cha cha cha cherries!

cherry%201_0

Oh yummy, yummy cherries!  It’s the sign of summer!!!

Yes, they are delicious but did you know can knock the socks off gout and also help in alleviating arthritis?

IT’S TRUE!

Just one cup of sweet or sour cherries contains about 130 calories and are a source of beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium.  There has even been research that has found the quercetin in cherries is linked to a reduced risk of coronary artery disease.  And they taste great!!

Here is some great news for those suffering with pain and swelling:

“In research published in 2004 at Johns Hopkins University, rats were injected  with either a solution containing tart cherries or a prescription non-steroidal  anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and exposed to either a heated surface or an  inflammatory agent. The tart cherries significantly reduced pain sensitivity and  at the highest dosage were as effective as the drug. The authors conclude that  tart cherries may have a beneficial role in inflammatory pain. In a 2001 study  at Michigan State University, the anthocyanins in cherries were found to be  equivalent to two common over-the-counter painkillers(also NSAIDs) for  inhibiting the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes associated with inflammation.” (source)
Cherry

Remember when buying cherries, look for plump, firm fruit with green stems.  Both sweet and sour cherries will spoil quickly.  Find them at your local farmers market since imported cherries aren’t as flavorful.   Unwashed fruit should keep in your refrigerator for up to a week.  Be sure to wash right before eating, since water can cause the cherry to split and soften.

YUMMY CHERRY TART

  • 9 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 ounces bar cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound fresh sweet cherries, such as Bing, pitted and halved
  • 1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse graham crackers and 2 tablespoons sugar until finely ground. Add butter, and process until combined. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using the base of a dry measuring cup, firmly press mixture into bottom and up sides of pan. Bake until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, vanilla, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add cream, and beat until soft peaks form; spread mixture in cooled crust. Scatter cherries on top.

In a small saucepan, combine jam and 1 teaspoon water; heat over low until liquefied, about 2 minutes. Using a pastry brush, dab cherries with glaze. Refrigerate tart at least 30 minutes or, covered, up to 1 day.  (from Everyday Food, June 2007)

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!

just when you think you are the bee’s knees……..

It’s official.  I’m old.

Owie…it happened overnight.  I took my sweet little grand-daughters to church, knelt down to pick up something and BAM!!!!!

Who knew that osteoarthritis would be at church!!  It was waiting for me at church!!!  What the heck?!!  I couldn’t stand back up without making a horrible looking face and an equally horrifying sound……it sounded like an exorcism was happening in the back of the gift shop.

It seems that arthritis is going to get most of us..sooner or later.  What is osteoarthritis?  It is the painful result of cartilage breakdown.

On Monday I hobbled to the doctor to get an x-ray and that is when he gave me the news.  Yep, I had stiffness, tenderness, warmth and swelling around my joints.  These knees were popping and cracking like a bag of popcorn in a microwave.

The doctor decided to have an x-ray made of my lower back also…..yes…..it’s there also.  Thanks for asking.

Now what?  Basically, if the joints are swollen, the doctor can prescribe anti-inflammatories such as Advil, Aleve or Motrin.  Heat for stiffness and cold packs for swelling.  He told me that unless the pain was very severe, I should keep moving.  I need to keep those joints lubricated.

Then I came across this….a new word that I had not heard or experienced.

KNINKLES….(knee wrinkles)  Turns out, most of us will get these too….(unless you do what I have done for years and use a “neck” wrinkle cream on your legs…Neck creams are much thicker and YES….I DON’T HAVE KNINKLES!!!  For more serious kninkles, check out Thermage or consider a ‘thigh’ tuck….or just wear pants.)

Here are a few “famous” Kninkles…….(via)

So….what’s my take on this new arthritic me??  Well…..I wouldn’t trade my smooth ‘old’ knees for ANY of these celebrity knees…..and my hubby?  Yep…he STILL thinks I’m the bee’s knees!!!!

the healing power of Turmeric…

Turmeric?  I haven’t felt the need to rush to the grocery store for my turmeric, have you?  Well, we might reconsider…

Turmeric, which is also called the “poor man’s saffron,” is considered one of the most powerful and natural anti-inflammatories identified today!  It has been used as a remedy for joint problems, digestive problems, menstrual irregularities and liver complaints, just to name a few!

The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has also been shown to help prevent multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, skin disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome and many digestive disorders.  Did you know that in the laboratory, curcumin inhibits growth in many cancers, such as, colon, prostate, lung, liver, stomach, breast, ovarian, brain and leukemia! It has  also been know to move harmful and aging toxins out of the body.  What an amazing spice!!

To be assimilated by the body, turmeric must be mixed with black pepper.  Ideally, it must be dissolved in oil (olive, canola or linseed oil, preferably) and mixed with the black pepper.  You can purchase curry mixes, however the turmeric is only 20% of the total, so take the time to mix your own.

How to Use:

Mix 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and a generous pinch of black pepper.  Add to vegetables, soups and salad dressings. Try on deviled eggs for breakfast!  (You may also add a few drops of agave syrup to remove any bitter taste)

Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction.  Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.

honey & cinnamon??

What do you know…..a little honey and cinnamon lesson here…..

Honey is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot.  It will do what some call turning to sugar.  In reality honey is always honey.  However, when left in a cool dark place for a long time it will do what I rather call “crystallizing”.  When this happens I loosen the lid, boil some water, and sit the honey container in the hot water, turn off the heat and let it liquefy.  It is then as good as it ever was.  Never boil honey or put it in a microwave.  To do so will kill the enzymes in the honey.

Cinnamon and Honey
Bet the drug companies won’t like this one getting around. Facts on Honey and Cinnamon: It is found that a mixture of honey and Cinnamon cures most diseases.  Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world.  Scientists of today also accept honey as a ‘Ram Ban’ (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases.  Honey can be used without any side effects for any kind of diseases.

Today’s science says that even though honey is sweet, if taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm diabetic patients.  Weekly World News, a magazine in Canada, in its issue dated 17 January,1995 has given the following list of diseases that can be cured by honey and cinnamon as researched by western scientists:

HEART DISEASES:
Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, apply on bread, instead of jelly and jam, and eat it regularly for breakfast.  It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack.  Also, those who have already had an attack, if they do this process daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack.  Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heart beat.  In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as you age, the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and veins.

ARTHRITIS:
Arthritis patients may take daily, morning and night, one cup of hot water with two spoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder.  If taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured.  In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week, out of the 200 people so treated, practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain, and within a month, mostly all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis started walking without pain.

BLADDER INFECTIONS:
Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it.  It destroys the germs in the bladder.

CHOLESTEROL:
Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water, given to a cholesterol patient, was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours.  As mentioned for arthritic patients, if taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol is cured.  According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.

COLDS:
Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and clear the sinuses.

UPSET STOMACH:
Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from the root.

GAS:
According to the studies done in India and Japan , it is revealed that if Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

IMMUNE SYSTEM:
Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacteria and viral attacks.  Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts.  Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacterial and viral diseases.

INDIGESTION:
Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals.

INFLUENZA:
A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural ‘Ingredient’ which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.

LONGEVITY:
Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age.  Take four spoons of honey, one spoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of water and boil to make like tea.  Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day.  It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age.  Life spans also increase and even a 100 year old, starts performing the chores of a 20-year-old.

PIMPLES:
Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste.  Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it next morning with warm water. If done daily for two weeks, it removes pimples from the root.

SKIN INFECTIONS:
Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin infections.

WEIGHT LOSS:
Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water.  If taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person.  Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.

CANCER:
Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully.  Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder for 1 month 3 times a day.

FATIGUE:
Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body.  Senior citizens, who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts, are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M. when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, increases the vitality of the body within a week.

BAD BREATH:
People of South America, first thing in the morning, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water, so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.

HEARING LOSS:
Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing.  Remember when we were kids?  We had toast with real butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it!