Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving snow, blood pressure helpers, this and that

  Two days before Thanksgiving it was dark, low hanging clouds that engulfed us in a fog, and pouring rain. Good amount, over an inch. But then the temperature started dropping and by   the day before Thanksgiving morning, we woke up to a good covering of snow.  Now wait, snow in Tennessee in  November? Just not right. Kind of pretty but really cold temps, down
 in the lower 20's.  Thanksgiving day started out cold, but the sun came up and we got into the 40's. So a little of the white stuff melted. The areas like my back porch (on the north) are still ice covered, we are warming up now as we go through the next week, into the 50's again which sounds wonderful. Hope yesterday found you enjoying visits with family and friends. We all have a lot to be thankful for, sometimes we forget the good things and just focus on the troubles we find in life, but we should all remember where our blessings come from.
  Is your blood pressure a little high? Got cholesterol issues? Some simple help is at hand, 2 kiwis a day for a few weeks will bring both down. And there is a dark grape juice sold in most stores now, in a bottle that looks like a wine bottle but is just juice, that is very high in anti oxidants and does the same thing for you. I like my kiwis in smoothies or just stirred into plain Greek yogurt. Avoid the flavored yogurt, high in sugar and colored with bug parts.
  By now I hope a lot of you have realized that the way we eat, and live has everything to do with your health. From allergies to aches and pains, all those processed foods grown with GMOs are hurting you.  If you have thought you are gluten intolerant, think again. All the countries that have banned GMOs have no such ailment, its not the grain but the poison added to the seeds that causes most of the reactions. Same with your household cleaners, go for soda and vinegar, salt, peroxide and essential oils, effective and safe. In case you are reading labels, here are some ingredients to totally avoid. They cause neurological problems, and are toxic to your system. They also mess up your hormones, so here we go: BPA, bispherol A is in the white can linings, paper products, even the receipts from the cash register, Dioxin, a byproduct of manufacturing, largely in animal products so limit use of animal products, harms your liver and kidneys. Arsenic, found in water and milk. Filter your water. Atrazine, also in water, its a pesticide used to grow grains and veggies so look for non GMO produce.  Fire Retardants, called PBDE also come from the ground, also caused by chemical growing . Lead, well you all know about that, it used to be in paint, and water. Less now  but watch for it.  Mercury, very damaging to your health, found in large fish like tuna and swordfish.  PFC's, the stuff used to coat your non stick skillet, comes off in your food.  I am using a green skillet I love, they work so well. And of course, pesticides, which are neurotoxins, really hard on kids so avoid eating any foods sprayed with them. Glycol ethers, used in household cleaners and paint. And Perchlorate, used in fertilizers for your yard. This stuff contaminates ground water and wrecks your thyroid function, which messes up your metabolism.  So again, its up to you, read labels, go green, help yourself and your earth.
  With Thanksgiving past, there are only 4 weeks until Christmas. Then a new year, this one really flew by.  It has not officially been winter yet, but this last week has me ready for spring.  Stay warm, and well, take care and be safe.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Being Thankful

  In a week, Thanksgiving Day will have passed, and most will be stuffed with turkey and the trimmings. How far away we are from the reason for the holiday. As we are with most holidays now.  We came here to find religious freedom and better tax programs. Do we have either? To some extent, but it does seem we are loosing sight of  our values.   I am thankful for so much,  my blessings never cease to amaze me, and I know where they came from. I have 4 wonderful children, and a little angel who is no longer with me, plus six wonderful grand kids and two great grand kids. Looking forward to seeing them all over the holidays, maybe not the one going to grad school in MD, but the rest I am hopeful. 
  As I have traveled the path of life, it has had rocky places, sad things, and happy days. The happy far outweigh the sad.  I was fortunate to start out life living with my folks and grandma and my aunt, uncle and cousin in my grandmas house.  Lots of people to read to me, teach me life lessons  and firm religious values.  I miss all those wonderful ancestors now, they have been gone a long time. Not in my memories, think of them every day in gratitude. I also have been able to travel a lot and see a good share of this country and parts of other countries.  That alone makes me glad that I am an American. Living abroad really gives one a sense of what we take for granted so often.  Sure, there is beauty where ever you are, but also you do get to see the "under" side of their lives, and you are so glad to be where you are.
  I am always watching as I drive to town, the mountains around me, ever changing, majestic, strong. They feel like the hymn, A mighty Fortress.  , rising up to stop the worst winds and weather from attacking our area.  W have spectacular sunsets, and sometimes sunrises, although the sun has to climb up behind Big Piney behind me before it peers over the top of the mountain. This is a beautiful area, but so are many other parts of our great land.  I am grateful for being able to see parts of so many states in my life. Some I liked, others not so much.
  One of my Sunday school class mates is in her final days of life, her family is facing a tough few days.  She has faced several health problems the last few years,  but loosing a loved one close to a holiday always seems worse, makes that day sad forever after. My thoughts are with her family at this time.
  Onward. Do you have a coffee press?  I do not but ran across an interesting way to make a healthier version of a latte.  Get a canning jar, put a strainer over the top. First put a teaspoon of honey in a cup then grind 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of coffee beans and put in the strainer. Heat 1/2 cup of water to boiling, let cool a bit so it's not boiling and then pour over the coffee beans.  Remove the strainer, add this to your cup with honey, and add 1 and 1/4 cups of heated milk, your choice, mine would be soy, rice or almond, and add this to your cup. Last, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon powder over the top. Sounds great to me. Of course if you have  a coffee press, you can use that.
  Is your medicine chest ready for winter? Not the standard drugs, but herbs and healthy alternatives. Be sure your kitchen is stoc ked with fresh onions and garlic, cook them into everything you can,  they are great for maintaining good health.  If you or a friend have MRSA,  Artemisia flowers can be used to boot that, brew into a tea. and drink.  Juniper berries are great for external  infections, I make a salve with pine needles, juniper berries and orange peel. My sis has been using it on a case of the shingles. Ginger of course is a wonder, synergistic, make tea from a bit of the root, and add a little honey to soothe colds and flu.
  I hope you are looking forward to Thanksgiving with family and friends, have a blessed holiday and take time to give thanks for the blessings your life has. There are days those blessings are hard to see, but they are there. Take care, see you soon.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Are you a toxic kisser? Allergy helps, and great snacks

    I have been searching  for safe lipstick this week, need some new but have been warned that most of the ones out there are loaded with lead, enough to cause you problems and to be passed on to who ever you kiss while wearing it. There are very few safe ones, and the strange thing is, they are brands that just have one color that is safe, the rest of their line is lead loaded.  Here is what I learned, Avon makes some safe ones, you have to check for ingredients,  Body Shop ones are ok, Estee Lauder makes one, Maraschino, Dior has a replenishing version, Revlon has several colors,  Love that Red, Bed of Roses, and Red Velvet. The rest are not considered safe, with the worst offenders being L'Oreal, Cover Girl and Dior. Funny, lead is not allowed in paint now or in other areas of our lives, but it's still used in our cosmetics.
  Yep, been watching my favorite Guru again, this week was a section on Allergies.  Your body has three Doshas,  Kapfa, Pitta and Vata. Seems usually the Kapha is the one out of line that causes problems. And again, your lifestyle and exercise habits have a large bearing.. Yogi started out using some very potent nose drops that cleared out the sinus cavities, kind of nasty to go through but breathing is eased at once.  He then made nose clearer of mustard oil, 5 drops, to 1 drop of eucalyptus oil, rub into opening of nostrils to improve breathing. Head stands are great to clear the head.  Try putting a little warm water in your palm, mixing in a good pinch of salt, close one nostril and inhale through the other, let it run back out and repeat other side. This helps instantly.  The one big caution is that if you have allergies, you need to avoid alcohol, that just really messes up the sinus problems.
And of course, back to the diet, avoid processed foods,  they are so hard on your body. Here is a recipe to help the allergy prone.  In a skillet, put a teaspoon of ghee, melt it, then add basmati or brown rice and water enough for 2 or 3 servings. Add a good spoonful of turmeric, curry, cumin and black pepper, all powerful un-blockers.  And a pinch of salt. Cook until rice is done, stir in some peas, frozen or fresh.  If fresh, add at the beginning of cooking. Eat a bowl of this for your meal. I am cooking up a batch right now, smells great. 
  I have a recipe for those munchie attacks, healthy of course. In your food processor, put 1 cup each of cashews and almonds, raw.  And 2 teaspoons of chia seeds and hemp seeds. I substituted sesame seeds here as I keep them on hand. Process, til  well ground, add 3 tablespoons of raw honey, 3 tablespoons coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of palm sugar or organic turbinado, 1 tablespoon of xylitol( I would use stevia) and 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint oil. Roll into 18 balls, and keep in refrigerator.
  We had a fire on Stone Mountain near us this last week. The smoke was heavy at times, we could see and smell it. Took a lot of work to put it out but finally it is done, some stumps are still smoldering so a little smoke is still hanging around.  And cold, boy did it get cold, garden is done, everything froze, no more squash this year.  But now we are heading back up into the 70's again. Crazy how it changes so fast. Good thing cold weather does not cause one to catch colds, that is done by germs alone, someone does not wash their hands etc and leaves their  germy virus to pass on to you.  My sis recently got a shingles shot and now is suffering with a case of shingles, that makes a lot of sense, hmm. Kind of like me and flu shots, have quit getting them as I always had the flu every year I got them. Just eating right, keeping the exercising going and getting enough rest is the best way of staying well. My diet is heavy on anti oxidants, and I am picky about eating GMO free and organic foods for the most part. You are what you eat.
 Not long now until Thanksgiving. Are you planning ahead? Don't think I will be doing anything, usually the kids that live here are helping with meals on wheels that day, I did for a while too but was not asked this year.
 Take care, eat healthy and stay well.

Friday, November 8, 2013

FDA is on the job! Recalls recalls recalls. Yogurt cinnamon bread

  If you don't live in a cave, you must have seen the last few days that the FDA is mandating removal of trans-fats from all products by late 2014.  Should save over 20,000 heart attacks a year.   Funny that we are not wise enough to do it on our own, just reading labels would solve the problem but there are still those who will eat what they will. At a price to themselves.  Anyway, kudos to the FDA for deciding to make the change. If you go to  You will get more information.
  I pulled up Food recalls this week, oh my, the list is endless.  To start with, the biggest food chain  in the world, not named,  had a recall but only 50% of its outlets got the recalled stuff off the menu, it took  more time to get to 94% of the bad stuff pulled.  Guess if you eat fast food, you are at their mercy. 
  Some of the recalls this week are on cat food, Innova, EVO, California Naturals and Healthwise among them.
  Walmart on it's own has pages of recalls, not just foods, but here are a few for this last week, of course Reser's salads have been on the news, but also Kraft string cheese, Foster's chicken, Turkey Hill ice cream, Pillsbury's cinnamon rolls, Chaboni Greek yogurt, Nestle Purina dog food, Orville Redenbachers Classic Kettle corn and the list goes on for ever.  Most of these are processed foods, again , go for organic. The one that concerns me is the chicken as that should be a safe brand.
  Buy all my vitamins and a good share of my organic cooking items from Swanson Vitamins, and this week they have a recipe for  Cinna Sweet Yogurt Bread.  Here goes: In a bowl mix 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 large egg, 3/4 cup organic almond milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  In a separate bowl mix 3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic whole wheat flour( other brands are available in stores), 1 teaspoon baking powder, (non aluminum) 1/4 cup turbinado sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, pinch of Himalayan pink salt.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray an 8 by 8 baking pan, or oil it, mix dry ingredients into wet, whisk well, pour into pan and bake for 45 minutes, test with toothpick. Let cool 15 minutes before cutting. 97 calories, no transfat, 3 grams protein.
  There is a fire burning on Stone mountain, two mountains over from us. The smoke has been horrific the last few days, had a little rain but not enough to douse the fire. Last I heard, a group called Smoke Eaters are on the way from Texas to help out.  This is on a mountain, no way to get equipment there, steep, no roads etc. Makes it difficult to control. We have had a fire near us every year the last few years.
  When the kids were young, we spent time in the Philippine Islands. They are having the worst recorded storm ever, 235 mph winds, damage extreme. glad we were not there now. Storm is heading on, many in it's path.
  Getting a touch of cold weather, snow in the forecast for next week, but that may change before we get there, I am hoping it will. 
  Have finished my Christmas shopping, have everything wrapped and ready, working on cards. Feels good to be ahead of the curve. Enjoying the Christmas music our tv station is already providing, no talk, commercials etc, just music. My favorite part of the holiday. Hope you are warm and cozy, take care, read those labels, be pro active.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Scary Spices and more on processed foods

   My morning news on ABC talked about spices this week. 90% of all the spices in our stores are imported. 10% are contaminated with salmonella and bug parts.  The only thing you can do to protect yourself against them is to add them early in the cooking process and cook well enough to kill any thing lurking in them.   I grow most of my own herbs, but spices are not something that will grow in our climates most of the time.

   Also this week on CNN and ABC we got some run downs on the hazards of processed foods.  These foods are so rampant in our society. But all boxed and premade foods are frightening if you know what they will do to you. They are processed with phosphates which destroy our brains and organs. They are full of preservatives to make them last forever and these cause kidney failure, rapid aging and weak bones.  They are also very addictive(on purpose) so you will be drawn to keep buying them, they add extra sugar and salt to make them tasty. And most are GMO tainted. This is truly scary as we are ingesting bug and weed killers in large amounts. GMO's eat up your brain and cause dementia, heart attacks, cancer, you name it. These products disrupt your healthy bacteria and mess up your intestines. There are 70 different kinds of pesticides alone grown into these food items.  Most folk think healthy foods are more expensive and take longer to prepare, but that's not true. Buying organic produce and cooking it yourself takes very little time. Instead of opening a can of soup, buy carrots, celery, onions and garlic and whatever other veggies you like and toss them all in your crockpot overnight. I am right now cooking beans(dried) to add for protein to a pot I have brewing. Once you have made your own, you taste the difference, there is a tinny taste to canned soups.  If you are adamant about having cereal, look for Kashi, Cascadian Farms etc, and on the box you will see GMO free and organic.   I like scrambled eggs with chard or kale from my garden. When you think of a meal, bet you see meat, potatoes and small amounts of vegetables on your plate. Well, meat can be abandoned, you don't need it for protein.  And starchy vegetables add to weight gain and allergies.   If you pick a veggie, say carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini etc, chop into small pieces and sauté in a skillet with ghee and water, you have a tasty meal. Adding ginger, coriander or cumin adds to the taste and the goodness for your body.
  I have been trying to come up with a tooth paste that is not OTC, as I am trying to be natural. SO far, no luck. Baking soda, peroxide and clove or cinnamon oil is ok, but I have sensitive teeth and need toothpaste to stop pain. If any of you know a recipe, please share with me.  Yogi Cameron uses sesame oil with a few drops of licorice extract, have not tried it but will. If you have not thought about it, remember to brush your tongue, that's your receptor for taste and needs to be clean.
  My sis is fighting joint pain, and arthritis. I started young to prevent the problem so I am not sure if trying to get better after you have it is possible.  The ginger, turmeric and MSM I have taken since I was in my early 20s has worked well, they are all anti-inflamatory which prevent a lot of ills. There are other ways of adding ginger and turmeric to you diet, ginger tea is wonderful, either organic bags or buy some root in the grocery store and chop it up and brew.  Turmeric can be added to whatever you are cooking, and is great for pain. And here is a recipe to try, a ginger syrup to use for colds, upset tummy, overeating or just a sweet treat.  Just take one large piece of fresh ginger, peel and chop into a pan. Cover just barely with honey,  simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. If you chop the ginger finely, you can just eat it and it tastes good, Straining it out is difficult.
   I wonder sometimes when people cling to their soda pop, potato chips etc if they really know what they are thinking about. Maybe a treat now and then is not too damaging, but think about down the line, do you really want to need someone to feed, clothe, bathe and change your diapers?  I pray that when my time comes its fast, no lingering illness to make care needed. Look around at all the folk who are already in that place, why would you want to go there? Living a healthy natural life just takes some changes, small at first as you get used to it. I am already making my own face creams, medicines and tonics, and cleansers for my home. They are pleasant, no fumes or chemicals and I am happy with them.  And they are cheaper, baking soda and vinegar will clean and disinfect most anything, even takes mold off the north side of your house.
  Try living healthier, hope you feel better. Til next time, take care.