Monday, December 6, 2010

The Blog Has Moved


I moved my blog this Fall over to my business website http://www.surfacingwellness.com

Read what I've been writing since October!



In Health and Happiness,
Lisa

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Born To Run



The Chicago Marathon is around the bend. A big cheer to old and new friends and to clients who are running, jogging, or walking marathons this weekend. These two quotes really sum up the a marathon.






To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who's never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind. ~Jerome Drayton
A marathon is like life with its ups and downs, but once you've done it you feel that you can do anything.  ~unknown



My clients are keenly aware of the assistance their acupuncture treatments bring to their training and recovery. Acupuncture is one way to hasten the recovery from pain and inflammation that comes from running injuries and facilitates the body's recuperative powers.


Acupuncturists can utilize various styles of techniques from needling to cupping to gua sha to herbal remedies including plasters. An herbal plaster is a natural medicinal patch adhesively applied to the affected area. Any of the techniques will help to vitalize and move the blood that creates the stagnation causing the pain sensation. 

Massage can help heal injuries as well. Many acupuncturists incorporate Tuina, a Chinese style invigorating energizing massage. Regular massage or myofascial massage are highly beneficial as well.  

Yoga employs specific stretching that is much needed for any level of athlete, increasing flexibility, core strength, balance and a calm centered mind.  

Moving the energy and blood with a combination of preventative and intervening modalities like acupuncture, massage and yoga will help you bounce right back from injury and fatigue right back into your running shoes.



If you are in Chicago, Allyu Spa is just one of the spas that has a great special for the marathoner in your life. Check their current promotion.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Breathing

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Breathing. Seems simple enough, but most of us do not breathe correctly or efficiently. We all know breath is needed to live but do you know what it does for a body? for a mind? for a spirit? I shared correct breathing in my teleseminar in August. Here is the condensed list of benefits:
  • Gives you more energy
  • Reduces mental and physical fatigue therefore reducing the need for stimulants and drugs
  • Eliminates toxins and waste
  • Improves blood circulation, relieves congestion, increases supply of blood to muscles and bones
  • Increases oxygen and nutrient supply to all the cells of the body. The brain and eyes need much oxygen!
  • Correct breathing (depending on technique) can calm or stimulate the central nervous system and balance the brain hemispheres
  • Better breathing opens up and balances the subtle energies of the body
  • Using the diaphram with proper breath massages the internal organs improving their function.
  • Facilitates the movement of the lymph throughout the body which eliminates toxins and improves the immune system
  • Shallow breathing puts stress on the organs of elimination
  • Along with a balanced alkaline diet, toxic carbon dioxide will be eliminated more readily through the breath
  • Improves the appearance of the skin, reduces wrinkles thanks to better blood circulation
  • Relax deeper
  • Recover faster from stress, exertion and injury
  • Reduces muscular spasm, tension, adhesions, and fibrosity 
Feel like improving your breathing? Here are three options to activate relaxation and  quiet your mind. 
 
The yogic breath  Sit with your neck, head, and spine in alignment. Place your hands on your chest and breath in and out through your nose, feeling your chest expand. Repeat 3-4 times. Now place your hands on your belly and inhale through your nostrils, letting your belly expand with air. Exhale through your nose and press in slightly with your hands. Repeat 3-4 times. Next, place your left palm on your chest and your right palm on your belly. As you inhale through your nose let your belly expand and then bring your breath up into your chest, feeling your ribs expand. Exhale through your nose, releasing your breath from your chest, then your stomach. Repeat 3-4 times. Now close your eyes, rest your hands on your lap, and repeat 10 times. 

Alternate nostril breathing  Place your right index finger and middle finger on the bridge of your nose. Close the right nostril with your thumb, inhale and at the top of the inhalation, close your left nostril with your ring finger. Release your thumb and exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril and at the top of the exhalation close the right side with your thumb. Release your ring finger from your left nostril. Repeat 6-12 times.

Left nostril breathing Close your right nostril. Breathe in through your left nostril and out through your left nostril. Repeat this 10-20 times.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Garden Trout

I had a smoked trout salad a couple weeks ago which reminded me that I really like trout. I rarely eat meat, but when I do it is something I crave and works well with my body which would be trout, turkey or duck. In the company of others, I may deviate from those.

No, the trout was not grown in a garden, but the rest of the ingredients were! So after buying a large bag of veggies at the farmer's market, I stopped by Whole Foods crossing my finger there was fresh trout in the case. YESSSS!

Even though the temperatures here have been hot and humid, I turned on my stove and baked my trout while I minced veggies. The veggies and herbs filled 2/3 of the bowl and I was still mincing so I had to nix some of the veggies to keep room for the fish!

I minced:
1 medium raw orange bell pepper
1 small raw red onion (size of maybe 2 golf balls)
1 small thumb of fresh ginger
1 Tbsp or so of fresh Italian parsley
15-20 steamed green beans

I julienned:
5 leaves of raw swiss chard, stems removed

Tossed in leaves from several sprigs of fresh thyme

Added a few dashes of Himalayan sea salt, a splash of coconut oil, juice of half a lemon

The trout was on 375 til done, maybe 15-20 minutes. I let it cool while I continued to mince, julienne, toss and squeeze; then I added it in large pieces removing any missed bones.

I like the sweetness of the bell pepper, green bean and trout against the pungency of the ginger and thyme with the slight bitterness of the chard and parsley. Nice harmony of flavors!

Dinner for the hot, humid week is served!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Squash Blossoms


The squash blossoms I picked up from the farmer's market Thursday were on my mind when I went out for Italian last night. I didn't want to batter and fry them and I didn't want to make a summer soup.

I decided the flat, square homemade noodles that accompanied the abundance of everything else would be amazing with a chiffonade of blossoms and a little cheese. I headed out to Saturday's farmer's market on a mission for local cheeses! Not my usual food of choice but I was inspired!

Here is what I did:
Olive oil
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
2 patty pan squash, finely chopped
small handful of Italian parsley, finely chopped
10 zucchini blossoms, quartered from stem to tip
Himalayan sea salt
5-10saffron threads
2 cups vegetable broth, preferably homemade
1 egg yolk
½ lb. pappardelle
Pecorino Romano, finely grated
Small wheel of chevre

Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat for your pasta.

In a large skillet, warm a small amount of olive oil and the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, patty pan squash, and Italian parsley, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent. Add the zucchini blossoms, a pinch or two of salt, and the saffron, and stir gently to mix. Add about ¾ cup of broth, and stir to combine. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the rest of the broth a splash or two at a time, taking about 5-8 minutes to add it all. Stir frequently. Allow the sauce to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and only a small amount of thickened broth remains in the pan. Remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk slightly with a fork.

Cook the pasta until tender but al dente. When the pasta is almost ready, place the zucchini blossom sauce back over medium heat. Use a small measuring spoon, scoop up about 3 Tbs of pasta water and, whisking constantly with a fork, gradually add the hot water to the egg yolk: together, they should make a loose, pale yellow liquid. Pour this mixture into the sauce in the skillet, add small pieces of chevre, stirring well. Using tongs or a spider, scoop the finished pasta from its pot into the skillet, and toss with the sauce over medium heat for about 30 seconds.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Autumn Classes! Fermented Foods in the Kitchen

What have you been looking for? An easy detox, improved digestion, more stable mood, greater energy?

Join me in the kitchen and I will teach you how to accomplish this and more!

Kefir is chock full of probiotics-all the good bacteria your digestive tract needs. Much of your immune system and serotonin production is housed in your gut. Reestablishing the microflora ecosystem will help you feel healthier, happier, more balanced.
  • Promotes Healthy Detox
  • Rehydrates the Body
  • Aids in Weight Loss
  • Enhances Mood
  • Boosts Energy
  • Reduces Allergies and Candida symptoms
  • Makes a good hangover cure
  • Lifts Depression, Fatigue and much more!

Cultured or Fermented veggies, think sauerkraut and kim chi, are also probiotic-rich. They keep for months in your fridge, just a small amount is medicinal and
  • Helps heal your stomach, liver and intestines
  • Clears your skin
  • Improves your energy
  • Tones your intestines and flattens your stomach
  • Eases digestion
  • Eliminates joint pain
  • Enhances immunity







We will get creative in the kitchen
  • Learn to make kefir with young coconut water from the mineral rich coconuts at your local market
  • Learn to culture your favorite veggies

 COMING UP! Saturday, November 6 at 4 pm

Elemental Health 2225 W. North Ave, Chicago 
$50 Go home with recipes, starter liquid and exactly what you need to feel better!
Pre-registration by November 3 required to hold your space. No refund on cancellation. No walk-in registration


Past classes at Elemental Health
Sunday, September 12 at 6 pm or Tuesday, September 14 at 6:30 pm

VITAL JUICE exclusive class for subscribers 
Sunday, September 19 at 4 pm. Pre-register

Past classes at Be Optimal Holistic Health Center
Saturday, October 9 at 2 pm

Be Optimal Holistic Health Center 1249 Waukegan Road, Glenview



Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gazpacho Memories

The humidity of this current summer has called for some cool creative cooking or uncooking as the case may be. I have lived off salad greens with homemade dressings, smoothies, and gazpacho.

This last batch of gazpacho took me back East to my days in Boston. The summers I spent there weren’t unbearable, but I would make gallons of gazpacho with my handy dandy handblender. Returning with bags of produce from Haymarket, I spent my weekends and every evening in the kitchen combining this amazing bounty into dinners. I would sit on my back porch sipping the cool liquid with a little jalapeno bite while my cats lounged under or chased squirrels in our canopy of trees.

So today with my hand dandy Blendtec blender I conjured up some memories with 3 Beefsteak tomatoes, 1 red pepper, ½ medium yellow onion, ½ English cucumber, juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime, ½ cup liquid from some jalapeno sweet pickles (Can use a sliver of jalapeno and a dollop of honey), ½ cup Italian parsley (stems and leaves), 8-10 small red dandelion leaves, a pinch or two of pink Himalayan salt, 1 cup or more of water. (From the veggies above, I minced by hand ½ a tomato, ¼ red pepper, ¼ of the cucumber and added those to the pureed mix)

Thanks to the dandelion leaves this version won’t be the light bright red of a traditional gazpacho, it will be brown. The dandelion leaves are internally cooling and a diuretic and a great toning medicinal for the Liver, high in Vitamins A, K and calcium and iron. The parsley is high in Vitamins C and A and folic acid and increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood.


Blendtec Home TB-621-20 1,560-Watt Total Blender, Black

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bastille Day

I am a francophile. I celebrate Bastille Day. It is one of my favorite days to create food and share with others. Marinated beans, pates, fruit, cheese, crusty bread and wine. Accordion and piano cafe music. Friends. 


That day's event over 220 years ago is seen as the symbol for the uprising of the modern nation. At the foundation of all that cooking and celebrating I do each year, I envision  that this year will be the uprising of a more enlightened consciousness. 


So here's some food to create and share as you envision that uprising.
                                                    celebrate!

Marinated White Beans
Sometimes creative cooks don't write recipes down. When the person who enjoyed this left my circle, I stopped making it and the mental recipe vanished. This is pretty close:

1 cup of white beans, dried
4 cups of water
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic

Wash the beans and soak overnight. Combine the beans with the water, oil and garlic and salt. Simmer until tender up to 2 hours. You do this slowly because you want them intact. Try a few; you want them tender not mushy or soft. Drain and remove the garlic cloves. Place beans in a bowl.

Marinade
 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup of white wine vinegar (sometimes I used tarragon vinegar)
3 T. chopped parsley
several sprigs of chopped rosemary
salt and pepper

Mix all the marinade ingredients and pour over the bowl of beans. This should completely or just cover the beans. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Fava beans and Olives
I wasn't a big fava bean fan but with olives anything is amazing! 

2 cups of cooked fava beans
1 cup of green olives, pitted and sliced (get some good ones from the olive bar at your local grocer or deli)
Olive oil
Salt
Combine the four ingredients. Place in baking dish large enough that everything is just one layer. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Watch it closely and stir occasionally. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices. 

You can also puree either of these beans, fresh herbs, garlic and olive oil and make a bean pate. YUM! slather it on crusty bread or flax or sprouted crackers with olives and tomatoes!

Figs and Fennel
Figs are one of those short season fruits. Right now is the time to grab a pint of Black Mission Figs, a bulb of Fennel and a Red Pepper and make this salad.

6 large figs, I prefer Black Mission
Olive Oil and Balsamic vinegar and salt
2 T. minced sweet onion or shallot

Slice in rounds about 1/4" thick. Place on plate, drizzle with oil and vinegar, cover with the onion or shallot, sprinkle with salt. Marinate at room temp for an hour

Red Peppers
You can buy these already roasted and marinated or you can do this yourself:

2 peppers, slice and core out seeds, stem and white part
Coat with olive oil
Place cut side down on foiled baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 min til peppers soften and skin starts to raise. Remove from oven and place peppers in covered dish to steam the skin separate. When peppers are cool enough to hold, remove the skins.

2 roasted peppers
2 T minced onion or shallot
Olive Oil and Balsamic vinegar and salt

Toss the roasted peppers with shallots, oil and vinegar and salt to taste. Marinate for 1 hour.

Fennel
1 small fennel bulb, trim top down to the bulb
Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar and salt

Cut into paper thin slices until you have a 1/2 cup of shavings. Place fennel into bowl of cold water and will keep for a few hours. 

Reduce some balsamic vinegar until you have about a tablespoon of glaze, mix with a 1/4 cup of oil (fennel oil if you have it). Pat the fennel shavings dry and toss with this oil and glaze.

Place a few fig rounds on a plate, place the peppers over the figs and top with another fig round and stack the fennel shavings on the top of it all!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dare to Feel Alive Again!

The majority of my practice and the majority of the people I come across in my daily life have something in common. They each tell me their own unique story of having too much to do in too little time, not getting enough sleep, and their minds are just ricocheting from thought to thought and from task to task. This is followed by a varied through rather typical list of physical and emotional concerns.

That's not what life is meant to be! My heart goes out to each person who shares their story, and I try to offer a sentiment or a technique that will guide them through. Knowing that I have plenty of insight on nutrition and herbs can be useful for the physical symptoms of stress and overwhelm and techniques for the mind and the spirit, I decided to do more.

Join me in my tele-training seminar
Tuesday, August 10 at 7 pm Eastern Time 




Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quotes

I do have some blogs in progress, really. I've been re-reading and re-watching favorite books and movies, here's a few quotes until I post my other posts.
How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless. ~Paul Bowles The Sheltering Sky

If no one loved, the sun would go out. ~Victor Hugo Les Miserable

When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object. ~Milan Kundera The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Man... probably the most mysterious species on our planet. A mystery of unanswered questions. Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? How do we know what we think we know? Why do we believe anything at all? Countless questions in search of an answer... an answer that will give rise to a new question... and the next answer will give rise to the next question and so on. But, in the end, isn't it always the same question? And always the same answer?~Narrator Run Lola Run

Hey did you know Ice Cream is really good for you, lots of calcium ~The Ice Cream Man Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai




Monday, March 15, 2010

Cultivating Energy


Last week, a few friends and I attended a weekend Qigong workshop. We couldn’t pass it up. Thirty-two hours of continuing education class for under $100 – unheard of! If that wasn’t enough, Green Smoothies and food healing were on the agenda. I was sold.

Qigong, a system of self healing encompassing gentle movements, breathing, and meditative practices, was part of my master’s in Oriental Medicine curriculum. Last weekend’s workshop taught the same movements as I learned in school but I understood and could perform the movements better/more fluidly this time around. Qigong works and to be honest I don’t exactly understand it and I’m ok with that. I’m a pretty accepting person. I believe “Each to his or her own”. And, I will try just about anything without question, well sometimes with a slight raise to the eyebrow.

I didn’t feel the energy flow during the class way back in school, but I did experience symptoms of cultivating energy. The world was much more vivid when I left class at 8 pm, I experienced amazing clarity, and I was wide awake all night energized. Not the best use of energy, but still yes it works. In last weekend’s workshop I experienced the presence, the density, the movement of energy emanating from my hands and moving within my body. It was a remarkable feeling to know where I had blockages and which side was more receptive. And, yes, I was wide awake at night for 3 days and the exercise prompted other physical symptoms of flow as well. I now engage in qigong exercises only in the morning so I have that clarity and alertness all day instead of all night!

What's Bugging You?

Do you experience any nagging repetitive thoughts? Run through past events over and over with alternative dialog? Seem to be stuck in negative emotions or complaining? Something’s bugging you!

Th
ese mental and emotional tendencies are what I like to call mental and emotional parasites - mentally repeating events or hanging onto destructive emotions and thoughts is unproductive and depleting to your energy. This is how I like to approach a parasite cleanse.

You can cringe and deny it all you want but we all carry around parasites. Yes, actual creatures. There’s a healthy balance of organisms and then there’s a whole slew that proliferate where they shouldn’t be. These organisms feed off the food you put into your body that is meant to give you energy, not them! When we cannot process or use what we feed our bodies, natural medicine practitioners see a correlation in the inability to focus or process events and thoughts mentally and emotionally. It’s completely linked from our perspective.

Spring is the time to awaken from the slowness of winter. Our metabolisms slow, weight accumulates, maybe our activity level slows down, and sleep increases in winter. Two weeks in spring using the protocol of extra strength Black walnut hull tincture, and capsules of wormwood and clove is all that is required to rev up the body. No diet change is necessary, but it’s a good idea to refrain from sugar, wheat, yeast, alcohol and caffeine. You will rid your body of the accumulations from winter, maybe
some parasites from your gut, and most definitely the mental and emotional parasites.

I was able to put to rest a past event that kept creeping into my mind as well as make peace with a relationship. I certainly didn’t enter the cleanse with any expectations of this sort, and I was very excited by the outcome. Would these have happened without the herbal protocol? Maybe, but I don’t know if I would have resolved them within the two week cleanse.

Here’s one version of a protocol of dosages for a parasite cleanse. If you tend toward sluggish intestines or seem to during this cleanse, add in a laxative tea like Smooth Move or senna powder or visit a
holistic practitioner who can provide an herbal supplement for you.

Black Walnut Hulls (from the black walnut tree - juglans nigra)
anti-parasite, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal remedy with active ingredients j
uglone, tannin and iodine




Wormwood (from the Artemisia shrub - artemisia absinthum)
Its known for its vermicidal properties and helps those with a weak and underactive digestion. It increases the acidity of the stomach and the production of bile. It reduced abdominal bloating



Common Cloves (from the clove tree - eugenia caryophyllata)
has anti-parasitical, anti-fungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It also removes pain

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Come for the Fun, Stay for the Bliss


Since childhood, I was drawn to non-fiction stories of families living with autism. Some of my favorite clients to work with in my acupuncture/energy work practice have been kids with autism and Down’s. And I can talk passionately about the link between the nutrient-lacking food we eat, the effect it has on mom’s-to-be guts and what that means for the health of their future children.

Last year, I met Gina Laverde and Dougie. You can read about their journey elsewhere, but they are amazing souls. Gina’s passion about the health of moms and kids is personal. When Gina and her husband Doug realized what was occurring in their son, they interviewed and researched tirelessly and effectively helped Dougie recover from autism. He is now a 5 year old smart cookie (gluten and sugar free of course) attending Waldorf school.

So far this doesn’t sound so fun or bliss-filled, does it? Here it is!

Gina’s other (brain)child, Certified Organic Woman is holding a benefit for autism recovery in Santa Monica on Friday, March 19th. I guarantee it is a can’t-miss event - a night of DJed music, dancing, food, gifts, services and raffle prizes. Tickets are $40 at the door, but raffle tickets are available now if you can’t attend. Won’t you join us?


A recent message from Certified Organic Woman:

I'm so excited about the Magic Elixir Bar, and OH THE GIFT BAGS! I went to the shop yesterday and got to choose the treats you'll be taking home.

I'm not spilling the secret but I will say that Ally over at Lush is awesome, and she helped me pick things that the guys will like too.

So, there's something for all of your tastes (and smells).

Can't wait to see you there!

If you haven't purchased your tix yet -- please do!

Here's the link: http://www.facebook.com/l/0d832;ow.ly/1gGeZ.

The guest list is filling up.
It's a cozy space and we want to make sure we can all fit.

Monday, February 8, 2010

By Land or By Sea, Green Superfoods


Over the last couple months I wrote about a variety of superfoods. Nuts, seeds, berries, and now green stuff that is nutrient-dense for their tiny size. We’ve got nutritious green stuff that we find in the garden and not as familiar green stuff from the water’s depths.

For the landlovers, we’ve got your grasses-alfalfa, barley, and wheat (no relation to the grain) and your leafy green vegetables – to name a few: arugula, beet greens, chicory, collards, dandelion, endive and escarole, kale, kohlrabi, lettuces, mustard greens, parsley, spinach, swiss chard, turnip greens, and watercress.

Some controversy surrounds the benefits of grasses, but grass is a green plant and contains nutrients. I am allergic to wheatgrass but used barley grass throughout a 6 month cleanse several years ago.

Individuals on blood thinners need to eliminate Vitamin K intake because it is a blood thinning vitamin, meaning you will need to avoid most of these lovely greens. But, the flip side is if your doctor allows it and monitors your blood levels closely and you are committed to maintaining healthy diet chock full of green veggies, you can reduce you medication. This can only be done with the full support and guidance of your doctor!

Other than Vitamin K, depending on the leafy greens you consume, you will be taking in more calcium than you’d get from dairy, Vitamin A, C and E are up there too, magnesium, obviously fiber, inulin, chlorophyll – what I call the “blood” of the plant (a must for vegetarians!)

Yes, greens taste bitter and pungent. Our standard American diet is quite sweet and salty and oily, so the pungent and bitter tastes of veggies will be amplified until you are accustomed to them. This can be like feeding a baby new foods. It takes more than a few tries to not have it thrown back in your face! A little experimenting, a little help from cookbooks or blogs or wherever you collect recipes, will help you find the perfect way to eat your greens. Some I eat raw and some I eat steamed or sautéed. I like the flavors, and am overly sensitive to what most people enjoy, sweet and salty.

If you are going to try ANY superfood, try the grain-like seeds of quinoa and amaranth and then greens. It is easier to try a spin on something you already eat than to implement an additional food. Truly packed with nutrients, my clients with sugar-cravings or chocolate cravings soon lose the urge to OD on sugar when increasing their intake of green vegetables. I have noticed that chocolate cravings are a mask for the body’s need for magnesium, a stress relieving mineral which helps with sleep and muscular tension.

For the waterlovers, we’ve got your algae- wild blue green, spirulina, chlorella and your seaweeds.

I suggest talking to a nutritionist with a Chinese Medicine bent. With a consultation we can assess which green is best for you. Some people have strong, hot digestive systems which can handle the cold natured/temperature spirulina, whereas others need to nourish their yin and need one a little more subtle like chlorella, or, not a seaweed but, a grass that is warm natured like alfalfa. I myself stick with chlorella to nourish my waning yin and Wild Blue Green for all of its neurological attributes. A great supplement that I’ve seen work wonders with kids’ development is BioAge. I am taking the supplement now. I will let you know what I notice!

Sea veggies contain many times more calcium and iron than milk or beef. Brown wakame can be used instead of lettuce in a sandwich. Arame, brown stringy strands, I like to mix with hot pepper sauce, sautéed kale, and a few other vegetables in a cold salad. Kombu is a food tenderizer. I toss a large piece into the boiling water with dry legumes. It begins the process of breaking down fiber reducing the gaseous effects some people experience. Dulse is a red/purple color and available as sheets and flakes. It is nutty and mild. I shake it onto foods and grains as others would salt. No cooking or reconstituting needed. Green nori can be used to wrap something other than sushi.

Here are well-known healthy sea vegetables worth considering:
  • Irish moss seems to contain 15 of the 18 essential elements that make up the human body. This includes great amounts calcium, iodine, sulphur, and potassium as well as Vitamins A, D, E, F and K. This definitely makes it a superfood, plus it was the main food source during the time of famine in Ireland!
    It has expectorant, demulcent, anti-inflammatory actions. It is beneficial for the skin, connective tissue, for an array of lung conditions, for peptic and duodenal ulcers, for urinary bladder inflammation, and for diabetic maintenance.
    I soaked this in water and kept in the fridge and added to smoothies. When blended with 3 times the water, it makes a paste and will add a creamy fluffy texture to recipes.
Other sea veggie options:
  • Arame , a mild, almost sweet brown kelp is a great place to begin if you’re unaccustomed to eating sea veggies. It's usually found in thin dried strands. Soak a small handful in water until soft, add to your favorite salad then toss on your favorite salad dressing. Your salad becomes even more nutritious. I usually combine with shredded carrots and shredded broccoli stalks, sesame seeds, steamed cool kale, and thai chili paste and veggie mayo. It’s really good!
  • Dulse is packed with protein and iron. I sprinkle the flakes on many things.
  • Kombu, a popular ingredient in miso soup and other Japanese dishes. Just put a small strip in water and simmer for 45 minutes or longer on low heat. Now you have a wonderful mineral-rich broth. Now, simple cook veggies, soups, or your grain-like seeds in this broth. I add a small strip of kombu to a pot of cooking beans to soften and increase digestibility.
  • Wakame – Closely related to kombu, this variety was found to have fat burning properties that could fight obesity, according to research from Japan. I add this to my smoothies. I soak a week’s worth in water and keep in the fridge.
  • Laminaria Japonica - This miracle cleanser of heavy metals. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals that help support your thyroid, detoxify your body from heavy metals and ward off disease.
  • Kelp – A brown algae, kelp grows in nutrient-rich ocean water and is packed with vitamins, minerals and iodine. Kelp is thought to be especially useful for prostate, pancreas and digestive health. It is recommended for a gamut of thyroid disorders. Your thyroid needs minerals (like the ones found in ocean veggies) and certain fats to work well.
  • Nori – the common sushi wrapper, as “seaweed sheets” use them as wraps or they taste delicious when toasted. Nori in Japan is used like injerra in Ethiopia as implement to convey food like rice to mouth.
  • Hijiki – Makes a great natural beauty aid. It needs more cooking than arame.
  • Agar – Agar is wonderful for creating delicious sugar-free desserts. It is a vegetarian alternative to gelatin. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes and has mild laxative properties...so can be helpful for those who suffer from constipation.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Tiger at Your Door


According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2010 is the Year of the Tiger. The New Year is celebrated as the Spring Festival for fifteen days commencing at the first new moon of the lunar calendar until the full moon. We welcome the Tiger February 14, 2010, the Chinese New Year.


The third sign in the Chinese Zodiac cycle, Tiger is a sign of bravery. The courageous, spirited fighter is admired by the ancient Chinese as the symbol that keeps away the three main tragedies of a household - fire, thieves and ghosts.


Tigers are physically powerful, gracious, independent and brave, they are extremely bold animals. They are friendly and loving but can also be selfish and short tempered. Tigers seek attention and power; frequently they are envious in relationships. Tigers live dangerously which often leads to trouble. They are intolerant, take risks and are always searching for excitement. Tigers are also instilled with a good dose of courage.


Were you born during a Year of the Tiger?
You were if you were born in one of these years:
1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, and 1998.



People born in the Year of the Tiger always take pride in being different from others, and normally demonstrate their originality best in their homes. Their homes are typically filled with beautiful, exotic or unique possessions. The cat’s eye is one of Tiger’s favorite stones, but also loves the sparkle of rubies and diamonds. Money comes in and goes out and Tigers tend to share it as well. They can be very impulsive spenders because they can always make more money.


The nature of the Chinese Zodiac animal will reflect in the year ahead. I mentioned to friends it would be a fast and furious year, and I think that is most likely the case!


We could be in for a wild ride thanks to the Tiger’s fiery instinctive courageous nature. Personally and globally we could see escalation of war, disagreements and disasters. Partnerships made during this year become riddled with fractured trust. Everything will be big and bold in the extremes of good and bad. Decisions will be dramatic and spur of the moment. We will see some hotheaded behavior and demonstrations of blindly charging ahead.


This all sounds daunting but from the fire comes ashes which revitalize the earth, which will bring new growth. See the cleansing side and cultivate the virtues of patience, kindness and peace to modify the fiery bold tendencies of the Tiger year. I suggest being prepared, welcoming what comes, using your instincts, giving and receiving, and hang on!


Happy New Year!