Today’s I Ching Hexgram for Jan. 24th is 50:The Cauldron

50: The Cauldron

Thursday, Jan 24th, 2013






The cooking pot symbolizes nourishment and rejuvenation. Sooner or later, good comes to those who do good; joy comes to those who bring humor to others; opportunity comes to those who persist in their dreaming. Rejuvenation is a returning to innate desires — and a re-charging of batteries through the fulfillment of these wishes. This reading suggests nourishment and transformation for people of goodwill. Great good fortune and success are indicated for nourishing relationships.

Healthy, regular sustenance is important, as symbolized by the cooking pot, which provides nourishment to all. When a cycle of humanity reaches its peak, each person’s sustenance comes in the form of his or her deepest needs and highest aspirations.

Rejuvenation means that men and women of talent and insight are being properly nourished and valued. When a society or group is functioning properly, these people are supported, and encouraged to contribute to their best abilities. A fresh approach to old habits is indicated in a period of rejuvenation. Look for ways of putting new life in old forms. Only when great vitality is present can breakthroughs be achieved.


Vitamins in Herbs

Vitamins in Herbs

by Amber S.

Vitamin A -Vitamin A is good for the eyes. It helps night vision and is also useful for the proper function of skin cells and mucous membranes. Found in: alfalfa herb, annato seed, dandelion, lamb’s quarters, okra pods, paprika, parsley,herb, violets, watercress.

Vitamin B1 -(also called Thiamine) This vitamin is important for growth and also for maintaining a healthy appetite. Found in: bladderwrack, dulse, fenugreek, kelp, okra, wheat germ.

Vitamin B2 -(also called Riboflavin) Vitamin B2 is essential for growing children and is part of a nutritious diet for adults. Found in: bladderwrack, dulse, fenugreek, kelp, saffron.

Vitamin B12 -Essential for normal development of red blood cells. This vitamin is used in the production of red blood cells. It is also essential for growth in children and will put healthy weight on very thin children. Found in: alfalfa, bladderwrack, dulse, kelp.

Vitamin C -Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins as it cannot be stored in the body and must be consumed daily. This vitamin is used for teeth and gums. It can be destroyed by heat, sunlight and oxygen, so it must be kept in a tightly sealed dark container. Found in: buffalo berry, burdock seed, capsicum, coltsfood, coriander, elder berries; marigold, oregano, paprika, parsley herb, rose hips, watercress.

Vitamin D -Vitamin D is essential for building strong teeth and bones. It also prevents the disease rickets. Found in: annato seed, watercress, wheat germ.

Vitamin E -Vitamin E is good for eyes and skin as well as healthy bones. Found in: alfalfa, avena sativa, bladderwrack, dandelion leaves, dulse, kelp, linseed, sesame, watercress, wheat germ.

Vitamin G –(B2) Vitamin G is an essential vitamin for a healthy diet. Found in: hydrocotyle asiatica.

Vitamin K -Vitamin K is used to help the blood clot. Found in: alfalfa herb, chestnut leaves, sheperd’s purse.

Vitamin P –(Rutin) Vitamin P is essential in the strengthening and production of the capillaries. Found in: buckwheat, german rue, paprika.

Niacin –(aB-complex vitamin) Niacin is essential to a healthy diet and prevents pellagra. Found in: alfalfa leaves, blueberry leaves, burdock seed, fenugreek, parsley herb, watercress.

12 Foods With Super-Healing Powers

12 Foods With Super-Healing Powers, supporting caregivers

As part of a healthy diet, whole foods play a significant role in helping our  bodies function optimally. There are hundreds of extremely nutritious whole  foods, but the dozen on this list do more than contribute healthy nutrients —  they help you heal. In fact, every food on this list boasts multiple healing  effects, from fighting cancer to reducing cholesterol, guarding against heart  disease, and more. Eat these super-healing picks and start feeling pretty super  yourself.

1. Kiwifruit This tiny, nutrient-dense fruit packs an  amazing amount of vitamin C (double the amount found in oranges), has more fiber  than apples, and beats bananas as a high-potassium food. The unique blend of  phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in kiwifruit helps protect against  heart disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory disease. Kiwifruit’s natural  blood-thinning properties work without the side effects of aspirin and support  vascular health by reducing the formation of spontaneous blood clots, lowering  LDL cholesterol, and reducing blood pressure. Multiple studies have shown that  kiwifruit not only reduces oxidative stress and damage to DNA but also prompts  damaged cells to repair themselves.

Kiwifruit is often prescribed as part of a dietary regimen to battle cancer  and heart disease, and in Chinese medicine it’s used to accelerate the healing  of wounds and sores.

How much: Aim to eat one to two kiwifruit a day while  they’re in season, for the best taste and nutrition. California-grown kiwifruit  are in season from October through May, and New Zealand kiwifruit are available  between April and November.


  • Kiwifruit contains enzymes that activate once you cut the fruit, causing  the flesh to tenderize. So if you’re making a fruit salad, cut the kiwifruit  last.
  • The riper the kiwifruit, the greater the antioxidant power, so let them  ripen before you dig in.

2. Cherries Cherries boast a laundry list of healing  powers. For starters, they pack a powerful nutritional punch for a relatively  low calorie count. They’re also packed with substances that help fight  inflammation and cancer. As if that weren’t enough, in lab studies, quercetin  and ellagic acid, two compounds contained in cherries, have been shown to  inhibit the growth of tumors and even cause cancer cells to commit suicide —  without damaging healthy cells. Cherries also have antiviral and antibacterial  properties.

Anthocyanin, another compound in cherries, is credited with lowering the uric  acid levels in the blood, thereby reducing a common cause of gout. Researchers believe anthocyanins may also  reduce your risk of colon cancer. Further, these compounds work like a natural  form of ibuprofen, reducing inflammation and curbing pain. Regular consumption  may help lower risk of heart attack and stroke.

In Chinese medicine, cherries are routinely used as a remedy for gout,  arthritis, and rheumatism (as well as anemia, due to their high iron content).  Plus they’re delicious.

How much: Aim for a daily serving while they’re in season  locally. And keep a bag of frozen cherries in your freezer the rest of the year;  frozen cherries retain 100 percent of their nutritional value and make a great  addition to smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal.


  • Buy organic, since conventionally grown cherries can be high in  pesticides.


3. Guavas Guavas are a small tropical fruit that can be  round, oval, or pear-shaped. They’re not all that common, so they might be hard  to find, depending on where you live. But if you can track them down, it’s more  than worth it. Guavas contain more of the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene  than any other fruit or vegetable, and nearly 20 percent more than tomatoes. Our  bodies can’t process much of the lycopene in tomatoes until they’re cooked; the  processing helps break down tough cell walls. However, guavas’ cell structure  allows the antioxidant to be absorbed whether the fruit is raw or cooked, and  the whole fruit offers the nutrition without the added sodium of processed  tomato products.

Lycopene protects our healthy cells from free radicals that can cause all  kinds of damage, including blocked arteries, joint degeneration, nervous system  problems, and even cancer. Lycopene consumption is associated with significantly  lower rates of prostate cancer; in addition, men with prostate tumors who  consumed lycopene supplements showed significant improvements, such as smaller  tumors and decreased malignancy. Lycopene has also been found to inhibit the  growth of breast cancer cells, and research suggests that this antioxidant may  also help protect against coronary heart disease.

This strange-looking little fruit is also packed with vitamin C and other  antioxidants. Serving for serving, guava offers more than 60 percent more  potassium than a banana, which can help protect against heart disease and  stroke. In fact, the nutrients found in guavas have been shown to lower LDL and  boost HDL cholesterol, reduce triglycerides, and lower blood pressure.

How much: Aim to eat fresh guavas as often as you can when  you can find them in stores. They’re not commonly available in the freezer  section; and most guava juices are processed and sweetened, so they don’t  provide the same superior nutrition that the whole, fresh fruit does. One to two  guavas a day is a good goal.


  • Opt for the red-fleshed variety if you can; both are loaded with  antioxidants, but the red type has more than the white-fleshed apple  guava.

4. Beans Beans are a miracle food. They lower  cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and insulin production, promote digestive  health, and protect  against cancer. If you think of fiber, protein, and antioxidants and  immediately think whole grains, meat, and fruit, think again — beans offer all  three in a single package.

An assortment of phytochemicals found in beans has been shown to protect  cells from cancerous activity by inhibiting cancer cells from reproducing,  slowing tumor growth. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health  reported that women who consumed beans at least twice a week were 24 percent  less likely to develop breast cancer, and multiple studies have tied beans to a  reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast  and colon cancers.

Beans deliver a whopping amount of antioxidants, which help prevent and fight  oxidative damage. In fact, the USDA’s ranking of foods by antioxidant capacity  places three varieties of beans (red beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans)  in the top four — and that’s among all food groups. Beans are a great source of  dietary fiber, protein, and iron. They also contain the amino acid tryptophan;  foods with high amounts of tryptophan can help regulate your appetite, aid in  sleep, and improve your mood. Many are also rich in folate, which plays a  significant role in heart health. And depending on the type of bean you choose,  you’ll also get decent amounts of potassium, magnesium, vitamin B1 and B2, and  vitamin K. Soybeans are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

In Chinese medicine, various types of beans have been used to treat  alcoholism, food poisoning, edema (particularly in the legs), high blood  pressure, diarrhea, laryngitis, kidney stones, rheumatism, and dozens of other  conditions.

How much: Aim for a minimum of two servings of beans per  week.


  • Adzuki and mung beans are among the most easily digested;  pinto, kidney, navy, garbanzo, lima, and black beans are more difficult to  digest.

5. Watercress Not only is watercress extremely  nutritious, it’s about as close as you can get to a calorie-free food. Calorie  for calorie, it provides four times the calcium of 2 percent milk. Ounce for  ounce, it offers as much vitamin C as an orange and more iron than spinach. It’s  packed with vitamin A and has lots of vitamin K, along with multiple antioxidant  carotenoids and protective phytochemicals.

The nutrients in watercress protect against cancer and macular degeneration,  help build the immune system, and support bone health. The iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to  your body’s tissues for energy. The phytochemicals in watercress battle cancer  in three ways: killing cancer cells, blocking carcinogens, and protecting  healthy cells from carcinogens. They’ve also been shown to help prevent lung and  esophageal cancer and can help lower your risk for other cancers.

In Chinese medicine, watercress is thought to help reduce tumors, improve  night vision, and stimulate bile production (improving digestion and settling  intestinal gas). It’s used as a remedy for jaundice, urinary difficulty, sore  throat, mumps, and bad breath.

How much: Eat watercress daily if you can. In some regions,  it’s more widely available during the spring and summer, when it’s cultivated  outdoors. But since it can also be grown hydroponically in greenhouses, you can  find it year-round in many grocery stores and at your local farmer’s market.


  • You can cook it, but watercress is better for you when you eat it raw. Tuck  it into a sandwich in place of lettuce.
  • Toss it with your favorite vegetables and eat it in a salad.
  • Watercress is great in pesto — just replace the basil with watercress — and  soups.
  • Use watercress as a wonderfully detoxifying ingredient in a juice or  smoothie.

6. Spinach You already knew spinach was good for you,  but did you know just how good? Spinach protects against eye disease and vision  loss; it’s good for brain function; it guards against colon, prostate, and  breast cancers; it protects against heart disease, stroke, and dementia; it  lowers blood pressure; it’s anti-inflammatory; and it’s great for bone health.  Spinach has an amazing array of nutrients, including high amounts of vitamin K,  calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and iron.

A carotenoid found in spinach not only kills prostate cancer cells, it also  prevents them from multiplying. Folate promotes vascular health by lowering  homocysteine, an amino acid that, at high levels, raises the risk of dementia  and cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke. Folate has also  been shown to reduce the risk of developing colorectal, ovarian, and breast  cancers and to help stop uncontrolled cell growth, one of the primary  characteristics of all cancers. The vitamin C and beta-carotene in spinach  protect against colon cancer in addition to fighting inflammation, making them  key components of brain health, particularly in older adults.

Spinach is loaded with vitamin K (one cup of cooked spinach provides 1,111  percent of the recommended daily amount!), which builds strong bones by helping  calcium adhere to the bone. Spinach is also rich in lutein, which protects  against age-related macular degeneration, and it may help prevent heart attacks  by keeping artery walls clear of cholesterol buildup.

How much: Fresh spinach should be a daily staple in your  diet. It’s available in practically every grocery store, no matter where you  live, it’s easy to find year-round, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more  nutritionally sound, versatile green. So do yourself a healthy favor and aim for  a few ounces, raw or lightly steamed, every day.


  • Add a handful of fresh spinach to your next fruit smoothie. It’ll change the  color but not the taste.
  • Conventionally grown spinach is susceptible to pesticide residue; stick to  organic.

7. Onions Onions get a bad rap for their effect on the breath, but  that’s not the only part of the body where they pack a wallop. Onions contain  potent cancer-fighting enzymes; onion consumption has been shown to help lower  the risk of prostate and esophageal cancers and has also been linked to reduced  mortality from coronary heart disease. Research suggests that they may help  protect against stomach cancer. Onions contain sulfides that help lower blood  pressure and cholesterol, as well as a peptide that may help prevent bone loss  by inhibiting the loss of calcium and other bone minerals.

Onions have super antioxidant power. They contain quercetin, a natural  antihistamine that reduces airway inflammation and helps relieve symptoms of  allergies and hay fever. Onions also boast high levels of vitamin C, which,  along with the quercetin, battles cold and flu symptoms. Onions’ anti-inflammatory properties  help fight the pain and swelling associated with osteo- and rheumatoid  arthritis. Onions are also extremely rich in sulfur and they have antibiotic and  antiviral properties, making them excellent for people who consume a diet high  in protein, fat, or sugar, as they help cleanse the arteries and impede the  growth of viruses, yeasts, and other disease-causing agents, which can build up  in an imbalanced diet.


How much: For all the health benefits onions provide, it  would be ideal to eat one a day. However, if that’s not doable for you, add a  few onions to your weekly grocery list and try to eat a little bit every day.  All varieties are extremely good for you, but shallots and yellow onions lead  the pack in antioxidant activity. Raw onions provide the best nutrition, but  they’re still great for you when they’re lightly cooked. And cooking meat at  high temperatures (such as on a grill) with onions can help reduce or counteract  carcinogens produced by the meat.


  • Onions should be stored at room temperature, but if they bother your eyes  when you cut them, try refrigerating them for an hour beforehand.

8. Carrots Carrots are a great source of the potent  antioxidants known as carotenoids. Diets high in carotenoids have been tied to a  decreased risk in postmenopausal breast cancer as well as cancers of the  bladder, cervix, prostate, colon, larynx, and esophagus. Conversely, diets low  in carotenoids have been associated with chronic disease, including heart  disease and various cancers. Research suggests that just one carrot per day  could reduce your risk of lung cancer by half. Carrots may also reduce your risk  of kidney and ovarian cancers. In addition to fighting cancer, the nutrients in  carrots inhibit cardiovascular disease, stimulate the immune system, promote  colon health, and support ear and eye health.

Carrots contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin C,  and an incredible amount of vitamin A. The alpha-carotene in carrots has shown  promise in inhibiting tumor growth. Carrots also contain the carotenoids lutein  and zeaxanthin, which work together to promote eye health and prevent macular  degeneration and cataracts. In Chinese medicine, carrots are used to treat  rheumatism, kidney stones, tumors, indigestion, diarrhea, night blindness, ear  infections, earaches, deafness, skin lesions, urinary tract infections, coughs,  and constipation.

How much: Eat a serving of carrots each day if you can, and  enjoy them year-round. Carrots are good for you whether they’re raw or lightly  cooked; cooking helps break down the tough fiber, making some of the nutrients  more easily absorbed. For the best nutrition, go for whole carrots that are firm  and fresh-looking. Precut baby carrots are made from whole carrots and, although  they’re convenient, they tend to lose important nutrients during processing.


  • Remove carrot tops before storing them in the fridge, as the tops drain  moisture from the roots and will cause the carrots to wilt.
  • Buy organic; conventionally grown carrots frequently show high pesticide  residues.

9. Cabbage Cabbage is a powerhouse source of vitamins K  and C. Just one cup supplies 91 percent of the recommended daily amount for  vitamin K, 50 percent of vitamin C, good amounts of fiber, and decent scores of  manganese, vitamin B6, folate, and more — and it’ll only cost you about 33  calories. Calorie for calorie, cabbage offers 11 percent more vitamin C than  oranges.

Cabbage contains high levels of antioxidant sulforaphanes that not only fight  free radicals before they damage DNA but also stimulate enzymes that detoxify  carcinogens in the body. Researchers believe this one-two approach may  contribute to the apparent ability of cruciferous vegetables to reduce the risk  of cancer more effectively than any other plant food group. Numerous studies  point to a strong association between diets high in cruciferous vegetables and a  low incidence of lung, colon, breast, ovarian, and bladder cancers.

Cabbage builds strong bones, dampens allergic reactions, reduces  inflammation, and promotes gastrointestinal health. Cabbage is routinely juiced as a  natural remedy for healing peptic ulcers due to its high glutamine content. It  also provides significant cardiovascular benefit by preventing plaque formation  in the blood vessels. In Chinese medicine, cabbage is used to treat  constipation, the common cold, whooping cough, depression and irritability, and  stomach ulcers. When eaten and used as a poultice, as a dual treatment, cabbage  is helpful for healing bedsores, varicose veins, and arthritis.

How much: The more cabbage you can include in your diet, the  better. A study of Polish women found that those who ate at least four servings  of cabbage per week as adolescents were 72 percent less likely to develop breast  cancer later in life than their peers who consumed only one weekly serving or  less.


  • Try raw sauerkraut. It has all the health properties of cabbage, plus some  potent probiotics, which are excellent for digestive health.
  • Use the whole cabbage; the outer leaves contain a third more calcium than  the inner leaves.
  • Both are nutritional stars, but red cabbages are far superior to the white  variety, with about seven times more vitamin C and more than four times the  polyphenols, which protect cells from oxidative stress and cancer.

10. Broccoli You’ll find it difficult to locate another  single food source with as much naturally occurring health-promoting properties  as broccoli. A single cup of steamed broccoli provides more than 200 percent of  the RDA for vitamin C (again, more than oranges), nearly as much of vitamin K,  and about half of the daily allowance for vitamin A, along with plentiful  folate, fiber, sulfur, iron, B vitamins, and a whole host of other important  nutrients. Calorie for calorie, broccoli contains about twice the amount of  protein as steak — and a lot more protective phytonutrients.

Broccoli’s phytochemicals fight cancer by neutralizing carcinogens and  accelerating their elimination from the body, in addition to inhibiting tumors  caused by chemical carcinogens. Studies show evidence that these substances help  prevent lung and esophageal cancers and may play a role in lowering the risk of  other cancers, including gastrointestinal cancer.

Phytonutrients called indoles found in broccoli help protect against  prostate, gastric, skin, breast, and cervical cancers. Some research suggests  that indoles also protect the structure of DNA and may reduce the risk of  prostate cancer. Extensive studies have linked broccoli to a 20 percent  reduction in heart disease risk. In Chinese medicine, broccoli is used to treat  eye inflammation.

How much: If you can eat a little broccoli every day, your  body will thank you for it. If you can’t swing it, aim for eating it as  regularly as possible. Like many other vegetables, broccoli provides fantastic  nutrition both in its raw form and when it’s properly cooked. Cooking reduces  some of broccoli’s anticancer components, but lightly steaming it will preserve  most of the nutrients. Broccoli is available fresh year-round in most areas, but  if you can’t find it where you live, frozen broccoli is a good substitute.


  • Steaming or cooking broccoli lightly releases the maximum amount of the  antioxidant sulforaphane.

11. Kale Kale is highly nutritious, has powerful antioxidant  properties, and is anti-inflammatory. One cup of cooked kale contains an  astounding 1,328 percent of the RDA for vitamin K, 192 percent of the RDA for  vitamin A, and 89 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. It’s also a good source of  calcium and iron.

Kale is in the same plant family as broccoli and cabbage, and, like its  cruciferous cousins, it contains high levels of the cancer-fighting compound  sulforaphane, which guards against prostate, gastric, skin, and breast cancers  by boosting the body’s detoxification enzymes and fighting free radicals in the  body. The indoles in kale have been shown to protect against breast, cervical,  and colon cancers. The vitamin K in kale promotes blood clotting, protects the  heart, and helps build strong bones by anchoring calcium to the bone. It also  has more antioxidant power than spinach, protecting against free-radical damage.  Kale is extra rich in beta-carotene (containing seven times as much as does  broccoli), lutein, and zeaxanthin (ten times the amount in broccoli). In Chinese  medicine, kale is used to help ease lung congestion.

How much: Like cabbage, the more kale you can eat, the  better. A daily serving is ideal. Eat it as much as you can, as long as you can  find it fresh at your local grocery or farmer’s market. In some areas, it’s  available all year; in others, it only makes an appearance during summer and  fall.


  • Kale’s growing season extends nearly year-round; the only time it’s out of  season is summer, when plenty of other leafy greens are abundant.
  • Steam or saute kale on its own, or add it to soups and stews. Cooking helps  tenderize the leaves.
  • Kale is also a great addition when it’s blended in fruit smoothies or  juiced with other vegetables.

12. Dandelion The same pesky weed known for ruining  lawns has a long history of being used as a healing herb in cultures around the  globe. One cup of raw dandelion greens provides 535 percent of the RDA of  vitamin K and 112 percent of the RDA for vitamin A. Dandelion greens are also a  good source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, fiber, and potassium. Among all foods,  it’s one of the richest sources of vitamin A; among all green vegetables, it’s  one of the best sources of beta-carotene.

Dandelion has been used for centuries to treat hepatitis, kidney, and liver  disorders such as kidney stones, jaundice, and cirrhosis. It’s routinely  prescribed as a natural treatment for hepatitis C, anemia, and liver  detoxification (poor liver function has been linked to numerous conditions, from  indigestion and hepatitis to irritability and depression). As a natural  diuretic, dandelion supports the entire digestive system and increases urine  output, helping flush toxins and excess salt from the kidneys. The naturally  occurring potassium in dandelions helps prevent the loss of potassium that can  occur with pharmaceutical diuretics.

Dandelion promotes digestive health by stimulating bile production, resulting  in a gentle laxative effect. Inulin, a naturally occurring soluble fiber in  dandelion, further aids digestion by feeding the healthy probiotic bacteria in  the intestines; it also increases calcium absorption and has a beneficial effect  on blood sugar levels, therefore being useful in treating diabetes. Both the  dandelion leaves and root are used to treat heartburn and indigestion. The  pectin in dandelion relieves constipation and, in combination with vitamin C,  reduces cholesterol. Dandelion is excellent for reducing edema, bloating, and  water retention; it can also help reduce high blood pressure. On top of all  that, dandelion contains multiple antidiarrheal and antibacterial  properties.

In Chinese medicine, dandelion is used in combination with other herbs to  treat hepatitis and upper respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and  pneumonia. The sap from the stem and root is a topical remedy for warts. Imagine  — all this from a lowly weed!

How much: How much dandelion to incorporate into your diet  boils down to two factors: availability and personal preference. Dandelion  greens are considered a specialty item in some areas and therefore can be  difficult to find. They also have a pungent taste, and people tend to love or  hate the flavor. If you can find fresh dandelion greens and you enjoy the taste,  make them a regular part of your diet.


  • Use the root in soups or saute it on its own.
  • If the raw leaves are too bitter for you, try them lightly steamed or  sauteed.


What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You: 9 Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You: 9 Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

The body is a magnificent machine. When things go awry, it generally  doesn’t  just shut down without warning, like an incandescent light bulb  popping its  filament. Instead it sends us little signals (think of them  as gentle  biological taps on the shoulder) letting us know that  something is amiss.

“Physical signs and symptoms are ways your body  tries to alert you to deeper  imbalances,” says Elson M. Haas, MD, a San  Rafael, Calif., physician with a  natural-medicine approach and author of  Staying  Healthy with Nutrition (Celestial Arts,  2006). “Taking the  time to decipher the body’s codes is always better than  simply popping a  pill and hoping the symptoms just go away. Ideally, we want to  get to  the causes of problems, not just suppress the end result of ill health.”  But interpreting the body’s quirky Morse code requires a deep level  of body  awareness that, like any skill, takes time and practice to  perfect. To that  end, we recruited a handful of the country’s leading  integrative health  practitioners to help identify nine of the most  common conditions underlying  frequent, and sometimes mysterious,  symptoms. Read on to clue into your body’s  messages.

You’re  drinking too much diet soda…

One likely signal: Headaches

Background: Artificial sweeteners, particularly  aspartame   (found in Nutrasweet and Equal), can trigger headaches, even  migraines.  At  highest risk are people with a genetic disorder called   phenylketonuria (or PKU  for short); they lack the enzyme needed to   metabolize a substance  (phenylalanine) that is created when the body   breaks down aspartame. But even those without the genetic  disorder may   find that drinking diet soda results in brain fog or  headache. Why?  Animal  studies have shown aspartame to be a potent  neurotoxin, at least  in young  rats. I’m concerned about whether  aspartame might cause nerve  damage in  humans, as well — or at least  disrupt the nerve signaling that  enables the  brain to register  satiety,” says Sharon Fowler, MPH, a  faculty associate at  the  University of Texas Health Science Center at  San Antonio who studies  the  health effects of artificial sweetener use.  One of the prime  suspects is the  methanol in aspartame, which is broken  down into  formaldehyde, a known  carcinogen. People who are sensitive to   formaldehyde may experience headaches  after ingesting aspartame.

Other signals: Intense cravings for sweet or salty  foods,   inability to focus, irritability

How to respond: When the urge for diet soda strikes,  Kathie  Swift, MS, RD, LDN, chief nutrition adviser for the online-based  sites   MyFoodMyHealth and My Foundation Diet, suggests drinking  sparkling  water  flavored with a splash of 100 percent fruit juice and a  squeeze  of lime.

You’ve got candida overgrowth…

One likely signal: Itchy ears, throat or mucus   membranes

Background: The average American downs nearly 150  pounds of  sugar and high-fructose corn syrup a year, according to the  United  States Department of Agriculture. And if you’re eating anywhere  near that much  sugar, you may have more than just a sweet tooth — your  body may be hosting an  unhealthy overgrowth of Candida albicans.  A small amount of this  common, yeast like fungus living in the gut is OK  when its numbers are kept in  check by healthy flora. But when an  intestinal imbalance allows it to run amok,  it acts like kudzu,  colonizing everything in its path. Among its favorite  environs are the  body’s warm, dark nooks and crannies, such as between the  toes, under  the breasts and, yes, in the ears. As it infiltrates, it irritates  and  inflames the skin, leading to the telltale signs of itching and  redness.

Other signals: Mood swings, fatigue, weak immune  system, weight gain, frequent yeast  infections

How to respond: If you think you have candida  overgrowth,  the quickest fix is to starve the little buggers. Candida  flourish in the  presence of both refined and unrefined sugar, such as  fresh fruit, dried fruit  and fruit juice. Cutting off their food supply  can bring their numbers back to  a healthy level. They also love refined  flour products and anything fermented,  such as alcohol and soy, so if  you have a serious overgrowth, you may need to  cut out all of the above  for a number of consecutive weeks.

You’re  dehydrated…

One likely signal: Chapped lips

Background: Lips are a reflection of the health and   hydration of the entire body. “If you are well hydrated, then your lips  will be  well hydrated,” says Elizabeth Lipski, PhD, clinical  nutritionist and author of  Digestive Wellness (McGraw-Hill,  2004). Less water  in the body means less moisture for the skin– the  body’s largest organ. The  delicate tissue of the lips is extra sensitive  to drought. “If you are  constantly using lip balm or lip gloss to sooth  chapped lips, it’s a sign you  need to drink up,” says Lipski.

Other signals: Headaches, infrequent urination, dark  yellow  or smelly urine, dry skin, slow turgor (meaning that if you  pinch the skin on  the back of your hand, it doesn’t snap right back into  place). Although the  aging process slows turgor down somewhat, even in  older adults it still should  return to normal within a second or two.

How to respond: Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of  water a  day can be intimidating, says Swift, so if you’re not able to  quaff that  amount, you can still get hydrated by sipping herbal tea and  working additional  servings of fruits and vegetables into your daily  diet. “The transition to a  more whole-foods diet puts us on autopilot to  get more water because they are  naturally high in moisture,” says  Swift. And, make sure to include whole foods  that are rich in essential  fatty acids, such as nuts and seeds, avocados, and  anchovies and  sardines, which help maintain healthy cell membranes and hold in   moisture.

You’re  not getting enough fiber…

One likely signal: Constipation

Background: Constipation is the clearest indicator  of the  body’s need for more fiber. “Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate up  to 100 grams  of fiber a day and had an average stool weight of 2  pounds,” says Mark Hyman,  MD, the editor of Alternative Therapies in  Health and Medicine and  author of The UltraSimple  Diet (Pocket Books, 2007).

“Today, the average American eats less than 8 grams of fiber a day,  and the  average bowel movement is a puny 4 ounces.” That’s a problem, he  says, because  the bowels are key to the body’s elimination process.  When traffic is backed  up, toxins from the bowel leach back into the  body and can cause a multitude of  inflammation-based health problems in  everything from your  digestion and skin to your heart and brain. They  can also disrupt hormonal  balance and immunity. The bottom line, Hyman  says: “If stools are hard and hard  to pass, you’ve got a problem.”

Other signals: Frequent hunger pangs, energy slumps,   digestive trouble, skin problems, inflammatory conditions

How to respond: Eat more legumes, vegetables, fruits  and  whole grains. All are chock-full of fiber and other nutrients,  making them  natural go-to foods. Getting the recommended 35 to 40 grams  of fiber a day not only improves bowel health, but it also  lowers the  risk of diabetes and heart disease, says Andrew Weil, MD, director  of  the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine of the College of Medicine  at  the University of Arizona in Tucson.

If you want other ways to sneak extra roughage into your day, Swift  suggests  sprinkling rice-bran fiber on salads or oatmeal. She likes  rice-bran fiber  because it’s gluten-free and has been shown to help  eliminate toxins, such as  PCBs. Another one of her favorite fiber  boosters is a seasoning she makes out  of crushed pumpkin seeds, ground  flax meal, sesame seeds, kelp flakes and sea salt —  basically, a riff on  gomasio, which is used as a salt alternative in Japanese  cuisine. Put  it in a wrap, sprinkle over brown rice or use to garnish soups,  she  says. “The nuts, seeds and ocean veggies are a nutrient- and  fiber-licous  powerhouse.” (Keep it in the fridge to lengthen its  lifespan.)

You  have a B-vitamin deficiency…

One likely signal: Cracks at the corners of the  mouth

Background: “You see nutritional deficiencies first  in  those  tissues that turn over the quickest, such as the tongue and  lips,” says   Lipski. Studies show that cracks or sores that appear at the  corners  of the  mouth (a.k.a. cheilitis) may be a sign that your body  isn’t  getting enough B  vitamins. “Deficiencies of one or more of the B   vitamins may occur fairly  easily,” notes Haas, “especially with diets   that include substantial amounts  of refined and processed food, sugar or   alcohol.”

Other signals: Anemia, low energy, fatigue, skin  problems,   dark circles under the eyes

How to respond: Your best bet is eating a  whole-foods  diet and prioritizing foods high in B vitamins.  The richest   dietary source of B vitamins is found in brewer’s yeast or  nutritional   yeast (although, if you have candida issues, you’ll want to skip  those).   Other solid picks include wheat germ, whole grains, legumes, egg   yolks,  sweet potatoes, salmon, red meat, liver and poultry.

Taking a good B-complex vitamin  supplement can also be helpful  (particularly if  you’re a  vegetarian). Under the care of a nutritionally  inclined health   professional, you may also be prescribed a supplement  for a specific B  vitamin  (or even given a vitamin B-12 shot) to help  correct a  significant deficiency.  But be careful mixing up your own  B-vitamin  cocktails. When taken in excess  and out of balance with other  B’s,  certain B vitamins can wind up leaching  nutrients out of your  system.  That’s why emphasizing B-rich foods should be  your first  priority.

You’re eating something that doesn’t agree with you…

One likely signal: Eczema

Background: First a little background about food  intolerances. When the body doesn’t tolerate a food  well, ingesting that  food creates a chronic, low-level irritation or  inflammation in the  gut. Over time, with regular exposure, the irritation  worsens and  creates fissures in the spaces between the cells. (Picture the  walls of  the gut, once tightly knitted together, looking more like an old   afghan.) These holes allow bacteria and their toxins, as well as  incompletely  digested proteins and fats, to “leak” out of the gut and  into the bloodstream.  Called leaky gut syndrome (or increased intestinal  permeability), this  condition sets the stage for myriad health  problems, including rashes and skin  problems, like eczema.

The skin is the body’s largest elimination organ, notes Lipski, so  it’s not  surprising that it comes under assault when toxins careen  through the  bloodstream. “A skin rash or eczema is a sign that the body  is trying to slough out  these toxins,” she says. “It’s trying to  eliminate the problem the best way it  knows how.

Other signals: Gas, bloating, fatigue, sinus  congestion,  foggy thinking

How to respond: An elimination diet is the best way  to  pinpoint the offending food. “Start with one or two foods you  suspect,” says  Swift, who prefers to call this the “illumination diet”  because its focus is on  “illuminating your health.”

Don’t know where to start? Foods that are most likely to wreak havoc  on the  gut include wheat and gluten-containing products, dairy products,  sugar, soy, eggs, corn and yeast. If you’re  uber-motivated, take Haas’s  advice and go off what he calls “the big five” for  a week: wheat,  dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol. “It’s not easy to do”, he  admits, “but you’re guaranteed to learn a lot about your body’s signals.” You  might also consider keeping a food journal. Spend a week or two  writing down  what you eat and how your body feels in the minutes, hours  and days afterward  (e.g., an hour after you eat dairy, you feel  bloated). “It’s about pattern and  symptom recognition and connecting the  dots,” says Swift, which in turn helps  you decide which foods to  eliminate first.

You’re  drinking too much caffeine…

One likely signal: Fatigue

Background: “Caffeine goes to an already low energy  bank account and  tries to lend it a little extra energy for the short  term,” says Haas. “But  it’s getting that energy from your own stores,  meaning you have less and less  on reserve, leaving you less able to  generate your own energy on an ongoing  basis.”

Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system.  Specifically, the  chemical gooses the adrenal glands into releasing  hormones — namely cortisol  and adrenaline that tell the body to go  faster. The short-term result can be  increased focus and better hand-eye  coordination. But overdo caffeine on a  regular basis and, eventually,  the central nervous system runs out of gas. “If  you don’t restore  yourself with sleep, nutrients and relaxation, you’ll quickly get into a   cycle of whipping a weakened horse,” says Haas.

Other signals: Jitters, agitation, insomnia,  heartbeat  irregularities, frequent urination

How to respond: Weil advises limiting your daily  dose of  caffeine to less than 300 milligrams (mg). As a reference, a  12-ounce cup of  Starbucks brewed coffee packs 260 mg of caffeine, while a  12-ounce Americano  (two shots of the coffee chain’s espresso added to  hot water) contains 150 mg.  A 12-ounce cup of black tea, on the other  hand, contains roughly 100 mg and  green tea only 50 mg. “If you’re going  to indulge,” advises Swift, “think about  the quality of the source. Are  you drinking green tea or a chemical-laden energy drink? What’s a   healthy amount for you? Most people know what amount their system can  handle,”  she says. In the meantime, support your adrenal glands with B  vitamins  (especially B5/pantothenic acid), vitamin C and licorice. Also,  fuel up on  healthy, whole foods that boost and maintain your energy.

You’re low on stomach acid…

One likely signal: Burping and indigestion

Background: If you’re low on stomach acid, your body  won’t  digest foods efficiently, especially dense foods like fats and  proteins. When  food sits in the stomach, so does the air you naturally  swallow when you eat.  The air has only two options — get pushed down the  digestive tract with food or  catch the next flight up the esophagus and  out the mouth. The longer food  loiters in the stomach, the more likely  you’ll burp.

Other signals: Gastric reflux, weak immune system,  cracked  fingernails, chronic infections, gas

How to respond: Boost the first phase of digestion by becoming a more “sensory-based eater,” says  Swift. “That means enjoy  the sight and smell of the meal before you dig in so  that your gut has  time to release digestive factors, such as hydrochloric acid,  in  anticipation of a meal.” Then, eat more mindfully. Chew your food so  that it’s easier for  the gut to digest, especially proteins and fats.

If you still feel like your food sits in your stomach like a rock,  Haas  recommends trying digestive enzymes, which can help you better  digest your  food. For example, he says, you might try a product called  betaine  hydrochloride with pepsin (a time-released protein digestant),  found at  health-food stores.

Hydrochloric acid is the main ingredient in stomach acid. By taking  it as a  supplement, you’re basically giving your stomach a head start,  especially with  proteins and fats, which are the hardest food stuffs to  digest, meaning they  require more stomach acids than carbs. After you  begin eating a meal with  protein and fat, for instance, take one  capsule. See how you feel after a  couple of meals. If you feel OK, you  can try two capsules and gradually  increase to three or four. If you  have any sensation of burning or acid  indigestion, cut back to a level  where you didn’t experience any negative side  effects.

You’re  short on good flora…

One likely signal: Frequent colds

Background: The immune system‘s command center is  housed inside the gut.  “An ecological imbalance of organisms in the gut  means the body can’t defend  itself against unfriendly microbes,” says  Swift. “The result is we get sick a  lot.” Ironically, says Hyman, it’s  often medicine, such as antibiotics, that  wipe out the gut’s supply of  good bacteria. “When we wipe them out again and  again with antibiotics  and then eat a poor diet, it’s a disaster for the gut.”  That, in turn,  can spell trouble for the rest of the body.

Other signals: Intestinal gas, bloating, loose  stools or  constipation, vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract  infections, skin rash,  athlete’s foot, nail fungus

How to respond: The experts agree that one of the  easiest  (and most delicious) ways to restore the gut’s healthy flora is  to eat more  foods rich in good bacteria, such as miso, sauerkraut,  kombucha (a fermented Japanese tea),  yogurt that contains live bacteria,  and kefir (a fermented milk drink). “The  gut houses 5 pounds of  beneficial bacteria,” notes Haas. “We have to feed this  stuff.”

If you think your gut needs more than food can deliver, Weil  recommends  taking a daily probiotic that contains Lactobacillus GG or  Bacillus coagulans (BC-30).

Although many of the body’s messages can be decoded with a little  guesswork  and a lot of active listening, it’s important to remember that  some of these  same symptoms can be signs of more serious illnesses. If,  after a couple of  weeks of self-care, things don’t improve or resolve,  it’s best to consult a  health-care professional.

“A chronic ache or pain is an invitation to stop and take a look at  your  life,” says Lipski. “Your body is telling you it’s time to make a  change.  Respect its request and odds are you’ll be heading off a greater  health issue  down the pike.”

More Than One Way to Heal

A multipronged approach to health-care — seeking advice from both  alternative medicine practitioners as well as Western  doctors — can help  you decode your body’s warning signals before they cascade  into  something more serious.

Western medicine has many strengths: stamping out infections;  treating  emergencies, like heart attacks; and swooping in with trauma  care after an  accident or disaster. But when a condition is hard to  diagnose, or is chronic  or nagging, like poor digestion, insomnia or  general fatigue, going outside the  doctor’s office may be your best bet.

“Most medical-school curriculum focuses on acute care and doesn’t  adequately  train for chronic health issues — which constitute the most  common troubles for  most of the patients they see,” says Elizabeth  Lipski, PhD, CCN, and author of  Digestive Wellness (McGraw-Hill, 2004).

As both a medical doctor and a naturopath, Elson M. Haas has a foot  in each  world. He tends to agree with Lipski’s take, and he also sees  limitations in  the way that Western medical practitioners typically try  to snuff out the  body’s attempts to heal.

“Many symptoms, such as sinus congestion, allergies and excess mucus,  are  ways it’s trying to rid itself of excess toxins,” he says. “Western  medicine  tries to control these symptoms, by suppressing the fever or  drying up the  congestion, instead of supporting the body’s natural means  of elimination and  detoxification.”

Alternative practitioners come in many forms. In addition to your  primary  care physician, consider seeing a chiropractor or osteopath if  your condition  is skeletal; a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner  for hormone imbalances; or a  naturopath for overall wellness, digestive,  immunity and dietary advice. All of  these modalities have regulating  organizations that provide lists of qualified  practitioners.

Catherine Guthrie is a freelance writer based in Bloomington,   Ind.

Dandelion Root Coffee

Dandelion Root Coffee




  1. Find dandelions which should be easy. The best plants are at least two years old because big roots are the best. Autumn is a good time to harvest as they have been storing nutrition in the roots all summer.
  2. Dig up dandelion roots using a narrow trowel or you can use a shovel to loosen the roots. If there is not enough in your lawn, go to a country place where weed killers are not used. Best not to go to city parks as they often do use weed killers.
  3. Soak the roots in water to loosen the soil.
  4. Wash the dandelion roots to remove all of the soil; you can use a vegetable brush.
  5. Then rinse them well.
  6. Cut the roots off just below the tops. Save the flowers and leaves.

The leaves are nutritious; they can be steamed or small amounts added to a salad. The flowers can be made into dandelion syrup and pancakes.


  1. Rinse the roots well outside to get rid of most of the soil.
  2. Slice the roots into sections.
  3. Chop up the roots coarsely.
  4. Spread the chopped roots thinly on cookie sheet.
  5. Roast in at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for about 2 hours.*
  6. They are ready when the roots are dark brown the colour of coffee beans. Take care not to burn them.
  7.  Store roasted roots in an airtight container in a very cool place until you are ready to make dandelion coffee.
  8.  Grind them up in a coffee grinder and brew them just like you would with coffee grounds.
  9.  2 Tbsp of grounds for 3 cups off beverage.
  10.  Add the grounds to simmering water and simmer while covered for 7–15 minutes.
  11.  Serve with your choice of milk (almond, rice, soy, cows, goats) and sweetener of your choice.

* Alternatively you can dry roast the dandelion root after it is fully dry and chopped in a frying pan (cast iron pan is best) until it has become dark brown

Food Can Nourish the Spirit

Food Can Nourish the Spirit

by Sarah Cooke

Today, a friend and I had a conversation about the role that relationships  can play in our enjoyment of food. For example, when I prepare dishes using my  mother’s recipes, the flavor is the same but the experience is often less  fulfilling than enjoying a meal she has prepared for me. Similarly, when I  prepare a meal for my fiancé and myself, I often enjoy the dish more than I do  when I am the only one eating.

It is not only the flavor of a dish or the quality of the ingredients that  contributes to our enjoyment. It is the energy surrounding the food – and the  consumption of it. When a meal is prepared and eaten with love,  it is generally more enjoyable.

Yes, this phenomenon can lead to emotional  eating when we try to recreate the positive memories and feelings associated  with particular foods. But it also has the potential to be quite beneficial.  When we enjoy food on the level of the spirit, we are often more likely to feel  more fulfilled, meaning we consume fewer empty calories than we do when we eat  processed foods, which are less fulfilling. When we eat processed food, we often  must eat more to feel fulfilled. In addition, when we learn to appreciate the  deep, emotional nourishment that food can offer us in a balanced way, we are  likely to choose high quality foods that can offer that kind of sustenance.


Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Jan. 13th is 36: Darkening of the Light

36: Darkening of the Light

Hexagram 36

General Meaning: When light becomes dim, it may be wise to become invisible. The image is of fresh darkness, the period after the sun has gone down or the fire has gone out. There is still much activity left over from the light of day, while movements in the outer world become more dangerous. Even the smallest sound, the faintest glow of light, can attract unwanted attention.

When the darkness of stupidity reigns, it is best that your own brilliance stay ‘hidden under a bushel basket.’ That is, your thoughts and efforts should be quiet and self-contained, and protected, as much as possible, from disruptive influences.

Whatever you do, don’t let yourself be swept along on the current of conventional wisdom when dangerous uncertainties exist. Try not to become too depressed or anxious; this period will pass. Just endure it for now and inwardly preserve your self-confidence, while outwardly remaining cooperative and flexible. The time to assert yourself will come. Avoid looking too far ahead if you have not yet achieved your goals. That only feeds regret and longing, which can eat away at your inner resources.

Be cautious and reserved. Control yourself. Do not needlessly awaken dormant forces of opposition. During dark, unsettled periods, it is best to step gingerly around the sleeping dogs.

A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II” – July 14

A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II” – July 14

Eating the greens Grandmother gathered was a trial, an imposition on a
child remembering the fried or roasted meats of wintertime. But she
persisted in gathering them and she insisted that I eat them because
their medicinal properties would ward off many diseases. Grandmother
would have been appalled at many things from fast-food to the tasteless
cooking of greens. She was the matriarch and in many ways remains so,
because her mindset set our minds and even now an unwanted salad comes
with the command, “Eat!” We remember and are the better for it.

~ Our village was healthy and there was no place in the country
possessing such advantages. ~ MA-KA-TAI-ME-SHE-KIA-KIAK ~ SAUK AND FOX CHIEF
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for April 27 is 42:Increase

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Everyone:

42: Increase

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Hexagram 42

General Meaning: Substantial progress and increasing prosperity is pointed to. In whatever forms it takes, periods of increase are exhilarating, as long as you go with the flow while it lasts and keep the interests of others in mind. Like white water on a river, periods of increase are often of short duration; it furthers one, therefore, to shoot the rapids now, while the opportunity is there.

A good sense of direction in times of opportunity involves commitment to the needs of one’s cohorts and dependents. Only by realizing that to lead is really to serve, can an effective leader contribute to a lasting increase in prosperity for all. In times of general increase, those who contribute most directly to the common good will also receive the greatest rewards.

When opportunities for increase arise, supreme good fortune comes to those who act swiftly and boldly, while avoiding the trap of letting their actions be only self-serving. If you aspire to a position of prominence, the most enduring strategy is to work to raise the tide of your entire pond, rather than to try to swim upstream on your own.

When the times favor prosperity, and when leadership is in the hands of the broad-minded, supreme good fortune results.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for April 26

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Everyone:

3: Difficulty at the Beginning

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Hexagram 3

General Meaning: Difficulty at the beginning. The birth of anything new – including any new venture or relationship — is an entry into the realm of the unknown. Strange new feelings can seem to be rushing upon you, and confusion can easily take over. But even chaos is full of potential if you harness it properly. Don’t rush things. Do not let events overwhelm you. Stay calm and persevering, but do take the first step. And get whatever help you can.

Challenges lie ahead. Now is a time to gather your strength and find courage. Like a newborn fawn, the opportunity for rapid development is real, but only by being determined can the fawn rise to its feet and survive to grow to full stature. Keep going despite difficulties and you will manifest the success you desire. One primary challenge is maintaining personal clarity. Avoid lunging at seemingly perfect solutions; wait until a good practical course of action becomes clear. Do not start a new venture before thinking it through. A careless step in the beginning can easily cause events to spin out of control later. Enlist the aid of experienced people.