Thursday, July 31, 2014

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Herbs and Supplements for Rheumatoid arthritis

Written by Tracy Stickler | Published on May 15, 2014
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA on May 15, 2014

Rheumatoid Arthritis Facts

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, autoimmune disease that affects one or more small joints of the hands, wrists, and feet. Flare-ups come and go, and the disease and worsening symptoms progress over time. As the disease progresses, pain, stiffness, and swollen joints intensify, often making mobility and daily life difficult. 

With no known cause and no cure, treatments focus on reducing flare-ups, managing symptoms, improving flexibility, and slowing the progression of the disease. Various medications, including anti-inflammatories and corticosteroids, help relieve joint pain and reduce inflammation associated with RA.
But more people are turning towards natural remedies, including simple lifestyle changes such as eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties, getting adequate sleep, practicing relaxation techniques, and exercising regularly. In addition, complimentary therapies, such as topical creams, fish oil supplements, and certain plant oils are being used to provide temporary pain relief and ease stiffness and inflammation. 

Research on the efficacy of natural treatments is often mixed, and some herbal remedies can have serious side effects, particularly thunder god vine.
Read on to discover some of the herbs and supplements being used to combat RA pain, and work with your doctor to find the right treatment combination for you.

King of Bitters (Andrographis paniculata)

King of BittersNative to Asia, Andrographis paniculata, better known as king of bitters, is a plant mentioned in Chinese medicine as early as 260 BC. The herbaceous plant is widely cultivated for its anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial properties, and it has been used in traditional medicine to treat upper respiratory infections, infectious diseases, and fevers (National Institutes of Health, 1999).

The plant has been purported to treat cold & flu, cancer, HIV, and inflammation, but scientific research is inconclusive. One report notes that when taken orally three times a day over 14 weeks, patients reported significant improvement in swollen joints and mobility. (Burgos,Hancke,et al. 2009).

The herbal remedy can be found most readily in tablet form and side effects include headaches, fatigue, nausea, allergic reactions, diarrhea, and change in taste.  

Borage Oil (Borago officinalis)

StarflowerBorago officinalis, also known as starflower, is an herb that has been used as a medicinal for thousands of years. Greek and Celtic cultures used borage to lift spirits, while later the English used the oil to flavor wine in order to boost the courage of soldiers. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid and the active ingredient in borage oil, which is produced from the plant’s seeds.
Some studies suggest that GLA may be effective at relieving joint pain and stiffness, and at times has reduced the need for NSAID medication. Taken in capsule form, it may reduce joint tenderness and inflammation. Side effects include headache and constipation. Talk to your doctor before taking the supplement.

Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) 

Native to India and Pakistan, the scrubby tree Boswellia serrata possesses a long history of medicinal use as an anti-inflammatory. Also known as Indian frankincense, the bark produces a sticky resin found to contain anti-inflammatory properties. Boswellic acids are thought to interfere with leukotrienes, which cause inflammation in the body. The herbal remedy is primarily available in capsule form or as a topical cream. Study results of the plant’s effectiveness are inconclusive.

Bromelain (Ananas comosus)

Bromelain in pineappleThe tropical pineapple plant contains the active enzyme bromelain. The plant has been used for centuries in Central and South America to treat both inflammation and indigestion. While its primary use has been to reduce inflammation caused by infection, research has been conducted to test its effectiveness on arthritis pain.
The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that studies show possibilities for easing inflammation associated with osteoarthritis (OA). Anyone with pineapple allergies or sensitivity to wheat, celery, carrot, fennel, grass, or cypress pollen should avoid taking bromelain.


Calcium is critical to maintaining bone density. Many RA medications can contribute to bone loss, and inactivity from inflammation and pain can further deteriorate bone health. A calcium-rich diet along with a supplement can be an important part of treatment. Dark green, leafy vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and calcium-fortified beverages should all be part of a daily diet for RA patients. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) recommend a 1,000-milligram supplement for all adults under 50, and 1,200 mgs for women over 50 and men over 70.

Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum spp.)

The cayenne pepper has a long history of medicinal use as a digestive aid, but is used more widely today to treat pain. Peppers contain an active substance called capsaicin. Topical creams of capsaicin may be applied to temporarily relieve minor aches and pains associated with arthritis.

According to the NYU Langone Medical Center, capsaicin cream has been confirmed as a moderately helpful pain reliever for OA and soft tissue pain. A study cited by NCIB substantiates the effects of the treatment as a topical remedy for mild pain relief.

Cat’s Claw (Unicaria tomentosa)

Cat's ClawCat’s claw originates in the South American rainforest. Used by Peruvian tribes for over 2,000 years, it has only been studied by the modern medical community since the 1970s. The plant’s anti-inflammatory properties have been investigated for its effectiveness in relieving joint pain, swelling, and morning stiffness, although results have been mixed.

A Bastyr University study concluded that cat’s claw displayed effective pain relief when used in conjunction with traditional prescription medications, while other studies are inconclusive. Cat’s claw produces very few side effects, with digestive upset as the primary complaint.
Part 9 of 23: Celery Seed

Celery Seed (Apium graveolens)

Celery seed has been used for thousands of years to treat everything from colds, digestion, and arthritis, to conditions related to the liver and spleen. The herbal remedy is mainly used as a diuretic today; it has gained some support as an effective treatment for arthritis and gout, but there haven’t been any scientific studies that support the claims. Some animal studies have shown that celery root extract may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure (University of Maryland Medical Center, 2013).

Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita)

ChamomileChamomile is an ancient herbal remedy that has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, including inflammation, insomnia, rheumatic pain, and gastrointestinal disorders. The plant contains spiroether, a known antispasmodic that may help to ease sore muscles and joint pain. It also relaxes tension and promotes sleep (Chevallier, 2001).

Many different preparations of chamomile have been used, from its essential oils to herbal tea made from dried flowers and leaves. When used as a tea, chamomile is praised for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as sedative effects. Taken internally, chamomile may be effective at healing sore or irritated skin (Chevallier, 2001).

There is little clinical evidence, however, that supports chamomile as an effective anti-inflammatory for arthritis relief.

Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)

Devil's ClawNative to the Kalahari Desert, devil’s claw’s long tuberous roots have been used in traditional African medicine for centuries to treat multiple ailments, including digestive disorders and infections. German agricultural engineer G.H. Menhert is credited with bringing the herbal remedy to Europe during World War I.

Root extracts of the plant contain the iridoid glycoside, harpagoside, which has been found to be an effective treatment of RA, OA, and tendonitis (RBG, Kew). Studied in Europe, it showed substantial pain-relieving properties with minimal side effects. (Warnock, 2007) However, NYU Langone Medical Center has reviewed studies conducted with devil’s claw and determined inconclusive results of the herb’s effectiveness.

Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acids, the primary ingredient found in fish oil, are healthy fats that your body needs to perform a number of important functions. Fish high in omega-3 includes herring, mackerel, and tuna. 

There’s been substantial evidence that suggests omega-3 fatty acids may prevent chronic inflammation and ease symptoms associated with arthritis pain. In one study, patients showed significant improvement from baseline joint tenderness and duration of morning stiffness over 26 to 30 weeks. In some instances, omega-3 fatty acids may eliminate the need for continuous NSAIDS use.
People who are taking anticoagulants should discuss using fish oil supplements with their doctor.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

GingerGinger has been used for thousands of years to treat everything from colds, nausea, migraines, digestive disorders, and hypertension. The fresh root is readily available in grocery stores and can be brewed into tea. It can also be easily found in supplement form.
Although clinical studies report mixed results as an effective pain reliever, the Journal of Medicinal Food gives evidence to support the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant role of ginger. A University of Miami Medical School study found that after taking a ginger supplement twice daily for three months, RA patients reported pain relief and improved joint functionality. However, research is limited and the efficacy of ginger root extracts on RA symptoms is inconclusive.

Green Lipped Mussel (Perna canalicula)

Native to New Zealand, green-lipped mussel can be used as a nutritional supplement. It naturally contains omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce inflammation associated with arthritis. 

Studies are inconclusive, however, providing mixed results on its effectiveness. Arthritis Research UK claims the supplement has no effect on relieving RA pain, while a University of Michigan Health System study provides support for reducing inflammation. According to NYU Langone Medical Center, an additional benefit to taking green-lipped mussel, as opposed to traditional NSAIDs, is the possible prevention of ulcers in the stomach.

People with seafood allergies should avoid this supplement.

Green Tea

Originally cultivated in China and India, the tea (made from unfermented leaves) is the most widely consumed drink in the world after water. Beyond being a tasty beverage, green tea is a centuries-old herbal remedy, which traditionally has been used as a diuretic to promote digestion and improve heart health.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, green tea contains a significant amount of antioxidants called polyphenols. These powerful antioxidants possess anti-inflammatory properties, which may protect against autoimmune arthritis. One study found that the predominant polyphenol found in green tea (EGCG) does inhibit joint damage and inflammation associated with arthritis (Singh, 2010).  

It is known to interact with some medications negatively, so always check with a doctor before introducing green tea to your diet.

Pau d’Arco (Tabebuia avellanedae)

Pau d’ArcoThe bark of the South American evergreen tree has been traditionally used to treat multiple ailments, including arthritis, fever, and different cancers. Scientists have identified anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, but there have been no human studies on its effect on arthritis pain. 

Pau d'arco can be taken as a supplement pill, dried bark tea, or a tincture made with alcohol. Taken in large amounts, Pau d'arco can be toxic. It’s important to speak with your doctor before taking this herbal remedy.


This plant-based flavonoid is responsible for giving many flowers, fruits, and vegetables their color. Quercetin has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and may benefit those with RA. 

Studies have shown that when patients adopted a vegan-based diet, high in uncooked berries, fruits, vegetables, and nuts containing the antioxidant quercetin, they reported fewer symptoms. However, there is no evidence that the reported effects were directly due to the antioxidants.
Besides being available in fresh produce, it can also be found in capsule form.

Rehmannia or Chinese Foxglove (Rehmannia glutinosa)

Rehmannia or Chinese FoxgloveTraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has used Chinese foxglove for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments, including asthma and RA. As an adrenal tonic, it may be helpful in addressing some symptoms of RA. Chinese foxglove is rich in amino acids and vitamins A, B and C, and its anti-inflammatory properties may be effective in reducing joint pain and swelling. 

It is available in liquid form, or as a powder to be turned into a tincture. There have been very few human studies validating the remedy as a viable and safe treatment. Although it is listed in Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China, it is not covered in European Sale Lists (ESL), nor is it given FDA’s safe approval rating (GRAS).

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

This Mediterranean shrub has been widely used as a food spice and fragrance in cosmetics. The plant has been praised for its medicinal benefits for centuries, traditionally used to improve memory, relieve muscle pain, and treat indigestion.
In lab studies, rosemary demonstrates antioxidant properties and when applied topically, it is believed to reduce muscle pain. However, there is no scientific evidence that the topical cream reduces arthritic pain. 

Rosemary oil may be used as a topical application, and capsule supplements may be ingested, although the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends the daily dose should not exceed four to six grams of the dried herb. 

Thunder God Vine (Tripterygium wilfordii)

Native to China, Japan, and Korea, this perennial vine has been used in TCM for hundreds of years to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Lab studies have demonstrated that extracts of the root may effectively fight inflammation and have anti-cancer effects.

Thunder god vine comes with the risk of serious side effects, including diarrhea, upper respiratory infections, and skin rash—and can be poisonous if not extracted from the root properly. The herb is not manufactured in the United States and availability is limited. 

One study, funded by NIAMS, concluded that there were significant anti-inflammatory benefits of the vine, but further study is needed to assess potential risks.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

TurmericTurmeric has been used as a medicinal in Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine for over four thousand years to treat a wide range of ailments, including digestive and liver conditions.

Research has shown that turmeric may help reduce inflammation, but there has been conflicting evidence and results are inconclusive. Curcumin, the active chemical in turmeric, is a powerful antioxidant, and evidence has shown that the substance helps to lower inflammation.

Turmeric can be easily introduced through diet, or in a capsule or tincture. 

Vitamin D

Research has shown that low levels of vitamin D can contribute to the onset and progressive symptoms of RA. According to information provided by Johns Hopkins, the vitamin significantly contributes to joint and bone health. Vitamin D is “an active steroid hormone that binds to receptors in a host of vulnerable tissues—including the joints affected by arthritis.”

Making sure you get outside in the sunshine may help, but is not substantial enough to provide the body with its daily vitamin D requirement. A study provided by the NCBI also confirms that sufficient vitamin D intake can inhibit the development of RA.

White Willow Bark (Salix alba)

The bark of white willow (and other Salix species) has been used to treat inflammation for thousands of years. In 500 BC, Hippocrates advised patients to chew on the tree’s bark to ease pain. Evidence has shown that the active ingredient in willow, salicin, reduces the production of pain-inducing chemicals in nerves; Salix species are credited as the natural source of aspirin.

Studies show inconclusive evidence of the benefits of this bark for RA patients. A slight reduction in pain was noted in two UK trials, but conclusive results as to the bark’s efficacy have not been substantiated.

As with aspirin, willow bark can interact with certain drugs, including anti-inflammatories and anticoagulants. Additionally, willow bark can lead to stomach upset and an allergic reaction. Always talk to your doctor before taking willow bark. 

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Thayers - Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera - I like this toner the best of the three. The smell is incredible and leaves your skin silky soft:)

Thayers Rose Petal Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Formula Toner will make your skin bloom. Rose Thayers remarkably soothing Toner is made with rose-petal water, Vitamin E and our proprietary Witch Hazel extract. Toner with Aloe Vera Formula with Vitamin E 12oz bottle. Made of extract from the Witch Hazel shrub (Hamamelis Virginiana) and a blend of other time-tested ingredients -- these natural elixirs have been a medicine-cabinet fixture for generations.
Thayer Cucumber Witch Hazel - I like this product but out of the 3 varieties I like the smell the least. They all do wonders for the skin though!
Ingredients: Purified Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Certified Organic Filet of Aloe Vera), Glycerin (Vegetable), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (made from Certified Organic Witch Hazel), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Citric Acid, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract.
Thayer Lavender Witch Hazel - A wonderful toner to sooth before bedtime.
Purified Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Certified Organic Filet Of Aloe Vera), Glycerin (Vegetable), Fragrance (Natural Lavender), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (made from Certified Organic Witch Hazel), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Water, Citric Acid, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

27 Life Changing Lessons from Eckhart Tolle

1. The present moment is the most precious thing there is.

“People don’t realize that now is all there ever is; there is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind.”

“…the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions.”

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

“Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.”

“Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now.”

“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.”

2. Wherever you are, be there totally.

“Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences.”

3. Always say “yes” to the present moment.

“Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.”

“Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”

“Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? what could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”

4. Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”

5. Don’t take life so seriously.

“Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.”

6. Love is not to be found outside of you.

“Love is a state of Being. Your love is not outside; it is deep within you. You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you.”

7. The more you dwell on the negative, the more obsessed with negative things your mind becomes.

“People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on.”

8. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. 

“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”

9. There is a fine balance between honoring the past and losing yourself in it.

“There is a fine balance between honoring the past and losing yourself in it. For example, you can acknowledge and learn from mistakes you made, and then move on and refocus on the now. It is called forgiving yourself.”

10. Letting go requires strength and a lot of courage.

“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.”

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

11. You are a Human Being not a human doing.

“In today’s rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just Being.”

12. Give up defining yourself and others.

“Defining yourself through thought is limiting yourself.”

“Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.”

“Once you have identified with some form of negativity, you do not want to let it go, and on a deeply unconscious level, you do not want positive change. It would threaten your identity as a depressed, angry or hard-done by person. You will then ignore, deny or sabotage the positive in your life. This is a common phenomenon. It is also insane.”

13. You are more than your mind.

“On a deeper level you are already complete. When you realize that, there is a joyous energy behind what you do.”

“To be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time: the compulsion to live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation.”

“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.”

“Boredom, anger, sadness, or fear are not ‘yours,’ not personal. They are conditions of the human mind. They come and go. Nothing that comes and goes is you.”

“The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not “the thinker.” The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all the things that truly matter – beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace – arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken.”

14. Where there is true love, there is no ego.

“A genuine relationship is one that is not dominated by the ego with its image-making and self-seeking. In a genuine relationship, there is an outward flow of open, alert attention toward the other person in which there is no wanting whatsoever.”

15. Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.

“To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them – while they last. All those things, of course, will still pass away, cycles will come and go, but with dependency gone there is no fear of loss anymore. Life flows with ease.”

“What you react to in others, you strengthen in yourself.”

“Anything that you resent and strongly react to in another is also in you.”

“Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

16. Power over others is weakness disguised as strength.

“Power over others is weakness disguised as strength.True power if within, and it is available to you now.”

17. Every addiction starts with pain and ends with pain.

“Every addiction arises from an unconscious refusal to face and move through your own pain. Every addiction starts with pain and ends with pain. Whatever the substance you are addicted to – alcohol, food, legal or illegal drugs, or a person – you are using something or somebody to cover up your pain.”

18. Exclusivity is not the love of God but the “love” of ego.

“Love is not selective, just as the light of the sun is not selective. It does not make one person special. It is not exclusive. Exclusivity is not the love of God but the “love” of ego. However, the intensity with which true love is felt can vary. There may be one person who reflects your love back to you more clearly and more intensely than others, and if that person feels the same toward you, it can be said that you are in a love relationship with him or her. The bond that connects you with that person is the same bond that connects you with the person sitting next to you on a bus, or with a bird, a tree, a flower. Only the degree of intensity with which it is felt differs.”

19. Seek to live authentically.

“Authentic human interactions become impossible when you lose yourself in a role.”

“Living up to an image that you have of yourself or that other people have of you is inauthentic living.”

20. We don’t “see” God as He is, we see God as we are.

“Man made God in his own image…”

21. Seeking is the antithesis of happiness.

“Don’t Seek Happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness.”

“Is there a difference between happiness and inner peace? Yes. Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive; inner peace does not.”

22. What you give is what you get.

“For what you do to others, you do to yourself.”

23. Any action is often better than no action.

“Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.”

24. If you make the fountain pure, all will be pure.

“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within; secondary reality without.”

25. The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly.

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly — you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over.”

26. Worry is a waste of time.

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.”

27. If the structures of the human mind remain unchanged, we will always end up re-creating the same world.

“Humanity is now faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die. … If the structures of the human mind remain unchanged, we will always end up re-creating the same world, the same evils, the same dysfunction.”

What is your favorite quote from Eckhart Tolle? What is the one lesson you have learned from this beautiful and incredible Soul? You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below .

Monday, July 28, 2014

Garden update & harvest 7/27/14

7/27/14 -  Chinese 5 color peppers...abundant:)
 7/27/14 - ripening yellow pear tomato
 7/27/14 - tomatoes
 7/27/14 -  Giant Szegedi sweet pepper
 7/27/14 - Mini Red Bell pepper
  7/27/14 - Chinese 5 color hot pepper
  7/27/14 - White Habanero pepper
 7/27/14 - Chocolate Habanero peper
 7/27/14 - looks like the caterpillars did a number on my Dino kale in the last couple days!
 7/27/14 - Pretty...but tragic
 7/27/14 -I could have saved it them to juice, but decided not to fuss with cleaning them.
 7/27/14 -  today's harvest...Giant Black Beauty zucchini, 3 Marketmore cucumbers, 5 Chinese five color peppers, basil, Cossak Pineapple ground cherry tomatoes and yellow pear tomatoes.
 7/27/14 -  Yellow pear tomatoes
 7/27/14 - Giant Black Beauty zucchini...largest yet!  I didn't even remember I had one full sized still growing.
7/27/14 -  Dino kale, Red Russian kale, Curled Scotch kale and lettuce

The best workouts for your body shap

Make the most of your gym time by exercising with your body shape in mind. Here’s how to find your best fit. 


Not all workouts are created equal. By tweaking your exercise routine according to your particular body shape — whether you’re hourglass, circle, triangle, ruler or inverted triangle — you can help balance out your physique and make the most of your beautiful body.

Exercises for hourglass body shapes
You’re curvy up top and down below with a small waist — basically, the smokin’ definition of the old Hollywood bombshell.

Best cardio routine: “Muscle confusion is key,” says certified fitness trainer Lisa Avellino. “Because the symmetry of your lower and upper body is ideal, routines should rotate to challenge different muscles on different days in order to maintain this balance.” A sample week might include four, one-hour workouts: Zumba one day, a recumbent bike with light free weights the next, then a boot camp class with a step challenge, and a classic cardio workout, like indoor cycling or hiking for the final day.

Best strength-training routine: Certified strength and conditioning specialist Kevin Bailey recommends two to three days a week of a total body strength training routine that focuses on the extremities to balance upper and lower body curves.

For the upper body, use a moderate weight (one with which you can perform two sets of 15 to 20 reps) to do biceps curls, shoulder presses, and triceps dips to build lean muscle, suggests Bailey. He notes that hourglass figures needs to pay special attention to strengthening the upper back with moves like the Bent Over Row (two sets of eight to 12 reps with a moderate to heavy weight) because the chest is often front-loaded and needs support.

For the lower body, Bailey recommends focusing on the quadriceps, inner thighs, hamstrings and calves to complement the curve of your hips. That means dumbbell squats with a light to moderate weight, supine bridge curls with a stability ball and single-leg calf raises with a light to moderate weight. Try two sets of 20 reps for each.

Exercises for circle body shapes
Your smaller shoulders and hips — not to mention those shapely legs and trim backside — are the fittest parts of your body. Your fat tends to fall right in the middle, around your stomach.

Best cardio routine: “Engage in cardio stretch, where the target heart rate is elevated in the fat burning zone without impact,” Avellino advises. Half an hour of power yoga and then power walking for 30 to 45 minutes is an ideal cardio workout for a Circle. Bailey concurs, adding that people with this body type have lean and strong legs, which allow them to endure longer cardio routines without risking joint injury.

Interval training—short sprints of high-intensity cardio drills—is also great for Circle shapes, once a certain level of fitness is reached. “It boosts the metabolism even more than regular cardio workouts because the pace changes from slow to fast, challenging the body to work harder,” he says. Bailey recommends four weeks of regular workouts before starting interval training.

Best strength-training routine: Do strength training two to three days a week for 30 to 45 minutes, suggests Bailey. One key exercise is the diamond push-up  (two sets of 10 to 15 reps). These are push-ups with hands close together in a diamond shape, which work to build the biceps and triceps and also engage the transverse abdominals—the deepest layer of your core. “Strengthening these muscles pulls the abdomen inward like a girdle, giving a Circle a leaner look,” he says. The Plank (keeping your body long and straight, arms straight or bent at the elbow and shoulder-width apart, holding you in a hover above the ground) is another great move that focuses on the abdomen. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then rest. Work your way up to 60 seconds.

Exercises for triangle body shapes
Curvy on the bottom with a small waist and upper body, you’ve got a classic womanly silhouette.

Best cardio routine: Walking, jogging, cycling or the elliptical machine are the go-to cardio workouts for Triangle body shapes, according to Bailey, who recommends working up to 45 minutes of cardio five to six days per week. “Lower-impact exercises are good because there is decreased pressure on the knee, hip and ankle joints, which may be weaker since there is more weight in those areas,” says Bailey.

Best strength-training routine: Although it’s important to do some lower-body exercises like squats and calf raises, triangle shapes should emphasize upper body training in order to build these muscles and balance out a, ahem, more generous lower half. Bailey’s plan: Using a moderate to heavy weight, do three sets of 10 to 15 reps of each of these exercises: dumbbell bicep curls, overhead triceps extensions, dumbbell shoulder presses and chest presses. As you progress, Avellino recommends increasing the weights in the upper body program while reducing the number of reps. “This will build upper body size to re-proportion the hips and achieve a more symmetrical look,” she says.

Exercises for ruler body shapes
You’ve heard the term stick-straight and you can apply it to your body, which has shoulders that align with your torso and just a slight curve at the hips.

Best cardio routine:
Twenty minutes of cardio two to three times a week is all that Ruler body shapes need, according to Bailey. “They want to gain lean muscle tissue to add shape to their narrow frame,” he says. “A short bout of cardio will help burn extra body fat without hindering muscle-building—walking, jogging, cycling, jumping rope and swimming are great for Rulers.”

Best strength-training routine: Rulers should focus on strength-training four to five times each week in a total body program in order to build muscular curves, suggests Bailey. He recommends the plank and side plank poses (hold each for 30 to 60 seconds), as well as the diamond pushups to tighten the waist area and create an hourglass-like shape. These push-ups, with hands close together in a diamond shape, work to build the biceps and triceps and also engage the transverse abdominals—the deepest layer of your core. Lateral hip raises (lying on your side and raising and lowering your leg, two sets of 20 reps on each side) help develop hip muscles, while squats (three sets of 12 to 15 reps, holding a moderate to heavy weight) strengthen the thighs and backside. Up top, try dumbbell lateral raises for shapely shoulders (two sets of 15 to 20 reps).

Exercises for inverted triangle body shapes
With a small waist and broad chest and shoulders, your body has a sporty shape.

Best cardio routine: “The Inverted Triangle shape has an athletic build and little body fat, so 20 minutes, two to there times a week is all the cardio you need to keep the heart strong and efficient,” says Bailey, who recommends utilizing the elliptical, cross-trainer and stair-climbing machines as well as step classes. “Those workouts all emphasize the legs, which will help to add shape and muscle that balances out broad shoulders,” he says.

Best strength-training routine: For the lower body, Inverted Triangle shapes should focus on increasing the weight load, while the upper body focus should be on increasing flexibility, according to Avellino. “A common complaint with this body type is a thick middle and disproportionate football player look,” she says. “So incorporating light weights in a full range of eccentric movements for the upper body and the opposite for the lower body—heavier weights with short-range movements like squats—is ideal.” Shoot for strength training sessions three to four times a week.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bates Method & eye sight

How the Bates Method Can Help You Retrain Your Eyes to See More Clearly Again 

Click HERE to watch a full interview with Greg Marsh.

By Dr. Mercola
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to see clearly without glasses or contacts? According to Greg Marsh, a certified natural vision coach, clear vision is achievable by virtually everyone, even if you’re already wearing strong corrective lenses.
He created the CD program Reclaim Your Eyesight Naturally, which teaches you how to retrain your eyes to relax, thereby allowing you to see more clearly.
I first sought Greg out several years ago, at the suggestion of a man who, in his 70s, had excellent vision. After trying it out, I was hooked.
Greg got his first pair of glasses in third grade, and at every vision check, he needed stronger, thicker lenses. His life changed when, in his late 20s, he came across a book written by a teacher of Dr. Bates' vision program.
"It just melted my heart, the stories about people improving their eyesight and getting their lives back," he says. "I started trying it on my own near-sightedness. I had some initial success and then kind of hit a plateau.
That's when things got really interesting for me. I eventually did a formal training as a natural vision teacher. I bought every program I could find. I also did a lot of cross-training in various ways to use the mind. I went into martial arts, meditation, and all kinds of things.
For many years, I just kept diving in every which way, and it just became irresistibly simple, interesting, and subtle."

A Technique So Effective, It Was Banned...

The method Greg teaches was initially conceived by Dr. William H. Bates, over 100 years ago. A board-certified ophthalmologist at the top of his field, Dr. Bates taught his method to many, and it was so effective that it ended up being banned in New York after the optometrists lobbied the local politicians!
In essence, it became a threat to the business model of optometrists. The prohibition on the Bates Method is still on the books in New York to this day. Whether or not it's actually prosecuted is another issue.
"In the 1950s and the early 1960s, that's when all the state optometry boards were going after people," Greg says. "One of the Bates practitioners they went after was Clara Hackett, who had worked personally with Aldous Huxley, who's one of the more famous successors.
He wrote the book The Art of Seeing. He was basically told, 'You're blind. Get onboard with Braille.' He got his vision back from working with the Bates Method.
Clara Hackett was on trial because she didn't want to fold up and go home. All these people came in and testified. Aldous Huxley, the famous author of Brave New World, came in and testified.
He was very popular, so the jury was kind of in awe. Apparently, during the break of the jury, all the jurors were palming. Then they knew the outcome was going to be good."

The Bates Method

So how does the Bates Method work? Greg explains:
"Basically, there are six muscles on the outside of your eye, and they're moving it around... Ideally, these muscles are easily following visual interests... The problem is – it could be for emotional reasons, physical stress, or whatever – you start to strain. Once you start to strain, your vision starts to go."
The action of straining essentially squeezes your eyeballs, contorting them. This makes your vision blurry, as it alters where the field of vision "lands" on your retina. Now you have three basic choices
  1. Find out what's stressing you, making you strain. Let it go, relax, and get your vision back. Dr. Bates developed ingenious tools for doing just that
  2. Get laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK), which permanently alters your focal length
  3. Get corrective lenses. The problem with corrective lenses is that now you're creating permanent strain
The Bates Method isn't really an exercise; it's more of a mental approach. It's also worth noting that the Bates Method is clearly NOT a medical approach. You still need to see your regular eye doctor for checkups. Greg explains the theory upon which his program is based as follows:
"Dr. Bates' keyword is 'strain.' If you strain your eyes, strain your thoughts, and strain your vision, these muscles are going to start getting tight. The strain is the essence of everything.
Imagine you're on a tightrope, you're walking, and you're feeling your way forward. That's how the eyes want to work. If you get tense on a tightrope, you're dead, right? Instead of thinking of it as exercises, you have to go into it in a really subtle way; it's more like a meditation."
Basically, your vision is not compromised because of weak eye muscles. They’re strong enough. They’re just too tensed to work properly, so you have to relax them.
When people have a hard time seeing they typically will squint, which actually makes your vision worse. Squinting is one of the worst things you can do for your vision as it stresses your muscles. I find myself all day long paying attention to this as typical response is to contract your eye muscles and squint.
Another part of the process is "faith"—faith that your eyes "know what they're doing" and can see well. The problem is that once you start wearing corrective lenses, you're actually worsening your vision. This progressive worsening of your vision can lead to a defeatist mentality if you don't realize that what you're doing is creating the problem.
Be certain that you do the little experiment Greg discusses in the video by creating a pinhole with your hand and surprising yourself how clear your vision becomes without any corrective lenses. Just bend your finger to create a small pinhole between the skin folds. Now hold the pinhole in front of your eye, and notice how much more in focus everything is that you're looking at. As they say, seeing is believing and this will go a long way to convince you that you can actually see well without corrective lenses.
By wearing glasses, you're essentially retraining your eyes to strain in order to see all day long. Ideally, you'll want to remove your glasses whenever you can safely do so. Also make sure you have appropriate lighting, especially when reading. "The amount of light is huge," Greg notes. "While somebody is making the transition from needing glasses to not needing glasses, things like using more light really help, like if you're reading a book."

Common Vision Problems Caused by Excessive Eye Strain

The two most common eyesight conditions requiring glasses are: (1) myopia (near-sightedness, which usually appears in childhood or during teenage years) and (2) presbyopia (a type of farsightedness which leads to reading glasses at middle age). They both are very responsive to the Bates Method, and in fact the approach is nearly identical. If you have a mild prescription, you can simply go more and more frequently without glasses as you improve your eyesight. Of course, you should always wear glasses if they are required for driving, until you pass your vision test without them.
Especially with nearsightedness, stronger prescriptions tend to require more creativity and persistence, since the habits of staring and straining are more established. Also with high nearsightedness, you may need to progressively work your way down, which can be an expense for more pairs of glasses. But the visual clarity and relaxation you will feel all through your body and mind makes it deeply rewarding! The need for reading glasses is a common age-related problem, but according to Dr. Bates, loss of vision is not a “fact of life” at all. Even this he relates to eye strain.
“Most optometrists or ophthalmologists would say that the ciliary muscle around the lens is the cause—that it gets frozen. They’ll say, 'Well, gee, your lens has become impossibly hard and now it doesn’t move anymore,' Greg says. 
The lens of your eye, which is behind your cornea, right behind the iris, thickens and thins continuously all day long as you focus on various things. It also grows as you age. Eye doctors will say that your lens has become too large and rigid, and can’t flex anymore. But according to Greg, the problem with that model is that most people who sincerely apply the Bates Method do reduce or eliminate their need for reading glasses. Once again Dr. Bates’ solution is to relax the eyes so the muscles can function naturally.

The Power of Your Mind

Astigmatism, cross-eye, glaucoma, cataracts, and other vision conditions can also benefit from the Bates Method. With regards to cross-eye, Greg notes that this problem is not really caused by too-short a muscle pulling the eye. Rather it’s that the muscle is chronically too tight, and if you relax it, your eye will typically go back to its normal position.
"I love working with people who have been diagnosed with glaucoma or cataract and who are open to natural approaches," he says. "One lady I worked with was about to get surgery for glaucoma. Her doctor told her she'd already lost 60 percent of her vision just in one eye. I had an amazing EFT session with her. I told her to palm 10 minutes at a time at least six times a day. Three or four days later, she let me know that her score dropped from 28 down to 12 on glaucoma in that eye. Her doctor said, 'Oh, wow. The medicine finally started to work.'"
Dr. Bates used to experiment with visualizations for patients with cataracts—a condition where the lens of your eye gets cloudy. One of Dr. Bates' patients who had cataracts was able to make her cataracts disappear through guided visualization alone. When she got stressed out again, the cataracts reappeared.
"I don't want to put anybody in a box and say, 'Oh, your thoughts are negative.' But if you're having negative thoughts, imagine you can feel how that manifests as, say, a cataract. Louise Hay, the guru of emotional reasons for disease, she would say the reason for cataract is the future looks dark. I can't tell you how many people have resonated with that. They've had a family member who died, a big business bust, or they just realized, 'Wow, I'm getting old. I haven't done everything I wanted.' That metaphor of 'the future looks dark.'
Now just imagine the crystalline structure of the eyes and how ever that magically transmutes into the cataract and the opacity. Now imagine changing that vibration and then just asking: 'How fast can I imagine and how fast can I allow for this change to take place?'"
Remember that the Bates Method is not a medical approach, and you must seek a licensed practitioner for any diagnosis, prescription, or treatment. The Bates Method is more like meditation or yoga. It can help you engage your mind and imagination, to relax your eyes, and bring about as much natural healing as possible.

Sample Bates Method Techniques

One of the most famous Bates Method techniques is palming. Look around and notice the level of clarity of your vision at present. Then, simply place the center of your palms over your eyes. Relax your shoulders. You may want to lean forward onto a table or a stack of pillows, to facilitate relaxation. Relax like this for at least two minutes. Then remove your hands, open your eyes, and notice whether anything looks clearer. Usually, it will.
"What you're doing is you're letting your hands and your fingers sort of melt into your face. You feel how that affects your whole being as you let that happen. It's almost like your whole stress system is starting to melt away," Greg explains.
"Send love and relaxation into your eyes through your palms, which, by the way, are minor chakras, or energy centers. You're sending all this relaxation into your eyes, and your eyes are relaxing. Imagination becomes very important here, too. You can imagine, pretend, and feel that your eyes are going back toward their natural round shape. Just stay with that as long as you want. And then when you do uncover your eyes, you're going to see that things are more clear, at least for a moment.
See, this is a setting, a thermostat setting that your body-mind just had for a long time. It may take some practice, some awareness, and gradually learning to sustain this [relaxed state]. It's kind of a zen thing. You can't crave it too much because the more you crave it, now you're trying to force it and now you're straining again."
Another technique is called the Bates Long Swing. Begin by simply swaying your body back and forth. The simple act of languidly moving your body, even just a little bit, has a very soothing effect on your brain and thought patterns, and that alone can sometimes help you feel more relaxed during stressful situations. Your eyes also respond. Instead of being locked in a stare, like a deer in headlights, they can begin to relax and move naturally again.

More Information

You can find a lot of information about the Bates Method on the web. The thing to be careful about is that you don’t get drawn into an “eye exercise” approach where you end up straining to get rid of the strain. I think this is the key reason people fail to get results with the Bates Method. Greg’s approach is fantastic for always bringing you back to a relaxed state of mind and body, and helping your eyes feel ready to see clearly again.
You can purchase Greg’s program, Reclaim Your Eyesight Naturally, which consists of six CDs and a 62-page guidebook that helps tie everything together. Just keep in mind that if you are looking for a quick fix, Dr. Bates' approach is probably not for you. The time required to effect a permanent improvement can vary greatly. In rare cases just a few minutes is sufficient. However, it is often necessary to continue the program for weeks or months, or longer for extreme conditions. Greg also teaches workshops and vision coach trainings, and works with people one-on-one via phone or Skype.
"I've heard from hundreds of people that have done my program," he says. "A lot of people have had stunning success with just the CD program. A lot of others need maybe one session just to get the light bulb to come on. Other people, especially if they're backed up into a really big prescription, they may need some help unlocking the doors of: why, emotionally, am I stuck here? But it's amazing what a little EFT, guided visualization, and awareness of tight muscles can do."
Again, when you have tightness in your eyes, you’re more likely to get eye diseases, and stress is the leading contributor to not achieving full vision recovery. Doing the palming technique is a good foundational step to help release some of that stress and tension held in your eyes. Meditation can also be a helpful strategy, overall.
The Bates Method is really quite simple, yet it requires patience, and some finesse. Remember, the goal is not to “train” or exercise your eyes to make them stronger. The goal is to relax them. Greg’s program provides thorough instructions that can help you get there. Also remember that your mindset is important. With faith in yourself and your body’s self-regenerative ability, the toughest hurdle is learning to relax, so your eyes can function in accord with their natural design.