Archive | August 2014

Chamomile and Ginger: Two Herbs You Need to Consume More Of

Originally posted May 15th, 2012, this is a short introduction to chamomile and ginger, two herbs that are very powerful for healing and for coping with allergies in particular.

 

Chamomile and Ginger: Two Herbs You Need to Consume More Of

We all have herbs and spices in our cupboards. Whether it’s to season a favorite dish or to brew as our favorite tea, herbs and spices make our lives better.

Two of the most common herbs in our pantries are also the most useful-particularly for digestive problems: ginger and chamomile.

Ginger. Used extensively in Asian cuisine and Chinese medicine, ginger is a natural anti-histamine, particularly for food allergies-without the side effects of other antihistamines. Especially good for stomach issues like nausea, ginger is also one of your best lines of defense against colds and flues. Best yet, ginger does not put you to sleep like many OTC anti-histamines.

Two of the best ways to take ginger are 1) slice fresh ginger root thinly and float in a clear soda like sprite or ginger-ale and 2) eat candied ginger. Candied ginger is widely available in Asian grocery stores and Asian herbal stores or you can make it at home. A good recipe is athttp://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/candied-ginger-recipe/index.html.Nuts.com also has a good candied ginger at http://nuts.com/driedfruit/crystallized-ginger/premium.html?gclid=CJPT_cmw7q8CFUdN4AodpRB51A.

Chamomile. Most of us have enjoyed a cup of chamomile tea to help us fall asleep. But chamomile is much more than just a sleep aid. It helps with a wide range of digestive issues like indigestion, stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. I’ve found chamomile to be helpful in relieving the extreme pain I experience from food allergies. It won’t stop the anaphylaxis, but it absolutely mitigates much of the discomfort while you wait for the allergen to pass out of your system, making it a powerful partner for ginger in helping with food allergies. A noted sleep aid, chamomile is one of your best and most natural remedies for insomnia. Read these and more uses athttp://www.gardensablaze.com/HerbChamomileMed.htm.

Want a great tea? Try mixing chamomile with green tea or with English (culinary) lavender for a double dose of health. With single cup infusers (my favorite infuser is the Smart Tea Maker from Enjoying Tea http://www.enjoyingtea.com/smartteamaker.html) mix 1 tsp loose green tea with 1 tsp loose chamomile and 1 tsp English lavender, add hot water, and brew for 4 ½ to 5 minutes. The lavender will add to chamomile’s headache relief so be sure to add it if you suffer from migraines for natural relief.

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Silk Basics: Mommes and Fabric Types

Originally posted March 1st, 2012

 

Silk is a fashion mainstay-particularly for formal wear. Spun from un-wound moth cocoons that dine on mulberry leaves (aka silk worms) and woven into a broad range of fabric types, silk is the original luxury fabric. Silk fibers are extremely strong, yet fine in thickness, enabling it to be both extremely wind and puncture resistant, making it the perfect base for armor and the perfect winter coat material (historically Chinese and other East Asian societies wore coats, not cloaks, for winter protection).

Silk is versatile! Yet for all its history and impact on both Asian and European history and cultures, few people understand its weights and fabric types well enough to make truly informed choices at both fabric stores and clothing stores.

Silk weight is measured in a unit called “mommes” (abbreviated mm in textile contexts) which is how many pounds a silk bolt 45 inches wide by 100 yards weigh. The smaller the number, the lighter weight the fabric. The lightest weight silk I’ve located is a 3mm silk gauze. By contrast, many silk noils (aka raw silks) will weigh between 30mm and 35mm, depending on where you buy it. That makes the silk noil 10 times heavier than the very light and sheer silk gauze. Your average crepe de chine is in the middle, ranging from 12mm to 16mm. Doupion (i) is typically around 19mm (see http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/1665272-AA.shtml for actual fabrics at these weights).

Weight alone will not determine how hot or cold your silk will be to neither wear nor what sort of garments it should be used for- though it is critical to that equation. Weave is the other major consideration needed to make that determination. Weave is about how the fibers are put together-how densely and in what arrangement the threads are interlocked. Weave transcends fibers. Gauze, an open woven fabric, may be made of silk, cotton, linen, or any number of artificial fibers and/or blends. Gauze is, by its nature, at least somewhat sheer-as an open weave, the strands are not very close together. Gauze is highly sought after for veils, sheer blouses or shifts (in historic clothing), and so forth. On the other end of the spectrum are velvets (woven with a deep pile), organzas, silk noils, doupion(i), and brocades (silk brocades are typically silk-rayon blends). Weave is easily seen with the eye-if it looks densely or tightly woven, it’s probably a tight weave.

Combined, momme value and weave will provide you will a good sense of how any given silk fabric can and should be used. From crisp weaves like doupion to softer, more clingy fabrics like habotai (aka China silk) and chiffon, the combinations of weight and weave are almost endless. With a little thought and experimentation, however, you can find a silk that cool for summer, warm for winter, and everything in between.

Reblog: 9 Things Successful People Won’t Do

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140818190427-50578967-9-things-successful-people-won-t-do

Some great advice for becoming more successful!  Here is Mr. Bradbury’s article in full:

—————————–

 

My last post, How Successful People Stay Calm, really struck a nerve (it’s already approaching 1.5 million reads here on LinkedIn). The trick is that managing your emotions is as much about what you won’t do as it is about what you will do.

TalentSmart has tested more than a million people and found that the upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence (90% of top performers, to be exact). So, I went back to the data to uncover the kinds of things that emotionally intelligent people are careful to avoid in order to keep themselves calm, content, and in control. They consciously avoid these behaviors because they are tempting and easy to fall into if one isn’t careful.

While the list that follows isn’t exhaustive, it presents nine key things that you can avoid in order to increase your emotional intelligence and performance.

They Won’t Let Anyone Limit Their Joy

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something that they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or accomplishments take that away from them.

While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain—you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.

They Won’t Forget

Emotionally intelligent people are quick to forgive, but that doesn’t mean that they forget. Forgiveness requires letting go of what’s happened so that you can move on. It doesn’t mean you’ll give a wrongdoer another chance. Emotionally intelligent people are unwilling to be bogged down unnecessarily by others’ mistakes, so they let them go quickly and are assertive in protecting themselves from future harm.

They Won’t Die in the Fight

Emotionally intelligent people know how important it is to live to fight another day. In conflict, unchecked emotion makes you dig your heels in and fight the kind of battle that can leave you severely damaged. When you read and respond to your emotions, you’re able to choose your battles wisely and only stand your ground when the time is right.

They Won’t Prioritize Perfection

Emotionally intelligent people won’t set perfection as their target because they know it doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure, and you end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently instead of enjoying what you were able to achieve.

They Won’t Live in the Past

Failure can erode your self-confidence and make it hard to believe you’ll achieve a better outcome in the future. Most of the time, failure results from taking risks and trying to achieve something that isn’t easy. Emotionally intelligent people know that success lies in their ability to rise in the face of failure, and they can’t do this when they’re living in the past. Anything worth achieving is going to require you to take some risks, and you can’t allow failure to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed. When you live in the past, that is exactly what happens, and your past becomes your present, preventing you from moving forward.

They Won’t Dwell on Problems

Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and improves performance. Emotionally intelligent people won’t dwell on problems because they know they’re most effective when they focus on solutions.

They Won’t Hang Around Negative People

Complainers are bad news because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. People often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral. You can avoid getting drawn in only by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary. Think of it this way: if a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers. A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix a problem. The complainer will then either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.

They Won’t Hold Grudges

The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event involved sends your body into fight-or-flight mode. When a threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when a threat is ancient history, holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time. In fact, researchers at Emory University have shown that holding onto stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs. Learning to let go of a grudge will not only make you feel better now but can also improve your health.

They Won’t Say Yes Unless They Really Want To

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Saying no is indeed a major challenge for most people. “No” is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

 

 

Frugal Parrot Food: How to Buy Bird Seed for Less

Originally posted January 25, 2012

I love my bird. Like most dedicated aviculturists and pet owners, I care a great deal about helping my birds live long, healthy, and happy lives. A well-balanced diet for most companion birds consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and commercially available pellets. Most people feed pre-mixed diets from pet stores. But as with many cat and dog foods, these pre-mixed diets tend to be filled with low-nutrition fillers that add to the price, but not the health of your bird.

So what is the answer and how can you save money on bird food? Make your own healthy, well-balanced food mix. In this article, I will cover my best tips/tricks for buying the seed and nut portion of your bird’s diet.

1) Whole, natural format seeds and grains cost less and work better than their more expensive, bagged, counter-parts.

Find these at your local feed mill for a savings of 50-90%. Often what you want will not be marked as for birds, so instead look for these seeds/nuts fed to companion birds at your area feed mill:

Seeds:
oats
safflower seeds
wheat
white millet
spray millet (aka finger and/or foxtail millet)
cracked corn (select species)
sunflower seeds (bagged and sunflower heads)

Nuts (buy whole for larger species; chopped, sliced, and/or slivered for smaller species:
almonds
walnuts
pecans
brazil nuts (larger species)
peanuts

2) Shop the baking section of your area grocery store/fruit-nut store for nuts

Nuts are easily found at your local grocery store. Look for chopped and slivered choices for small to medium birds and whole versions for larger species. Large cockatoos and macaws should be fed nuts in the shell.
3) Utilize the “wild bird” sections of stores.

Foods fed to wild birds are often the same as those fed to companion birds. The wild bird section of discount department stores like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target often sell bagged single seeds at the same or lower prices than pet stores. This does not mean you will automatically save money at these stores–but it helps to include discount department store wild bird sections when comparison shopping!
4) Buy from farms whenever possible.

Farms charge less than any other retailer for their products. As a rule, the more steps between the farm and you, the higher the price. Farmers markets, road-side stands, feed mills, and local markets help you buy direct. Farms offer everything from sunflower heads (my birds prefer sunflower heads over loose sunflower seeds) to nutritious spray millet and beyond. Many farmers have their own websites and eBay stores, so it pays to search these sources.

By using these four tips, you will save somewhere between 50% and 90% every time you buy seeds and nuts. That leaves you more money for pellets, fruits, and vegetables for a healthier bird and heavier wallet.

Bon appétit!

Natural and Common Sense Treatments for Carpal Tunnel and Repetitive Stress Syndrome

April 30th, 2012

 

I spend a lot of time at the computer. Odds are really good so do you. So it should not be shocking when the repetitive motions of clicking, typing, and texting takes a toll on our fingers, hands, wrists, arms, and backs. All of these are connected. We’ve been told for years that surgery is the only real way to correct the damage done by so much repetitive motion-but as I learned from a neighbor who has carpal tunnel surgery, such surgeries do not provide the promised permanent relief. As I fight against my latest and rather severe flare-up of carpal tunnel syndrome (hence forth abbreviated CTS), I’ve been learning how the best medicine is far simpler than you think.

Proper nutrition. Vitamin B6 and other B Vitamin Deficiencies are linked to CTS. (See Cathy Wong’s http://altmedicine.about.com/od/carpaltunnelsyndrome/a/carpal_tunnel.htm) Angela Smyth elaborates on this in her medical guide “The Complete Home Healer” that our ability to absorb B6 is often hindered by prescription medicines, creating hidden deficiencies. Smyth advises no less than 100 milligrams of B6 daily to prevent and treat CTS.

Stretching. This seems common sense, but it’s easy to overlook. Our bodies stiffen when we don’t move around enough-such as spending 8 hours per day in an office. When you do not stretch, you build up tension in your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, making them more vulnerable to injury and inflammation. Our hands and wrists in particular tend to inflame when we don’t sufficiently vary our movements. Slowly extend each arm over and around your head. Rotate your wrists and fingers into circular motions (this will hurt if your carpal tunnel is currently inflamed). Clench and unclench your fists. Want more? Try these http://www.eatonhand.com/hw/ctexercise.htm from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Remember that stretching, along with using proper hand and arm positions while using the computer, are your best prevention for developing CTS in the first place! Stretch at least once per 30 minutes! And don’t forget: remove any wrist watches–on an inflamed wrist, the extra pressure created by the band makes your injury worse!

Anti-inflamatory first aid. In CTS, your tendons and nerves in your wrist are inflamed and swollen. This swelling can be helped through old fashioned cold therapy and anti-inflammatory OTC medications such as Advil or Tylenol.http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/rehab/a/heatorcold.htm details how to properly use cold for acute injuries. Avoid over-medicating on CTS; I take a couple Advil only at bed time. Sleep is, ultimately, the best healer of your injury! Sleep as much as possible.

Screening Optometry: Five Questions to Ask Before You Schedule Your Routine Eye Appointment

Written May 7th, 2012 after a rushed eye appointment led to an incorrect prescription for my eye glasses, this article is designed to help you get the most out of your next eye exam.

 

Screening Optometry: Five Questions to Ask Before You Schedule Your Routine Eye Appointment

How to Ensure You Receive a Quality Eye Exam

 

Optometry is big business! Every year, the optical industry generates $14 billion (http://www.ibisworld.com/industry/default.aspx?indid=1560). That’s a lot of eye doctor appointments, glasses, contacts, and other accessories! So it should not be a surprise that profit motivates both small providers and large optical chains-everyone wants to make the most money out of consumers.

While perhaps we have been taught that profit is the holy grail of industry, when it comes to health care-which optical services and products are-quality needs to trump quantity. Of our five primary senses, we all depend the most on our sight; errors made in the name of corporate profit can have horrible, sometimes permanent consequences to our lives!

In March, 2012 I discovered just how wrong things can go when I made an appointment with a local optical chain, expecting top quality in the examination room and high quality glasses. I received neither. In the process of getting the problem fixed (requiring four visits to their office), I learned key questions everyone should ask before scheduling an appointment with any eye care provider you have used (in that location) for less than five years.

  1. How long is the typical appointment? This question gives you a baseline for comparison. Typically a properly done eye appointment should take between 15 and 30 minutes-longer with ophthalmologists or if you checking for a specific ocular issue beyond myopia (near-sightedness) or hyperopia (far sightedness). If the answer is less than 15 minutes-GO ELSEWHERE. A proper eye exam needs a full 15 minutes to check for everything and to confirm prescription accuracy.
  2. What is your policy on walk-in eye exams? You want to get as much information as possible here. The stores love walk in business and will take quality-diminishing short cuts to put as many people into the doctor’s chair as possible with as short a wait as possible for the walk-ins. If you do need a walk-in appointment, ASK if the doctor is busy or free before you agree to be seen. Remember: if the doctor is cutting short a pre-arranged appointment to see you, odds are both of you will receive less time with the doctor than you need for an accurate exam.
  3. Do you ever double-book appointments? Any optical store may not be honest with you on this subject, but asking will probably cost you nothing. If you do get a “yes” to it, ask for more information-when and how often?
  4. Are your doctors independent of your dispensary? Independent doctors are paid by you-not the eye wear dispensary. That makes them less sales-focused and more patient-focused. Whenever possible, patronize the independent doctors.
  5. What guarantees do you offer regarding eye wear accuracy? In case there is a mistake, know the procedure and any additional costs to you to fix a problem before you schedule your appointment.

A few inspiring quotes from Abraham Hicks

Most of you know by now that I believe in the Law of Attraction as introduced to me in the movie, “The Secret.”  While I disagree with the whole channeling thing, I do find wisdom from the being(s) calling themselves “Abraham” who speak through Esther Hicks.  Whatever the objective (is there one) reality is, the quotes and youtube videos offer useful meditations designed to help us change our attitudes about life and change the paradigms that often bind our choices.

 

Here are some of my favorite and most useful quotes from http://www.thesecret-lawofattraction.net/ and from youtube.

I love the above video because of the way it makes the Law of Attraction make sense, using a river metaphor that everyone can relate to.

 

And another one that really puts the first video into application

 

Moving from videos, here are some very useful quotes:

 

 http://www.thesecret-lawofattraction.net/abrahamhicksquote250.html

“So, how do you remove unwanted from your experience?

By not putting it on your plate, by not focusing upon it.

By making the best of things, by not beating the drum of unwanted.

By not taking something you know you don’t like and putting it on your plate and then putting it in your mouth and then complaining about it.

In other words….by not exaggerating it, but by making lighter !!”

 

 

“If you can practice the art of vagueness on subjects that make you
feel negative emotion ….

and the art of specifics on subjects that DO make you feel good…

you will have figured Deliberate Creation out precisely because that
really is all there is to it.”

 

http://www.thesecret-lawofattraction.net/abrahamhicksquote257.html

If it is a struggle, you are going about it the hard way.

This is the thing we want you to understand.

The path of least resistance is a fun path.

The path of least resistance feels good.

The path of least resistance is clarity.

The path of least resistance is ease.”

 

Here is an excerpt from http://www.thesecret-lawofattraction.net/abrahamhicksquote275.html that I really like!

 

“All Ailments Resolve Themselves. 

All things do resolve themselves, if allowed. All things do. 

ALL things do resolve themselves — if allowed.

You say, “Some things resolve themselves,” and you believe that. 

And when we say all things resolve themselves, you don’t really believe that. 

You want to, but you don’t have personal proof about it.

There’s the belief that says, 

“Well, I really don’t believe all things resolve themselves,” 

and as you activate that vibration, all kinds of people start showing up with un-resolved things. 

But that’s not the evidence you’re wanting to attract. 

You’re wanting evidence that says, “All things can resolve themselves.”

Bridge your locked off statement by saying, 

“Well, I don’t know how I’ve been disallowing it. 

I’ve been doing it without knowing I’m doing it. 

But now I am aware that negative emotion means I’m doing it, 

and I’m going to start watching for those moments when I’m not allowing it.”