Showing posts from June, 2013

Fresh Home-grown Basil Tops Home-made Wheatless Pizza

Home-grown herbs and vegetables in your balcony garden My fresh basil plant grew indoors for awhile, until I could tell it was time to put it outside. So I created a combined herb and vegetable garden in one of my long balcony planters this year, planting basil beside a tomato plant, and even planting a hanging petunia plant beside them for color. Everything grew together comfortably and each species seemed to thrive without killing off any of the other. A truly model ethos for an  urban garden!

Home-made gluten-free pizza with fresh red pepper, cheese, and fresh herbs
Home-made gluten-free pizza, made without wheat, is made with about 2 cups of a combination of brown rice flour, potato flour, and sorghum flour; then 1 package of yeast, 1 tsp of sea salt, and 1 tsp of xantham gum - and that's pretty much it. You just add 2 eggs (or 2 egg-replacements, as I did), 1 1/2 cup warm water, 2 tbsp olive oil to the yeast, stir, and then mix it all together with the different flours and ot…

The Importance of Mental and Emotional Balance

Emotional and Mental Strength Needed to Handle the Death of People Close to You After reading the book "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion, I wasn't sure whether to be glad she
had the mental acuity to reflect so deeply on the loss of her husband, or whether to feel sorry for her for being so emotionally dependent on one person during her whole life. Didion is a New Yorker Magazine essayist who documented the various levels of pain and loss she experienced after the death of her husband.

One of the themes of the book is the cognitive effects of experiencing a trauma such as the death of a loved one. Didion states that the brain simply stops functioning for a fairly long period of time while you heal from the emotional loss. Another thing she points out in the book is how death-averse we are as a culture, and that  current social norms do not condone mourning - essential as it is to overcome a close person's death. Learning to cope with the repercussions o…

Chemical-Free Skincare Enhances Wellness

Imagine knowing that everything that you wash with and put onto your body was chemical-free! Recently while searching for affordable soaps, shampoos and skin moisturizers that don't have harmful chemicals in them, I found that they were neither plentiful, affordable, nor easy to get. Some health food stores carry products that are advertised as chemical-free and healthy, but when I looked up their ingredients at the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, they were rated as harmful in many cases.

Many chemical-free products are advertised online, but most of the ones I found that were rated as safe at Skin Deep were made in limited quantities by small operations in the United States that did not deliver outside of the U.S.A. Since I live in Canada, I decided to search for Canadian-made chemical-free skincare products. And I found Consonant Body Organic Skincare, a manufacturer of 100% natural products that have "no parabens, no sulfates, no petroleum ingredients, and certainly no phthal…

The Best Dill Pickes

Health Benefits of Cucumbers Cucumbers are a fantastic source of hydration in the summer months. According to Natural News, they are good for the skin, for your hair, for fighting cancer, for fighting bad breath, for curing a hangover, aiding in weight loss, and curing diabetes. Whether this is all true or not, they make great pickles.

Baba's Garlic and Dill Pickles This is my grandmother's dill pickle recipe as told to my brother, John Pohran:

For 1 quart of dill pickles (these are "quick-eating" pickles)

1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4-5 cups of cold tap water
garlic and dill...

Cut garlic and dill and stuff into jars. Put as many cucumbers into jars as possible. Fill with salt brine and cover all cucumbers. Let sit for 4-5 days until "fermentation" has changed the color of pickles. Refrigerate jars.

How to Avoid Preservatives in Food and Products

Preservatives can be avoided by reading labels, researching online, and finding suppliers who sell food and products without them.
BHA in Food If you eat potato chips, lard, butter, cereal, instant mashed potatoes, preserved meat, beer, baked goods, dry beverage and dessert mixes, chewing gum and many other foods, you are eating butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) - a preservative that prevents food from going rotten. The latest environmental research reports that "the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies BHA as a possible human carcinogen, and the European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has listed BHA as a Category 1 priority substance, based on evidence that it interferes with hormone function."

You can avoid BHA by buying fresh food, cooking and baking yourself, and even making your own beer.

BHA in Skin Products BHA is also in skin products, and is often recommended for aging skin since it has many of the same effects that estrogen does.  On Skin Deep, a…

Wellness and Wheat

Anyone concerned with wellness is now concerned with wheat
There are many ways that wheat affects wellness - from weight gain, to raised blood sugar and many other adverse health effects including heart disease.

One-third of my family are celiac, or disturbed by eating gluten, or allergic to wheat - that's 6 out of a group of 18 counting my mother, my three sisters, my two brothers, and our combined 11 children.

But none of us were remotely affected by wheat over thirty years ago when we used to gather at family celebrations and eat a wheat-based delicacy called "kutia". Most of our family's symptoms have since included stomach problems and breathing problems (kind of like hay fever).

Ways that wheat affect wellness are:
increased appetiteformation of small LDL particles, which combined with increased appetite, creates belly fatbelly fat causes inflammation, higher blood sugar/higher blood pressure = risk of heart diseasemood swingsdepressionjoint pain and swellingac…

Buy Fresh Food and Fast Track to Wellness

Buying fresh food and cooking it will put you onto a fast track to wellness. Buying fresh can be a little more expensive than buying canned or frozen foods, but with a little comparison shopping you can keep your costs down, and it's worth it. Not only do you eliminate many preservatives and chemicals from your diet, it tastes better and you get more protein for your buck.

I also come from a family of fantastic cooks who all cook real food and buy fresh.

In the past year my mother has sent me three wonderful books on diet, Wheat Belly Cookbook, Moosewood Restaurant, and Moosewood Restaurants Cooks at Home. I don't know if other families are like this, but may of my family's emails, phone conversations and visits have some discussion of great recipes in them.

And it has paid off - at 89 my mother looks about 70, is extremely sharp, has the energy of a 50-year old, and is a great role model for Wellness Over 40.

On the other side of the family, my Ukrainian grandmother was a…

Education About Food & Nutrition Increases Wellness

Many people I see in underground fast food malls at lunch in the financial center of Toronto are eating sushi, chicken salads with grains, or healthy full-course dinners with a salad. I noticed this as early as the 80s (except for the sushi) while enjoying my favorite hamburgers and cheese danishes at lunch each day. But over the decades, I became better educated about food. Other boomer friends seemed to know that 'we are what we eat', intrinsically, but I did not. I never ate healthy, and I rarely cooked.

I simply chose unhealthy food once I was on my own because it tasted so good - and it was cheap. For many years it didn't seem to register with me that what I ate had an effect on everything else in my life and how I felt about it.

Later, it wasn't Jamie Kennedy or any other celebrity who finally got me on the track to healthy eating. It was an allergy clinic! After years of suffering from allergies as a teen, my son was treated at The Allergy Clinic in 2006 when th…

How To Maintain Wellness Over 40

As a boomer, I am healthier now than I was at any point between age 17 (when I left home to attend university) and my mid-40's. When I recently summed up the reasons why, I realized that they all revolved around diet, exercise, stress management, yoga/meditation/therapeutic massage, mental stimulation, emotional connectedness/satisfaction, and finances. In fact, I would even put them in that order. And here's why:
What we eat seems to dictate how well we feel and how well we handle things - never mind all of the other associations connected to diet.Exercise also has equal weight to food when it comes to being well - and this seems to increase with age.Stress, or over-stress, is a wellness-killer. It eats up all of the mileage we get from eating well and exercising, so it has to be managed and kept in check.Yoga, meditation, massage, dance, tai chi, and other forms of spiritual physicality are all tools to connect the mind and body and they all increase wellness.Mental stimulati…