Sunday, September 23, 2012

Plants: To Kill or Not To Kill

Green thumb? Apparently not. :-) I'm going to keep trying until I find plants that are truly hard to kill. If I didn't kill it, you should be okay. Do you have any plants for me to try?

These two plants are the same thing. One is definitely dead, the other is still hanging on. Poor Areca Palm Trees!  To be fair, I left them alone with the hubby for a month so it's not all my fault. I'm going to try again with these.

 Indoor Lemon Tree. It's not totally dead yet. I never did get around to finishing potting it.

 Snake Plant: AKA Mother-in-Law's Tongue
Can't kill this one!! I'm getting more of this!

 Ferns: Well, they didn't survive my absence too well and I didn't do such a great job keeping them alive. They shed leaves like crazy. I think this one was a bad idea. The plant in the middle? That's the fake one. :-)

 I had Ficus Trees in my bedroom but they had flies so got kicked outside. They've really been thriving out here. If you think it looks bad in this pic, you should have seen it a couple of weeks ago. I might get more of these if I can find some that can be guaranteed pest free.

This is supposed to be my herb garden with tomato plants. I need to add drainage, I think most of the plants drowned. The herbs are hard to kill. I think Thyme and Oregano are still hanging on with the tall Basil. See the lizard?

Decorating For Fall

For the first time in my life, I have actually decorated for fall!! You have to understand, I totally stink at decorating so this is a big deal for me. :-)

Here's my fireplace. I know the picture stinks, sorry! I hit Michaels and bought one of their baskets with stuff in it (middle pile of stuff) and put it on it's side. There are 3 strands of maple leaf garland stretched out and some cheap decorations at each end. Maybe I'll add some lights or something.

Dollar Tree vases and bowl. Dollar Tree little pumpkins mixed in with the oranges (real). Flowers from Whole Foods ($5 each!). Placemats were from a clearance sale somewhere last year. It's not fancy but it's decoration! The placemats do a great job hiding the surface of the table. I can't wait to get that project done.
Battery powered lights that look like sticks from Target combined with fake plant from Michaels.

You can't forget the smell! An orange (there was a rotting one in the bag), cinnamon, and cloves. Just add water and simmer! This smells SO GOOD!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Insulin/Blood Pressure Tips

As explained by Dr. Rosedale, insulin stores magnesium, which relaxes your
muscles, but if your insulin receptors are blunted and your cells grow
resistant to insulin, you can't store magnesium. It simply passes out of
your body through urination. If your magnesium level is too low, your blood
vessels will constrict, which will raise your blood pressure and decrease
your energy level. I actually wrote my first medical review paper on this in

Insulin also affects your blood pressure by causing your body to retain
sodium. Sodium retention causes fluid retention. Fluid retention in turn
causes high blood pressure. Another dietary mechanism responsible for
driving up your blood pressure is directly and specifically related to your
fructose consumption.

Fructose breaks down into a variety of waste products, one of which is uric
acid. Uric acid drives up your blood pressure by inhibiting the nitric oxide
in your blood vessels. Nitric oxide helps your vessels maintain their
elasticity, so nitric oxide suppression leads to increases in blood
pressure. In fact, 17 out of 17 studies demonstrate that elevated uric acid
levels lead to hypertension.  (my note: low Potassium does the same thing...)

According to the latest research in this area, the safest range of uric acid
is between 3 and 5.5 milligrams per deciliter, and there appears to be a
steady relationship between uric acid levels and blood pressure and
cardiovascular risk, even down to the range of 3 to 4 mg/dl. The ideal uric
acid level appears to be around 4 mg/dl for men and 3.5 mg/dl for women.
How to Take Control of Your Blood Pressure

If your hypertension is the direct result of an out-of-control blood sugar
level, then normalizing your blood sugar levels will also bring your blood
pressure readings into the healthy range. (Core helps correct this) To
accomplish that, the first thing you need to do is remove all grains and
sugars, from your diet until both your weight and your blood pressure have

Following the TLS Program to the letter can help you take control of your
diet in an incremental manner. Following this plan will automatically help
normalize your insulin levels. Not only will it help normalize your blood
pressure but it will also radically reduce your risk of the two most common
causes of death, heart disease and cancer, and also other major epidemics
such as obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer's.
* For Info on TLS send an e-mail to

Additional Dietary Considerations

Besides dramatically reducing or eliminating sugars, including grains,
normalizing your omega 6:3 ratio is an important dietary factor if you're
hypertensive. Consuming omega-3 fats, such as that our Heart Health Omega
III, is one of the best ways to re-sensitize your insulin receptors along
with Core if you suffer from insulin resistance.  Avoid the Omega-6 fats are
found in corn, soy, canola, and sunflower oil. If you're consuming a lot of
these oils, you'll want to avoid or limit them. Use Olive Oil, Extra VirginUnrefined Coconut Oil (Organic) or Grapeseed oil.

If you're struggling with high blood pressure, you'd also be wise to limit
your coffee consumption. The connection between caffeine and high blood
pressure is not well understood, but there is ample evidence to indicate
that if you have hypertension, coffee and other caffeinated drinks and foods
can ex acerbate your condition. If you want to eliminate caffeine from your
diet, try to do it gradually over a period of days or even weeks in order to
avoid withdrawal symptoms like headaches.

Another common substance that also elevates uric acid levels -and hence your
blood pressure, is beer. The yeast and everything that's used to make beer
result in a powerful uric acid trigger, so decreasing or eliminating beer
consumption is also something to consider when you're trying to normalize
your blood pressure.

Exercise - Ideally Outdoors!

Another vital strategy to take control of your health is exercise. A
regular, effective exercise program consisting of aerobics or Zumba, Body
Sculpting Fitness exercises,core building and strength training, can go a
long way toward reducing your insulin levels and your blood pressure. The
newest evidence strongly suggests that 20-minute sessions of high intensity
exercises are FAR superior to lengthy cardio or aerobics sessions, and
provide you with more benefits in a fraction of the time.

Nearly every program should incorporate anaerobic sprint or burst-type
exercises one to three times a week,as these have been shown to be even more
effective than aerobic exercises at reducing your risk of dying from a heart
attack. And, if you're insulin resistant, you'll definitely want to include
weight training in your program. When you work individual muscle groups, you
increase blood flow to those muscles, and good blood flow helps increase
your insulin sensitivity because you have more muscle for SUGAR to be sent
to by insulin.  This will also stop fat storage and is key to any kind of
workout routine.

The vast majority of people can normalize their blood pressure by
implementing these strategies, along with normalizing your vitamin D levels
(ideally via appropriate sun exposure unless you have a gene variant where
you don't make Vitamin D), and reducing your stress. (TLS ACTS)

Yes, there's overwhelming evidence that vitamin D is essential for your
heart and cardiovascular system, so it's not surprising that it would have a
beneficial impact on blood pressure. In fact, research shows the farther you
live from the equator, the higher your risk of developing high blood
pressure ,and blood pressure is typically higher in winter months than
during the summer.   A study published lastyear also concluded that the
 disproportionately higher rate of hypertension among African Americans 
compared to Caucasians appears to be due to higher
incidence of vitamin D deficiency.

There are a number of mechanisms that can explain the connection between
vitamin D and blood pressure:

Lack of sunlight reduces your vitamin D stores and increases parathyroid
hormone production, which increases blood pressure.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to insulin resistance (IR) and Syndrome
X (also known as Metabolic Syndrome), a group of health problems that can
include elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, obesity, and high
blood pressure.

Vitamin D is a negative inhibitor of your body's renin-angiotensin system
(RAS), which regulates blood pressure. If you're vitamin D deficient, it can
cause inappropriate activation of your RAS, which may lead to hypertension.

Exposure to UV rays is thought to cause the release of endorphins, chemicals
in your brain that produce feelings of euphoria and relief from pain.
Endorphins naturally relieve stress, and stress management is an important
factor in resolving hypertension.  Did you know dancing in your kitchen can
release huge amounts of endorphins? If you have to think or handle
stress...crank up the tunes and dance a little while.

According to research presented at the annual American College of Cardiology
meeting in New Orleans last year, vitamin D deficiency is associated with
stiff arteries, which can drive up your blood pressure.

Isotonix Vitamin D3 w/K2 also increases your body's natural
anti-inflammatory cytokines and suppresses vascular calcification.  K2 will
drive the calcium from your blood into your bones. Very important for
healthy bone structure.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are severely deficient in vitaminD
regardless of race or nationality. In the United States, the late winter
average vitamin D is only about 15-18 ng/ml, which is considered a very
serious deficiency state. Overall, it's estimated that 85 percent of the
American public are deficient, and as much as 95 percent of U.S. senior
citizens, so getting regular exercise outdoors in full sun could be like
hitting two birds with one stone...

Stress, including unresolved emotional issues, can also contribute to
hypertension in some people. Prayer, meditation, avoiding negative people or
focusing on Positive Truth in your life are all useful techniques to keep
your stress levels under control. Daily sun exposure and exercise are also
often ignored but effective, all natural mood-boosters and stress-relievers.

Supplements and Other Alternatives

Although there are supplements that can be helpful, such as the ones I've
listed here, it's important to understand that they should never be
considered as an alternative to the primary recommendations above, which
treat the real cause of the problem. Using the supplements below without
incorporating the lifestyle recommendations discussed above is an allopathic
approach not very different from using drugs. In most instances, it is not
nearly as effective.

Calcium and magnesium. : Calcium Plus is the most bioavailable form of
Calcium in a blend of 5 different calciums:
The Magnesium is in proper ratio which makes it doubly beneficial.

Vitamins C and E. Studies indicate that these vitamins can be helpful in
lowering blood pressure. If you're eating for your nutritional type, you
should be getting the right amount of both these nutrients through your diet
alone. If you decide you need a supplement, make sure to take a natural (not
synthetic) form of vitamin E. You can tell what you're buying by carefully
reading the label. Natural vitamin E is always listed as the 'd-' form
(d-alpha-tocopherol, d-beta-tocopherol, etc.) Synthetic vitamin E is listed
as 'dl-' forms. You also want to limit your dose to no more than 100 units a
day and make sure you take one that has tocotrienols in it.
*Send me an e-mail if you need me to find out her recommendations on anything I haven't linked to.

Olive leaf extract. In one 2008 study, supplementing with 1,000 mg of olive
leaf extract daily over eight weeks caused a significant dip in both blood
pressure and LDL ('bad') cholesterol in people with borderline hypertension.
If you want to incorporate olive leaves as a natural adjunct to a
nutritionally sound diet, you should look for fresh leaf liquid extracts for
maximum synergistic potency. You can also prepare your own olive leaf tea by
placing a large teaspoon of dried olive leaves in a tea ball or herb sack.
Place it in about two quarts of boiling water and let it steep for three to
10 minutes. The tea should be a medium amber color when done.

Breastfeeding. Studies have shown that babies who are breastfed for more
than 12 months have a dramatically reduced risk of developing hypertension.
Researchers believe long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (the same found
in fatty fish) in breast milk provide a protective effect for newborns.

Quick tricks. Increasing nitric oxide in your blood can open constricted
blood vessels and lower your blood pressure. Methods for increasing the
compound include taking a warm bath, breathing in and out through one
nostril (close off the other nostril and your mouth

Like obesity, high blood pressure is an epidemic. And, like obesity, your
best treatment is to evaluate your lifestyle and make the necessary
adjustments as with the TLS program.  A natural approach to preventing
disease and healing yourself when illness strikes is always the better
choice. In the case of high blood pressure, lifestyle changes -with
particular emphasis on normalizing your insulin levels -can put you on the
road to a drug-free, all natural return to optimal health.

What About Blood Pressure Medications?

The strategies discussed here should help to resolve high blood pressure
issues for the vast majority of people, however, it's VITAL that you do go
on a medication to lower your blood pressure if your blood pressure is very
high! Yes, this is one of the few instances where drugs are necessary, as
without it you are putting yourself at serious risk of a stroke, and the
brain damage that occurs during a stroke tends to be permanent and typically
or frequently irreversible.

On the converse side, if you are currently taking high blood pressure
medication you want to make sure you never go off of them without careful
monitoring. Doing so will put you at high risk for a condition called
rebound hypertension that could cause your blood pressure to skyrocket and
cause a stroke. The vast majority of people taking medications for their
blood pressure can safely come off of the medications as long as they are
carefully supervised by someone familiar with the process.

Once the cause of your problem has been addressed using the lifestyle
changes above, then you will be able to slowly wean off your medication.

However, do NOT take antidepressant drugs to treat hypertension!

The Transitions Lifestyle Program  (TLS) is a powerful resource to help you
not only normalize your blood pressure, but also take control of your

Atha "Terry" White, ND, MH, CPT
Balance Your Plate - Balance Your Weight