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Archive for the ‘Healthy Food Facts’ Category

PostHeaderIcon How To Beat The Flu and Colds Naturally

When cold and flu season comes around, many people just accept that they are probably going to get sick at least once during the season. Some people get sick multiple times during the season. Its just another part of life we have to accept. Or do we?

With natural methods, you can prevent colds and flu. You can even fight them at onset before they really take hold. If you do get sick and it gets bad, natural methods can help you recover much faster than with over the counter medicines.

First of all, drink a lot of water. Most of the time our immune system is weak due to dehydration. Often we do not even know that we are dehydrated. Most people do not drink the recommended 8 glasses of water per day. If you are not getting at least that much water each day, then you need to drink up if you get sick.

The next thing is to drink a whole jar or can of mixed vegetable juice. You should find a good, natural mixed veggie juice with no added ingredients. Drink the whole thing throughout day one. If you even start to feel the flu or cold coming on, then start drinking right away. The vegetable juice mix, taken slowly throughout the day, gives your body a large dose of any missing vitamins and minerals it may need to fight infection.

One of most powerful immune system boosters and flu fighting elements is vitamin C. This comes from oranges and clementines, bell peppers, hot peppers and other natural sources. Taking vitamin supplements is a tricky path to take because you are not sure if it is from a natural source or synthetic. Taking in anything synthetic is bad for you. You also need to find out if the vitamin C tablets are soluble in water, or in your stomach. Some cheaper brands do not even dissolve properly after you take them.

Also eating natural fruit and plants brings many supporting vitamins and minerals which your body needs.

Hot chili peppers are good for what ails you as well. Not only do they have vitamin C, but the hot chili oil has antimicrobial effects. Chili is also known to stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain, giving you a happy feeling and making you want to come back for more. Chili can be addictive due to this fact. Also, a good, happy attitude may help.

How To Fight Colds And Flu Naturally

Garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic. Garlic is best eaten raw because heat destroys its immune system boosting properties. Eat the raw garlic and chew it slowly and thoroughly for the best effects. For some reason, the crushing action of chewing garlic causes a chemical reaction that releases some powerful immune system boosting compounds. Garlic is one of natures most powerful medicines. By eating raw garlic next time you feel the flu coming on, you may just save yourself a trip to the doctor.

Honey grown locally also has some immune system boosting properties. Unpasteurized honey, in its pure and natural state, has enzymes that boost your immune system and help fight infection. Local honey also contains all the pollen from plants found in your area, which can help fight allergies.

Cinnamon can also help you fight infection.

There are many more immune boosting plants and herbs that you can use. Many of the mint family of plants help fight infection and have soothing properties, for example.

The next time you feel a stuffy head or scratching in the back of your throat, run right to the produce section of the local grocery store and get yourself some of these herbal powerhouses. If you take two or more of these during day one, you may just kill the bug before it gets a chance to set in.

I used to get sick a few times each year. The last two years I have managed to avoid getting sick beyond the first scratchy throat and stuffiness that comes on the first day. Normally, by the second day, I have fought off any sickness naturally.

One other important point to note is that your diet and intake of artificial ingredients plays a key role in your overall health and immune system strength. Natural foods lead to an overall healthier life.

Disclaimer: Natural herbal remedies are great, but if you do not recover within three days or get worse, seek medical attention. This article is for information only and is not intended to replace professional advice or medicine. Follow these opinions at your own discretion and risk.

PostHeaderIcon How To Roast Chestnuts

Winter and street markets seem to go hand in hand with the nice sweet flavor of roasted chestnuts. Often you find a street vendor selling roasted chestnuts on a cold winter day. Chestnuts are easy to roast yourself at home so you can enjoy them any time.

Roasting Chestnuts At Home

All you need are some chestnuts and a pan to put in the oven. First find some good, fresh chestnuts. Reject any that have mold on the outside, holes in them or if they seem too hard (dried out), or too soft (rotten).

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Score the chestnuts almost all the way across with a knife to prepare them for roasting. Some people like to score them twice in a cross pattern to make them easier to open. Then place your chestnuts in a pan and put them in the oven at for about 30 – 35 minutes.

When they are finished baking, pull them out of the oven and let them cool a few minutes. You can now easily peel off the shell and inner skin while they are still hot.

Eat them while they are fresh and warm.

Any leftover chestnuts (if any) are still a nice snack the next day.


PostHeaderIcon The fastest way to hang peppermint to dry

I have discovered a very fast way to hang peppermint to dry. Normally everyone advises you to use twine and tie peppermint plants in bundles and hang them upside down to dry. I have a better and much faster way.

Lemon balm plants from the peppermint family

First harvest your peppermint plants by cutting them off just above a pair of leaves. Leave a few inches of stem and a couple pairs of leaves on it. The mint will regrow at the cut and branch out into two stems. Above is a large mass of lemon balm, from the mint family, waiting to be harvested.

Now get some chip clips or metal office clips from the dollar store. Get some large safety pins and a wire coat hanger as well.

Take 3 or 4 of your plant clippings and gather them together in your hand in a straight row. Clip them together with the metal office clip. Now take a safety pin and attach the clip to a coat hanger with the pin.

Hanging Peppermint To Dry

Thats it. Your peppermint can be easily hung up to dry now. Just hang the coat hanger in a warm, dry place until the plants are fully dried.

Click on any image for a larger view.

Peppermint Hanging To Dry

Watch a short video here:

Keep watching for more food tips and wild edibles.

PostHeaderIcon Sweetleaf Nature’s Organic Sweetener. The Stevia plant provides calorie free, guilt free sugar substitute.

Sweetleaf is a relatively unknown organic sweetener with no calories. This fine plant grows like a weed if you put it outside, providing a renewable  sugar substitute without the health risks involved with many artificial, chemical sweeteners known today.

The sweetleaf plant can be found in plant shops and garden stores in spring. Or you can find the sweetleaf seeds online. The actual, professional name for this plant is Stevia. Stevia is often used in a processed form to provide a calorie free sweetener for foods, tea and coffee. You can find one of these processed forms in most grocery stores today. But I avoid processed, manufactured foods because in order to patent a food item, it cannot be something found in nature on its own, so it must be changed or processed in some way. And anyway, why would you want to mess with nature?

The Sweetleaf Stevia Plant Indoors in Pots During Winter
The Stevia or Sweetleaf Plant Growing Indoors During Winter

The Stevia plant grows just as happily inside in a pot during winter, or outside in the garden in summer. With proper care, this plant provides an unlimited supply of natural, sugar free and calorie free sweetener all year round. The plant in the photo above was outside during summer and then transplanted into a pot and taken indoors for the winter months. This is a current photo in mid March, 2011. 

There are no known side effects of Stevia plant usage. There have not been many studies done on the Sweetleaf plant, but it has been in use as a sweetener in many countries for hundreds of years. 

The raw Stevia leaf, when used as a sweetener is considered to be 10-15 times sweeter than suger. And the refined Stevia extract is considered 200-300 time sweeter than table sugar. This makes Sweetleaf valuable as an organic and healthy sugar substitute. Stevia has been in heavy usage in Japan for many years with no ill effects reported. Indians in Paraguay have been using it for hundreds of years as a natural sweetener. It has been used in many types of foods and drinks. Stay tuned for a natural  Stevia cola recipe later on in our blog. 

You can use the Stevia leaf directly as a sweetener in your cooking, tea or coffee; or you can process it yourself at home to extract the essential oils. Soak Stevia leaves in pure grain alcohol for 24 hours to extract the essential oils. Filter and use the liquid directly, or heat it gently, avoiding a boil, in order to evaporate the alcohol off. Be careful, this is very sweet and very little of the Sweetleaf extract is needed to sweeten your food or drinks. 

And, an added benefit of using pure Stevia leaf, is that you get some natural minerals and vitamins in trace amounts from the leaf. 

Harvesting Sweetleaf

To harvest Stevia, simply get out your scissors or plant trimmers and cut just above a leaf pair a few inches above the base of each stem. I leave about 6-8 inches of stem with its leaves intact in order to allow the plant to keep growing well. If you cut just above a leaf pair, the plant will sprout out and branch at that point in the future as it grows. This will cause the plant to become bushy and provide more branches for you to harvest next time.


Harvesting the Sweetleaf plant for use

How to harvest the Stevia leaves for use

Refer to the image above to see where to cut the Stevia plant in order to harvest its leaves for use. Now, you can lay the harvested leaves and stems on a tray and leave them out to dry. You can speed up the drying process if you have a gas oven. Placing the tray full of Sweetleaf into your oven with just the pilot light on will dry out your plants in about a day. Otherwise, place the tray somewhere dry and out of direct sunlight for a few days. When the leaves crumble to the touch, they are dry and ready for use.


Harvested Sweetleaf on a Tray for Drying

Harvested Stevia Leaves and Stems on a tray for Drying

After the leaves are dry, they will look like the next image.


The Dried Sweetleaf on a Tray

Dried Stevia Leaves on a Tray

Now you can enjoy your organic, all natural and calorie free sweetener. And you do not need to feel guilty or worry about your health with this all natural sweetener from the earth.

PostHeaderIcon Healthy Eating Facts / Organics and Pesticides

Here is some important information about the foods that we eat every day that contain pesticides and plastics and their effect on our health.

Some of the information posted here comes from a yahoo article.

The average American is exposed to 10 to 13 different pesticides through food, beverages and drinking water every day and nine of the ten most common pesticides are EDCs (endocrine disrupting chemicals).

The endocrine system is made up of all the glands and cells that produce the hormones that regulate our bodies. Growth and development, sexual function, reproductive processes, mood, sleep, hunger, stress, metabolism and the way our bodies use food — it’s all controlled by hormones. So whether you’re tall or short, lean or heavy — that’s all determined in a big way by your endocrine system.

See, an apple a day may have kept the doctor away 250 years ago when Benjamin Franklin included the phrase in his almanac. But if that apple comes loaded with obesity-promoting chemicals — nine of the ten most commonly used pesticides are obesogens, and apples are one of the most pesticide-laden foods out there — then Ben’s advice is way out of date.

Eating an organic diet for just five days can reduce circulating pesticide EDCs to non-detectable or near non-detectable levels.

A list of bad foods containing pesticides, starting with the worst:

  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • blueberries (domestic)
  • nectarines
  • sweet bell peppers
  • spinach
  • kale/collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • grapes (imported)

And here is a list of the cleaner foods, with little or no pesticides:

  • onions
  • avocado
  • sweet corn (frozen)
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas (frozen)
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe (domestic)
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • honeydew melon

Another factor in our health today is hormones taken in through eating plastic. Dont drink out of plastic containers. Never heat food in plastic containers or put plastic items in the dishwasher, which can damage them and increase leaching. BPA leaches from polycarbonate sports bottles 55 times faster when exposed to boiling liquids as opposed to cold ones. Avoid buying fatty foods like meats that are packaged in plastic wrap because EDCs are stored in fatty tissue.

Avoid canned goods as much as possible because they are now being lined with plastics, which leach chemicals into our food.

Many other health problems can be linked to consuming pesticides and plastics. Most of our common nervous system disorders, allergies, cancers, hypertension, blood pressure, diabetes and many more are directly linked to our diet.

I was allergic to most fresh fruits and vegetables. Corn and bananas were the worst of all. Citrus fruits were close behind. I had a poor, weak immune system and was sick most of the time. I also had very bad allergies and sinus trouble. One day, not long ago, I experimented and tried an organic banana. This was the worst food I could ever eat. Surprise – no reaction at all. Since then I have been avoiding most common supermarket foods and only eating organic fresh foods. My allergies are completely gone and my immune system is getting stronger with each passing year.

But you must be careful. Even some organics may have pesticides on them. I have often been very sick for days due to eating something that was labeled as organic, but was sprayed.

The safest option is to grow your own foods or find a local farmer nearby that does not use pesticides. Catch fish yourself in an area that is free of chemical pollutants or buy only wild caught ocean fish.

Within weeks, you will notice a difference.