The Flu Vaccine–Yes or No?

It’s that time of year to decide whether or not you will get a flu vaccination. My advice as a health coach is to always make an informed decision about anything that affects the health of you and your family.

Information comes from everywhere–the internet, television ads, magazines, billboards, doctors, pharmacies, people you know, etc. Consider the sources–are they trying to sell you something or were they educated for marketing purposes (e.g. pharmacy companies educating doctors and clinics)?

Are you being made aware of any adverse effects? Are you reading the labels? Is what’s right for someone else right for you?

I believe in self-education, because no one knows your body like you do. Learn more about the flu vaccine at National Vaccine Information Center (www.nvic.org).

Personally, I do not get the flu vaccination. Instead, I strengthen my immune system to help fight viruses. My biggest concern with vaccines is the many toxic additives (like aluminum) that may contribute to chronic disease.

Here are a few things that I do at the first sign of illness:

Drink a cup of water with the juice of half a lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper. Sometimes, I add a little raw honey.

Take elderberry, which has been studied and shown to reduce the “shelf life” of viruses. It comes in syrup, tea, capsules, tinctures, and chewables.

Take vitamin D3 to help support my immune system. Have your levels checked every six months or so to see if you fall within the optimum range of 50-60 ng/ml. In the absence of adequate sunlight, especially during winter, levels can drop, providing less protection against the flu and other viruses.

Eat seasonal foods rich in vitamin C: citrus, organic peppers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, organic potatoes.

Eat seasonal foods rich in sulfur: onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables, eggs, sardines (eggs and sardines also contain vitamin D3).

Make sure that my digestive system is working well to eliminate toxins by eating plenty of fiber-rich plant foods and taking a probiotic, since 70 to 80% of the immune system is in the gut.

Hydrate with lots of water and nourishing soups to help flush toxins and keep mucous thin so secondary respiratory infections don’t easily take hold.

Take very warm detox baths with a few drops of lavender essential oil, which has anti-viral and calming properties. Diffusing eucalyptus essential oil is wonderful for a stuffy nose and congestion.

Stop eating refined sugar. Instead of reaching for carbonated soft drinks, popsicles, ice cream, etc., try bone broth, fruit and veggie smoothies, homemade soups, green tea, and herbal teas (God’s pharmacy). I like peppermint, ginger, chamomile, raspberry leaf, elderberry, and holy basil (tulsi). Try stirring a little ground cinnamon into a cup of warm water with some raw honey.

Have some natural cough syrups on hand. Two I like are Olba’s Cough Syrupand Zarbee’s Naturals Kid’s Cough Syrup + Mucous.

Rest, pray, and nourish my spirit with the Word of God–“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory.”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

Register now for the free online Autoimmune Revolution from November 5-11.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

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Links to Some of My Favorite Products

 

People often ask me for product recommendations, so today I am giving you a list with links to a few of my favorite products that I order from Amazon and Nature’s Sunshine. If you have any questions about any of the items, please feel free to ask me!

Here’s the link: List of Links to Some of My Favorite Products

Autoimmune conditions are on the rise, affecting old and young alike. For free education about this growing health concern, check out the free online Autoimmune Summit from November 5 to November 11.

Here’s the link: Autoimmune Summit

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

www.learningtobehealthy.com

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

This information is for educational purposes only and is not to intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Why an apple a day might help keep the doctor away!ūüćé

In the early 20th century, an article in American Medicine magazine praised the apple as ¬† “. . . therapeutically effective in all conditions of acidosis, gout, rheumatism, jaundice, all liver and gallbladder troubles, nervous and skin diseases caused by sluggish liver, hyperacidity, and states of autointoxication.”

Apples contain a soluble fiber called pectin, shown to have the following properties:

Pectin helps remove lead and other toxic metals from the digestive tract.  This is especially beneficial for those who live in high-traffic urban areas.

Pectin stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine, which can improve digestion and support the immune system.

Pectin helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL), making it useful against heart disease.

Pectin can help balance blood sugar.

Pectin can help manage both constipation and diarrhea.

In addition to pectin:

The peel of an apple contains quercetin, a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Apples contain the mineral boron, which helps increase blood levels of estrogen, acting as a mild “estrogen replacement therapy.” ¬†Estrogen helps prevent calcium and magnesium loss from bones. ¬†Studies showed that just 3 mg of boron a day decreased calcium loss by 40%! ¬†An average apple contains about .5 mg of boron.

According to Psychologist James Penland, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, a lack of boron can affect mental alertness and test performance by slowing the brain’s electrical activity. ¬†Dr. Penland found that just 3 mg of boron a day increased brain activity.

Fruits, nuts, and beans are some of the best sources of boron, as well as honey.

Bonus benefits:

Apples have compounds that are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral.

When eaten before meals, apples can help suppress the appetite.

Boron may hinder the excretion of magnesium associated with taking diuretics or digitalis.

Recommendation:

Buy organic apples.  According to ewg.org, non-organic apples come in second on the list of produce that contains high amounts of toxic residues.

Try this boron-rich Stovetop Apple Dessert recipe!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

 

Eat artichokes to help protect your liver!

This delicious, fiber-rich vegetable contains silymarin, which has been studied and found to reduce inflammation and growth of tumor cells in the liver.  These studies showed benefits for alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, liver toxicity due to drugs and chemicals, and increased survival time among patients with alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis.  Silymarin also helped improve insulin resistance.  (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21466434).

A widely used source of silymarin is from the seeds of the milk thistle plant, commonly taken as a supplement.  Milk thistle can also be brewed as a tea.

Artichokes also contain silymarin!  They aid the liver and gallbladder by helping to break down fatty foods, which can help with the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K, and help to lower cholesterol.

Artichokes are a good source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and folate, all of which are important for heart health.

You can cook fresh artichokes, buy them frozen, or keep canned artichoke hearts on hand. Canned ones (I prefer those in glass jars) should be packed in water or extra-virgin olive oil.  Read the labels!

I often top my pizza with artichoke hearts to add fiber and help digest fat in the cheese.  Many pizza places offer artichokes as a topping.  Add them to a green salad, chicken or tuna salad, eggs, meat and pasta dishes, or eat them with cheese and crackers, etc.  Try the easy recipe below for a quick dip, spread, or pesto.

Amazing Artichoke Topping

Blend until smooth:

Approximately 10 jarred artichoke hearts (drained)

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon dried Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, etc.)

1/8 teaspoon mineral-rich salt

1 or 2 cloves of garlic (pressed)

Eat as is, or get creative and blend in some fresh spinach or parsley, pine nuts, or beans.  Adjust liquid (a little water or liquid from the jarred artichokes) and seasonings to taste.  Add a dash of cayenne for a spicy version.

Eat with 100% whole-grain crackers, cheese from grass-fed cows or sheep, and/or raw veggies.  Use as a sandwich spread.  Mix into pasta or rice, or use a topping for chicken, fish, or beef.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

1 Corinthians 10:31– ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Blueberries–also known as “brain berries” and “youth berries”

It’s blueberry season, so stock up! ¬†One study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate 1 cup of blueberries a day had increased blood levels of antioxidants that may play an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, senility, cancer, cataracts, and macular degeneration. ¬†Other studies have shown that high blood levels of antioxidants have played a role in the prevention of breast cancer. ¬†(Check out 7 Proven Reasons to Eat more Blueberries.)

Historically, blueberries were pounded into dried meat to reduce its rate of spoilage.  The berries and leaves were also used to make tea as a remedy for diarrhea.

Blueberries are rich in tannins that can help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, and they also contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps to relieve both constipation and diarrhea.

Like cranberries, blueberries are beneficial for the urinary tract by reducing the ability of E. coli bacteria to adhere to the lining of the urethra and bladder.

Anthocyanins give blueberries their deep blue color and contain powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from damage that can lead to degenerative diseases.  They also contain the flavonoid quercetin, which has significant anti-inflammatory abilities.

Research done on rats by the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, at Tufts University, directed by Dr. James Joseph, showed better brain performance and improvement in coordination and balance in the rats that were fed the human equivalent of 1 cup of blueberries a day.  The study also showed that their brains seemed to communicate better, had less damage, and they even developed new brain cells!

Blueberries seem to have a positive effect on the areas of the brain that control movement and have shown positive effects on those with multiple sclerosis.  Some early studies on people who consumed a cup of blueberries a day showed improved performance on tests of motor skills.

Blueberries contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that has been shown in studies to reduce cancer rates in people who consumed the most dietary ellagic acid.  They were 3 times less likely to develop cancer.

Other fruits with similar health properties:  raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, purple grapes, cranberries, and boysenberries.

Eat a variety for all of their various health benefits.  Keep fresh, frozen, and dried fruits on hand.  Buy them unsweetened and without added preservatives or flavorings.  Remove any moldy berries before storing in the refrigerator.

Check the EWG’s 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce to see which ones are on the Clean 15 and Dirty 12 Lists. ¬†The good news is that blueberries are not on the Dirty 12, but strawberries are number 1 this year for being highly contaminated with pesticides. ¬†Grapes come in at number 6 and cherries at number 7. ¬†I recommend that you buy these two fruits organic.

Red and blue berries are perfect for adding a patriotic touch to your fourth of July celebration!

Happy Independence Day!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

1 Corinthians 10:31– ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Fix Your Gut, Fix Your Health

Once our food has made its way to the 20-foot long small intestine, enzymes are secreted by the pancreas to further digest fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.  The pancreas also makes insulin, which helps to control blood sugar.  Too many processed foods can weaken the pancreas over time, and digestion, as well as insulin production, can be adversely affected.  You may need to support your pancreas when you eat processed foods by taking digestive enzymes.

About 90% or more of the nutrients from what we eat is absorbed in the small intestine, which is lined with finger-like villi. ¬†These villi contain digestive enzymes that finish preparing the food for absorption. ¬†Villi also help prevent “leaky gut” by letting in the good and keeping out the bad, similar to using a strainer. ¬†When villi become damaged due to inflammation, they can no longer do there job efficiently.

Damage resulting from inflammation can come from many sources, including the malfunction of other organs, like the stomach not producing enough stomach acid or removal of the gall bladder.  Other pro-inflammatory conditions include a poor diet (including food sensitivities), fungal and parasitic infections, medications, and toxins.

When the villi can no longer properly absorb nutrients and keep out what doesn’t belong in the bloodstream, inflammation can affect the entire body. ¬†This can trigger an immune system response, and, when chronic, can turn into an autoimmune condition.

Some ways to stop inflammation and improve a “leaky gut” condition:

Remove food sensitivities (you may need to get an IgG Antibody Test).  You can also use a food journal to write down what you eat and drink, how you feel, and poop observations.  Eliminate any suspect foods for two weeks, and then reintroduce them, one at a time, over a three-day period, to see if you have any negative reactions.

Eat fresh produce, organic meats, fermented foods, and bone broth.

Stop eating hydrogenated oils (soy, canola, corn, vegetable, cottonseed, etc.).

Stop eating refined sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup).

Stop eating fast foods and packaged foods.

After nutrient absorption, what remains enters the large intestine, or colon. ¬†Some additional nutrients are absorbed there, especially fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). ¬†This is where beneficial bacteria (probiotics) assist in digestion–about 90% are located in the colon.

The final step in digestion is the timely elimination of waste.  The average time for stool to pass through the colon is about 36 hours.  If constipation is a problem, probiotics may help, as well as flax or extra-virgin olive oil, which help to lubricate the colon for easier passage.  Fiber, found in whole plant foods, is important for moving waste along, as well as for feeding the good intestinal bacteria.  Water is another crucial element for helping to prevent chronic constipation.

Some ways to help remedy constipation:

Include healthy fats in your daily diet, eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber, drink approximately half your body weight in ounces of pure water, and take probiotics as needed.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Consultant

1 Corinthians 10:31–Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Fix Your Gut, Fix Your Health!

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start! ¬†It begins with digestion, not just what you eat, but what you absorb–and that’s affected by the health of your gut!

Often, the first signs of health imbalances will show up in the form of digestive issues. This might be constipation (less than one bowel movement a day), diarrhea, gas, bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, etc. When these conditions become chronic, the digestive tract can become compromised. This interferes with assimilation of nutrients and elimination of toxins. Lack of nutrients and accumulation of toxins leads to more health problems.

Taking an occasional antacid or laxative to relieve symptoms may help in the short-term, but they do little for your long-term health.  Instead, get to the root of your digestive issues by paying attention to the warning signs and learning to have healthy digestion.

Step one:  Chew!  Digestions begins in the mouth!

You might be thinking, “I do that, check!” ¬†But, do you really?

You could count to 30, but I don’t like to count when I eat, so I chew until my food is mushy.

Why is this important?  Digestive enzymes in saliva mix with your food to help break it down into an absorbable form.  Saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that digests carbohydrates.  When you skip this step by not chewing adequately, the stomach has to work harder.

Chewing food well has a lot to do with mindful eating.  This happens when we take time to eat in a relaxed environment, paying attention to what and how we eat.  Eating on the go or while talking in a hurried manner often keeps us from paying attention to how we chew our food. This makes it easy to take big bites, give them a chew or two, and wash them down the hatch with some liquid.  Not good!

This week’s recommended action steps:

Pat attention to chewing your food thoroughly before you swallow.  Even semi-solid foods, like smoothies or applesauce, need to be given time to mix with saliva instead of gulping them down.

That’s all! ¬†See you next week for step two!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Consultant

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.