Constipation Stopper Prune Smoothie


Drinking healthy smoothies is a great way to rebalance your digestive system. If your digestive system is in order, your elimination will be in order. Instead of reaching for over the counter aids when things go wrong, try a healthy, safer alternative.

If you don’t move your bowels everyday, chances are you’re constipated. They may be hard, small and difficult to pass causing discomfort and hemorrhoids. Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water or if the muscle contractions in the colon are weak. It can be due to dehydration, lack of fiber, inactivity, medications or diseases like irritable bowel syndrome.

Next time things go wrong “down under”, give this smoothie a try and be sure to use organic ingredients when possible to reduce exposure to pesticides and toxins.

Yogurt Prune Smoothie

6 pitted prunes (look for brands without added preservatives)

1 cup organic apple juice (preferably fresh squeezed)

1 cup ice

1 cup organic Kefir or organic plain yogurt

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

pinch of nutmeg

Put ice in the blender first, followed by the other ingredients and blend well. Drink and enjoy the benefits!


In Sickness And In Health, Loving Your Spouse Through Illness


Many people suffer from chronic illness, some visible and some not. As one who suffers from several chronic illnesses, I can honestly tell you it is difficult to be married to me. Some days are good, some are really good. Some days are bad . . . and others even worse. You never know how you’re going to feel from day to day, or even hour to hour.

Being married to a person with a chronic illness is not much fun. It’s really taking the “in sickness and health” vow to the extreme. I’m not trying to compare my chronic illnesses, which are minor in the grand scheme of things, to a spouse who has lived through ALS or cancer with their husband or wife, but there are days I feel like my husband got the raw end of the deal.

Did he really mean to sign up for this?

Is he sure he wants to stick around and deal with this the rest of our lives?

He assures me he did and that he’s not going any where, but I still can’t help but wonder what his life must be like from day to day. Never knowing what “condition” I will be in by the time he comes home from work. Never knowing whether or not this is the moment I’ll have to go to the hospital. It’s not easy being married to me. These few reminders can help anyone going through difficult times.

  1. PRAY. Pray for your spouse and for your marriage. A chronic illness is something that will stretch the limits of your patience and test the boundaries of your love. It isn’t easy and it won’t just “go away,” so you need to pray. Pray for your spouse as they maneuver the difficulties of the illness, and pray that you will know just how to love them through it all.
  2. Communication is KEY. This goes for marriage in general, but especially when the spouse has a chronic illness. Their level of activity can vary greatly from day to day. Their level of comfort in those activities will vary greatly as well. Talk about EVERYTHING. This is the most important thing I can tell you. It won’t be easy, but it is necessary. But running from problems because they’re hard to talk about will only strain your relationship and tear you apart.
  3. It’s not their fault. Although you may tell yourself this, know that it’s not because of anything they did. They didn’t wish this illness on themselves and wouldn’t wish it on their worst enemy. It stinks. Know that they want to feel better. They want to be involved. They want to be active; they just can’t some days.
  4. Don’t be offended. Some days will just be more than they can handle, and the best thing they can do is say no. They still love you and want more than anything to be with you, their family and friends – but sometimes it is better they stay home and rest. Don’t take it personally; it isn’t you – really.
  5. Don’t pressure them. Your wanting them to feel better won’t make them better. And just because they want to feel better won’t make it happen, either. If they say they’re not up for a day trip, don’t make them feel bad for not going. If they say they can’t take the trip, don’t make them feel worse for the change in plans. They are already beating themselves up about it. Know that when they feel better, they will make it happen.
  6. Be patient. There will be days, and sometimes weeks (or months), when they will feel sick or just completely out of energy. They will continue to try and keep up for someone else’s sake or to keep up appearances or whatever other reason they can think of, but they will eventually hit a wall. And when they do, they will go down hard. Be patient with them as they recover. Be patient with them as they find a “new normal” with this illness and balancing their other “duties” as wife and/or mom, or husband and/or dad. It isn’t easy for them to admit defeat.
  7. Don’t ignore their issue. As with anything else, ignoring their issues will not make them disappear. In fact, ignoring them will likely lead to them shutting down and/or depression. And that is a scary, slippery slope. They likely suffer from bouts of depression when flare-ups occur anyway, so don’t ignore them when they happen.

Do you or your spouse live with a chronic illness? What ways have you found to love them through the difficult times?

lyme disease

4 Ways To Help Someone With A Chronic Illness


If you ask someone who has a chronic illness how they’re doing, chances are they will answer with sometimes along the lines of, “I’m fine” or, “I’m OK.” I can tell you with confidence that they may not be be “fine” or “OK.” They don’t want to mislead you, but it can be difficult to be vulnerable about being sick because that answer typically does not change day after day. Many, including myself, feel like they are a burden to those around them, and it is easier to continue to put on that “I’m OK” face than to admit that life is hard and the pain continues to be too much to handle.

As someone who struggles with multiple chronic illnesses, I have dealt with many emotions when it comes to telling people how I’m actually doing. Most times I start with only mentioning a few things that hurt, or a few emotions I’m dealing with, to gauge the waters on how receptive the listener is to my pain. I’m always worrying that they are tired of hearing about my disease and just want me to stop sharing, and that definitely contributes to why I tend to not to share as much as I want to. After sharing with people, I have many people tell me over and over, “I wish that I could do something, but I just don’t know what would help you.” Most times I don’t know what to tell them either.

As someone with a chronic illness, my heart wishes so desperately that I did not have to feel like a hindrance on the friendships or relationships I have. I sometimes need others to express love, effort, and patience, in a creative way. As much as I hate it, I can understand that many get tired of hearing of my aches and pains, my struggles with treatments and side effects, and how broke and lonely I am from it all. But for those of you that stay and listen, you are the real deal and the champions of loving me selflessly. You will never know the impact of what it means to those that are deep in the trenches of this fight, but know that you are right in there with them.

 1. Offer your help before being asked. I know it may be your first instinct to say something like, “Let me know what I can do to help,” but that actually can be a bit hard to answer. When I’m asked that question, many things run through my mind such as: What would they be willing to help with? Are they really just saying that hoping I won’t actually ask them, or would they be willing to do what I need that week, even if it’s inconvenient? You see, it’s easy to offer help, but harder to listen for a need and offer to fill it. If you don’t know what to offer, chances are they could use a meal, because it can be exhausting to cook meal after meal when they are weighed down by pain. (They may have food restrictions, so make sure to be willing to make something to fit those.) Do they need help cleaning their house? Offer to come spend a Saturday afternoon and help them clean and do laundry. When someone offers to help me clean, I am so relieved, since that is something that typically gets left behind because I don’t have the energy to do it.

2. Learn all you can about their disease/condition. Have you spent time reading about what they go through each day so that you can better understand? Is there a documentary that you can watch with them to help show them that you care and want to be educated on their condition? It goes an incredibly long way when you can work hard to learn the basics and be able to ask informed questions about how they are doing. Maybe even offer to attend their next doctor’s appointment or treatment with them, depending on how comfortable they are with that.

3. Plan an event with them in mind. I know in my daily life, I miss being able to spend time with people that I care about and participate in activities that now would put my pain over the edge. There are many things I am unable to do because of my disease, and many time I feel left out because of it. As a friend or family member of someone with a chronic disease, find out the activities that they can enjoy and make an evening out of it. Whether that’s an evening movie night or a quiet picnic in the park, any sort of planned event that they are able to enjoy will be cherished. And a special note that when asking those with chronic illnesses to an event -please never take it personally when they cancel. They cannot control their pain levels that day, and if they are canceling on something they are looking forward to, then the pain is more than you can imagine.

4. Offer to buy groceries or supplements. When I think about my daily struggle with my disease, finances top the list. Every extra cent that my husband and I have goes directly towards treatment, tests, supplements, and a specific diet catered to my body’s needs. Eating organic and taking over 20 supplements a day adds up quickly, and it has taken a huge burden off my shoulders when someone has offered to buy groceries for a day,or to buy my month of probiotics so that I had one less item on my list. I understand that not everyone has the financial means to give, but if you do, this can be so helpful.

I hope that some of these suggestions give you a guiding point that goes past asking how to help, but by also being able to take that step and love on that person in your life that is hurting. A strong support system is crucial to the healing process, and sometimes being that support can be confusing and difficult, since many times there doesn’t seem like options are out there that will help them. At the end of the day, just the fact that you’re there, you’re listening, and you are loving them through it is enough.


Finding Gratitude Among Tragedy

We all face challenges in our lives, whether it’s the loss of health, the loss of a loved one or dreams that were never realized. It can be especially difficult finding that attitude of gratitude through whatever life brings our way. It isn’t about denying the reality of a difficult circumstance or the tragic turns our lives might take, but instead finding in them the resilience and determination to keep going in the face of turmoil.

It’s so important to have gratitude- for the good times and bad.

So what are some ways we can learn to be thankful during these difficult times?

1. Practice gratitude every day.

Start a gratitude journal and at the end of each day, write down, for your eyes only, why you’re grateful. As I’ve learned, it’s not just about the days when everything is going our way. In everything, be grateful, even for the tough times that help us grow.

2. Put the Law of Attraction and the Law of Action to good use.

Once you start keeping your gratitude journal, you’ll see it’s easier to find something to write down every day. It’s like a magnet, not only attracting the good things that happen but also revealing the hidden treasure in the ones that test our endurance. And you’ll discover, too, that there are actions you can take that bring more your way. Choose to be grateful; invite it into your life. Stay strong as you search for your purpose in life.

3. Embrace grateful anticipation.

It’s not the same as entitlement; that’s a sure way to derail your dreams. This is more about recognizing the opportunities that have always been there but got lost in the shuffle of an unbalanced life. Embrace your life, whatever it brings your way, and know that you came to this point for a purpose, destined for great things.

And prepare for teary eyes, thinking about the good times and the bad. Emotions flood out when you are in the deepest form of gratitude.

Everything happens for a reason. Be grateful and everything will be ok.


9 Signs Your Hormones Are Out Of Balance

Sometimes our bodies send undeniable signals that are too obvious to ignore. Coughing and sneezing with a fever? You’re probably sick with a cold or flu. Red, itchy eyes after playing with a friend’s dog? You might just be allergic to Fido’s fur. But in other cases, the signals our bodies send are much more subtle, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you just might miss the very clear message that something needs attention, stat.

Most women don’t know how to spot the signs of hormonal imbalance. After all, we’re often taught that pain and suffering are just a normal part of the female experience. Why would we think to question killer cramps or massive mood swings? Because those things are, in fact, not normal, inevitable aspects of womanhood. They’re just a few clear signs from your body alerting you to a hormonal imbalance.

The good news is, you can address many hormonal issues with the proper food and lifestyle tools and techniques. Here’s what to be on the lookout for, and how to fix it:

1. You have off-the-charts PMS.

Even though it’s called “premenstrual syndrome,” the symptoms of PMS can strike any time between ovulation and menstruation, during the second part of your monthly cycle, also known as your luteal phase. This is when many women feel everything from major bloating to uncontrollable crankiness. This cascade of unpleasant symptoms is usually caused by too much estrogen, low progesterone, and key micronutrient deficiencies.

Try: Eating leafy greens. Members of the brassica family like kale contain indole-3 carbinol, a powerful hormone balancer that promotes estrogen metabolism, which will help eliminate excess estrogen and prevent estrogen dominance.

2. You need the pill to have a “normal” period.

Birth control does not—I repeat, does not—fix your problematic period. The medication uses synthetic hormones to mimic pregnancy and prevent conception, but this blocks your body’s natural rhythms and covers up your natural hormonal imbalance.

Try: Weaning off the pill. The transition may not be easy, so it’s extra important to build a strong foundation of healthy eating and lifestyle habits and find an alternative birth control method for contraception before you quit completely.

3. You’re constantly exhausted.

Tired all the time? So are your adrenals. Those are the endocrine glands that sit above the kidneys and release the stress hormone known as cortisol. If your food and lifestyle habits throw off your adrenals’ normal production of cortisol, you might start feeling the opposite of how you should (e.g., instead of feeling a natural jolt of energy in the morning from your body’s surge of cortisol, you’ll feel sleepy and lethargic, and instead of feeling calm and relaxed and bedtime, you’ll feel wired).

Try: Adjusting your diet. Cut caffeine, which exacerbates symptoms and perpetuates the tired/wired cycle. If you can’t cut it completely, at least reduce it to one cup or less per day. Start the day with a healthy, protein-packed breakfast to balance your blood sugar and improve your odds of staying satiated and energized.

4. You have heavy bleeding with clots during your period.

If you’re changing your pad or tampon every hour, severely staining your bedsheets, or seeing dark purple clots during your cycle, something is up. Specifically, your estrogen levels. Too much estrogen is tied to this type of excessive bleeding, and it could be a symptom of something larger, especially if your periods are painful: endometriosis, fibroids, or ovarian cysts.

Try: Milk thistle. This herb has been shown to help detoxify the liver and even out estrogen.

5. Your skin is breaking out like a teenager’s.

I have spent countless hours covering up acne for the majority of my life. Whether pimples crop up every time your period approaches or you’re coping with the kind of severe acne I had, your hormones are the source of the issue.

Try: Magnesium. Your body’s C-reactive proteins are responsible for causing inflammation. Taking a calcium-magnesium supplement can help lower the amount of C-reactive proteins in your body, and calcium is also part of our tissue matrix—bones, cells, and skin—and very important for skin cell renewal.

6. Your weight is out of control and the number on the scale keeps climbing.

If you’re eating salad after salad and spending hours at the gym but you’re still not seeing results, you might be ready to throw in the towel. But the problem isn’t lack of effort or faulty scale—it’s likely your liver, which is responsible for removing toxins by turning fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble toxins so they can be excreted through your large intestine, kidneys, and skin. When you have a hormonal problem, your liver’s function is compromised and can’t work as efficiently at removing these toxins, so your body holds on to fat-soluble toxins.

Try: Adding lemons and oranges to your water. Citrus fruits contain a compound called D-limonene, which is critical for healthy liver function.

7. Your periods are very light, short, or totally missing in action.

Some women would call this a blessing, but experiencing “barely there” bleeding or no bleeding at all isn’t healthy. A short period (less than three days in length) and only light bleeding can indicate low estrogen levels. If you’ve been crash dieting or restricting your food for a long time, you may have depleted your body of important micronutrients that are necessary for estrogen production.

Try: Adding in more protein. Hormones are made from amino acids, and you can’t get your estrogen up if you can’t make enough of it from your food.

8. You have erratic cravings and crazy binges.

Everyone craves certain foods now and then, but if your cravings are out of control and you find yourself bingeing at various times of the month, your hormones are the likely culprits, and a diet heavy on sugar is the probable root cause. If you consume too much sugar, whether it’s in the form of pasta, bagels, candy, or cola—your body has to churn out a hormone called insulin to break it down. Spikes in glucose and insulin can disrupt ovulation, shutting down your production of progesterone and setting you up for the troublesome effects of estrogen dominance.

Try: Limiting your sugar intake and eating lots of fiber-rich foods that will help detoxify your liver and create more of a specific hormone called FGF21 that has been found to prevent sugar cravings.

9. Your period is brown.

If you’re seeing strange brown stuff at the start of your period, it’s actually oxidized blood that didn’t quite make it out of your uterus during your last cycle. The culprit? Low progesterone. As you already know, too little progesterone can put you at risk for an overabundance of estrogen and other conditions like PCOS.

Try: A chasteberry supplement. Research has shown it affects the production of various hormones in your body, especially progesterone.

If your period is problematic, it’s important to learn what the root cause is. Knowing this will help you get healthy now and prevent disease in the future.

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