Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Warm Herbal Goodness~ the health benefits of tea

I'm a tea drinking girl, I come from a family of Scots who have been known to give tea to babies in their bottles (auntie Emily!) Before bed as a kid my mum would often make tea and toast, an evening ritual I still sometimes partake in today :)
When I was pregnant I gave up coffee and looked to decaf teas instead. It's pretty amazing what health benefits they have to offer. I've had a lot of trouble staying asleep all night since I lost my son so I searched online for the best natural remedies and Chamomile Tea is on all the lists; so thats where I'll start. I was going to write a post about them but found this article from Best Health Mag in my search and it covers what I'd write anyways so steep yourself some warm herbal goodness and give it a read: http://www.besthealthmag.ca/eat-well/nutrition/7-herbal-teas-that-will-make-you-healthy

7 herbal teas that will make you healthier
Need a health boost? Reach for a soothing cup of herbal tea to relieve nausea, bloating and other common ailments
By Meredith Dault

There’s nothing nicer on a cold midwinter’s day than a soothing cup of herbal tea. But besides being a tasty, warming, caffeine-free pick-me-up, herbal tea has lots of wonderful health benefits. From soothing a troubled tummy to easing insomnia and calming a troubled mind, herbs have all sorts of healing powers. Drinking herbal tea can also be a great source of vitamins and minerals.

What is herbal tea?
Herbal tea isn’t really made from tea—which is a specific kind of plant. The French use the word tisane, which is a little more accurate, since herbal tea is really just an infusion of leaves, seeds, roots or bark, extracted in hot water. In drinking a well-steeped herbal tea, we get all the plant’s benefits in an easily digestible form.

The benefits of herbal tea
“In a lot of ways, we might get more benefit from a good organic tea than from a vitamin pill,” says herbalist Marianne Beacon of Elderberry Herbals in Peterborough, Ont. "You’re getting the benefits of hydration. There’s the social element: Tea is something that you can share with people. And when you’re drinking herbal tea, you get aromatherapy at the same time—and that’s something you don’t get from a tablet!”

That’s why Toronto-based herbalist Marcia Dixon says herbal tea should always be steeped in a covered vessel to contain the beneficial essential oils. “Otherwise, your room smells nice but you aren’t retaining the medicinal properties.”

How to choose a herbal tea
When it comes to choosing a herbal tea, both Dixon and Beacon agree that it’s important to look for a well-sourced product made from high-quality ingredients. If you’re drinking tea for the medicinal benefits, then definitely steer clear of products that add things like essential oils or flavours. And to really get the full benefits from drinking herbal tea, make sure you steep your loose tea or tea bags long enough—in some cases, as long as 10 to 15 minutes—to really bring out all the healthful properties.

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“Anytime you’re ingesting something, you’re giving your body the building blocks it needs to manufacture tissues and hormones,” says Dixon. “If you drink tea every day, you can make all sorts of significant changes to your mood, your skin, your sense of well-being and energy.”

There are so many wonderful herbal teas to choose from. Here are a few of the most common. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Peppermint tea
Halifax naturopath Colin Huska recommends drinking peppermint tea to relieve the symptoms of abdominal gas and bloating, and to relieve muscle spasms. It’s also good for nausea (without vomiting) and for heating up the body and making it sweat. If indigestion or heartburn are problems, however, then Dixon recommends avoiding peppermint altogether. Peppermint tea can also be made using fresh herbs from the garden—and it's one of the easiest herbs to grow.

Ginger tea
Another great digestive aid, ginger can be used to curb nausea, vomiting or upset stomach due to motion sickness. Make fresh ginger tea by simmering a piece of ginger root on the stove for 10 to 15 minutes—add fresh lemon juice and honey when you have a cold for a powerful germ-fighting combination. Beacon also suggests making tea from powdered ginger to ward off a chill.

Chamomile tea
A gentle calming and sedative tea made from flowers, chamomile tea can be helpful for insomnia. It can also be helpful with digestion after a meal. Huska recommends chamomile in cases of cough and bronchitis, when you have a cold or fever, or as a gargle for inflammation of the mouth. Be sure to steep it well to get all the medicinal benefits.

Rooibos tea
High in vitamin C as well as other minerals, rooibos has all sorts of health benefits. An easy drinking tea, it’s largely grown in South Africa and has been touted for its antioxidant properties—which may in turn help ward off disease and the signs of aging. It has also been shown to help with common skin concerns, such as eczema.

Lemon balm tea
An easy-to-grow plant, lemon balm is helpful for lifting the spirits. “It’s good for the winter blahs,” says Deacon, “and it can help improve concentration.” She adds that lemon balm is safe for children and may help prevent nightmares when consumed before bed. This herb also makes a refreshing iced tea, and can be flavoured with lemon or maple syrup.

Milk thistle and dandelion tea
When consumed as a tea, milk thistle or dandelion are gentle liver cleansers. “They help the liver to regenerate and function at a higher capacity,” says Huska. “They can also assist in the production of bile, which can help with our digestive process.”

Rosehip tea
Rosehips are the fruit of the rose plant and are one of the best plant sources of vitamin C, which is important for the immune system, skin and tissue health and adrenal function. Consider reaching for rosehip tea next time you need a health boost.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vegetarian Chili

Such an easy thing to throw together on a cold night! We have it over rice or baked potatoes and melt cheese on top. I add Hot Sauce to my bowl; the green one from Che's in Hess Village if you're reading from Hamilton, Ontario! I like it hotter than the rest of the family. My non vegetarian husband frys ground beef in a skillet on the side and pours my chili on top to suit his meat eating needs. This chili freezes really well and on nights when I want home cooked but not home to cook it I'm glad to pull this out for dinner. Eat it with beer. Most things just taste better with beer :)


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chopped onion

2 cups chopped celery

2 cups chopped green bell pepper

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper

2 cans whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped

1 can white kidney beans, undrained

1 can red kidney beans, undrained

1 can navy beans, undrained

1 can whole kernel corn, drained

3 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons Club House Tex Mex Seasoning

1 tablespoon Club House Cajun Spice

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the garlic, onion, and celery in the pot until tender. Mix in the green, red and yellow bell pepper. Season with chili powder. Continue cooking 5 minutes, or until peppers are tender.
Stir in the tomatoes with liquid, kidney and navy beans with liquid, and corn. Season with tex mex spice, cajun spice and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for about an hour stirring occasionally.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Raisin Haters, Rejoice!

I hate raisins. I don't know why. I like other dried fruits, I like grapes (raisins livelier counterpart) but raisins ruin things for me. Now I know about Cinnabon Bread and I'm hooked (like I needed another carb in my life to love!) It has all the magic of raisin bread without the raisins.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sick Kids

I'm a long time supporter of this charity as well as the McMaster Children's Hospital. Although our time as a part of the Hamilton hospital was short, we are grateful for the care they provided for us and for our son. Compassion is something that cannot be bought however donations provide the staff with the tools they need to take care of the needs of those who sadly require their services. This campaign for Toronto is a beautiful tribute to the children of our community fighting for their lives.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Mother's Grief ~Kelly Cummings

A mothers grief - poem

I'm fortunate to be able to say I am surrounded by the love and support of friends & family as I'm learning to cope with the loss of Declan however I came across this poem today and it speaks to my core. It brings me comfort to know that I already have friends who somehow are aware of these words of wisdom, who've reached out their hand for me to hold while I pull myself together to finish a sentence. I don't know what to say either and I'm not comfortable crying in front of people, but when I think of something to say and I want to say it, the warm hand of a good friend who can handle hearing me out is all I really need.
My heart bleeds for the author of this poem.

A Mother's Grief
Kelly Cummings

You ask me how I'm feeling,
but do you really want to know?
The moment I try telling you
You say you have to go

You ask me how I'm holding up,
but do you really care?
The second I try to speak my heart,
You start squirming in your chair.

Because I am so lonely,
you see, no one comes around,
I'll take the words I want to say ago
And quietly choke them down.

Everyone avoids me now,
Because they don't know what to say
They tell me I'll be there for you,
then turn and walk away.

Call me if you need me,
that's what everybody said,
But how can I call you and scream
into the phone,
My God, my child is dead?

I am tired of pretending
as my heart pounds in my chest,
I say things to make you comfortable,
but my soul finds no rest.

How can I tell you things
that are too sad to be told,
of the helplessness of holding a child
who in your arms grows cold?

Maybe you can tell me,
How should one behave,
who's had to follow their childs casket,
watched it perched above a grave?

You cannot imagine
what it was like for me that day
to place a final kiss upon that box,
and have to turn and walk away.

If you really love me,
and I believe you do,
if you really want to help me,
here is what I need from you.

Sit down beside me,
reach out and take my hand,
Say "My friend, I've come to listen,
I want to understand."

Just hold my hand and listen
that's all you need to do,
And if by chance I shed a tear,
it's alright if you do to.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

About Me

My photo
Life-long Vegetarian and proud to be Canadian. Really, I'm a little bit of everything, all rolled into one. I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a sinner, I'm a saint (I do not feel ashamed) I'm your hell, I'm your dream (I'm nothing in between) You know, I wouldn't want it any other way..... (I'd like to think that song was written about me! lol)