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Incredibly Healthy Cinnamon Chai Coffee Substitute

By Ann C Wooledge
on April 30, 2013
2 comments

Incredibly Healthy Cinnamon Chai Coffee Substitute


 

In the past, I've used a chai tea recipe (see recipe here) basically the same as this, but I've found that sometimes even the little bit of caffeine in black or green tea is uncomfortable for me - I'm not sure why. I have found, however, that substituting organic roasted chicory root tastes very good and has healthy properties. Below I will give just a few short well-known benefits of these ingredients, but would urge you to explore them further for yourself because they are full of health-giving and disease-preventing properties.

1.   Whole cinnamon stick - from the bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum):

  • Therapeutic activity against oral candidiasis (1) 
  • Potentially beneficial against osteoporosis (2)
  • Improves fasting blood sugar in Type 2 diabetics or prediabetes (3)
  • Marked inhibitory effect against Aspergillus niger (4)
  • Neuroprotective properties (12)

2.  Green cardamon pods (Elettaria cardamomum):

  • Blood pressure lowering (5)
  • Antioxidant (5, 8)
  • Inhibits gastric lesions induced by aspirin and alcohol (6)
  • Anti-cancer and promotes healthy immune system (7)
  • Metal chelating activity (8)

3.  Whole clove buds  (Syzygium aromaticum)

  • Metal chelating activity (8)
  • Strong antioxidant (8)
  • Protection against oral and intestinal candidiasis (9)
  • Delays formation and reduces incidence of papillomas (10)
  • Anti-inflammatory properties may be neuroprotective (12)

4.  Whole black peppercorns (Piper nigrum)

  • Anti-cancer and promotes healthy immune system (7)
  • Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer activities (11)
  • Anti-inflammatory properties may help prevent neurodegenerative diseases (12)
  • Fights oral bacteria (13)

5.  Chicory Root Roasted (Cichorium intybus

  • Analgesic properties similar to ibuprofen (14)
  • Potential antidiabetic agent carrying both insulin sensitizing and insulin-secreting properties (15)
  • Hepatoprotective effect in liver disease (16)

RECIPE:

1 cinnamon stick
8 whole green cardamom pods
8 whole cloves
1 teaspoon dried ginger root (not powder) OR 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly slice
4 whole black peppercorns
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 inch of a vanilla bean
2 1/2 cups filtered water
1 Tbsp Roasted Chicory Root
2 Tablespoons unrefined sugar (I really like the turbinado, but usually use stevia)
1 1/2 cups milk (non-GMO soy, coconut or nut milk)

Place cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, peppercorns, vanilla bean or extract in a 1.5 to 2-quart saucepan. 

Add filtered water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, set aside, and let steep for 10 minutes.

Return pot to the heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add chicory root, cover and set aside to let steep for 3 to 5 minutes.

Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve, discarding solids. 

Return liquid to the pot and stir in sugar (or stevia*) and milk.

Heat over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until warmed to your liking. Pour into cups and serve. (Also good over ice.) I left the spices in the glass that I stored the tea in (refrigerated it) until I wanted my next cup. By leaving the spice mixture in the leftovers, it made it taste (I do like it sort of strong) even better each time I reheated it.


Serves 2-large mugs or 4-small mugs.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. It definitely is helpful during flu or cold season as a preventative drink, plus being warm and cozy. I find it helpful all year long for blood sugar balance and weight loss. I find myself turning more and more to this drink as opposed to my daily coffee. 

Thanks for listening - let me know if you try it!


1.  J M Quale, D Landman, M M Zaman, S Burney, S S Sathe. In vitro activity of Cinnamomum zeylanicum against azole resistant and sensitive Candida species and a pilot study of cinnamon for oral candidiasis. Am J Chin Med. 1996;24(2):103-9. PMID: 8874667

2.   Kentaro Tsuji-Naito. Aldehydic components of cinnamon bark extract suppresses RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis through NFATc1 downregulation. Bioorg Med Chem. 2008 Oct 15;16(20):9176-83. Epub 2008 Sep 14. PMID: 18823786

3.  P Subash Babu, S Prabuseenivasan, S Ignacimuthu. Cinnamaldehyde--a potential antidiabetic agent. Phytomedicine. 2007 Jan;14(1):15-22. Epub 2006 Nov 30. PMID: 17140783

4.  V C Pawar, V S Thaker. In vitro efficacy of 75 essential oils against Aspergillus niger. Mycoses. 2006 Jul;49(4):316-23. PMID: 16784447

5.  S K Verma, Vartika Jain, S S Katewa. Blood pressure lowering, fibrinolysis enhancing and antioxidant activities of cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum). Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2009 Dec;46(6):503-6. PMID: 20361714

6.   A Jamal, Kalim Javed, M Aslam, M A Jafri. Gastroprotective effect of cardamom, Elettaria cardamomum Maton. fruits in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Jan 16;103(2):149-53. Epub 2005 Nov 17. PMID: 16298093

7.  Amin F Majdalawieh, Ronald I Carr. In vitro investigation of the potential immunomodulatory and anti-cancer activities of black pepper (Piper nigrum) and cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum). J Med Food. 2010 Apr;13(2):371-81. PMID: 20210607

8.  Amit Singh Yadav, Deepak Bhatnagar. Free radical scavenging activity, metal chelation and antioxidant power of some of the Indian spices. Biofactors. 2007;31(3-4):219-27. PMID: 18997285

9.   Yuuki Taguchi, Hiroko Ishibashi, Toshio Takizawa, Shigeharu Inoue, Hideyo Yamaguchi, Shigeru Abe. Protection of oral or intestinal candidiasis in mice by oral or intragastric administration of herbal food, clove (Syzygium aromaticum). Nippon Ishinkin Gakkai Zasshi. 2005;46(1):27-33. PMID: 15711533

10.  Sarmistha Banerjee, Sukta Das. Anticarcinogenic effects of an aqueous infusion of cloves on skin carcinogenesis. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2005 Jul-Sep;6(3):304-8. PMID: 16235990

11.   Yunbao Liu, Vivek R Yadev, Bharat B Aggarwal, Muraleedharan G Nair. Inhibitory effects of black pepper (Piper nigrum) extracts and compounds on human tumor cell proliferation, cyclooxygenase enzymes, lipid peroxidation and nuclear transcription factor-kappa-B. Nat Prod Commun. 2010 Aug;5(8):1253-7. PMID: 20839630

12.   Ramaswamy Kannappan, Subash Chandra Gupta, Ji Hye Kim, Simone Reuter, Bharat Bhushan Aggarwal. Neuroprotection by spice-derived nutraceuticals: you are what you eat! Mol Neurobiol. 2011 Oct ;44(2):142-59. Epub 2011 Mar 1. PMID: 21360003

13.   Nazia Masood Ahmed Chaudhry, Perween Tariq. Bactericidal activity of black pepper, bay leaf, aniseed and coriander against oral isolates. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2006 Jul;19(3):214-8. PMID: 16935829

14.   A Wesołowska, A Nikiforuk, K Michalska, W Kisiel, E Chojnacka-Wójcik. Analgesic and sedative activities of lactucin and some lactucin-like guaianolides in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Sep 19;107(2):254-8. Epub 2006 Mar 17. PMID:16621374

15.  Didier Tousch, Anne-Dominique Lajoix, Eric Hosy, Jacqueline Azay-Milhau, Karine Ferrare, Céline Jahannault, Gérard Cros, Pierre Petit. Chicoric acid, a new compound able to enhance insulin release and glucose uptake. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Dec 5;377(1):131-5. Epub 2008 Oct 1. PMID: 18834859

16.  H Fallah Huseini, S M Alavian, R Heshmat, M R Heydari, K Abolmaali. The efficacy of Liv-52 on liver cirrhotic patients: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled first approach. Phytomedicine. 2005 Sep;12(9):619-24. PMID: 16194047

Easier Veggie Flax Seed Crackers

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on July 20, 2012

Easier Veggie Flax Seed Crackers

 

Our favorite morning "energy" juicing recipe is just a matter of throwing in a few beets, carrots, celery stalks, and sometimes a low-sugar apple such as Granny Smith. We add 1/2 half of a raw lemon sometimes. I recently made our juice for the morning - without the apple - and looked at the stack of pulp that was left. We often just stir that into the dog's food dishes and they surprisingly really like it. For some reason that morning I started considering how I could use that pulp in some raw flax seed crackers. I decided to add ground flax seed, whole flax seed, some fresh minced garlic and some fresh chopped onions, plus some seasoning. By "raw", I mean using the dehydrator at around 105 to 110 degrees rather than baking them. I ended up doing both - one batch dehydrated and one batch baked at 350 degrees for about 2 hours. 

Following those successful batches, I then decided rather than juicing the vegetables why not just put them through the food processor. So I did just that and added walnuts and sunflower seeds - a good choice and certainly enhanced the flavor and feel of the cracker. I baked half and dehydrated half. The nutrition is obviously higher in the dehydrated ones, but I do like the instant gratification (well 2 hours) over the 10 to 12 hours in the dehydrator. Very satisfying for us since we haven't had any bread or cracker products in quite some time.

For the last batch, I did use the food processor and for some reason baking them at 350 degrees for one hour ended up burning a large outside portion of the batch - big bummer. (See important note below - after subsequent batches, I found that 250 degrees worked much better. Bake 1 hour, score and turn the crackers over and bake for another 30 to 45 minutes until crispy.) I had put half of the batch in the dehydrator so we at least had those. I should have checked them rather than just setting the timer for one hour, but was busy outside. Lessons learned. I do suggest that since different combinations of vegetables can certainly be substituted as some people aren't as fond of beets as we are, or onions, that you blend the mixture, add the flax seeds, nuts, sunflower seeds and just enough oil to make it possible to spread onto a baking sheet or dehydrator sheet. I suppose if I were industrious enough I would do a You Tube video of this and perhaps will.

HOW TO BAKE FLAX SEED CRACKERS:

The first time I made them into cookie-sized rounds and smashed them down to about 1/2 inch. The next time I realized how wasteful of space this was and remembered some of my raw food cook books where they simply spread the entire batch over the entire baking sheet pressing it until it reaches the edges and assuring about 1/4 inch thickness. For the other ones, I did the same thing. On both I used the paraflex nonstick sheets. After one hour (or until the crackers feel done on one side), I scored them into cracker sizes with a sharp knife and turned them over on the dehydrator tray without the nonstick sheet to allow for additional drying. I turned the crackers over on the baked ones but left the nonstick sheet in the baking sheet. 

 
Yummy spread with soft goat cheese.

How long do I bake them?:

For the first batch, the one hour on one side and another hour on the 2nd side worked great in a 350 degree oven. (See note below - changed my recommendation to 250 degrees.)  I absolutely do not know why the last batch burned! The dehydrated ones, I dehydrated on one side for 4 hours, turned them over and dehydrated until they felt like crackers should - crunchy. Others may like them chewier, so this will require less time. 

INGREDIENTS: (organic where possible)

2 medium beets, peeled and cut into smaller pieces, the size depending on your food processor or juicer
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into smaller pieces, ditto above
5 stalks of medium sized celery, ditto above
5 medium sized carrots, peeled if using the food process, just scrubbed if using the juicer
1/2 of a medium red bell pepper
2/3 cups crushed flax seed (best to crush the whole seeds freshly each time in a coffee/herb grinder)
1/2 cup whole flax seeds
1/3 cup olive oil - or just enough to make the mixture stick together in order to spread
2 Tbsp Westporte Special Seasoning (or use your favorite all purpose seasoning)
5 to 6 twists of garlic salt seasoning
2 to 5 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped raw organic walnuts
2/3 cups raw organic sunflower seeds

If you are from my generation, you might remember when Chef Boyardee came out with the pizza kits and our favorite things to do would be have pizza parties where we handmade the pizza's and added the toppings. Everything came in the box - you mixed the yeast with the dough and spread it evening onto a baking sheet. The point here is the same gently pressing and spreading the dough onto the sheet is much the same way I spread the cracker recipe over the entire baking sheets - evenly as possible and about 1/4 inch thick.

 For baking use 350 degree preheated oven (see note below) - and watch carefully for the 1st hour to make sure you don't make the same mistake I did. Score them into the size crackers you want and turn them over to bake for about another hour - or less. For the dehydrator ones, spread them onto the paraflex nonstick sheets for 4 hours. Test to see if they are ready to turn. If they are still too moist, dehydrate for another 2 hours. Test again and when ready, score them and turn them over onto a tray without the nonstick sheet. Dehydrate for about another 4 hours, testing as you go.

This is not nearly as complicated as it sounds! After your first batch you can tweak it as you would like, or be adventurous and tweak it from the start.

Note added: July 23, 2012: I made another batch today and changed the oven to 250 degrees. I watched them every 30 minutes and it took a little over an hour to bake the first side. I scored them and turned them over and they looked and tasted much better than the 350 degree oven batch. 

Would really like to hear about your juicing recipes and any crackers that you make.

Thanks for listening!



Why buy organic soap?

By Ann C Wooledge
on June 15, 2012
3 comments

What's so special about organic soap?

And I guess more importantly, for us anyway, is why buy Wingsets' organic soap?

1.      Our soap is artisan crafted and handcut by us in small freshly made batches. Wikipedia describes an artisan as follows: "An artisan or artizan (from Italian: artigiano) or craftsman (craftsperson) is a skilled manual worker  who is engaged in or occupied by the practice of a craft, who may through experience and talent reach the expressive levels of an art in their work and what they create.

2      We use 100% certified organic vegetable oils, cold-pressed and unrefined, thus saving all of the benefits, vitamins and minerals that are normally processed out of conventional oils.

3      We use 100% certified organic shea butter well known in the cosmetic industry for its extremely high levels of hydrating and protecting properties for the skin.

4.     We use NO artificial dyes or chemical additives.

 5.    We use 100% certified organic or wildcrafted (NOT sprayed) botanicals with additional antioxidant and inherent beneficial properties.

6.    “Soap” that we can choose to purchase such as Dove is a mix of chemicals and not real soap, which is why they cannot legally call it soap – it is a “bar” or some other such marketing name. Only real soap is a natural process that results in additional glycerin which is very moisturizing for the skin. Even according to the FDA, it is a "toxic mix of synthetic, non-biodegradable ingredients."

7.     We use pure plant based essential oils or phthalate-free fragrances.

8.     Certified organic vegetable oils are not sprayed with herbicides, pesticides and fungicides; conventional ones are.

9.     We use no palm oil, which is not a sustainable crop and is resulting in the destruction of vast areas of the rain forest.

10.   These pesticides, herbicides and fungicides do leach into our ecosystem and it MATTERS for the short and long term.

11.   Our earth should not be allowed to be a dumping ground and what we leave behind for our grandchildren MATTERS.

12.   What we put on our skin MATTERS for the short and long term for the health of our skin and bodies.

13.   Our soap gently but thoroughly cleans partly due to the Nebraska yucca we infuse into our organic olive oil. It moisturizes and hydrates our skin – you will be able to tell a difference.

14.   We package our soaps in biodegradable shrinkwrap so you can smell them but not worry about who smelled them before you did. 

14.   Yes, we raised the bar on our bar soap! Yes, you can find other, less expensive, well made, even prettier soap. But is it made with any extra fat – much less the 30% shea butter we add to each and every bar of our soap? Is it made with certified or even organically grown vegetable oils? Probably not – and the number of satisfied customers tells us it MATTERS to them too.

15.  And, I think our soap is pretty too....

Thanks for listening!

Ann

 



 


Spring Vegetable Stew

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegetarian Entrees
on April 17, 2012

Mediterranean Vegetable Stew Recipe

Still putting the finishing touches on the blog about the extremely powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties of clove, both as an essential oil and a spice/herb. In the meantime, I came across this recipe and with AICR's permission I'm posting it for you. They are our information site for all things pertaining to cancer and nutrition. If you visit, take a minute to donate a little (or a lot) if you can. They are really making a difference in the world of cancer research and information. The original article is here.


Picture by permission from American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)


Satisfying Spring Stew

This hearty one-pot is full of cancer-fighting vegetables and flavorful herbs and spices. Best of all each serving weighs in at only 300 calories and 6 grams of fat, making it a great dish to help you maintain a healthy weight. Butternut squash and carrots contain cancer-fighting carotenoids while onions and garlic pack quercetin and allixin —compounds that show the ability to slow tumor growth in the lab. Serve with hearty brown rice or whole-wheat couscous for the perfect New American Plate meal.

 Mediterranean Vegetable Stew

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth (low-sodium chicken broth may be substituted for a non-vegetarian dish)
1/2 tsp. chili powder, or to taste
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground paprika
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom (or substitute 1 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder for spices from chili powder through cardamom)
1 lb. (2 cups diced) small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/4 cup raisins
2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/4" slices
1 (15-oz) can garbanzos, drained
1/4 cup pitted black olives, halved
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white or black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1-2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 cups cooked brown rice (whole-wheat couscous may be substituted)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion. Cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.

While broth is simmering, combine spices in a mixing bowl then stir them into pot. Add butternut squash, raisins, carrots and garlic. Cover and continue simmering until vegetables are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Let me know if you try it!

 


 

Fresh Warm Spring Asparagus Salad

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegetarian Entrees
on April 03, 2012

Warm Spring Asparagus Salad


Well, for our part of the country spring has come very, very early this year. Yesterday, April 2nd, the temperature on our deck was around 95 degrees! No - I'm definitely not complaining! I love spring and summer. One of the things I love about spring is the nice fresh asparagus that is so readily available. We planted it one year and it came back a couple of years, but never where it was big enough to pick. So, we depend on our local farmers. We've noticed too that Trader Joe's has a frozen asparagus which frankly is as good as any fresh I've tasted. We mostly just saute it in a little butter or olive oil, but when I saw this recipe for warm salad, I had to give it a try. The recipe came from George Matelian's daily email (from Whole Foods) we receive and it always has good information and recipes. To read more "in-depth" nutritional information and how to sign up for his newsletter - click here.


This one salad has an amazing array of healthy nutrients. Certainly, enough to give it a try. By using the frozen asparagus spears, you can save some time and effort. We'd use the raw apple cider vinegar and McKay's chicken seasoning. When our bell peppers are ready for picking this summer, we'll use those. In the meantime, we freeze them every year, so I have some and those are what I'll use in this recipe. I do always keep jars of roasted red peppers - maybe I will use those. The balsamic vinegar is a no-brainer for me - love the stuff.

The entire credit for the following goes to Whole Foods and their extremely informational website:

You can add this easy-to-prepare salad to your Healthiest Way of Eating in a matter of minutes. Not only is it an excellent source of health-promoting vitamins A, C, and E, but it provides 16% of your Daily Value for folate. Enjoy!

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small onion, cut in half and sliced thin
  • 2 TBS light vinegar (rice, apple cider, or white wine)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 3 TBS low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 7-1/2 oz jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained and slivered (or 2 medium red bell peppers, sliced thin)
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
  1. Slice onion and place in a small bowl with vinegar and hot water while preparing rest of the ingredients.
  2. After about 10 minutes, remove onion from hot water and squeeze dry.
  3. While onions are marinating heat 3 TBS broth over medium heat in a stainless steel skillet.
  4. While broth is heating, snap off the woody bottom of asparagus stems, then cut the spears into 2-inch lengths. Cutting them into short pieces of equal length ensures quick, even cooking.
  5. When broth begins to steam, add asparagus. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. The outside will be tender and the inside will be crisp. Thinner spears will take about 3 minutes.
  6. Mix together roasted peppers with marinated onion, asparagus, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Marinate for 4-5 minutes and serve warm.

    Optional: If you use fresh red bell peppers, Healthy Sauté them for 7 minutes and toss with rest of ingredients in place of roasted peppers. Serves 4

     

    Let us know if you try this! 

    Thanks for listening!

      

Chickpeas with gravy

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegan Main Meals
on January 09, 2012

Chickpeas in gravy

 

Looking for a way to add plant-based protein to your diet? Here is an excellent recipe. I found this recipe on my Tweeter feed this morning and thought it looked like something we should try. It's best to soak dried beans and cook them rather than using canned, but I know it seems easier to just open a can. I even tried soaking them and using them "raw", but seriously they get rancid/moldy much too quickly unless you keep a close eye on them. Check out the blog, Quantum Vegan, for the full article and recipe.  She mentions adding flour to thicken the gravy. The way we like our gravy is cashew gravy and we just put the raw (preferably soaked but I usually don't remember to do this) nuts and water in the blender (Vitamix is great, but we don't have one) and add one tablespoon of whatever flour you want - actually garbanzo bean flour would work. We're always looking for substitutes for refined flours and wheat while also trying to eliminate as many sources of gluten from our diet as possible. Let me just say that I haven't tried this recipe yet, but will probably fix it for Warren tonight. However, I have definitely discovered that after many years of eating regular flour/roux type gravy, I much prefer the cashew gravy. I like to add about a tablespoon of veggie chicken broth seasoning (msg free!) or other seasoning depending on what flavor I'm trying to achieve. Since this recipe highlights thyme, I would think "chicken" broth would be great and we prefer the veggie type. I know, I know veggie chicken is an oxymoron! Try it like she has it or adjust it with the cashew gravy - either way, it sounds like a keeper.

Ingredients
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped small
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp flour
1tsp dried thyme
1-2cups veg broth
1 15.5oz can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
1) In a large skillet or saute pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

2) Add the flour and cook, stirring, until browned, 2-5 minutes.  Add the thyme, chickpeas, and 1 cup of broth; stir well to combine.

3) Bring the mixture a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes to thicken.  Add more broth as necessary if the gravy becomes too thick.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Serve hot.

What so great about cashews?:

The great thing about this recipe, especially if you substitute the regular gravy which has very little nutritional value, is to use the cashew gravy. Did you know that  cashews (contrary to what I was taught years ago), have a lower fat content than most other nuts, approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, plus about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil! They are high in antioxidants as well. Now how much protein?  Cashews have about 17 grams of protein for each 100 grams of nuts (about 3.5 ounces.)  Check here for information from Whole Foods about all the healthy benefits you get from adding nuts, such as cashew nuts, into your diet.

What about chickpeas?:

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are best known for their very high protein and fiber content.  One of my favorite ways to use chickpeas in to make hummus dip for celery. For those of us trying to increase our plant-based protein and fiber in our meal plans - chickpeas are one of your best bets. For just one cup of beans you will get approximately 17 grams of protein! That's a lot! And as well as that you will receive about 14 grams of fiber. This particular bean has been studied and has shown that incorporating chickpeas into your diet will help keep you satisfied without food cravings. For more information about chickpeas, here is the link to Whole Foods detailed information.

Let me know if you try it!




Best supplements to prevent dementia

By Healthy Planet Blog Your Healthy Brain
on January 08, 2012
1 comment

What supplements will help prevent memory loss?

 

Mom died in her 80's but she "left us" when she was in her 70's as her Alzheimer's took over a once incredibly talented and bright mind. It's a horrible thing to watch and the Alzheimer's Association estimates that 4 million people have Alzheimer's disease just in the United States. That's a lot of people and then of course the family members become an important part of that equation first, of course, because of their loss, and secondly because they begin to worry about their own brain health. Which is why I have dedicated a lot of my time doing research on how to maintain a healthy brain and prevent dementia. Dementia is not always Alzheimers. Alzheimer's disease is, however, the most common cause of dementia in older people. If you visit my Facebook page, you will see this picture of me and Mom many years ago. I wonder if we couldn't have been able to help her knowing what we do today about brain health.

 

What is dementia?

As we age, we become more and more aware of some loss of brain function and your doctor will often tell you "you ARE getting older you know", which if you're like me makes you extremely frustrated and you'd like to hit him/her over the head with your chart. But dementia is basically a definite measurable decline in intellectual functioning which can interfere with activities of daily living and family relationships - and, of course, social situations. I still remember one time when my sister and I took Mom to lunch and she had a very difficult time trying to read the menu and order. She was still at the stage where she realized something wasn't right and it broke my heart to see her embarrassed about her inability to do so. I'm sure it was very scary to her as well. Dementia can be caused by Alzheimer's as mentioned, but it is also often caused by strokes which may be a series of strokes or only one that does the damage. A stroke is when the blood supply is blocked to your brain due to a blood clot - the same thing that causes a heart attack, except the clot is supplying blood to the brain rather than the heart. There are other reasons for dementia, but these are the two most common.

What can I do to prevent dementia?

When I was in nursing school, it was believed that brain cells could not be regenerated and once you lost them, they were gone forever. Research has shown this is not true and brain cells can be regenerated - good news for all of us! Researchers at Princeton University discovered that the formation of new nerve cells, a process called neurogenesis disproves that out-dated belief. I don't know about you, but when I first heard that, I was very, very relieved as the potential for developing Alzheimer's can be hereditary.

So now that we KNOW we can actually do something about those dying brain cells, shouldn't we be doing everything we can to make that happen? You will find past articles in our blog (see here) concerning brain health and we will be constantly informing you of new research as well as ways to increase your brain function.

The latest research that is interesting and reveals to us an easy fix is as simple as supplementing our diets with vitamin B12 and Folic Acid. This study showed that when people between the ages of 60 to 74 were given daily amounts of vitamin B-12 and Folic Acid, there was significant improvement in short and long-term memory. The improvement was documented after 2 years of supplementation, but why wait until you're 60 to start! In this study patients were given daily doses of Folic Acid (800 mcg), vitamin B-12 (500 mcg), and vitamin B-6 (20 mg).(1)

Cognitive benefits were also seen in a study that used smaller daily doses of just two of these vitamins: folic acid (400 mcg) and B-12 (100 mcg).This particular study showed that long-term supplementation of these vitamins at these dosages did "promote improvement in cognitive functioning after 24 months."

And yet another study showed additional nutrients that were effective for enhanced brain cognition. This study done with an elderly population (mean age of 87) showed that when blood levels were examined for each participant, those with higher levels of vitamins B (B1, B2, B6, folate, and B12), C, D, and E, as well as high in "marine" Omega 3 fatty acids, closely correlated with better brain functioning and increased brain volume. However, this study also showed that those participants with higher levels of trans fats (can you say hydrogenated oils?) had a lower cognitive function and lower brain volume. (3)

This should be enough to convince you to throw out those tubs of margarine and stop buying so many boxes of processed foods! What this also shows I believe is that it is obvious that what we eat or don't eat has a direct and measurable affect on the health of our brain and our future. I can't think of a better reason to change to a healthier diet. There is a lot of debate that taking supplements just produces expensive urine. I think these studies prove them wrong.

Thanks for listening!

 

(1) Celeste, A, Oulhaj, A., Jacoby, R., Refsum, H., & Smith, A. D. (21 July 2011, 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182436598). Cognitive and clinical outcomes of homocysteine-lowering B-vitamin treatment in mild cognitive impairment: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

(2) Walker, Janine, et al. (2012, January). Oral folic acid and vitamin B-12 supplementation to prevent cognitive decline in community-dwelling older adults with depressive symptoms—the Beyond Ageing Project: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 95.1 (2012): 194-203.

(3)Bowman, G. L. e., Silbert, L.C., Howieson, D. (Published online before print December 28, 2011,). Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function, and MRI measures of brain aging. Neurology.

Beautiful Skin Cocktail

By Aromatherapy Recipes Naturally Nurturing Skin
on November 29, 2011
1 comment

Easy recipe for beautiful skin!

 

I love that some things are easy in life because so many aren't. This is one of those easy things and it really does make a difference in the look and feel of your skin. I know I have days when my skin looks vibrant and other days when it just looks drab (today for instance) - which is why I started reading one of the books on my shelves. I use the same facial regimen every day that I know to be effective and healthy, but sometimes you just have to start from the inside to achieve that healthy look. You need a juicer though - the kind with names like Champion that extracts the juice from the vegetable or fruit and expels the pulp. We got ours used for about $25.00 - just let people know you're looking for one. Or you can opt for a new one. I have an article somewhere that I wrote about which brands and types are available. Will have to find that.This recipe was adapted from Juicing, Fasting and Detoxing For Life by Cherie Calbom, MS.

BEAUTIFUL SKIN COCKTAIL

1 cucumber, peeled
1 parsnip, peeled
2 to 3 carrots, scrubbed well (peeled if not organic), tops removed
1/2 lemon, peeled
1/4 green bell pepper (Opt for the red if available, more vitamin C and phytonutrients, see below)

Cut fresh produce to fit your juicer's feet tube. Juice ingredients and stir gently to blend. Pour into a clear glass (I like to see the colors shining through) and drink as soon as possible. Precious vitamins and minerals are lost with each passing minute. Savor the taste - don't just gulp it down.  This should make 1 to 2 glasses.

Why this cocktail? 

Well, many reasons but I'll address mostly the benefits from bell peppers. However, carrots also contain a huge amount of carotenoids and vitamin A and contribute a great deal to healthy skin plus helping protect skin from UV damage. Below are other benefits from this particular juice:

1.  Silicon - cucumber, parsnip and bell pepper are good sources of the trace mineral silicon, which is recommended to strengthen skin, hair, and fingernails along with bones. In studies silicon has been shown to reduce signs of aging such as improving thickness of skin and reducing wrinkles. Silicon - not to be confused with silicone, refers to natural materials whereas silicone refers to man-made materials. Silicon is a nonmetallic element with the atomic weight of 28. Silicon increases absorption of calcium. As we age, silicon becomes depleted, so it can be an important addition to our diet as we age. There is no daily intake requirement but it is important that silicon be consumed on a daily basis.

2. Vitamins -  Bell pepper contains more than 30 different carotenoids. Carotenoids provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Bell pepper is also an excellent source of vitamin C - two times the amount of vitamin C found in your typical orange. Red peppers have twice as much vitamin C as green ones. Go for the red! Every good Nebraskan knows that!! 

Bell pepper is also a good source of another antioxidant vitamin--vitamin E. German researchers report that the antioxidants vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids - lutein, lycopene and beta-carotene - improve various aspects of skin health and reduce the effects of skin aging. "Subjects supplemented with the antioxidants in both groups also experienced a significant increase in skin density and thickness. In addition, roughness, scaling and wrinkling of the skin improved in both groups of subjects receiving the antioxidants." (1) 

Bell peppers contain a substantial amount of vitamin A with ripened red peppers having almost 16 times the amount of vitamin A than green bell peppers. According to WebMd, vitamin A is necessary for the maintenance and repair of skin tissue. "Without it you'll notice the difference." (2). Although being pharmaceutical-minded, they also recommend topical vitamin A creams. I have no doubt that increasing your intake of natural vitamin A would be much better - Mother Nature really does know best. 

Increasing our regular intake of antioxidant phytonutrients can decrease our oxidative stress and lower our levels of inflammation, both of which contribute to dry, aging skin and wrinkles.This is but one of many juicing recipes that can be easy and very inexpensive to do. There are many other health benefits beyond healthy skin, but usually the health of our bodies is directly reflected in the healthy appearance of our skin.

Thanks for listening!

 

 





1.  Source: Heinricha U, Tronniera H, Stahlb W, Béjotc M, Maurettec JM. Antioxidant Supplements Improve Parameters Related to Skin Structure in Humans. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. 2006;19:224-231.

2.  http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/skin-nutrition?page=2




Foods That Fight Cancer!

By Healthy Planet Blog Cancer Counsel
on June 07, 2011

Do you know which foods fight cancer? 

 

I know most of us have heard that turmeric is a very good choice to include in your diet to fight cancer, but actually getting enough into your diet is fairly difficult unless you eat a lot of Indian curry-type dishes and/or take supplements. I'm always looking for ways to easily fit foods into my diet that have been proven to increase my body's ability to fight off cancer. I came across this article just after admiring my swiss chard and kale growing in flower boxes on the deck. I have plans to grow larger amounts in the garden but never quite got the chance. The farmers' market, of course, is a great place to find foods that fight cancer. I will put out my seeds soon for my fall crop.

According to recent research funded by the American Institute for Cancer Research, dark green leafy vegetables are a great way to incorporate cancer-fighting components into your diet. Included are spinach, kale, romaine lettuce (not so dark, but full of the properties you're looking for), leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens (love this coming from a Southern girl), chicory and swiss chard. They didn't mention bok choy, parsley, cilantro or basil, but I'm thinking those would be included but will check.

These particular foods are excellent sources of fiber, folate and lots of carotenoids including lutein, zeaxanthin, saponins and flavonoids. According to AICR's report, "Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective", these foods can protect us against cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx. I know we've all read that research has shown that carotenoids in particular are very good antioxidants that fight the free radicals we are bombarded with every day. Additional research has shown that these dark green leafy vegetables can also help stop the growth of some breast, skin, lung and stomach cancer. Folate was identified as decreasing the risk of pancreatic cancer. Most nutrition experts will also tell you to "shop the rainbow" - meaning the darker the color, the more antioxidants are included. An easy example is that red peppers are a better choice than green peppers; however, both are very good choices. In our green leafy choices, the dark purple kale would be better than green kale - although, again, both are very good choices. We prefer red cabbage over green cabbage for that reason as well.

AICR is our chosen choice for donations and if you take a look at their website and what they offer, I think you can see why. They, like us, believe that health begins and ends with good nutrition. Finding the correct and reliable information about that is not always easy. We believe that AICR provides a very good balance and evidence for all that they report. They have funded additional research on the subject of dark green leafy vegetables and why they fight cancer. Also read the full list of their recommendations for cancer prevention. You will see as you click the subjects we've mentioned such as fiber, folate, carotenoids and flavonoids, you will be taken to a page full of research showing why they are making these recommendations. And for those of you who think you can't or won't eat collards or mustard greens, you'd be pleasantly surprised at some recipes. AICR has provided one in particular for this subject and it can be found here. We will also post this recipe on our blog section under healthy recipes - and I'm going to try it out this week. I personally love them just raw, steamed or lightly sauteed - add a little balsamic vinegar.

So - let me know what you think about dark green leafy vegetables. Take a stroll down the tables at your local farmer's markets and see the vast array of vegetables that are available.

Thanks for listening!








Why is green tea better with lemon?

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on May 20, 2011
1 comment

The synergy of using green tea and citrus juice enhances the absorption of the antioxidants!

 

In a Japanese study with more than 40,500 participants, it was discovered that those with the lowest risk of dying of heart disease or stroke drank at least five cups of green tea every day. Not anything really new, but the authors of the study again found that the catechins, the powerful antioxidants in green tea, are responsible for this health-saving effect. They also found, however, that only 20% of the catechins actually survive the digestive system. 

What to do? Well, if you're like a lot of us, I like lemon with my tea! I look for organic though, but regardless, it was found that the vitamin C in lemons or lemon juice help your body absorb 13 times the antioxidants as you would from drinking the tea without lemon - this according to a Purdue study. I'm thinking then maybe I don't need to drink a full 5 cups a day if I add the lemon. I've also discovered some easier ways to get my green tea into my daily routine with some of the antioxidant flavored teas that you will find in even regular grocery stores. Substitute that glass of iced black tea for green tea this summer with lemon (organic please!)

ADDENDUM ADDED May 24, 2011:

Adding milk actually lessens absorption and use freshly brewed tea as the research shows the catechins in bottled drinks are ineffective.


Thanks for listening!

More detailed information here:


Wingsets check out this link image 

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