Steph's Sustenance

TOP ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS:
 
1. Foods High in Omega-3s: Try and incorporate oily fish into your diet twice weekly. If you don’t like fish, try a high quality fish supplement, avocados, flax seeds, or chia seeds.
 
2. Kelp and Kombu: High in fiber, this brown algae extract helps control liver and lung cancer, douses inflammation, and is anti-tumor and anti-oxidative.
 
3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This oil provides a healthy dose of fats that fights inflammation, can help lower risks of asthma and arthritis, as well as protect the heart and blood vessels. 
 
4. Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale and cauliflower are all loaded with antioxidants. Naturally detoxifying, they can help rid the body of possible harmful compounds.
  
5. Berries: Aim for organic berries, as pesticides are hard to wash away due to their size and skin. You can also try pineapple, mango and papaya.
 
6…

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Rosemary

Rosemary has historically been used to alleviate  ailments ranging from indigestion to poor memory. The University of Maryland  Medical Center reports that at least one study proved rosemary beneficial for  relieving anxiety; However, another study found rosemary can actually increase  anxiety. If you find rosemary to be relaxing, you can take the dried herb as a  tea preparation, or added to bath water. Rosemary essential oil is used in  aromatherapy, but can have a convulsant effect on those susceptible to epileptic  seizures.

 
 

Chamomile

The variety of chamomile most popular in the United  States is German chamomile, or Matricaria recutita. Chamamelum nobile, also  known as Roman or English chamomile, is also available as a herbal supplement.   Both kinds of chamomile are used to reduce stress, anxiety and nervousness.  Chamomile is also believed helpful for relieving muscle spasms and skin  conditions.  There are few human studies regarding the calming effect of  chamomile, but research on animals show that a low dose of chamomile reduces  anxiety and promotes restful sleep.

Oatstraw

Avena sativa, or oatstraw, is the stalk part of the oat  plant which is used in cereals and other foods. As well as being part of a  staple food crop for people in many countries, oatstraw has traditional herbal  uses as a stress reliever. Oatstraw can be taken as a supplement or in a tea  infusion, and is believed effective in combating exhaustion associated with  neurological pain.  Additionally, oatstraw is commonly used as a remedy for  attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and for more general  anxiety.

 

References

Herbal Stress Remedies

Kitchen Klutter

Homemade Vitamin C
I found this interesting article on a friend’s facebook page- I think that it highlights several areas we should be thinking about. I am posting because it makes a lot of sense to me and I would value any comments, thoughts, feedback people have to offer.
I am concerned that modern farming methods compromise the nutritional value of our food- without scientific basis, my personal opinion is that we need to seriously consider the food miles covered by everything we eat, the trauma that forcing popular ingredients to satisfy commercialised demand causes to the fundamental structure of both plant and animal life and the true merit of out of season, out of natural habitat items.
Currently my own research indicates that the nutritional value we expect from many foods is compromised, and I feel my opinion is not original or unique as the supplement business is booming and has been for some time. Recently…

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Omega 3 Benefits

    Fish oil (Omega-3) can adds years and quality to your life.   It helps to lower bad, LDL, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, and increases your good HDL cholesterol. It protects you from heart attack and stroke by breaking up clots in your arteries.  Omega 3 aids in memory retention, and allows one to stay focused longer on tasks.  It alleviates the symptoms of depression, psychosis, bipolar disorder, dyslexia, and compulsive personality disorders. It reduces the risk of breast, colon and prostate cancer.  It is also is effective in reducing inflammation and pain from arthritis and cystitis.

Recently, Omega-3 Fish oil supplements were shown to work as well or better than a popular cholesterol-reducing drug to help patients with chronic heart failure. A large four-year study concluded that a daily omega-3 fish oil pill had a slightly better success rate than Crestor in combating this disease.

 

What conditions or symptoms indicate a need for more high-omega-3 foods?

  • Depression
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Joint pain

Sardines, salmon, flax seeds and walnuts are excellent food sources of omega-3
fatty acids.

 

Health Conditions

What health conditions require special emphasis on omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in the prevention and/or treatment of the following health conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Asthma
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Eczema
  • Fibromyalgia
  • High blood pressure
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Lupus
  • Migraine headaches
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obesity
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

 

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For ten years I worked in the psychology field under many titles and with a wide variety of individuals.  I was a group home worker, team leader, special needs teaching assistant, mental health worker, addictions and crisis worker, psychiatric rehabilitation worker and an early intervention worker.  Although these jobs did not always pay the greatest I was not working to merely collect a paycheque, I was trying to make a difference in these people’s lives.  I worked with a variety of individuals some that were deaf or visually impaired, handicapped people, children with special needs ( behaviourally challenged, ADHD, autism, etc.), persons with addictions, bulimics, anorexics, the sexually and or physically abused, homeless people and a few I forgot to mention.

My duties were many: some required heavy lifting, house cleaning, counselor, confidante, bookkeeper, grocery shopper, cooking, etc.  In essence, I was kind of a Mother to these people as I…

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4 Strategies for Relieving Pain Without Medication

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4 Strategies for Relieving Pain without Medication

The most common types of pain are from arthritis, lower back, bone/joint pain, muscle pain and Fibromyalgia. Pain can also take on many forms, changing locations and intensity daily or even hourly in the same person.

There are, however, many pain relief options out there, some that you may not yet be aware of. Because pain is often such a complex issue to treat, and the methods that work highly varied depending on your individual situation, adding one, two or several of the following strategies to your arsenal may give you the much-needed relief you need.

Best of all, the following options are completely safe and natural, which means they can be used successfully by just about everybody.
What you’ll notice is that many of these strategies use the power of your mind to heal physical pain. When you focus your mind on healing, relief follows.

Meditation

Meditation keeps your mind focused on the present, which makes the experience of pain less intense. Originating in Eastern spiritual traditions, meditation is now a common form of mind-body medicine practiced by people of all cultural and religious backgrounds. (1)
In a study by researchers from the University of Manchester in England it was found that people who regularly meditated found decreased pain possibly because they spent less time anticipating it, which blunted its emotional impact. (2)
If you’re new to meditation, you can still benefit. A separate study found that after just a single hour of mindfulness meditation training over a three-day period, participants felt less pain while meditating and also experienced less pain sensitivity when they were not meditating. (3)

Many cities now offer local classes to learn the basics of meditation, but you can get started by finding a quiet location, sitting in a comfortable posture, then focusing your attention on your breath, an object or a mantra (a meaningful word or phrase). If you find your mind wandering, simply bring it back to your focal point without judgment. Prayer, tai chi, qi gong, yoga and journaling can also offer meditative benefits, so choose the form that feels best for you.

Laughter

When you laugh, your body releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers that also contribute to a sense of well-being. This may help to reduce your pain directly, while also distracting you from the pain, similar to meditation, and providing a wonderful form of stress relief.
Indirectly, laughter therapy, which is, as it sounds, using humor therapeutically to get you to laugh more often, can help to relieve pain by:

Relaxing your muscles
Easing digestion and soothing stomach aches
Promoting relaxation and better sleep
Enhancing oxygen intake
Boosting your immune system and circulatory system

Massage Therapy

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Massage therapists use a variety of techniques, including kneading, tapping, pressure and deep circular movements, to relieve a variety of conditions, including pain. According to a survey by the American Hospital Association, nearly 91 percent of respondents agreed that massage was effective in reducing pain.
Further, according to the American Massage Therapy Association, massage stimulates your brain to produce endorphins (natural pain-relieving chemicals) and studies have shown that massage therapy:

•Promotes relaxation and alleviates the perception of pain and anxiety in cancer patients
•Reduces post-traumatic headaches better than cold-packs
•Reduces pain and muscles spasms in patients who have had heart bypass surgery

A separate study also found that massage therapy provided some immediate pain relief for patients with advanced cancer.
For best results, look for a reputable and qualified massage therapist who is experienced in helping with pain relief.

I have used massage therapy for a few years now. I find that a therapist that takes into consideration the areas in which you experience the most pain or sensitivity and is knowledgeable about Fibromyalgia is your best choice. As I tend to suffer from inflammation in my abdomen after my treatment, my massage therapist massages me while I lay on my side which makes the experience more pleasant for me. She also uses a heating pad under my body before my massage that allows my back and legs to relax more before the massage gets underway.

Music

Music can be extremely soothing not only for your mind but also for your body. By way of distraction and relaxation, music is a form of pain relief that’s as simple and enjoyable as it is effective.

In one small study, patients with back, neck or joint pain experienced a 20 percent decrease in pain after listening to music for one hour a day for seven days, compared to a 2 percent increase in pain in the control group. (4)

Music has also been found to help reduce post-surgical pain, (5)
chronic and cancer pain, along with reducing patients’ need for pain-relieving medications. (6).

So whenever the mood strikes, put on your favorite musical artist and let the sounds help soothe you.

Photos : http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

References:

1. 12. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2008;149(6):369–379.
2. LiveScience.com June 6, 2010
3. The Journal of Pain 2010 Mar; 11(3):199-209. Epub 2009 Oct 22
4. Journal of Advanced Nursing Volume 54 Issue 5, Pages 553 – 562
5. Journal of Advanced Nursing Volume 33 Issue 2, Pages 208 – 21518.
6. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 2.