Month: February 2011

FYI – Fish Oil Supplements

I know that many people take fish oil supplements these days so I thought you would all appreciate these 2 simple guidelines:

  1. Fish oil supplements should actually NOT smell fishy.
  2. After taking fish oil supplements, you ideally should NOT experience burping reminiscent of said oil.

**Also, make sure you are storing your supplements properly and taking them on a full stomach!

Some brands I would recommend:

Personally, I opt for this liquid Cod Liver Oil by Nordic Naturals because I would rather not deal with a capsule plus some say the supplement is better absorbed in liquid form. I will not kid anyone that it’s enjoyable, but at least it comes in orange, lemon, strawberry, or peach and it is definitely not fishy!

Some important info from Dr. Weil about Omega 3s — including deficiency, food sources, how and who should supplement and who should not supplement here: Fish Oil & Omega-3

Heart Health in a Nutshell

February is American Heart Month so I thought I would pass on some healthy tips from Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, author of Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease.

Heart Health in a Nutshell: What Walnuts Can Do for You
By Janet Bond Brill Ph.D. R.D., LDN

Walnuts are an ancient plant food that has sustained humans since the dawn of civilization. They are key to heart health because they are a top source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). ALA is the omega-3 fatty acid derived from plants which our bodies need in addition to the other omega-3 that comes from salmon and other fish. Studies show that people who eat an ALA-rich diet are less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack.

Walnuts (along with flaxseeds) are one of the eight key food groups – – along with olive oil, leafy greens, figs, and other fruits, lentils and other legumes, salmon and other seafood, oatmeal and other whole grains, and red wine – – that are part of my plan to reverse heart disease, or build good heart health to hopefully avoid heart troubles. Dark chocolate is a bonus food in this plan.

Walnuts stand apart from all other types of nuts for two reasons:

  • they provide the highest amount of the “vegetarian” omega-3 fatty acid, ALA, and
  • they are packed with the most plaque-fighting antioxidants relative to all other nuts

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While the thin brown skin that surrounds the walnut meat – – the pellicle – – may taste a bit bitter, this is naturally rich in antioxidant polyphenols, which combat plaque buildup, so try to eat that portion when you eat your walnuts.  Walnuts are also naturally rich in vitamin E, the potent healthy antioxidant, concentrated mostly in the nut kernel.

Consuming just a handful of walnuts daily can help:

  • Make your dysfunctional endothelium (the damaged inner arterial layer that instigates and promotes heart disease progression) more functional by reducing inflammation and promoting more relaxed and dilated blood vessels.
  • Lower your cholesterol (both walnuts and flaxseeds will work together to make a dent in your “bad” LDL cholesterol level).
  • Make your blood less likely to clot.
  • Lower your blood level of inflammation.  Eating walnuts is probably the easiest and tastiest way to incorporate ALA into your day because they can be enjoyed multiple ways: as a handy and portable snack or as an embellishment to any meal.

Here are a few of the ideas I offer in Prevent a Second Heart Attack:

  • Keep a bag of shelled walnuts on your kitchen counter and grab some nuts as a quick and healthy snack.
  • Sprinkle walnuts on your green salads. (Dr. Janet’s Spinach Salad with Apples, Toasted Walnuts, and Dried Cranberries and Dr. Janet’s Arugla Salad with Figs and Walnuts can be found on page 284 and 285)
  • Try candied walnuts – – bake walnuts sprinkled with a little brown sugar for a sweet treat.
  • Toss walnuts and dried fruit together in a small plastic bag and you have a super-antioxidant-rich and convenient snack for when you are out and about or even as a late-afternoon pick-me-up.
  • Use walnuts in cooking to add taste and nutrition to your favorite dishes.
So, go nuts (walnuts, that is) every day, and get heart healthy.
© 2011 Janet Bond Brill, Ph. D., R.D., LDN, author of Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease

Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, author of Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease, is a diet, nutrition, and fitness expert who has appeared on national television.  She is the author of Cholesterol Down: 10 Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol In 4 Weeks Without Prescription Drugs, and specializes in cardiovascular disease prevention.

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling (aka oil swishing) is an ancient Ayurvedic healing practice, which is said to have many possible positive effects on overall health.  And it’s really quite simple…

How to:

  • After brushing teeth, slowly swish about 1 tablespoon of oil (warm/room temperature) around your mouth for 2 to 20 minutes.
  • Make an effort not to swallow any of it (especially since it might possibly have bacteria and other grossness in it)
  • Spit it out (it will likely be white & foamy after all that swishing/pulling)
  • Rinse your mouth out well with warm H20
  • Feel detoxified! :)

I have read recommendations of swishing for anywhere from 2 minutes to “ideally” 20 minutes.  As you continue swishing, the oil-saliva mix gradually becomes more and more liquid and thin and acquires a whitish look. One possible rule of thumb is that if the oil is still yellow then it has not been pulled long enough. The commonly recommended oils to use include high quality sunflower, sesame or olive. Ideally, swishing first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is said to be best.

Some of the possible benefits? This oil-centric method is said to aid in drawing toxins, destroying germs in the mouth, as well as strengthening the teeth, gums, and jaws. Other possible benefits range from organ-disorders to skin-diseases to menstrual problems and more!

When I first tried this it was pretty weird, but it also definitely felt like I was doing something good for myself. You know what I mean? Well, while I haven’t kept up the habit on a daily basis, my mom has and she is just loving it. I think I’m going to start making it a habit because I could definitely see it helping with my tooth sensitivity and dry skin. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Photo Credit: Eden Foods

Crispy Green Giveaway!

Crispy Green’s freeze-dried fruit snacks are shockingly delicious. I say “shockingly” because  when I saw “freeze-dried” I didn’t expect such delicious flavor…flavor SO similar to the actual piece of fruit! After trying several of the varieties (all tasty), the mango is definitely my favorite. The full choice of flavors include: Fuji Apple, Asian Pear, Banana, Mango, Peach, and Pineapple.

Wondering how they’re made? The water is simply removed from the fresh fruit in cold (freezing) vacuum conditions, leaving behind the essence of the fruit in the form of light and crispy goodness. So that’s it – the water is taken away, but nothing is added. Take the Crispy Apples for example — Ingredients: Fuji Apples. That’s it. One ingredient – the fruit – and nothing else! They’re a fun snack and especially great for when you want something sweet yet healthy. Added bonus – they won’t rot or bruise when storing/transporting :)

Would you like to try out all of the delicious flavors, including some of the FruitziO line (fruit + a touch of cane sugar)?

How to win:

  1. Be a follower of AllNaturalAnnie.com
  2. Leave a comment below

For extra entries:

  1. “Like” Crisy Green on Facebook (please leave a separate comment letting me know )
  2. Tweet about this giveaway (again, separate comment)
  3. “Like” this post (separate comment)

You have until 6pm EST on Thursday, February 24th to enter. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday, February 25th .

Good luck and Happy Friday!

Natural Antacids

Put away those TUMS and try some of these little natural wonders. Deglycerized Licorice aka DGL can be an excellent solution to heartburn, acid reflux, upset stomach, and even ulcers.  This natural alternative (to antacids and acid-blocking drugs) helps inhibit excess acid secretion, increases blood flow to gastric mucosal cells, promotes the secretion of the protective mucosal layer, and promotes the growth of new mucosal cells.  In other words, DGL helps keep that protective lining of your stomach in good shape.

I like the original DGL by Enzymatic Therapy. If you can’t bear the taste of licorice, there’s also a chocolate flavored variety.  Simply chew 1-2 tabelts 20 minutes before meals and/or before bedtime.

I have seen friends and family find such relief with DGL. I hope you or someone you know might benefit too!

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**To date, deglycyrrhizinated licorice is not known to induce any side effects. However, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have kidney/liver problems then licorice-containing supplements aren’t for you.  Also, the reason the licorice is “deglycerized” is to avoid raising blood pressure, but people with high blood pressure should still probably stay away as well.

Mayan Chocolate Truffles

Since today is definitely a day of chocolate, I wanted to share this incredible sounding recipe from nourished kitchen. True to the website’s namesake, this recipe is made up of truly nourishing, whole food ingredients.

Hope you enjoy: RUSTIC MAYAN CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

If you haven’t seen this website before, I am really excited to pass it on – it is filled with unique, healthy, wholesome, and delectable recipes!

{Photo Credit: nourished kitchen}

Undebatably Unnatural

On my way to work this morning, I was reading how new research has raised concerns about a link between drinking diet soda and an increased incidence of stroke/heart attack.  Specifically, the findings were that there was a 48% higher risk of stroke or heart attack among those who drank diet soda every day compared to those who didn’t drink any soda at all (full article).  It’s already being pointed out that this isn’t necessarily a simple cause and effect relationship. Well either way, I don’t think anyone should fool themselves into believing that ingesting straight-up chemicals (the stuff that makes a diet soda “diet”) can do anything good for the human body.

Personally, I’m not a soda drinker, but I can understand how some people really love the stuff – the sweetness, the bubbles, etc. If you’re looking to move away from drinking soda and want a healthy alternative, try some sparkling mineral water (I love San Pellegrino or Trader Joe’s brand) with a splash of your favorite juice or a squeeze of lemon/lime. Before you know it, you won’t even miss that diet (or regular) soda!

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Quote of the Day

The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” ~Henry Miller

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I’m going to make it a point to slow down today… What about you?

*A very, very Happy Birthday to my good friend and fellow blogger, Alleen of Echo Bella*

Tea Time

While we were in San Fran, we fell in love with SAMOVAR, a tranquil tea lounge in the beautiful Yerba Buena Gardens. For our week’s stay, we made it a late afternoon/early evening ritual to go to the lounge to try out a different pot of tea each time. It was just so relaxing and fun… And delicious (all of their teas are of the highest quality — organic, fair trade and loose-leaf).

It was also pretty eye-opening and gave us a greater appreciation for tea. It’s amazing to discover how many varieties exist, the possibilities of complexity, and the know-how for making a truly perfect cup.

Photo Credit: Ingrid Taylar

(That’s SAMOVAR right above the waterfall)

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This is the Wuyi Dark Roast Oolong Tea

Flavor Profile: Deep and complex…with a rich body, a roasted aroma, and sweet finish of raisin sugar, honeysuckle, and roasted barley. Warm and earthy notes of bittersweet chocolate and peat moss. Expertly dark roasted, this Wuyi has very little floral notes. If you are a coffee lover, this tea will woo you. {via}

The fact that this tea can be described so extensively just goes to show how drinking tea can really become a hobby and an ongoing education. Are you a fan of tea? Have you ever been to a tea lounge?

A Daily Dose of Lucy

I used to watch I Love Lucy almost every day when I was a kid. I think I need to get back into that habit because she is just SO classically and wonderfully funny.

Laughter truly is one of the best medicines, don’t you think? Hope everyone has a wonderful day filled with lots of laughs!

One of my birthday gifts from my mom this year. She has always supported my fanship :)

UV Rays in the Nail Salon?!

If you’re ultra concerned about ultra violet rays then you might want to know about exposure in an unexpected and untalked about place – the nail salon. Yep, those trusty dryers of colorful finger paint very often emit UV rays.  How can you tell? Pretty simple – if you’re seeing fluorescent light emitted then it’s a UV dryer.

While you’re probably not drying your nails for lengthy amounts of time daily, all of those 10 minute sessions can really add up, especially over the course of a lifetime. To stay UV free and still have some pretty digits you can opt for the dryers sans fluorescents or put some mineral sunscreen (some suggestions) on prior to painting. Signs of aging for women are often most noticeable on our hands so this is a tip to keep your hands both healthy and youthful!

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Also, while we’re on the topic, look for polishes that are free of the three harshest ingredients – formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate (ingredients linked to everything from cancer to hormone disruption to neurological issues). Many big brands often used in nail salons are thankfully on board. I’m happy to say that one of the brands is the very popular essie whose polishes are DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde free.