Umeboshi plums…..time to prune..

LivingWell_UmeBashaPlum Ok, I know plums……but Umeboshi plums?  Had to do a little digging to find out about this superfood!

Umeboshi plums are a Japanese fruit, and are part of the apricot family.  They have a bizarre growth process as the fruit needs to ferment for a month in sea salt brine before it is edible. And as you expected, it has a taste that is salty, fruity and tangy! Think pickled plums…. and people say they are crazy good!

During the Middle Ages,  the pickled plum was the soldier’s most important field ration. It was used to flavor foods such as rice and vegetables, and its high acidity made it an excellent water and food purifier, as well as an effective antidote for battle fatigue.

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Supposedly a superb hangover cure, the umeboshi plum is still used for a variety of medical purposes such as counteracting nausea, reducing fevers, and controlling coughs.

Some say you can schmear the plum on toast, however it just might be a bit too….tangy.  Try it in salads first, pureeing small batches which will replace your vinegar and salt.

Orange Ume Dressing

Makes 1 cup

This is a refreshing summer dressing for tossed salads and noodle salads.

3 level tablespoons toasted sesame seeds or 3 tablespoons tahini

2 teaspoons umeboshi paste or minced umeboshi                      

2 tablespoons light sesame or olive oil                      

1 tablespoon lemon juice                      

Juice of 1 – 1 1/2 oranges (to taste)                      

1 teaspoon minced green onion or chives (optional)

Toast sesame seeds (if using) in a dry skillet over medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes, stirring constantly. When seeds are fragrant and begin to pop, remove from pan to prevent them from overcooking and becoming bitter. Blend first 5 ingredients in a blender until smooth. Mix in scallions or chives (if desired), and chill for 30 minutes before using. (via)

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Lychee fruit……….eat more fruit and live to a ripe old age…

Lychee

Ahh…..the Lychee fruit.  No, I didn’t know what it was either so I had to check this baby out!

According to the California Rare Fruit Growers Association (and no, I didn’t know who they were either so I had to check them out too!)  “The lychee is native to low elevations of the provinces of Kwangtung and Fujian in Southern China. Cultivation spread over the years through neighboring areas of southeastern Asia and offshore islands. It reached Hawaii in 1873, and Florida in 1883, and was conveyed from Florida to California in 1897.”

And yes, there are two provinces in Southern China that I hadn’t heard of so I had to check out them also! (you can click on them to learn more)

Back to the Lychee, which translated from Chinese as, ‘gift for a joyful life’.   This sweet, little fruit contains vitamins and minerals and is supposedly so sweet and delicious that the Emperor of Tang Dynast would send his royal guards 600 miles to pick the luscious fruit for his love.

But wait!  There’s more! 

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The Lychee fruit contains  on average a total 72 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit and popping just 9 of these babies will give you your total daily requirement!

BUT THE BEST PART?   This little sweetheart can prevent the growth of cancer cells (according to the Cancer Survivors Network)

Here is more great info!

1.Helps to prevent diseases like cancer. Research and study have proved that this fruit has flavonoids in the pulp which helps to prevent fatal and lethal disease like cancer.  This strawberry like fruit checks the growth of cancer cells in the body and is found to be especially effective against breast cancer.

2.High vitamin C content. Lychee fruit is an excellent source of natural vitamin C. This vitamin is especially important as it is not produced inside the body on its own and need to be replenished with our diet.  Vitamin C aids the body in fighting against cancer and heart diseases.

3.Boost up the natural immunity of the body. Due to the high content of Vitamin C the lychee fruit, boost up the natural immunity of the body particularly among people suffering from fevers colds, and sore throats.

4.Improves digestion. Lychee fruit aids the body in proper digestion of food. This provides better nutrition and boosts up the body health in general.

5.Helps to relieve pain. Lychee fruit has the ability to shrink the swollen glands and relieves pain associated with it. The Chinese have been using this fruit for curing these problems since ancient times.

6.Provides essential minerals to the body. The lychee fruit is a rich source of calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium to the body. It is also rich in proteins that are one of the most important nutrients required for cell development.

Fresh or toffee lychees can be used as a serving with Vanilla Ice cream. It can also be consumed through ice creams, juices and candies. With so many benefits and a variety of use lychee fruit can and should be used as a regular part of your diet. This will help you stay healthy naturally.   (source)

Now, check out this short video of the lychee fruit and how it’s grown!

ring, ring………aloe?

Aloe-Vera_4

You’ll want to answer the phone if this little beauty calls!!

Did you know that aloe vera is a real part of weight loss and fitness program?  Well, it is!  When you injest aloe, you can begin your quest to lose weight and to gain muscle massE-How tells you how…here!

Aloe vera is also extremely important for all types of digestive problems and can help you recover from colitis, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and other digestive illnessesHow?  It helps to cut and dissolve mucous in the intestines and it supports the replication of healthy cells that line our digestive tract.

Aloe vera has also shown the ability to inhibit arthritis, edema and inflammation!  What are you waiting for? 

And how about skin irritationsPlease!  Natural News tells you how HERE…

Here are a few ouchies that can be treated with aloe:

  • abrasions
  • acne
  • arthritis
  • athlete’s foot
  • brown spots
  • burns
  • eczema
  • hemorrhoids
  • insect bites/stings
  • poison ivy
  • poison oak
  • psoriasis
  • rashes
  • scars    and the list goes on and on!!

Just cut a leaf of aloe veraTry this!

1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1 cup organic strawberries

1/2 cup goji berries or blueberries

1/2 of aloe leaf (remove the skin, keep the gel)

Blend, baby, blend!  Add water or ice if you want….serve cold……ALOE!!!

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sick and tired of being sick and tired?

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Most of the foods we eat are obviously not good for you……no matter how good they taste.  Especially all these fun treats we have around the holidays!  These foods include sugar, trans fats, dairy products, fried foods, junk foods, carbonated drinks….oh the list goes on and on.

Turns out, when we eat these foods, we can’t stop – and that’s when we overeat and just never feel fully satisfied.

Why?

The reason  we feel tired, sluggish and bloated (but not satisfied) is because we are not getting enough nutrients from the foods we are eating!  We are filling ourselves with low-nutrient food and lots of chemicals.  Our digestive system is working overtime to process these foods and in the meantime, they have decided to stick around….for days…..undigested.  Ick.

Sugar, put down the sugar!!!

sugar-addiction

Says Dr. Oz, in his book, You on a Diet, “Simple sugars create a rebounding effect.  You’re feeling blah, so you eat a 3 Musketeers.  That sugar surge works like an electrical jolt, and you instantly feel more energy.  But less than two hours later, that energy surge (in the form of elevated blood sugar levels ) plummets, and then you feel blah again.  Your conclusion?  You must need another Musketeer!  That rebound effect can put your body in biological turmoil, where you eat to feel better, though what you’re eating is actually making you feel sluggish, so you swirl and swirl around, always feeling like you need to eat.”

What’s a person to do???

  • Eat a little fat 20 minutes before your meal (70 calories or so like 6 walnuts, or 12 almonds)
  • Fill up on fiber in the A.M. (think oatmeal, cereal, whole grains and fruit)
  • Change your plate (try using a smaller or kid’s version of a plate for smaller portions)
  • Slow down, turbo (take your time, put down your fork and chew, chew, chew)
  • Get spicy (add a little hot pepper or salsa to your food to increase your metabolism)

Start simple by eating a large salad.  Nix the croutons, heavy dressing and cheese.  Have fruit for a pick-me-up snack.  Add more veggies to your dinner, drink lots of water and YOU, my friend, are on your way to a healthier, happier YOU!

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gorgeous gogi berries….

goji-berries-vine

Pretty, huh?  The Tibetan School of Medicine has been growing this superfood for 2500 years!

But you don’t have to go to Tibet to try this little gem.  American gogi berries are grown mostly in the southwest deserts (AZ, CA, CO, UT, NM, TX) with a few grown in Mexico and South America.

These little beauts can really pack a punch!  They are known to:

  • boost immune function
  • increase alkalinity and vitality
  • protect your liver
  • improve your eyesight
  • improve your blood quality…..and more!

If you want to live for a loooong time, and actually feel good, then this superfood is for you.  It’s even been nicknamed “the longevity fruit” or even better, “little red diamonds“.    Enough said.  I’m in.

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The gogi berry tastes kind of like a cherry and a cranberry got married and had wrinkled baby berries.  Be sure and look for organic berries that haven’t been sprayed with the pesticides that those of us in the ’60’s played in…..(if you are from the south you will remember the ‘mosquito’ trucks that drove around while we ran and played in the “mist”….sigh).

Gogi berries can be soaked and rehydrated in water that you can use for your base in your smoothie!  It’s easy!  Take about 1/2 cup of berries and soak in 3 cups of pure water.  Soak for about 2-4 hours.  Strain and add handful of berries and 1 cup of remaining gogi water, a tablespoon of agave syrup or honey and 1/4 – 1/2 tsp vanilla.  BLEND and dance.  You might want to add some cacao powder to the mix.  Feel free to mess around with the ingredients until you find the flavor you like best!

Gogi berries can also be added to cacao nibs, dried fruits, nuts and seeds to make a SUPER trail mix!  Have fun…but not just any fun….have a gogi day!

Spirulina, the Protein Queen…..a crowning achievement…

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Spirulina….a lovely algae, no?  The Aztecs knew what was up, back in the 16th century and were known to mix it with chocolate.  Chocolate, people.  I’m already on board.

This is one bad (as in good) protein and here is why:

  • It contains the highest concentration of protein (by weight) of any food known.
  • Spirulina is the richest beta carotene food
  • It is the highest source of B12
  • A disease fighter
  • A blood builder
  • An immune system booster

Unlike animal foods, (which day by day I am talking myself out of) Spirulina is a pure, raw source of protein.  It does not have to be cooked and in fact, never should be cooked.  Yay!  Less cooking!

It is readily absorbed and can be easily blended into your favorite beverage, such as a smoothie, or juice.

Spirulina-Powder

According to herb wisdom, “every 10 grams of spirulina can supply up to 70% of the minimum daily requirements for iron, and about three to four times of minimum daily requirements for vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), B complex, D,and K. By itself, it does not contain vitamin C, but it helps maintain this vitamin’s potency.

Spirulina is rich in gamma-linolenic acid or GLA, a compound found in breast milk that helps develop healthier babies. Moreover, with its high digestibility, spirulina has been proven to fight malnutrition in impoverished communities by helping the body absorb nutrients when it has lost its ability to absorb normal forms of food.

Another health benefit of spirulina is that it stimulates beneficial flora like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in your digestive tract to promote healthy digestion and proper bowel function. It acts as a natural cleanser by eliminating mercury and other deadly toxins commonly ingested by the body.”

Ok, so let’s get down to taste.  It is a deep green, slightly blue dry algae powder.  Have you ever been in a bait store?  You know, with your grandpa to go fishing…..well, it sorta smells like that.  Fish. In a wet sock. 

You want to be sure that it has a ‘fresh’ smell.  I’ve heard that bad spirulina smells sour or rancid.  Now that, my friends will be hard to tell.  You should speak to a qualified person at your health-food store….and not the temporary Christmas help….you are going to want good quality spirulina.  Or a better option is to check out David Wolfe and read about his incredible knowledge when it comes to superfoods and nutrition.  You will be ASSURED to get the best quality, organic superfoods!  The website will tell you where you can purchase his products or you can go straight to http://www.longevitywarehouse.com/

Look for it to be sold like this:

  • powder (dried)
  • powder (with lecithin)
  • tablets (what I take…with orange juice to get ’em down)
  • protein powder products
  • blue pigment extracts
  • raw spirulina chocolate bars and spirulina energy bars

I usually add spirulina to my smoothies to mask the taste, when I am using the powder.   I am throwing spinach, kale, blueberries, acai berries, raspberries, banana, and cacao nibs in my blender.  A little spirulina tossed in cannot be tasted….just don’t obsess over it and think of the fabulous benefits!

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mistletoe curing cancer? is it almost christmas??

mistletoe bunch

When you think of Mistletoe, do you think of cancer?  No?  Well, this might change your mind!

You can certainly find mistletoe in the United States, but it’s the species found in Europe that is being used in treatment for cancer, inflammatory conditions and AIDS.

Rudolph Steiner, an Austrian Swiss physician, first used this in 1920 and founded the Society for Cancer Research.  The leaves and  twigs are used when making this herbal extract,  but not the berries, so replace your centerpiece.

mistletoe

The mistletoe preparations are used to stimulate the immune system, kill cancer cells, and help to reduce tumor size.  It’s also been said to reduce the pain and side effects of chemotherapy in some cancer patients.

A typical course can last several months to a year.  The doses are increased according to the patient’s condition.  Usually given by injection, it can also be given orally depending on the particular cancer.

“Mistletoe extracts are promoted as a remedy for numerous types of cancer, including cancer of the cervix, ovaries, breast, stomach, colon, lung, and as a treatment for leukemia, sarcoma, and lymphoma.

Promoters also claim mistletoe can lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, relax spasms, and relieve symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism. It is further claimed to have sedative effects and is promoted to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy”, says Cancer.org.

Bottom line:  Is this in your backyard?  No, but I was able to find a list of doctors that are currently using this form of treatment!

Sources:

http://www.cancure.org/iscador_mistletoe.htm

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/mistletoe

Soursop from the Graviola tree…..cancer killer or just forbidden fruit?

Have you heard of the Graviola Tree?  Or it’s english name, soursop?

Here is a verrry controversial topic that has this Brazilian fruit being touted by some as a cancer killer’ !!

Here is what is being tossed around the web

“10000 times stronger killer of Cancer than Chemo”.. do share it.. can save many lives, fill up hopes and build confidence in the patients…

The Sour Sop or the fruit from the graviola tree is a miraculous natural cancer cell killer 10,000 times stronger than Chemo. Why are we not aware of this? Its because some big corporation want to make back their money spent on years of research by trying to make a synthetic version of it for sale. So, since you know it now you can help a friend in need by letting him know or just drink some sour sop juice yourself as prevention from time to time. The taste is not bad after all. It’s completely natural and definitely has no side effects. If you have the space, plant one in your garden. The other parts of the tree are also useful.

The next time you have a fruit juice, ask for a sour sop.

The truth is stunningly simple: Deep within the Amazon Rainforest grows a tree that could literally revolutionize what you, your   doctor, and the rest of the world thinks about cancer treatment and chances   of survival. The future has never looked more promising.

Research shows that with extracts from this miraculous tree it now may be   possible to: * Attack cancer safely and effectively with an all-natural therapy   that   does not cause extreme nausea,    weight loss   and hair loss * Protect your immune system and avoid deadly infections * Feel stronger and healthier throughout the course of the treatment * Boost your energy and improve your outlook on life.

The source of this information is just as stunning: It comes from one of   America ‘s largest drug manufacturers, the fruit of over 20 laboratory tests   conducted since the 1970′s! What those tests revealed was nothing short of   mind numbing… Extracts from the tree were shown to:

* Effectively target and kill malignant cells in 12 types of cancer,   including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer. * The tree compounds proved to be up to 10,000 times stronger in slowing the   growth of cancer cells than Adriamycin, a commonly used chemotherapeutic   drug! * What’s more, unlike chemotherapy, the compound extracted from the Graviola tree selectively hunts down and kills only cancer cells.  It does not harm healthy cells!

The amazing anti-cancer properties of the Graviola tree have been extensively   researched–so why haven’t you heard anything about it? If Graviola extract   is as half as promising as it appears to be–why doesn’t every single   oncologist at every major hospital insist on using it on all his or her   patients?

The spine-chilling answer illustrates just how easily our health–and for   many, our very lives(!)–are controlled by money and power.

Graviola–the plant that worked too well.

One of America’s biggest billion-dollar drug makers began a search for a  cancer cure and their research centered on Graviola, a legendary healing tree   from the Amazon Rainforest. 

The company had one huge problem with the Graviola tree–it’s completely   natural, and so, under federal law, not patentable. There’s no way to make   serious profits from it.

It turns out the drug company invested nearly seven years trying to synthesize two of the Graviola tree’s most powerful anti-cancer ingredients.   If they could isolate and produce man-made clones of what makes the Graviola   so potent, they’d be able to patent it and make their money back. Alas, they  hit a brick wall. The original simply could not be replicated. There was no way the company could protect its profits–or even make back the millions it  poured into research.

As the dream of huge profits evaporated, their testing on Graviola came to a screeching halt.  Even worse, the company shelved the entire project and chose not to publish the findings of its research!”

Wikipedia says soursop may be effective in treating infections and some forms of cancer, but the data is lacking.

What do I think?  Well, I would advise people not to believe this blindly, but consult a doctor or oncologist before putting ALL your marbles in one bag…………….but it is worth watching!

arthritis and me….not a joint venture…

What exactly is arthritis?  It is the inflammation of one or more joints and it comes in a wide variety of forms.   Each kind of arthritis cause symptoms of pain, swelling, stiffness and the restriction of movement…and  I don’t like it one bit.

Wondering if your pain is related to arthritis?  Try this checklist via Arthritis.com:

  • Do you have pain in one or more joints?
  • Do you have swelling in one or more joints?
  • Do you have stiffness in your joints, especially after not moving for an extended period of time (e.g., moving in the morning)?
  • Do you have pain or discomfort in a joint that has a history of injury?

Not only are there different kinds of arthritis, but there are also different causes too!

  • Heredity
  • Age
  • Overuse of a joint
  • Injury
  • Infection
Most people that suffer from arthritis turn to expensive creams and prescriptions to deal with the pain, however, natural alternatives can make it easier to live with since there is no real cure.
Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that relieves discomfort by blocking neurotransmitters that transmit pain sensations, says Balch in “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” While cayenne is available as an oral supplement, it can be used topically. Mix cayenne powder with wintergreen oil to make a paste; apply it around affected joints. Cayenne powder can also be used in a poultice by adding enough warm water to make it into a paste. Spread the paste on a cloth and apply it to the joint.
(via)
Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil packs can be used to obtain relief from arthritis pain, says Balch. Place castor oil in a shallow pan. Dip a piece of cheesecloth into the oil, until it is saturated. Wrap the cloth around the painful joint. Cover it with plastic wrap so that the oil does not come off on clothes or furniture. Wrap a heating pad around the pad to keep it warm. Castor oil packs can be used for up to two hours at a time.
(via)
Low Impact Exercise
Low-impact exercise helps strengthen bones, reduce inflammation and slow the deterioration of joint tissue, says Balch. Choose exercises that do not place excessive stress on the joints. Swimming, bicycle riding, yoga, Tai chi and walking can all help reduce the pain caused by arthritis. Start out with 10 to 20 minutes of exercise at a time; gradually build up to 30 minutes. Exercise at least three times a week for optimal benefits.
(via)
Bottom line?  Eating the right foods, exercising and reducing stress are all good ways to limit the pain associated with arthritis.  Find a good doctor and start feeling better today!

omg, more gmo’s…….

We’ve talked about it before….GMO’s..

Here is Wikipedia’s definition of Genetically Modified Organisms…. “ A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Organisms that have been genetically modified include micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeast, plants, fish, and mammals. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods, and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce useful goods other than food.”

It’s time to clean out the pantry folks and purge those frankenfoods!! 

Don’t know what to throw out?  Well there is a looong and detailed list of foods found at the Rumor Mill News website.  Good to know someone is doing their homework!

It’s a sad list because some of these are in MY OWN pantry!!  Click here to go to the very long and detailed list.

Why is this topic so maddening?  Well here are a couple of reasons cited by Ari LeVaux  at The Atlantic which was enough to creep me out and it’s only night past Halloween!

Check this out…

“Chinese researchers have found small pieces of rice ribonucleic acid (RNA) in the blood and organs of  humans who eat rice. The Nanjing University-based team showed that this  genetic material will bind to receptors in human liver cells and  influence the uptake of cholesterol from the blood.

The type of RNA in question is called microRNA (abbreviated to miRNA) due to its small size. MiRNAs have been studied extensively since their discovery ten years ago, and have been implicated as players in several human diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. They  usually function by turning down or shutting down certain genes. The  Chinese research provides the first in vivo example of ingested plant miRNA surviving digestion and influencing human cell function in this way.

Should the research survive scientific scrutiny — a serious hurdle — it  could prove a game changer in many fields. It would mean that we’re  eating not just vitamins, protein, and fuel, but gene regulators as  well.

That knowledge could  deepen our understanding of many fields, including cross-species  communication, co-evolution, and predator-prey relationships. It could  illuminate new mechanisms for some metabolic disorders and perhaps  explain how some herbal and modern medicines function.

This study had nothing to do with  genetically modified (GM) food, but it could have implications on that  front. The work shows a pathway by which new food products, such as GM  foods, could influence human health in previously unanticipated ways.

Monsanto’s website states, “There is no need for, or value in testing the safety of GM foods in  humans.” This viewpoint, while good for business, is built on an  understanding of genetics circa 1960. It follows what’s called the  “Central Dogma” of genetics, which postulates a one-way chain of command between DNA and the cells DNA governs.

The Central Dogma resembles the process of ordering a pizza. The DNA codes  for the kind of pizza it wants, and orders it. The RNA is the order  slip, which communicates the specifics of that pizza to the cook. The  finished and delivered pizza is analogous to the protein that DNA codes  for.

We’ve known for decades  that the Central Dogma, though basically correct, is overly simplistic.  For example: MiRNAs that don’t code for anything, pizza or otherwise,  travel within cells silencing genes that are being expressed. So while  one piece of DNA is ordering a pizza, it could also be bombarding the  pizzeria with RNA signals that can cancel the delivery of other pizzas  ordered by other bits of DNA.

Researchers have been using this phenomena to their advantage in the form of small, engineered RNA strands that are virtually identical to miRNA. In a  technique called RNA interference, or RNA knockdown, these small bits of RNA are used to turn off, or “knock down,” certain genes.

Humans and insects have a lot in common, genetically. If miRNA can in fact survive the gut then it’s entirely possible that miRNA intended to influence insect gene regulation could also affect humans.”

What can you do?  Well, California has it going on right now.  Prop 37  would make California the first state in the country to require that certain plant or animal products sold be labeled if its genetic material has been modified. The law would also make it illegal for food companies to label genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, as “natural.”  If approved, Proposition 37 would take effect in 2014.

We have a right to know and California is hoping to pass this proposition so other states can follow.  The passing of this prop could change the future of our food.

Just trust me….says the big corporations……..

 Ummm……no thanks…

SUPPORT PROPOSITION 37 AND SAY NO…to GMO’s