Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wacky Weight Loss Idea: Can Holding Your Breath Help?

Winter time and weight loss are not always happy companions. Stews, hot cocoa, and sweets all add inches to the waistline and hips.

Luckily, there are some weird and wacky weight loss ideas that you can try for weight loss. Some of them I've tried (they work) and others I have not.

If nothing else, they'll provide you some interesting entertainment.

Wacky Weight Loss Idea #1: Hold Your Breath
The idea is that if you hold you breath for 30 seconds at a time, several times a day, you can shed a few pounds. The reasoning behind this is that most of us don't get enough oxygen in our systems through our ordinary breathing. This can be caused by shallow breathing, poor posture, spinal misalignments, or spending too much time indoors, where the air quality is poor.

If you hold your breath, your body can't get oxygen through your respiratory system. Instead, it starts pulling oxygen in through the pores of your skin. Since the total surface of your skin is up to 27 square feet, that's a lot of oxygen exchange. So you get more oxygen into your body, which in turn helps your cells work more effectively. More effective cells means that waste and toxins are moved out of your body at a higher rate.

This all makes sense, wacky though it is. Breathing exercises have long been used in various esoteric and yogic practices, so I believe in the validity in this exercise, with a few caveats. During the winter, you have to expose your skin so that it can "breathe," which might mean running around in your undies for a bit each day. Also, your pores have to be relatively clean or your skin won't breathe effectively. Bathing with Epsom salts can help with that. It's definitely a wacky weight loss idea, but kind of fun.

Wacky Weight Loss Idea #2: Castor Oil Packs on the Abdomen
Now this idea I have tried and it does work. Did you know that we can store up to 15 pounds, or more, of waste in our intestines? It's all indigested food that our bodies have not been able to process.

One simple way to start moving that toxic waste out of your system is by applying a castor oil pack to your abdominal area once a week for a month. This is an Edgar Cayce remedy and it works wonders. You'll be surprised at what comes out your back end, so to speak. You can buy complete castor oil pack kits at most health food stores or at the Heritage store online. Instructions are freely available online.

Wacky Weight Loss Idea #3: Enzyme Therapy
Actually, this wacky idea has recently gone mainstream, with more and more people starting to understand the many uses of enzymes. You can use enzymes to do everything from brush your teeth to stopping the itch of poison ivy. It's also great for weight loss.

Since we mostly eat cooked and pre-packaged foods, especially during cold weather, we eat foods that don't have enough enzymes to digest themselves. Unfortunately, our bodies usually don't have enough enzymes either. The end result is the 15 pounds of toxic sludge that accumulates in our gut. Luckily, you can start cleansing that sludge out of your system by taking 2-4 high-potency enzymes with meals AND between meals.

The enzymes you take with meals ensure that the food you eat is fully digested, so you don't add more weight to the sludge already in your gut. The enzymes you take between meals go to work digesting the excess material in your gut and throughout your body. This promotes weight loss without a lot of effort. The convenience of this method is very attractive to busy people who don't have a lot of time to spend on other methods.

Weight Loss Ideas: Wacky or Right On?
I've been trying the "hold your breath" method for only a few days so I can't report on it except to say that it makes sense from a theoretical point of view. However, the second two approaches, enzyme therapy and castor oil packs, I can testify are effective for a great many people. They are a bit wacky, but also right on the money. They are also quite simple to do, so what have you got to lose except all that extra stuff around your belly?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products at wholesale prices on our website.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23232902@N05/ / CC BY 2.0

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gut Check: How Many Hours without a Bowel Movement Equals Constipation?

Sorry I have to ask, but do you know?

A lot of people have no idea. The short answer is 24 hours. If you regularly experience 24 hours or more between bowel movements, then you have chronic constipation.

If that is true, then you are not alone. Here are some shocking facts, the "straight poop" if you will, that might shock you: Studies indicate that

- 60% of the U.S. population suffers from chronic constipation

- the average U.S. adult carries around 15-30 pounds of fecal material in their large intestine (wow, that's a lot of weight!)

Symptoms of Constipation
The straight poop on constipation is certainly shocking, and it also explains the "beer gut" or pot belly that many people carry around their mid-sections. Oddly enough, though, most of these people have no idea that they suffer from constipation.

For years, one of my friends thought it was perfectly normal to have a bowel movement once a week. Not so.

Aside from not "going" on a regular basis, other symptoms of constipation can include:

- bad breath
- a strangely-colored or dark-colored tongue
- sleepiness or lack of energy
- bloating and other digestive issues
- headaches and dizziness
- a feeling heaviness in the lower abdomen
- poor skin condition

None of those are too pleasant, either. Luckily, there are simple natural steps you can take if you do suffer from constipation, or any of its symptoms.

3 Natural Steps to Relieve Symptoms of Constipation
If you suffer from constipation, your main goal is to get your digestion functioning at a more healthy and active level again. Constipation is a sign that your digestion has a lot of accumulated fecal matter that not only adds extra pounds to your body mass, but also prevents normal digestion. The extra fecal matter prevents your body from properly absorbing nutrients from your food, and efficiently getting rid of waste.

To help restore your body's normal digestion, you need to take three steps:

Clean, replenish, and replace.

Step #1: Clean Your Digestive Tract
There are many ways to cleanse your body, but the simplest one I know of is to do a castor oil pack on your abdomen once a week for 4 weeks. Castor oil packs are an old Edgar Cayce remedy and they work really well to help your body get rid of any kind of waste. They work equally well on anything from clogged up intestines to unwanted bone spurs. Castor oil literally dissolves any kind of unnatural material in the body.

You can buy full castor oil packs (which include a wool flannel cloth, castor oil, and a heating pad) at most health food stores. You can also order these supplies online at the Heritage Store. You will also need to have some baking soda on hand for cleaning up after you have done the pack.

A short version of how to do the castor oil pack are as follows:

1. Soak the wool flannel with castor oil, and place the flannel in an ovenproof dish.

2. Warm the wool flannel in the oven, until warm to the touch. Meanwhile, plug in the heating pad and warm it. Also, mix the baking soda with water so it forms a paste.

3. Once the wool flannel is warmed, place it directly on your abdomen, and then place the heating pad on top. Leave the "pack" in place for 1.5 hours.

4. Once you are done with the pack, wipe your entire abdomen with the baking soda paste. This converts the toxins released by the pack into harmless salts that can be washed out of your body through the lymphatic system. This step is very important so don't skip it. If you do, your body will not be able to excrete the toxins released by the pack.

The castor oil pack, done for four weeks, will definitely help clean your digestive tract. The next step is to replenish.

Step #2: Replenish the Probiotics in Your Digestive Tract
Once you have started the cleansing process with the castor oil pack, the next step is to replenish the probiotics that live in a healthy intestine. Probiotics like acidophilus and bifidus are friendly bacteria that play a huge role in digestion, once food passes out of the stomach. But stress, excess fecal matter, chlorinated water, and eating too much of the wrong foods can all kill these friendly bacteria, which can lead to poor digestion and constipation.

The easiest way to replenish these friendly bacteria is to take them orally. The best probiotics are stored in refrigerators in health food stores (don't buy the ones that are stored at room temperature) or bought online from reputable health companies. Sometimes taking a powerful full-spectrum probiotic, which has more than just acidophilus and bifidus, for a month can do a fast job of restoring your friendly intestinal bacteria, and relieve symptoms of constipation quickly. Eating yogurt "beefed up" with probiotics can help, but to fully replenish your supply of healthy intestinal bacteria oral supplements are your best bet. Yogurt tends not to have enough density of probiotics to truly replenish.

Finally, the last step is to replace the enzymes that are missing from the food you eat.

Step #3: Replace Enzymes with Enzyme Therapy
Adding enzymes into your daily diet is the last step towards a healthy digestive tract and relief from constipation symptoms. Because many of the foods we eat lack the enzymes necessary for digestion, we have to take extra enzymes to help digest our foods. While raw organic foods usually have enough enzymes to digest themselves, so our bodies don't have to provide extra enzymes, most of the foods we eat are cooked, packaged, or otherwise enzyme-light.

Taking enzymes with each meal with ensure that your food is properly digested in the stomach before it goes into your intestines. Taking enzymes between meals also helps with digestion, since these enzymes roam the body and "digest" toxins, extra fecal matter, and even proteins that have slipped into the bloodstream through the stomach wall.

Be sure to take an enzyme formula that has multiple kinds of enzymes, since each kind of food needs its own enzymes to fully digest. For instance, you need:

- amylase to break down starch
- invertase to digest sugar products
- lactase to digest milk sugar
- cellulase and pectinase to assist in the breakdown of fiber
- lipase to break down fat
- protease, bromelain, and papain to break down protein
- mycopepsin is a special enzyme characterized by its ability to break down proteins under acid conditions, which exists in the stomach

As you can see, there is no single enzyme that will break down every kind of food, so read the labels when choosing an enzyme formula to add to your daily regimen.

Constipation, and its symptoms, is no fun to deal with. Relieving those symptoms, however, are not difficult, especially if you follow the three natural steps outlined above. The cost of cleansing, replenishing, and replacing what's missing from your digestive tract is not expensive, and will save you tons in medical bills, not to mention give you the pleasure of a healthy body!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products at wholesale prices on our website.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andybutkaj/ / CC BY 2.0

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Food Allergy Symptoms: Natural Solutions for Relief

Food allergies are a bigger deal than most people think. Did you know that food allergies affect about 60% of the population? Listen to this:

"The incidence of food allergy is greater than the incidence of any other type of illness affecting mankind."

Wow, that's pretty powerful! The quote above is from James Breneman, former chairman of the Food Allergy Committee of the American College of Allergists.

Now here's the kicker: we make ourselves allergic to food. No kidding. Let me explain.

How We Develop Food Allergy Symptoms
We can become allergic to just about any kind of food. To keep it simple, I'll explain what happens with just one kind of food: proteins. When we eat protein, the act of chewing starts to break the protein down into component nutrients, a process which is continued in the stomach and then the small intestine.

According to researcher Karl Abrams, our normal healthy digestive process allows about 2% of these proteins to slip through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. Once in these proteins enter the bloodstream, our bodies no longer recognize them as "food." Now they have become "foreign invaders" and the body jumps into an immune response. It produces antibodies to fight off these foreign invaders, and food allergy symptoms are often the result!

When our bodies don't recognize food particles in the bloodstream, we become allergic to them. The next time we eat this kind of food, our body immediately goes into a food allergy reaction.

Food allergy symptoms can include digestive upset, such as diarrhea, gas, and bloating; skin conditions like hives; and swelling of various body parts, such as the throat or hands and feet. In fact, if it goes on for a long period of time, the liver becomes affected, since this organ is responsible for filtering the blood of excess toxins. When the liver is affected, then we can develop long-term chronic conditions like psoriasis.

What's worse is that most people don't have healthy digestion. So while a healthy digestive system let's 2% of the proteins we eat to enter the bloodstream, a body under stress lets even more proteins cross the intestinal wall, which produces even worse food allergy symptoms.

Natural Ways to Prevent Food Allergy Symptoms
Now that you know how we develop food allergy symptom, the next thing is to discover how to prevent them. Luckily, there are three nutritional supplements that can relieve and prevent these symptoms:

- AFA blue-green algae
- probiotics like acidophilus and bifidus
- food enzymes

#1: AFA Blue-Green Algae
Blue-green algae has two important nutrients to help prevent food allergies: beta-carotene and chlorophyll. Studies show that these substances in AFA blue-green algae help "dramatically stimulate specialized cells around the intestinal walls to secrete lubricating material and thus help prevent this type of allergic reaction" (Karl Abrams). In other words, the beta carotene and chlorophyll in blue-green algae strengthen the intestinal wall, so proteins and other food particles can't slip into the bloodstream. No particles in the bloodstream equals no food allergies. Abrams notes that the omega-3 fatty acids in the algae help as well.

#2: Probiotics like Acidophilus and Bifidus
Probiotics are the "friendly bacteria" that live in our intestines and do the bulk of the work of digesting our food once it has passed through the stomach. Acidophilus and bifidus are among the most important of these friendly bacteria, and provide a barrier between the intestines and the bloodstream, as well as helping us fully digest our food.

Stress, drinking chlorinated water, taking medication, or drinking alcohol can all decrease the population of probiotics in our gut, leading to what is called "leaky gut syndrome," the phenomenon discussed earlier in which food particles slip into the bloodstream. Taking acidophilus and bifidus orally on a daily basis keeps our probiotic population at healthy levels, which creates good digestion and prevents food allergy symptoms. In my experience, eating live yogurt is not enough to prevent food allergies. One needs to take highly-concentrated acidophilus and bifidus in capsule form that are stored in refrigerators (keeps the bacteria healthy and active).

#3: Food Enzymes
Did you know that there are enzymes and co-enzymes that digest every kind of food we eat? What's more, organic raw foods contain all the enzymes needed to digest themselves. For instance, Eskimos eat enough raw fish in their diet that they don't suffer from poor digestion or heart disease. Their food has enough enzymes to literally digest itself, keeping the Eskimos healthy. In fact, the word Eskimo even means "he who eats raw food." So, enzymes are very important because they are key to healthy and complete digestion.

Here's the really good news about enzymes: if your digestion isn't perfect, eating enzymes with and between meals can support digestion and help with food allergy symptoms. When taken with food, enzymes help ensure proper digestion and prevent food particles from entering the bloodstream. When taken separate from food, the enzymes are able to pass through the intestinal barrier (just like the food particles) to digest the food particles in the bloodstream. This prevents the immune system from thinking that food is an invader, thus preventing the immune response that causes food allergy symptoms.

Adding these three simple nutritional supplements to your daily regimen--AFA blue-green algae, probiotics like acidophilus and bifidus, and enzymes--can do a lot to support your body's digestive process, and relieve food allergy symptoms.

Simple, effective, and convenient ... now that's what works for most people when it comes to nutritional supplements!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products at wholesale prices on our website.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dan4th/ / CC BY 2.0