Archive for January, 2012

The Value of a Food Diary

January 26, 2012

I have found myself speaking with several folks lately about their diets….and realizing that what we think we are eating, what we feel we are eating, what we intend to eat, is not the same as what we are actually putting into our mouths. About 12 years ago I thought I was doing a really good job of paying attention to my diet. However, when I went to see a Naturopath about fine tuning my health, she suggested I keep a food diary, to see what actually happening….oh dear. More fried corn chips and less vegetables that I realized, just to name 2 areas that I had to address. My gall bladder was very happy with me when I made some changes….

And that is the point: we can’t really know what to do next if we don’t “objectively” look at where we are. Writing down EVERYTHING that goes in our mouth, and about how much and when often leads to a better understanding of our patterns, habits, what foods might be causing problems, macro and micronutrients that may be out of balance, etc. Let me say loud and clear: DO NOT JUDGE yourself, your choices, what you notice. This is also a spiritual exercise in gentle compassionate observation. We are witnessing ourselves nourishing ourselves, and change can occur more easily if we are amused rather than horrified.  We shall be talking about making small steps toward eating all real food without a lot of drama and lamenting poor choices in the past.

Beyond the general notion that eating well is “good for us,” I’ll be citing interesting current research, including the rather new field of epigenetics. Food (and that includes culinary herbs) really can be our medicine.

Keeping Our Lymphatic System Healthy

January 20, 2012

I had another request: info on the lymphatic system, and how to insure that we keep this aspect of our bodies healthy, especially detoxification during cold and flu season.

First: an extremely short explanation follows that shows us just how important this little known system of our body is to our overall health:

The lymphatic system has multiple interrelated functions:[3]

  • The lymph transports antigen-presenting cells (APCs), such as dendritic cells, to the lymph nodes where an immune response is stimulated.
The blood brings nutrition and oxygen to the cells and the lymph removes the waste, debris, and disease components such as viruses. The cells are bathed in lymphatic fluid. Fluid retention in the tissues suffocates the cells so that the nutrients can’t get in and garbage accumulates.
The lymphatic system is a specialized component of the circulatory system that doesn’t have the advantage of a central pump. The flow inside the lymphatic vessels is unidirectional because of one-way valves that keep the lymph from traveling backwards but the circulation of the lymph depends largely on movement.
How can we assist our lymphatic system:

Deep diaphragmatic breathing is possibly the best way of circulating the lymph. Breath in slowly and deeply pushing the belly out and then let the breath go slowly and completely. The dramatic pressure variance with the lung expansion and contraction moves the lymph and helps to open the ducts to allow the lymph to reenter the bloodstream at the subclavian veins at the base of the neck. Deep, slow diaphragmatic breathing for 10 minutes a day will oxygenate the blood and circulate the lymph.
A Rebounder, also known as a mini-trampoline, is a great way to exercise. A simple, gentle walk in place without even lifting the feet off of the trampoline will suffice to circulate the lymph. At the top of the bounce the body experiences a moment free of gravity and at that time all of the one-way valves in the lymphatic vessels open to allow the fluid to move up. This can even be done without a rebounder just by bouncing on the toes. Also, be sure to swing your arms, as this also helps act as a pump.
Specialized massage by a trained massage therapist is a great way to work with the lymphatic system; however, we can do this at home as well. Massage the skin in the direction of the heart. Any kind of movement such as walking will circulate the lymph because of the muscle contractions. Even laughter works well to get the fluid in motion. Iris Herbal has a couple of massage oils that greatly assist this process. If you go HERE you’ll find more info on these lymphatic massage oils.
There are several herbs that assist the body in keeping the lymphatic system healthy. If you have been sick, a tea or tincture of either Red Root or Red Clover Blossoms will be helpful. Adding a little Calendula Flowers to your herb tea is also a good tonic.
PS…every once in a while, no matter what one does, WordPress does what IT wants and not what I want in regards to layout…sigh.

Cold and Flu Prevention For Kids (of all ages)

January 14, 2012

When I went to look at my stats for this blog, especially what folks were searching for, I found cold and flu prevention for kids…and I thought, oh good, now I know what I’m blogging about!

First: limit sugar as much as humanly possible. Why? (other than we all know it’s not good for us, empty calories, mood swings, etc.) Because the nasty micro-organisms LOVE sugar, and our immune systems are compromised almost immediately after consuming sugar, and can take hours to rebound back to their robust selves….

Second: everyone needs to sleep WAY MORE than they realize, and children especially need sleep to be regular: same time every night; a dark room if possible (night lights may help anxiety, but if your child is a poor sleeper it may be too much light in the room); bedtime stories really work (for adults, too), and leave plenty of time to brush teeth, etc. so family members aren’t unduly stressed before bedtime.

Third: for children who get frequent ear infections, there is good research showing that prophylactic use of xylitol based nose sprays help prevent ear infections by destroying bacterial cell walls. Iris Herbal’s Mullein Garlic Oil really helps clear infection if used at the first sign of ear infection. Many folks (parents for their children, and adults for themselves) have found this combo safe, easy and effective. Mullein oil (made by infusing mullein flowers in olive oil) and garlic essential oil (a very strong anti-bacterial oil) together are quite potent; just don’t use if the eardrum is perforated.

Fourth: WASH YOUR HANDS, often. Before meals, after the bathroom, after blowing one’s nose, after being in a public space where folks are coughing and sneezing. Teaching children the hand washing habit really helps because kids touch their faces a lot (well, so do adults, but we’ve often curbed some of those tendencies…), and hands deliver germs to the eyes, ears, and mouth.

Fifth: in one of the latest AARP newsletters, a very simple remedy was mentioned: gargling! Although young children may not be able to do that yet, anyone of any age who can: do so several times a day with warm water. It really lessons the number of time folks get sick.

and Sixth: take a supplement to increase immunity. Some folks swear by Echinacea and/or Elder berry at the first signs or if exposed. Some people are helped by herbal immune adaptogens like Astragalus, Bacopa, Eleuthero, and/or Spikenard. But often children don’t like the taste. So I recommend a supplement called Epicor (easily found on the web) which really does have good science (and my clients’ experience) to back it up. You can order this from me through my supplement buying club, whose next order is this coming Monday morning (and happens every month around the 15th). Just call (toll-free 877-286-2970) or email ( me this weekend and I can order you either adult strength or kid strength at a more affordable price that just about anywhere on the web.

pS: it’s also good to drink water…and if plain water is too boring, then add the juice of lemon or lime: tasty and helpful both!

If You Thought Round-Up Was Bad….

January 6, 2012

Pesticide Action Network Updates

We have until February 27th to stop 2,4-D Corn

Keep this GE genie in the bottleUrge USDA not to approave Dow’s   2,4-D-resistant GE corn.
Take Action

Dear Concerned Citizen,

This one is pretty simple: Dow and USDA hope to quietly approve a new genetically engineered seed line that basically swaps RoundUp (glyphosate) out and an even worse weedkiller (2,4-D) in. Bad idea.

The pesticide treadmill is catching up with Monsanto, as glyphosate-resistant “superweeds” run rampant and their blockbuster product line nears the end of its life-cycle. Dow wants to drop in an even more toxic herbicide (2,4-D) to keep the treadmill running at high speed. We have until February 27th to stop this.

Tell USDA that you want off this ride» USDA opened a public comment period over the holiday break, as they tend to do for controversial decisions they want to bury. But we’re paying attention.

Dow aims to get 2,4-D-resistant corn to market this year, soy next year and cotton in 2015. These three crops dominate U.S. agriculture, blanketing over 100 million acres of mono-cropped countryside, driving the pesticide market.

As with Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready lines, so too will it be with Dow’s 2,4-D-resistant lines. The herbicide that these seeds are engineered to be used with (then glyphosate, now 2,4-D) will surge in use. Only this time, the fallout will be worse. Here’s why:

  • 2,4-D is a more toxic herbicide, both to humans and to plants. It is a reproductive toxicant, suspected endocrine disruptor and probable carcinogen. Children are particularly susceptible to its effects.
  • 2,4-D does and will drift off of target crops – both through spray drift and volatilization. This will devastate adjacent ecosystems and poses a very real threat to rural economies and farmers growing non-2,4-D-resistant crops. Conventional farmers will lose crops while organic farmers will lose both crops and certification, resulting in an economic unraveling of already-stressed rural communities.
  • 2,4-D-resistant “superweeds” will arise and spread just as RoundUp-resistant “superweeds” have taken over farms and countryside in the Midwest and Southeast.
  • Corn is wind-pollinated, which means that genetic material from 2,4-D corn will contaminate non-GE corn. You cannot put a GE genie back in the bottle.

The risks are far too great» This dangerous and antiquated herbicide shouldn’t be on the market, and we certainly should not be giving Dow license to profit from driving up use.

We’ll need to make a lot of noise on this one. Thanks so much for adding your voice!

Celebrating 30 years of Iris Herbal

January 4, 2012

New Year’s greetings, everyone. Hope y’all had a lovely holiday(s), Holy day(s), holidaze….

2012 marks Iris Herbal Product’s 30th anniversary. Holy guacamole, have I really been this focused, fortunate, and yes it’s been a wild ride and more to come. Stay tuned to this blog for “blog -reader-only” specials and sales. I will also be offering deals to those who receive my (sort of) monthly newsletter. You can go HERE to visit my homepage and see what’s new, what’s on sale, and to register for my newsletter.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to focus more on “good news” and positive ways we can make a difference. The following comes from Good News Network:

Top 10 Good News Stories of the Week

  1. 1500 Employees Skip Holiday Party to Transform Local Farm In place of a holiday party, computer technology company NVIDIA conducted one of Silicon Valley’s largest-ever employee volunteer events, with 1,500 employees and family members building structures that transformed a local community farm, donating services and materials totaling $380,000.
  2. Secret Santa Inspires Addict’s Clean Up
    Remember the businessman who gave away hundred dollar bills to strangers in December? One of the people this Secret Santa gave money to is 30-year-old Thomas Coates, a deadbeat by most accounts, including his own. But when the stranger called him a good man, pushing hundreds of dollars into his hand even when he said he didn’t deserve it, a prayer was answered. (Video)
  3. ‘Christmas Miracle’ for Lonely Endangered Rhino
    Conservationists in Malaysia airlifted a young Sumatran Rhinoceros — one of the world’s most endangered animals — from an area where she had no hope of ever seeing another rhinoceros. After monitoring her isolation since 2007, the Sabah Wildlife Department and Borneo Rhino Alliance flew the female rhino, named Puntung to a forest where she would encounter a potential partner.
  4. Annette Dove had no idea that an NBC Nightly News segment would cause an avalanche of donations for her Pine Bluff program that feeds and tutors hundreds of Arkansas children after school. It was Chelsea Clinton’s debut as a “Making A Difference” reporter, when she returned to her home state and found this inspiring story. (Video)

  5. Girl Sends Wish to Santa on 2 Pink Balloons, Answered 700 Miles Away Just eight months ago, a one-acre plot at a Denver public school was an unused athletic field, but now that land has come to life with food-bearing vegetation producing 3,000 pounds of food for the cafeteria.
  6. Teen’s Video About Death Inspires Millions a Week After His Passing

    Millions know his name now. After cheating death three times, Ben Breedlove, 18, finally lost his life on Christmas day, but not before leaving a moving last message recorded for YouTube telling of his three near-death experiences and how at peace he finally felt with his fatal heart condition and the life he would likely soon leave behind.

  7. After Katrina, a Promise Kept: 101 New Homes Built, Donated by CEO
    After watching the devastation of neighborhoods after Hurricane Katrina, Borders CEO Louise Riggio promised to give away new homes to 100 displaced families. At the dedication of the final home, a gospel choir sang “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” while 55-year-old Corliss Gaines’ eyes swelled with tears.
  8. The Surprisingly Upbeat State of the World: Trends are Strikingly Positive Regular readers of the Good News Network know about these four major areas where global progress is heartening: War is on the decline, poverty is shrinking, women around the world find their lot improving and democracy is spreading. The leading indicators in these four areas cannot be denied.
  9. Woman Loses Wedding Ring, Finds it Growing on Carrot 16 years Later A Swedish woman who lost her wedding ring 16 years ago was flabbergasted when she found it again, around a carrot growing in her garden, media reported Saturday. (BBC)
  10. Missouri Woman Gets $6.1 Mil From State’s Unclaimed Property Office A Kansas City woman got an early Christmas present when she received a state record $6.1 million from the Missouri unclaimed property fund, which works to return stocks, bonds, bank balances and safe deposit box contents to unknown owners. (KC Star)