Thoughtful Thursday – Adverse Affects of Dairy

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As most of your know, I went vegan about 4 years ago. Not because it was the “in thing” to do but because of health issues I was having at the time. I drank lots of milk when I was a kid and I think we’ve all heard the slogan, “Milk, it does the body good.” But does it really?

I grew up thinking that cows were put on this earth to give us milk and that was that. But when you think about it, the only reason a cow produces milk is to feed their calf. So their bodies have to be in a continual pregnant state to produce milk for us.

There’s been a lot of research done showing milk may actually do us more harm than good. For starters, one of my problems with milk was that I was constantly congested. When I’d get a cold, the congestion would get really bad. I thought by drinking only organic milk and eating only organic dairy products, I was being healthy. But my congestion just kept getting worse even though I wasn’t sick. After reading an article in a magazine I decided to give plant based milk a try and found that my congestion completely cleared up in a few weeks.

After experiencing that I started doing research and found that milk contains harmful hormones which are given to the cows to increase their milk production. Even the organic milk still has hormones in it. I also learned that milk causes your body to leach calcium from the bones which in turn can make you more susceptible to osteoporosis. Not to mention, that milk and dairy products can cause cancer. Yikes! And these were just a few of the adverse affects of dairy that I stumbled upon in my research.

There are a lot of documentaries that you can watch like Food Inc., What the Health, Forks Over Knives, Plant Pure Nation to name a few. These films were a real eye opener for me and although I didn’t go vegan initially, the more educated I became, the more I realized I needed to stick with it to stay healthy. Once I did that, I was living proof that what they were expressing in these films had a lot of truth behind it. Granted a vegan diet isn’t for everyone but there’s always room for improvement no matter what diet you consume.

Please don’t take my word for it but do your own research. You may be surprised and shocked at what you find. Your diet is the foundation to your health as well as your happiness. Because the bottom line is, if you don’t have your health, nothing else really matters. You can’t bring joy to the world if you don’t take care of yourself first. Hope you found this information helpful.

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“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” ~Ayurvedic Proverb

Sources:

Forks Over Knives: “7 Ways Milk and Dairy Products are Making You Sick

The Miter: “Harmful Effects of Cow’s Milk on the Human Body Becomes More Prevalent”

Dr McDougall: T. Colin Campbell, PhD: Link Between Dairy Protein, Casein, & Cancer

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Thoughtful Thursday – Benefits of Ginger

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Ginger root has been used for centuries as a spice and for medicinal purposes. The first time I tried ginger, I wasn’t too crazy about it. I loved the scent but the flavor, not so much.

Over the years, I’ve grown to really love ginger. I’ll put a few small pieces in my salad or add some to my veggie juices. I even make fresh ginger tea which is very aromatic and quite delicious (recipe below). I’ve learned and personally experienced the healing powers of ginger and I can say in all honesty, it’s truly a Superfood.

Ginger has many benefits and can help the body heal from a number of ailments naturally including:

  1. Aids in Digestion
  2. Regulates Blood Sugar
  3. Reduces Inflammation
  4. Lowers Blood Pressure
  5. Helps with Nausea
  6. Antibacterial Properties
  7. Reduces Menstrual Pain
  8. Aids in Reducing LDL Cholesterol
  9. Anti-Cancer Properties
  10. Aids Weight Loss

Before making any changes to your healthcare regime, always check with your doctor/health practitioner to make sure it’s right for you.

Ginger Tea Recipe:

  • 4-5 quarter inches pieces of ginger, slightly crushed
  • 2 Cups Water
  • Sweetener (honey, stevia)

Add ginger and water to a teapot. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 15 minutes. Strain ginger pieces, add a little sweetener and enjoy.

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“Our Food should be our Medicine & our Medicine should be our Food.” ~Hippocrates

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14 Ways to Show Your Love

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. We all know that we should express our love every day to those we hold dear, but Valentine’s Day is that 1 day to really shine. Without spending a lot of money, here are 14 Ways to Show Your Love to that Special Someone in your life:

  1. Make a nice breakfast.
  2. Take over and do their chores for the day.
  3. Go for a nice walk together.
  4. Do a yoga or other exercise class together.
  5. Go out on a picnic.
  6. Watch a movie with candy and popcorn.
  7. Bake a special sweet dish like the vegan brownies from last Thoughtful Thursday!
  8. Make a handmade Valentine’s Day Card.
  9. Create a surprise “Love You” display on the kitchen table with candy, flowers.
  10. Order a “To Go” meal and have a candlelit dinner at home.
  11. Create a romantic music play list and dance the night away.
  12. Leave little love notes for them to find.
  13. Give them a Spa Day at home with candles, chocolates and bubble bath.
  14. Spend quality time together talking with no distractions and really listen.

“Where there is Love, there is Life.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

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Zucchini Brownie Recipe Review

Many moons ago when I tried eating vegan, it really wasn’t the tastiest, at least not the recipes I tried. I’ve been vegan now for the past several years and can say that the recipes have improved tremendously. Some recipes are so good you can’t even tell they’re vegan and not made with eggs, milk and the usual ingredients. A lot are even better all plant based.

You may have seen Zucchini Brownies for sale in health food stores and restaurants. The thought of making something as delicious as a brownie from a vegetable didn’t quite appeal to my taste buds at first. But being a chocolate lover I finally gave into my curiosity and tried one at a small restaurant. To my surprise it was so delicious and moist, I pretty much inhaled it, lol.

Since I love to bake, I figured someone on the internet must have a pretty good recipe. Lo and behold I came across ElaVegan.com hosted by Michaela. She is a very talented vegan food stylist, recipe creator, photographer and writer.

Michaela’s Zucchini Brownie Recipe was absolutely delicious as are her many other recipes which I highly recommend you try. The recipes are written with easy instructions, lots of photos and helpful tips. She also puts a tab at the top of each recipe for a quick print. Even if vegan isn’t your thing, it’s a delicious alternative to healthier meals. I highly recommend trying these delicious brownies!

“Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.” ~Josh Billings

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Many Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has become the latest buzz with all of it’s health benefits. Growing up, it was a staple in our house. My mom would use it to make delicious foods and salads, color Easter eggs (my favorite thing to do, although I remember not liking the smell too much) and to clean just about anything. There really wasn’t anything that vinegar couldn’t do.

Apple Cider Vinegar is made from fermented ripe apples. Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, which is cloudy and has cobweb looking pieces in the bottle contain lots of gut friendly bacteria and is often referred to as “The Mother.” The unfiltered variety is considered to be the most nutritious.

Studies have shown that it can help with weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol, improve heart health, improve skin health, detoxify the body, reduce dandruff, clean and disinfect fruits and vegetables, soothe sunburns and the list goes on.

Too much vinegar however can cause nausea, itching, sore throat, head aches, loss of tooth enamel to name a few. It can also adversely interact with medications.

I believe that moderation is the key to success with any health regime you start. But always check with your doctor/health practitioner before starting anything new to make sure it’s right for you.

“Nature itself, is the best physician.” ~Hippocrates

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10 Essentials Oils for Colds and Flu

When I start to feel a little off, I always turn to my essential oils. They’re my first line of defense against colds or flu. Essential oils have wonderful therapeutic properties and help shorten the duration of the illness when used at the first signs of symptoms including itchy eyes, sore throat, cough, sneezing and mild fever or just the general overall feeling of being unwell.

My favorite way to use essential oils when I start to get sick is through steam inhalation in the shower or bath or by using a diffuser. You can rub some blends directly on your skin, however you need to use caution because they can be irritating to some. Also, if you are pregnant you should consult your doctor before using essential oils.

  • Basil – useful in treating colds, aches and pains
  • Bergamot – useful in treating fevers and coughs
  • Cinnamon – useful in treating colds, flu, coughs and viral infections
  • Clove – useful as an analgesic and antiseptic
  • Eucalyptus – useful in treating sore throats, coughs, sinusitis, aches, pains and as an antiseptic
  • Lavender – useful in treating colds, flu, coughs, sinus congestion
  • Peppermint – useful in treating fevers, flu and can ease breathing
  • Sandalwood – useful in treating colds
  • Tea Tree – useful in treating colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections
  • Thyme – useful in treating bacterial and viral infections also helps to boost immunity

There are many books and online resources for finding oil blends but I recently came across a great book by Stephanie Gerber titled “Essential glow.” Below are a few of her recipes and I encourage you to check out her site at HellowGlow.com

11 Essential Oil Diffuser Blends for Cold + Flu Season

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The Benefits of Exercise

I wake up groggy like most and go through my morning routine, sometimes half asleep. But before I do any work of any kind, I work my body. I do 30 minute weight training and 30 minute cardio either on the elliptical or outside for a walk, weather permitting. On the days I don’t do my workout, it takes me longer to get going.

My morning workout literally crank starts my engine. It gets my blood flowing and my mind starts to click along. Exercising increases your energy levels too. It also helps you feel better and puts you in a better mood to start your day. Working out tones your muscles and helps build bone density and helps you avoid injuries by maintaining your strength. Plus it helps with weight loss and to get a better night of sleep.

Now I’m not saying you have to workout for an hour a day. For some that’s too much and for others, it’s not enough. You need to create a workout routine that works for you. It doesn’t need to be complicated with lots of equipment. You can do yoga, sit ups, push ups or walk in place to name a few. Make it easy so you’ll do it and stick with it. If you have limitations, there is a lot of information available online for doing modified exercises. Before starting any new exercise routine you should consult with your doctor or health practitioner. Just moving your body for 5 minutes a day will benefit you greatly and make you feel good!

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Plant Based Diet

Five years ago, I was a pretty big meat eater. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. I thought I ate healthy for the most part but as the years rolled by, things slowly started to go wrong. Looking around at everyone else, I thought this is how it’s supposed to be. This is what happens when you get older. But every now and then, I’d see an older person who was not the norm. They looked great, were in shape and had their wits about them. I thought Wow! They must have good genes because they weren’t like everyone else.

Then one day, my kids thought it’d be fun to gross me out by having me watch Food Inc. Great documentary by the way, but it definitely changes your perspective on food. After seeing it, I went even more organic than I already was with my diet and thought I was safe but more problems started showing up like joint pain, weight gain, the never ending cold/flu that would last for 2-3+ weeks when the season would come around, fatigue and head aches to name a few.

The cherry on the cake was when I developed sciatica. This was extremely painful. On a scale of 1 to 10, my pain was at 18. I was bed ridden for 2.5 months. I could barely walk, had to eat standing because I couldn’t sit down. I saw the chiropractor and physical therapist 3-4 times every week with little or no improvement.

I was getting desperate as the pain was unbearable and I’d search the internet on my phone in bed on how to alleviate sciatica. One of the things I found was that meat along with other certain foods, makes the body acidic and worsens the pain. So I decided to go cold turkey, no pun intended, and eat only plant based foods. I had very little appetite because of the excruciating pain and for over 2 months I lived on vegan shakes. Everyday I would have 1 plant based protein shake and 2 raw plant based shakes.

Then a funny thing started to happen. I began improving. The pain lessened and I lost weight! I lost a total of 25 pounds in that 2.5 month period with no exercise at all, just changing my diet. I felt so much better. Then just as I was getting back to my normal self, we were going to be hit by a hurricane which can be a little stressful and I resorted back to my old eating habits of meat, cheese, etc. It only took 2 days, and pain started to return. There was no way I was going back to that! I immediately started eating a vegan diet again and never looked back.

It’s been over 3 years now since I went vegan and all of my symptoms are pretty much gone. The weight stayed off, I rarely have headaches, the joint pain is gone, I have more energy and the fog lifted from my brain. Now when I get a cold, I get very mild symptoms and just feel a little off for about 2 -3 days instead of becoming really sick and feeling miserable for 2-3+ weeks like before.

Being vegan is not for everyone. We are so programmed from birth to eat the meat, dairy products and sugary processed foods that we think we can’t survive without them. But I’m living proof you can. Even if you only replace 1 meal a day with a vegan one, you’ll notice improvements in your body and how your feel. You can also replace dairy with plant based products that taste really good.

I think we all pretty much know how to eat more healthy but choose not to and that’s okay too. But I know for me, I didn’t want to spend the later years of my life in pain or with limited mobility and being stuck with constant doctor visits and lots of prescription medications. I want to enjoy life to the very end with strength, vigor and vitality!

If you want to give it a try but don’t know where to start, Forks Over Knives has a website with lots of information and recipes. They also publish a quarterly magazine full of delicious plant based recipes and success stories to inspire you which can be found in most grocery stores.

So ask yourself, what is it going to take for you to change your diet and eat more healthy?

Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.” – Hippocrates

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Benefits of Chamomile

Growing up mom always gave us Chamomile tea for anything that ailed us. Whether we had a cold, stomach flu or just feeling blue, there wasn’t anything that a cup of warm Chamomile tea with honey couldn’t fix. I still drink a lot of it today, especially if I’m starting to feel a little sick.

Chamomile works great to relax you at the end of the stressful day. It has also been shown to be antiseptic against bacteria and helps to bring down fevers and relieve achiness due to flu’s. Chamomile is great for relieving nausea, upset stomachs and head aches. These are only a few of the benefits of Chamomile and I hope this helps you get through the cold and flu season a little better this year.

However, a word of caution. Chamomile is considered to be a ragweed and anyone with ragweed allergies should avoid Chamomile altogether.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn

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