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Radiation: a special info alert

Please check HERE for an excellent article (very specific info on iodine and anti-oxidant supplements) on how you can help protect yourself from radiation’s effects on our bodies. This is not just about the awful disaster in Japan.  We modern folks are using radiation technology increasingly to detect tumors, etc. Many people are over-radiated in the name of health. 

 Herbs that assist with dealing with ionizing radiation include Burdock root,  Dandelion root, American Ginseng root, and Milk Thistle seed.  Foods that are particularly helpful include all berries, especially blueberries and strawberries.

May all sentient beings be peaceful, happy, and healthy.

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Spring Tonics

Stinging Nettles

Before supermarkets offered all fruits and all vegetables all the time, winter diets in the Northern Hemisphere were heavy on root vegetables, grains and beans, breads, cheese, and meats, often combined in soups. Spring saw the proliferation of wild greens and the planting of gardens, increased trade with other communities as the snows melted, and the understanding that the heavier fatty meals could lighten a little as the temperatures rose. Diet was a construct of the interplay of culture and environment, as well as one’s family’s class. You ate what your parents ate, and barring famine, that system worked fairly well for hundreds of years.

Alfalfa

For those of us who wish to re-connect with the natural rhythms of the seasons, eat more nutritious foods, and recognize that this transition from winter to spring is important, I offer you three fabulous spring tonics: nettles, alfalfa and chickweed.

Nettles are my personal favorite. People have been collecting and using stinging nettles for food, medicine, fiber and dyes since the Bronze Age (or earlier). You must wear gloves in the gathering, but once cooked, the stinging chemical is inactivated. Nettles are the quintessential spring tonic, and have traditionally been used to rebuild the systems of the chronically ill, as well as help gently release  toxins. Medicinally they are useful as an expectorant (help thin and expel mucous), for chronic coughs, to treat cold and flu, as a gentle and safe diuretic (increase the flow of urine and reduce edema or swelling due to fluid retention), and as a restorative for the kidneys and bladder.  Nutritionally nettles contain high amounts of chlorophyll, protein (up to 10%, more than any other vegetable), and minerals: calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, silica, iodine, sodium and sulfur. They are also a good source of Vitamin C, beta carotene and the B complex vitamins. Recipe hint: substitute for spinach, especially in a Quiche. Gather in the early spring until they flower. Once they start producing seeds, they are not so good for either food or medicine.

Alfalfa comes from the Middle East, and a tea made from the leaves and flowers has been traditionally used as a spring tonic and blood thinner, so it is especially good for arthritis and gout.  The green leaves contain 8 essential enzymes and aid digestion. Alfalfa contains over 10 vitamins, and is especially high in A, C, D, B2, B6, and K. Plus you get some iron and calcium.

Chickweed
Chickweed is a European annual that has naturalized through much of North America. It has even shown up in my greenhouse, and is now a regular part of my diet. Medicinally it is soothing and useful to help treat skin conditions, upset and ulcer-prone stomachs, as well as bladder and liver problems. Excellent as a nutritive tonic eaten fresh in salads (or cooked into omelets), chickweed is high in Vit. C, rutin, biotin, choline, inositol, PABA, Vit. B6, B12, Vit.D and beta carotene. It is another mineral powerhouse with magnesium, manganese, sodium, copper and silica.
All of these herbs are also considered “weeds” because they grow so easily and profusely. Nettles especially can become invasive. However, because of this ability to not need much of our assistance or attention (except in a desert or high desert climate: you will then need to water) they are excellent for the ” gardening challenged.”  Both Nettles and Alfalfa are perennials, and Chickweed, though an annual, easily (almost scarily  so) reseeds itself: therefore, once planted, they will be your constant and generous companions.
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Some Thoughts About Fasting

As the calendar moves towards Spring equinox, and at least some of us are experiencing harbingers of spring (bluebirds and daffodils perhaps) one starts seeing articles appear about fasting, a traditional (as well as a favorite of many alternative health care practitioners) way of acknowledging and aiding (for health purposes) the transition from winter diet to spring diet.

Many of us gain weight over the winter as we eat more calories (often in the form of fat) to keep warm, and don’t / aren’t able to exercise as easily.  Because of all the holidays, we often have eaten more sugar than usual or is wise. With the stress of winter storms we might not always have been able to prepare well-balanced meals, gotten to the store in time, and therefore we ate more fast food.

A common response to the sluggish feeling arising from this situation is “I gotta make a change.” Great.  However, plunging into a major fast can be daunting, even if you find a good one (which means under the auspices of a reputable health care provider, and often in a group, because real fasting is difficult and can precipitate uncomfortable detoxification).

Here are my suggestions, based upon years of experience (and yes, I have done some major fasts and cleanses, and experienced some nasty effects, mostly because I was headstrong and ignorant and much younger).

First: what is your goal? Is this a major revamp of your entire diet, or just a tune-up? Either way, you can make this really simple for yourself by trying my common-sense fast: eat only real food. And let me spell that out: whole grains (rice, millet, corn, etc. ), “pseudo-grains” (buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth), nuts and seeds, free-range humanely raised meats, raw milk cheese,  fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and other pulses (if soy, eat only miso and tempeh),  fish (especially herring, sardines, wild Alaskan salmon), healthy fats  (extra virgin cold pressed olive and coconut oils, and ghee, which is a clarified butter and great to cook with) and tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams).

Second: fast from fast foods. If it is in a box, can, bottle or fried, it is processed. You are going to be the “processor”. You may stir-fry, make soups, eat raw salads, ferment, steam, bake your own bread. Play with marinades. Find your grandmother’s recipe for chicken soup. But only use real food that is recognizable as food, with no unpronounceable chemicals and NO SUGAR.  Try this traditional way of eating for at least two weeks (more if you are feeling bold).

Third: 80% compliance is fabulous. You do not need to be perfect. It is usually self-defeating and no fun. Do your best, eat with gratitude, and enjoy. Chew well, try a digestive enzyme. Drink enough good water. Move your body. Get enough sleep. Am I sounding like your (grand) mom? “Old wives’ tales” are usually based upon deep truth. Eating is a communal act, even if only you are at the table. Invite all the beings who helped put that food on your plate, and you will not be alone.

Last but not least: try fasting from TV, from TV News, from your cell-phone, from email, from being available to anyone anytime. Try just one day a week away from this merry-go-round we moderns call our lives. See what arises.

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Why your knowing about GMO food just got more important

I wasn’t planning to make political issues quite so up front…and after this wee rant I’ll be focusing for several weeks on detoxification: spring tonics and cleansing herbs, essential oils for detox, supplements that support our bodies’ natural detoxification processes, heavy metals in the body and fasting.  Since springtime is traditionally when folks shifted gears from “winter diet” to more fresh foods, it is also a good time to start detoxification programs. Since there is a lot of misinformation and confusion on this vast subject, I hope to add some clarity.

GMO stands for genetically modified organism. There is a plethora of good info on the internet about why this bit of modern–day lab work is not such a hot idea once all the ramifications are fully explored. But what most folks don’t realize  is the extent to which our food supply is already deeply “contaminated,” both deliberately and inadvertently. Most folks, myself included, don’t think they have eaten anything GMO, or maybe very little. However, the latest research shows that almost 90% of Americans have eaten GMO foods, and in alarmingly high amounts.

So what does this have to do with health? you ask.  There is a previously unknown pathogen with unique physical properties: a micro-fungus. It is found in high concentrations in Roundup Ready (GMO) soybean meal and corn, and is linked to outbreaks of plant diseases and implicated in animal reproductive failure. The researcher is COL (retired) / Dr. Don Huber, one of the nation’s senior soil scientists, and Emeritus Professor, Purdue University.

I invite you to read this article:
 “Researcher: Roundup Ready Crops May Be Causing Animal Miscarriages and Infertility.”
…remembering that we humans are animals, the very mammals this article is talking about…

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Six excellent sites for cutting edge alternative health info

The Internet is an incredible place for information…and as most of us have realized, not all info found here  is accurate, factual, useful, understandable, or relevent. Many of the  most popular health info sites on the Web are dominated by Big Pharma, the AMA, The Gates Foundation, and others allied to the current “sick-care” industry mis-named health care. 

Since the mid-70’s, when I helped start a rural natural food buying club in southwestern Virginia, I have been studying many aspects of alternative health and lifestyles. The truth that consistently arises is:  prevention is less time-consuming and less expensive than treatment. And way easier said than done!  Also, many strategies for becoming and staying healthy have been marginalized, vilified, or ignored in the mainstream press. This is not to say that the alternative movement is perfect! We have our fair share of  folks whose reach exceeds their grasp.

So here are six helpful sites I use, and my opinion (and me just say up front that it is an opnion, not absolute truth, whatever that might be) about each one. Notice that one is well served by an open mind and a sense of humor concerning  the diversity of those who self-define as being “alternative.”  AlterNet is a great source for news; their health info is both semi-main stream and many shades of alternative.  Often excellent investigative reporting is presented about related health subjects (like food and water) to give one the “back story” or help explain why what is, is.  For a good recent example click  here to read about whistleblowers and food safety.  Also at AlterNet (this was a good day for big picture info) is a story about our food growing system (the political aspect of farming). To read about it, click   here.

Prevention may be key, but most of us are already dealing with “issues.” This next site addresses both. The GreenMed Info newsletter is always thought-provoking, and iconoclastic, as well as one of the most densely researched on the web. Click  here  for the issue on wheat, which will open a veritable Pandora’s box.  GreenMed Info hosts the largest study-based, peer-reviewed alternative health data base on the internet, and it is free.  With over 10,000 useful entries, this database has already helped a client of mine find the best supplement to take for his situation (and it is helping).

The Organic Consumer Association puts out a newsletter called Organic Bytes. This issue focuses on GMO, and what you can do to participate in campaigns to confront, halt, label, and educate. In case you are wondering what genetically modified food could have to do with health….well, check out this site, or the next two for way more info than you really want, but do need.

The next 2 sites are the most well-known, have the most advertising, and reflect the values of their authors.  Both of these men do their homework,  say what their opinion is up front, and cite their research. I may still quibble a bit here and there (both are prone to hyperbole), and you can find out a tremendous amount of info on a very wide range of health issues including healthy food (from the vegetarian and vegan point of view as well as the organic and free-range meat eaters), exercise protocols, supplements, herbs and healthy sleeping habits, as well as the more controversial and political issues like  GMO, vaccines, pesticides, cell phone radiation problems, etc.

For an excellent article on  Lyme disease check  here from Health Ranger Rick’s  naturalnews.com. For a comprehensive look at drinking water check  here  from Dr (MD) Mercola’s  mercola.com.

Last but not least is Byron J. Richard’s Wellness Resources. He always seems to come up with fascinating research (that he quotes and sites) often from mainstream sources. Click here for how the bacteria in our guts affects our brains.  He also has a full range of info on his site. Like the other 2 men above, he is trying to sell you supplements.

OK, now for my 2 second infomercial!  I have a supplement buying club that has a few openings. At some point later in blogdom I’ll elaborate. However, if you have read this far, take supplements, and would like a free 15 minute consult, call me toll-free @ 877-286-2970,

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Welcome to Cathy’s Blog

Last year I thought I’d start a blog…well, here it is a year later, and NOW I’m ready, thanks to a local friend who is helping me navigate the intricacies of computer land (for those who know me personally, I’ve been a neo-Luddite for years).

On this weekly blog, I will be sharing 35 years of research and experience regarding nutrition, herbs, essential oils, and nutritional supplements., along with interesting links, and the occasional photo.  I’m going to try a moderated blog, and we’ll see how manageable that is.

Here is the first link that I’m sharing that I found interesting. {I will be drawing from numerous health sites; be aware that many of these sites have advertising, and want to sell you stuff;  however, the info I’m citing is good}. This link goes to a website that cites a lot of major research, much of which does not seem to hit the mainstream press. Click  HERE and you will find out about low-fat diets and Type 2 Diabetes.