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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