Saturday, December 27, 2014

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are said to be the worst pain a body can endure. Some say it equals childbirth, others say it surpasses that pain. Some say it beats gallstones by a mile. Since I have only experienced childbirth I’ll have to take their word for it. I do everything possible to prevent experiencing either kidney or gallstones.

Many different things can damage the kidneys.
  • Some of them lead to a reduced functioning kidney, while other ones lead to stones. Some things that increase your chances of kidney stones include:
  • Drinking sodas
  • Medications
  • Factory farmed meats
  • Table Salt
  •  Unfiltered tap water
  • Ongoing problems with emptying your bladder
  • Not consuming sufficient amounts of water, or fluid
  • Not getting proper nutrition through diet
  • Infections that are not correctly treated
  • Infections that are not treated in a timely manner
  • Overuse of analgesics
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • A diet rich in GMO

Symptoms that indicate you may be developing kidney problems, including stones:
  • Chronically high blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Circulatory problems
  • Poor diet
  • Recurrent kidney stones
  • Urinary tract and kidney Infections
  • Chronic alcohol usage and/or smoking
  • Chronic NSAID (Tylenol, aspirin, advil) usage
  • Pain medications
  • Multiple antibiotic prescriptions
  • High c-reactive protein (CRP) levels
  • A change in the appearance of your urine
  • A change in the quantity of your urine
  • Dizzy spells
  • Bouts of vomiting
  • Anemia
  • Problems with concentration
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling cold the majority of the time
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Itchy skin
  • Bad breath
  • Pain in your legs
  • Pain in your waist
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it might be time to practice some home health care before it gets bad enough that you need to see a doctor. All the ‘remedies’ have been shown to be safe if you are in otherwise good health. If you have any issues whatsoever it is always safest to check with your health care advisor before you try them. You don’t want to interfere with what you are doing for another condition.

Foods that reduce kidney stones:

  1. Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, and Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. This is one that comes up frequently, with different ratios and timing. The lemon juice and apple cider vinegar are thought to reduce the size of the stones, while the olive oil is thought to be a lubricant.
  2. Millet. Soaking these seeds in water gives you a ‘milk’ that is said to dissolve stones. After the milk is poured off you can cook the seeds like you would porridge for a hot, hearty meal.
  3. Asparagus. This green spring vegetable is packed with natural compounds, including glycosides and saponins that give it significant diuretic, anti-rheumatic and blood purifying qualities. Consequently, the regular consumption of asparagus is known to increase urine production, soothe the urinary system, boost cellular action in the kidneys and even dissolve the acids and salts that comprise kidney stones. You can smell the difference in your urine after one meal.
  4. Garlic. A proven antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant, allicin is well-known for treating two of the main conditions that cause kidney disease, namely diabetes and high blood pressure.
  5. Watermelon. These fruits are low in potassium and phosphorus, which are two minerals that dysfunctional kidneys can have problems balancing. Secondly, they are comprised of approximately 92 percent alkaline water, which helps flush the urinary system of accumulated toxins (watermelon fasts can even dissolve kidney stones). Lastly, they help the liver to process ammonia and deliver it to urea, thus easing the strain on the kidneys while ridding the body of excess fluids.
  6. Kidney Beans. Actually it is a tea made from the pods that is helpful.
  7. Pomegranate. Whether you eat the fruit or drink the juice the sourness and astringent properties are what is thought to be helpful.
  8. Celery is full of potassium and works as a diuretic. This could help flush the kidneys to prevent stones.
  9. Basil. Used in food, in teas, or as an essential oil this herb seems to induce stone expulsion from the urinary tract.

There are also several herbs or supplements that have been shown to be extremely helpful:

  1. Goldenrod. Goldenrod is a key ingredient in many traditional teas used to help flush out kidney stones and stop inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract. Goldenrod has been shown to possess diuretic, antioxidant and astringent properties.
  2. Bearberry leaf or Uva Ursa. Though there are two names this is the same thing. The leaves of this small shrub have been used as an herbal folk medicine for centuries as a mild diuretic and astringent, and in the treatment of all forms of kidney and urinary tract infections. Bearberry can help reduce accumulations of uric acid and relieve the pain of bladder stones by strengthening and imparting tone to the urinary passages.
  3. Stinging nettle. The leaf is used to soothe and treat urinary tract infections and kidney problems.
  4. Shatter Stone. It has been found to inhibit, and even dissolve, calcium oxalate crystals (the main component of kidney stones), the berry helps individuals sidestep the painful - and sometimes dangerous - experience of passing large stones. It also reduces spasmodic activity in the kidneys, bladder and ureter, which further assists in smoothly expelling stones from the system.
  5. Hydrangea root behaves as a powerful diuretic and also an antilithic herb, which ejects and prevents kidney stones
  6. Gravel root provides defense against kidney stones and increases the flow of urine. Gravel root also plays a role in maintaining an alkaline body by expelling excess uric acid, a cause of kidney stones
  7. Marshmallow root eliminates toxins and soothes cell membranes in the urinary system, making it easier to release kidney stones
  8. Horsetail herb helps regulate the calcium stored in the body and soothes urinary tract inflammation
  9. Corn silk reduces the risk of recurring kidney stones and helps treat bladder infections
  10. Magnesium. It has been shown that magnesium keeps the minerals calcium and potassium in the bloodstream so the body can utilize them properly. This could eliminate a buildup of these minerals in the kidneys.
With these many options you are sure to find something that works for you. In addition to this we always want to have as clean a lifestyle as possible. This includes the food we eat, the beverages we drink, and the cleaning products and personal care products we use. They all add up to our toxic load and put additional stress on our livers and kidneys.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dairy is questionable for your health

Americans like to think our country is the most progressive and healthiest country in the world. That just isn’t the truth any more. There are several state and federal policies that are making us sicker than we need to be. One of these is the issue of GMO foods. Another one is raw milk vs pasteurized milk.

Many states completed prohibit the sale of raw milk. Others bend a little and say that a farmer may sell raw milk if he is standing on his property, but he can’t deliver it to his customers. Proponents of these laws say it is for national health, that raw milk isn’t good for us. But, the scientific studies don’t agree. Other countries recognize the falsehood and allow raw milk sales, even in vending machines. There is talk about putting pharmaceuticals in vending machines, but our government won’t allow natural milk in them.

When a cow is raised in close quarters an unsanitary conditions there is a very large chance that the milk produced will contain bacteria, viruses and even parasites. If is it lumped together and trucked long distances the chance for contamination is even greater. This is the excuse for pasteurizing all milk. What are not mentioned is what the pasteurization process does to that milk, and how these changes affect those that drink it.  The pasteurization process destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamins, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, and actually promotes pathogens. It also creates MSG in the milk. The ultra-pasteurized is even worse. The extra heating builds up even more MSG in the milk.

If the pasteurized milk is not organic it carries even more risk because of the crowded living conditions of the animals. In an effort to keep them alive and producing more milk they are given grains (not a natural food for cows) antibiotics and growth hormones. This changes the natural bacteria in the milk, causing more harmful bacteria to grow. The hormones given to make them grow more and produce more milk affect the human body in the same way. It is one of the causes of our obesity epidemic.  There is a clear correlation between drinking pasteurized milk and an increase in osteoporosis.

Many people that think they are lactose intolerant really aren’t. They are just drinking or eating pasteurized dairy products. The process kills the lactase enzymes that help us digest the milk. It also changes the proteins in the milk to a form that is not as easily digested as those in raw milk.

The advantages of raw milk are numerous. The natural bacteria in raw organic milk are the type we need in our bodies. The milk is higher in omega 3 fatty acids and lower in omega 6 fatty acids. Science shows it is the best ratio we can provide for our bodies.  It contains over 60 digestive enzymes needed by the human body. These do not survive the pasteurization process. It is loaded with vitamin and minerals that we need.  It is rich in the amino acids that our bodies need. It contains an enzyme that directs calcium to the bones, and another one that helps you metabolize fats.

The safety of raw milk is in the statistics.  Between 1973 and 2009 there were 1100 illnesses linked to raw milk, but 422,000 illnesses linked to pasteurized milk. The CDC shows no deaths recorded from raw milk, but at least fifty deaths from pasteurized milk or cheese.  Yet, the CDC list raw milk as risky. The FDA does not list raw milk on their risky list, but does list pasteurized ice cream and cheeses.
Many opponents to pasteurization feel that instead of protecting human lives the laws against raw milk protect the big factory farms. If the small farmer cannot sell his milk direct he must sell it to the big dairy for pasteurization. This limits free enterprise and reduces the competition for these big dairies.

In addition to insisting on pasteurized milk many of us have been taught that we ought to be drinking low fat milk. The reasoning is that the fat in milk is saturated fat. We have been taught that saturated fat is bad for us, but that isn’t the truth. Saturated fat is actually good for us. Eating organic full fat dairy products actually reduces our chances of developing diabetes. It also has been found to lower the risk of cancer, especially bowel and colon cancer.  We think of fat as fattening, but compared to women that ate low or nonfat dairy those that ate full fat dairy gained 30 percent less weight. They also had lower incidences of heart disease.  Low fat dairy products have also been linked with an 85 percent chance of fertility problems in women.

In addition to leaving out all the good stuff the producers of low and nonfat dairy have been given permission to put artificial stuff in our milk without telling us. This includes artificial sweeteners and thickening agents. These are purposely added to the milk to make it more palatable.

Some say the answer is to avoid all dairy products. That is easier said than done. They are very prevalent in our foods, and to be honest, they taste good. Instead of avoiding all of them it just makes sense to be selective about the dairy products you eat. Insist on knowing how it was grown and how it has been handled since it left the cow.