Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Beat flu season naturally


by Alicia Potter
From Health magazine

They survive cold season without a sniffle. They fly in germ-packed airplanes unscathed. And they somehow avoid stomach bugs that decimate the office.

Wish you could be one of these people who never get sick? Try one or—even better—all of these secrets, and you too could join the club this flu season.


Get a massage

Most studies show that massage can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate—and lowering these is likely to cause your stress level to drop, one key to building immunity.

Make it work for you: Any type of rubdown is fine, as long as you ask for moderate pressure. The therapist's touch should be vigorous enough to move or indent skin but not so hard that it causes pain.

How often do you need one? There's no science on that, but experts say once a month (or more) is worthwhile. Check with your insurance provider to see if it's covered or check out massage schools with discounted services.


Take a cold shower

Devotees claim cold showers help with low energy, migraines, circulation, and pain reduction. The scientific jury's still out on cold showers, but Mary Ann Bauman, MD, author of Fight Fatigue: Six Simple Steps to Maximize Your Energy, says there's no harm in trying.

Make it work for you: Try small doses. Although a 10-minute cold shower might be tolerable in the summertime, in the winter you may want to opt for a 1-minute blast at the end of a warm shower. Consult your doctor if you have cardiovascular problems, because the sudden chill can cause a spike in blood pressure.


Take ginger

For centuries, ginger has been the go-to root for a wide range of gastrointestinal distresses, including constipation. Researchers believe its compounds stimulate digestive secretions, improve intestinal muscle tone, and help move food through the gastrointestinal tract.

Make it work for you: Fresh ginger—sipped in tea or eaten straight-up—is best, says Sari Greaves, RD, of New York Presbyterian Hospital–Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. But ginger in other forms (dried, powdered, cooked) can be effective too.


Wash your hands

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand-washing is the number-one action you can take to dodge the 1 billion colds Americans come down with annually (not to mention the bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, that cause foodborne illnesses).

Make it work for you: Wash with regular soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice). Vigorously scrub all parts of your hands, not just palms, and check your fingernails for trapped dirt. Dry with paper towels, or designate a cloth hand towel for each member of your household.


Take vitamin C and zinc

Although vitamin C and zinc for cold prevention remain controversial, some studies show that C is helpful —especially for people who are under extreme stress—and that zinc can prevent viruses from multiplying. Experts say there's no harm in trying.

Make it work for you: Neil Schachter, MD, director of respiratory care at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, in New York City, suggests taking a conservative amount of vitamin C (500 milligrams a day) at the first sign of a cold. (The Institute of Medicine advises drawing the line at 2,000 mg daily to avoid gastrointestinal or kidney problems.) As for zinc, Dr. Schachter suggests taking zinc lozenges several times a day when a cold starts.


Eat more garlic

Garlic is rich in antioxidants that boost immunity and fight inflammation, says Carmia Borek, PhD, research professor in the department of public health and family medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. That means the herb, in addition to boosting defenses against everyday illness, probably helps to stave off cancer and boost heart health.

Make garlic work for you: If you're worried about bad breath and yucky burps, you're not alone. Happily, there are options with fewer side effects. Aged-garlic extract is a great odor-free alternative, and it even has a higher concentration of the potent compounds that make garlic a superfood, Borek says.


Stay positive

In one study, participants who had heightened activity in a region of the brain associated with a positive attitude produced greater amounts of flu antibodies. Researchers aren't clear on the connection, but they do know "the brain communicates with the immune system, and vice versa," says Anna L. Marsland, PhD, director of the Behavioral Immunology Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh.

Make it work for you: If you don't always think positively, experts say, you can at least learn to be less negative. Don't dwell on your symptoms when you do get sick, and try not to assume the worst (like telling yourself, "I always get sick this time of year" or "This cold blows the whole week"). "You probably can't change your personality," Marsland says, "but you can change your behavior."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Garden Update & Harvest 9/28/14

 9/28/14 - Today's harvest - Collard Greens, Red Russian kale, Swiss Chard, Dino kale, Curled Scotch kale, Sweet peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes and raspberries
 9/28/14 - Today's Harvest - chocolate harbanero, white habanero, Chinese 5 color hot pepper, mini bell pepper, chocolate cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, Giant Szegedi sweet peppers, raspberries, Sweet pepper and Cossack Pineapple ground cherry tomatoes

 9/28/14 - Raspberries ripe for the pickin'
 9/28/14 - Raspberries
 9/28/14 - Pepers dwindling down
 9/28/14 - mini bell peppers
 9/28/14 - Giant Szegedi sweet peppers
 9/28/14 - Curled Scotch kale
 9/28/14 - Collard Greens
 9/28/14 - Swiss Chard
 9/28/14 - Red Russian kale and Raspberry bush
 9/28/14 - spiderweb
 9/28/14 - mushroom
9/28/14 - Today's harvest - Collard Greens, Red Russian kale, Swiss Chard, Dino kale, Curled Scotch kale

Sunday, September 28, 2014


17 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Kale
By Dr. Drew Ramsey 
This time of year, as the temperature cools, a molecular miracle is happening on farms everywhere: the kale is getting even better. Touched by the chill, kale gets sweeter, as the sugars start to concentrate. And as the rest of the garden succumbs to the winter, kale stands strong.

Maybe kale is new to you, probably not. With so much buzz, there have been some nasty rumors. Kale is a frequent topic of conversation in my life, especially as we ramp up to National Kale Day on October 1. 

As kale as gained popularity, i've heard some scary comments from people who just don't know better. Like the woman who recently told me, with a knowing smile, that we "don’t absorb any nutrients from kale.” From worries that kale is harmful to human health to the misperception that it's a new food, I thought it was time to set the record straight. 

Here are 17 things I wish everyone knew about kale:
1. A serving of kale has more absorbable calcium that a small carton of milk.

2. Kale is medicine.
Modern health depends on eating more whole foods and plants, like kale. The mission of National Kale Day October 1, which I cofounded, is to help change how we eat for the better by learning the fundamental lessons kale teaches us. With your food choices impacting everything from your personal to environmental health, it's arguable that the fate of the planet depends on eating more kale. 

3. Kale tops the scale of nutrient density.
More bang for your buck. Example? 1 cup of raw kale has just 33 calories yet contains 684% of vitamin K, 134% of vitamin C, 206% of Vitamin A plus iron, folate, omega-3s, magnesium, calcium, iron, fiber, and 2 grams of protein. BAM! That’s nutrient density. 

4. But kale's secret power is its phytonutrients, those miraculous molecules in plants that are often called “antioxidants.”
Kale possesses phytonutrients that quell inflammation, improve the liver’s detox ability, and can even protect brain cells from stress. Kale talks to your DNA and tells it to sing the sweet, slow song of health and happiness. 

5. But, you say, you are a kale zero?
Learn to be a kale hero! A Kale Hero Toolkit with a kale prescription, kale experiments, recipes, and signs is free and available for download on NationalKaleDay.org 

6. Kale is not for everyone.
There are three groups of people who should avoid kale: (1) People taking blood thinners like Coumadin (warfarin) should consult with their physician prior to changing their kale consumption, as all the vitamin K in kale can interfere with that medicine. (2) People who find kale very bitter are often “super tasters” and sometimes cooking kale makes it tolerable, sometimes not. (3) Those who have a cruciferous vegetable allergy. It's very rare, but some people are allergic to kale and other crucifers like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. 

7. Being a kale fan doesn’t mean you have to eat a giant trough of kale salad at every meal or juice a bushel and swig it down with a smile.
Being a fan means appreciating the lessons and great benefits of kale and the many other healthy, whole foods that sustain us. The average American eats 2 to 3 cups of kale every year — one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It is any wonder our collective health is a mess? 

8. Go slow kale newbie. Start with kale chips, not a giant kale salad.
Be mindful as you introduce more roughage into your diet. I regularly give kale consultations and a typical complaint is something like, “OMG, I tried kale once (gas pain face). I ate a giant salad and then was sooooo bloated.” If kale isn’t a part of your diet, give your body time to adjust. 

9. Kale is a team player.
There’s been a sort of nutrient smackdown of late — kale vs. collards, kale vs. broccoli, etc. Firstly, kale is tired of people trying to turn cruciferous cousins against each other. Secondly, kale beats most greens like spinach head to head in terms of nutrients. One reason is that kale is very low in oxalates, which means that more minerals like calcium are absorbed. How about if we all just focused on helping people to eat more plants? ‘Nough said. 

10. Kale is not a fad.
With kale salad fatigue, some foodies are whispering that kale is a fad. It's true: kale is having a spectacular, even unprecedented run of vegetable popularity. That said, kale is an old world food and eaten around the world, a staple in Scotland, Kenya, Denmark, Portugal, Italy and many others. As we all get more focused about eating for health, kale will continue to be a staple for those in the know. 

11. Kale does not cause hypothyroidism.
I’ve read many reports of people with hypothyroidism attributing their illness to kale. But scientific literature does not support the claim that eating kale can lead to thyroid problems. 

There are molecules in kale called “goitergens” that can compete with iodine for uptake into the thyroid. Theoretically, a diet very low in iodine (seafood, seaweeds, iodized salt) and very high in kale (say, juicing a bushel of kale every day), could cause problems. 

Based on the current science, a more appropriate worry would be eating excess iodine in seaweed and kelp and environmental toxins like brominated flame retardants. 

12. Organic matters but so does eating more plants.
Kale is on the list of the Environmental Working Group's “Dirty Dozen," a list of foods that you should try to buy organic because they can have more pesticides. You might not the option to buy organic kale, and that's OK. I’d vote that the health benefits of eating kale are much better than no kale. 

13. The world of kale is vast and varied – keep exploring!
I’ve been inspired by the many tastes and colors of the dozens of varieties of kale: lacinato, redbor, Gulag Stars, True Siberian, Red Russian, White Russian, Dwarf Blue Vates, Red Nagoya, Chinese Kale, Sea Kale and the six-foot tall Walking Stick Kale. I hope you’ll explore whether that means planting a small kale patch of interesting varietals or seeking out a kale you have not yet tried. 

14. Kale offer unmatched culinary versatility.
Name another green that you can make a smoothie or a salad, amp up your juice or sauté as a side, bake as a chip or mix in a cocktail. #kalejito 

15. Kale is an awesome deal.
A nice bunch of 10 to 20 organic leaves is two or three bucks. It's one of the few super foods that's accessible to everyone, everywhere. 

16. Kale is really easy to grow.
A group of students at the Indiana Academy of Science, Mathematics, and Humanities decided to grow kale for National Kale Day October 1 and planted to some seeds. Now they have a kale patch in their courtyard. 

17. You can absorb the nutrients in raw kale.
Cooking kale frees some nutrients like magnesium and decreases others, like heat-sensitive folate. But consuming kale in any form delivers fiber, protein, omega-3s, and a bevy of vitamins and minerals. I suggest mixing it up and have myself on a steady rotation of sautéed kale, kale salads, kale chips, and kale smoothies.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


5 Things Everyone Should Know About Acceptance
The first time someone posed the idea of "acceptance" to me, I was chatting with my first therapist. We were discussing my relationship with my dad (cliche, I know), and she suggested I "accept" that I might never have with him the relationship I desired. I was appalled. 

Excuse me? You're my therapist. Aren't you supposed to have the answers to how I can fix this? What a bogus profession. Therapy sucks.
As I got older, I began to understand why desiring something else — something that was, for the most part, out of my control — was causing me more pain than accepting that, at least for now, this was the way it was going to be. Consider a common saying in Buddhist philosophy: Suffering = pain x resistance. Essentially, accepting the "pain" (or reality, or experience, or relationship) causes less suffering than struggling vainly against it. 

Here's the thing about acceptance. In many cases, we have a choice. We can either accept or reject, and much of the time rejecting doesn't change our reality, it just causes pain. 

We talk a lot about acceptance in therapy, but we don't always unpack the word. Here are five things to know about acceptance that you might not have considered: 

1. Acceptance does not mean liking, wanting, choosing, or supporting.
No one is suggesting you like, want, or support whatever it is that you're accepting (in the case of the formula, the "pain"). But, by struggling against the pain — by resisting and rejecting it — we create undue suffering. It doesn't mean that you've chosen or endorse what you're accepting. It doesn't mean you like your anxiety, want your chronic pain, would choose your body, or support an injustice that's happened to you or someone else. 

Rather, you're choosing to allow it to be there when you can't change it in that moment. To make space for it. To give yourself permission to be as you are, feel what you feel, or have experienced what you've experienced without creating unproductive shame or anxiety. The pain might still be there, but some of the suffering will be alleviated.

2. Acceptance is an active process. It must be practiced.
Remember that "accept" is a verb. It's an active process, one that must be practiced consciously. It's rare that we one day choose to accept our emotional or physical pain, our bodies, our difficult relationships, or our pasts, and never think about it again. 

It can require effort at times (or most of the time, at least initially). It can be frustrating at times. But, like creating a clearing in a grass field by walking the same path many times, every time you practice acceptance toward something, you create and strengthen neural pathways in your brain, facilitating ease in the future. 

Practice compassion to yourself alongside acceptance. Practice acceptance of the challenges you're having practicing acceptance! It's natural to vacillate back and forth between feelings of acceptance and feelings of resistance. Make space for the spectrum of experience, and notice your internal critic quieten. 

3. Acceptance doesn't mean that you can't work on changing things.
Many people believe that acceptance is a sign of apathy. Passivity. Giving up. Relinquishing agency. However, this doesn't have to be the case. Acceptance can be practiced alongside action, as is the basis of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). 

Practicing acceptance does not necessarily mean you won't be able to make a change. You can accept your body and still change it, accept your emotions and acknowledge their impermanence, and accept your behavior one day when you might change it tomorrow ... which brings me to my next point: 

4. Acceptance doesn't mean you're accepting is going to be that way forever.
A decade later, the relationship I now have with my dad is galaxies different from what it used to be. I wouldn't say that's due entirely to acceptance, but it does show that acceptance doesn't always mean whatever you're accepting will be that way forever. 

Try to focus your acceptance on the present, alongside an open and realistic gaze at the future. Focusing too much on the present can be counterproductive, as a large part of acceptance involves letting go of the desire that things will change — detaching from hope that, in some cases, creates suffering. 

But sometimes imagining practicing acceptance forever can seem daunting, overwhelming, or impossible, so try to find that sweet spot where you're accepting the current moment, but not under the pretense that things will change in the future. 

5. We can practice acceptance toward our experience, people, appearance, emotions, ideas, and more.
Acceptance can be practiced in all areas of your life: You can exercise it toward your current experience or reality, others' beliefs or ideas, your appearance, your emotions, your health, your past, your thoughts, or other individuals — to name a few examples. 

Again, this doesn't mean you necessarily endorse whatever it is that you're accepting in these realms; rather, you recognize that you can't change the current nature of this exact moment, and accepting manages anxiety and helps calm. 

I encourage you to share how acceptance has benefited your life in the past, areas it can be practiced that we don't always think of, and strategies you find helpful for practicing it. Carl Jung said "What [we] resist, persists." So, if the alternative to accepting is resisting, thereby potentially prolonging our pain and creating suffering. What do you choose?

Friday, September 26, 2014

September 2014 Conscious Box - Gluten-Free

September 2014 Conscious Box- Gluten-Free

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Hero Nutritionals Kids Multivitamins
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Foods to Boost your metabolism

From Health magazine
It’s true: Certain foods have a very high thermogenic effect, so you literally scorch calories as you chew. Other eats contain nutrients and compounds that stoke your metabolic fire. Feed your metabolism with these.

 Whole grains 8047

Whole grains

Your body burns twice as many calories breaking down whole foods (especially those rich in fiber such as oatmeal and brown rice) than processed foods.


Green tea

Drinking four cups of green tea a day helped people shed more than six pounds in eight weeks, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports. Credit EGCG, a compound in the brew that temporarily speeds metabolism after sipping it. To up your intake, keep a jug of iced tea in the fridge.



One cup packs 35% of your daily iron needs—good news, since up to 20% of us are iron- deficient. When you lack a nutrient, your metab slows because the body’s not getting what it needs to work efficiently, says Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, co-author of The Secret to Skinny.


Hot peppers

Capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their kick, heats up your body, which makes you melt additional calories. You can get it by eating raw, cooked, dried, or powdered peppers, says Lakatos Shames. “Add as much cayenne or hot sauce as possible to soups, eggs, and meats.”

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Garden harvest 9/22/14

 9/22/14 - Today's harvest - Collard Greens, Swiss Chard, Curled Scotch kale, Dino kale, Giant Szegedi sweet pepper, Chinese 5 color hot peppers, mini sweet pepper, Chocolate and White habanero pepper, yellow pear tomatoes and chocolate cherry tomatoes
  9/22/14 - Collard Greens
  9/22/14 - Curled Scotch kale
 9/22/14 - Giant Szegedi sweet pepper

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Collard Greens & Swiss Chard

Collard Greens (stems and leaves separated...from my garden)
Swiss Chard (stems and leaves separated...from my garden)
2 red onions
Red cherry, Yellow pear & chocolate cherry tomatoes (from my garden)
2 Chinese 5 colored hot peppers (from my garden)
1 tsp Jeera seeds
1 tsp black mustard seed
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp of Ghee 
garlic paste
ginger paste
Vegetable stock
sprinkle of Himalayan salt to taste
sprinkle of pepper to taste
small handful of pecans 

Chop Collard Greens and Swiss Chard leaves into bite size pieces, separated from the stems, as they need different cooking times, and keep both leaves separate too.  Freshly grind the jeera and black mustard seeds.  Chop tomatoes in half or quarters, and dice onion. I cut one onion in strips and the other diced for variety. Chop the stems into small pieces. Cut the chili pepper as finely as possible.
Heat up the Ghee. When hot add the ground spices, garlic, ginger, hot peppers and onion. Saute for a couple minutes until the onion softens.  Add the tomatoes and stir, cook until soften.  Add one teaspoon of cumin powder and mix in. 
In another pan I heated up a little olive oil and garlic past to cook the stems. I used two pans due to the volume of the greens in the raw.  Add a little vegetable stock and let tenderize for a few minutes. Add Collard Greens and cover to steam. Do not over cook. 
Add the Swiss Chard leaves to the onions and tomatoes. Add a little bit of vegetable stock and stir in, cover to let steam and cook.  Keep checking and stir, to not over cook.  Keep at medium heat. 
When both pans of greens reduce, combine into one pan.  Sprinkle a little bit of salt and pepper to tase. Keep checking on greens until it is at a desired consistency.  Turn off heat and sprinkle on chopped pecans. 
Combine cooked quinoa and Collards and Swiss Chard. Mix together and enjoy hot!  To add a little bit of a creamy kick I added a spicy peanut butter mix from my local co-op.