FLOTUS Turns 50

Michelle Obama turns 50 today!

Michelle Obama Hosts Healthy Kids Fair At White House

 

Click HERE to see the Time article on how she stays so fit - I love that she continues to jump rope both on her own, with her children, and with kids in schools through her Let's Move programs.

She is definitely a great example for us Boomers!

Are We Addicted to Antibiotics?

A very sad report was published the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013. It seems that in 2010 (the year that was studied) doctors prescribed antibiotic drugs for approx 1 in every 4 Americans. Good grief! The survey showed that the most frequently prescribed antibiotic was azithromycin, often used to treat bronchitis. The problem is that bronchitis is usually is caused by a virus, and antibiotics are ineffective against viruses, because antibiotics are intended for bacterial infections! 

The study, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), showed that the antibiotics were most prescribed for young children and the elderly. The CDC authors stated that the overuse of antibiotics is a major factor in the evolution of microbes that resist these drugs, which, in turn, makes it more difficult to treat certain diseases.

I often cringe when I read a Facebook post from another parent of a young child saying that their little one is “back on” an antibiotic. It’s a major concern that, as these kids grow up, and their bodies become resistant to antibiotics, if a serious bacterial infection comes their way, there may be no effective treatment for them. There are naturopaths and doctors who practice functional medicine in most areas of the country. These doctors tend to go with botanical or other alternative treatments first and don’t rush to the prescription pad. I recommend looking for one in your area and checking them out. You may decide they are not for you, but at least take a look. Compare what they offer with your western MD and make you own informed choice.

Best of Health,

Kathi   

Crustless Quiche With Healing Spices – Yummy!

This is one of my favorite recipes for Brunch on New Years Day!

Crustless Quiche4 Large eggs

1 cup crumbled Feta cheese

1 lb Ricotta cheese (I use sheep’s Ricotta)

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup of shitake mushrooms

 

1 red pepper

1 cup shredded zucchini

1 lg. bunch of fresh spinach

3 crushed garlic cloves

1 tsp. fresh ginger (crushed)

dash of turmeric

salt and red pepper to taste

Lightly sauté red pepper, onion, mushrooms, zucchini and garlic in oil. At the last minute add the spinach just to wilt it a little.

In separate bowl beat eggs with Ricotta cheese, salt and pepper.

Add the sautéed vegetables and the Feta cheese to the egg mixture and mix until well blended

Pour into greased 9 inch tart pan or pie dish.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Cool 10 min before serving.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Alone For The Holidays-Blue Christmas…

Ma and pop dec 1941This time of year so often seems to fly by for most of us, but perhaps not so fast for Baby Boomers who find themselves alone - perhaps for the first time in many years. The office and neighborhood parties, family visits, shopping, and tree lighting ceremonies can be difficult for someone who is without their partner for the first time in too long to remember.

Many of our Baby Boomer friends and family members are struggling to keep the joy of the holiday season while their minds are full of thoughts and memories of a loved one who has recently passed on. It’s very difficult to keep a smile on your face when the overwhelming grief of your first holiday season without the love of your life is looming. Every family tradition has a memory attached and most of us can’t bear the thought of being alone during this time. Here are a few suggestions for coping with your grief, through finding the joy of today, while keeping safe the wonderful memories of years past.

  1. Friends can make a big difference in protecting you against loneliness and depression, as well as a host of physical ailments, according to a ten year Australian study. A good friend will also have memories of your loved one to share that can make you both smile! This is true of children too, so make an effort to spend some time with your friends, and if you have grandkids, teach them a card game or chess and bring a smile to everyone’s face!
  2. Pets provide consistency in our lives, which in turn, reduces our risk for depression. For example, walking the dog each morning before starting our day gives us something to look forward to, and an enjoyable reason to get out of bed. It’s also not easy to look into the eyes of your cat or dog and not smile! Pets instill a sense of well-being, promote lower blood pressure, decrease depression and increase self-esteem. Another dog-specific advantage is the extra motivation to take daily walks, which is good for the health and well-being of those on both ends of that leash. So, whatever furry, finned or feathered friend you enjoy, or have room for, take time to celebrate the joy that animals can bring to your life this holiday season and all through the year.
  3. Laughter truly is the best medicine – especially when you have the blues. According to William F. Fry, M.D., associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Stanford University, laughing 100-200 times per day is the cardiovascular equivalent of rowing for ten minutes. When something strikes you as funny, you laugh. And when you laugh, your body responds. You flex, and relax 15 facial muscles plus dozens of others all over your body. Your pulse and respiration increase briefly, oxygenating your blood. You also release “feel good” hormones called endorphins; endorphins reduce the amount of harmful stress hormones flowing through your body, and also give your immune systems a boost. Laughter increases the concentration of salivary immunoglobulin A, which defends against infectious organisms entering through the respiratory tract, helping to reduce breathing difficulties in older Baby Boomers. Laughing benefits both our physical body, and the health of our mind and spirit as well.  So open those e-mail jokes from friends and grandkids, watch funny movies or TV shows, or try a laughing meditation session.

My special gift to all of you this holiday season is one of MY favorite things (I have my own list just like Oprah), laughter.  Here is a link to my laughing meditation sample.  Smile!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Pretty and Festive Veggie Recipe

In keeping with a holiday theme, here’s a fabulous recipe for your holiday table!

A large squash stuffed with rice, cranberries, apples, nuts and other festive spices that you would add to whatever you are roasting this week is not only satisfying, but provides a festive look to your table and makes your whole kitchen smell wonderful!

Here's a very festive take on acorn squash, but you can also use a couple of butternut squashes if you prefer. 

Ingredients:

The largest acorn squash that you can find

1 cup homemade chicken stock

1/2 cup brown rice

Cranberries, celery, onion, nuts, apples, and all the spices and other ingredients that you normally add to your favorite stuffing

Preparation:

Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash cut side up in a baking dish with enough water to just barely cover the bottom of the dish. Cover and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

While the squash is baking, bring your chicken stock to a boil, add your rice, fruit, nuts and spices then, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. 

Next, take your soft but not quite done squash out, fill each half with your rice stuffing, place a pat of butter on the top, and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes until they’re done.

You will find that your whole kitchen smells wonderful in addition to having a pretty vegetable dish for your holiday table!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Kathi Brahmari Breath cropped

The holiday season is all about peace, love, and joy, yet, it’s often filled with just the opposite. Travel, parties, shopping, and entertaining are piled on top of our already jam-packed schedules, and we are often left exhausted, irritable, and about as peaceful as a tornado!

This year, I am attempting to explore alternatives to the frenzied activity of the season for myself and I’d love it if you would join me.

A great technique I use to reduce fluctuating moods and energy levels, and bring calm into my life, is a wonderful yogic breathing practice called Brahmari Breath. Try this stress-busting practice whenever you feel the stress coming on and you’ll find more joy now, and all winter long.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Cold or flu got you down? Here’s relief!

This constantly changing weather seems to have everyone around me coming down with or just getting over a cold or the flu. I have posted some of these great natural methods for cold and flu prevention before, but so many of you have asked about natural remedies that I am posting more today!

  • Antioxidants are our best armor against the flu, so add lots of blueberries, strawberries or cranberries to your breakfast, and sprinkle them with cinnamon or cloves which also help to boost our immune system! Also, cooked red beans and cooked artichokes are very high in antioxidants, who knew?! So you can eat antioxidant rich foods all day!
  • I take 1000 mg of vitamin C twice daily, morning and evening, to boost my immune system. And if I start to feel a cold coming on, I immediately increase that to 4 times a day.
  • Drink plenty of water and drink all day long, not just in the evening, to keep your body hydrated. 
  • Keep moisture in the air as well with a humidifier or vaporizer. Not only does moist air heat easier, helping your pocketbook, but it also keeps our noses in good shape so that those little nose hairs can do their filtering job better. 
  • Garlic is good for you, but you don't have to wear it around your neck to keep the cold and flu vampires away, just eat some every day! It's delicious as well as a natural antibiotic. In recent studies, garlic has been touted as a potent resource for fighting seasonal flu, including serious strains such as the H1N1 virus. In the January 2010 issue of Life Extension Magazine, author William Faloon, who compiled the medical reference book "Disease Prevention and Treatment," emphasizes garlic as a low-cost means of boosting immunity. Faloon also refers to a Chinese study in which garlic proved more effective, at least in the test tube, than the prescription antiviral drug Ribavirin. I knew there was good reason I LOVE garlic!

 

GMO – A Matter of CHOICE!

cornThere is a ton of press both pro GMO and against GMO lately. In fact, it’s difficult to pick up any news post that doesn’t mention GMO. Here’s the part that’s got my goat. This, to me, has become a freedom of choice issue. GMO foods have infiltrated our agricultural lands and our lives, giving us no choice but to eat them or starve. We are not given the choice to eat organic, GMO-free foods when crops grown here and elsewhere are now indiscriminately threatened with GMO contamination. If you chose to eat GMO crops, fine. If you don’t wish to, here are some options:

  • Avoid the most highly GMO crops such as corn, soy, canola oil and cottonseed oil. I have previously recommended both olive and coconut oil as healthier alternatives.
  • Buy organic whenever possible. Many supermarkets now offer the Full Circle and 360 brands of natural and organic products and they are quite reasonably priced.
  • Think of how great the kitchen used to smell when you were a kid and Mom or Grandma was cooking… Make as much from scratch as you can. I’ve shared some great tasting, healthy recipes with you in my blog and newsletters that don’t take much time to prepare, and I plan to continue that pattern.
  • Don’t over-worry. Simply do the best you can to avoid GMO foods, take care of yourself and your family with plenty of fresh air, exercise, nutritious foods, and appreciate not only your own efforts, but those of others who are educating all of us about healthy food choices.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Can Green Tea Prevent Alzheimer’s?

It’s no secret that I love tea. First thing in the morning there’s nothing like my first sips of spiced black tea.  I drink two cups of the black before switching to green tea for the rest of the day. At night before bed, my favorite is herbal sleepy time tea. Yup. I’m a tea drinker.  And what I love almost as much as the tea, is reading about the health benefits of tea.

I recently read Dr. Ruth Buczynski’s post about Alzheimer’s disease prevention and thought I'd share the information with you. New science showed, at least in a test tube, that chemicals found in green tea and red wine reversed a common event found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

The key event that leads to Alzheimer’s disease, scientists believe, is the accumulation of amyloid-beta peptides in the brain. These proteins build up, forming toxic balls which attach to nerve cells in the brain, causing them to malfunction.

Researchers hypothesized that changing the shape of these amyloid balls would prevent them from latching onto nerve cells, which would stop the damage.

So they formed amyloid balls in tests tubes, inserted them in human and animal brain cells, and then added extracts from green tea and red wine.

The two extracts they used were epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea and resveratrol from red wine.

The two extracts did, indeed, re-shape the amyloid balls, preventing them from causing harm to brain cells in the test tubes.

While this is great news, it’s one small study that needs a lot more work before we can know if drinking green tea can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

It is, however, one more reason for me to continue drinking mine with a big smile!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Is Sodium Laurel Sulfate Bad For Us?

This post is from my original web site posted on April 12, 2011 -

I’ve been seeing a lot of bad press about SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfate) lately so I decided to complete my own investigation. OK it really is EVERYWHERE. It seems that SLS is a highly effective surfactant used in a variety of task requiring the removal of oily materials and residues, including engine degreasers, floor cleaners, and car wash soaps. They use smaller amounts of it in shampoos, shaving creams, toothpaste, body wash and bubble bath. Hmmmm, it’s prized for its ability to remove oil. I don’t know about you but I’d like to keep the natural oils in my skin! Many body washes and shampoos also contain moisturizers which they say counters the effects of SLS. Bringing me to the rest of the evidence that I found; SLS has also been shown to irritate skin and eyes.

Upon checking the studies, I found several, including a clinical double blind crossover study (very scientific results) which found that people who used the SLS toothpaste had a much higher incidence of canker sores than those who used tooth cleaner without SLS. OK, so toothpaste is used in your mouth – canker sores are in your mouth – why, I ask, is this ingredient still used in almost all of the toothpastes on the market?!

I found only one toothpaste (Burt’s Bees) in any of the major stores that did not contain SLS. The only shampoos I could find without this ingredient were Burt’s Bees, and Avalon. SLS is also known as Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate so when you read the labels, look for either name. I now carry a magnifying glass in my purse, as I’ve looked at thousands of labels in several different stores. Geez! It seems not only food labels need to be read all the time, but anything and everything these days… Me, I’m not going to use anything that contains this chemical anymore; let me know your thoughts please.

One more item to note is that much of the bad press links SLS to cancer but none of the studies that I could find in the US or Australia had found any evidence of a cancer risk. Since none of them were long term, however, as far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out on that one!

Best of Health,

Kathi

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