Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thyme Essential Oil so you can breath....

One thing I always have on stock in my medicine cabinet all year long is thyme essential oil.  Thyme is a common herb and is generally used as a condiment or spice.
Thyme oil is extracted from steam distillation of dried or fresh leaves and also from flowering tops of the plant.

This essential oil has many medicinal properties but in my home, we use it  at the first signs of congestion. Great as an expectorant.  It's lung stimulant properties help in easing bronchitis, asthma, colds and other problems with the lungs and the whole respiratory system.

My children are grown but ever since they were little and they were not feeling good, they would ask for a thyme bath and then they would put thyme cream on their chest. It also provides a feeling of comfort, breaks up the congestion and helps you to breath. (It is so much better than the old Vicks vapor rub that would stick to your pajamas!!)



http://susiedurrschmidt.swissjust-usa.com/Products/ProductDetails.aspx?prodid=177&cid=124&pid=116

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lavender Oil for physical and emotional relief


Lavender Essential Oil has been used for therapeutic applications for thousands of years.

In the nineteenth century when tuberculosis and infection was rampant in France, it was found that the people working in the lavender fields in Province were less likely to contract respiratory ailments such as tuberculosis.
Lavender Oil has been proven to alleviate anxiety.  It produces slight calming, soothing, and sedative effects when its scent is inhaled. Lavender has been referred to as a "mood balancing herb".  In the evening I  place a few drops in hot water. It not only makes the house smell wonderful but you are getting the calming benefits of the aromatherapy. Add a few drops to a bath and enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy combined with hydrotherapy for a great nights sleep!




Lavender is a beautiful addition to your garden. It is a  perennial herb. Their flowers keep their fragrance when dried.
 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Double-Crested Cormorants

After all this cold and mounds of frozen snow from numerous snow storms, I am so looking forward to warm weather.  I really miss going down to the town fishing dock on a warm Summer morning with a cup of coffee and observing the double-crested cormorants and gulls. I love the cormorants but the local fishermen don't share the same feeling.  They complain that they eat all the fish but the worst part is sometimes they think they caught "the big one" but unfortunately sometimes they catch a cormorant. They don't always see the cormorants because they dive under the water.  It is very unfortunate for the fishermen but especially for the cormorant.

Double-crested cormorants are rather large birds.  They can grow over two feet with a wing span of  four feet.  They don't have the oil in their skin to protect their feathers from being wet like ducks and other water birds.  They perch themselves and open up their wings and dry them out. It really is amazing to watch.  They like to feed and perch in groups and seem to get along well with the sea gulls down at our town dock.



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More Chocolate! The Green & Black's Organic


Let's face it, there is so many wonderful chocolate brands to choose from.  Today I am sharing my love of Green & Black's Organic chocolate.
Farmers in Belize and The Dominican Republic grow their organic cocoa.
Their trademark is their intense flavor.
They use only the finest organically grown cocoa.
 They use natural, sustainable farming methods with no pesticides. (Cocoa is one of the most highly sprayed crops in the world.)
http://www.greenandblacks.com/us/
http://www.facebook.com/GreenandBlacks.US?ref=ts

Darn, that job has been filled but I will check back for future openings & get my passport ready.

Let's face it there is nothing like a good milk chocolate candy bar but if you are looking to eat chocolate for health reasons stick to dark chocolate.  My sons and I have acquired a taste for bitter chocolate with a high cocoa (or cacao) percent. For us, the higher percent the better. To find out more about percents check out this link:
http://www.lookinggood123.com/2009/January/Dark-Chocolate-Cocoa-Percentage-What-does-it-mean.htm

Next time you are in the market for chocolate pick yourself up a bar of Green & Black's and give it a try.  One of my favorites is to melt a chunk in my hot coffee in place of cream & sugar!

Readily available in local CVS, Target etc. stores or even on Amazon.com if you would like it delivered right to your door!


Recommended book:




http://hubpages.com/hub/Give-your-Valentines-Heart-the-Gift-of-Dark-Chocolate

http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20030827/dark-chocolate-is-healthy-chocolate

Monday, February 7, 2011

Time for Chocolate Therapy!



    If you have read any of my other posts you may already have figured out that I am fascinated by nature's pollinators and their importance. 
    Did you know that  little insects called midges are the primary pollinators of the cacao flowers?


"A tiny fly no bigger than the head of a pin is responsible for the world's supply of chocolate." —Allen Young, a leading cacao expert

"The cacao-pollinating midges require humid shade with a wide range of plant species and decaying matter on the ground, which is the natural habitat of cacao. The bigger a cacao plantation, the less likely the midges will find their way into the sunny, dry and cultivated groves of cacao trees to pollinate individual flowers. Additionally, while wild cacao flowers give off over 75 distinct aroma ingredients (compare that to 14 in the rose and 7 in the onion) to attract pollinators, cultivated cacao has only a small percentage of those, leaving the midges even less likely to venture onto the plantations."

*All the chocolate we eat comes from the cacao tree, which grows best in tropical rainforests;
*Cacao tree farmers, to keep up with the demand for chocolate, have had to clear rainforests for more room to farm;
*The pods of the cacao tree contain seeds that are processed into chocolate;
*This secret of the seeds was discovered in the rainforests 2000 years ago;

"Tree's Basic Biology

As a small tree native to the rainforest understory, cacao has adapted to its environment in many ways.
First, it requires strict climatic conditions to germinate, grow, flower, and produce pods. Second, its propagation depends upon the intervention of other rainforest mammals, birds, and insects.
Cacao’s biology makes it well-suited for survival in the wild, but more difficult to grow on sunny farms.
Cacao Tree Requirements
Cacao trees are quite picky about their environment. If any of the following requirements are not met, the cacao tree will stop bearing fruit:


Regular rainfall
Steady, warm temperatures
Constant, high humidity
Partial shade
Rich, well-drained soil
Canopy trees to protect plants from wind and moisture loss" http://www.fieldmuseum.org/Chocolate/grow_intro.html

With all the chocolate I have eaten in my lifetime, I am surprised there is any rainforests left!!
 
Benefits of dark chocolate:
 
•it tastes good



•it stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure


•it contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant


•it contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants
.Dark chocolate is good for your heart. A small bar of it everyday can help keep your heart and cardiovascular system running well. Two heart health benefits of dark chocolate are:


•Lower Blood Pressure: Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate everyday can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure.

•Lower Cholesterol: Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent.



This video is kind of long but very informative:









http://www.fieldmuseum.org/Chocolate/about.html
http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/s2008/boland_kirs/Adaptations.htm
http://www.chocolate.org/health/therapy.html
http://www.dark-chocolate-life.com/chocolate-trivia.html

My favorite cupcakes & cupcake maker:

Photo owned & copyright by Sprinkles Cupcakes by Valerie
http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Sprinkles-Cupcakes-by-Valerie/118004191575577



Saturday, February 5, 2011

Humor Therapy/Laughter Yoga ~ Laughter, the best natural medicine!

There is truth in the saying "laughter is the best medicine". They say that children laugh about 400 times a day, adults only about 15 times a day.  Of course as an adult we have  many trials and tribulations and situations that aren't so funny (and nothing to laugh about) but that is even more reason to bring laughter into your life.

Benefits of laughter:

*Stimulates physical healing;
*Relaxes  your whole body;
*Boost immunity;
*Lowers stress hormone;
*Decreases pain;
*Helps with circulation, good for the heart;
*Eases anxiety and fear;
*Relieves stress and alters your mood;
*Strengthens relationships; and more
.......Laughter is strong natural medicine for your body & mind....

Truthfully speaking I personally couldn't have gotten this far in life without a good sense of humor.  Of course I have taught my three sons that life is to be taken seriously but to also have a good sense of humor. (Lucky for them they inherited this from both of his parents!)
                                               Dave & Matt in Greenport, pic by RJW
Matt being silly
Matt and friend (pic by RJW)
Matt & Dave just being themselves (pic by RJW)
There is actually "Humor Therapy" and "Laughter Yoga".
                                http://www.laughteryoga.org/


Try adding a little more laughter to your life.  Laugh at yourself, surround yourself with people that make you laugh, shut off the news and put on a comedy show! I myself am liking the looks of that Laughter Yoga....it cracks me up justing thinking about it.
Don't you just love those "out of control" laughing fits that you can get hit with at no given notice.  Usually this happens at the most inappropriate moment. 




Thursday, February 3, 2011

Time to Listen to the Spiritual Elders of This Continent... Honor Mother Earth

Native Americans believe everything is sacred from "the largest mountain to the smallest plant and animal..." 
I think it is time to learn to communicate with Mother Nature the Indian way.









Some Quotes and Prose by Chief Dan George.....






"O Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds,


I come to you as one of your many children.


I need your strength and your wisdom.


Make me strong not to be superior to my brother,


but to be able to fight my greatest enemy:


"Myself"






<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>






The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air,


the fragrance of the grass speaks to me.


The summit of the mountain, the thunder of the sky,


The rhythm of the sea, speaks to me.


The faintness of the stars, the freshness of the morning,


the dewdrop on the flower, speaks to me.


The strength of the fire, the taste of salmon, the trail of the sun,


and the life that never goes away, they speak to me


And my heart soars.

10 Commandments of Mother Earth:




http://www.respectourplanet.com/default.aspx
http://www.saveourmotherearth.org/
http://www.motherearthnews.com/
 
            

     

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Whole Foods Not so Whole? ...GMO Supporters


Organic Alfalfa Field
(Picture from http://www.co.clay.mn.us/Depts/Extensio/ExPGRLFO.htm )
The US Department of Agriculture  approved "unrestricted planting" of genetically modified alfalfa (GMO) sold by Monsanto.

"The Monsanto Company  is a United States-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is the world's leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed as "Roundup". Monsanto is also the leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed; it provides the technology in 90% of the world's genetically engineered seeds.  It is headquartered in Creve Coeur, Missouri.  Monsanto's development and marketing of genetically engineered seed and bovine growth hormone, as well as its aggressive litigation, political lobbying practices, seed commercialization practices and "strong-arming" of the seed industry have made the company controversial around the world and a primary target of the alter-globalizationmovement and environmental activists. As a result of its business strategies and licensing agreements, Monsanto came under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department in 2009." (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto )

http://organicconsumers.org/monsanto/index.cfm
http://bungalowbillscw.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-monsanto-is-killing-family-organic.html
http://www.relfe.com/GMOs.html

Most people are not aware but since 1996 Americans have been eating genetically modified  ingredients in most processed foods.  Many people are already aware of this and have chosen to make better choices.  You should be able to walk into a store like Whole Foods and feel safe about the items you purchase.  Check this out:

"In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto's Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation's 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America's organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it's time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto's controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for "coexistence" with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack." http://www.realitysandwich.com/organic_elite_surrenders_monsanto

I don't know about you but I am not interested in eating or feeding my family "biotech food".  I would like the option to make that choice for me and my family. I know it takes time to check out these links and videos but as consumers we must educate ourselves:





http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/Home/index.cfm
http://www.responsibletechnology.org/
http://www.relfe.com/GMOs.html
http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_11361.cfm
http://www.farmaid.org/site/c.qlI5IhNVJsE/b.2739785/apps/s/content.asp?ct=3851575

We all need to take action. http://www.organicconsumers.org/wheat.cfm
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/642/thankYou.jsp?key=1625
http://www.nongmoproject.org/
http://www.bloggernews.net/125950