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Why the Western diet is killing us and 10 ways to stop it

By | cooking, eating, health | One Comment

Fed up with all the mixed messages about what to eat? If so, you’ll appreciate this solid advice from a doctor who’s passionate about dishing out advice on eating right. Don’t make changes to your diet based on some “cockamamie Internet meme,” Dr. Michael Fenster warns. “The biggest threat to the US isn’t some foreign power; it is the Standard American Diet.”

It’s rare to come across a doctor who wants to spend less time cutting into bodies and more time cutting up food, but that’s exactly what this cardiologist and culinary chef wants to do. “There are a number of medical professionals and people in health-related fields who know a lot about their respective specialties but know nothing about food,” Dr. Mike says. “A number of them can’t boil water.”

DrMichaelFensterCookinWithDoc

Dr. Mike on his “Cookin’ With Doc” show.

Stay away from advice from “fadsters” and “celebrity super-star spokespeople,” Dr. Mike warns. “These programs put you on the hook paying out a lot of your hard-earned money each month for some processed, powdered, and wretched-tasting slop out of a box.”

Dr. Mike is one of the few brave doctors willing to give us a shout out about how the modern Western diet is killing us and what we can do to stop it. This book is stock full of evidence to back up his recommendations on what to eat and what not to eat. But then again, how much more evidence do we really need to figure out that the modern Western diet and all-you-can-eat buffets are connected to the disabilities and diseases of modern civilization? It’s ironic that we’ve become so accustomed to shopping in grocery stores stocked with packages that we need to produce evidence to show that real food doesn’t come in a box.

The eating “program” Dr. Mike prescribes is a tasty and nutritious solution that anyone can adhere to. He recommends adding more fresh juice, organic fruits and vegetables, probiotics, prebiotics and spice to our diet while subtracting modern wheat, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. “No junk food or fast food,” this doc advises. This savory book is peppered with great tips and jammed with sweet suggestions. I’ve already gone back to read several of the sections a number of times. Each time through I pick up on a new flavor or scent.

CLICK ON IMAGE to buy The Fallacy of the Calorie

Sick and tired from the Western diet? Dr. Mike offers a delicious and nutritious 10-step solution to foodies who battle the bulge:

Step 1A: Begin with a juice detox for 3 days.

Juice is nature’s energy drink. If possible, buy seasonal produce from a farmers market or local organic market. Use a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables such as: carrots, apples, celery, beets, cabbage, ginger, oranges, limes, lemons, berries and leafy greens. Find a juicer that works well for you, preferably one that extracts the pulp. If you work full-time, he recommends starting the detox on a Friday and ending on a Sunday.

Step 1B: Chase the rainbow.

Eat lots of dark leafy greens such as: kale, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, watercress, mustard and other greens. They’re rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K. They also provide a good source of B-complex vitamins. Add a rainbow of different colored fruits and vegetables. This helps to maintain healthy gut microbiome.

Step 2: Incorporate probiotics into your diet.

“What you eat combines with your gut microbiota to fuel your personal bioreactor. This bioreactor aids your digestion, provides nutrients, and not only helps for the basis of the immune system, but helps regulate it,” says Dr. Mike. “The key here is to repopulate your gut microbiome with the right balance.” Check out his book for more details on which probiotics might work best for you.

Step 3: Feed the probiotics.

“It does no good to keep taking probiotics if you don’t feed them,” says Dr. Mike. “Naturally occuring synbiotic combinations such as bananas with live-culture yogurt, or vegetables stir-fried with miso, cost less than supplements and have the added benefit of being delicious.” Prebiotics are found in many foods such as: bananas, honey, garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans, chicory, dandelion greens and burdock. Eat at least 2-4 servings of prebiotic-rich foods a day.

foods-high-in-prebiotics

Step 4: Give up modern wheat.

“Modern wheat will kill you,” says Dr. Mike. “But you don’t have to be gluten-free, just be free of modern wheat. Avoid prepackaged breads, cookies, cakes and other modern wheat-containing foods and snacks.”

Beans and lentils provide a good source of flavorful starches. Corn, oats, barley, quinoa, buckwheat and kaniwa are all good non-wheat options. If you buy pasta from Italy, you can be sure it’s made from the ancient grain, semolina durum wheat.

CLICK ON IMAGE to buy Eating Well, Living Better: A Grassroots Gourmet Guide to Good Health and Great food

Step 5: Use sugar sparingly.

Use raw forms of sugar and honey whenever possible. Don’t eat anything with high fructose corn syrup or anything that contains it. Don’t ever eat or drink anything with artificial sweeteners.

Steps 6-8: Become a Grassroots Gourmet.

Avoid the call of junk food. It’s addictive. Don’t go to fast food joints, pizza shops or convenience stores. “After 30 days of eating the Grassroots Gourmet way, you’ll likely find that eating there will make you ill,” says Dr. Mike. “When you’re shopping try to avoid putting the processed, prepackaged, pre-prepared, and artificially preserved items in your cart.” Buy from your local farmers market and cook from scratch. Eat at home as often as possible.

Begin your meals with a small salad or appetizer and wait about 15 minutes before you eat the main course. If you want to have dessert, wait at least 15-20 minutes after you finish your main dish. These are just some of the core principles of becoming a Grassroots Gourmet. These principles are covered much more extensively in Eating Well, Living Better: A Grassroots Gourmet Guide to Good Health and Great Food.

Step 9: Make a conscious effort to evaluate the quality of the food you eat.

Because chicken is no longer just chicken, and a burger is no longer just a burger, and bread is not even just bread, examination of where the food was sourced, how it was produced and the degree of processing must now become our normal procedure.” says Dr Mike. Food safety is not equivalent to a healthful diet.

Step 10: Spice up your life.

Herbs and spices restore taste and texture to food. “An herb refers to the fresh or dried leaves of a plant. Spices are generally regarded as the flowers, buds, seeds, bark or roots of plants.” says Dr. Mike. When food pleases us, we savor it. When you put this vitality back into foods, it helps you break the addictive and manipulative commercial use of sugar, salt and fat.

Garlic, onion, allspice and oregano inhibit or kill bacterium. Using them in combination yields even greater efficacy. The piperine found in black pepper is effective against botulism. Turmeric has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers. Circumin has been shown to inhibit the growth of skin cancers. Hot chili peppers are rich in vitamin C and contain antimicrobial and antiviral properties.

Sick and tired of dieting? CLICK ON IMAGE to gain the mental power to achieve your fitness goals. This is how you can begin living the life you've always wanted to live.

Sick and tired of dieting? CLICK ON THIS IMAGE to learn how you can gain the mental power you need to achieve your fitness goals. You can begin living the life you’ve always wanted to live.

Looking for a way to entice someone to read this book? Breakfast in bed might be desirable, but Dr. Fenster offers up an aphrodisiac for dessert near the end of the book. He hints at exotic ways to spice up your afternoon or evening in bed.

Dr. Mike has weighed his options. He’s stepping outside the operating room to tell us how we can avoid the scalpel. It’s time to share your reservations. Would you like to meet your doctor for supper or surgery?

Dr. Mike affirms the slow foods movement. Be patient. I have a gut feeling this doc is going to help tens of thousands of people live happier and healthier lives.

Dr. Michael Fenster during a Health & Wellness Channel filming

Dr. Michael Fenster during a Health & Wellness Channel filming

 

Michael Fenster, MD, is a Board Certified Interventional Cardiologist. He has taught students, interns, residents and fellows. He has also served as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the North East Ohio Medical University. In addition to addressing audiences from the lay public, he also speaks to peers at the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and elsewhere.

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Dr. Michael Fenster

Dr. Mike co-managed an award-winning restaurant. He received his culinary degree in gourmet cooking and catering from Ashworth College where he graduated with honors. He was their alumni of the year in 2013.

He has written columns for numerous culinary magazines, websites, The Tampa Tribune and is a monthly contributor for Luxuria Lifestyle.

He is a medical and culinary consultant and regular guest speaker on the Josh Tolley Show, a nationally syndicated radio program. He is also a regular on the One Life Radio.

He has been a regular on The Daily Buzz show as well as Daytime TV, entertaining and informing during cooking segments. He has hosted his own local cable TV cooking show, “What’s Cookin’ with Doc.” He also co-hosted “Cooking From the Heart,” with Fitness Hall of Fame Instructor Forbes Riley. He also headlined the Annual Florida Blueberry Festival where five live shows, “Just What the Doctor Ordered-Live from the Florida Blueberry Festival.” This was simulcast worldwide via web by the Health & Wellness Channel.

To book Dr. Mike at your next event, contact his agent Kristin Haggar.

Experience the gourmet farm-to-table lifestyle in Maui

By | eating, gardening, restaurants | 2 Comments

If you’re headed to Maui and you want to try some of the best local foods, you’ve come to the right place. Following are several ways you can experience the farm-to-table lifestyle on the island. A few dedicated people have grown a family of several small companies that successfully thrive on living local. On a recent trip to Maui, I had the opportunity to interview Robert Comstock, the General Manager of Pacific’O Restaurant. Here’s what I learned:

“We have such a cool company,” Robert said. “We’re a lifestyle company. We keep everything contained to our passions. There are a lot of aspects. In Hawaii it’s called Ohana. It means family. We enjoy working together and spending our holidays together.”

Pacific'O restaurant on the beach

Pacific’O restaurant on the beach

Native Hawaiians had a sustainable system where the farmers traded with the fishermen so that they could all have a complete diet. It’s called Ahupua`a. It’s a Hawaiian word that means a self-sustaining unit from mountain to sea. We strive to live by this principle and we give people a number of ways to experience it:

Entertain the family at the Feast at LeLe

It’s hard to think about traveling to Hawaii without going to at least one luau. The Feast at LeLe is a sit-down dinner featuring five courses from the Pacific island nations of Aotearoa, Tahiti, Samoa and Hawai’i. This farm-to-table dinner includes a sunset show spotlighting music and dance from these four Pacific islands. At this table-service feast you get to eat authentic food from each different region.

Sunset Feast at LeLe in Lahaina, Maui

Sunset Feast at LeLe in Lahaina, Maui

Every table is intimate and offers a panoramic view of the West Maui sunsets. LeLe is the ancient name for Lahaina. This is the beach where the royal family of Maui would feast and entertain.

Splurge at Pacific’O fine dining restaurant in Lahaina

When you ask questions at Pacific’O, you’ll be happy with the answers you get.

Ask about their view. If you’re looking for beachfront or sunset dining in Maui, this is as good as it gets. “The location has been a big part of our success,” Robert said. “Other local restaurants such as Lahaina Grill are also rated highly, but they don’t have our view.”

Pacific'O on the beach

Pacific’O on the beach

Ask about the competition. “Pacific’O is the first privately owned restaurant to own its own farm in Hawaii. Today there are only a handful of farm-to-table restaurants in all of Hawaii,” Robert said. If you want to eat at a quality restaurant, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Ask about their menu. Chef Anton moved to Maui shortly after graduating from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in San Francisco. Prior to joining the Pacific’O team, he spent ten years honing his craft in some of Maui’s highest ranked restaurants: the Sheraton Maui Resort, Gerard’s, Kimo’s and Star NoodleExecutive Chef Anton Haines has established himself as one of Maui’s rising star chefs by creating delectable menus based on in-season locally sourced foods.

Pacific'O Executive Chef Anton Haines

Pacific’O Executive Chef Anton Haines

Ask about their fish. “We are the top purchaser of fresh fish on Lahaina,” Robert said. “Giving cash back to the economy has several benefits. The money goes straight back into the fisherman’s pockets. Because the fish are caught and eaten locally, the distribution has very little impact on the environment.”

PacificOFish

Local fish, such as Onaga, are caught one day and delivered first thing the next morning to Pacific’O.

“The main benefit for you is that you get fish that’s been out of the water for only a day. The fish served here is about 85% local. The difference is that you see fresh clear translucent cuts, not the cloudy fish you see that’s older. When you taste the local fish here in HI, it’s lighter.  The government’s version of fresh fish is 20 days. You typically see fish wrapped in foam and you have to just trust what the labels say,” Robert said.

StahlerFreshGroundPepperCartoon“Once the fish comes in, it hangs for about 20 hours to give the chef some working time with the fish, and then it goes to your plate. Not only does it support the local people, once the fish are filleted and broke down, the rest of it is composted back into the compost tea at their farm. Nothing is wasted.”

Ask about their ingredients. Pacific’O has set the standard for farm-to-table cuisine on Maui. Local fruits and vegetables supplied by their own 8-acre farm in Kula, and free range eggs come from The Neighborhood Farm in Launiopoko. At any given time, about 30-70% of the produce comes from their own O’o farm. There’s nothing else quite like it on the island. The rest is locally sourced as much as possible. But in order to provide a full menu, they apply their own 70-mile rule, because they do get some foods from the big island.

Ask about their farms. If you want to learn more about where their food comes from, you can visit the O’o Farm and The Neighborhood Farm.

Enjoy a farm-to-table gourmet lunch outdoors at the O’o Farm

Enjoy a truly unique island experience at the O’o Farm in Upcountry Maui. Explore the gardens, learn the ways of all natural growing and sit down for a gourmet lunch prepared in your presence. The vegetables are harvested with you and then prepared in an outdoor kitchen.  It’s a pure expression of Hawaiian cuisine benefitting your body and soul. It’s as fresh as fresh can be! This is a guided tour of the farm where you can learn about sustainable growing practices. Even if you don’t have your own farm or backyard garden, you’ll appreciate this tour.

O'o Farm Tour Lunch Upcountry Maui Hawaii

Forage and feast at O’o Farm in the misty forest of Waipoli in Upcountry Maui

In 2000, surfing buddies turned successful restauranteurs, Louis Coulombe and Stephan Bel-Robert purchased over 8 acres of near-virginal upcountry land to grow natural produce for the Lahaina restaurant, Pacific’O. Louis, who’s passionate about flying, first noticed the property when he was paragliding. The property which had been a hippy commune years before, but it wasn’t maintained. It was overgrown with wattle trees.

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O’o Farm in Upcountry Maui, Hawaii

Louis and Stephan made a plan to set up natural growing practices and started executing the plan to clear the property and to plant exciting products for the plate. At first the diversified farm was largely experimental with a citrus and stone fruit orchard and a few coffee trees. Since then, they’ve diversified quite a bit. Today they focus on growing the things that are expensive to purchase and things that grow well in the Kula environment at 3200 feet.

Their goal is to provide vegetables locally sourced from Maui water, dirt and sun. It takes top dollar to even grow the plants, but it was especially challenging in the beginning since this place wasn’t set up for agriculture. They only have one hose for 8.5 acres, for example. The water comes from a water shed. It rains up there hundreds of inches a year. The farm is located in a place called the misty forest where mist drips off the trees.”

The chefs here don’t just see interesting pictures in a culinary magazine and decide to ship in ingredients from all over the world. When they want to add something to the menu, they first have to grow the crop, and know they can sustain it before they release the dish.

Get a caffeine buzz at the O’o Farm Seed to Cup Tour

Since roasting coffee was part of Louis’ weekend relaxation anyway, he decided to try roasting coffee beans for their own operations. Stephan is French and enjoys his coffee too. That’s how Aina Gourmet Coffee began. In 2009, Stephan, Louis and their chef partner James McDonald opened Aina Gourmet Market, a local foods marketplace with a full coffee bar serving 100% Maui grown and O’o Farm roasted coffee. They created a relationship with Ka’anapali Coffee Farms to grow five varietals on about 250 acres. O’o Farms purchases the beans and roasts them on their farm.

OoFarmAinaCoffeeTourCropped

Aina Gourmet Coffee Tour at O’o Farm

They built a world class coffee tasting room with an amazing view. Now they have a Seed to Cup tour on the O’o farm. You can walk through their tree groves and see the different stages of coffee trees. You can pick berries and then move up into the tasting room where you observe a live roast. It only takes about 15 minutes. And then you get to taste the coffee. The beans are single varietal, like a single varietal wine. They don’t over roast.

CLICK HERE to buy Aina Gourmet Coffee

CLICK HERE to buy Aina Gourmet Coffee

Wake up to Aina Gourmet Coffee in a luxurious resort

Coffee connoisseurs enjoy their morning brew as much as wine enthusiasts enjoy an evening glass of red. They describe their sips in terms of body, acidity, flavor and finish . . . ranging from mild to wild. Aina roasters focus on creating the perfect conditions to attain the right balance of flavors. All Aina Gourmet Coffee is 100% Maui grown and 100% O’o Farm roasted.

“Aina Gourmet Coffee is our brand of coffee. It’s grown on Ka’anapali Hillside by Ka’anapali Coffee Farms. We take their beans to our farm and roast them up there. We also grown our own coffee at O’o Farm but only enough to sustain the farm guests,” Robert said.

Aina Gourmet Coffee  is served at at Aina Gourmet Market in the Honua Kai Resort & Spa at Ka’anapali Beach, and also at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalu Resort. Both markets are very busy and have a big following. We also make our coffee in a French press at Pacific’O and we sell it whole or ground in half-pound and one-pound bags at every venue we have. From ground to roast is about 2-3 days. With this turn-around time, you don’t lose any essence of the coffee itself,” Robert said.

Get to know some local chicks at The Neighborhood Farm

Participate in the Egg Farm & Gourmet Lunch tour at The Neighborhood Farm in the scenic West Maui Mountains. This is a free-range chicken farm in Launiopoko. It sits on 15 acres of agriculture land at the top of the hill. This educational chicken tour is for both locals and tourists interested in learning about how to farm chickens.

Free Range Chickens

During the first part of the tour, you enjoy spectacular ocean and mountain views, learn about the history of the area and meet local chicks. These beautiful free-range hens are kept outdoors so they can enjoy fresh grass and bountiful bugs every day. The 750-1000 birds enjoy coops with million-dollar views. They’re contained by soft electric fences to help keep the predators out. This is a concept of how you can raise eggs locally, without large-scale commercial farming. The farm provides eggs for local restaurants and grocery stores.

The second part of the tour is followed by a meal served in the seaside ambiance of the Pacific’O restaurant in Lahaina. It’s about 10 minutes from The Neighborhood Farm. This gourmet meal features dishes from freshly gathered eggs. Contact Pacific’O to make reservations for this lunch tour.

Harvest produce at the O’o Farm volunteer program

If you’re interested in volunteering at the farm, you can pair up with a farmer to do some real harvesting. You get lunch and you get to spend the day working with Head Farmer Richard Clark and Orchard Manager Ancil Clancy.

Which of these experiences suits your taste?

These interdependent sister companies make up one small lifestyle company that has grown from the ground up, literally. If you cherish your health and the well-being of our planet, support farm-to-table businesses like these. Because of the popularity of their food and tours, it’s a good idea to make reservations at least several days in advance.

Tools like Yelp, UrbanSpoon and TripAdvisor give local businesses the opportunity to thrive among big and impersonal, but well-known franchises. Yelp and UrbanSpoon even allow you to search for “farm-to-table” restaurants by location no matter where you are in the world.

ValleyIsleKombuchaIf you’re willing to take the time to read through customer review rants and raves, you’ll often find that local businesses do a better job overall of providing personalized service. And you have the opportunity to experience the local culture as well as support people in pursuit of the dreams and passions. How many people have the opportunity to do this when they work for a franchise?

“We know who not to purchase from,” Robert said. “We only buy from people we know really well. We have Valley Isle Kombucha on tap here at Pacific’O to support a local producer.” When you choose to support lifestyle companies, everyone benefits.

“We’re all fisherman, all the owners and management. Stephan has a sailboat in the harbor. We go spear fishing on the back side of Lanai. It’s nice when you can park your boat in front of your restaurant,” Robert said.

Franchises are basically branded distribution systems. In most cases, their main focus is on maintaining the consistent taste and feel of their brand. Most are more concerned about their profit than your health. Why eat mediocre food from afar at a franchise when you can eat wholesome locally grown fresh food at a farm-to-table restaurant?

 

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How to lose 5 pounds in 5 minutes while grocery shopping

By | eating | One Comment

I love to go to the farmers market once or twice a week to stock up on fresh organic fruits and vegetables. My husband and I often go to the Campbell Farmers Market together on the weekend. It’s a bustling market, especially in the summer.

Campbell Farmers' Market

Campbell Farmers’ Market

If you want to make the most of your time, you have to work out a strategy, especially in the summer when it’s super crowded. We take the light rail to the market, do all the shopping and get back on the light rail within an hour. I do all the shopping and he oversees the cart. We work well as a team. It makes for a pleasant morning walk and community experience. It’s especially nice when we run into a friend.

Campbell Farmers' Market draws a big crowd in the summer

Campbell Farmers’ Market draws a big crowd in the summer

Sometimes we buy a lot and sometimes we just buy a little. We buy less when: we’re traveling together, my husband has a business trip on his own, or we have a week when we’re planning on eating out with colleagues or friends during the week.

Today was one of those days when we didn’t need to buy a lot, so I suggested that we take our smaller Roadrunner cart which helps me to visually see when I need to stop shopping. Nearly all of the fruits and vegetables at this market are fresh and enticing, so sometimes I buy too much. So today I talked my husband into taking the small cart.

After purchasing about $90 worth of fresh produce and fish for the week, the cart was full, but we still needed to get some oranges. Our last purchase was oranges. I carefully chose each one. My mouth was watering as I thought about how good the fresh orange/peach smoothies would be this week. As I walked up to my husband with a 5 pound bag of oranges, he snarled at me knowing that the bag wouldn’t fit in the cart. I offered to carry the bag, but he insisted on carrying it.

We walked to the light rail station which is only a few blocks away. He pulled the cart and carried the bag of oranges. When we got to the station, we had about a 5 minute wait.

We sat down as usual, glanced at our Samsung smart phones and my husband helped me with an app on my phone. I was distracted by a woman toting a newborn in a baby carrier and pushing a stroller with a talkative little boy who was quizzing his mom with an endless flow of questions:

Mom toting a baby and boy in stroller

Mom toting a baby and boy in stroller

“Where is the train?”

“Can I have a strawberry?”

“Why can’t we walk home?”

“Is daddy home?”

Then we all heard the train bells.

“Why do we have to take the train mommy?”

“Can I get out,” he asked as he tried to escape the stroller.

I suddenly became more concerned about how this young mom was going to get her babies and stroller, loaded down with produce, onto the train.

Normally when I stand up after being seated somewhere, I have a habit of looking back to make sure I didn’t leave something behind: a water bottle, jacket or pair of glasses. But this time I didn’t look back.

After my husband and I boarded and the train got moving, he suddenly realized that the 5 pound bag of oranges was back on the bench at the Campbell Station, but it was too late for us to turn back.

We unintentionally left behind a nice surprise for someone.

At first I felt frustrated not only with this $9 loss, but also with the fact that I didn’t have oranges to go with the peaches I bought for our morning smoothies.

But then I did a little mental gymnastics. I thought about how many times I purchased too much produce and ended up with wilted cilantro or soggy zucchini simply because I bought too much. I also reminded myself how minor this was in comparison to other things that could have happened. Anytime I catch myself going down a pathway of negative thoughts, I shift my thinking in search of a positive outlook.

Although I lost 5 pounds of oranges in 5 minutes, I gained several valuable lessons:

  • Stay focused. Anytime we lose focus, we risk losing things, but more importantly, we risk losing time, one of our greatest assets. This also reminded that I need to exercise more focus in each of my work days.
  • Set reasonable limits. Having too much is almost as challenging as having too little of something. When I buy too much produce or too much of anything, it only adds clutter to my life. It’s easier to navigate through life with just the right amount. If the bag of oranges had fit into the smaller cart, we’d be enjoying those oranges this week. But because I tried to push the limit, we had a breakdown in our process.
  • Try new things. I make an orange based smoothie almost every morning, but there are many other ways to make smoothies. This week I can experiment with different smoothie recipes. Yummly is a great source for locating recipes.

My husband was a bit more practical.

“Next time, we need to take the big shopping cart so everything can fit,” he said. He’s referring to our cart that can carry 150 pounds of stuff.

Martin Shovel

Martin Shovel

The most popular New Year’s Resolution in the US is to lose weight. One of the best ways to do this is to avoid eating things in the first place. I’ve faithfully lived by this habit for many years when grocery shopping. If I don’t want something in my body, then I don’t want it in my shopping cart, and I especially don’t want it in my kitchen. This has been one of my biggest strategies in maintaining my weight within a 10-pound range all my adult life life.

Even at the end of potluck dinners, I always make sure that people don’t accidentally leave behind stuff I wouldn’t feed to myself or my family.

How to get happy now via habits, goals and resolutions

If you want to lose 5 pounds in 5 minutes while grocery shopping, leave behind the stuff you shouldn’t eat anyway. This will help to eliminate all the food-like products in your kitchen. Pay attention to everything you eat.

Most SAD (Standard American Diet) grocery stores sell about 80% processed foods. This is immediately evident when you walk in the store. If it’s in a can, box or bag, take the time to read the ingredients. If they’re full of sweeteners or you can’t understand the words, lose the weight before you ever put it in your body.

If you have the opportunity to take walk or take public transportation to your local farmers’ market, you’ll benefit even more by getting exercise while you shop.

Sick of diets? Film diet plan will help you escape the fat trap

Ever consider what pets must think of us? I mean, we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul – chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth! Anne Tyler

PacificCoastFarmersMarketAssociationLogo

Ten terrific reasons to drink tea

By | eating | One Comment

This afternoon I went to Hard Times Cafe in Minneapolis. I was impressed not only with the number of teas they had to offer, but also with their beautiful display. It reminded me of the many benefits of drinking tea.

June 14, 2014-06-04 Drink Tea Hard Times

Here are ten great reasons to drink tea:

  1. Have your favorite tea anywhere. It’s easy to carry a few tea bags with you wherever you go.
  2. Many teas are good for your health. Check out Health King Enterprise to learn more about balanceuticals.
  3. It’s a great alternative to sugar-filled drinks. Add a little manuka honey or stevia if you want to sweeten your tea.
  4. Some tea blends are natural remedies. It’s an important component of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
  5. Tea is easy to make. Just add hot water.
  6. Reduce your grocery bill. Bottled beverages are more expensive than teas.
  7. Save money when you’re eating out by bringing your own tea bag. When you’re placing a food order, most restaurants don’t charge for hot water.
  8. Drinking tea reduces pollution. Tea leaves are lightweight, therefore the distribution has less environmental impact than much heavier bottled beverages.
  9. Enjoy tea with or without caffeine. Drink caffeinated tea during the daytime to boost your energy and herbal tea in the evening to relax.
  10. Minimize your exposure to toxins. Make organic tea with distilled water.

Dear Diary, This is the Day I Decided to Drink Distilled Water

barbara-smaller-herbal-tea-party-new-yorker-cartoonThree old couples were having tea one day. They were all chatting and whatnot when one of the men said to his wife, “Pass the honey, honey!” Getting the chuckles he expected, he carried on. A moment later, the second man said, “Pass the sugar, sugar!” This got a bit of a bigger laugh, so the third man, although not quite as clever or quick-witted as the other two, decided to join in on the fun. He waited for the right opportunity, cleared his throat and then confidently said, “Pass the tea, bag!” AJokeADay

International Tea Masters Association ITMA logo

Tips on aging for all ages: more museums, less food

By | eating | 2 Comments

Would you like to prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s or other diseases? If you know friends or family members who have experienced the effects of these diseases or their treatments, you may be wondering what you can do to help minimize your risk. But you may not have considered searching for the answers in a museum.

My husband and I purchased Balboa Park Day Passes on a recent trip to San Diego. MetLife had a terrific display at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Of everything I saw in several museums this day, this display was the most practical.

DSC_6678 Aging for all Ages MetLife

This contents of this display would make a terrific outline for an adult health education course on how to:

  • maintain the health of your brain, bones, lungs, and skin, or
  • learn how to reduce the risk of common diseases such as Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis and cancer.

Did you realize that eating less, for example, may help reduce your chance of disease and extend your life? Here’s some advice from the writing on the red wall.

Less Is More!

Calorie restriction is a diet consisting of 25 to 40 percent fewer calories than normal but includes all the needed nutrients. Research in animals has shown this to have a remarkable effect on reducing disease and the result of aging. 

However, calorie restriction is difficult to do over a lifetime. Scientists have yet to determine how safe it is and to what degree, if any, it will extend our life span. But studying calorie restriction offers new insights into the aging process and the biology of aging that could influence healthy aging as well as provide clues on how to prevent or delay diseases associated with aging. 

To help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s, keep your brain active:

Just as physical activity keeps your body strong, mental activity keeps your mind sharp and agile. That’s why it’s important to continue to learn and challenge yourself–whether by learning a foreign language, switching careers or even doing crossword puzzles. 

Regardless of age, an active brain produces new neural connections, the connections between nerve cells that allow these cells to communicate with one another. The new connections help you store and retrieve information more easily, even if your grey matter is topped by gray hair. 

To continue expanding your mind, try these tips: 

  • Take classes. 
  • Read regularly and keep a journal. 
  • Stay up-to-date on technology. Learn about computers and connect to the Internet. Consider using e-mail to stay in touch with friends and family. 
  • Join a book club or other discussion group. 
  • Explore the cultural life of your community. Attend concerts, lectures and plays. 
  • Continue musical or artistic talents or develop new ones. 
  • Volunteer to teach others your skills or knowledge. 

One way to help keep your brain active is to go to museums to learn from informative displays like this. This exhibition Aging for All Ages is funded by ongoing support from the MetLife Foundation Partnership for Lifelong Learning. Additional support is provided by Aging & Independence Services, a division of the County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency.

You don’t have to be a MetLife patient or a San Diego resident to benefit from these health tips. This smart partnership benefits not only the organizations who pulled together the display, but also the people who visit the museum.

You know you’re getting older when your energy runs out before your money. AgelessFX

Fountain of Bacon cartoon Diffee

Next time you’re traveling and you’re torn between heading to a museum or restaurant, choose to feed your mind before your belly.

MetLife Foundation logo

 

Popular restaurant rating apps are missing some stars

By | eating, restaurants, water | One Comment

Why did the man go up to the roof of the restaurant after complaining about a long wait for his food? Because they told him his meal was on the house. Jokes4Us

We all have our own standards and expectations on food when it comes to eating out. When you read a reviews on restaurant apps, you get a feel for how difficult it must be for restaurant owners to please everyone.

If you regularly use restaurant ratings, you’re probably familiar with some of the popular ones:

  • HappyCow is great when you’re looking for a vegan or vegetarian meal
  • OpenTable is useful if you want to make reservations online
  • TripAdvisor is helpful if you want to know how travelers rate a restaurant
  • Yelp is a quick way to find a decent restaurant nearby that’s open now
  • Urbanspoon is nice if you like to read critic and blogger reviews
  • Zagat is a the app to use when decor and service matter as much as the food

Each of these tools has its strengths and weaknesses. But they’re all weak in comparison to Dine Green when it comes to searching for a sustainable restaurant. I’m always looking for the healthiest restaurant around.
farmacy cartoon

Hippocrates said “let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” If you adhere to this philosophy, then you understand that every visit to a restaurant is just as important, if not more so, than a visit to a doctor or pharmacy.

If you knew your life depended on it, wouldn’t you say it’s worth walking the extra mile to have a healthy meal experience?

Next time you want to eat out, check Dine Green to find a restaurant making an effort to bring you a better all-around food experience while reducing its impact on the environment. The Green Restaurant Association (GRA) has developed the Dine Green certification standards and ratings which are grouped into seven major categories:

1. Sustainable Food

If you want to know if a restaurant is serving sustainable food, the best way to find out is to ask. But here are a few signs that may indicate the food is more sustainable than the average restaurant:

  • the majority of their foods come from local sources
  • their menu changes daily or from week to week since they’re serving fresh in-season foods
  • they offer plenty of vegetarian and vegan choices
  • meat portions are relatively small (by American standards)
  • they offer organic foods which tend to have less impact on the environment and better nutritional value

It doesn’t take a big staff or training team to explain these concepts to employees. Restaurants can express these values through their name, signage, website as well as their employees. But if you aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to ask. If they don’t know whether or not their foods are organic or locally sourced, you might as well assume they aren’t.

2. Water Efficiency

When it comes to eating and drinking, water is the #1 most important resource. Our bodies and all of our food sources depend on it. Like other businesses, restaurants can do their part in minimizing water waste by:

  • utilizing the right technologies in their restrooms
  • conserving water used for dishwashing

Current GRA standards cover these standards. But the final, and most important factor to consider is the quality of the water a restaurant uses not only for cooking, but also the quality of water they bring to your table if you ask for a glass of water. The GRA standard doesn’t include this yet, but it should. I carry a TDS water tester in my purse and it’s surprising how much water quality can vary from one restaurant to another even when they’re next door to each other. If a restaurant has low standards on its water, I avoid going back.

A $15 Water Tester is Worth More Than a $150 Water Filter

3. Waste Reduction and Recycling

The US is one of the most wasteful societies in history. About 40% of the food in the US ends up in landfills. InfoWarsRestaurants can play an important role in reducing food waste by taking actions such as:

  • offering smaller portion sizes for lower prices
  • composting food waste
  • donating to local food banks

4. Disposables

Disposable products make up a huge amount of waste in landfills. Restaurants can help to minimize their impact in several ways:

  • minimizing or eliminating the use of disposable paper products such as paper towels, coffee filters, paper cups and napkins
  • serving food on 100% reusable tableware including utensils, plates, bowls and cups
  • making drinks on site instead of serving individual bottles
  • providing incentives for customers to bring in their own to go cups, containers and bags
  • eliminating the use of Styrofoam
  • eliminating the use of plastic containers and bags
  • setting up condiments to be added in house (instead of individual packets)
  • cooking mainly with whole foods delivered in returnable packages or crates

As a customer you can also do your part by choosing restaurants that minimize the use of disposables. And as often as possible eat at the restaurant instead of taking the food to go.

5. Energy

How a restaurant manages their energy can be a difficult thing for a customer to notice or control. But as a customer you can look for the following things:

  • restaurant is mainly lit with natural lighting (at least in the daytime)
  • they offer outdoor or open-air dining seasonally as weather permits
  • they avoid using heating or air conditioning whenever possible, instead utilizing shades, awnings, windows and cross-ventilation to help regulate comfortable temperatures

restaurant electricity cartoon

6. Chemical and Pollution Reduction

Have you ever thought about the fact that you could choose a highly restaurant on one of the popular restaurant rating apps and be in one of the most toxic restaurants in town? A highly rated $$$$ upscale restaurant that appears to be clean may expose you to more toxins than a $ inexpensive burrito shop on the same street. Environmental and food toxins don’t necessarily make you sick right away, but through repeated exposure, they can lead to chronic or even fatal fatal diseases over time. Most of the most popular apps don’t take into consideration the following:

  • chemicals used to wash the dishes
  • chemicals used for pest control
  • bleaches used in deli papers, coffee filters and tea bags
  • bleaches, air fresheners and other chemical products used for cleaning
  • bleaches and chemicals used to clean table linens and napkins
  • indoor plants to help improve air quality
  • fresh air (no smoking inside or out)

Restaurants can also help to cut back on pollution by offering bike racks and choosing a location near public transportation (to help reduce transportation emissions).

7. Sustainable Furnishing and Building Materials

A large percentage of Americans don’t even question the food they’re putting into their bodies, so why would they care what materials were used in the restaurant or its furnishings? Unless you work in the construction or interior design industry, you may not even notice what materials are used on the countertops, floors and tables. But here are just a few reasons why sustainable furnishings and building materials matter:

  • they’re much less likely to give off noxious emissions that are harmful to humans
  • they’re less wasteful and have lower impact on the environment

Dine Green has what your body craves. Although Dine Green doesn’t yet have as many restaurant listings as some of the more popular restaurant rating sites and they don’t even have an app, they’re beginning to fill a big gap in the restaurant rating app market. As more customers become aware of how hidden restaurant standards can affect their health, more people will gravitate toward apps that guide them to restaurants with more transparency, more sustainable business practices and more commitment to the health of their communities.

Some stars are missing in all these apps. We can all benefit from restaurant apps, but because of the way they’re designed, some of the best restaurants may not be getting all the stars they deserve. Take Chez Panisse, for example. Shouldn’t they earn one or two stars for their Edible Schoolyard Project? How many stars do Whole Foods Market cafes deserve for their quality standards and environmental stewardship? How many stars does Chipotle earn for their food with integrity? And how many stars would you give Workshop Cafe for their great work atmosphere?

Like Working In Starbucks? Workshop Cafe is 10x Better

In addition to the Dine Green features listed above, here are a few more things I like in a restaurant:

  • food prep and cooking area is visible to customers
  • music sends out good vibes helping people to feel positive energy while they eat (and the volume is low enough that you can carry on a conversation without shouting)
  • restrooms have outstanding ventilation
  • pets are welcome

My friend, Steven Wright, prefers restaurants that serve “breakfast any time.” Last week we went out to dinner and he ordered French Toast during the Renaissance. FoodFunnies

Green Restaurant certified logo

5 Essential Appliances For Easy Healthy Meals

By | cooking, eating, water | One Comment

Why did the blonde put her iPhone in her blender?
Because she wanted to make apple juice. Wattpad

Lots of people want to eat healthier, but aren’t sure how. If you want to make more healthy meals at home, I recommend investing in these essential appliances. When you learn to use these tools effectively, you can easily make healthy meals at home every day.

1. Water Filtration System

The taste and nutritional value of the juices, teas, soups, pasta and other dishes you make all depend on the quality of the water you use.

Any water filtration system is better than none, but some systems are better than others. Distilled water is the purest. It’s H2O. In addition to hydrating your body, another main function of water is to help detoxify your body.

Tap water, bottled water and well water typically add noxious substances to your body. Because they’re already contaminated, they aren’t as effective as distilled water in helping to rid your body of toxins. Doesn’t it make sense to use pure H2O to ensure you aren’t adding more toxins to your body through the water you consume?

Drink Distilled Water Daily to Detox and Defend Your Body

You may have heard a myth that you shouldn’t use distilled water because it’s acidic or it pulls minerals from your body, but consider the source. “Often it is heard that the body needs the minerals found in water. Not so. Our food supply is the proper source of minerals.” J. Edward Smith

2. High-Power Juicer/Blender

rainbow fruit smoothiesBegin your day with a juice drink. This is a great way to help flush your body and cleanse away anything left from the prior day or two. The first thing I drink every morning is a smoothie made with fresh fruits. I often have a blend of citrus fruits such as orange, grapefruit, mandarins, lime or lemon. You can drink it at home or take it to go, but it’s best if you drink it as soon as possible.

Over the years I’ve tried several different juicers, all of which had high ratings at the time. Many of them are cumbersome and difficult to clean. I’ve also purchased countless blenders in all the top brands, many of which were used to make smoothies numerous times a week by several family members. Very few blenders survived more than a year. They simply aren’t built to last. Despite the disappointment with most juicers and blenders I’ve owned, I never lost hope that eventually I’d find ones that were easier and more dependable.

One day several years ago I saw a guy demonstrating a Blendtec in a Costco. I had no intention of making such a large purchase that day, but the demo and the samples were so compelling that I decided to cave in to this impulse buy. He had what I wanted. The Blendtec has turned out to be the best juicer/blender I’ve ever owned. It works pretty much like a blender, but it’s much more powerful and much easier to clean.

With the Blendtec, you can make countless combinations of juices, smoothies, soups and sauces using whole fruits and vegetables. Unlike a juicer, it doesn’t extract the pulp, so you end up with less food waste.

I love drinking fresh juice not only for the health benefits, but because of how much I enjoy the tastes and because of how good I feel after drinking them.

3. Refrigerator/Freezer

Choose a refrigerator with lots of clear drawers. Most homes and apartments in the US come equipped with a refrigerator, so most people don’t shop for them very often. But if and when you do have the chance to shop for a refrigerator, look for one that has lots of clear drawers that can easily be pulled out and placed on your countertop. This makes it easy to store produce. Many whole fruits and vegetables can be stored without any additional packing, except for what nature gave them, so if you have lots of drawers to organize them, you can keep a fruit drawer full of oranges and apples, for example. You can use the largest drawers to store larger vegetables or fruits such as cauliflower, cabbage or watermelon. My husband and I eat lots of produce every day. I store a lot of it (without any packaging) in drawers .

Become familiar with the shelf-life of various fruits and vegetables. Even if you regularly eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, it can be helpful to check to how long they typically last. StillTasty.com is a great resource to check when you want to see how long something will last. I just did a quick search for carrots, and came up with a dozen different ways to consider processing and storing them, including juicing, freezing, canning and more. It’s a great resource. I often get great ideas just by checking this tool. It’s especially helpful if you have a surplus of one type of food. I’m always open to trying new apps. I recently discovered EatByDate.com. It has a nice clean interface and might be a good tool for people learning to eat healthier, but it’s not very helpful for more experienced cooks.

If you don’t have enough room in your refrigerator for lots of fruits and vegetables, clear out the sodas, beers, condiments, packaged foods or whatever else is using up your refrigerator space. Chances are, you’ll be better off without them.

4. Cooktop

Is your kitchens well stocked with lots of pots and pans, including many you rarely use? If you live in a standard American home or apartment, you probably have a cooktop with four burners, but you rarely use more than two at a time. You probably have a big oven designed to hold a huge turkey and all its fixings. But you only cook like this a few times a year, if that. Even if you like to bake, you could get by with an oven half the size.

chinese food cartoon Funday MorningSimpler is better. In order to compete with other brands, companies add new designs, materials and features to cooktops and cooktop/oven combinations. Whenever you have choice, go for simple.

You only need one or two burners to make a quick healthy meal. This is one of the many lessons I learned in China: two burners are better than four. How many times do any of us use three or four burners at once? Not often, right?  Yet most cooktops sold in the US have four burners. Four burners take longer to clean than two. Our kitchen in China had a cooktop with two large gas burners (not four) that put out big flames. Directly under the two burners were two large drawers, one to hold the wok and a ceramic soup pot and another to hold a rice maker. The few cooking utensils hung on the hung on the wall near cooktop. This simple design made it so easy to cook and clean up. The kitchen in our upscale Chinese apartment did not have an oven. Yet we were able to have healthy meals every day without one.

You can make a quick healthy meal in one pot. One of the biggest lessons I learned from Zhu, our cook in China, is that you can cook just about anything in a wok. Before I moved to China I didn’t know anything about preparing Chinese foods. I had owned a wok for years and used it from time to time, but I had no idea of how powerful one kitchen tool could be. Zhu would clean, chop and prep all the ingredients first and then move on to the cooking.

Most foods, when prepped appropriately, can be stir fried in minutes. Check out this clip by Luke Nguyen, owner of Red Lantern, to see how quickly and easily you can prepare foods in a hot wok.

Although some ingredients may take a few more minutes, you can see how easy it is to prepare tasty dishes. If you want to make several different ones, you can make them simultaneously in the same wok or skillet. That way you only have one pot to clean up when you’re finished cooking. If you plan to use it for your next meal, store it on your cooktop to save time.

Stir-fry cooks come from all woks of life. PunOfTheDay

5. Food processor

What’s your idea of a quick and easy meal? A food processor is to a healthy eater what a microwave is to a Standard American Diet (SAD) eater. Depending on what you’re making, food processors can cut your food prep time in half.

Get a BPA-free food processor with high ratings and good reviews. I’ve owned a number of different food processors over the years. They all have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. I recently purchased a Cuisinart 9-cup food processor not only because it’s BPA-free and has great reviews, but also because it fits between my countertop and cabinets. I also like the sleek design and the fact that it came in a brushed stainless. It only takes a quick wipe to make it look clean, which isn’t always the case with other finishes and colors.

Make a big pot of soup every week. When you have distilled water, a refrigerator full of fresh ingredients and a food processor or Blendtec, you can make a big pot of soup on your cooktop that you can enjoy for several meals in the upcoming week or or month (if you freeze some).

4 Super Smart SOUP Recipes You Can Savor Year Round

Donate your toaster, can opener and  other unnecessary gadgets to make room for your Blendtec and food processor. If you keep them on your countertop in the location where you’ll use them most, it makes it much easier to get to them and you’ll use them much more often.

One final word of caution. Never leave a pot of alphabet soup on the stove when you go out or it could spell disaster. PunOfTheDay

Food Trust logo

4 Super Smart SOUP Recipes You Can Savor Year Round

By | cooking, eating, restaurants, water | One Comment

Do you want to prepare more meals at home, but feel like you don’t have enough time or skill or whatever? If so, it might be time to soup up your kitchen. It’s is one of the simplest ways to make a meal with minimal effort. The next time you need to pull together a quick and healthy dinner, make soup.

SOUP is a Simple Organic Universal Pleasure.

Here are four of my favorite SOUP recipes: Simple SOUP, Organic SOUP, Universal SOUP and Pleasure SOUP.

Simple SOUP

Soup is relatively easy to make. Everything goes into one pot, or sometimes two if you make noodles on the side. As long as you have a number of ingredients on hand, you can almost always pull together a tasty soup. With just a few vegetables, beans, spices or herbs, you have the makings for a good meal. If you add barley or another whole grain, you can make a well-balanced complete meal in one pot. If you like rich soup, add extra carats.

pee and ham soup

You can make soup one day and have the leftovers the next day or two, or freeze portions of it in separate containers and eat it sometime in the near future.

Soup clean-up is relatively easy compared to other cooking methods. After a meal you only have one pot and a few bowls and spoons to wash. If you have leftovers, you can put the lid on the soup pot and store it in your refrigerator for the next day.

Sometimes singles avoid cooking because they don’t want to bother to cook for one. Anytime you need to cook a meal for one person, soup is a great option. It’s worth taking the time to make a good pot of Single SOUP that can last for numerous meals.

Organic SOUP

One of the biggest benefits of cooking at home is that you have a much better idea what you’re eating. When you eat out, the menu may list the majority of ingredients, but restaurants need to control their costs, so the majority of them use conventional foods which are likely to contain traces of pesticides or herbicides which can be toxic over time. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you know that other quality and cleanliness issues can sometimes be an issue as well.

hair in soup cartoon (large)When you make soup using organic ingredients, the soup can be as delicious as it is nutritious. Soup made with medicinal ingredients such as ginger, garlic, turmeric or miso can be surprisingly tasty and healthful. As with any food you eat, carefully consider the source and avoid ingredients that come in packages. Another advantage of making your own soup is that you can customize it to suit your own taste and nutritional needs.

One great thing about soup is that you don’t need to plan recipes in advance. You can buy first and plan later. The best way to shop is to buy what’s fresh, local and in season. If you want to try some new recipes with what you have on hand, type the main ingredients into any search engine, such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing.  This is a great way to discover new recipes and websites.

If you’re in a hurry and want to filter out everything except recipes, use Yummly. You can type in any combination of ingredients such as “vegan soup garlic sweet potato,” for example. This is an easy way to explore tastes from other cultures or to add new spice to some of your tried and true recipes.

If you’re making soups for a special someone who doesn’t yet appreciate the value of organic foods, tell him or her that it’s Orgasm SOUP. Almost everyone appreciates the value of a good meal or orgasm. When Harry Met Sally

Universal SOUP 

In most cultures, people eat soup. It’s a universal dish with many benefits. When you’re making soup, you can add extra ingredients from the refrigerator that need to be eaten. It helps to cut back on wasted food. People rarely ask about every ingredient in the soup as long as it tastes good.

When you make soup, many people will eat things they normally wouldn’t if they were prepared alone or in large recognizable pieces. Soup flavors all blend together, fading away the distinct tastes of individual ingredients. This is a great way to get family members to add more variety to their diet so that they get all the nutrients they need to maintain good health.

Soup is a great appetizer. In many parts of Asia, it’s common to begin a meal with a small cup of soup. Soup helps you feel partially satisfied before eating more. If you want to lose weight, begin your meals by savoring a small bowl of soup. It can help to curb your appetite.

Soup can be the main dish. Throughout Asia, you can find noodle and hot pot restaurants that feature soup as the main course for lunch or dinner.

alphabet soup cartoon GlasbergenMany of the world’s centenarians eat soup year round. Hong Kong has the highest percentage of centenarians in the world. Many of them eat Cantonese slow-cooked soups, such as fish skin noodle soup, or won ton soup. These soups don’t include butter, cream, oil or fatty meats. They enjoy the mild pleasant flavors of the fresh ingredients.

You can put just about anything in soup. Hong Kong and Chinese people are known for eating bird’s nest soup made from swallow’s nests. Hong Kong people are the biggest consumers of this healthful delicacy which can cost anywhere between $30 to $100 USD. The nests are high in calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. When dissolved in water, it has a gelatinous effect. Bird’s nest is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to boost the immune system, aid in digestion, improve focus, reduce symptoms of asthma and more.

Chinese centenarians are likely to be familiar with long-simmering herbal soups. Herbs are carefully chosen to regulate various body functions. In China, there are many books on this subject.

The Japanese are notorious for living longer than people in most other countries. Miso soup has been a staple food in Japan for centuries. In traditional Japanese restaurants, you can order miso soup with breakfast, lunch or dinner. Miso is a combination of soybeans and yeast which is aged for months, and sometimes even years. The resulting fermented paste can be used not only for soup, but for many other dishes as well. Miso helps to alkalize the body and boost your immune system. Miso contains antioxidants and and other anti-aging properties that can help to preserve the beauty of your skin.

Soup is an inexpensive way to stretch your food dollars at different times in your life when you need to. Back in my college days when money was tight, I’d often make University Soup. Making soup from inexpensive foods like potatoes, garlic and onion can help to keep your food costs down. Believe it or not, many people are living off America’s waste. Dive! 

chicken doctor people soup prescription

By the way, The Onion is a great ingredient to keep around.

Pleasure SOUP

Soup is a great food year round. It can warm you up when you’re cold, be your main food when you’re dieting, or help you gain strength when you’re not feeling well. Just the smell of simmering soup can help you feel better. Cold soups are great in the summertime.

Soup is a warm comfort food for people of all ages. Even babies and old people without teeth can eat many different types of soups. Whenever necessary, you can add certain ingredients to your soup to achieve certain physical results. If you add extra beans or broccoli to your soup, the fiber can help relieve constipation, for example. Although it may not be your favorite, Plunger Soup brings out pleasure in the end.

When you include a variety of herbs, vegetables and other wholesome ingredients into the pot, soup turns out to be one of the world’s healthiest foods.

Soup’s Most Important Ingredient: Water

When you’re making soup, the quality of the water you use is just as important as all the other ingredients. Pure H2O is ideal.

Drink Distilled Water Daily to Detox and Defend Your Body 

When you make soup, be sure to use a safe pot made of stainless steel, ceramic or cast iron. Never use anything that contains a teflon coating or aluminum. Mother Jones

Avoid eating canned or packaged soups. Most are loaded with salt, preservatives, and other chemicals that have little to no nutritional value and may even harm your health if you eat them too often.

SOUP is a simple, organic, universal, pleasurable way to show you care.

Organic Soup Kitchen logo

 

Michael Mobbs offers 9 tips for a more sustainable home

By | authors, books, eating, gardening, health, laundry | One Comment

Would you like to cut your living expenses in half without giving up modern luxuries? Me too. That’s why I wanted to meet Michael Mobbs and see his home that’s (almost) off the grid in the heart of a big city. On a recent trip to Sydney, I had the opportunity to meet with Mobbs and get a private tour of his Sustainable Home. Here’s what I learned . . .

SusHouseCover2print.inddSince 1996 Michael Mobbs has lived in a unique house in the center of Sydney, Australia. If you rode by on your bike, you wouldn’t notice anything different from the outside. Only a plumber or electrician working on the inside would know the difference. With three other house friends, Mobbs’ total annual water and energy bills are less than $300 AU or about $280 US. His three bedroom home is about a 40 minute walk from the Sydney Opera House.

He has solar panels on his roof. The electric company sends him a check to pay for the clean solar electricity he puts into their main grid lines.

In 1996 he disconnected the water and sewer. He uses rain water that falls on his roof in place of tap water. He treats his own water that flows from his toilets, washing machine and kitchen sink. The system recycles the water back into the house. He uses the recycled water to flush the toilets, wash clothes and hose his beautiful backyard garden. He doesn’t pay any water or sewer bills. In his book, he describes how the simple wastewater system works.

IMG_8787

Michael Mobbs Sustainable Home backyard water treatment garden

The house is still connected to gas. The annual bill is about $200 US.

“I’m not special, kinda short, have no handy skills and can barely drive a nail. If I can do it, you can too,” says Mobbs.

Even if you do own a home, you may not be ready to generate your own electricity and collect and process your own water. But you can begin with smaller projects. I asked Michael for some tips that almost anyone could apply regardless of where they live. Here are some of his recommendations on how to save money even if you’re renting an apartment.

1. When one of your lights goes out, replace it with an LED bulb. LED lights are much more efficient.

2. Paint interior walls shades of white. This also applies to outdoor areas, such as fences. White reflects light back into your rooms. Avoid dark carpet, walls or furniture. Black eats light while pale colors bounce it around.

Sustainable.House 039

Michael Mobbs Sustainable House

3. Install a water efficient shower head. You can take it with you if you move. It saves the energy that it takes to make the water hot and it also cuts down on your water usage. It can save over 15,000 gallons of water a year in a four-person household. This is especially important if you have one or more people in your household who take long showers. Even if you take short showers, you can relax knowing that the same amount of time will cost less.

4. Get a water and energy efficient dishwasher and washing machine. This can knock up to 50% off your energy and water bills. Efficient ones will use about 10-20% of what the standard guzzlers use.

Laundry Study Shows Americans Have Few Hangups

5. Get the most energy efficient refrigerator possible. It runs 24/7 and is typically the biggest energy-using appliance in your home.

6. Catch rain water if you can. You can use it to water your indoor and outdoor plants. You may be able to do this even if you’re in an apartment and only have access to a small balcony.

SusHouseCover2print.indd7. Grow food you can eat. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can grow mint, garlic, rosemary, lemongrass and other plants suitable for indoor environments or small spaces on balconies. Grow mung beans for your salads in a glass jar on your window sills. Get involved with a community garden if there’s one in your neighborhood. If you have too much of one type of food, swap surplus food with other gardeners.

8. Buy food from your local farmers markets. Fresh produce is always healthier and more nutritious than the store-bought refrigerated stuff.

9. Compost fruit and vegetable scraps to make soil for your pots and/or garden. Even if you don’t have a lot of space you can add worms to your compost and they will turn it into fertile black gold (dirt) in 1-3 months.

Mobbs says a modest meal which includes a small portion of meat puts a much greater strain on the environment than a meal that’s fully vegetarian. We need to think about our overall impact on the environment even outside our homes.

“The energy and water needed to keep me alive is about 20-40 times greater than the energy and water needed to run my house. Yes, my house saves over 100,000 liters (about 20,000 gallons) of dam water a year by harvesting the water which falls for free using the natural stormy energy of the skies. But in ten days of eating the typical Australian diet, there’s over 100,000 liters of water needed to grow, harvest, clean, store, package, transport and refrigerate my food. My little tummy uses far more water and energy than my house,” says Mobbs.

Michael Mobbs Sustainable House with Lorraine

Dr Lorraine Haataia with Michael Mobbs in front of his Sustainable House in Sydney, Australia

The costs, designs, products, materials, tragedies, mistakes, truths, and failures of his house and tummy are spelled out in his two books: Sustainable House and Sustainable Food.

“Plug the leaks in your home. When you take steps to reduce your living expenses and environmental impact, you may ultimately reduce your financial stress and have the chance to invest in new opportunities with the money you save,” Mobbs says.

A few years ago my husband and I traded in our big suburban home with a 3-car garage for smaller living quarters. This freed up both time and money giving us the opportunity travel to places like Sydney.

The next time you’re in Sydney, be sure to tour Michael Mobbs’ Sustainable House or see the scaled down version of his home at the Powerhouse Museum near Darling Harbour.

In the introduction of his Sustainable Homes book, Mobbs offers some of the key lessons he learned through the decisions he made with his own home. If you aspire to create a more sustainable home, look for others in your community who are making changes in their homes and lifestyles. You’ll get there much quicker if you share your challenges, successes and fears with them.

Steven Wright recently moved into an all electric house. One evening he forgot to turn off the lights before he went to sleep. When he woke up in the morning to let his dog out to pee, the front door wouldn’t work. 

Take a look at this candid interview with Mobbs as he explains how he handles some of the resistance he faces as a positive change-maker doing things that seem perfectly logical. His advises everyone to have the courage to say, “I can do this.”

It’s helpful when your cohorts share common factors such as weather, jurisdictions and local suppliers. And even better if they have some professional experience that might help to expedite projects. Mobbs happens to be an environmental lawyer by trade. In 2009, The (Sydney) Magazine listed Mobbs as one of Sydney’s 100 most influential people. See the About Michael page on the Sustainable House website to learn more about him.

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How To Live Forever: Laugh More, Eat Less

By | eating, healthcare, longevity, Movies | 2 Comments

Buster from How to Live Forever filmWould you like to see rare places where age is enjoyed, admired and studied? Places where people are old or looking for ways to extend their lives? Then you’ll enjoy seeing How to Live Forever and meeting stubborn characters like 101-year-old London resident, Buster Martin, a chain-smoking, beer-drinking marathon runner.

In this film, Mark Wexler takes you on a fun whirlwind of visits giving you insights on how to extend your life. Being stubborn, by the way, is probably more likely than smoking to extend your life.

The following tips represent some of the many interesting topics highlighted in the film. I don’t necessarily endorse all of them, but I like to keep my options open. Sometimes a girl changes her mind you know . . .

Participate in contests. A contestant at the Ms. Senior American Beauty Pageant says, “I might be 75, but I’m still hot. It just comes in flashes.” Have fun staying active.

Dr Madan Kataria Laughter Yoga

Dr. Madan Kataria

Laugh at least ten minutes every day. Dr. Madan Kataria is a medical doctor from Mumbai, India, where he’s known as the guru of laughter. He’s the founder of Laughter Yoga, a club he began in 1995 with five people in a public park. Today this movement for health, joy and world peace, has grown to more than 6,000 clubs in over 60 countries. Follow these instructions for your daily laughter yoga practice: Laugh for no reason. Laugh louder. Laugh more. Start over.

Learn from older people. If you have a 90-year-old or centenarian in your immediate family, that’s good news for you because you may have inherited some of the same longevity genes. If you don’t, ask your friends if they know an elderly person or volunteer at a retirement home to find some old friends. VolunteerMatch

Dear Diary, This is the Day I Decided to Drink Distilled Water

Live Young Forever by Jack LalanneStay active and set big goals. In 1984, at the age of 70, Jack LaLanne handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents towed (with his own strength) 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1-1/2 miles.

“Anything in life is possible if YOU make it happen . . .  and YOU CAN,” says Lalanne.

Learn more of Lalanne’s secrets in one of his many books such as: Revitalize Your Life After 50 (1995), Live Young Forever (2009), Celebrating 90 Plus Years of Healthy Living (2009). Lalanne, who started off as a weak and sickly bed-ridden boy, died strong at the age of 96 in 2011. Huffington Post

Work out (your brain) every day. A common quality among centenarians is that they’ve kept their brains active throughout their lives. It doesn’t matter whether you work, play games or participate in mentally stimulating hobbies. They’re all beneficial.

Suzanne Somers Im Too Young For This

Take hormones. Suzanne Somers touts the use of Bioidential Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). In fact, she’s written several books which encourage women to take hormones to remain youthful: The Sexy Years (2004), Ageless (2006), Bombshell (2012) and her latest book, I’m Too Young For This (2013).

Go on a calorie restriction diet. Calorie Restriction (CR) has been scientifically proven to extend life in animals and many researchers believe CR extends human life as well. FightAging.orgCheck out CR Society International for more information. You can probably get by just fine eating a whole lot less than you have in the past. Eat less.

Don’t retire. The Japanese associate negative images with the word retirement. This, along with their healthy diet and active lifestyle, are probably some of the reasons why they tend to live longer than people in most other countries, particularly in Okinawa. There is no retirement age in Japan. I personally witnessed this earlier this year when my husband and I visited Okinawa. We met countless people in their 70s, 80s and even 90s still working. Okinawa Centenarian Study

Phyllis Diller

Phyllis Diller

Treat your troubles with jokes. In her autobiography, Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy, Phyllis Diller shares her struggles and shenanigans as the first woman of her time to rise to the top of the male-dominated comedy scene, a feat she accomplished while caring for five children and an unemployed husband. Despite the many challenges she faced throughout her life, she found a way to laugh every day. “Some people say ‘who would want to be 90,’ and I say ‘anyone who is 89,'” says Diller, who died with a smile on her face at the age of 95.

Write your autobiography when you’re in your 90s. Eleanor Wasson believes that the best part of life begins when you get past 50. She believes in free will and free choice–that we let things happen by the choices we make. She wrote her autobiography, 28,000 Martinis and Counting, in her 90s and later passed away in 2008 at the age of 100. Santa Cruz Sentinal

Set a goal to be the oldest person somewhere. Everyone gets a nanosecond of being the youngest person on earth, but very few get the chance to be the oldest. In this film, you’ll get to see Edna Parker who, at the time of filming, was the oldest person in the world at 115. Perhaps you can live to be the oldest person in your family, your city, or even the world . . .

Embrace technology. In his book, The Singularity is NearRay Kurzweil spells out his belief that we’re moving into an age of a “new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity.” Technology is used in medicine and many other industries to enhance and extend life. Soon it will be doing much more.

Say no to ice cream. John Robbins is the only son to the founder of the Baskin-Robbins empire. Instead of following in his father’s footsteps, he chose to walk away from ice cream and wealth to pursue his own dream of living in harmony with all life forms. He is the founder of EarthSave International and Board Chair of Yes! Robbins is also the author of numerous books including Healthy at 100.

Freeze your body and come back to life later. At Alcor Life Extension Foundation, cryonics is happening now. Alcor believes that “lack of legal status as a person does not imply lack of moral status as a person.” They welcome you to tour their facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, and walk among stiffs who are waiting to come back to life. If you don’t want to do business with a funeral home director, Alcor might be the alternative you’re looking for. You just might be one of the first to learn How to Live Forever.

Live until the day you die. “My boyfriend is older than me, but he can still drive at night,” said an elderly woman who still enjoys dating older men. Stay active. Get out there and keep doing the things you love to do. Laugh more, eat less.

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Drink distilled water daily to detox and defend your body

By | cooking, eating, water | 15 Comments

Your body has a natural craving and thirst for pure distilled water . . . every day.

Have you ever tried to drink more water to help minimize brain fog, headaches, or other some other nagging condition? At the advice of your doctor or an article you read, perhaps you tried to increase your water intake for a short time, only to find that it didn’t taste good or feel right. It’s probably because you drank tap or bottled water.

Tap Water cartoon by Creative Loafing, shows need for distilled water

In municipal water supplies (tap water), bottled water and even well water, you may find pharmaceuticals, parasites, herbicides, pesticidestrihalomethanes, deadly amoebasfluoridechlorineperfluorinated compounds, arsenic, and a multitude of other unregulated chemicals and toxins depending on the source of the water. Where Water Burns

H2O is water and H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide. What is H2O4? Drinking. Ha ha. ASU

“Hard water then is your greatest enemy. It will destroy fond hope you have by striking you down when you should be enjoying the fruits of your labors. Crippled joints, repeated surgeries, enlarged hearts, hardened arteries, gall stones, kidney stones, hearing problems, forgetful minds, all draw your activities from the great out-of-doors into creaking rocking chairs and finally into bed-ridden old people’s homes.”  The Choice is Clear by Dr. Allen E. Banik

Drugs in Drinking Water shows need for distilled water

Mike Keefe InToon.com

Any water filtration system is better than none, but some systems are better than others. Distilled water is the purest. It’s H2O. In addition to hydrating your body, another main function of water is to help detoxify your body.

You may have heard a myth that you shouldn’t drink distilled water because it’s acidic or it pulls minerals from your body, but consider the source. ” Often it is heard that the body needs the minerals found in water. Not so. Our food supply is the proper source of minerals.” J. Edward Smith

Tap water, bottled water and well water typically add noxious substances to your body. Because they’re already contaminated, they aren’t as effective as distilled water in helping to rid your body of toxins.

“I mixed this myself. Two parts H. One part O. I don’t trust anybody.” Steven Wright

Dear Diary, This is the day I decided to drink distilled water. 

Why not use pure H2O to ensure you aren’t adding more toxins to your body through the water you drink? My husband and I currently use the Megahome countertop water distiller. It works well for 2-4 people because it can make a gallon of distilled water in about five hours. I usually make 2-3 gallons each day for the two of us.

Have you ever tried drinking distilled water to cleanse the inside of your body?

Try this simple experiment. Take a few minutes to jot down any physical issues you’re having. Then start drinking and cooking with distilled water every day. Note the benefits you experience within 30, 60 and 90 days. You’ll need about one gallon per person each day. Ever since I started drinking distilled water and using it for tea and cooking, I’ve noticed that I feel better and have much more energy throughout the day.

Now that I feel the difference, I won’t to go back to tap. When I go out, I take with me a glass water bottle filled with distilled water, or I take green tea that I made with distilled water. I also carry a small TDS water tester with me everywhere I go to check water before I decide whether or not I’m going to drink it.

A $15 water tester is worth more than a $150 water filter. 

Most people are aware of the environmental and health issues with bottled water, but continue buying it anyway. I heard that one company is working on making powdered water to sell at a high price, but they haven’t yet figured out what you can add to it so you can drink it. Aha

If you believe in showering the outside of your body on a regular basis, you can certainly understand why it’s even more important to shower the inside of your body with pure H20 every day.

If you have access to a sunny spot, you might want to get a solar powered distiller such as the Eliodomestico. This beautiful distiller would make a great addition to any garden, patio or balcony. Or if you’re handy, you might want to do some research on how to make your own DIY Solar Still.

Eliodomestico solar water distiller

Gabriele Diamanti, award-winning Eliodomestico designer, developed this open-source distiller project.

 

The Top Secret to Identifying Spoiled Meat

By | cooking, eating, money, restaurants | No Comments

no meatWhy should you never tell a pig a secret? Because they squeal. Jokes4Us

Do you want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about what you’re eating? Well, you may need to talk to a pig to find out.

Of course you want to eat safe food. But can you trust “the system” to ensure that all your meat is safe for consumption? It would be great if all the growers, confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs)slaughterhouses, processors, packers, transporters, grocers and FDA were are all looking out for us, the customers, but are they really?

A little red or white meat may not be bad for you, but a little yellowish or brownish meat is definitely bad for you! Gwizfunny

We live in a capitalistic society where money is a top priority. Each time to take a bite, you’re eating food “as is,” which encompasses everything that happened to it all along the way before it ended up on your fork. Buyer beware. When in doubt, check it out. Yogitastic

Michael Anthony offers some good tips on how you can know if you have spoiled meat . . .

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in Hollywood? If you’re willing to fork out enough money, you can go on a back stage studio tour of Universal Studios to see how they make fire, blow things up and kill people. You have the opportunity to see how frivolous movies are made, so doesn’t it seem to make sense that you can see how your foods, so essential to life, are made?

To see how organic food is grown, you can go to a farm like Tara Firma for free any weekend to see how they raise healthy animals. Some farms, like Hidden Villa, are specially designed to teach people of all ages about sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry.

If you want to see how organic fruits or vegetables are grown, the majority of organic farmers will welcome you with open arms to take on-site pictures with your friends and family. Some U-pick farms, like Swanton Berry Farm, encourage their customers to check out the farm and pick their own berries.

Lots of people are proud of the way they do business. They’re tickled when you take pictures and share your experiences with your social networks.

Farm Sanctuary's Animal Acres

Farm Sanctuary’s mission is to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living.

Do you like Eating Animals? Even if you do, ag gag laws make it illegal for you to see what’s going on behind the scenes in factory farms. The people who work there can’t show you the horrendous conditions either. If they do, these “whistleblowers” face challenges that can affect their work and personal life for years. If you do something as simple as take pictures of a CAFO or slaughterhouse, you risk being charged with a crime!

Why do the CAFO workers call the animals “Ink?” Because they keep trying to run out of the pens. Jokes4Us

If the meat in your local grocery store came out of one of these top secret facilities, doesn’t this make you a little suspicious? What’s the big secret? Bill Moyers warns Americans in this Huffington Post Green story that these ag gag laws are making people sick! Who takes care of the farm when the farmer is sick? The pharmacist. AJokeADay

According to the CDC, about 1 in 6 people in the US get sick each year after eating contaminated food. CDC Foodborne OutbreaksAnd the number is much higher if you take into account the cumulative health effects of eating meat tainted with drugs, hormones and chemicals. Your risk is lower when you eat at home, and even lower when you’re conscientious about where you get your food.

For the sake of your health and well-being, think about whether you want to eat anything that’s coming out of a top secret mill. If a food facility is too dangerous and unsightly for a kids’ field trip, do you really want to support these companies by buying their questionable consumables? Check out this article by Joby Warrick before you before your next visit to the meat department in your local grocery store: Do You Want Urine, Feces and Pus In Your Beef?

McDonald’s announced it’s considering a more humane way of slaughtering its animals. They fatten up the animals until they’re so uncomfortable that they want to die. It’s the same thing they do to their customers. HappyCow

 

Mercy for Animals