Environmental Nutrition

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

What is environmental nutrition?

Environmental nutrition examines the interrelationships between our food choices, our environment, and our health. The conventional food system threatens our health and overall well-being with increased air and water pollution, toxic chemical exposure, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, soil erosion, climate change inducing greenhouse gas emissions, and loss of biodiversity. These disruptions in environmental integrity can affect human health and nutritional status.

Environmental contamination from industrial and agricultural chemicals such as heavy metals, organochlorines, and radionuclides may compromise people’s nutritional status and health either directly or through changes in diet. Herbicides and pesticides eliminate uncultivated food sources from agroecosystems; other chemicals may make them unfit for consumption. Persistent organic pollutants (POPS) transported in the atmosphere can have adverse effects on traditional food systems far removed from major sites of pesticide use.

The EPA states that 25 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were produced by industrial facilities in 2014 alone. See what toxic chemicals have been released in your neighborhood with this interactive map.

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Oil Pulling for Oral Health

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Do your gums bleed when you floss? Are your gums receding? Does your tongue have a white or yellow coat on it?  Do you have bad breath? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should try this ancient technique used to keep the mouth, teeth, gums, and tongue clean!

Oil pulling is an old remedy that originated in India thousands of years ago. In fact, ancient Ayurveda texts claim oil pulling may cure about 30 systemic diseases! As reported by the Indian Journal of Dental Research, “oil pulling has been used…to strengthen teeth, gums, and jaws and to prevent decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums, and dryness of throat and cracked lips.” Oil pulling uses the concept of “like dissolves like” – you swish a couple of teaspoons of oil in your mouth for 20 minutes to clean your teeth and gums. It may seem contradictory to use oil to clean your mouth, but oil is able to cut through plaque and remove toxins without causing any harm to your teeth or gums. Oil pulling helps kill bad bacteria in your mouth, such as Candida and Streptococcus, which produce toxic waste products can contribute to plaque accumulation and tooth decay.

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Benefits of the Sauna

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Did you know that your skin is your largest organ? And it is a great pathway of elimination for the body. When you exercise, take a hot bath, or go in the sauna (any way you work up a sweat), you are encouraging toxic chemicals to be released from your skin!

With hundreds of thousands of man-made chemicals in our environment, we are all accumulating these compounds in our body. The majority of these compounds end up being stored in our fat cells, our bones, and our nervous system (including our brain). And many of them have very long half-lives in the body, years to decades! So with continuous exposure, you could expect to never get rid of those chemicals.

So how do we get them out? The major organs of elimination include our liver, GI tract, kidneys, lungs, and our skin. Elimination through our skin is one of the very underutilized ways of encouraging these toxins to leave our bodies. Exercising, increasing body temperature, and the subsequent sweating is a safe way to mobilize these toxins from where they were stored and excrete them out of our bodies.

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Four Thieves Vinegar Health Tonic

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

This recipe centers around herbs that have been known for their antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, and antifungal properties for centuries. In fact, there is a legend that four thieves robbed the homes of those who died of the bubonic plague wearing masks covered in this herbal vinegar.  The legend says that they robbed many houses but never caught the disease. When they were caught, they gave up the recipe of the vinegar that saved them from the plague in exchange for a quick death, hanging, rather than being burned alive.

Whether the legend is true or not, the concept of a potent antimicrobial herbal vinegar survived!  This recipe serves as a valuable remedy against many illnesses and is a powerful disinfectant and bug spray.

There are many versions of this recipe, but this is the most common one. Other ingredients used include marjoram, camphor, horehound, angelica, juniper, meadowsweet, wormwood, and cloves. I encourage you to make your own with dried herbs from your garden or local farmer’s market!

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Herbal Beauty Care

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

The best regimen for maintaining healthy skin is to cleanse, tone, and moisturize. Cleansing the skin removes dead skin cells and dirt, which unclogs pores and allows your skin to breathe. Toning aids to close the pores in order to tighten and strengthen its role as a protective barrier. Moisturizing feeds the skin with the nutrients it needs to stay strong, healthy, and prevent flaking and irritation. (more…)

Nourishing Hair Cream Recipe

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Nourishing Herbal Hair Cream

Creams are topical, healing applications.  They are less greasy and more nourishing then salves because they are a combination of water and oil.  They can be vulnerary, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, emollient, and soothing so they are great for healing sprains, strains, bruising, open wounds, mild burns, inflammatory conditions, rashes, and insect bites.

 

Creams also contain an emulsifier, which is an important component to getting the water and the oil to blend together and to stay in solution.  The emulsifier binds the water with the oil, creating fat micelles (tiny globules) that are small enough to keep both the oil and the water together in solution.

 

This recipe calls for beeswax as an antimicrobial, thick emulsifier. Coconut oil lightens the cream and also provides antimicrobial properties.  Almond and avocado oils are nourishing and soothing to dry hair.  Borax is also an important component of this cream because it is a preservative, buffering agent, and an emulsifier. Citric acid was also chosen as a preservative.

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Liver Cleansing Vinegar

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Vinegar is one of the oldest methods of herbal extraction.  Infusing herbs into raw apple cider vinegar is a fantastic way to boost your phytonutrient content in your meals – this recipe makes a great dressing, accompanied with olive oil!

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Ginger: Herbal Profile

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Zingiber Officinale

Ginger

Zingiberacae Family

 

Ginger is a common household herb that provides numerous health benefits.  It is an excellent herb to have on hand for sore throats, colds, aches and pains, stomach upset, and to warm you up on a chilly day.

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Herbal Profile: Rosemary

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Rosemary is a wonderful culinary herb that is also medicinal! It is most famously known for it’s ability to enhanced circulation and support vascular health.  It is commonly used to support those with depression too. Rosemary protects liver function, is rich in antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory.

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Throat Soothing Cough Lozenge

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

A lozenge is a slow-dissolving and mucilaginous method of preparing herbs.  They are beneficial for sore throats, mouth, and upper respiratory tract because they soothe and coat mucus membranes. Herbs that are ideal to use in lozenges are expectorant, sedative, pain relieving, and antimicrobial. Honey is soothing and coating to mucus membranes, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and nutritive (containing vitamins, minerals, and enzymes).  Honey best extracts water-soluble constituents (tannins, vitamins and minerals, mucilages, alkaloid salts, vitamins, polysaccharides), plus small amounts of waxes and resins. When taken internally, honey calms inflamed GI tract so it’s very fitting to be added to a lozenge!

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