Archive for the 'Health' Category

Food, Energetics and Nourishment Online Intensive

Friday, April 9th, 2010

I am so excited to be registered for the following course and thought I would share the information with readers.   Be sure to contact Darcey if you are interested.   I would love to take a class with you…

Join Herbalist, Nutritionist, and food lover, Darcey Blue French of Brighid’s Well Herbs for a 6 week online intensive course on the energetics of food, true nourishment, nutrition, relationship with place and food, nutritional healing and more. www.brighidswellherbs.com

May 3, 2010 - June 21, 2010*Learn about the ways traditional healing systems such as Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine see food energetics, and use food as healing tools on a day to day basis.
* Explore your relationship with food, your body, what you eat and why.
* Discover your natural physical constitution, and how you can use food to help you stay balanced.
* Be prepared for a deep exploration of food and our relationship to it, this can be uncomfortable and emotional, as well as enlightening and sensual. Food is a deeply influential factor in our psyche, social interactions, and cultures. All students are expected to be sensitive to others and compassionate and respectful.
*Appropriate for food enthusiasts & practitioners alike.
*Very HANDS ON, expect to be preparing foods, meals and weekly assignments for the duration of the course. This is an EXPERIENTIAL class, not just book work. I will provide resources and readings, but the bulk of the work will require the actual preparation and consumption of food.
* This is not a cooking how to class. You should feel comfortable cooking and working in your kitchen. There will be recipes and ideas shared during class discussion, and pointers and questions are always acceptable.
*Requires access to e mail and the internet on a weekly basis. Class discussion is a part of the learning process. Arrangements may be available for those with limited access. Please inquire.Sliding scale $60-$80 per student, payable by check or paypal. Payment in installments is available by request.Please register by emailing Darcey at shamana.flora@gmail.com

About the Instructor:
Darcey Blue French is an herbalist and food lover, who has over the years explored various ways of eating, interacting with food and preparing food. Educated as a Clinical Nutritionist at the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in 2008, she has been in private practice since that time. She has experience in Ayurvedic Cooking, Vegetarian, Allergen Free, Primal/Paleo diets and the philosophies of Dr. Weston Price. Food is far more than fuel, and Darcey is passionate about food that not only nourishes the body, but also the spirit, and tastes wonderful too. She works closely with plants, both wild and cultivated that provide both food and medicine. She is an avid forager of wild foods, gardener of organic vegetables, and is passionate about local and sustainable food systems, and how our relationship with the land, nature and wilderness impacts our physical and spiritual health and wellbeing. She truly believes that one cannot separate the health of the people from the health of the ecosystem in which they live.

Intense, vibrantly wild and alive!

Paul Bergner on Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Agave Syrup

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Due to the fact that I am working on my last three weeks of the semester while my husband is on a business trip,  I have decided to re-post articles worthy of being passed along. This was originally passed along in an e-mail but I felt it was important to share, and Paul said that it was okay to “circulate freely” I  know many people reading my blog are just beginning to think about making lifestyle changes and I thought this offered some insight as to why you might want to start cutting back on your sugar intake.   According to Paul,  the average American takes in 160 pounds of HFCS a year!  We cut back our sugar intake drastically and eliminated HFCS from our daily diet years ago, and after reading this I am sure we made the right decision .
For those who are not familiar with the name,  Paul Bergner is the director of the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in Boulder, Colorado which  offers introductory, advanced, and clinical training in medical herbalism and clinical nutrition in the vitalist tradition.   Distance Education classes are also available.  NAIMH also publishes a quarterly journal for clinical herbalists:  Medical Herbalism
For those interested in more information,  please check out the websites above you will find a wealth of information.

<meta name="GENERATOR" content="OpenOffice.org 3.2 (Win32)" /><style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --></style></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p><strong>Paul Bergner on Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Agave Syrup</strong></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font face="Garamond, serif"><font size="4">The short answer is that yes, agave “nectar” is that bad, the longer answer below. Although Mercola is a little distasteful in his sensationalism, what he says in this case is true. In nature typically in a piece of fruit, the sugar is a mixture of sucrose (glucose bound to fructose), free glucose, and free fructose. “Free” isn’t really accurate, because its all tied up with fiber. If we would fill our bellies with fruit we would still only get a relatively small amount of free fructose. If we digest starch that has fructose in the chain of sugars in the starch, that is really slow. The result is that in the Krebs Cycle, the entrance of glucose into the cycle is highly regulated by enzymes, when ATP is adequate to high, if forms a brake on the glycolysis pathway, but fructose, on the one hand, enters the cycle one step below the control point. Historically, anthropologically, evolutionarily, we didn’t need to evolve a control on the fructose metabolic pathway. If the natural pathway for glycolysis is like water rushing down a white water canyon, with a dam at the bottom to prevent flooding, the natural fructose pathway is like a small stream that enters -below- the dam with no control on it. because no control was necessary during our evolution.</font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font face="Garamond, serif"><font size="4">So sucrose is broken into one glucose and one fructose when digested. Even though digestion of the disaccharide to the monosaccharides take some time and acts as a partial brake, because the extracted sugar is very concentrated, compared to eating a naturally sugary food, the glucose and fructose surge in the system. The glucose enters the controlled glycolysis pathway, but the fructose bypasses it, and floods the Krebs cycle and the related fat-building pathway in large amounts, symbolically like a -flood- into those pathways below the control point in glycolysis. Humans have no natural mechanism to deal with this, so the liver does 3 things, start making a lot of of fat and, if chronic, increasing the enzymes that manufacture fat, reduce the production of ATP via the Krebs cycle, and become resistant to the effects of insulin which would otherwise tell the liver to stop releasing glucose into the system. Current scientific  thinking on the adverse metabolic effects of sugar, the cluster of diseases that appear when the sugar trade emerges in a region, is that the overfeeding of the fructose pathway and the resulting consequences are responsible for the insulin resistance and obesity. Glucose is not the culprit. </font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font face="Garamond, serif"><font size="4">So . . . in the 70s the industry introduces high fructose corn syrup into the food supply. Most of it seems much like sucrose, 45 percent glucose and 55 percent fructose, not all that different. The problem is that in HFCS, the fructose is -free- it does not have to be split from sucrose, and is not bound to fiber. Now it literally floods into the liver with a much more devastating effect. A few years ago, the lead article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition proposed the introduction of unbound liquid fructose into the food supply as -the- cause of the epidemic of obesity and diabetes that began to manifest around 1980 and continues to expand today. Free liquid fructose appears to be benign or even beneficial because there is no spike of glucose, or even of insulin after ingesting it. There is instead a spike of fat in the form of triglycerides, but no one notices that (only fasting TG are even measured in routine lab tests). And as the liver adapts to habitual use of sugar or fructose, -then- insulin resistance is increased and insulin and glucose rise to higher levels than before and the individual becomes pre- or full blown diabetic. By the way overloading the fructose pathways also produces elevated uric acid and can cause gout. </font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font face="Garamond, serif"><font size="4">The process for making HFCS is to chemically strip the sugars off of the starch in corn, freeing them up. The process of making of agave nectar is similar (this is not agave sap), but the sugars are chemically stripped off of inulin starch, inulin being a fructo-oligosaccharide, having fructose as the dominant sugar in the chain, so the agave nectar might be 80-90% free fructose instead of 55% like the HFCS in soft drinks. Thus sugar is bad, HFCS is really bad, and Agave nectar is way worse than HFCS. </font></font></p> </blockquote> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/04/06/paul-bergner-on-sugar-high-fructose-corn-syrup-and-agave-syrup/#respond" title="Comment on Paul Bergner on Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Agave Syrup ">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-295"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/03/09/eating-your-herbs-nutrients-for-your-nervous-system/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Eating Your Herbs: Nutrients for your Nervous System">Eating Your Herbs: Nutrients for your Nervous System</a></h3> <small>Tuesday, March 9th, 2010</small> <div class="entry"> <p>I always notice a bit of a change in the air this time of year.   We are slowly but surely edging towards Spring but we aren’t quite there yet and it always seem as though nerves fray just a little bit more easily.   I thought I might offer a bit of advice as to how to eat your way to a healthier nervous system.<br /> Nutrition plays a vital role in a healthy nervous system but before you even think about what foods to eat, you should look at your eating patterns.   Are you skipping meals while taking in large amounts of stimulants or sugars?   These eating patterns need to be addressed before you can move on.   You need to eat enough to provide your body with the foods you need.  It is almost impossible to do this with two meals a day so your body begins to crave foods that will give it that quick energy fix. Unfortunately in our society,  candy bars and coffee are far more available than a leafy green salad or a whole-grain snack.  You have to plan a bit more to provide yourself with healthy alternative but it is completely worth the effort.   Once you address your eating patterns, you can begin to look at the nutrients your body needs to properly support your nervous system.</p> <p>Calcium intake is key to  healthy nervous system functioning  due to the fact that Calcium molecules are vital to the chemical reactions that take place in your body to transmit nerve impulses and muscle movement.    Thankfully calcium is easily found in many foods and herbs.   Obviously dairy products contain a good deal of calcium but you can also find calcium in many non-dairy products.  Seaweeds contain the highest level of calcium available; even more than dairy products.    In fact, most dark leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach and parsley also contain calcium.    Oats and almonds are high in calcium which is one of the reasons I use those two ingredients when making homemade <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/10/20/almond-oat-milk/">oat milk</a>.  Sesame seeds and tahini are good sources, as well.  Herbal sources of calcium include: nettle, comfrey, horsetail, oatstraw/milky oat tops, dandelion greens, and chickweed.<br /> B Vitamins are also important to a healthy nervous system but it is important to note that there is too much of a good thing.  Taking large doses of B vitamins (specifically B12)  can lead to anxiety attacks and panic disorders.   In other words, taking those high dosage “stress tabs”  may lead to an increase in symptoms you are trying to alleviate.    It is also important to note that B vitamins are best taken in as a “complex”.  High dosages of one B vitamin invariably lead to a deficiency of another.  I think that the complexity of B vitamin supplementation may be one of the main reasons I choose to eat my vitamins rather than take pills.  Nature seems to naturally understand what our bodies need and nutrients present in foods are often combined more precisely than we could ever hope to accomplish with supplements.   Thankfully B vitamins are present in so many wholesome foods that I rarely worry if I am getting enough.   Whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice, oats, and barley are wonderful sources of vitamin B, as are dried beans.  Yogurt, molasses, wheat germ and kefir contain.   Vegetable sources of Vitamin B include most leafy green vegetables,fresh sprouts, and seaweeds.  There are a few other specialty sources of B vitamins that can be included in your diet such as bee pollen, spirulina and nutritional yeast. Bee pollen is an amazing nutrient which I should devote a whole blog entry to, but I do worry about our dwindling bee population and the availability of this nutrient.   Consequently,  I use it sparingly and with a great deal of respect for the creatures who created it in mind. Herbal sources of vitamin B include:  comfrey, parsley, dandelion greens and nettles (Do you begin to see why nettles are always a part of my nourishing infusions?)</p> <p>Vitamin C mixes with vitamin B-6 to create serotonin so it is important to make sure that you are getting an adequate supply.  Papaya, bell peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries, raspberries, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, broccoli and cauliflower are all good food sources of vitamin C.   My favorite herbal source of Vitamin C is rosehips but there are many others.<br /> Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin necessary  for calcium absorption which is created in your body when you absorb UVB rays.  These UVB rays are most readily available between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  Exposure times no longer than 10-15 minutes two or three times a week are adequate.  Still, many Americans don’t get outside as much as we should during the mid-day hours so dairy food is often enriched with vitamin D.    The body does store vitamin D for use during the winter but how much vitamin D your body produces is entirely contingent on the amount of UVB rays your skin absorbs and how much you get in your daily diet.   This can be tricky because there is no plant source of vitamin D.   Sources of vitamin D,  we incorporate into our DAILY diet include:  tuna, eggs, salmon, organic milk and yogurt.  Regardless, of what you might hear, cheese  and butter do not necessarily have Vitamin D so check your labels.    In  the Northern Hemisphere where the UVB rays can’t penetrate the atmosphere well, if at all, from November to February,   it is important to think about Vitamin D supplementation.   For all that I am not a fan of supplements, there is a time to be wise.  If you get little exposure to UVB rays and you are not eating foods which contain Vitamin D,  you might want to consider a supplement.  A good source of vitamin D is cod-liver oil which just goes to show that Grandma might have known what she was doing, after all.</p> <p>Here are a couple of quick recipes I enjoy which seem to take the edge off of a bad mood.   Many of the recipes I included in my <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/11/04/herbs-for-energy/">Herbs for Energy</a> post serve a double purpose of providing some of these nutrients as well.  Hopefully, I don’t use too many smoothie recipes for everyone but I find them to be the easiest way for most people to incorporate healthier foods in their grab-and-dash lifestyle.   Keep in mind that an insulated coffee mug keeps things cold as well as it keeps things hot.   Either one of these drinks would make a complete breakfast.</p> <blockquote><p><strong>Stressbuster Smoothie </strong></p> <p>1/2 cup almond-oat milk</p> <p>1/2 cup  yogurt</p> <p>1/2 cup raspberries and strawberries</p> <p>1/4 cup wheat germ</p> <p>1 teaspoon bee pollen</p></blockquote> <blockquote><p><strong>Avocado Milkshake</strong></p> <p>1 ripe avocado</p> <p>1/2 cup yogurt</p> <p>1/2 cup almond milk</p> <p>3 tablespoons honey or grade B maple syrup</p> <p>1 tsp carob powder (optional)</p></blockquote> <blockquote /> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/recipes/" title="View all posts in Recipes" rel="category tag">Recipes</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/eating-your-herbs/" title="View all posts in Eating Your Herbs" rel="category tag">Eating Your Herbs</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/03/09/eating-your-herbs-nutrients-for-your-nervous-system/#respond" title="Comment on Eating Your Herbs: Nutrients for your Nervous System">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-297"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/26/eating-your-herbs-infusions-in-our-lives/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Eating your Herbs: Infusions in our Lives">Eating your Herbs: Infusions in our Lives</a></h3> <small>Tuesday, January 26th, 2010</small> <div class="entry"> <p>A lot of herbalists talk of using herbal infusions to support your body during and illness or perhaps as an alternative to a nutritional supplement in the form of a nourishing infusion.</p> <p>They are quite useful; I have been <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2005/11/29/31/">making herbal preparations, for years now,</a>  with good results.</p> <p>You don’t hear many of them mentioning  spaghetti sauce as an decoction although the acidic base of tomato sauce is wonderful for drawing minerals out of foods. You also don’t hear <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/08/30/homemade-hot-sauce/">hot sauce</a>  tossed around as an herbal preparation but these are both excellent examples of ways you can incorporate more herbs into your diet. I think I might have been making hot sauce when it occurred to me that we had lost touch with the reasons that many ingredients are in our foods.  <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/09/02/grandma-ghilains-chili-sauce/">Grandma’s Chili Sauce</a> recipe also reminded me that people use to have a better grasp on cooking to sustain health than we do now.<br /> Keep in mind I am not talking about the watered-down, additive-laden prepared foodstuff you buy at the the megamarket.   I am talking of preparations you make yourself.<br /> I don’t remember exactly when it occurred to me that soups and broths are really just giant pots of herbal goodness.    It was probably  have been shortly after Darian became a vegetarian and I made my first batch of <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2005/01/15/homemade-vegetable-broth/">homemade vegetable broth</a>.  I know I definitely had a handle on it by the time I was making <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2008/09/18/garlic-broth/">garlic broth</a> to use in soups. There is nothing quite so satisfying as a <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2008/04/21/vegetable-barley-soup/">healing soup</a> simmering away slowly on the stovetop, while the flavors and properties of the herbs flow gently into the food.<br /> If you look at the dates on some of the recipes, you will see that this idea evolved over the years.  I didn’t really find one book that sent this message clearly, although I am sure they are out there.  It has been more like a giant experiment for me.    I am always thinking  of new ways to incorporate herbs into my food.  Just the other day it occurred to me to toss a couple of astragalus sticks into the rice pot.  I am sure I am not the only one to do this but it never really occurred to me before, despite the fact that I have been throwing it in soups for years.</p> <p>I realized that I don’t know that I ever have put our spaghetti sauce recipe on the blog, so I though I would use it here as an example of the herb to food ratio that is health-producing.</p> <blockquote><p><strong>Our Marinara Sauce</strong></p></blockquote> <blockquote><p>1 large onion (chopped)</p> <p>3-5 cloves garlic</p> <p>1/2 pound fresh mushrooms (sliced)</p> <p>1/4 cup fresh basil</p> <p>1/4 cup fresh oregano</p> <p>1/4 cup fresh rosemary</p> <p>1 quart tomato sauce  (I can my own sauce and it is not as thick as you buy at the store but it is thicker than juice; you might need to experiment with mixing sauce and juice.)</p> <p>Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a medium sized sauce pan.  Saute onions and garlic until they are translucent.  Add the mushroom and herbs and saute for a few more minutes.  Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil.  Turn heat very low, cover and simmer for at least forty minutes.</p></blockquote> <p>You can see I am not talking about putting two teaspoons of  store-bought italian seasonings in a can of tomato sauce.  I am using lots of herbs; fresh whenever possible and really cooking the sauce long enough to extract the constituents of the herbs.  You can substitute quality dried herbs but by quality I mean herb shop quality not those little containers at the supermarket.<br /> Beverages don’t have to be the boring preparations many people think of as medicinal infusions, either. <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/10/20/almond-oat-milk/">Almond-Oatmeal Milk</a> may be a bit thick for drinking but it is great for baking and making smoothies.   <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2008/01/10/herbal-chai/">Herbal Chai</a>,  <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2005/02/02/creamy-carob-drink/">Creamy Carob Drink</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2008/05/18/old-fashioned-lemonade/">homemade lemonade</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2008/07/14/vitamin-c-drink/">vitamin C drink</a> and <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2008/12/08/ginger-lemonade/">ginger lemonade</a> are fun drinks which  incorporate herbs and hopefully will be more appealing to the children in your lives.</p> <p>There is an added benefit of incorporating these beverages into your daily diet.  I have experimented with many different ways to get little ones to eat their herbs. It is much easier to get herbal preparations into children when they are sick, if they are accustomed to them.  As a side note,  Lemon balm is an antiviral could easily be added to any of the last three drinks without noticeably changing the flavor of the drink.  “wink, wink” </p> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/eating-your-herbs/" title="View all posts in Eating Your Herbs" rel="category tag">Eating Your Herbs</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/26/eating-your-herbs-infusions-in-our-lives/#comments" title="Comment on Eating your Herbs: Infusions in our Lives ">2 Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-296"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/25/296/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Nutrition for Health">Nutrition for Health</a></h3> <small>Monday, January 25th, 2010</small> <div class="entry"> <p>We have been doing a good job of staying healthy this winter around our house.  Other than the bout of H1N1 which hit us in October and one gastrointestinal virus which were both short-lived, we have been pretty healthy.  (Riley gets sick once in awhile, but that is to be expected when one exists on a diet of soda, corn chips and queso dip.)</p> <p>We still have to weather the transition from winter to spring in late March, though.  That is usually the peak of the cold and flu season, so I thought perhaps now would be a good time to discuss my thoughts on nutrition.  I don’t really believe that “ramping up” your nutrient intake once you are sick is very useful, other than perhaps in providing your body with the extra-nutrition it needs at the time.   But what if you ate every day as though you are fighting off a virus or a cold; maybe you would find that you didn’t get sick in the first place.<br /> I  do not like pill pushing regardless of what is in them.  You shouldn’t need to take encapsulated herbs or a fistful of manufactured vitamins every day, in place of food. While I am sure that in cases where a blood test has shown there to be a deficiency, supplements can be useful to catch the body up.   I prefer to avoid the deficiency in the first place.</p> <p>I also don’t like using them from a sustainability standpoint.  I don’t want my well-being to be dependent on any industry and it would be rather hypocritical of me to talk a good game about local sustainable food systems when half my nutrients are arriving on a boat from China.  This is one of the reasons that I tend to focus on using herbs and foods that I can grow or wild-craft in my area.</p> <p>I   mention this so that you know that I really am not very much help when it comes to giving advice about supplements.  Sometimes people are surprised that I haven’t bothered to learn about this sort of thing.  Studying herbalism, to them, should be a study of which bottled herbs you should buy at the supermarket or nutrition store in the mall.   Unfortunately, I can’t tell you which company produces the best supplements and  I try to avoid those aisles at all cost, for fear of saying something offensive.  I do openly admit that I came by my aversion to pills honestly.  Back in the days before I knew better, I lost a lot of weight (125 pound) with these bottled supplements and almost destroyed my health in the process.</p> <p>For the next couple of weeks, I am going to post about different ways eating and cooking with herbs can help to improve your health.   Hopefully I will post some recipes you would consider trying along the way and give you new things to think about when making meals.   Do keep in mind though that I am a staunch proponent of the concept of having “all things in moderation”.  Don’t fight with yourself (or your family) to entirely give up a questionable food substance, just don’t abuse your body with it and use the healthiest form of the substance possible.</p> <p><strong>Some General Guidelines I Follow </strong></p> <blockquote><p>1.  When you don’t eat properly, your body does not find the nutrition in the food you eat, it will find the nutrients someplace in your body such as your bones, muscles or brain matter.   This is especially true of protein which your body will leach from your muscles or brain matter and vitamins and calcium which your body will take from your bones.  A vast majority of health complaints in this country; fatigue, mental fogginess, depression, etc… are caused by your bodies natural response to incomplete nutrition.</p> <p>2.  It should go without saying, but purchase as many organic foods as you can afford and avoid eating food additives.  The best way to do this inexpensively, is to learn to cook and bake your own food.<br /> 3.  70-80% percent of your daily intake of food should be in the form of organic whole-grains, vegetables (including legumes), fruits, and herbs.   Don’t be afraid of fats & oils though.  Your body needs a certain amount to function properly.   I cook with mostly olive oil, and I bake with butter, coconut oil and applesauce.</p> <p>4. Regardless of what they taught our parents in the fifties, darker is better where most foods are concerned.  Refined white foods have been completely robbed of nutrients and should be avoided.  Brown rice, old-fashioned oats, whole wheat flour, (we compromise around here on the white whole wheat) and whole hulled barley are far more nutritious than their polished counterparts.</p> <p>5.   I don’t avoid sugar completely, but I don’t use it often and I NEVER use the white junk they sell at the grocery store.   I don’t even enjoy the constant influx of “sweet” that many people crave.  I think it is because I get plenty of B vitamins.  I read someplace that craving sugar was a sign of a B vitamin deficiency which makes sense when you think about it as sugar cane naturally contains B Vitamins.   Unfortunately, sugar in the form of the white sucrose powder you buy in the store is completely devoid of the B vitamins.  So when you bake with sugar, you should be substituting locally produced honey, organic molasses, sucanat, turbinado, or evaporated cane juice in recipes that call for sugar.   Maple syrup is nice too, but opt for “Grade B” maple syrup which is less refined and retains more of its natural nutrients.    I avoid high fructose corn syrup like the plague and I don’t use agave nectar nor do I plan to base on the <a href="http://www.trit.us/modernfood/HFCSAgave.pdf">information I have read</a>.</p> <p>6.  Eat Your Herbs!   I have learned that by taking in herbs in the form of nourishing infusions, tonic nutritive vinegars and most importantly by eating them,  you can provide your body with a much broader spectrum of daily nutrients than you can by with food, alone.</p></blockquote> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/eating-your-herbs/" title="View all posts in Eating Your Herbs" rel="category tag">Eating Your Herbs</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/25/296/#comments" title="Comment on Nutrition for Health ">1 Comment »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-294"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/13/the-safe-seed-pledge/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to The Safe Seed Pledge">The Safe Seed Pledge</a></h3> <small>Wednesday, January 13th, 2010</small> <div class="entry"> <p>While my blog posts have been focusing on herbalism lately, I thought I would take a moment to round out the content, a bit, with a post on gardening. I have been happily perusing the many gardening catalogs that begin arriving this time of year and making plans for the upcoming growing season.</p> <p>As I grow many of my own plants from seed, one of the most important issues to me when considering my future purchases is seed safety.   In light of the<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/13/monsanto-squeezes-out-see_n_390354.html"> latest news concerning Monsanto genetically modified seeds</a>, I am glad to say that I decided quite some time ago that avoiding genetically modified food, seeds and plants was the right choice for our family.  Thankfully,  there are many companies out there which have recognized that consumers are wary of GMO’s and with good reason.<a href="http://www.saynotogmos.org/"> </a></p> <p>According to the findings of an <a href="http://www.i-sis.org.uk/ispr-summary.php">Independent Science Panel report on GMO’s</a>, “GM crops have failed to deliver the promised benefits and are posing escalating problems on the farm. Transgenic contamination is now widely acknowledged to be unavoidable, and hence there can be no co-existence of GM and non-GM agriculture. Most important of all, GM crops have not been proven safe. On the contrary, sufficient evidence has emerged to raise serious safety concerns, that if ignored could result in irreversible damage to health and the environment. GM crops should therefore be firmly rejected now.”</p> <p>The  documentary, <a href="http://www.thefutureoffood.com/"><em>“The Future of Food”</em></a> did an excellent job of explaining the issues surrounding the food industry today, in terms that are easily understood by your average consumer.  I highly recommend watching it, if you haven’t had a chance to see it.</p> <p>Thankfully,  many small seed companies are aware of consumer discontent and have taken steps to ensure that non-GMO alternatives are available for gardeners.   Many of these companies have taken the following pledge:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote><p><center></p> <p align="center" style="margin-left: 4px"><strong><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">The Safe Seed Pledge</font></strong></p> <p></center></p></blockquote> <link rel="File-List" /> <p align="left" style="margin-left: 4px">“Agriculture and seeds providethe basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundations as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers,gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seedsor plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately people and communities.”</p> </blockquote> <p align="left" style="margin-left: 4px">There are many companies which have signed this pledge but I thought I might recommend a few, as I have purchased seeds or plants from them with good results:</p> <blockquote /><p><meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" /><meta name="ProgId" content="Word.Document" /><meta name="Generator" content="Microsoft Word 11" /><meta name="Originator" content="Microsoft Word 11" /><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:.5in .8in .5in .8in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:”"; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--></p> <blockquote><p><a href="http://www.botanicalinterests.com/store/register_affiliate.php?AffiliateId=357"><span id="ctl00_ctl00_ctl00_cphContent_cphContentLeft_cphContentLeft_pageView1_lblDescription">Botanical Interests, Inc.</span></a></p> <p><span id="ctl00_ctl00_ctl00_cphContent_cphContentLeft_cphContentLeft_pageView1_lblDescription"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/www.freedomseeds.org">Freedom Seeds </a><a href="http://www.botanicalinterests.com/store/register_affiliate.php?AffiliateId=3%3Cbr%3E%3C/a%3E57%3C/a%3E%3C/span%3E%3C/p%3E%3Cp%3E%3Cspan%20id="><br /> </a></span><span id="ctl00_ctl00_ctl00_cphContent_cphContentLeft_cphContentLeft_pageView1_lblDescription"><br /> <a title="www.horizonherbs.com" target="_blank" href="http://www.horizonherbs.com/">Horizon Herbs</a></span><span id="ctl00_ctl00_ctl00_cphContent_cphContentLeft_cphContentLeft_pageView1_lblDescription" /><span id="ctl00_ctl00_ctl00_cphContent_cphContentLeft_cphContentLeft_pageView1_lblDescription"><a href="http://www.seedsavers.org/" /></span></p> <p><span id="ctl00_ctl00_ctl00_cphContent_cphContentLeft_cphContentLeft_pageView1_lblDescription"><a href="http://www.seedsavers.org/">Seed Savers<br /> </a></span></p> <p><span id="ctl00_ctl00_ctl00_cphContent_cphContentLeft_cphContentLeft_pageView1_lblDescription"><a href="http://www.richters.com/source.cgi?source=7939361.14872">Richter’s Herbs</a><br /> <a target="_blank" href="http://orderdesk@richters.com/"><br /> </a></span></p></blockquote> <p><span id="ctl00_ctl00_ctl00_cphContent_cphContentLeft_cphContentLeft_pageView1_lblDescription" /><span id="ctl00_ctl00_ctl00_cphContent_cphContentLeft_cphContentLeft_pageView1_lblDescription" /></p> <p>Additional Reading:</p> <p><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/13/monsanto-squeezes-out-see_n_390354.html">Monsanto Squeezes Out Seed Business Competition, AP Investigation Finds </a></p> <p><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/12/monsantos-gmo-corn-linked_n_420365.html">Monsanto’s GMO Corn Linked to Organ Failure, Study Reveals</a></p> <p><script type="text/javascript"><br /> threeup_js(’Green’, ‘420365′, ‘2′);<br /> </script></p> <p><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/12/monsantos-gmo-corn-linked_n_420365.html" /></p> <div id="ad_curtain" class="ad_wrapper"><script type="text/javascript"><br /> document.write('’);<br /> var href_path = “”;<br /> var src_path = “http://ad.doubleclick.net/adj/huffpost.green/news/curtain;”;<br /> var src_params = “;featured-posts=1;green=1;entry_id=420365;@yhealth=1;@yscitech=1;@yvideo=1;food=1;food-politics=1;gilles-eric-seralini=1;gmo-corn=1;gmos=1;international-journal-of-biological-sciences=1;monsanto=1;monsanto-corn-organ-damage=1;monsanto-gm-corn=1;monsanto-gmo-corn=1;national-food-safety=1;the-global-report=1;twilight-earth=1;university-of-caen=1;global=1;”;<br /> var a = false;var cn=’__qseg=’;var c = document.cookie;var csi = c.indexOf(cn);<br /> if(csi != -1){if((cei = c.indexOf(’;', csi + cn.length)) == -1){cei = c.length;}a = unescape(c.substring(csi + cn.length, cei));}<br /> src_params += (a ? a.replace(/\|{0,1}Q_/gi,’;qcs=’).replace(/^;/,'’) + ‘;’ : ‘’);<br /> src_params += “loadmode=inline;page_type=bpage;sz=938×200;tile=2;ord=812318242?”; document.write(’<s\cript type="text/javascript" xsrc="' + src_path + src_params + '"></s\cript>‘); var src = href_path + src_path + src_params;<br /> if(/debugadcode/.test(location.href.toLowerCase())){document.write(’</p> <div style="position:relative;z-index:1000"> <div style="z-index:10000;position:absolute;top:0px;left:0px;padding:5px;background-color:#e8d4f4;font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:9px">‘ + src.replace(/\;/gi,’;<br /> ‘) + ‘<br /> <a style="font-weight:bold;font-size:12px" target="_blank" xhref="/ads/test/ad_isolator.html?' + escape(src) + '">See Ad In New Page</a></div> </div> <p>‘);}<br /> </script><script type="text/javascript"><a target="_top" xhref="http://ad.doubleclick.net/click;h=v8/3921/0/0/%2a/p;44306;0-0;0;41432764;25461-938/200;0/0/0;;%7Eokv=;;featured-posts=1;green=1;entry_id=420365;@yhealth=1;@yscitech=1;@yvideo=1;food=1;food-politics=1;gilles-eric-seralini=1;gmo-corn=1;gmos=1;international-journal-of-biological-sciences=1;monsanto=1;monsanto-corn-organ-damage=1;monsanto-gm-corn=1;monsanto-gmo-corn=1;national-food-safety=1;the-global-report=1;twilight-earth=1;university-of-caen=1;global=1;qcs=D;loadmode=inline;page_type=bpage;sz=938x200;tile=2;bsg=101992;bsg=102004;;%7Eaopt=2/1/ff/1;%7Esscs=%3f" mce_href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/click;h=v8/3921/0/0/%2a/p;44306;0-0;0;41432764;25461-938/200;0/0/0;;%7Eokv=;;featured-posts=1;green=1;entry_id=420365;@yhealth=1;@yscitech=1;@yvideo=1;food=1;food-politics=1;gilles-eric-seralini=1;gmo-corn=1;gmos=1;international-journal-of-biological-sciences=1;monsanto=1;monsanto-corn-organ-damage=1;monsanto-gm-corn=1;monsanto-gmo-corn=1;national-food-safety=1;the-global-report=1;twilight-earth=1;university-of-caen=1;global=1;qcs=D;loadmode=inline;page_type=bpage;sz=938x200;tile=2;bsg=101992;bsg=102004;;%7Eaopt=2/1/ff/1;%7Esscs=%3f" ><img border="0" alt="Click here to find out more!" xsrc="http://static.2mdn.net/viewad/817-grey.gif" mce_src="http://static.2mdn.net/viewad/817-grey.gif" /></a></div> <p><!-- Modal --></p> <div style="visibility: hidden" class="light_box_modal" id="huff_modal_common"> <div class="light_box_modal_inner" id="huff_modal_common_inner"><script type="text/javascript"><br /> document.write(’Your request is being processed…’); </script></div> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/gardening/" title="View all posts in Gardening" rel="category tag">Gardening</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/13/the-safe-seed-pledge/#comments" title="Comment on The Safe Seed Pledge">3 Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-292"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/07/news-release-herbal-science-organization-clarifies-new-ginkgo-study/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to News Release: Herbal Science Organization Clarifies New Ginkgo Study">News Release: Herbal Science Organization Clarifies New Ginkgo Study</a></h3> <small>Thursday, January 7th, 2010</small> <div class="entry"> <p><em>(Editorial Note:  I don’t often post these types of press releases but someone actually asked me about this study.  Apparently a web newsgroup  ran something on the jama article. I knew that the ABC had provided a far more effective rebuttal than I could, so here it is.   If this is too much scientific mumbo jumbo for you basically what it boils down to is this.  It was a poorly designed, executed and documented study. The first lesson I learned in my Environmental Science class was that it is important to question the soundness of the methodology and the financial motivation behind the results of scientific studies.  This holds especially true when dealing with Big Pharm’s bought-and-paid for trade union aka the American Medical Association.)</em></p> <p>Herbal Science Organization Clarifies New Ginkgo Study</p> <p>(Austin, TX) December 28, 2009.</p> <p>New research findings published this week on a standardized Ginkgo biloba extract are very limited and the public should focus on the well-documented cognitive and cardiovascular benefits of ginkgo, said the American Botanical Council (ABC), an independent nonprofit research and education organization.</p> <p>A new study of previously published data being published in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has reported that a leading ginkgo extract did not reduce the decline in cognitive impairment in older adults.1,2</p> <p>“There are many significant limitations of this study”, said Mark Blumenthal, ABC founder and executive director.</p> <p>First, the data being published this week are drawn from a previous clinical trial which was not designed to determine the decline in cognition.3</p> <p>Second, about 40% of the subjects dropped out over the 6-year duration of the trial; the statistics reported in the study include the dropouts for which no final data are available.</p> <p>Further, the subjects in the study were not monitored for certain cognitive parameters until several years after the trial began, creating difficulty in determining accurately whether they experienced a decline in cognition or not.</p> <p>Also, the age of the subjects is quite advanced, at an average of 79 years at the beginning of the trial. This age group is not typical of the age of both healthy people and those with mild cognitive impairment who use ginkgo for improving mental performance.</p> <p>Further, ABC noted that another weakness of this trial is the lack of an active control, i.e., a potential third arm of the trial (i.e., besides the patients on ginkgo or placebo) in which patients would have used a pharmaceutical medication with presumed efficacy, to determine to what extent the particular population being tested would respond. This was not possible for this trial since no conventional pharmaceutical drug has ever demonstrated the ability to prevent the onset of dementia or diminish its progression.</p> <p>ABC also stated that several recent publications have demonstrated an improvement in cognitive performance in subjects using the same German gingko extract.4,5,6</p> <p>The new publication, by Beth E. Snits, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist associated with the University of Pittsburgh, and other colleagues, analyzed outcomes from the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory study (GEM, published in 2008 in JAMA) to determine if ginkgo extract slowed cognitive decline in older adults who had either normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment at the beginning of the study. 3</p> <p>The GEM study previously found that ginkgo extract was not effective in reducing the incidence of Alzheimer dementia or dementia overall. This large, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-centered clinical trial included 3,069 community-dwelling subjects (aged 72 to 96 years) who received either a dose of 120 mg of ginkgo extract twice daily or an identical-appearing placebo. The trial was conducted at 6 academic medical centers in the United States between 2000 and 2008, with a median follow-up of 6.1 years. Change in cognitive function was evaluated by various tests and measures.</p> <p>ABC emphasized that the original GEM trial was designed to determine whether taking ginkgo would prevent the onset of dementia. What this new publication has done is attempted to analyze the possible decline in levels of cognitive function – not a primary outcome measure of the GEM study.</p> <p>“This trial is not conclusive nor should it in any way detract from ginkgo’s reputation as a useful dietary supplement to help support and improve cognitive function and enhance peripheral circulation – conditions for which it has been reported to be effective in numerous clinical trials,” reminded Blumenthal.</p> <p>At least 16 controlled clinical trials have evaluated various ginkgo extracts for healthy, non-cognitively impaired adults. A systematic review has shown that in 11 of these trials, the ginkgo increased short-term memory, concentration and time to process mental tasks.7</p> <p>“The results of this new trial must be viewed in proper perspective,” noted Blumenthal. “There is a vast body of pharmacological and clinical research supporting numerous health benefits for ginkgo extracts, particularly for improving various symptoms and conditions associated with declining cognitive performance and poor circulation.”</p> <p>ABC also emphasized that this publication, and the one published in 2008 on which it is based, both underscore the relative safety of ginkgo extract: the amount of adverse events were basically the same in both the ginkgo and placebo groups, particularly no serious adverse effects, e.g. no statistically significant incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke of any type, and major bleeding.</p> <p>The trial utilized EGb 761®, the world’s most clinically tested ginkgo extract, produced by W. Schwabe Pharmaceuticals in Karlsruhe, Germany.</p> <p><strong>About Ginkgo Extract</strong></p> <p>Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is the world’s oldest living tree, dating back about 250 million years. Ginkgo leaves have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for about 500 years. For about the past 30 years the leaves of ginkgo have been made into a highly concentrated (50:1) extract, chemically standardized to compounds unique to ginkgo (ginkgolides and bilobalide) as well as other compounds. The leading German ginkgo extract has been subjected to a vast range of clinical trials documenting its ability to improve peripheral circulation and cognitive function, particularly in patients with early stages of mild cognitive impairment, senile dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and memory loss. Clinical trials also support the use of ginkgo extract in assisting elderly patients in walking longer distances without leg pain (peripheral arterial occlusive disease, also known as intermittent claudication). Standardized ginkgo extracts are approved for use as medicines in Germany and numerous other countries.</p> <p><strong>About the American Botanical Council</strong></p> <p>Founded in 1988 the American Botanical Council is a leading international nonprofit organization addressing research and educational issues regarding herbs and medicinal plants. ABC’s members include academic researchers and educators, universities and libraries, health professionals and medical institutions, botanical gardens and arboreta, government agencies, members of the herb, dietary supplement, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries, journalists, consumers, and other interested parties from over 70 countries. The organization occupies a historic 2.5-acre site in Austin, Texas where it publishes the quarterly journal HerbalGram, the monthly e-publication HerbalEGram, HerbClips (over 4000 summaries of scientific and clinical publications), reference books, and other educational materials. ABC also hosts HerbMedPro, a powerful herbal database, covering scientific and clinical publications on more than 220 herbs.</p> <p>ABC is tax-exempt under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS Code.</p> <p>Information: Contact ABC at P.O. Box 144345, Austin, TX 78714-4345, Phone: 512-926-4900.</p> <p>Website: <a href="http://www.herbalgram.org/">http://www.herbalgram.org/</a>.</p> <p><strong>References</strong></p> <p>1. Snitz BE, O’Meara ES, Carlson MC, Arnold A, Ives DG, Rapp SR, Saxton J, Lopez OL, Dunn LO, Sink K, DeKosky ST. Does Ginkgo biloba slow cognitive decline in older adults? JAMA Dec 23/30, 2009.</p> <p>2. American Medical Association. Ginkgo Biloba Does Not Appear to Slow Rate of Cognitive Decline. [press release]. Chicago, IL: Dec. 23, 2009.</p> <p>3. DeKosky ST, Williamson JD, Fitzpatrick AL, et al. Ginkgo biloba for prevention of dementia: a randomized controlled trial.[see comment]. JAMA. Nov 19 2008;300(19):2253-2262.</p> <p>4. QWiG Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen. IQWiG Reports - Commission No. A05-19B. Ginkgo in Alzheimer’s disease. Executive Summary. Cologne: IQWiG, 2008.</p> <p>5. Kaschel R. Ginkgo biloba: specificity of neuropsychological improvement – a selective review in search of differential effects. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental 2009;24:345-370.</p> <p>6. Kasper S, Schubert H. Ginkgo-Spezialextrakt EGb 761® in der Behandlung der Demenz: Evidenz für Wirksamkeit und Verträglichkeit. [Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761® in the treatment of dementia: evidence of efficacy and tolerability.] Fortschritte Neurologie Psychiatrie 2009;77:494-506.</p> <p>7. Crews W, Harrison DW, Griggin ML, Falwell KD, Crist T, Longest L, Hehemann L, Rey ST. The neuropsychological efficacy of ginkgo preparations in healthy and cognitively intact adults; A comprehensive review. HerbalGram 2005;67:42-62. </p> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/07/news-release-herbal-science-organization-clarifies-new-ginkgo-study/#comments" title="Comment on News Release: Herbal Science Organization Clarifies New Ginkgo Study">1 Comment »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-290"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/11/04/herbs-for-energy/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Herbs for Energy">Herbs for Energy</a></h3> <small>Wednesday, November 4th, 2009</small> <div class="entry"> <p>The <a href="http://fieldoftansy.blogspot.com/2009/11/november-blog-party-coffeestimulantsmor.html">November Herbal Blog Party</a> is on and the buzz this month is morning stimulants or ritual blends.  This topic hits home for me because I LOVE coffee but I have been making a concerted effort to cut back on the amount I drink.  I found the way to make this transition easier on myself was by replacing an unhealthy habit with healthful herbal concoctions.    There are many herbs that are considered stimulants which can be included in the daily diet.   These herbs create energy by nourishing the body, activating body systems and increasing circulation thus restoring vitality and health.   Making the switch to herbal stimulants, however, is a process that requires patience   Herbal stimulants don’t provide the instant gratification that one becomes used to when consuming caffeinated products.</p> <p>There are many herbs that I  have experimented with including; cinnamon, cloves, ginger, ginseng, peppermint, spearmint,  cayenne, and horseradish.  These are all very mild herbs which I feel comfortable including in my daily diet as sources of nourishment and stimulation.  While there may be stronger stimulants out there such as ephedra and guarana,  I feel they should be treated with the same respect as coffee and saved for occasional use.</p> <p><strong>Morning Brews</strong><br /> In the morning,   I need something warm and quick.  <a href="http://www.susunweed.com/How_to_make_Infusions.htm">Nourishing infusions</a> are strong herbal “teas” which contain nutritive herbs that tonify and nourish the body.  I also like to throw a little “wake up herb” in to the mix as well.    As these infusions need to brew for quite some time, I have gotten in the habit of starting mine before I go to bed.  It is nice to wake up to that steaming carafe.  Often I just drink mine black but you can make a latte if you are in the habit of drinking your coffee with creamer or sweetener.</p> <blockquote><p>Peppermint Latte</p> <p>1/3 part  dried peppermint or spearmint leaves</p> <p>1/3 part  dried red raspberry leaves,  blackberry leaves, red clover blossoms, or any other nourishing herb</p> <p>1/3 part  oatstraw</p> <p>1 quart water</p> <p>Brew a  nourishing infusion of the dried herbs.   In the morning you just steam some milk or coconut milk and add to the infusion and sweeten with honey, if desired.</p></blockquote> <p>If you are wanting to add root or bark herbs to your diet, the best way to prepare them is by decocting.   Chai is an excellent example of a decoction which stimulates and nourishes. A great way to make chai caffeine free is by replacing the black tea with dandelion root and burdock root.   This is a single recipe but you can make it in large batches and just use a few tablespoons of the mixture at a time.</p> <blockquote><p>Herbal  Chai</p> <p>1/2 tablespoons dandelion root</p> <p>1/2 tablespoon burdock root</p> <p>1 tablespoon of fennel seeds</p> <p>6 green cardamom pods</p> <p>12 cloves</p> <p>1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns</p> <p>1 small cinnamon stick</p> <p>1/4 inch slice of fresh ginger root (or a teaspoon of dried ginger)</p> <p>Grind all of the ingredients except the  fresh ginger.  Bring 7 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and add the ground mixture and fresh ginger to the boiling water.  Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and simmer the ingredients for 30 - 40 minutes.  At this point you can add milk, coconut milk, or almond milk to your liking.    Sweeten with honey, if desired.  I don’t really have much of a sugar habit so I don’t add any sweetner.  I think that the herbs add a mild sweetness of their own which I enjoy.</p></blockquote> <p><strong>The 3 p.m. Drop </strong><br /> If you are like me,  you might experience a mid-afternoon drop in energy.   Consider turning to a healthful drink or snack for energy rather than reaching for a soda or more coffee.  These make good summertime drinks as well.</p> <blockquote><p>Oatmilk Smoothie</p> <p>1 1/2 cups  <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/10/20/almond-oat-milk/">almond-oatmilk,</a>  or coconut milk</p> <p>1/2 cup berries (we like raspberries)</p> <p>dash of cinnamon</p> <p>Blend all ingredients and drink</p></blockquote> <p>This blend is nice because you can mix a large batch up and take it with you to enjoy during break-time.  I think you will agree that it is a better alternatives than a candy bar & soda. You can play around with the herbs in this recipe to suit your taste but I like a little bit of spice.</p> <blockquote><p>Vegetable Juice Cocktail</p> <p>1 cup tomato juice</p> <p>1/4  cup carrot juice</p> <p>2 tablespoons lemon juice</p> <p>1 clove of garlic  (I am lucky to have a juicer and I just toss this in with the carrots)</p> <p>1 tsp fresh horseradish</p> <p>dash of cayenne pepper</p></blockquote> <p>These are a yummy snack that provide a more healthful source of energy, as well.  I came across the recipe, originally, in the Gladstar course but I tweaked the ingredients a bit to suit my taste.  Rosemary Gladstar recommends the very sparing use of guarana in these balls for students or people who might be driving long distances.</p> <blockquote><p>Zoom Balls</p> <p>1/2 cup honey</p> <p>1/2 cup tahini</p> <p>1 tablespoon ginger</p> <p>1 tablespoon ginseng</p> <p>1 tablespoon bee pollen</p> <p>Add  unsweetened coconut, chopped almonds and chopped dried cherries in equal parts until the mixture is stiff enough you can roll the  it into balls or pat it into bars.</p></blockquote> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/recipes/" title="View all posts in Recipes" rel="category tag">Recipes</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/eating-your-herbs/" title="View all posts in Eating Your Herbs" rel="category tag">Eating Your Herbs</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/11/04/herbs-for-energy/#respond" title="Comment on Herbs for Energy">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-289"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/10/20/almond-oat-milk/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Almond-Oat Milk">Almond-Oat Milk</a></h3> <small>Tuesday, October 20th, 2009</small> <div class="entry"> <p>1/2 cup raw almonds</p> <p>1 1/2 cup oats</p> <p>1/2 cup oat straw</p> <p>10 cups of water</p> <p>(Editor’s Note:  I didn’t mention my oatstraw is a mix of straw and milky oat tops.  I mix four ounces oatstraw and four ounces milky oat tops together and use it when oatstraw is being used for nutritional purposes.)<br /> Grind almonds, oats  water in a blender (immersion blenders are handy for this) and place into a large saucepan.  Add oatstraw to mixture (you can also add astragalus and  cinnamon but that is optional)   and bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 40 minutes,  strain, and refrigerate.</p> <p>This is a thick liquid as it brings out the mucilage from the oats.   It works best in smoothies and baking although I like it warm over granola. </p> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/recipes/" title="View all posts in Recipes" rel="category tag">Recipes</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/eating-your-herbs/" title="View all posts in Eating Your Herbs" rel="category tag">Eating Your Herbs</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/10/20/almond-oat-milk/#respond" title="Comment on Almond-Oat Milk">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-285"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/10/16/caring-for-the-ill/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Caring for the Ill">Caring for the Ill</a></h3> <small>Friday, October 16th, 2009</small> <div class="entry"> <p>Winter weather and the flu season hit our town early last weekend.  Along with the snow it seems as though half of the people I know (including myself) are coming down with “flu-like symptoms”.   Our neighbor who works at the university hospital tested positive for H1N1 so I am thinking that it is most likely what we are dealing with at this point.  I have been listening to many people talk about the sickness in their homes this week and realized how few people really know how to take care of someone who is sick.   I suppose it is because we live in a “pop this pill and get back to work” society that people have lost this skill but given that this particular flu season we are being encouraged to stay home and get well, I thought I would share how we care for an illness in our home.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Environment</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The room in which you are caring for your “patient” should be around 70 degrees and free from drafts.   The air should be kept moist and purified.   Generally we use one of those steam humidifiers with the vapo-rub well for this purpose.    I put eucalyptus oil in the well and run the steamer constantly keeping the door to the “sick room” closed.     I also make an anti-microbial aromatherapy spray which we spray in the air and on the bedding occasionally.  This also serves the purpose of stopping illness from spreading to other people.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The room should be quiet, restful and free from too much distraction so that your “patient” can get the extra sleep they need.   Even if they aren’t sleeping, you should encourage them to rest by listen to relaxing music or perhaps an audio book.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">If the patient is sweating profusely, you should change the bedding and clothing frequently.  With the little ones, I have them lay on a soft bath towel that I can switch out occasionally.    I also have a stack of handkerchiefs nearby.  I prefer to use those to cover my mouth when I sneeze or cough rather than coughing on my clothing.   These can easily be thrown into the wash with the bedding and bedclothes to be sanitized.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Diet</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Someone who is sick with the flu should immediately avoid uncooked dairy, cold food and juices, soy, sugar (including fruits really high in sugar such as oranges) as these foods tend to create more mucous in your body.    Coffee, cigarettes, alcohol or other items that contain substances which would stress your body should also be avoided.    I would like to think that it goes without saying that foods with preservatives, food dyes, high fructose corn syrup, etc. should also be avoided but it is probably best to throw that out there as well.   I don’t care what your mother said about warm Sprite, soda is not good for sick people.  It isn’t even good for people who are well.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">You should keep a thermos of warm lemonade or a nice peppermint tea by the bedside.  You could even serve vegetable broth as a drink.     It is very important that liquids are replenished to avoid dehydration (3-6 quarts daily) but it is also important that these liquids be nourishing as it may be the only thing your patient feels like taking in.    Soups are a good source of nutrition and liquid but keep them light and simple.    Miso soup, chicken-rice soup or vegetable-lentil soup are nice choices.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Monitoring Patient</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">It is a good idea to take regular temperature checks and possibly even check your patient’s pulse periodically.  Pay attention to how much liquid your patient is taking in and whether or not they are eating.     It isn’t an awful idea to jot this info down on a sheet of paper along with a record of when you are giving medications just in case you need the information later.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Support Therapies</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Keep the patient warm.  The chills that you often experience with a fever are due to the fact that your hypothalamus is causing your body to respond as though your body temperature has lowered.  You start to shiver and your body temperature increases creating an unstable environment for the viruses in your body.  This is just one of your body’s natural defense mechanisms.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I make rice bags from flannel and wool scraps to be kept in the freezer and used as cold packs on the forehead and feet during a fever.   They can also be heated and used as a warm pack for an aching ear or sore muscles.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Use the following massage oil on the temples and the neck to help soothe a headache or cool a fever.  It can be used as a body massage as well.</p> <blockquote> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Peppermint Massage Oil</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">10 drops of peppermint essential oil</p> <p class="MsoNormal">½ cup carrier oil such as olive oil or sweet almond</p> </blockquote> <p class="MsoNormal">In the Gladstar course,   Rosemary recommends two warm baths daily for those suffering from the flu.  I probably take more like three or four depending on how I am feeling.  I like to add 1/2 a cup of the following bath salts to the tub; they help ease aches and pains, and clear the nasal passages.   Baths also help with hydration because your  skin will absorb liquid.</p> <blockquote> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Winter Cold Bath Salts</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">1 cup Epsom salts</p> <p class="MsoNormal">1 cup bath salts or coarse sea salt</p> <p class="MsoNormal">10 drops rosemary essential oil</p> <p class="MsoNormal">10 drops eucalyptus essential oil</p> </blockquote> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/10/16/caring-for-the-ill/#respond" title="Comment on Caring for the Ill">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="navigation"> <div class="alignleft"><a 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