Tag Archives: hydration

Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food Toxin Alert!

17 Ways To Boost Your Immune System for The UpComing Flu/Cold Season

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Cold and flu season is already here! Tired of missing work, school, and important events? Want to have more energy and vitality? Make the most of your diet and lifestyle this season and protect yourself in one of the best and easiest ways – with real food!

Real food supports our bodies with vital nutrients necessary to keep our immune systems strong and in optimal condition in ways that chemicals and medications cannot.

You really can keep yourself healthy and avoid sickness by paying attention to what you are eating, while avoiding processed and refined foods.

Here are 17 ways to keep your immune system strong this season:

  • Take cod liver oil. The best cod liver oil on the market is Green Pasture cod liver oil. Try it! It’s also astoundingly useful for dental and bone health too. Cod liver oil is a superfood containing Vitamins A, D, E, and K, and all the Omega essential fatty acids, plus many other vital nutrients.  Green Pasture cod liver oil is hand-crafted, not treated with heat, and slow-fermented to remove impurities and increase nutrients.
  • Make bone broth – use apple cider vinegar to draw out minerals in the bones you use, and also use garlic and onions which are anti-fungal and very healing
  • Drink raw milk from a clean source. Other raw dairy foods are extremely immune boosting too – butter, cheese, cream, yogurt, buttermilk, and sour cream.
  • Eat pastured meats, eggs, and dairy products. Meat, eggs, and dairy products from healthy animals and birds on pasture are higher in many nutrients essential for our immune system health -Vitamins A, D, E (a powerful antioxidant), and K, Omega 3s which are important to keep up cardiovascular, brain, and nervous system function, and conjugated linoleic acid which is associated with a reduced risk of heart and cardiovascular disease as well. Fat and cholesterol are absolutely vital to health and immunity.
  • Get out in the sun. – summer’s days may be waning, but there’s still the opportunity to get sunshine on your face and body to help store up those vital amounts of Vitamin D to help protect you against illness this winter.
  • Reduce stress, and laugh. Those who take time out to make relaxation a priority on a regular basis can recharge better and keep away illness more effectively. Taking time for yourself and being able to laugh are good ways to reduce stress and keep your outlook more positive, which is a deterrent to becoming sick.
  • Find an enjoyable activity or exercise you can get while enjoying fresh air – even when it’s cold. Get bundled up on chilly days and go outside for a walk or a hike. Your activity doesn’t have to be running a marathon – but should be something you find pleasure in and can find some time for yourself to get away.
  • Make sure you are getting enough rest, and more importantly, don’t go to bed late.
  • Eat safe-sourced seafood. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, cod, sole, halibut, tilipia, mollusks like clams, oysters, mussels, shrimp, octopus, squid which are high in minerals like calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and fat-soluble vitamins A & D. Check the Monterey Bay Aquarium site for a current list of safe-sourced seafood.
  • Reduce your intake of refined foods and carbohydrates, and even properly prepare. Packaged bread products, cereals, crackers, pastas, cookies, and snack foods especially. Instead, opt for soaked, sprouted, and fermented grains eaten in moderation. Properly prepared grains are easier to digest because grains contain phytic acid, a substance that blocks the absorption of nutrients. When grains are soaked, sprouted, and fermented, the phytic acid becomes neutralized and digestion is improved. Eating grains that are not properly prepared can lead to all types of health issues – headaches, irritability, digestive problems, weight gain, auto-immune disorders, eczema, dry skin, asthma, and many other problems.
  • Eat plenty of healthy fats. Butter, lard, and tallow from healthy animals on pasture, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and palm oil from sustainable sources. Ditch the vegetable and fake oils like canola, cottonseed, and soybean oils (check labels in your house for things that contain these oils!), also fake butter, shortening, and other artificial fats.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables, but with healthy fats. Eating fruits with cream or vegetables with butter, coconut, or olive oil helps to increase the digestibility of those foods because they contain fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Also, lacto-fermenting your vegetables improves digestibility as well. When possible, buy organic, sustainable, or pesticide-free varieties of your favorite fruits and vegetables.
  • Make sure you are getting plenty of minerals in your diet. A healthy diet is important to ensure proper mineral intake, but also using real sea salt on your food and also adding it to your water (especially if you are drinking filtered water with no minerals in it). Tap water has some minerals, but it also contains many dangerous chemicals like chlorine and fluoride, and also toxins like lead, arsenic, and traces of other substances like pharmaceutical drugs and medications.

Other good ways to get more minerals in your body is to make nettles infusions. Or, add unsweetened (preferably organic) cranberry juice not from concentrate and/or freshly squeezed lemon juice to filtered water. Cranberry juice is full of minerals and is an excellent lymphatic detoxificant. Lemon also contains minerals and is an antifungal and detoxifier as well.

  • Drink plenty of filtered water (see how to naturally enhance your water above). At least eight 8-ounce glasses daily. Water helps to flush out toxins from your tissues and if properly mineralized, can also keep you hydrated as well.
  • Avoid taking prescription drugs, antibiotics, and over-the-counter drug products. These substances contain many toxins and don’t get to the heart of what’s causing you to be sick and not feel well. They generally only mask symptoms. Antibiotics kill all the bacteria in your body – good and bad, and can cause resistant-strain bacteria to become stronger. If you do come down with a cold or flu, check out my Home Medicine Cabinet post. It has lots of great home-remedies and ideas for managing your cold, flu, or other ailments.
  • Consider a detoxification program. If you are already sick, it’s best to wait until you get well and eat healthy foods before embarking upon a detox. Although eating real food provides a certain amount of detoxification to your body already, participating in a focused detox protocol can dramatically affect your health in the future and can help prevent illness and disease. If you are new to detoxification, consulting a knowledgeable practitioner can help you choose a program that’s right for you and in some cases, help you save money on detoxification supplements. The health food store sells many products, and it can be overwhelming to go and try to pick out something when you have little to no experience doing so. You can also spend a lot of time and money on products that aren’t right for you or aren’t the correct potency.

For more information about treating your colds and flus naturally when they come, be sure to read all about My Home Medicine Cabinet, and arm yourself for days when you aren’t able to remain as healthy as you’d like.
This post is part of Kelly The Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays Carnival.

Green Living Healthy Living Real Food

Water – Our Lifeline to Health…And A Great Solution to Adding Minerals to Your Water!

www.mypicshares.com

Just like food, the quality of the water we drink can have a major impact on our health. Most of us don’t drink enough water, and there’s certainly a good amount of justified concern when it comes to water quality.

One of the most talked about problems lately is the BPA in bottled water. I’ve noticed a lot of people seeking alternatives to drinking bottled water to avoid issues of plastic leaching into what they are drinking, but then there are still an abundance of people I see using bottled water.

I try not to drink water from bottles unless there is simply no other choice. Then there’s the question of whether the bottled water you buy is actually good quality water or if it is no more than just tap water.

Tap water is riddled with chemicals like chlorine and fluoride just to name a few. I always worry about other substances in the water too – from what goes into the water that probably doesn’t get sufficiently filtered out like residues from cleaners, prescription drugs, and other chemicals that are poured down the drain.

Water – a major component of our bodies

Our bodies are comprised of a lot of water – around 90 percent. Our bodies couldn’t manufacture blood without water. Water is necessary for carrying nutrients to all our organ systems and for regulating body temperature. It is also responsible for transporting oxygen to cells, protecting  joint and organs, and removing waste. It’s pretty easy to see that without it, we can perish in just a couple of days.

Hydration

We drink water to keep ourselves hydrated. Signs of dehydration can be varied but include constipation or hard stools, muscle pain and weakness, fatigue, and headaches. You can also tell by color of your urine – if you are seeing a yellow tinge to your urine, you are dehydrated. And dehydration can occur long before thirst sets in. Vitamins from the B family are water-soluble and they leave our bodies through the urinary tract. One of the signs of those nutrients leaving is the yellowish color you see in your urine.

How much water do you need to drink?

Our bodies lose water each and every day, so it’s important to constantly replenish the lost supply. We lose water through perspiration, urination, and respiration. When you are active or sick, you tend to lose more fluids and it becomes necessary to take in a larger amount of water to make up for what you have lost.

You should drink at least half your weight in ounces daily. So if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water. A good way to accomplish this is to keep water available at all times. I use a recycled glass bottle – liter size – and fill it with water twice daily. I try to drink this amount each day, but I often fall short. A liter is 32 ounces, so two of these adds up to 64 ounces which is more than half my body weight in ounces. If you exercise, you should add water to your daily amount. Approximately 30 minutes of exercise, for example, would require an additional intake of 6 – 8 ounces of water.

Can’t I just drink coffee, tea, soda, juice, or sports drinks?

These beverages contain a lot of sugar and chemicals, and these substances do not contribute to your overall hydration profile or health because these substances are not only unnecessary but are toxins which deplete your body of valuable nutrients including minerals.

Some drinks like coffee or tea actually put an additional strain on your body by lowering the function of your adrenal glands, which causes the loss of more nutrients and fluid. And because drinks with caffeine are diuretics, they prompt yet more fluid reduction. Many teas and coffees also have added chemicals, artificial flavors, sugar, or residues from pesticides in them – or could come from genetically-modified organisms. Although some teas are purported to be high in antioxidant and health benefits, a study conducted in the last six years revealed that many of China’s green tea exports were tested and found to contain alarmingly high levels of pesticides. So if you are going to drink tea or coffee, do so on occasion and buy organic.

Juice seems healthy – but for regular consumption, it’s not. Here’s why – first, in order to make an 8 ounce glass of juice, you must have the juice of about 20 – 30 pieces of fruit, depending on the fruit. Most people don’t eat more than one to two pieces of fruit at once, and the amount of sugar in each serving of fruit is usually less than 20 grams. When you drink juice, just think of how much sugar you are getting from the juice of 20 – 30 fruits at at time! And, you aren’t getting any of the benefit of the nutrients or fiber from the fruit – just the sugar and empty calories.

Another hazard of fruit juices is the way many of them are produced – unless they are organic, they are full of pesticides and other chemicals, and some of them are from genetically-modified seeds. Some juice drinks are not even 100 percent juice. Reading the label can reveal that many of these drinks contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup, flavorings, colorings, and other dangerous chemicals. Read this article titled, “Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry” on the Weston A. Price Foundation to learn about how orange juice is made. You’ll never want to drink a glass of it again, unless you squeeze it fresh in your own home from organic oranges.

One of the worst things you can drink, sodas and pop, contain carbonation which is especially hard on the kidneys. It also irritates the stomach lining, and in response the stomach creates a surplus of antacid which it takes from calcium in the blood. After being depleted of its calcium supply, it takes additional calcium to make up for the deficit from the bones. As if that weren’t bad enough, soft drinks contain phosphoric acid which leeches additional calcium from bones.

Then, you can’t leave out  the terrible effect sodas with their high sugar content have on insulin levels in the body (there’s about 9 – 10 teaspoons in each 12 ounce can). And finally, soda pop consumption has been linked to esophageal cancer due to the burping cause by the carbonation. Continued burping causes stomach acid to rise up, and can eventually lead to lesions in the esophagus. Other drinks containing carbonation such as champagne, beer, wine spritzers, and sparkling waters fall into this same category.

Sources for good water

Spring water is naturally rich in minerals that come from the earth – and it is these trace minerals that are essential to good health – such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, or iron. We also get minerals from the foods we eat, but due to chemical applications and modern farming practices, a great deal of naturally occurring minerals and nutrients are depleted. Unfortunately, spring water is not always accessible, affordable, nor necessarily clean enough to drink.

Due to a shortage of clean, affordable water, most of us drink water from the tap, buy bottled, fill up our own, or use a filtration system. There are an enormous number of water products on the market at a variety of prices – bottled water, filtration systems, and retail locations that allow you to fill up with your own container. It’s overwhelming to decide which is best for your health and is also something you can afford.

I personally feel tap water is unsafe to drink. Because water is expensive and we can’t fit a high-quality filtration system into our budget at the moment, my compromise is reverse-osmosis water that we buy from our local health food store. It’s only .39 cents a gallon – a good price, but it is stored in an enormous plastic tank, which is the main problem I see with it. I worry that there might be BPA leaching into our water from this tank, but I don’t know for certain. I have been meaning to ask the folks at the store about it.

My husband says he doesn’t want to buy any kind of filtration system for our home for two reasons:

  1. He doesn’t think the fact that we’d have to buy a filter every so often is cost-effective, and
  2. The filter has to be thrown away and has chemicals in it, which will end up in a landfill somewhere and pollute the earth more.

I see his point about the pollution, but I’m not convinced that the cost of the filters is such a big deal when you consider how it can save your skin and body from being exposed to more chemicals like fluoride, chlorine, and other toxic chemicals.

Since I have never owned any water filtration systems, I can’t comment on the quality of any existing systems. I’ve certainly drank water from plenty of different kinds of filtration systems owned by other people, but that’s not enough to go on in terms of whether that water really makes a difference in someone’s health. I’ve had a few people tell me that their exorbitantly-high priced water system is the best you can buy. But I’m a skeptic, so I’m not convinced that easily.

Does anyone have any thoughts about water filtration and the names of some good quality systems? My husband believes there aren’t any filtration systems that don’t use filters, but what about UV filter systems?

Since the water I drink is filtered, it no longer contains minerals in it. I’m concerned about this, so I try to eat a varied, traditional foods diet with real food as much as possible to provide those important minerals to my body.

Good places to get minerals from our food are the following:

  • bone broths made from bones of animals and birds allowed to roam on pasture
  • eggs and dairy products from pastured animals
  • organ meats from animals and birds on pasture
  • properly prepared grains, legumes, and rice – soaked, sprouted, and fermented
  • seafood – salmon, tuna, oysters, mollusks, mussels, clams
  • kelp, seaweed, dulse
  • organic fruits and vegetables (when produce is cultivated in mineral enriched soil, the minerals the food contains are naturally higher in content)

Cranberry water

Besides foods, I believe I have found another great way to get my minerals in my drinking water. I add unsweetened, organic cranberry juice to my water on most days. When I first heard about using it as an effective method of lymphatic detoxification in Ann Louise Gittleman’s The Fast Track Detox Diet, I didn’t realize it was also a great source for minerals and other nutrients until I re-read the section in the book about adding it to water for daily drinking.

Sure enough, I read the label of the brand I use, Lakewood organic unsweetened cranberry juice, and it revealed a wealth of nutrients – Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, K, Calcium, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Thiamine, and Zinc.  Wow, that’s a lot of trace minerals and vitamins! And it’s easy to do – I just add about 4 ounces for every 32 I drink – for a total of 8 ounces per day to my 64 of water.

Something else I add to my cranberry water mixture when I have them on hand is organic lemons. Lemons are also a great detoxifier and contain trace minerals and other important nutrients. If you prefer to tame down the sour taste of cranberry juice and lemons, add a bit of Stevia to your water. I normally drink mine straight, as I like the tart flavor.

According to Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman (author of The Fast Track Detox Diet), “Cranberry juice, for example, is packed with flavonoids, enzymes, malic acid, citric acid and quinic acid, which, based on my research, have an emulsifying effect on stubborn fat deposits in the lymphatic system. Cranberry juice actually digests lumpy deposits of lymphatic waste, which could very well be the reason Fat Flushers report that their cellulite disappears.”

The downside to buying cranberry juice is that it is not cheap. In fact, if you buy the organic kind (which I do about half the time if it’s on sale), it can cost $9 – 12  a bottle. Here are some ways to save money – buy fresh-pressed, unsweetened cranberry juice, and when you can, buy organic. If you can’t swing having cranberry juice every day in your water, try doing it once or twice a week.  And, think of how much money you are saving on buying expensive mineral water by doing this. The savings could be considerable.

How I’ve applied this to my own life

I think this is an amazing finding, and something very simple and natural to add minerals back into your body as well as provide your lymphatic system with a mechanism for detoxification. For the last six years I have had fibrocystic breast condition, for which I have had two mammograms. Although the results were benign, I have been very careful not to add too much to my toxic load – which is something that can cause many conditions to occur, including fibrocystic breast issues. After knowing what I do about mammograms, I’ll never have one again. If you’d like to hear the story of what I went through to get to this point, read To Mammogram…Or Not.

So far I haven’t found much consistency in the conventional nor alternative medical communities about this condition. Most medical doctors say it’s not normal but that it doesn’t put people who have it in a higher risk for cancer. But I’ve talked to various alternative practitioners and health professionals who say it could turn into cancer if the person isn’t mindful of their health, diet, and overall toxic load.

I’ve also heard the connection between iodine deficiency and fibrocystic breast conditions and breast cancer. For the past six months, I’ve been taking an iodine supplement and I haven’t noticed any difference in the size of the lumps. The interesting thing is, I was having a lot of pain and tenderness in the summer of last year when I started taking the iodine and began my cranberry juice regimen. And guess what? I’ve had an almost complete remission of pain, swelling, and tenderness. So I believe I am on the right track.

Water is the solution!

So now that we’ve covered all the dangers of tap water, bottled water, carbonated beverages, juices, tea, caffeine, it’s pretty easy to see that the best fluid for your body is water. Other good alternatives include lacto-fermented beverages like kombucha soda pop which are detoxifying and hydrating and herbal teas from sustainable and organic sources.

Although I haven’t started making my own kombucha yet nor using my own home-grown herbs for tea yet, I do buy organic herbal teas and enjoy them on a regular basis. Iced tea is also good; there is nothing quite as special as a sun-tea made in your own backyard with your favorite natural flavors and spices from the earth. I’m also planning to make some kombucha this year as well.

Do you have a great water solution that you’d like to share? Please tell us about it!

This post is part of Cheeseslave’s Real Food Wednesdays and We Are That Family’s Works for Me Wednesdays carnivals. Please visit this sites and read the other articles linked there.