Chocolate Fruit Brittle



By Jordan Miller;

We all know how you like chocolate, and sometimes a little bit once in a while is a deserved treat - especially if we have been working to eat right and exercise regularly.  Not only does chocolate taste amazing (to many), it actually promotes health! That's right, chocolate is actually good for you! Well, high quality, unsweetened dark (or preferably raw cacao) to be precise. You see, chocolate is loaded with magnesium; raw cacao is one of the highest sources, if not the highest source of magnesium that any other food source. As you may know magnesium is a great micro-nutrient for the heart and nervous system. It's helps feed the heart with an abundance of essential nutrients; it's by no mistake that chocolate is synonymous with love and everything that correlates to the heart. This amazing treat is really the best of both worlds. So go ahead and sink your teeth into this delicious recipe; it's sure to win over your heart.

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Chocolate Fruit Brittle

Ingredients:

12 oz (375 mL) high-quality dark chocolate, at least 70-80% cocao, chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) golden raisins
1/2 cup (125 mL) dried cherries
1/2 cup (125 mL) dried mango, chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) cashews, chopped
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) cayenne or chili powder (optional)
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ginger powder (optional)

 * Any dried fruit will work in this recipe.

Directions:

1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or lightly greased parchment paper.
2. In metal bowl, over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate until very smooth.
3. Stir in half the dried fruit and cashews, plus the spices.
4. Spread chocolate mixture onto baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining dried fruit and press gently to adhere.
5. Chill in refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes.
6. Break into pieces of desired size.

Serves 10

Nutritional Information:

Each serving contains: 310 calories; 3 g protein; 16 g total fat (0 g trans fat); 40 g carbohydrates; 4 g fibre; 10 mg sodium


Your question: What type of dried fruit would you include? (post your comments below)
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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.

Have You Forgotten Something?



By Karen Evennett;
 
Losing your keys, or forgetting why you’ve gone into a room? These things happen to us all, believe it or not, but they do tend to happen more as we get older – usually because we’re thinking about something else. Among my peers it’s also fairly classic to come to a standstill in the middle of a sentence because one of us has suddenly forgotten the film or its star that was on the tip of our tongue a nano-second earlier.

Normal memory problems

If this happens to you, too, the good news is it’s not a sign of dementia, according to Dr Jon Simons, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Department of Experimental Psychology at Cambridge University. Instead, this kind of tip of the tongue syndrome is what’s known as an “attentional problem” (which means that the harder we try to remember the name of that film or celeb, the more elusive it becomes) and though it does tend to happen more frequently as we get older, it’s usually for the simple reason that we’re not really so interested in ‘’what’s-his-name-from-that-film-with-the-ditzy-blonde-and-the-car-chase”.


The quick fix

In this case, the best solution is to change the subject – always guaranteed to release that information, albeit sadly when you no longer need it, says Dr Simons. Even so, there are things we can all do to generally improve our memories.  For example, the herbal remedy ginkgo biloba improves circulation, transporting blood and oxygen around the body to wherever it’s needed – including the brain.

Prevention

Whatever your age, you’re more likely to score well in a memory or brain function test if you lead a healthy life:
. Exercise regularly (at least 30 minutes brisk walking five days a week)
. Keep your weight in the safe zone (BMI 19-25).
. Don’t smoke
. Be health-savvy: avoid or treat hypertension, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes – all of which can contribute to memory problems by interfering with circulation in the brain, which is the most blood thirsty part of the body.

‘Started in your 40s, a healthy lifestyle like this will also reduce your risk of dementia in later life,’ says Dr Marie Janson of Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Need to know...

Of course one of the main blocks to us taking steps to avoid dementia is that most of us imagine it will never happen to us – even though it happens to one in 20 “other people” once they pass the age of 65. By the time it is happening to us, we will be unaware of it... But this is such a major health problem worldwide that, according to Professor Sube Banerjee, professor of mental health and ageing at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, so much is spent on treating those affected that, ‘if dementia was a business instead of an illness it would be the richest company in the world’.

It can happen to anyone!

There are an estimated 35.6 million people with dementia worldwide and by 2050 the number will rise to over 115 million, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International, making it something we really can’t afford to ignore – as I was reminded just last week. Ironically, the day after attending a dementia think tank for health writers, I turned up for a yoga class with an empty gym bag, and no kit...

My excuse was that I’d been too busy checking my blackberry and locating my keys while simultaneously packing – or not packing – my bag. But that didn’t make it any less disconcerting, and, as I struggled through sun salutations in my jeans and jumper, I could only reassure myself that at least my yoga practice would clear the clutter in my mind - so the day could only get better...!
  
Your question: Do you ever experience periods of short term memory loss? (post your comments below)
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About the Author:  Karen Evennett is a health writer whose features appear regularly in women’s magazines such as Prima, Woman’s Own, Bella, Reveal, and That’s Life!

The Health Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing



By Kyla Miller, R.H.N.:

Everybody has five major paths of elimination; the colon, kidneys, liver, lungs, and skin. Of these, our skin is the largest elimination organ, which is sometimes referred to as the “third kidney” (the second being our lungs). In fact, up to a third of all body impurities are excreted through the skin. It releases a pound of waste each day and will be the first organ to show symptoms of imbalance or toxicity. If your skin cannot efficiently release toxins, you may experience rashes, acne, hives, itchiness, body odour, or even eczema and psoriasis.

Dry skin brushing is an important therapy you can add to your detox program. Daily dry friction brushing is far more cleansing and eliminates more waste material than any soap could, and of added benefit, the skin is not robbed of its natural oils needed to keep it from becoming too dry. Dry skin brushing tones the skin, improves circulation, and aids in relieving skin conditions.

How dry skin brushing will benefit you
  • Regulates and increases blood circulation and lymph flow
  • Revitalizes and increases your skins ability to eliminate toxins out of the system
  • Rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin
  • Contributes to healthier muscle tone and better distribution of fat deposits (yes, with continued use it can break down cellulite)
  • Gently removes dead layers of skin and other impurities (keeps pores open)
  • Stimulates the hormone and oil producing glands responsible for keeping your skin looking and feeling young, smooth and strong

How to choose your brush

Choose a dry skin brush that has natural fibre bristles and a long handle for reaching all of your back. The bristles may feel to firms at first, but your skin will adjust to this over time. If you have very sensitive skin, you may want to start with a softer brush or a dry towel.

How to “dry skin brush”

Dry skin brushing means brushing the skin without the use of water or soaps. Use a separate brush for face and body. With the face, start by brushing the forehead and work down over the eyes, along the nose, cheeks, chin, ears and finally neck, using a firm, brisk rotary motion. If your face is too sensitive to use a dry brush, use a loofah or a special facial brush instead. When dry brushing the body, brush the limbs with an upward movement. Every brush motion should be directed towards the heart. Start by brushing skin gently until it becomes conditioned. Avoid brushing the breasts entirely. Avoid brushing the parts of your body that are irritated, damaged or infected. The scalp should also be brushed. It can stimulate hair growth by increasing blood circulation and will keep the scalp clean from dandruff, stale oils, etc.

Cleaning your brush

Wash your dry skin brush with non-toxic soap every two weeks or so. Dry it in the sun or a warm place.

Consistency is key

Dry skin brushing stimulates and invigorates the whole body. If done consistently (3-5 minutes morning and night), it will drastically improve the look of your skin and overall feeling of wellbeing.


For other ways to detoxify and cleanse the lymphatic system, check out our post on The Benefits of Rebounding.

Your question: Have you ever tried dry skin brushing? (post your comments below)

Sources:
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About the Author : Kyla Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. She has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Kyla is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and is currently studying to become a Reiki Master.

Simple Energy Boosting Juice



By Jordan Miller;

For many of us, life can often times be chaotic. As a result, we struggle to find the needed energy to get us through the day or partake in a  particular activity because we are trying to juggle or undertake a multitude of things all at once. When your energy levels have got you down, why not try one of these energy boosting juices (courtesy of Nomi Shannon)? It is loaded with vitamin C and it is a great tonic for the liver. There are times (sometimes in the early evening, after a full day's work) that we experience a lull in energy, so we often turn to a juice like this to give us that needed boost to help us through the rest of the day. Go ahead, give it a try! Let us know how it works for you.

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Simple Energy Boosting Juice

Ingredients:

2 cups of strawberries* (preferably organic)
2 carrots, unpeeled (preferably organic)
1 orange peeled with white pith left on (preferably organic)
1 cup of any dark green leafy vegetable, packed (preferably organic)
1 tsp of amla powder or camu camu powder (optional)


* If you are using frozen strawberries, ensure to thaw them before hand.

Directions:

Ensure to wash all fresh ingredients thoroughly in warm water.

Juice all ingredients in a juicer. If making in a blender, add 3/4 cups of water with the cup-up produce, and blend until smooth. If you wish to remove  pulp, simply strain the juice through a cheesecloth or milk bag.

Serves 1.

Nutritional Information:

Each serving contains: 255 calories; 7 g protein; 2 g total fat (0 g trans fat); 60 g carbohydrates; 14 g fibre; 130 mg sodium


Your question: Are there any other ingredients you would add to the mix? (post your comments below)

Sources:
http://www.alive.com/
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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.

The Health Benefits of Rebounding



By Jordan Miller;

Rebounding is something rather new in the field of fitness. It has revolutionized the way we exercise, and we are forever grateful for having crossed its path a few short years ago. For those of us who don't know what rebounding is, let us help bring you up to speed. Essentially, rebounding is a therapeutic movement on a mini trampoline. As it moves all parts of our body, we can also refer to it as a cellular exercise. Now this concept may be rather new to many of us. When we think about our bodily functions, we know that the heart pumps blood through our bodies, but if we take a closer look at our lymphatic system (white blood cell system) it does not have a pump, so in effect, this system is completely dependent on our movement in order for proper circulation. As a result, rebounding is the perfect activity because it gets everything moving at once. Not only does it help get the "juices" flowing, it also helps to remove toxins and absorb nutrients at the cellular level where they can be converted into energy. This form of exercise, we believe is superior to any other source because it not only uses gravity but two other forces (acceleration and deceleration).

Primary Health Benefits

More efficient: The primary benefit of rebounding is that, as described previously, strengthens every cell. Since rebounding includes other forces (acceleration and deceleration) your weight doubles at the bottom of the bounce, or from the perspective of time, what would generally take you doing hours of "regular" exercise, would simply take you a half an hour on a rebounder. Overall, it's 60-70% more efficient than regular exercise (cardio and weights). It was proven by Albert Einstein in 1911 that the aligned forces of acceleration, deceleration and gravity result in an increased gravitational load. What this means for the body is that during rebound exercise cells adjust to the increased load by becoming stronger. Rebounding strengthens virtually every cell of the body at the same time and is equivalent to resistance training for the cells. As a result of the longer springs of a rebounder, every move is easier and more gently on the knees and ankles.

Detoxification: As we have briefly discussed, rebounding circulates the lymphatic fluids and cleanses the lymph system. It works with and against gravitational pressures. In effect, it also increases the white blood count, thus strengthening the immune system. Another important aspect is the return of trapped blood proteins through circulation.


Other Health Benefits
  • Increases oxygen delivery and blood flow.
  • Promotes Mind-Body Unity - better learning, intuition, balance of two hemispheres of the brain.
  • Creates homeostasis which is the general balance of all systems of the body. Sickness represents blockages in the body. Rebound exercise can help to remove the blockages, return blood flow and circulation back into the diseased part 
  • Relieves tension; relaxes
  • Rehabilitates after bed rest
  • Stabilizes vestibular (inner ear)
  • Stimulates the nerves in the joints, ligaments, and muscles
  • Creates balance between mind and body, slows the brain waves to "alpha" level which is the level in where we connect with the inner world, learn better and can relax
  • Improves vision

Who Can Rebound?

Virtually anyone can do this exercise. Young and old, even the sick. The shock absorbing springs allow for virtually shock-free movement to your knees and ankles.

When and How long?

The longer, and more you do it the better. 5 minutes is better than 3 or 30 minutes is better than 10. You have to find your own routine and do it every day or at least 3-4 times a week. Kyla and I rebound 5-10 minutes every morning, sometimes 5-10 minutes in the evening to help us relax before we go to bed. We would suggest to not undertake a strenuous workout before bed, just some gentle bounces and meditation.

This revolutionary exercise offers us many health benefits. The upside is that it is much less straining than regular exercise and helps stimulate our lymphatic system. We personally own a Needak rebounder, but any quality rebounder shall do. We recommend the CELLERCISER by David hall if you want a superior machine. Until next time, happy rebounding!

Your question: How often (if at all) do you rebound through the week? (post your comments below)

Sources:
Brooks, Linda: Rebounding to Better Health. Sixth Printing, KE Publishing, 51-2; 39-56; 71-6, 2006
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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.

Quinoa Salad and Cider Vinaigrette



By Jordan Miller;

Today we bring you a recipe (courtesy of Dreena Burton)  that is packed full of nutrients. Quinoa, an ancient Peruvian pseudo-grain, has been used for many centuries by the Inca and Mayan cultures of South America. As it was noted in our previous article, it is primarily known for its protein content, but it is also host to many beneficial micro-nutrients as well. We offer you this simple recipe in hopes of tickling your taste-buds and providing you with something that is rather simple to make. Not only does it taste good, it will give you plenty of protein and quality carbohydrates to keeping you running for several hours. We hope you enjoy it! Until next time, keep following your instincts. ~ with love.

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Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

3 cups (750 mL) cooked quinoa*, cooled
1 cup (250 mL) red bell peppers, chopped
1/4 cup (60 mL) green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (125 mL) cucumber,  diced
1/4 cup (60 mL) green pistachios
1/4 cup (60 mL) hempseeds
3 Tbsp (45 mL) basil or parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt
 1/2 tsp of turmeric
1/4 cup (60 mL) Cider Vinaigrette (recipe follows)


Directions:

*Ensure that quinoa is cooked ahead of time. Simply take 1 cup of dried quinoa and 1 3/4 cups of water, add to saucepan and cook for 15-20 minutes on medium heat, or until water has been absorbed.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Add cider vinaigrette ( recipe below) and mix well. Serve. Put remaining ingredients in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 5 days.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Nutritional Information:

Each serving contains: 215 calories; 10 g protein; 7 g fat (0 g trans fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrates; 5 g fibre; 87 mg sodium


Cider Vinaigrette

This tangy vinaigrette works exceptionally well with the quinoa recipe above. If you feel daring, you may also try it on some of your other favourite dishes.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (60 mL) apple cider vinegar
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp (25 mL) pure , raw honey
1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

With hand blender or in blender, purée all ingredients except oil. Continue blending and drizzle in oil. Season to taste with additional sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

Nutritional Information:

Each 1/4 cup (60 mL) serving contains: 165 calories; 1 g protein; 17 g fat (0 g trans fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrates; 0 g fibre; 450 mg sodium


Your question(s): What other ways do you eat quinoa? (post your comments below)

Sources:
http://www.alive.com
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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.

28 Fun Facts About Our Brain



By Jordan Miller;

The human brain has amazed and baffled people through the ages. It's complexities continue to baffle many today. People have devoted much of their life to studying the brain and how it works. Known by some as the central processing unit of our body, the brain has many functions it performs daily. We have all been entrusted with the care and feeding of this most extraordinary and intricate creation. Home to our mind and personality, our brain houses our wonderful memories and future hopes. It orchestrates the symphony of consciousness that gives us purpose, motion, passion, and emotion. Let us examine some of the brains most interesting characteristics we know thus far.

30 Fun Facts About Our Brain
  1. There are no pain receptors in the brain, thus the brain can feel no pain.
  2. The human brain is the fattest organ in the body and may consists of at least 60% fat.
  3. At birth, your brain was almost the same size as an adult brain and contained most of the brain cells for your whole life.
  4. The capacity for such emotions as joy, happiness, fear, and shyness are already developed at birth. The specific type of nurturing a child receives shapes how these emotions are developed.
  5. There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain.
  6. Your brain stops growing at age 18.
  7. The first sense to develop while in utero is the sense of touch. The lips and cheeks can experience touch at about 8 weeks and the rest of the body around 12 weeks.
  8. Your brain uses 20% of the total oxygen in your body.
  9. Information can be processed as slowly as 0.5 meters/sec or as fast as 120 meters/sec (about 268 miles/hr).
  10. It is thought that a yawn works to send more oxygen to the brain, therefore working to cool it down and wake it up.
  11. While awake, your brain generates between 10 and 23 watts of power–or enough energy to power a light bulb.
  12. The brain can live for 4 to 6 minutes without oxygen, and then it begins to die. No oxygen for 5 to 10 minutes will result in permanent brain damage.
  13. A study of one million students in New York showed that students who ate lunches that did not include artificial flavors, preservatives, and dyes did 14% better on IQ tests than students who ate lunches with these additives.
  14. Scientists have discovered that men and women’s brains react differently to pain, which explains why they may perceive or discuss pain differently.
  15. Boredom is brought on by a lack of change of stimulation, is largely a function of perception, and is connected to the innate curiosity found in humans.
  16. The connection between body and mind is a strong one. One estimate is that between 50-70% of visits to the doctor for physical ailments are attributed to psychological factors.
  17. Anomia is the technical word for tip-of-the-tongue syndrome when you can almost remember a word, but it just won’t quite come to you.
  18. Estrogen (found in both men and women) has been shown to promote better memory functions.
  19. Just because you don’t remember your dreams doesn’t mean you don’t dream. Everyone dreams!
  20. A world champion memorizer, Ben Pridmore memorized 96 historical events in 5 minutes and memorized a single, shuffled deck of cards in 26.28 seconds.
  21. Most people dream about 1-2 hours a night and have an average of 4-7 dreams each night.
  22. While you sleep, your body produces a hormone that may prevent you from acting out your dreams, leaving you virtually paralyzed.
  23. If you are snoring, you are not dreaming.
  24. Japanese researchers have successfully developed a technology that can put thoughts on a screen and may soon be able to screen people’s dreams.
  25. Laughing at a joke is no simple task as it requires activity in five different areas of the brain.
  26. Ever notice that you yawned after someone around you did? Scientists believe this may be a response to an ancient social behaviour for communication that humans still have.
  27. The average number of thoughts that humans are believed to experience each day is 70,000.
  28. The word "brain" appears 66 times in the plays of William Shakespeare.
There you have it! Some fun facts about our brain. Always remember to feed your brain with plenty of good nutrients and limit its exposure to too harmful electronic frequencies and brain debilitating foods and substances. Meditate when you can, laugh often and connect to the ground to keep your brain young and healthy.


Your question: Can you think of any other fun facts? (post your comments below)

Sources:
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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.

Raw Goji Berry and Cacao Bars



By Jordan Miller;

Raw Food has been part of our life for well over 3 years now. It is something that has helped us along our journey into better health. The idea of eating "raw" food is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, as many people begin to discover its healing and energizing properties. Raw food is simply eating foods that have not been cooked or processed. Essentially, they provide the body with bio-available nutrients to assist in healing and to invigorate our mind, body and soul. If you haven't tried this diet, we highly recommended it. For all those raw foodies out there we are happy to provide you with a delicious raw snack (courtesy of Susan Powers) that is bound to get your taste-buds activated. Need a morning boost or an afternoon pick me up? These bars are the perfect addition to any diet. These are tasty treats made with super healthy ingredients which not only help quell your hunger, but provide your body with high nutrient energy to keep you going. Let us know what you think. ~ with love.

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Energy Bar Recipe

1.The Base

Ingredients:

1 C Almonds (soaked)
1 C Pumpkin Seeds (soaked)
1 C Flax Seeds (soaked in 1 1/2 C water)
1/3 C Honey (or preferred "raw" sweetener)
1 T Cinnamon
1/2 C Goji Berries
1/2 C Cacao Nibs

Directions:

1. Soak almonds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds for at least 6 hours. Drain almonds and pumpkin seeds.
2. Place almonds and pumpkin seeds in food processor. Process until well ground but still chunky.
3. Add Honey and cinnamon, pulse until well combined.
4. Remove from food processor and place large bowl. Add flax seeds, cacao nibs and goji berries, stir.
5. Press into a rectangle on non-stick dehydrator sheet. You want these to be 1/2″ thick.
6. Dehydrate at 145 for 45 minutes. Reduce heat to 115 and dehydrate for 3 more hours.
7. Peel off dehydrator sheet, dehydrate for 2 more hours. At this point, you will remove them from the dehydrator, cut into bars, separate so there is a little space in between each bar and return to dehydrator for 2-3 more hours. You want them dry but not brittle. They should be a little soft.
8. Top with raw chocolate.


2.Raw Chocolate Topping

Ingredients:

1 C Raw Cacao Butter
1 t. Vanilla
3 T Coconut Oil
2 T Honey
7 oz. Cacao Powder

Directions:
 
1. Melt cacao butter and coconut oil in dehydrator or over hot water.
2. In food processor, combine melted cacao butter, coconut oil and vanilla.
3. Remove 1/2 mixture and set aside.
4. Add 1/2 cacao powder and combine.
5. Add Honey and combine.
6. Add coconut butter that was set aside and combine.
7. Add remaining cacao powder, mix well. It should be quite liquid at this point. It will harden as it cools.

Yields two dozen, 1″ x 3 bars


Your question: What other things do you eat goji berries or raw cacao with? (post your comments below)
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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.

How to Balance your Hormones Naturally



By Jordan Miller;

Hormones are an integral part to many of our bodily functions. They are considered key messengers in directing cells to perform many important tasks and to stimulate the right chemicals so that our body can respond to the various external and internal stimuli. A healthy hormone system is one of the most important things to consider for good health. Many of us do not realize how the lack of a healthy, proper functioning hormone system can be attributed to many illnesses and diseases we face as a culture today - particularly cancer of the breast and of the prostate. Essentially, the reason why we are facing an ever increasing rate of disease these days is because our bodies our exposed to more than 77 000 known chemicals that have been introduced to our environment since the early 1940's. These include, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, larvacides, food additives, synthetic estrogens, and the list goes on. These are present virtually everywhere today; in the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breath.
  
There is Hope

Fortunately, there is hope beyond this bombardment of chemicals and their accumulative health effects. Essentially, we know very little about our bodies and how they function. Most of us are completely left in the dark, or find it hard to reference a good source in order to point us in the right direction. Kyla and I do our very best (often times struggling with the conflicting information) with what we find, to keep our bodies functioning optimally. When in doubt, however, we simply listen to our bodies, and how certain foods and supplements work with them - as everyone is different. The good news is we have discovered some important information about hormones, and the keys to balancing them in our bodies. We came across a video from Longevity Warehouse, presented by David Wolfe at the last Longevity Now Conference in California, and we discovered some mind blowing information we have been looking for and we are very excited to have this opportunity to share it with you. We are beginning to unlock the secrets of health, and rediscover how our ancestors had been able to live so long and healthy. In summary, we have provided (below) 5 key elements to better hormone health from the video.

Understanding Estrogen

The term "estrogen" is used to collectively describe the female hormones, the most potent of which is estradiol. The other important-but less powerful-estrogens are estrone and estriol. Estrogens affect the growth, differentiation, and function of diverse target tissues throughout the body-not just those involved in the reproductive process. Estrogens play an important role in bone formation and maintenance, exert cardioprotective effects, and influence behaviour and mood. Estrogens also have important actions in male tissues, such as the prostate and testes.

Improving Estrogen Metabolism

It is now well known that one of the most prominent causes of breast cancer, as well as many other hormone related health problems in both men and women, is excessive estrogen exposure. Improving estrogen metabolism can be of benefit in women with various conditions and family histories, including a family history of breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer, and conditions such as endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome, and uterine fibroid tumours. Beneficial modulation of estrogen metabolism can be accomplished through dietary and lifestyle modifications such as increasing fibre and reducing fat, increasing phytoestrogen intake, losing weight, and increasing exercise. In addition, many nutrients effectively reduce estrogen load by supporting preferred pathways of estrogen metabolism and detoxification. These include isoflavones, indole-3-carbinol, B vitamins, magnesium, limonene, calcium D-glucarate, and antioxidants. The influences of these nutrients on estrogen metabolism may have profound significance for diseases and conditions in which estrogen plays a role in clinical expression.

Metabolism of estrogen within the body is a complex subject. Estrone and estradiol are biochemically interconvertible and yield the same family of estrogen metabolites. Because these metabolites vary greatly in biological activity, the ultimate biologic effect of estrogen depends on how it is metabolized. The metabolism of estrogen takes place primarily in the liver through various processes - including methylation.

1. Methyl "Donors"

Essentially, certain metabolites (catechol estrogens) can damage DNA and promote carcinogenesis directly or indirectly. This can be minimized through detoxification and excretion of the catechol estrogens via methylation. Therefore, supporting the methylation pathways promotes detoxification of estrogens and provides for more beneficial metabolites of estrogen. Some important substances to ingest include:
  • Beet Juice (which contain Betaine)
  • MSM powder (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane)
  • SAMe 
  • Vitamin B6, B9, and B12 (Methyl-cobalamin)
  • Goji berries

2. "Bad" Estrogen Removers

Next, we want to ensure we are helping our bodies remove excess estrone and estradiol. Some of the foods that we want to ingest that help remove these "bad" estrogens include:
  • Button mushrooms
  • Berries
  • Calcium D Glucarate (fibres in apples and brussel sprouts)
  • Citrus essential oil
  • Citrus peel (lemon or lime; not orange)
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower)
  • De-fatted flax
  • Diindolylmethane (DIM)
  • Indole 3 Carbinol (I-3-C; substance found in broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts)
  • Iodine
  • Lignan rich foods and extracts (tree bark, tree fibres, flaxseeds, and bran layer of grains, beans, and seeds
  • Melatonin (hormone)
  • Oats

3. Natural Aromatase Inhibitors

Aromatase inhibitors work by inhibiting the action of the enzyme aromatase, which converts androgens (progesterone and pestosterone) into estrogens by a process called aromatization. In order to inhibit this conversion, we can take conventional pharmaceutical drugs or we can approach it naturally through foods and supplementation. Essentially, we can inhibit the conversion of androgens to estrogens by ingesting the following:
  • Passionflower (best taken sublingually from a tincture)
  • Chamomile
  • Nettle root (men)
  • Soy extracts (genestein, daidzein)
  • Lignan rich foods and extracts (tree bark, tree fibres, flaxseeds, and bran layer of grains, beans, and seeds
  • Resveratrol (Grape derived; also found in raw peanuts)
  • Oleuropin (all parts of the olive tree)
  • Quercitin (onions, apple skin, berries, cruciferous vegetables)

4. Natural Hormone Builders

It is important to note that the building block of all hormones is cholesterol. Contrary to popular belief, cholesterol is an important co-factor for your body's endocrine system. The true cause of a heart attack is primarily due to elevated Homo-cysteine levels because there is a missing methyl group. Some foods to take in order to build your androgens (progesterone for women and testosterone for men) include:
  • Bee pollen (both men and women)
  • Pine pollen (men; contains bio identical testosterone)
  • Chaste berry (women: contains bio identical progesterone)
  • Coconut Oil (pregnenolone - precursor to progesterone)
  • Colostrum
  • Deer Antler
  • DHA
  • Fennel plants (dill fennel, star anise; helps produce breast milk)
  • Maca (both men and women; adaptogen)
  • Royal jelly (both men and women)
  • Saturated fat
  • Tongkat Ali (herb for men: increases testosterone by 3-4 times)
  • Tribulus (herb for men; also increases testosterone)
  • Yam/Sweet Potato

5. Herbal Hormone "Helpers"

Further to some of the hormone builders listed above, we have listed below certain herbs that can help boost your androgens:
  • Ashawagenda (men)
  • Catuaba
  • Dong Quai (women)
  • Ginseng (men)
  • Goji berries
  • Gynostemma (women)
  • Epimedium (horny goat weed) 
  • Eucommia (jing herb: a great teleromase activator combined with Epimedium)
  • Kelp
  • Poria (spleen activated; important for those who eat a strict raw diet)
  • Red clover
  • Red raspberry leaf (women)
  • Rehmannia root (spleen activated: also important for those who eat a strict raw diet)
  • Sarsaparilla
  • Saw Palmetto (men)
  • Suma
  • Sasha Jergon
  • Tulsi (women)
  • Yohimbe (men)
  • Muira puama

As you can see, the best "medicine" is prevention. Tuning in to the many natural substances that mother earth provides us through her genuine love, can help us ward off many unnecessary diseases and sickness.

Your question: What other things do you do to balance your hormones? (post your comments below)

Sources:
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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.

Raw Zucchini Pasta with Pesto (Salad)



By Jordan Miller;

Looking for a gluten free alternative to pasta? Tired of cooking with rice or spinach noodles? Why not try this dish. The "pasta" is actually made with fresh zucchini. I know what you're thinking, zucchini? You betcha! Kyla and I also sometimes use celery root or carrots, but zucchini seems to be the most pleasant on the palate. Go ahead, try it out; tell us what you think! This dish is actually much more enjoyable in the summer as we tend to eat much more local fresh produce, but we were just so excited to share this with you guys we couldn't wait. The most important thing is to have fun with it!
  
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The "Pasta"

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups (1 L) cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh basil, finely chopped. 
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) Celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) sweet onion, thinly sliced 
  • 2 cups (500 mL) fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced (or button mushrooms)
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) low-sodium tamari
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 - 6 in (15 cm) zucchinis*

Tools Needed:
  • A sharp knife
  • 2 large bowls or jars
  • A mandoline, "spiralizer", or potato peeler

Directions:

1. Place the tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, and Celtic sea salt in a large bowl/jar, and marinate for at least 30 minutes. You can do this the night before. It’s fine to leave the jar on the counter.

2.  Marinate sweet onion and mushrooms with the tamari and oil for 10 minutes to soften and colour.

3. Slice zucchinis lengthwise with a mandoline, spiralizer or potato peeler. You'll be surprised, it actually looks like real pasta!

* Only include the skin when organic produce is purchased. We want to try to limit our exposure to pesticides/herbicides.

Nutritional Information:

Each serving contains: 185 calories; 4 g protein; 14 g total fat (0 g trans fat); 14 g carbohydrates; 3 g fibre; 510 mg sodium


The Pesto (does not contain dairy)

Ingredients:
  • 2 bunches fresh spinach
  • 2 bunches fresh basil 
  • 1 avocado, cut into pieces
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 1/3 cup (80 g) pine nuts
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) nutritional yeast
  • A pinch or two of Celtic sea salt

Tools Needed:
  • Food Processor or Blender

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender. blend until smooth. Add water if needed.

Freeze the unused pesto in glass container. You can add to soup, or use instead of butter on your sandwiches or toast.

Nutritional Information:

Each 1/4 cup (60 mL) serving contains: 51 calories; 2 g protein; 4 g total fat (0 g trans fat); 4 g carbohydrates; 2 g fibre; 100 mg sodium

Place zucchini in casserole dish. Top with marinated tomatoes and mushroom/onion mixture. (Discard marinade from onions.) Serve with pesto and garnish with pine nuts.

Serves 4.



Your questions: Do you eat raw food? If so, how often or what percentage of your total diet? (post your comments below)
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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.

The Health Benefits of Cinnamon



By Jordan Miller;

Cinnamon is an ancient herb that has and still is being used by many cultures today.  Native to Ceylon, (Sri Lanka), true cinnamon, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, dates back in Chinese writings to 2800 B.C., and is still known as kwai in the Cantonese language today. Its botanical name derives from the Hebraic and Arabic term amomon, meaning fragrant spice plant. Ancient Egyptians used cinnamon in their embalming process. From their word for cannon, Italians called it canella, meaning "little tube," which aptly describes cinnamon sticks. Interestingly enough, Ceylon (the true variety of cinnamon) is rarely used in many countries as it is not widely available. Cassia cinnamon, which is by far the most popular out of the two varieties, can be found primarily in many of the western world today. The two varieties of cinnamon, Cassia and Ceylon, have similar flavour, however the cinnamon from Ceylon is slightly sweeter, more refined and more difficult to find in local markets. Despite the difference between the two varieties, cinnamon as a whole, offers us many health benefits that are hard to ignore. Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine.

Controlling Blood Sugar

By far one of the most known health benefit of cinnamon is its ability to regulate our blood sugar. Cinnamon may significantly help people with type 2 diabetes improve their ability to respond to insulin, thus normalizing their blood sugar levels. Both test tube and animal studies have shown that compounds in cinnamon not only stimulate insulin receptors, but also inhibit an enzyme that inactivates them, thus significantly increasing cells’ ability to use glucose.

Boosting Brain Function

Not only does consuming cinnamon improve the body’s ability to utilize blood sugar, but just smelling the wonderful odour of this sweet spice boosts brain activity! It was found that chewing cinnamon flavoured gum or just smelling cinnamon enhanced study participants’ cognitive processing. Specifically, cinnamon improved participants’ scores on tasks related to attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor speed while working on a computer-based program.

Anti-Clotting Properties

Cinnamaldehyde (also called cinnamic aldehyde) has been well-researched for its effects on blood platelets. Platelets are constituents of blood that are meant to clump together under emergency circumstances (like physical injury) as a way to stop bleeding, but under normal circumstances, they can make blood flow inadequate if they clump together too much. The cinnaldehyde in cinnamon helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets. (The way it accomplishes this health-protective act is by inhibiting the release of an inflammatory fatty acid called arachidonic acid from platelet membranes and reducing the formation of an inflammatory messaging molecule called thromboxane A2.) Cinnamon's ability to lower the release of arachidonic acid from cell membranes also puts it in the category of an “anti-inflammatory” food that can be helpful in lessening inflammation.

Anti-Microbial

Cinnamon’s essential oils also qualify it as an “anti-microbial” food, and cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida. In laboratory tests, growth of yeasts that were resistant to the commonly used anti-fungal medication fluconazole was often (though not always) stopped by cinnamon extracts.

Other Benefits

In addition to its unique essential oils, cinnamon is an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese and a very good source of dietary fibre, iron and calcium. The combination of calcium and fibre in cinnamon is important and can be helpful for the prevention of several different conditions.  Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known. It was mentioned in the Bible and was used in ancient Egypt not only as a beverage flavouring and medicine, but also as an embalming agent. It was so highly treasured that it was considered more precious than gold.

Due to its demand, cinnamon became one of the first commodities traded regularly between the Near East and Europe. Ceylon cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean, while cassia is mainly produced in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Your questions: Have you ever tried Ceylon cinnamon? If so, what did you think? (post your comments below)

Sources:
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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.
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