About Melissa Carr, D.TCM

Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. In practice since 2001, Dr. Carr has a passion for sharing health information. She has been a nutrition instructor and a health consultant, lecturer, and writer for 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper, Fraser Health Authority, UBC, and the David Suzuki Foundation, amongst others.

5 Effects of the Overuse of Antibiotics

Did you know that over half a million people die every year from drug-resistant bacteria? Resistance to antimicrobial pharmaceuticals is caused by the overuse of antibiotics, which allows microorganisms to adapt, become immune, and multiply.

Taking place from November 18th to the 24th, World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is an annual global event aimed at improving the understanding about the risks of antimicrobial resistance and what can be done to slow it down.

While it’s obviously good to protect yourself against bacterial infections, there are some cases where antibiotic use isn’t the way to go. In this article, we’ll explain some of the reasons why overusing antibiotics should be avoided.

1. Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change and become resistant to antibiotics. The more you use an antibiotic, the more likely it is that bacteria will develop resistance to it. This means that if you get sick with an infection that requires an antibiotic, your doctor may not be able to treat it effectively because the bacteria causing your illness has become resistant to current available antibiotics. MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infection is one example of this, and it is a common problem in hospitals and nursing homes.

Antibiotic resistance is a well-known but growing public health problem that threatens to make common infections and minor injuries far more dangerous. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are on the rise, and the more we use antibiotics, the more likely they are to develop resistance.

2. Ineffective against viruses

Although some viral infections are accompanied by symptoms similar to those of bacterial infections, viruses cannot be treated effectively with antibiotics. When people feel very sick with a virus, they often feel compelled to ask their doctor for an antibiotic, but antibiotics only work against bacteria, not viruses. So, if you have a cold or flu, an antibiotic will do nothing to help you feel better.

3. They may cause side effects

Antibiotics can result in side effects. The most common side effects are digestive ones, in particular diarrhea, but some people may experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating, indigestion, loss of appetite, or skin rashes when taking antibiotics. Others may experience more serious adverse reactions, such as anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be life threatening.

Some side effects, such as from tetracyclines can cause light sensitivity for the skin, while fluoroquinolones, though rare, may cause lasting joint pain or heart issues.

4. Increased risk of infection from other sources

Secondary bacterial infections are ones that occur during or after treatment for another infection, sometimes caused by the treatment. For example, a person treated with antibiotics might find themselves ending up with a yeast infection like a vaginal yeast infection, a fungal foot infection, or thrush (an oral fungal infection).

5. Antibiotics kill good bacteria in your body

Your digestive tract is full of important bacteria that help you break down food and absorb nutrients. The more often you take antibiotics, the greater your risk of developing digestive issues and food sensitivities, especially if you have immune system challenges. This is because antibiotics kill off large amounts of beneficial bacteria that help maintain the proper functioning of your immune system.

Antibiotics can cause nutrient deficiencies if used too frequently or improperly. Without sufficient gut flora to help break down food properly, vitamins and minerals are poorly absorbed.

Use reishi mushrooms to keep your immune system strong throughout the cold and flu season

The overuse of antibiotics is a serious problem. Not only can it lead to antibiotic resistance, but it can also weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to becoming ill.

Are you looking for an effective and safe way to boost your immune system this cold and flu season?

Taking reishi mushrooms regularly is an amazing way to give your immune system the support it needs when it needs it most. They are an easy-to-use, all-natural go-to wellness remedy for when cold and flu season hits. Best taken daily as a preventative measure, reishi mushrooms are chock full of antioxidants and other compounds that can help keep your body healthy and strong, even as it fights off viruses and bacteria.

The best thing is that because they are adaptogens, helping the body to deal with stressors, reishi mushrooms can support you in a wide range of ways. One of the top ways that reishi helps is by calming the nervous system and supporting a balanced mood. So, if you find the cold dark seasons are giving you the blues, work and family expectations are stressing you out, or worries about the future are leaving you anxious, reishi can help. And, when you support a calm nervous system, your immune system is better able to operate more effectively.

All this without hurting your good bacteria. In fact, reishi may even support the growth and maintenance of probiotics. So, if you’re trying to avoid getting sick or you’re feeling under the weather, give reishi mushrooms a try.

October 10 is World Mental Health Day

Though it’s important every day, World Mental Health Day is marked annually on October 10. It was established in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), an organization representing over 100 mental health associations in over 120 countries. Their goal is to educate the public about mental health and mobilize efforts to improve it.

To mark the day, we’ve rounded up some ways you can support your own mental health.

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health is a state of emotional well-being in which an individual can realize their own potential, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and contribute to their community. Mental health is an important part of overall health and wellness as it includes the ability to enjoy life and to develop a wide range of skills and interests. It affects all aspects of our lives, including our physical health, work performance, and connection with others.

Mental health can be impacted by many different factors, including:

  • Stressors
  • Trauma
  • Depression or anxiety disorders
  • Substance use disorders (including alcohol and drugs)
  • Chronic conditions like pain, fatigue, hormonal imbalance, autoimmune diseases, and anything that affects one’s ability to enjoy life

Our mental health affects what we think about ourselves, how we relate to others, and what choices we make.

What Are Some Ways to Improve Mental Health?

Mental health conditions can affect anyone. So, if you’re struggling with your mental health, or know someone who is, it’s important that you know you’re not alone. Here are some ways to take care of yourself:

  • Reach out for help, whether that be by talking to a friend or family member or going to see a therapist or health practitioner.
  • Practice self-care by taking time for yourself each day. This could mean taking a walk outside on your lunch break, practicing ten minutes or more of breath work or meditation, or doing some stretches or taking a soothing bath at the end of your day instead of immediately turning to the TV.
  • Eat healthy, brain-supportive foods like omega-3-rich nuts (walnuts are shaped like brains!), seeds, and fatty fish, as well as leafy greens, brightly coloured vegetables, and berries.
  • Keep your gut healthy by including fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, miso, and kimchi, as they provide good bacteria (probiotics) that are key to our emotions. The digestive system provides more feel-good serotonin than the brain.
  • Include movement activities. This might be going to the gym or playing a sport, but it can also be stretching, going for a hike in nature, walking your dog (or cat—getting to be more common!), doing some yoga or tai chi, and even just taking the stairs or parking your car a little further from where you need to be.
  • Get enough restorative sleep. Create a wind-down routine and shut off backlit screens a few hours before bedtime, address sleep disorders like sleep apnea, and make sure your bedroom is geared for a restful environment.
  • Seek joy. That doesn’t mean always being joyful, of course, but find activities, places, people, and animals where you can feel pleasure, awe, flow, peace, and comfort.
  • Express yourself. While we may not enjoy feeling angry, frustrated, sad, hurt, lonely, fearful, anxious, or worried, suppressing our emotions and pretending they aren’t happening doesn’t necessarily make them better. Of course, there’s a time and place for strong emotions, but stoicism isn’t always the best approach. What we feel is valid and important.
  • Practice gratitude. Some days this can be particularly difficult, but seeking and expressing gratitude for even the tiniest of things can help shine a bit of light.

Mental health concerns affect everyone, whether we realize it or not. The good news is that there are many ways we can help ourselves stay mentally healthy—not just during this special day, but every day of the year.

How Can Reishi Improve Mental Health?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reishi mushroom is one of the top herbs for calming the nervous system. It is also recognized as a powerful adaptogen, meaning it helps the body adapt to stressors and can support the body’s natural defences against physical, chemical, and biological stressors. This makes reishi an excellent choice for people looking to improve their mental health as well as their physical health.

Reishi is known to have a very positive effect on the mind, and many people use it for mental health issues, including:

Depression: Reishi can help reduce depressive symptoms by balancing hormones and supporting neurotransmitters. The anti-inflammatory properties of reishi also help reduce the risk of developing depression in the first place.

Anxiety: Reishi can help reduce anxiety by regulating neurotransmitters, balancing hormones, and reducing inflammation.

Stress: Reishi has been shown to reduce stress levels by increasing serotonin production while decreasing cortisol production (the stress hormone).

Reishi may be a strong tool for improving mental health and stabilizing mood swings. It’s a great option for anyone suffering from depression or anxiety. And the best part is, you can use reishi to complement your existing treatment plan, not replace it. So, what are you waiting for?

The more we talk about mental health, the more others will realize they aren’t alone. And hopefully, they’ll feel comfortable reaching out to get help if they need it. Knowledge is power, after all.

Can Reishi Help with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

September is Arthritis Awareness Month, and we’re here to help you get the support you need.

Arthritis can affect anyone at any age, but most forms of arthritis are more common in older adults. Even though it’s a common condition, there are still many people who don’t understand what arthritis is or how it can impact your life. If you’re one of them, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered!

What is Arthritis? 

Arthritis isn’t just about pain—it’s about the physical limitations that come with having a chronic health condition like arthritis. It’s about being unable to do things you love because of the pain, discomfort, or limitations in your ability to move your body. It’s about the emotional toll that comes from feeling helpless against something as simple as walking downstairs or getting out of bed.

There are over 100 different types of arthritis, but one common type is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes pain and inflammation in the joints. When people think of arthritis, they usually think of the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, but rheumatoid arthritis is caused when the immune system attacks the healthy tissue of your joints. This can eventually lead to deformities of the joints.

The joints may feel tender and warm and appear swollen. The stiffness of the joints is usually worse in the mornings and after periods of inactivity, improving with movement. RA tends to affect the smaller joints of the body first, especially in the joints where the fingers attach to the hands and the toes attach to the feet. As the disease progresses, these symptoms can spread to the wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees, and hips. The pain and dysfunction typically appear in the same joints on both sides of the body. Some people with RA also experience signs and symptoms unrelated to the joints, but affecting the skin, salivary glands, nerves, blood vessels, bone marrow, eyes, lungs, heart, or kidneys. It can also cause fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite.

There are many treatments available for rheumatoid arthritis, including medications, physical therapy, exercise, and (where appropriate) weight loss. But one effective ways to fight rheumatoid arthritis that you may not yet know about is to include reishi mushroom as part of your routine.

How Reishi Mushroom Fights Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and are you looking for a natural and effective way to treat your symptoms, this revered mushroom is worth a close look.

Reishi mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to calm the nervous system, strengthen the body, and treat lung and heart issues. It has been called “the food of the immortals.” Reishi has now been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, while its ability to help regulate the immune system can help tame the overzealous immune system.

The benefits of reishi mushroom for rheumatoid arthritis include:

1) Anti-inflammatory effects: Reishi’s main active ingredient is a group of compounds called triterpenoids. Studies (1, 2) have shown that these compounds have anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce swelling in your joints and slow down the progression of your disease. 

2) Antioxidant effects: Reishi contains many antioxidants that help protect your body from free radicals which would cause damage to cells and tissues throughout your body.

3) Addressing the overactive immune system: Because rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder whereupon the body attacks its own healthy cells, getting to the root of the problem means helping to regulate the immune system. One of the main benefits of reishi is its ability to help regulate the immune system—called immunomodulation.  

In addition to doing your best to stay active, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and manage your stress, taking a premium reishi mushroom supplement can help you manage your arthritis so that you can live a better life. 

7 Reasons Why Reishi is an Anti-Aging Wonder

Let’s face it. We all want to live longer and feel younger at the same time. When I feel the need to complain about aging, I remind myself that getting older is a privilege that not everyone gets to achieve. But it’s not just about years; it’s largely about enjoying healthy aging. While there’s no easy quick fix to aging gracefully, there are certain herbs long revered for their wide range of health benefits. Reishi mushrooms are one of these remedies that is so highly sought-after that it was once reserved only for royalty. Read on to find out how reishi mushrooms may help slow the effects of the hands of time.

Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms for Skin

Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and it readily shows the effects of time, the sun, lifestyle choices, and our environment. Youthful skin is firm, plump, and supple. Over time, we lose the components that contribute to this, including moisture, collagen, and elastin. Our cells also become slower at repairing damage. Wrinkles, sagging, age spots, skin tags, and scarring are common effects of aging.

#1 – Fights free radicals
Reishi mushrooms contain antioxidants that fight free radicals — unstable molecules that damage cells and lead to premature aging, both inside the body as well as at the surface. Antioxidants prevent these molecules from attacking healthy cells, which helps keep your skin soft and smooth.

#2 – Protects against UV damage
Reishi mushrooms contain polysaccharides that protect against UVB radiation by scavenging free radicals before they can cause damage to healthy cells in the body. As a result, these miraculous mushrooms are particularly useful for protecting against future skin damage caused by exposure to sunlight.

#3 – Boosts skin repair
Collagen is responsible for maintaining the strength and elasticity of our skin. It helps prevent sagging and wrinkles as we age. Reishi mushrooms contain compounds called triterpenes which may help accelerate skin repair, increase cell production, and lay down more collagen, resulting in smoother, plumper skin, and a firmer complexion.

#4 – Fights inflammation
Inflammation is one of the most common causes of skin problems like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. Chronic inflammation can also lead to premature skin aging by causing fine lines and wrinkles, as well as damage to collagen. Reishi mushrooms’ triterpenes come to the rescue here as well, decreasing inflammation to treat the cause of many kinds of skin issues.

Benefits of Reishi Mushrooms for Health

#5 – Increases energy levels
Parents, grandparents, and anyone spending any amount of time around kids knows, they have more energy than we do. Over time, we begin to notice we simply don’t have the pep we once had. It could be that we have more on our plates with responsibilities and stressors that we need to attend to. But it’s also that age is showing its effects.

Reishi mushrooms have been used as a tonic to increase energy levels for centuries. They do so without having a stimulant effect, avoiding the jitters and insomnia effects of caffeine. Reishi contains polysaccharides and triterpenes that help improve circulation, reduce fatigue, and increase stamina. The triterpenes also help protect the liver, which is essential for overall good health.

#6 – Takes care of the heart
Heart disease is the second most common cause of death in Canada. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) calls the heart the “king” organ of the body, so if you’re aiming for healthy longevity, clearly you need to attend to the needs of this monarch.

Reishi mushrooms contain compounds that help lower elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Since these are two of the most recognized indicators for heart disease risk, managing this can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

#7 – Supports healthy immune system
In 1900, the top three causes of death (in the United States) were pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhea and enteritis—all infectious diseases. While hygiene, antibiotics, and other medical procedures have helped drop those numbers considerably, as the last couple of years has demonstrated, we have not—and likely never will—beat infectious diseases. So, if you want to live a long and healthy life, take care of your immune system, so it can protect you when needed.

Reishi mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides, which helps support the production of antibodies when the body encounters a virus. Reishi has also been shown to improve the function of white blood cells, helping to fight infection and disease. It’s often recommended for people who have weakened immune systems due to chronic illness or cancer treatment. At the same time, it helps calm an overreactive immune system that is causing allergies or autoimmune disease, as reishi is an immunomodulator, meaning it helps the immune system provide a balanced response.

It’s no wonder that with all these benefits, reishi mushrooms are quickly becoming one of the most talked about superfoods. Not only can these mushrooms slow down the aging process, but they can even promote long-term health benefits. This is a bandwagon worth jumping on!

12 Ways to Start Practicing Self-Care

Did you know that July 24th is International Self-Care Day? It’s an opportunity to raise awareness about self-care and the important role it plays in leading a healthy lifestyle. While International Self-Care Day is observed on July 24th, self-care is important to lifelong health and wellness and should be practiced regularly.

Good self-care means taking care of yourself in the best way you can and making choices that support your physical and mental health. This includes things like eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and exercising. But it can also mean spending time with friends and family, enjoying a hobby, and getting out in nature.

Read on to learn 12 ways to help expand self-care day to every day—or at least most days.

1. Practice yoga, tai chi, qi gong, or meditation.

These breath-focused practices help calm your nervous system and improve your overall health. You can practice on your own, but it can also be helpful to join a class or connect with other people who practice yoga or meditation in your community through community centres, local studios and clinics, or something like Meetup. When you’re busy and want to practice on a flexible schedule, there are many online sites like Glo and MindBodyGreen. Many of your favourite local instructors also offer their own online courses.

2. Get moving.

Exercise can help you feel better physically, but it also releases endorphins which make you feel good emotionally. Find an activity that you enjoy, whether it’s walking, hiking, swimming, cycling, joining a sports team, or checking out some new activity that’s growing in popularity, like pickleball.

3. Schedule “me time.”

Think about what makes you feel good when you’re stressed out or feeling blue. Maybe it’s listening to music or taking a walk in nature or walking on the beach. Whatever it is, schedule some time each day (or week) when you can do those things without interruption from others.

4. Prioritize sleep.

Sleep is vital to your health because it helps regulate hormones, maintain weight, and boost immunity, among other things. It also improves mood, reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure.

5. Nourish your body! Eat healthy food.

Eating well is important for both physical and mental health. Eating nutrient-rich foods provides the energy needed for daily activities while also helping to prevent disease by reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a slew of other health issues.

6. Drink more water.

Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and poor concentration. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. If you’re thirsty, drink water rather than sugary beverages or caffeinated drinks like soda or coffee.

7. Express gratitude.

Being grateful can help reduce stress and increase happiness. Think about all the things you have in your life that are good, or even great. These could be big things like your health or a loving family, or smaller things like your ability to get to work on time. Write down five things you’re grateful for every night before you go to bed, then read them out loud while savouring the feeling of gratitude!

8. Take a break from technology.

Turn off your phone for one hour each day or go on a digital detox for the weekend. If you’re getting out in nature or spending time with family or friends, these are excellent times to take a break from your phone and social media. This can give you more time to focus on what matters most. While you might want to stay up to date with the news, you may also benefit from news-free days so that you don’t get overwhelmed. On a regular basis, it’s also ideal to limit the number and way that you get notifications.

9. Spend time with friends and family.

Socializing with people who make you feel good makes you feel good! Some of us like to spend time with groups, while others are better one on one. Either way, spend time with those who support the choices you make to take care of yourself.

10. Do something creative.

Getting a chance to express your creativity is often forgotten about when it comes to supporting health and wellness, but it has many benefits. Creative activities often cause a “state of flow,” also called “in the zone,” that helps people feel calm, feel at peace or happy, experience improved self-esteem, and find it easier to cope with difficult emotions. It also helps with motivation, which may make it easier to eat healthy and exercise! Try doing something creative like painting, writing poetry, or playing music—whatever makes your heart sing (or at least hum).

11. Seek help.

Sometimes it’s tough to self-evaluate what you can do to best support your health. Seek out a care provider (or more than one) who can offer you both physical and emotional health guidance.

12. Take reishi.

Reishi mushroom has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to improve health and vitality. As an adaptogenic, it has a wide range of health benefits. It’s been shown to support the immune system and promote a calm nervous system, making it a perfect addition to your self-care routine.

It’s important to remember that self-care is a practice. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get into the habit, but it’s well worth the effort!

How Reishi Mushrooms Can Help Fight Scleroderma

June 29 is World Scleroderma Day.

Scleroderma is a rare, chronic autoimmune disease that causes the body’s connective tissue to harden and form scar tissue. Scleroderma can affect any part of the body, including skin, blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and internal organs.

Scleroderma can cause joint pain due to fibrosis (scarring) of the tissue around joints. This can lead to a limited range of motion in affected joints as well as muscle weakness or atrophy. In some cases, scleroderma can cause permanent disability due to its effects on multiple organs throughout the body.

While there is no cure yet for scleroderma, there are treatments available that can help manage symptoms, reduce their severity, slow the progression, and in some cases, help put the disease into remission.

Taking Reishi for Scleroderma

Reishi is an incredible mushroom that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It’s been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, but it also has some surprising health benefits that you might not have heard of before.

Reishi is a powerful immune system regulator, which makes it great for people who are struggling with autoimmune disorders like scleroderma.

Here are some of the benefits of taking reishi for scleroderma:

Reduce inflammation: Reishi contains triterpenes and other bioactive compounds that have been shown to have beneficial effects on the immune system. It can help fight inflammation by reducing cytokine production (cytokines are small proteins that send messages between cells). Reishi contains antioxidants that fight free radicals – unstable molecules that can damage cells – which may also contribute to its anti-inflammatory effects.

Balance immune system activity: Reishi also has immunomodulatory effects, which means it helps regulate your immune system. Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system overreacts to something like an allergen or mistakenly attacks its own tissues and organs. But reishi doesn’t just suppress the immune system, which could lead one susceptible to infections. A healthy immune system should still react to pathogens like viruses and bacteria to fight off infections like colds and flu, so having a supplement that creates a balanced immune response is helpful, especially for those living with scleroderma because their immune systems may be compromised.

Improve circulation: Sclerosis means “hardening” or “tightening.” The main cause of this condition is poor circulation due to reduced elasticity in blood vessels caused by inflammation. This results in restricted blood flow through veins and arteries, causing them to become weak and fragile.

Reishi contains many different compounds, including triterpenes, polysaccharides, and fatty acids. These compounds can improve circulation and help people with scleroderma.

Reduce pain and stiffness in joints: One of the benefits of taking reishi for scleroderma is that it reduces pain and stiffness in joints. Scleroderma is a condition that causes your skin to become thickened, which can make moving your joints more difficult, especially if you have arthritis.

Slow down the progress of the disease: Reishi mushroom is one of the most potent medicinal mushrooms for scleroderma. It can help slow down the progress of this disease and may even be able to reverse some of the symptoms.

When you’re suffering from scleroderma, it can be difficult to control your symptoms on your own. Luckily, there are natural remedies like reishi that can help you reduce these symptoms and make living with this disease much easier.

Ultimately, scleroderma is a difficult disease to live with. It can impact the quality of many peoples’ lives, but there is help. Reishi mushroom is a useful supplement for many people diagnosed with scleroderma. It can not only help relieve current symptoms but protect against future ones as well. Make sure to talk to a qualified professional and your doctor if you are taking medication to ensure reishi is a good fit for you.

Understanding Celiac Disease and How to Live With It

May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, a time for celiacs worldwide to come together and highlight the struggles and issues surrounding this autoimmune disease and its management. That’s why we’ve created this blog to spread awareness around celiac disease and give you tips on how to live with it.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten — a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley — will trigger your immune system to attack the lining of your small intestine. When this happens, it can make it difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients from food.

If you think you may have celiac disease, you might be considering a gluten-free diet. If you try this and feel an improvement in your symptoms, but want to get tested, know that you’ll need to eat gluten again before you get the test. Otherwise, you may not get an accurate result. Also, if you’re considering starting a gluten-free diet, you may want to speak to a health professional to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

The symptoms of celiac disease vary from person to person. Some people may experience none at all, while others may experience severe symptoms. These include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Fatigue and weakness

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a health professional for assessment. Even if you don’t have celiac disease, you may be gluten-sensitive and feel better with reduced or no gluten in your diet. It’s also possible that you don’t feel better with a gluten-free diet, so it’s not a panacea.

Is there a cure for celiac disease?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for celiac disease. The only treatment for celiac disease is a lifelong gluten-free diet. The goal of this diet is to eliminate all traces of gluten from your diet and allow your small intestine to heal completely so it can absorb nutrients properly again.

What foods can I eat if I have celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a lifelong condition, so it’s important to be aware of what you can and cannot eat. A dietitian, nutritionist, or other qualified health professional can help you learn about your options for a healthy diet that includes foods that are safe for your body.

Here are some gluten-free foods that you can eat:

  • Gluten-free grains: rice, corn, quinoa, and buckwheat (note that the latter two are actually seeds, but are cooked like grains)
  • Gluten-free flours: almond flour, coconut flour, potato starch, and arrowroot powder
  • Gluten-free oats (make sure they aren’t processed in the same equipment that processes wheat products)
  • Beans: black beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, and edamame beans

If you have celiac disease, it’s important that you follow a strict gluten-free diet for life. You may also find it helpful to carefully select where you eat out. Ask restaurants if they can accommodate your gluten-free requests, including not using the same utensils and cooking tools for your gluten-free meal as they use for other gluten-containing foods.

Can reishi mushrooms help treat celiac disease?

Reishi mushrooms have long been used in Chinese medicine to improve health and treat various ailments. They contain many active compounds including triterpenoids, polysaccharides, and ergosterols that help improve immune function.

Some studies show that reishi mushrooms may help improve symptoms of patients with celiac disease by reducing inflammation caused by an autoimmune response triggered by gluten ingestion. If you’ve been “glutened,” taking reishi mushrooms may help you suffer less and recover more quickly.

The more that awareness is created around celiac disease, the more it can help give those diagnosed with it a chance at living a happier and healthier life because people won’t just assume that those asking for “gluten-free” are doing it to follow a health trend. The month of May is dedicated to raising as much public awareness as possible and giving those with celiac disease a chance to embrace a brighter future.

Celebrate World Health Day with Reishi

Did you know that April 7 is World Health Day? This day is a time to raise awareness for global health issues, recognize the efforts and achievements made to improve health internationally, and focus on policies that are needed to overcome these health challenges.

As a way to celebrate World Health Day, here is a list of things you can do to promote healthy living for yourself, your family, and your community.

  1. Be physically active. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym. In fact, for most people, that simply isn’t possible. A simple approach is to just move your body more. That might mean a regular at-home or outdoor exercise routine, organized sporting activities, or actively playing with your kids or pets. It can also mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator, when possible. And, if you can, then walk or cycle to work or to run errands. Not only is it better for your body, but it’s a great way to save some money on gas!
  2. Eat healthy food. It’s not enough to just exercise regularly — you also have to watch what you eat if you want to be healthier, but there is no one way to eat right. In fact, what works great for one person may make another feel awful. In general, however, more whole foods and fewer processed foods is key. Make sure you eat lots of vegetables, get enough fibre, choose healthy fats, and select high-quality proteins. While variety and moderation are words that come up often when talking about eating well, that doesn’t make it has to taste bland. Use herbs and spices to add flavour and you’ll also get their added health benefits.
  3. Reduce stress. Stress is a global health epidemic, but it’s not something that has to continue to break you down. While stressors will happen, it’s important to find ways to manage your stress response. Make time each day for things you enjoy, and make sure to get enough sleep every night. There are also many stress management techniques that can help you relax and unwind, including, yoga, meditation, exercise, and deep breathing.
  4. Take care of your mental health. No matter how busy you are, always remember that your mental health is a major priority. Don’t forget to take care of your mind as well as your body. If you feel like you may not be mentally well, do not ignore it. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to get professional help as soon as possible.
  5. Volunteer in your community. Join efforts that promote health in your community. Volunteering has physical and mental health benefits. It helps you feel happier, more connected with others, and improves self-esteem and confidence. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer to help others in need. From your local food bank to your local hospital, there are many ways you can lend a helping hand.
  6. Plant a tree, tend to plants. Trees are good for our health as they remove air pollution and cool down urban areas in summer. They also provide a habitat for wildlife, and people can enjoy being close to trees in green spaces.

    If you don’t have a place to plant a tree outdoors, bring smaller plants into your home. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, easy-to-care-for plants like spider plants, English ivy, mother-in-law’s tongue, and peace lily can help improve your indoor air quality and make you feel better.

    If you have space to grow your own herbs or food, even better! Getting your hands in the dirt is therapeutic—and having the fresh food you grow can’t be beat.
  7. Donate items you no longer use. Support organizations that provide basic necessities like food and clothing to help people who are affected by poverty or natural disasters. For example, you could donate gently used clothing or household goods to help the less fortunate.
  8. Give blood. Did you know that giving blood just once can save three lives? Your local blood donation centre is always looking for new donors. Not only does it help save lives, but it also makes you feel great knowing you’re helping people in your community!
  9. Recycle. The number of plastics that end up in our oceans and landfills is causing serious problems for our environment, our wildlife, and our health. Recycling not only saves the environment but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. We can all do our part by minimizing our use of plastic and by recycling plastic bottles, paper bags, glass jars, and aluminum cans — which are all prime examples of recyclable products we use every day.
  10. Incorporating reishi mushrooms into your life. If you want to mark the occasion with something that will help you take care of your own health, I recommend taking reishi mushrooms. These fabulous fungi have been used for thousands of years as something of a panacea for everything from cancer to heart disease, and many modern studies support these claims. Reishi mushrooms are said to help strengthen a balanced immune response, fighting off viruses that cause colds and flus, and well as taming an over-responsive immune system that causes allergies or autoimmune disorders. They also help your body adapt to stressors, calming your nervous system and providing you more energy.

In order to take care of the health of our world, it’s important you also take the time to make your own health a priority. A healthy mind and healthy body are crucial to living a fulfilled life. These tips will help you get started in your journey to more health and happiness, so don’t wait another day, get started this World Health Day.

Making Your Own Luck with Reishi

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner! While its origin is a religious holiday in Ireland—a day when Christians would take a break from Lent prohibitions to dance, drink, and feast—it’s now celebrated by people of all backgrounds, around the world.

You can’t go wrong with a little extra luck on St. Patrick’s Day! But what if the luck isn’t really luck at all? What if you can make your own health luck, or at least improve your odds?

In Ireland, the shamrock, or three-leaf clover, is considered a sacred plant. It represents the Holy Trinity and is believed to possess mystical healing powers. Just as the shamrock is considered a sacred plant in Ireland, reishi is named the “holy herb” in Asia. Chinese herbalists thought that reishi had so many healing properties that they considered it sacred. It was considered so important that it’s carved into royal furniture as a sign of good luck and health!

Reishi has been used to treat everything from minor health conditions like coughs and colds to more serious problems like high blood pressure and even cancer. Today, this medicinal mushroom is still widely used for a variety of ailments.

Reishi mushrooms has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years as a natural remedy to boost health and support longevity.

Some of the key benefits of reishi are:

  • Helping you feel calmer and sleep better
  • Improving your focus and mental clarity
  • Reducing your blood sugar levels
  • Decreasing inflammation in your body
  • Strengthening and modulating your immune system
  • Supporting your heart, liver, and kidneys

Live a Long and Happy Life!

Reishi can help you live a long and happy life. And let’s be real, living a long and happy life sounds pretty lucky! As an adaptogen, it helps your body adapt to stressors of all kinds—physical, mental, and emotional. Reishi calms the nervous system and helps to promote a deep restful sleep. This can help you feel more balanced and less anxious, which in turn can make you feel happier and healthier.

Reishi contains polysaccharides that have been shown to have immune supporting effects. Reishi also contains triterpenes that are thought to help in modulating inflammation. And for those who do celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a bit too much green beer or too many Irish mules or cocktails, reishi can support the health of your liver, supporting your recovery. You can certainly make sure to take a reishi capsule before and after partying, but taking it regularly is a better bet.

For many, St. Patrick’s Day is about celebrating luck and good fortune. But when it comes to health, you can’t always leave things to chance. Taking reishi regularly is a great way to take the reins and get “lucky” when it comes to your health.

So, this St. Patrick’s Day, whether you do or don’t skip out on the green beer, try out some reishi supplements and you might just be the luckiest person at the party!