No-Bake Blueberry Almond Whole 30 Snack Bars

No-Bake Blueberry Almond Whole 30 Snack Bars

No-Bake Blueberry Almond Whole 30 Snack Bars

Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click on, or make a purchase through a third-party link.

If you have been through the Total30 diet plan, you know sweets are off-limits. You are not allowed to eat sugar, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, or any other sugar substitute. This includes Equal, NutraSweet, Stevia, Splenda, etc. After doing some research, I found that dates are about as sweet as you can get. If you add different kinds of nuts, some dried fruit, and a little sunflower seed butter for moisture, you can make snack bars that are very satisfying. I made several versions of these during my 30-day party.

Only five initial ingredients

No Cooking Necessary

You read that right. You don’t need to cook these in any way. All you need is the five ingredients pictured above, a food processor, a pan lined with parchment paper and a little time. The first step in all of my recipes is gathering ingredients. I have started preparing too many meals only to find out I was missing a key ingredient. This frustration has taught me to set all ingredients out before beginning.

Prepare the Pan

Set the pan (I used a cake pan) down on a piece of parchment paper. Draw an outline around the pan. Cut the parchment paper along the line drawn to form a circle that fits into the pan as shown above.

Add Ingredients to Food Processor

To be honest, the hardest part of this recipe is being sure all your ingredients are Whole30 compliant. Be sure the dried fruit does not contain any added sugar or sulfites. Whole Foods has dried fruit that has no added ingredients. Do the same with the dates. The next thing to do is to measure out the dry ingredients and add them to the food processor as shown above.

Next just pulse the nuts dates and dried fruit until well mixed. Add 2 tablespoonfuls of sunflower seed butter (or almond butter) . This adds moisture and makes it possible to press into your pan.

Press mixture into your pan and refrigerate. I told you this was easy. Sweet, healthy, yummy blueberry bars.

No-Bake Blueberry Almond Whole 30 Snack Bars

Michael Brown
This is a super simple, Whole30 compliant healthy snack bar recipe.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 144 kcal

Equipment

  • Food processor
  • Cake Pan
  • Parchment paper

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Raw Almonds
  • 1 cup Raw cashews
  • 1 cup Pitted dates
  • 1 cup Dried blueberries May use any dried fruit that DOES NOT contain added sweeteners or sulfites. Read labels closely
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seed butter could substitute almond better

Instructions
 

  • Place cake pan on parchment paper and draw circle around bottom of pan.
  • Cut out circle and place into the bottom of the cake pan and set aside.
  • Add Nuts, pitted dates, and dried fruit to the food processor.
  • Pulse until well mixed.
  • Add sunflower seed butter and mix until moist.
  • Press into the lined cake pan and refrigerate.
  • Slice into wedges and serve.
Keyword Blueberry bar, healthy snack, Larabar, Whole30
My new Best Friend “Ginger”

Relax Your Mind and Body

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Lady suffering from menopausal symptoms

The Best Herbs for Female Hormone Balance

Lady suffering from menopausal symptoms

What are the best herbs for female hormone balance?

Are you a female who suffers from a hormonal imbalance?

Are you post-menopausal?

Are you looking for a way to restore hormonal balance without prescription medications?

Female hormonal imbalance can cause many annoying symptoms such as:

  • Weight Gain
  • Mood swings
  • Menstrual changes
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Hair Loss
  • Low Libido
  • Increase in Acne
  • Digestive problems
  • Hot Flashes
  • Night Sweats

Several herbal remedies can help restore hormonal balance. This post will examine herbal supplements that can help balance female hormones. 

ashwagandha

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens help our body adapt to stress by normalizing physiological processes. Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine for its many positive medicinal effects on the body. For example, Ashwagandha is thought to improve the hormonal imbalances in females that can lead to cramping, irregular periods, fertility issues, and the negative symptoms of menopause.

Ashwagandha has been shown to improve sexual function in healthy women.1

Dong Quai

Dong Quai is a plant in the same family as carrots, celery, and parsley. The roots of the Dong Quai plant have been used to treat the symptoms of menopause.

It is thought to act similar to estrogen, and because of this, dong quai may interact with estrogen-containing medications. Dong quai may also interact with Warfarin, and other blood thinners, which may increase bleeding risks.

chaste berry

Chasteberry

The chaste tree berry is the fruit of the chaste tree. This berry is also known as monk’s pepper because monks were thought to use this to decrease sexual desire in the Middle Ages.

Even though sample sizes were small, clinical studies have shown extracts of chasteberry can effectively treat premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and latent hyperprolactinemia.2

These results suggest chasteberry may help restore female hormone balance, especially concerning prolactin, progesterone, and possibly estrogen.

red clover

Red Clover

Red clover is a flowering plant that belongs to the bean family. Red clover has been shown to be effective in treating hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms.3

There are interactions between red clover and some medications. Check with your physician or pharmacist if you plan to take this supplement. This is true, especially if you take blood thinners, tamoxifen, or hormone replacement therapy.4

Red clover also possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This herb can be consumed in herbal teas or supplement forms.

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose (EPO) is a flowering plant native to North and South America. Its flowers are closed during the day and open at sunset. EPO is made from the plant’s seeds and contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and other omega-6 fatty acids.

GLA has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties. GLA may also affect hormone levels which could explain its use in relieving PMS symptoms, including hot flashes. One study found EPO was able to reduce the severity of hot flashes when compared to a placebo.5

EPO has also been used for breast tenderness and pain, although studies have not shown it to be more effective than a placebo.

Fenugreek Seed

Fenugreek is an herb native to West Asia, parts of Europe, and Iran. This herb has been used to stimulate milk production in new mothers. A study published in 2014 concluded that Fenugreek Seed reduced dysmenorrhea symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, headache, syncope, and fatigue.6

Avena sativa

Avena Sativa

Avena sativa is the Latin name for the common oat. Oats are often consumed as oatmeal for breakfast. Some people believe oats can increase blood flow, increase sexual desire and help to relieve menstrual cramping. Oats may also remove testosterone from binding sites.

Black cohosh

Black Cohosh

The roots of black cohosh are often used to relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menstrual cramps, and menopausal symptoms. However, rather than increasing estrogen levels, it is thought that black cohosh may increase the effects of estrogen.

Black cohosh may cause headache, rash, and an upset stomach and may also have negative effects on the liver. Black cohosh should not be combined with hepatotoxic medications.

maca root

Maca Root

Maca root, also known as Peruvian ginseng, is a vegetable belonging to the brassica (mustard) family. It is native to the Peruvian Andes mountain range and has been used as a food and herbal medicine for 2000 years in Peru.7

Maca may help with specific menopausal systems such as hot flashes and poor sleep.

Although few extensive clinical studies have been conducted on the use of maca for the treatment of menopause, a systematic review conducted in 2011 found maca to be more effective than a placebo.8

More research needs to be completed to evaluate this herb’s safety and effectiveness in treating menopause.

I believe herbs available today may decrease the need for hormone replacement therapy in women. Hormone imbalance in women can reduce their quality of life. Many of these herbal supplements can also help with other ailments, as noted below:

Ashwagandha: stress, depression, anxiety, improved memory, insomnia, inflammation

Dong quai: Premature ejaculation

Chaste berry: Acne, infertility

Red clover: Cancer, heart disease, bone loss

Evening primrose oil: Acne, eczema, skin health, hypertension, nerve pain, heart health, bone pain

Fenugreek seed: cholesterol, heartburn, appetite suppressant, inflammation, diabetes

Avena sativa: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gout, anxiety, constipation, gallstones

Maca root: Erectile dysfunction, fertility enhancement, anemia, and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

I have attempted to include the best herbs available today to help balance hormonal issues in women. In addition to these natural products, there are other terrific options available to help, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Mindfulness
  • Yoga
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Biofeedback and relaxation training
  • Hypnosis

As a society, I believe we are too quick to turn to prescription medications. As a pharmacist, I recognize that every drug has side effects. The combination of medicines can also cause harmful effects. I firmly believe alternative approaches should be tried for many ailments before prescription drugs. Always remember the five pillars of health:

  1. Eat Whole Foods
  2. Drink Plenty of Water
  3. Exercise
  4. Get Enough Sleep
  5. Foster Spiritual and Mental Health

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me. My contact information is available in the author box below.

Michael Brown in Lab Coat with arms crossed

Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP

Mr. Brown is a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pharmacotherapy and psychiatry.

Read Michael’s story here.

Feel free to send Michael a message using this link.

 
ear exam

Home Remedies for Ear and Throat Pain

representation of ear pain

Are you looking for home remedies for ear and throat pain?

This post will cover over-the-counter pain medications and other remedies to combat these common conditions.

If you have a high fever or severe pain that does not resolve, please go to your local urgent care center or seek medical treatment. Ear and throat pain can be caused by a bacterial infection which may require antibiotic treatment.

Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click on, or make a purchase through a third-party link.

Diagram of the inside of the human ear

Otitis Externa

Swimmer’s Ear 

Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa, is an infection of the outer opening of the ear and ear canal caused by bacteria or fungi. Otitis externa is a common cause of ear pain. Risk factors for this type of infection include:

  • swimming.
  • Using Q-tips or other foreign objects in the ear.
  • Allergies.
  • Use of hearing aids or earbuds.
  • Irritation or scratches in the ear.

Some Symptoms of Otitis Externa Include:

  • Pain and discharge from the affected ear. Discharge may initially be clear and may change to pus.
  • Redness of ear.
  • Fever.
  • Swelling of lymph nodes.
  • Some hearing loss.

 

ear exam

Otitis Media (Inner Ear Inflammation)

Acute Otitis Media (AOM) is an ear infection occurring in the middle ear (behind the ear drum). This infection is common in young children but can also occur in adults. The most likely cause of AOM is the dysfunction or obstruction of the eustachian tubes. The infection can be caused by viruses or bacterial and, at times both.1

Chronic ear infections may be caused by an abnormality of the mucous membranes that line part of the inner ear. These membranes help form a barrier to infection.

Otitis media is usually treated with an antibiotic such as Augmentin (amoxicillin and clavulanate). A cephalosporin, doxycycline, azithromycin, or clarithromycin may be used in patients with a penicillin allergy.

Symptoms of AOM

  • Ear pain (mild, moderate, or severe)
  • Muffled hearing
  • Fever

 

 

Treatment of Ear Infections

As with most conditions, the best treatment for ear infections is prevention. First, try to keep the ears clean and dry. Refrain from scratching the inside of the ear and remove excess wax buildup with Debrox (Carbamide Peroxide 6.5%). Always follow the directions on the box.

If using ear drops, always follow directions. A cotton ball can be placed in the ear after instilling the medicine to help keep it in the ear.

Treatment of Ear Pain

For ear pain, utilize OTC pain relievers such as acetaminophen and Ibuprofen. If you prefer natural remedies, turmeric with ginger is a great choice. The heat from a warm washcloth (warm compresses) or a heating pad can also help with the pain.

Some have suggested placing a few drops of olive oil into the ear. This can soften the earwax making it easier to remove. Olive oil may also possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

When to Seek Medical Advice

Inner ear infections often require antibiotics. It is essential to treat these infections because Otitis media can lead to facial paralysis, meningitis, and hearing loss. If you believe you have an inner ear infection or the treatments above are ineffective, seek medical care.

 

Throat Pain

We have all suffered from a sore throat during our lifetime. Sore throats can be caused by:

· Bacterial infections

· Viral infections

· Allergies

· Exposure to toxic chemicals or smoke

 

What are some good treatments for a sore throat?

 

The best treatment I have found for a sore throat is to coat the throat with hard candy, throat lozenges, or cough drops. Then, add an OTC pain reliever. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used for pain. Turmeric can also be used with ear pain if you prefer natural products.

 

Other home remedies may help with a sore throat.

 

Gargling with salt water

 Mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt with 8 ounces of warm water and gargle. This can help relieve pain, clear mucous, and kill bacteria. Just gargle with the solution and spit it out. Do not swallow the salt water.

Popsicles

Popsicles can coat your throat and provide a cold sensation that can help deaden the pain.

 Mouth Hygiene

Even with a sore throat, brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing each day is important. Also, limit what you eat to soft, bland foods to prevent irritating the throat. 

Strep Throat

Strep throat is caused by bacteria and often starts with the rapid onset of a sore throat with pain during swallowing. There may also be a fever and swollen lymph nodes.  

If you have problems breathing, become dehydrated, cough up blood or have difficulty swallowing, you should seek medical care.

COVID-19

Some variants of COVID-19 have a severe sore throat as a symptom. I recently had the Omicron variant, producing one of the worst sore throats I have experienced. Omicron is known to cause sore throat and headache. As a reminder, if you end up with COVID, my supplement suggestions are:

  • Vitamin D3/K2 – 5000 units/day
  • Vitamin C – 1000 mg/day
  • Zinc 50mg/day
  • Quercetin to help the zinc penetrate cells

Ear and throat pain are common problems. As with any sickness, I believe prevention is key. Be sure to take care of your body. Our immune system can be improved by eating whole foods, drinking plenty of water, exercising, and getting adequate sleep. Probiotics can also help.

Over-the-counter products such as acetaminophen and Ibuprofen can be used for both ear and throat pain. Turmeric can also help with pain and inflammation.

 

Michael Brown in Lab Coat with arms crossed

Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP

Mr. Brown is a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pharmacotherapy and psychiatry.

Read Michael’s story here.

Feel free to send Michael a message using this link.

 

Can Guided Imagery Help You

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Can Guided Imagery Help You







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Can guided imagery help you?  Pharmacist Michael takes you on a short guided imagery adventure.  Listen, relax, and clear your mind.

Should You Try an Acai Detox?

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Should You Try an Acai Detox?







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Picture of seas moss growing on rocks

Is Sea Moss Good for Acid Reflux and Other Medical Conditions?

Picture of seas moss growing on rocks

Is sea moss good for acid reflux?
What are some other health benefits of sea moss supplements?

 

Sea moss (Chondrus crispus), also known as Irish moss, due to its red color, is an edible plant that grows in tidepools in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Sea moss isn’t a moss but a type of algae or seaweed. For this reason, sea moss is also known as red algae. This plant has a rich nutrient profile and is full of essential nutrients.

Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click on, or make a purchase through a third-party link.

Sea Moss and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

I attended pharmacy school between 1985-1988 at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. I remember one lecture where the professor poured an acidic solution into a beaker and added Gaviscon liquid. The Gaviscon floated to the top and created a barrier. This demonstration showed how Gaviscon could protect against GERD.

GERD is a common medical condition worldwide. See the diagram below. The United States population is especially prone to this disease.

Global distribution of the burden of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Sample-size weighted mean estimates of the prevalence of at least weekly heartburn and/or regurgitation in each country.1

Common GERD symptoms include:

  • Heartburn: Especially after eating or at night
  • Poor Sleep: Pain and discomfort causes night awakenings
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Belching
  • Vomiting

GERD can result in decreased work productivity and negatively impact the patient’s quality of life.2

GERD is also a risk factor for throat cancer and Barrett’s esophagus.3

What does this have to do with Sea Moss?

Gaviscon contains sodium alginate, which is also found in sea moss. Sodium alginate can form a barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, protecting the esophagus from stomach acid. Typically, the top portion of the stomach has a valve-like sphincter (lower esophageal sphincter) that closes, protecting the esophagus from the acid found in the stomach. However, when this “valve” doesn’t completely close, stomach acid can leak into the esophagus, causing the pain we know as heartburn and the other symptoms listed above.

One way to treat heartburn is to form a barrier between the stomach and the esophagus: Gaviscon or sea moss can accomplish this. In addition, I always use nutritional supplements over OTC medications or prescription drugs whenever possible.

Sea Moss and Weight Loss

We have talked about weight management in previous posts. Lifestyle changes, exercise, whole foods, adequate sleep, and water intake all help keep our weight in check. Sea moss contains fiber which makes us feel full. If we aren’t hungry, we tend to eat less. Less food equals fewer calories. We all know that controlling our weight is good for our overall health.

man holding stomach in pain

Sea Moss and Digestive Health

Sea moss can help improve gut health. We can use it as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are substances that feed gut bacteria. To read more about the importance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, read “Probiotics, Gut-Brain Axis and Psychiatry.”

Irish moss is also high in fiber which can increase bulk in the gut and help relieve constipation and promote regular healthy bowel movements. The gentle laxative effect of sea moss provides a natural remedy for constipation. Sea moss can also help detoxify the body by removing heavy metals and toxins from the GI tract.

Red seaweed may also help relieve gas and bloating. For example, a study published in March of 2021 found the supplementation of red seaweed in cows reduced enteric methane production by more than 80%.4

Sea Moss May Help Some Thyroid Disorders

Our thyroid gland, located in the neck, is responsible for producing thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). Iodine is a trace element not produced by the human body and is necessary to make these thyroid hormones. T3 and T4 are essential to promote growth and brain development in children and help regulate metabolism in adults.5

Hypothyroidism is present in about 5% of Americans aged 12 years and older.6

Hypothyroidism has many causes, including Hashimoto’s Disease (an autoimmune disorder), surgical removal of thyroid gland tissue, radiation treatment with I-131, some medications, and iodine deficiency.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight Gain
  • Thinning Hair
  • Depressed Mood
  • Dry Skin
  • Muscle Pain
  • Sensitivity to Cold
  • Goiter (Swollen thyroid gland

Irish moss has a high iodine content and can help relieve some thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism. However, it is important to follow dosing recommendations to avoid ingesting too much iodine.7

Sea Moss and Nutrition

Sea moss is packed with vitamins and essential minerals. The rich zinc content of Irish moss and vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and folate can help support the immune system. In addition, sea moss has b vitamins to help increase energy levels and contains antioxidants that may reduce oxidative stress at the cellular level. Sea moss also contains vitamin k, which helps blood clotting and helps build strong bones. Irish moss is also a rich iron source. Iron is vital for red blood cell production, is essential for a healthy pregnancy, and can improve athletic performance.8

Sea moss has many health benefits. This edible plant can help relieve the symptoms of acid reflux and is an excellent digestive aid. It can help with weight loss by creating a feeling of fullness due to its fiber content. Irish moss is a prebiotic that helps feed bacteria in the gut, promoting a healthy digestive system. Thyroid issues resulting from a lack of iodine can also be helped by consuming sea moss. Sticking to the recommended dosage is essential because too much iodine can also be detrimental to health.

Sea moss is a nutritious food containing many essential vitamins and minerals. It has fewer side effects than OTC or prescription drugs. Irish moss is also high in antioxidants.

Sunshine Nutraceuticals has recently added sea moss to our product line. Our supplement contains 500mg Organic Irish Moss, 500mg Organic Bladderwrack, 400mg Organic Burdock and 5mg BioPerine per serving (2 capsules).

If you have any questions about sea moss or any other nutraceutical supplement, feel free to contact me. My contact information is available in the author box below.

Michael Brown in Lab Coat with arms crossed

Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP

Mr. Brown is a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pharmacotherapy and psychiatry.

Read Michael’s story here.

Feel free to send Michael a message using this link.

 
Sunshine Nutraceutical Podcast Art - Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done

Do you have a hard time completing tasks?
Are there things you have wanted to accomplish for a long period of time but just can’t seem to get to them?
Do you have several projects half-done?