How to get Vitamin D #healthyliving

A little over a year ago I discovered a spot behind my ear. That spot turned out to be basal cell carcinoma. It’s probably the most common form of skin cancer. Though if you are going to have to get skin cancer this would be the one. It’s fairly easily treated and generally doesn’t spread. So for me it was really a non event.

Still Tuesday I had a follow-up with my dermatologist. Well, only minutes into my visit the doctor notice a mild tan line on my legs. And so it started, my scolding. ‘YOUR NOT USING SUN SCREEN.’ Then she spied my arms. Much darker tan lines. The Dr.’s Voice went up now.

This brings me to the point of this post. How do you get vitamin D? Continue reading “How to get Vitamin D #healthyliving”


Can spicy food improve your health #healthyliving

Recently I was reading an article posted on Sniperhorizon. In this article the author states that eating hot foods has some rather amazing health benefits. The title alone drew me in, Spicy food changes your brain and health. So I had to read. After all, I love hot foods and I am the curious sort. Two rather amazing claims were made in the article.

Continue reading “Can spicy food improve your health #healthyliving”

The Dirty Dozen – What to do? #Healthy Living

Recently I discovered (EWG = Environmental Working Group) They maintain an updated list of 48 popular fruits and vegetables organized by pesticide contamination levels as tested by the USDA and FDA.

EWG’s 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Clean 15 Dirty Dozen
1 Avocados 1 Strawberries
2 Sweet Corn* 2 Apples
3 Pineapples 3 Nectarines
4 Cabbage 4 Peaches
5 Sweet peas frozen 5 Celery
6 Onions 6 Grapes
7 Asparagus 7 Cherries
8 Mangos 8 Spinach
9 Papayas* 9 Tomatoes
10 Kiwi 10 Sweet bell peppers
11 Eggplant 11 Cherry tomatoes
12 Honeydew Melon 12 Cucumbers
13 Grapefruit
14 Cantaloupe
15 Cauliflower
* A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from GE seedstock. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid GE produce.

So what do you do?

2 things – Wash your produce or Avoid the contamination in the first place.

Does washing work? A post on Dr.Gourmet says:

“It appears so. In an article published in 1996 researchers at the Southwest Research Institute reported on their experience in washing various produce items. Their results:

For grapes, strawberries, green beans and leafy vegetables they swirled the items in a dilute solution of Palmolive dish detergent and water at room temperature for 5 to 10 seconds. They then rinsed with warm water. The solution was 1 teaspoon of the Palmolive in a gallon of water.

For other fruits and vegetables they used a soft brush to scrub the food with the detergent solution for about 5 to 10 seconds and then rinsed with warm water. They didn’t include such items as lettuces and citrus fruits, because their analysis showed that most of the pesticides were in the outer leaves or the rinds, which were not eaten. Washing, they found, removed about 75% of the pesticides.”

Another clear choice is to try and avoid the pesticide contamination entirely by choosing to source your produce in another way.

One way to avoid pesticides, probably the most budget friendly, is to grow your own fruits and vegetables pesticide free in your own garden. There are many health benefits to gardening that go way beyond the produce you are after. Benefits very similar to the Japanese practice of Shirin-Yoku, like reduced stress, lowered blood pressure, enhanced immunity….

If, however, you are like me you can’t grow all of the produce you enjoy eating. You still have a choice if you want to avoid pesticides.Vote with your wallet and buy organic. Eventually, the conventional growers will get the hint.

Buying organic can be an expensive option. One that for us can be and usually is cost prohibitive. This is where the EWG list comes in. Rather than purchase all of your produce organic buy only the “The dirty dozen” organic. Why?

The EWG site states that for the Dirty Dozen for 2016:

  • More than 98 percent of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines, and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
  • A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
  • Single samples of strawberries showed 17 different pesticides.

Whereas for the Clean 15:

  • Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
  • Some 89 percent of pineapples, 81 percent of papayas, 78 percent of mangoes, 73 percent of kiwi and 62 percent of cantaloupes had no residues.
  • No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
  • Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen™ vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.

So it would seem the most budget friendly way to avoid pesticides is to grow you own produce. If you can’t then consider avoiding the EWG’s Dirty Dozen.

For more healthy living tips click here




Children who eat candy tend to weigh less than those who don’t. REALY??? #healthyliving

It’s my opinion that most of us want to be healthy.

Given the option of two food items one labeled as more healthy than the other and otherwise identical which would you chose? I would venture to guess most would chose the one with the positive health claims. But I would also not be surprised to see a fairly large group who just don’t care!

Why?! Why would anyone not care what they put in their bodies? Continue reading “Children who eat candy tend to weigh less than those who don’t. REALY??? #healthyliving”

Planting Companions — Garden Snips #healthyliving

This is a great companion planting reference chart from Gardensnips

The interactions between garden plants have not been extensively studied in carefully controlled trials, so there isn’t much hard scientific data on the abilities of different species to help (or hurt) each other when they’re grown close together. But over the years, gardeners’ observations have formed a body of advice that’s impressive enough to be […]

via Planting Companions — Garden Snips

Picking and Using Herbs #Healthyliving

I’ve been working on putting in a Creole Garden with Herbs in it. Herbs offer a great opportunity to turn just about any ordinary meal into an extraordinary meal.

Of course if you are growing your own herbs you want to be sure that you get the most out out it. You want to pick it at the best time for both flavor and quality. You also want to store it in such a way that it says fresh the longest.

Continue reading “Picking and Using Herbs #Healthyliving”

A walk in the Forrest can improve your health! #healthyliving

It is well publicized that spending time in natural settings promotes health and well-being. This knowledge has even impacted the design of public spaces in cities and business. These natural settings include parks, open spaces, and the like. Recent research has shown that one of nature’s most healing settings, the forest environment, may promote better health benefits than others and can even prevent cardiopulmonary diseases. Researchers have found that as little as 15 minutes of wandering in the forest can have health benefits.

The Japanese have lead the way in this research and have developed a practice call Shirin-yoku. Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term that means “forest bathing.” (In Japanese, shinrin means forest, and yoku, among other things, means “bathing, showering or basking in.”) Shinrin-yoku is more than simply walking in the woods. It involves breathing deeply and using all of your senses to take in the forest. The idea is to slow down and “smell the roses”. No really. Take the time to actually look at the shape of the flower, to actually smell it,  and feel the texture of the bark on the trees you see, listen to the birds or running streams or the rustle of leaves.

Much research supports that spending time in nature has both long and short-term health benefits, especially when we spend time with trees in a forest. This practice has been shown to “lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, to raise parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity.”

As result Shirin-Yoku provides the following HEALTH BENEFITS:

• Lowers blood pressure
• Reduces stress
• Improves mental clarity
• Enhances immunity
• Lowers pulse rate
• Decreases blood glucose levels
• Increases parasympathetic nerve activity
• Lowers sympathetic nerve activity

Researchers have looked into what it is about Shirin-Yoku that provides all of these benefits. An article published in the Huffingtonpost reveals that “Microbial differences on the skin of those living in close proximity to more diverse vegetation may directly influence immune function throughout the body and may even influence mood. Indirectly, microbes help manufacture the airborne phytonides — natural chemicals secreted from trees — that are linked to healthy immune functioning … Benefits are not exclusive to remote wilderness. Local nature and backyard biodiversity are often within easy reach, and they can provide ample benefit.”

That is fortunate, because, if you are like me your access to a forest is extremely limited if not completely inaccessible.

snail-582194_1280Other reasearch has shown that gardening can provide many of the same benefits. Yep, Gardening.

A research conducted by Dorothy Matthews and her colleagues found that a natural soil bacterium, which people likely ingest or breathe in when they spend time in nature, can have antidepressant qualities and increase learning behavior. What’s interesting is that this microbe has been found to “mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. It helps to stimulate serotonin production, helping to make you feel happier and more relaxed.”

Another interesting benefit of gardening is being well grounded. Literally, yes literally, grounded. An article published by the NIH showed that “grounding increases the surface charge on Red blood cells and thereby reduces blood viscosity and clumping. Grounding appears to be one of the simplest and yet most profound interventions for helping reduce cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular events.”

To get the most benefit from grounding you have to actually be in contact with the ground. Bare hands, bare feet, moist soil.

That is where gardening comes in. Not only do you get the benefits of the produce itself you also get the benefits of the process itself.

For more about other healthy living tips and sustainable gardening click here

Medicine Man #Healthyliving

The other day I was reviewing movies that we own and ran across a title I haven’t seen in a while, “Medicine Man.” Medicine Man is one of my favorite Sean Connery movies. If you don’t remember it is about a scientist working on a project in the Amazon jungle. There he finds a cure for cancer which he attributes to a rare flower high in the canopy overhead. Later he finds his assumption isn’t the true source of the cure. . . I won’t spoil the movie by telling you more.

As I thought about this I start to wonder how much truth there was in this story. Continue reading “Medicine Man #Healthyliving”

Creole Garden #healthyliving

Finally, I have come to the culmination of all my research on pesticide free herbs and vegetables. It’s called a Creole Garden. and described as follows in this article on, “When you walk by a Creole garden, you may feel drawn to enjoy its beauty up close. Once inside, you can admire blossoms and leaf arrangements as the sun highlights their colors. Meanwhile, the breeze stirs a mixture of fragrances that bottled perfume cannot imitate.”  Continue reading “Creole Garden #healthyliving”

Pesticide free herbs and vegetables: Cover Crops #healthyliving

This is the third post I’ve done on this topic. Each of these posts looked at a different aspect of the complex topic of  integrated pest management. The first was about companion planting and looked at planting different plants next to each other to take advantage of their symbiotic qualities. The second,  Predators are your friends, looked at using keeping the harmful pest population down to acceptable levels by using their natural enemies against them. Continue reading “Pesticide free herbs and vegetables: Cover Crops #healthyliving”