SINUS SALINE IRRIGATION by Vickie Kline

As I progress in my search for a healthful lifestyle, I keep looking for ways to overcome challenges without relying on medication. In a previous blog, I wrote about using Nasosympatico for nasal congestion, which works very well. If, for some reason, this doesn’t work for you – there are other options: such as Sinus Saline Irrigation. It sounds much worse than it is…

There are several variations of sinus irrigation systems, from very simple to more sophisticated. I opted for a simple set consisting of a plastic bottle and saline packets from Walgreens. The packets are pre-measured saline powder that is placed in the plastic bottle and filled with warm water. Okay, here’s the unusual part, but don’t be discouraged because it really works. You insert the top of the bottle slightly into the nostril and squeeze. Amazingly, the water makes its way through the sinus cavity and comes out the other nostril, clearing the path of mucous and congestion. There are instructions with the system that help you through the first time. Afterward, you blow your nose to remove any excess water. This system helps moisturize nasal passages and keeps your sinuses clear. I sleep better at night using this.

There is another system called a Neti Pot. It works the same way, but looks like a mini teapot. Again, it helps flush the sinuses to reduce congestion and relieve pressure and headaches. Sinus irrigation systems also flush away irritants and build-up in the nasal cavity that can lead to infections. So, you may be healthier using an irrigation system on a regular basis.

Strive to be healthy!

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QUINOA TACO SALAD

QUINOA TACO SALAD

Shared from Katie Goodman on Good Life Eats: http://www.goodlifeeats.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • half a red bell pepper, chopped
  • half a green bell pepper, chopped
  • half a yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder, depending heat preferences
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 -15 ounce can black beans, drained
  • 3/4 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 2 limes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6-8 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/3 cup cheddar or feta cheese
  • 1 avocado, diced

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, swirl a bit of olive oil in a saute pan. Heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and saute for 3-5 minutes, until translucent and tender. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne and peppers and saute an additional 2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in the black beans, tomatoes, and the juice of 1 lime. Stir in quinoa. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill.

Roughly cut baby spinach into strips like you would shred iceberg lettuce for tacos. Remove about 1 cup of cilantro leaves from the bunch, rinse and pat dry, and toss with the spinach. Divide spinach and cilantro mixture evenly among 4 salad plates. Top each plate with a scoop of the quinoa salad. Top each salad with your choice of cheese and diced avocado. Cut the remaining lime into slices to garnish the plates.

Strive to be healthy!

KNOWING YOUR GREENS by Vickie Kline

I’ve heard many times that “greens” are good for my health and I should eat them often. But I tired of spinach and lettuce very quickly… so then what? What exactly does the term “greens” include? Well, here’s a quick course on knowing your greens. This will give you many options for a variety of greens to include in your regular diet and never have the same thing more than once per week.

MUSTARD GREENS are a deep green, curly plant. And you guessed it, there is a distinct mustard flavor than can be enhanced or decreased, depending how it is prepared. Mustard greens will help prevent arthritis and anemia, lower LDL cholesterol, battle the onset of heart disease, and offer protection against cancerous growths.

ROMAINE lettuce grows in a long head of sturdy leaves, which have a firm rib down the center. The interior leaves are more pale in color and are more mild in taste. Romaine is the classic lettuce of choice in Caesar salads and promotes heart health and prevents strokes, as well as cancer. It builds healthy bones, eyes, skin, and mucus membranes.

ARUGULA is a green leafy plant described as bitter or having a peppery flavor, and is popular in Italian cuisine. This green can be served raw or sautéed; can be added in spaghetti sauce or rice. It’s very versatile and adds a hint of flavor to anything it’s paired with. Arugula inhibits cancer growth and improves immune defenses. It is an excellent choice for building healthy bones.

COLLARD GREENS are a form of kale and part of the cabbage family; considered one of the most ancient members of the cabbage family. You will find Collard greens in recipes originating from the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and again served raw or cooked. It is very important not to overcook Collard greens. Once overcooked, they will begin to emit an unpleasant sulfur smell, which carries over to other menu items. Collard greens are known to help lower LDL cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and combat osteoporosis. It also boosts the immune system against viral and bacterial infection.

SPINACH is a general term that includes many different types and sizes, such as, baby spinach, crinkled leaf spinach, hybrid savoy spinach, and plain leaf spinach. It is known as a flowering plant that will survive in winter temperatures to return the next spring bright and cheery. Spinach comes right to the top as one of the healthiest vegetables available and helps improve red blood cell function, strengthen bones, regulate heart rate and blood pressure, and combats free radicals.

SWISS CHARD leaves are always green, but the stalks vary in color and the taste is a bit bitter. You will find Chard in Arab cuisine, and used in salads, soups, and sautéed dishes. I haven’t tried it yet, but understand it’s wonderful with lemon and hazelnuts, which bring out the rich flavor. This beautiful green helps maintain corrective tissue, controls heart rate and blood pressure, as well as sugar levels. It prevents anemia and boosts immunity.

TURNIP GREENS are called this for a reason. They are the large leaves of the turnip plant. So you can incorporate the turnips into your diet too… or simply use the green leaves, which are often found in classic Southern dishes and considered a comfort food when served with other traditional pork-seasoned leafy greens. Turnip greens enhance collagen synthesis, build healthy bones, combat anemia, and boost immune defenses.

ICEBERG lettuce is probably what most of us remember eating as we were growing up. It’s inexpensive and tastes good in salads or on hamburgers, and is sturdy enough to remain crispy. Iceberg, although lowest of all leafy greens nutritionally, combats anemia, heart disease, and age-related illnesses. It works well mixed with other greens.

KALE is the most nutrient-dense green-leafed vegetable available. The flavor is delicious, but nutritional qualities are enhanced when steamed. With that said, you must try kale chips, which is baking this leaf into a crispy chip that tastes delicious. You will find Kale in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties. It aids in blood clotting, promotes healthy vision and retinal functioning, and fights cancer.

LET’S TALK LEMONS by Vickie Kline

LET'S TALK LEMONS by Vickie Kline.

LET’S TALK LEMONS by Vickie Kline

I love the smell of lemon – the natural fresh scent is immediately identifiable and makes us think of cleanliness and outdoors. So, how many ways can you use a lemon? Here are some ideas that possibly you haven’t thought of:

Using lemons to make your hair shine: When I was younger, we used lemons as a natural hair lightener. We’d spray it on our hair and go outside for added highlights in the summer. But, lemons will also give your hair extra shine by removing all the build-up and residue from shampoo and hair products. Mix one-quarter cup lemon juice in one cup water.

Shine your copper or brass: Mix one-quarter cup of table salt with just enough lemon to make a paste. Apply the past to your tarnished copper or brass items. Leave the paste for 5 to 10 minutes, then wash with warm tap water and rinse very well. Use a soft cloth to buff dry. If any tarnish remains, repeat the process.

Relieving constipation: Instead of reaching for store-bought laxatives, use lemon juice as a natural laxative with no side effects. Mix two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice in an 8-ounce glass of water. Drinking this in the morning when you first get up will regulate your digestive system.

Get rid of grease: Using a mixture of lemon juice and tap water will clean counter tops and appliances and make them look like new. Pour one-quarter cup lemon juice in a spray bottle, then fill with tap water. Shake to mix well and then… grease, be gone!

Disinfect: This works especially well on cutting boards. After dicing onions and finding the smell is hard to get rid of… simply wash the cutting board and then spray lightly with pure lemon juice. Rinse well and allow the cutting board to dry thoroughly. The onion smell will be gone, as well as any lingering bacteria.

Removing stickiness: Have you ever pulled a sticker from an item and the sticky sensation remained on your hands? I’m sure you can think of other scenarios too. Well, scrub your hands with a mixture of lemon juice and table salt. This will leave your hands feeling fresh and the sticky mess will be gone.

Silencing a cough: Mix two teaspoons of lemon juice with half a teaspoon of honey. This will coat your throat and soothe the rawness and calm your cough. Repeat in 30 minutes if needed.

If you have other uses for lemons, please don’t hesitate to share. I’d love to pass on your ideas…

Strive to be healthy!

GLUTEN FREE AND CELEBRATING by Vickie Kline

If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know I’ve been working to go gluten-free and change my eating habits. Well, I must say, life is good, I’m excited, and feeling great. This new eating plan is something to celebrate!

I have been challenged with health issues all my life. Through changing the way I eat and going gluten-free with almost no processed foods, I am experiencing amazing results. I was previously diagnosed with chronic shingles. This means I would have a shingles breakout often – anywhere from two to three times per month. The cycle for a shingles breakout is 7 to 10 days, so by the time one was finishing, I had the beginnings of the next. It was a terrible cycle that I’ve spent years trying to break. I’ve been through rounds of Acyclovir, allergy shots, applying creams/ointments, taking pain medications… with nothing really making a difference… until now. Since I began eating gluten-free on Memorial Day weekend, I have not had a shingles breakout. Let’s count it together – that’s six weeks – and I’m shingles-free. Unbelievable!

Also with my new eating plan, I began participating in a local CSA program. Last week I picked up my first bag of food and was amazed at the contents. All items were fresh and beautiful, and the cost much less than what I would have paid at the grocery store for the same items. (This is an actual picture of what I received). The best thing is, these are locally grown right here in my own city. I’m not only doing something good for me, but supporting local growers at the same time. I’m anxious to pick up my second bag tomorrow. I feel like it’s a special surprise each week as I unwrap the items and discover the contents. Then I have a grand time planning my menus for the week and making sure I use all the items. The peach salsa this week was very tasty!

As I continue with this blog, I will give updates on my personal situation, but will also get back to more HEALTHFUL TIPS AND REMEDIES, originally the intention of this site. But, I thank you for reading and letting me share…

Strive to be healthy!

GLUTEN FREE UPDATE by Vickie Kline

Last week my blog explained why I made the decision to go gluten-free. I have been wheat/gluten-free since Memorial Day weekend and here’s the latest:

As with any drastic diet change, the first thing I did was make an appointment with a nutritionist at Innerworks Holistic Health Center. I wanted a health professional to monitor my progress and make sure I wasn’t depriving myself of essential nutrients and vitamins. I met Barbara, who is a Board Certified Holistic Nurse that believes in treating with lifestyle and nutrition first. This first appointment consisted mostly of gathering my health history and getting to know each other a bit. The nutritionist ordered some blood work to check my general health, along with the always dreaded cholesterol, triglyceride, and sodium checks. I am happy to report all appears within normal range. I am a bit low on Vitamin D, so plan to work that into my vitamin regimen.

The second thing I did was join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program called Homegrown Kansas. This is a local alliance between farmers and consumers where I receive a share of produce and herbs every week. I pick up my first bag later today, so I’ll have more to report on that next week. But, I thought this would be a great addition to the vegetables and herbs I have in my own garden and save money too. In the meantime I have been eating more organic fruits and veggies from the Natural Grocers and Green Acres Market, and working to balance my eating plan.

Item number three was to increase my exercise level. Barbara, from Innerworks, explained that a little exercise more often is better than once or twice per week. Previously, I would exercise, but think I was overdoing it because my muscles and joints would be sore. Then I would have to sit out a few days until I felt like doing something again. I head to water aerobics once a week now, which I really enjoy. Every day I plan to try and do something… even if it’s only a walk around the block. My new mantra, “A little, more often, is better.” (Thanks Barbara)

Okay – results so far: I have been feeling great. My energy level is better… it’s easier to get up in the morning… I haven’t been hungry… and I’m gaining muscle tone. Meals take a bit more planning now, but it’s fun to see what I can come up with that’s healthy, tasty, and something my husband will eat.

I’ll have more to report next week on my journey to health. Thanks for joining me!

Strive to be healthy!