Posts Tagged ‘blood pressure’

New Year’s Intentions the Green Way

I like the idea of New Year’s intentions as opposed to resolutions. The dictionary definition of a resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something” and an intention is “a thing intended; an aim or plan”. An intention seems gentler and more doable. You aim to get there.

One of the best intentions you can adopt in 2016 is to follow a more plant-based diet. The obvious benefits of a plant-based diet are:

Chickpea and Cavatelli Soup

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Have better blood sugar
  • Lower your chance of getting cancer
  • Lose weight
  • Be a healthier you

But there are just as important environmental reasons as well! With a plant-based diet you can:

  • Reduce greenhouse gases – According to Assya Barrette of, “Animal agriculture is estimated to produce more greenhouse gases than the whole of the transportation industry combined.” Methane gas is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the US and cows and other grazing animals emit lots of methane.
  • Reduce animal cruelty – millions of cattle and poultry are raised in overcrowded factory farms where animals are often given antibiotics, growth hormones and treated inhumanely. (Watch the movie Food, Inc. and you’ll definitely cut back your meat consumption!)
  • Help save the Amazon, the Earth’s lungs – The Amazon is being deforested at an alarming rate, the majority of which is for animal agriculture.


Another benefit? Your grocery bill will definitely drop. Beef and chicken are expensive; beans and legumes are much cheaper! And there are lots of delicious and creative plant-based recipes on line, which even the most ardent meat eaters will enjoy!

Addiction to processed or refined foods and high fat animal products is real, but can be reversed like any habit after a period of time. An intention to eat less meat and more plant-based meals will have a huge impact on climate change and your health. Remember, what’s good for you is good for the earth, and what’s good for the earth is good for you.

What intentions have you set for 2016? Happy New Year!


For more green living tips, visit

Information compiled from: Why 2016 Is Your Year To Go Plant-Based”, Tracie Hines,11 Great Reasons To Eat Less Meat (Even If You’re Not Ready To Go Vegan”, Assya Barrette,,



















Go Bananas!

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I am a firm believer in local, seasonal eating.  But, I do have some exceptions, one of which is bananas.  I could never give up bananas and they certainly don’t grow in New England!  I start everyday with a nutrition-packed smoothie and banana is the mainstay ingredient.

Bananas are actually a super food in their own right!  Here’s how………


bananas (Photo credit: Fernando Stankuns)

Bananas’ natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose – combined with fiber are a sustained energy boost; they are the number one fruit with leading athletes.  The potassium-packed fruit can also help boost brainpower and keep students alert.

Bananas contain tryptophan, a natural protein that the body converts to serotonin, the feel good hormone, and helps people suffering from depression, PMS, stress or SAD (seasonal affect disorder). The tryptophan also helps with insomnia, so have a banana before bed for the perfect bedtime snack.

Bananas are high in potassium, which reduces the adverse effects of sodium on blood pressure.   The fact that they are also low in salt makes it the perfect food to lower blood pressure.  According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a regular diet of bananas can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

No need for a laxative when bananas are a part of your diet.  The fiber in bananas can help overcome constipation and restore normal bowel function.  They also have a natural antacid effect in the body and offer relief from heartburn and intestinal disorders.  Bananas keep blood sugar levels up and snacking on them helps pregnant women avoid morning sickness.

For those rare occasions when you over imbibe, a milkshake made with bananas and honey calms the stomach, builds up depleted blood sugar levels and rehydrates the body.

I tried this remedy yesterday.  I rubbed the affected area from a mosquito bite with the inside of the banana skin to reduce swelling and irritation.  I’m so allergic to bites that I’ll try anything and happily the bite is better today!  Banana skins can also help kill off warts!

These are just a few of the many benefits of this exotic fruit.  While eating locally is the best way, nutrition-packed bananas are an important exception to the rule.   Make them apart of your daily diet.

An aside:  There is slightly more nutrition with riper bananas!

Information compiled from a physiological psychology lecture at CCNY and



I can’t imagine preparing a meal without garlic!  But garlic is so much more than a flavor enhancement!  Just as some foods can harm our health, others have the ability to heal and garlic is one of those foods.  

Image by Kenny Point VeggieGardeningTips

Garlic’s healthful and healing properties are numerous and go back thousands of years.  It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-parasitic properties, which make it a powerful remedy for colds and flu.  It also eases ear infections and may relieve asthma symptoms.  It is an effective, broad-spectrum antibiotic, which can heal infections.   In World War II, garlic earned the nickname “Russian Penicillin” because it was used when the Russian soldiers ran out of penicillin for their wounds. 

Research has shown that garlic can boost the immune system and help prevent some of the conditions associated with aging.   It has also been shown to lower cholesterol and thin the blood, which may prevent high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.  And there is increasing evidence that garlic may reduce the risk for and treat certain cancers.

It doesn’t matter how you consume garlic to benefit from its healthful properties – raw, cooked or as a supplement (good for massive doses or if you don’t like the odor).  When my children were sick with a cold or flu, I cut slivers and put them between apple slices for them to eat.   They didn’t like it, but it definitely lessened the severity of their sickness.  Make sure you cut garlic finely to release the protective compound allicin and cook only lightly so that beneficial compounds aren’t destroyed.

Garlic is abundant this time of year – I’ve found some wonderful, pungent new varieties at the Farmer’s market.  September is the time of year to plant garlic for harvesting next summer.  It’s easy to do – simply put several cloves in your garden and wait.  You’ll be nicely surprised!

Add lots of garlic to your diet for a healthier you!

Information compiled from The Doctor’s Book of Food Remedies and The Healing Home by Gina Lazenby.

Anti-infection Garlic Soup

This soup is a great preventative if you feel a cold or flu coming on, but also works if you already have an infection.  It tastes good too!

2 Tbs olive oil

1 head garlic, peeled, separated and chopped

1 box organic chicken broth, or enough to make a quart

1 medium bunch parsley, coarsely chopped

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes, or until softened.  Add the chicken broth and parsley, and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Drink a cup of soup every hour.

Recipe from Melissa Wood, ND, a naturopathic doctor in San Antonio, Texas