Natural Healing Omaha Blog

The Positive Benefits of Healthy Optimism

The Positive Benefits of Healthy Optimism


Ready? Today I want to share with you something that’s been in my thoughts lately. It’s about the positive benefits of healthy optimism and how I applied it during a dark and difficult time in my life.

The Positive Benefits of Healthy Optimism

The positive benefits of healthy optimism

I read an article in the New York Times about a study that showed that when patients were told they had a genetic predisposition to a disease, they were more likely to develop the symptoms of that disease. Frankly, this doesn’t surprise me, but it’s good information for people with jobs like mine.

I understand how labeling diseases is helpful for some people. It gives them something to call their collection of problems. But it also labels us as sick, and in our healthcare system, that means you need a drug or procedure or surgery to recover from that sickness. Granted, there are a lot of legitimate health problems, and I see all kinds of them here in my clinical practice.

But, how you view your daily health affects your ability to have an optimistic outlook. I truly believe – and it’s my personal philosophy – that your thoughts become your feelings.

Optimistic healthy thoughts create optimistic healthy people. Click To Tweet

Optimistic healthy thoughts create optimistic healthy people. I try to live by that rule myself. Similarly, when I’m guiding my clients through a discussion of their health issues, I ask about what sorts of influences they have in their life on a daily basis. We troubleshoot so we can begin to find ways to implement a healthy optimism. Some questions I ask new clients:

  • Who do you live with?
  • What kind of people are you around?
  • What is your work environment like?
  • Who do you work with?
  • What kind of things are you reading?
  • What kind of social media are you taking in and how much social media?
  • What kind of tv are you watching?

Often, I hear that right before bed, people are watching news reports filled with words like rejection, victim, restrictions, explosions, terror, attack, assault. We can’t expect restful sleep if these are the things we’re filling our minds with before bed. What’s more, a steady diet of these words and images is a recipe for fear, distrust and worry – and a good starting place for depression, anxiety, fear and ultimately, dis-ease.

My Story:

Some people say I see things through rose-colored glasses, but I’ve had plenty of setbacks in my life and lots of reasons to be negative or feel that my health could end up in a bad place. A health scare is the reason why I started working in the field I’m in now.

Some of you may know that 15 years ago, I had a breast cancer diagnosis at 40 years old. At the time, I had a little pity party and scary moment for myself wondering what was ahead for me. But then I realized it was an opportunity to make some big changes that I’d been needing to make for a long time, including learning some healthy optimism. So I did.

I began to research natural health solutions for recovering from breast cancer. I talked to anyone I could about what natural and alternative methods they used to stay healthy. I talked to everyone I felt was in good health and optimistic, and I asked them “How do you maintain your optimism, and what are some of your secrets to feeling so good?” I basically interviewed people in how to be an optimistic person. And I incorporated these things into my life.

I did go to therapy as well. In therapy, I learned that my thoughts create my feelings. So I began to watch how my thinking was creating a negative attitude and a “poor me” sort of situation. Healthy optimism has been a practice of mine now for 14 or 15 years since I recovered from breast cancer.

I encourage my clients to practice healthy optimism as well. I’ll be sympathetic, listen, and write down what they say, but ultimately they’ve come to me for change. So we’re going to talk about change, talk about healthy optimism and why it’s essential, and how to practice it.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Having a healthy attitude is part of making a change.

This is why I am such a big proponent of being part of a support and encouragement group like my Natural Healing Omaha Support and Encouragement Group , which many of my readers are involved in. I created this group to allow you to come to me with some of the challenges you’re facing and for all of us to support and encourage each other into a better place. If you’re not a member then please join us now by clicking HERE.

Share with me what you’re struggling with and let’s see what we can come up with – a healthy optimistic plan to allow you to get out of that stuck place.

Studies show that staying positive even in the face of chronic disease helps improve the immune response in your body and minimized secondary disease and co-infections. If you have a good attitude, you’re less likely to get sicker than you already are, and you’re more likely to improve over time.

A healthy optimism in your life and the lives of people around you can bring positive benefits and changes and is a small thing you can begin even today. Click To Tweet

A healthy optimism in your life and the lives of people around you can bring positive benefits and changes and is a small thing you can begin even today.

Mo Horner, Registered Herbalist

Mo Horner is a professionally trained Registered Herbalist, specializing in botanical support for women and families. From hormones problems to emotional ups and downs, you’ll feel better about plant healing. Mo co-founded a donation-based community clinic associated with Herbalists Without Borders.  She has two Omaha-area practices where she serves her clients in person or online, for those outside the area. Consultations are available by appointment.

Email Mo at info@naturalhealingomaha.com or call 402-933-6444. You can read more about her story HERE. 

How to find an herbal remedy

Have you gotten your free 7-page guide yet?  Click HERE to get “How to Find an Herbal Remedy- That WORKS!”

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3 Gentle and Effective Ways to Overcome Post-Holiday Fatigue

3 Gentle and Effective Ways to Overcome Post-Holiday Fatigue


Ready? Read here for the specific tips and details of how to overcome Post-Holiday fatigue.

3 gentle and effective ways to overcome post-holiday fatigue.

post-holiday fatigue pinterest

This holiday season I stayed on track pretty well with my herbal regimen. But rest of my healthy lifestyle? Well, like most everyone else it went by the wayside.  And I felt it. I had some back pain and plain old tiredness starting to creep up, and I knew I had to start making changes to get back on track. Here are the three things I implemented to help me overcome that post-holiday fatigue and sluggishness.

1. Reintroduce Gentle Exercise and Meditation.

First, I started by reintroducing a little yoga. I found a low back pain video by a gal named Adrian. I’ve been doing it for about 4 days.  Just that short 30 minute practice has helped shake loose some tightness.  Do you have a favorite gentle exercise program?

I also returned to a short daily meditation, a healthy lifestyle practice for anyone and everyone. I set aside a specific time of day – for me its usually after dinner. I find a cozy, private spot, light a candle, put on calming music, and sit for about 30 mins.  I make sure to set a timer so I don’t get antsy. I reset and remind myself to have gratitude. We all need gratitude, don’t we? Gratitude is essential in recovering from post-holiday fatigue.

I also had a session with a friend of mine that I trust.  This friend keeps me on task with my promises.  We sat down and talked about our goals and visions for the next five years.  What do we see our work and personal lives looking like in five years? That really put some things in perspective for me.  Do you have a friend you can call and sit down with to review your life and talk about what you want?

2. Start Gentle: Cut Back on Negative Habits

Talking with my friend was another baby step to recovery. Next, I began to slowly cut back on the kind of heavy sweets and foods I was eating over the holidays.  I ate a little less each meal and stopped the snacking, which can really get out of hand during the holidays, can’t it? I also started rethinking my coffee habit and returned to green tea.  Not every day. Tiny changes are the trick. Allow yourself some wiggle room so you don’t feel deprived.

One thing people do at this time of year is go whole-hog and decide to do a cleanse or fast. They throw themselves into it, and then at the end of the fast they return to the habits that got them there in the first place! Winter is the Kidney season, associated with the Water element in Chinese medicine.  In this dark season, we’re meant to go inward and power down a smidge. When we fast, it tends to lower our body temperature just a little, and cold weather isn’t the time of year for that.

I recommend fasting as form of cleansing during the warmer season, so as Spring comes up, it’s a better time to think about a healthy cleanse plan.   I love to guide people through cleanses so ask me!

3. Begin Gently Adding In Healthy Foods

Adding in the healthful foods for your organs and for the winter season will help you overcome post-holiday fatigue. Below are some foods I recommend for just about every constitution this time of year.

  • Replace heavier root vegetables with steamed greens (collards, mustards). The longer you cook greens in water the more heavy minerals you get.  If you’re trying to increase your minerals for your bone, skin, nails and hair, keep this in mind! Try sprinkling a little vinegar on for a zippy taste!
  • Replace heavier meats with lighter, free-range poultry, and fish. If you’re going more meat-less, try tempeh.  Tempeh is a fermented soy product that provides the protein you crave when you’re cutting back.  You can use it in lots of ways. I like it seasoned and as a meat replacement in tacos, or crumbled up with my eggs.  It has a nice crunch to it that I crave.
post-holiday fatigue
  • Add one type of food for each element in Chinese medicine.  Each element represents one of these five important organs – Liver, Spleen, Kidney, Lungs, and Heart.
  1.  Liver- Beets are a super food for your liver. Next time you’re at the store, grab a bundle of this wonderful purple veggie that often gets neglected. Broil the beets and steam the tops for a colorful side dish or add cooked beets to salad.
  2. Spleen- did you know Sweet Potatoes are chock full of beta carotene? Good for the eyes and great for breakfast! (Check out my Instagram to see the sweet potato pics I’ve been posting lately) 
  3. Lungs- Garlic, onion and shallots are your best Lung-protective foods.  They’re naturally antiviral and keep the mucus loose and smooth. If you’re squeamish about mucus, keep plenty of garlic in your dishes.
  4. Kidney- Celery, seaweeds, and kidney beans benefit the Kidney element. Seaweed keeps the thyroid healthy, and is a great internal moisturizer for that winter dryness. 
  5. Heart- Bitter-tasting foods benefit the heart.  See if you can find a bitter food in your cupboard that you can sneak into your daily diet. Food aside, the Number One practice for a healthy heart is practicing gratitude. Daily reminders of the blessings in your life, even the simplest ones, are my top recommendation for health health!

Schedule regular down time. A 10-minute meditation in the morning or before bed helps to trigger the neurotransmitters that down-regulate anxiety. Science says so!

Turn off phone ringers and social media notifications, setting some discipline around answering emails, and respond less often to needy friends, family and co-workers.

By implementing these gentle changes one at a time, you can get yourself back on track. If you need help or guidance with overcoming your post-holiday fatigue and sluggishness, I would love to help you out. Contact me and let’s talk a bit!

Mo Horner, Registered Herbalist

Mo Horner is a professionally trained Registered Herbalist, specializing in botanical support for women and families. From hormones problems to emotional ups and downs, you’ll feel better about plant healing. Mo co-founded a donation-based community clinic associated with Herbalists Without Borders.  She has two Omaha-area practices where she serves her clients in person or online, for those outside the area. Consultations are available by appointment.

Email Mo at info@naturalhealingomaha.com or call 402-933-6444. You can read more about her story HERE. 

How to find an herbal remedy

Have you gotten your free 7-page guide yet?  Click HERE to get “How to Find an Herbal Remedy- That WORKS!”

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Three Exciting Changes at Natural Healing Omaha!

Three Exciting Changes at Natural Healing Omaha!
Exciting Changes

Today I am happy to announce 3 exciting changes I’m making that are going to support and encourage you even more!

I hope you’re doing well and enjoying this time of year as we head to the end of 2018 and look forward to 2019.  I know I’m excited about some of the things on board here at Natural Healing Omaha.  It’s going to be a great year! I have three big changes that are specifically for you, my favorite people. All of these changes involve having more of an online presence to support you in your natural living journey. 

#1 of the exciting changes- NEW Facebook group

Yup, I want us to have a tight knit community where we can communicate, ask questions, and support each other.  This community will be interactive and a place where those who enjoy the Natural Healing Omaha lifestyle will be able to engage on a more personal level.  I plan to have regular Facebook lives or videos to give you encouragement and tips.  If you’re like me, you need all the help you can get to make this lifestyle as easy as possible.  In this group, you will get VIP treatment, so head over and join now. 

#2 of the exciting changes- Regular blog posts here on this website.  

I have been pouring advice and support into my newsletter for past few years and still plan to continue the newsletter.  But, from now on this site will be the hub for the nuggets I’ll be sharing with you.

#3 of the exciting changes- LinkedIn and Instagram

Starting now, I’ll be much more active on both LinkedIn and Instagram, so you can follow me on whatever is your favorite platform.  

I hope these changes will help Natural Healing Omaha reach and help even more people.  And of course I always love to see my clients in the office.  Social media is great but there is nothing like face to face! 🤓

Mo Horner, Registered Herbalist

Mo Horner is a professionally trained Registered Herbalist, specializing in botanical support for women and families. From hormones problems to emotional ups and downs, you’ll feel better about plant healing. Mo co-founded a donation-based community clinic associated with Herbalists Without Borders.  She has two Omaha-area practices where she serves her clients in person or online, for those outside the area. Consultations are available by appointment.

Email Mo at info@naturalhealingomaha.com or call 402-933-6444. You can read more about her story HERE. 

How to find an herbal remedy

Have you gotten your free 7-page guide yet?  Click HERE to get “How to Find an Herbal Remedy- That WORKS!”

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How to Repair Vata Imbalance!

How to Repair Vata Imbalance!

In my last blog, we talked about Rebecca’s Vata Imbalance and how to understand your own specific Dosha blend.  (If you missed that post, you can find it here. You can also use this quiz to find out what your dosha balance is.) Today we’re going to talk about How to Repair Vata Imbalance.

Listen up! Because I’m going to lay out the specific tips that I gave Rebecca that you can use yourself to repair  Vata Imbalance.

How to repair your Vata Balance

Rebecca was ready to try almost anything. The key to helping repair Vata balance for her was getting her to stick to it consistently.

Here is what I laid out for her. 

When Rebecca takes on too many responsibilities at work, skips meals, drinks too much caffeine, habitually stays up late, and sets aside nourishing practices like yoga and mini-vacations, her healthy Vata qualities are replaced by these:

  • Underweight, unhealthy BMI (click here to calculate yours)
  • Dry, scaly skin, even itchy and flaky 
  • Always cold, shivering and can’t warm up
  • Wired but tired insomnia, circular thoughts preventing sleep
  • Forgetfulness and poor short-term recall
  • Dry stools, constipation or changeable bowels
  • Brittle bones from inadequate nutrition
  • Physically anxious, jittery, and on edge
  • Allergy symptoms that are itchy, watery, scratchy, or irritated

Vata imbalances like insomnia, anxiety, allergies, and irritable bowel issues, are very common problems in today’s tech-driven, never-shut-down culture. 

Over-the-counter allergy product sales topped almost $7 Billion in 2016. There’s plenty of proof that we’re at epidemic levels of these issues.

Because the home of Vata is in the large intestine, Rebecca is prone to digestive disorders. One of the chief ways her imbalance shows up is unpredictable and sometimes painful bowel issues.

To repair Vata balance and bring this imbalance back in order is especially hard for her body type because her nature is to be fickle. As soon as she starts eating 3 meals a day or getting to bed by 11:00, she’s enticed by an exciting social event or drawn into a family argument. Then she’s back to her helter skelter lifestyle and doubled over in pain. Relationships are especially hard, and as one good friend admitted to Rebecca, “I never know what side of you I’m gonna get.”

The Ayurvedic way to reduce dry, ungrounded, hectic Vata habits is to introduce opposite, Kapha, earthy qualities. Sweet, sour and salty flavors increase Kapha, which help a thin, dry person hold adequate moisture, return to a healthy weight and sleep more deeply.

Fall is a peak time for Vata problems to rise up. Windy weather and dry conditions stir up conditions that create an unsettled body and mind.

Habits like these could promote Rebecca’s solid, steady Kapha qualities:

  • Establish a regular bedtime that allows for 8 consecutive hours of sleep, electronic-free
  • Eat 3 meals a day around the same time each day
  • Swap caffeinated coffee for green teas that contain less caffeine. Then, make the switch to hot herbal teas with warm spices and calming herbs – chamomile, cinnamon, tulsi, ginger, lemon balm, skullcap, kava, passionflower, and linden.
  • Schedule regular down time. A 10-minute meditation in the morning or before bed helps to trigger the neurotransmitters that down-regulate anxiety. Science says so!
  • Turn off phone ringers and social media notifications, setting some discipline around answering emails, and respond less often to needy friends, family and co-workers.

My advice to Rebecca to help repair Vata balance- and my advice to YOU: choose one simple practice and stick to it for 30 days. Watch how your allergies, insomnia, tummy problems and anxiety take a much-needed vacation.

Mo Horner, Registered Herbalist

Mo Horner is a professionally trained Registered Herbalist, specializing in botanical support for women and families. From hormones problems to emotional ups and downs, you’ll feel better about plant healing. Mo co-founded a donation-based community clinic associated with Herbalists Without Borders.  She has two Omaha-area practices where she serves her clients in person or online, for those outside the area. Consultations are available by appointment.

Email Mo at info@naturalhealingomaha.com or call 402-933-6444. You can read more about her story HERE. 

How to find an herbal remedy

Have you gotten your free 7-page guide yet?  Click HERE to get “How to Find an Herbal Remedy- That WORKS!”

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Do you have a Vata Imbalance? Understanding your Dosha.

Do you have a Vata Imbalance?  Understanding your Dosha.
Do you vata imbalance

Rebecca flies into my office about once a month rattled and scatter-brained. I can see her Vata imbalance within seconds of her entering the room. She practically bounces into my square chair with news of workplace disruptions, boyfriend break-ups, over commitments,

…and tears.

She’s eager to try anything I suggest, and then follows through about half the time.

Rebecca has a classic Vata imbalance.

Vata is an ancient name that describes a kind of body and mind physiology. Vata is one of 3 doshas. Kapha and Pitta are sister doshas with often opposing qualities. Each of us is a blend of these 3 doshas, described in great detail in a system of medicine called Ayurveda.

Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old healing science dedicated to lengthening life and maximizing vibrancy. It offers us a time-tested method of overcoming deficient or excessive patterns. In Ayurveda, diet, herbs and lifestyle practices are considered non-negotiable components of a balanced, healthy state.

Take this quiz and find out what your dosha balance is.

As humans, we are natural categorizing machines; our brains look for patterns. Discovering patterns we have in common with other humans allows us to find our tribe. Identifying behavior patterns can help us break free of self-destructive habits.

Rebecca’s tribe is a vibrant, healthy one, when it’s in a balanced state. Like all of us, she has qualities of each Dosha type, like the soft, empathic nature of a Kapha, and the fiery, driven passion of a Pitta.

At her healthiest, the strong and predominant Vata features in Rebecca’s constitution look like this:

-Thin, at or below normal Body Mass Index  [calculate BMI here]

-Normal to slightly dry skin

-Fair complexion, blonde to light brown hair

-Small-boned and often tall

-Sensitive to cold temperatures

-High-energy but wears out easily

-Excellent multi-tasker

-Short attention span

-Great short-term memory

-Functions best with small meals and frequent snacks

-Sensitive to wind and changing weather conditions

So how did Rebecca become Vata imbalanced? Stay tuned. In my next post I’ll share with you why Rebecca became imbalanced but also how I helped her return to a healthy state.

Mo Horner, Registered Herbalist

Mo Horner is a professionally trained Registered Herbalist, specializing in botanical support for women and families. From hormones problems to emotional ups and downs, you’ll feel better about plant healing. Mo co-founded a donation-based community clinic associated with Herbalists Without Borders.  She has two Omaha-area practices where she serves her clients in person or online, for those outside the area. Consultations are available by appointment.

Email Mo at info@naturalhealingomaha.com or call 402-933-6444. You can read more about her story HERE. 

How to find an herbal remedy

Have you gotten your free 7-page guide yet?  Click HERE to get “How to Find an Herbal Remedy- That WORKS!”

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White Peony – Women’s Gentle Pain Relief

White Peony – Women’s Gentle Pain Relief

Have you ever had menstrual cramps so harsh that it feels like your uterus is staging an insurgency?

You KNOW this isn’t normal, right?

If you take this problem to your gynecologist, you’ll end up on hormones (or in a surgery suite) faster than you can say Bob’s your Uncle. But not every woman wants to fast forward to pharmaceuticals. And some of us don’t even have that choice.

In my experience, around 50% of the women who seek alternative health care do it because they’re looking for answers to hormone-related concerns.

The Power of One…Herb
I’ve had my share of those. I used to think period pain was my personal price to pay for not tolerating the Pill.

Until one day at the clinic – one of those insanely busy days, where everyone needs their herbal formulas yesterday.

Amid the chaos at work, it felt like a rebellion was being staged in my reproductive organs. It was way beyond nuisance. My favorite go-to remedies – a heating pad, sleep, a hot cup of tea – were out of the question. These cramps were uncontrollable.

That’s the day I learned the power of a single herb. White peony root. Bai shao, the Chinese call it. Sweet relief.

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
I knew white peony root was usually paired up with herbs for women’s cyclical headaches and cramps. That’s how we use it in the clinic because that’s how the Chinese discovered it works best – in a balanced blend of complimentary medicinal herbs.

But that day, I was highly motivated to find pain relief. So, I detoured through the bulk herb room for a nibble. After 10 minutes of old-school chewing through a raw, chalky-tasting, slice of dried root, my cramps disappeared. Completely. And they never came back that month.

Herbalists call this a proving. It’s an informal, time-tested way to research the medicinal properties in an herb. Apply it to the skin. Bathe in a tea made from it. Drink it. Eat it.

After proving to myself how powerful the delicate peony plant really is, it’s become one of my favorite herbs for women.

Softens and Soothes Liver Congestion
I love it because it tends to calm things down. Rina Nissim, a European herbalist, described the clues she looks for that signal a white peony situation: ‘hyperexcitability in an anxious type of person who is bothered by palpitations.’ Yeah, I’ve had days years like that.

The Chinese have known for centuries that Peony root reduces abdominal pain and relieves muscle spasms. They say it does this by ‘softening the Liver’, which easily gets congested with waste material and toxic emotions – like anger and resentment.

When the Liver begins to let go, we literally unclench. Emotions flow, blood flows, Qi flows and spasms quiet down.

The nervous system may play an important part in this release, and the smidge of magnesium in the root probably does, too.

Strong Blood Means Healthy Hormone Function
Peony is a popular blood tonic herb, among others like Dang Gui, Ligusticum and Rehmannia. Tonic is another way of saying that it provides nutrition for blood. Since blood is such a vital player in the smooth functioning of hormones in women, keeping it robust with tonic herbs can be a big factor in hormone health.

We’ve also discovered through research that peony has anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties. Lately, inflammation is being linked to everything from high cholesterol to cancer. Perhaps the Chinese understood the link long before we had studies to show it.

For most of us, peonies are colorful, fragrant blooms treasured for their association with Memorial Day.

For me, they’re all that – and a beautiful gift of pain relief growing in my neighborhood.

By the way, we’re in the Liver season during Spring, so Liver imbalances like pain and cramping tend to show up worse than ever right now, along with other symptoms that White Peony eases – night sweats, vertigo, dizziness, and irritability.

Many hormone imbalances will diminish or disappear while eating a Spring Cleanse diet designed to remove common food triggers and emphasize Liver-friendly herbs and greens.

Maybe you’d like to join me for a class that walks you through the Spring Cleanse process, with a cooking demonstration, food samples and detailed instructions. Click here for a link to the Facebook event page. Or contact me at info@naturalhealingomaha.com.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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5 Ways to Find the Safest Herbal Supplement

5 Ways to Find the Safest Herbal Supplement

Did you hear what the Attorney General of New York did a couple months ago? He ordered Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens and CVS to remove herbal supplements from store shelves. All herbal supplements. He somewhat prematurely claimed that testing showed nearly all of them to be missing the herbs listed on their labels.

Further testing is still necessary to verify his claims. But true or not, what do you expect from a big box or chain store where the motto is “Always low prices”.

At the intersection of cheap and quick, more accurately.

Convenience is King
Let’s remind ourselves why these stores exist. They’ve figured out that your attention span as a consumer is short. Lots of products and brands are competing for your dollars. So, you’re likely to make a choice based on what’s in front of you at any given moment, NOT based on hours of researching for the best quality (or price) product.

Just like when I shop at a gas station and see a hot breakfast sandwich smelling so yummy, I know I’m getting a poor substitute for a real breakfast. But I buy it anyway because I’m in a hurry and it’s convenient. I don’t have time to sit down for a restaurant product, so I’m sacrificing quality for something that’s more important to me – convenience. In that moment, it’s good enough.

Good enough is ok when it comes to the occasional meal on-the-run. But for something you take every day to promote vitality and strength and health, it’s worthwhile to give more thought. To ask around.

When you shop at big box stores for health products, you have to know that health is not the business they’re known for. Their business is making money selling household and personal items you want at cheap prices.

Give Them What They Want
Americans want herbal supplements, to the tune of $41 Billion in 2013. That number is growing rapidly for lots of reasons; mainly, an expanding public awareness of the human and financial expense that pharmaceutical meds have laid on us.

You want healthier alternatives, and you’re turning to dietary and herbal supplements in record numbers. Big business has picked up on these trends and served it up on a platter. There it is, the Echinacea you saw on daytime TV last week, touted by a doctor in scrubs, and it’s only $5.99. Why not try it?

After all, it’s safe. Some federal body somewhere is keeping herbal supplement manufacturers accountable for quality, right? Yes. There are regulations governing the claims made on labels and the processes of manufacturing itself.

It’s Not That Simple
But like every industry, some manufacturers take every cost-cutting shortcut they can get away with, and others stake their reputation on quality by pulling out all the stops. They take steps beyond what’s legally required to identify and ensure the purity of the plant matter in their products.

Those are the companies I want to stay in business. And you probably do, too. So why do some consumers accept questionable quality from their herbal supplements? Why is it ok to buy herbal products from a discount store that’s all about price-slashing?

I ran this by one of my patients, and here’s how she explained this phenomenon.

You have a mental checklist of what it means to be healthy. And that list includes maintaining peak performance so we can continue to “go, go, go”.

Take a daily vitamin. Check.

See the doctor once a year. Check.

Eat bananas for potassium. Check.

Beyond the act of checking off ‘healthy’ activities, there’s very little thought given to whether these practices have any value for you personally. If the TV doctor says its good, and your sister-in-law says it works, then it must be good for you.

It’s hard to blame people for checking boxes and choosing cheap. Access to reliable information about what’s effective and safe is hard to come by.

Too often, information about herbal supplements is provided only by the companies selling them– NOT an impartial way to judge reliability.

So what’s a discerning consumer to do?

Here are 5 Ways you can sort out herbal supplement quality:

  • Ask your friends, coworkers and relatives where they buy their supplements and why.
  • Be skeptical of pyramid and multi-level products sales. The products may be good quality, but they’re often very overpriced.
  • Save your money and eat the food equivalent. Concentrates and juices are easy and convenient, but they usually don’t contain any of the fiber and other materials that maximize the nutrition of that healthy food. Fresh blueberries beat blueberry supplements, any day.
  • Talk to your herbalist. Their patients have taken lots of herbal products in liquid, capsule, tablet, fresh and dried plant forms, and they’ll be aware of ineffective or poor quality herbal supplements.
  • Form a relationship with an herbal or holistic provider. Get to know them, so when you need help making healthy choices, he or she can recommend alternatives to fit your budget and personal needs.

You can’t send a sample of every dietary or herbal product you take to a lab to verify its authenticity. And you don’t have to.

Working with a professional herbalist means you have the best chance of finding herbs that are appropriate, safe and effective. Save yourself time and money.

Set up an appointment with Mo. Check!

Related posts:

How to Choose An Herbal Remedy That Works

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9 Signs You Need a Spring Liver Cleanse

9 Signs You Need a Spring Liver Cleanse

You don’t have to look far to read about the 20,000 FDA-approved and unapproved chemicals and substances circulating in our global air, food, medicine and water.  (Ok, I made up that number, but try searching the FDA website – the actual numbers are really hidden).

Thanks to your Liver, a good deal of the substances you’re exposed to are neutralized, broken down and ushered out while you eat, sleep and live. Your Liver is a virtual toxin dump station where hormones, food, fat and life’s messy waste are rendered harmless. (And a nod here goes to that other heroic filter, the Kidney).

20,000 chemicals? That’s a pretty big load for any Liver. Even if the number is 10,000, that’s still a lot of potentially harmful waste that flows through you.

Below the Surface
Americans pay millions every year for cleansing products that claim to boost the body’s power to ‘de-toxify’ and purge toxic waste.

Call me a skeptic. But 3 days of juicing and pooping are a pretty inadequate attempt to fix a lifetime of bad habits and 50 years of FDA-approved chemical air, water, food, along side your own daily body waste.

What if you could dig a little deeper? Really clean house. Get into those corners that never see the light of day. Yeah, deep tissue. But even deeper than that. Clean out all that toxic emotional waste you’ve been carrying.

We’re coming into the Wood element season, according to Chinese 5-element theory. The seasonal color is green and the organs that benefit most from good health in Spring are your Liver and Gallbladder.

How do you know if your Liver or Gallbladder are out of harmony with the season?

9 Signs That You Need a Liver Cleanse:

  1. You feel stuck and mildly depressed – you feel the need for change, but can’t take the first step.
  2. You’ve lost your sense of direction or purpose in life – you’re asleep at life’s wheel.
  3. People you love and trust often feel the brunt of your anger and arrogance.
  4. You’re always making excuses for not taking steps to achieve your dream in life.
  5. You feel especially irritated and crabby at everyone around you right now, for no particular reason.
  6. It’s been years since you did something creative – write, paint, sing, act, dance.
  7. You’ve been stubborn, inflexible and unwilling to adapt to a new situation.
  8. Black, brown and gray are your main wardrobe colors.
  9. Resentment over old injustices keep coming between you and others.

Spring Cleaning Your Mind and Heart
It’s ok to lay some blame for your misery on pollution, toxic waste, sick water and manufactured food. But there’s so little you can do about that right now.

Instead of feeling powerless, start a gentle 2-week Liver cleanse designed to purge chemicals AND revive sluggish emotions. Follow seasonal dietary guidelines that align your body, mind and spirit with Spring.

Adopt new intentions for growth and change that mimic the plants springing up around us over the next few weeks.

Start thinking of yourself as a balanced man or woman, with all the qualities of a healthy Wood element – creative, forward-thinking, forgiving, flexible, vibrant.

Even if you’ve never thought about cleansing before, there’s a healthy plan that fits your lifestyle. Contact Natural Healing Omaha at info@naturalhealingomaha.com for a personalized, custom cleanse appointment.

Spring to a healthy start this season.

Read more about seasonal cleansing: Wake up Your Liver This Spring!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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The Payoff for Practicing What We Preach

The Payoff for Practicing What We Preach

Tony and I meet in a small room once a year for a couple hours, and what we do is enough to satisfy both of us for another year. I feel so good after we’ve spent time together. We don’t waste time on small talk. We get right down to business.

Tony is my health insurance agent.

We get along great, because we agree completely on one very important thing – the best way to lower health costs is to take care of yourself.

Taking His Own Advice
Tony’s an ambitious guy, and he makes it a priority to keep my health insurance cheap. He’s gotta make a living, just like me, so he makes it his job to keep me happy. I’m not his typical client, as you can imagine.

And he’s not your typical insurance agent. We had our annual insurance review recently, and I noticed that Tony, who is 70 years old, looks as good or better than he did last year. From the smile on his face to his enthusiasm for work, he’s one of those rare people you know you’re gonna like right when you meet ’em.

“Did you lose weight?” I asked him.

Feet on yoga mat is money in the bank
“About 12 pounds,” he answered in his typical no nonsense, matter-of-fact tone. Then he excitedly shared that he recently took up practicing yoga at home 4 days a week. “I want to improve my flexibility and strength so I can keep golfing 3 days a week.”

Can you believe this guy?

My 70-year old insurance agent is practicing downward dog to his “Yoga for Wimps” CD 2 hours a week, between a 15–minute recumbent bicycle warm-up and 15 more minutes of stretching and hamstring work.

The Power of Inertia
For the same reason that I want my healthcare providers to be the picture of health, I appreciate that my health insurance agent practices what he preaches. And does he ever.

What keeps a guy like that working – and working out – at his age? It’s like that law of physics – an object in motion tends to stay in motion. His philosophy is “use it or lose it”.

People fascinate me, especially the ones who live in ways contrary to popular habits. On my morning walk one day, I greeted this guy who had paused his daily jog momentarily to pick up trash from the street. During our brief conversation, I discovered he’s long past retirement but still teaches at a local university Math department.

What compels him to jog in his 70’s? “You gotta keep moving to feel young and healthy.” Today, after our usual quick exchange of hellos, he proudly announced that he’d beaten his one and only health problem (insomnia) by quitting soft drinks. This guy totally gets it – he’s exercising his power to choose health.

Uphill Battle Worth Fighting
I’m 52 next year, and staying in shape and good health takes a bigger commitment than it did 20 years ago. This is truer every year.

Up through my 40’s, I could take a 45-minute walk 5 days a week and that kept me at a consistent weight, without too many reasons to see a doctor, other than yearly checkups.

These days, I need twice as much exercise, plenty of daily herbs, and I have to be on guard about everything I put in my mouth. Weight goes on SO easily and comes off only with serious struggle. And it’s not just me. Women around my age tell me this every day.

The last time I had a check-up (full disclosure: this was in early 2014 for an insurance physical), my blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol were all inside a ‘healthy’ range. Problems like these run in my family, so news like that is always a sweet affirmation.

I watched my dad exercise every day until he died jogging at age 60 – 15 years longer than his father and brothers lived. He set a good example, and I decided a long time ago that I wouldn’t quit exercising, no matter how lousy I felt.

Walking, yoga, Qi Gong and hiking make me feel energetic. When I feel good, I’m likely to eat well and feel optimistic. I try not to resent the time it takes. Of course, sometimes I’d rather be spending it on my butt watching TV or eating vanilla sugar wafers. Man, I love sugar wafers. But they don’t love me.

Some days it’s a struggle and some days I look forward to the time outside or on the mat, sweating and swearing at my yoga teacher under my breath – “Oh pleeeease, not another plank”.

The Lesser of Two Evils
Staying healthy as we age takes a bigger chunk of our time and attention. And some days that kind of sucks.

But it doesn’t suck as much as being sick all the time.

If you need help getting well enough to start working out, let’s talk. Adaptogen herbs can restore the strength and energy you’ve lost to chronic illness or poor lifestyle habits. You can read more about adaptogen herbs in this earlier blog.

The next time I see Tony will be around Christmas next year. And that’s soon enough. He’s already given me the gift that keeps on giving – a cheaper monthly premium than last year and a good reminder to keep moving.

I’m planning for plenty of healthy years ahead of me.

 

Related Post: An Ounce of prevention and a Pinch of AttentionFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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Back to Herbal Basics with Tough Cases

Back to Herbal Basics with Tough Cases

I’ve been quiet lately.

For the past 3 months or so, no emails, no blogs, no monthly newsletters. And barely any Facebook posts or Tweets.

I haven’t given up on technology or social media. I’ve been doing other work. Actually, I’ve been studying.

And getting together with groups of other herbalists – there’s a growing community here, you know.

And I’ve spent lots of weekends with my grandbaby, who’s now almost a year old! Here she is:

Grandbaby at the pumpkin patch

 

For a while, I wondered if I’d run out of things to say about herbs. But there’s been plenty of inspiration lately.

In fact, my patients are responding to their herbs so well that my patient schedule is filling up. That’s great news for my practice.

Not all the news is rosy
But, to be completely honest with you, not every patient is doing as well as I hoped.

Like LouAnn, who suffers from painful arthritis and persistent fatigue.

LouAnn’s been coming to see me for a year, but around 6 months ago, her progress started to level off. When this happens, sometimes it’s because the patient has gotten tired of taking herbs and constantly having to monitor their health habits and practices.

It’s hard to blame people for slacking off. Getting healthy when you’ve been struggling with chronic illness can be a chore. A serious uphill climb. It’s like a full-time job with no vacation.

But LouAnn takes her personal health seriously. She never takes a day off from the herbal and lifestyle plan we put together.

Definitely not a quitter.

No one to blame
But something happened. She stopped improving. For a month or two, whenever she visited me, we’d try to sort out why no changes were happening.

“Did you stop taking your herbs?” No.

“Has your life been extra stressful lately?” No, not particularly.

“Are you still exercising?” Yep, still at it.

Does that ever happen to you?

Do you ever feel like just when you have a grasp on something, you have to return to the basics and re-learn what you thought you knew?

It was so tempting to take her ‘lack of progress’ personally.

Digging deep for answers
But instead of pointing fingers or just accepting that she’d stalled out for no good reason, I realized she wouldn’t magically get better with time. This would take some extra effort outside of her appointments. Time I was spending posting, emailing and writing.

I set her patient file aside and in my shrinking spare time, instead of blogging about a cool herbal remedy, I dug deep into my herbal resources –  professional books, textbooks, practitioner guides and Chinese Medicine philosophy – for answers.

And it’s starting to pay off.

Studying patients like LouAnn, with complicated health histories and unusual symptom patterns, makes me question my assumptions. And in the end, it rearranges what I understand about ALL of my patients.

Fortunately, my patients don’t mind becoming a case study. Unfortunately, other things I really like to do, those blogs and newsletters, have to be put aside for a while.

I’m glad my practice is attracting patients with more complex concerns.

Otherwise, my clinical skills might get a little stale.

I might start to think I know everything.

I might stop trying so hard.

~~~

Today, I’m back to blogging just long enough to tell you that I’m still here.

I’ve just been a little quiet lately. Questioning my assumptions.

Sharpening my herbalist skills.

Thanks for hanging in there with me…

 

Related post:  Are You Listening Or Just Waiting Your Turn?
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