The Benefits of Argan Oil

The Benefits of Argan Oil

argan-oil1When I had my hair cut a few years ago, my hair stylist finished up by putting a small amount of oil on my hair.  Always curious and wanting to know what goes on me, I asked to see the bottle.  It read argon oil.  I had never heard of it, but since then I have seen it frequently appear in many different beauty products.

You may see argan oil called “liquid gold.”   This rare oil is derived from the nuts found within the fruit of the argan tree, which are grown almost exclusively in a certain region of Morocco.  The argan tree lives between 150 to 200 years old, but it doesn’t start producing any fruit until it is at least 30 years old.  The small cooperatives that produce the oil are primarily run by women, who have sworn by the benefits of argan oil for years.   While it is difficult to produce the oil, the recent discovery of the restorative uses of the oil has driven a high demand for it.

Argan oil is high in vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants.  Experts have said that it can be used for everything from dry skin and wrinkles, to psoriasis, eczema, and acne.  Argan oil can be found in some lotions, but in its pure form, it is easily absorbed into the skin, hair, and nails.   It’s safe enough to use on your baby’s bottom.  Moroccans have also received the health benefits of argan by putting this nutty-tasting oil into their food.

If you find that you could benefit from adding argan oil into your morning routine, here are some suggestions:

Hair – Argan oil is wonderful to calm frizzy ends, and it adds moisture and a little shine to dry hair.  You can apply it all over your hair while it is still wet, or just to your ends after your hair is dry.

Scalp – If your scalp is dry, you can apply argan oil on your scalp using a cotton ball.  If you do this before you go to bed, then the oil has the whole night to moisturize your scalp before you wash your hair in the morning.

Face – You can apply the pure oil directly on the skin of your face as you would a moisturizer.   It has been shown that it can make your skin smooth, clear, and radiant.

Body – When you get out of the shower, and your skin is still wet, apply the argan oil on your skin as you would any other lotion or cream.

Hands – Argan oil would be a great oil to use on your hands, especially around the cuticle and nail area if yours are prone to peeling or cracking.

While I’ve given you some ideas on how to use argan oil, how will you use it?

 

Tips on Whether or Not to Include a Colonic Into Your Cleanse Program

Tips on Whether or Not to Include a Colonic Into Your Cleanse Program

ColonicsThere are many times in our life that we decide, “This is it!  I am going to start a detox program and cleanse myself from the inside out.  No more junk – it’s all fresh fruits and vegetables from here on out.”  As you plan your meals, dust off your juicer, and get ready to make those smoothies, do you include doing a colonic – or even enemas – into your regimen?

What is the colon?

The colon is the last five feet of the digestive tract.  It is a hollow, tube-like organ made up of muscle tissue that moves along the food you ate using a wavelike motion known as peristaltic action.   The colon is an area alive with a host of bacteria that produce vitamins such as K and some of the B vitamins.  It also absorbs water, nutrients, some fibers, and cell salts back into the blood stream.

The colon is sometimes referred as the sewer system of the body.  It is the place we store the waste material that most of us don’t even think about until a health condition either makes us constipated or we have diarrhea.    The best function of the intestine is that it releases this accumulated congestion in the bowel.

The History of Colon Cleansing

A colonic – also called colon hydrotherapy – is the cleansing of the large intestine, what we call the colon, with purified water.   The water is introduced to your colon through the anus.  This procedure is done using a qualified therapist.  This procedure is not new, and record of this procedure has been dated back to an Egyptian medical papyrus dated 1500 B.C.   They had a concept they called “auto-intoxication,” which is an ancient theory based on the belief that toxins originating in the intestine can enter the circulation and poison the body.

Colonic irrigations became popular in the late 1800s into the early 1900s.  Both enemas and colonics were frequently prescribed by physicians as a substitute for laxatives.  The Royal Society of Medicine cited the colon as a major factor in health.  Dr. Joseph Waddington, in his work, “Scientific Intestinal Irrigation and Adjuvant Therapy,” stated the following: “Abnormal functioning of the intestinal canal is the precursor of much ill-health, especially of chronic disease.  Restoration of physiological intestinal elimination is often the important preliminary to eventual restoration of health in general.”

The Difference Between Colonics and Enemas

Colonics and enemas are both therapies that introduce water to the colon through the anus in order to cleanse the colon.  However, you would choose a colonic to cleanse the entire length of the colon; an enema only cleanses the lower part of the colon, the sigmoid and part of the descending colon.   With a colonic, you have water continually going through your colon.  An enema is a single dose, that then soaks for a few minutes before you eliminate it in the toilet.

You can give yourself an enema in the space of your own bathroom.  Colonics are administered by a trained colon hydrotherapist and requires specific equipment to perform it.  During a colonic, fecal matter leaves the body through a tube.  You don’t see or smell this matter during your session.

The Benefits of a Colonic

Enemas and colonics are valuable during constipation resulting from a time of excess, producing heat in your intestines.  You might notice you have a thick yellow tongue coating.   If you are following a fruit- and vegetable-juice regimen, it can be deadly without a colonic or enema.  So much toxin is released into the blood during the healing process that it blocks and poisons the liver, causing pain in any number of areas of the body.

The procedure of colon hydrotherapy has helped with constipation, diarrhea, acute fecal impaction, colitis, mucus colitis, diverticulosis, parasitic infections, atonic colon, bowel stimulation, flatulence, and bloating.

The Risks of Colon Hydrotherapy

Bacterial infection is possible with colon hydrotherapy if the equipment is contaminated.  The Mayo Clinic advises you to make sure that the equipment is disposable, sterile, and has never been used before.   They also say that infection may also occur due to clearing away of healthy bacteria.

Persons who are pale, have a weak pulse, are thin, or have a stripped tongue coating should avoid or use these water treatments only during a crises.  Habitual use will eventually weaken anyone.  For several days after an enema or colonic, it is important to ingest foods which enhance the intestinal flora.

What to Expect During a Colonic

After completing a health history form and consulting with your colon hydrotherapist, you’ll change into a gown and lie face up on a treatment table.   The colon hydrotherapist will insert a disposable speculum into your rectum.  This speculum is attached to a disposable hose connected to the colon hydrotherapy unit.  Warm, filtered water is released into your colon.  The water causes your muscles in your colon to contract, a process called “peristalsis.”  This perstaltic action causes your muscles to “push” your feces out through the hose, to be disposed in a closed waste system.

You may feel some discomfort or nausea during this procedure.  Your therapist will probably apply some light abdominal massage to facilitate the process.

After the procedure, the therapist will leave the room, allowing you to sit on the toilet for about 15 minutes to release any residual water and feces.  The typical session lasts about 45 minutes to one hour.

Finding a Colon Hydrotherapist

If you decide to include a colonic during a detox, the best place to find a qualified therapist is through the International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy.  They advocate that “Colon irrigation devices are prescription devices by law.”  They understand the importance of keeping each device clean and sterile.

Will you include a colonic as part of your detox program?

 

 

Tips on How to Relieve Stomach Bloat

Tips on How to Relieve Stomach Bloat

alfalfa teaAfter my family finished their dinner feast on Christmas day, one of my daughter’s leaned back and exclaimed, “Oh, look!  I have a food baby!”  I gave what is probably the typical mother response – “A what?!”  She explained that a food baby is what you get when you are super bloated, especially after a big meal.

While being much relieved that I wasn’t going to be a grandmother again anytime soon, I was curious as to what she might have done to have this bloat, and then what could be done to relieve her of this uncomfortable condition.

There are many reasons for stomach or abdominal bloating.  Besides overeating,  inappropriate food combining, swallowing air while eating, not enough digestive acids, food intolerances, hormonal imbalance, and conditions like candida are the usual suspects.  It is also the most frequently observed symptom of acute parasitic infection.  If left untreated, it may create a more complicated health condition that mimics other syndromes, such as irritable bowel syndrome.    If you feel you would benefit from  a parasite purge, I would be happy to guide you through one.

Too much elaborate food encourages nearly everyone – even people who normally live moderately – to overindulge.  The consequence is digestive fermentation, contaminated blood, and a confused mind.  Common digestive disturbances from poor food combining include decreased nutrient assimilation, intestinal gas, and abdominal pain and swelling.   If you find that you’re suffering from embarrassing and painful swelling and gas, here are a few ways to rid yourself of it.

Alfalfa – Alfalfa benefits the intestines and detoxifies the body.  It cleans and tones the intestines and takes harmful acids out of your body.  It is very useful for gas.  Alfalfa contains eight enzymes which help assimilate protein, fats, and carbohydrates.  It is a safe food even for children.  In addition to alfalfa sprouts found in most supermarkets, alfalfa is available as a dried leaf herb, in tablets, capsules, and powders.  To make tea, steep 1 tablespoon seed or 2 ounces dried leaf in 1 quart boiling water.

Watercress – Watercress stimulates bile formation and other glandular secretions.  It is often used as a remedy for intestinal gas.  One of the most effective ways to use watercress is in vegetable juices.  It is also useful in herb teas or eaten raw, steamed, or lightly cooked in soups.

Lemon and limes – Lemon and limes are perhaps the most valuable fruit therapeutically if you have eaten a high-fat/protein diet.  They destroy putrefactive bacteria in both the intestines and mouth.  They alleviate flatulence and indigestion in general.

Coriander, cumin, and ginger – These combine well with bean dishes to diminish problems of flatulence.  Fresh ginger is used to help break down high-protein foods such as meats and beans and lessens the effect of uric acids in the body from eating these foods.

Congee – Congee is a thin porridge or gruel consisting of a handful of rice simmered in five to six times the amount of water.  Cook the rice and water in a covered pot four to six hours on warm, or use the lowest flame possible; a crockpot works very well for congees.  It is better to use too much water than too little.   Other foods added to the congee make it more therapeutic.  Apricot kernal, carrots, fennel, and black pepper all help eliminate gas.

The best principal is to eat simply.  Eating simply when in good health is also a way to preserve vitality.   So here’s to a simply healthful year for you.

 

Balancing Your Body After the Holiday Excess

Balancing Your Body After the Holiday Excess

Generic BarkerThe holiday season begins with Thanksgiving, includes all the Christmas parties, as well as the big day itself, and ends with a bang on New Year’s Eve.  You sat yourself down and made a list of goals and things you would like to accomplish in this next year.   But when you wake up on January 1, you feel anything but invigorated.  You probably feel tired, bloated, and maybe a bit stiff.  You are beginning what I call the holiday excess withdrawal.  Others call it the holiday hangover.

In wealthy countries, the vast majority of disease arises from bodily excess caused by overeating rich, greasy, highly seasoned, denatured, and/or intoxicating foods.   This could be an excess of meats (especially red meats), eggs, cheese, and other dairy products; too much fried food, salt, and extremely sweet food; refined and rancid flour and oil products;  and chemical ingredients, drugs, and alcoholic drinks.  When the body can no longer tolerate any further excess it begins to malfunction.

The main remedy for the withdrawal symptoms from too much holiday celebrating is cleansing and purging.  Whatever has caused these symptoms must be eliminated.  As a general rule, bitter foods and herbs are used to reduce these symptoms and signs.  The bitter flavor is cooling and helps move the bowels.  Here are some suggestions of foods and herbs to emphasize in the next few days, or even weeks, to help your body detoxify itself and reach a better balance.  The majority of the foods taken should be raw or lightly cooked.

Bitter Herbs – Goldenseal, echinacea, and chaparral; even the common chamomile is quite bitter.  The roots of dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, and rhubarb (yellow dock and rhubarb also treat constipation).   Honeysuckle flowers are useful, along with the chamomile flowers.  It is always best to check the various other properties of herbs before using them.  The easiest way to take these is as a tea decoction.

Bitter Foods – celery, lettuce, asparagus, rye, and amaranth, are just some examples.

Low-fat Fruits and Vegetables – sprouts (especially alfalfa), fruits, vegetables (especially leafy greens) sea vegetables, micro-algae (especially wild blue-green and dunaliella), cereal grasses such as wheat or barley grass greens, grains, and legumes (especially lima, aduki, and mung beans).

Other Good Excess Reducing Foods – mushrooms, carrots, radishes, and fresh figs.

Sweeteners – If sweeteners are used, small amounts of stevia leaf or raw honey may be tolerated

Oils – One of the few oils I would recommend for excess is fresh flax-seed oil.

Start including an awareness practice that quiets the mind, such as silent contemplation, meditation, self-reflection, or prayer.

Activity is another healing practice.  Certain activities blend with awareness practices.  Examples include tai ji, various yoga systems, and qi gong.  Other activities are likewise important.  These can include manual labor, physical chores (e.g., helping the elderly or ill with housework), sports, walking, weight training, or any of the numerous exercise programs that are currently available.

In reducing the excess from the holiday season, it is essential not to over-reduce.  In the Chinese healing arts, they call this practice of preserving balance “Protecting the ‘righteous qi.'”  Therefore, when using raw-food diets, bitter purgative herbs, and other reducing techniques, it is important to continually monitor your condition to avoid a slide into a different type of imbalance.

The Inner Classic says that “Excess causes one to forget what is proper and good, and to become careless.”  May you have a proper, good, and balanced 2017.

 

Healthy Red, White, and Blue Recipes for Your Summer Meals

Healthy Red, White, and Blue Recipes for Your Summer Meals

redwhiteandblue-1It’s the Fourth of July today.  In the United States, that means parades, picnics, ball games, swimming, and fireworks.  It’s a time to remember and celebrate this country and the principles of freedom it was founded on.  It can also be a time when it is hard to stick to that healthy diet that has given you the energy to attain your own personal freedoms.  But before you decide to lock yourself in your house and not come out to enjoy all the other amazing activities with people you love,  here are some ways to enjoy those celebrations and still have tasty healthy foods.

This year, bring some of these dishes to those picnics, reunions, and other celebrations.  I have had to start doubling recipes to make sure I get some of my own food.  Others have been very intrigued with my contributions and have wanted to “just have a taste”.  It has also sparked some very enriching conversations about health and happy living.

So try these out.   Share how your celebrations went.  If we concentrate on all the goodness we have in common, our worries about our differences will fall away, and we will have such good times.

A fun and patriotic dessert that will set off fireworks in your mouth!

  • 2 pints fresh blueberries
  • 2 pints fresh raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar

Blueberry Syrup

Place 1 pint of blueberries in a blender with 1 teaspoon of agave and puree. Pour into a fine mesh strainer, to remove skins and seeds. Syrup will be a bluish/purple.

Raspberry syrup

Place 1 pint of raspberries in a blender with 1 teaspoon of agave and puree. Pour into a fine mesh strainer, to remove seeds. Syrup will be a bright red. For decorating ease, place syrups in squirt bottles.

Coconut sheets

  • 1 ½ cups organic fine shredded coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons agave
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut butter, softened in hot water bath
Place coconut, butter and agave in food processor fitted with S-blade and process until mixture begins to stick together. Remove blade and macaroon mixture, placing on a sheet of wax paper laying over a small, transferable cutting board. Layer another piece of wax paper on top of mixture and gently press with palm of hands. With rolling pin, begin to roll out a 12×12 inch square coconut sheet about ¼ inch. Place cutting board into refrigerator or freezer until firm (approximately 15 min). Remove, and cut into 9- 3” X 3” squares.
Place one square on “white” serving plate, layer with blueberries, place another square atop of blueberries and layer with raspberries, and then top with one more square. Drizzle and decorate with fresh blueberry and raspberry syrup. Makes 3 servings. *Recipe compliments of Diana Stobo.*
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Sprouted Wild Rice with Corn and Tomato 
Wild rice is actually a grass, not a grain. It’s an aquatic seed that’s found mostly in the upper fresh water lakes of Canada, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota in North America.
I like to soak wild rice in at least double the amount of water for 2 or more days. Rinse and change soak water at least 2 to 3 times each day. Soaked wild rice will never get as soft as when it’s cooked, but that’s what I love about it. It has a chewy, hearty mouth feel that’s really satisfying, especially when my body’s craving some complex carbohydrates.
This simple, quick, delicious recipe is made with just a handful of ingredients.
Sprouted Wild Rice with Corn and Tomato
Makes 2 servings

  • 1 1/2 cup soaked wild rice (started with 1 cup + 2 cups soak water)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon jalapeno pepper, deseed, dice, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

 

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Toss to mix well.
Will keep for 3 days in fridge.

**Recipe courtesy of Ani Phyo**
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Sunny Hummus

makes 3 cups

4 cloves garlic
1½ cups raw sunflower seeds, soaked for 4-6 hours in pure water, drained and rinsed well
½ cup raw sesame tahini
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup water
¾ teaspoon Himalayan salt
olive oil, paprika and/or parsley to garnish, if desired
Place garlic cloves in the food processor fit with the s-blade. Process to chop finely. Add all remaining ingredients (except garnishes) and process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika and chopped parsley.
Original recipe courtesy of Natalia – Author of Pure Pleasures Luscious Live Food by Natalia.
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Raw Sunflower Seed & Hemp Patties
This delicious raw recipe can be used as a super healthy alternative to the more traditional burgers that many will throw on the grill. It is a very simple dish – easy to make, pleasing to the palette and each serving will give you a healthy blast of living energy.
If you wish, you can dehydrate the patties for 3-4 hours in a dehydrator for a slightly more ‘burger-like’ texture.
Recipe For the patties:

1 1/2 Cups of sunflower seeds
1/2 Cup of hemp seeds
1/4 Cup of chopped basil
1 grated carrot
1 grated beet
A pinch of pink Himalayan salt
A pinch of pepper
For the sauce:
2 ripe tomatoes
1 small onion
A pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Soak the seeds overnight in a bowl of water.  Rinse and blend in a food processer with the rest of the ingredients. For the sauce simply blend the ingredients together in a high speed blender.   Form the seed mixture into small patties and serve on a bed of lettuce with some slices of avocado and a little of the tomato sauce for added flavor.
**Recipe courtesy of MegaFood.

 

 

31 Days of Juices and Smoothies

31 Days of Juices and Smoothies

juices and smoothiesI think it’s safe to say that summer is really here.  For a while there I wasn’t sure.  But gardens are in and the produce is starting to become available.  Breathe with a warm sigh of relief.

To unify with summer, we need to express the principles that express it – expansion, growth, lightness, outward activity, brightness, and creativity.  I have some suggestions for lifestyle and diet that will reflect this principle.

Summer is a period of luxurious growth.  To be in harmony with the atmosphere of summer, awaken early in the morning and reach to the sun for nourishment to flourish as the gardens do.  Work, play, travel, be joyful, and grow into selfless service.  The bounty of the outside world enters and enlivens us.

What’s better for a hot summer day than a healthy juice or smoothie.  Use plenty of brightly colored summer fruits and vegetables, and enjoy creating beautiful refreshments.  Make a dazzling display with the colors of the food, even sit down at your table set with a beautiful floral arrangement to truly enjoy your nourishing drink.

I started July with a commitment to at least one juice or smoothie each day.  Summer offers abundant variety, and our diet should reflect it.  Minerals and oils are sweated out of the body, and their loss can cause weakness if they are not replaced by a varied diet.   A smoothie or juice challenge is a fun way to make sure that we are taking in the cooling fresh foods we need to help our body create a cool atmosphere.  It’s also quick and easy when we would rather be outside and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

After I started, I realized I wanted to share this idea with those around me.   Would you like to be involved in this and join me?  I’ve started with 31 days, but who knows how much longer we can take this.  You can have your juice or smoothie as a meal or a snack.  I’m not outlining any specific requirements for what you put in it.  All you need is a blender or juicer.   If you haven’t already, sign up for my newsletter and get the free download for my smoothie book for some recipes and resources, then watch for my announcement for my new juice and smoothie book.  Take photos along the way.  Share on social media, and tag me on Twitter @mlbcmazlc and Instagram @feedingyourhealth.  I’ll share your shots and recipes if you’d like.

Ready to get started?  Let me know if you have any questions, and check in with me along the way to say how you’re feeling.