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?

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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!!!

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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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how to breathe…. like a boss….

Well, let’s see….I’ve been breathing for almost 54 years now, so I think I’ve got it down now.

Did you know that breathing is a very successful stress management tool?  Of course you did, but there might be a few new things that I can tell you, so hold your breath…..wait, don’t.

When you are under pressure and dealing with a lot of stress, your breath is fast, short and shallow.  However, when your are in a peaceful and relaxed state, you naturally take deeper, slower and longer breaths.

TRY THIS:

  • Sit in a chair with your back straight, yet not rigid.
  • Relax your shoulders and place your palms on either side of your abdomen.
  • Inhale slowly through your nose, causing your abdomen to expand, then your middle, and finally the chest.
  • When exhaling, contract your abdomen first, then your middle and then the chest.  Exhale out your mouth as if your were blowing out a candle.
  • Repeat two or three times.
  

Breathing is so natural, we hardly ever  think about it. But have you ever wondered if you’re doing it right? Every part  of the body is affected by breathing properly, and there is a proper way!
Dr. Andrew Weil says: “Improper breathing is  a common cause of ill health. If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to  just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly. There’s no  single more powerful–or more simple–daily practice to further your health and  well-being than breathwork.”
DID YOU KNOW?
  • Breathing is essential for the integrity of the brain, nerves, glands and internal organs
  • We can go without food for weeks and without water for days, but without oxygen, we will die within a few minutes
  • When the brain does not gets proper supply of this essential nutrient, it will result in the degradation of all vital organs in the body
  • The brain requires more oxygen than any other organ

So stop taking your breath for granted!  Do it right!  Like a boss!!

And most of all…………..try a tic-tac….

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gorgeous gogi berries….

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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??

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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.

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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

So…. what do you put this Grey Poupon?

 Well, yum!!  Remember the commercials?  Ok, if you are in an age bracket that rhymes with schmifty or above….(not necessarily my age…ahem…)…then you remember the two limousine’s pulling up next to each other and asking for some Grey Poupon….but of course! If you are not schmifty or above, then nevermind.

Hey, some fan-freaking-tastic recipes can be made with this magical mustard!

Herb Roasted Potatoes (via)

  • 1/3 cup Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 6 medium red skin potatoes (about 2 pounds), cut into chunks

directions

Mix all ingredients except potatoes in small bowl. Place potatoes in lightly greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan or on shallow baking sheet; toss with mustard mixture. Bake at 425° for 35 to 40 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender, stirring occasionally.

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Delish Mustard Dressing

2 Tablespoons stone ground Dijon Mustard

2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar

Mix all ingredients in small mason jar.  Shake like your life depends on it.  Pour over your favorite salad.

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 Chicken Dijon (via)

2 Tbsp.  GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp.  water
1/2 tsp.  garlic powder
1/4 tsp.  Italian seasoning
4 small  boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
HEAT oven to 375°F.  Mix mustard, water and seasonings.PLACE chicken in shallow pan; brush with mustard mixture.BAKE 20 min. or until chicken is done