Happy Thanksgiving: Celebrating the Seasons of Life!

The Sun Coming Up

The Sun Coming Up – Thanksgiving Morning 2014

The sun came up over my backyard white weather-worn board on board fence welcoming the day.  A cool 55 and breezy for those of us in the Broward-Dade locale. Today is Thanksgiving. Traditionally a holiday of family, food and lol–football. For many a tradition that includes Macy’s parade, whether viewing from the living room television screen or huddled on the street watching large balloon characters & turkeys tethered by ropes, colorful marching bands in their best regalia, high kicking Rockettes and ornate elaborate extravagant floats, all symbols of things we have grown up with and love. Tradition. It is all around us. We love it. We live by it, and we look forward to ‘ours’ each year. Right? But what happens when we don’t fit in to the likeness or painted image imprinted in our minds-eye?

If change is the “new normal” and it’s affecting all parts of our lives, then I guess we should expect our holidays to take on a new look and feel. However most of us have strong resistance to change. The memorable Norman Rockwell painting has all but vanished in most nuclear families. We live and work in all parts of the globe; not everyone can always “get home.” Family dynamics change through divorce, death, marriages or downsizing. Sometimes the next in-line no longer desires to carry on the family tradition, refusing to pick up where Mom left off.

Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld, Mash  sitcoms or the Star Trek series Next Generation helped visibility demonstrate family doesn’t necessarily stay confined to those in our biological circles.  As dysfunctional as the characters were at times, they cared about each other in times of need; mimicking life? Far truer and closer to our reality than we probably realize.  If, TV parrots life: Modern Family represents a new example, would you not agree?  Holidays, like life, evolve the way our life does. It may begin the years we’re in the dorm at school, in a particular neighborhood,  or within a close circle of friends.  Life just happens. The evolution is simply where we are in the moment writing our script in own personal movie–or sitcom. My own life and family looked very different 15 years–or even 30 years ago than today, and completely different than growing up.  I would say in a much better, and healthier view of the world.

I am meeting friends at one of my favorite restaurants, in walking distance from my home, near the ocean. I will talk to my boys–now 26 and almost 30 on the phone who live thousands of miles from each other, and from Florida. I will make a call to Seattle and talk to my parents, divorced, but still living and touch bases with my siblings. I will send and receive Thanksgiving texts and talk some more on the phone, and visit nearby friends, but mostly I will enjoy the day. I refuse to dwell in ‘what could or should have been’ and simply enjoy the moment and company of others–laughing, sharing stories and having gratitude for today.  Creating new traditions again. It is a no-muss, no-fuss kind of year. What is important is embracing our life NOW and enjoying what is.

We are always at choice point. I encourage you to create something new and different. Reach out to someone less fortunate. Play golf, do something that you enjoy. Perhaps, take in a movie. Each Holiday has looked very different in the last 10 years and I am okay with that–in fact embracing what comes in an adventurous–let it unfold kind of way; expectations gone.  Be mindful, our holidays and our tradition can always look a number of ways. Be happy where you are right now, evolve the way your life evolves. Next year will be different.  When the artist begins with the blank canvas he or she is in the process of creation. Be the artist.   Choose the colors you love.  Paint your portrait with any colors; joy is all that is required.  Use pastels, watercolors or oil. Use your fingers, sponges or a brush. Metaphors for the seasons of our life. Create something beautiful with what you have today.  I plan to and so can you!  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Happy-Thanksgiving

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Hillcrest Farmers Market; The New Paradigm Unfolding?

Hillcrest street musicianThe Hillcrest Farmers market in San Diego is walking distance from my friend JulieAnn’s apartment. I was on the West Coast for the Biological Decoding conference in La Jolla but free for the weekend, and I decided to walk over and participate in the local Sunday ritual.  My first observation was this Farmers market seemed to be a hustle and bustle of community; village-like in feel and energy.  Aside from the customary assortment of beautiful freshly picked organic vegetables and fruits, were vendors selling hot and prepared food from around the globe. There were talented craftsmen and jewelry artisans, soap makers and entrepreneurs selling unique wares.  I saw–kitchen towels on flour sacks, handcrafted calendars and paintings–plants to eat, and flowers to grow and the heard melodious musician’s note enhancing the fair-like ambiance with song and note floating up through the crowded market street which had been assembled early that morning. An instant city of tents placed above the usually recognizable  yellow & white painted traffic and parking lines transformed into this temporary village on Normal street; ironically, feeling anything but normal.  I walked through the maze and frenzy of orange and white blinking traffic barricades flowing new directions over the asphalt normally reserved only for cars. Interrupted by the iconic traffic cops maintaining order, blowing their whistles and waving their arms, keeping harmony with the crowds of pedestrians and redirected autos. The kind of scene you would expect Harrison Ford to materialize and saunter through in true Indiana style. (Smiling)

The hopes of finding Julieann’s friend led me down to explore this energetic neighborhood farmers market; a market in which Maria, a editor and producer from LA,  sells her vintage typewriter creations on the weekends for fun. “I get to see the light of day,” she joked.

I spent a few hours there, and what struck me most was the comradery; vendors really supportive of each other. The flour sack kitchen towel guy John knew my new friend Maria who sells the old-vintage typewriter jewelry and walked me right to her booth. Wow! Maria introduced me to the woman on her right who manufactures her own skin care line and to Josette, around the corner who sells beautiful succulent wreaths and arrangements. Josette’s brother Louie, a craftsman himself who designs and builds wood furniture, also cooks and bakes and shares his goodies with his surrounding tent neighbors.  (Cookie recipe forthcoming.)

Such a sense of community I noted, as I wandered down the side walk ready to indulge and sample flavors of the worldly cuisine that awaited. Crossing the street I headed in a southerly direction, actually looking for a close ATM and then lunch, when I heard a comment about the Buddha shirt I had picked to wear for the day. Soon, I was in a discussion with a guy named Robert who offered me a glass of his friend’s tea. It was made with aloe, rosemary, fresh stevia leaves, bougainvillea blossoms, & mint. I’m still not sure what the name of it is, but well worth the trip over to the Market if you live in the  San Diego area.  Have a glass of her whole-made from scratch tea and her delicious home-cooked cuisine!  (Her picture is below.)

I know these local markets happen all across the United States, and it is well worth taking a few minutes to visit these hard working heart-felt folks wherever they live.  I was going to include web addresses, but many of the artist don’t have them.  So, if you’re in the neighborhood–pop over and say hello.  Enjoy all the market has to offer–and support the artists who live doing what they love.  Isn’t this a great example for us all!  “Do what you love or find a way to love what you do.”  These artists and farmers and cooks do this everyweek–supporting each other in all they do!  Do you find support where you work and live?  If not, why not?  Have the courage to step out and be the authentic you. I’m sorry I didn’t take more pictures, but I’ll let you fill in the blanks with your own imagination of how the world can be when we all work together and do what we love.

“Inspired Wellness from Within”

Cathrine Silver, Certified Holistic Health Coach

http://www.CathrineSilver.com

Wonderful tea and food from this beautiful woman!

Wonderful tea and food from this beautiful woman!

Baby Zucchini Sauté with Mint

Beautiful baby zucchini at the farmers market

Beautiful baby zucchini

This is a great tasting easy to prepare recipe I made in San Diego for a dinner one night. I really enjoyed how the lemon and garlic added so much  flavor to the sometimes blandish green squash.  Zucchini is a summer squash according to Rebecca Wood and the medicinal benefits support the stomach, spleen, large intestine and liver.  Zucchini is easy to digest and contain anticancer properties and carotenes. This is a “keeper” for many dinners to come!  Enjoy.  

                                      ‘Inspired Wellness from Within’ –Cathy Silver, HC

Total: 20 minutes
10 servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, (orange flavor if you have it in your pantry)
1-3 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
3 pounds baby zucchini, trimmed and halved lengthwise
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped mint

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil.  Add the chopped garlic and cook over moderate heat stirring until it is fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add the baby zucchini halves, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp tender, about 8 minutes.  Add the fresh lemon juice and transfer the zucchini to a serving plate. Sprinkle the zucchini with the chopped mint and serve.
Adapted from Katie Lee Food & Wine

Be mindful unless you’re buying yellow summer squash at the farmers market, the odds are that it has been genetically modified (GM).  In a store, if possible, purchase certified organic or squash that are labeled non-GMO.  To a lesser extent commercial zucchini squash may be GM too!

Zucchini ready to serve

Zucchini ready to serve

Amazing Frozen Lemons!

fresh lemonsFirst bananas and now lemons–What a concept! Many professiona­ls in restaurants and eateries are using and consuming entire lemons and nothing is wasted. How? Simply . . . place the washed organic lemon in the freezer. Once the lemon is frozen, use your grater and shred the whole lemon—peel and all—and sprinkle it on top of foods.

I buy and use lemons to season chicken or tuna salad in place of salt. I also love them in water or tea. So after reading about this earlier in the week I tried grated lemon in tuna salad—someplace I normally add fresh lemon juice. This was easy and tasted great. Frozen grated lemons are also great and suggested to add into a vegetable salad, ice cream, soup, cereals, noodles, spaghetti, rice, fish dishes and more . . . the list is endless. Your foods will have a wonderful taste.

Even better, lemons peels or zest contain as much as 5 to 10 times more vitamins than the lemon juice. Peels are also health rejuvenator in eradicating toxic elements in the body. Place your washed lemons in the freezer and grate when needed.

Consulting, Rebecca Wood she reveals the medicinal benefits in her book, The New whole Foods Encyclopedia, that citrus in general is a miraculous food. A cooling agent for our body—be it from a fever, physical exercise or hot flashes. But, did you know that citrus varieties contain 58 known anticancer agents? One article claimed Lemon (citrus) is an extraordinary product to kill cancer cells and claims to “be 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy”. I guess the labs have jumped on to this news and are in the process of making a synthetic version. Personally, I’d trust Mother Nature—both energetically and the micro-nutrients which work in harmony with our system. Lemons constrict body tissue, they dry damp conditions, resolve stagnation, and dispel sputum. If your digestion is off, lemon stimulates the flow of saliva, easing the work of the liver. They help to alkalize the body and are helpful in high blood pressure—good for sunburn, insect bites, sore throats, hiccups and weight loss.

For a great Morning Elixir, to gently bring your energy up restoring balance and rehydrating your body without the jolt from caffeine, boil (on the stove) 1 cup of water. Add two Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, and honey to taste. Cayenne to taste (optional)

This will help your body if it is feeling stiff—or your mind if it is feeling cloudy. It could be your liver is complaining it didn’t complete its middle of the night task of blood cleansing. Who knew this beautiful yellow fruit brought to us from India was such a world class seasoning ingredient—and so remarkable for our health!

Inspired Wellness from Within

Cathy, HC

http://www.CathySilverHealth.com

lemon tree

The Power of Apple

The wondrous apple     Anxious to grab a morning walk before the temperatures rose to quickly, I snatched a crisp red organic apple out of my refrigerator drawer–a Gala to be precise.   Apples are one of my favorite fruits–conveniently packaged in a  portable size and sturdy enough to be carried almost anywhere.  They have the advantage so far–of making it through airport security; my yogurt was not so lucky!  As I munched through the house multitasking, my mind wandered just briefly about the iconic  platitude “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” 

This is one fruit that we apparently love.  Emerson called it “the American fruit.”  Those who keep track of such things estimate that we consume about 120 apples per year–per person.  And, did you know that the apple originated not far from the mythical Eden, in Almaty, Kazakhstan in Central Asia where wild apples still cover the foothills?   Most of ours don’t come that far, and although they grow in almost all states,  if you have ever driven through Yakima, Ellensburg or the Wenatchee Valley you would not need to be convinced  that most apples in the United States come out of Washington state where 12 billion apples are thinned and picked by hand.  That’s a lot of apples!

No one is better suited than Rebecca Wood, author of The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia to detail the medicinal benefits of apples.  According to her expertise, apples are a cooling food–and both a yin & chi tonic that treat the heart, lungs, large intestines, stomach and spleen.  They invigorate and promote vital energy and help dispel toxins.  Apples contain something called Malic and tartaric acids which inhibit fermentation in the stomach making apples easier to assimilate than most other fruits.

They are moistening and so reduce thirst, reduce fever, and ease dry hot lungs.  In addition, apples, especially green, help to cleanse the liver and gallbladder and help to soften gallstones.  Rebecca recommends giving grated raw apples to children to reduce their fever. To ease a dry cough her recommendation is to steam apples with honey until they’re soft and eat–to eliminate phlegm from the lungs, prepare apples with agar.

Apples are a rich source of pectin and so can lower cholesterol, promote beneficial intestinal flora, and support normal colon function.  They’re high in quercetin and other flavonoid antioxidants that help protect against heart disease, cancer and asthma.  They are also an excellent low-calorie source of fiber and vitamin C–and other nutrients.

When we look back not too far in our own history, I ask: Did our love affair with this American fruit begin here with the  myth and legend of John Chapman–a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed.  An interesting character,  he traveled the vast unsettled territories of our new country with his bag of seeds planting trees: a unspoken message– perhaps one that we should heed more closely today?  Is there a synergy between man and the apple or apple and man?   You know kind of like the squirrel and the acorn? Once thing is sure our love affair with the apple is far from over and it seems with out a doubt  is good for our system of creating health within.   For me it can certainly be taken out of “bible lore” and brought into the our  daily ritual–for snacks, salads, dried, cooked, –juiced or cider.  Whether we call them Braeburn or golden, Granny Smith or McIntosh the message is clear–an apple a day really should keep the doctor away.

“Inspired Wellness from Within”

Cathy Silver, HC

http://www.CathySilverHealth.com

 

 

 

 

Spring + Easy to Make Green Shake to Detox Your Body!

Green ShakeAh, spring! This season brings increasing daylight, warming temperatures, and the rebirth of flora and fauna.   Take a moment to walk outside and notice the green plants growing in your garden. The three months of the spring season bring about the revitalization of all things in nature; usually increased rain water, waking from hibernation and the spring equinox next week: Gaia’s announcement that we have come to the season of birth.  Without our awareness—and sometimes unnoticed, nature shows us this every spring—the announcement from those small crocuses, bright happy daffodils and yellow forsythias which blossom without fail.  The swelling vibrant and bursting energy that moves the sap and forces the buds to open and bloom may be our calling and awakening from winter as well.  That burst of energy to clean, change our diet or other small rejuvenations; unseen energy that surges through body, mind and spirit that so often goes unnoticed or at least, unspoken.  Watch what greens begin to appear in the grocery stores or farmers’ markets.  Is this too a sign from nature, a calling of sorts to detox our bodies after our heavier winter fare? Alkaline food detoxes our body —leafy greens, sprouts, berries, cherries, asparagus, grapefruits, lemons, spinach or dandelion greens available now for your choosing.  See what local leafy greens appear in your neighborhood market, and how you might prepare them tonight? Or, are you more of a ‘blender chef’? See the green shake recipe below.  You might also try sipping hot water every day for two weeks.  The hot water will dilate, hydrate and begin to detoxify your tissues and encourage your lymph system to move sort of like the sap. (Smiling) Ancient cultures have lived within the harmony of natural cycles.   A balance of yin and yang promotes health and harmony.  Understanding this balance within your body is key. Happy spring!

Green Drink

Delicious Green Shake!

  • In Vitamix, place all ingredients, blend and enjoy the benefits of health and vitality!

2-3 generous handfuls of baby organic spinach

2-4 leaves of organic kale.  (I use the leaves and save the big stems for my green juice.)

A big handful of fresh organic sunflower sprouts

1 ripe avocado scooped and placed in blender (The seed has more phytonutrients than the actual ‘fruit’-feel free to add it to your shake.  The Vitamix will easily incorporate it right into the shake!)

1 ripe banana (Option: I like to freeze mine and just break them into 2-3 pieces.  Peel before freezing and put them into a zip lock bag.)

1-2 scoops of “live” organic powdered greens such as Green Organics

Optional scoop of organic protein powder such as Green Organics “Smooth Vitality”

Udo’s Oil  3-6-9  or Flax oil to taste

(A few frozen strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or even a lemon can be added for a bit of sweetness or more flavor—as in the case of lemon.  Other veggies that can be added to the shake are cucumber, celery, asparagus, ginger, garlic.  Be creative—but try to keep the shake mostly green and mostly veggies! J )

4+ cups Kangen water 9.5 or pH preference

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Clinical studies show that proper nutrition reduces oxidative stress, positively impacts markers of systemic inflammation, helps support a healthy immune system, helps protect DNA, and promotes Cardiovascular wellness.  Visit: http://www.thepowerofph.com

Meatless Half-Hour Chili

Image

This is a family favorite—updated a bit.  You will not miss the meat in this chili as Bulgur adds texture to the (mildly spicy) mixture of vegetables and beans.

1 Tablespoon olive oil

3-4 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3 onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced jalapẽno pepper or

for less heat and more flavor substitute poblano pepper, to taste

1 carrot, graded

1 28-oz can and 1 14-oz. can organic tomatoes, chopped with their juices (I use the roasted tomatoes which are delicious, if you can find them.)

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 piece Seaweed, such as Wakame*

2 15oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/3-1/2 cup fine or medium grain bulgur

½ cup low yogurt

1/3 cup chopped scallions

¼ cup fresh cilantro or parsley

 In a Dutch oven or a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat, add spice and sauté for 1-2 minutes—(this intensives the spices) until they are fragrant.  Add onions, garlic, carrots and pepper.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes—until the onions and carrots are soft. Add tomatoes with their juice and the teaspoon of brown sugar. Toss in your Wakame. Cook for 5 minutes over high heat.  Stir in beans and bulgur, and reduce heat to low. Simmer the chili uncovered for 15 minutes, or until thickened. Serve with a dollop of yogurt, scallions and cilantro or parsley on the side.

*In traditional Chinese healing, sea vegetables correspond to the winter season and to the kidneys, adrenal glands, bladder and reproductive organs. The strengthening, balancing and cleansing properties of sea vegetables are known to help these organs as well as the hair, skin and nails. Sea vegetables (or seaweeds) provide a variety of minerals and vitamins, including calcium, iron and iodine, and can help balance hormone and thyroid levels in the body. Eating too many processed foods or foods grown in mineral-depleted soil can result in a lack of minerals in the body, leading to cravings for salty or sugary foods. Adding sea vegetables to your diet can help balance your energy levels and alleviate cravings.

Adapted from Eating Well, 1992

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