Self Care Sunday: Acceptance

This is a new series surrounding health related mind/body/spirit posts of things that inspired me to share them with you.  Because accepting the way things are now can be either healthy or detrimental to your health depending on the circumstances.  Read on.  I’m starting off with an article written by Brad King; the founder and chief tribal leader)of  Metabolic Warrior, a website that gives you the tools to help  rebuild your body’s metabolic potential, improve your present health and regain your true life capability – for the best is yet to come.

@ http://www.metabolicwarrior.com/

Mediocrity – we’ve all been there at one time or another. We’ve felt the weight of societal pressures and the burden of our own lives. We’ve found it difficult to carry on, and when we eventually did, we settled. We settled for things that we knew we didn’t deserve, and took life as it came, accepting the negative and keeping it that way.

The Human Brain is a pattern recognition storage machine that is programmed to default back to a place of least resistance. In other words, your brain feels most comfortable when things are familiar to you, even if that familiarity isn’t positive. This is one of the reasons people who have addictions keep falling into their addictions over and over again. The addiction is most familiar to the brain. And so it is with acceptance.

Once you agree to accept a less than optimal life as the way it is (I call this the Disease of Acceptance), it becomes difficult to break out into something greater. It’s easy to fall into a depression and believe you aren’t destined for anything special, even when that is a flat-out lie. You are destined for great things, but you can’t just sit back and expect great things to come to you without working to achieve them. So if you’re ready to dig yourself out of this slump called mediocrity, then read on.

You’ve Got to Move it – Move it

If you’ve been feeling sluggish, like you’re not all there, then there is a great lack of energy in your life. This usually comes about because of poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Without good health it’s impossible to feel great, and without feeling great, we can’t bring ourselves the happiness and abundance that we truly deserve.

 If this lackluster feeling is getting you down (and it should), you have to take the time to move your body and tease some life back into it. Start by getting your ass outside. Try walking, running, or whatever you like to do and take the time to observe the world around you. I mean really look at the scenery; the grass, the trees, the sky; feel the breeze; experience the way you are breathing in and out. Work those limbs and lungs and keep moving forward, both in your walks and in your life. You’ll be thanking yourself once those feel-good endorphins start whizzing through your body.

Eat Well, Live Better

If we aren’t giving our bodies the right amount of nutrition, then we’re bound for bad feelings all around. Sure, junk food is nice once in a while, but without proper nutrients from real, whole foods, our stomachs feel empty, our minds feel fuzzy, and our bodies move slowly.

This is no way to be, and if you want to get rid of mediocrity and move forward into a life of true happiness, you have to take care of yourself. There’s no other way around it.

So make sure that you’re getting enough food-based vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Without proper health, we are doomed to live a life of acceptance, of mediocrity. Do not let yourself fall into this trap. Love your body. It is stronger than you think and does so many things for you. It’s only right that you treat it well, because it deserves nothing less.

Believe That You Are More

Mediocrity comes about because we don’t believe we are worth more. When this happens, it can turn into a downward spiral where things seem to be going wrong left and right, and we feel powerless to stop it. Is this you? Do you believe that you’re not worth the best in life?

You have to start thinking differently. In a world where self-deprecation is treated as a joke, we need to continually remind ourselves that we are worth so much more than what we believe we are.

Moving forward without first coming to terms with that truth that we are more, will lead to nothing. Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are worth more than what you had previously thought. Tell yourself this daily.

You are worth it, you are special, you are wanted, and you are more.

I’m off to the walk for CF (cystic fibrosis) this morning in beautiful Van Dusen Gardens.  But not before the pancake breakfast!  It’s a beautiful day for a beautiful cause.

Drink: Matcha

I’m going green in more ways than one.

PHOTO: Bourbon and Honey

It’s that Spring cleaning time again.  I’m going to start with my body…by drinking more Matcha. As a matter of fact I just made myself a delicious matcha latte while sitting down to write this post.

With over 4,000 years of history that’s steeped in ancient Chinese and Japanese tradition, matcha is also an untapped beauty and health resource.  That’s why for all of its many beneficial factors I love to incorporate the powder into different facets of my diet.  I like the taste but don’t get me wrong I’m hoping it will make me more beautiful on the inside and help to keep me strong and healthy too (along with a slew of other ingestibles).

Here are A FEW REASONS why it’s so good according to the experts (and me)!

GLOWING SKIN: Matcha powdered green tea has 137 more antioxidants, or EGCGs, than regularly brewed green tea. These antioxidants help protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation. They can even get rid of harmful free radicals that your body’s been holding onto. Additionally, they boost your blood flow, which can help give you that oh-so-coveted rosy, natural glow in your cheeks.

HELPS KEEP YOU RELAXED AND ALERT AT THE SAME TIME: Matcha is rich in L-theanine, a rare amino acid that actually promotes a state of relaxation and well-being within your brain’s functionality. While stress can induce beta waves (which lead to an excited and agitated state), L-theanine creates alpha waves (which lead to a state of relaxed alertness). And while L-theanine is common in all tea, matcha may contain up to five times more of this amino acid than your regular ol’ black and green varieties.

PHOTO: Sweet Sensations

IT HELPS YOU REMEMBER THINGS: The L-theanine in matcha also improves your memory (read: helps you remember where you put your cell phone and car keys). It can help you learn and perform better without all the usual negative side effects of caffeine. In fact, studies show that those drinking green tea filled with L-theanine were also less susceptible to “distracting information” that might hinder their tasks (i.e. less susceptible to scrolling through Instagram during the work day).

IT HELPS BOOST YOUR METABOLISM AND BURN FAT: the chemical components in matcha basically make up an internal gym for your body. Drinking matcha can help you burn more calories, while studies show it can also help you burn up to 25% more fat. Combined with a healthy diet and exercise, matcha can kick your weight loss into high gear.

IT KEEPS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY: ECGCs help keep sickness-inducing microbodies and oxidative stress in check. Matcha is also great for the type of inflammation that occurs when you have allergies or a sinus infection. Swap out your coffee for matcha during cold and flu season to reap the holistic benefits of catechins and theanine.

IT MAY SLOW DOWN THE AGEING PROCESS: Okinawa, Japan, is what scientists and nutritionists call a Blue Zone, otherwise known as a geographic area of the world where people live longer. Because one of the most common beverages among Okinawans is matcha, Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones Solution ($16), attributed such long life spans to the daily consumption of the beverage and its cancer-fighting free radicals.

IT MAY HELP ALLEVIATE SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY: along with keeping you focused, relaxed, improving your immune system, and increasing your blood flow, matcha helps relieve depression and anxiety. The polyphenols found in matcha can heal you from the inside out, and therefore can make you feel happier and less stressed. Polyphenols are powerful plant-based antioxidants and micronutrients found in a lot of foods that typically bring you joy (like wine and chocolate).

The reasons listed are good enough for me to keep up this habit.  At the very least it’s nice and warming. But remember you will get the most benefits out of drinking pure matcha. But you have to be careful; you don’t want to be downing matcha lattes made with added sugar, so it’s best to either make it yourself so you know what’s in it or always ask. Just because something has “matcha” in it does not guarantee it is healthy.

Matcha la Vista baby!

New and nutritious: “pharmacy in a fruit”  

Cupuaçu

Have you heard of it?  

When I lived in Brazil I was introduced to an abundance of new (to me) super foods like Açaí, Guarana, Mangosteen & Acerola.  I was blending up these seeds and berries to make delicious smoothies long before they became known and popular in North America. As a matter of fact I never felt healthier than during the year I lived in Brazil. Now there’s a new fruit hitting the market.  It’s called Cupuaçu (pronounced koo-poo-ah-soo) and grows in the Amazon Rainforest drainage basin in northern parts of Brazil.

Some of the Benefits

Cupuacu contains vitamins B1, B2, B3 (niacin) fatty and amino acids, and at least nine antioxidants including vitamin A and C and minerals such as calcium, selenium and others.

Cupuacu’s primary health benefit is stimulating the immune system thus supporting the body’s ability to fight disease. Cupuacu has an energetic effect, but does not contain caffeine. It is one of the few cocoa relatives that does not.

Cupuacu’s benefits are synergistic. For example, the energy-boosting effect mentioned is a result of the fruit’s heightening of the immune system, lowering of blood pressure and the overall body-boosting effects of the fast-acting nutrients and vitamins from the fruit. Unlike most energy drinks or caffeine, though, there is no tired feeling afterwards.

Other synergistic effects include healthier skin and hair, lowered cholesterol levels and improved libido. In addition, many of the fruits nutrients are boosters for the gastro-intestinal system and the cardiovascular system.

Cupuaçu is wildly popular in Brazil as well as other parts of South America. For centuries, natives of the rainforest have used the fruit of the cupuaçu tree as a main source of food and it continues to be a delicacy in the more populated towns of South America.

Today, cupuaçu pulp is often used for making juice, ice cream, smoothies, mousse, jellies, chocolates called “cupualte” (the seeds used for producing this product have similar characteristics to chocolate, but contains nutritional value and is healthier.

The pulp of the fruit is frequently used in the cosmetic industry for shampoos, soaps, lotions and creams due to it being highly hydrating with its emollient power giving similar effects to your body as cocoa butter. I noticed it listed as one of the main ingredients in the jar of Suzanne Organics (by Suzanne Somers) body butter which by the way is amazing in itself.

Other common traditional uses for cupuaçu include:

  • To lower blood pressure
  • Healthy hair
  • To lower cholesterol levels
  • For Increasing libido
  • To improve brain functions
  • To boost gastro-intestinal (GI) systems
  • To stimulate skin rejuvenation
  • To achieve weight loss
  • For combating diabetes
  • To increase energy

The Amazon is so vast with its wealth of  flora and fauna that in time I’m sure we’ll be acquainted with many more amazing edibles to come.

Source: amafruits.com

 

Health and Happiness

I’m so happy to be reporting again about happiness and health going hand in hand.  It’s really everything you need to live a good life.  And it’s always timely because…health2

Good health and happiness: to achieve one, you need the other, but bumps along the journey can get in the way of our goals.

“Without good health it’s hard to be happy,” says Michelle W. Book, holistic nutritionist for the Canadian Health Food Association.  “Focusing on a few key pillars can make all the difference.”

Understanding your nutritional needs is for everyone to consider, not only Canadians.

Ideally, we’d all be eating balanced meals rich with nutritious, organic foods.  Reality is, many people often eat convenience foods because of their busy lives or treat “cheat days” too kindly.  As a result, they aren’t getting the necessary nutrients.

Most of us don’t consume enough minerals like magnesium, calcium or potassium, and fail to get enough vitamin D and fibre in their diets.

Strengthen your immune system

Getting sick is the worst.  Sickness motivates an entire pathway inside our bodies that can lead to something called “sickness behaviour.”  This can lead to confusion, lethargy, social withdrawal, anxiety and depression, the result of our immune system cells releasing tiny chemicals, called cytokines, which impact the way our brain sends signals and can slow us down and depress our mood.  Keeping our immune system in good working order can help to reduce the severity and duration of illness.  A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help as taking a good multi-vitamin to fill in the nutritional gaps.

Keep Stress at Bay

Stress increases our need for nutrients.  Heightened stress increases the breakdown of carbohydrates and protein, which rely on Vitamin C and B to be broken down, meaning you use up your store of these nutrients more quickly.  Finding time to eat a healthy, balance diet when you’re stressed can often be difficult.  When dealing with stress, it’s important to ensure your body’s mineral needs are met.  High stress levels deplete the magnesium in the body, which can result in a “downward spiral” in one’s ability to cope with stress.  Mineral supplementation, including magnesium and zinc, may improve psychological measures of anxiety or stress.

Here are a few other foods you may want to consider to improve your immune health:

Nuts: Include nuts in your diet, which provide you with a perfect blend of immune-boosting nutrients, including protein, vitamin E, zinc and selenium. Cashews and pecans in particular are some of the higher nut-based zinc sources, while Brazil nuts are high in selenium.

Kimchi: This fermented cabbage dish from Korea is rich in vitamins C and E, carotenoids, and antioxidant enzymes. It’s also a healthy whole-food source of probiotics, the good gut bacteria that keep your immune system in check.

Garlic: This member of the allium family has been shown to reduce cold symptoms and improve immune cell activity.

Probiotic supplements: Lactobacillus probiotics in particular have been shown to improve the immune systems of both our gut and our entire body.

Mushrooms: Reishi mushroom extracts contain bioactive compounds called “lectins” that increase the activity of our white blood cells.

And Mindfulness is of growing importance:health3

A nasty unexpected virus attacked me while traveling which was of major concern.  I don’t know where it came from and don’t remember ever having taken antibiotics before but I was willing to do whatever it took to get rid of it, or discontinue the trip and go back home. I felt like the worse version of myself. Anyway, the reality is that while it took at least one week to clear up and feel almost back to normal, the worst part lasted for only two days. Not bad considering.  I can only attribute it to an overall healthier way of living.  Granted I did get sick in the first place but I guess it could have lasted a lot longer. I suppose you can call it being more mindful in general. So I’m right on trend.

A growing trend to de-stress is practicing mindfulness. There’s research connecting the benefits of stress reduction through practicing mindfulness with the health of our immune system. Practicing mindfulness has a number of positive impacts on the immune system, including reducing inflammation markers and stress hormones, and has also been shown to increase some immune cells and improve activity in the areas of the brain responsible for coordinating the immune system.

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” ~Sharon Salzberg

Incorporating mindfulness into your lifestyle can actually help to minimize the occurrence, length and severity of the flu or common cold. Some aspects of mindfulness can be simple to include in your everyday routine, such as paying attention to your breathing, tuning into your body’s physical sensations and practicing mindful meditation.healthy1

I like this quote:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

Source: Canadian Health Food Association

Inspiring Cooks

Last night I was in a room full of intriguing people to celebrate a season of sharing, hope and inspiration at *Inspire Health’s inaugural gala. Everyone was there to support those living with Cancer.
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The perfect evening marked an important milestone with the launch of a gorgeous cookbook entitled “Inspired Cooking” featuring 21 of Canada’s finest chefs.  Four of the featured chefs were on hand to take everyone on an amazing culinary experience, as we sipped on some of the best wines BC has to offer from the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Association.inspiregala2

While guests perused the desirable silent auction items during reception, servers  were floating around the room with the most delicious canapés from local Meinhardt (one of the sponsors).

There was live entertainment along with some moving testimonies of patients who have contributed their stories to the book, with the hopes that it will inspire change for others.

Each of the four courses were excellent in taste and presentation but my two standouts were:
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Entrée: Slow Cooked salmon, ginger scented sweet potato, black garlic, tomato and shitake dashi Chef Warren Barr, The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn Tofino Paired with Church and State – Coyote Bowl Syrahinspiregala3

Dessert: (picture did not serve it justice) Frozen lemon, turmeric pudding with coconut cream and chia seeds *As featured in Inspired Cooking Baker Jackie Kai Ellis, Beaucoup Bakery & Café, Vancouver.  Paired with Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery – Dry Rock Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay

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Some of the live auction items were amazing.  Here’s a sample of something I wanted to bid on but unfortunately someone else beat me to it.

A weekend to Tofino in 5-star luxury Flights for two to spectacular Tofino compliments of Orca Air, with two nights at the Wickaninnish Inn in a deluxe suite, with fireplace, soaker tub and balcony offering a forested beach view looking out at the ocean. Then enjoy a 3-course dinner at the Point Restaurant, home of refined west coast cuisine, where Chef Warren Bar and his culinary team offer to you their most innovative creations.
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*Inspire Health was founded by two medical doctors in 1997 with the intention of providing person-centred care to support health and well-being for people living with cancer and their families.  They provide patients with knowledge, tools and services to support their overall health, during and after standard cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and medications.  All of their recommendations and programs are safely integrated with a person’s standard treatments.

They’re an amazing group of people. Each year they support a minimum of 3,000 new patients, conduct 2,000 classes and provide over 25,000 clinical visits.

The support of the evening will allow Inspire Health to continue to offer evidence-based, patient centered supportive cancer care.

They certainly inspire me to do better.  Plus I cannot wait to attempt some of the recipes (including nearly 60 whole food ones) found in the book.

Cooking is an art and patience a virtue... Careful shopping, fresh ingredients and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need. There is one more thing – love. Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things you can be an artist – not perhaps in the representational style of a Dutch master, but rather more like Gauguin, the naïve, or Van Gogh, the impressionist. Plates or pictures of sunshine taste of happiness and love. – Keith Floyd, ‘A Feast of Floyd’

Photos: d. king

Food: Oh So Moist Carrot Cake

This moist, rich cake is made using whole grain flour, fruits and veggies, more “natural” sweeteners and healthy oils. Your kitchen will smell divine with the aroma of warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves as this cake bakes.

Coconut whipped cream with toasted coconut flakes

Little Loaf – topped with whipped coconut cream & toasted coconut flakes

I took this original recipe and divided it into individual loaf pans to give to friends.  Makes three.  Instead of the usual cream cheese or traditional whipped cream topping I whipped coconut milk (without guar gum in the ingredients) with a little maple syrup & vanilla extract.  It’s a much healthier alternative but the secret is to make sure the coconut milk is very well chilled.  Leave the can in the fridge for at least one hour.  It can also be helpful to put your mixing bowl and beaters (or blade) in as well, so everything is very cold.  As far as the cake goes, you can always substitute some of the pineapple for grated zucchini (as I did for a few of them), omit the walnuts entirely and/or add raisins.  I made my own apple sauce.

Carrots – Carrots are one of the best sources of beta carotene, which balances the immune system and reduces the risk of many cancers. They also guard against cardiovascular disease, reduce inflammation, slow the aging process, and are great for digestion disorders. They also contain fiber, calcium, iron, and many other vitamins and minerals.

Cinnamon – This spice has antiseptic properties, is a digestive aid, has anticancer properties, and is beneficial for the heart, lungs, and kidneys. It also helps lower blood pressure and makes insulin more efficient thus controlling blood sugar spikes.

Walnuts – These nuts contain beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids that are great for the brain and lowering cholesterol. They are also high in protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins.

Pineapple – Pineapple is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. It is also rich in the enzyme bromelain, which aids in digestion, is an anti-inflammatory, and an anti-cancer agent. It can greatly reduce the swelling of carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and gout.20161116_101505

Ingredients

Wet Ingredients

1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup olive or coconut oil (I used organic virgin coconut oil)
2 eggs (or 2 Tbs ground flax seeds soaked in 6 Tbs water)
1 cup raw carrot, grated (2-3)
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

Dry Ingredients

1 cup whole grain spelt flour, rice flour, kamut flour or combination
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 tsp unrefined salt (I used himalayan)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
optional: 1 tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, ¼ tsp ground cloves (I used a pumpkin spice mix)

Directions

  1. In a bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together gently.
  4. Pour into a greased 7×11 inch cake pan (or a muffin tin) or individual loaf pans,
  5. Bake at 350ºF until a toothpick comes out clean, approximately 40 minutes (20 minutes for cupcakes in a muffin tin). Cool and serve.

    “If your regrets linger, if you cannot find inspiration in solitude, then
    you still have much to learn from the writers and poets and the cooks
    on becoming the artist of your own life… you can never re-create the
    past. But you can shape your own future. And you can make a cake.”

    ~ Jacqueline Duval, in ‘Reckless Appetite a Culinary Romance’

Photos: d. king

Healing Black Cumin Seeds

Seeds for the Soul

Flax seeds, Hemp sees, Chia seeds and now…

Among the gifts my sis brought back from her recent trip to Spain & Morocco was a jar of BLACK CUMIN SEEDS ???blackcumin1Their latin name is“Nigella Sativa”. Sis knows that I like anything to do with healing & cooking so I also got saffron, argan oil (which I wrote about on my previous beauty post) and menthol crystals.

Now these cumin seeds look different from the brownish ones I use to make Indian curry.  They’re smaller, rounder and darker.  Never seen them before so had to google. How did we live in the days before google….remember encyclopedia’s? No; me neither! I digress…

You may or may not have heard of Black seed (nigella sativa) before. It goes by many names, including black caraway, Roman coriander, and black cumin, to name a few. But no matter what you call it, these seeds are loaded with health benefits that we are only now beginning to understand. From eliminating harmful bacteria to regenerating the body’s cells and tissues, there is awesome research-backed health benefits of black cumin.

I’ll defer to Nigella Lawson, the British cooking show goddess who preaches the importance of a well-stocked pantry: It appears from a few of her recipes that her pantry includes nigella seeds. But they are not a branded food à la Rachael Ray’s EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)—the seeds had the name first. In fact, they have a whole bunch of names, some of them misleading: onion seeds, black cumin, charnushka and kalonji, to name a few. Although they resemble onion seeds or black sesame seeds, they are actually the seeds of an annual flowering plant of the Ranunculacae family. Not only is this too much information, we can’t even properly pronounce the name.

The nitty gritty (pardon the pun):

Black seed has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, Unani, and Arabic medicine. It has minimal (if any) side effects and adds important nutrients to the diet. If utilized as an essential oil or by eating the seeds directly, it is a powerful antioxidant. Black seed was used by Queen Nefertiti in Egypt, and King Tut even kept a bottle of the oil in his tomb for the afterlife. This King will keep a bottle on hand, although kept contained in a jar in her kitchen.blackcumin2

So, what the heck do I do with them?

For starters, toast them lightly to release the essential oils. Then grind them or throw them whole in an Indian dish. Add them to your favorite curried or lentil soup, but they would work in all kinds of South Asian dishes, from simple vegetable curries (like a  Bengali stir-fry or a spiced butternut squash to naan bread). They’re also part of the spice mixture called panch phoran, along with fenugreek, mustard, fennel and cumin seeds, common in Bengali dishes.

Many of black cumin’s traditionally ascribed health benefits have been thoroughly confirmed in the biomedical literature. In fact, since 1964, there have been 656 published,  peer-reviewed studies referencing it.

We have indexed salient research, available to view on GreenMedInfo.com on our Black Seed (Nigella Sativa) page, on well over 40 health conditions that may be benefited from the use of the herb, including over 20 distinct pharmacological actions it expresses, such as:

  • Analgesic (Pain-Killing)
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Anti-Ulcer
  • Anti-Cholinergic
  • Anti-Fungal
  • Ant-Hypertensive
  • Antioxidant
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiviral
  • Bronchodilator
  • Gluconeogenesis Inhibitor (Anti-Diabetic)
  • Hepatoprotective (Liver Protecting)
  • Hypotensive
  • Insulin Sensitizing
  • Interferon Inducer
  • Leukotriene Antagonist
  • Renoprotective (Kidney Protecting)
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha Inhibitor

The above pharmacological actions are only a subset of a far wider number of beneficial properties intrinsic to the black seed. While it is remarkable that this seed has the ability to positively modulate so many different biological pathways, this is actually a rather common occurrence among traditional plant medicines.

Black seed has been researched for very specific health conditions. Some of the most compelling applications include:

  • Type 2 Diabetes: Two grams of black seed a day resulted in reduced fasting glucose, decreased insulin resistance, increased beta-cell function, and reduced glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in human subjects.
  • Helicobacter Pylori Infection: Black seeds possess clinically useful anti-H. pylori activity, comparable to triple eradication therapy.
  • Epilepsy: Black seeds were traditionally known to have anticonvulsive properties. A 2007 study with epileptic children, whose condition was refractory to conventional drug treatment, found that a water extract significantly reduced seizure activity.
  • High Blood pressure: The daily use of 100 and 200 mg of black seed extract, twice daily, for 2 months, was found to have a blood pressure-lowering effect in patients with mild hypertension.
  • Asthma: Thymoquinone, one of the main active constituents within Nigella sativa (black cumin), is superior to the drug fluticasone in an animal model of asthma.Another study, this time in human subjects, found that boiled water extracts of black seed have relatively potent anti-asthmatic effect on asthmatic airways.
  • Acute tonsillopharyngitis: characterized by tonsil or pharyngeal inflammation (i.e. sore throat), mostly viral in origin, black seed capsules (in combination with Phyllanthus niruri) have been found to significantly alleviate throat pain, and reduce the need for pain-killers, in human subjects.
  • Chemical Weapons Injury: A randomized, placebo-controlled human study of chemical weapons injured patients found that boiled water extracts of black seed reduced respiratory symptoms, chest wheezing, and pulmonary function test values, as well as reduced the need for drug treatment.
  • Colon Cancer: Cell studies have found that black seed extract compares favorably to the chemoagent 5-fluoruracil in the suppression of colon cancer growth, but with a far higher safety profile.Animal research has found that black seed oil has significant inhibitory effects against colon cancer in rats, without observable side effects.
  • MRSA: Black seed has anti-bacterial activity against clinical isolates of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Opiate Addiction/Withdrawal: A study on 35 opiate addicts found black seed as an effective therapy in long-term treatment of opioid dependence. Pretty Powerful!  But like anything else, you should consult your doctor before using for medicinal purposes.

Sources: SmithsonianMag.com & greenmedinfo.com

Health: we’ve got you covered

Today I’m off to the Vancouver Health Show

Rainbow of slow-cooked Veggies

Rainbow of slow-cooked Veggies

I’ve always been health conscious but in the past several months even more so.  Not totally hardcore but definitely more mindful of what I cook and how, and cutting out everything that is not good.  I’m actually loving it.  I enjoy cooking in general but now the intent is to make food rich in nutritional value while maintaining overall taste & creativity.

Quinoa Tabouli Salad

Quinoa Tabouli Salad

I’ve taken several cooking classes/demonstrations to see what the nutrition experts recommend as a preventative to getting sick.  Inspire Health offers services to enhance quality of life, health and well-being of people living with cancer and their families.  I am usually the only non-cancerous person in the class, being there as a support. These people are trying to do the best they can through nutrition (as in you are what you eat) to promote longer life and aid in treatment of radiation/chemo by adding flavour and digestible probiotics to delicious, healthy meals.  It can be a challenge but it’s well worth it.  In the following weeks I can share some of the recipes with you.  For now, these posted photos are only of some of what I’ve made.

Chicken Bone Broth with Vegetables

Chicken Bone Broth with Vegetables

Thai Beet Soup

Thai Beet Soup

Lentil Curry

Lentil Curry

Back to the Health Show:

It’s a two day consumer event for the health conscious individual.  It offers a diverse array of options to explore all under one roof for an entire weekend of shopping and education.

A great place to be if you’re looking for the latest products and services on the market, just beginning your journey of achieving a healthier lifestyle or have specific health issues that you need help with.

There are experts on hand to answer your questions to do with anything from nutritional supplements to alternative therapies to fitness trends to food products.

You will meet the people who know what it takes to create a loving home through the discovery of the best new products on the market that will inspire every room in your home to be clean and green, fresh and organized, harmonious and functional.

Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers.

Where?  The Vancouver Convention Centre – November 5th (10:00am – 6:00pm) + November 6th (11:00am – 5:00pm).

But before I go I’m making a breakfast pizza which looks like this:

Free-range eggs, bacon, Tillamook ex-sharp cheddar, onion + parsley.

Free-range eggs, bacon, Tillamook ex-sharp cheddar, onion + parsley.

Free-range eggs, spinach, mushroom, red pepper, feta.

Free-range eggs, spinach, mushroom, red pepper, feta.

 

 

 

 

Or this:

 

Black Bean Veggie Burger (sans bun) with a delicious Miso Tahini Dressing

Black Bean Veggie Burger (sans bun here) with a delicious Miso Tahini Dressing

Spaghetti with fresh & sundried tomatoes, parmesan & parsley. Secret is in the spices & truffle oil.

Spaghetti with fresh & sundried tomatoes, garlic, parmesan & parsley. Secret is in the herbs,  spices & good Italian truffle oil.

But the 80-20 rule still applies.  The other night I made a restaurant quality AAA rib-eye with thinly sliced baked russet potatoes + beets drizzled with olive oil that came out nice and crispy and kale.  Lots more on my list…..

I’m excited about all the possiblilities.

Inspired Dining

Be inspired for the joy of Food and Health!

If you live in Vancouver I just want to bring to your attention the following two important events.  inspirehealth1

INSPIRED DINING WEEK

Inspired Dining Week takes place from October 15-23, 2016,  providing an opportunity for diners to choose menu items from some of Vancouver’s best dining establishments (there will be more Inspired dine out experiences expanded to other cities):

Restaurants, eateries and healthy vendors will showcase the best of their culinary delights over the nine days. Inspire Health is partnering with the participating restaurants across Vancouver in an effort to help raise awareness and funds for Inspire Health (a not for profit organization helping provide lasting lifestyle changes for those living with cancer and their families). You will also get the chance to try the various dining establishments.

Coconut Ginger Risotto

Coconut Ginger Risotto

For an up-to-date list of participating restaurants please visit www.inspirehealth.ca/InspiredDiningWeek

Morrocan Carrot Dish

Morrocan Carrot Dish

Photo: d. king

For more information about Inspired Dining Week, download the information kit 

 

A Night to Inspire – InspireHealth Gala

December 8 @ 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm

Join us for one of Vancouver’s most memorable fundraising galas, A Night to Inspire welcomes 200 of our city’s business, health care and philanthropic leaders for an inspirational evening.

This year we are delighted to take our guests on a culinary experience like no other. Teaming up with four top chefs from across the country, we will feature an incredible five-course seated dinner, paired with a wonderful selection of wines from the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association.

The evening will also feature:

  • The launch of Inspired Cooking, a storytelling cookbook featuring recipes and stories from 20 of Canada’s top chefs. Every guest will receive their own copy of Inspired Cooking.
  • Live music & entertainment
  • Inspirational stories from InspireHealth members
  • Silent & live auction showcasing an array of desirable items

Tickets are on sale for $250. Please e-mail events@inspirehealth.ca or purchase at the centre : Suite 200 – 1330 West 8th Avenue.

I think this is a great way to bring awareness to not only Inspire Health, but to celebrate ourselves with good healthy food and wise choices.

Photos: d. king

 

Style: Breathe Easy

Fall is the season for changing leaves, transformation and Galas.

Gala events of which there are plenty, always go to support a worthwhile cause.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is one of them

The Invite

The Invite

CF is a multi-organ disease primarily affecting the lungs and digestive system of children and young adults. Ultimately, most CF deaths are due to lung disease.

I always look forward to going to the Annual 65 Roses Gala because not only does it help fund research and clinical care here in BC and Canada but overall it’s a great evening with good food and a fun crowd where you get to dress up, mingle and dance.

This year we pay homage to the glitz and glamour of the roaring twenties and the Gatsby era. Flowing champagne, glamorous guests (of course) and stunning décor will set the stage for a fundraising event like no other.

If you live in Vancouver and would like to attend there are still some tickets available. Cost is $300 per person.  You can purchase tickets online at www.65rosesgala.com or call 604.436.1158gala2

Or you can send a cheque if you prefer. This is not my usual pattern to ask for cash donations but hey; it is such a good cause I decided to go ahead because I know many of you will and it will be extremely appreciated.

There is no cure, but there is hope!

Help us breathe hope into a world with NO cystic fibrosis.  Then we can all breathe easier.

This was from an event last week at the Vancouver Holt Renfrew – an evening in support of CF.  All the Holts across Canada gave a portion of any shopping proceeds from the evening to CF.  I’m with my friend Colleen (who has CF and received a Heart/double Lung transplant 27 years ago – her surgeon was knighted) acting a bit goofy in a somewhat animated photo booth set up in the store.  So it was fun to have a another good reason to shop.

So thank you in advance for whatever you decide to do to help out.  XO