What is in a Name

I’m not a marketing expert.

Changing the tone, tenor, content, and name of my Tarot identity was mildly terrifying. “Re-branding” doesn’t begin to capture it, probably because name, nature and self-identity are so enmeshed. Changing from Modern Oracle to TaoCraft Tarot was certainly one of those life learning expanding experiences which triggered several posts musing about names and labels.

It is a little bit of that same process here. This blog & website has always been a catch-all side project. Initially I envisioned it to be an “about the author” promotion site for the back of books. Natural health services were added after my dissertation and things only got more scattered and less focused from there. It is time for this site to get a makeover too, new blog name included.

On one hand, I want to keep this blog neutral, nonthreatening, and a little milquetoast to serve as an online resume of sorts. On the other hand, I want this blog stay the friendly, welcoming, chatty catch-all that it evolved to be. On the other other hand I want it to be fierce and fearless, unafraid to difficult subjects. Of course, there is no reason it can’t be all of that. If an employer doesn’t hire me because of the views expressed rather than the quality of the writing expressing those views, then that discrimination is on their heads.

So friendly fierce fearless chatty catch-all blog it is. Welcome.


 

“…being normal is not necessarily a virtue. It rather denotes a lack of courage.”

– Alice Hoffman

“If you’ve got an idea you genuinely think is good, don’t let some idiot talk you out of it”

– Stan Lee

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(creator unknown)

Q&A: What is the natural treatment for this?

Redacted for privacy, but used with permission. The answer would be the same for any western medical diagnosis.

Q: I was just diagnosed with XXXX. Is there a natural treatment for that?

A: When it comes to real holistic and natural health, it isn’t so much what…but how.

XXXX is a western medical diagnoses based on counteracting certain symptoms. Even if you give an unprocessed “natural” herb or change to a certain diet…or what have you…because you are giving it just to counteract one certain diagnosis, it is still western or Allopathic medicine. Herbs and supplements can have side effects too if used improperly. Using ‘natural treatments’ just as a one to one substitution for processed medication isn’t all that different from using prescription medication in the first place.

In the case of Holistic Health, the HOW matters.

The holistic approach is systemic, functional, big-picture. A holistic evaluation would look at everything that is going on with you, not just this one particular thing. It wouldn’t focus on just fixing this one problem, it would look at everything and try to find every way to make life as healthy and robust for you as possible. Holistic health looks for the root cause of this and everything else that may be wrong. To borrow from that old adage, holistic health tries to raise the water level and lift all the boats in the harbor…not just patch the hole in one boat.

XXXX is related to XXXX. As a general rule, skin conditions like these often require changes in diet, improving hydration and digestion in addition to any topically applied oils or tinctures. While the applied oils and such might interfere with the western prescribed treatment…the diet and any ingested herbs may not be…so a “best of both worlds” approach often can work in cases like yours, DEPENDING on what else you have going on…which shows the other big problem here.

Without knowing all the details, it is impossible to make any suggestions for you at all. You just can’t substitute “natural” treatments for western ones based on a western diagnosis alone. It just doesn’t work that way. Natural and Holistic means getting to know you – not just your latest diagnosis.

The other big problem is that it is unsafe and unwise to answer questions like this over the internet. You can not substitute an online question for a real, detailed, customized evaluation with a holistic practitioner.

That goes triple for skin conditions. Pictures just can’t do a good evaluation justice. There is no substitute for seeing it in person.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a good place to start in this case. They are very expert in diet changes and herbal supplements used together. A good herbalist would be good as well. It might take some work to find practitioners in your area. Unfortunately, you still have to use some critical thinking to tell real traditional medicine from hucksters and ‘snake oil’. Real, caring, well trained, knowledgeable traditional / holistic health practitioners ARE there to be found. The internet can help, local magazines, word of mouth…ask at spas, yoga or martial arts schools or anywhere else that is associated with health of any kind. The Holistic community is, unfortunately small in many communities, so most of the time it is a pretty well networked group.

So that is the long answer…the short answer? The natural treatment for XXXX begins with a detailed  in person evaluation with a knowledgeable holistic practitioner. You and that practitioner will take it from there.

Good luck!

Ph of Debittered Brewer’s Yeast

Q&A: What is the ph of debittered brewer’s yeast?

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I love to answer questions and know what your are thinking.

Please don’t hesitate to send free “ask the expert” questions. It makes writing the blog a kajillion times more fun!

But since that hasn’t caught on yet, I often read the top search terms, for ideas for blogs that are timely and relevant to my much appreciated readers (HINT: if you don’t find what you are searching for in the blog…please keep trying. I’ll get the hint and create what you are looking for eventually!)

But sometimes, I will wonder why anyone would want to know that? Holistic Health is a very practical, pragmatic thing. So you learn something, now, what are you going to DO with that tidbit of knowledge? Science for science sake, tight focus on numbers above all else…that’s allopathic type stuff.

I keep seeing an interest in th ph of debittered brewers yeast. From what I’ve found, it depends on how it is processed…how they “debitter” it: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16084365

Debittered Brewer’s Yeast seems to be largely neutral (ph around 7), especially if it microfiltered instead of akalai washed. BUT the  process removes many of the trace minerals that are part of natural brewer’s yeast benefits. Chromium and selenium are key examples. Unless you are only looking for B-complex supplimentation, natural forms of the brewer’s yeast has more to offer despite the taste. It is bitter, but persoanlly I don’t mind the taste: I like dark stout and european beers. Obviously that is the taste the yeast evokes. Some powders really aren’t bad, having an almost cheesy kind of flavor. If I didn’t have to keep my intake very precise for my own health reasons, I’d be cooking with the stuff…it would add a fantastic richness and depth of flavor to sauces and gravies. Hmm, bet it would add some zing to fondue or nachos too. Anyway, NATURAL non-processed, non-debittered seems to be the way to go, especially if you are interested in any of the glucose tolerance that can be associated with chromium. You can read more in my original brewer’s yeast post HERE.

There is some interest in brewer’s yeast in conditions where the ph of the intestinal tract has been altered by medication or disease. As I understand it, the benefit comes from the B-comples vitamins in the yeast that are present in both yeast types. As I understand it, an overly acidic gi tract can result in a reduction in certain types of “good bacteria” like acedopholis. This decrease in the ‘good guys’ can affect levels of B vitamins, and taking brewer’s yeast would replace what is lacking while at the same time (through probiotics) helping the ‘good bacteria’ return to normal levels. This is true of both natural and debittered brewers yeast. If this is the effect you want, then debittered makes the most sense if taste is an issue.

I don’t see how the ph of the yeast itself would have any role to play in it’s benefits. The only known adverse effect from Brewer’s Yeast that I’ve found (it’s basically food, like mushrooms) is some stomach upset that comes from difficulty digesting the proteins, not from the yeast’s ph. It is possible to be allergic to the yeast, so do not take it if allergy symptoms emerge (see links below). Headache is rare with it, but can happen. Brewer’s yeast should not be used if you are taking MAOI medications or Demeral type medications.

Additional Sources:

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/brewers-yeast

http://www.healthline.com/health/brewers-yeast

 

All information in this post and blog is for general interest, entertainment and personal enrichment only: Can not diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease and can not replace professional medical care. Use at your own risk. Age 18 and over please.

Time for Thyme

Make Time for Thyme

I’m a foodie. I admit it. I often wrestle with the dichotomy of eating healthy and eating WELL over on The Vampire Diet blog. That’s my monster side, when it comes to healthy eating. If I were really honest with myself and everyone else, I really don’t give a rip about low fat, low calorie, fruits and veggies…as long as it TASTES good. Makes sense to my aromatherapy-self too…smell and taste are very related, you know.

So you can imagine my delight with herbs that hit ALL of those cylindars…that are healthy, tasty, and can be used in aromatherapy. Enter today’s herb, Thyme.

From a culinary standpoint, it warming, pungent, strong and savory. It’s a must-have for potato soup, especially this version by Emeril Lagasse, my personal favorite potato soup ever because of the gorganzola and bacon, of course. But it wouldn’t be quite the same without the thyme, either.

Herbal uses, like ingesting the leaves or making a decoction (a strong, volume reduced, specially prepared tea) have been used for bronchitis, colds and sinus infections because of thyme’s mucus-thinning, expectorant properties.

It is also  believed to help digestion, which is very good thing if you are fond of stuff like blue cheese and bacon.

I don’t have any solid details about it, but anecdotally thyme is believed to be one of the more anti-cancer herbs. How or why, I haven’t found yet.

Both the herb and the essential oil are strong germ-killing antiseptics. One caution to using it on the skin: many thyme oils are very irritating and sensitizing. You can become allergic to it touching your skin. If thyme essential oil is used on skin for its anti-microbial properties (as in acne) it MUST be properly diluted in a carrier oil.

Lucky for aromatherapists, thyme naturally has developed many different varieties within the main species. The oils of different types of thyme have slightly different proportions of the different organic chemicals that make up the oil. Thyme Linalol is one of these specialty oils, and it is very mild. It does not irritate the skin or have nearly the sensitizing effects or other thyme varieties, but it retains the germ-killing ability. If you want to use thyme on skin, the linalol version is the way to go.

BUT if you just want to diffuse it into the room for its green, herbaceous scent, simply pick the variety that you think has the most pleasing scent…all varieties lift the mood, support a happy content outlook, all without making you feel overstimulated or ‘wired’.

So blow the dust off of that jar of dried thyme. It will make everyone wonder what your secret potato ingredient might be and make you look like a cooking genius. Or grab some essential oil and make your dining room happy with the scent. Score some thyme linalol to use in a diluted skin care oil blend and you’ll have a pleasant smelling alternative to acne creams. However you choose to use it, it may be worthwhile to make some time for thyme.

Sources: