Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stress: How Heavy is Your Glass of Water?

Stress is a matter of opinion - is it a positive or a negative for you??  How do you benefit from it?  How can you change the negative effects??  This message I received from my mom puts it all in perspective!  As we draw near the holidays many people are over stressed - find the blessing in the message below...

A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience; with a raised glass of water, and everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'half empty or half full?'..... She fooled them all... "How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile.

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."  She continued, "And that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."

As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night... pick them up tomorrow.

Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment. Relax; pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it and the now 'supposed' stress that you've conquered!"
1.      Accept the fact that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue!
2.      Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
3.      Drive carefully... It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.
4.      If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be quiet.
5.      If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
6.      Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
7.      Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
8.      Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
9.      You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
10.  A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
11.  Share a smile with everyone you meet, you never know whose life you may be saving!
12.  Pay it forward; you never know when you may need the kindness of a stranger.
13.  Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.

Blessings to you all this holiday season!  E

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Eating Your Way Healthy - Wonderful Ebook!

A new friend posted a link to an ebook on nutrition, health, food, cravings, etc.. and I only found the time this weekend to sit down and actually read it.  WOW!  So much of what I have passed along is in there with additional facts to back it up.  Please take time to read this ebook - it may just change your life. 

By reading this life-changing book, you will give yourself the tools to improve your own health and increase your happiness. You will learn:
  • why you crave certain foods (and what those cravings mean)
  • how you can enjoy food without guilt (really!)
  • the pros and cons of dozens of diets, cleanses, and eating plans
  • why adding more variety to your plate can improve your well-being
  • the connection between food, relationships, spirituality and career

At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, we’re on a mission to improve the health and happiness of the world. For more than 20 years, we have achieved this mission through education and action. Today, we are broadening our reach to help people around the world by giving away copies of Integrative

You can join the wellness revolution by spreading the word.
Getting healthier is even easier when you have the support of your friends and family. Share a free copy of Integrative Nutrition with your friends, loved ones, co-workers, and anyone you know who wants to live a healthy, happy life!

I hope you get the "wow" out of the book as I have.  There are good recipes and lots of good information on how and why to eat certain foods.  As always - think for yourself... search for the answers you are desiring to find.  Blessings... E

Monday, November 21, 2011

Creating Meals to Heal?

Let's take a journey together down a side path that not many Americans travel.  I lived in Asia for many years and find their cultures fascinating and so much more advanced (or should I say steeped in history) when it comes to food than ours. 

MOST Americans eat for pleasure.  There is no other way to put it.  We don't eat for nutrients, we don't eat for health, we don't eat for healing.  If we have a craving - we fulfill it.  Managing how we eat, and what we eat is quite important for that second pillar of health - diet. 

I guess part of the reason I love Asian food so much is that they don't use a lot of fillers, sugars, or straight salt in their foods.  No substitutions.  Lots of herbs, fish, and fresh vegetables.  They eat very little in the way of "bread" and instead eat quite a bit of rice - rice is their base in almost every meal.  Their deserts are based around fruits and enhancing their flavors. 

Asians shop daily for the freshest foods - both meat, freshly slaughtered; and fruits and vegetables, pulled in fresh from the fields.  They have small refrigerators, because they have no need to store things for long periods of time.  Everything is eaten fresh.

We have known for a LONG time that Asians live longer than Americans.  They have far less heart disease, obesity, strokes, cancer, ADD / ADHD, and high cholesterol.  Part of it can be contributed to the fact that most Asians live a much less hectic lifestyle than Americans, but that is only a small contribution.  Their diet plays a much larger part.

Vegetables should be the core to all our meals.  If you are like my nieces that only eat "certain color" vegetables - and none of them are green, you are weakening your system.  It is important to remember that we have one body - and however we feed it will be returned to us when we get into our 60s - 70s - 80s - and hopefully beyond.  If you feed your body processed foods, processed sugar, processed pre-prepared foods - you are not giving your body anything to help it heal itself - grow new cells - help your existing cells live longer... we all would love to look 10 years younger - but if you feed your body trash - it has no way of rejuvenating itself to create a longer life for your body.  Not only do these vegetables help your physical body - they help your mental well being too.  They make you happier, calmer, energized, relaxed... all the things you need to live a long healthy, happy life!

Try your vegetables in different preparations.  Try them raw - all of them.  Even the ones you aren't used to eating raw - you may like them better this way.  There are certain vegetables I won't eat cooked, but I will raw.  Try both baby vegetables and fully grown to see if you like the sweetness of the young vegetables better than their robust flavor when fully grown.  Try them stir-fried or sauteed - again all of them.  I love stir frying my vegetables.  I prepare in the morning - julienning my carrots, chopping my vegetables, and setting them aside in three separate bowls - foods that take 2 - 3 minutes (cauliflower / broccoli / carrots / asparagus), foods that take 1 - 2 minutes to cook (mushrooms, pea pods, red cabbage), and then foods that just need to get a kiss of heat (bok choy, Chinese cabbage, spinach, bean sprouts).  Add some fresh cilantro, basil, garlic, onion, or any other herbs that you might like to try.  Experiment!  You will know that you have cooked them long enough as soon as they change color.

Try vegetables that you didn't like as a child.  Our taste buds change constantly.  And as you remove the processed foods, artificial colors and flavors, you may find that certain foods you didn't like five years ago, you now crave!  Asparagus and Avocados are two of them for me.  I can't get enough of them now - but I use them very differently than I did many years ago too. 

Herbs are just as important for your diet.  The more herbs you use the less salt and flavorings you will need.  I am quite heavy handed when it comes to herbs in my foods.  I also like lots of heat - cayenne is a standard in almost all my meals. 

Dr Hyman also has some good reasons to try the Asian diet style.  In this article he provides detailed benefits of certain Asian vegetables, herbs, roots.  http://drhyman.com/eat-your-medicine-food-as-pharmacology-7716/?utm_source=Publicaster&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=drhyman%20newsletter%20issue%20#37&utm_content=Get+the+story

Blessings... E

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Diabetes Type 2 - Can It Be Reversed?

Diabetes is a growing problem in this country.  With all the sugary treats and drinks available to our youth that disease has spread like wildfire into our young.  Diabetes was a rare thing in my generation - but to see how it has spread with the addition of so much sugar into our culture concerns me greatly. 

This has concerned doctors for quite some time and there are several studies going on that may influence the way this disease is managed.

Let's start with sugar - we have had several conversations now about sugar.  Do NOT listen to the marketing hype on TV that states that all sugars are the same - THEY ARE NOT.  Every sugar is broken down differently and could even overload different organs.  As I have stated before, refined white sugar is the worst.  Stick with darker sugars if you must go with refined, if not raw sugars, and honey are far better.  The best is honey as it has already been broken down by bees - it is by far the gentlest on your system.

Additional Reading: http://finallyhealing.com/sugars-affect

What organs can be affected by sugar?  Obviously, the pancreas, but also the liver, heart, and the kidneys.  Sugar (that includes fake sugar) is one of the biggest causes of excess weight, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and pancreatic failure.  Sugar is an additiction that must be faught daily to be controlled. 

Additional Reading: http://www.sooperarticles.com/health-fitness-articles/sugar-disease-articles/organs-affected-diabetes-646683.html

Obviously, the pancreas is one of the most important organs, initially in this discussion because it is Pancreatic failure / overload that is the trigger for diabetes.  How do we help strengthen and heal our Pancreas once the damage of sugar has been done?  REDUCE your sugar intake.  I know it sounds silly for me to say this - but it is step one and it might take a while for you to get there.  Toss out all the sugar and sugary foods in your pantry and fridge.  I will tell you, this takes time - reducing slowly is typically much easier than going cold turkey.  Step two, is to get rid of most (not all) of your starchy foods (bread / pasta) as these quickly break down into sugar in your body.  And don't forget your alcohol - not saying you need to quit that all together as some wines are quite healthy for your heart when taken in moderation. But alcohol also turns almost immediately into sugar in the body.  Next, you need to start eating more fish (Omega 3), nuts, beans, raw vegetables, and fruit.  Yes, I did say fruit.  As your body adjusts to the lower levels of sugar in your system, your taste buds change too - things that weren't sweet at all - now taste sweet.  For example, when I started removing sugars from my diet I LOVED chocolate (even though I am lactose intollerant) but couldn't stand dark chocolate - it was too bitter.  Now, I can't eat milk chocolate it is WAY too sweet and dark chocolate is PLENTY sweet enough for me.  Another recommendation is to do a detox.  Get rid of tobacco as it also leads to pancreatic overload.  Finally, you will need a good active exercise regimen.  Start slow if you aren't currently working out regularly - you have to walk before you can run! 

LiveStrong has a good list of foods that help promote a healthy pancreas: http://www.livestrong.com/article/36490-foods-heal-pancreas/

Dr Hyman has a great article on how to begin the reversing of diabetes and that if done properly it can be reversed in two weeks.  This means a radical change in your diet.  Now, I will remind you to take every bit of information I provide with a grain of salt - and THINK.  If it doesn't sound right - do your own research and come to your own conclusions. 

Dr Hyman's article: http://drhyman.com/new-research-finds-diabetes-can-be-reversed-6187/?utm_source=Publicaster&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=drhyman%20newsletter%20issue%20#27&utm_content=Get+the+story
Here is the site that is doing the diabetes trials / studies.  It provides some good info.  Just remember is is based on allopathy and naturopathy not just naturopathy: http://www.diabetologia-journal.org/

Blessings... E

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Making My Own Soap - Soap Making Day!

Good Morning!
This morning we spent a couple hours making our own soap.  The house is filled with many different scents - some new favorites, some old ones. 

The melt and pour type of soap making is quite simple.  You melt your base (I chose goat milk) over low heat (my electric range - 2) and it took up to ten minutes to melt the bar.  I created three different types of bars - base with coconut lime oil // base with bronze mica powder and cinnamon oil // base with manoa oil (plumeria or frangipangi scent) butter and a mixture of green melt natural color and turquoise mica powder mix. 

Coconut Lime Goat Milk Soap
1/3 of the 2lb goat milk base, melted
.25 ounce of coconut lime organic scent

Over low heat in a medium sauce pan, melt the base.  Once completely melted, remove from heat.  Cool about five minutes and add fragrance.  With a spoon, scoop the mixture into the molds.  Let cool completely.

Cinnamon Stick Goat Milk Soap
1/4 of the 2lb goat milk base, melted
1/3 of one of the 1/4 blocks of goat milk base, melted
.30 ounce of cinnamon stick organic scent
1/4 tsp bronze mica powder

Over low heat in a medium sauce pan melt 1/4 of the two pound bar.  In a small sauce pan over the same heat melt 1/3 of one of the remaining quarters and the bronze mica powder to make color base.  Once melted, cool for five minutes and then scoop the colored portion by tablespoon to the bottom of the mold and let it cool until it was almost firm - about five minutes.  Spray with rubbing alcohol (helps both pieces stick together). When the soap in the medium sauce pan has melted completely, take it off the heat and add fragrance.  Scoop by tablespoon over bronze colored base.  Cool completely.

Manoa Butter Goat Milk Soap
1/4 of the 2lb goat milk base, melted
1/3 of one of the 1/4 blocks of goat milk base, melted
1 Tbsp manoa butter
1/4 tsp green mica powder
1/4 of one of the small bars of green color bar

Over low heat in a medium sauce pan melt 1/4 of the two pound bar and most of the manoa butter. In a small sauce pan over the same heat melt 1/3 of one of the remaining quarters, the manoa butter, and the green colors to make color base. Once melted, cool for five minutes and then scoop the colored portion by tablespoon to the bottom of the mold and let it cool until it was almost firm - about five minutes. Spray with rubbing alcohol (helps both pieces stick together). When the soap in the medium sauce pan has melted completely, take it off the heat and cool for about five minutes. Scoop by tablespoon over green colored base. I had some of the green mixture left over and tried adding swirls of green in base once I had cooled the base a little in the molds... didn't do so well... but I do have flecks of green embedded in my base.  Cool completely.

* I found that very low heat on the stove worked best.  I could stir the base and not get bubbles.  It didn't take long to cool though.
* Using a tablespoon to scoop into the molds worked best.
* I liked the mica base best and it worked best either being added to the butter first and then melted, or added the powder in right as the soap base has started to melt.  If you wait until it is mostly melted it doesn't mix well.

The melt and pour variety is very easy to make on your own... and not much of a challenge other than if you want to build lots of layers and colors.  Cold preparation will be my next foray.  I also want to try adding some seeds and / oatmeal to a couple bars and see how that works. 

Blessings... E

A couple things to note:
* I found that the individual molds worked better for me.  I was able to stack them (they have lids), they take up less space, and they unmold easier.
* I used my manoa butter goat milk bar this morning... mmmm... smells heavenly of Hawaii.  The manoa butter has a frangipangi / plumeria smell to it.  There was very little lather, but that is fine with me.  And afterwards my skin felt very soft and supple!  Yumm.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Is your water safe?

Good Morning!  I apologize for being late... yesterday and today were both absolutely crazy days... the soap making stuff has arrived... so we will be playing with that tomorrow.. can't wait!!!
My cousin sent me a link through Facebook about Aspartame (we will talk again about that soon) which lead me to a site called Health Freedom Alliance.  There are some very VERY good articles here one which really made me think about the water we drink.  This, of course, set me on a path of discovery.  We just moved from a rural area to a metropolitan area and I knew that our little Britta filter probably wouldn't handle the work needed in the city. 

Here is the link from the site: http://healthfreedoms.org/2010/10/29/fluoridated-water-the-ultimate-evil/
What is the difference between rural water sources and city water sources?  Too much to go into detail about here.  Basically, take a few people in a rural environment polluting the water source with herbicides, pesticides, and landfills... to a metropolitan environment that now multiplies those AND requires fluoride, chlorine, and other chemicals be added to the drinking water not to mention the run off of pharmaceuticals and big business.  Problem compounded. 

Everyone should have their water tested.  I believe you can get it done through Home Depot in the US.  Some of the Extension offices will also test your water.  You can be guaranteed if you live in a metropolitan city anywhere, there are contaminants you would rather not know about in your water.  The plastic in bottled water also causes problems and is just as dangerous as tap water. 

What to choose?  Do some good research... whole house needed?  over the counter?  under the counter?? Single / dual / triple filter?   this is the site that we got our new system from... they have some good articles.  http://www.filterwater.com/asp/cs/water-purification-technologies.asp

Take a serious look at your water source... along with the toxins that are being included in your water.  You should be very concerned about heavy metals, fluoride, chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, and pharmaceutical products.

Blessings... E

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chai Tea

I love tea.  I have learned though over the years, and with lots of trial and error, that I don't like all teas.  I am primarily a green or a white tea drinker, that loves spice and fruity flavors.  I stay away from the Lipton teas (no offense - just don't really like the black tea flavor) and any of the black tea - if I am drinking it straight.  If you are one that says, "Ugh. Tea!" take another look - try a different type... experiment.  Tea has so many benefits that you are crazy not to give it another try.  In March I wrote a post about the benefits of teas.. start there with your experimentation..
I have a beautiful friend that has a tea site online (www.konitea.com.)  She has a blog she writes with recipes, ideas, how to use tea in your cooking, etc.. She has a beautiful outlook on life and some great ideas for you to try!  My favorite tea is Chai.  I love cinnamon, cloves, and all the warm spices... I have a hard time finding the proper blend for me - Phuong has several options and I am going to add several more below for you to try.

Phuong's options for loose leaf chai teas:  https://www.konitea.com/advanced_search_result.php?search_in_description=1&keywords=chai&osCsid=65ijo0n9irhcd9rpso227j7t74&Submit=Search
Phuong's blended chai latte recipe: http://www.theteachick.com/2010/12/30/Masala-Chai-Latte
Phuong's aphrodisiac chai cake recipe: http://www.theteachick.com/2011/07/23/Koni-Aphrodisiac-Chai-Cake

Chai tea is a combination of either green or black tea leaves and a variety of warming spices - cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, licorice, cardamom, etc... The health benefits are quite numerous when you think of all the spices that you add to your Chai concoction. 

Gentle Green Chai
This is a yummy variation of kahwah, a Kashmiri green tea that serves two.
• 1½ cups cold water
• 2 heaping teaspoons green tea
• Seed of 1 cardamom pod
• 2 whole cloves
• 2 strands saffron (optional)
• 6 blanched almonds, chopped
• ½ cup milk
• 1 tablespoon honey
1. Combine water, tea, spices and almonds in small saucepan. Cook over low heat until hot (do not boil). Partially cover; steep over low heat 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in milk and honey.
2. Pour through fine wire-mesh strainer into warm teapot, discarding solids. Serve.

Read more: http://www.herbcompanion.com/cooking/make-chai-gentle-green-chai.aspx#ixzz1dnMUVRd6

Basic Black Chai
If you prefer, omit the milk and sugar and offer them separately.  Or try soy / almond / rice milk as an alternative.  Serves two.
• 1½ cups cold water
• One 2-inch piece cinnamon stick, broken
• 2 heaping teaspoons black tea
• Seed of 3 cardamom pods
• One ¼-inch-thick slice fresh ginger
• 3 whole cloves
• 2 black peppercorns
• ¼ to ½ cup milk
• 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (or honey)
1. Bring water to a boil in small saucepan. Add cinnamon, cover, remove from heat; steep 2 minutes. Return pan to heat; bring to a boil. Add tea, spices, milk and sugar; cover, and remove from heat. Steep 3 minutes.
2. Pour mixture through fine wire-mesh strainer into warm teapot, discarding solids. Garnish with cinnamon sticks.

Read more: http://www.herbcompanion.com/cooking/make-chai-basic-black-chai.aspx#ixzz1dnMvYlBr

Tulsi Chai
In India, Tulsi Chai, made from holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), is used to treat colds and reduce stress.  Sweet Basil can replace the Holy Basil if none is available.  Serves two.
• ½ cup holy basil leaves
• 2 cups cold water
• 2 heaping teaspoons green tea
• Seed of 1 cardamom pod
• One 1⁄4-inch-thick slice fresh ginger
• One 2-inch cinnamon stick, broken
• 2 whole cloves
• Pinch of nutmeg
• 1 tablespoon honey
• Milk, to taste
1. In small saucepan, boil basil and water. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in tea, spices and honey: bring almost to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and steep 3 minutes.
2. Pour mixture through fine wire-mesh strainer into warm teapot, discarding solids. Serve with milk. Garnish with skewered crystallized ginger cubes, fresh basil leaves and grated nutmeg.

Read more: http://www.herbcompanion.com/cooking/make-chai-tulsi-chai.aspx#ixzz1dnT0Gp5U

Hot Chai Latte
"A delicious, warm, old-fashioned style Chai Tea. With yummy spices, and authentic flavors, it's bound to be a hit with the whole family!"

* 1 cup milk
* 1 cup water
* 1 large strip of orange peel
* 3 whole cloves
* 1 (3 inch) cinnamon stick
* 3 whole black peppercorns
* 1 pinch ground nutmeg
* 4 teaspoons white sugar
* 2 teaspoons black tea leaves

Combine the milk and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once this mixture has warmed, place the orange peel, cloves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, nutmeg, sugar and tea leaves into the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the color deepens to your liking. Strain out spices, and pour into cups.

Nutritional Information Per Serving Calories: 111 | Total Fat: 2.8g | Cholesterol: 10mgPowered by ESHA Nutrient Database
Health Benefits: Antioxidants abound in Chai tea.  Warming spices are always beneficial to migraines, muscle aches, digestive tract, respiratory system, and your heart.  Why would you not give this flavorful, aromatic tea a try?  Blessings... E