By Natural Advocate | August 30, 2007 - 9:12 pm - Posted in Natural Depression & Anxiety Relief

Not surprisingly, your level of mental and spiritual happiness directly relates to your level of wellness.  When you are happy, your body is stronger and you can better shield yourself against illnesses and diseases.  One of the most common definitions of what is at the core of our level of happiness is living our lives in accord with our values and beliefs. 

People who engage in activities that define who they were meant to be, instead of someone else’s idea of who they should be, seem to achieve a higher level of serenity and happiness.  Respecting ourselves, our bodies, minds, hearts and soul will lead to wellness.  Depression and anxiety ensue when we do not respect our minds and bodies, and make them our temple to retreat to in peace and quiet, and knowing who we really are. 

Along with this principle, if we respect and treat ourselves well, we are, in turn, going to regard others with respect and treat them well.  Relationships that are healthy and extensive, starting with your family and friends, then extending out to coworkers and the community will lead to a healthier, happier state of mind.
 The achievement of wellness and happiness is an ongoing process throughout life.  Some people are genetically prone to a higher level of depression or irritability and they may have to work harder or seek help to achieve happiness and contentness.  Happiness is considered so vital to health and quality of life, Ruut Veenhoven studied the subject since the 1960’s. 

The objective of studying happiness was for the body of research to assist people to make the best choices for themselves.   In 1999, Ruut Veenhoven created the World Database for Happiness. Personal freedom and the ability to make your own choices factored highly in favor of happiness.  Researchers found I.Q., education and having children did not effect happiness. 

Friendships and a quality marriage increased contentness and happiness.  Wealth, by itself, does not increase happiness.  However, wealth affords a higher level of choices which can raise levels of happiness.  The subject of happiness is a complex and multi-faceted and merits more research.

By Natural Advocate | August 27, 2007 - 5:12 am - Posted in Natural and Herbal Treatments

As anyone who suffers from arthritis or joint pain knows, it is imperative to find a method to control the pain and stiffness of the joints associated with this disease.  Unhealthy painful joints limit a person’s mobility and interferes with life’s daily activities.  Glucosamine is growing in popularity as a means of protecting joint health and minimizing the effects of osteoarthritis.  Glucosamine, scientifically, is an amino sugar. 

The reasoning to it’s use for arthritis sufferers is that it is a precursor of glycosamoglycans, which is a major component of joint cartilage.  Therefore, oral glucosamine may assist in rebuilding cartilage.  Glucosamine is not officially approved by the FDA for medical use in humans in the U.S.A..  Since it is classified as a dietary supplement, it is not advertised as a natural remedy for arthritis.

Glucosamine is found naturally in the body.  It is believed to help repair and form cartilage.  Another product, sold as a dietary supplement and believed to help with joint discomfort, is chondroitin sulfate, which is part of a large protein molecule and assists in cartilage elasticity. Chondriotin sulfate is usually taken in combination with glucosamine.
 It is recommended to consult with your doctor before taking either glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate.  It also is recommended not to discontinue use of prescribed medications without first discussing it with your physician.  For recommended dosage of these dietary supplements, consult with your doctor.  Another factor to consider before taking glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate, is to be certain osteoarthritis is the cause of your pain and discomfort.

For diabetics taking glucosamine, it is important to check your blood sugar more often, as glucosamine is an amino sugar. Caution is advised, with glucosamine, if an individual is allergic to shellfish.  For individuals on blood thinning medication, caution is advised for chondroitin sulfate as it may have on additive effect to blood thinning.  Clinical trials for glucosamine used in combination with chondroitin sulfate are encouraging but results can be mixed and conflicting.  Better defined and controlled studies continue.  The popularity of these dietary supplements suggests that the public is using them widely as an alternative for their joint health

By Natural Advocate | August 24, 2007 - 7:31 am - Posted in Nutritional Supplements, Vitamins & Minerals

Calcium supplements are highly recommended, especially for women in the premenopausal through postmenopausal years, to protect against bone loss.  Keeping as much density to your bones is an important factor to maintaining physical health as we age and will help to avoid stress fractures from brittle porous bones later in life. 

There’s no doubt as to the value of calcium supplements, particularly for those who are constantly dieting and consume very little dairy products.  What type of calcium supplement will work best for you is another decision to make.  Within the category of calcium supplements, there are anumber of varieties.  There are the coral calcium,  calcium carbonate, calcium citrate and plant calcium supplements. 

Algaecal is a plant derived calcium supplement that states it is more easily absorbed because it is drawn from sea water making it more accessible for your body.  Algaecal calcium supplements also contain zinc, manganese, copper, boron and strontium to assist in bone growth.
When reading labels on calcium supplements, be certain to look for the amount of elemental calcium in the product.   Elemental calcium is the amount of calcium that our bodies can actually absorb and use.  

The amount of calcium we absorb from a supplement is dependent on a number of factors including estrogen levels, vitamin D intake, amount of acid in our intestines and the type of calcium supplement we take.
 Calcium carbonate is one kind of supplement that is best to take after meals for best results. This type of supplement relies on a heavy acidic content in the stomach for best absorption. 

Calcium citrate supplements already provide an acidic environment for calcium absorption.  These supplements may be taken at ant time of day.  Calcium citrate supplements are not recommended for people with acid reflux problems.  Calcium supplements made with unrefined oyster shell, bone meal or dolomite should be avoided as they may contain toxic substances such as lead or mercury.

Although calcium supplementation is more dominantly publicized for use by women, men should be aware of bone density issues as they age also.  Men experience bone loss as they advance in age so older men would benefit from consuming more calcium.  Men, like women, should look into supplemental calcium and vitamin D if they are not getting the recommended amounts from dietary sources and sunlight.

By Natural Advocate | August 20, 2007 - 11:58 am - Posted in Nutritional Supplements

I’ll be honest.  I’ve taken fish oil and basked in the benefits of the best omega 3 dietary supplements on and off, but it’s only due to my forgetfullness to refill on them as I should, and the good old fashioned busy excused that I haven’t continuously taken them these past few years.  When I get older, I will not afford such luxuries, and I’ll take care to take them continuously, as I do believe that they are that much more important to combat the aging process and keep our organs and our heart healthy in our later years. 

As a thirty something though, the one thing I’ve really noticed about taking omega 3 fish oil supplements is that it really makes my skin more supple.  I do have to wait about a week or two before I start to notice the difference when taking them consistently and at recommended dosage for several days, but it is a noticeable difference, and one that always makes me ask myself why I sometimes forget to refill on them when I run out sometimes!

Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential fatty acid that we can get through several foods, but also that we can supplement our diet with if we don’t get enough of them every day.  They are abundant in natural foods and grains, most particularly fish of certain kinds, and grains of certain kinds like flax seed and other fine grains that are unrefined and in the rough, so to speak. 

You do want to be careful when you are choosing an omega 3 supplement, and those that are vegetarians or vegans may want to opt instead for a non-fish based supplement, but I will say the fish oil ones seem to do the job best, at least for me.  But you do not want to take this lightly.  You really don’t want to go cheap when it comes to the best omega 3 supplements, because they may not be of the right concentration or balance to be able to provide the same benefits as a food that contained omega 3 fatty acids naturally would.  For this reason, just make sure you do your research before buying, as you will be wasting your money if you don’t buy a quality supplement. 

By Natural Advocate | August 17, 2007 - 7:56 pm - Posted in Foods

I’ve been making smoothies every morning now for us, and these smoothies not only pack a huge nutritional punch with mega antioxidants, but also keep us full for hours at work, whereas (me at least) we used to be hungry about two hours into our work day even after eating a high fiber muffin of some sort. 

With these smoothies, I feel that not only am I staying full and stabilizing my blood sugar for hours, but I am also getting tons of fiber and antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals as well.  Decide for yourself if you want to try it, it may seem like lots of ingredients, but many of them are items you can keep around frozen if you don’t like to chop anything, and you can buy them chopped and frozen in the freezer section of your natural foods store, or you can store them in dry storage. 

Here’s what goes in these mega healthy, super filling health smoothies :

Frozen Acai fruit.  I like to use the smoothie packets, which my sister introduced me to, with additional berrie.  The rough Acai tastes a bit too pasty for me, and I like the added berries in the other one.  I think it’s by a brand named Amazon Mania.

2 cups of the Carb Control vanilla creme yogurt (they’re small, that’s why you need two, and by the way, this recipe makes two large smoothies)

2 packets of sweetener such as organic stevia or another all natural option.  No chemicals though!  That will defeat the purpose

1/2 cup of organic orange juice

Berries of your choice – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.

1 whole banana, broken into smaller pieces for easier blending

4 tablespoons of milled flax seed.  This gives you the dietary omega 3 fatty acids you need, and adds a ton of dietary fiber as well. 

2 full tablespoons or scoops provided of soy protein powder.  Unflavored. 

2 cups or more of ice, however icy you’d like your smoothie.  Depends on the person. 

Ok, now it’s important that you put your liquids at the bottom of the blender, or you’ll have a hard time blending the ingredients correctly.  If there is not enough liquid in the bottom, the blender will seize up.  The ice should go at the top of the blender.  You will see, if you taste this, it’s a delicious, healthy breakfast or lunch, and it really is a full meal that will fill you up for hours.  For me, it even gives me a bit of an energy boost.  I love it! 


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