Thursday, 20 June 2013

Spices 1


We’ve already delved into the green world of fresh herbs, but now it’s time to dust off the old spice jars to find out why they’re good for us and how to use them. Pepper may be the only one you’re used to, but we’ve got the specifics on more spices, and spice blends, to flavor healthy meals from breakfast to dessert.
Ultimate Guide to Spices


Buy whole.
Whole spices last longer than ground versions, but you’ll need a grinder. A mortar and pestle or a dedicated coffee grinder work like a charm!

Keep in a cool, dry place.

Keep spices away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight. Avoid tacking a spice rack above the stovetop or oven — heat and moisture can negatively affect spices’ quality. And when sprinkling spices into a dish, pour into your hand before adding them to food: Shaking the jar directly over a steaming pot can cake up the rest of its contents. Another stay-dry tip is to replace the lid immediately after use.

Toss the old ones.

Spices don’t actually go bad per se, but they lose flavor as they age. Whole seeds last around three to four years, while ground has a shelf life of two to three years. If a spice looks dull and has lost some of its original color, then give it the boot. And make sure to date the back of the bottle to keep tabs on when it’s time to buy new ones.

Store creatively.

Instead of teetering spice jars on top of one another in a crammed pantry, check out some innovative ways to store them, like in-drawer racks, mini-mason jars for a pretty wall installment, or even corked test tubes!


This spice was first named Jamaican pepper and later changed to allspice which, just like its name implies, tastes like a mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper. Research suggests that some compounds found in allspice — including eugenol and gallic acid — may have anti-tumor properties on human cancer cells [1] [2].

Taste: Like a strong blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, a hint peppery
Perfect For: German and Caribbean cuisine, cakes, cookies, stew, lamb, fruit pies, pickles
Greatist Recipe Pick: Add to this cold-weather quinoa breakfast bake or incorporate a pinch into these comforting baked apples.

CardamomPhoto by Tammy McAllister
Cardamom may have the potential to prevent against some small, potentially-cancerous skin growths, called papillomas [3]. This spice is also one of the main components in chai tea.

Taste: Warm, spicy, sweet
Perfect For: Scandinavian and Indian cuisine, chai tea
Greatist Recipe Pick: Take boring smoothies to new (spicy) heights by adding cardamom to a coconut-lime, vanilla chai, or apple pie rendition. We also like cardamom in this pumpkin pie oatmeal.

Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Photo by Jess Ivy
Alias: Red pepper. Studies suggest this fiery spice, which gets its flavor from capsaicin, may increase fat oxidation, allowing the body to better use fat as fuel [4] [5].
Taste: Hot, smoky

Perfect For: Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, chili, eggs, fish, vegetables
Greatist Recipe Pick: Heat up this veggie chili with a small dose of cayenne.

Cinnamon Sticks
This spice, which compliments both sweet and savory dishes, has a range of health benefits from reducing arthritis pain to keeping the mouth clean [6] [7].Add cinnamon to morning coffee instead of sugar for guilt-free flavor.
Taste: Sweet, hot
Perfect For: Mexican and Greek cuisine, grilled fruit, curries, cakes, oatmeal

Greatist Recipe Pick: Add to super simple crockpot recipes like apple-cinnamon breakfast risotto or homemade pumpkin butter for no-fuss flavor.

Cloves, which are dried flower buds, provide a burst of flavor even in small amounts. One study found cloves to be the best natural antioxidant because they contain high levels of phenolic compounds, as well as other beneficial properties [8]. Another study suggests that clove oil may decrease depression in a similar way to psychostimulant drugs (like aderall) [9].
Taste: Aromatic, sweet
Perfect For: Caribbean and Indian cuisine, pineapple, meats, soups, pork, mulled wine, chutneys

Greatist Recipe Pick: Make a batch of fool-proof spiced nuts or simmer up some mulled wine.

Cumin Seeds
Be careful not to douse a dish with this powerful spice — a little goes a long way. Aside from providing great flavor, this spice has traditionally been used for the treatment of sleep disorders, indigestion, and hypertension [10].

Taste: Earthy, warm, nutty
Perfect For: Mexican and Asian cuisine, beans, stews, soups, tacos, and sauces
Greatist Recipe Pick: Use cumin to warm up this chickpea, kale, and tomato soup or incorporate it into this chili spice rub.

Traditional Iranian medicine calls on fennel for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and memory-enhancing properties (amongst many others) [11].

Taste: Licorice-like
Perfect For: Italian cuisine, sausage, bread, fish, pork, pasta
Greatist Recipe Pick: Use fennel seeds and bulbs to flavor this barley risotto.

Photo by Marissa Angell
Slightly spicy, slightly sweet ginger root is used in cooking both in its fresh and dried and ground forms. It has been used to treat nausea, ease sore muscles, and help alleviate symptoms of arthritis [12] [13] [14] [15].

Taste: Spicy, sweet, slight citrus flavor
Perfect For: Asian, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisine, marinades, squash, desserts, oats, hot tea, gingerbread, pickled ginger
Greatist Recipe Pick: Use fresh or dried ginger in this quinoa and vegetable salad.

Mustard Powder
Mustard Seed
Mustard powder, made from ground mustard seeds, is often used to make homemade mayo, dressings, and marinades. Adding powdered mustard seeds to broccoli during cooking may increase its ability to prevent the development of cancer [16].
Taste: Often spicy and stronger in flavor than jarred mustard.
Perfect For: German cuisine, vegetables, seafood, salad dressings, stews

Greatist Recipe Pick: Made-from-scratch marinades like this sweet-and-spicy version.

Photo: Tracy27
We like to use this spice to make healthier pie (adding more flavor means you can cut back on the fat and sugar). Some studies suggest nutmeg can help repel cavities (not that we fully endorse eating the whole pie in one sitting) [17].

Taste: Warm, sweet, nutty, spicy
Perfect For: Cakes, sauces, spinach, cookies, milk or cream-based dishes like custards or puddings, eggnog
Greatist Recipe Pick: Indian, French, Scandinavian, and Caribbean cuisine. Use it as an unexpected way to flavor up this crustless vegetable quiche or blend into this chocolate blueberry smoothie.

Photo: shyb
This bright red spice is made from dried and ground mild chili peppers. For those who can’t handle the heat, there’s no need to get out of the kitchen — paprika provides a toned down, more smoky chili flavor. One health benefit of paprika is its ability to protect the body’s cells from oxidative stress (for example, smoking), which is believed to cause a number of diseases [18].

Taste: Mild, sweet, some may be hotter than others
Perfect For: German and Spanish cuisine, eggs, seafood, vegetables, goulash
Greatist Recipe Pick: Sprinkle some paprika to add color to these baked "potato" wedges (made from celery root).


Sunday, 21 April 2013

coconut oil

Sorting through fact and fiction when it comes to weight loss is a tough order, especially when fad diets spring to life and wither away all in the same season. So is coconut oil  a diet fad or a bonafide health food?
 Experts like Dr. Bruce Fife and Dr. Mary Enig speak volumes about the merits of coconut oil–quite literally. - Fife wrote an excellent book called The Coconut Oil Miracle, and Enig was a co-writer of another great book, Eat Fat, Lose Fat–which also emphasizes the benefits of coconut oil.
Energy Efficiency Grants and Getting the Coconut : Sustainable Chicago

More Than Just a Fad

Coconut oil didn’t spring to life in the last few years, although it may seuem that way. The truth is that coconut has been a healing superfood for centuries in tropical cultures. These people value coconut for its tremendous medicinal power–and they are remarkably healthy as a result.

Even in Western society, coconut oil was widely popular until the middle of the 20th century, when coconut oil’s reputation took a bashing from researchers who examined the health impact of hydrogenated coconut oil–basically the evil twin of the real thing. But thanks to experts who are willing to give a genuine look into coconut oil’s benefits, we now can be assured that this oil is a genuine health food.

So how can coconut oil help you lose weight?

#1 Get a Metabolism Boost

With all the dangers associated with thermogenic stimulants, it’s no wonder a growing number of people shy away from them. This leaves us to wonder if there is a way to boost the metabolism naturally without resorting to popping pills full of chemicals and caffeine. The secret to a healthy metabolism and a wealth of energy is no fad stimulant: it’s pure extra virgin coconut oil.

Coconut oil is one of nature’s most abundant sources of medium-chain fatty acids, and these nifty little triglycerides can work wonders for a sluggish metabolism. In a study that looked at the effect of medium-chain fatty acids on metabolism, it was found that these fats could increase the metabolic rate by up to 48 percent and for up to 24 hours. In obese individuals, the increase was as high as an astounding 65 percent! If your metabolism has been damaged by dieting or stress, a daily dose of coconut oil can do wonders for getting it back on the right track.

Long-chain fatty acids, like those in polyunsaturated oils, are more difficult for the body to break down and use for energy. Instead, long-chain fatty acids are usually stored as fat in the body A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that medium-chain fatty acids were three times more effective at raising the metabolism than long-chain fatty acids. Researchers concluded that replacing long-chain fatty acids with medium-chain fatty acids was an effective method for weight loss. Another study from the same journal again showed that eating medium-chain fatty acids increases metabolism and also helps burn off stored fat. You can read more about this in The Coconut Oil Miracle.

#2 Balance Your Blood Sugar

The profound effect coconut oil seems to have on the metabolism extends to insulin function as well. This may have to do with the fact that the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil can be easily burned for energy, but without causing insulin to shoot sky high the way a bunch of sugar would. Including coconut oil before or during a meal also lowers the glycemic impact of what you’re eating, which prevents those dreaded blood sugar highs and lows.

#3 Cure Candida and Yeast Overgrowth

The beneficial fatty acids in coconut oil do more than speed up a lagging metabolism. Lauric acid and caprylic acid in coconut oil also protect against one of the top hidden causes behind weight gain: candida and yeast. When an overgrowth of candida is present, weight loss can be almost impossible. Candida causes symptoms like fatigue, poor concentration, recurring infections related to yeast, excessive sinus infections, and much more. But the side effect that really hinders weight loss is cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. This is because yeast feeds off sugar (carbohydrates break down into sugar once in the body), so candida causes cravings in order to support its own growth.

Taking coconut oil to counteract yeast overgrowth is highly effective, but it should be done with care. Coconut oil is such a powerful remedy for candida that it can cause strong side effects of headaches, chills, and foggy thinking as the yeast dies off. This can be reduced by slowly incorporating coconut oil into your diet, starting with as little as one teaspoon daily.
Where do I buy coconut oil?

Today quality coconut oil can be found almost anywhere. Even my local sainsburies carries a few varieties (though not always quality brands). You’ll find the best deals online, though, especially if you’re willing to buy in bulk. Many online health food and supplement companies carry several brands of coconut oil to choose from. Again, the bigger you buy, the more you’ll save. 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Your respiratory system consists of your trachea, throat, lungs and nose. Its main function is to expel old air and inhale fresh oxygen into your lungs. Harmful substances such as tobacco smoke and germs can reduce oxygen content in your lungs and damage your airways. Adjusting your diet to include lung-friendly foods can promote optimal respiratory health.


Injury to your lungs due to smoking or pollution exposure can increase lung inflammation. Chronic lung inflammation can impair healing and lung functions. According to a 2005 clinical study conducted by Policlinico Universitario, green tea contains properties that can reduce lung inflammation. The study found that giving green tea to laboratory rats with damaged lungs drastically decreased inflammation and promoted healing. Green tea contain catechins, a class of powerful antioxidants.


Consuming vitamin A enables your body to defend itself against bacteria, toxins and other infection-causing pathogens, according to "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." If left untreated, these harmful agents can lead to dangerous infections, pneumonia and other respiratory problems. Carrots contain substantial amounts of vitamin A.


Eating omega-3-rich fish reduces asthma severity and incidence in children and adults, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids, these nutrients help reduce inflammation in your body. Sources of omega-3 acids include tuna, mackerel, lake trout, salmon, herring, sardines, flaxseed oil, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, almonds and peanuts.


According to the "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," consuming a diet rich in vitamin C nutrients can significantly increase lung functions. Vitamin C is an ascorbic acid that acts an antioxidant to protect your lungs and body from free radicals that cause infection and chronic disease. Sources of vitamin C include blueberries, tomatoes, mangoes, limes, fortified cereals and baked potatoes.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Alpha 1 a short description

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency also known as Alpha-1, A1AD or AATD is an inherited, genetic condition that is passed on from generation to generation. As the name suggests it is a deficiency of alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) in the bloodstream. AAT is an enzyme (sometimes called a protein) produced in the liver to help protect the tissues of the body during infections. The low level of AAT in the blood occurs because the AAT is abnormal and cannot be released from the liver at the normal rate. This leads to a build up of abnormal AAT in the liver that can cause liver disease and a decrease of AAT in the blood that can lead to lung disease.
So my life has taken quite an a out turn in the last few weeks.  The best laid plans have been shaken to the core,  and I have some serious thinking to do on what the future holds.  My health has taken a knock but that for another day.  My son was hospilized for a numb thorax and when it wouldn't heal he was sent for emergency surgery.  I have to say a huge Thankyou to St George's NHS Trust who did an amazing job and were so caring at every step.   Following surgery my incredibly healthy vibrant 25 year old has been diagnosed with 
emphysema  and its a curve ball we are still struggling to understand.

So the next few days will be filled with research and looking for answers but for today we are simply dusting
 ourselves off and trying to understand it all.   Today it still seems very unreal,  it can't be us it can't be him
The diagnoses does not make sense it doesn't happen to young kids like him,  not my son ect ect all going
 round in my head like a washing machine and one avens knows how it feels for him.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

JJ Smeiman: The law of attraction means staying positive

JJ Smeiman: The law of attraction means staying positive

The law of attraction means staying positive

Staying  positive, no matter the situation - and believe me I have been in many where I had to actively do this - can never be underestimated. We are all here for a limited period of time, is it worth it to spend any of that time in a dismal mood? Being negative?

The true test of an individual to remain positive is when challenges become difficult. Remaining positive keeps one’s mind in the right state of balance and often opens resolutions to the problems at hand. Negativity is contagious; not only does it affect the individual, but it spreads to anyone they interact with. When only the negative perspective is in focus, the resolution process is impeded.

Eliminating negativity, or rather, being positive is a mindset that can be found at any moment, and turned into a habit. Here are some tips that can help you in shifting your mindset:

Shift Your Thoughts – Be conscious of your thoughts. Especially, when life just isn’t going your way. The moment you see that you are diving into frustration, agony, sorrow and low self-esteem – shift your thoughts, by thinking about something completely unrelated. This breaks the pattern of self-pity, mind-created stories, and negative downward spiral. What makes us different from other mammals is our ability to control our thoughts and think for ourselves.

Find the Lesson – There is a lesson to be learned from every situation. No matter how unfortunate the situation may appear, recognize the beautiful lessons waiting to be discovered. Sometimes lessons are expensive, but every problem is a learning opportunity in disguise. You may have made a mistake, but now you can accept it and continue, knowing that you will make a different decision in the future. Understand this and be appreciative for the experience.

Attitude of Gratitude – You cannot be both angry and grateful at the same time. Start counting the blessings and miracles in your life, start looking for them and you shall find more. What’s there not to be grateful? You are alive and breathing! Realize how lucky you are and all the abundance in your life.

Positive Affirmations & Visualization – Practice seeing yourself in a positive and confident light. Do this whenever you have a few minutes (examples; Waiting for a friend, sitting on the bus, riding an elevator.) Self-affirmations (list of positive statements about yourself and your self image) are another simple and powerful tool to train your subconscious to see yourself in a positive light. This is important, as many of us can be so hard on ourselves though social conditioning. I am guilty of being extra tough on myself, but have learned over time to recognize my gifts rather than finding false and self-imposed inadequacies.

Inventory of Memories – Keep an inventory of memories that can immediately make you smile. Occasions where you felt happy, appreciative and cheerful. When you were at peace with the world. Whenever you are in a negative frame of mind, consciously and deliberately pick up any leaf out of this inventory and dwell on it. Reminiscing those happy moments gives a balanced perspective to your situation. You realize that what appears negative today will change tomorrow. Nothing stays the same.

Criticizing Detox Diet – Change your approach and attitude. See if you can stop criticizing others and situations. Our cultural conditioning teaches us to find flaws and problems at all times. Shift from fault-finding to appreciation-finding.
Whether you are positive or negative, the situation does not change. So, we mind as well be positive.

As with any habit, the habit of remaining positive in all situations takes practice and a commitment to yourself to take control. But start small, start paying attention to your emotions, start by wanting to change. I am working on this constantly, and I am here with you, working towards better understanding of my emotions and becoming a better person. Keep going at it, and you will gradually become a positive energy source for the others around you! Wouldn’t that be empowering?