More on Natural and Artificial Sweeteners – The Good, The Bad, The Downright Dangerous


Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Information About Herbs, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Health | Posted on 28-08-2015

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Sweeteners 2

In the last post, we went over many types of natural sweeteners. The sweeteners that we discussed all had many health benefits, in addition to their sweetening powers. This week we are continuing in that vein. Some of these sweeteners are available in Kuwait and some aren’t yet available, but if enough people ask their local supermarkets or natural food stores to supply certain items, I’m sure they will be very happy to accommodate. After all, they are in business to make money and keep their customers happy and satisfied, aren’t they?

better stevia

Click here to buy Better Stevia from Amazon.


This natural sweetener has gotten a lot of press lately. It is derived from a plant found in South America. It has actually been used as a natural sweetener for ages, but has only recently become popular as a non-caloric sweetener. Stevia is much sweeter than table sugar, in fact in its natural form from 10 to 15 times sweeter than table sugar, and the isolated “sweet” constituent of stevia is actually up to 300 times sweeter! Stevia is widely used as an alternative sweetener in many countries now, Japan being one of the largest stevia growers and consumers in the world. In Japan, stevia is used in many different products. It is also used in other countries such as Korea, China, and more. It is becoming more and more common in Western countries as well. While people have been using stevia for a very long time, there have been studies that indicate some questions with regard to the safety of its use (although Japan, for example, has been using it for over 30 years, with no adverse effects at all), and thus it has been banned in several countries. There are warnings put on it in other countries. This is interesting, because it seems that the bans and warnings the “officials” have put on stevia are a direct influence of the “powers that be” in the sugar and artificial sweetener industry. Not so sweet! Stevia is great for diabetics, as it has been shown to actually help to balance the blood sugar. It also helps to stop the growth of the bacteria that lead to tooth decay. It is said to be good for the digestion, and also to help heal skin wounds, and even to fight dangerous forms of bacteria often occurring in the throat. Some people say that stevia has a “taste”, but others don’t notice anything, so it’s your call. But, I think it’s a good option to try, particularly in small quantities.

rice malt

Rice Malt/ Barley Malt

These two sweeteners are made from sprouted grain. These are both made from the fermentation process of rice or barley, as the case may be. These both contain a fair amount of vitamins and nutrients, including protein, enzymes, B vitamins, Vitamin E, and folic acid, and both have an interesting flavor when used in sweetening. We spoke of brown rice sweetener last week, and these are both very similar in quality and use. Barley malt is generally darker and stronger in flavor, while rice malt is generally lighter and less invasive. These are both sometimes mixed together into one sweetener, and sometimes other grains are added in as well. Both forms are slightly slower to metabolize than ordinary table sugar, but still have an impact on the blood sugar levels, which can be detrimental to diabetics or people on low carbohydrate diets. These are caloric choices, so be aware and plan accordingly.

barley malt


Fruit Concentrate/ Fruit Juice as Sweetener

Nowadays in the supermarket you will find fruit or fruit juices used as sweeteners in many ready made products out there. Sometimes sweeter juices will be added to ones that aren’t as sweet. An example of this is with cranberry juice. Also, in foods and food products fruit juices and fruit concentrates will be used to sweeten various items. The problem is that they are the same as using fructose, and sometimes are even more concentrated. Thus, they are not really appropriate for those who are suffering from diabetes or who are on a low carbohydrate diet. Remember that such sweeteners are very caloric, high in carbohydrate, and are also high on the glycemic index normally. The good thing is that this type of sweetener is natural and safe. It is also not table sugar. It is sweet though, and a better idea would certainly be to simply choose something less sweet.

We have now completed our journey into the land of sweeteners, and are now wise and jaded when it comes to which sweeteners we will choose. Think before you choose, and make certain that your choices are informed, safe, and healthy. Every individual is different and your body is not going to be like anyone else’s, so you must make your own decisions based on your own personal level of health and your own personal needs and tastes. Keep these articles on hand so you can refer back to them from time to time. If you didn’t get the chance to read one or the other of the series, just contact me by email and I will send you the rest, or you can always read them online.

(To be continued)…


What good sweeteners are there for low carb, ketogenic, Paleo eating? (Part 1)


Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Medical Terminology, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty | Posted on 27-08-2015

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One of the misinformed dieting fads in Kuwait is using fructose in cookies and cakes and calling it part of a weight loss or low carbohydrate diet. This is part of a campaign in which many companies are marketing various “diet” desserts in bakeries and various supermarkets around the country. The first time I ever encountered this phenomenon here I took the time to call up the so-called “doctor” and discuss it with her. When I asked what sort of sugar substitute was in the desserts, she said fructose. I was quite surprised, knowing full well that fructose reacts the exact same way in a body as glucose does. She informed me that there were some other sugar substitutes as well, but mostly fructose. She argued that it is better than “regular” sugar and is metabolized differently. I, naturally, disagreed and informed her of the correct scientific facts, which we will discuss below. She continued to argue her point, and only after I brought up more and more information did she finally remain quiet, admitting defeat. The worse part is that she isn’t the only person out there who is confused. Although her confusion is inexcusable, (particularly because she is a health professional in the field of dietary medicine), she is certainly not alone.

So, when is sugar not sugar? Never! (That is unless it has been chemically altered, and we will discuss that later). While we have several kinds of sugar substitute, sugar is always sugar, no matter which name you decide to call it, and it has plenty of names. The bottom line is that when the body takes in sugar it reacts the very same way no matter where it was from (unless you have a food sensitivity to beets, for example, in which case you will react to that sort of sugar).

Sugar goes by many aliases, including the following:

*sugar (sucrose, fructose, etc)
*glucose (pure sweetness found in fruits, honey, and vegetables)
*sucrose (table sugar)
*fructose (sugar from fruit)
*(crystalline) solid disaccharide
*cane sugar (sugar made from sugar cane)
*beet sugar (sugar made from beets)
*lactose (milk sugar)
*galactose (found in dairy products)
*dextrose (pure sugar from fruit
*maltose (sugar formed as a breakdown of starches)
*trehalose (sugar disaccharide)
*disaccharide (double molecule sugar)
*monosaccharide (single molecule sugar)
*ribose (kind of sugar found in human cells, often used as a supplement for athletes, particularly body builders)
*white sugar (basically table sugar made from either sugar cane or beets, also known as granulated sugar)
*brown sugar (which is just white sugar with molasses)
*table sugar (pure sugar, normally consisting of one molecule of sucrose and one of fructose)
*castor sugar (super finely ground)
*powdered/confectionary sugar (finely ground)
*fruit sugar (fructose, often said to be absorbed slightly slower into the blood, but having almost the same rating in a glycemic index, which judges rates of use by the blood)
*raw sugar (initial pressing of unrefined sugar)
*turbinado sugar (filtered through wood charcoal)
*muscovado sugar (a type of less refined sugar with some molasses content, thus more nutrients)
*demerera sugar (a type of raw cane sugar, thus more nutrients)
*honey (what bees make)
*molasses (the byproduct of sugar production, full of nutrients)
*corn sweetener (sugar derived from corn)
*corn syrup (sugar derived from corn)
*maple sugar/syrup (sugar/syrup derived from the maple tree, full of nutrients)
*high fructose corn syrup (sugar derived from corn)
(The following are sugar alcohols, which are not supposed to act quickly on the blood, and thus are suitable for diabetics and low carbohydrate dieters).
(This is one of the newest forms of sweetener. This one is derived from sugar but isn’t supposed to react in the body as sugar).
*sucralose (otherwise known as Splenda)
(There are other artificial sweeteners as well, but we won’t go into them right now).

While each of these sugars is different in a variety of ways, they are still all sugar. While they don’t act on the body in exactly the same way, they are all basically the same in the long run, as they increase the level of sugar in our blood, thereby requiring that our bodies deal with it, which can cause a variety of symptoms including weakness, exhaustion, and worse, in certain cases. In fact, all this hype about fructose and other so-called “diet” sweeteners being healthier looks like it is going to go the opposite way as scientific studies delve into the side effects and detriments of using it. Tune in right here next week to get the low down on what that research is discovering.

There are millions of people out there desperately trying to be healthier, lose weight, or keep their weight at a normal level. I am one of them, and I am certainly one of those people who have tried a variety of sugars and sugar substitutes in my quest to be healthier and thinner. The problem with this is that it is apparently not working. There are several reasons for this, and the main one is that the information that business minded people are giving out is incorrect. It is simply not true! Giving these companies the benefit of the doubt, the probably have good intentions most of the time, but still, regardless of their intentions, millions of people are being misled by false advertising with regard to these sugars and sugar substitutes that are being marketed.

Let’s take the fructose issue, since that seems to be one of the more sensitive ones. Here in Kuwait and all over the world there are people who are marketing fructose as a healthy alternative to sugar. Well, the lowdown is that fructose is just another kind of sugar. In fact it is sweeter than table sugar, and while you need less of it to get your foods sweet, the basic analysis of its use is something you’re going to want to hear.

There are several reasons why fructose isn’t a great idea, even though in some forms it has a lower glycemic index than table sugar (remember in the form of high fructose corn syrup its glycemic index is very high). According to studies that have been done, diabetics and heart patients often have adverse effects from the use of fructose because of how it raises their blood lipid levels abnormally, specifically cholesterol and LDL, which are fats that you don’t want to have, and this is apparently true for diabetics particularly, and in men this reaction is higher than in women. It also increases blood clotting, which is another dangerous side effect, particularly when you are suffering from heart disease or a circulatory disease. Don’t forget that diabetics have a higher rate of heart disease than most other people too, so the use of fructose is definitely a dangerous endeavor for them. Fructose has also been found to affect the natural absorption of certain minerals, including copper, which is important for healthy blood. It has also been linked to the heightened process of aging, and causing the skin to deteriorate resulting in wrinkles, lines and age spots.

Naturally though, practically anything in small enough quantities isn’t going to have an adverse effect on much, but still, quantities can add up when you’re not looking! Fructose and its not-so-nice sister high fructose corn syrup are not diet foods and are implied in many studies showing detrimental effects to our health when we eat them, even for normal weight people.

Did you know that fructose metabolism causes the body to store fat more than regular sugar? Indeed, when it is metabolized in the liver (which is the only place it is metabolized), as opposed to glucose (which is used by the entire body), it is almost completely converted to fat. Also, another interesting fact is that since fructose doesn’t stimulate insulin production, and because of this, it encourages overeating. In fact, over time, it can even create insulin resistance! In addition to that, fructose doesn’t contain even one single vitamin, mineral, or enzyme, and in its metabolism by the body, these things are actually leached from our bodily store of them!

I bet you didn’t know that most of the fructose out in the market today isn’t even derived from fruit, did you? It’s derived from corn for the most part, and corn alone is one of the grains that I always tell people to stop eating when suffering from any kind of health problem, particularly allergies and food sensitivities. It can also be made from beets, sugar cane and other plants. Hmm…. that is exactly where table sugar comes from! In fact high fructose corn syrup has been linked directly to the increase in obesity of children and adults all over the world, due to its high use in processed foods everywhere. It is turning up in foods that don’t even need to be sweetened! And, apparently, according to the research, the fatter you are the worse you are affected by fructose!

So, reading ingredients lists is your first defense. Just don’t buy products containing fructose, corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup. When you begin reading, you will be surprised at what you will find. High fructose corn syrup is everywhere! You will find it in cereals, soft drinks, bottled and canned juices, fruits, and vegetables, canned foods (such as sauces, soups, etc), grain products, frozen prepared products, prepared spice blends, and more! And you will find tons of it in fast foods, even in the most unlikely places, like in your “healthy” salad dressing, for example!

Now, keeping in mind that some forms of fructose are better than high fructose corn syrup, still the better route is to go as natural as possible. The best idea is to completely cut the sugar out. The bottom line is, if you want high quality, “good for you” fructose, eat whole fruit! You can’t go wrong with a couple pieces of healthy, preferably organic fruit a day. Try to choose fruit with plenty of fiber for the best results.

More on Sweeteners in the next post (stay tuned)… but in the meantime… check out my two favorite natural, safe, GMO-free, sweeteners that can be effective with low carb, ketogenic, and Paleo diets.

xylitol zveet   eryrthritol



What Is Anemia?


Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Medical Terminology, Natural Alternative Diet | Posted on 31-03-2015

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anemia 1

            Millions of people all over the world from every conceivable country suffer from anemia of one form or another at one time or another. Many of these people have chronic anemia that can sometimes be so severe that it is life threatening. Others have anemia that is so mild that they don’t even know theyhave it. So, what is anemia anyway?

            Anemia (which actually means “lacking blood”) is when your blood doesn’t have enough good red blood cells (hemoglobin is found in the red blood cells, and is the agent that carries the oxygen from the lungs around the body). When this happens there isn’t enough oxygen in the blood, thus the various organs in the body won’t be able to get enough oxygen, which they require to function properly. This usually occurs when the body doesn’t have enough iron for one reason or the other (but there are many other causes as well). Women are more likely to have anemia than men, but men can get it as well. There are several possible causes of anemia including; specifically a lack in the body’s production of red blood cells, too much red blood cell destruction, blood loss (such as that which occurs during menstruation or childbirth), lack of iron in the diet, pregnancy, lack of certain other vitamins (like B12, for example), certain cancers or other acute or chronic diseases, inherited anemia due to genetic problems, hormonal imbalances, and a host of other more obscure causes, including anemia that has no known cause at all.

Herbs for Common Ailments

            The way that you can know that you have anemia is if you feel any of the following (but many people who have anemia don’t even know that they have it): fatigue, weakness, a fast heart beat, heart palpitations, difficulty in breathing (shortness of breath), uncalled for sweating, drained looking skin color, and sometimes dizziness. So, if you are suffering from any of these symptoms without knowing the cause, then please go get a blood test and confirm whether or not you are suffering from anemia, what type, and why (if possible). Then, you really need to begin some sort of curative program right away in order to preserve your health.

            Generally, the most common anemia (iron deficient anemia) is treated with iron supplements. This is fine, but there are several problems that taking iron supplements can cause, such as constipation (or diarrhea), nausea (even vomiting), and more. Be particularly careful when using iron supplements with children, since it can be severely toxic to them, even causing death. So, instead of taking ordinary iron supplements, try to do something to help your self without artificial (or even real) iron and get to the nature of the problem naturally. There are tons of great tasting foods out there that are loaded with iron. Some of them are: red meats (beef, lamb and goat, which are all widely available in Kuwait), particularly liver, beets (particularly a blend of carrot and beet juice expressed juice), beet greens, chives, green leafy vegetables (like romaine lettuce, spinach, sea vegetables (your local Japanese restaurant will love you since that is the best place to get seaweed in Kuwait, although it is sold at Sultan Center in the Oriental foods section), and more), blackstrap molasses, eggs, okra, raisins, almonds (and almond milk, which you can make by blending almonds in a blender with water and drinking the resulting milky liquid, making sure that you don’t let the almond paste float to the bottom). Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables that contain vitamin C, like strawberries, or anything bright or dark red, purple, bright orange, bright yellow, or bright green. Also, if you are suffering from anemia, you should really discontinue coffee, tea, soft drinks and smoking, since the use of those things really impairs your absorption of the important vitamins that you need to recover. This also goes for foods containing preservatives, additives, etc. Here in Kuwait stuffed and plain grape leaves are widely available too, so eat up!

The Gift of Healing Herbs

            In the herbal medicine world there are many plants that are known to increase iron, help red blood cell and hemoglobin production, and improve the general health of the body, which will be run down with anemia, particularly if it has gone unnoticed for any length of time. One of the newly discovered ones is called “Cassia grandis” (which is not the same as regular cassia, which is like cinnamon), and hails from Puerto Rico. Alfalfa leaf is another great herb to take, along with any of the green herbs, like spirulina (which is algae), yellow dock, dandelion, stinging nettles, gentian, burdock (leaf and root), Dong Quai, St John’s wort, astragalus, licorice (which also helps by keeping the adrenal glands going strong), horsetail, red raspberry leaf, parsley, and Panax ginseng (the Asian version).


            You also need to get out there and exercise, even if you really don’t feel like it. Because exercise will help your glands to work better, and get your circulation moving. Walking is good, swimming too, and any other kind. You can dance, jump, lift weights, do Karate, or anything else!

            So, if you suffer from anemia, help is right around the corner at your local grocery store and right in your own kitchen! Get out and do something now, so that you hang on to your good health for as long as you can!

Mia Ponzo

May 9, 2006

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  spirulina   spirulina  Dandelion Leaf


Alfalfa Leaf                                                  Spirulina                                       Dandelion Leaf


Red Raspberry Leaf  Horsetail Herb      Stinging Nettle leaf cut

Horsetail Herb                        Red Raspberry Leaf                           Nettle

Check Out This VERY Useful Information About Sugar!!!


Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Natural Alternative Diet | Posted on 15-10-2014

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fructose overload infographic

Discover the fructose content of common foods, beverages, sauces, and even sugar substitutes in our infographic “Fructose Overload.” Use the embed code to share it on your website or visit our infographic page for the high-res version.

<img src="" alt="fructose overload infographic" border="0" style="max-width:100%; min-width:300px; margin: 0 auto 20px auto; display:block;"><p style="max-width:800px; min-width:300px; margin:0 auto; text-align:center;">Discover the fructose content of common foods, beverages, sauces, and even sugar substitutes in our infographic "<a href="">Fructose Overload</a>." Visit our infographic page for the high-res version.</p>

Help! I have a headache!


Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Essential Oils, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Health, Quick and Easy Natural Remedies You Can Do At Home | Posted on 16-05-2014

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I don’t think there is a single person on this earth who can say that they have never ever suffered from a headache of any sort. I can happily say that I rarely suffer from them, and when I do have one it is mild, but, indeed, I have experienced it none the less. Some people suffer from headaches all the time, every day, all day, for almost every day of their lives. That is not living to be sure.

Just to give you some statistics about the prevalence of headaches, in the USA it is said that up to 45 million Americans have debilitating headaches that are chronic, that almost 90% of mean and 95% of women have had a headache sometime or another, and that every 10 seconds or so a person enters an emergency room in the USA complaining of a headache. Statistically over 1 billion dollars (US) are spent on over the counter medicines or headaches of different types and that the cost of lost work is 13 billion dollars (US) on a yearly basis! That is just to name a few of the multitude of statistics available out there on headaches.

While it is clear that conventional medical practitioners have a very difficult time curing or relieving headaches, in general, even with strong medications, in my own personal experience with treating various types of headaches (including the most severe migraines), alternative choices are easy to apply and are highly effective.

First of all the cause of the headache must be sought out. Chances are that it is sinus related in my experience. If you suffer from headaches that are mostly in the front of your head, or around the sides (near the front), in and around your eyes, forehead, cheeks, etc, then you can be almost positive that the problem is sinus related. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are suffering from a sinus infection, and it’s likely that if you did an x-ray there would be no cloudiness at all, but none the less you are still having sinus related problems.

So, if this is you, then there are many ways that you can help yourself, including steaming with essential oils and herbs (like sage, thyme, rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, etc), getting reflexology treatments (or treating yourself by pressing the areas around your nails and at the tops of your fingers), acupressure or other body techniques, drinking herbal teas (also made of sage, thyme, rosemary, and eucalyptus, among other choices), and dietary changes (stay away from dairy, corn, soy, coffee (and other items containing caffeine), MSG, aspartame (diet drinks and foods), yeast, white sugar, white flour, fermented foods, prepared meats (such as cold cuts like smoked turkey, bologna (also known as mortadella here in Kuwait), artificial preservatives, additives and colors, and anything else that you discover causes you problems). Make sure that you are eating plenty of healthy, wholesome foods, like fresh meats, poultry, and seafood, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with whole and healthy grains. If you are a smoker, you must quit!

thyme oil

NOW Foods – Thyme Oil White 1 Oz

There are sometimes other causes of headaches, like from tension (when the pain is at the back of your head, starts at your neck and goes up to your skull). In order to get rid of this type of headache, there are several simple things that can be done. First of all, make sure that you do your best to get rid of the cause of all your tension. If you hate your job, change it! Either that or change your attitude about it, and try to find the good things in it. Become an optimist. Then, stretch! The best and easiest way to get rid of tension related headaches is to stretch and thereby loosening those tight muscles preventing future tightness (which is what caused your headache in the first place). Just sit calmly in a chair or on the floor, which your body and head as straight as possible, shoulders down and relaxed, and then slowly let your head drop, with your chin heading toward your chest. Just let the weight of your head bring it down further. Don’t hold your head up, just let it hang, and the muscles will be slowly released. You can do this several times a day, and it can be done anywhere. After only the first day you will feel a great deal of relief, and after several days, you should be totally rid of your tension headache. You can also use essential oils, like ginger, rosemary, lavender, geranium, peppermint, and others directly on the area that you are feeling pain in, by mixing a few drops of each in a base oil (such as olive oil), which will also help to loosen those tight muscles. Don’t forget heat either. Whenever you are suffering from pain or tightness, practically anywhere in your body, heat is your best bet. You can use hot compresses, a hot water bottle, or a heating pad. Tension headaches also respond quite well to reflexology, acupressure, and other forms of bodywork, and with reflexology, you can even help cure yourself! Meditation, yoga, deep relaxation, and more will also be extremely useful in such cases. The idea is not only to deal with your tight muscles, but also to deal with the mental causes that brought on your headaches in the first place.

There are headaches that are caused by other rarer neurological or other organic causes (like tumor, etc), which would show up with medical examinations. For this reason you should always consult a medical practitioner if your headaches last longer than normal, or don’t respond to ordinary treatments, such as those that have been mentioned above.

With all of the different types of headaches, you need to make sure that you are getting enough sleep, enough exercise, enough sun, and enough of anything else you might be lacking. All of these factors play an important part in our every day well being.

So, if you are suffering from headaches of any type (particularly sinus or tension) remember that help is right around the corner. You don’t have to suffer any more. Take action and get rid of your problem with alternative therapy. You can choose the method that you like the most, or that is most suited to your particular complaint, and you’ll be on the road to comfort in no time at all!


About Asthma and Respiratory Disorders


Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Essential Oils, Information About Herbs, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Health | Posted on 10-03-2014

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Steaming for asthma Steam inhalation

Respiratory disorders are extremely common in this part of the world. This is partly because of the climate here being dry and dusty, partly because there is a lot of pollution here, and partly because the diet is often not the best. Naturally, there are other factors as well, including the fact that the stress levels of daily living are up, what with the fast paced style of living that people lead these days. It’s no wonder, with all these factors playing a role that people’s bodies react with weakness, low immunity, and glandular imbalances. But, even so, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything that can be done about it. Indeed there is plenty that can be done, and you can start right now!

            If you suffer from any kind of respiratory ailment, including asthma, bronchitis (including chronic bronchitis), frequent colds, influenza, pneumonia, and, more seriously, emphysema, tuberculosis, or worse, then you know that living with respiratory diseases is one of the most uncomfortable things a person may have to endure. Why be more miserable than you have to be? There are several things that you can do to make your life more comfortable and easy to live. They are simple and easy to do, so why suffer?

Thyme Oil

NOW Foods – Thyme Oil White 1 Oz

With respiratory problems, diet is important, as it is in most other diseases and ailments. People suffering from any kind of respiratory complaint must immediately reassess their dietary habits and look for areas where the diet can be improved. Generally, dairy products tend to cause an increase of symptomatic response, including more phlegm, constricted respiratory passageways, inflamed mucous membranes, and an increased immune response, which is what set off the symptoms in the first place. Oranges also are not the best choice for breathing problems, as well as strong spices, artificial additives and preservatives, MSG, aspartame, many food colorings, corn and its byproducts (including corn oil), and soy products. Other things may appear on a case by case evaluation, and if you suffer from any respiratory ailment, you need to assess your own diet, and see what causes your own problems to get worse, and when. If you don’t notice anything, or if you can’t discern yourself, then go to a professional for advice, but, I find that individuals know more about their bodies than any stranger, professional or otherwise, ever could. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins, and eat fruit carefully, because various fruits are often an important cause of respiratory problems. Just because Vitamin C is good for us, doesn’t mean that the best source for every person is fruit. Unfortunately, although fruit tastes really good, and is loaded with vitamins and other useful things, it often contains chemicals, fungus, and other things that will increase the likelihood of getting ill, for those suffering from respiratory complaints. Make sure that the foods you eat are as unrefined as possible.

Eucalyptus oil

NOW Foods Eucalyptus Oil, 4 ounce

Various hands-on treatments may be helpful in the cases of respiratory diseases, including reflexology and acupressure, particularly. These treatments work, because they help enable the body to help itself, which is one of the most important things when you are dealing with immune response, including allergic reaction, reaction to invading properties, including molecules of bacteria, viruses, and polluting factors, and more. If the body’s organs are all working at their ultimate capacity, then things are fine, but when something breaks down (for example, due to over-stressing) then that is when trouble begins.

            There are many natural herbs that are great for respiratory ailments, including mullein, marshmallow leaf, marjoram, sage, thyme, rosemary, eucalyptus, licorice, echinacea, Ma Huang, and even cinnamon. These help with the mucous membranes, keeping them normal by reducing inflammation, and also by helping strengthen the glands and immune system in the body. These are best taken as teas, tisanes, or inhaled for respiratory complaints, although some people recommend taking them orally, as tablets, capsules, etc, I don’t personally agree with this thinking, and believe that getting them into the body in the purest form is best, without the need for digestive action to break them down.

Pine Oil

NOW Foods Pine Oil, 1 ounce (Pack of 2)

There are also essential oils that can be inhaled or rubbed in over the lung or sinus area that are often more effective than conventional treatments (although this is not an excuse NOT to consult your physician, and, if you suffer from severe, life threatening types of respiratory diseases, don’t take on treatment yourself, without being under the care of an expert medical professional). Oils including eucalyptus, rosemary, thyme, sage, tea tree, and lavender, are great for a start. For inhalations these can be used pure, and for massage, they can be mixed with a little olive oil (or any other pure and wholesome, natural oil) and massage directly over the area of the complaint. 

The idea is that the human body can produce its own cortisone (which is often the drug used to help asthma, chronic bronchitis, and other respiratory diseases), and all you have to do is to help your body produce it on a normal level. Stress and other factors are the causes of the lack of its production, and reducing stress, taking strengthening factors (like herbs, for example), and doing treatments that will increase the healthy action of the important glands of the body (like reflexology, for example) will all help in this regard. So, if you suffer from any kind of respiratory ailment, getting your health back is something that is not out of your reach. Listen to your body, and hear its call for help! Then, do something!

The Natural Okra Diabetes Cure


Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Health | Posted on 09-03-2014

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Fresh Okra Fresh Okra (Gumbo) 3lb

We are continuing this week with another of the common vegetables that are easily available to us here in Kuwait. The vegetable that we are going to talk about this week is the okra. Where I’m from, we don’t even have okra (upstate NY, USA).

This is a vegetable that is eaten more in the south where it was initially introduced. In fact, I had never eaten okra until I came to Kuwait. The fact is that okra is a delicious vegetable. Here in Kuwait people use it particularly in a wonderful curry-like dish called “marag bamia” which is made with okra and meat in a tomato based sauce for eating over rice. It is also fried or sautÈed in other dishes and is found both fresh and frozen.

Okra is called “bamia” in Arabic, and some people call it “ladies’ fingers” in other places. In fact, okra actually comes from this part of the word and nearby and was taken to the Americas and other places later.

Okra being quite a slimy vegetable doesn’t appeal to the tastes of everyone. There are some people who can’t stand the sight of okra. Yet others adore it. But, if we are going to work on a purely medicinal point of view, okra is going to be a vegetable that you don’t want to pass up. In fact, some of the benefits of okra come from its sliminess.

Okra is a mucilaginous vegetable (meaning slimy) which makes it extremely good for the digestive system, and in fact, all the mucous membranous tissue it comes into contact with. So, just the act of eating okra is going to be helpful to your body, without even trying.

People who suffer from a variety of digestive problems, including some diseases that are serious (such as colitis, diverticulitis, and more), and other diseases that are extremely uncomfortable but not as dangerous (which as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, etc) will benefit from eating okra. (Just make a note of the fact that eating okra raw is the best way to have it, or having it cooked very slightly (not the way that many people around here do it, cooked to death in curries).

Scientific research on the benefits of certain vegetables has been ongoing, and researchers are discovering many very interesting things. Okra has been one of the vegetables that have been included in a number of studies, with some absolutely incredible results.

Apparently eating okra on a daily basis is good for you if you are suffering from diabetes. There are properties in okra that actually help your body to metabolize glucose, thus making you less dependent on insulin substitute medications. In fact there are many people who have documented complete cure from diabetes with the use of okra! One of the ways that it is recommended to take okra for the purpose of helping diabetes is to soak 2 medium sized raw pieces of okra in a glass of water overnight.

First you cut off the two ends, and slice the okra down the middle, then just keep in the room temperature water until morning (making sure that it stays covered), when you will remove the okra and drink the water. Just wait for around 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything else, preferably. Do this daily, and, according to the proponents of this “cure” your diabetes will soon be much better, if not completely cured.

Okra is a very detoxifying vegetable. This is partly due to the extremely mucilaginous nature of okra. Okra helps the liver to do its job. This is beneficial to people suffering from a number of diseases, and in fact, okra is so detoxifying that some people call it “natural kidney dialysis”. It actually helps to reduce the poisons in the blood.

Research has found that okra has many important health benefits, such as its ability to help reduce cholesterol in the body (particularly the “bad” kind), its heart disease reducing qualities, and even cancer prevention qualities!

Also, as a vegetable, okra is loaded with tons of natural vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Okra has tons of two types of fiber that are very important to our health: soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which are needed by all human bodies. In fact, okra has one of the highest rates of these types of fiber of all vegetables — 2 + grams of fiber in each serving.

That is a huge amount. Pectin is probably one of the most important of these. (There are people who go to the pharmacy and buy pectin in capsules to take on a daily basis to help with their health or to lose weight). Okra is loaded with: protein, Vitamins A, B, and C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, folic acid, and a lot more. Okra has important antioxidant constituents (which is one of the reasons for its cancer reducing abilities). Okra is also great for people on restricted diets, since it has hardly any calories, and hardly any carbohydrates (meaning the bad ones). Rather than buy artificial forms of these things (or even naturally based ones), eat okra! Not only are you getting all the health benefits mentioned above, but there are certain to be a lot more that haven’t even been discovered yet.

Don’t miss out on a great way to get healthier through a common vegetable. Okra is inexpensive and easy to prepare. Go for it!

And for more cool okra stuff… maybe you would like okra chips!!!! They look really interesting to me!

Okra Chips

Davis Lewis Okra Chips with Sea Salt, 3-Ounce (Pack of 8)

About Arthritis and Rheumatism


Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Health | Posted on 08-03-2014

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Arthritis and rheumatism


According to the Center of Disease Control in the USA, arthritis is the number one cause of disability today. That is a pretty scary statistic if you ask me. In fact more than 20 million people suffer from the disease in the US alone!

There are several types of arthritis that basically fall under the umbrella terms of rheumatoid arthritis (which is often severe, deforming, debilitating, and sometimes even life threatening, is caused by a kind of autoimmune reaction in the body, and osteoarthritis (the most common form, which is where the cartilage on the bone wears away and you have bone rubbing directly on bone, which causes pain and can seriously damage the bone).

Conventionally, medical doctors have treated these diseases with a variety of chemical treatments, like anti-inflammatories, anti-rheumatic medications, and even steroids, in addition to physiotherapy. But, as of recently, even conventional medical practitioners have begun to join in on the parade of natural alternative treatments, some of which have been shown to be quite effective.

White Willow Bark

  White Willow Bark Cut & Sifted Organic – 1 lb,(Frontier)

Number one on the list of things you can do to help or even rid yourself of arthritis or rheumatism is to change your diet. This is the most important thing. Get dairy cut down to natural dairy, preferably goat’s milk based items, if possible. Cut out corn and soy and their by-products. Add plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, preferably those grown locally and in season, but not those from the nightshade family (potatoes, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes). Cut out most or all refined carbohydrates, opting instead for healthier whole grains. Add reasonable amounts of healthy proteins, preferably ones that aren’t loaded with growth aids, antibiotics, and other harmful things. Ideally, raising the animals yourself would be great, but since that is usually not very practical, organically fed is the next best thing, and if that isn’t possible either, at least keep it at a minimum. Citrus fruit is best left out, particularly oranges and grapefruit. Tea and coffee should be a definite no-no, along with artificial additives, preservatives, and other chemicals like MSG.  

Emu Oil

Emu Oil Premium Golden – Set of Two – 4 fl.oz. each

Next you can begin doing natural manipulative treatments, and other bodywork type treatments. The best choice is reflexology, then acupressure, and other types after that. Aromatherapy is great for relieving the pain or discomfort of arthritis and rheumatism too. The most effective oils to rub on the affected areas would be rosemary, juniper berry, lavender, sandalwood, ginger, and black pepper. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids have also been found quite effective, and these are to be taken orally.

Magnetic therapy has been found to be valuable in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism, as has homeopathy, along with a host of other alternative treatments. Unlike conventional choices, alternatives generally do not have any side effects and they are often more effective than conventional treatments.  Many people like acupuncture and find it very effective. I personally am not a huge fan of acupuncture, but I am a huge, gigantic fan of alternatives, but in my opinion, the less invasive the better.

Burdock Leaf

Burdock Leaf, C/S 16oz

Herbally, there are many things that can be done for arthritis and rheumatism, including light soothing herbal teas made of white willow bark, birch leaf, alfalfa leaf, dandelion leaf, burdock leaf, and other herbs. You can also soak in hot baths of sea salt.

Exercise is an important part of the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism, with walking, swimming, and yoga being particularly effective. But, if you are already doing a certain sport or the other, then please continue to do it, and throw yourself into it. You will be pleased at how effective simple movement can be!

Dandelion Leaf

Frontier Bulk Dandelion Leaf Flakes, Organic, 1 Lb. Package

Although arthritis and rheumatism are horrible and sometimes debilitating, there are many things that you can do to help yourself, if you suffer from either one of these. Take solace in the knowledge that you are in charge, and the more you do to help yourself, the more benefit you will get in the long run. Patience is a virtue here, though, just like it is everywhere else!

Alfalfa Leaf

Starwest Botanicals Organic Alfalfa Leaf Cut, 1-pound Bag

So You Have Diabetes? Get Rid of Diabetes Naturally


Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Health | Posted on 07-03-2014

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Herbs for Diabetes

            Diabetes is one of those diseases that are dreaded by everyone. The bad news about diabetes is that it is very dangerous and can lead to death. The good news about diabetes is that there are several things that people can do to help themselves feel better and often even beat it.

            There are two types of diabetes. The lesser of the two evils is called Type II diabetes, which is when the body isn’t producing enough insulin to take care of the body’s needs, or when, for some reason the body isn’t recognizing the insulin that is being produced. The other type is the one that normally hits children and young adults, and is also called juvenile diabetes, or Type I diabetes, and this is when the body doesn’t produce any insulin at all, for whatever reason. Both types of diabetes are serious and life threatening, although Type I is more serious than Type II, but in the natural world of alternative medicine there are many things that you can do to help yourself, no matter which type you suffer from.

Organic Cinnamon Sticks

Indus Organic Real Ceylon (Sri Lanka) Cinnamon Sticks, 3 Inch (16 Oz), Premium Grade, Freshly Packed

            As with all diseases, we always want to do our best to be less invasive, and thus, we should always begin with the easiest methods. A good thing to begin treating diabetes with would be reflexology or acupressure. I have seen reflexology alone get rid of diabetes completely, even in elderly patients. The best part about non-invasive treatments like reflexology and acupressure is that they will always lead toward homeostasis and good health, and, properly used will never harm. So, even if you aren’t completely cured of whatever you are suffering from, you will always get benefit.

Along with the manipulation therapies, dietary changes are important and necessary. The types of changes that suit both types of diabetes best are changes that give the body a chance to rest and distress. In order to do that people who suffer from both types of diabetes need to cut down on all carbohydrates, including complex ones (except for non-starchy vegetables), and cut refined carbohydrates out completely. Things like white flour, white sugar (even fructose and other “-ose” sugars), white rice, and other food items that are high in refined carbohydrates need to be drastically reduced, and preferably completely eradicated from your diet. Those less healthy things can be replaced with good foods like healthy, wholesome proteins (lamb, beef, chicken, seafood, eggs, cheese, and more), raw and cooked vegetables, and low glycemic index fruits. In addition to the healthy benefits of the better diet, you will also possibly lose weight, which will usually reduce your diabetic symptoms further, sometimes even eliminating the diabetes altogether!

Organic Sumatra Cinnamon

Certified Organic 1LB Ground Korintji Cinnamon From Pristine Sumatran Reserves (QAI, EU & NOP Certified)

It is important that you get enough sleep, and to make certain that your sleeping pattern is a night sleeping, day waking pattern, so that your bodily glands will be able to work at their optimum capability. This is imperative with all diseases, and particularly diabetes.

There are also several herbal remedies that are quite effective with both types of diabetes. Cinnamon is up and coming as a helper herb in the fight against diabetes, and scientific studies are very promising in this respect. Ginseng has also been shown to have a positive effect on diabetes and the other symptoms that go along with it, but must be taken with caution, since it is a stimulant (don’t mix it with other stimulants like caffeine, ephedra, or others). Both onion and garlic seem to have a positive glucose lowering effect on the blood, as well as increasing the action of the immune system in general. In addition to this, studies have found that they are effective in helping other bodily functions, such as insulin production, and cardiovascular benefits too. Fenugreek is another of nature’s miracles. Studies have shown that diabetic symptoms improve a great deal with the regular ingestion of fenugreek seeds (in teas, etc.). Blueberry leaves and Ginkgo Biloba leaves are also very effective on various diabetic symptoms, including circulatory, which can decrease the likelihood of the blindness and other problems that are often associated with diabetes. Burdock is another herb that has been found to be effective, along with the Sage that is found in practically every kitchen around the world!

Organic Gingko

Ginkgo Leaf Cut & Sifted Certified Organic – Support Memory Function, 1lb,(Frontier)

Ayurvedic herbal remedies have also been shown to be quite effective in the fight against diabetes, and similarly, Chinese traditional medicine also, in its own right, has been shown to positively affect diabetic symptoms too.

The great thing about the use of herbal remedies with diabetes is their cumulative effect. Also, you don’t need a lot of any of these herbs to get the positive effect that you are looking for, and some herbs, such as Blueberry leaves have even been tested in injected form, and their effects are similar to insulin, without all of the possible dangerous side effects.

Burdock Leaf

Burdock Leaf, C/S 16oz

Naturally, with diabetes, as with most other diseases, regular exercise will help immensely with the disease itself and its symptoms. You can lower your blood sugar levels with activities such as walking, swimming, weight lifting, dancing and more! So, get moving!

As with all other medical treatments, the best course of action is to make sure that your condition is being monitored by a qualified medical professional, and even with herbal remedies, this is the case.

The bottom line here is that you CAN help yourself, and can even get rid of your diabetes completely if you take care of yourself, eat right, and exercise. Don’t let yourself accept the death sentence that diabetes can often bring. Fight it, but in a positive way!

Cantin Ketogenic Diet

The Cantin Ketogenic Diet: For Cancer, Type I Diabetes & Other Ailments

History of Macrobiotics


Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Health | Posted on 06-03-2014

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At the end of the 19th Century, a Japanese military medical doctor called Sagen Ishizuka came up with the idea that if people would only go back to the traditional Japanese (it was also based on other Oriental types of diets, like Chinese, for example) diet, they would have much better health. But, his theory had more twists to it than that. Ishizuka was born with multiple medical complaints, including kidney disease, and he also suffered from a skin ailment. Thus, his life was spent searching for a solution to his own problems, which he found, and that became what is now known as macrobiotics. He incorporated many Western ideas and scientific facts into his theory, taking advantage of the best of the East and West, specifically chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and physiology. In doing so, he came up with one of the most amazingly successful dietary and lifestyle health techniques in history.

Macrobiotics for Dummies

Macrobiotics For Dummies

His method was so popular during his lifetime that he could hardly keep up with the amount of patients that saw him every day. His healing method was renowned in his own time, and he was well known all over Japan, and even outside of his country. In 1907 he and some friends started a group called Shoku-yo-khail, which was made up of a slew of important people of the time in Japan, including businessmen and noblemen. It is still one of the most popular and effective health techniques ever, and is growing in popularity every day. Thereafter Ishizuka’s association drew many followers and practitioners and soon they too were writing about macrobiotics and the word began to spread in larger circles. One of these people was George Ohsawa (whose actual name was Yukikazu Sakurazawa, and who began studying macrobiotics when he was young and his own illness (tuberculosis) led him to try it), who wrote many books, and who, himself, came to have many followers (among whom were Michio Kushi (who is the most important living macrobiotic expert of today) and Herman Aihara, both of whom were instrumental in bringing macrobiotics to the USA), who helped spread the message of macrobiotics all over the world.  Many famous people have followed macrobiotic diets over the years, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono. 

Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotics

The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics: A Philosophy for achieving a Radiant Mind and a Fabulous Body

The basis for macrobiotic (which basically means “big life”, which was actually based on Greek words, but first coined in a book written by a German author, from whom Ohsawa adopted it later) healing is to get the body back to the best possible balance (homeostasis, or balanced “yin” and “yang”) with the least interference. The idea is to balance the internal functioning of the body based on climate and available seasonal foods. In macrobiotics grains should be the highest percentage of foods eaten, with certain vegetables (some vegetables are not recommended in macrobiotics for a variety of reasons) coming next, little or no animal foods, except for minimal seafood, and that all foods should be as wholesome as possible, with complete foods being the mainstay, and no processed or pre-prepared foods, spices, etc. allowed at all. An idea of the recommended percentages is as follows:

50% grains

25% accepted vegetables

5-10% beans, sea vegetables

5% soup (particularly miso soup, which is made from fermented soybean)

5% condiments (and other things)

(This is only ONE suggestion, and this must be fitted to the person’s needs, not to a chart).

Mayumis Kitchen

Mayumi’s Kitchen: Macrobiotic Cooking for Body and Soul

n addition to the dietary advice, it is also imperative to lead a wholesome life, and thus, anger, bad moods, pessimism, and other negative feelings should be eliminated as much as possible. The program is generally adapted for each individual and for each climate, based on the needs and illnesses of the person. The dietary part is generally a changeable one, in that people’s bodies change over time, and as they do, the macrobiotic diet should be changing with them.

            At this point in history macrobiotics is as popular as it always was, with macrobiotic centers found in practically every country in the world, particularly in most Western countries, and, naturally, Japan. Its popularity grows constantly and for good reason! It works!

Macrobiotics for All Seasons

Macrobiotics for All Seasons: Vegan Recipes for Year-Round Health and Happiness

The Cancer Prevention Diet

The Cancer Prevention Diet, Revised and Updated Edition: The Macrobiotic Approach to Preventing and Relieving Cancer