Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Food in the News- Coconut Oil – 50 best uses by Charlie Pulsipher of Sun Warrior

Smorgasbord Health 2017

I have been drinking coconut water now for two years. There is a lot of fans out there and there are certain medical sites who agree with some of the claims, but rubbish the rest. Here is what I believe after drinking over this extended period.  I buy Innocent which is about the best I have found in taste and I buy from Tesco where they often to two for about 25% off.

I find it is usually more expensive in the health food shops and certainly it is not economical to buy the small cartons.  I don’t buy the ones that are flavoured or have other additives.  As an alternative to fizzy drinks it has less sugar and you can also dilute with water 50/50 so that you can drink it all day if you are out of working in a warmer environment.

I drink a glass first thing in the morning and I find that I wake up faster and can get on with work without having to drink tea or coffee. My skin is more hydrated and my hair is in better condition. I find a glass dulls my appetite and I don’t need to take a bunch of supplements as the coconut water contains  B-complex vitamins, vitamin C and minerals such calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc.

There has been some research into the properties in  coconut water that can help maintain a healthy blood pressure balance and also to reduce the unhealthy cholesterol (LDL – Low Density Lipoprotein) that has small particles and clogs arteries.

It treats the side effects of dehydration including headaches and fatigue. And better for you than hair of the dog after a party, to hydrate and replenish essential nutrients in your system.

I also use coconut oil for cooking and a small amount goes a long way. At first I just used for meats but I recently began cooking salmon with a little coconut oil and salt and it was delicious. I get my extra virgin oil from Holland and Barrett because they often do Penny offers… buy one and get one for a penny, which makes the more expensive items much more economical.

The oil has a number of health benefits including some of the above but here is a post that gives you 50 reasons to use coconut oil.

50 of the Best Use of Coconut Oil by Charlie Pulsipher of the Sun Warrior Blog

Coconut oil has a bit of a craze surrounding it lately. People have put together hundreds of different uses for this beneficial oil and it’s found its way into pantries, medicine cupboards, and even first aid kits. Some of the uses may seem bizarre at first, but coconut oil has garnered this newfound fame for good reason. It works.

For years, coconut oil has had a bad name, lumped in with unhealthy saturated fats. People steered away from it and other high fat foods. The problem with throwing coconut oil in the same category as butter, margarine, and shortening is this oil is far healthier than it appears. The saturated fats in coconut oil come from medium chain triglycerides. These shorter fat chains are easily put to use by the body and are not simply stored away as fat.

This means coconut oil boosts energy levels, raises good cholesterol, and balances out blood sugar without the weight gain, cholesterol, and other health risks that come from other saturated or trans fats. Coconut oil doesn’t stop there. It’s antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and antiviral. It also aids in the absorption of vitamins and minerals. These immune boosting properties make it the perfect oil to use in a million ways.

Here are 50 of our favorites.

Massage Oil
Coconut oil soothes tired and sore muscles. Add a few drops of essential oils for more effect.

Athletes Foot
The powerful antifungal properties of coconut oil make it perfect for any fungal infection. Add a few drops of oregano or tea tree oil for more antifungal power.

Coconut oil gently fights the bacteria that cause acne. Dab it directly on the offending pimples and watch them shrink.

Coconut oil makes an effective and gentle cleanser to remove the grime of the day.

Coconut oil kills and removes this pesky problem.

Stretch Marks
Prevent and soften stretch marks from pregnancy with coconut oil for soft and supple skin.

Warts and Moles
Rub oil into area and cover with a bandage. Rub in fresh oil and place a new bandage each day.

Head over to Charlie’s blog and read the other 43 uses of coconut oil and I think you will be surprised at how versatile it is:

Thank you for heading over today and I am just off to put some coconut oil to good use on my wrinkles…. Please feel free to share… Sally

Smorgasbord Pet Health Rewind – Herbal remedies for Pets.

Smorgasbord Pet Health

I have featured  the pungent onions and garlic in my Medicine Woman’s larder, Whilst both these foods are nutritious and provide some wonderful health benefits for humans, they can also be used to protect and treat our pets.Today I am looking at the herb Echinachea in pet health and also how you can introduce garlic into your pet food safely.


You may often see your pet eating grass. Grass is a natural emetic and there is evidence that animals in the wild will eat certain plants when they are ill to encourage their bodies to either eliminate a toxin or to encourage their own defence systems to effect a cure.

Humans have used herbs for centuries but it is also certain that those humans will have used the same healing plants on their animals when they were sick. Most common herbs that we grow in our garden or which are available fresh in the supermarket can be used chopped up in your pet’s food. With Echinacea, where the entire plant has been used to produce the most beneficial extract, you need to use the tincture or the capsules.

I personally only use the tincture externally for bruising or skin problems. There is a minute amount of alcohol in most tinctures and your dog and cat will be able to detect this with their acute sense of smell. I use capsules that I open and sprinkle on food twice a day and you can vary that according to the weight of your pet and whether you are using the herb to build resistance over a period of time or if you are treating an infection.  As with any herbal medicine you should begin with a very small dose and build up over a period of time.

After introducing a very small amount in food over a week for puppies and kittens I would mix the contents of one capsule into an entire days food and feed them four or five times in small amounts. For a medium size dog and large cat I would use 1 capsule in two feeds and in a large dog I would use two capsules in two feeds.

As with humans it is not a good idea to give herbal remedies to your pet all the time. Eight weeks should be long enough to boost the immune system and I usually recommend at least that length of time before a dog or cat goes into kennels for example. They are going to be slightly stressed which affects the immune system and they are going to be exposed to other dogs and cats who may carry harmful bacteria or viruses.

There is very little research in the use of Echinacea during infections but some vets do use prescribed amounts of the herb to help boost the immune system in dogs and cats with chronic respiratory conditions, skin problems and cancers.

Other herbs that you might see recommended for your pet.

There are a number of other herbs that you can give to your pet but it is very important that you do your research first, consult a vet who specialises in herbal and other alternative medicines and give very small doses to begin with.. Monitor your pet carefully and you will find some of the signs that they may be allergic later in this section.

Oregano oil can be bought from holistic vets and online pet suppliers and can be used is your dog suffers from regular stomach upsets and wind. It is a great antioxidant for boosting the immune system and may have antimicrobial properties (antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal) You can use a teaspoon fresh oregano chopped up finely in your dogs dinner regularly as well. If using the oil make sure you begin with a small dose and take the adice of a qualified vet if in any doubt.

Another herb that you might see added to pet food is Rosemary, but I do not recommend that you use. There is some indication that it can cause seizures in pets and if you have a dog or cat who does suffer from these very frightening episodes; take a look at the ingredients.. it might be listed simply under mixed topherals without being named.

I have added fresh mint to freshly prepared pet food and we used to grow in pots on our terrace. A certain somebody would help himself from time to time as he passed and it certainly made for sweeter smelling breath. It is used in humans in oil form as an anti-spasmodic and is very useful in capsule form if you suffer from IBS.

One of my favourite all purpose herbs for pets is Chamomile.. If you dog is prone to eye infections, you can brew a bag of chamomile tea and when cool press over the eyes for a few minutes to soothe them.. I know this can be a challenge with a wriggling dog or cat but surprisingly after the first time and they have noticed an improvement they will let you hold them gently and apply.

You can also use chamomile tea or sprinkle a capsule and mixed with their food to calm pets if they are agitated. It is a mild sedative so not to be used long term but very useful over a short period of time, particular around firework displays etc. If it is the first time you have administered this herb or any other, give in very small amounts first and watch for any signs that your pet is allergic to it.  That might include inflammed eyes, a change in breathing, vomiting or diarrhea..

You can use the cooled tea to ease skin irritations and you can use after you have bathed the dog or cat. Make sure that you are using natural products to bath your pet, as many so called natural products are enhanced with irritants in the form of chemicals. I found a chamomile dog shampoo from a holistic source that worked very well as an all in one.

Echinacea and the other herbs are common remedies that we can share with our animals but whilst there are some common medications such as Glucosamine and certain gastrointestinal treatments that are the same for humans and for animals, you must never give you animal your own medication. Some painkillers are highly dangerous for your pet and you must get your vet to prescribe more appropriate treatment.



Garlic is a wonderful herb especially in pasta dishes but it can leave your breath less than fragrant. The same applies when you give garlic to your pets. Dogs and cats can have a certain warm and cheerful aroma anyway but when you start adding this pungent herb to their daily diet, the term ‘dogs breath’ takes on a whole new meaning.This is why you should be very careful about how you administer this additive to your pet’s diet and how much you give them.

In recent years studies have thrown up some concerns about the traditional use of garlic in pet food and as with any plant or medicine both humans and animals can react adversely. Even small doses can result in our pet developing heartburn, flatulence and stomach upsets and in some cases, when given too much garlic there can be more serious effects.

The active ingredient that is present in Garlic that causes concern is thiosulphate which is also present in onions and related members of that family. Dogs do not have the necessary enzymes to breakdown the thiosulphate which can lead, over time to anaemia. However onions have a much higher amount of thiosulphate than garlic and you would never give a dog the amount of garlic needed to become toxic. Holistic vets recommend that you use Aged Garlic Extract in small doses based on the size of your pet.

I have used garlic for my pets. I did so because I was far more concerned about the ingredients and side-effects of commercial flea and tick products.  Despite an advisory from a number of regulatory bodies commercially produced brands of flea and tick medication are resulting in the deaths of pets around the world because of the active ingredient pyrethroids, a pesticide.

The herbal name for garlic is Allium sativum and the extract is made from the bulb of the plant. It is a very potent immunostimulant with antibacterial properties. It is also anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, reduces cholesterol and helps balance blood pressure. The Chinese and Egyptians were using it thousands of years ago and it has been the subject of hundreds of research products. The active ingredient is allicin, which is a potent antibiotic, making this common food and herb a very therapeutic addition to the diet.

Worms, fleas, bacteria and viruses are your dog’s worst enemies and garlic used appropriately can help build their resistance to these parasites and pathogens and helps their bodies kill them.

Garlic can also be used to help treat respiratory infections, circulatory problems, skin infections and digestive infections in your pet. Do not buy from the internet but find a holistic vet and get their advice on what is the most suitable treatment for your pet.  As with any herbal or alternative medicine, garlic needs to be treated with respect and after you have explored all the options.

Some animals, cats in particular may be allergic to the herb so begin by using a very small dose. Monitor closely and if your animal starts vomiting or suffers a stomach upset stop using altogether.

©sallycronin – Just Food For Health 2001 – 2017

I hope you have found this post of interest and look forward to your feedback.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Preparing for an operation – Get fit and make good use of the time.

Smorgasbord Health 2017

One of my roles over the years is to prepare some of my clients for surgery.  There are risks to any procedure, but you can make a difference to the level of these risks if you are a healthy weight, have normal blood pressure and boost your immune system.

With the best will in the world, and the best efforts of the NHS, it is still likely that you will be added to a lengthy waiting list for a non-urgent procedure. For most of us this can be a worrying time and the longer you have to wait the more stressful it can become. However, you could look at this period as a positive opportunity, to not only improve your general health, but also reduce the small but nevertheless normal risks of both anaesthesia and post- operative infection.

There are three areas that you can focus on for the weeks or even months before your operation and it is as easy as changing foods in your diet and improving some of your lifestyle choices. It is important to give up smoking and to reduce your alcohol intake. In the two weeks prior to the operation you should stop drinking alcohol completely.


The nearer you are to your optimum weight the less risk there will be from anaesthesia. There are some practical issues to address. You are going to require more anaesthesia the heavier that you are, and this can affect your recovery immediately following the procedure. If you are very overweight and going to be on your back on the operating table for some hours, the pressure of fat in the chest area will compromise your breathing. The need for intubation is dramatically increased for obese patients as is the pre-operative work up which has to include far more tests than those undertaken for less overweight patients.

If you are scheduled for joint replacement, particularly hip or knee joints, losing weight ahead of your operation will improve your recovery time. For many patients it is the additional stress on the joints from being overweight which has caused the wear and tear in the first place.


In the last two or three years there has been a steady decline in recorded numbers of MRSA and other post- operative infections. In many cases the patients concerned have been high risk having suffered long term ill health, being elderly and malnourished, or very young. If you have a number of weeks notice before a stay in hospital then you can take steps to boost your immune system giving your body every chance to not only speed recovery but also avoid contracting an infection. The body requires a very broad spectrum of nutrients to fuel the thousands of chemical reactions going on in the body at any moment in time but there is a specific range of nutrients that are essential for a healthy immune system and I give you an example of some of the foods to include later in the post.


Modern anaesthesia practices are very sophisticated and if a patient has high blood pressure it will be monitored throughout the operation to ensure the safety of the patient. There are millions of middle aged patients who are currently on blood pressure medication and you should always continue taking that medication right up to the time of the operation and you will be advised of any changes to the dosage when you are admitted to your ward.

Having said that one of the desirable side effects of losing weight before your surgery will be a probable reduction in your blood pressure. The more stable and nearer to normal levels that your blood pressure is, the less risk of complications during and after the procedure. You are also likely to be taking pain medication following your operation and there is always drug interactions to be considered. You must however, not take yourself off any medication without the support and advice of your doctor and you can discuss this with him after losing weight and improving other lifestyle related risk factors affecting your BP.

Usually patients who are suffering from high blood pressure have also elevated LDL cholesterol levels. Reducing your cholesterol to as normal levels as possible will have a knock on effect on your BP.


It is likely that you are not at your most active during the weeks leading up to your operation but there are armchair exercises and also breathing exercises that can help you lose weight and your doctor’s surgery should be able to advise you on these. I have a breathing programme that is easy to complete a few minutes each morning and night that does not require you to become over energetic and you can adapt for your particular health issue.

This post tells you more about the benefit of breathing efficiently and the exercises that will help you achieve that:

A pre-operative eating plan.

This eating plan is based on 1500 calories per day but if you are male then you will need to add another 300 calories in the form of wholegrain carbohydrates and lean protein. It is better to eat 3 moderate meals with 3 small snacks rather than eat 3 large meals per day. Your body will process the food more efficiently and your metabolism will remain stimulated throughout the day aiding weight loss.

It is very important that during this plan that you restrict your intake of industrialised factory foods completely as most are both salt and sugar laden, even if they say they are fat reduced and healthy. If you find that you have to use prepared food in any way then ensure that it is low salt. Be aware that hams, bacons and other processed meats are very high in salt usually and will elevate blood pressure even further.

Prepare your own foods from scratch and put a level teaspoon of salt in a small dish and this is your cooking and seasoning allowance per day. Try to move away from sugar and sweeteners and if you enjoy honey then try Manuka honey which you only need a very small amount of. Manuka is the subject of ongoing scientific research and has been shown to have anti-bacterial properties.


This is just an example – any fresh fruit, vegetables, lean protein that you enjoy is fine. Cook from scratch and if you are only eating around 20% of your foods from processed sources you should be fine.

Whole grains containing Biotin, Vitamin E, Co-enzyme Q10, phosphorus and manganese to boost the immune system. Fibre to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

Per day

  • At least one bowl of porridge or muesli once a day. (4 tablespoons)
  • 2 slices of multi-grain bread (4 if you are male)
  • 4 tablespoons of cooked whole grain rice (6 if you are male)
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables containing Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Bioflavonoids, Potassium, manganese and tryptophan to boost the immune system.

Per day

  • I glass of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 bowl of fresh fruit salad made with pineapples, blueberries, kiwi and fresh apricots
  • 1 banana per day.
  • ½ avocado
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Any dark green vegetables.
  • Walnuts or Brazil nuts
  • Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • Protein containing Vitamin A, Biotin, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Co-enzyme Q10, phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, Selenium, Zinc to boost the immune system
  • Egg
  • ½ pint of fresh milk Cow’s or goats
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Cheese even a small square or used in cooking.

Three times a week. (Spread over breakfast, lunches and dinners)

  • Chicken or Turkey (four times a week if you are male)
  • Salmon or sardines
  • White fish
  • Calves liver
  • Prawns
  • Lamb or beef
  • Pork


Start each day with juice of half a lemon and hot water this will help boost the immune system, alkalise the body and get the digestive system kick started.

Apart from fresh juices such as orange, apple and cranberry drink (you can buy some brands that are just juice and you only need a small glass) at least 4 cups of Green Tea per day which boosts the immune system and helps reduce both blood pressure and cholesterol. Also Red tea with citrus or any other herbal tea that tastes good.

Tap water to make fluids up to 2 litres per day.

I hope that if you are facing an operation at some point in the future that you will look on it as an opportunity and by taking action beforehand you can save yourself weeks and possible months in rehabilitation. Getting fit before an operation may also save your life.

Thanks for dropping in and please feel free to spread the message as far and wide as possible. thanks Sally