Digestion – Could yours be better?

Digestion is a top to bottom process that is vital to our health. Digestion is the means by which we assimilate nutrients that run our bodies. Problems with digestion interfere with the way our bodies are fed at a cellular level.
I always say that we are what we eat, assimilate and do not eliminate. Problems with digestion can be many – but they generally start with what we chose to eat. Many foods actually erode or inflame our stomach lining causing problems with digestion such as indigestion and/or acid reflux. These foods include milk, white flour products, orange juice and coffee.
If there is a problem at the upper end of the digestive tract, there will be problems all the way down. For example, many people have problems with indigestion and take products that block stomach acid. Stomach acid is actually important as it helps set the pH of the digestive tract, it makes certain nutrients – particularly proteins and minerals more available, and it helps our immune system by killing bacteria and parasites that enter our bodies in our food. If you block acid production, then those functions do not happen correctly and digestion is compromised all the way down.
Most indigestion happens from not enough stomach acid. Roughly 5 percent of indigestion is actually from too much acid. Taking digestive aids that contain some hydrochloric acid (HCL) actually helps many cases of indigestion. Raw apple cider vinegar is also good for this. Those with too much acid can typically repair stomach lining and come back into balance.
The small intestine depends on enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the liver. People with issues involving the pancreas, liver and/or gallbladder will have problems assimilating nutrients correctly. There are great natural products to take to help balance these processes.
Many people complain of indigestion after gallbladder removal. It sometimes helps to add supplements containing bile salts to help emulsify fats and help simulate a normal process of digestion.
Another common issue that interferes with digestion is yeast/fungus – also known as candida. People that do not make enough stomach acid will typically develop this as will those who consume too many sweets and other foods that convert easily into sugar. Yeast overgrowth can be brought into balance by diet changes and natural supplements to help kill yeast and restore balance to the intestinal tract.
The last problem for today’s article is constipation or diarrhea. Constipation happens for many reasons – not enough water or fiber, liver congestion, low protein intake, magnesium deficiency, prescription drugs, thyroid problems and more. These can be helped with natural supplements.
Diarrhea when not associated with a stomach virus, is typically caused by yeast/fungus, parasites and/or food allergies.
Good digestion is good for you. Consider making yours better naturally.

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Natural Product Pricing – Be Smart!

Pricing of natural supplements impacts our choices. You might wonder why a column on natural health would be about product pricing – how much something costs is an important aspect in choosing the right supplements to take.
I assume that everyone takes supplements to be healthier – otherwise why bother? But the question I ask is “are your supplements making you healthier?” I see many supplements in my day to day business – those that I sell, those from vendors who want me to sell theirs, and those that people bring in to show me what they are taking.
At least half of what I see is not worth taking. Before I go further, I would like to say that nutritional supplements are big business – really big business. Vitamins and herbs used to be manufactured by companies that were trying to make the best products to get the best results. However, over time, our wonderful American system gave birth to those who could use cheap raw materials and cheap manufacturing processes and make products that make them money – regardless of whether they actually work or are good for you.
Most people don’t realize that the cheaper products are made from ingredients that are rejected by the companies that test for quality. When a company tests their raw materials, the ingredients that do not meet the quality standards are bought by the companies that make cheap products. These companies can make cheap products because they do not test and they buy low quality ingredients. On supplements, this is an important concept. Ingredients that are below quality standards for the companies that test have something wrong with them – they tend to be the wrong form, have some form of contamination, or simply do not have the right chemical components to work like they should.
On the other side of the pricing issue is products that are marked up more than they should be. I see this with internet and television marketing. Many times products sold this way cost 3 times what they should cost. These products are never that special – there are always good quality, similar products available without the excessive mark-up at traditional health food stores.
Other products that cost too much are those sold by multi-level marketing schemes – also known as pyramids. Most products sold this way are marked up an extra 50-100 percent so that the bonus payments can be made to those “upstream”. In a multi-level marketing scheme, the cheapest price offered is about what that product should cost if sold in a traditional retail store. The extra fees and excess product costs go to the top of the pyramid. Very few of the multi-level products are truly unique and most are medium quality at best – yet many people are willing to pay a premium because of how the products are marketed.
Remember, in a world where money is the motivating factor, absolutely nothing is safe and the only way you can be sure of getting products that will actually help build your health at fair prices is to learn about quality, learn to read labels and to be discerning about what is behind pricing differences.

Note to readers:  My husband and I strive to provide quality products at a good value everyday at our store. We have regular discounts on most of our products.  We have selected our inventory based on what we have seen be effective over the past 12 years.  Many repeat customers tell me that they have tried other products, but the other products did not work like the ones we sell.  I sincerely hope that if you are taking supplements for your health, that you are taking something that will truly make you healthier.

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Vacation – Everybody needs one!

Natural Cowgirl is on vacation until the first week of September!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!  

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Natural Health – It Doesn’t Really Seem Natural!

Natural Health is almost anything but natural to most of us. How can taking supplements be natural? And why does is matter what brand you buy? And do I really have to change the way I eat?
But, you have to ask yourself – what is natural about our lifestyle today? Am I really healthy? How good do I really feel? Then make some choices.
You might find that you need more information. So you might want to start with some blood work. Most of America has problems with blood sugar as evidenced by the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides – I know we call this a “cholesterol” problem, but more than likely, it is a blood sugar issue. You may not be diabetic, but you are probably in that in-between range where you are not processing sugars correctly and you make lots of cholesterol. If your fasting glucose is above 90 but you are not diagnosed as diabetic, then you are in this range. If you are in doubt, look at your belly – need I say more?
Note that high cholesterol can be a more complex issue, but a good 85-90 percent of it is blood sugar and diet related.
Back to the issue of supplements – our diet is lacking essential nutrients. (There is lots of research to support this – just not space in this article.) To fix the issue of lack of nutrients, you have to supplement somehow. Now the question is do you believe that you can get these nutrients at big box discount stores? It is heartbreaking to see the amount of money spent on the wrong stuff – even if it is cheap stuff.
My theory is that if you want to take stuff that will make you healthier, buy the best quality you can afford. A few supplements of the best quality will help you more than a lot of supplements of the lowest quality.
Remember when you are taking trace amounts of nutrients that you expect to work, take the right form with a delivery system that will work. Quality products are the correct form and have a good delivery system. Cheap products typically are not the right form and are bound in calcium carbonate with fillers and dyes – this is a mixed blessing, because if the product is that cheap, you don’t want to absorb it anyway. But my point is why buy it in the first place?
If you do not know if a product is good quality, or the right form, get some help from someone that knows. Stores that stock quality products actually have people that you can find to ask questions – and these people can usually answer those questions.
Also consider when taking supplements, a natural health approach works best when you address the underlying cause. Consider nutritional deficiencies and excesses.                                                                                                                                         And consider whole body cleanses. The body cannot work correctly or heal itself if it is bogged down with residue from years of bad habits. There are great cleanse products. I recommend a whole body cleanse at least one time per year – preferably twice.

Be informed and make good decisions for yourself – this includes diet, exercise and natural supplements. And be healthier naturally!

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