Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More on Broccoli: from Prevention Magazine

Broccoli is chockfull of Vitamin C, an immune-boosting, and cancer-preventative nutrient.
And, there are 30 milligrams of Vitamin C in every 1/2 cup of Broccoli!

Best ways to get the most out Broccoli?

Nuke it! According to a new study published in the Journal of Food Science, when you microwave broccoli, rather than steaming or boiling the veggie, it retains 90% of the Vitamin C as opposed to only 34% when boiling and 22% when steaming.

What happens when you boil and steam (any veggie) is that the nutrients leach out into the water, which people usually just throw out. You could retain that water and use it as stock for soups, but who ever does that? When you microwave veggies, it cooks them by "heating up their natural water content."
Prevention Magazine recommends stirring the veggies half way through the cooking process to make sure the food is cooked evenly.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Patrick Henry Hughes and his selfless Dad- Inspiration for us all

In my humble opinion, one of the most admirable of personal attributes is selflessness, although not many people are endowed with that gift. We usually do things for others because we believe we will somehow gain something, be it material or emotional, from the act of giving, and as long as we don't have to make major sacrifices. Then there are those who give selflessly of themselves, without any expectations, because they simply feel compelled to serve another.

On Father's Day I wrote about Dick Hoyt (Team Hoyt), the selfless father who has been running marathons with his disabled son for years, and here's yet another amazing Dad who has totally devoted his life to helping his son, who was born without eyes and crippled at birth, to fulfill his dreams. Patrick Hughes, though born disabled, was gifted in other ways. He plays the piano beautifully, and the trumpet, and as a college student at the University of Louisville, was asked to join the marching band, wheelchair and all. So Dad works graveyard shift for UPS, so he can sit with his son during classes and band practice, and then wheel him around during the games. Basically Dad has no life, other than work and son, and yet he does it with love and joy.

The son, too, is an inspiration. He does not see himself as 'disabled' but with abilities, and indeed he does have many. I salute them both, and all those others who give of themselves without need for anything in return.

Get out the tissues.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Swedish Proverb- Fear less, hope more

Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; love more, and all good things will be yours.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tips for buying and storing fresh produce

Fruits and veggies are an important addition to our daily food intake. They are chock full of vitamins and nutrients, and at least 5 servings per day, are recommended for a healthy diet. But those yummy fruits and veggies can also be carriers of food-borne illnesses that, oftentimes, can be fatal, so it's very important to handle those products in a safe manner, especially for those who are Raw Foodies.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has some great tips on how to safely handle fresh produce. The following information is courtesy of the FDA:

Buying Tips:

*when selecting fresh-cut produce, choose only those items that are refrigerated or surrounded by ice.

* Bag fresh fruits and vegetables separately from meat, poultry and seafood when packing them to take home.

Storage Tips:

* Store certain perishable fresh fruits and veggies (like strawberries, lettuce, herbs and mushrooms) in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40 degrees F. or below.

* All produce that is purchased pre-cut or peeled should be refrigerated.

Preparation and Handling Tips:

* Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.

* Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits before preparing or eating. If it looks rotten, it should be discarded.

* All produce should be thoroughly washed before eating. Wash fruits and veggies under running water before eating, cutting or cooking.

* Even if you plan to peel the produce beofre eating it, it is still important to wash it first.

* Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush.
* Drying produce with a clean towel or paper towel may further reduce bacteria that may be present.

* Many pre-cut, bagged produce items such as lettuce are pre-washed. If so, it will be stated on the packaging. This pre-washed, bagged produce can be used without further washing. As an extra measure of caution, you can wash the produce again just before you use it. Pre-cut or pre-washed produce in open bags should be washed before using.

Focus On: Health Risks with Raw Sprouts

Raw sprouts that are served on salads, wraps, and sandwiches may contain bacteria that can cause food-borne illness. Rinsing sprouts first will not remove bacteria. Home-grown sprouts also present a health risk if they are eaten raw or lightly cooked.

To reduce the risk of illness, do not eat raw sprouts such as bean, alfalfa, clover, or radish sprouts. All sprouts should be cooked thoroughly before eating to reduce the risk of illness.

This advice is particularly important for children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems, all of whom are at risk of developing serious illness due to food-borne disease.

In addition, be sure to:

Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot water and soap between the preparation of raw meat, poultry and seafood products and the preparation of produce that will not be cooked.

For added protection, kitchen sanitizers can be used on cutting boards and counter tops periodically. Try a solution of one teaspoon of chlorine bleach to one quart of water.
If you use plastic or other non-porous cutting boards, run them through the dishwasher after use.

I eat raw sprouts, but I make sure I wash them thoroughly before eating them. I also happen to wash all my fruits and veggies, even those that state they are pre-washed. You can never be sure.

But there's a saying in Spanish "Mugre que no mata, engorda." Or in other words, "dirt that doesn't kill, fattens", so I also don't go crazy.
Happy munching!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Basis of Homeopathy

Guest posted by Frasypoo at This and That

The basis of homeopathy

Like cures like
For example, if the symptoms of your cold are similar to poisoning by mercury, then mercury would be your homeopathic remedy.

Minimal Dose
The remedy is taken in an extremely dilute form; normally one part of the remedy to around 1,000,000,000,000 parts of water.

The Single Remedy
No matter how many symptoms are experienced, only one remedy is taken, and that remedy will be aimed at all those symptoms.

What I like about homeopathy medicines was that it was aimed towards the patient, it was not a one size fits all deal! I started getting migraines when I was 11, and it was horrible. I got those "auras" and puked all over my classroom!! My mom would be called to school to come and pick me up. Those days we did not have a telephone and there would be one person on the road I lived on who did, and they would have to pass on a message to my mother! Since my dad was at work, my mom would have to get an auto (a three wheeler taxi) and take me home!! What an ordeal! But my mom had migraines when she was young, and she decided to take me to the homeopath. It was a free clinic every Friday, and you had to get there 2 hours early! That was the only homeopath they knew. But once I started on medication I had very few attacks.

The pills are tiny, like little mustard seeds, and tasted like sugar. I also remember them telling me not to drink coffee! As I grew older I discontinued the medicine since the migraines were rare. I started getting them once a year when I moved here, and that's when I had to get my mom send me some. I wrote my entire case history on a letter and she took it to the homeopath.....a new one who lived near her house! But that's how we have been doing it so far. She mails them to me and it costs about $25.00. I could have labelled this post as how homeopathy saved my life, because it did. There are virtually no side effects, though the coffee part bothers me. I am not nice without my coffee in the mornings, but I switch to tea when I remember to do so.

Homeopathy works with your body and not against it. I would recommend it to anyone who would be willing to give it a try.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Broccoli banishes Prostate cancer, according to National Institute of Cancer

Looks like there's something to be said for the "eat your veggies" mantra parents have, for generations, forced down their children's, often unwilling, throats.

The BBC reports that, in the Journal of the National Institute of Cancer, researchers have claimed that eating cruciferous and dark green, leafy veggies (like broccoli, cauliflower and spinach), on a regular basis, can actually reduce the risk of prostate cancer! Apparently, those vegetables have anti-cancerous properties.
A study of 1,300 men found they [cauliflower and broccoli] were better than any other vegetable at protecting against aggressive tumours.
Although eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits and veggies can help maintain good health and reduce the risk of cancer, the study found that it was the increased consumption of cauliflower and broccoli, in particular, that decreased the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. They also contend that spinach can be helpful, but not to the extent that cauliflower and broccoli is.

A weekly serving of cauliflower was associated with 52% decreased risk of aggressive disease and similar amounts of broccoli cut the risk by 45%.
Most experts claim that eating a healthy, balanced diet with at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables (including broccoli and cauliflower), per day, can be very helpful in preventing many different forms of cancers.

So go ahead, stock up on that broccoli, steam it, grill it, chop it up raw and serve with a dip, your prostate and other body parts will thank you for it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Chinese Proverb: Birds of Sorrow

"You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair."

I love this Chinese proverb, particularly as someone who has suffered from depression, since childhood, and learned to overcome it.

Depression, for many, usually starts off with a thought or a feeling. And, although we have no control over those negative thoughts or feelings that randomly pop into our heads and hearts, we do have control over how long we indulge them. The longer we allow them to sit and fester within, the harder it becomes to dig ourselves out of the dark hole we have climbed into. The sooner you dismiss any negativity in your life, the sooner you become whole again. It truly is a question of choice. When a negative thought enters my mind, I immediately dismiss it. I refuse to give it any credence, and promptly replace it with a positive thought.

As for feelings of sorrow or depression, as soon as I start to feel that certain 'heaviness of heart', I acknowledge it, realize it is just an illusion and release it. The best thing to do is get on the mental plane, by doing something that involves some kind of mental activity. Or go out and be with people, watch a comedy, or read some kind of spiritual book. Sitting at home brooding will just worsen the situation.

The choice is ours. We just have to want to make that choice.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A basic intro to Ayurveda

Guest posted by Frasypoo from This and That.

Ayurveda has very rich history dating back to before 520 BC.
The basis for Ayurveda is Tridosha- Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Vata is the air principle necessary to mobilize the function of the nervous system.

Pitta is the fire principle which uses bile to direct digestion and hence metabolism into the venous system.

Kapha is the water principle which relates to mucous, lubrication and the carrier of nutrients into the arterial system.

It is believed that when these three are well balanced then everything is great with a person's health! Ayurvedic medicines are made from herbs or mixtures of herbs, either alone or in combination with minerals, metals and other ingredients of animal origin. The metals, animals and minerals are purified by individual processes before being used for medicinal purposes. Ayurvedic medicines are in common use in almost every Indian household. There is a general hesitation with the older people in using "English medicine" as opposed to Ayurveda. It is because the side effects if any are very rare.

It is very common to find Ayurvedic soaps, creams, toothpastes etc on a shelf in an Indian house. I don't know if it's an Indian thing or if it's my family, but they hesitate before popping a pill. They would rather use something natural, like basil for a tummy ache or rubbing a balm on their forehead for a headache. I missed my natural meds when I came here and have ended up stocking it when my mom sends parcels, or when she visits !!

Looking forward to writing more posts on Ayurveda and Homeopathy and how it is used!

Monday, August 6, 2007

The wonders of Holistic medicine

Frasypoo, from This and That blog, is jumping on board with Mind, Body and Spirit. Frasy hails from India and is very knowledgeable about Ayurvedic and Homeopathic remedies, so when she has time, she will be posting about those alternative healing methods.

Ayurveda, like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is an ancient system of healing which has helped people for centuries. Homeopathy is relatively newer (from the early 1800s), but equally efficacious. As with allopathic (western) medicine, a certain amount of experimentation is needed, as certain methods will work better on certain people, but it is well worth the effort.

I have always been interested in alternative and complementary medicine, because not only does it work, there are far less risks involved when dealing with herbs etc. The major difference between western and holistic medicine is that western medicine merely treats the symptoms, whereas holistic medicine treats the body, mind and spirit as a whole. Those 3 aspects of our being are inextricably linked, and when one is out of balance, it can adversely affect the other aspects. So when you see a holistic practitioner, they will usually spend about an hour or an hour and a half for the initial consultation. They will ask a series of personal and health-related questions to get an idea of what might be out of sink. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners (TCM) will check pulses and your tongue. This enables them to gauge how best to treat you. Unlike, allopathic medicine, it is definitely not a one size fits all kind of treatment.

I have had great success with alternative medicine. About 16 years ago I was diagnosed with severe Ulcerative Colitis (ulceration of the colon), an Auto-Immune disorder with no known cause or cure. Although most western doctors deny that nutrition has any bearing on the dis-ease, I discovered that cheese was always a factor in my flare-ups, so now I refuse to eat it. Thankfully, I have been in remission for 4 plus years, but my last flare-up lasted 9 months on western meds with no end in sight. Fed-up with my Gastroenterologist, who was at a loss as to why his meds weren't helping, I did some research on herbal remedies and opted to try a protocol of Robert's Formula (specifically for U.C.); a product called Intestinew by Renew Life (strengthens the integrity of the lining of the stomach and colon), and George's Roadrunner Aloe Vera juice (healing agent). Even though my doctor insisted herbs would be of no use, within a month I was starting to heal, and within 3 months I was in total remission. I've been fine ever since, without taking anything. That sold me on herbal remedies. Needless to say, I never went back to the doctor.

Then, in December of 2004, I became very ill with Rheumatoid Arthritis, another auto-immune disorder with no cure or known cause. Within 5 short weeks every joint in my body, from my shoulders down, was in excruciating pain. At one point I was hospitalized because they thought I was bleeding internally, from the 6 Advils per day that I was taking, which, by the way, did absolutely nothing for the pain. My SED Rate (the measure of inflammation in one's body) was 121, when I was first diagnosed. Normal is 0 to 20! I could barely walk, couldn't move my arms more than an inch or 2 from my body, because my shoulders froze from lack of use. It was just too darn painful to move them. I wish someone had warned me about the importance of exercise, even when in pain. It's very important to exercise when you have arthritic conditions.

At first, my Rheumatologist wanted to put me on Enbrel (a heavy-duty auto-immune suppressant) claiming my hands would become crippled and deformed if I didn't. Stubborn as I am, I refused. I agreed to take Bextra, but in the meantime I started seeing a TCM/Acupuncturist. I reached a plateau with him, and stopped. Meanwhile, had to have physical therapy (for the frozen shoulders). When I was done with that, I started seeing a Naturopath/Acupuncturist who helped me reach another level of wellness. In the meantime, I started researching and experimenting, on my own, with various herbs. Bextra went off the market, and yet I kept improving with just the herbs and supplements, much to the amazement of my Rheumatologist. My SED rate now fluctuates between 1 and 7, well within the normal range. And my knuckles are as perfect as they always were. Although a major sceptic at first, my Rheumatologist is now a believer, and has even told other patients about my success.
The only downside is that the healing process ,with most natural remedies, often takes longer, and you need to have patience. But for me it was truly well worth it. You also need to thoroughly research the products, so it is usually best to use the guidance of a holistic practitioner if you're not willing to take the risks, particularly if you are on western meds, as well.
The wonderful thing, though, is that there are certain complementary therapies, like acupuncture, that are becoming more widely accepted by the western medical establishment. I think people will benefit greatly from that emerging awareness and acceptance of the benefits of alternative medicine.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Heart Attacks - How much do you know?

Did you know that heart attacks have been linked to diet, smoking and obesity but also to less obvious risk factors such as:

Weather: Researchers have found that exposure to frigid
temperatures can trigger heart attacks as well as angina and strokes.

Gum Health: Studies suggest that if you have periodontal disease, your heart attack risk nearly doubles. Bacteria may enter the blood and promote atherosclerosis.

Body Shape: Being overweight is bad enough,, but if your fat lies more in the abdomen than the hips, you are especially prone to heart disease.

Day of the week/time of the day: Cardiac events tend to occur most often between 4 and 6 pm and on Mondays and Fridays.

Attitude: Optimism has been linked to better immune function, lowered levels of a stress-related chemicals, and a lower incidence of heart attacks

Courtesy: Seth J. Baum, MD

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Inspiration of the day: If there is right in the Soul....there will peace in the world.

If there is right in the Soul,
there will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.

Lao-Tze ancient Chinese philosopher, father of Taoism

Crossposted at my other blog: Confessions of a Closet Republican

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Why this blog?

As my other blog is primarily political in nature, and deals with all the negativity we are faced with in our world today, I thought it would be nice to create a blog that I felt would balance out that negativity.

I will be blogging about spirituality and health, and whatever else I feel might make a positive difference in our world, because when "mind, body and spirit" are in balance, our personal world becomes a much better place, and by extension the rest of the world.

I have a very strong faith in holistic medicine, so I will be sharing whatever I come across that I feel might be of help to others. At some point I will share how herbs have helped me, and how I came to embrace holistic as opposed to allopathic (western) medicine.

I will also share anything spiritual that I find enlightening or of comfort, from all religious sources. I hope you will keep an open mind.

Thought I would start out with this Swedish Proverb:

Fear less, hope more;
eat less, chew more;
Whine less, breathe more;
talk less, say more;
love more, and all good things will be yours

Lotus flower courtesy of

Coming Soon