Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's never too late to mark your calendar!

It's never too late to mark your calendar for an outstanding event!
The Shirt Factory that houses this tea shop is hosting our 8th annual Holiday Showcase Open House. Such a great opportunity to do some holiday shopping away from the hustle and bustle of the mall, and find some first rate handcrafted items! In addition to the great shops and studios in the building we also set up outside vendors in the hallways -- a chandler (candlemaker), weaver, beadweaver, stained glass, pottery, wire- wrapped stones, polymer clay crafts, fresh pine wreaths and boughs, and so much more! This is Thanksgiving weekend 10am-5pm on both Saturday and Sunday, with a preview (not so many hallway vendors) on black Friday 5pm-8pm. Hope you'll be able to join us! If you wish, click on the image for a clearer picture.

This year we will also be having a Shoppers Advantage drawing (we'd like to call it a basket, but there's just too much stuff in there!). Have your daily Open House receipts from any of the shop or vendors in the Shirt Factory verified (you keep the receipts of course). Each $25 worth of receipts gains you a entry for the Shoppers Advantage drawing (one on Saturday, one on Sunday) The prize is a variety of goods from the Shirt Factory vendors, such as a $50 gift certificate from SensibiliTeas, a gift certificate from Adirondack Quilts, a Thaddeus Powers mug, a Kate E. Austin giclee print, gift certificates for classes (painting, textile art, yoga) ... just too much to list! Each drawing is valued at about $500. To win the basket would mean your holiday shopping is done!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Lemon Myrtle ... I've learned more!

Lemon Myrtle is an Australian rainforest tree growing to 25 feet in height, although if regularly pruned it can be kept to bush size suitable for home gardens. The leaves, growing to 4 inches in length, are rich in lemon oil. Citral accounts for over 90% of the plants essential oil (note: lemons have approximately 3% citral).

The high levels of citral in the leaves is noteworthy, as citral is a component that has been found to relieve cramps, spasms, rheumatism, headaches, fevers and have an anti-cancer effect. Studies have shown that the citral can inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori, the pathogen that has been found to be a cause of ulcers and other gastroduodenal diseases. Lemon myrtle also has been found to be beneficial to muscles and connective tissue, for reducing cellulite, and to strengthen the immune system. Additionally, lemon myrtle is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal (That's what I already knew ...)

Lemon myrtle makes a fantastic herbal infusion on its own, or you can blend it with so many other herbs and teas. We love it with black tea (Raven’s Zest), green tea (Pacific Spring), white tea (myrtle white), peppermint (Myrtle Mint), rooibos (African Outback), and tulsi (Lemon Tulsi), and can be found in many more of our blends (Holy Detox, Lady Myrtle Grey, Citrus Mate, Sea of Love, Waves of Joy, Citron Green Iced tea blend, Lemon Ginger Green, Serenitea, Blueberry Lemon Rooibos, and Aussie Spiced Chai.

Lemon myrtle leaves may also be used fresh, dried, and ground, and used in bread, stuffing, with chicken, beef, fish and rice dishes, sauces, noodles, vegetables, barbecues, cheesecakes, biscuits – you name it! The lemon myrtle aroma combines well with basil, chili, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coconut milk, garlic, ginger and turmeric.

If you haven't tried it you really should ... you'd be amazed how something so good for you could taste so outstanding!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Whatt are soft drinks doing to your body?

This is an article posted
on 10/30/09 to Yahoo! Health
by columnist
Dr. Maoshing Ni

The article:

What Soft Drinks are Doing to Your Body

Soda, pop, cola, soft drink — whatever you call it, it is one of the worst beverages that you could be drinking for your health. As the debate for whether to put a tax on the sale of soft drinks continues, you should know how they affect your body so that you can make an informed choice on your own.

Soft drinks are hard on your health
Soft drinks contain little to no vitamins or other essential nutrients. However, it is what they do contain that is the problem: caffeine, carbonation, simple sugars — or worse, sugar substitutes — and often food additives such as artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives.

A lot of research has found that consumption of soft drinks in high quantity, especially by children, is responsible for many health problems that include tooth decay, nutritional depletion, obesity, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Why the sugar in soft drinks isn’t so sweet
Most soft drinks contain a high amount of simple sugars. The USDA recommendation of sugar consumption for a 2,000-calorie diet is a daily allotment of 10 teaspoons of added sugars. Many soft drinks contain more than this amount!

Just why is too much sugar so unhealthy? Well, to start, let's talk about what happens to you as sugar enters your body. When you drink sodas that are packed with simple sugars, the pancreas is called upon to produce and release insulin, a hormone that empties the sugar in your blood stream into all the tissues and cells for usage. The result of overindulging in simple sugar is raised insulin levels. Raised blood insulin levels beyond the norm can lead to depression of the immune system, which in turn weakens your ability to fight disease.

Something else to consider is that most of the excess sugar ends up being stored as fat in your body, which results in weight gain and elevates risk for heart disease and cancer. One study found that when subjects were given refined sugar, their white blood cell count decreased significantly for several hours afterwards. Another study discovered that rats fed a high-sugar diet had a substantially elevated rate of breast cancer when compared to rats on a regular diet.

The health effects of diet soda

You may come to the conclusion that diet or sugar-free soda is a better choice. However, one study discovered that drinking one or more soft drinks a day — and it didn’t matter whether it was diet or regular — led to a 30% greater chance of weight gain around the belly.

Diet soda is filled with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, or saccharin. These artificial sweeteners pose a threat to your health. Saccharin, for instance, has been found to be carcinogenic, and studies have found that it produced bladder cancer in rats.

Aspartame, commonly known as nutrasweet, is a chemical that stimulates the brain to think the food is sweet. It breaks down into acpartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol at a temperature of 86 degrees. (Remember, your stomach is somewhere around 98 degrees.) An article put out by the University of Texas found that aspartame has been linked to obesity. The process of stimulating the brain causes more cravings for sweets and leads to carbohydrate loading.

Carbonation depletes calcium
Beverages with bubbles contain phosphoric acid, which can severely deplete the blood calcium levels; calcium is a key component of the bone matrix. With less concentration of calcium over a long time, it can lower deposition rates so that bone mass and density suffer. This means that drinking sodas and carbonated water increases your risk of osteoporosis.

Add in the caffeine usually present in soft drinks, and you are in for even more trouble. Caffeine can deplete the body’s calcium, in addition to stimulating your central nervous system and contributing to stress, a racing mind, and insomnia.

Skip the soda and go for:

• Fresh water
Water is a vital beverage for good health. Each and every cell needs water to perform its essential functions. Since studies show that tap water is filled with contaminants, antibiotics, and a number of other unhealthy substances, consider investing in a quality carbon-based filter for your tap water.

On the go? Try using a stainless steel thermos or glass bottle, filled with filtered water. Enhance the flavor of your water with a refreshing infusion of basil, mint leaves, and a drop of honey.

• Fruit Juice
If you are a juice drinker, try watering down your juice to cut back on the sugar content. Buy a jar of organic 100% juice, especially cranberry, acai, pomegranate, and then dilute three parts filtered water to one part juice. You will get a subtle sweet taste and the benefit of antioxidants. After a couple of weeks, you will no longer miss the sweetness of sugary concentrated juices.

• Tea
Tea gently lifts your energy and has numerous health benefits. Black, green, white, and oolong teas all contain antioxidant polyphenols. In fact, tea ranks as high or higher than many fruits and vegetables on the ORAC scale, the score that measures antioxidant potential of plant-based foods.

Herbal tea does not have the same antioxidant properties, though it is still a great beverage choice with other health benefits, such as inducing calming and relaxing effects.

If tea doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, try adding cinnamon or a little honey, which has important health benefits that refined sugar lacks. For a selection of healthy teas that promote total body wellness, click here. Drink up!

I hope you find the ways and means to avoid soft drinks. I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

I have also read studies that link daytime soda drinking to GERD and acid reflux. Other studies link soda consumption to childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, pancreatic cancer, heart disease, bowel cancer, increased risk of kidney stones and nerve damage. Doesn't sound like it should be anyone's first choice for a beverage!

Think before you drink!