Monday, February 28, 2011

All About Herbs...

I like to buy herbs all the time and test them on myself before I advise others on their benefits/interactions. A good friend of mine who doesn't see herbs in the same light, always asks me what I'm trying to cure in myself lol. Well nothing terminal that's for sure, but I think the best way to know about an herb is to learn about them through a trusted source (preferably an elder herbalist) and like I mentioned, actually take them.


The above herbs do way too many things to name but some of their most noteworthy benefits are as follows:

(going counter clockwise)

Astragalus Root: An energy builder touted for its effects in decreasing fatigue. Great for the immune system, soothes mucous membranes, good for colds and respiratory issues.

Turmeric: A friend of mine told me yesterday that there is a region in the world that has a zero incidence rate of cancer and many believe that the main reason is the women cook with turmeric daily. It's also anti-inflammatory and has in recent years shown great promise in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. My grandmother died of complications related to Alzheimer's, so this one is bitter sweet. I wish I knew back then what I know now.

Rose Hips: I've mentioned this many times before because it's so high in naturally occurring Vitamin C. Can't wait for my rose bush to start to flower so I can harvest my own later this year. (Rose hips are the fruit found inside of roses btw).

Gotu Kola: I had a leg injury last year which decreased the circulation in one of my legs and caused some very unsightly veins to pop up from nowhere overnight. This herb made them disappear in a very short period of time. Besides increasing circulation (especially in legs) and helping to rebuild veins and capillaries, it is often used for slow healing wounds and stretch marks.

*Note: Astragalus and Gotu Kola are more potent. Know what you're taking and it's effects before embarking on an herbal regiment. 

Chlorella


Chlorella is an algae that has origins dating back to billions of years ago. It has the highest chlorophyll content of any plant and is effective in treating digestive issues, constipation, diabetes, asthma, and is known to help increase the good bacteria in your body.

Not to mention anti-cancer properties, immune system support, high blood pressure stabilization, and heavy metal detoxification....(and the list goes on)...

It's just one of those must have super foods. I bought this bag of raw, enzyme active chlorella tablets for around $25 dollars at my organic grocer and have my whole family taking a daily dose. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Natural Hair Care

It has never been easier to do my hair. I wake up in the morning, wet it, slap on some raw shea butter and I'm out the door.


As black women we're taught to avoid wetting our hair. Mostly because it ruins the appearance of perms, but according to my sister Janine (who has published an E-book on the topic), your hair gets hydrated from water not from oils. The oils may help seal in the water, but it's the water itself that does most of the work.

It might sound strange to some. I know in reading her book it was the first I'd ever heard of it, but it works. I do it everyday and my hair has been growing like a weed and it's only been a year that I chopped it all off. Now when blown out it's to my shoulders. It's also very strong and shiny.

Another friend attributes my rapid hair growth to the herb moringa which I have been taking for several months now. But no matter what combination of things has contributed to it, a healthy lifestyle will definitely help in all aspects of your appearance. Hair being just one of the many areas that will visibly improve. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Headache Relief

(Feverfew)

I used to get a lot of headaches as a child. My mom says it's because I used to read non-stop but I'm not so sure. Eye strain is in fact one reason, but there are many more such as sinus issues, food allergies and of course stress and diet.

Feverfew is a popular herbal remedy. Go get some if you're prone to bad ones. And according to one of my girls in pain this morning, this remedy works wonders too:


*Note: Stay clear of Feverfew if you have seasonal allergies, because just like chamomile (something that many are unknowingly allergic to) it can cause reactions similar to that of ragweed/pollen etc.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Raw Collard Wraps

A very very (very) old wise man once told me that collard greens were a staple among slaves and prior to slavery were only used as second rate cattle feed. They're also considered by Dr. Sebi to be hybrids. I was so bummed out by this cause I love raw collard greens! So now I stay away from them most days but allow myself to have them on the rare occasion...

Such as today baybee!! lol

Shameful history though, all jokes aside.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

RBG FIT CLUB

Photo by TT Coles

Have you heard about the RBG FIT CLUB? It's a movement founded by Khnum "Stic" Ibomu of Dead Prez with the mission of improving the lives of folks within our communities in the areas of health, wellness and fitness. It's so important to lead a balanced life in these times. Can't eat well but not exercise, or exercise and not have a healthy mind. All of these elements are needed for us to reach our collective goals. 

Check out an excerpt from a recent interview with Stic by Ayara 'That Poet'/Acrossthefader.com:

ATP: Can you tell me about RBG Fit Club?

Stic.man: RBG Fit Club is a community campaign that I started to promote health and fitness amongst our fans and amongst our community. Black and browns, red and yellow community. Poor communities that could use some motivation. All of us could use some motivation to be healthier. It’s a new campaign that gonna really be growin’ internationally throughout this year and the years to come. I’m launching my solo album ‘The Workout’ to also help push the RBG Fit Club. We have 5 basic things that we’re tryna teach and share as we build a community of health professionals, healers, trainers, martial artists, vegetarians – people like that. Our main 5 principles of the RBG Fit Club are; Knowledge, Nutrition, Exercise, Rest and Consistency. In our workshops that we do where we go to colleges and we do things in community organizations, that’s what we’re teaching. We’re teaching that in order to have health and fitness goals you have to have the correct knowledge and apply it to your goals. You have to have balance in Nutrition and that isn’t necessarily in that food pyramid that you were taught in school. 

ATP: You are a Vegan, right?

Stic.man: Yes I am. But we don’t teach that you have to be a vegan to be healthy. We teach the principles of nutrition as it relates to where you can get certain nutrients from. That is mostly green vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, berries and things like that, but there’s room for being open minded and everybody’s body doesn't work the same. We’re not tryna be a dogmatic organization. We’re tryna be an umbrella, or hub to expose people to health and fitness and let people make the best decisions for their body. The core of the RBG Fit Club is the regular exercise. You can do anything from boxing, yoga, weight training, running, dancing, martial arts, swimming – so many different ways that you can get that in. We try to expose that and encourage people to be active. Rest, that’s number four- very important and often overlooked. Rest is about getting the right amount of sleep. Rest is about learning how to meditate, learning how to conquer stress by relaxing activities and that’s a part of your overall health. The final principle is the most important- Consistency. We teach and we advocate and we live that you don’t have to be perfect in 1-4 but if you’re consistent, don’t fall off and say ‘I tried that. It didn't’ work and so I stopped.’ Say ‘Now I’m gonna start again’. We teach ways to keep you motivated. We have personal trainers, holistic counselors and holistic doctors in our network. One of the main ways of motivation is teaching how to set goals and using things like music and other elements to give people a sense of ‘I can do it. I’m gonna stay focused.’ Hopefully my album will be a great introduction into this phenomenon. I’m looking forward and excited to building a new community campaign. I’ll maybe save some lives. Maybe motivate some more people.

You can read the rest of the interview by clicking here.

Also check out the following links for more info on the RBG Fit Club, upcoming projects and more:

Raw Chocolate Milk

All this talk about raw chocolate today with friends has fueled my old addiction...

I don't do raw chocolate all that often but it's a nice treat every once and a while. 


Made from organic stone ground raw chocolate (1.5 ounces), 1 banana, 1.5 cups of raw almonds, 3 dates (or more to taste) and water (to desired consistency). Blend till smooth and strain if necessary.

Yummy! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cold Buster Herbal Tea

This will knock the snot right out of your cold (literally lol).

Rose Hips - Naturally high in Vitamin C (red herb pictured on top)

Elderberry - For stellar immune support (left)

Mullein - AKA the respiratory mucus buster (right)


Buy in loose tea form, steep it and watch the symptoms subside...

*Note: the longer you steep it the greater the effects will be

Far Away From Here...

Through all my complaints I need to remain thankful for what I have. Being thankful for where you are doesn't mean that you don't want more out of life as it naturally unfolds, it just means appreciating what you have while you have it.

If I could tell you the things I've seen this week alone. People living so bad, it didn't even look like America (or maybe it does smh). Not ghetto, straight up poverty. Folks opening the door to their homes...and the stink. Children being cursed out terribly by parents visibly strung out on drugs. Saw one man walk outside, hold his head and just scream.

If you say it's nothing new I'd be even more saddened. These kind of conditions should always provoke feelings of outrage.

I could say stay up my people, but those would just be words, so take a load off if you need to and listen...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Corn Derivatives

Corn is one of the most widely genetically modified crops. Even purported natural and organic varieties have been intentionally hybridized and due to crop contamination, are likely GMOs.

Corn allergies are becoming more and more common but still are difficult to spot because it's not as widely tested for as peanuts, shellfish, eggs etc. Which actually doesn't make much sense because corn is in so much of what we eat (due to government subsidies that help fund its production). For these reasons and more it's best to stay away from it in my opinion.

Here's a helpful snapshot from Food Inc. that lists many frequently used corn derivatives. It's everywhere!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Listen to Your Body


The human body is magnificently designed. So much so that science has barely scratched the surface of all of its complex functions. Thankfully though, it comes equipped with a sophisticated feedback mechanism which acts just as an interpreter would, providing processable information on how we're maintaining it in ways that we can understand i.e. bodily feelings and sensations, ranging from aches, pains and listlessness, to energy bursts or feelings of well being.

Over the years I have become very good at diagnosing the dis-eases people have acquired after spending only a minute or two in their presence.

Hoarseness in the voice and hunched shoulders often indicating respiratory conditions. Paleness in the extremities and skin signifying anemia. Yellowing of the eyes or skin also pointing to anemia, or liver problems. Bulging eyes equating thyroid complications. Flushed skin (especially in people of African descent) pointing to high blood pressure. These are all simplified examples because I never go off of only one sign (as one sign can point to many different conditions), but upon verifying with the person in question, I've never been wrong. However, it's not rocket science. The signs are all there to be read. Sometimes we've just become so accustomed to ignoring them that we no longer pay attention. Until the condition has needlessly progressed to a critical point that is.

It's important for us to become our own health advocates. Unpleasant bodily sensations (as well as physically noticeable ones) are not meant to be ignored. It's our body screaming at us with the intention of restoring balance because our natural state is one of health and wellness. By no means would I advise anyone to run into the arms of a corporate funded physician for treatment of such ailments, but instead would recommend some extensive research and the consultation of someone who knows what they're doing from a holistic/herbal standpoint.

Sometimes our bodies need resetting. It's nothing to be embarrassed about or feared. So don't ignore the signs, act on them without worry...Knowing that "our body can in fact heal itself naturally from a variety of persistent conditions, once perceived to be permanent." -Aiya

:)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What's Your PH?

"Disease can only exist in an environment that is acid...Only consistent use of natural botanical remedies will effectively cleanse and detoxify a diseased body, reversing it to its intended alkaline state." -Dr. Sebi

Woohoo! My saliva is alkaline lol. Here's a snapshot of the PH saliva test I just took.


(The color change to the right marks where you fall on the PH scale).

As the picture shows, the ideal area you want to fall under is anywhere from 6.5 to 7.5. Anything less than that is too acidic.

Testing your urine is said to be more effective. I just did mine and it was also alkaline. Wouldn't it be funny if it came back acidic? lol. With all the mess I talk about eating healthy and going alkaline lmao.

These PH tests are a great way to determine how alkaline you really are. Can't preach about living well and have acid flowing within and from your body. As Dr. Sebi said, disease can only exist where there is an acidic environment. Eat more alkaline forming foods and kiss your diseases away.

You can pick up these PH strips at your local health food store for around $17.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Get Your Glow On - Part 2


The trainer at my new job has this great skin. I noticed it as soon as he walked into the room. I've never seen anyone with skin like that, the brother literally glowed. I wanted to ask him what his eating habits were so bad but it's not exactly PC so I decided not to. Thankfully on our break our conversation diverted to my eating habits. It's so funny how people who are health conscious can almost telepathically spot one another, never fails. Turns out that for about a month he's been drinking kangen water from the same source that my mother gets hers from (this guy who gives away gallons of it at a nearby Amish market).

The first time I drank it, I immediately felt the difference. Besides the extremely clean and crisp taste, I felt truly hydrated in a way I never had before. That night I slept so soundly and woke up feeling super light and energized. I fell in love with the stuff from then on.

When I asked the trainer what differences he had noted since he started drinking it, he also mentioned the sounder sleep benefit and a whole lot of others. He was sold and so am I. I mean it has to be something if I could spot his skin from across the room lol. After all, our skin does tend to give great insight into the overall state of our health.

Kangen water, for those who don't know is alkaline water. Water with a significantly higher PH level than traditional bottled sources, and definitely higher than tap water. They do sell alkaline water at health food stores but I haven't had any that compare to this one and I've tried about 5 or 6  different brands.

When our body is in a state of alkalinity we don't get sick because the corrosive/damaging roll that acid plays on our insides is greatly diminished.

The filter itself goes for about $3800 so I'll have to wait a little while to get it (I'm about to get a Blendtec woohoo lol). But it's such a worthwhile investment. Might seem like a lot, but really what's worth more than your health?

(All alkaline water is not created equally, so be sure to look for the Kangen name).

The Food Addiction


We all have our bad habits. Those things that we do despite knowing that they're not exactly the best things to do. Yep, we do them regardless, perhaps thinking that we're granted some sort of amnesty for cumulative good behavior in other areas, or perhaps because we don't care about the ramifications. Either way, we all have them in some way, shape, or form. Be it alcohol, gambling, sex, recreational drug use, or food. This being a food, health and wellness blog you should already know where I'm going with this ;)

I have a theory when it comes to food addictions. Let's face it, most people aren't addicted to salads, it's the fries, pizza, soda and nachos that call our name overall, moreso than the fruits and greens. But why is that? There are many published studies charting the reasons why we are addicted to the foods that we are. Refined sugar creating subtle to severe dependencies, causing similar cravings to carbohydrates (which in turn eventually break down to become sugar as well), even pathogenic yeast tricking our body into feeling the need to consume exactly what it needs to survive, these scientific findings are fascinating stuff. But let's break down the food addiction into simpler terms.

A whole lot of people are addicted to junk food. I love the term emotional eating because it describes the behavior of so many. We're upset, we eat, we're stressed, we eat, we're bored, we eat. But like I said, it's usually the salty, sugary, starchy items that top the food craving list. 

My theory is that these foods provide the greatest sensory diversion. Strong, bold and heavy flavors, of which no salad can match (not initially at least lol). Unnatural of course, but mentally grabbing nonetheless. We become consumed in these moments of eating with the food and food alone. If we're hurting, we momentarily feel soothed. If something is bothering us, we temporarily find reprieve. That food is so good to us in the beginning, hence the term "comfort food".

I'm not even going to go into why this practice is detrimental. I think we all know that this is a temporary fix and only clouds the true issue that we're trying to suppress. But it does help to discuss the causes of our various food fixations and to go within and find your own personal reasons. 

Without investigation of the "why's", we will never arrive at the "how's" (i.e. how to change our current habits into something better). 

So everyone's off the hook today lol. No big spiel, just some more food for thought ;) 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Raw Walnut Milk


Walnuts are so good for you. Alkaline forming, rich in fatty acids, great for the heart, blood circulation, proper bone health, anti-cancer...The ground hulls of black walnuts are also a great naturopathic remedy for microbial and parasitic infections. Walnuts are a must have in your pantry.

Just finished two full glasses. I don't like walnuts alone (bleh!) but this came out even better than my homemade almond milk. I put the vanilla bean stalk on the side trying to be all fancy lol but I actually didn't add any vanilla beans to it. But just in the time I took to snap this, the vanilla flavor had seeped in quite a bit.

I took two handfuls of raw walnuts (soaked overnight as always, deactivating enzyme inhibitors), a handful of deglet dates (those are the thinner, drier ones), 1 hass avocado, 1 banana and water to fill 3/4 of my blender (up to about the 50 ounce mark).

Yum yum yuuuum! My creamiest concoction yet. LOL. Ok that sounded gross but you know what I mean ;)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Stress Response


Stress is as much a physical response as it is an emotional one. When we're "stressed out" the blood leaves our extremities and flows to our heart and lungs where it perceives the body will need it most (in preparation for action). This dates back to the primordial fight or flight response.

When stress occurs, the body also releases the cortisol hormone which can negatively affect your health. Heightened cortisol levels can lead to glucose imbalances, improper brain functioning, hypertension, thyroidism and weight gain (to name a few). Eventually taking its toll on the heart, respiratory, immune, nervous system and much more.

So you see, it really does pay to breathe your way through traffic, or that rude counter clerk in the check out line. It's not only about being zen for zen sake, it's about arriving at a state of greater peace, so we can live free from the physical toll that stress inevitably inflicts on every aspect of our body.