Monday, November 26, 2007

Farewell, green-goers!

Farewell, loyal blog-readers.

The time has come for the semester to end, and my blogging to cease (at least at this speedy rate).
I hope you cherish all of the wonderful times we've had together- learning the beauty of black beans, the joys of St. John's Wort, and the dangers of traditional Western medicine.

But seriously- if there is one thing I will remember about this class, it's how we combined our knowledge with the forefront of information on living green, now becoming a huge phenomenon in the United States.
And it's about time- all it takes is a few minutes to change a lightbulb into one more eco-friendly, or a second thought to turn off the running water while you're brushing your teeth.
These little actions will help us all in a big way, and I hope that if there's anything YOU take away from this, it's that the small stuff really does count.
I have learned a lot in my eco-adventures. Up until this point I had never blogged before, nor used the Internet for educational purposes (I know, I know, shame on me). I'm realizing now that there is much out there to see and do, something I intend to get started on by graduating.
Living greeen is important, especially in this day and age.
So while you're printing out this last blog entry, scouring it for a bit of hope and inspiration (and hopefully a good laugh), please, please, please, reuse your printer paper.
And remember: Nothing feels better than helping to save the world.
So, turn off your water. Buy a hybrid car with all of the money you'll save on your bills.
We all prosper when we pitch in to do our parts.

Thanks for the good times,

Monday, November 19, 2007

St. John's Wort for the blues

--Photo by 'smoobs' on Flickr

Got the blues?

New studies suggest that the herb, St. Johns Wort, could actually serve as a natural remedy for depression.
According to a study conducted by the British Medical Journal, St. John's Wort contains hypericin, a chemical that wards off monoamine oxidase, a big fancy name for a chemical normally associated with depression.
Patients who had depression and were given St. Johns Wort expressed an increase in appetite, more interest in life and greater self-esteem.
Who knew?
As the weather changes and the trees outside begin to lose their leaves, it's easy to let yourself get down and out, especially around the holidays.
Normally given out in the form of a leaf, St. John's Wort can be best made into tea for easy digestion.
It is also known for it's power to ease anxiety.

So get out of bed, sleepyheads.

Drink a cup of St. John's Wort. I promise it tastes better than it sounds!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Caffeine woes

Caffeine- it's in your soda, your coffee, your life. Despite it's obvious effects in adding energy, did you know that caffeine also has some very negative side effects?
When you injest caffeine, many parts of your body are effected. First, the drug will hit your hormones, including adrenaline and dopamine, making you feel jumpy and alert.
At the same time, it will also effect the hormone cortisol, which is responsible for weight gain and is also linked to diabetes.
With all the changes in your hormone level, caffeine has also been linked to mild depression, stemming from the point when caffeine begins to wear off and your body goes through a 'low'.
Also, the drug has been linked to sleep- or the lack therof.
Similarly, it has been known to add to dehydration, and because caffeine increases production of urine, calcium can be lost in the process, leading to concerns of bone marrow health.

To help you, loyal readers, eliminate caffeine from your diets (slowly) here are some tips that I think might help.

1. If you drink coffee, try to put more milk or cream into it, to decrease the amount of caffeine.
2. Try to limit your intake of caffeine to one drink per day, whether it's coffee or soda.
3. If you're looking for a boost of energy, try exercise instead. Just one set of 10 jumping jacks should help increase blood flow and boost endorphins, making you feel more energized.
4. If you take caffeine pills (and you really, really shouldn't) try to take them before exercising, so that your workout is enhanced and the pills work there way through your system.
5. If caffeine affects your sleep, don't drink any past 2 p.m. That way, you're sure to be able to fall asleep.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Starbucks is having a sale on frappacinos.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat, the longer you live?

Recent studies have shown that black beans, in particular, can have an effect on lowering cholesterol, preventing blood sugar levels from spiking too quickly and that one serving a day can help with your health- which makes them my favorite food this week.
So, in honor of my new love, here are some easy, black bean recipes. Enjoy!

Black Bean Salad with Feta and Red Peppers - from
Two 16-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium red bell peppers, cut into short thin strips
½ cup natural low-fat vinaigrette
½ cup fresh parsley
½ to 2/3 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and top with feta cheese.

This is one of my favorite recipes, especially because it's so easy! (And, who doesn't love feta cheese?)

Another classic: the Black Bean Burger-

Mix hamburger meat with a can of black beans (mashed) and mix in onions with 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs.
Form patties with your hands and grill, as with any other burger. Delicious, and (slightly) more healthy.


Don't believe what they say- beans will give you much more than gas.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Moonlight therapy

If you don't already know, there's a new form of therapy that's bringing a little bit of light to town.
Light therapy- or the use of light's wavelengths, LEDs or flourescent lamps- has long since been used to treat illnesses and ailments such as depression and seasonal affective disorder.
But 20 miles south of Tucson, Arizona, near Kitt Peak, researchers are harnessing the power of moonlight for healing purposes.
About five years ago, Dr. Richard Chapin was searching for different ways to help aid in the healing of a friend who suffered with pancreatic cancer.
While researching holistic healing methods, Chapin stumbled upon light application, a discovery which has lead to the creation of an 60-foot tall, $2 million structure that absorbs and projects moonlight, known as the Interstellar Light Application.
Lined with mirrors, the structure absorbs celestial light while the moon is in it's various phases and projects it back out, a structure filled with holes of various sizes, so that the light is concentrated as it pours over them.
"It collects more light than any telescope on earth, and this type of light can be projected at the size of a pinpoint laser or spread out to a 10 to 15 foot area," Chapin told me in a past interview for a story I was working on for the Arizona Daily Wildcat. The popularity of the moonbeam collector is growing enormously, yielding stories of individuals who have been alieviated from arthritic pain to those who have lost 100 pounds and transformed their lives for the positive.
Ground-breaking and the first of it's kind, the collector is open to individuals via appointments, which can be made at (520) 730-0427, or by calling McFadden-Gavender, an advertising company working with the project.
Trust me- it's something you need to see to believe.

--an example of a form of light therapy.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Hey guys,

I just read a really great book that I think you should know about.
It's called "The Hidden Messages in Water," and it is all about how water can be used as an absorbant to reflect messages and effect overall health.
Within the book, researcher and author Masaru Emoto wrote messages on the outsides of water bottles and then used a high-tech camera to photograph the crystals within the water after exposure to different messages.
The results were astounding.
Messages that were positive, such as 'thank you' or 'love' or 'gratitude' produced crystals that were absolutely perfect in shape.
On the other hands, messages such as 'you fool' or 'i hate you' produced crystals that were distorted, as if someone had smashed them with a sledgehammer.
According to this research, water messages can have similar effects as self-hypnosis in helping the body and mind to achieve, and produce, the most positive results for whatever ailment one might have. For example, to counter low self esteem, messages such as 'you are beautiful' or 'love thyself' can be extremely powerful.
Based on this research, I decided to try a little experiment of my own. For the next few weeks, I will be drinking bottles of water with positive messages on them. My family and I have been going through some hard times with the sickness of my grandfather, so I think an appropriate message for me is 'trust' or 'love' knowing that it will all eventually work out.
Surprisingly, the individuals behind the "hidden messages in water" are hosting a school in Tucson, Arizona, on the properties of water. Although the three-day school would be a great opportunity and I would love to attend, tuition is $3000!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Massage your aura

We get massages to relax and let go, but did you know that massage can actually be healing?
Reiki, (pronounced ray-kee), a form of massage that focuses on energy centers of the body, can work effectively in helping the body to heal itself and ward off infections.
My mother, who I spent all of last weekend with, is a massage therapist who works with reiki and told me stories of the different ways in which it works.
"Reiki was a Japanese method that used to be passed on from person to person," she said. "It's not physical touch, but it works with energy centers on the body and corrects imbalances."
Intrigued, I recieved a reiki massage.
Just as with any other form of massage, participants lay on a massage bed and try to relax. One of the differences between reiki and traditional massage is that you can be fully clothed to recieve a reiki massage. The major difference between traditional massage and reiki, however, is that Reiki does not involve touch.
The reiki practitioner (mine's name was Yumi) simply moves her hands 3 to 6 inches over the body, so that you can feel the warmth from their hands, but not actual contact. The action works to smooth out the energy surrounding the body, which is sometimes referred to as an aura.
The effect was very calming. I was skeptical at first but the massage proved to be soothing, and at the end I felt as though I had just received a facial or a traditional massage and was delightfully stress-free.
During the massage Yumi asked me if I could feel where her hands were as they passed over my body, and I was almost always correct in my guesses.
According to the International Center for Reiki Training, reiki heals by charging the energy fields on the body with positive energy. In doing so, it helps to cause negative energy to break away from the body by raising the vibratory level of these energy fields, which are often where negative thoughts and feelings are attached.
Reiki practitioners operate under the belief that there is a 'universal life force,' or 'ki' attached to each person and that this life force can be accessed and healed by trained practitioners.
Positive energy has long-since been attributed to health, therefore, after recieving a reiki massage and boosting your levels of positive energy, your body is better prepared to ward off infections or illnesses. Reiki practitioners are practicly everywhere. Are they in your town?