I feel it is imperative for me to share every sale or product that comes our way from the company Learning Herbs. Last month or so it was their new book series for kids called Herb Fairies but the gem I have been going on about for years now is called WildCraft. I have long been a fan of this herbal learning board game (read a full review here). We have two of them actually, one for our home and one for grandma’s house. I am thoroughly convinced this is the coolest game ever… no seriously… coolest EVER. This purchase was well worth the money, even if it was a hair pricier than CandyLand.
CandyLand is obviously centered around candy. I will pass thank you. Wildcraft is all about real, valuable knowledge and skills that are quickly getting lost in the shuffle. It is a gorgeous game that teaches the players all about herbs and how useful and helpful they are. The players are on a mission from grandma to go and pick wild Huckleberries. They have to go up and down a long winding path to get them and along the way they find herbs (plants cards) and they they even run into some trouble (trouble cards). Some of the trouble you find would include sore muscles, an earache, a toothache, a hornet sting, splinters, and much more. But thanks to the herbs you have been collecting along the way you may just have an herbal remedy to help you. Step by step along the game board kids (and parents) learn about various herbs and their practical applications in health and healing. I know I want my kids to think of nature and natural remedies BEFORE they think to grab a pill bottle and this game is a great introduction to that.
Okay, rave reviews aside this game typically only goes on sale once a year, during the holidays. But for the next couple days (until May 30th) you can get it for 50% off. That means you can secure one for less than $20. To make the deal even sweeter they are also giving buyers access to a cool webinar on Learning Herbs with Aviva Romm, M.D. called Outdoor Kids: Herbal First Aid for Summer. Plus:
* Dandelion Activity eBook
* Herbal Roots Zine Kids Activity Magazine
* The Herbal Gifts eBook. (Saves you more in gifts than you spend on the game.)
* Mentoring Kids & Nature Connection with Jon Young (mp3)
* Herb Fairies Activity Pack, with Book One and activity materials
Natural Health magazine is another magazine on my faves list. Unlike many more conventional health mags this one actually does seem to support natural remedies and being proactive with your health so that you need few interventions. It all about good foods, natural living/beauty, home remedies and DIY products, and alternative health. It’s not perfect by any means but I enjoy reading it every month. It has great seasonal reminders for wellness that I appreciate.
Anyway, TODAY ONLY you can get Natural Health for only $4.49 for a one year subscription. A big savings! Enjoy! Use code 1503.
My intro into a more natural and green existence was not born of some desire to save the earth and preserve it for my children. Sure I cared somewhat about being green but saving the planet was not a huge motivator for change in my life. What spurred the changes in my life and caused me to seek out greener pastures was the safety of my kids and a few bad experiences that made me acutely aware of how toxic everything around them was. I found it empowering to research common household products and practices and then go the safer route. It just so happened that the safer route was also the more natural and green route.
Pharma drugs and conventional cleaners made my oldest child sick so I embraced natural remedies and green cleaners. It wasn’t long after these changes that I was washing cloth nappies, toting reusable bags, and buying foods from local farms instead of chain grocers. I feel that motherhood changed me in immeasurable ways and it was all because I wanted a better way, a healthier way, for my kids. After a very rough start with my oldest child, my second two are so perfectly healthy that it is hard to remember those old days. It makes me feel guilty that I raised my first child until age three under such toxic circumstances. Yet it also makes me aware that there are still so many parents out there that haven’t come to see just how badly things need to change. They don’t know how toxic the products are that they bring into the home because they are blessed with children are not immune compromised or overly sensitive to these chemicals in any way.
When I saw the new video spot for Seventh Generation cleaners I felt it was the perfect way to get the point across. When there are alternative products out there that are so safe and natural why on earth would we choose the toxic ones? They really aren’t that much more expensive and you cannot put a price on peace of mind. This video perfectly illustrates that you can get good quality cleaners without harsh chemicals that are bad for human health and our planet’s health.
Oil pulling is an ancient remedy used for generations in India for insuring good dental health. Oil pulling therapy consists of putting a tablespoon of vegetable oil, normally sunflower or sesame seed oil, in your mouth and swishing (or pulling) it around in your mouth for an extended period of time, normally 10 to 20 minutes and spitting it out.
It was used to help prevent tooth decay, stop bleeding gums, ease bad breath, and help to heal a dry throat and mouth and chapped lips. Oil pulling also was used to help re anchor loose teeth and to help reduce gum disease as well as help to whiten and brighten teeth.
With the recent re surge of interest in ancient remedies for the treatment of various medical conditions oil pulling has come to the attention of those seeking natural remedies for an assortment of medical and dental problems and there have even been several studies done to determine whether or not this practice can improve dental health and the findings have been extremely positive.
In several informal studies that were conducted oil pulling was shown to help reduce both plaque and gingivitis resulting in healthier gums and teeth. People who have tried it for 3-6 months have stated that they have had fewer cavities, loose teeth have firmed back up and they see less redness and swelling in their gums. While such testimonies are only anecdotal evidence that oil pulling is good for your dental health this evidence certainly carries weight in the absence of more scientific studies.
In addition, there have been few negative side effects reported either by the study subjects or those who have tried oil pulling on their own which means that there is every indication that oil pulling may be a safe way of treating a wide array of dental problems or simply keeping your dental health to begin with.
If you have been dealing with a build up of plaque, gingivitis, bad breath or just discolored or loose teeth that you might want to try this method and see if it works for you.
How To Do Oil Pulling
First thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything pour a tablespoon of sesame seed oil, coconut oil, or olive oil into your mouth and swish it around for about 20 minutes. As you swish the oil will become thinner due to your saliva. Keep swishing. You will know when it is time to spit out the oil when it becomes whitish and once again begins to thicken from the germs and plague that is being pulled into the oil.
If you find that you cannot resist the urge to swallow spit the oil out and start again. It may take some practice until you can swish the oil long enough to complete the process.
After spitting the oil out rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
The oil will remove the plaque and other bacteria from your mouth and the warm salt water will help clear the oily feel that remains in your mouth. Over time your teeth should look whiter and your gums should look healthier. It can be done 1-2 times weekly with good results and even daily if you have problems, such as cavities or sore gums.
Oil pulling may not be for everyone but, it is a cheap and effective way to protect your dental health.
Hot Tip: My favorite oil for pulling is the coconut oil with peppermint from Skinny and Co Coconut Oil. Yum!
Related: Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing
You wouldn’t think that such a delicate looking thing as the butterfly-shaped Thyroid gland would play such an important part in the regulation of the body’s healthy functioning, but it truly does.
The Thyroid’s role may seem like a simple one; to stimulate the metabolism and (along with the parathyroid glands) control the body’s circulating calcium levels, but when the Thyroid is not functioning properly, things can get very nasty very quickly, which is why the very earliest signs of a malfunctioning Thyroid should not be overlooked.
As I wrote about earlier I made a very big mistake in March 2011 when I started consuming soy. The end result was that my thyroid went wacko. I had no idea that something was amiss with my thyroid until my hair started falling out. A blood test confirmed the problem.
Symptoms of a Malfunctioning Thyroid
The symptoms of a malfunctioning Thyroid include things like cold hands and feet, sensitivity to cold, headaches, sleeplessness, coarse skin, swollen eyes, fragile nails, joint aches, constipation, fatigue, hair loss, a croaky voice and dizziness and none of these things are ever associated with a major disorder and are in fact overlooked by many medical professionals.
What Can Be Done?
Regardless of whether you have been medically diagnosed with a malfunctioning Thyroid or whether you simply suspect that this may be your problem, there are plenty of natural remedies that you can employ that can right the wrongs that have been done to this delicate system.
For starters, a good diet can do wonders to keeping not only correcting outstanding thyroid problems, but in maintaining a healthy Thyroid. To this end you should avoid foods and liquids that have been treated with chemicals or been exposed to chemical pollutants because many chemicals can interrupt the delicate balance of the Thyroid. But simply eliminating chemicals and chemical pollutants is not always enough.
You should also replace any expeller-processed or solvent-extracted oils in your diet since these kinds of oils (polyunsaturated oils) can block the production of thyroid hormones. Coconut oil is recommended to act as a replacement for polyunsaturated oils and many also believe that it actually helps stimulate healthy thyroid function.
The lack of iodine plays a major part in the malfunctioning of the Thyroid and no, simply using iodized salt is not enough. In fact, you should be replacing your table salt with unprocessed sea salt as natural sea salt contains larger amounts of iodine. You need to be able to significantly increase the amount of iodine in your diet, this includes adding foods such as seafoods, vegetable juices and kelp or seaweed based products.
Another helpful hint when considering your diet is that there are some foods that are considered to be natural gotrogens which means that they can affect and even inhibit effective Thyroid functioning. Some of these foods include brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabaga, radishes, cabbage, kale, rapeseed, broccoli, sweet potatoes and soy. It also helps to cut back on processed flour-based products such as cookies, crackers, breads and other products as they can slow the Thyroid functioning down significantly. I happen to eat lots of the above mentioned greens and veggies (minus soy) and have never had an issue. Soy was the only one that caused a problem.
In addition to keeping an eye on your diet, there are some herbs and mineral supplements that can be taken that help improve the efficiency of the Thyroid gland. These include: Shilajeet-Asphaltum Puniabiunum, an Indian wonder drug that contains over 85 different minerals in different forms; Kanchanara-Bauhinia Veriegata (purple mountain ebony), an herb that has a reputation for keeping the Thyroid functioning effectively and, finally, licorice. This is not the candy, but the herb and is used to maintain a healthy balance between glands and energy building.
None of these things guarantee a ‘cure’ for your Thyroid problem but with the proper application these steps can help you to keep your Thyroid in prime condition. Personally I opted to do nothing different after my diagnosis except stop eating the soy of course (which I already had) and continue my normal healthy eating patterns. I had my blood tested 1.5 months after I stopped consuming the soy and my levels are now only “slightly” outside of normal. Woot! Now I plan to start eating kelp and seaweed flakes to see if I can totally reverse the problem. Might try some of the herbs I mentioned to.
In other news I also had another issue the soy caused that I didn’t mention in my original post because I wanted to see how it would play out. The first symptom that something was awry was not the thyroid issue. It was my detection of a painful mass just under my left breast. The first month it popped up a few days prior to my menstrual cycle and this was only a few weeks after I started the soy. It went away after 2-3 days and I ignored it. The next month it came back and was even more painful. I was out of town at the time so I didn’t go to see a doctor. That was most likely me just making excuses though… in my mind I was thinking lump = breast cancer and since I have already saddled that pony and ridden it before (colon cancer) I was not anxious to get a diagnosis.
Anyway it came back a third time and I went to see a doctor. It was gone by the time my appointment rolled around but they gave me prescriptions for an ultrasound and a mammogram.. which I ignored because it was at this appointment that I found out about my thyroid. I had discovered the soy in the protein bars I was eating 2 weeks before and was fairly certain they were what had caused this breast lump business and now with the thyroid information I was 100% convinced.
When my next cycle came around 1.5 months after I stopped eating the soy I was actually surprised by it. The painful lump had preceded my last 3 periods so it was kind of a shocker to have it sneak up on me with nary a symptom. The mass still appeared but it was smaller and not painful at all. I had a breast exam and thyroid levels check that same day and the doctor is in agreement that soy is probably what caused it and that it is most likely just a cyst that developed due to hormones (phytoestrogens in soy). My doc is a vegetarian so he was totally familiar with soy and the issues it can cause and doesn’t think I need to get a mammogram or U/S. He advised me to stay away from soy based faux meat products, LOL. NOT a problem! I am wondering if my lump issue will end up going away completely… only time will tell. For now I need to concentrate on fixing the thyroid issue and I am glad I am having success with that already.
Update: As of summer 2014 My thyroid levels are now 100% normal!!!!