natural alternatives

Matcha Green Tea – A Magic Elixir

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I never leave home without my tea. Tea is one of the easiest ways to incorporate the healing power of plants into your routine. Herbs work synergistically on mind and body, healing more than just physical ailments.

I decided to take just one type of tea with me on my trip this week and there was little debate in my mind that it would be Matcha Green Tea. Matcha is the highest quality green tea available and is one of the most powerful superfoods Mother Nature has to offer.

Because Matcha is made from high quality tea, and the whole leaves are ingested, it is a more potent source of nutrients than steeped green tea.

Green tea contains a specific set of organic compounds known as catechins, which, among antioxidants, are the most potent and beneficial. One particularly noteworthy catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), makes up 60% of the catechins in Matcha. EGCg is most widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties. Scientists have found that Matcha contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea on the market.

During the last 3 weeks before the tea is harvested, it is covered to deprive them of sunlight. This causes a tremendous increase in chlorophyll production in the new growth of these plants. The resulting high levels of chlorophyll make it a powerful detoxifier, capable of naturally removing heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body.

Trying to lose some weight? Matcha has also been shown to increase metabolism and help the body burn fat about four times faster than average.

Samarai Warriors drank Matcha before going into battle due to the tea’s energizing properties. While all green tea naturally contains caffeine, Matcha’s energy boost is largely due to its unique combination of other nutrients. This increased endurance can last up to 6 hours! And because of the effects of L-Theanine contained in the leaves, Matcha drinkers experience none of the usual side effects of stimulants such as nervousness and hypertension. It’s good, clean energy.

One thing I would like to point out for my Matcha drinkers out there is to limit it to one cup a day. Even organically grown green teas have been shown to contain lead, which is absorbed by the plant from the environment, particularly tea grown in China. When traditional green tea is steeped, about 90% of lead stays in the leaf, which is discarded. With Matcha, since the whole leaf is consumed, you will ingest more lead. One independent group, ConsumerLab.com, which tested teas, estimates that a cup of matcha may contain as much as 30 times more lead than a cup of green tea. Therefore, they recommend drinking no more than one cup daily, and not serving it to children.

Any fellow Matcha drinkers out there?

A Pink Ribbon Culture: Pinkwashing

My grandmother had breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and I can still vividly see the empty space in her clothing.

I was nineteen when I had a lump removed from my breast. I remember the day I felt the hard mass. I was eighteen and it was a cool November evening. It was a daily bedtime ritual for me to check for any unusual lumps. I remember the panic rise in my throat. Any chances of a good night’s sleep were just sabotaged by the thoughts that were running through my brain.

My mom took me to the doctor that week and since she is in the medical field, I was taken to the best physician on the subject. I was checked and he concluded that it was nothing to worry about. I knew my body. I have always been very aware of it and my gut instinct told me something was not right.

I insisted on a biopsy. It was benign, thank goodness, but I still wanted it removed; solely for my peace of mind. My surgery was scheduled a month after the biopsy. It was supposed to be a quick procedure and they were not expecting to find what they found when they opened me up. It had grown from the size of the tip of my thumb to the size of a softball. I had an aggressive fibroadenoma. Needless to say, I wasn’t administered the correct amount of anesthesia and I woke up in the middle of the surgery.

“Doctor, she’s awake… ” …and fade back to black. That was not a pleasant experience.

Yearly mammograms were expected of me post surgery especially because I had a family history. I haven’t had one yet for reasons that I will talk about in another post, but fear being the main culprit. Fear of them finding something.

All of that being said, I was a big Pink Ribbon supporter. Emphasis on the WAS. When an opportunity presented itself, I contributed to the breast cancer advocacy movement. That was up until I met my friend Angela. She is the mother of three young, beautiful girls, an Emmy award winning makeup artist and a two-time breast cancer survivor. Our conversations at work lifted the “pink haze” that clouded my view and gave me an authentic perspective. I have seen the scars on her body, a daily reminder of the worst year of her life. But you would never guess that she had this ugly disease. She is a ray of sunshine and I always find it a pleasure to bask in her strength and endurance.

Angela and I

Angela and I

Coming soon to the blog – she will share her experience with us and the monstrous face of breast cancer. Her view of all this Pink Ribbon “awareness” will make you reevaluate your standpoint on the matter. What also fueled many of our conversations was her decision to opt out of chemotherapy and choose a natural approach to treatment. Using food as medicine was a common thread between us.

We are all aware of this cancer but do we really know what it is? I think it is also important for us to see the faces of those who have or have had this cancer. We should not only be aware but we need to know WHAT it is.

Pink heralds that October is here. Pink ribbons everywhere, football players wearing pink garb, hundreds of people coming together to Walk or Run For a Cure, people sporting bracelets with the slogan “I (heart) Boobies.” I noticed though that Breast Cancer Awareness Month has extended itself to more than just October, making it more of a Breast Cancer Awareness season. And as of late, I feel like the Pink Ribbon has become more of a brand, just like the swoosh of Nike or McDonald’s golden arches.

If given a choice, people would rather give their money to a good cause. But have you ever thought about where the money actually goes and how much goes to the actual research? There have been campaigns from big corporations whose contribution was a penny for every purchase. A penny? Really? Wouldn’t it be easier to just write a check or donate directly to the organization?

I started to dig deeper into this thing called “pinkwashing”. There is a great documentary on YouTube called “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” that I highly recommend.

Also, as people are becoming more aware of what is happening to our food supply, companies are using marketing strategies that tug at our heart strings to help increase sales on the very products that cause cancer. So they make the product pink or they slap a Pink Ribbon on the packaging. There is a great article about this on the Huffington Post called “Think Before You Pink: Stop the Distraction.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karuna-jaggar/think-before-you-pink-sto_b_5910696.html

In the 1940s, a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer was 1 in 22. In 2011, it is 1 in 8. The risk factor? Being a woman. But this disease does not discriminate. We have yet to find a cure because we have yet been able to pinpoint the cause. There are so many factors that contribute to this disease. So what is the best course of action? Because I believe we need to start DOING MORE THAN JUST THINKING PINK.

Your thoughts?

Stay Hydrated with Celtic Salt

It’s the middle of August and it is hot. And when it’s hot, what are we told? Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water!

From the neck down, our body is 75% water and from the neck up, our body is 85% water. We have no reserve tank so the only water our body can use is the water we put in.

Our bodies will secrete about 2 1/2 liters of water a day so it is important that we replenish that loss.

Here’s what I like to do after a workout or if I’ve been sweating a lot: take a crystal or a pinch of Celtic salt, put it on your tongue, let it dissolve a bit and then drink a glass of water.

Why celtic salt?

Celtic salt is very moist because it contains three types of magnesium:
1) Magnesium sulphate
2) Magnesium chloride
3) Magnesium bromide

Magnesium is a very water hungry molecule. Wherever there is magnesium, water is drawn to that area.

So when you take that crystal of Celtic salt, put it on your tongue and drink a glass of water, the magnesium pulls the water into the cell. It is the fastest way to hydrate a dehydrated body!

Here’s the kind of Celtic salt I like to use
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Here’s a fun fact: Cleopatra found that the slaves worked harder if she gave them salt and water instead of just water. That’s because that salt gets that water into the cell and replaces the lost electrolytes.

Sodium is the main transport system of nutrients and water across the membrane lining of our cells. It is vital for our bodies to function! We are salty people. Our blood is salty, our tears are salty, the fluid that a baby swims in when he or she is in its mother’s womb is salty – it has the same mineral balance as salt water.

But we need to take sodium into our bodies as it is found in nature – in its balanced form – not from a factory where it is bleached and refined, aka table salt.

I will go into the difference between table salt and other salts, like Sea Salt, in another post and explain why table salt is a dangerous and slow poison.

Also, it’s important to note that if you are drinking a lot of water and urinating a lot, the water is not getting into your cells!

So go ahead and try it! I would love to hear from you guys! Let me know how it goes!

Xo, Kristine