Is Sugar Really So Bad?
Legit Reasons to Abstain – and Encouragement!
For me, keeping away from sugar has become – pretty much – a habit. Yet I find the more that I indulge in this season, the easier it becomes to eat more sugar! Sometimes I need a
reminder of exactly why I need to stay away – as well as a substitute so that I feel satisfied even when I stay away! (I am working with some amazing people to bring you a Book, Course(s) and eBooks in 2018 to make it easy for you to be healthier – and learn the #HealthHacks so you too can feel great and have more energy! Watch for these and their intro specials as YOU will get the best deals!)

Sugar Feeds the “Bad Guys”
In our house, when anyone begins to come down with something we stay away from sugar. Why? Because, just like in a petri dish, bacteria needs the right environment to grow – a medium (mucous), the right temperature (body temperature is ideal), as well as food – most bad bacteria feeds well on sugar!

I find that many people know that there is some research on Vitamin C as it relates to colds – so the first thing they do when they feel a cold coming on this time of the year is eat an orange – or, since we live in SoCal – three! I find this is the worst thing I can do If I feel a little under the weather as the sugar feeds the bacteria and tomorrow I will find myself feeling worse! #AvoidSugarandCarbs when you get exposed to a bug – and watch yourself feeling better tomorrow!

(A little off the topic of sugar – but since you want to feel better even if exposed to a sick person this time of the year, another trick in our family is to take Nature’s Way #RapiDefense – yes, it has been so effective for our family that I am adding it as a #HealthHack! Adults take one capsule with a meal and in 24 hours I decide if I need a second one – usually I don’t! It has been the most effective product I have found in keeping me from getting whatever cold or flu happens to be going around!)

Sugar Is Addictive
None of us want to feel as though someone or something else controls us… Yet, if sugar is physically addicting to us – who is really in control?

Can you say, “No”?
What a great feeling!! YOU are the one in control!

The research behind the above statements will be available HERE on my site post…

Research –

and reminding myself of what refined sugar does to my body

helps keep me on track

– what keeps you on track? email me your ideas at:

Cynthia@SoCalGardenHealth.com

I love Chocolate.

I also love Simple.

Here are simple recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Some of these recipes will also give you the theanine and "feel good" nutrients in chocolate - without all the sugar!

My favorite this winter is not really a dessert - but I enjoy it just about as much! 🙂

KETO HOT CHOCOLATE

This has been my favorite beverage this winter!  Super simple.  Delicious. Truly a relaxing cup of, "AHHH!" 🙂

1 TBSP CACAO POWDER

3 TINY SCOOPS NOW STEVIA

BIG SHOT OF CREAM (Raw is AMAZING, but I use whatever is available!)


For extra long mental clarity - or if I am wanting to pause or suppress my hunger a bit I add:

1 TBSP GRASS-FED BUTTER

1 TBSP MCT or COCONUT OIL (If this is your first time using MCT be sure to start with a teaspoon and ease your way up to a Tablespoon over a few days to a week.  (The first time I had MCT oil, my brother-in-law gave be an overflowing, heaping tablespoon - I RAN to the bathroom and didn't touch MCT oil again for months!)

MINI KETO CHEESECAKES

I tested this recipe out at two holiday parties this year!  Each time they were a big hit!  

In order to make it easy to transport, I left the mini cheesecakes on a serving tray with a glass ball jar containing defrosted blueberries or fresh raspberries with a serving spoon so each person could add fruit as they pleased.  I would definitely do it again!

Mini Keto Cheesecakes Recipe:

8oz Cream Cheese

1 Egg

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

3-6 scoops Stevia

     Blend together and bake in pyrex dish or mini muffin cups 350° for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Serve topped with fresh berries and/or real cream whipped with a scoop of stevia.


Keto Chocolate Mousse


Ok.  So, MY Keto Chocolate Mousse didn't look like the above picture - more of a faded look to the chocolate, yet still beautiful enough for a party with the blueberries and chocolate chunks on top.

I honestly just eat the mousse as is.  Who wants to wait?  This is chocolate!

Keto Chocolate Mousse Recipe:

  • 1/4 - 1/2 Ripe Avocado
  • 2 Tbsp Cream (raw is amazing!)
  • 1 Tbsp Cacao Powder
  • 3 Scoops Stevia

I put the above ingredients into my personal Ninja cup - but blending it up any way you have handy will work!

Enjoy!

Sign Up for a FREE copy of the
SLIM! Keto Reset:

Get Your Body Burning Fat Again

Want more recipe ideas?  The SLIM! Keto Reset includes recipes for:

  • Snacks
  • Desserts
  • Lunches/Dinners
  • Beverages

Plus much more!

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Quick, Simple Chocolate dipped Strawberries are the perfect Keto Dessert!

Healthy and delicious!  

MELT 85% Dark Chocolate Chips are my favorite out of the package, but there is some sugar!  The best keto option, of course has no sugar.  You can either use Lily's chocolate chips or use 100% Dark Chocolate chips (a client insists that a handful of dark chocolate chips instantly reduces his blood pressure when high - I'd love to hear if you have found this true!)

DIP Strawberries into melted chocolate by holding the top.  (Make sure your strawberries are organic as they are one of the "dirty dozen" and usually has lots of pesticides used to grow them.)

PLACE onto waxed paper and

REFRIGERATE for two hours.

ENJOY!

What Does it Mean

              to

#FindYourHealthHack?          

     Tips that make your body work better, based on research and experience with clients, I call #HealthHacks.

HEALTH ISSUES THAT MAY RESPOND TO HEALTH HACKS:

Have you experienced irritating health issues that seem tolerable – some days?  Or issues that you’d rather not bother your doctor about… or what if you’ve already asked your doctor but his or her solutions didn’t qualify for you?

FIVE REASONS WE NEED HEALTH HACKS:  

1.) Each one of us is an individual with different wants, needs, desires and potential.  You live in your body and are most qualified to determine the area(s) you may be lacking.  (Thus you are the one best qualified to #FindYourHealthHack!)

2.) Just like a car needs oil – and won’t run well or for long without it – there are nutrients your body needs that can make a huge difference in the way you feel!  (To continue with the car analogy, there are also anti-nutrients – like sugar – that can gunk up a car’s engine – or your body’s engine!!)

3.)  We are all too busy to waste time feeling guilty about what we did or didn’t do yesterday.  Sometimes timely information can keep us on track to do what we already know is best.

4.) Most people don’t have time to study at Nutritional College (like the accredited Huntington College of Health Sciences);  most don’t have the advantage of clients returning with testimonials of what worked for them – like I am grateful to have!

5.) Most don’t have the money to hire a Private Health Coach to guide them on their journey.  (If you would rather have a Private Health Coach, email me and I can – hopefully – arrange time to work with you.)

So, #HealthHacks are my way of sharing tips and tricks that have worked in the lives of many, in a way that everyone has access to.  Every two weeks I plan to add to the database of #HealthHacks – as I share these tips and tricks with you by email.

If you want to search the site for a #HealthHack, all you need is to know a little about what you would like to see better, type the word or words into the search bar on the side of my site, http://www.SoCalGardenHealth.com and #FindYourHealthHack in Bold!

Stay Healthy, My Friends!

Cynthia

#FreeDataTransfer #KeepYourLifeOnTask 🙂

–  email me your ideas at:

Cynthia@SoCalGardenHealth.com

HEALTH ISSUES THAT MAY RESPOND TO PROBIOTICS:

“My stomach hurts when I eat and I don’t know why!”

“I had antibiotics and now I’m constipated.”

“I had antibiotics and now I have diarrhea.”

REASONS WE NEED PROBIOTICS:  

1.) Because antibiotics. 🙂  Antibiotics destroy the beneficial bacteria or healthy flora that normally inhabits our digestive tract and can allow “bad” bacteria to grow.                                 Hospitals may  now consider probiotics as a cost-effective treatment when C-Dif grows too much after antibiotics1.

2.)  This good bacteria makes B vitamins2 and in combination with vitamin k has potential to have an antiproliferative effect on colon adenocarcinoma3.

3.)  Beneficial bacteria regulates whether we have constipation or diarrhea – even diarrhea caused by C-Dif4 and have even been found “promising” to help with inflammatory bowel disease.  The following abstract recommends specific strains that were found effective to some degree in medical literature.5

4.) Healthy gut flora keeps us slim.  A double-blind study found that a particular strain of  lactobacillus rhamnosus was shown to lower the weight of obese men and women6.

5.) Probiotics are said to be our “second brain” because they even affect how we think.  Dr.             Perlmutter says it is more accurate to call gut flora our “first brain”! (from Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain – For Life )

Beneficial bacteria is all around us.  We even have bad bacteria that lives in our intestinal tract that doesn’t cause a problem for us until it grows over a certain percentage.  This time of the year, sugar in seasonal goodies may cause a candida overgrowth and UTIs 7.  A bonus reason to consider probiotics!  For my favorite #probiotic reset, see our  resources page.

Stay Healthy this Year, My Friends!

Cynthia

–  email me your ideas at:

Cynthia@SoCalGardenHealth.com

Hire me as your Private Health Coach to guide you to more vibrant health.

 

 

Six Well-Researched Ways to Prevent Cancer

      by Implementing Health Hacks

#HealthHacks are in Bold!

I believe that God created us in a way that is absolutely amazing!  When you get a cut on your finger, processes are put into motion that bring healing to the injury.  I have seen our body’s inherent healing ability shown in so many ways!

We are physical, spiritual and emotional beings.  The body likes to stay in balance.  Correcting any imbalances can reverse most issues.  Anything that pulls the body out of that state of homeostasis is a potential danger zone.  This paper will deal with five of the causes of cancer as well as addressing at least five ways to prevent those causes.  Many of the ways to prevent cancer will overlap.  Getting the metabolism – or more specifically – the mitochondria to a state of health so that the body can do the job I believe it was created to do, is the foundation.  These ways of prevention or healing are what I call #HealthHacks and are best applied consistently as a lifestyle – and are only some of what you can do to protect you and your loved ones!

  1. *SUGAR / *METABOLIC SYNDROME

For years since Dr. Warburg’s research on the metabolic theory of cancer, sugar has been suspect for its contribution to the growth of cancer.  “One of the most familiar metabolic alterations encountered in several types of cancers is the upregulation of glycolysis, which is also maintained in conditions of normal oxygen tension (aerobic glycolysis, Warburg effect) while oxidative phosphorylation is apparently reduced.1”   The obvious solution to a cancer that is fed by sugar is to eliminate sugar.  The question this raises is – what can you then eat? Carbohydrates in the form of grains  metabolize to sugar and even excess protein can be converted to glucose!  That doesn’t appear to leave anything to eat!

Recently, while in the cereal aisle of our nutritional center a customer asked what she could eat if she had to eliminate sugar.  As I looked down the aisle of processed and even whole grain cereals, it occurred to me that even here, in the place people think of as healthy, there was an abundance of offerings that I don’t consider food!

Dr. Perlmutter says that, Our “health, on a global scale, has suffered profoundly as a consequence of commercially influenced dietary recommendations.2” Our society has become so commercially driven!  It is the status quo that needs to change!  Or, maybe, we just need to understand that the “food” items that are the most processed are typically the ones sold to us for profit and the foods closest to how they were created may be part of a healing plan.  The other recent epiphany for me about diet is found in the Human Biology text – our bodies can produce energy from glucose as well as fat.  It typically doesn’t resort to fat, however until the carbohydrates are sufficiently restricted.  The same diet that retrains the body to burn fat instead of glucose is the same diet that many are now using for reversing cancer (as well as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s Disease!)   Bottom line, for preventing cancer the number one strategy is to eliminate sugars, grains and starchy carbohydrates.  (Maybe I shouldn’t have started with this one – I know it is difficult – stay tuned and I will share ways to replace sugars that you choose to replace with something satisfying and healthier! 🙂 )

 

    2.)  *LACK OF ANTIOXIDANTS / *LACK OF FIBER FOUND IN FRESH, ORGANIC FOODS

The American Institute for Cancer Research has come out with two, very thoroughly researched documents that cover twenty years of research each to come up with conclusions that basically say that there are ten causes of cancer – nine of them are within our control.  Another study used their recommendations and found that the people who followed at least five of their ten recommendations had 67% less chance of developing cancer3!

There are literally thousands of peer-reviewed research studies that have shown that the people who consume the most fresh fruits and vegetables – great sources of antioxidants as well as fiber – are the ones less likely to develop cancers.  Organic fruits and vegetable have been shown in a review of 343 studies to have more antioxidants and more “other chemicals”.  Later in the research, the scientists admitted that the “other chemicals” found in organic produce was really more vitamins and minerals1  Genes are the one thing that they say we are not in control of, but much current research flies in the face of this statement!  Many genes with a predisposition to cancer can be turned off by a proper diet and environment.  Suggestion number two is make sure you are consuming large quantities of antioxidants – preferably from colorful, organic food sources.

3. *ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS /  *IMPAIRED LIVER FUNCTION

It has amazed me over the years to see how many challenges can be helped by clearing the liver to allow it to better do its job of detoxification in the body.  The liver’s function and our ability to handle the toxins – and even excess estrogens that we are exposed to are so interrelated, that I will cover both together in this paragraph.

The largest contributor to cancer as far as environmental toxins, would likely be a toxin some knowingly choose to put into their bodies.  Smoking impairs the flexibility of the arioles in the lungs, over time impairing their function greatly.  Second-hand smoke can also cause cancer and impact non-smokers.  The other reason the lungs have a third of the cancer deaths locked down is that the first location a cancer tends to metastasize to is the lungs.

The liver requires antioxidants (see cause #2)  to complete the P450 or first phase of liver detoxification.  Without antioxidants the liver cannot complete its work and 7-estradiol and other cancer-causing compounds may accumulate to cause future damage.  Avoiding toxins can help – at least the ones you are aware of!

Our society is replete with estrogens from plastics, chemicals in our skin care and cosmetics; toxins in the smoggy air that we breathe; added chlorine and fluoride in the water we drink; BPA and other chemicals in the plastics we tend to drink out of; chemicals in our new carpet or paint; hidden molds in the walls of our homes; the high wires’ electrical fields now so close to our homes; or the cell phones we hold so close to our heads are all said to be potential sources for environmental toxins that our bodies have to find a way to eliminate.  The liver’s job is to detoxify these chemicals – usually by making them more water soluble to keep them moving out of the body all-the-while less bioavailable so that they are not reabsorbed into our tissues.

The process of liver detoxification requires antioxidants, but sometimes we are exposed to things that add more work to the liver and make its job more difficult.  As an example, a molecule of cholesterol has an –OH group on the first and 25th carbon (thus the name 1,25, dehidroxycholecalciferol, that is the blood chemical tested for to determine vitamin D status.)  Pharmaceutical estrogen and progesterone manufactured from horse urine are said to be linked to higher cancer rates.   Estrogen is a very similar compound to cholecalciferol.  The drug form adds an –OH group that the liver then has to figure out how to clear.  Such hormones can accumulate if the liver does not have the extra antioxidants to get them past the first stage of liver detoxification. The sad truth is that when the liver unable to clear –OH groups that collect, they may accumulate and à 17-estradiol à cancer.  The solution?  First of all, in my opinion the hormones implicated in cancer are the man-made ones.  Women with higher levels of naturally occurring estrogens as they age are shown to have higher bone density and less cancer incidence.

Clearing the accumulation of environmental toxins by including more antioxidants to allow the liver to get past the first phase of liver detoxification (from the P-450 cycle) to the second phase of liver detoxification and sufficient fiber to help clear those toxins out can be important adjuncts to the prevention and even reversal of cancer.  Another critical help to liver function, besides antioxidants, may be herbs such as milk thistle to protect the liver combined with dandelion, artichoke, a short – two-month – cleanse with phyllanthus or even the combination “Essiac”.

4. *ALKALINIZING THE BODY

Our bodies, when in a healthy state, are just a little on the alkaline side.  Too much acidity provides an environment that cancer can thrive in.  Fruits and veggies help to keep us on the alkaline side and so can minerals.  But remember that maintaining pH balance is a job your body is used to doing!  Freaking out to maintain a specific pH in urine or saliva may not be helpful as pH in different areas of the body will naturally vary!  Think of stomach acid vs the next step of alkaline small intestine to see the variance between two closely related parts.  The bottom line is, whatever you can do to get the mitochondria healthy, the better able to balance itself the body will be!

5. *EMOTIONS / *SPIRITUAL STABILITY AND PRAYER LIFE

A peaceful emotional state may also prevent a cell’s genetic predisposition to manifest itself as cancerous.  I believe that so much benefit is found in reaching out for your creator, investing time in His book and staying filled with the right spirit.  Sounds so simple, but as in everything it is the execution of all of the above into a lifestyle you can enjoy and live with is key

In the forward to Dr. Mercola’s forthcoming book, Fat For Fuel, Thomas Seyfried, PhD and author of Cancer as a Metabolic Disease and professor of biology at Boston College says, “I truly believe that the concept of Mitochondrial Metabolic Therapy [MMT] will have a significant impact on health.  As I mentioned in my book, cancer is not likely to occur in people with healthy mitochondria.  Dr. Mercola has expanded this concept to a broad range of chronic diseases that involve mitochondrial dysfunction.  He provides a clear rationale as well as guidelines for implementation of MMT.  This book should be read by anyone interested in maintaining their health without toxic pharmaceuticals.”

6. EXERCISE

No discussion of the causes of cancer and the ways to prevent it would be complete without bringing up exercise and the importance of oxygenation and, moving the body – rebounders being especially critical for lymphatic health – aerobic exercise critical for the oxygen and large muscle exercises for the strengthening of bones and teeth.  The bottom line is that so often, changes in lifestyle – that are within our control – can prevent cancer.

RECOMMENDED READING:

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

Secrets about Cholesterol

 A colleague of mine wanted advice... He was healthy and fit in his early fifties and his Doctor said his cholesterol was high and wanted him to take a statin...

Without going much into the muscle wasting effects of statins, this video will give you the big picture & the secrets I shared with my friend who is now healthy and fit with peace of mind!

Why does Athersclerotic Plaque Accumulate in the arteries?

Athersclerotic plaque accumulating in the arteries is supposedly why someone might get a heart attack. 


It makes sense that as things (cholesterol) collect in and clog up a tube (the arteries) more pressure is needed to get fluid (blood) past the blockage.  But even though High Blood Pressure may be a result of such accumulation, is it really the cause?

Page 111 of Human Biology states that, "a hypertensive person is six times more likely to have a heart attack than an individual with normal blood pressure."  Now, before you get concerned, if you have HBP, there is research that shows what you can do as well.  Begin by watching part one above.

Reducing HBP, Clearing Plaque

I hope to show that HBP is not a cause of arterial damage, but rather a symptom that is warning you to make a change!

High blood pressure may be because you are stressed and not relaxing enough... it also may be because you lack magnesium.  There is one other huge contributor besides arteries that are getting clogged - watch the video above closely!

Dr. Rath and Dr. Linus Pauling have done extensive research on how plaque accumulates - and even how it can be reversed!

Watch part 2 below

High blood pressure, High Cholesterol, Insulin and Heart Attacks 

  The above quoted article on lowering your cholesterol states that high blood pressure causes damage to the arteries.  The article also claims that of the 40 risk factors there are three “primary contributors to cardiovascular disease: elevated blood cholesterol, smoking and high blood pressure.1

     I hope to show that two of these are not the primary contributors to arterial damage, but research shows they are really secondary symptoms of the real causes of the accumulation of arterial plaque!  Dr Rath and Dr Linus Pauling have done extensive research on how plaque accumulates – and even how it is reversed!  As the heart pumps blood and the arteries expand to 50% their original size (this may be where HBP is a contributor, but more on that later!) they require collagen to repair the arterial cracks.  Vitamin C, l-proline and l-lysine are what the body requires to manufacture collagen.  A lack of any one of these ingredients may cause a problem, but since lysine is abundant in vegetables and proline in meats, vitamin C is thought to be the limiting factor in most cases.  Much of the research of these doctors focuses on vitamin C and lysine2.

 

REDUCING ARTERIAL PLAQUE

I have actually met a gentleman scheduled for a coronary multiple-bypass surgery who used Dr. Rath’s protocol and needed no surgical intervention after two months as his arteries had cleared that much!  Other antioxidants, such as serropeptase, a proteolytic enzyme from a silkworm, have been shown to reduce arterial plaque3.

INSULIN AS A CONTRIBUTOR

The importance of antioxidants and the prevention of arterial plaque accumulation being said, today I found another possible culprit that may need to be figured in.  According to Dr. Rosedale, the increased levels of insulin brought on by our typically high-sugar, high-carb diets are what he claims to be the biggest factor.  “If you drip insulin into the femoral artery of a dog, there was a Dr. Cruz [no relation!] who did this in the early 70s by accident; the artery will become almost totally occluded with plaque after about three months.”  Dr. Rosedale goes on to say that this has been tested repeatedly with animals and, although we do not know why, something about insulin causes endothelial proliferation, blood clots by increasing platelet aggregation and, “Hyperinsulinemia causes the excretion of magnesium in the urine.3”  What is the typical drug turned to to reduce HBP?  One is a calcium channel blocker,  of which – magnesium, as calcium’s opposite – may be the best without side effects!  Interesting to see another factor – the loss of magnesium – contribute to the HBP that is well within our control by keeping insulin levels in check, which may also prevent arterial plaque accumulation… we have so much to learn!

CONCLUSION & HEALTH HACKS

We may not have a perfect understanding of all the factors yet, but we have seen that antioxidant status kept high seems to be able to prevent or slow the bad cycle of the arterial damage or roughness that allows plaque to accumulate on the inside of arterial walls (among providing other benefits – like help for the liver in its detoxification process.  See my liver videos for more help! . It is at the point of damage to the arterial walls that the plaque accumulates.  Antioxidant status, or lack thereof, high blood pressure (possibly what began as a factor of low magnesium (from low soil content – or more likely a lack of consumption of the leafy greens that may be our best source), and/or  hyperinsulinemia may all contribute to the arterial damage that forces plaque accumulation – and may lead to the blockage that increases arterial pressure and then forces a heart attack. The extra pressure that HBP may need to place on the arteries to move the blood through may certainly contribute to weakness and the accumulation of the body’s repair materials in the arteries which can lead to blockage/smaller passages and then starting the vicious cycle again with more pressure required to push the blood through, more damage and more filling with repair materials.

As you can see, HBP is certainly involved in the etiology of heart attacks, but I would not call it a cause so much as one of the symptoms of an underlying condition that needs to be addressed to prevent a heart attack.  Covering our bases by including Vitamin C, magnesium, and possibly lysine and proline or collagen/bone broth in our diet may be #HealthHacks that make a lot of sense!

 

WHAT IS AN AUTO IMMUNE DISEASE?

Auto immune disease occurs when a body does not recognize self and non-self.  The process of the body identifying what is non-self occurs by B (matured in the bone marrow) cells.  Activated B-cells transform into plasma cells that release antibodies into the blood.  Antibodies are proteins that circulate throughout the bloodstream and then bind themselves to what they identify as foreign – covering them, coating them and neutralizing them or marking them for destruction by macrophages (connective tissue monocytes1.)  When the immune system’s target organ is the thyroid, it is called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (HT).

WHAT CAN HELP AUTO IMMUNE ISSUES?

The first thing to check when you have signs of auto-immunity, or the body attacking itself (auto), is to make sure your vitamin D levels are up.  Symptoms of autoimmunity usually will not occur if you have sufficient vitamin D!  

There are 2700+ receptor sites in your body for vitamin D.  When they are not filled, your immune system cannot tell what is you, and what is enemy – that’s why it can attack you!  Getting vitamin D up is relatively simple.  Go out in the sun between ten and two with fair parts of your skin exposed.  If that is not possible, consider vitamin D3 plus K2 in a supplement.  

HOW MUCH VITAMIN D DO WE NEED?

At one time the US RDA was only 200 IU. Recently the US upped the requirements to 800IU.  It is interesting that the government realized we needed more vitamin D as a nation, after all, not just autoimmune problems, but cancers and osteoporosis rates go up as vitamin D goes down.

My friend took 2000IU of vitamin D for a year and a half and her low levels never came up.  

This video is from 2008, so Dr. Mercola has altered his opinion on oral vitamin D .  He used to prefer sunshine to taking vitamin D as a supplement, but because he has seen far more problems from deficiency than from excess, he now recommends supplementation.

A new research study shows that 10,000IU vitamin D is not toxic over the long term when taken in conjunction with vitamin K2.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogOj4u6fN5Q

 

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS & STRESS

There is increasing belief that, just like CVD and other ailments, there is not one cause.  The varying factors involved in HT may include environmental toxins (such as fluoride, radiation, pesticides), intestinal parasites (yersinia enterocolitica), viruses like parvovirus B19, (hepatitis C, EBV and HTLV-12 are thought to possibly be implicated in this as well), or even stress alone may be powerful enough to cause such an immune dysfunction.

HELPING THE LIVER TO FUNCTION:
The liver is the organ that clears excess hormones and chemicals that we are exposed to from our body. To work properly it needs antioxidants such as from brightly colored fruits and berries and leafy greens. There are herbs that can help the liver do its job as well. #MilkThistle is a powerful liver protectant and can actually help the liver to regenerate itself! I have found milk thistle to work best when in combination with #DandelionRoot and #ArtichokeLeaf.

VITAMIN D

Vitamin D has been shown to have a critical role in helping the body make this distinction between what is self and what is enemy.  Scientists do not fully agree on exactly how this is done.  One review of the literature said in its results and conclusion, “Some of the authors suggested that Vitamin D3 carryout its immunosuppressive and immune modulatory action, through its actions on antigen presenting cells and activated T [cells that complete their development in the thymus] and B-cells with the help of Vitamin D receptors (VDR) present on each of these cells…by making qualitative and quantitative changes in the immune system (down-regulation of Th1 and up-regulations of Th2 cells.)3

 

CONCLUSION & HEALTH HACKS:

If Vitamin D is involved in the “regulation and proliferation of the Th1 and Th17 lymphocyte”3 and we don’t understand exactly how it does this, why not make sure you have #optimalVitaminD levels in cases of immune and auto immune issues? (How to optimize Vitamin D levels and what level is optimal will be in an upcoming newsletter. Sign up on the side to keep informed!)This is certainly not the only answer to the immune dysfunction of HT and other autoimmune issues, but any practical step we can take to address the causes may well be worth it.  #Reducing exposure to radiation, #HelpingtheLiverDetox and #ReducingStress; finding ways to help yourself #Relax as anxiety and depression are known to have deleterious effects on immune balance”4 and finding restoring activities such as #exercise and #SlowStretching may be factors that contribute to a more normally functioning immune system.

A great resource for more information on helping reduce your symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – or really a great start for anyone with immune issues can be found in Isabella Wentz’ Book, Hashimoto’s Protocol:

 

 
I love how she starts with a Liver Protocol or ways to help your liver get rid of toxins more efficiently! This is another topic I will link to this page as I have seen results by addressing the liver first as well. There are many ways of doing this, but clearing the liver has really made a difference for me in my blood sugar issues. Of course, it wasn’t the only change I made, but I do believe getting the liver to function properly is foundational to getting your body to work right.

Start with the above book or click on the home page for personal help or to #FindYourHealthHack!
Questions? email me at Cynthia@SoCalGardenHealth.com

REFERENCES:

For more details consider:

 

As our children were growing I read a wonderful book on how to handle children’s ailments singing the praises of Lemon Balm or Melissa Officinalis (aka: Bee Balm as the greek word for bee, I am told, sounds much like melissa). Lemon Balm makes a light, fresh, delicious tea that even children will drink! It has relaxing qualities. #Lemon Balm Tea is helpful in getting a fussy child to relax and maybe even sleep. There is a lot of research on Lemon Balm on PubMed for use with hyperactivity, impulsiveness and to help with concentration1 (I think I need some tea;-))

Lemon Balm even has some research as an antiviral and has on benefits with acyclover resistant bacteria2

You may want to take a minute to search the Pub Med site for more uses of Lemon Balm.

The Extract may be used by putting drops into hot water (the alcohol will dissipate in the steam):

Organic Tea Bags are also available:

Save money/Buy in Bulk:

For a cup of tea:

For a quart of tea:

Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you! email me at:
Cynthia@SoCalGardenHealth.com

Sliced Luffa In Soap

Young, edible luffa

Mature Luffa Vine

Luffa aegyptiaca Climbing Wall of House!

How to Grow Luffa

  • Luffa's Botanical Names include:  luffa aegyptiaca (smooth luffa) and luffa angulatica  (angled luffa)
  • Angled luffa or L. angulatica is grown in Asia and known as Chinese okra or ridged gourd.  It's flowers are night-blooming, unlike the day blooming yellow flowers of the Luffa aegyptiaca.  
  • Luffa's Other Names may include, loofah, loofa, luffa plant, a luffa sponge, loofah sponge plant, loofah gourd, luffa vine, loofah vegetable, vegetable sponge, esponja, sponge vines, dishrag gourd, seed cloth,  loofah melon (luffa is a relative of c.pepo - a separate Genus and Species in the Cucurbitaceae Family that includes melons, but luffa's not a melon!  See luffa seed saving below.)
  • Luffa aegyptiaca  is  an annual, heat-loving vine whose fruits are edible when young!  It looks like long zucchini, but has a distinctly lemony flavor - it makes the zucchini consistency more enjoyable!  In India the immature fruits are used in curries and in Asia the young luffa is prepared and eaten as you would use a summer squash in recipes or try a stir-fry with a young luffa before it becomes a big gourd!
  • Luffa aegyptiaca is the botanical name of the smooth luffa pictured to the left (climbing the wall!) and at this stage it would be way too tough to eat!
  • Luffa gourds don't really require a trellis as you can see on this picture where the luffa is climbing the wall on its own.  It has tendrils that seem to grip the wall to support the weight of the plant and fruits.  (See below for a picture of luffa plant with flowers climbing a flimsy fence as a trellis!) 
  • Luffa requires a very long growing season, so if you don't live in a temperate climate (like the Southern states of CA, AZ, NM, TX , LA, AL or Fl.) or have a greenhouse, you may need to  start the plants indoors or in a greenhouse six weeks to two months  before last expected frost date for your zone.
  • Luffa Sponges
    Luffa acutangula sponges are softer than the ones from Luffa aegyptiaca, but the outer skin of the plant is more difficult to remove from the fibrous core.  We have always grown the L. aegyptiaca and have found that even if tougher, they make the perfect skin-sloughing loofah for the shower or bath. (see pictures below) These luffas are especially valuable for slicing horizontally and placing into a soap-making mold and using the ensuing bar on rough feet!

Saving Luffa Seeds

Luffa Varieties & Seed Identification
Angled luffa (Luffa acutangula or L. acutangula) seeds are a bit pitted and black.  L. aegyptiaca seeds are also black, but smooth or unpitted and also differ in that they have an outer margin rim that the black seeds of the angled loofah lack.  An occasional white seed may appear, but they may just be immature. 

To Save Luffa Seeds  - ideally you will want to let the gourds dry thoroughly on the plant before harvesting.  If that is not possible, let the fruit or the gourd dry thoroughly in the sun before attempting to peel the skin.  The seeds seem to hide in the crevices, but are easy to shake out into a bowl once the skin is removed.

Dried Luffa And Seeds

Dried Luffa And Seeds

 Luffa acutangula Seeds
If you are planning to save seeds, know that the different types of luffa can possibly cross-pollinate as smooth luffa (Luffa aegyptiaca) can cross-pollinate with angled lufa (Luffa acutangula or L. acutangula) that is within a half mile.   Luffa seeds seem to last a long time - I have had some for ten or more years and found them still viable (but I do keep them in a container that keeps moisture out.)  The seeds dry readily as the gourd dries and you can hear the seeds as the dried gourd is shaken! 

 Hand-pollinate or separate by great distances if you plan to save seeds.  At one time, even though luffa is an out-breeding plant, it was believed that these two varieties would not cross.  A gourd authority, Charles Heiser found otherwise and said the two could cross into a hardy hybrid, but the next generation of seeds would not be viable1.


Starting Luffa Plants

Sliced Luffa In Soap

Sliced Luffa In Soap

Starting Luffa - We start luffa when we start tomatoes around mid-January... Plan to keep the luffa protected from frost until thirteen months later - yes, the following February for the mature  sponge that you can peel to reveal the loofah you will use in your shower, make into exfoliating soap bars, or use to scrub your dishes like a dishcloth!

Scarifying Luffa Seeds - Luffa seeds have a very hard shell that soaking alone takes a long time to penetrate.  I prefer to scarify the seeds by carefully nicking off a corner of the edge of the seed.  This allows water to get in and start the seed faster.  

Soaking Luffa Seeds - Once the seeds are nicked or scarified, I soak them in a glass of water for 24 hours before planting in moist, warm soil.  

Germinated Luffa Seeds - If you are in a cooler climate, you will need to place a warming mat below the seeds to keep the temperature between 72 and 80 degrees in order for the seeds to germinate.  We live in sunny California and I have also taken an extra gourd or loofa fruit and buried it in compost directly in the garden - but sometimes that way can take a year or more before the seeds sprout.  (I started cacao seeds that way - it took a few months before they started!)  The best way to start the plants is to scarify, soak and plant in warm soil in your backyard garden, provide a trellis and protect from cold and the seeds should sprout in 10-14 days.

Harvesting Luffa is rather simple as it just needs to dry and keep them on the plant as long as possible.  This will vary according to where you live, but I have found the biggest gourds take a full year to mature.  Let the vine wither or harvest when you can no longer protect the fruits from frost.  Cut the fruit from the vine and let dry thoroughly.  Once dried, the skin can be peeled off the loofah and the seeds shaken out.  

Making Soap with a Loofah is as simple as cutting the loofah in horizontal slices and placing them in the mold that the soap will be poured into.  When the soap has cured the resultant luffa soap bar will be amazing for a scrub for rough feet and to remove dead skin.  The luffa soap in the above picture is made with a soap made with charcoal and frankincense (thus the dark color!)

Can Luffa grow in a pot?  Luffa should be planted in the ground or, possibly a huge pot - but  I cannot imagine it growing well without a large area of soil.  It can be a very large plant that needs a lot of soil to support it nutritionally.

How Long does a Loofah Last?  When a Loofah is left out to dry in its casing, it will actually last for years!  The picture below shows a loofah that I harvested after five years of sitting in the greenhouse!  It was drying out too much and beginning to disintegrate, though, so I wouldn't wait that long next time!

Dried Too Long Luffa

Dried Too Long Luffa


References:

1.) Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth 2002 Seed Savers Exchange (I only got a little info from here, but if you want to save seeds, this reference is the best I have found to make it easy for a beginner to start with!)


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We are looking to expand our repertoire of beneficial interactions between plants in a Permaculture model.  Last year we planted Basil on the North side of a young Grapefruit tree – both flourished!  The Grapefruit tree consistently has more new leaves than any of our other citrus and the Basil has produced all year and even through our (very mild) winter!