Quick Fix Yoga Stretches

Quick Fix Yoga Stretches

Yoga poses are intended to engage the mind as well as the body. Yoga practitioners even believe certain poses can retrain your muscles to relax in situations where they might have become tense.

Yoga Stretches
Yoga Cat Stretch

Quick Fix Yoga Stretches

The Child’s Pose

Sit with your legs under you, buttocks resting on your heels, knees and feet together. Fold your self over your lower body and place your forehead against the floor. Rest your hands on the floor by your feet with your palms up. Breathing gently through your nose, relax into this position feeling the release in your hips. Hold for 15 seconds.

Child's Pose Quick Fix Yoga Stretches

The child’s post is one of the quick fix yoga stretches that can really ease some tension. Be aware of your breath, breath slowly in through the nose, exhale through the mouth. (Hum if you like). This stretches out the shoulder blades, back, buttock area and allows the neck to relax.

The Resting Pose

Lie face up with your legs at least hip-width apart, and place your arms out to your sides at a 45-degree angle from your body. Feel your abdomen rise and fall with each breath as your focus on releasing tension each time you exhale. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat several times – as long as you want.

Resting Pose Quick Fix Yoga Stretches

Result. The next time you have a stressful day, release the pressure with a quick fix yoga stretches that are guaranteed to calm you in both mind and body when performed properly (don’t rush through them).

Yoga: 5,000 Years Old

Yoga is a 5,000-year-old discipline that originated in India. In yoga, you hold postures (asanas), or move from one to another either while standing or on the floor. You usually end the workout with a relaxation or meditation exercise. Quick fix yoga stretches can be great when you only have five or ten minutes to attempt to relax yourself. Just find a quiet, private spot and do your best. You’ll get better with practice!

Types of yoga
Yoga works the entire body and is great for strengthening and stretching. It improves posture, balance and range of motion while reducing carpal tunnel pain and can reduce risk of heart disease.

There are many types of yoga, ranging from almost entirely meditative to the very physically challenging; look for a beginning class or tape if you are new at yoga.

What Are the Types of Yoga?

  • Bikram. Practice yoga in 105 degree heat and 40 percent humidity. Bikram yoga has 26 poses total and a lot of alignment work. Good fit for beginners – if you can stand the heat!
  • Hatha. Slow and gentle movements – also great for beginner’s or when winding down at night.
  • Vinyasa. This one will definitely have you moving. You flow from pose to pose. Vinyasa is the most popular style of yoga in America.
  • Kundalini. Works the “core” area, the area that surrounds the lower spine the most – classes are known to be very intense.
  • Ashtanga Yoga. Also known as Power Yoga, this form is very physically challenging. Best suited for ex-athletes or someone looking to really push themselves.
  • Iyengar. This form of yoga uses lots of props such as blocks, harnesses, straps and cushions. Great for physical therapy.
  • Anusara Yoga. Anusara is epitomized by “the celebration of the heart. Expect many “heart-opening” poses like back bends and more talking by the instructor in class.
  • Restorative. Restorative yoga is focused on relaxation.

If you are new to yoga, we recommend Yoga for Beginners and Beyond. Even if you’re not new to yoga, this set has routines that are so relaxing and feel so good you may wish to use them for some “down” time! Each of the 40 routines focuses on different physical and mental aspects of yoga, such as building strength, improving flexibility, reducing stress and more.

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Vodka for Foot Odors?

Vodka for Foot Odors?

Vodka is a popular beverage which is generally composed of ethanol and water. Now you can use it for hygienic purposes, as well!

Vodka for Foot Odors?
Vodka for Foot Odors?

 

If your feet smell less than swell, wipe them down with a vodka-soaked wash cloth to get rid of the stench.

It’s the same principle as rubbing alcohol (which works equally well if you’d rather drink your Grey Goose).

How Does Vodka Destroy Foot Odors?

Vodka contains alcohol, which is antiseptic and drying, so it destroys odor-causing fungus and bacteria and dries out the moisture that lets these organisms grow.

Vodka Ice Packs

Freeze a plastic bag filled with vodka and apply as an ice pack on aches and pains. Helps numb pain.

Vodka Mouth Wash

Cinnamon and vodka can be mixed to create a natural mouth wash, although for sensitive gums it may be best to stick to alcohol free mouth wash or a warm salt water rinse.

Russian Folklore

In Russian folklore, vodka was used to cure many ailments from a simple headache, the common cold and a bad hangover. You can also create vodka tinctures as an herbal remedy to consume orally or use topically as an anesthetic. Vodka has also been used to swish around an aching tooth to relieve pain.

Did you know?

The name vodka evolved from “voda“, a Slavic word which literally means water.

Note of Caution: Excess consumption of alcohol in any form enhances the risk of major diseases.

Natural Teeth Whitening

Natural Teeth Whitening with Strawberries

Strawberries can actually whiten your smile!

Fresh Strawberries for Natural Teeth Whitening
Fresh Strawberries

Combined with baking soda, strawberries become a natural tooth-cleanser, removing stains from coffee, red wine and dark sodas.

Natural Teeth Whitening Recipe

1 ripe strawberry
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Crush the strawberry to a pulp, then mix with the baking powder until blended.

Use a soft toothbrush to spread the mixture onto your teeth. Leave on for five minutes. Brush thoroughly with toothpaste to remove the berry-baking powder mix.

Floss to remove any seeds and rinse. Use once a week.

Note: Be careful not to use this too often as the acid could damage the enamel on your teeth.

Strawberry Nutrition

Strawberries are high in vitamin C and other cancer-fighting antioxidants. Strawberries also boast a lot of fiber, plus some iron and potassium. At just 45 calories per cup, strawberries provide 85 mg of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.

Did you know?

Historically, strawberries were used as a medicinal plant. Inside the body, the berries were said to remedy digestive upsets, while the leaves and roots were used for gout. Externally, the berries were used as to treat sunburn and blemishes. The juice was even used for discolored teeth – as noted above.

Love strawberries? Consider trying our recipe for Yogurt Popsicles  – strawberry-luscious!

 

Helpful Healthy Herbs

Helpful Healthy Herbs: Ancient Healing

Humans have always longed for good health and vitality. Even prehistoric cave dwellers searched for relief from their various ailments. Many ancient Egyptians had arthritis. Medieval people experienced all kinds of infections and sicknesses. And don’t forget the great plague, which wiped out a large part of the world’s population!

What did all these people do before the dawn of multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies with their thousands of synthetic medications?

They turned to the plant kingdom.

Helpful Healthy Herbs Variety

Through trial and error, the earliest humans discovered that some plants have medicinal properties. These properties, they learned, could help to purify, normalize and energize the body. They also found that many plants could enhance the body’s ability to heal itself.

Of course, humans have always looked for other – perhaps more sophisticated – methods to heal illness and promote health. Some of these methods were downright dangerous. Like using leeches to “bleed” a patient. Other methods were ineffective. Sorcery, for example, probably didn’t cure too many sick people…except through the power of suggestion.

Today we have sophisticated surgical procedures and a positively mind-boggling array of chemical treatments. We have lasers, laparoscopes, lithotripsy. Intensive care units, pacemakers and in vitro fertilization. And, of course, we have the countless pills, capsules and injections.

Still, throughout the evolution of medicine, one treatment has remained constant: The use of plants as a natural remedy. Leeching, sorcery and other “weird science” techniques have come and gone, but herbal medicine has withstood the test of time.

In fact, half of all our modern-day drugs come not from a laboratory test tube, but from plants! Aspirin and digitalis are just two examples. Aspirin, for instance, comes from two herbs: White willow bark and meadowsweet. The “modern” decongestant pseudoephedrine was discovered by Chinese herbalists more than 5,000 years ago.

Helpful Healthy Herbs First Known Recordings

The first written record of herbal medicine dates back to the Sumerians – more than 5,000 years ago. After that, we find many other historical traces of herbalism, including Chinese herb books from 2700 B.C., Old Testament references to herbs and a first century A.D. Greek encyclopedia of 500 herbs.

Sixty-seven healing herbs are mentioned in the 4,500-year old Rig Veda, one of India’s four books of wisdom. Herbs were a big part of ancient India’s Ayurveda medicine.

The world’s oldest surviving medical text, the Ebers Papyrus, mentions 876 herbal formulas that were used by Egyptian herbalists. This document dates back to 1,500 B.C.!

When monasteries were formed after the fall of Rome, the Church looked askance at herbs. However, “underground herbalists” flourished…and many of them were women.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used herbs. So did Thomas Jefferson. Likewise for most Native Americans. And the founder of the Kellogg cereal company was a naturopath who frequently turned to herbs in his practice.

Simply put, an herb is any plant that is known to have medicinal qualities. The great advantage of herbs is that they are natural. So they do not produce side effects. However, an herb may cause an allergic reaction, but that’s rare. It’s also possible that an herb may interact with a medication. Check with your doctor before taking herbs if you take prescription medication(s).

How fast do helpful healthy herbs work? Keep in mind, they are not like synthetic medicines. Their primary action is to balance and restore the body’s normal processes. That may take some time. But for the millions of people who have been helped by herbs, the benefits are well worth the wait.

Will herbs work for you?

There is only one way to find out. Discover for yourself what herbs have to offer. Look for their healing secrets! Visit our sister site’s herbal section, Herbal Bytes.

Bearberries Blackberries

Bearberries, Blackberries – More Super Fruits

In our third in a series of fruit frenzy favorites we will take a look at two more super fruits, bearberries blackberries and  their health benefits. (Click the thumbnails below for a large view of the berries.)


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Bearberries

Bearberry Fruit
Bearberries

Bearberry is used for bladder treatment in European folk medicine. Hydroquinones found in the bearberry leaves have antibacterial properties that aid infections.

A cup of bearberry tea, made from the dried leaves infused in boiling water, can help with urinary infections, kidney and bladder problems and prostate disorders.

Bearberry Tea

To make a cup of bearberry tea use 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried leaves for every 1 cup of boiling water. Infuse the leaves for ten to fifteen minutes, covered. Strain and drink. When treating infections or other problems with the urinary system you can drink up to three cups a day of this herbal infusion.

Bearberry Leaves

Bearberry leaves can  be smoked to get rid of headache. However, using bearberry in this form is illegal and is carefully regulated in many parts of the world, as it has a narcotic effect.

Bearberry nutritional value can be obtained by consuming it raw.

Blackberries

Blackberries
Fresh Blackberries

Blackberry fruit contains vast amounts of anthocyanocides, which are found in the pigment that gives the berries their color. Anthocyanocides are powerful antioxidants. Give an antioxidant packed boost to your next fruit smoothie with blackberries.

Blackberry Leaves

Blackberry leaves are said to treat non-specific diarrhea and inflammation of the mouth and throat. The leaves are also said to reduce blood sugar. The leaves contain good amounts of vitamins C and E along with the mineral selenium.

Blackberry Tea

Use 1 generous tablespoon of dried blackberry tea leaves per cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Add honey or sugar to taste. You can combine equal amounts of dried mint and dried blackberry tea leaves as a combination.

All BerriesMixed fresh berries

  • Are low in sodium, fat and cholesterol free.
  • An excellent source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.
  • Support heart health, normal blood pressure and weight loss.

Super Fruits: Persistent Point

All fruits are healthy for us, but the best ones are those with the most fiber. A good rule of thumb is to stick with the “S or S” fruits. These are the ones with edible skins or seeds. Fruits included are apples, peaches, pears, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and grapes. Eating the skin and seeds amps up your fiber intake. The skin and the seeds contain most of the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

That’s why it’s much better to eat whole fruit, rather than relying on juices.

See also: A tasty recipe for Blackberry Syrup on our sister site, Belly Bytes.

First two fruit frenzy posts:

  1. Super Fruits Acai, Apricots and Avocados
  2. Blood Oranges and Bananas

Enzyme Power Healing

Over-Looked Enzyme Power Healing

The advantages of Enzyme Power Healing is not often talked about, but is very deserving of our attention. Enzyme nutrition is sadly over looked.

Dr. Edward Howell, father of enzyme nutrition and therapy, said,

“Enzymes are the very substances that make life possible”.

Natural News has a great write-up on the health benefits of enzyme power healing. If this nutritional concept is new to you, visit NaturalNews.com – The Healing Power of Enzymes for Treating Disease when you’re done here. Great information that explains it in great detail.

What we have for you is some enzyme power healing beverage recipes to help you get started using enzymes. These beverages are extremely healthy and beneficial. The healthy ingredients speak for themselves!

Enzyme Power Healting Smoothie

Enzyme Power Healing Smoothie

Papaya, pineapple, and ripe bananas are loaded with enzymes that help digestion and break down toxins, fat, and inflammation in the body. Bromelain, an enzyme in pineapple, breaks down cholesterol in the blood. It also helps to reduce inflammation in the blood and tissues. Studies show that it can help eliminate muscle, joint, and headache pain.

Bromelain also helps break down fat. Papain, an enzyme that is plentiful in papaya, breaks down protein molecules in the blood, reducing inflammation that is linked to allergies or pain. Drink up!

Not only is this smoothie delicious and satisfying, it is an amazing healer.

Ingredients:Fresh sliced pineapple
1 cup chopped papaya
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple (not canned)
1 frozen banana

Directions: Combine with desired amount of water in a blender and blend to desired smoothie consistency.

Enzyme Power Healing Juice

Ingredients:
1/2 pineapple, outer skin removed ( juice the core as well as the flesh)
1 1-inch piece of ginger

Directions: Pass all ingredients through a juicer. Dilute with pure water to taste. Drink immediately.

Ajowan Spice Healing Powers

Ajowan Spice Healing Powers

Other names: Carom seeds and ajwain (pronounced aj’o-wen)

Ajowan spice healing powers are popular in India, where the spice is used in cooking to add zest to curries and aroma to breads and biscuits. As an added bonus, ajowan spice healing powers are known to have the ability to heal every day ills.

Ahowan seeds

Think of how often we run to our medicine cabinets to grab aspirin for aches, cough medicine for coughs and sore throats, antacids for our tummies or antihistamine for allergies. Well, in India, people are more likely to prepare a beverage called “omam water – ajowan spice seeds steeped in warm distilled water.

Oman water is generally used for digestive ailments such as heartburn, belching, bloating, flatulence and diarrhea. This beverage is technically considered a folk remedy; however, researchers are studying ajowan now giving it scientific support as a spice with healing powers.

Soothe the Digestive Tract

Researchers have thus far discovered more than two dozen medicinally active compounds in ajowan’s tiny seeds. One of them is as strong as morphine!

Relief for Pain

Raw ajowan seeds have a hot, bitter flavor that is so intense they will actually numb your tongue for a moment. When used in cooking, the sting is abated. In any event, the cause of this temporary numbing is the thymol in ajowan. It literally numbs pain.

Researchers believe further relief is due to the choline and acetylcholine (controls involuntary muscles) in ajowan seeds. Choline is a nutrient that aids the brain in sending healing messages to the body. To get the most relief, one must use the seeds roasted.

“The present study supports claims of traditional Iranian medicine showing the Carum copticum
[ajowan] extract possesses a clear-cut analgesic [pain-relieving] effect.” -Journal of Ethnopharmacology.

Getting to Know Ajowan

Ajowan may be a stranger to most American kitchens but in American medicine cabinets you may find use of its active ingredients in cough medicines and lozenges. The essential oil from ajowan is thymol, which can be found in mouthwash and toothpaste.

Components of the spice are also used to maintain the shelf life of packaged foods and perfumes.

In the Kitchen with Ajowan

Ajowan works well with starchy foods, and is used to flavor dishes of root vegetables and legumes. In India, it is an essential ingredient in lentil dishes for its taste as well as its ability to improve digestion and prevent flatulence.

An appetizer fritter called pakora or a filled dumpling called samosa are popular in Indian baked goods. In Afghanistan, ajowan is used in breads and pastries. It is also a key ingredient in the Ethiopian spice blend berbere.

Ajowan pairs well with these spices:

Ajowan Plant
Ajowan Plant
  • Chile
  • Coriander
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Oregano
  • Marjoram
  • Mustard seed
  • Turmeric

Ajowan complements recipes featuring:

  • Apples
  • Breads
  • Fish curries
  • Legumes
  • Pancakes
  • Root vegetables
  • Savory pastries
  • Vegetarian entrees

Buy Ajowan

Ajowan is inexpensive but somewhat hard to find locally. Indian markets and possibly some specialty spice shops may carry the product. Online, Amazon is your best bet – we recommend Ajwain Seeds.

Ajowan seeds

The small seeds are about the size of celery seeds and are sold whole, as they are rarely used in ground form. If stored in an airtight container away from heat and moisture, they will keep for two years or more.

Ten Red Flags of Junk Science

Be on the Lookout for the Ten Red Flags of Junk Science

How do you protect yourself from the top ten red flags of junk science? The one’s that are based on minimal research but enjoy maximum media exposure? With today’s over-load of information, we are bombarded with claims and ads. It seems nothing we do in our day to day existence can escape them.

What is Junk Science?

Junk science is any scientific data or research that is considered fraudulent. The concept is often used by politicians and lawyers where facts and scientific results have a great amount of weight in making a determination. Many of those determinations wind up affecting our every day lives. Negatively.

A coalition of food and nutrition scientists have identified 10 red flags of junk science. Let the buyer beware of any diet, food plan, product or service that has any of the following dubious characteristics.

Top Ten Red Flags of Junk Science
Red Flags of Junk Science

  1. Recommendations that promise a quick fix. Example: You will be pain free in three days!
  2. Dire warnings of dangers from a single product or regimen. Example: This product may cause death!
  3. Claims that sound too good to be true. Example: Lose those last ten pounds once and for all in five days!
  4. Simplistic conclusions drawn from a complex study. Example: In short, just take this pill and you will be in better shape!
  5. Recommendations based on a single study. Example:  A study done with ten participants for seven days shows…
  6. Dramatic statements that are refuted by reputable scientific organizations. Example: Why, it is a weight loss miracle! Reputable scientific organizations say, “There is no weight loss miracle.
  7. Lists of good and bad foods. (This one is pretty self explanatory.)
  8. Recommendations made to help sell a product. Example: Celebrity endorsed!
  9. Recommendations based on studies published without being formally reviewed by others knowledgeable in the same field.
  10. Recommendations from studies that ignore the differences among individuals or groups. These differences can be cultural, lifestyles, eating habits, exercise habits (or lack of), etc.

Junk Science

Source: Food and Nutrition Science Alliance

Healthy Well Being: Write it Down

Healthy Well Being with a Diary or Journal

In today’s world, we face more stressors than ever. The fast pace of our daily lives can exhaust us. Add a stressful, life-altering event and we have a recipe for disaster. Learning a few healthy well being coping measures. They can be a life saver.

Feeling Over-Whelmed by Illness or Trauma?

Illness and/or traumatic events can be more than we can handle. They can have an awful effect on healthy well being. One way to help process what’s happening without becoming overwhelmed is to write down your thoughts in a personal journal.

Writing about our lives helps reduce our stress level and can actually improve our overall health. Start out by setting a timer for at least eight minutes and write whatever comes to mind. It isn’t necessary to look at your journal as an every day obligation. Look at it as a kind of friend you want it to be.

Healthy Well Being with Writing

Study Says…

A North Dakota State University research project asked people suffering from chronic conditions such as asthma and arthritis to write about their lives in a journal for one hour per week. In the months after they started their journals, 47 percent of the patients showed a measurable improvement in symptoms. They began to achieve a healthy well being.

Free & Healing: Hugs for Health

The small acts that comfort us and show us our connection to other people are not trivial. A hug is a means of giving and receiving affection – as well as a significant source of stress relief and comfort to our bodies. A brief hug from a loved one can reduce the effects of stress on blood pressure and heart rate by half, according to a study at the University of North Carolina.

Summary…get a fresh notebook (or using your computer) and starting writing down your thoughts and your feelings. Then go find a loved one a share a hug!

Two people sharing a big hug

 

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Spice Mood and Food

Spice Mood and Food

According to folk wisdom, oregano (Origanum vulgare) relieves heavy-hearted feelings. Spice mood and food and taste buds by adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of oregano to a saucepan of tomato sauce before you toss it with pasta.

Other Healthful Uses for OreganoSpice mood and food with oregano

  • Oregano is taken by mouth as a treatment for colds, flu, mild fevers, indigestion and stomach upsets.
  • A tea of oregano is often used to either bring on menses or to relieve menstrual discomfort. It is also used in baths and inhalations, as well drinking the infusion, to clear lungs and bronchial passages.
  • Oregano is a strong sedative and should not be taken in large doses, though mild teas have a soothing effect and aid restful sleep.
  • Used topically, oregano is one of the best herbal antiseptics because of its high thymol content.
  • Internally and externally, oregano it can help alleviate dry itching skin. There is also an Oregano Essential Oil used in aromatherapy for the same conditions listed above.

Did You Know?

Spice mood and food connection. Your mood has much to do with what you pile on your plate!  A recent study found that happy people ate healthier and grumpy-heads chose more junk food. When in a good mood, researchers say, you value long-term nutrition goals over immediate taste, even if you don’t realize it.

Oregano is a strong sedative and should not be taken in large doses, though mild teas have a soothing effect and aid restful sleep. Again, spice mood and food!

See also: Secrets to Health and Wellness

 

Oregano Health Tip
Spice mood and food. Oregano relieves a heavy heart!