Natural Remedies for Arthritis and Joint Pain

Natural Remedies for Arthritis and Joint Inflammation

Natural Remedies for Arthritis and Joint InflammationSome of us may think of arthritis as an old person’s disease, but in fact, arthritis refers to a huge spectrum of rheumatic diseases that affect young and old alike.  They include osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, bursitis, gout, and even lupus.  Arthritis can cause stiffness, pain and swelling of the joints, often to a chronic degree, making life unpredictable for sufferers.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a rheumatic condition and you believe in natural healing like we do, we’d like to share with you some drug-free approaches to treating joint inflammation.  Instead of turning to the pharmacy for relief, arthritis sufferers can make simple adjustments to their diets.

 

 

 

 

 

Eat MORE:

  •         Fresh pineapple
  •         Brown rice
  •         Flax oil
  •         Olive oil
  •         Black or tart cherries
  •         Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar

East LESS:

  •         Beef
  •         Peppers
  •         Eggplant
  •         Corn
  •         Pork
  •         Wheat
  •         Eggs
  •         Coffee
  •         White sugar
  •         Cola
  •         Rye bread
  •         Oranges
  •         Paprika

Additionally, some herbs that aid joint inflammation include:

-        Nettle

-        White willow

-        Ginger

-        Feverfew

Many herbs can be ingested as a tea.  Alternatively, herbal tinctures are bottled concentrations that can be ingested with a medicine dropper under the tongue.  Herbal tinctures, found in your local health food store, typically have dosage instructions on the label.

When mainstream medicine fails to alleviate the misery of arthritis, isn’t it worth giving nature’s medicine cabinet a chance?

We’d love to hear about natural remedies that have worked for you.  Please share with us on our Facebook page!

 

 

Winter Brings Kids Indoors – Where the Allergens Are.

Winter Brings Kids Indoors -- Where the Allergens Are

Winter Brings Kids Indoors -- Where the Allergens AreWhen the weather gets as cold as it’s been lately in much of the United States, you’ll find kids playing indoors more often.  (This may be the one time of the year when you aren’t leaning on them to “go outside and get some fresh air!”)

While most of us tend to think of springtime as the season for allergies, winter can be just as threatening.  Now, it’s the indoor allergens we have to worry about.

If you or anyone in your family has been complaining of allergy symptoms and you’re convinced it’s not a cold or flu, indoor allergens like these may be to blame:

  • Dust Mites.  According to a Harvard University study, more than 45% of U.S. homes have enough dust mites in their beds to trigger asthma symptoms.  Dust mites are microscopic creatures you can’t see with the naked eye, but they tend to live in our sheets and mattresses, and they can cause allergies.   What to do about them?  Wash your bedding regularly.  And after you’ve stripped the bed, try running your vacuum across the surface of the mattress using a hand-held attachment.  Finally, invest in a mattress cover that locks dust mites in, where they can’t irritate your skin or lungs.
  • Toxic Chemicals.  If you haven’t made a special point to avoid soft goods made with toxic chemicals, there’s a good chance your home is full of them – and they can cause unpleasant, allergy-like respiratory symptoms.  Your carpet, for example, could be manufactured with flame-retardant chemicals that are unfriendly to the human body.  Your draperies, the clothing hanging in your closet, and even your mattress itself could be loaded with toxins, too.  Consider phasing out these dangerous goods and replacing them with non-toxic products made from safe organic materials.
  • Mold.  Do you send the kids down to the basement to play?  Basements are the areas of our homes closest to the ground, so they are most vulnerable to moisture.  Where there’s moisture, there’s always the threat of mold, and mold can really wreak havoc on your health.  Mold can grow on walls, in carpeting, and even in the padding underneath the carpeting.  Inspect your basement for water leaks and mold on a regular basis.  This is especially important after a period of wet weather.  Mold can be cleaned using a mixture of one cup of bleach and one gallon of water.  Thereafter, make the necessary repairs to keep the area warm, dry, and ventilated.
  • Pets.  Maybe your child loves cuddling up with the family pet at bedtime, but what if pet dander is causing her to sneeze, wheeze and cough?  It may be time to develop some new, healthier habits.  Keep pets out of the bedroom.  And when weather permits, allow animals to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

Have you had difficulty convincing your child – and your pet – to sleep apart?  What works, what doesn’t?  We, and our readers, would love to hear about your experience.  Please tell us in the comments section below.

Sleeping Well and Our Health: Finally, We’re Getting It.

Sleeping Well and Our Health: Finally, We're Getting It

Sleeping Well and Our Health: Finally, We're Getting It. According to a recent article from The Huffington Post, the number of sleep centers in the United States is at its highest ever.  In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine accredited its 2,500th sleep center just last week – and that’s double the number of sleep centers in existence since just five years ago.

So finally, Americans are getting it: the link between good health and getting a good night’s sleep.  And while this increase in sleep centers shows we’re taking our sleep more seriously, it also suggests that no small number of us need help.

We see ads on television for pharmaceutical sleep aids, and we cringe.  How many of us are turning to drugs before trying effective natural remedies?

Here are a few drug-free steps you can take to improve the quality of your sleep:

Cut the Caffeine at Night.  Avoid caffeinated beverages in the evening, including coffee, certain teas and soft drinks.   They’ll likely wind you up and leave you tossing and turning.  Try a soothing caffeine-free herbal beverage instead.

Have a Mangosteen Smoothie for Dessert.  Certain foods are known to aid sleep, including bananas, pineapple and especially mangosteen.  Mangosteen is sold in powdered form and it can have a pungent flavor, but the good news is, it blends great in smoothies.  Load up the blender with this trio and be sent sweetly off to sleep.  (We get our mangosteen powder from Sunfoods.)

Ditch Your Toxic Mattress.  Nothing keeps us up at night like the health effects of toxic chemicals – and did you know that the very mattress you’re sleeping on could be saturated with them?  When you’re ready to replace your old mattress, opt for one made with organic materials.  Toxins in mattresses can cause asthma-like symptoms in some, which can lead to snoring.  If you snore, you may not be getting the quality rest you need.

Stick to a Pattern.  For many people with erratic sleep patterns, the solution to more vitality and clarity is simply to stick to one healthy sleep regime.  Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night.  If you’re not getting it, adjust your schedule so you do.  Establish a regular waking time and a time when you retire, and stick to it without fail – even on weekends.  Your body will respond immediately to the regularity.  And when we say retire, we don’t mean getting into bed and reading or watching TV.  Lights off, eyes shut, ready to sleep.  Anything else doesn’t count!

Take a Warm Shower or Bath.  Bathing in warm, relaxing water has the effect of relaxing the body and mind, especially at the end of the day.  Try a steamy shower thirty minutes before turning in.  But if at all possible, filter your shower water free of chlorine, which can aggravate the respiratory tract.

After trying these methods, if restful sleep still eludes you, by all means – look into visiting a sleep clinic where your sleep habits can be studied, and where specialists will be able to identify any sleep disorders from which you may be suffering.

What helps you get to sleep?  Tell us on Facebook.  We look forward to having you as part of our community!

YHUF’s Cathy Goldstein in Realize Magazine: Why Goji Berries Rock

YHUF's Cathy Goldstein in Realize Magazine - Why Goji Berries Rock

YHUF's Cathy Goldstein in Realize Magazine: Why Goji Berries RockWe’re thrilled to announce that our very own Cathy Goldstein can be found in the current issue of Realize magazine with her article, “Why Goji Berries Rock”.

Realize has a mission: to reconnect the “boomer” generation to its inherent hipness – to keep it as smart, able and healthy as possible.

It’s no wonder they asked Cathy to educate their readers on the most super of superfoods, the goji berry.  Read Cathy’s article to find out why goji berries should be a regular part of your diet, and collect two new recipes while you’re at it!

(P.S.  Not sure where to find goji berries?  You can order them online from Sunfoods.)

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Ward Off the Common Cold with Camu Camu Berries

Ward Off the Common Cold with Camu Camu Berries

Ward Off the Common Cold with Camu Camu BerriesWhen we think of boosting our immunity to keep the common cold at bay, we often think of increasing our vitamin C intake with citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines and grapefruit.  But as much as we adore citrus, once in a while, we like a little something different.

Have you heard of camu camu berries?  If not, it’s time you did.  They’re extraordinarily high in vitamin C — the most vitamin C of any known plant in the world!  They’re also an excellent source of the amino acids serine, valine, and leucine, plus beta carotene, calcium, iron, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin and thiamin.

Camu camu berries are typically sold in powdered form.  The fresh berries, which grow in Amazon rainforests, are carefully harvested, then washed and dried in an organic processing facility.  The finished product is a 100% pure dehydrated powder.

And this is impressive: fresh camu camu fruit contains 30 – 60 times more vitamin C than a fresh orange.  And when it’s consumed in powdered form, camu camu delivers up to 600 times more vitamin C than oranges!

So once you get your hands on this nutritional powerhouse, what can you do with it?  Dehydrated camu camu can be used creatively in smoothies, and will give your morning orange juice an immunity boost.  Try experimenting with blending camu camu powder with a combination of juices and water.

We get our powdered camu camu from Sunfoods.

Camu Camu Powder, 100g/3.5oz, Organic, Raw

We’d love to hear YOUR recipes and suggestions for incorporating dehydrated camu camu berries into your diet.  Leave a comment below, or share with us on Facebook!

Wool Clothing: Smart for Planet and Pocketbook

Wool Clothing: Smart for Planet and Pocketbook

Wool Clothing: Smart for Planet and Pocketbook Trying to make more eco-friendly buying decisions?  So are we.  That’s why we’re such big fans of clothing made from wool.

Typically, mass-produced clothing that’s only made to last one season is manufactured with toxic chemicals that wind up dumped into our water supply, poisoning wildlife and having adverse health effects on people.  Plus, the fast-food version of fashion becomes garbage when it’s no longer useful.  And do we really need to be adding to our landfills with every fickle shift in popular style?

Wool is a smart choice for the planet and your pocketbook.  Here are just a few reasons why:

  • It’s a natural fiber – not man-made, so no manufacturing chemicals are necessary
  • When disposed of, it’s biodegradable
  • It’s sustainable – made from a simple combo of sheep, sunshine, water and grass
  • It requires significantly less fossil fuel in fiber production
  • It’s hard-wearing – lasts for years
  • It’s wicks perspiration away from your body, so it keeps you warm and dry
  • It’s naturally flame retardant
  • It’s hypoallergenic
  • It resists dirt and stains
  • It’s water resistant

Wool garments can also be easily repurposed.  For example, an adult sweater can be unraveled and turned into gloves, socks, soft toys, or a child’s sweater.  And recycling is always good for Mother Earth!

When shopping for wool clothes, you may see terms like “organic wool” and “virgin wool”.  What do they mean?

Organic wool is wool that is produced in accordance with federal standards for organic livestock production.  Sheep are not treated with synthetic hormones or genetically engineered, and they are not dipped in insecticides.

Virgin wool is wool that has never been used before by anyone other than the sheep that produced it.  In other words, it was never part of any other garment.  Virgin wool is considered the softest and finest wool produced.

Hey, as long as we’re talking shopping, check out the gorgeous wool offerings from Hessnatur.

We’d love to see some of your favorite wool purchases, as well as your recycled wool projects.  You’re invited to post them on our Facebook page.

Toxic Plastic: Into our Food Supply and Breastfed to Infants

Toxic Plastic: Into our Food Supply and Breastfed to Infants

Toxic Plastic: Into our Food Supply and Breastfed to InfantsBisphenol A, also known as “BPA”, is found in most plastics, and it’s not a friend to living things.

In 2006, Congress requested a review of BPA research by the Chemical Heritage Foundation.  The foundation’s report concluded that “New research on very-low-dose exposure to BPA suggests an association with adverse health effects, including breast and prostate cancer, obesity, neurobehavioral problems, and reproductive abnormalities.”

Great news, huh?

But how exactly do people get exposed to BPA?  Yes, you may be buying products in plastic packaging that contains BPA.  But BPA reaches us in other ways, too.  For example, plastics get dumped into the environment.  Sometimes this is in the form of everyday garbage like plastic beverage containers.  But BPA is also a common byproduct of manufacturing processes and is used in building materials and epoxies, and it winds up in our soil and waterways.  Particularly in marine mammals and fish, BPA “bioaccumulates” and migrates up the food chain.  We eat the food with the BPA, and the BPA winds up inside of us.

In a recent study out of Sweden, researchers tested 100 women and found that 76% had detectable levels of BPA in their blood.  They also concluded that the most prevalent BPA sources were dietary: from fish, meat, potatoes, and dairy products.

Now, a study from the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Simmons College in Boston finds that BPA is being transferred to infants through their mothers’ breast milk.  In fact, 93% of children tested were found to have “significant” total BPA levels – without having been exposed to BPA in their environment or through solid foods.

So how can we protect our families and ourselves from BPA?

We can minimize our exposure.  Here’s how:

  • Stop microwaving food in plastic containers.  Use glass or ceramic instead.
  • Avoid washing plastic containers in the dishwasher.
  • When purchasing baby bottles or water containers, look for BPA-free products.
  • Learn to “read” your plastics. Ever notice a tiny stamp on the bottom of a plastic container that looks like arrows following a triangle, with a number in the center?  This number can tell you what kind of plastic that container is made from.  If you want to avoid BPA, steer clear of any container marked “1”, “6”  or “7” inside that triangle.  (See image above.)

What containers do you use in lieu of plastics for microwaving and food storage?  We’d love to hear what works for you.  Please leave a comment or tell us on our Facebook page.

“I Think I’m Allergic to My Christmas Tree!”

I Think I'm Allergic to My Christmas Tree

I Think I'm Allergic to My Christmas TreeIs it possible to have an allergic reaction to a Christmas tree?

Absolutely!  Every year, people around the world bring fragrant, real trees into their living rooms, and subsequently experience itchy eyes, a runny nose, scratchy throat, and sometimes even wheezing.

Sound like you?  Chances are, it’s not the tree you’re reacting to – it’s mold.

According to the American Christmas Tree Association, live Christmas trees are often known to carry microscopic mold spores that trigger allergy symptoms.  Further, a study by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology indicated that live Christmas trees can adversely affect indoor air quality.

If you have asthma, you may be particularly susceptible to tree mold.

This is news that many will not be happy to hear, especially if you or your children are determined to have a natural tree.

Ideally, anyone suffering allergies or asthma is better off with an artificial tree.

But is there any way you can continue your tradition while reducing its negative effects on your health?

You might try taking the following steps to reduce allergic reaction:

-        Hose-Down.  Some Christmas tree sellers are equipped to hose off your tree before you take it home.  Take advantage!  Hosing down your tree can reduce clinging mold, dust and pollen.  No hose at the tree lot?  Rinse your tree with your own garden hose.  Let it drip dry outdoors overnight before carrying it inside.

-        Set Limits.  Forced into a compromise?  Agree to have a natural tree, but set a time limit.  Maybe you’ll keep the tree for only a week or two weeks before Christmas, and then take it down promptly thereafter.

-        Speleotherapy.  In the 19th century (before it became common to turn to pharmaceuticals for every complaint), people who suffered from respiratory ailments would visit the salt caves of eastern Europe for relief from their allergy symptoms.  Today, speleotherapy can be practiced right at home with a Himalayan salt inhaler.  It’s easy, affordable, and all-natural.

Let us know how these steps worked for you on our Facebook page.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Toxic Shopping: How to Avoid Hazardous Clothing & Mattresses

Toxic Shopping: How to Avoid Hazardous Clothing & Mattresses

Toxic Shopping: How to Avoid Hazardous Clothing & MattressesThere’s a lot of shopping going on this time of year.  Not only are we compelled to buy holiday gifts for loved ones and new clothes for special occasions, but year-end sales lure us to make larger purchases for the home, like appliances and mattresses.  But how many of the things we bring into our homes – or give to others – are saturated in caner-causing toxic chemicals?  Perhaps a lot more than you think.

When it comes to anything made of fabric – whether it’s a dress, a pair of canvas sneakers, a duvet cover or a teddy bear – there’s a good chance it may contain toxic chemicals.  Sometimes you can even smell the chemicals wafting off the item — what we’ve come to recognize as that acrid “new clothes” smell.

Greenpeace recently released a report titled “Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch-Up”, which points to a long list of popular clothing brands whose wearable goods contain dangerous toxins, including Zara, whose garments contained cancer-causing amines from the use of azo dyes.

The report also identified garments with high levels of phthalates – chemicals that mimic natural hormones, like estrogen or androgen, and cause confusion in systems regulating sexual function.  Also known as “endocrine disrupting” chemicals, phthalates have been blamed for hermaphrodite fish and disappearing male populations in nature.

Other soft goods including mattresses and upholstery are often bathed in polybrominated flame retardants.  In some places – Europe, China, California – these chemicals have been banned.  They’re suspected of adversely affecting brain development and are even blamed for genital malformations.

Not only do these chemicals make their way to humans on the actual consumer goods, but the toxic waste from the factories where they’re made is dumped into waterways and begins to poison the environment as a whole.

So what can we do to keep ourselves, our families, and the planet safe?

-        Shop Green.  Buy clothing, mattresses and other soft goods that are made with environmentally-friendly fabrics and natural dyes.  Look for organic clothing boutiques in your community and online, and when it’s time to replace a mattress, choose an eco-friendly, all-natural mattress from EcoMattressDeals.com[Just for you: Get 20% off by entering the discount code “YHUF” when you check out.]

-        Buy Quality Classics.  Invest in pieces that never go out of style. The most ecological clothing is clothing that can be worn again and again.  Instead of buying cheap, trendy clothes you’ll throw away in a few months, shop with an eye toward quality clothing that will last, both materially and style-wise.

-        Don’t Toss It – Fix It.  Avoiding wearing those pants because they’re a little too long?  Is that jacket going unworn because its zipper is jammed?  Fix them and get more mileage. If you’re not handy that way, take clothes to a local tailor.

Caring about our health (and the health of our planet) is always in vogue.  What action will you take to keep toxic chemicals out of your home and off your body?  Tell us about it!

5 Natural Alternatives to Dangerous Energy Drinks

5 Natural Alternatives to Dangerous Energy Drinks

5 Natural Alternatives to Dangerous Energy DrinksWe all feel sluggish now and then.  It’s not so bad when it happens on an uneventful weekend when we can indulge ourselves in languid tea-sipping and a good book.  But what about when we really have to “show up”?  Maybe it’s your turn to make the monthly presentation, or you’ve got that big job interview.  It won’t do to feel like an old shoe.  How can you pump up your energy level, fast?

Too many consumers have turned to so-called “energy shots” – small bottles of super-caffeinated beverage advertised as providing a fast-acting energy boost.   Two federal agencies — the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – are reporting some dangerous consequences to energy drinks, to the tune of 13 deaths and 13,000 emergency room visits in a single year.

It’s just not worth the risk.

Instead, try one of the following five all-natural options.  They’re just as easy to reach for as an “energy drink” – if not easier.  (And we’re willing to bet they’re a lot tastier, too!)

-        The Almighty Banana.  Need we say more?

-        Dried fruit.  The natural sugars in dehydrated fruit break down quickly in your body, giving you a quick kick.

-        Almonds.  They’re low-fat fast fuel.

-        Peanut Butter.  Always delicious on apple slices or whole grain crackers.  But if you’re in a real hurry, go ahead – eat it right off the spoon.

-        Trail Mix.  This option combines the energizing power of nuts and dried fruits.  You can buy pre-packaged trail mix in different varieties of nuts and dried fruit.  Some markets have “mix-your-own” trail mix bars where you can customize your own.

Do you have a healthy quick energy secret?  We’d love to hear about it, either in the comments section below or on our Facebook pagePlease share!