Welcome to Just A List...

Inquiring minds want to know! What healthy suggestions are on the list today? Stop by frequently for the lastest listing of healthy tips, ideas and resources.

An index listing of great videos is off to the right, what not, put up your feet, and stay to watch a movie!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hidden Names for MSG

FACT: MSG: monosodium glutamate, is a flavor enhancer added to our food to improve taste and smell, as well as being a slow poison, that creates a host of health problems.

If I asked you, "Do you intentionally purchase products with MSG?" you most likely would say NO. You might even go further and say, "I absolutely never buy anything that contains MSG!". But you may only be referring to packaging that specifically states on the label that MSG is an ingredient.

How about the products containing the hidden names of MSG? Well you might say, "What do you mean?" MSG can be found in a large amount of processed products. So familiarize yourself with the hidden names stated below and try to avoid consuming products containing MSG, you will be giving your health a boost.


Autolyzed yeast
Calcium caseinate
Glutamic acid
Hydrolyzed corn gluten
Hydrolyzed protein (any protein that is hydrolyzed)
Monopotassium glutamate
Monosodium glutamate
Natrium glutamate (natrium is Latin/German for sodium)
Sodium caseinate
Sodium glutemate
Textured protein
Yeast food
Yeast extract
Yeast nutrient

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Power Packed Parsley

Author: Susan Anderson

Parsley is such a commonly used culinary herb, that it is easily overlooked for its therapeutic and healing benefits. Along with turmeric, chili peppers, sage, cinnamon, oregano and ginger, it is one of top seven powerhouse herbs and spices that are frontline helping individuals to prevent illness and maintain good health. Don't let the easy availability and common use of this herb go unappreciated. Check out the list below of some of the benefits of using parsley on a regular basis.

1. Builds blood
2. Aids in digestion
3. Boosts energy
4. Combats fatigue
5. Helps the heart
6. Dissolves cholesterol in the veins
7. Supports the adrenals
8. Strengthens teeth
9 Builds bones
10. Prevents birth defects
11. Enhances nutrient absorption
12. Eliminates bloating
13. Reduces inflammation
14. Provides hormonal support
15. Helps with kidney problems
16. Provides general immune support

1. Beta carotene
2. Chlorophyll
3. Alpha-Linolenic Acid
4. Fluorine
5. Folic Acid
6. Iron
7. Protein
8. B-12
9. Vit K
10. Vit C

1. Add to sandwiches
2. Add to salads
3. Juice it
4. Just chew on it raw
5. Make a parsley tea
6. Purchase a bottle of parsley tincture

So the next time you look at parsley sitting on the side of your plate, remember that its usefulness goes beyond a decorative dish feature, so why not start adding it to your daily routine. It is just another simple, inexpensive, readily available remedy that is a long distance runner!

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

All That Glitters Is Not Gold: Toxic Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid

Many of us out there are working hard to improve the quality of our life. We are trying to educate ourselves about health, wellness and the environment. We are trying to eat better, live healthier, and be more aware of our impact on the enviroment. But one area we often overlook-- the personal care products we use on our skin.

Our skin is the largest organ of our body and our first line of defense. Just as we have learned to read labels to find out what ingredients we are ingesting with our food that are helpful and which should be avoided, we must also be as diligent with label reading of our body care products. Why? Because, all that glitters is not gold! Toxic ingredients found in our personal care products, which are applied to the skin, do make their way into our bodies. Once inside, the party begins.

Read below about some of the common not-so-good for you ingredients that we are bringing into our body system, and what effect they may have on us. Maybe the next time we pick up a bottle of shampoo, lotion, cream, or cosmetic, we may decide to check out the label before buying.

Coal tar is used to treat eczema, psoriasis and other skin disorders and can be found in anti-itch creams and scalp treatments. It’s also a known carcinogen.

A lathering agent in soaps and shampoos, DEA isn’t carcinogenic by itself, but can react with other chemicals in products to create a carcinogen readily absorbed into the skin. Look for DEA in many forms, such as Cocamide DEA, Oleamide DEA and Lauramide DEA.

A frighteningly common ingredient in a variety of beauty products. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Causes allergic, irritant and contact dermatitis, headaches and chronic fatigue. The vapour is extremely irritating to the eyes, nose and throat (mucous membranes).

More and more products are being specifically labeled “paraben free.” This is because parabens, in their many forms (methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, or butylparaben) have been linked to breast cancer. The FDA claims that parabens aren’t dangerous at very low levels, but when you consider that 25,000 different cosmetics and skincare products contain these chemicals, it’s feasible to build up quite an exposure in a lifetime.

An ingredient used in hair dyes (including eyelash dye), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has run studies that show a higher incidence of cancer among hairdressers and cosmetologists; they have the highest PPD exposure. Although PPD is not approved for products that come in contact with the skin, hair dye usually gets on your forehead or ears for up to 30 minutes. Why take the risk?

The subject of much controversy because of hormone-disrupting phthalates being found in plastic baby bottles and teethers, let’s not forget that they’re a common ingredient in cosmetics, too.

A foaming agent in soaps and shampoos, SLS and SLES are skin irritants and can enter the heart, brain and liver through the skin and accumulate in these organs.

Found in nail polish and hair dye, this is a nasty one. Toluene is toxic to the nervous system, and breathing it in can cause dizziness and headaches. High exposures can lead to birth defects and miscarriage, so watch out if you work in a nail salon. Use toluene-free brands of nail polish instead.

Because of an FDA loophole, cosmetic companies can hide a whole slew of chemicals, many of which are phthalates, under the label “fragrance". The synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have as many as 200 ingredients. There is no way to know what the chemicals are, since on the label it will simply read “fragrance.” Some problems caused by these chemicals include headaches, dizziness, rash, hyper-pigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritation, etc. Chose products that are fragrance free.

TEA is used to balance PH and is a common ingredient in “gentle” cosmetic products, but unfortunately it’s been known to cause allergic reactions, is an eye irritant and can cause dry hair and skin. With consistent use, TEA is absorbed into the body and accumulates, where it can become toxic.

A skin-bleaching ingredient, hydroquinone is banned in Japan, the European Union, and Australia, but it’s still in use in the United States and other countries worldwide. Hydroquinone is found not only in Asian and African skin-lightening products, but in creams to lighten age-spots as well. There’s some evidence that hydroquinone is a carcinogen, and is linked to ochnronosis, a condition in which grayish brown spots and bumps occur on the skin.

These are widely used preservatives. The American Academy of Dermatology has found them to be a primary cause of contact dermatitis. Two trade names for these chemicals are Germall II and Germall 115. Neither of the Germall chemicals contains a good antifungal agent, and they must be combined with other preservatives. Both these chemicals release formaldehyde, which can be toxic.

Also known as petroleum jelly, this mineral oil derivative is used for its emollient properties in cosmetics. It has no nutrient value for the skin and can interfere with the body’s own natural moisturizing mechanism, leading to dryness and chapping. It often creates the very conditions it claims to alleviate. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.

Is a colorless, nearly odorless, syrupy liquid that is derived from natural gas. It is used in dozens of products that you commonly use around your house. Some websites and natural product promoters argue that PG is a nasty, carcinogenic chemical that has been wrongly green lighted by the FDA. The FDA, and others, say that their claims are completely unfounded - that PG is completely safe when used properly. It has been known to cause allergic reactions, hives and eczema. When you see PEG (polyethylene glycol) or PPG (polypropylene glycol) on labels, beware, these are related synthetics.

A petroleum-derived chemical used in hair sprays, styling aids and other cosmetics. It can be considered toxic, since inhaled particles can damage the lungs of sensitive persons.

Developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener, SKC is a quaternary ammonium compound used in hair conditioners and creams to add shine and improve managability. It is a lot cheaper and easier to use in hair conditioning formulas than proteins or herbs, which are beneficial to the hair. SKC is highly toxic and causes allergic reactions.

Used to make cosmetics attractive to buyers, synthetic colors, along with synthetic hair dyes, should be avoided at all costs. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C Green No. 6. Many synthetic colors can be carcinogenic.

Toxic Cosmetic Ingredient List
Toxic Ingredients in Cosmetics

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Got Ants?

BY: Susan Anderson

Remember the lyrics to a song from childhood that went, "The ants come marching one by one, hoorah! hoorah!"? Well that is exactly what is playing out on our kitchen counter right now. And to say the least, I would rather have them marching to their catchy little tune outside, instead of tramping through our house.

Each summer it seems these tiny little creatures make their pilgrimage into our house. Sometimes they come by route of the front door, at other times they come from the kitchen window sill, but regardless of their point of entry, they remain uninvited. My first attempt is always to ask them politely to remain outside, but my communication skills with these insects isn't honed enough yet that they respond to my requests.

So the second try is to use non-toxic remedies. Let me clarify, the non-toxic methods are for humans and pets, but are a deterrent to the ants to keep them out. So if you have GOT ANTS too, here is a list of suggestions. Depending on your conditions and the type of ants entering the premises, different suggestions work better than others. So read on to find out what can be done to keep them marching four by four out the door.

It is always a good idea to find the point of entry and work from that direction onward:

1. White Vinegar: place in a spray bottle and squirt the area where you see the ants, let is dry. Reapply as needed

2. Sprinkle plain old cinnamon where you see the ants coming into the house.

3. Black Pepper: can also be sprinkled at the point of entry to keep the ants from marching on in.

4. Mix a 50/50 blend of apple cider vinegar and water and sray as needed.

5. Mix equal parts of Windex and Ivory Soap, then spray the problem area.

6. Keeping Bay Leaves out in the areas that are affected by the ants.

7. Mixing a bit of borax with sugar then spreading out on the counter where the ants will come for a taste.

8. Drawing a line with white chalk where the ants are entering is supposed to keep the ants from crossing over.

9. Mint: not a favorite of ants and they will stay away.

10. Diatomaceous Earth: sprinkled where the ants will be walking.

There are plenty more solutions-- this being just the short list of possibilities. This year we had the teeny tiny little black ants coming through by the kitchen window so I used a combination approach. First, I wiped down around the affected window and counter area with straight white vinegar. After that dried I then mixed cinnamon with some crushed mint leaves and spread a line of the blend right below the window on the kitchen counter, and so far so good- I no longer GOT ANTS at this point in time.

Good luck to you. Send it your suggestions or approaches that have worked for you, I would love to hear them

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Many Uses For Your Basil Bounty

By: Susan Anderson

If you are a gardener growing basil, this time of year is when the plant begins to really fill out and provide you with a lot of aromatic abundance. So what are some of the ways to use this garden delight?. Let's see... how can I count the ways?

1) Make Basil Infused Oil. Here is a link to an easy recipe.

2) After you make the infused oil, why not a companion basil vinegar? Go here to see how to make it.

3) Still have more basil coming in- give it away to family and friend,no one says no! Then they will come back asking for more.

4) Want to save some basil for the winter? Freeze the leaves- Here is a trick I learned a few years ago. Clean and dry the basil leaves, then place in a small jar with good quality olive oil, just enough to keep the leaves wet. Place in the freezer. When you pull out your basil in the dead of the winter, it will be fresh and green. If you just freeze your leaves they will not retain their color.

5) Now who can resist basil pesto? Easy to make! Use right away or freeze. Rather than share my recipe which uses no measurements and is completely done by eyeballing it, here is one that is easy to follow.

6) Crush a few fresh basil leaves to use as a herbal rub and topical treatment for insect bites to reduce the itching and inflammation.

7) Make a herbal tincture with basil leaves to help with relieve nervous conditions and induce relaxation. Click here to learn how to make a herbal tincture.

8) Make a herbal tea with fresh basil leaves and a few of the seeds. Basil is known as a herbal aid in digestive issues. Studies show that basil contain anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

9)For a relaxing bath, add some fresh basil leaves to the warm bath water.

10) Use a cooled basil tea made with the leaves as a hair conditioner.

There are many more ways to use this wonderful herb, but instead of overloading you with ideas, let's just say this is a springboard into the infinite possibilities. Have fun! And by the way, why not share your experiences and ...Tell us about your favorite use.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Benefits of Probiotics


Because of the many functions shown below of probiotics, studies are showing that probiotics are beneficial in the treatment of many chronic illnesses that seem to have nothing to do with each other.

Among their many functions are:

• Lowering the intestinal pH

• Controlling growth of pathogens like the H Pylori Bacteria and Intestinal Candida

• Taking up space on the intestinal wall to prevent bad bacteria from adhering

• Production of essential nutrients like Vitamin B12 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids

• Regulation of the levels of IgE and IgG antibodies in immune responses

• Binding and metabolizing Environmental Toxins

• Regulation of intestinal motility

• Mucus production

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Who Is the Worst Corporate Abuser of 2010?

Do you know who will be the next winner of the Corporate Hall of Shame award? Corporate Accountability International, is an organization which has been waging winning campaigns to challenge corporate abuse for more than 30 years.

They are asking for our help. It is a simple task- make your voice heard by voting for the corporation you believe has acted the most irresponsibly. Then, pass the information along to family and friends, and ask them to vote as well. If you have a blog, post the information there. Adding the link to your Facebook page or other social network sites you belong to will also bring more people to the campaign.

Go Right to The Voting Booth...but please read on...

Last year more than 10,000 votes were cast. Big Oil polluter Exxon Mobil took the prize for stalling crucial action on climate change, and making record oil profits while externalizing its environmental costs.

"Over the years, the Hall of Shame has not only cast a light on a range of corporate abuse, it has moved corporations to cut political contributions and adopt new codes of conduct." Together, we can work to make a difference.

So by now you must be really curious as to who was nominated for this year's award? Ok, now--drum roll please---up for this year's dishonorable award are the following:

2010's Nominees for the Corporate Hall of Shame

1. bp

2. Monsanto

3. Nestle

4. Mc Donald's

5. Goldman Sachs

6. Pfizer

7. Chase

8. Chevron

9. Or Your Write In

They are definitely all worthy of induction into the Hall of Shame, but my personal favorite villain and who I voted for was Monsanto. Through the years they have acted so negligently. Monsanto’s abuses are legendary. They have been involved in destroying our food system, ranging from spreading toxic pesticides to bankrupting small farmers to fighting against labeling restrictions for genetically engineered foods. So how is all this possible? Why Monsanto, with their far reaching hands and deep pockets exploits the system by creating a revolving door between its senior leadership and the federal agencies responsible for regulating its products.

I am sure you have your own favorite among the candidates on this list.
So please take the time to cast your vote.

Our single voice alone often gets lost in the background, but collectively it sends a loud unsettling frequency through the air that can have the effect we wish to accomplish on those who hold the reins of the power to change. We must always remember- we have the power to make a difference.

Here is the link to Corporate Accountability International that will get you into the voting booth.


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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cell Phones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern

Information Source: ElectromagneticHealth.org

Concern 1:
Industry’s own research showed cellphones caused brain tumors

Concern 2:
Subsequent industry-funded research also showed that using a cellphone elevated
the risk of brain tumors (2000-2002)

Concern 3:
Interphone studies, published to date, consistently show use of a cellphone for
less than 10 years protects the user from a brain tumor

Concern 4:
Independent research shows there is risk of brain tumors from cellphone use

Concern 5:
Despite the systemic-protective-skewing of all results in the Interphone studies,
significant risk for brain tumors from cellphone use was still found

Concern 6:
Studies independent of industry funding show what would be expected if wirelessHere is the beginning of my post.

Concern 7:
The danger of brain tumors from cellphone use is highest in children, and the younger a child is when he/she starts using a cellphone, the higher the risk

Concern 8:
There have been numerous governmental warnings about children’s use of cellphones

Concern 9:
Exposure limits for cellphones are based only on the danger from heating.

Concern 10:
An overwhelming majority of the European Parliament has voted for a set of changes based on “health concerns associated with electromagnetic fields.”

Concern 11:
Cellphone radiation damages DNA, an undisputed cause of cancer.

Concern 12:
Cellphone radiation has been shown to cause the blood-brain barrier to leak

Concern 13:
Cellphone user manuals warn customers to keep the cellphone away from the body even when the cellphone is not in use

Concern 14:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warning for cordless phones

Concern 15:
Male fertility is damaged by cellphone radiation

Read the full article here

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Friday, July 2, 2010

7 Steps to Wean You Off Processed Foods

Real Food Has Curves, a new book written by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, offers a 7-step plan for weaning yourself off processed foods:

1. Seek true satisfaction.
Enjoy genuine flavors, rather than fat, sugar, and salt added to mask the metallic taste of chemical additives.

2. Read labels wisely.
You can find food with "real" ingredients in the supermarket if you read labels carefully.

3. Relish what's on your plate.
Devote time solely to enjoying the pleasures of eating.

4. Wean yourself off excess salt, fat, and sugar.
You can also cook with smaller amounts of these ingredients by using natural substitutes like strong spices.

5. Give your palate time to change.
You'll gradually lose your taste for excessively sweet and salty foods.

6. Go for high-quality foods.
Look for products that contain the least amount of processed ingredients.

7. Treat yourself well by not skipping meals.
Try eating three meals a day at fairly regular times, plus a mid-afternoon snack. . And here is the rest of it.

SOURCE: U.S New & World Report, June 4, 2010

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Organic Skin Care Winners and Losers

Is Your Organic Skin Care Product Really Good For You?

Organic Consumers Association (OCA)has a Coming Clean Campaign to which is working for organic integrity in skin care products. It is important to know what is really in the products we are purchasing and how they are affecting our health. Since there is no certification standard for organic labeling in the body care industry, it is much easier to put misleading claims on a product. Below is the list of the organic cheaters and winners that is posted on OCA's website. You just might be surprised at who is on the list and who is not.


◦Avalon "Organics"
◦Desert Essence "Organics"
◦Earth's Best "Organic"
◦Eminence "Organic" (Except Few w/USDA Seal)
◦Giovanni "Organic"
Goodstuff "Organics"
◦Head "Organics"
◦Jason "Pure, Natural & Organic"
◦Kiss My Face "ObsessivelyOrganic"
◦Nature's Gate "Organics"
◦Physicians Formula "Organic" Wear
◦Stella McCartney "100% Organic"

Alteya Organics
◦Baby Bear Shop
Brittanie's Thyme
◦Bubble and Bee Organic
◦Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
◦Earth Mama Angel Baby
◦Indian Meadow Herbals
◦Intelligent Nutrients
◦Kimberly Parry Organics
◦Little Angel
Miessence Certified Organics
◦Nature's Paradise
OGmama and OGbaby
◦Organic Essence
◦Origins Organics
◦Purely Shea
◦Rose Tattoo Aftercare
SoCal Cleanse
◦Sensibility Soaps/Nourish
◦Trillium Organics
◦Vermont Soap

Source: Organic Consumers Association

Visit Environmental Working Group to find out the Hazard Score for each of the products listed above.


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Monday, March 1, 2010

Potassium Rich Foods

I was diagnosed with high blood pressure last week, so I have really started to pay more attention to what I am doing, especially in my eating patterns. What foods am I eating? What foods trigger higher BP, which ones assist in controlling it? Therefore this list is more for my needs but hopefully will be helpful to others out there that may need it as well.

Why Is Potassium Important?
Low levels of potassium can mean elevated sodium levels in the cells. To protect against cardiovascular disease we need to maintain the correct potassium-sodium ratio, which is 5-1,meaning we should ingest 5 times the amount of potassium vs sodium in our diets. The best place to get that potassium is from natural means, particularly in our fruits and veggies.

Another important function to remember about potassium is: it helps to stimulate the kidneys to remove toxic bodily waste. But potassium should be considered as only part of our total dietary pattern. We need to be aware of factors such as salt intake, amount and type of dietary fat, cholesterol, protein and fiber, as well as minerals such as calcium and magnesium may affect blood pressure. Researchers attribute changes in blood pressure to certain patterns of food consumption.

Top Foods Rich in Potassium
When trying to regulate the potassium levels I feel it is always best to incorporate it naturally through the foods we eat. Of course, the quality of the food also plays a significant role- organic being the best route to take. Pull out your notepad, scrap of paper or matchbook cover, what ever it is you use to write yourself a note, and jot down the following information if you are looking to add more potassium to your meals.

Since all the sources I have looked at have varying ranges of mg per size listed, I am just listing those foods that are good to have on your list. You should be able to find a few from this grouping that will appeal to your taste buds while they work on balancing out your ratios.

Beet Greens
White Beans
White Potato Mostly in Skin
Cooked Spinach
Winter Squash
Fresh Apricots
Lima Beans
Orange Juice
Black Beans
Brussel Sprouts
Raw Carrots

So there is a less then a complete list, but it offers enough variety to get you off to a good start. Remember working in small steps daily is the way to make big leaps in lifestyle changes!

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Herbal Tea Remedies: Good For What Ails You

Author: Susan Anderson

"If a man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty." - Japansese Proverb

Some days we can wake up just not feeling quite right. Unable to put our finger on it, we know we are energetically out of balance. At other times, we may be able to identify precisely the moment when something inside us triggers the arrival into the Not Well Zone. It may feel like we just hit the bullseye and concentric circles of awareness ripple outward, warning all systems. It is during these times, that a good hot cup of herbal tea may be just what is needed to help get things back on track and moving in the right direction.

What is a Herbal Tea?
A herbal tea is made from either a single plant or a combination of plants. Different teas can be made using various parts of the plant which include the leaves, seeds, fruits, flowers, roots, bark or stems of the plant. The type of plant often dictates which part will be used. For example to make a chamomile tea, the flowers are used, to make peppermint tea, the leaves are used, and to make ginger tea, the roots are used. The herbs can be fresh or dried. They are then seeped in a cup of hot water, to create an infusion which allowed the therapeutic properties to be released.

Benefits of Herbal Teas
Drinking herbal teas can serve two basic purposes: to support the body in a therapeutic manner and to provide a pleasing drinking experience. Depending on the herbal tea that is selected, a different therapeutic value can be derived. Having a few basic herbal teas on hand can be a good supplement to whatever approach you may be taking to bring your body back into balance if you are not feeling up to par. There are so many good choices of herbal teas available today. Below is a suggested list of 5 basic teas to have on hand if you are looking to start adding herbal teas to your regular health care program.


Chamomile Tea
Is an aromatic tea known for its calming, soothing properties. Made from the flowers of the chamomile plant, this tea is useful in relaxing the nerves, soothing the stomach, relieving muscle tension, as well as helping with inflammation and improving liver function. This is a herb I grow annually in our garden, so we can have our own supply of chamomile tea.

Dandelion Tea
This is on my list because dandelions were so revered by my grandmother. In the spring one could find my grandmother with her small pocket knife and basket out in the fields, gathering young tender dandelion greens..."good for the blood, you know'. So this memory stays imprinted in my mind. I wouldn't describe it as having a delightful taste or fragrance, but it is what I would consider one of the workhorse teas. Useful as a body purifier, it assists with promoting healthy liver and kidney function. When searching for a tea to include in a detoxification process, dandelion tea should be high up on the list.

Echinacea Tea
Is useful in helping to boost the immune system, especially in regard to fighting off mild to moderate infections, such as the cold or flu. The leaves, stems, flowers and roots of the Echinacea plant are traditionally used in the formulation of this tea. One of my favorite teas containing Echinacea is Organic Lemon Echinacea made by Traditional Medicinals, which is very soothing when I have a sore throat. A definite must have for my tea collection.

Ginger Tea
Known for its pungant taste, ginger tea is another must have for the kitchen pantry. When experiending any type of stomach imbalance, whether we are talking about digestive difficulities, nausea, cramping or bloating, one of the first herbal teas of choice should be ginger. Using the root of this plant, it is easy enough to make your own blend. Purchase a fresh ginger root from the grocery store, wash and peel a small section of the root. Place thinly cut slices into a cup, then cover with boiling water. Cover and let the tea seep for about 5 minutes. Strain then drink.

Peppermint Tea
The fragrant aroma of fresh peppermint alone lifts the spirits, the scent coaxing one to start to feel the freshness of life. There is always a mint patch growing right outside our kitchen door. During the summer months, fresh mint is used almost daily. As the season comes to an end, the mint is collected and dried so it can continue to be enjoyed throughout the year. Peppermint is another choice when looking to promote digestive health. In addition it is useful in helping to fight stress, supporting the immune system and help with bringing the mind into focus.

So the next time you are shopping at the grocery store deciding what beverages to put into your cart, leave out the artificially sweetened drinks and opt instead for a few new herbal teas. Delicious hot or cold, they will add a new dimension to your day without incurring additional health costs.

Now if you will excuse me, the teapot is whistling, so I am off to prepare myself a nice, warm, cup of Herbal Tea! Why not join me?

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

10 Things to Do When Snowed In

  1. Author: Susan Anderson

    When winter's first snow storm hits it's fun. After a few of these gifts of Mother Nature, the appeal starts to wear off, especially if you are stuck in the house snowbound for a few days. So here are 10 suggestions of things to do when you are being held captive in the house and are in desperate need of some distraction from boredom.

  • Cook Something Different. Now is the time to experiment and try a new dish or two. This snow storm I planned ahead and when I went to the grocery store for snowbound shopping I picked up some wontons and eggroll wrappers. I have never made either, but thought, what the heck, it will be fun to try a few new recipes.

  • Tackle Paperwork. Now I am sure this will not rate up there on your top ten list of fun things to do... but if you have piles of paperwork lurking all over the house... if you have made a promise to tackle this at some other time...if you have promised to do this when some time frees up...then today is the perfect storm! Even if you need to do it in small increments of time. Here is one approach that may work 5 minutes of focused effort followed by 10 minutes of reward time. You may not get through all that much using this system but it's a start.

  • Make a Frozen Snow Drink. What a better time to make a fun frozen drink then when Mother Nature provides one of the main ingredients, but be sure its clean snow of course!

  • Play Real Board Games. Do you remember what a board game is? In today's world of video games I wonder if kids get much exposure to this type of entertainment. When my mother-in-law comes to visit, she loves to play games so we always end our day with a game of cards or a board game from the closest. It is always so much fun, so why don't we do it more often? Now would be a great day!

  • Plan the Perfect Valentine's Day for Your Sweetheart. With just a few days left before Valentine's Day, take the opportunity to think up an exciting, out of the box surprise for your honey. One year, which by the way was the best, I planned a treasure hunt for my husband, and it was awesome. I started in the house leaving a simple note with a clue to the location of the next note and clue. I had him going all over town and then finally meeting me at a local restaurant for dinner, which he thought was the finale. But as we finished dinner and he received one more clue from the waitress, it really ended up being an evening away. We had 2 small children at the time and I got Grandmom to stay with the kids so I could do this and it was an amazing time, with a lifelong memory attached.

  • Make a Fictional Character to Have Fun With. My husband always talks about this fictional character Rudy Smith that he made up years ago. It was suggested he create a Facebook page for him. Well last night we finally put the page together and had not laughed so much as we did creating him. Then we invited friends who knew about Rudy to come visit him on Facebook and the real fun began. We had tears streaming down our face as we were writing and responding to comments. Deep, deep barreling laughter resulted--whew! so good for the soul. If you too want to become a friend of Rudy's his email is RudySmith58@gmail.com

  • Lighten the Load. So many of us have more than we need or can really use. We started with a small collection of extra stuff that went into a closet, then a room, then a new house, then a basement, then a garage and now we have a separate storage rental unit for the overflow of all this extra stuff. Yes alot of it is from a closed business but that is just another excuse. All this stuff drains our energy. I have made a promise to myself to lighten the load this year. I have committed to getting rid of at least one large bag of stuff per week, with the hope that several bags or boxes will be leaving the homestead for good. We give to the local thrift shops and/or to friends who I know can use something that we no longer want or need, and finally we put some things on Craigslist to get rid of. Any old way you look at it, less is more! A snowed in day provides a good block of time to sift through our Collections of Stuff.

  • Visit Project Camelot. Here is an interesting website that may seem a bit out there for some people but it is a great site operated by Bill Ryan and Kerry Cassidy. Their purpose is to travel extensively meeting and interviewing truth-tellers in the effort to provide enlightening testimony about the true nature of our world. There are a wide range of individuals who participate in the interviews, which are in audio, video and transcript format. Here is the link: http://www.projectcamelot.org/ Why not take a look for yourself? An eye-opening way to pass the time.

  • Create Art. Find something around the house to make a creative statement with. I have several of these types of projects going right now. One is an old chair that I am repainting in a funky way. Another is making graphic mandalas on the computer then printing them out, framing them and placing a poem or inspirational story on the back, and finally to help get rid of some of that Collection of Stuff I am making yard art--birdbaths, birdhouses and backyard decorations using recycled materials from around the house. After I have a large enough assortment of finished products I am going to get a table at a craft fair. You really don't need to be an artist to create- you just have to be willing to unleash some of the passion you hold inside of you.

  • Plan A Garden. Having a successful garden depends on prior planning. Often people like me omit this step, figuring we will wing it, then wonder when July rolls around why we haven't been as successful as we had anticipated. Alot of this disappointment can be circumvented through a little bit of planning. On a cold day inside of the house, dreaming of being outside in warmer weather surrounded by beautiful gardens is a good place to start. Think about what you want, then start to make it happen. Write your lists, check the seed catalogs. What! Don't have any? No problem go online- with a few quick searches you can find out what planning you should be doing and where to order your resources.

Well now that concludes this rendition of 10 Things to Do When Snowed In. I hope I have inspired you to do something useful, fun or productive with your day. And of course, I would love for you to share your list of things with me! Keep warm.

PS: By the way, that is my good friend Lynne in the picture at the top of the article with the help sign...sort of explains how we all feel after awhile of being snowbound....Hold on Lynne--Rudy is on his way!

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