Boosting Immunity: Oil of Oregano

Boosting Immunity: Oil of Oregano

Bought from Amazon

These are some scary times we are in right now. This pandemic looms over us like a black cloud causing fear and uncertainty.

Every minute/hour/day, there is some kind of news piece on COVID-19 and it can be overwhelming . I, like many others, want to avoid getting this at all costs. Or at the very least, be able to fight it off well.

It is never too late to work on getting our immune systems in tip-top shape. I was looking into supplements that might help me and I came across Oil of Oregano as something to try.

This post will discuss what it is and the research that has been done on it.

What Oil of Oregano is and what it is taken for

Oil of Oregano is the essential oil taken from the oregano plant. It contains carvacrol and thymol which are phenols. These are mainly where the alleged benefits come from.

The use of oregano dates back many years to Greece where it was used for various health-related reasons. It was then used in China, North Africa and Europe before it became a popular flavoring for food in the United states.

The alleged benefits are as follows:

  1. Boosts immune system
  2. Heals wounds
  3. Relieves stomach upset
  4. Lowers bad cholesterol levels
  5. Natural antibiotic properties
  6. Natural antiviral properties
  7. Natural antimicrobial properties

Oil of Oregano can be found in gel cap and oil form. The gel caps usually contain 150-250 mg of the oil recommended to be taken once or twice a day. The oil form needs to be diluted as dropping it into your mouth will be very unpleasant.

The research

There were quite a few research articles that were available for me to read. I found them to be very interesting and I am glad that they were free to browse.

There was indeed evidence in immune system boosting benefits noted. This was thought to be in correlation with its ability to promote intestinal health. The researchers likened it to doing what probiotics are said to do when taken regularly.

A few of the articles talked about there being an anti-tumor (decreases the size) benefit with the supplementation of Oil of Oregano. The research was specific to cancer of the breast, liver and lungs.

Anti-diabetic properties were found with the thymol and carvacrol (phenols in Oil of Oregano) combination. There showed to be positive results when it came to insulin resistance. This benefit was even stronger when rosmarinic (a phenol found in rosemary) acid was added to the combination.

A reduction of inflammation was shown in several studies. This is due to it causing an increase in a cytokine (protein) that is anti-inflammatory in its action. This effect also improved atherosclerosis (plaque on artery walls).

There were many studies showing the efficacy of Oil of Oregano in stopping the growth of bad bacteria. The types of bacteria included E.coli and salmonella. It also proved to be a great surface sanitizer for the norovirus.

A couple studies concluded that when Oil of Oregano was combined with the Essential Oil of Sage, there were anti-microbial actions against streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat). Alone, it was also active against oral and vaginal yeast infections.

Conclusions on the research

All of these results sound great. The kicker is that the studies were mainly done on animals and food. There will need to be human studies done for there to be a more definitive answer on whether this supplement does anything.

The anecdotal evidence is strong though. If you were just going by that you would think it really does what the supplement companies are stating it does. Is it placebo though? Not sure.

I started taking them

I have to admit that I have been really panicked about this whole virus situation. This has led me to read about what things I can ingest that may boost my immune system so that I can avoid getting it or fight it off fast.

I bought the bottle pictured above about two weeks ago. Since it came, I have been taking one a day with my evening meal (150 mg). It has not messed up my stomach which is great considering I am very sensitive.

Has it helped and will it help? I am not sure but it definitely hasn’t hurt. Right now I am very focused on making sure that my immune system is in the best shape it can be.

Should you take them?

That is all your choice to take them or not. I am not a medical professional so I can’t be telling people what to do.

If you are interested in boosting your immune system like I am, you should do some research on your own about Oil of Oregano and other supplements. If you are pregnant or have certain medical conditions, it is good to avoid this one.

Have any of you taken or are currently taking Oil of Oregano? If so, what do you think of it?

Stay home and stay healthy everyone! We will get through all of this.

Sources-

https://herbalrootssupplements.com/blogs/herbal-history/a-history-of-oil-of-oregano

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6152729/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.6103

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5242351/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0044848619322628

#oiloforegano #essentialoils #supplements #health #immunesystem #covid19

My Time on WW (formerly Weight Watchers)

My Time on WW (formerly Weight Watchers)

I was watching YouTube videos and I came across some women talking about being on Weight Watchers (now called WW). It brought me back to the summer of 2007 when I signed up with them to get help with losing weight.

For this post, I wanted to share my experiences with the company.

A little about WW

WW started in 1961 by a woman named, Jean Nidetch. It was at first a weight loss support group that would meet in her apartment. Eventually, it blossomed into what it is now!

They are still big on support and community when it comes to weight loss. You can go to meetings in-person, chat or by phone.

The points system wasn’t actually started until the 90s (I had no idea until recently!). Food is given points based on their nutrition and you get a certain number of points a day. Not everyone’s number will be the same.

The WW brand also sells food products in grocery stores. These are great because you don’t really have to calculate the points yourself.

This page breaks WW (and other diets) down really well: https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/weight-watchers-diet

After graduating high school

My senior year of high school involved eating mainly junk food and not exercising. I would drink a lot of pop, consume high calorie drinks from coffee shops, eat Chinese take-out multiple times a month etc.

It was bad!

I got to July of 2007 and I realized how chunky I was. I immediately wanted to change and get healthier. I told my mother about how I wanted to lose weight and she suggested trying Weight Watchers with her.

I had heard about it from commercials, but I didn’t know what it was all about. Admittedly, I was kind of embarrassed to be starting it because it seemed like only older women did it. My determination to get slimmer made me move forward with it though.

Starting and doing WW

My mother and I signed up for the online plan. This was because we were both uninterested in attending any of the support meetings but still wanted to try out their program.

Since it was a long time ago, I don’t remember the exact details. I do recall that we ended up getting different points. I know for a fact that we were very excited to get started though!

The first few days were eye-opening when it came to the amount and kind of food we were able to eat. We realized what serving sizes really looked like.

Our snacking at night stopped due to our needing to not go over our points for the day. What I was pleasantly surprised about was how full I felt on the reduced amount of food. My mom felt this way too.

We were able to find a lot of different meal recipes that fit in our diet. They all tasted good to us which was a great thing. It kept us going.

After four weeks of being on WW, I noticed on my plan account that there was a space to put that exercise was done that day. It showed that I would get more points if I did that (again, this was a long time ago so I might be a little wrong). This excited me and made me interested in starting to exercise regularly.

Beginning to exercise really accelerated my weight loss rate. I had been losing one pound a week, but it became more like 2.5-3 pounds. I also started losing inches off my waist and thighs.

In October, my weight was at around 120 pounds. At that point I was barely counting points and doing anything with my WW plan, so we decided that I was going to cancel my account with them. I didn’t need WW to be healthy anymore.

What I gained from doing WW

As I mentioned, I don’t remember exactly how the plan worked but I do know what I got out of doing it.

The love of exercising regularly was one big thing I gained from it. It hasn’t let up yet and I don’t think it ever will.

Another thing I got out of it was the idea that eating healthier can still taste good. In fact, I really like a lot of healthy food (like steamed broccoli). Diets are even more important when it comes to maintaining a lean body.

I am grateful

Even though I didn’t need WW after a little while, it wasn’t a waste of time. It helped me on the path to a better, healthier life. For that I am very thankful.

I think it is a great choice for a diet program and I do recommend it. The support meetings that are part of the program were not something I utilized. That kind of thing is helpful for a lot of people though.

Have you done or know someone that has done WW? How did it go?

Thanks for reading!

4 Low Carb Recipe Fails and 1 Triumph

4 Low Carb Recipe Fails and 1 Triumph

So far, keeping my carbs below a certain level has been going well. I have found things to eat that fit within my new lifestyle and that taste good to me.

I have been looking at low carb and keto recipes lately via Pinterest and Foodgawker. Most of the ones I have seen looked really good, so I decided to give a few a try recently.

Unfortunately, four of the recipes did not go so well. Let me tell you in a little more detail about how I felt/feel about them.

The four fails

So I tried a few different ones in the past week that I found on Pinterest. Here is what I tried:

  1. Low carb pizza- The “crust” was made from baking cream cheese, eggs and Parmesan together.
  2. Zucchini sushi- Lump meat crab, carrot, cream cheese, thin sliced zucchini strips.
  3. Zucchini chicken enchiladas- Chicken, onions, green bell pepper, sauce, cheese, zucchini strips.
  4. Chocolate mousse- Cream cheese, cocoa powder, low carb sweetener, heavy cream.

Once I saw these, I pinned them right away to my food board. The pictures of them looked so attractive and delicious. I was excited to make them.

My opinion on each fail

  1. The “pizza”- The “crust” was disgusting. I knew it wouldn’t be like regular pizza crust but I guess I was just expecting it to be a little better than that. It was basically just sauce and toppings on the top of a thin, soggy layer of egg. Yuck!
  2. The sushi- It’s a no for me dawg. Just bland and the zucchini didn’t roll up very well. That was probably due to my own inability to get the hang of rolling but still…not good.
  3. Zucchini chicken enchiladas- I just really disliked the zucchini as a substitute for tortillas in this recipe. The filling part and cheese were good though. I could have just ate that part of the recipe.
  4. Chocolate mousse: This was just disgusting to me and I don’t know why. The ingredients sound like they would be good together but they weren’t.

Why I think I didn’t like those four

I am not knocking the people that came up with these recipes at all. They just didn’t taste good to me.

I think the problem is that I am still used to eating the “real” versions of those recipes. Maybe the farther out I get on this lower carb lifestyle change, the better the copycat recipes will taste me.

Or maybe they will never taste good to me and I should just stick to what I currently like.

The triumph!

I still have sweet cravings despite eating way lower carbs than I am used to for three weeks now ( I thought they were supposed to go away). Finding a good tasting treat that was relatively low in carbs has been important to me.

I came across a blog post talking about sugar-free pudding mixed with two cups of heavy cream instead of regular milk ( this was called a mousse). Today, I decided to try it.

I didn’t have high hopes that it would taste good because of the four previous fails. Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious! My husband loved it too.

Super tasty!

Try the mousse!

If you are low-carb and looking for a treat, I would highly recommend trying the mousse. I used the sugar-free cheesecake flavor but there are other ones available if that one doesn’t sound good to you.

Thanks for reading!

#lowcarb #summerbodyinprogress #recipes #food #sweettreats

Glow-Up Week 3 Recap

Glow-Up Week 3 Recap

Three weeks of my glow-up journey done! I just wanted to let you know how things went this week.

Diet

I have found my groove with my diet change. Counting carbs is going great. Even though the amount of carbs I eat might be a lot higher than what other women with PCOS eat (average of 95 grams per day this week), it is working for me.

This week I was not as hungry like I was the first two weeks of my journey. I also didn’t have my stomach flare-ups like I usually would during this part of my cycle. I don’t know if that is because of my diet or the Align Probiotics I started taking.

These are two food options that I found and think are delicious:

One serving has zero carbs.
Zucchini noodles with sauce, meatballs and Parmesan cheese.

Exercise

My exercise plan is going great as usual. I only did five days of workouts but who cares? It is not going to sabotage my summer body goals.

Instead of doing the HIIT that I had originally planned (high knees, jumping jacks, jump lunges etc.), I did a hardcore cardio ladder workout. I think I might go back to doing these workouts instead.

The skin on my body

I finally did a chemical peel on my chest. Who knows if I will reach my goal of better skin by the end of this journey. I am guessing I won’t.

I am having acne on my chest creep back and I don’t know why. Ugh!

Life in general

I am still worried about whether or not my daycare business will take off. Bringing in money is very important as we are barely getting by right now.

I am finally going to have a daycare inspection visit on the 26th. This means I am getting closer to being licensed. After I get my license, I will finally be able to post in the Facebook group for licensed daycare providers.

I am feeling like I will not get any clients for quite a while this time around ( I did daycare before) and it sucks. I have been posting on Craigslist, started an ad campaign on Facebook for my daycare page I made, made a Google ad which I really can’t afford and I tried posting on Care.com. Absolutely no bites so far.

I am thinking I may have to find some kind of evening job or go take out a loan for a training program. This just isn’t looking good for me.

That was my week 3

My glow-up is going good, business is not going good. That is basically it in a nutshell.

As always, thank you for reading!

Glow-up journey Week 1 recap Week 2 recap

#summerbodyinprogress #pcosawareness #lowcarb #fitness #businesswomen #pcos

Milk Thistle/Silymarin: Does This Really Help PCOS?

Milk Thistle/Silymarin: Does This Really Help PCOS?

I didn’t know what other picture to use!

As stated before, I love to do research on supplements and other science/health related things. Too bad I can’t make a career out of it!

Going on Pinterest or just typing “PCOS” into a Google search, comes up with lists of supplements that people say will help this condition. I plan on reading up on them and making posts showing my findings. These may or may not interest anyone but myself.

As the title states, this post is all about milk thistle. I will be discussing what it is, the alleged benefits, research done on it and my thoughts. Read on if you are curious!

Milk thistle: what it is and what it might do

The scientific name for milk thistle is silybum Marianum. This plant is native to North Africa, Southern Europe and parts of Asia. Its use in traditional medicine goes back thousands of years.

The active ingredient that is extracted from the plant is called, silymarin. This is said to be what causes the benefits it is touted as having.

The alleged benefits of milk thistle/silymarin are as follows:

  1. Helps acne and aging of the skin
  2. Treats liver problems
  3. Lowers cholesterol
  4. Treats type 2 diabetes
  5. Helps with indigestion
  6. Helps with hangovers

Milk thistle is sold in oil, capsule and powder form from a variety of brands. The dosage is usually 250 mg taken 1-2 times per day.

The side effects of supplementing with milk thistle include GI discomforts and headaches. It is also important to know that milk thistle should not be combined with medications that are changed by the liver (there are many, with Tylenol being one of them), estrogen pills and statins.

The research

There was a good amount of research articles I found on silymarin. One study did mention that there were poor study methods involved in some of the ones showing evidence of beneficial effects. That didn’t stop me from reading them though!

The liver-helping effects of silymarin were noted in several studies. The positive results that study participants obtained were by way of the lowering of their liver enzymes. Researchers believe that there is a lot of promise in this area.

When looking into milk thistle’s use as a supplement, I did not see that it could possibly be of use in the treatment of cancer. A few of the articles I read discussed there being anti-carcinogenic effects. One study even showed that it could help with chemotherapy side effects.

In most of the articles, there were said to be a lot of antioxidant actions with the supplementation of this plant. The researchers are saying that these effects are what causes the liver healing benefits shown in the studies. There were also some anti-inflammatory benefits that seemed to improve lung impairments.

In terms of the treatment of diabetes, results tended to be mixed. There were declines in blood glucose levels, but it was mainly in the study participants that also had liver problems. Also, the antioxidant actions did seem to show some positive effects on diabetic neuropathy.

The acne and hyperpigmentation lightening ability shown in some of the studies seemed like another promising benefit. There was a moderate reduction in the incidence and severity of acne lesions in the study participants. Antiaging and UVA protection potential was also noted which was attributed to the antioxidant effects that silymarin is said to have.

I only found a couple of research articles that mentioned things that could be relevant to PCOS. One showed there being some phytoestrogenic activity. This means that it could either reduce or increase estrogen levels. There were some mixed results regarding the supplementation of it improving fertility in women and sperm quality.

My thoughts

First, I should start off with the fact that I am not a medical professional or scientists. I know nothing other than what I read from various sources.

In my opinion, lifestyle changes (diet and consistent exercise) should be made if need be before jumping into trying milk thistle/silymarin or other supplements. I have read about women having a lot of success adding in these things to their daily diets though.

 It is important to understand that milk thistle/silymarin should NOT be combined with certain medications (liver changing ones) you are taking. I, myself, am unable to take this supplement due to being on a medication called, Lamictal.

As far as just attempting to treat skin problems (a symptom many of us with PCOS have), it could be worth a try. The silymarin can be bought in powder or solution form (see here: https://www.bulkactives.com/product/product/silymarin.html)  and used in a DIY skincare recipe.

In summary

Milk thistle/silymarin does show the possibility of having good benefits for a few different things. There needs to be more research done on it though (like so many other supplements!).

There is a lot of positive anecdotal evidence out there for it, but one should still be careful if they decide to take it.

Have you any of you taken milk thistle/silymarin to treat PCOS?

Thanks for reading!

Sources-

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Silybum+marianum

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11896/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17548793

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31956630

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27980584

https://examine.com/supplements/milk-thistle/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22354081

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6470681/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198528/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4310066/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3519762/

#supplements #pcos #pcosawareness #hormones #womenshealth #diet

Aloe Vera: Is It Actually Beneficial?

Aloe Vera: Is It Actually Beneficial?

I realize that herbs/plants/supplements don’t have what is considered strong evidence behind the benefits they boast. The truth though is that I do use them regularly.

Aloe vera is one of the things that I like to use for beauty purposes (hair and skin). I know that a lot of other people like using it too.

What I wanted to do was look up research on the plant to learn more about it and see what kind of evidence there is for its use in humans.

In this post I will discuss the plant, its alleged benefits, the research and my experiences with it.

The aloe vera plant and its usage

The aloe vera plant originates from Arabia. Its history of use dates 6,000 years back for various conditions.

It is typically grown inside these days and requires bright but indirect light. The plant can be brought outside during certain months of the year but can’t be out in the cold. It is usually put on windowsills.

The alleged benefits are as follows:

1. Helps skin conditions such as acne, burn wounds, cuts and psoriasis

2. Relieves constipation

3. Relieves GI issues

4. Helps the hair and scalp (growth, itch relief and moisture)

5. Reduces blood sugars

Aloe vera can be purchased in the form of capsules, gel, juice, powder and cream. It is also in a lot of shampoos, conditioners and soaps.

Research on aloe vera

There were many articles on the use of aloe vera. It was interesting reading about it in more depth and learning what the plant contains.

The laxative effects that aloe vera might have come from the latex portion of the plant. Latex is a fluid that is milky in appearance and found in many plants. There is also shown to be some toxic effects when using a certain amount of it.

The alleged GI discomfort easing benefits come from the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial actions aloe vera shows as having. These actions were said to have positive effects on ulcers, e. Coli infections and irritable bowel syndrome. It is important to note that the evidence found for these effects are not yet very strong and that internal use can also cause more GI discomfort.

There were a few research articles showing there being some hypoglycemic/anti-diabetic activity with the ingestion of aloe vera. It was the gel in particular that had this effect on the participants in the studies. Although it shows some promise, the gel should not be relied on as a treatment for diabetes.

The anti-inflammatory actions have shown to relieve skin conditions too. The plant also contains vitamins and anti-bacterial effects which make the skin benefits even more powerful. The evidence for aloe vera’s topical use seems to be stronger than the other ones.

I didn’t find many articles about aloe vera’s effect on our hair. The plant does contain amino acids according to one of the things I read. These are said to help with hair growth. Also, aloe vera is shown to help our scalps just like it helps the skin on our bodies.

Some of the articles did mention that there may be teratogenic effects when it comes to the ingestion of aloe vera. This is a really important thing to know if you are pregnant and considering taking aloe vera for whatever reason (or you have been taking it and you never stopped after finding out you are pregnant).

My thoughts on aloe vera

I first learned about aloe vera many years back. A lady my mom was friends with would talk about having a plant on her windowsill and using it for a variety of things. From then on, I knew that it could be used for burns on the skin.

When I was really into learning about how to take care of my natural hair (2008), I heard gurus on YouTube talk about using aloe vera in their hair. I never actually started using it myself until I felt how soft my hair was after my loctician sprayed some on my hair one time. A couple of days after that appointment, I went out and bought my own bottle of aloe vera juice.

I have been using the juice ever since on my hair and I can’t live without it! I buy the Lily of The Desert brand’s whole filet juice. I have experimented with not spraying it on my hair after washing it and I can definitely tell a difference in how soft it is after drying.

In terms of hair growth, I haven’t noticed anything. It seems that my hair grows pretty slow. This is okay with me because I don’t think I will look any better with super long hair. Plus, it would just get in the way.

For the past two years I have also been using aloe vera in gel form on my face. My reason for buying it the first time was because it was said to help with anti-aging and hyperpigmentation. I have not seen any improvement in those areas (maybe it takes a really, really long time of consistent use) but it is great for using after chemical peels.

How I use aloe vera juice on my hair

I just wanted to share how I use the juice on my hair in case anyone reading this is interested.

What I do is pour some of the aloe vera juice (that is pictured) in a small spray bottle. I don’t have a specific amount that I pour in, but it is only enough for one use. I then put a small squirt of pumpkin oil in there and shake it up.

Good stuff right here!

I spray it all over my hair and try to work it in as best I can after getting out of the shower. The next thing I do is apply almond oil on my hair. My hair is so moisturized after this!

I would recommend trying this if you are in the market for something to help with hair dryness. You could fill a spray bottle all the way up and keep it around for a while instead of making it every time you are going to wash your hair. It will need to be kept in the refrigerator (along with the container of the juice) if you do that though.

To sum it all up

Scientists/researchers will say that the evidence of the benefits of aloe vera is not strong enough. The anecdotal evidence states otherwise though. Many people (including me!) have found aloe vera to be very helpful in some way, shape or form.

If you are reading this and are interested in trying aloe vera as an internal supplement, proceed at your own risk. There are some uncomfortable side effects that you might experience. If you are thinking about using it externally, you will most likely be fine unless you are allergic to the plant.

Do you like to use aloe vera? If so, what do you use it for/on?

Thanks for reading!

Sources-

https://www.almanac.com/plant/aloe-vera#

https://www.aloe-medical-group.com/en/aloe-vera/history.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92765/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10808702

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14724347

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16899957

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30105479

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233818204_Medicinal_and_cosmetological_importance_of_Aloe_vera

http://www.jocpr.com/articles/aloe-vera–a-potential-herb-and-its-medicinal-importance.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3731013/

Glow-Up 2020: Week 2 Recap

Glow-Up 2020: Week 2 Recap

Wow! I am already two weeks into my glow-up! I can hardly believe it.

This post is just a recap of how I did for this week.

My diet and weight loss

Here are the averages for this second week-

Calorie intake: 1390

Carbohydrate intake: 103

Weight loss: 1.5 pounds

I am really happy with these numbers. The most important thing for me is that I like what I am eating everyday. This is key to sticking to a new diet plan.

My carbohydrate intake could be lower, but it is still way better than what it was before. It obviously is working for me when it comes to weight loss.

I am still doing intermittent fasting (16:8, 6:30 PM-11:00 AM) and will probably do it for the rest of my life.

Exercise

I have stuck to the plan again this week. Exercising is fun for me so I definitely don’t have problems being consistent. I did do an active rest workout from Fitness Blender on my rest day instead of taking it off completely.

The skin on my body

I forgot to do a chemical peel again. Ugh!

In general

I am happy with my food intake and exercise. What I am finding to be challenging is that I feel way more fatigued than normal. I don’t know if my body is still trying to get used to the decrease in carbohydrates or what.

I also feel pretty hungry all of the time. Working through it can be tough.

I think this picture makes me appear thinner than I am in real life…

Are you on a glow-up journey? How is it going for you ?

Thanks for reading!

Week 1 Recap

#summerbodyinprogress #womenshealth #fitness #lowcarb #pcos #pcosawareness