Month: August 2011

Herbs, Spices & Oral Health

Herbs and spices are widely known for their high antioxidant content and numerous health benefits. Today’s post highlights some of the less commonly known oral health benefits of several popular herbs and spices compliments of 1Dental.com Blog:

Basil

A specific type of basil called “Holy Basil” is well known for its antibacterial, disinfecting properties that help to destroy bacteria and germs in the mouth. Specifically, it destroys bacteria that produce cavities, gum disease, bad breath and other oral problems. Incorporating basil into your daily food regimen, when paired with consistent oral hygiene, can help prevent many of the most serious dental issues.

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Cloves

Clove is prominently used for dental and oral health, and it is very effective when dealing with oral pain from ulcers, toothaches or even gum pain. Simply apply a small amount of clove oil to the affected area to ease the pain.

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Nutmeg

Another antioxidant-rich spice is nutmeg, which is often used as a cure for halitosis (bad breath). Its antibacterial properties help eliminate bad breath germs and leave the mouth smelling fresh and clean. This is why nutmeg is commonly found as an ingredient in some toothpastes.

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Peppermint & Parsley

Parsley and mint leaves also have the same antibacterial properties that help rid the mouth of bad breath. Peppermint has been found very effective in preventing gum disease, and keeping teeth healthy.

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For more info: 1Dental.com Blog

Words to Decorate By

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We have really tried to follow this in our new home and let me tell you – it has made SUCH a difference. Getting rid of pointless clutter (aka things that are not functional or joy-producing) is not just visually powerful, but very emotionally powerful as well.

To ponder: Do you have a lot of items around your home that you don’t particularly like or need, but hold onto because you would feel “bad” throwing them out?

Healthy Addition: Sesame Seeds

These tiny little seeds commonly found on bagels actually contain unique lignans (plant compounds), which help to lower cholesterol. Sesame seeds are also a good source of zinc, phosphorous, calcium, and copper. Need one more reason to include them in your diet? They help to protect the liver from oxidative damage.

So am I suggesting you make sesame seed bagels a regular addition to your daily food line-up? Nah, because there are much healthier ways to incorporate these tiny gems into your diet. Some of my favorites include adding tahini (aka sesame paste) to salad dressings and sandwiches, buying bread with sesame seeds on the crust (Trader Joe’s has a great option), coating fish (especially tuna) with the seeds, and adding whole sesame seeds to salads for starters. You can also purchase hummus with tahini included or just add some yourself. Hopefully, you now might be thinking of purchasing some seeds to have on hand. FYI – The most cost effective way to purchase them is from the bulk section of your nearest health food store.

Are you a fan of sesame seeds? Do you have a common way that you incorporate them into your diet?

Undo Summer Hair Damage

As summer winds down, your hair is probably looking less than its best after beach and pool time took their toll. But have no fear because it’s nothing a good hair mask (and a trim) can’t fix. One ultra  nourishing hair treatment I recently tried is by California Sunshine. Their three ingredient “Radiant Beach” hair mask is meant to be used once a week for an immediately noticeable difference in your locks in the form of less dryness and more shine. I definitely saw an improvement after just one treatment!

Radiant Beach’s 2 active ingredients:

  • Organic Virgin Coconut Oil – Penetrates hair shaft for superior, natural conditioning and moisturizing. Medium chain triglycerides to protect against hair loss and promote thick hair. Contains natural Vitamin E and fatty acids to prevent dandruff.
  • Organic Ricinus Communis Oil – Curative and medicinal. Known to thicken hair, moisturize, protect scalp, and promote shininess.

*Since this mask can easily turn to liquid, you might want to keep it in the fridge.  I keep mine in the shower since I don’t mind it turning to liquid (it’s actually even easier to apply that way).

Quick & Healthy Pasta Stir Fry

This recipe started out as an attempt to make a new, simple salad using some of my favorite ingredients. However,  I wasn’t loving how it turned out – not that it was bad, but it just wasn’t great  – and so I decided to turn it into the heart of a pasta stir fy… 

 Ingredients (for 2):

  • 1 small can cannelini beans
  • 10-12 artichoke hearts (whole or cut in half)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1/2 small onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or red vinegar

I combined the above ingredients the night before and refrigerated it until last night when I simply added it to the following:

  • cooked pasta  (enough for 2)
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a splash (about 4 tbsp) of tomato sauce
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper/red pepper flakes
  • salt & fresh pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and sauté on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes (or until salad ingredients are hot and everything has combined nicely)
  2. Enjoy!

So you can prep the “salad” portion beforehand or combine everything in one shot — either way, it’s a really quick and healthy meal.

 Happy Friday! :)

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

This is the first of hopefully many more plants to come in our new, much sunnier home. Do you recognize it? It’s a Peace Lily and we got it for only $7.99 at Trader Joe’s last week. But not only is it pretty and nicely priced, it’s also one of the best plants for purifying indoor air.
(I made the clay pot back in high school)
Top 10 anti-pollutant plants rated best by TheNewEcologist.com:
  1. The Feston Rose plant
  2. Devil’s Ivy
  3. Phalaenopsis
  4. English Ivy
  5. Parlor Ivy
  6. African Violets
  7. Christmas Cactus
  8. Yellow Goddess
  9. Garlic Vine
  10. Peace Lily

 

Time for Some Cocktails…

Happy Friday everyone! I don’t know about you, but I am SO ready for the weekend. We still have a little unpacking left to do, but the bulk of it is done. Time to buy new plants and have some friends over to see the new place. We’re thinking of making one of these cocktails tomorrow night. I’m loving all the fresh ingredients and sweetness compliments of fruit, honey and/or agave.

What’s your vote?

{Peach Lemonade Coolers}

{Raspberry Beer Cocktail}

{The Salted Tarragon Greyhound}

{Peach & Blackberry Muddle}

Exciting News x 2

Hello!  Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and a great start to the week. For me, the past fews days have been filled with packing. We’re not leaving DC, but moving to a new place. I drastically underestimated how stuff we had to pack (I think that’s typical?). Little by little, we’ve gotten rid of so many things, but  we’re  amazed at how much is still left. I’m really looking forward to Wednesday when we’re 100% in our new home!

In addition to the move, I’ve been meaning to tell everyone some other exciting news… I’ve previously mentioned a relatively new company called blissmo, which is an amazing site for finding and purchasing the best organic and eco-friendly products at up to 70% off. Well, I’m very excited to announce that I recently became one of the blissmo curators helping to find the fab lines and products being featured on a daily basis! (That’s me bottom left)

Have a great rest of the week (in case I’m not back from unpacking before it ends)!