Sunday, March 25, 2012

Preventing Cataracts Naturally

Itttt was pretty much fullblown summer here in Toronto. We enjoyed a week in the high 20's. Which means I got to rock my fave pair of shades - and frankly, the only pair I've ever had that looks good on me. My friend Neesa asked to see them, looked at them for 10 seconds, and handed them back while saying "these aren't UV protected - you'd be better off not wearing anything at all!"
I immediately went into denial "say whhhhaaaaat???"
Neesa: Yea, see how they have no UV number on the inside? That means they have no protection.
Then I went straight to bargaining "but they're shaded, so doesn't that still block stuff?"
Neesa, with an arrow straight through my heart: No. In fact, it makes them worse for your eyes. the shading causes your eyes to open up more, letting in more light.
I was angry for having been misled in the past to think a shade is a shade. Angry that I finally found a rocking pair of shades that looked hot on me, and now I had to give them up. Then I just became depressed...I don't want cataracts! My vision is already suspect, especially at night - thanks to a medication I was on when younger. But I also have very light coloured eyes and can't see ANYTHING when the sun is even a little of the way out.

The truth is, with our current ozone layer situation, cataracts are quite a common occurence. In 2008, the National Eye Institute and Prevent Blindness America estimated that in the US, one in six over the age of 40 is affected by cataracts. And those numbers skyrocket with age. By 80, more than half of Americans have cataracts or have had a surgery to remove cataracts. That being said, cataracts, even with a giant hole in our ozone layer, are not inevitable. There are some cultures that have almost no incidence of cataracts, even in people over the age of 90! I'll have what they're having please...

Let's look at some of the things you can do that studies have shown to help reduce the risk of cataract development:

  1. Get more Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which can help protect against free radicals from smoking, alcohol use, sun exposure and other environmental oxidative damage. Research studies show a significant inverse relationship between vitamin C intake and cataract development and progression. 
  2.  Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants, which are shown to protect against free radicals and to be protective against the formation of cataracts. Fruits and vegetables are also an excellent source of fibre, which is key in blood sugar stabilization (see #4).
  3. Decrease meat consumption, focusing more on whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Studies have shown a connection between meat consumption and cataract formation, and that a vegetarian or vegan diet is protective against cataracts.  
  4. Stabilize blood sugar. Diabetes increases the risk of cataract and cataract progression. Although anyone can get cataracts, people with diabetes get these eye problems at an earlier age than most and the condition progresses more rapidly than in people without diabetes. For patients with diabetes and for those who are at risk of developing diabetes, blood sugar stabilization is key.
  5. Wear UVA/UVB protective sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats. Sun exposure is a key link in the development and progression of cataracts. It’s important to avoid the harmful UVA/UVB rays of the sun when possible and protect against them when avoidance is not possible.
Want a great anti-cataract breakfast idea? Check out my easy and delicious steel-cut oat recipe! The oats are a great source of fibre, especially beta-glucan, making them a great choice to fill you up while stabilizing your blood sugar. Beta-glucan has been shown to lower blood glucose and insulin levels in those with and without type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon is a rich source of chromium, which further helps to stabilize blood sugar. Flaxseed are both sources of omega 3 EFAs, which have been linked to a reduction in cataract development. Add some blueberries, a rich source of antioxidants, which are protective against free radicals that can contribute to cataracts. 

Let's eat yummy food, find good quality shades and be cataract-free together!!!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wet socks and the flu

Argh! I'm sick! Sick with a knock you off your feet flu. I woke up yesterday just long enough to realize that every single joint hurt, I had mad chills and I couldn't stand for more than 30seconds without feeling like I was going to pass out! So I went back to sleep. I slept 36 hours, waking up for 10 minutes here and there. Feeling better today - aches and pains are gone, chills are gone. Still can't stand up though, and I still have no appetite. My kitties have been helpful - well as helpful as kitties can be. They didn't bug me when I slept through dinner time yesterday, and they have created an excellent kitty blanket to keep me warm. They still haven't quite figured out how to make me tea though...

Last night before going to bed again for the night, I managed to do something that was definitely key in healing me as much as I've healed. It's going to sound super icky. And I'm not going to lie, the first couple of times you do it, it IS. But it's soooo worth it. Last time I had a killer cold, it helped me circumvent a sinus infection and got me sleeping through the night.

You'll need two things:
a pair of thin cotton socks
a pair of wool or flannel socks. Although wool socks aren't vegan, I feel that they're a bit key to the success of this.I'm borrowing the boy face's so I don't need to buy my own pair.

soak the thin cotton socks in cold cold cold water and wring them out well (so  they're not dripping wet)
Put the wet cold socks on your feet and quickly cover them with the dry wool socks
Go to sleep

It'll be icky feeling for about 10 minutes, but then you'll be passed out cold and you'll awake miraculously healed (or at least close to it). When you feel a cold coming on, do this right away and the cold will pass right on by!

What's your get well quick trick??


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hello old friend, I've missed you

Thank you for the emails and messages. I know I have been terrible about staying in touch. So much has happened and  have so much to tell you! Let's sit for a cup of tea and catch up!

First of all: where have I been?? Has it really been since last AUGUST??? My time flies when you're in love. Yes, that's right. I've been having a love affair - with my city, Toronto. Toronto has been around my whole life and it's like my eyes were finally opened and I've fallen hard! At the end of last year I moved to the East Side, and have been busy getting to know my new neighbourhood ever since. I've also had a couple of flings with (possibly) your city! I visited Vancouver, Squamish and Montreal, and I love them all!

Also, I don't know whether I've told you, but I'm currently completing a holistic nutrition certification at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. I've been working hard at it and have less than half a year left till I'm done and an official Holistic Nutritionist! It's been amazing so far and I've learned so much that I can't wait to share with you!

And, of course, I've been cooking and eating. I've even actually made some dishes from the millions of cookbooks I have (!!!!). Although, one thing I haven't been doing is taking any decent photos. For some reason I've been relying on my crapberry for pics, and they are depressing to say the least.

Today is pretty exciting too - March 1! The beginning of my month of yoga challenge. I am going to practice yoga every day, even if just for 20 minutes. Day 1 went awesomely. I went for a vinyasa class at The Yoga Sanctuary on College, which was amazing - even though I forgot a hair elastic (now I know how cousin it feels). I'm also going to soon be starting a candida cleanse. More on that to come!

Well, I promise I am back now and that I won't leave so abruptly again! Thank you for sticking by me, and thanks to the many of you who have been nudging at me to get back to blogging (including my friend Emily who yells "BLOG IT!" whenever I make anything yummy). Recipes, photos, and interesting posts about health are all on their way!


p.s. my "L" key is working again. However, my space bar works 47% of the time on a good day. Soooo annoying!