By Natural Advocate | September 23, 2013 - 9:27 pm - Posted in Detoxify

I’m not one of those people who can just eat whatever I want and everything goes “smoothly” with my digestion and elimination process. No…not by a long stretch of the imagination.

I always need help for my finicky system to keep things moving, reduce the amount of gas and discomfort that I tend to get even from some healthy foods, and to generally keep things operating yonder like they are supposed to so I have minimal colon health problems as I get older.

I do eat a high fiber diet on most days, and I’m very aware of the foods that set me off track when it comes to my digestive and colon health. However, that doesn’t mean that the healthy diet always works for me or that I always follow it 100% of the time.

Which is why I do like to keep some good probiotics around the house so that they can help keep me on the right track of digestive health and ease of elimination and digestion. Boy, I sound like an ad for Activia yogurt or something! But seriously, as we get older, it really is important to keep our digestion easy and smoothe, and it’s just plain more comfortable when everything is in working order.

I’ve tried a great many probiotics, some expensive and some cheap. I’ve tried them in pill form, liquid form, and of course yogurt form. I’ve found that one supplement works for me best personally, and no other one in pill form quite does the trick like it.  Most pills really don’t digest right for me, or they just don’t work the way they are supposed to.

It’s almost like they pass right through my body, having zero intended effect.  That changed when I found and tried the Schiff brand of probiotic. Schiff has a whole line of supplements. I initially tried their krill oil supplement a while ago, and I’ve also used their vitamin D supplements and they’re really great. I’ve found all their stuff to be very effective for a reasonable price.

The Shiff Digestive Advantage Probiotic formula was no exception.  I love the fact that I only have to take ONE pill in the morning and that’s it. It’s not these ridiculous directions to take three or where you have to remember to space them out or take them at certain times a day.

It’s a very simple one a day formula that you take ( I take mine in the morning, that works best for me), and it really does help. I did notice the first few times I took it I had some discomfort, but I think that’s just because the probiotics were killing off some seriously bad bacteria in my gut and this caused a sort of war in my belly that hurt.

After that, I notice an immediate benefit in ease of elmination, less gas, bloating and discomfort and a generally smoother, more effective digestive system.  I would highly recommend this product to anyone who is like me and has a lot of issues with digestion, constipation or irritable bowel syndrome. It really is a must-have in my house now. 


By Natural Advocate | July 20, 2013 - 8:23 pm - Posted in Antioxidants, Detoxify

I know, very well, that green tea is all the health craze. It started about a decade ago when green tea was promoted as one of the so called “superfoods” that would help your body to prevent cancer, heal itself better and stay younger longer. Green tea was the bomb, and all the other teas were pretty much left in the dust. Plus, America was still having its love affair with coffee, the other hot caffeinated drink, so it took a few years for tea drinking to really catch on.

The problem I always had with green tea was its flavor. It was just too earthy tasting for me, and a bit on the bitter side. Something about this earthy flavor didn’t agree with me no matter how much lemon and sugar I added to it before drinking. I felt the same way about another antioxidant-packed hot drink yerba mate, and still feel that way today.

I’m a coffee drinker at heart, and will always love the smell of coffee in the morning and will also always love my creamer and sugar just a certain way. There’s nothing like holding that hot mug in your hands on your way into work in the morning and taking leisurely sips of the delectable concoction before you head into your hectic and stressful day.

Plus, it makes me feel more awake in the morning which I love. If I don’t get my coffee in the morning somehow my day feels incomplete. That creamy, sweet flavor is such a treat that I look forward to every morning! Sometimes I even have a cup mid-day if I’m running low on energy, although not very often. Tea usually has a lower amount of caffeine per cup, but not by too much.

So the green tea thing never quite worked out for me. Plus, the fact that you pretty much have to have several cups of green tea a day to reap the crazy-great benefits it supposedly offers for your health ensured that I would never be able to get the benefits I wanted out of drinking something that just didn’t agree with my taste buds.

Enter white tea! I tried this on a whim one time. It was on sale at the health food store I go to, so I threw a box of it in my cart and thought it might be an interesting thing to try. Plus, I do like to have various kinds of tea laying around for when I have tea drinkers at the house.

Well, it turns out that white tea is smoother tasting and less earthy and bitter than green tea. The interesting thing is, when I read about the differences between teas, the only difference is how they are processed. They all come from the same tea plants, but they are all just processed in a slightly different way.

In addition to this finding, I read a few interesting articles that actually argue that white tea is in fact the more healthy tea to drink. It supposedly has been found to have even more of the active compound that makes green tea so healthy, EGCG, which is a powerful antioxidant compound that can protect your body and organs from degeneration, protect your from cancer and even protect you from heart disease (and give you prettier skin and keep you more youthful looking if you believe some articles!)

That’s quite a list of impressive benefits, so it’s no wonder people drink so much tea (although it still lags behind coffee as the most popular hot drink). White tea is definitely my preference when it comes to green tea and white tea. It’s about the same price, sometimes a little more expensive if you buy the organic kind or if it’s a fancy brand, so you’re paying about the same amount.

I enjoy the “infused” teas that have fun flavors mixed in. Perhaps they have some lemon peel in their or orange peel or some other organic spice to add a little different flavor. It keeps it interesting, plus it feels more like you’re drinking something fun rather than healthy, which can be boring as we all know ?


By Natural Advocate | June 29, 2013 - 9:18 pm - Posted in Detoxify

It happens to the best of us. Even when we think we are eating the most nutritious, fiber-filled diets, occasionally constipation comes calling and we find ourselves bloated, uncomfortable and yeah sometimes even a little cranky at times from the discomfort it causes. Our bodies are not meant to be “stopped up” like this for very long, and when we cannot eliminate properly, it really makes us feel quite uncomfortable.

Compare that to the way you feel when your digestive and elimination processes are working completely smoothly. Isn’t there a world of difference? It can really be the difference between a good mood and a bad mood for me personally. So I wanted to share a few of my best remedies for the occasional bout of constipation as well as foods that you should probably incorporate into your regular rotation of staples to help prevent problems from occurring in the first place.

1.) Mango. The whole mango fruit is an amazing remedy for constipation. The natural “scrubbing” enzymes it contains along with its potent fibrous fruit make it an excellent lubricant for the intestines and colon. If you eat a whole mango, you are almost sure to have no problems in the bathroom the next morning. They’re also delicious. They’re extremely sweet and they taste wonderful in a smoothie if you don’t want to eat just the fruit. Dried mango helps a little too, but the real hero is the fresh fruit pulp. They can be a bit messy to eat, but once you learn your own method of peeling it and cutting the fruit up, you’ll be whizzing through them in no time.

2.) Sweet potatoes. For me and my husband, having one of these with dinner at night is an almost surefire way to “stay regular”. It also can help get things moving when you’re experiencing temporary colonic stagnation. They are absolutely loaded with bulky fiber as well as bulky carbs that don’t bulk in a way that clogs the pathways for waste to escape like some other carbs do. They also have a ton of beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin A and other nutrients that are absolutely awesome for your entire digestive system. They don’t have a jarring laxative effect, but rather a natural, relieving laxative effect.

3.) Flax seed. These present a two-fold constipation relief avenue. That’s because ground flax seed not only has bulky fiber, but due to the consistency of the seeds being ground, they also act as tiny little “scrubbers” for the internal organs that facilitate waste removal like the intestines and the colon. That’s why ground flax seed is such a great thing to add to your morning cereal or smoothies. Heck you can even add it to pancake batter if you’re having pancakes, and some people like to add it to muffin or bread mix as well if they’re making a baked good.

4.) Chia seeds. Chia seeds actually swell when they are added to any liquid. For this reason, they are excellent at becoming bulky so that they can more easily transport whatever food they are paired with through the intestines and colon and out of the body. I’ve tried them and although I do find them to be a wonderful natural laxative, they also do create some gas and bloating for me, so I try to keep them to a minimum. As you know, chia seeds are very packed with antioxidants and omega fats so they are hailed as one of the newer “super foods” and are very popular right now in the natural health community.

By Natural Advocate | January 24, 2013 - 7:22 am - Posted in Detoxify

I’ve always said that coming off the standard holiday diet of hugely increased levels of fat, sugar and salt is basically like coming off of a drug. Probably not as bad as a hard street drug obviously, but nonetheless, there are definitely identifiable signs that going back to a wholesome diet entails some serious withdrawal side effects.

I’ve talked to numerous other people about this, so it’s not just my imagination or my wishful thinking that there is some greater force at work that seems to be whittling away my ambitions to eat better faster than a jackrabbit on a date.

There are actually signs that are scientifically identifiable that show changes in brain chemistry in the critical centers where cravings and withdrawal and pleasure are typically centered. This is mainly the hypothalamus, which is the control center for much of the activities that we all like to do.

It contains our most base, instinctual needs and desires, and this is where we tend to see addiction light up the pathways of the brain since it is responsible for addictive behavior and impulse control often times.

Why would these high fat and high sugar or salt foods do this to our brains? Well, they are pleasurable to eat because they pack a lot of nutritional density into a smaller space. This is one of the main reasons that we tend to overeat today, because our foods are so much richer in caloric density than they used to be with all the fake additives and concentrated fats and sugars that are added to give more flavor.

This also creates the basis for addiction because these foods tend to make us feel instant pleasure. Giving that up is a very tough thing for the human brain, and it will rebel against it when given the chance.

So when you go back to eating normally or eating a less fat and calorie dense diet, your brain shorts out in these areas, and you get the cravings for the foods you gave up. It’s a vicious cycle though, like any other addiction because the more you eat these foods, the more you damage your pleasure sensors and the more you need to satiate them.

In the end, it’s best to only limit your splurges into the world of bad foods to one day at the most so you can limit your exposure and can get back to eating a largely unprocessed, lower fat and higher fiber and vitamin content diet – which is way more wholesome and body-friendly!

By Natural Advocate | January 14, 2013 - 2:37 pm - Posted in Detoxify

It’s the time of the year now where people begin to seriously consider going on a diet to lose some of the holiday poundage they’ve put on, along with getting rid of a lot of the unwanted side effects of extra weight. These effects include fatigue, generally lower energy levels, mood swings, clothes not fitting correctly, depression and more.

We often think of this period of time as a detox period, even if the diet we’ve chosen to get us back on track isn’t necessarily considered a “detox” sort of diet which is meant to cleanse the body of all the junk we piled in our mouths over the holiday.

Detox diets usually are very raw diets. They entail a lot of raw, uncooked foods that still have all the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and active nutrients 100% intact.  Cooking foods often drains them of a lot of their beneficial nutrients because the heat depletes that vitamin and mineral content and also destroys a lot of the other nutrient dense compounds that act as antioxidants within our body and give us glowing health.

Detoxifying the body often can clean out not only the intestines and the colon, but it can also rejuvenate your other vital organs such as your kidneys, lungs, and other vital organs that are necessary for proper human functioning as well as proper brain function.  These detox diets can also cleanse the blood itself, getting rid of the toxins and fatty buildups that tend to accumulate in the blood stream when the diet isn’t clean.

In addition to cleaning up the diet, some people also choose to supplement their diet with cleansing types of supplements. There are some excellent “greens” powders that contain nutrient dense green veggies like alfalfa and wheat grass all ground up, along with beneficial probiotics which help to replenish the gut with healthy and friendly bacteria to help you eliminate waste more efficiently and comfortably.

A great natural remedy for helping to cleanse the liver, which gets overworked during the holidays due to the excessive fats and often alcohols that we tend to consume, you can drink dandelion root tea.  It helps to cleanse the toxins that accumulate in the liver.

Oh yeah it’s also a natural diuretic, which is how it helps to rid the body of excess toxin buildup – it literally helps you pee it out of your system, so be sure to drink plenty of water when you do this type of detox so you don’t inadvertently get dehydrated.

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