These are a Few of My Favorite Things. . . .

I am very lucky in my job.  I work in a health food store, and so I have access to lots of good food and healthy products.  Below are a few of my current faves:

  1. I don’t have Celiac, and I don’t need to avoid gluten.  But I happened to try one of these Katz Chocolate Rugelech the other day and, holey moley, was it yummy.  It’s likely that you know someone who does have gluten issues, so be a pal and get some of this for you both to share:  http://www.katzglutenfree.com/Chocolate_Rugelech_Gluten_Free_p/1064.htm.
  2. Nubian Heritage body care products are just lovely.  No other word for them.  They make soaps, lotions, body washes, etc.  They don’t have a true website yet (it’s just a home page that says ‘sorry our website it up-n-running yet), but don’t let that deter you.  I recommend the Coconut & Papaya Lotion.  It smells so good you want to eat it.  But don’t.
  3. You should, however, eat this:  http://ilovepeanutbutter.com/index.php/peanut-butter-1/darkchocolatedreams.html
  4. After you eat the rugelech and the chocolate peanut butter, you should probably brush your teeth.  Try this Neem & Pomegranate toothpaste from Himalaya Herbals:  http://www.himalayausa.com/Botanique/dentalcare/dental-care-pp.htm
  5. Healthcare practitioners are now realizing that 70% of our immune system is dependent on gut health.  To keep your GI tract healthy, add some good bacteria (probiotics) to your diet.  Fermented foods, like yogurt, are great for this.  But if you aren’t a yogurt fan, try some probiotic supplements like these:  http://www.newchapter.com/probiotics.  Or these:  http://www.gardenoflife.com/Products-for-Life/RAW-Digestion/RAW-Probiotics-Ultimate-Care.aspx.
  6. Andalou Naturals makes brilliant body care products, and I am particularly fond of their face care collection for mature or dry skin.  If you are like me, and your skin makes the Sahara look swampy, you will appreciate their cleanser, toner, and creams.  This is the set I use and love:  http://andalou.com/index.php/skin-care/age-defying.html.

As always, please remember that I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.  What works for me may not work for you.  Consult your healthcare practitioner and listen to your body!

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Lunar-y Friday Fun

Yesterday’s Full Moon in Scorpio was also a partial lunar eclipse.  If we add up all the symbolism related to that event (full moon, Scorpio, lunar eclipse), we get “transformation in relationships.”  We might be feeling wants or needs or lacks in some area in our lives.  With the Sun in Taurus (representing “my stuff”) and the Moon in Scorpio (representing “other people’s stuff”), we tend to compare and re-evaluate our lot in life.  Am I where I want to be?  Do I have a good balance of material stuff and spiritual stuff?  For a really good article on this particular eclipse and lunar stuff in general, go here:  http://www.cafeastrology.com/lunationseclipses.html.

Today’s writing prompt, then, will be a diary entry about any emotional stuff that’s been simmering inside lately and about how you will transform it.

Happy inner exploring!

Full Moon

Food (and other stuff) for Thought

A few quick Wellness Facts-n-Tips for your Wednesday!

  • According to the Journal of Functional Foods, a small study showed that people who ate yogurt containing the probiotic strains L. amylovorus or L. fermentum for 6 weeks felt more energy and lost weight.
  • Dandelion greens are high in beta carotene, Vitamin E, calcium, potassium, B Vitamins, and zinc.  Considered a “bitter,” dandelions support digestion and make an excellent kidney tonic.
  • After publicity about certain barefoot running cultures such as the Tarahumara in Mexico, exercise enthusiasts and runners everywhere embraced minimalist footwear for every athletic endeavor.  The theory was that adopting a footstrike as if one was running barefoot–that is, landing on the forefoot–was healthier.  However, more recent studies about the running patterns of those barefoot cultures have shown that their footstrike varied with their SPEED.  At slower speeds, the barefoot runners actually landed on the rear or middle part of the foot.  At faster speeds, they landed on the middle or front part.
  • Coconut oil has recently come into favor for its healthful properties.  But be aware that it is the VIRGIN coconut oil that has the good stuff, not the partially hydrogenated version found in some fast foods.  Virgin coconut oil contains beneficial medium-chain fatty acids and lauric acids.  It also has a higher smoke point (350 degrees) which makes it a good choice for sauteing and stir frying.
  • Even though they are both simple sugars, fructose and glucose are processed differently.  Glucose seems to signal a satiety message (‘I’m full!”) to the brain, while fructose does not.  In other words, fructose will not cause you to feel full but glucose will.

(Information taken from the April 2013 issue of the IDEA Fitness Journal.)

 

 

The Farm Effect

Asthma, allergies, auto-immune disorders . . . . all have been on the rise over the past several years.  Of course, there is never just one reason for anything, and these conditions are no exception.  But one big contributor may be what’s been called the “hygiene hypothesis.”  This theory says that our over-emphasis on a hyper-sterile environment may be coming back to bite us in the bum.

Just as the  overuse of antibiotics has created “superbugs,” our fascination with things like hand sanitizers has resulted in another unintended consequence:  unhealthy immune systems.  Researchers are now realizing that our immune system needs to be tried and tested in order to function properly.

A 2002 study in Germany found that people who were born and raised on farms were less likely to have allergies and asthma.  Further studies have agreed with those findings.  Being exposed to the many microbes on a farm seems to have beneficial effects on one’s immunity.  In other words, the immune system needs to have a chance to learn how to defend itself against attackers, and then also learn how to simmer down when it isn’t being attacked.

To me, the take-away message is that into each life some rain must fall.  We can’t avoid the heartbreaks, the tears, the sniffles, the failures.  Our quest for perfection can only end in more suffering.

Natural First Aid Remedies

Mother Nature provides lots of natural remedies for us accident-prone humans.  If you would like to add some holistic helpers to your first-aid kit, consider these:

WITCH HAZEL:  antiseptic, mildly astringent, anti-inflammatory, excellent as a facial toner or on blisters

TEA TREE OIL:  antimicrobial, antiseptic, excellent for scrapes and cuts

HONEY:  antibacterial, great for minor cuts and burns (use the raw unprocessed kind of honey)

GINGER and TURMERIC:  excellent anti-inflammatories

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE:  an all-around powerhouse; use a 3% solution as a soak for athlete’s foot, as a facial toner, as a mouthwash, and as a toothpaste when combined with baking soda

(As always with health advice, please check with your practitioner first.  Remember that I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.)

 

Martial Friday Fun

On this date in 1861, General Beauregard and his Confederate troops opened fire on Ft. Sumter in South Carolina, thus beginning the American Civil War.

At the present, we’ve also got a bunch of planets in Aries.  Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, is named for the god of war and represents aggression, new beginnings, and action.

So, for today’s Friday Fun, write the opening sentence to your sweeping war epic.   Set the stage for us, and use the words battle and fiery.  Feel free to use forms of those words instead, like battlefield or fire.

Happy writing!

The Elementals

Gnome

Who doesn’t love a garden gnome?  Subject of fun commercials, nursery rhymes, and online images by way too many people with way too much time on their hands, gnomes are one of the Elementals, spirit beings related to earth, air, water, and fire.

Gnomes, of course, are the earth spirits.  They concern themselves with the processes by which matter, especially minerals, assumes different forms.  Because of this governance, alchemists would seek gnome assistance when trying to turn lead into gold.

Sylphs embody the element of air.  Sometimes tempestuous like the weather they create, sylphs are also spirits of inspiration. The element of air represents the mind, clarity of vision, and music.

Undines are the water spirits.  They inhabit the oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers.  Water represents the emotions and intuition, and so undines are the most empathetic of the Elementals.

And finally, salamanders represent the element of fire.  Born from the first volcano, salamanders explore all aspects of fire, including lightning and magma.  Salamanders personify (amphibify?) the qualities of unrestrained will and fearlessness.

Get out and about in nature today; you might just run across an Elemental willing to chat with you.  If you see a gnome with a suitcase, however, it’s probably not a real Elemental.

Information for this post taken from “The Book of Faeries” by Francis Melville.