Healthy Chocolate Fudge (No dairy, gluten, nuts or soy)

This works well for fudge cravings and gives you calcium, protein and fiber so it is almost guilt free. About a million calories though, so cut a small piece if you are counting those!

1/2 jar of sunflower seed butter (500 gm jar)

3 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp real vanilla extract

2 Tbsp of honey

1/2 tsp of salt

Mix it all together by hand, then press into a pie pan. Freeze for a few hours, or overnight, then  cut into small pieces. If you are diabetic or strictly sugar free, you could try this with a little stevia instead of the honey and it should still be pretty good. One of the best ways I know of to eat sunflower seeds!                                                                                                                                                    

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Are vitamin supplements just a waste of money?

Recently there has been a wave of vitamin bashing in the media. Esteemed heads of various medical societies have been issuing dire warnings of the uselessness of consuming vitamin pills based on data from the latest studies. These same doctors are reassuring people who everything our body needs can be found in the food we eat and that buying vitamin or mineral pills is a waste of money. If you believe this, please stop reading, grab your phone and order up some fast food. Don’t forget to take your antacid, statin drug, blood pressure medication and your antidepressant. Obviously you are perfectly fine just eating the standard Canadian diet!

Now on a more serious note, nutrition is fundamental to a healthy body. Years ago I saw a young man who was very much into fitness and apparently nutrition. In fact he intimidated me a little as he reeled off the latest facts about bodybuilding and the supplements he was taking. I began to doubt I had anything of value to offer him in the area of healthy eating. His list of vitamins and minerals he was taking seemed a mile long. And yet he had health issues. So, as I do with all my patients, I asked him to complete a week-long diet diary. When he returned for his next visit I didn’t see a single vegetable or fruit on the list! That’s right, this savvy young guy hadn’t eaten a single apple or carrot or piece of lettuce all week! Flabbergasted, I questioned him on this. “Well”, he replied “I don’t need any fruits or vegetables because I have all my vitamins covered through my supplements!”

No! It doesn’t work that way! Vegetables and fruit don’t just contain a certain amount of vitamin C or A or iron, they also have hundreds of other chemicals in them that are vital for our good health. Chemicals that we haven’t even identified yet, chemicals that work together to keep up healthy and strong. Not to mention the fiber and fat and protein and carbohydrate of the vegetable or fruit that can’t be squeezed into the vitamin pill. So a healthy diet is way, way more important than the world’s best supplement protocol. The Gurus of Modern Western Medicine are quite right about that.

Here, though, is the problem. Are Western diets, and now spreading, (no pun intended), to Eastern diets, giving people what their bodies need from their food? Are humans supposed to be spherical in shape, develop diabetes, heart disease and cancer and die when they are middle-aged? Of course not. Just looking around us, we see that something has gone very wrong with our nutrition. I remember when I was a child 40 years ago, that an overweight child was a rarity. We had one overweight child in my grade 5 class and she was teased mercilessly. Now it is not uncommon for half the class to be overweight or obese. Think about your workplace. How many of the people around you actually look rested and energetic and healthy? Can they even stay awake without their morning coffee? How many women are on antidepressants? How many guys are on statins for their cholesterol? Believe it or not, with the rare exception, most of our current diseases are completely preventable. And if caught in time, completely curable. But by what? Nutrition!

In order to compensate for years of poor nutrition or to deal with a current health condition or stress in our life sometimes a jump-start is needed. By using supplements, we can get large amounts of certain vitamins or minerals or enzymes that have specific effects on the health and function of the body. An interesting fact is that genetic individuality exists for vitamins and minerals, so the vitamin D that is enough for one person’s body to work well, may not be enough for the next person. The food that we eat is often genetically modified, chemically treated, picked unripe, again chemically treated, stored and shipped for many days before we eat it and in the process it loses most of its nutrients. So supplements can boost the less than ideal nutrients in food. Acute illness, chronic illness, stress, air pollution, aging, pregnancy and breast-feeding are also indications for increased nutrients. So if you fall into one of these categories, or if you are basically healthy but you want to prevent disease, how do you know whether to supplement or not? Here are a few basic rules of thumb when making a decision about if and what to supplement:

1. Do your research. Just because your friend or relative is taking a supplement, it doesn’t mean it is right for you. Google the supplement online, read the articles and then check out the studies mentioned in the article. When researching the studies, look for the size of the study, the specific type of supplement used and who did the study. Check the authors credentials for product affiliation.
2. Know the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of the vitamin or mineral suitable for your age and gender. This is usually the dose that will prevent deficiency, but is not a treatment dose. It is a safe dose for the age and gender, but may not have much effect on the condition you are supplementing for. This brings us to the next point:
3. Know the amount that can cause toxicity. This is especially important if you have a compromised immune system, liver or kidneys.
4. If you are taking any prescription medications, check with your naturopathic doctor, or if you don’t have one, your pharmacist about interactions with supplements. Don’t ask your medical doctor. Doctors and nurses will usually tell you not to take anything with the prescribed medication. This is not necessarily because it will conflict with it, but reflects their lack of knowledge of possible supplement interactions. So they play it safe by just forbidding all natural supplements. Naturopathic doctors are extensively trained in recognizing drug/nutrient interactions, and some pharmacists have knowledge in this area too.
5. Try one supplement at a time and note any strange reactions. If you start taking a vitamin or mineral and you wake up feeling stiff or your digestion is off or there is another issue you didn’t have before, that supplement may not be right for you.
6. Liquids, chewables and capsules will always be absorbed more easily than tablets. Look out for a long list of fillers, and for supplements that seem like a “bargain”. Cheap supplements usually don’t absorb very well.
7. Keep in mind that some vitamin and mineral needs increase in pregnancy, during recovery from surgery , in times of stress and acute infections.

So, don’t believe everything you hear, good and bad, about nutritional supplements. Do your own research and listen to your body when you try them out. Above all, remember not to let your supplements substitute for a healthy diet full of vegetables and fruit.

How to Heal an Emotional “Fever”

I want to share with you something I have really been thinking a lot about today. Many people don’t have a good understanding of how much our emotional state can damage our mental and physical health. They don’t connect the health problems they have today with the time when someone in their past caused them emotional pain. There is a lot in the literature about how the mind affects the body, but instead of quoting from studies today I want to tell you about my personal experiences and how I was able to heal from them.

Many years ago, as a new nursing graduate , I started work at a small hospital where I was placed on a team with four other people. The senior nurse on the team took a dislike to me from the moment I met her. I never could figure out why. Maybe I carried a bit of a know-it-all attitude with me since I had trained at large hospitals and this was a very, very small hospital. Maybe it’s because I was a happy sort of person, and she seemed to be a miserable sort of person. Whatever it was, she gave me an awful time. Everything I did was wrong, and she made sure all the others on the team knew it. She would smirk, and roll her eyes and make sarcastic remarks about every action I took.

Well, the more she found fault with me, the more nervous I became. The more nervous I got, the more mistakes I made. The more mistakes I made…well, you get the picture. Soon it got to a point where I doubted myself and started doing everything very slowly and carefully, checking and double checking each task. Then I was too slow and got into trouble about that.

Every shift I would hope she would call in sick. Unfortunately, she had extraordinary good health and always reported in on time. My anxiety increased daily. I had trouble sleeping at night. I wasn’t eating properly. My self-esteem plummeted and I became depressed.

I didn’t know how to tell her to stop bullying me and I didn’t want to “tattle” to management. Finally there was a rotation change, and I was moved off of her team. When that change happened my confidence grew and so did my skill level. I stopped feeling so anxious and enjoyed my work more.

When I reached a point where I was able to forgive that nurse, my anxiety went away. I still don’t understand why she treated me the way she did, but I can think about it with much less pain now. I stopped giving her the power to hurt me.

Fast forward a few decades to my separation and divorce. We had been married for twelve years, and like most people who go through the ending of a marriage, I felt angry and betrayed. (You know when a relationship ends it is always the other person’s fault, right?) I totally blamed him for the situation we had ended up in.

I developed jaw pain soon after we split, a jaw pain that wouldn’t clear up. I saw a dentist and a dental specialist. Tests were done, medical recommendations were made.

One day I made the decision to forgive my husband. I didn’t really want too, since continuing to nurse the grievances I had against him made me feel like I had “won” some sort of battle. By forgiving him I thought it would trivialize the pain I felt, somehow excuse his actions. I still went ahead and forgave him. Guess what? My feelings about him and our situation didn’t go away. Our fractured relationship didn’t miraculously knit itself back together. Nothing really changed between us.

But something did change within me. My jaw pain disappeared and never come back.

These two episodes really brought home to me how much emotional health is tied to physical health. When I feel hurt by someone and I replay that hurt over and over in my mind, when I don’t want to forgive them, the pain and hurt is really inflicted on me. When I can forgive that person, it doesn’t suddenly make everything “right”, it doesn’t usually change the situation, but the hold they have on my emotions is loosened, I can start to heal and I can move forward in my life.

So, I am speaking from these experiences when I ask to check your own emotional temperature . Is there anyone in your life that has hurt you at some point in the past, and you are still hanging on to that experience? If you want to release the hold you are giving them over your mental or physical health, forgive them.

Forgiveness will release that hold on you. It will not remove the feelings you still have for them, or take away the memories, or diminish the harm they have done you. It may not change your relationship with them. What it will do is free you to start to heal the mental or physical illness you have developed as a result of that hurt. Remember, forgiveness is a conscious act, something you decide to do, not a “feeling”. It is something you can decide to do, regardless of how you feel toward that person. Check your emotional temperature today. If you are registering “hot”, the remedy is forgiveness.

Five Key Homeopathic Influenza Remedies

                                                            

Keep these five remedies on hand since they last a lifetime, and can be used to treat anyone, regardless of age, disease condition or other medications. The only contraindication is an anaphylatic type reaction to lactose, since this is the base of these tiny pellets. A person with the usual milder dairy intolerance will not be adversely affected. Use a 6x or a 30 ch potency. If no improvement is noticed in the first two days, a different remedy may need to be used. If the symptoms change, choose a different remedy.  If the person is much worse or much better, stop the remedy. To begin with, give one pellet under the tongue , apart from food or drink, a few times a day. As improvement occurs, give it twice a day, then once a day etc. Use a non-mint toothpaste and avoid coffee. Store the homeopathic remedies away from strong smelling perfumes, cleaners etc. I have written the keynote, (guiding symptom), of the remedy right after the name, so that you can quickly scan the list when looking for the right remedy. Remember that finding the correct homeopathic remedy is not based on the common symptoms of influenza –  fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, achy body, cough, but on what unusual feature one or more of these symptoms has for the person, something that isn’t as common or an exaggeration of a certain symptom. 

 

1. Gelsemium 6x or 30 ch ( profound apathy and fatigue)

                                          – this was the main homeopathic remedy

                                             used in the influenza epidemic of 1918

                                           – weak, tired and aches throughout

                                              body, trembling

                                           – great torpor and apathy, drooping of

                                              eyelids

                                           –  paroxysms of sneezing with burning

                                               nasal discharge

                                           –  constantly chilly and wants heat

                                           –  cough is hard and painful

  1.                                    –  fever less severe than aconite 

2. Bryonia 6x or 30 ch (worse with any movement)

                                            – just wants to be alone and still,

                                              worse with movement

                                            – painful dry cough

                                            –  headache and pains

                                               which are better from pressure

                                            – very irritable and thirsty

                                               for cold drinks

.

3 . Eupatorium Perfoliatum (Eupatorium) 6x or 30 ch (think bone pain)

                                            – used almost exclusively

                                               in the early stages of flu

                                            –  much soreness and

                                               aching of whole body

                                               (a keynote is that it feels

                                                like bones are broken)

                                            –  runny nose with thirst

                                            –  throat and upper chest are

                                               very sore, high fever

                                            –  hoarseness and cough

                                               which hurts chest

                                             – drinking causes vomiting

4. Aconitum Napellus (Aconite) 6x or 30 ch (from a chill )

                                              – used in the early stage

                                                 of a cold or flu

                                                 caused by cold wind or chill

                                               –  great restlessness and anxiety

                                                  (may even feel that they will die)

                                               –  high fever and chilly

 

5. Baptisa 6x or 30 ch (think diarrhea)

                                                – influenza symptoms with

                                                  putrid diarrhea, stuperous

 

If there are life-threatening symptoms such as great difficulty breathing, or the person is very old, very young, or has an additional serious medical condition, seek professional medical help immediately. Dr. Wendy Presant-Jahn, ND, CFMP – November 2013

8 week fitness challenge – the end of the first month

Just thought I would check in and let you know we have been consistently doing the “Fitness Blender” program for one month now. Today we retested and we noticed improvement in almost all areas. I was able to knock a minute 7 seconds off my one mile time and increased in all other areas except squats, but the ones I did today were much deeper squats than a month ago. I was also happy with my flexibility which increased in the reach test by four inches. My daughter also improved in all of her areas, most notably in crunches and push-ups.

I am very pleased that I have had no injuries including muscle strains through this program. Usually that has been the case with other exercise regimes, but the narrator guides us well through the exercises. I also like the variety of the videos, I am not bored yet! The videos do occasionally jam, and we have to restart or not watch them. This has only happened a couple of times though.

8 week fitness challenge – Days 11 through 16

This week we took off Sunday, Wednesday and today. Friday we did lots of walking and some swimming instead of the workouts. So Monday, Tuesday and Thursday were workout days with the program. I am finding my endurance improving. I think we have done well to be entering our third week of consistent workouts. Some of the video workouts I can keep up to fine, but I am not able to do a workout with too many burpees or jumping jacks. I think I dislike burpees more than jumping jacks now! Anyway, it is fun working out with my daughter and she will choose one of these workouts over a walk any day.

8 week fitness challenge – Days 8, 9 and 10

We are well into the second week of our fitness program now! Worked out on all three days, kept it to a 30 to 45 minute workout each time. When I have reached muscle exhaustion, or am starting to feel a little sick, I either ramp down the intensity, or shorten the workout. I was happy to find that the low-impact workout today didn’t really seem very hard, and that I was able to finish all three rounds. We are both finding the stretching at the end of the workouts to be very nice, and I think I am noticing some gains in strength and endurance!

8 week fitness challenge – Days 5, 6 and 7

We worked out with the tapes on days 5 and 6, a half hour seems to be about all we can manage. Yesterday, though, I started feeling a little more energized after working out, instead of just tired. Maybe we are starting to get a little fit! Took a rest day today, but I was out pulling weeds in the yard, and we went for a short hike as well. I am trying to listen to my body and not overdo anything. We did well though, 5 workouts in 7 days. More workouts than I have done in quite awhile! I must say that I detest jumping jacks, though. I won’t specify why, I think there may be other middle aged female readers who can relate!! Anyway, I sometimes do a few, then just jog in place for the rest. The variety of exercises on the tapes is really great though.

8 week fitness challenge – Days 3 and 4

Yesterday we worked out for 1/2 hour. It was supposed to be for an hour, but it started to storm, so we turned the computer off. Truthfully, it was long enough for me! My muscles were protesting! Today we had a rest day. Except that I cleaned the eaves-troughs and was up and down the ladder multiple times. So far the videos are great for the variety of exercises offered.

8 week fitness challenge – Day 3

We did our first workout today. I really like these video workouts, just when I am getting tired and ask “are we almost done?” the guy in the video says, “almost done!”. So cool. Like a real personal trainer. This was supposed to be an easy workout today. It wasn’t that easy, but we got through it. My daughter is following along too, which I am very glad to see. I am happy we are doing some activity together rather than just the usual more sedentary activities. The only thing about this program is that I think they have workouts listed for every day. I am not sure how that will go.

We might take the odd day off now and then and let our bodies recover. I guess if it is varied enough, then the same muscle groups might not get overused. There is also the option of taking a day off if you are doing another activity, such as bike-riding. Of course, that would mean getting my bike fixed first. Which means trying to figure out how to put the bike rack I bought a couple of years ago on the car since I forgot how and can’t find the directions. Life can get complicated sometimes! At least mine can…