Swirly Girly

Swirly Girly

Want to prepare your canvas and wake-up your face in the morning? I like to use a Jade Roller. I scrupulously clean my face at night, but in the morning I don’t cleanse again so that my skin can maintain its own balance. I just use the Jade Roller to “iron” out sleep creases

Move Over Salmon-Broccoli as Brain Food

Actually, you can still eat your (wild-caught) salmon. And by all means, take Cod Liver and other Fish Oil supplements. These Omega 3 Fats give the brain the fuel needed for nerve cells to operate.

Sulfuroaphane has long been known to be vital for Liver Detoxification, particularly Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Liver detox steps. In fact, without it the liver cannot fully neutralize environmental toxins and that may be a factor in susceptibility to serious disease states.

But it may be that Sulfuroaphane also stimulates neural stem cells for brain regeneration. It appears to help with inflammation, which seems to be one of the most important factors in brain cell health and avoidance of cognitive disease and decline.

The good news is that Sulfurophane compounds are easy to add to your diet. They are found in the vegetables called “cruciferous”, which includes broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, and cabbage. Broccoli sprouts are the most concentrated source, but eating these foods every day may just provide both your liver and your brain with the sulfur compounds needed to keep them in healthy function.

Pass the word along to your elderly family members. So often I hear that senior parents suffering from cognitive issues are existing on cookies and crackers because they live alone and cooking for one is unappealing.

Of course all of us need to limit sugar and processed carbs like alcohol, rice, wheat and baked goods. These cause a spike in blood sugar that can wreak havoc with the function of the brain because nerve cells operate best when blood sugar levels are in an optimal range. A recent study, which followed over 5,000 participants over the course of a decade, found that people with high blood sugar had significantly faster rates of cognitive decline — and the higher the sugar, the swifter the decline. In fact, people with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop dementia — which is why Alzheimer’s disease is now referred to as type 3 diabetes.[i]

Sugar also requires B vitamins for processing, and B vitamins are also vital to nerve cell function. Can we say anything good about sugar? Not really, except for the taste.

 More news- research from the University of Alabama shows that the brain and nerve cells of mice and humans also have microbes. High resolution microscopy shows that star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes are home to bacteria, despite the fact that the brain has been thought to be a sterile environment. Most of the bacteria identified in the brain were the same type commonly found in the mouse and human gut. So, it may be that these bacteria are migrating from the gut. And perhaps they are interacting with other cells in ways we don’t yet know, just as we are learning about gut bacteria.

Of course, this is another reason to avoid using antibiotics, and to eat plenty of fibrous vegetables and fruits in order to feed the healthy, protective bacteria that seem to be everywhere in the human body. This may be the real reason that five servings of fruits and vegetables daily have been shown to protect against all types of major diseases. Showing your microbes some love is good for them-and good for you. 






What Does St. Valentine Have to Do With Chocolate?


The name “Valentine” comes from the Latin name Valentinus, which means “strong and healthy”. Apparently it was a common family name in the third century. And there were a few saints with the name, so we only have legend to link the name to romance.

The legend includes a priest named Valentinus who performed marriage ceremonies for soldiers and their beloveds after the Emperor of Rome declared that unwed soldiers were more likely to keep their attention on their duties, and not pine for home and family. 

The priest lived up to his brave name and died for the sake of his belief that marriage was sacred, and that God’s Law was above Rome’s.

In the Sixth Century the Pope named a day in February as a celebration or Feast Day for the priest, and February became the month that symbolized love and romance. Another St. Valentinus who was persecuted for his faith was renowned for sending a young girl a letter signed “Your Valentine”, and it is in his honor that hearts and sweet words are exchanged on Valentines Day.

Where does chocolate fit in? Apparently, chocolate was considered an aphrodisiac by the Aztecs, who first cultivated it. One Aztec King is reputed to have imbibed 60 cups of chocolate a day to keep his harem happy. There is little science to back up the aphrodisiac effects, but one study does suggest that sugar heightens interest in the opposite sex. https://mic.com/articles/105736/science-reveals-surprising-connection-between-chocolate-and-love#.WC9FIIZfe

There is plenty of science to support the fact that chocolate does stimulate certain brain chemicals, Serotonin and Dopamine, that induce a feeling of wellbeing. Serotonin and Dopamine are natural chemicals, produced by the brain, that are vital for brain health and mood. They are manufactured, utilized by cells, and removed again in a continuous creative cycle, so stimulating more of them can improve mood and lower stress levels. https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-eating/a10855/chocolate-guide/

Serendipitously, eating the right chocolate is a boon to heart health. Yale researchers found that dark chocolate lowered blood pressure. https://www.aarp.org/health/medical-research/info-03-2011/dark-chocolate-can-help-lower-your-blood-pressure.html

A study by Swedish researchers found that patients who ate dark chocolate cut their risk of dying from heart disease dramatically. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100817161110.htm

Note that the chocolate used in these positive studies is dark chocolate, with minimal sugar. Sugar may have the opposite effect. In fact, sugar is a far greater risk than salt, and may be equal to trans-fats, which are fats altered by high heat or chemical additives like margarine and shortening. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2797556/

Cacao, the source of chocolate, could be considered a plant-based medicine. Like all natural foods, enjoying it closest to its original form has the most benefits. So the darker the chocolate the better. There are chocolates available sweetened with Stevia, a plant-based sweetener, that does not contain sugar, but is naturally sweet.

Cacao contains bioflavonoids and polyphenols, which strengthen blood vessels, and antioxidants, which neutralize harmful compounds in the body called free-radicals. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-dark-chocolate#section2

Polyphenols have recently been touted for their health benefits by Dr. Stephen Gundry, author of The Plant Paradox. Dr. Gundry is a Cardiologist who changed his practice from a drug-based approach to a wellness and nutritional medicine approach.

One way to enjoy chocolate is to make your own bars. See 3-ingredient recipe here https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2012/01/15/three-ingredient-chocolate-bars-1/

At our house I use organic unsweetened Cacao powder to add to our morning power shakes. With some cinnamon and/or vanilla added, with Stevia as a sweeterner, it makes a delicious chocolate smoothie that will please the chocaholic in your life.

St. Valentine stood up for the right of individuals to seek their own happiness in relationships and marriage. Happy long-term relationships have their own health benefits. And, as I recently discovered, marriage lowers your car insurance! What better proof could there be! 

I hope this helps you to choose your indulgences wisely and I wish you all a strong, healthy, happy, and romantic, Valentines Day.



For the full low-down on how to choose your chocolate:

How much cocoa should it have to be healthy?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines the categories of chocolate based on their content of cacao, or cocoa solids. The higher the percentage of cocoa solids, the more heart-healthy flavonoids the chocolate contains. To choose the healthiest dark chocolate, check the label: It should say the chocolate contains 60 to 70 percent cacao. These chocolates are often called bittersweet or extra bittersweet; they contain a small amount of sugar for flavor and a healthy amount of flavonoids. Here, then, is dark truth about chocolate:

Unsweetened chocolate: 100 percent cacao.

Bittersweet chocolate: 35 to 99 percent cacao; must contain at least 35 percent unsweetened chocolate and less than 12 percent milk solids; the broadest category, it can include products called bittersweet, semisweet, dark, extra dark or extra bittersweet.

Sweet chocolate: 15 to 34 percent cacao; must contain at least 15 percent unsweetened chocolate and less than 12 percent milk solids; sometimes also called dark chocolate, although it has a lower percentage of cocoa solids than bittersweet.

Milk chocolate: Contains at least 10 percent unsweetened chocolate, 12 percent milk solids, 3.39 percent milk fat.