Holiday overeating/overdrinking? Healthy remedies for indigestion!

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Cooking at my sister's house over the weekend!

Cooking at my sister’s house over the weekend!

Whew, what a busy long holiday weekend! I had the kids come back from college, I hosted and cooked Thanksgiving on Thursday, and then went to my sister’s for a big family celebration over the weekend! I ate a lot of food and, by the time I returned home, ended up with a case of indigestion. I used my favorite remedies and feel better now, but then I thought, “Wait! I need to share these remedies with my wonderful readers!” So that’s what I’m going to do today. Especially with two more big “stomach ache” holidays coming up, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I thought it particularly timely to help you avoid stomach discomfort in a healthy way! These remedies are particularly helpful when we occasionally over imbibe in food and drink. So without further ado, here are my top 5 healthy stomachache remedies.

My favorite stomach remedy!

My favorite stomach remedy!

1. Nux Vomica- This is a homeopathic remedy made from the seeds of the strychnos tree and it’s mainly used for nausea, indigestion, and hangovers. It works really well for all of those digestive issues. Use as recommended on the package instructions and DON’T TAKE MORE THAN THE RECOMMENDED DOSAGE AS IT CAN BE TOXIC IF TAKEN AT EXTREMELY HIGH LEVELS. Nux Vomica can be purchased at any health food store. It’s my favorite stomach remedy and has saved my life a number of times! They are tiny pellets that are held under the tongue until dissolved, and they have no flavor which is very helpful when your stomach is upset.

My number 2 stomach remedy!

My number 2 stomach remedy!

2. Sunmark Anti-nausea liquid- The active ingredients in my second favorite stomach remedy are glucose, fructose and phosphoric acid, and it’s effective for “nausea due to stomach upset from flu, food or drink indiscretions”, according to the label and I agree with their assessment of that. You just take one to two tablespoons and don’t drink any liquids before or after because it could dilute the effectiveness of the medicine. It has a pleasant cherry flavor, which goes down well when you’re stomach hurts. I love this anti-nausea liquid and I find it very successful at eliminating my symptoms. This product can be purchased at health food stores.

Works on adults too- teehee! :)

Works on adults too- teehee! 🙂

3. Little Remedies Gripe Water- Don’t be fooled by the label, it’s not just for children but works on people of any age. One day I had a really bad case of indigestion and the only place we had time to stop at was a CVS because we were in a hurry to go somewhere, and there was no health food store near. So I ran in and looked at the stomach remedies and tried to find something that wasn’t full of chemicals, which was very difficult to be honest. I picked up this one on the advice of my significant other (who is a doctor).  I was doubtful since it’s for babies, but it REALLY WORKED WELL! It’s used for colicky babies, but it worked for my tummy too. It works by breaking down the bubbles that cause gas naturally. I have to admit I take a few swigs of it right out of the bottle instead of measuring when I need it so I’d say taking a tablespoon or two would be about right. It’s great!

Love me some peppermint capsules!

Love me some peppermint capsules!

4. Peppermint Capsules- This is one I particularly love and here’s why. These are pure peppermint capsules from Guyer Institute, however you can purchase other brands from health food stores. The EC stands for enteric coated, which is advisable because it helps keep the peppermint oil from being released in the stomach which could cause heartburn and indigestion. Instead it goes to the digestive system where it is released and helps relieve symptoms of gas, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, colds, and flu. This remedy works very well and as a pleasant side benefit it makes your bowel movements smell like peppermint. In other words you will have minty smelling doo doo! That’s definitely not a bad thing! Another way I like to use it is to break a capsule open, squeeze it into my water, and drink my peppermint water. It tastes really great and soothes my stomach too. Now don’t take it this way if you have reflux or esophagus issues because it could upset those conditions. A super healthy remedy!

Ginger gum!

Ginger gum!

5. Sea-Band Anti-Nausea Ginger Gum- Ginger is a long time remedy for gastrointestinal upset- I remember my Mama giving me ginger ale when I was a child with a flu bug. This ginger gum (can be purchased at health food stores) is a healthy way to deliver ginger in a more effective way than drinking an entire can of pop. It definitely has a strong ginger taste, so if you like ginger you’ll love this gum. I’m not a real fan of ginger so I only chew it for a few minutes before spitting it out, but it really helps calm the stomach in a natural way!

So these are some healthy remedies for overeating and overdrinking, which is very typical for this time of year. As always, please consult your physician before utilizing any of these products, especially if you are having severe symptoms for an extended period of time. Make sure to eat and drink safely, and use good judgment always! However, for the inevitable times when you aren’t feeling good, these natural products will definitely help. Using these tummy remedies will help you live a life of vitality- like Valerie!

 

 

 

Good night’s sleep? Don’t sell it cheap!

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Ahhhhhh, for an uninterrupted night of sleep!!

Ahhhhhh, for an uninterrupted night of sleep!!

I’ve been experiencing a few sleepless nights lately. You know those nights when you lie wide awake from 3 to 5 am, and then awaken feeling pretty tired in the morning? Those kinds of nights. Along with feeling tired the next day, I’ve also noticed a loss of concentration which is making the writing of this post much more difficult! So, I started thinking about the importance of a good night’s sleep and what I could do to help my readers (and myself) sleep better at night. This is what I came up with and I hope it helps you, and me!

According to a British study on Health.com, people who are sleep deprived, which is sleeping 5 hours or less per night, are at higher risk for high blood pressure and cardiovascular issues, as well as raising the risk for diabetes, alcoholism, depression, obesity and car accidents. And a study at the University of California-Berkeley determined that to be sleep deprived affects the area of your brain that controls your moods and concentration. I say true dat to that!

The question I wonder is why do we have trouble sleeping from time to time? There are numerous factors that affect ability to sleep. Now I know my college students would agree to the number one factor affecting sleep which is STRESS. If you’ve got a big presentation or test the next day, sleep might be difficult for you that night. Another thing that can disrupt sleep is extreme temperature fluctuations and environmental noise. You know how you can be sleeping and then the room becomes uncomfortably warm or cold and you can’t sleep? I’ve definitely experienced that in my life. Or, you’re sleeping in a hotel room with a noisy air conditioning system and once you awaken you can’t get back to sleep? Yep, that’s happened to me too. Changing work schedule or jet lag can also disrupt your sleep. An additional reason, and the one I think affecting me right now, is hormonal changes due to PMS, menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause (that’s my issue). Yuck!

Oh to be able to sleep like my children, and dogs!

Oh to be able to sleep like my children, and dogs!

So what can you do about this? First, sleep experts recommend establishing a consistent bedtime routine. This is one of the most important factors in sleeping well. That means taking a warm bath before bed, or doing yoga or meditation too. Anything that says to your brain, “relax and get ready for bed” is key here. The next thing is to try to go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time in the morning. This includes weekends too, which isn’t difficult for me because I have my “furry alarm clocks” to awaken me between 7:00-7:30 every morning regardless of the day. Another key factor is to get enough exercise during the day. The more physically active you are, the better you’ll sleep because of the energy you’ve expended. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it could keep you awake at night.

The next key to a good night’s sleep is to cut back on the caffeine, especially in the evening. I can’t drink coffee after dinner or it will keep me awake at night. Definitely not what I want! Limiting alcohol intake can help you sleep better at night too, did you hear that college students? 🙂 Oh and don’t watch tv or do your work on your bed, the bed should be only for sleeping and other relaxing activities. I like to read a “just for fun” book on my kindle to fall asleep, that’s not the time for a weighty political biography. Avoid big meals late in the evening because that can also disrupt your sleep.

The experts say that if you can’t fall asleep within thirty minutes of getting into bed, leave your bed and go do something relaxing until you feel sleepy. Then go back to bed instead of lying there tossing and turning half the night. Another tip is to do what my dad does and get a “white noise” device to block out environmental noises that can disrupt sleep. Here’s another great tip, one way to prevent insomnia is to TAKE A NAP! Yes, I know that doesn’t seem to make sense, especially to my sister, but as I said in my previous post “Nap your way to success”, a short (10 to 20 minutes) nap lying down in a darkened room can help you sleep better at night. I’m definitely going to be doing that this afternoon! Spending time outside is another way to sleep better at night, because exposing yourself to natural light sets your natural rhythms which helps you sleep.

Jac taking a selfie with a sleeping Danielle!

Jac taking a selfie with a sleeping Danielle!

Also, dim the lights for up to an hour before you go to sleep at night. We do this while we are watching tv in the family room before we go to bed. It definitely helps us relax. Last, don’t obsess about not being able to sleep. Remember I said that the biggest reason for insomnia is stress, and the more we worry about falling asleep the more it stresses us so we have trouble falling asleep because of it.

There are natural sleep remedies that I feel are very helpful. Valerian is an herb that has a natural sedative effect and can be found in standardized extracts in health food stores. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the wake/sleep cycle and other biorhythms. It can also be found at health food stores (and in my refrigerator!). It really helps to restore sleep patterns. Supplements that can be helpful are magnesium and calcium which are sleep boosters, especially when taken together. I take a supplement called Cal Mag + by American Biologics, which contains calcium, magnesium and other helpful minerals. I take two before bed, which helps with sleep. L-theanine is an amino acid that comes from green tea and helps keep you calmly alert during the day and more deeply asleep at night. Green tea doesn’t contain enough to boost REM cycles, you need to take a supplement that contains PURE L-theanine and follow the directions on the bottle. I’ve said it before, PLEASE DON’T BUY YOUR SUPPLEMENTS AT A GROCERY STORE OR BIG BOX STORE. Only purchase from a health food store or REPUTABLE pharmacy. Also, aromatherapy can be helpful for sleep and calm, especially lavender. Spritz REAL lavender spray on your pillow before bed, or purchase a lavender filled pillow.

So that’s how to have a good, healthy night’s sleep. I’m going to practice what I’m preaching starting today to make sure my sleep improves. If you’ve got a healthy sleep tip, please feel free to share it with me, or if you try some of mine, let me know if it helps you to sleep better. When you’re well rested it will help you to live a life of vitality- like Valerie!

 

 

 

A Honey Of A Cure!

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I love honey- and it's good for us too!

I love honey- and it’s good for us too!

I have mentioned my love of honey in previous posts. I use honey in my tea and coffee, and I use it in place of sugar in most everything. It’s my sweet go-to every time! However, did you know that honey can actually be used as medicine?! Yes, indeedy! Today I wanted to expand on that to discuss the medicinal uses of honey, in particular Manuka honey. Now, honey has been used since ancient times to treat many different conditions. It contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, and is even thought to stimulate production of special cells in our body that can repair tissue damaged by infection- pretty cool! However, not all honey is created equally, so to speak, and the type of honey that you use matters. The honey thought to be the best for medicinal use is Manuka honey. It is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush.

Picture of Manuka bush!

Picture of Manuka bush!

Now here’s the thing, the reason Manuka honey is thought to have more antiviral and antibacterial properties than other types of honey is the higher levels of Methylglyoxal than regular honey has. What is Methylglyoxal (known as MG), you ask? Good question, I asked the same thing! It comes from the conversion of another compound- dihydroxyacetone- that is found in high concentration in the nectar of Manuka flowers. So the higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect, and Manuka honey has the highest MG amount of any type of honey. Some Manuka honey that you buy in the stores doesn’t have a high level of MG, I call that “cheater Manuka honey”,  so honey producers developed a rating system called UMF or Unique Manuka Factor. To be therapeutic, it has to be rated at least 10 UMF and then is marketed as “UMF Manuka Honey”, or “Active Manuka Honey”. Whew, I threw a lot of terms at you there but I’m done with that so keep on reading for the good stuff!

The kind of Manuka honey I currently have in my cabinet!

The kind of Manuka honey I currently have in my cabinet!

So what are Manuka honey’s medicinal uses? Because it has antiviral and antibacterial properties its primary use is on wounds. It is very effective at healing wounds and cuts. BUT MAKE SURE IF YOU USE IT ON YOUR WOUNDS THAT IT IS IN A STERILIZED CONTAINER AND IT IS NOT USED FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE. In other words, don’t put a spoonful of it in your morning coffee, and then dip out of the same container to slather it on a cut.

 

Manuka honey is primarily used in my house for cold symptoms.

Manuka honey is primarily used in my house for cold symptoms.

Other medicinal uses for Manuka honey are treating and preventing cancer (!), reducing systemic inflammation, treating diabetes, treating eye, ear and sinus infections, preventing gingivitis and other periodontal disease, and treating gastrointestinal problems.Wow, that’s quite a powerful medicine! The way we use it in my house for the most part is for treating cold symptoms. When anyone feels a cold coming on I get out the Manuka honey and give them a teaspoon three times a day. It can sometimes even stave off the cold from coming on entirely. If I do actually catch a cold which is very seldom, Manuka honey is so effective in reducing sore throats and coughs. I will take a teaspoon of it, let it melt in my mouth and trickle down my throat. it really soothes the pain of a sore throat and calms my cough. It also is very helpful if I have some gastrointestinal upset. I do the same thing, one teaspoon three times a day and my stomach pain is eliminated. It’s really so amazing!

Manuka honey can be purchased at healthy food grocery stores anywhere and though it’s a bit pricey ($15- $20), a jar lasts for at least 2 months so it’s totally worth it. In fact, Jacqueline called on Wednesday because she caught a cold at school and she went to a health food store to get Manuka honey! I was so proud! She got other healthy cold symptom reducers and now she’s fine! That’s $15 well spent!

Even diabetics can use Manuka honey medicinally because honey does not as quickly raise blood sugar levels as sugar does. However, you should always consult your doctor before using Manuka honey if you are diabetic because everyone is different and I don’t want anyone to get sick on something that should make you feel better!

So, that’s a bit of information about Manuka honey which I think is one of the best natural, healthy weapons in my medical arsenal. I’d love it if you’d buy a jar, take three teaspoons a day, and let me know what you think. Manuka honey is one of the things that I really believe in so try it because it will help you live a life of vitality- like Valerie!