Tag - Healthy Lifestyle

Whole Foods Spotlight: Black Eyed Peas

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well” – Virginia Woolf

It is in this spirit that we present re:iimmune’s new blog series “Whole Foods Spotlight” where we will focus in on a specific whole food, its nutritional benefits and provide you with a few links to some tasty recipes that may inspire you to add more of that particular food into your diet. After all, good health begins with good nutrition! This week we focus on the protein/potassium powerhouse.  . . black eyed peas!

If you are from the southern United States, chances are you’ll have your black eyed peas on New Year’s for good luck. If you don’t know about this tradition, check out this article on americanfood.about.com . Today we want to share some of the amazing health benefits packed in this powerful little pea, which is actually a bean.

Black eyed peas are used in cuisines throughout the world. In the southern region of the United States, “Hoppin’ John” is perhaps the traditional dish folks would have on New Year’s to ensure their luck. In Portugal, black eyed peas accompany cod and potatoes. Egyptians call them “lobia” and use them in very popular rice dish cooked with garlic, onions, tomato juice and meat.  Meanwhile, in Vietnam they are used in a sweet sticky rice and coconut milk dessert called chè đậu trắng and in India they are used in many ways, including a curry made with black eyed peas and potatoes. A popular traditional street food of Brazil is called akara, which originates from Nigeria. The black eyed peas are peeled, mashed and then the paste is used to form balls which are then deep fried. They are usually served split in half and stuffed with Vatapá (a dish made of bread, shrimp, coconut milk, finely ground peanuts and palm oil mashed into a creamy paste) and a condiment called caruru which is made from okra, onion, shrimp, palm oil and peanuts or cashews. Akara is topped with diced green and red tomatoes, fried sun-dried shrimp and homemade hot sauce. There are so many delicious ways to use this simple little bean!

Not only are black eyed peas delicious, they are highly nutritious. They are packed with potassium and protein. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure which lowers your risk of heart disease and it supports muscle and bone health too. Getting cramps in your legs or feet? Foods rich in potassium are the first things to reach for. As for protein, they are a smart alternative for those who don’t eat meat. Protein supports the health of most of the parts of your body including muscles, skin, hair and nails and it also helps your cells repair and grow while providing you with energy.  Dried black-eyed peas contain 6.7 g of protein per ½ cup and the same size serving of canned black eyed peas contain 5.7 g.  Be sure to rinse canned beans of any kind to reduce sodium and to help prevent problems with flatulence. They are a great high fiber, low calorie food to rely on if you are trying to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

We already provided a couple of links to some seriously great black eyed pea recipes above but here are a few more very simple ways to incorporate more of this whole food into your diet. . .

Black Eyed Peas and Dill Potato Skillet

Hot Black Eyed Pea Dip

Black Eyed Pea Salad

#TBT – Witch Hazel – History and Benefits

Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We’ll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care. Today we focus on wonderful Witch Hazel!

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Indigenous to North America, hamamelis or witch hazel has been prized for thousands of years for it’s astringent, anti-inflammatory and healing benefits. Native Americans boiled the bark and leaves to create an extract that was valued for its cooling and healing properties in treating swellings and inflammations. Early New England Puritans copied the idea and it’s use in America has been widespread after Dr. Charles Hawes found that steam distillation of the plant’s twigs was more effective. “Hawes Extract” came on the market in Essex, Connecticut in 1846. The process was further refined by Thomas Newton Dickinson, Sr. who began the commercial production of the product. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel is still on the market today.

Because it’s naturally rich in tannins, which have a drying effect, witch hazel’s astringent powers have been found to be helpful in treating hemorrhoids, minor bleeding and skin irritation from insect bites and poison ivy. Some folks have also had success in using it to treat psoriasis and eczema. Because of it’s skin tightening properties, it’s also effective at slowing down and stopping bleeding from small cuts and scrapes.

Witch Hazel is also prized by “Water Diviners” who practice an ancient technique called dowsing wherein a limb or branch of a tree is used to “divine” where water is located underground. They are also a great choice for landscaping as they are hardy, low maintenance and ignored by most pests. Whether you consider them a small tree or a large shrub, they are manageably sized, topping out at 10 to 20 feet. Some varieties will spread nearly as wide, making them a great addition when wanting to cover a lot of space in the yard. Best of all is the beautiful yellow glow you’ll see in your yard when its leaves turn in early autumn. Then in late fall, its spicy smelling, spidery shaped yellow flowers appear and will remain on the branches long after the leaves have fallen.

We can enjoy witch hazel’s beauty and also incorporate it into our own beauty routine! It’s commonly used as a toner and some folks claim that it helps to reduce puffiness and dark circles under the eyes. To test it out for yourself, mix equal parts witch hazel and aloe vera gel and pat under the eyes. We’ve included links to some other Do-It-Yourself beauty products that include witch hazel below. Enjoy!

 

DIY Rosemary, Cedarwood and Witch Hazel Facial Toner

DIY Mouthwash with Witch Hazel, Peppermint and Aloe Vera Juice

Homemade Makeup Remover Wipes

Whole Foods Spotlight – Pumpkin

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well” – Virginia Woolf

It is in this spirit that we present re:iimmune’s new blog series “Whole Foods Spotlight” where we will focus in on a specific whole food, its nutritional benefits and provide you with a few links to some tasty recipes that may inspire you to add more of that particular food into your diet. After all, good health begins with good nutrition! With Halloween just around the corner, it’s a perfect time to talk pumpkins!

Pumpkin on white background.

 

 

Fall means pumpkin flavored everything and we’re totally on board! That said, lattes and pumpkin spice muffins do more for you spiritually than they do nutritionally speaking. Even though 90% of a pumpkin is water, that other 10% is packed with a wealth of nutritional benefits. We hope to inspire you to add more of this great gourd into your diet and reap the rewards!

The oldest pumpkin seeds found so far came from Mexico, dating somewhere between 7000 and 5500 BC, so it’s believed that the plant is indigenous to North America. However, pumpkins from that time are not the round orange varieties we carve into jack o’lanterns today. Rather they were a crooked neck variety which stored well during long winters. After maize (corn) was introduced, some Native Americans began a clever planting technique known as “The Three Sisters.”  Corn and beans were planted together so that the beans would twine their way up the corn stalks. Pumpkin and other gourds were planted at the base as the plant’s large leaves helped create shade and hold moisture to the roots of the companion plants.

Like carrots, pumpkins contain carotenoids which give it that orange hue and support healthy eyes and better night vision. Studies have shown that carotenoids also provide some protection from cataracts and age related macular degeneration. The pumpkin is also rich in beta carotene which has been shown to reduce cell damage and improve immune function.

They are also a great source of magnesium which is important for energy levels, a healthy nervous system and strong bones and muscles. Finally, one cup of pumpkin has a whopping 245% of recommended daily amount of Vitamin A!

We decided to skip over the zillions of pumpkin dessert options for our recipe suggestions since we know you’ll get your share of those lattes and slices of pumpkin pie this season. Instead we’ve opted to give you some links to more savory ways to get more pumpkin in your diet. Enjoy!

 

Caramelized Onion and Pumpkin Soup with Curry Yogurt Sauce

Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce and Pecans

Savory Pumpkin and Sage Scones

#TBT – Chamomile – History and Benefits

Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We’ll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care.

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Ancient Egyptians believed chamomile to be a universal cure all and it certainly has a long history of being used to cure many ills and ailments. Both varieties of Chamomile, German and Roman, belong to the Astereraceae (daisy) family and are familiar to most people due to their popular use in teas to calm and soothe. It’s sometimes even called “the plant’s physician” as chamomile seems to help revive failing plants growing near it. In ancient Wales it was planted upon loved ones’ graves to bring about a happy afterlife.  Here in this world, it has many beneficial uses!

Chamomile has been used throughout history to calm upset stomachs, ease headaches, toothaches, teething babies, pink-eye, and to soothe sunburns. Chamomile oil is produced through steam distillation and during the process, a blue organic compound called azulene is produced. It is this compound, high in anti-inflammatory properties that makes it a good choice for alleviating the  pains of arthritis and sore muscles and joints. Known for it’s power of soothing, it’s long been used in nighttime teas to promote a good and restful sleep.

As with any herb, there are always precautions to think about. Too much chamomile can induce vomiting and some folks who are allergic to ragweed can have similar reactions. Also, it contains coumarin which is a natural blood thinner. So if you are already taking a blood thinner such as warfarin, you will want to check with your doctor.

This pretty little herb also has a long history of being used in beauty products and treatments. It’s traditionally a  go-to for calming inflammation in the skin such as eczema and acne and reducing puffiness around the eyes.  Cosmetically speaking, it’s best known for bringing out highlights in blonde hair and for subtle lightening of darker tones. To do so, simply brew a strong cup of chamomile tea and let it cool. Apply to certain strands for highlights or do an overall rinse. Sit in the sunshine for about thirty minutes and then wash it out.

Finally, chamomile is just one of the sweetest  little flowers around! It’s fairly easy to grow, lovely to look at and a must have in the herb garden.

Natural Ingredients for Home Cleaning

 

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Last week we shared with you some tips to keep in mind in our post Fall Cleaning for Optimum Health. This week we’re sharing some basic, natural ingredients you can use to get your home to sparkle! Many cleaners on the market are filled with not so natural ingredients that can aggravate our breathing, sinuses and aren’t so easy on the environment. The natural ingredients below are cheaper, do just as good of a job and are much healthier for you and the planet.

 

Baking Soda

Also known as Sodium Bicarbonate, good old fashioned baking soda is known for it’s abilities as a gentle yet effective scrub and neutralizer of odors. Here are some great uses for this ingredient in home cleaning. . .

~ Sink and bathtub drains getting clogged and smelling not so fresh? Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, along with half a cup of vinegar. Watch it fizz and bubble and ponder the wonders of science! Rinse with several cups of hot water and use the excess in the sink to scrub down the sides and bottom for a sparkly shine.

~ Many of you probably already have a box in your fridge to absorb nasty smells. (Activated Charcoal also works well for this!) and we recommend sprinkling some into the trash can and putting a box in closets as well to eliminate odors.

~ Have those old metal tracks in your windows that get clogged up with dirt and grime? Here’s a great trick to clean them using baking soda and a few other ingredients from theintentionalmom.com!

~ Freshen up mattresses by combining five tablespoons of baking soda and five teaspoons of lavender essential oil and using a sieve to sprinkle over the mattress. Leave it there for about a half hour and then vacuum up.

 

Black Tea

Black tea is brilliant for cleaning your hardwood floors. Black tea contains polyphenolic compounds which helps eliminate germs and the tannins in the tea help enhance the color of the wood and hide small scratches. Another natural item to use to help hide scratches in your wood floor are walnuts. Yes walnuts! Rub the meat of the nut into the scratch and it fills in the crack to smooth the surface.

 

Vinegar

Vinegar is extremely versatile. It works like a charm at cleaning glass and windows. Just mix half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle. Try using newspapers instead of paper towels or rags for less lint and a streak free shine. Vinegar is also your go to for getting rid of grime, grease and stickiness on surfaces. Have kids in the home who like to put stickers on every surface they aren’t supposed to? Squirt a little vinegar on it, let it sit for a bit and the sticker should wipe up in no time.

Vinegar is also great for getting rid of mineral deposits around faucets, shower heads and in automatic coffee makers. The smell of vinegar fades pretty quickly but if you just can’t stomach the scent, add in a little essential oil of your choice or try out this Pine Scented Vinegar recipe.

 

Hydrogen Peroxide

This powerhouse ingredient is known for whitening and brightening as well as killing bacteria. It can be used in the laundry to whiten and get rid of yellowing, on cutting boards to kill germs and on shower curtains or other items that have mold and mildew.

Battling filthy tile and grout? You don’t need bleach and other harsh chemicals. Mix together ½ cup baking soda, ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap and gently scrub the grime away.

 

Important Tip

Natural does not always mean safe! Hydrogen Peroxide + Vinegar = Peracetic Acid which can corrode surfaces and can irritate your skin, eyes and lungs. So never combine these two ingredients together.

Fall Cleaning for Optimum Health

 

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While spring is typically the season when most people think of doing a big house cleaning, there are many important reasons to do the same in the fall. We’re all ready to cozy up and refresh our nests so that we can be comfortable, prepare for the holidays and keep healthy in the long winter ahead! Here are some things to keep in mind as you do your fall cleaning. . .

 

Bed Pillows

One of the biggest battles in a home is fighting against dust. Did you know that dust is comprised mostly of dead skin cells that we are constantly shedding? Getting rid of dust on furniture is something to do quite often to help with your breathing and allergies. Several times a year it’s a good idea to rid areas that aren’t often thought about. Bed pillows also collect dust, mold spores and other allergens. It’s best to clean your pillows three to four times a year and while we’ve got fall cleaning on the brain, it’s a perfect time to take care of them.

Add a half cup of baking soda to your laundry detergent and if concerned about dust mites, eucalyptus oil is a great addition as well. To help keep your pillows fluffed up, put a couple of tennis balls into old socks and toss them in the dryer with the pillows.

 

Speaking of Dust

Don’t forget your walls, ceilings, curtains and overhead fans while doing your fall cleaning. It’s always a good idea to start high when cleaning and work your way down to the floor. It’s no fun to get all the dust up out of corners and off of surfaces and then look up and realize you’re going to have to knock down all that dust up high onto those newly clean surfaces. After cleaning those high areas, wait a few minutes for the dust to settle before you continue cleaning anything else. It’s always fun to spend a few minutes daydreaming and watching the dust spores fall through the sunshine as they settle. Do you remember doing that as a kid?

After daydreaming, it’s back to reality and it’s time to think about having the air ducts in your home cleaned by a professional. You yourself can change the air filter in your furnace to keep things running smoothly and to keep the air in your home clean and healthy.

 

‘Tis the Season to Purge

Fall is a great time to get rid of unnecessary clutter. Think about going through your closets and selecting clothing and coats for donation. The holidays are just around the corner so it’s also a good time to go through children’s toys and pare down before the gift deluge hits.

Another area to look at is the kitchen. Go through the fridge, freezer and pantry and use up or get rid of those things that have expired or are about to go bad. Don’t forget the spice drawer! Spices tend to lose their potency over time. Some good guidelines…

Ground Spices: 2-3 years

Dried Herbs: 1-2 years

Whole Spices, Seeds and Extracts: 4 years

Check out Treehugger.com. They have some great ideas for what to do with those expired spices, so don’t throw them out just yet!

 

 

Very few of us really LOVE to clean but we love how the house feels when it’s all done! So put on your comfiest clothes and bliss out to your favorite tunes. Before you know it, you’ll have a cleaner and healthier home which will lift your spirits and make the next season much merrier and brighter.
Check back next week when we’ll share some great natural ingredients for home cleaning!

Whole Foods Spotlight – Apples

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well” – Virginia Woolf

It is in this spirit that we present re:iimmune’s new blog series “Whole Foods Spotlight” where we will focus in on a specific whole food, its nutritional benefits and provide you with a few links to some tasty recipes that may inspire you to add more of that particular food into your diet. After all, good health begins with good nutrition! This week we’re thinking it’s about time to go apple picking so read on to learn more about this delicious fruit!

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The Amazing Attributes of Apples

One of life’s great pleasures is biting into a juicy apple with just the right balance of tart vs. sweet. Thanks to hybrids and cultivars, there are over 7,000 varieties in the world! Rich in antioxidants and high in fiber, apples are among the world’s healthiest foods. In Norse mythology a magic apple was said to keep people young forever and while that may be a bit of hyperbole, there’s certainly enough health benefits to this crunchy treat to make it a regular part of your diet.

Studies have shown that eating an apple a day may very well keep the heart doctor away. The fruit helps to lower cholesterol levels and prevent buildup in the arteries. Pectin, a type of soluble fiber, binds to fatty substances in the digestive tract. Not only does this help rid the body of cholesterol and aid in digestion but this same fiber is why apples are a top pick for a snack as they keep you feeling full longer. Studies have shown that they may also help in the prevention of gallstones and lowering the risk for asthma.

Good Things to Know

~ Eat the peel! Much of the apple’s antioxidants and nutrients are in it’s natural wrapper.

~  One bad apple really can ruin the bunch. If bruised or damaged, an apple begins producing ethylene gas which affects the other apples and dramatically decreases their shelf life.

To prevent browning of sliced apples, place them in cold water with a spoonful of lemon juice.

 

Yummy Apple Recipes

Honey Crisp Apple Salad with Candied Walnuts and Sweet Spiced Cider Vinaigrette

Apple and Cheddar Quiche with Olive Oil and Thyme Crust

Chicken Apple Meatballs with Bourbon Sauce

You Don’t Have to be Sick to re:iimmune

Why Wednesday

 

“FortunatPaula_WhyWednesdayely, we haven’t had chemo, radiation, or an especially severe case of bad “gut health.”  However, it is possible that we represent a large percentage of those who use re:iimmune on a daily, weekly or bi-weekly basis for our general health and comfort.  I first became aware of the product about two years ago when my husband had a rather long and unexplained problem with his tummy.  He drank one dose a day for about a week and just that quickly he felt so much better.  We have experienced the usual upsets typical of 90 and 80 year olds, but since discovering re:iimmune the difference is that we know what to do about it now.”  -Paula Ahlborn

Here at Make People Better headquarters, we often hear the question: “do I have to be sick to drink re:iimmune®?” Of course not! The truth is, I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t benefit from Clinical Strength Hydration® and Intestinal Immune support. Drinking re:iimmune® on a regular basis is a wonderful way to build up your immune system, and feel better, better™ . The Zinc and 275mg of ginger root in re:iimmune® give your body an extra immune boost, and also aid in reducing upset digestive patterns, and soothing nausea. Ginger alone packs a powerful punch in conjunction with generalized health, you can read more about that here.

We regularly hear from our faithful customers and friends that drinking re:iimmune® every single day has made a definite improvement on their quality of life, and for numerous reasons. Moment of truth: I personally live, eat, and breathe this stuff, but even I don’t remember to drink it every single day, yet, as soon as I start to feel sluggish or physically off, I crave it immediately! Moral of the story is that your health journey is yours, and it will be unique for each individual. As a health conscious person, you’re surely going to attempt to drink enough water in a day, eat foods that promote a healthy digestive pattern, and possibly even supplement with a probiotic formula on occasion. The beauty of re:iimmune® is that it’s truly the whole package in one tiny packet. For the days when you haven’t had time to sit down (much less drink an adequate amount of water), for the days that you cave and  wind up eating that one thing you know your body will not thank you for later, for the days that you just want to lay your head down on your desk and call it quits, re:iimmune® just might be the pick up you need! As for Paula and I, we sure think so. Until next Wednesday, Get better, better™!