Saturday, February 23, 2008

fighting colds and flu

I used to be the lady giving flu shots to everyone.
But since then, I have done some research and now I no longer take the flu shot. I did my research on the CDC site, too. Not some anti-immunization site. If you did deep enough on there you might find some reasons not to get the shot yourself. But it's an individual decision.

Whether you get it or not, you are still at risk for the flu. Especially years like this one where they don't get the vaccine quite right and people are getting the flu anyway.

I want to specify that the flu is not vomiting. That is a virus, but not a flu virus. Influenza is a specific type of illness that involves high fever, chills, body aches, headaches, sore throat, severe fatigue and cough. Some people may have some stomach involvement, particularly children, but those are not the primary symptoms.

The flu can be like an extreme cold or bronchitis.

Here are a few natural immunity boosters and flu-fighters. Black Elderberry extract is a great immunity enhancer and has been used for centuries. Look at the Sambucal site for more info. I don't use this brand, anymore, but it's got good information. It works by actually preventing the cells from replicating. That's the same way that the anti-viral medications the doctors prescribe work. I read info stating that it is as effective as those medications. It can be taken daily as an immunity booster. I just keep it around and take some at the first sign of any cold or flu symptoms. It tastes good, but strong. For my kids, I mix it in a cup of grape juice, then they can't even taste it. ( I use the Nature's Answer brand. This other brand was bought by a new company and added a lot of artificial ingredients.)

Zinc suppliments will shorten the severity and duration of colds. I don't know if it works for the flu or not, but I would try. I use Zicam, but there are other options. One day I suddenly became very congested in my nose and sinuses and felt like a full blown cold out of nowhere. I was on my way out of town to meet a friend so I stopped at a store and picked up some of the Zicam swabs and used them according to the directions. Within a few hours all of my symptoms were gone. That is the most dramatic experience I've had and I think it was because I started the treatment less than an hour after the symptoms began. I have used the product every time I get a cold and it has helped every time.

There are homeopathic products out there such as Oscillococcinum for flu. I haven't tried it, but I just bought some to have on hand just in case.

Umcka cold remedy is something else that I have on hand but have not tried.

I have had good success with some homeopathic cold rememdies in the past. They relieve symptoms without all the nasty side effects of regular cold medications.

Echinacea is another helpful product for building your immune system.

As always, if you want to try any of these products, research them first yourself.

One of the main things you can do to stay well is wash your hands frequently. Also, eat well and take your vitamins and drink lots of water.

Hope you all stay well!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

natural cleansers

It is easier for me to just give you a link to a site about cleaning with vinegar and baking soda than to try to get all the information on here. So check this out. It also has links for further information.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

keeping it clean

There are some easy things you can do daily to help your body get rid of toxins. One of the main things is to try to elimate as many toxins as you can from your environment and food.
Do what you can to eat clean foods.
Use natural cleansers when you can. White vinegar is an excellent all purpose cleanser and it's probably less expensive than regular cleansers. Baking soda can be used for a lot of cleansing needs, too. Lemon juice and lemon oil are great. Lemon kills germs.
Then, to get toxins out that you alread have in your body:
Every morning right after you get up, drink a large glass of water with some organic lemon juice in it. It doesn't have to be strong. Just a little juice in there. Make sure it is palatable. Lemon is a wonderful antimicrobial agent, but it is also very cleansing to the liver.
Use a dry brush on your skin before you shower or bathe. They sell these various places, or you can use a loofa. You brush your skin according to the instructions. This exfoliates the skin which allows the skin to excrete waste as it should. It is, in fact, the main elimination organ of the body. The brushing also stimulates circulation, stimulates the lymph system and helps all of the toxins and fats to break up and be released.
Take a salt bath as often as you can. Sea salt is best, but epsom salt will work. The osmotic properties of the bath draw out the toxins. You want to be sure your water isn't too hot, and you don't want to soak more than ten minutes as you begin doing this. If you take longer or take a hot bath, you can get woozy. Also, rinse off, so that the toxins go down the drain.
We already talked about juicing, and that is a good addition to the routine, if you can manage it.
None of these things are difficult or even expensive. They do take some planning, and intentional effort, but not much! I've recently started doing these things because I had just not been feeling as good as I wanted to. I'm already seeing a difference.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

to eat organic or not?

What does it mean when a food is organic?
This is from the back of a box of cereal made by Cascadian Farm:
The USDA organic standards prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, hormones and antibiotics in organic foods. Also, they prohibit all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Organic farmers rely on natural methods of soil building and crop rotation to keep their fields fertile and to reduce the negative impact on the environment.

Stonyfield Farm, which makes dairy products has a great page explaining the pros and cons of organic.

Organic foods do cost more and so you have to determine if it is worth it to you. But the good news is that they are becomming more readily available all the time. Both of our main grocery chains, King Soopers (Kroger) and Safeway, have their own organics line of products now. And I had heard that WalMart does, too. Tyson has recently begun selling ice glazed organic chicken. So with the increase in availabity of these products, the prices have already begun to improve. Organics don't cost as much as they did even a few years ago when I began contemplating all this.
I don't buy all or only organic. I buy it when it when I can.
I almost always buy natural, hormone and antibiotic free dairy, eggs and meat, whether they are organic or not.
The difference? The cows, chickens, etc have to have been fed organic feed in order for it to be certified organic.
Here is a list to show you which produce has the highest level of pesticides in it, then you can choose which ones you want to buy organic and which you don't. I had heard that strawberries were the worst and that apples were ok, because you could peel them. But we don't peel our apples, and I am surprised that they are so high on the list.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

healthy restaurants

I love Jason's Deli. The reason I first loved it is that all of their food is trans-fat free! And if you've been reading this blog, you know that I can't eat them. I think they are very bad and they make me sick. So it was wonderful to have a place I could eat without having to quiz them about everything on the menu.
They have delicious food, too! Great sandwiches and soups and a big, fresh salad bar. Many of the sandwiches are big enough to split.
Not only are they trans-fat free, they also use organic products as much as they can. Most of their salad bar is organic.
And now, they have eliminated all MSG and they will soon be eliminating all High Fructose Corn syrup. I haven't posted yet on the evils of corn syrup, but I will -- if I remember.
So they are constantly changing to improve the health value of their products.
Plus, they have free ice cream for dessert! (ok, so that's not so healthy, but it's FREE ICE CREAM!)

The Cheesecake Factory uses natural, antibiotic and hormone free meats. They also use wild-caught fish. These are good things. I love knowing that the meat I'm eating is good quality. And who doesn't love The Cheesecake Factory?

There are some local places that offer healthier choices, too. Like Goodtimes Burgers, which are found only in a few western states. And some other more local, family owned places.

Do some research online for your area and see what you can find. I love supporting these places so that maybe other businesses will catch on that there is a demand for healthy, good quality food!

Friday, February 1, 2008

health care

Sorry that I have been so lax in my blogging. It is difficult to post about health when I am feeling unhealthy! (Ate something wrong -- or have a bug)

I told you the story about my gallbladder problems and how that led to my seeking more natural methods of health care and treatment. Another factor is that I really like the philosophy of the natural health care crowd. They believe in finding and solving the underlying problem rather than just treating the symptoms. That makes good sense to me.

I have had a lot of weird symptoms in my life. A lot of questions that never got answered. And in the meanwhile I had a lot of tests to confirm that nothing was wrong.
Need a procedure done? Ask me, I've probably had it.

CAT scans
Upper GI
Nerve conduction tests
Gallbladder ultrasound
Pelvic ultrasound
Stress echo
Holter Monitor
Cystoscopy, but I was very young and slept, so don't ask about that one
Induced Labor

I'll let you know if I think of more. But that's an awful lot of stuff considering that I have very few actual diagnoses. A stroke, probable gallbladder problems, and duodenitis. I think that's all that's actually ever been wrong with me.

See why I might be fed up with the medical system? On the other hand, I would sure hate to have something wrong and then it not be found. There has to be some kind of balance.
I'm hoping that by eating healthier, taking my supplements and continuing with medical check-ups, that I will find that balance.

*My spell check is not working and I am a terrible speller. My apologies!*