6 Natural Substitutes for Sugar

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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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Signs of Dehydration and Foods that Hydrate

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Everyone knows the importance of drinking enough water. And yet, 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. By definition, dehydration occurs when more fluids are leaving the body, through sweating, breathing, urinating, defecating and crying, than coming in.

It seems simple enough to prevent dehydration. Just drink enough water. However, for many people, the thought of chugging glass after glass of water throughout the day is daunting. In addition, other drinks that we might reach for instead of water fail to satisfy thirst.  And they actually contribute to ongoing dehydration.

There are signs of dehydration, that indicate the body isn’t getting enough water. And fortunately, there are many ways to increase water intake, including consuming foods that hydrate.

Signs of Dehydration and Foods that Hydrate

Signs of Dehydration

The following signs of dehydration are symptoms that indicate the body is not receiving enough water and/or is already chronically dehydrated:

  • constipation
  • dark urine
  • headaches
  • lightheadedness and dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • muscle cramps
  • rapid heartbeat
  • extreme thirst
  • less frequent urination
  • no tears
  • unsatisfied hunger
  • fatigue
  • low blood pressure
  • skin disorders
  • brain fog
  • irritability
  • kidney stones

These common symptoms are frequently attributed to other causes. We learn to shrug and put up with these signs of dehydration, missing what the body is trying to communicate. Severe dehydration can result in serious health issues, including organ failure.

Thankfully, rehydrating and staying that way is possible. The process takes consistency and awareness.

Signs of Dehydration and Foods that Hydrate

Tips to Hydrate

There is varying information about how much water we need. However, a good guide is 72 ounces for adult women and 104 ounces for adult men. This is a general guideline. Exercising, working outdoors or warm temperatures may up the requirement for liquids.

The body responds quickly to consistent hydration with a lessening of symptoms.

To ensure adequate hydration, employ the following tips:

  • carry water at all times, in a metal or glass container, and refill throughout the day
  • drink at least one glass of water with every meal
  • increase water amount when exercising or outdoors in hot weather
  • juice fruits and veggies
  • start the day with a lemon or lime water, followed by a glass of freshly prepared celery juice for amazing health benefits (Want to know even more about this miraculous drink? Visit www.celeryjuice.com and pick up Anthony’s new book about celery juice HERE.)
  • include two or more cups of herbal teas during the day
  • keep a pitcher of infused water in the fridge, adding herbs, veggies or fruit for flavor
  • eat your water, with high water content foods

Juices are a great way to increase water consumption IF you make them at home or buy drinks that are organic and without added sugar. If warm weather discourages hot herbal teas, brew tea as usual and then chill or serve over ice.One of my favorite summer time drinks is Hibiscus Lemonade.

Have fun with infused waters. Add any combination of herbs, fruits and veggies. Try mint leaves with lime juice or sliced cucumbers and strawberries. You are more likely to drink infused water if it’s prepared and chilling in the fridge.

When dehydrated, avoid alcohol, black tea, soda, coffee and other caffeinated drinks. They don’t quench thirst. They actually rid the body of water, furthering dehydration.

Signs of Dehydration and Foods that Hydrate

Foods that Hydrate

If the thought of drinking lots of water makes you feel bleh, add foods throughout the day that contribute to water intake. These foods not only restore balance to the body, they prevent future dehydration.

  • strawberries – 92% water
  • watermelon – 92% water
  • pineapple – 87% water
  • tomatoes – 94% water
  • radishes – 95% water
  • carrots – 90% water
  • zucchini – 95% water
  • cucumbers – 90% water
  • cantaloupe – 90% water
  • grapefruit – 88% water
  • kiwi – 85% water
  • peaches – 89% water
  • oranges – 88% water
  • lettuce – 96% water
  • celery – 95% water
  • bell peppers – 92% water
  • cauliflower and broccoli – 92% water
  • cabbage – 92% water
  • eggplant – 89% water

I’m not suggesting that drinking water be replaced with eating liquids! However, to give the body the crucial water that it requires, adding foods from this list helps to ease dehydration and keep the body adequately hydrated.

Challenge yourself, to see how many of the tips for hydrating you can work into a day. Create meals and snacks around the high water content foods. Although hydration is a serious matter, make a game of getting enough water throughout the day. Keep a water intake chart. Download an app. Involve the kids, who are just as chronically dehydrated as adults. Have family contests. Reward yourselves with fun mason jar glasses or colorful water bottles.

Signs of Dehydration and Foods that HydrateCucumber, tomato, dill salad.

The Difference Hydration Makes

Chronic dehydration was my reality, for most of my life. I didn’t drink enough water. Instead, I sipped on diet sodas or iced teas. My body warned me, with symptoms such as dry mouth, headaches, muscle cramps, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness and no tears.

I felt thirsty most of the time, which is a classic symptom of dehydration. As the saying goes, if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. And yet I hated to drink very much water. Why? Because I didn’t want to be trotting off to the bathroom frequently. I actually hear this reason for avoiding water often. And I get it. However, it is the way the body is meant to work. Drink enough water and the body flushes toxins and fats, organs stay healthy and the digestive system works smoothly and efficiently.

One of the sweet surprises, after switching to a plant based diet, was realizing I no longer felt thirsty all the time. For the first time in my life, I felt hydrated. My symptoms went away.

What a difference enough water makes. My body thanks me for my diligence with improved health and wellbeing. Your body will thank you too.

Feeling thirsty, after reading this post? Good! Go get a glass of life giving water.

Signs of Dehydration and Foods that Hydrate

 

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Scents that Promote Wellbeing

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Curiosity inspired this post, Scents that Promote Wellbeing. I recently read that inhaling jasmine’s sweet and intoxicating scent has health benefits equal to taking sedatives and relaxants.

Intrigued, I researched the science behind the power of scents, known as aromatherapy.

I present the results of my study, with the top scents that promote wellbeing and health.

Scents that Promote Wellbeing

The Science of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy involves inhaling scents that stimulate the olfactory system, which includes the nose and the brain. Scent creates nerve impulses that travel to the limbic system in the brain. This region is most connected to survival, instincts and emotions.

Scent triggers emotional and physical responses, causing mood changes by altering brain chemistry.

We are familiar with these triggers. The scent of raw potatoes, for example, triggers memories of my mom buttoning up my coat as I headed outside to play. Her hands carried the homey scent of the potatoes she had peeled for dinner. Roses remind me of the perfume my grandmother wore. Both scents create feelings of love and the sense that all is well in my world.

Scents that Promote Wellbeing

The following scents possess powerful properties that help us feel better.

Lavender

Among scents that promote wellbeing, this versatile herb ranks high for calming and soothing the mind and body. Lavender reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, relieves headaches and relaxes the body into sleep.

Cinnamon

Derived from the inner bark of trees in the Cinnamomum family, this spice sharpens the mind and improves balance and motor skills. Cinnamon is especially helpful for drivers. The scent reduces fatigue and road rage while increasing alertness. Cinnamon stimulates the central nervous system, enhancing performance and motivation.

Scents that Promote Wellbeing

Peppermint

One of the most beneficial herbs, peppermint’s distinctive scent boosts concentration, instills confidence  and clarifies thoughts and emotions. Peppermint relieves stress while easing fatigue and eliminating chocolate cravings!

Citrus

The tangy scents of lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit energize the mind and body and boost mood. Citrus regulates hormones, supports the immune system and eases depression and anxiety. Often included in household cleaners, that citrusy scent ramps up the joy we feel as we clean house. Clever, huh?

Vanilla

This warm and seductive scent, derived from the vanilla bean, elevates mood while reducing anxiety. Vanilla eases fatigue, induces calmness and soothes an upset stomach.

Scents that Promote Wellbeing

Jasmine

The scent from this beautiful flower has powerful properties. Jasmine eases depression, lowers anxiety and improves cognitive function. Like lavender, jasmine quiets the mind and relaxes the body into sleep. Recent studies of the benefits of this plant provide evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy.

Apple

I’m familiar with the many health benefits of the simple apple. However, inhaling the scent of this fruit reduces the symptoms of headaches and shortens the duration of migraines. Amazingly, the crisp, tart scent of an apple triggers hormones that signal the body that hunger is satisfied.

Sage

Known as an aromatic herb, inhaling sage’s characteristic scent reduces blood pressure, slows respiration and relaxes the body. Sage eases stress while improving memory and attention.

Scents that Promote Wellbeing

Scents that Promote Wellbeing

I’m fascinated by my findings and yet not surprised to discover the power of aromatherapy. Scents are strongly connected to emotions and memories. They possess the ability to shift brain chemistry and create positive changes in the body as a result.

Essential oils are one way to receive the benefits from aromatherapy. Apply one or two drops of lavender or citrus essential oils to a cotton ball and inhale the scent. Or add drops to a bowl of hot water or to a diffuser. Allow the diffuser to run for 15 to 60 minutes. Connect with my friend Marijo to learn more about Young Living Essential Oils.

Other ways to enjoy increased wellbeing through aromatherapy include:

  • inhale the scent from fresh apples, lemons, sage, peppermint, lavender and jasmine for several minutes
  • keep a potted lavender, sage or jasmine plant in the house
  • add sticks of cinnamon and vanilla beans to a pot of water simmering on the stove
  • create sachets filled with dried sage, peppermint, lavender or jasmine
  • brew tea from fresh or dried sage, peppermint, lavender or jasmine and inhale the scent from the steaming cup

I keep a tiny lavender filled pillow on my bedside table. The words “this is bliss” are printed on it. Eyes closed, preparing to sleep, I love to hold it beneath my nose and breath in deeply. As I inhale, I breath in calm, peace and relaxation. I exhale any stress from the day, tension and busy thoughts.

This is bliss, indeed.

Scents that Promote Wellbeing

Click photo below to order lavender sachet kits.

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This post is linked on Senior Salon #20

20 Easy to Implement Health Tips

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I’m asked questions, daily, about health. Some want to know how I’ve improved my wellbeing. Some wonder what I eat. Others are dealing with ailments and illnesses. They hope for healing and an improved quality of life.

Very few are willing to make the choices that I have made, that led to incredible changes in my life. However, that’s okay. People must make their own choices. Often, it takes being in a drastic situation to make a drastic change in lifestyle.

For those who want to shift their health gradually, or take small steps toward greater wellbeing, pick and choose through these 20 easy to implement health tips. Try one or two…or try them all.

20 Easy to Implement Health Tips

20 Easy to Implement Health Tips

Keep a Well Stocked Pantry

One major way to avoid the fast food trap is to keep a well stocked pantry. At the end of a long day it’s easier to drive through Taco Bell rather than face the daunting task of figuring out what to fix at home, unless food is readily available. Your definition of a well stocked pantry may differ from mine, but good options include canned goods, pasta, marinara sauce, fresh veggies, spices, rice and beans. In minutes a healthy, wholesome meal can be prepared, saving money while improving health.

Cook at Home

Following on the above tip, cooking at home ensures knowing exactly what you are eating. There are no hidden additives or fillers or calories. I recently read an interesting Cambridge study that found that those who cook and eat at home at least five days a week are 47% more likely to still be alive ten years later!

Prep Food

Another tip for making meals quickly is to prep food ahead of time. You don’t have to spend all day Sunday getting ready for the next week. Spend an hour or two doing the following:

  • chop veggies to have on hand for salads, stir fries, soups, veggie bowls and for roasting (cut a variety of veggies to uniform size, add 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil and spices of choice, roast for 40 minutes in 400 degree oven)
  • wash and prep berries and store in refrigerator to use in berry bowls and to top banana ice cream, oatmeal or gluten free pancakes
  • meal planning is a great way to make sure you are using the food you purchase and making the most of seasonal produce and sales
  • batch cooking soups, chilis, sauces and rice dishes puts meals in the fridge ready to reheat and eat.

Use a Pressure Pot

This handy appliance is great for preparing healthy meals quickly. Brown rice cooks in 25 minutes. Keep cooked rice or quinoa in the fridge, ready to add to stir fries and other recipes. The steam option on the pressure pot perfectly cooks fresh veggies in minutes, creating a vegetable bowl full of goodness in under 15 minutes.

Cook with a Slow Cooker

Another great kitchen appliance is the slow cooker. Prepare a pot of pinto or black beans to have on hand for salads, rice and bean dishes and veggie bowls. A great, simple recipe for slow cooker beans: soak 2 cups of beans overnight. Drain and rinse. Add to slow cooker along with 1 diced onion, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 6 cups of water, 1 teaspoon chili seasoning and 1 teaspoon cumin. Cook 7 – 8 hours on low or 5 hours on high.

20 Easy to Implement Health Tips

Use Smaller Plates

To help with portion control, use smaller plates and bowls. They look full when food is added, rather than using a large plate that’s half filled with small portions. It’s all about perceptions and beliefs. A full plate makes us feel better.

Is it Hunger?

Wondering if you are hungry or experiencing a craving? Think of eating an apple. If you are truly hungry, an apple sounds good. If it’s a craving, it doesn’t. Don’t feed cravings.

Stay Hydrated

Most people are chronically dehydrated. And the body can actually confuse thirst with hunger. To stay hydrated tote water in a fun water bottle. There are all kinds of playful or practical water bottles available. There are even apps that help you track your water intact, like Plant Nanny, which combines drinking enough water with a cute online game.

Keep Lemon Water in the Fridge

At home, keep a pitcher or jug of lemon, lime or lemon/lime water prepped in the fridge. Lemon water has many health benefits. It’s a great drink to start the day with. Sip 8 to 12 ounces right after waking, on an empty stomach, to help the liver purge toxins and to wake up the digestive system. Warm the water or drink it cool.

Eat Meatless Meals

Among health tips, this one is well known. Most people are aware of Meatless Monday. Try enjoying meatless meals two times a week, minimum. Build those meals around beans, lentils, brown rice, quinoa and vegetables. People who eat meat are more at risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Give the body and the digestive system a break. When you do include meat opt for smaller, leaner cuts.

20 Easy to Implement Health Tips

Cover Your Plate with Veggies and Healthy Grains

If meat is on the menu, let it occupy no more than one quarter of that smaller plate you are using. Fill half of the plate with vegetables and the remaining quarter with brown rice or quinoa.

Eat More Whole Foods

Studies show that a whole food diet reduces the risks of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and cognitive decline. Even if you don’t choose to embrace a 100% plant based lifestyle, including more whole foods, more vegetables and fruits, has tremendous benefits.

Make Substitutions

Another easy tip is to switch this for that. Try plant based milks instead of dairy. Substitute gluten free pasta for wheat varieties and sugar free marinara sauce for spaghetti sauce with added sugar. When baking, exchange eggs for flax eggs (1 tablespoon of flax seeds plus 3 tablespoons of water. Let set for 5 minutes before using.) And Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise is a wonderful and healthy alternative to mayo. Make substitutions a game, knowing every little healthy exchange helps.

Carry Your Own Snacks

Headed to a birthday party or a football game? Carry in your own snacks. It is easier to resist sugar laden birthday cake or that absolutely no good for you hot dog if you have something else to eat. Take along containers of sliced apples or grapes, a bunch of bananas, nuts or cut up veggies. I’ve attended family birthday parties and enjoyed my own healthy goody plate while others ate cake and ice cream. I didn’t feel left out or deprived at all. My motto is, “Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.”

Grow Your Own Food

Create a small garden or a raised bed garden and grow your own vegetables. There is something magical about tucking a tiny plant into the ground, caring for it, and reaping the benefits of fresh produce. Start with a tomato plant or bell pepper plants, whatever you enjoy. These fresh vegetables taste better than anything you can buy, and they are so good for you. If you can’t grow your own, find a nearby farmer’s market to visit, for fresh produce. Just ask about GMO products and the use of chemicals and pesticides. You don’t want to consume those!

20 Easy to Implement Health TipsThis was my snack plate, at a birthday party. I brought my own fruits and my gracious family provided additional foods that they knew I could eat.

Anti-inflammatory Juice

Try this delicious juice blend if inflammation causes pain in joints: Run through a juicer 6 carrots, 3 celery stalks, 1 cup fresh pineapple and 1/2 of a lemon. Add a 1 inch piece of fresh turmeric through the juicer or add 1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric to juice blend. Bromelain in the pineapple combines with curcumin in the turmeric to create a natural anti-inflammatory that helps painful joints.

Make Juice at Home

Rather than purchasing juice, which can contain sugar or additives, create your own juice at home. There are so many vegetables and fruits that can be combined to make healthy and delicious juices. Try a combo of cucumber, apple and pear. Or juice together spinach, tomatoes and celery. I use this juicer.

Drink Celery Juice

Of all the health tips, I’d recommend this one for everyone: drink a glass of freshly prepared celery juice every morning, after the lemon water and before breakfast. Read about the benefit of celery juice here. This miraculous elixir is changing the health of people around the world. Celery juice began my journey toward improved health and led me to a plant based lifestyle. Anthony William has a new book coming out this month, dedicated entirely to celery juice and its benefits. Preorder it HERE.

Park the Car Farther From the Store

When out running errands, park the car farther from the store. Doing this multiple times while checking tasks off of the to do list provides mini walks throughout the day. It’s an easy way to get more steps in and we all know how beneficial walking is.

Find a Health Buddy

It is so encouraging to have a health buddy. Ask a friend or a family member to join you in creating better health habits or in coming up with health tips and practices of your own. Walk together, shop for groceries together, meet for meal prep or to batch cook or to chop veggies. Hold each other accountable. And be available to each other for encouragement, support, questions and victories. Celebrate each health improvement together…just not with cake!

Greg and my mom both joined me in my quest for better health. They are encouragers and they both shifted out of old ways of eating. As a result, both experience improved health and vitality as well. I’m grateful for their companionship on this journey.

It’s a Lifestyle

I hope these 20 easy to implement health tips encourage you to make small changes in your daily habits. These are not diet tips. Caring for health and well being is a lifestyle that continues on, not a temporary change with temporary results.

May these simple tips create the desire to learn more and become the healthiest version of yourself.

I’d love to hear about your health tips! Share them with me in the comments below.

20 Easy to Implement Health Tips


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The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

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Until recently, I’ve only know paprika as a topping sprinkled on deviled eggs and potato salad. Honestly, I didn’t think it added anything more than decoration.

After becoming plant based, I noted that several of my favorite recipes include paprika, not as a garnish but as a crucial ingredient. I’ve come to respect and appreciate this spice and use it almost every day.

But what is paprika exactly? And are there any health benefits associated with it?

My curious mind wanted to know.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

What is Paprika?

Paprika is a reddish orange ground spice made from dried peppers. Although it can be made from any variety of peppers, red bell peppers, chili peppers and cayenne peppers are most commonly used.

The spice originated in Mexico. Explorers transported it to Europe, Africa and Asia in the 1400s. Currently, Hungary produces the highest quality paprika and chefs there are well known for their Hungarian goulash prepared with the spice.

Paprika is extremely high in vitamin A. It also contains vitamins B6, C, E and K, iron, niacin and potassium. The spicier versions contain capsaicin, which gives peppers their heat. Capsaicin is an important component in the prevention of diseases.
The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

Health Benefits of Paprika

Paprika fights inflammation and disease in the body, offering the following health benefits.

Powerful Antioxidants

Paprika is rich in carotenoids, a pigment found in the peppers. This compound prevents oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the body and helps to fight disease. Antioxidants protect the skin from aging, improve respiratory health and lower inflammation throughout the body. The high levels of vitamin A decreases inflammation as well, lowering the risk of disease since inflammation is often a root cause.

Hair and Scalp Health

Paprika’s rich source of vitamin B6 helps to prevent hair loss. It’s also involved in the production of melanin, the pigment that gives color to hair. And the iron in paprika stimulates hair growth by improving the transfer of oxygen to hair follicles.

May Help Prevent and Treat Cancer

The capsaicin in spicy paprika possesses the potential to prevent and/or treat gastric cancers. Capsaicin appears to limit and suppress cancerous tumor growth. This is good news, as gastric cancers are the second most common cancer, world wide, and the second most common cause of cancer related deaths.

Supports the Cardiovascular System

Vitamin B6 in paprika lowers high blood pressure and heals damaged blood vessels. The carotenoid capsanthin can increase good cholesterol. These benefits keep the heart strong and working well.

Improves Eye Health

Paprika’s antioxidants and vitamin B6 keep eyes healthy and slows the onset of eye related diseases such as macular degeneration.

Treats Diabetes

Paprika helps to regulate blood sugar levels, which in turn aids in treating diabetes. Spicy paprika benefits the whole digestive process.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

Uses for Paprika

Beyond sprinkling paprika on foods as a garnish, try adding the spice to vegetables, sauces, soups, salad dressings, chilies, salsa, rice dishes, beans, goulash and any tomato based recipe.

I add a heaping spoonful of paprika to the blend of spices coating Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes. My Meatless Dirty Rice recipe includes paprika as well. I’ve played around with a vegan goulash recipe too, featuring green peppers, brown rice macaroni, tomatoes and…paprika. Recipe coming soon.

I’m grateful for curiosity today. Paprika is good for me, contributing to my overall health and wellbeing. As I empty the current spice jar of paprika, I’ll purchase a spicier version, after discovering that capsaicin ups the health benefits considerably. I found this two pack  of Hungarian Paprika, containing a sweet version and a spicy one. How perfect!

How will you get your paprika today? Do you have a favorite recipe that contains this important spice? I’d love to know about it!

The Surprising Health Benefits of Paprika

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Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

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I just completed a nine day liver detox, following the guidelines in the Liver Rescue book by Anthony William. For the last six months, my mother and sister and I met once a week to discuss the book and share a plant based meal together.

The book club and the cleanse have been amazing and healing experiences. I appreciate the insights and wisdom that Anthony shares and the compassion he offers to those who are chronically ill or in pain.

Today I share a brief review of Liver Rescue and a general overview of the liver rescue cleanse, known as the 3:6:9. For information about the cleanse and the importance of caring for the liver, please visit the Medical Medium website. His book Liver Rescue is available HERE or pick up a copy from your local library.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

Liver Rescue Review

This in-depth book focuses on one organ in the body…the liver. We can feel other organs and systems in the body working. The heart pumps, the lungs draw in air and expel it, the stomach rumbles when it’s hungry. We are aware of our brains, our bones and our skin, and we use our senses to perceive the world around us.

What we are very unaware of is how hard the liver works to keep the body healthy and functioning as it should.

This hefty book astounded me. The liver processes fats, stores glucose, glycogen, vitamins and minerals, disarms and detains harmful substances and filters and screens the blood. All of these functions, and more, are designed to protect the body from toxic matter and protect the pancreas from excess fat.

If we all consumed wholesome foods the liver and its functions would never enter our thoughts. We’d enjoy health and vitality, as we are meant to do. However, we don’t eat wholesome foods. The typical American diet is high in fats, sugar and additives. The liver stores those excesses, to protect the body from the negative effects of a poor diet.

Additionally, the liver harbors residue from years of pesticides, herbicides, petrochemicals, plastics, gasoline, DDT, smoke, fumes, heavy metals…the list goes on and on. Viruses like to take up residence there too, to feed on all the toxins.

The liver stores all those substances for as long as it can. Like any storage container, eventually it runs out of space. As the liver struggles, it gets sluggish or fatty. And then we begin to get sick.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

My Thoughts on the Liver Rescue Book

By the time I reached the end of the book, where the cleanse is detailed, I felt wonder and appreciation for my hard working liver. I used to think that cirrhosis or a fatty liver or liver cancer signified an unhealthy liver. However so many of the ailments and symptoms we commonly have today are connected to the health of the liver.

Improving liver health is the key to healing many disorders including:

  • skin conditions, rashes, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea
  • adrenal problems, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, gout and heart palpitations
  • hormonal problems, mood struggles, rapid aging, brain fog and weight gain
  • high blood pressure, dirty blood and high cholesterol
  • bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, gut problems, food sensitivities and gallbladder infections

I’ve experienced some of these problems…and never connected them to my liver. And the liver/pancreas relationship interests me especially, as my father died of pancreatic cancer.

As I read the book, I not only developed respect for my liver and all that it does to keep me healthy, I felt compelled to ease its work load. I’ve been eating plant based for almost three years now. I’ve received much healing. It was time for me to focus on this little understood and under appreciated organ next.

The 3:6:9 liver rescue cleanse is purposefully placed at the end of the book. I felt ready to do the gentle cleanse, and give my liver a much needed healing break.

Medical Medium LIver Rescue Cleanse

Liver Rescue Mornings begin with hydration and easily assimilated nutrients.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

The Liver Rescue 3:6:9 Cleanse

Rather than giving a detailed description of the cleanse, I’ll share my experience of it. It’s important for everyone to read through the information in the rest of the book first, instead of jumping right into the cleanse.

The cleanse is divided into three sections.

Days 1 – 3

The first phase is gentle, prepping the liver to release the toxins it has stored. The focus is on hydration and fruits and vegetables. Fat intake is lowered and certain foods such as dairy and gluten avoided.

I found this phase to be very easy to comply with, as this is the way I eat anyway. Reducing fat intake meant I cut out avocadoes and my spoonful of organic peanut butter on gluten free crackers with afternoon tea. The only fat I consumed, during this phase, was a small amount of coconut oil on oven roasted potatoes.

I included two or three apples a day, for snacks. Apples are not my favorite fruit. However, I came to enjoy them very much during the cleanse.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

Afternoon tea during the liver rescue cleanse. And a typical meal during phase one: oven roasted potatoes, sautéed veggies and spinach.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

Days 4 – 6

The second phase is designed to allow the liver to begin cleansing itself. All fats are eliminated, giving the liver a break from processing and storing it. Raw and steamed vegetables are included that contain powerful liver purging compounds.

These three days revolve around very specific eating plans, designed to provide optimal nutrients that the body needs during a cleanse.

I did not experience any problems during this phase. The foods are wholesome and nutritious and I could eat as much of the specified foods as I desired. I confess I missed my potatoes a wee bit, however I could feel positive differences in my body already. Committed, I continued on.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue CleanseA meal during phase two: steamed Brussels sprouts and asparagus with a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. A big liver rescue salad accompanied each lunch and dinner.

Days 7 – 9

The final phase enables the liver to purge itself of stored toxins. Days 7 and 8 are similar to the previous three, although potatoes make a welcome comeback on day 7 only. Day 9 is liquids in the form of juices and blended fruits.

I experienced low energy and a sense of unsettledness on day 7. As my liver purged, it seemed I could feel toxins being sent out for elimination. Suddenly all the liquids drank during the cleanse made sense!

By the next day I felt fine. My appetite steadily decreased throughout the cleanse and the specified foods during this final phase satisfied me completely. I didn’t mind the day of liquids at all. Fruit smoothies became my meals and between them I sipped on juice blends.

Medical Medium Liver Rescue Cleanse

After the Liver Rescue Cleanse

Today I did a mental and visual scan of my body. I felt cleaner and leaner and centered. I didn’t weigh before starting the cleanse. However I can tell I dropped weight, perhaps five or six pounds. I noted feelings of lightness and wholeness and wellbeing. My mind is clear and my energy level back up.

I continued the Liver Rescue Morning, with my lemon/lime water, celery juice and breakfast smoothie. That will always be a regular part of my day. I intend to continue other aspects of the cleanse as well, such as a second glass of lemon/lime water in the early evenings, and more apples for snacks.

I’d like to repeat days 4 – 9 once a month for several more months, to give my liver a chance to fully purge and heal. I’m in the process of eliminating chemicals and toxins from my life by switching to plant based cleaning products and toiletries. I can’t avoid every harmful substance out there, however I can be mindful and support my liver so that it can more easily do the many functions that it performs.

With my appetite low, I focused today on simple meals and plenty of fluids. And I prepared oven roasted potatoes, with a very small amount of coconut oil. They tasted marvelous.

My liver feels healthier and happier. And that makes me happy too.

Medical Medium LIver Rescue Cleanse

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Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

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In my former life, before adopting a plant based lifestyle, I often enjoyed California rolls dipped in soy sauce. Now, mindful of what I eat, it’s not difficult to create or find simple, nori wrapped veggie rolls. What about the soy sauce though?

Typical soy sauce is made from soybeans. And that can pose a health problem, since most soybeans today are genetically modified. GMO products may increase inflammation in the body and present other health risks. There are debates about the effects of GMOs on health and opinions on both sides. For optimal health, I tossed my bottle of soy sauce.

However, I’m grateful for Bragg Liquid Aminos, a delicious product made from verified non GMO soybeans. Curious about the company and the origins of the sauce, I  hit Google. And by the way, this isn’t a sponsored post. I really appreciate this healthy alternative to soy sauce and want to share it.

Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

What is Bragg Liquid Aminos?

This liquid protein concentrate is derived from non GMO soybeans. It really does contain naturally-occurring essential and non essential amino acids, 16 of them to be exact.

Bragg does NOT contain chemicals, preservatives, artificial coloring, gluten or alcohol. It is not fermented. Simply made, Bragg Liquid Aminos’ ingredients are non GMO soybeans and distilled water. Like traditional soy sauce, liquid aminos taste salty, with the flavor derived from naturally occurring sodium in the beans. No salt is added.

For those wishing to eliminate soybeans entirely from their diets, Bragg also produces an Organic Coconut Liquid Aminos.

Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

Who are the Braggs?

When I took the photo above, of my bottle of liquid aminos, I noticed for the first time the picture at the top and the names. Obviously, these are the Braggs who created this wonderful product. But who are Patricia and Paul C. Bragg? My curiosity led me to discover more about them.

Paul

Paul C. Bragg founded the company in 1912. As a teen, he suffered from tuberculosis. As a result, he developed his own eating, breathing and exercise programs, rebuilding his body and reclaiming his health and life.

Reading that, I felt impressed already.

Paul originated and opened the first health food store in the US and pioneered health programs on radio in the 1920s. He established the first health restaurants and spas and created many health related products including herbal teas, supplements, vitamin drinks and seven grain cereals and crackers. And…he created a healthier soy sauce. Throughout his long and healthy life he worked with celebrities, athletes and leaders, teaching others how to live in optimal health.

Patricia

Patricia, Paul’s daughter, took the company over from her father. And like her father, she is a health crusader and advocate.

Patricia conducts health and fitness seminars world wide. She’s authored 10 self health books and continues to teach and promote the Bragg Healthy Lifestyle.

Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

Uses for Bragg Liquid Aminos

Use liquid aminos in place of regular soy sauce.

  • Sprinkle over salads
  • Add a punch of flavor to potatoes, beans or rice
  • Season stir fries
  • Use as an accompaniment for veggie rolls
  • Combine with other ingredients to make a flavorful sauce or marinade

My favorite ways to use Bragg Liquid Aminos include stir fries and as a sauce to dip veggie rolls in.

Try this easy to make sauce to add to a vegetable stir fry:

Combine 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, 2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos, 1 teaspoon raw organic honey and 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger in a small bowl. Drizzle over stir fry just before serving. Mmmm…perfection.

Replace Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos

Order Bragg Liquid Aminos or Bragg Organic Coconut Liquid Aminos below or look for both in your local grocery store.

 

 

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6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

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Starting a new health practice can feel overwhelming. And the vast amount of information available confounds the best intentions.

I made a radical shift due to declining health and wellbeing. However, I understand that most people are not losing the ability to walk or living in chronic pain. Those conditions highly motivated me to discover a way to heal.

For those interested in taking smaller albeit intentional steps toward wellness and vitality, these six simple way to improve health offer easily implemented actions with big results.

6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

Eat More Fruits & Veggies

One of the greatest positive impacts on health is including more fresh fruits and veggies in the diet and eating less animal products. Meat, and dairy products such as cheese, are high in fats and unwanted additives which contribute to inflammation and a host of ailments in the body. Eggs feed viruses such as strep and Epstein Barr.

If it feels difficult to give up animal products entirely, focus on having meatless meals a couple of times a week. Or try having only fruits before noon. A fruit smoothie for breakfast is perfect. Or perhaps commit to veggie bowls for lunch three days a week. Start where you are…and select two or three ways to include more whole plant based foods on a weekly basis.

Another tip is to plan meals around vegetables instead of considering them a side dish. As fresh produce becomes plentiful and cheap this summer, plan lunches and dinners around nature’s bounty. A plate heaped with freshly steamed veggies or hummus and raw veggies makes a great meatless meal.

6 Simple Ways to Improve HealthAloo Matar with peas, potatoes and tomatoes in a curry sauce makes a filling meatless meal.

Try Veggie Noodles Instead of Pasta

Spiralizing vegetables such as cucumbers, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes and carrots is another great way to include more veggies in meals. The spiralizer quickly transforms vegetables into mounds of fresh noodles that replace traditional wheat pastas.

No need to cook the veggie noodles. They are tender and subtly flavored. Top with homemade marinara sauce, basil pesto, sliced cherry tomatoes or a spicy curry sauce.

These fresh and tasty meals are my favorite way to use vegetables right out of the garden. Pick up a spiralizer here.

6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

Drink Water & Unsweetened Herbal Tea Instead of Sugary Drinks

Instead of reaching for a soda or a sweet tea, grab a water or herbal tea. Those sugar laden drinks add calories…more than you realize…and dehydrate the body at the same time.

Break the habit. Sugary drinks are addictive. Sugar is addictive. That’s why we crave it.

Flavor water with fruits, cucumbers or herbs and increase the health benefits. And herbal teas can be enjoyed hot or cold. I love this hibiscus lemonade during the summer! Bonus tip: grow your own herbs in containers or in the garden.

Hydrate First Thing in the Morning

Connected to ditching the soda and sweet tea is the practice of hydrating first thing each morning. Drinking 16 ounces of lemon or lime water after awakening helps to flush toxins from the body, improves digestion and aids the liver.

I find it easiest to keep a prepared pitcher of lemon/lime water in the fridge.

For an amazing health boost, drink 16 ounces of freshly prepared celery juice about 20 to 30 minutes after the lemon or lime water. Celery juice is truly a miracle elixir, healing people around the world. Anthony William has a new book releasing, featuring celery juice. You can pre- order it HERE.

I use a centrifugal juicer like this one.

6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

Keep Junk Food Out of the House

Having cookies, ice cream, donuts, chips and other high calorie, low nutritional value foods in the house greatly increases the likelihood of eating them. It also increases the likelihood of weight gain and the disorders that come with eating too much sugar and too many processed foods.

Instead, stock up on fresh fruits, nuts, avocadoes, hummus, veggies and nut butters that are sugar free.

There are many recipes available for healthy snacks, to consume as occasional treats. Try vegan oatmeal cookies or wild blueberry banana bread, made with gluten free flour.

6 Simple Ways to Improve HealthLemon balm tea and wild blueberry banana bread.

Walk in Nature

Walking is one of the best, and easiest, activities to improve health, tone the body and maintain weight. Get outdoors to help the body destress and to benefit from fresh air and a mood boost.

Instead of walking on a treadmill daily or doing loops around a gym, head to a park, a wooded trail or simply stroll through your neighborhood.

Walking in nature is a meditative experience that grounds and centers the body and allows the mind to quiet.

Improve Health

These simple ways to improve health bring their own rewards.

Try one or two actions daily or create your own unique plan for implementing all of them.

And perhaps the sense of euphoric joy and wellbeing that comes from improved health will guide you toward the next step in creating a healthy lifestyle that supports and nourishes you.

6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

Check out my Amazon Storefront for herbal teas, health books and kitchen appliances and tools that can assist your healing journey.

 

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

 

Top Sources of Protein for Vegans & Vegetarians

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As one who lives a plant based lifestyle, I’m frequently asked this question:

“But…what about protein?”

Ahhh, protein. It is essential to our diet, along with fats and carbohydrates. Proteins are made of amino acids that the body breaks down to use for growth, metabolism and repairs.

How much protein do we really need though? The recommended average is 42 grams per day. However, on a typical American diet high in meat, eggs and cheese, the average person eats upwards of 80 grams of protein a day…way more than needed.

In addition, animal products are high in fats and cholesterol and contribute to some types of cancer and other diseases.

While important, we don’t need as much protein as we think we do. And it turns out, it’s not difficult to get the protein we need from plant based sources.

Top Sources of Protein for Vegans & Vegetarians

Top Sources of Protein for Plant Based Diet

Here’s a list of foods that are naturally high in protein and other good for the body nutrients. Adding these foods to the diet on a daily basis supplies all the protein that the body needs for health and wellness.

Green Peas

One cup of green peas contains 8.6 grams of protein, along with fiber, antioxidants and crucial nutrients such as vitamins C and K, and manganese. Try adding peas to soups, salads, hummus and stir fries or simply pair with a plain baked potato.

My favorite green peas recipe is Aloo Matar.

Lentils

With 18 grams per cup, these little powerhouses are packed with protein and also with fiber, iron, zinc and potassium. Lentils have less than a gram of fat and no cholesterol, making them a healthier source of protein than chicken, beef and fish. Add them to soups, curries and casseroles.

I love this curry dish…Madras Curried Lentils.

Quinoa

Quinoa, which is actually a seed, provides 8 grams of protein per cup and all 9 essential amino acids that the body needs. Substitute quinoa in recipes that call for rice or other grains or add to salads, stir fries and veggie bowls. I recently found a chili recipe with quinoa in it, that I’m excited to try.

Top Sources of Protein for Vegans & Vegetarians Quinoa

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds, which come from a variety of the cannabis plant, are excellent sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Their protein…3 tablespoons equals 10 grams…is considered perfect, as it provide all 20 amino acids and also the 9 essential amino acids that our bodies can’t produce.

Sprinkle hemp seeds, which cannot make you feel high, over salads, gluten free pasta bowls, veggies or smoothie bowls. My favorite way to incorporate the goodness of hemp seeds is to include a couple of teaspoons in my morning smoothie.

Chia Seeds

These health boosting seeds provide 4.7 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons. They are also rich in antioxidants, omega-3, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Add to smoothies and salads or make chia pudding. Replace an egg in a recipe by combining 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of water and allow to set for 15 minutes.

Legumes

Beans are an amazing source of protein. Two cups of kidney beans contains a whopping 26 grams of protein. Chickpeas offer even more, with 29.2 grams in two cups. Beans are easily prepared at home, on the stove or in a crockpot or pressure pot.

Add to rice dishes, make chilis, or try out my new Stuffed Peppers recipe, with black beans.

Top Sources of Protein for Vegans & Vegetarians Legumes

Gluten Free Oats

Oats “stick to the ribs”, meaning they keep us full for a while. And it’s true. Oats provide 12 grams of protein per cup and offer 8 grams of fiber. Look for gluten free oats, to receive the most health benefits. Oats are naturally gluten free however they are often processed in facilities that also process wheat. Pick up a package of gluten free oats HERE.

Try these wonderful Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

Spinach

Dark green leafy vegetables contain protein, with spinach coming in at 2.1 grams per 2 cups. Spinach is also rich in vitamins and iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. For the most nutrients, consume spinach raw. Add to smoothies, juices and salads.

And try out this delicious raw spinach soup, from Anthony William.

Broccoli

This green cruciferous vegetable packs 8.1 grams of protein in one cup. It’s also a great source of vitamins A, B, C, E and K. Broccoli is excellent in stir fries, veggie bowls and casseroles.

Try out this healthy macaroni and broccoli bake.

Other veggies that provide 4 – 8 grams of protein per cup include asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

And while fruits are not as high in protein, they do provide some. On the list, offering 2 – 4 grams per cup, are guava, blackberries, nectarines and bananas.

Top Sources of Protein for Vegans & Vegetarians

Other Healthy Sources of Protein

This list shows how easy it is to get enough protein by eating wholesome, healthy foods. I purposefully left soy products off the list, as much of the soy grown in the US is genetically modified. Like corn, GMO soy can cause inflammation in the body. Non GMO soy is a good source of protein. It is just more difficult to find.

Other excellent sources of protein include sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts and nut butters. Nuts should be consumed occasionally, as they are higher in fats and calories. In nut butters, look for products that contain the nut only and sea salt. Avoid products with hyrdrogenated oils and sugar.

How do I get my protein? This is how. And I’ve never felt better.

What’s your favorite high protein food on the list?

Top Sources of Protein for Vegans & Vegetarians

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8 Pain Relieving Techniques

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Last week, I shared a post offering healthy alternatives for pain relief, rather than reaching for over the counter meds. Read 7 Natural Pain Remedies.

This week I offer, as promised, techniques for calming inflammation and soothing discomfort, with these 8 Pain Relieving Techniques. The remedies rely on alternative health practices that not only reduce pain, but boost general health as well.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is traditional Chinese medicine, used for centuries for health benefits. Long thin needles inserted through the skin at specific points balance the life force, or Qi, that flows through the body.

Acupuncture reduces back pain, relieves neck tension and headaches, and soothes joint pain.

I’ve not experienced acupuncture personally, however I know many who have. They shared positive benefits, after their treatments, including pain relief.

In the Joplin area, check out Aiming’s Acupuncture & Herbs.

Massage

At one time considered a luxury experience, massage is now recognized as beneficial for a variety of health reasons. Pain and muscle tension bring many people to a qualified massage therapist, seeking relief.

Massage eases the pain of headaches, fibromyalgia, myofascial discomfort and muscle tension. It is also effective for soft tissue strains and injuries, sports injuries, temporomandibular joint pain and nerve pain. Massage lowers anxiety and stress as well.

Typically a massage lasts for 30 – 90 minutes.

In the Joplin area, check out my amazing friends Margit at Massage Therapy in Motion and Cindy at Therapeutic Massage.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Reflexology

This ancient healing practice is based on the principle that the feet contain reflex points that correspond to the body’s systems, organs and glands. When pressure is applied to the reflexes in the feet it relieves pain and other disorders in the affected area in the body.

Reflexology relieves pain throughout the body, and is especially beneficial for migraines, headaches, neck pain and back pain.

In the Joplin area, try out JJ Relax Station, Chinese Foot Reflexology & Table Acupressure. Or check out this Reflexology Chart and find a partner to exchange foot rubs with!

Essential Oils

Essential oils are gaining popularity for improving health and wellbeing, and for good reason. There’s an oil for everything!

Try these essential oils for pain relief of these disorders:

  • Lavender – headaches, muscle tension, inflammation
  • Marjoram – muscle spasms, headaches, toothache
  • Peppermint – muscle spasms, headaches, muscle tension
  • Rosemary – joint pain, headaches, muscle soreness, rheumatism
  • Arnica – inflammation, swelling

As a general rule, dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut or argon oils. Add 15 drops of essential oil to 6 tablespoons of the carrier oil. Massage onto temples for a headache or the affected area for pain relief.

Connect with my friend Marijo for pure, high quality Young Living Essential Oils.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Ice/Heat

This is an old technique, however it is an effective one. I felt it must be included in the 8 Pain Relieving Techniques as I use it any time my darling left knee gets a twinge.

Icing and applying heat soothes stiff joints, relaxes muscles, eases pain and reduces inflammation and swelling.

Specifically, ice calms injuries and relieves pain, inflammation and swelling. Heat relaxes muscles, increases blood flow, and soothes pain and stiffness.

Use an ice pack or simply a bag of frozen veggies for icing. For heat use a heating pad or a damp towel heated in the microwave or oven. Wrap a dry towel around the ice source and the heating pad or damp towel, to protect skin.

Follow this routine:

  • Ice joint or affected area for 10 minutes
  • Apply heat for 15 – 30 minutes
  • 30 minute break with no ice or heat
  • Repeat process 3 times
  • Take a 2 hour break

Meditation

This mind and the body quieting technique eases stress and relaxes muscles, reducing pain caused by tension. Meditation is especially helpful for easing tense muscles in the back, neck, shoulders, scalp and face.

Reducing the inflammation response in the body is another benefit of meditation, which improves pain and calms swelling as well.

Check out my simple meditation to ease pain, relax muscles and improve overall health and wellbeing.

8 Pain Relieveing Techniques

Reiki

This healing technique taps into the body’s energy field, working at a physical, emotional and spiritual level. Reiki practitioners typically place their hands on or above the affected areas of the body that need a boost or relief from pain, offering energy to the body as needed.

Reiki encourages the body to heal itself, with practitioners serving as vessels through which the energy flows.

 Change in Diet

It is essential that I include this last suggestion. I suffered with chronic pain for more than 20 years, after a car accident. During those two decades I saw doctors, specialists, neurologists, chiropractors and pain management doctors, and I spent five years in physical therapy. I tried meds, injections and exercises, and I wore a TENS unit for a year. My condition continued to deteriorate, making walking nearly impossible. Not once did anyone suggest that I change my diet.

Margit helped, with massage and energy work on my left leg. I ultimately discovered, through Anthony William, that my sciatic nerves were severely inflamed due to the shingles virus. A virus can’t be eliminated with antibiotics, steroid injections or pain meds.

It can be starved by eliminating the foods that it feeds on and by supporting the body’s healing abilities with nutrient rich, plant based foods.

To heal chronic pain (and disorders) caused by shingles or Epstein Barr eliminate gluten, dairy products, eggs and sugar, as these foods feed inflammation and viruses.

Eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat, processed foods, canola oil and GMO foods such as corn and soy.

This blog, Journey With Healthy Me, was born from my desire to help people live healthier, more vibrant lives, free from pain and disorders. Read about the beginning of this Journey here.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Healing Journey

It’s amazing what that change of diet, which quickly became a lifestyle, did for my health. My chronic pain disappeared. So many other disorders cleared up. It’s an ongoing journey.

When I occasionally experience pain, from a twisted knee or tight muscles or a headache from long hours on the computer, I brew a cup of herbal tea…and try one of the 8 Pain Relieving Techniques.

Do you have natural pain relieving techniques that you use, in place of over the counter meds, pain pills or injections? I’d love to hear about them, in the comments below.

8 Pain Relieving Techniques

Check out my Amazon Storefront for healing herbal teas and Anthony William’s books.

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