Category Archives: ginger

Soul Food

Standard

There are so many versions of “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” which

really is a great collection of books. I felt happy when my youngest

daughter  started  reading,    “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.”

She would have a big smile on her face, arriving at the dinner table,

taking each individual story and reading it as a daily devotional.

 

She would excitedly share about the impact in the story collections

of one life upon another. This, along with her two years of studying

as a confirmand, which is one getting ready in our Presbyterian

Church to be confirmed. . . all of the pieces were falling into place,

with her faith.

 

Here was a young girl, who at age 11, feeling pain in her joints;

already. My daughter was diagnosed at age 12 after being tested

and a surgeon wanting to cut into her knees. We chose to research

more and found out she had JRA. This is the acronym for Juvenile

Rheumatoid Arthritis. Felicia was diagnosed using blood samples,

at Children’s Hospital. She was ‘taken under the wing’ of a lovely

and giving physician named, Dr. Gloria Higgins.

 

If anything, Felicia could have quit playing soccer, would never

have pursued in high school, cross country and could have not

been so eager to learn in school. Her energy and her determination

earned her 10th place in the OCC for our high school in long

distance running. She enjoyed being a cadet journalist and “Girl

on the Street.” There were times I would accompany her to the

mall where she would take her microphone and ask questions

like,  “What are you buying for your significant other, Sir?” or

“What is the most popular toy in the store?” to a salesclerk or

busy manager. She would happily exclaim over the loud speaker,

the morning announcements ,

 

“Good morning, Hayes High School, this is Fox Oldrieve giving you

the news today.”

 

Let’s go back to elementary school, before she knew pain or had a

‘care in the world.’ She wrote an essay that won her third grade

class’ assignment on the subject of Martin Luther King, Jr. She did

this once more and wrote an essay that won her fourth grade class’

assignment. The amazing thing to me was she also won the whole

school’s award two years in a row. She was asked to speak in front

of Ohio Wesleyan University’s annual MLK, Jr. breakfast. My secret

wish was for her to pursue this and become a newscaster. . . She did

study dual majors at University of Dayton in Communications and

Marketing. No, she is not in journalism.

 

Her goal is to help others in their pain management, encouraging

them to be careful of what they eat. Healthy choices for her and

she has documented what causes negative joint reactions in her

hands (knuckles), knees and her jaw bone. The way she helps

herself to feel less pain is gluten-free, no milk products, no

sandwich meats or other salty and less natural foods. We shall

see if she finds her dream of this come to fruition. This is not

what my focus is today.

 

Anyway, the books got her through difficult times, challenging

circumstances. When some people, coworkers and friends, start

to complain about aging and their aches and pains, I try not to

say this thought out loud:

 

“My daughter was told by not only Children’s Hospital but also,

due to her being a participant in an OSU study on rheumatoid

arthritis, she had the joints of a 65 year old at age 12.”

 

Here are two motivating quotations, written by John Caulfield,

taken from “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II:”

 

~ One ~

“Her essay about the wedding ring was short. Kerr wrote,

‘Things are just things- they have no power to hurt or to heal.

Only people can do that. And we can all choose whether to be

hurt or healed by the people who love us.

That was all.

And that was everything.”

 

~ Two ~

“And so I wait.

I wait for time to heal the pain and raise me to my feet once

again. So that I can start a new path, my own path, the one

that will make me whole again.”

 

Besides chicken soup what can we do to help strengthen our immune

systems?

There is always such diversity in lists given by different resources.

There are so many various food sources, also being cleverly labeled

as, “super foods.” A tag that this past ten years has labeled those

foods that give us healthy bodies and provide us rich sources of

“anti-oxidants.”

 

Using some of these ingredients will help you stay healthy on

the outside, your body will hopefully battle the daily coughs

and sneezes we are all assaulted with, in elevators, in cubicles

and in the library sitting next to someone you wish you could

say, “Next time, when you feel miserable and sniffly, would

you please stay home?”

1. Ginger-

a. Soothes upset tummies.

b. Relieves muscle pains.

c. Helps your vocal chords (voice to speak)and prevents coughs.

 

1. Chili powder of chilis-

a. Warm your mouth and ‘innards.’

b. Clear congestion.

 

3. Garlic-

a. Antioxidants boost your immune system.

b. Helps heart and lowers cholesterol.

 

4. Mint

a. Helps with colds and fevers.

b. Mixed with smashed peas, minted peas are getting popular.

c. Sipping on mint green tea, adding another antioxidant, lemon is

a great way of combining forces.

 

Tasty Alternatives in Soups:

~ Homestyle chili with Mexican spice, cumin, garlic, other seasonings

and flavorings both vegetarian or meat/beef style are very good for

us. Also, nice to have a big crock pot of this, so you can pack a few

meals up and be ready for work. (White bean chili is a new favorite.)

~ Garlic soup using sweet potatoes and cauliflower, with curry and

ginger spices.

~Also, some recipes for soups are adding cinnamon, paprika and

bay leaves.

~Roasted pepper and cheddar cheese soup includes cilantro, basil,

garlic and cumin.

 

One last ‘brag’ about my youngest daughter who handles her pain

and sometimes ‘suffering’ in silence and shows grace. I entered her

in her junior year of high school in a contest by the Columbus Dispatch,

“Who Is Your Hero?” She ‘won’ along with two others, in a three way

tie, the newspaper took a picture of the two of us, we won two tickets

to see Dustin Hoffman in “Hero,” first run movie and it was nice to

receive copies of the first page of the Arts and Entertainment

section from so many people in Ohio.

I mentioned something like this:

“At the end of the day, there are teenagers who would use any excuse

to get out of sports or work, but my daughter has a part-time job, is

involved with extracurricular activities and doesn’t complain. There

are many people around her daily who have ‘no clue’ of what she goes

through. It is nice when we are relaxing to sit downstairs while we

have a fire in the fireplace. But as she gets up, she winces. That pained

face moves me. When her stepdad offers to help her up the stairs, she

takes him up on the kind offer. You know that is when it really hurts

to know what she hides most of the time.”

 

What challenges do you overcome daily?

(Spiritual, emotional, seasonal, physical, mental or other?)

 

 

 

Art, Environment and Health News

Standard

“I loved the title for this short entry in the “Natural Awakenings”

magazine: “Looking at Beautiful Art Bumps Up Brain Activity.”

At Japan’s Oita University there were outstanding research results

and I will share them with you. Another part of this article will give

you some natural choices to replace antibiotics in fighting those

winter illnesses. While looking at locally grown foods, the pesticide

levels are less in those choices over the ones found in stores. Also,

an interesting find that I came across had two ecological and ‘green’

facts to make sure we contribute to a better world.

How did they measure the increase of brain activity ? You may have

guessed that in the Japanese study of MRI scans, (which are magnetic

resonance imaging screenings) were the source for the scientific

results found in this research study.

I enjoyed the comparison of slides shown of still lifes and landscape

paintings to the actual real artwork of paintings in a museum. The

39 subjects were shown slides of art and later, presented with the

paintings. Another element they were researching was asking them

to express their feelings of the element of beauty in the  slides and

then again, what degree of beauty they felt the actual paintings were.

The most “beautiful” in the subject’s ‘eyes’ of ‘real art’ were rated

significantly higher in the pre-experimental phase over the slides of

paintings.  They called the slides of the paintings, “corresponding

photographic analogs.”

“The MRI’s showed that during the experiment, portions of the brain’s

frontal lobe, related to emotions, memory, learning and decision-making

were activated.” (November, Central Ohio; “Natural Awakenings.”)

Final significant results were that when the researchers compared the

“positive effects of aesthetic appreciation of the art paintings versus

the photographs, they noted more activity at the back of the subject’s

brain.” Which means both areas of the frontal lobes and back part of

the brain were stimulated but the back part was raised at a higher level

of activity.  The location in the back parts were in the bilateral cuneus,

which is a part of the occipital lobe and the left lingual gyrus or ridge.

This means the basic visual processing location and the visual memory,

logical ordering and dreaming areas were the most stimulated with

it being verified on the MRI’s.

When we eat foods, such as fruits and vegetables, we need to make

sure we are getting them from a ‘safe’ source. I think this is a fact we

are all aware of but the interesting facts were presented once again,

which prodded me to share this information here. Conventionally

grown foods contain pesticide residues that are 3-4 times higher in

organically grown foods. This was found in the “British Journal of

Nutrition,” where they conducted 343 research studies and published

last June. Since from the farm to the market is a continually growing

industry, it is nice to have facts that support this movement. The ones

grown on organic farms also were found to have higher levels of healthy

nutrients such as minerals, vitamins and antioxidents. Ones that are

grown with phosphorus fertilizers and not including mineral nitrogen

in their practices were found to contain higher levels of cadmium. The

study’s results confirmed this in the following statement:

“Results indicate that switching from conventional to organice crop

consumption would result in a 20-40 % increase in crop-based anti-

oxidants and polyphenolic intake levels.

The emphasis on Honey and Ginger being such healthy and natural

curative power sources even fought the drug-resistant bacteria which

have a list of long names:

“Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli (E Coli) and Klebsiella

pneumoniae.” Also known as “Super bugs.”

* Further clinical examination is needed to standardize the amounts

in these two ingredients for cold, flu and germ fighting. The research

was conducted at Ethipia’s University of Gondar College of Medicine.

I concluded, we may as well include healthy doses of honey in our

diet, along with including ginger while cooking. I love sauces where

the sweetness is balanced by the spice ginger, along with making a dark

black tea, with some ginger added for flavoring, honey for sweetening.

India’s green project to improve their environment, is focusing on the

areas along their 62,137 miles of highways. India’s Rural Development

Ministry is following their kind of “Johnny Appleseed,” America’s

noted man of  spreading apple seeds along different areas. India’s

hero is named Jadav “Molai” Payeng, an Indian man who. all by

himself, planted 1,360 acres of forest.

This project has three focuses: to help provide jobs for the rural poor

people, include youth in employment and improving the environment.

The country of India has been suffering from severe air pollution.

The World Health Organization released unfortunate statistics of India’s

youth unemployment rate being 10.2 percent and #6 on a list of World’s

Ten Worst Cities with air pollution. The Prime Minister Narenda Modi

has announced a goal of spreading electricity to every home by 2019,

which will rely largely on solar power. Other areas of health concern are

also being targeted for cleaning the Ganges and Yamuna rivers.

 

Merry Christmas news for environmentally concerned:

“The Greenest Tree” is supporing buying locally grown trees,

preferable ones that will be grown outdoors, with a close

second being ones that are cut down in tree farms that are

purposely evergreens growing for resale.

Here is the reason:

85% of artificial trees are sourced from China and often contain

toxic chemicals.

Looking at the carbon trail is also important, meaning how much

effort and use of power and resources was used to get the tree to

your home.

Temporary sidewalk or street corner tree lots may be getting trees

where pesticides are used to create the Perfect Tree. These are not

good fro homes, again, comparing this to the natural sourced trees.

Sometimes, home-grown products are just about what we put into

our body for food, but what we breathe for a month while it is in

our living areas.

According to National Geographic Green Guide, Americans actually

discard 30 million cut trees after the holidays. Oh my goodness!

The wood is ‘wasted’ in landfills.  One state that is leading a better

way to go with old Christmas trees is in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana

where they collect them to combat coastal erosion. Way to go!

Locate tree growers by state and learn how to dispose trees responsibly.

There are great places and resources to check up on facts:

http://PickYourOwnChristmasTree.org

http://GreenPromise.com

http://Tinyurl.com/65oqh9

There are detailed steps for care and planting potted trees at

http://WikiHow.com and other locations of the Tinyurl.com

website.

Do you mind letting me know if any of these facts were helpful

or ones you learned today? Also, any other Green Choices or

healthy suggestions are welcome here.

 

 

Bits and Pieces

Standard

The Nutcracker book sits in my pile of Christmas and seasonal books,

along with Rudolph, The Night Before Christmas and other holiday

books. I include snowmen, gingerbread boy (and man), along with the

little dog Spot, in my menagerie of characters and stories yet to read

as the month progresses. I like for my once a year ‘treat’ for adult

choices, “The Gift of the Magi,” by O. Henry. There are plenty of

pieces of great literature to treasure, while helping to lift your spirits,

calm your soul and fill your mind.

 

In Columbus, “The Nutcracker” ballet is performed annually. I have

the details for Cleveland’s performances since it is exciting to note

their location:

Playhouse Square is the SECOND largest unified Arts Complex in

the United States! Wow!  My youngest brother took his wife to see

the Russian Ballet company perform, dancing their beautiful and

lively parts of the grand seasonal extravaganza. (Lincoln Arts Center

is the number one arts center in the U.S.)

 

Have you heard the R & B singer on the winter and holiday Glade

commercial? He turned 25 yesterday. His name is Kevin Ross, who

has been interviewed by several journalists, along with being in the

“Essence” magazine. He was a student and graduate of Berkeley

School of Music, he had a project where he had to perform, which he

chose Stevie Wonder to sing. The performance was outstanding,

he has been listed as a “Motown record artist.”

You may wish to check out other songs by Kevin Ross, but his soulful

voice soars into the upper registers and won my heart in his “My

Wish for You,” which keeps on going if you download it… to sing

the often mentioned but never less meaningful words of,

“Let there be peace on earth.

 

 

I love to walk in nature, despite my occasional grousing, to see frozen

waterfalls. There is one quite close to my home, less than a half hour

drive at Hayden Run Falls, off Hayden Run Road in Columbus.

The Hayden Run Falls is a part of Grigg’s Reservoir and Nature

Preserve.

Another close to my ‘neck of the woods’ waterfalls display is at the

Indian Run Falls in Dublin, Ohio. There is a short (3 miles) loop

where you can walk past a waterfall, look over a small ravine and

also, see the Veteran’s Memorial for Dublin veterans. The flags

displayed there are international and I think it is worth the walk.

 

I dislike repeating myself, but walking in the brisk winter air will not

give you a cold! It is invigorating and if bundled up properly, with a

warm set of layered clothing, scarf and hat on, you will find it rather

fun. It also will be enough exercise to take off a few of those extra

pre-holiday and holiday calories, too!

Here are a few more locations where the waterfalls are fabulous and

awe-inspiring:

Cuyahoga Valley National Park~

Brandywine Falls one of Top Ten in the U.S. visited National Parks.

 

Old Man’s Cave, where there are Upper Falls and Lower Falls trails.

 

In Michigan, the falls are abundant. I enjoyed in the U.P. the tannin

(looks like flowing whiskey) colored falls. The tall, tall pine trees lend

their sap to the coloration.

I am sure you know of a few in your area that are simply breath-taking

and would be happy to hear about them!

 

Two special quotes from the man who paints miracles upon canvas:

 

“When you live in the light of unfolding miracles,

There is always a future, always a hope.”

 

“The points in Life

where what has happened

and what you have done

converge,

Move you forward

and significantly shape

the person

you are,

Those are your miracles.”

~* Thomas Kinkade *~

 

Healthy Everything!

Standard

I will be throwing a surprise healthy note in amongst a few recipes and

hope you will enjoy this simple post.

I used several sources, including “Prevention” magazine (April, 2014 and

December, 2013) and “Natural Awakenings” (May, 2014 edition of our local

free “magazine.”

First of all, seasonal allergies are the worst! I hear several of my friends and

coworkers who have these problems and wished to share a few suggestions,

using natural and healthy choices.

A moderate intensity workout, a ‘jog,’ can actually help your symptoms!

Who would have thought, since you will need to be outdoors to jog around?

Thailand did this study, exercise may decrease the body’s release of irritating

histamines and other biological mediators. So, this means you can’t use the

allergies as an ‘excuse’ until you have seen if this helps your symptoms!

Another way to naturally ‘cure’ your allergies is a traditional Chinese way

of handling many ailments: Acupuncture has been known to decrease

patients’ dependence on medications, even with allergies. I always like

the way the Chinese say, “Acupuncture brings the body into balance.”

Checking out your intake of fruits can actually help you. Your diet can be

making your allergies worse.  1/3 of patients with seasonal allergies, have

immune systems that react to the proteins in foods, in a similar fashion as

the grass, dust and other things that set you off. People with ragweed

allergies typically have reactions to watermelons, cantaloupe and honey

dew melons. People who have found to be allergic to ‘birch tree pollen’

(pretty specific, huh?!) have been found to react to kiwifruit, apples, pears,

peaches, plums, coriander, fennel, parsley, celery, cherries, carrots, hazel-

nuts and almonds. My mother is allergic to grass and some weeds, but liked

gardening so much she would try so hard to just use the next method of

handling her allergies.

Pollen clings to clothes, our shoes, skin surfaces, hair, even eyelashes.

When you have hiked or worked in the yard, your common sense may

tell you to go ‘rinse off,’ but you may dilly dally, sit and have a drink of

pop, water or iced tea. By sitting down, you have created a pollen transfer

to your furniture. This is so fascinating and an easy way to picture this!

So, this is described in the April, ’14 “Prevention,” like this:

“Taking a shower at night, in addition to in the morning washes the stuff

away and helps you avoid allergen torture while you sleep. Gross but

true: Pollen also clings to the mucus in your nasal passages, so you should

rinse your nose.”

The “Neti Pot” is known for helping people stave off colds and also, to clear

mucus passages, with a saline solution. This is another ‘new’ cure, that I

thought some of you had not tried with allergies.

I liked another passage’s descriptive powers, in the same magazine:

“One route to relief is to treat pollen like a nighttime bandit. Keep your

windows and doors shut tight.”

You may already know about the ‘magical’ powers of ‘butterbur’ as a potent

herb, which contains compounds that block the chemicals released when

you are getting an allergic reaction. A Swiss trial was conducted, using the

amount of 8 mg. tablets of butterbur extract 4 times a day did relieve

the allergic symptoms, just as well as the antihistamine cetrizine. You

can find this in “Zyrtec” and other products similar in its content.

Other natural plant-based treatments include stinging nettle, quercetin

that is found in a number of foods, like grapes, tea, onions and tomatoes,

along with spirulina. This is a nutty tasting nutrient rich, type of algae.

You can take this as a supplement or throw it into a smoothie, as it

can be purchased in powder form, one scoop will do the ‘cure!’

Probiotics have become a popular topic, but even while fighting

allergies, guarding your gut, can really help your system manage

better. Scientists and researchers feel that by regulating your immune

system, through the use of probiotics, found in some food products,

like Activia yogurt and you can also purchase in a supplement form.

They have been found to counteract the inflammation in your body,

that causes allergic symptoms.

I hope some of these natural ways to handle your seasonal allergies

will help you or your family members.

 

I found out that you can use oil from your pantry as a ‘cure’ for

vaginal dryness. Plant-based oils are safe and non-irritating to

use as lubricants, if needed in a ‘pinch.’ This is from Dr. Mary Jane

Minkin. For longer term relief, use a gel or cream moisturizer. An

alternative is coconut oil, but check on a small surface, just in case

of allergies.

 

Now, for some simple ‘cures’ for stomach stress!

If your stomach is in ‘knots:’

Try valerian root extract.

If you are feeling ‘bloated:’

Drink hot water with lime.

(I have tried this, since I read it, and it works!)

If you have an upset stomach and/or

indigestion:

Chew a handful of fennel seeds.

(But not if you have ‘birch tree’ allergies. See above!

I cannot eat foods with fennel seeds, I have found, but

as far as I know am not allergic to any trees! Smile!)

If you feel nauseated:

Try ginger slices.

(I like to drink ginger ale or ginger tea.)

If you ate too much:

Sip fresh lemon balm tea.

(I like to include a slice of lemon, often with just

hot water, if I feel like I am ‘too full’ and need to

get my tummy feeling better, or the lime slice.)

 

Here are just a few simple recipes I culled for this post:

Strawberry Peanut Butter Toast

Top 2 slices of multigrain or whole wheat toast with 2 T.

(tablespoons) of peanut butter. I have recently been liking

the Natural Peanut Butter, with simply peanuts and a little

bit of salt in the recipe. The recipe suggests you try an Organic

Peanut Butter.

Layer with sliced strawberries and for a ‘twist’ add chia seeds

(1 tsp. teaspoonful)

The “Healthy Elvis” Sandwich

This serves 2 people.

4 slices of multigrain or whole wheat bread

3 T. (tablespoons) of almond butter

4 tsp. (teaspoonsful) of crumbled crisp bacon

(about 2 slices were used, the brand given, “Applegate.”)

1 T. (tablespoon) of honey

1/2 tsp. (teaspoon) cinnamon

1 lg. banana

1. Arrange bread in even layer on a clean work surface.

2. Stir together almond butter, bacon, honey and cinnamon

in a small bowl.

3. Spread this concoction on bread, dividing it evenly on the

4 slices.

4. Slice banana and put on top of two of the slices of bread.

5. Put sandwiches together, the ones with bananas make the

bottom of each sandwich, (don’t want to tip them over!)

6. Put the two sandwiches on a heated grill, I used a little olive oil

or you could splurge with a touch of butter on this! Grilling this

will make amazing sandwiches. Scrumptious!

(If you must know the calorie count is 418 calories for just one

of the sandwiches.)

And, I really missed the idea of marshmallow fluff, which my Dad

always included in his pretend “Elvis” sammies.