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“Right now 8 million tons of plastics end up in the ocean every year.

I am a huge fan of the BBC series Planet Earth and Blue Planet. David Attenborough is someone I respect, admire and follow. He and his team know about the health of our planet and the sea. So when I hear a data from them that impacts the earth or ocean world it deeply moves me and makes me feel responsible. This is 21st century – you must learn to reuse, recycle and reduce!

We all know plastic can have a huge negative impact on other species as well as us – humans. On Episode 7 of Blue Planet II, David Attenborough shows us how the Albatross population can suffer from plastic in their feed (feed that they get from the ocean). It was heart wrenching to the impact on the Albatross population. These are plastics that were dumped as a waste product in the ocean by us – the human’s.

“In some parts of the ocean it’s estimated that there are now over half a million pieces of plastic for every square kilometers. Our modern lives are having far-reaching effects on life in the oceans.  But around the world, there are people now devoting their lives to saving some of the most threatened sea creatures. “

My dearest reader – let’s make some effort towards joining them! Even if you start with a few changes it will have a huge impact in the world. And we all know from an Ayurvedic or Yogic perspective it is important to aim for Sattva and what more can be more Sattvic than to reduce waste, reduce harm to the planet and its dwellers? Ayurveda and Yoga always promotes good health and well being not only for humans but animals and plant kingdoms.

Note that, plastic also have huge impact on our reproductive health – including estrogen dominance, cancer (breast and prostrate), anxiety, early puberty, loss of body hair and fertility etc. Plastic has impact on women, children and men at various ages.

A little disclaimer before suggesting some products, I buy many of my products from either Amazon.ca or Etsy.ca. I will be providing links from my Amazon vendor account. You can purchase these products anywhere else but I just wanted to share what I choose. And if you are crafty you can make many of these products yourself to save money. I will also provide a few YouTube links.

Let’s find some sustainable swaps so you can be more eco-friendly

  1. Cloth or Paper Based Shopping Bags: Imagine how many times a week you visit the grocery store or a local mom and pop shop of a quick pick up. How many plastic bags do you accumulate in a week? I am also an offender but learning from others and friends to remember to bring my own shopping bag whenever I go out. You may need this anywhere. If cloth bag is not an option for you there are paper bags that you can store and reuse many times. The following are the ones I found most useful
    There are also reusable grocery tote bags that are foldable and easy to carry. They are lightweight, washable and durable. I just pop them in my purse or pocket before I leave home. They are made with polyester and are reinforced with double stitches which make them hold heavy things safely. The squared bottom holds products in place. Check them out here.
  1. Beeswax Wrap instead of Plastic Wraps: Keep your food fresh and covered without using any plastic wrap, plastic food storage bags! These Beeswax wrap is something I absolutely adore. Both my close friends Laura and Colleen reave about the quality of the products when they also got their own! Wrap foods that are fresh produce especially fruits and vegetables, cover for left overs or left over dry foods such as sandwiches. Beeswax wraps work like a charm, they allow air circulation and are natural anti-bacterial therefore food does not spoil quickly. Beeswax is safe and all natural. They are washable and therefore can be reused for almost over a year. Since it’s a natural product it will crinkle easily but gently handwash and dry them. And YES! Its biodegradable!
    If you want to make them at home here is a link of a YouTuber called Simply Klaire who teaches you how to make your own.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FhFnwNkXE8

  1. Reusable Produce Bags:Leave the plastic behind when walking through the produce aisle at a grocery store. Why buy fresh or organic foods and add plastic to it? These produce bags are not biodegradable and made with toxic crude oil. By using produce bags we can have an impact on reduce non-renewable energy that is required to produce and ship the plastic bags. The reusable produce bags are durable, reusable and require very little space in your kitchen. 
  1. Stainless Steel Lunchboxes: There is NO EXCUSE for not using stainless steel or glass containers as lunch boxes. Why take lunch at work in plastic and reheat in the microwave? Instead for dry lunches take the stainless steel container or glass containers for lunches that need to be reheated. There are also insulated thermal food containers. Two other options are using HotLogic or a mini crock pot.
  1. Stainless Steel Water Bottles: I am a proud owner of S’well bottle as I worked for a distribution company that sold these infamous eco-friendly bottles. There are many designs, shapes and sizes of S’well Bottles available in the market. Even CostCo carries them. They keep hot beverage hot for 12 hours and cold beverages cool for 24 hours. Coffee cups, water bottles etc. are made with plastic. If you love Starbucks just take your S’Well bottle with you and they will fill it up with your favourite beverage. I heard if you bring your own there is a slight discount in some coffee stores.
  1. Stainless Steel or Glass Straws: I am not really a straw person unless you give me a huge “green smoothie” to drink. The ONLY drawback is you need to purchase one with straw brushes and wash them properly. If you are someone who have children who loves using straws or you yourself prefer using straws please do get one of these! They have a huge environmental impact. I prefer the glass ones as they are transparent so the debris will be clearly seen.

  1. Glassware for Storage Container: This is something I religiously follow. All my herb and spice containers are made from glass. All products I create for Conscious Health are put into glass jars. This is important as storing spices, herbs, grains, legumes, lentils, nuts and seeds in plastic will only increase plastic in your life. Start with one category of food such as, spices and then slowly change to other ones. Glass or ceramic bottles keep food fresh for long.
  1. Stand-Up Leakproof Silicone Reusable Storage Bag: It is now easy to replace am air tight zip sealed or locked plastic bags that are used in the kitchen with Silicone storage bags. They are ideal for food preservation, meal prep, storage, and sandwich bags. I bought these from Amazon last month and they are super user friendly for weekend meal prepping. I can buy large quantities of various vegetables and fruits, then peel and chop them and in the end combine them for various dishes such as, stir fries and keep them in the fridge. According to the Amazon store these eco-friendly silicone bags can be washed and re-used for up to 30 years. It is made from food safe material that is BPA, BPF, PVC, BPS & Latex Free. YAY. I also wash them inside my dishwasher.

  • Microfiber Cleaning Clothes: Can we really replace our kitchen towels? The answer is YES! OUI!! No harsh cleansing chemicals are required when usingMicrofiber cleaning cloths. It can eliminate lint, streaks and other food strains. These clothes hold up to 7 times in weight in liquid, dirt or grime. In addition to the Microfiber cloth link I am also providing a link of a Etsy Seller – Anne Riggs who makes handmade kitchen towel with cloth that you can roll up and they are snappable! See what I mean by that when you click below.

Etsy Shop Link: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/AnneRiggsDesigns

  1. Tea Infuser: What can I say? I am a Herbalist and a Herbalist’s favourite tool for self and their clients is a Tea Infuser. Avoid purchasing empty tea bags or making an effort to boil the tea and using a strainer. Instead – put your herbs inside the tea infuser, pour hot water in your cup and walk away while the tea steeps! And of course they are reusable. The one I am sending link to is stainless steel with silicone edges to avoid burning your fingers. A must have to tea lovers.
  1. Silicone Baking Mat: Say goodbye to aluminum foils and parchment papers. They are not reusable and sometimes pricy if you want to get the eco-friendly version. So try this Silicone baking mat that is oven safe (up to 480 F) and requires no oil or oil spray for baking. They are also super easy to clean
  1. Reusable Cutlery Set: For those who chooses frequent takeout meals. Please say “no” to plastic cutlery, napkins and chopsticks. There are reusable cutlery set available that are great for traveling, camping and if you do frequent take outs. These sets are made from bamboo, stainless steel or titanium. They come as a set in a bag or box that is super easy to carry. And of course it is eco-friendly when you bring your own napkin.

  1. Handkerchief: Say no to “Tissues” or “Kleenex” and use your own handkerchief. Especially if you buy cotton! It is NOT ONLY eco-friendly but its skin friendly and makes you not look for tissues when you are in desperate need.

I am not sharing all the links to encourage you to buy everything but for you to see what are some of the best options. If it seems too many changes to begin with then start small. If you want to make ONE change then go for the shopping bag. These plastics are not worth it. I also understand that it is not possible to get rid of all of your plastics in a day but one step would reduce your carbon footprint and work towards benefiting the planet.

Please write a comment on how you contribute towards this planet’s health? What are your top choices to becoming eco friendly? Are there tips that you too want to share with us?

My upcoming blog is about eco-friendly product swaps for self-care (especially Women’s health). Stay tuned!

The post Top 12 Eco Friendly Products in the Kitchen to Reduce Plastic and is a MUST for EVERY ONE appeared first on Conscious Health.

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Ghee is precious Ayurvedic food also used as a healthy fat in modern wellness regime. I have written about the Benefits of Ghee and How to make Homemade Ghee in my previous blogs.  Today I want to write about my experience with medicated ghee. Many Ayurvedic practitioners make ghee in the traditional ways where they chant ancient “mantras” to accompany each stage of the ghee making process.

Ghee is clarified butter that is used in cooking or adding on top of our meals. We can cook Khichari and use ghee as the cooking oil.  Or we can add the ghee on top of the khichari before eating. Ghee is a precious food used in the Indian subcontinent and used for cooking, skin application, therapeutic treatments as well as in massage therapy.

Ghee in itself is precious Ayurvedic medicine. It is rich in fatty acids (conjugated linoleic acid, butyric acid) and fat-soluble vitamins. It also has the ability to support the digestive system, weight loss (in addition to a low-carb diet), reduces inflammation, provides support to vision and brain health, assists in building strong bones and lubricates the connective tissue (makes the body more flexible).

According to the traditional Ayurvedic Medicinal practice ghee is “yogavahi”, “anupan” or a catalytic substance that carries the therapeutic ingredients of medicines directly into the seven “dhatus” (tissues) of the body.

Medicated Ghee is ghee that has been infused with herbs or essential oils. Herbs themselves contain essential oil and fat-soluble nutrients that can have medicinal properties. There are many oil-based herbal preparations in Ayurveda and Western Herbal Medicine and Ghee in Ayurveda is the superior “Anupan” or “carrier of the medicine.” If you read my book “Medicinal Spice Cabinet” you will learn about over 100 spices and herbs that can be found in our kitchens (globally), how to use them as remedies and which carriers (Anupan) to use for different Dosha’s.

The ayurvedic practice believes that ghee is one of the best “oily” carriers due to its power to assimilate effectively the properties of the herbs without losing its own beneficial properties. Ghee also accelerates the bioavailability of the nutrients in the herbs. Therefore you get both benefits from the ghee and fat-soluble nutrients from the herbs. When buying a medicated ghee note that the ghee is the preservative for the medicinal herbs which keeps the nutrients available for a long period of time without reducing the potency of the herb. This is a great way to extend the shelf life of an herb. If prepared correctly the concentrated dosage of the herb can be derived from the medicated ghee. The process of making medicated ghee is lengthy and all the steps need to be watched closely. Medicated Ghee or Herbal Ghee not only optimizes nutrient absorption it also completes nutrient delivery in all the Dhatu’s or bodily tissues.

To summarize the benefits of Medicated Ghee or Herbal Ghee I am laying out the above in point format

1.     Ghee as an “Anupan” increases the bioavailability of the herbs and spices.

2.     One gets a double benefit from a medicated ghee – nourishing fatty acids benefits from the ghee itself and the medicinal potency from the herbs.

3.     The “delivery” of the nutrients from the herb to the “dhatu” or “tissue” is also maximized when using ghee. Ghee is an ideal delivery system for a targeted organ.

4.     Ghee works as a preservation substance for the herbs. Ghee as a preservative has the capacity to store the medicinal properties of the herbs for an extended period of time without affecting the potency.

5.     Ghee can derive the phytochemicals and volatile oils from the herb.

6.     Proper preparation of medicated ghee can ensure all the plant constituents are extracted from the herb into the ghee. Therefore, one can get a concentrated dosage of the medicinal properties of the herbs through the ghee.

Medicated ghee or herbal ghee is most beneficial for Vata dosha (as oil/fats are most beneficial for Vata) however it is also good for Pitta for its cooling effect. Medicated Ghee made with bitter herbs can be useful for Kapha Dosha. It depends on the person, their condition and herbs available. See a practitioner before you select a Herbal Ghee or Medicated Ghee for yourself. Learn carefully about the dosage and when to take the medicated ghee.

Some of the single herb ghee’s are Shatavari ghee, Ashwagandha ghee, Brahmi ghee, Arjuna ghee, and Turmeric ghee.

There are various Ayurvedic Ghritam formulations such as Triphala ghee, Tikta ghee, Sukumara ghee, Kalyanaka ghee, Mahatiktaka ghee, Amrithaprasa ghee, Indukanta ghee, and Panchagavya ghee, etc.

I have personally tried Shatavari and Turmeric ghee. I have not taken formulation ghee as I believe a medicated herbal formulation should depend on the person’s health condition.

The post Ayurvedic Medicated Ghee/Ghritam – A Superior Anupan or Carrier appeared first on Conscious Health.

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I have been aware of fasting as a religious practice since my childhood, and it comes naturally to me. During Ramadan, we fast for 30 days from sunrise till sunset without any food or water. When I migrated to Canada – many commented that fasting like this cannot be healthy. I even heard that from fellow Nutritionists who thought water fasting is fine however dry fasting did not sound right.

Today “fasting” as a healing practice is a hot button topic. Almost as popular as CBD oil!!

Fasting is a natural healing treatment that has been used for centuries to aid and support good health and even to fast track healing of multiple diseases. While pharmaceuticals and sometimes even nutraceuticals aim to correct or treat the symptoms of a particular disease, fasting unleashes the body`s hidden powder to heal from the inside out. Fasting can target the root cause of many health conditions as it enables the body`s ability to create healthy cells and destroy the damaged cells.

With fasting, a whole new world of healing potential opens up for your body.  Our body’s intelligence is capable of healing itself –  when given a chance to do so.

The Benefits of Fasting

Fasting relieves the liver and the digestive system from processing food, which requires a lot of energy. When this energy is not required, it is then used for other thing mentioned below.

  • Cleansing the body’s metabolic wastes, as well as toxins.
  • Fasting decreases body inflammation and pain.
  • Fasting assists with weight loss and helps to keep it off as well.
  • Fasting strengthens the digestive fire or Agni (HCl and enzymes) from an Ayurvedic perspective.
  • Fasting helps tighten and tones the skin as well as increase skin glow
  • Fasting promotes new cell growth which has an anti-aging effect.
  • Fasting boosts the immune system and the body’s natural defense mechanism.
  • Fasting can balance hormones and strengthens glandular health.
  • Fasting will balance blood sugar, therefore is a healing method for diabetes.
  • Fasting improves blood pressure and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Fasting improves mental clarity and enhances your mood.
  • Fasting increases energy and vitality.
  • Fasting can assist with reaching a meditative state sooner.

 

 

 

Ayurveda and Fasting:

From an Ayurvedic perspective, one must take into consideration their age, location, time of the year or day of the week, dosha type/body type etc. before starting a fast. According to Ayurvedic practice, “Spring” is the best time to fast or cleanse the body. It is believed that the body’s self-cleansing power is kindled when the sun starts to shine more.

 Kapha body types have a tendency towards weight gain and stronger physique. Fasting and movement are mostly beneficial for Kapha type. When fasting, Kapha body types can easily get rid of metabolic wastes, toxins, and body fats. Kapha’s also tolerate fasting quite well.

Excessive or extreme fasts are not suitable to most Vata types or Vata-Pitta types unless they are experiencing weight gain. Mono diet is best for Vata types.

A two to three-day juice fasting or a mono-diet may be ideal for Pitta body types.

An Ayurvedic practitioner can design a fasting regime for you according to your body type. It is important to have a customized fasting regime to increase the effectiveness of the fasting.

How Long should you Fast?
  • It would be easy, to begin with, IM. I finish my dinner by 5 or 6 pm and do not eat or drink the next day until 10 am. This makes it a 16 hour fast. You can start with 12 then work up to 16 hours of fasting.
  • You can then progress into one-day water fast. Or a dry fast from sunrise to sunset.
  • You could also do a 3-day fast once a month regularly. Depending on your health, medical condition, location, and your health care practitioner`s advice this can be water fast. I have done dry fasting for 24 hours during the winter months.
  • There is also a one-week fast you can do seasonally for cleansing.

Always take advice from your primary health care practitioner.

I would ONLY continue fasting as long as there is no stress on the body such as dizziness, fatigue, hunger pain, and low energy. You should not force the body.

Cautions of Fasting
  • Due to the lack of nutrients and sugar, fasting can cause irritability, hunger pain, and headaches.
  • Fasting may interfere with social engagements that involve eating.
  • After fasting is completed, some people may experience overeating to compensate.
  • Fasting may affect people with gut conditions such as IBS and IBD.
  • Fasting should not be performed if you are hypoglycemic or diabetes since blood sugar can become dangerously low.
  • Fasting can disrupt menstruation and fertility in women who are malnourished or follow restrictive diets. Intermittent fasting can balance hormones.
  • Fasting should not be performed if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Fasting can cause dehydration and low blood pressure, dizziness, and fainting in some people.
  • Fasting may not be suitable for people with certain health conditions such as chronic kidney disease, gout, and heartburn.
References

Effect of intermittent fasting and refeeding on insulin action in healthy men. Halberg N, Henriksen M, Söderhamn N. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 2005, Jul.;99(6):8750-7587.

Usefulness of routine periodic fasting to lower risk of coronary artery disease in patients undergoing coronary angiography. Horne BD, May HT, Anderson JL. The American journal of cardiology, 2008, Jul.;102(7):0002-9149.

Cardioprotective effect of intermittent fasting is associated with an elevation of adiponectin levels in rats. Wan R, Ahmet I, Brown M. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 2009, May.;21(5):1873-4847.

Late-onset intermittent fasting dietary restriction as a potential intervention to retard age-associated brain function impairments in male rats. Singh R, Lakhanpal D, Kumar S. Age (Dordrecht, Netherlands), 2011, Aug.;34(4):1574-4647.

Faris MA et al. Intermittent fasting during Ramadan attenuates proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells in healthy subjects. Nutr Res. 2012 Dec;32(12):947-55

 

Harris L et al. Short-term intermittent energy restriction interventions for weight management: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2018 Jan;19(1):1-13.

Mehrdad Alirezaei, et al. Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy. Autophagy. 2010 Aug 16; 6(6): 702–710.  

All About Fasting Benefits! Different Kinds Of Fasting | Health Benefits Of Fasting - YouTube

How to do Intermittent Fasting for Serious Weight Loss - YouTube

The post What is Fasting and Benefits of Fasting as a Medicinal Practice I appeared first on Conscious Health.

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Types of Fasting and General Fasting Tips of Success

Fasting is an ancient healing method. Fasting unleashes the body’s own healing power with time and nothing to digest for a period of time. It provides the organ’s such as liver, kidneys and the lymph nodes to release waste. My previous blog on fasting provided information on the benefits of fasting and what to be cautious of. This blog is all about different types of fasting and some beneficial tips on how to successfully get into a fasting regime.

Types of Fasting

1. Dry Fasting

This type of fasting may seem extreme to some as it means to abstain from both food and water for certain periods of time. For centuries, dry fasting has been practiced for religious and spiritual purposes. This is known as being absolute fasting. An example of this would be Ramadan, where Muslims fast from dawn to sunset for a month. Dry fasting puts the cells into a stressful environment where the healthiest ones survive. In fact, a study on a group of people during Ramadan had significantly less pro-inflammatory cytokines, blood pressure, body weight, and fat percentage. In dry fasting, the body does not eliminate toxins through urine, bowel, and sweat or through elimination organs such as liver, kidneys, and skin. Instead, the toxins are burned inside of the cells. The body destroys or cleans our damaged cells and regenerates new cells. This is like the `survival of the fittest` as only the healthiest of the cells survives during dry fasting. Although the production of stem cells reduces in the body with age, with dry fasting stem cells are released into the blood more than usual. It has been said that cysts and benign tumors dissolve during dry fasting as the body eliminates its unhealthy cells for its own survival.

2. Liquid Fasting

Water Fasting

Liquid fasting is when the body is given only liquids during the fast. One of the best ways to experience success is through fasting by only drinking water for a period of time. This is one of the oldest and simplest forms of fasting as it provides the most health benefits in a short period of time including, lowering blood pressure and balancing blood sugar. During a water fast, the process of autophagy occurs – an internal recycling program where old cells/debris/toxins are cleaned out through lysosomes. A water fast is done for about 24 hours up to 72 hours, with no food and only drinking water, about 2-3 liters per day. When completed, slowly introduce food in the form of smoothies and small meals, working your way up to larger meals. Water fasting can protect against cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart condition etc.

Juice Fasting

Today “Juice Cleanse” is a popular way to detox the body. Vegetable and fruit juices are prepared in mixes to create trendy juice cleanses. During juice fasting, the body is abstaining from solid foods and receiving a huge supply of micro nutrient support. Any type of fruit or vegetable juice can be consumed during this fast. During the time of juice fasting, the body’s digestive system gets a rest even though the body gets vitamins, minerals and antioxidant. Juice fasting can assist with weight loss, increased energy and enhancing mood.

3.Intermittent Fasting (IM):

This type of fasting alternates between periods of fasting and periods of eating. The fasting period is either 16:8 (16 hours fasting, including overnight, with 8 hours of eating), or 5:2 (fasting for 2 days, eating for 5 days). This type of fasting removes the body’s reliance on using carbohydrates for fuel and instead promotes the breakdown of fat for fuel. It also triggers changes in various hormones such as insulin and growth hormone. When you eat multiple meals a day, insulin is released each time to deal with blood sugar spikes. But when you go long periods of time without eating, such as intermittent fasting, this triggers fat burning instead. In terms of growth hormone, it is also involved in fat burning and muscle protection. Studies show that intermittent fasting can extend life expectancy, reduce inflammation and fat, and improving cognitive function.

Understanding Autophagy:

Food restriction or fasting is known to upregulate autophagy in various organs including the liver. Autophagy, the method by which your body cleans out damaged cells and toxins, helps you regenerate newer, healthier cells. Autophagy is a defense mechanism against many things such as infections and neurodegenerative diseases, and studies show that autophagosome numbers are increased in cortical neurons after food restriction or fasting.

I will be writing more about Autophagy, its benefits and how to turn up the body’s autophagy state in my upcoming blog.

General Tips for Success

In order to combat the negative impact of fasting, one must prepare the body for fasting.

Here are some tips on how to prepare the body:

1. Start with a generally clean diet and eliminate junk food, sugar, white flour, canned foods, and cured meats.

2. Increase your intake of vegetables by eating a minimum of one cup with every meal.

3. Do not snack between meals. Drink water or herbal tea if desired.

4. Start with intermittent fasting.

5. Be aware of your food sensitivities or allergies and ensure to remove them for a week before starting your fast.

6. You must speak with your primary medical care practitioner if you are taking medicine, on a certain diet, or have a chronic health condition.

References

Effect of intermittent fasting and refeeding on insulin action in healthy men. Halberg N, Henriksen M, Söderhamn N. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 2005, Jul.;99(6):8750-7587.

Usefulness of routine periodic fasting to lower risk of coronary artery disease in patients undergoing coronary angiography. Horne BD, May HT, Anderson JL. The American journal of cardiology, 2008, Jul.;102(7):0002-9149.

Cardioprotective effect of intermittent fasting is associated with an elevation of adiponectin levels in rats. Wan R, Ahmet I, Brown M. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 2009, May.;21(5):1873-4847.

Late-onset intermittent fasting dietary restriction as a potential intervention to retard age-associated brain function impairments in male rats. Singh R, Lakhanpal D, Kumar S. Age (Dordrecht, Netherlands), 2011, Aug.;34(4):1574-4647.

Faris MA et al. Intermittent fasting during Ramadan attenuates proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells in healthy subjects. Nutr Res. 2012 Dec;32(12):947-55

 

Harris L et al. Short-term intermittent energy restriction interventions for weight management: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2018 Jan;19(1):1-13.

Mehrdad Alirezaei, et al. Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy. Autophagy. 2010 Aug 16; 6(6): 702–710.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVUGLc0D4TM&t=189s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwCRjwDs1Ek

The post Benefits of Various Fasting appeared first on Conscious Health.

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Recipes for Vision Health

As promised last week here are the two recipes for impeccable vision health.
Vision Health Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

 Spinach (1/2 cup)
 Carrots (1/4 cup)
 Blueberries (1/4 cup)
 Baby Kale (1/2 cup)
 Mangoes (1/4 cup)
 Bilberries (1/4 cup) or Amla Juice (3 tbsp.)

Methods:

1. Dice and chop the spinach, mango, carrots, and kale.
2. In a high-speed blender add 1 cup of water and rest of the ingredients including
blueberries and bilberries/amla juice.
3. Blend until smooth. Pour in a glass and drink fresh.

Ayurvedic Vision Health Herbal Tea Recipe

Ingredients:

 Dried Amla Berry, powder – ½ tsp,
 Dried Calendula or Marigold, petals – 1 Tsp.
 Saffron, 2-3 strands
 Turmeric – ¼ tsp.
 Black or Nigella Seed – 2 pinches
 Orange Juice – ½ cup
 Ginger Juice – ½ Tsp.

Methods:

1. Boil 2 cups of water and add amla, calendula, saffron, turmeric and nigella seeds.
2. Brew them for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Strain the liquid in a mug and add the orange and ginger juice.
4. Drink warm.

The post Healthy Recipes for Vision Health appeared first on Conscious Health.

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Recipes for Vision Health

As promised last week here are the two recipes for impeccable vision health.
Vision Health Smoothie Recipe


Ingredients:
 Spinach (1/2 cup)
 Carrots (1/4 cup)
 Blueberries (1/4 cup)
 Baby Kale (1/2 cup)
 Mangoes (1/4 cup)
 Bilberries (1/4 cup) or Amla Juice (3 tbsp.)
Methods:
1. Dice and chop the spinach, mango, carrots and kale.
2. In a high speed blender add 1 cup of water and rest of the ingredients including
blueberries and bilberries/amla juice.
3. Blend until smooth. Pour in a glass and drink fresh.

Ayurvedic Vision Health Herbal Tea Recipe
Ingredients:
 Dried Amla Berry, powder – ½ tsp,
 Dried Calendula or Marigold, petals – 1 tsp.
 Saffron, 2-3 strands
 Turmeric – ¼ tsp.
 Black or Nigella Seed – 2 pinches
 Orange Juice – ½ cup
 Ginger Juice – ½ tsp.
Methods:
1. Boil 2 cups of water and add amla, calendula, saffron, turmeric and nigella seeds.
2. Brew them for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Strain the liquid in a mug and add the orange and ginger juice.
4. Drink warm.

The post How To Recipes for Vision Health I appeared first on Conscious Health.

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Ayurveda, Yoga and Herbal Medicine in North America show us abundance remedies available
for Vision Health.

Vision is the most beautiful of all senses as it allows us to experience the
world around us and the people we care for. Therefore, we must take good care of our eyes.
In Ayurvedic Medicine, Yoga and Herbal Medicine urge you to improve your vision. I will
discuss here tips, remedies, foods, and herbs that can improve many aspects of your vision
health.
If you are a follower you already know I suffer from significant vision loss due to a genetic
condition Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). It is a complex disease that requires a lot of managing.
However, for the purposes of this blog, I am only going to mention other conditions and how to
improve them such as night blindness, nearsightedness, blurry vision, fatigued eyes, watery
eyes, cataract and headaches due to straining the eyes. I believe you can significantly improve
these conditions.
Night Blindness (Nyctalopia): Inability to see in dim light or at night. Night blindness can be due
to Vitamin A or zinc deficiency, cataract, glaucoma, side effects of medications, RP or from
birth.
Nearsightedness:  Inability to see things clearly unless they are relatively close to the eyes,
owing to the focusing of rays of light by the eye at a point in front of the retina
Blurry Vision: Lack of sharpness of vision with, as a result, the inability to see fine detail.

Fatigued Eyes: Due to many hours spent in front of the computer, phone, TV or other devices.
Watery Eyes (Epiphora): tear persistently or excessively; could be caused by inflammation or
dry eyes.
Cataract: A medical condition in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque,
resulting in blurred vision.

Dietary Care for Vision Health

1. Remove foods that contain refined or white sugar, white flour, refined or hydrogenated
fats, food additives, food colors, and toxic chemicals.
2. In Ayurvedic Medicine, it is recommended to follow the shape and color of the food to
understand which part of the body it is good for. Almond laid horizontally looks like
eyes, blueberries look like eyeballs and carrots cut in round looks like eyes. These foods
are amazing for vision health due to antioxidants, fatty acids, and Vitamin A and E
content.

3. Adding foods that are organic and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables.
4. Adding colorful foods – red, orange and yellow will provide a wide range of vitamins,
mineral, and carotenoids. Carrots, yellow-orange squashes, pumpkin, sweet potato,
tomatoes, papaya, oranges etc. are excellent for vision health.
5. Adding leafy greens meals once a day is utmost important for Vitamin A and B Vitamins.
Leafy greens such as kale, collard, spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, rapini,
watercress, arugula, cilantro, parsley are top choices. There are also beet greens, turnip
greens, bok choy, romaine lettuce that are also available. In Bangladesh, a purple color
leafy green called “laal shaag” was extremely popular for vision health.
6. Diet rich in Essential Fatty Acids such as flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, black seed oil
or algae oil. A 1000 mg will change your vision health.
7. Adding turmeric to food or as a tea can boost the vision health and the immune system.
8. An easy way to combat vitamin and mineral deficiency without cooking is if the client
owns a high-speed blender they can make a vision health smoothie for themselves. I will
share in another blog post.

Lifestyle Improvements

Triphala Eye Wash: Make a decoction of Triphala powder in water. Stain and put the water in a
glass dropper bottle. Amla juice or ghee is also suitable options. Apply a few drops a day of the
herbal remedy of choice. Speak with a practitioner before you attempt this.
Sunglasses: Wearing sunglasses may help protect the retina from ultraviolet light and help slow
vision loss.
Quit Sugar: White sugar, simple carbohydrates, and baked goods can cause glaucoma or
cataract. I highly recommend removing it. Add honey, molasses or stevia instead.
Quit Smoking/Being around Smokers: Increases the chance of getting cataract or making is
worst, damages the optic nerve and accelerates macular degeneration. This is important for
night blindness, fatigued and watery eyes.
Anti-Glare Screen: A monitor screen that is treated to reduce glare from light sources. This may
be an important protective device for people working in front of a computer. This is important
for blurry vision, fatigued and watery eyes.
Eye Yoga: Clients with vision loss may experience a gradual loss of flexibility and tone of the eye
muscles. Some of the best practices are a visual perception with palming, eyeball rotation and
vision shifting. See video below by Yoga Vidya

Yoga eye exercises - YouTube

Other Yoga: Surya namaskar/sun salutation, spinal twists, triangle, cobra and Shavasana/rest
pose.

Palming: Rub both hands to create heat. Close your eyes and gently place palms on each eye.
Repeat this a few times.
Moon Sighting: In yoga practices sun gazing is popular however with RP clients eyes are too
sensitive so, moon gazing (indirect sunlight) could be beneficial for this condition.
Acupuncture: A study was published in 2011 wherein it was discovered that acupuncture
protects the optic nerve from damage caused by intraocular pressure by alleviating stresses on
retinal and optic nerve axonal ultrastructure. Chinese medicine improves retinal cone activity
for patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa, even in advance cases.
“TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) treatment could also enhance the bioactivity of (the) nerve
network and therefore have a definite significance in retarding the progression of disease and
keeping the central vision.” – Health CMi
I will be sharing a fantastic Vision Health Smoothie recipe and a Vision Health Herbal Tea recipe
soon.
Please let me know if this blog helped you and what do you do to keep your vision health intact.
Always remember before making any changes you speak with your primary health care
practitioner. We are all unique individuals and not every remedy is suited for all.

The post Ayurveda and Yoga Practice for Best Eye or Vision Care appeared first on Conscious Health.

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Ayurvedic Medicine starts in your kitchen! The kitchen pharmacy is an ideal tool for anyone
who wants to use “food as medicine” even for minor first aid situations. Note that this blog in no
means encourages you not to call your doctor or go to the emergency. However for some minor
injuries you can start with what you have in hand.
Keeping an Ayurvedic First Aid Kit for home and day trips may be handy for you and your
family.
Do you already have a first-aid kit in your home? If not it’s probably a good idea to have one and
keep it filled with necessary materials such as BandAids, scissors, tweezers and dressings. But
did you consider that you could also add many natural products in addition to what you have?
Ayurveda uses natural substances that you can prepare at home to use as first aid remedies.
Your kit should have arnica, aloe jel, honey, turmeric, ajwain, calendula ointment, neem oil,
thieves spray, ginger candy and a selection of essential oil. You must keep the kit away from
children’s reach.

Why do we want a First Aid Kit?

There are many health issues that can arise that we should be prepared for, such as:
 Skin wounds, injuries, cuts and bleeding
 Soft tissue damage such as strains and sprains
 Bug bites and rashes
 Allergies
 Cough and cold
 Minor burns
 Sunburns and heat stroke
 Digestive problems such as nausea and diarrhea
 Menstrual period cramps and other muscle cramps
 Headaches

Turmeric Powder

 For skin cutes, scrapes, and puncture wounds, you can clean the area and apply turmeric powder,
and then wrap it with gauze. Turmeric powder can be a capsule that is opened or using the
straight powder spice. This is a natural antiseptic and stops the bleeding, as well as reducing the
local pain. Turmeric can also be applied as a paste, if you mix some powder with a bit of water
first to form a paste.

Honey
 Honey is a wonderful antimicrobial and healing food! It is widely used in Ayurveda, and there
are many types on the market. I prefer raw, unpasteurized honey, as well as Manuka honey. You
can apply honey to wounds, infections, and rashes. Ingesting this higher quality honey is
beneficial for peptic ulcers and digestive problems, as well as upper respiratory infections and
sore throats.
If you can find Black seed honey (Nigella Seed Honey) it is an excellent remedy for migraine or
headaches.
Keep a small jar of honey in your first aid kit. Honey usually does not expire (just keep the
moisture out)
Neem Oil
 Neem is a tree growing in India and is widely used for many health conditions since ancient
times. Neem is an insecticide, anti fungal and antibacterial, antioxidant, immune-boosting, helps
with skin and hair, acne, and popular for oral and dental health. Having some neem oil in your
home is a great way to tackle these health issues.
If you have food allergies where you suddenly break out in hives and it is itchy neem oil is an
excellent way to reduce the inflammation and itchiness.
Arnica
Arnica cream, gel, or internal pellets are usually homeopathic preparations that are a great first-
aid for bruises, pain, strains, sprains, injuries, joint and muscle issues, and swelling.
Aloe Vera gel
Aloe Vera gel is a popular healing product for any burns or sunburns. It cools the skin, reduces
inflammation and itching. It is rich in nutrients and antioxidants to heal the skin.
Calendula Flower Leaves
Calendula infused oil is extracted from the marigold flower and is found in various forms such as
creams, salves, and oils that are used topically for the skin. Calendula is a go-to for healing
rashes, eczema, psoriasis, damaged skin, and is popular in natural baby skin products as well.
You can get a cup of calendula petals (dried or fresh) and pour olive oil in it. Infused this is a
glass jar for a month. Strain the liquid from the petal and make your own ointment. This is an
excellent remedy for diaper rash.

Ajwain Tea:
A teaspoon of ajwain in two cups of boiling water makes an excellent tea for indigestion, over
eating and stomach ache. Keep a little ar of ajwain in your kit. You can also chew of the seeds.
Ginger Candy:
For headache, nausea and stomach ache – if nothing is available ginger candy is a good start.
Cinnamon Tea:
For painful menstrual cramps take ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powder or a a stick of cinnamon and
boil it in water for 15 minutes. Strain and drink this water and you will get immediate relief.
Essential Oils
Essential oils are concentrated substances that have many healing effects on the body. Here are
some of my top ones:
   Lavender oil reduces pain, inflammation, and improves skin healing. Lavender oil is
  amazing in relieving minor burn pain.
  Tea tree oil is anti fungal for skin infections as well as repelling lice (you can add it to
 shampoos or sprays for the hair).
  Citronella oil repels mosquitoes. If you are bitten, various oils such as lavender,
 citronella, rosemary, and lemongrass diluted into witch hazel help reduce the itching and
 redness.
  Lavender and peppermint essential oils are helpful to reduce headaches by diluting them
 in a carrier oil and applying to the temples or neck, or they can be inhaled from a diffuse.
  Eucalyptus essential oil is a decongestant that can be inhaled during sinus infections or
 applied as a chest rub when diluted in a liquid/solid carrier oil.
  Sandalwood essential oil has shown in studies to reduce eczema and dermatitis, and can
 be applied to the skin diluted in a carrier oil.
  Clove oil is great to have for relief of tooth aches and gum pain – one drop into the area
 creates a numbing effect due to ingredients such as Eugenio.
Thieves Spray
Thieves is one of my favorite essential oil blends, and is great as a hand sanitize and antiseptic
blend. Here is a blog I wrote on all the benefits of thieves oil and why you should have it in your
house.
Tea Bags:

Please keep 1-2 chamomile tea bags. They come in handy for digestive issues, nausea and
insomnia.

The post Developing an all-natural First Aid Kit for Home and Day Trips appeared first on Conscious Health.

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Looking for some warmth during winter season? What about a warming cup of tea that also helps control your blood sugar? I have a healthy Ayurvedic tea recipe that you can enjoy!

Mix the following herbs and spices together. Dried leaves and spices can be stored for a long period of time in a glass jar in a cool dark place. 

Make a total of 100 grams of the following mix:

  • Holy Basil or Tulsi                    – 25
  • Cinnamon or Dalchini (chips)  – 20
  • Gymnema Sylvestre or gurmar- 20
  • Fenugreek or methi                 – 10    
  • Orange Peel                             – 15
  • Ginger or adrak                        – 10      

Why these ingredients? Because each one contributes certain benefits for blood sugar or health.

Holy Basil

Holy Basil is an important and sacred Ayurvedic herb that is warming, bitter, and pungent. It is great for vata and kapha. It is not the exact same as common basil, it is more pungent and bitter, with larger leaves. It contains antioxidants apigenin, eugenol, geraniol, linalool, and flavonoids that counteract free radical damage in the body. Studies show it lowers blood sugar, delays the development of insulin resistance, and reduces lipids.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a well-known spice that lowers blood sugar and also contains antioxidants. You should use true cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon) if possible. Many studies show effects such as:

  • Decreases glucose levels after food
  • Has insulin-like activity
  • Stimulates insulin receptors on fat and muscle cells, which allows sugar to go into cells
  • Reduces triglycerides and LDL cholesterol
  • Is high in polyphenols and other compounds that are antioxidants which reduce free radical damage and increase the body’s endogenous antioxidants such as glutathione
  • Cinnamon added to the diet increases liver glycogen storage

Gymnema sylvestre

This herb is native to India and used in Ayurveda for over 2000 years for diabetes. Studies show that it reduces blood sugar and encourages glucose uptake by upregulating glucose transporter-4. It also lowers triglycerides and cholesterol. It is unique because of two reasons:

  • It reduces the desire for sugar cravings!
  • It may help regeneration of beta cells in the pancreas and enhances production of insulin with continual use.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds and leaves have been used in Ayurveda for medicinal purposes. Fenugreek contains many micronutrients but specifically it contains a galactomannan soluble fibre which reduces blood sugar and causes satiety which contributes to weight loss. It also contains 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which increases the body’s production of insulin. Studies show it also reduces cholesterol. Fenugreek also reduces the Glycemic Index of food when eaten together.

Orange Peel

Orange peel contains pectin which is a fibre shown in studies to lower blood sugar, insulin resistance, and cholesterol. In addition, orange peel also offers vitamin C and other antioxidants, as well as a pleasant citrus scent to your tea!

Ginger

Ginger is an amazing warming spice used in many cultures for thousands of years. It has many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Numerous studies show it reduces blood sugar, insulin resistance, triglycerides, and cholesterol. Gingerols also increase cellular antioxidants such as glutathione and inhibits the degeneration of pancreatic beta cells (that produce insulin).

Diet is very important in managing your blood sugar or diabetes. In addition to these wonderful herbs and ingredients, you can include bitter melon into your diet as well as fenugreek leaves into your food. Neem is also a great Ayurvedic herb that can be taken as a supplement capsule 15 minutes before meals, twice daily. As you can see, there are lots of natural ingredients you can use to manage your blood sugar!

Caution: If you are on blood-lowering prescription medications, use with caution as it may lower your blood sugar to dangerous levels. 

References:

Suanarunsawat T et al. Anti-diabetic and anti-oxidative activity of fixed oil extracted from Ocimum sanctum L. leaves in diabetic rats. Exp Ther Med. 2016 Mar;11(3):832-840.

Paul A Davis et al. Cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis. J Med Food. 2011 Sep ;14(9):884-9

Shanmugasundaram ER et al. Possible regeneration of the islets of Langerhans in streptozotocin-diabetic rats given Gymnema sylvestre leaf extracts. J Ethnopharmacol. 1990 Oct;30(3):265-79.

Persaud SJ et al. Gymnema sylvestre stimulates insulin release in vitro by increased membrane permeability. J Endocrinol. 1999 Nov;163(2):207-12.

Sajad Ahmad, WaniPradyumanKumar. Fenugreek: A review on its nutraceutical properties and utilization in various food products. Journal of th Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences. 2016

Farzad Shidfaret al. The effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale) on glycemic markers in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Complement Integr Med. 2015 Feb 10

Debrup Chakraborty, et al. [6]-Gingerol isolated from ginger attenuates sodium arsenite induced oxidative stress and plays a corrective role in improving insulin signaling in mice. Toxicol Lett. 2012 Jan 10 ;210(1):34-43.

The post Ayurvedic Homemade Tea for Blood Sugar Management appeared first on Conscious Health.

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Magnesium is a mineral we should be paying more attention to! It is part of over 300 biochemical reactions and the fourth most abundant mineral in our body, with 65% of it in our bones and teeth and 35% in our brain, hearth, blood, and cells. But many of us can have low magnesium levels, and this can lead to many common symptoms.

Causes of deficiency

-Intake of coffee, alcohol, smoking
-Long term use of diuretics               
-Birth control pills
-Poor nutrition
-Diarrhea, dehydration                                  
-Hyperthyroid           
-Kidney disease – Since the kidneys are regulators of magnesium homeostasis
-Celiac and IBD (due to impaired absorption of minerals)
-Antibiotics                           
-Stress
-Sweating                                          
-Exercise

As you can see, many things affect magnesium absorption. Food processing in itself reduces magnesium, up to 80% in milling of wheat for example. Phytic acid and oxalic acid found in many greens and grains also reduce magnesium. Absorption also depends on stomach acid level, diet, and our bodily requirements.

Effects of Low Magnesium

Many of us can have any of the following symptoms, but don’t always connect this to magnesium deficiency:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Weakness, fatigue
  • Nausea, GI disorders, constipation
  • Muscle cramps, especially in the legs at night, restless legs
  • Excessive body odour
  • Hypersensitivity to noise, startle reactions
  • Cravings for chocolate
  • Poor coordination
  • Insomnia, hyperactivity, irritability
  • Poor memory

Sources of Magnesium

  • Seeds – pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
  • Green beans
  • Spinach and other leafy greens – Magnesium is at the centre of the chlorophyll molecule which is the green pigment found in green vegetables.
  • Figs
  • Avocados
  • Lemons, grapefruit
  • Nuts – almonds, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts
  • Apples, bananas
  • Soybeans
  • Seafood
  • Dark chocolate
  • Whole grains – wheat germ and bran, millet, brown rice

Bones

Our society focuses a lot on Calcium for bone health, but magnesium is also very important. Studies have shown that excessive calcium intake, as well as phosphorus, iron, copper, and zinc will lower magnesium absorption. Since 65% of our magnesium is in our bones, it is important for bone and teeth health. It has a structural role for bones, as well as being essential to osteoblasts and osteoclasts (bone cells), and needed for ATP (energy) formation in cells. Magnesium also is required by enzymes that metabolize vitamin D, which is crucial for bone health. Studies show that restricting magnesium intake results in osteoporosis!

Cardiovascular health

Magnesium relaxes smooth muscles found around blood vessels, reducing artery spasms and keeping heart rhythm regular. It also dilates blood vessels to reduce blood pressure. It works with calcium to regulate muscle tone of the heart. It is a cofactor to many enzymes, it is needed for ATP production (cellular energy), regulates ion channels, myocardial contraction, vascular tone, and thrombosis. Magnesium taurate is one form of magnesium specifically for improving cardiac function, contraction, and reducing blood pressure.

Muscles

Magnesium regulates muscle contractions and is a muscle relaxant. It is a great supplement for restless legs, muscle spasms, cramps, and sore muscles. It is also useful for PMS cramps and athletes who suffer from cramps. One form of magnesium: magnesium bisglycinate is a very well absorbed form. Another form, magnesium sulfate, is found in Epsom Salts, and is beneficial as a bath for muscle relaxation.

Digestive Tract

Due to its relaxant function on smooth muscles around the digestive tract, it can cause loose stools especially in the Magnesium Citrate form. It is helpful when you have constipation. Magnesium also activates enzymes involved in metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Relaxation and Nervous System

Magnesium is an anti-stress mineral, popular as a supplement before bed to calm, relax, and help you sleep. It is a natural muscle relaxant. Deficiency of magnesium results in neurological symptoms, as magnesium is important for nervous system health. In terms of supplements, it was shown that Magnesium threonate actually enters the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) and brain, and has effects on learning and memory and is neuroprotective.

To get more magnesium in your diet, Consicous Health has many plenty of foods/recipes with magnesium-rich foods! Check out Cacao, Kale Salad, or Zucchini Noodles

References:

Sara Castiglioni et al. Magnesium and Osteoporosis: Current State of Knowledge and Future Research Directions. Nutrients. 2013 Aug; 5(8): 3022–3033.

Tangvoraphonkchai K, Davenport A. Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2018 May;25(3):251-260.

Jan Philipp Schuchardt and Andreas Hahn. Intestinal Absorption and Factors Influencing Bioavailability of Magnesium-An Update. Curr Nutr Food Sci. 2017 Nov; 13(4): 260–278.

The post Magnesium – #1 Mineral for Health and Longevity appeared first on Conscious Health.

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