Healthy Living

Looking for a way to transform your lifestyle into a healthier one? We have some quick ways to get started as well as tips on implementing more difficult yet more rewarding health transitions into your life.

15 Health Hacks that Take 15 Seconds or Less

15 Health HacksYou’ve heard the saying that it takes 21 days to develop a healthy habit, but this length of time can seem daunting when you’re committing to cooking from scratch or going on a daily run. Even the most time-crunched can get one small step closer to being healthier though – try these 15 health hacks that take only 15 seconds to implement in your daily routine.

1. Set an alarm: use your phone to set a reminder to get up, walk, stretch or grab a glass of water at work.

2. Take a multivitamin: it only takes a moment but it can provide the vitamins and minerals you may need to support your goal of overall good health.

3. Get your heart pumping: take a 15-second break every day to see how many jumping jacks or squats you can do.

4. Hydrate: water plays a huge role in flushing out toxins your body gathers throughout the day.

5. Seek inspiration: turn to your favourite inspirational quotes for a daily dose of motivation.

6. Track your food: take a few seconds after every meal to jot down what you ate — you may see patterns that can help you make more thoughtful dietary choices.

7. Close your eyes: eyestrain is more common than you think. Take a moment to close your eyes and take a break from your computer.

8. Build your strength: planking or doing sit-ups for just 15 seconds a day can help strengthen your core.

9. Consider your posture: every time an email comes into your inbox, sit back and adjust your posture.

10. Take a stand in meetings: more casual discussions can be done over a walk or standing at a tall table.

11. Step up: take the stairs rather than the escalator or elevator.

12. Breathe deeply: pause, breathe deeply and open windows for fresh air.

13. Snack wisely: don’t open a package — wash a fruit.

14. Add intensity: add a 15-second burst of activity, like a sprint or power squats to your usual workout routine.

15. There’s an app for that: downloading a step-tracking app takes just a moment and will get you moving more often.

Print these tips or keep them handy on your smart phone as a reminder to make healthier choices throughout your day.

5 Tips For Healthy Living

Fast asleepFeel like you don’t have as much energy as you used to? Stressed out about things that happen both at work and in your personal life? Want to lose the five extra pounds that have taken up residence on your hips? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may need a lesson in healthy living.

The average person spends two thirds of their life either at work, working at home or thinking about work. The majority of the remaining time is spent sleeping. So what can you do in your waking hours to make sure you’re living the healthiest lifestyle possible? We have the answers:

1. Eliminate Stress. Eliminating undue stress can be one of the hardest things to accomplish in your daily routine. On the other hand, it also has the biggest impact on your life. Ever heard the saying ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’? It’s time to put those words into action. And if you still can’t beat the blues, try lighting some candles and taking a bath, planning a day at the health spa, working out or reading a book. These are all known to be effective measures in relieving stress.

2. Quit Smoking. If you’ve taken up the not-so-flattering (not to mention, unhealthy) habit of smoking, we strongly urge you to try quitting. And while we realize that doing so may up your stress levels for a short period of time, the long term effects on your health will be worth it in the end.

3. Eat Healthy. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet will work wonders for your health and will improve your overall energy. Eating green vegetables, fruit and the appropriate portions of meat and dairy combined with drinking lots of water and milk (to strengthen bones) will not only help you lose those extra pounds but will make you feel like a million bucks as well.

4. Exercise. Working out on a consistent basis will also make you look and feel better. Exercising (whether it’s at a gym or in your home) will increase energy, relieve stress and leave you looking damn good. Who’s going to say no to that?

5. Stay Informed. Health education is a great way to learn about new ways to stay healthy. Watching health channels on television (preferably while running on a treadmill) or reading a health magazine (you know, to relieve some stress) will help make sure you know what’s going on in the industry.

Now that you know the plan, it’s time to put it in action. Good luck – and stay healthy!

5 Signs You’re Leading an Unhealthy Lifestyle

Leading a healthy lifestyle is something that many people strive for.

Countless hours in the gym and an unsatisfyingly healthy diet are two great ways to achieve the type of lifestyle that will earn you praise from your doctor. But if being healthy is that easy, why are so many North Americans unhealthy?

The answer to that question is this: It’s easy to know what it takes to lead a healthy life, the difficult part is following through on exactly what it is you need to do to get there.

If you’re not sure whether you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we suggest finding out if any of the following statements apply to you:

1. Your cigarette intake outweighs your vitamin intake.
2. You’re more likely to chug a beer than a glass of water.
3. You’d prefer watching a 6-hour marathon of Desperate Housewives to a half-hour workout at the gym.
4. When asked which you prefer more, a home-cooked meal or a McDonald’s Big Mac, you respond with “the Big Mac, of course – with supersized fries.”
5. You’d rather stay up until 4 o’clock in the morning (on a work night) playing Halo 3 than getting some well-needed rest for the next day.

If any (or all) of these statements apply to you, chances are you’re leading an unhealthy lifestyle. Here are a few small changes you can make in your daily life to improve your health:

1. Quit Smoking.
2. Drink lots of water.
3. Exercise.
4. Eat Healthy.
5. Get lots of rest.

You don’t have to change your whole world to accommodate your healthy lifestyle. A few small changes can make a huge difference. How about having one glass of wine a night instead of three? How about walking to the store to get some milk instead of always driving? These are small adjustments that will have a huge, long-term impact on your well-being.

So go on, indulge in that Big Mac meal with super-sized fries every now again – just plan to spend the rest of the week working it off!

5 Steps to Building a Happy (And Healthy) Family

coupleOnce you’ve decided have children, being a good parent becomes the single most important part of your life. As a parent, you’re shaping a human being and everything you do will now have a direct impact on your children.

Fostering a healthy living environment is the best way to ensure your family remains happy and healthy for years to come.

Follow these five easy steps to family success:

1. Plan Family Activities. A family that plays together, stays together. Okay, that may sound a little cliché, but it’s true. Whether they’re babies, toddlers or teenagers, kids love getting out of the house and doing something fun. Planning annual vacations, playing sports together (mini golfing, bowling etc.) and having weekly movie nights are all great ways to make the most of the time your family spends together.

2. Be a Parent and a Friend. When it comes to your children, you’ll need to find a balance between being their enforcer and their friend. While it’s your job to make certain rules, it’s also your job to instill a trusting relationship with your children (especially when they hit their teenage years) so they feel comfortable coming to you when they need help. If your children are being honest with you (even if you don’t like what they’re telling you), make sure you tell them how much you appreciate their openness.

3. Teach Your Children about Sex Education. Sexual education can be an awkward topic between parents and children. And, while schools are doing a great job of teaching children about sexual health, it’s still your job as a parent to discuss these issues with your kids. When the time is right, talking to your children about condoms and birth control and teaching them about the importance of safe sex will help to eliminate some of their concerns and may prevent unwanted situations from arising in the future.

4. Present a United Front. If you and your husband/wife are still together, it’s important to present a united front to your children. This means keeping your personal conflicts away from your children and agreeing on decisions that are made. If you argue in front of your children, they know they can play the two of you against each other. This will cause even more conflict and will result in a dysfunctional family environment.

5. Reward Good Behavior. When your children do something good (regardless of their age), it’s important to reward their behavior and acknowledge that you’ve noticed their actions. Sometimes it’s so easy to focus on the bad behavior and the punishment that we forget to reward the good stuff. Positive reinforcement is always a great parenting technique and will help your children grow up to be the nurturing, respectful adults every parent hopes for.


Adella Klein is an expert on Healthy Living. When she’s not speaking within the community to promote Women’s Health issues, she’s contributing her knowledge and expertise to

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10 Expert Health Tips That Simplify Holistic Living

Almonds(BPT) – Diet fads, new workout regimens, exotic health supplements – every day, people are inundated with headlines about health trends. Out of the clutter and confusion a new, arguably more sensible, health movement is gaining traction: holistic living.

Taking a holistic health approach means looking at your overall wellness from a big picture perspective. That means you take thoughtful steps to better your mental and physical health while doing things that bring you joy.

Wellness expert and culinary nutritionist Katie Cavuto embraces holistic living and believes the best path to health is to look at each person’s journey through a broad lens. In honor of Almond Day 2016, she offers her 10 best tips to help anyone get started living healthier by prioritizing mind, body and earth benefits.

1. Savor each bite.
Take time to delight in the eating experience. Doing so helps you feel more satisfied with smaller portions of your favorite foods. Slow down to notice flavors, textures and changes as you chew each morsel.

2. Embrace mindful snacking.
Focusing the mind is nearly impossible when hunger strikes. Almonds are the perfect portable snack to stave off hunger. Forget bland snacking by trying a new flavor of almonds to energize your taste buds.

3. Shift your intentions around food.
Instead of focusing on dieting and will power, focus your energy on creating a nourishing, nutrient-dense plate of whole foods, and find bliss in your intention to care for yourself.

4. Try new nutrient-dense ingredients.
From almond butter to almond milk, almond flour to whole almonds, there are many ways to incorporate almonds into your daily snacks and meals to ensure you’re consuming adequate amounts of key nutrients. Get easy ideas for wholesome meals and snacks at

5. Snack for heart health.
Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat.

6. Eat with gratitude.
Gratitude practices can bring happiness. The same can be said for creating joyful eating experiences. Shared meals with loved ones can be uplifting and provide a positive boost to any day.

7. Create convenience foods.
Resist unhealthy vending machine temptations by preparing wholesome convenience foods. For example, just one serving of almonds contains 6 grams of protein. Keep servings in your car, gym bag, purse or office so you have a crave-worthy, crunchy snack on hand at all times.

8. Grow something.
Growing your own food is healthy and rewarding. Indoor container gardens are easy to maintain all year. Plus, the presence of plants in the home can improve air quality while reducing stress and anxiety.

9. Preplan breakfast.
Ensure you have time for this essential meal by preparing breakfast foods ahead of time. Make smoothie packets and store them in the freezer, or blend up a smoothie the night before. Add a scoop of almond butter to create a more satisfying meal.

10. Embrace Meatless Monday
Become part of the “Meatless Monday” movement and incorporate plant-based proteins, like almonds into your meals. Plant-based proteins often contain good, unsaturated fats that offer many health benefits.

Try this recipe to kick off your holistic living efforts with a burst of refreshing flavors:

Cucumber Salad with Lemon Almond Dressing
Serves 4-6


2 tablespoon almond butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup olive oil
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1-2 tablespoons of water
Salt and pepper


In a blender, combine all of the ingredients for the dressing.

In a bowl, toss the cucumber with ¼ cup of the dressing. Garnish with almonds.

5 Ways to Ensure a Healthier Heart

Healthier HeartHeart failure is a growing epidemic in Canada, according to a new report from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

This debilitating condition, which has no cure, is the end result of most heart disease. About 50,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed in Canada each year.

Because heart failure results from the damage caused by heart attacks and other disease, the best way to protect yourself is by reducing your risk of heart disease in the first place.

These tips can get you started on the right path:

Keep your diet simple. Eat a healthy, balanced diet that consists of a variety of natural/whole and minimally processed foods, including plenty of vegetables and fruit, a variety of protein sources including lower fat dairy and alternatives, lean meat, poultry and fish, and whole grains. Avoid highly processed foods.

Planning makes perfect. Plan your meals each week and make a list before heading to the grocery store. Cook healthy meals in bigger batches and freeze them.

Sip smart. Reach for water or lower fat plain milk (2% MF or less) when you’re thirsty. Skip sugar-loaded beverages including soft drinks, fruit drinks and specialty teas and coffees; they’re high in added sugar with no nutritional value.

Find what moves you. No need to go to a gym, just do whatever you enjoy – any activity can have a positive impact. And remember, if you are pressed for time, you can work in activity in 10-minute bouts.

Mix it up. Try new foods such as a new fruit or vegetable each time you shop, and choose a new recipe to try each week. Vary your exercise as well: yard work one day, an exercise class the next, and a ski or bike ride after that. Play in the park with the kids or take a walk with a friend or neighbour.

Additional information is available at, where you can also donate to the foundation online.

How to Recognize a Heart Attack

Heart AttackYour heart needs a constant supply of blood to keep beating. When that flow is blocked for any reason, the result is a heart attack.

Thousands of Canadians die from heart attacks each year because they don’t receive medical treatment fast enough. Recognizing the signs of a heart attack could save your life or that of someone you love.

The signs of a heart attack can vary from person to person and they may not always be sudden or severe. Keep in mind that although chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom in both men and women, some people do not feel chest pain. And, some people may experience only one symptom, while others have a combination of the following:

• Chest discomfort (uncomfortable chest pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, burning or heaviness)

• Discomfort in other areas of the upper body (neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, back)

• Shortness of breath

• Sweating

• Nausea

• Light-headedness

If you experience any of those signs, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately, or have someone call for you.

When heart attack strikes, getting medical help quickly may not just save your life, it can also reduce the damage to your heart muscle – damage that can eventually lead to heart failure.

More information is available at

Menstrual Health – Eliminate PMS and Enjoy Easier Periods

winter bikingAs a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner specializing in Women’s Health, many of the women that come to my practice have menstrual imbalances resulting in painful periods, pre-menstrual syndrome, lack of periods, irregular cycles, uterine cysts and fibroids. For all menstrual issues, there are certain preventative measures to be taken in order to enjoy a smoother period. I have to say that regular acupuncture treatments and a customized herbal formula can have amazing results. Women start to have pain-free periods with minimal pre-menstrual symptoms. With support, women no longer dread their cycles and actually experience them with ease.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine we recommend specific lifestyle changes to be made especially around the menses. My approach is to see this as a time to honor our bodies. Menses is a reminder of this beautiful capacity to reproduce.

First things first, you need to keep track of your cycle. Note the day your menstrual cycle begins on a calendar. Day One of your menses is considered the first day that bleeding begins. By keeping track of your cycle, you can be more connected to your body and your natural hormonal shifts. You can find out how many days between cycles, when ovulation is expected, and when to prepare for the coming cycle.

Generally, fourteen days before your menstrual cycle is when ovulation occurs. Some women experience some lower abdominal cramping, fatigue, or emotional sensitivity around this time. Keeping track of your cycle will allow you to know what to expect. From ovulation until bleeding begins is considered pre-menstrual time. Some women being to experience pre-menstrual symptoms beginning with ovulation, others have symptoms from one to ten days before their menses. Others have no pre-menstrual symptoms at all.

Pre-menstrual symptoms can include breast tenderness, bloating, mild cramping, headaches/migraines, fatigue, food cravings, low libido, insomnia, emotional fluctuations including anger, anxiety, irritability, depression, sadness, and weepiness. All of these symptoms are considered to be affected by the Liver organ in Chinese Medicine. With acupuncture, herbs, diet, and lifestyle changes, we focus on “smoothing” the Liver to have a smoother menstrual experience.

Menses should not be seen as a time for “business as usual.” Rather, it is an opportunity to tune into your body. This is a time to slow down and be gentle with yourself. For some, this might mean canceling regular appointments and commitments in order to do less. In general, you do want more time for rest and this will mean adjusting your schedule whenever possible. Take the time to pamper yourself by taking warm baths and getting more sleep. Schedule a massage the week before your period. This is especially helpful for those who get menstrual headaches and muscle tightness before menses.

Menstruation is a reminder of our ability to create life. Honor this by being more creative at this time of the month. Journal, draw, paint, write, sing, dance, and undertake other creative endeavors for fun and joy.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine we always warn against cold. Cold contracts muscles and slows down circulation. During menses, we want the body to have proper warmth in order to promote circulation. This means that you should avoid overexposure to cold and damp environments. Keep properly bundled up with warm clothing in cold weather. Also avoid eating cold foods including anything with ice – ice cold drinks, ice cream, ice cold popsicles, and frozen fruit smoothies. We also consider raw vegetables to be cold, so eat steamed vegetables instead of salads. Dairy products, including yogurt, cottage cheese and kefir, should not be eaten straight from the fridge, but rather after they have warmed up to room temperature (around 1/2 hour out of the fridge). This is a general recommendation in Chinese Medicine, however it is strongly recommended to avoid cold foods before and during your period. This is a great time for soups and warm teas. For those who experience menstrual cramps, a hot water bottle can be used nightly for a week before menses begins to help warm the uterus and prevent blood stagnation. The hot water bottle will offer soothing relief for cramps as well.

We also want to avoid heavy physical activity before and during the the period. Moderate exercise is often helpful to ease premenstrual symptoms, but extreme amounts of physical activity will deplete the body and create hormone imbalances. So before and during your menses do more stretching, yoga, tai chi, and other relaxing, gentle movements.

Also to integrate in daily life, but especially important before and during menses are breathing exercises. Take slow breaths deep into the lower abdomen, relax your shoulders and neck, and calm the mind. If you have thoughts that come up, just let them gently go. You can listen to relaxing music, you can repeat a positive intention, or just follow your breath as you breathe in and out. Practice this for 10-20 minutes daily. Even just five of these breaths in the middle of your day will produce a significant healing effect.

As for dietary recommendations, avoid alcohol, coffee, and refined flours and refined sugars. Eat whole unprocessed foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruit, eggs, beans, nuts, organic whole-fat dairy, and meat from animals on pasture (grass-fed). Make sure that the animal products are from hormone-free sources. Most dairy and meat contain artificial hormones that have been fed to the animals to increase production. Not only is this inhumane to the animals, you will then consume these artificial hormones thus disrupting your own natural hormones. I also don’t recommend soy due to the estrogenic quality which will disrupt your own hormone balance. Fermented soy in small amounts is usually not problematic- including miso, tempeh, and soy sauce. Other foods such as edamame, soy milk, tofu, and any artificial meat substitute should be strictly avoided.

Eat regular meals at regular times, and eat snacks if needed. Keeping blood sugars stable will help regulate hormones. Eating good quality nutritious meals and snacks will help keep blood sugar stable. Eating enough protein through meat, eggs, nuts, cheese, dairy foods and beans will help. Minimizing processed sugar and refined flour products will also help reduce spikes in your energy level.

Healthy fats are very important for hormonal balance. Avoid fried foods and foods containing partially hydrogenated fats (also know as trans fats). Fermented cod liver oil, fish oil, flax oil, hemp seed oil, walnuts, fatty fish (sardines, wild salmon, mackerel), egg yolks from pastured chickens, and grass fed meat (with the fat) provide healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Gamma-Linoleic acid, a form of omega 6, can often be very helpful to balance hormones. I recommend 1,000 mg per day (500mg 2 x a day or 1000 mg per day) of Evening Primrose Oil taken 2 weeks before menses is expected to help balance hormones. With Evening Primrose oil, women often experience a decrease in premenstrual symptoms such as breast tenderness, mood swings, headaches, and cramping. B vitamins are very helpful. Foods rich in B vitamins include fermented foods, tuna, turkey, beef, brown rice, wheat, rye, lentils, peas, bananas, and cabbage.

Finally avoid plastics and chemicals in general. Certain plastics, especially #7 plastics contain chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body; thereby causing hormone imbalances. In general, chemicals will affect the entire proper functioning of your body and will indirectly affect your hormone levels. Choose organic and natural cleaning products, body care products, and minimize your exposure to chemicals. Choose glass or stainless steel water bottles and food storage containers.

I invite you to try these recommendations to balance your hormones and enjoy easier periods.


Daniela Freda, MS TCM, Dipl. OM, is a California Licensed Acupuncturist with a private practice in San Francisco. I am passionate about holistic medicine and I empower all of my patients with tools to live a healthy, balanced life. Visit my website at to learn more about me and my practice.

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Winter Health According to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Winter Dog RunThe winter is a time for hibernation. Our bodies want to slow down, our energy is a little lower, we want to sleep more, we want warm, heartier foods. Leaves are falling, animals are hibernating, plants are underground, nighttime comes sooner. How can we be in harmony in the Winter? By recognizing and accepting our connection to nature. The answer is around us.

In Chinese Medicine, Winter is the season of the Kidney organ. The Kidneys house the root of our energy – the energetic fire that activates all our body’s functions. The cold weather drives this “fire” deeply inward, where the body can conserve this energy so it is important to protect ourselves from cold. Make sure to protect the lower back area where the Kidneys are located. Wear lots of layers- a scarf, hat, and gloves. Protect yourself from the wind, especially wind hitting the back of your neck and your lower back.

The foods to eat are the ones that naturally grow in the Winter. Squashes, root vegetables, winter greens, mushrooms, apples, pears and citrus fruits. Foods harvested in the fall and dried for the winter include nuts, beans and grains. Fermented vegetables are a naturally preserved food that are wonderful to add beneficial enzymes and healthy bacteria to our diet. In the Winter our body needs warm foods- so soups made from vegetables and rich stocks made from animal bones are nourishing in this season. Drink warm herbal teas throughout the day to keep warm. As for cooking methods, it is best to bake, roast, stew and slow-cook foods in the Winter. Warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom are delicious to add to recipes. In Traditional Chinese Medicine we don’t recommend very hot spicy food in the Winter because these foods create sweating, which is actually a cooling process. However, a small pinch of hot spice helps increase circulation, which is beneficial. So, add a small amount of pepper and other flavorful spices for taste, but avoid lots of hot spices.

Specific foods to nourish and warm the Kidneys include black beans, kidney beans, bone broths, lamb, chicken, walnuts, chestnuts, black sesame seeds and dark leafy greens. A small amount of unrefined sea salt added to home-cooked foods is also helpful since the taste associated with the Kidney organ is “salty.” Choose Celtic sea salt, french fleur de sel, and himalayan salt which contain beneficial minerals. Seaweeds also provide a salty quality when cooked in soups, grains and beans. Remember that we are always looking for balance. If we eat overly salty, high sodium foods from packaged, canned and restaurant foods, we will damage the kidneys from excess salt. So, we need to maintain moderation.

In the Winter it is healthiest to consume very little raw foods and definitely avoid cold temperature foods. The Winter is not the time for smoothies with frozen fruit and ice or for cold milk with cereal in the morning. Instead, eat warm grain porridges, eggs when available, toasted bread, and even warm soups. Iced foods and drinks are best avoided. Instead of cold, raw salads make delicious cooked salads with greens, roasted vegetables, and a flavorful dressing. My personal favorite is a salad of roasted kabocha squash slices on a bed of sauteed dino kale. I eat this warm topped with a homemade lemony tahini dressing. Instead of sugary cold ice cream for dessert, I suggest baked apples and pears with cinnamon. You can add a drizzle of raw honey if you need some more sweetness.

Satisfy Winter cravings for fats by eating healthy fats instead of fried and packaged/processed foods. Eat fattier cuts of meat from local, grass-fed animals which contain a healthier balance of Omega 3 fats than grain-fed animals. Add whole fat organic coconut milk to soups, stews and curries. Organic butter, ghee, olive oil, and coconut oil are stable fats to include in the diet. Ghee is clarified butter which is made by gently heating butter to separate protein solids from fat. This process removes the lactose and casein and leaves just butter fat, so it works well for most dairy-sensitive individuals. Ghee is a healing food in Ayurvedic medicine and is wonderful to cook with and add to recipes. Make sure your butter and ghee are from cows that have been grass-fed in order for these fats to be healthful. To help digest fats, eat sauerkraut (eat this at room temperature instead of straight from the refrigerator) or other fermented vegetable with your food. Bitter leafy greens also help in the digestion of these heavier foods.

Winter is a time to slow down in all aspects of life. It is healthy to respect our need for more sleep. “Early to bed and late to rise” is the key to Winter. Winter is a time for introspection and planning, but not thinking too much. It’s a time to replenish our reserves through rest. Spring is the time for new ideas and manifesting our ideas into action. Winter is a time for staying home and resting- a time for our social life to be less active. It is recommended for physical activity to be less strenuous and intense. If you enjoy outdoor physical activity, wear layers, and protect yourself from the cold air. In Chinese Medicine, we always think about balance. If we stop moving completely, we can cause stagnation in which our energy doesn’t move properly. To prevent stagnation, we need to maintain balance. Social connections, activity and exercise are still important. If you are feeling overly tired and unmotivated, I suggest scheduling a Chinese Medicine consultation and acupuncture treatment to help move stagnant energy.

In order to experience the lively, dynamic energy of the spring (the time of re-birth), it is important for our bodies to slow down and experience our roots in winter (the metaphorical death). When we are in harmony with the seasons, we are naturally healthier.


Daniela Freda, MS TCM, Dipl. OM, is a California Licensed Acupuncturist with a private practice in San Francisco. I am passionate about holistic medicine and I empower all of my patients with tools to live a healthy, balanced life. Visit my website at to learn more about me and my practice.

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Supporting Women’s Health and Happiness with Flower Essences

Flower EssencesMany folks have heard of the famous ‘Rescue Remedy’, a blend of flower essences designed to reduce the stress of the user in tense or traumatic situations – and this formula works wonders for many people. Beyond this remedy, popular knowledge of flower essences is somewhat limited. The scope of flower essence therapy is actually extremely wide, with remedies addressing a great variety of psychological, emotional and spiritual states. Here we’ll have a look at flower essences addressing ‘conditions’ shared by many women – remedies that may help you become more comfortable with your feminine ‘power’ and help you truly shine within and without!

First, a little primer on flower essences – What are they and how do they work? Imagine the brilliance of a fresh flower in bloom; it’s lovely colors and vibrancy. Each flower has it own vibration, so to speak. The size, the shape, the color, the season in which it blooms, how often and for how long, etc. (Here, to get a little more esoteric, western science and eastern philosophy consider that all matter is pure energy – we simply perceive it as solid. One form of matter is distinguished from another by the vibrational pattern of the energy, which holds true when comparing one flower to another). A flower essence is really specially prepared sun flower tea. Water, it turns out, is very ‘imprintable’ with vibration, and thus can store the vibrational pattern of a flower. What does this mean for us humans? Well, each emotional or psychological pattern has a unique vibration, too. Flower essences have the ability to help us transform emotional or psychological patterns that may be holding us back or making us unhappy, into new, healthy patterns of living by infusing our energy with the beauty and energy of a particular flower (or flowers) suited to our condition. Here are a few essences which may help the divine feminine in reaching it’s potential within you.

Alpine Lily Flower Essence: This remedy can support the acceptance of the female body, allowing the spirited female soul to truly inhabit their earthly body. Through signals from our culture or from their family, women may be uncomfortable with their bodies, perhaps rejecting the strictly feminine aspects as ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’. This can lead to inner conflict, emotional distress, and eventually in the physical manifestation of a disease. Alpine Lily strengthens the confidence of the feminine spirit in the female body, allowing a blossoming of feminine radiance in this earthly incarnation.

Pomegranate Flower Essence: This remedy supports the expression of warm hearted feminine creativity at home or in the world. It has been used as an important remedy for nearly all ‘women’s issues’, clearing negative emotions. This clearing can have dramatic effects where health issues are involved, as we now know the emotional state is closely tied to physical health. Pomegranate is also used as an aphrodisiac for women, alleviating insecurity related to one’s sexual self. This allows confident connection to the sexual chakra, allowing freedom of expression through this channel. Pomegranate is thought to accentuate all aspects of femininity; visualizing feminine confidence may be useful when taking the essence to reveal it’s full effect.

Hibiscus Flower Essence: Hibiscus can support return to a healthy state of heart and mind for women who have been sexually traumatized. It may also be of great benefit to the modern woman who has consciously or unconsciously absorbed the negative impressions of dehumanized sexuality. The flower is a great expression of beauty – the essence brings a flowing warmth through the body and soul, particularly healing to repressed or damaged sexual psychology.

Beech Flower Essence: One of the original 38 flower essences developed by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1930’s, Beech supports tolerance and acceptance of others by allowing one’s own self-confidence to unfold. Often, if one has grown up in an environment of criticism and harsh expectation they feel inwardly vulnerable and insecure. This is often expressed later in life through harsh speech and critism of others. Beech can also lessen the oversensitivity someone growing up in such an environment may have, tending to continue being overcritical of themselves – as above, this in turn will lessen reflecting this onto others.

Sunflower Flower Essence: Sunflower may bring a bright, strong sense of individuality, and allow this individual persona to shine forth in the world. It is often used as a remedy where the relationship with the father figure in one’s life has been difficult, resulting in a repression of one’s joy and light. Sunflower will also bring balance where insecurity instead manifests through self-glory and aggrandizement. Here, sunflower brings out the quality of warmth and loving compassion. In general, sunflower heals a woman’s distortion’s or disturbances in their relationship to the masculine, often associated with a conflicted relationship with their father in childhood.

While these essences are some of those often used by women for their healing, there are many others. Guides are available on the internet and in print to help you find other flower remedies that may support your particular condition. Flower essences are safe, and not contraindicated with any medical treatment, and may be an effective adjunct by healing one’s emotions or psyche. This can support the most important component of natural health and wellness – the power of a positive mind and happy heart.


Misty Rae Cech, ND is a degreed naturopath with a professional practice in Boulder, Colorado, with a focus on women’s health. She is the owner of the The Ananda Apothecary, a resource for a wide range of flower essences, essential oils, therapeutic blends and aromatherapy supplies.

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Strengthen Your Immune System with Essential Oils

Essential OilsThe true medical aromatherapists around the globe tell us time and time again: the most effective use of essential oils for health is the combating of infectious illness. Aromatherapy in the US is still mostly relegated to support of the psyche – which it does quite well – but study after study continues to confirm the antibacterial and antiviral effects of essential oils, along with their great compatibility with human physiology. Many protocols (detailed instructions) have been translated and published from the European medical aromatherapy literature – information which you can personally incorporate into your own natural health and wellness program.

For the uninitiated, essential oils are the volatile aromatic compounds distilled from plants. They are the chemicals that give plants their smell; the luscious aroma of a rose or the sharp scent of peppermint. Plants use these chemicals for, among other things, defense from invaders such as bacteria, fungus and viruses. Each plant’s oils have a unique makeup as a result of the plant’s own physiology, natural environment, and its potential microbial invaders. Because of their chemical structure, essential oils are easily absorbed into the human body, passing through cell membranes, then further on into the bloodstream due to their ‘lipophillic’ nature (a structure in alignment with the lipid components of our cell walls). Essential oils can protect us from microbes in many different ways, from keeping the space around us naturally microbe-free, to readying our immune system for defense, to actually destroying the microbes once they’ve entered our bodies.

The first line of defense is keeping your environment cleansed by diffusing essential oils in the air. Get a little nervous when friends or co-workers have a sneezing or coughing fit? Here’s an excellent defense tactic – diffuse one or more of the powerful yet pleasant smelling antimicrobial oils into your space. Eucalyptus Radiata is probably the most popular for this; it has been referred to as an ‘aromatherapists designer oil’ because of its broad range of immune-supportive effects and its pleasant aroma (that is, if you like the smell of Vick’s Vapor Rub). Other oils used with a little softer scent are Green Myrtle and Ravensara. A very pleasing yet powerful blend can be made using 3 parts clove bud oil, 5 parts lemon oil, 1 and a half parts Eucalyptus Radiata, 1 and a half parts Rosemary Cineol and 2 parts Cinnamon Bark oil. Use this in a cold-air diffuser which makes a fine mist of the oils, dispersing them throughout your environment for best protection.

Beyond your outside environment, it’s important to strengthen your own immune system. Essential oils have been studied for their ability to prevent viruses from actually penetrating our cell walls, keeping bacterial levels in check, and cleansing toxins from our bodies. Of the many oil available, two very notable oils are Niaouli MVQ and Bay Laurel (or Laurel Leaf). Both can be applied directly to the body, though if you encounter any skin sensitivity, dilute the oil or discontinue use. Niaouli is a powerful overall fortifier of the immune system; apply 10-20 drops along the meridians of the body directly after the morning shower when the pores are still open and the skin is soft. This is particularly recommended during the ‘cold and flu season’ to stimulate the body’s natural defense mechanisms. Bay Laurel is of great support to the lymph system; a few drops can be applied to the nodes at the neck or armpits for immediate relief of swollen glands in many cases. Using a few drops on the solar plexus in the same manner as Niaouli described above once or twice a week will also provide general immune system support (Laurel may have sensitizing effects on the skin if used continuously for long periods – do not use more frequently than necessary for best effects).

Once a bacteria or viral infection has set it, treating it with essential oils can be a little more complex. The difficulty lies in finding the proper oil for one’s particular illness, as some oils are excellent against certain microbial strains, though these same oils may not be the right choice in other instances. Prevention with immune stimulant oils as above is best; however, at the very first signs, application of 10-20 drops to the skin of both Eucalyptus Radiata and Bay Laurel essential oils to the skin in the steam of a shower (so that the skin is more porous) is called for. Eucalyptus can be applied to the chest and back, whereas Bay Laurel should be applied directly to the lymph nodes to support the immune response. The vast majority of individuals will have no sensitivity response to such application – if, however, any skin irritation is noted, apply diluted to 5% in a carrier oil such as olive oil hazelnut oils. Green Myrtle can be used in cases of bronchial infection where Eucalyptus may be found to strong an aroma. Ravensara used in the same manner is called for in cases of colds and flu – it can be a stronger antiviral than the above mentioned oils, and has a pleasing aroma.

In general, Eucalyptus Radiata and Globulus, Green Myrtle and Ravensara can be applied to the skin (dilute if any sensitivity is suspected) or used with a diffuser or inhaler to loosen mucus and support the body’s cleansing process. Rosemary Verbenone is indicated for sinusitis and bronchitis – The medical aromatherapy literature indicates this may be inhaled, applied topically in small amounts, or even ingested (with great caution) one drop two or three times daily. Also, one drop of Bay Laurel can be taken internally at the onset of a sore throat, as it directly supports the lymph system in the area.

When choosing your own self-healing methods as part of your overal natural health and wellness program, it is important to choose the proper modality for each situation. Conventional medicine has it’s place, and should absolutely be employed when it will provide the best results. When it comes to common colds, the results have not been so dramatic. Alternative therapies have offered a reasonable solution, and can be effective if used wisely and with discretion. There are many helpful texts available for the use of essential oils as medicines – Advanced Aromatherapy and Medical Aromatherapy, both by Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt, are excellent sources for the intermediate to advanced practitioner. Be aware of your own body’s sensitivity to any essential oil and adjust usage accordingly, and seek professional advice whenever necessary.


The author, Misty Rae Cech, ND is a degreed naturopath with a professional practice in Boulder, Colorado. She is a consultant to Ananda Aromatherapy, a resource for wildcrafted and organic therapeutic grade essential oils and blends, plus a host of information for using aromatherapy in your own life.

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Home Remedies – Eight Common Items With Amazing Healing Properties

ginger and mint teaHome remedies are a marvelous way to ease the pain of headaches, arthritis or rashes without running to the doctor or even the supermarket. The next time you have a cut or burn, or are suffering from varicose veins, consider some of these marvelous items you probably already have in your pantry:

Olive Oil

It’s not just good in food, it’s also great for your health. This marvelous oil is loaded with vitamin E and other antioxidants. The monounsaturated fat in olive oil enhances your brainpower and lowers blood pressure. But even better, a study in Greece found that people who ate fresh vegetables and olive oil were less likely to get rheumatoid arthritis.


Vinegar is great for all sorts of skin ailments, including stings, bites and rashes. Dab it on with a cotton ball or add some to your bath water. The next time you have achy varicose veins, lie down, prop your feet up and lay a cheese cloth soaked with apple cider vinegar on your legs for 30 minutes twice a day. Combat dandruff by rinsing your hair with a mixture of 3 tablespoons of vinegar and a cup of water. Disinfect your counter tops and cutting boards by spraying them with vinegar and then following up with a 3 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide.


It truly is the miracle food, but be sure to find raw, locally produced honey for the best results. It is great for an energy boost. Mix one to three tablespoons of honey in a glass of water and drink it before your next work-out for extra energy. Then have some more water and honey afterwards to help your muscles recuperate. Honey will also boost a chemical in your brain that calms you down, so have honey the next time you are suffering from insomnia. A tablespoon of raw, locally produced honey a day will ease the symptoms of allergy and asthma by helping your body acclimate to the local pollen.

The next time you have diarrhea, fight the dehydration that comes with it by mixing half a teaspoon of honey with a pinch of salt in an eight-ounce glass of fruit juice. Then in a separate glass, stir one fourth of a teaspoon of baking soda in water. Alternate drinking these two beverages until both are gone. The next time you have constipation, mix one to three tablespoons of honey into a glass of warm water and drink it. Also, add honey topically to minor cuts and burns to protect your skin from infection, scarring and swelling. Raw honey will even help prevent tooth decay because it releases hydrogen peroxide and kills bacteria.

Baking Soda

Mix it into a paste with rubbing alcohol and apply to bug bites for quick and easy relief. A baking soda bath will also relieve itching. For indigestion, drink one half cup of water mixed with one half teaspoon of baking soda.


It might not keep away the vampires, but it can prevent clogged arteries. The allicin in garlic helps fight colds and the flu by helping your body get rid of harmful toxins and boosting your immune system. However, if you are taking a blood thinner, check with your doctor before taking garlic.


This is a good headache remedy. Use it in a foot bath to soak your headache away. Add one teaspoon to a plastic basin of water that is as hot as you can stand. Cover the basin with a heavy towel to keep the heat in and soak your feet for fifteen minutes, keeping your eyes closed and your muscles relaxed. For a migraine, add ginger powder to a glass of water. For nausea or seasickness, eat a chunk or two of candied or crystallized ginger every couple of hours. (you can find this in the baking section of most grocery stores). Ginger will also ease the inflammation of arthritis, but like garlic, you don’t want to combine ginger with warfarin or other blood-thinning medications.


I’m fair skinned and have used a tea bath for year to ease sunburn. Brew strong black tea, cool it down with ice and let it soak into your burn. The burn always fades by the next day without peeling. Drinking black tea may also knock out the viruses of colds and flu on contact. The antioxidants in tea will give you stronger bones and helps prevent tooth decay by flushing out the bacteria before it can stick to your teeth. The tannins in tea are an astringent that can tighten your skin, so apply cold, wet tea bags to your eyes to eliminate puffiness.

Witch Hazel

A great mixture to have on hand for bug bites is two drops of peppermint essential oil for every one ounce of witch hazel. Keep this in a cool, dark spot and dab it on your bite to ease the sting and itching. Witch hazel will also ease hemorrhoids. For best results, find it fresh. Boil 5 to 10 heaping teaspoons of finely chopped witch hazel in a cup of water for five or ten minutes, strain, and use as a poultice.


Sue Merriam is author of the website, Organic Gardening and Homesteading.

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Medical Uses of Honey

Today, more and more people are finding out about the medical-uses-of-honey. Why does honey offer you so many health benefits? Simply put, it’s mainly because of its super healthy ingredients. Honey is jam-packed with all kinds of vitamins, minerals and other healthy contents that are beneficial to your overall health.

jar of honey with honeycombAntibacterial Agents

When harmful bacteria enter your body they can often cause so many different kinds of illnesses and health issues, like an ear infection or an urinary tract infection. Antibacterial agents can fight off all kinds of harmful bacteria. Honey also works very well for treating skin abrasions and burns too.


Many people associate antioxidants with fruits and vegetables, but honey also has these beneficial compounds. Antioxidants offer several healing functions for your body. Antioxidants can actually neutralize free radicals. Free radicals have been linked to some cancers. Antioxidants help to heal cells that have been harmed by free radicals or other health issues. In addition, research has shown that antioxidants may protect people from getting other disease and illnesses.

Honey can Reduce Inflammation

Sometimes when a person gets a skin infection the affected area may become swollen and inflamed. Studies have proven that when honey is applied to the wound, the inflammation will be reduced or eliminated, and this can speed up the healing process. Manuka honey has shown to be very effective in treating such skin wounds.

Honey can also be used if you have a sunburn, eczema and acne. Many people reported success in treating their acne with honey. Honey will destroy the bacteria that causes acne and it will also help to reduce the redness associated with acne.

Vitamins and Minerals

Honey contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and C, as well as minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, sulfur, and sodium chloride. All of these are essential for good health and they can help to boost your immune system.

Honey Contains Properties That Your Hair Needs to Stay Healthy

It really does work because honey contains humectant properties which prevent your hair from becoming dry and damaged. The sugar content in honey also helps to prevent moisture loss. Keeping your hair moisturized helps to strengthen your hair follicles. Honey also has strong antioxidant, fungicidal and germicidal properties as well. All of these features also work to prevent hair loss.

The many medical-uses-of-honey of varied and they have helped many people over the centuries. So next time you need something to treat a skin problem or some other health issue think about using some helpful honey.

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