Keep Calm and Drink Tea

I confess, I love tea. I love the flavor, the aroma, and the total experience of brewing and drinking tea. This probably started when I was the very active little girl of a late-in-life mother, whose mission it was to turn her youngest daughter into a “proper young lady.” As a special treat she would prepare a tea party for just the two of us and whatever dolls and stuffed animals cared to join in. I specifically remember her explaining the attributes of the fine china teacups, which I was only permitted to use on these supervised occasions. She would hold the delicate teacup up to the light so I could see the faint shadow of her fingers through the china, and then explain how “a lady” would hold the cup, take a sip, use her napkin, etc. This must be how my love for tea began.

Now, I appreciate tea for all its health benefits as well. There is something very civilizing about brewing and indulging in a cup of tea. Over tea confidences are shared, problems are solved, friendships are solidified, and nerves are calmed. All of these side effects of tea may help to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol has been known to increase appetite and lead to fat storage. Elevated cortisol levels have been linked to many diseases, so controlling stress by stopping to enjoy a cup of tea during your busy day may benefit your health by reducing both appetite and tension.

Drinking tea (green tea, black tea, and oolong tea) has been shown to increase the fat burning process up to 17% and caloric expenditure by 4%. Studies in animals and humans have even shown that drinking tea may reduce the risk of accumulating belly fat. That’s one great reason to choose tea over other beverages!

In contrast, alcohol is loaded with 7 liquid calories/gram. Beer contains a similar number of calories as sugary soft drinks. Red wine contains twice that amount! If you want to reduce your midsection, then reduce or skip the alcoholic beverages.

Unsweetened tea, hot or iced, is a healthier thirst quencher than carbonated soft drinks. It’s easy to drink a large amount of empty liquid calories without even realizing it when you consume soda, and diet sodas are no better for you. These chemical cocktails are hard on your stomach lining, tooth enamel and bones, and  have even been shown to CAUSE weight gain. The bubbles in soda also release gas in your stomach leading to embarrassing GI noises when you least expect them.

Fruit juices and energy drinks may seem like healthy alternatives, but these are loaded with concentrated sugar making it easy to drink excess calories on top of everything else you consume. Eating whole fruit is a much better choice than drinking fruit juice. Whole fruit contains the fiber, water, vitamins, and minerals your body needs without the caloric overload leading to weight gain. Try sipping fruit infused tea instead — it’s and excellent way to enjoy the flavor of fruit without all those unnecessary calories.

If you are caffeine sensitive, then opt for teas with low or no caffeine. Flavored herbal teas contain little or no caffeine, and are a relaxing evening beverage. Chamomile tea is one herbal tea well-known for its calming effect on the mind and body. Always try to find an organic tea. If you garden, you can make tea from your own organic herbs. I have made excellent peppermint, spearmint, and lavender teas from my own backyard plants. Tea made from herbs picked right from your garden tastes so fresh, and it’s free!

20170119_121848-tea-in-cup

So, the next time you’re looking for a little something to drink, keep calm and drink tea. It’s an ancient beverage with modern health benefits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Emotions Affect Physical Health

This is probably the most important post I’ve ever written, but as we start the New Year with the current level of civil unrest in the United States I feel that it’s important to address those who are still upset about the November election results. On the news and social media vicious, hateful diatribes are fueling angry protests along with fear and anxiety in those who were disappointed. Others, who were pleased by the election results, are alarmed and embarrassed that the rest of the world is judging us for the division in our country, worried that terrorists may decide this is the perfect time to strike our fractured nation. All of us are nervous about what we can say, even to family members, because some peoples’ feelings are still so raw.

Maybe you don’t realize it, but many diseases have emotional roots. Anger, hatred, bitterness, and worry all build up within your mind and body, creating the perfect environment for disease to flourish. You’ve felt the physical effects of those toxic emotions: the tightening of your chest, rise in blood pressure, elevated temperature, loss of appetite, inability to sleep or concentrate on anything but how much you hate another person. Those emotions are not healthy! Heart disease, arthritis, IBS and other GI problems all have emotional components which block physical healing. I’ve even heard one doctor say that he could predict which cancer patients would survive their illness simply by observing that person’s attitude about life in general. If you want to stay healthy start with your mind. If you are fighting any illness right now, this is imperative.

What emotions are ruling your days and nights? What thoughts are fueling your deepest emotions and reactions to today’s news? Worry is just wasted energy. If you say hatred or revenge, then please ask yourself why you would ever give someone else that much power over your own physical health. Divisive comments, snide remarks, and a critical attitude fuel “dis-ease” within your own body.

No matter who is in office we must remember that we are all on the same team, citizens of the same country, the United States of America. A leader has been chosen, and everyone on the team wants peace and prosperity in our nation. Creating discord within the team will not give us success. We may not like everyone on the team, but we do want our team to win, right? If the captain of our team fails, we all fail together, and nobody wants that. At the very least we can pray for our leaders. They need all the help they can get!

If you really want to be healthy, then start this New Year in a new positive frame of mind. You can reject negativity and feel the weight of the world lift from your shoulders. You don’t need to carry that heaviness! When critical thoughts begin to surface think of how you can encourage. If you disagree, how can you help? A wise man once penned these words about what should fill our minds during turbulent times:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Truer words were never spoken. If you want physical health, then take control of your emotions, starting with your thoughts.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning!

 

Are you wondering how to eat as you search for answers to your health problems? Has your search led you to more questions than answers? Are you concerned about the health of planet Earth as well as your own body? Sixteen years ago I was asking all those questions, too. I read everything I could find on health and nutrition. I spent days in the library and online studying the scientific research, taking and comparing notes, searching for answers only to become more and more confused as everyone from the FDA to fad diet promoters each led me down yet another rabbit trail of doubt. I prayed for guidance.

Instinctively I knew that the answers to my questions were to be found somewhere in the oldest book of wisdom known to mankind, the Bible. Thinking this would take forever, I started to read, determined to root out the answers to a healthy diet. To my surprise, the answer was hidden in plain sight in the very first chapter of the very first book of the Bible!

Genesis 1: 29  Then God said, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

Veggie 2

Then it dawned on me… a plant-based diet is not something new and suspect. Vegetarian diets are not recent inventions by New Age gurus. Eating a healthy whole food plant-based diet is the oldest and most efficient diet in the world! Always was, always will be. If you are wondering where to look in your search for health, why not start at the very beginning?

 

 

Dehydrated Green Beans*

Don’t try this at home!

I love the crunchy dried green beans you can find in tiny plastic boxes at our natural food store. At nearly $5.00 a pop though, it’s an occasional splurge we like to take on long road trips to balance out the unhealthy snacks found at most roadstops. With this in mind, I was delighted to find several recipes for dehydrated green beans online at the very time I had about a gallon of organic green beans from my garden just waiting to be used,(how fortunate was that?), and so decided to try dehydrating them myself.

Let me just say that not every recipe you see online is a good one, not every glowing review is to be trusted, and not every kitchen adventure is a success. Some recipes should NEVER be shared. If it’s a failure, even the best cook should just admit it and move on. In the spirit of full disclosure then, and because it made me laugh, I have to tell you about this experience… because it was a total DISASTER!

Full of anticipation, I washed and lightly blanched the green beans in boiling water, just as the instructions recommended. Then drained them and blotted them dry with paper towels. I had read that slicing the beans French-style( long ways) helped them dry more evenly, so I did that, too. Seasoning in the online recipes varied, so I just used my favorite: a little lemon juice olive oil and sea salt. It all seemed so simple; what could go wrong? When I put the seasoned green beans in the dehydrator they looked like this… beautiful, right?

Dehydrated Green Beans 1

I set the dehydrator to 105 degrees in order to maintain the living enzymes in the vegetables and went to bed. Eight hours later, when I checked their progress I saw this:

Dehydrated Green Beans 2

The bright green beans had turned into brownish leathery strips — not crunchy at all! Hmmm, what to do to salvage these beans? I decided to leave them in the dehydrator for a longer time to see if that would help. Still at 105 degrees, I waited another six hours and checked again. They couldn’t get any worse, could they? Yes!

Dehydrated Green Beans 3

After a total 14 hours in the dehydrator my final product looked like dried brown shoelaces and tasted about the same. One gallon of fresh beans had turned into two loosely filled pint jars. (To be honest a few of those beans did get crispy, but it would take quite a bit of chewing to gnaw through the rest). I think I will save these beans as a reminder that not every recipe you see online is a good one, not every glowing review is to be trusted, and not every kitchen adventure is a success. I share this only for the humor. I hope you laugh as I did, and please, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME.

Did People in the Bible Eat Animal Foods?

As a Health Minister, one of the statements I often hear is, “But people in the Bible ate meat.” I encourage you to read below and learn the facts. The diet in Bible times did not in any way resemble the Standard American Diet. To read the complete article: http://healthtip.hacres.com/index.php/2013/02/12/how-to-stop-cheating-on-the-hallelujah-diet?

Animal-Source Foods

In Bible days, there were societies of pure vegetarians while other societies consumed some animal products – animal flesh and goat milk. However, even in those societies where animal flesh was eaten, consumption was extremely limited and confined to special occasions because the ancients had no means of refrigeration.

For this same reason, goat milk was consumed in its raw state almost immediately after milking. It is also important to note here that almost all milk consumed in Bible days was goat milk. Even to this day, The United States is one of the few countries in the world that consumes more cow milk than goat milk.

It is also interesting to note that in Bible days, the fat content of grass-fed animals, which was all they had to eat, was around 3%. This is the fat content that you will find in wild deer to this day.

6 Things Man Didn’t Learn from the Bible

  1. Man started graining the animals in an effort to put more fat on their flesh.
  2. Even later, farmers learned that they could get these animals to grow more rapidly if they gave them growth hormones.
  3. Then they learned that by giving the animals antibiotics, they could cover up the physical breakdown that occurred by this unnatural and rapid growth.
  4. Farmers next began to realize that by giving the milk cows hormones that caused them to grow faster, they could also generate more milk production.
  5. Forcing these milk cows to produce more milk than God designed them to produce caused all manner of physical breakdown. Farmers realized (again) they could give cows more antibiotics.
  6. As man began to drink more and more cow milk, man had to find a way to prevent the milk from going bad too quickly. To solve that problem man learned that by cooking the milk in a pasteurizing process that killed both friendly and unfriendly bacteria and destroying the enzymes (life force in raw milk) they could give the milk a longer shelf life under refrigeration.

With the consumption of ever increasing amounts of both animal flesh and dairy, physical breakdown from these animal source foods began to manifest earlier and earlier in the lives of those who consumed them. In fact, my research reveals that animal source foods, both flesh and dairy, are the cause or contributing cause of as high as 90% of all the physical problems being experienced today.

These animal sourced foods are the primary cause of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes, as the fat in these animal sourced foods clog up the arteries. In addition to the fat clogging up the arteries and causing all of these physical breakdowns, these animal sourced foods are the primary cause of cancer, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, colon problems, acid stomach, asthma, allergies…

The list goes on and on….

Be encouraged, God loves us and His way is always best 🙂                              “And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
~ Romans 12:2

What is Nutritional Yeast?

 

 

 

 

 

 

One ingredient I really love, one that gives vegan recipes a real “cheesy” flavor without all the negatives of dairy, is Nutritional Yeast.  It is also a good vegan source of vitamin B-12!  To learn more, or to experiment with some great recipes using this little known seasoning, visit the link below or simply try some Nutritional Yeast sprinkled on a bowl of warm popcorn.  Yum!

http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2011/10/what-the-heck-is-nutritional-yeast.html

FREE Health Fair, October 8, 2011, Glad Tidings Church, 1110 Snyder Rd., West Lawn, PA 19609, 610-678-0266

Come one come all, this Saturday anytime from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm to meet area wellness professionals and learn what options are available to meet your own personal physical, mental, and spiritual health needs.  Free medical screening by Adventist Whole Health Network, samples, informative presentations, movies, and more.  While you’re there enjoy a healthy lunch in the popular Sacred Grounds Cafe and Grille, and shop Scrolls Bookstore.  See you there!

The Ultimate Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet

One of the hardest things about changing to a vegan lifestyle is adapting your favorite recipes to suit your new way of eating. Below is a great resource to help you on your way through the exciting adventure of vegan cooking.  One caution: Fat, even healthy fat, is still high in calories; so if you’re watching your weight go easy on oil and margarine of any kind.

Many of your favorite recipes can easily be made vegan by substituting a few key ingredients. Use this list to get started…

via The Ultimate Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet.

Homemade Vegetable Wash (Spray or Soak)

I have to admit that it just breaks my heart to spend a big chunk of my food budget on veggie wash.  Those tiny spray bottles of veggie wash never seem to last long the way I use it, and plain water just doesn’t do the job for soaking leafy greens. Here are two simple solutions you can make at home with common household products you probably already have on hand. They cost only pennies to make and work really well.  (You should refrigerate the spray because it contains fresh lemon juice)

SPRAY:

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. baking soda

1 cup water

SOAK:

1/4 cup vinegar

2 Tbsp. salt

DIRECTIONS:

1. SPRAY: Put all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake gently to mix (it will foam). Spray on vegetables or fruit and allow to sit for 2-5 minutes, then rinse with cold water and dry.

2. SOAK: Fill a clean basin or sink with cold water. Add vinegar and salt, then stir until salt dissolves. Place vegetables or fruit in sink and allow to sit for 25 – 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water and dry.

These ideas came from http://www.food.com where you can find even more great recipes and money-saving hints.

Vegetarian Food Prep: Make it Easy

One of the comments I often hear is that vegetarian cooking takes so long and is so inconvenient.  I agree. All that chopping, slicing, and dicing is time consuming, but YOU ARE WORTH IT, so take all the time you need to be healthy. Better health for you and your family starts in the kitchen.

I would like to share some things I’ve learned that make preparing healthy foods a little quicker and easier:

–First of all, PLEASE, don’t cook for only one meal.  It is just as easy to make 10 cups of brown rice as it is to prepare 2 cups, so make a big pot and save the leftovers for future meals.  If you won’t use it all this week you can easily freeze leftovers to use next week or even next month.

–The same goes for dried beans; make more than you need and freeze the leftovers. I like to freeze two cup portions in plastic freezer bags for use later.

–Cleaning and peeling vegetables is best done when you have a big chunk of time, but I like to peel a 5 lb. bag of organic carrots as soon as I bring it home so that fresh carrots are always available for juicing and recipes.

–Romaine lettuce also gets washed as soon as it hits the kitchen; separate the leaves and let them soak in the sink with cold water and a little vinegar while you put the rest of your groceries away.  After draining, roll the leaves in a clean dishtowel, put it in a plastic bag, and store in the frig until you’re ready to make a salad or sandwich.  You’ll be surprised how fresh and crisp it stays this way!

–Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk.  Raw tomatoes (whole, cored), raw peppers and onions (chopped), and raw peas and berries (whole, washed) can be frozen with little preparation, and can make individual meal preparation go faster if you have them on hand.

–Finally, considering how mind-numbing a task chopping, slicing, and dicing is, consider multi-tasking.  You can put the phone on speaker and still have both hands free.  Or, USE that wasted time in front of the TV — chop the vegetables you will need for tomorrow’s supper tonight while watching your favorite show.  You’ll be so glad you did this when you get home tomorrow after work, and all that meal prep is already done!

I hope these ideas to make eating for better health faster and easier are helpful to you.  If you have any other time- saving ideas, please share them!