Saturday, January 23, 2010
It Couldn't Be Done
By Edgar A. Guest
Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.
Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The World marks International Hug Day on January 21. The day was born in the US in 1986. First called National Hug Day, later it was spread worldwide. This day you can hug even strangers, according to the Russian media.
Though still a young holiday, it’s hard to say who the author is and who the idea of marking the day January 21 first struck, Students are assumed to be founders.
Psychologists say, people hurrying to hug others seek for the feeling of security, comfort and love.
by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr
There's something in a simple hugThat always warms the heart;It welcomes us back homeAnd makes it easier to partA hug's a way to share the joyAnd sad times we go through,Or just a way for friends to sayThey like you 'cause you're youHugs are meant for anyoneFor whom we really care,From your grandma to your neighbor,Or a cuddly teddy bearA hug is an amazing thing -It's just the perfect wayTo show the love we're feelingBut can't find the words to sayIt's funny how a little hugMakes everyone feel good;In every place and type,It's always understoodAnd hugs don't need new equipment,Special batteries or partsJust open up your armsAnd open up your hearts
If I could bottle up and
Sell a wonder drug
Then I would choose to bottle up
A warm and loving hug
For nothing is much better
As a tonic for a cure
Then just a little hug that can
Chase away a tear!
~ Jennifer Byerly ~
Never be afraid to
Express care and concern
You never know if one day
It will be your turn
For life can bring us trouble
And bumps along the way
So why not cheer another
With a hug to make their day?
~ Jennifer Byerly ~
Sometimes a hug speaks volumes
When someone's feeling low
And more then words are needed
To set a heart aglow
So next time you see someone
Who's looking rather blue
I'd recommend a kind word
An perhaps a hug or two!
~ Jennifer Byerly ~
Hugs aren't only physical
you can give without a touch,
the warmth of a smile and word
can often mean as much.
Across the miles you send them
to friend, strangers and mankind,
a hug is very special
and easy enough to find.
And the hug I'm sending to you
is full of love and wishes,
and it will warm your soul
more than any earthly riches.
So please pass it on
this hug without a touch
it comes free of all germs
and still it means so much.
~ Sue Pitchfork ~
from me to you!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
There are actually 2 types of coconut oil and one is very healthy for you and the world of Nutrition is changing their view.
1. Refined Coconut oil
This type of coconut oil is extracted from copra (smoke-, kiln-, or sun-dried meat of coconut). The meat is then crushed to produce the crude oil.
Before the oil is usable, it still goes through a sanitizing process to remove impurities and its unpleasant odor. Such process is called RBD or refining, bleaching, and deodorizing. With RBD, the coconut oil becomes tasteless, odorless, and colorless in the end.
Coconut oil refined is usually used in cooking and baking because of its neutral taste that does not affect the flavor of foods. It also has a higher smoking point that it can withstand high amounts of heat without burning.
2. Virgin coconut oil
The virgin coconut oil (unrefined coconut oil or raw coconut oil) comes from premium grade coco oil wherein it is extracted from fresh coconut meat. Because there are no mechanical processes involved in oil extraction, a lot of people would prefer to use unrefined coconut oil.
It is the 1st kind that is really bad for us to ingest. Virgin Coconut Oil has many health benefits. Healthy fats have been the topic of many threads lately and coconut oil has come up as a choice. Some are aware of the health benefits but most are not. It actually has them confused and now questioning all healthy oils. I have had a few personal questions sent to me via Spark Mail so I figured why not share the info with everyone.
I am taking the below paragraphs verbatim from the link below so there is no errors in the explanations and I am recommending 2 additional books to read for further information. I am personally intrigued in the use of virgin coconut oil for the treatment of stress, kidney stones, and diabetes.
Virgin Coconut Oil
The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.
How is Lauric Acid Used by our body?
The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia. As a result of these various health benefits of coconut oil, though its exact mechanism of action was unknown, it has been extensively used in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicinal system.
Composition of Coconut Oil: Coconut oil consists of more than ninety percent of saturated fats (Don’t panic! First read to the last word. Your opinion may change), with traces of few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Virgin Coconut Oil is no different from this. Let us have a bit detailed study of this.
The Saturated Fatty Acids: Most of them are Medium Chain Triglycerides, which are supposed to assimilate well. Lauric Acid is the chief contributor, with more than forty percent of the share, followed by Capric Acid, Caprylic Acid, Myristic Acid and Palmitic.
The Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Linoleic Acid.
The Monounsaturated Fatty Acids: Oleic Acid.
The Poly-phenols: Gallic Acid, which is phenolic acid. These poly-phenols are supposed to be responsible for the fragrance and the taste of Coconut Oil and Virgin Coconut Oil is rich in these poly-phenols.
Certain derivatives of fatty acid like Betaines, Ethanolamide, Ethoxylates, Fatty Esters, Fatty Polysorbates, Monoglycerides and Polyol Esters.
Fatty Chlorides, Fatty Alcohol Sulphate and Fatty Alcohol Ether Sulphate, all of which are derivatives of Fatty Alcohols.
Vitamin-E and Vitamin K and minerals such as Iron.
The benefits of coconut oil in detail:
Hair Care: Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair providing them a shinny complexion. Regular massage of the head with coconut oil ensures that your scalp is free of dandruff, lice, and lice eggs, even if your scalp is dry. Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair. It is therefore used as hair care oil and used in manufacturing various conditioners, and dandruff relief creams. Coconut oil is normally applied topically for hair care.
Stress Relief: Coconut oil is very soothing and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying coconut oil to the head followed with a gentle massage helps in removing mental fatigue.
Skin Care: Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Further, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin with the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. Therefore coconut oil forms the basic ingredient of various body care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, etc., used for skin care.
Premature Aging: Coconut oil helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.
Heart Diseases: There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for the heart. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. However, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as it happens in case of other vegetables oils. It does not lead to increase in LDL levels. It also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.
Weight Loss: Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Further, it increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreases, thereby burning out more energy and helping obese and overweight people reduce their weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who eat coconut oil daily as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.
Pancreatitis: Coconut oil is also believed to be useful in treating pancreatitis.
Digestion: Internal use of coconut oil occurs primarily as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps in improving the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Immunity: Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
Healing: When applied on infections, it forms a chemical layer which protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil is most effective on bruises as it speeds up the healing process by repairing damaged tissues.
Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, etc. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.
Liver: The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases as they substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing work load on the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.
Kidney: Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps in dissolving kidney stones.
Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
Bones: As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for development of bones. Thus coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.
Dental Care: Calcium is an important element present in teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in getting strong teeth. Coconut oil also stops tooth decay.
HIV and Cancer: It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing viral susceptibility of HIV and cancer patients.
Finally, coconut oil is often preferred by athletes and body builders and by those who are dieting. The reason behind this being that coconut oil contains lesser calories than other oils, its fat content is easily converted into energy and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil helps in boosting energy and endurance, and enhances the performance of athletes.
For further info or research into this topic I suggest you read/buy:
Virgin Coconut Oil: How It Has Changed People's Lives, and How It Can Change Yours! Brian Shilhavy (Author)
Coconut Cures By Bruce Fife, N.D.
I love learning new things for the improvement of my health and I hope you do too. It is one of the ways we grow or in our cases shrink.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Lentils are one of the 1st legumes I remember eating as a child. I am Catholic and as a child I hated fish. This exasperated my Mother so she started making us lentils on Fridays. Now I used to love her lentil soup made with a left over ham bone but that was a big NO NO on Fridays because it had meat in it. Somehow the lentil soup without the ham did not cut it with me as a child however; it was better than eating fish. I cannot tell you how much my Mother shakes her head in dismay at the healthy food I eat now but refused as a child. She loves my vegetarian lentil soup and she asks, “Why couldn’t I get you to eat this as a child?” This is the same child that used to decorate her walls with spinach, now one of my favorites. I also hated the dreaded tuna noodle casserole. She would make lentil pilafs and salads in place of meat dishes on Fridays.
Lentils are low fat but high protein source of protein. A serving of lentils has around twenty-six grams of protein. It is not a complete protein; it does lacks two essential amino acids, isoleucine and lysine. This means that other protein foods with these missing amino must to be added to the diet to form a complete protein. This can be accomplished by eating lentils with brown rice or another protein rich grain.
Other Health Benefits:
3.Helps manage blood sugar levels
4.Excellent source of the B vitamins as well as essential minerals, including
I like them because they are very inexpensive, often referred to as peasant food. They are so versatile to cook with. They cook up fast. You do not have to soak overnight. You do need to sort them to remove any small stones or particles you may find in the package and then rinse them before cooking. I am sure you all know how to make lentil soup but there is so much more you can do with them. I have also attached some links to some of my favorite Spark Recipes at the end.
Mediterranean Lentil Salad - Serves 4
3/4 cup dried green lentils (you want to end up with 2 cups cooked)
2 cups water
3 oz canned/jar roasted bell peppers*, chopped
2 TBS finely minced onion
2 medium cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 TBS + 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1 bunch young dandelion leaves or arugula, chopped
* If you prefer, you can roast the bell peppers yourself
1.Wash lentils, remove any foreign matter, and drain.
2.Combine lentils and 2 cups lightly salted water in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook at low temperature for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are cooked but still firm. Cook gently so lentils don't get mushy. When done, drain any excess water, and lightly rinse under cold water. Continue to drain excess water.
3.Mince onion and press garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to bring out their hidden health-promoting benefits.
4.Place lentils in a bowl and add peppers, onion, garlic, basil, walnuts, vinegar, and 2 TBS olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Marinate for at least 1 hour before serving.
5.Toss dandelion or arugula with 2 TBS olive oil, 1 TBS lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve on plate with lentils.
Lebanese Lentil Salad - SERVES 4 -6
1 cup lentils
4 cups water
3/4 cup red pepper, chopped
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1.In a saucepan, bring lentils and water to a boil; cook 30 minutes until tender, drain.
2.Add pepper, onion and mint.
3.Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.
4.Just before serving, add oil, lemon juice, garlic and feta.
5.Toss and serve.
Salmon with Warm Lentil Salad
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/4 pounds skinless salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch arugula, torn (about 4 cups)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add the lentils and 1 teaspoon salt and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes; drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook until opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
3. In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, onion, parsley, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
4. Add the lentils and arugula to the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Serve with the salmon and lemon wedges.
Herbed Bulgur-Lentil Pilaf - 4 servings, 1 serving equals 1 cup pilaf
1/2 cup green lentils
1 cup bulgur
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small red onion, finely diced (1 cup)
1 yellow pepper, seeded and finely diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Place lentils and 2 cups broth in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender and most liquid is dissolved, about 30 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid. While lentils are cooking, place bulgur and remaining 2 cups chicken broth in another small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until most liquid is dissolved and bulgur is tender, about 13 to15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Add the bulgur to the lentils.
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook until peppers are tender, another 5 minutes. Add the onion mixture to bulgur-lentil mixture. Stir in parsley, basil, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to incorporate.
Quinoa, Chicken, and Red Lentil Stew - Serves 6
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely diced red onion
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each), cut into bite-
1/3 cup red lentils
4 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
In a heavy-bottomed stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery and saute for 2 minutes. Add quinoa, oregano, and thyme and saute for 4 minutes. Add garlic and chicken and saute for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Stir in lentils and cover with chicken broth. Bring to a gentle boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until both lentils and quinoa are tender.
Last but not least are my go to Spark Recipes that I make quite often to keep me on my food plan. I often make in large batches by doubling, tripling , or quadrupling to have meals ready in the freezer.
Red Lentils and Cauliflower Dal Gobi
Lentils and Eggplant Curry
Spinach and Butternut Lentil Barley Soup
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