January 14, 2015

Turmeric is related to the ginger family it is a bright orange color and is used a lot in Indian cuisine and is now recognized as a Super Food.



This tropical plant is not only used for cooking. It is used for ceremonies and dyes all over the world. Did you know that the curry powder blend gets its color from turmeric? Yup it does....

Heather Suhr author of The Raw Food World talks about treating Rheumatoid Arthritis with the Natural Healing of Turmeric!

As Heather has said that a report in the Phytotheraphy Research revealed that curcumin in high bioavailable form have been shown to be more effective than any rheumatoid drug which also included reducing the tenderness and swelling of the joints, plus patients reported a higher rate of improvement altogether.

Curcumin is known to treat everything from skin and stomach problems to infection and inflammations. Research has also shown to help reduce Alzheimer's

No wonder it's considered the SUPER FOOD all over the world!


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January 2, 2015

Spice up your breakfast with some pumpkin muffins this fall!

Pumpkin Muffins


3/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for pan

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, spooned and leveled

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

3 large eggs

1 cup turbinado sugar, plus 2 tablespoons more for sprinkling

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush 12 jumbo muffin tins (each with a 1-cup capacity) with oil; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk oil, pumpkin puree, yogurt, eggs, and 1 cup sugar to combine; add 1 cup walnuts and reserved dry ingredients. Mix just until moistened (do not overmix).

Divide evenly and spoon batter into muffin tins; sprinkle tops with remaining walnuts and sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pan.

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Yields 12 muffins

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

Recipe from: Martha Stewart

More info about Fruit Trees: http://www.plantogram.com


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January 2, 2015

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January 2, 2015

Practice the Power of Neutral Tool in Communications

Communication problems can deplete resilience fast. You may feel you’re not being heard, that you’re being misunderstood, wrongly blamed, unfairly treated, or pressured into decisions you don’t agree with. As soon as you experience any of these feelings, tell yourself, “I’m going to practice the Power of Neutral.”  Have a genuine “I mean business” attitude to really move those emotions into a more neutral state and shift your physiology. It could take a few minutes, but it’s worth the genuine practice.  Using the Power of Neutral this way in communications can fill your gas tank of resilience fast.

Here are the simple steps of the tool:

Step 1: Take a time-out, breathing slowly and deeply. Imagine the air entering and leaving through the heart area or the center of your chest.
Step 2: Focus on your heart and breathing instead of your stressful thoughts and worried feelings.
Step 3: Continue until you have neutralized the emotional charge and you feel calmness throughout.
Step 4: Now from a calmer place, try to release assumptions and see more possibilities as you listen from the heart. If the impulse to interrupt arises, gently let it go and refocus on your heart and breathing through your heart area. Then when it’s your turn to speak, you will be able to speak more authentically from a calmer, more centered place.

Women with Heartbeat graphManaging and overcoming challenges, like communication problems and other stressors, comes a little easier for people who have increased their resilience capacity. This is because practicing emotional energy regulation builds emotional vitality and accumulates resilience, which helps prevent energy loss and enables you to recover more quickly from energy drains during life’s challenges.

“Increasing resilience can help prevent as well as smooth out many emotional gridlocks,” says Dr. Rollin McCraty, Institute of HeartMath Director of Research.  “Yet, with resilience, like any desired state such as happiness, good health and creativity, we must take action to learn to create it. Increasing resilience requires intention and practice, but is very doable.”

Resilience Tip #4

Reset – Increase Emotional Vitality Fast

Institute of HeartMath research has shown that it is possible to shift into a positive emotional state, release stress-producing attitudes and reset your system after a stressful experience. Using the Reset tool, you can increase your emotional vitality and reset your response to stress, which can also help your hormonal balance.

Resilience Graph

DHEA is often called the “vitality hormone.” Increasing your DHEA level can be a big factor in having more resilience capacity. Positive emotions increase DHEA and research shows that increasing your positive feelings of appreciation and gratitude can increase DHEA levels fast. Intentionally practicing and feeling gratitude and appreciation helps you maintain positive attitudes and find the initiative to move forward and achieve your goals despite obstacles.

When you’re experiencing positive emotions, like appreciation, more possibilities come into your view. Positive psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson found that: “Through experiences of positive emotions people transform themselves, becoming more creative, knowledgeable, resilient, socially integrated and healthy individuals.”

Reset Tool:

Step 1: Simply focus your attention in the area of your heart and recall a memory of a person, place, pet or fun experience that you sincerely appreciate.

Man in sunflower field

Step 2: Now breathe the feeling (not just the thought) of appreciation or gratitude for that through your heart area for 15 to 30 seconds.
Step 3: Doing steps 1 and 2 can reset your heart rhythm pattern and your autonomic nervous system which regulates 90% of your body’s involuntary functions, including the hormonal and immune system and the production of DHEA.
Step 4: Note any different perceptions you may have after you do this. You may want to write them down to remember them.

More Must-Do Tips to Increase Your Resilience

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January 2, 2015

You eat healthy all day but then, midway through a new episode of The Blacklist, you're suddenly elbow-deep in a bag of Doritos. Ugh. Fortunately, new research has uncovered compounds capable of making us feel fuller longer, say "no" to cravings, and even reach our weight-loss goals.

These compounds are called "thylakoids," and they're found in the chloroplasts of green plants. In a small study conducted at Sweden’s Lund University, overweight women who drank 5 grams of spinach extract each morning for 12 weeks lost an average of 11 pounds (compared to 7.7 pounds for those swigging a placebo). But here's the most interesting thing: The extract group reported a 95% reduction in cravings for sweet and fatty foods and found it easier to stick to three daily meals. And these effects were immediate, kicking in after just one day.

According to study author and professor Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, the processed food in most of our diets is broken down too quickly in our stomachs. This messes up the intestinal hormones that tell our brains we're full. By slowing the digestive process, thylakoids help these hormones get back to doing their job, she says.

Want to give it a try? You have two options: Simply add more of the following 6 thylakoids-rich foods to your diet, or throw a handful of your favorite one into a breakfast smoothie (these 11 smoothie recipes are a perfect place to start). Here's the lowdown on each, complete with recipes.

1.  KALE. It’s high in vitamins and low in calories, says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD. If you find kale too bitter, she recommends shopping smarter. "Look for smaller, more tender leaves, and choose fresh kale--don't buy it and let it sit around." For a taste of fall, throw some into this butternut squash stew.

2. SPINACH. It's high in folic acid, protein, and potassium. (In fact, a cup of cooked spinach actually has more potassium than a banana.) And there are so many ways to enjoy it: raw or cooked; in salads or soups; and, of course, in a delicious green smoothie. (Note: there aren't any spinach extracts currently available in the US just yet; Gerbstadt says getting the compounds the natural way--in food form--offers similar benefits.)
3. BROCCOLI. It's loaded with vitamin C and actually has more fiber than spinach and kale. Whether you steam it or add it to a casserole like this one, it's one of the most versatile veggies.

4. DANDELION GREENS. Easy to prepare, these are especially high in calcium and vitamin K. Gerbstadt recommends mixing in uncured meat, chili peppers, or vinegar for flavor. Not sure where to find these greens? Check a health food store or Asian market. And if they're a little too bitter for your taste, add them to this pasta dish.

5. MUSTARD GREENS. Yes, these do indeed come from the same plant as the condiment you spread on a hot dog. They're full of antioxidants, especially vitamin A, and Gerbstadt suggests adding fresh lemon juice or light balsamic vinegar. Or for an Asian-inspired recipe, try this healthy side dish.

6. SEAWEED. You probably eat this all the time without knowing it--it's wrapped around sushi rolls. And with high levels of iodine, seaweed is most definitely a superfood. (We need iodine to maintain our thyroids, though it's not so common in other healthy foods.) Making your own sushi may sound like a daunting task, but this recipe shows that it's surprisingly doable.

By Victoria Walk


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January 2, 2015

Amazing Benefits of Vitamin C Rich Foods for Relieving Stress and Weight LossMost everyone knows that Vitamin C is great for the immune system but new, exciting research shows it’s also helpful for relieving stress and even helping reducing weight as a direct result (1). Vitamin C works against C-Reactive Proteins that cause inflammation in the body, which can create tension and even cause weight gain. C- Reactive Proteins have been linked to heart disease due to the way they put chronic stress on the body and Vitamin C helps directly counteract the effects these proteins have (2).

Vitamin C works against C-Reactive Proteins That Lead to Stress and Weight Gain

But first, where does CRP come from and how does one prevent them from occurring? CRP’s occur in the body anytime the body senses it’s under stress, injury, inflammation, or infection. The immune system throws out defenses that are meant to protect the body but end up causing pain and inflammation as a result. C-Reactive Proteins are both a cause and marker of inflammation and often occur as a result from health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and chronic stress or fatigue (2).

Anytime you’re constantly exposed to chronic stress, the adrenal glands that are housed near your kidneys become fatigued, which lead to adrenal burnout. Adrenal fatigue has been linked to weight gain, diabetes, chronic yeast overgrowth, and a weakened immune system (3, 5). Many people with adrenal fatigue crave sugar, fat, and caffeine because the body is crying out for a quick source of energy (5). Since Vitamin C lowers stress in the body, along with insulin sensitivity, it also lowers the stress hormone linked to weight gain, known as cortisol, as direct effect. Over time, a diet rich in Vitamin C can directly help you keep weight off or lose weight when eaten in conjunction with a healthy diet (3).

What’s are the best sources of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C-rich foods such as: kiwis, oranges, berries, apples, leafy greens such as spinach and kale, romaine lettuce, lemons, limes, and superfood berries such as goji, camu-camu-, mulberries, and goldenberries, are all some of the best sources of Vitamin C you can eat to protect your body against C-Reactive Proteins since they’re richer in Vitamin C than other food sources (4). Fermented sauerkraut and kimchi are also great sources (5).

The highest source of Vitamin C in the world is camu-camu berries and these tart, tangy berries are commonly used in the form of a superfood powder in smoothies or other raw dishes (6).

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January 2, 2015

Heroic Dogs Save Owner’s Life by Snuggling

Home alert systems and pendants are increasingly popular among older adults who live alone, but Judy Muhe says that when she took a tumble in her kitchen, her survival depended on a couple of furry, flesh-and-blood heroes — her two Golden Retrievers, Higgins and Dodger.

“The main thing is they let me know I was not alone,” an emotional Muhe tells KABC News’ Leo Stallworth.

With Higgins snuggling up against her back and Dodger curled over her legs, Muhe, who is 76 years old and has Parkinson’s disease, was able to stay warm for 48 hours while she was trapped on her kitchen floor, unable to get up due to a shattered shoulder and bruised skull.

“My guardians, yep. And I have no doubt they would do it again,” Muhe says of her two golden guardian angels.

The health benefits of animals

Canines may carry the moniker of being “man’s best friend” but animals of all kinds can provide physical and mental health benefits to people both young and old.

Lower blood pressure, decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduced depression risk, and increased amounts of the feel-good hormones, serotonin and dopamine are just a few of the advantages experienced by pet owners. One study even indicated that aging individuals with pets went to the doctor 30 percent less frequently than their non-pet-owning counterparts. Many different species–from horses, to geese, to rabbits–have been used as therapy animals for men and women in senior living communities.

Older adults especially derive great advantages from pet ownership, but there are a few complicating factors that can arise. For instance, people who have trouble walking or whose strength isn’t what it used to be may not be able to safely handle a larger pet. And the memory loss that accompanies Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia could unintentionally cause an older adult to forget to feed or care for their pet.

The good news is that such limitations can be dealt with, enabling aging men and women to find the ideal animal companion, as Amy Kracht, Vice President of 4 Luv of Dog Rescue shares in the article: How to Pick a Pet for an Older Adult

Image credit: Screen shot from KABC News report

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January 2, 2015

The Scent that Stops Cravings in Their Tracks

Can you believe there is a natural scent that when inhaled eliminates some junk food cravings? It’s true. During my research for my book 60 Seconds to Slim I discovered a study in which overweight participants inhaled this scent and lost an average of 4.5 pounds in four weeks without making any special dietary effort. The scent? Vanilla. The natural smell of vanilla stimulates the release of the brain chemical serotonin, a hormone that promotes feelings of satisfaction and happiness.

Vanilla is the seed pod from a Central American orchid. Pure vanilla extract and vanilla essential oil is made by extracting the lovely aromatic scent. The former is an alcohol extract that is frequently used in baking. Vanilla essential oil is made through the arduous task of extracting only the oil from the vanilla seed pods. However, most of the “vanilla extracts” available for baking are synthetic and likely do not offer the therapeutic benefits of natural vanilla extract.

Alan Hirsch, M.D., Director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, indicates that the tendency to overeat is governed by the satiety center in the brain. By understanding the effects of smell on this area, he suggests that cravings can be eliminated by simply sniffing certain scents, especially when you feel a tendency to overeat. The smell of vanilla is one of the best scents to reduce cravings.

Research at St. George’s Hospital in London, England, conducted a test of an aroma patch that adheres to the skin, releasing the aroma of vanilla and other scents. They attempted to determine whether the patch worn on the back of the hand would reduce cravings for chocolate, and sweet foods and beverages.

For the study, 200 overweight participants were divided into groups and received either a vanilla patch, a lemon patch, a dummy patch or no patch at all. After only four weeks, the weight loss in the other groups was a fraction of the weight lost by people wearing the vanilla patches.

According to Catherine Collins, the hospital’s Chief Dietician who led the study, not only did the participants consume fewer sugary foods and beverages, they cut their chocolate consumption in half. What’s more: the participants in the study lost an average of 4.5 pounds simply from wearing the aroma patch. The patch, however, did not affect participants’ taste for savory foods or alcohol.

Heres How to Reap the Benefits:

Inhale only pure vanilla extract or vanilla essential oil. You can smell it directly out of the bottle or place a few drops on a handkerchief and smell it throughout the day.  Ideally, smell the scent at least three times a day for 30 seconds each time; however, more often is fine too.  If you’re experiencing any cravings that is the ideal time to inhale the wonderful scent of vanilla since it can reduce your feelings of hunger.  Be aware, however, that truly natural vanilla essential oil is usually thick. If it is thin, it has typically been diluted with a solvent and should be avoided. Don’t worry if you can’t find a good quality essential oil. You can get all the weight loss benefits from a 100% pure vanilla extract, which is available in most health food stores and grocery stores.

Safety Suggestion:

You are probably familiar with vanilla-scented candles, vanilla fragrance oil used for potpourri and other household purposes, and vanilla perfume, all of which are typically made from synthetic vanilla and have no therapeutic purpose. Instead, they may actually be damaging to the body.  Pure vanilla essential oil or vanilla extract will stain a handkerchief so be sure to use one you don’t mind staining.

Super Health Bonus:

The fragrance of vanilla may help you cope with stress. Of study participants who smelled vanilla oil, 45 percent reported feeling relaxed while another 27 percent said they felt happy, according to research results published in the January 2005 supplement of Chemical Senses.

Adapted with permission from book 60 Seconds to Slim by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, DHS, ROHP.  Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, DHS, ROHP.

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January 2, 2015

Halloween Herbs for Year-Round Health

Double, double toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble,” chanted the witches of Shakespeare’s Macbeth as they added ingredients to their brew. While an eye of newt and tongue of frog may not interest you, there are a few other herbs that are fitting for both Halloween and great health. Adapted from my book Arthritis-Proof, here are a few of my favorite Halloween herbs (based on their names) that are great year-round:

Devil’s Claw—With a name like that, pain wouldn’t dare mess with this herb. And that’s a good thing for anyone suffering from it.  Devil’s claw is one of the most effective pain remedies I’ve used. It is effective for both joint and muscle pain, making it a good option for people suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, or other type of pain disorder.

Witch Hazel—Small twigs of this North American shrub are distilled to create a witch hazel solution that is effective for cleaning cuts and wounds. Some herbalists recommend it as an application for varicose veins or diffused into the air to aid nasal congestion.

Witch’s Aspirin—more commonly known as willow bark. The effective ingredient in aspirin was originally found in willow bark, which is also sometimes called white willow bark. The plant version offers excellent pain relief when prepared as a tea or tincture (alcohol extract). It is a natural blood thinner so check with your doctor if you’re taking prescription blood thinners.

Wolf Berry—More frequently referred to as goji berries, wolf berries are superfoods full of disease-fighting antioxidants. They are used in Chinese Medicine to improve eyesight, skin, and the kidneys and liver. They also have anti-cancer and anti-aging compounds, including:  zeaxanthin, physalien, cyptoxanthin, sesquiterpenoids, triterpenes, and beta sitosterol. Like witch’s aspirin, wolf berries may thin blood so check with your doctor if you’re taking prescription blood thinners.

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January 2, 2015

The Spice That Can Strengthen Your Brain

What if there was something sitting in your pantry that had the potential to naturally boost your brain power?

Turmeric, the golden-orange spice commonly used in curries, may play a role in enhancing the brain’s ability to build new cells—a process called neurogenesis—according to a group of German researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine. The key appears to be a compound found in turmeric, aromatic turmerone, that previous studies have shown can reduce inflammation in the brain.

This most recent study expands aromatic turmerone’s benefits to include new cell growth. In fact, the compound was capable of enhancing neural stem cell growth in rats by as much as 80 percent, in some cases.

Study authors admit that, while their results underscore the potential brain benefits of turmeric, there’s still a long way to go before any science-backed argument for suggesting the spice as a therapy for those with conditions that kill brain cells, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke.

An ancient remedy

Turmeric contains another potentially beneficial component: curcumin.

The health advantages of curcumin are perhaps the world’s worst kept therapeutic secrets. The compound has been used for millennia by Indian, Middle Eastern and Asian cultures for a variety of purposes, from alleviating inflammation and other aches, to cooking, to ceremonial rituals.

More recently, scientific studies have identified curcumin—an antioxidant—as being potentially beneficial for people with arthritis, atherosclerosis, depression, different forms of cancer, dementia (including Alzheimer’s) and high cholesterol.

Despite these positive reviews, the formal evidence regarding curcumin and turmeric is not yet strong enough to warrant a formal dosage recommendation, but it certainly can’t hurt to use the tangy powder to spice up some of your dishes.

Since the amount of curcumin in turmeric is relatively small, try choosing a recipe that also contains black pepper and fat, two ingredients that can enhance the curcumin’s bioavailability—your body’s ability to absorb the compound

Spicy Scrambled Eggs with Leafy Greens


2 eggs
Salt and pepper
Dash of smoked paprika
2 tsp turmeric
1 ½ cups of spinach or kale
1 tbsp coconut oil


  • Melt coconut oil in medium saucepan.
  • Add spinach/kale and cook until wilted.
  • In a separate bowl, combine eggs, salt and pepper, paprika and turmeric. Whisk vigorously.
  • Pour egg/spice mixture into saucepan and mix until greens and eggs are thoroughly cooked.
  • (People with sensitive taste buds can add a few ounces of feta cheese to cut the heat of the dish.)
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