Saturday, December 31, 2011


In my opinion, one of the best things you can do for your baby/toddler is to teach them to eat healthy foods.  Are you aware that up to 85% of the brain's development takes place by the age of three?  Include fruits, vegetables, and grains in your young child's diet and he/she will continue to eat them for the rest of his/her life.  That is one of the best, longest-lasting gifts you can give your child.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


To say that everyone who gets cancer is overweight would be a vast exaggeration.  However, according to research by the ACS, obesity does raise the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, colon, esophageal, kidney, pancreatic, uterine, and other cancers.  Just one more big reason to watch what you eat and to keep your weight under control.  Make changes to your diet gradually and lose that excess weight.  Not only will you feel better, you may be reducing your chances of getting a nasty cancer.  Cut back on fast food, eat more fruits and vegetables, etc. Make a lifestyle change in your diet!  The life you save could be your own!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


From Bible parables to todays table, importance has been placed on mustard seeds.  These tiny little seeds are found inside the seed pods of the mustard plant.  The mustard plant is a cruciferous cousin to broccoli and cabbage.  The brown seeds are pungent with a sharp, spicy-hot flavor and are used in brown mustards and Dijon mustards.  The milder, yellowish-white seeds are used to make the traditional American mustard.  These seeds are widely available and make great seasonings for meats, etc.  They are also great for pickling.  When gently toasted for a few minutes in a dry pan (shake pan constantly during toasting), they get a nutty essence and crunch that makes them a great granish for fish, salads, rice, etc.

Being products of the curciferous family, they contain natural healing components.  In studies the phytonutrients of the mustard seeds have shown to help prevent cancer, especially of the intestinal tract including the colon. 

Mustard seeds have anti-inflammatory poperties ranking high as a source of selenium, a nutrient which that has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, decrease some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent cancer.

They are also a good source of magnesium. Like selenium, magnesium has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, to lower high blood pressure, to restore normal sleep patterns in women having difficulty with the symptoms of menopause, to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, and to prevent heart attack in patients suffering from atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

Other compounds found in mustard seeds are manganese and omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Include mustard and mustard seeds in your diet for their health benefits.  The flavor is an added benefit!  Get rid of the mayonnaise and mayo type sandwich spreads you are currently using and replace them with mustards.  Remember, it is the small changes over time that make the biggest difference in your diet.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


A 2010 survey found that 70% of children agreed they appreciated their parents more when the family took time to eat together.  Folks, that is a large number!  That same survey showed that 65% of parents said they felt less stressed when their family made a habit of eating their dinner/supper meals together.  Do not let today's busy lifestyles cause you to neglect this important family ritual.  Even if it can't be done on a regular basis, just once or twice a week is a good start.

However, the pleasure and peace from such occasions will be null and void if the process creates more stress.  Try these simple ways to get family meals going in your home:
  • Be realistic.  You cannot expect to put a gourmet caliber meal on the table in a matter of minutes.  It is the togetherness that counts, not the quality of the meal.
  • Order in food, if necessary.  Conversation and togetherness can be accomplished over a delivered pizza or Chinese takeout.
  • Make soups, lasagna, casseroles, etc when you can and refrigerate or freeze for warming up later.
  • Get a slow cooker or crockpot.  You can have some really good foods ready when you come home after a hectic day.
  • While home cooking is usually best for one's health, get together at a relaxing restaurant for a family meal from time to time.
Remember less stress and more relaxation is good for the health of mom, dad, and the children.  Make family meals a habit even if it is only a couple of times a week!  Health and happiness go hand-in-hand!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Heart disease was long thought to be more prevelant in men than women but we know that is not true.  Heart disease is currently the #1 killer of both sexes nationwide.  And would you believe something so simple as sprinkling slivered almonds on your morning cereal can benefit your heart?  As with all good things, don't go overboard.  However, a sprinkling of this healthy nut can lower the risk of heart disease by reducing levels of harmful LDL cholesterol.  Also, the antioxidants and vitamin E that are found in the skins of almonds might prevent plaque from forming on the artery walls.  And make sure that cereal you sprinkle them on is whole-grain which will help keep your blood pressure in check (a big risk for heart disease!).  Have that with low-fat milk!

Friday, December 23, 2011


As we head into flu season, the number one tip from the health and medical professionals is to get a flu shot.  However, there are ways we can help our bodies to ward off the flu and other health problems.  We all know the old wives tale of 'An apple a day keeps the Dr. away'.  But is there any truth in it?  The experts tell us there is!  You can prevent health problems by eating a well balanced diet and getting enough exercise and sleep!  That's right, sleep.  Your body rests and reginerates during sleep so don't cut back on sleep!  Apples are one of the important parts of a well balanced diet and should be eaten regularly.  They have many healthy properties (see other articles on this blog) so make them a regular part of your diet.  If not daily, several times a week.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


The following is a quote from Jeanne Wallace, PhD, a researcher and expert in cancer nutrition.  "When you get a cancer diagnosis, suddenly you become a very powerless person.  You are traipsing through the hospital as a name and number, people do all kinds of procedures to you, and you have a life-threatening condition, which many doctors maintain you have no control over."  Her advice to patients?  She tells them, "You could make some changes with your diet and it would give you some sense of empowerment."  She continues to say, "Even though patients might not have total control over their cancer, they do have some influence."  There are many posts on this blog about foods that will help you fight cancer.  I believe diet is one of the most overlooked but important pieces of the arsonal in a persons cancer fight.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Agave nectar actually has a lower-glycemic index (sugar content) than many other sweeteners.  That makes it excellent for anyone worried about controlling their blood sugar levels.  It can be especially helpful for people who are on chemotherapy who are worried about their blood sugar levels.  Also helpful as a sweetener for anyone receiving steroids that affect their blood sugar.  Agave nectar also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Note: This picture is not meant to endorse a particular brand of Agave Nectar!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


It is better to choose canned fish not packed in oil.  Go for those packed in their own oil, water, mustard or a tomato sauce.  When you drain oil from canned tuna, for example, you lose from 15 to 25 % of the omega-3s that have leached into the oil from the fish while draining water packed tuna only loses 3 % of the omega 3s.

Monday, December 19, 2011


If you are torn between buying conventional fruit and vegetables or organic, you need to know that organic and conventional have almost the exact calories, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.  Often there is a little more vitamin C and flavonoids (those powerful antioxidants) in organic.  There are other factors to consider such as pesticide use, etc. but for the basic values of the foods, they are almost identical.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Smokers should eat their green leafy vegetables.  As was mentioned earlier on this blog, these vegetables contain the compound folic acid known as folate.  Studies have shown that smokers who took fairly high doses of folic acid had much less lung cell damage than those who didn't.  Don't wait for the damage to be done.  Make green leafy vegetables a part of your everyday diet!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Studies show that women who eat diets high in the 'wrong' carbohydrates (white bread, crackers, soda pop and white rice for examples) have double the risk of heart disease than the women who only eat them occasionally.  That is not a good thing!  If you are guilty, promise yourself to change your dietary habits immediately.  Start out with small changes such as no longer buying white bread or white rice.  Only purchase whole-grain breads and start using brown rice.  Add more lean protein to your diet and start out by replacing one soda pop a day with a glass of water.  It really isn't hard to make these potentially life-saving changes to what you eat on a regular basis.  Remember, these changes could save your life later.

Note:  While the studies I used were only done with women, it is much better for men and children to make these changes, too. 

Friday, December 16, 2011


When taking medicines that call for so many teaspoonsful or tablespoonsful, do not use the spoons in your kitchen drawer.  Those spoons are not official measurements and come in a whole hodgepodge of sizes.  Measure the medicine with a measuring spoon or a measuring cup that comes from your pharmacy.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


In a previous post (below) we discussed the value of green vegetables in a healthy diet.  Since bok choy was one of the vegetables mentioned and it's values are not known to most, here is some information on this Chinese vegetable.  A tasty recipe will follow.

1 serving = 1 cup cooked
1 serving = over 100% of your daily recommended allowance of Vitamin A
1 serving = almost 2/3s of your daily recommended allowance of Vitamin C
1 serving = vitually no fat
1 serving = 58 mg sodium
1 serving = 158 mg calcium (high for a member of the cabbage family)
1 serving = 631 mg potassium
1 serving = 69 mcg of folate  (Bok Choy is a good source of folic acid, also called folate, or vitamin B9, essential to digestive and cardiovascular health.)
1 serving = 20 calories
1 serving = 3 g carbohydrates

3 cups thinly sliced bok choy
1 cup chopped Napa cabbage
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped, seeded cucumber
1/2 cup snow peas, blanched
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup crushed unsalted peanuts

Place above ingredients into a large bowl and toss to mix well.

2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp olive oil

Place in a bowl and whisk until blended.  Drizzle over the salad and toss gently to coat.

Yield: 4 servings
Per serving: 229 calories, 9 g protein, 22 g carbs, 14 g (1 saturated) fat, 6 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 348 mg sodium

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


It has been said that the greening of the diet may be much more important to survival than the greening of the planet!  Green vegetables are packed with a variety of compounds, ie carotenoids, cholrophyll, glutathione, folic acid, vitamin C, etc that are known to protect our cells from a whole list of damages.  So be sure you include green vegetables in your diet daily.  That doesn't mean you have to sit down and eat a bowl of greens everyday.  Toss some greens into soups, stir-frys, etc.  And a few salads a week is a good idea. 

As an example we will look at cabbage which along with its other cruciferous kin such as kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, etc, is extremely high in phytochemicals which are great protectors from cancer, etc.  Cabbage also works as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.  One of the properties of cabbage and its kin is indole-3-carbinol, known as IC3 for short.  IC3 nearly doubles how quickly the liver can break down estrogen so it doesn't remain in the body.  (Estrogen is known to feed some cancers.)  Do not overcook as you will lose some of the important chemicals in doing so.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


If you are the main caregiver for someone who is aging, ill, injured or disabled, there is one thing you must remember and it is this:  The healthier you are the better caregiver you will be!  Often we become so concerned for the person in our care that we neglect taking care of ourselves.  I remember many years ago when my teenage daughter was quite ill and in a coma.  I was making myself sick sitting by her bedside, not eating properly (mainly because I had no appetite), not getting enough rest, etc.  I will never forget her doctor walking into her room one day taking one look at me and saying, "Go home, eat, and get some sleep."  Of course I said, "Oh no.  I need to be here."  He quickly reminded me that I was doing nothing for her except making myself sick.  He then reminded me that as she got better, she would need me then.  I was shocked when he left the room and came back with a nurse.  He pointed to me and said, "I'm sending her home.  She is not to be back in this room during the next 24 hours unless we call for her.  Understood?"  I was furious!  But that was the biggest favor he could have done for me that day.  I had a sick headache and was simply worn out.  A week later she was out of the coma and needed me.  Thankfully, I was able to be there for her when she needed me.

So remember this, eat properly - not fast food or vending machine junk.  Get the rest you need and seek out help if needed.  Let someone prepare you a healthy meal, allow someone to give you a break, etc.  Remember you are no good as a caregiver, if you need care yourself!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies

I often have folks ask for gluten free desserts.  This cookie recipe is perfect for those of you who must pursue a 'gluten-free' diet.  Since today is National Cocoa Day, I thought it would be appropriate to give all my friends who must avoid gluten a tasty recipe using cocoa.  I hope you enjoy these cookies!
Today is national cocoa day. For anyone, but especially our friends who must eat "gluten free", here is a recipe that uses cocoa.

   Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookies
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch processed)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the confectioners' sugar with the cocoa, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually add in the egg whites, stirring with a spoon until mixture forms into a dough. The mixture should be thick enough that you can form it into small balls; if not add a little more confectioners' sugar and cocoa. Add the nuts and mix in well.

Form the dough into 15 equal size balls. Place balls on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 15 to 19 minutes until balls are glossy and have a crackled appearance. Cool completely.

Per cookie: 110 calories, 16 g carbs, 1 g protein, 7 g fat, 45 mg sodium

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oranges and Cholesterol

Did you know that oranges may help to lower blood cholesterol? They contain terpenes that reduce serum cholesterol levels and they are high in LDL-lowering fiber.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Many nutrionists and experts on nutrion and health suggest grating carrots.  They say that when carrots are grated or shredded our bodies are able to get the most theraputic benefits.  Grating or shredding the carrots breaks down cell walls which enables the body to absorb more beta-carotene.  Beta-carotene is the compound in carrots that is believed to help protect against cancer and some of the effects of aging.

Here is a recipe for a tasty grated carrot salad.
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup canned, crushed pineapple in its own juice (no added sugar)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (a very healthy nut)

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl.  No dressing needed as the pinepple juice works as a dressing.  Let your imagination go wild with the combinations you can come up with.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


One of the biggest problems many cancer patients face is a lack of appetite and the foods they do eat not tasting so good.  Ironically, good nourishment is one of the things they need most.  The body simply cannot fight cancer (or other illnesses) without proper nourishment.  It is one of the most important overlooked areas in so many patients cancer treatments.  If someone you know is fighting this horrific disease, one of  the most important things you can do to help is to see that they eat and eat properly.  They do not have to eat a big meal.  In fact small meals are preferable.  But something as important as the proper broth or soup can do wonders to help the body heal.   Often these patients are too sick to cook for themselves so make sure that have soups, broths, fruits, etc available at all times.  There are several articles on this site to help you with that. Rebecca Katz, a chef who works with oncologists, nutritionists, and cancer wellness professionals says, "As many as 80% of cancer patients are malnourished, often leaving them too weakened to withstand ongoing treatment.  Keeping them nourished with healthy foods gives patients a better chance of making the transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor."  Dr. Keith I. Block, MD has said, "Eating a plant based diet is fundamental to a successful cancer fight."  Something as simple as a handful of blueberries can be very helpful to patients.


No one seems to know exactly what makes fiber work so well in our bodies.  But all the experts seem to agree that the average American needs to eat two or three times the amount of fiber they are currently eating.  High fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and grains.  Be sure you are including these foods in your diet everyday! 

You will increase your daily fiber intake by eating more whole fruit and less fruit juice, green vegetables instead of or with french fries, legumes daily which is not hard as they can be included in salads, soups, etc.  You do not have to eat a bowl of beans everyday!  And change out the white bread in your home for whole-grain breads.

You don't have to make a lot of big changes at once.  Make gradual changes and see how easy it is.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Liver cancer is one of the most difficult to fight.  But did you know the simple little cranberry is a potent fighter of this horrendous disease?  According to the experts, no fruit is better at inhibiting the growth of liver cancer cells in humans.  Many of the compounds in cranberries appear to be toxic to many cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.  These cancers include not only liver but lung, prostate, cervical, breast, and leukemia.  Newer studies show that whole cranberries may also target skin and brain cancer.

If you or a loved one are battling any of these cancers, add cranberries to your/their diet.  Including them in our diets on a routine basis just might be a good idea.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Vitamin E is a crucial vitamin in protecting cell membranes.  According to Dr. Joseph McCord, an antioxidant researcher and leading authority of the subject, different antioxidants perform their roles in protecting us from free radicals in different ways.  Vitamin E defends the membranes of the cells from becoming attacked by those out-of-control free radicals.  Without such defenses, free radicals literally tear apart cell membranes causing the cell to leak out its vital fluids and die.  Vitamin E is fat-soluble and is concentrated in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, legumes, and some brans. Protect your body by including the following foods, high in Vitamin E, to your diet on a regular basis.  This is not to say you should sit down and eat a pound of walnuts for example.  A few a day, several times a week is all you need.

These foods are listed in order of the most milligrams of Vitamin E per 3 1/2 ounces:
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Wheat Germ
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Dried Lima Beans

Saturday, December 3, 2011


The following is a quote from The Food Pharmacy Guide to Good Eating:  "Food is definitely a drug.  Every time you put food in your mouth you experience hidden pharmacological and biological reactions.  Indeed, it can be a wonder drug."

It is important to eat foods that will keep our bodies healthy.  Eating the wrong foods, such as too many sugars, fats, etc. can be like taking a bad drug.  Don't eat things that are harmful to your body.  Put healthy foods into your body for positive results.  Even if you don't like some of them, consider them as taking your medicine and eat them occasionally but regularly.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Studies have found that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and one of the most potent in warding off atherosclerosis (clogged and stiffened arteries).  Following is a list (in order) of some of the foods that are the highest in this potent antioxidant, vitamin C:
  • Bell peppers, red and green
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Oranges
  • Cabbage
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
Interesting isn't it?  Look at all the green vegetables ahead of Oranges.  Most of us tend to think of oranges as so high in Vitamin C.  Actually, bell peppers have 128 mg of vitamin C per 3.5 ounces while oranges have only 50!  Your mother was right! Eat your vegetables.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The first thing to get you started on changing your diet, lifestyle, etc after a diagnosis is acceptance.  No matter what the diagnosis, be it diabetes, arthritis, cancer or something else, you have to first come to an acceptance of the illness before you can do what you need to do to fight it off!  Many of the foods you need to eat to fight said illness will often be something not currently in your diet or something you simply don't like.  But do yourself a big favor.  Think of such foods as the medicine your body needs to perform the tasks required of it.  That will make it much easier to change your diet and include the foods you need.  Our bodies are wonderfully made and they have an enormous ability to heal if we will keep unhealthy things out of them and feed them the nutrients they need.  You really can help your body do its job!

Many times people say, "I could never eat enough of that to do me any good."  But that is not the way to look at it.  You must realize you can't do it all in one setting, one day, or one week.  It requires a change in diet on a regular basis.  You can't eat asparagus once and think that will help.  You need to eat the foods at least once a week and once daily in some instances.  It is not a matter of how much but how often!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Asparagus is a great natural anti-inflammatory.  Since inflammation in the body is known to contribute to many illnesses and is thought by the medical community to contribute to the proliferation of cancer, asparagus should be on all our list of foods we eat!  This is one of the vegetables we need to get our children to start eating as young as possible.

The phytochemicals in asparagus mimic a type of anti-inflammatory known as a COX-2 inhibitor.  Other nutrients in which asparagus is rich are other cancer-fighters such as Vitamin-A which has been shown in lab and animal studies to take on skin, breast, liver, colon, and prostate cancers.  Another is Vitamin-K (prostate and lung cancers).  Also folic acid which is known as an excellent fighter of many cancers including colorectal, esophageal, stomach, and breast.

If you don't like asparagus, think of it as preventative medicine and learn to like it.  If you suffer from any of the above mentioned cancers, it is imperative to add asparagus to your diet!

Monday, November 28, 2011


There are natural ways to help prevent that embarrassing problem of constipation.  Digestive tract and stomach problems are very pervasive but no one wants to talk about them.  So here is a little free advice.  You can help to keep your digestive system working by getting enough fiber and magnesium.  We all know that fiber adds bulk that makes it easier to eliminate waste.  But did you realize the magnesium is Mother Nature's muscle relaxant which tends to keep things moving along and it also tends to attract water which hydrates the stool.  According to Dr. Gerald E. Mullin, associate professor of medicine at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, getting enough fiber and magnesium in the diet can prevent constipation in most people.  However, if constipation becomes a serious issue, you should always check with your doctor.  There could be a more serious problem involved. Dr. Mullin suggests including these foods rich if fiber and magnesium to your diet on a regular basis: spinach, squash, broccoli, basil, and almonds.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


The compound allicin, found in onions and garlic, is what accounts for their pungent smell.  It also provides a cancer-protecting punch.  It appears to be especially effective in fighting colon cancer.  Allicin is a strong antibacterial and antiviral compound and it appears in research to keep carcinogens from affecting healthy colon cells.  Be sure to include these two foods in your diet and include them often if you have a family history of colon cancer or have had it yourself!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


"Each of us absorbs nutrients differently, a wide-ranging diet is the only way to guarantee you'll get the nourishment you need."  by Rebecca Katz, a chef who works with oncologists and nutritionists.  We need to step outside our food comfort zones and strive to eat a well balanced diet to keep our bodies operating efficiently!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Do you see the word probiotics on foods or supplements and wonder what they are exactly?  The answer is simple.  Probiotics are natural, healthy bacteria that help produce stong levels of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal system.  You may not realize that we all have both good and bad bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract and a probiotic is an edible product that contains the 'friendly' bacteria.  Probiotics help to complete the digestive process and can assist in the production of vitamins.  Probiotics discourage the growth of disease-causing bacteria, therefore providing a boost to the immune system.  Probiotics can be purchased as supplements but they are also found in foods.  In most cases, by eating foods like yogurt with live cultures, sour cream, buttermilk, sauerkraut and other fermented foods on a routine basis, you will not need supplements. 

Has your health practioner ever told you to eat some yogurt when you are taking antibiotics?  If so, that is the reason why.  While the antibiotics kill the bad bacteria, they often kill the good bacteria, too.  If taking your meds causes you to suffer with diarreha, you need some probiotics.  Grab some cartons of yogurt when you purchase your antibiotics.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


We hear so much about carbs, especially if you are diabetic, but do you really know what a carb is?
First of all, carb/s is a shortened term for carbohydrates.  Okay, you say, now what is a carbohydrate?
A carbohydrate, along with protein and fat, is one of the 3 macronutrients supplying our bodies with the calories they need to function.  That's right; our bodies must have calories to function properly.  Simply put, carbohydrate foods are the sugars and starches.  So fruits, vegetables, grains, potatoes, etc are carb foods.  Many foods, milk for example, contain all 3 of the macronutrients of carbs, fat, and protein.

Diabetics are told to watch their carbs and to avoid refined carbs because when you eat foods high in poor quality carbs, such as refined sugar, bleached white flour, etc, they can raise your blood sugar rapidly and your insulin to higher than normal levels.  Over time, excessive sugar in the blood can be damaging to the body leading to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of liquids is important to our overall health. Tea is a great beverage choice as it basically has no carbs, protein or fat. It is tasty, is a natural source of amino acid and antioxidant catechins. It is available in several forms and is tasty both as a hot drink or iced. Note that we are talking about true tea here. Herbal teas usually contain no actual tea leaves but infusions of fruit and/or herbs. Therefore, this post is not about herbal teas.

True tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis evergreen plant commonly known as the tea bush. The tea bush grows mainly in tropical and sub-tropical climates. This plant or tree prefers acidic soil and requires an annual rainfall of at least fifty inches. Camellia Sinensis plants can grow into trees but are usually kept cropped to about waist height to make cultivation easier. Only the leaves from the top 1-2 inches are picked. Many of the top-quality teas, such as darjeeling, are picked from plants grown at elevations of about 5,000 feet. This causes the plants to grow slower thus acquiring a better flavor.

There are four basic types of true tea common to us today. They are black, green, white and oolong. Each is unique but they all come from the same source. The difference occurs in the processing. Briefly, here is a description of each type and what makes it unique. Green tea leaves are unwilted and unoxidized. White tea leaves are wilted and unoxidized. Oolong tea leaves are wilted, bruised and partially oxidized. Black tea leaves are crushed and fully oxidized. Because of the oxidation process, white and green teas have a higher concentration of the antioxidant catechins.

Proper preparation also differs for each of the tea types. For black tea, boiling water should be used. Many of the active substances in black tea won't develop at lower temperatures. This is the most common mistake made when brewing black tea! For optimum results, black tea should be brewed about 4 minutes and never longer than 5 minutes. Longer brewing will cause the tea to taste bitter.

Green tea should be brewed at a lower temperature, approximately 180-185 degrees which is below the boiling point. Hotter water will burn the green tea leaves causing a bitter taste. When brewing green tea, it is best to pre-warm the mug or teapot you will brew in. This will keep the tea from cooling immediately before it is fully steeped.

Oolong tea should be brewed at about the boiling point in a pre-warmed mug or pot. For oolong tea, it is best to use spring water. The minerals in the water tend to bring out more of the flavor in the tea. High-quality oolong tea leaves can be brewed several times. It actually improves with reuse. Many believe the third brewing actually produces the best tea.

To keep your teas fresh and flavorful, store them in a dry, dark, cool place inside an airtight container.
The health properties of tea are constantly in debate. Many believe drinking tea will help to prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. One thing we know for sure is that tea contains both antioxidant and amino acid properties. It also doesn't add to our daily carb, protein or fat and calorie count when drank in it's natural state without adding sugar, milk, etc. And it tastes good. If you aren't currently a tea drinker, become one. It sure won't hurt you and it just might be healthy for you.

Friday, November 11, 2011


A study in Finland found that persons who ate the most flavonoids (powerful antioxidants) had a 46% lower risk of developing lung cancer than those who ate the least.  Apples are high in antioxidants and should be a part of your diet. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Poultry is a good lean protein and a good source of necessary minerals. It should be a
part of a diabetic's healthy diet. Having said that, let me add this; beware of
ground poultry. Read the fine print before you purchase packages of ground
chicken or turkey! They often contain skin which can really push the fat into
an unhealthy level. You don't have to avoid it, just beware of what you are

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Would you believe researchers at a West Virginia university say the scent of mint is an appetite suppressant! In their research, people who chewed a piece of minty gum or applied a mint-scented lotion when they had an urge to snack throughout the day, consumed around 3,000 calories less per week. Struggling with weight or snacking? Why not try it? What have you got to lose??? 3000 less calories per week is almost a pound of weight loss per week.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Coffee contains antioxidants and magnesium which can help improve your body's response to insulin.  Studies show that drinking 6 cups a day may reduce the risk of getting diabetes by 30%.  But drink that black, leave out the cream and sugar.  Six cups is a lot, so drink decaffinated.  Don't want six cups (that's cups, not mugs!), even a moderate amount should be helpful.  So if you are at risk for diabetes, have a cup of Joe.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


According to an article in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association Journal, a serving of dark chocolate once or twice weekly led to a 32% reduction of heart failure risk for women.  Remember though, a serving is only about 1 ounce.  And that is dark chocolate, not milk chocolate or what is known as white chocolate which both have too much fat and sugar!  So when you want to indulge in chocolate, be sure it is dark chocolate and keep that indulgence down to an ounce or two a week.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, etc, which are high in vitamins A & C are another great source of antioxidants.  Studies have shown that just 1 serving a day of such vegetables is associated with a 50% reduction in cancer risk.


If you are taking medications or treatments that cause your food to taste like cardboard, there is a fix!  When we are sick, we need food for the nutritional value to help in the healing process.  However, medications and treatments often make us turn away from food.  If your food has that "cardboard" taste, you need to wake up your dulled taste buds.  One way to do that is to spritz some fresh lemon juice into your mouth.  Another way to wake up those taste buds, is to add sea salt to your food until the flavor moves to the front of the mouth where the senses haven't dulled quite so much.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Whenever possible, you should eat whole foods, not processed foods.  This means to eat a food as near as possible in its original state.  In other words, eat an apple rather than an apple pastry.   Eat fresh or frozen peas rather than buying a can that is loaded down with salt and other preservatives.  The closer a food is to its natural state, the healthier it is for your body.  If you live where you can, you should buy your foods daily or several times a week rather than once or twice a month.  If that is not possible or you catch a good sale on something, go ahead and buy extra and freeze it for later.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


If you are dealing with nausea and vomiting from illness or medication, try this recipe for a homemade Cinnamon Ginger Tea. Make your own or have someone make it for you. To get the full benefit, you need to use the fresh ingredients.
4 cups water
1 stick cinnamon
4 (1/2-inch) slices peeled, fresh ginger
2 tsp honey
In a saucepan bring the water, ginger, and cinnamon stick to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove and discard the cinnamon stick; stir in the honey. Serve immediately.
May be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. So keep some in the 'fridge for those nausea moments.

4 servings
Per serving: 13 calories, 0 fat, 3 grams carbohydrates, 0 protein, 0 sodium, 0 fiber.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Are you feeling down or depressed? It is a known fact that depression increases in the winter time. So if the darker dreary days or Fall and Winter 'get to you,' increase your intake of complex carbs. Eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Yes, these are carbohydrate foods but they are the complex (or good) carbs. These carbs boost your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a mood-elevating chemical in the brain. By the way, these are good foods you should be eating anyway.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Flaxseeds are possibly the best source in nature for lignans, a phytoestrogen that may help women who are dealing with estrogen-sensitive breast cancer by blocking receptor sites in the body.  If you are battling this type of cancer, it would no doubt be worth adding flaxseeds to your diet.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Bay Leaf have a soothing and relaxing effect on the digestive tract.  If you need relief from abdominal cramps and gas, eat foods cooked with bay leaf.  Fresh or dried bay leaves have a  distinctive flavor and fragrance this is used to flavor soups, stew, and braises.The flavor is similar to oregano and thyme.  The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavor for some time after picking. 

Many of the properties in bay leaves may make them useful for treating high blood sugar, both bacterial and fungal infections, and gastric ulcers.  Bay leaf and berries properties have been used in astringents, digestives, diuretics, and stomach remedies.  Bay oil is used in liniments that are used for bruises and sprains.  Bay leaf has been used as an herbal remedy for headaches since it contains compounds which have proven useful in the treatment of migraines.  Bay leaf has also been shown to help the body process insulin more efficiently, which leads to lower blood sugar levels.  Bay leaf contains a property called eugenol which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Bay leaf is considered an antifungal and antibacterial, and has been used to treat rheumatism. 

Monday, October 24, 2011


"Cancer patients who are well fed during treatment enhance their quality of life, and improve their chances for recovery."  Keith I. Block, MD

Friday, October 21, 2011


1 bunch of fresh broccoli
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
sea salt
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes*
2 tsp lemon zest

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. 

Cut the broccoli florets off the stalks and peel the stems.  Cut stems into bite-sized pieces.

Add a pinch of the sea salt and the broccoli to the boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain and run cold water over the broccoli to stop the cooking process - broccoli should still retain its bright green color.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and pepper flakes to the oil and saute 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt; saute another minute.  Stir in the drained broccoli and 1/4 tsp of the sea salt, if needed; saute 2 minutes.  Broccoli should still be firm.  Gently stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and the basil. 

*May substitute diced red bell pepper, if desired.

Serve immediately.
Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days in an airtight container.

Yield: 4 servings
Per serving: 125 calories, 7.7 grams total fat (1.1 saturated), 13 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 5 grams dietary fiber, and 125 mg sodium

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


"I'm a chef and a teacher who believes everyone has the ability to nourish themselves, even in the most dire of circumstances." by Rebecca Katz who has a Master's in Nutrition and is a chef who works with oncologists, nutritionists, and cancer wellness professionals.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


This is an item I posted here from my Diabetic Enjoying Food blog.

I know I repeat myself sometimes, but this is important. As a diabetic, you cannot just purchase and eat an item because it is labeled "healthy." Many foods, including those labeled "healthy" and many times especially those labeled "healthy," have way too much sugar! For example; a popular Yogurt Parfait with Fruit has 38 grams of sugar per parfait! An average Bran Muffin has 16 grams of sugar, and granola cereal - how often are you told to eat healthy granola? - averages around 13 grams of sugar per serving. I am not belittling these foods, just reminding you that the word "healthy" does not mean low in sugar. Beware and read the nutrition labels of all "healthy" foods.

Friday, October 14, 2011


"Breast cancer patients who keep insulin levels under control - a factor most often associated with diet and lifestyle - cut their risk of cancer recurrence in half and decrease cancer mortality by two-thirds."  Keith I Block, MD Medical Director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment and Director of Integrative Medical Education at University of Illinois College of Medicine.