Dear Dr. Ma,
How do I help myself to have a healthy liver?
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Like all our organs, we need our livers to be healthy, to function properly, and to work well for our whole lifetime. The best way to do this is to give them a time of rest! Then they can repair, rebuild, and repeat this process on a regular basis.
Your liver has many functions. One primary function has to do with digestion. This tells you that if you’re always eating and digesting food (without a rest), you are working your liver to death!
Many people give their liver a rest during springtime by fasting or cleansing it. I say, better yet, do this daily instead of once or twice a year. Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Dr. David Sinclair, agrees. His lifelong work is in the science of aging at all stages of life. He is co-director of the Center for the Biology of Aging, which maximizes wellness and longevity. Dr. Sinclair developed what he now calls “Time-Restricted Feeding.”
Dear Dr. Ma,
I am so confused about what to eat or what NOT to eat. Please help!
Keep it simple! Eat the colors of the rainbow. Each color has something unique to feed your body, mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. What this looks like is all your whole-food fruits and vegetables and all the greens, with nuts, seeds and legumes (if your body can handle them).
Fresh is best. Dried is great. You can just rehydrate them to put the water back in. Frozen works. You can use any process without heat to seasonally preserve your food for year-round use. If it comes out of your garden, or can be sprouted on your windowsill, or comes from your neighbor’s bush or tree, it’s real food.
Dear Dr. Ma, I was told I need more minerals, but the tablets recommended constipate me. What are my options? — Susan
Great question! I was just reading the other day a statement that struck me funny: “If we could get all our minerals from the earth’s crust, we would have eaten it away to nothing.” Yet, as you are experiencing, our bodies don’t digest and process minerals straight. All plants, whether growing in the sea or on land, are made to do this job for us. Simply put, the roots pull the minerals out of the soil, we eat the plants, and receive the benefits of easily digested, assimilated, utilized, and eliminated minerals. Whole-food minerals, or balanced mineral salts, as they are called in the body, are needed in every interaction and process in our body’s systems.
Maya Angelou once said, “I have found that, among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” How true! This season, liberate your soul and nurture the souls of others by giving them healing aromas!
Essential oils can be added to any Christmas craft, from homemade candles to home-baked goods. Imagine the feeling your friends and family will get as they smell the aromas that escape when they open their gift boxes. Here are a few ideas:
Gather dried leaves and flower petals. Place in a large glass jar. Add a couple of drops of your favorite oils. Close the lid and shake. Store overnight. Sew little fabric pillows out of a sheer fabric. Fill them with the potpourri. Seal and trim with ribbons and bows.
Not sure which oils to add? Look for essential-oil blends, too, as they work well, and have been specially formulated to evoke a special mood or feeling (usually expressed in the blend name). Here is a short list of popular and common oils that can be used, along with the feelings they invoke:
Aother autumn has made it to our doorstep, and with it clearer skies, and all the wonders of a changing season, along with its chores, and pumpkin everything! As we harvest our end-of-summer bounty, we ready our gardens for a long winter’s rest. These chores, like raking leaves, stacking firewood, and cleaning out the garden, are very healthy for your heart. Since everyone can benefit from a healthy heart, especially into our later years, I decided to look into it.
Simply put, here’s how it works: Our cells collectively make up organs; each organ has a meridian (energy pathway) that flows through it. Movement creates that energy and the heart meridian moves through the arms. So, moving the arms produces an energized and healthy heart—think swimming, dancing, power walking, sweeping, and Chi Gong. You get the idea.
All fruits are sun-kissed, yet the citrus family comes in right at the top in terms of the needed hours of sunlight to grow an abundance of juicy fruits. Mostly eaten raw, we juice lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits, and we zest the peels. Lemon juice is a wonderfully healthy replacement for vinegar in salad dressings. My mom’s and my favorite jam has always been orange marmalade, made from the sour-orange rind.
It wasn’t until I studied the use of food from other countries, in this case citrus, that I realized how much we throw away that other cultures find uses for. Years ago,
I learned that the pith (the chewy, white part under the skin) is a main source for rutin.
Rutin is a bioflavonoid that is found in apples, buckwheat, most citrus fruits, figs, and both black and green tea. It has powerful antioxidant properties. It also helps your body produce collagen and utilize vitamin C. It is included in more than 130 therapeutic, medicinal preparations, and by itself, offers a number of health benefits, such as: Helps blood circulation, prevents blood clots, lowers cholesterol, reduces arthritis pain, and even heals bruising. [Healthline.com]
“What?” you say, “How can food be mood? That’s rude!” Well, ask yourself this question: “Do I crave different foods depending on my mood?” Most of us would answer, “Oh, yeah.” So how does that work? Let me remind you that we are sunlight-activated, chemical/hormonal, and electrical beings!
The chemistry of food interacts with our body’s chemistry, its thoughts and feelings. Emotions activate different hormones. When you eat a banana, you don’t become the banana—the banana becomes you. This is the job of the liver. Keep in mind that food is much more than nutrients, fiber and protein—all the things we normally hear about. It provides life- and light-giving energy. I like the feeling of being light on my feet. I choose to eat a heavy meal when I’m ready to roll over and have a siesta! My grandson used to call it a food coma.
Summer savory (Satureja hortensis) grows well in the mountains of Montana. It is deer-resistant and it thrives in most soil types and weather conditions. There are about 14 species of this highly aromatic herb, but you can only find the seeds for the two of them. Summer savory is an annual in the same family as the perennial, winter savory. Savory leaves were formerly used to cure bee and wasp stings. Both summer and winter savory can be propagated from seeds sown in April. The seeds are very slow in germinating. The early spring seedlings are often topped off for fresh use in June. When the plants are in flower, they may be pulled up and dried for winter use.
This herb has lilac tubular flowers that bloom in the northern hemisphere from July to September. It grows to around 1–2 feet in height and has very slender, bronze-green leaves. Summer savory is a traditional popular herb in Atlantic Canada and Europe, where it is used in the same way that sage is in the west.
Dr. Rashid Buttar is a best-selling author and a natural-health activist. He ranks among the top-50 doctors in the U.S. and has treated thousands of patients with life-threatening conditions in over 92 countries. He is the creator of the medical-assessment program called, “The Map to Get AHEAD™” (see page two), which stands for “Advanced Health Evaluation and Assessment for Detoxification.”
As the first steps toward wellness, he recommends these five simple lifestyle habits. He assures us that they will produce improved sleep, increased energy, and better bowel movements, while enhancing focus, concentration and an overall sense of well-being—all in 30 days. These steps are part of what I’ve been recommending in my practice and in my articles in this magazine for years. Why not give these simple changes a try and see what they will do for you?
Move your body every day. Start walking, if nothing else, and increase your time/steps every day. Goal is to walk 2-to-2.5 miles a day.
Parents are always looking for a fun way to engage their children, especially in these times. I came across the Wild Food Homeschool Teaching Guide, by Linda Runyon, from the Wild Food Company (OffTheField.com). Linda writes: “Over my decades of teaching about wild food, I’ve noticed that people who become interested in learning it often have two reactions — one right after the other. First, there are many who had no idea that FREE, tasty nutrition is available everywhere, right under their nose. Second, wheels start turning in their minds as they realize that they have come upon information that practically guarantees that they and their loved ones need never go hungry.”
Children are fascinated with the idea of going out in their back yard, or to an open field or forest, to find that the wild food growing there can be picked, washed, and eaten. They, soon after, become very interested in finding additional wild plants to identify and harvest. They love to help prepare meals that can be served using the foods that they themselves gather. The guide includes a “Rules of Foraging” list and a fun project where you rototill a patch of ground in your yard to just wait and see what springs up naturally to identify, harvest, and eat.