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February Issue of Natural Alternatives
January 31, 2014

Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health

February 2014

Hello, and welcome to this edition edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!

I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates






by Kulreet Chaudhary, MD

In Ayurveda, hair is an indicator of your overall health and vitality. Problems with hair are a reflection of an underlying imbalance and signals that there is something wrong in the body. Making the right choices in your diet and daily routine may save you from many bad hair days as well as future health problems.

Ayurveda has multiple hair-care tools for different types of hair problems. To understand which ones are appropriate for you, you have to first determine your dosha, or body-mind type. Once you know the dosha that is contributing to your hair problems, you can follow specific dietary recommendations and use hair oils that will help revitalize your hair as well as your entire body.

If your hair tends to be dry, lusterless, thin, frizzy, coarse with split ends and you have a tendency to get dandruff then your hair is signaling a Vatta dosha imbalance. According to tradition, if you have a Vata imbalance, you need more moisture in your diet and in your hair. There are several things you can do to put life back into your hair. For example, you can try reducing your consumption of caffeine, processed foods, raw foods and cold drinks. Instead, try a diet rich in unprocessed, whole foods and grains that are cooked with or olive oil or a small amount of clarified butter (ghee). Breakfast should be cooked cereals or oats instead of light, dry, crunchy food with white sugar, such as most breakfast cereals.

There are specific massage oils for your hair that can help to bring moisture back to Vata hair. Before you wash your hair, massage your scalp for 5 minutes with sesame oil, bhringaraj oil, or brahmi oils. These oils can make Vata hair stronger and thicker. They may also help Vata individuals, who according to tradition have a tendency towards insomnia, sleep better. Also, make sure you stay on a regular routine if you have Vata hair problems. An irregular eating and sleeping routine, which may deplete your body, aggravates Vata imbalances. This state of depletion often shows up as dry, brittle, lifeless hair.

If your hair tends to be red or light colored, oily, silky and you are experiencing premature graying or balding, then you have a Pitta imbalance. The foods that may harm Pitta hair are spicy, acidic (citrus, vinegar), sour, fried, and fermented foods. According to Ayurvedic beliefs, alcohol is not recommended for Pitta people, so if you’re trying to ward off premature balding, you might want to to cut back on that evening beer or wine. Foods that may help keep Pitta hair from premature graying are green, leafy vegetables and juicy, cooling fruits like melons and pears.

The best type of oil to use for a scalp massage for Pitta hair is coconut oil. Coconut is a powerful tonic for Pitta individuals because of its potential cooling effect on the body and mind. Cooking with coconut oil can also protect Pitta hair. Pitta types need as much help as they can get to stay cool because they may run a bit hot, which can cause their hair problems.

Pitta people tend to enjoy exercising because of their natural abundance of energy. But it is important for them to drink plenty of water while exercising to keep from getting dehydrated. A generous cool down period after heavy exercise can also help keep them from getting overheated. The excess heat in the body may ultimately result in thin, oily, graying hair.

Those of you lucky enough to have Kapha hair are blessed with thick, lustrous, wavy, yet oily hair. Kapha hair often does not grey prematurely and can possibly stay thick for the majority of your life. Kapha individuals don’t have to work as hard to keep their hair healthy. But to keep the rest of your body balanced you should keep a diet that compliments your Kapha dosha.

According to Ayurvedic beliefs, Kapha people are slow moving, steady and strong. You want to actually add some spice to your life through your diet. Use spices like garlic, onion, chilies and just about any natural condiment to your food to help keep your hair and body healthy. Your food should be warm, but light. Try to avoid foods that are sweet, salty, oily or fried. Ayurvedic tradition says that dairy is also a big no-no for Kapha individuals, who unfortunately tend to crave cheese, ice cream, and creamy sauces.

Although Kapha hair often stays naturally beautiful, a scalp massage with mustard oil or olive oil can still benefit you. The most important hair care tip for Kapha types is to make sure you are washing your hair regularly since it tends to get oily easily.

About: Dr. Chaudhary is the Director of Neurology at Wellspring Health in Scripps Memorial Hospital and a pioneer in the field of Integrative Medicine. Dr. Chaudhary has successfully developed a powerful system to manage chronic neurological disorders—such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and migraine headaches—by incorporating fundamental changes in diet, behavior and stress, in addition to the standard allopathic approach to neurology. For more on Dr. Chaudhary's work, visit

by Kate Geagan MS, RD

What’s next up in 2014 for food? Here were four of the big trends that seemed to be everywhere at the most recent annual meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, that are poised to play out in the year ahead:

Trend: Environmental Health And Nutrition Science Collide
Sure, we know that food and water provide us with the nutrients necessary to thrive, but growing science suggests they are also potential vehicles of exposure to a variety of toxins. Dr. Oz and I recently did a segment on how to protect yourself from pesticides in produce (choosing organic foods is a good step), but the foods we eat affect how toxins may impact our biology in a variety of ways. For example, dietary fat seems to increase the absorption of BPA (a potential endocrine disrupting chemical) from foods stored in plastic food storage materials.

On the other hand, evidence shows that a diet filled with good-for-you foods may buffer a toxin’s potential impact. Fiber, for instance, appears to decrease the absorption of PCBs. And a diet rich in antioxidants (such as vitamins A, C, E and zinc) may help prevent the conversion of nitrites in processed meats such as bacon to potentially more dangerous N-nitroso compounds, which have been linked to higher rates of colon cancer. Bottom line? It’s more evidence of the protective power a diet rich in whole, minimally processed foods can have for you and your family.

Trend: Probiotics and the Microbiome
Chances are you’ve heard of probiotics – the “good” bacteria in our gut that help promote a healthy digestive tract and robust immune system. Look for a lot more mention of the microbiome in 2014. The term refers to the entire ecosystem of the gut as a whole: both probiotics and also prebiotics – the food that the “good bugs” need present in our diet in order to thrive and inhibit the growth of undesirable “bad” bacteria. Multiple lines of research are converging on these silent partners in our health showing that they may impact more than just our digestive health – they may be connected to body weight, levels of inflammation, allergies and autoimmune diseases.

One reason there’s such interest? Our highly refined and processed diets of the past decades has been traditionally low in probiotics and prebiotics – and many food and supplement companies will be scrambling in 2014 to share with you how their products can help you manage your microbiome.

Trend: Cook More, Buy Take-Out Less
Despite our national love affair with watching cooking-themed television shows and buying more cooking gadgets for the kitchen, we still aren’t really cooking. However, 2014 is poised as the year Americans will head back into the kitchen in larger numbers. Driven in part by the economy (it costs less), in part by a growing chorus of luminaries calling us back to the kitchen as a pillar of health, and in part from technology easing the way for those with trepidation. My best nutrition advice? Learn to cook. It doesn’t have to be difficult and it will transform your health. Look for all sorts of new healthy grocery shortcuts such as quick cook whole-grain side dishes, enticing fresh and frozen veggie products, and steamable frozen fish that are already seasoned to make healthy eating delicious.

Trend: Natural Energy
How can you energize naturally? With Americans still looking for quick fixes to “dump the slump” and controversy still swirling over the FDA’s recent investigations into stimulants, ingredients and labeling of some conventional energy drinks, you may notice a whole new crop of products with a natural twist. Look for raw cacao beans (brewed much like coffee), coconut water, raw whole food snacks (such as sacha inchi nuts) and all-natural teas that naturally contain caffeine and L-theanine.

About: Kate Geagan MS,RD
One of America's most recognized nutritionists, Kate Geagan is an award-winning registered dietitian who has helped millions fall in love with healthier food choices that powerfully nourish their lives. She is the author of Go Green Get Lean: Trim Your Waistline With the Ultimate Low-Carbon Footprint Diet (Rodale). A motivational speaker, author, columnist and consultant, Kate's work is driven by a simple purpose: to help people reclaim their health and rediscover their most valuable asset – their own personal energy. To learn more about Kate, visit her website at

by Mao Shing Ni, PhD, D.O.M., Dipl. ABAAHP

Did you know that one pound of fat equals a whopping 3500 calories? By cutting just 500 calories each day, you can lose up to one pound a week to reach your goal weight. The good news is that you don’t have to suffer from starvation or exercise burnout to achieve this. By making a few tweaks to your diet and exercise routine, you will be cutting those calories almost without even realizing it! If cutting 500 calories a day sounds overambitious, start with cutting just 250 each day.

1. Downsize Your Cups and Plates
Some studies show that we tend to eat everything on our plate, even if we are already full. Centenarians I have interviewed shared a common habit – they all stopped eating when they were three-quarters full, which is less taxing on the digestive system than overeating. We can work toward this same habit by making a few dish switches. Opt for a 10-inch plate instead of a 12-inch one and you can save up to 500 calories by eating 20-25% less. Beware of those oversized coffee beverages, which can contain up to 700 calories! Lose the whipped cream, flavored syrups, and full-fat milk and save yourself even more calories.

2. Dress Salads for Less
What’s healthier than indulging in a big green salad? Although you are on the right track, watch out for those toppings and dressings that can pack on the calories. Tossing in a small handful of nuts or dried fruit is okay, but those buttery croutons, extra cheese, bacon, and sugar-laden dressings can sabotage your health goals. Stick with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette that contains heart-healthy olive oil and calorie-free balsamic vinegar. You can also swap out the vinegar for a fresh squeeze of lemon and add herbs and spices for a flavor kick! If you must choose that blue cheese dressing, stick to just one tablespoon.

3. Don’t Go Nuts!
Although nuts should be eaten for their heart-healthy fats and trove of nutrients, it is easy to overindulge in these crunchy companions. Depending which nut you choose, one handful contains about 175–200 calories. If you are not careful, you may find yourself eating a bowl – and about 500 calories. To save some calories, portion out one handful and eat nuts that require shelling like pistachios, which will slow down your munch time.

4. Exercise Boosts Metabolism and Burns Calories
Multiple forms of cardiovascular exercise will improve the power in your muscles, burn calories, and boost your cardiovascular health. Pick what you like best, and make a plan to practice regularly!

Run: Running at a rate five miles per hour helps you burn at least 250 calories in about 30 minutes, depending on your age and weight.
Walk briskly: One hour of brisk walking burns around 250 calories.
Swim: Try freestyle, breaststroke, or any other style you enjoy for 25 minutes to burn about 250 calories.
Play: Tag, hopscotch, and swinging on the jungle gym; join your children in the park to play and burn 250 calories with 45 to 60 minutes of fun activities.
Backyard fun: Gardening, mowing the lawn, or cleaning your house can easily burn 250 calories in just 40 minutes.

About: Dr. Mao Shing Ni, bestselling author of Secrets of Longevity, is a 38th-generation doctor of Chinese medicine and the leading authority in Taoist anti-aging medicine and longevity. Dr. Mao is cofounder of the Tao of Wellness, the acclaimed center for Chinese medicine, nutrition, and acupuncture, and founder of The Natural Health Search Engine. In addition, he is cofounder of Yo San University.



Thank you for reading.

Brampton, Ontario, Canada

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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advices are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.

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