Daoist view of a universe in which everything is interrelated. As the Chinese observed the world around them, they organized it into five primal powers or elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. The Chinese have developed a unique method of understanding the structure of the internal organs and the body’s physiological processes. TCM is designed to promote and maintain health through diet and exercise. If illness occurs, it is treated with acupuncture, herbs and Qigong which help rebalance Yin and Yang (an energetic system that cannot be separated from one another or the universe). Thus, Chinese medicine is considered very complex and intricate. However, it treats the patient, not the disease.

The body was organized into corresponding systems know as Organ Networks. Each organ is not a separate structure, but is interconnected by an organ system that work together to keep the body functioning well. Vital substances (Qi, blood, body fluids, Jing and Shen) interact with each other to nourish and sustain the body and mind. Solid organs and Zang and hollow organs are Fu. Zang Fu deals more with an organ’s relationship to the body rather than to a specific function. The organs have difference functions, yet depend on each other to function properly. Each organ is predominantly Yin or Yang. Yang organs transform and digest. Yin organs store, in particular the Vital Substance. The Zang Fu organs are associated with specific body tissues and emotions.

The organs and all components of the body are connected by energy channels (Meridians). They are pathways for the flow of Qi throughout the body. There are Twelve Regular Meridians running vertically up and down the surface of the body with many branching channels. The Meridians are paired (the same on both sides of the body). Each Meridian is associated with a Zang Fu organ. Acupuncture points are Qi access points along the Meridians.

There are Eight Extraordinary Vessels, which do not connect to the Zang Fu organs. Only two of these channels have acupuncture points. They mostly function as reservoirs of Qi and blood for the Twelve Regular Meridians.

Recipes:

Homemade Broom: For a more durable broom that is less likely to fall apart, it is advised to use broomcorn, a variety of Sorghum – Sorghum vulgare var. technicum. Cut a straight tree limb with smooth bark and few knots or smaller limbs for your broom handle. Clean the broomcorn, shaking out loose stems, leaves, and other debris. Gather it into bundles about 1 to 1 ½ inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm) thick, wrapping each bundle tightly, and trimming the ends straight. Tie individual bundles of straw tightly with twine. (This will help keep the finished broom neat.) Next, tie the bundles together, one at a time, and side by side. Keep them as flat as possible. By wrapping the twine back and forth from opposite sides around each bundle, they will lay closer together and flatter. Sharpen the end of the stick so that it can be pushed up into the end of the bundles at the center. Push it about 6 inches (15 cm) deep between the center bundles, then tie it off securely with more twine. Using sharp, heavy-duty scissors cut the ends of the straw straight across. The broom is now ready for use.

Soapy Plants: There are a number of plants that can be used as a substitute for soap without any chemical processing. These plants contain naturally occurring soap-like substances, called saponins. There are three common North American plants with significant saponin content. Directions: To use any of these plants for soap, chop up the appropriate part of the plant and rub it between one’s hands with some water or dry it for future use. (Before trying a full dose on one’s body, test for allergic reactions by rubbing a bit onto the inside of the wrist and waiting one day to make sure there is no adverse reaction. Because saponins are somewhat poisonous, and Native Americans have used them to paralyze fish, one does not want to eat these plants, except perhaps for the edible fruits and flowers of the yucca family.

  • Bouncing Bet (Soapwort): Do not use Bouncing Bet on your face, because it is very irritating to the eyes. Collect Bouncing Bet in the late summer to fall. Found nationwide, it is easiest to identify by its pretty white or pink flowers with five petals. One can use the entire plant.
  • Clematis: Clematis is a common climbing vine with white or purple flowers, and is often found dominating the tops of trees. Collect the leaves and flowers for use as soap.
  • Yucca, Agave, Spanish Bayonet, Sotol, Joshua Tree: The root contains the most saponins, but use of the root kills the plant, so please don’t use this plant frivolously (although it can re-grow if some roots are left in place). If pounding and soaking the leaves for fiber to make cordage, the soaking water will contain sufficient saponins for bathing.

Miss Hull’s Marble Cake (1865): (Light layer) Three and ½ cups of flour, three cups of white sugar, one cup of butter, ½ cup of cream or milk, whites of seven eggs, two teaspoons of cream of tartar, one teaspoon of soda. (Dark layer) Five cups of flour, two cups of brown sugar, one cup of molasses, one cup of butter, two tablespoons of cinnamon, one tablespoon of cloves, one tablespoon of allspice, one tablespoon of nutmeg, ½ cup of cream or milk (sour, if you have it), ½ teaspoon of soda and seven egg yolks. Directions: Butter and flour your pans. Put in a layer of the dark batter, then a tablespoon of light batter. Alternate with the dark and light layers throughout. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-55 minutes until golden brown and edges pull away from the sides of the pans, and toothpicks come out clean. Some people have marble cake as a MLK Day dessert.

Jolene Griffiths, Master Herbalist

For more information, contact Naturopathic Dr. Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd., Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or email pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit http://TheHealthPatch.com.

Diet and Nutrition

Proper diet and good nutrition have become matters of concern for many in recent years. Diet and nutrition demonstrate how modern science and traditional wisdom can come together to provide practical answers to the issues that surround nutrition, so that one is brought into greater harmony with the environment and into closer touch with the inner self.

By the time we reach the month of January we have embraced traditional foods and drinks and they many have been high in sugar and calories and may be in excess of fat, so what should we do now? We can start to incorporate foods in our diet that are high in fiber, such as beans, nuts, oatmeal and fruits such as apples, berries and pears. You can also include a fiber supplement on those days that you do not have ready access to fruit or nuts.

Most of us have thought about New Year’s resolutions. Let’s start with a healthy one; tips for eating healthy and well.

  • Base your meals on higher fiber.
  • Eats lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat more fish.
  • Cut down on saturated fats and sugars.
  • GET ACTIVE AND OBTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT.
  • Drink plenty of water.

Don’t make your resolutions too complicated. Start small and “keep it simple.” Making big promises right off the bat is just setting yourself up for failure — start small and finish big!

“How about them apples?” “It seems the old adage of an apple a day was nearly right,” Professor Julie Lonegrave said of the findings after eating two apples a day for eight weeks. Participants decreased their risk of suffering from a heart attack and lowered their blood sugar and their LDL cholesterol, which is known as bad cholesterol. Lonegrave and her team noted, “For a start, two apples (any kind of apple so long as they are on the larger side) provides about 25% of someone’s daily fiber which strengthens gut bacteria and is also linked to cholesterol reduction. Apples are easy to eat and make great snack foods.”

So, let’s put on our New Year’s resolution seat belt and ride into a healthy sunset.

Your Wellness Friend: Shirley Golden, Staff ND, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health Email: jehovah316@netzero.net.

For more information, contact Naturopathic Dr. Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd., Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or email pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit http://TheHealthPatch.com.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The Digestive System: Root of Good Health

Our digestive system has many functions similar to how roots function in plants. They both absorb nutrients and water. If we are not properly absorbing the nutrients we need, this can lead to a host of issues. If fact, up to 50% of health ailments we suffer from can be rooted in poor digestive health; making the digestive system the root of good health when absorbing and functioning well and the root of poor health when it is not.

Toxins in foods, medications, environmental toxins and stress can all be culprits that can disrupt proper digestion and lead to irritation in the digestive tract that can cause such symptoms as bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, diarrhea and constipation. It’s not just these symptoms we need to be concerned about either. Up to 70% of immune tissue is found in and around the digestive tract and up to 90% of serotonin receptors are found in the gut; making gut health imperative to a healthy immune function and healthy mood.

So, how can we keep a healthy and happy digestive system?

Diet The most important step for a healthy digestive system is to look at what we are ingesting. Processed foods and allergens can create a world of havoc on digestion. Common food allergens are wheat, dairy and corn. Of course, there can be many other offending foods, but these are very good places to begin omitting foods that can cause gut irritation. Committing to healing foods like the Paleo diet can go a long way in healing the digestive tract.

Enzymes We have often heard the saying “We are what we eat.” In actuality, we are what we digest. We can eat very nutritiously, but if we are not breaking down and assimilating foods well, we will not benefit with nourishment needed for energy and good health. Enzymes are protein structures that have the ability to combine substances or to take them apart and regulate numerous body functions. They are typically found in raw foods. Because it is difficult to eat a 100% raw diet, supplementing with a plant-based enzyme supplement is important for good digestion.

Probiotics Good intestinal biofilm is crucial for good health. These biofilms act as a protective barrier against toxins and aids in assimilating nutrients. Biofilm is created by good bacteria in the gut. Once again, poor diets, stress and antibiotic use are destroyers of this good gut flora. Supplementing with a good probiotic as well as eating cultured vegetables and yogurt can help restore the intestinal biofilm.

Stress The big “S” word. Seems like we just can’t strive for good health without dealing with stress. As mentioned above, stress depletes the body of good gut flora, creating a poor foundation for health, and it also decreases our bodies ability to digest properly. Digestion works best when we are relaxed; making it important, as much as possible, to eat our meals in a low stress environment. That means avoiding eating while driving. Eating with family during the holidays might count as stressful, but we have an herb for that!
We here at The Health Patch are happy to help you find the best supplements for better digestion and a happy digestive system.

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 or email pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit http://TheHealthPatch.com.

2020 Cleansing Regimen-The Colon

Several years ago, I learned the health value of cleansing. None of us want to think that we are keeping waste and toxins in our bodies. But the fast-paced life we have come to accept as “normal” and the unusual sleep regimens most of us practice aren’t conducive with good health. God could have made us without the need to sleep. But when we are awake, WE direct our bodies to do what we want them to accomplish. When we sleep our subconscious takes over and the body cleanses itself.

So, to aid in this cleansing process I have adopted a year-long regimen of cleansing which aids in cleansing different body systems by month. I’m calling 2020 “The Year of the Cleanse.” This program is to respond to several of my customers who have asked what cleansing I do and when do I do it. It is not “scientific”, but it has kept me feeling very good for a number of years now. I’m now 74 years old, and with my doctor’s confirmation, I have very few restriction on what I can do. Now, I don’t function like a teenager, but I can do most everything other healthy people my age can, and I sleep well, I eat well, I have a good social life and I still work full time (and enjoy it!

January – NSP’s Clean Start I confess to not eating well between Thanksgiving and Christmas (even up to the New Year when one of my resolutions is always to eat better!) So I always start the New Year with a Nature’s Sunshine “Clean Start.” This packaged product is labeled as a “Dietary Cleansing and Detoxifying Program”, comes in a couple of different flavors, and is a two-week program of both packets of capsules and powdered drink mixes. It “supports the natural, everyday cleansing of waste from the body, moves intestinal contents through the digestive system and helps maintain natural energy levels.”

It contains fiber ingredients like psyllium hulls, soothing mucilage like aloe vera, and the ever-popular chlorophyll. It also has herbs for cleaning the lower bowel – like cascara sagrada bark, licorice root, capsicum, ginger, Oregon grape, red clover and turkey rhubarb. And it contains things that we use for cleaning environmental toxins; like burdock dandelion, fenugreek, pepsin, yellow dock, milk thistle, echinacea and other probiotics.

It does an excellent job of deep-cleaning the colon. We start with the colon because obviously if it is blocked or toxic, other areas may have trouble being cleansed. It’s a great start for the new year. I do one two-week box every January. It really is a “Clean Start.”

We have in the store a number of products from a number of companies that you could use in place of this specific product. They run from single-bottle products, to 3 to 5-day programs, to one-week programs, etc. We even have one that takes 30-days for those who feel severely toxic.

If you’d like a copy of my personal annual cleansing regimen, just contact us by phone, email, or through our website and I’ll be happy to mail you a copy.

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 email pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit http://TheHealthPatch.com.

Mulled Cider

One of my most fond memories of the holidays from my childhood, and one which has followed me into adulthood, is the smell of the kitchen as we prepared the mulled cider which was a part of warm family gatherings. The mulled cider was made by placing about a gallon of apple juice (or apple cider, red wine, cranberry juice, or pineapple juice) in a large pan on the stove. We’d add the mulling spices (about a half-cup of them) tied in cheesecloth. These days we use a tea ball instead. Then we’d simply let it simmer – at least a half hour, though I can remember mom dipping servings from the pan, adding more juice, and letting it simmer all evening.

Recently I thought, what were these spices? And since the recipe dates back to the Middle Ages, what was the importance of such wassail to the folks back then? Obviously, it was a tasty treat. But the spices were expensive back then, so the treat was only for the more affluent, their families and their friends. And even then it was reserved for special occasions, like the holidays we’re about to enter.

I wanted to take it a bit further and look at the spices individually and see what other needs may have been met in their use as a festive, winter drink.

The Spaniards introduced Ginger to the Americas in the 16th century. It is known to inhibit an enzyme that causes cells to clot and, as such, help to prevent “little strokes”. It helps to relieve nausea, to relieve congestion in the sinus cavities, to warm blood vascular stimulation, to treat sore throats, and as a body cleanser. Herbalists have long recommended it as a regulator of blood cholesterol and to improve blood circulation. In China, ginger is used for bronchitis, flu, and the first stages of the common cold.

The volatile oils in Orange Peel help to reduce fevers, help warm the body, aid in relieving scurvy, and help relieve heartburn. Dental texts note that orange oil helps prevent gingivitis! Aromatherapists traditionally use these oils to improve appetite, treat bronchitis and respiratory infection, lower cholesterol, and help to relieve mid-winter “blues”.

Cinnamon is listed in most texts as one of the spices that spurred world exploration. Studies conducted by Japanese researchers have shown that it contains a substance that is both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. It helps to control virulent outbreaks by many microorganisms including the one that causes botulism and staphylococcus. Historically it has been used for treating bronchitis, arthritis, diarrhea, stomach upset, fever, nausea, parasites, rheumatism, and vomiting.

One text on spices notes that Allspice can be used to make couples more harmonious. Physically it is a balm for the liver, helps warm the body, improves digestion, calms the nerves, opens the sinuses, relieves colic and gas, and loosens tight muscles.

Herbalists have used Clove for centuries to cure nausea and rid the stomach and intestine of gas. Its essential oil is today one of the most effective pain relieving agents used by dentists, and has broad-spectrum antibiotic properties. It also helps relieve bad breath, poor circulation, dizziness, nausea, and dysentery. Oh, by the way, it is also said to increase sex drive (just what you need on those cold winter nights!).

And finally, star anise. It was used by the Romans to provide a delightful palette and to help prevent indigestion from overeating. And today it is a popular addition to cough syrups, mouthwashes, candies and bakery goods. It is a cell stimulator for the heart, liver, brain and lungs, and its volatile oils can be helpful for treating bronchitis, spasmodic asthma, and emphysema. It can also be used for colds, coughs, indigestion, excessive mucus, pneumonia, loss of appetite, and stimulating most of the glands.

Is it any wonder that this popular drink was used so extensively, especially during those cold winter months? Make it a welcome addition to your holiday festivities. Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings. Gen.1:29.

  • Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com. See our blogs and podcasts at www.TheHealthPatch.com. Our full staff are now offering affordable private consultations – call to schedule yours!

Uplifting Gifting

What is a gift? The word gift wandered through multiple meanings before arriving at its current common meaning: “something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion without any particular effort or without its being earned.

Here are some “uplifting” gift ideas:

  • Take time to match the gift idea with the person. A friend of mine has a safari of animal items throughout her home. So I gifted her with an elephant salt & pepper shaker. The gift was meaningful and let her know that I’d noticed this special interest of hers.
  • Use Natural gift ideas such as health gift cards, spa gift cards or paid appointments for massage, facials, or reflexology. Candles, fruit baskets, essential oil gift sets, books or herbal teas to warm the soul may be appropriate. Herbal teas have many amazing health benefits and their aromas can evoke calm and peaceful feelings. No tea lover can ever have too much tea! Himalayan salt lamps are natural air purifiers. They cleanse the air and help ease allergies and asthma symptoms; they may help boost the mood and help one get deeper sleep.
  • Other uplifting holiday gift ideas are: Give someone a gift that is not a monetary object. Give something that will help their personal development, a personalized card, something you can share together, words of encouragement, create a keepsake wooden box and fill it with inspirational quotes.
  • Put thought into each gift. Ensure they are uplifting, positive, inspirational, motivational.

The ultimate Gift: Frankincense, Myrrh and gold. These were brought to the baby Jesus by the three Wise Men and WE are still benefiting from those today! Frankincense used as a resin or essential oil, is opening and is relaxing for both the mind and the body. Myrrh is used for inflammation and is applied to the mouth for soreness, swelling, inflamed gums and teeth, cancer sores and bad breath. Additionally, in Bible times, frankincense and myrrh, often used in combination, were burned in places of worship to help purify the air and prevent the spread of contagious diseases, including those caused by bacteria.

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh were the richest of gifts that could be offered to a newborn King. But their significance lies not so much in the fabulous wealth they represented, but instead the gifts are clues to the identity of the Wise Men and their recognition of the King!

And don’t forget the importance of the gift of LOVE.

Uplifting Gifting should not be focused on the cost or size of the gift, but the true spirit of giving is doing for others with no expectation of gain.

Your Wellness Friend:
Shirley Golden, Staff ND, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health
The Health Patch 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, ph:736-1030, e-mail: jehovah316@netzero.net.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.