nutrients for holistic pain relief: part three

Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 0 comments

A few weeks ago, we talked about the benefits of magnesium for holistic pain relief. Last time we discussed the role Vitamin D plays in pain and pain relief. Today’s post is all about the benefits of turmeric for holistic pain relief.

If you’ve lived with chronic pain for long enough, you probably heard someone talking about turmeric. Getting advice (whethTurmeric Root and Powderer you asked for it or not) is a big part of living with chronic illness and pain. You might ignore the latest great idea, but don’t ignore turmeric. Because, hey, even doctors are talking about turmeric as a natural remedy for pain relief.

In fact, a physician writing for Time Magazine recently quoted a study conducted at the University of Arizona. The researchers investigated the way turmeric works with joint inflammation, and found that turmeric turns down inflammation by blocking production of the protein that turns on the gene that tells tiny blood vessels to grow.

My first experience with turmeric was when I started doing massage for athletes. Some of my clients told me about Tissue Rejuvenator, a product that contains turmeric and many other natural pain-relieving substances. I used this product for a few years, and still think it’s terrific! (And I receive absolutely no compensation from Hammer Nutrition to tell you this.)

Turmeric may be new to you, but it’s been used medicinally for over 4,000 years. Its active ingredient is called curcumin and is a relative of ginger (another great natural pain-reliever). You can buy turmeric in capsules, in tinctures (liquid) and also in its whole root form. You can take powdered turmeric and make a tea. I know some folks who grate fresh turmeric root into their cooking, and even add it to smoothies.

Be aware that more turmeric isn’t always a good thing in cooking. The flavor it imparts is quite earthy, and can overwhelm other elements in the dish. If you really want to ingest a large quantity, you may find it easier to do in a capsule form.

As with all supplements, please have a conversation with your health care professional before beginning a turmeric regimen. Turmeric has some capabilities, including blood thinning, that need to be assessed in light of your body and your life.

But if you’re looking for a well-researched natural supplement for pain relief, turmeric is a good place to start!


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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anti-inflammatory diet for holistic pain relief

Posted by on Apr 24, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Cooking at Home, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 0 comments

Anti-Inflammatory DietInflammation, in its ideal form, is the body’s response to infection and injury. When it works properly, it’s a solution addressing pain and invading organisms. But when inflammation is systemic (throughout our body), low-level and persistent, we are neither healed nor protected. Long-term inflammation can be a factor in chronic pain, as well as many illnesses including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, allergies, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s.

Inflammation is more common today because our bodies are out of balance. Our bodies produce chemicals called prostaglandins, using nutrients from the food we eat as a raw material. The major nutrients that our bodies use to create prostaglandins are fatty acids from our foods. These are the omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids produce an anti-inflammatory response in our bodies. Omega-6 fatty acids produce an inflammatory response.

Our bodies need an equal amount of each of these fatty acids to maintain a balanced inflammatory status. However, today’s “standard American diet” provides us with up to 20 times as much omega-6 fatty acid as omega-3 fatty acid.

The goal is to balance your food choices so that the sum of all foods eaten over the course of the day is in the positive, anti-inflammatory range.

What are the main sources of the inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids?

Sweets, starches (especially grains), and highly processed foods are the main culprits. We consume more cereal grains (and the oils produced from them) than ever before.

In addition, the animals we eat are also consuming increasing quantities of these grains (primarily corn). Even fish are being corn-fed in farms that raise seafood to meet our growing demands!

Does this mean I have to follow a highly restrictive diet?

No—it simply means you need to be aware of the balance of nutrients your body is receiving! Learn to make nutritional choices that support your body’s natural desire to create a balanced equilibrium of anti- and pro-inflammatory responses.

How do I know if a food is inflammatory?

Foods affect inflammation in complex and unpredictable ways. The IF Rating™ System is a new tool that takes the guesswork out of an anti-inflammatory diet by showing how different foods fuel or fight inflammation. Using the IF Ratings, you can create your own healing, inflammation-reducing diet.

The formula used to calculate the IF Ratings measures the effects of more than 20 different factors that determine a food’s inflammatory or anti-inflammatory potential, including:

  • amount and type of fat
  • essential fatty acids
  • vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
  • glycemic index
  • anti-inflammatory compounds

Components of an anti-inflammatory diet

Focus on meats, fish, eggs and leafy vegetables!

Low starch and other simple sugars: Insulin and high blood glucose are inflammatory. Have starch only in small portions (½ banana or one side of a hamburger bun) and preferably in unprocessed forms. Aim for less than 30 grams in any meal—less is healthier.

No high fructose corn syrup: High free fructose (in contrast to sucrose—table/white sugar) is inflammatory and contributes to cross linking of collagen fibers, which means prematurely aged skin. This doesn’t mean it’s better to switch to artificial sweeteners! Sucrose is much less inflammatory than alternative sweeteners.

High ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats: Most vegetable oils (olive oil is the exception) are very high in omega-6 fats and are inflammatory and should be avoided. Omega-3 fats from fish oil cannot have their full anti-inflammatory impact in the presence of vegetable oils, so consider how you cook them. Omega-3 supplements are often needed to overcome existing inflammation. For maximum absorption, be sure to take them at a meal where you also eat saturated fats.

No trans fats: All are inflammatory. Read ingredient lists and look for the words “partially hydrogenated.” Don’t believe “no trans fats” claims without reading the ingredient list!

Probiotics and prebiotics: The bacteria in your gut are vitally important in reducing inflammation. Most of the bacteria that initially colonize breastfed babies and are also present in fermented products seem to be helpful. A high-quality probiotic supplement can also be quite helpful.

Saturated fats are healthy and reduce the peroxidation of omega-3 fatty acids at sites of local inflammation, e.g. fatty liver. Saturated fats should be a significant source of dietary calories to balance you towards anti-inflammatory. Vegetable oils (corn, soy, cottonseed, safflower) are rich in omega-6 fatty acids and are dangerously inflammatory. These polyunsaturated oils are less healthy than saturated fats. Olive oil is the most healthy.

Vegetable antioxidants: Vegetables and fruits, along with coffee and chocolate supply very useful, anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants.

How can I balance inflammatory factors?

Here are some simple suggestions to add anti-inflammatory choices into your daily routine:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Minimize stress
  • Get a full night’s sleep
  • Eat whole foods, especially organic
  • Consider taking a high quality fish oil
  • Cook with aromatic spices – garlic, ginger, cayenne, turmeric are anti-inflammatory
  • Add avocado, kale, spinach, anchovies, wild Atlantic or sockeye salmon, Brazil nuts, and other anti-inflammatory foods

Mindful choices that add in more omega-3 fatty acids or develop relaxing behavior is the place to start! Making anti-inflammatory choices doesn’t have to feel like deprivation. Remember, everything is a balance.

Further Resources:

The Everything Anti-Inflammation Diet Book, by Karlyn Grimes

The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan, by Monica Reinagel (

Foods that Fight Fibromyalgia, by Deirdre Rawlings

Meals that Heal Inflammation, by Julie Daniluk


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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investing in new cookware for holistic pain relief

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Cooking at Home, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 10 comments

oos350-614470-847__1Several months ago, Barbara and I decided to replace our non-stick cookware with stainless steel. Why? Very simply, another step in our path of holistic pain relief. Plus, there’s mounting evidence that the chemicals used in non-stick cookware, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), may contribute to the alteration of natural hormones that influence inflammation, cartilage repair, and other criteria associated with arthritis. As Barbara has rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it was a no-brainer for us to move forward with this endeavor.

Understand this…Barbara thinks I’m cheap; I think I’m frugal, thrifty, and practical—great attributes for a COO! Nonetheless, since I am the primary “chef” in the family, we decided I would be in charge of researching and selecting which cookware set to purchase. No problem. They’re all the same, right?

On our next trip to the local warehouse store, I was excited to find a 14-piece stainless steel cookware set for $99.00. It included all the pieces that I needed for preparing my culinary masterpieces. What a deal! I promptly looked up reviews on my iPhone while at the store and was chagrinned that the set was poorly rated. Hmm, I guess they aren’t all the same. Phooey.

For the next week or so, I endeavored to learn what I needed to know about buying safe cookware. I digested a dizzying number of articles that covered types, manufacturers, and cookware SKUs along with many reviews, both user and expert, from varying sources—Amazon to Consumer’s Reports.

Well folks, this is what I found out:

First, I wanted to find support for the negative health affects from PFOA and PFOS, particularly as it pertains to arthritis. I’m a very logical person and soon realized that finding non-biased information about health-related topics was like trying to get neutral political opinion from both FOX and MSNBC. This is one of the articles that I read—“Teflon component linked to arthritis” based on a study featured in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Obviously, this ruled out non-stick cookware.

Next, I wanted to find a synopsis of what’s available. I viewed this slide show on the Huffington Post about the different types of cookware. Yeah, I know. It’s a liberal site…but this is a very non-political blog post!

  • Copper
  • Non-stick
  • Aluminum – we ruled out aluminum because of the possible correlation between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Anodized aluminum
  • Stainless steel
  • Cast iron
  • Enameled cast iron
  • Carbon steel
  • Enamel on steel
  • Green pan (a ceramic-based non-stick material)

Wow, that’s a lot of choices. After considering the above materials, we decided upon stainless steel. But, what’s the difference from one stainless steel set to another? After reading around a hundred reviews on Amazon and other sites, I learned that it was the thickness of the steel and whether or not it’s “multiclad/tri-play” or aluminum layered in the stainless steel both on the bottom and sides of the pot/pan. This is important since stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat.

Now, what brand? There were basically three manufacturers with models that rated well, 1) All-Clad, 2) Cuisinart, and 3) Tramontina. They all have multiclad styles.

I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap, but $1500.00 for a 14-piece All-Clad set was a bit too rich for our blood. The Tramontina set I considered was only available through Sam’s Club and we’re not members. Therefore, we decided upon a multiclad Cusinart set.

But wait! Where to buy it? The Cuisinart MCP-12N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set available at Amazon was priced at $299.00. Now, this is where my cheapness, frugality, practicality comes to play.

Drum roll please. While looking at the Costco website, I noted they had a Cuisinart® 12-piece Professional Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware. It was Cusinart. Check! There were no discernible differences. Check! It was “tri-ply”. Check! It also had glass lids that the Multi-Clad Pro set did not have. Yay! The set at Costco cost $199.99 or a hundred bucks less than the set at Amazon.


P.S. Since then, we bought a stainless steel steamer set for steaming vegetables and we also determined that we needed to make one concession for using non-stick cookware—frying eggs. However, once the non-stick surface starts to show signs of wear, we’ll trash it. Oh well. Not perfect, but pretty close to it.


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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gluten free sauces on the fly

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Ask the Coach, Cooking at Home, Gluten Free, Healthier Choices, Wellness | 2 comments

Well, today you’re in for a special treat. Yours truly and Confident Wellness’ COO wrote today’s blog!

As you may already know, I love all aspects of food—planning, shopping, cooking, and most of all eating the food that I cook. I’m the “chef” in our family and enjoy preparing meals not only for Barb and I, but also for friends and our VERY large family.

Family Dinner

One of our family dinners — as you can see, it’s a very informal affair served “family style.”

November will mark Barb’s one-year anniversary of being gluten free and, of course, my anniversary of cooking gluten free.

A couple of weeks ago, one of Barb’s clients who knows that I cook, asked her for easy sauce recipes as alternatives to purchasing jarred stir-fry and barbeque sauces that are typically loaded with gluten and unwanted ingredients. This created a unique challenge because (maybe like you?) I rarely use recipes when I whip up my culinary specialties. Hmm, what to do?

Being of Asian descent, I prepare many different stir-fries. However, I was now tasked with creating a recipe for one of my “mad-professor”-style cooking sauces. I went to the kitchen, pulled out a pot, measuring utensils, and ingredients that I thought would pull together as a simple, layered, and tasty stir-fry sauce. Here’s what I scribbled on a Post-It note as I made my 10-minute sauce:

Gluten Free Stir-Fry Sauce
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons (or to taste) gluten free soy sauce
½ teaspoon of garlic powder or a couple of cloves of fresh, finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
¼ teaspoon (or to taste) cayenne
Pinch of Chinese Five Spice (careful, it has a strong flavor)
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

Dry roast the sesame seeds by placing the sesame seeds in a hot, pre-heated fry pan until golden brown and set aside. This should take roughly two minutes.

Pour the chicken broth into a water-tight container and shake with the corn starch until dissolved.

Pour mixture into a small sauce-pan, heat on a medium flame until it thickens. You may need to add more cornstarch if you like a thicker sauce.

Add the soy sauce, garlic powder or chopped garlic, sesame seed oil, cayenne, and Chinese Five Spice.

Let the mixture simmer for five minutes.

Add the sauce to your favorite stir-fry combinations. One of my favorites is thinly sliced chicken breast added to a combination of diagonally sliced celery and carrots, bok choy cabbage, and bean sprouts. Be careful not to overcook any of the ingredients, particularly the cabbage and bean sprouts. Oh yes, and use fresh bean sprouts. The canned bean sprouts are downright nasty.

Sprinkle the roasted sesame seeds on top of the stir fry as a garnish.

Notes: My favorite soy sauce is made by Kikkoman, however, their gluten free soy sauce may be difficult to find. We got ours at Wegman’s, a great grocery chain headquartered in Rochester New York. On a recent trip to an Asian store, I found what was termed “vegetarian soya sauce”. Although I don’t like it as much, it can still be used since there are no gluten components.


I was also asked to write a recipe for a barbeque sauce. This is one of our favorites since neither Barb nor I enjoy “heavy”, ketchup-style sauces. We prefer something like this:

Gluten Free, Carolina-Style Barbeque Sauce
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon of your favorite pepper sauce. We use some of the hotter, habanero sauces (not for wimps).
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
4 tablespoons tomato paste

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a day or two before using.  If refrigerated, it will last for a fairly long time.

Notes: This is very similar to some of the Carolina barbeque sauces that can be found online. The sauce is great on top of shredded pork or grilled chicken. It can be used as a marinade for other barbequed meats.

I think you’ll enjoy both of these sauces as much as we do.


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download our free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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