Lately I’ve been reading up on Joy McCarthy’s website and her new book, Joyous Health: Eat & Live Well without Dieting. I have really enjoyed what I have been reading so far and have definitely learned a lot. I know some people are opposed to the idea of holistic nutrition, but I love it. I would rather eat the right things (and exercise) to feel better and be healthier rather than popping some pills to mask my issues. One thing I was reading the other night is how much food affects your mood and vice versa. In addition, not having certain nutrients can cause you to feel down and out and not function properly. One vitamin I was really interested in reading about was Vitamin B, particularly Vitamin B12. Based on Joy McCarthy’s blog on her website, here’s some information on B12 that can be found: http://www.joyoushealth.ca/blog/2013/02/22/the-importance-of-b12-are-you-deficient/
Who is at risk?
- Some meat eaters who has trouble with digestion
Symptoms of Low Levels:
- Weakness, tiredness or light-headedness
- Rapid heartbeat and breathing
- Pale skin
- Sore tongue
- Easy bruising or bleeding, including bleeding gums
- Stomach upset and weight loss
- Diarrhea or constipation
Why might I be low in Vitamin B12?
- Poor diet, not eating enough foods that contain B12
- Low stomach acid, low intrinsic factor
- Long-term use of acid-reducing drugs
- Conditions affecting the small intestine, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, bacterial growth, or a parasite
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Food sensitivities
- Birth control pill
Now that you have these facts, check out Joy’s blog (this one was written by Lisa Knapper, ND) and see what they recommend!
Ever try and fall asleep and your mind just won’t shut off? I’m sure we’ve all been there before. If not, you are a very lucky person. I frequently struggle with this. My body is tired, but my mind keeps racing about the day that just occurred or future events such as upcoming exams, deadlines etc. I found this great article from Mind Body Green that provides some tips to help you fall asleep when your mind is still racing.
When you can’t fall asleep at night, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
1. Were you racing around all day and haven’t had a moment of down time?
The fix: Build in one hour of down time with no technology before you go to sleep. Develop a ritual that you enjoy. Read a book, spend time with loved ones, straighten up or prepare for the next day.
2. Did you have caffeine or an energy drink in the afternoon?
The fix: drink water to flush your body and have something that makes you sleepy. For some, this is dairy or bread. Chicken, which has tryptophan, can also make you sleepy. In the future, try not having caffeine or energy drinks after 11 am, or skip them all together.
3. Are you stressed about all you have to do tomorrow?
The fix: Keep a pad of paper by your bed and write out a list of everything that needs to be done. Put it in order of importance and plan it out over the week. This will set your mind at ease so you can sleep.
4. Is your mind is going over a situation, trying to figure out a solution?
The fix: Whatever it is, you can’t do anything about it in the middle of the night. If you’re trying to prepare for a conversation or an event, it will always go differently than you expect. The best thing you can do is be present and open, and for that, you need your sleep. If you’re trying to understand the past, remember that you can’t change it. All you can do is accept it. So let it go. Let it float out of your mind.
5. Are you feeling anxious?
The fix: Do a gratitude list. Write out five things you’re grateful for each night before you turn out the lights. This also creates a more peaceful slumber and great dreams.
Are you so excited about your life that you can’t sleep?
The fix: Try getting up and doing something grounding and a bit boring. Read a book, organize something or do your finances. That should do it.
Who loves feeling like dirt, having your nose running like a facet, looking like Rudolf and having nasal congestion? I know I don’t. I know my last blog was about colds, but here are some more natural ways to help kill your cold from Mind, Body, Green (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11383/kill-your-cold-naturally-8-holistic-secrets-you-may-not-know.html)
1. Immunity juice
At first sign of a sniffle, I start drinking an “Immunity Juice.” I crafted this one for Erewhon Natural Foods Market in Los Angeles. It’s chock full of powerful, illness-fighting foods like parsley (combats infection), horseradish (great for clearing the sinuses) and garlic (major antiviral!). It’s guaranteed to get you back to tip-top shape faster than you can say, “Achoo!”
To make it at home, just juice the following:
- 1 bunch parsley
- 2 lemons
- 1 inch-thick round horseradish root
- 1 orange
- 5 inch knob of ginger
- 2 inch knob of turmeric
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 cucumber
- 2 stalks celery
2. Immunity soup
This recipe from Dr. Andrew Weil is a great alternative to comforting chicken soup! It’s a savory and nutritionally sophisticated medley of some of the top antiviral foods, including mushrooms and broccoli. Use the recipe below to slurp your sickness goodbye!
- ¾ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed
- ½ tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
- 1 large carrots, thinly sliced on the bias
- 1 ¼ pieces astragalus root (about 15 inches total)
- 5 cups mushroom stock
- 1 tablespoons tamari or low sodium soy sauce
- 1 cups broccoli florets,
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pot. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and sauté until soft and translucent.
Add shiitakes, carrots, astragalus root and mushroom stock. Bring to low boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Add tamari and adjust seasoning if needed. Add broccoli florets and cook 2 minutes. Remove astragalus root pieces. Garnish with scallions before serving.
Any time you get sick, you need to up your intake of good intestinal bacteria! Friendly flora helps to produce virus-fighting antibodies and aids in vitamin absorption. So, improving your intake of probiotics is a must. You can get your probiotics by supplement or by eating probiotic-rich foods such as miso, kimchi, sauerkraut or kefir. See my raw coconut kefir yogurt posted previously on MindBodyGreen!
4.Grapefruit seed extract
Grapefruit seed extract has been found to be an effective antimicrobial, and is a true miracle supplement. Whenever I feel sick, I put 40 drops in an empty capsule and take one capsule two times a day. Within hours, the difference is unbelievable!
5. Nix sugar
Sugar dramatically decreases your immune function, so if you’re starting to feel ill, don’t go for anything sweet.
6. Sleep more
When you’re under the weather, shoot for a minimum of eight hours of sleep. If it’s really bad, take the day off. I know work is calling you, but your body only heals while you rest. Give yourself permission to catch some zzz’s!
7. Reduce stress
Illness thrives in a stressed body. So to stave off sickness, make relaxing activities part of your weekly routine. Try getting a reflexology foot massage, making time for that yoga class, or taking a 30-minute walk!
8. Sunshine for vitamin D
Your body needs vitamin D to activate pathogen fighting T-cells. And the best way to get your D is to soak up the sun! Try some sunscreen-free exposure for 20 minutes between 8 am and 10 am or between 4 pm and 6 m, when the sun isn’t too harsh. And lose those sunglasses, because the best way to absorb vitamin D is through your eyes!