Post from April, 2010

In Praise of Apple Cider Vinegar

Tuesday, 27. April 2010 20:21

So there are a lot of elders out there who LOVE apple cider vinegar and feel it is the tell-tale cure for a number of maladies. Well I have to say I too am a convert……. Let’s talk indigestion that hits you without warning. I cannot stand taking OTC drugs and will not subject myself to the little purple pill, but let me have a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water and the symptoms subside, as if by magic. When my partner started to suffer with this her naturopath suggested this wonderful inexpensive cure and it works! So that started me thinking about what other things it is used for……….

Vim & Vigor

We know that many herbalists use this as a base for herbals and tonics, and one of my favorites is carried by the Mennonites in Maryland, called Vim & Vigor. One shot of this a day and I think you could take on Godzilla……..we love stopping in Flintstone to pick up this wonderful elixer.

“Our Indiana based product combines extracts of wild mountain-grown Gingseng Root, Goldenseal Root( also known as yeller root), Black Cohosh Root, Black Walnut Leaves, Star Anise Pods, Echinacea, Chamomile Berries, Licorice Root, Chickweed, Cinnamon,Fenugreek Seeds, Cloves, Ginger Root, and Valerian with aged apple cider vinegar and then flavored with concentrates of apple and grape juices, resulting in a unique elixir which, according to our customers, has produced some interesting results.”

Even WebMD has scientific evidence to back up some of the claims made about the health benefits of this simple fermented apple juice.

I started thinking about all of this while at dinner, listening to a young man at the table next to me talk about how bad his acid reflux was, and what he could not eat (including some great foods) because of it. Boy did I wish I had some Apple Cider Vinegar to hand to him So go on, grab a teaspoon and perhaps you will find this a good habit to form!

Category:Nutrition, Our World | Comment (0) | Author:

April 22, 1970 – April 22, 2010: Love Your Mother

Monday, 19. April 2010 9:55

If memory serves me correctly, forty years ago on April 22nd it was a lovely spring day in Pittsburgh. I was a junior in college, and because it was a Wednesday (no, my memory isn’t that good, a quick check of the Internet gave me this information), I was walking across campus to go to one or another of my classes. Jeans and t-shirts were the uniform and long hair was the norm. Our “senior fence,” a sort of free-form  message board in the center of campus, bore freshly painted anti-war slogans and Vietnam was never far from our consciousness. So the sight of groups of people on the lawn in front of our Fine Arts Building and the sound of music did not surprise me, as protests seemed to pop up at a moment’s notice and the various factions on campus always seemed to be at odds with one another over something. But closer inspection revealed something quite unexpected: “We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon…” There was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s anthem ringing in the air through a pair of badly overworked speakers, and strung between two poles was a giant sign proclaiming “Earth Day, March 22, 1970.” There were brochures and leaflets, a potted plant or two  and lots of earnest faces imploring us to take better care of Mother Earth than we had been and offering us numerous ways to get started. As I recall, I gave it all a quick passing glance as I hurried on to class. Earth Day would have to wait, I had a class to get to and I couldn’t be late.

And now, here we are, 40 years later (40 years – how can that even be possible?!) And we all know so much more, and we all know so much less. We’re in another war, corporate America still makes headline-grabbing news, and even though we have done countless things to attempt to aide and protect the environment, much of our natural world appears to be in worse shape than ever. Global warming, images of polar bears drowning in the Arctic seas, rain forests decimated for profit, dying coral reefs and extreme weather worldwide seem to be the new normal. Happy Earth Day, indeed.

But I continue to have hope. That small girl that I was in Ohio, the girl who loved animals and loved to camp and spent hours lying in the grass looking up at the sky, the stars and the moon, has morphed into the woman who I am today: an involved, informed, and verbal (some would say too much so…) individual who is not afraid to state her position and make her case for various environmental issues. I remember reading a few years back about the concept of “compassion fatigue” and how it led otherwise well-meaning people to become so overwhelmed by the multitude of organizations and causes appealing to them for help that they – these same people who could be potential volunteers and donors – would end up doing nothing. The article went on to say that it was so important to listen to that little voice inside of you, to really focus on what area of concern it was that resonated the strongest for you. And that was where you should devote your time or your money or your expertise. There will always be so many more worthwhile areas of concern than any one of us can ever hope to address in a meaningful way. And we shouldn’t try to undertake that as a personal goal. But by zeroing in on that one thing that makes you smile when you have finished a day as a volunteer, or made a contribution to some organization where you know that it is going to make a difference, or mentored someone, or shared your knowledge of a particular subject with a larger audience, then you’re on the right track.

I love that we are paying more attention to what we eat and how and where it is grown. Urban gardens bring better nutrition to all of us living in cities and take advantage of the knowledge of the elders in our communities who may be only one or two generations away from life in the country or on a farm. And we are finally focusing more clearly on our treatment of food-producing animals and their impact on the larger environment as a whole. Cleaner water, more efficient automobiles, alternative energy sources and recycling are now all components of our daily lives. Every day we gain more and more protection for the forests and the oceans and the very air that we breathe. But so much more remains to be done. In this fight for the health of Mother Earth, there are major international players who appear to have very different items of importance on their agendas. We have to continue our vigilance, since we absolutely won’t get a “do-over” on this one.

So here’s what I think and what I plan to do this Thursday on Earth Day. I’m going to look at the causes that I am passionate about, the organizations to whom I contribute – either with my time, my expertise, or my checkbook – and I am going to push myself a little bit harder to do a little bit more. To strengthen my resolve. To do better.

After all, this is my planet, And I love my Mother Earth.

Category:Our World | Comment (0) | Author:

It’s Spring – get me some earplugs!

Saturday, 3. April 2010 20:11

I grew up in Northeastern Ohio where the arrival of Spring was not always readily apparent. More often than not the first inkling that my brother and I had that it was indeed warming up was the shattering of the enormous (and potentially life-threatening) icicle that hung just outside our dining room window for the better part of every winter. We both avoided it like the plague, imagining ourselves skewered and pinned to the driveway like scientific specimens. And winter coats and boots remained at the ready until mid-April. Sure, there were crocuses – I remember brilliant yellow and deep purple blossoms peaking through the snow. But I don’t remember hearing birds. Well, apparently. I was just in the wrong part of the country!
Here in Miami this past week we have been having what we like to call “Chamber of Commerce weather”: mid-70′s, low humidity, bright blue skies and little wisps of clouds. This is the time of year that we all open our windows and just let the fresh air blow through our houses. Perfect, no? Well, not for me, at least not on this particular night. It was 4:00 AM and I was awake and it was NOISY! The mockingbirds were singing to attract mates. Singing and singing and singing. Then, the frogs started – three different kinds, according to the Miami Herald: Florida chorus frogs that sound like you are running your thumb over the teeth of a comb; and the Southern leopard frog that sounds like a cackling laugh or a clucking chicken; and, finally, the Florida cricket frog who sounds like ball bearings being clicked together at regular intervals. And as I lay in bed not sleeping and watching it get lighter and lighter outside, I could hear flocks of parrots, and a woodpecker, and, from my neighbor’s backyard, his pet macaw. Where’s an icicle when you need it? But truthfully, I had to admit that even though I was extremely tired, I also had a really big grin on my face. The air was filled with big, beautiful noises. This is a city of over 400,000 people and I live very near the airport, and yet, here they were. The mockingbirds songs seemed to never repeat; they just kept going and going and going. And as the flocks of parrots passed over my house they sounded like a cluster of school children interrupting each other and all chattering at once. Pretty magical, I’d say. I sure would miss them if they weren’t here. So you know what? I’ve changed my mind about those earplugs – you can keep them. I don’t want them after all. It’s Spring! Bring on the birds and the frogs. Listen, can you hear them?

Category:Community, Our World | Comment (0) | Author: