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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




Black Bean and Artichoke Medley II

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegan Main Meals
on November 13, 2011

Black beans and artichokes in a simple vegan stew:

 

Sometime last year I wrote a blog about "The Mighty Artichoke" - see here - and why it is so incredibly healthy and often overlooked as a superfood. And I also posted a recipe that we had adapted from AICR's website with permission - see here. At this time in our household we are dealing with what we believe to be yeast overgrowth which is presenting itself as a large area of Warren's body being covered with rashes. This has been going on for awhile. The dermatologist thought it was psoriasis, so he put him on prednisone, which is a steroid medicine often given for inflammatory conditions. However, it also feeds yeast and makes it worse. Which is what has happened. The reason I'm even telling you this is that we are now VERY interested in changing our diet to eliminate all sources of sugars that would feed anymore yeast growth. We are also treating the rash, but I can tell you it has been a painful miserable process for my husband. In this long process I have been doing a lot more research about yeast and what can be done about it.  Which means I've been searching through a lot of our recipes to see if they could be used now. The black beans and artichoke recipe originally was a simple quick recipe and I made it today. It was a hit and what we call a "keeper". I wanted to share with you this simple but tasty black bean and artichoke simmer II.

Olive oil (just lightly cover the bottom of the pan)
1 cup onion, chopped
2 fresh garlic cloves (one of the best things to fight yeast)
1 quart of Warren's canned tomatoes (I know you can't have these - substitute 2 cans of tomatoes with no sugar or salt added)
1 can (15 oz) organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 Tbsp Old Westporte Special seasoning (you'll see me use this spice a lot - here is where you can find it). It's not a "spice" per se but a proprietary blend of dehydrated vegetables.

In medium saucepan, saute the onions until transparent. Add the minced garlic - don't let burn or turn brown. Add the Westporte seasoning and stir in the tomatoes and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add the black beans, stirring to mix well, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes or until heated throughout. 

I wasn't sure if it would turn out to be a soup, stew or casserole type dish. It was somewhere between a soup and stew and we served it in bowls. It was really very good. We happened to have cooked spinach as a side dish at the time and tried adding that to the stew, but it pretty much overwhelmed the clean, fresh taste of the artichokes and tomatoes. 

According to AICR's (American Institute for Cancer Research) website this recipe contains 9 servings, with 90 calories each, 1.5 grams total fat (0 grams saturated fat), 15 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams protein, 4 grams dietary fiber and 420 mg sodium. I think using our own canned tomatoes probably reduced the sodium content. I also did not add any salt while cooking. 

Easy, quick and incredibly healthy! Let me know if you have any recipes you'd like to share or advice about yeast overgrowth. After searching through quite a bit of information, it became clear that there is a lot of disagreement about what can or cannot, should or should not be eaten to control yeast. I've had to weigh my education as a nurse with my education as a holistic nutritionist to filter out those things that just don't make sense. I've also watched closely to see clinical improvements or something that might make it worse. I am certainly open to listening to anyone's knowledge in this area.

Thanks for listening!











Cajeput essential oil (Melaleluca cajeputi)

By Healthy Planet Blog Aromatherapy at Home
on August 23, 2011

Cajeput (Melaleuca cajeputi) essential oil profile:

 

The most recent addition to our Essential Oil Database where you will find in-depth information about this particular essential oil as well as others as we work to complete this, what we feel to be, very important information. Melaleuca leucadendron = cajeputi – would be the another name for this oil. Cajeput, or Caju-puti, as it is called in Malaysia means white wood, since it’s wood is – well – white. This particular oil is steam distilled from fresh leaves and twigs of the paperbark tree. This oil is penetrating, a bit camphorous with a slightly medicinal odor, not unlike and related to other members of the Melaleuca group, such as eucaplytus, clove, niaouli and the familiar tea tree. Valued for its medicinal properties, the leaves of this tree are used by the indigenous population for respiratory and muscular problems. In Europe the oil is used in herbal medicines for its warming properties. This oil is occasionally used as a flavor component in food products and soft drinks. It has also been used as a freshening fragrance in soaps, detergents, cosmetics and some perfumes.

Follow the links provided for the "rest of the story"!

Thanks for listening!


Absorbed into the blood stream?

By Healthy Planet Blog Your Naturally Healthy Skin
on June 22, 2011
2 comments

Sunscreen, mineral oil, parabens - are they absorbed into the blood stream?

 

Interesting post by Dr. Mercola from a study done in 2009. Although we absolutely don't use any mineral oil, no BPA in our containers and if our creams did actually absorb that easily into your "bloodstream" it would be a good thing. However, I'm not so sure our skin allows that - that's why it's called a barrier. I've asked some experts (other than me of course!) and I'll let you know what they say. Essential oils do, in fact, absorb fairly quickly into the blood stream, but again, that can be a very good thing. But Dr. Mercola makes some pretty bold statements about the permeability of the skin. I've highlighted those statements I find particularly questionable - to quote:

Now these are Dr. Mercola's words not mine: "Remember, your skin is your largest organ -- and also the thinnest. Less than 1/10th of an inch separates your body from potential toxins. Worse yet, your skin is highly permeable. Most items you rub on  your skin will end up in your bloodstream, and will be distributed throughout your body. This is why I'm so fond of saying "don't put anything on your body that you wouldn't eat if you had to..." and a petrochemical is certainly not something you would eat!

Putting chemicals on your skin may actually be worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help to break it down and flush it out of your body.

However, when you put these chemicals on your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs. And once these chemicals find their way into your body, they tend to accumulate over time because you typically lack the necessary enzymes to break them down. When you add up daily exposure over the course of a lifetime, it really adds up."  End of quote!

WHY IS THAT NOT A LEGITIMATE DISCUSSION?:

First and foremost, the reason you should choose a nature-based, earth-based product is NOT because of all the scare tactics and the particularly scary discussion about everything being absorbed into the blood stream and then to your organs! Good grief - and this is a Medical Doctor, who, of course, has his own "certified organic" skin care line - just a thought.

The reason we started our business was that we didn't want the mineral oil, the parabens, the sharp harsh fragrances and particularly because of all the products that were accumulating in the bathroom closet not being used because they DID NOT WORK!  I stopped using parabens when I finally found they were the culprit for my breakouts! We discovered the same thing with my daughter. I'm not saying that's true of everyone, but it is a distinct possibility. I didn't even know about the endocrine disruptor thing back in 2002! I just started looking at the ingredients on some of the most expensive products, and looked each of those ingredients up in one of my first books on cosmetic safety and efficacy. The book is written by a cosmetic scientist, Michael Rutledge, "Product of Misinformation - Demystifying Cosmetics and Personal Care Claims, Terms and Ingredients." 

I wrote an article (before Paula Begoun or Skin Deep) on my first website called "Analyze This", where I took each ingredient individually and "analyzed" a 2 oz jar of "Re-Storation by Z. Bigatti", which cost $150.00 in 2002! I looked up what was said about each ingredient and what exactly was that particular ingredient doing, or NOT doing, for your skin. Was it doing anything bad to your body and, regardless, why would you pay that much for a cream that has this junk in it anyway?!  One of the main ingredients of this expensive cream, at that time, was petrolatum and mineral oil - cheap, cheap, cheap. Regardless of the fact they are petroleum products, the molecules are too big to go anywhere to do any good at all. I'll have to find a way to post that original "Analyze This" article even though I was a rank amateur at the time and had not yet learned about the benefits of essential oils or even what Superoxide Dismutase is (thank you Dr. Perricone), it still gives you a clear indication of why you don't need a lot of synthetic ingredients that cost a lot when nature has already provided you with something much better. With one very important exception - at this point in time, "nature" has not provided you with a lot of good choices for preservatives unless you want the cream to smell like the blend of essential oils that are doing the preservation. Believe me - we are all looking for the Holy Grail. Some think they have found it; I don't think so. They (the preservative system) may be approved for organic certification, but they are still processed. Not saying we aren't testing and hoping, because we are.

BACK TO THEN:

At that time, we also had been through an amazing array of totally worthless yet expensive products developed by pharmaceutical companies. My daughter, who has had eczema since birth, and I needed something better. In my research I became acutely aware that it is always a good idea to use products as close to nature as possible. NO - they do not have to have the USDA seal - only very few product lines have that and the majority of those are just a bunch of oils, maybe some butters, melted down and put in a jar - essentially that's a balm! You can easily do this at home people!!  It takes a lot more expense, expertise, extensive research and testing, testing, testing to make a real cream or lotion that actually affects the health of your skin and doesn't rot in less than 2 weeks! Creams and lotions are emulsions - meaning the oil and the water have to figure out how to get mixed together. Think of homemade mayonnaise or vinaigrette's. So - we use "emulsifiers".  In the beginning I used beeswax and borax - it worked but not always and not for long periods of time, besides borax was getting a bad rap at that time. Most of us use what we call Emulsifying wax NF - we use the vegetable based one. Once you've done your testing, testing, testing (did I say testing, testing, testing?) - you can figure out how much emulsifier and preservative you need for the percentage of oils, butters and water in your formula. It is a science, it's interesting and it's fun. By using water in your cream, you can add all sorts of great ingredients that come directly from botanical sources; i.e., blackwillow bark extract, among many others. Many companies are trying to figure out how to make their products meet the organic standards set up by the USDA for AGRICULTURE! So - they're telling us we have to have an organic emulsifier, an organic or approved preservative, etc. What does this mean to you? It means that almost all products that are creams or lotions and have been "certified organic" by the USDA have sacrificed quality for marketing. Look for yourself - what do most of them have at the top of their list of ingredients? Hmmm - organic alcohol! Yep, it may even be organic grape alcohol - it's alcohol nonetheless. They are using that ingredient as their "organic" and "approved" preservative. Do you know that it takes a very large percentage of alcohol to preserve any cream? David Steinberg, the "preservative guru for cosmetic companies" says that alcohol (denatured in the cosmetic world) is "active against everything but dependent on concentration."  Although actually he's not 100% correct on this, because alcohol isn't totally effective against molds - but that's another blog. He tells us that when the "concentration falls below 15% alcohol actually becomes a growth medium." So, that means we need at least 15 to 20%, and probably more than that, depending on how many botanical ingredients are included and what the percentage of water to lipids is - bacteria grows in water, not oils (lipids). Do you also know what alcohol, regardless if it is organic or not, does to your skin? I think you do.

BACK TO DR. MERCOLA:

I'm just not sure I agree with his bold statements about the permeability of the skin. We learned in nursing school that the skin is a barrier, but it only takes a little bit of knowledge and experience to realize that the permeability of most people's skin certainly depends on the health of an individual (diabetics for sure), their age, their ethnicity, and many other variables. Not saying I totally disagree, but there is still much debate out there and to boldly go where no one has is a bit too much marketing prose.

We changed to "as close to nature" as possible just because that's how we live our lives in general. Dr. Mercola has a profit incentive (his own certified organic skin care line), when he says to look for the USDA seal, that is just a bunch of hog wash! A lot of politics in play I'm afraid. Do look at the ingredients - always look at the ingredients. Look for oils and butters that are natural and are at the top of the list. You NEED a preservative!! Unless you want to use your cream in one week or two (probably less in the summertime) - and it certainly couldn't/shouldn't sit on a shelf for very long if at all. That's why most of the USDA certified organic skin care products are made without water! Water causes the bacteria to grow. So do you really want a greasy balm all the time? It's excellent for some applications and we make a great one. But for every day hand and body cream -  give me a thick, rich cream made from certified organic oils and butters - NOT shea extract, but shea butter! You can't make a CREAM without water - that's why it's called an emulsion. These products actually HEAL skin issues, not just cover them up like the dermatology/pharmaceutical products that are thrown at you. Steroids eventually thin the skin and make it less of an effective barrier.

BOTTOM LINE:

If you want healthy, hydrated, regenerated skin tissue, find products that have ingredients that are plant-based oils and butters at the beginning of the ingredient list, not as extracts at the end of the list. Botanical extracts are awesome and they will often come at the end because you don't need a lot and often they are "tinctures", which are alcohol based extracts. Essential oils will also be listed at the end of the list because there are safety limits for the percentage allowed or needed. You really don't want a large percentage of either of those. Ethical cosmetic formulators research and know the percentage of each ingredient that they need to formulate a particular product to allow it to perform the way they want it to - and that should be to be beneficial for your skin and not harmful to your body. My advice? Look for those formulators and companies who are more interested in the health of your skin than they are about how the USDA certified organic seal will affect their bottom line. Oh - and yes, I do have a profit incentive here, but that is not what motivates our company.

Thanks for listening!

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!








Organic, Gluten-Free Granola

By Recipes for a Healthier You Appetite Control Snacks
on May 25, 2011
2 comments

Looking for a healthy breakfast or snack?

 

I am SO not good about eating breakfast! I usually don't want to eat anything until I've been up for about two hours. Now, I know this isn't a good practice because I then get hungry mid morning and it's too close to lunchtime - what to do? I just attended a 4-day class on a healthy eating program especially attuned to heart health. One of the main things they emphasized was a fairly big breakfast without animal protein, but full of protein-laden grains. Hot 7-grain cereal was one of the choices and although Warren loves this, it's just not my thing and especially not in the summertime. I also have gluten intolerance, not yet a full-fledged allergy, but I don't do well with most grains, which is why breakfast is a problem for me. 

Not any more! I came across this recipe from our friends at Organic Soul. They are Facebook Friends and we receive their very informative newsletter. This was their featured recipe today and I can't wait to try it. I may try to make it more "raw" by dehydrating instead of baking the granola, but either way, this looks like a winner to me. 

To quote from their website: "Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and I feel it is the most important meal to get your day started right. It is essential to provide your body with the necessary nutrients to get you energized and motivated for everything that comes your way. Here is a simple and fun, gluten-free organic granola recipe you can enjoy as a breakfast cereal or as a healthy snack during your lunch time break."

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old fashioned, organic, and gluten- free oats (yes, all oats are naturally gluten free, but read here why you need to check)
  • 1 cup of raw, soaked organic almonds, coarsely chopped *Note: Soaking requires 8-12 hours prep!
  • ½ cup of shredded organic coconut
  • 3 tablespoons of packed organic brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of raw organic cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon of ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup raw organic honey
  • 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil
  • 1 cup organic raisins (or dried organic blueberries!) (I'm going to try Trader Joe's dried cherries or their blend of dried fruits!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine oats, almonds, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, raw cocoa, ginger and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Stir together honey and oil in a small pan over low heat until combined. Pour honey and oil mixture into the large bowl with oat mixture and stir well.
  5. Spread granola mixture into an even layer onto lined baking sheet. Bake granola mixture for about 40 minutes. Be sure to check every 10 minutes to stir and rotate pan. When granola turns golden brown, remove from over and let cool.
  6. Pour granola back into large bowl and stir in raisins until combined.
  7. Now your organic gluten-free granola is ready to be eaten as a healthy breakfast or delicious afternoon snack!

This recipe was contributed by Jake Webster, chef and food aficionado.

Thanks to our friends at Organic Soul for allowing me to share this recipe. Check in with them and sign up for their newsletter and "Like"  them on Facebook.

Thanks for listening! Let me know if you try this and how it turns out.

 


Why are nuts a healthy snack?

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutritional Niblits
on May 24, 2011

Looking for a healthy snack?

 

Well, look no more. Following a large study investigating ways to prevent or reduce metabolic syndrome, it was found that adding 30 grams of nuts per day decreased the incidence of this increasingly prevalent syndrome approximately 14% after one year. Whereas adding olive oil and no nuts, the incidence decreased 6.7%. Either way - it's a decrease and the research is showing that the Mediterranean diet is effective for dealing with this problem.

Research now gives us reason to believe that those people with this syndrome characterized by multiple health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol,  high blood sugar, and with the easiest to diagnose - an expanding waistline due to excess belly fat.  I'll talk more about why belly fat is so dangerous in another blog. But it is helpful that this study shows that these symptoms can be reduced just by adding about one ounce of mixed nuts per day. Now don't overdo it, because although the fat in nuts is "good" fat, too much of any fat is just that - too much. I also would add that the nuts should not be the roasted kind that contain large amounts of salt which is obviously counterproductive. I recommend raw nuts only - soaked overnight if possible and then dehydrated at temperatures below 106 degrees. You can season them easily this way according to your own preferences. I realize not everyone has a dehydrator or the time to do it this way, so please at least eat raw nuts easily found in bulk at your local health food store. Researchers believe the fiber, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids in the nuts helped regulate insulin, blood pressure, and inflammation - all of which can result in metabolic syndrome.

Participants in the study ate about five walnuts, five hazelnuts, and five almonds daily. Kathy McManus, RD, director of the department of nutrition at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, recommends eating the same amount (approximately 1 ounce) when you have a snack attack.

The link below provides the results of a large meta study on this subject.

 

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 

Looking for Lip Balm?

By Aromatherapy Recipes Natural Home Aromatherapy
on February 28, 2011

 Looking for lip balm that works?

Me too - in the past that is. 

I've seen, made and used a lot of different brands and recipes for lip balm over the years. We used to sell them and the ones I have left over are still the best I've ever used. The recipe in this article is very close to what we use, it doesn't contain lanolin which eventually just dries out your lips - ever wonder why you have to keep putting it on over and over again? The beeswax is needed to help the lip balm keep its shape, but also it has amazing protective and moisturizing properties. Coconut oil is well known for its ability to heal and lubricate. You can use a blend of essential oils or a single oil such as peppermint (go lightly here - test as you go) to add additional healing properties. This one is easy - I probably should put our lip balm containers for sale on the website - hmmm. The reason we don't sell them anymore is because making 1 or 2 is easy, but making many is time intensive and they are difficult to label and package. So - I think finding some good DIY at home recipes is a good idea. Thanks to Natural Home for sharing this recipe!

 

Please let me know if you try it and how it worked. Let me hear from you if you think we should sell the lip balm containers on the website. We will be carrying certified organic carrier/vegetable oils and shea butter as soon as we can get the product pictures done - so you will have an easy source for the ingredients for this recipe plus many others we will be sending along your way.

Thanks for listening!

Ann


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