There is more discussion of shopping for local food. What does that mean? Is it simply going to your favorite organic grocery store or visiting your farmers market? Yes, to both! Local food is commonly defined as food grown within 100 miles or even within the state you live in. This definition can vary. It can be based on the region and seasonal availability.
If you’re visiting a grocery store that provides local farmer produce, you’re shopping local. It doesn’t have to be a trip to the local farmers market, but I do recommend this as well. Get to know your farmer. Often, due to the cost to receive an organic certification, a local farmer may be practicing organic standards but may not be officially certified. The art of shopping at your farmers market is also a social experience. As humans, we need that social interaction. So take the time to get to know your farmer, their practices, seasonal produce and you might make a friend.
A health benefit is that local food is often more nutrient dense. The reason is due to transporting foods. Fresh produce is at peak quality when picked or at least should be. As it’s shipped across the United States or from another country, its quality starts to deteriorate through a process called respiration and it loses nutrients. By the time it gets to you and then you leave it in the refrigerator for a few days, you may end up with minimal vitamins and minerals. That’s a bummer when you’ve taken the time to pick out the greenest organic broccoli or reddest peppers.
Here are a few more reason why shopping local is beneficial.
There are more benefits to shopping local, but you get the idea. Next time you’re choosing local, seasonal food at your grocery store or farmers market, know that you’re supporting your local economy and gaining the health benefits of nutrient dense food.
#mindbodyyou #farmtofork #celestecooperpeel
Mood, Medicinals and Menopause…Oh My!
Working through menopausal symptoms can be a bit overwhelming. There’s often pressure to take synthetic hormones or investigate bioidentical hormones. It can be confusing. But is there another way to approach hot flashes, insomnia, depression, mood changes and more without hormones? Let’s look at herbal remedies and alternative therapies.
Sage – looking at hot flashes and increased sweating, sage has been shown to decrease perspiration in over 60% of women who experience hot flashes (Bommer, 2011). This can be used in the form of tea and capsules. The recommendation is to take 1000mg two times a day. Sage is also known to assist with sinus infections, improving cognition and calming the central nervous system.
Red Clover (wild plant belonging to the legume family)
Kudzu (Pueraria Lobata aka Owhi)
I’m lumping all of these into the same paragraph. Each contains isoflavones - genistein, daidzein and puerarin. Isoflavones are compounds that act as weak estrogen receptor modulators. In treating hot flashes, the research is mixed. This is because gut bacteria has to convert daidzein into equol. Only ~40% of individuals can do this. This is why some women find that soy in the form of edamame and tofu helps with hot flashes while others don’t find assistance. It’s good to note that the isoflavones mentioned here could interact with anticoagulant and platelet medications. Also, not all soy is the same.
St. John’s Wort – you often hear that this herb assists with well-being but a multitude of studies show that it can assist with hot flashes. Research indicates that after an 8-12 week period, improvements were shown. This was based on a dose of 300 mg taken three times/day. Please note that St. John’s Wart is metabolized in the liver and can interfere with the metabolism of many other drugs.
Panax Ginseng – this is another mood stabilizer and assists with insomnia. Studies indicate that this herb was taken daily (200 mg) in the form of a standardized extract.
Yoga – this ancient form of movement has been shown to assist with hot flashes, depression and insomnia. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system which assists with lowering heart rate, blood pressure and stress. Please note that “hot” yoga isn’t recommended since this can stress the body and create hot flashes.
Meditation – meditation in the form of breathwork, mindfulness, utilizing the senses and more has been shown to reduce stress and activation the calm side of the central nervous system which can assist with mood, insomnia, hot flashes and more.
Acupuncture – this ancient modality helps a great deal of symptoms. It assists with stress reduction, improving sleep, regulating hormones and reducing hot flashes.
Over the years, I’ve recommended these remedies in addition to a few more. They are helpful in reducing sleepless nights, feeling cooler and improving mood and memory. I can personally attest to this as well as hearing the testimonials from so many women. As always, please consult your health care provider for your specific needs and ensure the supplements you take are high quality, pure and come from a reputable supplier.
#mindbodyyou #herbs #menopause #alternativetherapy #sage #redclover #kudzu #stjohnswort #panexginseng #yoga #meditation #acupuncture #celestecooperpeel
Homemade Peppermint Bark Body Bars
Our skin is the largest organ. It protects us from the environment as well as microbes which are tiny forms of life too small to be seen by the naked eye. Some make us sick and some are good for our health. Although our skin protects us, anything that we directly place on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream. That’s why we need to pay special attention to what we apply on it.
I’ve been using essential oils close to twenty years now. They have healing benefits and are pleasing to the senses. Coupled with rich, emulsifying butters and coconut oils, these components can be great for our skincare regimen.
I’m going to share one of my favorite recipes during the holiday season – Peppermint Bark Butter Bars. To make these skincare products, you may want to purchase some silicone soap/bar molds. Here’s what I use. They are 1.5 fluid ounces each.
Here are the ingredients.
You will need a small and a medium pot to create a double boiler. Another option is using a stainless-steel bowl in place of the smaller pot.
Fill a medium pot with about 2-3 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Place a smaller pot or stainless-steel bowl inside the larger pot. Add the coconut oil, beeswax and cocoa butter to the small pot/bowl. Stir until the blend is melted and then remove from heat. Let this mixture cool a bit and then add the essential oil. Mix well. Pour the mixture into the molds. Allow the Peppermint Bark body bars cool and solidify. Once this happens, you can pop the bars out of the mold. If it’s warm in the room you are preparing these in, place in a cooler setting. Another option is to put these on a sheet in the refrigerator for ~25-30 minutes.
To use, rub the body bar on feet, knees, elbow or all over body for moisture. This is a great bar to use on hands in the winter. The shelf life for these bars is ~ a year if you store out of direct sunlight and away from a heat source.
Enjoy for yourself or share as gifts with others.
#mindbodyyou #essentialoils #bodycare #celestecooperpeel
The Amazing Mineral – Magnesium!
There’s so much to say about magnesium. Where do I begin? It’s a co-enzyme that is involved in over 300 reactions that take place in the body. When I say co-enzyme, I mean that without this rich mineral, the reaction wouldn’t happen. Magnesium supports so many processes. Some of these include regulating our heart rate as well as assisting with the production of glutathione. We’ll talk about this magnificent master antioxidant later, but for now just know that it is one of the most important molecules you need for health and disease prevention. Back to magnesium! Magnesium works with calcium and vitamin D and is responsible for bone formation. In addition, it assists in regulating blood sugar. It also relaxes the blood vessels and keeps our blood pressure stable. It works with the nervous system and is considered the “relaxing” mineral that supports our sleep and our ability to handle stress. The next time you crave chocolate, stop and think….could I be magnesium deficient? Chocolate is rich in magnesium and this could be a sign. Maybe that’s why women crave chocolate during certain times of the month. Their magnesium levels drop due to hormones and hence, they crave chocolate.
You may think… ”I eat healthy and eat foods rich in magnesium.” Unfortunately, that may not be the case. I personally eat a very healthy diet consisting of dark leafy greens that are raw or sautéed. I also eat nuts and seeds in addition to taking a multi-vitamin. Somehow my magnesium levels were low on a traditional/allopathic medicine lab range. In the functional world, I was too low. How did this happen?
Let’s talk food. Unfortunately, the modern food supply isn’t often rich in the minerals. Our foods are overly processed and depleted. For instance, grains are refined and stripped which lowers magnesium. This is the same for any packaged or processed food. Organic is the best choice with foods in their whole form (how they grew in nature). Even with these conditions, we should check our magnesium levels. Things to consider is if food is shipped across the United States, it loses its nutrients as time passes. Consider purchasing local, in-season produce. Make sure the farm is certified organic meaning that they didn’t use any harmful chemicals in the soil or on the plants. Where can you find magnesium-rich foods? Dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds and even legumes. You should also know that if you drink caffeinated beverage, your magnesium levels may be lower.
How do you know you might have a deficiency? Some possible signs are eye twitches. I started having these in the late winter and early spring. My body was trying to tell me something. Other signs can be muscle cramping, restless legs, insomnia, constipation, anxiety and even bad menstrual cramps. You may have one or a few symptoms. It depends on the person. Based on your results, your health care provider may recommend supplementation.
There are different forms of magnesium and you should know the differences. I’m going to talk about three forms and these are the most highly absorbable. Magnesium citrate is the most commonly used form and is rapidly absorbed in the digestive tract. One important thing to mention is that you should start out slowly with this form as it does cause a laxative effect if you take too much. This is good news if you have issues in that department. Another is magnesium glycinate. Glycine is transported through the intestinal wall and doesn’t have the laxative effect. These are both taken orally. In this form, less than 50% is absorbed. There is also topical magnesium. By bypassing the digestive system, it moves directly into the bloodstream and is delivered to the cells. If you’re low, this is my preferred choice and supplement orally as well. For the topical form, it’s helpful to put on feet at night and sleep with socks on. If you put topical magnesium on your legs or arms, be careful. If you’re deficient, you may feel prickling or itching. I recommend that you put on your lower legs first after you’ve used it on your feet for a few nights. Then, you can use more after you work your way into it. I also like to mix this with a good quality, organic lotion so you don’t have the “sticky” feel. Learn more about magnesium facts here.
One last thing. If you’re prone to migraines, try adding magnesium into your world. I know several people who started utilizing this magnificent mineral and no longer use their migraine medicine. Of course, always work with your health care provider before coming off any medication. If you have a standard headache, try some magnesium oil. The same goes for any muscle soreness. If you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, mix a little magnesium oil with lavender essential oil and rub on your shoulders and back of the neck. It works for me every time.
Just a few considerations. Please check with your provider before taking magnesium if you have kidney disease. Magnesium supplementation can cause excessive accumulation of magnesium in the blood and this impact those who have kidney disease. If you have hypertension and are on medication, magnesium may assist in reducing your blood pressure even more. Work with your provider since it may impact your medication dosage. The same goes for any medications that deal with heart rhythm or rate. Magnesium has a calming effect which is a good thing in today’s world of burning the candle at both ends.
#mindbodyyou #magnesium #celestecooperpeel
Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day!
The Pink Pages
This month we bring awareness to breast cancer awareness month. Read more. #breastcancerawareness #pinkribbon #celestecooperpeel
Vitamins are essential to health and can have a huge impact on life, especially B12. A vitamin B12 deficiency is more common than many realize and the signs and symptoms can mimic certain ailments. These can include Alzheimer’s, memory loss, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), neurological disorder, autoimmune disease to name a few. Research indicates that ~40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have plasma B12 levels in the low normal range. At this low range, certain neurological symptoms can be witnessed. Many symptoms such as memory loss that are related to simply aging may be connected to a B12 deficiency.
In normal bloodwork, this vitamin isn’t really examined. There is a test to determine, but it isn’t one that is often ordered. If it is ordered, the low end of the range is too low. Many who are deficient aren’t identified. Why is this the case? It’s odd. The literature has well-established that individuals with levels between 200 pg/mL and 350 pg/mL are considered “normal” but they clearly have symptoms of deficiency. From a functional and integrative medicine standpoint, the recommendation is to treat all individuals who are symptomatic and have B12 levels less than 450 pg/mL. What’s interesting is that in Europe, the lower limit for B12 is between 500-550 pg/mL. This range, which is higher than the ranges in the United States (200-350), is connected to memory loss and dementia. Perhaps this is why the rates of Alzheimer’s and dementia are higher in the United States. Could it be related to a B12 deficiency?
Let’s look at vitamin B12. It works with folate in the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells. It’s critical in the production of the myelin sheath around the nerves. Also, it’s important in the conduction of nerve impulses. The myelin is the insulation that protects the nerves and helps messages transport. Pernicious anemia which is an autoimmune condition where the body destroys a protein necessary that is necessary for the absorption of B12 is a severe B12 deficiency. Not everyone who has a deficiency has this condition; however, there are other reasons why people aren’t absorbing B12. Some reasons may include gut inflammation, leaky gut, low stomach acid, medications or alcohol. Other factors may include people over the age of 60 or those who routinely use stomach acid suppressing drugs. Even those who take Metformin for Diabetes can be impacted. Also, individuals with the MTHRF mutation are more likely to be deficient. This is not an exhaustive list, but would also like to mention that vegetarians or vegans are at a greater risk of B12 deficiency because B12 is found only in animal products and can’t be obtained from plants or sunlight. The latest statistic is that over 50% of long-term vegetarians and ~80% of vegans are deficient in B12.
Let’s look closer at B12. Cyanocobalamin is the most frequently used form of B12 supplementation in the United States and this is the form seen in many multivitamins and B complex vitamins. It’s seen more often because it’s cheaper to produce. Not to go into too much science and physiology, but hydroxycobalamin (often used in Europe) and methylcobalamin (which you can find in individual B12 supplements in the U.S.) are the better forms and are readily absorbed by the body. Cyanocobalamin has to convert itself into methylcobalamin because it isn’t natural, but a synthetic. Those who are older or those who have conditions such as lower stomach acid production, may not be able to readily convert it to the usable form.
Please know that one of the concerns with diagnosing a B12 deficiency is that the conventional serum B12 test that most providers utilize may not be accurate. This test measures the total amount of B12 in the blood and does not rule out functional B12 deficiency. A more sensitive test is the methylmalonic acid (MMA). MMA is converted to succinic acid via an active-B12 dependent enzyme. If MMA levels are high, it suggests that active B12 is lacking. Please note that there are two ways to measure MMA – blood test or urinary. If you have intestinal bacterial overgrowth or gut dysbiosis, the urinary test would be the better choice for accuracy. There is also another test - Holotranscobalamin II (holo-TC). Holo-TC is composed of vitamin B12 attached to transcobalamin. This test is more sensitive than MMA. It represents the biologically active part of B12 that can actually be delivered to the cells and perform all of the functions of B12. In a recent study, it was revealed that conventional tests are missing those who are B12 deficient – 61% of vegetarians and 31% of vegans were not detected via serum.
If you’re exhibiting symptoms that make you suspect a deficiency, discuss with your provider. Symptoms may include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, memory loss, tingling and/or numbness in your hands or feet and even a sore mouth or tongue. Of course, other conditions may also have similar symptoms so it may be a process of elimination. I’ll talk about these other conditions in future articles.
#mindbodyyou #vitaminB #B12 #celestecooperpeel
Detecting Cancer with Sugar
As October is quickly approaching and I'm planning for breast cancer awareness month, I'm reminded of all the family members who have been impacted by cancer. I also think of their journeys and the information they received from their medical providers. One piece of information that none of them received was the fact that sugar feeds cancer.
Unfortunately, sugar is all around us and often added to foods in mysterious ways with a variety of names. If you don’t believe me, go look in your refrigerator or cabinet and read the label. Did you know that sugar is often added to cheese and even balsamic vinegar? Today, the average American consumes ~150 pounds of sugar/year. Much of the sugar that is consumed is hidden in foods. Another statistic is that the average American consumes about the same amount of flour per year. You may ask why I include flour. Well, flour turns into sugar after you consume it.
With my many family members who have been diagnosed with breast, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic and brain cancers, none were advised to avoid or decrease their consumption of sugar. This is sad to me. To make matters worse, when my mother-in-law was nauseous with pancreatic cancer, she was advised to drink a “nutritional” supplemental drink that contained high amounts of high fructose corn syrup and sugar. She’s not alone. This supplement is often recommended so patients can get calories and added nutrients.
How do we determine if someone has cancer? One way is through a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan. Prep for this procedure involves a patient fasting and eliminating sugar for 24 hours prior to the scan. Then, he/she receives an injection of radioactive sugar. They wait for ~ an hour so the sugar has time to circulate. Since cancer loves sugar, the cancer cells (which have been starving for the last 24 hours) eat the radioactive sugar. The patient receives the PET scan and if cancer is present, they light up on the scan.
If cancer uses sugar for fuel, why don’t we simply advise patients to eliminate it from their diet? This concept of starving cancer isn’t new and many functional medicine providers make this recommendation with studies to back these findings. I certainly wish this information was more mainstream and this is why I’m adding it as a blog.
Even if you don’t have cancer or believe you have a high risk of getting cancer, you should still learn more about the harmful effects of sugar by watching Sugar: The Bitter Truth. It is certainly an eye opening video with stats and reputation. Want more information on sugar stats? Stay healthy!
#mindbodyyou #sugar #cancer #PETscan
Vitamin C and our Faulty Gene
It’s common knowledge that vitamin C is helpful to our immune system and we often hear about it during the winter “cold” season. Did you know that most all animals make their own vitamin C and don’t need to obtain it through food? What about humans? This would have been convenient for sailors when they didn’t have access to citrus and developed scurvy.
Somewhere in the human lineage, we lost the ability to make vitamin C. We have all the genes to make it happen, but one is turned off or broken. L-gulonolactone oxidase, GULO, is the culprit. So why aren’t we extinct because of this mishap? Science shows that the mutation originally happened to a population of mammals who had a diet rich in vitamin C so the body no longer needed to make it and scurvy wasn’t an issue. We’ve evolved since then and don’t all live in climates where foods in vitamin C hang from trees. With that said, it’s important to eat foods rich in vitamin C.
Fruit and vegetables are important sources of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). It’s an antioxidant and plays an important role in the production of collagen in our bodies. This is a major player for ligaments, bones, skin, tissue, discs, tendons, blood vessels and more. Vitamin C also helps eye health. There are different forms of vitamin C on the market in the form of supplements if you aren’t able to achieve the daily recommended allowance in your diet. It’s good to know that some ascorbic acid supplements are harder for the body to absorb and some are less harsh such as liposomal. Check out this helpful fact sheet from the National Institutes of Health.
By the way, think scurvy is a thing of the past? It’s on the rise again in England. Between 2009-2014, hospital admissions related to scurvy rose to 27%. Grab a lime!
#mindbodyyou #vitaminC #celestecooperpeel
Nature’s Bug and Tick Spray
Being in nature is a great way to drink in mindfulness. We also want to protect ourselves from those pesky bugs and ticks. Personally, I’m not a fan of bug sprays that are on the market. The main active ingredient in most sprays is DEET. DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) can cause adverse reactions which may include seizures, cardiovascular issues and more. What should you do?
I use 100% organic and therapeutic grade essential oils for quite a bit in my life from promoting relaxation to sleep to bug spray. As far as sprays for outdoor pests, I believe this is nature’s way of protecting itself since essential oils come from plants. With the increase in pests and ticks this summer in the south due to the warmer winter, we can create our own arsenal of sprays and ensure we don’t absorb harmful chemicals.
Here’s my personal recipe and each of these oils has research to back it up. Note: please ensure that you use therapeutic grade oils and perform a patch test on your skin prior to using. Visit this article for more on essential oil safety.
#mindbodyyou #essentialoils #bugspray #celestecooperpeel
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.