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7 Ways To Access Inner Peace Now – What Life In New York Has Taught Me

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Inner Peace
Photo Credit: PixaBay

Juliet TangContributing Writer

Just another day in the city…

It was a cold, grey and windy morning in New York City, one of the thousands I’ve experienced here where everyone’s neck automatically shortens by two inches as they are attempting to shrink into their winter coats while holding onto their Starbucks coffee and battling through the crowds in Manhattan.

The train was more crowded than usual thanks to the presence of people who would otherwise walk or bike to work, and I stood for what seemed like an eternity with purses rubbing against my back and elbows in my ribs, while attempting to ground my energy into mother earth and breathe in the mixed aromas of BO, coffee and stale subway air.

On days like this I could really use some divine guidance, but I knew enough not to expect an ascended master to show up in the subway car and grace me with a pair of wings to fly out of the dark tunnels. My wings had to come from myself, and at that moment, my only saviour was to practice allowing, or being in the moment without judgment or resistance.

Being In the Now

The practice of being in the now has always been a struggle for me and I cannot even blame New York for it, though I have noticed folks outside of New York are a lot more laid back and do not lose it when they have to wait more than 8 minutes for their food to be served at restaurants.

We live in a time where we have a million ways to escape the present moment such as replaying past scenarios, obsessing over the future, multi-tasking, watching reality shows, throwing tantrums on Twitter or in real life, the list goes on and on. No wonder drugs such as Ambien, Prozac and Xanax are household favourites next to sugar and Plasma TVs.

Lao Tzu said it best, “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” How many of us are actually at peace? What is the cost for living outside the now?

Come back to the breath, come back to this moment. I could either allow it to unfold, or I could launch into full attack mode by fighting the smell and the crowd with endless mental chatter that would contain occasional R rated rants. Speaking from experience, I had never won that fight and despite the ferocious battle in my head, reality would always go on like the love from the movie Titanic.

The mind loves to categorize, judge, speculate, worry, project, complain, compare and compete. The mind convinces us its voice is the absolute authority because it has the label “commander-in-chief” written across its forehead. The mind wants us to believe we are that voice and there is no separation between our thoughts and our essence. The dirty secret the mind refuses to share with us is that its voice is always filtered by the belief system we currently hold onto and our past conditioning, so if we were bitten by a dog when we were kids, even if Fluffy the poodle yawns in front of us, we are given a dose of anxiety and commanded to run. Left untamed, the mind can turn into an over-indulged tyrant like Joffrey Baratheon from Game of Thrones who wants to convince us eating the entire pie of pizza plus the trees leches made by granny with 3 bottles of wine is a far more pleasing option than eating spinach and seaweed for dinner. Throughout the years, I had to learn the hard way not to trust everything my mind eagerly shared with me on a day to day basis.

Back to the breath, the breath that connects us to the source.

Back to the moment, the moment that is neither good nor bad, it simply is.

Back to the now, the now that anchors us in our Being.

Back to the present, the present that can only be claimed and opened if we invite ourselves into its space.

Life’s Gentle Reminders

As I walked out of the train into Time Square, I realized I was running a little late for my appointment and since I had a rather long walk, thoughts of worry began rushing into my mind like the Manhattan traffic and the “Do Not Walk” sign at every red light simply did not help.

Had I not believed my thoughts, I would have seen it as one of life’s gentle reminders for me to slow down and center. However, since I chose to believe the priority at that moment was to squeeze as many seconds out of the present moment as possible, something that would have made Lao Tzu turn in his grave, that led me to the rather unconscious and self-sabotaging decision of running through red lights just because my life was obviously not as important as those 15 seconds (though I was hoping for 45) I would have gained from throwing myself in front of the buses that were crossing and honking.

Eventually, life’s reminders became not so gentle and with a loud honk, I began running like a maniac from a cab that apparently auditioned for The Fast and Furious. Living in a city where it is not only the norm but also an encouraged practice to race against time, even if it does not get us physically killed, to be constantly rushing from point A to point B whether they are physical locations or life goals leads to mental and emotional death that is characterized by continuous stress, restlessness, inability to show up in the current moment and living like the walking dead while staring at the iPhone. When we are constantly living elsewhere, it drastically reduces the quality of the life we are living now simply because no one is here to live it.

We have made a rather interesting agreement with divinity and that is, whenever we play small, to me it means surrendering our free will to the mind, our external environment reflects the inner helplessness right away again and again until we shift out of our unconsciousness and come back to the present moment where full consciousness resides. Life’s gentle reminders can turn quite fierce when you ignore them, and running from a speeding cab proves the point. For some people, reminders show up as illnesses so they are forced to take care of their bodies and for others, failures and endless misery in careers and relationships direct their attention from external solutions to internal insights.

I know moving to a more relaxed environment such as Costa Rica like we have been planning to would help my sweetheart and I live a more balanced life, but I do not for one second expect the shift to come from the outside. If I do not practice presence while I am in New York City — which has to be one of the world’s finest “presence practice classrooms” simply because I have nowhere to go but inward — I would probably be shifting the responsibility of my inner peace to the mosquitoes and howler monkeys while I am meditating on the beach in Costa Rica.

The mind is all about Doing, and the higher self is all about Being. Without mastering Being anywhere, even the most tranquil place on earth cannot offer the gift of stillness because stillness requires a conscious choice. Inner peace is not the product of the external but rather the result of an internal decision of being present, and presence comes from stepping out of the mind and into the divine observer (soul, higher self, true self, God presence, etc) which is who we truly are. The moment we choose to become aware of our stream of thought and observe it without feeding into it, we are fully conscious. In that state of presence, there can be no feeling other than peace and connectedness.

7 Ways to Access Presence

There are many ways to be in the now and one does not need to be in the middle of Time Square surrounded by stressed out New Yorkers, or in an ashram in a remote location of the world to embody it. Breath work, yoga, and meditation are certainly great ways for us to center, but watch out for the mind’s favourite way to get out of surrendering its power by providing you with a list of seemingly valid excuses as to why you cannot do this thing. They include but are not limited to: lack of funds, lack of time, lack of energy, lack of interest, yoga studio is too far, meditation is too boring, I cannot sit still, my apartment is too small, the traffic outside my window is too loud, I don’t believe any of it will work, I have to take care of “real life,” my cat doesn’t like it, my dog barks too much, etc.

Below is a list of my go-to practices that even the busiest person on Earth can adopt to cultivate presence. (Consistency is key.)

Just Breathe: Pay attention to the breath and consciously slow it down to a pace that is comfortable for you. Do it for a few moments. Repeat several times a day or as many times as you desire.

Meditating With the Senses: If sitting in a corner with candles and crystal singing bowls isn’t your thing, you can meditate literally anywhere. Whatever activity you are engaged in, bring in all of your senses and allow them to guide you. If you are taking a walk, take in the scent of the air, the texture of earth beneath your feet, pay attention to your surroundings and colours, feel the air around your fingertips, imagine tasting the air if you want to, feel your body moving, etc. You can engage your senses in any activity in life which means anything can turn into a meditation.

Let the Consciousness Flow: Anchor your presence in the body by moving your consciousness to different parts of the body and allow it to linger there for a moment. Combine it with deep breathing if you’d like. You do not need to be visual, just imagine, or pretend the consciousness is in the head, make a note of what it is like. Now drop it down to the throat, then to the heart. What is it like now? Acknowledge it and move it to another spot. Again this can be done anytime, anywhere.

Channel Your Inner Michelangelo: Channelling your creative energy is a great way to cultivate presence. Even though our New York apartment does not allow me the space to spread my oil paints, I have taken to the hobby of adult colouring which is extremely soothing. My sweetheart is a drummer and can always step into his inner-bliss in his Brooklyn drum studio. But please remember, you don’t have to be Leonardo da Vinci, a Mariinsky trained ballet dancer, a Berkeley graduate or the understudy for Phantom of the Opera to do this. Singing in the shower, drawing stick figures, baking for your neighbours and making crafts for your Etsy shop are all fantastic ways to embody the present moment.

Why So Serious? Laughter instantly brings you back to this moment and this is why Seinfeld is still having its reruns. No one needs to be taught the physical and emotional benefits of having a sense of humour, even the joker from Batman, among all his faults understood the importance of letting his hair loose though he has obviously taken the idea too far. The point is, reality is really happening in our heads and two people can have two very different responses to the same situation. That BO in the subway is not dissipating whether I grind my teeth or laugh at my own silliness for attempting to fight it with the thoughts in my head. It is up to us to find humour in life and laugh whenever we can.

Popping Bubbles: My mind used to be like a yenta who didn’t sleep, as a result, I didn’t sleep for over a decade. I decided with everything she said, rather than entering a conversation with her which would only strengthen the yenta, I would imagine the thought being a bubble and watch the bubble rise from the bottom of the lake to the top. As the bubble surfaced, it would pop on its own. It was a fun way to passively allow the thoughts go if I did not get too carried away by the effort of creating bubbles. Nonetheless, the point here is to practice being aware of the thoughts without resisting them or giving them your energy.

That Thought Is Not Mine: This one takes a bit of practice and self-awareness. Most of our thoughts are not ours. At birth, we are born into a tribe whose very beliefs, values, fears and judgments are passed onto us. In addition, our thoughts are influenced daily by media, politicians, and anything that makes its way into our mind. Without constant self-inquiry and inner house cleaning, other people are essentially telling us how to live our lives.

When a thought enters the mind that says, “I am a failure,” “I am fat” or “I need to risk my life to run across the street to save myself 2 seconds,” you can bet that thought has been filtered by a limiting belief that does not belong to you because your higher self always speaks to you with love, compassion and inspiration. A simple way that depletes the energy behind the thought without declaring world war on it can simple be practicing saying to yourself, “That thought isn’t mine.” If the source of the thought naturally comes to you, more power to you. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. Just the acknowledgement and believing in this statement renders the thought powerless.

Embrace the present.

For now, living in a city that never sleeps – my home for the past 22 years – I am making a pledge to allow and embrace every moment knowing that this is why I am here: to call forth my Being so I may embrace the Present.

Will you make the same pledge, wherever you are?

“This moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be. The moment — the one you’re experiencing right now– is the culmination of all the moments you have experienced in the past. This moment is as it is because the entire universe is as it is.”

Recommended Articles by Juliet Tang
About the Author

Juliet Tang is an intuitive life coach, spiritual mentor and medicine woman. Her work empowers those who are looking for more alignment and expansion to awaken to their power and purpose on earth, activate more love, abundance and joy in their lives, and manifest their soul’s desires using the conscious creation process.

To learn more, go to www.juliettang.com, or follow Juliet on Facebook and Instagram.

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How A 3-Day Fast Resets Your Immune System

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Immune system fasting
Photo Credit: Getty

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

The benefits of fasting are many and various. Fasting supports good health by promoting a healthy body weight, encouraging normal cognitive function, and even facilitating detoxification. Now, research has also shown that fasting may help reset the immune system.

How Does Fasting Reset the Immune System?

Like every other system in the body, the immune system is subject to wear and tear. Aging, aggressive medical therapies, oxidative stress, environmental toxins, and the like can all accelerate the degradation of immune cells.[1, 2, 3] When immune cells are weak and frail, they’re not as effective as they should be in protecting your health. This is where fasting can help.

When you fast, your body looks for nourishment everywhere it can. It goes after stored fat, but it also recycles malfunctioning or inactive cells, like those old, worn out immune system cells.[4] This cell recycling process, known as autophagy, makes room for your body to create fresh, new immune cells. It’s similar to spring cleaning, in that you declutter your body and end up with a rejuvenated immune system. Many people, especially those whose immune system is compromised, make a concerted effort to fast for a few days once or twice every six months to reset and reboot their immune system with fresh, strong cells.[5]

How to Perform a 3-Day Fast

Forty-eight hours appears to be the minimum duration to see benefits to the immune system, but it may take a bit longer for the desired effect. A three day fast is a long enough duration to see some of the benefits, but short enough that most people won’t need professional supervision.

If you’ve never performed a fast before, start small. Going a full three days without eating can be emotionally and mentally stressful if you’re not prepared for the side effects. Start with intermittent fasting, a pattern of eating that involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating. Try extending how long you go between meals. Slowly increase the amount of time between meals until you can go most of the day without eating food.

If you tolerate this well and aren’t under the care of a health care professional, you can try alternate day fasting. When you feel ready, you can embark on an extended water fast to boost the immune system even further.

Have you tried fasting to improve your immune system?

Article Sources
About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. Heading up the research and development team, Dr. Group assumes a hands-on approach in producing new and advanced degenerative disease products and information.

Dr. Group has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the internet.

For more information, please visit Global Healing Center.

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How To Make Your Own Hemp Milk At Home In Two Minutes

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Photo Credit: Pexels/Alexas Fotos

Anastasia, Guest Writer

Originally published at kindearth.net and reproduced here with permission.

Hemp Milk is quite possibly the healthiest plant-based milk out there! So, it definitely deserves a bit of love here in the Kind Earth Kitchen.

I am not into over complicating stuff, so my way of making hemp milk is pretty easy.

In fact, you can make it in a couple of delicious, minutes – flat.

There are different ways of making hemp milk. For ease and speed, I use shelled hemp seeds (also known as hemp seed hearts). This means that I can blend them up quickly without the need for straining at all. You’ll get a little bit of sediment settling to the bottom (after a little while) – if you don’t strain it – but to me, that is all part of the fun and goodness. I never strain my plant-based milk if I am making with hemp seeds hearts.

Remember: No straining is required IF you use SHELLED hemp seeds. All you need to do is give it a quick swish and a jiggle in the jar before you drink it.

However… if you use whole hemp seeds with the shells on you WILL need to strain it

This recipe here is for shelled/hulled hemp seeds. However, if you do actually use whole hemp seeds (with the shells/hulls still ON) then you will need to strain it; otherwise, the sediment will be too coarse. Straining it involves, either a cheesecloth, a piece of muslin or a purpose made nut milk bag to do so and squee-e-e-eze.

Hemp Has A Sort Of Nutty Taste

Hemp has a nutty sort of taste. If you aren’t instantly taken by it, then give it a chance, because it really can grow on you. A lot of people I know, absolutely adore it and couldn’t live without it now! I add a little bit of coconut sugar and vanilla to this recipe – just to make the whole hemp milk experience dance and sing. Although you can make it plain (hemp and water only) if you prefer.

Why Are Hemp Seeds So Good For Us?

It has to be said… hemp is one of the most amazing plant foods that exist on our planet! It is a protein power superstar, having one of the most complete protein profiles in the plant food kingdom. It contains a fabulous balance of essential fats (essential fats are crucial to include in your diet for health) including omega 3. It’s excellent for skin health, cholesterol levels and is especially high in beneficial antioxidants.

Read more about hemp benefits here: All about Hemp Seeds and their health benefits.

Getting Your Shelled Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are available in all good health food stores (in most countries). I am not talking about the hemp with the high THC levels that gets you high though… I am talking about the culinary hemp seeds. It helps a lot to buy shelled hemp seeds (also called hemp hearts or hulled hemp seeds) without the crunchy outer shell on them; this makes it very easy to blend smoothly.

In the UK, I use these ones all the time: RealFoodSource Organic HEMP SEEDS. They are excellent value (you can get their non-organic version for even more of a bargain) and also grown in the EU – yay! I absolutely love them. Using them on a daily basis I probably go through about 1kg (2lbs) every two months – for my own personal use. If you don’t use them all the time, they’ll probably last you longer and you could buy a smaller packet. When I visit North America I’ve purchased these onesManitoba Harvest Shelled Hemp Hearts and used to my hearts’ delight.

Quick Hemp Milk Video – See How I Make It Myself

Check out my super quick visual guide for more tips on making hemp milk…

How to make Hemp Milk in two minutes

How To Make Your Own Hemp Milk At Home

Yield: 4 SERVINGS

Prep time: 2 MINUTES

Total time: 2 MINUTES

Hemp milk recipe using hemp seeds hearts, vanilla and coconut sugar. Super healthy and made in two short minutes

Ingredients
  • 100g (1/2 cup) shelled hemp seeds
  • 500ml (2 cups) spring water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar
Instructions

Please check out my video above first for more tips and a quick visual guide

  1. Add all ingredients to a jug for blending.
  2. Blend for about a minute or until everything is combined.
  3. Pop the hemp milk into a large jar or bottle.
  4. Pop it into the fridge to chill before serving (it tastes best chilled).
  5. You will still get some sediment settling from the hemp seeds. This is all super healthy.
  6. Note: If you don’t want the sediment OR if you have used whole (seeds that aren’t shelled) hemp seeds then you will need to strain it will a cheese cloth or purpose made nut milk bag.
  7. Give it a swish and a jiggle before using.
  8. Enjoy!

I do hope that you enjoy this.

From my heart to yours. Anastasia

About the Author

Plant-based workshop leader, retreat chef, recipe developer and life coach Anastasia was born in England and is currently nomadic. After a profound spiritual awakening in 1995, she recognised that all things are deeply connected and adopted a lifestyle of compassion and respect for all sentient beings. With a deep affinity with Mother Earth she founded KindEarth.net a space dedicated to compassionate, heart-centred living, plant-based recipes, meditation and reconnection with nature. Having enjoyed a vegan diet for over 24 years, she has experienced optimal health along the way, publishing several cook books and developing a plethora of original high vibe recipes. Anastasia invites us all to rise up from our deepest depths, to honour our true calling and is always delighted to hear from others who resonate on this journey back to a higher paradigm of love and respect.

Follow Anastasia

This article was shared with permission. Original article here.

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The 5 Most Common Thyroid Disorders And What You Need To Know

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Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

When most people think of the thyroid, the first thing that may come to mind is an image of a simple, obscure gland located somewhere in the neck. The thyroid is often seen as serving unknown functions as it is rarely discussed in popular press. Likewise, it’s not at all surprising that few understand its exact function and just how important it is to our overall health, wellness and vitality.

In this article we will briefly cover what the thyroid is and its functions, and discuss the 5 most common thyroid disorders today.

Thyroid Functions

The thyroid is an endocrine gland that produces and directs various hormones in the body. The health of the thyroid is paramount to overall wellbeing, playing a vital role in cell growth, metabolism, and energy levels. The thyroid produces two major primary hormones called triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 is the more bio ­active version of the hormone, while T4 is considered the less active, storage form. Surprisingly, the thyroid outputs roughly 20 times more T4 than T3.

Lesser known, the thyroid’s secondary role is the production of the calcium­-regulating hormone calcitonin, which regulates and balances blood calcium levels and calcium deposition in bones.

Thyroid­-stimulating hormone (TSH) released from the pituitary helps regulate the hormonal output and balance of the thyroid, regulating how much of the primary T3 and T4 hormones are manufactured and released. Before all of that happens, the TSH release is first stimulated by the area of the brain that controls neuroendocrine and central nervous system function. The hypothalamus then sends out its own stimulatory hormone called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH).

The 5 Most Common Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid disorders affect millions of Americans yearly, and the number of people afflicted continues to grow with each passing year. Growing research data suggests that aside from the genetic origin of the various clinically significant thyroid disorders, much of the causation is likely due to lifestyle factors such as  constant exposure to a toxic environment, the consumption of chemically­-laden food and water, as well as a deficiency of certain nutrients.

Though thyroid disorders affect men and women alike – up to 20 million Americans – the predominance of disorders are found in women, upwards of 80%. 1 in 8 women will experience some type of thyroid disorder in their lives. [1]

1. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is defined as an overactive thyroid gland which produces an overabundance of T3/T4 hormones. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include goiter, heart palpitations,  anxiety, excess sweating, diarrhoea, weight loss, and muscle weakness. Causes are as diverse as its symptoms, but nevertheless are important to understand. Autoimmunity of the thyroid often leads to Grave’s Disease, a disorder that results in an overactive thyroid. Also, nodule formation and/or goiter formation in the thyroid, leading to inhibition of necessary hormone feedback loops, contributes to excess production of thyroid hormones. Excess dietary iodine intake can also increase risk for hyperthyroidism.

Conventional approaches to hyperthyroidism include beta ­blockers, radioactive iodine­, and surgery. Natural approaches are numerous and often boil down to one thing: diet. Eliminating goitrogenic foods may be helpful, as would removing fluoride, bromine, and chlorine from water via a high-quality filtration system. Reducing dietary gluten and dairy casein may also help protect the thyroid gland in sensitive individuals. Nascent iodine, lithium orotate, probiotics, vitamin D3, omega ­-3 fats, L ­-dopa (mucuna pruriens), and L-tyrosine are possible helpful supplements that can be taken for supporting thyroid health. Make sure to get plenty of sleep to recharge the thyroid, and avoid synthetic chemicals whenever possible. Deep breathing meditation and general relaxation may also be helpful for reducing stress associated with the thyroid. [2] [3]

2. Hypothyroidism

On the opposite end of the spectrum, an underactive thyroid which produces inadequate amounts of T3/T4 thyroid hormones is defined as hypothyroidism. Symptoms include tiredness, excessive weight gain, cold intolerance, baldness, depression, dry skin/hair/nails, and irritability. Common causes include a congenital abnormality (thyroid deficiency from birth), autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, nutritional iodine deficiency, TSH ­ hormone deficiency via pituitary gland abnormality, heavy metal toxicity, and dysbiosis (imbalance of good vs. bad bacteria).

Common treatment is the injection of synthetic thyroid hormone called Levothyroxine to boost hormone levels. With the exception of increasing exercise, the natural action steps ­to reduce risk for hypothyroidism are exactly the same for hyperthyroidism. [4] Exercise may help boost thyroid hormones, providing support for a sluggish, underactive gland.

3. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder whereby the thyroid gland is attacked by the immune system in response to antibodies produced by exposure to an  allergen. This reacts with the cells and tissues of the thyroid, causing inflammation and destruction of the gland, ultimately leading to hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism. Fatigue, cold intolerance, constipation, goiter, weight gain, paleness/puffiness in face, sleepiness, joint/muscular pain, dry/brittle hair, and depression are common symptoms. [5]

Medical experts postulate that viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances initiate the process of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis autoimmunity. Iodine deficiency in conjunction with fluoride/chlorine/bromine exposure may also be a contributing factor. A gluten allergy may be another hidden culprit behind Hashimoto’s disease. Vitamin D deficiency and dysbiosis are also common concerning factors. Conventional and natural approaches are similar to that of hypothyroidism.

4. Grave’s Disease

Similar to Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease is an autoimmune disorder whereby the thyroid gland is attacked by the  immune system  from antibodies produced in response to an allergen. This confuses the cells of the thyroid, causing inflammation and the overproduction of T3/T4 thyroid hormones, eventually leading to an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroid). [6]

Symptoms include anxiety, heart palpitations, goiter, hand tremors, weight loss, insomnia, irritability, muscle weakness, diarrhoea, heat intolerance, and eye problems. The causes are very similar to that of Hashimoto’s disease. Approaches are generally the same as with general hyperthyroidism and include beta ­ blockers, anti ­-thyroid medications such as methimazole and propylthiouracil, radioactive iodine ­, surgery, and avoiding goitrogenic foods.

5. Thyroiditis

Thyroiditis is defined as the swelling or inflammation of the thyroid gland.

There are a few main types:

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Postpartum thyroiditis potentially caused by autoimmune response, often in two phases:
    • The first phase occurs months 1 through 4 postpartum, resulting in hyperthyroidism.
    • The second phase generally lasts from months 4 through 8 postpartum and often results in a hypothyroid condition due to the exhaustion of thyroid hormones in the earlier phase. Recovery usually happens naturally 12- ­18 months postpartum.
  • Silent/painless thyroiditis, similar to postpartum but not related to birth.
  • Subacute thyroiditis, similar to the others but causes pain in jaw/neck/ear, possibly from autoimmunity or infection.

Iodine deficiency in conjunction with fluoride/chlorine/bromine displacement may be an important contributing factor in thyroiditis. Gluten allergy, vitamin D deficiency, and dysbiosis may also be factors associated with the condition. Depending on the type of thyroiditis, medications usually vary depending on whether it presents initially with hyper ­- or hypothyroidism. [7]

– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References
  1. American Thyroid Association.  Thyroid Disease.  Fact Sheet.
  2. Delitala G, Masala A, et al.  Plasma prolactin response to L ­dopa TRH and metaclopramide in thyrotoxicosis.  Biomedicine. 1976 Jul;25(5):173 ­6.
  3. NIH/NEMDS.  Hyperthyroidism.  National Institute of Health. Fact Sheet.
  4. JNIG/NEMDS.  Hypothyroidism.  Fact Sheet.
  5. NIH/NEMDS.  Hashimoto’s Disease.  Fact Sheet.
  6. NIH/NEMDS.  Grave’s Disease.  Fact Sheet.
  7. Office of Women’s Health/U.S. HHS.  Thyroid disease.  Fact Sheet.
Recommended Articles by Dr. Edward Group
About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. Heading up the research and development team, Dr. Group assumes a hands-on approach in producing new and advanced degenerative disease products and information.

Dr. Group has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the internet.

For more information, please visit Global Healing Center.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

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Activated Charcoal: 15 Benefits And Uses For Health And Wellness

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Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

Activated charcoal is a hot topic in health and wellness these days, gaining recognition as a powerhouse agent for detoxification with a wide range of potential uses. We see activated charcoal in everything from facial masks and teeth whiteners to digestive remedies and even an exotic new food trend that uses its charcoal hue for an element of surprise (think jet-black ice cream).

Activated charcoal benefits are no secret. A staple in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, activated charcoal remains to this day a common emergency room antidote for cases of toxicity and poisoning in developed nations around the world.[1] As for activated charcoal uses in daily life, this natural healing product is extremely versatile and generally considered safe. Yet activated charcoal should be handled with care (scroll down for an overview of activated charcoal side effects).

What Is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a by-product of burning coconut shells, bamboo, olive pits, wood, or various other substances. For your natural medicine cabinet, we recommend purchasing activated charcoal that is organic and made from coconut shells.

Processed at very high temperatures, this unique charcoal is “activated” in a way that changes its structure to increase the surface area and make it more porous. It is the porousness of activated charcoal that makes it effective at attaching to (“adsorbing”) toxins and flushing them out of the body. This is the principle behind activated charcoal detox.

Unlike the charcoal briquettes you use to light your barbecue, activated charcoal is free of toxins and carcinogens and is generally safe to consume and apply topically. Never substitute regular charcoal for the activated charcoal used for health and wellness!

What Are the Benefits of Activated Charcoal?

With its purifying qualities, activated charcoal offers potential benefits including detoxification, alleviating gas and bloating, digestive health, lowering cholesterol, reducing the effects of radiation, and anti-aging.

Detoxification

The most scientifically proven of all of activated charcoal’s benefits, detoxification happens naturally with this powerful agent. Because activated charcoal’s porous surface has a negative electrical charge, it attracts positively charged molecules such as toxins and gases for safe removal from the GI tract. In hospital emergency rooms throughout the developed world, a high single-use dosage of activated charcoal is the most frequently used method of gastrointestinal decontamination after certain kinds of poisoning, toxic exposure and drug overdose.[2]

Activated charcoal is considered to be effective for acute poisoning from a wide variety of drugs and poisons including acetaminophen, aspirin and tricyclic antidepressants. However, it is not useful for poisoning from lithiumiron, cyanide, potassium, and ethanol.[3]

While some use activated charcoal as a hangover cure, there is currently no evidence to support this. More than one study has shown that activated charcoal is not effective at adsorbing alcohol.[4]

Alleviating Gas and Bloating

Activated charcoal’s ability to reduce gas and bloating in the digestive system is scientifically proven. A double-blind clinical trial found reduced gas and bloating in subjects that used activated charcoal compared to the placebo group.[5] And in 2011, the European Food Safety Authority presented its scientific opinion in favour of using activated charcoal to reduce excess gas in the digestive system.[6] For more tips, see 10 Natural Remedies for Gas.

Digestive Health

When used for digestive cleansing, activated charcoal can promote overall digestive health. Considered a natural gut cleanser, activated charcoal can help lighten the body’s toxic load — potentially reducing allergic reactions and oxidative damage, as well as strengthening the immune system.

Lowering Cholesterol

Some researchers have found that activated charcoal can help people regulate their cholesterol. Just as it does with toxins, activated charcoal can attach to (adsorb) and flush out cholesterol in the intestine, preventing its absorption in the bloodstream. In a controlled study of people with high cholesterol, activated charcoal was effective at lowering total and LDL cholesterol levels.[7]

Reducing the Effects of Radiation

Piggybacking on its powers of detoxification, activated charcoal can also reduce the effects of radiation. Through the process of adsorption, activated charcoal attaches to radionuclides in the same way that it attaches to other toxins. See “13 Natural Remedies for Radiation Exposure” for more about activated charcoal’s ability to neutralize radiation, as well as the science behind it.

Anti-Aging

Through its ability to rid the body of toxins, activated charcoal has the potential to be a natural approach to healthy aging. With a reduced toxic load, the body experiences less of the oxidative damage that drives the aging process. In the same way, it may help to prevent cellular damage to our natural detox organs (the kidneys and liver) and also support adrenal gland health.

Activated Charcoal Uses

Activated charcoal use runs the gamut from gut-cleansing detox to purifying facials, teeth whitening, bug-bite care and more. Keep activated charcoal on hand for natural healing remedies like these.

Digestive Cleansing

The digestive tract is where a myriad of toxins can enter our bodies, from pesticides and heavy metals in food, to chemicals in water and exposure to mold. When you eliminate toxins with a digestive cleanse, you can feel lighter, stronger, and more energetic. While there are many different kinds of digestive cleanses, a simple approach is to eat whole, organic foods and avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.

Activated charcoal can supercharge your cleanse by assisting with the removal of toxins through the process of adsorption — that is, the toxins attach to the activated charcoal like metal to a magnet, and then pass safely out of the body with a bowel movement.

Recipe: To add activated charcoal to your cleanse, take 10 grams (either as a powder added to water or in pill form) 90 minutes before each meal for two days. Be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.

First Aid for Poisons or Toxins

An antidote to certain types of poisoning or exposure to toxic substances, drugs, or household chemicals, activated charcoal is handy to keep in your first aid kit or medicine cabinet. It is essential, however, to first contact 911 or a poison control center immediately. Depending on the type of poison, they may instruct you to administer activated charcoal at home before going to an emergency room.

Note: Having activated charcoal in your first-aid kit or medicine cabinet can help jump-start the recovery process but should never replace a healthcare professional.

Facial Mask

In the same way that activated charcoal draws toxins out of the digestive system, when applied topically, it can draw oils, dirt, bacteria and other impurities from the pores, leaving skin clean, clear and less prone to breakouts.

Recipe: Mix a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder with a tablespoon of honey to make a paste. Apply to face and neck with a cosmetic brush. Keep on for 5 to 10 minutes, then wash off with your favourite natural cleanser.

Note that activated-charcoal powder is very messy when spilled! Avoid using it over hard-to-clean areas such as tile grout.

Acne Spot Treatment

Mixed with a bit of aloe vera gel, activated charcoal makes an effective acne spot treatment.

Recipe: Break open one capsule of activated charcoal in a small bowl. Using a cotton swab, mix with a half-teaspoon of aloe vera gel to create a thick paste. Apply paste to acne. Let dry about 30 minutes. Wash off with warm water.

Teeth Whitening

It may seem counterintuitive to turn your teeth black in order to whiten them (don’t worry — the black washes off!), but many people have success using activated charcoal as a natural teeth whitener. Because activated charcoal is abrasive to the teeth, dab it on gently rather than using a toothbrush.

Recipe: In a small bowl, break open two capsules of activated charcoal. Using a cotton swab, mix in just enough water to make a thick paste (less than 1 teaspoon). Dab paste onto teeth, let sit three minutes and rinse.

Flatulence Relief

Activated charcoal’s ability to alleviate gas and bloating is clinically proven. If certain foods trigger gas, activated charcoal is one way to keep flatulence at bay.

Tip: Take 1 gram of activated charcoal at least 30 minutes before you eat and 1 gram an hour after you eat.

Bug Bites

Activated charcoal can be a great remedy for mosquito bites and bee stings, as it can alleviate the itching and discomfort that they cause.

Recipe: In a small bowl, break open one capsule of activated charcoal. Using a cotton swab, mix with ½ tablespoon of coconut oil and apply to the bug bite or bee sting.

Water Filtration

Just as it can remove impurities from the body, activated charcoal can also remove contaminants from water. Activated charcoal is a key component in many commercially available water filtration systems, and works in a similar way to the carbon filtration in the popular Brita water pitchers.

Activated charcoal in water filters may be effective at removing pesticides, solvents, and other chemicals. However, it is less effective at removing fluoride, viruses, bacteria, and hard-water minerals.

Air Purification

In the same spirit, activated carbon is also effective as a filter for air purification. Much like baking soda, commercially available charcoal bags can be placed in the refrigerator, car, pet areas, gym bags, and other places to freshen air, neutralize odours, and combat mold.

Activated Charcoal Forms

Activated charcoal is available in pills, tablets, capsules, and loose powder for multipurpose use. In all forms, activated charcoal is odourless and neutral-tasting.

Pills and Tablets

Activated charcoal to reduce gas and bloating is often taken in pill or tablet form. Generally, two pills or tablets are recommended to be taken at least 30 minutes before eating gas-producing foods, and one hour after.

Capsules

Purchasing activated charcoal in capsule form is a handy way to use small amounts for recipes. Simply break open a capsule into a small bowl to release the powder, and mix it with water, coconut oil or another ingredient to make a paste for DIY healing.

Powder

A jar of fine, jet-black activated charcoal powder is handy for a variety of uses. In cases of poisoning or the ingestion of toxins, activated charcoal powder is mixed with a liquid and given as a drink (or, in emergency rooms, administered through a tube from the mouth to the stomach).

For more common household use, activated charcoal powder can be used in small amounts for teeth whitening and other remedies.

Are There Side Effects to Using Activated Charcoal?

It is important to remember that activated charcoal not only adsorbs to toxins and unwanted chemicals in the body but it can get rid of good things, too, such as nutrients from food, supplements, and prescription medicines, making them less effective.

It is best to take activated charcoal on an empty stomach between meals so that it does not affect the absorption of nutrients. Activated charcoal should be taken 90 minutes to two hours prior to supplements and prescription medications.

Keep in mind that activated charcoal can make your stool turn black, but this is a temporary and harmless side effect. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent constipation when taking activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. At least one study supports its use for cholestasis, which is a condition marked by the reduction or stoppage of bile flow, during pregnancy.[8] Some pregnant women use it to alleviate symptoms of nausea and vomiting (morning sickness) as well as diarrhoea, though its effectiveness in such cases is not well documented. In some people, activated charcoal can cause side effects of vomiting and diarrhoea — the very symptoms it may be used to relieve.

Your Story

What about you? Have you ever used activated charcoal? What’s your favourite recipe?

References
  1. LoVecchio F, et al. “The feasibility of administration of activated charcoal with respect to current practice guidelines in emergency department patients.” Journal of Medical Toxicology. Sept. 2007.
  2. Juurlink DN. “Activated charcoal for acute overdose: a reappraisal.” British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Mar. 2016.
  3. Olson KR. “Activated Charcoal for Acute Poisoning: One Toxicologist’s Journey.” Journal of Medical Toxicology. 2010.
  4. Hultén BA, et al. “Does alcohol adsorb to activated charcoal?” Human Toxicology. May 1986.
  5. Jain NK, et al. “Efficacy of activated charcoal in reducing intestinal gas: a double-blind clinical trial.” The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Jul. 1986.
  6. Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to activated charcoal and reduction of excessive intestinal gas accumulation (ID 1938) and reduction of bloating (ID 1938) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006.” European Food Safety Authority Journal. 2011.
  7. Neuvonen PJ, et al. “Activated charcoal in the treatment of hypercholesterolaemia: dose-response relationships and comparison with cholestyramine.” European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 1989.
  8. Kaaja RJ, et al. “Treatment of cholestasis of pregnancy with peroral activated charcoal. A preliminary study.” Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. Feb. 1994.
Recommended Articles by Dr. Edward Group
About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. Heading up the research and development team, Dr. Group assumes a hands-on approach in producing new and advanced degenerative disease products and information.

Dr. Group has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the internet.

For more information, please visit Global Healing Center.

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