Making sure your garden and home is pet-friendly

In different parts of the world, there are plants that can be toxic to dogs.  When looking for a property, remember to make sure that the plants in the garden, is not toxic.  Azaleas, Lilies, Daffodils, Geraniums, Sago Palms, Tulips, Hyacinths and Peonies, can be toxic if ingested.  Some fertilizers and mulch can be just as dangerous, for example cocoa bean mulch.  

Plants to look out for if you have a cat, are Azaleas, Chrysanthemums (also simply called mums), Daffodils, Hydrangeas, Iris bulbs, Ivy (both the English ivy and Ivy Arum), Lilies, Marigolds and Wisteria.  All countries have a list of toxic- and non-toxic plants, which you can easily obtain from a vet or the like.  The above is just a drop in the ocean and it can differ, depending where you live.  For those of you who have a cat, make sure to find out which houseplants are safe as well.

Luckily there are many other plants, flowers and the like, that is not only pet-friendly, but have many purposes (both for animals and humans).  These are herbs.  For example; an herbal infusion of rosemary and/or tansy (which also repels ants), and/or pennyroyal, can help to control ticks and fleas.  Add the freshly chopped herbs to boiling water and let it cool, then lightly spray it onto the affected area.  Catnip is loved by all cats, because the leaves release a fragrance similar to cat pheromones (which have a euphoric effect).  It is also a great plant to use, to keep your cat in the garden and not pester the neighbours.  Catnip is not only used for cats, but can also be used as a flea and tick repellent, for your dog!  You can place some sprigs under your dog’s bed, or rub it onto your dog’s coat, when you were walking out in the bush / veld.  

Cats love catmint as well as cat grass.  Both are good for their digestive systems.  Dog grass, known as prairie cordgrass, is a wonderful mineral supplement for your dog.  Other herbs that is wonderful for digestive problems (especially in older pets), are fennel and mint.  Struggling with worms?  Add some yarrow, thyme and oregano, to your pet’s food. 

Pets that suffer from arthritis or inflammation, can benefit when herbs such as feverfew, comfrey leaves, celery, parsley and/or yarrow, is finely chopped and added to their food, in small quantities.  Inflammation is often caused by a diet that is too acidic.  Adding these herbs, will counter that and help to alkalize the digestive system. 

Even if your pet doesn’t suffer from any ailment, it is always a good idea to give them a tonic that will keep them healthy.  Parsley, comfrey leaves, pennywort, borage and yarrow, are all tonic herbs, that promote general health.  Finely chop the leaves and add a few drops to their food or gravy once a week. Alternatively, you can make a mild herbal tea with the chopped herbs, which you pour over their food.  To keep their skin soft, add a teaspoon of olive oil over their food; at least twice a week.

Chamomile, lavender and lemon balm, have a calming effect on both animals and humans alike.  German chamomile is the best general purpose calming herb.  If you have a pet that doesn’t like being put into a kennel, stay at home with a stranger, or is scared of fireworks (most are as it hurts their ears), then use the chamomile flowers, chopped, in small quantities in their food or gravies.  An infusion can also be made and added to your pet’s water.  Lavender, as an essential oil, is wonderful to calm everyone’s nerves – including yours!  Never rub it onto your pet’s skin.  Instead; sprinkle a few drops onto a piece of cardboard and place it near the bedding.  A lavender cushion, or sprigs placed next to / around the bedding, can also work. Lemon balm works well for dogs with digestive problems, separation anxiety, sleep disorders, stress or irritability.  You can add 1 teaspoon per 7kg of body weight, of finely chopped leaves, to your dog’s food.

Another important addition to your pet’s diet, is oil. Whether you use fish oil or olive oil, doesn’t matter – it depends, of course, on the animal! A teaspoon, poured over your pet’s food, is a wonderful way to keep their coats shiny and their skin soft. Hemp- and Cannabis oils are also great to use; not just as an added addition, but also for any ailments and general well-being.

The list of herbal remedies is something that can be added to your pet’s diet; just like vegetable peels or vegetables.  Herbal remedies are natural products, but it is not there to replace a visit to the vet.  Check-ups is always good.  When using herbal remedies and/or deciding which plants to have indoors and outdoors, please always research first.  Remember to make sure to use the botanical name, when researching herbs and, if in doubt, ask!  Just like plants, some herbs can be toxic to your pets as well. 

Take care of them like you would take care of yourself and remember; all they want and give is love!

Are you getting enough fluids in?

Many times, I have written about the importance of drinking enough water.  However, it doesn’t mean that drinking water is the only way to stay hydrated.  Black coffee and tea, without sugar, is something else you can drink.  Many fruits and vegetables, are loaded with fluids; a lovely “variation” to water! 

Did you know that most foods contain water?  About 20% of your hydration comes from certain foods.  Your body is made up of about 70% fluid and your brain about 80%.  Staying hydrated is important, as it plays a role in keeping your brain healthy, but also your internal organs, your skin and your whole body.  When you are thirsty, you are already busy dehydrating.  When you are in the sun (or in aircon or central heating for many hours), it is important to make sure to take in enough fluids to stay hydrated.

Some of the best thirst quenchers to add to your diet, are:  Cucumbers:  contain 95% water; Tomatoes:  contain 95% water; Celery:  contain 95% water; Romaine lettuce:  95% water; Broth-based soup:  92% water; Watermelon:  92% water; Peaches:  89% water; Yoghurt:  85% water.

The above-list is but the tip of the ice berg.  Most fruits and vegetables contain fluids.  Eating a variety and making sure to add plenty of fruits and vegetables to your diet, will be more than enough.  However, drinking fluids, like water, is still important and should not be underestimated.  Bottled, still water is also good and, adding a few slices of lemon, strawberry or oranges, to water, will enhance the flavour.  Water is a source of life.  All living beings need water.  It is said that you can go without food for a number of days, but only survive, without water, for a few hours.

During the warm, summer months, fruits and salads are a great way to up your fluid intake. Cooldrinks, with added sugars and other substances, doesn’t count. Rather opt for homemade, flavoured water, tea and/or coffee, or just plain water. During winter, you can enjoy soups, broths and warm drinks, like tea and coffee. Drinking milk is also fine; unless you don’t like it.

Everyone, from animals, to plants, to humans, need water to live and thrive.  Water is the life force that not only protects an unborn baby, but also life on earth.  Instinctively, both animals and humans, are drawn to water.  From taking a shower, a bath, going for a swim and drinking water, everyone needs water.  Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, are a great way to up your fluid intake. 

Listening to your body, and watching out for signals (for example a dry skin and mouth), is key to make sure that your fluid intake is enough.  Whether it is 6 – 8 glasses per day, or eating plenty of fruits and vegetables as well, is up to each person.  Most importantly, is to make sure that you don’t dehydrate.

More on Reading your body like a book

The crown of your head, your hair, has its good days and bad days.  Some people have a dry or sensitive scalp, others get the odd grey hair prematurely, whilst many people complain about thinning hair as they age. 

Dry, flaky scalp and dull, lifeless hair, both reflect a diet rich in refined sugars and a lack of fatty acids.  Eliminating refined sugars and adding things like fish, unroasted nuts and seeds, and salad oils (olive oil, flaxseed oil, and so forth), will not only nourish your skin, but bring back the shine in your hair as well.  Another supplement to add, especially if you don’t eat a lot of, or any, red meat, is a vitamin B-complex.

A sensitive scalp can occur if you spend too much time in the hot sun without protection, but it can also be something that is with you every day.  Taking cod-liver oil (or something similar), will feed the scalp and help it to become more moist and less sensitive.  Using a brush that has natural bristles and being careful when you tie your hair, will also help.  If you have a vitamin D-deficiency, add it to your diet (especially if you don’t go out in the sun).  Many people living in the Northern Hemisphere suffers from a vitamin D-deficiency; important not only for your scalp but it helps to build and maintain a strong immune system as well.

Premature greying is not something that is something that is liked by everyone.  There are many factors at play – genes, stress and/or a supplement-deficiency.  If you are one of those who is starting to see grey hairs sticking out, try adding PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), a vitamin B, to your supplement program.  Some people also found success with the Chinese herb “ho-shou-wu” or “fo-ti.”  I didn’t study Chinese medicine, so please do your research first before using it!

Are you noticing that your hair is starting to thin out?  Sometimes this is caused due to a pregnancy (or recent pregnancy), other times it is due to hormonal changes as you age, or it can be due to stress and lack of certain vitamins and minerals in your diet.  A study indicated that hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid), can cause thinning of the hair.  When we age, our stomachs stop producing adequate levels of stomach acid and pepsin.  This leads to poor digestion of essential proteins and impedes the growth of new hair.  Supplementing your diet with hydrochloric acid-pepsin-tablets / capsules, will help your stomach to digest and absorb the protein properly.

If you are losing an abnormal amount of hair on your legs, arms, underarms, or anywhere else, ask your health practitioner to test your androgenic- hormone and testosterone-levels.  Losing too much hair on the body, can be a sign of low hormone levels, which impedes your immune system’s functioning.

Your mouth, tongue and lips, can quickly let you know whether or not you are in tip-top shape.  A cold sore, caused by the herpes virus, can be caused due to stress, a lack of certain nutrients, a cracked lip, or an immune system that is not running on full capacity.  Adding selenium, found in garlic and onions, to your diet, can help.  Taking a L-lysine-supplement once a week or month, can help as well. 

Cracked lips can be caused by many factors: allergies like hay fever or sinus, cold or very hot weather, being in a room with aircon (which causes your lips to dry out), a lack of vitamin C and/or a lack of vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).  As always, do make sure to take a good vitamin B-complex supplement, if you don’t eat any red meat.

Cancer sores can be triggered by something in your diet.  Write down what you eat and/or drink, when it reoccurs, and eliminate this from your diet.  Lactobacillus acidophilus can also help and stay clear of using toothpaste which contains sodium lauryl sulphate. 

Bleeding gums can either be caused by allergies, especially if you sleep with an open mouth, or periodontal disease.  Supplementing with coenzyme Q10 and folate, can help.

Our eyes are the windows to our soul.  For many years, doctors used (and is still using) Iridology, to see what is going on inside of our bodies.  Cloudy eyes (cataracts), are usually due to ageing.  Studies have found that it can also be linked to sugar-insulin metabolism.  Too much refined sugar is not just bad for the waistline, but it can also affect your lenses.  How?  Your lenses respond to high blood-sugar levels by “helping” it to remove some of the excess.  Unfortunately, the lenses cannot store the excess sugar, thus it condenses, over time, into cataracts.

Red, watery eyes can be caused by the weather, an allergy or it could be an infection.  If you do notice that they eye is irritated and/or watery, seek help.  The last thing you want to do is to damage your eyes!  Remember, you only have one pair!  An eye haemorrhage occurs when one of the blood vessels bursts.  This can be caused by rubbing your eyes, pressure on the eye or, in rare instances, it could be a sign of hypertension.  If you are unsure, ask a medical practitioner for advice.

Vitamins A, C, K, as well as B2, Zinc and Selenium, are all important to add to your diet, as all of these play a vital role in keeping your eyes healthy.  Lutein is another important ingredient, used by your eyes to stay healthy and strong.

Our nails are another place to look for any signs of changes.  Cracked (brittle) nails can be caused by low acid and pepsin production in your stomach, but it can also be caused by a lack of calcium, magnesium and potassium, in your diet. 

White spots almost always point to a zinc deficiency.  In rare cases it can also be an indication of low levels of pancreatic enzymes or gluten-gliadin intolerance.  Zinc is not easily found in foodstuffs, so best to take it as a supplement, or as part of a multi-vitamin supplement. If in doubt, please consult a health practitioner.

The last place that “tells” you what is going on, is your bones and joints.  After the age of 30, our bone-growth stops.  Therefore, it is important to exercise and do weight-bearing exercises.  This can be anything from walking, jogging, cycling, to working out with hand weights, a Pilates ball and even swimming.  Many suffer from osteoarthritis as the years go by.  Not only is mild exercises like walking, Pilates, swimming and stretching, good, but also taking extra supplements like Omega oils, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and potassium, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin, to naturally repair the damaged joint cartilage.  It can also prevent swelling, together with niacinamide.  Many people eliminate the “nightshade” vegetables from their diet, which seems to help. 

Our bodies is our temple.  Taking care of ourselves, both internally and externally, is key to living a well-balanced, healthy life.  being healthy should not be seen as a chore; rather it should be a lifestyle.  When something is not in balance on the inside, it will quickly show on the outside.  So, dear readers, listen, and in this case look at, your body, for any messages that something is not in sync.

Reading your body like a book

Have you ever looked at your body, your skin and wonder why is it looking this or that way?  In this blog post, I am going to delve deeper into the first sign, that your body gives to tell you that something is either amiss from your diet, or that something is out of balance:  your skin.  Because the skin is the largest organ (and it sits on the outside), it is quite easy to spot when something has changes, for example dry skin, cracked lips, and so forth.

Your stomach is your “second brain,” and for good reason.  When the pH-level in your gut is out of balance, dis-ease sets in.  Many ailments, including cancers, breed in an environment that is very acidic.  Therefore, it is important to make sure that you not only add more alkaline-based foods to your diet, but also take a probiotic or alkaline / acid- powder, to maintain a balanced pH-level.

Rosy cheeks are often associated with and English lass, or someone that drinks a lot.  However, as we get older, our stomachs stop producing adequate levels of hydrochloric acid and pepsin.  Adding supplements that contain these elements, can correct this problem.  If your face is red all over, it could be acne rosacea.  Using mediation and/or ointment can help, but adding hydrochloric acid and pepsin, is proven to help combat acne all together.  Again, if you have low stomach acidity, digestion can be hampered, thus, better to fix it as soon as possible.

People have either a “yellow undertone” or “blue undertone” and this determines what colours will suit you best when choosing clothes and make-up.  However, people over 50 can also have either a slightly yellow tone or brownish-yellow flecks on their skin.  This can either be due to the beforementioned reason, or it can be a lack of B12.  The brownish-yellow flecks can either be “old age” or can also point to an underactive thyroid, diabetes or insulin problems.  Other signs that it could be an underactive thyroid, is persistently low body temperature, dry skin, poor hair and weak nails.  Again, these are just guidelines and not a definite cause.  Brittle nails can also be linked to a lack of Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium.  Best to speak to your medical practitioner or a health expert, if you notice any changes.

Adult- and teenage-acne can both be caused by either an allergy or food intolerance, diet and/or hormonal changes.  Topical creams that contain niacinamide, azelaic acid and pantothenic acid, can reduce acne, as well as tea-tree oil.  Changing your diet, eliminating sugar, eating more foods that contain zinc and essential fatty acids (for example unroasted sunflower- and pumpkin seeds), can be very helpful. 

If you have a bumpy or rough skin on your elbows and/or heels, it could point to a deficiency in vitamin A.  Eating more carrots, sweet potatoes, yams and squash, can help.  Also make sure that you don’t have a vitamin B-deficiency. 

Our skins love to be pampered with body lotions, face creams and the like.  However, no cream will work if you don’t nourish your skin on the inside.  Dry skin often points to a diet that lacks essential fatty acids.  Eating more fish, nuts and salad oils (or taking a supplement), can help.  Drinking enough water to keep the skin hydrated from the inside, is important as well.  Being out in the sunshine is also important; yes, without sunscreen!  Otherwise, your body cannot absorb vitamin D.  Do remember, to stay out of the sun when it is at its hottest.  If you want to protect your face, wear a hat.  If you don’t like being out in the sun, or live somewhere where it is not as hot as in other countries, make sure to take a vitamin D-supplement.  Not only is it good for the skin, but also the brain, our immune system and our general well-being.

Eczema and Psoriasis are both caused by allergies (food and/or other).  Ointments can alleviate it, but be careful if you are using cortisone, as this causes the skin to become thin (causing bruises easily).  Essential fatty acids and zinc, seem to alleviate eczema, while nickel and bromide can help with psoriasis.  Before using or adding it to your / your child’s diet, consult a health practitioner first.  Eliminating the cause of the allergy are also key.

Wrinkles, varicose veins, easy bruising and skin creases, can all appear as we age.  Not every wrinkle or bruise is a sign of something seriously wrong.  Using creams with added collagen, taking collagen- and omega-supplements can help with wrinkles, for example.  Varicose veins can be alleviated by lying with your legs against the wall for 15 minutes; especially if you are on your feet for most of the day.  Flavonoids, found in citrus fruit, blueberries, all red, blue and purple fruits and vegetables, vitamin E, magnesium and thinks like bilberry, gingko, hawthorn and horse chestnut, can help with it.  Bruising easily?  Take extra vitamin C as well as vitamin K (found in flavonoids).  Skin creases is something that the older generation gets.  It is not something to worry about, unless you start to feel different.

Our skin is a wonderful gift; a tool that will quickly tell you if something, internally, is out of balance.  In the coming weeks, I am going to delve into other parts of the body, to see what it can tell us when it comes to our health and well-being!

PS:  If you don’t suffer from any skin allergy, but your skin is itching, exfoliation can do the trick.  Exfoliating at least once or twice a week, can help.  Be careful when exfoliating parts like your face, where the skin is not so thick as the body’s skin.  using an exfoliating gel is very useful.  Dry body brushing is another quick and easy way to get rid of the dead cells and skin, as well as boosts circulation.  Always remember to brush the right side from the body first, in the direction of the heart, and down on the left side.

Yes, there is a workout for everyone!

Regardless of your lifestyle; there is a workout for everyone – even those of you who don’t like the gym and/or the idea of following an exercise-routine!  Question is, which of the following terms describe you best?  Busy bee, Couch potato, or Dog walker / Gardener?

Busy bee

The number one reason people say they don’t exercise, is because they don’t have time.  Yes, juggling work- home- and social lives can be tricky; especially when you have a lot of responsibilities on your plate.  However, there is always a plan to be made when it comes to exercising; even if it is at home or during a lunch-break. here are a few exercise-ideas that you can do, whether you are sitting on a chair, your couch, standing in the kitchen or outside.

Body-weight exercises, like lunges and squats, are quick and easy to do.  Getting up from a chair or your couch without using your arms, is another easy way to exercise your legs.  Arm exercises can be done whilst you wait for a kettle to boil; standing close to the wall, place your hands against it and lean forward by bending your arms.  Make sure your legs stay straight and your heels stay on the floor. Tricep dips can easily be done either standing (with cans of fruit in your hands for extra weight).

Changing your mindset from “hour-long session” to “10-minute session” can make a huge difference in your attitude and approach to start exercising.  Simple things you can do at work or when you are at a mall, for example, is to park further away from the door, climbing stairs instead of taking the escalator or stretching.  The latter can easily be done either sitting or standing, for example stretching your arms, flicking your fingers, circling your wrists and ankles, stretching your legs, one at a time, whilst bending forward, and so forth.

Couch potato

Sadly, there are many people today, including young people, that don’t do any for of exercise.  They sit at work, school or college, then come home and sit in front of the television or computer for the rest of the night.  Sitting doesn’t count as an exercise, but have no fear.  You can do exercises whilst sitting on your couch!

Start by sitting up straight, breathe in and pull in your tummy.  Gently press your back against the back of the couch or a pillow.  Exhale and relax.  Do this at least 10 times.  Go from sitting to standing to sitting again.  Repeat 10 times and try not to use your arms but your legs instead.  Arm exercises can easily be done whilst sitting down.  Make a fist (or use a hand weight / tin) and do some bicep-curls. 

Tricep dips can either be done sitting on the edge of the couch and bending your arms back; or sitting on the edge, with your hands behind you (fingertips pointing towards you) and lifting your entire body off the couch.  Make sure you are not close to the edge, as you need to lower your body then lift it up again.  This exercise should only be done if you are strong enough in your arms and don’t have any back problems. Another easy-to-do exercise, whilst sitting, is to squeeze a cushion between your legs.  Make sure your toes point forward, then squeeze the cushion as you breathe in slowly, then relax when you exhale.  Breathing in whilst squeezing your bum is another easy way to exercise your glutes.

Dog walker / Gardener

Being outdoors is one of the best exercises for body, mind and soul.  Even when it is cold outside, nature has a way to “pick you up,” to help you relax and unwind.  Whether you take the dog (-s) for a walk, love gardening or both, it is an easy way to not only get your body moving and burning kilojoules, but it also rejuvenates the mind and soul.  If you live in an apartment and/or don’t have a dog, still go outside.  You can either use an app with upbeat music to power walk, get-together with a neighbour or friend and go for a walk, or join a group.  There are many groups, today, that single people can join if they want to be outdoors: hiking, jogging, walking; the list is endless.

Getting yourself motivated to start moving is not always easy; especially for those who prefer to “stay on the couch.”  All is not lost and taking it one day at a time, one step at a time, is key.  Writing down positive affirmations or the reasons why you are doing it, is a brilliant way to keep you motivated and on track.  Stick the notes on your mirror, fridge or somewhere where you can look at it often.  Think of it as a journey to health and happiness.  See it as another “tool” to help you to become more relaxed.  Becoming healthy and more fit is a journey; it is not a race. 

Rather, it is a lifestyle.  When you start with small changes – in this case 10 minutes or so per day with some form of exercise – it will add up to many hours a month.  I can guarantee you will not just look better, but also feel better: so get up and get moving!

Tips for back-problems, aches and pains

Many people sit for hours on end; either behind a desk, in front of a television or laptop, or slouch on a couch with their phones, causing a collapsed and hyper-arched lower back.  When you sit, your back collapses, the pelvis-area tucks under and your hamstring start to shorten.  Sitting for too long, without doing any form of exercise, can also cause the hip-flexors and pelvis to shorten; causing them to lose their range of movement.  Thus, the pelvis tilts forward, the buttocks stick out at the back and the lower back is curved too much.  Someone with a hollow back should, from an early age, sit in Lotus-position, to straighten and strengthen the back. 

If it is difficult, then try the half-Lotus position and focus on strengthening and stretching the lower back muscles, as well as glutes.  The ideal is to lengthen your hamstrings and shorten your hip-flexors.  When your hamstrings and hips are shortened, they lose their range of movement.  Instead of using the muscles of the legs and hips to lift the spine into an upright position, the back muscles are used instead. 

Another mistake people often make, is to lift heavy things with straight legs, instead of bending or softening the knees.  Often in the gym, you see people doing weight-lifting with straight legs.  Instead of using their arms and legs to pick up the heavy weights, they “throw’ the weights up because their knees are not bent.  The worst thing for the lower back, is jerking-movements.  When you are in a car accident, you often get treatment for whiplash.  When you jerk whilst doing exercises like sit-ups, picking up weights, back exercises and others, that pulsing-movement is like whiplash for the lower back.  The lumber spine is mostly bone and needs to be protected. 

Running is a popular exercise / sport, but not only is it bad for the knees and hips, but also the back – regardless of the type of trainers you wear.  Luckily today there are specific trainers geared for certain sports.  The best tip is to not only focus on one sport / exercise, but to combine it with Yoga and/or Pilates.  In both these exercise-modalities, you are taught how to strengthen and lengthen the muscles, as well as stretching.  Stretching is something the body wants to do instinctively and, when you don’t stretch regularly (especially after a work-out), your muscles will shorten, stay stiff and it will lead to injuries.

Swimming and walking are 2 of the best ways to not only stay fit, but also mobile.  When we sit at the office all day, then come home and sit in front of the television, our bodies become rigid, sore and extremely tight.  We were made to move; just think or look at babies.  They instinctively want to move and can’t wait to start walking! Our whole body, organs, circulatory system and lymphatic system, depends on us moving.  Doing housework or gardenwork is fine, but again you need to stretch your body after bending forward, for example, or climbing up and down a ladder.  There is nothing nicer than a lovely stretch after a day at work, after a gym session or after a walk or jog outside.

Stretching is also great for allowing more oxygen into the body.  When you stretch, you inhale and exhale slower and deeper.  By doing this, more oxygen flows into the body and more of the stale air (often stuck at the bottom of the lungs because we don’t use our whole lung capacity), are exhaled.  Another wonderful thing about stretching and breathing, is that it automatically calms us down and helps us to relax more.

So, dear readers, if you are not stretching yet, do make a point of stretching before you get out of bed and before you sleep.  Also remember that it is very important after any workout and always listen to your body!  When you need to pick up something that is heavy, bend your knees (or ask for help).  Sit up straight, walk talk and check that your shoulders are in their natural position.  Roll your shoulders forward, up and back; this will also help to straighten the spine.  Tuck in your tummy, but make sure your hips face forward and tuck in your bottom.

Back-problems know no age

Regardless of your age and whether you exercise or not, back-problems have troubled most, if not all of us, at one stage or another.  Often it is due to a lack of exercise, but it can also occur even though you are fit.  Poor posture plays a key role, as well as being overweight and emotional feelings.  Many holistic healers believe that feelings of guilt, financial concern, a lack of support (on all levels) and anxiety (stress), causes back pain.  Anxiety, for example, can cause digestive problems such as bloating and congestion (especially if it is ongoing), thus it leads to a slackness of muscles in that area.

Our spinal cord, which starts at the base of our skull, is a wonderful gift that supports not only our limbs, but protects our vital organs.  The spine is amazing:  it is not just firm, but it also supports and transmit force.  It has natural curves that acts as shock absorbers, thus protecting our brain, organs and neck.  It is an area with high mobility, yet little skeletal support to carry heavy loads.  Your entire body’s weight sits above the hips!  Therefore, your knees and hips are just as important to protect and strengthen, as any problems arising in one / both of these areas, can fuel back-problems.  Keeping our back muscles, as well as all the other muscles, strong, will not only support the skeletal system, but also protect it.  The stronger the muscles surrounding the bones are, the more support it gives to the skeletal system when you move, exercise, bend forward, run and the like. 

Apart from the abovementioned issues, being out of alignment can also cause back-issues.  When your head, for example, is too far forward, your upper back, together with your shoulders, pull forward and creates a curved upper back.  When you don’t stand or sit in an upright position with your shoulders back but in a relaxed position, your stomach protrudes forward and you “sit” on your lower back.  Often the buttocks are also pushed out, whilst the pelvic floor tilts down, instead of facing forward.  A hyper-arched lower back and collapsed lower back occur, because gravity gets stuck in the areas, instead of flowing through the body.  The same goes for the body’s energy, blood flow and oxygen.  When you sit in a hunched back position, for example, your lungs are “squashed” and breathing becomes restricted. 

Lower back problems can often stem from problems higher up; for example, rounded or tense shoulders can put strain on the spine.  If the lower back is compromised, then the shoulders and neck-area try to carry themselves, it can cause the neck and shoulders to become stiff and sore.  The weight of the shoulders is conducted down the spine and into the earth.  Therefore, it is very important to walk, sit and stand correctly.  When you come back to your natural alignment (where your shoulders are rolled back and down, your pelvis and hips face forward, your sitting bone is tucked under and your head is not pushed forward), then your body can relax, your shoulders feel supported and the tension disappears. 

An age-old remedy: Colloidal silver: that still works

There are over 650 diseases that Colloidal silver has, and still can, help people overcome.  A few examples are acne, allergies, arthritis, athlete’s foot, bladder inflammation, burns, cancer, diabetes, eczema, gastritis, stomach flu, tonsillitis, infections, viruses and many more.  Before the introduction of antibiotics (during the 1940s), colloidal silver was used as a natural antibiotic, with potent antibacterial properties.  Unfortunately, when you search on the internet, many conflicting information appears.  Needless to say, sadly there is still a pushback from companies against natural remedies, but hopefully this will all change in the very near future.

Many doctors, worldwide, is praising colloidal silver again.  Unlike antibiotics, which kills 6 or so bacteria, colloidal silver kills about 650, research indicated.  Another plus for colloidal silver, is that it doesn’t kill the good bacteria in the gut; unlike antibiotics.  Thus, inter flora is often prescribed when taking antibiotics.  There are numerous articles that has been written and put on YouTube, about the benefits of using colloidal silver.  How exactly does it work, you might wonder?

For starters, colloidal silver binds with bacterial DNA and, in doing so, destroys the hydrogen bonds and prevents the DNA from unwinding.

Colloidal silver attaches to the oxygen molecules and reacts with the sulfhydryl groups that surround bacteria and viruses.  This helps to block cellular respiration; a metabolic process and reaction of cells that convert energy from nutrients, before releasing waste products.  Colloidal silver directly attaches to the bacteria’s cell membranes; producing a similar cellular respiration blocking effect.

There are so many benefits that are too many to mention in a single blog post.  The main benefit is that it is a fantastic, natural antibiotic, that can be used by humans and animals.  Colloidal silver is wonderful to use for ears- and eye infections.  It has wonderful antiseptic properties, which can treat various skin ailments and wounds, for example periodontitis, thrush, burns, boils, abscesses, eczema, psoriasis, ringworm, tissue damage from burns, and so forth. 

Due to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, colloidal silver can help prevent colds and flus, including swine flu.  In 2011, a study was done in Italy of children suffering from colds and nasal congestion.  One group was given a saline solution and another group beta glucan and colloidal silver.  Although both groups benefited, 90% of the children taking the latter, recovered fully. Colloidal silver has been proven to treat various other viral infections such as HIV/AIDS, warts, herpes, shingles and is effective against Hepatitis C.  At the University of Alberta, researches treated inflammation in pigs.  After 72 hours, the pigs had near-normal skin.  This proved that colloidal silver boosts cells recovery, increases healing and decreases swelling.

Suffering from sinusitis and the like?  Try Colloidal silver.  Colloidal silver destroys the Staphylococcus aureus virus.  You can place a few drops in a neti pot or apply it directly into your nasal cavity.  Colloidal silver is also great to use to treat other respiratory inflammatory conditions, for example allergies and asthma.  You can gargle with it to help clear a throat of mucus and/or alleviate a sore throat.  Another benefit in using colloidal silver, is that it is effective as a respiratory support against bronchitis and pneumonia, regardless whether the cause is bacterial or viral. 

Colloidal silver is a wonderful medicine to keep in the house.  If you have never used it before, test it on a small area first.  As with any medication, overuse can lead to problems, so always make sure to not only read the label first, but speak to a health practitioner (who sells it), before using it.

Accepting yourself; wholeheartedly

Throughout the years, mainstream media, movies, magazines and fashion houses, bombarded us with images of the “perfect models.”  Whether it was their face, length, the way they were built or the colour of their hair; it didn’t matter.  What mattered was that false images were created, marketed, that influenced many, if not thousands, of people’s lives.  Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there; Barbie- and Ken dolls started to pop up everywhere.  Suddenly every young girl and woman, thought that that is the way you must look.  Even today, with many of the influencers and the like, young people (especially), are brainwashed into thinking that that is how he / she must look, in order to be happy.

Luckily, there is always a light at the end of every tunnel and the light has started to shine brighter and brighter.  More and more people, including young people, are seeing through the “fake ness” of celebrities and the like.  Women, especially, realize that it is the make-up and technology used, to create the “perfect photo.” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – so the saying goes.  What defines beauty is different for everyone.  What is important, is that we teach our children, from a young age, that external beauty fades.  No matter how many face lifts, creams, powders, and so forth, we use; ageing will catch up with all of us.  It is the internal beauty that lasts.  When you are beautiful on the inside, it radiates out. 

Am I promoting letting yourself go and think “take me or leave me.”  No, not at all!  You still have to look after yourself with a healthy diet, exercise routine and getting rid of stress.  What you should do, is accept the things you cannot change and change what you can.  With the advent of technology, make-up, hair colour and so on, you can quite easily change your appearance.  Changing your external appearance might lift your mood, but will it be long-lasting?  If you are not happy, internally, then no amount of make-up, hair colour, facials and the like, is going to help.

As more and more people turn back to listening to their intuition / gut feelings, people quickly “pick-up” whether you are genuine or not.  Anyone can smile or laugh, but when your eyes don’t smile, then people know something is amiss.  The eyes, after all, are the windows to your soul!  Accepting yourself is not always easy; especially when you go through your teenage-years.  Helping a child by supporting him or her with positive words, make a big difference.  When adults start to criticize or belittle children, then the damage caused is on a deep level.  Having someone to help you accept yourself, is another wonderful “tool” to use.  Journaling can also be used.  Putting our thoughts into words is a good way to express our feelings and thoughts.

One thing to remember is, that our brain is divided into a conscious- and sub-conscious mind.  The conscious mind can distinguish between right and wrong, but not the sub-conscious mind.  Whatever we think, whatever we say to ourselves, get stored in the sub-conscious mind.  It is here that you have to “delete” and “rewrite” your negative thoughts, words and beliefs, if you truly want to break free from whatever is holding you back.  The same goes for accepting ourselves wholeheartedly.  Once you find someone who can help you to “rewrite” your thoughts and feelings about yourself, then you can deeply and truly accept yourself.

Earthing or Grounding – the benefits of taking off your shoes

Earthing, also called Grounding, is connecting to the earth’s electromagnetic charge.  Walking barefoot on the beach and/or on grass, is a wonderful way to connect.  Earth is an electrical planet and all of us are bioelectrical beings.  A good example is our heart and nervous system.  Over the years, many scientific studies have proven that earthing is not only important to keep us in balance, but a wonderful “medicine.” Think of it as getting a dose of “vitamin G” (grounding); compliments of Mother Nature.  Sunlight creates vitamin D (very important) and the earth creates vitamin G; your needed dose of “electrical nutrition.”

What are the benefits of walking barefoot?  For starters, grounding can restore and stabilize your bioelectrical circuitry, which governs your physiology and organs.  Grounding harmonizes your basic, biological rhythms, boosts your body’s self-healing mechanisms, reduces inflammation and pain, as well as improves your sleep.  It also helps you to relax, unwind, reenergize and “recharge your batteries.”

Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a firm believer in grounding, has said that one of the major benefits is to assuage inflammation, by transferring the negatively-charged electrons, from the Earth’s surface, into the body.  Here it gets neutralized by the positively-charged destructive free radicals, that are involved in chronic inflammation.  The benefits of grounding on the brain, heart, muscles, immune- and nervous system – in fact, the whole body – is massive!  Dr. Sinatra did studies on the electrodynamics (zeta potential) of blood cells.  This indicated that Earthing not only improves viscosity (blood thickness), inflammation and flow, but also aids cardiovascular conditions.

Diabetes, for example, carries a high risk for cardiovascular disease, as well as arterial- and nervous tissue damage.  Earthing can contribute to a de-stressing and balancing effect on the nervous system and, in turn, on the heart’s function.  James Oschman, a Biophysicist, wrote the following in his book Energy Medicine:  The Scientific Basis: “The moment your foot touches the Earth, or you connect to the Earth through a wire, your physiology changes.  An immediate normalization begins.  And an anti-inflammatory switch is turned on.  People stay inflamed because they never connect with the Earth, the source of free electrons which can neutralize the free radicals in the body that cause disease and cellular destruction.  Earthing is the easiest and most profound lifestyle change anyone can make.”

Earthing is a great way to ground yourself.  Whether you suffer from an illness, are stressed, struggle to sleep or just feel out of sorts, take off your socks and shoes, and connect with Mother Nature.  When you are grounded, you can make better decisions, you are more level-headed, relaxed and cope better with life in general.  Nature, as I have written about before, is the best medicine there is for any ailment.