Sunday, May 22, 2016

15 Surprising Uses for Eggshells and Egg Cartons

By caminknews, Courtesy for Health & Nature
Eggs have become a staple in the contemporary kitchen. They can be cooked a ton of different ways for breakfast, they can be boiled, they’re mixed into baked goods, and they’re essential to numerous recipes. There are undoubtedly a lot of uses for eggs, but who is to say that those uses have to stop at the yolk and egg white? Actually, who is to say the uses have to even stop at the physical egg? Before you go throwing out all of your eggshells you might want to consider giving this article a look-over. It turns out the uses for eggs aren’t restricted to culinary measures. As a matter of fact, there are a surprising amount of ways that you can use the shells of your eggs to improve your daily life. On top of that, the cartons that eggs come can be quite useful as well. It seems far fetched, but it’s actually a really simple and interesting concept. Eggshells are a compact concentration of calcium carbonate. Their mineral makeup is the main reason they can be used in many facets of life other than cooking. The following natural life hacks are great ways to live an efficient life and becoming an ally of mother nature with the concepts of reduce, reuse and recycle. 9 Uses for Eggshells We’ll start off with eggshells. It probably goes without saying that you’ll want to rinse your shells with warm water and it’s best to boil them for a few minutes to get rid of pathogens, before you use any of these tricks. Composting – Eggshells breakdown very easily and are ideal for compost piles. Their high concentration of minerals add an extra healthy boost to soil and actually make for some pretty effective composting. Pest Control – Pests come in different shapes and sizes, but they share a similar interest to destroy the hard work of a gardener. Breaking up fragments of eggshell and scattering them around your garden will keep slugs and cutworms out of your garden without having to use toxic pesticides. You can also find other natural ways to make your own natural garden pesticides. Sidewalk Chalk – This is a pretty fun and easy craft and fun to make with kids. First you grind the eggshells into a very fine powder and mix a teaspoon each of flour and hot water in a cup. Mix the egg shells into the resulting paste and mix it well. Here you can add food coloring or leave the chalk white. When everything is mixed well, roll the mixture into a stick shape and wrap it up in a paper towel. Let it dry about three days and you’ll have a perfect piece of chalk. Laundry Whitener – This interesting little hack requires you to mix broken eggshells with lemon slices in a small cheesecloth bag. When you put the bag in the wash with your clothes, it should help preserve the whiteness and keep your clothes from becoming grey. Great Tasting Coffee – Have you ever taken a sip of coffee just to realize the whole batch is going to have an unpleasant, bitter taste? Placing an eggshell in your drip coffee filter with the coffee grounds can actually keep coffee from having that bitter bite without sacrificing flavor. It’s advised that you use approximately one eggshell for every four to five cups of coffee. Drain Cleaner – Usually putting food waste in the drain is a nightmare for clogging up a sink, but with eggshells it’s a completely different story. They help capture large particles of food waste and break down over time. As the eggshell fragments get smaller they travel through the pipes and clean them. Calcium Supplement – Many people use ground up eggshells to add several thousand milligrams of calcium to their daily intake. You can rinse off the shells, boil them in a pot of water, spread them on a baking sheet and place them in an oven at 200 degrees for about ten minutes, and then finally pulverize the eggs in a coffee grinder or similar appliance until they are a fine powder. This powder can be consumed daily with water for a healthy calcium boost. There should be a limit of about one teaspoon per day for optimal benefits. Some people also let eggshells dissolve in vinegar for about six weeks. The result is a healthy vinegar loaded with calcium. Facial Mask – No need for expensive spa treatments when you have leftover egg shells. Mixing up a finely ground eggshell with an egg white, pestle, and mortar makes for a tightening mask with some great cosmetic benefits. You can also try other natural face masks such as honey face mask and turmeric face mask. Itchy Skin – If you dissolve egg shells in apple cider vinegar like mentioned above, it also makes an anti-itch treatment. Applying the mixture to your skin can help relieve irritation or itching sensations. 6 Uses for Egg Cartons Seedling Base – If you’re interested in maintaining small plants like flowers, egg cartons are a great and efficient way to bloom your seedlings. Simply fill each section up with your fertilizer and plant the seed. You’ll have a dozen small plants neatly organized in their early stages of life. Crafts – There are countless ways people use leftover egg cartons for crafts. They have been turned into Christmas ornaments, room lights, and Christmas wreaths, with a bit of imagination you could do basically anything! Paint Cups – Building on the idea of crafting, you can also use cartons as a palette for your paint. They conveniently store all your colors right next to each other. Fire-starters – Mixing wax and sawdust in small egg cartons can make a dozen shockingly effective fire-starters. These work great for those who love to hang out by a fire without the hassle of getting it all started. Mancala – Why not turn your carton into a timeless game? Mancala boards have 12 small indents, so all you need to do is add a small container on each end of carton, perhaps another chunk of egg carton, and you’ll have a game board. Use whatever small materials you can fit into the cartons for game pieces (I’ve seen tic tacs, pieces of gum and beans used). Organizers – Cartons can be useful for basically any type of hobby or work that has a lot of small pieces. Some carpenters use them to organize screws while more artsy people keep their bracelet beads in them. Do you have other uses for eggshells or egg cartons? We would love to hear about them!

Best Tricks to Get Rid of Hiccups Fast

By camlinknews Courtesy of Health & Natural World
Fortunately, hiccups are not a life-threatening condition and they will usually stop by themselves after a period of time. However, depending on where you are and what company you are in, you may want to get rid of hiccups fast, especially if you are trying to make an important speech or you have an important meeting. The reasons why we experience hiccups vary from person to person. Just as there are many triggers for hiccups, so there are also many methods for ‘curing hiccups’ but not all of them will work for everyone. This article will explore the many tried and tested methods that can help you to stop hiccups naturally. What are Hiccups? The medical term for hiccups is singultus and they are sometimes called hiccoughs. They occur when a trigger causes your diaphragm to unexpectedly contract and at the same time your larynx contracts. These two actions together cause the ‘hic’ sound and it is usually impossible to feel when they come, and they just seem to come ‘out of the blue.’ More often than not, hiccups will settle down by themselves and you can soon carry on your normal activities without that annoying ‘hic.’ However, hiccups can sometimes last longer than a few minutes and that is when they become a real nuisance. For example, imagine the frustration if you had a job that required you to speak publicly every day and you couldn’t get rid of hiccups! Hiccups can also affect your sleep and everyday activities and as a result a lot of people are looking for ways to stop hiccups. Hiccups can be divided into 3 types: • Bout of hiccups. These can last for a few minutes up to 48 hours. • Persistent hiccups. These last for more than 48 hours but no more than a few days. • Intractable hiccups. These last for longer period of time and can be a sign of more serious underlying health issues. Causes of Hiccups There are many different reasons why we experience hiccups from time to time. Doctors agree that hiccups are gastrointestinal and involve the vagal and phrenic nerves. The vagal nerve is connected with our cough reflex and the phrenic nerve passes information to the diaphragm. Hiccups can be caused by a number of factors, like: • Eating food too fast • Eating spicy foods • Soda drinks • Alcohol • Strong emotions like fear or excitement • Sudden temperature changes • Medications • Certain diseases How to Prevent Hiccups The best way to prevent hiccups is to avoid the things that cause hiccups and which could over-stimulate the intestinal system. So, avoid eating too fast because then you gulp down air, which can result in hiccups. Also, avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can also bring on hiccups. If sodas drinks cause you to hiccup, then avoid them (you actually want to avoid them anyway as it is a well established fact that drinking sugary carbonated drinks is not good for you). Spicy food may be actually beneficial for your health and may even help you lose weight but you may want to limit its consumption if it is causing you hiccups. But, if you already have a bout of hiccups, then how can you stop your hiccups and make them go away? How to Get Rid of Hiccups The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology says that to cure hiccups, measures should be taken to disrupt a person’s breathing rhythm or stimulate the back of the throat and nasal passages.1 Many of the methods mentioned below for stopping hiccups are based on one or both of those two principles – to disrupt breathing pattern (for example, holding your breath) or to stimulate the throat muscles (for example, drinking liquids with your head at different angles). Here are some of the best methods to get rid of hiccups: Drink a Glass of Water Through a Straw This seems to be one of the most popular methods to get rid of hiccups. To do this, you will need a glass filled with water and a straw. Then plug your ears tightly. You should make sure that there air is not getting into your ears. Gulp down the water. It seems that this works to affect your throat muscles and disrupt the hiccup reflex. The British Medical Journal published one doctor’s comments where he described this as being a ‘miracle cure’ for hiccough. He didn’t use the straw method but plugged his patient’s ears with his own fingers while they gulped down the water.2 The doctor said that the method was “nearly infallible when applied correctly.” Other Drinking Methods for Stopping Hiccups There are other methods of drinking water which may work for some people: Drink without using your hands – sit on a chair and have a cup of water on a chair in front of you. Bend towards the cup and drink as much as you can from it without touching or holding the glass. Be careful that you don’t tilt the cup so much that it falls over. Drink upside down – Fill a glass of water half full then bend at your waist and take a few gulps of water. Stand up, and if the hiccups are still there, try again. Eat Something Sweet If drinking water didn’t cure your hiccups and you have a sweet tooth, then you can try eating something sweet. Take a spoon of sugar in your mouth and hold for 5 seconds before swallowing. Alternatively, you can try some soothing raw honey, which has much more nutritional and health benefits than sugar. The sweetness can affect the nerves in your mouth and reduce your hiccup reflex. Alternatively, you can take a large spoon of peanut butter or natural hazelnut chocolate spread (but avoid Nutella) and hold it in your mouth for 5-10 seconds. Then gently swallow it. There is actually medical research which seems to back up the fact that very sweet things can help to stop hiccups. For example, research was published in 2012 that showed that sweet taste in the mouth can increase cough reflex thresholds.3 It also mentioned previous research that sugar had been used to help to treat hiccups. Breathing and Swallowing Disrupting your breathing patterns is another way that many people use to get rid of hiccups naturally. Swallowing with a closed mouth – to try this, breathe in as much as you can. When you can’t breathe in anymore, swallow with your mouth still closed. Keep inhaling and swallowing until you can no longer do that. When you can’t continue, let out your breath slowly.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

6 Super Liver Cleansing Foods

By Michelle Schoffro Cook
Next to your brain, your liver may be the most overworked organ in your body. This powerful organ, sitting just under the ribs on the right side of your body, has approximately 500 functions— from filtering toxic substances out of our blood, to reducing excess stress hormones and cholesterol, ensuring strong digestion and even filtering over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Because it works so tirelessly, it also needs plenty of nutrients and liver-supporting foods to keep it functioning optimally. Here are some of the best foods to give your liver a boost:
Avocado—Exciting research published in the medical journal Hepatobiliary Surgery and Nutrition found that a group of compounds found in many fruits and vegetables known as carotenoids can help protect and treat non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD has been linked with obesity, type 2 diabetes and other serious health conditions. While avocado contains a small amount of carotenoids, it has been shown in research to boost the absorption of carotenoids 2 to 6 times when eaten alongside rich sources of the nutrients, such as tomatoes, carrots, squash, pumpkins and many other orange and dark green fruits and vegetables. The healthy fat found in avocados also reduces inflammation in the body—a condition that has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and many other serious conditions. Use avocado in place of butter on bread or sandwiches. Add it to wraps, on top of salad or as a creamy salad dressing or dip base. Beets—These nutritional powerhouses contain a substance known as betaine which is essential to healthy digestion, one of the liver’s many functions. They are powerful liver-cleansers and rebuilders. Enjoy raw grated beets in salads or on sandwiches. Steam or roast beets and use in soups, stews and atop salads. Dandelion Greens—Perhaps dandelion greens are the most overlooked liver-cleansing foods. They contain numerous bitter compounds that help cleanse the liver and boost its functioning. Choose young dandelion greens as they are more palatable than more mature ones. Also, pick dandelion greens away from high-traffic areas or areas that have been sprayed with chemical pesticides. Steam, saute or juice the greens. I love them sautéed with minced garlic, olive oil and topped with some fresh lemon juice and a dash of sea salt. Flax Seeds and Flax Seed Oil—Flax binds to hormone receptor sites, preventing excess hormones (including synthetic xenoestrogens—chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body—from plastics and other sources) from floating around your bloodstream. One of the liver’s 500 jobs is to filter excess hormones. Flax seeds and flax seed oil can help improve the liver’s efficiency in this regard. Sprinkle flax seeds on cereal, toast, salads or blended into smoothies. Use flax seed oil as a base for homemade salad dressings, along with some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Lemons—The compound limonene found in lemon can boost your body’s production of glutathione, a critical nutrient in liver detoxification that helps ensure toxins are neutralized before they can damage the body’s cells. Add fresh lemon to your water, atop salads, over vegetables or to soups. Keep in mind that the limonene is primarily found in lemon peels, so buy organic lemons and grate a small amount of the rind and add to your salad dressings, soups and baked goods. Turmeric—This super spice is potent medicine for the liver. It is the highest known source of beta carotene, which helps protect the liver from free radical damage. In the medical journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, researchers found that curcumin, a naturally-present compound found in turmeric, could protect the liver against alcohol-induced injury. Curcumin is also a potent anti-inflammatory. When it comes to boosting liver health, food truly is the best medicine. Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is a board-certified doctor of natural medicine and international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking (New World Library, 2016).

Herb that Repels Insects as Effectively as DEET

By Michelle Schoffro Cook
Most humans love the fragrant scent of lavender wafting in the air. But research shows that some insects can’t stand the smell of this purple flower, which is good news if you’re trying to send them in the opposite direction. In a study comparing the effects of lavender essential oil to the chemical DEET-based tick repellents, lavender showed results that were comparable to the DEET sprays at repelling ticks. At a 5 percent concentration, the insect-repelling results of the lavender oil lasted for 40 minutes while at a 10 percent concentration, the results lasted for 2 hours. Another study in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that lavender oil used in a 30 percent dilution was 100 percent effective against ticks. That’s great news for anyone trying to steer clear of DEET-based repellents, which should be everyone. A study by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and published in the Journal of Neurochemistry found that DEET-based mosquito repellents interfere with proper nerve signalling in humans, disrupt the hormone dopamine needed for healthy brain function and contribute to chemical mechanisms associated with neurological disorders and nerve degeneration. Other research in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior found that DEET may be linked to motor function impairment and brain and nervous system damage. It’s no surprise that insects head the other direction…while they still can. Perhaps we should follow their lead and leave the DEET repellents behind in favor of natural options like lavender. While I am unfamiliar with any studies specifically testing lavender essential oil against mosquitoes, I can attest to its effectiveness in this regard. I am a natural-born mosquito repellent…for anyone who stands near me at least. That’s because the mosquitoes seem to head straight for me, leaving friends and family members in my company unscathed. But I’ve found that lavender oil works well to keep the little pests away from me too. Adding 10 drops of lavender oil to your favorite unscented cream or oil and applying before heading outdoors will help to keep ticks at bay. Like the chemical sprays, you’ll need to periodically reapply the lavender oil. Of course, you should conduct a 48-hour skin test using diluted lavender oil (one drop of lavender essential oil to 10 drops of a carrier oil like sweet almond or apricot kernel oil) to the inside of your wrist before using it all over your body and face. What’s more is that lavender helps to alleviate anxiety and depression, aids sleep and PMS symptoms and even helps with skin conditions and burns. Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is an international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking (New World Library, 2016).

Herb that Shows Promise against Heart Disease

By Michelle Schoffro Cook
Few people give their heart and vascular system much consideration until something goes wrong. But the circulatory system, which comprises the heart, lungs, arteries and veins, keeps hormones, nutrients, oxygen and other gases flowing throughout the body. Essentially, it is the delivery system for the body, without which we could not live. However, with our modern high stress lifestyle with its stresses, fast food and insufficient activity, we can become prone to the leading cause of death—heart disease. When we think of natural solutions for the condition, we probably think of a plant-based diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids and low in trans fats, saturated fats and Omega 6 fatty acids, not to mention exercise. And, we’d certainly be right in doing so since all of these lifestyle improvements can help prevent or reverse heart disease. But exciting research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that adding the herb rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) to your diet can also help treat heart disease. The researchers found that compounds naturally found in rosemary have significant anti-inflammatory effects, which is an underlying factor in the condition. A growing body of research links heart disease to low-grade inflammation throughout the blood vessels. Our dietary choices of trans fats and other harmful fats, excessive sugar consumption and other inflammation-causing substances can inflame the blood vessels. I tend to think of the inflammation underlying heart disease as scouring the inner walls of the blood vessels, which then need repair with substances like cholesterol, which is the body’s natural substance for arterial repair. While rosemary has been traditionally used throughout history in the treatment of headaches, memory and epilepsy, the research shows that it also holds promise as a natural medicine for the treatment of heart disease. The study concluded that rosemary has the potential to be developed into a natural heart disease medication or functional food. How to Use Rosemary The easiest way to benefit from rosemary’s circulation-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties is to add it to your food. It is a flavorful addition to soups, stews, vegetable or poultry dishes. I add rosemary along with vegetables like onions, carrots, celery and other vegetable scraps and water to make a delicious stock that can be used to make soups, gravy, sauces or to cook rice, quinoa, or other grain. Rosemary is also a welcome addition to tomato sauces or other tomato-based dishes. How to Make Rosemary Tea Add two teaspoons of dried, organic rosemary needles or a 4-inch sprig of fresh rosemary to boiled water and let steep for at least 10 minutes. Strain and drink to reap the health and healing rewards of rosemary. Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is an international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking (New World Library, 2016).

Saturday, May 14, 2016

10 Warning Signs of Cervical Cancer You Shouldn’t Ignore

By James Achanyi-Fontem,
camlinknews More than 40 years ago cervical cancer was a major cancer death risk for women. With the development of pap tests and in-depth recognition of warning signs those numbers are dropping significantly. We still aren’t completely safe however, as many thousands of American women are still affected by cervical cancer every year. Picking up on risk factors and warning signs could save an individual from a lifetime of suffering. Cervical Cancer Risk Factors Acknowledging the risk factors that make women more likely to contract cervical cancer will help women to reveal a greater insight to their cancer risk. Human Papilloma Virus Infection (HPV) – There are over a hundred different viruses grouped here and some are spread through skin contact and considered a stepping stone to cervical cancer. Detection of HPV is usually through the discovery of warts or pap smears. Food Intake – overweight women and women that have a diet devoid of essential nutrients from fruit and vegetables face a higher risk of cervical cancer. Birth Control Pills – The female hormones found in some oral contraceptives may provide some cancers with ideal breeding grounds. Also the risk of cervical cancer goes up the longer a woman takes oral contraceptives and doubles after 5 years of using them. Genetics – There are conflicting references regarding this issue. Some references claim that cervical cancer is something that can be passed down among family members, giving women with a genetic history of the cancer about 2-3 times more of a risk. However I’ve seen other references that claim that there is no genetic component to this type of cancer. HIV – The virus that causes AIDS damages the immune system and increases the risk risk for HPV infection. Chlamydia Infection – Women who show signs of past or current chlamydia infection have a higher risk of cervical cancer. Smoking – Women who smoke double their chances to get cervical cancer. It is believed that tobacco by-products damage the DNA of cervix cells, and may contribute to developing this cancer. Smoking also affects the immune system, making it harder to fight HPV infections. And indeed smoking is one of the top 10 habits to stop right now if you want to be healthy. Multiple pregnancies – Women who have had 3 or more full-term pregnancies have an increased risk of developing cervical cancer. No one really knows why this is true. First pregnancy at a young age – Women who were younger than 17 years when they had their first full-term pregnancy are almost 2 times more likely to get cervical cancer later in life than women who waited to get pregnant until they were 25 years or older. Warning Signs of Cervical Cancer In the earliest stages of development, there is typically a frightening lack of visual and physical symptoms to foreshadow onset stages of cervical cancer. Many symptoms aren’t evident until the cancer has begun an invasive spread to surrounding tissue. Some of the most typical symptoms are as follows: 1. Leg Pain Some women exhibiting early stages of cervical cancer experience swelling and pain in the leg. When the cervix swells it can lead to an obstructed blood flow, which eventually causes the leg to swell and gives a sore, painful sensation. 2. Vaginal Discharge It’s normal for a woman to experience small amounts of clear discharge without color or odor. If the output of discharge increases, smells foul, or has any type of irregular appearance, it could be a sign of onset cervical cancer. 3. Unusual Bleeding Of all the symptoms, this is likely the most common. If a woman is experiencing an untimely bout of vaginal bleeding, it could be an indicator of cervical cancer. Consider contacting a physician if you experience persistent bleeding in between menstrual periods or following sexual intercourse. Women who are postmenopausal and no longer have periods should pay close attention to this symptom. 4. Discomforting Urination Keeping track of urination can help reveal the presence of cervical cancer in several ways. The most immediately obvious and prevalent symptom is discomfort while urinating. This is normally described as a tight and concentrating stinging sensation, but it can take on several different discomforting sensations. Usually when urinary symptoms are involved, the cancer has spread to nearby tissue and requires immediate attention. 5. Irregular Urination The appearance of the urine and urinary habits can also be symptoms of cervical cancer. If you notice strange changes in the frequency of your urine, loss of bladder control (incontinence) or a discoloration – especially with blood – seek the input of a medical professional. 6. Irregular Menstrual Cycles – There should be some level of consistency when it comes to monthly periods. If time, frequency, or any other changes disrupt the regular routine, it may be linked to a future with cervical cancer. Take note of any medication you are on and consult a physician if inconsistencies persist. 7. Uncomfortable Sex Painful intercourse, otherwise known as dyspareunia, is another discomforting side effect of cervical cancer. There are several possible reasons for this symptom to develop, as is the case with many of the symptoms on this list. This symptom is most commonly linked to conditions that require medical attention, however, so it shouldn’t be ignored. 8. Pelvic Pain Pelvic pain is a fairly routine burden of being a woman. Cramping and aches during a menstrual cycle are perfectly normal, but when pain lasts for longer periods, happens frequently, or becomes more intense than usual it could beckon a look from the doctor. 9. Back Pain – Back pain is common, affecting around 80 percent of Americans, and it can happen for a wide variety of reasons, but if accompanied with other symptoms from the list, go for a medical check-up. 10.Unexplained Loss of Weight and Fatigue – Again, on its own, these symptoms can be a result of other factors, but when other symptoms are present, it should signal the need for a physical checkup. Cervical cancer can reduce the number of healthy red blood cells which are replaced by white blood cells that try fighting off the disease. This can cause anemia which typically causes the woman to feel unexplained fatigue, lack of energy, and can lead to weight loss due to a loss of appetite. Prevention of Cervical Cancer Treatment of cervical cancer is tough because it is often hard to detect in the earliest stages. For this reason, the best defense for women is preventative knowledge. Pap Test Screening – Pap smears are the best way to test for cervical cancer, so they should be done regularly according to a woman’s age. WebMD recommends that women ages 20 to 30 get a screening every 3 years, 30 to 65 every 3 to 5 years, and women 65 and older need no further screening if they’ve had 3 tests in a row with regular results. HPV Vaccine – Some medical professionals advocate HPV vaccines for women and men before their early twenties. They claim it is essential for preventing the virus that causes cervical cancer. Female children can get their first vaccination at as early as 9 years old. No Smoking – People that are exposed to cigarettes, even those who are only around secondhand smoke, face a greater risk of contracting cervical cancer. If you smoke, consider the multitude of health benefits that come from quitting, and the ton of health risks you face by continuing. Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases – HPV can exist in a sexual partner with a deceptive lack of symptoms. Having a firm grasp of your sexual partner’s history will help you reduce the risk of cervical cancer. When in doubt, always use protection. Some of the above mentioned warning signs can be also signs of ovarian cancer. To learn more about the risk factors and warning signs of ovarian cancer read my article in this subject: 8 Early Warning Signs Of Ovarian Cancer You Shouldn’t Ignore Resources [1] [2] [3] [4]

Lemon and Baking Soda – Powerful Healing Combination for Cancer

By Jenny Hills
If you are a supporter of alkalizing therapy, then this natural treatment for cancer will resonate with you. In vitro tests have shown cancer cells thrive in acidic and oxygen-free (anaerobic) environments. The first to describe the correlation between the acidic environment and cancer cell growth was Dr. Otto Warburg, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology in 1931. Dr. Warburg’s work In his work he scientifically explained how the growth of cancer cells is triggered in the absence of oxygen, and as a result of sugar fermentation that occurs under such conditions. Dr. Warburg was in fact describing acidic conditions. For cancer cells to maintain effective metabolism, they need a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Their tolerance for change is small, therefore it has been argued that by raising the blood’s pH, we will effectively target the cancer cell’s cycle, stop its growth and cause it to die. The key is to make your body more alkaline, and different ways to do that have been proposed (find more information in my previous article about how to balance your pH and find out if you are too acidic). Alkalizing the body with baking soda and lemons It has been shown that sodium bi-carbonate (baking soda) alkalizes the area around the tumor and prevents development of metastasis (spread of a cancer from one organ to another) in mice with breast cancer. A study published in Cancer Research in 2009 confirmed that inhibition of tumor’s acidity reduced the number of metastasis in some cancers. A new study is underway at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, which will look specifically at the effects of sodium bicarbonate on breast cancer patients. Lemons, too, help to balance the body’s pH. They have an alkaline effect on the body, despite their initial (citric) acidity. They contain limonoides which are phytochemicals and have anti-cancerous properties. Vitamin C destroys free radicals, which damage our cells. An interesting thing about lemons is also that they act as an anti-microbial. Some researchers suggest that cancer is like a fungus, and should be treated in the same way, so lemons might be a powerful remedy. Now put baking soda and lemons together, and you get a potentially powerful anti-cancer concoction. Also, lemons are a safe way to introduce high alkaline substances into the system. If successful, this method destroys only cancer cells, while healthy cells are left alone. You can ingest the mix by drinking a glass of water with half a lemon and half a teaspoon of baking soda. It is recommended to drink this mixture between meals, as if taken with food, it will reduce the effectiveness of the stomach’s acid and compromise digestion. Other methods of taking the mixture have been described, but they might require professional guidance, such as intravenous vitamin C therapy. As we know, conventional cancer therapies come with many side effects, and sometimes there is little they can do for the patient. According to The Cancer Alternative Foundation, when applied properly, alkalizing or ‘pH therapy’ has had a success rate of 80% and higher, which is a hugely significant rate when compared with some of the mainstream methods. Lemon and Baking Soda – Things to Consider It’s worth pointing out that the research about lemon and baking soda for cancer is extremely limited. Although the current results are encouraging, further research is needed. There is no scientific information about the dosage that is needed for an effective treatment and there is no exact information about the quantities of each ingredient in the mixture. In addition, the scientific evidence is extremely limited. There are of course many factors that influence the individual’s treatment process, and there is no cure that would suit all. What is important is to keep an open mind, and evaluate all options available.

Protein Myth That Has Taken Years to Debunk

By Becky Striepe
Protein combining is the idea that in order to get ”complete” proteins from plant-based foods, you need to eat two different protein sources together, like beans and rice or corn and quinoa. And it’s just not true. Here’s how this myth got started and the truth about plant-based protein. Back when I first went vegetarian and then vegan, Diet for a Small Planet was the book to read. At that time, author Francis Lappe included information in her book about how plants provide incomplete proteins and how vegetarians and vegans need to combine proteins at each meal to ensure we’re getting a “complete” protein. This was commonly considered true at the time. It was being taught in health and nutrition classes and in medical schools, so it makes sense that Lappe would mention it in her book. I also learned about protein combining in a freshman year nutrition class in college. In more recent editions of Diet for a Small Planet, Lappe says correctly that there’s no need to worry about eating complementary proteins, as long as you’re eating enough calories. Protein combining is all about amino acids. The idea is that plant-based proteins don’t provide all of the essential amino acids, so you need to eat combinations of plant-based protein sources to make up the complete set. It’s like Pokemon, but with amino acids: “Gotta catch ‘em all.” But, that’s not really how it works. It’s true that some plant-based foods are missing an amino acid here and there. What isn’t true is that you need to combine plant-based proteins carefully to avoid deficiency. Your body stores amino acids, so if you eat whole grains at breakfast and beans at lunch, you’re good. In fact, as long as you’re eating a variety of plant-based protein sources, you’re good. And pretty much all plants provide protein. Unfortunately, this myth is still common, even in the medical community. Jeff Novick, MS, RD, describes teaching a recent nutrition course where a medical resident told him that protein combining was covered in one of her current textbooks. It turns out that the myth of protein combining has even deeper roots than the book that popularized the idea. It goes all the way back to a 100-year-old study of rats. Here’s Dr. Michael Greger talking about how this idea got started and what we know now about plant-based protein. You don’t have to eat beans and rice together to stay healthy. As long as you’re eating a variety of foods, you don’t need to worry about complementary proteins on a vegan diet at all. Your body is smarter than that. The other concern when it comes to plant-based protein is that vegans and vegetarians don’t get enough. Luckily, I’ve noticed that this myth seems to be on the decline. It’s so easy to hit your protein requirements while eating a plant-based diet. If you’re worried, check out these 25 delicious vegan protein sources, and lay your fears to rest.

How a Can of Coke Destroys your Bones

Coke contains phosphoric acid
Certain Coca-Cola bottles claim that the drink contains no artificial flavors and chemical preservatives. This seems to be the company’s newest strategy to get the more health-conscious costumers back on board. The only problem is that the labeling is somewhat misleading. Coke contains the notorious phosphoric acid, which is essentially both an artificial flavor and a preservative, and has been linked to many health problems. Read on to find out what happens to your body when you consume Coca-Cola and how it can destroy your bones. What Happens when you Drink a Can of Soda I mentioned in a previous article what happens within an hour of drinking a can of soda: Within 20 minutes, you get a sugar high. Your blood sugar spikes, resulting in a quick release of the hormone insulin. The liver tries to compensate by turning excessive sugar into fat and storing it around the body. Within 40 minutes, all the caffeine is absorbed and your body responds to this substance: the pupils dilate, blood pressure rises, and the liver dumps even more sugar into the bloodstream. Around 45 minutes after you have had your drink, the body increases dopamine production, which gives the person an imminent sensation of pleasure – this is similar to the way the body responds to heroin. After 60 minutes, you develop a sugar crash. You can experience fatigue, change in mood, lethargy, mental fogginess. A can of coke contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar, which amounts to 100% of your recommended daily intake. The extreme sweetness is masked by phosphoric acid, which prevents the body from developing an immediate reaction to the glucose overload. Here is how phosphoric acid can destroy your bones. How a Can of Coke Destroys your Bones Coke contains phosphoric acid Coca-Cola contains Phosphoric which is also known as E338, orthophosphoric acid, and phosphoric(V) acid. It is a mass-produced chemical, available cheaply and in large quantities. It can be used to remove rust, while the food-grade phosphoric acid is a very acidifying agent. It makes the drink more acid than vinegar or lemon juice. Some studies have linked phosphoric acid to osteoporosis, chronic kidney disease and kidney stones. One such study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2006. The main conclusion of the study was that drinking cola is associated with low bone mineral density (BMD) in women. Women who were drinking Coke daily, had 3.7% lower BMD at the femoral neck compared to those who didn’t consume the drink. The link was not found with other carbonated soft drinks. There was however a study that claimed just the opposite, and linked low phosphor intake to lower bone density. This study was funded by Coca-Cola, so the findings are not unbiased, and the validity of the study has been questioned. Coca-Cola is Under Fire for its Deceptive Labeling As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, certain Coca-Cola bottles claim that the drink contains no artificial flavors and chemical preservatives. Coca-Cola is under fire for its deceptive labeling, and several class action lawsuits have been filed across the US. The company officials say that phosphoric acid is not on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) list of artificial flavors, so they are not obliged to name it as one. But this claim was quickly discredited, as the FDA’s list is not meant to be exhaustive. The FDA defines artificial flavors as ingredients included specifically to add flavor and which are not derived from natural sources like fruit and vegetable juice, plant materials, or dairy products, among other things. Coke doesn’t hide the fact that phosphoric acid is used in its signature drink, and includes it in the list of ingredients. It adds tartness to Coke (that’s why the abundance of sugar has to be used to mask and balance the acidity), and prevents spoilage, so it’s clearly a flavouring and a chemical preservative. Where else you can Find Phosphate Compounds Meat and dairy products also contain phosphate compounds, which is probably why they can cause inflammation in the body. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), most phosphates in the American diet don’t come from soft drinks, but from animal products. Taking that into consideration, Coke might be more harmful due to its high sugar content, and less for the phosphoric acid it contains. Food and beverage labeling is becoming a big battlefield, and there is a lot of scope for fraud and product misrepresentation. Common ingredients found in processed foods can be harmful for our health (and you can read about them in my article about the top 10 worst ingredients in food). It is clear that Coke is not a natural drink. People buy it for other reasons, and being healthy is not one of them. 1. Here is another popular beverage that can increase your risk of having a stroke and heart attack. 2. Make sure to consume this ingredient to strengthen your bones. 3 Responses to How a Can of Coke can Destroy Your Bones 1. Phil says: Phosphoric acid is produced and used within your body during metabolic processes around ADP/ATP energy metabolism. Phosphorus and phosphates are a essential component to life. Phosphoric acid is an acid correct but, it is more acidic than vinegar and other acids. However, you have forgotten about the stomach whose acid content is far stronger than phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid is used in soda to keep carbon dioxide in solution ie a preservative of “fizziness”. Not all preservatives are “bad”. Phosphoric acid exists naturally in nature as part of the life cycle of phosphorus again an essential component of life like water, carbon, nitrogen, etc.. From an acid perspective, drinking soda would supplement the age related decline of stomach acid. However, to much would affect pH in the GI tract and affect nutrient absorption and digestion processes. Carbon dioxide expands the stomach providing more room for food and may result in over consumption of food. Carbon dioxide can be absorbed in the stomach lining directly into the blood and form carbonic acid. This will have little effect on the blood pH and chemistry due to the buffering capacity of your blood. Again, over consumption may lead to affecting the pH of blood. Once this capacity has been stretched then problems can arise from the change of blood chemistry due to the lowering of pH. Sugar has its own problems. Too much can cause a hole list of problems. Blood levels affect the insulin response which leads to irregular blood levels which affects many things due to improper energy levels. Diabetes is one of the most common and also brain function. So what else in soda is causing the problem? Good question – maybe the caramel additives, other natural and artifical flavourings? Regardless, correct information should be given so that the public is not misinformed about the risks of drinking soda. Should we stop drinking soda? Maybe but, perhaps a reduction would be appropriate nonetheless but that depends on your current health status. If you carbohydrate daily intake is reduced then is drinking soda moderately a problem? I do not know just wanted to clarify some finer points that are often overlooked, mistated and quite frankly wrong. 2. Ken Easterling says: If you put 20 penny nails in a container with coca cola in it, the nails will disintegrate very rapidly. Do you think we need that in our bodies? A 10 ounce coca cola has 10 teaspoons of sugar in it. Do you think it is good to drink something that has that much sugar in it? Personally, I have never drank carbonated drinks and I hope I never get the urge to do that. I don’t need the sugar and I certainly don’t want to drink something that can dissolve 20 penny nails. 3. Joseph says: Pepsi & Coke are known killers ! I carried the chemicals from Ireland to other EU countries in the backs of trailers. Often a container would be leaking the chemical would eat through a 1/4 plate steel chassis of the trailer. These chemicals did cause health problems just to breath in the vapours on a hot day caused problems. They should be banned, they are killing children / people.

6 Ways Casual Sexism Exists Today

By Lindsay Patton
Feminism is in its third wave and has come a long way from the path the previous waves built. There are, however, still many ways in which sexism exists in our everyday lives. The language we use has many roots in sexism and sometimes we don’t realize it when we say certain terms and phrases. Blaming Something on a Woman’s Emotions The “women are emotional” troupe has been around for far too long. It’s not just the word “emotional” that is offensive, either. Words like “hysterical,” “sensitive,” “shrill” or “crazy” are descriptors that are typically only used toward females. The term “hysterical” was actually used to describe a mental disorder until 1980. The “disorder” dates back thousands of years, and the diagnosis has only been used on women. In the Victorian era, women could have been diagnosed with hysteria for simply disobeying their husbands. Examples like this show how emotions have been used against women in order to hold power over them. Emotions were and are not only seen as weakness, but for too many years, they were used to misdiagnose women. Using “Bossy” to Describe an Assertive Woman Like descriptors that are linked to emotions, “bossy” is one of those words that is mainly associated with women and young girls. The term is so troublesome to many that a campaign called “Ban Bossy“ was created in 2014. The goal is to encourage girls to become leaders, stating: “When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’ Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up.” Being called “bossy” is not positive, so females who get branded so are given the message that they are doing something wrong by simply being a leader. Using Female/Woman as a Modifier on Someone’s Title In May 2014, Playboy published this tweet: Case, a singer/songwriter who is part of The New Pornographers and also has a solo career, didn’t take lightly to the post. She responded, telling the mag she is not a “woman” in music. She is a “musician” in music. Case brings up a solid point. Men are allowed to be musicians, writers, artists, CEOs. When women take on titles like these, they are given the modifier “woman ___.” They can’t simply be one of these titles. By putting “woman” in front of a person’s title, it keeps them apart from that core group, making them a sub-sector instead of a legitimate part of the group. Bringing Up Children or Family We live in a society where there are single mothers and fathers, stay-at-home mothers and fathers and working mothers and fathers. Unfortunately, it seems that only the women are asked about their work/family balance. How come men don’t get asked questions like “How does he do it all?” or “Can he have it all?” like women do? Are they not part of their families? Calling Someone a Slut This word is one of the many ways we try to judge women on what they do with their bodies. It’s the whole women-are-sluts-men-are-players double standard that has been going on for too long. If you try to think of an equal term for men, it’s difficult. Man-whore is one that comes to mind, but even with that term, the root — whore — is a word used toward women. Phrases Like “Grow a Pair” and “Pussy” Why is it that male genitalia is used to sound tough but female genitalia is generally used to sound weak? By saying these words and phrases, it’s saying that women are the weaker and lesser sex, that you want to be associated with being male and not female. That’s a problem.

5 Reasons Why Meat is NOT Manly

By Diane Vukovic
You don’t have to look too far to find examples of the idea that meat is manly. There was that Burger King ad which took the feminist anthem “I Am Woman” and changed the lyrics to “I Am Man” to equate Whopper-eating with manliness. Hummer made an ad where a guy buying tofu feels so emasculated that he has to rush off to buy a Hummer to “restore the balance.” Or just look at any of the many other sexist ads which promote meat as manly – some of which go as far as to encourage violence towards women. This notion that meat is manly has consequences. According to this consumer study, men are less likely to try vegetarian products because of this association with meat and masculinity. The saddest thing about this association is that meat is actually anything but manly and could actually be hurting men. 1. Meat Is Linked to Erectile Dysfunction I doubt that anyone would say that erectile dysfunction is “manly.” So, it is ironic that meat – the food touted as manly and macho – is a big contributor to ED. As the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said in this press release about Meat Week: “Many men who live with the stigma of impotence do not understand its true cause: meat.” How does meat cause ED? It has to do with the high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. They clog arteries and thus restrict blood flow. Not only is the heart affected, but blood flow can be restricted to the penis as well, resulting in ED. 2. Meat is Linked to Prostate Cancer Pay attention men: Going vegan can lower your risk of prostate cancer! Approximately 14 percent of men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives, but vegan men have a much lower risk. One study found that eating a vegan diet can cut prostate cancer risk by 35 percent. Now, I’m not trying to say that having prostate cancer is “unmanly.” It is a condition which should not be stigmatized. But clinging onto a notion that meat is manly at the expense of your health is definitely not manly! 3. And All Those Other Health Issues Associated with Meat… In addition to erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer, a meat-rich diet is linked to numerous health problems and may be as bad as smoking according to one study. If we are going by the conventional definition of manliness, then a manly man is someone who can protect and take care of his family. The manliest thing you can do for your family is to stay healthy so you can be there for them when they need you. 4. Meat Does Not Make You Strong Think that you need to eat meat to be strong? Just take a look at 2014 Mr. Universe Barny Du Plessis or any of the many other vegan bodybuilders and athletes out there. You’ll quickly see that you can be strong and athletic on an all-plant diet. Yes, vegetarian and vegan athletes may have to pay more attention to certain nutrients if they want to maximize gains. However, there are many compelling reasons for athletes to ditch the meat. As Fuel for the Fighter points out, eating meat can lead to clogged arteries, which means that blood and nutrients won’t be able to get to your body. For athletes, that means less energy and slower recovery. Further, it isn’t food that makes you strong. Your muscles are built by hard and consistent exercise – not eating lots of meat or protein. 5. Real Men Are Brave According to, the definition of “manly” includes characteristics like bravery. Well, there is nothing brave about subscribing to societal conventions. If being manly means being brave, then real men aren’t afraid to try new foods. They aren’t afraid to order a salad at a restaurant. And they aren’t afraid to do what is right for their health and the planet.

The Super Bone Building & Allergy Fighting Herb in Your Garden

By Michelle Schoffro Cook
It’s National Herb Week! To celebrate I thought I’d share some exciting herbal medicines with you. If you’re looking for an impressive natural anti-allergy medicine that offers many other health benefits, look no further than stinging nettles. The much-overlooked weed is popping up this time of year, as gardeners who experience its prickly stinging sensation can attest. Native Americans used this plant, aptly known as stinging nettles, for many years to treat a wide variety of health conditions. Research in the medical journal Phytotherapy Research shows what Native Americans have known for many years: nettles significantly reduce allergies. The study showed that nettles effectively treats inflammation linked to allergies on multiple levels: by reducing the histamine as well as multiple other compounds linked to inflammation. Histamine is a naturally-produced substance in the body that occurs as a response to exposure to allergens and the reason we experience nasal or sinus congestion, sneezing and other symptoms of allergies. Additional research published in the same journal found that participants taking nettles had noticeably improved relief of allergy-induced nasal congestion than those who received the placebo. Other research published in the journal Neuroscience Letters found that the herb demonstrated tremendous potential for alleviating many of the health concerns linked to diabetes: from reducing high blood sugar levels, neuropathy pain, the symptoms of excessive thirst to balancing insulin, weight and improving memory and cognition. And, if all that wasn’t enough: nettles contain an abundance of calcium, in a readily absorbable form, making them an excellent dietary addition to build and maintain strong bones. Nettles readily appear in the springtime, usually in the damp and shady parts of gardens or natural areas. Be sure to wear gloves while harvesting them to avoid their hair-like stingers and the discomfort they inflict on bare skin. You can add fresh nettles to soups or stews, sautee them like spinach or another green leafy vegetable or dry them for use in teas. They are popping up in greater frequency at farmer’s markets too for those who would rather avoid foraging for them. If you do forage for then, be sure you have an experienced guide with you. Alternatively, there are many teas and tinctures (alcohol extracts) available in health food stores. Follow package directions for the product you select. Related 6 Super Liver-Cleansing Foods 6 Little-Known Nutrients that Build Better Vision

Dandelion Root: The Ingredient Your Smoothie is Missing

By Michelle Schoffro Cook
Now that smoothies are all the rage, I am regularly asked what type of smoothies I drink. I always tell people dandelion smoothies are my all-time favorite. It’s no joke: they’re not just great from a health perspective but they are absolutely delicious too. By now, I’m used to peoples’ eyes bugging whenever dandelion smoothies are the topic of conversation, but I always ask people to give roasted dandelion root smoothies a chance. First, let me share that dandelion has been undergoing extensive research, especially at Canada’s leading medical university for its potent anti-cancer properties (published in the journal Molecules). It has even been effective against chemotherapy-resistant cancers! These types of cancers don’t respond to chemotherapy. Both dandelion root and greens are serious liver boosters as well. Research in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that dandelion helps to protect the liver against damage from other drugs, including painkillers like acetaminophen. And that’s just the beginning of dandelion’s therapeutic properties. It is high in the essential but mostly overlooked mineral boron that is necessary for bone-building, it purifies the blood and is even a powerful natural antibiotic. But even if you’re just interested in a delicious smoothie, adding roasted and ground dandelion root is tastes similar to an iced and blended coffee. Here’s how to make it: Ingredients 2 cups almond milk ½ cup raw, unsalted cashews 1 teaspoon honey or a dash of stevia (optional, I make mine unsweetened) 2 tablespoons ground, roasted dandelion roots 6 ice cubes Add the almond milk, cashews, honey or stevia, and dandelion root to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the ice cubes and blend again. Serve immediately. How to Roast Dandelion Roots Dandelion is best picked away from high-traffic areas or areas that have been sprayed with pesticides. Ideally, pick dandelion root after a rainfall since the roots seem to come out easier. Clean the roots and cut off the tops (you can save the young greens as an addition to salads or sautéed in a little olive oil and minced garlic and tossed with some fresh lemon juice and sea salt). Place on a baking sheet in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven and roast for 1-1/2 to 3 hours, depending on the root size and desired level of roast. Dandelion is similar to coffee with light and dark roast options. Remove from the oven and let cool. Grind to a fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder. You can also use a high powered blender with a dry ingredients canister. Store the powder in an airtight jar and use as desired. Alternatively, if it is too much work or you don’t have access to good quality dandelions, you can also purchase pre-roasted and ground dandelion roots in packages at many health food stores and online. Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is a board-certified doctor of natural medicine and international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking (New World Library, 2016).

Make Your Own Delicious Dairy-Free Soft Cheese

By Michelle Schoffro Cook
This is my favorite probiotic-rich, dairy-free cheese. It is super-creamy and sliceable and even melts well, although heating it will destroy the beneficial cultures it contains. The cheese can be enjoyed on its own or with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, fresh fruit, crackers, or fresh bread and a few snips of fresh chives. Makes 1 medium-sized block of cheese Ingredients: • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews • 1 cup water, preferably filtered or unchlorinated • 1 probiotic capsule or ½ teaspoon probiotic powder • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted but not hot • 1 tablespoon dark miso • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste) • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried chives (optional) How to Make: 1. Soak the cashews in water for 8 hours or overnight. 2. Strain the cashews, reserving the soak water. Blend the cashew and ½ cup of the soaking water together in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. 3. Pour the mixture into a glass or ceramic bowl. Empty the contents of the probiotic capsule or add the probiotic powder to the mixture; stir until well-blended. Cover with a cloth, and allow the cheese to ferment for 8 to 12 hours, according to taste. Shorter fermentation times create a milder cheese; longer times develop a stronger cheese flavor. 4. Blend together the cashew mixture, coconut oil, miso and salt. Once they are blended, gently stir in the chives if using. 5. Pour the cheese into a small glass bowl lined with cheesecloth, stirring to remove any air pockets. Allow it to chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least two hours. 6. Remove the cheese from the bowl, and serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge. 7. The cheese will typically keep for one month when refrigerated. Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is an international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking (New World Library, 2016).

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

5 Things Women Should Start Giving Themselves Permission to Do

By Katie Medlock
Alright, ladies, the time is now. Time to stop buying into the ideas society has about what is not okay for women to do, but is perfectly acceptable for men. Time to give ourselves permission to be human and to stand up for ourselves when others would rather we sit down and be quiet. As we gain more exposure to the world and others’ expectations for us, we can internalize all kinds of messages that affect us deeply. Some of these messages are beneficial and promote growth, yet there are many that can prevent us from developing into the fullest expression of our selves—if we let them. Here are some things we need to start giving ourselves permission to do in our daily life. 1. Accept compliments Just so we’re clear, I’m talking about sincere compliments and not inappropriate comments or unwanted harassment—rather, the kind of stuff people tell us that deep down we are very touched to hear, but have a knee-jerk reaction to invalidate. Amy Schumer has a bold (NSFW) sketch about women’s reactions to compliments. While over the top, it shows how we feel the need to deny others’ praise and go one step further to actively put ourselves down. Instead of reacting that way, try saying “thank you” and telling yourself you deserve the kindness. 2. Say “No” sometimes” That’s right, we have to allow ourselves to “lean out” when we need it. The old stereotype that women are all driven by a desire to nurture everyone else needs to be put to rest, if you ask me. There’s nothing wrong with stepping up to a challenge (or seeking one out!), but if we find ourselves saying “yes” to a request just because we don’t want to let someone down or hurt our image, we are doing something unhealthy. We are just as entitled as everyone else to bow out when we are overburdened or just plain don’t want to do something. 3. Appreciate ourselves, “flaws” and all We have one doozy of a self-improvement complex in the Western world and, unfortunately, it tends to chastise anyone who isn’t constantly seeking perfection. What in the world is wrong with being happy with ourselves? On a physical level, we do not always need to be preparing for the next diet or sit-up challenge—we can love the bodies we have just as they are in the moment. On an emotional and intellectual level, it can cause more harm than good to constantly give in to critical self-talk. Take a break from becoming “better” at something and reflect on how awesome you already are. 4. Call people out when they disrespect us Have you ever been spoken over, passed up, interrupted, belittled or otherwise invalidated? As much as our socialization may try to teach us this is just how things go, it’s actually okay to say “I wasn’t finished talking” or “Here’s what I think.” Acts of assertiveness are not rude, nor do they need to be accompanied by an apology. We may be fighting an uphill battle with our self-esteem and the world’s expectations for us, yet both will learn to adapt to women taking up equal space in the world, as long as we keep practicing it. 5. Fail Even though the film is a laugh riot, I take issue with Ricky Bobby’s idea “if you’re not first, you’re last.” Life isn’t always about winning or even succeeding at what we set out to do. By not giving ourselves permission to fail at something, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. This especially applies to allowing ourselves to fail at living up to what others want from us. Trying and failing is where growth happens, so let’s not be as afraid of this four-letter F-word.

14 Surprising Uses for Onions

By Katie Waldeck
Rich in antioxidants, thought to prevent cancer, diabetes, and even the common cold, onions are nothing if not a superfood. But that’s not all they are — the same properties that make onions a great food to eat also make them great for other things, from healing your skin to cleaning metal. Click through to check out some surprising uses for onions, and leave your own tips in the comments section! Health & Body 1. Repel Insects. Rubbing an onion on your skin is a simple way to repel bugs. 2. Soothe Insect Bites & Stings. Forgot to follow tip #1? Rubbing onion onto bug bites will help to ease the pain. 3. Soothe a Sore Throat. Making onion tea is a great remedy for soothing sore throats. On the stovetop, boil water with onion peels in it (about 1 cup of water for the peels of 1/2 an onion.) Bring to a boil, remove onion and serve. 4. Use in Place of Smelling Salts. Overwork yourself? Feeling light-headed? Onions are a great natural remedy to use instead of smelling salts. 5. Ease the Pain of Burns. Rubbing onions onto burns helps soothe the pain. 6. Remove Splinters. Have a splinter that just won’t budge? Try taping (yes, with tape, or a adhesive bandage) a piece of raw onion to it. Hold tight for about an hour before removing the onion. Home. 7. Polish Metal. Slice onion and then crush it. Combine crushed onion with water. With a cloth, dab it on the metal surface. Rub until clean. 8. Get Rid of that Paint Smell. The same mixture described for polishing metal works great for combating the unpleasant, and sometimes unhealthy, odors of paints and varnishes. 9. Clean Sponges. Okay, so this particular use is actually for the mesh packaging that onions are often sold in, but hey — a way to re-use unnecessary packaging, right?! The mesh is a perfect tool to clean all that gunk that builds up on sponges. Cut it up into smaller pieces for best results. 10. Clean Your Grill. Chop an onion in half, and turn on your grill. Using a fork, glide the onion on the grill to scrub it clean. 11. Make a DIY Dye. Onion skins make great dyes! Place the skins in nylon panty hose, tie top shut, and boil in a pot for about 20 minutes.
Food. 12. Make Burned Rice Edible Again. Neglected your rice, and now some of it has burned? No need to toss it! Simply place half of an onion on top of the rice. It will absorb the burned taste. 13. Preserve Avocados. Prevent your avocados from browning by storing them in a plastic airtight container with red onions. Place half of an onion in the container first, skin side up, and then place the avocado. You can use red onion to store guacamole, too: Place some slices on top of the guac’ in a plastic container. 14. Cook Eggs Creatively. Want the ultimate oniony eggs? Check out this great recipe!

13 Surprising Uses for Honey

By Katie Waldeck
It’s often said that the famed ancient beauty Cleopatra would soak in honey and milk baths. Well, whether or not that’s true, it’s certainly not surprising that the story has persisted for so long — honey has a tremendous effect on the skin. And that’s not all — honey is a powerful antiseptic and a fantastic natural sugar substitute. Keep reading for these and more alternative uses for honey. Health 1. Relieve Hangovers. Had a little too much fun last night? A few tablespoons of honey, which is packed with fructose, will help speed up your body’s metabolism of alcohol. 2. Heal Wounds, Cuts, Scrapes & Burns. Don’t reach for the Neosporin the next time you cut or burn yourself — simply apply honey to the affected area. Honey works as a natural antiseptic. 3. Soothe Sore Throats and Coughs. Combine honey with the juice of one lemon and drink. It works like a wonder! 4. Remove Parasites. Hopefully you’ll never have to use this trick, but if you do, combine equal parts honey, vinegar and water and drink. The combination of these three ingredients is the perfect parasite killer. Beauty 5. Moisturize Dry Skin. Honey is a fantastic moisturizer, especially on dry patches, like your elbows or hands — even your lips! Rub onto your dry, patchy skin and let it sit for about 30 minutes before washing off. Honey also makes a great lip balm! 6. Condition Damaged Hair. Honey is a great natural conditioner. You can simply add a teaspoon of the stuff to your regular shampoo to smooth your damaged locks. You can also combine it with olive oil for a deeper conditioning. Let it soak for 20 minutes with your hair wrapped in a towel before shampooing as usual. 7. Have an Amazing Bath. Relax your body and soak your skin in a soothing bath. Add 2 tablespoons of honey to 1 cup of hot water and let it dissolve for about 10 minutes. Add 2 or 3 drops of lavender essential oil and add it to your bath. 8. Remove Acne. Stubborn acne can really benefit from a small daily dab of honey. Place a band-aid over the pimple, and take it off 30 minutes later.
9. Give Yourself a Facial. Combine 2 teaspoons of milk with 2 tablespoons of honey. Cover your face with the mixture and let it sit for 10 minutes before washing off. Food 10. Boost Your Energy. Quit turning to coffee for your daily energy boost! Replace your cup of Joe with a cup of tea. Mix in a tablespoon or so of honey. 11. Substitute Honey for Sugar in Baking. For every cup of sugar a recipe calls for, replace it with 3/4 cup of honey. For best results, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and reduce another liquid in your recipe by 1/4 cup. Also, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees. 12. Make Almond Milk from Scratch. You’ll find a great recipe here. 13. Make Infused Honeys. Why have plain old regular honey when you can have ginger lime honey or hot pepper honey?! For these and more infused honey recipes, click here.

15 Surprising Uses for Bananas

By Katie Waldeck
Sure, most of us love to enjoy bananas for breakfast or, perhaps, a snack. But bananas have so much more going for them than just a delicious and nutritious treat. In fact, so many of the reasons bananas are great for other things beside eating has to do with their nutrients! Click through for clever ways to use bananas to tackle everything from insect bites to aphids. Health & Beauty 1. Treat Damaged Hair. Our own Diana Herrington detailed Dr. Oz’s quest for the best damaged hair treatment out there. The results? Bananas! Click here to read Diana’s step-by-step guide treating your hair with bananas. 2. Whiten Teeth. Dying for some pearly whites? Rub banana peel on your teeth for about two minutes every time you brush and you’ll be well on your way to that perfect smile. 3. Prevent Wrinkles. Check out this recipe for a 3-time-a-week banana anti-aging mask! 4. Treat Insect Bites. Rub some banana peels on the bites to alleviate the itch. 5. Treat Warts. Bananas are rich in potassium, which is said to help treat warts. 6. Treat Bruises, Cuts, and Scrapes. Potassium also helps with the healing process for cuts, scrapes, and bruises. 7. Get Rid of Splinters. Can’t get that pesky splinter out of your skin? I feel your pain. Luckily, if you press banana peels onto the splinter, the fruit’s natural enzymes will work to get that sucker out. 8. Exfoliate Your Skin. Check out a great banana body sugar rub recipe here. Home & Garden 9. Attract Birds & Butterflies. Like humans, birds and butterflies just love the taste of bananas. If you’d like to watch birds, leave a banana out. 10. Fertilize Your Plants. Dried ground banana peels make a fantastic mulch for seedlings and new plants. 11. Polish Leather & Silver. No need to invest in pricey, and often toxic, leather and silver cleaners. Instead, rub banana peels on the surface and buff with a cloth. 12. Combat Aphids. Nobody likes a damaged plant. Bury some cut up banana peels 2-3 inches deep around the base of the plant. More Fun Ideas & Facts 13. Dog Treat. Bananas are a perfectly safe, and perfectly healthy, treat for your beloved pooch! 14. Purify Water. OK, this is perhaps best left to the professionals, but research has suggested that banana peels can actually absorb toxins in polluted rivers. But, if you ever find yourself lost in the woods with only a banana peel, you’ll be prepared! 15. Make “Ice Cream.” Craving the sweet stuff but don’t have the time, calories, or budget to spare? Simply blend a frozen solid banana in a food processor or blender. You’ll be surprised how much it tastes like soft-serve ice cream! For more info on frozen banana ice cream, click here.

15 Surprising Uses for Butter

By Katie Waldeck
Yep, we know, butter is fattening. It’s something that should be consumed sparingly. But, it’s such a staple in the pantry that it’s hard not to have around. So, instead of using it in food, how about using it around the house instead?! Check out some of the fantastic ways to use butter. Household Stop Doors From Squeaking Generously grease the hinges with butter and voila — squeak no more! Cut Down on Snow Shoveling Ah, one of the least fun winter activities. Cut your shoveling time down by greasing the shovel with butter, it’ll help prevent snow from sticking. Get Rid of Ink Stains on Plastic Rub butter on the stain and let it sit out in the sun. After a few days of soaking up the rays, wipe clean with soap and water. Get Rid of Pesky Watermarks on Wood Have a family member who’s allergic to coasters? Rub butter into the affected area and let it sit overnight. Wipe it with a towel in the morning. Cooking Make Cheese Last Longer Coat the cut edge of a hard cheese with butter. It will prevent the molding process that comes all too quickly otherwise. Make Onions Last Longer Only using half of an onion and don’t want to waste it? Nix the plastic baggy — spread some butter on it and wrap it in aluminum foil. Stop Water From Boiling Over Drop a tablespoon of butter into a pot that’s boiling over. Cut Sticky Foods Pies and brownies stick to the knife all too often. Remedy this by coating the knife in butter before you dish out dessert. Health & Body Swallow Pills Can’t handle the horse pills? Lightly coat the pill in butter and wash it down with a big gulp of water. It takes the edge off that terrible feeling of the pill going down your throat. Get Sticky Stuff Off Your Skin Can’t stand the feeling of sap or glue on your hands? Rub butter on the sticky part before you wash your hands. Rub hands with a towel, and then use water. Remove Gum From Hair Rub butter into the affected area and let it absorb. Gently wipe away with a cloth. Prevent Bruising If you’ve ever thought, “that’s gonna leave a mark,” this one’s for you. The phosphates in butter help prevent bruising, much like a raw steak does. Beauty & Fashion Detangle Jewelry Lessen the frustration of detangling necklaces and bracelets by rubbing butter on the entwined areas. Use a small pointy object to detangle. Strengthen Your Nails Do you have weak, brittle & dry nails? Before bedtime, Rub butter on the nail beds and put on some cotton gloves. In the morning, you should see improvements in your nail strength. Get A Tight Ring Off No need to rush to the jeweler if your ring won’t budge — apply butter to the area and it’ll (hopefully) slip right off. Soothe Dry Skin If you’re in a pinch, butter is a great substitute for creams and lotions. You can even use it as a shaving cream. Read more:

Monday, May 9, 2016

Recipes to Make Your Own Vegan Meats at Home

By Katie Medlock
As time goes on, reasons not to try vegan alternatives to your favourite animal-based foods are beginning to disappear. Most supermarkets now offer some versions of plant-based milks, veggie burgers and even dairy-free cheeses. Restaurants are becoming more savvy and catering to customers’ requests for veggie-centered meals. The final frontier seems to be making your own vegan “meats” from scratch! Luckily, this is much easier to do than you might think. You may be surprised to learn that you can recreate just about any animal product with plant food, honoring the same tastes and textures you grew up with. All it takes is a bit of adventurousness in the kitchen and, for some recipes, getting to know your grocery store a little more intimately. Here are some recipes for meaty foods you would never think could be made vegan: Meaty Burgers The most classic American, meat-centered comfort food: the burger. What I tend to find most limiting about burgers made from animals is that the only way to change things up is through the spices and the fixin’s. Veggie burgers, however, are truly limitless. There are a hundred different beans and grains to use, veggies to add, nuts and seeds to throw in, spices and condiments to include, to create a truly unique and flavorful burger. Here is a Black Bean and Mushroom Burger to get your feet wet in the world of veggie burger creating. If that doesn’t strike your fancy, try any of these mouthwatering ideas! Store-bought alternatives: Amy’s Kitchen veggie burgers, Beyond Meat “Beast” burgers and Gardein veggie burgers. Smoky, Salty Bacon “Bacon culture” has officially taken over, and you may be surprised to learn that even vegans are all on board. We just prefer our bacon to come from plants. Try out some homemade bacon bits or coconut bacon for sprinkling on salads or stuffing into wraps for a smokey burst of flavor. Or, if you want strips, try frying up some homemade tempeh bacon. You could also pick up the new book Baconish: Sultry and Smoky Plant-Based Recipes from BLTs to Bacon Mac & Cheese by Leinana Two Moons, which is filled with smokey-sweet plant-based goodness! Store-bought alternatives: Lightlife‘s Fakin’ Bacon Strips, Sweet Earth’s Benevolent Bacon, Phoney Baloney’s coconut bacon. Seitan for Sandwiches and Sausages
But what could I make for a delicious, breakfast sandwich? What is there to make for delightfully seasoned centerpiece for an old fashioned meat and potatoes type of meal? Enter: seitan. Otherwise known as “wheat meat,” seitan features the high-protein gluten component in wheat, which becomes incredibly versatile for meaty dishes. Seitan can be made into sausages, slices and even steaks! Here is a good post for beginner seitan cooks. Store-bought alternatives: Field Roast deli slices and sausages, Tofurky deli slices and sausages, Upton’s Naturals seitan Other Scrumptious Vegan Meats If your south-of-the-border dish is missing a meaty element, look no further than homemade vegan chorizo! If your bagel is incomplete without salty and savoury lox, check out this recipe made from carrots! And, if your barbecue just needs a pulled pork option, try out BBQ jackfruit for your sandwiches. I doubt there is anything left out there that has not yet been veganized, so keep your mind and your browser’s search bar open. And get cooking!

Eggs & Type 2 Diabetes: Is There a Connection?

By Sysy Morales
Researchers from Harvard University, the University of Eastern Finland, and Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health conducted a recent study which showed that high egg intake may raise the risk for type 2 diabetes. The interesting part of the study’s findings is this risk only applied to those living in the United States. The study set out to follow up on links between egg consumption and type 2 diabetes. The study found eggs were found to be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes development in the US only. What is the Link Between Eggs and Type 2 Diabetes? The researchers studied results from 10 separate population-based studies from around the world which covered a total of about 250,000 people. Four of the 10 studies were done in the US, one in Japan, and the remainder in Europe. During the follow up for the study, 12,000 developed type 2 diabetes. A meta-analysis of prior studies and their data show that each egg included in the daily diet raises the risk of type 2 diabetes by 13% but the data also showed a varied risk between the different countries, with the US showing the majority of the increased risk. Researchers looked over the data and did not find any link between eating eggs and type 2 diabetes risk. They also studied the seven most high-grade studies which used data from medical registers versus self reporting data and found no link between eggs and diabetes. The three studies they didn’t conduct a high grade analysis of were conducted in the US. Why Only in the US? Without a straightforward reason for the US egg and diabetes link researchers theorized that the findings may have to do with factors not related to eating eggs aside from the association that people who eat eggs participate in unhealthy habits like leading a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and consuming high amounts of processed meats. Researchers suggested that there were potential issue with the way the US studies were gathered and concluded that, “We found evidence that results may be driven in part by studies conducted in the USA and by studies of a lower quality,” To combat this study’s findings, other recent studies have been conducted showing a positive association between eggs and diabetes–that they lower type 2 diabetes risk. The major risk factors for type 2 diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association include: • Being overweight • Having high blood sugar • A history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) • High blood pressure • Unhealthy cholesterol • Lack of physical activity • Smoking • Unhealthy diet • Age, race, gender, and family history Sysy Morales has lived with type 1 diabetes for 21 years. She works as a writer and health coach at The Girls Guide to Diabetes for people with diabetes and is a regular motivational speaker. Sysy lives in Roanoke, Virginia with her husband and 6 year old twins.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Medical Error Is Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.A

How Did This Happen.?
By Michelle Schoffro Cook You’ve probably heard the horror stories—people receiving incorrect drugs, getting the wrong surgeries, having the wrong body parts removed at their hospital visit or having medical instruments left inside their bodies during surgery. These appalling errors may seem like unlikely occurrences, but new research shows that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., causing over 251,000 deaths annually, after heart disease and cancer, respectively. Known as “iatrogenic deaths,” the findings do not include the results of the correct use of medicine and surgery or other forms of medical treatment, only gross negligence and miscommunication that caused the death of those who sought medical intervention for some other condition. The study, conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and published in the online medical journal The BMJ, found that communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors, poor judgment and inadequate skill are the main causes of the errors. They concluded that these medical errors occur both at the individual and system levels. According to the study, “Medical error has been defined as an unintended act (either of omission or commission) or one that does not achieve its intended outcome, the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended (an error of execution), the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim (an error of planning), or a deviation from the process of care that may or may not cause harm to the patient.” It’s a scary thought that people are dying from their health “care” rather than the disease for which they seek treatment. Actually, more people die from errors in medical treatment than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. Equally appalling is that death from medical error is not listed on death certificates as a cause of death. Instead, if the medical error caused respiratory or cardiovascular failure, or some other type of system failure, then these results are listed as the cause of death on death certificates. The problem is not just an American one. The study authors state: “Medical error leading to patient death is under-recognized in many other countries, including the UK and Canada.” And the problem likely goes well beyond these nations, but has been insufficiently studied to date. Of course, humans make mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable, but to the tune of over a quarter-of-a-million deaths annually? I’d say that goes well beyond error into a category I’d define as “negligence.” Having personally observed patients being told to wait in emergency waiting rooms when their conditions are critical and having someone close to me nearly die due to misdiagnosis and inadequate medical response, this new research exposes a long-standing and serious disease within the medical system itself. Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is an international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking (New World Library, 2016).

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What NOT to Say to Someone With a Chronic Illness

By: Ann Pietrangelo
Who among us hasn’t put their foot in their mouth on occasion? Sickness and disability can make you feel uncomfortable and tongue tied. Here’s what you need to know about people who have a chronic illness: they’re people just like you. They don’t necessarily want to talk about their health every minute of the day and they don’t need anyone to remind them of it when they’re out trying to have a good time. It’s highly likely that they’ve spent a great deal of time learning about their condition and how to cope with it, so unsolicited advice is probably not a good idea, especially if they’re like these gems: At least it’s not…(whatever) The implication here is that things could be worse…and they certainly could, but so what? Just because something could be worse doesn’t mean it’s not challenging or that a person can’t be having a hard time. Telling someone with type 1 diabetes that they’re fortunate they don’t have stage IV pancreatic cancer is not helpful. Let’s put it this way: When you have the flu and you’re feeling like death warmed over you probably don’t need anyone to tell you how fortunate you are not to have a hot poker sticking in your eye, too — you already know that, but you’re still sick. Comparing diseases is a bad idea. Try this instead: “I’m not familiar with (whatever disease). If you don’t mind, I’d like to hear a little bit about it.” Or this: “I don’t know what it’s like for you, but I’m here for you.” You just need to de-stress Yes, don’t we all. If you’re alive, you’re going to have a certain amount of stress. Some we can eliminate, some we can learn to cope with, and some we’re just stuck with. Stress can certainly affect your health. And having a chronic illness? Well, that’s stressful. What you don’t want to do is sound as though you’re blaming that person for creating their own illness. It’s cruel to imply that they are ill because they don’t know how to handle life. If you have a friend who seems stressed, make a specific offer to help out, like making It’s all mental…you just need some positive thinking Tough one. Of course a positive attitude is better than a negative one. The mind-body connection is very real and quite powerful. But it’s important to remember that people with a chronic illness have the same range of healthy emotions as everyone else. They can feel sad or angry or proclaim it a frustratingly crappy day and still be positive people. And let’s face it, disease isn’t all in your head. Positive people get sick, too. Let’s not pile on by telling them they could fix it if they would only try harder. Instead, you could offer to engage in some positive mind-body activities together. Make a date to get massages, take a yoga class, learn to meditate, etc. I wish I had a handicapped parking pass Hmm…maybe you’d like a prime parking spot, but would you trade your health for it? Not likely. This one falls into the “be careful what you wish for” category. Just don’t say it. Must be nice not having to (whatever)…or getting to (whatever) Not “having” to work or “getting” to take an afternoon nap may sound enticing, but not working because you’re not healthy enough to work isn’t a good feeling. And though taking an afternoon nap to catch up on your zzzs can be refreshing, it’s a lot less fun it you need that nap because you cannot physically get through the day without it. It’s not a choice or a privilege, so it’s best not to go there. Instead, why not offer something that is nice, like hanging out together, sharing a meal or going to the movies? The (whatever) diet will cure you Dave Bexfield, who has MS and runs the site Active MSers, isn’t a fan of the diet police. “I get it, eating healthier and losing weight is good for you. So is avoiding crystal meth, poorly packed parachutes, and street gangs. But with my disease, multiple sclerosis, no diets have been shown to have any scientifically proven effect. So please, don’t tell me I should go on an anti-inflammatory, turmeric-laden vegan diet for my health, especially when we are out for a nice lunch together.” If you want to talk about diet, perhaps you could talk about it in the context of your own life, or as a general topic of conversation rather than as a cure for someone else’s illness. You should try taking vitamins instead of medication (or whatever treatment) Barby Ingle, president of International Pain Foundation, says, “Don’t judge. People have to be okay with the choices they make when it comes to their care.” Absolutely. We all need to get our vitamins, but it could be dangerous to suggest that someone ditch their medications in favor of dietary supplements. You don’t need that cane (or whatever assistive device) “Don’t try to take away my tools because of your embarrassment or trying to push me into being better,” said Ingle. She relayed the story of a friend who was asked to leave her cane in the car when attending a graduation because it would take attention from the big moment. Long story, short — the cane stayed in the car, followed by several days of pain and “see, you didn’t need the cane…” I can relate, I really can. I’ve used a cane during MS relapses, and have I ever gotten a boatload of unsolicited advice. “You’re too young for a cane,” was my favorite. Utter nonsense. You don’t use a cane because you want to be dependent on something. You use it because you want to stay independent. You want to stand on your own two feet, walk, and participate in life. If you’re living with a chronic illness, you do what you have to do to work around it and function. Whether it’s because of muscle weakness or balance issues or numbness, if a cane can help, it’s cruel to make someone feel foolish for using it. The same goes for walkers and wheelchairs and braces and handicapped parking placards and whatever assistive devices help a person get through the day. And, of course, everybody’s favorite: But you don’t look sick (or, but you look so good!) This is a favorite “what not to say” among people with chronic illness. The implication is that you look perfectly fine so why don’t you get off your ass and stop faking? Most chronic illnesses have “invisible” symptoms so it’s not hard to see why casual observers get confused. Personally, I don’t think people always mean this in a bad way. It could just as easily be meant as a compliment. Hey, if you think someone looks fantastic, by all means say it. Then ask how they really feel. Fear of saying the wrong thing might lead you to simply stay away and say nothing. That’s the worst thing you can do. Go. Talk. Hug. Be a friend. Do your best. If you make a mistake, apologize and move on. You’re only human, too.