The 10 Best Multivitamins

While a multivitamin can never replace the phytonutrients and trace minerals found in whole food, a good quality one will certainly help fill any gaps in your diet. Maybe one day you simply didn’t eat enough vitamin C, or the next you were lacking in magnesium. If you are eating the standard American diet you will undoubtedly be deficient in nutrients, which can over time increase your risk of acute and chronic illness.

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Finding a quality product can be difficult in a market flooded with junk, so here I comprised a list of some of the better multivitamins on the market. Many of these companies have a variety of products, from prenatals to 50 plus to kids vitamins. They are free of potentially harmful additives like synthetic vitamins like folic acid, preservatives, artificial colors, titanium dioxide, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, etc.

Keep in mind everyone’s nutritional needs are different- some medical conditions make the body require less or more of certain nutrients, there may be food allergies/sensitivities, most drugs medications deplete certain nutrients, etc. So don’t hesitate to consult myself or another holistic nutritionist /herbalist for further guidance if necessary!

  • Vitalerbs or Kid E Mins by Dr. Christopher (the only one I’ve yet to find that only uses whole herbs to get the full spectrum of synergistic nutrients in the way nature intended, instead of using nutrients that are isolated and removed from food)
  • Thorne Research
  • Naturelo Whole Food Multivitamin
  • Smartypants Gummy vitamins (keep in mind gummies will not contain very many minerals and may be high in sugar, so use these as a last resort)
  • Nature’s Dynamics Gummy
  • Dr. Mercola Whole Food Multivitamin
  • Megafood
  • Summit Nutrition Organic
  • MaryRuth’s
  • Innate Response

You should be able to find these at most local nutrition stores, and if they are not available most can be purchased online.

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

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http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

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8 Incredible Reasons to Eat Star Anise

Star Anise is an aromatic, liquorice- flavored spice that is widely used in Indian, Malay, Chinese, and Indonesian cuisine. As with all herbs, it is not only a culinary delight but has some powerful medicinal properties. Find it in the spice aisle of your local grocery store, preferably organic.

1. Star Anise has antibacterial, anti-viral properties and helps to fight infection. Almost all of the world’s star anise crop is used for extraction of shikimic acid, the chemical used in the synthesis of Tamiflu. Can you imagine how much safer it must be to use the unadulterated, whole food form of the medicine? This herb is indicated specifically for the flu, sinus infections and bronchial infections. Take it at the first sign of illness and each day you are ill, preferably in the tea form. See my recipe below.

2. It has compounds such as creosol and alpha-pimene that clear mucus from air passages, soothe a sore throat, and make dry, irritating coughs more productive. The Greeks used to make teas with it to help asthma and other respiratory ailments.

3. Promotes milk production in nursing mothers.

4. It is carminitive (relieves gas) and is good for indigestion.

5. Is helpful for PMS and menopausal symptoms, and gently encourages childbirth.

6. Supplies calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, and five B vitamins.

7. The seeds from this powerfully scented herb have been used as a tea for thousands of years to help treat bad breath.

8. Star Anise contains a compound called anethol, which has been reported to increase sex drive in women.

Here we used star anise to make a flavorful immune boosting tea with a handful of chaga mushroom chunks, 1 cinnamon bark stick, and 1/4 cup of elderberries in a stock pot.

Explore the many culinary applications to get the benefits of this wonderful medicine provided by nature!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

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http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

Mom Stress! Herbal Medicines for the Breastfeeding Mama

This is one I hear all the time- “I’m stressed… help!! But I’m nursing… what’s safe to take?”

Use of natural medicines can be tricky while breastfeeding and I’m always conservative in their use (even if some people disagree with me!). Better safe than sorry is my motto. In a field where clinical studies are not always available and everyone has a different opinion, we must sometimes rely on traditional wisdom and common sense.

The following is a compilation of some of my favorite go-to’s for calming the hearts & minds of the busy nursing mother, in the safest way that nature intended.  I tend to prefer tinctures and teas, as you will begin feeling the effects rather quickly. Each brand may vary in potency, so take as directed on the package.  ALWAYS use the whole herbs- they supply nature’s perfect balance of dozens of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that make the herb safe and effective…. essentially acting as a “checks & balance” system for the plant. Side effects can begin to occur when you isolate compounds of the plant. Do keep in mind if what you’re experiencing is above and beyond normal daily stress (such as severe anxiety, depression, or other mood disorders) or you have other medical conditions to consider, I recommend making an appointment for more in depth, customized nutritional & herbal counseling.

That being said… I hope you enjoy a nice warm cup of calming goodness today!

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  1. Oat Straw: This one can be used as a quick and easy tincture, but also makes a lovely sweet-tasting tea. It calms anxiety, tension and stress, yet promotes energy and stamina. Good for exhaustion, and can increase libido. May also increase supply!
  2. Blue Vervain: One of my favorites. Not only does it help manage stress, tension headaches, migraine, insomnia, & depression, it also promotes lactation. One client who was taking it daily nearly doubled the amount she was able to pump. Win win! Not very tasty as a tea, I prefer the tincture form.
  3. Motherwort: Eases hormone-related mood fluctuations and PMS, muscle spasms, reduces blood pressure, and calms anxiety. Note- may cause photosensitivity. Not a fantastic tea- try the tincture.
  4. Hops: Another production-helper! Small quantities of hops have been found to help with let-down. Can help with restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and is mildly sedating. If you feel comfortable with it, you could drink 1/4 to 1/2 of a beer to get the benefits of the hops. Teas have a slight bitterness.
  5. Valerian: A sedative that is good for insomnia, stress, anxiety, elevated blood pressure, & muscle spasms. This is my favorite for “racing mind” syndrome when you’re lying in bed trying to sleep. Some people get headaches with prolonged use, just use occasionally as needed. It tastes like dirty feet if you ask me… go the tincture route. (pictured)Valerian flowers
  6. Chaga: Studies have found this medicinal mushroom to help depression and mood balance. I’d recommend a tea form, used by boiling the dried chunks. With a bit of honey or maple syrup it has an enjoyable (non-mushroomy) flavor.
  7. Passionflower: Its gentle sedating effect calms unease, anxiety, and hyperactivity. This can be used as a tea or tincture.
  8. Chamomile: This delicious tea makes a great nerve tonic. Used for fretfulness, anxiety, and insomnia, and is a favorite of children. Avoid if you are allergic to ragweed.
  9. Linden flower: I prefer to drink this one- with a floral, delicate flavor when made into a tea, it’s a nervine that helps with mild stress, anxiety, and tension.

 

The “Maybe Milk Reducers”

The following herbs can be great for stress, but some mothers have reported a decrease in supply. If you try them, just be mindful and discontinue if you see an undesired decrease in milk production.

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  1. Lavender (whole herb): Some sources say this is a galactagogue, some say it may decrease supply. As a member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, I’d say just keep an eye on any changes. It helps to improve mood and calm stressful feelings. It’s best to use a small bunch of the dried or fresh plant in a tea.
  2. Lemon Balm : Called the “gladdening herb,” it is good for nervous agitation, stress, anxiety, hormone-related mood fluctuations, and insomnia. It’s mildly sedating and calms muscles. Another one of those controversial ones- some say it increases supply, some say it decreases… just be mindful. It can be used as a yummy citrusy tea or tincture.
  3. Catnip: An antispasmodic and nerve tonic to relieve stress and anxiety. Tea or tincture, and it grows wild in many areas.

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

(not intended as medical advice)

MultivitaminGate 2017

24819192_10101910803122733_999548494_oWell, another one bites the dust. I was disappointed to wake up to the news this morning- supplement company Garden of Life (a brand I regularly recommend to clients) just sold out to Nestle. Corporate takeovers generally are followed by cheaper ingredients and lower quality standards, and in addition many people prefer to support smaller, family-owned companies. I do plan on closely watching any formulation changes with this brand, but this buyout has understandably left many consumers looking for alternatives.

While a multivitamin can never replace the phytonutrients and trace minerals found in whole food, a good quality one will certainly help fill any gaps in your diet. Maybe one day you simply didn’t eat enough vitamin C, or the next you were lacking in magnesium. If you are eating the standard American diet you will undoubtedly be deficient in nutrients, which can over time increase your risk of acute and chronic illness.

Finding a quality product can be difficult in a market flooded with junk, so here I comprised a list of some of the better multivitamins on the market. Many of these companies have a variety of products, from prenatals to 50 plus to kids vitamins. They are free of potentially harmful additives like synthetic vitamins, preservatives, artificial colors, titanium dioxide, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, etc.

Keep in mind everyone’s nutritional needs are different- some medical conditions make the body require less or more of certain nutrients, there may be food allergies/sensitivities, most drugs medications deplete certain nutrients, etc. So don’t hesitate to consult myself or another holistic nutritionist /herbalist for further guidance if necessary!

  • Vitalerbs or Kid E Mins by Dr. Christopher (the only one I’ve yet to find that only uses whole herbs to get the full spectrum of synergistic nutrients in the way nature intended, instead of using nutrients that are isolated and removed from food)
  • Thorne Research
  • Naturelo Whole Food Multivitamin
  • Smartypants Gummy vitamins (keep in mind gummies will not contain very many minerals and may be high in sugar)
  • Nature’s Dynamics Gummy
  • Dr. Mercola Whole Food Multivitamin
  • Megafood
  • Summit Nutrition Organic
  • MaryRuth’s
  • Innate Response

You should be able to find these at most local nutrition stores, and if they are not available most can be purchased online.

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Skip the Vitamin C Supplements

I have always taken a vitamin c supplement to help with skin, immune system, and other things, but whole food sources like rose hips really are the gold standard.  In addition to having incredible amounts of vitamin C, you’re also getting dozens of other vitamins, minerals, and healing phytochemicals that you just won’t find in an isolated vitamin C pill, some of which are actually vital for proper absorption of the C.

image3/4 cup of rose hips provides:

426 mg vitamin C  (710% daily value)

17% daily value calcium

17% daily value magnesium

12% daily value potassium

51% daily value manganese

39% daily value vitamin e

(Just to name a couple)

In comparison… the same amount of raw oranges provides just 45 mg vitamin c!

So just a reminder to myself and others- pills and powders can never replace the untouched whole food nutrient sources that the earth provides us.  Food changes everything!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

Creamy Wild Watercress & Nettle Soup

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watercress nettles motherwort catmint-w

Wild watercress and nettles are sprouting in Wisconsin, and they are quite the culinary treat!

High in calcium, iron, vitamin c, beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, vitamin E, vitamin K, lutein, b vitamins, and many more, watercress is rich in potent antioxidants that help to fight cancer. It’s been found to help smokers or those exposed to secondhand smoke excrete the toxins found in cigarettes from their urine in just 3 days.  It’s also good for liver problems.

Stinging nettles are my go-to safe alternative to allergy drugs. They help hayfever and any type of allergies, supporting the immune system and anti-inflammatory response naturally, instead of just covering up symptoms like drugs. This mint can be used for prostate problems, PMS, asthma, bronchitis, sciatica, tendonitis, multiple sclerosis, gout, hives, kidney stones, sciatica, high blood pressure, & eczema. Just about one cup of this veggie will give you half the calcium you need for the day, with good amounts of magnesium, manganese, iron, b vitamins, vitamin k, beta carotene, and potassium.

Both greens are excellent for treating anemia, purifying the blood, and for arthritis.   Note: Be careful not to touch the nettles without gloves- they bite!

Ingredients:

2 cups MSG-free vegetable broth

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or organic butter

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1 bunch of watercress

1 bunch of nettles

2 medium potatoes, peeled & chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

¼ cup organic whole plain yogurt, extra to garnish (eliminate to make vegan)

Sprinkle of chives to garnish

Himalayan salt & black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Bring the broth to a boil, and add the potatoes. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, heat the butter/oil over medium heat. Add the nettles, watercress, and onions. Turn heat down a bit and cook until the onions are translucent. Once your potatoes are tender, add the cooked greens mixture to the pot and boil for a couple minutes. Place in your food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add the yogurt, then season to taste with the salt & pepper. Ladle into bowls immediately and enjoy!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

Ghost Pipes

Update:  I’m happy to say the author of the article mentioned here has updated her article to be slightly more evidence-based since this was published.

I’ve seen this floating around quite a bit, and it’s created many misconceptions surrounding Monotropa Uniflora, also known as Ghost Pipes or Indian Pipes.

To respect a plant is to tell the truth, not create misconceptions. To honor it. To approach it with both evidence-based information and ancient wisdom. I urge people to respect this plant. I urge people to understand practical use.

On that note, let me debunk some of the statements in this opinion piece with information coming directly from the Wisconsin DNR and the University of Wisconsin Department of Botany.

(Note: As with any plant, distribution will vary from state to state, from country to country. This article reflects information from Wisconsin as well as most parts of the eastern United states. Check with your local DNR/University extension for information on your area.)

Per University of Wisconsin Department of Botany-

Monotropa Uniflora (Ghost pipes or Indian pipes) are NOT endangered, and are abundant in North and Central America. They are widely abundant in Wisconsin. It is not disappearing. It is not rare.

Picking the stems while leaving the roots undisturbed does NOT affect future growth. As with many plants, it is important to leave the roots so that your harvesting is sustainable. It is a traditional Native American medicinal plant, and indeed is useful to humans and has been used for many centuries as a medicine. Medicinal uses are documented, and provide benefits unlike any other plant we know of. Uses range from treating PTSD to chronic pain. As it is very potent and does not work well for individuals with certain health conditions, I would advise using it under supervision of a trained professional.

Ethics and conservation are indeed important. ALL medicinal plants deserve respect. Sustainably harvesting a widely abundant plant is no more about ego, objectification, or “plant porn” than harvesting/photographing echinacea, motherwort, St Johns wort, or any other beneficial plant.

Let me give you an example- one of my favorite medicinals, blue vervain, is rare in Wisconsin. I have only one patch I’ve found. I harvest about 25% of the patch every year, leaving the roots intact, as I have done for about 5 years. The patch has grown noticeably over the years.

In addition to that, Ghost Pipe does not photosynthesize like a typical plant. As it gets all of its sugars from fungal mycelium, the aerial parts are primarily for reproduction and not necessary to sustain the root. So as long as you leave seed to help spread some, harvesting this plant is actually more sustainable than any perennial plant that needs to photosynthesize to sustain the sugars in the taproot.

In summary, there is no science or evidence behind the claims in this article and I’d like to put that to rest. Respect the facts, respect the evidence, respect our environment and the food and medicine it provides for us, respect and pass on our ancestors wisdom and traditions.

 

Read more about this plant and its distribution here: http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=MOUN3

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