8 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

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While it feels like so many things are out of our control, one thing we can do to positively impact our well being is to support our immune system. When the body comes under attack, from bacteria, viruses or allergens, the immune system launches a counter attack. Its job is to defend the body against disease causing micro-organisms.

A healthy body supports a healthy immune system, making it more difficult for illness to gain a foothold. A body battling disorders already or one suffering from dehydration or chronic sleep deprivation or fueled by a poor diet can’t adequately handle an invasion.

Check out these 8 ways to boost your immune system and benefit every other system in the body as well.

8 Ways to Boost Your Immune System title meme

8 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Try these supportive tips to boost the immune system and optimize the body’s defense against infection and disease.

Increase Nutritionally Dense Foods

Eat more fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes. These foods are rich with essential nutrients that the body needs to operate at an optimal level, without the unhealthy fats and sugars that bog it down.

The following foods are especially important. They nourish the body and support the immune system: citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, ginger, spinach and other dark leafy greens, almonds, turmeric, green tea, lemon balm, papaya, kiwi, berries and shiitake mushrooms.

Visit the fresh produce section of the grocery store first, and stock up. Then get creative, adding as many of these foods as possible into your daily meals.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential to help the body produce antibodies, maintain energy levels and reduce the risk of respiratory infections. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. Just 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine a day boosts the immune system and energizes the body. Take a walk on sunny days or simply pull up a lawn chair and sunbathe.

Other important vitamins for a healthy immune system include A, B6, C and E. Vitamin C is easily depleted from the body and its lack suppresses the immune system. Try a potent form of this vitamin by taking Ester-C as a daily supplement.

Boost your immune system with berries
8 ways to boost your immune system – up your nutrition

Improve Gut Health

There is a crucial connection between gut health and the immune system. In fact, the intestines house 60 to 70 percent of the body’s immune cells. Additionally, 500 different types of gut bacteria thrive there.

Studies suggest that the friendly micro-organisms in the gut help regulate immune responses. That good bacteria also balances the immune system. However, gut bacteria with too many pathogens in it shifts the immune system into an inflammatory state. And unbalanced bacterial flora can lead to disease.

Add probiotics to improve the diversity of the gut flora, which helps boost immunity and improve overall health.

Stay Hydrated

Adequate hydration helps the body flush out toxins and bacteria. And it ensures that oxygen is carried through the blood to every cell in the body. A well oxygenated body is a healthy one and the immune system functions best in a healthy body. The body needs water as well to produce lymph, which circulates white blood cells and nutrients to fight disease.

Recommendations vary on the amount of water to drink. Strive for at least 64 ounces a day. Fill a filtering water pitcher in the morning with 64 ounces of water and make it a game to empty the pitcher by the end of the day. Add lemon, lime, orange or cucumber slices to water for an added nutritional boost.

Also include herbal teas as part of the recommended amount. Lemon balm, ginger, nettle leaf and green tea are excellent choices, as they boost the immune system as well.

8 Ways to Boost Your Immune System hydrate
8 ways to boost your immune system – stay hydrated

Manage Stress

Stress taxes the body by keeping it in “fight or flight” mode and that can adversely affect the immune system. The hormone cortisol, released during times of stress, reduces antibodies and interferes with T cells’ (specialized white blood cells) ability to reproduce and receive signals from the body. Chronic stress also increases inflammation, which impairs immunity.

To lower stress and anxiety, practice excellent self care. Include mediation, breathing exercises, yoga or stretching in your day. Sing while cleaning the kitchen. Act silly with the kids. And as spring warms up outside temperatures, get into nature. Take a solitary walk. Plant a garden. Bird watch. Nature helps to relieve stress and centers us. And if you are outdoors on a sunny day, you receive the added bonus of vitamin D via the sun’s rays.

Check out this fun to use app, SHINE, for help managing stress and anxiety.

Get Enough Sleep

Many people are sleep deprived. Lack of sleep causes an inflammatory immune response, reducing the activity of T cells in the body. This in turn compromises the immune system.

Sleep restores and refreshes the body. Strive for 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night. Create a nighttime routine that prepares the body for rest. Turning off electronics an hour before bedtime, a soothing warm bath or shower, chamomile tea and soft music all contribute to a restful night’s sleep.

8 Ways to Boost the Immune System Sleep
8 ways to boost your immune system – get enough sleep

Move Your Body

Regular exercise mobilizes T cells and boosts the production of microphages, cells that attack bacteria that trigger respiratory infections. It also increases the circulation of cells that fend off viruses and harmful bacteria.

Add 30 minutes of exercise a day, to boost the immune system. Incorporate activities you can easily do at home or in your yard. Walk around the yard. Pull up a video on YouTube and practice Zumba, aerobics or your dance moves. Gardening is an excellent way to move the body and produce veggies, berries and herbs, along with gorgeous flowers. Get the kids involved with races, tag, obstacle courses or tossing a ball.

Too much rigorous exercise weakens the immune system however. Strive for about 150 minutes of exercise a week.

Things to Avoid

The following substances harm the immune system.

Smoking damages the lungs, increases the risk of cancer and weakens the immune system.

Excessive alcohol intake impairs the immune system as well, reducing the body’s ability to defend itself from infection by decreasing immune reactivity. Consume alcohol in moderation, one drink a day for women and two for men.

Refined sugar lowers white blood cells’ ability to fight viruses and infection and feeds inflammation. Substitute raw organic honey, pure maple syrup or coconut sugar.

8 Ways to Boost Your Immune System exercise
8 ways to boost your immune system – regular exercise such as walking

Improved Immune System, Improved Health

These simple ways to boost your immune system not only help to fight off viruses, colds and flus, they improve overall health.

All my life, I suffered with horrible seasonal allergies, especially in the fall. I experienced all the symptoms…itchy, watery, swollen eyes, cough, sneezing, stuffy head, headaches and sinus congestion. Twice a year, for six weeks at least, I felt miserable.

After upping my nutrition, and implementing the other practices listed above, I experienced my first allergy free fall, ever. The following spring, I remained allergy free and I’ve continued to do so. I realized the truth I stressed above. A body already beset by other conditions and struggling to operate on a poor diet cannot handle one more thing, in my case, allergens.

A healthy body, on the other hand, possesses a healthy immune system, and that body can better handle the various bugs, viruses and allergens that come our way.

I can’t promise you won’t get sick, ever again. However, you can improve your health by improving your immune system, and vice versa. And keeping that immune system strong helps to prevent other diseases and disorders as you age.

These 8 ways to boost your immune system help you feel healthier overall and give your body a better chance when fighting any invaders.

Boost Your Immune System with Sunshine

Boost your immune system with these:

 


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

Medical Medium Celery Juice Book Review

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If you are familiar with my healing story, you are aware that the journey began with celery juice. Several months before I switched to a plant based diet, I read a post from Anthony William, also known as the Medical Medium, about the wonders of celery juice. Its ability to reduce inflammation especially interested me.

For more than 20 years, pain and inflammation in my legs troubled me, eventually resulting in lack of mobility. Walking with a cane helped for a short time. However, my condition continued to deteriorate.

Celery juice began the process of turning my health around and led to my decision to adopt a 100% plant based diet. I am so grateful. I’m no longer in pain or walk with a cane.

Anthony’s book Celery Juice, which released last year, provides in depth info about this amazing green elixir. March is National Celery Month, offering me the perfect opportunity to present a review.

Learn more about the health benefits in this Medical Medium Celery Book Review.

Medical Medium Celery Juice Book Review title meme

Medical Medium Celery Juice Book

At 172 pages, Celery Juice is Anthony’s shortest book. However, those pages are packed with information about why celery juice is beneficial. Below is a brief overview of the book.

The Origins of Celery Juice

Anthony William is credited with beginning the celery juice craze. While most people I know started drinking the juice within the past four years, Anthony actually began recommending celery juice back in the 70s. As a teenager he worked as a stock boy in a grocery store. Except this boy with the unique gift spent more time helping customers with health complaints, than he did replenishing produce. (Read more about Anthony’s ability to discern medical conditions in people on his website.)

With permission from his boss, Anthony set up a juicer and offered people with a variety of health conditions a glass of freshly prepared celery juice. In return, the customers, who felt better after drinking the juice, simply paid for a bunch of celery when they checked out with their groceries.

As he grew older, Anthony began giving lectures in health food stores across the country. Always he shared about the amazing healing properties of celery juice.

Why Celery Juice?

Anthony touted the powers of this drink for good reason. While most consider celery a bland diet food, good in potato salad or filled with cheese or peanut butter, Anthony recognized how beneficial it is, especially when juiced.

Celery contains the following properties:

  • Sodium cluster salts, which are different from sodium found in other foods, makes celery juice the most powerful electrolyte beverage in existence. Plus those sodium cluster salts neutralize toxins, including heavy metals lodged in the body. Additionally they fight off viruses and bacteria.
  • Micro trace minerals are especially healing for the digestive system. They help to restore hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
  • Electrolytes found in celery juice help cells to receive oxygen and improve the cell to cell communication throughout the body.
  • Plant hormones in celery juice feed and replenish the glands in the endocrine system. This is extremely important for those suffering from autoimmune disorders.
  • Digestive enzymes aid the digestion process, reducing toxins in the intestinal tract and supporting the pancreas and liver.
  • Antioxidants help remove fatty deposits and heavy metal deposits from the body.
  • Vitamin C found in celery is remarkable in that it is easier for the liver to use.
  • Celery juice’s prebiotic factor destroys unproductive bacteria and breaks up the build up of proteins and fats in the intestinal tract.
  • Hydrobioactive water is a very special component of celery juice. It’s a form of living water that sustains the body at a deep level.
Medical Medium Celery Juice Book Review Journee
Medical Medium Celery Juice Book Review – journee is the Old French word meaning “the distance one can travel in a day”. I love starting my day’s journey with celery juice.

The Benefits of Celery Juice

Celery juice offers so many healing benefits to the body that I cannot list them all here. In this section of the book, Anthony presents symptoms, conditions and diseases in alphabetical order and describes how celery juice provides relief for each one.

I’ll add a simple, and partial, list here. To discover all that celery juice can do for you, please read the book!

  • addictions of all kinds
  • Alzheimer’s, dementia and brain fog
  • ALS
  • autoimmune disorders
  • balance issues
  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • digestive issues
  • eating disorders
  • emotional struggles
  • eye problems
  • headaches & migraines
  • heart palpitations
  • high cholesterol & high blood pressure
  • insomnia
  • joint pain & arthritis
  • kidney disease & stones
  • neurological symptoms
  • overactive bladder
  • Parkinson’s
  • post traumatic stress syndrome
  • reproductive disorders
  • strep related conditions
  • tinnitus
  • thyroid issues
  • weight fluctuations

Serving up celery juice

Preparing Celery Juice

Follow these easy tips for preparing celery juice:

  1. Trim the base off of one bunch of celery. Remove leaves, if desired, as they can make the juice bitter.
  2. Wash and rinse celery stalks. If possible, buy organic celery. When using regular celery wash well with a fragrance free dish soap and rinse.
  3. Run celery stalks through a juicer. Do not add other vegetables or fruits. One bunch of celery makes about 16 ounces of juice.
  4. Strain juice, if desired. (I never do this.)
  5. Drink fresh celery juice immediately, on an empty stomach. Wait at least 15 minutes before consuming other food.

If you initially dislike the taste of celery juice, don’t forgo it. The juice is too beneficial to pass on. Instead, start with a couple of ounces of juice and work up to 16 ounces. Those suffering with autoimmune disorders benefit from drinking up to 32 ounces of celery juice.

Celery juice is most beneficial on an empty stomach and undiluted with water or any other foods.

Celery Juice Cleanse

For the ultimate health boost and to jump start your healing, try a 30 day celery juice cleanse.

Follow this simple routine:

Start the day with an optional lemon or lime water, up to 32 ounces. Lemon/lime water is a great way to cleanse the liver. Wait 15 to 30 minutes before drinking celery juice.

Drink 16 ounces of fresh, plain celery juice. Wait 15 to 30 minutes before consuming anything else.

Have breakfast. An ideal breakfast during the celery juice cleanse is fruit or a fruit smoothie. Limit fats during the morning. Stay well hydrated during the day, drinking lots of water.

During the cleanse, avoid these problematic foods:

  • all dairy products
  • eggs
  • gluten
  • corn
  • soy
  • pork
  • nutritional yeast
  • canola oil
  • vinegar
  • fermented foods
  • foods with “natural flavors” in them, which is typically a preservative or MSG
Medical Medium Celery Juice Book Review Juice
Medical Medium Celery Juice Book Review – ready to try celery juice?

A Healing Movement

Thousands and thousands of people are healing, drinking celery juice. If you are experiencing any of the conditions listed above, I wholeheartedly recommend celery juice. And I recommend reading the book, to get more information than I can share in review. The book is available through Amazon below. Or check your local library and borrow a copy of the book.

I am one of the people with a healing story. My life has changed, in remarkable and permanent ways, thanks to the journey that began with celery juice.

The information in the book resonates deeply with me and encourages me to keep drinking the juice! I admit I get lazy about preparing the celery juice every morning. And yet, the whole process takes me less than 15 minutes, from washing the celery to cleaning up the juicer. My body hums with energy as I send those celery stalks through the juicer. That’s how powerful it is, how healing. My body craves celery juice and appreciates it.

If you have questions about celery juice, ask me in the comments below. And please, for your health and well being, try drinking the juice!

Healing journey begins with celery juice
Medical Medium Celery Juice Book Review – My healing journey began with celery juice.

Order the Celery Juice book and Anthony’s other books below:

 


 

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Why It’s Important to Switch to Aluminum Free Deodorant

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Newly immersed in the plant based lifestyle, one of the realizations that led to further change was this one: what I put on my body affects my health as much as what I put in my body.

My health and wellbeing improved dramatically eating fruits, vegetables, simple gluten free grains, nuts and legumes. The chronic pain and inflammation I experienced for more than 20 years healed. I walk now without a cane. So many symptoms and disorders cleared up, one by one.

Achieving that level of health, my attention turned outward to the products I put on my body and use in my home. As I read labels I grew concerned. The lotions, shower gels, cleaning and laundry products I used put me in contact with chemicals and additives that impacted me in a negative way. How? Because what comes in contact with the skin, the body’s largest organ, passes through and enters the bloodstream.

First on my list, I eliminated a common product that most people begin using in their early teens. In fact, 95% of the adult population in the US use antiperspirants, to control sweating and odor. It’s understandable. We’ve been taught that it’s not okay to smell sweaty. However, that antiperspirant has far reaching health consequences that may surprise you, due to the inclusion of the heavy metal aluminum.

Here’s why it’s important to switch to aluminum free deodorant.

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Aluminum in Antiperspirant

Antiperspirants contain a host of chemicals and additives that aren’t healthy for the body. Most concerning is the presence of the heavy metal, aluminum. This metal is included in antiperspirants to help prevent perspiration. Aluminum disrupts the body’s natural ability to perspire by blocking sweat ducts. The aluminum forms a temporary gel-like plug that prevents sweat from exiting the ducts.

Let’s talk about sweating for a moment. Why do we sweat, anyway?

Perspiration is a natural process. Sweating cools the body, regulating internal body temperatures. While our bodies are covered in sweat glands, those beneath the arms are thicker and contain proteins that bacteria loves to feed on. It’s the bacteria feeding on the proteins in sweat that creates odor.

Antiperspirants eliminate odor by preventing sweat, which interferes with the body’s temperature regulation. That’s not healthy. However, it is the aluminum plugging the sweat ducts that poses the greatest health risks. Aluminum from antiperspirants is absorbed by the skin and enters the bloodstream. From there it can settle and accumulate in tissues and organs such as the brain and liver, where it does harm. Additionally, viruses such as Epstein Barr, shingles and herpes strains love to feed on heavy metals. The toxic excrement from viruses accumulates as well, contributing to the stress the body is experiencing.

Why Its Important to Switch to Aluminum Free Deodorant Sweat
It’s perfectly natural, and even desirable, to sweat.

Why It’s Important to Switch to Aluminum Free Deodorant

These are the symptoms and disorders associated with an excess of aluminum in the body:

  • damage to DNA, abnormal cell function and gene changes
  • reduced mental function including ADHD, brain fog, problems concentrating, difficulty learning and poor memory function
  • dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder
  • chronic fatigue
  • neurological disorders
  • insomnia
  • anemia
  • skin rashes and irritation
  • tremors, chronic aches and pains, muscle weakness, fibromyalgia
  • digestive issues such irritable bowel syndrome
  • greater risk for heart attacks
  • impaired vision, hearing, speech and motor control
  • autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, ALS, Lyme’s disease, Parkinson’s

That is a formidable list associate with heavy metals. I personally do NOT want to struggle with those disorders. Eliminating aluminum (and mercury) from my life is a small price to pay for greater health and wellbeing.

I’ll offer a follow up post soon on the damaging effects of mercury and how to eliminate it. For aluminum elimination, stop using antiperspirants, aluminum foil, baking powder with aluminum in it, aluminum cookware and aluminum cans.

Aluminum Free Deodorant work out
A healthier you includes preventing chemicals, toxins and metals from entering the body.

Aluminum Free Deodorants

There are a variety of excellent aluminum free deodorants available. In fact, more and more have come onto the market just since I became aware of the dangers of aluminum.

Look for products with natural ingredients such as baking soda, essential oils and coconut oil. Read the label. Make sure chemicals and aluminum are not listed. I’ve used several brands, with great results. You can find those listed at the end of the post.

Another alternative is to make your own deodorant from simple, wholesome ingredients. See my post HERE for DIY deodorant.

When switching from an antiperspirant with aluminum to a deodorant without, your body may go through a detox time. For a couple of weeks you may sweat more and experience body odor as your body recovers and begins functioning as it should. This is natural. As your body adjusts you will experience less sweating and odor. And I promise you, eliminating animal products from your diet impacts the body’s natural smell tremendously. Want to know why we are so stinky? Hint. It’s what we eat that smells so bad as it leaves the body.

Aluminum Free Deodorant healthy exercise
Why it’s important to switch to aluminum free deodorant – the body naturally perspires during exercise to cool itself.

Eliminating Heavy Metals

After preventing more heavy metals from entering the body, it is necessary to remove the accumulation. Otherwise, they continue to do harm. Diet is crucial for flushing heavy metals, including aluminum, from tissues and organs.

Eat plenty of these foods:

  • avocados
  • bananas
  • blackberries
  • celery juice
  • cilantro
  • coconut oil
  • flax seeds
  • oranges
  • strawberries
  • wild blueberries

Add these herbs and supplements to your diet as well:

  • Atlantic sea dulse
  • B12 with methylcobalamin & adenosylcobalamin
  • B complex
  • barley grass juice powder
  • EPA & DHA – plant based, not fish based
  • ester C, a potent vitamin C
  • GABA – gamma-aminobutyric acid
  • gingko biloba
  • ginseng
  • lemon balm
  • magnesium
  • melatonin
  • probiotics
  • spirulina
  • zinc

I highly recommend drinking the heavy metals detox smoothie, created by Anthony William, to help eliminate aluminum from the body. Start the day with one of these smoothies several times a week. Check out my post about this amazing smoothie HERE.

Heavy metals detox smoothie

Purchase aluminum free deodorants below:


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10 Benefits of Owning a Pet

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

In honor of National Love Your Pet Day, I continued research on the benefits of pet companionship. I started down that trail earlier this week when I read about the connection between caring for pets and better brain health.

Most households in the US have at least one pet. Cats outnumber dogs in the United States, however, slightly more households prefer dogs as their favorite furry companion. And of course, pets include more than dogs and cats. Pet ownership includes birds, reptiles, spiders, insects, fish, frogs, rabbits, pigs, horses…the list goes on and on.

Whether you love on a dog, a cat or another animal…or practically run a zoo in your home…check out these 10 benefits of owning a pet.

10 Benefits of Owning a Pet title meme

Pets Help You Exercise

If you own a dog especially, one of the benefits is exercise. Dogs love going for a walk. My big girl, Payton, a Lab/Rottweiler/Chow mix, brought her leash to me twice a day, which was her way of asking to go for a walk. If I ignored her for too long, she’d fetch my shoes, in case I misunderstood her request. Some of my favorite memories with Payton, who passed away from old age years ago, included long walks through my neighborhood.

Walking, jogging and biking with a dog in tow…or perhaps we are the ones in tow…are great ways to stay in shape and get the heart pumping.

10 Benefits of Owning a Pet Exercise
Exercise is one of the 10 benefits of owning a pet. Granddogs Abby and Xander.

Pets Provide Companionship

One of the primary reasons for bringing home a pet is companionship. People who live alone and older adults especially benefit from a loving relationship with a pet. Connecting with a pet improves emotional health, contributes to a more active lifestyle and eases loneliness. Plus, pets are supreme examples of showing unconditional love. We can learn much by journeying through life with them.

Unconditional love
10 benefits of owning a pet – companionship. This is one of the cats that adopted me, Shy Boy. He is huge and so sweet.

Pets Help You Socialize

Pets owners can socialize while their dogs play at the park. Or host an adoption event and watch people connect over the animals there. I end up in conversations at the grocery store with the cashier as she rings up another big box of cat food. Mention in any group that you have a pet or post a photo of one on social media and I guarantee you’ll make new friends.

People with common interests tend to connect more easily. Pets help to create that connection that can turn into a bond of friendship.

Pets Help you Socialize
My granddog Beatrice.

Pet Ownership Offers Health Benefits

Studies show that caring for and loving a pet can improve health. Benefits include lowering stress and blood pressure and decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Pet companionship can help keep the brain young. Plus walking the dog improves cardio health as well. Some studies even suggest that people who enjoy the love of pets live longer.

A connection may exist between a strengthened immune system and pets in the home. Babies who grow up with pets experience fewer infections than those in pet-free environments.

Properly caring for pets is crucial here. Neglected animals not only suffer but can contribute to poor health in their human companions. Healthy pets equal healthy humans.

10 Benefits of Owning a Pet Health
Grandcats Lemon and Lucca.

Pets Help to Teach Children Responsibilities

Allowing children to help care for pets is so beneficial. The child learns how to feed, water, walk, train and comfort a pet, while receiving adoration and companionship in return. Three of my grandkids, who have a new puppy in the house, devised a chart to track who is responsible for what and when with their young black lab mix, Charles.

They’ve learned to do laundry so they can wash Charles’ bedding and how to give him a bath. Charles is growing quickly so that task requires two of them to accomplish, creating teamwork.

And caring for a pet, whether a dog, cat, hamster or snake, helps children develop empathy and compassion. These are important traits to carry into adulthood.

10 Benefits of Owning a Pet Responsibility
10 Benefits of Owning a Pet – responsibility. Pictured Aubrey, Oliver holding Charles and Joey holding Carl.

Pets Can Provide Safety

Some breeds of dogs are excellent protectors of their humans. My dog Payton made me feel safe, even when we walked at night. People saw her and crossed the street to walk on the other side, due to her size. In reality, she was a sweetheart, but I didn’t mind that people showed her…and me…respect.

Even small dogs and animals other than dogs are protective of their human family members. At my daughter’s house recently, caring for her four fur babies while she was out of town, I heard her cat Lemon growling. Looking around I found her at the open back door, watching a man in a neighboring yard. Lemon growled until the man went back into the house. I’m sure she thought she successfully warned that intruder away!

Protective pets
Granddog Agnes thinks she’s fierce!

Pets Can Sense Danger or Detect Illness

Animals have a strong intuitive nature. They can sense impending danger, whether from storms, earthquakes or negative energy. After the EF5 tornado devastated Joplin in 2011, I heard so many stories of animals that took shelter or became anxious before storm sirens ever sounded.

And some pets have saved the lives of their humans by detecting cancer or disease. They sniffed, pawed or licked at a spot, indicating the presence of a tumor beneath the skin.

10 Benefits of Owning a Pet Safety
Granddog Abby and grandcat Mister Darcy. They prove that dogs and cats can love each other.

Pets Offer Comfort

Children with autism and similar learning disorders can experience isolation and disconnection from people. With pets, however, they feel more at ease. Animals offer love and acceptance, don’t compare and live in the moment. A child or an adult who finds the world a confusing place can receive great comfort from hugging on a dog or cat.

Comfort animals are a big thing right now. Many people feel that they handle difficult life situations better with a canine or feline companion at their side. Animals sense when a person is sad or upset or afraid. They instinctively know when to play and when to quietly cuddle and comfort.

10 Benefits of Owning a Pet Comfort
10 Benefits of Owning a Pet – Comfort. My cat Angel loves to be close. Shy Boy seems unsure.

Pets Make Us Laugh

We know that laughter is good for the body and the soul. And the antics of our pets generate plenty of laughter. A good laugh reduces stress and releases feel good hormones into the body. Is it surprising then that people love watching funny pet videos on YouTube? Or what about those adorable photos that pet owners post, of their naughty dogs and cats? A handwritten note usually accompanies the photo, stating what the dog or cat did. I love those.

My cats keep me laughing. They are clever and seem to put some thought into how they interact with me and Greg.

Pets Make Us Laugh
Angel says, “Who, me?”

Pets Bring Us Joy

Most pet owners consider their fur babies family members. And well they should. We laugh over their games, look forward to seeing them after a time apart, worry about them when they are sick, grieve for them when they die. It’s all part of life with a loved one, any loved one, pets included.

Pets require attention. They create messes. Surprises may occur. My cat Shy Boy brought me live mice several times recently as gifts…to my bed in the middle of the night! How thoughtful of him.

However, what incredible joy these pets bring. They ask for little in return…food, water, shelter and love.

I complain about my cats sometimes. It seems like one is always on my lap or asking to go out the front door when there is a cat door in the utility room. However I love them. They are precious to me and fill my heart with joy.

Garden Cat
10 Benefits of Owning a Pet – Joy. Rilynn is my garden cat. She loves flowers and herbs.

Be a Responsible Pet Owner

I must add these cautionary words. Please be a responsible pet owner. Pets require basic care, love and attention. Do not bring home a pet that you cannot take care of or have no time for. And please have your pets spayed and neutered as part of their health care.

Shelters are full of animals waiting for loving homes. Consider adopting or fostering a dog or cat from a shelter rather than purchasing from a pet store.

My sisters and my niece and her husband are all involved in dog rescue and fostering. My mother adopted two rescue dogs. All three of my children rescued pets, adopted from shelters, or took in animals needing a home.

Our three cats came to us. Their momma brought them to the front door. Born in the wild a couple of years after the tornado, these little babies were feral at first. It took months of feeding them and talking soothingly to them before we could pet them. Now, they love to be in our laps or follow us around the house and yard. Angel invents games and plays them with Greg.

Pets are indeed a joy. They enrich our lives and offer amazing benefits.

Puppy Love
10 Benefits of Owning a Pet – Bonus: rescuing puppies to love. Some of the many dogs my niece Ashley has fostered.

Looking to adopt a pet or foster one?

Legacy of Hope Dog Rescue in Broken Arrow OK

Carthage Humane Society

Joplin Humane Society

Check out these finds for pets from Amazon:


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young

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Perhaps because of my age I am more aware of brain health than ever before. All brains change with age. That’s inevitable. And as our brains change, cognitive decline is common. It’s so common, in fact, that losing brain function is the number one fear among older adults.

Fortunately, we don’t have to just sit around and wait for cognitive function to decline. Here are the best tips to keep your brain young and healthy.

Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young title meme

Nutritious Diet

A nutrient dense diet is not just good for the body, it is good for the brain as well. The brain is an energy intensive organ, using about 20% of the body’s calories. Those who eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, unsaturated fats and plant based proteins such as legumes are less likely to develop dementia.

Omega-3 fatty acids help build and repair brain cells. And foods high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories reduce cellular stress and inflammation, which are linked to brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, reducing blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and blood pressure contributes to heart health, which in turn benefits the brain.

The following foods are the best for supporting brain health:

Fruits – apples, apricots, berries of all kinds, coconuts, dates, grapes, mangoes, melons, papayas, pomegranates

Vegetables – Atlantic sea vegetables, celery juice, leafy greens, potatoes, radishes, sprouts/microgreens

Herbs – cat’s claw, cilantro, ginger, licorice root

Omega-3 fatty acids – salmon, sardines, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds and hemp seeds or oil

If you are experiencing brain fog avoid: tobacco, alcohol, dairy products, eggs, wheat and MSG.

Mixed Berries for Brain Health
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young – Berries

Move the Body to Benefit the Brain

Regularly moving the body boosts brain health. Studies show that frequent exercise increases the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen rich blood to the region of the brain responsible for thought. Exercise also creates new nerve cells and increases the connection between cells.

A well oxygenated brain is more adaptive and operates more efficiently. Combined with a nutritious diet, exercise helps to lower blood pressure and high cholesterol and balance blood sugar levels, which reduces mental stress while supporting the heart and the brain.

Suggestions for moving your body:

  • walking, hiking, jogging, biking, aerobic exercise, low impact sports
  • dance, zumba, stretching, yoga
  • swimming, water aerobics
  • gardening
  • muscle training twice a week
  • playing with grandchildren
  • walking the dog, as long as your pet cannot overpower you and pull you off balance
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young – Walking

Mental Stimulation

Doctors find that stimulating the brain creates fresh connections between nerve cells and helps the brain generate new cells. The brain ends up with a reserve that protects against future cell loss.

This is the fun part of keeping the brain young. Any mentally stimulating activity boosts new connections. Try these activities regularly:

  • read, especially in new genres or subject areas
  • take a class, learn a language, cook different foods
  • work puzzles, play games, solve word or math problems
  • enjoy hobbies and learn new ones, especially those that require thought and dexterity such as painting, drawing, sewing and crafts
  • have fun, play, create, make up songs, write poems or stories
  • my favorite – try new experiences, do a familiar task in a fresh way, drive a different way to the store, listen to an unfamiliar genre of music, learn about technology
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young Painting
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young – Learn Something New

Emotional Wellbeing

Anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation and exhaustion contribute to cognitive function. When those conditions become chronic the risk for cognitive decline increases. Good mental health and getting enough rest, lowering anxiety and managing stress help maintain a healthy, youthful brain.

For chronic conditions, seek medical help. To support and maintain emotional wellbeing, try these:

  • meditate/pray
  • journal
  • get enough sleep, at least seven hours per night
  • nap during the day, if needed
  • do what makes you happy
  • find joy in life
  • practice gratitude
  • live in the now rather than regretting the past or worrying about the future
  • talk to a trusted friend or family member about minor fears, anxiety or depression
  • express emotions in healthy ways
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young Rest
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young – Getting Enough Sleep

Social Interaction

Strong connections to family, friends and pets lower the risks of dementia and increase life expectancy. Isolation can have a negative impact on some people and especially on older adults.

Positive emotional bonds contribute to a more active lifestyle, better eating habits and greater emotional health. And caring for pets and loving on them helps to reduce stress, lowers blood pressure (unless you have naughty pets!) and increases social interactions.

Try these suggestions:

  • volunteer at schools, shelters, hospitals, charities
  • spend time with family, friends and pets
  • expand your circle of acquaintances and meet new people
  • join a club, attend church, take lessons in a classroom setting
  • go on group outings such as field trips, nature walks, museum tours
  • encourage grandchildren to teach the latest technology or slang
  • attend group activities such as dances, yoga sessions, bird watching, quilting
  • offer your wisdom and teach a class
  • mentor one on one with youth or young adults
  • travel with a group
Connection for a Younger Brain
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young – Connection

Aging Well

There are many benefits from aging well, aging gracefully. One of those benefits is a mind that remains sharp. Awareness and putting these tips into practice gives the brain a much better chance of aging gracefully as well and remaining agile and healthy.

And trust me, it’s not too early to put these health practices in place. A healthier body equals a healthier mind equals a higher quality of life.

What tips will you adopt?

Having fun contributes to a healthy mind
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young – Have Fun

 

Check out Lumosity, the brain training app that improves memory, increases focus and helps you feel sharper.

Order these brain boosters below:

 


 

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Turmeric Green Tea

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Did you know that January is National Hot Tea Month? I didn’t either and I love drinking hot tea. It’s simple to celebrate during this month. Brew a cup of your favorite tea, find a cozy spot to relax and enjoy.

Since 2014, I’ve practiced the custom of afternoon tea time, favoring herbal teas. For this special month, I am choosing to experience several new to me teas or tea blends.

Leading off the celebration is this combination of two powerful healing foods, Turmeric Green Tea.

Turmeric Green Tea title meme

The Healing Benefits of Turmeric and Green Tea

These two superfoods are packed with healing benefits. Together they offer amazing health support throughout the body.

Turmeric

I’ve taken turmeric as a supplement since starting my plant based journey. I also create a non dairy turmeric milk that is a delicious way to end the day.

Turmeric is a rhizome perennial herb in the ginger family. It is native to India and southeast Asia. Turmeric is what gives curry its yellow color, and it has been used for thousands of years in India as a spice and for medicinal purposes.

There are incredible healing benefits in turmeric. This herb contains curcumin, a phytochemical with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric also contains natural steroidal compounds that calm down the body’s inflammatory response to pathogens, such as viruses.

This makes turmeric ideal for fighting inflammation anywhere in the body, from joints to the liver to nerves to the brain. The compounds in this herb increase blood flow to the parts of the body that need it the most, lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, inhibit tumors and cysts and help to prevent all types of cancer.

Turmeric aids in combating a host of conditions, including skin disorders, anxiety, colds and flu, sinus issues, chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein Barr Virus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lymphoma, heart disease, Lyme disease, Parkinson’s, liver disorders, joint pain, headaches, leg cramps, body aches, blurry vision, brain fog, menopause symptoms and many other health problems.

Turmeric Green Tea Grated
Freshly grated turmeric for Turmeric Green Tea.

Green Tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants, including polyphenols and catechins. These compounds protect cells and molecules from free radicals that damage the body and cause diseases.

This soothing tea reduces inflammation throughout the body. Green tea protects the skin against harmful UV radiation and fights skin cancer by repairing DNA. It also protects the brain’s neurons and improves memory, making it helpful in preventing dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

In addition, green tea supports the immune system, prevents infections and aids in weight loss by boosting metabolism and eliminating fat from the body. This tea reduces the risk for diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels and lowers bad cholesterol.

You can see why combining green tea with turmeric creates such a powerful health drink.

 

6 Teas that Soothe Anxiety Green Tea
Green Tea

Preparing Turmeric Green Tea

The tea is easy to prepare. I’d recommend using fresh turmeric root rather than dried or ground, for the best health benefits.

I purchased a piece of fresh turmeric root at my local Natural Grocers. Buy a larger section of turmeric root so that it is easier to peel and grate. I used a sharp paring knife to remove most of the outer skin, leaving a section to hang on to as I grated it. Turmeric leaves a bright yellow stain on fingers and clothing so handle carefully!

Grate about a tablespoon of turmeric and save the rest, storing in the refrigerator. Bring 2 cups of filtered water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the grated turmeric and two black peppercorns or a dash of ground black pepper. Black pepper contains a compound that inhibits the breakdown of turmeric in the liver and gut. This improves bioavailability, allowing higher levels of turmeric to remain in the body and increasing the effects.

Cover the pan and allow turmeric and black pepper to steep for 10 minutes.

Strain turmeric tea into a large mug or cup. Add an organic green tea bag, cover and steep for 5 more minutes. Add raw organic honey, if desired.

Turmeric Green Tea
Freshly brewed turmeric green tea.

Enjoying Turmeric Green Tea

The above recipe makes one large cup of turmeric green tea. Double the recipe to make a pot of tea. Save the grated turmeric in the saucepan. It can be used up to three times to create tea. Store any leftover tea in the refrigerator and reheat before drinking.

I brewed this healing drink for my afternoon tea. Previously I’ve only enjoyed turmeric in curries and golden milk, so I wondered if this tea would be overwhelming or too spicy. It’s not, at least, it’s not to me. I like the taste of turmeric and don’t use any kind of sweetener in my herbal teas. I drank the turmeric green tea straight up, without adding honey or coconut milk.

It is strongly flavored, but not overpowering. I enjoyed the drink and could imagine all those anti-inflammatories going to work throughout my body. In fact, I loved it so much I’ll have a second cup of turmeric green tea before bed. The turmeric root is inexpensive and easy to grate. My intention is to enjoy a cup of this healing tea once a day for the next week and note the effects.

I’ll keep you posted!

Turmeric Green Tea Cheers
Here’s to health!

Pick up these items, to create turmeric green tea:


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Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Unbelievably, we’ve officially entered the holiday shopping season, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday quickly approaching. This year, why not encourage someone on their healing journey, or gift yourself with items that support a healthy lifestyle.

The poet Virgil wrote,

“The greatest wealth is health.”

I’ve come to appreciate the deep truth in those words. Who among your family or your circle of friends could most benefit from a change in health?

Check out these gift ideas for a healthy lifestyle. And simply click on the photos for more info or to order.

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle title meme

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle – Kitchen

Juicer

A juicer starts the day off perfectly, with fresh celery juice or fresh apple juice. And it quickly turns vegetables and fruits into health boosting juices.

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle - Juicer

Blender

I use one every day. For breakfast I create fruit smoothies. Sauces and banana nice dream blend in this helpful machine. And celery juice and other juices can even be prepared in a blender, if you don’t have a juicer. I love my Ninja Blender!

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle - Blender

Food Processor

This powerful kitchen appliance is great for creating your own almond milk, nut butters and gluten free flours. Or quickly chop up veggies for a colorful salad. I’ll be using mine in a few days to make fresh cranberry relish.

Food Processor

Spiralizer

This fun gadget creates mounds of fresh “noodles” from zucchini, cucumbers, carrots and other veggies. It’s a great way to use that garden produce in the summer!

Spiralizer

Electric Tea Kettle

I discovered the joys of using an electric tea kettle in Edinburgh, Scotland this year. Hot water is ready in a couple of minutes, for a pot or a cup of tea. I use mine every day.

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle - Electric Tea Kettle

Herbal Teas

A favorite health booster for me…herbal teas. There are so many to choose from. Here are a few options.


Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle – Books

Cookbooks

I enjoy trying new, healthy recipes weekly. Try one of these to discover that healthy eating does not mean bland food.


Medical Medium Books

These are the books that completely changed my health…and my life. I can’t think of a better gift for someone who is sick and tired, of feeling sick and tired.

 


 

Medical Medium Celery Juice Book

 

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle – Fitness

Metal Water Bottle

I carry one everywhere, even on international trips. In my quest to stay hydrated and eliminate plastic use, metal water bottles help me do both.


Yoga Mat

I confess that I do yoga on my bed,  mostly, or standing next to my bed! Perhaps I need to gift myself with a mat.

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle - Yoga Mat

Gym Bag

Great for carrying a change of clothes to the gym or toting gear to the park or for a weekend getaway.

Gym Bag

Hand Weights

Weights help with toning, flexibility, strengthening and building muscle.

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle – Clothes

What would we do without leggings? I practically live in them, especially when I’m working at home, which is almost every day!


Get a Head Start on 2020

This isn’t a complete list of gift ideas for a healthy lifestyle, however, I hope it gets you started on the path of wellness.

For yourself, for a loved one, for a friend, give the gift of health this holiday season. And get a head start on 2020. May next year be the year that health becomes a priority!

Give the Gift of Health

Check out these posts, for additional health related gift ideas:

Good Idea Sparkling Mealtime Beverages

HempFusion

CBD Living Water

And this one for Gifts that Inspire an Enchanted Life

 

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National Wellness Month

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August is National Wellness Month. Founded last year, its purpose is to foster community, connection and commerce in the wellness industry. All during August, National Wellness Month focuses on self-care, managing stress and promoting healthy routines that become healthy lifestyles.

Whether challenging ourselves to try a new yoga pose or making small daily changes, we can positively impact our health in lasting ways.

National Wellness Month Title Meme

The Definition of Wellness

Curious, I looked up wellness, even though I use the word frequently in connection with my health.

“Wellness: the state of being in good health, especially as an actively sought goal.”

I really like that definition. Wellness doesn’t just happen. It is created, intentionally, with awareness and actions that lead to a goal.

In honor of National Wellness Month I considered what health related goals to pursue during August. I’ve adopted a plant based lifestyle and I’ve made many changes in my health and wellbeing as a result of daily choices. However, there is always room for improvement.

Following are my actively sought health goals for National Wellness Month.

National Wellness Month Walk

Walk More

This challenge comes at a good time. I just returned from a trip to Scotland and while in Edinburgh and the Borders, I walked daily. The best way to explore a city or a village is to walk the charming streets. I love the way my body responds when I walk more. The muscles in my legs may protest at first, however the increased activity eventually loosens tight muscles and strengthens my legs and back.

While I hold good intentions of continuing the daily walks when I return home from trips, I’ve yet to continue the practice for long. Goal number one for August….walk more. I may not get in 10,000 steps a day, which roughly equals five miles. However, I can focus on walking more.

National Wellness Month Water

Drink 64 Ounces of Water

Another practice I want to continue is drinking an adequate amount of water. Since replacing plastic one-use bottles with a metal water bottle, I’ve discovered that I naturally drink more water.

Goal number two for National Wellness Month is to track my water intake better, making sure I’m getting at least 64 ounces of water a day. My metal water bottle holds 20 ounces and my large mason jar, in which I create herb, veggie and fruit infused water, holds 32 ounces. I can easily keep track of how much water I’m drinking with a slight increase in awareness.

National Wellness Month Yoga

Practice Yoga/Meditation/Stretching Daily

Before my international trip, I was doing well with this daily practice. Each morning I engaged in a short yoga routine, stretches and meditation. Each evening, before bed, I did the yoga and stretches again. I experienced increased flexibility in my legs and back.

I ran through the stretches and yoga poses a couple of times, while in Edinburgh. Even though I hoped to stretch and do yoga daily while on my trip, it just didn’t happen, due to eagerness to get out and explore.

Now that I’m home, it’s time to get back into a daily routine. Goal number three is to develop this important habit again.

National Wellness Month Sleep
My cat Shy Boy can give me some tips about sleeping well!

Get at Least Seven Hours of Sleep at Night

I’ve never been great at sleeping at night. I’m a night owl, since babyhood. In the past months I’ve fallen into the very unhealthy habit of working on blogs and writing and social media until the wee hours of the morning. I often crawl into bed about 3:00 am or even later. And yet I’m up a few hours later, to begin another day.

Recovering from my travels, after my return home, I’ve retired for the night by midnight most nights and a few evenings, I clicked out the light and sank into my bed while it was still light outside. Going to bed early those nights, I appreciated the health benefits of getting a good long sleep.

I want more nights like those.

Goal number four, for National Wellness Month, is to get to bed by midnight or earlier, every night. Chronic sleep deprivation can seriously undermine health. I don’t need to sabotage mine by cheating myself on sleep.

National Wellness Month Outdoors

Get Outdoors at Least 30 Minutes a Day

I wanted a fun wellness goal for this month. As I considered possibilities, I recalled that each day as I walk out to my car, I longingly eye the Red Bud Tree in the front yard. This year the brave little tree produced a gorgeous full canopy, for the first time since the 2011 tornado damaged it. I see those limbs, heavy with heart-shaped leaves, trailing down to the soft green grass….and I yearn to sit on a quilt there beneath the tree.

Goal number five for August is to give in to that desire and get outside every day for at least 30 minutes. I know. August can be very warm and humid in Missouri. However, it’s cool there in the shade of the Red Bud Tree. I can carry out a book or my laptop or a journal. Or I can simply enjoy sitting there on a quilt under the fluttering leaves and daydream for thirty minutes. There are other outdoor spaces that I can enjoy but the tree is my primary destination.

National Wellness Month Challenge

Those are my wellness challenge goals for August. By my actions, I am proclaiming “I choose wellness”.

What actively pursued goals will you set, for National Wellness Month? Join me in being intentional in creating wellness in all aspects of our lives. Join me in saying, “I choose wellness” and share your goals with me. Post photos on social media that show you taking those action steps. Include the hashtags #wellfie and #wellnessmonth.

Let’s be healthy, and embody wellness, at every age.

National Wellness Month Cindy

Check out these wellness products!


 

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Do You Have an MSG Sensitivity?

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Do you have an MSG sensitivity?

Monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, is a food additive used in thousands of restaurants and food products. Its purpose is to boost the flavor of processed, canned and frozen foods.

MSG is derived from glutamic acid, a type of protein found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. It is produced through a fermentation process that was first discovered in 1866. By 1909 a Japanese food company began commercially producing monosodium glutamate.

The use of MSG in foods and products is controversial, due to a wide range of symptoms that some people experience shortly after consuming the additive.

Since cleaning up my diet, I’ve noticed that I do have physical reactions to MSG. Perhaps you do too.

Do you have an MSG sensitivity title meme

What’s the Controversy with MSG?

Glutamate acid is an amino acid found in many foods. However, monosodium glutamate is the sodium salt derived from glutamic acid.

Natural glutamate is broken down naturally in the body. It is regulated so that excessive amounts are eliminated from the body to prevent toxicity. However MSG is isolated, and not attached to other amino acids. That means it is broken down quickly, rapidly raising levels of glutamate in the blood. Those excess levels of glutamate cause symptoms in people with an MSG sensitivity.

Anthony William, author of Medical Medium, states:

“MSG typically builds up in the brain, going deep into brain tissue. It can then cause inflammation and swelling, kill thousands of brain cells, disrupt electrical impulses, weaken neurotransmitters, burn out neurons, make you feel confused and anxious and even lead to mirco-strokes. It also weakens and injures the central nervous system.”

He goes on to say that MSG is especially harmful when dealing with an illness affecting the brain or central nervous system. Regardless, it is an additive to avoid.

Symptoms of an MSG Sensitivity

Here are common symptoms, experienced by those with a sensitivity to MSG:

  • muscle tightness
  • numbness and tingling
  • headaches including migraines
  • pain in the back of the neck
  • flushing
  • weight gain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • trembling and weakness
  • free radical formation and oxidation
  • heart palpitations
  • increased blood pressure
  • worsening of asthma symptoms
  • higher risk of metabolic syndrome, which is linked to heart disease, diabetes and stroke
  • dry mouth and excessive thirst
  • confusion and anxiety

MSG Sensitivity Fast Food

Where is MSG Found?

Although MSG is most often associated with meals in Chinese restaurants, it’s found in thousands of foods and even personal care products such as toothpaste.

MSG can lurk in:

  • canned soups and broths
  • fast food such as burgers and fried chicken
  • potato chips and seasoned tortilla chips
  • seasonings
  • convenience meals
  • cold cuts
  • processed meats and foods
  • instant noodles
  • ice tea mixes
  • salty snacks
  • sports drinks
  • soy sauce
  • salad dressings
  • crackers
  • bouillon
  • personal care products

How to Avoid MSG

The best way to avoid this additive, and MSG sensitivity, is to limit or entirely eliminate foods from the list above. Focus on more fresh fruits and veggies. And prepare meals at home as much as possible. When you prep and cook your own meals, you know exactly what’s in them.

Read food labels. Look for MSG or monosodium glutamate listed on the label.

Additionally, MSG goes by a variety of other names, making it more difficult to spot the additive on food labels. If you see these words …

  • autolyzed yeast
  • hydrolyzed protein
  • hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • sodium caseinate
  • yeast nutrient or yeast extract
  • Torulo yeast
  • natural flavoring
  • glutamic acid

…it’s very likely that the product contains MSG.

MSG Sensitivity Doritos

Dealing With MSG Sensitivity

I can now tell, within a few hours, if I’ve eaten something that contains MSG. My mouth becomes very dry and I experience excessive thirst. I may also notice pain in my stomach and a headache.

When I ate a nutrient poor, albeit typical, American diet, MSG stayed in my system. No wonder I experienced daily headaches, constant dry mouth, heart palpitations and frequent stomachaches.

Cleaning up my diet has detoxified my body. I am very aware now if I eat something that is harmful to me. I’m grateful for the built-in sensors and indicators in my body that help me identify and avoid foods that are not the best for me!

I prepare most of my meals at home. And I read those food labels!

I’ll be sharing recipes in upcoming posts, such as DIY seasoning salt, that are MSG free alternatives.

Do you have an MSG sensitivity?

MSG Sensitivity Salts

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6 Natural Substitutes for Sugar

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I posted previously about the negative effects that sugar has on the body. Check out 8 Toxic Ways Sugar Impacts the Body. As I did with wheat flour and milk, I offer as a follow up a list of healthy alternatives.

Try reaching for one of these 6 natural substitutes for sugar, the next time you need a sweetener.

6 Natural Substitutes for Sugar

What Not to Use as Sweeteners

Refined sugar, created through a lengthy process involving chemicals, is not healthy for us. It contributes to poor health and a host of disorders. Plus, the substance is addictive.

Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin, are no better. Although considered safe by the FDA, these sweeteners produce unwanted side effects. Headaches, liver and kidney disorders, mood swings, increased appetite and thymus gland problems are all linked to the use of artificial sweeteners.

High fructose corn syrup, which is present in many packaged foods, is produced primarily from genetically modified corn. The liver metabolizes this fructose quickly, increasing fat in the liver and leading to digestives disorders.

6 Natural Substitutes for Sugar

These tasty alternatives to refined sugar, artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup are natural and actually good for the body.

Coconut Sugar

The coconut is an amazing fruit. From it we get coconut water, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour and coconut sugar, along with the flesh of the fruit. Coconut sugar, which resembles coarse brown sugar, is high in minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, potassium and phosphorous. It is also rich in antioxidants.

The sugar comes from sap extracted from the coconut flower. It then goes through a heating and drying process, via evaporation.

Look for this alternative in supermarkets and health conscious food stores. In recipes, swap out refined sugar for coconut sugar on a 1:1 basis. Try these Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, using coconut sugar.

6 Natural Substitutes for Sugar

Dates

Dried dates are powerful, easily digested fruits. They are high in vitamin B6, potassium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and 70 other bioactive minerals that support digestive, brain and liver health. This amazing food fortifies muscles and nerves and even possesses anti-cancer properties.

Besides enjoying dates as they are, use to sweeten a variety of recipes. Cakes, quick breads, and pie crusts benefit from the addition of dates. Chop them up and soak in water first, to soften. Try out these Apricot Bars made with four ingredients.

Bananas

These versatile fruits are rich in fiber, potassium and vitamins B6 and C. Because of their sweetness, bananas are great natural substitutes for sugar.

Overripe bananas are sweeter and easier to process. Swap one cup of banana puree for every cup of sugar in a recipe. Simply chop bananas and puree in a blender or food processor, adding a tablespoon of water if necessary. This is a wonderful Blueberry Banana Bread recipe to try.

6 Natural Substitutes for Sugar

Raw Organic Honey

Raw honey truly is a superfood. It is high in iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and vitamins B6 and B12. Honey is also rich with enzymes, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Raw honey supports the immune system and helps to fight off colds, flus and allergies.

It is important to use raw organic honey, rather than processed. Pasteurized honey loses many of its health benefits. Look for raw organic honey at farmer’s markets or health food stores that purchase from local beekeepers.

Drizzle raw honey over fruit or gluten free oatmeal. Sweeten tea, sauces and curries with it. Or create this wonderful Turmeric Milk using raw honey.

6 Natural Substitutes for Sugar

Organic Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is processed from maple trees in the US. Sap is collected from the tree, boiled to evaporate water and then filtered. This natural sweetener contains manganese, calcium, zinc and potassium and it’s rich with antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. Look for the darker maple syrups, as these are higher in antioxidants.

Use maple syrup in baking, marinades, glazes, sauces and over gluten free pancakes. This steamed apple dessert is a simple yet tasty way to enjoy organic maple syrup.

Organic maple syrup is available in supermarkets and health conscious food stores. Or order online by clicking on photo below.


Stevia

Stevia is a plant native to South America. Processed from the plant’s leaves, stevia is many times sweeter than sugar. It contains zero calories however, and none of the negative side effects of artificial sweeteners.

However, I offer a caution with stevia. Some people experience an unpleasant aftertaste with it. And some products contain stevia that is processed with chemicals, making it a less than desirable sugar substitute. Read labels.

Look for pure, organic stevia, available as a liquid, dissolvable tablets or in powdered form. Purchase pure organic powdered stevia by clicking on photo below. Because a little stevia goes a long way, when substituting for sugar in recipes other bulking agents such as more flour or fruit puree must be used. I’ve never personally used stevia, so I don’t have a recipe for this one!


Which Natural Substitutes for Sugar Do I Use?

Since becoming plant based, I’ve tried all of the above natural substitutes for sugar, with the exception of stevia. However, I purchase dark chocolate chips sweetened with organic stevia and it’s a good product.

I primarily use coconut sugar and organic maple syrup for baking. Raw honey is perfect to drizzle over fresh berries or add to turmeric milk. Dates add sweetness to pie crusts and fruit bars.

Breaking the Sugar Habit

For me it became important to break the habit of having “sweets” after a meal or with afternoon tea. Nowadays, my snacks are fruits such as apples, watermelon or a bowl of mixed berries. By choice, I reserve baked goods and cookies for celebrations or infrequent treats.

When I do want to try a new recipe or honor a special occasion, it is wonderful to know that healthy and tasty natural substitutes for sugar exist…and I can use them without guilt or ill effects!

6 Natural Substitutes for SugarGluten free, refined sugar free pancakes with fruit and organic maple syrup.

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