Coconut Oil Has Superpowers

I have come to realize that the simplest foods can be the most effective at combating health issues. If you are searching for a natural solution, I definitely recommend that you add coconut oil to your grocery list. Coconut oil has numerous health benefits—here are just three of my favorites!

Arthritis supporter

In an animal study, rats were injected with Freund’s adjuvant—mycobacterium that causes arthritis, ulcers, inflammation, and death of tissue. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions of the coconut oil helped to decrease swelling and inflammation.

CANCER fighter

A study in Malaysia showed that coconut oil decreased the side effects of chemotherapy and it helped to improve the quality of life in patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Coconut oil has also been shown to prevent, stop, or slow the spread of colon, breast, and endometrial cancer cells.

germ killer

A study in Nigeria showed that coconut oil was active against Candida—a fungi that can be drug-resistant and can cause many health issues. An additional study showed that the growth of Clostridium difficile—an infection that can be severe and resistant to antibiotics—was inhibited when exposed to lipolyzed coconut oil. Another study showed that coconut oil was just as effective as chlorhexidine (a synthetic oral rinse) at reducing Streptococcus mutans—a common bacteria that can cause cavities.

Have I convinced you that coconut oil has superpowers? If so, go out and buy pure, organic, unrefined coconut oil and aim to consume 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day (max). The list of ways that you can use coconut oil is just as long as the list of its benefits. You can spread some on your sprouted-grain toast, throw some in your smoothie, or add some to your baked goods. Swish a tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes—do this three times per week, spit the coconut oil in the garbage after you are done, and brush your teeth afterwards—to help prevent cavities!

How do you use coconut oil?

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DIY: How To Get Rid of Ants Naturally

What do you get when you have small kids and a small amount of time to clean? Well, I’ll tell you what I get. I get ANTS! Luckily, I found a cheap, natural, effective way to get rid of ants!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Borax
  • Cotton balls
  • Plastic bag

Please note that Borax is a natural powder. However, it is toxic if it is ingested by kids. Therefore, keep these “ant traps” away from small children and pets.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut the plastic bag into approximately seven small squares. The plastic acts as a disposable, waterproof plate for the cotton. In the past, I used a plastic container; later, I switched to a plastic bag so that the ants could get to the mixture faster. If you don’t want to use a plastic bag, you can use any small, shallow container or plate.
  2. Mix the water, sugar and Borax in a small bowl.
  3. Submerge a cotton ball in the mixture and place the cotton onto the plastic. Repeat until you have enough ant traps or until the mixture is gone.
  4. Place the plastic in the path of the ants. Keep the ant traps away from children and pets as the Borax is toxic if it is ingested.
  5. Throw the cotton and plastic away in approximately 48 hours.

These ant traps worked for odorous house ants (ants that like sugar). The ants will carry the mixture back to their home and the whole colony will die from the exposure to the Borax. Vinegar and essential oils are also great for repelling insects, but the ant traps and Borax were more effective because they wiped out the entire ant colony. This recipe came from DIY Natural. Mommypotamus also has some great ideas. 

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Essential Oils and Hair Restoration

I recently had lunch with a business contact who asked me if there were any clinical studies regarding essential oils and hair restoration. A search on PubMed for “essential oils and alopecia” revealed 14 hits—two out of these 14 hits peaked my interest.

The first study compared rosemary oil and a synthetic medication called minoxidil. The second study involved four essential oils: thyme, rosemary, lavender and cedarwood. The writers of both research articles concluded that essential oils were effective treatments for hair restoration.

According to the drug label on DailyMed, minoxidil will not work for everyone and unwanted side effects can occur after use. In contrast to synthetic medications which can cause unwanted side effects, natural essential oils produce side benefits. The smell of rosemary oil can help with concentration; thyme can be used to purify the skin; lavender can calm the emotions and soothe the skin; and cedarwood can assist with mood stabilization.

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References

Hay, I.C., Jamieson, M., & Ormerod, A.D. (1998). Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Archives of dermatology, 134 (11), 1349-1352.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9828867

Panahi, Y., Taghizadeh, M., Marzony, E.T., & Sahebkar, A. (2015). Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed, 13 (1), 15-21.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25842469

This post was published on April 19, 2019. It was updated on August 21, 2020.

What is the Secret to Vibrant Health?

Do you want to know the secret to vibrant health? The secret is—there is no secret! What works for me may not work for you. Do you want to know why?

Every Body is Different

When I was struggling with a painful psoriasis flare on my hands, I tried different things for six months. The major changes that helped me were changes to my diet, a visit to a Functional Medicine practitioner, and a cleanse. When I visited the Functional Medicine practitioner, my lab results revealed Epstein-Barr reactivation and possible MTHFR mutation. Another person with psoriasis would have different laboratory test results, which is why my protocol might not work for another person with psoriasis. Some people with skin problems might only need to make minor changes to their lives, while others might need to make more drastic changes.

Everybody Has A Different Health Background and Environment

Some people had some health disadvantages starting at an early age because they were born via Cesarean section or because they only drank formula when they were babies. Some people constantly ingest antibiotics and medications that are harmful for their gut health. Some people are exposed to occupational hazards or many poisonous chemicals in their homes. Some people are exposed to toxic people at work and at home, leading to excessive emotional and physical stress. The fixes that I have found for my particular health background and environment would not apply to you because your health history and environment is different than mine.

So, the bad news is that there is no secret sauce for vibrant health. But the good news is that vibrant health is attainable.

Be Your Own Lab Rat

Start by making some small changes. If you don’t get the results that you want, add another small change. Add more water to your diet, add some greens to your diet, get rid of endocrine disruptors in your home, eliminate some processed foods from your diet, learn a new stress management technique, or start doing yoga. Keep track of how you feel after you add something new or take something away.

Visit A Functional Medicine Practitioner

A conventional physician will spend a few minutes with you and write a couple of drug prescriptions for you (in the long run, these drugs might do more harm than good). A Functional Medicine practitioner will spend a lot of time with you, (the consultations with my practitioner lasted for 60-90 minutes) will work to find the root cause of your symptoms, and will create a special care plan for you. My decision to see a Functional Medicine practitioner was one of the best decisions that I made for my health.

Keep learning and listening to your body. Vibrant health is within your reach. Don’t give up!

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Aspartame: AKA Fake Food or Poison

Years ago, I remember talking to my friend about healthy eating and how he managed to lose a lot of weight. He said that avoiding junk foods became easier when he stopped seeing junk food as real food. He realized that most junk food is not real food—most of it has been processed so much that it contains little to no nutritional value. Unfortunately, a lot of this “food” contains dangerous chemicals or poison. I would categorize aspartame as poison.

What is aspartame?

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener (fake food) with many names.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, also referred to as Acesulfame potassium (K), AminoSweet®, Neotame®, Equal®, NutraSweet®, Blue Zero Calorie Sweetener Packets™, Advantame®, NutraSweet New Pink, Canderel®, Pal Sweet Diet® and AminoSweet®. It’s used in a variety of food and wellness products like diet soda, gum, candy and vitamins.

-Draxe.com

What are some of the possible dangers of aspartame?

Systemic Inflammation

Inflammation is the cause of many diseases. A study suggested that aspartame causes systemic inflammation—even when dosages did not exceed the recommended safety dosages.

Cancer

One study showed that aspartame produced carcinogenic effects in rats and mice.

“Metabolic Derangements”

Evidence suggests that people that consume artificial sweeteners regularly may have an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and metabolic syndrome. Another study with animals showed that animals were more prone to develop obesity and metabolic syndrome if they had long-term exposure to aspartame in the womb.

Neurobehavioral Effects

In one study, a high-aspartame diet resulted in irritable mood, depression, and a worsened performance on spatial orientation tests. What is disturbing to me is that the dosage of aspartame given to the subjects was well below the maximum recommended daily level. I wonder what would have happened if the subjects were given the maximum recommended daily level.

Early Puberty

In a study done with nine and ten-year old girls, it was found that consumption of aspartame (from artificially sweetened soft drinks) was positively associated with a risk of early puberty. According to draxe.com, “long-term risks of early puberty include breast cancer, HPV, heart disease, diabetes and all-cause mortality.”

Almost Every Health Issue Known to Man

Aspartame interference in these functions may directly or indirectly evoke the development of many adverse symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, tinnitus, memory loss, learning disabilities and joint pain.

-Folia Neuropathologica

What are some natural sweet alternatives to aspartame?

Stevia, honey, coconut sugar, and dates are delicious and healthy in moderation.

I used to be an avid junk food eater that hated cooking and baking. When I started to have health issues, I cut sweet foods and other unhealthy foods out of my diet. Once my health began to improve, I started baking desserts with natural sweeteners. They taste incredible! I know that it is hard to avoid aspartame and other fake foods, but if I can do it, anyone can do it!

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References

Araujo JR, Martel F, Keating E. Exposure to non-nutritive sweeteners during pregnancy and lactation: impact in programming of metabolic diseases in the progeny later in life. Reprod Toxicol. 2014; 49, 196-201. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25263228/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Choudhary AK, Pretorius E. Revisiting the safety of aspartame. Nutr Rev. 2017; 75 (9), 718-730. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28938797/?from_term=aspartame&from_pos=1. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Edwards, Rebekah. Aspartame: 11 Dangers of This All-Too-Common Food Additive. Draxe.com. https://draxe.com/nutrition/aspartame/. Published May 13, 2019. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Lindseth GN, Coolahan SE, Petros TV, et al. Neurobehavioral effects of aspartame consumption. Res Nurs Health. 2014; 37(3): 185-193. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24700203/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Mueller NT, Jacobs DR, MacLehose, RF, et al. Consumption of caffeinated and artificially sweetened soft drinks is associated with risk of early menarche. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015; 102 (3): 648-654. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26178725/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Rycerz K, Jaworska-Adamu JE. Review paper effects of aspartame metabolites on astrocytes and neurons. Folia Neuropathologica. 2013; 51(1): 10-17. https://www.termedia.pl/Review-paper-Effects-of-aspartame-metabolites-on-astrocytes-and-neurons,20,20489,1,1.html. Published March 28, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Soffritti M, Belpoggi F, Manservigi M, et al. Aspartame administered in feed, beginning prenatally through life span, induces cancers of the liver and lung in male Swiss mice. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2010; 53 (12). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ajim.20896. Published September 30, 2010. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Swithers, SE. Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2013;24(9):431-441. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23850261/. Accessed June 5, 2020.