Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Living a Healthy Lifestyle is all About Simplicity

I've learned the hard way that we tend to over complicate the process of being healthy and fit. We go to the gym all the time, we restrict our calories and measure our food portions. While this is good to some extent - things can get complicated and frustrating rather quickly.

Instead, I've discovered that simplicity reaps for more rewards than complexity. When we want to lose weight or become healthy, most of us reach for the self help books and magazines. I don't know about you, but when I do this it tends to overload my brain. When that happens, I don't do anything.

But when I keep things simple, great things start to happen. I lose weight. I get fit and healthy. My health improves and I don't get as many colds. My allergy symptoms nearly dissapear. Here's what I try to remember:
  • Maintain a simple yet balanced workout program that features activities that I love doing.
  • Drink plenty of water and herbal tea.
  • Eat lots of whole grains, a good amount of protein, and plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Take a time released food based vitamin daily.
And that's it. Losing weight and being healthy is that simple. Yet, I often forget that. For more of my thoughts on this subject, read an article I wrote on called How to Enhance Your Life Through Simple Living.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Treating Menstrual Cramps with Herbs

I get menstrual cramps pretty much every month. Some months it's worse than others. And each time, I try to resist the urge to take painkillers like ibuprofin because I always get an upset stomach from them. I couldn't pull this off without herbs, however.

There are two ways that I use herbs to tret menstrual cramps. The first way is by using the plants to prevent cramping in the first place. I take stinging nettle and oatstraw throughout the month, which help a lot.

When I actually have the cramps, I use the following herbs to help bring me relief. I don't use them all at once - I'll just pick one or two and stick with that.
  • Chamomile
  • Ginger
  • Basil
  • Peppermint
  • Cramp bark

I use a tea for all of them except the cramp bark. For that, I take a tincture. I never mix them - I just take one plant at a time because they don't seem to mix well together. The exception to this is with peppermint and chamomile.

That can help you get started. For more information, check out an article I wrote on ehow called How to Relieve Menstrual Cramps with Herbs.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Using Herbs for Weight Loss the Safe Way

I've been in weight loss mode lately. I'm doing it the old fashioned way - more exercise and healthy eating. But as an herbalist, I can't help but consider herbs that will aid my weight loss efforts. I know, this concept has mixed reviews by some - but hear me out. :)

My first experience with taking herbs for weight loss occurred when ephedra was popular for this, and it was not banned at the time. As an herbalist, I knew that it was utterly ridiculous to try it because of the side effects, but I went for it anyway. Ephedra is not traditionally used as a weight loss helper in the herbal world - it is known as a great respiratory herb and can help with asthma and other lung related problems. Sudafed is derived from this plant.

Anyway, I had an odd reaction to it. It accelerated my heart rate and made me sleepy - the total opposite of how it was supposed to work. In fact, I had to take long naps when I took it. Needless to say, it didn't work.

Over five years later, I know better. Now, I believe that the best approach to using herbs for weight loss is to focus on keeping the body healthy and strong and focusing on the liver. The liver is responsible for fat metabolism. And, since it tends to be overworked, especially if we are overweight, taking medication, drink too much alcohol, etc it is safe to say that if the liver is healthy it can really help. So, I'd focus on herbs like milk thistle, dandelion, and yellow dock to help with weight loss.

I wrote an article at ehow on How to Lose Weight With Herbs that goes into this concept in more detail. I also mention herbs such as green tea and calming herbs such as chamomile to also help with weight loss.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

New Weight Loss Blog - Watch Me Succeed

I love showing people that doing certain things is possible. I currently have a goal to lose weight but I don't believe in diets. So, I started a blog called The Rebel Dieter - it's all about my quest to lose those extra pounds by changing my diet and lifestyle. The focus is on becoming healthier, not on dieting and deprivation.

Diets make me feel obsessed with food and that's the last thing I need when trying to shed unwanted pounds. I've learned that losing weight is all about moving the body and feeding it the right things to keep it healthy. The blog is all about how I'll go about doing that.