Category Archives: Holistic Nutrition

Ode To The Onion

Onions have been held in high esteem throughout recorded history and used in nearly every cuisine around the globe.  They are one of the oldest known vegetables, probably among the first cultivated crops, are easy to grow, do well in a wide range of soils and climates, are less perishable than many other vegetables, and have grown wild in many regions of the world.  Food historians estimate that man has been sowing and reaping onions for at least 5000 years and that our ancestors feasted on wild onions for thousands of years before the invention of farming and writing.

An onion legacy can be traced back to 3500 BC in Egypt.  An inscription can be found on one of the great pyramids, built in 2500 B.C., detailing the amount of silver required to purchase  onions, radishes, and garlic to sustain the laborers and their motivation. “1600 talents must have been an impressive sum, else why carve it on a pharoh’s monument?” notes Sylvia Thompson in The Kitchen Garden (Bantam, 1995).  Illustrations of onions decorate murals in Egyptian and other ancient tombs of both the Old and New Kingdom.

were not only eaten…. but also worshipped, depicted on banquet tables, offered on the alters of the great gods.  Why?  To the ancient Egyptians, onions symbolized eternal life (note the onion’s anatomy; it’s circle within a circle structure), were customarily included in funeral offerings, and buried with pharaohs, attached to various body parts…. perhaps to ward off evil spirits in the afterlife.

According to the researchers behind, “Egyptians numbered over 8000 onion-alleviated ailments.”  Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, noted for saying “Let food be they medicine and medicine be thy food” counted onions as a medicine.

The Greeks esteemed onions.  First century A.D., physician, Dioscorides, used onions therapeutically.  Greek athletes reportedly put away pounds of onions, downed onion juices, and anointed their flesh with onion liquid prior to competing in the Olympic games.

Romans revered onions, grew them in market gardens, transported them on journeys, depicted them in ancient mosaics dating back to the second century A.D.  The early Romans believed onions could cure vision, induce sleep, heal mouth sores, dog bits, toothaches, dysentery, even lumbago.  Emperor Nero’s an avid onions and leek lover, claimed onions improved his singing voice and male prowess.

Charaka, the famous Indian medical treatise from sixth century B.C., celebrates onions as a potent diuretic, and aid to digestion, health of the heart, eyes, and joints.

Architects have modeled mosques (the Great Mosque of Tamerlane, built in fifteenth century Persia, and the Taj Mahal in India) and monuments (such as St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow) on the onion bulb.

Asians have similarly honored onions.  According Dr. Henry C. Lu, author of Chinese Foods for Longevity and Chinese System of Food Cures, onions have been used in China for at least 5,000 years—to increase urination, expel phlegm, treat coughs, colds, wounds, ulcers, constipation, trichomonas, vaginitis, non-bacterial enteritis, and hypertension.
In the Middle Ages, onions were one of three main vegetables consumed (along with beans and cabbage); prescribed to alleviate headaches, snake bites, and hair loss; used as a form of monetary exchange as rent payment and weeding gifts!  Since then, onions have been used to treat bee stings, bug bites, and–in World War II Russia–as an antiseptic in battle.

An old wives tale lists onions as an ideal mouthwash!  “Chewing raw onions for five minutes kills all germs in the mouth, making it sterile; a good thing to know next time you get a cold,” says food historian Martin Elkort, author of The Secret Life of Food.

What  shall we make of this lore?  Can an onion a day really keep the doctor at bay?

Surprisingly, it may.  Modern research supports a surprising array of ancient allium-related health claims. “According to researchers in the United States and India, onions also kill the germs that cause tooth decay,” reports food historian Martin Elkort.

What’s the secret? Onions contain at least 25 identified active disease combating compounds that, like garlic, posses antibacterial, antifungal, and immune enhancing properties— which may explain their efficacy in warding off colds, relieving upset stomach, and other gastrointestinal imbalances.  Onions appear to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, inhibit growth of cancer cells, reduce stroke risk, and aid in preventing heart disease.

According to researchers from the American Heart Association, avid onion eating can prevent coronary thrombosis and hypertension.  Researcher Victor Gurewich. M.D., of Tufts University, says, imbibing the juice of one yellow onion a day may raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol  by as much as 30 percent. (Oddly red onions don’t possess the same potency.)

“One medium sized onion contains only thirty-eight calories and as much vitamin C as two apples, one banana, one tomato, or one orange.  Onions are among one of the 10 most popular vegetables in the country,” adds Elkort.  Prevention Magazine named them one of the 25 superfoods for combating heart disease and cancer.  So, an onion a day….. is a decent way to increase your odds for a healthy, well-rounded existence.

The onions most assertive compounds appear to be sulfur and quercetin, antioxidants able to neutralize free radicals in the body, protecting cell membranes from damage.  Onions beat red wine and tea when in quercetin content. (Yellow onions top red onions in the antioxidant race.)  Unlike wine, onion addiction won’t reduce your reflexes or get you arrested, so you can safely indulge—-any time!   (I do, daily!)

Raw or cooked?  Both have benefits.  Cooking softens the bite, sweetens the pot, multiplies your options, concentrates the volume and nutrients, and allows you to eat more onions in a single sitting.  Cooking does reduce sulfur compounds slightly…. though it leaves the quercetin  intact.


*  Average onion consumption in America: Almost 18 pounds per person, per year.

*  Who allegedly introduced onions to the Americas? Christopher Columbus.

*  Origins of the name for the city of Chicago: “derivation of a Native American word meaning rotting or smelly onions”  (Onions, Onions, Onions by Rosemary Moon.)

*  Why we cry: It’s the sulfur, says Rosemary Moon in Onions, Onions, Onions. When cut, onions release an enzyme, alliinase, which acts on something called alliin to produce an organic sulfur compound, which then reacts with moisture in your eyes…to produce sulfuric acid, which makes your eyes water and sting.

*  What’s the best keeper? Pungent onions have a high sulfur content and the best keepers.  Sweet onions have a short shelf life. (Sylvia Thompson, The Kitchen Garden.

* Aphrodisiac or counter-aphrodisiac? Record has it that in India, “garlic mixed with lard and rubbed on the penis was said to increase sexuality.”         It’s not clear whether “it was the garlic or the application process that provided the stimulus….” says Food historian, Martin Elkort.  Regardless, “at certain times in India, garlic, onions, and beans were thought to be so stimulative that they were banned.” (Martin Elkort, The Secret Life of Food .)

*  Oh that onion breath: To avoid turning off your mate, find a consenting partner who also adores onions, suggests Elkort.  If you both consume the same amount of onions (and garlic), “the unpleasant odors will cancel themselves out.”  Whew!

*  Derivation of the word: Onion comes from union and was allegedly created by adding the onion-shaped letter o to the word union, yielding this spelling: ounion. The u was later dropped. “A union is something that is indivisible and which, if taken apart, is destroyed in the process, like an onion.  The original root of the word is the Latin un, meaning ‘the number one,’ the only number that is not further divisible.”  (Martin Elkort, The Secret life of Food)

* Number of states growing onions commercially? 26 states in the U.S.

*  To peel without tears Try one of the following: 1) wrap and chill onions before chopping; (2) cut away the top, peel the papery outer layer away toward the root, leaving the root intact while chopping; (3) pour boiling water over small onions, leave to soak for 5 minutes, then peel and chop; (4) freeze onions briefly before slicing….. Or, just grin and bear it.  Some folks find that frequent onion use increases the resistance to tears.  You just get used to it.

*  Great onion book: The Onion Book by Jan Roberts-Domingue (Doubleday) The Sweet Onion Source found at <> calls this “the one book every onion-loving cook will want to have in the kitchen – a single, infallible source for onion recipes and information on alliums of every variety (including garlic)…. a delightful 320-page hardcover book.. filled with 175 recipes, grouped according to season, for foolproof and delicious dishes ranging from Early Summer Gazpacho to Garlic Pork Stew, to Oven-Roasted Balsamic Onions, Carrot and Leek Tart – and more.”

So go ahead, have an onion a day, or at least part of one!

Roasted Onions

Prep: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 cups; 4 servings

Cooking: 45 to 60 minutes

Onions are my favorite vegetable to roast.  Oil and dry heat make them caramelize, creating a rich, amazingly sweet taste—a fantastic addition to tossed green salads and main-dish salads that include fish, poultry, or meat.  Whereas other vegetables must be arranged in a single layer in a roasting pan, onions may be stacked a bit deeper.  They shrink considerably.  I often prepare a double batch to ensure enough to serve for a few days running.  Leftovers taste great chilled or warmed briefly in heat-proof dish in my Cuisinart convection toaster oven. Try different onions, herbs, and spices.

Basic Ingredients:

2 pounds white, yellow or red onions (about 2 jumbo onions):

Spanish, yellow, white, or Vidalia, Walla Walla, or Maui onion

4 shallots or 1/2 to 1 head garlic, peeled (optional)

Finely ground, sun dried, mineral-rich sea salt (optional)

1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or melted unrefined coconut butter or palm oil

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)

1 teaspoon dried, crumbled herbs (one or combination of several):

Oregano, thyme, rosemary, or Fine Herbs, Lemon Pepper, Herbs de Provençe,

or 2 rounded tablespoon whole mustard seeds

Cooking Instructions:

1.   Preheat oven to 400˚ F.  Break garlic head into individual cloves, peel, and set aside.

2.  Cut very ends off onions; halve, from top ot bottom, then peel off and discard skin.  Arrange cut side down on cutting board; cut into quarters, leaving a section of root attached at the end of each section, so they don’t fall apart.  If roasting for use in salads, after quartering cut halves in half or thirds cross-wise, to make 1-inch cubes.  Quarter shallots if using for salad.

3.   Scatter onions in one heavy-bottomed 9 or 10-inch roasting pan, baking pan, or heavy cast iron skillet. (Use a 13x9x2 or 18x9x2 pan for a double batch.)  Add garlic or shallots and sea salt if desired, then oil or melted fat, pepper, and herbs.  Stir to coat.  Transfer to preheated oven.

4.   Roast uncovered for 40 to 50 minutes, until lightly golden, tender, and easily pierced with a knife.  Exact time will depend upon size and type of pan, size of onion chunks, and accuracy of oven.  Stir or shake pan(s) every 15 minutes to facilitate even cooking.

Storage suggestions: Refrigerate in covered glass container or jar.  Use within 4 days.

1/2 cup serving: calories, g protein, g carbohydrate + g fiber, g fat.


*    Roasted Pearl Onions: Use approximately 2 pint walnut or pearl onions.  Plunge into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute, drain in colander, then rinse under cold water to loosen peels.  Cut off ends and peel onions, leaving them whole.  Preapare as above but arrange in 1 large roasting pan that will hold them in one layer, or 2 9 or 10-inch pans.

Guest author: Rachel Albert has been a natural foods chef, cooking instructor, and freelance food and health writer for more than 20 years. She has led more than 1000 cooking and nutrition classes in 8 states and had more than 300 articles published in national and regional publications.

She is the author of The Ice Dream Cookbook: Dairy-Free Ice Cream Alternatives with Gluten-Free Cookies, Compotes & Sauces (Planetary Press, 2008) and co-author of the award-winning book, The Garden of Eating: A Produce-Dominated Diet & Cookbook (Planetary Press, 2004).

Rachel teaches cooking classes for SWIHA (Southwest Institute of Healing Arts) in Tempe and for Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, and leads group and private classes in people’s homes, cooking parties, dinner parties, kitchen coaching sessions, and healthy shopping tours in the Phoenix metro area. She also coaches clients by phone and in their kitchens and runs a gluten-free, practically-paleo blog with tons of great recipes and tips:

p.s. If you can, please consider attending Rachel’s Breast Cancer Fundraising Benefit, as she is going through treatment at present, without health insurance.

Urban Farming and Conscious Living

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?  ‘Well, with sun, shade, containers, soil, plants and water of course, plus the amazing online education I obtained through Urban Farming & Conscious Living at SWIHA!

So, you want to plant a garden and grow your own food, but live in an apartment.  ‘Is it possible,’ you ask, ‘to grow food in the city?’  The answer is yes!  Yes, it is, and more and more people in the growing urban areas love this productive hobby and healthy way of living.  Not only are you able to use your energy wisely, but you are opening a whole new gateway to better health, for yourself and your family.  The basic requirements necessary for productive growth are sun, shade, containers, soil, plants and water.  With these items, plus time and knowledge, you will be an Urban Farmer in no time at all, and discover a more deep rooted respect for nature.

So, are you ready to transform your personal or community green spaces into productive gardens for personal use or community sale?  You too can contribute to your local food economy through increasing the amount of food available to people living in cities, and allowing fresh vegetables and fruits to be made available to urban consumers.  Through Urban Agriculture of Conscious Living, households and small communities can take advantage of vacant land and contribute not only to their household food needs, but the needs of their resident city as well.

Now, are you ready to start building a small garden of your own?  First take a look at your environment where you plan to plant.  Most windowsills, balconies or patios make a great place for your small vegetable garden where you can grow a myriad of different edible delectables to please your palate.  Planting in containers offers several advantages and disadvantages, but if you are persistent you can have some success.  One of the biggest advantages of your new container garden is that you can move it around as the seasons change.  There are several considerations that you need to make before you begin.


Sun exposure is the most critical piece of the pie.  The first thing you need consider is the direction that your garden will face.  Above the equator, the best directions for a container garden to face are east and south.  The worst is north, which typically does not get enough sunlight to grow your groceries, and a western facing garden is challenging, but somewhat plantable.  That said, the western facing garden will need special attention during the hotter part of the year, especially in the desert southwest.  Getting your plants some relief from the hot afternoon sun will aid in success.


There are many different containers to plant in.  Your best bet is to visit the local nursery or second hand store for some ideas.  Some pots like terra cotta can have the tendency, because of its clay structure, to wick away the moisture in the soil.  You could consider sealing the inside of a pot; however, make sure you know what is in the sealant, as anything in that pot will likely end up in your food.  Keep in mind that wooden boxes have a tendency to deteriorate over time.  Metal trashcans and stock tanks can serve as great planters.  You could even be so bold to use an old bathtub, if you can get your hands on one.  Check around and see how creative you can get!  Make sure however that you have some kind of drainage for the bottom as it does not take long to fill the container with water.  The size of your planting container will dictate what you can plant, from a 6 inch pot for growing herbs in your windowsill to an old bathtub to grow just about whatever you heart desires.  The 15-gallon container size is adequate in Arizona to grow nice selections of tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.  Regardless of the size of your container, make sure that you have adequate drainage in the bottom of your pot.  Consider adding a layer of small rocks at the bottom to facilitate this.


Soil is perhaps the biggest piece of your little garden pie.  Bagged potting soil from your local nursery is probably your best choice.  These mixes will have a nice balance of organic material, nutrients and often have the added bonus of peat moss, vermiculite or perlite, which will help the soil retain water.  These mixtures also come disease and weed free, making your growing job easier.


Ah the best part.  People often ask what they should plant in their garden.  The perfect answer is that growing food is like fine art.  You don’t buy fine art that you don’t like, right?  So, grow food that you know you like, or might like if you have yet to try it.  For a great year-round planting calendar visit to get some ideas of what and when to plant that are specific to your tastes.

Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants do especially well in containers.  You can even have luck with vining crops such as squash and cucumbers.  Remember you can train them to vine up so that you can use the vertical space of your patio to grow as well.  Root crops such as radish, beets and carrots will also do very well in a pot.  And don’t forget the wonderful selection of herbs that we can grow that includes parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil and any other herb you want to grow.  Typically these are the most expensive in the store, so by growing your own, you can save a bundle.  Don’t forget edible flowers like nasturtiums, which add a nice zing to your salads.


Perhaps the single biggest consideration for your garden is water.  Out here in the desert our gardens will have a tendency to dry out very quickly. The best option is to add your containers to a drip system so that they are watered on even intervals and so you don’t forget.  Check with your local hardware store, as there are several easy options to assist you with this.


It is likely that your new pot garden will require daily attention, especially if it’s in direct sunlight, like in the afternoon.  Move any pots that you have into the shade after about 2pm every day, as the quickest way to kill a plant is to cook it in the direct sunlight.  Also, think about the shade structures that might already be in your yard or patio and use them.

One Step At A Time

Growing your own fruits, veggies and plants in pots can be personally rewarding and fruitful, it just takes some forethought and planning.  Be open to experimenting often to find what works and doesn’t work.  Take baby steps.  Start with a 15-gallon pot or some herbs in your windowsill and discover how that works, then graduate to something bigger.  Most of all have fun with it; for some there is nothing better than growing something that lands on the dinner table.

Urban Farming Benefits

Urban Farming has been viewed for ages, as solely for subsistence purposes; however the production of crops directly in urban areas has many additional economic, social and ecological benefits.

The Contribution of Urban Agriculture (on a small and/or large scale) has Many Benefits:

  • Improves nutrition, as produce is fresh and less damaged when grown and distributed locally.
  • Closes the nutrient loop, as domestic organic waste can be composted and processed into the soil for added nutrients and soil structure.
  • Has the potential to alleviate two of the world’s most crucial problems: poverty and waste.
  • Has the potential to provide economic regeneration and stability to the growing population.
  • Organic city farming diverts nutrient rich waste from landfills or export and returns it to the land.
  • Promotes sustainable development by reducing the vulnerability of the world’s urban populations to global ecological change.
  • Reduction in crime has been noted when gardening projects are implemented in urban centers.
  • Youth and even adults acquire self-esteem, stay busy and feel useful when participating in these programs.
  • Naturally restores the human connection to nature by instilling a sense of stewardship in the farmer, creating a better appreciation of the land’s natural processes.
  • Creates a feeling of community between people, which can facilitate further collective action on issues of local importance.
  • Improves the aesthetics of the city by increasing the ‘green spaces’ in an otherwise concrete landscape while providing recreational opportunities for those who work the land.
  • Increased gardens and plants in cities improve air quality close to pollution sources.
  • On a large scale, it reduces transportation of produce; thus, less fuel is required by vehicles and less protective packaging is needed for the produce.
  • Encourages the production of rare varieties of fruits and vegetables, as urban gardeners tend to cultivate a wider variety of crops, conserving unique cultivars and enhancing agricultural diversity.
  • Urban gardens serve as refuge for wildlife such as soil organisms, wild plants, insects, birds and amphibians; thus, increasing the biodiversity within the city environment. Rooftop gardens are known to attract many bird and insect species to a space that would otherwise be avoided.

If you have ever dreamed of growing your own food and owning your own holistic health business where you can teach others to grow their own nutritious food, especially in the city, SWIHA’s Urban Farming Certificate of Excellence or Mind Body Wellness program would be your perfect fit.  The exciting part about this is, both are offered Online and On-campus!

Greg Peterson, owner of is a green living and sustainability innovator who is well-known regionally.  He has appeared extensively on television and radio and is a frequent guest columnist for publications.  Greg created a new concept called the Urban Farm, a real world environmental showcase home in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona which has become a model for his mission.  His mission is to inspire people to embrace their own greenness and become conscious of how they currently affect the planet, and how, if they choose to, could have an amazing impact on their community, and the world, by  empowering the friends and neighbors to grow their own food and up-level their choices.  Greg received his master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Planning in 2006 from Arizona State University.  His academic training has been augmented by 34 years of real world self-study, ownership of multiple businesses and a rich background in entrepreneurship.  Greg has been the primary author and consultant for the two new Urban Farming Certificates of Excellence now available through SWIHA, on-campus and on-line.

Combine Urban Farming And Holistic Nutrition Certificates Of Excellence

Southwest Institute of Healing Arts Provides Two Exciting Programs ON-CAMPUS & ONLINE, that are Made For Each Other…


Embrace food with S.O.U.L… Commit today to growing and eating:

  • S. easonal
  • O. rganic
  • U. n-refined
  • L. ocal food

SWIHA provides two exciting Certificates of Excellence in Urban Farming that you can enroll in Today!

Our Urban Farming and Conscious Living 100-hour Certificate of Excellence will teach you to transform your personal or community green spaces into productive gardens for personal use or community sale.  Discover how to contribute to your local food economy through increasing the amount of food available to people living in cities, and allowing fresh vegetables and fruits to be made available to urban consumers.  Check out the Urban Farming ONLINE version of this program!

SWIHA’s NEW 200-hour Urban Agriculture Educator Certificate of Excellence trains you in the means, methods, and philosophies of converting private and public urban spaces into productive farmland that will support individual families, or the economies of an entire community.  Advise people on starting and managing their urban farms, whether it’s on their small patio or lush backyard.  Check out the Urban Farming Educator ONLINE option for this program!

COMBINE this Urban Farming knowledge with Holistic Nutrition, and learn to effectively educate people to a healthy, balanced wellness on many levels…
Thomas Edison said, “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human body with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”

SWIHA’s 200-hour Holistic Nutrition Specialist Certificate of Excellence Program is designed for people who are interested in learning to make healthier food and lifestyle choices for themselves, as well as how to develop a meaningful and successful business by helping to make a positive difference in the lives of others.  Gain a comprehensive understanding of the foundations of whole food nutrition and how it contributes to the prevention of illness and the promotion of optimal health.  View the convenient Holistic Nutrition ONLINE Program option!

Organic Food VS. Conventional Food – The Proof Is Here

Many consumers have started to become curious of the differences between Organic Food and Conventional Food products, and for good reason.  There seems to be a lot of talk going on these days about which are better and WHY… So, let’s explore, shall we?…

When comparing the food labels of similar products where one is labeled “organic” and the other is conventional, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference.  This of course, raises the question of what allows companies to sell organic products as “better” and also sell them at a higher price.

First, it should be explained, what “organic” really stands for and what it means to the consumer…

The USDA National Organic Program Consumer Brochure reads:

“Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.

Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.

Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.

Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards.

Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.”
Even though the ingredient list of conventional products may appear to be the similar to organic products, the biggest difference shows in the way the ingredients are grown, harvested and processed.

In a 2002 Data Collection of Pesticide Residues in Conventional and Organic Food, the following statistics were concluded:

  • Conventionally grown samples had multiple residues in 46%, 12% and 62% of USDA, DPR and CU samples, respectively.
  • Organic samples had multiple residues in only 7%, 1.3% and 6% percent of the samples in those three data sets.

According to this research alone, there seems to be quite a difference in pesticide residue between conventional and organic products! This can be enough reason to favor organic over conventional, right?

What educated consumers can do, is to study the list of the “dirty dozen” and buy conventional foods with the least amount of pesticide residue.  When deciding to buy Organic and locally grown products, consumers will automatically help promote sustainability and local farming.  Urban Farming is powerful and productive choice this day and age!  What is your family eating, Organic or Conventional Food?

Here is the most recent Master List that was published by Forbes Magazine:

2012 Dirty Dozen

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Imported nectarines
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Domestic blueberries
  12. Potatoes

2012 Clean Fifteen

    1. Onions
    2. Sweet corn
    3. Pineapples
    4. Avocado
    5. Cabbage
    6. Sweet peas
    7. Asparagus
    8. Mangoes
    9. Eggplant
    10. Kiwi
    11. Domestic cantaloupe
    12. Sweet potatoes
    13. Grapefruit
    14. Watermelon
    15. Mushrooms

Guest Author:

Martina Schlaucher is a health- and alternative lifestyles consultant and also a current student at SWIHA.  It is her strong desire to bring back the pleasures of the simple life and help create valuable changes in the lives of those who cross her path.
Visit her website at


Summer Holiday Tips For Healthy Eating

Summertime is finally upon us!  Holiday Eating can be a major threat for Weight Management and the 4th of July is no exception.  Beat the heat with smart servings and remain mindful of your sugar intake while enjoying all of the fireworks and festivities.  It is important to be cognizant of what is being consumed; however don’t obsess about it or let in run your mind rampant.  Be in the moment and enjoy the laughter in the summer breeze…. Here are four profound tips for sensible eating while celebrating with family and friends this year!

Summer Holiday Eating Tip #1
If grilling meat, eliminate store bought barbecue sauce and try using different rubs such as jerk seasoning, lemon/garlic/pepper or make a marinade using fresh herbs and, Tabasco and vinegar.  Why consider this?  There are about 70 calories in 2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce.  By eating a few pieces of poultry or other meat drenched in barbecue sauce the calorie count could add up to over 300!  Use fresh, organic citruses and experiment with some fun rubs and sauces this summer!

Summer Holiday Eating Tip #2
Reduce your calorie consumption by forgoing the typical sides of potato salad and macaroni and cheese.  Instead, introduce a variety of vegetables to the menu.  Vegetables such as corn on the cob, different types of peppers, asparagus, zucchini and broccoli, are great on the grill.  Add a green leafy salad with olive oil and vinegar to make the menu colorful and healthy.  Why consider this?  The average plate at a barbecue is 2,000 calories (3 pieces of chicken with sauce, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, chips, bread, etc.) and most people consume more than 1 full plate in a day.  YIKES!

Summer Holiday Eating Tip #3
If guests want something to drink with a little punch, make a pitcher of berry and citrus spritzer using strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries mixed with a dry rose wine, seltzer, and slices of oranges and limes for a good fruity drink that is also packed full of nutrients.  This is a great substitute for hard alcoholic beverages that could add up in calories when mixed with sodas, juices or mixes.  Why consider this?  There are about 70 calories in an ounce of hard liquor (vodka, cognac).  By mixing 3 ounces of hard liquor with 4 ounces of cranberry juice, or the like, you’re looking at about 270 calories in just 1 small mixed drink.  Drink responsibly!

Summer Holiday Eating Tip #4
Add physical activities, games and sports into the holiday planning.  Grab the balls for a friendly competitive game of baseball, basketball or soccer.  Get everyone up for a tug of war, losers have to clean up.  Consider a scavenger hunt at a local park or nature trail that allows everyone to breathe in some fresh air while connecting with mother Earth.  DANCE to some festive music and let your body get loose…. Why consider this?  The best way to burn off calories is to get up, get out and get moving.  Exercise does the mind, body and spirit good.

By making healthy eating a conscious choice s,especially during the holidays, this can and will lead to healthier lifestyle traditions that can be passed down to future generations.  May the 4th Be With You!  😉 
Guest Author: Lena Kelly is a transformational life coach and motivational speaker. She has been helping others find their voice and pursue their passion by encouraging them to step boldly into the life they deserve.  By providing one on one coaching, support groups and motivational workshops, she has witnessed and been the catalyst for some of the most amazing life transformations among women of all ages and walks of life. With her compassionate spirit, positive energy and attentive listening, she provides an environment for openness and personal growth without judgment. Lena is the founder of Empowerment House for Women, where she and her daughters host workshops, seminars, retreats, wellness training and promote holistic living.  Her workshops “Step Into Your Greatness” and “Kick Your Bucket List Into Action” uses vision boards, goal setting, self empowerment tools, and retreats to help women address their fears, heal the past, and unleash their power to fulfill their dreams. These interactive workshops, seminars, and retreats are informative, fun and promote camaraderie among the participants.  |

The Alkaline Diet

Many have heard of the phrase “we are what we eat,” but the real question is: “Do we know what this means and how food really affects the body?”   The Alkaline Diet is not new news, but let’s explore WHY this is important to KNOW…..

It should be more than obvious that a person would not put sugar in their gas tank, as this would destroy the engine.  The car engine requires the right mixture of gas to function properly.  The same is true with our body.  It runs better when it is supplied with the correct mixture of foods.  It is already understood that the body needs protein, carbohydrates, and fats to function properly.  However, it also needs the correct ratio of alkalinity and acidity.

The human body operates at about 7.4pH.  It may vary slightly from person to person.  Dr. Martin Katz of “Revolution Health Center” recommends a diet that is 70 percent alkaline and 30 percent acidifying.  Foods that would be considered alkalizing are those that are plant based, such as fruits and veggies, while those that are considered acidifying would be grains, beans, and meat.  From analyzing the typical American fast food diet, it is clear that the many foods fall into the acidifying category.  That double cheeseburger with the large chocolate shake is very acidifying to the body.  What happens when we consume an alkalizing diet?

According to Katz, a person should see an improvement in their potassium/sodium ratio.  This plays an important part in reducing cardiovascular disease, such as strokes and hypertension.  In addition the client should also see improvement in bone density.  This is a very important point, because a large number of Americans suffer from bone loss.

Dr. Katz also shares that this alkalizing diet has helped heal patients with “arthritic conditions, cancer, and diabetes.”  In fact, the doctor was able to get patients off high doses of insulin.

Before beginning the alkalizing diet, Dr. Katz strongly recommends that a person get permission from their doctor or nutrition coach.  There could be potential problems for those that are currently taking medications.  Once the client gets the “okay” from their doctor, they are free to start giving the body the alkalizing fuel mixture that it was designed for.

What food are you fueling your body with?

Looking for some Alkaline Recipes???  Here are some helpful options:

Guest Author: Terry Fatland is a natural born teacher and counselor who has self-published two poetry books, as well as a book of transformative phrases and photos. He also publishes inspirational articles, short stories, poems, and song lyrics on Hub Pages dot com which are available for free to the general public. Terry is certified in Reflexology and Reiki, and is currently working towards certification in Hypnotherapy and Life Coaching. Terry has been studying and applying spirituality and self-help wisdom since the mid 1990s. He receives intuitive guidance through his writings and strongly believes that we can all connect to this Universal Wisdom. Terry’s mission is to inspire, empower, educate, and to bring healing to the world. In Terry’s philosophy, the sky is not the limit. He believes we are powerful and creative Spiritual Beings destined for absolute greatness.

Organic Seed Exchange

Upcoming, Complimentary, Holistic Event Announcement: Organic Seed Exchange Wait! Don’t throw those seeds!  Come out to SWIHA on January 3rd @ 5pm where you can see demonstrations and receive helpful information on Urban Farming and the importance of Seed Saving.  Save the seeds from your organic foods and bring them prepared to share, and at 6pm… the exchanging will begin! Merihelen Nunez and Penny Sorensen-Carolin are holding an Organic Seed Exchange for their Optimum Health and Sustainability class, as a way to promote Urban Farming!  Please join us to share some seeds and support this wonderful cause.