The Best Ways to Protect Yourself this Flu Season

Saying this past year has been stressful is a bit of an understatement. With COVID-19 everywhere we may have forgotten about getting the flu, but it’s still out there. This year, many of us may have weakened immune systems, so protecting ourselves is more important than ever during these unprecedented times. While we are all taking precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19, here are some additional ways you can protect yourself from the flu this season as well. 

Avoid Close Contact with Others 

According to the CDC, you should keep your distance from others if you are feeling sick and from those who might be sick. Keeping your distance is important to prevent the spread of the flu and the coronavirus.

While we are all trying to avoid contact with others to avoid getting sick, this doesn’t mean life just stops. Try to see what policies your company has with work from home options during the flu season. Also ordering groceries online and picking them up curbside is a great option to avoid close contact with others.   Most restaurants now offer delivery or curbside pickup as well.

Get Vaccinated 

Every year the flu virus changes and adapts, this is why it’s important to get vaccinated every year. That way you have the most updated antibodies to fight off the virus. 

“Getting your annual flu vaccine is more important than ever this year. Although the flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, it does reduce your risk of getting the flu, flu-related complications, and hospitalization, explained Fidelis Care Chief Medical Officer, Vincent Marchello, MD. “You can safely get a flu vaccine at multiple locations, including your doctor’s office and pharmacies. Call ahead for more information. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season.”

Wash your Hands Properly 

Did you know that the average person comes in contact with approximately 840,000 germs every 30 minutes? It is estimated that only 5% of people wash their hands correctly, with most people only washing for 6 seconds. Always remember to wash your hands frequently and remember the basics for proper handwashing techniques.

  • This includes washing your hands with cold/warm water, lathering the soap, washing the front and back of your hands, and in between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds or if you’re teaching children the proper technique, a nice trick is to wash your hands for the duration of time it takes you to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. 
  • Of course, most of us are no strangers to washing our hands, but did you know there’s a medically proper way to do so? John Hopkins Medicine launched a video on how to properly wash your hands. This could a great tool for parents teaching their children while flu season is in full effect.

Boost Your Immune System.

Your immune system protects you from any infections, bacterial or viral, so we want to make sure it’s functioning properly. Medical News Today suggests following these strategies:

  • Take Vitamin D – This is important for a strong immune system.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • Eat antioxidants – Antioxidants are compounds that protect our cells from free radical damage. The top antioxidants include: Vitamin A , Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium and the caratonoids (pre-cursor to vitamin A)-beta-carotene, lutien, lycopene and zeaxanthin
  • Exercise  – According to research, immune cell activity in the blood can increase from 50% to 400%, following exercise, based on intensity. Regular, moderate exercise is the key to maintaining this immune boost.
  • Reduce your stress levels –  Stress can lower the lymphocytes in the body. Lymphocyes are the white blood cells that help fight off infection. If lyphocytes levels are low, the body is more susceptible to infection.
  • Sleep 7-9 hour  – Sleep is very important to a healthy immune system. In one study, individuals who slept less than 6 hours were 4 times as likely to get sick as individuals who slept 7 or more hours.

The Best Immune Boosting Foods

A diet filled with a variety of whole foods including fruits, vegetables and fresh seafood, will do wonders for your immune system and help fight off the flu. Choose from all the colors of the rainbow. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Vitamin A : animal products such as cold fish, liver and egg yolks
  • Vitamin C: sweet red pepper, strawberries, kiwis, oranges, red, green, yellow peppers
  • Vitamin D: A good dose of sunshine will boost your vitamin D. Food sources of Vitamin D include: Salmon, sardines and cod liver oil.
  • Vitamin E: spinach, avocadoes, sunflower seeds, almonds, dark leafy greens
  • Beta-carotene: dark leafy greens and orange produce such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin
  • Lutein & Zeaxanthin: dark leafy greens, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, eggs, oranges
  • Lycopene: tomatoes, grapefruit, papaya, asparagus, red cabbage, red peppers
  • Zinc: legumes, seeds, nuts, oysters, beef

The Top 4 Natural Immune Boosting Substances

There are many natural substances that can boost the immune system. Vitamin C is a powerhouse when it comes to illness. However, there are other vitamins, minerals, herbs and natural substances that can do wonders to boost your immune system and protect you from the flu this season. Here are the four of the best substances to include in your immune boosting arsenal:

Vitamin D – Because most individuals are deficient in this very important substance, a dosage of 2000 to 5000 IU/day is advised for most people. Vitamin D3 is highly recommended, as this is the natural source from animal products and easier to absorb. A good food source of vitamin D, as well as vitamin E and A is Fermented Cod Liver Oil.

Oil of oregano – This oil is a powerful immune boosting substance. It has been used for over 2500 years as an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and an anti-oxidant. The recommended dosage is 4 drops, 4 times per day for 10 days.

Elderberries – Elderberry is a flowering plant native to parts of Europe, Africa and parts of Asia. Elderberry syrup is one of the most studied due to its benefits as a powerful immune booster. The berries contain compounds called anthocyadnidins, which have “immunostimulant effects”. Studies show that people treated with elderberry vs a placebo recover faster from flu symptoms. The recommendation is one teaspoon of syrup per day, which can be increased to 3x/day in cases of illness. Elderberry tea, powders and capsules are also available.

Colloidal Silver – Colloidal silver is electrically charged silver nano particles suspended in pure distilled water. Silver has been used to treat disease for more than 6000 years. In fact, it was commonly used as a natural antibiotic as recently as the 1940’s, when modern antibiotics arrived on the scene. It is scientifically proven to be effective against most organisms and pathogens. The recommended dose for immune support is one eye dropper per day.

Soup, Chicken Soup, Eat, Food, Court, Cook, Vegetables

In Conclusion…

There’s an old wives tale that says eating homemade chicken soup when you’re sick will help you get better. While a bowl of soup won’t kill the flu virus, the broth, chicken and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, which will help boost your immune system. The hot soup will lift your spirits, help you destress and may even help you sleep. All of this combined is a recipe for healing.

If you or a loved one does start to feel sick, it is suggested you stay home and quarantine yourself. Whether it’s just the flu or a little cold, with the current state of the pandemic, you wouldn’t want to take a risk.

Middle-Age Memoirs : Cataracts and Fuch’s Corneal dystrophy

I have been told I may need a cornea transplant someday. Here’s my story, so far…

My vision took an extreme nose dive over the past 18 months. Since I got glasses at the age of 16, my vision has, more or less, been the same. (about -3.30 – 20/250 always correctable to 20/20) About 2 1/2 years ago, I noticed words and pictures just weren’t as clear as they should be. I went to my normal optometrist, who told me to get over it, I was just getting older and couldn’t expect to see clearly at my age (49 at the time). He actually said that and yelled at me, telling me I was middle age and couldn’t expect to see like I used to see. He was able to get me to 20/20, kind of, and I went on my way.

Throughout that next year, my vision deteriorated quite quickly. I could no longer drive at night, and watching television, specifically reading words on tv, was difficult. So, when it was time for my next eye exam, about 18 months ago, I went to a new optometrist. (I was obviously not going to see that other guy!) She explained that my vision had gone from -3.30 (about 20/250), and correctable to 20/20, to -5.70 (about 20/500) correctable only to 20/40, which is barely legal to drive. That’s also when I was first diagnosed with cataracts at the ripe old age of 50! She told me that when my vision couldn’t be corrected to 20/40, it would be time for surgery.

After my move to Colorado, I knew I would need a new prescription. My vision has deteriorated even further than 18 months ago and I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to pass the vision test to get a Colorado driver license. So, I found an ophthalmologist (eye doctor/surgeon) who told me my vision, WITH MY CURRENT PRESCRIPTION, was 20/100 in my left eye and 20/400 in my right eye and could only be corrected to 20/60. It is now time for cataract surgery, which is scheduled for December.

I saw 2 different eye doctors who both diagnosed me with Fuch’s Corneal Dystrophy. They explained that instead of being smooth, as it should be, my cornea looks like the surface of an orange peel. This isn’t something that can be corrected, at least not now. That’s what my doctors tell me anyway. On the bright side, this is a slow moving disease. They tell me in about 20 years, I may need a cornea transplant. In the meantime, my vision could slowly get worse. Many people are asymptomatic (no symptoms), Hopefully, that will be me. However, the last thing I want is a cornea transplant, even if it is 20 years away, so, I hope to change that through, you guessed it, nutrition.

Fuchs’  (fooks) corneal dystrophy is a hereditary eye disease with symptoms that often become noticeable after the age of 50. Ultimately, it causes loss in vision which can be treated with a cornea transplant.

http://www.cornea.org/Learning-Center/Conditions-Research-Areas/Fuchs-Dystrophy.aspx

“These two images show endothelial cells, the cells that make up the endothelium. The image on the left depicts a healthy endothelium where hexagonal cells are clearly outlined. The image on the right shows an eye with guttae, which would be diagnosed as Fuchs’ dystrophy.” ~ Cornea Research Foundation

I asked my doctors about nutrition, and, just like I expected, they say there’s nothing I can do. Nutrition can’t help. I beg to differ. All cells in the body are formed from the food we eat. I’m hoping my doctors are wrong and there is a cure through nutrition. Aside from getting my business up and running, researching Fuch’s Dystrophy and eye health is going to be my main focus. I began my research by purchasing several books on eye health and nutrition, along with cell apoptosis (cell death- death of cells on the cornea are the main cause of Fuch’s).

I will be keeping you up to date on my research and any eye health, healing or foods I come across. I will also make a Eye research reference page for anyone else who may be looking for information.

Closing thoughts

I knew I had bad eyes, but I had no idea just how bad. I look back on my bad diet and lifestyle when I was younger, such as my soda addiction, and wonder if I could have prevented it. My doctor assures me it was nothing I did…I am just unlucky. I do know that Fuch’s Dystrophy is genetic. With that said, I know, through my schooling, that just because you have a gene mutation for a specific disease doesn’t mean you are 100% guaranteed to get it. Gene mutations are usually triggered through lifestyle choices and my past lifestyle choices, weren’t always the best. I fear those choices, bad food and lack of exercise, may have caught up with me. If that’s the case, maybe good choices can cure it. We shall see.

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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An Avocado a Day Keeps Dementia Away

If you’re like me your relationship with avocados goes something like this: buy them, wait for them to ripen, forget about them, then, when you want to use them, they aren’t any good. Sound familiar?! There really is a fine line between unripe and overripe when it comes to avocados 🥑!

But we really do need to work these little green gems into our daily food intake, especially if you’re approaching middle age. Why? Well, according to a study done at Tuft University, avocados are very high in lutein, a plant nutrient that keeps our brain healthy.

Lutein a member of the carotenoid family of phytonutrients, is closely related to vitamin A and beta-carotene. Lutein is often connected with another carotenoid called zeaxanthin in relation to eye health, but it’s benefits go beyond the eye.

  • Reduced risk of vision disorders
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Improved cognitive health
  • Skincare
  • anti-cancer
  • lowers inflammation
  • weight control

Back to the Tuft University study. Researchers recruited 40 healthy individuals age 50 and over, and tested the lutein content in their brain. Scientists had half the test subjects eat one avocado per day for 6 months, while the control group ate either one potato or one cup of chickpeas per day. Potatoes and chickpeas have very low lutein levels. Both groups kept all other aspects of their diets the same.

At the end of 6 months, the avocado group had a 25% increase in lutein levels, versus no increase in the control group. Other improvements seen in the avocado group include: significantly improved memory and problem solving skills. The study was led by Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. She said:

“Eating one avocado a day is particularly effective at enriching neural lutein levels. A balanced diet that includes fresh avocados may be an effective strategy for cognitive health.”

Other foods high in lutein include:

Closing thoughts:

If you’re like me, you always mean to eat more avocados, but they ripen so quickly. It seems one day they’re unripe, then the next, they’re over ripe. Well, when I began receiving avocaods in my produce delivery every week, I knew I needed to solve this problem, and preserve them until I could throw them in my smoothies. That’s when I started to freeze them. 

I cut each half into 1/8’s, place them on a parchment covered tray in a single layer and place them in the freezer for a few hours. After they’re frozen, you can put them in a ziplock bag. 
FYI, this is for use in smoothies. 2 pieces are 1/8 of an avocado. I haven’t yet used them to make guacamole. If I do, I’ll let you know how it goes. For now, I throw a couple of pieces in every smoothie I make. Best of all, I’m not throwing away past ripe avocados any more!

Until next time…Namaste my friends

Tamara

Lemon Water is my new coffee…10 Reasons you Should add it to your Daily Routine!

Lemon water was all the rage 4 or 5 years ago. Was it just a fad…a passing phase with nothing beneficial to the body? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Lemon water may have phased out of popularity, but it’s benefits have not.

At the time it became popular, my better half and I drank a quart of warm lemon water every morning. The benefits became so ingrained into our lives that we took them for granted. We slowly stopped drinking this beneficial wonder. Skipping one morning, led to skipping more. Before you know it, our lemon water routine was history.

After my move to Colorado, my healthy and diet routine took a nose dive as did my health. So, I thought back to what I did in the past to aid in recovering my health, and that’s when I remembered my lemon water routine. So, I’ve taken up drinking a quart of warm lemon water each morning and I am SOOO glad I did! It has become my new “pick me up” drink in the morning. It helps with my morning fatigue and also dulls some of the sinus headaches I routinely get each morning, when I’m not eating quite right.

It’s so easy to make. Simply squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lemon into a quart jar and fill with warm, clean, filtered water and enjoy. You may be asking yourself…A QUART OF WATER FIRST THING IN THE MORNING…Now, why would anyone do that? Okay, that’s a lot, but you can work up to that amount. The point is to rehydrate yourself and adding the lemon has so many more benefits than just flavor! Here’s a screen shot from one of the videos below, which discusses the benefits of lemon water to the body:

10 Reasons to add lemon water

to your daily routine

  1. Improves your digestive health. Try it for just a couple of days and you’ll be sure to notice how it helps get things “flowing”!
  2. Helps promote mineral balance in the body.
  3. Improves eyesight – the combination of vitamin C and antioxidants in the lemon help your body fight off eye diseases such as cataracts.
  4. Improved skin health – after 30 days on lemon water, you’ll see fewer blemishes and wrinkles
  5. Aids in liver health – The liver is by far one of the most important organs in the body and it doesn’t get a fair shake. It is constantly bombarded with toxins. Lemon water helps flush toxins from the body as well as harmful bacteria.
  6. Improves immune health – The juice of 1/2 of a lemon provides about 1/2 days worth of vitamin C. As you know, vitamin C is one of the body’s main immune boosting vitamins.
  7. boosts metabolism – it gets your digestive system flowing and by extension your metabolism.
  8. lowers inflammation – modern day diseases all share one main cause…chronic inflammation. Lemon water can help lower this chronic inflammation in the body.
  9. Helps fight kidney stones – the citric acid in lemons helps to dissolve kidney stones.
  10. Weight loss – It improves the body’s ability to lose weight. Lemons help break down body fat, boosts metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity,

In my search for information on lemon water, I stumbled on another drink that is beneficial to the body. I just had to give it a try…

Apple Cider Vinegar Fasting Drink

After watching the video, (below), I just had to try this drink. Here’s mine below. I can tell you it is AMAZING! SO GOOD! I’m hooked. The cinnamon is the star of the show, with a hint of sour from the lemon and apple cider vinegar. I also used swerve to sweeten, as I didn’t have stevia on hand. (It’s on order from Amazon!) This, along with my warm lemon water, will be part of my new daily routine. YUM! See the video below my pic for the how to make it!

Below, you’ll find 4 videos which discuss lemons or lemon water and the benefits to the body. Watch one or watch all. Any of them will help you understand the great benefits to drinking lemon water.

What Happens to Your Body

When You Drink Lemon Water

Benefits Of Lemon Water ~

Dr. Nick Zyrowski

Top Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

Dr. Berg

Benefits of Lemon

Dr. Axe

Look for my main weekly post on the Dimensions of Wellness.

Until next time…Namaste my friends

Tamara

s.a.l.t. & the golden rule

Before I get to the inspiration for this post, (the concept of S.A.L.T.) I wanted to share this little essay, which was originally written to my youngest son as he graduated from high school last year. It was a “little speech” I gave just before I presented his “graduation video”, a photographic representation of his life. This essay is a collection of things I wanted him to remember, the take away from his years living with me, learning from me. I have edited it slightly by removing some very personal sections in order to make it a bit more generic. Below is a photo of my son on his graduation day, approximately one year ago.


For what it’s worth,

here is my “two cents worth”:

“As you move away from home, our job raising you draws to a close. We’ll still provide insight and guidance, but it will be less and less.  In a sense, an entire chapter of our lives together is ending. You are now moving into adulthood, headed into the world to see what it has to offer you. We need to trust that we’ve raised you properly, to make good decisions and live a good life.  So, this, for what it’s worth, is my sage advice, as you begin the next chapter in your life. 

There are many things my parents taught me as I grew up, such as…

  • always be on time
  • always try your best
  • finish what you start
  • work hard

But, there are 3 principles I use to guide my life.  I’ve tried to teach these principles to you over the years and lead by example. They work hand in hand, the first guiding the second and the second guiding the third .

1)Treat others how you wish to be treated

I’ve used this phrase often as you grew up. I often felt it was a fruitless cause, but hoped it would one day sink in.  This principle, also known as “the golden rule”, is so important, it is the guiding philosophy to all religions and spiritual beliefs.

  • CHRISTIANITY – So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
  • BUDDHISM – Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. 
  • JUDAISM –  What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
  • ISLAM – No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. 
  • HINDUISM – This is the sum of duty: do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.

2) Don’t judge others actions – This principle, can be illustrated by this short story:

DIRTY LAUNDRY

A young couple moved into a new neighborhood.
The next morning while they were eating breakfast, 
the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the washing outside.
“That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. 
Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”
Her husband looked on, remaining silent.
Every time her neighbor hung her washing out to dry, 
the young woman made the same comments.
A month later, the woman was surprised 
to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband,
 “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?”
The husband replied, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
And so it is with life… 
What we see when watching others depends 
on the clarity of the window through which we look.
(~author unknown)

Remember, life is only how you perceive it through your own eyes, your own experiences. The lives of others are like an iceberg, you only see the tip, but there is a vast amount hidden beneath the surface. You have no idea what someone else has been through or their life experiences. You don’t know what has led them to the choices they made. You may think your beliefs and way of life are the only way, but, others think that of their life as well. There are 7.7 billion people on this planet and 7.7 billion views on life, love and God. Which leads me to the final principle.

3) Keep an open mind. –

The most important thing I can say here is: there is no 1 right way, there is only what’s right for you. “To each his own.” another phrase I’ve used quite often over the years. It simply means everyone has a right to their own preferences and choices. Allow that and keep an open mind to those decisions others make. You lead your life, treat others with kindness and respect, and don’t judge the lives of others. Then, you let other people do the same thing.

At the same time, keep your mind open to new possibilities and different perspectives. Life is a classroom. Embrace that. When you come across something you don’t understand, don’t mock, judge or gossip instead, study it, learn about it, and ask questions. Remember, the only stupid question is the one you fail to ask. Never stop learning, growing and changing. We are all just plugging along in this life, doing the best we can with what God gave us. NO ONE is better than anyone else, just different. Discover those differences and embrace them.

Through the process of putting together the video, writing this essay and my son graduating, I realized what a blessed and magnificent life I’ve had with these three wonderful men, my husband and 2 sons. I am so grateful for the beautiful life we’ve had together. We’ve seen and done so many amazing things. Traveling the world, living in so many different places, experiencing new cultures and ways of life has been such an adventure. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Many people have asked me over the years how we can move so much, isn’t it hard? For me, I ask…how can you stay in one place your whole life and NOT travel the world? Remember, it’s all in how you view life.

For so many people, home is a place, a building, with four walls and a roof. As the old saying goes, “home is where the heart is.” My home is, and always will be, with the three men in my life. Whenever we are together, no matter where we are on the globe, I am home.


I am so tired and stressed by the state of our world, that I struggled to find a theme for today’s post. For me, what’s missing is living by the guidance of THE GOLDEN RULE. The main theme for my life and the 3 principles listed above is THE GOLDEN RULE…treat others how you wish to be treated. That’s when I decided to post the essay above.

To add to this essay, I also found a wonderful video which discussed a 4 pronged approach to implement this most important rule. This system goes by the acronym S.A.L.T.

  • Serve – Use your gifts and talents to help others
  • Appreciate – Recognize the accomplishments and effort of others and be grateful always.
  • Love – Love everyone unconditionally, without expectation or exception.
  • Treasure – Spread kindness. Show dignity and respect to others.

Below is the video that discusses the concept of S.A.L.T. in relation to THE GOLDEN RULE. While this is a video based on the bible and Christianity, there are no limits to this concept.

Closing thoughts…

One thing missing from my essay, had I written it today, is is the defense of others. This is something else I’d like my children to know and understand. It’s important to live by the golden rule. However, it’s also important to understand that not everyone in this world live’s by this concept. Therefore, I’d add a 4th life principle.

4) Defend those less fortunate.

I don’t think anyone would argue that we all desire peace on our planet. Right now, that can’t happen. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and be treated according to the golden rule. After watching many videos and learning from the life experiences of others over the past month, it’s clear there are members of our society that aren’t treated with the respect they so richly deserve. I’d tell my children, if they witness any such disrespect, to step in and help the person being mistreated. We must be a light, a beacon to those still in darkness. We must lift each other up, not push each other down. Only then, will we live together in peace as a planet.

 Until next time…Namaste my friends

it’s all in a state of mind

I had planned on sharing a “memoir” since it’s the first blog post of the month, filled with stories of my vegetable fermenting and kefir making adventures. However, instead, I feel inspired to share a poem with all of you. It’s quite popular and you’ve probably heard it before. However, I feel it’s relevant and timely. I’ve always tried to go with my gut when posting on this site, something from which I’ve strayed lately. But, with the current state of affairs in the world, I felt the need to inspire all of you with a poem my eldest son received from a teacher in 2009.

The poem touches on the state of mind needed to be happy and successful versus the state of mind a person has when failing. Quite often, what we believe to occur, will occur. If we think we’ll fail, more than likely, we’ll find a way to fail. If we believe we’ll succeed, we’ll find a way. If we insist we are trapped, angry and lonely, due to the covid-19 lockdowns, we’ll find a way to be miserable. On the other hand, we could see this as a time to treasure family, expand our minds and fill our souls with love, information and triumph of the human spirit…

IT’S ALL IN A STATE OF MIND!

A poem by Walter D. Wintle

If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think that you dare not, you don’t,
If you’d like to win, but you think you can’t,
It’s almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,
For out in the world you’ll find
Success begins with a fellow’s will—
It’s all in the state of mind.

For many a race is lost
ere even a step is run,
And many a coward falls
ere even his work’s begun,
Think big, and your deeds will grow;
Think small, and you’ll fall behind;
Think that you can, and you will—
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are out-classed, you are;
You’ve got to think high to rise;
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You ever can win a prize,
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

PRINT THIS POEM HERE

Closing thoughts

We’re all growing tired of the lockdown. As things begin to open up around the world, I’d like to think we can look back at this as a time we treasured with the ones we love. How rare is it that we can spend so much time with our family? This has indeed been a difficult couple of months. However, let us be thankful we have a roof for shelter, clothes for warmth, a bed to lie our weary heads and food to fill our rumbling bellies. Let us pray for those who are not as fortunate.

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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6 ways to keep your brain young and healthy From Home

As I talk with friends and family over the past few weeks, since the pandemic began, I hear people expressing their frustration at being “stuck at home”, saying they’re going “stir crazy” and other similar phrases. This is understandable, since we are used to coming and going as we please. For me, I actually find myself veering away from social media and searching for ways to stimulate my brain. Being stuck at home seems to have created a craving for brain stimulation. After all, the brain needs exercise, just like the rest of the body. Here is a list of 6 ways to stimulate your brain and keep it young, from Kwik Learning. With each recommendation, I’ve included ways you can do each activity from home, for free when possible.

6 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR BRAIN YOUNG AND HEALTHY

Woman, Kitchen, Man, Everyday Life, Blond
  1. Try new things. This may prove difficult from home, but let me make a few suggestions.
  • Learn a new language– This article from Livewire.com has a list of 14 free language learning software sites.
  • Learn to cook– This article, from The Purple Almond Wellness Kitchen, includes a list of online cooking classes. While some in the list do cost money, there are several that are free including: Skillshare, Chef2chef, and The New York Times.
  • Visit a museum – Many museums are offering free virtual tours. This article from mentalfloss.com includes a list of 12 museums around the world you can visit from home, including The Louvre, The Guggenheim, and The Met in New York.
  • Read classic literatureProject Gutenberg is a non-profit online data base of free online e-books. Founded Michael Hart in 1971, it was the first organization to offer free online e-books. It has a huge database of literature. You are sure to find something of interest.
Woman, Person, Cyclist, Bicycle, Movement, Exertion

2. Exercise – Just as exercise is good for the heart and the rest of the body, it’s very good for the brain as well. Exercise is proven to decrease stress and depression which also slow brain function. Exercise also boosts mental ability, and focus, minimizing risk of damaged cells, which leads to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Here are some ways to exercise from home for free:

  • Walk (and earn money for charity) – Walking is one of the healthiest exercises, it’s free AND it gets you out of the house. While you’re walking you can earn money for charity with the Charity Miles app. Once you download the app and choose a charity, all you have to do is move. The app lets you do anything from walking and running to dancing and biking. For each mile you move, Charity Miles donates money to your chosen charity. The amount per mile depends on the activity chosen.
  • Take a free exercise class – If you prefer more organized exercise or you miss your gym, try a free online class. Here are a few places offering free classes: Planet Fitness, Blink Fitness, Orange Theory, and Gold’s Gym.
Laptop, Coffee, Arm, Desktop, Notebook, Writing

3. Volunteer – Yes you can volunteer from home. Cool right! My search yielded many results. Here are a few opportunities:

  • Covia – This non-profit serves older adults. They are looking for people to help isolated elderly individuals through 1 on 1 friend matching, send cards/letters to 10 elderly adults, or simply donate money. Here is a short video…
  • 7 CupsThis organization provides free emotional support via caring listeners. They are in need of volunteers who could fill this roll.
  • Crisis Text Line – This non-profit is a 24/7 text line for people in crisis in the USA. They are in need of volunteer crisis counselors. If you are interested, follow this link.
  • American Red Cross – Digital advocates are needed through The American Red Cross. Follow THIS LINK for more details.
  • Be My Eyes – When you install the app on your phone, you will be “on-call” to help the visually impaired with everyday tasks, such as reading instructions, checking dates or other small jobs.
Handshake, Hands, Laptop, Monitor, Online, Digital

4. Be Social – Now, this one may be a bit more difficult, but in this technological age, there are things you can do. Here are a few suggestions on being social from the comfort and safety of home:

  • Movie night Netflix has a new service called “Netflix party”. It’s a free download which synchronizes movie playback with a chat feature.
  • Book club – Facebook has many book club groups. I just joined a Nourished Reader book club and am awaiting reading the first book There are many other such groups on Facebook. Bustle.com has 10 tips for setting up your own book club.
  • Virtual Happy Hour – If you miss meeting your friends for a nite on the town, host a virtual happy hour. Mydomaine.com has an article on this topic called “The Entertainer’s Guide to Hosting a Virtual Happy Hour”.
Woman, Asleep, Girl, Sleep, Dreams, Face, Young Woman

5. Get good sleep. – Working from home may lead us to slack off on our nighttime routine. However, it’s more important than ever to stick to a routine when it comes to bedtime. A good night’s sleep keeps the brain cell connections strong, helps us retain information and calms us. Poor habits lead to depression, bad memory and psychiatric problems. I’ve written a few articles on insomnia. Follow THIS LINK for more information.

Yoga, Calm, Release, Stretching, Golden Hour, Nature

6. Beat anger. This one is difficult under the best of circumstances. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders are not helping in this department. We need to do our best to alleviate stress and anger in our lives, especially now.

Stress and anger release the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These are processed in the brain before the rest of the body. I’ve written several articles on stress. follow THIS LINK for more details. Stress and anger increase heart rate, raise blood pressure, change brain structure, increase risk of mental illness and kill brain cells.

Under current circumstances, it’s difficult to avoid stress and anger, but you can manage it. Here are links to some articles to help alleviate stress

Closing thoughts…

Brain quote by Daniel Amen | Weight Loss/ Nutrition ...

You may be thinking now isn’t the time to be worrying about all of this. I beg to differ. It’s during times of stress that it’s imperative to take care of your brain. Anyway, taking the 6 steps listed above will help make your time in self-isolation that much easier…and you can bring joy to others at the same time.

 Until next time…Namaste my friends

6 ways to keep your brain young and healthy From Home

As I talk with friends and family over the past few weeks, since the pandemic began, I hear people expressing their frustration at being “stuck at home”, saying they’re going “stir crazy” and other similar phrases. This is understandable, since we are used to coming and going as we please. For me, I actually find myself veering away from social media and searching for ways to stimulate my brain. Being stuck at home seems to have created a craving for brain stimulation. After all, the brain needs exercise, just like the rest of the body. Being stuck at home day after day can become boring, draining and mundane. Here is a list of 6 ways to stimulate your brain and keep it young, from Kwik Learning. With each recommendation, I’ve included ways you can do each activity from home, for free when possible.

6 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR BRAIN YOUNG AND HEALTHY

Woman, Kitchen, Man, Everyday Life, Blond
  1. Try new things. This may prove difficult from home, but let me make a few suggestions.
  • Learn a new language– This article from Livewire.com has a list of 14 free language learning software sites.
  • Learn to cook– This article, from The Purple Almond Wellness Kitchen, includes a list of online cooking classes. While some in the list do cost money, there are several that are free including: Skillshare, Chef2chef, and The New York Times.
  • Visit a museum – Many museums are offering free virtual tours. This article from mentalfloss.com includes a list of 12 museums around the world you can visit from home, including The Louvre, The Guggenheim, and The Met in New York.
  • Read classic literatureProject Gutenberg is a non-profit online data base of free online e-books. Founded Michael Hart in 1971, it was the first organization to offer free online e-books. It has a huge database of literature. You are sure to find something of interest.
Woman, Person, Cyclist, Bicycle, Movement, Exertion

2. Exercise – Just as exercise is good for the heart and the rest of the body, it’s very good for the brain as well. Exercise is proven to decrease stress and depression which also slow brain function. Exercise also boosts mental ability, and focus, minimizing risk of damaged cells, which leads to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Here are some ways to exercise from home for free:

  • Walk (and earn money for charity) – Walking is one of the healthiest exercises, it’s free AND it gets you out of the house. While you’re walking you can earn money for charity with the Charity Miles app. Once you download the app and choose a charity, all you have to do is move. The app lets you do anything from walking and running to dancing and biking. For each mile you move, Charity Miles donates money to your chosen charity. The amount per mile depends on the activity chosen.
  • Take a free exercise class – If you prefer more organized exercise or you miss your gym, try a free online class. Here are a few places offering free classes: Planet Fitness, Blink Fitness, Orange Theory, and Gold’s Gym.
Laptop, Coffee, Arm, Desktop, Notebook, Writing

3. Volunteer – Yes you can volunteer from home. Cool right! My search yielded many results. Here are a few opportunities:

  • Covia – This non-profit serves older adults. They are looking for people to help isolated elderly individuals through 1 on 1 friend matching, send cards/letters to 10 elderly adults, or simply donate money. Here is a short video…
  • 7 CupsThis organization provides free emotional support via caring listeners. They are in need of volunteers who could fill this roll.
  • Crisis Text Line – This non-profit is a 24/7 text line for people in crisis in the USA. They are in need of volunteer crisis counselors. If you are interested, follow this link.
  • American Red Cross – Digital advocates are needed through The American Red Cross. Follow THIS LINK for more details.
  • Be My Eyes – When you install the app on your phone, you will be “on-call” to help the visually impaired with everyday tasks, such as reading instructions, checking dates or other small jobs.
Handshake, Hands, Laptop, Monitor, Online, Digital

4. Be Social – Now, this one may be a bit more difficult, but in this technological age, there are things you can do. Here are a few suggestions on being social from the comfort and safety of home:

  • Movie night Netflix has a new service called “Netflix party”. It’s a free download which synchronizes movie playback with a chat feature.
  • Book club – Facebook has many book club groups. I just joined a Nourished Reader book club and am awaiting reading the first book There are many other such groups on Facebook. Bustle.com has 10 tips for setting up your own book club.
  • Virtual Happy Hour – If you miss meeting your friends for a nite on the town, host a virtual happy hour. Mydomaine.com has an article on this topic called “The Entertainer’s Guide to Hosting a Virtual Happy Hour”.
Woman, Asleep, Girl, Sleep, Dreams, Face, Young Woman

5. Get good sleep. – Working from home may lead us to slack off on our nighttime routine. However, it’s more important than ever to stick to a routine when it comes to bedtime. A good night’s sleep keeps the brain cell connections strong, helps us retain information and calms us. Poor habits lead to depression, bad memory and psychiatric problems. I’ve written a few articles on insomnia. Follow THIS LINK for more information.

Yoga, Calm, Release, Stretching, Golden Hour, Nature

6. Beat anger. This one is difficult under the best of circumstances. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders are not helping in this department. We need to do our best to alleviate stress and anger in our lives, especially now.

Stress and anger release the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These are processed in the brain before the rest of the body. I’ve written several articles on stress. follow THIS LINK for more details. Stress and anger increase heart rate, raise blood pressure, change brain structure, increase risk of mental illness and kill brain cells.

Under current circumstances, it’s difficult to avoid stress and anger, but you can manage it. Here are links to some articles to help alleviate stress

Closing thoughts…

Brain quote by Daniel Amen | Weight Loss/ Nutrition ...

You may be thinking now isn’t the time to be worrying about all of this. I beg to differ. It’s during times of stress that it’s imperative to take care of your brain. Anyway, taking the 6 steps listed above will help make your time in self-isolation that much easier…and you can bring joy to others at the same time.

 Until next time…Namaste my friends

Middle-Age Memoirs: How to make a face mask in 30 seconds or less (with a filter)

Well what a month it’s been! Spending unending time with my better half and youngest son over the past couple of weeks has been fun. However, I think the phrase “be careful what you wish for” may be applicable here.

I’m the type of person who loves alone time. Normally, I’m alone all day (except for my dog Max of course). I write my blog alone….I do housework alone….I cook alone. I really enjoy being alone. I find it peaceful. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my sons like crazy, now that they are out of the house. I absolutely love spending time with my better half. Since the pandemic began, however, they are rarely out of sight or earshot. I find my precious alone time has completely disappeared and, quite frankly, I miss it. I’m sure most of you can relate. I find myself digging into my old habit of staying up late at night, just to find some peace, and revive some precious alone time.

Anyway…last week, the Governor of Virginia, issued a “stay-at-home” order, which ended up being an extension of the “suggestions” for staying home previously issued. He kept everything else the same. Thankfully, he didn’t take it to extremes, such as arresting people for leaving home, like states surrounding us have done.

On Friday of last week, the CDC issued new guidelines for wearing face masks in public. Here is a link to the CDC face mask FAQ for your information. So, I took to the internet to find the easiest way to make a face mask with little or no sewing required. I tried several before settling on my favorite. AND…once you have all the materials, it can be put together in under 30 seconds. My son timed me and it took me 24 seconds. I got the idea from the video below:

The video above used electrostatic hepa filter material for the face mask filter. I looked for this online. You can find it on Amazon, but don’t expect delivery until June. So I did a bit of research for alternatives. I found an article on smartfilters.com, called “What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks?” The following list of material was tested by researchers at Cambridge University. Researchers tested each material against “0.02 micron Bacteriophage MS2 particles (5 times smaller than the coronavirus)” As you can see, vacuum cleaner bags were found to be effective 86% of the time. So we will be using this as our filter, in place of the hepa filter in the video. If you don’t have vacuum cleaner bags, my research indicates any “non-woven” fabric will help, but not as effectively.

One other thing I discovered…most videos recommended using hair bands. I DO NOT agree. I tried using these and found they didn’t stay on my ears. I prefer rubber bands. I found them to stay better and they were more comfortable.

Materials needed

  • 15 inch x 15 inch piece of cloth (really any size will work see video)
  • 8 inch x 4.5 inch rectangle cut from a vacuum bag (for the filter)
  • 2 rubber bands or hair bands

Steps

  • gather materials
  • lay filter (vacuum bag rectangle) in the middle of the 15 x 15 square fabric. NOTE: the filter IS NOT reusable. You’ll need a new filter with each use.
  • fold fabric in thirds. Start by folding the top down. Then fold the bottom up
  • put one band around each end
  • fold the ends toward the middle
  • tuck extra from one side into the folds from the other side. (see video)

Closing thoughts

Keep in mind, I am not a medical professional, nor an expert on medical face masks. Also, this isn’t a “form fitting” mask. It is, by no means, a replacement for a surgical mask or N95 mask. With that said, the CDC is suggesting the use of face masks and many states are beginning to require them in public. This mask is better than nothing, VERY easy to put together and more form fitting than simply a scarf. Plus it has a filter of sorts, so should provide a bit more protection.

As I said, I tried at least 4 different types, some with material, some with paper towels. There are many how-to videos on youtube. If you sew, THIS ONE would be great, as it has a pocket for a filter and is reusable. Anyway, I’m not much for sewing, so this was my solution.

I hope all of you are safe and healthy. GOD BLESS!

Until next time…Namaste my friends

blogsignature12-11

The 4 Best Immune Boosters & Protectors to Take RIGHT NOW!

Last week, I talked about boosting your vitamin C intake by using the powerful little Camu Camu berry. We all know that vitamin C is a powerhouse when it comes to illness. However, there are other vitamins, minerals, herbs and natural substances that can do wonders to boost your immune system and protect you from the onslaught of colds, the flu and, of course, the Corona Virus aka: COVID-19. In fact, there are many, many natural substances that help in this area, but today, I’ve limited it to four of the very best:

  • vitamin D
  • oil of oregano
  • elderberries
  • colloidal silver

Vitamin D ~ The Sunshine “vitamin”

It may surprise you, but vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin. Most vitamins and minerals required by the body must be consumed, because the body does not make the substance. Vitamin D is different in this regard and is more like a hormone. The body actually makes vitamin D in our skin as a result of exposure to sunlight. You may guess, therefore, that most humans are deficient in this all important substance, due to our lack of exposure to sunlight and poor diets.

Vitamin D is crucial for many activities in the body, today, we are especially concerned with the immune system. One study indicated that individuals deficient in vitamin D were more susceptible to respiratory infection than those with sufficient levels.

Here are a few other facts about vitamin D:
  • Every cell in the body has a vitamin D receptor!
  • It is estimated that as many as 2000 genes or 1/6 of the human genome is either directly or indirectly regulated by vitamin D.
  • The digestive system cannot absorb calcium without vitamin D
  • Vitamin D is crucial to bone health
  • Plays a critical role in the immune system
  • Vitamin D is important in the reduction of infectious diseases in the body
Supplements and dosages:

Because most individuals are deficient in this very important substance, a dosage of 2000 to 5000 IU/day is recommended for most people. I HIGHLY recommend vitamin D3, as this is the natural source from animal products. Try to avoid vitamin D2 if possible. The D3 version is easier for the body to absorb.

Life Extension Vitamin D3 5000 IU

If you’d like a whole food source of not only vitamin D, but vitamin A and vitamin E as well, I HIGHLY recommend BLUE ICE FERMENTED COD LIVER OIL from Green Pastures. I personally take this every day along with a D3 supplement during cold/flu season.

Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Oil of Oregano

To be honest, I wasn’t that familiar with oil of oregano, and had to do a bit of research. It turns out this is powerful stuff! It is by far one of the most impressive herbal supplements I’ve seen. It has been used as a medicinal substance for more than 2500 years! Here are just some of the things it does for you:

  • supports immune system
  • anti-fungal
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-parasitie
  • anti-viral
  • powerful antioxidant
  • promotes mood balance
  • aids digestion
  • allergy support
  • weight loss support
  • helps with herpes and other lip blemishes
  • promotes intestinal balance
  • normalize yeast balance
  • healthy liver support
Sources and uses:

The Healthy Oil Planet website recommends asking these specific questions when looking for an oil of oregano supplement:

  1. How much Active Ingredients are in the oil? – The active ingredients in the oil is carvacrol and thymol. Caracrol is the ingredient responsible for the anti-microbial activity of the oil. Therefore, any oil should have high concentrations of cararo.
  2. What is the Plant Source? You’ll want to make sure the plants that made the oil are: grown wild on native soils, handpicked, pesticide and herbicide-free, grown in an ecologically-conscious manner with conservation programs in place.
  3. What’s the overall Purity and Quality? Look for the following: Are the oils GMP (good manufacturing practice)-certified? Is it additive-free? Steam-distilled oils are higher purity; Free of solvents; Non-irradiated; 100% natural; Unprocessed and raw
  4. What form do you want: Liquids or Capsules?

Dr. Axe recommends taking 4 drops 4 times daily for 10 days. It can also be used topically on fungus or herpes cold sores.

Source Naturals Oil of Oregano

Elderberries

Elderberry is a flowering plant native to parts of Europe, Africa and parts of Asia. There are many species of elderberry, but black elderberries are the most commonly used. The berries and flowers are used in medicine, while the bark, roots and leaves are toxic and should be avoided. Elderberries have been used for a long time in wine, jams, jellies and, syrup, which is most common today.

Elderberry syrup is one of the most studied due to its benefits as a powerful immune booster. The berries contain compounds called anthocyadnidins, which have “immunostimulant effects”. Studies show that people treated with elderberry vs a placebo recover faster from flu symptoms. Here are some elderberry benefits:

  • cold & flu relief
  • reduce sinus infection symptoms
  • lowers blood sugar
  • a natural diuretic (promotes the production of urine)
  • relieves constipation
  • improves skin health
  • helps relieve allergies
  • possible cancer fighting benefits
  • improved cardiovascular health
Uses, supplement sources, and cautions:

The most common use of elderberries is as a syrup. The recommendation is one teaspoon per day, which can be increased to 3x/day in cases of illness. Elderberry tea, powders and capsules are also available.

While elderberries have many potential benefits, there are a few things of which to be aware:

  • Only eat ripe, COOKED berries. Raw berries should be avoided due to a cyanide-inducing chemical contained in the berries. This can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Purchasing commercially prepared syrups, jams, and jellies are generally safe.
  • Elderflowers and berries can cause allergic reactions in some people. If you are susceptible to allergies, use caution.
  • Elderberry syrup is NOT recommended for children, unless advised by a doctor.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid elderberries, due to lack of available research on effects to fetal health.
  • Due to the immune stimulating effects, individuals with autoimmune disorders should use caution and seek advice from a doctor.
  • Can interact with some medications including: diabetes meds, other diuretics, immunosuppressants, corticosteroids, and laxatives

Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup

Celebration Herbals Organic Elderberry Tea

Colloidal Silver

silver nanoparticles attacking a bacteria

I’ve save the best for last. Colloidal silver is something everyone should have in their medicine cabinets. I must admit this one is new for me as well. But as I was doing research for this article, colloidal silver kept coming up as a “must have” for immune boosting and protecting substances. As a member of the wellness community, I’ve heard of it, but dismissed it as something silly or misleading in terms of benefits to human health. But as I did research, I was continually impressed and proven wrong.

So, what exactly is colloidal silver? Basically, colloidal silver is electrically charged silver nano particles suspended in pure distilled water. You’ve more than likely heard the phrase “born with a silver spoon in your mouth”. This phrase stemmed from the knowledge that using silver in the consumption of food, was beneficial to human health. If you’ve used silver to eat, you’ve no doubt ingested silver nanoparticles.

Silver has been used to treat disease for more than 6000 years. In fact, it was commonly used as a natural antibiotic as recently as the 1940’s, when modern antibiotics arrived on the scene. It is scientifically proven to be effective against most organisms and pathogens. Here are some benefits of colloidal silver:

  • natural antibiotic
  • natural antimicrobial
  • natural antiviral
  • help with wound care
  • improved skin health
  • possible help with pink eye/ear infections
  • anti-inflammatory
  • known to help with sinusitis
  • helps with cold/flu
  • helps with pneumonia, bronchitis

Uses, cautions and sources:

Colloidal silver may be taken/used in the following ways:

  • 2–5 drops applied on skin
  • to support the immune system take 1 eyedropper orally
  • 1–2 drops into eyes for pink eye
  • disinfect woulds by applying 1–2 drops on a bandaid
  • 5 drops added into a neti pot or directly sprayed into the nose to treat sinusitis

While the benefits are widely known, the safety of colloidal silver is controversial and still up for debate. Many scientists believe colloidal silver interferes with certain drugs. However, as of the writing of this article, there is no research suggesting this is true.

When looking for colloidal silver, make sure the company is reputable and uses a good quality silver source. Poor quality supplements can lead to a condition called “argyria”, which actually turns the skin blue. Good quality colloidal silver WILL NOT turn your skin blue! Here are a few other things to look for in a good quality colloidal silver supplement, from Global Healing:

  • Purity matters – pure water is extremely important for this process to work.
  • Proper electrical charge is necessary. It isn’t enough to simply have silver nanoparticles in distilled water. Colloidal silver works because the electrical charge is attracted to the bad microbes. Therefore, the silver must have a proper electrical charge
  • Use a supplement created using a “high voltage” process. You will, no doubt, find equipment and videos indicating you can make your own colloidal silver. While technically possible, “homemade” versions, using low voltage, will not have the same health effects.

Sovereign Silver Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol

Note: I looked at many lists and sites highlighting the best colloidal silver and this one was on every list and stood out as being the best. The key to this one is “bio-active”, which means it has the proper and important electrical charge.

Until next time…Namaste my friends

Tamara