Are You Addicted to The Scale?

When you are trying to lose weight, are you one of those people who are on the scale EVERY day?  Or maybe even more than once a day?  I think this is what we have been trained to do.  We rely on the scale to tell us if we are doing a good job on our diets, but is it?  Personally, the scale drives me crazy!  I have literally been PERFECT on my keto diet, burning ketones (large) and my weight is UP one pound today!  My sister and mother get on the scale every day (sometimes more than once a day) and they find it encouraging and it keeps them on track.  For me, it depresses the heck out of me because I know I’ve been good and the scale spits in my face!  So, from now on, I am only going to weigh once per week, and if it spits in my face then, I am going to throw that thing away!  Actually, I am going to purchase a scale that tells me my percentage of fat as well as water (and weight of course).  This is a better way to monitor your weight (fat) loss.  Keep in mind that water and muscle weigh a lot more than fat so if you are exercising, your muscle weight goes up which shows on the scale and can be depressing.  Fat is super light in weight.  If you cook a roast and put the liquid in the fridge, the fat is so light it floats to the top.  This is what you need to do when you make soup.  Put the broth in the fridge over night so you can scoop the fat off the top before you make the soup.  If you have a lot of fat on your body, you will float in the water.  Someone who doesn’t have fat on their body will sink like a rock in the water.  So, in terms of the scale, it’s nice to know if you are losing FAT, not water or muscle…so it is a good idea to get a scale that shows both.  In the meanwhile, I am going to plug away on my keto diet, regardless of that rotten scale, and lose fat, slowly but surely and will invest in a fat % scale.  Wish me luck!

Should I Get the Flu Shot?

Every year someone asks me MY OPINION on whether or not they should get the flu shot and my answer is always “I personally wouldn’t get one”.  Remember, this is just MY opinion but I’ll tell you why.

First of all, let’s look at how the flu shot, or most vaccines work…  It kind of works like homeopathic medicine.  Homeopathic remedies are made through a process of dilution and vigorous shaking with the a very small dose of some medicinal substance.  Homeopathic medicines are considered to be a type of “nanopharmacology”.  The word “nano” means “extremely small, yet extremely powerful”.  For example, if you are allergic to bee stings, a homeopathic medicine will have the bee venom in their medicine but the bee venom has been diluted and shaken vigorously, and then that dilution is diluted and shaken again, and then that dilution is diluted again and so on and so on, for many times.  In the end, it no longer contains any molecules of the original substance, just the essence of it or the energy of it.  This solution is not enough to overwhelm the immune system and cause a reaction, rather it stimulates the healing system by creating antibodies against whatever specific substance you are using it for.  So, let’s take this theory and apply it to the flu vaccine.  First of all, they have to guess (based on research) which influenza viruses are most common for the upcoming season.  The plan is to protect you against 3 of the most common flu viruses.  The vaccine causes the body to create antibodies against those exact viruses but again it is not enough to overwhelm the immune system and make you sick.

So, all of this sounds good right?  Sure, it makes sense.  I am a big fan of homeopathic remedies so why not the flu shot (if they guess the right flu virus going around)?  The issue for me is the additives and preservatives they put in the vaccines.  Let’s take a look at some of them:

  • Formaldehyde: Added as preservative to inhibit bacterial contamination during the vaccine manufacturing process.  This preservative is listed as a carcinogen (cancer causing agent) and can devastate the immune system (doesn’t that defeat the point?)
  • Mercury: Another preservative to inhibit bacterial contamination. Exposure to mercury causes damage to the kidneys and brain and is associated with autoimmune disorders.  (Note: mercury is also in our amalgam fillings in our teeth, yet you cannot dump mercury on any land because it is toxic?)
  • Aluminum salts: Used to stimulate the body’s immune response to produce antigens against the virus. Aluminum has been associated with autoimmune issues such as MS and neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s disease
  • Other additives may include: Neomycin, MSG, Polysorbate 80, egg protein, sucrose, sorbitol, antibiotics, gelatin

While health authorities say that all of these ingredients are safe (really?), what I feel is that not only are some of these ingredients dangerous, others may cause a weakened immune response (again, doesn’t that defeat the purpose?), allergic reactions, cell damage and overall toxicity.

So now what?

My goal for cold and flu season is to beef up my immune system.  I personally do this by taking lots of daily vitamin C (5,000 mg) and vitamin D (5-10,000 IU) as well as olive leaf extract and medicinal mushrooms such as Turkey Tail and My Community (blend of 17 different mushrooms) by Host Defense.   Also, it is important to keep your stress levels low as high stress levels will weaken the immune system, get plenty of sleep (6-8 hours if possible) and eat a healthy balanced diet.

Dandelion Tea

Why is Dandelion Tea So Popular?

Working in the health food industry, you get to see what products are very popular and sell quickly in the stores.  Dandelion Root tea is one of those. We simply can’t keep up with it…but why?  You may consider dandelion as a type of weed, but its root has a long history of therapeutic use. Dandelion has been used since ancient times for its healthful properties such as a powerful antioxidant to an effective liver support.  Dandelion root supports the gallbladder and aids in digestion by helping to increase bile production and bile transport which breaks down fats and proteins.  It supports and cleanses the liver, especially from stressors such as toxicity caused by over-use of drugs like Tylenol due to its antioxidant activity against free radicals.  Dandelion root improves the heath of your kidneys and has natural diuretic effects helping to reduce bloating and flush out toxins, salt and excess water through increased urine production.    Dandelion helps to regulate heart rate and blood pressure levels as it is a great source of potassium which is an essential mineral for your heart.  Additionally, it may help normalize blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, fight cancer and is a good anti-inflammatory which will help with pain associated with inflammation such as arthritis.  Dandelion is an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, K, E, Folic Acid, some B Vitamins, Iron, Calcium, Manganese, Magnesium and Potassium.

Tea or Coffee Substitute:

If you are trying to cut down on your coffee (caffeine) intake, roasted dandelion root tea may just be what you’re looking for.  It tastes similar to coffee but provides much better health benefits.  Simply add boiling water to your tea bag and let steep for 3-5 minutes.  You can leave the tea bag in your cup or you can take it out.  To sweeten or flavor the tea, you can add some honey or other natural sweetener such as Stevia and you could add some flavor such as cinnamon.  Drink 2-3 cups per day for best health results.  If you don’t like drinking hot tea, you can drink it cold.  If you don’t like tea altogether, you can purchase dandelion root capsules.

Kombucha Tea

Have you ever heard of Kombucha?

Kombucha is an ancient beverage that was originally consumed in China more than 2,200 years ago for its detoxifying and energizing properties.  It gained popularity again in the 1950’s and again in the past few years.  But, what is it exactly?  Although it’s sometimes referred to as mushroom tea, kombucha is not a mushroom.  Basically, Kombucha is made from either a green or black tea base.  They add sugar which has been fermented with a type of tree fungus called “Scoby” which is an acronym for “Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast”.   They ferment this product for 1-2 weeks which creates a drink that is best described as “a sour apple cider, perhaps with vinegary notes” but manufactures have now found ways to make it taste good by flavoring it with herbs or fruit.  So why would you want this product?  Firstly, anything that is fermented such as kombucha, miso (fermented barley, rice or soybeans), tempeh (fermented soybeans), kimchi (fermented cabbage), kefir (fermented milk), and yogurt are very rich in good bacteria, or probiotics.  Basically, these probiotics grow during the fermentation process.  They take care of your gut, improving digestion and boosting immunity.   Kombucha contains many bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, which function as powerful antioxidants in the body.  Kombucha, especially when made with green tea, has antioxidant effects in your liver and helps to reduce liver toxicity.  Kombucha has also shown to help reduce blood sugar levels and improve liver and kidney function, especially when made from green tea as green tea itself is beneficial for blood sugars. In short, kombucha has antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties.  You can actually make your own kombucha but you need to purchase the active starter culture (scoby).  Luckily, you can purchase kombucha already made in tasty flavors such as lemon ginger, coconut, green tea, all fruit flavors and many more.  Be sure the label says that it’s a living product.  It may say “raw” and it may list the active cultures on the label.  If you’re cutting calories or carbs, be sure it is sweetened with stevia and not sugar.  Also, be sure it is free of artificial ingredients or preservatives.

The Wonders of Olive Leaf

Most people know about the wonders of olive oil but have you ever thought about the olive leaf?  Olive leaf comes from the leaves of an olive plant and contains an active ingredient (oleuropein) that has been shown to be a very powerful antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory.  The Mediterranean diet has been linked to a decrease in chronic disease, especially heart disease because the belief is that one of the things they eat is olive oil.  However, they not only use olive oil, they also use the fruit and the leaf, and have been using them for centuries.  Olive leaf is anti-microbial.  This means it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-yeast etc.  Because of this it is used for a wide variety of illnesses from the common cold to serious infections.  In fact, olive leaf is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial without any harmful effects on beneficial microbes, which means that it will not induce the types of side effects associated with antibiotics (especially secondary infections).  Additionally, certain types of bacteria are resistant to many antibiotics but these same bacteria remain vulnerable to olive leaf extract.  Olive leaf increases the activity of phagocytes (where white blood cells consume harmful bacteria) keeping our immune system strong and effective.  Olive leaf is very heart protective and helps specifically with not only reducing existing high blood pressure but also helps to prevent high blood pressure.  It has also shown to be helpful against diabetes, cancer, neurological disorders and even arthritis.

What to Look for in an Olive Leaf Supplement

Not all olive leaf is created equal.  It is important to get one that is 500mg and has a standardized dose of Oleuropein of at least 15% or more.  This is the active ingredient of olive leaf and the reason you’re taking it.  You can also get it in liquid form.  If you are coming down with a cold or are fighting any type of infection, take 2 capsules twice daily until you feel better.  Then for a maintenance dose, take 1-2 per day.  This will help you increase the immune system so you are protected against the microbes coming your way, especially during cold and flu season.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms

I’m not talking about the mushrooms that have a psychedelic effect…these mushrooms don’t get you high.  If you’ve ever hiked in the woods, you’ve probably seen lots of Turkey Tail mushrooms around because they grow abundantly on dead and fallen trees, branches, and stumps.  These mushrooms also grow almost anywhere in the world as long as there are trees, making them one of the most common mushrooms found today.  It’s called Turkey Tail (aka Trametes Versicolor) because this mushroom resembles the colorful feathers of a wild turkey.    Turkey tail mushrooms have been brewed for thousands of years by the Chinese as medicinal teas, in fact as early as the 15th century during the Ming Dynasty in China.  The Japanese have also been aware of the powerful health benefits particularly in boosting the immune system and now it is the center of attention for many health professionals for many years.  But why are we interested in this and other mushrooms?  Paul Stamets, PhD and master mycologist (someone who studies fungi) is well known for his strong belief in the power of mushrooms.  He has written numerous books on mushrooms and has been awarded 9 patents with more to come; specifically, he has discovered 9 antiviral molecules that are in the mycelium of the mushroom as it rots in the wood it has inhabited.   Many of his studies are on how medicinal mushrooms such as Turkey Tail, Red Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms can prevent and cure cancer.

How do Mushrooms Work?

Turkey Tail mushrooms are powerful immune system boosters due to their content of B-glucans and polysaccharides, as well as proteins, minerals, and vitamins B and D.   It is loaded with enzymes, antimicrobial agents, and antiviral compounds and helps to neutralize toxins in our immune system.  It provides anti-inflammatory properties, restricts blood vessel growth feeding tumors (anti-angiogenesis), causes programmed cell death of cancer cells (apoptosis) and restricts the growth of pathogenic bacteria.  Turkey Tail also improves the ability of the immune system’s natural killer cells to attack cancer cells.  You can get Turkey Tail in capsule form so you do not have to brew your own.  There have been no reports of negative side effects of mushrooms but it is always safe to talk to your doctor first if you are on any medication or are have any health issues.  Personally I take Turkey Tail every day along with another mushroom blend that has 17 different mushrooms in it.  It can’t hurt to be proactive in your health for prevention of disease, rather than wait till you have something that you have to now fight.

Change Is Coming

Hello friends.  I have not been posting as often as I should on my blog which is predominantly on low carb, keto and diet tips however, I am going to change up my posts just a wee bit.  I am going to talk a lot more about health issues and tips (as well as weight loss), but not just diet.   I would love to hear from you if you have any questions about your health or just topics that you are interested in and want more information.  So, look out…changes are good!  Talk soon…