Browsing Posts published in November, 2011

What are you going to cook or bake for Christmas?

For a lot of people, the yuletide season is a time to prepare the most sumptuous foods and treats, in the most creative of recipes. For many, meat products are the prime ingredient – hotdogs, ostrich meat, veal, and a whole assortment of chicken and pork parts.

Of course, you don’t have to always go with the traditional way of cooking, especially if there are other options and ingredients you can try, to come up with a healthier recipe. Instead of using meat products, why not go for veggies?

One of the choice foods during the Christmas season is mincemeat. The traditional cooking or baking of mincemeat included ingredients such as minced beef and pork parts, suet, venison as well as sirloin. Over the years, however, the meat ingredients have slowly vanished from the kitchen table, and by the mid 20th century, vegetables and dried fruits have been minced to replace meat products. Butter, vegetable fats, as well as dried fruits, chopped apples and fresh fruits have been used in most occasions for as ingredients for mincemeat.

Meat versus Veggies

Many people go as far as to find comparison between eating meat products and vegetables. Although meat is a more concentrated source of protein, the cholesterol or artery-clogging fat present in meat products have push for vegetables and fruits as an alternative for mincemeat. Add to the fact that vegetable and fruit products contain a fair amount of fiber, which is also called the “nature’s broom”, because of its ability to help clean or sweep away the toxins out of the body.

Many health experts have suggested a balanced recipe composed of both meat and vegetable products. However, for those who feel the need to cook or bake a healthier batch of mincemeat come Christmas time, vegetables and fruits are great options.

So if you’re feeling horrible about having another bite of pork or beef in your mincemeat pie, you should make it a habit to gather vegetables and fruits beforehand, to mesh and mash into your own vegetable mincemeat. Another great option is just to buy whole foods online like mincemeat. You can also purchase a jar of vegetable mincemeat in a whole foods or grocery store. A good option to make, however, is to look for a good recipe where you can use vegetable mincemeat, before you decide to buy all the ingredients for your mincemeat pie, or mincemeat meal.

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I admit, while not a medical term, new baby painful wrist and hand syndrome accurately describes what so many new mums, including me, have all experienced. Medically, it’s referred to as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome and is common among new mums. Carpal tunnel or wrist tendonitis is irritation and inflammation of the tendons of the wrist. Pain is the main symptom and there can also be swelling of the local area. The tendons get inflamed through repetitive motion such as picking up the baby and holding the baby in position while breastfeeding.

In my case, for example, sharp pain would shoot from my right thumb up my arm whenever I picked up my daughter. The pain was so intense it would make me cry out loud. In the same way you pull your hand away when you burn yourself, I began to fear dropping my baby as a reflex reaction to the pain. I purchased a wrist brace but found it way too uncomfortable so I developed a particularly ungraceful way of picking up my daughter by leaning in really close to her and scooping her up with my forearms. Using this technique I could avoid opening my hands to pick her up in the usual way under her arms. It looked really strange but it worked until I found time between feedings, exhaustion and new mum anxiety to schedule an acupuncture treatment.

In my own business as an acupuncturist, I had treated many cases of tendonitis and carpal syndrome. Some were new mums, some were athletes, one was a drummer, and most were office workers spending hours on the computer. Whatever the cause of the pain, acupuncture helped all of them, quickly and effectively. So naturally I turned to acupuncture when I needed it. Since it’s really difficult to do acupuncture on yourself, I turned to a colleague for help. After the first treatment, the pain was much better and by the third treatment, the pain was significantly reduced and much less frequent. A couple more treatments were all that was needed to get rid of the pain.

What are the usual options for these painful wrists? A doctor will most likely prescribe steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as prednisolone or a cortisone injection directly into the wrist. While these can help, many prescription medications are not advisable for the mum who is breastfeeding as they can seep into the breast milk.

This makes acupuncture a great alternative as it has no side effects. And a 2009 clinical trial published in the Clinical Journal of Pain concluded that short-term acupuncture treatment is as effective as short-term low-dose prednisolone for mild-to-moderate carpal tunnel syndrome 1.

Most people think that there is only one type of hypertension. They usually refer to it as high blood pressure. It has been called the “silent killer”. That’s because there usually are no symptoms to alert the sufferer. It is a good idea to have your blood pressure checked regularly.

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  1. The common type is known as primary hypertension sometimes called essential. Even though it is the most diagnosed type, there is no known cause.
  2. Next, there is the type called secondary hypertension. It is usually caused by factors that are sometimes curable. Some of the causes are pregnancy related. It can also be brought on by thyroid dysfunction, tumors, sleep apnea, alcohol, and some medications to just name a few.
  3. Malignant Hypertension is the worst type. It is very severe and it just keeps getting worse with time. It very quickly will lead to organ damage. If it is not properly treated, it will result in death in as little as five years for most sufferers. Intensive treatment can reverse the condition and prevent complications. It is not brought on by cancer. And, it is not caused by any malignancy.
  4. Isolated Systolic type may be diagnosed in older folks. The systolic, which is the top number, stays above 160. And, the diastolic is below 90. This is caused by the stiffening of the arteries. And the loss of the elasticity in arteries like the aorta; sometimes diagnosed as arteriosclerosis. It is very important to receive treatment, because it can help prevent strokes and heart disease.
  5. White coat type is brought on by anxiety. The individual’s blood pressure is high only when it gets tested by someone in a clinical environment, like a hospital. Here is where the term “white coat” comes from. It is then recommended that such a person have blood pressure readings performed in a more relaxed area. If it shows a normal reading, then simple follow up tests in a non clinical area will be sufficient. It is good to make sure that persistent hypertension is not developing.
  6. Resistant Hypertension is determined when a patient’s blood pressure will not be lowered below 140/90; even with treatments using triple-drug regimen.

Make a few lifestyle changes. Less alcohol and cut down on the salt. Maybe lose some weight. Eat a low fat diet. Have more fruit and green vegetables.

The causes can be many things. Medical testing is recommended. The usual causes are

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  • patient noncompliance with regard to treatment,
  • secondary hypertension (sometimes caused by over activity of adrenal glands),
  • fluid retention (often from kidney failure).

It is very important to make certain that what seems to be resistant hypertension is not simply white coat hypertension.

The sad fact is that the most usual cause of resistant hypertension is patient non-compliance. This happens when the patient refuses or cannot comply with the prescribed treatment regimen.

Sometimes, the patient cannot afford the medications that are prescribed. The pharmacy may just be too far away. It may be difficult to keep doctor appointments.

There may be underlying issues that will require some problem solving to be done by the patient and the medical practitioner.

Whether to relieve the stress of the work day, to unbind tired and sore muscles, or just to treat oneself to a relaxing afternoon, more and more people are looking towards massage therapy. Once considered a luxury, the health benefits of massage are becoming well known and the expanding field has reduced costs so that virtually anyone can afford it. Businessmen, at-home mothers, athletes, people who do heavy physical labor or have emotionally stressful jobs, and people with recurring problems all look to massage therapy for relief.

The benefits of massage therapy are many and varied. Pain relief is one of the most common reasons people get massage, particularly for back and neck pain. Athletes can use massage to promote quicker muscle growth or to repair damage from over-strenuous workouts. Expecting mothers can use massage to help with the discomforts of pregnancy as well as to strengthen and relax muscles for the birth process. Regular treatments can help with stress relief and promote better sleep, improved concentration, reduce fatigue and increase energy levels. Increased flexibility, a stronger immune system, improved circulation, and lower blood pressure are some more benefits.

At-home massage is popular these days, especially for people who enjoy the comfort of their own home as opposed to visiting a spa. It is convenient, as the therapist comes to the client and if after a massage the customer feels like taking a shower or a nap, they are free to do so without enduring the drive home. This can be a better option for those who are unable to get to a spa due to illness or transportation problems. Making an appointment for home is usually easier to fit into a schedule as well. You can find massage therapists via the internet. However, sometimes people do not feel comfortable with having someone in their home that they barely know and may opt for a spa over home therapy. A massage at home may be more expensive, but you’re paying for the quality of the professional and the extra load of them carrying their table over a hit or miss therapist at a spa.

Spa massages, while requiring travel to and from the location of the therapy, provide more options to a client. Frequently there are other massage-enhancing treatments such as body wraps, waxing, or pedicures that can be added to turn the massage into an all-day, relaxing mini-vacation. Spas have the benefit of usually having a sauna, hot tub, or even a pool on site as well, all good ways to continue relaxing. Spas are also free of distractions such as phones, neighbors, pets, and other interruptions which might spoil the moment. You can easily find a spa near your home. The main disadvantage to using a spa is the traveling and, depending on the class of the spa, the cleanliness of the sheets, sauna, hot tubs, and showers. After a good massage the customer might not feel up to driving all the way home and leave their relaxed state, especially if they leave to traffic.

With research finding more benefits to regular massage every year, it is a healthy choice for those seeking to heal their body or their mind. Even an infrequent massage can work wonders towards one’s health and disposition. Everyone should try massage at least once; though once they do it is unlikely they will be able to resist a second or third treatment, nor should they.

One in four Americans suffers from some type of mental health issue. It can range from depression to anxiety and anything in between. Whatever kind of mental health issues a person suffers from, it can become debilitating and make it impossible to do day to day activities. The good news is help is available you just have to seek it out.
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Mental health issues can be temporary or permanent. For example, someone going through a particular situation that is really stressing them out may suffer from panic attacks. These panic attacks because they are caused by a specific situation may go away after the situation has resolved itself.

Other people have more long term problems that may be caused by a chemical imbalance or more stressful situations from childhood. Regardless of if your mental health problems are permanent or temporary they most likely cause you difficulties in life and need to be managed.

One of the biggest issues in mental health today is people who suffer from depression. Depression can be totally debilitating. It can make it impossible to get out of bed in the morning and do what you need to do. It can make it hard to keep relationships in tact and to do your work. It begins to creep into every aspect of your life and if left untreated can have terrible consequences such as suicide.

This is why you have to seek out help. You have to get your mind back to a healthy place and that is not always something you can do on your own. Once you deal with the immediate effects of your mental health issues there are many things you can do to keep your mind healthier in general and avoid depression.

A clear mind is more effective at decision making and allows you to be able to cope and get through situations without them turning into a mental health emergency. Most mental health issues start as a result of stress when you have a clear mind and can think things through and make good choices you are less likely to have stress that you are unable to manage.

If you are currently having issues managing your stress you should talk to a professional. There are also other things you can do to help you think more clearly. Brain games or brain training activities can go a long way in giving you a healthy mind. A healthy mind is far better equipped to manage stress and make good decisions.

ADD and Fish Oil

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There has been increasing interest in the relationship between ADD and fish oil recently, as it seems that many children and adults with this condition have low levels of these essential fats in their brains.

Studies have shown that ADD sufferers along with autistic people have trouble synthesizing the omega 3 fats from food. Remember, these fats are called essential for a good reason – the human body cannot make them so they have to come from the diet.

It is estimated that 90% of the whole population is lacking in the omega 3’s and part of the reason for huge increases in mental conditions like depression and dementia.

A rapid decline in eating fresh fish due to the toxins and an increase in eating omega 6 rich foods like processed ones and sunflower oil, has thrown the natural balance out of whack. Omega 6 leads to inflammation while omega 3 is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

While many people are able to function ok without enough omega 3, people with ADD are particularly vulnerable.

These fats help to maintain healthy brain tissue, making up half of the brain’s fats, and keep the membranes fluid so that the transmissions are sent clearly and speedily.

In fact, around 80% of psychiatrists recommend DHA fish oil supplements to children and adults with ADHD as part of their treatment to help them manage the condition more effectively and naturally.

The DHA omega 3 fats are largely responsible for most of the health benefits, especially for the brain. They need to be replenished regularly and as you can see, most of us do not get enough.

DHA fats lead to improved memory and concentration and a reduction in any hyperactivity, although it may take some months to become apparent.

A fish oil supplement is the best solution as most fresh fish today contain traces of contaminants.

You need to make sure any oil has undergone molecular distillation to remove all the impurities like mercury and lead to leave only safe and pure oil with up to three times more omega 3 content.

A ratio of 2:1 DHA to EPA will also ensure you receive the maximum benefits and look for at least 250mg of DHA per capsule or soft gel.

The best source of omega3 food in the world currently is the hoki fish from the pristine oceans of New Zealand as they have the highest DHA levels of any species and the lowest level of contaminants.