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Book Recommendation: Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom

“We become programmed with a set of upper limits for what we believe we deserve in life. That includes how healthy, how prosperous, and how well loved we can expect to be. These beliefs operate in our subconscious, under the radar of our everyday consciousness. But they unerringly attract to us experiences that reinforce what we already believe.” 
― Christiane NorthrupWomen’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical And Emotional Health And Healing


945778_549268605117349_883073140_nOne of the first books that I read about obtaining good health and healthy habits was Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Dr. Christiane Northrup. Much of the information was new to me and it provided a great foundation for re-thinking good health and how to obtain it. That was over 19 years ago and now at the age of 41 and 16 years cancer free I look back and realize that I have to share this information with others. If there is even the smallest possibility that a life can be improved or that another woman, man or child  can be blessed with some of the benefits that this book has brought to me then I have to share it.

Changing how I thought about myself and illness was key to feeling better and for getting better. In Islam it is taught that we should seek forgiveness when we fall ill which is profound because an aspect of seeking forgiveness requires repentance, which in part requires re-thinking. Re-thinking about ourselves, our lives, our relationships to others and our relationship to the Creator.

Personally, my issue that seemed to be at the heart of my illness was love. Once I started on the path to correcting how I love my health, my life and my relationships began to get better. We all have different things that we struggle with in life but I’ve learned that we have to remember to remain hopeful, and to have faith that we can heal.

May this post, and this book, be of benefit!

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Cucumbers! Who Knew!

 

There are hundreds of varieties of cucumber, and they come in dozens of colors, but the edible types are classified as being for either slicing or pickling, according to Cornell University’s Growing Guide. Most people think of cucumbers as vegetables but they are actually a fruit. They contain seeds and grow from the ovaries of flowering plants and are members of the plant family Cucurbitaceae, which also includes squashes and melons. When it comes to nutrients, I was surprised by how much nutrition is contained in a cucumber. Just adding one to your salad every day or to your natural juice every morning can make a big difference in the overall health of your body!

Cucumbers are good sources of phytonutrients, plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties such flavonoids, lignans and triterpenes, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.


Hydration

Cucumbers are 95 percent water and are a great way to stay hydrated, especially during the summer. A cup of cucumber slices is “nearly as thirst-quenching as a glass of water,” according to Eating Well magazine.

They say we can get 20-30 percent of our fluid needs through our diet alone, and foods like these certainly help. Not only are they high in water content, they also contain important nutrients that play a part in hydration like magnesium and potassium.

The anti-inflammatory compounds in cucumbers help remove waste from the body and reduce skin irritation, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Preliminary research also suggests cucumbers promote anti-wrinkling and anti-aging activity.

758cfbe8fd1964027ff46688a97f5506--cucumber-benefits-juicing-benefitsCancer prevention

Cucumbers contain two phytonutrient compounds associated with anti-cancer benefits: lignans and cucurbitacins. In recent years, pharmaceutical companies have been paying special attention to cucurbitacins, hoping to use them in new cancer drugs. According to a 2010 research review published in Scientific World Journal, scientists have found that cucurbitacins can help block the signaling pathways that are important for cancer cell proliferation and survival.

Cucurbitacins can also inhibits the growth of pancreatic cancer cells, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Cancer Research looked at cucurbitacin B (which cucumber contains) on human pancreatic cancer cells and found that cucurbitacin supplements inhibited the growth of seven pancreatic cancer cell lines by 50 percent, and also increased apoptosis, or “death by suicide,” of pancreatic cancer cells.

According to World’s Healthiest Foods, lignans may protect against cancer through working with the bacteria in the digestive tract. The bacteria take the lignans and convert them into compounds such as enterodiol and enterolactone, which can bind onto estrogen receptors and possibly reduce the risk of estrogen-related cancers, such as ovarian, breast, endometrial and prostate cancers. The research is not yet clear on whether lignans actually assert anti-cancer benefits.

Skin

You’ve probably seen pictures of people at a spa relaxing with cucumber slices over their eyes. It turns out there’s science behind this pampering ritual. Cucumbers have a cooling and soothing effect that decreases swelling, irritation and inflammation when used topically. Cucumber slices can be placed on the eyes can decrease morning puffiness or alleviate and treat sunburn when placed on the affected areas.

cucumber-slicedBone health

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, in the past few decades, it has become clear that vitamin K is important to bone health, and one cup of cucumber contains about 19 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K. One review published in Nutrition noted that vitamin K intake might reduce fracture rates, work with vitamin D to increase bone density and positively affect calcium balance.

The human body uses vitamin K when building bones, and the effects seem to be especially important for women. A large 2003 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study showed that low vitamin K levels were associated with low bone density in women, but not in men. Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999 found that low intakes of vitamin K were associated with an increased risk of hip fractures in middle-age women. This is especially interesting because the women saw results from eating lettuce, showing that dietary consumption of vitamin K via eating vegetables (not supplements) is beneficial. When it comes to men, the affects of vitamin K and bone health may become more apparent as they age: A 2000 study saw reduced risk of hip fracture among both elderly women and elderly men who consumed more vitamin K.

Antioxidants 

Foods that are high in antioxidants allow your body to function optimally and antioxidants help prevent damage and cancer. Cucumbers contain several antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta-carotene and manganese, as well as flavonoids, triterpenes and lignans that have anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin C is well known for its immune system benefits, and beta-carotene has been shown to be beneficial for vision, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Heart health

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables of all kinds is associated with a reduced risk for many health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and obesity and cucumbers’ potassium content may be especially helpful in this regard. One cup of sliced cucumbers contains only about 4 percent of the body’s daily potassium needs, but it comes with significantly fewer calories than most high-potassium foods like bananas. Potassium is an essential part of heart health, according to the American Heart Association.

Several studies have linked cucumber consumption to reducing hypertension and many studies have linked it with lower blood pressure because it promotes vasodiliation (widening of the blood vessels), according to Today’s Dietitian. A 2017 study published in Public Health of Indonesia found that elderly participants with hypertension saw a significant decrease in blood pressure after consuming cucumber juice for 12 days.

Digestion

A 2013 review in Fitoterapia noted that cucumbers might help relieve constipation because they provide both fiber and water. Tufts University notes that cucumbers can pack even more of a digestive punch if they are turned into pickles during a home-fermentation process. Cucumber pickles contain probiotic bacteria that promote healthy digestion and cultivating beneficial gut flora. Store-bought pickles usually do not have these bacteria because they have been boiled out.

Weight loss

Cucumbers are a low-calorie food therefore a popular ingredient in diet meals. A 2011 study in the journal Obesity found that greater water consumption correlated with more weight loss in middle-age and older adults. Participants who consumed 1 pint (500 milliliters) of water prior to eating a meal lost an average of 4 lbs. (2 kilograms) more than participants who did not. Snacking on water-dense foods like cucumbers can be an effective way to up water intake.

But Lemond cautions against relying too much on water-dense foods like cucumber. “We know that people that eat higher quantities of fruits and vegetables typically have healthier body weights. However, I do not recommend eating only cucumber.  You will lose weight, but that weight will be mostly muscle,” she said.

Brain health and memory

Recently, scientists have taken interest in the flavonoid fisetin. Cucumbers are a good source of fisetin, which studies have associated with protecting nerve cells, improving memory and decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s in mice, according to a 2013 review in the journal of Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. The same review found promising results for the relationship between fisetin and cancer prevention.

There can be a few risks from eating cucumbers. Pesticide consumption is one concern. The Environmental Working Group produces a list each year of fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue, known as the Dirty Dozen. Cucumbers are one of the fruits and vegetables that the Environmental Working Group has placed on its Dirty Dozen list, meaning the exposure to pesticide residue is high.

Additionally, cucumbers may be waxed to help protect them during shipping. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, both organic and conventionally grown cucumbers may be waxed, but organic ones can only use non-synthetic waxes with chemicals approved under organic regulations. For this reason and the pesticide concerns, World’s Healthiest Foods encourages buying organic cucumbers. This does not mean you should avoid cucumbers altogether if you can’t find or afford organic. The nutritional benefit of eating conventionally grown produce outweighs the risk of not eating produce at all.

Healthy as they are, you don’t want to overdo it on cucumbers. It is recommended to always vary your selections.

To read the complete article visit the LiveScicence website here. 

Natural Alternatives For Treating Uterine Fibroids

iStock_000021950983XSmall2I’ve been living with uterine fibroids for almost ten years now and it is a condition that nearly forced me to undergo surgery that would have likely resulted in a complete hysterectomy of my uterus. Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that grow within the wall of the uterus and can vary in size and number. They may be accompanied by infertility, miscarriage, and early onset of labor, heavy menstrual bleeding, anemia, and painful menstrual periods.

One study found that, by age 50, 70 percent of whites and 80 percent of African Americans had fibroids. In many cases, fibroids are believed not to cause symptoms, and in such cases women may be unaware they have them.

After taking a prescription of hormones from my doctor for about 6 months I began to see a reduction in the pain and bleeding caused by the fibroids, but when I lost my health insurance coverage I was forced to seek an alternative. When researching the active ingredients in the prescriptions that I had been taking, I discovered that vitamins such as Vitamin D, C and Zinc provide much of the very same reactions in the body for reducing the production of estrogen which can shrink fibroid tumors. I began a vitamin regimen and also started researching dietary changes that I could make for reducing the amount of estrogen in my body and after a few weeks of applying the changes I noticed less pain and bleeding from the fibroids.

Its been a year since having to go off the prescription medicine and replacing them with vitamins, herbs and healthy eating, and I’ve noticed that not only do I have much less pain and a regulated menstrual cycle, but the fibroids are shrinking!

Some of the changes that I’ve made are:

Eating less meat and less refined sugars: I’ve begun eating much less meat and sweets that contain refined sugars (my weakness!) I only eat chicken and fish, I no longer drink milk (which contains hormones that increase estrogen levels) and only drink organic milk from time to time.

Adding natural herbs and herbal supplements: Ginger, Dandelion Root, Yellow Dock Root and Echinacea have helped to remove excess estrogen levels; other herbs that have been helpful are Cinnamon, Turmeric, Red Clover, Raspberry Leaf and Vitex – many of the herbs are available as teas.

Increasing the vegetables, whole grains and beans that I eat: chickpeas, quinoa, spinach, whole wheat bread/waffles and pasta has also been a beneficial addition.

Regularly taking my vitamins: I make sure that I regularly take my women’s multi vitamin (Women’s Alive is the best brand I’ve come across, One A Day is second) and I’ve added Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Iron supplements

I’ve also come across a series of videos by another woman who has been able to naturally shrink her fibroids, curing herself of the ailment and the anemia that she suffered because of them. The link is embedded below. Thanks to this lovely woman I’ve added kale and beets to my list of healthy eating!

I hope this post is beneficial, please post and share with your loved ones and friends who you think may benefit, and pay attention to how your body reacts to the different herbs and foods if you decide to add them to your diet. Sometimes the body may have an allergic reaction to the herbs or vegetables, and many of the herbs support the removal of toxins from the body so you may experience bodily changes from them. Also, you should try to consult with your doctor (although many of the doctors that I’ve had experience with tend to shy away from providing information about natural remedies) and if possible, contact a nutritionist or herbalist for advice.

Fibroids Shrinking Video:

Apple Cinnamon Crumb Cake

We’ve been gradually evolving our family diet towards a low sugar, low fat, alkaline one and although it hasn’t been easy, it’s been extremely beneficial. Here’s another tasty recipe with less sugar than store bought versions and whole wheat flour, but I promise you – it tastes soooo good! Enjoy! 🙂


Apple Cinnamon Crumb Cake

Ingredients:20170627_145031

Cake batter:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup bread flour

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

3 tsp ground cinnamon

2/3 vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup milk

4 organic apples, peeled, cored, chopped

Cinnamon Crumble:

2/3 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

4 tbsp vegetable oil based margarine

2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees, grease cake pan with vegetable oil based margarine, bottom and sides

Cake batter:

  • Mix flour, salt, brown sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, vegetable oil, eggs, and milk in a large mixing bowl until the batter is smooth. Add apples and stir until the apples are covered in the batter.

Cinnamon Crumble:

  • In a small bowl, mix the margarine, flour and cinnamon with a fork until uniform in consistency. (It should be on the dry side and broken up into little pieces or crumbs)

 

  • Pour cake batter into your greased baking pan. Sprinkle the crumble over the unbaked batter.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry and clean.
  • Cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm. 🙂

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Kale Recipe

kalebenefitsKale is another one of the super foods for maintaining good health. It’s packed with minerals that boost the immune system and its fiber rich. It has also been reported that Kale fights cancer and has been proven to help reduce the risk of lung cancer by 37%.

Vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, B6, and K, Copper, Potassium, Manganese, Calcium and Magnesium are some of the nutrients contained in kale. It also contains more Vitamin C than oranges!

Here’s an easy, tasty recipe for getting a required serving of kale into your diet – it’s also one of my favorites!

Ingredients:

3 bushels of organic kale

2 organic sweet potatoes

2 organic potatoes

1 yellow onion

Optional Seasonings for taste: sea salt, black pepper, ground ginger, cinnamon

(I try to use organic vegetables whenever possible but regular vegetables are ok for use. Organic vegetables contain fewer pesticides, are fresher and are better on the environment.)

Cooking Preparations:

  • Wash and chop the veggies
  • Pour 2 cups of water and a tablespoon of vegetable oil into a large pot; bring water to a boil
  • Add the chopped onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes to the boiling water and cook until tender over medium heat (you can add more water as needed)
  • Add the kale and seasonings to taste, cook for 20 minutes or until desired tenderness of the kale is reached
  • Serve with flatbread and plantains for a delicious, healthy meal! 🙂

 

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