“16 Uncomfortable Feelings…” my take on a recent blog.

You may have seen that title recently flashing across your screen on social media sites or if you follow any blogs as it’s currently very popular, and there’s a reason for that. Maybe more than one reason. It’s a timely article for right now when most of us are looking to make changes. Changes that will help us grow as people and in our life goals and desires. I think that it is resonating with a great many people and people want to share what touches them. It’s also great because a lot of us also tend to give up or think we’re failing when change feels hard and uncomfortable, when really, as this article points out, this is actually a sign we’re on the right track. So let go, and flow with the uncomfortableness that the changes you’re making brings!

The writer of this article is Brianna Wiest. She writes on a blog called thought catalog. Her writing of the article that is the title of my blog can be found here: 16 Uncomfortable Feelings…, but I’m posting it in its entirety on my blog, so this will be a long post, but I really feel this article is relevant and inspiring. I’ll add a thought or comment relating to my own journey in italics at the end of each numbered paragraph.

1. Feeling as though you are reliving your childhood struggles. You find that you’re seeing issues you struggled with as a kid reappear in your adult life, and while on the surface this may seem like a matter of not having overcome them, it really means you are becoming conscious of why you think and feel, so you can change it. It was through re-looking at my childhood that I was able to make the changes I’ve made. It was worth every difficult moment.

2. Feeling “lost,” or directionless. Feeling lost is actually a sign you’re becoming more present in your life – you’re living less within the narratives and ideas that you premeditated, and more in the moment at hand. Until you’re used to this, it will feel as though you’re off track (you aren’t). There were definitely times I felt lost and overwhelmed and I’m sure there will be times in the future I feel that way again because I believe life is about changing and growing throughout my life. I won’t stop until I’m in the ground. 

3. “Left brain” fogginess. When you’re utilizing the right hemisphere more often (you’re becoming more intuitive, you’re dealing with emotions, you’re creating) sometimes it can seem as though “left brain” functions leave you feeling fuzzy. Things like focusing, organizing, remembering small details suddenly become difficult. There were days (successive days) where I felt very disorganized and had no energy/focus to do anything but let my subconscious brain process all that was going on. For the most part I was ok with this and made sure to take care of myself and be kind and gentle with myself. 

4. Having random influxes of irrational anger or sadness that intensify until you can’t ignore them anymore. When emotions erupt it’s usually because they’re “coming up” to be recognized, and our job is to learn to stop grappling with them or resisting them, and to simply become fully conscious of them (after that, we control them, not the opposite way around). This can be a difficult one for someone like me who doesn’t like anger or sadness. I’ve learned to go with them (for the most part – still some growth to happen here *smiles*). I’ve learned and am still learning how to express them productively, safely and without resistance. 

5. Experiencing unpredictable and scattered sleeping patterns. You’ll need to sleep a lot more or a lot less, you’ll wake up in the middle of the night because you can’t stop thinking about something, you find yourself full of energy or completely exhausted, and with little in-between. I definitely needed more sleep. During really intense times of processing I was napping every day and still sleeping 8 hrs per night. I was also dreaming a LOT, another way your subconscious processes and accepts change. 

6. A life-changing event is taking place, or just has. You suddenly having to move, getting divorced, losing a job, having a car break down, etc. I moved here from Ontario in August of 2011, left all my family behind, went back to school to start a new career and by March of 2012 I was feeling things coming forth, uncomfortable things, things that I knew I had to address and do the work necessary to grow within. I chose hypnosis as my vehicle to change as I knew that a) the change had to happen on the subconscious level to be permanent and b) the desire or need for that change was coming from my subconscious. 

7. Having an intense need to be alone. You’re suddenly disenchanted with the idea of spending every weekend out socializing, and other people’s problems are draining you more than they are intriguing you. This means you’re re-calibrating. I spent most of my time alone. Sometimes I wasn’t actually comfortable with that but I recognized that it was necessary for the shift to happen. I still had a social life but it was curtailed compared to what it is now. 

8. Intense, vivid dreaming that you almost always remember in detail. If dreams are how your subconscious mind communicates with you (or projects an image of your experience) then yours is definitely trying to say something. You’re having dreams at an intensity that you’ve never experienced before. I had the most amazing dreams, great fantastically detailed dreams that I either flowed in and out of all night long or had several different dreams each night. I am a Lucid dreamer and always have been, but holy cow did it ever ramp up when I was doing the most intense work.

9. Downsizing your friend group; feeling more and more uncomfortable around negative people. The thing about negative people is that they rarely realize they are negative, and because you feel uncomfortable saying anything (and you’re even more uncomfortable keeping that in your life) you’re ghosting a bit on old friends. I definitely shrunk my social circle. I have about 5 very close friends that I socialize with regularly. They are all positive, supportive people who also continue to grow and change.

10. Feeling like the dreams you had for your life are collapsing. What you do not realize at this moment is that it is making way for a reality better than you could have thought of, one that’s more aligned with who you are, not who you thought you would be. This can be another difficult feeling to handle. No one wants to feel their dreams about their life are collapsing. I have come to realize though that when one door closes it is most often because a better door is opening for me. 

11. Feeling as though your worst enemy are your thoughts. You’re beginning to realize that your thoughts do create your experience, and it’s often not until we’re pushed to our wit’s end that we even try to take control of them – and that’s when we realize that we were in control all along. As I processed all the stuff that came up that I needed to deal with, it was sometimes hard to keep a positive attitude but through that process I have learned just how much I can control, shape and create my own thoughts and thus control, shape and create my reality, my experiences, my life. 

12. Feeling unsure of who you really are. Your past illusions about who you ‘should’ be are dissolving. You feel unsure because it is uncertain! You’re in the process of evolving, and we don’t become uncertain when we change for the worse (we become angry and closed off). In other words: if what you’re experiencing is insecurity or uncertainty, it’s usually going to lead to something better. Boy did I feel unsure of who I was. I felt at times like I was someone totally different, someone I didn’t recognize, but gradually the real, authentic me was released from all those past illusions and man-oh-man do I feel awesome and happy and proud to be me!

13. Recognizing how far you still have to go. When you realize this, it’s because you can also see where you’re headed, it means you finally know where and who you want to be. This one is still hard for me to see most of the time. I made so much change in the last 3-3 1/2 years that I’m sure I haven’t yet fully seen/realized how far I’ve come. 

14. “Knowing” things you don’t want to know. Such as what someone is really feeling, or that a relationship isn’t going to last, or that you won’t be at your job much longer. A lot of “irrational” anxiety comes from subconsciously sensing something, yet not taking it seriously because it isn’t logical. This can also apply to not being sure you want to know things about yourself. Growth isn’t all sunshine and roses, it’s being in the dirt, getting mud in your face, and accepting, no, actually loving yourself exactly how you are in that moment, even if it’s not so pretty.

15. Having a radically intense desire to speak up for yourself. Becoming angry with how much you’ve let yourself be walked on, or how much you’ve let other people’s voices get into your head is a sign that you’re finally ready to stop listening, and love yourself by respecting yourself first. Yup, a fear of confrontation has kept me quiet a lot of my life. I’m still cautious and careful how I speak up for myself, but I speak up!

16. Realizing you are the only person responsible for your life, and your happiness. This kind of emotional autonomy is terrifying, because it means that if you mess up, it’s all on you. At the same time, realizing it is the only way to be truly free. The risk is worth the reward on this one, always. The freedom, the power and the empowerment that comes from being completely responsible for your own life and happiness is priceless and so awesomely liberating. Absolutely worth the risk for this kind of reward!

~namaste~

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2015 in review and my 2016 wishes for you!

2015 has definitely been another year of transformation and growth for me. Before the year is up I’ll be looking back, re-reading blogs, posts on Facebook, and my journal to reflect and review a lot of what I’ve done in this past year. And of course I’m also putting into place the steps for my plans both personal and professional for 2016. I’m excited about both! One aspect as mentioned that is fun to look back at is my activity here on WordPress.

I love knowing that my words here are reaching a lot of people, and hopefully connecting with and inspiring at least some of those readers. I love knowing my blog is being shared by other bloggers to their readers and to friends and strangers alike.

I also love to hear from my readers on how my words have affected them. I read every comment I get and use your feedback to create future blogs and to do things better. I hope you will continue to comment and share with me. We all seek that connection with others.

I would be even more thrilled if you wanted to share your 2016 goals and aspirations with me, especially if they involve health and wellness, but really it’s ALL about wellness – mental, spiritual and physical, isn’t it?

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog. It’s posted below.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Are you ready to make 2016 YOUR year of change? Your year of inspiration? Your year of amazing change?

For 2016 I wish this for all of you:

may the coming year

 

 

 

Research & Protocol Development for Professionals

Are you a busy ND or other professional? Are you looking for well researched, professionally created protocols, handouts, or other research papers for yourself or your patients but find you’re just too busy to get them done? 

I love to do research and create informative, easy to understand protocols and papers to share information and help patients and clients understand their health issues and conditions, how to take better care of themselves, where & how to shop when needing to eliminate foods from their diet, alternatives to common allergenic foods, how to manage a new or current issue, and more!

I’ve worked with my own ND to create handouts on at least 10 different topics that he can give to his patients so that they have concrete and easy to understand information in front of them when they go to the store or feel overwhelmed with something new with their health. 

I am also experienced in creating spreadsheets and gathering the pertinent information for a variety of topics. So far I have created spreadsheets on advertising in various online and daily newspapers, and magazines, various clinics & practitioner fees, other practitioners in a given city/area, and more.

Research and Protocol Development fees:

2 page Nutrition related Protocols are $60. Over 2 pages price will be discussed. It depends on the depth/detail of information wanted. If graphics and special fonts (standard font used is Verdana at size 11) are requested then price will be set accordingly (i.e. a two page protocol will be $75).

Papers requested to be more than 2 pages, on topics other than nutrition, or which require more than 2 hours to research and complete are $60/hour.

Spread sheets will be $100 for up to 2 hours of research and compilation time combined. Cost over and above the base charge will be more depending on topic, quantity and detail of info requested. This would mean an extra cost of $60/hour for additional research and compilation time.

Please contact me, Valerie, at 778-985-8807 or nourishment3@gmail.com for inquiries or questions about my services. 

I’m Official!! :D

Hello my lovely followers! I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. It’s a long weekend here in Canada (and other parts of the world), as we take today (Monday) to acknowledge Labour Day. Traditionally, Labour Day was an occasion to campaign for and celebrate workers’ rights during parades and picnics organized by trade unions. These still play a role in Labour Day for some Canadians, but many people see the first Monday in September as an opportunity to take a late summer trip, perhaps to their country cottage, or enjoy the company of family or friends at picnics, fairs, festivals and fireworks displays. For teenagers and other students, the Labour Day weekend is the last chance to celebrate with a party or to go on a trip before school re-opens for the new academic year.  How are you spending your day?

 

My exciting news is that I am now officially a Board Certified Hypnotist! 2014-08-29 12.09.41  I am so excited and can’t wait to combine hypnosis with nutritional consulting to help people truly find their path to whole health and wellness – body, mind and spirit!

I have great plans for one on one sessions, either combined or separate of hypnosis and nutrition, as well as workshops, and developing protocols with other professionals such as Naturopathic Doctors (something that is already ongoing). I’m also going to be creating a practicum/workshop to be included in the program at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition (they don’t know it yet, lol) where I took my course to become an R.H.N. Eventually I will take it to other schools in Vancouver too. 🙂

In about a week or so I’ll be able to share more great news that I hinted about in my last blog as to where I’ll be located and how you can reach me for sessions. Not that you can’t reach me now – nourishment3@gmail.com or 778-985-8807. I just need to hold that new info back for a little bit longer as we bring everything together. 

In the meantime, it is a lovely sunny day here in Vancouver, perhaps one of the last few we’ll have, so I intend to get out and enjoy it with a friend. I hope you all have a wonderful happy day too! 

The Right Decision

Once again it seems I owe you, my valued readers, an apology. I have been so busy with more of that personal work I’ve been talking about in my last few blogs as well as having doors of opportunity open, that once again I have neglected you by falling behind on my blog. I sincerely do apologize.

Not to be blowing my own horn (ok, maybe a little) but I have created those opportunities! 😀 I have recently been creating specific nutritional information and protocol handouts for my Naturopath to give to his patients. So far he has asked for 9 specific ones and we have kept the door open to me creating more for him. 

The second project I have been working on is gathering information and creating spreadsheets from the data for my Hypnotherapist, who is also my friend. We are collaborating on a few things.

I have some more good news, huge (to me) exciting news! This is the 3rd opportunity. It pertains to the work I will be doing with him (and his biz partners) in the near future. I’m not going to share what that is just yet as I would like to make sure he is comfortable with me sharing it here. Suffice it to say for now that I suggested a win-win solution to a challenge we were both facing and he (and his partners) have eagerly and graciously accepted the idea. I am very happy! 🙂 Very soon you will hear about it and for those of you living in the Vancouver area, you will be able to come and see me in lovely professional office/clinic space. I will also be adding another skill set to my range of knowledge that will allow me to really dig deep with my clients – by the end of this month I will be a Certified Hypnotist!!

 

Now on to the other topic that I absolutely have to address with all of you. I have been talking in my last few blogs about sharing more of my personal story with all of you. I felt very strongly when I first talked about sharing it, that it was the right decision. Yet since I made that decision I have been hesitant to do so. I have needed to take the time to figure out why.

Part of it was that I was in the middle of some more very intense in-depth work/changes. Once again they were all encompassing. I was taking my Vision classes that helped me discover my vision and purpose in being here and how I’m going to bring that into the world. That work along with the work I was doing with my Hypnotherapist was bringing forth a lot of intense emotion and huge shifts in perspective, thought processes and putting aside ways of dealing with things that were no longer serving me. I also had to learn new ways for those old thoughts/patterns because one thing I have learned from all my work is that you cannot erase the past, you can only change your perspective on it and on how you let it or use it to serve you. I have learned to see the broader picture or the same picture from a new perspective while still feeling and valuing my emotions. It has been incredible! I am living so much more in the moment than I ever have, and I honestly thought that I lived very well in the moment. 

My point being with all of the above (besides the fact that I did want to share with you where I am at), is that after a lot of thought and some discussion with a close friend I have realized that the reason I haven’t been able to tell my story is because I don’t want to look back to where I was last year or even further because I am not there anymore! I am not afraid of losing all the progress and change I have made – it has been done on the subconscious level and I won’t fall back, I simply don’t want to re-read (from my journals) all that I have gone through. It was all very intensely emotional and stressful. I cannot emphasize enough though that it was worth every moment of it, but I don’t want to go over it again. At least not at this point in time. This is the right decision for me.

I do however intend to be open with my personal story more often from here on out. I won’t make a promise I can’t keep as to how often that will be, but I can promise that I will share more often. Since my work is now leading me to helping others with making deep lasting change you will see more variety in my blogs. They won’t be as focused on nutritional subjects but will be more varied and well rounded towards the mental and spiritual sides of wellness! After all Holistic Nutrition is about the body mind and spirit connection. 

we are unlimited

You are never too late to find your power, share your gifts or use your talents to benefit the world. That is why we are all here!!

*If you would like contact info for my Naturopathic Doctor, my Vision teacher (mentor), or my Hypnotherapist, please email me at nourishment3@gmail.com. I will be glad to share and they would be glad to hear from you.*

 

WIITID!

Hello all my wonderful blog followers! Sorry I’ve been missing in action this past week. I was on vacation and enjoying a visit with my daughter and her boyfriend and celebrating my birthday! It was fantastic. 😀

My blog today is about What It Is That I Do (WIITID).  People often ask me what do I do that is different from what a Dietitian or other types of Nutritionists do.  As a Holistic Nutritionist I am concerned with and work with the whole physical body and the mind and spirit. They are all connected to each other and they are all impacted in one way or another by what we eat. That old expression “We are what we eat” has a lot of truth behind it.

When a client comes to me for a particular issue I talk at length with them about more than just that issue. I need to know what’s going on in their life, how they are feeling mentally, physically and spiritually. I have them fill out a fairly extensive set of forms for me that tell me about their lifestyle, their current and past medical history, their family medical history, the way they eat and what they eat, how they handle and are impacted by stress, etc.  There are also forms that relate to the individual body systems, like the Digestive system or Endocrine system. The answers they give here help me determine which body systems are most out of balance. The body always wants to return to homeostasis (a state of balance) and most often giving diet, lifestyle and spiritual recommendations to help balance (this could mean support, strengthen or detox) those systems (most out of balance) will greatly improve or even eliminate the issue that the client came to me about.

One of the most important things to remember about changing things with the recommendations I make is that there is no quick fix. It takes time, sometimes a long time if your body systems are really out of balance. Also depending on the client they can perhaps only make one change at a time, or they can make 6 changes at a time.  This is also partly why I speak at length with, and really get to know my clients- so that I know how much will overwhelm them, and I can avoid that happening. Change has to happen at a pace that works for you or you won’t be successful, while at the same time you have to truly want to make changes and not be looking for the next pill or quick fix.

Just think and remember that with traditional medicine, nothing is a quick fix either, at least for chronic conditions. Medications have to be adjusted, or changed or taken long term and all you end up with is covering or managing symptoms, not actually fixing the underlying problem. Isn’t it much better to have it gone- healed, and doing it without filling your body with poison which just creates more issues?

A new skill I am adding to my repertoire is hypnosis! I’m really excited about this as I’ve used it myself and am thrilled at the changes I’ve made on a subconscious level and how they have positively impacted my life! Hypnosis is a great tool to use in conjunction with making changes in your life when health issues are not as simple as changing a bad diet. If your eating habits or mental issues are connected to things in your past or childhood such as abuse, addiction, or other trauma, if your mental or spiritual health is not in a negative space only because of what you eat, then hypnosis may be something we want to use along with the dietary and lifestyle changes I recommend.

Holistic Nutrition is not just about food, even though the word nutrition might have you believing so. It is about wellness, wholeness, working with other methods of health care, whether it be traditional western medicine or alternative methods. It’s about a well-rounded approach, being open to new ideas and changing things on a cellular level, while staying connected to the whole- body, mind and spirit!

I hope this blog gives you the information you need to help you decide to make the changes you desire in your life in order to be happy, healthy and whole! Please feel free to contact me (nourishment3@gmail.com) if you have any questions or would like my assistance in achieving your health and wellness goals.

20 Pain Killers In Your Kitchen!

A GREAT ALTERNATIVE TO TAKING MEDICATION! (note: if you are taking prescribed medication for any condition listed here or not, please do not stop or change anything about that without consulting with your prescribing physician)

Make muscle pain a memory with ginger

When Danish researchers asked achy people to jazz up their diets with ginger, it eased muscle and joint pain, swelling and stiffness for up to 63 percent of them within two months. Experts credit ginger’s potent compounds called gingerols, which prevent the production of pain-triggering hormones. The study-recommended dose: Add at least 1 teaspoon of dried ginger or 2 teaspoons of chopped ginger to meals daily.

Cure a toothache with cloves

Got a toothache and can’t get to the dentist? Gently chewing on a clove can ease tooth pain and gum inflammation for two hours straight, say UCLA researchers. Experts point to a natural compound in cloves called eugenol, a powerful, natural anesthetic. Bonus: Sprinkling a ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves on meals daily may also protect your ticker. Scientists say this simple action helps stabilize blood sugar, plus dampen production of artery-clogging cholesterol in as little as three weeks.

Heal heartburn with cider vinegar

Sip 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 ounces of water before every meal, and experts say you could shut down painful bouts of heartburn in as little as 24 hours. “Cider vinegar is rich in malic and tartaric acids, powerful digestive aids that speed the breakdown of fats and proteins so your stomach can empty quickly, before food washes up into the esophagus, triggering heartburn pain,” explains Joseph Brasco, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Center for Colon and Digestive Diseases in Huntsville, AL.

Erase earaches with garlic

Painful ear infections drive millions of Americans to doctors’ offices every year. To cure one fast, just place two drops of warm garlic oil into your aching ear twice daily for five days. This simple treatment can clear up ear infections faster than prescription meds, say experts at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Scientists say garlic’s active ingredients (germanium, selenium, and sulfur compounds) are naturally toxic to dozens of different pain-causing bacteria. To whip up your own garlic oil gently simmer three cloves of crushed garlic in a half a cup of extra virgin olive oil for two minutes, strain, then refrigerate for up to two weeks, suggests Teresa Graedon, Ph.D., co-author of the book, Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy. For an optimal experience, warm this mix slightly before using so the liquid will feel soothing in your ear canal.

Chase away joint and headache pain with cherries

Latest studies show that at least one in four women is struggling with arthritis, gout or chronic headaches. If you’re one of them, a daily bowl of cherries could ease your ache, without the stomach upset so often triggered by today’s painkillers, say researchers at East Lansing’s Michigan State University . Their research reveals that anthocyanins, the compounds that give cherries their brilliant red color, are anti-inflammatories 10 times stronger than ibuprofen and aspirin. “Anthocyanins help shut down the powerful enzymes that kick-start tissue inflammation, so they can prevent, as well as treat, many different kinds of pain,” explains Muraleedharan Nair, Ph.D., professor of food science at Michigan State University . His advice: Enjoy 20 cherries (fresh, frozen or dried) daily, then continue until your pain disappears.

Fight tummy troubles with fish

Indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases…if your belly always seems to be in an uproar, try munching 18 ounces of fish weekly to ease your misery. Repeated studies show that the fatty acids in fish, called EPA and DHA, can significantly reduce intestinal inflammation, cramping and belly pain and, in some cases, provide as much relief as corticosteroids and other prescription meds. “EPA and DHA are powerful, natural, side effect-free anti-inflammatories, that can dramatically improve the function of the entire gastrointestinal tract,” explains biological chemist Barry Sears, Ph.D., president of the Inflammation Research Foundation in Marblehead , MA . For best results, look for oily fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, trout and herring.

Prevent PMS with yogurt

Up to 80 percent of women will struggle with premenstrual syndrome and its uncomfortable symptoms, report Yale researchers. The reason: Their nervous systems are sensitive to the ups and downs in estrogen and progesterone that occur naturally every month. But snacking on 2 cups of yogurt a day can slash these symptoms by 48 percent, say researchers at New York ’s Columbia University . “Yogurt is rich in calcium, a mineral that naturally calms the nervous system, preventing painful symptoms even when hormones are in flux,” explains Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a professor of gynecology at Yale University .

Tame chronic pain with turmeric

Studies show turmeric, a popular East Indian spice, is actually three times more effective at easing pain than aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen, plus it can help relieve chronic pain for 50 percent of people struggling with arthritis and even fibromyalgia, according to Cornell researchers. That’s because turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, naturally shuts down cyclooxygenase 2, an enzyme that churns out a stream of pain-producing hormones, explains nutrition researcher Julian Whitaker, M.D. and author of the book, Reversing Diabetes. The study-recommended dose: Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of this spice daily onto any rice, poultry, meat or vegetable dish.

End endometrial pain with oats

The ticket to soothing endometriosis pain could be a daily bowl of oatmeal. Endometriosis occurs when little bits of the uterine lining detach and grow outside of the uterus. Experts say these migrating cells can turn menstruation into a misery, causing so much inflammation that they trigger severe cramping during your period, plus a heavy ache that drags on all month long. Fortunately, scientists say opting for a diet rich in oats can help reduce endometrial pain for up to 60 percent of women within six months. That’s because oats don’t contain gluten, a trouble-making protein that triggers inflammation in many women, making endometriosis difficult to bear, explains Peter Green, M.D., professor of medicine at Colombia University .

Soothe foot pain with salt

Experts say at least six million Americans develop painful ingrown toenails each year. But regularly soaking ingrown nails in warm salt water baths can cure these painful infections within four days, say scientists at California ’s Stanford University . The salt in the mix naturally nixes inflammation, plus it’s anti-bacterial, so it quickly destroys the germs that cause swelling and pain. Just mix 1 teaspoon of salt into each cup of water, heat to the warmest temperature that you can comfortably stand, and then soak the affected foot area for 20 minutes twice daily, until your infection subsides.

Prevent digestive upsets with pineapple

Got gas? One cup of fresh pineapple daily can cut painful bloating within 72 hours, say researchers at California ’s Stanford University . That’s because pineapple is natually packed with proteolytic enzymes, digestive aids that help speed the breakdown of pain-causing proteins in the stomach and small intestine, say USDA researchers.

Relax painful muscles with peppermint

Suffering from tight, sore muscles? Stubborn knots can hang around for months if they aren’t properly treated, says naturopath Mark Stengler, N.D., author of the book, The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies. His advice: Three times each week, soak in a warm tub scented with 10 drops of peppermint oil. The warm water will relax your muscles, while the peppermint oil will naturally soothe your nerves — a combo that can ease muscle cramping 25 percent more effectively than over-the-counter painkillers, and cut the frequency of future flare-ups in half, says Stengler.

Give your back some TLC with grapes

Got an achy back? Grapes could be the ticket to a speedy recovery. Recent studies at Ohio State University suggest eating a heaping cup of grapes daily can relax tight blood vessels, significantly improving blood flow to damaged back tissues (and often within three hours of enjoying the first bowl). That’s great news because your back’s vertebrae and shock-absorbing discs are completely dependent on nearby blood vessels to bring them healing nutrients and oxygen, so improving blood flow is essential for healing damaged back tissue, says Stengler.

Wash away pain injuries with water

Whether it’s your feet, your knees or your shoulders that are throbbing, experts at New York ’s Manhattan College , say you could kick-start your recovery in one week just by drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Why? Experts say water dilutes, and then helps flush out, histamine, a pain-triggering compound produced by injured tissues. “Plus water is a key building block of the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones, your joints’ lubricating fluid, and the soft discs in your spine,” adds Susan M. Kleiner, Ph.D., author of the book, The Good Mood Diet. “And when these tissues are well-hydrated, they can move and glide over each other without causing pain.” One caveat: Be sure to measure your drinking glasses to find out how large they really are before you start sipping, she says. Today’s juice glasses often hold more than 12 ounces, which means five servings could be enough to meet your daily goal.

Heal sinus problems with horseradish

Latest studies show sinusitis is the nation’s number one chronic health problem. And this condition doesn’t just spur congestion and facial pain, it also makes sufferers six times more likely to feel achy all-over. Horseradish to the rescue! According to German researchers, this eye-watering condiment naturally revs up blood flow to the sinus cavities, helping to open and drain clogged sinuses and heal sinus infections more quickly than decongestant sprays do. The study-recommended dose: One teaspoon twice daily (either on its own, or used as a sandwich or meat topping) until symptoms clear.

Beat bladder infections with blueberries

Eating 1 cup of blueberries daily, whether you opt for them fresh, frozen or in juice form, can cut your risk of a urinary tract infection (UTIs) by 60 percent, according to researchers at New Jersey’s Rutgers University. That’s because blueberries are loaded with tannins, plant compounds that wrap around problem-causing bacteria in the bladder, so they can’t get a toehold and create an infection, explains Amy Howell, Ph.D. a scientist at Rutgers University .

Heal mouth sores with honey

Dab painful canker and cold sores with unpasteurized honey four times daily until these skin woes disappear, and they’ll heal 43 percent faster than if you use a prescription cream, say researchers at the Dubai Specialized Medical Center in the United Arab Emirates . Raw honey’s natural enzymes zap inflammation, destroy invading viruses and speed the healing of damaged tissues, say the study authors.

Fight breast pain with flax

In one recent study, adding 3 tablespoons of ground flax to their daily diet eased breast soreness for one in three women within 12 weeks. Scientists credit flax’s phytoestrogens, natural plant compounds that prevent the estrogen spikes that can trigger breast pain. More good news: You don’t have to be a master baker to sneak this healthy seed into your diet. Just sprinkle ground flax on oatmeal, yogurt, applesauce or add it to smoothies and veggie dips.

Cure migraines with coffee

Prone to migraines? Try muscling-up your painkiller with a coffee chaser. Whatever over-the-counter pain med you prefer, researchers at the National Headache Foundation say washing it down with a strong 12- ounce cup of coffee will boost the effectiveness of your medication by 40 percent or more. Experts say caffeine stimulates the stomach lining to absorb painkillers more quickly and more effectively.

Tame leg cramps with tomato juice

At least one in five people regularly struggle with leg cramps. The culprit? Potassium deficiencies, which occur when this mineral is flushed out by diuretics, caffeinated beverages or heavy perspiration during exercise. But sip 10 ounces of potassium-rich tomato juice daily and you’ll not only speed your recovery, you’ll reduce your risk of painful cramp flare-ups in as little as 10 days, say UCLA researchers.