ACHS Health and Wellness Blog

Salt: Too Much or Too Little Can Kill You

Posted by Dorene Petersen on Oct 13, 2014 2:55:00 PM

I was traveling in India in the ’90s when I first discovered the power of salt. It was extremely hot and my legs started to swell so badly my ankles were the same size as my thighs…. Now that is a bad look!

I visited an Ayurvedic doctor and was told, “Oh, you need to add salt to your diet.” In my naturopathic training, I had been taught to avoid salt and had covered all of the dangers of a high-sodium diet. But, I followed the Ayurvedic doctor’s advice, and within a day, my ankles were back to normal.

Battles have been fought over salt, so there has to be more to this story right?

Like you, I think a lot about what I am eating. Am I eating enough greens? Too much sugar? Am I getting enough fiber and enough protein? How much sodium do you need? It’s no easy task to objectively assess your diet, especially with all the conflicting information out there. So what is the final word on salt in our diets?

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Topics: holistic nutrition

Basil Essential Oil: A Must-Have in Your Fall Holistic Cooking

Posted by Dorene Petersen on Oct 9, 2014 3:00:00 PM

I just returned from two weeks in Sicily and Rome visiting our organic citrus distillers and attending the International Federation of Essential Oils and Aroma Trades annual conference. My daily treat was a caprese salad with the tastiest tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil with a generous layer of whole fresh basil leaves. I was eager to get home and harvest my basil plants growing in my patio pots. 

Since returning, my caprese salad addiction has waned, and as fall ushers in the cooler air and changing leaves, my dinner table begins to change as well. If you’re like me, you start to crave those heartier and more savory dishes that keep us warm and toasty as the seasons change.

My basil harvest went well, and while I always do my best to save the herbal harvest from my garden, it can be difficult to cook with fresh herbs—like basil—in the late fall and winter. (And who doesn’t want the taste of fresh basil in their organic pasta pomodoro?) This is one more reason why I love culinary essential oils: they are a fantastic flavor addition when you don’t have the fresh or dried herbs on hand. 

But even if you do have the herbs in your pantry, adding basil essential oil (EO) Ocimum basilicum (L.) to your cuisine will give a boost of both flavor and health to your holistic nutrition. Here are my favorite reasons why basil O. basilicum essential oil is a must-have in your holistic kitchen cupboard:

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Topics: holistic nutrition, recipes, Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, essential oils

Anxious or Feeling Down: Can Essential Oils Help?

Posted by Dorene Petersen on Sep 22, 2014 11:23:00 AM

There has been a lot of discussion lately about emotional disorders like depression and anxiety. Talking about this difficult topic is an enormous step forward on the road to supporting those who suffer. One question I am often asked is: Which natural remedies work for depression and anxiety? And this is often followed-up with something like: Can essential oils REALLY help?

With a recent study showing a link between anti-anxiety medications and dementia[1], there is more reason than ever to choose essential oils instead of pharmaceuticals. I know it’s hard to imagine that inhaling a “nice aroma” could alter your body’s chemistry and imbalances that lead to mood disorders, but here are three essential oils that research has shown can help ease depression and anxiety.

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Topics: Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

Must Have: 5 Essential Oils To Beat Back To School Bugs

Posted by Dorene Petersen on Sep 11, 2014 2:00:00 PM

The days are shorter, school supplies are lining store aisles, and there’s a slight chill in the air… welcome to Back To School Season!

With all the lovely things that accompany autumn, there’s one thing that we’d all like to avoid when heading back to the classroom: Back To School Sickness! The colder weather ushers in colds, flus, and many more unsavory bugs caused by bacteria and viruses.

So how do we protect ourselves during such a vulnerable time of the year? With antibacterial, antiseptic, and antiviral properties, these essential oils for back to school are an ideal way to create a fall and winter “immunity bubble.” Here are my favorite 5 essential oils to beat back to school bugs:

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Topics: Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, essential oils

5 Quick Tips For Cooking With Essential Oils

Posted by Dorene Petersen on Sep 3, 2014 3:47:00 PM

Using essential oils in the kitchen will not only spice up your cooking… it’s also incredibly fun and an easy way to add flavor and flair to your recipes! But there are a few key things you should always keep in mind. We’ve just released a new eBook, Top 10 Culinary Essential Oils (follow this link or click the image at the bottom of this blog post to download your free copy!), so to celebrate, here is a sneak peak at some of my quick tips for cooking with essential oils:

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Topics: holistic nutrition, recipes, Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

Health Careers: The Do's and Don'ts of Holistic Nutrition

Posted by Dorene Petersen on Aug 25, 2014 4:02:00 PM

One of the most common questions I receive from students who want to work with clients as they approach graduation is, What can I legally do when I graduate from ACHS?[1] 

The answer to this question varies for each holistic health modality.[2] However, while facilitating a round-table discussion at the NANP Conference last spring, I was reminded how confusing it can be to navigate the legal waters of establishing a health career as a holistic nutritionist or holistic nutrition consultant.

There are still many U.S. states where a holistic health practitioner can be criminally charged with practicing medicine without a license for offering holistic modalities which can include aromatherapy, herbal medicine, and of course, holistic nutrition.[3]

I hope the “do’s” and “don’ts” of holistic nutrition will help you better understand what you can and cannot legally do as a holistic nutritionist.

Let’s start with the “do’s”…

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Topics: holistic nutrition, careers in holistic health

How Growing Lavender Brings Summer Fun for Everyone

Posted by Erika Yigzaw on Aug 18, 2014 4:00:00 PM

With mild, rainy winters and precious months of warm (or even hot!) summer sun, we are fortunate to live in a climate that is ideal for farming and gardening here in western Oregon. Lavender is just one of the many flowering plants that can thrive in our Eden-like land of the Pacific Northwest, if given the right conditions. After visiting the rolling lavender fields of Provence with the very first ACHS study abroad program in 1999, then again in 2000, 2001, and 2002, my addiction was official and I started my own lavender farm in Sherwood, Oregon. In 2003, we planted dozens of lavender plants in the ACHS Botanical Teaching Garden in SW Portland, taking over the bland roadside verge with a swath of lavender! 

After more than a decade of growing lavender, I’ve learned many things:

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Topics: herbal medicine, DIY, botanical teaching garden

Why Alternative Treatments are Better for Veterans

Posted by Erika Yigzaw on Aug 13, 2014 3:45:00 PM

According to a study published in June, 44% of U.S. military members experience chronic pain following combat deployment. 15.1% of those seek the use of opioids[1] for relief.[2] This statistic is particularly disconcerting when it’s known that opioid use accompanies a slew of scary side effects such as “sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, physical dependence, tolerance, and respiratory depression.” [3] Additionally, “opioids can be considered broad spectrum analgesic agents, affecting a wide number of organ systems and influencing a large number of body functions.”[4]

Isn’t it time we start seriously looking at alternative treatments for pain management for military servicemen, women, and veterans?

Here are just a few complementary alternative treatments that can be effective options for military members suffering from chronic pain post deployment:

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Topics: herbal medicine, alternative medicine, massage, Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, military

How to Make a Luscious Herbal Moisturizer

Posted by Kelly Johnson on Aug 6, 2014 3:00:00 PM

By Kelly Johnson and Renee Long

Skin, being the largest organ in the body, protects you, insulates you, and connects you to the world. With harsh, cold weather in the winter and exposure to damaging UVA/UVB rays in the summer, your skin takes a beating all year long. Doesn’t it deserve a little extra TLC?

Both oily and dry skin needs to be moisturized to protect from the abrasive environment and to replace the moisture loss that occurs naturally as we age. Emollient herbs are not only great for preparing herbal teas, but their high mucilage content also makes them ideal for use in lotions and creams.

Almonds, avocado, borage, chickweed, rose, and comfrey root will all smooth, soften, soothe, and fortify facial skin. We love DIY projects and homemade products, so this past weekend we made one of the recipes from NAT 101 Nutrition, Bodycare and, Herbalism. It turned out to be so gorgeous that we wanted to share this step-by-step recipe for the ultimate, DIY herbal moisturizer with you!

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Topics: herbal medicine, DIY, free recipes, essential oils

Quiz: Is Online Learning for Me?

Posted by Erika Yigzaw on Jul 21, 2014 4:30:00 PM

A couple of common misconceptions about online learning still linger in some minds. Even though Stanford and Harvard offer online classes, and satisfaction ratings are exceptionally high for ACHS’s online programs, some people still believe that getting an online nutrition degree or an online aromatherapy certification will be easier, less challenging, and less fulfilling than attending classes on a physical campus.

But ask any ACHS student or graduate, and you’ll find that the online classes at the American College can be as rewarding and rigorous as sitting in a brick and mortar classroom. Add the benefits of flexible hours and 24/7-access to your classroom material, and online learning often turns out to be the better option for busy adults.

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Topics: online education, quiz

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