Category Archives: Body Systems

Bone Health, How to Take Care of the 206 Bones of Your Skeleton

X-ray Fracture Femur after operation by stockdevil at FDPBone health is a topic we should all take serious from an early age.   A healthy diet is crucial for developing a strong skeletal system that will last you a lifetime.  And your bones were meant to last a lifetime.  Osteoporosis is the result of a poor lifestyle which leads to mineral depletion and hormone imbalance.  Catch our show on strong bones here.

When you are born you have about 300 bones and an adult skeleton has 206 bones.  Americans spend a lot of money on calcium supplements, eating calcium enriched foods and yet many have a lot of broken bones and develop osteoporosis.

Your skeleton is your body's most life-giving system.  Your bones have their own blood, lymphatic vessels and nerves.  They have 6 important functions:  movement, support, protection, synthesis of blood corpuscles, regulation of endocrine tasts and the storage of ions.

Several factors affect your bone health.  There are things you do that can actually speed up the aging of your bones and cause them to be weaker.  And there are definitely things you can do to keep those bones strong for your lifetime.

  1. Diet:  You need to eat a good diet with all the necessary nutrients fromskeleton an early age.  This not only builds strong bones, it will help maintain them.
  2. Calcium isn't the most important factor, you need a balance of nutrients including selenium and magnesium.
  3. Milk:  Commercial milk is not the best source of calcium and it can in fact weaken your bones because it has an acidifying affect on the body.
  4. Sunshine and Vitamin D:  Vitamin D is crucial to strong bones.  It is best obtained from the sun.
  5. Physical activity:  Inactive people tend to have weaker bones.  Exercise and movement is vital to a strong skeleton.
  6. Women can be a greater risk for osteoporosis.  It is important to have a good balance of hormones.  Talk to your doctor about factors that affect your bone health.
  7. Hormones:  an overproduction of thyroid hormones leads to bone loss.  Early menopause can also increase your risk of osteoporosis.
  8. Weight:  Very thin people are at great risk for osteoporosis.
  9. Medications:  Certain medications, including corticosteroids, breast cancer drugs, anti-seizure medications, and others taken over the long-term can weaken your bones.  Talk to your doctor about alternatives and work on the root of your health challenges.

Human Hand Bones by renjith krishnan at FDPOne of the best products on the market to help with osteoporosis is from a company called Nikken.  I have had several clients take their product, Osteodenx and reverse the condition - improving their bone health.  Call us and we can tell you all about this revolutionary and exclusive product.

Mark and Kally

Tune in each Wednesdays for the Get Real Show with Mark and Kally.

Your Framework, Take Care of Your Bones

Photo credits:  stockdevil and renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Can a Magnesium Deficiency Make You Twice as Likely to Die?

magnesium-elementYou might be 2 times as likely to die as other people with a magnesium deficiency in an often overlook but extremely critical mineral, according to a study published in The Journal of Intensive Care Medicine.

Magnesium deficiency also accounts for a long list of symptoms and diseases — which are easily helped and often cured by adding this nutrient.

Magnesium is critical for over 300 enzyme reactions. It is often used in medicine - but many medical professionals don't know why or use it before an emergency.  Magnesium is one of the 4 electrolytes that include sodium, potassium and calcium.

Magnesium deficiency is linked to inflammation (elevated levels of C-reactive Protein), autism, PMS, cramps, early labor, high blood pressure, asthma, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, constipation, angina, chronic fatigue, osteoporosis, and so much more including weight gain and obesity.  Basically if you have a health concern, you might want to look at supplementing magnesium.

You can find a natural source of magnesium in a whole state in Red Raspberry Leaf. It is the best whole and natural source. And it has long been a remedy for men and women for puberty, male/female menopause, PMS, cramps and pregnancy.

We carry a new Liposomal delivery system of magnesium that many find very beneficial - especially for those with digestive issues (most Americans).MagnesiumLiposomal

And you can use magnesium topically. You can make your own, or come get ours.

Try soaking more often in a bath of Epsom salts.

Magnesium is often overlooked.

Many are deficient because our need is much greater.

Most people do not eat enough of the foods high in magnesium.  Food sources are: High magnesium foods include dark leafy greens, raw nuts and seeds, wild fish, beans, whole grains (not whole grain commercial bread and pastas - it isn't there despite the label - you need actual real whole grains like your grandparents used to eat), brown rice, avocados, real raw yogurt (not commercial), bananas, dried fruit, and dark chocolate which is why many women and men crave chocolate (again not the junky cheap chocolate with sugar, real healthy and good for you dark chocolate).

And many people are deficient because of the poor conditions of our guts or our digestive systems.  Minerals like magnesium require a low pH to be absorbed.  Your stomach is normally a low pH to properly digest food.  American's are confused by this and think that acid reflux is the result of TOO MUCH ACID.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  So in turn many are popping acid neutralizers from over the counter source and prescriptions.  If your a bit confused on your digestive system, check this article out and I'll explain it better.   Here are some alternatives for acid reflux.  So many people are neutralizing stomach acid and are unable to absorb and utilize what little magnesium they eat and the magnesium they supplement with.

Due to poor absorption of magnesium because of the digestive system, DesBio answered that with their Liposomal delivery of Magnesium, it bypasses the digestive system and gets the magnesium to the cells.

Many drugs can cause a magnesium deficiency as well.

Drinking alcohol, diabetes both type 1 and type 2, any gastrointestinal problems including Crohn's and IBS, and excessive sweating cause you to lose magnesium at a higher rate.

red raspberry leaf capsIn addition you need adequate levels of Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.  And many people are deficient in this nutrient.  You also need Vitamin K1 and K2.  K1 is found in dark green leafy vegetables and K2 is normally made in your healthy gut.  Problem is, most people don't have a healthy gut due to antibiotics both prescribed and in our food supply.  So you need to supplement with ideally naturally fermented foods and good probiotics.

So are you feeling a bit overwhelmed right about now?  Don't worry.  We are here to help.  It isn't as simple as taking a supplement.  In fact, taking a ton of supplements is what is wrong with the natural health care field, every one just wants to throw pills at you.  And unfortunately there are not magic pills.  But as 'Once Upon a Time' fans know, magic comes with a price.  You can take your magic pill, and you will pay a price whether that pill is a Rx formula prescribed by your doctor or another pill promising results, you will pay a price.

The real solution..... it is what we teach and live.  Our Seven Simple Steps to Wellness.  You just need to join us, follow us, and learn from us.  We will help you Get Real help and healing and get on the path to real health, not just a magic pill.  This is why buying a bunch of supplements of random websites can cost you a lot of extra money and may even compromise your health.  Support your naturopaths and healers, they are the ones that have acquired useful information through years of study and research and can help you.

So what can you do if you suspect you are low in magnesium?  And more than 50% of the population is.

  1. Drink more water.  Lack of water actually makes it harder for your stomach to get a low enough pH to digest your food.
  2. Eat right and severely limit your junk food, sodas, coffee and alcohol.  Eat a balanced whole food diet with plenty of leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, good fats, and the right amount of protein.
  3. Get your sunshine to increase vitamin D levels.
  4. Include easily made naturally fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, real pickles (not commercial store bought), and home made yogurt.
  5. Supplement with Liposomal Magnesium while fixing your digestive system.  Call us or come into the store for information.
  6. Supplement with good sources of magnesium like red raspberry leaf.
  7. Take a regular bath in Espsom salts.  And who couldn't use more time in the bath?  Right.
  8. Talk to us and we'll help you on the path to real health and wellness.

If you suffer with a chronic illness, have unexplained illness or are even dealing with depression and anxiety; talk to health expert that might know about magnesium.  It is a simple fix and has helped thousands.

Kally December compressed for webKally

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Please note, we are not diagnosing or prescribing.  Please consult with your doctor.

Six Foundational Steps to Heal Your Body

Health Words Related To Healthcare by David Castillo Dominici at FDPNaturopathic medicine is an approach to health, wellness and healing that recognizes the amazing whole body.  It treats the whole person.  Naturopathy supports the body to do it's job, it treats the whole person.  Wellness and prevention are the keys; while disease is treated through stimulation, enhancement and support.  Treatments are chosen to support a person's vital energy with respect to the natural healing process.   With these 6 foundational steps, you can heal your body.

Tune in to listen to our Get Real! with Mark and Kally show to hear more about the Six Foundational Steps to Heal Your Body.

I am trained in natural medicine and daily I see the value and order of these 6 steps to heal your body.

There are many different healing modalities that fall in this category and include things you can do at home like nutrition, meditation and exercise to acupuncture and herbal medicine that you may want to consult with someone about.

Hippocrates, who is know as the father of medicine - is actually the father of naturopathy,  was born around the year 460 BC on the Greek island of Kos.  He is credited with being the first person to believe that disease were caused naturally and not because of superstition.   He believed disease was the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits.  His theories have been proven correct.  Hippocratic medicine and its philosophy are very far removed from that of modern medicine.  Instead, his approach was very passive and based on "the healing power of nature."

His doctrine taught that the body contained within itself the power to re-balance and heal.  This therapy focused on simply easing this natural process.

The 6 fundamental principles are:  Anatomy by farconville FDP

  1. Healing power of nature
  2. Identify and treat the cause
  3. Do no harm
  4. Treat the whole person
  5. The physician is a teacher (or should be)
  6. Prevention is the best cure

Many people practicing the art of naturopathy are referred to as "Quacks".

Here is the definition of a quack:  An untrained person who practices medicine fraudulently, or any person who pretends to have knowledge or skill in a particular field, charlatan.

 

The original quacks were selling a fake 'snake oil' and crude oil, which is one of the roots of modern the pharmaceutical industry.  The real snake oil came from Chinese water snakes and was used by Chinese immigrants - it is and was omega 3 oil known today to help with all the conditions the Chinese were using it for back then.  Chinese water snakes were hard to come by, so greedy people started having Rattle snake shows and using them to obtain 'snake oil' and they are lower in omega 3 oils.  Soon snake oil started containing ingredients like mustard oil, pine oil, petroleum, paprika, camphor, cayenne and wintergreen oil.  Rock oil, crude petroleum was sold for many complaints.

There are some 'quacks' with medical degrees.  And there are some 'quacks' with various degrees and certificates in alternative or natural medicine.

Most Naturopaths are SKILLED and they DO NOT practice medicine.

Health Disease Buttons Shows Healthcare by Stuart Miles at FDPThere are quite a few differences between Western Medicine and Traditional Naturopathy.   As a naturopath I look for the root cause and I look for how I can help the body to heal following the 6 steps.  It is simple and straightforward.  We treat the cause.  Most western trained medical practitioners treat symptoms.

Here is an example, heartburn.  If you complain of heart burn or acid reflux to a western trained medical professional, you will likely be given a prescription to neutralize the acid.  Sounds simple and reasonable and most people 'fall' for that 'quick fix'.  The problem is, it doesn't always work, there are several SEVERE side effects to this seemingly harmless medication, it is attempting to treat only the symptoms, it DOES NOT CURE or treat the real problem and IT MAKES THE CONDITION WORSE.

Instead, we look at the body.  This is ussually a sign of too little acid and you can't digest your food and a sign of poor digestion.  We want to HELP THE BODY TO DO IT'S JOB.  So we encourage more water (often dehydration is a big factor), we check diet and make adjustments as needed, supply the body with food enzymes and possibly probiotics.  We check to see if we need to heal any part of the digestive system.  And amazingly, the body begins to digest the food better and symptoms go away.

With Rx treaments you WILL have negative side effects, it is just a matter of time; digestion is NOT improved and you will suffer from lack of nutrients feeding the body.

With a naturopathic approach you WILL have the opportunity to heal your body and Mortar And Pestle With Herb by Praisaeng at FDPimprove your health.  Unfortunately there are many so-called alternative practitioners only treating symptoms.  You'll see examples of this with people handing out herbs or essential oils for regularly occurring headaches rather than looking at and treating the root cause of the headaches.

As a specialist, I work with 7 Steps,  in my approach to natural medicine:  water, food, rest, exercise, own your power, environment, and play.  I get to the roots and help you, heal your body.

Kally and Mark compressedTune into this show for more stories on natural medicine and the 6 steps.  Tune in each Wednesday to the Get Real! with Mark and Kally show for a variety of topics from wellness, travel, and even self-help topics.

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Photo credits: Praisaeng. farconville, Stuart Miles, and David Castillo Dominici at Freedigitalphotos.net

Please note:  we are not diagnosing or prescribing, please consult your medical expert.

 

I Got to Pee Now! The Urinary Tract System

The Urinary System by cuteimage at FDPI know it doesn't sound exciting - but many suffer in silence with having to hurry to the bathroom, getting up frequently in the night and frequent urinary tract infections.

In this episode of Get Real! with Mark and Kally, we'll talk about the Urinary or Renal System of the body.

A normal healthy body produces 3 to 8 cups of urine daily.   The urinary or renal system eliminates wastes from the body, regulates blood volume and your blood pressure, controls levels of electrolytes and metabolites and regulates blood pH.  Many factors affect the frequency of urination and urgency.

Check out our discussion on helpful hints and remedies that can help tune up your system and possibly improve the quality of your life.

Kally and Mark compressedIf you want more tips and information, check out this blog post on Urinary Tract Infections. 

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Please note:  we are not diagnosing or prescribing, please consult your medical expert

Natural Remedies to Help an Urinary Tract Infection or UTI

The Urinary System by cuteimage at FDPIf your a female, at some point in your life you will probably deal with an urinary tract infection or UTI.  If you suspect a UTI, you will want to talk to your doctor.  Men do get UTIs and these remedies will work for them as well.

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection can be:

  • Pain or burning when you urinate.
  • The need to urinate frequently and urgently.
  • Your urine smells off and can be cloudy or even bloody.
  • You may even feel the need to get up at night to urinate.
  • Lower abdominal pain and pressure.
  • A mild fever.
  • Not feeling well.

A bladder infection can spread to the kidneys if not treated.  If this happens you will have a higher fever, shaking and chills, nausea and even vomiting.  You may even experience pain on the back or side around waist level.  Always seek medical care if this happens.

If you are put on antibiotics, be sure to take them according to the directions given you and finish your antibiotics.

One challenge many face, is that a round of antibiotics doesn't clear up the infection.  Talk to your doctor about solutions and you may want to try some alternative remedies in addition to your doctor's recommendations.  Always tell your doctor what you are doing.  It is important to heal the body in addition to clearing up the infection.

It is possible to treat a bladder infection effectively with alternative treatments.   Nature has provided many natural anti-biotics.

Be sure to drink plenty of water.  Yes, I know you will need to urinate even more, but it is important.  Every time you empty your bladder you get rid of the bacteria causing the problem and help flush your bladder.  This is a good thing.  So keep the water coming or even better, add some of the teas listed below.

Many people reach for cranberries to treat a UTI.  They can be a helpful remedy.  It is thought they interfere with E. coli attaching to the bladder wall and help the pH of the bladder.  Cranberry capsules or fresh cranberries are a better option than commercial juices. Cranberries don't work for everyone.  And they don't cure the infection or help with inflammation, they just make it harder for the bacteria to stick to the bladder.  So you should use other remedies as well.  Cranberries do not appear to be as effective once you have symptoms.  But they can be a great support for several months following an infection.  If your infection is not caused by E. coli, cranberries may not be useful.  But do be cautious as it can cause stones to form in people that tend to get oxalate stones.  If you are on blood thinning medications, you should avoid cranberries.

Other remedies that can be very helpful in treating a urinary tract infection are not so common.  But we have found them to be very beneficial.

  • Dr. Christopher's Bladder Formula has been a very effective herbal remedy to treat UTI's and helps prevent reoccurring infections.  It also helps to heal the urinary system after an infection.   This formula contains many herbs that have traditionally been used to treat infections and all bladder and kidney infections.
    • Ingredients:  Black Cohosh Root, Ginger Root, Gravel Root, Juniper Berries, Lobelia Herb, Marshmallow Root, Parsley Root, Uva Ursi Leaf and White Pond Lily.
  • Parsley - yes the stuff used as a garnish on your plate, is a great remedy for the bladder.  It is the number one herb for the bladder.  You can make parsley tea or juice parsley.  It can support Parsley by James Barker at FDPyour healing and can often heal an infection.   Parsley is full of vitamins and minerals including providing lots of vitamins A and C which are important when fighting an infection.  Parsley literally helps clean out the bladder and the kidneys and is a wonderful diuretic.  And recently Germany's version of our USA FDA approved parsley as a treatment of kidney stones and bladder infections.  It is easy to grow in the garden.  To make a cup of tea use about 1/4 cup fresh parsley with one cup boiling water and allow to steep about 5 minutes.  Add raw honey, stevia and/or lemon and enjoy.  If juicing, just grab a handful and juice.  We feel that parsley is best used fresh.
  • Cranberry & Buchu Concentrate Capsules combines the detering effects of cranberry with Buchu herb.  Buchu has often been referred as woman's best friend.  It is rich in selenium.  It is a diuretic and urinary tract antiseptic as well as helping with inflammation.  Please research as there may be contraindications with Buchu.  Buchu may even help a yeast infection.
  • Cleavers is an herb that has been used for a very long time.  I have seen it give relief for a bladder infection in just a day or two.  It is an effective diuretic.  It helps rid the kidneys and bladder of gravel and stones.  It can clear the urinary tract of infections.  It helps alleviate prostate disorders and other acute urinary diseases.  Cleavers is generally considered safe with no contraindications.
  • Take extra Vitamin C or consume foods high in Vitamin C.
  • Eat foods that will help to alkalize the body.  Being too acidic helps the bacteria to grow.  Avoid acidic foods, which also included refined foods - especially sugar.0137d8e93bb6c27c7db910ab789d43dd1d6c12913f
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice in water may offer benefits of cleansing the body and helping to alkalize the body.
  • We don't recommend commercial yogurts as the processing they go through destroys most of the beneficial good bacteria and they can often be full of sugar.
  • We do recommend cultured foods.  Check out that link to cultured foods to see how she cured her UTIs with these foods.  Cultured food include:  kefir, kombucha and cultured veggies.  They are a good preventative for UTIs.  We make homemade kefir nearly everyday and it provides us with tons of helpful good bacteria. If you do take antibiotics, you will want to get on homemade cultured foods to balance your system.
  • You may also benefit from taking a good probiotic supplement.
  • Goldenseal contains berberine and other alkaloids that kill bacteria and stimulate the immune system.  They also inhibit bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.  It is a wonderful natural anti-biotic and is known for treating UTIs.  You can drink a tea, take the extract or use capsules.   And it is excellent combined with Echinacea.
  • Uva Ursi is an herb used in Europe to treat UTIs.
  • Homeopathic remedies can be very helpful for a UTI.  It is based on a philosophy that 'like cures like'.   We like the NOVA Bladder Complex and find it to be very effective.  It contains key remedies known help a bladder infection and address the symptoms of painful burning and/or soreness when urinating, and the frequent urge to urinate.  It comes in a liquid and is easy to take.  Even better, you can take more frequently at the onset of symptoms.  Just don't take immediately with food - wait 20 minutes before or after and don't use with essential oils as they counteract each other.
  • Essential oils can also be an effective treatment.  You will want choose some essential oils and put them in a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil at about a 20% dilution.  Apply to the lower abdominal area and on the back where the kidneys are two times a day while treating an infection.
    • Some good oils to choose from are:  bergamot, cedar-wood, chamomile, eucalyptus, frankincense, juniper berry (don't use for a kidney infection), lavender, pine needles, fennel, tea tree, and thyme.  Choose one or more and see what works for you.

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Whatever your course of action, you will benefit from increasing your water intake and improving your diet.  This is the case whenever there is sickness.  Discuss with your health care practitioner your concerns and desire to use alternative remedies.  You may find they are very supportive as many doctors are fully aware of the dangers of over prescribing antibiotics.  Many people are now finding themselves in a situation of having reoccurring bladder infections that antibiotics are not helping.  Some people dealing with candida and other conditions are even finding themselves A Kally editedhaving reactions to antibiotics.  If you do take antibiotics, these remedies may be helpful in healing your body and preventing future UTIs.   Be persistent and if something doesn't work, try something else.  I have seen people make a simple tea and see results that day.  Others, do not see results for a couple of weeks.  If your symptoms become severe, please go see your doctor.

Natural remedies support and heal the body and work differently for each person.

Do you have a favorite remedy that has worked for you?  Please share.

Kally

This information is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Indigo Mountain, the owners, the editors, the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider. Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique. 

Photo credit by cuteimage at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Catch Up With Our Latest Radio Shows Travel to Wellness

castleGreat Places to Visit - America's Castles

You don't have to go to Europe to see great castles, America is dotted with castles and extravagant homes.

Join us for some travel ideas and stories about some very interesting people and the castles they built.

Mark is a travel expert.  He loves to explore the world.  He amazes us with his ability to discover interesting details that the averages tourist may miss.

Human Digestive System by dream designs at FreeDigitalPhotos.netThe Key to Good Health is in Your Gut

One of the keys for good health is a healthy digestive system.  Digestive complaints cost Americans $50 billion each year in medical bills and absence from work.  It is fairly easy to correct.  Tune in and find out how.  Most people, including doctors, don't know that digestive problems can lead to allergies, autoimmune diseases, depression, fatigue, and even ADHD.  Your digestive tract is THE KEY to whole body health.  It is the first place I start when working with people.

You'll learn why one of the top OTC and prescription medication is interferring with your bodies ability to digest and absorb nutrients and doesn't really solve the problem your taking it for in the first place.

 

General Wellness and Feeling Good

Laughter is the best medicine.  We had planned to interview Debra Norwood, also known as The Laughter Lawyer.  She was going to tell us all about her amazing oppertunity to meet Patch Adams, the amazing medical doctor and clown.  Due to technical difficulties - she was not available.

But check out our show - we have great tips on Gernal wellness.  The average person spends $8,000 to $9,000 per person each on medical expences.  That is a huge amount.  Patch Adams had a view that medical care should be free.

Listen in for some general wellness tips.

Remember this is not medical advise.  We are not diagnosing or prescribing.  Please consult with you medical provider.

 

Children In The Park by photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.netKids and Summer, Play and Stimulate Brain Cells

Summer is the perfect time to play and stimulate new brain cells.  You can learn a new skill, get involved in a hobby, do art projects that take a few days, and explore the world around you.  Tune in for some tips and ideas that will not only entertain your kids, but give them options to build their brain and distract them from too much electronic time.

Studies show that the more time children spend in structured, parent-guided activities, the worse their ability to work productively towards self-directed goals. They need time to challenge themselves and figure out what they want and how to do it.  We were always slow to completely direct our children's activites.  We saw more growth with them having more control over their free time.

 

Coming up on the Get Real! Show:

June 17, 2015 Our Outdoor and Camping 1st Aid Kit

Find out what natural remedies we stock our 1st Aid kits with and why.  I have things like charcoal capsules and cayenne to regular band aids and of course essential oils.

June 24, 2015 Great Places to Visit, The Pacific Coast Highway

One of our favorite highways in the country to drive is Highway 1, The Pacific Coast Highway.  There is amazing views and we usually find dolphins, sea lions, star fish and more along the way including great meals.

Join us on Wednesday mornings at 9:00 am AZ/Pacific Time and 11:00 am Central.  Share and tell your friends.  We'd love to hear from you as well.  What do you love about our show?  What would like us to talk about?

Kally and Mark compressedKeep up with us on Facebook with our own Get Real Radio Group.

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Indigo Mountain:  Wellness, Toys & Gifts
Get Real! with Mark and Kally on Your True Colours Image Network Radio

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Your True Colours magazine and radio for real people. True fashion, True lifestyle, True people.

 

Photo credits:  dream designs, photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Miracle Grains from Russia, What is Kefir? Easy Steps to Making Kefir

Just what is kefir? Kefir is said to have originated in the Caucasus Mountains in an area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and spread over the countries of Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.  Kefir is considered a staple food in Russia and the reason for longevity.  When yogurt was introduced to America as a food that was extremely healthy, they had actually discovered kefir.  Kefir and what we use today as yogurt are two completely different things.  Even Greek yogurt is a different culture.  But they are all fermented foods which are extremely beneficial for you.  Kefir grains occur naturally.  Kefir grains were traditionally treated almost like part of the family.  The word kefir means “long life” or “good life”.  You pronounce kefir, kuh-FEAR.

Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains.  There are also water kefir grains.  Kefir grains are a combination of lactic acid, bacteria and yeasts and they resemble cauliflower.  The exact nutrients of Kefir depends on your grains and the milk that was fermented.

I find kefir much easier to make than yogurt.  It is better for you than yogurt and has a much thinner consistency.  Kefir has a tangy flavor that increases with a longer fermentation.  It contains an enzyme that breaks down lactose, the sugar found in milk.  As a result kefir is easier to digest than other dairy products and can usually be tolerated by lactose-intolerant people.  It does not add sugar to the diet as the bacteria eats it.  

When making yogurt you have to watch the temperature and the time.  With kefir – it isn’t a key factor to the quality of your batch.  When the temperatures are warmer in the room you are fermenting – your kefir will turn much faster.  The longer it ferments the stronger it gets.  On a cold day, it can take 24 hours. 

I have had my kefir grains for years, a gift from my cousin.  They have been through a lot.  I got tired of making kefir so they stayed in the back of my fridge for four months and revived nicely.  You will find that making kefir is very easy and simple.

The benefits of Kefir are the beneficial bacteria or probiotics that gets introduced into the intestines and stay there.  These beneficial bacteria keep the intestines healthy, provide food for the friendly bacteria living in the gut, suppress the growth of harmful bacteria, supports the healing of ulcers and colitis, supports bone health and strengthens the immune system.  Kefir is a good source of protein, calcium, magnesium,phosphorus, tryptophan, K2 and B vitamins.  Many people find relief from chronic constipation through regular consumption of kefir and it may even help with allergies and asthma.  It helps with cold, flu, acne, yeast infections, and may even treat diarrhea.  Some people report that they sleep better on kefir.  Recent discoveries show that gut health can influence mental health and well-being, many have notice kefir can help with anxiety and depression.

The simple process of making Milk Kefir

The instructions I'm providing apply to regular milk.  These do not apply to water kefir or kefir made using coconut or nut milk.

Supplies needed:
-
Glass jar, like a Mason jar with a lid or other cover
-Milk kefir grains
-plastic colander
-a plastic or glass bowl
-a plastic, bamboo or wooden slotted spoon
-milk

Step 1 – get some kefir grains.  Find a friend, most are willing to share as kefir continues to grow with each batch providing a good supply of grains to share.  There are sources to purchase on the internet as well.  The powdered kefir starters do not last very long.  Kefir grains can last indefinitely with care.

Step 2 – The tools you will need:  A plastic colander, a bowl, wooden slotted spoon,  and a glass jar with a lid.  Don’t use metal utensils. 

Step 3 – Put your new kefir grains into a clean glass jar and add milk.

The amount of milk to kefir grains can vary and is not exact.  When you first get your grains, you don't want to overwhelm them with too much milk.  Start with about 1 tablespoon of kefir grains to 1/2 cup to 1 cup of milk to start with.  You have to find what works for you as it is not exact.  

The more you make kefir, the more you will understand the flavor you like.  Too many grains to milk ratio and your kefir can ferment quickly which may be too strong a flavor.  Too little and your kefir may turn and not ferment properly.  I don’t notice a big difference when I have more grains, it just ferments more quickly.

Variables in temperature and milk quality can affect the process.  Do not fill your container more than 2/3 full.

What kind of milk do you use?  Raw cow, goat or even sheep milk makes a great kefir.   Organic, whole, pasteurized milk is better than fat free milk.  Use 2% or even better - whole milk.  Some people use nut milks, but it needs to be sweetened.  Look up specific instructions for alternate milks.  I used unsweetened almond milk once just not thinking and it soured – it didn’t ferment as there was no sugar to feed the grains.   Water kefir can be made from water kefir grains using a sweetener and a different process.

Kefir thrives on raw milk.  We've never had a problem ever with raw milk and I've been using it all my life.  If you want to read up on the facts of raw milk, check this site.

Step 4 – Let it sit on your kitchen counter from 6 hours to 36 hours depending on the temperature.  The warmer your environment, the quicker it will ferment.  In Arizona during the summer and a home at 76 degrees during the day - it takes 10 hours or less.  In our winters with a house at about 68 degrees during the day and 60 at night, it takes 24 hours.  The kefir will start to thicken slightly and will begin to taste a little sour like kefir and then you will know it is done.  The longer it ferments, the stronger the flavor.  The whey will eventually begin to separate from the kefir.  It is still good, just stronger tasting.   In the warmer months, the kefir sits on the counter all day, and in the evening I'll stick it in the fridge until the next morning when I'm ready to use it.

Step 5 – Strain the grains in the plastic colander.  Be gentle to your grains, they are a living organism.  They do not need to be rinsed – ever.  Just gently stir them with your wooden slotted spoon to separate the kefir from the kefir grains.  Metal is not good for your precious grains.

Step 6 – Wash your glass container that you ferment your kefir in.  I just rinse with warm water every other time I make kefir.

Step 7 – Using your slotted spoon, put your kefir grains gently back into the clean glass jar and repeat the process.

 

Questions and Tips

What is Kefir? Making Kefir.New grains:  When you get your kefir grains, they may be ‘stressed’ from traveling.  In most cases they are fine.  But you may not want to use the kefir from your first batch as it ‘heals’ and even the first two or three batches if the kefir traveled through the mail, long distances or was stressed for any reason. It won't be 'bad', it will just have a more 'yeasty' off taste.  If you obtained local kefir grains, your first batch will most likely be perfect.  

How much kefir should I consume?  Always start with small amounts, like one to two ounces and work your way to larger amounts.  Many people consume one to four cups a day several days a week.  If you are consuming a large amount, it is advisable to take a break after three weeks for a week.  It can be used medicinally in large amounts for a short period of time.  We use 1/2 to one cup daily unless we are working on an issue, then we'll consume more.  My kids get a little less.

What if I'm lactose intolerant?  Many people that are lactose intolerant happily enjoy milk kefir.  The yeasts and bacteria consume the lactose or the milk sugar for their food supply.  Very ripe (sour) kefir has the least amount of lactose.  Always start with a small amount.

Are you short on time?  You can repeat the process daily and have fresh kefir every day.  We change out our kefir about four times a week.  On the other mornings, I just stick the jar in the fridge.  We don't always have time to prepare the kefir daily.  It does just fine sitting in the fridge.  If I know I'll be gone or busy for a few days, I'll put fresh milk with the kefir grains and immediately stick the jar in the fridge.  It still ferments, just much slower.

I’m going on vacation, what do I do with my kefir?  I put my kefir grains in the jar and add milk.  Then I put the jar in the fridge.  Most people will tell you to change out the milk weekly.  But I have had the same milk in the jar for a month and my grains are just fine.  You may not want to consume the kefir after awhile as it may be very sour.

What if it looks or smells bad?  Dump that batch, reserving the grains and make a batch or two letting the grains heal.  In most cases your grains will recover.

Do the grains contain gluten?  There is no grain of any kind in the kefir grains.  They are simply called kefir grains.

Will I need to change or replace my kefir grains?  Your grains can last indefinitely as long as you take care of them.  Kefir can become overly 'yeasty' if not cared for.  This isn't bad yeast.  Kefir grains a combination of yeasts and bacteria.

Can I flavor my kefir or do I need to drink it plain?  Many people that like drinking buttermilk will drink plain kefir.  But I like to blend some fruit first and add the kefir with some stevia or raw honey for a nice beverage.  My kids will even drink this.  You can add kefir to your smoothies.  When I find myself with extra kefir I will use it to make buttermilk pancakes.  The heat from cooking may kill some of the nutritional benefits.   Those not used to the taste of kefir may find that mixing a 1:1 ratio of kefir and milk / nut milk is a good way to mask the tartness. 

Here are some of my favorite ways to use kefir:

  • Blend some fruit like strawberries with milk or water.  Add dates, sugar, or raw honey to sweeten.  Add in Chia, flax and/or hemp seeds.  Blend until smooth.  Then gently mix in the strained kefir.  Drink and enjoy.
  • We love raw muesli with raw oats, raw nuts and seeds, chopped fruit.  We top it off with some kefir and milk.
  • I'll take 1/2 cup kefir and about 1/4 cup or more of nut milk or raw milk and add 2 tablespoons of whole chia seeds, some chopped nuts or hemp seeds, ground flax, and or chopped fruit.  I'll sweeten with stevia or raw honey.  Let it sit for a few hours and the chia seeds will thicken the mix.  It makes a delicious snack or breakfast.
  • I love mixing kefir with a little nut or raw milk and flavored stevia like Root Beer Stevia or Vanilla Cream Stevia.  For my kids that don't like "sour" kefir - I'll do equal parts of kefir to nut or raw milk.
  • You can use kefir in pancakes or muffins.  You can substitute kefir for sour cream in recipes.
  • Favorite:  2 cups kefir, 1 cup milk, handful of strawberries, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1/2 tea vanilla and a dash of salt.  Blend and you get delicious strawberry kefir.
  • Another favorite:  2 cups kefir, 2 cups milk, 3 tablespoons cacao powder, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/4 cup soft raisins or soaked dates, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 teaspoon vanilla, a dash of salt, a few ice cubes and blend in a good blender until raisins and ice are smooth.
  • Strain the kefir to make kefir cheese for use in dips and spreads.  

What do I do with the extra grains?  As your grains grow, a natural process, you can blend some of the grains into a smoothie, or give them away.  You don’t want to use too many grains as your kefir will ferment too quickly.

Add to Plan to Eat

Milk Kefir

Course: Beverages

Prep Time: 5 min

Total Time: 5 min

Yield: 1 cup

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk whole, organic is best
  • 1-2 Tablspoon kefir grains

Directions

  1. The time it takes for kefir to be done depends on the temperature of the room. Basically the colder the room, the longer it takes to ferment and the warmer the room, the shorter the time. For our home, in the winter it takes about 24 hours and in the summer as short as 8 hours.
  2. You can find kefir grains from friends as the grains are constantly growing, so they are easy to share.
  3. When you get your new kefir grains, you will place them in a glass jar, like a mason jar. Add about 1 cup of milk for a 1 to 2 tablespoon sized ball of kefir grains. Put a lid on loosely or cover with a paper towel, fine mesh covering or towel and secure with a rubber band. Set aside.
  4. The room temperature will determine the time it takes your kefir to be done. The longer it sits, the more tangy it will become. It should thicken slightly and can even be a little 'stringy and slimy'. It will be thinner than yogurt.
  5. Strain your kefir from the kefir grains using a plastic colander and a plastic or wooden slotted spoon. You don't want to use metal. Rinse the glass jar. I usually rinse my glass jar every other time. NEVER rinse the kefir grains. Put your kefir grains back into the jar and add milk. Cover and set aside.
  6. You can consume the tart, tangy kefir just as it is, add a little sweetener or blend it with fruit. There are a number of ways to use kefir. One of my favorite and simple ways is to add a few drops of Chocolate Raspberry Stevia and drink.
  7. Keep repeating. And as your kefir grains grow and multiply, share them with friends or toss them. I will add them to smoothies.
  8. If you need a break, simply put them in the fridge for a day or 2. It will continue to ferment but will slow down. If you want to store them for 1 to 3 weeks, put fresh milk over the grains and immediately put in the back of the refrigerator. The fermentation process will slow way down. .

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Plan To Eat

 

I usually have kefir grains to share.  So if you are in need of some let me know.  Just remember, kefir is easy to make and adds a lot of benefits to your diet.

What is your favorite way to use kefir in a drink?  Share your recipes.

Kally

Updated January 19, 2018

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The Amazing Benefits of Rooibos

Rooibos BushRooibos benefits the entire body and is relatively new to the United States market.  It is a healthy alternative to sodas, commercial juices, vitamin waters and tea - especially if you are looking to avoid caffeine.  The health benefits of rooibos are being studied all over the world.

Rooibos, pronounced roy-bos and means red bush, is made from the needle like leaves of the rooibos plant.  It is a very common drink found in South Africa.  The leaves are fermented which gives the distinct red color and taste making the nutrients also more available.

Around the world you will find Rooibos spreading out of South Africa, Mate spreading from South America, Tea which came from Asia, and a variety of herbal infusions.

Tea specifically refers to an Asian evergreen shrub or small tree called Camellia sinensis. Black, green, white, and oolong all come from Camellia sinensis.  Technically when mentioning tea, you are referring to any beverage made from Camellia sinensis.

Yerba Mate specifically refers to llex paraguariensis, is a species of holly (family Aquifoliaceae), well known as the source of the beverage called mate after the gourd it is traditionally drunk from all over South America.

An infusion is the process of extracting the flavor and nutrients from plant material in a solvent such as water, a process referred to as steeping.   If you are steeping your rooibos, mate, tea, herbs, or even coffee beans, you are making an infusion.  The term tisane originally referred to a drink made from pearl barley but has become a catch-all term for all non-caffeinated beverages.

Referring to Rooibos Tea would not be accurate.  Rooibos infusion or tisane would be.  It is sometimes called 'Red Tea'.  You can find Rooibos by itself, mixed with tea or other herbs.  It is caffeine free naturally.   To make Rooibos you take about 1 1/2 tsps of the Rooibos and pour 8 oz of boiling water over and cover with a lid to let steep for 5 to 6 minutes.  Most commonly it is served warm with lemon and sugar or honey.  You can serve it chilled with lemon and sweetened as you like.  I prefer it with stevia and sometimes add lemon.

Rooibos is not genetically modified and pure and natural and does not contain any calories, preservatives or colorings.

So what are the health benefits of drinking Rooibos?  For starters it is a perfect drink to help keep you hydrated in the summer.   Tea on the other hand is dehydrating.  Rooibos is rich in minerals and high in antioxidants.  It has trace minerals including iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium and sodium which makes it a great thirst quencher for active people.

It is gentle on the stomach.  It has benefits for the cardiovascular system and may help lower blood pressure.  It is anti-inflammatory.  Rats fed rooibos instead of water had significantly higher serum superoxide dismutase (SOD) levels (important for antioxidant defense) and less DNA damage.  It is commonly used for respiratory ailments, acting as a bronchodilator and antispasmodic.  It can suppress fasting glucose levels and improve glucose uptake and insulin secretion after a meal.   Tests show it inhibits lipid peroxidation and brain aging.

Some studies showed it to have anti-cancer effects.  According to WebMD, Rooibos is sometimes used as substitute for milk with colicky babies, says Alvaro Viljoen, PhD, of the department of pharmacy at the University of the Witwatersrand.  It is reported that mothers who are unable to nurse in South Africa feed their babies Rooibos as a substitute for breast milk. 

Rooibos is calming to the nervous system.  It can be enjoyed in the evening, as opposed to tea because it is naturally caffeine free.

There are some reports of its use topically for psoriasis, eczema, and other skin conditions.

Rooibos benefits can be enjoyed by the whole family and is an inexpensive beverage.  It is a powerhouse of nutrients and tastes good.   I have not been able to find any side effects of drinking Rooibos.  So get yourself better hydrated this summer and enjoy some Rooibos.

Have you tried Rooibos before?  What is your favorite herbal infusion?

To your health,

Kally Efros

Indigo Mountain

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Alternatives to the Side Effects from Medications for Acid Reflux Disease

Yesterday while reading the paper, I noticed in the media insert a full page advertisement for a medication to treat Acid Reflux Disease or GERD.  According to WebMd, over the past decade it has risen by 50%.   One of the causes of this is high-fat meals which cause the sphincter muscle of the esophagus to relax, additionally increasing the risk of acid reflux.  Another is the abuse of OTC antacids and poor diets.  

The Mayo Clinic says certain medications can cause Acid Reflux disease like antibiotics, Fosamax, pain relievers, narcotics, blood pressure medication, valium, and progesterone.

Many people will try antacids and many get on prescription medication for this like Prilosec.  The generic version of Prilosec is the 6th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States.  According to Dr. Mercola it is way over prescribed and misused.  These medications block your stomach from producing stomach acid - which you may believe causes the problem.  This is NOT TRUE.  It is most often caused by not enough acid.  

I love the analogy that Dr. Mercola makes in his article:  

"Let me provide you with a simple yet powerful analogy. If the "check engine" light comes on in your car, and all your mechanic does is remove the light bulb from your dashboard, what would you think? You would probably realize that your car is still unfixed, as the mechanic only removed the warning mechanism for a potentially far more serious problem.  Well this type of approach is precisely what is happening with standard heartburn treatment with PPIs (proton pump inhibitor). If you're taking a PPI drug to treat your heartburn you're doing two things, but neither of them is actually beneficial to your health:

1.   You're treating a symptom only; you're not addressing the underlying cause

2.   By doing so, you're exposing yourself to additional, and potentially more dangerous health problems, courtesy of the drug itself

Just because PPIs may cover up your symptoms, damage may still be occurring. Further, PPI drugs carry serious side effects, including:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bone Loss
  • Hip Fractures
  • Infection with Clostridium difficile, a harmful intestinal bacteria
  • An increase in your risk of food poisoning, as reducing acid in your stomach diminishes your primary defense mechanism for food-borne infections
  • And much more

What you also should know is that these drugs actually CAUSE the very type of symptoms for GERD they're intended to prevent if you stop taking them."

Never stop taking PPI's cold turkey.  You have to wean yourself off of them and improve your health.  

You need to restore balance to your digestive system.  If you need a reminder on 10 keys to help - read my article:  The Ins and Outs of a Good Digestive System. 

You need to get to the bottom of why you are having symptoms in the first place and restore your health using holistic methods.  You need to seriously consider the side effects of these medications. 

So after thinking the above picture was bad enough, I turned the page and this is what I saw.  In case you can't see this - it is two full pages of side

 effects and information on the above listed medication.  There are no magic pills.  You need to address the real issues and get to the bottom of them.  

When I married Mark, he was on several prescribed medications at the age of 24 and would buy giant size bottles of Tums.  He had been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia and a duodenal ulcer all at the age of 24.  We were often at the doctor or even the emergency room due to those and many other health challenges. He was getting worse not better.  His diet was terrible.  He drank a ton of a popular soda, and ate out a lot.  Very quickly we restored his health by following some of those 10 keys.  He started eating better and I used cabbage a lot which is very good for healing ulcers.   He suffered from some of the side effects of those medications for quite some time.

He is 100% better.  None of those symptoms exist anymore for him.  It is possible to heal.  

You can either give your body what it requires to be healthy or not.  The choice is yours.  The consequences are yours, too.

The consequences of healthy choices are a body that heals and has lots of energy.

The consequences of unhealthy choices are symptoms which will most likely lead you to medications which lead to more symptoms which lead to more

 medications and you will experience lower energy and poor health.

Your body is a wonderful machine.  It needs some TLC.  You wouldn't dream of putting water in your gas tank would you?  Of course not.  You give it what it needs to run well even when gasoline prices go up - you still buy gasoline.   What if you decided to take a short cut because you didn't want to pay for gas or you just didn't feel like going to the gas station?  Get out the garden hose and fill your gas tank.  How far will you get?  It will end up costing you more money.  

Why are health care costs rising?  Because we are not fixing the problems.  We are not putting gasoline in our gas tanks - we are taking short cuts and hoping for a magic pill.  It is time to GET REAL and take back your good health.  There are no short cuts.  This beautiful body that we have has needs.  It is a simple choice and it is all up to you.  

You will eventually feel the benefits of better choices:  increased energy, more cash in your wallet, less pain and suffering, and you will enjoy food more.  We specialize in helping you turn things around.  Get started by signing up for our 10 Keys of Wellness, follow us on Facebook for daily tips, or get your own personal consultation to help you get started.


Kally

Indigo Mountain

I would like to hear from you. If you have some good tips for acid reflux share it below. If you like what you are reading, please share this and tell your friends. Connect with me on Facebook to keep the conversation going.   

 

Please note I am not diagnosing or prescribing.  Check with your health care provider about the best supplements for you and before beginning any exercise program or changing your diet.  The information provided is from my own personal observations and historical data.  

The Ins and Outs of Good Digestive Health – Everything Begins and Ends in Our Gut

I have been working in alternative therapies for over 10 years now.   An interesting observation in my clients dealing with frequent or chronic illness like Fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, low energy, or allergies is that many deal with digestive health issues.   If you don’t fix the digestive system, you are not going to get very far no matter what else you do.  It is the first step.  The food and supplements need to enter the digestive system to get broken down and be sent where they are needed in the body and toxins properly eliminated.  Poor digestive health may lead to other complications, depression and chronic illness.

The digestive system or our gut is responsible for breaking down the food into smaller parts to be used by the cells of our body.  A healthy digestive system is an important part of our immune system.  We have what scientists refer to as the 2nd brain in the gut or the enteric nervous system which can respond to emotions and affects our brain.  When digestive health is sluggish, it can affect every aspect of our mind and body.

Here are 10 steps for good digestive health. 

  1.  It starts in the mouth. Slow down when eating and chew your food.  Mixing food and liquids with saliva is the first step in digestion.  Dr. John Christopher used to say, “Drink your solids, and chew your liquids.”
  2.  You need a good mucosal lining in the stomach to protect it from the stomach acids.  Remedies that can help are:
    • Slippery Elm Bark traditionally you would take 2 capsules with a glass of water, 20 minutes before meals.  It works wonders. 
    • Lactoferrin Gold from Nikken or Colostrum capsules (which contains Lactoferrin).  Lactoferrin is one of the primary parts of the mucosal immune system.
    •  Aloe Vera Juice
  3. Water is often overlooked in healing the gut.  Dehydration leads to indigestion.  Water is essential for getting the stomach acid to the right pH.  When the pH is too high (in the absence of water), undigested food will eventually pass to the small intestine causing problems.  Without water, the food will not easily pass into the small intestine and you are more likely to deal with acid reflux.  So drink plenty of filtered water.
  4.  You need stomach acid to break down the food.  One of the challenges with taking antacids is the interference with digestion.  It is better to get the system working properly than neutralize the stomach acid.
  5. Enzymes are substances that speed up chemical reactions in the body and are essential to digestion.  They are released at every stage from the saliva, stomach, pancreas, and intestines.   If your diet was about 75% raw food you would most likely have enough enzymes.  If not, most people benefit from adding digestive enzymes.  Consult with your health care practitioner on the ones best for you as there are many choices.  A lot of energy goes into digesting your food, many people report added energy from taking enzymes, assisting the body with digestion.
  6. Supplement with L-Glutamine to help improve digestive health.  It is an essential amino acid that repairs the gut.  Our body will produce it, except during sickness and times of stress.  It is essential for the normal functioning of the intestines.
  7. Healthy gut flora is an essential part of digestion, the immune system, and they produce vitamins and hormones.  Eating greens like wheat grass, spirulina, and chlorella support healthy gut flora.  You need to eat prebiotics like onions, garlic, apples, bananas, dandelion or raw apple cider vinegar.  And you need good sources of probiotics are: 
    • Cultured dairy like kefir or yogurt
    • Traditionally fermented foods like sauerkraut
    • Quality probiotic supplements
  8. Eat a healthy diet of whole foods that supports YOUR body.  Each person can have slightly different needs.  What goes into your body will either support it or lead to complications.  Avoid processed foods as much as possible.  In some cases, a diet high in fiber may lead to more problems.  You may need do an elimination diet.
  9. Exercise helps to tone the digestive tract and ease constipation.  It is important to have in average two regular and good bowel movements each day.  Regular elimination of toxins and waste in the body helps promote an ideal environment for the body to heal.
  10. Cleansing and detoxing the body is good healing support for the body and can increase energy.

Paying attention to these 10 steps for good digestive health will help your body and mind to heal and thrive, as they were designed to do.

Do you have any great tips for improving digestive health?  Please share.

Kally Efros

Indigo Mountain:  Wellness, Toys, & Gifts

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Please note I am not diagnosing or prescribing.  Check with your health care provider about the best supplements for you and before beginning any exercise program or changing your diet.  The information provided is from my own personal observations and historical data.