Sip Away Stress By Adding These Herbs To Your Tea

by IVL

Stress is just a fact of life. Even the things we enjoy doing can cause stress, like planning a vacation, preparing for a new baby’s arrival or getting a promotion and pay raise at work.  Stress management is critical to keeping your body and mind healthy. Sometimes it is difficult to get in a workout or eat healthy but it is very easy to sip away stress.

Effective stress management with herbs.

Herbs That Make Great Stress Reducing Teas

There are three herbs in particular that have a long and well-documented history of being healthy stress reducers. Ingesting them in the form of a tea can help with your stress management plan and they are all safe and easy to find.


This potent herb was first used in the 17th Century by Spanish Jesuits in Peru and is now consumed all over the world.  There are over 500 different species of Passilora, as it is also known, but the most common variety is Passionflower incarnate, which is native to the Midwest and Southeastern United States.

Passionflower has been used for centuries as an effective sedative, pain reliever, digestive aid, and anxiety reducer.  Studies in Western medicine have shown it to be an effective way to treat ulcers, boost the brain’s levels of feel-good hormones and help you relax and fall asleep. 

The herb comes in capsules, powders or tinctures, but the best way is to drink it as a tea. Soaking the dried leaves in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes will make you a brew strong enough to enjoy the health benefits.


Chamomile has a long and well documented history of use as a soothing and healing herb.  It is from a flowering plant in the daisy family and you can use the dried blossoms to make a wonderfully fragrant and slightly sweet tasting tea that has many health benefits, namely stress management.

Chamomile tea can help soothe an upset stomach, relieve tension by inducing muscles to relax and even help you fall asleep.  It has been shown to be effective in relieving stomach cramps, due to its chamazulene content, a kind of oil in the flowers of the plant. It is believed that this ingredient is what helps relieve muscle spasms. Those with irritable bowel syndrome may find it especially helpful in relieving spasms in the bowel to ease constipation or diarrhea.

Lemon Balm

Named for its lemony scent, this herb is native to Europe and the Mediterranean and is a member of the mint family. It has earned a reputation around the globe as a stress-busting herb and makes a great tea to help you sip away your stressful day.

One of the best benefits of drinking lemon balm tea is that it helps boost mental alertness. It is often recommended for the elderly to help stave off dementia by sharpening memory and enhancing problem solving cognitive function. In a Chinese study, eugenol, a compound in the herb was thought to be responsible for boosting memory.  A similar study found that lemon balm suppresses the brain chemical acetlycholinesterase, which breaks down the chemical acetylcholine, which is responsible for memory and mood.

Lemon balm is also a powerful antioxidant to help your cells start to regenerate after a long hard day in your daily life. It can also help you stabilize your blood sugar and that will keep your mood balanced instead of wildly fluctuating with sugar highs and lows.

Related:  History of Green Tea in Indigestion Remedies

All of these herbs are considered generally safe.  Always check with your doctor if you take prescription medication and your pediatrician before you offer any herbs or supplements to your children, though.

Try this tea recipe at home to help manage your stress:

Ingredients and Preparation:

  • 2 teaspoons dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 teaspoon dried lemon balm leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried passionflower leaves
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • Steep tea leaves in water for 10-15 minutes.
  • Add in honey and lemon.
  • Sip while warm.
  • Serves 1.

These herbal teas are also delicious iced and topped off with slices of fruit.  


Five Tips to Eating Healthy While Tailgating

by IVL

Football and tailgating go hand in hand, but typical tailgate food isn't always healthy. Cheeseburgers, hotdogs, ribs, potato chips and dips often have high levels of fat and calories.  What's more, grilling produces heterocyclic amines (HCAs), cancer-causing compounds that form when muscle meats are cooked over high heat.  Fortunately, football fans can enjoy healthy tailgating by following five easy tips.

Enjoy healthy tailgating by blending grilled meats with plenty of vegetables.

1.  Incorporate more fruits and veggies into tailgate food.  Fill trays with sliced vegetables like carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumber, broccoli and cauliflower, and substitute hummus for fatty dips.  Use prosciutto, fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fat-free dressing and skewers to create caprese on a stick.  Replace high-calorie desserts with fresh orange wedges, grapes, watermelon, or apple slices.

2.  Have fun with activity.  Tailgating isn't just about the food.  It's a time for relaxing and socializing with friends and family.  Active games like tag, corn hole, Frisbee or football make a tailgate party healthier and more fun.

Related:  Heart Healthy Recipes

3.  Make smarter beverage choices.  For healthy tailgating, make lighter choices when it comes to alcohol by packing the cooler with light beer or wine spritzers.  For the kids, replace high-sugar sodas and concentrated fruit juices with bottled water, coconut water or infused water.

4.  Stay hydrated.  Having plenty of water available helps prevent dehydration on a hot day.  Drinking H2O in between cocktails also helps counteract the effects of alcohol like headache and low energy.

5.  Reduce HCAs for healthy tailgating.  Studies show that well-cooked meat produces 3.5 times more HCAs than medium-rare meat.  Research also shows that the use of ingredients like herbs and vinegar can reduce HCAs by 50 percent or more.  Marinate chicken in a blend of white wine, garlic, thyme, rosemary and ginger for a yummy HCA-reducing recipe.  Combine ground beef with dried cherries, garlic, a little honey, cumin, and dried chilies and grill to medium-rare.

Tailgating is an activity long-enjoyed by football fans, but football foods aren't always the best when it comes to the health.  Fortunately, following the five tips above helps reduce fat, calories, alcohol content, and HCAs for happy, healthy tailgating.  


Overweight AND Malnourished?

by IVL

One of the ironies of the American diet is that people can be overfed yet undernourished. Learning how diet contributes to obesity is just one part of understanding the link between diet and health. Even if you eat plenty of food, you can still display malnutrition symptoms if you are filling up on unhealthy foods.

Malnutrition symptoms may occur even if you are overweight

Studies show that despite the abundance of food, a huge proportion of Americans are suffering from basic nutritional deficiencies. Over 30% of people are short of magnesium and essential vitamins A, C and E. More than 80% of diets lack vitamin D, and 90% of adults do not eat enough omega-3 fats. These are essential for controlling inflammation and blood sugar levels in the body.  So what’s going wrong?

Processed Foods Provide “Empty Calories”

Eating processed foods such as burgers, canned food, sausages, bacon, French fries, snacks, convenience foods and soda means a diet high in calories but low in vitamins and nutrients. Laden with high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and preservatives, these foods are far from the meat, fruit and vegetables that our bodies are designed to consume, and they can quickly lead to malnutrition symptoms.

We need vitamins and minerals from fruit, vegetables and whole foods to maintain a healthy metabolism which helps burn fat and regulate sugar levels. Without them, the metabolism becomes sluggish. Instead of burning those excess calories it turns them into stored fat, making the problem even worse. It’s easy to understand how the diet contributes to obesity when it lacks the core elements.

Intensive farming can also lead to malnutrition symptoms. Intensive farming has depleted the soil. A study of the food we eat today shows it has far fewer vitamins, calcium and iron than it had in the 1950s.

Related:  Eight Tips:  A Healthy Foundation for the Food You Eat

Symptoms of Modern Malnutrition

While scurvy and rickets are thankfully a thing of the past, malnutrition symptoms from a lack of vitamins and minerals in a modern diet can include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Depression
  • Poor recovery after illness or surgery
  • Low white blood cells and weakened immune system
  • Fertility problems and poor libido
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Dry hair and hair loss
  • Pale dry skin and wrinkles
  • Constipation
  • Decreased mobility due to muscle wasting

Malnutrition symptoms may be due to digestive disorders, stomach conditions, alcoholism, or most likely an imbalanced diet. If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s worth analyzing what you are eating and how much you are eating. Understanding how diet contributes to obesity, and how at the same time it can cause malnutrition, is the first step to changing your life.

By adopting a more natural, healthy diet you can improve your health and increase your longevity.  Start by avoiding processed foods such as foods that come in boxes and cans; avoid excessive meat consumption, particularly sausage, bacon and deli meats; avoid fried foods such as French fries; reduce or eliminate snack  and convenience foods.  Commit to eliminating high fructose corn syrup and trans fats from your diet; instead include healthy oils such as olive and coconut oils.  Stop drinking soda pop, and avoid sugar consumption.  Never consume artificial sweeteners; they are dangerous to say the least.  Make sure to consume at least five servings of fresh vegetables and fruit a day to help lower your weight while boosting nutritional value. It’s a great recipe for better health!


Tasty and Unique Lentil Recipes

by IVL

A healthy diet should include pulses and legumes, but many people avoid them as they have no idea how to cook and serve them. These unique lentil recipes will introduce you to these healthy foods.

Incorporate pulses into your diet with unique lentil recipes


What are Lentils?

Lentils are part of the legume family.  Like peas and beans, they grow in pods on bushy plants. Theses edible pulses are high in fiber and protein, making them filling and satisfying for vegetarians, vegans and weight-watchers.  Lentils are also low in fat with zero cholesterol and are packed with nutrients including iron, phosphorus, potassium and folate.

As a guide, half a cup of cooked lentils contains 115 calories, 8 grams fiber, 9 grams of protein and 365 mg potassium.

Now for some unique lentil recipes so you can start to include these healthy pulses in your diet.

Related:  Healthy Recipe:  Squash Chickpea and Red Lentil Stew


Warm Shrimp and Lentil Salad

Boil one cup green (Puy) lentils with celery, one chopped onion, one sliced carrot, bay leaf, thyme sprigs and two garlic cloves in three cups water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 8 large shrimp in a bowl with one tablespoon olive oil and a sprig of crushed thyme, Marinate for 15 minutes then cook for 4-5 minutes until opaque. Drain lentils and discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Mix warm lentils with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Divide between four serving bowls, top each with two cooked shrimp and enjoy!

Tip! This warm lentil salad is also delicious served with salmon or seared pork chops.

Sausage and Lentil Cassoulet

Cassoulet is a popular French casserole of lentils and meat, in this case Toulouse sausages and cooked shredded smoked duck.

Fry the sausages in hot olive oil until brown. Add a chopped onion, garlic clove, 5 ounces chopped smoky bacon, one sliced carrot, one celery stick, ½ leek, one bay leaf and 2 teaspoons ground cumin and cook for 2 minutes. Add 10 ounces Puy lentils, 6 fluid ounces red wine, one pint meat stock and the shredded duck meat (about 8 ounces) to the pan. Cook 30 minutes before stirring in 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar. Serve topped with fresh parsley and a side of mashed potato.

Smoked Trout Lentil Salad

Fry one red onion in a tablespoon olive oil with a clove of crushed garlic. Cook 4 ounces (dry weight) Puy lentils and 4 ounces split yellow peas as per packet instructions. Drain and combine in a saucepan over a gentle heat with 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, 1½ fluid ounces walnut oil, 3 ounces chopped walnuts or pecans, 1 tablespoon chopped mint, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and divide between four serving dishes. Top with a hot smoked trout fillet, a sprig of watercress and a dollop of sour cream.

As these tasty and unique lentil recipes show, there’s no mystery to cooking lentils and they add a new dimension to your healthy wholesome cooking.



Three Deliciously Awesome Crock Pot Dinner Recipes

by IVL

Busy working parents no longer need to feel guilty about not having time to cook a family dinner every night. These crock pot dinner recipes are designed to allow you to add fresh vegetables to a tin of tomatoes, stock and minced beef or chicken (or protein substitute) and leave to cook to tenderness. You’ll arrive home to a hot and healthy meal that is packed with goodness. Here are three of the best crock pot dinner recipes to get you started.

Crock pot dinner recipes are a healthy and economical way to cook.


Lumberjack Soup (meatless)

Add chopped rutabaga, chopped carrots, celery, chickpeas and mushrooms to 9 cups of water. Flavor with 2 teaspoons garlic powder, ½ cup Dijon mustard, ½ tablespoon olive oil, one low-sodium bouillon cube, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for at least six hours until rutabaga is soft. Stir in 3 cups of fresh chopped spinach and allow wilting before serving the soup. Makes 10 delicious cups!

Pot Roast Crock Pot Dinner Recipe

Packed with 28 grams of protein, this pot roast recipe has an interesting twist with potassium from coconut milk and digestive enzymes from pineapple.

Season 2 pounds cubed beef chuck roast with powdered garlic, cumin, salt and pepper; brown in a pan with heated canola oil. Place in slow cooker with 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped jalapenos, 2 chopped peppers, one diced onion, 1-2 sweet potatoes in chunks, 1 can pineapple chunks (drained), 1 can tomatoes, 2 cans corn and one can coconut milk. Stir and cook on low for 8 hours. Delicious!

Related:  Healthy Recipe: Squash Rings with Chard and Walnut Pasta

Moroccan Stew

This deliciously different crock pot dinner recipe includes healthy ingredients such as chickpeas (high in protein and fiber), tomatoes (lycopene), onion (flavonoids), kale (fiber and antioxidant flavonoids), carrots (beta-carotene) and garlic (selenium).

Add 8 browned chicken thighs to the slow cooker along with one tablespoon olive oil, one onion, 4 sliced carrots, one diced red pepper, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons each of cumin and coriander, one cup dried chickpeas, 1x28 ounce can chopped tomatoes, 2 cinnamon sticks and 2½ cups chicken broth. Cook for 6 hours on warm setting; then add one bunch chopped kale, chopped parsley, salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes more. Remove cinnamon sticks and serve stew over cooked rice.

For a vegetarian option, omit the chicken and use vegetable stock.

You’ll find plenty more crock pot dinner recipes on the Internet, so there’s no excuse for not serving up a nourishing, low-fat, healthy meal even on the busiest days of the week. Why not make double quantities and freeze an extra dinner for another day?  Add a small green salad, some fresh bread for dipping, and sit back and enjoy!



Three Delicious Crock Pot Dinner Recipes

by IVL

Having a collection of tried-and-tested crock pot dinner recipes can be a wonderful way to feed the family inexpensively and easily without spending hours in the kitchen. The key to successful crock pot meals is being organized. You need to make sure the meat is defrosted before you start, and that you have all the ingredients to hand, ready to combine them in the crock pot to cook. Ideal for busy families, or even for entertaining, cooking in a crock pot has the added advantage of welcoming you home with mouthwatering aromas. 

Crock pot dinner recipes can be wholesome and tasty

Here are a few favorite crock pot dinner recipes, adapted to slow cooking:

Family Meat Loaf for 8

Mix together 2 pounds ground beef , one chopped green pepper, one large onion, 1½ tsp salt,  2 eggs, 1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs and 1 cup tomato sauce or ketchup. Mold into a loaf with your hands then place into a crock pot lined with aluminum foil spritzed with non-stick spray.

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours. Top with ¾ cup ketchup mixed with ¼ cup brown sugar and 1 tsp. mustard and cook for a further 15 minutes. Cool, slice and serve with a selection of green vegetables and mashed potato.

Tasty Beef Stew for 8

No one would guess that the secret to one of my top crock pot dinner recipes is a can of condensed tomato soup!

Toss 2 pounds cubed beef chuck roast in a bag of seasoned all-purpose flour. Shake off the surplus flour and fry quickly in oil to brown. Add to the crock pot with 6 white onions (peeled and quartered), 4 medium potatoes (thickly sliced), 3 carrots (sliced), 12 mushrooms, 2 sticks celery (sliced), 1 can condensed tomato soup (undiluted), 1 cup red wine, 2 reduced sodium beef bouillon cubes and 3 tsp Italian herb seasoning. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours. Serve with crusty whole grain bread for a healthy, tasty meal.

Related:  Four Spices to Help Boost Sex Drive

Crock Pot Peach Cobbler for 4-6

Crock pot dinner recipes don’t have to be savory! Try this delicious dessert of peaches and rolled oats.

In a bowl mix together 1 cup flour, 1 cup rolled oats, ¾ cup dark brown sugar, ½ tsp each of baking powder, nutmeg and allspice. Work in ¼ cup butter or margarine with your fingertips to form crumbs. Finally, fold in 20 ounces frozen peach slices.

Butter the base and sides of a 3-quart crock pot, add the mixture and cook on LOW for 3½ hours. Serve warm and wait for the compliments!

We hope you enjoy these crock pot dinner recipes as part of a healthy lifestyle, largely avoiding processed foods and including some of your 5-a-day fruit and vegetables, organic meats and heart-healthy grains.   



Three Gluten-Free Party Recipes for Italian Dinners

by Cindy Gray

Since pasta is a wheat product loaded with gluten, Italian food and gluten-free don’t seem to go together.  While gluten-free means wheat-free (and other grains like barley, rye or commercially processed oats) that doesn’t mean you can’t serve a delicious Italian feast with gluten-free party recipes. 

These three Gluten-Free Italian recipes are perfect for your next dinner party. They are simple to prepare and delicious, so send out those invitations and get cooking!

Gluten-free party recipes you’ll find easy and delicious


Noodles do a great job of holding the sauce and meatballs. But you can skip them and enjoy these gluten-free party recipes for appetizers.



3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

½ Tbsp. red pepper flakes

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

½ Tbsp. Italian Seasoning

½ Tbsp. dried parsley

1 lbs. package of lean ground turkey

2 egg whites

2 Tbsp. milled flax seed

1/3 cup dried chopped onions

1 Tbsp. minced, garlic


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Form meatballs into one-inch diameter; makes approximately 30 meatballs. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet.

Bake meatballs for about 15 minutes, then turn and continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving


Making homemade sauce instead of store-bought sauce ensures it is really free of gluten; plus it will taste better and have less sugar or preservatives.


½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp dried parsley

½ tsp oregano

½ tsp rosemary

1-14.5 oz. can of stewed tomatoes

1-14.5 oz. can of tomato paste

One half red or yellow bell peppers (stem and seeds removed)

¼ cup dried or fresh onions, chopped

1Tbsp. minced garlic


Place all ingredients in a blender. Mix until mixture is fairly smooth.  Spray a saucepan lightly with oil and pour in marinara sauce. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with meatballs.


This quick and easy caprese salad is healthy, and it’s an Italian dinner staple that’s gluten-free. 

Spinach Caprese Salad


2 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

½ Tbsp. of olive oil

1 and ½ cups baby spinach

½ cup of cherry tomatoes, chopped

1 oz. of fresh buffalo mozzarella, cubed


Place the spinach in a bowl. Add cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cubes and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and enjoy!

Related:  Mediterranean Diet Improves Quality of Life


Nothing says Italian like home cooked lasagna. This noodle-less version is healthier than what mom used to make (sorry mom); it’s gluten-free and delicious.


1 lb. lean ground turkey

2 large or 5 small zucchini sliced lengthwise

1 white onion, diced

1 small eggplant, sliced

1 green pepper, diced

16 oz. baby spinach

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

1-15 oz. tomato sauce

1-12 oz. can of tomato paste

2 egg whites

1-15 oz. fat-free ricotta cheese

8 oz. fat-free mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 and ½ Tbsp. salt

2 Tbsp. basil

1 Tbsp. oregano

¼ cup nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp. garlic, minced


Lightly salt and oil zucchini and eggplant slices. Bake in oven for 5 minutes.

Place turkey in a pot and cover.  Cook over medium heat till browned (about for 5 minutes.)

Add vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes.

Combine meat with sauce and mix well. Simmer 15-20 minutes.

In a separate bowl, blend ricotta, egg whites and parsley.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a baking pan.

Layer lasagna in the following order: 1/3 meat sauce, 1/3 zucchini, 1/2 ricotta mixture, 1/2 eggplant slices, then all the mushrooms.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cooling for about 10 minutes before serving. Slice into lasagna into squares

Bon appetite!


How to Live with a Gluten Free Diet and Still Love what You Eat

by IVL Products

Gluten intolerance, also known as Celiac Disease, affects around one in every hundred Americans. You may suffer from it yourself, or know someone who does. Understanding the problem and learning to live with a gluten free diet can be challenging. Perhaps our diet tips and information will make it a little easier!

A gluten free diet may be the chance to start a new healthier lifestyle.

What is Gluten Intolerance?

A person is deemed gluten intolerant when their immune system reacts negatively to gluten, the protein found in barley, wheat and rye. When a gluten intolerant person digests gluten, the body produces antibodies to attack the gluten. It may cause damage to the intestines and can prevent the body from properly digesting other essential nutrients.

The internal inflammation triggered by eating foods containing gluten may cause severe bloating, nausea, gas and stomach cramps in anyone who is gluten intolerant. Some people have no internal symptoms but the resulting poor absorption of nutrients leads to tiredness, hair loss and malnutrition. The only treatment for gluten intolerance is to adopt a totally gluten free diet.

What You Can Eat on a Gluten Free Diet

Anyone forced to adopt a gluten free diet will quickly find that there are many foods that contain gluten. Bread, pasta, pizza bases, thickened sauces and soups, cookies, cakes, ice cream, canned and cured meats, condiments, breadcrumbs and spice blends…the list is depressingly long.

Related:  Gluten Brain:  Wheat Cuts off Blood Flow to Frontal Cortex

It’s easier to focus on what food groups you CAN eat on a gluten free diet. You can freely enjoy as much as you like of the following healthy gluten free foods:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Non-processed meats, chicken and fish
  • Eggs
  • Natural dairy products, milk and unprocessed cheeses
  • Grains and cereals such as corn, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and millet

How to Live a Gluten Free Lifestyle

As gluten intolerance affects around 3 million Americans, the food industry has developed a whole range of gluten-free foods to add to the above list of gluten-free staples. You’ll find gluten free bagels, muffins, pancakes, bread, doughnuts and desserts in most supermarkets and health-food stores.  

Treat yourself to a cookbook of gluten-free recipes and search for websites with more information on adopting a gluten free lifestyle. Pinterest is a good way to source gluten free meal ideas or try these tasty gluten free recipes as part of your new gluten free diet.

Read the Label

It’s important to understand that if you are gluten intolerant you can’t just reduce gluten intake, you must completely eliminate gluten to avoid serious damage to your health. Unfortunately, gluten is found in makeup, beer and in many ready meals. However, when dining out, most chain restaurants offer gluten free options.

If a product does not specifically say it is gluten free, you need to check the label for hidden gluten in words such as:

  • Spelt
  • Kamut
  • Triticale
  • Matzo
  • Licorice (made from wheat flour)
  • Semolina
  • Durum
  • Farina
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Malt products
  • Maltodextrin

Although a gluten free diet may have been forced upon you by circumstance, embrace the opportunity it brings and establish a new healthier lifestyle for yourself and your whole family.


Featured Heart-Healthy Recipe – Football Sunday Chili

by Cindy Gray

Heart-healthy recipes often take hours to prepare, but we’ve devised a low-fat, low-sodium recipe for chili that only takes 30 minutes to make, thanks to a couple of “cheats’. Not only is it good for your heart, it also manages to be extremely tasty, satisfying and nutritious.

Try our version of chili – one of the best heart-healthy recipes for families


1 lb. 95% lean ground beef (or ground white meat chicken, turkey, or a non-meat vegetarian substitute for an even healthier option.)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium jalapeño chopped (omit if you don’t like hot chili!)

4 cloves fresh garlic minced OR 2 tsp. minced garlic from a jar

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added or low-sodium pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained

14.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added or low-sodium, diced tomatoes, undrained

3/4 cup jarred salsa (low sodium)


Spray a deep skillet or large saucepan with cooking spray and fry the beef and onion over a medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring and breaking up the meat as it cooks. Tip the meat mixture into a colander and rinse with hot water to remove excess fat. Return to the pan.

Next, stir in the bell pepper, chili powder, garlic and cumin and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve topped with a dollop of fat-free sour cream, sliced avocado and snipped cilantro or chopped scallions. Serves four.

Nutritional Value of This Heart-Healthy Recipe

Calories per serving are 297 with 7g fiber and 31g of satisfying protein. This low-fat recipe delivers 6g total fat and 2.5g saturated fat – one of the definitions of heart-healthy recipes. It also has 62 mg cholesterol – much less than normal chili recipes that retain all the meat fat.  Using low sodium beans, salsa and tomatoes keeps sodium to just 288mg per serving.

Related:  Best Vegan and Vegetarian Protein Sources

For families on a budget, this chili recipe costs about $3.45 per serving. It’s even suitable for those who live alone as it freezes well in individual portions. Once defrosted, it can be reheated for a satisfying midweek meal.  How’s that for one of the best heart-healthy recipes anywhere!


Six Simple Ways to Improve Your Heart Health

by Health News

With 35 percent of Americans now termed medically obese, there has never been a better time to discover tips on how to improve your heart health. With our modern Westernized diet, a healthy cardiovascular system cannot be taken for granted. Lack of exercise, too much fatty processed food, and lack of fresh fruit, vegetables and oily fish can all take a toll on our heart. 

t’s easy when you know how to improve heart health

As we age, the risk of heart attack, stroke, arrhythmia and other heart conditions become more apparent.  The sole person in charge of YOUR heart health is YOU! Here are six effective ways to ensure a healthier heart.  So run through our checklist and see where you can improve your heart health, starting today.

1.     What’s in Your Kitchen?

Your refrigerator may be full of fresh fruit and vegetables, but what about your freezer? Ice cream, fast foods, sweet desserts and French fries are all lined up conveniently for an instant snack or quick meal after work. If you are serious about improving heart health you need to get rid of temptation and restock your kitchen with healthy meals and snacks. If you can’t throw the food away, have a party or BBQ or donate canned items to a food pantry. You’ll feel better once you have made this first important step!

Related:  Inflammation Testing: A Valuable Predictor of Cardiovascular Risk

2.     Conscious Eating

Become more aware or what you’re eating and when you’re eating in order to assess ways for how to improve heart health. Snacking between meals out of habit, or eating TV meals without being aware of what you are putting in your mouth lead to a feeling of dissatisfaction, a sure way to crave snacks later. Be conscious of every bite and savor every mouthful.

3.     Shopping Temptations

The only way to shop for your heart-healthy diet is to plan meals ahead. Once you become a meal planner, you can make a shopping list and buy only what you want without deviating off to the latest special offer or sinful treat.

4.     Eat at Home

Eating out regularly means we relinquish control on ingredients and portion size to someone else – someone who is not interested in how to improve your heart health! Subscribe to a healthy living magazine such as Cooking Light or Healthy Living for inspiration or look for heart-healthy recipes online. Focus on easy-to-prepare meals to save on time and organize your grocery list (above) so all the ingredients are to hand. No excuses!

5.     Smart Meal Options

If you do eat out occasionally, most restaurants mark healthy options on the menu so you can pick wisely and not return to unhealthy eating habits.

6.     Get Active

There is no substitute for physical activity 4-5 times a week. Set aside time for walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, gardening, cycling or whatever you enjoy.

By adopting these six lifestyle rules you will discover new ways for how to improve heart health, resulting in a longer, healthier and more fulfilled life.



Can Exercise Lower Blood Pressure?

by IVL

More than 75 million Americans have hypertension, a condition the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) defines as "chronically elevated blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg."  Left untreated, hypertension raises risks for heart attack, stroke, and other types of cardiovascular disease.  While some people turn to medication to manage hypertension, others prefer more natural remedies.  Can exercise lower blood pressure?  Research tells us that regular physical exercise can lower blood pressure.  It even lowers death rates in certain populations.

Many people wonder, Can exercise lower blood pressure?  Research shows positive benefits of exercise for blood pressure and the cardiovascular system as a whole.

A review study published in the Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine determined that exercising three to five times per week at an intensity of 40 to 50% of maximum exercise performance appears to lower blood pressure, especially in people who are hypertensive.

Researchers from the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas compared fit men with uncontrolled blood pressure to sedentary men with the same condition.  Death rates for moderately-fit men and highly-fit men were 46% and 68% lower respectively, than death rates for sedentary men.

How can exercise lower blood pressure?

Physical activity causes blood to flow more rapidly through the arteries.  The force of quicker blood flow triggers endothelial cells along the blood vessel walls to produce nitric oxide, a substance that relaxes and expands blood vessels.  When relaxed, vessels circulate more blood throughout the body, which lowers blood pressure and reduces chances for heart disease and stroke.  According to the ACSM, people who follow a regular program they can stay with over the long term maximize the blood-pressure reducing benefits of exercise.  

Related:  Prevent Alzheimer's Disease with Exercise

What is the best kind of exercise for reducing blood pressure?

Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity five days per week.  Good examples of aerobic exercise include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging or running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Rowing

By boosting amounts of nitric oxide produced by the blood vessels, exercise benefits blood pressure and a whole lot more.  The addition of a nutritious diet and stress-reduction techniques like guided imagery, meditation, or yoga offers a holistic recipe for an ultra-healthy cardiovascular system.  


Over 40 and Can't Lose Weight? Cut Out These Two Foods!

by IVL Products

Weight gain, bloating and difficulty with digestion are common problems for women in their 40s and older. This frequently manifests itself as belly fat and older women find they can’t lose weight as they used to. Hormonal changes are often blamed for such problems during menopause, but it could be intolerance to gluten and dairy foods that are the real culprits. Here's how to check whether these two food groups are the reason why you can’t lose weight.

Dairy and gluten foods are a common reason why people can’t lose weight

Symptoms of Food Intolerances

Foods high in gluten, such as flour, wheat, semolina, barley, bulgur and rye, can cause intestinal problems in those with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Often undiagnosed, gluten intolerance can cause cramps, a swollen stomach and inflammation throughout the body.

Similarly, those who are lactose intolerant may suffer with gas, bloating and diarrhea, as they are unable to digest the lactose (sugar) in milk and dairy products. Other symptoms of food intolerance in those who can’t lose weight include chronic fatigue, headaches and a stuffy nose.

If these problems sound familiar, it’s time to address the reasons why you possibly can’t lose weight by eliminating the cause of the problem.

Alternatives to Gluten and Dairy Products for Those Who Can't Lose Weight

At first glance it may seem that all your favorite foods fall into either the gluten or dairy categories. Eliminating these foods can be daunting, but once you have established a healthier more wholesome lifestyle, you can gradually reintroduce the foods one by one to see if they cause any problems with bloating, inflammation and that inability to lose weight.

Related:  Gluten Brain:  Wheat Cuts Off Blood Flow to Frontal Cortex

It's all about substituting foods, or significantly reducing those problem foods from your diet. First, eliminate all bread, cakes, cereals, breadcrumbs, bagels, tortillas and pasta that contain wheat or other glutens. Substitute them with rice or corn flour in cooking. Flaxseed, quinoa and millet flours are all acceptable along with potatoes, sweet potatoes and rice. Polenta (corn meal) is a good side dish; and seeds, beans and nuts can also be imaginatively used in gluten-free recipes. Health food stores offer a range of gluten-free breads, crackers, rice cakes and flours to help you ease into making these changes.

Dairy substitutes are a matter of shopping wisely and choosing soy, almond, rice and coconut milk instead of cow's milk. There are good replacements for sour cream and cream cheese, especially when making dips and spreads. Replace ice creams with sorbet and gelato. Soy-based yogurts are widely available in supermarkets.  

Solving the Problem, One Food at a Time

Once your digestive problems and complaints of "I can’t lose weight" are solved, enjoy your new healthy diet. If you hunger for certain products, then add them back carefully one at a time, monitoring for any bloating or symptoms. 


Top Ways to Use Chia Seeds

by IVL Products

We've had buckwheat, kamut, faro and quinoa, and now it seems we can add the benefits of chia seeds to our ever-growing list of wholegrain foods.  Although ‘chia’ is technically a seed, health advisors are going crazy about the health benefits, diversity and ways to use chia seeds.

What are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica which grows mainly in South America. The word "chia" comes from the Mayan word meaning "strength."  Ancient civilizations such as the Aztecs and the Mayans used the seeds as a source of energy and power.

Chia seeds are a rich source of nutrients and healthy fats. Just one ounce (28 grams) of these seeds contains 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and 5 grams of Omega-3s. In addition, it delivers 18% of your recommended daily amount (RDA) of calcium, 30% of manganese RDA, 30% of your magnesium RDA and 27% of phosphorus RDA; along with zinc, potassium and B-vitamins—all in only 137 calories.

Further benefits of chia seeds include their ability to help fight inflammation.  Chia seeds are gluten-free, and they are high in antioxidants which fight free radical damage.

If you are going to be stranded on a desert island, a supply of chia seeds could be your salvation!

Related:  Flax Seed--Unleashing the Health Bounty of a Wonder Seed

The Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

We've already covered some of the health benefits of chia seeds, but they have many more uses. Those on a weight-loss program will find chia seeds are high in quality protein which reduces the appetite and temptation to snack. They are high in fiber which slows down digestion and leaves you feeling fuller for longer which can all help you lose weight.

As the chia seeds pass through the digestive tract, they feed the good bacteria, yet another boost to health. Brimming with omega-3s, another benefit of chia seeds is that it has more omega-3, gram for gram, than salmon! With all these positives, it’s no wonder that chia seeds are promoted by healthy specialists for being heart healthy, lowering triglycerides and the risk of diabetes.

Ways to Use Chia Seeds in Your Diet

Ways to use chia seeds are almost as numerous as the benefits of chia seeds.  Grind one tablespoon in a food processor and add 3 tablespoons water to replace one egg in baking recipes. Blend the seeds with coconut milk, natural sweetener and cocoa powder then leave in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to make a delicious thick pudding.

Use chia seeds to thicken soups and gravies. Just sprinkle on top, or use ground chia seeds in place of breadcrumbs. Finally, eat in salads like beansprouts or just chew on them whole as a snack.

With so many excellent ways to use chia seeds, you'll wonder how you ever managed without them. 

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday


Fish-Free Wrinkle Free: The Vegetarian Answer to Omega-3s

by Health News

With supplements and a few additions to your shopping list, you can find fish-free omega-3 foods that will enhance your anti-aging diet, yet still honor your choice to live a vegetarian lifestyle. There are a lot of plant sources with essential nutrients to help keep you young, vibrant, and vegetarian!

Walnuts provide omega-3 fatty acids and help you get essential nutrients into your anti-aging diet.

Power Plants

Mother Nature offers so many healthy ways to get your much needed fish-free omega-3s and other nutrients. Here are a few:


Grinding the seeds and adding them to cookie, bread, or muffin recipes is one method to get flaxseed into your diet.  Research shows that ground flax can be used in baked goods without losing their desired health benefits, such as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and omega-3 fatty acids as long as you keep the oven temperature at 300 degrees Fahrenheit—or less.

Flax offers other health benefits like phytonutrients called lignans, which are antioxidants, something essential for maintaining youthful energy levels and glowing skin. As little one ounce of flaxseed can help keep obesity at bay, improve circulation and lower blood pressure.


Barley is a delicious, nutty flavored and versatile cereal grain with lots of health benefits.  It is chock full of manganese, fiber, selenium, copper, vitamin B1, phosphorus, magnesium and niacin, just to name a few of its wonderful nutrients.

The selenium in barley make it a great anti-aging food because it strengthens metabolic pathways for a healthier immune system and lowers your risk of developing some cancers, something essential for keeping you feeling young and vibrant at any age.

Related:  Vegans May Benefit From Supplements of Omega 3s and Vitamin B12

Soy Lecithin

Lecithin is produced in the liver and makes up an important part of the mucus layer in our large intestines.   It’s made up of three fat-soluble molecules that are the building blocks of cell membranes that facilitate cell communication and keep cells from sticking to each other.

Soybeans are a good source of lecithin and beneficial as a meat-free food that helps keep your liver healthy by emulsifying (breaking down) fatty deposits that can lead to high cholesterol, liver and cardiovascular disease.


Seaweed offers nutrients from the ocean not found in land-based greens.  It has long been a part of the diet of many Asian cultures and should be in your anti-aging diet plan.

Seaweed is a great source of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and it can help regulate estrogen and estradiol levels. Those two hormones can help women lower their risk of developing breast cancer.

One nutrient that is missing from many diets and is in few foods is iodine. Seaweed is rich in iodine, which is essential for keeping your thyroid healthy. Since thyroid problems are a common problem as we age eating more seaweed salad is good idea.


If you are vegetarian you would be nuts not to be eating walnuts regularly. When consumed whole with the skin still on them you get a healthy dose of:

  • Vitamin E
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Biotin
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium

Numerous research over the last few decades have shown walnuts to help lower the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, or suffering a metabolic disorder.  Walnuts are also rich sources of antioxidants, help reduce inflammation, and support collagen production, which keeps skin smooth and wrinkle free.

No Need to Fish for Compliments

Adding these foods to your shopping list to round out an effective anti-aging diet is a smart way for anyone looking to get fish free omega-3s and other essential nutrients without eating meat.  


A Fishy Solution to Anti-Aging

by IVL Products

If you happen to enjoy fish, that’s great!  There is no better source of protein, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients than those found in many kinds of seafood.  To keep the hands of time from wreaking havoc on your health, a good anti-aging diet should include a variety of fish. 

Omega-3 fatty acids for anti-aging

We are swimming in a sea of information touting the myriad health benefits of salmon and trout.  It’s true, because they are such a great source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but there are many other types of healthy choices available when it comes to selecting seafood.

Catch of the Day

How much fish should you eat a week? What about fish oil supplements?  Getting the right amount of fish in your diet through regular food and supplements is really quite easy.

Most health experts recommend adults eat between one to three servings of fish per week. That is not always possible, so supplementing your diet with fish oil capsules is a good idea. Taking supplements of 1,000-2,000 mg of fish oil a day is safe, healthy and an easy way to ensure you are getting enough of the two essential fatty acids so beneficial for anti-aging: EPA and DHA.

What’s In It for You?

EPA and DHA are omega-3 fatty acids not naturally produced by our bodies. They are called essential fatty acids because they are critical to maintaining good health, and you can only get them through food and supplements.

Omega-3s are essential for:

  • Normal cognitive function
  • Blood circulation
  • Healthy Skin

Fish consumption is widely recommended by healthcare professionals because of research showing a diet rich in fish and fish oil supplements decreases the level of triglyceride (fat) in the blood which lowers your risk of developing coronary disease, a common affliction that comes with age. 

Eating fish also helps you maintain a healthy weight, lowers blood pressure, and helps your hair to grow longer, thicker and stronger, too.

Related:  Healthy Recipes: Make Fish For Dinner

Little Fish in a Big Pond

Of course, salmon, cod, trout, and tilapia are good choices, but variety is the spice of life and there are other fish that you can make part of your anti-aging diet that are versatile, healthy, and delicious.


Anchovies are small but mighty fish food! You only need a few to add intense flavor to salad dressing, sauces, pizza, or to pasta.  They taste salty rather than fishy when mixed into sauces and dressings.

Packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids anchovies are low in calories. They are a good choice for a fish that has little or no mercury, something large types of fish like salmon or cod are known to have, which of course, dictates that we cannot eat larger types of fish too frequently.


It’s good to pack in sardines! These little critters are full of nutrients like EPA and DHA plus a rich source of vitamins B12, D and phosphorus. These nutrients promote cardiovascular health, strong bones, healthy teeth, and help lower risk of developing certain kinds of cancer. 

Sardines are a great source of unsaturated fat, protein, and essential amino acids that help maintain muscular strength, which is something that diminishes with age.


Pollock is a great fish choice for its low levels of contaminants, high quality protein, flaky texture and mild flavor, making it a good choice for kids and adults. It also contains the essential fatty acids you need daily in only a 4-ounce serving.

In addition to being a great source of omega-3s and protein, Pollock has choline and vitamin B 12, which supports brain cells to slow down cognitive decline, so it makes it a good choice for any anti-aging diet.


Three Rules For Soy and Menopause Symptoms

by Cindy Gray

Soy for menopause symptoms is not a new idea. In many Asian countries women there report much milder symptoms when going through the change, and it is thought to be partially due to the wide variety of soy foods they consume.

Try soy foods for natural relief for menopause symptoms.

If you are in early stages of menopause, or right in the middle of it, foods for menopause like soy can provide some relief from your symptoms. There are some “rules” to follow to get the most benefits from soy to lessen some of the worst menopause symptoms.

What is Menopause? Signs and Symptoms

Menopause is a time when women’s bodies begin to decline in the production of the fertility hormones estrogen and progesterone.  Women usually begin having mild symptoms that increase as production of the two hormones continues to dramatically decline with age and eventually stop menstruation. Other symptoms include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness, atrophy, and pain during intercourse
  • Urinary tract infections or incontinence
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Irregular periods or none at all
  • Breast tenderness
  • Decreased sex drive (libido)
  • Changes in hair in skin (may feel thinner and drier)
  • Fatigue

How Can Soy Help?

Soy is rich in compounds called isoflavones;  polyphenolic compounds that are capable of exerting estrogen-like effects (Linus Pauling Institute)

Isoflavones are classified as phytoestrogens, meaning plant-derived compounds with estrogenic activity that can act like estrogen in the human body.   Since the abrupt decrease of estrogen and progesterone is what causes menopause, replacing it with a similar compound can bring relief to those suffering unpleasant symptoms.

Related:  Healthy Recipe:  Vegetable Tofu Stir Fry

The Three Rules for Menopause Relief with Soy

1. Soy Pills Don’t Work

According to a University of California San Francisco study published recently, soy pills had no measureable effect on menopause symptoms like hot flashes. While disappointing it is not surprising.  Asian women who suffer less severe menopause symptoms do not take soy pills or supplements.  They consume it by eating real foods.

2. Real Food Is Best

Consume whole soy by eating it in real food form.  Most women can eat a lot of it every day with no side effects.  For a small percentage it can cause digestive discomfort, but that is rare.  It’s really easy to incorporate more soy into your diet, too.  You can eat:

  • Tofu (prepared many different ways)
  • Tempeh (deep-fried fermented soy beans)
  • Miso (miso soup is delicious!)
  • Whole soybeans like edamame
  • Soymilk
  • Soy powder
  • Soy ice cream

It is important to note that you consume soy whole soy foods, not just isolated isoflavones or soy protein to get the estrogenic effects to relieve some menopause symptoms like hot flashes.  It’s the combination and concentration in whole foods rich in soy that make it an effective menopause symptom reliever.

Since soy is one of the most GMO (genetically modified) crops in the U.S., so always choose the organic varieties.

3. Consume Soy Throughout The Day

To get the most benefits from soy for menopause, it is best to consume soy-rich foods throughout the day rather than a lot in one meal.

Soy is safe to eat everyday so look for recipes to prepare tofu in different ways. Use soymilk on your cereal or to make a smoothie.  Edamame has a mild flavor, but is rich source of isoflavones and protein to enhance many dishes.

Since menopause symptoms like hot flashes can come and go eating soy throughout the day will help keep them in check for more consistent relief.

Say “Soy Long” To Hot Flashes

Since menopause is an inevitable physical change for all women, it’s not too early to start making soy a regular part of your diet.  Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones who won’t suffer a lot of the more unpleasant symptoms of menopause because you are regularly consuming soy


Garlic Roasted Potato Skins

by Health News

Did you know that when you peel your potatoes you’re throwing away (or maybe composting) the most nutritious part of the food? Don’t do it! In fact, based on an average 2000 calorie per-day diet, a potato skin provides 45% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C, 18% of your RDA of potassium and 10% of your vitamin B6! Not only that, it’s fat free!

Here is a healthy, easy recipe that takes advantage of potato skin’s delicious flavor and appealing texture:

Garlic Roasted Potato Skins

Garlic Roasted Potato Skins


3 lbs russet (baking potatoes 6 to 8 medium; preferably organic)
1 head garlic (2 inches in diameter)
4 1/2 tbsps unsalted butter (softened)
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prick each potato once or twice with a fork. Cut off and discard top fourth of garlic head, then wrap garlic tightly in foil. Bake garlic and potatoes on same rack in lower third of oven until potatoes are tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove potatoes from oven and cool on a metal rack 15 minutes. Continue to bake garlic until tender, about 15 minutes more, then cool in foil on rack.

While garlic cools, halve potatoes lengthwise, then quarter each half (to form short wedges). Scoop out potato flesh (reserving it for another use), leaving 1/4-inch-thick potato skins.

Increase oven temperature to 425°F.

Squeeze garlic into a small bowl, discarding garlic skins, and mash to a paste with butter, salt, and pepper using a fork.

Divide garlic paste among potato skins (about 1/2 teaspoon each), spreading evenly, then roast skins in a large shallow baking pan (1 inch deep) until golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.


Healthy Recipes: Watermelon Slushie

by Nancy Maneely

Is there anything more refreshing on a hot summer day than an icy-cold wedge of watermelon? And lucky for us, we can enjoy this wonderful summer treat without guilt, because it’s low in calories, high in dietary fiber, and contains lots of antioxidant nutrition.

Healthy Recipes: Watermelon Slushie

Watermelon is a friend to the “healthy aging” crowd as well as weight-loss aficionados. That pretty pink color? It’s from lycopene. Watermelon contains higher levels of the antioxidant lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable (15 to 20 mg per 2-cup serving) and is part of a healthy diet.

Watermelon also provides Vitamin A for eye health, Vitamin B6 for immune system support, Vitamin C (another antioxidant powerhouse), and potassium.

When I was a kid, watermelon was regarded with some suspicion by health-conscious moms. How could something this tasty and fun be … GOOD for you? It was a fabulous summer indulgence at picnics and barbecues. But why wait for a special occasion?

At this time of year, watermelon prices are at their lowest and there’s an abundance of varieties everywhere you look. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t get too much of a good thing! Enjoy it alone or in a fruit salad. 

Healthy Recipes: Watermelon Slushie

There are also lots of recipes on the Internet for smoothies, cocktails … even gazpacho with watermelon as the star ingredient. Go for it!

Here’s an easy, delicious recipe for Watermelon Slushie. Enjoy it with friends or family and make some extra to have on hand, in case the neighbors drop by.

Watermelon Slushie

  • 4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
  • 10 ice cubes (or you can substitute frozen strawberries!)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 tbsp. sweetener, adjust to taste (sugar, stevia, honey, or agave syrup)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Place watermelon and ice into a blender. Pour in lime juice, sugar, and salt. Blend until smooth.

Yield:  5 servings

Nutrition Information Per Serving:  70 calories, 0.2g Total Fat, 0mg Cholesterol


National Watermelon Promotion Board
Self Nutrition Data


Beauty’s Dangerous History

by IVL

If you’re dying to be more beautiful, be careful what you wish for. Although our modern-day cosmetics and beauty treatments are carefully tested and FDA approved, in the past people have not been quite so lucky. History shows that humans have been putting poisons in cosmetics for thousands of years.

Beauty can be deadly, as history shows we have been putting poisons in cosmetics for many years.

Lead Lipstick

Although we are now acutely aware of lead poisoning, in the past lead was a common ingredient in lipstick, eyeliner and even face powder. In ancient Greece the most fashionable women painted their faces with white lead and chalk mixed with vinegar. The lead would slowly poison them, causing prematurely gray hair, dry skin and abdominal cramps before finally killing them. No wonder their life expectancy was considerably shorter than today!

Related: Recipes to Fight Breast Cancer

Mercurial Beauty

In the 15th century, women went to great pains – literally – to enhance their natural beauty. As well as plucking their hairline to give the illusion of a higher forehead, they would redden their lips with mercuric sulphide. We now know that mercury can cause birth defects, depression, tremors, kidney and liver problems. However, even quite recently mercury was used to cure blemishes and was present in some cosmetics.

Killer Eye Drops

To make their eyes shine brightly, European women used belladonna (from deadly nightshade) as eye drops. It actually works by cutting off neuron function to dilate the pupils, but ultimately it lived up to its name and was deadly.

Arsenic Face Powder

At one time, taking arsenic was a popular way to achieve that enviable pale complexion. Women would soak arsenic out of fly papers which created a pale countenance by killing their red blood cells. Eventually the ensuing baldness and deadly side effects led to it being banned in the 1920s. Arsenic was replaced by quack doctors selling products such as “Dr. McKenzie’s Improved Harmless Arsenic Complexion Wafers”.

Bone-Aching Beauty

In Victorian times, women would be laced into rib-breaking corsets to create a tiny waistline. In China, tiny feet were considered dainty and infants had their feet bound to restrict growth in a painful procedure.

Modern Day Toxic Beauty

Although these historic tales seem ridiculous, in some ways we have not learned from the past. We still use known carcinogens to dye our hair, and inject botox (botulinum toxin) to paralyze signals from the nerves to the muscles to prevent wrinkles.

Coal tar is still found in some anti-dandruff shampoos and hair dyes. It is a human carcinogen that causes a susceptibility to sunburn and damages DNA.

Fortunately, beauty can be achieved without going to such dangerous extremes.  A healthy diet, plenty of exercise and organic cosmetics can provide a natural healthy glow that surely outshines other more extreme beauty treatments.


Top Three Fermented Foods for Constipation Relief

by Cindy Gray

How healthy is your colon? The primary sign of a healthy colon and digestive system is if you have a bowel movement at least once a day. If you don’t, chances are that you are suffering from constipation and may need some help from nature. Eating fermented foods regularly will help provide constipation relief by improving your digestive process and cleansing your colon.

Your diet should contain plenty of fiber from your five daily portions of fruit and vegetables, whole wheat bread, pasta and cereals. If you need a little extra help, consider introducing these fermented foods into your diet. You’ll feel more energetic and alive once you have found relief for constipation. 

Fermented foods use an ancient form of controlled fermentation to produce lactic acid which will help keep all bad bacteria and decay at bay. The fermented foods then introduce this healthy flora into the gut, helping the digestive process, keeping food moving at a healthy pace, and helping to eliminate waste products through the bowel for effective constipation relief.

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk product similar to yogurt. However, it is produced using a different method and contains high levels of healthy bacteria that colonize the intestines. It is made using milk kefir grains which contain yeast and live bacteria. The milk is then cultured at room temperature, unlike yogurt which needs heat to culture. Kefir can be drained to produce a more solid consistency and can then be eaten or made into cheese. It has a tart flavor but is a great ingredient for using in other recipes such as smoothies, salad dressing, soups, dips and desserts.

Related: The Benefits of Chlorella

What is Kimchi?

Kimchi is a good source of constipation relief

Kimchi is a spicy fermented vegetable dish which is popular in Korea. It can be made from scallions, radishes or cabbage. It is soaked in brine then the healthy lactobacillus bacteria ferment the cabbage during the process which takes several days. The fermentation gives the cabbage a sharp tangy flavor. Some people prefer to add seasonings such as garlic or ginger to make it tastier.

How Can Sauerkraut Help Relieve Constipation?

Sauerkraut is made using a similar process to kimchi. It should be fermented rather than pickled in vinegar to provide all the health benefits of the fermentation process as it produces millions of health supporting probiotic bacteria.

When eaten, these probiotics help break down food in the digestive system, making it faster and easier to process the food and eliminate waste. The benefits of probiotics and fermented foods for constipation relief are becoming more popular as people understand more about how these fermented foods work.