Castor Oil pack for the bowels and liver.

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Castor Oil Packs

Castor oil packs have been said to help improve liver detoxification naturally, support uterine and ovarian health, improve lymphatic circulation and reduce inflammation.

The idea is to keep castor oil on a piece of cloth on the skin for at least an hour with a heat source to stimulate lymph and liver function. Unlike some “detox” methods, this is not said to have any negative side effects and the there are many accounts of people who noticed immediate better sleep, more energy and clearing of skin symptoms.

There aren’t any conclusive studies on the use of castor oil packs externally, but a long history of traditional use in many cultures. There is some evidence that it can have a suppressive effect on tumors and a positive effect on arthritis when used externally. Castor oil packs also provide time of quiet relaxation, which also has health benefits, so I thought they were worth a try.

Castor oil packs have traditionally been used on various body parts:

  • On the right side of the abdomen or the whole abdomen, which is thought to help support the liver and digestive system
  • On strained joints or muscles (not as a substitute for medical care but to speed healing of minor injuries that don’t need medical attention)
  • On the lower abdomen to help with menstrual pain and difficulties

Even for external use, I’d consult with a doctor or naturopath to make sure that this natural remedy is ok for you.  It should not be used if pregnant or struggling with a medical condition. I also test any new oil (or any substance) on a small part of my arm before using on a larger area of the body.

How to Do a Castor Oil Pack

Castor oil packs are simple to do at home and I like them because they require me to be still and relax and read a book for at least an hour. They can be messy, but with proper preparation are not.

Needed Supplies

  • High-quality castor oil (hexane free) – I’ve gotten from Radiant life catalogs and if you search on Amazon you should be able to find it.
  • Unbleached and dye free wool or cotton flannel – can be reused up to 30 times
  • Wrap around pack (plastic free) or plastic wrap but not my favorite.
  • Heating pad
  • Glass container with lid – I use a quart size mason jar (for storing the oil soaked flannel between uses)
  • FYI castor oil does stain

You can also find castor oil pack kits online that will include everything you need.

How to Do A Castor Oil Pack

Before Beginning:

  • Cut a large piece of cotton flannel and fold into thirds to make three layers. My original piece was 20 inches by 10 inches and when folded it was roughly 7×10 but yours could be larger or smaller, depending on where you are planning to place it.
  • Thoroughly soak (but not completely saturate) the flannel in castor oil. The easies way I found to do this was to carefully fold the flannel and place in a quart size mason jar. I then added castor oil about a tablespoon at a time (every 20 minutes or so) to give it time to saturate. I also gently shook the jar between adding more oil so that the oil could reach all parts of the cloth. Ideally, this should be done the day before to give it time to evenly soak. I save the jar since this is where I keep the flannel between uses (it can be used about 30 times).

Using a Castor Oil Pack:

  1. Carefully remove and unfold the castor oil soaked cloth.
  2. While lying on an old towel or sheet, place the cloth on the desired body part.
  3. Cover with plastic (like a plastic trash bag), and place the heating pack on top of this. A hot water bottle, electric heating pad can be used, but hot water bottles and rice packs may need to be reheated several times.
  4. Lie on back with feet elevated (I typically lie on the floor and rest my feet on the couch), and relax for 30-60 minutes.
  5. Use this time to practice deep breathing, read a book, meditate or pray (or whatever you find relaxing).
  6. After the desired time, remove the pack and return the flannel to the glass container. Store in fridge.
  7. Use a natural soap or a mix of baking soda and water to remove any castor oil left on the skin.
  8. Relax and rest. Make sure to drink enough water and stay hydrated after doing this.

Other ways to use castor oil:

From Japanese Healing Arts:

Castor oil is used externally in three ways. First, castor oil may be applied directly to the skin for dryness, rashes, hives, fungus, infections, boils, furuncles, liver spots (age spots), warts, benign skin cancers, etc. Also for infection or fungus in the finger or toe nails. Apply castor oil directly and gently rub into the area for a minute or two. Repeat this application 2 or 3 times a day for a few weeks or up to two months in the case of stubborn warts.

Second, the application of castor oil packs can bring significant relief for any kind of trauma, sprain or degenerative joint disorder. In the case of a painful joint, apply a pack and secure it with an ace bandage. Keep the pack on the body continuously and reapply castor oil every 24 hours. For back pain, lay on a castor oil pack for 90 minutes every day for 5 days. (See instructions below.) In severe cases, you may have to repeat this course 3 times over a period of 3 weeks.

Third, castor oil packs are used for cleansing and regulating the internal organs. For disorders relating to the digestion, intestines, liver, lungs or reproductive organs a series of castor oil packs on the abdomen for 90 minutes a day can have remarkable effects.

Have you ever used Castor oil? I’ll be sharing some of my other favorite uses soon, but please share yours below!

Healthy Kit Kat Bar Recipe

With a buttery, coconut-based crust reminiscent of a shortbread cookie, a sweet, gooey caramel sauce in the middle and rich dark chocolate on top, these magical bars come together in one delicious crunch!
IngredientsFor the crust layer:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 T honey

For the caramel sauce layer:

  • 1 cup dates, pitted and soaked in water
  • 1 T unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 T coconut oil, melted

For the chocolate layer:

  • ½ cup dark chocolate
  • ½ t coconut oil, melted
Instructions

  • Place dates in a large bowl and fill with water to soften 1-2 hours.
  • Drain water from dates, set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine melted coconut oil, honey and coconut flour until it becomes a gooey mixture.
  • Place the dough in plastic wrap 20 minutes to set. Do not place in the refrigerator or the coconut oil will harden and separate from the dough.
  • While the dough settles, preheat oven to 350oF. Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to hang over the edges for easy removal.
  • Transfer the crust mixture to the pan and spread into an even layer into the corners of the pan.
  • Place crust in the oven to bake 10 minutes until slightly raised and browned. Cool crust 30 minutes before proceeding.
  • While the crust bakes, place the dates in the microwave to warm 1-2 minutes. Then add all ingredients for the caramel layer in a blender, placing the dates in first.
  • Blend on high until the ingredients are broken down and becomes a sticky, smooth mixture.
  • Spread the caramel sauce into an even layer over the crust. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours.
  • Once set, make the chocolate layer by melting chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat.
  • Spread the chocolate into an even layer over the bars. Place back in the refrigerator to set 1 hour.
  • Remove from the refrigerator and gently lift the bar out of the pan with the parchment paper and place on a hard surface. Slice into 12 bars using a large knife.

Chopped Chicken Salad with Creamy Almond butter Dressing

It takes a lot to get most people excited about a salad. Run of the mill salads don’t even stand a chance. Until now. I can’t believe how flavorful this Chopped Chicken Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing is!

Maybe it’s the bite-sized nature of a chopped salad. Or maybe it was the flavors of the vibrant, fresh produce. Or perhaps it is the creamy peanut dressing that covered every bite with comfort and love. Who knows. All I can say is that this salad is worth trying!

 

Servings: 4

Here’s what you need

For the Chopped Chicken Salad

  • 2 cups roasted chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 small head Green Cabbage, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Asian Pear, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup jicama, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon fresh scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup almonds, salted, and chopped

For the Creamy Peanut Dressing

  • 1 teaspoon Garlic, chopped
  • 3 Anaheim chili peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce— do not use if sensitive to sodium
  • ¼ cup raw almond butter
  • ¼ cup water

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine all of the salad ingredients.
  2. Place all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix until well combined. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis

367 calories, 24g fat, 19g carbohydrate, 10g sugar, 177mg sodium, 6g fiber, and 23g protein.

I hope that you get a chance to give this recipe a try this week. Remember that I’m only a call or email away to assist you in all things fitness. And if you are not yet one of my prized clients then call or email me now to set up your first workout – I’d love to help you achieve your best body ever!

enjoy

Samantha

seefitpt@aol.com

314.724.5040

Healthy Super Bowl snacks….

Mushroom Pizza Bites

Ingredients

  • 12 button mushrooms rinsed
  • 1/2lb italian sausage- Make sure it has no added nitrates or sugar. You could get ground meat and season yourself if you can’t find anything that is clean.
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pizza sauce or no sugar added marinara sauce CHECK FOR SOYBEAN OIL AND SUGAR

Directions

  1. Turn on your grill so it’s hot.
  2. Wipe down your mushrooms and remove stems. Then place them stem side up on a plate.
  3. Throw your italian sausage in a bowl along with your egg white. Use your hands to combine it all together.
  4. Then make tablespoon size balls of the meat mixture and plop them into the cap of the mushrooms.
  5. Place on top rack of grill and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until sausage is cooked through.
  6. Top each mushroom and sausage cap with either hot or cold pizza/marinara sauce
  7. Stick a toothpick in it and YUM YUM

FAT is your Friend!!!

Why is everyone so afraid of Fats?

Do not worry you are not the only one most of my clients are afraid of fat.  Fat in food has become the villain in America the past decades. Everyone assumes that low-fat and fat-free foods are what we should be eating to shed fat and look and feel our best. Well that is so far from the truth. Fat is the building blocks for all of our hormones. Believe it or not cholesterol is the main fat that helps us produce all of our necessary hormones. Without fat what happens? YES, our hormone levels can drop and as a results we have

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 thyroid, hormone, weight, fatigue, fertility, and many more symptoms. SO eat your good healthy fats!! Now I am not saying go eat a ton of corn oil and canola oil. There are good fats and bad fats which I will tell you about below.

My Top Favorite Fats for your body:

  1. Butter or Ghee (clarified butter)

Assuming you do not have a cow milk sensitivity or allergy butter is a great source of fat. I am not saying the “I can’t believe it is not butter” and Margarine are ok.  Those are filled with tons of trans fats from vegetable oils. I am talking about REAL butter made from grass- fed organic cows. The omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids found in butter help your brain function at optimal level and improve your skin health. These two fatty acids are considered to be very important since your body cannot produce them on its own. These fats must come from other sources.  Butter also has a lot of trace mineral and fat soluble vitamins. One being Selenium which can help with thyroid function.

Ghee is also a great option. It is loaded with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E. It also contains high levels of Vitamin K2 which helps strengthen bones. These types of vitamins are best absorbed by your body when they’re in a fat substance and then stored in your gastrointestinal tract, keeping your metabolism and digestion on track. Another great thing about ghee is it is lactose and casein-free. What this means is if you can’t have lactose ghee may be an ok alternative.

  1. Coconut oil:

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This is one of my all-time favorite oils to use because it has such a high number of benefits. You can cook with it, use it on your hair and skin, use it for your teeth and gum health, a natural lubricant, and raise your body temp just by eating it which can help you lose weight!  Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are easy for your body to digest and not stored in the body as far in small size, allowing them to infuse cells with energy almost immediately. These fatty acids also improve brain memory and function.

The high amount of natural saturated fats in coconut oil means that it increases good cholesterol and promotes heart health. IT also has anti-inflammatory effects which can help reduce pain in joints. Now that you know coconut oil is so great remember to store it at room temperature. I recommend buying extra virgin as refined or processed coconut oil can eliminate some of the health benefits.

From my personal experience with my clients some of them can’t loose weight and are constipated. I add in two tablespoons of coconut oil a day to start and they have started to loose weight and go potty!!

  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

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Now this is one fat that everyone should include in their diet. EVOO is what people like to call it. However, it is not recommended that you use olive oil to cook because if it gets too hot the good fat will become rancid. So keep it cool and use it on veggies and salads. EVOO is amazing for heart health. There was a study done that when people supplemented a Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil, it reduced the incidence of heart attack or dying of heart disease, probably due to its high amounts of monosaturated fats. The high amount of antioxidants in EVOO means it protect your cells from damage. We all could use a little damage control. EVOO also helps improve memory and cognitive function, and will work as an anti-inflammatory. Again, we can all use a little anti-inflammatory seeing that is where a majority of our health problems come from.

When you buy EVOO is is important that you buy a specific kind. “Extra virgin” is the best it means that there are no chemicals involved when it is refined. You want to look for an olive oil that is  cloudy if you can that means it has been refined down the least but there are plenty of non cloudy that are great. Believe it or not some of the most common brands are fake olive oil!! There was a study done that found most of the top selling brands failed the test for the standards for extra virgin olive oil and there was even a lawsuit filed.  A good rule of thumb is that if a liter bottle is less than ten dollars then look for the seal from the international olive oil council. Yes, there is such a council .

It is also good to check the harvesting date on the label; if it’s labeled as “light,” “pure” or a “blend,” it isn’t virgin quality; and last opt for dark bottles this protects the oil from oxidation.

Recap it is not recommended for cooling at high temperatures because of its low smoke point!!

  1. Omega-3s:

This type of fat is super important because the body is not able to produce them by itself. This fat we have to get through food or supplementation. There are three types of omega 3 fatty acids ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

The most preferred sources of EPA and DHA are found in seafood: salmon, mackerel, sardines, walleye, and cod are some common sources. ALA, is found in foods such as plants and some nuts and seeds and grass fed beef. The best nuts to eat with the most abundant amount of omega 3s are chia seeds, walnuts and flax seeds. For ALA the green leafy veggies are great such as Kale, Brussel sprouts and watercress.

There is a lot of debate over the high levels of mercury in fish and how we shouldn’t have any fish oil due to that but if you read the label for what type of fish is used you should be ok. Many people are staying away from fish all together due to the contamination and that is why supplementing with a good quality fish oil is key.

Cod liver vs Fish oil can be very confusing so let me clarify that a little bit. The difference between fish oil and cod liver oil is lower in omega-3s but very high in vitamins A and D. I would recommend that the best form of omega-3 fish oil contains astaxanthin (a powerful antioxidant that also helps stabilize fish oil), so my preferred choice is fish oil made from wild-caught pacific salmon, which has high levels of DHA/EPA and astaxanthin.

So, when it comes to getting enough omega-3s into your diet, I recommend eating plenty of omega-3 foods and also supplementing in most cases.

I would recommend at least 1,000 milligrams a day of EPA/DHA and about 4,000 milligrams of total omega-3s (ALA/EPA/DHA combined).  Many people will also notice a dramatic decrease in inflammation in the body, increase growth in hair and nails and better cognitive function. So make sure you get a goo

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d fish oil in your diet.

Grilled Octopus Salad

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This is one of my favorite things and I always forget about it. It is perfect in the summer for a light meal.

1 octopus (4 to 5 pounds)
4 stalks celery, medium diced
4 lemons, juiced
1 can large pitted olives, halved
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 red onion, medium diced
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
In large stock pot boil octopus until tender (1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours). Take out and let cool. When cool, clean and slice. Take the octopus and brush with olive oil and throw on the grill until slightly grilled. Then cut into small pieces. In a large mixing bowl, add celery, juice from the lemons, olives, garlic, onion, parsley, and sprinkle with olive oil. Mix well and season salad with salt and pepper. Remove from mixing bowl and serve at room temperature.

Let your digestion rest…

bone broth jars

Ok so you have almost survived the holidays. New Years is the last holiday, remember what I said in my old post about what to drink and how to prevent a hangover.

A great way to just give your body a break after all the sugar and rich food is give your digestion a small break. Try drinking broth for a day and a healthy light dinner loaded with veggies and lean meats.

Bone broth is a very powerful tool when it comes to your health. It will help heal leaky gut and repair damage to your intestinal wall.  The gelatin in the bone broth (found in the knuckles, feet, and other joints) helps seal up holes in intestines. This helps cure chronic diarrhea, constipation, and even some food intolerances. It also helps boost your immune system, which we all need this time of year.

Taking glucosamine supplements to help with joint pain has been common knowledge for years, but it turns out that bone broth has glucosamine too.  The chondroitin sulfate in bone broth has been shown to help prevent osteoarthritis. Bone broth will help reduce inflammation in your joints.

Bone broth is a good source of collagen. You can find collagen in all kinds of “plumping” products these days. It is way cheaper than Botox.

The phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium in the bones seeps out into the broth leaving you with the essential building blocks for healthy bones.

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BONE BROTH RECIPE

  • Whole organic chicken or 4 Large Grass Fed Beef Bones
  • 4 or more quarts of filtered water or about 1 inch above contents
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 7 carrots,  chopped
  • 5 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons of Thyme and Rosemary
  • Sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried green peppercorns, crushed or ground in pepper grinder
  • Fresh ginger root
  • 3 Bay leafs

Fill the bottom pot of a large stockpot with the onion, carrots, herbs, apple cider, celery, and ginger. Put the second pot on top and add the large peppercorn, bay leafs and the whole chicken. Fill the entire pot up with filtered water. Let the pot boil on high for 1.5-2 Hours until the chicken is cooked. Turn off the pot and pull out the chicken and let it cool. Once the chicken has cooled take all of the meat off the bone and throw the bones back into the top pot. Turn the stove on low and boil with a lid for 12 hours minimum. The longer the more intense the flavor will be. If you do not have a stockpot you can use a crock-pot. Drink UP!

 

NOTE: If you cannot make bone broth Whole foods sells small single serving containers of Pacific bone broth. Or you can order it from the Brothery at https://www.bonebroth.com.