Friday, July 1, 2016

5 Surprising Places You Can Find Lead In Your Home

One of the United States’ top medical groups recently issued a timely reminder about the dangers of lead in the household. Until the recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan, most Americans thought lead was a thing of the past. However, this highly toxic metal still poses a risk to potentially millions of Americans, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). In a report released in June, the AAP warned an “illusion of safety” has been created around lead. The report pointed to current regulations nationwide, which the AAP says don’t match up with the health risks associated with lead.
Speaking to NPR, the report’s co-author Dr. Jennifer Lowry explained lead around the home can pose a serious risk to families, particularly children.
“We’ve taken lead out of the paint and out of the gasoline, but the history is still present,” she said. Lead is a neurotoxin that can find its way deep into the body, including bones. It has been linked to a wide range of health problems, including reduced IQ points, heart and kidney problems, reduced fertility and even behavioral problems. Children are most severely impacted by exposure, as their bodies tend to absorb more lead.
As Lowry explained, testing children for lead exposure can help, but it isn’t enough.
“At that point, when we find out that they have an elevated lead level, the harm has already been done,” Lowry said.
She continued, “We cannot have our children be canaries in the coal mine, where they get exposed first and then we have to try to fix it. If we want to actually do the right thing, we should prevent it from happening in the first place.”
So how can we protect ourselves and our families from lead? The first step is knowing where lead can potentially lurk. Listed below are some of the most common places to uncover lead around the home. Some of these are quite obvious, while others are outright surprising.
After the crisis in Flint, Michigan, the first thing most Americans think of when they hear “lead” is piping. As far back as the times of the Roman Empire, lead has been used in the construction of municipal water pipes. Likewise, ancient Roman engineers were among the first to recognize the health dangers that lead posed. Today, as many as 10 million US homes and other buildings still receive water carried by pipes containing lead. Although this is a nationwide problem, most lead pipes are concentrated in the Midwest and Northeast. Drinking water contaminated with lead can lead to a wide array of health issues.
It may seem surprising, but the ground your house is built on could be contaminated with lead. Contaminated soil can be tracked inside the home, and pose a risk to the family. According to the AAP, houses built on old industrial sites are most at risk, and the government should do more to help families remove lead from their properties.
Roadside dust
If you live next to a major highway, dust contaminated with lead could likewise be a problem. The contamination likely dates back to the years before lead was banned in gasoline. Decades-old exhaust fumes containing lead have settled on the sides of America’s highways over the years, and can still pose a health risk today, especially for children.
As Lowry put it, “We should know where the old houses are that were built before 1960, where the soil is next to the highways, where we have these lead problems and actually fix it before we send our kids out to live in those environments.”
Lead paint was banned in homes way back in the 1970s, but that doesn’t mean your home is guaranteed to be safe. Obviously, any houses constructed before 1978 could still contain lead paint. In fact, an estimated 37 million homes still contain lead paint nationwide, with the risk increasing depending on the age of the home. According to the EPA, one in four houses built between 1960 and 1977 contain lead paint, compared to an estimated 87 percent of houses built before 1940. Even if the home has been renovated, there could still be lead paint lurking under newer paint. However, the EPA has also noted lead paint isn’t much of a problem if it’s in good condition. It only becomes dangerous when it starts degrading, and becoming easier to inhale or otherwise accidentally consume.
It may sound crazy today, but decades ago the toy industry had no qualms about packing toys with lead. According to the CDC, antique toys dating back before 1978 can still contain lead paints, which can pose a huge risk to children. However, it’s not just old toys. Toys made in countries that don’t have stringent lead regulations can also be dangerous. For example, back in 2007, Fisher-Price recalled 967,000 toys suspected of containing unsafe levels of lead. In a separate case in 2004, four companies recalled 150 million pieces of toy jewelry potentially contaminated with lead.
As you can see, it is not just lead paint that can pose a health risk to you and your family. Always be cautious and aware.
—Ryan Mallett-Outtrim

How To Use Turmeric for Youthful Skin

Turmeric has been used by many cultures for thousands of years. Not only does this earthy spice add delicious flavor to curries and other hot dishes, it also contains an impressive range of medicinal properties.
The benefits of turmeric don’t stop there. It turns out that turmeric can be used as part of a beauty regimen as well. And the best thing about it? It’s good for you, unlike all the poisonous mainstream beauty products on show in their fancy-schmancy packaging on supermarket and drugstore shelves. Find out how you can integrate turmeric into your daily beauty routine, and let your health — as well as your complexion — reap the rewards.
  1. Make wrinkles vanish
The anti-inflammatory compounds present in turmeric, along with a wide range of skin-supporting nutrients and minerals, can make it an excellent natural anti-wrinkle ingredient. Make a turmeric facial mask by combining equal parts turmeric powder, rice powder (otherwise known as rice flour, which has been used in the ancient healing art of Ayurveda for centuries) and organic tomato juice. Massage the mixture into your face and any other areas showing signs of aging or wrinkles, and leave on for 30 minutes. Afterwards, rinse off with warm water, and repeat daily. Over time, you’ll probably notice that your wrinkles have become less prominent and your skin is brighter and smoother where you’ve repeatedly applied the paste.
  1. Banish stretch marks
The powerful anti-inflammatory abilities of turmeric come from its active ingredient curcumin, which also gives it that characteristic orange hue. Curcumin can help to treat and diminish stretch marks on your skin. In a bowl, mix together a tablespoon of gram flour, a teaspoon of turmeric and a tablespoon of yogurt or raw milk until combined. Apply the mixture to stretch marks at least once daily, leaving on for a minimum of 30 minutes, then wipe off with a damp cloth.

  1. Destroy dead skin cells
The buildup of dead skin can lead to all kinds of problems, clogging your pores, making your skin look dry and unhealthy, and encouraging bacterial and fungal overgrowth. To destroy any dead skin cells that might be hanging around on your hot bod, mix together a thick paste of gram flour, turmeric powder and water, combining the three to make a thick, gritty paste. While taking a bath or shower, scrub the paste into your skin as you would an exfoliant, making sure you pay particular attention to those areas that have a large buildup of dead skin; hotspots are often the upper back, neck, scalp, and soles of the feet.
  1. Abolish dandruff
Dandruff is just plain embarrassing, with that powdery buildup on your shoulders shouting to the world that there’s trouble in paradise up on the lofty heights of your head. Avoid the embarrassment by mixing together a teaspoon of turmeric powder with a teaspoon of olive oil and rubbing it into your scalp 15 to 20 minutes before you hop in the shower. Either wash the mixture out with warm water, or use a gentle, natural shampoo.
The combination of turmeric and olive oil discourages dandruff and other conditions of the scalp by increasing blood circulation on the crown of your head and providing minerals and nutrients to the hair follicles.
  1. Say goodbye to cracked feet
The nutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds in turmeric make it excellent for promoting health and healing, while the hydrating capacity of castor or coconut oil ensure that your skin stays smooth and supple. Combine these ingredients, and you’ve got yourself an effective, healthy, homemade foot massage cream that stops your heels from cracking and additionally protects them from fungal and bacterial skin conditions.
Mix together a teaspoon of turmeric with a tablespoon of coconut oil or castor oil and massage firmly into your heels and soles of your feet. You can either choose to leave the paste on for ultimate skin support (but resign yourself to having orange feet), or leave it on for a minimum of 20 minutes then rinse off in the shower with warm water. Your feet will thank you.Now that you’ve got your skin and hair sorted with the aid of turmeric, why not turn your attention to your insides? This turmeric and lemon morning elixir is a good place to start!
—Liivi Hess

This Tropical Treasure Will Help You Get Through Your Workout

If you give a young coconut a gentle shake, you’ll discover a significant amount of liquid sloshing inside. This liquid is coconut water, and it’s an incredibly nutritious and hydrating substance.

Coconut water is refreshing and sweet, and ideally harvested from coconuts that are between five and seven months old. If the coconut is younger than five months, the water may be bitter; and if the coconut is older than seven months, most of the water will have solidified into coconut flesh. Five to seven months is the sweet spot.
Besides enjoying coconut water for its delicious, tropical taste, did you know it’s an excellent beverage to hydrate you before and after a workout? After exercising, many people turn to sports drinks to replenish electrolytes, sodium and potassium. However, these drinks are high in refined sugar, and they often contain artificial flavorings and colors. Not exactly the best thing for your body.
So, how does coconut water compare against sports drinks, and plain water, for rehydrating after exercise? Research has shown favorable results.
In a 2002 study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Science, researchers tested the hydration effects of coconut water, sports drinks and plain water on eight healthy men after exercise. On their results, the study authors wrote:
“CW [coconut water] was significantly sweeter, caused less nausea, fullness and no stomach upset and was also easier to consume in a larger amount compared with CEB [carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage] and PW [plain water] ingestion. In conclusion, ingestion of fresh young coconut water, a natural refreshing beverage, could be used for whole body rehydration after exercise.”
The health benefits of coconut water
Coconut water is high in electrolytes, as well as amino acids. It also contains natural simple sugars (which need to be replaced after exercise), B-vitamins including niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and thiamin, and a wealth of minerals. These minerals include calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, along with a high amount of potassium.
After a workout, replacing both sodium and potassium is essential. Coconut water is great for this purpose. This natural elixir also contains bioactive enzymes, including catalase, peroxidase and diastase, which can help boost your body’s digestion and metabolism.
Magnify the hydrating powers of your coconut water
Though it is very high in potassium, the sodium content of coconut water is rather low. If you are doing a long and strenuous workout, you’ll need to replace your body’s sodium content as well. Research has found that adding some sodium to coconut water can boost its effectiveness in these circumstances.
A 2007 study performed by researchers at University of Science, Malaysia tested the restorative effects of plain water, sports beverages, coconut water and coconut water enriched with sodium on 10 healthy men. The men were subjected to “exercise-induced dehydration,” and then were given the previously mentioned beverages.
On their results, the study authors wrote:
“…ingesting SCW [sodium-enriched fresh young coconut water] was as good as ingesting a commercial sports drink for whole body rehydration after exercise-induced dehydration but with better fluid tolerance.”
The authors added:
“SCW [sodium-enriched fresh young coconut water] was rated lower in terms of fullness and stomach upset and was better than SD [sports drink], CW [fresh young coconut water] and PW [plain water], thus making SCW easier to consume in larger quantities compared with PW, SD and CW. It can be concluded that SCW may be used for rehydration after exercise-induced dehydration and its physiological effects are as effective as commercial sports drinks available on the market.”
Just as effective, and completely natural!
While sodium does indeed seem to boost the hydrating effects of coconut water, you don’t want to add plain old table salt, which is refined, processed and may contain additives. Either add a teaspoon of unrefined Himalayan salt, or some aluminum-free baking soda.
When it comes to hydration, especially after exercise, it really doesn’t get much better than coconut water. Have you tried it? If so, what do you think of this tropical treasure?
—Tanya Rakhmilevich

Eat this Orange Fruit to Protect Yourself from Heart Disease

Oranges have long been a symbol of health and vitality, in part because of their vibrant color (what fruit could be that color and not be good for you?), but mostly due to their reputation as the king of vitamin C. While many fruits and vegetables are a source of this potent antioxidant, few offer such a wide range of health benefits as the smile-inducing orange.
Read on to find out why oranges get a healthy thumbs-up from us here at The Alternative Daily…
  1. They support your immune system
We’ll kick things off with an oldie but goodie. Everyone knows that oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, but it’s worth discussing nonetheless. The average-size orange provides approximately three-quarters of your daily vitamin C needs. Eating additional fruits and vegetables makes it easy to meet your daily requirement of vitamin C.
Getting your daily quota of vitamin C means that you’re supplying your body with one of the most critical antioxidants, responsible for protecting your cells against free radical oxidative damage (and hence slowing down the process of aging), reducing inflammation in joints and muscles, and bolstering your immune system so that you’re more resistant to colds, flu, and other illnesses.
  1. They keep your eyes sharp
Vitamin C isn’t the only antioxidant contained within the humble orange. Oranges are also high in vitamin A, which supports healthy eye mucus membranes. Comprised of the compounds lutein, beta carotene and zeaxanthin, the vitamin A found in oranges protects against macular degeneration associated with aging. According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, macular degeneration “is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans — more than cataracts and glaucoma combined.” Another good reason to eat oranges!
  1. They improve male fertility
Here’s one for the guys — the potent concoction of antioxidants found in oranges helps to support the production of healthy, more motile sperm. This means that if you’re trying to conceive with your lady, consuming oranges will improve your fertility, and hence your chance of reproductive success. Throw in the folic acid found in our friend the orange, and you’ll be further promoting healthy sperm and protecting them from genetic damage.
  1. They fight heart disease
Once again, the high concentration of vitamin C found in oranges comes to the rescue. This time, it’s with regards to your cardiovascular health. The free radical damage we mentioned earlier can result in the oxidation of cholesterol, causing these molecules to stick together and adhere to the walls of your arteries.
The buildup of plaque can ultimately block the flow of blood and put you at risk of heart attack, stroke or heart disease. Vitamin C is a known enemy of oxidative damage to cells, neutralizing free radicals while simultaneously lowering inflammation and keeping your cholesterol levels healthy.
  1. They lower your chances of cancer
Oranges contain a curious compound called D-limonene, which can play a pivotal role in preventing the development of certain types of cancer, including lung cancer, breast cancer and skin cancer. The antioxidants found in oranges also help in the fight against cancer, strengthening the immune system to wage war against potentially cancerous cell mutations.
  1. They support healthy brain function
The folic acid and vitamin B9 contained in oranges promote healthy brain development, while the polyphenolic compounds also contained in oranges support the development of learning and memory functions in the brain. The same orange-derived folate that promotes brain development in adults and sperm health in males can also provide an important nutrient for pregnant women, lowering the risk of neurological disorders in the developing fetus.
  1. They kick constipation
Putting plenty of food in, but not seeing any result on the other side? Oranges can help with that. The high levels of both soluble and insoluble fiber found in this colorful fruit support a healthy stomach and digestive tract. This fiber adds bulk to digested food and speeds up the transit time of food in the digestive tract, thereby fighting constipation and making your time on the toilet a whole lot easier. Not only that, the high levels of fiber in oranges help to prevent the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  1. They maintain a healthy pH
Oranges are similar to lemons in that, when consumed, they help to balance the pH of your body by providing a range of alkaline minerals. An acidic environment in the body provides the perfect conditions for disease and health problems. These minerals help to redress the pH balance in the body. It might seem a little counterintuitive, considering oranges contain high levels of citric acid, but you’re going to have to trust us on this one.
It’s important to note that while oranges are very healthy, they are also one of the most pesticide-sprayed fruits on the market. For this reason, try to go organic whenever possible — not only is it better for your health, it’s better for the land, too.
Liivi Hess

Banish Bad Breath With Cayenne Pepper And 4 Other Reasons To Eat More

Chilli pepper on the grey background.

Many people use cayenne pepper to add a little spice into their lives, sprinkling it gingerly or generously onto their favorite exotic dish to add some heat and earthy flavor. But the benefits of cayenne pepper don’t just stop at flavor and spice — ancient civilizations have recognized its health-giving abilities for thousands of years, but the alternative health world is only just waking up to the benefits it can bring into our lives.
A powerful substance with a wide range of therapeutic uses, cayenne pepper is slowly but surely whipping up a health-storm for its ability to cleanse, detoxify, balance and improve circulation, among a host of other things. It can be consumed or applied topically, and for these reasons it is now once again being utilized to treat a broad spectrum of ailments and conditions, including toothache, alcoholism, malaria, shingles, arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Here are 6 reasons why cayenne pepper should take a prominent position inside your household medicine cabinet.
  1. Cayenne pepper relieves headaches
Scientists believe that the intense heat created by consumption of cayenne and it’s active ingredient, capsaicin, can create a distraction for the brain and in this way take the brain’s attention away from migraine headaches. For this reason, when you eat or supplement with cayenne pepper, it can cause the brain to focus all its energy on the nerve fibers surrounding the cayenne (presumably in your stomach or digestive system). This means that your head gets a welcome reprieve, and your migraine dissipates.
  1. Cayenne pepper reduces joint pain
The same mechanism by which cayenne relieves pain in your head also works on other areas of your body, particularly joints where inflammation and friction between damaged membranes is causing localized pain. The capsaicin contained in cayenne pepper does this by overloading the brain’s pain receptors and thereby reducing the amount of substance P, a compound that carries pain messages back to the brain. Less substance P means less joint pain.
While supplementing with cayenne pepper or capsaicin can help to alleviate joint pain and any other aches you might be suffering from, the best way to banish localized pain is to find a topical cream which has the active ingredient capsaicin. Rubbing this cream onto the affected area can allow the capsaicin to work directly on that region and quickly reduce the amount of substance P being produced there. Just make sure you give your hands a darn good wash afterward.
  1. Cayenne pepper fights seasonal sickness
Feel a cold or flu coming on, or surrounded by sick people at the office or at home? Cayenne pepper can help with that! This powerful spice is packed full of beta-carotene and antioxidants that bolster your immune system and help defend against bacterial and viral attack. If you’ve already succumbed to the seasonal plague, cayenne pepper can help relieve congestion by breaking up the great globs of mucus riddling your air passages, and it also raises your body temperature, which means bad news for any pathogenic invaders. Finally, cayenne seals the deal by providing a hit of vitamin C, which is a cold or flu’s worst enemy.
  1. Cayenne pepper helps you digest food more efficiently
We could all do with a more efficient digestive system, and cayenne pepper provides the means by which this can happen. This sassy spice increases saliva production, which promotes healthy digestion and also helps to keep bad breath to a minimum. Not only this, cayenne gets your digestive enzymes energized and ready to go, meaning your stomach is ready to receive and more efficiently break down the food you eat.
  1. Cayenne pepper prevents allergies
Allergies are simply inflammatory responses to certain environmental inputs into our body. Because cayenne pepper is a potent anti-inflammatory spice, it can help to prevent or minimize foodborne or seasonal allergies.
  1. Cayenne pepper is an antifungal
Generally speaking, fungus means bad news for our bodies and health. Exposure to certain strains of fungus can allow them to enter our bodies and take up residence in certain regions, most notably an unbalanced gut biome. Luckily, the capsaicin contained in cayenne pepper has the ability to kill fungal invasions and prevent their formation in the future.
One study found that cayenne pepper was effective against 16 different fungal strains, including the highly problematic Candida albicans, while another found that capsaicin, in synergy with a certain Lactobacillus strain, stopped the growth of two kinds of fungi and reduced their biomass by over 50 percent. That’s some potent stuff you’re sprinkling on your curry.

Want to really step things up a notch? Try combining two of the most powerful weapons nature has to offer — lemon and cayenne — in a glass of water and you’ve got yourself a seriously potent health elixir.
Liivi Hess

7 Reasons to Drink Warm Salt Water Every Morning

Have you ever heard of Sole water? If not, that’s okay — lots of people probably have not — but it’s time you learned about this amazing, 100-percent natural drink.
Sole water (pronounced so-lay), is not a miracle cure or hip new fad, but rather a life-supporting mixture of mineral rich, unrefined salt and water that supports the body’s natural ability to regulate and heal itself. The term Sole comes from the Latin sol, which means sun.
For years we have been told that salt can be detrimental to our health, and the idea of actually drinking salt water may sound more than a touch counter-intuitive. However, a concentrated salt solution made with 100 percent natural salt is healthy and good for your body. The average American today consumes about 10 grams of salt per day, which is predominantly sodium chloride (refined salt) from processed foods. Historically, naturally mined salt played a huge part in the development of civilizations and trade, and was one of the most sought-after commodities. Problems with salt consumption have only come into play with the use of refined table salt and its excessive addition to processed foods.
Yes, natural salt is good for you
The truth is, unrefined salt is actually good for you. It helps to balance blood sugar, helps keep bones strong, regulates metabolism, boosts the immune system, and more. Natural salt provides a number of nutrients and minerals in a form the body recognizes and knows how to use.
Over 80 trace minerals found in the naturally filtered salt water used to create unrefined sea salt give it its vital grayish color, and its slight moistness keeps the salt and minerals in a form that the body can utilize effectively.
What happens when natural salt is added to filtered water?
Positive ions in the salt surround the negative ions of the water molecules and vice versa. This creates a new structure that has an electrical charge, which is easily absorbed by the body. Water is no longer water and salt is no longer salt.
Once ingested, the electrical charge in the solution works with the body to send electrical signals between cells and assist the kidneys in maintaining fluid balances.
Drinking a mixture of natural salt and water is nothing new; it has been used as a remedy around the globe for centuries. Both anecdotal and scientific evidence support its use for the following:
Hydration: Yes, we are told to drink more water, and while most people do need to drink more water, it is possible to drink too much. According to Matt Stone, author of Eat for Heat: A Metabolic Approach to Food and Drink, consuming too much plain water can actually cause the body to become over-diluted.
When this happens, it can put a tremendous strain on the body and slow metabolism. Cellular health is dependent on a particular concentration of minerals and electrolytes.
When we drink large amounts of plain water, extracellular fluid becomes diluted, which creates a stress response and the release of adrenaline.
Stone says, “No other creature is so removed from its instinctual programming to the point of accidentally over drinking.” Consuming water with natural salt allows the body to absorb and use the water you are taking in.
Have you ever watered a plant when it is extremely dry? The water just runs out the bottom of the pot. Drinking water all the time is much the same — we just keep on peeing and drinking. A little natural salt and water slows this process down and allows all the goodness of the water to be absorbed and used.
Digestion: Salt water begins to activate salivary glands in the mouth, releasing amylase. This initial step in the digestive process is highly important. In the stomach, natural salt stimulates hydrochloric acid and a protein-digesting enzyme, both of which help to break down food.
It also stimulates secretions in the intestinal tract and liver that help with digestion. Regular consumption of Sole can help with regularity and increase nutrient absorption, as well.
Inflammation: The human body’s basic requirement for salt is 1.5 teaspoons, or 8 grams per day. If we don’t consume this essential amount of sodium, the body shifts into a “crisis mode” called sodium-sparing so that it can maintain fluid balance and blood pressure. This crisis mode is a critical survival mechanism, but it also has negative consequences.
With low salt intake, an enzyme called renin and a hormone called aldosterone begin to rise rapidly. If this state is prolonged, higher renin and aldosterone levels lead to circulatory damage and increased inflammatory agents in the body.
Researchers have associated an increased risk of chronic diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and cognition loss resulting from prolonged lack of salt.
Sleep: The trace minerals in unrefined salt calm the nervous system. Salt is known to reduce cortisol and adrenaline, two dangerous stress hormones. This can promote a better night’s sleep.
Detoxification: Because of the rich minerals in Sole, it helps the body in its natural detoxification process. Sole is also naturally antibacterial and can therefore help rid the body of dangerous bacteria.
Bone Health: A popular theory regarding osteoporosis and other bone disorders is that the body uses calcium and other minerals from the bones in order to survive and neutralize acidity in the blood. Because Sole is full of naturally healthy minerals and has an alkalinizing effect, it is thought to help improve bone health.
Skin: Natural salt contains minerals that can help your skin look and feel its best: Chromium fights acne and reduces skin infections; sulfur keeps skin clean and smooth, and can help a dry scalp, eczema and rashes that are often a result of a sulfur deficiency; zinc promotes rapid healing of wounds, boosts the immune system, and regulates the activity of oil glands; and iodine helps increase oxygen consumption and the metabolic rate of the skin.

Minerals: According to Dr. Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel Prize winner, “You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.” Minerals are the foundation to sound nutrition and health. Without them, no other system in the body works as it should.
Vitamins and other nutrients do not get broken down or absorbed when amino acids and enzymes don’t work due to a lack of vital minerals. Because of our depleted soil and highly-refined diet, mineral deficiencies are more common than ever. Sole, made with mineral-rich salt, is a good source of vital minerals, such as barium, bismuth, chromium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, titanium and B2 trace minerals.
Other noted benefits of Sole water
  • Improved energy
  • Reduced blood sugar
  • Reduced muscle cramps
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Healthy veins
  • Weight loss
How to make Sole salt water and how to take it
  1. Fill a quart-size Mason jar one-third full with unrefined, natural salt.
  2. Fill the jar with filtered water, leaving two inches at the top.
  3. Cover the solution with a plastic (not metal) storage cap.
  4. Shake and let it sit for 24 hours.
  5. Check in 24 hours to see if all salt crystals are dissolved, and add a little more salt.
  6. When the salt no longer dissolves, the Sole is ready.
Store covered on a counter or in a cupboard. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of the Sole will help make it last indefinitely.
Add a half teaspoon of Sole to an 8-oz. glass of filtered water (this can be warm water) each morning, before breakfast. Taste the Sole — if it tastes salty (like you would expect saltwater to taste), then it is the perfect amount for you. If it tastes too salty, dilute with plain, filtered water until it tastes just right. If it does not taste salty enough, add some more Sole until the balance is right. You have to trust your senses on this one — your body knows best! The amount you need may vary each day.
We recommend you consume a whole-foods diet and use natural salt on your food at a level that tastes good. Researchers have found that a healthy ancestral diet results in salt consumption in the range of 1.5 to three tablespoons per day, which coincides with the lowest risk levels for heart disease.
The best natural salt
You can find many kinds of unrefined salt in your local store, but check the label, it must say “unrefined” — some sea salts are still refined. Some good types include pink Himalayan salt and Celtic grey sea salt.
We like to use AztecSeaSalt, which is not sold in stores, to make Sole. We know for a fact that it is high-quality, unrefined, and loaded with the good minerals and nutrients you need. Learn more about AztecSeaSalt here.
Note: Always consult a health practitioner before beginning any natural health routine.
—The Alternative Daily

Tame Your Wild Gut With Ginger

To many people, nausea is one of the worst, most-dreaded feelings in existence. Whether it’s from food poisoning, a seasonal bug, or motion sickness, just the thought of a churning gut and stomach acid welling up in your throat is enough to make spines shiver.
In order to combat this icky feeling when it occurs, some of us turn to over-the-counter medications such as Dramamine. However, Dramamine is an anticholinergic drug, and this class of medication has been linked to a higher risk of dementia. Other anti-nausea medications may not be in this category, but they often come with unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness or worse.
So, what’s one to do when nausea hits, and medications aren’t a great option? Enter ginger. This humble rhizome (above-ground root) has been embraced by many ancient healing traditions, including Ayurveda, for thousands of years. It has many medicinal uses, but one of the most common is its role in digestive health, namely nausea prevention. There is a substantial body of research backing this up.
To summarize the role of ginger in the health of the digestive system, the authors of a 1998 review published in the journal Advances in Therapy wrote:
“The efficacy of ginger rhizome for the prevention of nausea, dizziness, and vomiting as symptoms of motion sickness (kinetosis), as well as for postoperative vomiting and vomiting of pregnancy, has been well documented and proved beyond doubt in numerous high-quality clinical studies. The use of this ancient medicine for gastrointestinal problems (stimulation of digestion) has been given scientific approval.”
A 2003 study published in the American Journal of Physiology sought to test the specific mechanisms involved in ginger’s ability to tame motion sickness. For their study, researchers recruited 13 volunteers who reported a history of motion sickness. The researchers simulated motion for the volunteers using circular vection (rotating stimuli), and assessed their motion sickness symptoms and levels. Then, they tested these same symptoms and levels after giving the participants ginger.
Through this experiment, the researchers found that participants experienced less nausea, and a shorter recovery time from the nausea, when given ginger beforehand. On their results, the study authors summarized:
“Ginger effectively reduces nausea, tachygastric activity [rate of electrical activity in the stomach], and vasopressin [an antidiuretic hormone] release induced by circular vection. In this manner, ginger may act as a novel agent in the prevention and treatment of motion sickness.
What else can ginger do?
Ginger’s role in taming an unhappy gut is just the tip of the iceberg. This rhizome is also a wonderful ingredient in a cleanse or detox regimen, and it may even help to improve circulation and alleviate chronic pain. Ginger has also been studied for its potential to fight cancer.
That’s a whole lot of goodness from one delicious superfood!
How to use ginger
The best ginger you can get is fresh and organic. If you’re going on a car, airplane, or boat trip and have a history of motion sickness, peel some of the root, and chew a small piece before your trip, and/or while you are in motion.You can also steep the peeled root in boiling water for a few minutes to make a delicious tea. Sweeten the drink with some raw honey if you desire. Sip some of this tea before your trip, and keep a travel cup handy for the journey.
Because of the numerous health benefits of ginger, not to mention its wonderful flavor, why not add it to more of your dishes? Roasted meats and veggies, soups, stir-fries, and smoothies can all benefit from the presence of ginger! Why not do a recipe search today?
—Tanya Rakhmilevich

Do This Instead Of Flossing

Growing up, kids are taught certain steps and routines — you wake-up, eat breakfast, brush your teeth and carry on with your day. Within these daily routines, they each have their own steps. My mom always told us — floss your teeth, put a pea-sized glob of toothpaste on your brush and brush away.
Like all other moms, she gave this advice because, well, it’s what we’ve been told to do — knowing that we need to protect our oral health. Perhaps your mom gave you similar advice, and now that you’re all grown up, do you still floss? If you said no, you have something in common with nearly one-third of Americans.
Study finds: Nearly one-third of Americans aren’t flossing their teeth
Within a recent study, researchers were interested in how many Americans flossed their teeth. The study examined 9,000 adults, and the results were varied: 32.4 percent reported that they did not floss their teeth the week before, 37.3 percent reported less than daily flossing, whereas 30.3 percent reported that they flossed daily. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the study also found that failure to floss was higher among men, individuals aged 75 years or older, non-Hispanic black and Hispanic adults, as well as low-income participants. Based on these findings, researchers believe education is critical — people need to understand the benefits of flossing.
The truth is, when we think of flossing, we automatically associate this activity with oral health and in turn, dentists. Positive oral health is something that should also be discussed with physicians — after all, oral health does contribute to overall well-being.
Why floss? Are there any concerns?
When it comes to old-fashioned flossing, there are clearly some key benefits. When you eat, you will often experience a slight buildup between your teeth. Over time, this soft plaque turns into hardened calcified plaque, better known as tartar. To remove plaque while it’s still soft and manageable, flossing is an ideal solution.
Once tartar forms, you increase your risk of tooth and gum disease, as well as potential heart complications. You may be thinking, “If flossing is so important, why aren’t more people doing it?” As mentioned, researchers suggest it’s a lack of education. People can be told to do something, but if they don’t understand why it’s important, this could act as a potential barrier.
Article: Foods That Fight Mouth Bacteria And Whiten Teeth
Now that I have told you how important flossing is, I’m going to shake things up a bit. Yes, the concept behind flossing is critical — in that you need to focus on removing plaque and bacteria in order to promote positive health. Although flossing is better than nothing, there’s actually one other method that is superior.
Remove bacteria with an oral water irrigator
Yes, floss most certainly removes chunks of food and some bacteria, but at the end of the day, it may not be enough. There is still some bacteria deep under your gums, which floss cannot reach. As this bacteria builds, simple sugars and carbohydrates essentially nourish these harmful colonies.
As bacteria grows and multiplies within the pockets under your gums, it can actually enter the bloodstream. From there, inflammation develops, increasing your risk of chronic disease. If you are already experiencing gum disease and related infections, a piece of string isn’t going to cut it.
You may need to first see a dentist in order to address this biofilm and the infections that are lurking within it. Once you have achieved a disinfected environment, it’s critical that you maintain it. This leads us to an oral irrigator — which is essentially a stream of pressurized, pulsating water.
As the water hits these hidden bacteria-ridden areas, pocket bacteria are flushed out, where it can be easily removed. As stated in RDH, a magazine created for dental hygienists, oral irrigation has taken a backseat to brushing and flossing for far too long. When used on a daily basis, home oral irrigation can better control gingival inflammation and bacteria.
Within one key study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, after just 14 days of using the Waterpik water flosser, bleeding, pocket depths and inflammatory cytokines were all reduced. Since then, researchers and a variety of experts have continued to recommend some form of water irrigation in conjunction with regular brushing.
The final verdict? Flossing and brushing is better than simply brushing alone; however, a water irrigation routine along with regular brushing, seems to trump all options. Just like when we were kids, we can retrain ourselves to develop new habits and routines — start flushing that bacteria today to improve your oral health tomorrow. 
There is one other completely natural option. It’s called Oil Pulling. You can learn more about it here.
—Krista Hillis

8 Reasons You Need To Eat Cilantro (We Like #3 The Best)


If you’re looking to add a new dimension to your recipes while giving your health a boost in the process, look no further than cilantro. The plant Coriandrum sativum is known by several names: cilantro, Chinese parsley, and coriander. The plant has fresh, delicious leaves, and pungent coriander seeds.

Cilantro is one of the oldest spices in the world. It is native to the Middle East and the Mediterranean region, and its culinary and medicinal uses have been traced all the way back to 5,000 BC.
Looking for a good reason to put cilantro on the menu? Here are eight! It’s nutritious and anti-inflammatory
Cilantro leaves are rich in vitamins, including vitamins A, C and K. The volatile oils found in this plant and its seeds are high in flavonoid antioxidants, including kaempferol and quercetin. They are also rich in phenolic acids.
All of these nutrients combined make cilantro and coriander seeds great for combating chronic inflammation, which can wreak havoc on the body if left unchecked.
It may help to calm the mind
Cilantro and coriander may help to ease anxiety. A 2011 study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology tested the effects of a cilantro extract on anxiety in various animal models. The study authors wrote:
“Results suggested that extract of C. sativum at 100 and 200 mg/kg dose produced anti-anxiety effects almost similar to diazepam.”
It may help control blood sugar
Coriander is a spice used in traditional remedies for blood sugar control and diabetes. Consuming it may help to stimulate insulin secretion while lowering blood sugar levels. These effects on rats were found in a 2011 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
The study authors stated that their study, “validates the traditional use of coriander in diabetes.”
It can help you sleep
If you awaken frequently throughout the night, this potent herb may help to give you a longer night’s sleep. A 2012 study published in Natural Product Research tested the sleep effects of cilantro extract on mice. The study authors reported:
“The present data indicate that C. sativum exert sleep-prolonging action without major neurotoxic effect.”
It’s good for your heart
Thanks to the antioxidants and essential oils found in cilantro, it may go far in protecting heart health. A 2012 study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology found that extracts of coriander seeds may help to prevent cardiovascular damage in rat models.
It may kill foodborne pathogens
Could the essential oils found in cilantro help fight against foodborne illness? A body of research says yes. A 2002 study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology tested a variety of essential oil extracts against several types of bacteria. On cilantro, the study authors wrote: “Essential oil of cilantro was particularly effective against Listeria monocytogenes, likely due to the presence of long chain (C6–C10) alcohols and aldehydes.”
It’s a great ingredient for a cleanse
If you’re looking to do a healthy cleanse, cilantro can be a great addition. Its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds are a great boost to any cleanse regimen, and it may also aid in cleansing toxic metals from the body.
It’s delicious and versatile
Fresh, organic cilantro leaves are a wonderful ingredient to add to summer salsas, dips and salads. They are also a great flavoring for broths, and you can even add them to green smoothies. Organic ground coriander is wonderful in spice rubs for your favorite grass-fed meats and organic veggies. It is also instrumental in traditional and Indian-inspired curries.
Have you tried this delicious herb yet? What’s your favorite way to use it?
—Tanya Rakhmilevich

8 Ways Meditation Benefits Your 37 Trillion Cells

If you are as passionate about a healthy lifestyle as we are, then you’ve likely looked into and maybe even tried meditation.
Meditation has been around for thousands of years with millions of people swearing by its effectiveness. Now, studies seem to confirm that meditation affects us down to a cellular level, impacting our brains and potentially even our longevity, although more research needs to be done before scientists reach a final verdict.
In the meantime, learn eight great ways meditation benefits your 37 trillion cells! Increases happiness: Meditation triggers increased brain signaling in the left prefrontal cortex, while it decreases on the right. Simply put, this is what makes you happy and decreases negative emotions.
Improves acceptance: You may not like the way you look, the job you have to do every day, or even a disease you cannot beat. Meditation has been linked to an improved acceptance of what is your reality.
Increases self-awareness: Meditation can help you identify frustration or anger you may hold and put it into perspective. Taking time to get to know yourself better allows you to detach from such feelings and understand them better.
Reduces stress: Practicing meditation during stressful times can help reduce anxiety and stress. Stress causes a physical response called “fight-or-flight” activated by the sympathetic nervous system, during which your heart rate and pulse increase. The calming effect of meditation can put you in a relaxed state related to the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps decrease your heart rate and pulse, and slows breathing.
Increases concentration: Meditation has been linked to better and longer concentration. Try meditation before a long day, or during your lunch break, and chances are you will be better able to concentrate when you get back to work. This works for stressed moms, too!
Woman Meditate at the Mountains 
Improves cardiovascular health: Meditation can help you relax by increasing nitric oxide, which opens blood vessels and then drops blood pressure.
Helps lose weight: Meditating regularly, and particularly before eating something you know you shouldn’t, can help identify why you are about to reach for that candy bar and distance yourself from that emotion (see self-awareness). The more aware you are of the “why,” the more in control you can feel and make a change.
Boosts creativity: All of these points combined can help you increase your creativity and productivity. Letting go of daily stresses and worries enables you to let creative juices flow. Have that note pad ready. You may need it!
Making time for meditation every day can be a bit of challenge, but it’s doable if you make it a priority. You can practice meditation first thing in the morning after waking up or as you go to bed at night. You may find it helpful to download a meditation app and simply fall asleep while listening to the soothing sound of the meditation music. You’ll wake up refreshed and rejuvenated in the morning.
We suggest practicing Kelee® Meditation. It only takes 10 minutes per day.
— The Alternative Daily

12 Essential Oils You Need For Summer


Summer is upon us! For those of us living in northern climates, it’s high time to get outdoors, soak in the sun, and enjoy the warm weather while it lasts!

Of course, summer isn’t all sunshine and roses. Many people struggle with allergies, stress and headaches in the summertime. And there’s the looming nuisance of insects!
ar in remedying these summer downers. The following are 12 essential oils to help you through the season. Note: If you have a medical condition, or are pregnant, ask a health professional you trust before using these essential oils. Do not use these oils on young children without checking with a doctor first.
Insect repellant
Picnics and barbecues in the great outdoors are a summertime tradition, but the bugs can be a huge annoyance at an otherwise fun event. Try these essential oils to keep them away:
  • Citronella
  • Tea tree oil
Both of these oils are a deterrent to many types of insect. You can pour a few drops of either (or both) on washcloths or small sponges and place them around the perimeter of the party area. Natural citronella candles can also go far to keep mosquitoes and biting flies away.
You can also mix a few drops of each of these oils with witch hazel and water to make your own homemade bug spray — DEET and artificial additive free. Other essential oils, such as catnip, rosemary, eucalyptus and clove, also work well in this spray.
The flowers are abloom, pollen is in the air, and many people’s allergies are acting up! Before you turn to over-the-counter allergy meds, which can lead to drowsiness or other side effects, give these essential oils a try:
  • Roman chamomile
  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
Roman chamomile essential oil can be diluted with a base oil, such as organic coconut oil, to help control skin allergies. Two or three drops of essential oil in about a teaspoon of coconut oil is all you need. You can also add a few drops to a warm bath to reap these positive effects.
Both peppermint and eucalyptus oil can help to open up airways. Put a few drops in a diffuser, or dilute in a base oil and rub onto your chest, neck and temples, being careful to avoid the eye area.
The weather has warmed up, the kids are on break from school, there are tons of events to host and attend, and lots of people to see. This can be a world of fun, but also, at times, a world of stress.
There are many essential oils that can help ease the burden of stress. The following are four great aromatic options:
  • Lavender
  • Cedarwood
  • Chamomile
  • Marjoram
To make the most of these oils, try making your home an aromatherapy haven by adding a few drops to an essential oil diffuser. You can also add a few drops to a washcloth and place the washcloth over your shower drain for several minutes.
Alternately, you can mix a few drops with a base oil, such as organic coconut oil, and apply to pressure points, such as your temples and wrists. Lavender oil is gentle enough that you can use a drop or two undiluted, but for the others, be sure to dilute, so as not to irritate your skin — essential oils are potent!
For a great meditative experience, rub some diluted cedarwood oil onto the bottoms of your feet. The pungent, woody scent can help to expand your awareness and your sense of calm.
Whether they’re from allergies, stress, hormones, or just an adjustment to the warmer temperatures, we all experience summer headaches from time to time. The following essential oils may help soothe the pain:
  • Wintergreen
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
Dilute these oils in a base oil, and apply to your temples in a circular motion. It may also help to rub them between your palms, and breathe their aromas deeply. These oils can also be applied to the back of your neck, as your neck muscles tend to tense up when you have a headache. They can also be added to a diffuser, or a soothing bath.Wintergreen is a great oil for pain relief; rosemary is calming and anti-inflammatory; and basil is effective in relieving tension.
Did your favorite oils make the list? Tell us which essential oils you turn to in the summertime!
—Tanya Rakhmilevich

How Meditation Can Help Stop Shopping Insanity

For many Americans, shopping is a way to release endorphins after a long, hard day at work. But let’s face it, the “shopper’s high” can be addictive — and it’s an addiction that’s easy to justify. You work hard earning your money, so it’s perfectly okay to treat yourself and splurge, right?
While the occasional purchase is just fine, and we obviously need to shop for the essentials, most of us have way too much stuff. Aside from the financial strain, going overboard has other consequences.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the average American home contains 300,000 items. All of those items do more than collect dust. Health professionals have found a connection between clutter and stress — and we know that stress is detrimental to our health. Andrew Mellen, author of Unstuff Your Life, states:
“I don’t think stuff is inherently wrong or bad, but if things have become obstacles to your happiness, that’s a problem.”
Jennifer Nelson, writing for WebMD, adds:
“Clutter, both mental and physical, can do a number on our productivity and eat away at our time. Think of all the minutes we waste looking for items that aren’t where they should be. Plus the sheer stress of a cluttered life means we may miss deadlines, work longer hours, and lose important stuff.”
So, how can you unclutter your home and get your shopping habit under control? The following are a few suggestions.
When beginning any new action plan, meditation can be a huge help. Find ten minutes in your busy day to sit quietly in your home, in your most-used room (or rooms). Sit comfortably, breathe deeply and clear your mind. Following your practice, assess your home.
How does it feel? How does it look? Does the presence of the items around you cause you anxiety? Are there certain items that stress you out more than others? Do you really need everything that is piled on that rocking chair or on that counter?
Do you spend way too much time each week cleaning all of your stuff — time that could be better spent living?
Assess what you really need
Grab a box, and take a trek through each room of your house. Box up all of the things you do not need, or do not want. If you feel an attachment to an item, ask yourself if it’s because you really like an item, or because of a compulsive inclination to hold on to clutter. If it’s the latter, take a deep breath, and make the decision to let it go.
Don’t forget closets, dresser drawers and storage areas. If you’ve been holding on to an outfit, for example, and haven’t worn it in over a year, it’s probably time to free up the space.
If you have children, go through their clothes and toys with them, and explain that sometimes our items need to move on to new homes. Making kids a part of the decluttering process can help teach them good habits for adulthood.
Let it go!
If your boxes end up brimming with things that are in good condition, but are no longer needed, perhaps you have friends that would enjoy them. Ask around! The old saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” holds true today.
If you don’t have anyone to give your items to, or if your friends have passed on the offer, a great option is to donate your stuff to a secondhand store or charity. Plenty of families could benefit from your items, and it feels great to give to someone in need.
Another option is to have a yard sale. Your neighbors will go home with some goodies, and you’ll have a bit of extra money to show for it.
Clean your “new” space!
Once you’ve cleared your home of clutter, give your space a deep clean and organize the items that are left. There will likely be a lot more space, and you can make your rooms look entirely different! Think of it as a new start.
If you’ve still got quite a bit of stuff, consider getting some space-saving shelves or treasure chests to keep your items organized. This way, your stuff will be safe and out of the way, and it won’t clutter up your living area.
When organizing, it may be beneficial to consider the ancient art of feng shui — following its principles can do wonders for the feel of your home.
Meditate again — feel the difference?
Time to meditate again! Find a comfortable spot at a quiet time, and get to know the feeling of your reinvented home. Does it feel more spacious? Do you feel less stressed and anxious? Is it easier to relax in your new living space? Now, make a plan to keep the shopping under control
Now that you’ve cleared out the clutter, it’s important to make sure that stuff does not pile up again! The most effective way to break any addiction is to replace the activity in question with a healthy activity that you enjoy.
Is there a club you have always wanted to join? Alternatively, when you feel the urge to shop, try going for coffee with friends instead, or enjoy some extra playtime with the kids. Or, you could just use that time to get some exercise!
When you do go shopping, avoid impulse purchases. Have a list of what you need, and stick to it. Of course, sometimes you might see something you like that would go perfectly in your home. In these cases, it’s okay to go for it, but take your time to decide.
Before you buy, ask yourself how often you will use the item, and if the item is personally meaningful. If possible, walk away for a few minutes and do something else. If you’re acting on impulse, the desire to buy the item should fade quickly.
Above all, be mindful of what you buy, and how much you are cramming into your home. Do any of us really need 300,000 items?
-Tanya Rakhmilevich

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Koch Davis
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244 5th Ave New York, NY 10001