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Your March Issue of Natural Alternatives
March 02, 2009
Hello, and welcome to this little late 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
IN THIS ISSUE:
1) GREENING YOUR HEALTH
2) HERBS AND SPICES THAT LOVE YOUR HEART
3) SWEET NEWS: FDA APPROVES STEVIA AS A SWEETENER
Like many other lifestyle choices, the health decisions that we make are inextricably tied to environmental consequences. Society, as a whole, is no longer ignorant about the effects of carbon dioxide emissions or waste production on our planet, but it remains an individual’s choice as to whether or not to care.
So that the health of the environment is not compromised for the health of the individual, we should be making more sustainable choices about what we eat, how we exercise and how we manage our illnesses. From naturopathic medicine to your diet to how you exercise, read on for eco-friendly suggestions for managing your health.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a mix of homeopathic and naturopathic medicine. It provides natural alternatives to conventional medical practices. The idea is that low-tech remedies are more sustainable and often more effective at treating symptoms than high-tech expensive solutions that are offered by conventional Western medicine.
Many CAM treatments are rooted in ancient Indian Ayurvedic practices and traditional Chinese medicine, which focus on the interconnectedness between mind, body and spirit. This ideal of interconnectedness provides the foundation for alternative medicine, which treats the entire system versus just one component. CAM aims to stimulate the body’s own natural healing capacity through avenues such as meditation and natural remedies that are based on plants, animals, and is often used in conjunction with massage, chiropractics and acupressure.
Conventional forms of Western medicine are quite unsustainable and produce significant amounts of waste. A recent survey by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that in developed countries such as the United States, 6kg or more of medical waste is produced per person annually. Furthermore, the WHO considers 20 per cent of medical waste to be hazardous (either infectious, toxic or radioactive), and this undoubtedly puts a strain on our land.
Alternatively, naturopathy puts an emphasis on preventative strategies to eliminate the need to enter the healthcare system, and uses natural treatments that are non-toxic and sustainable. Naturopathic remedies are regulated and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Conditions that are suited to being treated via naturopathic medicine are typically mild or chronic conditions including stress, insomnia, skin disorders, allergies, fatigue, digestive problems and chronic pain. Serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and bone fractures should be treated by the conventional healthcare system, as they require immediate and precise care, and CAM can be used to complement the healing process.
Modifying the food you consume is another positive change you can commit to when it comes to eco-friendly health decisions. The farming of livestock requires a significant input of energy, as it is estimated that it takes 15kg of grain and 30kg of forage just to produce 1kg of beef. Cows, in particular, are the more environmentally-unfriendly livestock to raise, since they also release large amounts of methane (a greenhouse gas) through flatulence and decaying manure. The New Scientist estimates that if the global population shifted to a meat-reduced diet (defined as 70 grams of beef and 325 grams of chicken and eggs per week), a 10 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be seen by 2050. Furthermore, approximately 15 million km of livestock farmland would become available, which could be utilized as green spaces or to cultivate bioenergy crops.
Eating organic is yet another diet-related decision you can make. Organic fruits and vegetables are produced without using synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, and organic meat is produced without confined livestock operations (typically free-range). As a consequence, there is a lower risk of pesticides and antibiotics affecting the soil, groundwater, lakes and atmosphere. Since organic farming doesn’t use synthetic nitrogen-based fertilizer (which requires energy to manufacture), it is estimated that organic farms use 30 per cent less fossil fuels than conventional farming systems, while also retaining more carbon in the soil. Furthermore, in the past it was unclear whether or not eating organic food had any health benefits, but recently, evidence is building which supports the claim that eating organic is healthier.
Eating local food that is produced within a 100-mile radius is also an option to consider—your food travels a shorter distance to get to you, which means less energy is expended in the process.
Yet another green health choice you can make is the decision to drink tap water over bottled water. It is recommended that we drink six to eight glasses of water each day in order to keep our bodies running healthily and efficiently. In all major Canadian cities, the water that comes out of our taps is of high-quality and well-managed. Even if it may look cloudy, just let it settle and it is perfectly fine to drink.
Not only does it take approximately a quarter of the water bottle’s volume in oil to produce the plastic, the one-time-use nature of water bottles contributes to landfill waste, since only 50 per cent of bottles are recovered via recycling. Drinking tap water from a re-usable water bottle not only reduces plastic waste, but it is also free! Purchasing six to eight bottles of water daily adds up: it might cost you anywhere from four to 14 dollars to hydrate yourself on a daily basis.
Finally, do your best to engage in eco-friendly exercise options. Although it is tough to get active in the outdoors during the cold months, make a commitment to walk, bike or take public transit. If it’s too cold for you to exercise outside, go for a run on the indoor track instead of running on a treadmill (which runs on electricity). And when the air warms up, get off that treadmill and get outside. Hamilton has great trails and waterfront paths, which are great for jogging, biking and roller-blading.
We must begin to take personal responsibility for our lifestyle choices and the impacts that they have on our planet. This can be accomplished by making modifications to how we approach our health and well-being. By considering alternative medicine, exploring meat-reduced/free and organic diets and being conscious of our exercise choices, we can make a positive, individualistic and healthy contribution to the environment. Source: The Silhouette
2) HERBS AND SPICES THAT LOVE YOUR HEART
While diet, exercise, regular checkups and sometimes prescription medicines are part of heart health, there are herbs that help the heart maintain its health, too.
Herbs have been used for centuries and are tried and true with few, if any side effects. With such a long history of use, these herbs can help you maintain a healthy heart safely. Don't forget; spices and foods are often herbs, too!
Violet (Viola odorata): leaves of violets, syrup of violets, and violet flowers in salads are good for the heart muscle. They help tone and strengthen it.
Hawthorn: The hawthorn berry helps a heart that already has issues like rhythmic problems that are minor . It should be taken in small doses and the dose increased until the desired result is achieved. Never take more than that dose. The amount varies for each person, so start with a capsule a day and work up. You’ll notice when the racing heart problems relax. I have such issues and use hawthorn to help control the arrhythmia since I cannot take any prescription medicines for it due to side effects.
Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis): helps with arrhythmia issues. In some tests, it appears to protect the myocardium. "Potter’s New Cyclopedia of Herbal Preparations". It is safe to use, but do not take it if taking the blood thinner, Warfarin.
Avocado: That’s right, the food. With avocado regularly in the diet, it can help lower blood pressure!
Garlic: Great food herb that protects the heart by fighting blood clots and atherosclerosis and related conditions. This herb should be in every meal. It helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure. As a bonus, it will help prevent dangerous blood clots! Do not eat much while nursing, though. Babies will get indigestion through the milk.
Ginger: either the spice that you likely have in your kitchen or wild ginger, common to the southeastern United States helps keep blood thinned safely and prevent clots, aneurisms and more. Consult your physician before using ginger in doses more than a shake on foods if you are on blood thinners or have gallstones.
Chocolate: That’s right, dark chocolate with 68% or more cacao help actually lower blood pressure! Remember, that means it also contains caffeine and calories, so eat in moderation! So, chocolate is a most appropriate Valentine’s gift for the heart!
Heart health doesn’t have to include high medical bills. Again, exercise (Aerobic exercise is best), healthy foods and spices that tone or help the heart work better, and stress reduction should help the average heart last a good long time! Source: examiner.com
3) SWEET NEWS: FDA APPROVES STEVIA AS A SWEETENER
Long overdue, the FDA finally approved the herb Stevia as a sweetener and food additive! Stevia is a South American plant that has been used as a sweetener for centuries without side effects. In the U.S., it was listed only as an herbal supplement until now. There is no doubt that political reasons were involved until pressure was brought to bear on the FDA by Coca Cola, Tropicana, and other drink manufacturers to approve it and bring new products to market. Around October ’08, the FDA finally approved it. Stevia is the only totally non-chemical sweetener.
What new products are coming? Lately, the sweetener Truvia™ has entered the market and consumers may have already seen the commercials about it. Early in 2009, Tropicana, Sobe, Odwalla and Coca Cola are releasing stevia-sweetened drinks. No doubt about it, a sweetener that has been used safely in its natural form for centuries is thorough testing by any standard. This Examiner is excited about the reclassification of a most sweet, deserving, and remarkable herb!
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
Thank you for reading.
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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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