The Original Gluten-Free Food (from Brazil)
Jul19

The Original Gluten-Free Food (from Brazil)

by Edna Sousa One day I was talking about the things that grow on you when living in a foreign country. I was listing some of the snacks that I have come to love in America and I made a comparison with our Brazilian Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese bread or balls) and I realized how much our snacks mean to us and how much they are part of our experience. For me, Brazilian cheese balls are important as food and as cosmetics too. So I decided to write about the Pao de Queijo flour, and its derivative. Growing up in Brazil we learn as a child, all about the legends behind the food ingredients names and manioca is one of those. The name in Portuguese is mandioca (man-djee-oh-kah), but the legend is from the Tupis, the native Brazilian tribe with huge influence on Brazilian vocabulary. Manioca in Tupi means Mani (which is the name of the legendary little Tupi girl) plus Oca (meaning a house) so Manioca is the house of the little Tupi girl. Legend says the Tupi Chief had a daughter with very pale skin, and she suddenly got sick and died. They buried the girl in their house, after awhile, a plant grew in that same place. Manioc root is found in sub tropical areas around the globe, such as Africa, South America, India and Asia. Its ancient roots are in Brazil and were spread worldwide by Spaniards and Portuguese to their colonies, which belonged to the Manihot esculenta family. This root is rich in carbohydrates and is high in fiber that transforms the carbohydrate into energy quite slowly. Known by different names manioca, mandioca, cassava, manihot, tapioca, etc., manioc is now a global food. Tapioca is a starch made from fresh, toxin-free manioc plant. I say “toxin-free” because in the raw form, the root contains linamarin, which converts in cyanide compost, a dangerous poison for humans. Rich in minerals such as manganese, folic acid, Calcium, Iron, vitamin C and E, B Complex, and carbohydrates, it has been largely used for people with Celiac disease because it is gluten-free. The Europeans cosmetic scientists discovered the hydrolyzed manihot extract is a great active ingredient for reversing aging skin. Studies have shown the immediate tensor effect minimizing wrinkles and crow’s feet. In cosmetic formulations, the modified Tapioca starch is largely used for reducing greasiness in products, to increase the viscosity in creams and lotions and as a delivery vehicle for bath anhydrous (dry, water-free) products. So I believe the little Mani in Brazil never thought she would be useful for both the food and cosmetics industries. But...

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Health Benefits of Chocolate
Oct02

Health Benefits of Chocolate

Recently, chocolate has been getting a lot of attention not only as a yummy snack food, but also for its benefits to our mental and physical (not to mention sexual) well being. It seems that the special bean the god Quetzalcoatl gave to the Aztecs more than 800 years ago is rather magical indeed. Chocolate, or more specifically the Cacao fruit, first appears in historical records in Egypt in the 16th century BC. Little is know of its use in Egyptian culture, but we know that the Mayan culture used it and called it xocoatl, from which we get its current name. The Aztecs and Mayans believed that their ancestors brought the Cacao seeds from paradise. This fruit bestowed wisdom and power upon all who ate it or, in most cases…drank it. It’s suspected that the Cacao tree originated in the Amazon region. Chocolate for Heart Health As reported in the article Chocolate and Cardiovascular Health, chocolate’s rich flavonoid content is being recommended by medical professionals for heart health. The phenols contained in one chocolate bar are comparable to those in a glass of wine or cup of green tea. The article states, “Chocolate protects the development of heart disease by oxidizing LDLs (bad cholesterol) which protects them from damaging artery walls and helps reduce the chance of heart disease.” The article cites many studies that support the heart healthy benefits of chocolate. But this tasty treat has other health benefits. Other Health Benefits of Chocolate Among the more recognized health benefits of chocolate are those associated with its antioxidant content. In the article My Favorite Power Foods & Superfoods”, the author states that “Flavonoids reduce risk of heart disease and help clean the bloodstream and arteries of fat and other toxins. Cocoa also helps keep blood pressure down and regulates blood flow, not unlike a low dose of aspirin.” In her article Chocolate for Coughs and Other Medicinal Purposes, writer Annmarie Kostyk, cites many studies related to chocolate’s health beneifts, including its effectiveness as a cough syrup for children, its use in restoring memory in Alzheimer’s patients and its potential use in fighting cancer. All this and it tastes great too! Chocolate for Love Just when you thought chocolate couldn’t possibly get any better…we bring you a few of its less “technical” aspects. Chocolate has long been recognized as a natural aphrodisiac. It is known to regulate blood pressure, which can help with sexual performance and it releases endorphins. As one article puts it…”[chocolate] improves circulation, stimulates the nervous system and enhances the production of endorphins in the brain.” That’s a powerful combination for love. But chocolate has...

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Green Tea and Health
Sep13

Green Tea and Health

by Valerie Brooks Green tea is no longer confined to the beverage arena. Its myriad medicinal and curative effects include acting as an immunity booster, offering anti-cancer properties, improving insulin sensitivity, assisting with balancing cholesterol levels, and slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. To reap the most benefit from this wonder leaf, a host of products now contain green tea. While its ingestible form is usually seen in powder (great for mixing into beverages) or extract, which may come in liquid or pill form, now you can wear it, eat it, or even brush your teeth with it. Skincare Proactiv Solution Green Tea Moisturizer–very lightweight, great for acne-prone skin H2OPlus–offers an array of antioxidant products that includes Japanese green tea: Antioxidant Face Complex–hydrating formula for sensitive skin Urban Defense Lotion–Neutralizes free radical production using Japanese green tea antioxidants, which are reportedly 100 times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times more effective than vitamin E. Green Tea Antioxidant Serum–helps premature aging by protecting skin from environmental damage. Green Tea Skin Natural Anti-Aging Cream–this paraben and petroleum-free product uses green tea for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and rejuvenating properties. Haircare Abba Pure Shine Conditioner–this vegan and sulfate-free conditioner is ideal for dull, coarse hair, and uses a blend of green tea, tropical fruit extracts, and banana. June Jacobs Green Tea and Cucumber Conditioning Shampoo–this is a gentle shampoo with powerful antioxidant properties that is ideal for chemically treated hair. Aubrey Organics Green tea Finishing Cream Rinse–featuring organic green tea and nettle extract, this detangler is ideal for oily hair. Edibles Sencha Naturals Green Tea Bars–these gluten and wheat-free desserts contain 225 milligrams of polyphenols (potent antioxidant compounds) along with rice, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Three flavors include original, pear, and lemongrass. Green Tea Mints–these sugar and caffeine-free treats contain a blend of teas, botanicals, and mint oils create these innovative mints in original, pear, lemongrass, and lychee. The Cozy Tea Cart–An excellent comprehensive site offering a variety of green tea foods from a wide array of brands. www.thecozyteacart.com Tea-Infused Chocolates–From Keiko, these indulgent organic treat double packs the antioxidant benefits because of the tea and the chocolate. Caramel Green Tea Chews–these organic sweet delights are a great alternative to a sugar-filled treat. Tea-Infused Caramels–offered in cranberry or gingerbread orange, these hand-made fudge-like deserts melt in your mouth. Toothpastes Dr. Ken’s Toothpaste–offered in a variety of flavors, Dr. Ken’s Toothpastes are infused with green tea. Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Toothpaste–this fluoride-free toothpaste uses tea tree oil, neem, and baking soda. Jason’s Tea Tree Toothpaste–with tea tree oil to prevent plaque and decay, this natural toothpaste also has a kick...

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Natural Ayurvedic Cures for Insomnia & Difficulty Sleeping
Jul28

Natural Ayurvedic Cures for Insomnia & Difficulty Sleeping

All of us have experienced a bout of insomnia at one time or another. Whether the insomnia is from a lack of sleep, or non-restorative sleep (i.e. sleep that leaves you feeling un-rested), if it persists it can lead to more serious emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. There are many sleep medications on the market today, but most medical doctors don’t recommend taking them for more than several days due to side effects and a risk of dependency. Ultimately, the goal with any sleep disorder is to restore a normal, natural sleeping pattern. Ayurvedic Treatments for Insomnia If you suffer from occasional insomnia, try any or all of these simple Ayurvedic remedies to see if they can help you get a good night’s sleep: Drink a cup of warm milk with ½ teaspoon of nutmeg before bed. Massage the bottoms of the feet with oil. Leave the oil on the feet during the night – wear some old socks to spare your sheets. Any kind of oil is fine, but you could customize your massage oil to your predominant dosha (body type – Vata, Pitta or Kapha) for extra benefit. Oil infused with an herb called brahmi is good for people with a predominantly Pitta constitution. Coconut oil is a good choice for Pitta. Vata people should use a warming oil such as sesame. A drop of lavender essential oil can also be helpful for either dosha. (Kaphas tend not to experience insomnia!) Massaging the scalp with oil is also beneficial. Having oil on the head has a sedative effect on the mind. Lay an old towel over your pillow so you can leave the oil on your head over night. Herbal teas with valerian and/or chamomile have a calming effect and can help quiet an overactive mind. They won’t necessarily make you sleepy like a pharmaceutical, but they will calm a mind that can’t stop thinking. In some cases it will have enough of an effect so that your natural sleep process can take over. Instead of watching television or reading before bed, do a few yoga poses that turn the attention inward (try standing or seated forward bends, or plow pose). Spinal twists can release muscle tension and ease the physical body into a more relaxed state. After your yoga poses, sit for ten to fifteen minutes of silent meditation, observing your breath moving in and out of your body. Experiment with left-nostril breathing. Press your right nostril closed with your right thumb. Begin taking long, slow deep breaths in and out through your left nostril. If your left nostril is plugged up, be patient....

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Geotherapy: Using the Earth for Beauty (SuperFood Clay Mask)

Geotherapy is the use of clay for therapeutic treatment. It’s not new. For centuries people have used clay for beauty and even prevention against health problems. And who hasn’t heard about the use of therapeutic clay bathes often found in hot springs and famous in the Mediterranean region? The cosmetic benefits of clay is amazing, cleansing the skin and promoting circulation. Rich in minerals such as Manganese, Aluminum, Magnesium, Copper, Titanium, Phosphorus, Calcium, Potassium, Litium, Selenium, Sodium, Iron, Silicium, Zinc, among others, clay absorbs excess oils and heals acne and deep skin blemishes. A well formulated clay mask, regulates skin production and detoxifies at the same time. It stimulates micro circulation inside the skin cells, promotes micro exfoliation, and rejuvenates the fiber of collagen. Normally the clay masks are wet, but I want to tell you about one that comes dry and includes green superfoods along with geotherapy of clay to provide extra nutrition for the skin. SuperFood Facial Mask by Arido Skincare has all the ingredients in powder, giving long shelf-life to the product, plus your choice of the kind of liquid you’d like to use to moisten it. My favorite? Rose Water. Need I say more? Arido SuperFood Facial Mask has two differents types of clay: the Bentonite (light green), from volcanic areas contains 60% Silicium. The pH is more alkaline, has anti-acne and absorbent properties. And the other one is Kaolim (white) clay, rich in amino acids and minerals that regulates the skin’s pH. It’s rich in oligoelements, has lightening, hydrating, firming, soothing and rejuvenating properties. Now for the superfoods it contains: Kelp: kelp contains more than 50 minerals and 20 amino acids It has firming, mineralizing, and hydrating properties. Organic Whole Stevia Leaf: has healing properties, preventing the skin from scarring. Flaxseed Meal: prevents the skin from loosing water, maintaining hydration. Slippery Elm Bark: heals inflamed, itchy and irritated skin. Maitake: This adaptogenic superfood feeds your cells with nutrients and healing properties, aids circulation and collagen production. Using Arido SuperFood Facial Mask is easy, just 1 level teaspoon in a non-aluminum bowl, add 10 sprays of rose water or until it’s wet and muddy. Apply and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off. Apply the nutritive crème of your choice. The mask can be used once a week. You can order yours directly from Arido at this exclusive...

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Beautiful Legs for Spring & Summer

You can bet that legs will be IN this Spring and Summer. As the weather warms up, the legs come out into the light. Are yours ready? Well, you can get your legs ready with toning exercises, waxing and exfoliation treatments and, above all, cover makeup for legs! That’s right, you can hide blemishes and uneven spots with a spray-on cover for legs. We’re not talking about tanning products, which are full of harsh chemicals. This is a simple, natural product that contains macadamia oil for healthy skin and it won’t rub off on your clothes. FabuLegs is a simple, spray-on makeup that hides blemishes and makes your legs look great…and natural. Your legs CAN look great with a great cover product, like...

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