Quick and Easy Way to Keep Those Mosquitoes and Bugs at Bay

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Essential Oils, Information About Herbs, Natural Health, Quick and Easy Natural Remedies You Can Do At Home | Posted on 11-11-2015

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Mosquito
The mosquitoes are out in force these days, as are the biting ants, and other annoying insect pests. Some people just never seem to get bitten by them at all, but others just attract them it seems, and are usually covered in annoying itchy bites. So far, for us here in Kuwait, the idea of a mosquito bite, while being unwanted and really uncomfortable, is not something that we need to consider extremely dangerous, but there are places on the earth where they are, such as in places where malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis, etc. are prevalent. Also, West Nile disease is more and more worrying, although we have not had to deal with it in Kuwait so far. So, what can you do if you’re one of those sweet smelling human beings that those mosquitoes and ants want so badly? Plenty!

mosquito essential oil blend

The first plan of action is to prevent those insects from coming around you at all. That is the ideal situation, so that you don’t have to deal with the bites afterward. The most obvious protection is the basic mosquito net. It might be cliché but they are still probably the most effective protection around. The only problem is that you can’t go out with a mosquito net wrapped around you. So, while mosquito nets are great for when you are going to sleep, you would look kind of funny walking around with one draped over your head. The “practical version” of the mosquito net is to simply wear clothing that covers all of your exposed areas. Also, it is important not to wear colors that look too flowery or bright, so the best thing is to wear light and dull earthy colors. Some perfumes and soap fragrances can also attract mosquitoes (and other bugs). The worst time for mosquitoes to bite is during the dark hours (specifically at the exact times of dusk and dawn), although that is not the only time they bite, and they are particularly pleased with dank, stagnant areas, swampy areas, or places where the humidity is high and it is hot. Also, having yellow tinged outdoor lights for places that might have mosquitoes is supposed to help reduce their numbers.

mosquito bracelets

There are practically countless products on the market right now, including some that are really not that safe or healthy. There are several that are safe and hopefully as healthy as chemical formulations would allow without being totally ineffective. There are yet others that are natural and considered totally safe under all circumstances, even pregnancy! Mosquito repellents are what you need to ward off those little rascals. They don’t kill the mosquitoes but they make life so miserable for them that they stop coming around. Citronella is one of the most well known natural items on the market. You can get it in the form of pure essential oil, and also as a blend and in products containing certain quantities of it. Probably the most well known product containing citronella oil is “Skin-So-Soft” from Avon. The great thing is that this product is available right here in Kuwait. Other important mosquito repelling essentials oils that have been included in many name brand marketed products include lemongrass, geranium, cedar, and peppermint.

mosquito sticks

As far as chemical repellents go “Deet” (which is actually N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,N-diemethylbenzamide) is probably the most well-known (or at least one of the most) mosquito repellents around. It is sold practically everywhere too, and comes in several brand names, such as “Off!”, so it’s not difficult to find. These come in many different forms including sprays, wristbands, creams, oils, and more. Just be careful to follow the directions for use, because overusing can result in too much absorption through the skin, which can be toxic. Permethrin is another well known repellent chemical mosquito repellent that is particularly effective on clothing and cloth, and in fact is effective for weeks. If you can’t find one of the types that I have mentioned, then just make certain that whichever type of repellent that you end up using it has been approved by a bona fide, official, and respected health agency. I’m not certain whether any of these are available right now in Kuwait, but even if they aren’t, you should be able to get something similar, if need be.

citronella fire log mosquito repel

Some scientific studies also suggest that if you are prone to being bitten by mosquitoes, taking thiamine (which is vitamin B1) regularly will prevent mosquitoes from bothering you, and this is supposed to be particularly true for those who have serious allergic reactions to the bites.

skin so soft mosquito

But, if it’s already too late and you have already gotten bitten, then relief is easier than you think. There are some great herbs and essential oils out there on the market that you can use to get practically instant relief from mosquito bites. You can use pure lavender or tea tree essential oils directly on the mosquito bites, or you can blend calendula or olive oil (as a base) with several drops of pure lavender, tea tree, peppermint, geranium, German or Roman chamomile, or cypress essential oils. You will get immediate relief from the itching and redness and if the bite is swollen that will improve as well. These essential oils work so well that it is practically miraculous.

lavender mosquito       calendula oil mosquito

There are also several herbs that are great for bug bites, and some of them even grow in your garden. Marjoram, basil, marshmallow leaf, chamomile flowers, calendula flowers, licorice, and aloe (which is widely available in Kuwait) can all be used topically right on the mosquito bite for quick relief, and if you don’t have the herbs fresh, then you can also use dried herbs. You can either soak them in warm water, or brew them into an herbal infusion and then put them on the bites in the form of warm compresses. (These remedies are good for other types of bug bites as well).

calendula 2 mosquito      calendula mosquito

So, if you are one of those people who are prone to getting bitten, you don’t have to worry any more. Even if you can’t prevent the bites, you can get quick relief by using one of these great natural remedies.

 

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

 

Quick and Easy Way To Get Rid of Muscle Spasms From Exercise

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Natural Health, Quick and Easy Natural Remedies You Can Do At Home | Posted on 30-10-2015

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muscle spasm in leg

Lot’s of people complain of muscles spasms in various parts of their bodies, particularly their legs or lower extremities. Some people say that the problem is worse when they are in bed sleeping (or trying to). The really bad spasms even have their own name. We call them Charlie horses (when they are in our leg muscles), but don’t let that cute name fool you. They hurt like crazy, and some people get them quite often. Some people get muscle spasms in their feet too, which is very painful and makes it difficult to walk or move around, particularly when they come regularly. So, the question is… what is happening inside the body that would cause the muscles to go into a spasm like that? There are several possibilities, with some being commoner than others. Let’s look at these causes and see what we can do to remedy the problem.

Probably the commonest reason of all for muscle cramps is over exercise. Naturally, if you have just done a super workout, don’t be surprised if you feel the burn, as they say. Also, if you have taken up a new sport, it is perfectly normal for the muscles to go into a kind of shock in the beginning, so don’t worry about it. The best thing to do in these cases is to soak in hot salty water. It will help your body to work out the lactic acid buildup/low mineral intake that is causing the cramping feeling. But, don’t worry too much, since this problem is only temporary, and will go in a day or two.

Another of the reasons that people may get muscle spasms in their lower extremities could be dehydration. This is a fairly common cause. Here in Kuwait this is particularly likely since the weather here is hot most of the year and it is easy to forget to drink enough water if you are not careful. While this isn’t usually a very dangerous problem, it can quickly turn into one, so always make sure that you drink enough water. Besides the obvious dangers of getting dehydrated, muscle spasms in your legs and feet are not pleasant and if you can avoid them with a little water, do. This is particularly important in the Holy Month of Ramadan, since you are not able to drink water all day. So, do make sure that you get in enough water at night. If not water, at least some kind of liquids, but water is the first choice.

himalaya salt

Click HERE to get Himalayan Salt from Amazon

Another common reason for muscle spasms is the lack of salt in the body. Now, you don’t have to go out and buy a salt block to lick all day long. Just make sure that you’re eating a balanced diet, and that, if you are suffering from leg or foot cramps, you get a little more salt in with your daily intake of liquids. This problem of salt depletion can also occur with the depletion of calcium and other minerals and vitamins, which upsets the equilibrium in your system and can cause all sorts of other problems as well as the muscle cramps. So, always make sure that you eat a well balanced diet, drink plenty of liquids and, if you need to take a multivitamin with minerals, take one! This is particularly important if you are suffering from some type of acute ailment, such as diarrhea, or vomiting, where it is easier for you to become dehydrated and depleted of these important things. But, if you are well and still complain of muscle cramps, drink more water, eat food with a little more salt, and eat foods with plenty of magnesium (like dark leafy greens, avocados, nuts, seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), fish, bananas, dried beans, lentils, brown rice, and yes! dark chocolate).

organic sprouted pumpkin seeds

Click HERE to buy raw sprouted organic pumpkin seeds from Amazon

Sometimes there is no internal problem perse that is causing your cramps… but there are also external factors that can contribute to the problem. The most common external factor would be the cold. While you wouldn’t necessarily think that in Kuwait this would be a problem (everyone knows that the weather here easily goes up to 50 C in the summer months) yet, it really can be a problem here, even in the summer. This is due to the extensive use of air conditioning. So, if you tend to suffer from cramps in the lower extremities, in the summer be careful from overly cold air conditioners, and in the winter make sure you keep warm and out of the cold desert air. Keeping your muscles warm is a simply way of solving your problem. If you must be in a cold environment, either indoors or out, make sure that you are properly dressed. You might even want to go as far as wearing leg warmers and heavier socks. While this might look slightly unusual in the summer, no one will blink an eye in the winter, and don’t worry about it anyway, since your health is more important. Another good remedy is to soak your legs and feet in hot salty water. This is a great remedy for muscle spasms, and just feels good, even after just walking too much. You can also put hot salt water compresses, which will give you the same effect.

heated calf wrap

Click HERE to get this heated calf wrap from Amazon

It is also very effective to use black pepper and ginger essential oils in a base of organic olive oil (or any other organic oil like almond, etc…. all you have to do is put a few drops of each in the base oil and rub it all over the affected area for practically instant relief.

black pepper essential oil ginger essential oil

And a good old foot bath will do wonders for any type of leg muscle spasm. Use water that is quite hot, as hot as you can stand, but not hot enough to burn you obviously 🙂

leg spa foot and leg bathClick HERE to get this foot and leg spa from Amazon

There are some other possible causes of muscles spasms in the legs and feet, but they are rare and caused by a variety of organic diseases, most of which are less common, so before you run off to the doctor to see what the problem is, consider the possible causes that I have mentioned above. Once you have ruled out all of these possibilities, then a trip to a general doctor or other medical practitioner might be in order. It isn’t a good idea to leave this type of ailment too long, without finding out what the problem is, just in case.

If you or someone you know suffers from muscle spasms (cramps) in the legs or feet, it is usually easy to get rid of. Don’t worry about it too much, but just take action, and don’t leave it. You need to make sure that your health in number one on your list of things to do!

 

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

Can Gadgets Work To Help You Lose Weight?

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty, Natural Health, Natural Weight Loss | Posted on 24-10-2015

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fat jiggler

When it comes to losing weight people will do almost anything. But, you will find it interesting to see just what kind of ridiculous things they will actually try. I guess it is a matter of desperate measures for desperate people, but some of these things are hilarious, and really absurd! It really makes you wonder how anyone would actually believe that something like that would work at all! Now, this is not to say that some weight loss gadgets don’t have some merit when it comes to losing weight. That’s not it at all! There are plenty of perfectly good and useful weight loss helpers out there. Unfortunately though, many of the things are a waste of time and money. Those are the ones we will be talking about here.

spot-fat-burners

Check it out! Caffeine laced pantyhose! What will they think of next? While you wear them the caffeine is being released into your body, and supposedly your metabolism is going to be booming in no time flat! Well, if they work, you still need to stay away from them, because, as we stated previously, caffeine is not your friend. So, if you’re thinking of spending your money on this item, don’t.

Skinkiss_Caffeine_Slimming_Tights_Pantyhose

There is also weight loss lip balm. I hope your lips are really chapped, because in order for this to work at all, you would need a lot more of this supposed appetite suppressant than you are ever going to get from swiping this over your lips! Go for the cocoa butter and the salad instead.

burner-balm

Ab-belts are another of the interesting gadgets out on the market today. Do we really think that wearing a special belt around all day or for several hours is going to help us? It’s going to melt away the fat, you say. Highly unlikely! Doing a bunch of stomach crunches for the same amount of time would be sure to give us great abs!

stomach-butt-sculpter

Or perhaps you wish to take it to another level with the “zapping” version, which uses batteries and claims to zap away your problem fatty areas. The only way that I know for sure works for that is the zapping action of a liposuction tube digging away at your fat! I know that zapper is a lot less expensive, but it’s pretty much the same as giving your money away in charity to a really rich guy, and without any of the self satisfaction.

fat joke

Another gimmick that is out in the market is the blue diet light. This is combined with hypnosis apparently. Be very careful when you read about claims like these, because if they worked you would be seeing lots of thin people walking about with beautiful bodies and the reflections of blue lights in their eyes. (Maybe I will tell you about my red light diet story sometime if you are really nice to me. The answer is yes I too, have been gullible!).

japan diet glasses

Along that same line of thought come the diet glasses. These glasses make you think your food is larger. These supposedly work in helping you to eat less according to a study done… OK.  But I will keep my money for those nice designer sunglasses that I had my eye on.

diet earrings

Then, when you take off your diet glasses, you can put on your diet earrings. Here the idea comes from acupuncture and areas on your ears that are supposed to suppress your appetite. Well, do they work? What do YOU think? Now, the kicker is that these earrings are actually cute. You might even want to wear them if they didn’t make you lose weight. But, since they do (?????) that makes it even better! NOT!

sauna suit

All those health clubs that want to suck the fat out of you with their body wraps, fat melting machines and more, are not just whistling Dixie, they are sucking something out of you for sure, but it’s not fat. Basically, it’s your money that they are sucking out of you. So, keep your hard earned money in your pockets and stop wasting it on silly gimmicks that don’t work.

hula-chair

Now, if you don’t want to get bored…what about the hula chair? You can sit on it and never stand up, all the while getting loads of exercise! The best part is that you turn it on and it works all by itself, twisting you in hula-like movements until you turn into Barbie! Don’t run right out and order one now though. They aren’t that cheap, and unfortunately, even though they seem like a lot of fun (did I say that?) they simply aren’t going to give you the results that you are looking for. (Unless the results you are looking for are you sitting in a foolish looking chair twisting like crazy in front of the television).

jiggle machine

Then there are those machines that you lie down on and they do all the work for you, and you’re supposed to lose all kinds of weight. The fact is that anything that allows you lay around like a sloth simply isn’t going to be melting any of that weight off you, no matter how much you hope that it does. Neither will those vacuum chambers that work along the same lines. And those machines that make you jiggle like crazy are just as much of a waste of time as any of those other gadgets. So, steer clear.

air shorts

The moral of the story is that you need to keep your money in your pocket, eat less, and do some kind of exercise of your choice. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing is what you should be doing, while you are cutting down on your intake, because, no matter what anyone tells you, the only way to lose weight (besides cutting off your fat) is to zip up your lips.

 

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

Weight Loss That Really Works!

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty, Natural Health, Natural Weight Loss | Posted on 23-10-2015

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no bread

We have been talking about dieting for several weeks now, and I bet you’re wondering whether there are any diets that actually work, since we have, for the most part, been talking about diet supplements, drugs, and more, that don’t really work. Last week we discussed the two most common forms of weight loss surgery (there are other more minor forms, but I will not get into them now, since they are practically useless). But, not everyone is at a weight heavy enough for weight loss surgery, and some people simply don’t want to take a step that drastic. So, you are certain to be wondering if there is any other way to diet that actually works and doesn’t cost a fortune. Well, there are ways, although, a certain method might work for someone, but not for you. So, you really have to take every case on its own merit, and if you are the one dieting, you have to ask yourself what will work for you personally. If you aren’t sure, then try different things until you get it right, but in the meantime, there are statistics available about what does and doesn’t work for the majority. So, take some advice from others.

One recent study showed that of the only 1 out of 4 dieters actually stuck to whatever diet they had started for a year or more, but if they did they would be more likely to keep off the weight that was lost. The bottom line of this particular study is that no matter what your diet choice is, if you are in it for the long term, you will inevitably be successful.

The problem is that there are so many different diets out there that you probably don’t know where to begin. There are also several private weight loss clinics here in Kuwait, and they are fine and help their patients to a limit. But, after that, the patient is again at a loss. There is no real support system set up to encourage and inspire. Another important factor in successful dieting seems to be the buddy system, or having a friend along for the ride with you. So, it is almost inevitable that, if you are on a diet, being part of a group is going to help you a great deal, if not be totally responsible for the success.

Another important factor is exercise. I know that hardly anyone who needs to be on a diet wants to exercise (I know I don’t). The fact is that it is downright difficult, tiring, and time consuming. But, the fact of the matter is that if you don’t get moving, every ounce of weight that you have to get rid of will not be going very far, and is more likely to reappear on your hips very quickly again even if you do lose it. The idea is to find the type of exercises that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy doing them, there is no point, because how are you going to be able to continue long term with something that you can’t stand? There are so many choices out there you should be able to find one or two types of exercise that suit you.

Then, how will you decide which type of diet you will choose. For starters, if you see the words “lose 30 pounds in 30 days” run in the other direction. Not only will you NOT lose that much weight in that very short period of time, but you will be setting yourself up for disappointment. Choose a diet that is well balanced and had a long track record. There are so many different diets out there you will not be at a loss for choice. I will mention a few good ones here, but you really have to choose the one that works for you. You are an individual, and just because the “heart disease diet” worked for your aunt Mary doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for you too. Some of the good, balanced, healthy diets that I have seen around are The Atkins Diet (my personal favorite, but it must be followed correctly, so you really have to buy the book, sign up for information on their website or e-diets, and follow the rules), South Beach, Healthy Heart, Low Glycemic Index Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, The Mayo Clinic Diet, and there are many more. The idea is that you should be getting enough vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from a wide variety of foods. Those one food diets that you hear about all the time are generally not a really good idea. Your health will suffer and most people get so bored with that type of diet that they end up binging when they are done and gaining back all the weight they lost and more! What a waste (literally and figuratively)!

low-carb-pyramid

Statistics show that dieting with a buddy will give you more of a chance to succeed, so join a diet group if you have the opportunity to do so. If you don’t have a group in your area, join an online group. There are literally hundreds out there. Some of them are free, for example: http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/ is one, and also the Atkins site: http://www.atkins.com/, which is a great and informative site (and I mentioned that I’m particular to the success of this diet, as long as it is followed correctly). The Atkins site has several advantages over others, and one of the best of all is that it is FREE!!! I am also a big fan of e-diets: http://www.ediets.com/. On that site, you have to pay to join, but it is not expensive and worth every penny. You become a part of a group, there are physical challenges, and they work out a diet program for you based on your own personal preferences. This is great because it gives you the support system that you need to be able to continue long term. This site has had a lot of success, and people are very positive about their experiences with it. They offer a high amount of support in whichever area you feel need. I highly recommend it. Weight Watchers is another of my highly recommended sites. Here again you do have to pay a small fee, but you are given so many tools that encourage you to stay on track with your diet that it is worth it: http://www.weightwatchers.com/index.aspx. Still, though the Atkins site is my own personal favorite because it is chock full of information, has support groups, chat groups, recipes, diet advice, and more, and, best of all, it’s free!

My other favorite low carb site is actually a paleo site: Mark’s Daily Apple. 

And, of course, there are many more… if you know any good ones, share them below!

So, the bottom line is, if you want to lose weight, there are literally thousands of options out there for you, but be sure that you choose the one that is right for you. Stay away from fads and diets that cost a great deal of money. Pick a diet that is going to work for you, and give you your desired results, without turning you into a zombie. Now, get out there and shed those pounds!!!

To help you get started… here are some good books that you can get from Amazon~

New Atkins   primal blueprint   primal blueprint total transformation   primal blueprint quick and easy meals   primal blueprint complete set

 

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

 

How Dangerous are Surgical Weight Loss Options?

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty, Natural Health, Natural Weight Loss | Posted on 11-10-2015

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weight loss surgery 1
For the past several weeks we have been talking about many of the diet products on the market these days. There are so many different types of weight loss products out there that we really can’t go over everything, but I think we have introduced enough that our readers are much more aware about them than they were before.

So this week we are going to begin our discussion on the various forms of weight loss surgery that are available to people nowadays. Weight loss surgery has become so widespread all over the world that you are certain to know someone who has done it or someone who knows someone who has. There is some ethical discussion about whether or not this type of surgery is done out of vanity or whether it is done for dire health purposes. Naturally, every different person who is considering doing such surgery has their own reasons, and every person must be assessed separately, but probably most people do it for health AND vanity reasons, which are both valid. Having said this, we must always remember that all forms of surgery are dangerous, can result in death, and before anyone makes the decision to do weight loss surgery (or any other type of surgery, for that matter), all the details, dangers, and potential long term drawbacks of the proposed type of surgery should be well researched, well understood, and well thought out. Any overweight person who is considering doing any of the various forms of weight loss surgeries that we will discuss, must be well aware of all of the risks, as well as what the benefits are.

While many of these types of surgeries seem quite drastic, the fact is that, statistically, it has been proven that overweight (obese) people actually live longer after having done one of the various forms of weight loss surgery. So, drastic or not, some people simply can’t diet their miseries away and need a stronger push. The fact is that obese people are dying every day of the various complications of being obese. According to the American Medical Association in the year 2000 around 400,000 people died from obesity attributed complications (such as diabetes, heart problems, etc). This is where weight loss (also called bariatric) surgery comes into the picture. It doesn’t only make people look better, but it saves lives.

There are several different types of weight loss surgery, some being more drastic than others. Some methods are reversible and some aren’t, so, if you are one of the people considering weight loss surgery, think a thousand times over before you make a decision that you might regret later on.

One of the oldest forms of weight loss surgery is what is called the gastric bypass (also known as stomach stapling, although there is really much more to it than that). This procedure is performed as an in-patient procedure with a stay in the hospital because it is quite drastic. Basically what happens here is that you are opened up surgically, and rearranged. This method is actually made up of several different methods, including a simple bypass, which combines a reduction of the size of the stomach (either through stapling or banding) to the size of a small pouch (but leaves the rest of the stomach intact), combined with a change in the location of the intestine, which prevents people from eating too much and also acts to prevent absorption in certain cases as well, and a more serious version, where the entire stomach is cut off and made into a tiny pouch, the last portion of the small intestine is reattached to this small pouch stomach while bypassing the duodenum and the jejunum completely, thus preventing absorption of food. While the weight loss (as you can well imagine) is great with this, since it is so drastic the side effects are almost always increased.

Naturally, as you would imagine, with such a change in the body you are going to have several possible side effects. These side effects include vomiting (particularly when an episode of overeating occurs), dumping (which is when the food that is eaten passes directly through the bowel without being absorbed, and causes weakness, diarrhea, nausea, etc.), vitamin deficiency, and more.

The other newer type of weight loss surgery is called the laparoscopic gastric band. Basically, this type of surgery consists of tiny laparoscopic incisions that enable placement of a plastic “band” around the low end of the esophagus (at the very top of the stomach), which creates a tiny pouch. The idea behind this is that once the band is filled (which is done with a needle through a port under the skin) it causes the person to feel full after eating only tiny amounts of food, thus the weight loss. This procedure must also be done in the hospital, but it requires a much shorter stay. Also, since the procedure is done laparoscopically, and is much less invasive than the gastric bypass, the recovery time is much shorter. The LAP band is also a reversible procedure, so that if, for any reason (but why would you want to?) you wish to remove the band, you can.

With this type of weight loss surgery there are several advantages, including the fact that it is adjustable, so that if you need to eat (for example, if you become pregnant) you can simply deflate it. It has much fewer complications than the gastric bypass surgery, although there are always going to be a minute amount of people who suffer certain complications, and these can include erosion of the area of the stomach where the band is touching, band slippage, etc., although the percentage of people that these complications occur with are extremely low, and with proper diet and care, all of these complications should be easily averted.

One of the drawbacks with this type of operation, as compared to the gastric bypass is that sometimes the weight takes longer to come off, but that could also be considered an advantage, since the longer it takes, the better the skin tone could come out (who wants horrible saggy skin?). Also, apparently, according to long term studies, the weight that is taken off with the LAP band surgery is more permanent, because often with gastric bypass, the weight is regained after several years, because the people can eventually stretch their pouch with long term overeating (for those who don’t change their eating habits and make a commitment to it). Logic will also tell you (as well as statistics) that the less invasive the procedure is the less complications you will have, so the LAP band is the least invasive, the normal gastric bypass is more invasive, and the drastic version of the gastric bypass is the most invasive of all, and carries with it the most complications and drawbacks.

These types of operations are definitely not for the faint of heart. They are for seriously obese people who have a long history of dieting and exercise without success. These are for people who desperately need to lose weight, usually for medical reasons. Usually the minimum Body Mass Index (BMI) for even being considered for this operation would be 40 or more, or are 100 pounds or more overweight (here in Kuwait, being 100 kilos or over is often a standard for doctors). The other problem is that this type of procedure is expensive, so it is still not an option for everyone, but prices are going down, and for those who desperately need it, the government hospitals offer cut rate prices (because you only have to pay for the band itself, for example in the LAP band procedure).

So, while these operations are not a standard weight loss solution, and are quite severe when compared to the dieting and exercise traditionally employed for weight loss, they are extremely effective, and statistically have shown better results than simple diet and exercise in both the short and long term. So, if you are suffering from severe obesity combined with serious (or potentially serious) medical problems, you might want to consider some form of weight loss surgery, but do your own investigations, and do see a highly qualified doctor.

(For people who are interested in finding out more, you can contact me through email: miaponzo@yahoo.com, for more information and names of doctors).

Are You Using the Wrong Weight Loss Products?

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty, Natural Health, Natural Weight Loss | Posted on 01-10-2015

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Diet-Pills

The other day on Dr. Phil there were some young ladies on the show who were suffering from a variety of diet disorders, including addiction to diet pills. That is exactly why I began this series, and if you have seen the program, you would know how dangerous this problem is. Many, if not all, of these pills are extremely dangerous, and it so happens that the ones that this particular young lady was taking contained ephedrine, but there are so many out there on the market that it is difficult to keep track of them!

The following are some more of the choices out there on the market today. Good or bad, they are widely available and generally easy to get.
Fat Blockers (Chitosan)

This supplement, also known as D-Glucosamine, has also been touted “the fat magnet”, but is it really safe and effective? This supplement is made from the skeletons of crustaceans, such as shrimp, crabs, and lobsters. Some studies have shown that it can help lower cholesterol levels slightly, so the idea is that it will help prevent fat digestion by binding to it. This has never been tested or shown, so the jury is still out with this one. While this product isn’t usually very dangerous, there is a lot of doubt out there as to whether or not it lives up to its claim. So, let the buyer beware, unless you like throwing your money out.

Guar Gum

This supplement is derived from the “cluster bean”. While guar gum has conventionally been used as a thickening agent in many packaged foods, it is now being marketed as a diet aid. It, like chitosan, is supposed to block the absorption of dietary fats. It is also supposed to help to make you feel fuller (this is from the fact that this is a fiber). While guar gum is considered a fairly safe supplement, in general, it does come with certain side effects, including fluctuations in blood sugar levels (hence not safe for diabetics), bloating, cramping, flatulence, diarrhea, and more. Since this is a bulking agent, we must also remind you of the chance of this supplement causing an obstruction either in the esophagus or another place in the gastrointestinal tract. Some of the cases where this has occurred have led to death. In fact it seems that the US has banned the inclusion of this supplement for this very reason. While guar gum is still approved for use in foods (in small amounts), it is considered an unsafe diet supplement. So, guar gum is not a very good choice in your quest for weight loss, even if it is still available in various forms.

Chromium

This dietary supplement comes in many forms, including GTF Chromium and Chromium picolinate, which are basically minerals found in every day foods. The claims on this supplement are that it can help to increase weight loss, increase muscle mass, increase insulin efficiency, regulates fat production, gives more energy, etc. Several studies have been done on this supplement, and it seems not to live up to any of the claims that have been made for it. There were no beneficial differences found between experimental groups and control groups. On the contrary with some obese patients, it has even been shown to be counter-effective, in fact increasing the body weight. Some studies have even found it to be cell mutating, which is really scary. It has also been noted in some isolated situations that this supplement has caused side effects including disorientation, disruption of motor abilities, and irregular heartbeat. So spending a lot of money on chromium supplements is not your most consumer conscious way to go. All those claims of fat burning and exercise-free dieting seem to be bosh, and people would be better off steering clear.

Herbal Laxatives/Diuretics

These are the variety of herbal tea blends that are being marketed all over the world (including Kuwait) as diet teas. These blends contain herbs that act as either a laxative (moving the bowels) or a diuretic (causing increased urine output). When people diet it is not normal, nor is it recommended for them to flush out the food, fat or fluid from their bodies with artificial means like these teas. You need your fluids and your nutrients, and flushing them out quickly is not a good idea. So, the next time you see a diet tea on the shelf read the ingredients. If it contains herbs like senna, cascara, aloe, cassia angustofolia, locust plant or any of the stimulants that we mentioned last week, such as guarana, kola nut, ephedra, etc., leave it there on the shelf. This type of diet aid can be dangerous and addictive. These teas can cause severe cramping, bloating, diarrhea, nervousness, vomiting, nausea, sleeping problems, and even breathing problems and death!

Aristolochic Acid

This is a plant substance that is found in many so-called “natural” diet pills. These products are often herbal products, particularly Chinese blends. The herbs themselves are probably safe, but this ingredient can cause renal failure, and has caused many people to need kidney transplants. It is also carcinogenic. Unfortunately, even with all these problems, it is still being used and marketed as a weight loss supplement, so, again, let the buyer beware!

Carb Blockers

One of the newest products to hit the diet and weight loss market are “carb blockers”, that are supposed to block carbohydrate metabolism. This is supposed to mean that you can eat a high carbohydrate meal without any of the backlash and weight gain. The important ingredient in these products is a constituent of white beans, which is called “phaseolamin”. The idea is that it binds the carbohydrates in order to prevent absorption. There are some studies that seem to show some metabolic inhibition when ingesting carbohydrates, but there are no long term studies in this regard. The problem with this product is the side effects, which can include severe bloating, digestive upset, abdominal pain or cramping, diarrhea, and more. Is discomfort worth the benefit though? In any case, so far the jury is still out with regard to the safety of this supplement, but it looks clear at this point. The good thing is that they are not very expensive, so you won’t be putting your pocketbook out much if you decide to try them.

If you really want to lose weight safely, try these…

The New Atkins   Practical Paleo   Against all Grain

Just click on the books to buy from Amazon.

(To be continued)

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

Quick and Easy Way to Get Rid of UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections)

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Natural Health, Quick and Easy Natural Remedies You Can Do At Home | Posted on 27-07-2015

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urinary-tract-infection

Many people suffer from recurring UTIs (short for urinary tract infections). This can be a particular problem in the hot weather that we’re having now, when you don’t manage to get enough liquids into your body and become more dehydrated than you should be. While making sure that you get plenty of liquids helps, some people suffer anyway, no matter how much liquid they drink. Wintertime can also be a problem, since people drink less and less liquids at that time.

Our kidneys and bladder need plenty of liquids, preferably plain, fresh water, flushed through them all the time in order to keep all the bacteria that pass through these organs in check. If the intake of liquid falls too low, bacteria are given a chance to grow and multiply, which they do so fast that a UTI is the result. People who are suffering from certain diseases are particularly likely to get UTIs. Those who have diabetes, etc. are more likely to get UTIs. Elderly people are more prone to getting UTIs as well. Also, women are more susceptible than men to bladder infections, due to the short distance that the bacteria have to travel from the outside to get into the bladder. Pregnant women and those going through the menopause are more likely to get UTIs. While most UTIs are not normally life threatening or seriously dangerous, they are most certainly extremely uncomfortable and can sometimes be excruciating, and left out of control can lead to more severe problems.

You know that you have a UTI if you suffer from the following symptoms:
• Feeling of fullness while urine output is minimal
• Stinging or pain on urination
• Feeling of constant need to urinate
• Discomfort in the lower abdomen
• Pain in the back or sides of the back
• Bloody urine
• Fever
• Chills
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Discharge (from the urethra (the opening of the bladder) or surrounding areas, particularly for women).
• Referred pain in the thighs, etc.
• Cloudy urine
• Bad smelling urine
• Confusion (in more serious cases, or with the elderly)

A simple test will be able to tell you right away if you are suffering from UTI, in fact the one that is used in the government hospitals here now is instant. You will know your results within seconds of dipping the stick into the urine. If that type of test is not available in your area, a more traditional urine test will be done with the results in several hours, up to a day or two.

So, what do you do if you are suffering? Naturally, prevention is the best medicine, so do your best to make sure that you eat well and get plenty of liquids in order to keep UTIs away in the first place, but if you end up with one anyway, don’t worry, there are plenty of things you can do. If you seem to be prone to getting UTIs then keep out of the bathtub! Make sure that you shower instead, in order to prevent the entry of more bacteria through the urethra. Make sure that you wash very well with water after going to the bathroom. This is particularly important for those women on their monthly cycles. Wearing cotton underwear instead of synthetics has been shown to help prevent UTIs as well.

Conventional doctors usually treat UTIs with antibiotics, which kill the bacteria. But, the problem with that solution is that the antibiotic kills other good bacteria as well as the bad guys, which causes other problems. The good news is that there are plenty of natural alternatives to treating the UTI with chemicals. Nature has given us many options when it comes to this.

The easiest solution is to drink plenty of water. Flushing out the bacteria is the easiest method of preventing and solving UTIs. Also, make sure that you urinate often enough, because leaving the urine to build up in the bladder is another way that the bacteria have a chance to grow. But, if you still end up with something more serious even after taking these precautions, there are several herbs that are great for getting rid of UTIs.

Probably the most potent that I have ever found, is one of the easiest to get and use. Corn silk is one of the best herbs for UTI. Just take it out of the husk while it is fresh and steep (preferably don’t boil) it covered in a big pot of water. The resulting light tea can be drunk hot or cold, and doesn’t have much of a taste at all. If you suffer from frequent UTIs you can dry your corn silk for future use, and some people like to keep it in the freezer.

cornsilk

Cranberry juice (which has always been the old standby) is still a great choice but try to make sure that your juice is pure and not mixed with lots of sugar or other juices. Blueberries and blueberry juice are also good for this problem, but they are not widely available in Kuwait and are very expensive. You can find some lovely frozen blueberries in most freezer sections in most supermarkets.

cranberry juice   organic cranberries

There are other herbs that are great for dealing with urinary problems. Some of them are: parsley, ginger, juniper berries, dandelion leaf, marshmallow, golden seal, uva ursi, buchu leaf, dong quai, birch leaf, Echinacea, stinging nettle leaf, horsetail, and more. While most of these are not available in Kuwait, you can certainly find them easily and widely available in any herb shop in the USA or the UK, so do make an effort.

dandelion leaf       nettle leaf

echinacea

UTIs are not the way you want to start (or end) your day, but help is certainly on the way. It’s right there in your kitchen or at your local grocery store. So, you don’t have to suffer in silence any more, and you can often get rid of the problem yourself, without having to take chemical medications. So, what are you waiting for?

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

From the Arab Times June 2006

 

Heartburn

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Natural Health, Quick and Easy Natural Remedies You Can Do At Home | Posted on 26-07-2015

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heartburn

Practically everyone has suffered from heartburn at one time or another in their lives. Those who have know that it is a most uncomfortable situation to be in. People who suffer often pop anti-acid tablets like they are going out of style. While this may help the problem, this help is only temporary. It is, by no means, a permanent solution. Heartburn is one of those things that repeats itself again and again, literally. (No pun intended).

Another name for heartburn is acid reflux, and some people who suffer from this ailment have a variety of other similar disorders, one of which is called GERD, otherwise known as “gastroesophageal reflux disease”. GERD has been in the news a lot lately. Acid reflux and GERD are not usually one, but a variety of digestive disorders. This is when you feel like your food is repeating on you, when you feel a burning sensation in your chest (and it’s not heart problems). If you suffer from an overabundance of acid reflux you might have a hiatus hernia (where the stomach comes up through the opening in the diaphragm). When this happens you might end up needing surgery. Luckily most acid reflux (heartburn) is a simple problem of some of your stomach acid coming up through your esophagus and causing the burning sensation of these delicate membranes. While, for most people, this is an occasional distraction, some people are practically debilitated by it. When the problem becomes serious, medical professionals often recommend a variety of chemical medicines, and, even when the problem isn’t being caused by a hiatus hernia, sometimes even surgery. Luckily, in the overall majority of cases, surgery for heartburn isn’t necessary. It certainly isn’t very common in any case, and if more people tried prevention and alternative methods of treatment, surgery and chemical medication would be unnecessary in most, if not all cases.

I remember one patient of mine who actually got to the point of not being able to eat at all. This patient literally was living on tiny amounts of tea and coffee and had lost tons of weight. What he didn’t realize was that it was his lifestyle and habits that were causing the problem, and in continuing them the way they were, he was unwittingly causing it to get worse. It was like a vicious circle. He would feel pain, drink tea, smoke a cigarette, suffer, drink coffee, suffer, and smoke another cigarette. His esophagus could take no more. It was almost completely seized up and he couldn’t eat any form of solid food at all. He was literally on death’s doorstep. His treatment was simple. Stop smoking, drinking tea, and coffee, eat a healthy diet, and drink an herbal combination (in a tea) that included several soothing and healing herbs. He followed my advice to the letter. He had an immediately improvement in his symptoms, and was better within two days!

There are several factors that contribute to the occurrence of acid reflux (heartburn). These factors can be easily turned around with a little effort. These factors include: lack of sleep, eating too close to bedtime, weight gain, smoking (especially heavy smoking), lack of exercise, poor posture, too tight clothing (particularly tight waistbands, belts, etc.), eating too many spicy, acidy, or fatty foods, overeating (in general), and pregnancy.

The dietary recommendations would include a low carbohydrate diet. This means, little or no bread, rice, pasta, sugar, flour products, fruit, etc., and more vegetables, and a wide variety of proteins. Avoid tomatoes, citrus fruits, heavy spices, chocolate, mints (like candy, etc), tea, coffee, colas (and other soft drinks, particularly those with carbonation and caffeine), artificial additives, colorings, and preservatives, and certain kinds of fatty foods, particularly dairy products. Eating smaller meals will always be beneficial in these cases. Also there are certain medications that can increase reflux problems, for example ibuprofen. So, if you are taking medication and aren’t sure if it might be causing your problem, consult your medical professional.

There are several alternative methods of treating acid reflux, including herbal teas. Some of the most effective herbs for this problem are: oatmeal, marshmallow leaf, chamomile, fennel seed, rose petals, anise seed, slippery elm, calendula, and marjoram, which all soothe and reduce swelling in the mucous membranes. Some people swear that if you eat a banana a day you will not have to suffer from heartburn. I haven’t tried this myself, though. I have tried the herbs on many patients, and any one or more of the herbs I mentioned work like a charm. But, it is important that the other behaviors change along with the treatment. Getting rid of the coffee, tea, and cigarettes is particularly important.

If you suffer from acid reflux, otherwise known as heartburn, help is right around the corner. Yes, you will have to change your lifestyle a bit, but not THAT much, and the relief that you will feel will be enormous. It will be well worth every effort that you have made. So, what are you waiting for?

Here are the herbs you can use (Click on any of the images to buy from Amazon and help to support this website):

Slippery Elm Bark calendula flowers
marjoram leaf fennel seeds

 

oatmealchamomile flowersmarshmallow leaf

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

From the Arab Times June 2006

Your Natural Health

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Natural Health | Posted on 29-01-2014

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If you care about your health, you’re always better off starting out naturally.

I will be posting all of my articles, sites, and health blogs right here for everyone to benefit from.

Hopefully I will be making easy to understand how-to videos for you all as well very soon.

So if you have any questions, here is the place to ask them. That way everyone can benefit.

So, subscribe to Your Natural Health Online for all of the up to date information on authentic peer reviewed studies coming from around the world, as well as folklore, traditional healing and a lot more.

We will be talking about anything and everything, and if you have a special problem, post it here, and I will make sure we address it.

You can also read the Arab Times Kuwait newspaper every Thursday for my most recent articles and information.

Keep healthy… Naturally!