Ultra creamy vegan mayo made in 5 minutes flat! Tastes better than the real thing, with no oil or eggs. Perfect for sandwiches, chickpea tuna, potato salad, coleslaw, burgers or salad dressings. Find the recipe here.
My go-to recipe for vegan mayo that is ultra creamy and thick with the right amount of tang. Perfect anywhere you would typically use mayo. It’s really easy to make, too!
With just 5 ingredients, 5 minutes, and a blender, you will have healthy vegan mayo ready for the week. Let me show you how!
How to Make Vegan Mayo with Cashews
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (if you are allergic to cashews, try Tofu Mayo instead)
3 tablespoons lemon juice | about 1 large lemon juiced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
The most important thing you need is a high powered, quality blender, such as a Vitamix. However, you can try to make this mayo in a regular blender or food processor, but most likely it will be a bit grainy instead of smooth.
First, soak your raw cashews (cashew pieces are fine, and often a little cheaper). I place the cashews (1 1/2 cups) in a 2-cup measuring dish, then heat water in my tea kettle and pour it over them once boiling. Let them soak for about 5-10 minutes.
Now, drain the soaked cashews and discard the water. Add them to a blender, along with the 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 cup water. Blend until very smooth.
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It will thicken as it cools, making it better for spreading on sandwiches.
*These values are per 1 serving, but this recipe is for 12 servings
While adopting a stray cat shows compassion, there may be some challenges to consider. Find some useful tips to make a stray cat feel like home, and read about my own personal experience adopting a stray cat, Pinky, here.
Tips for Adopting a Stray Cat and Making It Feel Like Home
Before adopting a stray cat, you should consider whether your home is going to be a safe and suitable environment for the cat. If you have other pets, think about their behavior and personalities. Will they welcome a new member of the family? Additionally, you should make sure the stray cat doesn’t have a human family already.
It is important to take things slowly when adopting a stray cat. Because you don’t know the cat’s background or history, you probably won’t know what he or she has experienced in the past. For instance, he or she may be very timid, aggressive, or scare easily. In order to make the transition easier, you should keep him or her in a designated area or room with food, water, and a litterbox. This room should be just for the cat, a place where he or she can rest and feel safe. While a stray kitten may accept and be accepted by others pretty easily, an adult stray cat may take longer to adjust.
If you decide to bring a stray cat into your home, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. While it may be difficult to lure him or her into a carrier, a visit to the vet is very important. Stray cats may have ear mites and fleas. They also may not be spayed, neutered, or vaccinated. In taking your stray cat to the vet, you can ensure the safety of your new pet.
1. Prepare Hiding Spots
If you’ve ever spent time with a cat, you know that they love tiny spaces. Whether it’s an empty cardboard box or a spot between two pillows, a cat will wriggle their way into the opening. Besides being super cute, having safe hiding spots for your new kitty is important for making them feel safe. In addition to cat-proofing your home, plan to have a few quiet places for your new pet to ‘hide’ as it adjusts to its new environment. All cats need their own little hideouts, but former strays especially, as they’re so used to having all the space they want.
2. Have Them Checked Out By A Vet
If you’re adopting a cat that’s spent some time without a proper home and care, you probably have no idea what their medical history is or whether they have any current health issues. As soon as you’ve decided to take a cat in, for the wellbeing of all involved, schedule a veterinary appointment. The vet will be able to check for parasites like ear mites and fleas, which often affect cats who have been living without a home. Have a vet check whether they’re spayed or neutered as well.
3. Round-Up All Supplies
Of course, once you become a cat parent, you’ll have to make sure that you have all of their necessities on hand. The top priorities are a litter box and food, Ochoa says, so grab those from the store before you welcome in the fur baby. The first thing your cat is going to want to do when they get home is to use the bathroom, so make sure that you have everything set up in a spot where they can have easy access to it. There are plenty of fun things to buy too, like toys, treats, and a collar, but food and litter cannot wait, so be sure to get those.
Dry food & wet food
Litter box or litter tray
Food and water dispenser
4. Budget For Their Expenses
It’s easy to want to help an adorable cat who needs a home, but it’s crucial to make sure that it’s really a possibility for you when it comes to logistics. Taking on a new pet is basically like a new child — they can be really expensive. Make sure to asses your budget so you can dedicate the time and money your new fur baby deserves. This could include anything from food to kitty litter to unexpected medical expenses, so just make sure that you’re prepared.
5. Be Patient With Them
If you’re adopting a cat, chances are you’re very excited to have them as part of your family. But it’s important to keep in mind that for them, this could be a scary time of transition. Even if they’re glad to have food, a place to sleep, and the love you can offer them, they might be very scared. Know that easing a new cat into your family will take time. It is going to be a challenging process, so patience is key. Allow the cat to get close to you on its own terms and give it lots of love.
My Experience Adopting a Stray Cat
On the 24th of April 2020, I went to the place where we had found the stray cat colony, next to our place, and the cat I liked the most was there. I called Alejandro and ask him to come and bring the transportation box we had bought that morning with him. With some food as a bait, we managed to trap the cat and took him straight to the vet.
The vet checked him out, but since the cat was scared, he didn’t want to sedate him or anything. He just gave me some ampoules for the fleas and that was it. He said we should put the cat in a separate room until he gets used to his new environment, and said that we need to be patient because it might take some time for that to happen. In two weeks’ time, we should take Pinky (that’s the name we chose for him) to the vet again for some blood tests.
We brought Pinky home and prepared our spare room for him, with some food, water, litter, boxes for him to hide, etc. We then sat on the floor and opened the transportation box. He was super scared and just ran out of it, and climbed the wardrobe. After a while, he came down and went hiding under the bed – that’s his favorite spot to hide ever since. I felt bad when I saw him so scared, but everyone told me it’s normal and it’s going to take some time for him to adapt.
On Saturday, day 2, I started panicking because I thought Pinky was not eating or drinking water at all. At night, I laid down on the floor, next to the bed where he was hiding, and read my book for a bit.
After a while, I used an app I found online with sounds to calm down scared cats, and it worked actually! I laid there, looking at Pinky, with the music on, and saw that he was getting more and more relaxed, and even changed places twice. I think it’s good that he’s getting used to our presence in the same room. Before leaving the room, I left some treats and freshwater. I read it’s good that he associates our presence with good things.
In the morning I was happy when I found out that Pinky had used the litter tray to pee and poop! I was so scared the previous night when I read online that some cats actually starve to death when they are scared – and that with only 3 days without water a cat can die! I found lots of proof that he had peed and pooped in the litter box, and now at least I’m not scared of that anymore. I laid on the floor again, reading, next to Pinky. Then I used another app with cat sounds, but I think some of those sounds were of angry cats, and Pinky got really agitated! It was not a good idea. However, overall, I start seeing some small improvements, he doesn’t seem so scared of us anymore.
Update: On Day 4 he stopped being afraid of us and let us pet him, and every since he’s super lovely with us, and we are super happy as a family! 🙂
Check other posts about other subjects that don’t fall under one of the main categories in the Others section of my blog
Carrier oils are normally used to dilute essential oils before applying them onto the skin while retaining the therapeutic properties of both. There are different types of carrier oils, such as coconut oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, jojoba oil, etc. Learn more about their properties, benefits, and uses here.
What are Carrier Oils?
Carrier oils, also known as base oils or vegetable oils, are used to dilute essential and absolute oils before being applied to the skin in massage and aromatherapy. They are called ‘carrier oils’ because they carry the essential oil to the skin while retaining the therapeutic properties of both.
Benefits and Uses of Different Carrier Oils
Apricot Kernel Oil
Apricot oil is good for all skin types. It is very rich and nourishing – particularly in Vitamin A. It has very little scent, and it is absorbed by the skin quickly.
Small amounts of avocado oil are typically added to other carrier oils in order to enrich protein and vitamin content.
Coconut oil is used to create a barrier on the skin. It is also the preferred oil for high-quality cold-process soapers.
Grapeseed oil is the preferred carrier oil for many massage therapists because of its light, satin-like finish. It also has some astringent qualities and it’s good for oily, acne-prone skin.
In actuality, jojoba oil is a liquid wax. It closely resembles the sebum of the skin, and it is rich in Vitamin E, which promotes a glowing complexion.
Rose Hip Seed Oil
Rose Hip Seed Oil is extremely high in essential fatty acids and it is known to help treat dry, irritated, weathered skin. It is also suitable for applying to scars and stretch marks. Not recommended for acne-prone skin.
Safflower Oil is very popular in massage blends, as it is easily absorbed, and can be washed from sheets without heavy staining. Also a popular industry choice for moisturizing cosmetics.
Sesame Oil is rich in Vitamin E and B, and in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is an excellent emollient. When diluted with other carrier oils, it is popular for massage.
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet Almond Oil is an excellent emollient and it is known for its ability to soften and re-condition the skin. It is rich in proteins and Vitamin D, and it is considered extremely nourishing. Can stain sheets.
For people living in different countries around the world, various charms, talismans, and amulets have become symbols of good luck. Here’s a list of some of the most famous ones, and their meaning.
While some of these good luck charms are used throughout several countries in a given region, others remain unique to certain nations. I’ve put together a collection of some of the most famous good luck charms from around the world, along with an explanation of why they’re considered lucky. Take a look!
List of the most famous Good Luck Charms
Good luck in Japan
In Japan, these cat figures are believed to bring good luck to their owners. They are often displayed in front of the entrance of shops, restaurants, and businesses and vary in size and design.
Good luck in Poland
In several countries in central Europe, carp is a traditional Christmas meal. Once the meal is over, people will often retrieve the carp’s scales and sometimes put them in their wallets until the following Christmas Even for good luck.
Good luck in India
Elephants are seen as a symbol of good luck and representation of power, stability, and wisdom in many countries – especially India. Ganesha, one of the most-worshipped Hindu deities, even has the head of an elephant. It is sometimes placed in family’s houses, with its back to the door, to prevent negative energies from entering.
Good luck in Israel
The hand-shaped charms can often be seen decorating family homes, public spaces, or offices, and they are believed to ward off the evil eye. Hamsa, also known as Hand of Fatima, is a protection amulet that honors Fatima, daughter of the prophet Muhammad. It represents the five pillars of the Muslim faith: faith, prayer, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage. It is the symbol chosen to be the logo of this blog.
Good luck in Germany
In Germany, possessing pigs was seen as a sign of wealth and prosperity during the Middle Ages, indicating that their owners would never go hungry.
Good luck in Native American culture
When hung over or near one’s bed, the dreamcatcher is believed to catch the dreams as they flow by, letting the good ones though. Learn how to make your own dreamcatcher here.
Good luck in China
Red bats are thought to ward off evil and are often worn as lucky charms in China. Five red bats also stands as a representation of the five good fortunes of health, longevity, love, wealth, and virtue.
Good luck in Brazil and Portugal
Figa charms are known for repelling bad energy and bringing good fortune. It is thought that the charm stores all of the luck that you haven’t used yet. Just as a curiosity, this gesture was used in ancient Rome in cults of fertility and eroticism, symbolizing the thumb (male organ) penetrating the wrist (female organ).
Good luck in Egypt
Scarabs are associated with the daily rising of the sun and of continual birth and rebirth in Egypt. It is thought to stand as a representation of new creation and eternal life and to protect the bearer from evil.
Good luck in Turkey
A nazar is an eye-shaped amulet believed to protect one from the evil eye, and it is typically made of handmade glass in blue, white, light blue, and black. The amulet can be seen in many other countries, including Greece and Cyprus. Hanging at the entrance of the house or used in necklaces and bracelets, this amulet symbolizes God’s eye, who protects and illuminates.
Good luck in Sweden
The horses, which originated from the Dalarna region in Sweden, are thought to represent strength, faithfulness, wisdom, and dignity.
Good luck in England
Acorns are considered representations of youth, spiritual growth, and prosperity. They have long been considered symbols of luck and power and were carried by the English during the Norman Conquest.
Good luck in Guatemala
According to folklore, people who cannot fall asleep reveal their worries to the doll, which is then believed to take over their concerns, allowing them to sleep.
Good luck in Peru
In Peru, it is considered good luck to hang a tumi on the wall. The ceremonial knife, usually made of bronze, gold, silver, or copper, was used in ritual ceremonies in the past.
Good luck in Egypt
The Ankh cross is the Egyptian symbol of life. It represents the union between heaven and earth. It is believed to attract health, longevity, fertility, and protection.
Good luck around the world
The Buddha Statues, for most people are the main subject of curiosity as they have different hand gestures, poses and styles. Although Buddha statues may differ artistically between cultures, some features and meanings remain the same. Common characteristics among Buddha statues include the Buddha standing, sitting or lying down. Here are some of the most famous ones:
Protection Buddha: this seated Buddha with the right hand raised and facing outwards has two common meanings: the raised hand represents a shield, bringing protection and helping to overcome fears;
Meditation Buddha: this seated Buddha with both hands in the lap, facing up, and crossed legs, is for people who are either looking for peace and clam in their lives, or for those who wish to improve their own meditation skills. It represents concentration and stability;
Three Wise Buddhas (See no Evil Buddha): This set of 3 buddhas refers to the trinity, a symbol of divine protection, help, and guidance. These statues of laughing Buddhas portray the three wise monkeys and the proverb associated with being the good mind, speech, and action: 1. Hear not evil Buddha: The Kikazaru monkey covers his ears to hear no evil. 2. See no evil Buddha: The Mizaru monkey covers his eyes and sees no evil around. 3. Speak no evil Buddha: The Iwazaru monkey, who covers his mouth to speak no evil.
Good luck in the USA
The legend says that during the 10th century, St. Dunstan (a blacksmith at the time) was visited by the devil himself. The hoofed devil asked for a horseshoe for himself. So then, Dunstan nailed a red hot horseshoe tightly on one of his hooves, and the devil howled in pain. The devil begged for Dunstan to remove it. Dunstan agreed under one condition — the devil must respect the horseshoe and never enter any place where one was hung above the door. Because of this, people believed that the horseshoe could keep evil spirits out of their homes, for good luck and protection.
Good luck all over the world
This is an amulet of good luck and prosperity. The Celts believed that anyone who found a four-leaf clover would absorb the powers of the forest and even the good fortune of the gods. Because it was difficult to find, it was a clear sign that the person was lucky.
Star of David
Good luck all over the world
Common in Judaism, the star of David is known as the seal of Solomon (son of David) and it used to be the sign of royalty in Israel. It symbolizes wisdom and the physical & spiritual realms. It attracts protection and prosperity.
Good luck all over the world
The crucifix is the Catholic symbol of the resurrection. It represents the suffering of Jesus Christ to save humanity and it is used as an amulet for protection against evil.
Good luck all over the world
In Buddhism, this is the symbol of interconnection, cause and effect. It represents the Buddha’s infinite wisdom. It is used as an amulet for a harmonious, long and happy life.
Good luck in Greece
Used in Wicca, the Triple Moon represents the Triple Goddess (maiden, mother, and crone). It symbolizes the cycle of life and mother nature. This amulet is used for fertility, intuition, love and protection.
Good luck in Ireland
This is the Celtic representation of the three faces of the great mother. It is also the knot that ties all things together, symbolizing eternity and interconnection between the physical, mental and spiritual world. It is used for harmony and balance.
Eye of Horus
Good luck in Egypt and Malta
The right eye (Eye of Horus) represents the masculine, reasoning, and mathematics. The left eye (Eye of Osiris) represents the feminine, intuition and magic. Together, they represent the power of the Universe, functioning as an amulet of balance and harmony.
In Malta, where I currently live, there are some traditional fishing boats named luzzu:
These boats are brightly painted in shades of yellow, red, green and blue, and the bow is normally pointed with a pair of eyes – the Eye of Horus and Osiris. They are said to protect the fishermen while at sea.
You can find some other good luck charms in this link.
Mung beans are highly nutritious, as they contain protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Sprouting mung beans is a great way to optimize its nutritional value and it’s really easy to do. Learn how to sprout them here!
Benefits of Mung Beans
Mung beans are highly nutritious, wholesome and suitable for everyone. As they contain protein, carbohydrates and fiber, it is a complete food source that nourishes the body tissues, yet it is still light in quality, which is rare.
In the West, mung beans are not so widely known or used, and this is a real shame. In the Indian culture, a combination of mung beans and rice is very common and considered both auspicious and complete, due to all the sattvic and medicinal properties that it possesses. In India, mung beans are also the main component of a dish called kitchari. A simple version of kitchari was traditionally given to someone who was sick because it was easy to digest.
Mung beans are the ideal summer food and are considered an alkaline food since they are rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. They also have a low glycaemic index, which means they provide a slow release of energy to the bloodstream from their breakdown during digestion.
When mung beans have been skinned and split, it is referred to as mung dahl, and this process makes them easier and quicker to cook. You can use split mung beans for soup, kitchari, or as a sautéed side with vegetables and spices. Split mung beans are quick to prepare, as they don’t need soaking, and rinsing in tepid water is enough.
When whole mung beans are used, they should be steeped in room-temperature water first for several hours or overnight before cooking. The same applies to all legumes.
How to Sprout Mung Beans
Sprouting is a great way to optimize the nutritional value of grains, seeds, and legumes, as the sprouts contain the energy, enzymes, and vitamins needed to transform seeds into strong healthy plants. If we go on the premise that we are what we eat, image the nutritional value!
By the simple method of sprouting, mung beans, aduki beans, chickpeas, fenugreek, red clover, sunflower seeds, rye berries, alfalfa, and some grains would be considered superfoods. These foods can be eaten as a tasty addition to a cooked salad and stir-fries, and can also be lightly sautéed with ghee and spices as a snack.
Sprouted beans are alkalizing and are a ‘live’ food, with high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, proteins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Packed with all this goodness, sprouted food help fight against toxins and boosts the body’s immune system.
What you need to grow your sprouts
You will need the following:
A glass jar (size depends on how much sprouts you plan to have)
A mesh cloth or net
A rubber band and
Mung beans enough to fill about a quarter of your jar
How to sprout mung beans
Growing your own sprouts is easy! Wash and rinse the mung beans thoroughly several times until the water becomes clear. Soak for at least 8-12 hours overnight until they expand a bit and skins start to break – soaking neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors. Rinse them thoroughly and drain them off the next day.
Put them in a glass jar (three parts water and one part beans), cover the top with the mesh cloth and the rubber band, and drain the water through it. Turn the jar upside down and place it on top of the turned jar cover in a tilted position. This is to let excess water run out and allow air in.
They should be kept at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Place them in a dark place like in a cupboard or cabinet under the sink.
Every 12h, run water through the mesh, drain it again and put it back in its place. Do this for at least 3 days (it usually takes 3 to 5 days) and you will see the roots coming out. Most sprouts are edible as soon as you see a tail (the root) emerging from the bean.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Learn more about the causes, symptoms, risk factors, tests, and preventive measures here!
What is Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to waste away (degenerate) and die. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia — a continuous decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills that disrupts a person’s ability to function independently.
The early signs of the disease may be forgetting recent events or conversations. As the disease progresses, a person with Alzheimer’s disease will develop severe memory impairment and lose the ability to carry out everyday tasks.
Current Alzheimer’s disease medications may temporarily improve symptoms or slow the rate of decline. These treatments can sometimes help people with Alzheimer’s disease maximize function and maintain independence for a time. There is no treatment that cures Alzheimer’s disease or alters the disease process in the brain. In advanced stages of the disease, complications from severe loss of brain function — such as dehydration, malnutrition or infection — result in death.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Everyone has occasional memory lapses. It’s normal to lose track of where you put your keys or forget the name of an acquaintance. But the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease persists and worsens, affecting the ability to function at work or at home.
People with Alzheimer’s may:
Repeat statements and questions over and over
Forget conversations, appointments or events, and not remember them later
Routinely misplace possessions, often putting them in illogical locations
Get lost in familiar places
Eventually, forget the names of family members and everyday objects
Have trouble finding the right words to identify objects, express thoughts or take part in conversations
Thinking and reasoning
Alzheimer’s disease causes difficulty concentrating and thinking, especially about abstract concepts such as numbers. Multitasking is especially difficult, and it may be challenging to manage finances, balance checkbooks and pay bills on time. These difficulties may progress to an inability to recognize and deal with numbers.
Making judgments and decisions
The ability to make reasonable decisions and judgments in everyday situations will decline. For example, a person may make poor or uncharacteristic choices in social interactions or wear clothes that are inappropriate for the weather. It may be more difficult to respond effectively to everyday problems, such as food burning on the stove or unexpected driving situations.
Planning and performing familiar tasks
Once-routine activities that require sequential steps, such as planning and cooking a meal or playing a favorite game, become a struggle as the disease progresses. Eventually, people with advanced Alzheimer’s may forget how to perform basic tasks such as dressing and bathing.
Changes in personality and behavior
Brain changes that occur in Alzheimer’s disease can affect moods and behaviors. Problems may include the following:
Distrust in others
Irritability and aggressiveness
Changes in sleeping habits
Loss of inhibitions
Delusions, such as believing something has been stolen
Many important skills are preserved for longer periods even while symptoms worsen. Preserved skills may include reading or listening to books, telling stories and reminiscing, singing, listening to music, dancing, drawing, or doing crafts. These skills may be preserved longer because they are controlled by parts of the brain affected later in the course of the disease.
Causes for Alzheimer’s Disease
Scientists believe that for most people, Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time. Less than 1 percent of the time, Alzheimer’s is caused by specific genetic changes that virtually guarantee a person will develop the disease. These rare occurrences usually result in disease onset in middle age.
The exact causes of Alzheimer’s disease aren’t fully understood, but at its core are problems with brain proteins that fail to function normally, disrupt the work of brain cells (neurons) and unleash a series of toxic events. Neurons are damaged, lose connections to each other and eventually die.
The damage most often starts in the region of the brain that controls memory, but the process begins years before the first symptoms. The loss of neurons spreads in a somewhat predictable pattern to other regions of the brain. By the late stage of the disease, the brain has shrunk significantly.
Researchers are focused on the role of two proteins:
Plaques: Beta-amyloid is a leftover fragment of a larger protein. When these fragments cluster together, they appear to have a toxic effect on neurons and to disrupt cell-to-cell communication. These clusters form larger deposits called amyloid plaques, which also include other cellular debris.
Tangles: Tau proteins play a part in a neuron’s internal support and transport system to carry nutrients and other essential materials. In Alzheimer’s disease, tau proteins change shape and organize themselves into structures called neurofibrillary tangles. The tangles disrupt the transport system and are toxic to cells.
Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Factors
The biggest risk for Alzheimer’s disease is increasing age. The risk for Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years after age 65, and the incidence is nearly one in three after age 85. One study found that annually there were 2 new diagnoses per 1,000 people ages 65-74, 11 per 1,000 people ages 75-84, and 37 per 1,000 people age 85+.
Family history and genetics
Family history is also a significant risk factor. People who have a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s disease are at higher risk, as are those who have multiple affected family members. Most genetic mechanisms of Alzheimer’s among families remain largely unexplained, and the genetic factors are likely complex.
One better understood genetic factor is a form of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE). A variation of the gene, APOE e4, increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but not everyone with this variation of the gene develops the disease.
In my case in specific, my father suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. I did a DNA test with MyHeritage. Unfortunately, I found out that I’m likely to develop late on-set Alzheimer’s as well, as I have two copies of that gene APOE e4:
This means that I have a significantly increased risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease. While this risk is higher than of the general population, it does not necessarily mean that I’ll develop Alzheimer’s disease. Genetic risk estimates are calculated using the latest research on how common this condition is in the general population.
This is my risk, compared to the general population:
When two copies of a pathogenic variant are detected, like in my case, this suggests that my family members may also have an increased genetic risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
This means that it is almost certain that any children I have one day will also inherit this variant, unfortunately.
Many people with Down syndrome develop Alzheimer’s disease. This is likely related to having three copies of chromosome 21 — and subsequently three copies of the gene for the protein that leads to the creation of beta-amyloid. Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s tend to appear 10 to 20 years earlier in people with Down syndrome than they do for the general population.
Women seem to have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than men. This risk may be anywhere from 1.5 up to 3 times as high as that of men of the same age. A contributing factor to this risk may be that women generally live longer than men and therefore have greater risk as they get older.
Latinos have a 1.5 times greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease while African American’s risk is two times that of Caucasians. The reason for this difference is not well understood but may be linked to the higher incidence of heart disease in those two ethnic groups.
Brain inactivity and trauma
There appears to be a link between lower educational levels and a lack of brain stimulation and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, people who’ve had a severe head trauma have a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Poor sleep patterns
Research has shown that poor sleep patterns, such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Lifestyle and heart health
Damage to the blood vessels of the brain that result from heart or vascular conditions like stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure also seems to result in a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies show that high blood pressure in middle age is strongly correlated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Research has shown that the same risk factors associated with heart disease may also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These include:
Lack of exercise
Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
High blood pressure
Poorly controlled type 2 diabetes
*Being overweight can double the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals who are considered obese may have up to three times the risk compared to those in a normal weight range.
Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis
A key component of a diagnostic assessment is self-reporting about symptoms, as well as the information that a close family member or friend can provide about symptoms and their impact on daily life. Additionally, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is based on tests a doctor administers to assess memory and thinking skills.
Laboratory and imaging tests can rule out other potential causes or help the doctor better characterize the disease that’s causing dementia symptoms.
The entire set of diagnostic tools is designed to detect dementia and determine with relatively high accuracy whether Alzheimer’s disease or another condition is the cause. Alzheimer’s disease can be diagnosed with complete certainty only after death when microscopic examination of the brain reveals the characteristic plaques and tangles.
A diagnostic work-up would likely include the following tests:
Physical and neurological exam: to assess overall neurological health by testing the reflexes, muscle tone and strength, ability to get up from a chair and walk across the room, sense of sight and hearing, coordination, and balance.
Lab tests: blood tests done to rule out other potential causes of memory loss and confusion, such as a thyroid disorder or vitamin deficiencies.
Mental status and neuropsychological tests: to assess memory and other thinking skills. These tests are also important for establishing a starting point to track the progression of symptoms in the future.
Brain imaging tests: images of the brain to pinpoint visible abnormalities related to conditions other than Alzheimer’s disease — such as strokes, trauma or tumors — that may cause cognitive change. New imaging applications — currently used primarily in major medical centers or in clinical trials — may enable doctors to detect specific brain changes caused by Alzheimer’s. Imaging of brain structures include the following:
Magnetic resonance image (MRI) scans, that are used to rule out other conditions;
Computerized Tomography (CT) scans, to check the ‘slices’ of your brain and rule out tumors, strokes, and head injuries;
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans, where a low-level radioactive tracer is injected into the blood to reveal a particular feature in the brain. There are several types of PET scans. Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET scans show areas of the brain in which nutrients are poorly metabolized. Identifying patterns of degeneration — areas of low metabolism — can help distinguish between Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Amyloid PET can measure the burden of amyloid deposits in the brain. This imaging is primarily used in research but may be used if a person has an unusual or very early onset of dementia symptoms. Tau PET, which measures the burden of neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, and is only used in research;
In special circumstances, such as rapidly progressive dementia or very early onset dementia, other tests may be used to measure abnormal beta-amyloid or tau in the cerebrospinal fluid.
Future diagnostic tests: researchers are working on tests that can measure the biological evidence of disease processes in the brain. These tests may improve the accuracy of diagnoses and enable earlier diagnosis before the onset of symptoms.
Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention and Treatment
Alzheimer’s disease is not a preventable condition. However, a number of lifestyle risk factors for Alzheimer’s can be modified. Evidence suggests that changes in diet, exercise and habits — steps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease — may also lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that cause dementia. Heart-healthy lifestyle choices that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s include the following:
Exercise regularly: activities such as a daily walk can help improve mood and maintain the health of joints, muscles and the heart. Exercise can also promote restful sleep and prevent constipation;
Eat a diet of fresh produce, healthy oils and foods low in saturated fat: changing some habits can to some degree alter your risk. For example, having a healthy low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Drinking lots of water every day is also very important. Avoid beverages with caffeine, which can increase restlessness, interfere with sleep and trigger a frequent need to urinate;
Follow treatment guidelines to manage high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol;
If you smoke, ask your doctor for help to quit smoking;
Studies have shown that certain activities can help reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and support the skills that are preserved, like participating in social events, reading, dancing, playing board games, creating art, gardening, or playing an instrument.
Current Alzheimer’s medications can help for a time with memory symptoms and other cognitive changes. Two types of drugs are currently used to treat cognitive symptoms:
Cholinesterase Inhibitors: These drugs work by boosting levels of cell-to-cell communication by preserving a chemical messenger that is depleted in the brain by Alzheimer’s disease. The improvement is modest. Cholinesterase inhibitors may also improve neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as agitation or depression. Commonly prescribed cholinesterase inhibitors include the following (however, the main side effects of these drugs include diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite and sleep disturbances, and for people with cardiac conduction disorders, serious side effects may include cardiac arrhythmia):
Memantine (Namenda): This drug works in another brain cell communication network and slows the progression of symptoms with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. It’s sometimes used in combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor. Relatively rare side effects include dizziness and confusion.
Sometimes other medications such as antidepressants may be prescribed to help control the behavioral symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Mayo Clinic does clinical trials, testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this disease.
Various herbal remedies, vitamins and other supplements are widely promoted as preparations that may support cognitive health or prevent or delay Alzheimer’s. Clinical trials have produced mixed results with little evidence to support them as effective treatments.
Some of the treatments that have been studied recently include:
Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids in fish or from supplements may lower the risk of developing dementia, but clinical studies have shown no benefit for treating Alzheimer’s disease symptoms;
Curcumin: This herb comes from turmeric and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that might affect chemical processes in the brain. So far, clinical trials have found no benefit for treating Alzheimer’s disease;
Ginkgo: Ginkgo is a plant extract containing several medicinal properties. A large study funded by the National Institutes of Health found no effect in preventing or delaying Alzheimer’s disease;
Vitamin E: Although vitamin E isn’t effective for preventing Alzheimer’s, taking 2,000 international units daily may help delay the progression in people who already have the disease.
However, study results have been mixed, with only some showing this benefit. Further research into the safety of 2,000 international units daily of Vitamin E in a dementia population will be needed before it can be routinely recommended.
Check other posts about other subjects that don’t fit under one of the main categories in the Others section of my blog
Smudging is an ancient practice that clears low vibrations and negative energies. It is commonly used to purify a space before a ritual or meditation. This form of aromatherapy can also reduce stress, balance your energy, and cleanse your home. Learn more about the different types of smudge sticks and how to use them!
What is Smudging?
Smudging is the act of burning herb or wood sticks to get rid of negative energy on yourself, your home or any space. Smudging can be useful when you’re feeling depressed, angry, resentful or unwell, also after you have had an argument with someone, or simply if you have felt a negative energy in your home.
Smudging is a technique used for thousands of years by Native Americans, as well as in ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt, as a way to cleanse a space from negative energy.
How to choose a smudge stick
It is important to know that all plants are sacred, not just sage. Different plants/ woods carry various properties and benefits, so if you hold a specific intention for your smudging ritual, you should select an herb that resonates with that intention.
Here are some of the most famous smudge sticks, and what they are used for:
White sage is best known as a ceremonial smudge plant, to purify spaces. Apart from its antibacterial properties, it can change the mood and energy of a room or a person. It is also commonly used to cleanse a space before meditation.
‘Palo Santo’ translates to ‘Holy Wood’. This is an ancient and powerful healing wood from Peru that has been used by shamans for centuries – and it smells amazing. Palo Santo is known for its power to clearing negative energies associated with illness, as well as inspiring creativity, bringing a deeper connection to the divine source and aiding in physical healing.
Juniper is usually burned for ritual purification and to invigorate the mind and body when tired.
Mugwort is used traditionally to bring clarity and develop psychic abilities, as well as to cleanse energies and get rid of negativity. It has a reputation for stimulating dreams, therefore, many burn it before bedtime.
It is known for banishing fear. People have used cedar to drive out negative energy, bring in good influences, and even to bless a new house when people are moving in.
Rosemary is a powerful cleanser for your home and your own aura. It’s associated with fire, sun and masculine energy. Scientific evidence also suggests that rosemary stimulates the memory centers of the brain.
How to use Smudging Sticks
In order to do this, you can make your own smudge sticks or buy them online. To make your own stick, you just have to wrap a 100% cotton string around the chosen herb, and make a knot at the bottom.
To smudge it, light one end of the stick and let it catch fire. Extinguish the fire and let the smoke billow from the stick. Walk around your home letting the smoke get anywhere, in every room, in cupboards and small spaces. As the smoke rises into the air, picture your intention, whatever it may be.
The smoke is not dangerous and will not harm your pets. Use a bowl or a dish to catch any ashes. When finished, extinguish your smudge or let it burn out on its own. It’s often said that it will burn as long and strong as needed to fulfill the intention.
The beauty of smudging is that it can be done any time, and as often as you need, no matter your background or culture.
The premise of working with crystals is that each stone has the purpose of magnifying or balancing the energy center you’re focusing on. Find my suggestions on crystals to align your chakras here.
The premise of working with chakra crystals is that each crystal has the purpose of magnifying or balancing the energy center you’re focusing on. In order to choose a healing crystal, you have to look at several stone attributes, including its energetic quality, color, and the intuitive or personal resonance you have with it.
How To Choose The Right Crystals
First, you can check the set of stones typically associated with each chakra. Chakras are energy “wheels” throughout our body. The study of chakras is nothing new, originating in around 500 BC in India. People who study chakras believe that these energy wheels connect our minds, body and spirit. There are 7 chakras throughout our bodies and they all serve different functions.
However, when different things happen such as anxiety, depression, loss, trauma, or other emotional upsets it can cause our chakras to be clogged or blocked. Chakras being clogged can cause a plethora of emotional, physical, and mental issues. Luckily though, if you are aware it is not hard to unblock them. Many people have found that by using certain crystals you can unclog your chakras. Note that the chakras can have several stones associated with each one of them and you will need to determine which one works best for you and in which circumstance.
You may also use your intuition or intuitive perception to pick your healing crystals. For that, use the intuitive sense or senses that are most developed for you. You may look at crystals and see which ones are most appropriate because of their glow. You may feel the energy of the crystal by hovering over it with your hand and feeling a tingling or heating sensation. Or you may just know which one to choose when you need it.
1. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
Location: Top of the head
Description: Chakra of enlightenment and connection with the divine
When balanced: Promotes peace, wisdom, connection, and well-being
When unbalanced: Causes phobias, forgetfulness, confusion, disconnection from others, isolation, and difficulties in thinking
2. Third Eye Chakra (Ajña)
Colour: Indigo Blue
Location: Between the eyebrows
Description: Chakra of intuition, perception and paranormal
When balanced: Promotes intuition and psychic abilities
When unbalanced: Causes nightmares, headaches, depression, trouble learning new skills, and lack of focus
3. Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
Colour: Light Blue
Description: Chakra of communication, personal truth, and creativity
When balanced: Promotes intuition and psychic abilities
When unbalanced: Causes thyroid problems, trouble expressing yourself, fear of being judged, and lack of creativity
4. Heart Chakra (Anahata)
Location: Center of the chest
Description: Chakra of love, which makes all the energy circulate
When balanced: Promotes acceptance and inner peace
When unbalanced: Causes sadness, shyness, jealousy, demotivation, and heart problems
5. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
Location: Naval area
Description: Chakra of identity, self-esteem and personal strength
When balanced: Promotes strength, courage, and self-confidence
When unbalanced: Causes anxiety, rage, nervousness, powerless, and digestive problems
6. Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana)
Location: Below the navel, in the pelvic region
Description: Chakra of sexuality, creativity and pursuit of happiness
When balanced: Promotes joy, happiness, and lots of creativity
When unbalanced: Causes guilt, fear, unhappiness, tiredness, attachment, and weight problems
7. Root Chakra (Muladhara)
Location: At the base of the spine of the pelvic floor
Description: Chakra of physical needs and survival/ basic needs
When balanced: Promotes stability, safety, and security
When unbalanced: Causes fear, fatigue, anxiety, and low self-esteem
How To Use Crystals For Balancing The Chakras
Once you’ve chosen the crystal you want to use, place it near or on the chakra location on the body. A laying down position is easier for working with crystals. However, you may use a crystal while you’re standing or sitting by simply holding it in your hands or wearing it as jewelry on a pendent, in your pocket to keep it close to your body. Keep it next to your chakra between 10-20 minutes.
The chakras function as if they were doors, attracting the energy around that matches your level of vibration, and also as inputs to raise levels of consciousness. Focus on activating the resonance between the stone and your chakras with the power of your intention, meditation, or simply relax knowing you have the support of your chakra stone to harmonize frequencies.
When you bring the crystal closer to the chakra or place the crystal over the chakra, the crystal increases the energy center of that chakra, also reinforcing its energetic vibration, cleaning it and restoring all the harmony.
How to Cleanse Crystals
Don’t forget to cleanse or recharge your crystals before and after using them. For that, there are many methods including leaving them in water and salt for a little while (be careful, some crystals are sensitive to salty water), leaving them under the sun or the moonlight for the day or the night, smudging them with sage, burying them in the soil for an extended period of time for more intense regeneration.
Here are some of the methods I prefer and recommend:
Water and Salt
Place the crystals inside a glass container (preferably transparent) and cover them with cold water and a handful of salt. Leave them to rest for a few hours, overnight. When removing the crystals, rinse them under running water.
This crystal is widely used to purify environments and crystals, having an incredible energy cleaning capacity. All you have to do is arrange the crystals in a circle with a selenite in the middle.
Smudging the crystals with sage or with your favorite incense is another way of cleaning them. Try to smudge all surfaces of the crystal, for as long as you feel necessary.
On rainy days, you can place the crystals on your balcony, for example, and leave them out in the rain. This cleaning method is wonderful, and if there is a storm and lightning even better as this energizes the crystals.
Sun & Moon
The perfect match! This energization is very strong because we obtain two polarities: the masculine energy of the sun and the feminine energy of the moon. Just place the crystals outside for a few hours, so that they can receive the light from these two stars.
Place the crystal in your hands and start rubbing and rotating it until you feel a slight warmth. Imagine a passage of colored energy coming out of your hands into the crystal. Don’t forget and trust that you are a unique being with a lot of energy!
Knowing When To Cleanse Your Crystals
The use of stones or crystals to clean the chakras or as an amulet requires a great intuition, but over time you will feel a very special connection with them. Time will teach you to feel when they are loaded with bad vibrations (depending on their use or the environment they are in) and need to be cleaned. There are crystals that have to be energized once a week, others only once a month. Trust your intuition!
Remember that balance starts with thoughts. The law of attraction is always at work, in your favor or not. We are really the result of our thoughts and we attract everything we think. So think of the light and you will be light, think of the good and you will always have the good!
Ghee is a type of clarified butter that contains fewer dairy proteins than regular butter. This ingredient can be used in place of regular butter, and it’s considered by many a healthier alternative for cooking. Check out this ghee recipe now!
What is Ghee?
Ghee is a type of clarified butter that originated in ancient India which contains fewer dairy proteins than regular butter. This ingredient can be used in place of regular butter, and it’s considered by many a healthier alternative for cooking.
Ghee is the cooking oil of choice in Ayurveda. I love the nutty popcorn smell of ghee as it bubbles away in preparation. If you choose only the best quality organic butter made from grass-fed cows to make your ghee, you can really create golden magic in a jar!
By clarifying butter, most of the milk proteins are removed, leaving a virtually lactose-free cooking fat, which is free from hydrogenated fats & trans-fatty acids and protects against free radical damage.
Ghee has a high smoking point, as can be seen below, and can be used in cooking in place of butter and oil, and it doesn’t burn easily:
It is extremely versatile, as it is the most heat-stable fat for cooking. It is easy to digest, aids digestion by stimulating stomach acid secretions and aids absorption of nutrients.
The special gift of ghee is its catalytic properties and its ability to carry the medicinal properties of herbs to all the tissues of the body without interfering with the action of the herb. The medicinal properties of ghee increase as it ages. Ghee supports the suppleness of the body and lubricates the connective and nerve tissues, as well as protecting the bone marrow. Ghee plays a role in the promotion of immunity, fertility, intelligence, vision, liver, kidney and brain functions, and enzyme function in the intestines. Ghee is used therapeutically for ear, nose and throat problems and it makes a good base for herbal ointments.
You can, of course, use shop-bought ghee nowadays, but home-made is the best and super-easy to make – you can follow the below recipe. Please note that ghee should be used with caution in case of obesity or high cholesterol.
1lb unsalted organic butter
Add the butter to a medium-sized heavy-based saucepan, and bring it to a low boil over a low to medium heat.
Turn the temperature down until the butter is just at a simmer, and gently cook for approximately 25min. It will bubble and splutter, and a white foam will form at the top. This will disappear as the ghee processes.
Whitish sediments will form at the bottom of the pan and will leave off a sweet, popcorn-like smell.
As the ghee forms, it will become a clear golden color – ensure that it does not burn. With a clean spoon, check that the ghee is clear through to the bottom.
When the color is golden and it has stopped spluttering, take the ghee off the heat and allow it to cool.
While the ghee is lukewarm, pour it in a clean, airtight jar. Throw away the sediments that are in the saucepan.
Store the ghee in a dry place – it does not need to be refrigerated.
Golden milk is an old Indian drink that has been gaining popularity lately. This bright yellow beverage with turmeric and other spices is touted for its many health benefits and often used as an alternative remedy to boost immunity. Learn how to prepare it now!
Benefits of Golden Milk
The key ingredient in golden milk is turmeric, a yellow spice popular in Asian cuisine, which gives curry its yellow color. Curcumin, the active component in turmeric, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries due to its strong antioxidant properties. Most recipes also include cinnamon and ginger — both of which have impressive antioxidant properties as well, that help protect cells from damage, fight off disease and infections and contribute to your overall health.
Turmeric, ginger and cinnamon, the main ingredients in golden milk, also have strong anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce inflammation and joint pain.
This drink may be good for your brain, too. Studies show that curcumin (turmeric) may help your brain to form new connections and promotes the growth of brain cells. Ginger may also boost brain function by improving reaction time and memory. Cinnamon may help preserve memory and reduce the decline in brain function from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
How to Prepare Golden Milk
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp honey
A pinch of black pepper
Anise or Cinnamon stick (optional)
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and whisk, then gently heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain and serve warm in cups or heatproof glasses, garnishing with a cinnamon stick or anise, if you like.