Category Archives: natural

Ten Natural Health Life Hacks to Simplify, Save Money and Live Better

I am a huge fan of “life hacks.” Handy tricks that can greatly simplify a natural lifestyle create a win-win situation, allowing us to Natural Health Life Hacks
simplify our lives while improving our health. What could be better? Following are my Top 10 Natural Health Life Hacks. Use them to simplify your life, improve your health, save money, and live better. Have your own natural health life hack? Please share it in the comments!

Dr. Pamela’s Top 10 Natural Health Life Hacks

Stop wasting money on commercial colloidal oatmeal:  The word “colloidal” in relation to colloidal oatmeal simply means, “able to uniformly disperse in water.” That’s it. Nothing fancy and no chemistry required. Make your own colloidal oatmeal – and save a ton of money – by blending organic oats in a blender until they form a fine powder. It’s just that simple. Most commercial colloidal oatmeals contain chemical additives designed to improve the powder’s flow through processing machines, so by making your own you also reduce your exposure to potential toxins.

Freeze leftover smoothie in an ice cube tray:  Once the smoothie cubes are frozen, you can either use them as a cool treat on a hot day, can use them as ice cubes in water to create an “infused” beverage, or can toss them into a blender and make a frozen version of the original smoothie. You can also use the frozen cubes to save time. Make a double batch of smoothie every day for a week, freezing the excess and putting the cubes in a canning jar in the freezer. Use the frozen cubes to make a quickie smoothie on mornings when you run out of time for a healthy breakfast. Freezing the smoothie will detract a small amount of nutrition, but will retain enough nutrition to provide benefits. If you’d like a formula to use to make perfect smoothies every time, read this:  Perfect Smoothie Formula.

Keep a pre-packed bag with gym essentials in your trunk:  Having a back-up gym bag packed and ready to go will help eliminate most excuses for not working out. Keep one in your trunk, in your desk at work, or wherever it will always be ready. Items to pack might include a t-shirt and shorts, tennis shoes, deodorant, headband, water bottle, etc. 

Buy organic spices in the bulk section instead of individual jars:  When we buy organic basil in a jar, it costs $4.79. The same amount of organic basil in bulk costs us less than $1.50. Find a locally owned store that sells organic spices in bulk. The store we frequent even allows us to weigh our own container when we enter so we don’t have to use a plastic bag. We save loads of money by buying our organic spices in bulk. We wash and re-use glass spice bottles, but you can also find bottles on Amazon for next to nothing.

Measure your daily water need into a bottle in the morning and keep it with you all day:  We all need to drink half our weight (in pounds) in ounces of water on a daily basis. This means people who weigh 150 pounds should drink 75 ounces of purified water daily. Staying hydrated helps ensure our cells can work at their optimal level, helps us feel more energized, can eliminate headaches, and prevents the body from secreting hormones that make us feel hungry when what we actually need is water. The bottom line is that our cells work better when they’re hydrated and look like grapes than they do when they are dehydrated and look like raisins. So do we.

Ask for a to go box when you order at a restaurant, then place half your meal in the box as soon as it’s served:  Most portions of restaurant meals are huge, especially if they include side dishes, salad, etc. Boxing up half your meal as soon as it’s delivered helps ensure you don’t overeat and provides a meal for the next day. For more tips and tricks for eating healthily when eating out, read Ten Ways to Make Good Choices While Eating Out.

Use coconut water instead of sugary sports drinks:  Coconut water naturally contains every trace mineral present in human blood. It is also very easily absorbed and void of added sugars or corn syrup. It makes a much healthier alternative to sports drinks loaded with synthetic minerals and excess sugars. Coconut water is also often successfully used instead of infant electrolyte replacement drinks. (Discuss that option with your pediatrician or physician.) For best results, use a coconut water that is organic and that does not contain added sugars. 

Make your own “gel” icepack:  Simply blend 2 parts water with 1 part rubbing alcohol. Place in a zippered bag, force out as much air as possible, freeze, and use as needed. You may want to use two bags to help protect against having the zippers pop open. These ice packs are nice because they don’t leak all over but can easily fit around limbs and body parts. To prevent overchilling of the body part, place a towel or wash cloth between the area that needs to be iced and the gel pack. You can increase or decrease the ratio of water to rubbing alcohol to change the thickness and density of the “gel” as needed. Vodka or Everclear can be used instead of the rubbing alcohol if you prefer.

Use a piece of spaghetti to light candles:  Believe it or  not, spaghetti is flammable. Light a piece and you can use it to light multiple candles with hard to reach wicks. Note that gluten-free spaghetti doesn’t work as well as regular spaghetti.

Ditch artificial makeup removers:  The best makeup remover on the planet is organic, high oleic sunflower seed oil. The oil easily removes makeup and contains fatty acids known to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also very inexpensive. To use, apply the oil to a natural cotton ball or cotton wash cloth (use black wash cloths for removing eye makeup) and gently use to remove makeup. You’ll protect yourself from artificial chemicals while nourishing and moisturizing your skin. It’s a winning combination!

Bonus Natural Health Life Hack #11:

Use coconut flour instead of corn starch as a thickener:  Coconut flour is ultra-absorbent and makes a fantastic thickener for soups and stews. It does not add any flavor to the recipe. Since most corn starch is made from genetically modified corn and is high in carbohydrates, I prefer to avoid it. Coconut flour not only works better as a thickener, it has better nutritional value, adding protein and healthy essential fatty acids.

Bonus Natural Health Life Hack #12:

Store natural peanut butter upside down on its lid:  That will allow the natural oils to rise to the bottom of the jar. Shaking the jar before opening it will make it easier to stir and blend the oils back into the butter.

What are your favorite natural health hacks? Please share!

Gastroparesis: Causes, Symptoms and Controls

Gastroparesis is a condition that causes food to empty too slowly from the stomach. When digestion is normal, food remains in the stomach for approximately 2-3 hours before moving into the small intestine. (High fiber foods may remain much longer and take significantly longer to digest.) Gastroparesis delays the normal emptying of the stomach because the muscles in the stomach fail to correctly transport food Gastroparesis stomach paininto the small intestine.

Gastroparesis is a very uncomfortable condition. It can interfere with nutrient absorption and definitely affects quality of life. Unfortunately, Gastroparesis is becoming more common as the incidence of diabetes and degenerative neurological disease increases. In my practice, I have many clients who deal with Gastroparesis on a daily basis.

Causes of Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis can happen when nerves associated with the stomach are damaged or don’t work as they should. The most common causes of Gastroparesis include:

  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Auto-immune disorders
  • Scleroderma
  • Inflammatory conditions (such as pancreatitis) that interfere with the delivery of nerve messages to the stomach
  • Anorexia and/or bulimia
  • Heavy cigarette smoking
  • Idiopathic (unknown)

Symptoms of Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis may cause one or more of the following symptoms. These symptoms may occur continually but typically intensify in the hours following a meal:

  • Feeling full after eating just a few bites of food
  • Stomach pain, either vague or intense
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Belching and hiccuping
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite

Controlling Gastroparesis

There is no known cure for Gastroparesis. The most commonly used approaches to address or diminish the symptoms may include:

  • Eating much smaller meals more frequently
  • Blending foods in a blender and switching to much softer foods
  • Using ginger or other digestive aids
  • Using homeopathic remedies known to diminish symptoms and improve digestion
  • Using liquid meal replacements to boost nutrition 
  • Strictly limiting fiber consumption and avoiding certain foods known to cause problems
  • In my practice, I usually recommend the use of supplements known to improve nerve function and slow nerve deterioration

Prescription medications may also be used to diminish the symptoms of Gastroparesis. Many of the most commonly used prescription medications lose effectiveness with continued use and/or have severe side effects.

If muscle and nerve deterioration continues and symptoms worsen, Gastroparesis may also be treated with a device called a Gastric Pacemaker. A Gastric Pacemaker uses electrical stimulation to reduce symptoms. Extreme cases of Gastroparesis are treated with a feeding tube.

Gastroparesis may affect quality of life in horrendous ways. Those who experience it may become weak and malnourished. Some come to dread eating due to the pain and discomfort it can cause. Depression is a very common side effect of Gastroparesis. Many people are able to rise above the symptoms by making lifestyle changes and committing to remaining positive.

Are you affected by Gastroparesis? What techniques do you use to improve your quality of life?

 

Photo courtesy of Peter Gerdes

Natural Sunscreen Recipe

I have received many requests to share a natural sunscreen recipe. I developed this recipe several years ago because I wanted to be able to protect myself from sunburn without exposing myself to the harmful chemicals found in most OTC sunscreens. I have found it to be very effective. Please note you may need to apply it more frequently than other sunscreens.

This time of year, it’s not uncommon to hear many frightening warnings about the “dangers of sun exposure.” These warnings make me cringe. The truth is that sun exposure is very beneficial to our health. Severe sunburn is not. Recent research found skin cancer is not caused by simple sun Sunshineexposure but is caused by severe sunburn. In addition, several studies found the most common ingredients in OTC sunscreens actually CAUSE skin cancer. Even newer research discovered sun exposure (without sunscreen) increases the levels of nitric oxide in our system. Nitric oxide is known to lower blood pressure and improve heart health. Please read Shining Light on the Truth About Sun Exposure for more information about the necessity of sun exposure.

What’s the solution? Here are my tips for allowing sun exposure to improve health:

  1. Get 10-20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day. After you have a good base tan, it’s fine to spend longer periods of time in the sun as long as you do not burn.
  2. Use a natural sunscreen. See links at the end of this article to a few pre-made versions I really like.
  3. Keep a close eye on how much sun you’ve gotten. If you think you’re in danger of burning, take time to put on more clothing or to apply a natural sunscreen.

My sunscreen recipe follows. This is easy to make and has ingredients which are easy to find. I included links to make it easier to find the ingredients. Each of the oils used has a natural SPF ranging from 6-30. I added zinc oxide powder to the recipe to provide added protection. This sunscreen is very effective, but may need to be applied more frequently. You can feel free to add a few drops of essential oil to add fragrance if you like.

Good Works Wellness Natural Sunscreen Recipe

Ingredients:

o 1/2 cup beeswax pastilles
o 1/2 cup unrefined shea butter
o 1/2 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil
o 3/4 cup combination of organic hempseed, macadamia nut or wheat germ oil(s)*
o 5 tablespoons zinc oxide powder
o Optional: 1/2 tablespoon essential oil

*You may use a single oil or a combination of oils to total 3/4 cup. Note you can make the natural sunscreen thinner by adding more liquid oil or thicker by adding less.

Instructions:

Gently melt the beeswax over a double boiler, then whisk in the other oils until all oils and butters are melted. Gradually stir in the zinc oxide powder and blend until well blended. Add essential oils after that if desired. This is best stored in a glass container.

Pre-Made Natural Sunscreens

If you don’t have time to make your own sunscreen, I recommend the following, some of which are water-resistant:

Photo Courtesy of Rhys Asplundh

References:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/29/sun-exposure-vitamin-d-production-benefits.aspx

Benefits of Moderate Sun Exposure, Harvard University

Scientists Say Benefits of Sun Exposure Far Outweigh Risks