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!

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.

Sometimes you feel worse before you feel better. What to expect with probiotics.

Probiotics: Who Shouldn’t Take Them?

Some people find that taking probiotics causes them to have gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort. For most people, these symptoms are temporary; however, side effects are more likely in those who are very young or elderly and those who have less robust immune systems or a damaged immune system, such as those with HIV or a terminal illness. Indeed, probiotics might not be good for people who are already extremely ill.

A general concern is that probiotics are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Instead, they are classified as a food supplement, so consumers are at the mercy of manufacturers and their health claims.

Keep in mind that the effects of one strain of probiotics do not necessarily hold true for other strains or even for different preparations of the same species or strain. If you do experience gas and bloating from one type of probiotic, you can try switching to a different kind to see whether it agrees more with your digestive system.

“Because the quality and quantity of probiotics is not regulated by the FDA, it is difficult to accurately assess the effectiveness of one formulation against another,” Lucak says.

Expert Tips for Choosing Probiotics

Probiotics come in two forms: live cultures — such as in probiotic yogurt — or in a dormant (but still living) form, such as those found in capsules. If you want to try probiotics, here are tips to help you choose.

Decide on food or supplements. One advantage to probiotics in food is that they may also contain other beneficial ingredients, such as dietary fiber,  which also promotes digestive health. But most experts agree that it’s a matter of preference whether you consume probiotics in your diet or as supplements. I find that supplements tend to be more effective, as long as the probiotics are good quality.

Watch the expiration date. Because probiotics are living organisms, the amount placed in the container or capsule when it was manufactured may not be the same as when you consume the product. You must use these products before the expiration date to be sure the probiotic is still effective.

Play detective. If your doctor recommends a specific species and strain of probiotic, be aware that you may have a difficult time finding it. Many manufacturers don’t tell you exactly which strain is in their product; they only list the species (e.g. Lactobacillus acidophilus or Bifidobacterium lactis). If you’re looking for a specific strain of probiotic and it’s not listed on the label, call the manufacturer and ask. This information might also be on the company’s website.

Buyer beware. To avoid being scammed, don’t order products over the Internet unless you know and can trust the site. Keep in mind that the price of probiotics can vary tremendously, and a higher cost doesn’t mean the products are of higher quality.

If you decide to try probiotics, make sure you store them according to the directions on the package; some must be kept in the refrigerator.

Sometimes when you start a probiotic you will experience some dye-off as your body begins to rebalance the good bacteria. Give it a week or two and see how you feel before you throw in the towel. If things aren’t getting better try a new brand. The one I have found to be the most effective with all of my clients is the Orthomolecular Biotic. Take one Am and one PM.

I love My Salt Block + Recipe

I am sure you have heard about how great a salt lamp is for you right ?Have you heard of the benefits of the Himalayan pink salt block? It is my new favorite way to cook in the kitchen. My steaks, pork chops and salmon are amazing.   So hopefully I can convince you to pop on Amazon and order yourself a salt block with the information below.

The Himalayan pink salt block is catching on and for good reason. Not only do these colorful prehistoric crystals make healthier, tastier and more interesting meals, they’re also just darn pretty to look at! Not enough, you say? Who doesn’t want to cook on this beautiful block.

TOP TEN REASONS TO COOK ON A SALT BLOCK:

1. Adds Healthy Minerals To Food

2. More Complex Taste Than Table Salt

3. A Hint of Salt, Not A Lot

4. Naturally Anti-Microbial Surface

5. Extreme Temperature Resistance

6. Superior Heat Distribution

7. Holds Temperature Longer

8. Use Heated or Chilled

9. Food Cures Through Contact

10. Blocks Double As Serving Platters

Where To Buy Your New Himalayan Salt Block click the salt block below to change your world!!

Here is the First Recipe I used on my Salt block …yummy

Himalayan Salt Block Recipe – Seared Flank Steak

Flank steak has to be pretty much the best thing short of a foot rub while drinking a root beer float.  But it’s tough.  It’s ornery.  There is a common strategy to making the flank steak supple enough to eat without popping your jaw out of joint: marinating.  I’ve made coffee and ginger marinades, lime and tequila marinades, smoked salt and chili pepper marinades, vinegar and sugar marinades… you name it.  Every time, great steak.  But think of the poor steak.  A wonderful, flavor-packed piece of meat forced to suffer quietly the insult of subjugation to intense acids and sugars and salts.  When we see a flank steak, we see a quandary.  How do we get that elemental flavor out of a meat that resists the teeth?  There is a solution, a way honor the humble yet noble flank steak in its naked beauty, a way that takes virtually no preparation ahead of time, a way results in a fun, incredibly juicy and savory dish.

There are two simple tricks to this dish (if you can call steak seared on a giant block of salt a dish): cutting the meat against the grain, and cooking it at a high temperature.  Oh, and cooking it NOT on steel, but on a block of ancient, super dense, mineral rich Himalayan salt.

Ingredients:
1 2lb piece of flank steak
1 9x9x2 inch salt block

Place the block of Himalayan rock salt on the stove and set to low heat, gradually, over the course of 30 minutes, bringing it to high heat, until the block reaches a cooking temperature of 475 to 500 degrees F.  Cut the piece of flank steak length wise along the grain of the meat, creating two long strips.  Then, turning the piece perpendicular to the blade of your knife cut the strips across the fiber of the meat into 1/4 inch thick strips, each about 2 to 3 inches long.

When the Himalayan pink salt plate is hot, which you can tell by when a sample piece of meat sizzles vigorously (or however it is that a piece of meat sizzles when it is REALLY sizzling), or by moving your hand closer and closer to the hot Himalayan salt block until your hand definitely doesn’t want to get any closer at about 2 or 3 inches away, or by gunning it with one of those very cool infra-red thermometers and noting that it is 475 to 500 degrees F, you are ready to cook.

Flank steak sauteed on Himalayan Salt plates blocks bricks

Place about 12 pieces of steak onto the block.  After 15 to 20 seconds, flip and cook for another 15 to 20 seconds.  Serve immediately.

The major drawback to this dish is that no matter how fast you cook, you can generally eat faster.  I’ve noticed that when diners are hungry enough, it is possible to actually eat the entire pieces without chewing–sort of iguana style.  To avoid giving the impression that we are savages, we have conferred upon this dish a sophisticated name that distracts those we are trying to impress.  We call it bifsteak à l’iguanne.

Hence the name, steak a l’iguana.  A good way avoid just hovering over the stove wolfing down the hot, juicy, rare-on-the-inside, seared-golden-on-the-outside pieces of steak, is to bring the cooking to the table, where children can be controlled and adults are obligated to be civil.

Place the hot brick on a trivet and place the piping hot Himalayan salt brick on the table.  The block of Himalayan salt stores enough heat to allow for 3 to 5 courses.  (As the block cools, subsequent batches of steak will be saltier.)  And voilà, all the civility of a good fondue Bourguignonne with even better, more indubitably seasoned cooking.



The Hunt for a Kids Snack Bar

If you are reading this you most likely have some interest in living a healthy lifestyle. Well how about if your a parent and trying to give your kid or kids a healthy snack that doesn’t taste like sawdust or rubber.  I have been on the hunt for the top snack bars for your little ones. I have gone to all the most popular health foods stores to find the answer since most of us like to have the option of buying the snacks and trying them before we order a bulk load of the website or amazon.  So I had my son Jaxson try each bar give me some feedback. Yes, some got thrown right on the floor and others he gobbled up and called a “cooookkkiieee”. It is almost worth giving him a million bars because it is so cute when he says the word “cookie”.  I have posted some of his reactions on my instagram img_0064 (1)seefitliving if you want to check it out.

What was I looking for in the bar?

  • no or very little sugar
  • gluten free
  • organic or mostly organic ingredients
  • soy free
  • dairy free (but not limited to dairy free)
  • contains fruits and veggies

Now of course it is really hard to find a good bar that contains all of these qualities so I will post below some that come close to meeting all of these guidelines that my son or I would actually eat.  I did include some fruit snack strips in the list. Jax loves the Larabars  and it is nice because they now have some with sugar. The RX bar is similar to the larabar he liked all the flavors but the straight berry it is pretty intense. There are a ton of bars out there I recommend you check the sugar content if you don’t have to worry about any nut, soy or dairy allergies. I know its hard to be totally sugar free at times but it is nice to have the option when you can.

 

Why Acid Free Coffee and my new Milk Steamer

 

UnknownA lot of my clients drink coffee and have a serious addiction like most of the world. I definitely have my phases of being highly addicted to coffee. I love the process of making it, the treat and coziness of drinking coffee, my new milk steamer, sharing a special moment with someone over coffee and the list goes on.  I try to recommend to people to drink Acid Free coffee. WHY? Coffee is super acidic and can wreck havoc on your gut. It tears down the microvilli that protect your intestinal wall which protect you from getting leaky gut!! Another tip always add some kind of fat into your coffee. You can use cream, coconut oil, goats milk,  almond milk or coconut milk. There are tons of great creamers available that do not contain sugar or cows milk. So please try to buy acid free coffee to help protect your gut. On a side note I just purchased a Nespresso milk steamer and it has changed my world. The milk is so frothy and fluffy and yummy….. yes that is the best way to describe the experience 🙂

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Cauliflower Rice with Eggs and Goat Cheese

Herbed Cauliflower Rice with Eggs and Goat Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bag of Riced Cauliflower from Trader Joes – OR 1 small head of raw cauliflower chopped into a “rice like” consistency in your food processor
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Eggs cooked how you like
  • Herbed goat cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat, add the onion and saute until the onions start to caramelize.
  2. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
  3. Add the zucchini and bell pepper and saute for one to two minutes.
  4. Add the cauliflower rice and saute until tender, approximately another 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the Italian seasoning, balsamic vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Set aside.
  7. In another pan, make your eggs however you like. We love ours sunnyside up or over easy.
  8. Scoop a large serving of the cauliflower rice into a bowl, top with an egg or two, crumble on some goat cheese or for us, we had an herb crusted goat cheese, and garnish with some chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!