Friday, January 31, 2014

Have an Eco Green Super Bowl 2014 Party

Planning your Super Bowl 2014 party does not mean you need to give up on your organic lifestyle. Here are some easy ways to plan your party and make it enjoyable for both you and your guests.

Keep food choices local to cut down on packaging and transportation emissions from shipping long distances. Check out local farmers markets for great tasting, fresh seasonal fruits and veggies that you can turn into appetizers, soups and more. This helps support the local farming community and local economy as well.

Keep it waste free by using reusable plates, napkins, silverware and cups. Stay away from the idea that everything including paper goods need to be football themed to make it a great party. This will help keep disposables ending up in the landfill.

Encourage guests to bring reusable food containers so they can bring home leftovers, or lend them some of your containers.

Try to avoid serving beverages that come in cans. If you do serve beverages in cans, clearly mark an area that guests can put their empties for recycling. Look for nearby breweries and wineries to keep it local and consider making a pitcher or two of sangria.

When you head out shopping for your party, remember your reusable shopping bags and plan your trips to avoid wasting gas.

Serving locally brewed beer is a tasty option for your Super Bowl 2014 party!

Seasonal fruits and veggies can be found at your local farmers markets.

Don't waste food, send extras home with guests. Better yet, tell each guest to bring their own to-go containers for leftovers.

Nix the idea that you need to have matching football themed disposable paper goods. Have friends bring their own dish, mix-and-match what you already have.

Homemade pizza is sure to be a hit with your guests and it's a great way to use up remaining veggies in your fridge.
[via Examiner]

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Health Benefits of Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is one of the most popular essential oils for its wide array of health benefits. It has become increasingly important and popular over the years as more of its various health benefits have become understood, including its ability to stimulate hair growth, boost mental activity, relieve respiratory problems and reduce pain.

Rosemary, also known as Rosmarinus Officinalis, is very popular in the Mediterranean region as a culinary herb. Many dishes are cooked with rosemary oil and freshly plucked rosemary leaves. Rosemary essential oil is mostly extracted from the leaves. The rosemary bush belongs to the mint family which includes basil, lavender, myrtle, and sage.

Rosemary has been extensively used since ancient times for a variety of purposes. The Romans gave special importance to the rosemary plant and used it frequently in religious ceremonies. It was also used during wedding ceremonies, food preparation, cosmetic care, and medicinal herbal care. Rosemary plant and its extract were also used by the ancient, Egyptian civilization as incense.

The health benefits of rosemary essential oil made it a favorite of Paracelsus, a renowned German-Swiss physician and botanist, who made significant contributions to the understanding of herbal medicine during the 16th century. Paracelsus valued rosemary oil due because of its ability to strengthen the entire body. He correctly believed that rosemary oil had the ability to heal delicate organs such as the liver, brain, and heart.

Health Benefits of Rosemary Oil

Today, many medicinal preparations contain rosemary oil. The various, well-researched health benefits of rosemary oil are listed below:

Indigestion: Rosemary oil is often used for indigestion, relieving flatulence, stomach cramps, constipation, and bloating. Rosemary essential oil is also thought to relieve symptoms of dyspepsia and it is an appetite stimulant. Furthermore, research has shown the essential oil to be detoxifying for the liver, and it also helps to regulate the creation and release of bile, which is a key part of the digestive process. It also stimulates blood flow and improves circulation, which can benefit the absorption of nutrients from food. Rosemary leaves are often added to meat dishes because it is particularly helpful in digesting meat, particularly lamb, beef and pork.

Hair care: Rosemary oil and rosemary teas are widely used for hair care in shampoos and lotions. Regular use of rosemary oil helps to stimulate follicles, making hair grow longer and stronger. It is also believed that rosemary oil slows down premature hair loss and graying of the hair. Therefore, it is an excellent tonic for bald people or those who are beginning to show signs on male pattern baldness.

Rosemary essential oil is also beneficial for dry and flaky scalps. Regular massaging of the scalp with rosemary oil nourishes the scalp and removes dandruff. Furthermore, it is often mixed with tea tree oil and basil oil to alternately treat scalp problems. For many years, rosemary has been combined with olive oil as a way to darken and strengthen hair by using hot oil treatments.

Mouth care: Rosemary essential oil is a disinfectant and is often used as a mouth wash. It also helps in removing bad breath. By removing oral bacteria, rosemary essential oil can prevent gingivitis, cavities, plaque build up, and other damaging dental conditions.

Skin care: Rosemary essential oil is not used in skin care as extensively as it is used in hair care, but it does have antimicrobial and antiseptic qualities that make it beneficial in efforts to eliminate eczema, dermatitis, oily skin, and acne. Topical application of the essential oil, or regular massage with the oil helps in toning your skin and removing dryness. It can also give your skin a healthy, even glow when regularly applied, or when it is a main component of your moisturizers and other creams.

Boosting mental activity: Rosemary essential oil is an excellent brain and nerve tonic. It is often used by students during exam times because it increases concentration and helps in studying efficiently. It stimulates mental activity and is a good remedy for depression, mental fatigue and forgetfulness. Inhaling rosemary oil seems lift your spirits immediately. Whenever your brain is tired, try inhaling a little rosemary oil to remove boredom and renew your mental energy.

In a study, researchers found that of 144 test participants who inhaled rosemary oil during an exam displayed significantly higher cognitive function. This is why some researchers are beginning to explore the options for using rosemary oil as an alternative treatment for slowing down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in certain patients because of this apparent connection between boosted neural activity and the essential oil.

Stress Relief: Aside from the relaxing nature of aromatherapy and general inhalation of rosemary essential oil, it has been proven to actually decrease the level of cortisol in the saliva. Cortisol is one of the main stress hormones that are released during the “flight or fight” response of the body to stress. Excess cortisol in the blood that may occur due to chronic stress can wreak havoc on the body, including its hormonal balance and the efficiency of the metabolism. A study said that inhaling rosemary oil and lavender oil for five minutes significantly reduced the levels of cortisol in the test subject’s saliva, which could seriously decrease the dangers inherent from chronic stress.

Immune System Boost: Antioxidants are some of the most valuable defensive weapons we have in our body for fighting off infection and disease, so any food or essential oil that either adds to or stimulates the activity of antioxidants is a huge benefit to overall health. The same study which found that cortisol levels decreased after simultaneous massage and inhalation of rosemary essential oil also found that the scavenging free radical activity in the test subjects’ bodies also increased significantly. This means that regular use or inhalation of rosemary essential oil in aromatherapy sessions or in other ways can increase the strength of the immune system and help combat all of the diseases associated with free radicals, including cancer and heart disease.

Pain relief: The ability of rosemary essential oil to relieve pain has resulted in its extensive use in treating headaches, muscle pains, rheumatism and even arthritis. Massaging the affected area that is in pain with rosemary essential oil can give quickly relieve the pain. Vapor baths with rosemary oil are also found to be effective in the treatment of rheumatism. It has certain anti-inflammatory qualities as well, which makes it very good for relieving the pain from sprains and joint aches. Furthermore, it is known to stimulate blood circulation, which can relieve pain and also aid in coagulation of wounds for faster healing.

Aroma: Rosemary has a mesmerizing aroma, which makes rosemary essential oil an excellent inhalant. The oil is used in room fresheners, cosmetics, beauty aids, food, bath oil, candles and perfumes because of its unique and intoxicating aroma. When the oil is inhaled, it can boost mental energy and is also known to clear the respiratory tract. Many people spray a mixture of rosemary essential oil and water to remove bad odors from room and objects.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Recent research suggests that the use of rosemary essential oil’s antimicrobial qualities can help reduce the effects and recurring inflammation of the herpes virus. The herpes virus can quickly develop immunity to normal antiviral medication, so alternative methods are always being explored. A number of studies have now shown the essential oil of rosemary to be an effective option for reducing the symptoms of the Herpes virus in test subjects, and even affects the level of contagiousness of the virus.

Respiratory problems: The benefits of rosemary essential oil in treating respiratory problems are well-researched and supported. The scent of the oil has been shown to give relief from throat congestion, and it is also used in the treatment of respiratory allergies, colds, sore throats and the flu. Since rosemary oil also has antiseptic qualities, it is also effective for respiratory infections. The oil is antispasmodic and is therefore used in some treatment programs for bronchial asthma.

There are various other claims regarding possible health benefits of rosemary oil, including its usage for disorders in menstrual cycle, menstrual cramps, peptic ulcer, urine flow, prostate, gall bladder, intestine, liver, cataract, heart, sperm mobility, leukemia, kidney stones and associated pain. Research is currently being performed to study its potential in treating various types of cancers including those of the colon, stomach, breasts, and lungs.

Rosemary oil may, at times, cause allergic reactions, so it should only be used if prescribed or after thorough consultation with your medical specialist. Since rosemary oil is volatile in nature, the oil has occasionally caused vomiting and spasms. Therefore, it should never be ingested. It is strongly suggested that rosemary essential oil should not be used by pregnant, breastfeeding, or nursing women. Excessive use of the oil may even lead to miscarriage or a disability in the fetus.

Rosemary essential oil is used extensively in aromatherapy due to its versatility as a welcome aroma in so many popular combinations. The oil blends well with frankincense, lavender, clary sage, cedarwood, basil, thyme, citronella, lemongrass, elemi, geranium, chamomile, peppermint and cardamom.

Pesticides and Potatoes: 3rd Grader’s Science Project Convinces Us to Choose Organic

Watch out world, the next generation of organic food activists is getting started young. Meet Elise. She’s here to show you through her 3nd grade science project (put together with the help of her grandmother) that potatoes and sweet potatoes may look healthy, but if they’re not organic, they could be doused with a scary, tumor-causing chemical called bud nip.

Sweet Elise did an experiment to see how long it would take a sweet potato to sprout in water. She just couldn’t wait for her tater to grow vines, but after waiting three weeks with one sweet potato and another three weeks with another sweet potato, she saw zero growth. When she asked the produce man at the grocery store why her sweet potato was sprout-free, she was informed that these conventional sweet potatoes will never grow vines because of the use of the chemical bud nip.

Bud nip, also called chlorpropham, is a sprout inhibitor that’s applied a month after harvest. Bud nip is not allowed in organic farming, which is obvious from the other two sprout-friendly sweet potatoes she uses later on in the video. It’s definitely not something that you want on your fruits and vegetables because it gets into the meat of the crop as well. And it can poison laboratory animals by causing inflammation of the stomach and intestinal bleeding. Long term exposure can also cause tumors. Bud nip can be found on potatoes, kale, peaches, broccoli and other common fruits and vegetables. Though from my research, it isn’t used on sweet potatoes commonly like it is potatoes.

Watch the video:

Monday, January 27, 2014

10 Conscious Food Blogs And Who Should Read Them

The internet abounds with food blogs. So much so that it can be overwhelming. Like in any supermarket which is full of products you don’t need, there is a lot of blogs, website, etc. claiming to  offer you "healthy options".  However, for all the bad food blogs out there, there are plenty of good ones, and in a world where more and more people are focused on eating better, buying local foods and cooking seasonally, there’s a plethora of conscious eating inspiration.

Need some help navigating? Luckily Organic Authority rounded up some of their favorite conscious food blogs, in no particular order:

Green Kitchen Stories

If you put together a scrapboard of all your favorite vegetarian recipes ripped out from colorful magazines, you would have a wall that looks like Green Kitchen Stories. Colorful, inventive and 100 percent vegetarian, time spent on this site is like spending time in the most amazing health food store you could ever dream of.

Who should read it: Anyone who believes that regular oatmeal is boring.

Gourmande in the Kitchen

Gourmande in the Kitchen is for the gourmande who doesn’t just want to indulge, but indulge with a good conscience. The focus here is whole foods that are fresh, seasonal and free of processed ingredients. Best of all? It’s all about minimal preparation.

Who should read it: Anyone that thinks healthy food is boring.

Green Girl Eats

Helen Williams is all about no-nonsense, vegetarian (mostly organic) cooking. She also believes in healthy indulgence, which means you get things like Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.

Who should read it:
Those wondering how they are going to convince their significant other to go vegetarian.

Oh My Veggies

If you’re looking to get more vegetarian food into your diet and don’t know Oh My Veggies, put it on your “to follow” list immediately. The recipes are fun, creative and unique and the focus isn’t just on vegetables, but local, seasonal fare.

Who should read it: Anyone that needs a vegetarian resource but doesn’t want to buy another cookbook.

A Tasty Love Story

On A Tasty Love Story, Josephine Malene Kofod focuses on whole, organic and seasonal food. With her Danish roots, any of the recipes come with a Scandinavian twist.

Who should read it:
Those pining away for the Nordic lands but want to keep using chia seeds.

Dishing Up the Dirt

Andrea Bemis works on a farm in Oregon, and her recipes show it. Creative with the ingredients she pairs together, the focus here is on tasty, seasonal fare.

Who should read it:
Anyone that has ever gone on a farmers market shopping spree and ended up with too many vegetables.

The Roasted Root

From smoothies to oatmeal, Julia Mueller takes classic healthy recipes and makes them just a little more interesting. Lots of gluten-free recipes on here as well (hello Coconut Sweet Potato Cookies).

Who should read it: The person who wants a t-shirt with the sentence “eat well, eat often” on it.

Love and Lemons

The Love and Lemons team is, as they put it, “all about vegetables.” The recipes are anything but average – Coconut Rice with Kale and Edamame should probably be your next dinner – and there are plenty of gluten-free and vegan options.

Who should read it: Anyone who has ever thought of pairing beets and grapefruits.

The Minimalist Baker

This is exactly what it sounds like: delicious baking with minimal ingredients. That makes for creative recipes like Black Bean Brownies and a lot of things that can be made with ingredients you probably have hanging around the house.

Who should read it: The cheapskate foodie who doesn’t want to look like one.

101 Cookbooks

Heidi Swanson’s beautiful website is a classic, as well as her cookbooks. The focus is primarily natural and whole foods, and they’re the kind of recipes that will quickly become staples.

Who should read it:
Anyone that has sworn off buying another cookbook ever again. But still wants another one.

Prepackaged Meals that You Can Make Yourself

Prepackaged meals. we all try to avoid them, but actually may end up with a few in the cupboard. While they aren’t too pricy, a majority of the ingredient list is more than a little concerning. Hydrogenated this, hydrolyzed that. And the sodium content? Sheesh. Looking at the nutrition label of a popular boxed meal, and one serving of the stuff will give you 770mg of sodium. An adult’s daily intake is usually more than sufficient at 1,500mg—most of us don’t even need that much.

As always, we aim to provide you with recipes and meal idea made from locally sourced, organic ingredients, using what you already have in your pantry. In the long run, it's less expensive and the nourishment value is much higher than in prepackaged meals.  So, if you’re in search of a way to steer clear of putting your money towards meals that come in a box and don’t last very long, here are a few that you can make yourself.


This recipe is referred to as “Breadsticks,” and while it does make amazing breadsticks, it can also be used to make pizza, calzones, dinner braids, or a quick loaf of bread. If you master this simple recipe, you will never have to buy one of trans fat tubes of dough again.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Combine 1 tablespoon yeast, 1 ½ cup warm water, ½ teaspoon sugar. Let them rise and set on top of your stove; it’s getting warm, which makes for an ideal place for the yeast to get going.

Once the yeast is bubbly, add 2 tablespoons sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and about 3 cups of flour—or a little more if needed—just enough to make a nice, soft dough. (It shouldn’t be sticking to the bowl or your hands.)

Take your ball of dough out of your mixing bowl, grease the bowl, and put the dough back in. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, and place it back on the stove.

Let it rise for ten minutes.

Now, on a floured surface, roll the dough out until it’s about ½ inch thick. With a pizza cutter, cut into 4×2-inch strips. Dip the strips into melted butter, then place them on a baking sheet. Let them rise for 15 minutes, then bake them for 12-14 minutes.


No need to buy a mix when you’ve got cocoa powder on hand. You can make several batches of brownies for the cost of one mix.

Mix together:
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
After those are mixed well, add:
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Pour the batter into a greased and floured 13×9 pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

For a family of four, cutting the recipe in half is just about perfect; there’s enough for dinner and for a few leftovers for the next day, and you can save the rest of the ingredients for another batch later on.

Chicken Pasta Salad

Stir together:
  • 12 oz. package bowtie pasta, cooked
  • 12 oz. package rainbow pasta, cooked
  • 6 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded or cubed)
  • 1 can crushed pineapple, lightly drained
  • 2 cups celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cups red grapes, quartered
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 bottle coleslaw dressing
This is just what the recipe calls for. It makes a lot, so it’s perfect for when you have to serve a lot of people. Salads like this are great because you're able to use whatever you have on had; apples instead of grapes, cucumbers instead of celery, canned chicken, more mayo if you don’t have dressing, etc. Don’t be afraid to break the rules.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

In a food processor, blend the following:
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 heaping tablespoons tahini
  • Juice of one freshly squeezed lemon; or 2 tablespoons of the bottled kind
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 roasted red pepper (you can use a small jar of roasted red peppers)
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic sauteed in 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Blend ingredients together for a few minutes, and serve with crackers, veggies, or use it as a sandwich spread.

Sidenote: while throwing everything into the blender makes a good hummus, mixing everything else – the tahini, lemon juice, salt, garlic, and oil — and then blending it in with the beans makes it even better.

Cheese and Broccoli Soup

In a large microwavable bowl, melt 6 tablespoons butter, then add 4 tablespoons flour and 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon; stir well.
Return to microwave for 1 minute, then whisk in 4 cups milk.
Return to microwave for 18 minutes or until thick; stop and stir every 4 minutes.
Add one jar of Cheez Wiz and stir until it melts into the soup.
Add 2 large bunches of chopped, cooked broccoli.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What if Natural Products Came with a List of Ingredients?

Processed foods are notorious for their jaw-droppingly long lists of chemical-laden ingredients, each one sounding worse than the last. But as these detailed infographics show, even the simplest of foods are anything but.

These images were put together by James Kennedy, an Australian chemistry teacher.

"I want to erode the fear that many people have of 'chemicals',' and demonstrate that nature evolves compounds, mechanisms and structures far more complicated and unpredictable than anything we can produce in the lab," he told io9.

"This poster series breaks down all the major ingredients in popular natural foods—using E-numbers and IUPAC names instead of common names where they exist. Anthocynanins, for example, which are said to give blueberries their "superfood" status, are also known as E163."

"With these graphics, I wanted to show that Chemistry is everywhere."

[via i09]

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nuts for Nutella? Learn How to Make Your Own

We know, it’s a dilemma. Nutella is so good … and yet so not local: It takes at least six countries to make a jar of the stuff. Luckily you don’t have to choose your gut over your guilt complex when it comes to this homemade treat, since it doesn’t get much more local than your own kitchen (assuming your chocolate and hazelnuts are fair-trade).

Carey Nershi of Reclaiming Provincial is making a version that’s a slightly grown-up version of the one you may be familiar with. It’s nutty and not too sweet, with equal parts milk and dark chocolate and the teensiest hint of almond. If you’d like to keep it dairy-free, you can substitute coconut oil and condensed almond milk.

All in all, it’s a great (and dare I say far superior) alternative to the store-bought variety.

Homemade Nutella

Makes about 2 cups

To roast and peel the hazelnuts:
  • 1 1/4 cups hazelnuts
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda

To make the Nutella:
  • 1 1/4 cups hazelnuts, roasted and peeled
  • 5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons confectionery sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes.

When hazelnuts have finished roasting, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Prepare a separate bowl of cool water and set aside on the counter. Once the water on the stovetop is boiling, add 3 tablespoons of baking soda, followed by the hazelnuts. Boil for three minutes, drain, then add the hazelnuts to the bowl of cool water. Peel hazelnuts and discard skins.

Blend hazelnuts in a food processor or blender until they form a thick, smooth paste. This should take approximately five minutes. It will be crumbly at first but the crumbs will begin to come together to form a butter.

Add the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and extracts. Continue to blend until smooth, approximately one to two minutes.

Melt together the chocolates and heavy cream in a double boiler, stirring until a smooth ganache forms. Remove from heat and let cool for five minutes.

Once ganache has cooled slightly, add it to the food processor or blender and blend until just combined (around 15 seconds).

Transfer to jars and store in the fridge for up to a week. (The Nutella will firm up slightly in the fridge, so let it sit out at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes to soften the consistency).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Six Yummy Organic Recipes For Your Super Bowl Party

Forget football, the Super Bowl is perhaps the most important snacking event of the year! Chips, dips and finger foods are the way to please your game loving crowd, but you and your guests don’t have to indulge in fatty foods to have a good time. Instead try our 6 yummy organic munchies at your big game party this year -- we promise they'll win big!


Forget the store bought chips, making your own tortilla chips is fast and easy and allows you to add extra zing with your own spices! Just cut corn tortillas into sixths, and spread on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 6 minutes, then flip. Lightly spray the other side with cooking spray and sprinkle with your favorite dried spices. Try basil, cayenne, rosemary, or just plain sea salt, and bake that side for 6 more minutes. Cool and serve for a hearty crunchy snack!


Dip your chips in your own creamy fresh and fat free Mexican inspired dip. Use versatile fat free Greek yogurt, and combine in your food processor with a red pepper, purple onion, bunch of chopped cilantro, can of black beans, dash of balsamic vinegar and cayenne pepper to taste. The dip is creamy, hearty and great for chips, pretzels and fresh veggies.


In case you have some vegans in the house, whip up some fresh salsa with a little flair. Mediterranean salsa is just as fresh and yummy, but olives and basil add a new kick. Finely chop 2 large seeded tomatoes, 1 small jar roasted red peppers, ½ red onion, one bunch fresh basil, ¾ cup Kalamata olives, 1 garlic clove and ½ zucchini or cucumber. Toss with 2 tsp lemon juice, 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, a dash of salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. Serve with your chips or pita chips.


Hummus is cheap, healthy and easy. Just throw one can of chickpeas, one tablespoon tahini, 3 garlic gloves, a squeeze of lemon and ½ cup water in your food processor, with salt to taste (pepper too if you’d like.) Spread the mixture on whole wheat tortillas, covering the entire wrap, then roll. Slice into 1 inch pieces, and you have a garlicky-good finger food!


Sliders are synonymous with sports parties, and the smoky flavor of eggplant meshes well with mini brioche rolls! Choose a small eggplant, and cut into medallions, leaving the skin on. Brush with olive oil  and sprinkle salt and pepper, and bake the medallions for 7 minutes at 400F, then flip and repeat. Lower the heat to 300, and let cook for about 15 minutes (eggplant will be tender). Now get creative- top with goat cheese and roasted red pepper, or cheddar and barbeque sauce! Give your guests a variety and watch them devour!


A Crock Pot not only seals in flavor while slow cooking, but also doubles as your serving dish. Veggie chili practically makes itself. Just dump 1 can organic pealed tomatoes, I can organic black beans and 1 can organic chick peas into the pot. Dice 2 zucchini, 1 onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1 red pepper and green chilies to taste. Add garlic gloves, oregano, cumin, salt and chili powder to your liking, and let simmer for 4 hours. Serve with bread or chips!

Your guests are sure to be satisfied with your savory treats, and you can pair them with some organic brews, like Peak Organic’s Amber Ale!

[via inhabitat]

Monday, January 20, 2014

The 7 Best Spices For Healing

Most of us in the field of holistic medicine could spend hours discussing different approaches to food and diet. However, I think that we often overlook the power that a diet varied in an abundance of spices can provide. The history of spices is simply fascinating. Did you know that wars were fought over spices and kingdoms were lost over them? And the truth is that even back in 2600 BCE, spices were already recognized as powerful medicine. Not only do they add interest to our plates and palates, but they promote health in incredibly powerful ways. Here are some spices that are worth adding to your culinary undertakings.


Ginger is rich in phytonutrients called gingerols. Studies support the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial effects of gingerol. It's useful against arthritis, migraine, asthma, heart disease, heartburn, cancer and nausea.


This is the world's most expensive spice: It takes 80,000 blue saffron crocus flowers and a quarter million dried stigmas to produce one pound of saffron. But it's worth its weight in gold! Saffron has two compounds, crocin and saffranal, that preserve levels of dopamine, seratonin, and norepinephrine in the brain. Several studies out of Iran have shown that saffron is as powerful as or more effective than fluoxetine and imipramine in treating depression. Studies also show that it may help protect against atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, many forms of cancer, anxiety, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and PMS.


Rosemary grows like a weed in many parts of the world, and this easy-to-grow backyard herb packs a powerful punch in the form of rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid and carnosol. It's incredibly anti-carcinogenic, and has been found to significantly decrease levels of dangerous heterocyclic amines when cooked with meats at high temperatures. It's also been shown to be effective in improving dermatitis, enhancing memory, protecting the liver and alleviating arthritis pain.

Black Pepper

Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices, and believe it or not, in the Middle Ages it was considered more valuable than gold. Piperine is the active ingredient in black pepper, and it has been shown to jumpstart digestion, prevent certain cancers and heart disease, improve vitiligo, lower blood pressure, and prevent arthritis.


Turmeric was once called a poor man's saffron, but now we know how incredibly healing and powerful this spice truly is. New studies are coming out on a daily basis touting its incredible litany of benefits. Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric that is powerfully anti-inflammatory as well as rich in antioxidants.

More than 1,000 studies have demonstrated curcumin's anti-cancer effects. It inhibits the activation of genes that trigger cancer, inhibits the proliferation of tumor cells, shrinks tumor cells, and prevents development of the blood supply necessary for cancer cells to grow. Beyond its anti-cancer properties, turmeric has been shown to combat allergies, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, colitis, dyslipidemia, eczema, uveitis, gout, gum disease, macular degeneration, psoriasis and high blood pressure.


Oregano is a great spice to grow on your windowsill and keep on hand. The major components of oregano, carvacrol and thymol, are wonderfully antiviral, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal. Aside from its ability to curb infections, studies have shown that oregano can help calm colitis, support the liver, prevent and ameliorate metabolic syndrome, and suppress inflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-6.

Star Anise

Star anise is a beautiful 8-pointed star made of slender pods and seeds. Shikimic acid and anethole are two of the compounds that give star anise its powerful infection fighting properties. Star anise has been found to inhibit Epstein-Barr virus (the virus that causes mononucleosis), herpes simplex 1, hepatitis B, tooth decay and even HIV.

Detox Juices and Smothies

Aloe Vera Splash Smoothie
A secret ingredient that I use in many of my green smoothies is Aloe Vera gel. Why? Because of its abundant health benefits, of course.

Apple Blueberry Fruit Smoothie
Smoothies are a great way to obtain instant vitamins and health benefits. Here is a great recipe that contains sweet blueberries, tart granny smiths and light blueberry yogurt.

Blueberry Red Cabbage Power Smoothie
Sweet, simple, and superpowered – that’s what this smoothie is all about. With just 3 ingredients, this vibrant drink boosts your brain and immune system and fills you up!

Green Energy Drink
A potent mix of spinach, ginger and cucumber make the perfect natural energizing drink. Make this recipe whenever you need an energy boost.

Ginger Smoothie
Is your immune system ready for this? Ginger, orange, lemon, and carrot. This potent combination is a delicious way to kickstart your body’s metabolism and energize you from the inside out. Don’t fear the ginger! Though it adds a slight heat, the other flavors keep this juice on the mild side.

Glowing Green Juice
Perfect and easy way to detoxify your body specially after the holidays! This Juice will only take 5 minutes to make!

Green Tea Shake
Green Tea shake has many nutritional properties. Perfect when you are on the go.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Packaged Food Products That Still Contain Trans Fats

In November, the Food and Drug Administration made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils — one of the primary sources of trans fats — are no longer “generally recognized as safe.” If this is finalized, partially hydrogenated oils will be categorized as food additives requiring approval to be used in food.

Trans fats have been used since the mid-1900s to improve the flavor, texture and shelf life of many processed foods. Though they naturally occur in meat and dairy, their use in processed foods has been more of a concern because of their significantly larger role in the American diet.

This type of fat is even more harmful to cardiovascular health than saturated fat. It increases levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and lowers levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. Research from the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Nutrition estimates that eliminating trans fats from the U.S. food supply could prevent up to 1-in-5 heart attacks and related deaths.
Today, trans fats can be found in fast food and a wide range of processed food products, such as cookies, cake mixes, piecrusts, frozen pizza, microwave popcorn and chips. And while the FDA declared in 2006 that trans fats must be included in the Nutrition Facts label of packaged food, manufacturers can claim a product contains 0 grams of trans fat if there’s 0.5 grams or less per serving. This can be deceptive for obvious reasons: How many times have you eaten more than the "serving size?" (In Canada, manufacturers can only claim 0 grams of trans fats for products containing less than 0.2 grams.)

Many manufacturers adjusted their formulas in 2006 out of fear of consumer backlash since they had to list trans fats on packaging, but some brands have stubbornly refused to eliminate the harmful ingredient. Here are some of the many products that still contain trans fat:


1.5 grams per serving

Pop Secret Butter

5 grams per serving (about a third of the bag)

Pop Secret Kettle Corn

5 grams per serving

Jolly Time Blast O Butter Popcorn

4 grams per serving

Pillsbury Shape Sugar Cookies

2.5 g trans fat per serving (2 cookies)

Turkey Hill Party Cake Ice Cream

1 gram per ½ cup serving

Sara Lee Classic New York Style Cheesecake

3 grams per serving

Marie Callender’s Peanut Butter Crème Pie

4 grams per serving

Marie Callender’s Chocolate Satin Pie

4 grams per serving

Marie Callender’s Lattice Apple Pie

3 grams per serving

Marie Callender’s Peach Cobbler

3.5 grams per serving

Popeye’s Breakfast Hashbrowns

It's not a "packaged food," but we had to include it because how in the world did they manage to get 10 GRAMS of trans fat per serving in these things? Sheesh.

Betty Crocker Helper Complete Meals Chicken & Buttermilk Biscuits

3 grams per serving

Betty Crocker Pie Crust Mix

2.5 grams per serving

Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Fudge Icing

1.5 grams per serving

Gardetto’s Special Request Roasted Garlic Rye Chips

3 grams per serving

Walmart’s Great Value Stick Margarine

3 grams per serving

Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls with Icing

2 grams per serving (1 roll with icing)

Land O Lakes Margarine Sticks

3 grams per serving (1 tablespoon)