Laughter Really IS The Best Medicine :-)

I think most of us have come to believe that laughter truly is good medicine, but I found this article especially interesting and enlightening as far as the different statistics between men and women, plus how it helps improve memory. Can’t think of a better way to improve my health, longevity and memory recall, as well as have a more fun-filled holiday season! 🙂

Laugh a Lot, Live Longer

Legendary comedian Bob Hope lived until 100, while comedienne Phyllis Diller enjoyed life until the ripe old age of 95.

Sitcom favorite Dick Van Dyke is still active at 94, as is movie comedy-maker Mel Brooks. And beloved actress Carol Burnett is following close behind, still cracking jokes at 87.

These are just a few of our comedy legends who lived well beyond the average life expectancy. It makes you wonder, what’s their secret?

Good genes, education and financial wealth may help these funny folks tip the longevity scales, but the latest research reveals another important factor that’s attainable by anyone: a sense of humor.

A large study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine reveals that women with a good sense of humor live longer, despite illness such as cardiovascular disease and infection. Their male counterparts also seem to be protected against infection.1

Your Body and Mind Love a Good Joke, Research Proves

Norwegian researchers conducted a 15-year study exploring the connection between sense of humor and mortality among 53,556 women and men in their country.

The team analyzed the cognitive, social and affective factors of humor that were addressed on the participants’ questionnaires.

Next, the researchers assessed death from specific conditions including heart disease, infection, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

In a nutshell, the study shows that the greater the role humor plays in the participants’ lives, the better their chances of surviving until at least 70 years.

They found that women with high “humor scores” in the way they view everyday life– called the cognitive component in the study– experienced:

  • A 48 percent lower risk of death from all causes;
  • A 73 percent lower risk of death from heart disease;
  • And a notable 83 percent lower risk of death from infection.

These are substantial reductions in chronic disease and death!

But what might be most interesting is that these results did not completely translate to men.

In this study, men with a high humor score did have a 74 percent reduction in death from infection (compared with women’s 83 percent reduction.) But they did not have a lower risk of premature death from all causes.

What’s going on with these results?

The authors were equally baffled, but they suggested that any gender differences in the results may be because as men age, their humor scores dip slightly. (Don’t tell Mel Brooks that, though!)

Good Humor Positively Affects How You View Life

According to the authors, the cognitive component influences the way people view everyday experiences. It stands to reason that humor can serve as a buffer against the stressful situations of daily life and protects one’s health.

Additional research confirms the study findings that laughter is the best medicine.

  • A laugh does your heart good. A 2009 study at the University of Maryland Medical Center revealed that laughter and an “active sense of humor” can protect against a heart attack and prevent heart disease. The cardiologists discovered that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to exhibit good humor in a variety of daily life scenarios when compared to their peers without heart disease.2The researchers believe that laughter decreases blood pressure and improves blood circulation and oxygen intake.
  • Humor helps manage pain. Remember the movie Patch Adams, featuring Robin Williams? Based on a true story of a doctor who used humor to help his patients heal, it underscores how humor can be a great pain reliever even in a hospital setting. Studies suggest that laughter triggers the release of endorphins, promoting a sense of well-being, and even a reprieve from pain.3 What’s more, laughter also decreases the stress hormone cortisol so inflammation is minimized throughout the body.
  • Laugh more, remember more. That’s right, research shows that the more you laugh, the better your memory. Loma Linda University researchers dug into this premise in a 2014 study.4They examined the stress levels and short-term memory of 20 healthy adults in their 60s and 70s. One group was asked to sit in silence with no communication. The other group got to watch funny videos. According to the researchers, the “humor group had much higher improvement” in the ability to remember things. They experienced 43 percent better memory function following the funny videos compared to only 20 percent in the group that had to sit in silence before their cognitive testing.

I think the ability to laugh at ourselves as we age is so important, not only for our physical health but our mental health, too. Over the years I’ve talked to numerous alternative doctors, including many that treat cancer. They almost always tell me that attitude is vital to any recovery from diseases like cancer.

In fact, I recall one story where a cancer patient claims to have healed his cancer by watching old television comedies all day long for weeks on end! So, it stands to reason that good humor and laughter would also improve our lifespan.

These findings echo other research that we’ve explored on this site. Basically, those people who are positive, laugh easily and don’t take themselves too seriously seem to fare well in the longevity department.

If you aren’t feeling all that funny, try watching your favorite comedy on TV, or call a friend who never fails to make you chuckle. Laughing just feels good and best of all, one laugh seems to lead to another.

SOURCE: https://agingdefeated.com/laugh-a-lot-live-longer/

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26569539/
  2. https://www.umms.org/ummc/news
  3. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-laughter-may-be-the-best-pain-medicine/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24682001/

Here’s to a healthier you in 2022!

p.s. Be sure to follow Self-help Health to receive helpful tips on a regular basis.  And check out my website’s To Your Health page for even more useful information and resources for creating better health.

Free Pilates/Qigong Class + Being A Regenerative Force for the Planet!

You can be a regenerative force on this planet!

For millions of years, humans were nourished by and lived in deep symbiosis with a beautifully biodiverse ecosystem. But we have lost our way.

We have systematically sterilized our environment and isolated ourselves from nature.

Now we are on the brink of a total collapse in our global food system. We are engineering the sixth great extinction on this planet — but it doesn’t have to be that way.

At this pivotal moment, can we find ourselves back into nature?
Can we change our mindset from consumers to producers and co-creators?
Can we establish cycles that are regenerative versus destructive?

You can be part of a future that is more diverse and more intelligent than the planet has ever expressed before. The paths are many, but they all revolve around reconnection — with each other, with farmers, with wisdom that is old and true, and with natural patterns.

To that end, this program gathers together thought leaders and changemakers, including special guest Charles Eisenstein, focused on regenerative agriculture, because healthy soil, communities, economies, and people all form one essential ecosystem.

This course runs from Nov 17th – 20th and is for…

  • Anyone who eats food!
  • People who care about being a life-giving force on the planet
  • People curious about the regenerative movement and how they can be a part of it
  • People looking to unite family and friends around a hopeful, healthful vision for humanity

Join this course to…

  • Learn how human & soil health are intimately related
  • Discover why past movements – such as “organic” – failed to change the paradigm
  • Listen to the challenges farmers and agricultural businesses face
  • Understand what it takes to heal an entire ecosystem
  • Reconnect with where your food comes from
  • Explore what regeneration looks like in your life

“As you listen to the many voices in this program, I hope regenerative agriculture will move from an abstract concept to an engaged experience. You will not only better understand the realities of our current farming landscape, but also better understand your role as a stakeholder in this food system. Because at the root of what it means to be regenerative is also what it means to be human.”Zach Bush, MD

We can completely overcome the common paradigm – not through an “anti” mission – but through an alternative mission. Not through an effort to be more “pro” this or that, and thus heighten the polarization of our culture, but to literally rise above the old arguments.

Buckminster Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

About Your Host

Zach Bush, MD is a physician specializing in internal medicine, endocrinology and hospice care. He is an internationally recognized educator and thought leader on the microbiome as it relates to health, disease, and food systems. Dr. Zach founded Seraphic Group and the nonprofit Farmer’s Footprint to develop root-cause solutions for human and ecological health.

About Farmer’s Footprint

Farmer’s Footprint is a non-profit supporting farmers across the nation who are bravely stepping forward and transforming chemically farmed acreage to regenerative agriculture. Their vision is to unite, inspire and accelerate the movement towards regenerative food systems as a means to restore human and planetary health.

You can sign up for the free course at: https://www.onecommune.com/a-path-for-healing-people-planet-free-sign-up?

And Steven Washington is offering another free Pilates/Qigong Fusion class just in time to get you in shape for Thanksgiving! Here are the details and sign-up link…

Join the party with a FREE class!

Tuesday, November 22nd

11am Pacific / 2pm Eastern / 7pm UK 

It’s been 2 years since Steven’s first Pilates/Qigong Fusion class and he’d love you to join him in celebrating!

Your FREE, 65-minute class will include:

  • 30 minutes of classic Pilates exercises to strengthen and stretch
  • 30 minutes of energizing and calming Qigong movements  
  • A peaceful and relaxing guided Mindful Meditation
  • Replay of the full class plus condensed and Qigong-only versions.

Learn more and sign-up here: https://www.stevenwashingtonexperience.com/celebration

Here’s to a healthier you in 2022!

p.s. Be sure to follow Self-help Health to receive helpful tips on a regular basis.  And check out my website’s To Your Health page for even more useful information and resources for creating better health.

Jin Shin Jyutsu ‘Mediator’ For Harmonizing Emotions And Alleviating Fatigue, Allergic Reactions, Achy Shoulders And More!

I don’t know about you, but the last couple of months have seemed especially tough on my nervous system and my emotions have been all over the place. So I was happy to be reminded in an e-mail from Astrid at FlowsForLife.com of this wonderfully easy JSJ energy routine to help bring a greater sense of balance and harmony to my body, mind and spirit!

Jin Shin Jyutsu Mediator

Something happens or someone says something and I find myself reacting badly. Or I overreact. I just can’t help myself! Not only that: insignificant things become big issues, and I am left feeling mentally, emotionally and physically drained. The good news is that harmony can be restored with this Jin Shin Jyutsu Mediator self help exercise.

But first: A bit about the ‘Trinity’ energies

Mediator energies are very closely related to the Trinity. These are Main Central and Left and Right Supervisor energies.

Main Central is the energy that connects each one of us to the Universal Source of Life. It flows down the front and up the back of the body in an oval, keeping us harmonized with source energy. I often describe it as the trunk of the tree. Because of this, it regenerates all of our other individualized energy functions. To harmonize Main Central you can simply do the Main Central Exercise.

If Main Central is the trunk of the tree, then the Left and Right Supervisor are the two main branches. The Left Supervisor ‘supervises’ the left side energies. It flows down the front and up the back of the left side, also in an oval pattern. The same happens on the right side of the body. There is a simple exercise to harmonize the Left and Right Supervisors.

So again, Main Central along with the Left and Right Supervisor form The Trinity.

On to the Diagonal Mediators

The Diagonal Mediator Energies ensure that the left and right side energies of the body are in balance. In essence, they ‘mediate’ between the two sides, making sure that left and right side are also in harmony with Main Central.

Mary Burmeister wrote: “It is of vital importance to keep [The Mediator] functioning properly for the total supply of energy to the whole man.”

What happens when Mediator is not harmonized?

Mary also said that ‘this energy is the cause for disharmony in the body’. Let’s look at that in more detail.

Fundamentally, attitudes are at the root of all disharmony. By attitudes I mean Worry, Fear, Anger, Sadness and Trying To’s (or Efforting).

These attitudes are born at the level of the Mediator energy.

The way I see it is that we all experience emotions such as Worry, Fear, Anger, Sadness and Trying To’s – we are human after all. It’s when we get ‘stuck’ in one of these emotions that they become an ATTITUDE.

How does that feel, to get ‘stuck in an emotion’? Well, I feel angry all the time. I am reactive and I overreact. I worry all the time and I just can’t stop. I’m anxious about everything. The smallest thing makes me cry. Life isn’t fair! Life isn’t fun! And on and on. You get the picture.

It’s pretty draining, isn’t it? Can’t think straight, let alone find the energy to function optimally from day to day.

Exhaustion is also a good indicator that mediator is overloaded.

Jin Shin Jyutsu Mediator also helps

So apart from balancing the emotions, it also helps take fatigue out of the body. Great for allergic reactions, especially if they affect the nose and eyes. Use it when your shoulders are tight and achey.

Self help exercise to harmonize Mediator energies

The following self help exercise harmonizes Left and Right Diagonal Mediator energies. Practice it every day for a few minutes or for as long as you like! Start with the side that you feel is the most tense. If you don’t know which side that is, then start with the left Mediator.

I find it really comfortable to do this exercise while lying in bed and placing pillows and cushions where I need them.

The left Mediator flow:
Place the right hand over the left shoulder and place the left thumb over the left ring fingernail.  At the same time, bring the knees together. Relax the hands. Hold for 3-5 minutes, or longer, until you feel relief.

Tip: When lying in bed and knees are together, I like to flop my feet out to the side. It’s easier to keep my knees together that way.

The right Mediator flow:
Place the left hand over the right shoulder and place the right thumb over the right ring fingernail. At the same time, bring the knees together. Relax the hands. Hold 3-5 minutes, or longer, until you feel relief.

Mary Burmeister, a foremost teacher of this Universal Art said: “Happiness is the measure of our HARMONY.”

Astrid says you may also like:

In the Flow: Hands-on Self Help Mini eCourse

See my Jin Shin Jyutsu Online Resources

And if you’re new to JSJ, check out my original Self-help Health post on the topic:

Jin Shin Jyutsu – One of my favorite self-help health tools!

Here’s to a healthier you in 2022!

p.s. Be sure to follow Self-help Health to receive helpful tips on a regular basis.  And check out my website’s To Your Health page for even more useful information and resources for creating better health.

Simple Energy Processes for Colds, Flu, Sore Throat and More

Here in the southeast US we have come out of cold and flu season, but are now dealing with an extra intense allergy season and high pollen levels. And these two Jin Shin Jyutsu holds/flows can help mitigate that and so much more. I’m reminded of the ease, simplicity and versatility of this great type of “energy medicine,” and why it’s one of the best things I’ve ever studied. No health and wellness “arsenal” should be without JSJ!

Jin Shin Jyutsu Self Help for Colds and Flu

Before I knew about Jin Shin Jyutsu self help for colds and flu, I would always expect to get at least one cold a year. And guess what? I did!

Not surprising, given my energy was low, my lymphatic system was congested and one thing I didn’t know that would influence whether I manifested a cold or not: my shoulders were tight. Actually, they were very tight.

I hear you ask:

“Tight shoulders are the cause of a cold?”  Well, yes. Let me explain.

Our bodies are very clever (but we already knew that!). One of our 26 energy sites is located between the spine and the upper corner of the shoulder blade. This energy site number 3 (or Safety Energy Lock as it is formally referred to in Jin Shin Jyutsu) came into the universe meaning The Door, and it is our natural antibiotic.

How does that work?

When the door swings back and forth without obstruction, then it can ‘let out’ tension and ‘let in’ pure energy.

When The Door gets jammed up, that’s when the problems or I should say projects start. Projects like colds and flu.

I see many clients in my practice who have very tight shoulders, and even if they don’t have a cold at the time, they are probably really low in energy and suffering from other discomforts. Therefore, it is really important to keep the shoulders as clear and tense-free as possible!

A dynamic combination

This number 3 energy site called The Door works really well with energy site number 15 which is located on the groin. Holding this combination of energy sites helps open up the 3 first and then clears the energy below the waistline. The energy can then move up the back properly.

Already have a cold or flu (for which obviously bed rest is indicated)? Then these self help holds should assist in speeding up the recovery.

I have personally experienced the power of this Jin Shin Jyutsu self help hold over and over again and it never ceases to amaze me how it works!

Safe for children

I remember how a while back now, I received a rather distressed email from someone taking care of her 3 year-old grandson for a few days, and he’d developed a fever. She asked if there was anything she could do to help him.

I replied, explaining the simple exercise below she could do on her grandson.

A bit later I received a reply from her, and I quote: “It is super how quickly this hold has worked! You wouldn’t say that he had a high fever – he’s now back to being his usual lively, playful and happy self.”

The exercise for colds and flu

To aid breathing, help clear a sore throat, reduce fever, and help the immune system (as in the image above):

For the left flow, place the right hand over the left shoulder (if you can, make sure your fingers rest on the top corner of the shoulder blade usually where it’s sore) and place the left hand on the left side groin. Do for 20 minutes minimum (but if you can’t do it for that long, don’t worry! just hold for a few minutes or as long as is comfortable). If you fall asleep, then the hold will keep working until your hands fall away.

Reverse left and right everywhere for the right side.

To do the exercise on another person: The person lies on their back, face up so that they are comfortable. You sit on the person’s left. For the left flow, place the right hand over their left shoulder (at the top corner of the shoulder blade) and the left hand on the left side groin. If you’re working on a small child then hold only a few minutes, or until the child has had enough.

To help clear a sore throat you can also hold Little fingers. Start by holding the little finger on the side of the throat that is sore.

Mary Burmeister said: “UNLOAD (exhale) all skepticisms. RECEIVE (inhale) your abundance.” That’s how The Door works – our natural antibiotic.

SOURCE: https://www.flowsforlife.com/jin-shin-jyutsu-self-help-colds-flu/

Text and images by Astrid Kauffmann
Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner and
Self Help Teacher since 2001

Here’s to a healthier you in 2022!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts. Also check out my website Evolution Made Easier and blog of the same name for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Free On-line Five Elements Class From The Eden Method Team

Just received this announcement and invitation in an e-mail from Donna Eden and thought some of you may want to sign up…..

Donna and her daughters Titanya and Dondi have come together for the first time ever to teach a fun, free, transformational Five Elements class on-line.

The Five Elements can give us understanding and clarity on not just who we are and what we do but WHY we do what we do.

You’ll start to know yourself and other important people in your life in a more profound way than ever before.

And when you learn to identify and recognize the dominant element in yourself and others (Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, or Metal), there’s not much that you cannot accomplish!

For instance, understanding the Five Elements can help you:
Feel better about yourself at all levels and embrace your true, authentic self.

Rekindle the fires of passion and intimacy with the one you love.

Develop a deeper understanding and compassion for yourself and others in ways that make sense of unwanted or troubling behavior – so you can allow for inspired growth and expansion.

Experience a more blissful flow and greater ease at work and in other creative endeavors.

Make healthy food choices based on your underlying core energy instead of bouncing from trend to trend to figure out what’s right for you.

Resolve problematic traits that have dogged you all your life (for instance, if you’re a lifelong procrastinator, this system can help you change that!)

Improve your health and vitality in a way that’s aligned with your unique body, mind, and spirit.

Establish greater trust and friendship with others (even “difficult” people who drive you up the wall!) and MUCH more!

Understanding the Five Elements can empower you to build a life of genuine love, friendship, confidence, and success, in a way that is aligned with who you truly are!

In this free class, you’ll learn everything you need to know to begin your journey to better health and relationships, plus more joy and satisfaction in all areas of your life and work.

Donna, Titanya, and Dondi’s teachings are deeply insightful, so get ready for more than a few “a-ha” moments!

Join this one-of-a-kind free class now >>

The Eden Method team

P.S. The class is only available for a limited time so reserve your spot now

Here’s to a healthier you in 2022!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts. Also check out my website Evolution Made Easier and blog of the same name for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

A Simple Exercise To Improve Brain Power

It turns out doing a series of squats several times a week can do more that build your leg and glut muscles. It also works to improve your brain power as well. And that’s good news, because who doesn’t want to do that?! More good news is that doing squats while listening to music, following a podcast or even watching TV seems to increase the benefit, so you can actually get two things on your “to do” list done for the “price” of one. Good deal!

If squats are part of your daily routine, then we have good news for you! Doing just a few minutes of this resistance exercise can go a long way towards improving your brain power and making you smarter, according to recent research.

Squats are often used by fitness trainers to improve strength and stability, as they involve multiple muscle groups, such as the calves, quadriceps, abdominals, and glutes. But recent research shows that the benefits of the squat go even further to improve your brain health too, reports the BBC.

Squats and your brain

The research findings show that squats can have a significant effect on your cognitive function. “You don’t need to be huffing and puffing and really pushing yourself hard in the gym to target certain parts of the brain,” explains Prof Damian Bailey from the University of South Wales. “You can do some really neat little exercises that don’t really feel like you’re exercising at all and which stimulate the brain really quite remarkably; you can be smart for the brain – it’s about intelligent exercise.”

According to Prof Bailey, doing squats for just three to five minutes, three times a week can be better for your brain than 30 minutes of steady-state exercises, such as a run or a walk.

Going against gravity

As you squat your head moves up and down against gravity. When this happens, your blood flow speeds up and slows down at a significant rate. It is precisely this change in the blood flow rate in the brain that is responsible for the benefits, explains Prof Bailey.

It’s never too late to start

The best thing about the new findings is that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been doing much exercise. This is because those who are not as fit tend to get the biggest brain benefits from this exercise since their brains are not as used to cushioning the changes in blood flow, reports the BBC.

Bring on the podcasts

What’s also interesting about the research findings is that listening to musicfollowing a podcast, or even watching TV as you are doing squats can actually amplify the exercise’s benefits on your brain function.

SOURCE: https://www.optimistdaily.com/2022/01/this-simple-exercise-can-improve-your-brain-power/

FYI, this news about squats seems to at least partly explain why the brain exercise given in this previous Self-help Health post works so well. It’s one I try to do on a daily basis, especially since it’s easy and quick to fit in any time and there’s no extra space or special equipment required!…

https://selfhelphealth.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/boost-your-brain-power-plus-more-free-health-resources/

Another routine I do regularly that just so happens to include squats is the short HIIT series of exercises created by Dr Zach Bush. Glad to see I’ve been automatically getting in a double dose of squats without consciously planning it. HA!

Here’s to a healthier you in 2022!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts. Also check out my website Evolution Made Easier and blog of the same name for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Start The New Year With A Free Core Qigong Class!

How nice! I’m only a little familiar with Qigong, so I was excited to receive news of this free class from Steven Washington on Jan 11th at 2 pm ET. It’s supposed to be suitable for all levels and a replay will be available afterwards that will include a condensed version of the routine for regular use. I don’t know about you, but this seems like a great way to start off 2022!

Start 2022 with a Calmer Mind and a More Energized Body

Join Movement Guide, Steven Washington on January 11, 2022, for a free, fun, 75-minute Movement Medicine class designed to create energy, healing and balance within the body. This class is suitable for all levels and will strengthen your focus, relieve your stress levels, and curb anxiety. The workshop includes a fundamental Pilates training, a Qigong practice, a mindfulness meditation and Q&A.

Here’s what’s included:

  • 30 minutes of classic Pilates strengthening, stretching and balance
  • 30 minutes of energy-igniting Qigong
  • A calming Mindfulness Meditation
  • Live, interactive Q&A with Steven at the close of class
  • Replay of the full class, plus 20-minute condensed and Qigong-only versions

You can sign up for the class here.

Here’s to a happier, healthier you in ’22!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional/your inner knowing before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

DIY Vanilla Extract + Acupressure Video + Must See Documentary

 

Okay, full disclosure upfront…..this is one of those recipes I’m posting so I’ll always know where to find it, BUT I’m hoping there will be some of you out there who like to save money and are big fans, like me, of almost anything  vanilla flavored. If so, this should be right up your alley, plus, I found the article to be a very entertaining, insight-filled read and one of the best on DIY vanilla extract I’ve come across…..

Skip the store. Make your own!

You can make the ultimate, high-quality vanilla extract right in your kitchen. Yes, the gourmet stuff. Since you’ve made it yourself, you know it’s free of artificial colors, flavors, or other impurities. And it costs a tiny fraction of what you would pay at the store:

  • Vanilla extract = $18.19 per cup
  • Gourmet vanilla extract = $43.60 per cup
  • Homemade, gourmet vanilla extract = $8.74 per cup

Step #1: Gather Your Materials

You will need scissors (or a knife), a mason jar with a lid, alcohol (35%–50%), and vanilla beans.

Selecting the Right Vanilla Beans

Vanilla beans aren’t standard fare in most produce departments or farmer’s markets. You may need to get these online. Consider the following varieties of vanilla, to customize your gourmet creation:

  • Madagascar/Bourbon: This is the traditional vanilla you’re familiar with.
  • Tahitian: More floral and fruity
  • Mexican: Sweet and woody with a hint of spice
  • African/Ugandan: Smokier and bold

And these aren’t your only options. You can also explore Indian, Tonga, and Indonesia vanilla beans.

As you browse the selection, you may notice that vanilla beans are given an A, B, or C grade. Grade A beans are more expensive and are meant for cooking. They work fine in extracts, but the increased cost won’t yield much difference in your finished product. Grade B vanilla beans cost less and are intended for use in extracts.

You can often buy grade B beans for around $1.50 to $2.00 each, depending on how many you buy at once.

What Kind of Alcohol Should You Use?

Next, you’ll need to select an alcohol. Alcohol extracts the vanilla flavor and prevents spoilage. You’ll want something that’s between 35%–50% alcohol. Around 40% is ideal.

There’s no need to spend your money on a high-dollar alcohol. It’s the quality of the vanilla beans, not the alcohol, that makes great vanilla. So go ahead and get the cheap stuff. Most people choose an alcohol with a mild flavor, but you could also select one with a complementary flavor. Spiced rum, for example, could make your vanilla quite exotic.

Step #2: Assemble Your Ingredients

Use your scissors or knife to split the beans lengthwise and place them in the jar. If they’re too long, just cut them so that they fit. Then pour your alcohol over the vanilla beans.

For “better-than-supermarket” vanilla extract, use 2–3 beans for each cup of alcohol. For gourmet vanilla, use 5 beans per cup of alcohol. And for mind-blowing, legendary, sell-it-to-put-your-kid-through-college vanilla, use 7–8 beans per cup of alcohol. Any more than this and the FBI has to come and haul you away.

Cap it, shake it up, and put it away in the cupboard. Come back every few days to shake it up again. It really likes it when you do that. Tell it that it’s a good vanilla—a pretty vanilla. Sing it a little song. (You think I’m joking.)

Now comes the hardest part. Waiting.

How long do you have to wait? That depends. Do you want good vanilla, great vanilla, or life-altering vanilla?

  • For good vanilla, let it extract for 8 weeks. Go ahead and sniff if every so often. Maybe take a tiny sample. It’s okay. I won’t tell.
  • For great vanilla, let it extract for 6 months. Yes, 6 months. I know, I know. You want your vanilla now. But great vanilla takes time.
  • For mind-blowing, life-altering, legendary vanilla, let it extract for a full year. I’ll pause now, while you finish cursing your computer screen. ( … ) All done? Good, because I have a compromise for you. Make 2 batches of vanilla—each one being enough for an entire year.

Use the first batch as the year goes by. It will get better with time because it will keep extracting. Then when it’s used up, open your year-old vanilla and let the good times roll! Just remember to start a new batch for the next year.

Cheaters Never Win?

The 2 main factors in flavor extraction are time and surface area. (The alcohol-to-water ratio is important too, but we’ve already got that covered.) We could think of this as a formula:

Surface Area x Time = Great Vanilla

If we want to reduce the extraction time without diminishing the vanilla flavor, we need to increase the surface area.

To increase the surface area, we could cut our vanilla beans into smaller and smaller pieces with scissors. But who has time for that? Time is exactly the thing we’re trying to cut down on! Let’s just keep on cheating instead.

Toss those beans into your blender. Pour in your alcohol. Then blend it like you’re trying to destroy evidence! You’ll notice that the liquid turns darker right away.

Go ahead and cap it, and shake it up every few days, just as you would with the slower method. Open it up every week to sample it. You won’t get a year’s worth of flavor maturation in a week, but it will move along much faster.

This method does have a few downsides. For one, it’s less visually appealing in the jar. Your friends will be more impressed with a jar of vanilla beans than a jar of cloudy bean powder. Also, it’s hard to filter out the little bean pieces, and you may get them in your food. But that could also make it look more authentic, so that may actually be a bonus. Lastly, vanilla bean powder can’t easily be repurposed for vanilla sugar.

Repurposing Beans

Can you reuse vanilla beans? Yes, but the resulting extract won’t be as strong. Feel free to try it. You might like it just fine. If not, just toss in a fresh bean or two, and let it extract again.

Some people also like to use a sort of “perpetual vanilla” system. Any time they use a little vanilla extract, they’ll top the container back up with alcohol and let it continue extracting. Depending on how often you use your vanilla, this system works fine, though it does yield a diminishing quality of vanilla over time.

Alternately, you can create vanilla sugar. Take out the used vanilla beans and let them dry. Place them in an airtight container and fill it with sugar. Then, let it sit for a couple of weeks. Use the sugar in baking, coffee, tea, or anywhere else you’d like a sweet, vanilla flavor.

Gourmet Options

You now know how to make gourmet-quality vanilla. But it’s still just vanilla. What about fancy flavors? What about creativity? Let’s do it!

First of all, a flavored alcohol can really take your vanilla in a fun and unexpected direction. Another option is to add spices or herbs into the mix. How about adding a little cinnamon or clove? How does lavender vanilla or vanilla mint sound? Just put them right in the jar and let them extract together.

For a sweeter vanilla, add honey or maple syrup.

The only limit is your creativity and your bravery for experimenting with new flavor combinations.

Other Extracts

We’ve cracked the code for vanilla extract, but that’s not nearly the end of the story. You can make any of the extracts you find in the store, plus a whole lot more! The basic process is the same for all extracts, but I’ll give you a few tips for special cases.

Almond Extract

The skin on an almond can cause an extract to turn bitter. Before using them, drop them into boiling water. After 1 minute, remove them and let them cool. The skins should slide right off. Roughly chop the almonds (minus skins) and place them in the jar. About 15 almonds are enough for 2 cups of basic almond extract, but I like to use twice as much.

Fruit Extracts

Fruits usually have a high moisture content. This will dilute your alcohol content. Either slice and dehydrate your fruit first or use a slightly higher proof alcohol. If using fresh fruit, use a 1:1 ratio of fruit to alcohol (by volume). If using dehydrated fruit us a 1:2 ratio of fruit to alcohol. These ratios are just guidelines, not rules. Feel free to experiment.

Source: https://thegrownetwork.com/how-to-make-vanilla-extract/

 

I watched this a couple of days ago and wish it was required viewing for everyone!

This documentary is entertaining, enlightening, inspiring and informative, as well as depressing and disheartening at times when you see how the powers that be (including the Girl Scouts organization!) are so resistant to what will liberate humanity and provide a better, healthier, more abundant world for everyone. You’ll get to know a “No to GMOs” super cute little powerhouse w/ an angel of a mom, a visionary farmer on a mission, and a brilliant inventor, way-shower and humanitarian w/ soul-filled blue eyes who creates things you usually only encounter in sci-fi.😊

You can watch for free thru today, Sept 14th, BUT if you at least sign-up to watch by the end of today, you will  get an extra 3 days for viewing. OR get unlimited access for only $7 and help support the cause here.

And go here for video from Michael Reed Gach, PhD demonstrating DIY acupressure points for toning the face, increasing circulation, clearing sinuses, releasing toxins and more.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional/your inner knowing before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Is Your Avocado Oil As Healthy As You Think? + Webinar On Increasing Your Energy

 

A number of years ago I started hearing about how much of the olive oil on the market was not as pure as advertised and often diluted with various inferior oils. Now, that sadly seems to be the same scenario with avocado oil, which is really disappointing since I have been using Primal Kitchen’s mayonnaise, both regular and garlic aioli versions, for several years. I made the switch because it had gotten to where almost every brand I checked was substituting canola for olive oil. 

I am hoping Primal Kitchen has enough integrity and quality control in place to be sure they are using pure, unadulterated avocado oil in their products, but there’s no way to know from the labeling. Extra virgin and/or organic would be an even bigger plus, but I would think if that was the case they would not miss the chance to mention that selling point in their marketing. I notice they sell bottles of unrefined extra virgin and organic avocado oils, but that’s not how the oil in their mayonnaise is listed in the ingredients, so I would be very pleasantly surprised if the higher quality oil is actually being used. 😦

 

Why can’t store bought avocado oil be trusted?

Whether served up solo in tasty slices, slathered on toast or used in dips and guacamole, avocados are riding a massive wave of popularity – and gaining nutritional popularity.  In addition to their buttery texture and appealing taste, avocados feature generous amounts of beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, B-complex vitamins and antioxidants.  But, what about avocado oil?  Is it good for us?

Avocado oil – which offers many of the same benefits – is surging in popularity as well. Yet, in an alarming new study of commercial avocado oil, researchers found that the majority of samples were low-quality, diluted and/or mislabeled.  Let’s take a closer look at the “bait and switch” game that manufacturers are playing with avocado oil.

First, the good news: Oleic acid in avocado oil provides anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering benefits

Avocado oil, which may be used as a cooking oil or added to recipes, is composed of 70 percent oleic acid. This monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid has been shown to reduce cholesterol and help to protect against cardiovascular disease and neuro-degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Avocado oil is available in both refined and unrefined varieties.  Refined avocado oil is deodorized or bleached after the extraction process. Unrefined oil is filtered for impurities after extraction, but is otherwise unaltered.

Other distinctions include virgin and extra virgin formulations.  According to the American Oil Chemists Society, only the highest-quality fruit may be used in “extra virgin” olive oil, which must be extracted mechanically at low temperatures. In addition, no chemical solvents may be used.

In “virgin” avocado oil, imperfections in the fruit are permitted – but the extraction methods must still be mechanical, and the oil must remain solvent-free.

Buyer beware: Study reveals that commercial avocado oils may be adulterated with inferior oils

In a study published recently in Food Control, researchers collected 22 avocado oil samples sourced from California, Mexico, Brazil and Spain – with an eye towards representing all the major brands and towards examining both refined and unrefined oils.

Fourteen of the samples were obtained from six grocery stores, and eight from online stores.

The researchers assessed the quality, purity and authenticity of the oils by measuring their levels of free fatty acids, plant sterols and tocopherols (natural vitamin E).  What they found was disturbing!

Most of the avocado oils – which were marketed as “pure,” “virgin” or “extra virgin” avocado oil – were found to be mixed with other oils.  Six of the samples were found to be adulterated with sunflower, safflower and soybean oils. (All three of these oils are believed to be nutritionally inferior to avocado oil – and pro-inflammatory to boot).

And, the degree of dilution was substantial.  In fact, three samples – labeled either “pure” or “extra virgin”- actually contained more soybean oil than avocado oil!

Alert: Study also found that oxidation was rampant

In addition, the team found that a shocking 82 percent of the oils had undergone oxidation (turned rancid) well before their printed expiration dates.

Oxidation, which causes a loss of antioxidant value and distortions in color and flavor, can result from improper or prolonged storage, damaged or rotten fruits and harsh processing methods. It can also occur due to exposure to light – with the scientists finding that the oils that oxidized most quickly were packaged in clear glass or plastic rather than dark-tinted materials.

By the way, high pricing was no guarantee of quality. The team reported that the most expensive oils had the highest peroxidation values, meaning they were most prone to becoming rancid.

Study leader Selina Wang, a cooperative extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, reported that there are currently no standards to determine if an avocado oil is of the quality and purity advertised. She warned of the urgent need for standards to protect consumers.

Sowhat’s an avocado oil fan to do?

As it happens, three of the avocado oils – Chosen Foods, Marianne’s Avocado Oil and CalPure – were found to be pure and unadulterated, exactly as advertised. Obviously, these are superior choices.

Unfortunately, the scandal is not confined to avocado oil. Olive oil can be suspect as well.

Warning: Olive oil may be polluted with pesticides and potential carcinogens

Olive oil, beloved by nutritionists and natural health experts for its high levels of healthful oleic acid and antioxidants, plays a major role in the Mediterranean diet, which has been linked in studies with heart health and longer life.

But this worthy oil is also subject to dilution with inferior oils. Even worse, it may be affected by outright contamination.  As NaturalHealth365 reported in 2016, Italian authorities uncovered a criminal enterprise surrounding olive oil, with fraudulent labeling and false documentation leading to charges of food fraud and tax evasion.

In the investigation, Italy’s State Forestry Corps seized over 10 tons of olives that had been artificially colored with a copper chlorophyllin complex that is prohibited by both Italian and European law.

According to separate research performed by a consumer protection organization in Germany, 20 of 26 olive oil samples studied contained pesticides. Other toxic ingredients included plasticizers, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene and styrene.  By the way, in 2018, styrene was classified by the World Health Organization as a probable carcinogen.

As with avocado oil, popularity and prestige is no guarantee of purity. Bertolli, the top-selling brand of olive oil in the United States, has been the subject of multiple class-actions lawsuits.  The brand’s “extra virgin” olive oil was allegedly found to be composed of low-quality oils.

How can I find high-quality olive oil?

The best bet for finding healthful olive oil is to forget about the imported brands and support domestic organic olive growers.  We, at NaturalHealth365, enjoy the olive oil from Apollo Olive Oil.  And, no, we do not receive any financial compensation to mention this to you.

To cut the odds of buying oxidized oils, bypass products sold in clear containers and look for dark-tinted bottles.  You can find quality olive oil through the California Olive Oil Council.

And, you can learn about a particularly healthful olive oil here.

It is truly an outrage that two of the most beneficial, nutrient-rich oils on the planet are subject to mislabeling and dilution by unscrupulous manufacturers.  But, seeking out pure, wholesome olive and avocado oils will be worth the effort.

Source: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/extra-virgin-avocado-oil-3484.html

 

And this webinar is something I just signed up for that you might be interested in. It’s a free presentation from Ari Whitten about how to increase your energy in just 5 minutes a day. Here’s what his e-mail said…

For the last few months, I’ve been working on a brand new presentation that compiles all of my top energy “hacks” to supercharge your brain and body — specifically, how to double your energy levels in less than 5 minutes a day.

I say “hacks” because this presentation is not about all of the foundational nutrition and lifestyle stuff (which I teach constantly in all my work), but is specifically about the ENERGY SECRETS that supercharge your energy levels with little to no effort, in just days.

Sound too good to be true?

Well, I plan on PROVING it to you!

I will literally show you the scientific evidence that within the next few weeks, you can literally DOUBLE or even TRIPLE your energy levels — in just a few MINUTES a day.

(Oh, and I will be showing you how to do this WITHOUT using stimulants or caffeine).

No joke. There is science to back it all up.

Here’s what you will learn:

  • 4 strategies that are each proven to reduce depression by over 30% or 40% within just days.
  • A special compound that supercharges your mitochondrial health (and a breakthrough in how to hack it).
  • Science-backed supplements that supercharge your brain function (decrease anxiety, balance neurotransmitters, eliminate brain fog, and protect against brain diseases).
  • A major hidden cause of fatigue that few people are aware of (this affects more than 9 out of 10 people).
  • A daily routine that can literally DOUBLE or even TRIPLE your energy levels (and dramatically improve your mood and brain function) in just 5 minutes a day.

And much more!

The webinar will happen on Thursday, August 13th, at 4:30 PM PST. Reserve your spot here.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional/your inner knowing before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

The Answer To Cancer Free Docu-series

I know you may be getting tired of summits and series….there seem to be new ones being offered on a weekly basis these days….but I got a notice from Nick Polizzi of The Sacred Science and got excited when I saw that Dr Zach Bush was going to be a featured presenter in the upcoming The Answer to Cancer docu-series. I have mentioned him before, as far as his interviews on GMOs, glyphosate, gut health, regenerative farming and more, and even did a post not long ago that highlighted his 4-minute (actually closer to 3 really!) HIIT exercise routine that I’m sold on.

Anyway, I recommend signing up for this upcoming series, if for no other reason than listening to his take on things. He is one of the world’s few triple board-certified physicians in the country – with expertise in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Hospice/Palliative care, and has a real talent for bringing together science, medicine and holistic health. 

Here’s Nick’s e-mail about the event….

I don’t know anyone whose life has not been impacted by cancer. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or possibly even your own health.

Who is truly safe when the American Cancer Society indicates that more than 1 of every 3 U.S. residents will be diagnosed with some type of cancer at some point in their lives?

When it comes to this terrifying disease, it’s absolutely vital to be aware of every single one of our options. Unfortunately, the only approaches being offered by modern doctors involve potentially dangerous chemicals and surgery…

They claim that these are the only proven solutions for this disease… but is that really true?

Simple answer – NO.

There are scientifically-proven natural cancer treatments, as well as new leading-edge conventional therapies that do not inflict trauma on patients. You can learn about all of these new resources in the ground-breaking new docu-series, The Answer to Cancer.

The secret is that there are many answers to cancer – not only to the question of how to treat cancer, but also how to prevent it!

Click here to watch the trailer!

In this powerful free series, you’ll hear from an all-star panel of esteemed experts — including world-renowned breast cancer surgeon Dr. Kristi Funk and internationally recognized internal medicine educator Dr. Zach Bush. They’ll be covering an array of urgent topics, from the true causes of cancer, to prevention strategies, to the least destructive, least painful, most effective cancer treatments and protocols available today.

Cancer is not a death sentence. It can be healed using the right complementary medicines, alternative therapies, and the latest advances in traditional treatment.

These breakthrough solutions are all documented in The Answer to Cancer – and you can watch and learn for FREE.

The information in this docu-series can save you lots of heartache and save your — or a loved one’s — life.

Here’s What You Can Expect In “The Answer To Cancer” Docu-series

Episode 1: Profound Personal Discoveries & Breakthroughs (Airs on Tuesday, August 4th at 9 p.m. Eastern)

 

Episode 2: Refuse To Let Cancer Win (Airs on Wednesday, August 5th at 9 p.m. Eastern)

 

Episode 3: Alternative Methods For You & Your Loved Ones (Airs on Thursday, August 6th at 9 p.m. Eastern) 

 

Episode 4: Going All Natural & The Power Of Plants (Airs on Friday, August 7th at 9 p.m. Eastern)

 

Episode 5: Deep Cellular Healing (Airs on Saturday, August 8th at 9 p.m. Eastern)

 

Episode 6: Combining Holistic & Conventional Methods (Airs on Sunday, August 9th at 9 p.m. Eastern)

 

Episode 7: Advanced Scientific Protocols (Airs on Monday, August 10th at 9 p.m. Eastern)

 

Episode 8: Accelerated Healing (Airs on Tuesday, August 11th at 9 p.m. Eastern)

 

Episode 9: Finding Your Answers To Cancer (Airs on Wednesday, August 12th at 9 p.m. Eastern)

Each episode will be available for 24 hours online for you to watch until the next one goes live.

https://theanswertocancr.com/

Nick Polizzi
Host of Proven: Healing Breakthroughs Backed By Science
& Founder of The Sacred Science

 

Salud!

Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional/your inner knowing before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.