Archive for the ‘Chew on This’ Category

Full Body Food — Olive Oil

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Head to toe. First let me state: this is personal, not clinically recorded. It is my own experience which I want to share with you about how organic extra virgin olive oil has been my skin savior.

virgin-olive-oilBeing olive skinned (no pun intended) I took advantage of it during my 20’s and roasted my body in the rays, turning over every 30 minutes like a lamb on a bar-b-que. And I payed the price for my sacrifice.

Very severe sun poisoning several times over the years, to the extent that my skin actually bled. There’s no drama here, just the facts to make a point. No sunscreen either. I didn’t want to absorb the chemicals. (Still don’t.)

“So from the sublime golden tan to the ridiculous necessity of having to wear long sleeves and hats during the summer for years, I learned not only about how much direct sun I could tolerate even with my olive skin, but how to protect it.”

This was all before discovering a natural, whole grain/food lifestyle.

Tea baths helped, but what about long term? It took about 8 years of wearing long sleeves and hats before I could tolerate even the sun’s heat through my clothes, let alone the direct sun. I did, however, stop using bar soaps or any soaps on my skin. Reasoning: the acid would wash away my skin’s natural oils which I felt were necessary to heal and protect my skin. You know, when you run water over your skin and the water beads up? It didn’t on me. Around the end of those covered years I learned about natural foods, macrobiotics, and the idea of using natural remedies and oils inside and out. Better late than never and by now my skin was very much healed but still not replenished. I started using toasted sesame oil, but it was too expensive and limiting. Vitamin E oil was too difficult, cutting the capsules was a pain, and the oil was way too viscous. Even though these worked, I discovered organic extra virgin olive oil, less expensive, easy to apply and absorbed surprisingly fast into my skin. And a wonderful bonus was that the oiliness was quickly replaced by a smooth, velvety feel. It was as if my skin was gulping it in and couldn’t get enough. Surprisingly, if I waited a few minutes after applying it, it didn’t go into my clothes.

I was amazed. I felt I was finally quenching a bottomless thirst. Yes, I still have several visible reminders of those very, very idiotic times but they are necessary reminders. They make me very aware, very mindful of my own limitations and very grateful for a lifestyle that helped me discover a simple skin remedy that I use in my everyday cooking. No chemical creams, no harsh perfumes and it makes so much sense. Since your skin is the largest organ in your body, it definitely figures that what you eat to make you healthy inside, should also be able to be used on the outside. I want the vitamin D, so I do sun bathe very successfully now for about 4 hours a week.

For me it’s a testament to the wonders and healing powers of olive oil.

I did mention ‘head to toes’. Here’s an olive oil protein pre conditioner before shampooing: yolk of one egg, fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon), some honey (2-3 teaspoons), and about 2 Tablespoons of organic extra virgin olive oil. Mix these together in a bowl and mix through your hair till well covered, massaging into your scalp. Amounts of each ingredient will vary according to your length of hair. Let it luxuriate through for a 1/2 hour and then wash out. Olive oil is also a wonderful post shampoo conditioner for your hair — giving it a healthy, protective sheen. After washing and before drying, rub a little between your hands and fingers then pull through your hair. You’ll be amazed at the sheen and your hair will drink it up like your skin. You can repeat this even between washings. With all the car exhausts and air pollutants swirling around us, organic extra virgin olive oil will protect and nourish you head to toe.

sunYou know your skin type. Anyone can burn. Be smart. Start slowly and don’t exceed the time. I find now that by listening to my body, I intuitively know when the time for that day is up. I never let the sun bathing get to the point anymore, as I used to, where I can here my skin sizzle. It’s not worth it. There will be another day.

One note about the tea baths: when I had a very uncomfortable or severe burn, I would throw an entire box of regular tea bags into a pot of lightly boiling water, not a large pot. You want high concentration of the tanens. I’d fill the tub with lukewarm water and then throw the full pot tea bags ‘n all into the bath water, test it to be comforably hot and then get in. The tanens work their miracle of taking the sting of the burn away. There’s no time limit here. Just relax and soak it in. When getting out of the tub, blot yourself dry. The sting should be gone. I then very gently smoothed on the thinest layer of olive oil. There’s no miracle here, it takes a while, maybe a few days but it works. There may be no need for a second tea bath. With summer sun beckoning your skin, drop me a line and let me know how you do. Oh yeah, keep an aloe plant around. It is also good on sun burns. Just cut open the long leaf arm and rub the inside over your skin. It’ll dry. However, even without burning, I recommend olive oil as a favorite everyday ‘lotion’.

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Fragrant Floral Eatables

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Eat a Rose. Be a Rose. Smell like a Rose. Yes, Roses are definitely edible as are so many others of our floral friends — as long as they’re not sprayed and are grown in a protected, organic, sustainable space. And given that we are what we eat, edible flowers should definitely be on the preferred short list. I don’t see Marigolds on the list. That’s fine with me. It’s not a scent I’d like to be. Though when planted with certain veggies etc., they’re supposed to discourage pests. Now there’s an interesting idea to consider at times.

Having cultivated and eaten several varieties of edible flowers, though I can attest most definitely that I’ve not become one, they are uniquely pleasing on the palate as they are to the eye with the benefit of being nutritionally good for you.

When I’m commissioned to bake natural wedding cakes, my decorations often include edible flowers. But the pictures should be taken first…the novelty plus their tastes make them disappear fast. With edible flowers also as part of the table decorations, the aroma and scent become unforgettable for an unforgettable day not only for the ceremonial couple but also for their guests. And the taste? Well, that’s remarkably unforgettable as well. Edible flowers can be included in the themes for all occasions as eatable decorations while marking extremely memorable occasions with flavor and fun. Just make sure the tastes compliment the full dinner and decor themes. But really how can you go wrong with the limitless color choices from the ultimate living rainbow?

Roses –
Flavors depend on type, color, and soil conditions. Flavor reminiscent of strawberries and green apples. Sweet, with subtle undertones ranging from fruit to mint to spice. All roses are edible, with the flavor being more pronounced in the darker varieties. In miniature varieties can garnish ice cream and desserts, or larger petals can be sprinkled on desserts or salads. Freeze them in ice cubes and float them in punches also. Petals used in syrups, jellies, perfumed butters and sweet spreads. NOTE: Be sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petals
Rose Petal Jam

Day Lilies – Slightly sweet with a mild vegetable flavor, like sweet lettuce or melon. Their flavor is a combination of asparagus and zucchini. Chewable consistency. Some people think that different colored blossoms have different flavors. To use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower. Also great to stuff like squash blossoms. Flowers look beautiful on composed salad platters or crowning a frosted cake. Sprinkle the large petals in a spring salad. In the spring, gather shoots two or three inches tall and use as a substitute for asparagus. NOTE: Many Lilies contain alkaloids and are NOT edible. Day Lilies may act as a diuretic or laxative; eat in moderation

Borage – Has lovely cornflower blue star-shaped flowers. Blossoms have a cool, cucumber taste. Wonderful in punches, lemonade, gin and tonics, sorbets, chilled soups, cheese tortas, and dips.

Nasturtiums – Bright, happy, tasty. A definite favorite of mine. Come in varieties ranging from trailing to upright and in brilliant sunset colors with peppery flavors. Nasturtiums rank among most common edible flowers. Blossoms have a sweet, spicy flavor similar to watercress. Stuff whole flowers with savory mousse. Leaves add peppery tang to salads. Pickled seed pods are less expensive substitute for capers. Use entire flowers to garnish platters, salads, cheese tortas, open-faced sandwiches, and savory appetizers.

Lavender – Sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes. Flowers look beautiful and taste good too in a glass of champagne, with chocolate cake, or as a garnish for sorbets or ice creams. Lavender lends itself to savory dishes also, from hearty stews to wine-reduced sauces. Diminutive blooms add a mysterious scent to custards, flans or sorbets. NOTE: Do not consume lavender oil unless you absolutely know that it has not been sprayed and is culinary safe.
Fresh flowers bring the outside in — the sweet aroma, the compelling hypnotic scent that can make you stop what you’re doing instantly.You close your eyes tilting your head slightly upward straining your neck gently, you flare your nostrils to breathe in as deeply as you can filling your lungs to savor not only the heaven scent but wanting to preserve that memory to your very fiber, to the marrow of your bones. I swear that if you pay rapt attention, you can feel your brain responding, swelling with the sheer relaxation of the scent and sending that same command of openness and reception throughout your body and spirit. Even tho it might only be moments the memory of those flowers, fragrances, and feelings will be with you forever.

Of your five senses, smell is usually the only one associated with flowers. Most people never think of them as food. And I can understand that until I discovered their edibility. I become transported with the sweet fragrance of my mother-in-law’s Honeysuckle tree. Equally wonderful – the flowers are edible!
My whole approach and outlook toward food, when not cooked for medicinal purposes is to have fun with it. And what’s more fun at your own dinner table than to be able to eat your floral designs!

The pictures above with descriptions come from the link below.

Two other recommended sites:

Of course you want to stay away from the poisonous ones. Below are a couple of websites for those and others to lead you in a more accurate and safe direction:

Drugs: Keep Them Under Wraps

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

‘Medicine’ cabinets, if there is such a thing anymore, are no longer off limits to our teens. Prescription pill popping is so common place now with media advertising and TV commercials targeting young parents to baby boomer grand parents that it’s no wonder our teens take it to heart that it’s okay for them to do it too. Wrong. Parents, if you must pop ’em, protect them and do it out of plain sight and pain sight. Keep them inaccessible. Better still, find natural alternative ways to deal with your issues. With teens, you’re not the only ones in your house and they are very sensitive, very aware of what’s going on. It’s obvious to them that it’s permissible.

How do you protect them from the side effects that they don’t even consider along with the drugs, which undermine their entire psyche making them anti-social, anti-school, anti-communicative, and anti-help driving them into further depression to the point of being suicidal? Most people forget that pharmaceutical drugs are mostly derived from plants. Try researching the natural derivatives with a natural health practitioner and natural foods to help your teens.

Peer pressure, anxiety, and moodiness as hormones change or make their debut are common and part of growing up. With aware parents they will get through. We all did. The epidemic increase of depression is one of the most troublesome teen problems. A March 1st, ’09 full page add in the NYTimes from the The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, stated that “1 in 5 high school teens admits to abusing prescription drugs.” That’s an epidemic that we have to face. But how can we face it when those drugs come from mom and dad, the two people these kids need to trust more than anyone else in their lives.

Drugs are drugs. They trust us and we trust the pharmacies. Wrong. Another quote:“taking drugs without a prescription can be as dangerous and addictive as using street drugs.” It’s easy when they’re 2 -years-old. Oh, those terrible 2’s! Flexing their gimmees and NOs. But the teen years are more contemplative, more quietly discontent, dark countenances, tenuousness, fear of life’s coming unknowns, slamming doors, unresponsiveness, withdrawing into themselves, and within their rooms. What to do. Make a haven of relaxation, acceptance, and natural snacks to munch on.

We’re creating a generation of prescription addicted teens.Be aware of their moods. You were there. With each birthday expect the expected and let them know that what they’re going through is not unexpected. Tell them you got through it. You’re there for them. Explain to them why you’re taking those drugs specific to what condition and that they don’t have it and how harmful it can be for them. Their anger and hostility are pretty normal to a degree. It’s OK. You’ve got their backs. You love them regardless…forever. Together make a lifestyle change to a more natural approach.

One solution to consider while keeping that lid on your drugs, start introducing natural alternative remedies and foods into your lives. Help them cope by helping them change their brain chemistry with non chemical, natural foods and nutrients. Get them into the kitchen with you to cook their favorite meal. Teens can feel isolated and alone which can drive them to drugs. Hug ’em. They never tire of that or hearing your validations of love.

Take them or better yet, send them for an Aromatherapy massage. Now there’s a constructive suggestion. Those are sooooo nice, relaxing and therapeutic for guys and gals to get rid of tension if only for a little while. Put some fragrances around the house, whatever they like or try something new. Change the pictures on the walls and the furniture around the house. Break the monotony in the house for them. Drag out some new childhood photos. Make the issue subtly not pointedly just to let them know you notice and care. Take a LOVE time out. Create an atmosphere of love and trust so they come to you rather than go your ‘medicine’ cabinet.

ABOUT: Wellness Chef Helen Sandler
Lecturer, personal chef, teacher, wellness coach, & speaker, Helen promotes a healthier lifestyle through common sense, organic / natural approach to a happier, positive life.

Helen Sandler is used to being an innovator and at the cutting edge of whole foods whole grains awareness. After graduating from SUNY, New York with a teaching degree, she began to follow her real passion for healthy cooking which took her from Los Angeles to Boston to attend the cooking school of the late and great master Japanese natural chef, Aveline Kushi. Later that passion took her to Kyoto, Japan to continue her studies, where she spent four more years learning the art of healthy Japanese cooking (Seishoku).

As Wellnes Chef Helen she is the featured authority at CTNgreen /wellness with articles in the library there and the virtual paperless magazine at CTNGreen Magazine