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Your Tongue Does More Than Speaking

Do you take a look at your tongue in the morning? You should! It is a great indicator of your state of health, and specifically the state of your digestion. In Ayurveda, tongue analysis is a main diagnosing tool to determine someone’s current state of imbalance. Your tongue speaks in more ways than you’ve realized!

Digestion is #1 for good health 

When our digestion is impaired, food is not absorbed efficiently and leaves behind a raw, toxic residue that Ayurveda calls ama.  You may see some of that whitish, sticky, gooey substance on your tongue in the morning. Yuck. I know. But hey, on the other hand isn’t that great that you can just stick your tongue out and get instant feedback on the state of your digestion? Digestion is HUGE when it comes to your energy level, immunity, moods, skin health, elimination, quality of your tissues…everything! So much so that Ayurveda says you are what you digest. Not what you eat. Subtle, yet big difference.

If allowed to build up in your GI tract, this toxic substance eventually starts circulating throughout your body, potentially clogging the channels of circulation and preventing flow of nutrients, oxygen and life force to all tissues. Hence the line “Ama is the Mama!” (coined by one of my teachers, Doctor Chauhan, BAMS) which means ama creates many, if not most dis-eases.

How do I know if I have ama accumulation?

Here are signs you may have some ama build-up:

  • Feeling heavy
  • 

Feeling lethargic, foggy, unclear
  • 

Thick coating on the tongue in the morning
  • 

Feeling tired after eating
  • Stiff and painful joints
  • Poor circulation
  • Skin blemishes
  • Indigestion
  • Bad breath

It’s undeniable that we live in an increasingly toxic world and that at least some cleansing is necessary to keep our bodies and minds functioning optimally. Read on for simple things you can do daily to begin releasing ama.

Easy ways to release ama:

1. Scrape your tongue first thing in the morning. You really don’t want to swallow that toxic residue back in! Use a tongue scraper NOT your toothbrush (which would be pushing ama deeper into your tongue).

2. Have a glass of hot lime water. Cleanses the entire GI tact and will promote a bowel movement.

3. Eat only when hungry! This is a very important recommendation. Eating when not hungry is a sure way to create ama and feel sluggish. So if you’re not hungry for breakfast, skip it. if you’re still not hungry at lunchtime, skip it. Not hungry at dinner time? Skip it! You’ll do your digestive system a big favor. In fact, I suggest you wait until you are really hungry to eat your next meal. You might be surprised how long you wait! This is a simple and effective way to reset your metabolism and feel lighter in no time. (Once you do get really hungry, please DO eat! Not eating when hungry induces a stress-response and the slowing down of your metabolism, which then slows down your digestion and you guessed it, causes the formation of ama).

4. Strengthen your digestive fire by sipping on ginger tea in between meals. The light and spicy qualities of ginger are ideal to kindle your digestive fire (a must to keep ama from forming in the first place).

So which practice are you going to try first? Because they are all gentle I suggest you implement all of them!

Sylvie Barthelemy draws upon her 16 years of experience in the field of holistic health to help people achieve optimum health, naturally. She is a Certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Coach, with extensive experience as an Ayurvedic massage therapist and as a Yoga and Meditation Teacher. Sylvie particularly loves to help women who feel stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted to generate calm, clear and confident energy, using yogic and ayurvedic methods of healing. Visit her personal website HERE.

Make a Space for Your Meditation Practice

Sitting down in peace and quiet can be very difficult. This day in age, people are constantly preoccupied with so many other distractions such as phones, computers and televisions that it is easy to forget what it’s like to simply sit and be in your own company. When you choose to start a meditation practice, whether it be to relax, to reconnect yourself with your breath, or to connect with higher dimensions, it is important to first create the space so that your practice can be as nourishing and beneficial as possible. Here are a few tips, some of which seem obvious but are still important nonetheless, to void your space of distractions in order to enjoy your practice in peace.

  1. Choose a room which you use less often than others. Typically, a room which gets used less will be quieter and automatically have a minimal amount of distraction. Think of using rooms like the dining room, the living room which nobody is allowed to go in unless you have company, or a spare bedroom.
  2. Turn off all electronics. This includes the TV and your phone and any other pieces of equipment that can possibly cause distraction. These items must be turned completely off. When they are on, even if they are silenced, it creates a space for anxiety to enter the mind. In addition, the electromagnetic field distributed by technology while functioning makes it very hard to relax. When the technology is off, you are affirming to your higher intelligence that you are ready to sit, relax, and meditate with no distractions. If you choose, you may have gentle music playing in the opposite side of the room.
  3. Set up a small timer on the opposite side of the room if you want to meditate for a specific amount of time or if you are in a time crunch. Preferably, the notice sound of the alarm will not be too violent – perhaps some nice bell sounds. Having a timer grounds you and reassures you that you can go as deep into your meditation as you want without having to worry about getting to your next engagement on time.
  4. The room should be dimly lit. This will help direct your attention and focus inwards, rather than into the room in which you are sitting.
  5. Get comfortable. This is by far the most important step. A few minutes into a meditation practice, the mind calms and begins to become aware of all of the distractions and aches and pains in the body. Sitting on a cushion for many people is still uncomfortable. In this case, sit comfortably in an upright chair (folding chairs work well) with the soles of your feet on the ground. Have a blanket nearby in case you get chilly.

Remember: meditation is not something you do. Meditation is a state of being, of dwelling in the here and now with each breath. If you get distracted, softly acknowledge the distraction and then return to simply breathing. Soon you will have a thriving meditation practice which you look forward to every day to help you relax, renew and reconnect!

r3 ad picMatthew Mitlas is a certified Yoga instructor at the 200 hour level. His classes invite a steady stream of consciousness that envelops all types of movement and keeps the mind steady and focused. He is currently influenced by the alignment principles of Anusara Yoga and the meditative aspect of Kripalu Yoga. Matthew works to co-create the conditions and space where his students may experience an authentic and inward experience of Yoga-learning to surrender to the infinite creativity of the universe as it takes form in each and every body in its own unique way. Namsate!

Matthew currently teaches Yoga classes at R3 Wellness Center, located in Collegeville, PA. In addition to Yoga, R3 Wellness center offers a plethora of holistic health services including Massage, Reiki, Acupuncture, Pranic Healing, Belly Dancing, Past Life Regressions, Life Coaching, and more! They can be found online at www.r3wellnesscenter.com.

Baked Cauliflower, Italian-Style

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 ounces lean ground sirloin (or substitute ground turkey)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (such as McCutcheon’s)
  • 2 ounces pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 ounce French bread baguette, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in beef. Sprinkle with salt and peppers, and sauté 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in sauce and olives.
  2. Preheat broiler.
  3. Steam cauliflower 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Place cauliflower in an 11 x 7 inch broiler-safe baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with sauce mixture.
  4. Place bread in a mini chopper; pulse until coarse crumbs form. Combine crumbs and cheese; sprinkle over cauliflower mixture. Broil 4 minutes or until browned.

Recipe compliments of myrecipes.com.

Quit Doing These Three Things for Noticeably Clearer Skin

What happens on your face is often a reflection of what’s happening inside your body, so you want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself all around. How you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror every day will inform the way you interface with the world. Do you love what you see? Would you love it more if you didn’t have a breakout across your left cheek? Do you think you’ve tried everything?

Today I want to share the top 3 mistakes that people make when they are struggling to clear their skin, why they should change their ways to gain noticeably clearer skin and what to do instead. I’m all about solutions here, so let’s get started!

1. Quit depleting your skin from its natural oils by stripping them away with harsh cleansers and astringents.

Why? If you’re concerned about acne, drying your skin out simply encourages MORE sebum production, making the problem WORSE than it was to begin with — more black heads, more shine when you don’t want it. If you’re concerned about wrinkles, you want to remain hydrated and nourish your skin at a deep level.

What to do instead:

Cleanse with gentle, natural products you might not think should be in your bathroom. Raw honey is a great cleanser and gentle exfoliator, and coconut oil is great at removing make up and keeping the skin hydrated. It’s also naturally antiseptic, so it’s great for preventing infection on a “picked” blemish.

2. Quit picking

Why? Picking, especially if you aren’t using something sterile to pick with (your fingernails are NOT sterile), spreads the infection around on your skin and can cause a bigger breakout. Also, your skin is almost always worse-off once you’ve extracted the pimple — in its place, you’ve likely left either a bloody mess or something that will become a larger, more painful, more infected blemish the next day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve extracted a small blackhead and woken up the next morning to a red, raised bump in its place.

 What to do instead: 

Cleanse well, use a good natural moisturizer like coconut oil, and leave it alone. Just don’t look in the mirror when you wash your hands in the bathroom — that’s my moment of weakness.

3. Quit eating garbage

Why? The food you eat matters for the health of your skin. If you eat sugar, pasteurized conventional dairy, and other inflammatory foods like processed seed oils and soy, your skin won’t be happy.

Don’t forget, your skin is the largest organ on your body, and it acts as a filter for everything that you come into contact with. What you put in and how your body reacts to it is reflected on your face. Check out my secret to clear skin in two weeks, a solution that was all about input.

What to do instead: 

Treat your skin well by taking care of your diet and your gut. Eat fermented foods or take a probiotic. Drink bone broth, pack in the vegetables at every meal of the day. Enjoy healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter.

Originally posted on Cultivated Wellbeing.

ToniSicolaToni Sicola is the Wellness Program Manager at Alameda Health System (AHS) and an Integrative Wellbeing and Nutrition Expert at Cultivated Wellbeing. You can find more health and wellness tips from Toni at www.cultivatedwellbeing.com, where she explores the how the intersection of food, personal fulfillment and creativity affect wellbeing. She also manages and is the primary contributor for the AHS Passport to a Healthy Me! blog. When not writing, Toni is feeding her passions of cooking, gardening, rock climbing, creating, and playing with her dog Dexter.

Why You Need a Probiotic Supplement and What to Look For

Taking a probiotic supplement offers many health benefits such as improved digestion, immunity and elimination. Below are some of the benefits I have found in my research:

  • Digestion – Probiotics produce enzymes such as protease, lipase, and lactase to further assist with protein and fat digestion as well as reduce problems associated with lactose intolerance. Probiotics also produce B vitamins, particularly folic acid and B12, which are biocatalysts in food digestion.
  • Immunity – Intestinal microbes are a key factor in the development of the post-natal immune system and in acquired immune response and inflammation. Probiotics produce the natural antibiotic-like substance acidophilin and inhibit the growth of opportunistic microorganisms.
  • Elimination – Probiotics act as natural stool softeners and facilitate the healthy and timely elimination of waste.

Here’s what to look for when selecting a probiotic:

The best general-purpose probiotic supplements combine several species of beneficial bacteria with a competitive yeast strain. Look for supplements that contain bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus species such as L. acidophilus in the billions. The number of colony-forming units (CFU’s) your probiotic should contain is 25+ billion speicies.

  • Look for inclusion of a prebiotic, such as FOS or inulin. We prefer inulin because it may have a less “sugary” effect on women who are prone to yeast infections. For those with more serious digestive issues, start with a probiotic that doesn’t include prebiotics or yeast.
  • If there are no prebiotics included, you may wish to select an enteric-coated probiotic, as this enhances its ability to pass through the acidic environment of the stomach and small bowel to dissolve in the large intestines. (Many species of lactobacilli, bifidobacteria and streptococci reportedly survive this passage intact, however.)
  • To ensure product purity, safety and quality, look for a supplement made in a GMP-compliant facility that is certified by the NSF. These acronyms should also appear on the packaging.
  • Ideally, we’d be getting all the prebiotics and probiotics we need from our diet, but this is not always possible.

What are Prebiotics?

Certain foods are rich in fiber molecules called prebiotics, factors which nourish friendly GI flora and set the stage for probiotic survival. Prebiotics help probiotics survive passage through the acidity of the stomach and small intestine, and foster their growth in the intestines and colon.

These are natural sugar molecules found primarily in all kinds of plant foods (bananas, artichoke, chicory root, burdock, onions, leeks, fruit, soybeans, sweet potatoes, asparagus, green tea); but also honey and cultured foods (kefir, cottage cheese, sauer kraut, yogurt).

Dr. Scott Dubrul has since been practicing Chiropractic for 20 years. Currently, his chiropractic practice is located in San Luis Obispo, CA near Cal Poly University. In 2005, Dr. Dubrul became Wellness Certified through the International Chiropractic Association. With this wellness training he is able to offer a true Holistic approach to attaining wellness. 

As a chiropractor, Dr. Dubral understands and teaches the scientific truth that the body is self-regulating and self-healing. It is simply a matter of finding any interference to this healing process and helping remove it so the body can take the control back. Visit the website for his practice in San Luis Obispo, CA HERE.

Healthy Waldorf Salad

Substituting Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise and heavy cream that a Waldorf Salad usually calls for makes this recipe much healthier, but still just as tasty!

Ingredients:

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup nonfat vanilla-flavoured Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey mustard
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Salad

  • 2 4-oz chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
  • 1 large head of romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Red Delicious apples, unpeeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. To make the dressing, combine the yogurt, honey mustard, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Toss chicken, apples, celery, walnuts and cranberries in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix well. Serve over a bed of lettuce and sprinkle with parsley.

Recipe compliments of TheFitHousewife.

Sweet on You – The Scoop on Natural Sweeteners

By now you likely know how detrimental highly processed, granulated white sugar is to your health. If you need a refresher, here are some of the many ways white sugar wreaks havoc on your biochemistry, courtesy of UCSF’s Dr. Robert Lustig, a crusader against sugar and author of Fat Chance:

  • Sugar contributes to obesity
  • Sugar contributes to insulin resistance and diabetes
  • Sugar is addictive and toxic
  • Sugar makes you want to eat more—and move less!

If sugar is this harmful, it makes good sense to minimize or eliminate it altogether. But some occasions just call for a sweet treat! In those instances, you CAN have your cake and eat it too—with these 5 sweet, all-natural alternatives:

1. Honey

Raw honey has myriad health-promoting qualities. It contains natural antioxidants, although the quantity does vary across varieties (buckwheat honey reportedly delivers the most). Honey is also chock-full of enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Note that baking with raw honey will destroy many of the nutrients in honey. If you want to use it to flavor your tea or coffee, wait until your beverage has cooled enough to drink.

Sugar substitute: In dressings, and slaws; warm beverages 

2. Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses is a sweetener that is actually good for you—it’s high in antioxidants and several health-promoting trace minerals that are difficult to find in other foods, such as: iron, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium, and magnesium. Opt for unsulphured blackstrap molasses as it doesn’t contain the processing chemical to which some people are sensitive. Unsulphured means it’ll have a cleaner and more clarified taste.

Sugar substitute: Use in place of brown sugar or when you want to impart a slightly smoky flavor. Great in baked beans and gingerbread.

 3. Coconut Sugar

Proponents argue coconut sugar tends to be less refined than granulated sugar; they say it also contains minerals like magnesium, potassium zinc and iron. In addition, coconut sugar has been touted to have a lower glycemic index than the uber-refined white stuff, which means that it can cause a less dramatic spike in blood sugar. Since studies on this sugar are largely unavailable, you need to take these claims with a grain of salt. As always, moderation is key!

Sugar substitute: Can be used as a 1:1 substitute for sugar in baking and cooking. You can also find it in syrup form; in that case, adjust your measurement in baking to ¾ cup for 1 cup sugar, reduce liquid by 2 tbsp for each cup and reduce cooking temperature by 25ºF.

4. Date Sugar

This may be the rock star of the group. Made from ground dates, this sweetener delivers all the nutrients in dates, including potassium and calcium—and is similar in healthful polyphenols as green tea! But that’s just part of the story: Date sugar is also low in calories, helpful for constipation and makes you feel full longer. Look for varieties that have one ingredient only.

Sugar substitute: Yummy in bars and cookies, substitute this way: for every one cup of sugar, use 2/3 cup of date sugar.

5. Stevia

Derived from a plant with sweet leaves, it doesn’t get much more natural than this. The glycosides in the leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana plant account for its incredible sweetness.

Stevia is calorie-free, and the powdered concentrate is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia is widely used all over the world and is becoming more commonly found in the U.S. Stevia can help keep blood sugar levels in check and despite being very sweet, it doesn’t contribute to cavities.

Sugar substitute: A little stevia goes a LONG way. A fraction of the amount and you’ll have ample sweetness. You can even grow your own!

Above all, for optimal health, try to keep your sugar consumption down to 15-25 grams per day. This means you may have to stop at one cookie, but it doesn’t mean you need to cut out all of the sweetness from your life.

This article came from the Sprouted Content wellness article library. The library’s mission is to help holistic practitioners SAVE TIME and GAIN CLIENTS. By providing more than 100 high-quality done-for-you articles that can be dropped into newsletters, blogs, video scripts, or e-books, Sprouted Content makes practitioners’ marketing effort much easier, which means they’ll feel less stress as they grow their practices. Go to www.sproutedcontent.com to learn more and take advantage of a special 10% off coupon – just enter coupon code: SAVETIME at checkout.

Nutella Granola Bars

The following recipe is sweetened only with fruit – no sugar is needed. Even if you do opt to use sugar in yours, the amount will be much less than is found in most store-bought bars (and no high fructose corn syrup!).

They are perfect for a lunchbox and are also great for on-the-go snacking, and you can easily freeze leftovers for up to 2 months.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup applesauce or mashed banana (120g)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread or Homemade Healthy Nutella (60g)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (4g)
  • packed 1/3 cup dried dates (55g)
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts (35g)
  • 1/2 cup puffed wheat or puffed rice (9g)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (45g)
  • 1/8 tsp plus 1/16 tsp salt
  • pinch pure stevia, or 1 1/2 tbsp sugar of choice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 F and line an 8-in square baking pan with parchment paper. In a bowl, stir together the applesauce and chocolate hazelnut spread until smooth. Stir in the vanilla, then set the bowl aside. In a food processor, combine the dried fruit and hazelnuts until they form fine crumbles. Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir together with all remaining dry ingredients. Add the nutella mixture and stir until evenly combined, then smooth into the prepared baking pan and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Press down VERY firmly. Bake 26 minutes, then allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing into bars. Frost with more chocolate hazelnut spread if desired.

Recipe compliments of chocolatecoveredkatie.

Jet Lag Cures – 7 Rules for Just Saying No to Jet Lag

Who wants to get to this beach and feel like a disoriented, constipated grump-head?

Travel does not have to take all of the stuffing out of you.

There are a few basic travel-savvy jet lag cures and strategies that can keep you feeling more like a functional human and less like a depleted drone. It is all about circadian rhythms and, in my experience, a little self-trickery.

My husband for example, keeps his watch at the old time zone and checks in with himself (and me though I try to shut him down) to see where he would have been and compare it to where he is.

I say be here now and ignore that old reality as though your life depends upon it!

Also:  Read this for some great summer travel ideas from Indagare, the online luxe travel resource.

And Now for the Jet Lag Cure List:

1.  Stay Hydrated. Drink drink drink. Two days pre-flight and during, sip hot water. Never alcohol and less coffee which can act as a diuretic. Add an Emergen-C packet to your room temp water.

2. Pre-Set:  Start to jiggle your schedule towards a sleep schedule closer to your destination in the week before travel.

3. Re-Set the Circadian rhythms:  Try Melatonin at least 3 days pre-travel – 10mg 20 minutes before sleep time. During your trip and once you’ve returned. Try homeopathic tablets (like Jet-Zone) in flight.

4. In-Flight Rules:

  • Lots of water and no alcohol.
  • Do deep breathing exercises periodically to keep the oxygen flowing. Check out this Well-Snap.
  • Get up and stretch:  do lunges in the aisle, side stretches, reach for the sky/reach for the toes. Alternate leg lifts. Shoulder rolls front and back. The staff and passengers will look at you oddly but ignore them!
  • Self massage the arms, legs shoulders and neck to keep circulatory system active. Use a lavender scented oil on feet (cover with socks) and neck.
  • Place a few drops of Nasya Oil on tip of pinky and insert into each nostril and ear canal to moisturize and keep bacteria from settling in on dried out passages.
  • Use Rosewater Saline Drops as often as you like to moisten and cool the eyes.
  • Spritz a Farmaesthetics facial tonic waters like rosewater on the face and neck to hydrate skin, follow with Tri-doshic Facial Oil or try the Tammy Fender Anti-Aging kit which has everything you need for travel and is super hydrating.

5. Eat Bananas! They are packed with melatonin, seratonin and magnesium.

6. The Elixir:  Take Travel Well Elixir drops to ease exhaustion, digestive issues and constipation and other disorienting effects of schedule and food changes.

7. Be on your new Time Zone and Move It, Move It: When you land get on your new schedule right away. Avoid that nap and stay exposed to natural sunlight. Get some exercise (a leisurely walk, swim in the sea, gentle flow yoga keeping your gaze down ward to promote grounding) and get a massage. I take my travel yoga mat everywhere I travel because it fits easily even when all I have is carry-0n and keeps me motivated on my very own little piece of home.

Here is a gross note that means keep washing your hands in flight:  A new study performed at Auburn University in conjunction with the FAA says that bacteria can stay alive and continue to be infectious for more than a week on the arm rests, seat pockets, seats and bathroom doors of commercial aircrafts. The dry air is said to contribute to their extra-long life on airplanes. Use Purell, wash with soap!

Post courtesy of LAH Life.

Lisa Hedley is a dedicated student of ways to harmonize and align body, mind and spirit in the context of a busy, contemporary life. A long-time student of yoga practices and its literature including Sanskrit, Hedley is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, professional member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA), a graduate of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda as an Ayurvedic Practitioner and Yoga Specialist, a Yoga Alliance certified yoga professional, and is a Master’s Degree candidate in Social Work from New York University. Hedley previously practiced law with a special interest in Medical Ethics and holds her Juris Doctorate from the New York University School of Law.

Hedley sees clients privately in Florida, Connecticut, New York and via Skype and sees patients at a clinic for traumatic brain injury and neurogenic conditions in New York City. She also hosts a weekly regional NPR Radio show (WHDD 91.9FM), Strategies for Dealing with Stress, where she offers insights, tools and strategies for balancing the need for harmony with busy modern lives. Visit Lisa’s personal website and blog at www.lahlife.com.

 

Three Fever Myths Every Parent Must Know

When your child is sick and uncomfortable with a fever, your natural instinct is to make him or her feel better. But, did you know that some of the most common therapeutics for fever can actually sideline recovery?

First, let’s understand what goes on in fever. Fever is the body’s normal response to invasion by bacteria or viruses. Animals will sit in the sun when sick, and fish will swim in warmer water. The ability to mount a strong fever is a good sign. It’s actually the person who hasn’t been sick for the past ten years that we worry about; he or she may not be [I recommend “he or she” throughout, as you did at the start with “him or her”] healthy enough to mount a strong fever. The common cold virus (rhinovirus) can live only at the temperature of the nose. That’s why it can’t invade further into the body–it’s too hot. The simple process of heating the body kills germs. Fevers also cause the body to be achy (so you’ll stay put and rest) and have a diminished appetite.

MYTH #1: When sick with fever, it’s important to keep your strength by eating, even if you’re not hungry.

TRUTH: Animals don’t eat when they’re sick. Why? If the body has to send blood to the stomach, there is less focus on attacking the virus or bacteria. Also, bacteria need iron to replicate, so eating may feed them as well. If you see that your child is feeling somewhat better, but perhaps still slightly feverish, and you feed him, you may see the fever and illness return that night. Once you feed an almost better family member, only to see the infection return, you will not make that mistake again! Restricting food for one more night gives the body a chance to finish the job. If you want to shorten the duration of illness, never feed someone until the fever is below 99.6F AND the person is hungry.

MYTH #2: High fevers may cause seizures or brain damage, and these can be devastating.

TRUTH: Hyperthermia from sunstroke can cause coma or delirium. This is very different from a fever, which is a normal response to infection. There have been no studies linking high fevers with any permanent damage. While it is true that 2-4% of children may develop simple febrile seizures, these seizures, though scary, have no long-term effects and do not increase the likelihood of seizure disorders (epilepsy). In fact, even temperatures of 107.6F do not cause any brain injury. If the sick person is not made to eat, the fever shouldn’t need to go that high anyway. Yet, parents of children who have had febrile seizures are often told to strictly control their child’s fevers in the future. However, we have no studies showing that this actually reduces seizures from fevers, which, as mentioned, don’t have long-term effects anyway. By reducing the fever, though, the child will have decreased ability to fight the infection and an altered immune system (See below). Not surprisingly, it’s been shown that giving the fever reducer ibuprofen to a child with an ear infection doubles the duration of the illness.

MYTH #3: Acetaminophen (commonly sold as Tylenol) is safe during fevers or when used to prevent fevers commonly associated with vaccinations.

TRUTH: Acetaminophen lowers fever by stopping some of the normal pathways associated with feverish diseases, and it also stops some of the normal immune functioning. Recent research published in the British journal Lancet revealed that children who received this drug with vaccinations had their immune system so affected by the drug that they had lower levels of immunity to the vaccinated diseases than children who didn’t receive the drug. When your child is sick with a bacteria or virus, or is getting vaccinated, the last thing you want to do is lower his immunity. Additionally, the risk for side effects increases when a child is sick due to dehydration and undernutrition. Acetaminophen toxicity is the leading cause of liver failure in the US, and it likely causes this by decreasing essential antioxidants needed by the liver (and the brain).

To put things in perspective, acetaminophen replaced aspirin in the 1980s in the US as the drug of choice for febrile children. There were two scares of contaminated acetaminophen during that decade, which decreased its consumption. In the 1980s, significant increases in the rates of asthma, ADD, and autism occurred. However, during the drug scares just mentioned, decreases in rates of these conditions were noted, while increases paralleled its use during the other years.

To more adequately observe the risks of acetaminophen, let’s compare our US practices to a country where this drug is rarely used. Although economically challenged, universal healthcare is readily available in Cuba, and vaccination rates are extremely high. Yet, the incidence of autism is a fraction of ours (300 times less). In Cuba, drugs are not given to prevent fevers that occur with vaccinations. In Cuba, acetaminophen is a prescription drug.

Babies (and unborn babies) have a decreased ability to process drugs. Moms who took this drug in pregnancy also had higher rates of asthma in their children. Currently 35% of pregnant women take acetaminophen.

What’s a parent to do? If you want to help your child recover quickly from illness, supporting rather than suppressing the fever is the answer. Keep your child comfortable with cool compresses to the forehead and plenty of clear, no-sugar beverages and fresh soup broths. Sugar decreases the function of the immune system by half for 5-7 hours, so never give soda to a sick child. Be sure to keep him warm if he’s chilly. The correct homeopathic remedy can support the immune system and optimize the fever, helping the fever be stronger or more effective for a shorter period of time. Let his body do the tough work of destroying the bacteria quickly, so he can be back to feeling like himself sooner.

For references and links, please visit www.drlachman.com.

Dr. Lachman uses natural remedies for healing. A Naturopathic doctor in Bucks County, PA, Dr. Lachman is devoted to restoring your health naturally. Her medical training occurred at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Phoenix, AZ. This 4-year program includes basic medical sciences, as well as drug therapy, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

As a naturopathic doctor, Dr. Lachman has helped decrease the pain of arthritis, reversed depression and helped women normalize their hormones. Naturopathic doctors can help patients even if they’ve been told, “You have to live with the pain,” “Drugs are your only option” or “There’s nothing more that can be done.” Naturopathic doctors are experts in complex cases. Visit her personal website HERE.