We’re ingrained at a young age to reach for an Advil or Tylenol when we have a headache. We get a Midol with period cramps. A Tums when we eat too much of the wrong foods. Zirtec when the pollen is high.
The problem with medications is that they’re too strong. And anything that strong is going to come with a side-effect. Even really strong herbs come with side-effects. And medications are all derived from herbs. When an herb has been found to be effective in treating something or having a particular impact on a bodily process, the pharmacist finds a way to derive the active ingredient from that herb, synthetically manufacture it into a large dose, and patent it. Then sell it to you for too much money.
If you want to make healthier choices for your body, knowing how to treat the common ailments with natural means is a good first step.
For natural remedies to “work” on your body, you need to live a “natural” life: doing your best to make healthy food choices, drinking enough water, getting enough rest and exercise, etc.
Beyond that, there are some tricks and tips that can refine your healthy existence.
TURMERIC – for inflammation, pain, or skin problems, keep some turmeric paste on-hand to make a cup of turmeric tea. Just a small scoop of paste, stir into hot water with or without tea. You can substitute oat, almond, or hemp milk for the water to make it into a turmeric latte as well. Yum!! *For best results, stay away from “curcumin,” which is a derivative of turmeric, and instead opt for the whole turmeric plant.
GREEN TEA – again for when you’re hungry but shouldn’t be…green tea is the obvious choice. It’s also cooling in nature, even if you drink it hot, so a good beverage choice if you are feeling too hot, you hotty, you. It also gives you a little energy boost without the jitters that coffee can give people.
MINT – drink it in a tea also to cool down, and to open your sinuses. It can help soothe an upset tummy as well. And it helps refreshen your breath! You can use peppermint oil topically on your head for treating a headache.
GINGER – the easiest way to eat ginger is in the candy form, but I don’t necessarily recommend eating candy. But – ginger candies are great for motion sickness. You can also slice it and cook it into your food or boil in water when you make tea. Ginger is warming, so it’s good for treating pains that get worse in cold weather and it’s good for stomach cramps of all types.
GARLIC – for fungal and yeast infections, this is the #1 remedy. Just eat 1 raw clove per day.
ROSEMARY – you can use rosemary oil on your head topically to treat any type of headache.
APPLES – a few apple slices can help relieve low blood sugar. For diabetics – always keep an apple on-hand – NOT CANDY – for addressing light-headedness that happens with low blood sugar. Apple can help treat constipation AND diarrhea. It also can help with pregnancy-induced nausea.
GRAPES – relieves difficult urination and swelling (edema, or fluid retention) as do RASPBERRIES.
GRAPEFRUIT – relieves hangover (!) and helps restore appetite in women with morning sickness.
PEARS – benefit your lungs, especially in the fall.
WATERMELON – benefits body fluids, but only eat it in the summer. Eaten in the fall, it can have an adverse effect on your lungs.
FISH OIL – helps with general inflammation, helps calcium absorb faster. Use internally to address skin inflammation or heat stroke.
CALCIUM – take a large dose with fish oil to combat heat stroke or to reverse herpes virus or cold sores. *For best results, use calcium lactate or calcium citrate. Stay away from calcium carbonate which is, basically, limestone. It’s made in a laboratory and not ideal for human consumption.
HONEY – can help soothe ulcers (take a large spoonful 3 times daily for 2-3 weeks); good quality honey helps soothe burns and hemorrhoids topically; a teaspoonful or two to relieve constipation. Too much honey causes constipation, so use with caution! Do not use if you have a blood sugar condition such as diabetes.
WINE – one cupful of wine can help with rheumatic joint pains or recent injury, and it can also help stimulate breast milk production in women who have just had a baby. Obviously, don’t overdo it; too much wine will have a negative impact on your health. Also, obviously, this is only for adults.
SEAWEED – seaweed is the best treatment for goiters, cysts or low thyroid. It dissolves cysts and fibroids and other swellings. You can get it in many forms, including tablets or seaweed chips.
Time to spring clean our homes and our bodies too. Things move faster in the spring, and our bodies want to move faster too. To enable this, lightening up the diet and including more veggies is the perfect way.
Since this is considered seasonal cooking, you can find any of these food (in the northern hemisphere) at the farmer’s market or organic section of your grocery store this time of year.
For those of you with food allergies, no worries. Just eliminate what you’re allergic to (for example, eggs, nuts, grains, etc.) The recipe will still work!
1 cup brown / wild rice of quinoa
2-3 cups bone broth
4 medium-sized carrots
2 cups crimini mushrooms
1 large bunch of arugula
red wine vinegar
2 free-range eggs
1/4 cup pecans
sea salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425.
Prepare rice / quinoa according to its directions: making it with 1 tsp of sea salt and using bone broth instead of water.
Cut carrots into 1/2″ thick rounds. Slice mushrooms in half. Toss in 1 T oil, and pinches of salt and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time.
Wash arugula and dry thoroughly. Chop or tear into bite-sized pieces.
Roughly chop pecans.
Toss arugula, pecans, 2 T olive oil, 1 T vinegar, and pinches of salt and pepper to taste together in a bowl.
Bring a sautee pan to medium high heat. Add 1 T butter to the pan when it gets hot. Crack eggs into the pan, reduce heat to medium, and cook until desired doneness. Season with salt and pepper.
Add a scoop of rice/quinoa to your bowl. Top with roasted carrots and mushrooms. Add arugula and pecan salad. Drizzle with more olive oil and vinegar if desired. Add a fried egg on top.
When you’re craving sugary snacks, it’s possibly a signal from your body that it’s deficient in some nutrient, and oftentimes, our brains turn towards sugary things to satisfy that physical need. NOTE: The physical needs often feel emotional in nature. That’s just how our brains interpret things.
If you’re diabetic (type II), you’re probably deficient at some level in chromium. Signs of chromium deficiency include glucose intolerance, high blood sugars, peripheral neuropathy (tingling or numbness in the fingers or toes), and mental confusion.
Good sources of chromium include sea vegetables (try seaweed chips if you haven’t already!), mushrooms, beets, nutritional yeast (you can sprinkle this on popcorn – delicious!), broccoli, grapes, dried beans, liver, and chicken.
Signs of phosphorus deficiency may include anxiety, irregular breathing, fatigue, joint stiffness, numbness, osteoporosis (calcium deficiency) and changes in weight. Excess phosphorus in the form of phosphoric acid from drinking soda can lead to craving sugar and alcohol as well. Both excess and deficiency of phosphorus inhibits absorption and use of calcium in your body.
Good sources of phosphorus include chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
Signs of sulfur deficiency include obesity, muscle pain and inflammation, fungal and bacterial infections, and heart disease and other forms of muscle wasting like Chron’s disease.
Good sources of sulfur include dark leafy greens like broccoli and kale, garlic, eggs, onions, meats, nuts, and seafood.
In theory, most reasonably healthy diets should contain enough sulfur, as we only need very small amounts, but sulfur is lost when foods are broken down and then reassembled, as they are with processed foods. Also the loss of minerals in our soil, as a result of “modern” farming practices, has led to less available minerals – including sulfur – in our foods.
If you’re craving sugar, what you need is a balanced diet of many types of vegetables, whole grains, and animal proteins and fats. Today’s sugar craving is rooted in yesterday’s candy bar.
In a pinch, when I crave sweets, I like to eat plain, whole-fat yogurt; roasted sweet potatoes; or sprouted grain toast topped with grass-fed butter and almond butter. For a quick, short-term solution, this has worked for me.
Also, gymnema, an Ayurvedic herb, is known to reduce cravings for sugar. If you hold the herb in your mouth for 1 minute, then try to eat something sweet, it will actually taste like cardboard. Something fun to try if you get bored.
Have you found something that works for nipping a sugar craving in the bud? Please let me know in the comments!
My 3 philosophies for cooking are (in order of priority):
- EASY – If it’s hard to make, I ain’t makin’ it.
- DELICIOUS – If you don’t like veggies, maybe… it’s because you’re not cooking them right. Even healthy food should taste good. Which brings me to the last point –
- HEALTHY – Seasonal and organic veggies. Organic, free-range and local meats. Healthy fats. Low carb. No sugars or refined grains. You’ll probably never see a vegan recipe on my site, not because I’m opposed to eating vegan meals, but because … butter…
Here’s a perfect winter recipe to try. It’s a one-sheet pan dish and will warm up your house nicely too.
1 lb organic, grass-fed ground beef or lamb
1 T seasoning (or just sea salt and pepper is fine)
1 bunch of organic broccoli – use the real stuff, not frozen (it tastes SOOO much better)
1 large sweet potato
1/2 head of cabbage
olive oil and red wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 400.
Cut broccoli into small (approximately 1″) florets. Peel sweet potato (optional) and cut into 1/2″ chunks. Mix the vegetables with 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables flat onto the sheet pan and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. While those are roasting –
Put the ground meat into a bowl and mix (use your hands!) with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, or 1 teaspoon seasoning spices. Form into golf ball-sized balls, approximately 12 of them.
After the vegetables have cooked for 10 minutes, flip them around carefully with a spatula, then place the meatballs around the veggies and cook for 10-15 more minutes. The internal temperature of the meatballs when they’re done should read 165 degrees if you want to test it (or just slice one down the center to look.)
While that’s cooking, thinly slice the cabbage into 1/2″ strips, place into a salad bowl and toss with 1/4 cup vinaigrette or 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar with salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the meatballs and roasted veggies on your place and have the salad on the side.
The late 2010s marks the beginning of CBD oil fascination. We all want to know – is this something that would help me?
For all of these herbs, foods, and nutrients, sorry, but there’s never a clear answer. Because it depends on your own unique chemistry and your body’s needs – which may vary from day to day.
What I can do is tell you a little more about your body’s cannabinoid system and how CBD (and THC) react with it.
Your body contains – naturally – cannabinoid receptor sites. Your body regulates these receptor sites naturally – with or without taking hemp or marijuana. The chemicals in your body that react with these receptor sites are called endogenous ligands.
The main receptors in your body for cannabinoids and endogenous ligands are called “CB1” and “CB2.”
CB1 activation mostly happens in your brain and can include increased appetite, pain reduction, and reduced psychological stress.
CB2 activation happens in a broader part of your body: brain, immune cells, GI tract, and peripheral nerves.
Depending on your diet, stress levels, and some genetic tendencies, CB1 and CB2 receptors can stay in balance all by themselves or not. Some people may have more of one receptor than the other. Or your body can favor activation of one system over the other.
Hemp and marijuana plants both contain cannabinoids, which are the some of the components that attach to the receptor sites and activate them.
THC is a psychoactive component (meaning that it gets you “high”). CBD is not by itself psychoactive. Hemp is <.3% THC and 15% CBD whereas most recreational marijuana is around 20% THC and 2% CBD.
Smoking marijuana – or ingesting in some way THC – activates mostly CB1. For different people, this will affect you in different ways. Some people eat too much (the “munchies”) and sit on the couch (the calming effect). For some people with PTSD, anxiety, or depression, it may help. Since there is currently no way of testing what kind of receptor sites your body has and in what condition they are, if *you decide to use THC medicinally, start with a very low dose and go from there. *If it’s legal where you live, of course.
CBD supplements focus more on CB2 activation. So for people with nerve system problems, epilepsy or pain, or people who get drug-tested at work, this may be a better choice.
The effect of diet on cannabinoid receptor expression is interesting as well.
The Standard American Diet, or SAD ( 😆 ) is heavily loaded in omega 6 oils. This includes almost all prepackaged foods. Try this: the next time you buy a bag of chips, cereal, bread, or pretty much anything that comes wrapped in a box or in plastic, read the label. If it contains: soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, or cottonseed oil, it’s an omega 6 oil. Also: this is what most restaurants are cooking your food in.
We do need some omega 6 oils in our diet, but to effectively reduce the likelihood of obesity and overall body pain and inflammation, we need to optimize and favor omega 3s in our diets. Omega 3s are our body’s sources of DHA and EPA.