Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Equinox: Finding Balance

Autumn in Central Park
"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn is a mosaic of them all." 
 - Stanley Horowitz

Happy Fall 2012!  From New York to Boston to Los Angeles and everywhere in between, fall is my favorite season. There is always a sense of excitement and change in the air.  I love California's warm, sunny days and cool nights - perfect "sleeping weather", and the Northeast's spectacular Indian Summers.  Break out the cashmere and boots!  

And, there are the "back-to's" -- back to school, back to work, back to routine, and back to shopping for a collection of new "stuff" -- a full compliment of school supplies, backpacks, clothing, shoes and bags. Busy-busy, more-more-more.

We've become a society immersed in creating something new in our lives at a time when nature is winding down. 

No matter where you live in North America, you'll notice lots of changes outdoors.  It's harvest time.  Leaves turn a variety of vivid colors and fall to the ground in the east and midwest.  Southern California braces for the hot, dry winds of the Santa Ana's. The Pacific Northwest gears up for rainy season.  There's generally less humidity in the air and the temperatures cool, as Mother Nature winds down and finds her balance....again.  




Finding balance is essential to a happy and vibrantly healthy life.  Emotional, mental and physical balance are all connected, and are the cornerstone of balanced living.  Not only is good health essential to happiness and well-being, it's also a boost to productivity and success.  A well-balanced person has a far greater ability to focus their attention and energy on attaining their goals, taking productive actions and moving forward in meaningful ways.


So, what does "balance" mean?  And how can we achieve it?

There are steps you can take to make changes in your day-to-day schedule to regain control and balance in life.  It's best to make adjustments over time to see what works best.  Once you start, you'll be better able to sort it out and maintain life balance.

You can -
Be honest with yourself about your current health -- We usually don't do much about our health until we're faced with a health crisis.  Good or bad, our  health affects the quality of our work and play.  Take steps to make necessary improvements.  Those in general good health, but know there's room for development, may want to see a nutritionist to create a plan to refine food choices, and/or enlist a trainer to get on track in the gym.  Those with more pressing health issues should consult with a physician regarding blood work and a physical. We're happier when we've had solid sleep, a great workout and healthful nourishment. Be sure to drink plenty of pure water.

Give your brain a rest  --  Make a date with yourself to disconnect from the work world.  This will vary given the level of your responsibilities, but try it for at least a few hours each night.  Turn off the phone, the computer, the TV -- everything that is a distraction.  Spend this time alone to pray or meditate, or to reconnect with family and friends.  Both quiet and laughter are great medicines. 

Just say "NO!" -- Let's face it, we are all over-scheduled. It's almost impossible to manage the demands we've set for ourselves to meet.  Something's gotta give, and it can't be your sanity.  So, take a look at your day-to-day, make a list of essentials and drop everything that saps your energy or doesn't add value to your life.

Let go of energy vampires -- Minimize your exposure to time wasters, chronic complainers and Debbie Downers.  Instead, surround yourself with positive, supportive people.  We become the five people we hang out with the most.

Be the Magellan of your world -- Discovery and travel are beautiful things.  If travel isn't possible right now, live in a state of "discovery" by looking at your world through fresh eyes.  Take a new route to work. Be a tourist in your own city. Even when you think you know your city, there's always some place new to explore. Or visit a nearby city and enjoy new activities. Road trip!

Become aware --  Activities abound!  We are only limited by our own imaginations.  Take a class, learn a new language, dance, take photos in the park, listen to new music, read a book, go to a concert, and/or catch that film you've been wanting to see.  Do what makes you feel light and makes your heart sing.

Be good to yourself --  Who doesn't like a day of beauty?  Facial, mani-pedi, massage...and there's no need to leave the house.  Arrange some flowers, pour a glass of wine, play some music, light some candles and fill the tub with salts and your favorite essential oils.  Mmmmmm....

Get close -- Relationships are essential to happy living. Turn off the TV.  Invite a friend over for a favorite meal and some overdue face time. Play a game with the kids. Really connect with those around you. Get to know them, and let them know you.

Laugh! -- Use your sense of humor to play, joke and laugh. Have fun!

Wheel of Life Balance

Start slowly.  Make one change at a time. Adjust your schedule to accommodate you and your priorities.  Slow down.  Breathe!  A little relaxation goes a long way.

My change?  I spend time in the hammock.  During the day.  In the sun. 

A votre sante!
OC




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to Make Stored Tomatoes in Olive Oil and Fresh Basil

Stored Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil and Basil
Dehydrated tomatoes have a rich bold flavor that when combined with olive oil and basil seems positively decadent.  The tomatoes and basil infuse the olive oil which is lovely on salads, for dipping bread or drizzled over grilled peppers and eggplant.  

There is some concern when using oil to store vegetables. It is recommended that all tomato in oil and herb in oil products be stored at refrigerator temperatures.


Store Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil with Basil
4 cups dried tomatoes (from about 12-16 cups fresh tomatoes)
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil 
1 pint canning jar with air tight lid
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

• Sterilize a pint jar by washing with soapy water and then pouring boiling water over the inside and outside of the jar.  Boil the screw band and lid in hot water.  

• Once the jar is dry begin placing the dried tomatoes into the bottom.  Use a clean skewer or spoon to pack the tomatoes together.  Then add a couple sprigs of basil.  Continue layering tomatoes and basil until the jar is full.  Then pour olive oil slowly over the top.

• Insert the skewer or the handle of the spoon down along the sides of the jar five to six times to force any air pockets out.  Make sure the oil completely cover the tomatoes.  Seal with the sterilized lid and band and refrigerate up to one month.

The bonus with packing in olive oil is you get both tomatoes and olive oil flavored with the dried tomatoes. The oil is great for salad dressing, dipping bread or making pasta.
Enjoy!
OC

How to Dry Tomatoes

Organic Tomatoes
If you have limited space, without air conditioning, and you want still want to put up food, consider dehydrating.  Tomatoes are plentiful right now, espeically in the Midwest so take advantage of the wealth.  Eight cups of fresh tomatoes are equal to two cups of dehydrated tomatoes.  

Now you can accomplish the drying one of two ways. 
Dehydrate your tomatoes in the oven or in a food dehydrator.  The oven is faster, but will heat up your house. It probably isn't worth the cost of a new dehydrator if you are only drying tomatoes. However, if you are dehydrating cherries, herbs, or other garden goodies it may be worth your while because it takes twice the time of an oven, but your house stays cool.  

Drying Tomatoes

The first step is the same for both the oven and the dehydrator. 

Prepare the tomatoes  
The limiting factor is how many tomato halves fit on your cookie sheets or dehydrator rack. Start by washing the tomatoes and removing any stems. Then cut them in half.  

Oven Dry Tomatoes

Place the Tomato Halves on a Cookie Sheet
Toss the tomatoes with a teaspoon of olive oil so they don't stick to the pan. Then arrange them with the cut side up on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with sea salt. It doesn't matter if the sheet has sides or not. The tomatoes can touch. They will shrink as they dehydrate.

Dehydrate the Tomatoes in the Oven
Put the rack in the middle of the oven to allow for circulation.  Place the tomatoes in the oven on low heat, between 200 - 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on how big and juicy your tomatoes are and how dry you want them, it will take 2-4 hours.

Dehydrate Tomatoes

Place the Tomato Halves on the Dehydrator Tray 
Arrange the tomatoes with the cut side up on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with sea salt. Make sure there is plenty of room between the tomatoes so the air can circulate.  

Dehydrate the Tomatoes in the Dehydrator
Put the tomatoes on the dehydrator.  Use the vegetable setting, (130-142 degrees F). Make sure to follow the directions that came with your dehydrator.  Depending on how big and juicy your tomatoes are and how dry you want them, it will take 6-10 hours.

Dehydrator Tomatoes


Store Dried Tomatoes
Once the tomatoes are dried you can store them in a Tupperware in the refrigerator. They will keep this way for a month. You can also freeze them for up to a year. My favorite is to pack them in olive oil in glass.   

Look for recipes in an upcoming blog.
Enjoy!
OC

Brussels Sprouts - Brain Food and More!

Brussels Spouts

Looking for a fall and winter super-vegetable? 

Brussels sprouts are an incredibly nutritious vegetable that offers protection from vitamin A deficiency, bone loss, iron deficiency anemia, and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and, colon and prostate cancers.  

Brussels sprouts are small leafy green buds resembling miniature cabbages in appearance. The buds are exceptionally rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which work wonders promote vibrant health. 

Like to shed some pounds?  Brussels Sprouts are low in calories and high in protein and fiber -- and have ZERO cholesterol!  They contain flavonoid anti-oxidants like thiocyanates, indoles, lutein, zeaxanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates which protect from colon and reproductive cancers. They contain high levels of anti-oxidant vitamins A, C and E, and contain other anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties to boost the immune system.  

Brussels spouts contain Zeaxanthin, which provides anti-oxidant and light-filtering protection from UV rays, preventing retinal damage and age-related macular degeneration disease in the elderly. They're high in vitamin A to promote healthy mucous membranes and is essential for acuity of vision. Vitamin A also offers protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.  

High in vitamin K, brussels spouts are an excellent dietary choice to promote bone strengthening, and helps limit neuronal damage in the brain, preventing or delaying the onset of Alzheimer's disease.  

Brussels spouts are high in many B-complex vitamins, such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, pantothenic acid, etc., that are essential for substrate metabolism in the body.

They are also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme.

Shopping

LNH always suggests consuming organic produce. That said, Brussels spouts are NOT one of the top 5 most pesticide-laden vegetables. So if organics are not an option where you are, this is a safer choice.  When shopping, choose small to medium-sized, firm, tight/compact spouts. Uniform size makes for uniform cooking.  Look for a bright green color and heavier weight.  Avoid heads that are yellowed, have open leaves or dark spots.


Preparation
Fill a bowl with clean, filtered water and add 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Cut the tail to the base of the sprout, then cut in half (very small spouts do not need to be cut).  If you'd like to leave the sprout whole, cut a small "X" in the base for more even cooking. Remove dirty outer leaves and discard. Soak in water for 10+ minutes. Rinse.

Create your own recipes with your favorite ingredients from this list which go well with Brussels spouts:
Almonds
Apples
Apple Cider Vinegar
Bread Crumbs (homemade from spouted or grain-free bread)

Butter
Caraway
Cardamom
Carrots
Chestnuts
Cream, raw
Dill
Garlic
Ginger
Grapefruit
Green Onions
Hazelnuts
Lemon
Maple Syrup
Miso
Mushrooms
Mustard
Nutmeg
Onions
Oranges
Parsley
Pecans
Pepper, Black
Peppers, Sweet
Pine Nuts

Pistachios
Rice (not if on paleo diet)

Rosemary
Salt
Savory
Shallots
Thyme
Vinegar
Walnuts
Wasabi


They are delicious steamed, baked or grilled.  If boiling, avoid "the smell" by wrapping a piece of bread in cheesecloth and add to your pot.
Easy Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
A quick and easy side dish recipe for brussels sprouts roasted with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. This easy brussels sprouts recipe is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.
If you'd like add apples to the recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2- 3 cups brussels sprouts, sliced in half
  • dash salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk together the vinegar, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Slowly incorporate the olive oil until a dressing is formed.
Place the brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle the oil and vinegar over the sprouts and gently toss to coat.
Bake for 25 minutes, turning once. Sprouts are done when they are lightly browned.
Plate, garnish and serve.
Enjoy!
OC




Saturday, September 15, 2012

Almond Flour Pancakes


Almond Meal/Flour is gluten-free, low in carbohydrates and is a good source of protein, fiber, vitamin E and magnesium.

We think these low-carb pancakes taste better than the old white flour kind, and almond meal is more nutritious.

Note:  Almond meal differs a bit from one batch to the other, so you may have to adjust the amount of liquid to get the thickness you want.




Ingredients:
           1 cup organic almond flour
           2 organic eggs
           1/4 cup water (for puffier pancakes, you can use sparkling water)
           2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
           1/4 teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt
           1 Tbsp raw, organic honey for sweetener

If you'd like, gently add organic blueberries, raspberries, bananas or your 
favorite fruit to the mix.

Preparation:
Mix ingredients together, adding fresh fruit last, and cook as you would other pancakes. Coat the frying pan with grapeseed oil and cook over medium+ heat. The only real difference is that they won't "bubble" on top the same way as regular pancakes. Flip them when the underside is brown.

Serve with organic maple syrup, fresh organic fruit and chopped almonds.
Yield:  Six 4" pancakes

Nutritional Information: 
Each pancake has 1 gram effective carbohydrate, plus 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and 155 calories.

Enjoy!
OC






It's All About Almonds


Almond products are nutritious and delicious. Recent studies show that almonds are one of the most nutritionally complete foods. Almonds are cholesterol free, low in saturated fat, low in carbohydrates, high in dietary fiber, high in antioxidant Vitamin E, and high in Calcium, Riboflavin, Copper, Zinc and Magnesium.
  

Additional health benefits of almonds -
• high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease
• substituting nuts for an equivalent amount of carbohydrate in an average diet resulted in a 30% reduction in heart disease risk. Researchers calculated even more impressive risk reduction--45%--when fat from nuts was substituted for saturated fats (found primarily found in meat and dairy products). 
• improved complexion
• improved movement of food through the colon and the prevention of cancer. 
• healthy fats and vitamin E, a quarter-cup of almonds contains almost 99 mg of magnesium (that's 24.7% of the daily value for this important mineral), plus 257 mg of potassium.
• decrease after-meal rises in blood sugar, but also provide antioxidants to mop up the smaller amounts of free radicals that still result. 
• the inclusion of almonds in the diet with elevating the blood levels of high density lipoproteins and of lowering the levels of low density lipoproteins (LDL). Lowering LDL-Cholesterol can reduce your risk of heart disease. (LDL is the form of cholesterol that has been linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease). 

• the more almonds consumed, the lower the meal's GI (glycemic index) and the less the rise in blood sugar after eating.
"It's all the components working together," explains Gene Spiller, Ph.D., director of the Health Research and Studies Center in Los Altos, California. "It's the fiber, the unsaturated fats, the arginine, the plant sterols and other phytochemicals. They all work together to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease." 
OC

Friday, September 14, 2012

Genetic Roulette - The World's Most Dangerous Food Scam...Exposed!

Watch Jeffrey Smith's Groundbreaking Movie, Genetic Roulette - The Gamble of Our Lives is turning out to be a life-changer, and you can watch it for FREE online until September 22, 2012 at www.GeneticRouletteMovie.com.

Genetic Roulette—The Gamble of Our Lives has audiences rushing home to clear out their cupboards of dangerous genetically modified (GM) foods. The evidence presented in the film makes the best case yet for why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are linked to disorders such as allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, infertility, autism, and cancer, to name a few. One health practitioner, Mary Tobin, L.Ac., said the film “provides abundant evidence that eating a GMO-free diet is the single most important change Americans can make for their health.

That evidence not only includes doctors and patients testimonials, but also veterinarians and farmers who describe dramatic health improvements in animals that switched to non-GMO feed. The categories of diseases that improve in humans and animals are the ones found in lab animals fed GMOs.  And these are many of the same categories, e.g. immune, reproductive, and gastrointestinal disorders that have been on the rise in the US population since GMOs were introduced.

Exposing the Dark Side
This 85 minute documentary reveals, what author John Robbins calls, “the bullying and deceit of the biotech industry,”— including manipulation of research, attacks on independent scientists and their findings, and infiltration and control of government regulators.

The film also reveals for the first time to horrific impact among workers on a South Africa farm, who were consuming a higher amount of GMO corn than probably any other group in the world.

Upbeat, Empowering and World Changing
Although this film’s eye-opening evidence in the film is sometimes shocking, it is by no means a downer. According to Robbins, it “shines a bright light of hope that we can reclaim our health and our food systems.” Smith explains that as little as 5% of the US population switching to non-GMO foods should deliver a tipping point, inspiring food companies to kick out GM ingredients. It was such a consumer rejection that already kicked GMOs out of Europe.

The film is being released right in the throes of the California campaign for Prop 37. If it passes in November, food companies will have to label products made with GM ingredients (like they do in nearly 50 other countries). Not only will this make it far easier for people to buy healthier non-GMO choices, the expected migration away from labeled GM products will probably accelerate the tipping point.

Genetic Roulette—The Gamble of Our Lives is a production of The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT). Those who view the film during the free showing week are encouraged to support IRT’s efforts, through donations, by subscribing to the Spilling the Beans free e-newsletter, and by joining with other citizen advocates through the Non-GMO Tipping Point Network—to help get the word out in California and beyond.


GENETIC ROULETTE unveils a world most of us have never seen. It raises alarming questions about GMOs, and we deserve answers. For all that you love, hear this message and act now.”
— Frances Moore LappĂ©, author of Diet for a Small Planet and EcoMind


We hope you share this ground breaking film with your family and friends.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

Watermelon Slushy


Why should you eat watermelon?

Watermelon is very detoxifying. It's rich in lycopene, which has been shown to protect against a growing list of cancers. Lycopene also protects against heart disease, and protect our DNA inside white blood cells.  Watermelon is higher in lycopene than tomatoes.

Watermelon is abundant in B Vitamins, which are crucial for energy production.  Watermelon delivers more nutrients per calorie, as it is so water-dense, making it an outstanding fruit to consume both pre and post work-out.

Half a watermelon contains over 12,000 IU's of Vitamin A, which keeps your eyes, skin and mucous membranes moist.  It also neutralizes free radicals that cause tissue and cellular damage.

Watermelon contains citrulline, a compound that helps relax blood vessels, similar to what happens when a man takes Viagra.  It's also beneficial to the heart, circulatory and immune system.

Watermelon improves our body's defense system via high concentrations of Vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps ward off illness and helps our bodies combat daily pollution and environmental stress.

Recipe for an easy Watermelon Slushy
Tip: Always use seeded, organic watermelons. 

To make:
• freeze three cups of watermelon chunks overnight and
• blend with 2-1/2 cups coconut water.

Pour, garnish and enjoy!

OC

Monday, September 3, 2012

8 Health Reasons to Love Watermelon

We love watermelon!
• Watermelon reduces the risk of dehydration and is a good source of antioxidant vitamins A and C, which build your immune system and neutralize free radicals.
• Watermelon contains a high level of lycopene, a potent betacarotene antioxidant. 

• Antioxidants reduce the risk of asthma, colon cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, prostate cancer and protects against macular degeneration. 
• Watermelon is rich in vitamins B1 (Thiamine), which is responsible for converting sugar into energy, the production of acetylcholine -- a neurotransmitter which relays messages to the muscles and nerves.  B1 assists with better eye health, improved brain function, and development of myelin sheaths, which are the protective covering of the nerves.
• Watermelon is high in vitamin B6, which is responsible for the proper function of 60 enzymes within our bodies, contributes to the manufacturing of seratonin, a chemical in our brain, and plays a major role in the production of hemoglobin and cells within the immune system.
• Watermelon is high in magnesium, an essential mineral responsible for transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
• Watermelon has a natural cooling affect on the body as it is high in the amino acid, citrulline, which is used to make another amino acid, arginine, which is used to remove ammonia from the body.
• Watermelon is also a good source of potassium, which carries oxygen to the brain, has the ability to lower blood pressure and helps prevent kidney stones.

Summer is wrapping up, so enjoy watermelon while you can. Your body will love you for it!

Note: Consume organic SEEDED watermelon.



Enjoy!
OC

Tea Tree Oil - The Universal Antiseptic

Tea Tree oil is one of the most popular and useful essential oils. The natural antiseptic, germicidal, anti-fungal, antiviral, antibacterial and immune-boosting qualities of Tea Tree oil make it applicable to a wide range of health conditions and household uses. It is also frequently used in cosmetic, skin care, and hair care beauty products.  Tea Tree oil is well-tolerated, having no known allergic reactions.

More and more people are rejecting chemical-laden, health-destroying, hazardous (yes, hazardous!) household cleaning products commonly found in local supermarkets.  Big chemical corporations are not required to list ingredients on the product label, which gives them carte blanche to use toxic ingredients without public knowledge.

There are companies who manufacture eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products, but it's easy and more economical to make your own.  You may notice a physiological and emotional change when you use them, as they are safe to the skin and emotionally soothing.  Once you start using your own recipes, you may not ever go back to using commercial products!

Clinical studies date back to 1923 by Dr A R Penfold, an Australian chemist, who found that Tea Tree leaves contained an essential oil which showed antiseptic and bacterial properties 13 times stronger than carbolic acid, the accepted standard of that time.  In 1930, E M Humphrey identified that Tea Tree oil's disinfectant action on typhoid bacilli was 60 times greater than that of hand soap.  By the 1940's, Tea Tree oil became standard issue in military first aid kits.

If you're looking to replace chemical-laden, toxic household cleaning products, Tea Tree oil is one of the strongest natural antiseptics you'll find, and is one of the best choices for ingredients in home cleaning recipes.  In addition to routine housekeeping, Tea Tree oil is an effective mold and mildew killer.  Mix 2 teaspoons of Australian Tea Tree oil in a spray bottle with 2 cups of water.  Spray mixture on musty area.  The smell will dissipate and the mold will be gone.  Tea Tree oil can also be used as an insecticide.

It's easy, economical and more healthful to make your own cleaning supplies with the antibacterial properties that nature provides.